Another Way to Silence the Silly

I ran across this story a couple of weeks ago and found myself thinking about it more than once so I thought I’d ‘pass it on’. It really doesn’t take much to silence the silly.

Our faith isn’t intellectual; it is experiential. We don’t know about God, we know Him. At the University of Chicago Divinity School, each year they have what is called “Baptist Day.” It is a day when the school invites all the Baptists in the area to the school because they want the Baptist dollars to keep coming in.

On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every “Baptist Day” the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two-and-a-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the Church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

apple After about 30 seconds, an old preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. “Docta Tillich, I got one question,” he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his lunch sack and pulled out an apple and began eating it. “Docta Tillich (crunch, munch), my question is a simple one (crunch, munch). Now, I ain’t never read them books you read (crunch, munch), and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek (crunch, munch). I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger (crunch, munch).” He finished the apple. “All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate—was it bitter or sweet?”

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: “I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.” The white-haired preacher dropped the apple core into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”

The 1,000-plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform. “Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him” (Psalm 34:8). It has been well said, “The man with an experience is not at the mercy of a man with an argument.”

(Source: The Evidence Bible)

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2 Responses to Another Way to Silence the Silly

  1. david lightman says:

    The Evidence Bible in this case is using a logical fallacy known as a “False Dilemma.”

    And as such, the argument against Dr. Tillich is not only incorrect, it is ignorance. This doesn’t “silence the silly”; because you can not have a intelligent discourse with people who are incapable of reasoning. I for one do not admire ignorance, and I certainly would not use it as evidence or proof of my beliefs.

  2. jerryk says:

    Hi David and thanks for visiting. Actually, your premise is false and your conclusion consists of nothing more than mere opinion. A false dilemma “involves a situation in which two alternative statements are held to be the only possible options, when in reality there exists one or more other options which have not been considered”. The apple loving, God fearing, Baptist preacher never never made this type of proposition (unless you are offended by the apple options as being either bitter or sweet).

    Sadly, you did the exact thing of which you falsely accused the preacher. But it does look like you have found yet another Way to Silence the Silly — let them talk. Better luck next time.

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