Back in February, Ben Watkins appeared on the YouTube channel Capturing Christianity to debate Dr. Shandon Guthrie on the existence of demons. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this debate. Like Watkins, I had expected Guthrie to muster up some contemporary evidence for the existence of demonic forces. Instead, the affirmative argument rested on the resurrection of Jesus and the reliability of the Gospels. I don’t need to tell you that both of those items are unremittingly controversial. But that was pretty much it: Jesus rose from the dead, was known to be an exorcist, therefore demons must exist.
I don’t buy it.
In any event, check out the debate for yourself. It was…something.
2 thoughts on “Ben Watkins Debates Demons”
1. I’m reminded of the New York Magazine interview with late Justice Antonin Scalia, who pondered:
“You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore . . . . . That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.”
Yes, such a puzzle. Why isn’t the Devil as active today as he was in ancient, often inconsistent accounts of uncertain provenance composed by unknown authors during human civilization’s especially creative and credulous adolescence? 😉
2. “But that was pretty much it: Jesus rose from the dead, was known to be an exorcist, therefore demons must exist. I don’t buy it.”
BELIEVER: Demons exist.
SKEPTIC: That’s an extraordinary claim. Do you have extraordinarily compelling evidence of their existence?
BELIEVER: The Resurrection.
SKEPTIC: Hang on, now we just have TWO extraordinary claims . . . .
Okay, smart aleckry aside, this is one of those gestalt, inferential arguments that understandably works for plenty of believers, but obviously not for us heathens. If your starting point is that the Resurrection happened and the Bible is the inspired or inerrant word of God, then yeah, belief in the existence of demons is no more a heavy lift than belief in the existence of angels. The religious mindset often entails an epistemic structure of mutually-reinforcing supernatural premises that cohere from the insider’s perspective, but are insufficiently grounded or justified from the outsider’s.
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I love that Scalia quote! You just want to say, “Yes, take that skepticism a little further!”