Andy Williams has just finished singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
“And now,” The Tentative Apologist grins, “the most wonderful time of the show.” As he reclines in front of the fireplace wearing a bright red sweater with reindeer TA pulls out the ever present full-to-overflowing mailbag:
First up TA pulls out a missive from AcesLucky and he reads:
“It is also clear, to me anyway, given his [that is, TA’s] acumen for defending the imaginary "truth", that he'd be quite whole and at home defending the actual truth. But his future funding would sour and so would his career at religion based academia. And with mouths to feed, and a social network to consider, it's not exactly a winning proposition.”
Tentative Apologist turns thoughtfully toward the camera. “Thanks for writing AcesLucky. That’s an interesting comment. We all have social factors that influence the way we reason and interact with data. But we need to be careful not to let those influences wear the trousers.”
The studio audience boos at this politically incorrect reference to the leader being the one who wears “trousers”.
Next, the Burl Ives snowman from the “Rudolf” Christmas special sashays out on stage, reaches into the mailbag, and hands TA a letter from his faithful fan Beetle496. TA reads:
“Rauser, Do you believe that God’s effect on the Bible is such that the end result is indistinguishable from a work that could be developed wholly through the language, culture, and knowledge of the people of the time?”
Suddenly a voice barks from the left side of the studio audience, a voice which sounds a whole lot like that of SilverBullet:
“Could you please at least address b496's question above? Could you answer it, or explain why you're not answering it? Are you working on an answer? Should we ever expect one?”
The Tentative Apologist turns laconically toward the camera. “But I have answered that question oh intrusive one. I have explained in blogs past that my grounds for believing that the text is inspired trace not to some unique features of the text per se. Rather, they are held as properly basic sans defeaters in much the same way that other beliefs like the existence of the material world are held as properly basic sans defeaters. I was disappointed on that score that Unconvinced chose to be a radical skeptic who withholds belief that s/he is awake or that there are other minds or that the external world exists since the data at present underdetermines the truth of those claims. But that's the natural terminus if you disagree with me.
"I also have explained in the past how one can reason to the working hypothesis that the Bible is a text through which God has spoken based on the historical evidence for the resurrection, some of which has been discussed in this here blog.”
With that we begin to hear jingle bells and Johnny Mathis walks out on stage as carcinogenic fake snow begins to fall...
After the commercial break, it’s back to the mailbag. TA pulls out a short missive from AnAtheist.net: “Not every way of reading the Bible is necessarily a good or proper way of reading it.”
TA mugs for the camera. “Obviously,” he says, the seriousness of the comment marred by the Santa hat he is wearing. “So my atheist friend, the next question is, what justifies one reading rather than another? That question is not even on the radar screen of the authors of The Christian Delusion. They just assume the reading they like best, which is the reading of a subset of North American conservative Christians. That begs a whole lot more questions. I don't offer a critique of the combustion engine by putting the spotlight on Skoda's product line. I need to consider BMW as well. And that, as I keep reiterating, is the point at issue.”
With that the TA stands and is joined on stage with Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, and the Osmonds.
“Merry Christmas everyone!” they say in unison as Guy Lombardo’s band strikes up and that dang carcinogenic snow begins to fall again.