Announcing the Leprechaun ChallengeNovember 13, 2007 — Deacon Duncan
Christianity has an undeniable flaw with an inescapable consequence: God does not show up in real life, and therefore men have no choice but to put their faith (gullibility) in their own superstitious fantasies. As a practical exercise that demonstrates this fact, I am happy to announce The Leprechaun Challenge.
I hereby challenge any and all Christian apologists to produce some means by which they can reliably know that the things they attribute to God are not merely the the result of magical pranks performed by invisible leprechauns. In the absence of any reliable Christian way of knowing, I propose a way of knowing that is reliable: truth is consistent with itself, and therefore we can reliably know the difference between what’s true and what isn’t by seeing what is consistent with itself and with the real world.
This can’t be hard, right? I mean, everyone knows that leprechauns aren’t real. Or are they? How do we know there are no such things as leprechauns? How do we know they didn’t mischievously trick Jesus into thinking he was the Messiah, pranking him with magic “miracles” that egged him on? How do we know they didn’t steal Jesus’s body, and then prank the apostles with magical, fake appearances? How do we know that Christianity isn’t a leprechaunian shot at the world’s greatest and longest-running prank?
The point of the challenge is to confront Christians with the fact that their own beliefs are no less superstitious and gullible than belief in leprechauns. Christianity works by taking things we see, and attributing them back to things we don’t see and for which we can neither prove nor describe any connection to the things we’re trying to explain. That’s the essence of superstition, and it lies at the heart of Christian thinking. The Leprechaun Challenge takes the superstitious Christian way of thinking, and uses it to produce a contradiction of Christianity.
Of course, by itself the Leprechaun Challenge amounts to little more than a mockery of Christian failure to think reasonably. But I want this challenge to be something more, something that not only turns Christians away from faulty ways of thinking to more reliable ways of thinking. Hence part two: the offer of a more reliable way of knowing the difference between what’s true and what isn’t. Truth is consistent with itself, and therefore we can know whether or not the Gospel is true by looking at what consequences would be consistent with an all-loving, all-powerful Heavenly Father, and then seeing whether those consequences are consistent with what we find in real life.