What is a “Root Idea”?

For each of the four kinds of skepticism in the Meet The Skeptic model, there is a Root Idea that feeds the various objections within that category. What we’re calling the Root Idea is the false premise. A false premise feeds objections like a root feeds a weed. Pulling a dandelion will only dislodge its feathery seeds and leave the root eventually creating more dandelions. Similarly, if we respond to each objection a skeptic raises, he just raises another one to take its place. Our goal is to dig up Root Ideas not debate the many objections (pull up the weeds) growing out of them.

For example, suppose a skeptic says the History Channel showed archaeological proof of “missing books” of the Bible. If you knew about this particular finding you could debate its authenticity, or you could question a bias by the History Channel. But these options would create a surface-level ping-pong match. Instead, question the likely Root Idea which is, “The Bible is man-made” (p. 36) to get to a more meaningful level of his worldview.

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