“We might argue that we can have assurance that many of the events described in the Bible occurred, even though historical inquiry has not yet produced confirming evidence through the spade of the archaeologist or the pen of the secular historian. In the past, the Bible has demonstrated that its accounts are trustworthy as far as they have been verified. Moreover, the Bible has never been controverted by solid historical data. Therefore, the benefit of the doubt should go to the Bible in places where it cannot be verified, when there is no evidence to the contrary, and when it seems clear that the author intended for us to understand the event as historical.” —Habermas and Licona, p. 31
Gary: Good god! What unmitigated gall!
Imagine if the Hindus, the Muslims, or the Mormons made the same statement about their holy book. Christians would laugh themselves silly. Yet conservative Christians have the audacity, the gall, the chutzpa, to make such an obnoxious statement as the above.
The Bible has never been controverted by solid historical evidence???
How about the fact that scientists have proven that the earth was not created in six literal days as the first two chapters of Genesis state? How about the fact that cosmologists have proven that the universe is billions of years old, not ten thousand years old as the genealogies in the Torah indicate? How about the fact that geologists have proven that there was no world wide flood? How about the fact that there is zero evidence of a mass exodus of ancient Hebrews from Egypt; who wandered in the Sinai for forty years; who then invaded and conquered Canaan? How about the fact that most experts doubt the existence of King David, King Solomon and their great empires? How about the fact that there is no trace of King Solomon’s magnificent temple?
And Christians are asked to trust that the greatest of all supernatural tall tales in the Bible —the resurrection of Jesus—is true because all the previous tall tales in the Bible have proven to be trustworthy historical events???
What are Habermas and Licona smoking?
“A finding of historicity is essentially a default position, meaning that we have no other reasonable way to account for the presence of a story in the text” —a quote by scholar Graham Twelftree, p. 33
Gary: How about: The author INVENTED the story! We know from collective human experience that authors of books invent details in stories all the time! Just because a story is present in a text does NOT mean it is historical fact. Modern Christians assume that the authors of the Gospels were perfect Christians who would never invent a false story; would never lie or fib. Sorry, to break the news to you, folks, but even Christians sometimes lie and fib.
But it is also possible that fictional details were added to the historical Jesus story with no malice intended. The fictional details were never meant to be taken as historical fact. They were added for allegorical or theological purposes. The original readers would have known this. It is only later readers who mistook these details as claims of historicity.
Bottom line: Never assume that ANY supernatural claim is true until proven false just because it is stated in your holy book. The burden of proof is always on the person or group making an extra-ordinary claim not on the skeptic who questions that extra-ordinary claim.
Read the next part of my review here.