If you ever want a good laugh, just visit a college campus and listen in on some random conversations. The weirdest topics are discussed. Let’s face it. Lots of dumb things are heard on college campuses. Most come from the mouths of arrogant undergrad students who think they know everything, but they’re not the only ones…Sometimes professors take the cake! Especially when it comes to religion, theology, and philosophy. Why is it that professors who know little to nothing about religion, theology, and philosophy like to make bold assertions about religion, theology, and philosophy? I’ve heard my fair share of ridiculous allegations made in the name of academics and I’ve decided to list the top 5 here.
5. The census recorded in Luke 2 is obviously made up. Why would Caesar call everyone to their hometown in order to count them? Imagine if Obama wanted to count the population and ordered everyone to return to their hometown! Imagine the chaos that would ensue!
Of course! Because we always determine the historicity of an event in Antiquity by imagining how viable it would be if enacted in the 21st century! Great historical methodology!
The census recorded in Luke 2 that claimed everyone was ordered to return to their hometown in order to be counted cannot have been an actual event because we could not fathom Obama issuing such a command today. By using that line of reasoning we would have to throw out everything we know about history! The Egyptian Pharaohs and the Roman Emperors never viewed themselves as divine figures because President Obama would never do such a thing today. Ancient civilizations never utilized chariots as a primary means of transportation because Western society today would never resort to chariots because we have slightly more efficient modes of transportation in automobiles and planes (although I contend that chariots are much cooler).
4. The Gospels were written 200 years after Jesus’ death.
I’ve yet to encounter any scholar of Antiquity who believes that. Even the most liberal dating of the New Testament puts the composition of the Gospels towards the end of the 1st century.
Mark: 70 AD
Matthew: 80 AD
Luke: 90 AD
John: 100 AD
These are rough dates and they are closer to those proposed by liberal scholars. The dating of the Gospels is tricky. There are several veins of scholarship that all have differing opinions, but mainstream New Testament scholarship is in agreement with regard to the Gospels being written before the 2nd century.
3. The cosmological argument falls very easily. Proponents of the cosmological argument don’t realize that there is a huge problem with the idea of a “cause” for the universe. They don’t realize that the cause has to be natural.
Then he just stopped there, as if the case was settled.
You might be just as confused as I was.
That’s it? That’s the big crescendo? That’s the mighty defeater of the cosmological argument?
If the universe has a cause then the cause must be natural? Why? Moreover, if nature is defined as all matter, energy, time, and space and if all nature came into existence at the start of the universe with the Big Bang, then how can the cause of all of nature be natural?
2. There is no non-Biblical source that mentions Jesus.
If by “no source” you mean 33 sources within 150 years of Jesus’ life comprised of 20 Christian sources, 4 Gnostic sources, and 9 secular sources, then you are correct!
Secular Sources that mention Jesus: Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian of Samosata (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher), Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius (Roman historian), and Thallus(1).
1. Darwin contributed much. We know there is no God because we now understand evolution.
1. Darwin gave us a mechanism by which we can understand how higher life forms evolved from lower life forms.
2. Therefore, God does not exist.
Either there are a load of implicit premises that need to be drawn out in order for this argument to work or this is simply logically fallacious (and quite silly).
The conclusion does not follow. Not by a long shot. How does evolution show that there is no God? There is absolutely no connection between the two. Evolution is simply an explanation for variation and similarity among and between species. It tells us how we evolved. It does nothing to make a case against the existence of God. Not at all.
There you have it. Silly statements made by those who profess intellectual honesty and rigor in presenting opposing views fairly and without mischaracterizations. This is essentially pseudo-intellectual drivel seeking to discredit Theism without having a solid understanding of the arguments and ideologies that are being objected to. Misrepresenting your opponent’s position and arguing against it without taking the time to properly research it lead to amateur objections and easily-refuted arguments. So much for our bright beacons of academia…
1. Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004, p. 233.