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Christian Colligation of Apologetics Debate Research & Evangelism

"And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and {saying,} 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.'" -- Acts 17:2-3

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ANSWERING THE SKEPTICS

This page features original research by CADRE members and others that directly respond to arguments made by skeptics on the Secular Web and elsewhere. Some of these arguments are thoughtful and require some considered responses while others are mere smoke screens hiding irrationality. We cannot answer all of these articles, but we hope that our general approach will be instructive to Christian apologists. The CADRE is pleased to consider submissions for this page.


The Existence of God
The Veracity of the Bible
Errors of the Jesus Myth
Questions of Theology
Relationship of Theism and Science
Archaeoloigcal Questions
Christianity and Society

The Existence of God


The place for essays making positive cases for the existence of God or countering arguments against God's existence.

Veracity of the Bible


Essays arguing for the reasonableness and historicity of the various books of the Holy Bible.

Errors of the Jesus Myth


Essays responding to those people who claim that Jesus never even existed.

Questions of Theology


Essays concerning matters of internal concern to the church as they involve apologetics.

The Relationship between Theism and Science


Essays concerning the interrelationship between the Bible and the evidence for God that can be found in scientific study.

Archaeological Questions


Essays relating to questions concerning archaeology and whether these findings support or refute the Holy Bible.

Christianity and Society


Essays discussing the impact of Christian and theistic thought on our world.



Existence of God

A Bit of Undigested Beef: Does the Existence of Non-Belief Prove God's Non-Existence?
by William Kesatie

"Prof. [Theodore] Drange's [essay "The Argument from Evil and Nonbelief"] raises an interesting challenge to Christianity, but his argument is not particularly compelling or even, as he asserts, "sound". While he makes a very good case that the Bible teaches that God cares whether people have the necessary beliefs to gain salvation, his argument that God desires that people all, or most all, of the people come to believe Set P as His highest priority is very weak. Given that it is the lynchpin of his argument, the failure to support this argument with solid Biblical evidence rather than inferences from God's statements as to what should concern us as humans makes his case remarkably weak."

Brain Is Ignorant
"A lengthy response to the horrible nonsense that can be found on the website GodIsImaginary.com. "While I'll admit I wasn't expecting Marshall's arguments to be too great, they ended up being much worse than I thought they'd be. In fact, anyone who's been a Christian for more than five minutes could easily see almost all of his arguments as outrageous; the arguments against prayer apply the most here. You won't find a single Christian that interprets Matthew 17:20 literally in the entire world, yet Mr. Brain thinks his argument is unbeatable."

The Cosmological Argument: A Current Bibliographical Appraisal
by W. David Beck

"First, I will examine the progress of the argument by looking at the major categories of objections. Second, I will look at two current restatements and analyses of the argument itself. Finally, some comment on the significance of the argument is in order."

The Misunderstanding of Theism, an Answer to Andrew Moroz' Sec Web Article
by Perspecuity

"Moroz's objections to the Christian concept of God are based not upon a proper consideration of Christian theology, but through a quick skim over a few of the concepts. His attempts to demonstrate the 'incoherence' of Christianity fall well short of any reasonable critique."

Still Failing the Bar Exam Or, Another Legal Loopity-Loop; a Response to Kyle Gerkin's "Objection Sustained"
by James Patrick Holding

"Here Gerkin displays a fundamental ignorance of what it means to be "omnipotent." Omnipotence does not cover the ability to do that which is logically impossible -- such acts are outside the range of "power" and are not relevant to a doctrine of omnipotence."

The Tale of Twelve Officers
by J.L. Hinman

CADRE member J.L. Hinman responds to the Tale of the Twelve Officers by Mark I. Vuletic found at the Internet Infidels website. "The argument made here uses the medium of parable, and thus uses the idea of policemen watching a murder and not intervening as the analogy. The problem is, we hired cops to do a specific job, they are regular men and they have limited understanding. They are put up to a specific task which is understood of them and they have our own limitations in understanding the nature of the task or how to carry it out. This means the analogy is limited and dubious as analogous of God and the world."



The Veracity of the Bible

101 Cleared up "Contradictions" in the Bible
by Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, James Schaeffer [pdf file]

"Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents were inspired. For that reason it is essential that we maintain an ongoing textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appears to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free."

Answer to Donald Morgan's "Was Jesus a Hypocrite?"
by Perspecuity

"Morgan's arguments that Jesus was a hypocrite are often based upon precepts or commands that Jesus himself did not claim to necessarily have to follow, or they are based upon misreading, misrepresenting or poorly interpreting verses of the Bible."

Barker Worse than his Bite
by JP Holding

"Dan Barker's Losing Faith in Faith . . . gave me the occasion to see how yet another high-level skeptic operates - and as has continued to be the case, I find myself more persuaded than ever that the rejection/renunciation of Christian faith is never the result of forthright intellectual doubts."

Farrell Till Exposed: Anwering Till's Attack on Biblical Prophecy
by Firebranded

"So, in fact, we do have a prophecy being GIVEN here and not one being returned as fulfilled. Mr Till's "imagined prophecy" conspiracy, another GROSS contextual mangling, so exposes his obvious slant and extremely BIASED approach until he appears quite willing to sacrifice his credibility to secure an early victory."

Firebrand's Answer to Till, Part 2
by Firebranded

"What we actually have here is another example of Mr. Till's amazing assumptive powers that underly a majority of his unbiased contextual examination. The assumption being that any reference to OT text must be verbatum as though Christ and his audience weren't capable of conceptual reasoning from allegory."

Genre, Historicity, Date, and Authorship of Acts
by Christopher Price

(A revised version of this article is available in Word)
"Though the author of Acts faced the daunting obstacles of any ancient historian – as there were very few accurate maps to help understand geography and few, if any, sources of information about local customs and practices, as well as an ever changing legal and political regime – he writes with a high level of accuracy regarding geography, local details, Jewish customs and beliefs, current events, political situations, and Roman legal proceedings. The author’s accuracy suggests excellent sources and/or personal participation."

"Harmonizing" The Gospels: Some Principles for Dealing with Purported Contradictions in the Gospels
by Christopher Price

"Before concluding that there is a discrepancy, be sure that the accounts are discussing the same fact, event, or saying. This is especially important when reviewing the Gospels. Too many critics take it for granted that similar sounding sayings or events must be variant accounts of one original utterance or happening."

How the Old Testament was Preserved
by Wesley White

"Now, the result of this reverence was the creation of a system of copying which is nothing less than astounding. The Levites had to create a system of making new copies of the Bible as old copies wore out and had to be destroyed. They knew it would be easy to make a mistake in copying a new transcript, so here is what they did. They developed elaborate and meticulous RULES for transcribing."

The Miracles of Jesus: A Historical Inquiry
by Christopher Price

"What I intend to provide in this article are good reasons for believing that Jesus, his contemporary followers, and his contemporary enemies, believed that he was a miracle worker. I also happen to think that—if we can set naturalistic assumptions aside—this article provides enough justification to explore the life and works of Jesus in more detail to see whether there is a possibility that Jesus in fact performed inexplicable deeds."

The Missing Ending of the Gospel of Mark
by Christopher Price

"[I]t seems, on balance, that an ending at verse 8 is unlikely. Mark's entire gospel is about the good news of the Gospel and fulfilling foretold events--with a special interest in narrating the fulfillments of Jesus' prophecies. There is no satisfactory explanation as to why he would depart from this focus only as to the Jesus's specifically foretold resurrection appearances."

Paul the Apostle
by The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute

"What happened after Paul was converted on the Damascus road? How did this man come to be known as the Apostle Paul? Where did he get the message that he preached? Did he "invent" Christianity? We asked several scholars to comment on these and other questions." Answers provided by Ben Witherington, Dr. N.T. Wright and Dr. Craig Evans.

The Reality of Miracles: A Refutation of Antony Flew's Views
by Malachi

"The first critique is that the very falsification principle that Flew uses to critique belief in God, or theological utterances and assertions, to use his terminology, is self-defeating. But assuming that all statements that assert something must have the possibility of being false for them to be true, leaves only two options open. The options are either that 1) the falsification principle is exempt from its very criteria, or 2) the falsification fails its own test. Whichever option is chosen is doomed to failure."

A Response to Ken Olson on Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum
by Christopher Price
"In this article I respond to Olson's article and conclude that--whatever opinion one holds on the authenticity of the TF--there is no reasonable basis on which to conclude that Eusebius interpolated it."

The Resurrection Texts: Harmonization
by Anne A. Kim

"A skeptic had put forward what was supposed to be an unanswerable challenge: to take all the passages in the Bible beginning with the day of Jesus’ resurrection and continuing to the day of his ascension, and without omitting anything write a simple narrative that is chronological and leaves out nothing. Here are the texts requested, every requested verse included and every account with the verses still in their original order, with the verses from each account placed with the corresponding verses from other accounts. What follows is the texts you specified with the verses grouped so as to reconstruct the events from the resurrection to the ascension from the existing accounts."

The Speeches in Acts
by Christopher Price

"It appears that ancient historians were expected to accurately represent the speeches they recorded in their works. Although some did not, they were generally criticized for it. Luke's style is representative of those ancient historians which we know attempted to accurately record speeches in their works."

The Story of Jesus in Luke's Unique Material
by Christopher Price

"L should be dated to before 60 CE, perhaps even earlier than 50 CE because 1) it does not hint to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, 2) it lacks most of the Christological titles more common in later Christian literature, 3) it has a high level of residual orality, and 4) its preservation of a large number of sayings, especially parables, that are most often judged as origination from the historical Jesus."

You Can't Trust the Gospels, They're Unreliable
by Paul Copan

"[T]he Christian doesn't need to start a discussion with a skeptic assuming that the Gospels are 'sacred writings' or 'inerrant.' He only needs to argue that they purport to be historical and that they can be shown to be reliable for historical purposes."



Errors of the Jesus Myth

Did Josephus Refer to Jesus?: A Thorough Review of the Testimonium Flavianum
by Christopher Price

"The most important extra-biblical references to Jesus are found in the writings of Josephus. Although some have questioned the authenticity of the passages, modern scholarship has rightly recognized that one of them is completely authentic and the other, though embellished by Christian scribes, provides an authentic core of material confirming much about Jesus. This article thoroughly examines the authenticity of the disputed reference to Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum referred to hereafter as the "TF"."

Earl Doherty and the Apostolic Tradition
by Christopher Price

"Doherty's argument that the early Church had no concept of passing along established tradition is refuted. Indeed, his favoured explanation "that the church obtained its teachings from direct revelation” is similarly weak. The early Christians, though making use of prophecy, were careful to subordinate direct revelation to established tradition."

Earl Doherty, the Jesus Myth and Second Century Christian Writings
by GakuseiDon

"But by far the biggest flaw is that Doherty clearly hasn't examined all the literature of the period. There are examples of HJ writers producing materials that have all the hallmarks of DohertyÂ’s MJ writers. There are hints in the literature for why the apologists of that period wrote their apologies in that style: an eagerness to show Christianity as philosophically similar to pagan ideas; a plea for justice for Christians against persecution; an expectation that referring to ancient Hebrew writings would carry weight with the Emperors of the day."

Earl Doherty's Use of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Part I and Part II
by Christopher Price

"Doherty's review of Hebrews does provide us with many insights into the failure of the 'Jerusalem Tradition' aspect of Doherty's theory (The 'Jerusalem Tradition' part of Doherty's theories seeks to explain the New Testament epistles and other documents which he believes predates all of the gospels). Because Doherty uses, to a great degree, the same arguments regarding the Pauline corpus and other early Christian literature, the mistakes he makes in analyzing the Epistle to the Hebrews reveal substantial flaws in his general theory."

Earl Doherty's Use of the Phrase "According to the Flesh"
by Christopher Price

"Doherty's attempt to interpret 'born of a descendent of David according to the flesh' to mean that Jesus was never born but was instead a purely spiritual figure who never came to earth is unavailing. He completely fails to offer any comparable pagan savior parallels that were so described."

A History of Scholarly Refutations of the Jesus Myth
by Christopher Price

"Earlier attempts appear to have focused on claiming that Paul too was a myth or that his letters were later inventions of the Church. Having seen such arguments appropriately relegated to the dustbin of the scholarly community, more recent Mythologists have attempted to interpret Paul -- and his many apparent references to a human Jesus -- as referring to an entirely spiritual Jesus. So far these arguments have met with the same success as their predecessors: None."

The Lowder They Protest: an Answer to Lowder's Argument on the Resurrection
by Metacrock

"Lowder has posted his new arguments against Craig's Resurretion arguments ("Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story, A Reply to William Lane Craig"), and he got them up in time for Easter. I suppose he is to be commended for the appropriateness of his publication, but not for much else. Isn't this about the 114th reply to Craig? Most his arguments appear to be the same old hat, I see very little that is new or amazing, and I wonder why this article justifies the fan fare of a whole new presentation."

Marcion, the Canon, the Law, and the Historical Jesus: A Survey of Marcion's Life and Legacy
by Christopher Price

"In many ways, Marcion caused the Orthodox Church to be more moderate. The Church had to acknowledge its Jewish roots and embrace Jewish literature, without forfeiting its Christian revelation. The Church acknowledged that Jesus brought grace and freedom, but refused to descend into antinomianism or reject the idea that the law had any moral instruction to offer."

The Myth Makers: A Review of Doherty's "The Jesus Puzzle"
by Roger Pearse

"The work is, in short, a polemic with references to data stuck on to it for decoration. But those who really want to know would be well advised to seek out the readily accessible primary data, devise ways to test the ideas, look for the logical fallacies, and, above all, obtain more up to date information on the present state of scholarship."

The Resurrection of Osiris According to Farrell Till
by Mark Mcfall

"Budge's comments show that Osiris did NOT bodily resurrect to earth as we know earth to be. While there is no doubt that Egyptians believed in some form of an afterlife, the bodily resurrection of persons back to earth seems not to be apart of Egyptian thought."

Paul’s Knowledge of the Garden of Gethsemane Narrative
by Christopher Price

"The evidence that Paul and Mark's narrative of the Garden of Gethsemane are referring to the same event is strong. Both authors are referring to an older, preexisting tradition. The distinctiveness of the phrase, "Abba Father" is so unique that its usage by Paul and Mark is almost certainly not a coincidence. That Paul's reference to the phrase has JesusÂ’ own crying out to God in mind as its origin is reinforced by the context in which he employs the phrase. The very ability to cry out "Abba Father" is a sign of becoming an adoptive Son of God as Jesus was the Son of God. Not only that, but it is the very Spirit of Jesus that enables us to cry out to God on such a familiar level. The earthly location of Jesus' use of "Abba Father" is attested by Galatians' describing the event just after stating "God sent his Son, Born under the Law, Born of a Woman." Romans associates the scene with Jesus' time of suffering before his resurrection, which certainly fits the Garden of Gethsemane scene."

Scholarly Opinions on the Jesus Myth
by Christopher Price

"I have often been asked why more academics do not take the time to respond to the Jesus Myth theory. After looking into this question, I discovered that most historians and New Testament scholars relevant to the topic have concluded that Jesus Mythers are beyond reason and therefore decide that they have better things to do with their time."

A Short Review of the Jesus Puzzle
by Christopher Price

"This may be the best presentation of the Jesus Myth argument in print. Nevertheless, any informed and rational investigation into it will lead the reasonable person to conclude that if this is the best that the Jesus Myth has to offer, there is little to commend the theory."

You Can't Trust the Gospels, They're Unreliable
by Paul Copan
, Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL).
"[T]he Christian doesn’t need to start a discussion with a skeptic assuming that the Gospels are 'sacred writings' or 'inerrant.' He only needs to argue that they purport to be historical and that they can be shown to be reliable for historical purposes."



Questions of Theology

Do Extraordinary Events Require Extraordinary Evidence?
by G. Brady Lenardos

"In dealing with the question of whether or not the resurrection of Jesus can be rationally affirmed to be an actual historical event, the Atheist in our opening dialog demands that extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence. However, the requestor is unable to objectively quantify or qualify the nature of the evidence he is requesting. If the nature of 'extraordinary evidence' cannot be objectively quantified or qualified it cannot be a rational request."

Free Choice, Hell, and The Argument from Nonbelief
by Joveia

"The Argument from Nonbelief attempts to show that God unfairly allows some people to have nonbelief which can damn them in an infinite sense. However this argument suffers the (inimical) flaw that it does not account for someone freely choosing to go to hell, which if so means their damnation is fair. I argue this, and I also argue that God providentially arranges our choices for damnation or salvation, in such a way that in our life we necessarily have cognitive beliefs matching those choices in this life."

Jesus's Divinity Within Jewish Monotheism
by Christopher Price

"This piece offers a defense of the view the early Christians believed Jesus to be divine. And not just divine in a generic sense. The Greeks believed that a number of individuals were "divine," including half-humans like Hercules. But first-century Jews believed that only one entity was Divine: God. While angels and demons were spiritual, they were in no sense divine. God was God. There was no other. Accordingly, it is my contention that the early Christians thought Jesus was divine in the Jewish sense of being God, or at least a manifestation of God."

Paul's Belief in a Bodily Resurrection: An Argument Against the Contention that Jesus Rose Spiritually in Paul's Thought
by Christopher Price

The only solution is that Paul believes that the final resurrection is distinct from the intermediate state of spiritual life after death. In other words, the resurrection cannot be merely a spiritual occurrence. That has already occurred. The resurrection, therefore, is a bodily one.

Why I Believe Jesus is the Son of God
by Peter Kreeft
, an excerpt from Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe edited by Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman
"What did Jesus mean when he called himself the 'Son of God'? The son of a man is a man.... The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. 'Son of God' is a divine title."



The Relationship between Theism and Science

An Answer to Posner's Critique of Byrd's Prayer Study
by Metacrock

"Gary Posner is an M.D. who responds to the Byrd study on prayer results. Most of Posner's arguments, however, are actually theologically based. He finds very few real study indictments to argue against the actual methodology of the Study.

Which Numbers Are Really Relevant?--Intelligent Design, Evolution and Project Steve
by William Kesatie, J.D.

"In light of the misrepresentations of the pro-evolution community about the nature of the claims of intelligent design, and given the repercussions that could befall these scientists, the fact that 100 scientists were willing to sign their names to this document forcefully establishes the depth of thir concerns. While the numbers of scientists questioning Darwinism does not establish that Darwinian Evolution is wrong, clearly, the most relevant number is not the large number of scientists who accept the status quo, but the number of scientists willing to stand up to potential ridicule to question one of the central dogmas of 21st Century science."

Getting God a Pass--Science, Theology and the Consideration of Intelligent Design
by Dr. John Mark Reynolds
, Director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Biola University

Trimming the Wrong Hedge: A Response to Kyle J. Paley's A Counterclockwise Paley"
by William Kesatie, J.D.


Christianity and the Rise of Science
by Bede



Archeological Questions

James Ossuary Inscription
by Bryan Cox


The Most Important Extrabiblical Evidence of Its Kind
by Ben Witherington III


Does Archaeology Support the Bible?
by Julie Staples


Archaeology and the Bible
by Phillip Climer



Christianity and Society

A Response to Jan Brazill's "Reflections On Six Billion"
by NYJ


Answers to SecWeb Articles on Divine Command Theory of Ethics
by Metacrock


Editor's Bookshelf: Getting Western Civ Right; Christian theology is the catalyst, not the brake, for progress in Western History
by David Neff

A Review of For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery by Rodney Stark
.
Is it Possible to be Good Without God?
by Christopher Price

"I see no atheistic alternative or substitute for a transcendent being in developing a coherent, justified moral scheme. Nor do I have much hope that one could be developed. It seems impossible that one could develop a transcendent moral code without recourse to a transcendent source for that moral code."

Pagans, Christianity, and Infanticide
by Christopher Price

"Although ancient and pagan Greek and Rome had practiced and encouraged infanticide for hundreds and hundreds of years, Christianity fundamentally altered those societies. Christianity eliminated the promotion and encouragement of infanticide by government and leading societal institutions in Western Civilization. Clearly, one unique and valuable contribution of Christianity to Western Civilization was its opposition to infanticide."
Pagans, Christianity, and Charity
by Christopher Price

"The idea in the West that individuals, organizations, and the state should offer help to those in need without an expectation that the favor will be returned -- charity -- is largely due to Christianity's influence. The Christian concept of charity was unique because it promoted the idea that charity was not just limited to one's own family or even one's own social or cultural group. From the founding of early Christianity to the modern age, Christians have carried with them a beneficial concept of charity that has had a substantial, positive impact on humanity."
A Reasonable Understanding of the Destruction of the Amalekites
by William Kesatie


Existential Wars: Kierkegaard versus Nietzsche
by Malachi

"How a person progresses to the ethical from the aesthetic or the religious from the ethical concerns what one does with the condition in the moment of decision. Kierkegaard speaks to us today in that we must make a decision; anxiety and dread can be overcome by faith. Epistemically, objective uncertainty is not enough to fail to take the step of faith. Subjective certainty is sufficient."

Why I Am Not a Moral Relativist
by Francis J. Beckwith

"First, Christianity teaches that there are objective moral norms that apply to all persons in all places and at all times. . . . Second, if moral norms exist, then materialism as a worldview is false, because moral norms are nonmaterial things."

Good Faith (Things Go Better with God)
by Karl Zinsmeister
for The American Enterprise OnLine

 

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear..." 1 Peter 3:15