One of the worst arguments Christian apologists put forward is the claim of historical fact concerning the biblical tale of the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth.
One of the better known proponents of this argument is Gary Habermas, whose Minimal Facts Argument is probably the most notorious and is regularly trotted out whenever an apologist or an ordinary Christian wishes to try to come across as intellectual.
Unfortunately for them, this Minimal Facts Argument is, in essence, simply a ‘Gotcha!’ – a not-so-clever exposition that is built upon supposition after supposition, designed to obfuscate until you’re basically told: “Well, if you can’t offer a better argument, then ours must be true by default.”
The entire Christian worldview rests on this one event. Even Paul says so in the bible. This approach, while it might seem risky, is quite clever when you think about it, as they can then effectively dismiss the entire bible providing they believe the story of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth to be true.
Then why bother claiming veracity for the rest of the bible?
Anyway, I am aware of the saying, Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but if anyone tries to sell you something is it not usual practice to want to know the bona fides of this person, before you consider buying?
So who is Gary Habermas?
Habermas is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
And these are his credentials:
- Ph.D. (1976) from Michigan State University in the area of History and Philosophy of Religion
- M.A. (1973) from the University of Detroit in Philosophical Theology.
Sounds pretty good so far. Impressive, even!
What about his place of employment?
Many Christian evangelical universities oblige their teaching staff to sign a contract. In effect a statement of faith which usually includes something about the innerancy of the bible.
The statement of faith at his Liberty University says, in part, “We affirm that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, though written by men, was supernaturally inspired by God so that all its words are the written true revelation of God; it is therefore inerrant in the originals and authoritative in all matters.”
In essence this means that if the bible says that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead then Habermas fully agrees, and is not allowed to preach or teach any other theory, otherwise he is in breach of contract.
So why on earth even bother to construct an argument in the first place? Who is he really trying to convince?
Not Christians, as they already believe it … this is why they are Christians. No one became Christian because of ”cold hard facts”, as I have been told.
And none of the other several billion non-Christians across the globe believe he came back from the dead, so on the face of it, it seems a pointless exercise.
Aaah … of course … it is probably for those back-sliders, and doubting Thomases!
However, based on the restraints placed upon Habermas, how objective can he truly be when he touts his Minimal Facts argument?
Well, for a start, based on his beliefs about the bible he:
1. Rejects evolution
2.Considers the story of Adam and Eve to be factual.
3. Believes there was global flood and the story of Noah’s Ark is fact.
Each one of the above has been proven to be false, and the Human Genome Project, originally headed by a fellow evangelical Christian, Francis Collins, has shown beyond any doubt that our species did not derive from a single breeding pair of humans. (No Original Sin … Ponder that for a moment).
Based on the above beliefs of the proponent why would you bother to construct an argument to refute Habermas’s MinimalFacts Argument?
Furthermore, if we also include some of other spurious biblical tales, the Exodus and conquest of Canaan, the erroneous Virgin Birth narrative and all it’s nonsensical components, the numerous interpolations and the fraudulent epistles to mention just a few, and also the fact the gospels are not eye-witness testimony, then I don’t know about you, but is there any reason whatsoever to even consider Habermas’s proposal at all?
Grateful nod for certain info to Bob Seidensticker of Cross Examined