Behind almost every single argument in every single Christian apologetics book is a simple lapse of logic that renders the whole thing worthless. We often get caught up in arguments about the details of Christianity, but what use is arguing the details when the foundation of those details is constructed of circular arguments, false premises, and unsupported leaps of logic?
I’m reminded of the two hunters who came across tracks in the woods, disagreed about what sort of animal made them, and as they stood there arguing they got hit by the train. Often the arguments we have about details start out on the wrong sort of track entirely.
I’m talking about the total lack of evidence for the specific claims made by Christianity. Outside of the bible, the absolute best you can do is establish that there probably was an actual Jesus on whom the religion is based. The bible itself is not evidence; it’s the claim being evaluated. A claim cannot be evidence of its own truthfulness, and that is the lapse of logic made by every apologist I’ve ever heard.
After deconverting and getting a more objective view of Christianity, it’s incredible to me how flimsy its foundation really is. Instead of arguing details with apologists, perhaps I should simply ask for evidence and watch them fail to provide any. When an apologist says something stupid like “the resurrection of Jesus is the best established fact of history”, all you have to do is ask what the evidence is. The only things they can cite are the bible and other writings of Christians who all lived decades or centuries after Jesus. They can’t give a precise date, or even a precise year. There isn’t even a record of where he was buried. We have better evidence for the murder of Julius Caesar on March 15 of 44 BC than we have for the mere existence of Jesus, let alone his supposed resurrection or any details about his life.
So why should I believe insane claims made by any ancient religious book? Why should I believe the bible and not the koran, or the sutras of Buddhism, or some other religious book? Apologists have several arguments for why the bible is a reliable source of truth and history, yet most of them are based, once again, on the bible itself, and such arguments can be made just as logically about almost every other religious book that exists. The handful of arguments that are not based on the assumption that the bible is true fall into a few categories:
- Arguments that can only show what early Christians believed, not that what they believed was true.
- Arguments that appeal to incredulity or ignorance.
- False dilemmas and a smorgasbord of other fallacies.
- Arguments that are just plain wrong, like the quoted claim above about the resurrection.
- Assertions backed up by absolutely nothing.
If you’re a Christian and you think you have a good argument for why I should believe the claims made in the New Testament, feel free to comment and we’ll see if it’s one I’ve heard already. To be fair, I should let you know that I’ve almost certainly heard it and possibly even used it myself when I was a Christian. But I would love to hear something new, so give it a shot.
If you’re interested in a well-reasoned atheist view of apologetics, I can recommend this video series on YouTube (linked to the eighth video because it’s relevant to this article), and all of his other reviews of Christian books. His review of Answering Islam is particularly interesting since the authors of that book use the same arguments and reasoning in support of Christianity that they reject for Islam, which shows just how worthless those arguments are for establishing any religion as the correct one.