Wave Comes Crashing Down Part 1

Is this wave heading for a crash? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

There’s a certain loud-mouthed atheist who has a tendency to make up claims about himself and make it seem as if he’s refuted a number of great minds in the field of apologetics. This one is constantly going around to apologetics forums, a number of which have banned him because of his problematic behavior. He considers himself the “New Wave” of atheist debaters, to which if he is the new wave, then Christianity is in good hands! Seeing as he has such a tremendous ego and a fulfillment of view that the ignorance of a new atheist on a topic they pontificate on is in direct proportion to their hubris, he’d probably like me to tell you his name.

So now let’s move on then to the first of seven irrefutable claims he says he has!

First claim:

100% FACT: we don’t know who wrote the gospels (guess all you want but at the end of the day we don’t know who wrote them because no one signed their name to them) …RED FLAG!!!!

Since there’s no signature, does that mean we don’t know who wrote them?

Well, no.

Does that mean there aren’t disputes? Not at all. Of course there are, but we can say most authors did not personally sign their works. In fact, this doesn’t happen in modern times. Usually, the author of a work is identified at the beginning of a work in the ancient world, but even then that is not enough.

The physician Galen once walked by a store to see a book that he had supposedly written being sold. He did not remember writing that book so he went home and wrote on how to recognize books that he wrote. Forgery was a problem in the ancient world.

Now in NT studies, there are a number of works of Paul that are universally accepted as Pauline. These are Romans, Galatians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Other books are in dispute, some more than others. Here’s something they all have in common.

They all claim to be by Paul.

What does that tell us? It tells us that for NT scholarship, because a book says it is by Paul, it does not mean ipso facto that it is by Paul. Does that mean it should be disregarded? No. The internal evidence should play some role.

On the same note, it is not denied that Tacitus wrote Tacitus, but if your only reason for thinking such was because it says it’s by Tacitus at the start, then someone could just as easily say “the Pastorals say they’re by Paul, therefore they’re by Paul.” Now I hold that they are by Paul, but I know that’s not enough to seal the deal.

In reality, a number of works in the ancient world did not have a name by them. Does our atheist have a way of identifying then who wrote the lives attributed Plutarch? How about who wrote the Annals of Tacitus? How about who wrote the works attributed to Thucydides?

We do not find any argumentation from him stating how it is that one determines authorship of a work. We do not find interaction with the scholars on both sides of the issue giving reasons why we should think one person wrote a text and another another.

And in my experience, if someone does not give a reason for believing a claim besides their own incredulity and makes a case that has not been argued from the leading scholarship in a field, then that is a case that is not to be taken seriously.

If it’s not to be taken seriously, then why write posts about it?

Because unfortunately, too many people do, and these canards are the usual types that are thrown out there by internet skeptics that are a dime-a-dozen.

It’s also worth noting that this atheist constantly wants audio debates to get an audience, but he has repeatedly turned down a chance to have a written debate at TheologyWeb.com. That link can be found here.

My ministry partner’s write-up on this first point can also be found here.

The new wave is already crashing, but it never really got off the ground to begin with.

In Christ,
Nick Peters