Awhile ago, I started listening to this debate. It’s still going on now, but I’m just quite interested in writing about it because I find it going pitiful. I am literally groaning here at times hearing some of the things that Barker is saying simply because these are arguments from outrage and red herrings and then simply claims that are high school apologetics. For all interested, what I’m listening to is available here:
What amazes me in listening to a debate like this is how much credibility some skeptics give an atheist like Barker. I just got done hearing that the Bible is a sexist book, for instance, which is simply arguing from emotion. This is evidenced by a question Barker would often ask his friends who were Christians. Should he, as an honest person, go to Hell when he dies?
Ouch. Some think I’m cold, but it’s true.
And apart from Christ, so should I.
Now Barker thinks he’s shown that God is brutal. Not at all. God is holy.
We often think it’s so unthinkable that God puts some people to death. In Christianity though, when we sin, it’s essentially divine treason. What should shock us is not that God puts some people to death. What should shock us is that a holy God lets anyone live.
Now this doesn’t mean that I like that reality. I don’t. What’s right though is not always what I like. When a single guy like myself sees a lovely lady, I do have some thoughts that go through my mind and know what I’d like to be able to do, but I know it’s not right. At least, it wouldn’t be right until we each wear a ring and say “I do.”
I also think that Mike Licona has made a strong case for the resurrection based on the minimal facts approach of Habermas. Barker has really not replied and claims then that he has refuted the arguments. Barker doesn’t give a reason why the accounts are wrong other than the question-begging argument of Hume and others against miracles. Barker gives a story instead and it gives the impression that he’s saying “I have a story and don’t ask me to give evidence for it! It’s true because I believe it!”
In fact, there’s not really much to say because Barker’s argumentation is so weak. It’s all old hat stuff that we have been through several times before. A number of thoughts go through one’s head at this point.
“Dang. My faith is in good hands.”
“That objection AGAIN?! I can answer that in my sleep!”
It also makes one think of the importance of Christians being prepared in their apologetics. I don’t find Barker convincing at all, but I fear many Christians would. I wonder how many churches Dan Barker could tear through simply because the Christians are only living in their own world of emotional experiences and don’t have a clue about reality outside of that experience. This is emotion controlling rationality instead of the other way.
The objections are simple. They really are. There are people like Barker out there that are called the New Atheists today. It would be great if we lived in a world where those who are atheists were hesitant to put out books because they know the Christians are ready to answer. Unfortunately, they’re not. Most skeptics assume Christians are unthinking idiots that are simply emotional and speaking about a personal relationship with God and hearing the voice of God.
Unfortunately, many of us haven’t given them much reason to believe otherwise.
Dan Barker can do better in this debate. A lot better! We can do better though in our witness and preparation. Are we seen as soldiers of Christ bringing forth the kingdom or not?