On a recent edition of Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable programme, the question under discussion was “Is apologetics a waste of time?”
Answering in the affirmative was atheist James Croft. Obviously skilled as a debater, he projected himself as a calmly reasonable person who has considered the truth-claims of Christianity and found them wanting.
I think that his underlying unreasonableness came across in two particular ways.
Firstly, he complained that Christian apologists such as W.L Craig keep coming out with the same arguments, even though (he said) these arguments have been comprehensively refuted time after time. But who says that these arguments have been refuted? That is just an unsupported assertion. If James Croft has said that these arguments have been thoroughly refuted “in my opinion” he would have been nearer the mark, but that then would have been a much more modest claim.
The second notable aspect of James’ unreasonableness came in his discussion about the resurrection of Christ. It was, of course, most helpful that he was keen to discuss this, since it belongs at the centre of Christianity’s truth-claims. “What evidence,” he asked Chris Sinkinson, can you adduce for the resurrection?” Chris repeatedly summarised the historical evidences for the resurrection, but James ignored them, claiming that no evidence whatsoever had been produced.
James claimed that his mind was not closed to the possibility of a resurrection. “I could be convinced,” he said. “I would have to see detailed medical records. I would probably have to be in the room, with the corpse on the slab. I would have to be observing it all the time. I would have to be surrounded by medical professionals. That’s the sort of evidence that would convince me of an extraordinary claim of that sort.”
But this is just to concede: “There is, actually, nothing that could ever convince me of the historical nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because the medical records are not available for my inspection, and I wasn’t there at the time.”
Despite James’ protestations, I call that unreasonably closed-minded.
Maybe he needs to listen to the arguments and evidences again. This time with an open mind.