Nitpickers Have Started to Attack

The more educated and intelligent a scholar is then the more that scholar argues against the main argument of his opponent. You can actually tell from what they attack whether they are scholarly or not. They do not nitpick at minor points unrelated to the main argument itself, unless they have first dealt with his main argument.

Well, the nitpickers have started attacking my book.

Layman over at Christian Cadre wrote something about a list of professing Christians I claimed who don’t believe in the empty tomb. He disputes some of them, and he may be right, but I don’t think so. Nonetheless my argument in that chapter stands on its own merits and he has said nothing about it. Nothing. Yup, that's right. Nothing was said against the arguments I laid out in that chapter. That's nada, zip, zilch, zero. Big deal if he’s right on a couple of these names. If all that's required is to nitpick a book for errors in a list of names then have at it, as I said.

But some people have come away thinking with Brad Haggard, that I have "no credible sources" and therefore my "whole argument is undercut." And so it must be that "the list was blatant mischaracterization." Why does he conclude this? Because he has not read my book to know what my argument is, that’s why.

My book covers the topics of God, man and the universe, using the disciplines of science, theology, apologetics, philosophy, history, Biblical studies, and so forth. No mere mortal can have a good grasp of it all, as I told Layman in an email. I even admitted that I know I'm wrong about some things, so I'm willing to learn. Whether Layman is correct or not I'm not sure, and that's my final word on it.

Here's what John Beversluis wrote about my book:
"No review can begin to do justice to an ambitious book of this scope or to the sustained theological, philosophical, scientific, textual, and historical critique of Christianity that it contains. Suffice it to say at the outset that I have never read a book that presents such a massive and systematic refutation of the claims of Christianity, and I have seldom read a book that marshals evidence (from such a wide variety of disciplines) and documents its claims in such painstaking detail."
But along comes Layman nitpicking about a detail. Others will do likewise. I am a mere mortal. I did the best I could with what I was doing. I do not have to defend the minutia. Deal with my larger case.

My contention is that at best so far, all I have seen are mischaracterizations of my book, personal attacks on me, nitpicking at small details, and sloppy reasoning in trying to refute it.

Another nitpicker is Matt Flanagan who wrote a post about slavery claiming with others that the slavery in the American South was not Biblical and should never have been justified from the Bible. He quotes me in it where I say the results were horrific for Frederick Douglass and his aunt.

You can read our exchange there, but I said this:

What I find interesting, Matt, is that you have not addressed my main question in my book:
“Why didn’t the Christian God ever explicitly and clearly condemn slavery?...why didn’t God tell his people, “Thou shalt not own, buy, sell, or trade slaves,” and say it as often as he needed to? Why was God not clear about this in the Bible? Just think how Copan’s own arguments would resonate with him if he were born into the brutal slavery of the South! What would he think then as his blood was spilled at the hands of a Bible-quoting master? Sam Harris claims, ‘Nothing in Christian theology remedies the appalling deficiencies of the Bible on what is perhaps the greatest—and the easiest—moral question our society has ever had to face.’”
Was your God as clear on this issue as he was about murder? Oh, that's not a good analogy because, well, you know, genocide, the witch hunts, heresy trials and the crusades. Hmmmm. Okay, let’s try this one: Was your God as clear about this as he was that we should love our neighbors? Oh, that's not a good analogy because, well, you know, the question was "who is my neighbor?” right? But once you get my point you'll have no good answers to this problem and you know it, so instead you side-step it as you did here. That's what it takes to believe, Matt, side stepping problems because you cannot reasonably explain them. Skeptics say believers are ignorant, and they are, but they’re not unintelligent. It takes a great deal of intelligence to find ways around these types of problems in order to resolve the cognitive dissonance they create.

I find your post absolutely pathetic. Oh, that's right, everyone should've seen the truth about slavery as you do based on hindsight. Does this require that believers should be able to study the Hebrew and Greek? They had the King James Version. They came to their own conclusions as Protestants without requiring Catholic ecclesiastical interpretive authority. So, what does God require here?...that they become scholars and figure out by hindsight like you have on these issues? Yeah, right. In fact. I'll bet you think your views on women, heresy trials and the crusades should’ve been plainly obvious to the historic church too. They were just stupid on a par with a rock, right? No, better ease your mind with the idea that they just did not care to follow God, that they purposely twisted the Bible knowing they were wrong for, oh, three centuries when it came to the witch trials. No, they weren't sincere, were they, or Christians, because Christians always understand the truth and they always behave godly, right? Yes, there are insincere professing Christians, but in my experience people agonized over knowing what God's will was for them--the overwhelming majority did. And given the threat of hell why wouldn't they? And let’s not forget that the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit just did not do his job.