Wednesday 16 May 2012

Judas: the ultimate betrayal of Dembski and Licona

So we come to the end, the final chapter, the ultimate culmination, the concluding, cogent case for the existence of God. At least, that's what I'd expect, in a tome touted as convincing evidence for the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present and perfectly good deity who created the universe. Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science, edited by William Dembski and Michael Licona, begins with this introduction (copied from Google Books):

Given the intention of the book as stated by the editors in their introduction, I'm surprised to find that the final chapter (number 50) is Craig A. Evans' "What Should We Think About the Gospel of Judas?" Evans' conclusion is that the Gospel of Judas should be pretty much ignored as non-canonical and untrue, so it makes for a limp ending — almost as if the editors ran out of material to make up their 50 "arguments". The chapter itself is not uninteresting, being a narrative of the discovery and subsequent chequered history of a papyrus manuscript, but it's entirely inappropriate as a concluding chapter to a book with such lofty declared aims. I can't help wondering if its editors lost not only interest in their project but also their will to live.

The story told of Judas Iscariot in this gospel is at odds with the Judas from the canonical gospels, and therefore has a fascination of its own, but it's irrelevant to the book's stated purpose, so it seems pointless to go into it any further. Evans says the story isn't true, for a variety of reasons (which with a little thought — and honesty — could also be applied to most of the New Testament).

So what are we left with? This book was presented as good evidence for faith, for God, for Jesus, for the Bible. It's none of those. If this is the best that Christian apologetics can produce, those students in Bart Ehrman's class are destined to be atheists.
Click here for my reviews of the other 49 chapters...