Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Is Atheism? Part 4

We're back to Nick Peters taking on this dreary little tome. Maybe we could make Krueger more entertaining by drawing him in a monkey outfit.


For our fourth installment, the argument Krueger wishes to look at is if the Bible proves that God exists. This is not often an argument I see being used although I do think if one can establish prophecy, that counts for something, but that can turn into debates on textual criticism and hermeneutics way too easily. If there was any argument I’d use, it’d involve the Bible as a historical document and use it to establish basic facts about the resurrection of Jesus and from there show that God exists.

Krueger starts with prophecy and says that before we show a prophecy is truly what it is, we must rule out every other hypothesis. In a revealing statement on page 95 he writes “Given the extraordinarily strong claim about the nature of the theistic god, however, it would seem that almost any other explanation would be more likely than that of theism. Time-traveling human beings, amazing coincidences, carefully planned hoaxes, all would be more likely explanations for the supposed fulfillment of a prophecy than the god hypothesis because these claims are weaker than the theistic claim.”

Such a statement says much about Krueger. Because of the nature of the God claim, he is ready to believe anything else other than that. Do we have evidence of time-traveling human beings? No. They’re more likely however. Do we have any evidence of a major hoax the Jews had been planning on humanity for thousands of years? No. It’s more likely though. Krueger will say that we also lack evidence for God. We will deal with that later.

Kreuger then lists five criteria for prophecy.

#1-It must be clear and contain sufficient detail to make fulfillment by a wide variety of possible events unlikely.

On this one, I’d have some concerns about what is meant by clear. Does Krueger want everything to be spelled out? I would consider it sufficient to show it was understandable to the people of the time.

#2-The event that can fulfill it must be unusual or unique.

I really don’t have much issue with this one.

#3-The prophecy must be known to have been made prior to its fulfillment.

Obviously no problem.

#4-The event must not be what could be the result of an educated guess.

I would think it less likely to be divine, but in some cases, I could accept such an event. To have an educated guess fulfilled hundreds of years in the future however seems quite unlikely.

#5-It cannot be staged or manipulated by those aware of the prophecy.

No problem with this either.

Before we get to this point, Krueger has some statements about the Bible. In the midst he says that most of the books of the Old Testament were written centuries after the death of the person for whom it is named. Krueger states this as “known” but he gives no source whatsoever for this claim. He goes on to state the same of the NT saying the gospels were written decades afterwards.

Now of course in a sense, that’s true. 30 years later for some would count as decades. What Krueger does not state however is that in the ancient world if you had an account written decades after the event, scholars of ancient history would be drooling with excitement to see such an account so close to the events.

For some false prophecies, Krueger cites 2 Kings 22:20 and Ezekiel 26:3-36. (See links below) Krueger also thinks Jeremiah 31:4 could only point to 1948. It is doubtful that Krueger is aware that this event was fulfilled much sooner by the return of Judah from captivity.

For the New Testament, Krueger points to Jesus being supposedly in the heart of the Earth for three days and three nights. (See link below again) Next is Jesus being born a Nazarene in Matthew 2:23. (See link below) Of course, there’s Isaiah 7:14 being misunderstood. (See link below)

Krueger is unaware of preterist interpretations as he cites Matthew 16:28 and Matthew 10:23. It’s odd that he’d do this seeing as he believes the gospels were written late. Does he believe that they were written afterwards and with prophecies in them that would have been known to be false? Of course, there’s also that Jesus got the time of His second coming wrong, something I would most certainly disagree with. Of course, to make it most hilarious, Krueger recommends Callahan’s book on Bible Prophecy for those doubtful.

Krueger next wants to show that the Bible is unreliable and says that “The best unbiased bible scholars hold that there are good reasons to believe that the books of the bible are unreliable sources.” To begin with, this seems like a No True Scotsman Fallacy. How do you recognize the best unbiased scholars of the Bible? They hold that it is unreliable. Second, who are these scholars? What are their books? Where can I read their arguments? Your guess is as good as mine. Krueger gives no information.

Well what are Krueger’s reasons?

#1-Almost all the books of the Bible are anonymous. (Tekton has several articles on this issue according to book.)

#2-They were written decades after the events recorded. (Likewise, and note that this is still a blip in the ancient world)

#3-We have no original documents. (Likewise)

#4-The NT was written in Greek. (This isn’t a problem, and note that Krueger begins this part saying “If Jesus did exist.”

#5-At some points in church history, lying to promote Christianity was not only not discouraged but encouraged. There is unfortunately no source on this.

#6-Documents critical of Christianity were sought out and destroyed. (See link below and how this relates to textual criticism is anyone’s guess. Note his source on this is Joseph Hoffman.)

#7-Some manuscripts are different from copies of the same book. Krueger doesn’t say that this is the same for any ancient work and seems to think he’s ripped a hole into Christianity by pointing out that 1 John 5:7 is an interpretation. (See link below)

#8-Most NT books are known to be forgeries. There is no source here given. It is simply assertions. (See link below)

#9-The gospels are not independent accounts. This is amusing since he complains so much of contradictions, but if there was literary dependence going on to this level one would think there would be no contradictions.

#10-The development of the Bible undermines its reliability. For this, we have troubles with canonization saying that the first attempt to canonize the NT text was in 367, unaware there was for all intents and purposes an accepted canon at the time. Ironically, Krueger says this while on the very next page mentioning the Muratorian Canon and references to other fathers. His dispute of some is along the lines of “But they did not include Hebrews.” That the topic was even being discussed however shows that canonization was being attempted and that there was criteria.

#11-Biblical accounts contradict facts about nature and the ancient world.

For this, he has a few subheadings. To start with, he questions the credibility of the destruction of Ai based on an article in Biblical Archaeology Review. Second, Darius the Mede becoming king when Cyrus conquered the throne. Third, Daniel was written in the second century B.C. Also, that the conquest narratives are unhistorical with only a citation of William H. Stiebing Jr.

For other errors, there’s Leviticus 11:6 and Deuteronomy 14:7 stating hares chew the cud, the usual canard about bats being birds, Leviticus 11:23 about insects having four legs, (You think no one in thousands of years ever picked one up and counted?) and the events of Genesis 30:37-42.

Then, there are events such as the sun standing still in Joshua and the verses used to condemn Galileo. Finally for the OT, there are counting discrepancies between Ezra and Nehemiah. No shock that Thomas Paine’s opinion is cited. (Needless to say, Tekton's had articles on all these issues for quite some time; sample links below.)

For the NT, there’s the lack of mention of the atrocity of Bethlehem, and the darkness over the Earth and the mass resurrection in Matthew 27. Krueger states that historians like Philo-Judaeus lived in Jerusalem at the time but don’t mention Jesus or resurrections. There is no source that shows he was living there at the time.

#12-The Bible contains many contradictions.

Of course, this is a favorite one. What do we have? The following, all of which are again old news (sample links below):

Does God repent?
Does God punish children for the sins of their parents?
Is anyone righteous?
Are we justified by faith or works?
Does God keep his promises?
Is everything possible with faith?
Will all who call upon Jesus’s name be saved?
Will god always be there in times of need? (Hard to believe Matthew 27:46 and Psalm 10:1 are used here.)
Was Jesus God?

This last one needs to be expanded on. To begin with, Krueger says that in John 8:42, Jesus says he is sent by God. Krueger tells us that if he is sent by God, he cannot be God. He also reminds us that he admits he did not send himself as he did not come on his own. Krueger has done two things here. First, he has given us a good argument against modalism. Second, he has revealed his own ignorance. Note to atheists out there wanting to write a book against Christianity. Make sure you get the basic information right. I can easily say Krueger is an unreliable source on Christianity at this point due to mistakes such as these.

Of course, Krueger compounds this by asking who Jesus prayed to if he was God. Does he honestly think no one in thousands of years of church history notice that Jesus prayed?

Krueger goes on to state about how enlightened Christians don’t take the Bible literally because of this. Well some of us don’t take it literally in some parts simply because we pay attention to genre.

After this, there is nothing new and worthwhile in this section. It would help Krueger to actually cite what his opponents say and show some understanding of the text. He does neither.


  1. Haven't these people come up with anything new over the last century or so?

  2. Nope...only the methods of spreading the word have changed.