- Scientific approach (Hovind)
- Natural Observation (Bahnsen, Craig, Comfort)
- Evidentiary (McDowell)
The most common approach today is the Natural Observation approach. I’m telling you, that approach leaves me cold. And it’s going to leave a lot of Atheists cold.
Back before I was saved(!) I used to use an approach that used to overwhelm and stump the most dedicated opponent – a combination of Scientific and Evidentiary.
Look, anyone who’s ever looked at Israel is aware that Jerusalem is crowded, especially with Muslim monuments and buildings. It’s SOP for Muslims to build a monument, mosque, or any other Muslim structure over any conquered territory. Thar’s why they were so crazy to build a Mosque on Ground Zero. It shows our ignorance that we allowed it.
There’s something in Jerusalem that defies logic. An empty tomb. It’s in prime real estate, and it’s right by a hill shaped like a skull. You’d think that in over 2,000 years, somebody would have said, “hey, free tomb! Let’s bury Grandpa in that!”
Now, Jews… we tend to be logical, and a little bit superstitious. If we bury someone, and they rise from the dead… let’s not use that tomb again. We had problems with it last time.
It transfers the credit from Jesus to the Tomb, but it does tend to follow Jewish thinking. And it explains why it sat there for 2,000 years with nobody, absolutely nobody being buried in it.
countering argument… (…)
There isn’t one. You’re left with suppositions and theorizing. And no explanations of the facts.
Evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament? Try the Talmud. He’s in there, written about by hostile Pharisees who, if He didn’t exist, would not have bothered. They had NO REASON to write scathing comments and outright mistruths about Jesus – if He never existed!
Another place of evidence? Suetonius. There’s enough documentary evidence of not only the existence of the Lord Jesus, but also of the Crucifixion, and also of the Resurrection. If you look, that is. Too many Atheists end up just assuming there is none, and try making the confident assertion “there is no proof…” simply because they assumed. It costs them debates every time they make the claim.
Here’s a strong argument…
All of the apostles died martyr’s deaths. Nobody dies willingly for something they know is a lie. One of them would have recanted. The Sanhedrin would have paid good money to get rid of that troublesome Nazarene sect! I guarantee that. It was leading people away from offering sin offerings (sacrifices). That was a cash cow for the Sadducees who depended upon the Temple (most Levites and Kohenim were Sadducee in those days). It literally was costing them a fortune. They’d GLADLY have paid someone a handsome sum to get them to recant.
How many of the 500 to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection, died martyr’s deaths? Probably most of them. It’s hard to think of ALL of them dying, and nobody saying, “hey, we made it up…” And the Romans had some brutal ways to kill.
Suetonius and other Romans mention Jesus. Josephus mentions Jesus. He’s historically provable.
This is an example of Evidentiary Approach. It’s impossible to counter, except by red herrings, straw man arguments and circular reasoning, both of which are easily identified and answered.
The other approach is Scientific Approach, which is reciting facts, figures, such as “the river in the Grand Canyon would have had to run uphill for billions of years to have carved the grand canyon.” Such as ” if man is the current top of the evolutionary scale, why does the Crayfish have more chromosomes?”
I love the scientific approach, because it’s acceptable to Evolutionists. A quick warning to give them is always, “be careful attempting to refute these arguments – history has shown that every piece of evidence for evolution has a nasty habit of eventually proving against. For instance, a few years back, DNA chains were being cited as evidence for Evolution. now, DNA is giving researchers sleepless nights, as they’re learning more about it… and it’s showing unmistakable evidence of being designed.”
In 2004, there was some research suggesting that there was an external viral source that created beneficial mutations, and that information was passed down to succeeding generations. it was touted in a debate as being proof of beneficial mutation.
There’s been nothing more on that. I’ll suggest it’s self refuting because it’s a). external in source and b). you moved too soon… “recent laboratory studies” have a nasty habit of being found to prove exactly the opposite of first conclusions within 10 years. See you in three years. Although I’ll point out that Scientists are fond of claiming “sickle cell anemia is a beneficial mutation – because you can’t get certain diseases if you have it.” Yes, and you can’t get athlete’s foot if your legs are amputated. That’s not beneficial at all.
It is roughly analogous to saying “the common cold proves evolution, because you develop a resistance to it.” If that’s the best you got, hang it up. How can an external source support the Warm Little Pond? You’re still ignoring evidence that the Warm Little Pond is untenable at best, and downright impossible. Extending it to a Warm Big Ocean (the 70’s change in the theory) still results in the same problem. Life cannot have appeared all at once without a designer. And life by itself results in a starved amoeba, looking vainly for something to eat. And oh by the way, if the Amoeba didn’t evolve the ability to process the missing food, it would have starved. And it needed the ability to reproduce. Or it would have lived and died one fat, happy amoeba… and no life.
this is an example of the Scientific method. Together, both approaches (Scientific and Evidentiary) are unbeatable. Forcing the opponent to concede points as you raise them leaves them beaten.
But on that note, read my thoughts on public forum debates.