If found it highly risible that Norman Geisler would criticize fellow apologist Licona for “bad scholarship.” A few years ago Geisler published a critique of the volume The Empty Tomb edited by Jeff Lowder and Bob Price. His critique of my contribution (criticizing Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli on the hallucination argument) was so spectacularly inept, that I am afraid that my reply was a bit intemperate. Readers of SO know that I usually am less truculent with critics, but sometimes, when the critic is not only biased but dumb, it is fun to be as nasty as you want to be. Here is my response:
As John McEnroe said to the errant line judge: “You cannot
be serious!!” Is Norman Geisler serious? He says that all of my points are “arguable,” and then he ignores practically all of them. Instead, he deploys the broom that, he thinks, sweeps away my feeble polemical cobwebs. This logical WMD is a simple modus ponens:
…if the New Testament record is historical all of his [my] arguments fall flat. The New Testament record is historical…Therefore all his arguments fall flat (p.25).
In support of the claimed historicity (presumably he means the inerrancy) of the NT, he offers a few references to the effusions of some conservative biblical “scholars (p. 25).” Such “scholars” stand in the same relationship to real biblical scholars that “creation scientists” stand to real scientists.
Well, if the game we are playing is arrogant dismissal, I’ll respond in kind:
If the New Testament record is a pack of lies, then all of Prof. Geisler’s arguments fail. The New Testament record is a pack of lies, therefore all of Prof. Geisler’s argument’s fail.
Q.E.D. Seriously, does Geisler really think that by waving his hand he can nullify 200 years of New Testament scholarship?! If so, then, he only succeeds in showing what a bizarre cloud-cuckoo-land that he and his fundamentalist ilk inhabit.
Though you could hardly tell it by reading Geisler’s critique, I do actually address a number of arguments against Kreeft and Tacelli’s specific claims. Geisler’s assessment?
…all of his [my] points are arguable and none is undeniable. Put positively, at best he does not destroy Kreeft’s [sic. Doesn’t Tacelli deserve some credit?] arguments and at worst only calls for a more precise statement of some of them. In short, his efforts fail. Further, with a little refinement, most of the anti-hallucination arguments can be strengthened. And in any case the numerous physical appearances to 500 people over a forty day time period make them unnecessary (p. 24).
Again, Geisler thinks my points are arguable but he hardly bothers to argue with any of them. However, he assures us that all of the anti-hallucination arguments can be strengthened, though really, they do not need to be since the risen Jesus appeared before 500 at once and before others over a forty-day period. Gosh. I guess it just never occurred to me to address the claimed appearance before 500 and the fact that the “appearances” occurred over a forty-day span. Oh. Wait. I did address those exact points, on pp. 440-441 of The Empty Tomb. I guess it just slipped his mind. And, BTW, the specific arguments I gave there cannot be refuted by the general claims he makes about the alleged historicity of the NT.
This is the third response by Christian apologists that I have seen to my essay in The Empty Tomb. The first was vicious and arrogant, the second abusive and ignorant, and this one is merely inept. The critics of The Empty Tomb have reacted with much spleen. Too bad they didn’t engage their brains also.