When Christians encounter unbelievers and hold discussions with them, they usually find that the unbeliever is filled with unrealistic points of views and demands. Here is one such example:
On the one hand, if the point of the cartoon is that one cannot prove a historical point simply by appealing to the Bible as authoritative scripture, then of course that is true.
The demand to exclude the Bible from any debate is unrealistic for it is the Bible which tells us these different accounts of God’s actions, historical figures and of Christ’s sacrifice for us. The demand to not use the Bible by unbelievers is like a Christian demanding that an evolution prove evolution without science. it just can’t be done.
If you have studied archaeology at all, you will notice that many archaeologists and scholars criticize the ‘Bible in one hand and the spade in the other’ practice of some early and modern archaeologists. But what they forget is, that a majority of biblical sites and events are only mentioned in the Bible and nowhere else. if it weren’t for the Bible and its record archaeology would not have made the vast majority of their discoveries.
Archaeologists would have no idea where to look or why to look in those spots if they did. It is just unrealistic to remove the Bible from the process of discovery and evidence.
And it seems that McGrath and I possibly agree on this point as he says:
To disqualify texts from use for historical purposes because they later became part of a collection known as the Bible makes as little sense as appealing to scripture to solve a matter of history – a discipline in which those texts may be the object of critical investigation, but in which no scripture is arbiter of what is or is not history.
Imagine if someone said “demonstrate that there was a historical Socrates, but without using anything written by his disciples.” That you would not be able to do so is not indicative of a problem with the evidence for a historical Socrates, but of a problem with the inappropriate constraints being imposed on you from the outset, in an attempt to derail the investigation.
The fact that some mythicists use this tactic shows how weak their standpoint is. If the only way to make your case is to trick people into agreeing in advance to exclude the most relevant evidence from consideration, your case must be really rather pathetic.
Now with that said, I own a lecture by Gary Rendsburg, part of the Digging Deeper lecture series for the Biblical Archaeology Society, titled Israel Without the Bible. In this lecture Dr. Rensburg sets out to prove the existence of ancient Israel using only archaeological evidence and not the Bible. The fact that he was successful demonstrates the amount of evidence uncovered by other archaeologists who used the Bible in their work to find sites to excavate.
We have enough evidence to support different accounts told to us by the Bible but what escapes unbelievers’ attention is that the Bible is not about obtaining physical evidence and then believing. It is about using faith and believing first. Physical evidence is not required to gain entry into heaven but faith is. We cannot use physical evidence for every story every person, every miracle and so on, found in the Bible. There just isn’t any. Faith will always be the main part of the equation if one wants to find and hold onto salvation.
Many archaeologists and Bible scholars reject the idea that the Bible is a historical book. They put it down as mere religious writings with a desired agenda with no historical value. That is their error for the Bible does relate actual and true history, from creation on down to Jesus’s historical life and so on. We cannot dismiss the Bible as true history since it does not relate its record in a manner that the archaeologist, the historian or the bible scholar wants. God wrote his way, not the secular historical way and that is what counts.
The secular historical way is not the authority on how history is to be written.God does not submit to secular demands as the latter are designed to further the unbelievers’ unbelief. They are also designed to make the unbeliever superior to God in that he needs to humble himself to them instead of them recognizing who God is and humbling themselves to him.
Unbelievers will make all sorts of demands but remember their demands and rules are not the criteria or guidelines the believer is to follow. The believer follows God’s guidelines and criteria, like always tell the truth, be knowledgeable in what yo talk about and know what you are talking about. Ignorance is not a part of God’s strategy.
So do not get flustered when unbelievers make unrealistic demands just stick to what God wants you to do and be ready to counter such tactics. If you do not know how to counter them, then that tells you that you need someone to train you and you have a lot to learn before entering discussions with unbelievers.