The longer that I interact with atheists, the more that I find that people who claim to be the arbiters and example of rational thought, simply don’t think hard about the arguments that they bring to the table. Maybe they have used them successfully against other believers in order to shut down the argument, or maybe they’re not nearly as rational as they would like the think that they are. So, in the spirit of many atheists who have written blog articles about things that Christians need to stop saying, here’s three arguments used by atheists that are simply awful and need to be abandoned.
The Bible was written by primitive men.
Probably one of the more charitable arguments that I’ve heard, because it’s usually “goat herders” or “Bronze Age nomads”. At heart, this is an ad hominem attack, it’s name calling. While it is an important point of consideration to take the time of something being written into account in order to inform how it is to be understood that fact, in no uncertain terms, can be used to dismiss what the source claims. The claim that is ultimately being made is that the time of something being made manifest in writing somehow justifies its exclusion from consideration, if the argument is applied consistently voids the atheist’s own assertion from consideration because the Christian, using the atheist’s own argument, can simply call the statement as one made by a primitive person by arbitrarily establishing that moment as the time of valid consideration. The point is therefore, obviously self refuting.
The Bible isn’t evidence.
This one is a victim of double standards. The atheist who makes this assertion then immediately quotes Scripture in order to support an assertion is immediately exposed and refuted. The atheist is saying to the Christian, you can’t use it as evidence to justify your assertions, but I can use it to justify mine. The hypocrisy needs to be pointed out and hit hard.
You can’t trust the Bible because it’s been rewritten and translated over and over.
This one has just enough truth in it to be dangerous, the problem is that it’s built on misleading assumptions about how ancient documents were transmitted until the invention of the printing press. Terms have to be defined: what is meant by “rewritten” and “translated”, because both are true statements but essentially set up a straw man. The texts which comprise Scripture, until the invention of the printing press, had to be hand-copied with various levels of accuracy, but scholars contend that the New Testament alone represents the earliest, deepest, and most consistent transmission of any ancient text. And with the discoveries of the Dead Sea scrolls, the Hebrew Scriptures represents one of the most consistently transmitted texts as well with almost 1000 years separating them from the next oldest. Any differences are then pointed to a variety of spelling and vowel pointing differences between the two, which only effect case or time considerations. And while there are some significant differences in places, we have other sources that lie between them to help rectify the differences in the Septuagint and Jerome’s Latin translation, as well as Coptic and Syriac, among others, for both, not that the translations are the standard, but rather that they give us an idea of the source being used.
See this brief video for more on New Testament reliability
To surmise, the atheist using such arguments is simply being irrational. They’re awful arguments that need to be called out for what they are.