January 3, 2015
The presuppositions of the skeptics
The same pedants who declare the New Testament an utterly unreliable historical record also cling to their own certain knowledge of the details of human prehistory. Thus they say that while they can’t be sure if Jesus Christ ever existed, they are quite sure Noah never existed, and they are quite sure no one ever was taken up by God in the manner of Enoch — because while they can’t say anything certain about what happened 2000 years ago, they can be very certain about what happened many thousands of years before that.
One wonders how these people are even certain that Abraham Lincoln ever truly walked the earth. Perhaps George Washington was an invention of avaricious Virginia conspirators dabbling in a sophisticated legendarium? How can these skeptics be sure Columbus or Dante ever existed, much less Plato or Buddha? Clearly their own certain knowledge is confined to the distant murky antiquity of mankind, not his more recent recorded conduct.
To be intensely skeptical of the historical record that comes down to us from Roman imperial times, and insouciantly credulous about conjectures of human prehistory, is a special kind of provincialism unique to our age. Only a current day professor can really hold this awkward and unbecoming poise.
If you truly wonder whether Jesus of Nazareth ever lived, think it possible that he is merely the invention or exaggeration of the world’s great forgery, also known as the New Testament, the only possible position vis-à-vis ancient human prehistory, evidencing a logical soundness, must be complete agnosticism. You cannot now adopt a firm certainly and pronounce the biblical account false.