Within a lengthy comment-thread of David Smalley's Facebook page, a supporter of his podcast typed up a transcript from a recent episode.1 In that podcast episode, David allegedly said that:
"[I]f you think that that part of the Bible's not true and that people made that up, well then that calls into question every aspect of the Bible. Okay, some of the stuff in the Bible is made up and is incorrect, then maybe that's also the case about Jesus coming back to life, about what it takes to be baptized, about what it takes to be saved. Maybe they also made up the parts about what happens when you die and [go to] heaven."
If comments like these were really said exactly as they are portrayed, then I must admit that such arguments fascinate me. Allow me to briefly explain one aspect of why that is, even though, admittedly, the following remarks are more anecdotal and autobiographical than, say, strictly apologetic. I just feel like venting momentarily.
In my opinion, no stream-conciousness-style criticism of Christianity, the "Bible," or truth could be more evangelical and fundamentalist in its assumptions and purported understanding than such overly simplistic arguments presented by David Smalley above. However, such remarks are why I actually enjoy David's podcast. David is an ex-evangelical who claims he never believed in god. He has spent the majority of his life as a comedic atheist who claims he could never believe in a god, and especially not the "Christian God" without rational proof, allegedly obtained only through empiricism, all the while reasoning like a fundamentalist evangelical who hangs one's entire faith on pre-commitments to every aspect of the "Bible" being true in every fundamentalist sense, correct in every fundamentalist sense, and not "made up" in any sense.
Thank you David for reasoning exactly like a fundamentalist Christian. Such remarks are embarrassingly naive when compared with the majority of Christian academia. For those who are genuinely interested in learning an accessible anthology of Christian academic tradition, I have a few recommendations to start with:
For understanding the Jesus tradition, study Craig Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.
For understanding first century Christianity, study N.T. Wright's voluminous series:
For understanding the historical accounts of miracles both inside and outside the "Bible," study Craig Keener's two volumes, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts
For understanding why David Smalley's claims about the truth or correctness of the "Bible" are excruciatingly facile, study John Goldingay, Models For Scripture; and also Telford Work, Living and Active: Scripture in the Economy of Salvation.
1. The comment was by Brandon Watts Tejedor, on Dec 30th, 2017