"He [Dawkins] was discussing the question and saying in his book, that the historical existence of Jesus is in dispute among scholars. The only authority he cited to prove his point was a professor --- that's what he said --- Professor G. A. Wells of London. He didn't tell us that Wells is a professor of German. He didn't contact any ancient historian, and therefore made a colossal faux pas in his book, and that undermines my confidence. Because, you see, ancient history is a discipline where we can check, and if people claim to be interested in evidence, then to do that kind of thing is simply inexcusable. That's the point I'm making."
(By the way, I don't know how Prof. Lennox knows with certainty that Dawkins "didn't contact any ancient historian".)
It's true that denying the historical existence of Jesus is a minority view, one that Wells himself has apparently retreated from. Of course, Wells is not wrong because he's a professor of German; logically, arguments should be judged on their merits, not on the qualifications of the person making them. But it is perfectly reasonable -- and we do it all the time -- to view with skepticism strong claims in area A made by a person qualified in area B. I am glad that Lennox is so devoted to the truth.
But now let's listen to Prof. Lennox again at 30:00:
"Prominent German thinker Jurgen Habermas, who calls himself a methodological atheist, says that Christianity and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy: the benchmarks of Western civilization. "To this day we have no other options: we continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."
This is a bogus quote, as I've documented before. I now repeat the relevant portions from that blog post of mine:
This quotation is phony, but is very popular among Christians.
Its origins have been carefully traced by Thomas Gregersen, who writes:
But this is a misquotation! The reference is an interview with Jürgen Habermas that Eduardo Mendieta made in 1999. It is published in English with the title "A Conversation About God and the World" in Habermas's book "Time of Transitions" (Polity Press, 2006).
What Habermas actually says in this interview is:
"Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an auonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk (p. 150f)."
The misquote rewrites Habermas's statement and changes its meaning:
(1) Habermas talks about the historical origin of egalitarian universalism - not the foundation of human rights today.
(2) Habermas mentions both Judaism and Christianity - not only Christianity.
(3) Habermas says that there is no alternative to this legacy ("Erbe" in German) - not that we have no alternative to Christianity.
[end of Gregersen]
If I may paraphrase the distinguished Professor Lennox:
"Because, you see, modern philosophy is a discipline where we can check, and if people claim to be interested in evidence, then to do that kind of thing is simply inexcusable. That's the point I'm making."