Well, actually, my son disabled Java in January after the news came out and has been playing Minecraft without problem ever since. And so what does that mean?
He didn't successfully disable Java because Minecraft is built on Java.
It's like if you uninstall Flash or never installed flash and you wanted to play a flash game, it doesn't work.
You still have JAVA running on your machine for minecraft to be running without a hitch.
I found this cd image that supposedly runs the game and java in a portable way, but still relise on Java to run, just doesn't need for it to be installed on the computer.
Seems like it uses a portable JAVA it calls from the internet.
I feel like that's more risky then just running java though.