The resurrection. Do you think it happened, or not?

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The resurrection is the hinge on which all of Christianity turns. It’s the foundation on which everything else rests, the capstone that holds everything else about Christianity together. Which means—crucially—that when Christians assert that Jesus rose from the dead, they are making a historical claim, not a religious one. Yes of course there are “religious” implications to that claim, if you want to call them that, but none of those is in the least valid if Jesus didn’t really, truly, historically come back to life from the dead. Even the early Christians understood this point. They weren’t interested in just creating a nice religious story that would encourage people, help them live better lives, and perhaps provide them with a metaphor of hope blooming out of despair that might help them endure the storms of this life. No, the early Christians wanted the world to know that they really believed that Jesus had gotten up out of the grave, and they themselves knew that if he didn’t really do that, then everything they stood for was empty and false and utterly worthless. It’s like Paul said in one of his letters: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. . . . If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:14–19).

In other words, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christians are pathetic.

But here’s the other side of that coin: if Jesus did rise from the dead, then every human being is confronted with a demand to believe what he said, to acknowledge him as King, and to submit to him as Savior and Lord. And of course, my friend, that includes you.

That’s why it’s so important for you—yes, you, right there reading this—to come to a decision about what you think about the resurrection of Jesus. It’s not enough to just withhold judgment on something this important. You need to give it some thought and decide either “Yes, I think this happened. I think Jesus rose from the dead, and I believe he is who he claimed to be,” or “No, I don’t think it happened, and I reject his claims.” Sometimes you hear people say that it’s legitimate for them to have no opinion about the resurrection because one can’t get to the truth or untruth of religious claims. But like we said before: Christians aren’t making a religious claim when they say Jesus rose from the grave. They’re making a historical one; they’re saying that this thing happened just as surely as it happened that Julius Caesar became emperor of Rome. It’s the kind of claim that can be thought about and investigated; it can be judged, and you can come to a conclusion about it.

Do you think it happened, or not?

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Categories: Christianity

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48 replies

  1. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes and again I say whole heartedly yes…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like Christians are pathetic…

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    • Hi Neil
      Perhaps you could contribute something of use other than the fact that Christians are pathetic. That is not a particularly compelling case you make there LOL. Maybe engage the actual content of the post or something?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I’m on board here, too!

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  5. This morning you woke up and your car keys are missing. You tear the house apart and still cannot find them. You got out in front of your house to check the front door, the drive way, and your car but still do not find your keys. Your neighbor, who is a professional psychic, asks what is going on. You tell her about your missing keys. She consults her psychic tea leaves and they tell her that a group of space aliens took your keys last night. She says that a space ship hovered over your house at approximately 3 AM, two of the aliens descended onto your roof, entered your house, walked out with your keys, levitated back into the space ship, and then flew off into the night sky.

    Your neighbor publishes this story on her weekly psychic blog.

    Within days, several of your neighbors report having seen “something” above your house the night of your missing keys. Some even claim to have seen the aliens on your roof.

    There is no other evidence to suggest why your keys are missing.

    Question: Should you believe this very extraordinary explanation for your missing keys just because their are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Gary, if you are serious about checking into the validity of the Resurrection this link might be helpful to you: https://thei535project.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/is-there-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-christ/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bruce,
      I am very serious about checking out the validity of the evidence for the Resurrection and the truth claims of Christianity as a whole. Here is a partial list of the books I have read on the subject:
      1. “The Resurrection of the Son of God” by NT Wright
      2. “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” by Richard Bauckham
      3. “Making the Case for Christianity” by Maas, Francisco, et al.
      4. ” The Resurrection Fact” by Bombaro, Francisco, et al.
      5. “Miracles” , Volume 1, by Craig Keener
      6. “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona
      7. “Resurrection Reconsidered” by Gregory Riley
      8. “The Argument for the Holy Sepulchre” (journal article) by scholar Jerome Murphy-O’Connor
      9. “Israel in Egypt” by James Hoffmeier
      10. “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman
      11. “The Resurrection of Jesus in the Light of Jewish Burial Practices” by Craig Evans, (newsletter article) The City, a publication of Houston Baptist University, May 4, 2016
      12. “Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered?” by Jodi Magness, SBL Forum
      13. “GENRE, SUB-GENRE AND QUESTIONS OF AUDIENCE: A PROPOSED TYPOLOGY FOR GRECO-ROMAN BIOGRAPHY” (article) by Justin M. Smith, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
      14. “Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus” by Asher Norman (not a work of scholarship per se, but it is endorsed by Talmudic scholars for its accuracy in presenting a Jewish perspective of Jesus and the Christian New Testament)
      Bruce: Could you answer my question? “Should we believe a very extraordinary explanation for an event just because there are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?” To be specific, should we believe the very extraordinary Christian explanation for the missing dead body of Jesus just because their are alleged eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists about this event?
      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gary,

        If you’ve actually read the books you list then you have read some very good reasons as to why the resurrection is something that is worth believing in.

        In the end the only thing that matters is what you believe about the resurrection, not what someone else tells you you should believe.

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        • After reading all these books I have come to the conclusion that the reason why Christians see the evidence for the Resurrection as “strong” and skeptics such as myself see it as “very weak” is due to our very different views regarding probability. Christians view the Christian supernatural resurrection explanation as the most probable explanation for the early Christian resurrection belief because they presume the existence of their ancient Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh. Since skeptics do not believe that Yahweh exists, they view the Christian supernatural explanation as very improbable; we believe that there are many, much more probable, naturalistic explanations for each piece of evidence that does exist surrounding the death of Jesus.

          Many of us skeptics acknowledge the possible existence of evidence for a generic Creator. But we do not believe that this evidence automatically translates to evidence for Yahweh. To us, if there is a Creator, he/she/they/it have determined that the universe is to operate by inviolable laws that are NEVER violated. Yahweh claims to have repeatedly violated these laws. Since science has found no evidence of these violations, we believe that this is but one piece of evidence of Yahweh’s non-existence. And there is more evidence of his non-existence: The consensus of geologists is that Noah’s Flood is a myth. The consensus of archeologists is that the Exodus is a myth. The consensus of biologists is that the Creation story is a myth. The consensus of cosmologists is that the age of the earth as determined by the genealogies in the OT is a myth. In addition, Yahweh believes that a “firmament”, a dome or shell, exists above the earth. Scientists say no such entity exists. There is just too much evidence to believe that Yahweh exists. It is much more probable that he is the figment of the imagination of an ancient, scientifically ignorant people. And without presuming the existence of Yahweh, there are just too many much more probable explanations for the early Christian resurrection belief than a never heard of before or since reanimation of a three day brain dead corpse.

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          • Gary,
            This is nothing I haven’t heard before, pretty much how most non-believers think so I don’t think it would make much sense to counter every point you made.
            I will say that you made the best point in the first paragraph and that is about presuppositions. You presuppose God does not exist so you don’t believe the resurrection is possible. I presuppose God does exist so the resurrection is easily believable. Now, where do you suppose these presuppositions come from? I say it’s the moving of the Holy Spirit. Some people, simply, are incapable of belief no matter how much they study or how much evidence is presented.
            I will add that I believed exactly the same way you do until I was 30, then it all changed.
            James

            Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Gary, sorry for the late response, just got back home. To answer your question, no. The reason I say no is because that is only one of a number of pieces of evidence that in my opinion validates the reality of the resurrection. In addition to the initial eye witnesses you have the evidence of the Apostles and the early Christian church dedicating their lives towards spreading the Gospel (which includes the resurrection of Jesus) , in spite of sometimes fierce opposition, and one of the early church Fathers, whom had direct contact with an apostle (Polycarp – Apostle John) also believing in the resurrection of Jesus. In addition we have the Biblical OT scripture that bears witness to the Messiah not seeing corruption (Psalm 16:8-10) and of course the testimony of Jesus himself as quoted in the NT. One of the best books I have read is by J Warner Wallace entitled “Alive”. Jim uses the process of Abductive Reasoning to make his case. I noted the books you have indicated you’ve read and am assuming that you are familiar with the “additional” evidence I have indicated. The “Alive” book by Wallace is particularity noteworthy because he considers only actual evidence and discounts any “what-if’ reasoning through logic. Here is a book review on the book if you are interested: https://verticallivingministries.com/2017/03/15/book-review-of-j-warner-wallaces-alive-a-cold-case-approach-to-the-resurrection/ I also maintain a Christian Apologetic blog at bcooper.wordpress.com where you may be able to find answers to other questions you may have. I will be working tomorrow so I probably won’t be able to respond to you tomorrow but I will definitely respond on Tuesday. I look forward to your response.

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        • Hi Bruce,
          Thank you for your response.
          You will notice on the list of books I have read I also read books about the evidence for the Exodus, both pro and con. (I always try to read both sides). I have also read numerous articles, pro and con regarding Old Testament prophecies. And the problem I find is this: On not one single piece of evidence that Christianity uses in defense of the veracity of its claims is there an admission by skeptics that “Wow! They sure have good evidence for that claim. I for one am willing to concede good evidence when it is presented.”
          Let me review:
          Evidence for the Creation account: poor
          Evidence for Noah’s Flood: poor
          Evidence for the Exodus and the Forty Years in the Sinai: poor
          Evidence for the Conquest of Canaan: poor
          Evidence for the great Davidic and Solomon kingdoms: poor
          Evidence that the Book of Daniel was written during the Babylonian and Persian empires: poor
          Evidence that historians are impressed with the accuracy of the predictions of OT prophets: poor
          Evidence for a structure Yahweh called a “firmament” is non-existent.
          Therefore evidence for the existence of Yahweh is very poor.
          Jewish scholars can give very convincing arguments that not one passage in the Hebrew Bible says anything about Jesus. Christians vigorously contest this position, but once again, there is no slam dunk evidence for the Christian claims.
          There are many, many much more probable natural explanations for each piece of evidence related to the death of Jesus than the reanimation of a corpse. I believe that the real evidence for Christians regarding this issue is their FEELINGS and the truth is that members of every other religion on the planet can give testimonies of their very devout, intense feelings and personal experiences about their gods.
          The evidence for your belief system, my dear friends, is poor. I’m sorry.

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          • Gary,

            I don’t have time for all of this right now, I have to work. So, let’s just take Exodus for now, OK?

            True there isn’t what many would call an abundance of evidence that it happened, I won’t argue with that. I also won’t try to make a case that the academics who claim it never happened aren’t good scholars or not deserving of respect.

            I respect Professor Sperling and Rabbi Wolpe, for example, who wrote that Exodus was fiction in Reform Judaism’s Spring 2013 edition. They were understandably following the claims of some of our archaeologists. Those archaeologists’ claims that the Exodus never happened are not however, based on evidence, but largely on its absence. They assert that we’ve combed the Sinai and not found any evidence of the mass of millions of people whom the Bible says were there for 40 years. That assertion is just not true. There have not been many major excavations in the Sinai, and we most certainly have not combed it. Moreover, uncovering objects buried 3,200 years ago is a daunting endeavor. An Israeli colleague laughingly told me that a vehicle that had been lost in the 1973 Yom Kippur War was recently uncovered under 16 meters—that’s 52 feet—of sand. Fifty-two feet in 40 years!

            When it comes to evidence, the ones who insists they need more need to establish what “more” means and what, if anything, will ever qualify.

            Also, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, what if there were a ton of evidence that no one in food faith could deny? Would that Rob us of a choice to believe?

            James

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          • Hi James
            I’d like to add something regarding archaeological work in the Middle East for you and Gary if you don’t mind. Your example of the vehicle found was a prime example. During our recent trip, we learned a lot about the difficulty of this type of work over there.
            First, over centuries, things get buried. They get buried under the elements, and they get buried under other civilizations. As an example, findings from the Canaanite period would be literally under every subsequent people who lived in a place. That’s how they roll. Conquer somebody and build YOUR city on top of their city.
            Many old relics won’t be found, as they can’t be found. Again, the Canaanites help. Much of their construction was mud bricks, not stone. Jericho is like this. Mud bricks rarely survive the centuries, much less the things from even older peoples. The cloth tents of the nomadic peoples aren’t going to be there, and the odd of finding metal and stone work in a huge desert is slim slim slim.
            The entire area is one massive dig site. They say almost anywhere, if you dig straight down, you might find something. At the same time, it is a very crowded place. Most things are found during the course of some normal event, like building a motel (Magdala is a great example of this.)
            Finally, politics. At one point we stood at a spot that was probably literally within yards of the location of the Holy of Holies. We won’t every know for sure, as no digging will ever happen there. Why? Well, the Dome of the Rock is sitting on top of it! Yet, the Arabs would claim The Temple was never there. See what I mean?
            Lack of discovery is NOT good evidence for the lack of historical events in the Middle East, and this is a poor argument.

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          • Excellent comment Wally.

            True there might not be an overwhelming amount of archeological evidence but there is a lot more to it than most people realize.

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          • James, I have been thinking about putting something together on that actually. The only thing I did really was the post on Magdala. For years people said Jesus never preached in any Synagogue in Galilee, because there were none found…well that is no longer true. Magdala and Capernaum both have been.
            People denied the existence of Pontius Pilate, until a stone with his name was found at Caesarea by the Sea…on it goes.
            It opened my eyes seeing it for real, and many are basically just full of it to be honest

            Liked by 1 person

  7. James,

    But are you conflating evidence for a generic Creator, which even I concede may exist, with evidence for Yahweh? I don’t think you can do that without providing evidence specifically for Yahweh. And if you now turn to your internal, subjective feelings for evidence, Muslims and Hindus can give testimony of similar intense feelings and personal experiences of their gods.

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  8. James and Wally,

    It is true that the absence of evidence is not absolute proof of the evidence of absence, but if the consensus of a respected group of experts in a particular field, in this case archeologists, says that a claim is mostly likely a myth (in this case, the Exodus), I think it would be wise to investigate why they believe this instead of inventing our own (amateur) hypotheses for why the experts might be wrong. I suggest reading the expert opinion from both sides of this issue: Here are two books, one from an evangelical Christian scholar who believes in the historicity of the Exodus and one from two Israeli scholars who do not. I would also encourage you to search the internet and find out if there is a consensus position in this issue. A consensus position is different from a simple majority opinion. If there is a consensus position in a particular field of expertise, I suggest that you should be an expert in that field to disagree with the consensus position.

    1. “Israel in Egypt” by James Hoffmeier
    2. “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman

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    • I have read and studied both of these books. I always try to read both the Christian and the skeptic viewpoint of each issue.

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    • Gary,
      If you’re going to ust dismiss my hypothesis as being amature and suggest I read more the I don’t think a productive conversation is possible.

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      • I certainly did not mean to suggest that your hypothesis is immature. I apologize if that is how it came across.
        Let me put it this way: I have pointed out that the reason that Christians and skeptics view the strength of the evidence for the Resurrection so differently is because Christians presume the existence of Yahweh and skeptics presume his non-existence. Therefore the next step is agreeing on the evidence for Yahweh. I was trying to point out that I believe that the evidence for Yahweh is poor. You disagree. I pointed out, for instance, that the consensus of experts is that there is no evidence for the Exodus. You point out that the evidence may be buried below many feet of sand.
        Very true. That is certainly possible. But experts say that satellite imagery makes that unlikely for such a large group of people moving around for forty years in such a small area of land.
        But what I would like to stress is this: It isn’t just the Exodus. This is what we find with EVERY claimed event in the Bible which involves a supernatural component. The Creation, the age of the universe, the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Conquest of Canaan, the accuracy of the prophecies of the OT. The majority of experts are not impressed with these claims. Is it because they are biased? The majority of experts are willing to agree with some Christian claims so there can’t be a total conspiracy against Christianity. The experts agree that Jesus existed; that he was crucified; that Paul existed, that Paul wrote at least seven epistles, etc. They agree that King Ahab, King Josiah, King Hezekiah existed.
        But if Yahweh exists and is so great and powerful, why is the evidence for his existence so…so-so??? Sure, maybe he wants people to “seek and find him”. But if our eternal destiny hangs in the balance, why not just come out and tells us with very clear, unmistakable language? Why the games? Isn’t it much more probable that the reason that the evidence for Yahweh is just so-so is that Yahweh doesn’t exist; he is simply the figment of the imagination of ancient human beings?

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        • Hi Gary
          You have put a lot in your comment, more than can really be looked at in one comment in return, so I will just give you this to think about. You said:
          “This is what we find with EVERY claimed event in the Bible which involves a supernatural component.”
          First…who is “we.” I get rather confused when non believers use that term, because I have had it preached to me from the mountaintops that atheism is content free…a null set..as I am told. When I see “we” with a content free system, it is confusing. Who is we.
          Second, you toss around the word “experts.” like candy. Experts say, a majority of experts say…and so on. Well, that’s actually not a true statement. Many experts actually disagree with what you say. I know now you likely will change that to “reputable experts,” or something like that, with reputability being defined as those who don’t believe, as obviously that rules out believing experts. If that is not your plan, I am sorry in advance for my presumption. But, this is not my first rodeo LOL.
          Finally, to your quoted claim, finally, and sorry for my detour. How exactly does one disprove a supernatural event, or as some would say, a “miracle.?” The only claim made for the most part is that these things can’t have happened…because they are miracles.One can’t deny the supernatural with the claim it is impossible because….”it’s supernatural.” That’s really weak, when looked at in terms of the historical reliability of the accounts of them. Bottom line is that, when judged using the same criteria for historical and literary reliability as other accounts of this time, the accounts in the Bible stack up quite nicely and often exceed those of other accounts of that time.

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          • I never claimed that miracles are impossible. I never claimed that the supernatural is impossible. In fact, I never claimed to be an atheist and never claimed that a god (or gods) does not exist. I simply said that the majority of experts are not impresses with the claimed events in the Bible that involve a supernatural component. I most certainly do not discount Christian experts. I include them. Can you really claim that the majority of experts in any field of science, medicine, or history support the Creation, the world wide flood, the Exodus, or the amazing accuracy of OT prophecies? If so, please provide a source. I realize that there are minorities of scholars who agree with the conservative Christian position on these issues, but on none of these issues does Yahweh have a majority opinion favoring his claim. So either the majority of experts are wrong on ALL of these issues, or Yahweh most probably is wrong, and if Yahweh is wrong, he is not the perfect Being he claims to be.

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          • Hi Gary
            “I never claimed that miracles are impossible. I never claimed that the supernatural is impossible.”
            Not to sound argumentative, but I honestly don’t know what you mean when you say that. You said this: “Can you really claim that the majority of experts in any field of science, medicine, or history support the Creation, the world wide flood, the Exodus, or the amazing accuracy of OT prophecies? If so, please provide a source.” See what I mean, Gary? You have already redefined all of the terms we are using here. You have deftly redefined “experts” just as I predicted. You also said this. ” I simply said that the majority of experts are not impresses with the claimed events in the Bible that involve a supernatural component”
            I dispute that assertion, because in fact the “majority of experts not being impressed” is an argument that bears no academic weight whatsoever. I have little patience with those who constantly demand empirical proof from Christians, yet feel free to throw around broad sweeping assertions with no back up of their own. LOL. Does that actually make sense to you? I hope it doesn’t. I am not really keen on clogging up James’ blog with running in circles to be honest.

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    • Hi Gary
      I see James already hit this point, but I want to expand on it a bit. First, as he said, using words like amateur to describe our thoughts sets a really negative tone right away that makes conversation difficult. The correct term here would be a “different” hypothesis.
      Second you presupppse that the only reason we hold this belief is because we haven’t actually studied the alternative possibilities. Well, that’s simply not true. I have looked and arguments and counter arguments concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ until I am blue in the face. I happen to believe the “preponderance of the evidence” supports a conclusion that it happened. If I took this evidence before a civil courtroom, it is very likely I would emerge victorious.

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      • Hi Wally,

        When I used the word “amateur” I was including myself in that statement. I meant no offense to anyone on this blog.

        I have looked at the arguments of Christian attorneys who believe like you that the evidence for the Resurrection is so strong that they could win a case in court, but I see one fatal flaw in their case: they assume that the Gospels are primary sources. They assume that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses. They assume that the four Gospels represent the testimonies of four different eyewitnesses to the same event such as what would find in a traffic accident.

        If I were the opposing attorney, I would simply call infamous New Testament scholar NT Wright to the stand and ask him this question: Who wrote the Gospels? And Dr. Wright would repeat the answer which you can find him state on the internet: “I do not know who the authors of the Gospels were, nor does anyone else!” I would then present evidence from numerous respected sources that second Dr. Wright’s position and goes further to state that the majority of NT scholars do NOT believe that eyewitnesses, nor the associates of eyewitnesses, wrote the Gospels. Your legal case would then sink faster than a ship made of Swiss cheese.

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        • Gary
          I can see where this is heading. Again, broad, sweeping assertions. Seriously? You actually believe the answer NT Wright might give undermines the credibility of the Gospels? I don’t really think so. Yes, you could indeed present respected sources for your position. I fully concede that. Notice this. You do NOT conceded any “respected sources” for the Christian position. You understand the implication of that right? The implication is that I have probably spent far more time actually looking at and studying dissenting opinions than you have. It’s generally a sign of wasted time when a doubter dismisses out of hand alternate scholarship, which seems to be what you are doing.
          Final note. Your statement that the “majority of NT Scholars do NOT believe..blah, blah, blah…” The problem with that statement is that it is simply NOT true. What you mean to say is the majority of those you actually consider to be scholars have the opinion.

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        • Gary,

          I am glad you mentioned NT Wright here but I think you should have added the following quotes.

          “The most important decisions we make in life are not taken by post-Enlightenment left-brain rationality alone”

          “Faith in Jesus risen from the dead transcends but includes what we call history and what we call science”

          Despite what he may think about who wrote The Gospels, he still believes the resurrection happened when you dismiss it out of hand.

          Wright reminds us that robust Christian faith takes evidence on board, but fuses reason with faith, hope and love. And, to quote Wright, quoting Paul, “the greatest of these is love.”

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        • Gary,

          So you consider yourself an amateur? Good an honest admission.

          That being the case though, what qualifies you to go on blogs to make a case about anything one way or the other? Why, as an admitted amature, should anyone take your interpretation of the scholarship of others?

          Just wondering.

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          • No one should take my word any more importantly than any other commenter here. I am an amateur. I have no credentials to be considered an expert on this topic. I enjoy good discussions and debate. I believe the Resurrection claim is one of the most fascinating claims in our culture.

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        • A problem I have always had with people who say, “the majority of scholars…” is its inherent intellectual dishonesty. There are scholars who affirm the Bible and those who do not. Scholars are not all in agreement nor are they without their prejudices and agendas that govern how they interpret data. As more and more people become antagonistic to the Gospel, we must expect that so-called scholars who openly deny God and the miraculous will always conclude that the Bible has serious flaws.

          But when someone says that a majority of the scholars reject, this is argumentum ad populum; the majority believe it, so it must be true. One cannot discount outright that many scholars reject the Bible, but neither can one discount that many affirm it too.

          Really, this is a matter of the heart as well as the mind.

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          • See I agree. Majority of..that’s very vague. What constitutes a “scholar ” . Usually when somebody says that they enhance their position by controlling all of the definitions.

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          • Yes, it’s vague and, really, meaningless.

            Besides, and Gary won’t likely admit this but evidence is only part of what leads people to belief. To act as if one is just one convincing argument away from faith is either naive or dishonest.

            Aristotle was the first to point out that persuasion occurs through three factors: intellectual (logos), psychological (pathos), and social or ethical (ethos). People rarely change their minds merely on account of objective evidence. They usually need to feel the personal relevance and impact of a claim, and they also must feel that the source of the claim is trustworthy.

            Christians frequently admit that their convictions developed under the influence of all three elements. When skeptics, however, insist that their unbelief is based solely on “evidence”, they appear one-dimensional and lacking in self-awareness. They would do better to figure out how to incorporate their evidence within the broader context of its personal relevance and credibility.

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          • Didn’t you do a post built around there never being enough evidence to convince a skeptic? Maybe its time to “resurrect” it.
            I think the seemingly overpowering urge among the “deconverted” to evangelize the still believing maybe be part of the mindset you were just discussing. It likely helps cement all of the convincing evidence they have put together in their own minds if they they can convince others to see their point of view.

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          • I did do a post on that a while ago, here’s the important point.

            God has granted us freedom of thought, which includes the freedom to deny Him. (Incidentally, Jesus pointed out this phenomenon in Luke 16:19-31, and we see it in practice in passages like Mark 3:22 and Exodus 32:1.)

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          • I never said that if the majority of experts believe something they must be right. The majority of experts in several fields has been wrong on several occasions. I simply said that the majority of NT scholars say that the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses nor the associates of eyewitnesses. Even conservative scholars such as Richard Bauckham admits that this is the majority position. He disagrees with the majority position, but he concurs the majority holds this view.

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  9. HI Gary
    Sigh. I really wanted to not go here but I shall. If you are going to use, as a primary resource the blog of a person who appears to be in the throes of rejecting the Christian Faith, then you are destroying almost any sense of academic credibility quickly. Is that your blog by chance? I notice the name Gary on the about. You probably write a great blog, but using yourself as your primary source, if that is what you have done is…funny. If the writer is not you, the situation is not much better, as that article is obviously nothing but a hand picked list of people who agree with you and nameless quotes linking to yet more unreliable sources.
    Ugh…I am going to pass on this conversation, as I fear all I am doing is giving you a place to preach
    Be blessed

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    • I didn’t notice the name on the blog but you make a good point Wally.

      I discredit the blog because the points it makes have been debunked countless times. Like one of Bart Ehrman’s claims that the Gospels were originally anonymous.

      There is virtually no evidence to suggest that the New Testament Gospels ever circulated anonymously. If the Gospels had been anonymous at first and their authorship had been fabricated later, the same Gospel would almost certainly have been ascribed to different authors in different regions. These variations would have shown up in later manuscripts and in citations in early Christian writings. Yet no such variations can be found. There is no “wide variety” of titles for the New Testament Gospels. The four Gospels were understood from their earliest stages of circulation to have originated with the apostles Matthew and John, Mark the translator of Peter, and Luke the traveling companion of Paul. This fact alone does not prove that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the authors of the Gospels. It does, however, demonstrate that these names were attached to the Gospels from the time that the texts first began to circulate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If someone claimed that aliens landed on your house last night and stole your keys, you would demand EVIDENCE, hard evidence, to believe this extraordinary claim. If this same person asked you to believe their aliens-on-the-roof claim by faith…you would tell them to get lost. Why? Because it’s a ridiculous claim.

        Asking people to believe that a three-day-brain-dead corpse came back to life due to the magical powers of an invisible middle-eastern ghost, exited its sealed tomb, and later flew off into outer space is RIDICULOUS. And asking us to believe it by faith is don’t right DUMB.

        Use your brains, folks. It’s an ancient tall tale. It’s a silly tall tale. Just because our ancestors have believed it for two thousands years doesn’t mean that we should.

        Like

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