The historicity of the resurrection
  • stevencarrwork October 2011
    William Lane Craig claims that no more than a quarter of professional Bible scholars subscribe to the idea that there was no empty tomb, and so Jesus must have risen from the dead.

    Can you imagine a scientist trying to persuade Ken Ham that evolution happened by producing a fossil that 25% of paleontologists claimed was a fake?

    Would that not be a source of laughter and a suitable choice to appear for ridicule on the Daily Show with Jo Stewart?

    Here is Craig blustering his way around the fact that the 'evidence' for Christianity is so weak that you would not get an insurance company to pay for a new windscreen if they had the same sort of 'evidence'

    In a bibliographical survey of over 2,200 publications on the resurrection in English, French, and German since 1975, Gary Habermas found that 75% of scholars accept the historicity of the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb and that there is near universal agreement on the post-mortem appearances.

    Since New Testament critics do not simply confess these facts but rather acknowledge them on the strength of the historical evidence (which I detail in my published work), I think it is fair to speak of them as established facts about Jesus that need to be explained. That doesn’t mean that they are certain or indubitable (though N. T. Wright at the end of his voluminous study on Jesus’ resurrection opines that the empty tomb and post-mortem appearances of Jesus have a historical probability so high as to be “virtually certain,” like the death of Augustus Caesar in A.D. 14 or the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70!), but merely that they have a degree of credibility comparable to other commonly accepted facts of ancient history.

    So if your friends maintain that these are not historical facts, you should ask them what source of information they have that leads them to disagree with over 75% of the trained scholars who have studied this question. How did they come by such insight? How would they refute the evidence which has led so many scholars to the contrary conclusion? I’d be interested to learn what they say.

  • SimonSimon October 2011
    Hi Steven,

    I've changed the title of this thread to something a bit more focused - we can't have WLC's name in the title of every thread!!

    I'll reply with some substantive comment when I get a chance to later this weekend.

  • stevencarrwork November 2011
    No substantive comment ever came.

    Quelle surprise!
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Hi Steven - so you are still around! Your lack of responses elsewhere suggested to me that you might have got tired of trying to wind us up.

    I've finally gotten around to reading Dennett's "Darwin's dangerous idea" and am really enjoying it. I was especially interested to read his take on the "Adaptationist" wars. Although one should always remain wary of "just so" stories, it is true that just because we can never know for sure exactly why something happened, that doesn't mean we should dismiss all explanatory accounts as being fictitious.

    I think something similar goes for history. From the standard of scientific evidence any type of historical evidence looks like a "just so" story. However that doesn't mean history didn't happen. It just means that historical explanations have to always be held in tension with an appreciation that new facts may come to light and change things dramatically. The more time that has passed since events occured, the less we can be sure about our theories.

    Much of biblical history occurred between 2000 & 4000 years ago. Although I would not want to say that it is totally impossible to disentangle historical events from various embellishments to the stories that may have been added over the years, I do think it is very difficult to piece together exactly what happened. For this reason, whilst I admire the work of biblical historians, I do not really use church or biblical history as a central argument in justifying why I am a Christian. Indeed I think people like WLC go a bit too far in using these historical arguments.

    Someone once asked me if it would be fatal to my Christian belief if it was categorically proven that the historical Jesus never existed. I don't think it would be. My Christianity relies on a lot more than just historical stories.

  • stevencarrwork November 2011
    'Your lack of responses elsewhere suggested to me that you might have got tired of trying to wind us up.'

    Translation. You posted lots of gibberish as you were unable to respond and then closed the threads so I could not reply to your gibberish.

    There are only a few Christians who I disrespect as insincere people who cannot cope with anything they dislike and you ,Simon, are one of the very few to make that list.

    Even William Lane Craig at least allows other opinions to register on his mind before he works out how to 'refute' them.

  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Hang on - I have responded carefully, substantially and at length to the majority of your posts. Two threads have been closed, one (not by me) because it overlapped other threads, and the other because you edited your posts after they had been replied to in order to change the context. Note however that we haven't banned you from this forum or indeed closed the numerous other threads you are contributing to. Indeed a number of people have commented to me that your presence here does not promote discussion and we should think of removing you, however I have resisted these calls because of a (perhaps foolish?) hope that everyone can be reasoned with.

    Now again, instead of responding to my points you have made an ad hominem attack, this time on me. So can you confirm your purposes for posting on our forum? Are you here to have discussions and rationally engage with us or is your intent to exhibit the worst characteristics of a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

  • GavinM November 2011
    Steven, people have been responding. The only threads that have been closed are ones that are simply repeats of what you are populating this forum with in other threads. Please don't play the wounded soldier without justification. It is unimpressive and doesn't help advance your arguments.

    I don't always agree with some of Simon's finer points of theology but I find that he always has something interesting to say and has a refreshing perspective. Unfortunately I don't find the same with your postings as you seem only to repeat what you have said before and/or bring individual's characters into question as a means of not engaging with the responses that people have made to your points.
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    "I don't always agree with some of Simon's finer points of theology"

    Oh go on - do tell me!!
  • Michael November 2011

    The list is too long!