NO, THE ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES HAS NOT BEEN DEBUNKED (PT. 2 – A response to Rationality Rules)

Is the argument from miracles hopelessly fallacious? Stephen Woodford, AKA ‘Rationality Rules,’ believes so. In his popular YouTube video ‘The Argument From Miracles-Debunked’ Woodford says the argument from miracles commits four major fallacies. In my last post, I looked at Woodford’s first two objections saw that they didn’t really hold up under scrutiny. I’d recommend giving it a read before continuing in this post. Go ahead; I’ll be right here when you get back. Alright, now let’s turn to his final two objections and see if they do any better. Oh, and if you want to watch Rationality Rules’ video in full, here you go: GOD OF THE GAPS? Here’s Stephen’s 3rd objection: “a third … Read more

No, the Argument From Miracles Has Not Been Debunked – a Reply to Rationality Rules (Pt. 1)

Is the argument from miracles full of fallacies? Popular atheist YouTuber ‘Rationality Rules’ argues that’s the case. Rather than examining miracles on a report-by-report basis, he opts to say that the case for miracles is doomed from the start. This reasoning follows the tradition of the famous 18th-century philosopher David Hume. For those of you who aren’t into YouTube, Rationality Rules has had his channel since March of 2017. In that short time, he’s gained over 200k subscribers and has had nearly 15 million views. There’s a cottage industry of channels similar to his and we shouldn’t underestimate their influence. These are sharp skeptics making entertaining and digestible videos packed with thought-provoking content. As believers, … Read more

Did Paul believe in a heavenly, visionary Jesus or an embodied, resurrected Jesus?

Every serious historian who studies Christian origins agrees that Paul is our earliest source for the resurrection of Jesus. Even atheistic scholars like Gerd Ludemann admit that the creed Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 15 is dated within a short time after Jesus’ crucifixion, possibly even within the first year. Here’s the rub: Many critics claim that since Paul is our earliest source, and his experience of Jesus was a visionary experience, that was likely the other apostles’ experience too. The gospels later embellished the story because Paul taught that Jesus rose spiritually, not bodily. Modern-day Christians don’t accept the visionary stories of Joseph Smith or Muhammed. So why believe the Christian story when it’s … Read more

No, Jesus could not have been raised supernaturally by any other being but God.

The argument for the resurrection of Jesus goes like this: Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed he rose from the dead and appeared to them. External evidence and events support their belief: Paul was a church persecutor, and he converted. James was a skeptic and he also became a believer. Plus there are good arguments for the empty tomb. There are no plausible natural explanations. The disciples didn’t hallucinate, and they weren’t deluding themselves. The facts are best explained by a miracle. Usually, the skeptic will either say there’s a better explanation or insist that miracles aren’t possible and simply refuse to look at the evidence. But here’s an odd objection. Skeptics will pick and third way … Read more

With so many miracles claimed by other religions, how can anyone use miracles as evidence for Christianity? Can there be a religiously neutral test for miracle claims?

Following the tradition of the famous 18th-century philosopher David Hume, skeptics will often accuse Christians of special pleading. We eagerly accept the resurrection of Jesus and other miracles reported in the Bible. But we’re just as swift to reject miracle claims made by other religions. Critics will say if you accept one miracle, you have to open up the floodgates to them all. But is that true? Could there be a way to sift through all the noise? Enter Charles Leslie’s terse yet powerful book A Short and Easy Method With the Deists. This booklet is around 40 pages, but it packs a punch. Leslie’s method is a religiously neutral test regarding how we can … Read more

No, miracles do not violate the laws of nature. David Hume’s treatise against miracles is one of the most overrated arguments in the history of philosophy

The apostle Paul said that Christianity stands or falls on the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14) Yet for many religious skeptics, any argument made for a miracle is a project doomed from the start. It simply cannot get off the ground. Why is that the case? Enter the famous Scottish philosopher David Hume. In 1748 Hume wrote a short essay called Of Miracles. Hume vigorously argued that one can ever rationally believe a miracle claim because there is always more evidence that one did not occur. Michael Shermer has gone so far to say that “I think his treatise against miracles is pretty much a knockdown argument. Everything else is … Read more

7 reasons why Jesus couldn’t have possibly faked his own death. The Swoon Theory is a dead explanation for the empty tomb and resurrection appearances.

swoon theory

The swoon theory is still alive today, even if it’s on life support. It should have been pronounced dead on the table centuries ago. For those of you who don’t know, the swoon theory is the idea that Jesus faked his death on the cross. He just appeared to have died. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. This theory was popular back in the 18th and 19th century among German rationalists who felt compelled to explained the evidence for the resurrection without appealing to a miracle. In my ‘the explanations’ section on the site, I didn’t bother including it because honestly, the I thought the theory has been given a proper burial already. Pun … Read more

9 historical facts about James the brother of Jesus that provide a strong basis for the truth of Christianity

Do you think that you could convince one of your siblings into believing that you’re the Son of God? Unless they were three years old, it would probably be a tough sell. After all, they’ve seen how you keep your room. So it’s a pretty amazing historical fact that Jesus’ brother James, who probably wore Jesus’ hand-me-downs, later as an adult converted to Christianity. And we know that he was sincere about his belief because he died for it. James’ martyrdom wasn’t just recorded in Christian sources (Hegesippus) but by the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus. In his book Antiquities of the Jews 20.200, Josephus wrote: “But this younger Ananus, who, as we told you already, took … Read more

Answering a Far Out Objection: 5 Reasons Why Jesus Wasn’t Resurrected by Aliens

One of the weirder objections I’ve come across against the resurrection of Jesus runs something like this: “Who’s to say that God raised Jesus from the dead? Couldn’t it have been the work of some advanced alien race?” There are a few things that are tacit in this cheeky kind of reply. For starters, maybe they don’t know how to refute the historical evidence because it’s really just that good. This would definitely be a point on the Christian’s side.  Or, they think that theistic belief is a lot like believing an advanced alien race killed all the dinosaurs or are responsible for the ancient pyramids. Well, that’s not a very friendly move to make. … Read more

An awesome quote about how the conversion of Paul is one of the greatest Christian evidences we have

I’m not normally one for just dropping a quote in a blog post and calling it a day, but this is a money quote on the evidential value of the conversion of Paul. I couldn’t pass up on sharing it. Farrar was a linguist, Anglican minister, and a teacher. He wrote primarily in the 19th century. He was also a pallbearer at Charles Darwin’s funeral, which makes me curious to know to the story there, but that’s personal research for another day, I guess.

Here it is:

…it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of St. Paul’s conversion as one of the evidences of Christianity. That he should have passed, by one flash of conviction, not only from darkness to light, but from one direction of life to the very opposite, is not only characteristic of the man, but evidential of the power and significance of Christianity. That the same man who, just before, was persecuting Christianity with the most violent hatred, should come all at once to believe in Him whose followers he had been seeking to destroy, and that in this faith he should become a “new creature”—what is this but a victory which Christianity owed to nothing but the spell of its own inherent power? Of all who have been converted to the faith of Christ, there is not one in whose case the Christian principle broke so immediately through everything opposed to it, and asserted so absolutely its triumphant superiority. Henceforth to Paul Christianity was summed up in the one word Christ.

And to what does he testify respecting Jesus? To almost every single primarily important fact respecting His Incarnation, Life, Sufferings, Betrayal, Last Supper, Trial, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Heavenly Exaltation. We complain that nearly two thousand years have passed away, and that the brightness of historical events is apt to fade, and even their very outline to be obliterated, as they sink into the “dark backward and abysm of time.” Well, but are we more keen-sighted, more hostile, more eager to disprove the evidence, than the consummate legalist, the admired rabbi, the commissioner of the Sanhedrin, the leading intellect in the schools—learned as Hillel, patriotic as Judas of Gaulon, burning with zeal for the Law as intense as that of Shammai?

He was not separated from the events, as we are, by centuries of time. He was not liable to be blinded, as we are, by the dazzling glamour of a victorious Christendom. He had mingled daily with men who had watched from Bethlehem to Golgotha the life of the Crucified,—not only with His simple-hearted followers, but with His learned and powerful enemies. He had talked with the priests who had consigned Him to the cross; he had put to death the followers who had wept beside His tomb. He had to face the unutterable horror which, to any orthodox Jew, was involved in the thought of a Messiah who “had hung upon a tree.”

He had heard again and again the proofs which satisfied an Annas and a Gamaliel that Jesus was a deceiver of the people. The events on which the Apostles relied, in proof of His divinity, had taken place in the full blaze of contemporary knowledge. He had not to deal with uncertainties of criticism or assaults on authenticity. He could question, not ancient documents, but living men; he could analyse, not fragmentary records, but existing evidence. He had thousands of means close at hand whereby to test the reality or unreality of the Resurrection in which, unto this time, he had so passionately and contemptuously disbelieved. In accepting this half-crushed and wholly execrated faith he had everything in the world to lose—he had nothing conceivable to gain; and yet, in spite of all—overwhelmed by a conviction which he felt to be irresistible—Saul, the Pharisee, became a witness of the Resurrection, a preacher of the Cross.”

-The life and work of St. Paul, Volume 1, By Frederic William Farrar pp 114-115