Video: No, the Resurrection Narratives Are Not Hopelessly Contradictory

Christians are often duped by the common mistake called the ‘fallacy of the expert witness.’ While there’s nothing wrong with appealing to expert authorities, fancy credentials can’t cover up weak arguments.  Enter Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He’s written several scholarly and popular-level works that cast doubt on the reliability of the New Testament.   As an agnostic, one reason Ehrman says we should reject the resurrection of Jesus is that the Gospel narratives are “hopelessly contradictory.” But are they really? What is his case for this? Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Read more

New Video: Extraordinary Claims Do Not Require Extraordinary Evidence (Featuring Tim McGrew)

Carl Sagan popularized the slogan “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Skeptics use this phrase like a cudgel when arguing against historical miracle claims. But is this pithy slogan true? This is an excerpt from a talk by Dr. Tim McGrew of Western Michigan entitled “How to Think About Miracles.” Dr. McGrew shows this famous slogan is too slippery and generally unhelpful. It is not a good argument against miracle claims — like the resurrection of Jesus. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection … Read more

George Park Fisher on The Hallucination Hypothesis

George Park Fisher (August 10, 1827 – December 20, 1909) taught theology at Yale and was a noted historian. He was president of the American Historical Association while he also served as the pastor at the College Church at Yale. His book, A Manual of Christian Evidences, is an awesome, short introduction to historical apologetics that I highly recommend. Below was Fisher’s take on the hallucination hypothesis, which had become one of the more popular naturalistic explanations for Jesus’ resurrection during Fisher’s time. Fisher on The hallucination theory “Were the Apostles deceived? Were these manifestations to them (and to the five hundred) a delusion of their minds? A hallucination is a disorder of the senses, … Read more

No, Jesus’ Resurrection Is Not Like Elvis Sightings

“Oh, so you believe in that Jesus appeared to his followers after he died, huh? Do you believe Elvis is still alive too?” You often hear this kind of mockery from skeptics. Just as urban legends and conspiracy theories have sprung up shortly after Elvis’ death, the same is likely true of Jesus, and both are equally unbelievable.   The atheist philosopher Keith Parsons writes, “Like sightings of Elvis, such (resurrection) stories and bizarre experiences feed off each other and snowball.” But is that really the way resurrection stories spread? Rather than being all shook up over this rather dismissive objection, let’s see how fair this comparison is.  No, Elvis Isn’t Alive On August 16, 1977, … Read more

Is the Resurrection Less Important Than Apologists Think?

Recently I came across an article by a really smart skeptic who goes by the handle of ‘Non-Alchemist’. I’ve crossed philosophical swords with him in the past over Twitter, and he’s a good guy who always makes me think. I greatly appreciate him for that. The blog post is titled ‘Why The Historical Case For The Resurrection Is Less Important Than You Think’. As Christians, we tend to think that a robust argument for the resurrection is all we need to prove Christianity. That argument fails for reason that the Torah says specifically that miracles don’t necessarily prove a divine revelation. Non-Alchemist writes: “Deuteronomy 13 informs us that Yahweh is willing to test his people’s … Read more

Do The Resurrection Narratives Contradict?

The apostle Paul said that if Christ hasn’t risen, Christianity is a sham. (1 Corinthians 15:17) Many atheists agree and will happily point to the gospel accounts. Just how seriously should they take the claim of the resurrection? After all, aren’t the accounts riddled with contradictions? How can they possibly be trusted? Historians don’t normally conclude that just because individual accounts have apparent contradictions that the event in question didn’t occur. But let’s allow that to pass for now. I think the majority of the discrepancies that critics bring up can be easily resolved. Here’s a list of four of the most popular contradictions in the resurrection account that skeptics like to point to. #1. … Read more

The Chick-Fil-A Argument for the Resurrection

What’s one of the most disappointing feelings in the world? Craving Chick-Fil-A and realizing that it’s Sunday. The chicken chain’s founder famously closed all locations on Sundays because of his Christian beliefs. But what’s the deal with the whole “Christians worshipping on a Sunday” thing? And does it serve as evidence for Christianity? You might think that’s a weird question, but according to the 19th-century scholar and clergyman George Maclear, it does. He wrote why in a 40-page essay titled “The Evidential Value of the Observance of the Lord’s Day.” In this tract, Maclear provides the historical background data regarding the celebration of Lord’s Day. He then asks his reader what best explains the evidence.  The historical value of … Read more

John Douglas’ Criterion: A Common Sense Guide for Judging Historical Miracle Claims For People Who Want to Avoid Being Totally Closed-Minded

Christian doctrine is predicated on Jesus’ miracles. This is especially true concerning the resurrection. But don’t other religions make miracle claims too? With so many miracle claims in so many other faiths, how can anyone use miracles as evidence for a particular religion? This was one of the famous 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume’s favorite arguments against Christianity. His essay Of Miracles is still considered by many to be the death-knell to anyone who would try and argue for signs and wonders as an evidential basis for their faith. Hume wrote: “…that there is no testimony for any, even those which have not been expressly detected, that is not opposed by an infinite number of … Read more

How the miracle-ministry of the apostles debunks the legendary development hypothesis

Some skeptics say that Jesus was nothing but an obscure, itinerant peasant preacher. How on earth did he become viewed as Israel’s Messiah and the Son of God? After all, why should anyone pay attention to a Messiah who was little more than a vagabond teacher who got himself crucified?  Enter miracle stories. The gospel writers invented them to turn Jesus into more than just preacher of parables. So they transformed him into a figure that outdid Moses, Elijah, and Elisha combined in terms of working wondrous deeds. To do that, they invented legends of him performing impressive healings and miracles in front of big crowds.  The problem with this legendary development theory is it … Read more

The power of Paul’s testimony: How investigating Paul’s conversion turned a skeptic into a Christian apologist

Here’s a very simple proof for Christianity. I’m warning you though, you’re going to be tempted to dismiss it because it’s sneakily uncomplicated. Are you ready for it? OK, here goes: Premise 1: Paul converted.  Premise 2: Therefore Christianity is true. OK, I’m kidding. Sort of. But I think that we sometimes fail to appreciate the evidential power of Paul’s conversion. Investigating Paul’s story is what turned a formerly self-proclaimed infidel into a believer and Christian apologist. His name is George Lyttleton.  Who was George Lyttleton?  Born in the small-town of Hagley, England in 1709, George Lyttleton was a prolific poet, Oxford graduate, and statesman who served as a member of Parliament. He had a … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?