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

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, David Hume’s Treatise Against Miracles is Not Knock-down Argument

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