Rationality of The Resurrection of Jesus

Doubting Thomas

The truthfulness of Christianity solely hangs on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried and on the third day he rose again leaving an empty tomb. If this is not true, Christianity is false, period.

Most Christians believe that Jesus rose again leaving an empty tomb through the internal work of God’s Spirit. But is it possible for a Christian to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks her for the sensibleness of her belief? Can a Christian, with love, gentleness and respect, present a persuasive historical case to show that it is rationally justified to believe that Jesus rose again from the dead?

This first part of my article seeks to demonstrate the rationality of the resurrection hypothesis using minimal facts methodology. Divorcing historical data from best explanation of that data, I chose two leading contemporary non-Christians New Testament scholars John Dominic Crossan and Bart D. Ehrman to assess what historian can know about Jesus of Nazareth.

I used minimal facts methodical approach because it, as  Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona explained, “considers only those data that are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones.”(Habermas & Licona 2004, 44)

The historical data that these scholars, who hold different worldviews including atheists, agnostics, Jews and Christians (Licona 2010, 280), grant are:

1. Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate.

2. Jesus’ was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.

3. Jesus’ tomb was found empty on the 3rd day.

4. Jesus’ followers believed to have seen the risen Jesus.

“That he[Jesus] was crucified” boldly asserted Crossan, “is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus […] agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact”(Crossan 1995, 163-4) Even though Crossan affirms  1 and 4 (135, 145, 154, 165, 190 & 1991,398 ), he  disputed data 2 and thus 3. He believes that the story is too good to be true (1991, 373). Mark must have invented Joseph of Arimathea story (1996, 188).

Crossan case against 2 and thus 3 are highly unlikely because he overlooked the hostility between early Christians toward a council that condemned their leader to death (Brown 1994). Unless it was true, it is least likely that Mark would invent a story where a fictional member of Sanhedrians acted nobly towards their master’s body.

In 1999 Ehrman argued that we can neither be certain about Joseph of Arimathea account nor that his followers proclaimed his resurrecting three days later, but “we can say with some confidence is that Jesus actually did die, he probably was buried, and that some of his disciples (all of them? some of them?) claimed to have seen him alive afterward.”(Ehrman 1999, 229)

Ehrman’s public position changed in 2003. Ehrman illuminated that historians can say with relative certainty that Jesus was indeed buried by Joseph of Arimathea. He added,

We also have solid traditions to indicate that women found this tomb empty three days later. This is attested in all of our gospel sources, early and late, and so it appears to be a historical datum. As so I think we can say that after Jesus’ death, with some (probably with some) certainty, that he was buried, possibly by this fellow, Joseph of Arimathea, and that three days later he appeared not to have been in his tomb. (Ehrman 2003)

Moving from historical data to the best explanation of that data Crossan and Ehrman robustly rejects resurrections hypothesis. Their rejection is not based on historical data, but on what best explain these data. It is not a historical based rejection but a philosophical one, the impossibility of miracles.

Letting B = Background knowledge, D = Specific Data (Jesus’ burial, empty tomb, postmortem appearance, conversion of skeptic James and an enemy Saul of Tarsus, the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection, et cetera) and R = Resurrection of Jesus, the probability of the resurrection hypothesis relative to the background knowledge and specific data can be calculated as follows:

Pr(R/ B&D) = [Pr (R/B) x Pr (D/B&R) / {[Pr (R/B) x PR (D/B&R] + [Pr (not-R/B) x Pr (D/B &not-R)]}

What is the possibility of a Jesus rose again miracle? Is the Pr(R/ B&D) greater than 0.5? Is resurrection of Jesus the best explanation of the data in a pool of competing rival hypotheses?  I attempted to answer these questions in my second article.


Brown, Raymond E. (1994) The Death of the Messiah, 2nd Vol. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

Crossan, John Dominic (1991) The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. San Francisco: Harper Collins.

______________________ (1995) Jesus: A Revolutional Bigrapy. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

______________________ (1996) Who killed Jesus? San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Ehrman, Bart D. (1999)  Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. New York: Oxford University Press.

______________________ (2003) From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, Lecture 4: “Oral and Written Traditions about Jesus” The Teaching Company.

Habermas, Gary R.  & Licona, Michael R.(2004)  The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus .Grand Rapids: Kregel.

Licona, Michael (2010) The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach .Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

71 thoughts on “Rationality of The Resurrection of Jesus

  1. Pingback: McCullagh’s Arguments to the Best Explanation |

  2. I will be returning to this, and I will likely write a response on my own blog. It’s time I put the certainty of this topic to bed. Great writing and I do admire the approach.

  3. I’m not sure “God exists”, “Jesus is the son of God”, “Jesus was killed” and “God brought him back” is simpler than:
    “Jesus was nearly killed” and “Jesus walked off by himself” or
    “Jesus was killed” and “A person moved his body”
    If we call the bitter wine Jesus drank a datum, and postulate the possibility that it is a heavy soporific then “nearly killed” isn’t a bigger claim than “killed”.

    As I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to the next post. I’m just giving you some mines to avoid to make the post as interesting as possible.

  4. In order to examine the evidence for the resurrection we must place ourselves in the historical situation. The events surrounding the life and death of Christ didn’t occur at a place where we can gain no knowledge of them. Rather, they occurred in history, on earth, and were recorded by men who witnessed the events.

    When we approach an ancient document such as the Bible or another ancient document such as Tacitus’ History of Rome (115 A.D.) we must come to the text with an understanding attitude. This does not mean that we assume the text to be 100 per cent true. But we need to be able to ask the right questions. In the first century much less writing took place than does in our time. Many were illiterate, few could read, much less write, and paper or parchment (leather) to write on was expensive. The incentive to fabricate was not as it is today. In other words, The National Enquirer, could never have been published at this time. A high regard was given to writing and the luxury to create fictional material was virtually non-existent, for instance there was no such thing as a novel or a newspaper, although there were artistic writings such as poetry. The Bible however, is a much different kind of literature. It was not written as a poem or story, although it also contains poetry. It was for the most part written as history and is intended to communicate truth throughout.

    The gospel of Luke begins:

    Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word [Paul, Peter, etc] have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Lk 1:1-4)

    Luke was not an apostle, he was however the companion of Paul and probably dictated some of his letters. Luke tells us that he is writing in consecutive order because the other gospels, Matthew, Mark and John, are written more by topic than chronologically.

    Often people are uncertain about the existence of Christ, but few scholars would disagree that a man named Jesus lived roughly between 2 BC and about 33 AD. History documents that this man was not a myth but a real person and the historical evidence for this is excellent. For instance, the Roman historian Tacitus, writing in about 115 A.D., records the events surrounding Emperor Nero in July of A.D. 64. After the fire that destroyed much of Rome, Nero was blamed for being responsible:

    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus [Christ], from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition [Christ’s resurrection] thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. (Bettenson, p. 2)

    In about 112 A.D. the Roman governor of what is now northern Turkey wrote to Emperor Trajan regarding the Christians in his district:

    “I was never present at any trial of Christians; therefore I do not know what are the customary penalties or investigations, and what limits are observed. . . whether those who recant should be pardoned. . . whether the name itself, even if innocent of crime, should be punished, or only the crimes attaching to that name. . . . Meanwhile, this is the course that I have adopted in the case of those brought before me as Christians. I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist I sentence them to death. For I do not doubt that, whatever kind of crime it may be to which they have confessed, their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy should certainly be punished. . . the very fact of my dealing with the question led to a wider spread of the charge, and a great variety of cases were brought before me. An anonymous pamphlet was issued, containing many names. All who denied that they were or had been Christians I considered should be discharged, because they called upon the gods at my dictation and did reverence. . .and especially because they cursed Christ, a thing which it is said, genuine Christians cannot be induced to do.” (Bettenson, p. 3)

    These passages indicate that Christianity was wide spread in the Roman empire within 80 years of Christ’s death. Again, these are eyewitness accounts, not historians looking back years later.

    The popular historian Will Durant, himself not a Christian, wrote concerning Christ’s historical validity, “The denial of that existence seems never to have occurred even to the bitterest gentile or Jewish opponents of nascent Christianity” (Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. 3, p. 555). And again, “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels” (Ibid., p. 557).

    It is a substantial thing that a historian who spends his life considering historical facts should affirm the reality of Christ’s existence as well as the rapid growth of the early movement.

    The Jewish historian Josephus,writing for the Roman government in the 70’s A.D. records some incidental things regarding Christ and the church. He confirms that John the Baptist died at the hand of Herod (this same incident is recorded in the gospels) as well as the death of, “The brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James. . . he delivered them to be stoned” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, ch. V, p. 20; Book XX, ch. IX, p. 140 ). Again we have sources external to the Bible that demonstrate the historical reliability of the text. Josephus, who was probably alive during the time of Christ, is attesting to the reality of his existence. What this also tells us is that within 40 years of Christ’s death, the knowledge of who he was was widespread enough that Josephus could reference him and expect his readers to know exactly who he was talking about.

  5. ”Not true. Your objections shows you are not familiar with the contemporary work on this field.”
    In what field? Biblical exegeses or are you claiming there is new ”evidence” re: the Resurrection?
    I have not come across any of either. Maybe I missed spmething? Quite possible.
    But please tell me you are referring to evidence and not some new-fangled Craigist type argument based on philosophical bulldust?

  6. Oh no, tot the India thing? Now you’ve ruined everything and made yourself look like a complete twit,Paarsurrey. You were doing so well. You and I already discussed the India thing.
    It is a fake claim and the bloke who claimed it admitted it.
    Darn it… now we will all have to go back and believe William Land Craig. And god do I detest Craig.

  7. Surely Occams Razor alone would suggest that rising from the dead is the least likely explanation. In fact pretty much every other possible explanation is more likely (considering the fact that the dead usually stay dead)

    • I will consider that in the next post. This only dealt with historical data not explanation of that data. William of Occam was a brilliant thinker and Christian philosopher. I will show that on contrary to what you think, William’s conditions is on simplicity not probability of an explanation. You mixed the two.

  8. Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:
    Quoting from the post:
    “The truthfulness of Christianity solely hangs on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried and on the third day he rose again leaving an empty tomb. If this is not true, Christianity is false, period.”

    Paul the founder of the modern “Christianity” -a misnomer, with 32000+ denominations based his religion on
    1. the death of Jesus on the cross,
    2. Jesus’ resurrection from the literal and physical dead and
    3. On Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of Christian-God
    These concepts have nothing to do with Jesus or his truthful teachings. Jesus was a Jew and was never a Christian and he believed in the one true God and the truthful religion.

    And Paul’s admission to this is on record:

    Corinthians 15:1-4

    “15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

    So, modern Christianity with all its denominations that believe in the three aforementioned concepts is false as admitted by Paul.


  9. Your comments section is a little difficult to follow, so I apologise if I am now just repeating questions.

    Given that Ehrman doesn’t believe the resurrection, and even questions whether the tomb was found empty and also casts dispersion on whether Jesus was crucified–all based on the fact that the Gospels were written down more than a lifetime after the supposed events, in inconsistent ways, after the Church had already been established (read: bias)–what is it about the documents that became the Bible you find so compelling? You don’t seem to have answered that question (although I’m confident that’s where Arkenaten is trying to get to).

      • Yeah, the comments are a little difficult to follow. Unless you’re just saying ‘These sceptics believe in the data once it’s divorced from the resurrection interpretation’, which case I am following it just fine and I’m disappointed.

  10. Just to re-issue Arkenaten’s query, what were these sources and data? It’s not clear. The Roman’s were meticulous note keepers, but Jesus is only conspicuous in their records by his absence. So what are the sources?
    The Gospels, as Ehrman loves to point out so I’m sure you read, are the written down versions of oral tales that were already–at their earliest–3 generations (60 years) old.

  11. The question one must first ask is where is the data gathered from?
    And when one realizes it is solely from the bible then the Klaxons must surely go off.
    There has never been a rational explanation/argument for the resurrection and every attempt to build one has collapsed.
    Craig, like every apologist, builds castles in the sand.

    • Data is data Arkenaten. What matter is not where it is gathered from but how old it is. I wanted to know which data leading historians and scholars, mostly atheists, agnostics and skeptics, in this field grant.

      Remember there was no Bible then, so the source of the data could not be the Bible anyway. The Bible is a translation of some of the collected data.

      • ‘Data is data Arkenaten. What matter is not where it is gathered from but how old it is. I wanted to know which data leading historians and scholars, mostly atheists, agnostics and skeptic, in this field grant.’

        Consensus means little in the long run.
        A consensus of Muslims believe Mohammed went to heaven on a winged horse. Are you going to lend any credence to this silly story? I hope not!

        I wouldn’t give you two pence for the scholarly opinion of Licona, Habermas or Craig.
        Lol…Licona lost his job because he wouldn’t issue a retraction about the Zombie Apocalypse in his 2010 book which upset the Fundies.
        Nobody but Christians would lend any credence to their opinion.

        There is an ever growing number of scholars, equally eminent, equally qualified in history and biblical exegeses who disbelieve the Resurrection.

        I reiterate the ONLY evidence is the bible.
        Terry Pratchett describes the town of Ankhmorpork in his Discworld novels. There is even a housing estate in South England that has named its streets after those in the novels. He has sold over 60 million copies of his work.
        So this is data. This is evidence and in two thousand years it will still be so.

        Is Ankhmorpork thus a real place?

        ‘Remember there was no Bible then, so the source of the data could not be the Bible anyway. The Bible is a translation of some of the collected data.”
        Then this is a worse case then is it not , because this data is now originally derived from oral testimony.
        You would give no credence to the story of Mohammed’s encounter with the angel Gabriel, now would you, be honest?

        There is no evidence other than hearsay.
        The story is fallacious.

        • Thank you Arkenaten, that is why I did not use Christians but atheists, agnostics and skeptics scholars to assess the data.

          It is not about consensus but scholars who studied in-depth in this field grant.

          • Absolute rubbish!
            Not a single atheist, skeptic or agnostic will ever, attribute any veracity to the Resurrection. You are dreaming.
            Only a Christian will afford it any credence whatsoever and this is because Christianity rests on it being true, so all data will be manipulated to fit this purpose.
            I reiterate there is NO evidence to support the resurrection. NONE.
            It is a Christian fabrication, pure and simple, and you cannot provide a single piece of verifiable evidence to refute this.

          • Who claimed that they attributed any veracity to the resurrection? If you think I did, then I wonder who is dreaming!

            I divorced historical data, to which they grant, from explanations of that data, which of-cause they will not grant resurrection as an explanation.

            I doubt you have read the whole of post. Have you read what I wrote?

  12. I remember watching the debate between William Lane Craig and Ehrman about the Resurrection. And William Lane craig, brought all the same points in this debate, that are in this post article. Even the mathematical calculation of the Resurrection. And I remember, Ehrman kind of blowing off the calcuation as just non-sense.

    And in my opinion for good reason. William Lane does provide a very convincing arguement. That all historians agree that a Jesus figure died, was buried, and then his body was missing after three days. So the question what happened to the body??????

    A. He rose from the dead
    B. Someone moved the body

    As a historian, (Which erhman is) he only conclude the rational and the historical, which is someone moved the body. Really would all have a real problem with A. Cause if everytime a dead body went missing, what kind of world would we live in if everybody assumed that every missing body was another resurrection. It would not be very historical nor accurate.

    • I looked at best explanation of the data in my next post. You are correct that a missing body does not cry out for resurrection. This was true even with Jesus first followers. They did not believe the women testimony that Jesus rose again simply because the tomb was empty.

      Thomas, according to the data, did not believe neither the appearance of Jesus told by others nor empty tomb. So no empty tomb does not mean resurrection then or now.

      Ehrman did not blow the calculation of probability but was unaware of Bayesian case against David Hume’s impossibility of miracles defended lately by agnostic philosopher John Earman.

      Historians can assess the data, but when they give explanation of the data, they enter the field of philosophy. It is here where I think I disagree with Ehrman. I do not expect a skeptic to believe what I believe but my aim is that she know that what I believe is rationally justified.

  13. Contrary to sceptical views, Jesus was mentioned by several historians of the time – most notably Josephus the Jewish historian (who mentioned his miracles as ‘wondrous works’) and Tacitus the Roman. Pliny also mentioned a new ‘sect’ called the ‘Christians’ that had formed. Roman catacombs, tunnels used to bury the dead, are full of Christian symbols, pictures and depictions of the resurrection engraved on the walls by the earliest Christians hiding there for safety in around 80AD. Another source is Polycarp, who, himself was a disciple of John, the disciple closest to Jesus himself, who has left a great deal of writing about Christ – none of which contradicts the Gospel stories. And let’s not forget, with the exception of the Gospel of Mark being used by Luke and Matthew, the gospels were all written independently (including a fifth Gospel, now lost, called ‘Q’ which can be seen in fragments in Matthew and Luke) and yet they all agree with each other very well. The Gospel of John was written totally independently, and yet the details of the Life, death and resurrection all agree with remarkable accuracy. This cannot be said for the histories of several accepted historical characters such as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar or Shakespeare for that matter. Sadly, just as there are those whose crackpot theories say that the Apollo missions never went to the moon (despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary) there are other skeptics who shun the challenges made by Christ. No matter what evidence there is, they will still refuse to believe. As Jesus himself put it: ‘There are none so blind as those that will not see’.

    As for the resurrection one has to say – what if the resurrection never happened and the whole thing was a lie? A superb book is atheist Frank Morrison’s ‘Who moved the Stone?’ – a book that was intended to disprove the resurrection on ‘hard’ evidence. The result was that Morrison was converted, became a Christian and had to rewrite the book. It is still in print and available from Amazon.

    Let’s look at the evidence:

    1. The body wasn’t there. Why? was it removed by the disciples including Joseph of Arimathea No. If they removed the body, many of them went on to be executed for their beliefs, especially in the resurrection. Hardly credible if they knew they were dying for something they knew to be a lie. Did the Roman or Jewish authorities take it? Hardly. Peter almost caused a riot in Jerusalem when he proclaimed the resurrection to a large crowd. All the authorities had to do would be to produce the body and his cover would be blown. But they didn’t. AND they knew about the resurrection – firstly by the guards posted at the tomb who may well have signed their own death warrants by admitting that they allowed it to happen, and secondly by the disciples who preached it. What about grave robbers? Hardly. Jesus had few possessions, a fact known by all who saw him, therefore nothing to take.
    2. They went to the wrong grave. How silly. They knew exactly where the grave was – after all, large tombs of this importance (Joseph of Arimathea, a rich merchant, owned it) were not that common.
    3. Jesus didn’t die on the cross – merely fainted and the cold tomb ‘brought him round’. Unbelievable. have a look at Mel Gibson’s ‘The passion of the Christ’, and, for all its ‘antisemitism’ and other criticisms, it was an historically accurate portrayal of Crucifixion. The Romans knew what they were doing – they didn’t make mistakes here. Even so, the eye witness John records a spear thrust in his side. Similarly it is inconceivable that someone died in his place – they wouldn’t have made this simple error.
    4. Jesus appeared to many, many people. not as a resuscitated corpse, but as a shining radiant human. He appeared to the disciples, to the women (Mary Magdalene was the first to see him) to Cleopas (a follower) and his friend on the road to a village called Emmaus, to the other 72 ‘hangers on’, and, at one time to over 500 Christians gathered together. So it is hardly possible that they could have made it up. Lastly he appeared to Paul, a persecutor of the Christians, who was converted as a result and helped to plant Christian churches all over Europe. He appeared as a body – not as a ghost. A body that could eat a meal with the disciples and yet could appear and disappear at will.
    5. The disciples, from being a scared group, meeting in locked rooms for fear of the Jewish authorities and Romans, were transformed into a vibrant energetic band of evangelists who spread all over the world (from India – Thomas, to Africa – Philip, to Rome – Peter and to Spain – James) . Most died for their beliefs.Would they have done this knowing that everything was a put-up job?
    6. The church spread like wildfire throughout the then known world in a very short time. Let’s not forget that the Gospels record that Jesus, after the resurrection, returned to Galilee in the north – and therefore the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem would not have recorded any resurrection. But the disciples knew. After Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, they were fired up so much that the Christian church spread across Europe from this tiny backwater of a desert country, where communications were poor, and travelling dangerous, and any deviation from the religion of Rome (e.g. worship of the Emperor) was a sure death sentence, to such an extent that Christian churches were present over most of the Mediterranean area, Africa, India, the Middle east, Spain, Italy and other places by the end of the 1st century, and in many cases just 10-20 years after the events. All this hardly possible if everything was based on a lie.

        • The only data resides within the covers of the Bible.
          The interpretation of the Resurrection depends solely on whether one is a Christian or not.
          I reiterate. Not a single skeptic, atheist , or agnostic will consider the Resurrection valid. Neither do several million Muslims, or Buddhists or Hindus for that matter.
          Try to understand that everyone is perfectly entitled to their open opinion but NOT their own facts.

          This is one post you should have avoided, you are on a hiding to nothing….

          • I shall address both comments here.

            ”The truthfulness of Christianity solely hangs on the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried and on the third day he rose again leaving an empty tomb. If this is not true, Christianity is false, period.;;

            This is the most pertinent and relevant paragraph of the piece.
            You quote Crossan and Ehrman,as do so many Christians, to first strengthen your case for the historicity of Yeshua. Once this is done, highlighting the fact that they are not Christians, they are both dropped when the Resurrection argument is pushed to the fore and the data is then interpreted by Christians.
            You cannot possible use Ehrman and Crossan for both arguments as they will emphatically deny the Resurrection, based on the same data used by Craig, Licona and Habermas, who are Christian!
            This is why this argument is ridiculous.
            I reiterate, once more, there is no evidence outside the bible to consider and only a Christian would consider this.
            Are you understanding the problem you have of retaining any measure of impartiality or credibility?

            It cannot be done.
            The Resurrection account is spurious fiction.

          • Again you are mixing historical data with explanation of that data. I used Ehrman and Crossan to assess historical data. I know they do not grant resurrection as the explanation to that data.

            If you had read the whole article, you would have know that.

          • Of course I read the article.
            Using them is like using a fall guy in a criminal case. It draws the unsuspected in and appears to add credibility to your case. Many Christians love Ehrman for this. But it means nothing in relation to the post.
            There is no verifiable data for the Resurrection.
            Only a Christian would truly be interested in trying to explain that it occurred, as you mentioned why in the opening paragraph.

            I cannot see the point of the post in fact as you have no case.

          • If you have read then your objections shows that you failed to understand 😉

            My aim in this article is not to make anyone believe in resurrection as the best explanation of the historical data, again if you have read the article and understood you would know that, but to show that a Christian is rationally justified to hold it ad the best explanation.

          • The Resurrection is NOT the best explanation at all. This is merely classic Craig terminology and has no grounding in fact whatsoever.
            His case has been rubbished by many, and your attempt is a lot more feeble than his. In terms of apologetics you wouldn’t get to stand in Craig’s shadow with this argument.

            Your feeble attempt at this topic is pure apologetics.
            Ask a Muslim for their interpretation. They have biblical scholars just as skilled in exegeses as Craig, I can assure you.
            Men such as Ahmed Deedat.

            Why only access Ehrman for his grounding in biblical history? Because he is not Christian and can be counted on to appear to give an impartial account.

            You have no case and your credibility just took a nose dive.

          • Well, that is the question, namely is resurrection the best explanation, I dealt with in my second part. If you have read my article and understood, you would also have known that.

            So I will not get ahead of myself here.

          • Please tell me your explanation will be different to the diatribe espoused by Craig?
            I can’t stand the thought or reading any more of this type of garbage.
            If you have a different angle then I will be interested to read your take.
            But if it is like Craig’s then rather chuck it in the trash already.

          • And I reiterate. This data would have been oral tradition.
            How much credence would be given to such, especially after the lengthy periods we are talking about?
            In any other circumstances pretty much no credence whatsoever.

      • @Roy
        @ Arkenaten

        I agree with you; there is only a general statement in Bible which cannot be taken as evidence or proper witnessing; such statements cannot stand in a court of law; the witnesses should be specific with names and other antecedents.


  14. I know this post is specifically about the truthfulness of the resurrection from the available data. But, in even looking at the source of the data’s reliability, i remember hearing about how Lewis was convinced of both the historical reliability of the Scriptures as well as the resurrection (in part) b/c he could not dismiss the fact that these “myths” written down in the first century (NT) did not read like myths, but contained specific details that were very unlike mythology (of which he was an expert) and very much like history.

    Great post – even if i stopped understanding at the “math” part there 😉

  15. If Jesus even existed he was an unremarkable man, one amongst dozens who claimed to be the messiah as they traveled around Galilee preaching. The persona of the Jesus we know today is literally a composite of all the self-proclaimed messiahs in Palestine at that time who was then fused with the identical stories of Horus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra and other deities…who were all born of a Virgin, had 12 disciples, were a traveling teachers, performed miracles, died and 3 days later rose again.

    (As an aside, if one man could be historically credited with the start of what became “Christianity” it should be John The Baptist. If The Baptist was not an Essenne he was at minimum Essenne inspired.)

    Nevertheless, we also know historically that in order to make Christianity more palatable to the people of Rome, it was injected with remnants of Sun worship…in particular the movement (or lack thereof) of the Sun during the winter solstice.

    On December 21/22 the Sun “dies” when it stops it’s 6 month southward movement…seems to wait 3 days…after which it “rises again” a bit further North every day for the following 6 months. And of course we celebrate Jesus BIRTHday every December 25th.

    • The problem David is that it is not true if you have read the manuscripts we have in museums that Jesus story is identical to Horus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra and other deities. The thesis that attempted to show parallelism rose and died in 18th century. It is not defended in scholarly level today but youtube and blogs, because it is not only historically false but logical fallacious.

      A detailed refutation of the attempt parallelism is done by atheists and agnostics at Skeptic Project. They plea with fellow atheists and agnostic never to claim what you claimed because it show how outdated a person is in this field.

  16. God’s “mark of approval” on Jesus is the LITMUS TEST of not ever being overcome by death (Matt. 16:18), a.k.a., “the kind of death he suffered” with a powerful point of change bestowing the long-promised image and knowledge of God and eternal life for all who obeyed (John 12: 32-33; 14: 18-21).

    Therefore, Christianity is false anyway!

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