Response to “10 Reasons to accept the Resurrection as a Fact”
About a month ago, author David Fitzgerald hosted a contest on social media. And yours truly won the contest. As a reward, David agreed to come onto the show.
What was the contest about? Around Easter, a Christian site ReasonsForJesus posted an article listing 10 Claims that “Prove” that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. The “claims” of course were all terrible, so David asked his enthusiastic readers to site the chapters in his books, as well as the books by Richard Carrier, that address and refute each of the “claims” boosted by ReasonsForJesus. And that is what I did, along with added commentary.
Now I was not the first to respond with all the correct answers, but my research was so superb that David decided he had to declare me as a co-winner.
I’m not sure whether David has given away the answers. But by now I assume that it is safe to share.
Refuting Claim 1: The First Eyewitnesses were Women
First of all, the claim that women were the first “eyewitnesses” is all based on hearsay. Second, women WERE trustworthy witness sources of the cultural time.
Jesus, Mything in Action Vol. 1, Chapter 5 – Embarrassment no. 2: Jesus’ Female Witnesses (Kindle Location 2516).
Refuting Claim 2: Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection
As soon as I read “Gary Habermas”, instant headache. I am so sick of kicking this dead horse. NONE of his 12 “facts” are facts at all. They are only facts of theology, but not facts of history – there’s a big difference!
Even if we grant there was a Jesus, I don’t recall Richard or David dismissing that people die via crucifixion. At best, they examine how the story as a whole doesn’t make sense. For example, crucifixion is meant to be displayed in public for as long as possible (which would be days or weeks long) for all to see to discourage similar crimes, so why the heck would the Romans permit a rebellious man to be brought down shortly after he dies and bury him? It doesn’t make sense.
David Fitzgerald in “Nailed” (Kindle Locations 3313-3315) references Carrier, Richard, “Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearance of Jesus,” Internet Infidels Library, www.infidels.org/library/
Refuting Claim 3: Transformation of the Early Disciples
Basically the author of the article points to James and Paul becoming believers, ergo Jesus resurrected.
First of all, Paul’s conversion doesn’t prove a guy came back from the dead. The word “appeared” in the passages about seeing Jesus are ambiguous and does not require a physical presence. The word ophthe, from the verb horao, is used for both physical sight as well as spiritual visions. What caused these spiritual visions? David E. Comings, M.D. argues in his book, “Did Man Create God?” Chapter 30 pages 363-365, Paul could have suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) on the road to Damascus.
Seriously, if you haven’t read Comings book, go do it!
As for James…. which James? The James mentioned by Josephus? Richard Carrier pointed out (“On the Historicity of Jesus” Ch. 8 Kindle location 17319) that the reference by Josephus is an accidental interpolation never written by Josephus in Carrier, “Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation”. Richard Carrier goes on to talk about the two different James in “On the Historicity of Jesus” in Chapter 9 section 3 and Chapter 11 sec. 10.
Refuting Claim 4: Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection
Richard Carrier has gone to great lengths examining the “embarrassing” aspects of the Jesus story and whether embarrassing details prove a story is solid. (Carrier, Proving History, pp. 124-69). In “On the Historicity of Jesus” he does a comparison of the Jesus cult with the Atticus cult (Kindle location 40884).
Refuting Claim 5: Willingness to Die for What Was Known.
First of all: how do we know the apostles died for their beliefs? The accounts of Peter being crucified upside down was recorded nearly 200 years after the fact. Bottom line is: where are the primary sources? Without that, all you have left is hearsay and speculation.
For more information: http://www.richardcarrier.
Refuting Claim 6: Documentary Evidence
NONE OF THESE are primary sources, it’s all hearsay. This Christian author needs to read the opening of Chapter 7 of Richard Carrier’s “On the Historicity of Jesus” to learn what primary evidence means. Paul never met an “earthly” Jesus, he just a vision of a man calling himself Jesus when Paul fell on the road to Damascus. Matthew copied from Mark, John doesn’t even try to match the other gospels, and we have no reason to accept either James or the second-brother Jude’s accounts. Read David Fitzgerald’s “Nailed” Chapter 4 and “Jesus: Mything in Action Vol. 1” Chapter 7 examining the claim that eyewitnesses wrote the gospels.
Refuting Claim 7: Circumstantial Evidence
“it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning.”
…OR MAYBE that’s what mystery cult’s DO!!! Convince people to change their behaviors with really sweet deals to motivate them. How about becoming “demigods”? If the Scientologists can ensnare tens of thousands of people with their (fake) promises of turning people into demigods, why can’t it work for a small cult of Jews? Richard Carrier noted:
“Likewise in the mystery cults, sharing in the Lord’s meal or baptism or other ritual often united members in a common family by adoption as the sons of their supreme God, thereby making them immortal demigods in the afterlife, like their Savior Lord, which is essentially the view Christians held of their own salvation, as they gained in every respect the glorious, immortal, invincible bodies otherwise only gods enjoyed.” – Source: Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, Chapter 4 (Kindle Locations 3893-3898).
God had promised that the Jews would rule the universe (Zech. 14), but their sins kept forestalling his promise (Jer. 29; Dan. 9), which would also create a motive for would-be messiahs to perform atonement acts, which could include substitutionary self-sacrifice out of increasing desperation.
Seriously, this Christian author acts like “faithful Jews” are incapable converted to another religion before. Take a moment and look up testimonies of Jews becoming Muslims. Once concerted, these “faithful Jews” changed their day of worship to Friday… so by the logic of the christian blog author, does that give any credence to the stories of Mohammad?
Refuting Claim 8: The Missing Motive
“What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None!”
None… except for maybe 1) the Roman’s occupying their land, which motivates the Jews to find a military leader to drive them out thus kick starting God’s Kingdom on Earth and 2) the Romans destroyed their Temple, thus cutting off their sacrificial hot-spot to please God so the Almighty doesn’t kick their asses… but no need to fear God’s wrath when a fringe mystery cult comes along and claims that God won’t kick Israels ass cuz a guy claiming to be God’s son was the last sacrifice, ergo the Jews are off the hook of sacrificing animals in the Temple to stay on God’s good side.
The author dismisses motives like “power”… but what about social power? What if the believers really think their views are essential for persuading the world to morally reform itself for the greater good?
Richard Carrier briefly address N.T. Wright in Chapter 10 of his book “On the Historicity of Christ” (Kindle Locations 25771-25772)
Refuting Claim 9: Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection
The author rests his whole argument on the Nazareth Inscription, but Richard Carrier refuted that in ‘The Nazareth Inscription’, Hitler Homer Bible Christ, pp. 315-26. (which is referenced in “On the Historicity of Jesus”: Chapter 9 – the Evidence of Acts (Kindle Location 21941).
As for the rest of the other “sources” that is pretty much all of Part 4 (Chapter 18) of David Fitzgeralds Jesus: Mything in Action Volume II.
Refuting Claim 10; Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses
“Finally, there is multiple eyewitness testimony pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. We do not have a single eye-witness account anywhere, it’s all based on hearsay on top of hearsay.
There is so much to unpackage here, I might as well cite a quarter of David and Richard’s books. Since this is focusing on the resurrection, read Ch. 8 of “Nailed” by Fitzgerald on how the post-resurrection “eye witness accounts” don’t align with each other. For the most part, they’re made up. Example, Richard Carrier has noted regarding 1 Cor. 15.3-9 that the “500 witnesses” may have been corrupted: “I believe this passage has become multiply corrupted, deliberately and accidentally, brethren at the Pentecost’ (not ‘five hundred brethren’, the word pentakosiois being just a few letters away from pentēkostēs, ‘Pentecost’, meaning the very event fictionalized by Luke in Acts 2). “On the Historicity of Jesus” Chapter 11 (Kindle location 36771)
Dear David, just before learning about this “contest” I listened to you and Seth Andrews on the Thinking Atheist. I remember you two discuss the “500 witnesses” of which I would quickly add some of my own input: back when I was in college I used to volunteer with the Museum of Tolerance, giving tours to the public. Before given the position, I was trained and educated on how to give answers to a long list of common questions. One common question was along the lines of “How did the Nazis grow into a large group?” If I recall all the details correctly (don’t take my word for it), the Nazis started as a small fringe group, but at first they added an imaginary extra 500 members to make themselves look more impressive then a small gang of thugs. Perhaps Paul (or some forger) used the same tactic to boost their mystery cult’s membership. Ergo, the “500 witnesses” is just pure propaganda.
This “Reasons For Jesus” article is complete bunk.