Discussion between Rako and John T on Arguments for Christ's Resurrection


Active member
John T,
You and I had a discussion on another thread:

It would be simpler to make a separate thread for our own discussion. On that thread, I wrote to you:
In your last message you suggested:
  1. Give evidence of the accounts' unreliability,
  2. discuss what the Bible says in context,
  3. provide evidence that "The Scriptures err in what they say",
  4. demonstrate that you know what you are posting about, and deal with the original texts in their original language to do that.
  5. Demonstrate corruptions, if any, using the methods above.
  6. Don't start off on alternative theories
  7. Don't use modern technology like holographs to explain things
  8. That my theory is an open attack on what the scriptures say when they list the appearances to the apostles and attempt to make them liars,
  9. That my theory is like saying that they took Peyote or LSD
It looks like you are suggesting that I lay out an academic "Contra" argument to the Resurrection. I feel like doing this deserves a separate thread because of the details that it would go into. In general, before doing that, one first must consider what method of evaluation to try to use: Inspirational/Emotional or Objective Analysis. Next, one must consider the Arguments for the Resurrection, because a theory or claim has the initial Burden of Proof. So I made two threads along those lines as I cited above.

I did make a thread on the "Group Hallucination" theory before the forum crashed. To address your first step: As I told Steve on the "Objective Approach" thread, the accounts have strengths and weaknesses in terms of reliability. One strength is that from one to or all four Gospels were written by witnesses or taken down by their audiences, like how John's Gospel was written by him or his disciples. A weakness in reliability is that we don't have direct firsthand reports by most witnesses to the events, nor do we have firsthand reports by neutral or opposing bystanders. We have what Matthew and the other writers said that the apostles saw. But we don't have firsthand accounts by each witness individually, or by the guards, or by anyone who saw the apostles walking to Bethany leading up to the Ascension. As a result, theologians are divided on whether a neutral third party or camera would see or record Jesus or anything unexplainable if trained on the Appearances.

I feel that the best thing is to first address the issue of how we should evaluate miracle claims: Using Inspiration or Aiming for objective analysis. (https://forums.carm.org/threads/an-objective-approach-to-analyzing-miracle-and-religious-claims.264/) Then we should move on to list the arguments that the Resurrection happened, and then think of counterarguments.

In terms of the list of steps that you gave, I started with your first step, beginning with the blue words in my last paragraph above ("the accounts have strengths and weaknesses in terms of reliability.").