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apologetics, Apologetics of Christ, The Resurrection

Is Christ Risen?

Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Now I want you to step back for a moment and think of your immediate response to that question.

Was it “Yes!” Well, why do you think so?

Was it “No!” Again, why?

I mean this very seriously. Read the question again, and now reflect on your answer. Does it come from a well-informed position or does it flow from your presuppositions or worldview? Why do you think Jesus rose or did not rise from the dead? Does your belief come from a careful study of the texts and the critical debate on the topic? Have you read sources from both sides of the debate, have you listened to top scholars in dialog about the topic?

Is it even important?

This one is for the atheists and skeptics out there: look at the picture I have posted on the top left. What feelings does it provoke within you? Disgust? Skepticism? Laughter? Joy?

Why do you think that is?

Christians, I ask you the same question.

What is the point of me taking this space to write all of this? I want everyone to be aware of the fact that when they consider the question I asked to start this post–“Did Jesus rise from the dead?”–they are influenced profoundly by their worldview and their starting point.

No, I want you to consider the evidence–both atheists and Christians. Christians, because it is your solemn duty to discern the truth of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:14-19); atheists, because you owe it to yourself to follow the evidence where it leads.

I’m not going to make a sustained argument here. Rather, I encourage you to investigate the topic yourself. A good starting point is this podcast, which argues from the “minimal facts” approach. A summary of the usage of this method can be found here.

Is Christ risen? That’s a question we all must answer, but let us not answer it based on dogma, on presuppositions, or on a dismissal of the evidence. Let us engage with the facts and formulate a hypothesis. Let us investigate the historicity of the event and follow the evidence where it leads.

I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

75 thoughts on “Is Christ Risen?

  1. Absolutely, He lives! So of course, He rose
    from the tomb in the cave where darkness once dwelt.
    May He shine His everlasting love on you and yours this weekend, J.W.

    Hanging with the Prince Of Peace, I am.
    Uncle Tree 🙂

    Posted by Uncle Tree | April 7, 2012, 6:54 AM
  2. >Was it “Yes!” Well, why do you think so? Was it “No!” Again, why?

    There is another possibility: “Even if he did, we can’t love our neighbor and participate in such a scheme”.

    Suppose you were married to God:

    “I’m sorry I forgot our anniversary honey. Will you forgive me?”

    “Sure, but somebody has to pay. I’ll mutilate myself later. Then you’ll be forgiven.”

    Hell, death, the crucifixion; none of it was necessary for God. Even if infants are guilty of original sin, he could have just forgiven them without the gory spectacle of the cross. We don’t have to be God to know that this was not the most loving arrangement available to God.

    Jesus spent a weekend in hell, then escaped and conquered death. He would be a hero, if he hadn’t set up the entire scheme. You don’t get any points for saving people from yourself. It’s somewhat like Münchausen syndrome by proxy.

    Posted by donsevers | April 7, 2012, 8:17 AM
  3. The notion that there is a body of evidence that needs to be discerned and studied which can ultimately lead you to the truth that Christ is risen is an interesting concept. If such evidence existed outside of a self-substantiating book, would most of the educated world not be Christian? One’s belief is a product of where and when you were born, not an autonomous body of evidence.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 10:34 AM
    • “C”, if it is true that “One’s belief is [solely] a product of where and when you were born…” then it seems clear that your own belief in that proposition is merely a product of your circumstances and is not a justifiable belief.

      As far as “would most of the educated world not be Christian” if there were evidence for the resurrection, I think that you vastly underestimate the strength of one’s presuppositions when investigating evidence. Ultimately, if a belief has extreme existential import, people are going to resist that belief if it is not already part of their structure.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 11:03 AM
      • Why, then is it only such with religion? Certainly physics or mathematics can transcend such presuppositions, why not religion? I would posit that when there is a lack of true observable evidence and belief must rely on faith, there is not compelling reason to cast aside any presuppositions.

        As far as my beliefs being merely a product of circumstance – it’s a bit curious that I was raised in a religious household in a religious community. People come to the same conclusion I have in every society, everywhere in the world. One cannot simple come to the conclusion of Christianity – it relies on either a book or indoctrination.

        Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 11:48 AM
      • This seems to be a case of special pleading. You seem to think that because you (and others) grew up in religious communities but are no longer religious, you transcend the notion that “One’s belief is [solely] a product of where and when you were born…” However, to argue in that way is a case of special pleading. It is therefore logically fallacious.

        Either the statement “One’s belief is [solely] a product of where and when you were born…” is true, and the belief in that statement is itself a product of one’s circumstances and not justified, or the statement is false. You’re trying to apply it as true for some but not others. Again, special pleading.

        It seems then, that your critique of religion in this area is based entirely on a fallacious notion. Either you yourself are condemned by the proposition you put forth and therefore cannot have justified belief, or it is not true.

        Further, you wrote “Why, then is it only such with religion? Certainly physics or mathematics can transcend such presuppositions, why not religion?”

        Well clearly this does not seem to be the case. If you were raised in a society in which they believed the world is flat, you would likely have believed so yourself. Of course if a religion makes truth claims about the real world, it is just as verifiable as physics and mathematics.

        But so far your string of comments betrays an attempt to discredit religion with broad statements that you then attempt to flee from when applied to your own belief. This is highly disingenuous, and, as I’ve already shown, is known as “special pleading.” I conclude that your critique is fallacious.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 12:06 PM
  4. I should add that I do not patronize the belief that Jesus was risen and I even capitalize He at the appropriate time out of respect. I comment here, because few can articulate their beliefs as well without the usual theistic laziness of “faith” or “we cannot understand” and so fourth.

    I simply have observed the evidence and do not come to the same conclusion.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 11:56 AM
    • If this is true, then your statement “One’s belief is [solely] a product of where and when you were born…” applies to your statement “I simply have observed the evidence and do not come to the same conclusion.” You can’t help but believe you observed the evidence, but according to your own initial proposition, that belief is just a circumstance of where and when you were born (and other factors like who you met, what books were introduced to you, and the like). If you try to get past this argument, you once more fall victim to special pleading.

      Again, this is just fallacious.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 12:08 PM
  5. First of all, I made no “attempt to discredit religion” I merely posed a few questions and provided my personal opinion. If I was attempting to discredit the original post, it would have started with 1) Jesus was not the son of God 2) Jesus was not born of a virgin 3) Jesus did not rise from the dead – and then I would have provided supporting arguments.

    You wrote “Of course if a religion makes truth claims about the real world, it is just as verifiable as physics and mathematics.”

    This is my point – if “t is just as verifiable as physics and mathematics” then why, again, do the majority of all people to have ever walked the earth not believe in Christianity? 2 + 2 = 4 anywhere in the world. The basic physics of flight are not subject for debate depending on culture, whereas religion does.

    What is fallacious is to posit that the same type and quality of evidence is available for Christianity as is available for the world being round or the value of Pi. By extension, you are insulting the intelligence of those who believe in another religion or none at all – which is about 70% of everyone alive today.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 12:47 PM
  6. What I should have written is “One’s [religious] belief is [solely] a product of where and when you were born…” Which I thought was implied when I juxtaposed it with other types of knowledge and cited two of many examples, math and physics.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 12:50 PM
  7. Are you asserting that there is equally valid evidence to come to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected as there is to believe that Pi = 3.14159….?

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 1:03 PM
  8. So do you agree there is an element of faith in religious claims whereas no such faith is required for the value of Pi?

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 1:10 PM
  9. Let me clarify – you are not making the claim that “there is equally valid evidence” for religion and math? Special pleading aside, I believe that would make my case.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 1:12 PM
    • It would not make your case at all. You’re trying to assert that only in the religious sphere does your initial proposition apply. If that’s the case, then you’re making special pleading, restricting a general statement to only the realm which you seek to undermine when if the general statement were applied generally it would undermine itself.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 1:13 PM
  10. Wait wait wait… I said “Are you asserting that there is equally valid evidence to come to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected as there is to believe that Pi = 3.14159….”

    You said you were not making that claim. Why not? If there were equally valid evidence then ones religious beliefs would have nothing to do with ‘where and when you were born.’ Since there is not equally valid evidence (my position), for the subjects lacking objective evidence, culture (where and when) comes into play.

    Culture has positively zero impact on the circumference of a circle. On the other hand you cannot separate the impact of culture on one’s religion.

    Your position is that if one (religion/math) is determined by where and when, the other must be as well? If this were true a) either mathematics would depend on culture as well or b) there would be sufficient evidence for all cultures to adopt the same religion.

    99% believe in math 30% believe in Christianity – why the delta if equally valid evidence is available?

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 1:29 PM
    • I think you’re definitely speaking from a biased cultural perspective. Zen Buddhists, for example, rejects the use of the law of noncontradiction and systematized logic generally. In making claims as you do, you are simply speaking from your own culturally defined boundaries.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 1:34 PM
  11. That seems rather evasive for such a well equipped adversary. Are you a Zen Buddhist? Do you reject the “law of noncontradiction and systematized logic”? I read far too many of your posts to believe that – from a logic standpoint I think you are rather esteemed – which is why I follow your post and engaged in this conversation.

    I think you have conceded my primary point – that there is not equally valid evidence for religion as there is in other areas of intellectual discourse e.g. mathematics and physics. Again – I have not attempted to belittle your beliefs, nor does admitting that there are different standards of evidence make your beliefs false – but the original post made the claim that “[Atheists] owe it to yourself to follow the evidence where it leads.”

    If there was evidence of equal standards to math, I would be a Christian.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 1:45 PM
    • The thrust of my point is that your original proposition is being inconsistently applied and therefore falls victim to special pleading.

      There is not evidence for any historical claim which meets the “standards of math” (whatever that phrase itself means). This is a radically skeptical position which would undermine belief in any historical event.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2012, 1:47 PM
      • Yes, that was indeed twelve words picked out of my original post and you made the case that it falls victim to special pleading – an easy case to make when the rest of my post and the question posed was ignored:

        “The notion that there is a body of evidence that needs to be discerned and studied which can ultimately lead you to the truth that Christ is risen is an interesting concept. If such evidence existed outside of a self-substantiating book, would most of the educated world not be Christian?”

        My point was that your supposed evidence is an Argument from Scripture. You wouldn’t allow me to state that The Origin of Species is correct because The Origin of Species says it is correct.

        Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 2:07 PM
      • It’s an argument from historical documents, which the Gospels are. They deserve to be granted the same credibility as any other historical document from the ANE.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 8, 2012, 9:25 AM
  12. The original post ended with “Is Christ risen? That’s a question we all must answer, but let us not answer it based on dogma, on presuppositions, or on a dismissal of the evidence. Let us engage with the facts and formulate a hypothesis. Let us investigate the historicity of the event and follow the evidence where it leads.”

    I was excited to “investigate the historicity of the event and follow the evidence where it leads.”

    My assertion is that such evidence is held to a different standard when applied to religion than when applied to math or physics. As far as such skepticism undermining any historical event, no, it does not. Independent archeologists can agree on many claims before, during and after the time of Jesus.

    Sumerians had a system of writing, known as cuneiform. The Carthaginian empire began as a Phoenician outpost. Mayans had advanced knowledge of astronomy. These are verifiable historical events that are not subject to one’s religion or culture. The supposed historicity of a particular man rising from the dead is not. If it were, again back to my original point, most of the world would be Christian.

    Posted by C | April 7, 2012, 2:21 PM
    • None of the claims you’re outlining have the same level of assurance as mathematical truths. A study of the practice of historiography perfectly illustrates this. See, for example, the discussion in McCallagh’s “The Logic of History” or Gaddis’ “The Landscape of History.” The level of assurance you demand simply cannot be had in historical studies, and historians as well as philosophers of history agree on this. I hate to say it, but on this point you’re just factually mistaken. Read philosophy of history and you’ll find that the kind of assurance you want to demand is impossible.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 8, 2012, 9:28 AM
      • So what you are saying is that you are not – more importantly you cannot – be as sure about the historical foundation of your faith as you are about Math or Physics.

        Fantastic, thanks for the exchange.

        Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 12:53 PM
      • My initial point still stands: your first claim undermines your own position and leads to radical skepticism.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 9, 2012, 2:44 PM
  13. It seems to me that the fabric of both perspectives (“C” and Mr. Wartick) shares at least one common thread — a respect for/professed adherence to logic or rational analysis. But this is an argument over the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient force that is wholly “Good.” Logic would be equally helpful in a debate about what kind of peanut-butter is best for my toast. If the God of the Bible created everything in the Heavens and Earth, then that must include Time and Logic. If He exists outside of time and logic, then rational analysis (and descriptors such as “great” and “loving”) generated within a time series (10 seconds or 2000 years) are a waste of breath. If the Bible is really right, then God is God and we wretched sinners have no chance of discerning anything more than that. My answer is Jesus Christ did NOT rise from the dead (and I like crunchy Peter Pan peanut-butter). -Micah

    Posted by Micah Gerger | April 7, 2012, 3:12 PM
  14. You wrote “It’s an argument from historical documents, which the Gospels are. They deserve to be granted the same credibility as any other historical document from the ANE.”

    No, they do not. Documents with unknown authors with unknown intent making supernatural, self serving, contradictory claims do not deserve to be granted the same credibility as any other historical document.

    Also it is, by definition, an Argument from Scripture. Now you can say that such argument is valid or that certain scripture is above this logical fallacy because it is true, but it is still an argument from scripture.

    Muhammad spoke to the Angel Gabriel and ascended to heaven on a horse. Joseph Smith spoke to the Angel Moroni and the Garden of Eden is in Missouri. I have historical documents to back up these claims – and according to you they ‘deserve the same credibility as any other historical document.’

    Who is guilty of special pleading now?

    Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 1:12 PM
    • This is a nice straw man. Clearly you’ve moved beyond trying to engage in dialog and shifted to bashing. Unfortunately for your argument, the Bible is used as a reliable historical document for many archaeological claims. And, as one can see from the Smithsonian institute, the Book of Mormon is not. I’ve read the Qur’an, and it doesn’t make many historical claims whatsoever, which makes it very difficult to evaluate. Have you read it? I sincerely doubt it. The kind of skepticism and cherry-picking you’re displaying here really shows the motives you have in this discussion.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 9, 2012, 2:46 PM
      • What about that post moves past dialogue and shifts to bashing? You can say that an argument is special pleading but I may not? I said yours was an argument from scripture – it is. Is one not allowed to compare the scriptures of one faith to another? Honestly there is no reason for your umbrage – there was no ‘bashing.’ The fist personal attacks in the entire thread were just made by you. I’ve read the Qur’an as well and it positively does make historical claims.

        Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 5:47 PM
      • “The kind of skepticism and cherry-picking you’re displaying here really shows the motives you have in this discussion.” – How is that? What motives?

        Are you saying that objectively assessing the merits of many religions and comparing and contrasting their truth claims is a bad thing? That was my motivation – I am truly hoping someone can give me a good reason to believe in Christianity over any other religion, past or present.

        I thought you could help, but clearly you cannot if you react in a similar fashion to most Christians when posed with hard questions. I’m seeking the truth – but religions have some hard questions to answer in order to establish themselves as such – and Christianity is no different.

        Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 5:52 PM
  15. Tying this into my initial point – why is it that you think your set of scriptures is valid when you reject scriptures from other religions? Because of where and when.

    If you were born in sixth century Arabia would you believe in Jesus? Now repeat that with every religion through all of history. All of which had documents equally valid to yours, and all their followers are every bit as certain about the veracity of their religion.

    It’s easier for someone with your viewpoint to look at it from this perspective: If a Mormon (any Mormon) were born into your, the Wartick family, rather than in the Smith family of Fill-in-the-blank, Utah – would they be Mormon?

    Yet you and our imaginary Mormon can academically agree on nearly every other realm of discourse – from math to physics to biology and even history – except where religion is concerned.

    Why? Because most subjects do not rely on upbringing (where and when you were born), they rely on verifiable logic that can be discovered in any culture – Religion does not.

    Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 1:38 PM
    • This demonstrates the genetic fallacy, and again it undermines your own beliefs. I would recommend a good look into a logic textbook.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 9, 2012, 2:46 PM
      • It’s funny to me that you eventually end up insulting anyone who does not agree with you on this site. A very common theme here Always Have a Reason. How very Christian of you.

        Posted by C | April 9, 2012, 5:54 PM
      • Hold on a second, where did I insult you in any way. I pointed out that you committed special pleading. I pointed out that you committed the genetic fallacy. I pointed out that the objections you brought up did not seem to be the result of anything but a surface level consideration of books it seems you are unfamiliar with (i.e. the Qur’an… are you claiming to have read it?). I pointed out that you made historiographical errors. I suggested a logic textbook. Indeed, a solid logic textbook (I recommend Copi/Cohen’s) is an excellent read and will help you avoid errors like the genetic fallacy and special pleading.

        Let’s stick to the arguments. Your argument has committed special pleading; your second argument committed the genetic fallacy. Your rejoinder is to imply that it’s not very Christian of me to… I’m not sure what. Suggest you delve into the topic more deeply so you don’t commit logical fallacies?

        That wasn’t an insult, it was a genuine suggestion. These kind of errors can be found in perpetuation from both sides of the debate. Genetic fallacies, straw men, special pleading. I pointed out these errors and now you accuse me of insulting you and anyone who does not agree with me. I’m a bit taken aback. I’m sorry you feel that way. Of course, tone can’t come across on a web site so perhaps you’re just misreading me.

        Back to the arguments: I responded pointing out your genetic fallacy. You did not offer a rejoinder.

        I pointed out that it seems you’ve shifted to bashing.. but then showed how. You responded, “. Is one not allowed to compare the scriptures of one faith to another? ”

        Well that’s exactly what I said you should do. I have read the Qur’an. I’ve read the Tao Te Ching. I’ve read the book of Mormon. And yet now you claim I have “umbrage” because I have investigated these books and concluded that their claims are false or unsubstantiated.

        Then you wrote, “Are you saying that objectively assessing the merits of many religions and comparing and contrasting their truth claims is a bad thing?”

        Honestly, I would have to ask you if you’ve read this site as much as you claim. There are notable areas where I have changed my position regarding a religion’s view or a specific theological point. I’ve tried to be objective, but of course no one is free of bias.

        So, it seems that your responses do not rebut the errors I pointed out. Your first argument is special pleading, and you’ve essentially conceded that. Your second argument commits the genetic fallacy, and you have not responded.

        I have enjoyed our conversation, but really, if you’re going to suggest I’m insulting you when I point out logical errors, I can’t help but think it is a bit absurd.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 9, 2012, 8:21 PM
  16. “Have you read it? I sincerely doubt it. The kind of skepticism and cherry-picking you’re displaying here really shows the motives you have in this discussion.” – That is insulting JW. To follow it up with “if you’re going to suggest I’m insulting you when I point out logical errors, I can’t help but think it is a bit absurd” when you DID, in fact, go beyond logical fallacies and got personal – is simply disingenuous.

    I have made many points to which you have not responded either, such is the nature of such rapid fire responses from both sides. Either way, I did enjoy the exchange and I may pop up again when Atheism and similar topics are mentioned.

    Posted by C | April 10, 2012, 10:27 AM
    • I think another great Apologetics conversation would be on the real source of the Bible’s stories. Bible scholars and skeptics spend an awful lot of time arguing about whether the Bible is a historical document. Which it is in some sense. Yet, as a writer in an incredibly saturated industry, I’m almost insulted to hear people refer to the Bible as an original text when virtually all the major events (or, plot points) are seen in older “Ancient” religions that predate the inspriation/writing of the books of the Bible.
      Among other striking similarities, (e.g. in Persian, Indian and Hellenistic religions) perhaps the most obvious and significant “similarities” are from the Egyptian god Horus.

      The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar, with Horus even contributing the name of Jesus Christ. Horus and his once-and-future Father, Osiris, are frequently interchangeable in the mythos (“I and my Father are one”). The legends of Horus go back thousands of years, and he shares the following in common with Jesus:

      Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
      He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.
      Horus was also baptized by “Anup the Baptizer,” who becomes “John the Baptist.”
      He had 12 disciples.
      He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.
      He walked on water.
      Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
      He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected.
      He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word” etc.
      He was “the Fisher,” and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish (“Ichthys”).
      Horus’s personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.”
      Horus was called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One,” long before the Christians duplicated the story.
      In fact, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis – the original “Madonna and Child” – and the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, who shares many qualities with Jesus and who existed as a deity long before the Jesus character was formalized.

      I’m no historian but if all of the most significant “events” of a text like the Bible already had “been done” centuries before Christ was even born – and all the rest (living in a fish, water to wine, etc.) are “supernatual” events that clearly do not happen in our physical world today, how is the Bible to be treated as something more than a series of wise parables, psalms & proverbs that may or may not still have relevance today?

      I would be very interested to hear the perspective of a true apologist on this as I have not been able to reconcile (as seen in my previous posts). Food for thought, anyway… Micah

      Posted by micah | April 10, 2012, 4:58 PM
      • Micah,

        I appreciate the comment but I really think you should research what you’re saying more. This sounds like it is copied verbatim from the “Zeitgeist” movie and thoughts surrounding it, and that has been thoroughly rebutted by Christians and non-Christians alike. Not only that, but it has been ignored in critical scholarship. Why? Because it’s false.

        Now these parallels are not truly found in ancient Egyptian and other histories (the vast majority aren’t–they are just made up, literally; see this on Horus; as well as here [note that both of these actually reference the myths themselves as opposed to just making claims] and atheists who are generally hostile to Christianity have also investigated it and found it wanting, see here; this post clears up the facts a bit as well, like the fact that it is never claimed in the Bible that Jesus was born on Dec. 25).

        So I’m sorry but I find this really unconvincing.

        Not only that but the fact is parallels don’t mean that something is ahistorical. For example, consider the following:

        Although the novel was written before the Olympic-class Titanic had even been designed, there are some remarkable similarities between the fictional and real-life counterparts. Like the Titanic, the fictional ship sank in April in the North Atlantic, and there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers. There are also similarities between the size (800 ft long for Titan versus 882 ft 9 in long for the Titanic[1]), speed (25 knots for Titan, 21 knots for Titanic[2]) and life-saving equipment.
        Beyond the name, the similarities between the Titanic and the fictional Titan include:[original research?]
        Described as “unsinkable”
        The Titanic was the world’s largest luxury liner (882 feet, displacing 63,000 long tons), and was once described as being practically “unsinkable”.
        The Titan was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men (800 feet, displacing 75,000 tons), and was considered “unsinkable”.
        Shortage of lifeboats
        The Titanic carried only 16 lifeboats, plus 4 Engelhardt folding lifeboats,[3] less than half the number required for her passenger capacity of 3000.
        The Titan carried “as few as the law allowed”, 24 lifeboats, less than half needed for her 3000 capacity.
        Struck an iceberg
        Moving too fast at 22½ knots,[citation needed] the Titanic struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of April 14, 1912 in the North Atlantic 400 miles away from Newfoundland.
        Also on an April night, in the North Atlantic 400 miles from Newfoundland (Terranova), the Titan hit an iceberg while traveling at 25 knots, also on the starboard side.
        Sinking
        The unsinkable Titanic sank, and more than half of her 2200 passengers died.
        The indestructible Titan also sank, more than half of her 2500 passengers drowning.
        Went down bow first, the Titan actually capsizing before it sank.

        Of course, all of this is from a NOVEL as opposed to the Titanic. The novel was written before the Titanic sank. Does that mean the Titanic never sank or existed? Of course not.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 10, 2012, 5:27 PM
      • Not much of a conspiracy theory guy, myself, so Zeitgeist is still sitting in my Netflix cue and as for the source of the positions I listed above, my Mythology professor at the University of Iowa is the culprit. Thanks for the helpful references that I certainly will investigate. One more question, though: what is really lost by treating the Bible as a book of wisdom rather than a historical document? I know one thing to be gained is sex before marriage (which, when written, happened at about 12 y/o, rather than 25-35) and certainly see that as something that may shade my perspective on this. Is it because the presumed alternative is that (as Dostoevsky’s character Smerdyakov questions in “the Brothers Karamazov”), in a world with no god, all things are lawful?

        I was named after – Micah 6:8 – He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

        Do I really need to believe a man lived inside a large fish for a number of days thousands of years ago to be moved by this verse/seek to live by it?

        Posted by micah | April 10, 2012, 6:02 PM
  17. @Micah. Let’s look at this:

    Micah: I think another great Apologetics conversation would be on the real source of the Bible’s stories. Bible scholars and skeptics spend an awful lot of time arguing about whether the Bible is a historical document. Which it is in some sense. Yet, as a writer in an incredibly saturated industry, I’m almost insulted to hear people refer to the Bible as an original text when virtually all the major events (or, plot points) are seen in older “Ancient” religions that predate the inspriation/writing of the books of the Bible.
    Among other striking similarities, (e.g. in Persian, Indian and Hellenistic religions) perhaps the most obvious and significant “similarities” are from the Egyptian god Horus.

    Reply: Really? Let’s take a look at this.

    Micah: The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar, with Horus even contributing the name of Jesus Christ. Horus and his once-and-future Father, Osiris, are frequently interchangeable in the mythos (“I and my Father are one”). The legends of Horus go back thousands of years, and he shares the following in common with Jesus:

    Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
    He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.
    Horus was also baptized by “Anup the Baptizer,” who becomes “John the Baptist.”
    He had 12 disciples.
    He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.
    He walked on water.
    Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
    He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected.
    He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word” etc.
    He was “the Fisher,” and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish (“Ichthys”).
    Horus’s personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.”
    Horus was called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One,” long before the Christians duplicated the story.
    In fact, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis – the original “Madonna and Child” – and the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, who shares many qualities with Jesus and who existed as a deity long before the Jesus character was formalized.

    Reply: First problem. Even if this is true, it’s a cut and paste job which tells me no original thinking was done on this. Now you’ve attributed it to a professor. Can I assure you I’ve studied under several professors I thought were dead wrong on topics. In fact, I still think they are. It is okay to question your professor.

    Second problem. You list no source for these claims. Now I want some sources but here’s the deal. I don’t just want secondary sources. I want primary sources. I want to see the Egyptian writing that speaks of Horus having 12 disciples, for instance. I also want to see bona fide scholars in Egyptology who are saying this.

    Here are a couple of good links on this: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/osy.html and http://christianthinktank.com/copycatwho2.html

    With the Tektonics link, if you have a problem with the author’s research, you can come to TheologyWeb.com and debate him yourself. I will warn you in advance he calls a spade a spade.

    Micah: I’m no historian but if all of the most significant “events” of a text like the Bible already had “been done” centuries before Christ was even born – and all the rest (living in a fish, water to wine, etc.) are “supernatual” events that clearly do not happen in our physical world today, how is the Bible to be treated as something more than a series of wise parables, psalms & proverbs that may or may not still have relevance today?

    I would be very interested to hear the perspective of a true apologist on this as I have not been able to reconcile (as seen in my previous posts). Food for thought, anyway…

    Reply: If they were done. I’ve seen assertions that they were, but I just have this idea that I want claims to be backed by evidence.

    Now let’s look at what else you said.

    Micah: ne more question, though: what is really lost by treating the Bible as a book of wisdom rather than a historical document?

    Reply: Only everything. Do you think I believe this just because I have a wish to go to Heaven and that’s the only relevance? The gospel is about much more. Israel’s story is about God’s plan to bring about the defeat of the problem of evil through a people. Their story was one reaching a climax and is our story today. The resurrection of Christ is about Heaven coming and being on Earth. It’s about Christ becoming king and making the world right. It’s about undoing the damage that has been done to our universe and redeeming it. This is all to happen in this space and time. If Christ is not risen, not only am I to be pitied, but I’d say everyone else is as well for there is no solution to evil and the story is entirely pointless.

    Micah: I know one thing to be gained is sex before marriage (which, when written, happened at about 12 y/o, rather than 25-35) and certainly see that as something that may shade my perspective on this. Is it because the presumed alternative is that (as Dostoevsky’s character Smerdyakov questions in “the Brothers Karamazov”), in a world with no god, all things are lawful?

    Reply: I think this would be good to talk man to man about. I am a married man and I am thankful I did not engage in pre-marital sex. In fact, as I read your post, I can tell you have a cheap view of sex. Really. You do. For you apparently, sex is a really good time. Okay. That’s the icing on the cake. I won’t deny it is something incredible and wonderful, but enjoying it for the rest of your life with one person is even better. It is a continuous knowing and growing with that person and knowing them and knowing you are there for the rest of your lives. No pressure. No testing. You only know each other and you grow in each other.

    Let me put it this way. Suppose you have a safe. What are you going to put in it? Are you going to put in old banana peels? Are you going to put in broken CDs and DVDs? No. Chances are you’ll put in your wallet, jewelry, important mementos, etc. The things you guard in your life are the things that are most valuable. Christians guard sex not because it is dirty, as sadly some Christians even think, but because it is sacred and holy and we dare not treat it lightly and treat it as if it was something common to give to just anyone.

    Micah: Do I really need to believe a man lived inside a large fish for a number of days thousands of years ago to be moved by this verse/seek to live by it?

    Reply: No. But you do need to believe in something good and believe in something that gives meaning to good and to seek it. Tell me what worldview do you think you’ll go to that will explain that?

    Posted by apologianick | April 10, 2012, 8:10 PM
  18. No amount of old historical paperwork could make me believe in a resurrection when nothing similar has occurred since we’ve had solid means of documentation and there is no natural explanation that can be applied.

    There have been many old stories of vampires in different cultures too, I don’t believe those either. At least I’m consistent. 🙂

    Posted by hcdgrundy | April 11, 2012, 9:04 AM
    • HCD. Can you demonstrate that there has been nothing miraculous at all since the time that we have had documentation?

      Furthermore, can you demonstrate that since the beginning of time and on into future everything will happen according to natural laws of the universe?

      Posted by apologianick | April 11, 2012, 10:06 AM
      • Well, yeah kinda…because there has been no documentation for it.

        “can you demonstrate that since the beginning of time and on into future everything will happen according to natural laws of the universe?” Of course not, that is unknowable, but I would guess that nothing supernatural has ever or will ever occur.

        Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 11:09 AM
      • @Grundy. Irrelevant because we’re on miracles right now and it’s best to answer the question on miracles before moving on. Now let’s look at your mistakes. First, you say that it hasn’t been documented. However, we have numerous people in ancient times accredited with miracles today and several others today who will say that they have seen miracles, including several in the medical profession. Now you can say all documented claims are false (Which you would have to prove) or you could say you’re skeptical about all such claims, which is entirely fine, but it is incorrect to say they did not happen because they were not documented. (In fact, we have several events in history that were not documented but we believe happened)

        After we finish miracles, we’ll get to the God question.

        Posted by apologianick | April 12, 2012, 11:21 AM
      • I said “solid means of documentation.” Do you really think any of the documentation you mention would hold up in court? Did Christ rise beyond a reasonable doubt. If miracles happen today we should have video evidence. If prayer worked to bring about miracles, there should be statistical evidence, after all, a lot of people are praying out there.

        Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 12:10 PM
      • @Grundy. I said “solid means of documentation.”

        Reply: Yep. They’re the same means we have to document all of ancient history. We just have to examine the claims and see if they’re legitimate or not.

        Grundy: Do you really think any of the documentation you mention would hold up in court? Did Christ rise beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Reply: Yes. It would hold up. Simon Greenleaf certainly thought so and he was the professional on the law court and his material is still used today.

        Grundy: If miracles happen today we should have video evidence.

        Reply: Why should we? Very few things happen when video cameras are around. Most news stories you see do not have live video coverage. If video evidence was what you relied on, you’d have a hard time with arresting criminals since most of them try to avoid being on video tape.

        Grundy: If prayer worked to bring about miracles, there should be statistical evidence, after all, a lot of people are praying out there.

        Reply: Never said anything about prayer. I just asked you to demonstrate that miracles cannot happen and have never happened. So far, you haven’t.

        Posted by apologianick | April 12, 2012, 12:44 PM
      • What historical evidence specifically do you find the most compelling?

        Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 1:12 PM
      • @Grundy. I’ll tell you what I find compelling once we clear up the question on if miracles can happen. Do you want to say you don’t have an answer so your argument againist miracles will not work?

        Posted by apologianick | April 12, 2012, 2:10 PM
      • What didn’t I answer?

        Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 6:22 PM
      • @Grundy. What wasn’t explained was your case on miracles. Do you want to continue trying to demonstrate that no miracles could have ever occurred or will ever occur or do you want to accept that it actually could be the case that miracles are at least possible and might have even happened?

        Posted by apologianick | April 12, 2012, 8:27 PM
      • I already addressed this:

        “can you demonstrate that since the beginning of time and on into future everything will happen according to natural laws of the universe?” Of course not, that is unknowable

        However, I can’t say for certain that unicorns never lived in the past or will appear in the future either. It is a meaningless point.

        Posted by Grundy | April 13, 2012, 7:54 AM
      • @Grundy. If we can be open to miracles, we can proceed. I first would like to ask a simple basic question to establish where we’re going. Do you believe it is historically demonstrable that Jesus actually existed? (I don’t care at this point about miracle claims or if He was the Messiah or rose again. I just want to know if you think that He actually existed.)

        Posted by apologianick | April 13, 2012, 8:54 AM
      • I’m not sure, I kinda think he existed, but I haven’t seen anything to make me certain. Maybe you can convince me. What’s your best evidence that he existed?

        Posted by Grundy | April 13, 2012, 9:35 AM
      • @Grundy. The first piece of evidence I’ll present is that the consensus amongst NT scholars, conservative and liberal, evangelical and atheist, is that Jesus is real. Going to them and saying there was no Jesus is like going to a Geological society and saying that the Earth was flat. In fact, it’s one way to make sure you’ll be treated like a laughingstock.

        Second, we have a plethora of sources that speak of Jesus. The four gospels, the epistles, the early church fathers, and non-Christians like Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius, Pliny the Younger, Mara Bar-Serapion, Lucian, and others.

        For the epistles, of the ones that are without doubt Pauline, one is Galatians, which speaks for instance of James, the brother of the Lord. This is an off the cuff remark that indicates a historical person who had a brother named James.

        That’s a start. Please present any flaws with my evidence and any counter-evidence.

        Posted by apologianick | April 13, 2012, 11:47 AM
      • As long as you accept any scientific consensuses that may come up later in this argument, I’ll accept that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person, deal?

        Posted by Grundy | April 13, 2012, 12:43 PM
      • Okay. Let us be clear on what scientific consensus means. It means that which is scientific and not just what some scientists agree on that is not scientific. “Did evolution happen?” is a question of science. “Have miracles happened?” is not. That is metaphysics and some history.

        Posted by apologianick | April 13, 2012, 3:19 PM
      • I agree that a scientific consensus is only meaningful in scientific matters.

        Posted by Grundy | April 16, 2012, 8:27 AM
      • Okay Grundy. In that case, I have presented evidence that Jesus existed. Could you please present any reasons why you’re hesitant on this claim?

        Posted by apologianick | April 16, 2012, 4:23 PM
      • Taking the evidence at your word, I accept that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person.

        Posted by Grundy | April 17, 2012, 8:30 AM
      • Fine. Another item agreed to is that Jesus was crucified. This is mentioned in all four gospels, numerous epistles, the ECF, and also by the historian Tacitus who was regarded highly as a historian. Any objections to Jesus being crucified?

        Posted by apologianick | April 17, 2012, 4:33 PM
      • For the sake of argument, sure. By the way, do you have anything to discredit Bart D. Ehrman? I searched for Biblical scholars and he was the first hit. It doesn’t seem like he thinks the NT is accurate.

        Posted by Grundy | April 18, 2012, 8:12 AM
      • As a matter of fact, I do. There is the Ehrman Project that can be found here: http://ehrmanproject.com/

        Also, there is Tektonics that can be found here with a link to the E section: http://www.tektonics.org/TK-E.html

        Also, on my own blog I’m reviewing some works of Ehrman. That’s http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com.

        The reality is Ehrman raises a lot of questions at times, but he doesn’t really interact with the answers too much. For instance, he thinks 2 Thessalonians is a forgery and that the forger feigned writing about how Paul signs his signature to look real. After all he asks, why doesn’t Paul do this in other letters? There’s a reasonable explanation. Paul knew about a forged letter to them and this time let them know he was personally signing it so they could know it was real. Furthermore, reading him, you’d think the only reason we think Luke wrote Acts is that we drew a name of a Gentile out of a hat from the epistles instead of all the other reasons, such as the claims of the early church fathers. Ehrman will also say that there is a consensus, when usually there isn’t.

        Finally, if you agree Jesus was crucified, do you have any proposals as to why someone like Jesus would be crucified?

        Posted by apologianick | April 18, 2012, 11:30 AM
      • I plan on reading something by Ehrman. If you know a good book from a scholar with an opposing view, I’ll read that as well.

        Jesus was probably crucified for introducing ideas that were counter to government rule, that paired with his large following would be reason enough.

        Posted by Grundy | April 18, 2012, 1:38 PM
      • Craig Evans has one called “Fabricating Jesus.” Daniel Wallace also has several critiques of Ehrman. Ben Witherington would be another name. As for Jesus being crucified, what ideas were counter to government rule? If the Jews were opposed to the government rule of Rome, why would they hand Jesus over?

        Posted by apologianick | April 20, 2012, 7:49 AM
  19. @Apologianick – The burden of proof is on you here…. You are asserting that something is true, HCD is saying there is no available reason to believe said claim is true. You simply reply “can you prove it’s not?”

    I’d bet our moderator can debunk the celestial teapot (to a degree), but he doesn’t rely on such baseless questions either.

    Posted by C | April 11, 2012, 1:52 PM
    • @C. Actually, HCD is also asserting that something is true. Look at what he said

      “No amount of old historical paperwork could make me believe in a resurrection when nothing similar has occurred since we’ve had solid means of documentation and there is no natural explanation that can be applied.”

      HCD states that nothing similar has occurred since then. Can he provide evidence for the claim that nothing similar has happened since then? Furthermore, this also implies that even if it that was the case, that does not establish the implicit claim that it has always been this way. Until he can demonstrate these, then he has an unverifiable claim.

      Suppose for the sake of argument even that I had no evidence for the other side. That does not prove HCD’s claim is correct. It is their burden to demonstrate that.

      The burden of proof argument is one that is just used to avoid addressing a challenge. When I make the claim, I will give my evidence for it. I just ask that my opponents do likewise.

      Posted by apologianick | April 11, 2012, 3:12 PM
      • Let me guess, you also use the first cause tactic as an argument for God?

        Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 11:05 AM
      • @Grundy.

        Irrelevant. My point was on the question of miracles alone and not on arguments for God’s existence. Nice red herring to throw out. You made some claims. Back them or just admit they’re unbackable and thus statements of faith.

        Posted by apologianick | April 12, 2012, 11:08 AM
  20. Not irrelevant, I just haven’t gotten to my point yet. If you believe that the origin of the universe needs a cause, you should have to provide evidence that everything that ever has occurred or will occur needs a cause, by your own ridiculous standards.

    Posted by Grundy | April 12, 2012, 11:13 AM
  21. @Apologianick – you said “Back them or just admit they’re unbackable and thus statements of faith” – nothing from your point of view can ever escape this statement.

    Posted by C | April 14, 2012, 12:24 AM
    • @C. I am quite foundationalist in my epistemology so aside from foundational beliefs (The external world exists, my senses are generally reliable and if I were in pain the belief of “I feel pain.”) I will gladly give a reason for any statement that I believe. That does not mean that the belief is provable necessarily, but that it is evidenced.

      If anyone wants to discuss with me elsewhere also, let me know and I can start a thread in the Deeper Waters section of TheologyWeb.

      Posted by apologianick | April 14, 2012, 10:02 AM
  22. Hey JW… i’d like to ask you some direct questions, what is the best forum for that?

    Posted by C | April 14, 2012, 12:25 AM

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