Debate: Christ’s Resurrection

April 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

This discussion stemmed from an article I posted from Relevant Magazine of a defense Tim Keller gave for the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection. The article can be found here.

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David 

I read it. The title “A Case for…” and the word “proof” is at odds with each other.

It is simply an argumentative point of view.

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Mike 

True that “evidence for/a case for” does not equal ”proof”, although the definition can be broad. The word proof is not in the actual article. The descriptive text above was apparently written by someone other than the author. Although an “argumentative point of view” would not necessarily include evidence, which the case for Christ’s resurrection does.

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David 

The bible also alludes to there being giants, but aside from the book saying it, no evidence appears to exist to quantify it.

I can buy “because I believe it” from people, but the evidence the believers provide is often lackluster in the influence or subjectivity of that belief.

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Mike 

What the Bible states (not alludes) about giants we don’t have evidence for other than Old Testament manuscripts that have shown themselves to be otherwise very reliable. While giants aren’t proven, it’s a reasonable belief. The validity of Christianity rests on Jesus Christ defeating death. Giants don’t make or break any critical doctrine. Proportionately, there is a lot more evidence for a risen Christ than fallen giants, and that’s good news.

I agree with you on the lackluster defense by many Christians. We are called to give a reasonable defense (1 Peter 3:15). Some don’t get that. What is lackluster about Keller’s defense?

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David 

All of what you wrote and asked of me require belief that there was a Jesus-as-deity, that the bible is more than a book of allegory mixed within the framework of accepted and/or verifiable history.

Being that I do not subscribe to these beliefs personally, I see all references to the bible-as-fact/truth as suspect and argumentatively invalid outside Judeo-Christian belief system (or other religions that have a historical overlap in the timeline, such as Islam).

I know you believe, and that is cool. I am of the acceptance that belief in the bible equates to truth or evidence, and as I said before, I am not of the mind to change anyone’s belief as I am not compelled to change my own.

In short, he was preaching to the choir. To me, he was just expounding or trying to add validation to a religious story.

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Christine 

You may not believe in Him, but He believes in you. Just ask Him!

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David 

Ugh. Paradox.

Christine, how can I ask a him I don’t believe in? I know you are being nice, and Christians sure do like to save us heathens, and I appreciate the spirit of that. I don’t believe in vampires either, and I see it as being identical, despite the Vlad the Impaler inspiration for Dracula which could have as easily carried on to a current day religion with the right authors and some dictatorial mandate. Instead of that Twilight stuff. I digress…

I think of all the current day followers of Scientology and their Xenu character. I don’t want to stop them from what they believe either, despite how utterly goofy it is. I am sure it could be said Xenu believes in me too by those guys, they just don’t have enough time in. The Mormons have come a long way since that guy read those magic writings in the hat. They come over a lot with name badges and mountain bikes, and dress like the Geek Squad at Best Buy. I asked one to clear a virus off my computer but he wasn’t going for it.

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Mike 

“I see all references to the bible-as-fact/truth as suspect and argumentatively invalid outside Judeo-Christian belief system”

Dave, if I understand this right, you’re saying there’s no believing in Christianity unless you’re already a Christian?

What’s significant about the case Keller presents is that it requires no Christian presuppositions to follow the logic of the argument and eventually conclude that an actual resurrection is the most likely answer. If accepted, the conclusions become what Christians presuppose: That the Bible is true and that Jesus really was who He claimed to be. One of the questions the article poses is how a belief that has pervaded every part of the world could start as Christianity had if its leader were dead. Consider the historical roots that few irreligious will dispute: The church began with a handful of followers who faced torture and death if they preached a resurrected Savior, and they did so anyway. Did they persist for a lie, hoax or delusion, seeing their belief, unlike any other, spread globally against the tide of opposition instead of shrinking to nothing? The only rational alternative is that they had seen and believed in and were driven by a living Jesus whose mortal wounds they could see and touch. If that is true, the floodgates open for a host of other truths regarding Jesus’ power over death, His deity, and His word that changes everything, leading to a heart and soul commitment.

Not all Christians arrive the same way; for some it’s more faith than rationale. But one CAN make the journey without any of the axioms Christians hold to: No religion required along the way. The fact is, whatever we are—Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, or our own customized ideology—we did not always believe as we do now. At some point, we all have inquired of something we didn’t believe in.

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David 

This is how world wars are started, Mike… posts of escalating length. We are at leaflet now, but soon it will be books then volumes, then the bomb. I don’t have a bomb, Mike. They are very expensive.

Anyway. We all come to our own conclusions. There is a spin and/or plausible answer to most things from our humble vantage point, and these evolve (and occasionally de-evolve) over the ages.

What I meant is to be a believer you have to buy the story, and accept the bible as a set of facts. If you don’t, the bible isn’t a reference book… It is just a book of stories. It is more to those who believe in it. I have one… a Freemasonry edition from when I was active in it. It was an important text to those who believed in it throughout history, and I am not totally ignorant of its contents or impact on the world.

I believe in Christianity because I know there are those who do subscribe, therefore validation by the existence of a number of people who then are ascribed the moniker. Like I know there are Jehovah’s Witnesses because they keep ringing the bell while I am having dinner.

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Mike 

Believing something doesn’t make it true. That’s relativism, which no one actually lives out. An event (Christ’s resurrection, Superbowl XLIII, earthquakes in Japan, Charlie Sheen) either happened or didn’t regardless of whether we saw it or believe it. If truth was relative, there would be no point to discuss. Like any big purchase, we research to determine the absolute truth of something, then weigh the cost of buying/not buying. Christians are the effect of the resurrection, not the cause (unless it didn’t happen… But it looks as if it did).

Back down to postcard length! War averted (although I don’t have a bomb either so I think the world is safe ;).

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Dave didn’t respond after this post. The article in question can be found here.

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