(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 12.)
Geisler and Turek have a fun trick their Christian readers can try at their next party or social gathering.
Those who have alternative theories for the Resurrection should be asked, “What evidence do you have for your theory? Can you please name three or four first-century sources that support your theory?” When honest skeptics are presented with this question , they typically answer with silence or a stuttering admission that they have no such evidence because none exists.
That’s a great tip for a popular book on apologetics, because most Christians, in casual discussions with their fellow laymen, aren’t going to be able to discuss “first century sources” in any great detail any more than their skeptical opposites. Even among skeptics, there’s just not that much that was going on back then that would justify most people spending significant amounts of their time becoming authorities on who said what 2,000 years ago.
The catch is that this is actually a faulty approach to determining the facts of the matter. Because God does not show up in real life, Geisler and Turek have to base their beliefs exclusively on the words of men, and therefore they assume that any skeptic would need to do the same thing, and would need to find some person or persons in the first century who said the same things that skeptics believe.
What G&T overlook, however, is the fact that we don’t need a first-century Richard Dawkins writing a 2,000 year old version of Ye Godde Delusionne in order to have first century support for our conclusions. We can effectively cross-examine the Christians own sources, by applying the principle that truth is consistent with itself. We can look at all the evidence, both ancient and modern, and ask ourselves, “Which hypothesis would produce consequences most consistent with what we observe, the hypothesis that Jesus literally rose from the dead, or the hypothesis that the ‘resurrection’ was the product of a combination of psychosocial factors plus a possibly misplaced corpse?”
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