(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 12.)
We come at last to the end of chapter 12, Geisler and Turek’s attempt to argue that we know Jesus really rose from the dead because a handful of men wrote a handful of books claiming that a handful of people claim to have had some kind of experience which they claimed was an encounter with a Jesus who was risen in some sense. And even though these claims have a strongly ghost-story-ish flavor, and tend to contradict one another in significant ways, we ought to believe them anyway because the men who wrote the stories mentioned the names of people and places that actually exist, which means the men are unbiased and unimpeachable witnesses.
Um, yeah. Well, anyway, we’re coming to the end of all that. G&T close with a couple cursory attempts to make Christianity sound amazingly unique.
David Hume argued that miracles cannot affirm any one religion because miracles are based on poor testimony and all religions have them. In other words, miracle claims are self canceling. Unfortunately for Hume, his objection does not describe the actual state of affairs.
First, Hume makes a hasty generalization by saying that alleged miracles from all religions are alike. As we’ve seen since chapter 9, the miracles associated with Christianity are not based on poor testimony. They are based on early, eyewitness, multiple-source testimony that is unrivaled in any other world religion. That is, no other world religion has verified miracles like those in the New Testament.
Indeed, nor does Christianity. Sure, we have early written accounts of people claiming miracles, but that’s not the same has having verified that the alleged miracles actually occurred.
We have people today claiming miracles, and agreeing with one another that yes, a real miracle did happen. Yet these miracles are not actually verified; we just have multiple people making claims. Write down these claims, and in 2,000 years, the people who read those claims will be in exactly the same position as we are in deciding whether or not such claims are justified.
But since we’re not living 2,000 years from now, let’s not wait. Let’s look at the claims people are making today, and see if the mere act of claiming a miracle is sufficient to prove that the miracle actually occurred.