“We believe that the evidence shows that God exists and has revealed Himself in history, especially in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is confirmed by the physical resurrection of Jesus.” We believe that the evidence is sufficient to believe that God exists, the existence of the universe being one of those evidences but not the only evidence. We believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be as related by the apostolic writers and the resurrection confirms those claims. A very good case for that is made in , Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate by Gary Habermas well as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Habermas and Licona. There are others but this is a good starting place.
The only evidence that Christians have for the Resurrection is very, very weak: the accounts in four anonymous books, written decades after the alleged event, in far away lands, and, the testimony of one vision-prone Jewish rabbi who never says he saw a resurrected BODY. That’s it. The rest of the “evidence” that Christians assert are simply assumptions and hearsay.
I am aware that Ehrman likes to make this assertion as it gives credibility to an otherwise non-existent case. I have addressed the essential claims in Interrupting Ehrman and so find no compelling reason to rehash them here.
Just as a background, I grew up fundamentalist Baptist (BBF). I asked Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior when I was nine. In my early twenties, I attended a non-denominational evangelical mega-church (that taught Baptist doctrine). I most recently attended a conservative, Missouri Synod Lutheran church.
During these many years, I never took the time to investigate the historicity of Christianity. I just assumed it was true. The internet changed that. One day while surfing the internet, I came upon the blog of an atheist, who was once a fundamentalist Baptist preacher. I was fascinated. How could someone be a pastor, a preacher of the Word of God, and now be an atheist? So I engaged this ex-pastor in an attempt to bring him back to Christ…and four months later…I had lost my faith. Completely. I was an agnostic.
For the first time I read the skeptics of Christianity. I read the criticisms of the weak evidence for the supernatural Christian claims, especially for the Resurrection. I was SHOCKED that not even my own pastor could give me a brief, concise defense for the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus. I reached out to other pastors: conservative Lutheran, evangelical, Baptist, Presbyterian, and they all said the same thing: “Go read this apologist’s book and he will explain it.”
What? Can’t these pastors just give me a concise answer themselves??
If I were having a conversation with a Mormon, questioning the supernatural claims of the Mormon Church, what would be my reaction if when I asked the Mormon for proof that Joseph Smith really did receive Golden Plates from the angel Moroni, the Mormon said, “Well, you have to read a Mormon apologist’s book to really see the evidence!”
My response would be: Look, my Mormon friend, if you yourself can’t give me concise, concrete evidence for your religion’s supernatural claims, but must refer me to some expert who has concocted some complicated thesis to support the teachings your supernatural-based religion, I don’t think you really have any evidence.
And that is what I say to Christians: If Jesus rose from the dead, you should be able to give me solid, concrete evidence in three paragraphs yourself. Don’t refer me to some slick tongued apologist.