The Weakness in the Christian Argument for the Resurrection

I believe that the foundation of the Christian argument for the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus consists of generalizations and assumptions about the beliefs and habits of ancient peoples living more than twenty centuries ago.  If any Christian apologist claims that there is very strong evidence to prove the bodily Resurrection of Jesus as an historical event, ask him (or her) this one question:

“Can you prove that the Christian generalizations about the beliefs and habits of first century Jews, Romans, and other ancient peoples never had exceptions?”

—If he says there were never any exceptions, you can consider the apologist a liar or a fool.
—If he says that exceptions are “possible, but unlikely”, then he has just defeated his own argument. By definition a “miracle” is the most unlikely of all explanations for an event. If an alternative, non-miracle explanation is “possible”, by definition, it is more probable/likely to be the correct explanation.

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39 thoughts on “The Weakness in the Christian Argument for the Resurrection

  1. Hi Gary.
    The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus is 'revelation'.
    The history account tells us that the grave was empty.
    And nearly two thousand years after His resurrection the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me also.
    You also will meet the Lord Jesus one day, either in judgement or in salvation.

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  2. I find all of this fascinating. Gary's OCD over dead people remaining dead and his readers instance upon dead people visiting them in dreams and visions. Makes my life seem so mundane.

    This place is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for forensic psychology. It's only when everyone around you thinks you are nuts that you truly realize just how sane you are because you know all of them are post toasties.

    Paul G, Did Jesus really visit you Was it in a dream, vision or flesh? Did He say anything?

    Gary, if someone were actually able to prove to you that it is reasonable to believe the resurrection story, would you believe again?

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  3. pardon my many typo's I rush and tend to trust the spell-checker. It seems to be only after posting that I notice the spell-checker has multiple personalities.

    Instance should read “insistence”

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  4. I never said that it is unreasonable to believe in miracles.

    What I find unreasonable is assuming that the cause of an event is a miracle, while ignoring so many plausible, non-miracle explanations that should be considered and ruled out first.

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  5. Yes Gary, but the Lord Jesus Christ is not dead, He rose on the third day and He surely is alive.
    If you would believe that, and perhaps if you would call upon His Name, He might make Himself known to you also. After all He is the creator of heaven and earth and everything in it, therefore all things are possible for Him, even to appear to you in all His glory.

    Frank, that would be for you also.
    No, I'm not a dreamer but a realist. Empty useless religion is not for me, but to believe in the creator Jesus Christ is everything for me.

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  6. Gary said: “I never said that it is unreasonable to believe in miracles.”

    So if it is not unreasonable to believe in miracles tat must mean it is plausible (though remote) why is it unreasonable to believe that which you just said is NOT unreasonable? If something, no matter how unlikely IS a possibility then it must be considered a possibility. Just because it is not likely it does not mean it is impossible.

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  7. I have never said that any miracle is impossible, only that miracles are improbable. They, by definition, are the least probable explanation for any event. If there are any natural, non-miracle explanations for an event, we should consider them first.

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  8. After deciding what explanations are possible, one must decide what explanations are probable, ruling out the most probable, then the next most probable, etc..

    This is how we solve problems in our everyday life.

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  9. That's right Gary, I don't have any proof, and neither do I have proof that Napoleon was born in Corsica.

    Even if I would raise the dead in front of your eyes you would not believe, and of course you have the right to do so.
    I had the same arguments against Christianity as you have, I didn't know God, and had only heard about Him and didn't believe it anyway.

    But one time in my back yard, as I was looking intently at a butterfly and I saw all it's details, it's capabilities and it's responses and even the pattern on it's wings etc. etc.
    It dawned to me that this butterfly could NOT have come into being through millions of years of evolution.
    It had to be a PERSON, a designer with intelligence who made that butterfly.
    I can make a lot of things, but I can't make a butterfly and not even a mosquito and not to mention a zebra etc.
    I thought that there has to be a God somewhere, but who is that God and who has that kind of power to make those things? If that God has the capability to make all things so excellently then He surely has the capability to make Himself known to me and turn up in front of my eyes if I ask Him.
    I remembered that the Christians told me, that I need to call upon the Name of Jesus and then I shall be saved, but I didn't really know what they were talking about.

    To make a long story short, I did call on the Name of Jesus Christ and He did turn up right there in my backyard just as the Lord Jesus said in John 14:14.
    From that time I have never been the same, I knew that I had been born again just as Jesus had said in John 3:3, now I'm praising the Lord Jesus Christ and I don't care what anyone thinks.
    Being filled with the Holy Spirit I am compelled to share the Love of Christ Jesus with my family, neighbours and whoever I met.

    Of course I would like to convince you Gary and you Frank and anyone else who reads this comment to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    It's just great! 🙂

    No, I don't want you to believe in religion, I hate religion with a passion, but my hope is that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and in nobody else.

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  10. And if you had been raised in Saudi Arabia your backyard experience would have moved you to believe in Allah.

    It's emotions, friend.

    Butterflies do not exist by chance. They exist by natural selection. The evidence for Evolution is overwhelming. I suggest you read some books on the subject.

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  11. Paul G said: “Of course I would like to convince you Gary and you Frank and anyone else who reads this comment to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    It's just great! :-)”

    Frank spoke forth: I haven't said what I do or do not believe. For all you know I am not a believer and for all Gary knows I am a believer. You say Jesus showed up in your backyard… Is this physically or metaphysically speaking? Could you have touched Him or are you using an analogy?

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  12. Yes this is true but you have already allowed for miracles being probable. Have you not?

    Probable means it is within reason, this would mean your allowance of miracles as an explanation has passed thru your filter of probabilities you are willing to accept. Thus making them an acceptable probability.

    So since you are willing to allow for miracles why are you now saying they are subject to even more scrutiny than the other possible explanations you also allow?

    This shows a bias on your behalf and yet you say it is not “sane” for the Christian to hold to a probability you yourself have said IS a reasonable possibility to accept or hold to.

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  13. No, it shows that I follow a logical, rational process to find the explanation for any odd event in my life.

    For instance: I wake up tomorrow and my keys are missing.

    Is my first assumption going to be that a demon stole my keys (a supernatural explanation? No. My first assumption is that I misplaced my keys. Once I have ruled that out, my next assumption is that someone (human) moved my keys. Only after I have ruled out all natural, non-miracle explanations for my missing keys would I consider that a demon or angel or other supernatural being had moved my keys.

    So, see. I am not ruling out the supernatural. I am just not considering the supernatural as the cause until I have ruled out more probable explanations.

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  14. Yes Gary, there is a tremendous amount of emotion involved, like never experienced before.
    It's just like, you would call the Queen of England to your house and she would turn up in all her glory with film cameras and all of her entourage etc. and everybody would know that you personally have met the Queen of England.
    Except when you meet the God of all creation, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords it's a thousand times better. 🙂

    Yes, your emotions were involved, but that doesn't mean that you didn't met the Queen of England.
    And I'm sure that all your friends and family and all your neighbourhood would believe that you have met the Queen.
    But then again, there are always some who would say that you only had a emotional experience and you really didn't met the Queen.

    Yes, Allah might be the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), but surely he is not my God and neither is he the creator of heaven and earth.
    All he can do is lying, stealing, deceiving, slander, gossip and murder, just as Jesus has said, that he is a murderer from the beginning and that's all he can do.
    Well, just look at all of his followers.

    Concerning evolution and natural selection. I think, if we pause for a moment, we all know in our hearts that there is ONLY 'intelligent design'.
    Just think, how many millions of years did it take to develop your eyes, or your ears?
    No no my friend, the Lord has said, 'has He who made the eye, can He not see? Or does He who made the ear, can He not hear?'

    Frank, I'm glad to hear that Gary knows that you are a believer. I think that we all are believers, all of us believe in something whatever that is. But I like to encourage you to believe in Jesus Christ alone and especially that Jesus Christ is the only God, the creator of heaven and earth.
    You see, if you believe that, then you would be more likely to call on the Name 'JESUS' and ask Him to make Himself known to you personally, providing that you believe that He is alive.

    No Frank, I don't use an analogy, if it means something to you, you can even touch the Lord Jesus Christ just as Thomas touched the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. Thomas first thought that it was a ghost, but then Jesus said that he can touch Him. (John 20:27)

    Now, I didn't touched the Lord Jesus, because I didn't need to, and the Lord Jesus did a lot better than I shared in my previous comments. He fulfilled many different passages in me which are written in the Bible.

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  15. Yes, Paul I know what you are talking about. Jesus proved himself to me also. I had a desire for him but never knew what to do. He came to me and I know he is real

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  16. I'm sure that you and Paul are both very sincere about what you believe that you saw. Likewise, I believe that the disciples and the Apostle Paul were very sincere in their belief of “seeing” Jesus (or at least a bright light in Paul's case).

    But human beings “see” odd things all the time: dead loved ones; ghosts; flying saucers, etc. Most people today, even Christians, are not going to believe that you and Paul saw Jesus, so why should we skeptics believe that very superstitious, mostly uneducated people living in ancient times did?

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  17. Paul G: Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question. Again, I never said if I am a believer in Christ or not. The only reason I do not say so on here is because no one knows who I am so it wouldn't even matter and I am not here to change or convert Gary. I just like to argue with him and I think he has caught on because he doesn't take the bait as often now.

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  18. This very sincere woman describes her ordeal dealing with end stage cancer and how she left her body, went through the ceiling, and met Jesus.

    I do not doubt this poor woman's sincerity. However, many Muslims and Hindus have had the same out of body experiences.

    I believe that this is what happened to the emotionally traumatized followers of Jesus after his unexpected, horrible death: They began seeing things…that were not really there.

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  19. Again Gary (because you don't seem to understand that I did not actually SEE Jesus) I did not see Jesus but He proved Himself to me that He is real…and (again) this was NOT by sight. I can not explain it but if it would happen to you, you would get what I am talking about. It was a life changing experience for me.

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  20. And every person in the youtube videos listed above believes the very same thing. It is a medical fact that the human brain is capable of distorting reality in some amazing ways. I don't think any of the people in these videos is crazy or lying. I believe they truly believe what they saw and felt.

    But that doesn't mean that we should believe their very sincere claims as facts.

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  21. Yes Gary, I know what you are saying is true. All Hindu and all pagans gods are real to them, but they can't do anything. In time of trouble or calamity, or sickness etc. all those gods can do absolutely nothing, perhaps that is because they are dead gods and useless gods.

    But the Bible says, that whosoever shall call on the Name of JESUS shall be saved.
    Can you see that, if you call the Lord Jesus Christ, He will come and rescue you, or save you out of every trouble, sickness and calamity. That is because the Lord Jesus is the only living God and He is able to come quickly to your aid in time of trouble.
    It is experiential and not theoretical.
    But if you don't believe in Him, then there is no one there to help you, you are on your own and you will perish.

    For this reason all those pagans, unbelievers and religious people in all those churches are perishing, because they WILL NOT believe and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help.

    It beats me! It's so simple!
    But it has to be the Lord Jesus Christ alone and NO OTHER.
    NO church. NO religion, NO rituals, Absolutely nothing but the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE.
    Yes, the way is narrow and only few are those who find it, and I would like you Gary to be one of those who find the way. (John 14:6)

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  22. Thanks Anonymous for your comment.
    Yes I can see that you had an encounter with the Lord Jesus and I'm very glad to hear that.
    As you know, there are powers and principalities who try to hold you back from having a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Those powers will substitute anything other than having a simple faith and belief in Jesus. They don't mind if you go to church, pray, try to be good and to have a form of godliness and whatever else there is, but their interest is to lead you away from believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    You see, everything good is ONLY IN JESUS CHRIST and nowhere else. They don't want you to HAVE the 'goods', the reality. They don't mind if you have a religion, a theory, a doctrine and whatever else there is, but they don't want you to obtain the actual goods from Jesus Christ alone.
    The Bible said, 'bless the Lord and forget not all of His benefits' (Ps. 103:2).

    If the Lord Jesus is no benefit to you (if you believe), then there is something drastically wrong and you need to inquire from the Lord.
    Jesus does not lie, He said, 'if you ask me anything and believe, then I will do it for you'.
    What do you think, would Jesus let you die in agony with cancer, or would He heal you?
    What benefit is a God who cannot save you from cancer, calamity or anything else?

    Can you see the importance to believe in Jesus?
    Therefore believe in Jesus with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. Don't look to the left and don't look to the right, but let your gaze be fixed on the Lord Jesus and you will not be disappointed.

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  23. You are wrong. Hindus and Muslims believe that their gods answer their prayers at the same rate that Christians claim that Jesus answers theirs: no better than chance.

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  24. Sorry Gary. I KNOW what happened to me. I know Jesus proved Himself to me (And again:I did NOT see Him physically). You want so badly to prove to yourself that you had a false belief when you were Christian and you are trying so hard. But you sure are not smart or knowledgeable enough to tell Paul, Me or others what happened to them. You don't know what happened to me but you sure are trying to convince yourself you are right.

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  25. Gary, you said, “Hindus and Muslims believe that their gods answer their prayers at the same rate that Christians claim that Jesus answers theirs: no better than chance.”

    I'm not surprised Gary, since most Christians are not much different to the pagans who believe in many gods.
    You have escaped fundamentalism, therefore you know that the Christians believe in three god-persons.
    If three god-persons are not three gods, then what is?
    Christians are more like Hindus who believe in many gods.
    Muslims are a lot better than the Christians, at least they believe in ONE god and call him Allah.

    I believe that none of their gods can answer prayers.
    Well, just look at those Christians, they pray to one of their gods called Jehovah through another god (a little god) called Jesus and that is no all, they claim that there is a third person, also a god and they call him the Holy Spirit.
    I wonder which of those gods is going to listen to their prayers?
    I think that these people are weird.

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  26. Why shouldn't he be able to discriminate against those who do not share his views? You atheists do it non-stop. You've in-fact devoted your life to it on this very blog.

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