I believe that the Christian position regarding the alleged bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is a circular argument. It therefore cannot be defeated with reason. The argument is this:
What is the proof of the Resurrection: (the Christian) God.
What is the proof of (the Christian) God: the Resurrection
If we exclude the reality of the supernatural from the discussion of the Resurrection, Christians would have to admit that the evidence for the Resurrection is as poor as we skeptics claim it is. Only by assuming the existence of the all-powerful (Christian) God can Christians claim that the Resurrection is plausible.
But here is the problem: Although there may be evidence for intelligent design, that evidence cannot be assumed to be evidence for Jesus/Yahweh to be that Designer. There has to be evidence to make that leap. So what do Christians do? Answer: They point to the Resurrection. But even if one assumes Intelligent Design and the existence of the supernatural, the odds of a literal bodily resurrection being the explanation for the early Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is extremely improbable, as even Christians admit that there has never been any other resurrection.
Therefore, the Christian position is a circular argument, and, therefore, the Christian position cannot be defeated. The use of poor logic can be pointed out, but the argument itself is undefeatable.
A Christian’s response to this statement on Theology Web:
It is not begging the question to presuppose the miraculous, or even to believe in Yahweh. The order of logic goes something like this: 1.) there are convincing arguments for the existence of the divine or the spiritual apart from divine revelation (see natural theology 101) 2.) Arguments for the divine tend towards a personal creator. 3.) Assuming a personal creator, the miraculous is plausible 4.) The Old Testament conception of Yahweh fulfills many, if not all, of the characteristics of this personal creator (other arguments (including historical, personal, prophetical, miraculous, etc.) may help to convince one of this divinity’s reality). 5.) Historical (and perhaps prophetical, and experiential) arguments alongside the previous acceptance of arguments for the existence of a divine personal creator and the miraculous allow for the acceptance of Christ’s resurrection.
For one to beg the question on Christ’s resurrection, one would have to start off assuming Jesus is God/Son of God, and then assert that because he is God/Son of God he is resurrected. No one here argues that though. It is my firm belief that that is how Gary himself operated when he was going around calling himself a Christian though. He uncritically accepted Christ’s resurrection because of fundamentalist black and white logic that doesn’t allow for reasoned thinking, but upon going with whatever tickles one’s fancy at the moment, and then zealously guarding that unreasoned stance until another wind of doctrine comes along, and then they do the fundamentalist, black and white zealous thing for that new stance. So, as we see here, Gary is just as much the zealous fundamentalist he is with his current cause as he was with his previous cause. Perhaps one day another wind of doctrine will come along to uncritically sweep him off his feet.
“The order of logic goes something like this:”
1.) there are convincing arguments for the existence of the divine or the spiritual apart from divine revelation (see natural theology 101)
Gary: Possibly true.
2.) Arguments for the divine tend towards a personal creator.
Gary: Unprovable speculation.
3.) Assuming a personal creator, the miraculous is plausible.
Gary: There seems to always be an assumption in every Christian argument for the supernatural.
4.) The Old Testament conception of Yahweh fulfills many, if not all, of the characteristics of this personal creator (other arguments (including historical, personal, prophetical, miraculous, etc.) may help to convince one of this divinity’s reality).
Gary: Skeptics can show that there is no good evidence of fulfilled prophecies in the Hebrew Bible. The historical reliability of the OT is now held with low regard. It is very possible that the first five to seven books of the OT are pure invention. The miracle claims of the OT are even harder to prove that the “hundreds of millions” of unconfirmed miracles today. Therefore, these are all false or unprovable claims piled on top of an assumption.
5.) Historical (and perhaps prophetical, and experiential) arguments alongside the previous acceptance of arguments for the existence of a divine personal creator and the miraculous allow for the acceptance of Christ’s resurrection.
Gary: The real truth is revealed, “My emotions and feelings prove that my supernatural belief system is true.”
My argument is not circular. The Christian argument is.
If I said that supernatural resurrections are impossible because resurrections are supernatural that would be a circular argument. But that isn’t the case. My argument is that a supernatural resurrection is highly improbable based on cumulative human history, and it is much less probable than several possible natural explanations for this belief, so therefore I do not believe it.
The bottom line is that you cannot prove the Resurrection happened without presuming the divinity of Jesus, which can only be proven by a resurrection, which based on cumulative human history is highly, highly improbable. The possible existence of a Creator is not evidence for Jesus’ divinity. The reliability of the Hebrew Bible regarding ancient history and ancient fortune telling (prophecy) is abysmal. Therefore the Hebrew Bible cannot be used as evidence for the divinity of Jesus.
Like the apostle Paul said, to paraphrase: “It’s all about the Resurrection, folks. If it didn’t happen, we are toast.”