Best apologetics book I have read so far, but exposes the Christian disconnect regarding probability!
“So we know that the disciples sincerely believed that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them. We’ve seen that there is good evidence to support their claims, namely the conversion of the church persecutor Paul, the conversion of the skeptic James, and the empty tomb. And finally, the complete inability of opposing theories to account for the data leaves Jesus’ resurrection as the only plausible explanation to account for the known historical facts. And it seems that if Jesus rose from the dead, we have good evidence that God exists and has actually revealed himself to mankind in Jesus Christ” —Habermas and Licona, p. 214
Anyone not from a Christian background who reads this statement will ask, “What are these guys smoking???”
Here is the big disconnect in logic between Christians and non-Christians on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus claim: Probability. If you believe that the god, Yahweh, exists; that he is THE Creator God; that he is all-knowing and all-powerful; and you believe that Yahweh has predicted in the Hebrew holy book (the Old Testament) that he will send a messiah who will be killed and then raised from the dead….OF COURSE you will believe that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of the evidence! But if you do NOT believe that Yahweh exists, then it is LAUGHABLE to suggest that the reanimation (resurrection) of a three-day-brain-dead corpse is more probable than the many possible, alternative, naturalistic explanations for the early Christian resurrection belief. (Even if you believe that there is evidence for a Creator God, evidence for a generic Creator does NOT automatically translate to evidence for Yahweh.)
Here is just one of many plausible, alternative, naturalistic explanations that without assuming the existence of Yahweh is MUCH more probable than the Christian supernatural explanation:
Someone moved the body on Saturday night. The women found the tomb empty the next morning, told the disciples, who soon believed that an empty tomb meant that Jesus had been resurrected. In the emotional hysteria that followed, one of the disciples had an hallucination in which he believed the flesh and blood Jesus appeared to him. Based on his hallucination, he convinced the other disciples to believe his delusion, which they did. They didn’t die for a lie. They died for someone’s hallucination (Medical experts confirm that people who have hallucinations remember them to be real). James converted PRIOR to his alleged appearance experience; he believed the first disciple’s hallucination as did the other disciples. Paul suffered a mental illness and at times experienced his own delusions and hallucinations, explaining his appearance experience. The detailed appearance claims in the Gospels are literary fiction, just as Licona believes that Matthew’s Dead Saints Shaken Out of their Tombs Story is fiction. The group appearance claims in the Early Creed were of a bright light which believers perceived as appearances of Jesus; they never claimed to have seen a walking/talking body.
It’s that simple folks.