Review of “The Son Rises” by William Lane Craig, Chapter 3: The Empty Tomb. Assumptions, Conjecture, Exaggeration…and Lies, Part 1

I have now reviewed quite a number of books written by conservative and moderate Christian scholars and theologians arguing in favor of the supernatural bodily resurrection of Jesus.  Although I find that many of them stretch the boundaries of reason and rationality in their attempts to pull together evidence for this very extraordinary claim, I don’t believe that I have ever accused any of them of deliberately attempting to deceive their readers with bald-faced lies…until now.

I believe that conservative, evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig stretches the truth so far, and with such intensity, all in order TO WIN HIS DEBATES FOR THE CAUSE OF JESUS…and in so doing, he sometimes feels forced to cross over into a lie in order to win.  Whether he is aware he is lying, I am not sure.  But it certainly seems to be the case, that with William Lane Craig, Jesus must win…at all cost.

I believe that William Lane Craig lies in his debates.  I believe that William Lane Craig lies in his book, “The Son Rises”.

I just finished reading chapter three.  It is so full of assumptions, conjecture, exaggeration, and outright mistruths that I am going to post multiple posts on this one chapter alone.  Let’s see if you agree with me:  William Lane Craig is either woefully educated on matters of New Testament scholarship, or, William Lane Craig (WLC) is not an honest man.

First let me say, I have watched, I believe, four of WLC’s debates against skeptics of the Resurrection.  He is famous for his strategy in his debates:  He insists on always going first; his goal is to score debate points, not to enlighten his opponent or the audience:  which means he will often ignore important issues introduced by his opponent; he repeatedly makes this comment:  “The overwhelming majority of scholars agree (with me) that…”  However, when pressed by his debate opponents, he never provides any proof of this assertion.  Let’s see if he does the same here is this book.

Part 1 of this chapter:

WLC“The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus consists primarily in the evidence supporting three main facts:  the empty tomb of Jesus, the appearances of Jesus to his disciples, and the origin of the Christian faith.  If it can be shown that the tomb of Jesus was found empty, that he did appear to his disciples and others after his death, and that the origin of the Christian faith cannot be explained adequately apart from his historical resurrection, then if there is no plausible natural explanation for these facts, one is amply justified in concluding that Jesus really did rise from the dead.”  p. 45

Gary:  Here, William Lane Craig has laid out for us the purpose of his book; his goal.  He intends to prove that there is no plausible explanation for the facts surrounding the death of Jesus other than his bodily resurrection, the core teaching of Christianity.  But there is one key word in this statement.  I bolded it for emphasis.  The word is “plausible”.  What a non-believer finds plausible and what a Christian finds plausible, I have found, are usually two very different concepts.  I and many other skeptics have studied the evidence in detail and believe that there are many plausible explanations for the facts surrounding the development of early Christianity and we believe that these natural explanations are much more probable than the supernatural explanation of the reanimation/resurrection of a corpse.

Stay tuned for Part 2


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