Christians and their Sophisticated Arguments for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

Several years ago evangelical Christian historian and apologist William Lane Craig held a public debate with agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. Craig led off the debate with a fifteen minute presentation of a very complex mathematical formulation “proving” the near certainty of the bodily resurrection of Jesus! He placed the long mathematical formulations up on a huge screen in front of the audience, and by the reaction of the crowd (composed mostly of Christian believers), you could tell they were very impressed.

When Craig’s time allotment expired, he confidently looked over at Ehrman and waited for his response as if to say, “I dare you to prove my complex mathematical formulation false!”

Ehrman completely ignored Craig’s mathematical argument.

Ehrman instead addressed the lack of good evidence to support the claim that a first century corpse really did come back to life in circa 33 CE. You see, no matter how complicated and sophisticated their defensive arguments, Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig, at the very core of their argument, are still trying to convince us that an ancient ghost god took the form of a human being in circa 3 BCE by impregnating a young Jewish virgin, giving birth to….himself, dying on a tree, coming back from the dead three days later, and then levitating into outer space where he now sits at the edge of the universe on a golden throne as Lord of the Cosmos.

It is a silly ancient folk tale, my friends. No matter how complicated and sophisticated they try to make it sound…it is still a silly tall tale that no educated modern person should believe.


6 thoughts on “Christians and their Sophisticated Arguments for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

  1. You’re positing an argument from personal incredulity. With more than a little strawman fallacy thrown in.

    Also, the best Erhman could do is dismiss the fact of the probability, not address it.

    “Answer from Dr. Ehrman: I am sorry. I have trouble believing that we’re having a serious conversation about the statistical probability of the resurrection or the statistical probability of the existence of God. I think in any university setting in the country, if we were in front of a group of academics we would be howled off the stage—

    Dr. Craig: That’s not true.

    Dr. Ehrman: Well, it may not be true at the school you teach at, but at the research institution I teach at —

    Dr. Craig: Well, what about Oxford University, where Professor Swinburne teaches?

    Dr. Ehrman: Well, Swinburne has shown that there’s 0.97 percent probability.”
    Read more:


    1. Hi Liam,

      I had a quick look at the above link. William Lane Craig says this: “… Of course, ever since my conversion, I believed in the resurrection of Jesus on the basis of my personal experience, and I still think that this existential approach is a perfectly valid way to knowing that Christ has risen, …”

      I was staggered when I read this . A subjective experience is not objective probable evidence for anything. This is something that is going on in my heart or head that does not bear evidence for any event that is claimed to have happen externally. His argument is extremely weak at this point. He may have more of an argument on the basis of historical evidence which he attempts to provide, though I need to examine his arguments more closely.

      Extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence. I suspect that his arguments are weak.


      John Arthur


    2. Hi John Arthur,

      On the subject of subjective experiences, I hope that Liam and other theists will watch this amazing short video:


    3. Hi Liam,

      How did Craig assign probabilities? Were these subjective probabilities? He presupposes the existence of God and the essential reliability of the bible. Thus he is able to claim a high probability to miracles, background information etc. Bart Ehrman demolishes the reliability of the bible.

      You claim that Professor Swinburne attributes a 0.97 probability. What! For the existence of God or the historicity of the resurrection? Most mathematicians would not attribute a high probability for either. The arguments are bogus.


      John Arthur


  2. And any other event however unlikely with such multiple attestation: 5 strands of independent sources (Mark, John, Paul, and the material unique to Matthew and Luke) plus the additional confirmation from Josephus (even sans the interpolations) and Tacitus.

    Any other event with this caliber of literary attestation would be accepted a historical fact. Never mind that it makes the most sense of the origins of the church. I think all the other suggestions – even yours Gary – simply have to omit or change the facts as we know them to be useful.


    1. You are making a HUGE extrapolation.

      Just because there is evidence for the existence of Jesus (ie, Josephus, Tacitus, Paul) is in no way evidence for a ghost impregnated virgin birth and the reanimation of a three day brain dead corpse.

      These are supernatural tall tales (about a real, historical person) that no educated modern person should believe. The Romans invented similar stories about some of their Roman emperors becoming gods. We don’t believe their tall tales. We should not believe similar tall tales by Christians.

      Jesus was a real person. He taught some wonderful, humanistic teachings. Christians should pursue and honor those teachings about Jesus the man, but abandon the supernatural silliness about Jesus the god.


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