From a discussion on Bart Ehrman’s blog:
The fact remains Dr. Licona that you first believed in dead body reanimations (resurrections) at the age of 10 [the age at which Michael Licona states he first believed in Jesus of Nazareth as God and as his eternal Savior]. How much evidence did you research before you came to this belief at the age of 10? Did you research the evidence from both sides; from Christian sources and from skeptic sources? I doubt it. I will bet that you did not do ANY research prior to believing this fantastical tale. The truth seems to be that you believed a fantastical, laws-of-science-defying supernatural claim at the tender age of 10 and only years later did you search for evidence to support your belief. Is that rational thinking, Dr. Licona?
Above you told one of my atheist colleagues that you believe that when he dies he will go to Hell (and suffer eternal torment, according to your holy book). What evidence do you have for the existence of this eternal torture chamber—or is this yet another supernatural tale which you accepted as fact at the age of 10?
Michael Licona, evangelical NT scholar:
Gary, of course, I was not thinking about whether my decision was rational when I was 10. But that’s irrelevant to whether my more recent assessment was made using reason.
You believed in dead body reanimations at age 10. You also state that you believe that the majority of humanity (including the atheists in this discussion) will writhe in agony in an eternal torture chamber for all eternity—but I will bet that you cannot tell us where this massive dungeon is. You say that you investigated your beliefs years later after your conversion, when you were an adult. But I have a question for you: At age 10 did you start believing that a back-from-the-dead first century person named Jesus was communicating with you in some fashion? At age 10, did you believe that you had a “personal relationship” with this back-from-the-dead person? If so, how objective can one really be in investigating the reality of the reanimation (resurrection) of this first century corpse if you believe that he communicates with you each and every day?
Yes, I was already a Christian believer when engaged in my investigation. Now, if you want to move away from committing the ad hominem fallacy and deal with the data, I think you’ll get much further with your own investigation. That said, I have enjoyed our exchange, Gary. But I’m moving on given my limited time.
Imagine if I were to claim that at age ten I came to believe that Elvis Presley had been raised from the dead. Imagine again that from the age of ten, until this very day, I believe that Elvis Presley communicates with me on a daily basis. Would you trust my objectivity in evaluating the evidence for the claim that Elvis Presley had been raised from the dead? I don’t think you would, Dr. Licona. Do you see why many of us are skeptical of your ability to objectively evaluate the evidence for the alleged resurrection of Jesus and the alleged divine inspiration of the Bible?
If you do not believe that the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth communicates with you, then I apologize for making an ad hominem statement. But if you *do* believe that the spirit of this first century dead man communicates with you, then my statement was not an ad hominem, and I think you should answer the question.
End of post.