Jeremy is an evangelical Christian with whom I recently engaged in discussion on a Christian blog. He has kindly agreed to come to my blog to continue our discussion. I ask my skeptic readers to please “play nice” as Jeremy is my guest. Feel free to criticize/attack his views, but not him personally. Thanks, everyone!
Jeremy, evangelical Christian: …you assume that no evidence can be provided because of confirmation bias on the side of the evangelical. The funny thing is that the confirmation bias that you assume is on the other side is demonstrated in your statement. In essence you say, ‘no one that claims to have a relationship with the being in question can appropriately defend their view’. This assumes your position without presenting a single argument to the contrary.
Gary: Thank you again for agreeing to come to my blog to discuss your beliefs, Jeremy.
I am well aware of the fact that Christians can provide evidence for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. They have been doing so for almost 2,000 years. This evidence consists of alleged eyewitness testimony of persons seeing and interacting with a resurrected corpse, claims of changed behavior on the part of the disciples, the growth of Christianity, etc. It is evidence, but I view it as very weak evidence.
Now, yes, that could be due to my own bias. But I offer this: If the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus were “good”, then this alleged historical event should appear in our public university history textbooks as an historical fact, just as they list other events from antiquity as facts, such as Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. But, they don’t, do they! No public university history textbook on the planet (that I am aware of) lists the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact or even as a probable historical fact. Christians will claim that historians avoid religious historical claims or that they are biased, but this is nonsense. We know when Mohammad lived. We know when he attacked Medina, etc.. We also know historical information about Joseph Smith. The fact is that historians do not list the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact for one simple reason: The evidence is insufficient. The evidence is poor.
That said, I do believe that many Christians can argue for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus without possessing a disqualifying bias. Roman Catholic scholar Raymond Brown is (was, he is deceased) one such Christian. In addition, I believe that NT Wright is capable of arguing the evidence for the resurrection without a disqualifying bias. So the fact that one is a Christian is not a disqualifier for objectively evaluating the evidence for this alleged event. However, if one is a Christian who believes that he perceives the presence of the resurrected Jesus within his body and/or believes that he perceives the resurrected Jesus communicating with him in a still, small voice, it is my opinion that this disqualifies this Christian from objectively evaluating the historical evidence. Since it is primarily evangelicals and Pentecostals who hold to the belief in a “personal relationship/communication with” the resurrected Jesus, it would be only these groups of Christians that are disqualified, in my opinion.
If you believe that you have a voice whispering into your ear that says, “Hey, Jeremy. It’s Jesus. I am very much alive and well. I really was resurrected 2,000 years ago.” there is no way, in my opinion, that you can objectively look at the historical evidence for the alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
End of post.