Gary: You believe that the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is strong enough for it to be sufficient for you to believe, but you said above that you would not describe it as strong, per se. Very good.
Let’s assume as fact that Jesus was seen alive again after his crucifixion and burial, either through some rare natural explanation (we know of at least a couple of other people who survived crucifixions) or the Creator of the universe performed a miracle, and brought Jesus back to life.
What evidence do you have that Jesus is still alive today and that he rules as omnipotent Lord of the universe?
Christian: I don’t know if I have any strong empirical evidence to offer just things that encourage me. These would be the categories of those things:
1. Testimonies of people whose lives changed radically after an experience with Jesus. some people used to be really big jerks and now they’re not.
2. Alleged miracle accounts. There is this guy Keener I think his name is who wrote a whole volume on some of them. maybe you don’t find the evidence to be strong enough for any of them but of course it could be something to consider.
3. Answers to prayer like the example I gave above that have a reasonable degree of complexity and specificity.
Gary: The early Christian Church has told you and every Christian for the last two thousand years that Jesus of Nazareth not only was seen alive again after his death, but that his dead corpse had been transformed into a superhero-like body with unlimited supernatural powers, that this body lifted off the face of the earth into the sky, that he is the Creator of the universe, and that at this very moment, he reigns as omnipotent Lord and Master of the cosmos. What evidence is there for this fantastical claim?
We have ZERO eyewitness testimony from someone alleging to have seen Jesus disappear into the clouds. We have one account of this alleged levitation, from someone who admits that he was not an eyewitness, and whom many scholars doubt was even an associate of one of the eyewitnesses. This is the same author who alleges in the Book of Acts that Peter’s shadow magically healed people of their illnesses as he passed by on the street!
So isn’t it possible that even if Jesus survived his crucifixion by some natural explanation/or was miraculously raised from the dead by a Creator, that he lived for a few more years and died just like the rest of us? What evidence is there that Jesus is still alive and well??
-You stated above that you are “uncertain” as to the evidence that Jesus answers prayer and intervenes to alter the course of human events. That doesn’t sound like convincing evidence to believe that a first century peasant is the current ruler of the universe.
-Testimonies: If you go on youtube, you will find hundreds of videos by Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Hare Krishna, etc. who believe that their conversion to their new faith has dramatically changed their lives; changes that could only have occurred by the intervention of their god, proving that their new religion is the one true religion. How do we know which of you is correct??
-Miracles: I’ve read Craig Keener’s book, “Miracles”, both volumes, cover to cover. Keener lists hundreds of alleged miracles…but admits that he did not spend one DIME to investigate them. Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons can also give thousands of accounts of similar “miracles”. So either a lot of different gods are doing a lot of different miracles, or a lot of random chance occurrences are being falsely interpreted as acts of a god.
-Answered Prayer: You said previously that the evidence that Jesus answers your prayers is sufficient for you but probably unconvincing on its own.
So David, is it rational, based on the evidence you have presented, to believe that the Creator and ruler of our universe is a back-from-the-dead first century peasant turned superhero?
End of post.