Monday, October 25, 2010

Debate on the Resurrection

I generally very much enjoy Bart Ehrman. I first encountered him on a few Teaching Company courses on the New Testament, knowing nothing about who he was. Later I learned he was a minor celebrity in the field.

Nonetheless, I don't think he handles himself particularly well in the following debate.

His attempt to logically refute the resurrection of Jesus fails. Yes, miracles, if such exist, are incredibly unlikely. Yes, history deals in probabilities. But the claim a miracle is unlikely is in isolation from any other data. Once we look at other evidence, the likelihood may change dramatically. The chance of, for example, a man being able to walk on water may be amazingly low. But if we introduce other evidence, e.g., there are ten million witness, the ability has been thoroughly tested through the scientific method, whatever you will, the miracle, unlikely in itself, becomes the best answer.

Likewise with the resurrection. If we ask whether a resurrection occurred in isolation, the possibility may be absurdly low. But if other corroborating evidence exists--if--the possibility changes.

The question of what that corroborating evidence is, and what its weight is, is another issue. My only point is that we cannot logically arrive at a conclusion without at least doing the messy job of weighing that evidence. Ehrman is actually famous for being able to do that messy job--so his attempt to rationalize away the task is particularly disappointing.

Craig puts this well, and, in all, Ehrman disappoints.

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