Tag the Resurrection

On the Skepticism of the Resurrection (part 4) – naturalistic explanations

As mentioned in my previous posts, someone in Malawi is about to have a debate on national TV with a Christian about the Resurrection accounts and I have been asked to help provide some ideas for the debate, so here goes.
There are three aspects to the debunking of the Resurrection:

1) The Gospels are not reliable sources of information; they are poor quality evidence

2) The claims of the Resurrection are incredible claims which require very good quality evidence

3) If the Christian claims of the Resurrection are not true, then what, if anything, actually took place, and what hypothesis can better explain the data?

On the Skepticism of the Resurrection (part 3)

Having looked at points 1) and 2) it is time to see if there is a more plausible explanation for the data from a naturalistic perspective than the Christian claims. Before setting out the positive case, I want to spend a little time going over some of the data from the Gospels and how they are problematic. Really, this belongs in the first post under point 1), but it sort of required its own post for reasons of length.

Jesus: burial practices and crucifixion

I am having a massive debate on my facebook page at the moment with someone from the Unbelievable forum, which I have now left (tiring of the time-wasting silliness of some of the posters) about the Roman/Jewish burial practices after crucifixion with regard to Jesus’ death. Here is my latest comment on the thread:
Ok, so here is what I think. First, it is important to note that I take a sort of Bayesian approach; that being, the most plausible hypothesis should be taken to be the most likely to be true, and this involves evidence, prior probability and background knowledge.

Joseph of Arimathea; a rich prophecy fulfilment

I have spoken about Joseph of Arimathea before, in the videos linked below. Just reading a chapter by Robert M. Price in The End of Christianity, I came across this very simple aspect which shows, to me at any rate, that Matthew’s sole job seemed to be to contrive as many random prophecy fulfilments from the Old Testament as humanly possible.

Joseph of Arimathea – fact or fiction? Er, fiction.

Joseph of Arimathea used to be used by William Lane Craig as a pillar of his truth claims for the Resurrection, itself one of the four cornerstones of his apology. Richard Carrier, amongst others, has provided some very interesting viewpoints on the historicity of this figure (or lack thereof). Craig no longer seems to reference J of A, quite possibly the result of the weakness of any positive evidence and the strength of negative evidence for his historicity.

Why was Jesus’ tomb not venerated?

Thinking about the tomb, in the context of the last post, it is incredibly suspect that the place of the greatest spiritual and religious significance in the whole world seems not to have been venerated at least not until the 4th century CE onwards). This then prompts these questions: