An articles about the
resurrection that ignores the compelling criticisms of the Gospels JC legend belongs in Time Magazine, not the Skeptic,
for it violates 3 principles of reason:
First stated by David Hume on miracles. "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that
its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish."
[David Hume, "Of Miracles", from
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748]
"The many instances of forged miracles, and prophecies, and supernatural
events, which, in all ages, have either been
detected by contrary evidence,
or which detect themselves by their absurdity, prove sufficiently the strong
of mankind to the extraordinary and marvellous, and ought
reasonably to begat a suspicion against all relations of this
[David Hume, "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" 1748]
Second, I call the
ostrich effect, that of ignoring compelling criticisms. In particular the author,
a biblical scholar, must have been familiar with the well-known body of arguments showing that there is no historical JC. Biblical scholars are well aware of the scholarly criticism on the topic of
the historical JC, which show two things: one, that the Bible for numerous reasons
is unreliable, and two, there are no solid extra-biblical sources. Ironically
one of the 3 skewers of bible as a source for the JCs life, namely that the JC tale was sculptured for an assortment of theological
purposes, is stated by Randel Helms in Gospel Fiction, whose book has on 69 a full page add. Helms gives us biblical exegesis at its best. All the skewers
are to be found in the work of the German theologians at the end of the 19th century. It has been brought to its perfection in the books by G.A. Wells--at times advertised in the Skeptic.
Third, the principle
of consistency: likes are to be treated alike.
To treat JC as historical ignores the distinction between mythology and history.
The Greeks of the 5th century BC thought that their JC and Samson-like heroes were historical figures whose
deeds had been preserved orally and later set down by their poets. A work about
a possible historic person, such as Hermes, Hercales, Cadmus, and Theseus, that is full of tall tales and lacking independent,
reliable historical evidence, we consider the entire as myth, though there could be an historical foundationone that will
never be discovered. To treat JC different--for we will never discover the historic
foundation--is to violate the principle of consistence.
One final thought, well said by Hume: "The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot
be believed by any reasonable person without one."
[David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748]
A skeptic must look
to sources and not accept on authority what is commonly said when the authority exhibits true believer symptoms. This is the case in the areas affecting religion:
archaeological and history. Such authors are, with very few exceptions,
unreliable. Secondly, a skeptic should, as Hume has, recognize the biblical story
of JC is fantastic. Not only is the tale of the resurrection fantastic, but also
nearly every protracted scenes with JC has fantastic episodes.