In discussions on the existence of God, particularly the Christian God, it is common to hear the argument from the resurrection. The argument, in a common form, states that the hypothesis that “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation of some historical facts.
There are many ways one can attack this argument. A common objection is to call into question how the theist limited her set of facts to just a few facts. In other words, might there be other facts which don’t support the resurrection hypothesis? Might there be a set of other facts that support, for example, the hypothesis of metaphysical naturalism? I think one can make a case for this. So, what are those facts?
Here is just one fact (but not the only fact*) that is surprising on the resurrection hypothesis:
1. Jesus hasn’t been seen preaching his message on earth for over 2,000 years
This exactly what we would expect on naturalism or the no-resurrection hypothesis. Jesus could have returned during the lifetime of his disciples, which is one interpretation of Jesus’ prophecy about his second coming. On naturalism, of course, Jesus hasn’t been seen, because if naturalism is true, then Jesus stayed dead; however, on theism, Jesus could have stayed on earth after his resurrection to preach, or he could have returned at any point to, for instance, prove to each individual that Christianity is true.
Broadening our View
But, even if we grant the resurrection hypothesis that “God raised Jesus from the Dead” is the best explanation of some facts, and even if we grant that this hypothesis is also probable, the Christian isn’t off the hook yet. That’s because probabilities are relative to background information. Perhaps, there is also evidence against Christianity. Besides generic arguments against traditional/classical theism, which in turn effect Christian theism, there are also arguments against Christian theism in particular. For example, there are arguments against the Trinity and arguments against the Incarnation. And what about what we would predict? Would we predict that the Bible wouldn’t tell us about germs? Would we predict that Jesus wouldn’t have said anything about certain moral issues? None of this is the least bit surprising on naturalism.
The lesson here is that we shouldn’t cherry pick evidence for our hypothesis and ignore evidence to the contrary; that’s dishonest. Rather, when examining competing hypotheses, we need to sincerely ask what we would expect (and not expect) to see if true and if false.
*For example, Jesus didn’t appear to millions of people, which is exactly what we’d expect on naturalism.
Tags: #Christian theism, #Resurrection argument against God, #anti-resurrection argument, #evidence against Christianity, #Evidence against resurrection #Argument from non-resurrection, #Christological Argument for naturalism #Historical Argument against God, # Historical Argument against Resurrection, #Historical Argument against Christianity, Historical Argument against Christian theism.