Bart Erhman on the resurrection

A couple of things I would add to this video:

1. Because the gospels deal with supernatural events, the burden of proof is quite a bit greater than if it were dealing with mundane historical events. If the gospels merely contended that a Rabbi named Jesus lived, had followers, and was crucified, we probably wouldn't think much to dispute it. But the gospels claim he performed miracles, was raised from the dead, and was actually a god. To borrow an example from Sam Harris: the Hindu mystic Sathya Sai Baba has millions of followers who believe he performs miracles. So does Benny Hinn. That's today, in our scientific age. Are we really supposed to believe that illiterate peasants living 2,000 years ago were impervious to such flights of fancy?

2. The de facto response from theologians regarding factual contradictions is that you want a certain amount of disagreement, otherwise you'd think the authors conspired to fabricate the story. But even if you accept the premise that some amount of disagreement is good, how do these theologians decide how much disagreement is acceptable? What independent criteria do they use to establish this amount? They have none, of course. What is the amount of disagreement that's acceptable to Christian theologians? Why, right about the amount that's in the gospels, of course! There's also a certain amount of irony here: theologians will take great pains to tell you how accurate the oral tradition was, and how meticulously the transcripts have been copied. Then, when you point out the many, many errors and contradictions, they say, "Oh, well, of course you'd expect that!"

3. This doesn't even begin to touch on the Old Testament. Even Christians (Young-Earth Creationists not withstanding) readily accept the vast majority of the Old Testament – the creation, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood, Jonah and the Whale, etc. – as myth. But it's quite damning that the most famous and commonly accepted story – the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt – is completely bereft of historical evidence.

4. All of the above summarizes an important point: the Bible is exactly what we would expect it to look like if it were just a collection of myths, legends, and hagiography all conjured up in the minds of fallible human beings. But Christians believe that this is the one book that the Creator and Lord of the Universe chose to give humanity. Given the evidence, we can conclusively disregard such claims as wholly implausible. The burden of proof falls to the Christian: why should we believe this book was divinely inspired? No rational examination of the evidence leads to such a fanciful conclusion.


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