Guest Jonathan MS Pearce gives a presentation on the Resurrection and Atheist Alliance International’s chief exec join us to respond to viewers’ questions.
I don’t think Erhman’s prior probability argument is not going to stand up over time as a vehicle to create doubt to the resurrection. We often forget that we witness miracles every day when we wake up in the morning and realize we are conscious observers of the universe. We take this extraordinary evidence for granted.
The other big left out counter argument the skeptics claim is how all the books of the Bible work together to present a common cohesive narrative. An example is how much commonality there is between the book of Isaiah of the Jewish Tanakh and the gospel of Luke.
The other thing that is misstated here is that there is external conformation outside the Gospels of Jesus life and mission.
Here are some brief overviews of Isaiah and Luke.
I really like the Bible Project! Lately, I’ve been reading through the Old Testament with my new ESV study Bible, and am enjoying watching these videos as I work through the OT. My parents raised me without any religion, but I came to faith in college. So I also recommended these Bible Project videos to my parents, who are not church goers, but have themselves decided to read a One Year Bible this year.
Nothing compared to the commonality achieved in the Batman comics, movies and TV programs despite all these individual creators being involved.
So is Batman real?
If I missed a humorous interchange among the parties, I apologize. If not, then this is a really pointless criticism. It is comparing apples to oranges. Comic book story lines are intended to achieve commonality. This argument could thus be applied to virtually any textual research of any historic documents. Examination of commonality among biblical texts, for textual critics of all stripes, is a legitimate avenue of investigation that should not be trivialized by any thinking person, IMO.
Well, but what does that have to do with what Faizal_Ali said? I take his point to be that this commonality has no bearing upon the truth of the claim, and that’s certainly true – all it shows is that multiple accounts derive from some earlier telling and share details which were in that earlier telling. To substantiate the truth of an astonishing tale surely requires more than that.
Then any time commonality is a necessary but not sufficient requirement, one could dismiss it as irrelevant with the batman analogy.
Indeed, but when sources can be shown to be first-hand and independent (e.g., both the French and British sources attest that there was a War of the Spanish Succession, various government records of procurement, payment, etc. account for it, multiple individual eyewitnesses participated in it and left accounts of their experiences, and so on, so we are justified in assuming it wasn’t just a triumphant tale made up by the British) then the commonality may become corroboration. In the case of Biblical works where we have a good deal of difficulty establishing the independence of sources, this is rarely if ever the case.
That sounds a bit like “when it is convenient, I’ll trust the sources to truly be independent and the eyewitnesses to be reliable.” But, okay, I’ll modify my previous statement to be:
Then any time commonality is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for establishing the validity of ancient documents, one could dismiss it as irrelevant with the batman analogy.
Whether it sounds a bit like that to you or not is, I am sure, a feature of your manner of listening. It’s certainly not to be found in the original.
Actually it is. I can say: While of course the British and French sources said the same thing regarding the war. One just copied the other; they didn’t want to appear inconsistent! Just like successive writers of batman.
And if there was good evidence that these sources were simply providing elaborations on a previously existing fictional account, rather than attempts to describe historic events that actually happened, then the consistency of the accounts would be of little value in establishing the latter claim.
In any event, that is not what @colewd was claiming. He is claiming that “the commonality…between the book of Isaiah of the Jewish Tanakh and the gospel of Luke” is evidence in support of the authenticity of the account given in the latter. Not at all the same thing as two independent contemporary accounts of an historical event, I hope you’ll agree. It is much more like someone writing a new Batman comic in 2020 and ensuring it is consistent with the narrative that has already been developed about the character. And that is the case even if Luke was writing about someone who actually lived (which I do not doubt). That the exploits of the protagonist in Luke’s account is deliberately and knowing portrayed as fulfilling prophecies of an ancient text is a mark against the author’s reliability and objectivity, not in its favour.
Yes, of course you can. And then the merits of the argument depend very much on how likely that explanation is to be true. In the case of the War of the Spanish Succession, not bloody likely.
That makes no sense. It would make sense to say: “I give no or minimal weight to the fact that Luke’s account is consistent with Isaiah. I believe he was simply learned enough to make it so.” But to have it count against Luke is fallacious. For, in the event, arguendo, both the OT and NT are true and Luke is accurately reporting first-hand accounts under supernatural divine inspiration, then we would expect them to be consistent. What they should be, if it’s all true, may not carry any weight in your estimation, but it can hardly be held against them. At least not rationally. As I said, the consistency is necessary but not sufficient, with emphasis on necessary.
Like I said, it appears to be okay when it is convenient to be okay. When it can be declared to be “not bloody likely.”
Those, of course, are not the same thing at all. When you have a variety of accounts from a wide variety of sources – memoirs of soldiers who fought, government procurement records, correspondence between people involved, parliamentary history, contemporaneous accounts in the press, and so on, you get to where the “they just made it up” explanation is not bloody likely. Nothing to do with “convenience.” When you have none of this sort of corroboration and no way of discerning that your sources are not all simply derivative of a common source, the truth, convenient or otherwise, is that you really have very little to go on.
I already conceded that my argument is best applied to ancient texts. Although in fact your war argument the elements are in fact the same: different accounts, reports of people who claim to be eyewitnesses. This is just what some say about the biblical texts. The only difference, in terms of how much validity you attach, is elapsed time and personal bias.
Not really. In the case of the War of the Spanish Succession, we have enormous amounts of biographical information on many of those whose accounts were preserved, and this biographical information in turn is corroborated by such things, again, as government sources. The existence and character of the first Duke of Marlborough is very well-documented; Queen Anne, Louis XIV, Godolphin, Tallard, Prince Eugene, Louis of Baden, Cadogan, likewise. And the documentation is contemporaneous with those people’s lives, not decades late. The ordinary occurrences of the war, the conditions of the march, et cetera, are preserved in lengthy memoranda like that of Col. Blackader (not the more well-known Blackadder played by Rowan Atkinson).
So, what do you need, in order to have an alternative hypothesis? A conspiracy so vast that it encompassed everyone from the Queen to the purchasing clerks, in the UK, and the same in the other nations involved: a conspiracy to comprehensively falsify every last document that could be left behind. And this had to be done at the time-of, not later – original documentation of the era demonstrates as much.
In the case of Biblical texts we typically know little about the authors – usually, we do not even have good evidence that the documents were written by those to whom they are, by tradition, attributed. We have the output of a folkloric process, eventually written down, making claims of the most extraordinary character.
If ten separate eyewitnesses, of known credibility and good character, had all testified that the Duke of Marlborough was shot dead at Blenheim, left in a tomb for a couple of days, and then found to have returned to life, nobody would believe it. It would pass the plausibility filter of exactly zero of the world’s historians. And that, of course, is as it should be. Neither a solid reputation for truth nor status as a firm eye-witness, on the part of these witnesses, could change this. When the evidence is vastly weaker, the conclusion must be the same.
Whose plausibility filter? Yours? Mine? Is there an objective plausibility filter? What about historians who are believers who find the biblical accounts plausible? Do they count? Or by definition, as believers, is their plausibility filter fatally flawed? What about atheist Jesus mythicists vs. atheist Jesus historicists? Which have reliable and unbiased plausibility filters? Is Richard Carrier or Bart Ehrman the gold standard?
Even though you keep bringing up a modern versus an ancient example, I will still point out that the only difference is a matter of degree. Any argument that presents consistency as adding to plausibility is subject to the batman analogy. It’s only a matter of degree.
I think we agree he is a fictional character. This is different than the Jewish Messianic King (Yeshua/Jesus) from the line of King David.