Believing in the Resurrection
by Steve Douglas
April 4th, 2012 | 1 Comment
Diglotting has another excellent post up called, “Why I Believe in the Resurrection“. I’ve been thinking along these lines myself lately (as so often happens with Kevin’s posts). Do read it!
But while I’m largely in hearty agreement with the post, I figured I’d push back a little regarding the following remarks:
I have seen some Christians make the (strange) argument that the success of the early Christian movement is evidence in itself regarding the veracity of Christ’s resurrection! I find that to be complete nonsense.
Data useable in support of an explanation is evidence. Obviously, how good the evidence is varies vastly and depends largely on how exclusively it favors one explanation over its competitors. And clearly the success of a movement based on a miracle is not great evidence of that miracle’s historicity, still less “evidence that demands a verdict”, and a far cry from anything like proof. But it does seem to be at very least something that deserves an adequate, coherent explanation instead of ad hoc, anything-but-miracles hand-waving. Even if the movement had failed it wouldn’t disprove that the miracle happened, so it’s a thing of interest that it did not only not fail, but passed with flying, history-shading colors. So even if the success of the Christian movement as a result of the fervor of the earliest believers is not a piece of evidence exclusively in favor of the Resurrection, it’s at least more in line with “something remarkably unusual happened to start this whole thing off” than with “nothing very significant happened to inspire and fuel a movement that would shape the future of the world anyway”. This is surely necessary as a first rung on an evidential ladder — though probably not much higher than that. I do agree that putting too much weight on it as many apologists would like to do indeed tips the scale toward the “nonsense” side of the spectrum.
That minor quibble aside, I highly recommend the post!