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July 09, 2008

Comments

Alex Marshall

I agree that the argument that this find- should it prove genuine and accurately interpreted- makes the resurrection seem like a fable is a pretty weak claim. Though, from an apologetics standpoint, this find may make some arguments that Christians use to defend the resurrection much more difficult.

For instance, one of the most powerful arguments for the resurrection used in apologetics is that the resurrection account is a dramatic change from Jewish culture of the day. Jewish culture expected a messiah in the sense of a liberator from Rome. Jesus repeatedly acted against that conception of a messiah (take the discussion about paying taxes, for instance), which confused a lot of Jewish people. When he was crucified by the Romans he was supposed to defeat his movement should have completely fallen apart given Jewish cultural expectations. Instead, his followers claimed he had risen from the dead, something completely contrary to Jewish beliefs of the time (they held that there would be a general resurrection of everyone at the end of history, individual resurrection was a very new concept) and established a new covenant- a primarily religious and spiritual claim, rather than a political one. In apologetics, we argue that the profound shift in thinking and expectations is evidence that the resurrection was an historical event. It simply would not have been thought of or considered in Jewish culture if it hadn't happened.

Now, this particular argument stands to lose a lot if this finding proves true. The resurrection story, especially in light of the political expectations for the messiah, would no longer be seen as such a dramatic shift in the Jewish way of thinking. This definitely doesn't disprove the resurrection, and there are certainly lots of other very significant arguments for the resurrection. However, it does directly attack one of the more important arguments, so in that sense, it seems a significant find.

Jeff

The thing that keeps getting drilled into me when talking with those who don't believe is that the world is going to continue to treat the Gospel as a fable or a story and will use ANY means to prove their point of view. And honestly, when talking with these people, it's only God working through me because their points are outnumbering my counterpoints. I've found that this is the easy part of faith for me, though: listening to all of this, all the attacks and the slander of the Gospel, watching people wanting me to give ground because of the seemingly insurmountable evidence, then going, "No. You're wrong. This is where God stands and I stand with him."

Sorry for the run-on.

Alex Marshall

So I've come across a somewhat different take on the Gabriel's Revelation stone. A friend of mine does a pretty good job explaining it for anyone who wants to read, here's the link: http://themindonfire.blogspot.com/2008/07/gabriel-stone-big-deal-for-christianity.html

Jeff, I think we as Christians are perfectly justified in believing even though seemingly insurmountable arguments might be brought against us. Our personal "experiences" with God seem to be compelling enough evidence despite what "scholars" may say against Christianity. In my experience arguing for Christianity and studying apologetics, I have found that I am somewhat uncomfortable "proving" Christianity- I don't think I can claim any definitive, absolute proof. Instead, what I try to demonstrate is that Christianity is a viable option- that's its not ridiculous to be a Christian and that the Christian perspective should at least be considered. This then allows personal experience to be much more persuasive argument- if Christianity is a possibility and my experience says that its true, then I am very justified in believing it, even if someone else is not convinced. It also means that you can challenge someone to be open to Christianity without saying "you have to believe it, there's no way around it." Even though as a Christian, I believe Christianity is true, taking the more bold claim that there is no way around it has in my experience almost always been the fastest route to being backed in a corner. Being a bit "softer" in my argumentation though forces the other person to consider what you're saying rather than just try to discredit you.

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