More Than a Carpenter?

TheHonestAtheist September 13, 2016
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I really appreciate the work and wit of Christopher Hitchens. When it came to quick, smashing retorts to tear down the argument of apologists, none seemed to be his equal. His passing, in my humble opinion, was a severe loss.

Amidst my research into the historicity of Jesus Christ (see posts here and here), I came across another of Hitchens' brilliant arguments concerning Jesus Christ and who he said he was.

To set the scene: Hitchens is debating (what I presume is) a pastor on the claims of Jesus Christ and whether Jesus was who he said he was. The pastor lays out the argument as such, that the "greatest miracle has already happened"--which he is referring to as the big bang (assuming Hitchens' premise)--and arguing that the miracle of Jesus' resurrection is a far less fantastic miracle, and it gives evidence that what he preached and taught were true.

I'm not sure why--maybe it was being raised Christian that caused me to think this way--but Hitchens pounds this argument into the ground. He first expounds on how fantastic the resurrection is, by posing the quotation by David Hume:

Which is more likely: That the whole natural order is suspended? Or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?

He reasons that such a claim would mean vivid proof, not just, "I saw Jesus in the street the day after the resurrection." Such a claim is preposterous. He also undermines the idea of resurrection by pointing to the commonality of supposed resurrections at the time of Jesus (Lazarus and the daughter of Jarius for examples).

He further tramples the argument by accepting all premises the pastor just put forward. Suppose that Mary was a virgin, suppose she did birth a son who went on to perform miracles, die on a cross, and resurrect. None of that, proves Jesus' divinity! Jesus' resurrection does not prove he was born of a virgin, or that his father was God.

Link to video:


Hitchens really got me thinking, and I really liked the video. It was also Hitchens who got me thinking (while still as a Christian) how lacking Pascal's Wager is (I may post about that in the future).

On a related subject, I finished reading the book by Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter, and was rather disappointed. He lacks any argumentation that would be worthwhile in refuting. Half of the chapters are filled with Biblical scripture and quotations from "historians and experts" from evangelical and conservative leanings (a.k.a. a cherry-picking of experts and appeal to authority).

The only real arguments for the historic Jesus in McDowell's book, are a watered down version of Lewis' trilemma: was Jesus a lunatic, a liar, or a truth teller, and a run down of the possible theories and refutations regarding Jesus' resurrection. It appears to me the entire basis of his belief rests on these two facts alone (and personal experience). All in all, a wasted read.

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