Can God create a stone so heavy He can’t lift it?

Can skeptics realize that nonsensical questions don’t prove anything?

I know the “stone” scenario is sometimes thrown out there as a joke but surprisingly some people take it seriously as an alleged disproof of God’s existence. They might as well ask, “Has God stopped beating his mother?” Loaded questions prove nothing more than the motives and/or reasoning skills of those who offer them.

As Greg Koukl points out, omnipotence is having the power to do everything one could do with power.  But no amount of strength can make a square circle.


I would add the following to the definition of the pink piece of the pie: “. . . after the patient nearly dies multiple times from all the misdiagnoses.”

Black tea partiers surprised to find they’re not “really” black — must see video!  The Left’s race-baiting and cries of “Uncle Tom” are nauseating.  But wait, all those black MSNBC anchors can’t be wrong . . .

University of Calgary students face expulsion for pro-life display

Super volcano photos!

A great list of abortion recovery ministries

If you are struggling after an abortion, there is help, hope, and healing for you.

If you feel guilt or shame, anger, confusion, are depressed, have suicidal thoughts, nightmares, increased drinking or drug use, or trouble bonding with subsequent children, please know you are not alone.

There are people all over the country that are waiting to offer you abortion recovery services. Here are just a few of them… [see the link]

The most important thing to realize is that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. Others have traveled the path to find healing and you can, too.

If you are struggling, please reach out for help. We will share with you the same love and support we were offered.

1,000 Tea Party Protest: 0 Arrested… 1 Leftist SEIU [union] Protest: 25 Arrested — but the Tea Partiers are the violent ones, right?  HT: The Other McCain

The “tea partiers are scary and violent while Liberals are super-duper extra nice” meme is very compelling, provided that you only watch the mainstream media.  Remember quaint pictures like the one below?  Click here for lots more examples.

Sibling rivalry for pro-choice / anti-death penalty Christians

“Sibling rivalry” is a phrase used by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason to describe the situation where people hold opposing ideas at the same time.

Sometimes objections come in pairs that are logically inconsistent and therefore oppose each other. I call this “sibling rivalry” because they are like children fighting.

For example, those who are quick to object that God isn’t doing enough about evil in the world (“A good God wouldn’t let that happen”) are often equally quick to complain when God puts His foot down (“A loving God would never send anyone to hell”). If He appears indifferent to wickedness, His goodness is challenged. Yet if He acts to punish sin, His love is in question. These objections compete with each other. They are siblings in rivalry. One or the other needs to be surrendered. Both can’t be held simultaneously.

A good example of this is when pro-legalized abortion / anti-death penalty Christians try to use Exodus 21 to rationalize abortion.  As I examined here, their arguments fail for multiple reasons, the main one being the mistranslation of the key word in the text.

But even if I ignored their mistranslation, they are inconsistent in their application of Exodus 21.  Based on the item highlighted below, they should refer to this text to support capital punishment instead of opposing it.

When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22–25, ESV)

Why do they use a passage from Exodus as their platform to justify abortion but ignore the next sentence, which is much more clear?  If they try to play the fallacious “Jesus changed capital punishment rules” then that argument would go double for abortion.

This is a case where both siblings are wrong, but they should at least give up one of the arguments for starters.


Now here is a good use of taxpayer funds (seriously, we need more humor like this):

Hat tip: Biblical Christianity

That is almost as good as this old favorite:

Abortionist distraught over killing wrong twin — He would have been fine if he had done it “right” and killed the child with Down Syndrome.  Such moral schizophrenia.

From the “I am not making this up category” comes unisex restrooms for public schools.

Transgender students must be allowed access to the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity or expression or, if they prefer, to existing single-stall bathrooms.

Christian “music star” now lesbian — I might have put the quotes around Christian instead of music star, but whatever.  Sadly, she trotted out the lame shellfish argument, which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address five serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument.  I am so tired of the deliberate ignorance people use to distort Christianity and teach whatever they like.  It isn’t that hard to study the Bible.

She wants to dismiss Leviticus 18:22 (You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination), so does that mean the verses before and after are outdated as well? (“You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. . . .  And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.)

Obama’s back-alley healthcare — not enough doctors, forcing un-qualified people to administer care, etc.

Why would any church have Shelby Spong speak there, let alone “preach?”  Sadly, a United Methodist church is having him do just that.

A controversial bishop who denies belief in a personal deity will speak at a Madison church on Sunday. Retired Episcopal Church Bishop John Shelby Spong will lecture on the divinity of Christ at First United Methodist Church.

Spong, who has denied the deity of Christ as well as his bodily resurrection and virgin birth, plans to give two lectures on April 10th, as well as preach on April 11th. His views contradict the teachings of the United Methodist Church and of all traditional churches.

Bishop Spong’s former diocese in the northern half of New Jersey shrunk by 40 percent under his helm, a pattern of decline typical of ultra liberal churches.

What do you call an organization that brings in someone to speak on the divinity of Christ who doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ?!  Non-Christian.

Good and bad news about that evil richest 1%

Good news: They sure are evil, and it is fun to covet their wealth and blame them for all the problems in society (even though they do pay loads of taxes and provide countless jobs).

Bad news: If you consider the whole world and not just the U.S., then you’re probably part of that 1%. (What makes you think you only get to look at the top 1% in the U.S.? That seems rather arbitrary, especially for open border social justice types.) Anyone making $47,500 or more is in the richest 1% of the world. If you believe in wealth redistribution and truly want to be average then give away everything except $850 per year.

Go visit the Global Rich List site to see where you fit in (be sure to update the currency to whatever you use — the default is pounds).

99% of the people on the planet think you are rich. They could take half of what you make, live within their means and be completely debt free while still improving their standard of living by more than 10 times.

I hope you are feeling a bit richer now. I think we should all give generously. I just don’t think that asking the government to take from my definition of the rich to give to my definition of the poor qualifies as charity on my part.

He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from his treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice.

Randy Alcorn – The Treasure Principle

P.S. In case you couldn’t tell, the first line was sarcasm. Yes, there are evil rich people. And evil middle class people. And evil poor people.

Guest post: A Catholic says, “Thank God for the Protestants and Evangelicals.”

While I always contend that the Reformation happened for good reasons and they are still valid, I thoroughly enjoy LCB’s diplomatic and well-thought out comments. Therefore, I’m publishing this guest post of his. Dive in!


It’s been a rough few weeks to be Catholic. Really rough. “I wonder what’s going on with the Eastern Orthodox these days” type of rough. For many devout American Catholics (and I don’t mean the Nancy Pelosi type of devout) it’s been brutal. Worse than the “Long Lent” of 2002 (when the Boston Globe set off the scandal here in the States, as the period is often called in Catholic-shorthand). In this Easter season, for the first time in my life, I am thanking God for the Protestants and Evangelicals in general. Not just particular Protestants and Evangelicals (who I have been thankful for in the past), but the entire groups. I know a number of other Catholics who are feeling the same.

Central to the agony of the last few weeks has been a series of unrelenting and baseless attacks upon Pope Ratzinger. The media, unable to connect the man to wrongdoing, has instead adopted a policy of radical slander, ad hominem attacks, innuendo, and even outright lies. Run a false headline on the front page one day, print a small retraction of the entire story the next day on page Z-99, in 6 point font. Run a quote from a plantiff’s lawyer as if it were unbiased, only mention 30 paragraphs later (or not at all) that the man has made millions on sexual abuse lawsuits, and is currently trying to permit the Vatican to be sued in US court. I could go on. And on. And on.

The worst part has not been the Catholic Church’s liberal branch (AKA “The 5th Column”) who have gleefully joined in on the assaults. We’ve been living with them being the main quoted Catholic “balance” in AP and NYTs articles for two generations now. The worst part is that the media has been so brazen in attacking Catholicism that Catholics who are trying to defend against the attacks can’t manage to get any coverage at all. Bishops and Cardinals speak out to correct mistakes, no coverage. Bill Donahue screams something into a microphone (seriously, I like him, but he needs to learn about the “inside voice” rule), no coverage. Catholic intellectuals release detailed counter-points, no coverage or publication.

The pall of silence and non-coverage of authentic Catholic responses to the attacks has is so bad that the Catholic League has resorted to taking out a full page ad in the NYTs in order to present its rebuttal to the NYTs own coverage. Let that sink in for a minute. The only way Catholics can now reply to the NYTs hatchet jobs is by spending $50,000+ for a full page ad.

But there are voices that the MSM will listen to, and will still publish, and is even writing articles about. These voices are the Protestants and Evangelicals who are speaking out in defense of truth, who recognize that this assault is about much more than abuse that occured in Wisconsin in the 1950s. It’s about an attempt to silence a voice that speaks with moral authority. In the midst of this constant media assault the Protestants and Evangelicals are arriving on the field of battle (since, in the end, it remains we Christians vs. the World and its prince) even as our own 5th column is turning on us like never before. And the Protestants and Evangelicals are saying (quite loudly at times) “It is wrong to smear the good name of a good man who has a decades long reputation of trying to fight this problem. Smearing people with lies is wrong, and what you in the press are doing is wrong.”

It hasn’t just been in the media, either, where my fellow brethren in Christ have shown their dedication to Truth above all else. It’s been in a multitude of personal interactions and local sermons where good men and women have spoken out against what they see to be wrong. Where my voice is ignorned (“Oh you’re just a Catholic of course you’ll say that”) the voice of my brethren has been heard and they have given a mighty witness to Christ in the process.

Now UN Judges are calling for war crimes charges to be brought against Pope Ratzinger. Dawkins and Hitchens are funding a legal team to try and have a warrant issued against Pope Ratzinger before his visit to Britain… and they may likely find a sympathetic judge who will do just that. The charges? “Crimes against humanity” and a great many Anglicans are rising up in defense of the Pope (that’s a sentence one doesn’t type every day) on this matter.

So, for the first time in my life, I am saying “Thank God for the Protestants and Evangelicals.” Not just particular individuals, but for the groups entirely. The witness of standing up for what is right is a mighty witness for Christ– especially in this Easter season. It’s been a long road since October 1517. The attacks and persecutions against the whole of Christianity have consistantly brought the brethren closer together in Roman Times, under the Ottomans, during the French Revolution, in the Soviet Union, and in modern China. In times and places of great trial Christians with extreme doctrinal divides have united in defending Truth and presenting the Gospel of Christ and His saving love to the world in ways that have radically changed history.

It is my sincere prayer that, just as Christ’s suffering on His Most Holy Cross brought about mankind’s unity with one another (in the Body of Christ, the Church) and with God the Father in and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that so too may our current suffering bring about greater unity among we separated brethren and bring about the conversion and salvation of many souls throughout the world. Especially those that seek to attack Christ and the Church.

Who pays taxes?

money2.jpgFrom Verum Serum:

The bottom 50% of earners pay $0 in Federal Income Taxes.  ZERO.

The top 1% of earners pay 40.5% of taxes.  Got that?  Those evil rich people that make up 1% of the country pay for 40% of everything — national defense, entitlements, etc.

The top 5% pay 60.6% of taxes.

The top 10% pay 71.2% of taxes.

And so on.

The top 10% of earners in this country should get thank-you cards from everyone else, not disdain from the liberal politicians and media.

And let’s not forget how greedy our current leaders are when it comes to charitable giving.  They market themselves as champions of the poor but they profit by keeping the poor down, and they don’t give out of their own pockets.


I enjoyed this analysis of John MacArthur’s preaching.  I listen to his Podcast almost every day and learn a lot.  I go to a Methodist church but appreciate Reformed preaching as well — I suppose I’m just one of those wacky open-minded religious liberals!

Why do so many people listen to MacArthur, this product of all the wrong schools? How can he pack out a church on Sunday morning in an age in which church attendance has seriously lagged? Here is a preacher who has nothing in the way of a winning personality, good looks, or charm. Here is a preacher who offers us nothing in the way of sophisticated homiletical packaging. No one would suggest that he is a master of the art of oratory. What he seems to have is a witness to true authority. He recognizes in Scripture the Word of God, and when he preaches, it is Scripture that one hears. It is not that the words of John MacArthur are so interesting as it is that the Word of God is of surpassing interest. That is why one listens.

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Shocking: Madonna is a sex-selling hypocrite who doesn’t want her daughter to act like she does.

Black conservative Tea Partiers — turns out that they do exist, even though they get savaged with all kinds of pathetic personal attacks for their independent thinking.

AP Notices Black TEA Partiers Called Racist Names, But, It’s Not Racism, Cause They’re Conservatives — That’s the MSM way: Unsubstantiated claims of racism by Tea Partiers = real racism.  Substantiated claims of racism by Liberals = not racism.

Threats of violence by the loving, kind folks at Greenpeace (HT: Red State)

If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

Think you’ll be hearing about these threats of violence on the MSM?

Non-Christian quotes about abortion — nice summary by Reason to Stand.  Be sure to check out that blog, it is excellent!  I especially liked this quote.  Even the world’s bloodiest religion is better grounded on abortion than the Left:

You shall not kill your awlad [born or unborn children] due to fear of poverty. We provide for them, as well as for you. Killing them is a gross offence. Quran 17:31

Dear Liberal friends,

How often did you see this clip of President Obama tripping?  How many times would you have seen it if it had been President Bush?

We now conclude this reminder that the MSM is hopelessly biased.


Conservative friends

Mormon update: Still nice neighbors and friends.  Still not Christians.  Same vocabulary, different dictionary.  Many Mormons still as un-/mis-educated about their faith as many Christians are about theirs.  Seriously, watch the whole thing if you have doubts.

Give credit where it is due

Warning: Apparently self-serving post coming up.  But hey, I think it is good advice so I’m sharing it anyway.

There is a term for taking credit for someone else’s accomplishments: Stealing.

Always make sure that your employees get every bit of credit that they deserve for their accomplishments and ideas.  You may be tempted to take credit yourself, but giving them their due will motivate them and increase their trust in you.  You will still get the overall credit for your group’s accomplishments.  Oh, and it has the added benefit of being true.

I have one employee who can still tell you every last detail about a supervisor who stole one of his ideas ten years ago.  And I just heard about a Director who is notorious for stealing credit that others deserved.  He deprived people of their just recognition and hurt his credibility.  I’m sure you have stories of your own.

So what do you do or what will you do when you are in that situation?

I recently had a case where this came into play.  I sent an email about a new process and my supervisor wrote back noting that it was a good idea.  I immediately wrote back thanking him for the feedback but pointed out that the idea belonged to one of my employees.  I cc’d the employee.  (I hadn’t mentioned the employee in the original email because the recipients were unlikely to be happy with the process change and I preferred that they blame me instead of my employee.)

So aside from the truth-in-reporting aspect here, what is the net effect?  While my supervisor no longer credits me with the original idea, he was quick to credit me for being transparent and a good manager.  The employee was recognized by the CFO and he realizes that he’ll get credit for all his work and that he can trust me.  He was very happy.

It’s win-win, and it is really simple: Just be intentional and habitual about giving praise and credit when it is earned.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark was not an eye-witness but leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

“If Mrs. Dahmer of the 21st century wanted to have an abortion, what would you say to her?”

That provocative question came from a recent commenter. She was referring to Jeffrey Dahmer, a mass murderer. Of course, this hypothetical could never happen. We don’t know for certain what people will do in the future. How do I know that she is carrying Jeffrey and that he will kill many people? Is this a Hot Tub Time Machine situation?

But while suspending my reality for the sake of discussion, here’s my answer:

  • I would tell her not to abort, because abortion kills an innocent human being.
  • Killing people because they might kill — or even would be highly likely to kill — is a rather dangerous precedent. I’m one of those compulsively old-fashioned types who thinks you should punish people after they commit crimes, not before.
  • I would offer to give her parenting advice based on the word of God. It isn’t fool-proof, but it would increase his odds greatly.

I asked a couple clarifying questions for the commenter but oddly enough she never came back to answer them. Some questions for the commenter, if she is still reading, and for anyone else sharing her views:

Do you approve of capital punishment for Jeffrey after he has committed his crimes? (If you are, you are an exception, as most pro-legalized abortionists I know are anti-capital punishment.) I realize that is sort of a “duh” question on my part considering that you want to execute him decades before his crimes, but I want to make sure I represent your views accurately.

Isn’t your objection to Jeffrey Dahmer that he killed innocent human beings? How is killing an innocent human being (at least at that stage of his life) consistent with that?

Isn’t it customary to wait until after people commit crimes to punish them?

Do you agree that the human being Mrs. Dahmer would be having destroyed is actually Jeffrey at a particular stage of development?

How do you know Jeffrey will be evil and not a hero like Obama?

If she can have Jeffrey killed inside the womb for crimes he might or even “will” commit (in this hypothetical), can she kill him outside the womb for the same reasons? If not, why not?

If Mrs. Dahmer didn’t want to abort Jeffrey even though she “knew” what he would do, should the government force her to abort him? If not, can the government kill him outside the womb to protect others?


My guess is that posing the Dahmer question gets all sorts of virtual high fives and back slapping on pro-legalized abortion blogs. But I think it is pretty easy to prove how ridiculous the premise is. They work hard at justifying abortion. If only they would use their powers for good instead of evil.

What would the rest of you say to Mrs. Dahmer or to the commenter who brought this up?

False teacher can’t even get it right on Easter

From Chuck Currie’s May The Peace Of Christ Be With You This Easter Morning.

As Christians, we remember Good Friday as the day Jesus was put to death by the Roman Empire. His crime: preaching God’s message of radical inclusion, justice, grace and love.

That wasn’t it at all.  Has Chuck even read the Bible?  Pilate tried to avoid killing Jesus.  He did it as appeasement to the Jews.  Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and God in flesh, and the Jews hated him for it.

The powers and the principalities of his day – much like our own – could not abide by his teachings and felt threatened by his influence. Rome did what all powers do when they feel their hold on power endangered. They attempted to silence the Prince of Peace by putting him to death.

He has zero evidence for that.  Really, you could read any Bible account and realize he is wrong.

But Jesus did not die when he died and ever since we have experienced the Risen Christ, a powerful reminder that hope endures and that Almighty God remains sovereign over all. Let our prayers be with all those who suffer this day – the hungry and homeless, victims of wars, those who mourn, those who are sick, and those who are oppressed. Jesus stands with the least of these today just as he did 2000 years ago. God’s light can overcome any darkness we may face. May this morning of the resurrection find you well and may the peace of Christ be with you.

The Gospel is that Jesus died for our sins.  Chuck doesn’t mention sin and forgiveness even once!  It takes a real wolf in sheep’s clothing to do that.

Evidence for the resurrection

tomb.jpgThis is a summary of the “minimal facts” approach, which points to commonly held historical facts as evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and the truth of Christianity.

Nearly 100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to a post-crucificion church leader.
  • The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him and he wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philemon and others.

75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty.

I submit that the physical resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts.

There is a great set of PowerPoint slides here outlining the “minimal facts” approach.


I am confident that we can defend the inspiraton and innerancy claims of the Bible, but the discussions are wide and deep and it is easy for them to get off track.

An interesting approach is to consider what the skeptical historians tend to agree on – that is, what elements of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus do the well educated skeptics concede?  You can actually build a very strong case starting with those.  If nothing else, it helps annihilate the “blind faith” accusations often lobbed against Christians.

When virtually all historians agree on something – believers and skeptics included, we have a term for those views: Facts.

I readily concede that God used the writing styles and experiences of the humans who wrote the Gospels, but I don’t concede that it didn’t turn out exactly as God wanted it to. He is sovereign over his creation and could easily guide the people and circumstances to achieve what He desired.

I think those doctrines are quite defensible but not necessary to share the Gospel. There are several important facts that even skeptical historians will concede, and we can work from there:

  • Jesus really lived and then died on a Roman cross.
  • The disciples really believed He rose physically (even if the historians don’t believe He rose physically they agree that the disciples believed that He did).
  • The Apostle Paul persecuted Christians then converted after claiming to see the risen Christ and wrote at least Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philipians, Galatians and Philemon, which record key doctrines and traditions at early dates.  Paul was originally hostile to the faith and had no reason to believe.

Mike Licona is a New Testament historian, author, and Christian apologist. He is a PhD candidate in New Testament at the University of Pretoria and has an M.A. in Religious Studies from Liberty University.  He has a great web page that addresses these in a very accessible way.  Here are a couple excerpts.  Go read the whole thing.  I also put a link in the apologetics section to the right.

1. Jesus’ disciples believed he appeared to them. (% of scholars from 1975-Present who agree: Nearly 100%)

No less than 9 ancient sources from an eyewitness, very early oral traditions dating within 20 years of Jesus’ crucifixion, and several written sources testify that Jesus’ disciples were claiming that he had risen from the dead and appeared to them.

“It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which He appeared to them as the risen Christ.” -Atheist New Testament Scholar Gerd Lüdemann, 1995

2. A few skeptics believed Jesus appeared to them. (% of scholars from 1975-Present who agree: Nearly 100% for Paul; ~90% for James)

Paul experienced an immediate change from a persecutor of the Church to one of its most aggressive advocates.  He said the change was because the risen Jesus had appeared to him, and he willingly suffered and died for that belief. (Sources: Paul, Luke, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Tertullian, Dionysius of Corinth, Origen)

Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, the brother of Jesus named James was a skeptic (Sources: Mark, John).  An appearance of the risen Jesus to James is reported within 5 years of Jesus’ crucifixion (Source: 1 Corinthians 15:7).  James became a leader of the Church in Jerusalem (Sources: Paul, Luke).  James willingly died for his belief that Jesus was the Messiah (Sources: Josephus, Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria).

3. The original disciples were willing to suffer and die for their belief that Jesus rose and attests to the sincerity of their faith, which strongly rules out lies on their part.

Sources: Luke, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius, Dionysius of Corinth, Tertullian, Origen.

4. “All the strictly historical evidence we have is in favor of [the empty tomb], and those scholars who reject it ought to recognize that they do so on some other ground than that of scientific history.”-William Wand, Oxford University, 1972) (% of scholars from 1975-Present who agree: ~75%)

Since Jesus was publicly executed then buried in Jerusalem, it would have been impossible for Christianity to get off the ground there had the body still been in the tomb.  His enemies in the Jewish leadership and Roman government would only have had to exhume the corpse and publicly display it for the hoax to have been shattered.

Rather than point to an occupied tomb, the Jewish leadership who had Jesus crucified accused His disciples of stealing the body. This move seems to have been an attempt to account for a missing body, since it is highly unlikely that this claim would have been made if the body had still been in the tomb. (Sources: Matthew, Justin, Tertullian).

When we come to the account of the empty tomb, women are listed as the primary witnesses.  This would be an odd invention, since in both Jewish and Roman cultures woman were not esteemed and their testimony was regarded as questionable; certainly not as credible as a man’s. Given the low view of women that existed in the first century, it seems unlikely that the Gospel authors would invent testimonies, place them in the mouths of those who would not be believed by many, and then make them the primary witnesses to the empty tomb.  If the Gospel writers had invented the story about the empty tomb, it seems that they would most likely have depicted men discovering its vacancy and being the first to see the risen Jesus.


a. A number of people claimed to have seen Jesus alive after his execution.  These were friends and skeptics, individuals and groups.

b. Jesus’ tomb was empty

c. Since these facts are well established historically and are accepted by the majority of scholars, any theory of what happened has to account for all of the facts.

d. Jesus’ resurrection certainly accounts for all of the historical facts.  But can any natural explanation (opposed to a supernatural one) explain these facts too?

Competing theories

Psychological phenomena, fraud, legend. [see the web site for refutations of these theories]

The New Testament wasn’t first compiled into a single volume until the middle of the second century.  Thus, we have no less than 9 New Testament authors who write about Jesus in the first century.  Furthermore, 11 additional early Christian authors, 4 heretical writings, and 7 non-Christian sources make explicit mention of Jesus in their writings within 150 years of his life. This amounts to a minimum of 31 authors, 7 who are non-Christian, who explicitly mention Jesus within 150 years of his life.

Worst. “Christian.” Pro-legalized abortion argument. Ever.

I saw this argument put forth twice this week by people self-identifying as Christians — once by a commenter here, and once by a pastor on the Sojourners blog.

When someone pointed out this simple yet accurate argument, these commenters tried to switch the definition of “innocent” to rationalize abortion.

  • It is immoral to kill innocent human beings.
  • Abortion kills an innocent human being.
  • Therefore, abortion is immoral.

The argument is sound.  It is a scientific fact that the unborn are unique, living human beings.  And of course, they haven’t committed any capital crimes so there would be no reason to put them to death, even if one was pro-capital punishment.

Here’s their trick: They act as if pro-lifers don’t understand the concept of original sin and imply that the unborn aren’t truly innocent.  Therefore, they think the argument above fails.  Clever, eh?  Not really, for these reasons:

  1. They are guilty of the logical fallacy of equivocation, using a word in different ways in the same argument.  The argument above is non-religious and obviously means they aren’t guilty of a crime deserving capital punishment.  The commenters use the word in the Christian sense of us being tainted with original sin.  Those definitions of innocence are radically different, and the pro-legalized abortionists switched definitions part way through the discussion.
  2. Pro-legalized abortionists rarely support capital punishment for convicted murderers who lose 10+ years of appeals, but they must be super-duper-pro-capital punishment to claim that the taint of original sin would justify capital punishment in the womb.  If original sin is enough to make abortion-on-demand fair game, I can imagine what they have in mind for real criminals!
  3. They are forcing their (incorrect) religious views on other people.  While contrary to what these professing Christians claim, Jesus is anti-abortion.  But non-Christians don’t care about that, so we can prove all day long that abortion is wrong — with or without religious arguments.
  4. If original sin was the issue here it wouldn’t merely justify abortion, it would require it.
  5. If original sin justified abortion, it would also justify killing people outside the womb.

It is always sad when self-proclaimed Christians fight so hard to rationalize this.  That is the opposite of loving your neighbor.

If this was the only issue they got so horribly wrong it would be bad enough, but these people are typically opposed to biblical definitions of marriage, the deity of Jesus, the exclusivity of Jesus, the authority of the Bible, and more.  They blather about “social justice” and focus on government-driven wealth redistribution (as opposed to the biblical method of redistributing wealth out of your own wallet) but sit idly by when innocent human beings are killed.  No, worse than that: They don’t just sit by, they advocate for the right to do so.