Friday, November 25, 2011

Former Atheist, Craig Keener, Defends Miracles

I've been long anticipating the release of Craig Keener's new ground breaking book on Miracles. I just found out that it is now available and as a two volume set at that. Any work Keener does is scholarly and extremely well documented (his commentary on John includes tens of thousands of footnotes), Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts is no exception. The book reviews read as a whose who among Christian scholars. Professor Richard Bauckham notes,
"Craig Keener's discussion of New Testament miracles adduces a uniquely--indeed staggeringly--extensive collection of comparative material. That eyewitnesses frequently testify to miraculous healings and other 'extranormal' events is demonstrated beyond doubt. Keener mounts a very strong challenge to the methodological skepticism about the miraculous..."
Keener has written a blog, Are Miracles Real?, a very short summary of his book at the Huffington Post (reminiscent of Daniel in the Lion's Den). I have also found a number of interviews with him, all available as mp3 downloads or streaming audio. Dr. Mike Licona has conducted several over the years on 4TRUTH.NET, his most recent one can be found here. Brian Auten, founder of Apologetics 315, has recently interviewed him. He was also on the Line of Fire, hosted by Dr. Michael Brown. Ratio Christi-Ohio State University also has some interesting commentary. J.P. Holding of Tektonics has offered some of his own thoughts here as well as a guest blog. You can check out the contents at Baker Academics.

Winner of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship's 2012 Award of Excellence

2011 Book of the Year,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Agnostics and Skeptics Refute Zeitgeist

John Dominic Crossan is not exactly the person who comes to mind when most of us think of what it means to be a Christian believer. I'm being generous here, in brief, he is really a skeptical postmodern "believer" of sorts. As one of the founding members of the Jesus Seminar, Crossan not only denies the miraculous, but he doesn't even consider the existence of God to be of any relevance. After dismissing any possibility for miracles, he suggests that the only thing that is important is that you just have faith. With this in mind, lets look at this interesting quotation that I found on Apologetics 315's blog:

"Jesus' death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixition, we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus." - John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 145

With those who have been drawn into the elitest mentality of the Zeitgeist movie and the atheist conspiracists of late, this quote speaks volumes. They enjoy casting doubts on the credibility of Josephus and Tacitus' witness to Jesus as though they are not only unreliable, but even if they were accepted, they like to think that they really weren't talking about Jesus the Christ. If there were any validity to their criticism, one would think that room would be made in their circles for such a critical scholar as Crossan. Unfortunately for them, he doesn't exactly fit the bill. While he refuses to assert the existence of God and rejects the validity of miracles, he does understand something about history. With this in mind, he cannot bring himself to deny the historical person of Jesus. He also affirms the crucifixion as historical fact, which is the single most important detail in considering his messages and proclamations, as well as establishing the resurrection as an historical event. 

Mark Goodacre, a scholar who takes a distinctly historical approach in regard to the life of Christ, has a podcast where he briefly comments on the historical Jesus deniers. You can find it here. Once again, this is someone who leans toward more of a liberal slant who criticizes those who want to build an unfounded controversy. Goodacre appeals to a decisively historical methodology rather than assuming the reliability of the Biblical texts and yet he considers the Gospels to be enough historical evidence to establish Jesus in history, and that even as stand alone texts.

Scholar, F.F. Bruce relates, "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a 'Christ-myth,' but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the 'Christ-myth' theories." (The New Testament Documents, p. 123)

In the following video, another skeptic, this time agnostic Bart Ehrman, quite clearly rejects the historical revision of new atheists. Listen as he silences another popular Jesus denier:

Additional Resources on Zeitgeist and the myth parallels argument:


Christian Think Tank

King David 8

Evidence For Christianity

Say Hello To My Little Friend


New York Times on Zeitgeist's director, Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco

More on Jarod Loughner's Obsession

Here's a fun video by Tectonics: