Johnny Depoe recently issued a challenge for philosophers (apparently motivated by a reader) to respond/evaluate the claims made here. I ain’t much of a philosopher, but that doesn’t usually stop me from making a fool out of myself. Anyhoo…Johnny-Dee says/quotes:

The reader who sent me the link to this post said, “It is, to say the least, the sort of stuff that gives bullshit a bad name…. I’d love nothing more than to see what some of your readers think of this stuff. How is it that the standards in academic theology can be so different that those in philosophy? Or in other words: what’s wrong with those people?!”

To be frank, if this man is a respected theologian, then we are in big trouble. Let’s have a peeksy at what he says.

Can we ever “prove” the resurrection of Jesus, either historically (e.g. Pannenberg, N. T. Wright) or probabilistically (e.g. Richard Swinburne) or scientifically (e.g. various nutty apologists)? In my view, such “proof” is neither possible nor desirable.

If you are a Christian, why wouldn’t proof of the resurrection be desirable? As 1 Cor. 15 demonstrates, the resurrection of Christ provides the center piece of which the entire faith hinges on-

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

Furthermore, in what sense is proof of the resurrection not “possible”? Does he mean to say that it is impossible? That would be the natural reading of this post, but that is so outlandishly dumb that it probably does not mean that.

For resurrection is not a natural or historical possibility, but it is precisely a contradiction of the whole order of the possible. It is not one event alongside other events within world-history, but it is the end and boundary of history as such.

Some theologico-fluff. Nothing to see here…

Since the resurrection contradicts the very structures of reality, it could be called an impossible event – impossible in the strictest sense of the word!

Wrong. No impossible event “in the strictest sense of the word” will ever happen. I may be a confused agnostic, but even I know that. I would like to say that there is some more charitable reading of this section, but sadly it appears as though he intentionally modeled his words as to preserve this wacky thesis- that God does the impossible and that something like the resurrection is a logical contradiction. Let’s see why he calls it a contradiction.

It is not a “historical” event, since it punctures the linearity of history and confronts history with its own shattering “end.” In short, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is both the dissolution of the world and the startling creation (ex nihilo?) of a new cosmos. It is the end and the beginning, the last and the first.

Wait, it looks as if he is not going to explain it. Let’s flesh out what most Christians believe about the resurrection and try and come up with this strict contradiction/impossibility. From what I can see, the resurrection can be simplified into three events:

1. Christ lived (about 30 years)
2. Christ died (dying took an afternoon, death takes ???)
3. Christ lived (a month or so)

Now, what contradiction could ever be contrived from this is absolutely beyond me. It appears that, without any sort of reason to doubt it, a resurrection is perfectly possible, however unlikely.

All this means that the concept of “resurrection” can never be introduced as the most likely explanation for any historical data. To introduce the resurrection in this way is simply to forget the very meaning of “resurrection”.

Unless you have some odd definition of resurrection, then you are making a completely asserted point. If I saw Christ after I witnessed his death, a resurrection would be a perfectly acceptable explanation for the data.

The rest of the entry goes on for some length not really moving anywhere, so I hardly doubt anyone will be intimidated by his claims (whatever they are). A mish-mash of fluffy theo-speak that is near incoherent, one is much better off reading a real respected theologian rather than this troublemaker (at least he wishes he was one).

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