Saturday, May 21, 2005

Thoughts on 20/20's Special on the Resurrection

First the good:

20/20 should be commended for doing this special, and not around Easter. Maybe it was for Sweeps, but I appreciate the timing.

ABC also included three major groups. The theolgoical conservatives, the theological liberals, and non-believers. The conservatives they included were not lightweights. William Lane Craig, Paul Maier and Lee Strobel know what they are talking about.

20/20 started with the details of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Then, they detailed the fact that the tomb was empty. Both the opponents of Christianity and the disciples believed the tomb was empty, so that was never in doubt.

Then, they mention that previously disspirited disciples believed Jesus rose from the dead and were willing to die for that message. What could cause this transformation?

Conservatives then detail what they felt happened that Sunday morning. Namely, Jesus physically was raised from the dead.

Non-believers try to chalk it up to mass-hallucination, but that isn't plausible. (I detail reasons why in my Resurrection article if you're interested.)

Theological liberals chalk it up to a spiritual resurrection.

The bad:

There are good responses to the theological liberals, but 20/20 left it there. I would argue the following things.

1) Neither the mass-hallucinators nor the spiritual resurrectionists (is that a word?) have explained what happened to the Empty Tomb. Where did the body go? If someone stole a body, why would they do that? The opponents of Christianity had no motive to steal it and not produce it. We've already seen that the disciples were willing to die for the belief, so they are shown to be honest if not misguided. Would a third party have stolen the body? For what reason? Jesus had no earthly possessions in his tomb to speak of.

2) The descriptions in the gospels are all of a physical resurrection. How would they not know the difference? Did they just lie when they give physical details?

3) Read I Corinthinians 15. One of the theological liberals wanted to rely on Paul because his writings are very early (the gospels aren't dated as late as everyone thinks, but I'm game). She tried to read Paul in such a way which made the Resurrection sound spiritual only, not bodily. What does Paul say when speaking of the Ressurrection? In the same passage the theological liberal references, Paul says that if Jesus isn't physically raised from the dead we're still in our sins. We're false witnesses to God. We are to more pittied than any other people.

4) Why do people think ancient people were just out and out stupid? Actually read the gospels. Doubting Thomas. Peter and the other disciples have disbelief. The people on the road to Emmaeus.

The last bad thing in the 20/20 report was how it ended. It may be spiritual or may be physical, but what is really important is how it makes all these believers happy. It gives them hope.


If Jesus hasn't been raised from the dead, I'm still in my sins. But at least I still get the warm fuzzies.

If I find any good comments on this special, I will post them to my blog.

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