Friday, May 8, 2015

Debate: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? (David Wood vs. John Loftus)

Jesus' resurrection is the heart of both Christian preaching and Christian living. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, the Apostle Paul said: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless." Hence, Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus.

In order to discredit Christianity, atheists simply need to discredit the central miracle on which it is founded. But can atheistic explanations account for the historical facts? If they can't, is atheism a worldview in crisis?

In this video, David Wood (Christian, former atheist) and John Loftus (atheist, former Christian) debate whether Jesus rose from the dead.


  1. Well done, David.

    I'm glad you responded to John's shameful treatment of Craig Keener. John doesn't seem to have read much of Keener's work, yet he suggests that Keener is dishonest and tells us that "all he [Keener] did" was travel around and listen to stories. Supposedly, Keener's two-volume work on miracles consists of "just people's stories". In another context, John suggests that only believers allegedly see things happen like the healing of amputees. Actually, Keener gives accounts of his own experiences (collecting other people's stories isn't "all he did"), provides a lot of medical documentation (not "just people's stories"), and cites hostile corroboration for some miracles (not just the testimony of believers). If anybody is interested, you can find many examples in my series on Keener's book here.

    And here's a post I wrote about the debate, which responds to John on several other issues.

  2. You ask a simple direct question “can atheistic explanations account for the historical facts?” Yes they most certainly can, according to K A G Thackerey. His book The Christianity Myth not only explains the origins of Christianity without resorting to divine interventions, it also explains why we have Gospels proclaiming a Jerusalem resurrection that never happened. All Christians should read it, but I warn you they will find themselves challenged by his view of first century Christianity.

    1. There is no naturalistic explanation for the death, burial, resurrection appearances and the rise of Christianity that adequately explains all of the historically accepted facts.
      1) Jesus existed
      2) Jesus was crucified by Pilate under Tiberius
      3) Jesus was entombed by Joseph of Arimethea (this is the only fact in this list disputed by a minority, roughly 25%, of New Testament scholars)
      4) Jesus was seen alive 3 days later by followers AND skeptics
      5) Christianity arose in Jerusalem.
      6) All but 2 apostles died martyrs deaths for their beliefs (John and Judas being the only two who didn't)
      Every naturalistic explanation that has been posited has failed to adequately explain all 6 of these historical facts.

    2. Hi Martin, obviously you haven't yet read Thackerey's The Christianity Myth. Suggest you do and then comment.

  3. Very much a one sided debate, if it even can be called that. Loftus was uncomfortable to watch and largely off topic. And David Wood, while comfortably presenting the tried and true expositions of Christian apologetics, lacks, as do most Jesus scholars, the critical analytic abilities required to fully uncover the historical importance within the extant data.

    Christianity does NOT rest upon the actuality of Jesus' resurrection. It rests upon something else, which for some reason escapes the exegesis of all biblical scholars. Once that comes to light, Christianity will start to fall apart.

    Would love to debate this with you, David, but since there is no contact information for you (at least that I could find, perhaps I missed it?), I must depend on this comment to make contact. If you're interested in pursuing a debate, even an on-line debate, let me know.

    1. David, your post piqued my curiosity so I went to Amazon and looked up the book. I read some of the reviews, and I lost my desire to read the book. It doesn't sound near as persuading as you make it seem. Even one of the atheists who wrote a very positive review, admitted that much of his ideas about first century Christianity was "based on some very radical speculative reasoning." Yet he calls his argument "simple and plausible". Plausible is a very subjective term and after admitting it is speculative, I'm wondering why he finds it to be plausible.

      Maybe if the book gets cheaper, I'll spend the money, but for now, I've learned enough to satisfy me that there is not much of concrete evidence there to be concerned about. Speculations abound, but I doubt radical speculations are hardly going to convince anyone, unless they want to be convinced.

  4. David, You could try messaging him thru his FB page.

  5. Hi David!
    Great job exposing the hidden darkness and lies in atheism and Islam. I wish you could do the same for Hinduism who are still living in stone quenches my heart to see their blindness and ignorance which the ultimate reason for the poverty and backwardness but also hindering their eternal salvation. If Jesus is the only way to heaven, think howmany billions of Indian souls lost in eternal hellfire..just disturbing! I do pray for this country. Hope you could expose the fiction and lies in Hinduism as you did with Islam.
    Thank you!

  6. Here is my theory. John Loftus was a false convert who eventually found that he was much happier snorting crank than preaching. Understandable for one operating without the benefit of the new birth. Just a theory of course, but every bit as reliable as 99% of the statements Mr. Loftus offers as if they were facts. My apologies in advance if Loftus' speech and mannerisms are a result of a physical disorder which mimic drug abuse.