Christological argument

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There is little agreement as to what Jesus looked like.

A Christological argument is one which makes the case that Christianity is the "one true religion" based on the Biblical record of Jesus and particularly his supposed resurrection. Because the Bible is the primary (or only) source used to support the argument, it is a form of argument from scripture.

"[T]he Apostle Paul used Jesus’ resurrection as proof of the Christian message. In Acts 17, Paul says that God 'has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising [Jesus] from the dead.' [1]"

Contents

Background Information

While some of these arguments attempt to build an empirical case to demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible's account of the life of Jesus (for example Josh McDowell's book Evidence That Demands a Verdict, or Lee Strobel's book The Case for Christ), other arguments simply assume the historicity of Jesus and the accuracy of the Bible, and build an argument based on the words and actions attributed to Jesus.

Argument

Syllogism

  1. If it can be shown that the bible is correct then Jesus Christ must be god
  2. There is evidence that the bible is correct.
  3. Jesus Christ is god

A common variant of the argument is based on the resurrection of Jesus.

  1. If Jesus was resurrected, he was God.
  2. Jesus was resurrected, according to the Bible.
  3. Therefore, Jesus was God.

Other variants include:

  1. Jesus Christ fulfils certain old testament and personal prophecies
  2. Jesus Christ is too wise to be a mere human
  3. Jesus Christ tells us he is the son of God
  4. Jesus Christ performs various miracles

Counter arguments

The Bible is not a reliable source

Main Article: The Bible is not a reliable historical source

Many of these Christological arguments assume in their premises, that the holy book of the religion they actually seek to prove, is a priori completely true. Until it is actually established that the bible is historically accurate and consistently reliable, there is no reason to accept arguments based on what the bible says. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible was probably not written by eye witnesses. Even if some aspects of the bible can be proved as historically accurate, that does not necessarily make the claims about Jesus or claims attributed to Jesus true. For instance, we have a large body of empirical evidence that George Washington was a real person, but that doesn't mean the story about him cutting down a cherry tree is necessarily true.

Many aspects of Jesus' resurrection such as the end of Mark are known forgeries added later. Once again the evidence in this line of argument is lacking to non existence. The best empirical evidence is a supposedly empty tomb that we don't even know the location of. Even if we found the supposedly empty tomb, all this would really be evidence of is that there is an empty tomb. Any number of other explanations ranging from grave robbers to Jesus not really being dead is almost infinitely more probable than his resurrection. Also, the writers of the Bible cannot simply be assumed to be trustworthy.

Resurrection does not imply divinity

A person might be resurrected by some unknown forces and not because they were God. Simply assuming they are God is an argument from ignorance. All possible alternatives need to be ruled out before settling on one explanation.

Other Biblical characters were resurrected e.g. Luke 8:49-56 Bible-icon.png but they are not considered to be God. Some apologists respond:

"Jesus also predicted that he would rise from the dead as proof of his claims, and his prediction came true. [1]"

This is moving the goal posts by advancing a completely different argument from prophecy. This counter argument effectively abandons the original argument.

Another line of reasoning depends on God authenticating Jesus by raising him from the dead:

"So the question for us is: 'Would God raise a heretic from the dead?' I think Muslims and Christians would agree that he would not. Thus, if Jesus’ claims weren’t heresy, what were they? They must have been true."

However, this is begging the question that God exists and has a nature as described in the Bible.

Jesus was not divinely wise

Jesus was not particularly wise. The majority of Christians maintain Jesus' most spectacular display of wisdom was the sermon on the mount, which contained advice ranging from average to awful. Arguably, the only outstanding piece of advice given by Jesus was the golden rule, which was derivative or plagiarized from the earlier sources. There is nothing about his advice that could be considered divine wisdom.

Richard Carrier has argued that the Roman Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus (born 20 AD–30 AD, died as late as 101 AD) was a better moral teacher than Jesus. [2] Among other things, Carrier cites Rufus' belief in equality for slaves and his belief that "freedom of speech means not suppressing whatever one chances to think."

Claims of divinity is not evidence of divinity

Many cult leaders have argued they were divine. That does not make it true and it is a non sequitur to conclude that they are. Since these claims are often mutually incompatible, it is a broken compass argument. Even if the Bible accurately reports Jesus making the claim, it does not establish that Jesus was not deluded or not one deity among many.

Links

See Also

External Links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 [1]
  2. [2]


v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Argument from consciousness · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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