Michael Simpson posted about the relevance of religion to the academy and I commented that religion is indeed relevant because I have more evidence for the resurrection of Christ than I do for the existence of justice.
After that intentionally provocative comment, I received an email from one Tom Van Dyke encouraging me to be a bit more forthcoming. I was originally hesitant to do so because I haven’t read the latest and the greatest on the subject of the resurrection, which is the treatment of the subject by N.T. Wright. Wright’s work is at least partially responsible for the conversion of the famed horror writer Anne Rice. However, I remembered that William Lane Craig is very strong on the subject and I could probably get a condensed essay from him. I was right.
Here’s a bit of whetting:
So complete has been the turn-about during the second half of this century concerning the resurrection of Jesus that it is no exaggeration to speak of a reversal of scholarship on this issue, such that those who deny the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection now seem to be the ones on the defensive. Perhaps one of the most significant theological developments in this connection is the theological system of Wolfhart Pannenberg, who bases his entire Christology on the historical evidence for Jesus’ ministry and especially the resurrection. This is a development undreamed of in German theology prior to 1950. Equally startling is the declaration of one of the world’s leading Jewish theologians Pinchas Lapid, that he is convinced on the basis of the evidence that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. Lapid twits New Testament critics like Bultmann and Marxsen for their unjustified skepticism and concludes that he believes on the basis of the evidence that the God of Israel raised Jesus from the dead.
I read through the essay and found it quite thorough and informative. If this blog were my sole property, I would paste the whole thing in and monopolize the real estate. Instead I will content myself with providing you with this very large LINK. (Don’t get down on Craig for any typos in the essay, I think some noble person actually typed in the essay from dead tree to get it online.)
Read the essay and see whether I was exaggerating when I made my provocative statement. It’s easy to be correct because the evidence for the existence of justice is weaker than expected, while the evidence for the resurrection is stronger.
Because we are an interfaith blog, I hasten to explain to my Jewish friends that I am not seeking to kick up some kind of battle over Christian history between Jews and Christians. Rather, I am trying to further the point that religion is relevant and not merely because of some psychological reason.