Three Undeniable Facts About the Great God Artemis and Dr. Craig's Three Facts About the Resurrection of Jesus

Dr. Craig argues there are at least three facts held by the majority of New Testament scholars: 1) The tomb was found empty by the women followers of Jesus three days after his crucufixion; 2) The disciples of Jesus held that they saw the risen Jesus after his crucifixion; and 3) The original disciples held strongly to the belief that Jesus really did rise for the dead. Sounds like a slam dunk, right? Let's go back in time to the first century and see the three undeniable facts the Ephesians all accepted, okay? ;-)

There was a riot in Ephesus when Paul was in town and the people shouted him down, claiming their god Artemis was Great. Then we read:
The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash.

Acts 19:35-37
The three facts he spoke of were: 1)The city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis; 2) and of her image, 3) which fell from heaven. The clerk said "these facts are undeniable."

I guess it's because Dr. Craig lives in a Christian culture with Biblical scholars who accept these so-called facts he can make this argument in the first place. After all, who can dispute the facts, right? Facts are facts!

36 comments:

DevinWL said...

You gotta love the circular reasoning of apologists!

Sabio Lantz said...

Wait, John. I am confused. I haven't read the exegesis on this text or the content -- except vaguely in the past, but my first impression is that Paul was simply doing a Jedi thing on the crazy crowd to control them. It is as if I brought up the Steelers in Cleveland, everyone got upset but I said, "Men of Cleveland, don't we all know that Cleveland has produced amazing football players?"
The crowd would mellow and buy me a beer. Paul was no fool.
Or am I missing something?
Oh, I get it, how can you claim that mere numbers determine truth?

Mark said...

The three facts, with which you have taken great liberty in representing Craig's view, are not just held by "Christian" Biblical scholars, but by the vast majority of all Biblical scholars. Check out Gary Habermas on this, he actual counted.

But I guess that because you live in a skeptical culture who accept their so-called facts, you can make your arguments and who can dispute them, right? Facts are Facts!

John W. Loftus said...

Mark, funny. But is it fact that Michael Jackson was a pedophile? There are disputes about this, right? The skeptic is the person who is less likely to say something is a fact. He's willing to entertain other hypotheses and to consider he might be wrong on what a fact is. Not the believer. He knows that he knows that he knows. There is only one interpretation; one truth...his. And it is a fact.

I hope you can understand this difference, which makes all the difference in the world. In fact, you are a skeptic too when it comes to certain things unrelated to your faith. Why not be skeptical of everything and only choose to accept things that pass a high degree of support? And when other things you accept have less support for them why not accept them with the same degree of probability they are supported by? Let's say you are 51% sure Jesus is returning today? Is that enough to proclaim it like a crazy on the street corners, or to sell everything and give to the poor? I hope you see what I mean.

Miguelito said...

What I don't understand is why Xtians are always so quick to defend that which has not much supporting evidence. Dr.Craig uses appeals from authority but his base that he builds his argument upon is inherently unstable as the Bible has been edited, mistranslated, added to, taken away, retranslated, etc and this is just in the first few centuries of it's existence. How do they square the circle like this?

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

I don't think I understand your point here in quoting a random person from the Bible's opinion about what constituted indisputable fact of the day. Even Biblical inerrancy doesn't validate that since there's no contradiction with that person just being wrong, right? WLC would say he offers good reasons for his facts. This just isn't comparable even if his reasons suck.

Ben

dvd said...

Miguelito

"Dr.Craig uses appeals from authority"

No, he doesn't. He uses quotes scholars in the field and on the subject. That is what all scholars do. He is offering good reasons to suppose something based on certain historical facts that have been arrived at by consensus. The real debate is about his conclusion and whether the "facts" lead to such.

What he is doing is correct. Now you might disagree with his conclusion on the matter, that is something that can be discussed, but it is not "appealing to authority."

M. Tully said...

"Dr. Craig argues there are at least three facts held by the majority of New Testament scholars:"

Well, I can't weigh in on what "New Testament scholars" agree on, but if what Dr. Craig states is true, then "New Testament scholars" are making an historical claim, not a theological one.

I can weigh in on that. You will not find a majority, nor even a statistically recognizable minority, of historians of the ancient Levant that would hold any of those three statements to be facts.

Steven Carr said...

DVD
"Dr.Craig uses appeals from authority"

No, he doesn't. He uses quotes scholars in the field and on the subject.

CARR
That is an appeal from authority.

What Craig never does is give the name of one ancient document where the writer names himself as a person who saw an empty tomb.

Just cite the ancient documents where the writer names himself as seeing an empty tomb please....

Craig's 'facts' are no more factually based than the Ephesian 'facts'

edson said...

"Why not be skeptical of everything and only choose to accept things that pass a high degree of support?"

It does not make sense anyway for the first christians to be skeptical on what they saw with their eyes and touched with their hands. At this, skepticism is not a virtue but foolisheness.

Now, if you say that today's christians should be skeptics of what we read in the bible about Jesus or what we are taught in churches, of course that is a virtue, as a necessary precautionary attitude to avoid imposters during these chaotic times.

Having said that, however, skepticism in its totality should be taken with the grain of salt. Imagine if Peter had defied Jesus call of him keeping the herd of sheep? Or if Paul had shunned Jesus after the Damascun road event? I do not think there would be Christianity today.

Similarly, I do not see the merits of being a skeptic to Christian doctrines which plead everyone to TASTE and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8). If you taste it and find it to be "aaargh", obviously you have good reasons to your stance. My point here is that there are so many christians today who were at the brink of death and it was only when Jesus them that they saw their vibrant health again. It'll be foolhardy to preach skepticism to these type of people.

edson said...

Actually John my above post was adressed to you, but I must also say I'm baffled at your style of bible exegesis.

Now that you have managed to turn this to show that there is a strong analogy on what Craig says and on what the Ephesian Clerk said is really mind boggling.

First, let me tell you that I've never attended any Seminary like you but this is obvious to even a layman that this Acts 19 Clerk was only a wise one trying to pick the right words to construct right statemments to make on the Ephesians mobs gone rampage! He was not prepared to see innocent blood shed under his supervision.

Secondly your parallel does not work here. The great godess Artemi was craftmade by silver smiths of Ephesians a fact undeniably known to the city, and therefore the clerk's statement "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?" was to flatter the crowd with hitherto unheard thing intended to be similar to what Paul was likely preaching publically in the city:

Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he 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 him from the dead.

King said...

Hey guys, instead of spending your time trying so hard to disprove something, why don't you rather put your time to better use? Even if God didn't exist, the Bible still has awesome teachings and morals. Go learn guitar or go enjoy nature or something instead of sitting in you room all day trying to act like you're wise or know better than everyone else. It's lame. Just leave each to his/her own religions.

God Bless

Walter said...

Hey guys, instead of spending your time trying so hard to disprove something, why don't you rather put your time to better use? Even if God didn't exist, the Bible still has awesome teachings and morals. Go learn guitar or go enjoy nature or something instead of sitting in you room all day trying to act like you're wise or know better than everyone else. It's lame. Just leave each to his/her own religions.

God Bless


Some of us simply enjoy the discussion. I have no problem with what others believe as long as it is does not hurt me.

Odin Bless you too!

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Steve Carr,

"Just cite the ancient documents where the writer names himself as seeing an empty tomb please...."

I'll play devil's advocate. Doesn't the gospel of John say: 20:8 "Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." And John 21:24 "This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down." Doesn't that fit your criteria at face value at least?

Ben

Walter said...

John 21 was likely a later addition to that particular gospel.

I wonder why the author was so "coy" about the identity of the beloved disciple?

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Walter,

But that's basically speculation. Maybe you are right, but as I understand it, we don't have manuscripts that actually show it. So, at face value, the gospel of John does say exactly what Steven Carr says he's looking for. If you have to get into some elaborate case, that at least seems to be begging the question and manufacturing the evidence as you believe it to be. It seems to me he should rephrase his plea as, "Give me good reason to accept the hearsay testimony in the gospel of John concerning the empty tomb" rather than pretending like no text even claims contrary to his statements.

Ben

Walter said...

If I were to be pedantic, I would probably say that the 'beloved disciple' never is named. So we still do not have a person that names himself as a witness to the empty tomb.

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Walter,

Well, true. That certainly takes some wind out of the sails, but nonetheless books don't write themselves. So someone in an ancient text is claiming to have seen the empty tomb of Jesus. I just think Steven Carr's approach to the question starts twisting things. We don't need to hair split or argue from meta-theories when there are so many hair splitting meta-theories out there and clearly everyone needs to work towards a clear and straight forward conversation. That's my take, anyway.

Ben

Walter said...

I agree. And I also feel like your other argument is a better one:

"Give me good reason to accept the hearsay testimony in the gospel of John concerning the empty tomb"

That is the approach that I usually take.

Cheers

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Walter,

Cool. I'd still like to see what Steven Carr has to say.

Ben

Owlmirror said...

«"t does not make sense anyway for the first christians to be skeptical on what they saw with their eyes and touched with their hands. At this, skepticism is not a virtue but foolisheness.

Skepticism of miracles is never foolishness. If God is real, God can repeat miracles under any circumstances. If God is not real, then the "miracle" was just a trick in the first place.

I once saw, with my own eyes, someone pull a coin out of my ear. I touched the coin with my own hand.

Should I reject skepticism and just believe that an ordinary human can make coins appear out of thin air?

«"Having said that, however, skepticism in its totality should be taken with the grain of salt. Imagine if Peter had defied Jesus call of him keeping the herd of sheep? Or if Paul had shunned Jesus after the Damascun road event? I do not think there would be Christianity today.

Well, as an atheist, I don't think this would necessarily be a bad thing.

«"Similarly, I do not see the merits of being a skeptic to Christian doctrines which plead everyone to TASTE and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8).

Taste what?

«"My point here is that there are so many christians today who were at the brink of death and it was only when Jesus them that they saw their vibrant health again.

The above sentence not only lacks skepticism, but also a verb.

Steven Carr said...

WAR ON ERROR
I'll play devil's advocate. Doesn't the gospel of John say: 20:8 "Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." And John 21:24 "This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down." Doesn't that fit your criteria at face value at least?

CARR
SO no named person wrote a document saying he saw an empty tomb.

All there is is an anonymous, unprovenanced work where the writer tried to hide his identity.

Steven Carr said...

WAR ON ERROR
So, at face value, the gospel of John does say exactly what Steven Carr says he's looking for.

CARR
This is what I said I was looking for :-
Just cite the ancient documents where the writer names himself as seeing an empty tomb please.

No author is ever named in the Gospel of John.

Compare that with the tombstone of David Whitmer who insisted that his testimony be put on his tomb.

Even that 'testimony' is worthless, and an anonymous work is even more worthless.

Mark said...

John, nowhere is the Christian community considered "skeptics", and if some are, they are wrong for being so. But if you don't like the term "skeptical culture", then may I use anti-christian?

Also you may want to review our discusion about skeptisism in the comments of your "Outsider Test for Faith" blog post, because you are still getting it wrong.

Corky said...

Behold. I show you a mystery. Why wasn't Jesus' mother, the virgin Mary, at the tomb that wonderful Sunday morning?

Oops. Maybe because his mother and family had moved his body to the family tomb already and had no need in going to the empty tomb?

Everyone seems to forget that Jesus' mother and brothers and sisters were not Jesus' followers in the synoptic gospels but were offended by him.

Mark said...

Because the tomb was guarded against just such an eventuality, up until the time the women showed up. (Matthew 27:62 to 28:5)

Scott said...

Because the tomb was guarded against just such an eventuality, up until the time the women showed up. (Matthew 27:62 to 28:5)

Mark, I don't recall anything in Matthew, John or Mark that suggested the guards were on watch until just before the women arrived. Nor do the verses you referenced depict this.

Can you elaborate on this?

Gandolf said...

King said..."Hey guys, instead of spending your time trying so hard to disprove something, why don't you rather put your time to better use? Even if God didn't exist, the Bible still has awesome teachings and morals. Go learn guitar or go enjoy nature or something instead of sitting in you room all day trying to act like you're wise or know better than everyone else. It's lame. Just leave each to his/her own religions.

God Bless"

"Just leave each to his/her own religion",is the best idea you really think King?

What even the religions whos adult followers tend to even disallow medication for their Children such as blood transfusions etc ?.

Or the many religions that cause many families to split and divide with use of shunning etc?

And so much more that happens within faith beliefs often without many people seeming to really even be giving a slight damm !

King in my opinion you happen to demonstrate very well just how utterly worthless and morally bankrupt religious beliefs actually are,because im sure you somehow are also able to tie this type of thoughtless thinking in with the story of the good Samaritan as well??????.

No King you can bet your bottom dollar we wont be turning a blind eye to these matters any time in the near future,and we are sure going to get much more vocal about it from here on out.

The thought "treat others like you would wish to be treated your self",has been around long before any religions evolved ,and if you were one of these people being abused by such beliefs im quite sure you wouldnt quite feel the same as you do about suggesting we do nothing about it .

Selfish thoughtless faithful folk, dont think for one moment we non faithful folk need to follow your own self centered footsteps.

We dont! and we wont!

You can stick your "God bless" where the sun doesnt shine,because its actually meaningless.

And you proved that point to us thanks King.

Gandolf said...

The above post of mine i meant to say "long before any religions evolved and stole them as being their own thoughts"

Chad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad said...

Ok, first of all, Paul is not even speaking in this text. It is the "city clerk". God does not speak through everyone who speaks in the Bible. He speaks through some (like Paul), but much of the the Bible's dialogue is from people who are sinners and are wrong. In this example, the city clerk believed that Artemis was "undeniable", but he would in fact be wrong. The Bible does not support his claim, but it supports that he made that claim.

Anthony said...

Chad: Ok, first of all, Paul is not even speaking in this text. It is the "city clerk".

No one said that Paul spoke, in fact John explicitly says the clerk "said..."

Chad: God does not speak through everyone who speaks in the Bible. He speaks through some (like Paul), but much of the the Bible's dialogue is from people who are sinners and are wrong.

Although this is getting away from the specific topic, but your statement about god speaking through some and not others needs to be proven. Just stating that this is the case doesn't make it so.

Chad: In this example, the city clerk believed that Artemis was "undeniable", but he would in fact be wrong.

Why would the clerk be wrong? Prove it. This is the very point that John is trying to make. Why should we disbelieve what the clerk said here and believe what William Lane Craig says about his "undeniable facts." If what Craig says is "undeniable" facts, then so is what the clerk said about Artemis.

Chad: The Bible does not support his claim, but it supports that he made that claim.

You are making no sense.

a helmet said...

What Craig never does is give the name of one ancient document where the writer names himself as a person who saw an empty tomb.

If he did, then what? What would that prove, if someone witnessed an empty tomb? There are many reasons for discovering an empty tomb, for instance the wrong-tomb-theory or the theft-theory.

And the more perfect the evidence were, the more it would give rise to the doubt that it has been made up,right? -- So very good evidence is regarded as a fraud anyway, so what use would it be?

a helmet said...

By the way, you forgot a fourth pillar in support of the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, that Craig mentions: The historicity of Jesus's burial by Joseph of Arimathäa

Walter said...

By the way, you forgot a fourth pillar in support of the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, that Craig mentions: The historicity of Jesus's burial by Joseph of Arimathäa

What historical information (outside of the bible) do we have on Joseph of Arimathäa?

Joseph seems like a deus ex machina in the gospel stories.

Gandolf said...

The last couple of days at times ive felt a little bad about my short temper towards what King said.

But let me try to explain.

I happen to be one of the very very many people in this world who have experienced the bad sides of faith beliefs.

And i feel its (well overdue time) some faithful folk finally crawl out of their dream world where they just cannot seem to comprehend (at all) that there could ever be many good reasons for the non existence of religions.

Im completely sick of this faithful arrogance and complete thoughtlessness.

If there is one thing i personally think most faithful folk should really understand by now,that should be that faith is not perfect by any means.

And those who come here thinking it is.....In my mind need to be told in no uncertain terms just how bloody (ignorant) they really are.

Thats all it was about.

I mean im sure faithful folk whos children might have been murdered,wouldnt be quite so quick in suggesting there is absolutely no need we should be discussing matters of law etc!, would they now.

Faithful folks quick go pull your heads out of your arse,for fucks sake.

The shit is blurring your vision.