Monday, January 28, 2008

I like to read a lot.  I am looking forward to getting a chance to read Vox Day's new book, The Irrational Atheist.  But today, as I was reading his blog I saw a post that detailed arguments from a reader centered partially around Carl Sagan's quote, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  Vox did a wonderful job of highlighting the logical problems in this claim, but I have now heard this phrase twice this week and would like to take a different tack on it.  Since, the extraordinary claim part is undefined let me fill this in for the case of Christianity.  Perhaps the most extraordinary claim that drives many people crazy, indeed it appeared to be the main problem this guy had with it as well, is that it claims to have the exclusive means of pleasing God and entering Heaven.  The gentleman was asking how to choose which religion is right, so I feel this is a fair assumption to make.  Taking this in mind, let's look at a few facts.  Christianity is centered on the person of Jesus Christ and His claims.  He is the one who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life and in fact followed that up by saying that no one could get to Heaven except through Him.  This qualifies as an extraordinary claim.  What kind of extraordinary evidence did He present to back it up?  You can probably guess my answer here; His resurrection from the dead after His crucifixion.  There is a multitude of reasonable evidence to support the claims made by the disciples that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them.  This claim would certainly be good evidence that His teachings were true, in fact this evidence could be considered extraordinary since it doesn't happen every day.  I could certainly attempt to reproduce the list of evidence here, but in the interest of time, let me instead point you to the resources that I have used to study and discover much of this for myself.  The works of Josh McDowell are my favorites as he was an atheist who set out to disprove the resurrection as a historical event.  In the process, the data he collected led him to the unthinkable conclusion that the resurrection had indeed happened.  More recently, and part of the inspiration behind this post in fact, I have become aware of the work of Dr. Gary Habermas at Liberty University.  His website gives a lot of great information as well.  I encourage you to look at the facts with a critical mind.  God can withstand scrutiny.  He has given us extraordinary evidence to back His extraordinary claim, because it is the center of the Christian faith.

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