I said in last night’s blog that I was listening to a debate between Mike Licona and Dan Barker. Someone commented on a part that especially amused me and I was talking to a friend this morning and out of the blue, he mentioned the same part. When trying to explain the conversion of Paul, Dan Barker offers the idea that maybe he was struck by lightning.
Earlier, Barker had said that we should only believe in a miracle if that which is used to explain it is more miraculous than the miracle itself. In other words, if the explanations that are given stretch credulity, maybe it’s time to be open to a miracle.
Danny. Don’t you think his companions would have said something to him like “Dude. You got struck by lightning!” Don’t you think he would have noticed his burnt flesh and the clothing that smelled of smoke if that happened? Do you really think that if it had been storming in such a condition that he’d be out traveling on the road anyway?
Ravi Zacharias has said that if you ever want your faith in the resurrection increased, look at the other explanations given.
That is well said.
The problem with being a skeptic is not that you don’t believe the truth. The problem is that you will believe anything else. For Dan Barker, it’s more likely that Paul got struck by lightning than that he really encountered Jesus of Nazareth on the road and was converted. The conversion account explains everything. The lightning account explains squat.
Note also that Dan brings up the reason for denying the conversion that the accounts of it supposedly contradict each other. J.P. Holding of Tektonics brings to light what E.P. Sanders says in his book “The Historical Figure of Jesus.”
The author of Luke/Acts was not stupid; he doubtless knew that his stories varied. He could have told the same story the same way, but that would not have been as good a narrative. Like many other authors, both ancient and modern, he disliked repetition; like other ancient authors, he would change events in order to avoid it.
J.P. Holding states that while there is disagreement with Sanders on some points, there is not disagreement on one Dan Barker needs to learn. Luke was not stupid.
The explanation is actually simple. The words for hear imply different things. One has the idea of hearing a sound and one the idea of hearing with understanding. One thinks that Barker is being driven by something more than rationality here.
And isn’t that always the case?
Friends. It’s at the point where I’d say “If you want the surety that the resurrection happened, just read these counter-theories.”
Eh? But who knows? Maybe Dan Barker just deconverted and believes strange stuff now because he got struck by lightning.