Thursday, April 14, 2022

Defending the MYTH THEORY - INDEX

In this series of fifteen posts, I have shown that every single one of Peter Kreeft's six objections against the Myth Theory FAILS:

Kreeft has FAILED to refute the Myth Theory.  Kreeft's case for the resurrection of Jesus requires that he refute four skeptical theories, one of which is the Myth Theory.  Since Kreeft FAILED to refute the Myth Theory, his case for the resurrection of Jesus also FAILS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 1: What is the Myth Theory?

In Part 1, I show that we should understand the Myth Theory in terms of the following definition:

The Myth Theory is true IF AND ONLY IF: (a) the apostles created the story that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday morning less than 48 hours after Jesus had been crucified, and (b) their intention was for others to take this story to be a myth, not a literal account of an actual historical event.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 2: The Style of the Gospels (Objection #1)

In Part 2, I show that Kreeft's argument for Objection #1 against the Myth Theory involves an INVALID inference and thus that Objection #1 FAILS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 3: Not Enough Time for Myth to Develop (Objection #2)

In Part 3, I show that Objection #2 FAILS for at least two reasons, each of which by itself gives us sufficient reason to reject Kreeft's argument for Objection #2.  

First, premise (A1) is FALSE, making Kreeft's argument UNSOUND.  Second, the inference from the premise (E) to the ultimate conclusion (F) is INVALID and ILLOGICAL, because the Myth Theory, as characterized by Kreeft, is about the preaching and stories of the apostles and their intentions concerning what they said about the alleged crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; it is NOT about the Gospels or the authors of the Gospels, nor about the intentions of the authors of the Gospels.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 4: The Myth Theory has Two Layers (Objection #3)

In Part 4, I showed that the inference from premise (B) to the conclusion (C) is INVALID and ILLOGICAL, so the argument constituting Objection #3 FAILS because a key inference in the argument is INVALID:

B. It is NOT the case that the authors of the Gospels invented the following elements in their accounts of the life and death of Jesus: portraying Jesus as (a) a divine person, (b) claiming to be divine, (c) performing miracles, and (d) rising from the dead.

Therefore:

C. The Myth Theory is FALSE. 

I also claimed that this argument is probably UNSOUND because the three premises supporting premise (B) of Objection # 3 are all DUBIOUS.  Thus, it is likely that at least one of those three premises is FALSE.

Premise (1) is one of those three premises supporting premise (B):

1. The Gospels (i.e. the four Gospels in the New Testament) portray Jesus as (a) a divine person, (b) claiming to be divine, (c) performing miracles, and (d) rising from the dead.

In order to show that premise (1) of Objection # 3 is DUBIOUS, I review the "Scriptural Data" provided by Kreeft in support of the divinity of Jesus and in support of Jesus claiming to be divine, from the end of Chapter 7 of his book Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Kreeft makes twenty-one points on this issue, each supported by various passages from the New Testament.

In Part 4, I argue that we can set aside fifteen of Kreeft's twenty-one points because (a) some are not supported by any Gospel passage, (b) some are only supported by Gospel passages from the Gospel of John, and (c) some clearly apply to people who are NOT divine and thus fall short of giving a sufficient reason for concluding that a person is God.

We are left with just six points from Kreeft's list of twenty-one points to consider:

2. The title "Son of God" ("Son of" implies "of the same nature as.")...

6. Omnipresent...

7. Omnipotent...

12. Rightly worshiped...

18. The Father testifies to him...

21. Is Lord over the Law...

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 5: Kreeft's Scriptural Data on Six Points about Jesus being God

In Part 5, I showed that three of Kreeft's six remaining points FAIL (point #6, point #7, and point #21), and that another point depends on point #2 (if point #2 FAILS, then so does point #18).  

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 6: Kreeft's Two Best Points about Jesus being God

In Part 6, I showed that Kreeft's point #2 FAILS to provide solid and adequate support for premise (1), and so does point #18, which is also based on the questionable assumption that the title "son of God" in Matthew implied that Jesus was God.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 7:  Portraying Jesus as Being Rightly Worshiped

In Part 7, I showed that Kreeft's final remaining point (Point #12 about Jesus being rightly worshiped) FAILS to adequately support premise (1) of Objection #3.  Thus, I concluded that Kreeft's twenty-one points of "Scriptural Data" about the deity of Jesus FAIL to provide solid and adequate support for premise (1), and that premise (1) is therefore DUBIOUS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 8: Evaluation of Premise (A)

Premise (A) is another premise supporting premise (B) in Objection #3:

A. IF the authors of the Gospels invented the following four elements in their accounts of the life and death of Jesus: portraying Jesus as (a) a divine person, (b) claiming to be divine, (c) performing miracles, and (d) rising from the dead, THEN we would find evidence of an earlier account of the life and death of Jesus that did NOT include those four elements.

In Part 8, I argued that premise (A) of Objection #3 is DUBIOUS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 9: Evaluation of Premise (2)

Premise (2) is another premise supporting premise (B) in Objection #3:

2. There is no evidence whatever of an earlier account (prior to the Gospels) of the life and death of Jesus that did NOT portray Jesus as (a) a divine person, (b) claiming to be divine, (c) performing miracles, and (d) rising from the dead.

In Part 9, I argued that premise (2) is FALSE.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 10: Women Were the First Witnesses (Objection #4)

In Part #10, I analyzed Kreeft's chain of reasoning that constitutes his Objection #4 against the Myth Theory

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 11: Evaluation of Kreeft's Objection #4

In Part #11, I showed that there were significant or serious problems with four out of five of the sub-arguments in Kreeft's chain of reasoning for Objection #4, and I concluded that Kreeft's Objection #4 against the Myth Theory FAILS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 12: The NT Distinguishes Myth from Fact (Objection #5)

In Part #12, I analyzed and clarified Kreeft's argument for his Objection #5 against the Myth Theory.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 13: Evaluation of Kreeft's Objection #5

In Part #13, I showed that the first sub-argument in the chain of reasoning in Objection #5 is a BAD argument, and that the second sub-argument is a BAD argument, and that the third sub-argument in this chain of reasoning is a BAD argument.  Since at least three out of four of the sub-arguments in Kreeft's reasoning are BAD arguments, it is clear that his Objection #5 against the Myth Theory FAILS.  

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 14: Evaluation of Objection #5 Completed

In Part 14, I have shown that the fourth sub-argument was also a BAD argument. Thus, it is clear that Kreeft's Objection #5 against the Myth Theory FAILS.

Defending the MYTH THEORY - Part 15: The Gospels were Written by Eyewitnesses (Objection #6)

Based on Kreeft's summary of his Objection #6, this objection makes two key claims:

  • The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses.
  • The Gospels we have today are the same Gospels originally written.

Even if we assume that both of these claims are true, that does NOT show that the Myth Theory is false. So, if Kreeft's summary of his Objection #6 is accurate, then his Objection #6 FAILS.  

However, Kreeft's own summary of his Objection #6 is inaccurate, because he makes another key claim in his presentation of this objection, a claim that is actually RELEVANT to the Myth Theory:

  • The Gospels were written by the disciples.

It is clearly and obviously the case that the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke were NOT written by any of the eleven disciples, so it is clearly and obviously the case that the one and ONLY relevant claim made by Kreeft in Objection #6 is FALSE.   Therefore, Kreeft's Objection #6 against the Myth Theory FAILS, just like every single one of his previous five objections FAILED.

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Defending the MYTH THEORY - INDEX

In this series of fifteen posts, I have shown that every single one of Peter Kreeft's six objections against the  Myth Theory  FAILS: Kr...