Dr. Peter Kreeft believes there are only five possible theories about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, and the Conspiracy Theory (hereafter: TCT) is one of those theories:
In Chapter 8 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (co-authored with Ronald Tacelli), Peter Kreeft attempts to disprove the Conspiracy Theory (TCT), as part of an elimination-of-alternatives argument for the resurrection of Jesus. Kreeft thinks that by disproving four skeptical theories, he can show that the Christian theory is true, that Jesus actually rose from the dead.
Kreeft raises seven objections against The Conspiracy Theory (hereafter: TCT) in an attempt to disprove that theory. In a series of posts here at The Secular Outpost, I have argued that each of those seven objections is a miserable FAILURE:
- In Part #4, Part #5, Part #6, and Part #7 I argued that Kreeft’s Objection #1 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #8 I argued that his Objection #2 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #9 I argued that his Objection #3 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #10 I argued that his Objection #4 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #11 I argued that his Objection #5 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #12 I argued that his Objection #6 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
- In Part #13 and Part#14 I argued that his Objection #7 against TCT was a miserable FAILURE.
Thus, Kreeft’s case against The Conspiracy Theory is totally and completely a miserable FAILURE.
The first three posts in this series provide an INTRODUCTION to this topic:
- In Part #1 I explain that my interest in working on this subject arose from a debate at the NW Miracles Conference.
- In Part #2 I point out problems with various definitions of “the Conspiracy Theory” by Kreeft.
- In Part #3 I propose an improved definition of “the Conspiracy Theory”.
Background From Part #1:
At the NW Miracles Conference, I discussed the question “Is it ever reasonable to believe miracle claims?” with Christian thinker Hans Vodder, who has graduate degrees in both philosophy and theology. We were, however, just the warm-up act for the big closing event of the conference: a debate between Michael Shermer and Luuk van de Weghe about the miracles of Jesus.
Luuk used the very old (ancient?) apologetic argument for the resurrection of Jesus: the apostles were neither deceived nor deceivers. Shermer made a number of good skeptical points in the debate, but he never touched on the main objection that I would have raised against Luuk’s argument: the historical assumptions about the twelve disciples/apostles have no solid basis in historical facts. We know very little about the twelve disciples during the ministry of Jesus, and we know almost nothing about them after the crucifixion of Jesus. Luuk’s apologetic argument rests upon very shaky historical claims.
So, although I would not argue that we KNOW the twelve disciples of Jesus to be deceivers, I think that Luuk and Christian apologists in general, have no solid grounds for a “refutation” of the Conspiracy Theory. Luuk and other apologists argue that the twelve disciples would not have boldly proclaimed that they had personally witnessed the resurrected Jesus if this were not true, because they suffered martyrdom for preaching this claim.
In order to raise my favored objection against Luuk’s apologetic argument, I plan in future posts to defend the Conspiracy Theory against various objections, namely objections that have been put forward by Peter Kreeft in his Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Kreeft’s objections to the Conspiracy Theory can be found at the Strange Notions website.