Refutation of the Myth Theory Essay
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The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most debated historical event the world will ever see. For those who believe in the resurrection, their hope and happiness is encapsulated within the testimonies of the Bible. For those who reject it, their hope and happiness exists by disproving the evidence of the believers. The fact is simple – disproving the resurrection means disproving Christianity.
It is therefore no wonder why the believers are playing defense as rash and blazon minds try to shut down the key to Christianity. The four main theories set down to disprove the resurrection are the swoon theory, hallucination theory, myth theory, and the conspiracy theory. Using the analogy of an archer and his bows, it is up to bold and resolute Christians to counter the piercing claims the non-believers fire attempting to hit the bulls-eye – the core of Christianity.
The most intriguing of the non-believers theories is the myth theory. It accounts as a post-modernist correlation of the hallucination and conspiracy theory, and is the accepted ‘standard line of liberal theology.’
I decided to choose the refutation of the myth theory for the content and evidence argued is the most factual and objective of all the theories. Also, it is the most interesting and explores a wider base than the other theories.
The first argument against the myth theory is that the Gospel is ‘clearly different from the style of all myths.’ Christians are using the fact that everything in the bible is interconnected, with no exaggerated events. Also, the amount of detail and in some cases irrelevant (but concise) facts, suggests the laconic style of the Bible defers from the standard verbose style of myth. But the most deafening fact is merely the awareness that the Bible was set in the real Palestine, and all details are realistic.
Linking to the first argument, the second argument revolves around the fact that there was not enough time for a myth to develop. The believers argue from a stance that printed mythological material about Christ would be disputed by eyewitnesses. Julius Muller summarizes this argument by saying:
“One cannot imagine how such a series of legends could arise in an historical age, obtain universal respect, and supplant the historical recollection of the true character [Jesus]…if eyewitnesses were still at hand who could be questioned respecting the truth of the recorded marvels.”
After the second argument, I believe the following three arguments comparatively lack the evidence presented in the first two arguments. The third argument is based around the fact that the myth theory comparatively lacks evidence. However, asking any historian, they will tell you that the amount of evidence doesn’t matter, but what the evidence is. Therefore, the third theory is merely displacement.
The fourth theory revolves around a ‘little detail’ that the social status of women bound their ability to give factual evidence. It states that the first witnesses of the resurrection where women. The fact that these statements were believed, and not disregarded as crude data, therefore implies the authenticity of the events. This argumentative base is extremely circumstantial and too far-fetched to be believed.
Similarly, the fifth argument lacks a factual base. The argument is held together by a phrase in 2 Peter 1:16, which denies the mythic interpretation. It says that once the ‘New Testament distinguishes myth from fact, it becomes a lie if the resurrection is not fact.’ The argumentative base for this theory lies within the evidence of the hallucination and conspiracy theory, and once again, is to far-fetched to be believed.
The final case presented in refutation of the myth theory, is that the Gospels are authentic and hold a high degree of integrity. Using an outline from Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection by Craig, the believers prove the authenticity of the disciples writing and the integrity of the ‘Word of God’ as well.
What I have drawn from analyzing the refutation of the myth theory is that it is extremely objective, excluding arguments three, four and five. The main arguments presented are sound and backed with reliable historical evidence, and refute the myth theory. However, the inclusion of lacking arguments brings down the overall reliability of the refutation, for those arguments are too circumstantial.