Monday, April 19, 2010
One of my pastimes is to compete against others in games called fantasy sports. My two favorite fantasy sports are baseball and football. In both fantasy sports, an individual picks players from all professional teams in order to make up his/her own unique team. All teams are given names, and what you end up with is a team that is actually composed of players that exist from many different teams. All who compete in fantasy sports realize that their team is not really an official team in reality, hence the name fantasy sports.
It seems to me that some fantasy history is taking place when we consider the resurrection story. For example, we have evidence of the gospel writers, Paul, and other secular sources during the first century that mention the person of Jesus. Specifically the resurrection story is mentioned by Paul and the four gospel writers. Each of these accounts are first century records and can be dated to a time when many (especially the Jewish community) could have disputed the resurrection stories that were circulated. Paul's 1 Corinthians 15 passage is accepted by almost all scholars as being a very early creed of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. If the resurrection story was early and the discovers of the empty tomb were women, then why do we find no counter writings?
What I believe is happening today and has been occurring since the Enlightenment is that skeptics are playing a little game called fantasy history. What do I mean by fantasy history? Fantasy history is when one speculates with out having any evidence to back up the speculation. Consider this skeptical response to the women as being the ones who found the empty tomb, "It could also be that saying the tomb was originally discovered by women, which is somewhat embarrassing, was a preemptive strike against an anticipated objection." What we have is a statement that has absolutely no support behind it. It is like saying, "I believe this because I want to believe this is what happened." The problem is, the Christian worldview has documentation and early historical evidence that underlies their claims, whereas the Skeptical worldview has no support and didn't develop until over 1000 years after the fact.
Another example of fantasy history is found in this statement, "I think this is a case of later writers putting the birth of Jesus there in order to answer objections that Jews may have made." I have problems with the statement, "I think", when there is no underlying reason to be led to think that way. It is as if the skeptic is saying, "I have made my mind up to the contrary of the only available evidence that we have." This is what fantasy history is all about, it is thinking without a supporting foundation to think so. There is a reason why fantasy sports are called fantasy, because they are not dealing with true, reality driven teams. Likewise, fantasy history is being played when no supporting historical evidence can be given to support the statement.