Some Christians will maintain that I and others who reject the literal resurrection of Jesus are just biased against the supernatural. In other words, they say we have made up our minds in advance of the evidence that the supernatural does not exist. Is that a fair assessment, in light of what I said yesterday about everyone being biased by their worldview?
I agree that I have a bias against the supernatural. But I maintain most evangelical Christians do as well, unless the supernatural event is recorded in their canonical Scriptures.
Why don't they believe that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith? Why don't they believe in the miracles reported at Lourdes? Why don't they believe in the Hindu milk miracle?
They don't believe these miracles because they contradict their presupposition that the Bible is the Word of God. Now in all fairness, a minority of evangelicals might argue that these miracles are indeed true but that they are done by a diabolical power. At least that is more consistent. It is also more in line with the general mindset of the people in the Bible days.
For example, we were at the doctor's office the other day and a woman was having a diabetic seizure. She was screaming, groaning, trying to bite the nurse, etc. A first century person seeing this would have probably concluded that the person was demon possessed. They tended to interpret unexplainable events as being supernatural in cause. They were biased in favor of the supernatural(See Matthew 17:15-18).
As a post-Enlightenement individual living in a world where most events that used to be ascribed to the supernatural now have natural explanations, I freely admit that I am biased against supernatural explanations. I think the evidence for a supernatural cause for an event would have to be overwhelming (not extraordinary--I am not falling into the trap that extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence).
But are Christians any less biased, albeit in the opposite direction? No, I don't think so. Since they have presupposed the Bible to be a divine revelation, they will believe what it reports no matter what.
For example, Mark Smith claims he asked William Craig the following question:
Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.
I asked him, given this scenario, would he then give up his Christianity? Having seen with his own eyes that there was no resurrection of Jesus, having been an eyewitness to the fact that Christianity has been based upon a fraud and a lie, would he NOW renounce Christianity? His answer was shocking, and quite unexpected.
He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian. When asked, in light of his being a personal eyewitness to the fact that there WAS no resurrection, he replied that due to the witness of the "holy spirit" within him, he would assume a trick of some sort had been played on him while watching Jesus' tomb.
Now whether Craig actually said this or not, I don't know for certain but it is in agreement with his writings in which he says that he knows Christianity is true ultimately due to the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. (See Reasonable Faith, pp. 32ff.)
So, Craig believes because of the "inner witness of the Spirit" and then he interprets the evidence to agree with his prior belief. No contrary evidence, according to him, can overturn his belief. Isn't that blatant bias?
Now, I maintain that my position is more consistent. I acknowledge my bias against the supernatural but I apply that bias across the board. In other words, when I read a report of a miracle in the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or any other book, I begin with the assumption that it is false. I will examine whatever evidence exists and if there is overwhelming evidence, I am willing to re-think my initial assumption.
Evangelical Christians such as Craig, on the other hand, will not allow any evidence to disconfirm their belief in Christianity. When they read a report of a miracle in the Koran or the Book of Mormon, they assume its false and apply post-enlightenement criteria to examine the claim. When they read a miracle claim in the Bible, they assume its true and go about to explain away the post-enlightenment understanding of such a miracle claim.
Who is more consistent?