Jesus' tomb was found empty.


What is the simplest answer, and is that answer correct because it's simple?


"I had no idea...I had no idea..."

- Jodie Foster



"Occam's razor says to accept the simplest explanation, and resurrection from the dead is not it."




First, Occam's razor does not demand acceptance of the simplest explanation. It is merely a guiding principle stating a preference for such explanation.

African primitives, for classic example, might see & hear a satellite phone and think it to be a box with a little man living inside. One of us then tells them about satellites, signals, and digital circuits opening and closing millions of times per second. If the primitive believed Occam's razor to be a judge of truthfulness, he'd conclude a tiny man, the simpler answer, is the more correct one.

The simplest answer is not always the correct one. It's true in science; it's even more true in history. Is railroad track width what it is because of a train maker's arbitrary decision, or because it traces back to the spacing of the wheels on a Roman chariot - specifically one that was designed to fit the width of two horses harnessed side by side? The latter, more convoluted answer reportedly.

Second, is it simpler to say that "X" happened rather than the resurrection? Well, "X" must first be stated and then evaluated on its own peculiar merits. It may or may not be simpler, but again the simpler answer is not inherently the correct one.

Third, in answer to a particular reader, I expect there have been religions that formed around some compelling 'miracle' story without the need of (or perhaps belief in) supernatural intervention. But the claim of (conservative) Christians is not that the Bible has the most compelling story or the most spectacular intervention claims. They believe the Bible to be a truthful account of history, of God, and of Jesus Christ. Disprove these and conservative Christians have nothing.

(FYI: So-called liberal or unorthodox Christians, such as those within the Jesus Seminar movement, call for a rewrite of the Bible to remove accounts of miracles, divinity claims by Jesus, and the like. Conservative Christians would argue, convincingly I think, that these people should stop labeling themselves Christian - only confuses things.)


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See also:

The Occam's razor of non-Christian thought

Do miracles violate the laws of nature?

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