Bishop Wright Bishop of Durham as a defender of the Christian faith


Antony Flew, a first class thinker and atheist let himself down by writing There is a God.

Flew's letting the nutty Anglican bishop of Durham, Wright, write Appendix B for the book is bizarre. The Appendix seeks to demonstrate that Jesus probably rose from the dead. Page 199 claims that the Jews of Jesus' time, and before, thought of resurrection as resuscitation of the body or a turning of the body into a luminous body that shines like a star. Wright says that the Christians had a different view which shows that they got it from the real experience of Jesus rising. But then he says that Jesus had a body that could be touched but which was free from pain and death which matches the resuscitation idea. Next we are subjected to arguments so weak and unconvincing and narrow that we have to question Flew's sanity when he wrote that Wright made a good case for the resurrection of Jesus.


Wright would regard the gospels as the best testimony to Jesus. But the gospels nowhere teach the view of resurrection that is important to Christianity.


They want to teach that God changes the body and gives it eternal life and glory and makes its inner virtue shine out and it can never suffer or do evil or die again. None of that was of any interest to the gospels. It is thought to have been of interest to Paul but there is no historical evidence that Paul had the authority to pass on Christ's teaching or that the apostles had the same understanding of the meaning of the resurrection as he did. The epistle of James has no interest in the resurrection.


Wright say that the gospels could have been written as late the 80's AD. He admits nobody knows and that some experts date them to 90 AD. This forces him to make an eccentric and fanciful and ignorant case for saying this does not matter. He needs to make the problem of the late authorship of the gospels vanish away for accounts appearing long after the event normally can't be taken very seriously. He claims the resurrection stories bear traces of being unchanged from the time of the resurrection. Christians have no choice but to use the kind of methods he uses otherwise all is lost. The fact remains that he only thinks there are no traces of change but other scholars agree. Opinion is not enough to base a religion on considering how demanding the religion is and how religion leads to violence.


Wright says that it is odd that the New Testament says Jesus rose according to the Old Testament scriptures but never mentions what scriptures from the Old Testament it means (page 206). He says the resurrection stories were early because they appeared before the Church developed a need to satisfy critics that the resurrection was prophesised by the scriptures. But the New Testament would have had certain scriptures in mind and just didn't mention them meaning people should look them up themselves. Wright reads far too much into the silence.


Paul perhaps needed the texts to convince the Jews that Jesus rose in his letters. He didn't use them either. Nothing should be read into the silence except perhaps that the texts don't work and the gospels are lying when they say there are texts that predict the resurrection of Jesus.


The Book of Acts says the apostles used certain texts to make it seem the resurrection was predicted and it quotes those texts. The apostles used them soon after the resurrection. If Wright is consistent then he must dismiss these stories as lies or too legendary. Wright knows his readers are mostly biased to follow Christianity so all he needs to do is make the faith look possibly and or probably true. He knows they won't look too close. This is what theologians and clergy have been doing for centuries.


He says it is odd how the resurrection visions have not been influenced by the narrative in Daniel 12 the only really important resurrection text in the Old Testament which speaks of resurrection bodies as shining like the stars. So we are to believe that just because the gospels and the early Church didn't tell us or leave a record that Daniel 12 didn't put the idea that the resurrection body is very different from the ordinary body in its head. He doesn't want to admit that reading it enough and forgetting where it was read and not caring was enough to inspire the Christian doctrine of the resurrection body. We have seen how he wants you to think the Christians learned it from the resurrection visions of Jesus as it was too odd and new to have come about any other way!
He argues that the (alleged) non-dependence on Daniel is a sign that these vision stories arose very early and were preserved in the four gospels.  The Bible speaks of Jesus shining like a star before his resurrection at the transfiguration. It simply for the most part does not say if Jesus shone or not after. However, the Book of Acts shows Wright to be lying to strengthen his case. Acts speaks of Paul seeing Jesus as a light and Paul was left blinded. The Book of Revelation describes the Risen Christ as being full of light and even carrying stars in his hand. The authors could use whatever source they wished about resurrection. Their not using Daniel 12 means nothing. They assumed their readers knew the Old Testament well or could read it. You may as well say that if I don't mention some popular book at this point that debunks the resurrection that I didn't consider that book any good!


He says on page 206 that if the resurrection tales were made up then we can't explain how the inventers put women in as the original witnesses. Women were not regarded as reliable so their being in the story proves the story was not invented but true (page 207). But the gospels were written for people who refused to adhere any longer to the outdated nonsense and unscriptural tradition that a woman was no good as a witness. And besides there were no men about when Jesus supposedly rose and appeared at the start so in a case like that female witnesses were acceptable. The Jews favoured male testimony but they regarded female testimony as highly when there as no male alternative.


He argues on page 208 that the resurrection stories indicate that Jesus was who and what he said he was for he rose and there is no trace of the later idea started by Paul that if Jesus rose we will rise too. Wright takes this silence as evidence of the early origin of the stories. Wright does not take the non-partisan silence about Jesus Christ to be evidence that Jesus never lived. People who should have mentioned Jesus did not. Here he expects short gospel accounts to mention the idea that Jesus rose to show us we will rise too if they were made up. And this despite the fact they had no need to. Perhaps the authors simply never thought of it.


Wright should realise that parapsychologists verify the paranormal have been proven wrong despite putting forward cases that seem very strong. If they can be wrong despite their powers of observation and reasoning not to mention their training why should we listen to some sketchy accounts from the first century according to which ordinary people supposedly saw the risen Jesus? Eyewitness testimony even on the spot is horrendously unreliable (page 179, God the Failed Hypothesis).


Wright utterly fails to make Christianity credible! How can it ever be credible when the religion is based on the lie that hating the sin is not personal? It feels personal. You hate the sinner in so far as you hate the sinner. You can't wish evil and judgement on a sin but on a sinner! This lie proves that the idea of an all-good God who loves sinners is impossible. Those who say they hate their father's alcoholism though they love him do not mean real hatred. They want to cure the alcoholism and do not see it as something to wish evil and judgement on.

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