- Series: Veritas Forum Books
- Paperback: 185 pages
- Publisher: IVP Books; First edition (February 28, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830837183
- ISBN-13: 978-0830837182
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Did the Resurrection Happen?: A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew (Veritas Forum Books) First Edition
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"The conversation between Habermas and Flew has been a fascinating one at the highest levels of philosophical reflection. This book beautifully chronicles that dialogue in a way that is clear for those not versed in philosophy. The book will cause you to sit and ponder. That is a compliment enough, but more than that you will learn how two competing worldviews should interact with each other--and that is a real gift."--Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary
"This book is a dialogue between the leading expert on Jesus' resurrection and the most influential atheist philosopher of the late twentieth century. No fluff. No insults. This is an intelligent and friendly exchange of ideas among two giants in their field who have arrived at radically different views of what happened to Jesus 2,000 years ago."--Michael R. Licona, director of apologetics, North American Mission Board
"This book offers not only a lively exchange on Jesus' resurrection between Habermas and Flew. The section on Flew's pilgrimage to belief in God and the excellent analysis by Baggett help both round out the dialogue as well as provide much food for philosophical and theological thought. A superb resource on the resurrection!"--Paul Copan, professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida
"This work brings together the chief contemporary defender of the resurrection and the foremost atheist of the 20th century. While the style is warm and conversational, this book is all meat and no fluff. Baggett's assessment of the debate alone is worth the price of the book. I highly recommend this to all who wish to defend the historical credibility of the resurrection of Jesus. The debate is a model of civility."--J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, and coauthor of In Search of a Confident Faith
"As a reader of Did the Resurrection Happen? A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew, I experienced the rare pleasure of eavesdropping on a rigorous discussion between close friends. While they persist in their strong disagreement over a variety of substantive issues, Habermas and Flew never fail to argue with charity and humor. This posture gives the book a warm and congenial flavor. It is a great read for anyone interested in philosophy, in the resurrection or in how best to engage in significant debate."--Gregory E. Ganssle, Rivendell Institute, department of philosophy, Yale University
"David Baggett has skillfully edited an engaging and warm-hearted debate between Gary Habermas and Antony Flew, two of the world's foremost philosophers and thinkers, the former a Christian and apologist and the latter a well-known atheist who recently has embraced deism. Their debate centers on the very essence of Christian faith--the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a great book. I recommend it enthusiastically."--Craig A. Evans, Ph.D., Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College
"A lively conversation about the most important question in the history, and for the future, of the world. Habermas's compelling answers to Flew's questions awaken hope within me. The resurrection and vindication of Christ frees us from the fear of death, and for true life, now and forever. I wish this book for all of us, especially skeptics who are also thinkers."--Kelly Monroe Kullberg, author of Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas, founder and director of project development, The Veritas Forum, and editor of Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians
"A useful consideration of the resurrection and also an illuminating insight into the developing thinking of an important contemporary philosopher."--David McKay, The Covenanter Witness, November 2009
"A slim volume packed full of useful insights and historical persepctive."--On Mission, Winter 2010
"This debate will provide much food for thought in this religious debate which holds one of the most vital beliefs of Christianity in the balance. Enthusiastically recommended."--James A. Cox, Library Bookwatch, September 2009
"This book is a dialogue between the leading expert on Jesus' resurrection and the most influential atheist philosopher of the late twentieth century. No fluff. No insults. This is an intelligent and friendly exchange of ideas among two giants in their field who have arrived at radically different views of what happened to Jesus 2,000 years ago."
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I believe I could have made a better argument for Flew’s case than he did. Nothing was said about the huge discrepancies in the post resurrection activities of Jesus reported in the Gospels. The original Mark simply leaves us with an empty tomb. Matthew has the disciples go to Galilee where he appears to them on a mountain. In Luke he appears only to the two men on the road to Emmaus and the to the Eleven disciples before he ascends into Heaven. Although the same author states in Acts that Jesus stayed on Earth for forty days and gave proof to many that he was alive before he was taken up to Heaven. In John Jesus appears to his disciples who were hiding behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities and then he later appears to them to while they were fishing by the Sea of Tiberius. Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision, yet Paul believed enough to commit his life to preaching the Gospel of Christ. Then who’s to say the other disciples did not have similar visions? There have been many reports of appearances of the Virgin Mary and in 1968 thousands (including Egyptian President Nasser) witnessed Marian apparitions over the Coptic Orthodox Church of Saint Mary in the Zeitoun district of Cairo. So the appearance of Jesus to the 500 as reported by Paul would not seem unreasonable. No one can say for certain what happened on that Easter morning but the important thing is that, for whatever reasons, his disciples believed that Jesus had been resurrected and carried that message to the World.
In 2003, Gary Habermas and Antony Flew met at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to debate that very question. Habermas is a Christian philosopher widely known for his evidentialist argument for the resurrection. Flew was an atheist philosopher, perhaps the most famous such philosopher in the 20th Century. In 2004, he announced to a somewhat stunned philosophical world that he had abandoned atheism for deism. He does not believe in the resurrection, however, nor in any religions based on personal revelation.
Habermas and Flew's 2003 debate was not their first. Their first debate occurred in 1985 and was published as Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?, edited by Terry L. Miethe. Their second occurred in 2000 and was published as Resurrected? An Atheist and Theist Dialogue, edited by John F. Ankerberg. Did the Resurrection Happen? contains a transcript of their 2003 debate and is edited by Christian philosopher David Baggett. Over the years since their first debate, Habermas and Flew have become friends, and that friendship no doubt explains the very cordial tone of their interactions at the 2003 event.
In addition to a transcript of the 2003 debate, Did the Resurrection Happen? includes the transcript of an interview of Flew by Habermas about the reasons why he abandoned atheism for deism. Despite the rise of an impressive philosophical defense of theism in the late twentieth century, Flew's "conversion," if that's the appropriate term, was driven by more scientific arguments: Big Bang cosmology, cosmological fine-tuning, and intelligent design. Some atheists disappointed at Flew's abandonment of them have claimed that he is an old man rooked into deism by friendly Christians. Flew simply claims to be following the evidence wherever it leads him.
Flew laid out the reasons for his change of mind in a 2007 book he co-authored with Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. (Flew was not happy with the publisher's choice of a subtitle.) Habermas' review of that book is the third major component of Did the Resurrection Happen?
The fourth, longest, and most substantial component of the book is an essay by David Baggett, "Resurrection Matters: Assessing the Habermas Flew Discussion," which I'll come back to in a moment.
To be perfectly honest, I was underwhelmed by the Habermas/Flew debate. In my opinion, Habermas talked too much, and Flew conceded too much. At a few points, even the moderator seemed to jump in to make Flew's case for him. Habermas' interview of Flew was far more interesting to me, and I got a much better taste of how Flew's reasons about the evidence for God and against the resurrection by reading it.
Baggett's essay was worth the price of the book. In it, he explains the character of Habermas' argument for the resurrection. It is an abductive case, in which one makes an inference to the best possible explanation. Starting with certain historical facts that believers and skeptics might agree upon, Habermas reasons between competing explanations, ultimately inferring that the fact of the Christ's resurrection (which is controversial) makes best sense of the agreed-upon historical facts (which are non-controversial). Baggett goes on to outline various skeptical responses to Habermas (some of which Flew employs), as well as the underlying philosophical issues in debates over the resurrection. Throughout, he defends Habermas' argument and suggests that if Flew continues to follow the line of argument that led him to deism, he may very well land on Christian theism.
One more thing about this book. It is rare to see debaters change their minds because of a single debate, especially when those debaters are well-known advocates of contrary points of view. That's part of the reason why I was drawn to this book in the first place. Why did Flew changes his mind, at least on the question of God's existence, though not on the question of Christ's resurrection? The answer, according to Flew, is evidence. But I can't help but wonder the degree to which his friendship with Habermas also affected him.
Those who would convince others of their points of view would do well to remember that winning a person is at least as important as winning an argument.