I am self-taught in many aspects of philosophy, or I rely on what I have learned by reading other’s work. One philosophical tool that I have found very interesting was Occam’s Razor. For those who aren’t familiar, Occam’s Razor basically states that the simplest explanation is the most likely explanation. So, does this tool provide a case for Theism/Christianity? It all depends on what we have as evidence to support our conclusion and what we decide to be the simplest explanation. What I want to do today is to show that God is the simplest explanation for the universe, and that the resurrection of Jesus is the simplest explanation as to why the disciples died for their beliefs and that the early church exploded because of that truth.
As far as God being the uncaused first cause of the universe, the creator and sustainer of all we are and know, and the simplest explanation of all of this, I have a small case of evidence to present. It is more reasonable to propose a single beginning to the universe, rather than proposing that the universe is eternal in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that the universe cycles between big bangs and big crunches per Carl Sagan, or the multiverse. The last two have no evidence for it, and per Occam’s Razor, these are less likely than the first two, and our best evidence discredits the second explanation, leaving the first explanation as the most likely: that the universe was due to an uncaused first cause that Christian attribute to God.
To explain why the disciples started espousing the resurrection, plenty of people have proposed different hypotheses as to why they did, rather than they actually saw the resurrected Christ. There are plenty of people who will claim that Jesus never existed at all, and that the disciples made him up in an effort to gain power. There are also those who have alternative explanations to the resurrection, maybe the disciples mistook someone for Jesus, maybe Jesus didn’t die on the cross, just fainted, maybe the disciples experienced a mass hallucination.
Let us take a look at each one of these objections and see if they are likely alternatives to what we claim the truth is: that the disciples saw a bodily resurrected Jesus of Nazareth and spent the rest of their lives being persecuted, tortured, and killed because they believed Jesus to be the risen Messiah. Let’s work backward in our objections, as with the objections to God being the Creator of the universe. If the disciples were experiencing a mass hallucination, it is highly unlikely that they experienced the same hallucination, as Lee Strobel found in his investigation for his book “The Case for Christ”. As for Jesus not dying on the cross, there is no historical record, except for the Quran (written 600 years later), that claims that Jesus did not die on the cross. Even if he didn’t, he was so beaten and bloodied that I doubt a Jesus in that state would inspire the faith that the disciples spread and died for. For the disciples mistaking someone for Jesus, I find this highly unlikely, as they were close by him for the better part of approximately 3 years, so I think it’s quite an assumption to make that the disciples wouldn’t know what Jesus looked like. As for the ever so popular Zeitgeist “Christ-myth”, there is so much academic dishonesty or willful ignorance on the part of historical investigation into the gods that people claim Jesus to be derivative of, that this can be dismissed. The youtube channel InspiringPhilosophy has done a wonderful series dismantling each one of these Christ-myth claims.
So have we answered the question if Occam’s Razor can help theistic arguments? I would certainly hope that this quick review of this philosophical tool provides a short answer of yes to that. Let me know if there are any other cases where you have used Occam’s Razor to determine if there were a simpler explanation to the events presented in scripture. God bless and have a good rest of your day!
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
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