There are two chief reasons I do not believe that the resurrection happened in history. First of all, God never got me a girlfriend. Second, because I set the bar so high that supernatural/miraculous claims require what I call supernatural/miraculous forms of evidence to support them. (Actually, that may just be one reason if you think about it; if you knew what a jerk I was, you’d know why I never had a girlfriend!) If you think this is too demanding criteria, well, let me just put it this way, I don’t care what you think, quite honestly!
First, I have to explain what I mean by natural and the "supernatural" as well as the logical axiom that I made up out of thin air, that "supernatural" claims require "supernatural" forms of evidence. (Actually, Carl Sagan made it up, but who cares?)
The Natural and the Supernatural
I believe that the only honest way of conducting investigations for any historian is deny miracles can ever happen and to make up as many rules for accepting something as historical as we can – especially if we don’t like what happened. I’d kill myself if anyone ever proved that Jesus rose from the dead, so I have a bunch of rules I’ve made up to ensure that no one can ever prove to me it happened.
The critical-historical method (the one I like most) must be based on what I call the "Principle of Uniformity". This principle states that only things we have personally seen and experienced ourselves, or only things like those sorts of things, can be historical. This makes it easy to dismiss the resurrection, since I have never seen one. In fact, even if I do see one, I can dismiss Jesus’ resurrection because I might see a resurrection happen, say, in a Corvette; but Jesus’ resurrection happened in a tomb, so seeing a resurrection in a Corvette doesn’t help prove Jesus rose. As you can see, using your own personal experience as a gauge for what is historical makes it convenient and easy to not believe what you don’t want to believe!
Anyway, if I go to read the Histories of Herodotus or any of the works of Livy, I assume that my experience governs what they say happened, and that if they report something I’ve never experienced (like a resurrection, or a healing, or a date where the girl didn’t walk out within 5 minutes after the guy burped in her face) then I assume that they’re either lying or stupid. This axiom, that my limited sphere of experience is the ultimate test of historicity, is what I use when I study history, science, or philosophy. This principle of uniformity is to me a necessary axiom that underlies all my scientific, historical, and philosophical study. It underlies all rationality and anyone who doesn’t use these same rules is an idiot. This axiom, the principle of uniformity, is one that I assume a priori in my approach to studying history, and if you don’t like it, you can go &^%$# yourself.Anyway, the founding of the United States of America, to me is an event that I attribute solely to the actions of mere men acting collectively as I do the founding of the Roman Republic, Egyptian dynasties, the victories of certain battles fought in war. None of this do I attribute to the actions of any divine, angelic, or spiritual beings. I should point out that I do not rule out the possibility of the “supernatural” or the “miraculous,” I just make up so many rules before I’ll believe in it that it’s the same thing as ruling it out. That’s the essence of being a freethinker: You come up with the best ways you can to obscure your a priori assumptions from ignorant Christians. (That means all of them, of course.) I don't see the logical necessity of the principle of uniformity of ruling out the existence of anything regarded as “supernatural.” I just don’t like it, and have never seen any personally, and since the world revolves around me, I automatically dismiss it.
However, I do operate on a further axiom: that the standard rules of evidence used in places like courtrooms ought to be discarded when it comes to supernatural stuff, and we should instead use the rule made up by Carl Sagan that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” What this means is, if I decide an event is extraordinary – using my limited experiential horizon as a gauge – then I can demand more evidence that any standard rules would require to believe it is true. If I was told by a friend of mine that my friend saw a being coming out of the sky and claiming that it was “Ahura-Mazda” (the Zoroastrian god of Japanese vehicles) and that it had a warning that a nuclear war was going to happen in the year 2015 between the United States and Iran and that it could be averted if all Americans in the state of California prayed to Ahura-Mazda asking that it be averted, I would be skeptical of my friend telling me this. The reason I would be skeptical is that I am a social misfit who doesn’t have any friends, and anyone claiming to be my friend is obviously a loony toon.
But the point is, Christians are obviously all stupid people who believed stuff like the Resurrection based on no evidence. I’m a smart freethinker who checks these things. I’d ask questions like, Is my friend under the influence of some intoxicating substance? Is my friend going insane, perhaps the sad victim of a hallucinatory mental disease? Is my friend's mind being affected somehow by an external cause such as radiation, poison, or some substance that is causing my friend to hallucinate and seriously believe that a Persian deity visited him with this apocalyptic message? Perhaps my friend saw a vision of what appeared to be “Ahura-Mazda” but was fooled by some kind of very advanced holographic projection system. Perhaps my friend's drink was drugged or my friend was hypnotized by someone or multiple people acting in concert. Maybe someone is trying to convince my friend that s/he is going crazy and these people are working to have my friend committed- what better way than to have my friend convinced that s/he was the recipient of a divine message? But if I was to rule out the possibility of delusion whether by natural or human means, I'd then have to consider the possibility that my friend is suffering a delusion that is paranormal in origin. If the cause is not natural or human, then perhaps it is superhuman in some sense. Perhaps my friend is being subjected to testing by alien visitors who are doing experiments on human brains for their scientific curiosity, or perhaps it is a mean or amusing prank being carried out by alien visitors who are infatuated with the idea of making human beings think that they're crazy.
Ruling out natural causes of these sorts would buy me so much time that I’d never have to come to the conclusion that a miracle actually happened, if I play my cards right. The bottom line is, I would have to have this same deity reveal himself/herself/itself to me and persuade me that s/he/it revealed him/her/itself to my friend. I would, of course, demand that I be supplied evidence of some sort that I wasn't, myself, hallucinating in some way or that I wasn't the victim of a prank or scientific experiment. But if I was to receive such a “revelation”, I would look for more ways to put off a decision. I would write up the event as I believe I experienced it and I would submit it to scientists, historians, philosophers, to Skeptics and skeptical organizations and scientific organizations. I would submit such a report to the Scientific Community for the Investigation of the Paranormal and I would ask that any such supernatural being reveal him/her/itself to these scientific and skeptical organizations and be willing to provide any such proofs that they request of him/her/it that I would. I would demand that the Scientific Community for the Investigation of the Paranormal prove that they are not aliens, a hallucination, or didn’t drug my drink, or covert Christians. I would ask that any such being be willing to provide adequate proofs of some sort that I and others are, indeed, the subjects of any supernatural revelation. I’d go through every name in the New York City phone book, asking for their opinion. This is what I mean by raising the bar as high as I can to avoid believing something.
This is one of the chief reasons I disbelieve that miracles have occurred in history. If I read in the New Testament that Jesus rose from the dead, that he was transfigured on a mountain in front of his disciples, that he walked on water, that he raised Jairus' daughter or that he healed folks who were blind, I see no reason to believe that such events occurred because they are supernatural events and to claim such events occurred requires all the evidence I demand in order to validate them. If Yahweh really did appear to Moses, then for me to believe that this happened, I would require that Yahweh appear to me as well and provide me with supernatural evidence that he really does exist and really did appear to Moses. If he doesn’t appear, he can go %^$# himself.
I don't see any miracles happening today. I asked God for a girlfriend and He never gave me one. I prayed for a new sports car once and nothing happened. God is obviously a selfish jerk if He even exists. So ^%$ Him. I want more. That bastard owes me big time. I have never seen a miracle happen all of my life and so I will conclude with a uniform degree of probability that such, in all likelihood has never happened, and probably will never happen, because the universe revolves around me. So there.
I’ll be back later to explain why else you Christians are so stupid for believing in the Resurrection.