sciolizer

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sciolizer150

Certainly. The probability of Christianity having more followers than Islam is greater if Jesus rose from the dead and less if he did not.

It's not necessarily strong evidence of course. Disavowing Islam has enormous social consequences, so I would expect there to be a large number of Muslims in both the world where Muhammad received the Quran from Gabriel and the world where Muhammad hallucinated. But I still expect there to be more Christians if Jesus rose from the dead than if he did not.

IQ is only weakly correlated to rationality. A much better thing to do is to ask Christians why they believe. If you know the reasons a Christian believes, then the evidential weight of their reasoning will replace the evidential weight that comes from the fact that they believe.

The causal flow looks like this:

Reality --> Reason to believe -> Person believes

By d-separation, once you know a person's reasons for believing, the fact that they believe is no longer useful information to you.

In the interests of disclosure, I am an ex-Christian who spent a year learning Arabic because I believed that God was calling me to be a missionary to Muslims. When I learned Bayes theorem, I attempted to use it to construct an argument that Jesus being divine was more probable than him being ordinary. Needless to say, I didn't get very far before I realized I was falling into the base rate fallacy, and this is what ultimately led to my de-conversion.

Some simple Fermi estimates:

The United States with it’s current population of 300 million has around 5,000 cults. The entire world had a population around 300 million during Jesus’s time, so we can guess that they also had about 5,000 religions. Only ten of them became major world religions (let's say). So the probability of a false religion becoming a major world religion is about 1 in 500. The probability of a true religion becoming a major world religion is near 100%. So the evidential weight of Christianity's large following is about 499 to 1.

If the probability of a randomly selected human rising from the dead is less than 1 out of 500 (and I had to admit that it was substantially less, even when I was a believer), then these two considerations suggest it more likely that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

There's lots of other evidence that could be taken into account. But as a non-believer I don't hesitate to admit that Christianity's popularity counts as positive evidence; I just think the negative evidence adds up to more than the positive evidence.