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Thread: The reason people reject the resurrection

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    The reason people reject the resurrection

    I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural. Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:

    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • The tomb was empty.
    • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
    • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.


    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural.
    I know plenty of people who are perfectly fine with the notion of the supernatural but who still don't agree that an actual Resurrection is the best explanation of minimal facts arguments.

    Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:

    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • The tomb was empty.
    • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
    • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.
    Unfortunately, the "facts" which J. Warner Wallace chose for his list are not as factual as he would like. Even other champions of the minimal facts approach like Gary Habermas would say that the claims on this list are highly disputable.

    1. Jesus' death by crucifixion is a fairly uncontroversial fact of history. I don't think anyone (other than Mythicists) will have a problem with granting this.
    2. The empty tomb narratives, however, are quite a bit more dubious; to the point that Habermas doesn't include them among his own list of minimal facts. That said, I personally don't mind granting the empty tomb for the sake of minimal facts arguments.
    3. We have exactly one undisputed eyewitness testimony from a person claiming to have witnessed the risen Jesus. A more reasonable claim would be one like Habermas uses in his approach: soon after Jesus' death at least some of his followers had experiences which they believed were of the risen Jesus.
    4. The idea that the apostles all "died rather than renounce their beliefs" is simply untenable. With the exception of Stephen, all of the accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles seem to be much later legends. There is no good reason to think that any apostle other than Stephen was killed for his belief.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    I am prefectly fine with the supernatural, Those events currently without a natural explanation, and still do not believe in the 'physical resurrection' of Jesus Christ.

    It is obvious from the atheist and agnostic perspective the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is rejected.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Also Muslims and Jews believe in the supernatural and do not believe in the physical Resurrection of Jesus/
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • The tomb was empty.
    • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
    • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.
    I would say:
    • Jesus died by crucifixion, like many reformers and revolutionaries of the period
    • There was a bit of confusion over where the body was buried
    • His followers were in the habit of having 'visions' and they 'saw' him in their visions
    • Many religious people feel strongly about their religious beliefs, and it affects their lives and actions

    That doesn't add up to a resurrection or anything supernatural. Possibly it adds up to magic mushrooms or the equivalent.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural. Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:
    Nope, though that is one reason.
    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • I can accept this to be true, and still see the story behind it to be myth.

    • The tomb was empty.
    No actual historic evidence that the tomb was empty. That was written decades after the supposed event took place
  10. Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
Only Paul, and he didn't even mention an empty tomb.
  • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.

  • Islamic terrorist Martyr themselves for their misguided beliefs as well.
    Last edited by JimL; 05-23-2020 at 07:20 PM.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    We have exactly one undisputed eyewitness testimony from a person claiming to have witnessed the risen Jesus. A more reasonable claim would be one like Habermas uses in his approach: soon after Jesus' death at least some of his followers had experiences which they believed were of the risen Jesus.
    Fair enough, and groups of people claimed to see Christ risen, and group hallucinations are unlikely.

    The idea that the apostles all "died rather than renounce their beliefs" is simply untenable. With the exception of Stephen, all of the accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles seem to be much later legends. There is no good reason to think that any apostle other than Stephen was killed for his belief.
    Though we cannot just discount the accounts of their deaths as legendary without further evidence. But we have no record that the apostles recanted, and they died in times of pressure for Christianity.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    I am prefectly fine with the supernatural, Those events currently without a natural explanation, and still do not believe in the 'physical resurrection' of Jesus Christ.
    So which alternative do you adopt? I would maintain with Wallace that no alternative explanation fits the facts better than the resurrection of Jesus, once the possibility of the supernatural is acknowledged.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I would say:
    • Jesus died by crucifixion, like many reformers and revolutionaries of the period
    • There was a bit of confusion over where the body was buried
    • His followers were in the habit of having 'visions' and they 'saw' him in their visions
    • Many religious people feel strongly about their religious beliefs, and it affects their lives and actions

    That doesn't add up to a resurrection or anything supernatural. Possibly it adds up to magic mushrooms or the equivalent.
    So do you deny the existence of the supernatural? Starting with that assumption, you will accept any natural explanation, such as group hallucinations, however implausible.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    No actual historic evidence that the tomb was empty. That was written decades after the supposed event took place.
    Well, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead is early (see 1 Cor. 15:3-8). And all the early Jewish leaders would have had to do to refute this claim was to produce the body!

    Only Paul, and he didn't even mention an empty tomb.
    But he mentions the resurrection, again and again. And it was said he appeared to the disciples, to Peter, to James, and to more than 500 (1 Cor. 15:3-8 again).

    Islamic terrorist Martyr themselves for their misguided beliefs as well.
    Which doesn't prove that what they believe is true, but it does show what they believe to be true.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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