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Thread: Comment Thread for The Resurrection of Jesus - Apologiaphoenix vs Gary

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    I tell you what. I'm going to make this debate much easier for Nick and the other Christians participating in this discussion. Nick and I have already agreed to accept the following three points as historical facts for this discussion:

    1. The empty tomb.
    2. The first gospel, Mark, was written no earlier than the mid 60's AD and the other three gospels were written one to several decades later.
    3. None of the gospels were written by eyewitnesses.

    In addition, I will agree to accept the following additional Christian claims as historical fact:

    4. The Eleven, the women, James, and the "Five Hundred at once" all believed they had truly seen Jesus in post-resurrection appearances.
    5. Many of these "eyewitnesses" were willing to die for their belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
    6. Paul sincerely believed that he saw, in some sense, the resurrected Jesus on the Damascus Road.
    7. The Creed in I Corinthians 15 was formulated within five years of Jesus' death.
    8. No early Christian contested the accuracy of this Creed.
    9. Paul discussed the Creed and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus with Peter and James on his trip to Jerusalem.
    10. Paul met some or all of the "five hundred" witnesses while in Jerusalem or at some other time.
    11. Paul knew additional details about the life of Jesus, his parables, sermons, and birth/childhood history, he just did not discuss them in his epistles.

    Now, by accepting all these Christian assertions, what is the most probable explanation of these historical facts? Is it that the decomposing flesh of a three-day-dead first century Jewish prophet was reanimated by an ancient middle-eastern god?

    I don't think so. Is it possible allowing for the supernatural/miracle claims? Yes. But it still is not the most probable explanation...by far. So what would explain these historical facts AND be much more probable to be the cause of these beliefs/facts based on collective human experience? Let me answer that by giving an analogy:

    A widow, Mrs. Jones, lives alone in Sheboygan. One night Mrs. Jones is suffering once again from her chronic sinus headaches. She tosses and turns in bed, unable to sleep. However, in the middle of the night, a bright light appears in the night sky and shines into her bedroom window. The light gets closer, and brighter and brighter until....the Virgin Mary is standing in her bedroom. The Mother of Jesus tells Mrs. Jones that since she has been such a faithful and devout believer, she will be healed of her chronic sinus headaches.

    The next morning when Mrs. Jones gets out of bed and her headache is gone. "I am healed!" she exclaims with joy. "The Blessed Virgin Mother has healed me!"

    Mrs. Jones heads down to the local parish hall where she tells everyone present of her healing and the appearance by the Virgin Mary...and within the next few days... every Roman Catholic within a 25 mile radius of Sheboygan is seeing the Virgin Mary, either in appearances to individuals, or in appearances to large groups (of believers only), or, in images of her, such as in paint stains on the side of their garage, or in their burnt toast.

    So, my dear Christian friends, which is more likely: All these devout believers are really "seeing" the 2,000 year-deceased mother of Jesus, or, they are caught up in mass hysteria?

    Think about that.
    Last edited by Gary; 07-28-2015 at 10:00 AM.

  2. #482
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    Hi Gary / Nick,

    Why was it agreed upon that the existence of an empty tomb was a historical fact? I think this question all by itself could be an interesting debate topic. As far as I know there is no mention of it until Mark's gospel is written. And is anyone else concerned about the unknown geographical location of this tomb? It seems like it would have been a popular destination for Christians to visit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Hi Gary / Nick,

    Why was it agreed upon that the existence of an empty tomb was a historical fact? I think this question all by itself could be an interesting debate topic. As far as I know there is no mention of it until Mark's gospel is written. And is anyone else concerned about the unknown geographical location of this tomb? It seems like it would have been a popular destination for Christians to visit.
    Per P.W.L. Walker's Holy City, Holy Places, Christian pilgrimages didn't really come into vogue until the 4th century, though the places seem to have been known before then. And since the religion was at best tolerated until then, people wouldn't have been too open about advertising/building up those places (if they were even accessible - the places of Jesus' birth and death/burial were apparently deliberately buried by the pagans and built over with pagan temples). Scholars today are uncertain if the traditional location of Jesus' tomb is accurate, AFAIK (although they unanimously reject the so-called "Garden Tomb" popularized by Protestants in the 19th century).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Hi Gary / Nick,

    Why was it agreed upon that the existence of an empty tomb was a historical fact? I think this question all by itself could be an interesting debate topic. As far as I know there is no mention of it until Mark's gospel is written. And is anyone else concerned about the unknown geographical location of this tomb? It seems like it would have been a popular destination for Christians to visit.
    Hi Dave,

    The reason I agreed to the "empty tomb" as historical is to get Nick to agree to the later dating of the Gospels (no earlier than the mid 60's for the first gospel), and, that none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses.

    Both the empty tomb and these last two points are the position of the majority of NT scholars, and Nick was pressing me to accept the majority position on this point, so in exchange, I asked him to accept the majority position on the dating and authorship of the Gospels. (Yes, I know that most NT scholars are Christian believers, but by accepting the empty tomb as historical, my argument that the appearances were more likely to have been based on mass hysteria is not harmed, whereas for Nick to agree to the dating and authorship of the Gospels, I believe it takes a lot of wind out of his sail. I do not believe that the Resurrection claim can stand without evidence that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses.) But let's see how Nick and other Christians respond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Is it that the decomposing flesh of a three-day-dead first century Jewish prophet was reanimated by an ancient middle-eastern god?
    I realize this is just a bit of well poisoning, but just for the hell of it... Flesh doesn't necessarily decompose within three days, especially when it's been treated for burial, and laid to rest in a cool grotto. The New Testament doesn't suggest that Jesus' body was merely reanimated. It was transformed into a new, glorified body. Since any claims made about the historical Jesus are necessarily within a middle-eastern context, it's a bit redundant to point out that the God that raised him was also middle-eastern. Same goes with God's ancientness. Any talk of the historical Jesus 2000 years ago necessarily refers to that ancient period. You've used this same sort of rhetoric about a half dozen times now, as if to remind everyone of how incredulous you think this all is. We all get it. Argument by incredulity doesn't impress. All it does is tend to make you look like a bit of a jerk. It makes people wonder if this is the way you acted when you were a Christian, or if you only started acting this way when you apostated.

    So, my dear Christian friends, which is more likely: All these devout believers are really "seeing" the 2,000 year-deceased mother of Jesus, or, they are caught up in mass hysteria?

    Think about that.
    The presumption here is mind-dumbing. Just because you never took the time to think through your faith, and ask yourself why you believed what you believed when you claimed to be a Christian doesn't mean the rest of us are that simple and arrogant. Many of the Christians posting on this forum, probably most of us, took a long hard look at the evidence for Christianity before confessing Christ as our Lord. Don't put on us what you failed miserably to do when you decided to mindlessly accept blind faith rather than a reasonable one.
    Last edited by Adrift; 07-28-2015 at 11:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Wait, you're taking their word for it on Jibreel(the Arabic version of Gabriel) now? Which is it, are you going with the "traditional view", or that supported by history?

    The first biographical material we have for Mohammed is written over 100 years after he died. Wasn't that one of your major problems with the Gospels, that they were written late? Even then all we have about him is the Quran and Hadith.

    The Quran has some major textual problems. Unlike the Gospels it was not a written work. It was a huge collection of leaflets written by Mohammed's followers. According to the ahadith(plural hadith) some of the ayyah were lost. Then you have the time that Caliph Uthman had all copies and variants that existed burned with the exception of his official version. We don't have the kind of manuscript evidence for the Quran that we do the NT.

    Then we have the Sahih(meaning authentic) Hadith. There are several collections. The most popular being Sahih al-Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim. The Hadith are basically narratives about Mohammed and his life. Many, many more than are "Sahih" are either apocryphal or totally bogus. Out of 600,000 traditions, only a little over 7,000 were even accepted into a category that wasn't totally false. Among those only 3,000 to 4,000 were accepted as "Sahih". The rest were considered "weak"(basically apocryphal).

    So, basically you're comparing apples and oranges as far as textual transmission and reliability.

    to be fair, the bible has some major textual problems.

  7. #487
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    to be fair, the bible has some major textual problems.
    Well, maybe you could list these "major" problems. So far all I've seen are spelling errors, numerical discrepancies, and a few small verses that do not impact Christian orthodox doctrine in any way, shape, or form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    Yep. Too many issues so Paul never once bothered to get the facts of Jesus's life. Considering we have also a Lord's Supper tradition from them, I think we can safely say Paul verified the claims that he was preaching and since he received this testimony from the apostles, they would have discussed it to make sure he understood the creed and agreed with it.



    Maybe they spent the two weeks going fishing and never discussing anything. Why should I believe any of this?



    Paul's reputation is on the line with the Galatian church. He's not going to share a story that anybody can say is wrong.



    No. That's your line.



    A seed of doubt is not enough. You need a theory that is in fact plausible and let's also say, let's suppose Paul didn't check the claims. The creed exists and is accurate whether or not Paul verified it.
    this comment resonated the most with me, "Why should I believe any of this?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I realize this is just a bit of well poisoning, but just for the hell of it... Flesh doesn't necessarily decompose within three days, especially when it's been treated for burial, and laid to rest in a cool grotto. The New Testament doesn't suggest that Jesus' body was merely reanimated. It was transformed into a new, glorified body. Since any claims made about the historical Jesus are necessarily within a middle-eastern context, it's a bit redundant to point out that the God that raised him was also middle-eastern. Same goes with God's ancientness. Any talk of the historical Jesus 2000 years ago necessarily refers to that ancient period. You've used this same sort of rhetoric about a half dozen times now, as if to remind everyone of how incredulous you think this all is. We all get it. Argument by incredulity doesn't impress. All it does is tend to make you look like a bit of a jerk. It makes people wonder if this is the way you acted when you were a Christian, or if you only started acting this way when you apostated.



    The presumption here is mind-dumbing. Just because you never took the time to think through your faith, and ask yourself why you believed what you believed when you claimed to be a Christian doesn't mean the rest of us are that simple and arrogant. Many of the Christians posting on this forum, probably most of us, took a long hard look at the evidence for Christianity before confessing Christ as our Lord. Don't put on us what you failed miserably to do when you decided to mindlessly accept blind faith rather than a reasonable one.
    I'm not trying to be rude or insulting. I am trying to shake you and others awake from the delusion your cult has convinced you to be truth. If I were speaking to a friend caught up in Heaven's Gate, Branch Davidianism, or some similar cult, I would not reinforce my friend's false belief by calling the leader of his group, "his holiness" or "his excellency" or whatever other power/authority-reinforcing term the group uses for him. I would call him "your cult leader". If my friend's cult had invented a new deity called Zorkan, I would not refer to this entity as "God" I would refer to it as "your cult's imaginary deity".

    I know you don't like this comparison, but it is what I truly believe. I believe I am doing you and other believers of this supernatural tall tale a favor in exposing its many false assumptions and pathetic "evidence".

    Just to be clear: I believe that every person has the right to believe whatever superstition, miracle claim, and supernatural act that he or she chooses. However, when that belief is forced on others in the form of laws, public education, and rules of behavior in secular society, then I believe it is the duty of every rational person to oppose this imposition. I believe that conservative/orthodox Christianity is a cult, a cult that has inflicted suffering, persecution, and discrimination upon countless millions over the last 2,000 years. It is a cult by definition because it uses fear of punishment, horrific punishment, as the means of last resort to control the behavior and loyalty of its members. Yes, there are lots of promises of love, eternal life, and mansions in the sky up front to entice you in, and to entice you to stay, but if you dare think about leaving the group, the threats of punishment (retaliation) come fast and furious.

    Your belief system is dangerous to society. Period. And that is why I try to expose it as the false, ancient, middle-eastern, superstition that it is.
    Last edited by Gary; 07-28-2015 at 12:10 PM.

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    "A seed of doubt is not enough. You need a theory that is in fact plausible and let's also say, let's suppose Paul didn't check the claims. The creed exists and is accurate whether or not Paul verified it." - nick

    if raising a man from dead and having him fly away is plausible, how can you say that the spread of rumors and misinformation would be implausible?

    and really, there were no telephones, or email or internet. No good means of transportation. people were very superstitious and their education was poor. is it really hard to imagine wrong ideas persisting?

    I think it shouldn't be when we take a step back and look at all the religions and ideas in the world, not only at that time, but even now. How would Islam have persisted if it werent true? How would Zorasterism still be around if it werent true? Why does it still thunder if Thor wasnt real? Anyone from any religion can make such arguments, but people arent machines and often times dont do the most rational things and there's no rhyme or reason for it.

    We may disagree on where the line is, but i suspect we all agree that many if not most people make decisions based on bias, friends, parents, family, etc over objective truth and fact. If someone assumes something is true, they very seldom go and look it up to reverify - especially in the day before easy access to libraries, and internet.

    but we are discussing a man, who was born to a never had sex before virgin, so that he could teach us all, although he never wrote anything down, and then die for us as a sacrifice atonement in order to save us from the hell he created for us, but wants us to believe in him although he has made himself invisible and as much like an imaginary being as he could, and he then came back to life after 3 days and flew into heaven...

    and now people are not only trying to act as if this is the most likely scenario, but that it is impossible for anyone to have made any of this up?

    I mean, I have to say, it just sounds crazy. Scholars? what light do they really shed? They agree that people at that time believed this stuff as well as other stuff - but their belief does not equate fact or truth or even merit. and also, the experts in the fields of science, health and biology all agree that is impossible for virgin to give birth, or dead men to return to life, or for men to fly like superman - but we're not as quick to believe them.

    You believe the universe had a creator, but make a leap to assume it was the Bible's God, and then that that God wants to deliver us a message, wanted to save us from anything, and wanted to sacrifice his son (while hating human sacrifice) all because the human authors of the bible claimed it so.

    Do you believe that miracles were worked by people from other religions, or that it's only believable in the bible?

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