Author Topic: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?  (Read 86772 times)

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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #957 on: December 02, 2009, 06:41:51 PM »
What is the mechanism involved in a ressurrection? Has this supposed event been duplicated, thus actually evidencing the claim to the degree necessetated by it's extraordinariness?

No? Then you're useless.

who's next?
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #958 on: December 02, 2009, 07:22:52 PM »
Quote from: Fran
Exactly.  See how incredibly difficult that would be for you?  That's the point of the exercise.  It would have to be something phenemonally  radical to get you to change your belief.   So it was with the early Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah and God Incarnate.  Everything  about Jesus and their teachings and beliefs CRIED OUT against accepting Jesus as such.

Only the real physical resurrection of Jesus would be that radical and phenomenol event that could change lives and minds to completely reject  what was their most cherished beliefs.

>snip<

The belief of the followers of Jesus was that he was God and proved to them by physically appearing before them... eating with them... talking  with them... fishing with them... walking with them.. and sleeping with them.  And it was that powerful, radical, phenemonal event that changed  their lives so completely, that they turned their back forever on their most cherished beliefs.   And the change was so enduring and so  complete, that they were willing to die and suffer to proclaim the Good News that Jesus died for our sins... on that tree.  The God-man...  Jesus... came down from heaven... because of love... and died for us... because of love.

Nothing short of actualy witnessing the risen Christ would have persuaded them to do any of the above.  That would go against all known  human behavior.

This is, as far as I can tell, the "Cliff Notes" version.  What Fran seems to be arguing here is that Jewish-Christianity became popular despite Jesus' failure to fulfill Jewish Messianic expectations, despite his radical teachings (pay Roman taxes, carry the centurion's pack "the extra mile," etc.), and despite claiming to be God Incarnate, and that Jesus' resurrection (and the miraculous nature of Christianity in general) is the only plausible way to explain this.

Rebuttal:

1) Jesus was a failed Messiah

Fran makes a surprising concession, namely, that Jesus did not fulfill Jewish Messianic expectation, that his pacifism and death by crucifixion represented radical departures from the Jewish concept of the Messiah.  One cannot say this sort of thing and then wheel around and say that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, as Christians claim.  It's one or the other.  To interpret what the Messianic prophecies meant and what they predicted, we have to turn to the people who believed in them and looked forward to their fulfillment over preceding centuries: the Jews.  Ex post facto Christian retcons of prophecy (see the Gospel of Matthew) have no evidential value.  Anybody can re-interpret poetic language after the fact and make it "fit" events in their own past, as advocates of Nostradamus do when claiming he "predicted" the assassination of JFK or 9/11.

When it comes to any predictions of what the Messiah would be like as understood before Christianity (i.e., before they were retrofitted by Christians to fit the Jesus story), it is clear even to Fran that Jesus' story did not fit the prophecies and that he failed to fulfill the role of Jewish Messiah.  Therefore, by any reasonable standard, Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah.  

2) Not "Against All Known Human Behavior"

That early Christians believed some weird things (by the standards of their day) and suffered persecution and death for them is not "against all known human behavior" and impossible without miracles.  People believe weird things and die for them all the time.  Heaven's Gate.  Jonestown.  The Mormons.  The Moonies.  As the case of the Mormons and the Moonies shows, it is possible for significant numbers of people to come to believe in weird ideas, and for those groups to become influential in society within a relatively short time.  Unless we are to believe that Joseph Smith actually held magical golden plates, and that Sun Myung Moon is the Second Coming of Christ...  

Fran emphasizes that Jesus' followers, being Jews, would not have believed in things like Jesus as an Incarnate God because such beliefs represent radical departures from Judaism.  Again, we have a historical existence proof in modern times that a radically unorthodox cult can arise and gain significant numbers within a relatively short time from its founding--the Mormons.  At the time Mormonism began, the United States was as Christian as Roman Judea was Jewish.[1]  Joseph Smith's followers, being Christians, surely would not have rejected the teachings they'd grown up with to believe in Smith's strange ideas (God as a former man, men as future Gods, polygamy, Native Americans = Jews, etc.) unless Mormonism was true, right?

Furthermore, the idea of a God-man who is killed by the forces of evil and is resurrected was not such a strange idea at the time.  Judea was a major crossroads of cultures: Greco-Roman, Greco-Egyptian, and Eastern (Persia, India).  The story of the God-man, with his miraculous birth, the attempt by an evil ruler to kill him as a child, miracle-working and gathering of followers, death at the hands of evil, and resurrection was a trope, about as common in ancient religions as car chases in cop shows.  Its pedigree went back thousands of years, to the Osiris-Set-Horus saga in Egypt, to a plethora of other similar "mystery religion" God-men (Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, Mithras, Krishna).  

I think a very good case can be made that Christianity represents an attempt to reconcile Judaism with the Pagan Mystery Religions by transforming the Jewish Messiah into a classic Mystery Religion God-man.  Since the Jews had already undergone several failed Messianic revolts, and any objective observer would see that Roman military might would crush any future Jewish revolutions, the formation of a small mystical sect dedicated to pacifism in the face of Roman power and the merger of Jewish and Pagan ideas is not so unexpected.

3) The Gospels/Acts are Unreliable as Evidence

Fran's whole case rests entirely on the Gospels and Acts.  His post is full of assertions taken unquestioningly from their narratives, such as the Sanhedrin voting in favor of crucifying Christ, the speech of Gemaliel, etc..  As Richard Carrier points out in a recent blog post, the field of New Testament studies is a chaotic mess.  It is not possible to assign reliable dates to the composition of the Gospels or many other early Christian writings (such as the writings of Ignatius), or to sort out what is and what is not distorted by later Christian editing, interpolation, and scribal error.  See also, Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.  

The Gospels/Acts are the only "evidence" we have for extraordinary Christian claims, such as the Resurrection, the Sun and stars going dark for three hours on the day Jesus died, people crawling out of their graves en masse, and the very idea of a historical, miracle-working Jesus.  The rest of the world, including the literate Jews, Greeks, and Romans in Jerusalem at the time do not seem to have noticed these astounding events.  

Taking the Gospels/Acts as proof of orthodox Christianity is like taking the movie Cloverfield as proof that New York City was recently destroyed by a giant monster.  The "Cloverfield footage" certainly looks like found footage from a digital camera recovered from the scene.  It gets all sorts of historical details like period dress, social behaviors, technology, and locations right.  So it's proof that New York was destroyed by monsters from space, isn't it?  If we were historians from a couple thousand years in the future, we might very well be convinced--until we look to other footage from the era and afterward that shows New York intact, note that no other ancient American sources refer to the destruction of New York, and so on.  

This is precisely the situation in which we find ourselves with regard to the Gospels/Acts.  There is no outside support for the Jesus figure of the Gospels/Acts.  Even the earliest Christian writings we have--the genuine letters of Paul--make no mention of Jesus as a miracle-working God-man walking around Judea, nor of his virgin-mother Mary, or Joseph or Lazarus or disciples who walked with him on Earth (as opposed to seeing him in visions as Paul himself did), or of his death on a cross outside of Jerusalem.  Paul's Christ was crucified by spiritual "princes of this world," a "fact" of which he and his followers became aware by mystical revelation (I Corinthians 2, especially verses 6-8).

4) The "Trial Transcripts" of Acts are Inconsistent With a Miraculous Resurrection of a Historical Jesus

See this post and this one in this thread.

5) Even Actual Eyewitness Testimony is Not Enough

The "historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus" pales in comparison to the historical evidence for the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.  Some of the alleged eyewitnesses who claim to have handled crash debris, seen living aliens and alien bodies, and even worked to reverse-engineer the crashed spacecraft itself at Area 51 are alive today and available for interview.  Unlike the resurrection of Jesus, the Roswell crash has contemporary corroborating reports from outside any UFO group--namely, a news story in the Roswell Daily Record and a radio broadcast.

Just as millions of Christians today claim to have experienced Jesus in some way or had him "change their lives," there are millions of Americans who claim to have been abducted by flying saucers, and that this has "changed their lives."  We have blurry and grainy pictures of flying saucers that are at least as good as the Mary-on-a-tortilla chip/Jesus-on-a-dog's-butt "evidence" we have for Christianity.  

Since the existence of extraterrestrials and the religious ideas associated with them contradict orthodox Christianity, both belief systems cannot be true.  If a Christian wishes to reject flying saucers and New Age beliefs, they also have to jettison their Christian beliefs which rest on far less, and far lower-quality evidence.  Atheist skeptics who rightly regard flying saucer beliefs with suspicion and refuse to accept them as true without better evidence are even more entitled to reject Christianity.
 1. Arguably much more so--in Roman Judea, robust Paganism existed, a situation without parallel in 19th Century America.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 07:46:29 PM by Admin 1 »
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #959 on: December 02, 2009, 07:32:07 PM »
{a bunch of stuff reducing Fran's drivel to a pulp}

Will you marry me?
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Dragnet

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #960 on: December 02, 2009, 07:37:35 PM »
{a bunch of stuff reducing Fran's drivel to a pulp}

Will you marry me?

Hey, I already laid claim. I even offered to leave my wife.
I am responsible with my actions NOW so I don't HAVE to be responsible for them later.

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #961 on: December 02, 2009, 07:56:44 PM »
{a bunch of stuff reducing Fran's drivel to a pulp}

Will you marry me?

Hey, I already laid claim. I even offered to leave my wife.

LOL.  No offense intended gentlemen, but this sort of thing would be so much nicer if it were women saying these sorts of things. ;)

Being serious though, thank you both for your kind words. :D
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline Jim

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #962 on: December 02, 2009, 08:03:13 PM »
kcrady: I promise that you don't have the right plumbing for me.
Survey results coming soon!

Offline Hermes

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #963 on: December 02, 2009, 08:38:05 PM »
Grumpha ... hmmm ... . Hey!  What about those Bears!
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #964 on: December 02, 2009, 08:42:39 PM »
{a bunch of stuff reducing Fran's drivel to a pulp}

Will you marry me?

Hey, I already laid claim. I even offered to leave my wife.

In that case, there's nothing for it but for us to have a duel.

*slaps Dragnet across the face with a leather glove*
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #965 on: December 02, 2009, 09:11:33 PM »
The "historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus" pales in comparison to the historical evidence for the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

The historical evidence for the resurrection of jesus pales in comparison to the historical evidence for the discovery and translation by Joseph Smith of golden plates containing the "book of mormon" written in (hehe) "reformed Egyptian."

1) There's absolutely no question of the historicity of Joseph Smith. There's even the record of his conviction in a court in New York for fraud in claiming he could find gold. There are direct, eyewitness testimonies to his martyrdom in the Carthage IL jail. One can in fact see the jail cell in which he was shot.

2) There are (I think) eight people who claim to be "eyewitnesses" to the existence of the golden plates (before they dematerialized and went to heaven). These people have been interviewed by (relatively modern) press reporters, and their accounts published. True, toward the end of their lives (after most had left the mormon church) some admitted that their view of the golden plates was made by "spiritual vision;" nevertheless, they didn't change their story.

3) There are MILLIONS of eager and enthusiastic mormons, doing exhaustive missionary work, faithfully donating 10% of their earnings (many, on PRE-tax earnings figures), and, nobody could doubt, ready to die rather than repudiate their mormon beliefs. Indeed, Joseph Smith's brother Hyrum was martyred along with him--as a firm believer of his brother's prophethood. Again, all that is absolutely beyond dispute, and part of the modern historic news records. That's a lot more than can be said of Jesus' brother James.

Any modern christian who bases their belief on the evidence and arguments that Fran gives should IMMEDIATELY become a mormon--there's simply no doubt whatsoever that the evidence is far more sound than evidence regarding jesus. Furthermore, Joseph Smith himself had a chat with BOTH god and jesus. He's certainly in a position to give information about jesus that is more relevant than that contained in the gospels--whose authors we know NOTHING about, even if we DID have their original writings, which we don't.

Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #966 on: December 02, 2009, 09:21:29 PM »
GetMeThere,

The Mormons really need their own dead corpse to get up and walk again for the whole shebang to really work the best it can. That's why there's more Christians than Mormons. The Christians got witnesses that saw a guy stop rotting and get up - the Mormons never saw that kind of thing. Golden plates are pretty good, but it's best to see dead corpses get going again for the best following you can get.

Offline Petey

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #967 on: December 02, 2009, 10:34:28 PM »
Quote from: Fran
Jesus claims to be the Son of God.. a divine title.   (Mt 16:15-17) (Mt 26:64)(Lk 22:70)

Jesus claims he is the Christ... a divine title (Mt 16: 20) (Mt: 26:64)

Jesus says: I AM... a divine claim:   Mark 14:62   Lk 22:70

Jesus forgave sins, which only God had the authority to do  (Mk 2:5-11, Lk 5:20-24)

Fran, there is a big difference between claiming to be a divine son of god and claiming to actually be god.  It is the latter of these claims that I am addressing, from when you said "Jesus as the Son of God... God Incarnate."  Apparently you think they are the same thing, but this is far from accurate.  As has already been mentioned, demigods and "sons of god" were a fairly common occurrence during the time of Jesus.  There is nothing in any of those verses to suggest that he was more than this, or that he was god himself.  Son of god, Christ, and "I am" (which is huge quote mining, by the way...he was simply using these words to answer questions about his claimed divinity) all suggest that Jesus thought that he might have been "from god" or "divine", but it in no way suggests that he thought he was god.
He never pays attention, he always knows the answer, and he can never tell you how he knows. We can't keep thrashing him. He is a bad example to the other pupils. There's no educating a smart boy.
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Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #968 on: December 02, 2009, 10:54:25 PM »
GetMeThere,

The Mormons really need their own dead corpse to get up and walk again for the whole shebang to really work the best it can. That's why there's more Christians than Mormons. The Christians got witnesses that saw a guy stop rotting and get up - the Mormons never saw that kind of thing. Golden plates are pretty good, but it's best to see dead corpses get going again for the best following you can get.

You always rain on my parade!

All right, how's this: Joseph Smith got WAY more pussy than Jesus ever did!!

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #969 on: December 03, 2009, 12:26:50 AM »
So did Gandhi

Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #970 on: December 03, 2009, 02:30:43 AM »
This is a three part post

Kcrady...

Quote
Quote from: Fran
Exactly.  See how incredibly difficult that would be for you?  That's the point of the exercise.  It would have to be  something phenomenally  radical to get you to change your belief.   So it was with the early Jews who accepted Jesus as  the Messiah and God Incarnate.  Everything  about Jesus and their teachings and beliefs CRIED OUT against accepting  Jesus as such.

Only the real physical resurrection of Jesus would be that radical and phenomenal event that could change lives and  minds to completely reject  what was their most cherished beliefs.
>snip<
The belief of the followers of Jesus was that he was God and proved to them by physically appearing before them...  eating with them... talking  with them... fishing with them... walking with them.. and sleeping with them.  And it was  that powerful, radical, phenomenal event that changed  their lives so completely, that they turned their back forever on  their most cherished beliefs.   And the change was so enduring and so  complete, that they were willing to die and  suffer to proclaim the Good News that Jesus died for our sins... on that tree.  The God-man...  Jesus... came down from  heaven... because of love... and died for us... because of love.

Nothing short of actually witnessing the risen Christ would have persuaded them to do any of the above.  That would go  against all known  human behavior.

kcrady
This is, as far as I can tell, the "Cliff Notes" version.  What Fran seems to be arguing here is that Jewish- Christianity became popular despite Jesus' failure to fulfill Jewish Messianic expectations, despite his radical  teachings (pay Roman taxes, carry the centurion's pack "the extra mile," etc.), and despite claiming to be God  Incarnate, and that Jesus' resurrection (and the miraculous nature of Christianity in general) is the only plausible way  to explain this.

First of all, this "cliff notes" version of yours has nothing to do with my original argument and case for answering the  question of this very thread which is: "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead"?

As everyone can see, this is a question that we are debating.  We are not debating a proposition, "Be it resolved  that...," but a question, "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?"  If we were debating a proposition,  then one  person would bear the burden of proof (the affirmative side) and the other would have merely to refute it to win (the  negative side).  But in debating a question, each advocate has to shoulder the burden of proof for why their answer is  the correct one.  Thus I have to present a case for an affirmative answer to the above question and  refute the  atheist's or non-believers objections to it.  Which I think I have done... or at least attempting to do it.

On page 2 in Reply #51 of this  thread, I outlined the affirmative side and I gave everyone a head's up that I was using  the case favored by Habermas and William Lane Craig, popularly known as the "minimal facts" argument.

Now for your side... and for all the atheists and non-believers in here who are disagreeing with me, you also have the  burden of proof in answering this question by presenting a case for a negative answer, and refute my objections to it.

remember, we are debating a question, and not a proposition.

I then went into the reasoning and information and logic supporting FACT #1 of the "minimal facts" argument.  This can  be found on page 22 in REPLIES #655 and #656.

The post you are replying to had nothing to do with the "minimal facts" argument I have been using in here, but it was a  post that was responding to Emergence's original post which can be found on page 26 and are REPLIES #766 and #676.

Neither his post nor my response to it dealt at all with my affirmative case which used the "minimal facts" argument.  I  was simply responding to Emergence's contention that Charisma and a strong popular message would be enough to explain  the explosion of Christianity in Jerusalem among Jews and their willingness to die for this "popular message" and their  willingness to forego many of their cherished beliefs which were handed down from God to Moses and Abraham (as they  believed)... simply because of Charisma and a persuasive speaker who spoke strongly and eloquently.

My above response to Emergence's post can be found on page 26 in REPLY #759.

So i want to make it clear that we are NOT going over my affirmative case.  Even if it can somehow be shown that my  response to Emergence is wrong, it does nothing for your side because it has nothing to do with my affirmative case.

Now.. i don't want to get bogged down in an unrelated thread that has nothing to do with my case because I'm basically  all alone in here, and my time is limited.  But I will go thru your post and deal with some of the issues you've raised.

But ultimately this has nothing to do with the question or my case.

Quote
Rebuttal:

1) Jesus was a failed Messiah

Fran makes a surprising concession, namely, that Jesus did not fulfill Jewish Messianic expectation, that his pacifism  and death by crucifixion represented radical departures from the Jewish concept of the Messiah.  One cannot say this  sort of thing and then wheel around and say that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, as Christians claim.  It's  one or the other.

This is a false either/or claim. There is a 3rd alternative.. which is that the Jewish concept of the Messiah was not  entirely correct to begin with.  And that is exactly the claim that Christians make.  So there is no contradiction or an  either/or argument as you are claiming. Christians have been saying all along that one of the major reasons for an  unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah was because they simply got some of their "signals" or "clues" wrong.    Your search  for the Messiah is dependent on the quality of your "clues".  That should be obvious.

Quote
Kcrady
To interpret what the Messianic prophecies meant and what they predicted, we have to turn to the people who believed in  them and looked forward to their fulfillment over preceding centuries: the Jews.


And there were many Jews who did believe that Jesus was the Messiah.  You have 3 groups of people AT THAT TIME.  Those  that believed he was the Messiah.  Those that were not sure. And those that did not believe he was the Messiah.  And  these come from CONTEMPORARY Jews at the time of Jesus.

Quote
Kcrady
Ex post facto Christian retcons of prophecy (see the Gospel of Matthew) have no evidential value.  Anybody can re- interpret poetic language after the fact and make it "fit" events in their own past, as advocates of Nostradamus do when  claiming he "predicted" the assassination of JFK or 9/11.

Well now... anyone could, but not everyone would... unless you want to uncritically and arbitrarily call these people  liars who deliberately twisted and twisted and shaped the language into their pre-conceived biases.

But this is what I mean when I say that because we are debating a question and not a proposition... it is your burden to  give evidence for your belief that the prophecies were interepretated after the fact to make it fit events in their own  past.  Just saying so doesn't make it so.

But in an attempt to tie this into the minimal facts argument... how could this mis-interpretation be sustained if there  were eyewitnesses to counter this mis-interpretation?  Unless you are trying to argue that the Gospels were written  AFTER all the eyewitnesses were dead.  Are you?  And if so, how would you argue that point?

Indeed, the minimal facts does not depend on the general reliability of the NT or even the Gospels themselves... but on  the documents BEHIND the Gospels.  I outlined all this on page 22 in REPLIES #655 and #656

Quote
Kcrady
When it comes to any predictions of what the Messiah would be like as understood before Christianity (i.e., before they  were retrofitted by Christians to fit the Jesus story),

I disagree that they were retrofitted.  Can you at least bring to bear ANY evidence at all for this claim of yours?

Quote
Kcrady
it is clear even to Fran that Jesus' story did not fit the prophecies and that he failed to fulfill the role of Jewish  Messiah.  Therefore, by any reasonable standard, Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah.

this is answered above.  This is a false "either/or" assumption of yours.

Quote
Kcrady
2) Not "Against All Known Human Behavior"

That early Christians believed some weird things (by the standards of their day) and suffered persecution and death for  them is not "against all known human behavior" and impossible without miracles.  People believe weird things and die for  them all the time.  Heaven's Gate.  Jonestown.  The Mormons.  The Moonies.  As the case of the Mormons and the Moonies  shows, it is possible for significant numbers of people to come to believe in weird ideas, and for those groups to  become influential in society within a relatively short time.  Unless we are to believe that Joseph Smith actually held  magical golden plates, and that Sun Myung Moon is the Second Coming of Christ...
 

And now you will have to explain and satisfy the burden of proof for making the claim that the Resurrection is a "weird  idea" which is logically and rationally impossible.. and do so with a rational explanation that takes into account the  minimal facts.

But anyway... the question is "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?"  You can't simply dismiss the question or the  resurrection as a "weird idea" without supplying something for reasoning... something that goes beyond your personal  quirks and biases.

I have at least laid out an affirmative case.  Maybe it would be more profitable to just stick with rebutting that.


Part two follows
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 02:42:54 AM by Fran »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #971 on: December 03, 2009, 02:31:58 AM »
This is part two of three

Quote
Kcrady
Fran emphasizes that Jesus' followers, being Jews, would not have believed in things like Jesus as an Incarnate God  because such beliefs represent radical departures from Judaism.  Again, we have a historical existence proof in modern  times that a radically unorthodox cult can arise and gain significant numbers within a relatively short time from its  founding--the Mormons.  At the time Mormonism began, the United States was as Christian as Roman Judea was Jewish.[1]

I disagree because I don't think this is a valid comparison you're making, and this is why.   We have no evidence that  Joseph Smith was a devout believer in Jesus Christ as God Incarnate in the first place.  That is one of the differences  between the two groups of people you are trying to compare.  The devout Jew who DID NOT believe that a man can be God...  would not have reversed or contradicted that belief.  Where is the comparison with this in Joseph's case?  Christians  ALREADY believed that there was a man who was God... and that was Jesus... God and man.  So Joseph was raised in a  society that gave him some connection to believe that he and his followers could also become gods.. like Jesus was.

For the comparison to be valid, then Joseph would have to have gone in the opposite direction than the direction he did  go per his Mormon theology.

Also the Christians are making all sorts of claims not being made by Joseph.. claims which for a Jew is  incomprehensible... claims that not even Joseph and his followers would even make.  Claims that were far more difficult  for a devout Jew to accept than anything Joseph accepted.  Jesus was God Incarnate.  Joseph was not.. and neither he nor  his followers ever made such a claim.   Joseph did not raise from the dead thru a Resurrection.. and neither he nor his  followers ever made such a claim.  Etc.   So I think your comparison is a faulty one.

Not only that... the claim of Jesus' resurrection can at least be tested and judged against neutral facts.. the minimal  facts argument.  There is nothing like this with Joseph and Mormonism.  Nothing.

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Kcrady
Joseph Smith's followers, being Christians, surely would not have rejected the teachings they'd grown up with to believe  in Smith's strange ideas (God as a former man, men as future Gods, polygamy, Native Americans = Jews, etc.) unless  Mormonism was true, right?

I think I've answered this above.  I will add one more observation though.  I'm not asking you to uncritically accept the  claim that Jesus was resurrected... anymore than I'm asking you to accept Joseph's claims.

I have laid out the affirmative case for the Resurrection of Christ... and it is that you should be trying to rebut... and then shoulder your part of the burden of proof and give us your case against Jesus' resurrection.

Instead of trying to judge two different cases (Joseph and Jesus), let's tackle the one which this thread is dealing  with.... the person of Jesus.  If you can argue effectively against Jesus' resurrection, then we don't need to tackle  Joseph's case.  But if you can't rebut my case, then that goes along way towards showing that Joseph's case is weak.   Because if Jesus was Resurrected, then that makes Josephs and Mormonism false because of the law of non-contradiction.

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Kcrady
Furthermore, the idea of a God-man who is killed by the forces of evil and is resurrected was not such a strange idea at  the time.

Really?  Then why was Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy?

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Kcrady
Judea was a major crossroads of cultures: Greco-Roman, Greco-Egyptian, and Eastern (Persia, India).  The story of the  God-man, with his miraculous birth, the attempt by an evil ruler to kill him as a child, miracle-working and gathering  of followers, death at the hands of evil, and resurrection was a trope, about as common in ancient religions as car  chases in cop shows.  Its pedigree went back thousands of years, to the Osiris-Set-Horus saga in Egypt, to a plethora of  other similar "mystery religion" God-men (Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, Mithras, Krishna).

Well.. we can certainly argue this point.  Except it does nothing as an explanation for the minimal facts of my  affirmative case.  Even if all this was true (which I reject), it doesnt mean that Jesus was NOT resurrected.  It does  not deal with any of the minimal facts.  So it does nothing for us.

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Kcrady
I think a very good case can be made that Christianity represents an attempt to reconcile Judaism with the Pagan Mystery  Religions by transforming the Jewish Messiah into a classic Mystery Religion God-man.

And you're welcome to make such a case if you feel it contradicts or takes into account all 4 of the minimal facts in my  affirmative case.  

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Kcrady
Since the Jews had already undergone several failed Messianic revolts, and any objective observer would see that Roman  military might would crush any future Jewish revolutions, the formation of a small mystical sect dedicated to pacifism  in the face of Roman power and the merger of Jewish and Pagan ideas is not so unexpected.

Maybe so... but this doesn't take into account all 4 of the minimal facts in my affirmative case.  So I don't see this  line of reasoning as helpful to you at all.

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Kcrady
3) The Gospels/Acts are Unreliable as Evidence

Fran's whole case rests entirely on the Gospels and Acts.
 

My affirmative case does NOT rely on the general reliability of the NT documents.  I've said this repeatedly and this is  at the heart of the minimal facts argument as championed by Craig and Habermas (among others).

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Kcrady
His post is full of assertions taken unquestioningly from their narratives, such as the Sanhedrin voting in favor of  crucifying Christ, the speech of Gemaliel, etc..

And what documents can you bring to the table which shows that the above were lies or misrepresentation of these  people?  They were alive after all and could have written their side of the story and repudiate these narratives.

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Kcardy
As Richard Carrier points out in a recent blog post, the field of New Testament studies is a chaotic mess.  It is not  possible to assign reliable dates to the composition of the Gospels or many other early Christian writings (such as the  writings of Ignatius), or to sort out what is and what is not distorted by later Christian editing, interpolation, and  scribal error.  See also, Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

Bart Ehrman?  Sheesh.  As I said before, even though I disagree with you and Carrier and Ehrman, my affirmative case  does not rely on the general reliability of the NT documents.  Therefore you've said nothing which rebuts my case.  It still stands.  

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Kcrady
The Gospels/Acts are the only "evidence" we have for extraordinary Christian claims, such as the Resurrection, the Sun  and stars going dark for three hours on the day Jesus died, people crawling out of their graves en masse, and the very  idea of a historical, miracle-working Jesus.  The rest of the world, including the literate Jews, Greeks, and Romans in  Jerusalem at the time do not seem to have noticed these astounding events.

First of all, it is not true that the minimal facts argument relies only on the Gospels/Acts as evidence.  The minimal  facts argument also relies on the documents which the Gospels USED and which parts of the Gospels were based on.

Secondly, I dont understand why we should expect to have many, if any documents outside of Christian circles that talk about Jesus and the miracles he preformed.

Surely you must know that no historian can "prove" that anyone existed in the past... let alone "prove" events about that person.  All history is basically a matter of probability based upon best guess from documentary sources.  You speak of an historical Jesus.  Well, the existence of Jesus has been accepted by history for centuries... until the 19th century.  Not one of his opponents from the first 19 centuries every questioned that he really existed as an historical person.  So the burden of proof is one you to overturn this centuries old presumption and prove that he didn't exist.

And since you bring up Richard Carrier, it is instructive to note that Carrier is not ready to completely reject the notion that Jesus was an historical person.  This is from Wikipedia: Carrier has also argued for the possibility that Jesus did not historically exist, a view that has evolved in strength over the years. Though originally skeptical of the notion, and subsequently more agnostic, since 2005 he has considered it "very likely" the historical Jesus didn't exist,[19] but that this still "remains only a hypothesis" in need of peer review.[20]

And what about the events surrounding Jesus?  Well, the fact is, and i'm sure you know this, we have very little information from 1st Century sources to begin with.  Not much has survived the test of time from A.D. 1 to today.  And look at what we do have from those early years.

Of all the writers between the 50s and the 60s, only Seneca may have had a reason to refer to Jesus.  But considering his personal troubles with Nero, it is unlikely that he would have had any interest in Jesus or the "The Way".

And none of the written material which we have from the 70s and the 80s would have mentioned Jesus or his miracles either because  they were just poems and minor stuff like that.  The fact is that what we know of most ancient people as individuals could fit on just a few pieces of paper.

And what about the Roman historians?  Well.. why would they be interested at all in a small movement begun by a "wonder worker" when there were actually quite a number of these characters running around in a culture and society which  they disproved of and disliked to begin with?  Why would the Romans take notice of just one more?

The fact is, and you should know this, we have very little information about Rome accept thru some writings of a few Roman historians like Tacitus.  And those are only copies.  Just like the NT documents, we don't have any originals  Well... Roman Historians were only concerned with issues that directly effected them where they lived, or pertained to the fortunes of the empire. Isn't that true?  And the Roman writers could hardly be expected to have foreseen the subsequent influence of Christianity on the Roman Empire and therefore to have carefully documented" Christian origins.  Could they?  I mean, how were they to know that this minor Nazarene prophet would cause such a fuss?"

No.. i think you are being deliberately selective because of your prior bias.  You are asking for something that is completely unreasonable and completely unfair when compared to what historians will accept from non-christian documents and sources.

But.. .and this is a very important point... I'm not even asking you to accept uncritically  that any miracle has occurred or that the resurrection has occurred.  The minimal facts argument does not apriorily presuppose ANY miracles. None of the minimal facts are dependent on the supernatural or the miraculous.  Not one of them.

So this entire line of argument of yours seems to be irrelevant to my affirmative case.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 02:45:19 AM by Fran »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #972 on: December 03, 2009, 02:32:29 AM »
This is part three of three


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Kcrady
Taking the Gospels/Acts as proof of orthodox Christianity is like taking the movie Cloverfield as proof that New York  City was recently destroyed by a giant monster.

Neither is being asked to be accepted uncritically.  The minimal facts argument does not PROVE the Resurrection... anymore than any historian can 'prove" that a person existed in the past before cameras.  You can't even "prove" that Washington was a real person.

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Kcrady
The "Cloverfield footage" certainly looks like found footage from a digital camera recovered from the scene.  It gets all sorts of historical details like period dress, social behaviors, technology, and locations right.  So it's proof that New York was destroyed by monsters from space, isn't it?

No.. because it doesn't make any such claims.  And if it did, it can be easily rebutted by contemporary eyewitnesses who live in New York.  Now how this even remotely similar to the claims about the Resurrection?  

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Kcrady
If we were historians from a couple thousand years in the future, we might very well be convinced--until we look to other footage from the era and afterward that shows New York intact, note that no other ancient American sources refer to the destruction of New York, and so on.  

And the Christian is saying that such contrary eyewitnesses existed at the time the Resurrection was preached.

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Kcrady
This is precisely the situation in which we find ourselves with regard to the Gospels/Acts.

Not at all.

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Kcrady
There is no outside support for the Jesus figure of the Gospels/Acts.

I disagree. See my comment above about the historical Jesus.  But even so... this has NOTHING to do with the question we are debating in this thread.

The question is: "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?".  The question is not "Did a man named Jesus exist?"  So let's try and stay on point.

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Kcrady
Even the earliest Christian writings we have--the genuine letters of Paul--make no mention of Jesus as a miracle-working God-man walking around Judea, nor of his virgin-mother Mary, or Joseph or Lazarus or disciples who walked with him on Earth (as opposed to seeing him in visions as Paul himself did), or of his death on a cross outside of Jerusalem.

I don't think this is entirely correct.  I'm sure Paul mentions the crucifixion of Christ.  In fact I know that Paul CONTINUALLY compared himself and Christians to dying to sin as Christ died on the cross.  That we as Christians were crucified with Christ and buried with christ and was raised with Christ.  If you want to press the point, I'll look for those verses from Paul's writing.

But anyway... you have to look at Paul's audience and how information was dissimenated in an Oral Culture at that time.  When Paul is talking to the Jews, he is already talking to an audience who knows this stuff.  So why would he be going over this stuff?  And when he is talking to the Gentiles like the Greeks and the Romans, his strategy is completely different.  

But even so... none of this takes into account all 4 of the minimal facts in my affirmative case.  So even if I were to give you Paul (which I don't), it doesn't rebut my case.

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Kcrady
Paul's Christ was crucified by spiritual "princes of this world," a "fact" of which he and his followers became aware by mystical revelation (I Corinthians 2, especially verses 6-8).

I disagree.  I think it's very clear that the language that Paul uses.. "body" is speaking of a body of real flesh.. a resurrected body... and not a completely spiritual body.  Since I'm writing this late, if this is really a stumbling block for you, then we can go over this stuff later if you want.

But is this really a stumbling block?  I mean, if i were to somehow miraculously convince you that Paul was talking about a real resurrected body, would that convince you to become a Christian?  I dont think so.  Which tells me that you have other more important issues which we need to address.

But i'm willing to discuss this with if you like.

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Kcrady
4) The "Trial Transcripts" of Acts are Inconsistent With a Miraculous Resurrection of a Historical Jesus

See this post and this one in this thread.

huh?  which one?

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Kcrady
5) Even Actual Eyewitness Testimony is Not Enough

The "historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus" pales in comparison to the historical evidence for the crash of  an extraterrestrial spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

As i've said before, you have two things you need to do.  Rebut explanation i've offered for the minimal facts by supplying a more reasonable one that takes into account all 4 of the facts.

And number 2, you need to supply an affirmative case for your belief that Jesus was not resurrected.. .a case that i can attempt to rebut because we are debating a question and not a proposition.  

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Kcrady
Some of the alleged eyewitnesses who claim to have handled crash debris, seen living aliens and alien bodies, and even worked to reverse-engineer the crashed spacecraft itself at Area 51 are alive today and available for interview.  Unlike the resurrection of Jesus, the Roswell crash has contemporary corroborating reports from outside any UFO group--namely, a news story in the Roswell Daily Record and a radio broadcast.

And we have alleged eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the Resurrected Christ.  There were not newspapers or radio back during Jesus' time, so we can't compare the two on that account.  But the disciples of Christ were willing to die for their belief.  The Roswell eyewitnesses are not under threat of death for making their claims.  And if they do have pressure against them from speaking, most, from what i understand, have obliged and shut up until the heat passes.  Not so with the disciples of Christ.  Nothing could shut them up... not even the threat of death... not even torture.

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Kcrady
Just as millions of Christians today claim to have experienced Jesus in some way or had him "change their lives," there  are millions of Americans who claim to have been abducted by flying saucers, and that this has "changed their lives."

Maybe the abducted Americans are telling the truth.  I don't know.  I don't think so.  But the important point is that these abducted people do not have any factual foundation which they can bring to the table in a debate like we are doing with the Resurrection.  I am bringing an affirmative case in this forum to be rebutted.  The abducted Americans do not.

And none of the abducted Americans are willing to die for their belief, even if they honestly believed they were abducted.  But if the resurrection was not true, why would the disciples die for something they knew was false?  And if they didn't know, then how do you explain the empty tomb?

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Kcrady
We have blurry and grainy pictures of flying saucers that are at least as good as the Mary-on-a-tortilla chip/Jesus-on- a-dog's-butt "evidence" we have for Christianity.


Strawman.  No Christian philosopher, thinker, scientist, historian, or logician uses a Mary-on-a-tortilla chip/Jesus-on-a-dog's-butt as "evidence" for Christianity.  And the fact that you are so derisive in your comment only shows that you are not really serious about having an intelligent discussion.

Which prompts me to ask why you are bothering to ask any questions of me to begin with if you are not seriously interested in what I have to say?  Why waste your time and mine with such games?  

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Kcrady
Since the existence of extraterrestrials and the religious ideas associated with them contradict orthodox Christianity,  both belief systems cannot be true.

Exactly correct.  This is according to the law of non-contradiction.  

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Kcrady
If a Christian wishes to reject flying saucers and New Age beliefs, they also have to jettison their Christian beliefs which rest on far less, and far lower-quality evidence.

I don't accept this comparison at all.  And you have given us nothing to think that the minimal facts argument is by far lower-quality evidence than for flying saucers and the New Age beliefs.
 
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Kcrady
Atheist skeptics who rightly regard flying saucer beliefs with suspicion and refuse to accept them as true without better evidence are even more entitled to reject Christianity.

I don't believe the comparison is valid.  If there is strength in your argument, then you shouldn't have any trouble rebutting the minimal facts argument.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 02:43:54 AM by Fran »

Offline Emergence

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #973 on: December 03, 2009, 02:42:40 AM »
Fran, you knew it in advance:

I wanted to express this mainly to the other atheists in here, not so much to you. I will be back to lurker mode now.  

I am not going to respond to your post(s). I know that this can rightfully be considered very impolite or even rude after you spend so much time and thought on a reply to me, but i simply do not see most your points as valid objections against mine (though i'll think about it and read up on some things). Furthermore i can think of no way to elaborate on my points any more without doing the research for and then writing of a book. I think that enough books have been written on this topic already (For those interested: "How Jesus Became Christian" by Barrie Wilson is a nice one).

I am out of this thread for good now. Please continue the discussion with those who already invested so much time in trying to keep the discussion on track up to this point. My interjection was only a tangent to the topic of the thread and has already gotten more "stage-time" than it deserved. Thanks anyway.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 03:13:28 AM by Emergence »
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Offline none

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #974 on: December 03, 2009, 04:30:30 AM »
33 pages and this is what I figure the theme to be:
Admin1 states an assumption about the existence of a man named jesus whom the thread is dedicated.
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...For this debate we'll assume he existed...
if the assumption that jesus existed then the burial/placement in a tomb is also assumed to be true?
qoutes from Fran conslidated for brevity  
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so to start off, there are four historical facts which must be explained by any adequate historical hypothesis:

1)... Jesus’ burial

2)... the discovery of his empty tomb

3)... his post-mortem appearances

4)... the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.

Jesus was buried.  That is a historical fact agreed upon by the vast majority of Biblical Scholars...

All i'm doing is using NON MIRACLOUS... WIDELY ACCEPTED historical facts (from scholars who do not believe the Resurrection happened) as my premises.


Historical Fact #1...  The burial of Jesus.
The location of Jesus' tomb was well known by all because His disciples told everyone what happened to His body, so if Jesus had not risen from the dead, if His body were yet in the tomb, this could have been easily checked out
the bolded text is an assumption based upon an assumption, niether of which IMO have been verified.
given this data set it is unclear what "rise" means.
what does the word "rise" mean in the context of this question Fran?
if jesus ceased to exist and a supernatural event caused him to re-exist where did jesus not exist?
was jesus's lack of existence delineated by time and space?
(and by that I mean did jesus exist seperate from time and space)
which leads me to ask: how separate from time and space was jesus's lack of existence?
if it was a complete seperation, then why would jesus re-appear if he was unable to experience anything?
think about the fact that jesus would be unchanging because he would not be able to experience anything because there would be no opportunity for experience due to the lack of time and space.
these are just some assumptions I have.
other than that this thread is ridiculous.
I may very well have to eat crow for this post.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 04:32:03 AM by none »

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #975 on: December 03, 2009, 06:28:48 AM »
And as I've said before, we do NOT have to provide a SINGLE explanation that links Fran's four facts.  Each can be individually explained by mundane means.  There in no way needs to be a linked explanation for them all.

Fran may say that for four mundane explanations to apply stretches coincidence.  Maybe it does, but does it stretch it so such an extent that it becomes LESS likely than a "resurrection" - something never seen before or since?  I don't think so.

So...

1)... Jesus’ burial - No problem.  He died, he was buried.

2)... the discovery of his empty tomb.  Somone took the body.  Maybe a grave robber, maybe the authorities (for fear of his body being used as a rallying point), maybe indeed a disciple took it.

3)... his post-mortem appearances.  The ones where nobody recognised him?  I'd say mistaken identity is the most plausible account that fits with the fact that, until he said "hey, I'm Jesus", nobody recognised him.

4)... the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.  Probably a combination of mistaken identity and wishful thinking.  Perhaps Jesus' brother (who probably bore a passing resemblance to Jesus) was trying to play a joke on the disciples - and found it hysterical that they fell for it.

All easily explainable - and, indeed, once there is a mundance explanation for one, it makes it MORE plausible for delusion to answer the otheres.  Christ was buried, and the authorities took the body - "wow" say the disciples, "maybe he rose!".  Someone looking vaguley like Jesus appears (though not so close that anyone recognises him immediately) and the disciples - already conditioned to think he was a god and that he was no longer in his tomb - believe he is who he says he is.  And then, once convnced, their minds fill in the blanks as to why he doesn't appear to be harmed - "he was resurrected".

It's a quite, quite plausibly mundane chain of events, which explains the four "facts", despite there not necessarily being a connection between the grave robbers and the man who claimed to be Jesus.  But it fits all the "facts", and requires no miraculous supernatural explanation. 

Fran's insistence on a SINGLE explanation is a red herring - like me noticing the pie I left in the kitchen was gone, and my dog looked guilty.  The explanation could be "dog ate pie", OR could be "son ate pie, dog weed on couch".  Coincidences DO happen - otherwise we wouldn't have a word for them.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #976 on: December 03, 2009, 07:02:54 AM »
That's quite right, Anfauglir, but there is more to say.

These 'facts' were first written down in the late 60s CE 30 - 40 years after the events they describe. Earlier writings do not know about these facts per se so we are stuck with just the later written reports. Now, these reports differ from each other in significant details so that one can ask if they are all describing the same event. For example,

  • On what day and time was Jesus crucified? The gospels don't even agree on the day in relation to the shabbat meal or even the time of day when Jesus was crucified
  • In one account there is a 3 hour eclipse of the sun - only one account. That would make the papers round thew world not even local ones if it happened now. How come the other gospel writers ignored it?
  • One account has earthquakes and the dead rising from their graves - so significant that no one else thought to include it, even though Luke was probably reading Matthew as he wrote.

Now these are serious differences and may lead one to think that, especially in line with 1 and 2 above, that these stories are composed not so much as history as biblical teaching. Why did Philo not mention any of these? This is a more interesting 'fact' than the 4 Fran is discussing. So, Fran, here is your challenge for today;

Why did not one non-Christian ever record the momentous events of the crucifixion - long eclipse, graves emptying etc.

My explanation, if you are interested, is that none of the events described in the gospels took place as described. Jesus may have lived and died, maybe even on a cross but it was the Romans who executed a potential threat to the public order and not the Jews at all. That would explain the facts quite well and Occam would be satisfied enough to put his razor away too.
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Offline Petey

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #977 on: December 03, 2009, 08:47:54 AM »
Fran, until you can stop humping Craig's leg long enough to realize that these four "facts" are not facts at all, but claims...this discussion can go no further.  Your "facts" have been refuted repeatedly, and you simply trudge along as if they hadn't.  Oh, and until you can produce these mysterious documents that the gospels were supposedly based on, your argument is indeed dependent on the gospels themselves.  Creating hypothetical "source" documents and then trying to base an argument on them is equivalent to arguing that the Illiad and the Odyssey are reporting facts because they were based on previous documents that don't exist, and nobody has any idea what they might have said.


For the rest of those facepalming through this thread with me, I am curious about something.  I recently stumbled across a couple videos in which Mr. Craig presented his "facts" argument...but in one video it was 3 "facts" and in another it was 5.  What I'm wondering is, did he originally start out with the 3 and then add more later, or did he start with the 5 and then whittle it down to 3 after having a couple of them shot down enough times?
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Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #978 on: December 03, 2009, 08:58:32 AM »
But in debating a question, each advocate has to shoulder the burden of proof for why their answer is  the correct one.  

Are you overdosing on your meds? You are the claimant for a resurrection - not us. That is not a question but an assertion you make over and over.

YOU have the Burden of Proof - not us.

YOU have to prove it - not us.

As you love to say - "sheesh". You are not going to be allowed to play games with the Burden of Proof on this forum Fran.

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Thus I have to present a case for an affirmative answer to the above question and  refute the  atheist's or non-believers objections to it.  Which I think I have done... or at least attempting to do it.

Here's the question -

"Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead"?

>>> One perfectly valid answer is "I don't know" <<<  Get this through your head once and for all.

Stop ignoring this Fran. Stop trying to make people answer the question if they don't feel they have enough information, such as mechanisms for resurrections. Stop playing games. Nobody has to answer the question at all. It simply isn't a requirement if critical thinkers lack the evidence. If you wish to try to answer it, go for it, but we neither have to accept your answer OR provide our own answer. Part of your answer had better provide the mechanism for resurrections and repeatable proof they can happen, or you will be back at square one. Don't have it? Then you get what you deserve - Total FAIL.

My goodness, when oh when will you ever learn this? Oh I forgot, you simply HAVE to have an answer don't you? Enjoy your delusion then.

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On page 2 in Reply #51 of this  thread, I outlined the affirmative side and I gave everyone a head's up that I was using  the case favored by Habermas and William Lane Craig, popularly known as the "minimal facts" argument.

This argument fails for me.

Quote
Now for your side... and for all the atheists and non-believers in here who are disagreeing with me, you also have the  burden of proof in answering this question by presenting a case for a negative answer, and refute my objections to it.

Ridiculous. Absurd, Insane. Totally backwards.

Remember this -

What Fran must do to convince Critical Thinkers that Jesus was resurrected

It isn't going away no matter how much historical evidence you come up with.

Oh and Fran - why haven't you convinced all historians of your facts, and why haven't most of them they become Christians, if your historical "facts" are really facts?

Fran - Why aren't most historians Christians?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 09:24:30 AM by HAL »

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #979 on: December 03, 2009, 09:06:41 AM »
I am getting really bored with this discussion, going on for page after page without anything really emerging. However, I found http://www.apologetics-wiki.com/wiki/index.php/Minimal_facts which appears to have most of what is going to be used here so we just need to read and comment on it.

I'd just like to comment on the multiple attested sources the page mentions at the beginning. It claims the gospels are multiple attested sources yet they all rely on Mark and Luke relies on Matthew as well.It really only counts as one source, whilst the gospel of Peter is hard to date but probably really late.

The Gospel of Thomas is never mentioned here and this is thought to be quite early - even looking like the supposed source Q, claimed to lie behind the gospels of Matthew and Luke. As a sayings gospel it does not really have narrative or any discernible order but is odd that, as an early work, it has nothing to say about Jesus being killed or rising again. Why would it not have anything at all I wonder.

Is this a problem for this rather poor argument based on the supposed 'facts' - evidence that does not support the facts?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline velkyn

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #980 on: December 03, 2009, 10:29:34 AM »
This is a false either/or claim. There is a 3rd alternative.. which is that the Jewish concept of the Messiah was not  entirely correct to begin with.  And that is exactly the claim that Christians make.  So there is no contradiction or an  either/or argument as you are claiming. Christians have been saying all along that one of the major reasons for an  unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah was because they simply got some of their "signals" or "clues" wrong.    Your search  for the Messiah is dependent on the quality of your "clues".  That should be obvious.

ah, the claim that the parts of the Bible that Fran doesn't like are "obviously" wrong and those that Fran likes are "obviously" right.  Them Jews just don't know what they are talking about until they agree with us, a-yhup. 
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Offline jedweber

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #981 on: December 03, 2009, 01:12:46 PM »
Quote
First of all, it is not true that the minimal facts argument relies only on the Gospels/Acts as evidence.  The minimal  facts argument also relies on the documents which the Gospels USED and which parts of the Gospels were based on.

So your "facts" are based on documents that no longer exist, and can't be proven to ever have existed? These alleged sources are the products of speculation by bible scholars, who differ widely on the possible content and form they may have taken. Some believe in "Q," some believe in a "sayings gospel," some believe in a "cross gospel," some believe in oral tradition...no one is clear on EXACTLY what any of these sources may have contained.   

This is just ludicrous, Fran. Cut the crap. Every one of your "minimal facts" is drawn directly from the New Testament accounts, and that's as far back as we can trace them.

Plus you keep trying to sneak in other gospel claims that aren't even among your "minimal facts," such as an alleged vote by the Sanhedrin. Even your "minimal facts" point to Jesus being executed by the Romans, on a Roman criminal charge. So blasphemy charges before the Sanhedrin are pure speculation, unless you're simply insisting we take details from the gospels as history, which you keep saying you're not doing.

Quote
I'm not even asking you to accept uncritically  that any miracle has occurred or that the resurrection has occurred.  The minimal facts argument does not apriorily presuppose ANY miracles. None of the minimal facts are dependent on the supernatural or the miraculous.  Not one of them.

So you'll be satisfied with accepting that Jesus was a historical man who was killed and later worshiped by his followers, who came to believe that he rose from the dead? Fine, I think most of us here are perfectly willing to accept that as a possibility.  But I doubt that's your goal. The whole point of the "minimal facts" approach is to compel belief in the resurrection, by trying to establish certain facts through sleight of hand, without beginning to meet the burden of proof.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #982 on: December 03, 2009, 01:14:29 PM »
On subject here.  I cannot believe that a man rose from the dead Fran because it goes against the laws of nature and you cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this happened. But wait you say nothing can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt and yet this is of great importants to man that this is proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

Fran this is the most extrodinary thing to ever have happened and you have to have more evedince than you can ever provide us with.

Like the saying goes, we need we need irrefutible evidence to believe Fran.  So far that has not happened in all of the 1000's of pages of apologys Fran.  NON WHAT SO EVER FRAN!!!

I mean you can say this and that happened based on scripture.  Or based on some one or two lines from a non Christian.

If you can just admit that it is not irrifutible evedince Fran, You know it and I know it and all the others here know it Fran.

I want you to able to say that you could be wrong about these 5 points that you have made.  I will have more respect for you and so will my other brethren here.

Kevyrat.


Kevyrat...

I have repeatedly stated that no historian can 'prove' that anyone existed in the past (before cameras).  All history is basically a matter of probability based upon best guess from documentary sources.

I have also repeatedly stated that the minimal facts argument does not PROVE the Resurrection... anymore than any historian can 'prove" that a person existed in the past before cameras.  You can't even "prove" that Washington was a real person.

When it comes to historical people and details about historical events, there will always be room for a shadow of doubt because we are dealing with probabilities and not 100% certainty in past history.  That is the nature of historical enquiry.

So I am always fully prepared to admit that I am wrong about the Resurrection of Jesus if a preponderance of evidence so dictates.... just as I am fully prepared to admit that I am wrong about the existence of Socrates and George washington if a preponderance of evidence so warranted.

What I am proposing is that the Resurrection is the best explanation for the minimal facts.  If you have a better explanation for the facts, then please, by all means, share it with us.

What I am saying is that it is far more reasonable that the Resurrection occured than not, based on the minimal facts.

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #983 on: December 03, 2009, 01:20:27 PM »

What I am saying is that it is far more reasonable that the Resurrection occured than not, based on the minimal facts.


Is it possible that it's the other way around - that you want it to be true due to your existing beliefs?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 01:22:48 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #984 on: December 03, 2009, 01:26:16 PM »
Yes, it is all very well basing your ideas on the 4 'facts' but we have not yet, after goodness knows how many pages, established these as facts. There are merely what is written in the gospels a generation later than they are supposed to have occurred, and presumably, mostly taken from one source, Mark. We cannot make any assumptions about 'fact' taken that way when there is no contemporary evidence at all. Nothing!

Remember, the story of Peter preaching at Pentecost was written down in the 80s CE a long time after the events yet the narrator is able to give a verbatim account of everything that Peter said. is that not completely remarkable for someone to be able to do - unless he is creating the speech himself for the book he is writing, Acts?

So, your 'facts' look very shaky and the thing you need o hold them together, the behaviour of the disciples on Pentecost and afterwards equally looks shaky. What have you to prop these 'facts' up?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #985 on: December 03, 2009, 01:28:48 PM »
First of all, this "cliff notes" version of yours has nothing to do with my original argument and case for answering the  question of this very thread which is: "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead"?

So?  You churned out three posts worth of chum on a topic you're now trying to decree by fiat to be irrelevant.  Why not just say "You guys aren't allowed to respond to what I say, so that way I can say I win!"

As everyone can see, this is a question that we are debating.  We are not debating a proposition, "Be it resolved  that...," but a question, "Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?"  If we were debating a proposition,  then one  person would bear the burden of proof (the affirmative side) and the other would have merely to refute it to win (the  negative side).  But in debating a question, each advocate has to shoulder the burden of proof for why their answer is  the correct one.  Thus I have to present a case for an affirmative answer to the above question and  refute the  atheist's or non-believers objections to it.  Which I think I have done... or at least attempting to do it.

Why don't you stop rules-lawyering and produce some actual evidence for your Four Assertions About History?

You want our evidence against the resurrection of Jesus?  Very well.  Our evidence is as follows:

Every single thing we have ever discovered about physics and biology.

Out of billions of human deaths (that is, real deaths, rather than NDE's or mistaken diagnoses), every single time, the person has remained dead instead of suddenly springing back to life.  Every funeral home and coroner and morgue on Planet Earth can and does safely treat dead bodies as dead, to the point that they do not need to worriedly wait for at least three days before embalming, cremating, or autopsying a body after it's assumed room temperature.  Once the metabolism stops, the body is dead and stays dead, repeatedly, demonstrably, 100% of the time.  Likewise, bodies (alive or dead) cannot teleport or walk through solid doors or resume full function despite having suffered mortal wounds and blood loss.  Nor do undead bodies shape-shift so that close friends of the deceased cannot recognize them during extended conversations (conversation being something else dead bodies never engage in).

You are claiming that at least once in recorded history, there was an exception to this otherwise universal pattern.  Based on what we know about physics and biology, a resurrection of a dead person back to life, followed by the the person possessing the ability to teleport and/or phase through solid objects, shape-shift, float into the sky, etc., would require either Sufficiently Advanced[1] technology or a miracle/magic.

Presumably you favor "miracle" as the explanation.  By definition, a "miracle" is something that overturns/repeals/transcends (use whatever semantics you prefer) the generalized operating principles of Universe.  Which means, a miracle by definition must conflict with everything we have discovered about the natural operation of Universe (i.e., about non-magic, non-miraculous natural existence) or ever will.
So far, every single phenomenon we have ever come to understand has turned out to be Not Magic (or Miracle).  This means there's an enormous weight of evidence that we live in a non-magic, non-miraculous Cosmos, one that operates according to natural regularities.  Evidence for a miracle must be so complete, so overwhelming, that we are forced to conclude that Everything We Know Is Wrong.

This is a false either/or claim. There is a 3rd alternative.. which is that the Jewish concept of the Messiah was not  entirely correct to begin with.  And that is exactly the claim that Christians make.  So there is no contradiction or an  either/or argument as you are claiming. Christians have been saying all along that one of the major reasons for an  unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah was because they simply got some of their "signals" or "clues" wrong.

A "prophecy" (in the sense of "Messianic prophecy") is a claim to predict the future.  The only way to test a prophecy (or any other prediction of future events, such as Einstein predicting that light from stars behind the Sun would be bent around the Sun if relativity theory is correct) is to lay out in advance what the prediction is, i.e., what is supposed to happen.  Christian retcons[2] of passages in the Hebrew Scriptures, re-interpreted to fit with "the Jesus story" do not count as prophecy because the claim is only made after the fact, i.e. after the event or narrative being "predicted."  Example:

Quote
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

--Isaiah 7:14

This is one of the passages that Christians claim is a "prophecy" of Jesus.  But take a look at the context:

Quote
Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.  For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.  The LORD will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father's house--days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah."

--Isaiah 7:15-17

Clearly the child being predicted here is not Jesus, but a child to be born within Isaiah's own time.  The prophecy here is that a child will be born and named Immanuel, and that by the time this child is old enough to make moral choices, the nations of Israel and Syria will no longer be threatening Judah.  The child is not even a Messiah, much less a virgin-born Incarnate God to be born centuries after Isaiah's time.  Christians simply wrenched verse 14 out of its context and plugged it into "the Jesus story."  That's not prophecy, that's a retcon.

Your search  for the Messiah is dependent on the quality of your "clues".  That should be obvious.

And who, according to Christian belief, is responsible for providing the "clues?"  Why, Yahweh, Lord of Heaven and Earth.  Too bad he provides such crappy clues, eh?

And there were many Jews who did believe that Jesus was the Messiah.  You have 3 groups of people AT THAT TIME.  Those  that believed he was the Messiah.  Those that were not sure. And those that did not believe he was the Messiah.  And  these come from CONTEMPORARY Jews at the time of Jesus.

You missed my point.  To count as a prediction of the future, the prediction or expectation must be something laid out and understood as such before the event being predicted.  Since there were no Christians before Jesus, no uniquely Christian understanding of Messianic prophecy can count as actual prophecy--that is, prediction of the future.  To test whether or not Jesus meets the prophetic qualifications of the Jewish Messiah, we must compare his alleged biography to Jewish Messianic predictions as made and understood as Messianic predictions before Jesus or Christianity came on the scene.

If I want to claim that Nostradamus predicted the success of Elvis Presley, I can't go back and just pick out something from his quatrains that seems sorta Elvis-like and re-interpret it (especially disregarding context as with Isaiah 7:14 in Christian theology) as a reference to Elvis and declare victory.  To demonstrate that it's a real prophecy (prediction of the future) that came true and that Elvis is its fulfillment, I would have to demonstrate that people understood the prophecy to be referring to someone just like Elvis before Elvis came on the scene.  Otherwise I'm just "predicting" the past, and that's easy.

Well now... anyone could, but not everyone would... unless you want to uncritically and arbitrarily call these people  liars who deliberately twisted and twisted and shaped the language into their pre-conceived biases.

We don't know anything about the integrity or lack thereof of the Gospel writers.  We don't even know who they were.  However, as a matter of probability, it is far more likely that a person can lie or be mistaken, than that they can have psychic knowledge of the distant future.  And, given the example of how Christians abuse Isaiah 7:14, we've got at least one demonstrable dishonesty so far.    

But this is what I mean when I say that because we are debating a question and not a proposition... it is your burden to  give evidence for your belief that the prophecies were interepretated after the fact to make it fit events in their own  past.  Just saying so doesn't make it so.

Done.

But in an attempt to tie this into the minimal facts argument... how could this mis-interpretation be sustained if there  were eyewitnesses to counter this mis-interpretation?  Unless you are trying to argue that the Gospels were written  AFTER all the eyewitnesses were dead.  Are you?  And if so, how would you argue that point?

As I understand it, the general consensus of scholars is that GMark was written sometime around 70 C.E., and the others appearing later, with GJohn appearing around 90 C.E. or so.  Some scholars argue for later dates, as late as the mid-Second Century.  The Jewish War of 66-70 C.E. pretty much creamed the whole country of Judea, killing or scattering whatever handful of eyewitnesses there may have been to a historical Jesus.  Since the only eyewitnesses you appear interested in are the small coterie of early Christians mentioned in the Gospels[3] "eyewitnesses" would not be much of a problem.  They were either killed off/died by the time the Gospels got wide circulation, or they never existed in the first place.

Besides, you haven't even provided any evidence for any eyewitness testimony about Jesus whatsoever.

Indeed, the minimal facts does not depend on the general reliability of the NT or even the Gospels themselves... but on  the documents BEHIND the Gospels.  I outlined all this on page 22 in REPLIES #655 and #656

Lovely!  Who wrote these pre-Gospel documents?  How many copies of the manuscripts do we have to compare with one another to test their quality?  What is the earliest carbon-date for one of these "documents BEHIND the Gospels?"

Oh.  That's right.  We don't have any such documents.  Presumably you're talking about something like Q, right?  Well, Q is not an actual manuscript that we have any copies of.  It's a document whose contents scholars deduce from...the Gospels.  This is not to say that these deductions are false necessarily, only that we cannot assert that a scholarly reconstruction of what Q might have contained is more reliable than the Gospel manuscripts the scholar is reconstructing Q from.  

But let's just say for the sake of discussion that we had the perfectly-preserved original autograph of Q, written in the author's own hand.  At best, it's an account of stupendous supernatural goings-on that no one else (i.e. thousands of literate Jews and Gentiles living in Jerusalem and its environs at the time of the alleged events) noticed or wrote about.  Apart from any supporting evidence, it's no more credible than the average UFO report or Chupacabra sighting.

I disagree that they were retrofitted.  Can you at least bring to bear ANY evidence at all for this claim of yours?

See above.

And now you will have to explain and satisfy the burden of proof for making the claim that the Resurrection is a "weird  idea" which is logically and rationally impossible..

So you think the resurrection of a dead person isn't "weird?"  It's just an everyday occurrence in your universe?  Do people fly to work on broomsticks where you come from?  Don't leave home without your shotgun, or the zombies will get you.

You can't simply dismiss the question or the  resurrection as a "weird idea" without supplying something for reasoning... something that goes beyond your personal  quirks and biases.

In my universe, dead people tend to stay dead.  I wouldn't call that a personal quirk or bias on my part, it's just the way things work around here.  

I have at least laid out an affirmative case.  Maybe it would be more profitable to just stick with rebutting that.

No, you've just stated four assertions and called them "Facts."
 1. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke
 2. Retcon: retroactive continuity, i.e. making up an explanation after the fact to reconcile elements of a narrative, when said explanation was not part of the original narrative.
 3. You cannot try to claim many thousands of eyewitnesses to Jesus' miracles and the cosmological disturbances around his death while simultaneously asserting that none of these people, except the tiny sect of Christians, cared to write about the events or tell others about them.
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