Author Topic: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?  (Read 89734 times)

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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1276 on: January 02, 2010, 08:31:07 PM »
Fran, can I have a go at the original argument?

Given that you've recently accepted that your third fact was badly worded, and should read 'the reports of post-mortem appearances':

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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
Hearsay. Maybe those reports are wrong too.

2)... the discovery of his empty tomb
Either, the reports were wrong (they're hearsay). Or, the body of Jesus was removed by persons unknown. Or his body wasn't there in the first place (see 1).

3)... (the reports of) his post-mortem appearances
More hearsay. Maybe the reports were inaccurate. Fabrications, or hallucinations, or wishful thinking.

4)... the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.
Wishful thinking. Hallucination. Delusion. And all the other reasons that people believe in the supernatural.


There are your four facts. There are four adequate and realistic explanations of them. Sure, they're vague - but they're still adequate,  which is what you were asking for.

If you accept that my hypothesis is adequate (though somewhat vague), how are you going to proceed to proving 'beyond reasonable doubt' that your preferred hypothesis is true? That's quite a leap. Especially based on so much hearsay, which is generally disallowed in US courts.

Gnu.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1277 on: January 02, 2010, 10:04:24 PM »
Hello Star Stuff...   Happy New Year


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Fran
These facts are not assumptions of mine... but what the professionals agree are the facts.

Star Stuff
Professionals? Professionals?!?

Being a Christian apologist is like being a professional air guitarist.


I'm not sure why the Admin would not put this comment of yours in the commentary section.  But anyway, when i am speaking of  professionals, i'm speaking of historians, not apologists.  So this comment is really a red herring.


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Hello pianodwarf...  Happy New Year


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Fran
These facts are not assumptions of mine... but what the professionals agree are the facts.

painodwarf
I see you're still stuck on this.  You can say it as much as you want, but skeptics are not going to stop responding that you  have not established that your "four facts" are, indeed, facts.  Your insistence that the matter is settled does not change  the fact that it isn't.  The "professionals" are not at all agreed on this matter.  The question of the historical Jesus is  highly controversial.  It's not even firmly established that he existed at all, let alone that he was killed and rose from  the dead.

1... And you can keep on saying as much as you want that the vast majority of professionals (which i'm refering to) have not  established that the minimal facts in my case are indeed historical facts.  But until you can show us why you disagree with  the vast majority of professionals, then all you are doing is making mere assertions.  I have laid out the reasoning for  which the vast majority of professionals have considered the minimal facts to be historical facts.  I did in a very condensed  version which can easily be amplified and expanded if necessary.  But you are not doing the same for your above assertion.   Can you do that for us?

2... The question of the historical Jesus IS NOT HIGHLY controversial at all. Would you mind letting me know how you can make  such a claim?

3... The vast majority of professionals have concluded that Jesus' death by crucifixion is a historical fact... and you can't  have that fact unless Jesus existed to begin with.

4... Also, i never claimed that the resurrection was a fact.  Because THAT IS THE QUESTION we are debating.  I think it is a  fact, but i never put that claim in the premises of my positive case for the Resurrection.  If i had put it in the  premises... in my positive case... the claim that Jesus' resurrection was a fact when we are debating that very issue... then  that would be an example of begging the question or arguing in circles. Surely you can see this.

5...  However, I would like to take this opportunity to address the issue of the term "historical fact" because it seems to  be a hang up with many in here.

When I say that the minimal facts of my case are historical facts located in ancient history over 2,000 years ago, i don't  mean that these historical facts have to necessarily be certain or indubitable, but only that they merely have a degree of  credibility comparable to other commonly accepted facts of ancient history.   Though N. T. Wright at the end of his  voluminous study on Jesus’ resurrection opines that the empty tomb and post-mortem appearances of Jesus have a historical  probability so high as to be “virtually certain,” like the death of Augustus Caesar in A.D. 14 or the fall of Jerusalem in  A.D. 70.

When we are dealing with history, we are dealing in probabilities.  That is the factual nature of history.  None of us can go  back in history and replay past events to see what CERTAINLY happened.  However, the minimal facts positive case considers  only those data that are so strongly attested historically (those that are backed by an impressive amount of evidence) that  they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones.

One of the facts in the minimal facts case enjoys acceptance by an impressive majority of scholars, though not by nearly all  (75% of them).

But when it comes to history, no fact or theory finds total agreement or disagreement.  Skeptical scholars are notorious for  disagreeing with one another.  Almost every "natural" explanation that you can come up with for the minimal facts can be shot  down by atheistic skeptics.  A case in point is the "swoon theory"... a version which Kcrady was attempting to use in his  reply to my post... has been decimated by Strauss, an atheist.  Strauss instead favors hallucinations as a natural  explanation for the minimal facts.

Anyway... the standards of evidence does not require that the case for something is irrefutable.  Such 100 percent certainty  is only possible in the rarest of circumstances.  I mean, how could you prove with 100 percent certainty that all of us were  not born 10 minutes ago with a built-in memory and history and a universe with a built-in age?  No... history deals with  probabilities, not 100 percent certanity.  When it comes to proving any historical event, we must remember that we are looking  for whether we can ascertain with a reasonable amount of certainty that the event occurred.  And that is what the minimal  facts are.  Events which a vast majority of scholars have concluded have a enough amount of certainty that they can be  called historical facts about ancient history.

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Hello HAL...  Happy New Year


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Fran
These facts are not assumptions of mine... but what the professionals agree are the facts.

HAL
A battle of Professionals now?

I have Professionals that say there is Zero evidence for the supernatural.

Now, counter all my Professionals that say you are making baseless claims with no proof.

Protip: All my Professionals will require testable, repeatable, verifiable evidence and will require a theory of the  supernatural.

You're "professionals are a real minority of the professionals who have spent years researching this subject.  Now... I have  laid out the reasoning and the evidences which has persuaded the vast majority of professionals to conclude that the minimal  facts are indeed historical facts.  If you disagree and you favor the conclusions of your minority number of professionals,  then please, by all means,  lay out your case.  Don't just rebut my case with a mere assertion.  Give us something  substantive to work with.
   
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Hello game_misconduct... Happy New Year

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Fran
I keep saying that the Resurrection happened BECAUSE it is the best explanation of the facts.

game_misconduct
Fran, I cannot fathom how you can reasonably reach this conclusion without being a completely deluded person; this would be  ridiculous even if your four "facts" were, in fact, facts. They are not, as the past several posters have made abundantly  clear.

I have never observed anything that has happened that, has as its best explanation, a supernatural cause. Never. Not once.  Zippo. I only see the physical world in which I live, nothing more. The entire premise on which Christianity is based is just  silly, as are your arguments.

All I have seen from past several posters are claims and assertions that these minimal facts are not historical facts.  But I  haven't seen any of them give a case for why they disagree with the vast majority of professionals.  I have at least laid  out, in condensed form... the evidences and reasoning behind the conclusion of these professionals that the minimal facts are  indeed historical facts.

You say that you've never "observed anything that has happened that, has as its best explanation, a supernatural cause.  Never. Not once. Zippo."  Well that is simply Awesome. Gnarly. Cool. Boss. Hip. Sweet. Slammin'. Great. Choice.  So why not  give us a completely natural explanation for the minimal facts that is far more reasonable and plausible than the  Resurrection?  This is your opportunity to show how silly my arguments are rather than just saying it is.  Actions speak  louder than words you know.


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Hello jedweber... Happy New Year

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Fran
These facts are not assumptions of mine... but what the professionals agree are the facts.

jedweber
As has been said many times, you're simply defining "the professionals" as New Testament scholars, who happen to be  disproportionately Christian. In fact, they are disproportionately conservative and evangelical, because their numbers are  swelled by the faculties of bible colleges, seminaries and sectarian universities. At many of these institutions, an a prior  belief in biblical inerrancy is a job requirement! How many of these people simply ASSENT to these minimal facts, in  accordance with their beliefs, as opposed to establishing them through solid historical scholarship?

What you should show us is actual work by objective historians establishing these facts through proper historical methods -  rather than citing numbers of people who profess to agree or assent to these facts for whatever reason.

But I have already done this and I have given everyone in here the page number and the Reply number in which i've done this.

Also, the minimal facts DOES NOT depend on a belief in biblical inerrancy, so such beliefs are irrelevant to whether the  minimal facts are indeed considered to be real historical facts by the scholars.

Also... all the works of all the Biblical scholars, going back to 1975, have been used and analyzed to come up with the  percentage numbers that are used to show that a vast majority of Bibilcal scholars and historians concede the minimal facts.

And as for your question: "How many of these people simply ASSENT to these minimal facts, in accordance with their beliefs,  as opposed to establishing them through solid historical scholarship?"... it was on the BASIS of their published historical  scholarship... open to peer review and critics alike... that the numbers were determined.  The numbers were not done like a  poll, where you call people up and ask their opinion about these facts.  It was based purely on their historical scholarship.



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Fran
If you feel these facts actually stack the deck against your case, then you are in effect admitting that the Resurrection is  the most reasonable explanation for those facts.  

jedweber
Yes and no. Your "facts" come straight from accounts which were written to end with Jesus' resurrection! So of course the  details of these stories are more consistent with a resurrection than with any other explanation! Why would we expect  otherwise? Resurrection is the ending that the authors had in mind when they began; their stories wouldn't make any sense if  the details led somewhere else!

To me, this makes no sense. I mean, my entire argument is that the reason why the resurrection is more consistent with the  facts is because the resurrection really happened.  So...using your argument, it appears that I can could make the claim that  the reason we believe George Washington was the U.S.'s first president is because this conclusion is more consistent with  known historical facts. BUT the reason for that consistency with known facts was because that is what the authors in the past  had in mind when they began writing about Washington.  Their stories about Washington wouldn't make sense if the details (the  facts) led somewhere else!!!

It appears that what you are really objecting to, is if these minimal facts are historical facts.  It appears you are going  at this question in a backward way.  You have seemed to apriorily judged that the resurrection could not have happened... and  so when facts are presented to you, you decide it would be far more expedient to assert that these facts were fabrications  (to ensure the conclusion that the Resurrection happened) instead of dealing with the scholarship behind why the vast  majority of Biblical scholars and historians consider them to be historical facts.

At least that is what it appears to me.


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You haven't established how these gospel details correspond to reality. Many of them are merely unsubstantiated,  others are downright implausible or contradicted by what we know from history. (There are countless examples: the census, the  birth narratives, the earthquakes and dead bodies walking in Jerusalem, discrepancies in the resurrection accounts, etc.)

First of all, the census, the birth narratives, the earthquakes and the dead bodies walking have absolutely NO relevance to  the minimal facts.  Not one of these examples contradict the minimal facts.  As I have said before, the strength of the  minimal facts approach is that there does not have to be any belief in Biblical innerrancy for this positive case of mine.

Secondly... I have outlined in condensed form, the evidence and findings and reasoning behind why the vast majority of  scholars have ascertained the minimal facts to be genuine historical facts.  If you disagree with them, then show us how they  got it wrong.

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The gospel details you're basing your facts on are unreliable at best, so I'm saying we cannot simply accept your  minimal facts as such, even though some or all of them could well be true.

If they are not historical facts, and you disagree with the vast majority of professionals in this area... give us something  to work with. Show us precisely how they got their scholarship wrong.  Otherwise, you are just making assertions and  objections without making a positive case for your position.

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Fran
Are you saying that the Resurrection is the most reasonable FOR THE FACTS, and thus it is the now the "one remaining  explanation"... but that you still have a difficult time believing in the Resurrection because it still seems so improbable?

jedweber
No, I'm saying that YOU appear to be doing that, and that I think the whole approach is flawed. We don't have enough  information to reach any conclusions about what the facts actually are. And even if all your minimal facts were true, they do  not leave a supernatural resurrection as the only reasonable explanation.

??? As I said before, If they are not historical facts, and you disagree with the vast majority of professionals in this  area... give us something to work with. Show us precisely how they got their scholarship wrong.  Otherwise, you are just  making assertions and objections without making a positive case for your position.

Also... if the resurrection is NOT the most reasonable explanation for the minimal facts, then give us one that is.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 10:12:34 PM by Fran »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1278 on: January 02, 2010, 10:05:18 PM »
Hello screwtape... Happy New Year

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Fran
Hello wheels...
You're not understanding me.  Of course I come to the table with my own biases.  Everyone does.  The point I was trying to  make is that I don't say that the Resurrection happened BECAUSE I have a bias for it.  I keep saying that the Resurrection  happened BECAUSE it is the best explanation of the facts.  

screwtape
Franny, the point you miss, over and over and over, is that the supernatural is never, ever the best explanation for  anything.  You only use it in this case because of your biases.

Are you saying that your ADAMANT assertion that "the supernatural is never, ever the best explanation for anything" is not a  textbook example of a bias?  If that is not an example of bias, then what is?


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If you wanted to generally say the supernatural explains the Jesus situation better, then there are a plethora of  supernatural explanations that do not include gods.

My contention is that the Resurrection is the best explanation of the facts.  If you can provide a natural explanation that  explains the facts more reasonably, then let's hear it.

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Maybe jesus-H was a ghost?  You know, like in PeeWee's Big Adventure when PeeWee Herman got a ride from Large Marge  and later it turned out she had died years earlier.  Or maybe jesus-H's tomb was infiltrated by kobolds.  Or maybe Klaatu  used his technology to revive a mostly dead jesus-H.  The list goes on.

I'm asking you if you have a natural explanation that fits the minimal facts more reasonably than the Resurrection.  IF you  have one, then let's hear it.  Don't keep it a secret.

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But you never suggest anything like that.  You stick to your traditional explanation, ignoring that you do not in any  way shape or form use the supernatural to explain anything else in your life.  Not illness, not plasma TVs, not Ted Koppel's  hair, not a V-8 engine, not cell phones not even Keith Richards.  Nothing.  Clearly this is your bias at work.

I'm asking you if you have a natural explanation that fits the minimal facts more reasonably than the Resurrection.  IF you  have one, then let's hear it.  Don't be shy or coy.  Just tell me what your natural explanation is so we can examine it.


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Hello Levan... Happy New Year


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Just a reminder...

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

Not believing in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence is a neutral stance.

First of all, if you can come up with a natural explanation that fits the minimal facts better, then I don't need to bring up  extraordinary evidence since you would have effectively disproved my existing positive case to start with.  So unless you are  willing to concede that the Resurrection is the more reasonable explanation for the facts, then you have no good reason to be  asking for extraordinary evidence.

Secondly... just saying something doesn't make it so.   Can't you explain to me why you believe the above slogan is the way it  should be and must be and can only be?  Why do you believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to begin  with?  If you start with a slogan but won't explain why the slogan should be used, then your position itself is not a neutral  stance.  From what part of your life does your opinion of this slogan come from, and where do you yourself use this slogan in  your daily life?  In fact, where do scientists use this slogan at all in their own work?  Can you name a particular  scientific experiment where this principle was used by scientists?

Thirdly... even though this slogan has a common sense sound to it, I don't believe that it is true as usually understood.  In  order to establish the occurrence of a highly improbable event, one need not have lots of evidence.

You can see WLC using Bayes' Theorem in his debate with Bart Ehrman to show the probability of miracles occuring.

However, the only plausible sense in which this slogan (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence) is true is that in order to establish the occurrence of an event which has a very low intrinsic probability, then the evidence would would also have to have a very low probability, that is, Pr(E/B) would have to be very low.  (Pr= probability.  E= the specific evidence for that event.  B= our background knowledge apart from the specific evidence).

But really, what does this slogan mean?  You can't reasonably mean that miraculous events require miraculous evidence, for not only would that be arguing in circles (begging the question), but it would also force us to reject any miracle claim, even if wholly natural evidence rendered the miracle more probable than not.

Instead, i'm guessing that you are saying by this slogan that in order to believe rationally in a miraculous event, we must have an enormous amount of evidence.  But why think that has to be the case?  I'm guessing that you will probably respond with "because a miracle is so improbable".  But Bayes' Theorem shows that rationally believing in a highly improbable event doesn't require an enormous amount of evidence.  What is crucial is that the evidence be far more probable given that the event did occur than given that it did not.  The bottom line is that it doesn't always take a huge amount of evidence to establish a miracle.  

In my opinion, in order for you to show that no evidence can in principle establish the historicity of a miracle, you need to show that the intrinsic probability of any miracle claim is so low that it can never be overcome.  And I think Bayes' Theorem shows that you cannot do that.



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Hello again Star Stuff...

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Fran
 I already said that everyone starts with biases.  Even you!!!

Star Stuff
No, as Levan just said:  Not believing in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence is a neutral stance.  Please  remember that I was a christian for many years, so I do not start with a bias; I went through discomfort of jettisoning those  inculcated beliefs (over a two year period), and I did not do so because I wanted to live some opposing lifestyle, I just  care more about what is true over what is comforting, familiar, or indoctrinated.  At the risk of patting myself on the back,  few have that sort of courage and intellectual honesty.  I feel like a survivor/escapee of a P.O.W. camp.

And so because Levan said it, then that settles it?  Is that what you are telling all of us in here?

How do you know extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence?  And how do you know that "Not believing in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence is a neutral stance".  Can you at least give a rational argument to support your beliefs?  In my response to Levan, I at least put together a case in support of my contention that this slogan is not always true... especially about miracles.  You can at least do the same for your particular position.

And to say that you are now not biased because you have become an atheist is a nonsequitur.  It just does not logically follow that when a person embraces a new opinion, then that must mean they are now somehow magically transformed into being non-biased.  The fact is, you've traded one bias (Christianity) for another bias (atheism).

And as for your self-congratulation for changing from being a "Christian" to an atheist... so what?  There are many stories of the opposite occurring.  Using your logic, then you would be forced to say that William Lane Craig... Lee Strobel... Josh McDowell... JP Moreland... Gregory Body... and many other Christian apologists have courage and intellectual honesty and now are unbiased.

To me, you're not making any sense here.


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Fran
But that shouldn't be an issue if we are willing to be open minded and fair and are willing to let the evidence lead us to  wherever it goes... and we are willing to make paradigm shifts in our worldview if the evidence warrants it.

Star Stuff
Indeed. If the evidence & reason pointed to the fact that a purple orb named Felix hiding behind the planet Jupiter was in  control of the universe, then I would believe that.  Like a good scientist, I will follow wherever the evidence leads.  The  claims of Christianity however are void of good evidence.  It is yet another god-man, savior figure archetype, in a long  list of such characters.  It merely got popular, which has nothing whatsoever to do with it's truth factor.

I never claimed that a popularity of an idea somehow means that the idea is true.  That is a logical fallacy.  It is classic non-sequitur. An ad populoum (sp?).  And I also do not believe that Christianity is void of good evidence.  On the contrary.

But anyway... instead of telling us what we already know... that you think the evidence for Christianity is poor, why not objectively deal with minimal facts case?  If you have a natural explanation for the minimal facts that is far more  reasonable than the Resurrection, then don't keep it a secret.  Share it with us.  And if you think the vast majority of Biblical Scholars are guilty of shoddy or poor scholarship when they concede the minimal facts, then show us how their scholarship was intellectually dishonest or just bad.

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Fran
My whole point to people like kcrady and HAL and others in here is that they themselves START with the presupposition that  all of the miracles, etc in the Bible is nonsense and untrue.

Star Stuff
I don't agree.  They have that stance after looking at the claims, then the evidence, and then accept or reject said claims,  all the while remaining open to good reason & evidence, (as do I)...........but, alas, there is none.

And William Lane Craig and Moreland and Boyd and Strobel and Zacharias and Montgomery and others have come to the complete opposite opinion after looking at the claims, then the evidence, and then accepted Christianity, all the while remaining open to good reason and evidence, (as do I).



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Hello GetMeThere... Happy New Year


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Fran
My whole point to people like kcrady and HAL and others in here is that they themselves START with the presupposition that  all of the miracles, etc in the Bible is nonsense and untrue.  They continually say that it violates the natural laws of  physics and biology, etc. etc.


GetMeThere
Fran, that would be the natural, MODERN, "default," manner in which a person would approach a tale of miracles.

Being a skeptic should always be the natural, modern reaction for any belief.  No where have I ever suggested that anyone should believe in anything uncritically.

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Most modern people have come to realize (and, in fact, this is only substantially true in the last fifty years or so) that miracles apparently DO NOT HAPPEN! People have only fairly recently come to realize that REPORTS are very often not FACTS.

Basic logic 101 tells us that you've just committed a logical fallacy called ad populoum (sp?).  What you don't figure into your above statement is possible bias... a lack in critical thinking skills... intellectual laziness... use of false premises... wishful thinking... peer pressure... use of misinformation... indifference... and a host of other factors.  People are not monolithic.

I'm more interested in knowing WHY they believe what they do.

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There is a decent reason for this: reports of UFOs. They started as an absolute CRAZE in the '50's. And even though it was clear that at least SOME reports were hoaxes, people tended to think that "where there's smoke there's fire," and so perhaps SOME of them were true. But this is a MODERN world, where direct communications are easy, fresh evidence is examined by experienced and educated people. And...well....the stories simply tended to DIE. NONE were shown to contain evidence that  could be widely convincing. From this people began to learn that maybe STORIES THAT MANY PEOPLE TOLD weren't necessarily  always true.

I agree.  And isn't it sad that all these people took so long (and some never did) for these people to have a paradigm shift in their opinion about UFO's? And what was their basis for believing that UFO's existed?  You said it yourself... "where there's smoke there's fire".  How is that kind of "evidence" even comparable to the minimal facts case for the Resurrection?  It's not even in the same ballpark. So this observation of yours is irrelevant and a category fallacy.

You admitted yourself that there was no real evidence... just a fuzzy undefined idea that "where there's smoke there's fire".  The Christian position, and the minimal facts case, is not based on any such fuzzy undefined ideas or  evidence.  My belief in the Resurrection is based squarely on evidence.  And if the sightings of UFO's could be chalked up to hoaxes and weather phenomena or other natural phenomena... then likewise, you should be able to point out a natural explanation for the minimal facts that is far more reasonable than the Resurrection.

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Stories about "bigfoot" fell into a similar category, and people learned similar lessons from them.

Answered above. I'm always willing to keep an open mind. Even about UFO's.  Although I'm inclined to believe that if UFO's do exist in some sense, it won't be an example of extraterrestrial life forms from other planets.

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And now HERE IS THE MIRACLE: At the same time all this DOUBT and SKEPTICISM was forming about people's stories and fantastic reports, people where indeed making THEIR OWN MIRACLES--through science. You do realize that, compared to the people who reported your bible stories, modern people have made GENUINE MIRACLES. If people from bible times knew that men could REALLY, IN ACTUAL REALITY, walk on the moon, then they wouldn't be particularly impressed by stories of resurrection--which were apparently rampant in many middle-eastern countries then, AND NOW.

???  I would like to know your definition of what constitutes a "miracle".

I would also like for you to give me an example of a scientist, using science, can make a dead person... who is really, really dead for 3 days, be resurrected.  It seems that many in here keep saying that such a feat goes against all known natural laws of biology and physics and science.  I don't think you can give me any such examples from the wonderful world of science.  

If you can, then you shouldn't have any difficulty in believing in the possibility of the resurrection of Christ. After all, maybe you're disbelief in the possibility of a Resurrection occurring is really just like those people from bible times who would think that walking on the moon is a miracle because they did not have the knowledge that we do.

Mabye one day you will not consider the Resurrection of Christ to be impossible.

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Fran
There is no way they start from a completely neutral stance. NO WAY!!!

But as I said, this shouldn't be an issue if a person is willing to recognize that as humans we have biases... but they are  nevertheless willing to be open minded and fair and are willing to let the facts and the evidence lead them instead of the  other way around.  Is this true or not?

So I just do not understand your point.

GetMeThere
A "neutral stance," in a practical sense, is doubt, followed by a willingness to examine evidence. That is what posters here  exhibit.

In that case, then Moreland, McDowell, Boyd, Craig, Strobel, Montgomery, Johnson and other Christians have started from a completely neutral stance... even to this day after they became a Christian.  This would logically follow from your above statement.

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Hello again Star Stuff...


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In other words Fran, it is fairly obvious that for someone to believe and organize their life around such wild,  fantastical claims of Christianity......claims which are so staggeringly sketchy in their evidence......one must really want  to believe.  I suggest that you really want to believe these things because of the payoffs (both imagined, like heaven; and  real, like the sense of belonging & community here & now).

Why do you not organize your life around other beliefs & claims which are equivalently sketchy?

I reject your assertion that Christianity is sketchy or that the evidence for Christ's resurrection is sketchy.  And my beliefs are not based on any payoff in the afterlife.   This is a classic red herring (not to mention patently untrue) and is completely irrelevant to the discussion about the positive case i've presented for Christ's resurrection.

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Well guys... there are a lot of more posts for me to wade thru... but this is a start at least.

Happy New Year everyone.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 10:28:04 PM by Fran »

Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1279 on: January 02, 2010, 10:16:32 PM »
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A battle of Professionals now?

I have Professionals that say there is Zero evidence for the supernatural.

Now, counter all my Professionals that say you are making baseless claims with no proof.

Protip: All my Professionals will require testable, repeatable, verifiable evidence and will require a theory of the  supernatural.


You're "professionals are a real minority of the professionals who have spent years researching this subject.  Now... I have  laid out the reasoning and the evidences which has persuaded the vast majority of professionals to conclude that the minimal  facts are indeed historical facts.  If you disagree and you favor the conclusions of your minority number of professionals,  then please, by all means,  lay out your case.  Don't just rebut my case with a mere assertion.  Give us something  substantive to work with.

Are you more delusional after the holidays? You must be Fran. You make me sad, sad that people like you can be deluded into the depths that you have sunken to. I feel sorry for you and the poor fools that follow your delusional ideas.

You are very foolish to have responded the way you did. You are making a complete fool out of yourself and your argument. It is indeed sad.

So then, in response to your foolish attempt at countering me, please then, provide proof, testing, theories, and papers describing the supernatural and how it functions - from your professionals that have spent years researching "this subject". You can't do it and you know damn well you can't, yet you persist in this sorry charade of a mockery of critical thinking. What a poor sorry example to set in front of grown adults. Shame on you and your ilk.

You poor man, all I hope is that impressionable young men and women don't get suckered into your bastardization of any respectful ideal of rational and critical thought. It is indeed a shameful presentation that has dragged out this long, you reprehensible man.

Good day sir.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 10:20:48 PM by HAL »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1280 on: January 02, 2010, 10:40:44 PM »
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A battle of Professionals now?

I have Professionals that say there is Zero evidence for the supernatural.

Now, counter all my Professionals that say you are making baseless claims with no proof.

Protip: All my Professionals will require testable, repeatable, verifiable evidence and will require a theory of the  supernatural.


You're "professionals are a real minority of the professionals who have spent years researching this subject.  Now... I have  laid out the reasoning and the evidences which has persuaded the vast majority of professionals to conclude that the minimal  facts are indeed historical facts.  If you disagree and you favor the conclusions of your minority number of professionals,  then please, by all means,  lay out your case.  Don't just rebut my case with a mere assertion.  Give us something  substantive to work with.

Are you more delusional after the holidays? You must be Fran. You make me sad, sad that people like you can be deluded into the depths that you have sunken to. I feel sorry for you and the poor fools that follow your delusional ideas.

You are very foolish to have responded the way you did. You are making a complete fool out of yourself and your argument. It is indeed sad.

So then, in response to your foolish attempt at countering me, please then, provide proof, testing, theories, and papers describing the supernatural and how it functions - from your professionals that have spent years researching "this subject". You can't do it and you know damn well you can't, yet you persist in this sorry charade of a mockery of critical thinking. What a poor sorry example to set in front of grown adults. Shame on you and your ilk.

You poor man, all I hope is that impressionable young men and women don't get suckered into your bastardization of any respectful ideal of rational and critical thought. It is indeed a shameful presentation that has dragged out this long, you reprehensible man.

Good day sir.


In my above reply to you... I was talking about the minimal facts... not the supernatural.  That is my bad.

I thought you said: "I have Professionals that say there is Zero evidence for the minimal facts."


Maybe I ate too much turkey or had too much egg nog.

In any case... since my minimal facts case does not rest on any premise about the supernatural, then it appears that your statement "I have Professionals that say there is Zero evidence for the supernatural."... it is irrelevant because I never talked about professionals' belief in any supernatural events.  I never put these words together in any of my posts as you did in your response.

And because I never did that, I guess your sentence caught me off guard.  The moment i saw the word "professionals" in your sentence, I falsely assumed that you were speaking about the same thing I have been talking about in here, in connection with the professionals and the minimal facts.

After all... look at what my original sentence was, the one that you responded too, but where you did not put my original sentence in.  Here is what I originally said:

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These facts are not assumptions of mine... but what the professionals agree are the facts.

Do you see how i was talking about what "the professionals agree are the facts"?

I was talking about professionals AND facts.  Not professionals AND the supernatural like you were.

And so I just assumed you were talking about the same thing I was when you responded to my sentence about  how the professionals agree on the facts.

Why would you respond to my sentence about professionals who agree about the facts, with a statement about professionals who do not accept the supernatural?  What does one have to do with the other?  That is why I think your response was irrelevant because it absolutely nothing to do with the sentence that YOU WERE RESPONDING TO.

Anyway... i apologize for not reading that first line of yours completely.. .and for assuming that you were responding to something I had actually written about.

Happy New Year
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 01:09:18 AM by Fran »

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1281 on: January 02, 2010, 11:21:18 PM »
Inspector: "Now we have the body, two slugs removed from the corpse, no other evidence yet, we should put on a pot of coffee because we have to now rule out ballistic leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, orcs, elves, flying pink elephants, talking pies, nymphs, wood nymphs,....etc because, of course, as logical detectives, we do not opperate as if these things are make-believe just because there has never been one shred of evidence to demonstrate their existence."

Lawyer: "Your honour, we have an incomplete set of facts, which does not allow us to posit a fixed mundane explanation of this incident yet, so we are forced to conclude that a firearms trained flying unicorn is responsible for the shooting"

Judge: "As a critical thinker, I am going to allow this, because, as dealers in facts, we logical thinkers will not rule out any improbable, completely non-evidenced variable from the equation. As a reasonable thinker, I will proceed as if no other facts exist in this case that will lead us away from the flying unicorn, so I order that we proceed immediately to sentencing and put out an APB for the unicorn." 
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 GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1282 on: January 03, 2010, 12:32:11 AM »
Fran,

I have to commend you for taking the time to write out so many responses. You really do deserve credit for you fidelity in that matter.

HOWEVER...I'd be much more impressed if you showed a bigger interest in really thinking through your responses, instead of, either, taking a defensive stance, or, giving the "standard answer" from the christian perspective. Everybody here KNOWS what the christian perspective IS, so it's not necessary to give it as an answer.

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Most modern people have come to realize (and, in fact, this is only substantially true in the last fifty years or so) that miracles apparently DO NOT HAPPEN! People have only fairly recently come to realize that REPORTS are very often not FACTS.

Basic logic 101 tells us that you've just committed a logical fallacy called ad populoum (sp?).  What you don't figure into your above statement is possible bias... a lack in critical thinking skills... intellectual laziness... use of false premises... wishful thinking... peer pressure... use of misinformation... indifference... and a host of other factors.  People are not monolithic.

I'm more interested in knowing WHY they believe what they do.

Do you REALLY not understand this? Do you REALLY not understand the point--that ancient people could very well accept and report as true things that people today would laugh about?

See, you're not really reading with an effort to comprehend, IMO. I'm not guilty of an argumentum ad populum logical error at all. I'm trying to point out a CHANGE in civilization--and the HUGE differences in perception between modern people and ancient people. If an ancient traveller came to a new villiage, and mentioned that in another villiage he had just been in that a man was raised from the dead....he would have an eager audience, most of whom would themselves spread the story of how resurrections were taking place in that other villiage. If someone today came around with that story, the police would be called (and an ambulance), and people would laugh about it. It was much EASIER in ancient times to believe in miracles. Experience in the MODERN WORLD has demonstrated (to anyone and everyone with open eyes and clear heads) that reports of miracles are best STRONGLY DOUBTED upon hearing reports of them. An example: in other posts where we were discussing Sathya Sai Baba, you likely had never HEARD OF HIM, yet, I'm willing to bet that you COMPLETELY dismissed the miraculous aspect of his activities. In ancient times, if a worldly traveller reported a mystical man in a far country performing miracles he SURELY would have many interested. Now, MUCH less so. That change in gullibility through the ages is widely accepted--do you doubt it?

Do you REALLY not see that?

Do you really not see how that strongly affects judgements we should make about the veracity of ancient claims of miracles?


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There is a decent reason for this: reports of UFOs. They started as an absolute CRAZE in the '50's. And even though it was clear that at least SOME reports were hoaxes, people tended to think that "where there's smoke there's fire," and so perhaps SOME of them were true. But this is a MODERN world, where direct communications are easy, fresh evidence is examined by experienced and educated people. And...well....the stories simply tended to DIE. NONE were shown to contain evidence that  could be widely convincing. From this people began to learn that maybe STORIES THAT MANY PEOPLE TOLD weren't necessarily  always true.

I agree.  And isn't it sad that all these people took so long (and some never did) for these people to have a paradigm shift in their opinion about UFO's? And what was their basis for believing that UFO's existed?  You said it yourself... "where there's smoke there's fire".  How is that kind of "evidence" even comparable to the minimal facts case for the Resurrection?  It's not even in the same ballpark. So this observation of yours is irrelevant and a category fallacy.

You admitted yourself that there was no real evidence... just a fuzzy undefined idea that "where there's smoke there's fire".  The Christian position, and the minimal facts case, is not based on any such fuzzy undefined ideas or  evidence.  My belief in the Resurrection is based squarely on evidence.  And if the sightings of UFO's could be chalked up to hoaxes and weather phenomena or other natural phenomena... then likewise, you should be able to point out a natural explanation for the minimal facts that is far more reasonable than the Resurrection.

Hmmm....amazing. You REALLY don't get the analogy I'm making? When you say "my belief is based on facts" it's clear you don't. What I'm saying is that those "facts" have a veracity quality similar (except they're far LESS reliable) to UFO reports. It is a FACT that many people will report UFO abductions, sightings, etc. So, could I make a case for UFO's based on those FACTS?? No, of course not. First I have to come to some conclusion about the RELIABILITY of those reports. Currently, I would come to the conclusion that the reports were UNRELIABLE, because there have been so many, yet no hard piece of evidence has shown up. How much LESS reliable are the "facts" of reports about the life and miracles of jesus? They're ANCIENT reports, all by INTERESTED PARTIES, with the information FILTERED through a church structure eager to SELL it's religion. Fran, there are no "facts" to have--and if you won't allow yourself to see that then you are a fool.

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And now HERE IS THE MIRACLE: At the same time all this DOUBT and SKEPTICISM was forming about people's stories and fantastic reports, people where indeed making THEIR OWN MIRACLES--through science. You do realize that, compared to the people who reported your bible stories, modern people have made GENUINE MIRACLES. If people from bible times knew that men could REALLY, IN ACTUAL REALITY, walk on the moon, then they wouldn't be particularly impressed by stories of resurrection--which were apparently rampant in many middle-eastern countries then, AND NOW.

???  I would like to know your definition of what constitutes a "miracle".

That's just sad. Besides wars and inquisitions, religion has done N O T H I N G ! ! !  And all that while, PEOPLE have been inventing, learning, creating, and changing the world. If you don't think walking on the moon is a "miracle" compared to the bible yakking about how to mark a slave's ear with an awl....then I don't know WHAT THE FUCK you are thinking.

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I would also like for you to give me an example of a scientist, using science, can make a dead person... who is really, really dead for 3 days, be resurrected.  It seems that many in here keep saying that such a feat goes against all known natural laws of biology and physics and science.  I don't think you can give me any such examples from the wonderful world of science.

Well...and I'd like to hear about jesus OR his disciples performing a heart transplant. We KNOW modern men can take the heart from a DEAD MAN, and give it to a dying man, and make him LIVE. From the bible...I read only stories...

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GetMeThere
A "neutral stance," in a practical sense, is doubt, followed by a willingness to examine evidence. That is what posters here  exhibit.

In that case, then Moreland, McDowell, Boyd, Craig, Strobel, Montgomery, Johnson and other Christians have started from a completely neutral stance... even to this day after they became a Christian.  This would logically follow from your above statement.

I'd be a very happy poster if I could get you to do ONE THING: Stop your REFLEXIVE HAND WAVING about experts and admit an obvious and overarching fact: Essentially ALL your experts are religious believers, going around insisting that their religion is "the true one."

I don't see that as objective, as factual, or, as USEFUL. To me, it's no different from seeing UFO believers write convincing articles that some SELECTED BITS of UFO reports and stories are VERY CONVINCING.

Such things MUST be analyzed by disinterested analysts to have merit. But you know what? Essentially NO nonbeliever CARES ENOUGH to try to distill historical "facts" from the bible (even archaeologists have been, overall, greatly disappointed by biblical sources).

The fact is that no DISINTERESTED, OBJECTIVE, academic source would or could make "fact judgements" about "empty tombs" or any other parts of "miracle stories."

Fran, despite your overall adult demeanor....you're acting like a child by not admitting the obvious about your "facts;" they're part of a "miracle story" that is faith based, and which contains NOTHING on which to presume a factual basis.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1283 on: January 03, 2010, 12:32:21 AM »
Hello GetMeThere...

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Hi Fran,

Thanks for responding, and Happy New Year!

A couple things you're missing (i.e., not really allowing yourself to SEE):

1) This Sai Baba guy has MILLIONS of followers. It's not just a few fools. His example (and another HUGE favorite of mine is mormonism) is an example of how EASILY huge masses of people can become totally convinced that someone is a "magic man." I've done some sleight of hand myself (I have a close friend who is a well-known professional close-up magician). Your point about magic only IMPROVES my case, and lessens yours, IMO. People are apt to get ideas into their heads and then REPORT IT TO OTHERS in a convincing, and "factual sounding" manner. That fact is multiplied a hundred fold regarding primitives whose ability to distinguish between the evidentiary requirements of the real vs the reportedly mystical was VERY fuzzy. It's such reports that you must EXCLUSIVELY RELY UPON regarding ancient religions.

1... Who is your well-known professional close-up magician?  I might even have some of his tapes or DVD's.  What is your favorite close up sleight of hand trick?  Mine is Michael Ammar's "Invisible Bill Switch" which he performed for Johnny Carson.  It took me a long time to master the moves, but it was well worth it.  I've even done the trick where I dropped the "secret", and the person I was performing for never saw the mistake I made... even though I made the mistake right in front of his eyes.

I also like Roger Klause's "Ultimate Slow Motion Bill Transposition".  Even David Roth called it the cleanest version of this effect.

One of my favorite card tricks is Aldo Colombini's "Pre-Deck-Ability" which won best performance at the Magic Castle. I also like the Ambitious Card routine.

2... Anyway... back to the subject at hand.

Having millions of followers doesn't mean that their belief is correct.  That is the logical fallacy called ad popolum (sp?).   So i'm not impressed that there are millions of followers.  Muhammed has a lot more followers and adherents than this Sai Baba guy, and yet I think they are wrong also.  Heck, you say something bad about Muhammad, and you run the risk of getting killed for goodness sake.  Millions and Billions of people can be dead wrong.

That is why i WANT to focus on logic and facts and reason and evidences, etc.  Not emotions or blind faith or passion.

3... my point about magic does not lessen my case at all.  In fact, it makes my case all that more stronger BECAUSE i understand how people can be fooled.  I know just about every move and trick there is in magic, and it is difficult to trick me.  I apply that very same healthy skepticism to any claims about miracles and magic.  And if someone does a trick that I can't figure out, my first response IS NOT to believe that real magic had just occurred in front of my eyes.  My first knee jerk response is to go and find out how the trick was done.

My friend and I used to spend HOURS AND HOURS glued to our dvd's and videos in an attempt to figure out how a trick was done.  We used slow mo... and try out different scenarios... even come up with alternate ways to perform the trick.  We would even go to a magic shop, ask to see the latest trick... and then instead of buying the secret, we would immediately go away and try and figure it out.

So when it comes to claims about "magic" and "miracles"... i have a very healthy skepticism and I have a very critical eye.  I know all about misdirection and how to get the audience to look where you want them to... and i know all about how big movements are used to hide small movements... and how angles are important... and how psychology is important... and how easy it is to fool the eyes because of how the eyes works biologically... etc, etc.  I know all about all this stuff because I love performance magic.

I'm also a filmmaker and editor, and so I know all the camera tricks and all the editing tricks.  I can see things on the screen that most people do not see simply because my eyes are looking for things that non-professionals are not looking for.  And I know all about how to use the film/video mediums to emotionally hook people and get them going along a certain path that I want.

I'm not saying I can't be fooled... even Houdini was fooled at times... but what I am saying is that my knowledge of performance magic does not lessen my case in the least. Far from it.

All you are pointing out is that a lot of people can be fooled.  Well.. I know that already.  I've fooled many people as well.

But just because a lot of people CAN be fooled.. and ARE fooled... it doesn't logically follow that EVERYONE is fooled.  In the case of early disciples of Christ, you need to DEMONSTRATE why you think they were fooled.  You can't just say that because a lot of people are fooled, then that must somehow magically mean that the disciples were also fooled.

If they were fooled badly, then you should be able to give us a natural explanation for the minimal facts that is more reasonable than the resurrection explanation.  When you can do that, then you've shown how it is very reasonable to conclude that the disciples were fooled... and that you're natural explanation fits the facts and explains the facts better than my explanation.

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2) Sai Baba is CURRENT. The things you base your ideas about Christianity on are ANCIENT, they are based on FRAGMENTS of writings and reports (we really DO NOT have a clear, unambiguous, well-formed idea of all the intrigues involved in the early christian church), and they are the REMNANTS of a LONG FOUGHT political battle to create a church--and to obliterate any christian teachings contrary to the political victors in the early church wars. Objectively, it's almost impossible to assign significant "fact value" to reports coming through such a morass of primitive gullibility and overarching political chicanery.

First of all, I completely reject your characterization of the evidence and of the history of the early church.  

Secondly... your above characterization of what we are up against is neither here nor there, because none of what you list (even if it was true, which I don't believe it is) does nothing to lessen the veracity of the minimal facts as historical facts.  I have kept saying that the Bible can be riddled with false information... contradictions... lies... bone headed claims... and yet none of this would effect the minimal facts.  The minimal facts were gleaned from the NT documents not because of any prior commitment to it's innerrancy... but because they could be ascertained with a lot of confidence and certainty from the material... in the same way historians can glean facts with certainty from other documents that have false information and legends and miracles in them.  Like we do with Tacitus' works and the biography of Alexander the Great, etc.

In fact, the minimal facts is far better multiply attested than most of what we claim is factual about ancient history.

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More REALISTIC reports would be of those who were TRUE CONTEMPORARIES of Jesus. There are NO SUCH REPORTS. Apparently (and contrary to what you hold so close to your heart) Jesus did NOT make a big enough impression during his lifetime (if there even was one) for DISINTERESTED PARTIES to find cause to mention him in any writings about the general events of the times.

I disagree that the multiple attestation which I've listed in this forum for all to see... are not from TRUE CONTEMPORARIES of Jesus as you are claiming.  Your statement here is just not factual at all.

And why would any "disinterested parties" hear about... or believe... or write about Jesus' supposed miracles and works?  Doesn't the word you use "disinterested" supply the clue?  Because they are not interested.  And they had no reason to be if they were outside of Israel.

Why would the Romans have been interested in anything that this Jesus did?  Weren't there all kinds of people going around saying they can do miracles?   What would one more be to the Romans and the Roman government?  Or to the Greeks?  

Not only that... but of the records that HAVE survived time, not one of the existing records (which is very, very scant to begin with)are written FROM anyone who would have had any vested interested in anything that was happening in Israel... or even in recording about this Jesus character.  I maybe be mistaken, but I think over 90% of the records that have survived are from poets and satires and playwrights, etc.

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The "historical" case for the "reality" of Sathya Sai Baba's divinity, based on volume of reports, number of eager followers, "eyewitness" testimony, writings and chronicles by others, etc., are FAR superior to the murky (and church promoted) information about Jesus. Yet rational people KNOW that Sai Baba is nonsense (as are Mormon beliefs). Unfortunately for you (and any interest you have in the truth/facts), you don't apply your rational judgments to the Jesus story as you do to others...

But as I said to you before, the minimal facts is NOT just based solely on eyewitness accounts.  Christians are not just uncritically accepting the claims of what people said.  You have nothing of the sort of evidence for Sai Baba's claims as we do have for Christianity...  and I listed several of them.

You have NO examples of any hard core critics who've been completely convinced that Baba is divine and can do bona-fide miracles as we have with Jesus.  You have NO example of any hard core ENEMIES of Baba.. who wants him killed... and who hate him... and yet who have conceded that he has done miracles,  as we have with Jesus versus the Jewish religious leaders.  You have NO empty tomb or anything else that would demonstrate to hard core skeptics that Baba is really divine... as we have with Jesus.

We also have NO examples of any of his hard core believers who can claim that they saw Baba come back alive from the grave (visually and leaving an empty tomb that was guarded by guards).  Now granted, Baba is not dead, and so he hasn't been given an opportunity to prove that he can raise himself up from the dead... but he does have available today something that Jesus didn't have... and that are video cameras.  If he can REALLY do miracles... then he shouldn't be shy about letting skeptic camera operators (like me for example) film his miracles.  Baba and his followers have an opportunity that not even Jesus and his disciples had to prove their claims.

Jesus' disciples had to prove their claims thru torture and death... Baba and his followers don't need to go thru that.  They can verify their claims with video.  And believe me... a skeptic camera operator (with a very good knowledge of how performance magic works) will know exactly how to film a "miracle" so that he is not being fooled.  And anyway... a one time filming does not have to be the case.  Baba and his followers should be willing to let us film him very, very often and under any conditions.

And guess what? All we have to do is look at Wikipedia to see that my skepticism and grave concerns are warranted.  Here are just a few excerpts from wikipedia about Sathya Sai Baba:


---> On August 20th, 1988, Sathya Sai Baba slipped in his bathroom. Of the incident, he says,"On Saturday morning I slipped on a piece of soap in the bathroom and fell on my back. The injury I sustained was a natural consequence of the fall ..."  X-rays showed he had fractured his hip bone.  

---> On 4 June 2003, Sathya Sai Baba suffered another fall and broke his hip and femur.

---> In 2006, a third accident occurred. Sathya Sai Baba relates, "Once it so happened that a student was trying to tie buntings on a door while standing on an iron stool. As he saw Me coming, he felt nervous and fell from the stool. Both the stool and the boy fell on Me and My hip bone was fractured."

---> Since 2005, Sathya Sai Baba has used a wheelchair, and his failing health has forced him to make fewer public appearances.


(???? What???  How does this even compare to Jesus???  This guy is supposed to have the ability to heal... and he is supposed to be divine... and yet he can't heal himself?  He is in a wheelchair?  C'mon.)


---> The retired Icelandic psychology professor Erlendur Haraldsson wrote that he did not get Sathya Sai Baba's permission to study him under controlled circumstances.

---> Sathya Sai Baba has explained the phenomenon of manifestation as being an act of divine creation, but refused to have his materializations investigated under experimental conditions.

---> In April 1976, Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee "to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions". Haraldsson stated that Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba a polite letter and two subsequent letters that were widely publicized in which he publicly challenged Baba to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah's challenge because he felt his approach was improper.

---> Documentaries produced by the BBC and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, analyzing videos of the supposed miracles, suggest that they can be explained as sleight of hand tricks.

---> In the 1995 TV documentary "Guru Busters", produced by filmmaker Robert Eagle for UK's Channel 4, Sathya Sai Baba was accused of faking his materializations. A videotape was provided which suggested that magician's tricks were being utilized. The same videotape was mentioned in the Deccan Chronicle, on 23 November 1992, on a front page headline "DD Tape Unveils Baba Magic".

---> The magazine India Today published in December 2000 a cover story about Baba and allegations of fake miracles by the magician P. C. Sorcar, Jr.

---> In BBC documentary Basava Premanand, a skeptic and amateur magician expressed his opinion that he thinks Baba is faking materialisation and has been investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968.


(Wow.  Just as I thought.  The point here is that there is absolutely no similiatries between this Baba character and Jesus.  Jesus did his "miracles" in front of crowds... friendly and skeptic.  None of the skeptics ever said that Jesus was a fake... but instead the Jewish religious leaders claimed that Jesus' power came from Satan.)

Anyway... like i said before, I think this comparison of yours is a category fallacy because there is absolutely NO similarity between the two people.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 12:41:56 AM by Fran »

Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1284 on: January 03, 2010, 01:26:44 AM »
2... Anyway... back to the subject at hand.

Having millions of followers doesn't mean that their belief is correct.  That is the logical fallacy called ad popolum (sp?).   So i'm not impressed that there are millions of followers.  Muhammed has a lot more followers and adherents than this Sai Baba guy, and yet I think they are wrong also.  Heck, you say something bad about Muhammad, and you run the risk of getting killed for goodness sake.  Millions and Billions of people can be dead wrong.

That is why i WANT to focus on logic and facts and reason and evidences, etc.  Not emotions or blind faith or passion.

This is an example of your irrationality on this issue. Do you not know that, regarding jesus, you have ONLY reports--just as you do about sai baba? About jesus you have VERY FEW (perhaps only one--Mark) reports, from people UNKNOWN, which have been filtered through COUNTLESS hands, MANY OF WHICH we KNOW had a HIGH interest in "selling" the idea of the reports. Regarding sai baba, they are CURRENT, VOLUMINOUS, UNFILTERED, and are available, no doubt, for interview THIS MINUTE if you chose to do so.

And yet you would choose to try to distill your "facts" from extremely thin reports about jesus vs mountains of current data about sai baba. And you don't see that you're being INCONSISTENT and IRRATIONAL???

btw, I'm worried that you think I'm a BELIEVER in sai baba. No, I'm not. What I am though, is a DOUBTER of YOUR ability to understand the FORMS of evidence under discussion. For example, when you present reports of others who DOUBT sai baba, you seem to think you're accomplishing something--while totally IGNORING all the people (then and now) who doubted jesus. We should be VERY CLEAR: even if the gospels are TRUE on issues not miraculous (leaving the miraculous unanswered for the moment), we can be sure that MOST OF THE JEWS were singularly unimpressed with him. I personally have a hard time seeing how anyone could be unimpressed upon meeting the creator of everything, during the performance of a miracle or two! Furthermore, the jews were god's CHOSEN people. If he couldn't impress THEM, then...well...it really does seem ridiculous and doubtful, to me...


It seems everyone else here has already gone around the track with you countless times to no effect. It seems maybe it's mine turn now. I think it would be a waste of time to go over the same ground that hasn't yielded much harvest. Instead, I would like to focus closely on one or two SIMPLE things, and see if we can squeeze any truth out of them. I have two things in mind that might be interesting to hash over:

1) Coming closer to home than sai baba, let's talk about the mormons. I would like you to explain to me why you find the "facts" about jesus' miracle story more compelling than the "fact" that Joseph Smith possessed golden plates on which were inscribed new biblical stories. The evidence of the plates: numerous people (I think it was originally eight?) SWORE that they had seen the plates (of course, they magically disappeared to heaven before they could be examined by disinterested observers). Those witnesses were interviewed by professional journalists, to whom they repeated their stories forthrightly.

The question I would like to try to resolve with you is: Why are the REPORTS in the gospels any more compelling than the REPORTS of the golden plates? I assume that you're not a mormon, and that you REJECT the mormon story of the golden plates.

2) I claim there were NO disinterested contemporaneous accounts about jesus and his activities. I think you disagree (although perhaps none of your witnesses were "disinterested"). Can you link me to your posts about "multiple attestation," or any other sources that you think would challenge my view?

I would be interested in trying to resolve with you whether there were contemporaneous reports of jesus' adventures. OR, we could skip that. For me it's VERY IMPORTANT, because I think that without truly contemporaneous reports there is essentially NO evidence worth considering about jesus and events of his life. If YOU think that it doesn't really even MATTER whether there were contemporaneous reports, then I'm not sure it would be worthwhile for us to hash that over--and we would have to find something else.

What do you think?

btw, I think we should try to find a way to hash over small ideas in a way that DOESN'T REQUIRE long posts. It's tiring, and nobody (even the participants) really likes to read them. Furthermore, hard, clear ideas get DILUTED in long posts. If we have a chance of really getting to a CONCLUSION at all, it will be done by hammering SMALL, CLEAR points until something comes of it.

Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1285 on: January 03, 2010, 01:45:12 AM »
Quote
Quote
Fran
(Wow.  Just as I thought.  The point here is that there is absolutely no similiatries between this Baba character and Jesus.  Jesus did his "miracles" in front of crowds... friendly and skeptic.  None of the skeptics ever said that Jesus was a fake... but instead the Jewish religious leaders claimed that Jesus' power came from Satan.

These are the kinds of things I have a problem with.

1) How IN THE WORLD do you know what actual skeptics thought about jesus (if there even was a jesus)?? Answer (of course): Simply because the bible tells you so.

2) How do you know that Jewish religious leaders acknowledge jesus' "powers? (again, if there even was a jesus)" Answer--the bible tells you so.

We have NO extra-biblical reports from contemporaneous skeptics. We have NO extra-biblical reports from jews--until at least a century after the gospel-reported incidents (not counting Josephus, who wrote seventy years afterward, and whose jesus references are suspect--and in any case don't mention jesus' powers).

This shows again that you cannot be OBJECTIVE in this discussion. You do not seem to PERCEIVE that you offer as FACT things from ancient religious writings. But it's those VERY WRITINGS that are being called into question here. Except in the most oblique manner, they can't be used to verify their own factual basis. If you don't understand that you're in NO POSITION to discuss the topic rationally and objectively.

The bible is not and cannot be the proof of its own factual basis. Do you understand and agree with that?

Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1286 on: January 03, 2010, 02:15:48 AM »
Fran,

I think I have a more productive idea. Why not discuss (from a broad view) why the experts listed by Habermas should be accepted as the RELIABLE CONCLUSION OF EXPERTS, but the experts from the Jesus Seminar should be REJECTED as the conclusion of experts.

Their methods are: (quote from above link)

The scholars attending attempt to reconstruct the life of the historical Jesus. They try to ask who he was, what he did, what he said, and what his sayings meant, using a number of tools. Their reconstruction is based on social anthropology, history and textual analysis. The key feature is the rejection of apocalyptic eschatology. They use cross-cultural anthropological studies to set the general background, narrow in on the history and society of first-century Palestine, and use textual analysis (along with more anthropology and history) to focus on Jesus himself. They use a combination of primary sources, secondary sources, and archaeological evidence. Their methodology, which was developed by a team of scholars (who expounded papers for the review of other Fellows and published many in Forum) and is explained in The Five Gospels (the four canonical gospels plus the Gospel of Thomas), involves canvassing the records of the first four centuries for traditions about Jesus and sifting them by criteria such as multiple attestation, distinctiveness, and orality.

Some of their findings, which directly contrast with some of the findings of YOUR experts, are:

  • Jesus of Nazareth was born during the reign of Herod the Great.
  • His mother's name was Mary, and he had a human father whose name may not have been Joseph.
  • Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem.
  • Jesus was an itinerant sage who shared meals with social outcasts.
  • Jesus practiced healing without the use of ancient medicine or magic, relieving afflictions we now consider psychosomatic.
  • He did not walk on water, feed the multitude with loaves and fishes, change water into wine or raise Lazarus from the dead.
  • Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans.
  • He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God.
  • The empty tomb is a fiction – Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead.
  • Belief in the resurrection is based on the visionary experiences of Paul, Peter and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a biblical scholar, and I don't think that you have claimed to be one. The members of the Habermas survey mostly HAVE claimed to be biblical scholars, as far as I'm aware; and so have the members of the Jesus Seminar.

Their views conflict. Why should we prefer one over the other, if each claims to use the same historical techniques, and each is composed of "experts?"
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 02:22:34 AM by GetMeThere »

Offline screwtape

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1287 on: January 03, 2010, 02:28:37 AM »
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screwtape
Franny, the point you miss, over and over and over, is that the supernatural is never, ever the best explanation for  anything.  You only use it in this case because of your biases.

Are you saying that your ADAMANT assertion that "the supernatural is never, ever the best explanation for anything" is not a  textbook example of a bias?  If that is not an example of bias, then what is?

happy new year to you too.  Yeah. I take it farther than KCrady.  I go stand on the thin ice. Until proven otherwise, at which point I will eat my words.  

When a light bulb burns out in your house, do you ever consider that it was a spirit that made that happen?  If your car fails to start, do you seriously figure in goblins as a possible cause?  Do you think your cell phone, computer, digital watch, whatever, works by the supernatural?  How about the Kennedy assassination?  Did Jimmy Hoffa ascend bodily into heaven?  How do you explain Napoleon's defeat?  Angels?  No?  Then why the flip would you consider it to be a valid explanation for anything else?  You should know better and I think you do.  But you still cling to this one exception.

You want to make this one and only exception for your deity.  But the problem is once you open that door to the supernatural, you cannot close it.  And all sorts of monsters can come walking through.  Like allah, or leprechauns or Ambassador Pony.  If you are going to say supernatural entities that cannot be detected or leave evidence are active and affecting the material world (whatever that means), then it becomes impossible to dismiss any flight of fancy as a potential supernatural boogey man.  And as KCrady pointed out, we stopped using them as explanations a century or two ago because they have never, ever actually been the cause of anything.

Now, get out of the dark ages.
 
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1288 on: January 03, 2010, 05:52:48 AM »
Fran:

According to WikiAnswers, about 99 billion people have died in the history of the world.  Naturally, since accurate census records and precise tracking of death rates are relatively new inventions, this is a ballpark figure.  You are arguing that among all of those deaths, there was one resurrection, since you are not trying to argue for the historicity of the raising of Lazarus or other Biblical miracles. 

If, for the sake of discussion, we grant that there was one resurrection in human history, that yields a probability for any particular corpse to be the one that would be resurrected of 99 billion to one.  Those are very long odds.  Note that these odds have nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of any supernatural or paranormal agency capable of resurrecting a corpse.  If there are gods or goddesses or powerful wizards or talismans (like the Monkey's Paw) or Sufficiently Advanced[1] aliens, we know--as historical and present fact--that they don't resurrect corpses, or being maximally generous, the odds of a supernatural or super-technological resurrection are about 99 billion to one.

Against those odds, we array your "Four Minimal Facts."

1) Jesus died and was buried.

Happens all the time.  Nothing to see here.

2) The Empty Tomb.

This is a mystery of the Sherlock Holmes/Hercule Poirot sort, but not supernatural in itself.  Matthew's story of the Roman guard proposes (and ostensibly refutes) a theory that Jesus' disciples stole his body.  The placing of a Roman guard on the tomb to keep the disciples from stealing Jesus' body is rather preposterous, since the Romans gave the body to Jesus' disciples in the first place.  Why would they need to steal it?  They had it last![2]

3) Reports of Post-Mortem Appearances.

Here we have a case of a group of people making paranormal claims to have experienced a resurrected Jesus.  Or, to be more precise, reports of reports of post-mortem appearances.  The information is second-hand.  At this point we have to ask ourselves, are these second-hand reports so compelling that the odds are more than 99 billion to one against them being wrong?  We have other examples of comparable paranormal claims which started religions, with original claimants who died for their beliefs: the Mormons (Joseph Smith was martyred), and Heaven's Gate.  History is full of examples of people dying for religions that we can all agree are false: Jonestown, the Branch Davidians, fundamentalist Islam, etc..

From this we know that: A) People can be induced to believe things that are bizarre in the context of their own culture; and B) At least some of these people will die for their beliefs.  We have well-documented, current and recent examples of people believing in weird things and being willing to die or suffer mockery and social exclusion for their beliefs, but we do not have well-documented current and recent examples of supernatural resurrections.  Therefore, the probability that a group of people would believe in and die for paranormal claims is much higher than the probability that a body will be resurrected from the dead.

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

See above.  Your argument is based in part on the assumption that there was One Single Jewish Belief About Resurrection, and that no Jews could possibly depart from this belief apart from utterly convincing miracles--and therefore, the Apostles' belief could only have originated from a miraculous resurrection.  Your own source texts (the Gospels and Acts) dispute this premise.  In Acts 23:6-8, Paul is portrayed getting himself out of a sticky situation by pitting the Pharisees against the Sadducees.  His stratagem works because the Sadducees (according to Acts) did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, or in angels or spirits.[3]

I already pointed out the belief--portrayed as fairly widespread--that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead:

Quote
And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?  And they answered, John the Baptist: but some [say], Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

--Mark 8:27-28


Notice how the disciples' answer makes it clear that the common answer they got from other people to the question "Who is Jesus?" was: "John the Baptist."  "But some say..." indicates the other answers are significantly less popular.  The answer in second place--that Jesus was Elias (Elijah) is a reference to the common Jewish belief (which is still current) that Elijah will return to herald the coming of the Messiah.  Since this was and is a widespread Jewish belief, it would make sense for Jews to assume that a particularly prominent prophet or teacher would be Elijah returned, if they didn't believe the prophet was the Messiah himself.

That the "Jesus = resurrected John the Baptist" belief comes before the "Jesus = Elijah" belief (which is lumped with other less common speculations about him being one of the Prophets returned) seems to provide a strong indication that this belief was widespread and that the Gospel writers felt a need to rebut it with Peter's acclamation that Jesus was the Messiah.

At the very least, this passage shows us that according to the Gospels, there existed a very different concept of "raised from the dead" than your claimed One True Jewish Resurrection Belief.  This concept of resurrection made it possible for one person (John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the Prophets) to return in the form of another man, even if that man existed contemporaneously, as Jesus and John the Baptist (supposedly) did.  That being the case, several of the "post-mortem appearances" where "Jesus" appears as or is "mistaken" for someone else (the road to Emmaus, Mary Magdalene thinking Jesus was a gardener, etc.) would not require actual appearances of Jesus as a shape-shifting Undead.

The disciples could have started "seeing Jesus" in other wise people they encountered, with the result that a progressive growth of legend started, with more impressive accounts being added as time went on.  Other "post-mortem appearances" such as Jesus' appearances to Stephen and Paul occur in apparitions of a heavenly figure, rather than of a tangible body. 

Nutshell: The reports of reports of post-mortem appearances of Jesus are not so compelling that the probability of their being false exceeds the 99 billion-to-one (or greater) odds against a body being resurrected, whether "the supernatural" exists or not.
 1. From Clarke's Maxim: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
 2. Reading Matthew 27:60-62, we see that Joseph and/or the other disciples and/or any other interested party had a whole day to abscond with the body before the guard was (supposedly) placed on the tomb.  Verse 66 says they put a seal on the tomb, but makes no mention of them opening it first to make sure the body was inside.
 3. And that's why they were so sad, you see.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1289 on: January 03, 2010, 07:26:29 AM »
1... And you can keep on saying as much as you want that the vast majority of professionals (which i'm refering to) have not  established that the minimal facts in my case are indeed historical facts.  But until you can show us why you disagree with the vast majority of professionals, then all you are doing is making mere assertions.  I have laid out the reasoning for  which the vast majority of professionals have considered the minimal facts to be historical facts.  I did in a very condensed  version which can easily be amplified and expanded if necessary.  But you are not doing the same for your above assertion.   Can you do that for us?

Sure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus

Quote
2... The question of the historical Jesus IS NOT HIGHLY controversial at all. Would you mind letting me know how you can make  such a claim?

Sure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus

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3... The vast majority of professionals have concluded that Jesus' death by crucifixion is a historical fact... and you can't  have that fact unless Jesus existed to begin with.

I'll admit I overstated the case when I said that it was questionable whether Jesus ever existed at all.  It's now largely settled that he did (although it wasn't so long ago that that wasn't the case) and that he was, indeed, crucified for sedition.  However, if you'll read the Wikipedia article, you'll see that none of the four things you claim to be facts is actually agreed by experts in the field to be facts, not even the very mundane claim that he was buried in a tomb.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1290 on: January 03, 2010, 10:03:47 AM »
Fran is being dishonest in this thread, and is biased, which goes against his claims of being unbiased. I will now show this to be the case.

Let's take a look at some of the things he keeps repeating to us -

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So why not  give us a completely natural explanation for the minimal facts that is far more reasonable and plausible than the  Resurrection?  This is your opportunity to show how silly my arguments are rather than just saying it is.  Actions speak  louder than words you know.

Quote
Also... if the resurrection is NOT the most reasonable explanation for the minimal facts, then give us one that is.

Quote
Are you saying that your ADAMANT assertion that "the supernatural is never, ever the best explanation for anything" is not a  textbook example of a bias?  If that is not an example of bias, then what is?

Quote
I would also like for you to give me an example of a scientist, using science, can make a dead person... who is really, really dead for 3 days, be resurrected.  It seems that many in here keep saying that such a feat goes against all known natural laws of biology and physics and science.  I don't think you can give me any such examples from the wonderful world of science.  

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If you can, then you shouldn't have any difficulty in believing in the possibility of the resurrection of Christ. After all, maybe you're disbelief in the possibility of a Resurrection occurring is really just like those people from bible times who would think that walking on the moon is a miracle because they did not have the knowledge that we do.

Basically, he is saying that because he cannot fathom a natural or scientific explanation, and won't accept a rational person saying "I don't know - I don't have enough information" then the result must have been caused by his unproven force "supernatural"

Now let's take a look at what he admitted here - in bold -

4... Also, i never claimed that the resurrection was a fact.  Because THAT IS THE QUESTION we are debating.  

I think it is a  fact,

but i never put that claim in the premises of my positive case for the Resurrection.  If i had put it in the  premises... in my positive case... the claim that Jesus' resurrection was a fact when we are debating that very issue... then  that would be an example of begging the question or arguing in circles. Surely you can see this.

He admits he thinks the resurrection is a fact, even though he tries to claim he doesn't allow it to drive his conclusions. This is clearly bias, which I've known he has had all along, and this is what is driving him to ignore all of our attempts to get him to think rationally.

Do you see how he pleads and pleads with us to please provide another explanation other than his preferred supernatural one, when the supernatural has no basis in proven reality? That's because he believes it is a fact - he admitted it.

Now look at these contradictory statements -

Quote
give me an example of a scientist, using science, can make a dead person... who is really, really dead for 3 days, be resurrected.


and then this -

Quote
After all, maybe you're disbelief in the possibility of a Resurrection occurring is really just like those people from bible times who would think that walking on the moon is a miracle because they did not have the knowledge that we do

I have him caught in his own self-contradiction and manipulation of his arguments to suit his own admitted belief that the resurrection is a fact. Take a close look at what he wants us to believe. In the first case, he pleads with us along these lines -

This -

Quote
give me an example of a scientist, using science, can make a dead person... who is really, really dead for 3 days, be resurrected.

Equals this -

"Oh my! Science is not capable of raising a dead person (a really, really dead person, whatever that means)! Since science can't do it yet, abandon science as an explanation!"

So he is saying that since he cannot imagine how science can provide a solution to this problem, it can't ever resurrect or explain how a dead body can be resurrected. In the second case, he wants to go the opposite way -

and this -

Quote
After all, maybe you're disbelief in the possibility of a Resurrection occurring is really just like those people from bible times who would think that walking on the moon is a miracle because they did not have the knowledge that we do

Equals this -

"See how marvelous science is! Even if there are things you cannot think it can do or explain, you don't understand it's ability to achieve great and "miraculous things and explanations, just as the ancients didn't understand! Don't abandon the possibility of a scientific explanation even if you can't imagine one yet!"

Do you see what he is doing? Using science to help his case when he feels it's appropriate and there are scientific solutions, and then in the next second telling us science can't help explain things we don't understand when science doesn't yet have any solutions. Moreover, in the second example, he basically uses the "I don't know" answer we've been trying to get him to say all along, he just dressed it up a bit, yet he refuses to apply it to his own scenario. That is because of his admitted religious bias.

So, as I've suspected all along, Fran is biased towards the supernatural, a force that has absolutely no proven basis in reality, as I've caught him admitting. This is not critical thinking, it's religious biased thinking. Since that bias clouds his thinking, it explains why he cannot imagine there being a natural or scientific explanation, and why he won't, as in his own walking on the Moon example, consider waiting for science to explain it via an unknown set of facts, or just saying "I don't know - I'll wait for an explanation from science, since science can explain things we don't understand if given an amount of time into the future."

This now completely demolishes his credibility and shows that the solution and ramifications of it (the existence of a deity) is not credible, and that his whole line of reasoning is an embarrassing sham, and a blatant example of how not to approach critical thinking. In fact, it shows the damage that religious indoctrination and delusional thinking can do to a mind's ability to think rationally. Anyone reading this should steer clear of the Frans of the world, they have a very damaging mind-virus that can infect a mind that doesn't know how to defend itself. The defense for this religious mind-virus is critical thinking.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 10:26:33 AM by HAL »

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1291 on: January 03, 2010, 10:05:34 AM »
Quote
You have NO examples of any hard core critics who've been completely convinced that Baba is divine and can do bona-fide miracles.

Neither do you.

Edit: Only if you mean during jesus' lifetime. People have been converted to christianity, of course.

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You have NO example of any hard core ENEMIES of Baba.. who wants him killed... and who hate him... and yet who have conceded that he has done miracles.

Neither do you.

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You have NO empty tomb or anything else that would demonstrate to hard core skeptics that Baba is really divine.

Neither do you.

But you cannot conceive of that, can you?


« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 10:23:36 AM by Ambassador Pony »
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 jedweber

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1292 on: January 03, 2010, 01:23:02 PM »
Quote

What you should show us is actual work by objective historians establishing these facts through proper historical methods -  rather than citing numbers of people who profess to agree or assent to these facts for whatever reason.

But I have already done this and I have given everyone in here the page number and the Reply number in which i've done this.

Have you? I've seen lots of assertions by the likes of Craig and Habermas, and I've seen lots of arguments based purely on gospel details, but you haven't walked us through the evidence for these claims. Basically we just keep getting claims of a professional consensus based on a head count.

Quote
...the minimal facts DOES NOT depend on a belief in biblical inerrancy, so such beliefs are irrelevant to whether the  minimal facts are indeed considered to be real historical facts by the scholars.

You're telling us that a person's prior commitment to biblical inerrancy has nothing to do with them taking a position that certain specific biblical claims are true? We're supposed to just disregard that?

I'll admit that a person can accept the minimal facts without being an inerrantist, or even a Christian. However, an inerrantist MUST by necessity accept ALL of the minimal facts, regardless of the objective evidence. You're stacking the deck by including legions of conservative bible scholars and apologists among your professionals. We see support for some of these facts (the empty tomb in particular) drops sharply when one considers liberal non-inerrantist Christian scholars (i.e. the Jesus Seminar), let alone non-Christian scholars and secular historians. I'm not a mind-reader, so I can't judge others' motives, but the circumstantial evidence sure suggests that scholars' religious views affect their reading of the history.

I'm not saying that a conservative Christian scholar cannot be objective, but I'm asking you to "show their work," like we have to do in elementary school math class.

Quote
Also... all the works of all the Biblical scholars, going back to 1975, have been used and analyzed to come up with the  percentage numbers that are used to show that a vast majority of Bibilcal scholars and historians concede the minimal facts.

This is a subtle shift in your wording here. "Conceding" the minimal facts does not mean one has worked on the questions oneself. Many bible scholars are concerned with entirely different questions that have nothing to do with analyzing these minimal facts in objective historical terms. At most, they may proceed on the assumption that certain facts are true as they work on other issues. Why don't we focus on scholars who have directly addressed these questions?

Quote
It appears that what you are really objecting to, is if these minimal facts are historical facts.  

Bingo! (Please note, this is not the same as making a positive claim they are UNTRUE. Some or even all of them could well be. But you cannot establish all four of them to the level of "facts" by using  proper historical methods. If you called them the four "minimal possibilities" I wouldn't have the same beef.)

Quote
First of all, the census, the birth narratives, the earthquakes and the dead bodies walking have absolutely NO relevance to  the minimal facts.  Not one of these examples contradict the minimal facts.  As I have said before, the strength of the  minimal facts approach is that there does not have to be any belief in Biblical innerrancy for this positive case of mine.

Here you go again. Now you're walking away from numerous claims in the gospels that have nothing to do with the resurrection. Fine. But somehow all the other details from the gospels that you use to support the "minimal facts" are to be taken at face value? However you try to spin it, your minimal facts don't stand independently of these details. Several of them rely ENTIRELY on gospel details and later Christian beliefs. For example, you simply cannot point to an empty tomb, or any contemporary tradition that such a tomb existed, was known, and was being venerated in the first century. (Our earliest witness, Paul, makes no mention whatsoever of such a claim.)

You've repeatedly gone beyond your minimal facts to assert all sorts of other gospel details, such as witnesses, actions of the Sanhedrin, guards at the tomb, etc. You ask us to make "what if..." speculations as to alternative explanations, then refute them by telling us things the Jews, Romans or disciples could or would have done, again all based on gospel details. The fact remains that you have ZERO evidence for the existence of an empty tomb on Easter morning.  

Quote
If they are not historical facts, and you disagree with the vast majority of professionals in this area... give us something  to work with. Show us precisely how they got their scholarship wrong.  Otherwise, you are just making assertions and  objections without making a positive case for your position.

Let's focus on just one "fact" - the empty tomb. Here's a point by point rebuttal of Craig by Peter Kirby:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/peter_kirby/tomb/index.html

Another by Jeffrey Lowder:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/empty.html

Similar articles by Robert Price and Richard Carrier:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/stinketh.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4e.html

Here's a collection of articles published in academic journals of biblical studies:

The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/159102286X

There's plenty more where those came from. As you can see, the arguments get quite involved and are very difficult to present in a thread like this, but please stop saying that we have presented nothing to challenge your historical claims.


Quote
...if the resurrection is NOT the most reasonable explanation for the minimal facts, then give us one that is.

No, that's not how it works. You can't establish the resurrection by default. The burden is on you to establish a positive case for your claim, not on us to decide which particular hypothetical alternative is "most reasonable". The only reasonable conclusion is that we do not know - we simply don't have enough information and evidence.  It's enough to show that various natural explanations are possible. We cannot establish good odds on any single one being true, but the combined likelihood that one of them is true is much greater.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 01:28:08 PM by jedweber »

Offline GetMeThere

Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1293 on: January 03, 2010, 03:03:01 PM »
Well said, Ambassador Pony. You state simple facts that Fran seems unwilling or unable to acknowledge. Those are the points that EVERYONE is trying to get through to him.

His FIRST problem is that he can't differentiate between fact and report, history and story, and conjecture and conclusion when discussing the issue. He CONFOUNDS and CONFABULATES these different phenomena. They're scrambled in his head, and he can't seem to unscramble them for the purpose of discussion.

His SECOND problem is that he imagines there is an unassailable "list of experts" from which we can draw absolute truths that CANNOT be further analyzed or considered. The opinions of OTHER experts are MEANINGLESS, and the opinions of THESE experts are SO UNASSAILABLE that they can't be discussed or analyzed. This phenomenon is particularly "childish" IMO. It is, indeed, the sort of position a child will take: A child sees that IF one particular thing can be set in stone, then an argument can be built around it, SO, they then simply proceed to declare it set in stone. For the child the protestation usually begins "But you said that...." i.e., focusing on ONE fact to the exclusion of all others, and claiming that as the CENTRAL fact, upon which everything else must be based. **

Both problems are ones of rationality. To be rational it's necessary to understand and define the elements of the argument, and to have a realistic understanding of the basis of one's premises. He's hopelessly confused and scrambled in these areas.


**What particularly BOTHERS me about those who would wish to "deduce" or somehow "prove" that ancient miracles occurred is that, in fact, they COULD EASILY DO SO! For example, there COULD be ample, widespread, and obvious geologic evidence of a world-wide flood; but there isn't. There COULD be reports of a jesus character for ALL CULTURES all over the world--even small ones--who came to visit and leave his message simultaneously everywhere; but there isn't. There even COULD be a simply UNPRECEDENTED amount of reporting of a miracle worker who was resurrected and went around preaching, by VOLUMINOUS contemporary chroniclers--with reports of the EXACT story, with many details, spreading wide and far, in a contemporary manner--in a manner that obviously sets it apart from all other reporting, demonstrating to a modern reader that SOMETHING extraordinary was obviously going on for awhile in Jerusalem; but there isn't.

It bothers me particularly that those who wish to try to establish ancient miracles about jesus will not ADMIT that they are BEGINNING with EXTRAORDINARILY THIN and NEBULOUS evidence. IMO that's the point that even the "biblical experts" seem to gloss over. That's the point I was trying to get through regarding Sathya Sai Baba--about differences of QUANTITIES and QUALITIES of evidence: modern vs ancient, a single, anonymous report versus thousands of direct, non-anonymous testimonies.

There COULD be quite excellent and compelling evidence for jesus' deeds; but there isn't. I'm surprised by believer's lack of imagination on this issue.

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1294 on: January 03, 2010, 05:59:22 PM »
How do you know extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence?  And how do you know that "Not believing in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence is a neutral stance".  Can you at least give a rational argument to support your beliefs?  In my response to Levan, I at least put together a case in support of my contention that this slogan is not always true... especially about miracles.  You can at least do the same for your particular position.

Oh my, you're losin' it my friend. You are coming unglued with statements like that, and I sense that your world view is possibly crashing down all around you. You are putting up a valiant, if not desperate fight in the necessary release of your security blanket, and I understand the termoil, but you must let it go in order to become a rational adult.



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And to say that you are now not biased because you have become an atheist is a nonsequitur.  It just does not logically follow that when a person embraces a new opinion, then that must mean they are now somehow magically transformed into being non-biased.  The fact is, you've traded one bias (Christianity) for another bias (atheism).

So what you are saying is that all positions are "biased", is that correct?  Please explain how a naturalistsic world view based on evidence & reason is biased.




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And as for your self-congratulation for changing from being a "Christian" to an atheist... so what?  There are many stories of the opposite occurring.  Using your logic, then you would be forced to say that William Lane Craig... Lee Strobel... Josh McDowell... JP Moreland... Gregory Body... and many other Christian apologists have courage and intellectual honesty and now are unbiased.

a) I'm not congratulating myself (although it sure feels good to abandon false beliefs), I'm merely pointing out that I benefited from my old beliefs in numerous ways, but jettisoned them because I care more about what is true.  If I were like you, I would have engaged in the sort of dishonest gymnastics that you are a master at, but I didn't, and when you have the courage to embrace some level of intellectual honesty, you too will drop your imaginary pacifier.

b) It's interesting that you keep on propping up your virtual "big brothers" Craig, Strobel, McDowell etc, but I've witnessed their special pleadings decapitated far too often to give them any more consideration.  I suggest that while you view them with great regard, they too are mere people with weaknesses and needs just like anyone else, and that they are not immune to believing things that they want to believe, and for self serving or psychologically-based reasons.



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To me, you're not making any sense here.

Is it possible that that is because you don't listen very well, and have your defenses way up?

"Eyes are of little use when the mind is blind".
God is an Imaginary Friend for Grown-ups

Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1295 on: January 03, 2010, 06:28:17 PM »
How do you know extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence?  And how do you know that "Not believing in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence is a neutral stance".  Can you at least give a rational argument to support your beliefs? ...

Oh my, you're losin' it my friend. You are coming unglued with statements like that, and I sense that your world view is possibly crashing down all around you. You are putting up a valiant, if not desperate fight in the necessary release of your security blanket, and I understand the termoil, but you must let it go in order to become a rational adult.

Fran, since you admit you are not smart -

I'm not smart at all.

and Dr, Carl sagan is smart, then I'm very sure you will defer to Dr. Carl Sagan when he instructs us to follow this guideline -

"Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence"

Allow me to post a few lines from a source other than us in this debate -

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

"So said Carl Sagan. But why? And what is an extraordinary claim?

The origins of the saying can perhaps be found in Hume’s Maxim:"

"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish…"


"Replace “miracle” with “extraordinary claim”, and you have the basis of the quote that Carl Sagan popularized. And intuitively, most people would agree with it in principle. For example, if I told you I had cereal for breakfast, you would probably believe me. You know cereal exists and that people eat it for breakfast. Of course, I could be lying, but even if I were, I have not asked you to accept some new and extraordinary idea. (The fact that I lied wouldn’t mean that cereal somehow doesn’t exist any more.) However, if I told you that the cereal I eat every day will guarantee that I will never get sick and will live to be 100, you would probably want some evidence of that, and some pretty good evidence too."

Jesus’ resurrection after 2 days

"This goes against all the evidence that people do not come back to life, spontaneously, after two days. Modern medicine can bring people back from what would have been considered in earlier years to be “dead”, but not after 2 days of being dead with no modern life support to keep the vital organs working. In fact, it is probably reasonably safe to say it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that people cannot come back to life after being dead for two days. The evidence we are offered are accounts written decades after the event, by people who were not there when the events described were purported to have occurred. We are offered nothing but hearsay anecdotes from superstitious people with a clear reason for wanting others to think the story true. This is hardly acceptable evidence to counteract the fact that this never happens. Christians might ask, what evidence would a skeptic accept for such an extraordinary claim. The fact that even in principle you are unlikely to find extraordinary evidence 2000 years later, is hardly the non-believer’s fault."

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2008/01/extraordinary-c.html

If this doesn't explain it well enough for you, then I'd be glad to elaborate even further, because whether you agree or not, it is a valid guideline. I suspect the reason you object to it is because it weakens your case. I even started a special thread just for this here. Why not say a few words for the membership?

Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence - good or bad guideline?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 12:00:09 PM by HAL »

Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1296 on: January 04, 2010, 09:36:34 AM »
In searching the main thread for the reason we can't get through to Fran, I finally found the problem!

I'm not smart at all.

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1297 on: January 04, 2010, 10:46:31 AM »
Fran:

I watched the debate between William Lane Craig and Richard Carrier, in which WLC uses the argument you employ.  Notably, he starts out by , on the premise that his existence can be established through "natural theology."  In other words, Craig himself (at least in this debate) knows better than to try to use the FMF argument to establish the existence of the Christian god.  He knows it's not strong enough to do the trick on its own.

On the other hand, if it's possible to establish Yahweh's existence by some other means, then the FMF, then the FMF is basically obsolete.  "The resurrection of Jesus" is a corollary of the existence of the Christian god.  Perhaps Craig means to imply that "natural theology" can establish the existence of a generic god/goddess (Prime Mover/First Cause/Ground of Being), and that the FMF can complete the journey by demonstrating that the generic god is in fact Yahweh of the Christian Bible.

Unfortunately, that would be a non-sequitor for Craig.  The existence of a generic god/goddess, a generic genie, generic necromancy spell, etc. would not tilt probability in favor of Jesus getting a resurrection over every other dead person.  Since the Generic Supernatural Force abides by "The Dead Stay Dead" for 99 billion cases, resurrection is still massively improbable based on the absolute consistency of the (non-) behavior of the GSF when it comes to resurrecting dead people.  Furthermore, a GSF has no reason to favor Jesus over all other human beings.  Jesus only stands out from the pack if the Christian god is assumed to exist.

Thus, the only way around the probability argument (odds of 99 billion to one or greater against Jesus' resurrection) is to assume the existence of Yahweh or demonstrate his existence by some other means.   But then if you could do that, what would you need the FMF argument for?
"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 jedweber

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1298 on: January 04, 2010, 11:23:28 AM »
^ Well, you'd still need the FMF argument against Jews, gnostics, and other "heretical" Christians who deny Jesus was fully human, or physically rose from the dead.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1299 on: January 04, 2010, 01:05:32 PM »
Very interesting debate. Just goes to show that the Four 'Facts' are not much use without the gospels and epistle taken as history and a prior belief in god. I'd say the idea is a non-starter as Fran has demonstrated.
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 Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1300 on: January 04, 2010, 06:41:05 PM »
Fran:

I watched the debate between William Lane Craig and Richard Carrier, in which WLC uses the argument you employ.  Notably, he starts out by , on the premise that his existence can be established through "natural theology."  In other words, Craig himself (at least in this debate) knows better than to try to use the FMF argument to establish the existence of the Christian god.  He knows it's not strong enough to do the trick on its own.

On the other hand, if it's possible to establish Yahweh's existence by some other means, then the FMF, then the FMF is basically obsolete.  "The resurrection of Jesus" is a corollary of the existence of the Christian god.  Perhaps Craig means to imply that "natural theology" can establish the existence of a generic god/goddess (Prime Mover/First Cause/Ground of Being), and that the FMF can complete the journey by demonstrating that the generic god is in fact Yahweh of the Christian Bible.

Unfortunately, that would be a non-sequitor for Craig.  The existence of a generic god/goddess, a generic genie, generic necromancy spell, etc. would not tilt probability in favor of Jesus getting a resurrection over every other dead person.  Since the Generic Supernatural Force abides by "The Dead Stay Dead" for 99 billion cases, resurrection is still massively improbable based on the absolute consistency of the (non-) behavior of the GSF when it comes to resurrecting dead people.  Furthermore, a GSF has no reason to favor Jesus over all other human beings.  Jesus only stands out from the pack if the Christian god is assumed to exist.

Thus, the only way around the probability argument (odds of 99 billion to one or greater against Jesus' resurrection) is to assume the existence of Yahweh or demonstrate his existence by some other means.   But then if you could do that, what would you need the FMF argument for?

Hello Kcrady....

I will look at this debate again tonight.  If I understand Craig properly, I think he means to suggest that "natural theology" can establish the existence of a God that mirrors quite closely to the God of the Bible apart from the FMF.  It is the FMF which then completes the journey.  Or more to the point, once we can establish that a God exists (closely resembling the God of the Bible)... where would we go from there?  What does he want say to us if anything?  Has he had contact with humans?  Does He care?  What happens to us when we die?  How do we get to heaven?

Well... these questions are not answered by establishing a God, even if that God closely resembles the God of the bible.  But if the FMF can establish that Jesus was Resurrected, then we can know what God wants to tell us because Jesus (being that God as part of the trinity) has told us many things.  Jesus also validates the OT record of God's interaction with humans in the far distant past.

I think that is what WLC is doing.  And if thru Natural Theology WLC can demonstrate that a God exists which closely resembles the God of the Bible, then the FMF can indeed complete the journey without being a Non-Sequitur.

But anyway, this is just from off the top of my head.  But I will look at the debate tonight.

Hey you guys... I'm spending a lot of time in here but I get a distinct impression that no one really cares anymore about this thread because of feelings of frustration that we are not getting anywhere.

If this is the case, then  I don't want to keep on going.  I can't change. I can only do the best I can with what abilities I have.  I'm trying to do what I can.  But i'm alone in here.  And I do have limited time.   But I'm willing to keep going if that is what you want.  Otherwise, let me know if you all prefer not go any further.


Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1301 on: January 04, 2010, 06:47:54 PM »
Hey you guys... I'm spending a lot of time in here but I get a distinct impression that no one really cares anymore about this thread because of feelings of frustration that we are not getting anywhere.

and ... why do you suspect we are not getting anywhere?

Because you just gave us the reason -

Quote
 ... I can't change.

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1302 on: January 04, 2010, 07:16:22 PM »
In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken”, and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it, it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that has happened in politics or religion.  (Carl Sagan)
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Offline HAL

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1303 on: January 04, 2010, 07:47:13 PM »
... I can't change.


I can change, Star Stuff can change, and I'm sure every other person posting in this thread can change if we are given appropriate evidence, data, tests, and theories supporting your argument.

This whole thread could have been terminated on the first page if we had asked you whether or not you accept Dr. Sagan's guideline -

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

If you had said no that's not true, I wouldn't have even bothered with you, because without understanding that guideline, you can be convinced of most anything - and you have been. What a shame you have been deluded in this way.

You present the most mundane and usual evidence possible for the most outrageous claim possible - resurrecting a dead person. You are not a critical thinker and you don't use Dr. Sagan's guideline, so trying to debate you is a logical fallacy in and of itself.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead?
« Reply #1304 on: January 04, 2010, 07:48:02 PM »
Fran:
Quote
But if the FMF can establish that Jesus was Resurrected, then...

Fran, the point is that the FMF don't do this. They do not establish beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus was resurrected. Three of the FMF are hearsay. They are reports of reports. And in a criminal court now, they would probably be inadmissable as evidence on those grounds. As such, they cannot prove the resurrection beyond reasonable doubt. As I said:

Quote
1)... Jesus’ burial
Hearsay. Maybe those reports are wrong too.

2)... the discovery of his empty tomb
Either, the reports were wrong (they're hearsay). Or, the body of Jesus was removed by persons unknown. Or his body wasn't there in the first place (see 1).

3)... (the reports of) his post-mortem appearances
More hearsay. Maybe the reports were inaccurate. Fabrications, or hallucinations, or wishful thinking.

This is your problem, Fran. You cannot prove something beyond reasonable doubt on hearsay evidence. Sorry.

And, as others have recently mentioned, you cannot disqualify our alternative hypothetical explanations by citing other parts of the bible, because then you've gone beyond the Four Minimal Facts.

So you fail to prove your case.

Gnu.

PS: Fran, just because I'm new to this thread doesn't mean you have to repeat stuff. I'm trying to summarize what others are saying. For example, in support of my response to point 3 above, I'm happy with what kcrady just said (my bold):

3) Reports of Post-Mortem Appearances.

Here we have a case of a group of people making paranormal claims to have experienced a resurrected Jesus.  Or, to be more precise, reports of reports of post-mortem appearances.  The information is second-hand.  At this point we have to ask ourselves, are these second-hand reports so compelling that the odds are more than 99 billion to one against them being wrong?  We have other examples of comparable paranormal claims which started religions, with original claimants who died for their beliefs: the Mormons (Joseph Smith was martyred), and Heaven's Gate.  History is full of examples of people dying for religions that we can all agree are false: Jonestown, the Branch Davidians, fundamentalist Islam, etc..

From this we know that: A) People can be induced to believe things that are bizarre in the context of their own culture; and B) At least some of these people will die for their beliefs.  We have well-documented, current and recent examples of people believing in weird things and being willing to die or suffer mockery and social exclusion for their beliefs, but we do not have well-documented current and recent examples of supernatural resurrections.  Therefore, the probability that a group of people would believe in and die for paranormal claims is much higher than the probability that a body will be resurrected from the dead.


I hope that kcrady concurs that this does support my more general explanation:

More hearsay. Maybe the reports were inaccurate. Fabrications, or hallucinations, or wishful thinking.

But Fran, we don't need all that detail. It's simple. Your evidence consists of reports of reports. So it doesn't prove anything.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 08:21:44 PM by Gnu Ordure »