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Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 12:51 PM
Invited by ITR Champion in this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=14168526#post14168526). To summarize quickly, ITR, when asked him if anything could convince him Christianity was not true said:
Sure, you could provide me with an intellectual argument more convincing then the arguments I've read for Christianity.
To which I said:
The null hypothesis is that it's physically impossible for people to come back from the dead. That doesn't have to be proven. That's the default, starting assumption. What arguments can you produce to falsify the null here?
Other posters also asked ITR to be more specific about exactly what intellectual arguments for the truth of Christianity that he found so strong they could overcome the kinds of null hypotheses like the one I posed above. ITR was not specific, other than saying that he aligned his views with GK Chesterton, but said that he would be specific in a new thread. Well, here it is.

I'm not asking for intellectual arguments for every part of Christianity, or for the existence of God. I'm just asking to see the evidence/argument for one thing - the physical resurrection of Jesus, This is a prima facie impossible event. That means the evidence is going to have to be pretty exceptional to overcome the null. Let's see it.

I'm asking any and all other Christians who might be interested to show actual evidence that Jesus came back to life three days after he was dead.

Paranoid Randroid
08-22-2011, 01:57 PM
A fellow came around a while ago purporting to demonstrate, from the assumption of eyewitness testimony, that the miracles at Sinai occurred with very little doubt (and thus Judaism is true). In fact, I can take his kernel of an idea and — with a bit of mathematical rigor — prove incontrovertibly the resurrection of Jesus. All we must assume is that some testimony exists. By Bayes’ theorem:

P(resurrection | testimony) = P(resurrection & testimony) / P(testimony) = P(testimony | resurrection) P(resurrection) / P(testimony)

And by the law of total probability:

P(testimony) = P(testimony | resurrection) * P(resurrection) + P(testimony | ~resurrection) * P(~resurrection)

Note that P(testimony) refers to the unconditional probability of testimony for Jesus’s resurrection; this takes into account no background knowledge and so is presumably very small. Thus P(testimony | ~resurrection) is exceedingly small as well and we can assume it to be zero. Then:

P(resurrection | testimony) = P(testimony | resurrection) * P(resurrection) / (P(testimony | resurrection) * P(resurrection)) = 1

We may thus conclude with utmost certainty that Jesus’s resurrection was an historical occurrence.

More seriously … this kind of argument, from the assumption that eyewitness testimony is more likely for true events than for false events, is developed rather extensively by some; see McGrew and McGrew in Ch 11 of the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (who are quite loose and free with quasi-probabilistic notation). But without the assumption that genuine eyewitness testimony was in fact recorded, they crumble apart in one’s hands.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 02:04 PM
That's one of the biggest problems right there. There isn't any eyewitness testimony. The first known claim of a physical resurrection doesn't appear in Christian literature until 50 years after the alleged crucifixion.

CurtC
08-22-2011, 02:22 PM
The only argument I've ever heard for the historical resurrection is from William Lane Craig, and that argument was pretty pathetic.

First, he (thinks he) proves that a God exists using the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Next he says that we have similar evidence of the resurrection as we have with many events that are universally accepted historically, and specifically compares the written records (decades after the event) to the fact that we have no contemporaneous records of Alexander the Great either, but nobody doubts that he existed!

He then tries to hand-wave away the little problem that the resurrection of a dead body would be a quite extraordinary event requiring extraordinary evidence, by noting that since we've already demonstrated that an all-powerful God exists, then miracles are not a priori extraordinary. A God could poof up a miracle anytime he wants!

Voyager
08-22-2011, 02:24 PM
That's one of the biggest problems right there. There isn't any eyewitness testimony. The first known claim of a physical resurrection doesn't appear in Christian literature until 50 years after the alleged crucifixion.

Besides the lack of eyewitness testimony, there isn't any contemporary hearsay evidence either, is there? I can understand the witnesses not having time to write it down, but I suspect there would be rumors floating around which should have been.

There is also the problem that the an actual resurrection should have been enough to convince some reasonable number of Jews in Jerusalem to follow this new sect - but it didn't. There is evidence of absence here.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 02:25 PM
Craig does rely a lot on the cosmological argument. He also presumes eyewitness testimony, then refutes a litany of straw objections to that testimony.

Czarcasm
08-22-2011, 02:25 PM
The only argument I've ever heard for the historical resurrection is from William Lane Craig, and that argument was pretty pathetic.

First, he (thinks he) proves that a God exists using the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Next he says that we have similar evidence of the resurrection as we have with many events that are universally accepted historically, and specifically compares the written records (decades after the event) to the fact that we have no contemporaneous records of Alexander the Great either, but nobody doubts that he existed!

He then tries to hand-wave away the little problem that the resurrection of a dead body would be a quite extraordinary event requiring extraordinary evidence, by noting that since we've already demonstrated that an all-powerful God exists, then miracles are not a priori extraordinary. A God could poof up a miracle anytime he wants!You've got to admire a "logical" argument that pulls itself up by its own bootstraps.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 02:28 PM
Besides the lack of eyewitness testimony, there isn't any contemporary hearsay evidence either, is there? I can understand the witnesses not having time to write it down, but I suspect there would be rumors floating around which should have been.
Correct. The empty tomb and physical resurrection claims are not found in earlier layers like Paul or Q (or Thomas, for that matter) where you would expect to see them, and even Mark only leaves off at the empty tomb without any physical appearances.

ITR champion
08-22-2011, 02:28 PM
I would suggest reading this essay by Dr. N. T. Wright (http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Jesus_Resurrection.htm), which is in effect a summary of a full-length book that he wrote. His process is first to summarize both pagan and Jewish beliefs about the afterlife. Then he outlines the distinctive beliefs of Christians about the afterlife.
the early Christian belief in resurrection had a much more precise shape and content than anything we find in Judaism. In early Christianity, obviously in Paul but not only there, resurrection will be an act of new creation, accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and the body which is to be is already planned by God. This will not be a simple return to the same sort of body as before; nor will it be an abandonment of embodiedness in order to enjoy a disembodied bliss. It will involve transformation, the gift of a new body with different properties. This is so engrained in earliest Christianity that it already affects teaching on other subjects, such as baptism (Romans 6) and ethics (Colossians 3).

Where did that idea come from? Not from any ancient paganism known to us; and not, or not straightforwardly, from any ancient Judaism. The best-known feature of resurrection in Daniel 12 is that the righteous will shine like stars; that, interestingly, is one thing the early Christians do not say about the hope of resurrection, except in one gospel passage (Matthew 13.43) not echoed elsewhere.6 The hope of resurrection is thus not only virtually universal in early Christianity; it is much more sharply focussed than its Jewish equivalent.

What then do the New Testament writers mean when they speak of an inheritance waiting for us in heaven? This has been much misunderstood, with awesome results in traditions of thought, prayer, life and art. The point of such passages, as in 1 Peter 1.4, 2 Corinthians 5.1, Philippians 3.20, and so forth, is not that one must ‘go to heaven’, as in much-popular imagination, in order to enjoy the inheritance there. It is rather that ‘heaven’ is the place where God stores up his plans and purposes for the future. If I tell a friend that there is beer in the fridge, that doesn’t mean he has to get into the fridge in order to enjoy the beer. When the early Christians speak of a new body in heaven, or an inheritance in heaven, they mean what St John the Divine means in Revelation 21: the new identity which at present is kept safe in heaven will be brought from heaven to earth at the great moment of renewal. Yes: the great majority of Christian expressions of hope through the middle ages, the reformation, and the counter-reformation periods have been misleading. ‘Heaven’ is not the Christian’s ultimate destination. For renewed bodies we need a renewed cosmos, including a renewed earth. That is what the New Testament promises.

The third way in which early Christian belief about resurrection is significantly different from that of second-Temple Judaism is that, particularly in Paul, ‘the resurrection’ has split into two. Paul still sees ‘the resurrection of the dead’ as a single theological event,7 but it takes place in two phases: first the Messiah, then at his coming all his people.8 This too only makes sense within second-Temple Judaism, but it is something no second-Temple Jew had said before. Resurrection had been a single all-embracing moment, not a matter of one person being raised ahead of everybody else.

These modifications and sharpenings of the Jewish belief demand a historical explanation, and we shall come to that presently. But there were other modifications as well. Those Jews who believed in resurrection developed, as we saw, ways of speaking about the interim state of those who had died, ways of holding on to the belief that the physically dead had not entirely ceased to exist, but that they were still ‘there’ to be raised again on the last day. The early Christians, seeking to say the same thing, used some of the same language but some different expressions as well. They spoke of people being ‘asleep in Christ’.9 Revelation speaks of the souls under the altar who wake up, ask what time it is, and are told to go back to sleep again.10 The penitent thief will be with Jesus in Paradise — presumably not a final destination, even if we take ‘today’ metaphorically.11 Paul speaks of his desire being to ‘depart and be with the Messiah, which is far better’.12 The closest the New Testament gets to speaking of the dead being in ‘heaven’, even as a temporary resting place, is when in Revelation 21 the New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, comes down to earth from heaven, where presumably she has been waiting, in order that the wedding can take place.

Finally, the early Christians speak of one major aspect of the Jewish hope as already emphatically realised. Jesus himself was and is the Messiah, and they looked for no other. This deserves much more elaboration than I can give it here.13

Jesus had not done what Messiahs were supposed to do. He had neither won a decisive victory over Israel’s political enemies, nor restored the Temple (except in the most ambiguous symbolic fashion). Nor had he brought God’s justice and peace to the world; the wolf was not yet lying down with the lamb. But the early gospel traditions are already shaped by the belief that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah; Paul regularly calls him Christos, and if that term had become for him merely a proper name (which I dispute) that only goes to show how firmly Jesus’ messianic identity was already established by Paul’s day. For Revelation, Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The historian is bound to face the question: once Jesus had been crucified, why would anyone say that he was Israel’s Messiah?

Nobody said that about Judas the Galilean after his revolt ended in failure in AD 6. Nobody said it of Simon bar-Giora after his death at the end of Titus’s triumph in AD 70. Nobody said it about bar-Kochbar after his defeat and death in 135. On the contrary. Where messianic movements tried to carry on after the death of their would-be Messiah, their most important task was to find another Messiah.14 The fact that the early Christians did not do that, but continued, against all precedent, to regard Jesus himself as Messiah, despite outstanding alternative candidates such as the righteous, devout and well-respected James, Jesus’ own brother, is evidence that demands an explanation. As with their beliefs about resurrection, they redefined Messiahship itself, and with it their whole view of the problem that Israel and the world faced and the solution that they believed God had provided. They remained at one level a classic Jewish messianic movement, owing fierce allegiance to their Messiah and claiming Israel and the whole world in his name. But the mode of that claim, and the underlying allegiance itself, were drastically redefined.

The rise of early Christianity, and the shape that it took in two central and vital respects, thus presses upon the historian the question for an explanation. The early Christians retained the Jewish belief in resurrection, but both modified it and made it more sharp and precise. They retained the Jewish belief in a coming Messiah, but redrew it quite drastically around Jesus himself. Why?
In the remainder of the essay, Dr. Wright considers and then rejects alternate theories, such as that Paul or other early Christians viewed the resurrection as purely spiritual or that it was only intended as a metaphor. He also deals with questions of historical method and approach, concluding:
Of course, there are several reasons why people may not want, and often refuse, to believe this. But the historian must weigh, as well, the alternative accounts they themselves offer. And, to date, none of them have anything like the explanatory power of the simple, but utterly challenging, Christian one. The historian’s task is not to force people to believe. It is to make it clear that the sort of reasoning historians characteristically employ — inference to the best explanation, tested rigorously in terms of the explanatory power of the hypothesis thus generated — points strongly towards the bodily resurrection of Jesus; and to make clear, too, that from that point on the historian alone cannot help. When you’re dealing with worldviews, every community and every person must make their choices in the dark, even if there is a persistent rumour of light around the next corner.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 02:44 PM
Funny, I don't see any evidence for a physical resurrection in any of that, just a lot of ludicrous special pleading. The belief of post-Pauline Christians in the resurrection is meaningless. Paul never claimed a physical resurrection, and there's no evidence that any of the apostles did eitehr.

I would appreciate it if you would in your own words, clearly state your own arguments and not keep trying to deflect to other apologists. What do you think is Wright's strongest point? Claiming that the claims of Christianity were unique is a.) not really true and b.) no more true for Christianity than for any other religious mythology.

FriarTed
08-22-2011, 04:14 PM
The cohesion of a bunch of muddled squabbling disciples into the early Christian Church.

After that, the survival of said Church of the Destruction of Jerusalem, her conquest of the Roman Pagan Beast, struggle between Babylonian Harlotry & Bridal Fidelity, and role as the Mother of Western-style Civilization all indicate to me that her Lord Jesus is all that is claimed for Him- God made Flesh, Sacrificed Savior, Risen Lord and Reigning Sovereign.

Paranoid Randroid
08-22-2011, 04:19 PM
That's one of the biggest problems right there.

Indeed. Rather surreal to encounter page upon page of what is (more or less) a very special kind of pleading. We are told that — because Paul had nothing to gain from lying, and because hallucinations of sufficient vividness to explain his experience at Damascus are rare — then the probability of Paul’s testimony if the resurrection didn’t happen “is at best on the order of 10-4”. I’ll admit reading that was a head-scratchingly WTF moment.

But even before discussing Paul they apply similar reasoning to the experience of the women at the tomb. The only alternatives they consider are: the women hallucinated; the body was moved; they went to the wrong tomb; or their experience was genuine. Thus they “judge P(women’s testimony | resurrection) to be at least several orders of magnitude greater than P(women’s testimony | ~resurrection)” [my notation]. The text is long and dense and it’s been a while since I read the whole thing, but I see no discussion of the possibility that there was no scenario corresponding to the women’s experience in the first place, which I think merits some attention given the length of time between the purported events and the written recording.

In fairness, they do note that they assume Acts and the gospels to be “generally reliable”. Which means they’ve spent a great deal of verbiage only to admit that they don’t really address what’s at issue.

ITR champion
08-22-2011, 04:20 PM
The belief of post-Pauline Christians in the resurrection is meaningless.Perhaps it is meaningless to you, but it is not meaningless to me.

Paul never claimed a physical resurrection, and there's no evidence that any of the apostles did eitehr.
Paul did claim that Jesus had been physically resurrected. We know this because (1) Paul was a former Pharisee. The Pharisees believed in a bodily resurrection for the Jews at the end of time. They did not believe in a spiritual resurrection, nor did any other known branch of Judaism. If you read Dr. Wright's book, you'll see he quotes a ton of ancient Jewish writings to establish this point. So if Paul refers to a resurrection, we can assume that he was referring to a bodily resurrection. (2) Paul refers to the resurrected body by the Greek word "soma" on multiple occasions. We can easily go through a list (http://www.preteristsite.com/docs/priceresbody.htm) of Paul's usages of the that word and verify that when he uses it he always means the physical body as clearly distinct from the spirit, and indeed a quick trip to the Lexicon (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4983&t=KJV) will assure us that that's what the word "soma" meant. So by using that word, Paul is going out of his way to double-super clear that he refers to a physical resurrection. (3) Further, in 1 Cor 15:50-4, Paul refers to the resurrection as "putting on" a new body, as distinct from the soul being disembodied and then placed into a new body. Some have disputed this point, but as Dr. Wright notes:
Why then does he say 'flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom'? Ever since the second century doubters have used this clause to question whether Paul really believed in the resurrection of the body. In fact, the second half of verse 50 already explains, in Hebraic parallelism with the first half, more or less what he means, as Paul's regular use of 'flesh' would indicate: 'flesh and blood' is a way of referring to ordinary, corruptible, decaying human existence. It does not simply mean, as it has so often been taken to mean, 'physical humanity' in the normal modern sense, but 'the present physical humanity (as opposed to the future), which is subject to decay and death.' The referent of the phrase is not the presently dead but the presently living, who need not to be raised but to be changed; and this brings us back to the dual focus of verses 53 and 54. Both categories of humans need to acquire the new, transformed type of body.(4) Further, in Romans 8:18-23, Paul notes that all of creation is waiting for it creator and will soon be redeemed, and he specifically includes present-day human beings in that creation, thus clearly believing that those with their present-day bodies will be redeemed. (5) Paul refers to the appearances of Jesus after his death as proof that Jesus was resurrected. This, however, would not be his interpretation unless he believed in a bodily resurrection. As Dr. Gary Habermas noted:
Such apparitions were well-known in the ancient world, but were not expressed as resurrections, and generally convinced no one in this direction. To the contrary, although these apparitions may have comforted the mourners, we must not lose sight of the fact that these persons were definitely known to have remained dead.
So Paul believed in a physical resurrection. Since he squared his teachings with those of the Apostles in Jerusalem, we know that they believed in a physical resurrection as well.

I would appreciate it if you would in your own words, clearly state your own arguments and not keep trying to deflect to other apologists.
Tough. Since you always ignore my requests, I'm not bending over backwards to satisfy yours.

Claiming that the claims of Christianity were unique is a.) not really true and b.) no more true for Christianity than for any other religious mythology.
Really? Dr. Wright makes specific claims about what the early Christians believed concerning the Resurrection and the Messiah that was different from what the Jews believed. Please provide specific reasons why you reject those claims and back those reasons up with sources better than Wikipedia.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 04:24 PM
The cohesion of a bunch of muddled squabbling disciples into the early Christian Church.
How is the formation of an obscure sect evdience for the resurrection? We don't even know what those disciples actually believed. There is no evdience that they ever claimed to have witnessed a physical resurrection.
After that, the survival of said Church of the Destruction of Jerusalem
It was destroyed in Jerusalem. Paul's gentile movement is what survived.
her conquest of the Roman Pagan Beast, struggle between Babylonian Harlotry & Bridal Fidelity, and role as the Mother of Western-style Civilization all indicate to me that her Lord Jesus is all that is claimed for Him- God made Flesh, Sacrificed Savior, Risen Lord and Reigning Sovereign.
How is the political success of the church (which happened mainly because of Constantine) evidence for a historical resurrection of Jesus?

CurtC
08-22-2011, 04:38 PM
Paul did claim that Jesus had been physically resurrected.

Excuse me for needing to catch up, but why does it matter whether Paul thought that resurrections were physical or only spiritual? I don't see how that has any bearing on the question in the OP.

ITR champion
08-22-2011, 05:09 PM
Excuse me for needing to catch up, but why does it matter whether Paul thought that resurrections were physical or only spiritual? I don't see how that has any bearing on the question in the OP.
I'd think that if you read Dr. Wright's article, his outline of argument is clear. In the early-to-mid first century pagans has set of beliefs A about resurrection and life after death. Jews had set of beliefs B. The first Christians had set of beliefs C, where C is quite distinct from A and B and has a number of specific, unique, certain features. We then ask: "Why is it that the earliest Christians believed these things about resurrection?" After investigating and rejecting other explanations, the best explanation left standing is that the early Christian community picked this up from an actual resurrection.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 05:13 PM
Perhaps it is meaningless to you, but it is not meaningless to me.
Let me put it another way, it has no evidentiary value.

Paul did claim that Jesus had been physically resurrected.
Not true. Paul only says that Jesus "appeared" to people after his death, and draws no distinction between Jesus appearance to the apostles and to himself. He makes no mention of an empty tomb, and says that physical resurrections are impossible. He also says that he didn't even get this information from other people, but only from the voices in his head.
We know this because (1) Paul was a former Pharisee. The Pharisees believed in a bodily resurrection for the Jews at the end of time. They did not believe in a spiritual resurrection, nor did any other known branch of Judaism.
Then how do explain Paul saying that physical resurrections are impossible and calling people "idiots" if they believe that it is? You can't just try to piggyback Paul onto the Pharisees and say he must have agreed with them, because obviously he did not. He had a completely different conception of the Messiah, for one thing, and was an admitted psychotic for another.
If you read Dr. Wright's book, you'll see he quotes a ton of ancient Jewish writings to establish this point. So if Paul refers to a resurrection, we can assume that he was referring to a bodily resurrection.
Factually incorrect since Paul explicitly denies the possibility of physical resurrection. (2) Paul refers to the resurrected body by the Greek word "soma" on multiple occasions. We can easily go through a list (http://www.preteristsite.com/docs/priceresbody.htm) of Paul's usages of the that word and verify that when he uses it he always means the physical body as clearly distinct from the spirit, and indeed a quick trip to the Lexicon (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4983&t=KJV) will assure us that that's what the word "soma" meant.


But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
(1 Cor. 15:35-44)

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
(1 Cor. 15:50-54)


Paul makes a clear distinction here between the σῶμα ψυχικόν ("body physical") and the σῶμα πνευματικόν ("body spiritual"). He makes it clear that the physical body rots and is replaced by a spirtual body. He likens it to sowing seeds.
So by using that word, Paul is going out of his way to double-super clear that he refers to a physical resurrection
No, he's bending over backwards to say it is NOT physical.
(3) Further, in 1 Cor 15:50-4, Paul refers to the resurrection as "putting on" a new body, as distinct from the soul being disembodied and then placed into a new body. Some have disputed this point, but as Dr. Wright notes:
I've read this half-assed quote from Wright several times and still can't see how it amounts to anything but hand waving. "Hebraic parallelism?" My ass. What a a masterpiece of obfuscation.

Wright has no credentials as a historian, by the way. His doctorate is in Divinity. He's an Anglican Bishop and a conservative evangelical well out of the mainstream of scholarship (and noted for his anti-gay stances within the Anglican Church).
(4) Further, in Romans 8:18-23, Paul notes that all of creation is waiting for it creator and will soon be redeemed, and he specifically includes present-day human beings in that creation, thus clearly believing that those with their present-day bodies will be redeemed.Paul says everybody will be "transformed" into physical bodies.
(5) Paul refers to the appearances of Jesus after his death as proof that Jesus was resurrected.
Paul does not say those appearances were physical.
This, however, would not be his interpretation unless he believed in a bodily resurrection
He asserts exactly the opposite.
So Paul believed in a physical resurrection.
Paul said exactly the opposite.
Since he squared his teachings with those of the Apostles in Jerusalem, we know that they believed in a physical resurrection as well.
Cute, but specious. First of all Paul said he got his info from the voices in his head, not from the apostles, and secondly, he did not say for a second that the appearances were physical, and he did not draw any distinction between Jesus' appearances to the disciples and to himself.

Moreover, and moreover, even if Paul had claimed a physical resurrection, it would be no evidence anyway. Claims are not evidence, especially claims for impossible events, and Paul was an admitted psychotic (and skilled prevaricator).
Tough. Since you always ignore my requests, I'm not bending over backwards to satisfy yours.
I don't know what requests you're referring to, but this thread was started at your own invitation.
Really? Dr. Wright makes specific claims about what the early Christians believed concerning the Resurrection and the Messiah that was different from what the Jews believed. Please provide specific reasons why you reject those claims and back those reasons up with sources better than Wikipedia.
It's pretty simple. We have no data about those beliefs. We have no testimony or writings from from any of them. If you or Reverend Wright beg to differ, then please show the data. You seem to have the wrong idea about who has the burden of proof here. If you want to assert knowledge of those early beliefs, let's see the evidence.

John Mace
08-22-2011, 05:34 PM
Given that Jesus tells us it is better to believe without seeing (aka, the Doubting Thomas story), why would you want or expect Christians to need evidence for the resurrection?

woodstockbirdybird
08-22-2011, 05:50 PM
Because they have brains capable of rational thought?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 05:57 PM
Given that Jesus tells us it is better to believe without seeing (aka, the Doubting Thomas story), why would you want or expect Christians to need evidence for the resurrection?
I don't necessarily, but ITR said he could do it, so I called him on it.

iamthewalrus(:3=
08-22-2011, 06:17 PM
I'd think that if you read Dr. Wright's article, his outline of argument is clear. In the early-to-mid first century pagans has set of beliefs A about resurrection and life after death. Jews had set of beliefs B. The first Christians had set of beliefs C, where C is quite distinct from A and B and has a number of specific, unique, certain features. We then ask: "Why is it that the earliest Christians believed these things about resurrection?" After investigating and rejecting other explanations, the best explanation left standing is that the early Christian community picked this up from an actual resurrection.Does that reasoning hold for the other sets of beliefs? That is, is the best explanation for belief sets A and B that they were derived from a different sort of actual resurrection?

John Mace
08-22-2011, 07:37 PM
I don't necessarily, but ITR said he could do it, so I called him on it.

OK.

But of course we know that there is no evidence other than belief that the Gospels have recorded things accurately.

Lobohan
08-22-2011, 07:50 PM
OK.

But of course we know that there is no evidence other than belief that the Gospels have recorded things accurately.Watch out. ITR might accuse you of insulting him (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=14169895&postcount=215).

ITR champion
08-22-2011, 08:26 PM
Let me put it another way, it has no evidentiary value.
Perhaps not to you; it does to me.

Not true. Paul only says that Jesus "appeared" to people after his death, and draws no distinction between Jesus appearance to the apostles and to himself.I think we all know by now that that's your favorite Bible factoid, but, to state the obvious, it's irrelevant to this thread.

He makes no mention of an empty tomb, and says that physical resurrections are impossible. He also says that he didn't even get this information from other people, but only from the voices in his head.

Then how do explain Paul saying that physical resurrections are impossible and calling people "idiots" if they believe that it is? You can't just try to piggyback Paul onto the Pharisees and say he must have agreed with them, because obviously he did not. He had a completely different conception of the Messiah, for one thing, and was an admitted psychotic for another.
Paul does mention the grave [1 Cor 15:55], your claim that Paul got information "from the voices in his head" is incorrect (http://www.bede.org.uk/price4.htm), your statement that Paul is an "admitted psychotic" is a figment of your imagination, and your claim that Paul said that physical resurrections are impossible has been debunked both in the articles I've linked to and in numerous previous threads.

Paul makes a clear distinction here between the σῶμα ψυχικόν ("body physical") and the σῶμα πνευματικόν ("body spiritual"). He makes it clear that the physical body rots and is replaced by a spirtual body. He likens it to sowing seeds.
Paul makes it clear that it's the same body in two different conditions, not one body vanishing and another taking its place. He likens it to sowing seeds, which proves the point because there's continuity from the seed to the plant, likewise in Paul's vision there's continuity from the original to the heavenly body.

Wright has no credentials as a historian, by the way. His doctorate is in Divinity. He's an Anglican Bishop and a conservative evangelical well out of the mainstream of scholarship (and noted for his anti-gay stances within the Anglican Church).
I was wondering how long it would be before you gave up on pretending that you had any facts on your side and just started bashing any source that disagreed with you. Now I know.

I don't know what requests you're referring to, but this thread was started at your own invitation.
In every thread where the two of us spar, I ask you to provide cites to back up your claims. You never do so, except that in a few cases you link to Wikipedia articles. Try this: if you want me to believe that Paul denied the possibility of a physical resurrection, then provide a citation to a credible source which makes that case. Given that you always attack any source who doesn't have a Ph.D. in exactly the right specialty or isn't writing in a peer-reviewed journal or doesn't have his hair parted in exactly the right way, it goes without saying that you should be able to provide a source that meets those same criteria.

It's pretty simple. We have no data about those beliefs. We have no testimony or writings from from any of them. If you or Reverend Wright beg to differ, then please show the data.
Dr. Wright's article has several instances of the data that you claim no one has, and his book has a great many more.

woodstockbirdybird
08-22-2011, 09:00 PM
I was wondering how long it would be before you gave up on pretending that you had any facts on your side and just started bashing any source that disagreed with you. Now I know.


The facts he has on his side are that resurrection is a physical impossibility and always has been, and there is no evidence to the contrary anybody but a Christian apologist would accept as valid.

keeganst94
08-22-2011, 09:06 PM
The only possible ways to prove it are to either prove the existence of god, or actually resurrect somebody. You don't really have any proof; you have a bunch of people writing about it 2000 years ago, at a time when they thought good medical practice was to bleed people, and translated so many times into so many different languages that it's very difficult to know what the original meaning is. Even if you're right about Paul, it proves nothing.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 09:08 PM
Perhaps not to you; it does to me.
You said you could produce "intellectual arguments." If all you can do is cite your own faith, that's not an intellectual argument.
I think we all know by now that that's your favorite Bible factoid, but, to state the obvious, it's irrelevant to this thread.
It's central to the thread since I'm asking to see evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus. The fact that this claim cannot be found in Paul's writings (or in Q or in Mark or in Thomas) is very relevant indeed. It means that the physical resurrection is a claim that can't be traced before Matthew's Gospel in 80 CE.
Paul does mention the grave [1 Cor 15:55], your claim that Paul got information "from the voices in his head" is incorrect (http://www.bede.org.uk/price4.htm),
I don't know what part of the page you linked to is supposed to refute me, but Paul did, in fact, say that he hot hsi Gospel entirely from Jesus (i.e. "the voices in his head") and "not from any man." he os adamant on this point. That he was not taught it, but got it from Jesus.
your statement that Paul is an "admitted psychotic" is a figment of your imagination
Paul claimed to have experienced hallucinations of Jesus. Either he was lying, or he was, by definition, claiming to have had psychotic experiences (it is immaterial whether Paul himself understood that these experiences were psychotic).
and your claim that Paul said that physical resurrections are impossible has been debunked both in the articles I've linked to and in numerous previous threads.
It hasn't been debunked at all, actually. I provided the passages. I understand the Greek.
Paul makes it clear that it's the same body in two different conditions
No, Paul says that what goes into the ground rots away and is transformed into a "spiritual body."
I was wondering how long it would be before you gave up on pretending that you had any facts on your side and just started bashing any source that disagreed with you. Now I know.
You were the one trying to hide behind an appeal to authority. I merely pointed out that your authority is not an authority.
In every thread where the two of us spar, I ask you to provide cites to back up your claims. You never do so, except that in a few cases you link to Wikipedia articles.
This is bullshit, of course,
Try this: if you want me to believe that Paul denied the possibility of a physical resurrection, then provide a citation to a credible source which makes that case.
I already did. The words of Paul himself.
Dr. Wright's article has several instances of the data that you claim no one has, and his book has a great many more.
Name one.

Uber_the_Goober
08-22-2011, 09:42 PM
<snip>

Paul never claimed a physical resurrection, and there's no evidence that any of the apostles did eitehr.

<snip>

In case it hasn't been brought up already - (i didn't read the whole thread for fear of losing my thought)

1 Corinthians 15:12-17

12 Now if Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among YOU say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If, indeed, there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up. 14But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain. 15Moreover, we are also found false witnesses of God, because we have borne witness against God that he raised up the Christ, but whom he did not raise up if the dead are really not to be raised up. 16For if the dead are not to be raised up, neither has Christ been raised up. 17Further, if Christ has not been raised up, YOUR faith is useless; YOU are yet in YOUR sins.





I expect better of you, Dio. Thought you knew your Bible pretty good.

BTW - I have nothing to offer for the specific request of the OP. No "physical evidence" of an event older than anything modern people can reasonably relate to. And if there were legitimate physical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, it would be the most obvious and well publicized thing on the planet, negating the need for not only this thread, but the mental processes which lead you to open it. Since that is obviously not the case, then you must realize that you will never find what you seek - and the lack of it will do NOTHING to diminish the faith of those who do believe.

Or do you not yet understand this? The only evidence you will ever get is the presence of the throngs of congregations professing faith in this event which none of them will ever receive physical evidence of. If that isn't good enough to convince you, then just carry on with your life. Live and let live, or don't. This type of intellectual masturbation benefits nobody but yourself and those who share your views.

Criminy this horse has got to be hamburger by now.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 09:46 PM
In case it hasn't been brought up already - (i didn't read the whole thread for fear of losing my thought)

1 Corinthians 15:12-17

12 Now if Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among YOU say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If, indeed, there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up. 14But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain. 15Moreover, we are also found false witnesses of God, because we have borne witness against God that he raised up the Christ, but whom he did not raise up if the dead are really not to be raised up. 16For if the dead are not to be raised up, neither has Christ been raised up. 17Further, if Christ has not been raised up, YOUR faith is useless; YOU are yet in YOUR sins.





I expect better of you, Dio. Thought you knew your Bible pretty good.
I do. I'm not sure what you think this refutes. Paul believed resurrections were spiritual, not physical. he never said Jesus walked out of a tomb in a physical body, only that he "appeared" to people in some fashion.
BTW - I have nothing to offer for the specific request of the OP. No "physical evidence" of an event older than anything modern people can reasonably relate to. And if there were legitimate physical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, it would be the most obvious and well publicized thing on the planet, negating the need for not only this thread, but the mental processes which lead you to open it. Since that is obviously not the case, then you must realize that you will never find what you seek - and the lack of it will do NOTHING to diminish the faith of those who do believe.

Or do you not yet understand this? The only evidence you will ever get is the presence of the throngs of congregations professing faith in this event which none of them will ever receive physical evidence of. If that isn't good enough to convince you, then just carry on with your life. Live and let live, or don't. This type of intellectual masturbation benefits nobody but yourself and those who share your views.

Criminy this horse has got to be hamburger by now.
I uderstand it perfectly, but when a guy claims he can make a compelling intellectual argument for it, then I've got to hear it.

Lobohan
08-22-2011, 09:48 PM
Criminy this horse has got to be hamburger by now.Well it might come back to life, right?

ITR champion
08-22-2011, 10:18 PM
Paul claimed to have experienced hallucinations of Jesus.
Really? Where did he use the word "hallucination"?

(it is immaterial whether Paul himself understood that these experiences were psychotic).Actually it's quite material. You say that Paul was an "admitted psychotic". By definition of the word "admitted", this can only be true if you can provide a quote where Paul uses the word psychotic, or some synonym thereof, to describe himself. Otherwise you may accuse him of having been a psychotic, but your claim that he was "an admitted psychotic" is factually wrong.

It hasn't been debunked at all, actually. I provided the passages. I understand the Greek.
...
This is bullshit, of course,

I already did. The words of Paul himself.
Here you are going back to your usual tactics: calling the facts "bullshit" because you don't have any response to them, pretending that you've proved things which you haven't proved, and insisting that you're right because you say that you're right. From my perspective you're just an anonymous internet user, and not one with the SDMB's greatest reputation either. Calling everything you disagree with "bullshit" merely suggests desperation on your part. Obviously we have a dispute about what the passage in Paul meant, so if you want to convince me or anyone else you'll have to stop the I'm-right-cause-I-say-so business are start providing cites.

Name one.
First you provide the cite I asked for.

Uber_the_Goober
08-22-2011, 10:24 PM
I do. I'm not sure what you think this refutes. Paul believed resurrections were spiritual, not physical. he never said Jesus walked out of a tomb in a physical body, only that he "appeared" to people in some fashion.


My apologies. I was unaware that you were hung up on the semantics of it all.

Sheesh. I stand by my previous statements. You are seeking something which you know can't exist. "Evidence". Like I said man, if it were there in the form you wanted, it would be big enough to negate the need for this thread...for this mindset.

As it happens, that is not the case. You will not find an acceptable answer to your request. To me, that appears as evidence of intellectual masturbation on your part. Talking for the joy of your own voice (or typing for the joy of the keys clicking). Trying to tear down someone else's faith to justify your complacence with a lack thereof.

I really do think you must have some massive hole in your life...some major need to fill that drives you to enter into these pointless debates time after time, thread after thread. You are not fighting ignorance with your endeavors. You are fighting faith. It's a fine line between faith and insanity, you know this, yet you keep trying to define it with different words. I think you could probably accomplish quite a bit if you dedicated these brain-cycles to something you truly enjoyed that held at least the potential of personal gain. (outside of the aforementioned intellectual masturbation)

Or maybe you just have OCD and can't help yourself. If that's the case, bummer dude.

Because I don't want to fully shit up your thread, I'll leave now, and wait for you to maybe pit me or something for being such an irreverent little snot.

Good luck and all. And if you get the "evidence", please share with the class. :)

Uber_the_Goober
08-22-2011, 10:26 PM
Well it might come back to life, right?

Doubtful...though if it were the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem on, it might have a chance. :D

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 10:32 PM
Really? Where did he use the word "hallucination"?

Actually it's quite material. You say that Paul was an "admitted psychotic". By definition of the word "admitted", this can only be true if you can provide a quote where Paul uses the word psychotic, or some synonym thereof, to describe himself. Otherwise you may accuse him of having been a psychotic, but your claim that he was "an admitted psychotic" is factually wrong.
Paul said a dead guy appeared to him and spoke to him. That is, by definition, a hallucination and a psychotic experience.
First you provide the cite I asked for.
I already did. The words of Paul. What else do you need?

You're making a very strange demand here, I point out that "Paul said X," and cite the chapter and verse, and then you ask for a cite that Paul said X.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-22-2011, 10:35 PM
My apologies. I was unaware that you were hung up on the semantics of it all.

Sheesh. I stand by my previous statements. You are seeking something which you know can't exist. "Evidence". Like I said man, if it were there in the form you wanted, it would be big enough to negate the need for this thread...for this mindset.

As it happens, that is not the case. You will not find an acceptable answer to your request. To me, that appears as evidence of intellectual masturbation on your part. Talking for the joy of your own voice (or typing for the joy of the keys clicking). Trying to tear down someone else's faith to justify your complacence with a lack thereof.

I really do think you must have some massive hole in your life...some major need to fill that drives you to enter into these pointless debates time after time, thread after thread. You are not fighting ignorance with your endeavors. You are fighting faith. It's a fine line between faith and insanity, you know this, yet you keep trying to define it with different words. I think you could probably accomplish quite a bit if you dedicated these brain-cycles to something you truly enjoyed that held at least the potential of personal gain. (outside of the aforementioned intellectual masturbation)

Or maybe you just have OCD and can't help yourself. If that's the case, bummer dude.

Because I don't want to fully shit up your thread, I'll leave now, and wait for you to maybe pit me or something for being such an irreverent little snot.

Good luck and all. And if you get the "evidence", please share with the class. :)
Dude, this thread only came about because another dude said he could make the case. It came at his own invitation. I wouldn't have started it if he hadn't made that claim and said he would address it in a new thread.

Sage Rat
08-22-2011, 10:52 PM
The cohesion of a bunch of muddled squabbling disciples into the early Christian Church.

After that, the survival of said Church of the Destruction of Jerusalem, her conquest of the Roman Pagan Beast, struggle between Babylonian Harlotry & Bridal Fidelity, and role as the Mother of Western-style Civilization all indicate to me that her Lord Jesus is all that is claimed for Him- God made Flesh, Sacrificed Savior, Risen Lord and Reigning Sovereign.
1. Why are you ignoring the long term success of many other states, cultures, and religions which are equally impressive?
2. Why does success indicate divine intervention? Did Genghis Khan conquer a large mass of land because of magic, or because he discovered some tactics for war and diplomacy that were a few levels above everyone else at the time? If I look back at all of the species that have ever lived on the Earth, 99.9999% of them are extinct. Does that mean that the other 0.0001% survived through due to magic, or is it the same as if I took a billion balls of hard mud and hit them together two at a time: One will win through as the survivor for no reason than that one must.

Feyrat
08-22-2011, 10:52 PM
The cohesion of a bunch of muddled squabbling disciples into the early Christian Church.

After that, the survival of said Church of the Destruction of Jerusalem, her conquest of the Roman Pagan Beast, struggle between Babylonian Harlotry & Bridal Fidelity, and role as the Mother of Western-style Civilization all indicate to me that her Lord Jesus is all that is claimed for Him- God made Flesh, Sacrificed Savior, Risen Lord and Reigning Sovereign.

This boggles me. The first does not require the last.

This is exactly the same as saying that, since at one point in history, England pretty-near conquered the globe, and still has a vast influence on the world historically through language, literature, etc, therefore Queen Victoria is God.

This is in no way evidence that Jesus is God, let alone evidence of a literal, physical resurrection, which is the subject of the OP.

PBear42
08-23-2011, 01:44 AM
ITR, I don't participate much in religion threads, but I'm making an exception in this case because I have to point out that the Wright essay you link doesn't make as strong a case as you think. All he may be said to establish, and I don't think this is controversial, is that one version of Christianity - the one which ultimately became orthodoxy - presumes a physical resurrection. Whether this view flowed from the facts or the other way around is the question. In this regard, it's important to remember that Paul's letters and the Gospels were composed at some distance, both physical and temporal, from the events. The early hearers and readers of this Gospel were in no position to judge its historical veracity. They accepted it (or not) based on whether they found the theology appealing. Their acceptance (or not) tells us nothing about the historical facts.

Grumman
08-23-2011, 02:09 AM
Note that P(testimony) refers to the unconditional probability of testimony for Jesus’s resurrection; this takes into account no background knowledge and so is presumably very small. Thus P(testimony | ~resurrection) is exceedingly small as well and we can assume it to be zero.
TLDR: "Assume the chance of someone not telling the truth is zero, therefore if someone says Jesus was resurrected, Jesus was resurrected".

spiirit
08-23-2011, 03:54 AM
Invited by ITR Champion in this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=14168526#post14168526). To summarize quickly, ITR, when asked him if anything could convince him Christianity was not true said:

To which I said:

Other posters also asked ITR to be more specific about exactly what intellectual arguments for the truth of Christianity that he found so strong they could overcome the kinds of null hypotheses like the one I posed above. ITR was not specific, other than saying that he aligned his views with GK Chesterton, but said that he would be specific in a new thread. Well, here it is.

I'm not asking for intellectual arguments for every part of Christianity, or for the existence of God. I'm just asking to see the evidence/argument for one thing - the physical resurrection of Jesus, This is a prima facie impossible event. That means the evidence is going to have to be pretty exceptional to overcome the null. Let's see it.

I'm asking any and all other Christians who might be interested to show actual evidence that Jesus came back to life three days after he was dead.

Proof-

Proof is to cause belief by fact... but I precieve that your mind is made up and you don't want to be confused by any fact's.

Your answer is to be found in your own conversion by the application of something intangible called Faith. Faith can be proven to be fact and fact is truth. Since truth is not a lie then true faith is not a lie and, this also can be proven and thus becomes a fact.

Since neither true faith nor fact are viable without tangible evidence of support, your fact's have no more weight than true faith.

Now... you have your decisions by fact only and true faith has been ignored as a factor. How can you think to have reached any conclusions when a factor has been left out of the equasion?

Your conversion by the omitted factor of true faith will open your eyes by the Holy Spirit to recieve your answer.

In conclusion I must say that your use of facts alone has pushed you into a corner and so you have to turn outside yourself to seek answers from others. I have appealed to your logic, common sense and your heart that you might break free from this dilemma. You are stalled out because it is your move and you are either not aware or don't care enough to press on into the area of true faith. I hope that you prevail here.

This matter is closed to debate.

Tom W.

Revenant Threshold
08-23-2011, 03:57 AM
Actually it's quite material. You say that Paul was an "admitted psychotic". By definition of the word "admitted", this can only be true if you can provide a quote where Paul uses the word psychotic, or some synonym thereof, to describe himself. Otherwise you may accuse him of having been a psychotic, but your claim that he was "an admitted psychotic" is factually wrong. I don't believe one must use the exact words that someone uses solely in order to define what someone claims to be. If I claim that, for example, I am a being such that I fulfil all characteristics of Homo Sapiens, I would not be annoyed if someone declared that I was an admitted human. If Paul admits to having the characteristics of being psychotic, it's fair to say he's an admitted psychotic. It's not the most diplomatic of arguments, certainly, but the point is accurate.

After all, if we're only going to go by exact words and synonyms, don't we have to throw out quite a bit of the Bible, it not originally being English?

As to the main argument of the thread - i'm unconvinced that the arguments set forth by the person ITR cites are enough to overcome the "person coming back from the dead" problem. That requires major, major evidence. Massive evidence. Huge fucking evidence, in other words. And really, even in Dr. Wright's essay, I don't read of him (let alone do I draw myself) the kind of enormous confidence I would expect would be the result of the kind of incredible evidence that would be required. It seems like someone coming up to me, looking up at the sky, and then saying "You know, I guess it's maybe possible the sky is blue."

I find the claims therein suspicious too, given that we're essentially requiring the evidence still to support the point. An alternate explanation - which seems more plausible than resurrection - would simply be that the Bible itself is flawed in its explanation of events, and that the inaccurate recounting of events is explanation for the seemingly at-odds reaction. Another explanation is that the continued cult (and I don't use that word perjoratively; I mean solely Christianity as it was before it became a big hit) survived and thrived due to alternative reasons than truth; which again seems more reasonable, and in fact likely, considering a numbers game. There's also the possibility that people took their cues, rather than from events, from oral history and then later the Bible and proto-Bible themselves, and as such created something of a cycle of reasoning.

If a strong enough point of evidence for resurrection (via truth) is that it, essentially, it convinced and had a lasting effect that would otherwise and by other examples not be indicated, we surely would have to grant credence to other religious figures. L. Ron Hubbard would be indicated, for example - you can round up any number of people who attempted to start up a cult with themselves in a seat of power, and failed, or who petered out. L. Ron Hubbard is a massive success - and a massive success in a more modern age, when people are generally both more cynical and more prepared with alternative answers to proposed truths, as well as with more means to divine truth. Isn't it logical, via the same argument (and via FriarTed's as well - Scientology has done more in a shorter time frame so far than Christianity) to accept Hubbard's ideas as gospel?

Revenant Threshold
08-23-2011, 03:59 AM
Since truth is not a lie then true faith is not a lie and, this also can be proven and thus becomes a fact. Therefore, you accuse all people of faith who believe in something differen to yourself not only wrong, but liars? Since, by your definition, it is a lie and therefore not true faith.

polar bear
08-23-2011, 04:23 AM
I'd think that if you read Dr. Wright's article, his outline of argument is clear. In the early-to-mid first century pagans has set of beliefs A about resurrection and life after death. Jews had set of beliefs B. The first Christians had set of beliefs C, where C is quite distinct from A and B and has a number of specific, unique, certain features. We then ask: "Why is it that the earliest Christians believed these things about resurrection?" After investigating and rejecting other explanations, the best explanation left standing is that the early Christian community picked this up from an actual resurrection.

This could be said about people who belief in UFO's as well. I wouldn't accept that as proof for extraterrestial life though.

Latro
08-23-2011, 05:16 AM
Proof-

Proof is to cause belief by fact...
the application of something intangible called Faith.
Faith can be proven to be fact and fact is truth.
Since truth is not a lie then true faith is not a lie and, this also can be proven and thus becomes a fact..

Welcome to the board Tom.

I had to snip it as it seems to be a copy from a response on another board.
But this, to me, is the gist of your argument.
Am I correct?

Meatros
08-23-2011, 08:17 AM
Despite what ITR might say, it's not definite that Paul was talking about a physical resurrection. In fact, Paul doesn't appear to refer to the physicality of it - or at least, it's not obvious that he is doing so.

As to N.T. Wright, from here (http://www.richardcarrier.info/SpiritualFAQ.html#wrightsupport):

Q: Is it true that even N.T. Wright "comes close to conceding" your interpretation (n. 2, pp. 197-98) and even allowed "that God keeps a vast warehouse of new 'bodies' waiting for us in heaven, like some freakish android farm" (n. 165, p. 211)?

A: Yes. Wright wrote the following:

Though Moule is no doubt right that Paul can envisage here the possibility of 'exchange' (losing one body, getting another one) rather than 'addition', as in 1 Corinthians 15, we should not lose sight of the fact that even if such an 'exchange' were to take place the new body would be more than the present one. (N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 2003: p. 367)

Wright thus admits that Moule's understanding of what Paul could mean (which corresponds to mine) is no doubt right, and then fully allows that 1 Corinthians 15 can indeed be interpreted that way, though he does not assert it should be. Hence Wright concludes that even if that's what Paul meant, our "new body" would still be "more than the present one." That is absolutely clear and unambiguous: Wright is saying point blank that this interpretation is acceptable even if not certain, and that even 1 Corinthians 15 can mean 'exchange'. All Wright wants to add is that even if we accept this, Paul is still saying the new body will be substantially better than the one we have now, which is exactly my view. Thus, Wright clearly comes as close to conceding my argument as he can without actually endorsing it.

That Wright appears to assert entirely contradictory things elsewhere in his book (e.g. Wright, p. 358) only demonstrates that his book was not coherently written and lacked a competent editor. For there is no other way to interpret his words on p. 367 than as accepting Moule's (and my) argument as potentially correct. On the very next page he confirms this attitude when he says (emphasis added) that Paul "looks forward to eventual bodily resurrection, to a new body which will have left behind the decay and corruption of the present one, and which will function in relation to present life like a new and larger suit of clothes to be put on over the existing ones" (Wright, p. 368). A new body, leaving the present one behind. Wright does not challenge or criticize this conclusion, but practically affirms it.

There's more if you follow the link and of course I'd recommend that everyone read the book as it's quite thorough and Carrier makes a good case.

Paul makes it clear that it's the same body in two different conditions, not one body vanishing and another taking its place. He likens it to sowing seeds, which proves the point because there's continuity from the seed to the plant, likewise in Paul's vision there's continuity from the original to the heavenly body.

Unfortunately it's not that clear, from here (http://www.richardcarrier.info/SpiritualFAQ.html#seed):

Q: When Paul compares our present bodies with a seed that is planted (1 Corinthians 15:36-37), implying our new bodies are the plant that blooms, doesn't this entail that they are the same thing, since a seed merely transforms into a plant? After all, the seed and the plant aren't separate things, but the same thing!

A: That is not true, as I already explain on pp. 146-47. The "seed" that you see going into the ground is actually the shell--the actual material that becomes the plant is hidden inside that shell. The shell you see (and sow) is thus the "outer man" while the hidden kernel inside it is the invisible "inner man" that rises to new life. The shell itself dies and is cast off. It does not become the new plant, so there was no continuity between them. As accomplished agriculturalists, the ancients knew all about this. And as a gardener myself, I have physically seen it, in some cases picking off the discarded shell of a seed that was still stuck to its kernel's sprout as it rose above the soil (usually that shell remains buried and decomposes). That is the apparent point of Christ's metaphor that in the end God will separate "the wheat from the chaff" (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17) and burn the chaff away while keeping the wheat for himself, hence alluding to the firey apocalypse (see my discussions: p. 136, with n. 160, p. 211; and pp. 143, 150), where the "outer body" (the chaff) will be burned away and the "inner body" (the wheat), a body which only the saved have, will be freed and raised to new life. To make the same point, Origen used the analogy of casting off the placenta (see my discussion on pp. 143-44), just as Paul used the analogies of moving from one house to another and removing one coat and donning another (2 Cor. 5:1-8, with my discussion on pp. 137-40, esp. with nn. 180 and 181, pp. 212-13).

New Deal Democrat
08-23-2011, 09:22 AM
That's one of the biggest problems right there. There isn't any eyewitness testimony. The first known claim of a physical resurrection doesn't appear in Christian literature until 50 years after the alleged crucifixion.

I Corinthians 15: 3-8, 14-18 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Sephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me alone, as of one born out of due time...

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raided: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-23-2011, 09:24 AM
I Corinthians 15: 3-8, 14-18 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Sephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me alone, as of one born out of due time...

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raided: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
Like I said - no eyewitness testimony. Paul never met Jesus, and we have no surviving writing or testimony from those who did.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-23-2011, 09:25 AM
is not Christ raided.

From the movie, "Raiders of the False God."

Der Trihs
08-23-2011, 09:31 AM
From the movie, "Raiders of the False God."Jesus: "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"

Adam: "I blame my wife."

Meatros
08-23-2011, 09:36 AM
I Corinthians 15: 3-8, 14-18 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Sephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me alone, as of one born out of due time...

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raided: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

That passage is not saying what you think it's saying - or at least, it doesn't definitively say that. I think you are misinterpreting it. You are interpreting it through 2,000 years of Christian physical body 'eyes' (so-to-speak). If you look at it through the lens of Pauline scripture only, it becomes a lot less clear. In fact, I think it becomes obvious that Paul wasn't talking about a physical resurrection - but that's my opinion on the matter.

If Christ wasn't raised then the preaching is in vain - but what sort of resurrection? Spiritual or Physical? Either fit the passage.

New Deal Democrat
08-23-2011, 10:39 AM
From the movie, "Raiders of the False God."

If you quote me, quote me accurately.

New Deal Democrat
08-23-2011, 10:40 AM
Like I said - no eyewitness testimony. Paul never met Jesus, and we have no surviving writing or testimony from those who did.

Paul claimed to have seen Jesus after the Resurrection. He claimed to have talked to others who did also.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-23-2011, 10:49 AM
If you quote me, quote me accurately.

I beg your pardon?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-23-2011, 11:03 AM
Paul claimed to have seen Jesus after the Resurrection. He claimed to have talked to others who did also.
He claims Jesus "appeared" to him, but doesn't say how and says that Jesus also "appeared" to others, but doesn't say how. Neither of those things is a claim for a physical resurrection, and we have no eyewitness testimony at all for the open tomb story, or for Jesus walking around in a physical body. I have no problem believing that Paul had visionary experiences of Jesus, but that's not the same as a witness of a physical resurrection.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-23-2011, 11:05 AM
If you quote me, quote me accurately.
He accurately quoted your typo.

You also spelled Cephas wrong in that same post.

spiirit
08-23-2011, 07:02 PM
Welcome to the board Tom.

I had to snip it as it seems to be a copy from a response on another board.
But this, to me, is the gist of your argument.
Am I correct?
----------------------------------------------------
Thanks for the comment-

The dissertation I gave was extemperaneous in it's entirety. I never debate by the way. In this torrid environment, I open the door... throw something out and ,quickly slam the door... LOL!

Tom W.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-23-2011, 08:17 PM
Proof-

Proof is to cause belief by fact... but I precieve that your mind is made up and you don't want to be confused by any fact's.

Your answer is to be found in your own conversion by the application of something intangible called Faith. Faith can be proven to be fact and fact is truth. Since truth is not a lie then true faith is not a lie and, this also can be proven and thus becomes a fact.
This is gibberish. faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence is neither "truth," nor "fact." Your attempted chain of logic here is ludicrous. It boils down to 'it's true because I believe it."
Since neither true faith nor fact are viable without tangible evidence of support, your fact's have no more weight than true faith
I have no use for faith, but in point of fact, demonstrable fact DOES have considerably more weight than faith, which is empirically worthless.
Now... you have your decisions by fact only and true faith has been ignored as a factor. How can you think to have reached any conclusions when a factor has been left out of the equasion?
Because it's not a factor. Faith has no probative value.
Your conversion by the omitted factor of true faith will open your eyes by the Holy Spirit to recieve your answer.
If your ghost wants to show me actual proof, I'm all ears.
In conclusion I must say that your use of facts alone has pushed you into a corner and so you have to turn outside yourself to seek answers from others.
I'm not seeking answers. I know the answer to this question. I'm just calling somebody out on a specific assertion.
I have appealed to your logic, common sense and your heart that you might break free from this dilemma.
You haven't appealed to either of the first two, and an appeal to the heart could not be more worthless to the discussion.
You are stalled out...
No, I'm not. You're the one spinning your wheels here.

Czarcasm
08-23-2011, 09:11 PM
----------------------------------------------------
Thanks for the comment-

The dissertation I gave was extemperaneous in it's entirety. I never debate by the way. In this torrid environment, I open the door... throw something out and ,quickly slam the door... LOL!So what you're saying is that you have an open mind, but in only one direction-ideas get thrown out haphazardly, but you are careful to never let other ideas in.

New Deal Democrat
08-23-2011, 11:25 PM
That passage is not saying what you think it's saying - or at least, it doesn't definitively say that. I think you are misinterpreting it. You are interpreting it through 2,000 years of Christian physical body 'eyes' (so-to-speak). If you look at it through the lens of Pauline scripture only, it becomes a lot less clear. In fact, I think it becomes obvious that Paul wasn't talking about a physical resurrection - but that's my opinion on the matter.

If Christ wasn't raised then the preaching is in vain - but what sort of resurrection? Spiritual or Physical? Either fit the passage.

I think it should be obvious from I Corinthians, Chapter 15 that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection. At the same time, his personal encounter with Jesus seems to have been a spiritual vision. Keep in mind that the Ascension was supposed to have already happened.

I have read The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. I have also read about Joseph Smith. I am confident that he was a religious charlatan. He was not deluded. He was certainly not a prophet.

I have read the Bible from cover to cover in seven English translations. I do believe that St. Paul was sincere. He was telling what he believed to be the truth. That does not necessarily mean that it was the truth.

It is clear to me that soon after Jesus died on the cross the belief spread that he had risen from the dead. I can think of three possibilities. First, after dying, his body came back to life, as the gospels claim. Second, he appeared to those who loved him as a sentient ghost.

The third is that many who loved him imagined that they saw him, the way that many Elvis Presley fans imagine that they have seen him since his funeral. A number of years ago I read a poll that indicated that eleven percent of the American people believed that Elvis Presley was still alive, and that five percent claimed to have seen him since his funeral. Four percent claimed to have seen him before his funeral.

Many, perhaps most Jews during the first century AD expected a Messiah to come, but they expected the Messiah to lead a successful revolt against Rome, and perhaps conquer the Roman Empire. Many, perhaps most followers of Jesus expected him to be the war leader who would restore David's Empire. For them the Crucifixion would have been shocking, and inexplicable. Many of these people would have been predisposed to see Jesus in crowds, and so on.

Although I am a practicing Christian, my theological beliefs are close to agnosticism, so I am able to consider various possibilities.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 12:17 AM
I think it should be obvious from I Corinthians, Chapter 15 that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection.
No, Paul says no such thing, denies that physical resurrections are possible and draws no distinction between Jesus' appearances to the disciples and to himself.
I have read the Bible from cover to cover in seven English translations. I do believe that St. Paul was sincere. He was telling what he believed to be the truth. That does not necessarily mean that it was the truth.
I think paul probably believed most of what he said too, but then again so did david Koresh. So what?
It is clear to me that soon after Jesus died on the cross the belief spread that he had risen from the dead.
This is a belief that lacks any basis. The first claim for a physical resurrection cannot be traced before Matthw's Gospel, written 50 years after the alleged event by a non-witness and demonstrable fabulist.
I can think of three possibilities. First, after dying, his body came back to life, as the gospels claim. Second, he appeared to those who loved him as a sentient ghost.

The third is that many who loved him imagined that they saw him, the way that many Elvis Presley fans imagine that they have seen him since his funeral. A number of years ago I read a poll that indicated that eleven percent of the American people believed that Elvis Presley was still alive, and that five percent claimed to have seen him since his funeral. Four percent claimed to have seen him before his funeral
The third possibility is very plausible - that some people claimed to have had visionary experiences of him after his death and began to believe that he would return in Glory as the Messianic "Son of Man," so often alluded to by Jesus.
Many, perhaps most Jews during the first century AD expected a Messiah to come, but they expected the Messiah to lead a successful revolt against Rome, and perhaps conquer the Roman Empire. Many, perhaps most followers of Jesus expected him to be the war leader who would restore David's Empire. For them the Crucifixion would have been shocking, and inexplicable. Many of these people would have been predisposed to see Jesus in crowds, and so on.
All very true and plausible, but not evidence for claims of a physical resurrection as described in the Gospels.

ITR champion
08-24-2011, 12:30 AM
You were the one trying to hide behind an appeal to authority. I merely pointed out that your authority is not an authority.
In discussing Dr. Wright's qualifications, you somehow forgot to mention that he's held numerous academic positions in New Testament Studies, and has scholarly publications and books and debates up the wazoo and is widely respected in the field even by opponents. Instead you decided to accuse him of being anti-gay, a fact which has no relevance whatsoever to anything in this thread. When it comes to New Testament interpretation, Dr. Wright is about as authoritative as we can get. If you're looking for someone who has no credentials in New Testament studies, check the nearest mirror.
That is, by definition, a hallucination and a psychotic experience.
Every time that you make this claim, I ask you what dictionary or other authoritative source I should check to find the definition that you're using. Every time, you fail to answer.
I already did. The words of Paul. What else do you need?

You're making a very strange demand here, I point out that "Paul said X," and cite the chapter and verse, and then you ask for a cite that Paul said X.
But when you say that "Paul said X", what you really mean is that there's a certain passage in one of Paul's letters which you interpret as meaning X. By contrast, I have already explained the standard scholarly interpretation of the passage as meaning something quite different and linked to an article that makes the point at length. (But to save time, here's the article again (http://www.preteristsite.com/docs/priceresbody.html).) I''ve asked you already to provide a cite explaining why your oddball interpretation should win out over the standard interpretation. I am not particularly interested in seeing you repeat your interpretation over and over (and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over); I'm interested in seeing your provide a cite that meets the same standards which you constantly demand from others. Based on your responses thus far, it's looking like you can't do so.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 05:52 AM
No, Paul says no such thing, denies that physical resurrections are possible and draws no distinction between Jesus' appearances to the disciples and to himself.



How can this not mean a physical resurrection? "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain."

Where does Paul deny that physical resurrections are possible?

Meatros
08-24-2011, 07:18 AM
I think it should be obvious from I Corinthians, Chapter 15 that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection. At the same time, his personal encounter with Jesus seems to have been a spiritual vision. Keep in mind that the Ascension was supposed to have already happened.

Okay, why do you think it should be obvious?

A spiritual vision is not a physical encounter.

I have read The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. I have also read about Joseph Smith. I am confident that he was a religious charlatan. He was not deluded. He was certainly not a prophet.

That's great. I'm currently reading Roadside Picnic. While it's good that we exchange reading lists, I suppose, I don't see the relevance to the discussion.

I have read the Bible from cover to cover in seven English translations. I do believe that St. Paul was sincere. He was telling what he believed to be the truth. That does not necessarily mean that it was the truth.

I've read the bible cover to cover as well - not as often, however. I disagree with you. Is your argument that you've read the bible more, therefore your position is infallible?

It is clear to me that soon after Jesus died on the cross the belief spread that he had risen from the dead. I can think of three possibilities. First, after dying, his body came back to life, as the gospels claim. Second, he appeared to those who loved him as a sentient ghost.

That is *not* clear to me. Why is it clear to you?

The third is that many who loved him imagined that they saw him, the way that many Elvis Presley fans imagine that they have seen him since his funeral. A number of years ago I read a poll that indicated that eleven percent of the American people believed that Elvis Presley was still alive, and that five percent claimed to have seen him since his funeral. Four percent claimed to have seen him before his funeral.

That's fine, but I do not see how any of those support the contention that Paul was referring to a physical Christ.

Many, perhaps most Jews during the first century AD expected a Messiah to come, but they expected the Messiah to lead a successful revolt against Rome, and perhaps conquer the Roman Empire. Many, perhaps most followers of Jesus expected him to be the war leader who would restore David's Empire. For them the Crucifixion would have been shocking, and inexplicable. Many of these people would have been predisposed to see Jesus in crowds, and so on.

People often talk about the ancient jews as though they were a homologous group - that they all had the same beliefs. This is not the case. There were many different factions with many various beliefs about the messiah and what to expect.

It seems to me that after a hundred years there were two dominant beliefs about Christ - the Gnostic one and the one that eventually won out. I can easily see a situation where the Gnostic version morphed from an early belief in a spiritual resurrection. Such a view was held by Jews prior to Christ (ie, a non physical body, if that makes sense).

Further, there were dozens of messiahs and several of them (IIRC) attempted to take on the temple and the authorities. They failed. So a new sect that taught that the temple was no longer necessary - that salvation was within - could have succeeded. This is the argument that Carrier presents in the Empty Tomb.

Although I am a practicing Christian, my theological beliefs are close to agnosticism, so I am able to consider various possibilities.

Fair enough.


You should read this debate: On Paul's Theory of Resurrection (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/carrier-oconnell/)

Meatros
08-24-2011, 07:54 AM
I think some of Carrier's opening statement will elucidate what the spiritual body hypothesis means, from here (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/carrier-oconnell/carrier1.html):

When the Apostle Paul was asked "How are the dead raised? With what sort of body do they come?" he answered "that which you sow is not the body that will come to be" but "God supplies a body as he pleases" (1 Corinthians 15:35-38). I believe Paul meant what he said: God supplies a new body at the resurrection, and that is not the body we bury. I've made the case for this elsewhere, and have only space to summarize here.[1] Since Paul believed Jesus was raised the same way we would be (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:13-16, 20-23, 49; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; Romans 6:5), he must also have believed that Jesus did not rise in the body that was buried ("that which was sown"), but that God gave Jesus a new body ("the body that will come to be"). Since transferring Jesus to a new body would not require the transformation or disappearance of the old body, Paul would not need to believe there was any missing body, and there's no definite evidence he did. So even if the body of Jesus remained in its tomb, this would prove nothing against the claim that he rose from the dead.

Several scholars have agreed with this conclusion and defend it.[2] Even noted scholar N. T. Wright, though he doesn't agree, nevertheless admits it might be correct.[3] And we know Paul did not have to innovate to believe this, for there were many pagans and Jews who held a similar view, believing the best resurrection was one in which the earthly body of flesh is left behind and a new, superior body rises to eternal life.[4] There is thus solid and respectable precedent for my conclusion, in both ancient evidence and modern scholarship.

ch4rl3s
08-24-2011, 08:52 AM
The null hypothesis is that it's physically impossible for people to come back from the dead. ...- the physical resurrection of Jesus, This is a prima facie impossible event...

even if Paul had claimed a physical resurrection, it would be no evidence anyway. Claims are not evidence, especially claims for impossible events, and Paul was an admitted psychotic

Paul claimed to have experienced hallucinations of Jesus. Either he was lying, or he was, by definition, claiming to have had psychotic experiences (empahsis mine)

Holy-Circular-Arguments Batman!!!
Your first premise is that these things are impossible.
The evidence provided is not credible to you, because, (in part,) Paul was lying or psychotic.
But the basis for saying Paul didn't have a conversation with Christ... that he was lying or psychotic... is your first premise, that these things are impossible.
Even if Christ appeared to you you would not believe your own evidence, because you would go to your first premise, that these things are impossible, and believe it was a hallucination.

You can not judge evidence of the supposed "impossible" with the simple dismissal, well it's impossible, so it's impossible.
You have made up your mind and will not entertain any evidence, and that's not new. Just look at Luke 16, (the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.)

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

The actual point of this passage is often overlooked, but quite evident as it ends with this statement...
31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Jesus is quoted as having alluded to his death and resurrection... and here, as knowing that it wouldn't convince people.

Meatros
08-24-2011, 09:02 AM
(empahsis mine)
empahsis mine)

Holy-Circular-Arguments Batman!!!
Your first premise is that these things are impossible.
The evidence provided is not credible to you, because, (in part,) Paul was lying or psychotic.
But the basis for saying Paul didn't have a conversation with Christ... that he was lying or psychotic... is your first premise, that these things are impossible.
Even if Christ appeared to you you would not believe your own evidence, because you would go to your first premise, that these things are impossible, and believe it was a hallucination.

You can not judge evidence of the supposed "impossible" with the simple dismissal, well it's impossible, so it's impossible.
You have made up your mind and will not entertain any evidence, and that's not new. Just look at Luke 16, (the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.)



Not to burst your bubble, but DtC said it was Prima Facie impossible, which means at first sight it's impossible. I do not think this is a controversial position to take - after all, the Christian position is that the resurrection of the dead is a miracle and not an ordinary event.

In other words, what DtC is saying is that simple anecdotes by Paul are not sufficient to over turn prima facie position.

To add to that, what Paul describes seem like hallucinations, which would count against his being of sober mind when he had those 'experiences'.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 09:08 AM
(empahsis mine)

Holy-Circular-Arguments Batman!!!
Your first premise is that these things are impossible.
They are, prima facie, physically impossible. That's a fact, not a premise. It doesn't have to be proven. It is a fact at the outset.
The evidence provided is not credible to you, because, (in part,) Paul was lying or psychotic.
No evidence has yet been presented to me, but, Paul was indeed either lying or psychotic. There are no other choices.
But the basis for saying Paul didn't have a conversation with Christ... that he was lying or psychotic... is your first premise, that these things are impossible.
They ARE impossible. That's a tough hurdle for you to have to overcome.
Even if Christ appeared to you you would not believe your own evidence, because you would go to your first premise, that these things are impossible, and believe it was a hallucination.
If I had a hallucuination of Jesus, then yes, it would be a hallucination.
You can not judge evidence of the supposed "impossible" with the simple dismissal, well it's impossible, so it's impossible.
Yes I can. That's how it works. Things which are physically impossible can safely be assumed to be impossible until proven otherwise. Dead bodies can't come back to life. We know that for a fact. In order to make a convincing case that it happened, you have to come up with something better than a dude saying Jesus "appeared" to him.
[quite]You have made up your mind and will not entertain any evidence[/quote]
The laws of physics are not a matter of opinion, and no one has yet offered any evidence that those laws have ever been violated.
and that's not new. Just look at Luke 16, (the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.)


The actual point of this passage is often overlooked, but quite evident as it ends with this statement...

Jesus is quoted as having alluded to his death and resurrection... and here, as knowing that it wouldn't convince people.
Prove those statements weren't put in Jesus' mouth after his death.

Incidentally, it's pretty damn circular to co,plain that Jesus' resurrection did not convince anybody when you have yet to show a shred of evidence that it happened. What is the EVIDENCE, son?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 09:24 AM
How can this not mean a physical resurrection? "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain."

Where does Paul deny that physical resurrections are possible?
1 Corinthians 15. I already quoted it extensively. Here it is again:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
(1 Cor. 15:35-44)

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
(1. Cor, 15:50-55)

Paul says clearly and repeatedly that the soma psychika ("body physical") will be changed into a soma pneumatikon ("body spiritual"). he says "flesh and blood" can't get into Heaven, and that bodies will be transformed before the resurrection.

Moreover, Paul never makes any claim at all he says a word about Jesus "appearing" in a physical body. Are we supposed to believe Jesus was still in his physical body when he appeared to Paul himself?

Ibn Warraq
08-24-2011, 09:37 AM
Claiming that someone who has a hallucination is "a psychotic" makes very little sense.

Carl Sagan mentioned that according to some studies roughly one quarter of all people on Earth had a hallucination at least once in their lifetime.

In fact, all of us are quite capable of having hallucinations without being psychotic. For example go without sleep for long enough and you'll experience them.

Paul may very well have had a hallucination, but that wouldn't make him a psychotic.

On another note, the Holy Quran clearly states that the resurrection didn't happen so people who claim it did are clearly wrong.

Czarcasm
08-24-2011, 09:44 AM
Paul may very well have had a hallucination, but that wouldn't make him a psychotic.Maybe not, but founding a religion on a hallucination does.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 09:47 AM
In discussing Dr. Wright's qualifications, you somehow forgot to mention that he's held numerous academic positions in New Testament Studies, and has scholarly publications and books and debates up the wazoo and is widely respected in the field even by opponents. Instead you decided to accuse him of being anti-gay, a fact which has no relevance whatsoever to anything in this thread. When it comes to New Testament interpretation, Dr. Wright is about as authoritative as we can get. If you're looking for someone who has no credentials in New Testament studies, check the nearest mirror.
He is not credentialed in history or relevant critical fields. His credentials are doctrinaire. He is a preacher and an apologist, not a historian
Every time that you make this claim, I ask you what dictionary or other authoritative source I should check to find the definition that you're using. Every time, you fail to answer.
And every time, I tell you that you can use whatever dictionary you want. You won't be able to find a definition which would not apply to Paul. Hallucinations are, by definition, psychotic.
But when you say that "Paul said X", what you really mean is that there's a certain passage in one of Paul's letters which you interpret as meaning X.
I quoted it directly and the meaning is plain. It's you and your apologist who keep trying to scrabble and obfuscate that Paul's words don't mean what they say.
By contrast, I have already explained the standard scholarly interpretation of the passage as meaning something quite different
You have provided no such thing. You linked to a single tendentious article by an apologist.
I've asked you already to provide a cite explaining why your oddball interpretation should win out over the standard interpretation.
Nice try, but what's really going on is that you're trying to deny the plain reading and replace it with your own highly dubious, and frankly silly spin to make it accord with the Gospels.

If you were to read Paul without any knowledge of the Gospels, you would never come away with any impression that he was talking about anything but visions.

More importantly, it doesn't even MATTER what Paul claimed, because Paul's claims are not evidence in any case. Anybody can claim something. Claims are not evidence.

Don't forget that Paul says he got his info even about Jesus "appearing" to the apostles from the voices in his head, and insists that he was "not taught" this info or get it "from any man." So if your evidence boils down to one guy saying that a dead guy told him he once "appeared" to other people after his death, then you don't really have anything close to legitimate.

Meatros
08-24-2011, 09:53 AM
If you were to read Paul without any knowledge of the Gospels, you would never come away with any impression that he was talking about anything but visions.


This is important. If you read Paul's letters and you interpret them to mean a physical resurrection, then why did Paul have to continually explain what he meant? Were they dense?

More importantly, it doesn't even MATTER what Paul claimed, because Paul's claims are not evidence in any case. Anybody can claim something. Claims are not evidence.

Very true.

The question of this thread is what is the best evidence for a historical resurrection of Jesus.

If anecdotes from Paul constitute the best evidence, well, so much the worse for the belief I suppose.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 09:57 AM
Claiming that someone who has a hallucination is "a psychotic" makes very little sense.
That's the definition of a psychotic experience. Look it up. Psychosis is a break with reality. If you are seeing and hearing things that aren't there, then you ae, by definition having a psychotic experience. All hallucinations are psychotic. It doesn't necessarily mean the person has an underlying disorder - hallucinations can be caused by drugs or stress or lack of sleep or other things - but they are having, by clinical definition, a psychotic break with reality.
Carl Sagan mentioned that according to some studies roughly one quarter of all people on Earth had a hallucination at least once in their lifetime.
So?
[quite]In fact, all of us are quite capable of having hallucinations without being psychotic. For example go without sleep for long enough and you'll experience them[/quote]
Hallucinations are psychotic experiences by definition. It doesn't mean a person necessarily has an ongoing mental illness or permanent condition, but it means they had a psychotic experience.
[quite]Paul may very well have had a hallucination, but that wouldn't make him a psychotic.[/quote]
It means he had a psychotic experience. No matter how you want to slice it, Paul said he got his info from a hallucination. Hallucinations are not evidence.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 10:27 AM
1 Corinthians 15. I already quoted it extensively. Here it is again:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
(1 Cor. 15:35-44)

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
(1. Cor, 15:50-55)

Paul says clearly and repeatedly that the soma psychika ("body physical") will be changed into a soma pneumatikon ("body spiritual"). he says "flesh and blood" can't get into Heaven, and that bodies will be transformed before the resurrection.

Moreover, Paul never makes any claim at all he says a word about Jesus "appearing" in a physical body. Are we supposed to believe Jesus was still in his physical body when he appeared to Paul himself?

Here St. Paul is describing the resurrection of the dead before the final judgement. This is different from what happened to Jesus after the crucifixion. What happened to Jesus after the crucifixion - if it happened; I am reserving judgement - is the same as what happened to Lazarus, as described in John, Chapter 11. Jesus and Lazarus died, they were buried, and life returned to their bodies.

That is how I interpret what St. Paul meant when he wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain."

The Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead seems to have come from Ezekiel, Chapter 37, with the vision of the valley of dry bones. The problem with this belief is that during the Final Judgment the bodies of most of those to be judged will have completely disintegrated. St. Paul realized this, and explained how new bodies were to be created.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 11:10 AM
Here St. Paul is describing the resurrection of the dead before the final judgement. This is different from what happened to Jesus after the crucifixion.
How so? Paul repeatedly characterizes Jesus' resurrection as being the precursor to all others - as the "first fruit." He draws no distinction. He also never says that Jesus' "appearances" were physical, and uses the same word (ὀπτάνομαι - "allow one's self to be seen") for himself as he does for the apostles, simply putting himself at the end of the list of witnesses. Since Paul's experience allegedly occurred after Jesus' ascension, are we to believe that he came back in physical form to appear to Jesus?
What happened to Jesus after the crucifixion - if it happened; I am reserving judgement
Do you reserve judgement on Icarus' wings as well? How about Xenu?
- is the same as what happened to Lazarus, as described in John, Chapter 11. Jesus and Lazarus died, they were buried, and life returned to their bodies.
Which would totally contradict Paul. Interesting that Paul says dead physical bodies are replaced with spiritual bodies, yet seems not to be aware of the physical resurrections performed by Jesus (not to mention the one that Acts says Paul performed himself).

As I said, this is all kind of a moot tangent anyway, since Paul's claims alone are not sufficient to prove that a dead body came back to life.
That is how I interpret what St. Paul meant when he wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain."
This interpretation cannot be made from Paul's words alone.
The Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead seems to have come from Ezekiel
It came from Zorastrianism, actually. Persian influence after the exile. That's where Judaism got it's whole eschaton.

Czarcasm
08-24-2011, 11:16 AM
Let me get this straight. So far, the best evidence we have for the physical and historical resurrection of Jesus is someone's interpretation of a story written many years after the supposed event by an anonymous non-eyewitness concerning a vision seen by Paul?

CurtC
08-24-2011, 11:23 AM
How can this not mean a physical resurrection? "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain."

???

That doesn't mention at all whether he was talking a physical or a spiritual resurrection. From his other writings it's clear he was talking about a spiritual resurrection, not the same body that died.

Ibn Warraq
08-24-2011, 01:32 PM
That's the definition of a psychotic experience. Look it up. Psychosis is a break with reality. If you are seeing and hearing things that aren't there, then you ae, by definition having a psychotic experience. All hallucinations are psychotic. It doesn't necessarily mean the person has an underlying disorder - hallucinations can be caused by drugs or stress or lack of sleep or other things - but they are having, by clinical definition, a psychotic break with reality.

So?
[quite]In fact, all of us are quite capable of having hallucinations without being psychotic. For example go without sleep for long enough and you'll experience them
Hallucinations are psychotic experiences by definition. It doesn't mean a person necessarily has an ongoing mental illness or permanent condition, but it means they had a psychotic experience.
[quite]Paul may very well have had a hallucination, but that wouldn't make him a psychotic.[/quote]
It means he had a psychotic experience. No matter how you want to slice it, Paul said he got his info from a hallucination. Hallucinations are not evidence.[/QUOTE]

I don't think any reputable medical professional would classify a person as "a psychotic" merely on the basis that they had one hallucination following lack of sleep.

woodstockbirdybird
08-24-2011, 01:54 PM
Let me get this straight. So far, the best evidence we have for the physical and historical resurrection of Jesus is someone's interpretation of a story written many years after the supposed event by an anonymous non-eyewitness concerning a vision seen by Paul?

That about sums it up. I, for one, am shocked - shocked, I say! - that this is how the evidence played out.

Paranoid Randroid
08-24-2011, 02:42 PM
I don't think any reputable medical professional would classify a person as "a psychotic" merely on the basis that they had one hallucination following lack of sleep.

Agreed that a psychiatric professional wouldn’t call such a person “a psychotic”, but it is nevertheless true that — strictly speaking — such an hallucination would be psychosis. Diogenes is correct on that count.

(Where he is not correct: claims are not evidence? Er, what? Individual claims may not be good evidence, but of course they can be evidence of a sort. Otherwise [say] polling — or, heck — trusting anybody would be a completely worthless activity. Where people get the idea that “evidence” means “incontrovertible proof” I have no idea.)

woodstockbirdybird
08-24-2011, 02:49 PM
Claims about verifiable phenomena or relatively mundane events that do not contradict the laws of physics may be a type of evidence, though even so eyewitness accounts (and even polls, which is why there's the margin of error) are considered unreliable. But claims about the supernatural are all entirely subjective - unless you think schizophrenics who believe they're Napoleon constitutes evidence that Napoleon's spirit is taking over people's bodies.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 03:19 PM
Agreed that a psychiatric professional wouldn’t call such a person “a psychotic”, but it is nevertheless true that — strictly speaking — such an hallucination would be psychosis. Diogenes is correct on that count.

(Where he is not correct: claims are not evidence? Er, what? Individual claims may not be good evidence, but of course they can be evidence of a sort.
No, scientifically speaking, claims are no evidence at all. They are not empirical, and no inferences can be made from them. Scientific evidence has to demonstrate something about physical reality. Claims contain no information. They are not scientific evidence and are never presented as such.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 03:26 PM
I don't think any reputable medical professional would classify a person as "a psychotic" merely on the basis that they had one hallucination following lack of sleep.
They would all saye the person had a psychotic experience. Like I said, a psychotic experience does not have to mean a person has any underlying disorder, but if Paul had hallucinations of Jesus, he had psychotic experiences. I would also argue that his Christology and his belief that his experiences were real were indications of delusion and possible indications of some kind of underlying psychiatric disorder.

If someone says now that Jesus (or Zeus or the angel Gabriel) is talking to them, we have no problem saying those people are disordered, so I don't see why we should regard Paul as any different than a guy on a bus talking into a paper bag.

Der Trihs
08-24-2011, 05:03 PM
That's the definition of a psychotic experience. Look it up. Psychosis is a break with reality. If you are seeing and hearing things that aren't there, then you ae, by definition having a psychotic experience. All hallucinations are psychotic. It doesn't necessarily mean the person has an underlying disorder - hallucinations can be caused by drugs or stress or lack of sleep or other things - but they are having, by clinical definition, a psychotic break with reality.Not exactly. What makes it a break with reality is believing the hallucination in spite of evidence or knowledge it isn't true. People do have hallucinations fairly often without believing them; a classic would be hearing a telephone in the shower, or hypnogogic hallucinations. People who lose significant eyesight or hearing with age often hallucinate; the brain starts trying to fit in the missing details. They just don't talk about it much because they don't want people to think they are crazy or senile - and they hide it so well because they aren't crazy or senile.

Ibn Warraq
08-24-2011, 05:46 PM
They would all saye the person had a psychotic experience. Like I said, a psychotic experience does not have to mean a person has any underlying disorder.

Thanks for having the decency to admit you were wrong in classifying Paul as "a psychotic."

That's extremely big of you and it's not often that people admit to making a mistake on forums like this.

Ibn Warraq
08-24-2011, 05:49 PM
Agreed that a psychiatric professional wouldn’t call such a person “a psychotic”, but it is nevertheless true that — strictly speaking — such an hallucination would be psychosis. Diogenes is correct on that count.

Except Dio is incorrect because he specifically labelled Paul "a psychotic" though, to his credit, he has since taken back his comment.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 06:23 PM
I Corinthians 15: 3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.


Diogenes the Cynic,

We are just going to have to agree to disagree. As far as I am concerned, this means that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection.

Now there is some controversy over whether Jesus was buried in a tomb at all. Shelby Spong and others have argued that like many crucifixion victims Jesus' body was eaten by dogs, or thrown into a garbage pit.

Nevertheless, St. Paul, writing within two decades of the crucifixion, states that Jesus was buried, and that he rose on the third day. This does not prove that there was a physical resurrection. It does not prove that Jesus was the Son of God. It very strongly does indicate that St. Paul, who talked to people who knew Jesus before the crucifixion, and who claimed to have seen him afterwards, believed in a physical resurrection, like that described in the gospels.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 06:48 PM
Invited by ITR Champion in this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=14168526#post14168526). To summarize quickly, ITR, when asked him if anything could convince him Christianity was not true said:

To which I said:

Other posters also asked ITR to be more specific about exactly what intellectual arguments for the truth of Christianity that he found so strong they could overcome the kinds of null hypotheses like the one I posed above. ITR was not specific, other than saying that he aligned his views with GK Chesterton, but said that he would be specific in a new thread. Well, here it is.

I'm not asking for intellectual arguments for every part of Christianity, or for the existence of God. I'm just asking to see the evidence/argument for one thing - the physical resurrection of Jesus, This is a prima facie impossible event. That means the evidence is going to have to be pretty exceptional to overcome the null. Let's see it.

I'm asking any and all other Christians who might be interested to show actual evidence that Jesus came back to life three days after he was dead.

If you want the result of an autopsy following the Crucifixion, and the result of a medical exam following the Resurrection including a clean bill of health, I can't help you. :(

Czarcasm
08-24-2011, 06:53 PM
If you want the result of an autopsy following the Crucifixion, and the result of a medical exam following the Resurrection including a clean bill of health, I can't help you. :(Nope-he didn't ask for those things. Got anything along the lines of what he did ask for?

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:03 PM
Diogenes the Cynic,

You may recall the NPR documentary "The Tomb of Jesus," that was shown four years ago. This investigated claims that the tomb of Jesus had been discovered, along with his ossuary.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7615622

The consensus seems to be that the claims were implausible.

Nevertheless, this kind of discovery is always possible in the future. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, many thought that they included eye witness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. Now this belief has been discarded, although some of the scrolls have more of a Christian flavor to them than either the Old Testament, or the Apocrypha.

About five to ten percent of inhabitants of the Roman Empire could read and write. It is always possible that a contemporary, first person account of Jesus will be discovered. Perhaps someone will find a letter written by an officer in the Roman Army to his wife in Italy.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:04 PM
Nope-he didn't ask for those things. Got anything along the lines of what he did ask for?

That would end the argument, don't you agree?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:15 PM
I Corinthians 15: 3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.


Diogenes the Cynic,

We are just going to have to agree to disagree. As far as I am concerned, this means that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection.
You can say that all you want, but its not what the texts says.
Now there is some controversy over whether Jesus was buried in a tomb at all. Shelby Spong and others have argued that like many crucifixion victims Jesus' body was eaten by dogs, or thrown into a garbage pit.[/quite]
True. The empty tomb story does not appear in the earliest layers of Christian literature. Paul shows no awareness of it, and it's historically very implausible.
[quote]Nevertheless, St. Paul, writing within two decades of the crucifixion, states that Jesus was buried, and that he rose on the third day.
The question is what Paul meant by "risen." he gives no indication that he thinks this "rising" was physical.
:mad::rolleyes::cool::p:p:D:o:dubious::(:rolleyes::confused::o:p:(:confused:This does not prove that there was a physical resurrection. It does not prove that Jesus was the Son of God. It very strongly does indicate that St. Paul, who talked to people who knew Jesus before the crucifixion, and who claimed to have seen him afterwards, believed in a physical resurrection, like that described in the gospels.
Paul says nothing about a physical resurrection.

He also claims that he did not get his info from other apostles, but from Jesus, He says, in fact, that he never even met any disciples until three years after his conversion. According to Paul, the other apostles didn't say Jesus had appeared to them, only the voices in his head told him that.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:19 PM
If you want the result of an autopsy following the Crucifixion, and the result of a medical exam following the Resurrection including a clean bill of health, I can't help you. :(
So you're admitting you can't falsify the null? you're admitting you can't provide any evidence or argument to believe Jesus' dead body came back to life?

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:21 PM
He also claims that he did not get his info from other apostles, but from Jesus, He says, in fact, that he never even met any disciples until three years after his conversion. According to Paul, the other apostles didn't say Jesus had appeared to them, only the voices in his head told him that.

I Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas; then of the twelve.

There is no mention here of "voices in his head." I think he learned of those appearances by talking to Cephas, and the twelve. I admit I am somewhat confused by separating Cephas from the twelve. I believe that Cephas is St. Peter, and that he is one of the twelve.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:23 PM
Diogenes the Cynic,

You may recall the NPR documentary "The Tomb of Jesus," that was shown four years ago. This investigated claims that the tomb of Jesus had been discovered, along with his ossuary.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7615622

The consensus seems to be that the claims were implausible.
Those claims were never taken seriously by any scholars of any consequence.
Nevertheless, this kind of discovery is always possible in the future. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, many thought that they included eye witness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. Now this belief has been discarded, although some of the scrolls have more of a Christian flavor to them than either the Old Testament, or the Apocrypha.

About five to ten percent of inhabitants of the Roman Empire could read and write. It is always possible that a contemporary, first person account of Jesus will be discovered. Perhaps someone will find a letter written by an officer in the Roman Army to his wife in Italy.
Great. When something like surfaces, it will be an awesome find. It still won't be evidence for a physical resurrection, of course, but it might provide us with some data about what the disciples actually believed about him.

Unfortunately, such a hypothetical find, as great as it would be (and I would love a find like that), is of no value to the discussion at hand.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:24 PM
That would end the argument, don't you agree?
It certainly would. I'm not holding my breath, though.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:25 PM
So you're admitting you can't falsify the null? you're admitting you can't provide any evidence or argument to believe Jesus' dead body came back to life?

I have already presented evidence from St. Paul's writings. My point it that it cannot be proven, but then again it is difficult to prove that anything that happened two thousand years ago really happened.

Czarcasm
08-24-2011, 07:29 PM
I have already presented evidence from St. Paul's writings. My point it that it cannot be proven, but then again it is difficult to prove that anything that happened two thousand years ago really happened.If what was asked for was evidence of what Paul believed, it would count-but that wasn't what was asked for, was it?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:30 PM
I Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas; then of the twelve.

There is no mention here of "voices in his head." I think he learned of those appearances by talking to Cephas, and the twelve. I admit I am somewhat confused by separating Cephas from the twelve. I believe that Cephas is St. Peter, and that he is one of the twelve.
Galatians 1:11-20

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Contacts at Jerusalem

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter,[a] and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20

According to Paul, he got his info only from Jesus, and he did not speak to any disciples until three years after his conversion.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:34 PM
I have already presented evidence from St. Paul's writings. My point it that it cannot be proven, but then again it is difficult to prove that anything that happened two thousand years ago really happened.
Paul's claims are not evidence for a physical resurrection - hell, they're not even evidence that Paul himself believed in a physical resurrection

The point that other ancient claims can't be proven is not exactly evidence either, especially since this particular claim is prima facie impossible.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:34 PM
Those claims were never taken seriously by any scholars of any consequence.



In a discussion with an atheist friend before the documentary was broadcast I said that if the remains in the Mary ossuary and the Jesus ossuary could be linked by DNA evidence, and if the remains in the Jesus ossuary indicated crucifixion, James Cameron would have a good case. Otherwise he would not. Unfortunately, the bones in the ossuaries had already been destroyed.

Of course, if Cameron had a good case, that would be what you are looking for.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 07:36 PM
If Cameron had a good case it would disprove the resurrection.

New Deal Democrat
08-24-2011, 07:39 PM
Paul's claims are not evidence for a physical resurrection - hell, they're not even evidence that Paul himself believed in a physical resurrection

The point that other ancient claims can't be proven is not exactly evidence either, especially since this particular claim is prima facie impossible.

We keep going round and round on this. If you believe a priori that a physical resurrection is impossible, there is hardly any point in continuing this discussion without the results of that autopsy and medical exam I mentioned.

Anyway, I am getting bored with this conversation. I will let you have the last word, unless you have something new to contribute.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-24-2011, 08:09 PM
We keep going round and round on this. If you believe a priori that a physical resurrection is impossible, there is hardly any point in continuing this discussion without the results of that autopsy and medical exam I mentioned.
That is the null hypothesis - the logical default presumption. Of course physically impossible events are presumed to be impossible until proven otherwise. Why wouldn't they be?

I started this thread because another poster in another thread said he could make an intellectual argument that was stronger than the null. Since you admit that can't be done, then the null still stands.

CurtC
08-24-2011, 10:43 PM
My point it that it cannot be proven, but then again it is difficult to prove that anything that happened two thousand years ago really happened.

So the consensus of this thread seems to be that there isn't any reliable evidence for the resurrection. We also know that a physical resurrection is quite extraordinary so it would take really solid evidence to justify belief.

The question then becomes: Why would anyone believe it? The idea clearly isn't supported by what we know.

Measure for Measure
08-25-2011, 01:29 AM
Dtc: I'm addressing whether Paul believed in a physical resurrection here: it's tangential, but we're on page 3. That passage is not saying what you think it's saying - or at least, it doesn't definitively say that. I think you are misinterpreting it. You are interpreting it through 2,000 years of Christian physical body 'eyes' (so-to-speak). If you look at it through the lens of Pauline scripture only, it becomes a lot less clear. In fact, I think it becomes obvious that Paul wasn't talking about a physical resurrection - but that's my opinion on the matter.

If Christ wasn't raised then the preaching is in vain - but what sort of resurrection? Spiritual or Physical? Either fit the passage. I think we can say definitively that Paul believed in a spiritual resurrection - for ordinary humans. What about Jesus though? Paul shows great reverence for J.C., but never seems to quote him or discuss aspects from Thomas et al. That's notable, but it shouldn't shock us: he was writing a letter to a specific audience and could let common knowledge be left unsaid. An early piece of common knowledge was that Jesus was a healer (cite: crypts in Rome). I find it entirely plausible that Paul assumed that Jesus rose from the dead in a special way, but that it had profound implications for the rest of us slobs. Paul speaks to men and women, who it can be readily observed don't typically rise like zombies: they are reborn nonphysically according to this view. So he focuses his letters on his followers upcoming spiritual rebirth.

Please note I said "Plausible", as opposed to, "Most straightforward interpretation", or even "Favored by the preponderance of the evidence".
I think some of Carrier's opening statement will elucidate what the spiritual body hypothesis means, from here (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/carrier-oconnell/carrier1.html):
...Since Paul believed Jesus was raised the same way we would be (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:13-16, 20-23, 49; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; Romans 6:5)... Except for Romans, I found those quotes unconvincing. Here they are, and sorry for the length. Corinthians 15:13-16

New International Version (NIV)

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

New International Version (NIV)

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:49

New International Version (NIV)

49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[a] bear the image of the heavenly man.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Philippians 3:21

New International Version (NIV)

21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Romans 6:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Ok, that last one sounds a little different. But check out the longer version: Romans 6
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Look at the next line (7): Paul is saying that everyone will be crucified. C'mon: he's obviously speaking metaphorically in that paragraph. Sheesh.
=============================================

DtC: Sorry, where does Paul have his allegedly psychotic experience? No snark intended, I just missed what you're referring to. What I will be looking for is whether it could be a meditative experience. Christians routinely commune with the Father when they pray over a decision or just pray in general. It's not necessarily hallucinatory, though it may be presented that way. As a former theist, I have a feel for at least some modern presentations of Christian spirituality, though of course it's a stretch to draw similar implications from ancient treatments.
=============================================
Hijack! Witness!
Of course we won't be able to nail down every belief of Paul's. But I think we can get a decent handle on what was important to the guy. In Philippians 2:6-11 he seems to quote a sort of prayer, or at least a poem that was known to his audience: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. The significance of the crucifixion to Paul lay in the sacrifice, responsibility and decency of Jesus and the Father. The Father is mighty and therefore somewhat distant, but He is in the end on the side of those who apply effort to their salvation.

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 07:42 AM
That is the null hypothesis - the logical default presumption. Of course physically impossible events are presumed to be impossible until proven otherwise. Why wouldn't they be?

I started this thread because another poster in another thread said he could make an intellectual argument that was stronger than the null. Since you admit that can't be done, then the null still stands.

I will let that poster speak for him/herself. I have never maintained that the physical resurrection of Jesus could be scientifically proven. What I have maintained in this thread is that St. Paul believed it. St. Paul wrote within one or two decades of the crucifixion, and plausibly claimed to have spoken to those who knew Jesus before the Crucifixion, and who believed they had seen him afterwards.

You responded with the claim that "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day," does not mean what it rather obviously seems to mean.

Having said that, I acknowledge that the Gospel of Q, as it has been reconstructed, does not mention the Resurrection. Some scholars have used this to suggest that during the period of time before the Jewish Uprising of 66 to 73 AD there was a segment of Christians who did not believe in the Resurrection. Another possibility is that the part of Q that mentioned the Resurrection, was lost before the author of Matthew, and St. Paul received copies of it.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 07:48 AM
I Corinthians 15: 3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.


Diogenes the Cynic,

We are just going to have to agree to disagree. As far as I am concerned, this means that St. Paul believed in a physical resurrection.

Why are you so certain that this regards a physical resurrection? The way I see it, it could also be compatable with a spiritual resurrection.

Now, if you want to say that you find it more probable, or something to that effect, that Paul is referring to a physical resurrection, that's fine. I don't get that sense from you though - maybe I'm simply misinterpreting your position though.


Now there is some controversy over whether Jesus was buried in a tomb at all. Shelby Spong and others have argued that like many crucifixion victims Jesus' body was eaten by dogs, or thrown into a garbage pit.

Nevertheless, St. Paul, writing within two decades of the crucifixion, states that Jesus was buried, and that he rose on the third day. This does not prove that there was a physical resurrection. It does not prove that Jesus was the Son of God. It very strongly does indicate that St. Paul, who talked to people who knew Jesus before the crucifixion, and who claimed to have seen him afterwards, believed in a physical resurrection, like that described in the gospels.

I'd have to agree with Spong and others - the likelihood of Jesus getting the burial that the Gospels attribute to him seems extraordinarily unlikely.

As to this reasoning, I think it could be used either way. I'm still not sure why you are so certain it cannot be.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 08:03 AM
Dtc: I'm addressing whether Paul believed in a physical resurrection here: it's tangential, but we're on page 3. I think we can say definitively that Paul believed in a spiritual resurrection - for ordinary humans. What about Jesus though? Paul shows great reverence for J.C., but never seems to quote him or discuss aspects from Thomas et al. That's notable, but it shouldn't shock us: he was writing a letter to a specific audience and could let common knowledge be left unsaid. An early piece of common knowledge was that Jesus was a healer (cite: crypts in Rome). I find it entirely plausible that Paul assumed that Jesus rose from the dead in a special way, but that it had profound implications for the rest of us slobs. Paul speaks to men and women, who it can be readily observed don't typically rise like zombies: they are reborn nonphysically according to this view. So he focuses his letters on his followers upcoming spiritual rebirth.

Please note I said "Plausible", as opposed to, "Most straightforward interpretation", or even "Favored by the preponderance of the evidence".
Except for Romans, I found those quotes unconvincing. Here they are, and sorry for the length. Ok, that last one sounds a little different. But check out the longer version: Look at the next line (7): Paul is saying that everyone will be crucified. C'mon: he's obviously speaking metaphorically in that paragraph. Sheesh.
=============================================

DtC: Sorry, where does Paul have his allegedly psychotic experience? No snark intended, I just missed what you're referring to. What I will be looking for is whether it could be a meditative experience. Christians routinely commune with the Father when they pray over a decision or just pray in general. It's not necessarily hallucinatory, though it may be presented that way. As a former theist, I have a feel for at least some modern presentations of Christian spirituality, though of course it's a stretch to draw similar implications from ancient treatments.
=============================================
Hijack! Witness!
Of course we won't be able to nail down every belief of Paul's. But I think we can get a decent handle on what was important to the guy. In Philippians 2:6-11 he seems to quote a sort of prayer, or at least a poem that was known to his audience: The significance of the crucifixion to Paul lay in the sacrifice, responsibility and decency of Jesus and the Father. The Father is mighty and therefore somewhat distant, but He is in the end on the side of those who apply effort to their salvation.

I just typed up a post responding to this, but my computer ated it.

Okay, are you saying that Paul believed that humans would have a spiritual or physical resurrection? You seem to be saying that humans would have a spiritual one, then you quote scripture that states that Jesus's resurrection is like *our* resurrection will be.

I'm missing something that you are saying.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 08:04 AM
I will let that poster speak for him/herself. I have never maintained that the physical resurrection of Jesus could be scientifically proven. What I have maintained in this thread is that St. Paul believed it. St. Paul wrote within one or two decades of the crucifixion, and plausibly claimed to have spoken to those who knew Jesus before the Crucifixion, and who believed they had seen him afterwards.

Why do you believe Paul, but presumably not all the other people who have made claims of miracles?

Do you believe that Vespasian cured a blind man with spit?

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 08:08 AM
Why do you believe Paul, but presumably not all the other people who have made claims of miracles?

Do you believe that Vespasian cured a blind man with spit?

I did not say that I believe what St. Paul said. What I did say is that the evidence of what he wrote is that he believed in the physical resurrection of Jesus, after talking to those who knew Jesus before the crucifixion, and who believed they had seen him afterwards.

I personally reserve judgment on the matter. I was not there.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 08:41 AM
I did not say that I believe what St. Paul said. What I did say is that the evidence of what he wrote is that he believed in the physical resurrection of Jesus, after talking to those who knew Jesus before the crucifixion, and who believed they had seen him afterwards.

I personally reserve judgment on the matter. I was not there.

How certain are you of Paul's belief in a physical resurrection? Would you say there is no chance he was referring to a spiritual one?

As to reserving judgment - do you extend this to other ancient claims? For example, do you believe that Perseus existed and flew through the sky?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 08:42 AM
I will let that poster speak for him/herself. I have never maintained that the physical resurrection of Jesus could be scientifically proven. What I have maintained in this thread is that St. Paul believed it.
Paul never said any such thing.
You responded with the claim that "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day," does not mean what it rather obviously seems to mean.
He's clear in saying that people "rise" with spirtual bodies, not physical ones. He also never once says that Jesus appeared in a physical body, only that he "appeared."

Do you believe he appeared to Paul himself in a physical body or a spiritual body?
Having said that, I acknowledge that the Gospel of Q, as it has been reconstructed, does not mention the Resurrection. Some scholars have used this to suggest that during the period of time before the Jewish Uprising of 66 to 73 AD there was a segment of Christians who did not believe in the Resurrection.
It hadn't been invented yet.
Another possibility is that the part of Q that mentioned the Resurrection, was lost before the author of Matthew, and St. Paul received copies of it.
Paul predates Q, and there's no reason to believe it contained any resurrection claims. It's not likely that it would have been excised.

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 08:51 AM
Paul says clearly and repeatedly that the soma psychika ("body physical") will be changed into a soma pneumatikon ("body spiritual"). he says "flesh and blood" can't get into Heaven, and that bodies will be transformed before the resurrection.

Is this really the issue? That it can't be a bodily resurrection because it's a spiritual one? That you don't realize that a spiritual body should encompass and far surpass the physical? Don't you know that spiritual beings are often depicted as manifesting physically? It isn't supposed to be some watered down version of existence, it's far beyond and far superior to, as well as encompassing the existence we know.

Sure, I can't "prove" that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, or Hebrews, or that he taught Mark, or that the book of Mark, (which you already mentioned ends with the empty tomb, which is the main point here. Did Jesus physically rise?) was written largely based on what Peter told Mark. But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer. And if we did, it would be simple to say he was copying something someone else wrote.

But, you will never actually be able to critically ascess the reliability of the claims unless you at least entertain the possibility that those things happened. If Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, and Mark wrote Mark based on what he learned directly from Peter, what does it say about what Peter actually believed? It strongly supports that Peter believed in an empty tomb, and that he believed Jesus was resurrected. (1 Peter 1:3) The first century sources you say are unreliable because they weren't first hand, were largely taught first hand. We are only one step removed from the people who supposedly witnessed it. (Luke 1:1-2)


But, otherwise, it appears we are done. The thread is over. Why?
Because you are not actually engaging in an honest discussion.

Not to burst your bubble, but DtC said it was Prima Facie impossible, which means at first sight it's impossible. I do not think this is a controversial position to take - after all, the Christian position is that the resurrection of the dead is a miracle and not an ordinary event.

Really? All he was saying is it wasn't an ordinary event, but he is willing to entertain evidence for it actually happening? He very quickly bursts your bubble on that score.

but, Paul was indeed either lying or psychotic. There are no other choices...
They ARE impossible...
Things which are physically impossible can safely be assumed to be impossible until proven otherwise... (emphasis mine.)

The "discussion" point is 'was Jesus resurrected? did he himself appear and talk to people?' His starting premise, the point in dispute, is that it didn't happen. That is the premise he is asking us to disprove. But, he disregards the testimony of Peter and Paul by saying that they are unreliable simply because they say it happened, therefore it couldn't have happened. He's using that premise to prove itself. A clearly circular argument. Which means, he isn't engaging in discussion... everthing he's saying after my comment confirms it... so... we're done... There is no point in "discussing" when he isn't engaging in the discussion.

CurtC
08-25-2011, 08:56 AM
You responded with the claim that "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day," does not mean what it rather obviously seems to mean.

I just don't get why you think that this has to be a physical resurrection that he's talking about. To me, that language can equally cover either a physical or a spiritual resurrection, and there's no indication of which. From his other writings, he seems to have dismissed the possibility of a physical resurrection, so in light of that, the words that he "rose again" rather obviously (to me) indicate that he was talking about a spiritual one.

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 09:01 AM
Paul never said any such thing.

He's clear in saying that people "rise" with spirtual bodies, not physical ones. He also never once says that Jesus appeared in a physical body, only that he "appeared."

Do you believe he appeared to Paul himself in a physical body or a spiritual body?

It hadn't been invented yet.

Paul predates Q, and there's no reason to believe it contained any resurrection claims. It's not likely that it would have been excised.

For someone who claims to be a Bible scholar, you postulate certainty where it does not exist. I am a Christian with religious doubts. You seem to be a dogmatic atheist.

My theory of Q is that it was written by one of the twelve apostles, perhaps as the events recorded happened. Before the invention of printing documents were slowly copied by hand. However Q was written, it was written on papyrus rather than parchment. Papyrus is much more perishable than parchment. It is easy to imagine part of the original document, or perhaps part of one of the few copies of the original document being lost.

Keep in mind that none of the early fathers of the Church mentioned anything about Q. It was only postulated in the nineteenth century. The gospels can be explained without it. Matthew may have been written first. Mark may be an abridgment of Matthew. Luke may have used Matthew as a source. I think that explanation is less plausible than the theory that that Matthew and Luke both used Mark and Q, but it is the traditional theory.

If the gospel according to St. Matthew was written first, it was probably written by St. Matthew. Secular scholars of the New Testament reject that, because it would indicate that the accounts of the miracles are accurate.

CurtC
08-25-2011, 09:09 AM
...or that the book of Mark... was written largely based on what Peter told Mark. But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer.

But there's a huge difference here. The works of Homer were written by someone, and even if we were to go back in time and see that "Homer" was just a nom de plume and his real name was Bart, it doesn't matter.

With the Gospel of Mark, it was written anonymously. We don't know who wrote it, only what little we can infer. We also know that the name "Mark" was assigned to it many years later by people who were in no position to know either. But here's the key difference: those people were attributing the gospel to a real character who was supposedly a comrade of Jesus. They're saying that the book was written by a guy who was otherwise known in another context.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 09:11 AM
Is this really the issue? That it can't be a bodily resurrection because it's a spiritual one? That you don't realize that a spiritual body should encompass and far surpass the physical? Don't you know that spiritual beings are often depicted as manifesting physically? It isn't supposed to be some watered down version of existence, it's far beyond and far superior to, as well as encompassing the existence we know.

It's an issue, but perhaps not the issue.

If Paul is referring to a spiritual body, then claims about 'the empty tomb' become very suspect. This is one of the reasons its' important.

I'm not trying to be offensive, but have you heard how apologists 'evidence' the resurrection of Jesus? If you have not, I suggest you listen to a debate or two of William Lane Craig, and then you might see why this is an important point. If you are interested, here's (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=50) a resource for debates.

Sure, I can't "prove" that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, or Hebrews, or that he taught Mark, or that the book of Mark, (which you already mentioned ends with the empty tomb, which is the main point here. Did Jesus physically rise?) was written largely based on what Peter told Mark. But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer. And if we did, it would be simple to say he was copying something someone else wrote.

No one is attempting to pass legislation based on the Illiad. No one is trying to subvert your children's education by having them learn about the three ages of man (gold, silver, and bronze). These issues are important because people are basing their lives on them.

At the end of the day, if people were not basing their lives on them, I wouldn't be as invested in discussing it. I admit, I'd probably still discuss it because the topic fascinates me. I certainly wouldn't be as passionate about it (I also discuss 'real vampires' with people who believe in them, but I'm not as passionate, for example).

But, you will never actually be able to critically ascess the reliability of the claims unless you at least entertain the possibility that those things happened. If Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, and Mark wrote Mark based on what he learned directly from Peter, what does it say about what Peter actually believed? It strongly supports that Peter believed in an empty tomb, and that he believed Jesus was resurrected. (1 Peter 1:3) The first century sources you say are unreliable because they weren't first hand, were largely taught first hand. We are only one step removed from the people who supposedly witnessed it. (Luke 1:1-2)


But, otherwise, it appears we are done. The thread is over. Why?
Because you are not actually engaging in an honest discussion.

Although you are not talking to me, I agree with you with regard to entertaining the idea I suppose. I find it highly implausible that the purported authors of the Gospels wrote the works, but I concede that it's remotely possible.

I disagree with you that we are 'one step removed' from the source and I disagree that there are good reasons to actually take the eyewitness claims seriously - but, I do suppose it's possible. It's possible that Hercules performed labors, but I don't see a reason to believe he did.

Really? All he was saying is it wasn't an ordinary event, but he is willing to entertain evidence for it actually happening? He very quickly bursts your bubble on that score.

No, that's not what I'm saying. If someone said to you that they could raise someone from the dead, prima facie you would not believe them. They would have to provide you with evidence. This is what I believe he was saying - I would also suspect that he's familiar with the 'evidence' that Christians present and concludes that it is bogus.

It's not like this is a new claim for DtC, so the pretense of entertaining evidence is misleading. No one has presented anything substantial in this thread, so what is there to 'entertain'?

The "discussion" point is 'was Jesus resurrected? did he himself appear and talk to people?' His starting premise, the point in dispute, is that it didn't happen. That is the premise he is asking us to disprove. But, he disregards the testimony of Peter and Paul by saying that they are unreliable simply because they say it happened, therefore it couldn't have happened. He's using that premise to prove itself. A clearly circular argument. Which means, he isn't engaging in discussion... everthing he's saying after my comment confirms it... so... we're done... There is no point in "discussing" when he isn't engaging in the discussion.

Here's the thing, if I claimed that i could resurrect the dead, would you believe my testimony? If DtC supported my claim of resurrecting the dead, would that make you more confident in my ability?

Or are you not willing to entertain that idea without further evidence?

If testimony is all you've got, then that's not very compelling.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 09:14 AM
Sure, I can't "prove" that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, or Hebrews, or that he taught Mark, or that the book of Mark, (which you already mentioned ends with the empty tomb, which is the main point here. Did Jesus physically rise?) was written largely based on what Peter told Mark. But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer. And if we did, it would be simple to say he was copying something someone else wrote.

I think I completely missed the point you were going for here, in my initial response. My apologies.

Curt makes a good point, in relation to this:

But there's a huge difference here. The works of Homer were written by someone, and even if we were to go back in time and see that "Homer" was just a nom de plume and his real name was Bart, it doesn't matter.

With the Gospel of Mark, it was written anonymously. We don't know who wrote it, only what little we can infer. We also know that the name "Mark" was assigned to it many years later by people who were in no position to know either. But here's the key difference: those people were attributing the gospel to a real character who was supposedly a comrade of Jesus. They're saying that the book was written by a guy who was otherwise known in another context.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 09:27 AM
Is this really the issue? That it can't be a bodily resurrection because it's a spiritual one?
That's what Paul says. The real point is only that Paul doesn't show any awareness of any claims to a physical resurrection by the apostles.e existence we know.Sure, I can't "prove" that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, or Hebrews, or that he taught Mark, or that the book of Mark, (which you already mentioned ends with the empty tomb, which is the main point here. Did Jesus physically rise?) was written largely based on what Peter told Mark.
Peter didn't have anything to do with any of those books.
But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him.
Two things. First this is a fatuous way to argue in favor of authorship traditions since it doesn't amount to evidence but just whining, and secondly, we can tell by the dating of those books and by other means that Peter couldn't have written them. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer. And if we did, it would be simple to say he was copying something someone else wrote.
Historians don't believe that Homer was a real person (at least not a single person).
But, you will never actually be able to critically ascess the reliability of the claims unless you at least entertain the possibility that those things happened.
No, I don't have to entertain things that are impossible. Furthermore, we can prove that Peter didn't write those books.
If Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter
Impossible.
and Mark wrote Mark based on what he learned directly from Peter
The internal evidence makes this highly unlikely, and it has no external evidence to support it. If you want to assert the authenticity of these traditions, you have to prove it. I don't have to "entertain the possibility" of anything. That's not how science works.
what does it say about what Peter actually believed?
Nothing.
It strongly supports that Peter believed in an empty tomb, and that he believed Jesus was resurrected.
No it doesn't. Mark says Peter never even knew about the empty tomb.
(1 Peter 1:3) The first century sources you say are unreliable because they weren't first hand, were largely taught first hand.
The epistles of Peter are second century, and they weren't taught first hand,
We are only one step removed from the people who supposedly witnessed it. (Luke 1:1-2)
Luke doesn't say that. You need to get your facts straight. In point of fact, the closest thing the New Testament has to even a second hand source is Paul. Luke didn't have any first hand sources. Luke's sources were Mark and Q, possibly Josephus (for background) and his own imagination.
But, otherwise, it appears we are done. The thread is over. Why?
Because you are not actually engaging in an honest discussion.
This is a joke. I haven't been the slightest bit dishonest. Just rigorous about what constitutes evidence. I'm not here to be witnessed to. I'm asking for proof.
The "discussion" point is 'was Jesus resurrected? did he himself appear and talk to people?' His starting premise, the point in dispute, is that it didn't happen.
The starting point is that it's prima facie impossible, and that you're going to have to do better than the ravings of a psychotic to prove it.
That is the premise he is asking us to disprove. But, he disregards the testimony of Peter and Paul by saying that they are unreliable simply because they say it happened
We have no testimony from Peter at all, and even Paul never says that the resurrection was physical. I also didn't say it wasn't true "because the say it happened." I said that Paul's word is simply insufficient to overcome the null hypothesis.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 09:47 AM
For someone who claims to be a Bible scholar, you postulate certainty where it does not exist. I am a Christian with religious doubts. You seem to be a dogmatic atheist.
I have never claimed to be a Bible scholar, and I don't know what you're claiming I say "doesn't exist," but the burden to prove that something exists rests with the one who wants to assert existence.
My theory of Q is that it was written by one of the twelve apostles, perhaps as the events recorded happened. Before the invention of printing documents were slowly copied by hand. However Q was written, it was written on papyrus rather than parchment. Papyrus is much more perishable than parchment. It is easy to imagine part of the original document, or perhaps part of one of the few copies of the original document being lost.
That's a fine theory, unfortunately it's hampered by the fact that it's a Greek composition, not an Aramaic one, and it's believed to be a stratified work (with material being layered on by multiple authors over time), but it's possible that it's rooted in an original sayings source compiled by someone from Jesus' original retinue. That's kind of immaterial, though, since Q says nothing about a resurrection.
Keep in mind that none of the early fathers of the Church mentioned anything about Q
Papias may have with his mention of a sayings gospel compiled by Matthew (though Papias says that Matthew wrote in Hebrew).
It was only postulated in the nineteenth century.
That Luke and Matthew share a common written source besides Mark has always been true. It's just that critical scholarship of the Bible is a relatively recent endeavor.The gospels can be explained without it.
Not very easily.
Matthew may have been written first. Mark may be an abridgment of Matthew.
No, Mark was written first. This is accepted virtually universally in Biblical scholarship.
Luke may have used Matthew as a source.
The Farrer hypothesis. This hypothesis is hampered by he vast differences in Luke and Matthew's nativities and appearance narratives.
If the gospel according to St. Matthew was written first, it was probably written by St. Matthew.
Extremely unlikely it was written first, but even if it was, there would still be absolutely nothing to connect to an apostle named Matthew. That's not a claim the book even makes for itself. Secular scholars of the New Testament reject that, because it would indicate that the accounts of the miracles are accurate.
Heh...those "secular scholars."

No, the traditional authorship of Matthew is regarded as spurious mainly because it has neither internal nor external evidence to support it, because it copies from Mark and Q, and because it's a Greek composition.

It's also ludicrous to say that, even if it were written by Matthew, "it would indicate that the accounts of the miracles are accurate." What nonsense. How would it indicate any such thing?

Calculon
08-25-2011, 10:00 AM
Is this really the issue? That it can't be a bodily resurrection because it's a spiritual one? That you don't realize that a spiritual body should encompass and far surpass the physical? Don't you know that spiritual beings are often depicted as manifesting physically? It isn't supposed to be some watered down version of existence, it's far beyond and far superior to, as well as encompassing the existence we know.

Sure, I can't "prove" that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, or Hebrews, or that he taught Mark, or that the book of Mark, (which you already mentioned ends with the empty tomb, which is the main point here. Did Jesus physically rise?) was written largely based on what Peter told Mark. But, you can't prove any historical figure wrote what was ascribed to him. We will never find the bones of Homer, with a pen in his hand, writing out known works of Homer. And if we did, it would be simple to say he was copying something someone else wrote.

But, you will never actually be able to critically ascess the reliability of the claims unless you at least entertain the possibility that those things happened. If Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter, and Mark wrote Mark based on what he learned directly from Peter, what does it say about what Peter actually believed? It strongly supports that Peter believed in an empty tomb, and that he believed Jesus was resurrected. (1 Peter 1:3) The first century sources you say are unreliable because they weren't first hand, were largely taught first hand. We are only one step removed from the people who supposedly witnessed it. (Luke 1:1-2)


But, otherwise, it appears we are done. The thread is over. Why?
Because you are not actually engaging in an honest discussion.



Really? All he was saying is it wasn't an ordinary event, but he is willing to entertain evidence for it actually happening? He very quickly bursts your bubble on that score.

(emphasis mine.)

The "discussion" point is 'was Jesus resurrected? did he himself appear and talk to people?' His starting premise, the point in dispute, is that it didn't happen. That is the premise he is asking us to disprove. But, he disregards the testimony of Peter and Paul by saying that they are unreliable simply because they say it happened, therefore it couldn't have happened. He's using that premise to prove itself. A clearly circular argument. Which means, he isn't engaging in discussion... everthing he's saying after my comment confirms it... so... we're done... There is no point in "discussing" when he isn't engaging in the discussion.

This is also my opinion about the worth of "debating" anything with Diogenes. Simply put this whole thread, phrased as it was with reference to the "null hypothesis" was never going anywhere but obstinately denying the reality of any evidence that is presented through circular arguments. Diogenes use of the null hypothesis is simply pseudo-scientific nonsense. Assuming the null hypothesis is only valid when one actually has data that dis-confirms the test hypothesis. It is not valid to just assume that the null is valid until proven otherwise. Doing so will clearly lead you to wrong conclusions.

So for instance, say I have a chemical compound that has not gone through any toxological tests. To test it you run some toxological tests, where the test hypothesis is that it is poisonous, and the null is that it isn't. Properly understood it is not valid to assume that either hypothesis is true until the tests have been carried out. One doesn't assume that it is non-toxic until proven otherwise. If you already knew the toxicity of the substance through applying the null, why bother testing it?

If you think about it, assuming the null hypothesis without evidence leads to clearly absurd situations. Take for instance the existence of the planet Uranus. Here the null hypothesis would be that Uranus doesn't exist. It wasn't until the 18th century that there was some concrete observations that showed that Uranus existed. Which means that if you believed the null before the observations of Uranus were made you were clearly wrong. Uranus was there, and so assuming that is was not would be incorrect. The only way that it would have been true to believe the null would be if the planet Uranus didn't actually exist before it was discovered. When the planet was discovered the act of discovering it would essentially bring it into being so that the test hypothesis then becomes correct. This is clearly absurd, not least because something that does not exist cannot produce evidence of its existence, and so nothing could ever be discovered and therefore come into existence.

So without any reason or argument to believe the null, then it is simply illogical to assume that it is true. One must suspend judgement until there is some evidence that allows you to distinguish between the test and the null hypothesis. Until Diogenes can produce some evidence of the truth of his naturalist worldview, then all of his arguments are simply circular or presuppositional.

Also the more I read Diogenes "interpreting" the bible the more I suspect that he really doesn't know all that much about it, and that all he is doing is parroting stuff that he read on the secular web or other atheist websites. Without going into heaps of detail I think his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 in entirely wrong, and that Paul is clearly talking of a physical resurrection. The word that Paul uses for body when he talks of a "spiritual body" is soma. Soma never means something non-material, it is always used to describe a physical thing. When Paul is talking about a spiritual body, what he means is a body that has been perfected by the Holy Spirit, not a ghost-like non corporeal entity. It is similar to how we might describe someone as a "spiritual person". What that means is that that they are a person that is interested in spiritual things, not that they are some sort of ghost. This is a point that was raised by ITR Champion, and Diogenes, as far as I can tell, hasn't ever really responded to it.

Calculon.

cosmosdan
08-25-2011, 10:00 AM
The cohesion of a bunch of muddled squabbling disciples into the early Christian Church.

After that, the survival of said Church of the Destruction of Jerusalem, her conquest of the Roman Pagan Beast, struggle between Babylonian Harlotry & Bridal Fidelity, and role as the Mother of Western-style Civilization all indicate to me that her Lord Jesus is all that is claimed for Him- God made Flesh, Sacrificed Savior, Risen Lord and Reigning Sovereign.

Take a look at the history of other world religions including some older than Christianity. Mankind has a habit of distorting and inflating and creating myth around historical and spiritual figures. The cool thing about Buddhism is that while the religion is full of interesting myths and miracles it is generally accepted that it isn't important whether they are accurate, because it's the spiritual lesson that matters.

I suspect that for many such as the Gnostics, the many stories about Jesus were similar. It simply doesn't matter if they are literally true. The spiritual and philosophical lessons are just as relevant.

I am a former Christian , but now it just seems archaic to believe that the physical death of anyone could somehow serve as a sacrifice for the sins of all past present and future humans to the omnipotent creator of the Universe.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 10:26 AM
This is also my opinion about the worth of "debating" anything with Diogenes. Simply put this whole thread, phrased as it was with reference to the "null hypothesis" was never going anywhere but obstinately denying the reality of any evidence that is presented through circular arguments.
Do you dispute the null hypothesis in this case? Do you despite that a physical resurrection is prima facie impossible? What evidence do you believe has presented to overcome the null so far?
Also the more I read Diogenes "interpreting" the bible the more I suspect that he really doesn't know all that much about it, and that all he is doing is parroting stuff that he read on the secular web or other atheist websites.
I assure you this is not the case. I do have a degree in this shit. I pretty much just present mainstream scholarship. I don't need atheist websites (although I moderate a Biblical criticism forum on one).
Without going into heaps of detail I think his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 in entirely wrong, and that Paul is clearly talking of a physical resurrection. The word that Paul uses for body when he talks of a "spiritual body" is soma. Soma never means something non-material, it is always used to describe a physical thing.
Paul thinks that the "spiritual" is a kind of physicality, that it has some kind of tangible subtsance, and he also explicitly says that resurrected bodies are not "flesh and blood."

I've asked several times whether anyone thinks Jesus appeared to Paul in a physical body and haven't gotten an answer. What do you think?

CurtC
08-25-2011, 10:31 AM
If you think about it, assuming the null hypothesis without evidence leads to clearly absurd situations. Take for instance the existence of the planet Uranus. Here the null hypothesis would be that Uranus doesn't exist. It wasn't until the 18th century that there was some concrete observations that showed that Uranus existed. Which means that if you believed the null before the observations of Uranus were made you were clearly wrong.

Sure, but if you believed that Uranus existed before the 18th century, you'd be right for the wrong reasons. It would be a bad idea for a 17th century person to believe that there was a planet Uranus without any reason to base that belief on.


So without any reason or argument to believe the null, then it is simply illogical to assume that it is true. One must suspend judgement until there is some evidence that allows you to distinguish between the test and the null hypothesis. Until Diogenes can produce some evidence of the truth of his naturalist worldview, then all of his arguments are simply circular or presuppositional.

You are really trying to shift the burden of proof. Why is naturalism the null? Because we know the natural world exists. We don't know whether a supernatural world exists (whatever that means). If you propose that it does, it's up to you to bring evidence, not up to Dio to present evidence that it doesn't.

All of our experience tells us that people who are dead for a day and a half, stay dead. If someone proposes that there was a case where one came back to life, he better have good evidence. The null hypothesis is clearly that he stayed dead.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 10:31 AM
By the way, if Jesus was "clothed" in a brand new spiritual body over his physical body, then why did he still have holes in his hands?

cosmosdan
08-25-2011, 12:03 PM
Proof-

Proof is to cause belief by fact... but I precieve that your mind is made up and you don't want to be confused by any fact's.

Your answer is to be found in your own conversion by the application of something intangible called Faith. Faith can be proven to be fact and fact is truth. Since truth is not a lie then true faith is not a lie and, this also can be proven and thus becomes a fact.

Since neither true faith nor fact are viable without tangible evidence of support, your fact's have no more weight than true faith.

That's some interesting gymnastics there.
Faith exists, and that's a fact. IMO, faith is a component of every human make up and belief system with no exceptions. Every human is a combination of emotion and intellect. Which of these steers us the most varies from person to person.
I'm unsure what you mean by "true" faith. We can have faith in many things and our degree of faith ranges from possibly true, to certitude. There is no situation where certitude creates it's own facts.

In my own experience I've come to understand that moving forward based on faith is a normal and natural {even unavoidable} part of the human journey. We go forward with the understanding that there is still much to learn and new data and experiences matter and can help us grow. "The truth will set us free" If we strive to be true to ourselves in what we think and feel, we have a better chance of growing through that journey. There's the rub, because fear is also a normal part of the human experience we are at times reluctant to let go of certain attitudes and concepts, especially when we associate them with our personal identity, worth, and/or security.
IMO, that's why so many people embrace religious tradition over the reasonable conclusions of the evidence we have available.


This matter is closed to debate.

Tom W.

I suppose by this you mean "with you"
I can see why you'd prefer that.

cosmosdan
08-25-2011, 12:48 PM
I have read The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. I have also read about Joseph Smith. I am confident that he was a religious charlatan. He was not deluded. He was certainly not a prophet.
My own experience with Christianity was through the RLDS. At the time I was excited by the prospect that God continued to communicate with humanity. It certainly made sense from the aspect of love. Even now the idea of continued communion and accessibility makes more sense to me than any authoritative collection of writings.
Now, years later, I've come to the same conclusion you have about Joe Smith. I do still wonder where he gathered the Book of Mormon from. One thing I learned about the individual journey through that experience is that the falseness of Smith, and even the books, doesn't mean that sincere seekers can't find something of value.



Although I am a practicing Christian, my theological beliefs are close to agnosticism, so I am able to consider various possibilities.

Can you tell me what you mean by practicing. I still enjoy several of the aspects of worship and have attended a few different congregations here {enjoyed the Bahai} but ultimately it always seemed there was an expectation to join the group which I found impossible because there were key aspects I didn't agree with.

cosmosdan
08-25-2011, 01:36 PM
In discussing Dr. Wright's qualifications, you somehow forgot to mention that he's held numerous academic positions in New Testament Studies, and has scholarly publications and books and debates up the wazoo and is widely respected in the field even by opponents. Instead you decided to accuse him of being anti-gay, a fact which has no relevance whatsoever to anything in this thread. When it comes to New Testament interpretation, Dr. Wright is about as authoritative as we can get. If you're looking for someone who has no credentials in New Testament studies, check the nearest mirror.


My experience has been that very educated and respected scholars can have their own bias that influences their work, especially in religion.

I'm a fan of Bart Ehrman and have read several of his books. I remember another scholar offered a counter argument to Ehrman's conclusions. One of the things that turned me off immediately was his reference to what he saw as Ehrman's attack on Christianity , and his misrepresentation of what he thought Ehrman's conclusions were.
As I saw it Ehrman was presenting a lot of factual evidence , an overview of different scholarly views, as well as his own. His gift was being able to put this kind of information in a language for layman. There was no attack on Christianity , other than when scholarly facts seem contrary to religious tradition. Ehrman didn't insist his conclusions were correct but left the reader to form their own by explaining where scholars differ. IMO, the Christian scholars attempt at being an apologist revealed a degree of bias I hadn't seen in Ehrman's work.

All this to say that boo coo credentials and scholastic recognition in this field is great, but it doesn't make an apologist's argument more logical or true. In fact I often wonder why there is such an apparent need to defend a religious tradition under scholastic terms and with a nod to sound reasoning. IMO, it's perfectly acceptable to say "I believe" in God , Jesus as his son, Heaven, whatever, without hard evidence. My only objection is embracing certain traditional beliefs that we have ample evidence against, which concerning Christianity, has mainly to do with what the Bible is and isn't.
I think religious scholars are more likely than scholars in other areas to be affected by their bias. although several fields are less exact and more prone to conflicting opinion.

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 01:46 PM
It strongly supports that Peter believed in an empty tomb, and that he believed Jesus was resurrected.
No it doesn't. Mark says Peter never even knew about the empty tomb.

Hogwash. It does not say that Peter never, ever heard of it. It does not say, the women never spoke of it later, and no one, not even I, Mark, ever heard of it. It simply, (and I assume you are taking the ending as verse 8.) ends before they have a chance to hear of it. Not that they never heard of it. As of verse 8, they were too afraid to say anything, period. It does not say they were afraid forver and never told. It is disingenuous to leave the implication that Mark says the women never told this story, so Peter never heard it, and never told Mark, who never wrote it down. And that is the implication your definitive statement makes. You can't possibly believe that implication yourself. I have never heard anyone, even those who think it originally ended at verse 8, suggest that that is where Mark intended to leave the story. Either it continued, but the end of the scroll was damaged and lost, or it ended because he couldn't continue due to injury or death, or he intended to continue in another book like Luke did with Acts, (or possibly did, but that was lost.) All of the commentary talks about why it ends there, not about how that means Peter never heard it. The simple fact is that Mark talks of the empty tomb. All the 4 gospels say the tomb was empty and that women witnessed it. (which would be a ridiculous thing to make up, since women were known to be unreliable and couldn't make witnesses. You only say this if you believe it. If you're making up a story, you create good male witnesses, people in good social standing. You don't say women first saw the resurrection. You don't say, amoral, practically godless sheperds, (since that was the view of those disgusting people,) were invited by angels to see the newly born Messiah. etc. There are so many things you don't say if you are making it up.

The empty tomb and physical resurrection claims are not found in earlier layers like Paul or Q (or Thomas, for that matter) where you would expect to see them,
Why would you expect Paul who had visited many of these places personally, and told them his story personally, to then recount every aspect of it again when writing to them for another purpose? Why would you expect to see it in Thomas which may be a gnostic text, and therefore wouldn't believe the divinity of Jesus and therefore would not include any tale they knew of to corroborated that? If it's a gnostic text, you wouldn't expect to find that. Why would you expect it in Thomas or Q, which aren't accounts of his life, only of sayings?

We are only one step removed from the people who supposedly witnessed it. (Luke 1:1-2) Luke doesn't say that. You need to get your facts straight. In point of fact, the closest thing the New Testament has to even a second hand source is Paul. Luke didn't have any first hand sources. Luke's sources were Mark and Q, possibly Josephus (for background) and his own imagination.

Demonstrably false. Seeing as you couldn't have read the verse I supplied and said that seriously, I will quote it.
1Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; (King James, picked because it was the least clear, but still distinctly saying he and others talked to eyewitnesses, and based their accounts on that.) They, who were the eyewitnesses, delivered these accounts to us. You may not believe him, but he does say that.

This is a joke. I haven't been the slightest bit dishonest. Just rigorous about what constitutes evidence. I'm not here to be witnessed to. I'm asking for proof.


Here is where your argument is dishonest. Why the discussion doesn't actually exist.
but, Paul was indeed either lying or psychotic. There are no other choices...


In an honest discussion, and everyone else has done this, you admit which things the other side claims as well. You admit which of your points are in dispute as well. Our side says, "among the options are: the witnesses actually saw a risen Jesus, or as you claim, they were lying or psychotic, discuss why we pick one side over the other. Your side, except for you, would also say, "we think visions must be lying or psychotic, but you think they were real, discuss, etc." This is the discussion point. Your premise that these things are impossible is not true if the visions were real. So, you can not use that premse to disprove, (and summarily dismiss,) the visions. Alternately, the visions are false if your premise is true, they can not be used to disprove each other. Only if you prove one point otherwise do you disprove the other. I was saying that you were not having an honest discussion because, your statement boils down to... the visions can't be real because my premise is that visions are not real. proven... You cleverly started this thread with the statement that all evidence has to be filtered through that premise. disprove my premise that visions are impossible by assumig visions are impossible, so any supposed evidence is discarded by the premise that visions are impossible and makes the viewer an unreliable witness, thereby corroborating the premise that visions are impossible.

I don't believe because of the accounts of visions. I believe because I find the witness accounts to be credible without them, and then having credible witness accounts, I have to take the visions seriously. And do those visions square with the other things they say happened? I said, what if these things were true, is the whole thing credible? You never challenge your own belief, and so never start the argument. Every evidence is filtered through your pre-conceived notions that are not true if the evidence is, but you use these notions to disregard the evidence that your notion isn't true. Total circle.

But, you obviously have never heard the phrase honest argument before. And you are not having an argument unless you say, what if these things, things I don't believe, were true. You can't say, that, so, it's not an argument. A dishonest argument frames the discussion to assume a point that should be in contention as true, and "disproves" the alternate theories with that contentious point, or proves itself by assuming itself. You have done both. I will admit you honestly believe this means something. (It doesn't.) I will admit you think it is a valid argument. (It isn't.)

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 01:57 PM
There are so many things you don't say if you are making it up.

I don't think anyone would expect a glorified, risen, God to appear with the wounds of his crucifiction still intact. People hallucinate their loved ones healed. Not with evidence of the humiliating event that caused them to scatter and question everything.

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 02:05 PM
don't think anyone would expect a glorified, risen, God to appear with the wounds of his crucifiction still intact.

haha, hadn't read this far when I posted that.

By the way, if Jesus was "clothed" in a brand new spiritual body over his physical body, then why did he still have holes in his hands?

See, no one would expect that, especially at the time. It's only in hind-sight, after coming to see Jesus as the risen Messiah that you can say, "oh, he kept those because it's the symbol of his greatest triumph. Not his greatest defeat. He came specifically to be humble unto death, and He accomplished that. And by that he redeemed the world."

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 02:38 PM
Hogwash. It does not say that Peter never, ever heard of it. It does not say, the women never spoke of it later
Yes it does. It says the women ran away and were too afraid to tell anybody.

And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any [man]; for they were afraid.

That is the last verse of Mark.

and no one, not even I, Mark, ever heard of it. It simply, (and I assume you are taking the ending as verse 8.) ends before they have a chance to hear of it. Not that they never heard of it. As of verse 8, they were too afraid to say anything, period. It does not say they were afraid forver and never told.
It's fun to make stuff up, but Mark doesn't say they changed their minds, and the text is the text. Speculation about what the characters in a story did or didn't do outside of the confines of the text might be fun, but it casts no light on the actual text. You made a claim that Mark shows that Peter believed in a physical resurrection. It does not. It ends by saying the women ran away and didn't tell anybody. Anything beyond that is just fanfic. It's not in the text. It's useless speculation. No matter how you slice it, you can't say that the surviving text includes or even implies a Petrine witness to the resurrection.
The simple fact is that Mark talks of the empty tomb. All the 4 gospels say the tomb was empty and that women witnessed it.
All copied from Mark.
(which would be a ridiculous thing to make up, since women were known to be unreliable and couldn't make witnesses.
This is a common apologetic claim, but I've never seen a thing to back it up. Moreover, Mark's claim is defamatory to the women, saying they disobeyed Jesus and didn't tell anyone about the empty tomb like they were supposed to.
You only say this if you believe it. If you're making up a story, you create good male witnesses, people in good social standing. You don't say women first saw the resurrection.
Mark wasn't presenting the women as witnesses, he was using them as devices to explain why the story hadn't been known about before. Mark's gospel is anti-apostolic and anti-Petrine. He repeatedly says the disciples were idiots and didn't get it. He has Peter deny Jesus and flee after his arrest and trial. Mark does not give Peter or any of the other disciples any redemption or any witness of a resurrection. Mark does not allege any witnesses to a risen Jesus at all. All of this makes sense if Mark's Gospel is intended to let new converts in on a secret and explain why this empty tomb story hadn't been known about by the apostles. Then Matthew and Luke added the apostles back in. Perfectly reasonable. You say that scholars don't think mark originally ended at verse 8? Well, an explicitly anti-apostolic denouement would explain that perfectly well, would it not?
You don't say, amoral, practically godless sheperds, (since that was the view of those disgusting people,) were invited by angels to see the newly born Messiah. etc. There are so many things you don't say if you are making it up.
Where do you get "amoral," and "practically godless" from, and why are you now tossing Luke's nativity into the thread? For the record, most of the original audience for this new cult was people on the bottom of society. The poorest and most destitute, the laborers, shepherds. etc. A large number of converts in the Pauline society were slaves. The humble social status of the characters in the mythology was a feature, not a flaw. The whole selling point was that Jesus was going to come back soon (within their lifetimes) and reverse the social order. 'The first will be last and the last will be first." That expectation (failed though it was) is what made Christianity an appealing underground movement in the first place.
Why would you expect Paul who had visited many of these places personally, and told them his story personally, to then recount every aspect of it again when writing to them for another purpose?
I would expect him to include an empty tomb as part of his appearance formula, but my larger point was only that you can't use Paul as evidence for an apostolic belief in a physical resurrection.
Why would you expect to see it in Thomas which may be a gnostic text, and therefore wouldn't believe the divinity of Jesus and therefore would not include any tale they knew of to corroborated that? If it's a gnostic text, you wouldn't expect to find that. Why would you expect it in Thomas or Q, which aren't accounts of his life, only of sayings?
Gnostics believed in the divinity of Christ and the resurrection. What are you talking about?

Thomas probably wasn't originally gnostic anyway, though it was evidently used by them, and they may have added to it.
Demonstrably false. Seeing as you couldn't have read the verse I supplied and said that seriously, I will quote it.
I'm quite familiar with it, and it doesn't say that Luke talked to witnesses. Luke says he familiarized himself with the material that has been "handed down to us" (παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν) from those who Luke (incorrectly) believed had been witnesses. Luke used written sources. We know this because we know what the sources were. they were primarily Mark and Q. When Luke did not have Mark or Q, he made things up (as with Joseph's trip to Bethlehem). (King James, picked because it was the least clear, but still distinctly saying he and others talked to eyewitnesses, and based their accounts on that.) They, who were the eyewitnesses, delivered these accounts to us. You may not believe him, but he does say that.
No he doesn't.
Here is where your argument is dishonest. Why the discussion doesn't actually exist.


In an honest discussion, and everyone else has done this, you admit which things the other side claims as well. You admit which of your points are in dispute as well. Our side says, "among the options are: the witnesses actually saw a risen Jesus, or as you claim, they were lying or psychotic, discuss why we pick one side over the other. Your side, except for you, would also say, "we think visions must be lying or psychotic, but you think they were real, discuss, etc." This is the discussion point. Your premise that these things are impossible is not true if the visions were real. So, you can not use that premse to disprove, (and summarily dismiss,) the visions Alternately, the visions are false if your premise is true, they can not be used to disprove each other. Only if you prove one point otherwise do you disprove the other. I was saying that you were not having an honest discussion because, your statement boils down to... the visions can't be real because my premise is that visions are not real. proven... You cleverly started this thread with the statement that all evidence has to be filtered through that premise. disprove my premise that visions are impossible by assumig visions are impossible, so any supposed evidence is discarded by the premise that visions are impossible and makes the viewer an unreliable witness, thereby corroborating the premise that visions are impossible.
I don't know where you got that I said visions are impossible. Visons , I'm sure, happen all the time. They simply aren't proof of anything, and the likelihood of hallucination is far greater than the likelihood that a dead body came back to life. It is prima facie impossible for dead bosies to come back to life. Sorry, but that's a hard fact, and it is the default assumption that it hasn't happened unless and until you show very strong evdience to the contrary. So far all you've got is that some guy said he had a hallucination of a dead guy (a guy he had never met while he was alive, by the way) appearing to him after he died. That is not anywhere near string enough to overcome the null.
I don't believe because of the accounts of visions. I believe because I find the witness accounts to be credible without them
There aren't any witness accounts.
and then having credible witness accounts
Where do you find these witness accounts and what makes them "credible?",
But, you obviously have never heard the phrase honest argument before. And you are not having an argument unless you say, what if these things, things I don't believe, were true.
I don't have to say that about things that are impossible. I have no burden here.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 02:42 PM
haha, hadn't read this far when I posted that.



See, no one would expect that, especially at the time. It's only in hind-sight, after coming to see Jesus as the risen Messiah that you can say, "oh, he kept those because it's the symbol of his greatest triumph. Not his greatest defeat. He came specifically to be humble unto death, and He accomplished that. And by that he redeemed the world."
So Paul was wrong, then?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 02:43 PM
By the way, I'm still waiting to get an answer to my question about whether Jesus appeared to Paul in physical form or spiritual form.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 02:46 PM
I don't think anyone would expect a glorified, risen, God to appear with the wounds of his crucifiction still intact. People hallucinate their loved ones healed. Not with evidence of the humiliating event that caused them to scatter and question everything.
There is no evidence that anyone claimed to have seen Jesus with holes in his hands. We have no idea what, if anything, people may have actually hallucinated. If you want to assert that holes in the hand is not something anyone would have hallucinated, that's fine (specious but fine), since it hasn't been shown that anyone claimed to have seen such a thing in the first place. No explanation is required.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 03:18 PM
It's fun to make stuff up, but Mark doesn't say they changed their minds, and the text is the text. Speculation about what the characters in a story did or didn't do outside of the confines of the text might be fun, but it casts no light on the actual text. You made a claim that Mark shows that Peter believed in a physical resurrection. It does not. It ends by saying the women ran away and didn't tell anybody. Anything beyond that is just fanfic. It's not in the text. It's useless speculation. No matter how you slice it, you can't say that the surviving text includes or even implies a Petrine witness to the resurrection.

Speaking about this, with regard to Mark 16:8, I think there is a theory that says that no one had heard the story before (say 65 AD) because the women didn't tell anyone and that the angel (or whatever he was at the end of the story) was the one who was releasing the information (so it wasn't the apostle Mark who wrote the gospel, it was the angel or whatever).

Have you heard this theory before?

This is a common apologetic claim, but I've never seen a thing to back it up. Moreover, Mark's claim is defamatory to the women, saying they disobeyed Jesus and didn't tell anyone about the empty tomb like they were supposed to.

Yes, it's a very disingenious claim since Mark is not attempting to present evidence in a court of law, which is where women's testimony is supposed to be so unreliable - further, it's the Gospel of Mark, not the Gospel of 'the women', although I wonder how apologists who make this claim explain the Gospel of Mary? Why would such a Gospel have even been made if women were not reliable?

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 03:22 PM
I also didn't say it wasn't true "because the say it happened." I said that Paul's word is simply insufficient to overcome the null hypothesis.

No, What you said was that Paul's having made a claim of seeing Jesus made him...
... indeed either lying or psychotic. There are no other choices...

I don't mind if you find it insufficient. I don't expect to convince you, but you have no chance to convince me either, because that is not, entertaining the possibility, but finding it insufficient to overcome the hypothesis. That is using the hypothesis as a true statement, to decide whether a claim has any bearing on the truth value of the hypothesis.

Like I've already said, no hypothesis can be used to prove itself.

"argument" goes something like this:
A: I don't believe that visions can ever be a contact with another sentience... But, I'm willing to "entertain" the idea and "discuss" it.
B: I know of some that convince me they were.
A: Let me look at those claims. First we assume that every vision is not contact with another sentience. Then, from that assumption, every vision must be either a lie, or a psychotic episode. There are no other choices!
B: Yes, there are, your assumption could be wrong.
A: (Continuing without even noticing the interruption,) A lie or psychotic episode is not credible evidence of contact with another sentience. Your accounts are of visions, and therefore can not be credible...
A: Since they aren't credible, they can not be used as evidence of contact with another sentience. And though I have honestly challenged my belief, your story doesn't rise to the level of evidence, let alone make me question my belief.
B: You can't honestly challenge your belief by assuming it can't be wrong. And anyone who honestly thinks it is a valid argument has nothing credible to say. Every other conclusion you have ever come to is suspect because I have to assume it was derived from the same faulty logic. I can take your word for NOTHING!

There never was a discussion.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 03:26 PM
Speaking about this, with regard to Mark 16:8, I think there is a theory that says that no one had heard the story before (say 65 AD) because the women didn't tell anyone and that the angel (or whatever he was at the end of the story) was the one who was releasing the information (so it wasn't the apostle Mark who wrote the gospel, it was the angel or whatever).

Have you heard this theory before?
It doesn't ring a bell specifically with the angel, but I've seen a hypothesis that the man at the tomb was the same as the "young man" who slipped out of his clothes and fled naked during Jesus' arrest and that he was the "witness" (unnamed) who wrote Mark's gospel.

Meatros
08-25-2011, 03:29 PM
It doesn't ring a bell specifically with the angel, but I've seen a hypothesis that the man at the tomb was the same as the "young man" who slipped out of his clothes and fled naked during Jesus' arrest and that he was the "witness" (unnamed) who wrote Mark's gospel.

I've heard that one too.


Shoot, now I'm going to have to figure out where I'd heard the other from...

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 03:30 PM
No, What you said was that Paul's having made a claim of seeing Jesus made him...


I don't mind if you find it insufficient. I don't expect to convince you, but you have no chance to convince me either, because that is not, entertaining the possibility, but finding it insufficient to overcome the hypothesis. That is using the hypothesis as a true statement, to decide whether a claim has any bearing on the truth value of the hypothesis.
I'm not looking to convince you. I have no need to. I'm just pointing out that Paul's hallucinations are not evidence.
Like I've already said, no hypothesis can be used to prove itself.

"argument" goes something like this:
A: I don't believe that visions can ever be a contact with another sentience... But, I'm willing to "entertain" the idea and "discuss" it.
B: I know of some that convince me they were.
A: Let me look at those claims. First we assume that every vision is not contact with another sentience. Then, from that assumption, every vision must be either a lie, or a psychotic episode. There are no other choices!
B: Yes, there are, your assumption could be wrong.
A: (Continuing without even noticing the interruption,) A lie or psychotic episode is not credible evidence of contact with another sentience. Your accounts are of visions, and therefore can not be credible...
A: Since they aren't credible, they can not be used as evidence of contact with another sentience. And though I have honestly challenged my belief, your story doesn't rise to the level of evidence, let alone make me question my belief.
B: You can't honestly challenge your belief by assuming it can't be wrong. And anyone who honestly thinks it is a valid argument has nothing credible to say. Every other conclusion you have ever come to is suspect because I have to assume it was derived from the same faulty logic. I can take your word for NOTHING!

There never was a discussion.
Your problem here is that you're confusing a fact with hypothesis. It is a fact, not a hypothesis, that dead people can't appear and communicate with other people after they're dead.

ch4rl3s
08-25-2011, 03:44 PM
But, you obviously have never heard the phrase honest argument before. And you are not having an argument unless you say, what if these things, things I don't believe, were true. I don't have to say that about things that are impossible. I have no burden here.

No, you don't have any burden, but there is no argument, either.
A: overcome my null hypothesis, that these things are impossible.
B: Ok, let's assume for a second, that your hypothesis is incorrect. That this vision was a real encounter. Just for the sake of argument. We will just assume that your hypothesis may be wrong, that it is possible to overcome it.
A: I don't have to say that about things that are impossible.
B: And that's why we don't have a discussion.

edit__________
A: Your problem here is that you're confusing a fact with hypothesis. It is a fact, not a hypothesis, that dead people can't appear and communicate with other people after they're dead.
B: But, the appearance of one resurrected person would nullify that "fact." Using that "fact" to dismiss all claims of appearance is not critical thinking, it is circular reasoning.

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 03:45 PM
By the way, I'm still waiting to get an answer to my question about whether Jesus appeared to Paul in physical form or spiritual form.

Jesus appeared to St. Paul after the Ascension. The accounts in his epistles, and in Acts clearly indicate that Jesus appeared in a spiritual form. All accounts in the New Testament indicate that Jesus appeared on the first Easter in a physical form.

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 03:56 PM
My own experience with Christianity was through the RLDS. At the time I was excited by the prospect that God continued to communicate with humanity. It certainly made sense from the aspect of love. Even now the idea of continued communion and accessibility makes more sense to me than any authoritative collection of writings.
Now, years later, I've come to the same conclusion you have about Joe Smith. I do still wonder where he gathered the Book of Mormon from. One thing I learned about the individual journey through that experience is that the falseness of Smith, and even the books, doesn't mean that sincere seekers can't find something of value.


The Book of Mormon was a work of creative fiction similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. It claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from about 600 BC to about 421 AD. There is no evidence that any of the events in The Book of Mormon happened, and much evidence that none of them happened.

This is what the Smithsonian Institution has to say about The Book of Mormon:

http://www.godandscience.org/cults/smithsonian.html

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 04:01 PM
B: But, the appearance of one resurrected person would nullify that "fact."
Then prove it happened. Mere claims are not sufficient to prove it.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 04:04 PM
Jesus appeared to St. Paul after the Ascension. The accounts in his epistles, and in Acts clearly indicate that Jesus appeared in a spiritual form. All accounts in the New Testament indicate that Jesus appeared on the first Easter in a physical form.
Paul makes no distinction in his formula between Jesus' appearances to Cephas and "the Twelve," et al, and the apearance to Paul himself. What indication are we given, from Paul's words alone, that he intended to imply that Jesus appeared in a different form to Paul than he did to the apostles?

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 04:04 PM
Then prove it happened. Mere claims are not sufficient to prove it.

You keep demanding scientific proof of the physical resurrection. You keep claiming that the absence of that proof proves that God does not exist.

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 04:05 PM
Paul makes no distinction in his formula between Jesus' appearances to Cephas and "the Twelve," et al, and the apearance to Paul himself. What indication are we given, from Paul's words alone, that he intended to imply that Jesus appeared in a different form to Paul than he did to the apostles?

We've been through this before. :smack:

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 04:06 PM
The Book of Mormon was a work of creative fiction similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. It claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from about 600 BC to about 421 AD. There is no evidence that any of the events in The Book of Mormon happened, and much evidence that none of them happened.
The same can be said for most of the Bible.

Czarcasm
08-25-2011, 04:25 PM
You keep demanding scientific proof of the physical resurrection. You keep claiming that the absence of that proof proves that God does not exist.Actually, right there in the title of thread he asks for evidence, not proof, and this thread isn't about the existence of God. The reason he started a thread asking for scientific evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus is that, in another thread, another poster said he had such evidence and would come forth with it if a thread on that subject was started.
All clear now?

Czarcasm
08-25-2011, 04:28 PM
Wait just a minute.
How would Paul have recognized this dude as Jesus if he had never met him before that unfortunate incident with the cross?

New Deal Democrat
08-25-2011, 04:33 PM
The same can be said for most of the Bible.

The Bible mentions individuals, nations, and empires that we know existed from contemporary sources that are independent of the Bible. Biblical archaeology exists. There is no authentic Book of Mormon archaeology.

simster
08-25-2011, 04:59 PM
Wait just a minute.
How would Paul have recognized this dude as Jesus if he had never met him before that unfortunate incident with the cross?

Now that - is the right question to ask.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 05:05 PM
The Bible mentions individuals, nations, and empires that we know existed from contemporary sources that are independent of the Bible. Biblical archaeology exists. There is no authentic Book of Mormon archaeology.
Great swaths of the OT are demonstrably ahistorical. The entire books of Genesis and Exodus, for instance. The whole tale of the captivity in Egypt, Moses, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan - all fiction. It is not consequential that the Bible occasionally mentions real places. So does Homer. That doesn't make a story more likely to be true.

Calculon
08-25-2011, 05:16 PM
Do you dispute the null hypothesis in this case? Do you despite that a physical resurrection is prima facie impossible? What evidence do you believe has presented to overcome the null so far?
Yes, I do dispute that the physical resurrection is impossible. That is entirely what the discussion is about. If you can't see how assuming the resurrection didn't happen as your starting point and then using that to show that the resurrection didn't happen is circular, then I don't think that there is anything that I can say to help you.

Secondly, what evidence/argument can you present to show that the null is valid? Just to be clear, the Christian claim is NOT that Jesus rose from the dead by some obscure natural process. The claim is that God raised Jesus from the dead in a way that was outside of nature. Therefore stating that natural processes do not allow someone to rise from the dead means that the resurrection cannot have happened. I agree that people don't naturally rise from the dead. I think that God raised Jesus in a supernatural fashion, and therefore appeals to natural laws are simply out of place.

Out of interest, in your mind did the planet Uranus exist in the 14th century? And if so was the statement "There is no 8th planet in our solar system" true? It would seem that following your logic that you must conclude that it was, which is Uranus did exist is absurd.


I assure you this is not the case. I do have a degree in this shit. I pretty much just present mainstream scholarship. I don't need atheist websites (although I moderate a Biblical criticism forum on one).

It's a pity then that you don't seem to use much of the information that you acquire doing a degree. From my view what you present is ultra left-wing scholarship and try to pass it off as mainstream. No matter how you slice it, N. T. Wright is a well respected, mainstream scholar. The fact that you dismiss him out of hande shows that you must be using some definition of "mainstream" that is different to everyone else.


Paul thinks that the "spiritual" is a kind of physicality, that it has some kind of tangible subtsance, and he also explicitly says that resurrected bodies are not "flesh and blood."

The point Paul is making in talking about flesh and blood is about the eternality of the resurrected body, not the form of it. What he is saying is that thre present body cannot inherit eternal life, but needs to be transformed. He is not making a general statement that physical matter cannot inherit eternal life. Clearly physical matter encompasses more than just "flesh and blood" so interpreting it to mean that is quite a stretch.


I've asked several times whether anyone thinks Jesus appeared to Paul in a physical body and haven't gotten an answer. What do you think?
I can't see any problem with saying that Jesus appeared to Paul in physical form.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-25-2011, 05:40 PM
Yes, I do dispute that the physical resurrection is impossible.
You dispute the laws of physics? A physical resurrection violates the laws of physics, true or false? If true, then a physical resurrection is, by definition, physically impossible. The only way to deny this is to deny the laws of physics. If you want to assert that the laws of physics were violated by magic, then you need actual evidence.
That is entirely what the discussion is about. If you can't see how assuming the resurrection didn't happen as your starting point and then using that to show that the resurrection didn't happen is circular, then I don't think that there is anything that I can say to help you.
I'm starting with the assumption that it is, by definition, physically impossible. That is a perfectly valid and logically necessary assumption.
Secondly, what evidence/argument can you present to show that the null is valid?
None is necessary. The null is the null. I have no burden at all.
Just to be clear, the Christian claim is NOT that Jesus rose from the dead by some obscure natural process. The claim is that God raised Jesus from the dead in a way that was outside of nature.
Yes, I know. You say it was magic. That's just begging the question, though. Therefore stating that natural processes do not allow someone to rise from the dead means that the resurrection cannot have happened.
It means you have a pretty high mountain to climb to prove it happened. Physical impossibility is quite a hurdle. Attributing it to magic is well and good, but as I said, is question begging and you would have to show why an actual magic event should be taken as a scientifically more likely explanation for the resurrection story than fiction.
Out of interest, in your mind did the planet Uranus exist in the 14th century? And if so was the statement "There is no 8th planet in our solar system" true? It would seem that following your logic that you must conclude that it was, which is Uranus did exist is absurd.
You didn't arrive at this asinine analogy by following any logic I've asserted.
It's a pity then that you don't seem to use much of the information that you acquire doing a degree. From my view what you present is ultra left-wing scholarship and try to pass it off as mainstream. No matter how you slice it, N. T. Wright is a well respected, mainstream scholar. The fact that you dismiss him out of hande shows that you must be using some definition of "mainstream" that is different to everyone else.
The fact that you think there is such a thing as "ultra left wing" Biblical scholarship shows that you don't know anything about Biblical scholarship. I am presenting scholarship that is totally mainstream.

Wright is a respected NT scholar but is not credentialed in historical criticism. As I said, his credentials are doctrinaire, not scientific.
The point Paul is making in talking about flesh and blood is about the eternality of the resurrected body, not the form of it.
Horseshit. He explicitly says that the celestial "flesh" is different from "earthly" flesh. [quite]What he is saying is that thre present body cannot inherit eternal life, but needs to be transformed. He is not making a general statement that physical matter cannot inherit eternal life. Clearly physical matter encompasses more than just "flesh and blood" so interpreting it to mean that is quite a stretch.[/quote]
Paul thought of the spirit as a kind of substance, but not the same substance as a fleshly body.
I can't see any problem with saying that Jesus appeared to Paul in physical form.
That makes it kind of hard to explain why Paul thought physical bodies couldn't resurrect then, and it's a little bit silly. You think Jesus came back down a few years after he ascended, still sporting the same physical body? Why? Do you think he's still in his physical body now?

Why didn't it get destroyed when he took it into outer space?

Der Trihs
08-25-2011, 06:03 PM
Wait just a minute.
How would Paul have recognized this dude as Jesus if he had never met him before that unfortunate incident with the cross?
Maybe he had a name tag on his shirt. "Hello, my name is Jesus, how may I save you today?"

Measure for Measure
08-25-2011, 08:38 PM
...
Okay, are you saying that Paul believed that humans would have a spiritual or physical resurrection? You seem to be saying that humans would have a spiritual one, then you quote scripture that states that Jesus's resurrection is like *our* resurrection will be.

I'm missing something that you are saying. Let me outline the argument I made in my less-than-clear post.

1. Paul believes in a spiritual resurrection for ordinary humans. His beliefs about the exact nature of Christ's resurrection are a matter of speculation. Jesus Christ != ordinary humans.

2. Carrier's cites that "Jesus was raised the same way we would be" are unpersuasive. I listed them for reference: feel free to pick the best of them for examination.

3. We know a fair amount of what Paul believed. We just don't know everything.

4. I address Diogenes the Cynic: "Sorry, where does Paul have his allegedly psychotic experience? No snark intended, I just missed what you're referring to. What I will be looking for is whether it could be a meditative experience. Christians routinely commune with the Father when they pray over a decision or just pray in general. It's not necessarily hallucinatory, though it may be presented that way. "

(Feel free to ignore that, DtC, if you think it's too tangential to this thread). By the way, I'm still waiting to get an answer to my question about whether Jesus appeared to Paul in physical form or spiritual form. I used to think a physical encounter between Paul and Jesus was plausible. Now that I know a little more about the Roman state, I'd put the odds south of 15%, but north of 0.000%. Paul could have traveled alongside an imposter though. There may have been some storytelling/showmanship involved as well. Or he could have had a vision/hallucination (is this the one you were referring to?) Anyway, I can't rule out the possibility that Paul was referencing an actual discussion, inspired by the Lord or zeitgeist.

To be clear, physical resurrection is not impossible. People wake up from comas all the time. A few even survive executions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Francis). Routinely and colloquially, such events are characterized as miraculous.

Meatros
08-26-2011, 07:13 AM
Jesus appeared to St. Paul after the Ascension. The accounts in his epistles, and in Acts clearly indicate that Jesus appeared in a spiritual form. All accounts in the New Testament indicate that Jesus appeared on the first Easter in a physical form.

Time out a second:

I have to admit, I'm confused by your position - here's how I see it and please correct me where I have it wrong:

You seem to have said:

Jesus was resurrected physically - so he was in his physical body. This is the body that Paul says that everyone will get after they resurrect.

After the ascension, Jesus got a different body, a spiritual body.

Is this correct? I feel like I'm misinterpreting you or missing something.

The Book of Mormon was a work of creative fiction similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.

Not really... Those creative fictions were actually entertaining...

Meatros
08-26-2011, 07:36 AM
Let me outline the argument I made in my less-than-clear post.

1. Paul believes in a spiritual resurrection for ordinary humans. His beliefs about the exact nature of Christ's resurrection are a matter of speculation. Jesus Christ != ordinary humans.

2. Carrier's cites that "Jesus was raised the same way we would be" are unpersuasive. I listed them for reference: feel free to pick the best of them for examination.

Okay, I can sort of buy that view, since Jesus was supposed to be Godish... :-) My head is foggy this morning, so I can't recall whether or not Paul actually states this - does he make a distinction and if so, can you point me to those passages?

As to 2, this might be in the eye of the beholder, but I would like to hear your explanation of what Paul might have meant in the following passages (which I curbed from your prior posts):

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

New International Version (NIV)

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

This seems to me to mean that our resurrection will be analogous with Jesus's.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Again, it seems that our resurrection is to be analogous. I think Roman's 6 also makes the case, but you say it's metaphorical.

1 Cor 15:12 - 19

12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

If Paul is saying that Christ would have a different resurrection body, then his logic in the above verse makes no sense. It's a non sequitur.

We can agree to disagree and I can respect your opinion, but I do not think it is the correct interpretation of Paul.

3. We know a fair amount of what Paul believed. We just don't know everything.

I think this is fair - however I would say that Paul is mostly interpreted through the Gospels that came decades after him, which color our interpretation of him. It doesn't seem to make sense to me that if Paul believed in a physical resurrection why there was any sort of Gnostic movement so close to core of Christianity. It also doesn't make sense why Paul would have had to clarify, repeatedly, what he meant to the Corinthians (and others). Now, on the other view, it makes sense, since it's not very easy to follow.

4. I address Diogenes the Cynic: "Sorry, where does Paul have his allegedly psychotic experience? No snark intended, I just missed what you're referring to. What I will be looking for is whether it could be a meditative experience. Christians routinely commune with the Father when they pray over a decision or just pray in general. It's not necessarily hallucinatory, though it may be presented that way. "

You are addressing DtC, but I think he's referring to Paul's experience on the Road to Damascus. I don't think that experience could be a meditative experience.

Calculon
08-26-2011, 08:19 AM
Sure, but if you believed that Uranus existed before the 18th century, you'd be right for the wrong reasons. It would be a bad idea for a 17th century person to believe that there was a planet Uranus without any reason to base that belief on.

Does that mean that if a 17th century person didn't believed that there was no 8th planet, as you suggest they must if there was no evidence, they were wrong for the right reasons? What this illustrates is that if you follow the proposed "logic" of a null or default position, that you will be lead into believing a number of incorrect things. Absense of evidence does not equal evidence of absense. Without any sort of evidence for or against the existence of something nothing ban be truthfully said about its existence. You can come up with arguments that show that it is likely that something does not exist. For instance it is unlikely that there is a 9th planet (since Pluto got demoted from planethood) because we have mapped enough of the sky that if one was there we would have seen it by now. That is a positive arguement in favour of the non-existence of a 9th planet. If Diogenes wants to assert that supernatural beings don't exist, he has to come up with some sort of argument.


You are really trying to shift the burden of proof. Why is naturalism the null? Because we know the natural world exists. We don't know whether a supernatural world exists (whatever that means). If you propose that it does, it's up to you to bring evidence, not up to Dio to present evidence that it doesn't.

All of our experience tells us that people who are dead for a day and a half, stay dead. If someone proposes that there was a case where one came back to life, he better have good evidence. The null hypothesis is clearly that he stayed dead.

I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof, I am trying to correct your logic.

First of all, the "null" hypothesis is itself a logical fallacy. If you have an argument for a position, then by all means present it. You can't just assume that you are right until someone proves you wrong. Assuming the null also makes your argument circular, because if the null is true then the test hypothesis necessarily cannot. So the rejection of the test hypothesis has ultimately nothing to do with the quality or quantity of evidence presented, but because the null hypothesis contradicts it.

So far Diogenes argument has really boiled down to:
1) There is no evidence for the resurrection because the resurrection didn't happen (because it is a supernatural event, which contradicts the null)
2) The resurrection didn't happen because there is no evidence for it.

It is a circular argument, and therefore logically invalid. This is what happens when one assumes a null hypothesis.

Or, I can put it another way. The existence of the natural world is not in question. Even supernaturalists agree that there is a natural world. What is at issue is whether there is also a supernatural world, or whether the natural world is all there is. If you assume the latter, then you are assuming the conclusion of the argument going in, and your argument is circular.

Calculon.

Calculon
08-26-2011, 09:09 AM
You dispute the laws of physics? A physical resurrection violates the laws of physics, true or false? If true, then a physical resurrection is, by definition, physically impossible. The only way to deny this is to deny the laws of physics. If you want to assert that the laws of physics were violated by magic, then you need actual evidence.

What evidence do you have that the laws of physics are inviolable and that anything that happens outside them is impossible. You are just begging the question.

In fact come to think of it, what evidence do you have that any physical laws exist at all? If you really followed your own logic, you would have to say that the non-existence of physical laws would be the null (because non-existence is always the null). Therefore by your own logic you would have to assume that there are no laws and things just happen randomly, unless of course you had good evidence that there really did exist laws that directed the behaviour of matter. And if we assume the null then we would have to conclude that any apparent order in the natural world was either confirmation bias, hallucination, diliberate deception, ect, because the null tells us that therer is no order.

Of course all of this is silly, because the logic that you emply here is simply fallacious. I am curious though, if everything that exists needs evidence of it's existence before it can be believed to exist, what is your evidence that natrual laws do in fact exist? Can you overcome the null that things just happen randomly in this case. If you can't then I suggest your whole line of argument is dead in the water from the get-go.


I'm starting with the assumption that it is, by definition, physically impossible. That is a perfectly valid and logically necessary assumption.

No, it not logically necessary, as it also happens to be the conclusion of your argument. Unless by necessary you mean fallacious.


None is necessary. The null is the null. I have no burden at all.

You are making the positive truth claim that inviolable laws of nature exist. You therefore have a burden of proof to demonstrate that your truth claim is valid.


Yes, I know. You say it was magic. That's just begging the question, though.
It means you have a pretty high mountain to climb to prove it happened. Physical impossibility is quite a hurdle. Attributing it to magic is well and good, but as I said, is question begging and you would have to show why an actual magic event should be taken as a scientifically more likely explanation for the resurrection story than fiction.

First of all referring to the resurrection as "magic" is simply a bit of rhetorical showboating that gets us nowhere. Secondly, assuming that the resurrection is impossible is simply question begging on your part.


You didn't arrive at this asinine analogy by following any logic I've asserted.

No, I think I am following entirely your logic. Your logic is that if there is no evidence, or even insufficient evidence for something then it is impossible for it to exist. Therefore the resurrection did not happen because there is not enough evidence to prove it did. If you assert that, then you must also assert that the planet Uranus did not exist until the 18th century when evidence for it's existence was discovered.

So in your view did Uranus exist in the 14th century? If it did, what is the error in either my understanding of your logic or my application of it?


The fact that you think there is such a thing as "ultra left wing" Biblical scholarship shows that you don't know anything about Biblical scholarship. I am presenting scholarship that is totally mainstream.

Because everyone either agrees with you or they are an "appologist" of some sort. The Jesus Seminar and Richard Carrier are not "mainstream" scholars.


Wright is a respected NT scholar but is not credentialed in historical criticism. As I said, his credentials are doctrinaire, not scientific.

This statement is assinine, fallacious and hypocritical.
Assinine because NT scholarship includes question of history. To understand the thinking of the NT writers you have to understand their history, and to understand their history you have to understand their thinking. So when he is writing about the history of the New Testament he is well within his area of credentials and expertise. I also wonder what "doctrinaire" qualifications are. It seems like something that you made up to hide the fact that N.T. Wright is an expert in the New Testament, including it's history.
Secondly it is fallacious, becuase it is the very definition of an "ad hominem" argument. If his arguments are fallacious then demonstrate it. Attacking his credentials proves nothing.
Thirdly it is hypocritical because, even though you may have a degree in religious studies, that does not make you either a credentialled historian or theologian. Yet you expect the people here to just believe whatever you say without cites or even much in the way of a reasoned argument. Given the trustworthyness of sources I think I would rather take a well renowned NT scholar over some guy on a messageboard.


Horseshit. He explicitly says that the celestial "flesh" is different from "earthly" flesh.

And Paul's point in doing so was to point out that earthly flesh is temporal and celestial flesh is eternal. He doesn't say that celestial flesh is non-material, which is what you are arguing. Show me where Paul says that celestial flesh is non-material.


Paul thought of the spirit as a kind of substance, but not the same substance as a fleshly body.

No, Paul thought of the spiritual body as having a different substance to the fleshly body. Paul does NOT talk of us becoming a spirit, but of becoming a spiritual body. As I have already pointed out the word for body (soma) always means a body that is in some way material. I think you have simply missed the point of the passage because you are fixated on the adjective spiritual rather then the full noun "spiritual body". When you understand the full noun, and also the context of the passage, then I think it is clear that Paul is saying that our resurrection bodies will be physical, although not the same as our present ones.


That makes it kind of hard to explain why Paul thought physical bodies couldn't resurrect then, and it's a little bit silly. You think Jesus came back down a few years after he ascended, still sporting the same physical body? Why? Do you think he's still in his physical body now?

What I meant is that Jesus appeared to Paul in his physical resurrection body. Also Paul did think that phyical bodies could resurrect, you are simply reading him wrong.


Why didn't it get destroyed when he took it into outer space?

When did Jesus go into outer space? All that Acts records is that Jesus went up behind a cloud. And while the angels do say that Jesus has gone to "heaven", that does not mean literally outer space. Thirdly the resurrection body does not decay, so no, it would be fine even if he did take it into outer space.

Calculon.

Meatros
08-26-2011, 09:18 AM
I think I see what you are saying Calculon, but it seems to me to be an issue of certainty and not what is rational to believe (or perhaps I'm misinterpreting you).

Here is the way I see it and the state of the present discussion - please correct any misinterpretations or strawmen (I'm attempting to be charitable and as objective as possible):

Both naturalists and supernaturalists would agree that resurrections are extremely unlikely events.

Both naturalists and supernaturalists would require some form of evidence or argument in order to accept an event X as being a resurrection - neither, I would think, would simply believe me if I stated that I resurrected the firmly dead Jimbo the other day, for instance. I would think that both would require more than my word.

***Tangent - I realize you could argue that naturalists presuppose the miraculous out of existence, but I'm assuming philosophical charity here and suggesting that naturalists simply have not been persuaded by any alleged evidence of the supernatural as opposed to a priori dismissing it***

So the of the thread is, what is the best evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?

So far it seems that what Paul experience is the evidence - at least primarily.

Now, the problems that the naturalists are having is:
1. Paul was not a witness to the crucifixion, nor the resurrection. He witnessed, and I'll be charitable, an experience of Christ through a vision.

2. It's not entirely clear that Paul did think that Christ had physically risen. This has been a point of contention.

On point one, it seems that even anecdotal, Paul isn't a direct eyewitness of the resurrection and is, at best, repeating hearsay. Keep in mind that I'm making a distinction between the resurrection and Paul's subsequent experience of a vision of Christ.

On point two, if it can be successfully argued that Paul believed that Christ rose spiritually then not only does point one still hold, but the subsequent Gospels must be tossed out as fabrications.

Czarcasm
08-26-2011, 09:20 AM
So far Diogenes argument has really boiled down to:
1) There is no evidence for the resurrection because the resurrection didn't happen (because it is a supernatural event, which contradicts the null)
2) The resurrection didn't happen because there is no evidence for it.
No.
I think Diogenes argument is:
1. Throughout recorded history such an event has never been shown to happen.
2. Physics as we currently understand it says that it can't happen.
3. Because it hasn't been shown to happen yet and physics says it can't happen, "It didn't happen" is the null.

All of science and recorded history are enough of a cite for the "It didn't happen" side of the argument, as far as I'm concerned.

Lobohan
08-26-2011, 09:24 AM
Does that mean that if a 17th century person didn't believed that there was no 8th planet, as you suggest they must if there was no evidence, they were wrong for the right reasons? What this illustrates is that if you follow the proposed "logic" of a null or default position, that you will be lead into believing a number of incorrect things. Absense of evidence does not equal evidence of absense. Without any sort of evidence for or against the existence of something nothing ban be truthfully said about its existence. You can come up with arguments that show that it is likely that something does not exist. For instance it is unlikely that there is a 9th planet (since Pluto got demoted from planethood) because we have mapped enough of the sky that if one was there we would have seen it by now. That is a positive arguement in favour of the non-existence of a 9th planet. If Diogenes wants to assert that supernatural beings don't exist, he has to come up with some sort of argument.



I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof, I am trying to correct your logic.

First of all, the "null" hypothesis is itself a logical fallacy. If you have an argument for a position, then by all means present it. You can't just assume that you are right until someone proves you wrong. Assuming the null also makes your argument circular, because if the null is true then the test hypothesis necessarily cannot. So the rejection of the test hypothesis has ultimately nothing to do with the quality or quantity of evidence presented, but because the null hypothesis contradicts it.

So far Diogenes argument has really boiled down to:
1) There is no evidence for the resurrection because the resurrection didn't happen (because it is a supernatural event, which contradicts the null)
2) The resurrection didn't happen because there is no evidence for it.

It is a circular argument, and therefore logically invalid. This is what happens when one assumes a null hypothesis.

Or, I can put it another way. The existence of the natural world is not in question. Even supernaturalists agree that there is a natural world. What is at issue is whether there is also a supernatural world, or whether the natural world is all there is. If you assume the latter, then you are assuming the conclusion of the argument going in, and your argument is circular.

Calculon.There is no evidence of anything supernatural ever. That's why we need evidence in order to accept a supernatural event.

You want a positive argument akin to there not being a ninth planet because we've searched enough of the sky? Okay: Every piece of data we have points to a rational, natural universe and nothing supernatural has ever been recorded.

If you propose an irrational, supernatural universe you need to provide evidence for it. In the universe, as we understand it, corpses putrefy. There is no known mechanism by which their wounds heal and their mushy brains reattain their delicate pre-death structure and start thinking again.

If not, I can say, "Jesus was just one of a small number of people that naturally and spontaneously revert back to life."

I guess we have to accept that Jesus is not supernatural now. Since, you know, there is no evidence for what I said, and you can't prove me wrong. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

CurtC
08-26-2011, 09:37 AM
First of all, the "null" hypothesis is itself a logical fallacy.Are you really saying what you just said?

If you have an argument for a position, then by all means present it. You can't just assume that you are right until someone proves you wrong. Assuming the null also makes your argument circular, because if the null is true then the test hypothesis necessarily cannot.Huh? The the test hypothesis necessarily cannot what? Accepting the null doesn't mean that you're assuming you're right that the null is true, evidence be damned, it means that your mind is open, but without evidence for the test hypothesis you're going to reject it. You live your life like this every day - I can't believe you're questioning this. If someone tells you that he was given a ride to work this morning by an alien intergalactic spacecraft, do you just say "well, I guess that could be true, since I don't have a disproof of it, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, I'll just remain in an undecided state"?

So far Diogenes argument has really boiled down to:
1) There is no evidence for the resurrection because the resurrection didn't happen (because it is a supernatural event, which contradicts the null)
Where did you get this idea? It's certainly not in Dio's posts. Someone else claimed that he had evidence for the resurrection, and Dio challenged him on that point. So far, evidence has not been shown. The null in this case is clearly that this person in question did not come back to life after having been dead for a day and a half, so the only reasonable thing to do is to continue to accept the null until sufficient evidence is presented to warrant changing our minds.


2) The resurrection didn't happen because there is no evidence for it.

It is a circular argument, and therefore logically invalid. This is what happens when one assumes a null hypothesis.
What's a circular argument?

What is at issue is whether there is also a supernatural world, or whether the natural world is all there is. If you assume the latter, then you are assuming the conclusion of the argument going in, and your argument is circular.

We don't assume that the natural world is all there is - but we do accept it provisionally, since there has been no evidence presented that there is a supernatural. My mind is open, and I think Dio's is too, but until we see evidence of something else, we have to accept that the supernatural has not been demonstrated.

Paranoid Randroid
08-26-2011, 09:41 AM
2. Physics as we currently understand it says that it can't happen.


Tangential, I suppose, but how do the “laws of physics” imply that physical resurrection is impossible? Maybe impossible as a practical matter — but I see no contradiction in the possibility of taking a dead body, rebuilding it, and making it better … stronger … faster bringing it back to life.

I’m not suggesting that Omni Consumer Products was mucking around circa 30 AD, you understand. But if resurrection is not impossible, and if someone comes to this discussion assuming that an omnimax deity exists (rather than the other direction of using the resurrection as proof for that deity), then entertaining the idea of Christ’s resurrection is … well, less unreasonable, maybe.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-26-2011, 09:45 AM
Also, this whole exercise is a futile challenge to someone asking for a separate thread to be opened where he will show his powerful evidence. Me, I would have assumed that he was full of shit and had no startling new powerful evidence to show (else he would have opened up the thread hinself, and boasted about it) but simply wanted a free way to assert "I have evidence" without being challenged to show it. I admire Dio for being so indulgent, but it's always a total waste of time to pursue this course.

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 10:37 AM
What constitutes as 'evidence' for any event?

a) Either witness the event yourself (I saw the planes crashing in the twin towers standing there at the time)
b) Learn about it from reliable resources (I saw the crash in TV, read about in newspapers)

Now, in the case of Christ resurrection no one living can claim to be an eye witness, so presumably the OP concentrates in (b) Information from reliable resources.

Of course the next question is what constitutes a ‘reliable resource’ in this case.
The OP mentions that he is not interested in intellectual arguments about the existence of God but unfortunately there is no way to argue around this subject without first establishing an answer as to whether God exists or not.

This is so because the only resources we have come from disciples and/or followers of Christ.

If we take as a default that these people were hallucinating or had some kind of mental illness then we cannot accept their claims.
If on the other hand we take as a default that they are correct and actually witness what they (or the people they quote) say then their claims are accepted as truth.

So in order to have a meaningful discussion I think Diogenes should make clear which sources he accepts. If he discards NT and other testimonies and only accepts what he read or was taught (he did mention a degree) there might be a slight problem as to how things progress in this discussion!
So, could you please clarify which sources you trust and which you do not?

As a parting thought I would like to mention that Gospels and NT in general is NOT considered the absolute authority in ALL matters regarding Christianity. Christianity survived just fine before it was written and will even if all copies of the bible are destroyed now.
There are even a couple of passages in the Gospels testifying the fact that what is there is an incomplete account of the events described. Each gospel was written to communicate a certain point and not encompass all matters of religion.
The early Church depend heavily on ‘ιερά παράδοση’ (Holy Tradition) meaning the written AND verbal teachings of the Apostles which were past among Christians.


PS On a completely different note, Diogenes claims that Mark knew nothing about the empty tomb of Christ, because none of the women in Mark’s gospel mentioned this to anyone, despite the very fact that IT IS WRITTEN in his Gospel. This could be a Zen question. ‘How is it possible to mention another’s experience if he did not mention this to anyone?”

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 10:49 AM
Let me outline the argument I made in my less-than-clear post.

1. Paul believes in a spiritual resurrection for ordinary humans. His beliefs about the exact nature of Christ's resurrection are a matter of speculation. Jesus Christ != ordinary humans.[/quite]
Incorrect.It;s very important to paul that Jesus IS like other human beings, born kata sarka "of the flesh," and that he died of the flesh. Paul says that Jesus' resurrection is the "firstfruit," and that if Jesus isn't risen, nobody is. Paul sees Jesus as the first resurrection, but not as a special resurrection in nature.
[quite]2. Carrier's cites that "Jesus was raised the same way we would be" are unpersuasive.
And yet no one has presented any argument at all as to why Paul should have viewed Jesus' resurrection as different from anybody else's. That's certainly not in any of the text.

Incidentally, if only Jesus could be physically resurrected, then how does Paul explain Lazarus and the others that Jesus raised from the dead? How does Paul explain the person that he himself raised from the dead (according to Acts)?

3. We know a fair amount of what Paul believed. We just don't know everything.
4. I address Diogenes the Cynic: "Sorry, where does Paul have his allegedly psychotic experience?
When he said that Jesus "appeared" to him and spoke to him.
What I will be looking for is whether it could be a meditative experience. Christians routinely commune with the Father when they pray over a decision or just pray in general. It's not necessarily hallucinatory, though it may be presented that way. "
Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, 15:2by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. 15:3For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 15:4and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; 15:5and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; 15:6then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; 15:7then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; 15:8and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also.
(1 Cor. 15:1-8)


Paul lists the appearance to himself as part of the same formula he lists for the apostles. He makes no distinction in their nature. Obviously, Jesus didn't actually appear to him, so he was lying or hallucinating. If you want to suggest that these were all "meditative" experiences for everybody, then the whole resurrection theology becomes meaningless.
Or he could have had a vision/hallucination (is this the one you were referring to?) Anyway, I can't rule out the possibility that Paul was referencing an actual discussion, inspired by the Lord or zeitgeist.
Paul himself is quite vague about the nature of how Jesus "appeared" to him, and gives no details. The road to Damascus story (where he got blinded by the light and revved up like a deuce) is found (in multiple, contradictory versions) in Acts, but not in any of Paul's own writings.

As you can see above, Paul's description of Jesus' appearances to the other apostles is also very vague (nothing other than "he appeared"), which is exactly the problem here for anyone trying to say that paul definitely believed in a physical resurrection. If he did, he never said so, and if you were to read Paul's letters without any knowledge of the Gospels, the strongest implication from a plain reading would be that Paul was talking about visionary experiences, not a physical resurrection.
To be clear, physical resurrection is not impossible. People wake up from comas all the time. A few even survive executions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Francis). Routinely and colloquially, such events are characterized as miraculous.
Those are not resurrections, nor are they miraculous. They never died in the first place.

If you want to suggest that Jesus survived the crucifixion...well, that's not physically impossible (Josephus gives an account of seeing a friend recover from a crucifixion after Josephus beseeched the emperor to take him down from his cross), but it would also mean there was no literal, physical resurrection quo erat demonstratum.

Meatros
08-26-2011, 10:58 AM
What constitutes as 'evidence' for any event?

a) Either witness the event yourself (I saw the planes crashing in the twin towers standing there at the time)
b) Learn about it from reliable resources (I saw the crash in TV, read about in newspapers)

Now, in the case of Christ resurrection no one living can claim to be an eye witness, so presumably the OP concentrates in (b) Information from reliable resources.

Technically there could be physical evidence, but I must admit, it's hard to see how that would apply to the resurrection itself. I would say that it could apply to the surrounding details though.

Of course the next question is what constitutes a ‘reliable resource’ in this case.
The OP mentions that he is not interested in intellectual arguments about the existence of God but unfortunately there is no way to argue around this subject without first establishing an answer as to whether God exists or not.

Well, one could suppose that magic exists and Jesus was magically resurrected. Conversely would could suppose God exists, yet would have no interest in resurrecting Jesus.

So it's not simply a matter of whether God exists or not.


This is so because the only resources we have come from disciples and/or followers of Christ.

If we take as a default that these people were hallucinating or had some kind of mental illness then we cannot accept their claims.
If on the other hand we take as a default that they are correct and actually witness what they (or the people they quote) say then their claims are accepted as truth.

There's a number of issues here:

1. There are no direct witnesses to the event. The closest we can get is Paul, who was not an eye witness.
2. If there were direct witnesses, they could have been mistaken and/or their memory could be contaminated. Eye witness testimony is poor evidence in general.
3. The time period was filled with magical accounts - the majority of which most people reject. Josephus, who is regarded as one of the best historians of the time, has miraculous accounts in his histories - yet we do not believe them. Why should we afford the unknown authors of Christ's resurrection, decades after the fact, with more authority than Josephus?

So in order to have a meaningful discussion I think Diogenes should make clear which sources he accepts. If he discards NT and other testimonies and only accepts what he read or was taught (he did mention a degree) there might be a slight problem as to how things progress in this discussion!

DtC's position on the NT is not controversial. Most new testament scholars acknowledge that the Gospels rely on Mark and that the authors are unknown. Mark was not an eyewitness account.

Paul is a different story. It is not - as far as I know - the consensus opinion that Paul thought that the resurrection was spiritual. However, it is a reasonable and evidenced (textual) one that has been argued in this thread. That said, Paul was not a witness of Christ's life/resurrection, so his POV is a bit moot - unless further argumentation can show it's relevance.

As a parting thought I would like to mention that Gospels and NT in general is NOT considered the absolute authority in ALL matters regarding Christianity. Christianity survived just fine before it was written and will even if all copies of the bible are destroyed now.
There are even a couple of passages in the Gospels testifying the fact that what is there is an incomplete account of the events described. Each gospel was written to communicate a certain point and not encompass all matters of religion.
The early Church depend heavily on ‘ιερά παράδοση’ (Holy Tradition) meaning the written AND verbal teachings of the Apostles which were past among Christians.


I don't agree with this. Certainly one version of Christianity survived just fine, but keep in mind that there were a few different versions of Christianity floating around back then. We even have uncovered some of the gospels from those versions. I should point out that this isn't really new, since there were dozens of different messiah related judaisms floating around as well.


PS On a completely different note, Diogenes claims that Mark knew nothing about the empty tomb of Christ, because none of the women in Mark’s gospel mentioned this to anyone, despite the very fact that IT IS WRITTEN in his Gospel. This could be a Zen question. ‘How is it possible to mention another’s experience if he did not mention this to anyone?”
Reply With Quote

The explanation I've read was that the reason the 'empty tomb' wasn't widely known among Christians at the time when Mark was circulating was because the women told no one. This was meant as an explanation as to why no one had heard of it.

Czarcasm
08-26-2011, 11:04 AM
PS On a completely different note, Diogenes claims that Mark knew nothing about the empty tomb of Christ, because none of the women in Mark’s gospel mentioned this to anyone, despite the very fact that IT IS WRITTEN in his Gospel. This could be a Zen question. ‘How is it possible to mention another’s experience if he did not mention this to anyone?”And the only possible answer is that it is not possible...outside of fiction.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 11:24 AM
What evidence do you have that the laws of physics are inviolable and that anything that happens outside them is impossible. You are just begging the question.
No, sorry. I know you apologists desperately want this to be truye because the physical laws of the universe are massively inconvenient to you, but they are what they are. The burden is on you to show that they have ever been violated.
No, it not logically necessary, as it also happens to be the conclusion of your argument.
No, it's not a conclusion, it's the null. If you want to assert that fairies make the grass grow, I don't have to prove they don't.
You are making the positive truth claim that inviolable laws of nature exist. You therefore have a burden of proof to demonstrate that your truth claim is valid.
Not at all. Physical laws are merely observations. The burden is yours alone to show they've ever been violated. "You can't prove it DIDN'T happen" is no argument in your favor anyway. I asked for evidence for a physical resurrection of Jesus. You're not going to convince anybody of magic by stamping your feet and saying, "you can't prove it's NOT magic." That's the weakest apologetic possible.
First of all referring to the resurrection as "magic" is simply a bit of rhetorical showboating that gets us nowhere.
How so? If the resurrection didn't happen by magic, what caused it? What's teh difference between magic and miracles?
Secondly, assuming that the resurrection is impossible is simply question begging on your part.
No, the physical impossibility of a dead body coming back to life is provable fact.

No, I think I am following entirely your logic. Your logic is that if there is no evidence, or even insufficient evidence for something then it is impossible for it to exist.
Wrong. I've made no such assertion whatsoever.
Because everyone either agrees with you or they are an "appologist" of some sort. The Jesus Seminar and Richard Carrier are not "mainstream" scholars.
"Apologist just means "defender." It's not an insult.

The JS is mainstream, by the way (and most of them are believers...many are clergy), but I haven't cited either the JS or Richard Carrier, so what's your point?
And Paul's point in doing so was to point out that earthly flesh is temporal and celestial flesh is eternal. He doesn't say that celestial flesh is non-material, which is what you are arguing.
No, that's not what I'm arguing. Paul thought spirit was a kind of "material," but he didn't think it was flesh and blood.
No, Paul thought of the spiritual body as having a different substance to the fleshly body.
Oh yes he does:

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. 15:40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 15:41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.2So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 15:43it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 15:44it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body


Paul does NOT talk of us becoming a spirit, but of becoming a spiritual body.
A distinction without a difference. Just because Paul though ghosts were material didn't mean he didn't think they were ghosts.
What I meant is that Jesus appeared to Paul in his physical resurrection body.[.quote]
So he took his physical body into outer space for a while, then brought it back down to show Paul (and where does Paul himself say he saw a physical body), and then took back up to outer space? Does he still have it now?
Also Paul did think that phyical bodies could resurrect, you are simply reading him wrong.
No, I'm reading it plain. You're the one torturing the text.
When did Jesus go into outer space? All that Acts records is that Jesus went up behind a cloud. And while the angels do say that Jesus has gone to "heaven", that does not mean literally outer space.
Uh huh. Why was he rising into the sky at all then?
Thirdly the resurrection body does not decay, so no, it would be fine even if he did take it into outer space.
"Resurrection body?" So now you do think he came back in a spiritual body rather than a physical body? Why did he still have holes in his hands?

Voyager
08-26-2011, 11:26 AM
Does that mean that if a 17th century person didn't believed that there was no 8th planet, as you suggest they must if there was no evidence, they were wrong for the right reasons?

Exactly. If he believe there was no 8th planet, he might be going beyond the evidence, but lacking belief in the 8th planet was exactly the correct default position at the time. The ancient Atomists were right for the wrong reasons also.

What this illustrates is that if you follow the proposed "logic" of a null or default position, that you will be lead into believing a number of incorrect things. Absense of evidence does not equal evidence of absense. Without any sort of evidence for or against the existence of something nothing ban be truthfully said about its existence.

All belief in science is provisional. It might be true that accepting the null hypothesis might lead to accepting something shown to be incorrect when more evidence is gathered, but that is exactly why science gathers evidence and does experiments to falsify a null hypothesis. And the results you get are a lot more correct than when you believe five impossible things before breakfast.
As for absence of evidence, it is indeed evidence of absence if you expect the evidence to be there. The claim is made that a UFO landed in Yankee Stadium during the seventh inning stretch. You consult the papers and see no reports of it. Absence of evidence = evidence of absence? Sure hope so.


You can come up with arguments that show that it is likely that something does not exist. For instance it is unlikely that there is a 9th planet (since Pluto got demoted from planethood) because we have mapped enough of the sky that if one was there we would have seen it by now. That is a positive arguement in favour of the non-existence of a 9th planet. If Diogenes wants to assert that supernatural beings don't exist, he has to come up with some sort of argument.

You just contradicted yourself. Not seeing a ninth planet, and not seeing the gravitational effects of it is the absence of evidence for it. Dio, and the rest of us, have scoured the new reports and history books for reports of supernatural beings and evidence of their existence. Lacking any, just like we lack evidence of a real ninth planet, we can conclude that the null hypothesis that they don't exist is provisionally valid until we see some evidence.


I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof, I am trying to correct your logic.

First of all, the "null" hypothesis is itself a logical fallacy. If you have an argument for a position, then by all means present it. You can't just assume that you are right until someone proves you wrong. Assuming the null also makes your argument circular, because if the null is true then the test hypothesis necessarily cannot. So the rejection of the test hypothesis has ultimately nothing to do with the quality or quantity of evidence presented, but because the null hypothesis contradicts it.

Well, there goes all of science. He's not assuming anything. Let's say that the null hypothesis about death is that it doesn't happen, since we see people walking around. The evidence of people dying, and staying dead, falsifies that, and the null hypothesis then becomes that people die and stay dead. That's based on evidence, and not assumed. In fact all apparent contradictions, like comas, have been shown to be cases where the person was not really dead. Now, if you think that people get resurrected, you need to show evidence, not assume it, and "Night of the Living Dead" doesn't count.

So far Diogenes argument has really boiled down to:
1) There is no evidence for the resurrection because the resurrection didn't happen (because it is a supernatural event, which contradicts the null)
2) The resurrection didn't happen because there is no evidence for it.

It is a circular argument, and therefore logically invalid. This is what happens when one assumes a null hypothesis.

Enough people have already shown why you totally misunderstand his argument, so I won't bother.

Or, I can put it another way. The existence of the natural world is not in question. Even supernaturalists agree that there is a natural world. What is at issue is whether there is also a supernatural world, or whether the natural world is all there is. If you assume the latter, then you are assuming the conclusion of the argument going in, and your argument is circular.

Calculon.

We don't assume the natural word, we accept it based on evidence. (And only provisionally, a la Descartes.) All you need to do is show evidence for the supernatural; without that you are going to have a hard time telling me what supernatural entities you do accept. God? Vampires? Frost giants? What method do you use to reject zombies and accept Jesus (or vice versa?)

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-26-2011, 11:33 AM
.[/quite]

Dio, could you use preview, please? Thanks.

Czarcasm
08-26-2011, 11:39 AM
Dio, could you use preview, please? Thanks.Seconded.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 12:09 PM
Of course the next question is what constitutes a ‘reliable resource’ in this case.
The OP mentions that he is not interested in intellectual arguments about the existence of God but unfortunately there is no way to argue around this subject without first establishing an answer as to whether God exists or not.
Not so. There are hypotheticals under which Jesus could have been physically resurrected without gods. Magic ice ants from Pluto could have done it, for instance.
This is so because the only resources we have come from disciples and/or followers of Christ.
We don't even have that. We don't have any resources from disciples or followers of Jesus. If the disciples left any writings, we don't have them now. We don't know what they believed or claimed about Jesus.
If we take as a default that these people were hallucinating or had some kind of mental illness then we cannot accept their claims.
We don't know what they claimed (other than Paul), so they can't be discussed at all.
So in order to have a meaningful discussion I think Diogenes should make clear which sources he accepts. If he discards NT and other testimonies and only accepts what he read or was taught (he did mention a degree) there might be a slight problem as to how things progress in this discussion!
So, could you please clarify which sources you trust and which you do not?
I don't trust any sources at all. I want physical evidence.

Having said that, I'm also trying to make a point that it can't even be established that the disciples themselves ever claimed Jesus had been physically resurrected. Others, long after the fact, asserted that they had made those claims, but we have nothing from the disciples themselves. We can't trace the empty tomb story before Mark's Gospel until 70 CE, and the first claims of Jesus appearing in physical form can't be traced before Matthew's Gospel in 80 CE - 50 years after the events allegedly occurred.
PS On a completely different note, Diogenes claims that Mark knew nothing about the empty tomb of Christ.
No I didn't. I said that Mark's Gospel says that PETER wasn't told.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 12:13 PM
Dio, could you use preview, please? Thanks.
Sorry. I'll try to be more careful.

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 04:40 PM
Meatros and Diogenes, as we are discussing whether Christ and not any hypothetical person resurrected or not I think you will both agree that magic and giant ice ants from Pluto come as a second to God as far as how Christ was resurrected.

Don’t forget that the only information we have for Jesus comes from the NT and although I haven’t read that for a long time, I am quite positive that Jesus relationship with God is discussed more detailed than one with giant ice ants from Pluto. As the NT goes to a great length explaining how Jesus is God and vice – versa God gets first claim as far as miracles are concerned.

Now Diogenes claims that we have no direct resources claiming that Jesus resurrected so we can eliminate:

1. Gospels – all four of them and particularly John’s
2. Epistles
3. Acts.

You also discard oral tradition so that one goes outside the window as well.

That leaves us only with revelation to prove the resurrection. Interesting but I think it’s a safe bet that you also discard that one as well.

So to recap – You basically think that the whole NT is worthless, oral tradition holds no ground and to top that you require actual PHYSICAL evidence (I don’t even know how this is possible) that the resurrection occurred.

Well, I would hate to be a waiter serving you and no two ways about it. I can almost imagine the conversation ‘… and the eggs must be exactly round with diameter 3.14 inches, I’ll calculate the circumference with an opisometer just to make sure and it better adds up or else!, crispy on the outside but the yokes should be runny, bacon 1.23inches wide and 2.54 long fried for exactly….’

Under these circumstances, yes there is no evidence about the resurrection. I freely admit it.

Now we’ve got that one clear, I believe your assertion that Paul did not believe in physical resurrection is without merit but there is no point debating that since even if you are convinced about it, still I will have no physical evidence to show so there, I’ve had it again.

Czarcasm
08-26-2011, 04:48 PM
Meatros and Diogenes, as we are discussing whether Christ and not any hypothetical person resurrected or not I think you will both agree that magic and giant ice ants from Pluto come as a second to God as far as how Christ was resurrected.

Don’t forget that the only information we have for Jesus comes from the NT and although I haven’t read that for a long time, I am quite positive that Jesus relationship with God is discussed more detailed than one with giant ice ants from Pluto. As the NT goes to a great length explaining how Jesus is God and vice – versa God gets first claim as far as miracles are concerned.

Now Diogenes claims that we have no direct resources claiming that Jesus resurrected so we can eliminate:

1. Gospels – all four of them and particularly John’s
2. Epistles
3. Acts.

You also discard oral tradition so that one goes outside the window as well.

That leaves us only with revelation to prove the resurrection. Interesting but I think it’s a safe bet that you also discard that one as well.

So to recap – You basically think that the whole NT is worthless, oral tradition holds no ground and to top that you require actual PHYSICAL evidence (I don’t even know how this is possible) that the resurrection occurred.

Well, I would hate to be a waiter serving you and no two ways about it. I can almost imagine the conversation ‘… and the eggs must be exactly round with diameter 3.14 inches, I’ll calculate the circumference with an opisometer just to make sure and it better adds up or else!, crispy on the outside but the yokes should be runny, bacon 1.23inches wide and 2.54 long fried for exactly….’

Under these circumstances, yes there is no evidence about the resurrection. I freely admit it.

Now we’ve got that one clear, I believe your assertion that Paul did not believe in physical resurrection is without merit but there is no point debating that since even if you are convinced about it, still I will have no physical evidence to show so there, I’ve had it again.That is the long way to say, "I've got nothing."

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 04:52 PM
Meatros I have to agree with you that there were different versions of Christianity even back then, Paul even mentions this in his epistles (false preachers will come, wolves disguised as sheep or something like that).

Judging from the swift action taken by Paul to protect his flock, I think it’s a safe bet to say these teachings were marginalized and known to deviate from mainstream teachings. Of course someone could argue otherwise but I believe the small number of Christians in each town in conjunction with the communication between Christians from different towns (if Paul send letters then others have done as well) could alert to different teachings than the ones the Apostles told them.
Also, Paul (and presumably other apostles as well) re – visited those towns and set out disputes regarding Christianity.
You make a good point though, one that possible needs to be addressed further.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-26-2011, 04:53 PM
Under these circumstances, yes there is no evidence about the resurrection. I freely admit it.


Speaking only for me, I have to say that you're overlooking some viable possible sources of compelling evidence. The discovery of a letter that passes all the evidenciary sniff tests from a Roman centurion to his wife that expresses "HOLY SHIT! You WILL NOT believe what I fucking saw yesterday...", or better yet several such discrete letters, from a variety of eyewitnesses who have no stake in teh Gospels' accuracy, or a long-lost diary of Pontius Pilate (again, duly authenticated) or some such. That would put a cork in my bunghole, wouldn't it? You're not quite being fair in painting Biblical skeptics as refusing to validate any and all evidence, I think. I'm willing to specify exactly what would constitute powerful evidence to me, at great length if you'd like, and to comment that to date there is no such evidence on display.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 04:55 PM
Meatros and Diogenes, as we are discussing whether Christ and not any hypothetical person resurrected or not I think you will both agree that magic and giant ice ants from Pluto come as a second to God as far as how Christ was resurrected.
Not at all. They are all equally plausible and have exactly the same amount of evidence.
Now Diogenes claims that we have no direct resources claiming that Jesus resurrected so we can eliminate:

1. Gospels – all four of them and particularly John’s
2. Epistles
3. Acts.
Correct. None of these were written by witnesses. All of the authorship traditions attributed to them are regarded as spurious by mainstream scholarship.
You also discard oral tradition so that one goes outside the window as well.
What oral tradition.
That leaves us only with revelation to prove the resurrection. Interesting but I think it’s a safe bet that you also discard that one as well.
Obviously, "revelation" has no empirical value.
So to recap – You basically think that the whole NT is worthless, oral tradition holds no ground and to top that you require actual PHYSICAL evidence (I don’t even know how this is possible) that the resurrection occurred.
Not "worthless" in every regard, just not sufficient evidence to prove that a dead body came back to life.
Well, I would hate to be a waiter serving you and no two ways about it. I can almost imagine the conversation ‘… and the eggs must be exactly round with diameter 3.14 inches, I’ll calculate the circumference with an opisometer just to make sure and it better adds up or else!, crispy on the outside but the yokes should be runny, bacon 1.23inches wide and 2.54 long fried for exactly…
The analogy is more like a waiter serving empty plates and saying they have invisible food on them.

Lobohan
08-26-2011, 04:55 PM
Meatros and Diogenes, as we are discussing whether Christ and not any hypothetical person resurrected or not I think you will both agree that magic and giant ice ants from Pluto come as a second to God as far as how Christ was resurrected.

Don’t forget that the only information we have for Jesus comes from the NT and although I haven’t read that for a long time, I am quite positive that Jesus relationship with God is discussed more detailed than one with giant ice ants from Pluto. As the NT goes to a great length explaining how Jesus is God and vice – versa God gets first claim as far as miracles are concerned.

Now Diogenes claims that we have no direct resources claiming that Jesus resurrected so we can eliminate:

1. Gospels – all four of them and particularly John’s
2. Epistles
3. Acts.

You also discard oral tradition so that one goes outside the window as well.

That leaves us only with revelation to prove the resurrection. Interesting but I think it’s a safe bet that you also discard that one as well.

So to recap – You basically think that the whole NT is worthless, oral tradition holds no ground and to top that you require actual PHYSICAL evidence (I don’t even know how this is possible) that the resurrection occurred.

Well, I would hate to be a waiter serving you and no two ways about it. I can almost imagine the conversation ‘… and the eggs must be exactly round with diameter 3.14 inches, I’ll calculate the circumference with an opisometer just to make sure and it better adds up or else!, crispy on the outside but the yokes should be runny, bacon 1.23inches wide and 2.54 long fried for exactly….’

Under these circumstances, yes there is no evidence about the resurrection. I freely admit it.

Now we’ve got that one clear, I believe your assertion that Paul did not believe in physical resurrection is without merit but there is no point debating that since even if you are convinced about it, still I will have no physical evidence to show so there, I’ve had it again.What makes you think the NT is anything but a set of papers written by ignorant, bronze-age men?

You are assuming that the NT is magical, and then using it as evidence that magic is real.

Every religion on Earth, (well, a lot of them at least) have holy books. You think they are all fake, why is the NT not? Because it's the myth you've chosen to believe.

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 05:00 PM
Czarcasm, can you tell us who was Patroclos and how he end up in Troy? Only you have to completely disrecard the Iliad. Also stories you have heard don't count

What? There are no other data regarding Patroclos? Toughen up man, stop whining. What do you mean you have nothing?

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 05:04 PM
I was NOT trying to convince anyone about the validity of the NT.

I was just saying that the only written document we have for the resurrection are in NT. If we consider those bogus, there can be no discussion.

Megas P.
08-26-2011, 05:09 PM
Diogenes Oral tradition is what kept the church going before the NT was written. Basically the teachings of the Apostles communicated from mouth to mouth among Christians. A lot of the Church's beliefs were communicated like these, stuff that are not mentioned anywhere in NT.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-26-2011, 05:19 PM
Patrocles was a fictional character. Is that an okay answer?

Calculon
08-26-2011, 05:54 PM
I think I see what you are saying Calculon, but it seems to me to be an issue of certainty and not what is rational to believe (or perhaps I'm misinterpreting you).

Here is the way I see it and the state of the present discussion - please correct any misinterpretations or strawmen (I'm attempting to be charitable and as objective as possible):

Both naturalists and supernaturalists would agree that resurrections are extremely unlikely events.

Both naturalists and supernaturalists would require some form of evidence or argument in order to accept an event X as being a resurrection - neither, I would think, would simply believe me if I stated that I resurrected the firmly dead Jimbo the other day, for instance. I would think that both would require more than my word.

***Tangent - I realize you could argue that naturalists presuppose the miraculous out of existence, but I'm assuming philosophical charity here and suggesting that naturalists simply have not been persuaded by any alleged evidence of the supernatural as opposed to a priori dismissing it***

So the of the thread is, what is the best evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?

So far it seems that what Paul experience is the evidence - at least primarily.

Now, the problems that the naturalists are having is:
1. Paul was not a witness to the crucifixion, nor the resurrection. He witnessed, and I'll be charitable, an experience of Christ through a vision.

2. It's not entirely clear that Paul did think that Christ had physically risen. This has been a point of contention.

On point one, it seems that even anecdotal, Paul isn't a direct eyewitness of the resurrection and is, at best, repeating hearsay. Keep in mind that I'm making a distinction between the resurrection and Paul's subsequent experience of a vision of Christ.

On point two, if it can be successfully argued that Paul believed that Christ rose spiritually then not only does point one still hold, but the subsequent Gospels must be tossed out as fabrications.

I think you are vastly understating the evidence that "supernaturalists" as you put it would appeal to.

One of the key evidenses of the reurrection is the early Christian community itself that believed in the physical resurrection of Christ. Historically we know that almost from the date of the resurrection itself onwards there was a community in Jerusalem and around the ancient world that believed in the physical resurrection of Christ. It is especially significant that this community started in Jerusalem, which was the city in which the resurrection took place, as these people would be in the best position to evaluate the truth claims of the resurrection story.

In that sense Paul is called on as a witness not to the resurrection itself, but to the existence of the community that believed in the resurrection. The reason passages like 1 Corinthians 15 are so powerful is that:
1) It is early, written probably between 20-30 years after the resurrection, which in historical terms, almost immediately.
2) It is incidental. Ultimately Paul is not trying to convince the Corinthians of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. What Paul argues for is that the Corinthians themselves will be resurrected. Apparently the Corinthians already accept the resurrection of Jesus, and so Paul uses that as a premise of his argument.

Secondly, we also have the accounts of the resurrection itself, given from at least two entirely independent source traditions (The synoptics and John). These are also, in the context of history, extremely early accounts of the resurrection, comeing probably between 30 and 60 years after the resurrection. There are also layers within the gospels (such as Q) that were written even earlier, so it is difficult to give a singular dating to the gospels.

One of the key stumbling blocks to accepting the gospels in this thread appears to be that people are arguing that they are not "eyewitness" accounts. This I think is a pointless objection. If we were to require that all history were written by eyewitnesses, then we would have to throw out nearly all of recorded history, both ancient and modern. So for instance would you insist that the only people that could write histories of the Vietnam war were veterans who participated in the battles themselves? That unless professional historians were involved in the accounts they describe they are merely reporting "heresay"? In ancient history it is even worse. Nearly no writer in ancient history directly witnessed the things that they record. Many historians write of events hundreds of years before they were born, and yet we find that they are in general reliable. While far from being eyewitnesses themselves they have good material on which to draw on, which enables them to accurately record things they were not a witness to. Given the comparatively early dating of the gospels it is necessary to assume that they likewise would have had access to good, reliable accounts of what happened. This is strengthened by the fact that apart from some minor details, both the Synoptic and John traditions report essentially the same events.

Thirdly, there is the fact that Christianity is really quite distinct from the existing worldviews around at the time. In particular the Christian view of the resurrection of the Messiah was completely new and had no direct parallel with other beliefs. Here N. T. Wright does a good job of surveying the pre-existing views of Jesus day and showing that the Christian view of the resurrection was quite unique. Despite what people may think the ancients were not all gullable fools. To convince them to change their belief into a previously unknown, especially in the face of persecution, would not have been easy.

When considering historical questions a proper historical method is to appeal to what is the "best explaination". Which explaination accounts for all of the facts and ties it together in a way that is not contrived. When considering all possible explainations I think the best one is that Jesus really did rise from the dead. That explains how the early Christian community came to believe in the resurrection and makes sense of the gospel accounts. Just appealing to the fact that resurrection is "physically impossible" as Diogones and his followers does refuses to engage with the evidence and is ultimately circular. To argue that the resurrection did not happen you would have to come up with a better explaination of the data points that we have.

Calculon.

Calculon
08-26-2011, 07:07 PM
No, sorry. I know you apologists desperately want this to be truye because the physical laws of the universe are massively inconvenient to you, but they are what they are. The burden is on you to show that they have ever been violated.

No, what I am asking is for you to demonstrate that these laws actually exist. You claim that you can't believe anything exists without evidence. OK then, where is the evidence that inviolable natural laws really exist? What about quantum mechanics? If the laws of quantum mechanics are truely non-deterministic, then how does that factor into your assertion that the laws of physics are inviolable? Just merely stating that the laws "are what they are" is not an arguement.


No, it's not a conclusion, it's the null. If you want to assert that fairies make the grass grow, I don't have to prove they don't.

Whether or not it is the "null" whatever that means is debatable. However it is definately the conclusion that you are trying to draw. If you assume the conclusion of your argument going in, then your argument is circular. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?


Not at all. Physical laws are merely observations. The burden is yours alone to show they've ever been violated. "You can't prove it DIDN'T happen" is no argument in your favor anyway. I asked for evidence for a physical resurrection of Jesus. You're not going to convince anybody of magic by stamping your feet and saying, "you can't prove it's NOT magic." That's the weakest apologetic possible.

Stamping your foot and proclaiming that the resurrection is impossible is also a poor argumentative technique. Do you have any evidence at all for your assertion that inviolable laws of nature do really exist? Without any evidence or argument I see no reason why I should accept your assertion that the resurrection is impossible because of some nebulous, ill-defined concept of "natural law".


How so? If the resurrection didn't happen by magic, what caused it? What's teh difference between magic and miracles?

In sort, the causal agent of magical events is the person themselves. The causal agent of a miracle is a supernatural entity. If a person causes a rabbit to appear in a hat, it is magic. If God causes a rabbit to appear in a hat it is a miracle.
Of course, this raises the question what, in your view, is the difference between magic and natural law? Why is two masses moving together because of some mysterious force of gravity entirely logical, but something appearing because of a generated soundwave pattern (saying a particular spell) obviously illogical and ridiculous. Without you laying out exactly what natural law is, and what the causal agent of natural law is, then I don't think that you can assert that natural law is not simply everyday magic.


No, the physical impossibility of a dead body coming back to life is provable fact.

Irrelevant, since the Christian claim is that Jesus was raised supernaturally from the dead.


Wrong. I've made no such assertion whatsoever.

So do you grant that it is possible that faeries at the end of the garden do really exist?
Of course this is contradicted in your previous assertion

No evidence has yet been presented to me, but, Paul was indeed either lying or psychotic. There are no other choices.

So the possiblity that Jesus really did appear to Paul, and Paul is merely faithly recounting that experience is simply not possible. And this is not possible because the resurrection did not happen. And we can be certain that the resurrection did not happen because not enough evidence has been presented for it.
If this is not the case, by which reason do you assert that Jesus could not have possibly appeared to Paul.

It seems to me that you are entirely arguing that if there is not enough evidence for a statement then it is impossible for it to be true. If it is possible for something to be true despite lack of evidence, then it is possible that the resurrection really did happen.


"Apologist just means "defender." It's not an insult.

Since you were using it to derride the work and contribution of someone, then I think you clearly meant it as an insult. Appologist as opposed to legitimate scholar.


The JS is mainstream, by the way (and most of them are believers...many are clergy), but I haven't cited either the JS or Richard Carrier, so what's your point?

Go to a Society of Biblical Literature meeting and ask around what people there think of the Jesus Seminar. The JS is well recieved in the popular, secular press but in academia they are regarded as radical and non-mainstream.
Also, you are correct that you have not cited the JS or Richard Carrier in this thread. You haven't cited anyone at all because presumably your post is your cite. Thanks for drawing that to everyone's attention.


No, that's not what I'm arguing. Paul thought spirit was a kind of "material," but he didn't think it was flesh and blood.

And is that material physical or non-physical? It is clear that Paul thinks that the resurrection body is different in substance from the present body. That is not in dispute. What is at issue is whether the resurrection body is made of physical material of some sort, or whether the resurrection body is entirely immaterial. The use of the word "soma" to describe the "spiritual body" shows that Paul conceives of the resurrection body as being composed of some sort of physical material.


Oh yes he does:

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. 15:40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 15:41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.2So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 15:43it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 15:44it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body

And how does this text advance your argument that the resurrection body is non-corporeal?


A distinction without a difference. Just because Paul though ghosts were material didn't mean he didn't think they were ghosts.

So wait, now you are saying that Paul thought that the resurrection body WAS material? So if the resurrection body has a material form, does that mean that you agree that the resurrection of Jesus was a physical, material resurrection? If so, why do you still think that Paul saw them as ghosts. If the resurrection body has a material form, then it is hardly a ghost. Ghosts are non-corporeal beings that have no material form. If Paul thought that the resurrection body was material then he cannot have thought that it was a ghost.


Uh huh. Why was he rising into the sky at all then?

The ancients didn't have a concept of outer space. Heaven doesn't mean outer space because the ancients didn't know that it existed. The ancients believed that the universe was only as big as the sky, and so in rising up he was symbolising that he was leaving the natural realm. It is not necessary for him to literally go into outer space, nor does the bible record that he does.


"Resurrection body?" So now you do think he came back in a spiritual body rather than a physical body? Why did he still have holes in his hands?
The resurrection body is still a physical body, but of a different sort of physicallity to the natural body that we all have. This is the standard Christian belief, that Jesus body when resurrected was also transformed into a new physical form that is different to the old and is perfected. The new form is still physical and is not immaterial or spiritual in that sense.
The reason for the holes in the hands has been pointed out before. The holes demonstrate the glory of God as they show the means by which Jesus paid for sin. It is not incongruous that he should still have holes in his hands.

Calculon.

Lobohan
08-26-2011, 07:20 PM
No, what I am asking is for you to demonstrate that these laws actually exist. You claim that you can't believe anything exists without evidence. OK then, where is the evidence that inviolable natural laws really exist? What about quantum mechanics? If the laws of quantum mechanics are truely non-deterministic, then how does that factor into your assertion that the laws of physics are inviolable? Just merely stating that the laws "are what they are" is not an arguement.


Whether or not it is the "null" whatever that means is debatable. However it is definately the conclusion that you are trying to draw. If you assume the conclusion of your argument going in, then your argument is circular. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?


Stamping your foot and proclaiming that the resurrection is impossible is also a poor argumentative technique. Do you have any evidence at all for your assertion that inviolable laws of nature do really exist? Without any evidence or argument I see no reason why I should accept your assertion that the resurrection is impossible because of some nebulous, ill-defined concept of "natural law".


In sort, the causal agent of magical events is the person themselves. The causal agent of a miracle is a supernatural entity. If a person causes a rabbit to appear in a hat, it is magic. If God causes a rabbit to appear in a hat it is a miracle.
Of course, this raises the question what, in your view, is the difference between magic and natural law? Why is two masses moving together because of some mysterious force of gravity entirely logical, but something appearing because of a generated soundwave pattern (saying a particular spell) obviously illogical and ridiculous. Without you laying out exactly what natural law is, and what the causal agent of natural law is, then I don't think that you can assert that natural law is not simply everyday magic.


Irrelevant, since the Christian claim is that Jesus was raised supernaturally from the dead.


So do you grant that it is possible that faeries at the end of the garden do really exist?
Of course this is contradicted in your previous assertion

So the possiblity that Jesus really did appear to Paul, and Paul is merely faithly recounting that experience is simply not possible. And this is not possible because the resurrection did not happen. And we can be certain that the resurrection did not happen because not enough evidence has been presented for it.
If this is not the case, by which reason do you assert that Jesus could not have possibly appeared to Paul.

It seems to me that you are entirely arguing that if there is not enough evidence for a statement then it is impossible for it to be true. If it is possible for something to be true despite lack of evidence, then it is possible that the resurrection really did happen.


Since you were using it to derride the work and contribution of someone, then I think you clearly meant it as an insult. Appologist as opposed to legitimate scholar.


Go to a Society of Biblical Literature meeting and ask around what people there think of the Jesus Seminar. The JS is well recieved in the popular, secular press but in academia they are regarded as radical and non-mainstream.
Also, you are correct that you have not cited the JS or Richard Carrier in this thread. You haven't cited anyone at all because presumably your post is your cite. Thanks for drawing that to everyone's attention.


And is that material physical or non-physical? It is clear that Paul thinks that the resurrection body is different in substance from the present body. That is not in dispute. What is at issue is whether the resurrection body is made of physical material of some sort, or whether the resurrection body is entirely immaterial. The use of the word "soma" to describe the "spiritual body" shows that Paul conceives of the resurrection body as being composed of some sort of physical material.


And how does this text advance your argument that the resurrection body is non-corporeal?


So wait, now you are saying that Paul thought that the resurrection body WAS material? So if the resurrection body has a material form, does that mean that you agree that the resurrection of Jesus was a physical, material resurrection? If so, why do you still think that Paul saw them as ghosts. If the resurrection body has a material form, then it is hardly a ghost. Ghosts are non-corporeal beings that have no material form. If Paul thought that the resurrection body was material then he cannot have thought that it was a ghost.


The ancients didn't have a concept of outer space. Heaven doesn't mean outer space because the ancients didn't know that it existed. The ancients believed that the universe was only as big as the sky, and so in rising up he was symbolising that he was leaving the natural realm. It is not necessary for him to literally go into outer space, nor does the bible record that he does.


The resurrection body is still a physical body, but of a different sort of physicallity to the natural body that we all have. This is the standard Christian belief, that Jesus body when resurrected was also transformed into a new physical form that is different to the old and is perfected. The new form is still physical and is not immaterial or spiritual in that sense.
The reason for the holes in the hands has been pointed out before. The holes demonstrate the glory of God as they show the means by which Jesus paid for sin. It is not incongruous that he should still have holes in his hands.

Calculon.Your trouble here is you're trying so hard to hold on to silly beliefs they're short circuiting your ability to think about this.

If I told you that my grandmother was beaten and raped by a chair that came to life, do I have to prove to you it didn't happen?

It's impossible for chairs to come to life, and they would likely be asexual if they did. But by your standards, you can't say that.

Corpses begin rotting immediately. Brains fall apart minutes after breathing stops. This isn't an elegant packing away of information, like a zipping a computer file. This is a disruptive, horrifying process where the connections that were wired in life (which generate the consciousness by the way, not some imaginary soul) break, unspool and fall apart, impossible to ever be retrieved.

The onus to prove it is on the guy who says that chairs can come to life and hunger sexually for septuagenarian pootie. Just like the onus to prove it is on the guy who says that the dead can reverse their entropy and live again.

Horatio Hellpop
08-26-2011, 07:32 PM
There isn't any. It's an article of faith. That's why they call it "religion," not "science" or "history."

New Deal Democrat
08-26-2011, 08:02 PM
Great swaths of the OT are demonstrably ahistorical. The entire books of Genesis and Exodus, for instance. The whole tale of the captivity in Egypt, Moses, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan - all fiction. It is not consequential that the Bible occasionally mentions real places. So does Homer. That doesn't make a story more likely to be true.

Biblical archaeology cannot verify the miracles. Nevertheless, a people who can be identified as Israelite begin to appear in what is now the West Bank, and Jordan about 1200 BC. They did not seem to eat port. Earlier, a settlement of Canaanites has been identified as living in the west of the Nile Delta, which Genesis and Exodus calls "the Land of Goshen."

Numbers 1:46 says that the adult male Israelites who participated in the Exodus were 603,500. If we add women and children we are probably talking about three to four million people. The Sinai Peninsula probably could not have supported this many people for the forty years the Children of Israel are supposed to have been there. Also, that many people would have left archaeological reminders of their presence that have not been found.

However, the Song of Deborah, which is chapter 5 of Judges, is believed to date to about 1200 BC. Judges 5:8 suggests that there were forty thousand Israelites at the time. That is consistent with the archaeological record. A much smaller number of participants in the Exodus, spending less time in the Sinai Peninsula would have survived, and left less of a record.

simster
08-26-2011, 08:03 PM
There isn't any. It's an article of faith. That's why they call it "religion," not "science" or "history."

The most honest answer in this thread yet.

Sage Rat
08-26-2011, 08:31 PM
Biblical archaeology cannot verify the miracles. Nevertheless, a people who can be identified as Israelite begin to appear in what is now the West Bank, and Jordan about 1200 BC. They did not seem to eat port. Earlier, a settlement of Canaanites has been identified as living in the west of the Nile Delta, which Genesis and Exodus calls "the Land of Goshen."
The earliest archaeological evidence of Israelites has them most likely to be located in North-East Sinai or South of Canaan. They were South of the Dead Sea by as much as three or four times the length of the Dead Sea itself. The West Bank is, as the name attributes, on the West Bank of the Dead Sea.

The earliest guaranteed reference to the Israelites isn't until 850 BC, and that evidence is a polytheistic place of worship created by the King of the Israelites. According to the Bible chronology, 850 BC would be something like 800 years after God handed down the Ten Commandments. All evidence points to the OT having been written in 650-550 BC or at least having made significant edits to older materials during that time period, to rewrite history according to a monotheistic vision. The Song of Deborah is just as likely a poem about an entirely different god, written by an entirely different group of people, with their god's name scribbled out and Yahweh's written over it.

Calculon
08-26-2011, 09:04 PM
Your trouble here is you're trying so hard to hold on to silly beliefs they're short circuiting your ability to think about this.

If I told you that my grandmother was beaten and raped by a chair that came to life, do I have to prove to you it didn't happen?

It's impossible for chairs to come to life, and they would likely be asexual if they did. But by your standards, you can't say that.

Corpses begin rotting immediately. Brains fall apart minutes after breathing stops. This isn't an elegant packing away of information, like a zipping a computer file. This is a disruptive, horrifying process where the connections that were wired in life (which generate the consciousness by the way, not some imaginary soul) break, unspool and fall apart, impossible to ever be retrieved.

The onus to prove it is on the guy who says that chairs can come to life and hunger sexually for septuagenarian pootie. Just like the onus to prove it is on the guy who says that the dead can reverse their entropy and live again.

I am not confused because of my "silly beliefs". The fundamental premise that Diogenes appears to be working with is that the resurrection is physically impossible because of "natural laws". All I am doing is asking that he justify the existence of these natural laws and give some reason to think that they actually exist. He is the one presuming that these laws exist, and so he has to provide some evidence that they are real.

This is more than just some silly, academic argument, because ultimately science itself denys the possibility of fixed, immutable laws of nature. If one hold to the standard Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, then fundamentally the laws of nature are indeterministic. That means that it is not "impossible" for anything to happen, it is merely unlikely. So the statement that all of history shows that there are fixed laws of nature is clearly wrong. Whether or not the laws of quantum mechanics are deterministic or not, and whether there are immutable fixed laws really is an open question in the philosophy of science.

And really it is not hard to get atheists to start proclaiming that the laws of nature are in fact non-deterministic. Take for instance the Kalaam cosmological argument. The argument is essentially:
1) Anything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
What this argument shows at the least is that the natural world is not all there is, that there must be some transendent cause of the universe that exists necessarily outside of the natural world.

Premise 2 is well confirmed by modern science and cosmology. For instance The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum states that any universe that is on average inflationary in the past must have a begining at a finite point in the past, irrespective of what goes on in the plank-time moment after that begining point. That covers the vast majority of serious cosmological models. Those few that are not covered by this model do not obey the second law of thermodynamics, and are therefore pretty much dead in the water.

The only real way to avoid the conclusion of the argument is to argue that premise 1 is false, and that things can come into existence without cause. This is in direct violation of Diogenes insistence that there are natural laws that govern the behaviour of all things. So for instance in the book "Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology", the atheist philosopher Quentin Smith argues that the universe simply came into existence, from nothing, by nothing and for nothing. But if things can happen without cause that means that the premise that all things happen according to natural law is simply false.

So given that this is genuinely a point of contention even amoung atheist philosophers I think what I am asking is entirely reasonable. If Diogenes wants us to accept that natural inviolable laws really do exist then he has to give us some reason for thinking that is true. It is entirely hypocritical to assert that I have to give evidence for the entities that assert exist, and then himself assert that questionable things exist without any evidence or reason and expect as to just accept it.

Secondly, your ridiculous examples of living chairs get us nowhere and I can only assume brought up because you have no real argument to offer. It is clearly a contrived example and one that is not all that hard to really investigate. If the chair did come alive are there any records from the time that talk about it? Were there any people at the time that believed it? Is there any physical evidence of this alleged chair? Of course if you just state it I don't believe you, because it is clear that you just made it up on that spot. That has nothing to do with the resurrection which has not just one individual claim going for it, but several accounts and a whole early community that believed it. If you are going to argue by analogy at least make sure that the situations that you use are actually analogous.

Calculon.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 09:05 PM
Diogenes Oral tradition is what kept the church going before the NT was written. Basically the teachings of the Apostles communicated from mouth to mouth among Christians. A lot of the Church's beliefs were communicated like these, stuff that are not mentioned anywhere in NT.
I know what they were theoretically. The problem is that we can't really identify what specifically came from any authentic oral tradition and what was created later. The most likely artifacts of oral tradition are generally thought to be a common sayings tradition (basically sayings and parables attributed to Jesus), but we pretty much don't have squat for an early oral tradition regarding the resurrection. Paul's appearance formula arguably represents an earlier sayings tradition, Paul himself denies that. Paul's formula also contains elements that are unlikely to have emerged from any original oral tradition.

Candyman74
08-26-2011, 09:35 PM
I am not confused because of my "silly beliefs". The fundamental premise that Diogenes appears to be working with is that the resurrection is physically impossible because of "natural laws". All I am doing is asking that he justify the existence of these natural laws and give some reason to think that they actually exist. He is the one presuming that these laws exist, and so he has to provide some evidence that they are real.

This is more than just some silly, academic argument, because ultimately science itself denys the possibility of fixed, immutable laws of nature. If one hold to the standard Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, then fundamentally the laws of nature are indeterministic. That means that it is not "impossible" for anything to happen, it is merely unlikely. So the statement that all of history shows that there are fixed laws of nature is clearly wrong. Whether or not the laws of quantum mechanics are deterministic or not, and whether there are immutable fixed laws really is an open question in the philosophy of science.

And really it is not hard to get atheists to start proclaiming that the laws of nature are in fact non-deterministic. Take for instance the Kalaam cosmological argument. The argument is essentially:
1) Anything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
What this argument shows at the least is that the natural world is not all there is, that there must be some transendent cause of the universe that exists necessarily outside of the natural world.

Premise 2 is well confirmed by modern science and cosmology. For instance The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum states that any universe that is on average inflationary in the past must have a begining at a finite point in the past, irrespective of what goes on in the plank-time moment after that begining point. That covers the vast majority of serious cosmological models. Those few that are not covered by this model do not obey the second law of thermodynamics, and are therefore pretty much dead in the water.

The only real way to avoid the conclusion of the argument is to argue that premise 1 is false, and that things can come into existence without cause. This is in direct violation of Diogenes insistence that there are natural laws that govern the behaviour of all things. So for instance in the book "Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology", the atheist philosopher Quentin Smith argues that the universe simply came into existence, from nothing, by nothing and for nothing. But if things can happen without cause that means that the premise that all things happen according to natural law is simply false.

So given that this is genuinely a point of contention even amoung atheist philosophers I think what I am asking is entirely reasonable. If Diogenes wants us to accept that natural inviolable laws really do exist then he has to give us some reason for thinking that is true. It is entirely hypocritical to assert that I have to give evidence for the entities that assert exist, and then himself assert that questionable things exist without any evidence or reason and expect as to just accept it.

Secondly, your ridiculous examples of living chairs get us nowhere and I can only assume brought up because you have no real argument to offer. It is clearly a contrived example and one that is not all that hard to really investigate. If the chair did come alive are there any records from the time that talk about it? Were there any people at the time that believed it? Is there any physical evidence of this alleged chair? Of course if you just state it I don't believe you, because it is clear that you just made it up on that spot. That has nothing to do with the resurrection which has not just one individual claim going for it, but several accounts and a whole early community that believed it. If you are going to argue by analogy at least make sure that the situations that you use are actually analogous.

Calculon.

Actually, there us a way out of that causation logic.

One can argue that causation is required now, but was not then. Essentially, an argument that the fundamental laws changed at some (very short) point after the Big Bang.

Not that I'm personally promoting this theory - I was just thinking through your logic and that was the conclusion I reached. It works only if the laws never changed.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2011, 09:53 PM
Biblical archaeology cannot verify the miracles.
There is no such thing as Biblical Archaeology. The Bible cannot be archaeologically excavated. There is such a thing as Ancient Near Eastern archaeology. I'm not sure it's entirely true that archaeology cannot confirm miracles. Theoretically, a miraculous object such as the Ark of the Covenant could be discovered. I wasn't talking about miracles anyway. It obviously goes without saying that miracles didn't happen. I was talking about alleged historical events such as the enslavement in Egypt and the Exodus.
Nevertheless, a people who can be identified as Israelite begin to appear in what is now the West Bank, and Jordan about 1200 BC.
Correct. The distinct culture which came to be known as the Israelites emerged from the indigenous Canaanite culture. This did not happen until after the alleged events of the Exodus, however.
They did not seem to eat port.
I assume you mean pork. That's correct. It's one of the earliest and most consistent characteristics of the Israelites.
Earlier, a settlement of Canaanites has been identified as living in the west of the Nile Delta, which Genesis and Exodus calls "the Land of Goshen."
There were lots of Canaanites migrating in and out of Egypt for a long, but one group of them, the Hyksos (who were not Israelites) ended up taking over Egypt and (according to Egyptian accounts which may be exaggerated) ruled them brutally for 400 years. They were eventually expelled by a Pharaoh named Ahmose (an original Egyptian form of the name Moses) in the 16th Century BCE. After that, the Egyptians became paranoid about foreign immigration and shut down the borders. When the Israelites emerged in Canaan, several centuries later, they never left it, never got enslaved, never escaped and came back.
Numbers 1:46 says that the adult male Israelites who participated in the Exodus were 603,500. If we add women and children we are probably talking about three to four million people. The Sinai Peninsula probably could not have supported this many people for the forty years the Children of Israel are supposed to have been there. Also, that many people would have left archaeological reminders of their presence that have not been found.
Correct. Not a trace of of evidence has ever been found for any human presence at all in the Sinai at that time, much less for a group numbering in the millions. The Bible says the Israelites spent 39 of their 40 years at one particular oasis, yet not so much as a potsherd has been found there.
However, the Song of Deborah, which is chapter 5 of Judges, is believed to date to about 1200 BC. Judges 5:8 suggests that there were forty thousand Israelites at the time. That is consistent with the archaeological record.
No it isn't. At all. 40,00 people would have left considerable evidence. Archaeologists can find the remains of campfires from small groups numbering in the dozens moving in the Sinai well before and well after the alleged Exodus, but not jackshit for any humans at all in the relevant time and place. The Sinai has been scoured for decades by the most high tech and highly motivated means available, and there's nothing.

Plus, there's also still that issue that no Israelites yet existed at the time the enslavement and exodus is supposed to have taken place.

cosmosdan
08-26-2011, 11:43 PM
The Book of Mormon was a work of creative fiction similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. It claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from about 600 BC to about 421 AD. There is no evidence that any of the events in The Book of Mormon happened, and much evidence that none of them happened.

This is what the Smithsonian Institution has to say about The Book of Mormon:

http://www.godandscience.org/cults/smithsonian.html

Yes, I'm quite familiar with the Book of Mormon and As I said, I believe Joe Smith was a charlatan. The idea of the American Indians being descendents of a lost Jewish tribe was kicking around back then and there was a book of fiction concerning hidden golden plates. I just don't believe Smith or his immediate cohorts wrote the book from scratch. I think it's likely they plagiarized the ideas and theology in it from another source and I'm a little curious about where it came from.

Czarcasm
08-26-2011, 11:52 PM
Czarcasm, can you tell us who was Patroclos and how he end up in Troy? Only you have to completely disrecard the Iliad. Also stories you have heard don't count

What? There are no other data regarding Patroclos? Toughen up man, stop whining. What do you mean you have nothing?Mixed feelings.
I am sad that you have multiple personality disorder...but I am honored that you have chosen me as one of your personalities.
I find this conversation you are having with my pseudo-self interesting. Carry on.

Lobohan
08-27-2011, 12:03 AM
I am not confused because of my "silly beliefs". The fundamental premise that Diogenes appears to be working with is that the resurrection is physically impossible because of "natural laws". All I am doing is asking that he justify the existence of these natural laws and give some reason to think that they actually exist. He is the one presuming that these laws exist, and so he has to provide some evidence that they are real.The laws of physics and chemistry preclude corpses returning to life.

This is more than just some silly, academic argumentTrue, your argument is anything but academic. It's simply handwaving and wishful thinking.

, because ultimately science itself denys the possibility of fixed, immutable laws of nature. If one hold to the standard Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, then fundamentally the laws of nature are indeterministic. That means that it is not "impossible" for anything to happen, it is merely unlikely. So the statement that all of history shows that there are fixed laws of nature is clearly wrong. Whether or not the laws of quantum mechanics are deterministic or not, and whether there are immutable fixed laws really is an open question in the philosophy of science. Every proton in your left leg could degrade at once. It's unlikely, but it could happen. You however, are not coming back from the dead.

And really it is not hard to get atheists to start proclaiming that the laws of nature are in fact non-deterministic. Take for instance the Kalaam cosmological argument. The argument is essentially:
1) Anything that begins to exist has a causeLike God? Or virtual particles?

2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
What this argument shows at the least is that the natural world is not all there is, that there must be some transendent cause of the universe that exists necessarily outside of the natural world.What this argument shows is you are easily fooled by nonsense.

Premise 2 is well confirmed by modern science and cosmology. For instance The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum states that any universe that is on average inflationary in the past must have a begining at a finite point in the past, irrespective of what goes on in the plank-time moment after that begining point. That covers the vast majority of serious cosmological models. Those few that are not covered by this model do not obey the second law of thermodynamics, and are therefore pretty much dead in the water.

The only real way to avoid the conclusion of the argument is to argue that premise 1 is false, and that things can come into existence without cause. This is in direct violation of Diogenes insistence that there are natural laws that govern the behaviour of all things. So for instance in the book "Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology", the atheist philosopher Quentin Smith argues that the universe simply came into existence, from nothing, by nothing and for nothing. But if things can happen without cause that means that the premise that all things happen according to natural law is simply false.Existence from nothing isn't impossible. Again, virtual particles. But in any case, I'm not a physicist, and you aren't going to find rock solid proof of God in any physical model that people much more expert and more specialized than you have overlooked.

So given that this is genuinely a point of contention even amoung atheist philosophers I think what I am asking is entirely reasonable. If Diogenes wants us to accept that natural inviolable laws really do exist then he has to give us some reason for thinking that is true. It is entirely hypocritical to assert that I have to give evidence for the entities that assert exist, and then himself assert that questionable things exist without any evidence or reason and expect as to just accept it.Your whole argument here is based on assumptions. Your assumptions are wrong. See how easy it is?

Secondly, your ridiculous examples of living chairs get us nowhere and I can only assume brought up because you have no real argument to offer.I brought it up because it is the same argument you are using. You accept nonsense when it involves the God you believe in (and I assume not the Gods you don't believe in). Yet you reject nonsense when it doesn't benefit you by reinforcing the religious beliefs that give you comfort.

It is clearly a contrived example and one that is not all that hard to really investigate. If the chair did come alive are there any records from the time that talk about it?As it happens, there is a testament to it happening (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=14188433&postcount=191). It is very sacred to my family.

Were there any people at the time that believed it?Yes. My grandmother.

Is there any physical evidence of this alleged chair?You've seen chairs before, right? It's like one of those. It was revered for like five years, and then it was lifted into heaven. Weird, that.

Of course if you just state it I don't believe you, because it is clear that you just made it up on that spot. That has nothing to do with the resurrection which has not just one individual claim going for it, but several accounts and a whole early community that believed it.Stop for a second and listen to what you're saying. The chair is fake. But the resurrection is true. The difference is, decades after Jesus' supposed death some guys wrote conflicting accounts of his life and magic powers.

Doesn't it bug you that you have to devolve to such wretched gymnastics in order to buttress your religion?

If you are going to argue by analogy at least make sure that the situations that you use are actually analogous.

Calculon.They are perfectly analogous. You simply have a delusional devotion to the one and not the other.

It's perfectly obvious to anyone watching. You want Jesus to be magic so no matter what anyone says, he's magic.

Megas P.
08-27-2011, 02:01 AM
Speaking only for me, I have to say that you're overlooking some viable possible sources of compelling evidence. The discovery of a letter that passes all the evidenciary sniff tests from a Roman centurion to his wife that expresses "HOLY SHIT! You WILL NOT believe what I fucking saw yesterday...", or better yet several such discrete letters, from a variety of eyewitnesses who have no stake in teh Gospels' accuracy, or a long-lost diary of Pontius Pilate (again, duly authenticated) or some such. That would put a cork in my bunghole, wouldn't it? You're not quite being fair in painting Biblical skeptics as refusing to validate any and all evidence, I think. I'm willing to specify exactly what would constitute powerful evidence to me, at great length if you'd like, and to comment that to date there is no such evidence on display.

As we are discussing resurrection here, it is highly unlikely to find a pagan reference to it, as someone who witnessed such a spectacular event will most probably become a Christian, therefore invalidating his account. Pontius Pilate, never knew about the resurrection either, so if a lost journal was found it could not provide us with any information. Remember we are not discussing whether Christ existed or not but if He resurrected.

If biblical skeptics what to question resurrection, they have science to back them up. People cannot resurrect once they’ve been dead for three days. Period. There is no need to make statements such as ‘There is no evidence the disciples believed in resurrection’, which is absurd. Actually it is very unlikely to assume that even one did not believe in resurrection.

But I would be very interested in seeing what you consider validate evidence of resurrection.

Megas P.
08-27-2011, 02:08 AM
Patrocles was a fictional character. Is that an okay answer?

Well, not so much. First of all, Troy is real its been excavated. So is the Trojan war. Who can say that Patroclos did not really existed?

But all the above are immaterial as I deprive you of the one and only source that mentions Patroclos and besides the question was not if he was fictional or not but how he ended in Troy.

Taking your only source away and asking you to prove what I asked you is a neat trick isn't it?

Megas P.
08-27-2011, 03:38 AM
I know what they were theoretically. The problem is that we can't really identify what specifically came from any authentic oral tradition and what was created later. The most likely artifacts of oral tradition are generally thought to be a common sayings tradition (basically sayings and parables attributed to Jesus), but we pretty much don't have squat for an early oral tradition regarding the resurrection. Paul's appearance formula arguably represents an earlier sayings tradition, Paul himself denies that. Paul's formula also contains elements that are unlikely to have emerged from any original oral tradition.


I am not so clear about what you mean by 'Paul's formula'. Paul teachings are also part of Oral Tradition (the ones that were not documented in Epistles)

Also, I completely disagree with your premise that we have nothing for an early tradition regarding resurrection.

Think about it for a minute. Resurrection is the single most important act Jesus performed.
It is the very foundation of Christianity. Death was defeated and Life triumphed. Through Jesus death and resurrection the whole mankind was saved.
Resurrection is a vital element in Christianity. If Christ was not God he could not come back to life and he could not abolish our sins. This is the mythology of Christianity. It is very clear.

Now, I don’t know at what date you believe John’s gospel was written but let’s say late first century or early second? Am I approximately right?
What you are saying is that for a Hundred years or so, Christians where not taught or knew this vital piece of information, what will be the corner stone of Christianity in years to come.
Please remember this is a vital piece of information there and not a trivial matter.

We are also aware that when people convert to a religion they feel very strong about it and try to absorb its teachings to the max.
A hundred years time is not so much in the largest scheme of things, but if my grandfather and father and all the people I associate with teach me something and believe in it fiercely and then out of the blue someone told me something else, a vital piece of information was withheld from me, I would be very reluctant to accept it. Nevertheless we know that resurrection was accepted through the ancient Christian world.

Taking to account the fact that Paul (and presumably other Apostles) were visiting the people they converted to Christianity and preaching to them on a number of occasions, if resurrection was never in the menu for a hundred years or so and then someone started serving it, people might get suspicious as to the validity of the statement. By the first century the Church was sort of organized with Bishops and whatnot and there was communication between Christians from different towns.

How did the Gospels became so wide spread and popular if there was something in them completely new to what they have learned? Even if some town decided to become ‘heretics’ and teach bogus stuff, the other Christians would call them on it.
And once more this is not a trivial matter, it is something of vital importance to Christianity.

Early Church had very VERY strict rules about what they believed and excommunicated everyone who deviated from that.
Do you have any reasonable explanation first as to HOW and secondly as to WHY someone a hundred years or so afterwards decided to include resurrection in the teachings and somehow get away with it, in all Christianity from Asia Minor all the way to Rome?

Calculon
08-27-2011, 05:18 AM
The laws of physics and chemistry preclude corpses returning to life.

True, your argument is anything but academic. It's simply handwaving and wishful thinking.

Every proton in your left leg could degrade at once. It's unlikely, but it could happen. You however, are not coming back from the dead.

Like God? Or virtual particles?

What this argument shows is you are easily fooled by nonsense.

Existence from nothing isn't impossible. Again, virtual particles. But in any case, I'm not a physicist, and you aren't going to find rock solid proof of God in any physical model that people much more expert and more specialized than you have overlooked.

Your whole argument here is based on assumptions. Your assumptions are wrong. See how easy it is?

I brought it up because it is the same argument you are using. You accept nonsense when it involves the God you believe in (and I assume not the Gods you don't believe in). Yet you reject nonsense when it doesn't benefit you by reinforcing the religious beliefs that give you comfort.

As it happens, there is a testament to it happening (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=14188433&postcount=191). It is very sacred to my family.

Yes. My grandmother.

You've seen chairs before, right? It's like one of those. It was revered for like five years, and then it was lifted into heaven. Weird, that.

Stop for a second and listen to what you're saying. The chair is fake. But the resurrection is true. The difference is, decades after Jesus' supposed death some guys wrote conflicting accounts of his life and magic powers.

Doesn't it bug you that you have to devolve to such wretched gymnastics in order to buttress your religion?

They are perfectly analogous. You simply have a delusional devotion to the one and not the other.

It's perfectly obvious to anyone watching. You want Jesus to be magic so no matter what anyone says, he's magic.

If you are not interested in debating honestly, then I have better things to do with my time than to respond to someone that is not interested in an actual debate. It is obvious that you, nor no-one else believes in your contrived chair. Your own posts in this thread contradict your story about the chair. All that is being demonstrated by this is how you don't really have any serious argument against my position, and so have to resort to stupid tricks.

Calculon.

Der Trihs
08-27-2011, 05:48 AM
If you are not interested in debating honestly, then I have better things to do with my time than to respond to someone that is not interested in an actual debate. It is obvious that you, nor no-one else believes in your contrived chair. Your own posts in this thread contradict your story about the chair. All that is being demonstrated by this is how you don't really have any serious argument against my position, and so have to resort to stupid tricks.How is the chair any more stupid than God?

All you are doing is ignoring the obvious comparisons he is making so you can handwave anything he says away. You make ridiculous claims; he makes a ridiculous claim and asks how that's any more ridiculous than what you are saying; but that's a question you don't dare address.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-27-2011, 06:58 AM
Well, not so much. First of all, Troy is real its been excavated. So is the Trojan war. Who can say that Patroclos did not really existed?

But all the above are immaterial as I deprive you of the one and only source that mentions Patroclos and besides the question was not if he was fictional or not but how he ended in Troy.

Taking your only source away and asking you to prove what I asked you is a neat trick isn't it?

Not my job, or anyone's, to say if Patrocles really existed. Based on the evidence we have at present, he did not. End of story. He must be discussed, if at all, as a fictional character.

What Pilate knew or didn't know about the resurrection, or what a Roman witness to it later became is immaterial--the point is that that these are bits of evidence for your case. So far, you have none, and all the handwaving in the world doesn't give you any.

So what, Troy actually existed? I'm surprised you don't build a case for Jesus on the fact that Jerusalem actually existed.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-27-2011, 09:58 AM
If biblical skeptics what to question resurrection, they have science to back them up. People cannot resurrect once they’ve been dead for three days. Period. There is no need to make statements such as ‘There is no evidence the disciples believed in resurrection’, which is absurd.
Not at all. It's a stone fact that we don't have any evidence that anyone who knew Jesus ever claimed he had been physically resurrected. If you wish to dispute this, please tell us what that evidence is.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-27-2011, 10:21 AM
I am not so clear about what you mean by 'Paul's formula'.
His appearance recitation in 1 Corinthians. Scholars refer to it as a "formula" because of its rote construction.
Paul teachings are also part of Oral Tradition (the ones that were not documented in Epistles)
Cite?
Also, I completely disagree with your premise that we have nothing for an early tradition regarding resurrection.
All you have to do is show the evidence then.
Think about it for a minute. Resurrection is the single most important act Jesus performed.
It is the very foundation of Christianity.
Moroni giving Joseph Smith Golden Tablets was the very foundation of the LDS Church. Therefore it must have happened?
Now, I don’t know at what date you believe John’s gospel was written but let’s say late first century or early second? Am I approximately right?
What you are saying is that for a Hundred years or so, Christians where not taught or knew this vital piece of information, what will be the corner stone of Christianity in years to come.
Please remember this is a vital piece of information there and not a trivial matter.
Forty years or so until the empty tomb, and we don't know what they believed, exactly, but the movement could function just fine with a spiritual resurrection. That actually wasn't the most important thing in the beginning anyway. Originally, it was an apocalyptic movement. The most important thing appears to have been the imminent return of Jesus (which Jesus had promised would happen in their lifetimes), the reversal of the social order and the advent of the "Kingdom of God."
We are also aware that when people convert to a religion they feel very strong about it and try to absorb its teachings to the max.
A hundred years time is not so much in the largest scheme of things, but if my grandfather and father and all the people I associate with teach me something and believe in it fiercely and then out of the blue someone told me something else, a vital piece of information was withheld from me, I would be very reluctant to accept it
Joseph Smith's claims must be true then.
Nevertheless we know that resurrection was accepted through the ancient Christian world.
Not for the first several decades, we don't, at least not for a physical resurrection.
Taking to account the fact that Paul (and presumably other Apostles) were visiting the people they converted to Christianity and preaching to them on a number of occasions, if resurrection was never in the menu for a hundred years or so and then someone started serving it, people might get suspicious as to the validity of the statement.
Paul only said that Jesus had "appeared" to people. The hook was not the appearances, but the promise that he was about to come back.
How did the Gospels became so wide spread and popular if there was something in them completely new to what they have learned?
New to who? Christianity was a splintered movement from the start. Paul himself was a splitter. Some group somewhere eventually literalized the resurrection, but this didn't happen until after the original Jerusalem movement had disappeared in the Jewish-Roman war.
Early Church had very VERY strict rules about what they believed and excommunicated everyone who deviated from that.[.qute]
We don't know this at all about the pre-Pauline church, and we also know that there were many different versions of Christianity.
Do you have any reasonable explanation first as to HOW and secondly as to WHY someone a hundred years or so afterwards decided to include resurrection in the teachings and somehow get away with it, in all Christianity from Asia Minor all the way to Rome?
They weren't inventing a resurrection, just literalizing it to make a better story. Some groups liked that bette, some didn't. Eventually the physical resurrection group won.

iiandyiiii
08-27-2011, 03:13 PM
Calculon said:

When considering historical questions a proper historical method is to appeal to what is the "best explaination". Which explaination accounts for all of the facts and ties it together in a way that is not contrived. When considering all possible explainations I think the best one is that Jesus really did rise from the dead. That explains how the early Christian community came to believe in the resurrection and makes sense of the gospel accounts. Just appealing to the fact that resurrection is "physically impossible" as Diogones and his followers does refuses to engage with the evidence and is ultimately circular. To argue that the resurrection did not happen you would have to come up with a better explaination of the data points that we have.

This is the weakest part of your argument, Calculon. I can think of a much, much better explanation off the top of my head that takes into account all the facts (I'm not disputing them for the purposes of this post):

Jesus was the Criss Angel of his day. Everything you say is true, except that instead of being crucified and rising from the dead, he FAKED being crucified and buried (through any number of methods that are more plausible than actually rising from the dead) and then returned three days later. Maybe he hung out in the tomb in the meantime.

But the point is, even an elaborate, technologically advanced (for the time) scheme is pretty much infinitely more plausible than him rising from the dead.

I'm not saying this is what happened. I'm saying your "best explanation" is wrong, because I have a way better one.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-27-2011, 03:25 PM
Jesus was the Criss Angel of his day.

Or in this case, the Christ Angel...

Czarcasm
08-27-2011, 03:32 PM
Calculon said:



This is the weakest part of your argument, Calculon. I can think of a much, much better explanation off the top of my head that takes into account all the facts (I'm not disputing them for the purposes of this post):

Jesus was the Criss Angel of his day. Everything you say is true, except that instead of being crucified and rising from the dead, he FAKED being crucified and buried (through any number of methods that are more plausible than actually rising from the dead) and then returned three days later. Maybe he hung out in the tomb in the meantime.

But the point is, even an elaborate, technologically advanced (for the time) scheme is pretty much infinitely more plausible than him rising from the dead.

I'm not saying this is what happened. I'm saying your "best explanation" is wrong, because I have a way better one.I can top that-Someone told a good tall tale, people bought it, and the story grew in the telling.

Latro
08-27-2011, 03:43 PM
I can top that-Someone told a good tall tale, people bought it, and the story grew in the telling.

Well, that just explains Paul.

I believe that for the Jesus story there is a kernel of actual history.

Sage Rat
08-28-2011, 12:59 AM
The Song of Deborah is just as likely a poem about an entirely different god, written by an entirely different group of people, with their god's name scribbled out and Yahweh's written over it.

To follow up on this statement:

http://www.mountsaintagnes.org/uploadedFiles/Resources/Research_Papers/Deborah,%20Jael%20and%20Canaanite%20Mythology.pdf

Just one person's personal theory, of course, but the point is that it is a perfectly reasonable and plausible theory. The fact that the Israelites were probably not yet anything like a kingdom during the 12th century BC makes it, in fact, more likely than any alternative where Deborah was an Israelite.

ETA: At least three people's theory, actually:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0EOS8Xaak9QC&pg=PT524&lpg=PT524&dq=song+of+deborah+anat&source=bl&ots=y0XAi1Pj0B&sig=XVTK_D-FSg4-b71GjtcADP44iDg&hl=en&ei=xdlZTuf6A-TZiAKoqtmoCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=song%20of%20deborah%20anat&f=false

http://related.springerprotocols.com/lp/de-gruyter/deborah-and-anat-a-study-of-poetic-imagery-judges-5-v1ebcnhKK0

Diogenes the Cynic
08-28-2011, 01:09 AM
Yeah, a lot of the Psalms were derived from Ugarit literature as well, and other OT literature too. The Ugarit discovery reveals a lot about the Canaanite origin of Israelite religion and literature.

Sage Rat
08-28-2011, 01:28 AM
A lot of the debate over Jesus or the Exodus or whatever misses the big picture issue that there's sufficient evidence that Judaism is, clearly, a man-made invention. Jesus may have been a real person who existed, but if he had a private line to God, that god's name was El and El wasn't anything like a monotheist -- he ruled over a pantheon of gods largely translatable between Egyptian and Grecian gods of the same time period. That Jesus preached otherwise demonstrates that he didn't have any particular knowledge beyond what anyone else of his time did, just the same as Paul or Joseph Smith Jr.

Voyager
08-28-2011, 01:43 AM
I can top that-Someone told a good tall tale, people bought it, and the story grew in the telling.

I'd like to see evidence that the small number of Christians living in Jerusalem believed in the resurrection. They were remarkably unsuccessful about spreading their cult there - those further away did much better. You'd think that a city full of people hearing about this miracle would be more receptive.

Czarcasm
08-28-2011, 01:46 AM
I'd like to see evidence that the small number of Christians living in Jerusalem believed in the resurrection. They were remarkably unsuccessful about spreading their cult there - those further away did much better. You'd think that a city full of people hearing about this miracle would be more receptive.This idea that the further out in time and distance a story travels, the more accurate it is, just doesn't sit right with me.

Voyager
08-28-2011, 01:54 AM
No, what I am asking is for you to demonstrate that these laws actually exist. You claim that you can't believe anything exists without evidence. OK then, where is the evidence that inviolable natural laws really exist? What about quantum mechanics? If the laws of quantum mechanics are truely non-deterministic, then how does that factor into your assertion that the laws of physics are inviolable? Just merely stating that the laws "are what they are" is not an arguement.

It appears that you don't know what a physical law is.
From here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_law)
A physical law or scientific law is a scientific generalization based on empirical observations of physical behaviour (i.e. the law of nature [1]). Laws of nature are observable. Scientific laws are empirical, describing observable patterns. Empirical laws are typically conclusions based on repeated scientific experiment and observation, over many years, and which have become accepted universally within the scientific community.
So, by definition natural laws exist since they have been observed. Like anything else in science, they can change with evidence. And there is nothing that says laws must be deterministic - see the gas laws, which are statistical.

Whether or not it is the "null" whatever that means is debatable. However it is definately the conclusion that you are trying to draw. If you assume the conclusion of your argument going in, then your argument is circular. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

You're still wrong. There is plenty of evidence that dead people don't come back.


In sort, the causal agent of magical events is the person themselves. The causal agent of a miracle is a supernatural entity. If a person causes a rabbit to appear in a hat, it is magic. If God causes a rabbit to appear in a hat it is a miracle.
Of course, this raises the question what, in your view, is the difference between magic and natural law? Why is two masses moving together because of some mysterious force of gravity entirely logical, but something appearing because of a generated soundwave pattern (saying a particular spell) obviously illogical and ridiculous. Without you laying out exactly what natural law is, and what the causal agent of natural law is, then I don't think that you can assert that natural law is not simply everyday magic.



All you have to do is to show us evidence that this so-called supernatural stuff ever happened. Or happens. You not understanding what a law of physics is in no way implies that the rest of us don't, or that the concept is fuzzy in some way.

Naxos
08-28-2011, 03:08 AM
...
I'm not asking for intellectual arguments for every part of Christianity, or for the existence of God. I'm just asking to see the evidence/argument for one thing - the physical resurrection of Jesus, This is a prima facie impossible event. That means the evidence is going to have to be pretty exceptional to overcome the null. Let's see it.

There isn't any.

No minimally educated person would not know that there isn't any. So, why the challenge?

Is it because you want to challenge the Christians to use reason and logic to justify their religious beliefs? That's just pointless.

We already know that when A is false in the following conditional, then B can be anything, and the whole claim would still be logically consistent:

If A then B === for example === if a god exists then the god resurrected without any physical proof.

You can't let people assume A as true and then ask them for proof of the B, whatever that B is. It's a waste of time.

They have to prove A first.

brocks
08-28-2011, 05:56 AM
I'd like to see evidence that the small number of Christians living in Jerusalem believed in the resurrection. They were remarkably unsuccessful about spreading their cult there - those further away did much better. You'd think that a city full of people hearing about this miracle would be more receptive.

If Matthew is to be believed, Jerusalem wasn't just a city full of people hearing about a resurrection, it was a city full of people who actually saw the resurrected David, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, and other Jewish saints strolling through the streets when Jesus was crucified.

As Thomas Paine said, if there were any truth to it, there would not have been an unconverted Jew left in Jerusalem.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-28-2011, 10:43 AM
There isn't any.

No minimally educated person would not know that there isn't any. So, why the challenge?
I answered this question in the OP. I started the thread in response to an invitation from another poster who said he could prove it.

You're also wrong about educated people not appreciating the lack of proof. There are some very educated people who make their livings trying to argue that the resurrection is provable.

MrDibble
08-28-2011, 12:04 PM
Well, not so much. First of all, Troy is real its been excavated. So is the Trojan war.
There was a city, and it fell to war. That doesn't make the Trojan War real. Finding Wilusa doesn't suddenly validate discordant apples and giant wooden horses.

FriarTed
08-28-2011, 01:23 PM
If Matthew is to be believed, Jerusalem wasn't just a city full of people hearing about a resurrection, it was a city full of people who actually saw the resurrected David, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, and other Jewish saints strolling through the streets when Jesus was crucified.

As Thomas Paine said, if there were any truth to it, there would not have been an unconverted Jew left in Jerusalem.

The interpretation I've always heard made it a much lower-key event than that- it was only a few who were raised & they were seen by a few, such as their loved ones. The JWs actually interpret it that the earthquake broke open tombs so that the bodies came out & were seen by people entering Jerusalem.

brocks
08-28-2011, 04:25 PM
The interpretation I've always heard made it a much lower-key event than that- it was only a few who were raised & they were seen by a few, such as their loved ones. The JWs actually interpret it that the earthquake broke open tombs so that the bodies came out & were seen by people entering Jerusalem.

I realize that you are only reporting what the JWs say, but that interpretation is pure bullshit. The passage very clearly contradicts it. Matthew 27 (NIV):

"52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

You can read it in various other translations here (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2027:52-53&version=NIV;KJV;YLT).

They all make it clear that
a) MANY people came to life and walked into the city, and
b) they were witnessed by MANY people

The only possible quibble is exactly which people were resurrected, but if God is going to perform a miracle like that, it wouldn't make much sense to use the B list prophets.

It is clearly the greatest miracle in the Bible since the Creation, and had to be widely known if true, and yet nobody bothered to report it but Matthew. Not even the other Gospel writers would touch it.

Paranoid Randroid
08-28-2011, 04:46 PM
They all make it clear that
a) MANY people came to life and walked into the city


Untrue. Most of the translations state that the saints were merely asleep. So in fact they weren’t dead at all — I conjecture that they drank too much at a kind of slumber party and thus overslept, requiring the infinite decibels of an omnimax alarm clock.

This was in the days before one could set his smartphone to wake him up with smooth jazz or something, even when the power’s out.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-28-2011, 04:55 PM
"Sleep" was used in Greek as a euphemism for "die."

Voyager
08-28-2011, 04:59 PM
If Matthew is to be believed, Jerusalem wasn't just a city full of people hearing about a resurrection, it was a city full of people who actually saw the resurrected David, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, and other Jewish saints strolling through the streets when Jesus was crucified.

As Thomas Paine said, if there were any truth to it, there would not have been an unconverted Jew left in Jerusalem.

True, indeed, but it is hard to find many Christians willing to defend the truthfulness of the march of the holy zombies; so I usually don't even bring it up.

Voyager
08-28-2011, 05:06 PM
The interpretation I've always heard made it a much lower-key event than that- it was only a few who were raised & they were seen by a few, such as their loved ones. The JWs actually interpret it that the earthquake broke open tombs so that the bodies came out & were seen by people entering Jerusalem.
Bodies? After 1,000 years? I didn't realize that we knew how to mummify people.
Not to mention that supposedly they arose, and went into the city to be seen by many. Good trick for a collection of bones.
Anyhow, maybe the JWs interpret it that way because that is what the Bible says.

Paranoid Randroid
08-28-2011, 05:24 PM
"Sleep" was used in Greek as a euphemism for "die."

Really, now. Interesting stuff. Is there anything written about whether St Peter wore a hat (or whether he voided in the woods)?

Diogenes the Cynic
08-28-2011, 05:34 PM
There are suggestions in the Gospels that he may have dabbled in Catholicism.

If I got whooshed, my bad. When it comes to literalist apologetics, I've learned not to assume any interpretation of the language, however off the wall, is proffered in anything but dead earnest (not that I thought you actually believed the above, but I thought you might have been offering up a fundy rebuttal you'd heard somewhere).

brocks
08-28-2011, 05:56 PM
Untrue. Most of the translations state that the saints were merely asleep.

Yes, evidently free lodging in sealed tombs is one of the perqs of being a saint.

Stan Shmenge
08-29-2011, 12:59 AM
He then tries to hand-wave away the little problem that the resurrection of a dead body would be a quite extraordinary event requiring extraordinary evidence, by noting that since we've already demonstrated that an all-powerful God exists, then miracles are not a priori extraordinary. A God could poof up a miracle anytime he wants!

In other words, "A wizard did it!"

PBear42
08-29-2011, 01:31 AM
This idea that the further out in time and distance a story travels, the more accurate it is, just doesn't sit right with me.I'm pretty sure that was Voyager's point.

MrDibble
08-29-2011, 02:48 AM
Not to mention that supposedly they arose, and went into the city to be seen by many. Good trick for a collection of bones.
I'm picturing a Biblical documentary with FX by Harryhausen ;)

FriarTed
08-29-2011, 02:49 AM
I realize that you are only reporting what the JWs say, but that interpretation is pure bullshit. The passage very clearly contradicts it. Matthew 27 (NIV):

"52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

You can read it in various other translations here (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2027:52-53&version=NIV;KJV;YLT).

They all make it clear that
a) MANY people came to life and walked into the city, and
b) they were witnessed by MANY people

The only possible quibble is exactly which people were resurrected, but if God is going to perform a miracle like that, it wouldn't make much sense to use the B list prophets.

It is clearly the greatest miracle in the Bible since the Creation, and had to be widely known if true, and yet nobody bothered to report it but Matthew. Not even the other Gospel writers would touch it.

OK, I checked the Interlinear Greek & technically, it just says the bodies "were raised"- "to life" was added by the NIV translators. I do happen to think that is the correct interpretation, not the JW one, but the distinction does exist in the Greek.

As to "many" being raised & seen by "many"- yep, no denying that is in the text. But how many is "many"? *L* How many saints & how many witnesses?

Would a couple dozen saints count as 'many'? Seventh-Day Adventist teachings have suggested they may be the "twenty-four elders" of Revelation 4-5.
Would a few hundred witnesses count as 'many'? Paul in I Corinthians 15 claims that 500 had seen the raised Jesus.

Not saying that these definitions of 'many' are accurate but I think they're worth considering.

brocks
08-29-2011, 05:26 AM
OK, I checked the Interlinear Greek & technically, it just says the bodies "were raised"- "to life" was added by the NIV translators. I do happen to think that is the correct interpretation, not the JW one, but the distinction does exist in the Greek.


Just my opinion, but I would say that dead people walking into Jerusalem is just as remarkable as resurrected people walking into Jerusalem, so I don't see what is gained by the distinction.

Der Trihs
08-29-2011, 06:21 AM
Just my opinion, but I would say that dead people walking into Jerusalem is just as remarkable as resurrected people walking into Jerusalem, so I don't see what is gained by the distinction.
<Two of Christ's followers watch as the horde of undead shamble into Jerusalem>

"Ummm...are you sure he was the right Messiah?"

Czarcasm
08-29-2011, 06:38 AM
I'm pretty sure that was Voyager's point.I was agreeing with Voyager.

Czarcasm
08-29-2011, 06:40 AM
As to "many" being raised & seen by "many"- yep, no denying that is in the text. But how many is "many"? *L* How many saints & how many witnesses?Jesus was only one person who appeared to few people, and yet that got mentioned in the Bible multiple times.

Meatros
08-29-2011, 08:05 AM
Meatros and Diogenes, as we are discussing whether Christ and not any hypothetical person resurrected or not I think you will both agree that magic and giant ice ants from Pluto come as a second to God as far as how Christ was resurrected.

Not to be snarky, but I don't see why this is necessarily true. Suppose the Ancient Greeks were correct (WRT hercules and co), if that's the case, then Christ would simply be a false prophet - someone to be ignored.

Don’t forget that the only information we have for Jesus comes from the NT and although I haven’t read that for a long time, I am quite positive that Jesus relationship with God is discussed more detailed than one with giant ice ants from Pluto. As the NT goes to a great length explaining how Jesus is God and vice – versa God gets first claim as far as miracles are concerned.


You are presupposing that the NT has authority.

So to recap – You basically think that the whole NT is worthless, oral tradition holds no ground and to top that you require actual PHYSICAL evidence (I don’t even know how this is possible) that the resurrection occurred.

Not to speak for DtC, but I think that the NT is largely worthless as far as ascertaining a miraculous event. I'm open to being wrong, of course. I think the NT is useful for determining what a certain group of people believed back in the day - but as far as reality goes, it's no more persuasive then the Illiad, IMO.


Under these circumstances, yes there is no evidence about the resurrection. I freely admit it.

Why do you believe the NT claims as opposed to Seutonious - a historian - who said that Vespaisian miraculously cured someone's blindness with spit?

Meatros I have to agree with you that there were different versions of Christianity even back then, Paul even mentions this in his epistles (false preachers will come, wolves disguised as sheep or something like that).

So suppose one of those alternative versions is correct - would you then change your beliefs to the gnostic version?

Judging from the swift action taken by Paul to protect his flock, I think it’s a safe bet to say these teachings were marginalized and known to deviate from mainstream teachings. Of course someone could argue otherwise but I believe the small number of Christians in each town in conjunction with the communication between Christians from different towns (if Paul send letters then others have done as well) could alert to different teachings than the ones the Apostles told them.
Also, Paul (and presumably other apostles as well) re – visited those towns and set out disputes regarding Christianity.
You make a good point though, one that possible needs to be addressed further.

Unless, of course, Paul's beliefs WERE the ones that were eventually marginalized!

Latro
08-29-2011, 08:20 AM
Unless, of course, Paul's beliefs WERE the ones that were eventually marginalized!

Uhmm, I would suggest that it is Paul who is the wolf is sheeps clothing.

Didn't he, basically, set up his own version of Christianity?
A version different from the original movement, we know this.

We are left with Paul's version, in which the other (real!) apostles are derided, mind you.

Meatros
08-29-2011, 08:21 AM
I think you are vastly understating the evidence that "supernaturalists" as you put it would appeal to.

Maybe so, but that is not my intent.

One of the key evidenses of the reurrection is the early Christian community itself that believed in the physical resurrection of Christ. Historically we know that almost from the date of the resurrection itself onwards there was a community in Jerusalem and around the ancient world that believed in the physical resurrection of Christ. It is especially significant that this community started in Jerusalem, which was the city in which the resurrection took place, as these people would be in the best position to evaluate the truth claims of the resurrection story.

I think you are begging the question on the physical resurrection. IMO, it's not clear that the early Christian community *did* believe this, as I've repeatedly stated.

We know that the physical resurrection belief probably gained traction around 70AD. Prior to that I think the evidence is good that the early Christians, a la Paul, believed in a spiritual resurrection.

In that sense Paul is called on as a witness not to the resurrection itself, but to the existence of the community that believed in the resurrection. The reason passages like 1 Corinthians 15 are so powerful is that:
1) It is early, written probably between 20-30 years after the resurrection, which in historical terms, almost immediately.
2) It is incidental. Ultimately Paul is not trying to convince the Corinthians of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. What Paul argues for is that the Corinthians themselves will be resurrected. Apparently the Corinthians already accept the resurrection of Jesus, and so Paul uses that as a premise of his argument.

Paul is also evidence for a plethora of early competing Christian belief. I would say that Paul supports a spiritual christ, not a physical one. You would disagree.

I think Paul was trying to explain to the Corinthians the exact nature of the resurrection - a spiritual one - which is why he repeatedly attempts to explain it.

Secondly, we also have the accounts of the resurrection itself, given from at least two entirely independent source traditions (The synoptics and John). These are also, in the context of history, extremely early accounts of the resurrection, comeing probably between 30 and 60 years after the resurrection. There are also layers within the gospels (such as Q) that were written even earlier, so it is difficult to give a singular dating to the gospels.

Those are independent. Those are also not really early. Those are also not eye witness accounts.

One of the key stumbling blocks to accepting the gospels in this thread appears to be that people are arguing that they are not "eyewitness" accounts. This I think is a pointless objection. If we were to require that all history were written by eyewitnesses, then we would have to throw out nearly all of recorded history, both ancient and modern. So for instance would you insist that the only people that could write histories of the Vietnam war were veterans who participated in the battles themselves? That unless professional historians were involved in the accounts they describe they are merely reporting "heresay"? In ancient history it is even worse. Nearly no writer in ancient history directly witnessed the things that they record. Many historians write of events hundreds of years before they were born, and yet we find that they are in general reliable. While far from being eyewitnesses themselves they have good material on which to draw on, which enables them to accurately record things they were not a witness to. Given the comparatively early dating of the gospels it is necessary to assume that they likewise would have had access to good, reliable accounts of what happened. This is strengthened by the fact that apart from some minor details, both the Synoptic and John traditions report essentially the same events.

We do throw out all recorded historical events of miracles, even when they are written by eye witnesses.

Why are you trying to establish a special case for the Christian version, when it's worse then the other miracle accounts we have! This is a primary question that hasn't gotten a satisfactory answer here.

You act as though modern historians accept that Vespasian could miraculously cure blind people. As though modern historians accept that Alexander was the son of a God, as though Josephus' account of a calf giving birth to a goat was literal history.

Why do you accept the Christian story, which is not as well attested to some of these, AND not the multitude of other miracle stories?

During Sabbatai Zevi's life, he was claimed to have done miracles - do you believe that he did? I think Charles Manson was said to have levitated a bus (I seem to recall that Robert Price said that in a debate), do you believe he did?

Thirdly, there is the fact that Christianity is really quite distinct from the existing worldviews around at the time. In particular the Christian view of the resurrection of the Messiah was completely new and had no direct parallel with other beliefs. Here N. T. Wright does a good job of surveying the pre-existing views of Jesus day and showing that the Christian view of the resurrection was quite unique. Despite what people may think the ancients were not all gullable fools. To convince them to change their belief into a previously unknown, especially in the face of persecution, would not have been easy.

This is simply false - you can derive Christianity from Judiasm and paganism. How exactly is it 'distinct'?

Messiah claims were not distinct, nor were Godmen. Nor were Godmen who came back to life - there were pagan rituals that were associated with annual harvests.

Further, people DID change their beliefs frequently. There were dozens of competing claims during the time - as I mentioned. There were Jewish cults that thought that Herrod was the messiah (IIRC, Carrier mentions this in the Empty Tomb).

Your claim about persecutions is vague and I suspect founded on Christian tradition.

If this was a legitimate criteria (uniqueness) then Zoroastrianism becomes true, as does the mystery cults of ancient egypt. They were there first, of course.

When considering historical questions a proper historical method is to appeal to what is the "best explaination". Which explaination accounts for all of the facts and ties it together in a way that is not contrived. When considering all possible explainations I think the best one is that Jesus really did rise from the dead. That explains how the early Christian community came to believe in the resurrection and makes sense of the gospel accounts. Just appealing to the fact that resurrection is "physically impossible" as Diogones and his followers does refuses to engage with the evidence and is ultimately circular. To argue that the resurrection did not happen you would have to come up with a better explaination of the data points that we have.


This is Craig's argument - it is poor. We do not use this with any other miracle claim.

A better explanation is that Christianity started as a messiah cult of Judaism and that 30 years after the fact a rival sect believed in a physical resurrection - they did this by taking the old testament and creating 'what must have happened'.

Meatros
08-29-2011, 08:23 AM
Uhmm, I would suggest that it is Paul who is the wolf is sheeps clothing.

Didn't he, basically, set up his own version of Christianity?
A version different from the original movement, we know this.

We are left with Paul's version, in which the other (real!) apostles are derided, mind you.

Could be.

Or he could have been attempting to take the reigns from the other Christian leaders; they all believed the same thing (roughly), and Paul was simply trying to get power.

Paul's version is the first we have.

Meatros
08-29-2011, 08:25 AM
And really it is not hard to get atheists to start proclaiming that the laws of nature are in fact non-deterministic. Take for instance the Kalaam cosmological argument. The argument is essentially:
1) Anything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
What this argument shows at the least is that the natural world is not all there is, that there must be some transendent cause of the universe that exists necessarily outside of the natural world.

Premise 2 is well confirmed by modern science and cosmology. For instance The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum states that any universe that is on average inflationary in the past must have a begining at a finite point in the past, irrespective of what goes on in the plank-time moment after that begining point. That covers the vast majority of serious cosmological models. Those few that are not covered by this model do not obey the second law of thermodynamics, and are therefore pretty much dead in the water.

The only real way to avoid the conclusion of the argument is to argue that premise 1 is false, and that things can come into existence without cause. This is in direct violation of Diogenes insistence that there are natural laws that govern the behaviour of all things. So for instance in the book "Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology", the atheist philosopher Quentin Smith argues that the universe simply came into existence, from nothing, by nothing and for nothing. But if things can happen without cause that means that the premise that all things happen according to natural law is simply false.

Actually this isn't true - the entire thing begs the question towards the a theory of time AND although I haven't read that book, I do not think that is Quentin Smith's position since he had quite a lot of work related to the b theory of time.

It's largely irrelevant to this discussion though.

Meatros
08-29-2011, 08:57 AM
Why believe the Gospels? They were not eye witness accounts. Because they were independent? is this a reason?

If so, then do the Christians here believe that Vespasian cured a blind man with spit? (I originally brought this up here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=13765873))

It's an independently attested miracle:

Tacitus (http://www.novaroma.org/camenaeum/tacitus4.html):

One of the common people of Alexandria, well known for his blindness, threw himself at the Emperor's knees, and implored him with groans to heal his infirmity. This he did by the advice of the God Serapis, whom this nation, devoted as it is to many superstitions, worships more than any other divinity. He begged Vespasian that he would deign to moisten his cheeks and eye-balls with his spittle. Another with a diseased hand, at the counsel of the same God, prayed that the limb might feet the print of a Caesar's foot. .... And so Vespasian, supposing that all things were possible to his good fortune, and that nothing was any longer past belief, with a joyful countenance, amid the intense expectation of the multitude of bystanders, accomplished what was required. The hand was instantly restored to its use, and the light of day again shone upon the blind. Persons actually present attest both facts, even now when nothing is to be gained by falsehood.

Suetonius (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/suetonius-vespasian.asp)

Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made emperor; but these also were given him. A man of the people who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him together as he sat on the tribunal, begging for the help for their disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream; for the god declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would deign to touch it with his heel. Though he had hardly any faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank even from making the attempt, he was at last prevailed upon by his friends and tried both things in public before a large crowd; and with success. At this same time, by the direction of certain soothsayers, some vases of antique workmanship were dug up in a consecrated spot at Tegea in Arcadia and on them was an image very like Vespasian.

According to the multiple attested 'evidence', Christians who accept such should also believe that Vespasian cured a blind man through a miracle.

Do you believe this Calculon? Why or why not?

Josephus describes the following miracle (http://earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant8.html) - do you believe this happened - why or why not?

God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, (4) which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon's abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.

Josephus witnessed these sorts of miracles - do you accept that?

How about the following, which Josephus mentions here (http://earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/war6.html):

At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.

Josephus is highly regarded by modern historians - yet I would hazard a guess that none of them believe these miracles actually happened.

What's the 'best explanation' for this? That the miracles happened or that the story was hyperbole, myth, misremembered occurrence, or a misunderstanding?

As to the uniqueness of Christianity - the early Christian apologists didn't believe this. In fact, in trying to defend themselves from the Romans, Justin the Apologists tried to play up their similarities. He often pointed out that the Roman versions were Satanic mimicry.

In his dialogue with Typhro (a jew), says the following (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html):

And Trypho answered, "The Scripture has not, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,' but, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son,' and so on, as you quoted. But the whole prophecy refers to Hezekiah, and it is proved that it was fulfilled in him, according to the terms of this prophecy. Moreover, in the fables of those who are called Greeks, it is written that Perseus was begotten of Danae, who was a virgin; he who was called among them Zeus having descended on her in the form of a golden shower. And you ought to feel ashamed when you make assertions similar to theirs, and rather[should] say that this Jesus was born man of men. And if you prove from the Scriptures that He is the Christ, and that on account of having led a life conformed to the law, and perfect, He deserved the honour of being elected to be Christ,[it is well]; but do not venture to tell monstrous phenomena, lest you be convicted of talking foolishly like the Greeks."

In other words, one of the reasons the early Jews rejected Christianity was because of it's similarity with the Pagan religions. Further, as the passage illustrates, the Jews believed that the early Christians twisted scripture (the virgin passage).

Moar (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html):

CHAPTER LXIX -- THE DEVIL, SINCE HE EMULATES THE TRUTH, HAS INVENTED FABLES ABOUT BACCHUS, HERCULES, AND SCULAPIUS.

"Be well assured, then, Trypho," I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by[Jupiter's] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that[the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when he[the devil] brings forward sculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ?

To be sure, Christianity was not a copy - it was not simply plagarized Paganism. It had it's own unique qualities and it's own differences - but to say it was completely unique or that it just sprang out without any cultural references or baggage is simply not true.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-29-2011, 09:04 AM
OK, I checked the Interlinear Greek & technically, it just says the bodies "were raised"- "to life" was added by the NIV translators. I do happen to think that is the correct interpretation, not the JW one, but the distinction does exist in the Greek.
The Greek verb used for "raised" in that passage (egeiro) is the same one used repeatedly by Paul to refer to Jesus being "raised," and is also used by Luke and John to refer not only to Jesus being raised, but Jesus' raising of Lazarus as well.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
08-29-2011, 09:09 AM
Zeus having descended on her in the form of a golden shower. And you ought to feel ashamed

Total pervs, those Greek gods were....

Meatros
08-29-2011, 11:50 AM
If so, then do the Christians here believe that Vespasian cured a blind man with spit? (I originally brought this up here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=13765873))

This URL should point here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=13766644) and not where I was pointing it in the quoted section.