Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Comment Thread for The Resurrection of Jesus - Apologiaphoenix vs Gary

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Given his faith designation says Christian, he definitely believes there is more evidence for Jesus. I may not know much about Mormonism, but I spent quite a bit of time studying Islam. All self taught, but I learned a lot over the years. Gary hasn't a clue how Islam started, and the evidence involved in it. Many of the criticisms he's hurled at Christianity apply more so to Islam. Especially textual integrity.
    because one if christian and find more evidence for Jesus doesn't mean that said christain actually knows the evidence or has looked beyond their present faith.

    I am no longer a christian, so I obviously found the evidence lacking at some point, and isn't this why we have the discussion?

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Gary View Post
      I am willing to discuss the claim of the Resurrection based on accepting the positions of the majority of NT scholars, but for some reason, now Nick is not so sure of himself. If we accept the positions of the majority of NT scholars, this is what Nick and I would be forced to agree upon:

      1. Jesus was a real person in first century Palestine, crucified by the Romans.
      2. Shortly after his death, his tomb was found empty.
      3. Very soon after his crucifixion, Christians believed in a bodily resurrection of Jesus.
      4. Very soon after his crucifixion, Christians claimed that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to multiple people.
      5. Early Christians were willing to die for their belief in a Resurrection.
      6. Paul, a Jewish Pharisee, converted to Christianity due to a heavenly vision on the Damascus Road.
      7. Paul wrote at least seven, maybe thirteen, epistles after his conversion. Most scholars believe these epistles were written in the 50's and possibly early 60's.
      8. The first of the four Gospels, Mark, was written in the period 65-75 AD, most probably not by an eyewitness, nor an associate of any eyewitness.
      9. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written approximately 70-90 AD, and both borrow heavily from the Gospel of Mark. Most scholars do not believe that these gospels were written by eyewitnesses either (Luke says he wasn't.)
      10. The last gospel, John, was written in the last decades of the first century or the first few decades of the second, and most scholars do not believe that this gospel was written by an eyewitness.

      Nick: Can we agree to assume the above as the accepted evidence and move forward in our discussion? If not, why not? You said that even if the above is true, it wouldn't hurt your case and I said that the inclusion of the empty tomb would not hurt my case. So shall we proceed?
      Gary. The sad thing is that my case in the debate never relied on the Gospels and you've based it entirely on the Gospels. Grant all of these as true and I have zero problem whatsoever. I have a scenario that easily explains all the data and only requires taht God exists and wants to raise Jesus from the dead. Add in that I have the honor-shame motif working in my favor.

      If you had a response to this, why did you not give it earlier? Every time you've had a "just-so" scenario, I've presented a problem with the scenario and you ignore it and don't answer it.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
        Gary. The sad thing is that my case in the debate never relied on the Gospels and you've based it entirely on the Gospels. Grant all of these as true and I have zero problem whatsoever. I have a scenario that easily explains all the data and only requires taht God exists and wants to raise Jesus from the dead. Add in that I have the honor-shame motif working in my favor.

        If you had a response to this, why did you not give it earlier? Every time you've had a "just-so" scenario, I've presented a problem with the scenario and you ignore it and don't answer it.
        My "majority of scholars" evidence does NOT only include information from the Gospels. If you review the list, it includes Paul and his seven epistles (which would include I Corinthians 15) in that evidence. Please read my entire statements before brushing them aside with rash generalizations.

        Ok. So we've agreed on the base evidence. Now, would you concisely present your argument in brief below based upon this base evidence. (Not a full page discussion).

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Gary View Post
          My "majority of scholars" evidence does NOT only include information from the Gospels. If you review the list, it includes Paul and his seven epistles (which would include I Corinthians 15) in that evidence. Please read my entire statements before brushing them aside with rash generalizations.

          Ok. So we've agreed on the base evidence. Now, would you concisely present your argument in brief below based upon this base evidence. (Not a full page discussion).
          I didn't brush it aside.

          What would my argument be?

          Read the first post of the debate. Still the same.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
            I didn't brush it aside.

            What would my argument be?

            Read the first post of the debate. Still the same.
            Ok, so much for Nick being concise. I will repost his very long first post from the debate and we can go from there:



            Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.

            So let’s be clear. Jesus was dead. If Gary wishes to try the swoon theory, he is free to go that route, though I think that theory died centuries ago at the hands of even liberal scholars. Unless Gary raises any significant challenge to this, I will take it as a given.

            The next point I wish to make is that Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty. The start of this is that Byron McCane has written a wonderful article showing that Jesus’s burial was a shameful burial. Those interested can read that here.

            Shameful aspects include that Jesus’s family did not perform the burial and that we have no indication of any mourning going on at the time of burial. While the accounts say the women wanted to go anoint the body afterwards and perhaps to mourn, they had no guarantee they would get their wish and a guard placed could have also included a placement to avoid people going to mourn.

            Further, all four Gospels do refer to the empty tomb. This meets the criteria of multiple attestation then. Add in that not only do you have a shameful burial but women being the first witnesses to the empty tomb in the Gospels and you have the criterion of embarrassment. An account that was made up would not have this. It is difficult to imagine how Christianity could get off the ground anyway as long as Jesus’s body had been in the tomb and anyone could have known that.

            But what about Paul? Paul says, death, burial, and resurrection. Paul says nothing about an empty tomb. Nor does he really need to. Paul was a Pharisee and believed in bodily resurrection as is shown in passages like Romans 8 and others. Now it could be said by Gary and others that Paul was wrong in that belief. You can say that, but it cannot be said that Paul believed in a bodily resurrection when he talked about resurrection, but somehow made an exception for Jesus. Jesus was to be the first fruits of what happened to Christians. Robert Gundry in his classical work Soma In Biblical Greek has made a convincing case that speaking of a body would aside from perhaps metaphorical usage refer to something physical.

            Finally, The appearances, and this is quite essential when tied in with the empty tomb. An empty tomb by itself would not show Jesus was alive. Any number of strange events could explain that. Of course, it would need an explanation, but the explanation first thought of would not be “resurrection.” The appearances by themselves would also not be enough. That would just mean hallucination and the ancients knew about hallucinations and if they saw someone after their death that would most often tell them one thing. The person was dead. Let us not be so naïve as to think these people were not familiar with death. Most of them would have seen it on a more day to day basis than we do in our modern times.

            Do we have good testimony of these? Again, it’s right there in Paul. Scholars across the board agree that 1 Cor. 15 contains within it an early Christian creed. Paul speaks of passing on what he received, which is the language of oral tradition, and he uses terminology that is normally not Pauline in the universally accepted letters. This is not an isolated incidence of course as scholars think Christian creeds show up throughout the epistles, such as a baptismal confession in Romans 10 or a Christian hymn in Colossians 1 and Philippians 2.

            This is also accepted by scholars in the field.

            “The only thing that we can certainly say to be historical is that there were resurrection appearances in Galilee (and in Jerusalem) soon after Jesus’s death. These appearances cannot be denied” (Gerd Ludemann. .”What Really Happened To Jesus?” p. 81)
            “We can say with complete certainty that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that . . . he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.” (Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, pg 230).

            “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” (E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, pg 280)

            Please keep in mind also that these are non-Christian scholars. These are not scholars trying to argue for the resurrection of Jesus. They are simply looking at the data and realize that the data does show this.

            Also something noteworthy that we get from the creed is the “conversion” (A term I hesitate to use, but I do not know of a much better one) of James and Paul. Both of these were skeptics prior to the Easter event. (I use this term because something happened that day and I do not want to beg a question and say resurrection.) Neither one of them would have anything to gain by coming to Christianity. James was the brother of Jesus and it would take some strong evidence to think your brother was the Messiah (And based on early Christian testimony, I would add God in the sense of a person in the divine identity) and Paul already was an up and coming scholar in Judaism by his own testimony in Galatians 1 and had a faultless resume according to Philippians 3.

            Finally, with regard to the appearances, it’s noteworthy that many of these were group appearances. Hallucinations however are not shared events. Seeing things wrongly can be shared, such as when a magician on a stage performs a trick. Some might point to the Dancing Sun routine, but it has been pointed out that people will experience eye damage with prolonged direct staring at the sun. (I am taking this on claims I have heard. I have no desire to test this by going out and staring at the sun. Sorry. I’m married to a beautiful woman and I want to be able to look at her.)

            I also want to add in that there were a number of shameful aspects about Christianity. These were so shameful that Christianity should have never got off the ground in an honor-shame culture.

            For instance, Jesus was crucified. This would make Jesus someone you would not want to talk about over the dinner table any more than you talk about convicted pedophiles at the dinner table. In fact, to quote Bart Ehrman:
            Christians who wanted to proclaim Jesus as messiah would not have invented the notion that he was crucified because his crucifixion created such a scandal. Indeed, the apostle Paul calls it the chief "stumbling block" for Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Where did the tradition come from? It must have actually happened. (Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. pages 221-222)

            Christianity was also a new belief system. In a modern individualistic society, new is good. We like novelty. We like people thinking outside the box. Not so back then. Again, Ehrman on page 312 of the above work says to recall that in the ancient world, if something was old, it was venerable. Robert Louis Wilken points out the same in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Older was better because the older people were closer to the gods and their wisdom survived the test of time so surely we should allow it.

            In fact, this is why the Roman Empire granted toleration to the Jews and allowed them to not sacrifice to or worship the emperor, provided they did both of those things for him. When the early church began doing its evangelism, they tried to show that their belief was neither new nor strange and often wanted to argue that they were teaching the religion of Moses. After all, the new was viewed with suspicion.

            Christianity also taught a bodily resurrection. This sounds really nice to a lot of us today, but not so back then. Crossan and Reed in In Search of Paul point out that resurrection would be like returning to the shackles of prison again. At the end of Phaedo, Socrates asks that a cock be sent to the god of healing at his death. Why? Because he is being released from the prison of the body. Were Christianity changing the story to be more legendary as it went out into the pagan world, it would have dropped this belief and gone with more of a spiritual resurrection, which would have been just fine with Gnosticism.

            Christianity had a high ethical system as well. Question. Before examining the evidences for the belief system, which one sounds better to you? Is it one that calls you to die to yourself, to not be attached to worldly wealth, to forgive those who wrong you and to not seek to do harm by your own means and to keep sexual activity only between husband and wife in a marital union, or one that allows you to live life as you see fit provided you follow a through rituals from time to time?

            Also, more shameful aspects of Jesus could easily be lined up. He was a Jew. He was from Galilee. Make it worse, he was from Nazareth. He did not have a job that ranked social approval and was not a politican or a war hero or anything like that. He was so unremarkable to the world that we could say that the Roman army put him down quite quickly after his entrance into Jerusalem. Without the belief in the resurrection, it’s doubtful anyone would have said anything about Him.

            Despite all of this, people came to Christianity. This included also the middle and upper class. These were the people who had the means to check and verify the claims. They had the most honor to lose if they made their bets wrong. We know there were wealthy people also because of how much writing the early church did and it cost money to write the epistles even. E. Randolph Richards in Rediscovering Paul argues that 1 Corinthians would cost in today’s prices about $2,100 to prepare, Galatians $700, and 1 Thessalonians $500. Paul wasn’t loaded. That money had to come from somewhere.

            Early Christians then were being asked to identify themselves with someone who was seen by the Gentiles as a traitor to the Roman Empire and by the Jews as a blasphemer to YHWH. If you were a middle and upper class person, this was a hefty sacrifice to make as you would be a deviant to the world around you, and yet they made it. Why? What convinced them?

            Now what are some possible explanations of this data?

            Hallucinations are a common one, but hallucinations do not explain the group appearances. They also do not explain the empty tomb. Ultimately this has to be combined with some other theory. It would not explain as well the conversion of the rich and middle class to Christianity as these people did not have the hallucinations and would have simply been using fact-checkers.

            Cognitive Dissonance is another favorite technique to use, but this is not only problematic psycho-history, but really goes against the cases that we know of. CD explains why some people hold on to a belief, but it does not explain why new people come to the belief. It also assumes that the people at the time would have had internal feelings of guilt and such to deal with, but we have no evidence that such a thing happened. I agree with N.T. Wright that when your Messiah died back then, you had two choices. Go home or get a new Messiah. The Christian movement is the only one that lasted after the death of their Messiah.

            Gary could try legendary development, but the story containing embarrassing details does not fit with this. We also have the church all saying consistently the same story that Jesus was raised from the dead. It is when we get closer to the second century that we start seeing Gnosticism and Docetism rise up. In fact, both of these could be seen as a roundabout way of demonstrating the claim. It would be unthinkable that a deity would take on a body or allow himself to die on a cross. Surely it must have been a trick somehow! Were the Christians making legends, this is where they would go, but they instead saw these people as heretics.

            There are more, but my post is getting lengthy, so let me state what we have so far. These claims themselves are not controversial.

            Jesus died by crucifixion.

            Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty. (To be fair, some dispute the empty tomb, but I find it to be quite solid)

            Jesus’s closest followers claimed to see Him alive after His death.

            Skeptics like James and Paul joined the movement.

            The movement was utterly shameful and would have been rejected by most everyone in the culture back then.

            I find the best explanation of all of this data is the one that the church itself gave. They were convinced that God raised Jesus from the dead. Why were they? Probably because that was in fact what happened. The only belief I really have to add to this is that there is a god, and if we’re even coming at this as neutral and not assuming atheism or even theism, then we could in fact consider this as possible evidence for theism, or something that could at least give us pause before going with atheism. (I do of course argue for theism elsewhere on independent grounds, but that is not the subject of this debate.)

            For Gary’s case, he is going to have to work to show the claims that I have wrong if he thinks there are any and he is going to have to provide a better historical explanation that explains more of the data better than my theory does.
            I look forward to seeing what that is.

            Comment


            • Nick: "Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross."

              Gary: The assertion that Jesus was so hypovolemic that he could not carry his own cross, and, the claim that a soldier thrust a spear into his side is hearsay. We have no corroboration for these claims other than from the documents under scrutiny; the documents for which Nick says he has no need to prove his case; the very documents that we are examining for their reliability and historical accuracy (the Gospels). Paul of Tarsus never mentions these details.

              Nick: "So let’s be clear. Jesus was dead. If Gary wishes to try the swoon theory, he is free to go that route, though I think that theory died centuries ago at the hands of even liberal scholars. Unless Gary raises any significant challenge to this, I will take it as a given."

              Gary: I do not believe the swoon theory. I accept as historic fact that Jesus was crucified. The idea of a person being crucified by the Romans and still live, but swoon, is too improbable for me to believe.

              Nick: "The next point I wish to make is that Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty.

              Gary: I have already said that I will accept the empty tomb as historical fact.

              Nick: "The start of this is that Byron McCane has written a wonderful article showing that Jesus’s burial was a shameful burial. Those interested can read that here.

              Shameful aspects include that Jesus’s family did not perform the burial and that we have no indication of any mourning going on at the time of burial. While the accounts say the women wanted to go anoint the body afterwards and perhaps to mourn, they had no guarantee they would get their wish and a guard placed could have also included a placement to avoid people going to mourn."

              Gary: One of the gospels say that Mary the mother of Jesus was at the cross. So if women accompanied Aramathea to the tomb as a gospel says, Mary may have been there. If Aramathea was truly a disciple of Jesus as Matthew claims, he most likely allowed Mary the mother of Jesus to assist in the burial preparation. Matthew also says that some of the women sat outside across from the tomb. So to say as fact that Jesus' family was not involved in the burial is an assumption, not based on evidence. If the women were mourning at the cross, they would have been mourning at the tomb when accompanying Aramathea. There was no guard there until sometime later. Aramathea may have given the mother of Jesus and maybe some of his sisters some time with the body. Bottom line: there were "women" present at the time of the burial, if we are to believe Matthew.

              Nick: "Further, all four Gospels do refer to the empty tomb. This meets the criteria of multiple attestation then. Add in that not only do you have a shameful burial but women being the first witnesses to the empty tomb in the Gospels and you have the criterion of embarrassment. An account that was made up would not have this. It is difficult to imagine how Christianity could get off the ground anyway as long as Jesus’s body had been in the tomb and anyone could have known that."

              Gary: I am not contesting the empty tomb, as I mentioned above. I agree that Jesus crucifixion, death, and burial were very shameful, especially in Jewish culture. "An account that was made up would not have this." This is a blatant assumption. I agree that it is not likely that anyone would have made this up. but to say it was impossible is impossible to know. Furthermore, most skeptics do not believe that early Christians intentionally fabricated facts for the purpose of deception. For instance, I think the author of Matthew may well have thrown in his fantastical details, not to deceive, but to support this theological perspective. And the last sentence in Nick's comment betrays another assumption: there are many more naturalist, much more probable explanations for an empty tomb than that a god had taken the body. Yes, let's agree there was an empty tomb...but this does not mean that Jesus body was not removed or stolen prior to Sunday morning when the female disciples arrived at the garden.

              Nick: "But what about Paul? Paul says, death, burial, and resurrection. Paul says nothing about an empty tomb. Nor does he really need to. Paul was a Pharisee and believed in bodily resurrection as is shown in passages like Romans 8 and others."

              Gary: I do not contest Paul's belief as a Pharisee in a bodily resurrection. I also do not contest Paul's belief that Jesus had been bodily resurrected. I accept these positions as fact.

              Nick: "Do we have good testimony of these? Again, it’s right there in Paul. Scholars across the board agree that 1 Cor. 15 contains within it an early Christian creed. Paul speaks of passing on what he received, which is the language of oral tradition, and he uses terminology that is normally not Pauline in the universally accepted letters."

              Gary: I accept as historical fact that Paul was quoting an early Christian Creed in I Corinthians. I do not contest the possibility that it was written within five years of Jesus' death.

              Nick: ---“The only thing that we can certainly say to be historical is that there were resurrection appearances in Galilee (and in Jerusalem) soon after Jesus’s death. These appearances cannot be denied” (Gerd Ludemann. .”What Really Happened To Jesus?” p. 81)
              “We can say with complete certainty that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that . . . he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.” (Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, pg 230).

              “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” (E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, pg 280) ---

              Gary: Note that Sanders and Ehrman believe that shortly after Jesus death that the disciples BELIEVED that Jesus had appeared to them. Only Ludemann says that there "were" resurrection appearances. I would be curious to know on what evidence Ludemann makes this claim of fact. Even if 500 people today claim to see Elvis, the most that those of us who weren't there can say is that, "Five hundred people BELEIVE they saw Elvis". We cannot state it as fact if we weren't there or do not have audio and video.

              Nick: "Also something noteworthy that we get from the creed is the “conversion” (A term I hesitate to use, but I do not know of a much better one) of James and Paul. Both of these were skeptics prior to the Easter event. (I use this term because something happened that day and I do not want to beg a question and say resurrection.) Neither one of them would have anything to gain by coming to Christianity. James was the brother of Jesus and it would take some strong evidence to think your brother was the Messiah (And based on early Christian testimony, I would add God in the sense of a person in the divine identity) and Paul already was an up and coming scholar in Judaism by his own testimony in Galatians 1 and had a faultless resume according to Philippians 3."

              Gary: How do we know that neither Paul nor James had anything to gain from joining the movement? I agree that it seems as if Paul had nothing to gain, but we cannot rule out James. He was the brother of the leader of the group. It is unlikely that James would convert for a profit or power motive, but we cannot rule it out completely. To do so is to make another assumption.

              Nick: "Finally, with regard to the appearances, it’s noteworthy that many of these were group appearances. Hallucinations however are not shared events. Seeing things wrongly can be shared, such as when a magician on a stage performs a trick. Some might point to the Dancing Sun routine, but it has been pointed out that people will experience eye damage with prolonged direct staring at the sun. (I am taking this on claims I have heard. I have no desire to test this by going out and staring at the sun. Sorry. I’m married to a beautiful woman and I want to be able to look at her.)"
              Last edited by Gary; 07-27-2015, 06:47 PM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                Nick: "Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross."

                The assertion that Jesus was so hypovolemic that he could not carry his own cross, and, the claim that a soldier thrust a spear into his side is hearsay. We have no corroboration for these claims other than from the documents under scrutiny; the documents for which we are trying to prove their reliability and historical accuracy (the Gospels. Paul of Tarsus never mentions these details).
                Do you want to really argue that Jesus did survive the cross somehow?

                Also, do you know why hearsay is unusable in a court of law?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                  Do you want to really argue that Jesus did survive the cross somehow?

                  Also, do you know why hearsay is unusable in a court of law?
                  Nick, give me about a half an hour to reply to your entire post. I don't know how to intersperse my comments with yours. That is why I asked you to be brief.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                    "According to the traditional Islamic view, the Qur'an (Koran) began with revelations to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in 610. The history of the Qur'an began when its verses were revealed to the Muhammad. The rise of Islam began around the time Muslims took flight in the Hijra, moving to Medina."

                    Please explain where I contradicted these accepted historical facts about Islam.
                    Wait, you're taking their word for it on Jibreel(the Arabic version of Gabriel) now? Which is it, are you going with the "traditional view", or that supported by history?

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

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

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

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

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by William View Post
                      because one if christian and find more evidence for Jesus doesn't mean that said christain actually knows the evidence or has looked beyond their present faith.

                      I am no longer a christian, so I obviously found the evidence lacking at some point, and isn't this why we have the discussion?
                      You asked what OBP's stance was in that post. I answered. You're getting kind of nitpicky right now.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                        Nick: "Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross."

                        Gary: The assertion that Jesus was so hypovolemic that he could not carry his own cross, and, the claim that a soldier thrust a spear into his side is hearsay. We have no corroboration for these claims other than from the documents under scrutiny; the documents for which Nick says he has no need to prove his case; the very documents that we are examining for their reliability and historical accuracy (the Gospels). Paul of Tarsus never mentions these details.

                        Nick: "So let’s be clear. Jesus was dead. If Gary wishes to try the swoon theory, he is free to go that route, though I think that theory died centuries ago at the hands of even liberal scholars. Unless Gary raises any significant challenge to this, I will take it as a given."

                        Gary: I do not believe the swoon theory. I accept as historic fact that Jesus was crucified. The idea of a person being crucified by the Romans and still live, but swoon, is too improbable for me to believe.

                        Nick: "The next point I wish to make is that Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty.

                        Gary: I have already said that I will accept the empty tomb as historical fact.

                        Nick: "The start of this is that Byron McCane has written a wonderful article showing that Jesus’s burial was a shameful burial. Those interested can read that here.

                        Shameful aspects include that Jesus’s family did not perform the burial and that we have no indication of any mourning going on at the time of burial. While the accounts say the women wanted to go anoint the body afterwards and perhaps to mourn, they had no guarantee they would get their wish and a guard placed could have also included a placement to avoid people going to mourn."

                        Gary: One of the gospels say that Mary the mother of Jesus was at the cross. So if women accompanied Aramathea to the tomb as a gospel says, Mary may have been there. If Aramathea was truly a disciple of Jesus as Matthew claims, he most likely allowed Mary the mother of Jesus to assist in the burial preparation. Matthew also says that some of the women sat outside across from the tomb. So to say as fact that Jesus' family was not involved in the burial is an assumption, not based on evidence. If the women were mourning at the cross, they would have been mourning at the tomb when accompanying Aramathea. There was no guard there until sometime later. Aramathea may have given the mother of Jesus and maybe some of his sisters some time with the body. Bottom line: there were "women" present at the time of the burial, if we are to believe Matthew.

                        Nick: "Further, all four Gospels do refer to the empty tomb. This meets the criteria of multiple attestation then. Add in that not only do you have a shameful burial but women being the first witnesses to the empty tomb in the Gospels and you have the criterion of embarrassment. An account that was made up would not have this. It is difficult to imagine how Christianity could get off the ground anyway as long as Jesus’s body had been in the tomb and anyone could have known that."

                        Gary: I am not contesting the empty tomb, as I mentioned above. I agree that Jesus crucifixion, death, and burial were very shameful, especially in Jewish culture. "An account that was made up would not have this." This is a blatant assumption. I agree that it is not likely that anyone would have made this up. but to say it was impossible is impossible to know. Furthermore, most skeptics do not believe that early Christians intentionally fabricated facts for the purpose of deception. For instance, I think the author of Matthew may well have thrown in his fantastical details, not to deceive, but to support this theological perspective. And the last sentence in Nick's comment betrays another assumption: there are many more naturalist, much more probable explanations for an empty tomb than that a god had taken the body. Yes, let's agree there was an empty tomb...but this does not mean that Jesus body was not removed or stolen prior to Sunday morning when the female disciples arrived at the garden.

                        Nick: "But what about Paul? Paul says, death, burial, and resurrection. Paul says nothing about an empty tomb. Nor does he really need to. Paul was a Pharisee and believed in bodily resurrection as is shown in passages like Romans 8 and others."

                        Gary: I do not contest Paul's belief as a Pharisee in a bodily resurrection. I also do not contest Paul's belief that Jesus had been bodily resurrected. I accept these positions as fact.

                        Nick: "Do we have good testimony of these? Again, it’s right there in Paul. Scholars across the board agree that 1 Cor. 15 contains within it an early Christian creed. Paul speaks of passing on what he received, which is the language of oral tradition, and he uses terminology that is normally not Pauline in the universally accepted letters."

                        Gary: I accept as historical fact that Paul was quoting an early Christian Creed in I Corinthians. I do not contest the possibility that it was written within five years of Jesus' death.

                        Nick: ---“The only thing that we can certainly say to be historical is that there were resurrection appearances in Galilee (and in Jerusalem) soon after Jesus’s death. These appearances cannot be denied” (Gerd Ludemann. .”What Really Happened To Jesus?” p. 81)
                        “We can say with complete certainty that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that . . . he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.” (Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, pg 230).

                        “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” (E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, pg 280) ---

                        Gary: Note that Sanders and Ehrman believe that shortly after Jesus death that the disciples BELIEVED that Jesus had appeared to them. Only Ludemann says that there "were" resurrection appearances. I would be curious to know on what evidence Ludemann makes this claim of fact. Even if 500 people today claim to see Elvis, the most that those of us who weren't there can say is that, "Five hundred people BELEIVE they saw Elvis". We cannot state it as fact if we weren't there or do not have audio and video.

                        Nick: "Also something noteworthy that we get from the creed is the “conversion” (A term I hesitate to use, but I do not know of a much better one) of James and Paul. Both of these were skeptics prior to the Easter event. (I use this term because something happened that day and I do not want to beg a question and say resurrection.) Neither one of them would have anything to gain by coming to Christianity. James was the brother of Jesus and it would take some strong evidence to think your brother was the Messiah (And based on early Christian testimony, I would add God in the sense of a person in the divine identity) and Paul already was an up and coming scholar in Judaism by his own testimony in Galatians 1 and had a faultless resume according to Philippians 3."

                        Gary: How do we know that neither Paul nor James had anything to gain from joining the movement? I agree that it seems as if Paul had nothing to gain, but we cannot rule out James. He was the brother of the leader of the group. It is unlikely that James would convert for a profit or power motive, but we cannot rule it out completely. To do so is to make another assumption.

                        Nick: "Finally, with regard to the appearances, it’s noteworthy that many of these were group appearances. Hallucinations however are not shared events. Seeing things wrongly can be shared, such as when a magician on a stage performs a trick. Some might point to the Dancing Sun routine, but it has been pointed out that people will experience eye damage with prolonged direct staring at the sun. (I am taking this on claims I have heard. I have no desire to test this by going out and staring at the sun. Sorry. I’m married to a beautiful woman and I want to be able to look at her.)"
                        Nick: "Finally, with regard to the appearances, it’s noteworthy that many of these were group appearances. Hallucinations however are not shared events. Seeing things wrongly can be shared, such as when a magician on a stage performs a trick. Some might point to the Dancing Sun routine, but it has been pointed out that people will experience eye damage with prolonged direct staring at the sun. (I am taking this on claims I have heard. I have no desire to test this by going out and staring at the sun. Sorry. I’m married to a beautiful woman and I want to be able to look at her.)"

                        Gary: It is noteworthy that we have several ALLEGED group appearances. Let's leave out the Gospels, as per Nick's request, and only concentrate on Paul. Paul states that the appearance of Jesus to him was personal, not as a group. His alleged traveling companions may have heard a sound or seen a light (depending which version, in which chapter of Acts you read) but Paul does not allege that his companions saw Jesus or heard him speak. Paul recounts a list of witnesses in I Corinthians, but he recounts it not as if he is listing people he has interviewed to confirm their story, but as if he is reciting a Creed. How do we know Paul verified this information? The list of witnesses is oddly out of order and even incorrect. Cephas is not listed as the first witness in the four Gospels or in Acts.

                        And when Paul recites (as part of a Creed which he has received second, third, or fourth hand) that five hundred witnesses saw the resurrected Jesus at the same time and the same place, how do we know that Paul has interviewed a single one of these people? Maybe Paul is just reciting a list of witnesses that he was TOLD was true, but Paul never verified it. And when Paul says that some or most are still alive, again, is this first hand knowledge or second/third/fourth hand information? Bottom line: we don't know.

                        Ok. I think that is a good place to stop and let Nick respond. I have some work I have to get done this afternoon. I will pick up where I left off later today.
                        Last edited by Gary; 07-27-2015, 07:36 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                          Ok, so much for Nick being concise. I will repost his very long first post from the debate and we can go from there:



                          Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.

                          So let’s be clear. Jesus was dead. If Gary wishes to try the swoon theory, he is free to go that route, though I think that theory died centuries ago at the hands of even liberal scholars. Unless Gary raises any significant challenge to this, I will take it as a given.

                          The next point I wish to make is that Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty. The start of this is that Byron McCane has written a wonderful article showing that Jesus’s burial was a shameful burial. Those interested can read that here.

                          Shameful aspects include that Jesus’s family did not perform the burial and that we have no indication of any mourning going on at the time of burial. While the accounts say the women wanted to go anoint the body afterwards and perhaps to mourn, they had no guarantee they would get their wish and a guard placed could have also included a placement to avoid people going to mourn.

                          Further, all four Gospels do refer to the empty tomb. This meets the criteria of multiple attestation then. Add in that not only do you have a shameful burial but women being the first witnesses to the empty tomb in the Gospels and you have the criterion of embarrassment. An account that was made up would not have this. It is difficult to imagine how Christianity could get off the ground anyway as long as Jesus’s body had been in the tomb and anyone could have known that.

                          But what about Paul? Paul says, death, burial, and resurrection. Paul says nothing about an empty tomb. Nor does he really need to. Paul was a Pharisee and believed in bodily resurrection as is shown in passages like Romans 8 and others. Now it could be said by Gary and others that Paul was wrong in that belief. You can say that, but it cannot be said that Paul believed in a bodily resurrection when he talked about resurrection, but somehow made an exception for Jesus. Jesus was to be the first fruits of what happened to Christians. Robert Gundry in his classical work Soma In Biblical Greek has made a convincing case that speaking of a body would aside from perhaps metaphorical usage refer to something physical.

                          Finally, The appearances, and this is quite essential when tied in with the empty tomb. An empty tomb by itself would not show Jesus was alive. Any number of strange events could explain that. Of course, it would need an explanation, but the explanation first thought of would not be “resurrection.” The appearances by themselves would also not be enough. That would just mean hallucination and the ancients knew about hallucinations and if they saw someone after their death that would most often tell them one thing. The person was dead. Let us not be so naïve as to think these people were not familiar with death. Most of them would have seen it on a more day to day basis than we do in our modern times.

                          Do we have good testimony of these? Again, it’s right there in Paul. Scholars across the board agree that 1 Cor. 15 contains within it an early Christian creed. Paul speaks of passing on what he received, which is the language of oral tradition, and he uses terminology that is normally not Pauline in the universally accepted letters. This is not an isolated incidence of course as scholars think Christian creeds show up throughout the epistles, such as a baptismal confession in Romans 10 or a Christian hymn in Colossians 1 and Philippians 2.

                          This is also accepted by scholars in the field.

                          “The only thing that we can certainly say to be historical is that there were resurrection appearances in Galilee (and in Jerusalem) soon after Jesus’s death. These appearances cannot be denied” (Gerd Ludemann. .”What Really Happened To Jesus?” p. 81)
                          “We can say with complete certainty that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that . . . he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.” (Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, pg 230).

                          “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” (E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, pg 280)

                          Please keep in mind also that these are non-Christian scholars. These are not scholars trying to argue for the resurrection of Jesus. They are simply looking at the data and realize that the data does show this.

                          Also something noteworthy that we get from the creed is the “conversion” (A term I hesitate to use, but I do not know of a much better one) of James and Paul. Both of these were skeptics prior to the Easter event. (I use this term because something happened that day and I do not want to beg a question and say resurrection.) Neither one of them would have anything to gain by coming to Christianity. James was the brother of Jesus and it would take some strong evidence to think your brother was the Messiah (And based on early Christian testimony, I would add God in the sense of a person in the divine identity) and Paul already was an up and coming scholar in Judaism by his own testimony in Galatians 1 and had a faultless resume according to Philippians 3.

                          Finally, with regard to the appearances, it’s noteworthy that many of these were group appearances. Hallucinations however are not shared events. Seeing things wrongly can be shared, such as when a magician on a stage performs a trick. Some might point to the Dancing Sun routine, but it has been pointed out that people will experience eye damage with prolonged direct staring at the sun. (I am taking this on claims I have heard. I have no desire to test this by going out and staring at the sun. Sorry. I’m married to a beautiful woman and I want to be able to look at her.)

                          I also want to add in that there were a number of shameful aspects about Christianity. These were so shameful that Christianity should have never got off the ground in an honor-shame culture.

                          For instance, Jesus was crucified. This would make Jesus someone you would not want to talk about over the dinner table any more than you talk about convicted pedophiles at the dinner table. In fact, to quote Bart Ehrman:
                          Christians who wanted to proclaim Jesus as messiah would not have invented the notion that he was crucified because his crucifixion created such a scandal. Indeed, the apostle Paul calls it the chief "stumbling block" for Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Where did the tradition come from? It must have actually happened. (Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. pages 221-222)

                          Christianity was also a new belief system. In a modern individualistic society, new is good. We like novelty. We like people thinking outside the box. Not so back then. Again, Ehrman on page 312 of the above work says to recall that in the ancient world, if something was old, it was venerable. Robert Louis Wilken points out the same in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Older was better because the older people were closer to the gods and their wisdom survived the test of time so surely we should allow it.

                          In fact, this is why the Roman Empire granted toleration to the Jews and allowed them to not sacrifice to or worship the emperor, provided they did both of those things for him. When the early church began doing its evangelism, they tried to show that their belief was neither new nor strange and often wanted to argue that they were teaching the religion of Moses. After all, the new was viewed with suspicion.

                          Christianity also taught a bodily resurrection. This sounds really nice to a lot of us today, but not so back then. Crossan and Reed in In Search of Paul point out that resurrection would be like returning to the shackles of prison again. At the end of Phaedo, Socrates asks that a cock be sent to the god of healing at his death. Why? Because he is being released from the prison of the body. Were Christianity changing the story to be more legendary as it went out into the pagan world, it would have dropped this belief and gone with more of a spiritual resurrection, which would have been just fine with Gnosticism.

                          Christianity had a high ethical system as well. Question. Before examining the evidences for the belief system, which one sounds better to you? Is it one that calls you to die to yourself, to not be attached to worldly wealth, to forgive those who wrong you and to not seek to do harm by your own means and to keep sexual activity only between husband and wife in a marital union, or one that allows you to live life as you see fit provided you follow a through rituals from time to time?

                          Also, more shameful aspects of Jesus could easily be lined up. He was a Jew. He was from Galilee. Make it worse, he was from Nazareth. He did not have a job that ranked social approval and was not a politican or a war hero or anything like that. He was so unremarkable to the world that we could say that the Roman army put him down quite quickly after his entrance into Jerusalem. Without the belief in the resurrection, it’s doubtful anyone would have said anything about Him.

                          Despite all of this, people came to Christianity. This included also the middle and upper class. These were the people who had the means to check and verify the claims. They had the most honor to lose if they made their bets wrong. We know there were wealthy people also because of how much writing the early church did and it cost money to write the epistles even. E. Randolph Richards in Rediscovering Paul argues that 1 Corinthians would cost in today’s prices about $2,100 to prepare, Galatians $700, and 1 Thessalonians $500. Paul wasn’t loaded. That money had to come from somewhere.

                          Early Christians then were being asked to identify themselves with someone who was seen by the Gentiles as a traitor to the Roman Empire and by the Jews as a blasphemer to YHWH. If you were a middle and upper class person, this was a hefty sacrifice to make as you would be a deviant to the world around you, and yet they made it. Why? What convinced them?

                          Now what are some possible explanations of this data?

                          Hallucinations are a common one, but hallucinations do not explain the group appearances. They also do not explain the empty tomb. Ultimately this has to be combined with some other theory. It would not explain as well the conversion of the rich and middle class to Christianity as these people did not have the hallucinations and would have simply been using fact-checkers.

                          Cognitive Dissonance is another favorite technique to use, but this is not only problematic psycho-history, but really goes against the cases that we know of. CD explains why some people hold on to a belief, but it does not explain why new people come to the belief. It also assumes that the people at the time would have had internal feelings of guilt and such to deal with, but we have no evidence that such a thing happened. I agree with N.T. Wright that when your Messiah died back then, you had two choices. Go home or get a new Messiah. The Christian movement is the only one that lasted after the death of their Messiah.

                          Gary could try legendary development, but the story containing embarrassing details does not fit with this. We also have the church all saying consistently the same story that Jesus was raised from the dead. It is when we get closer to the second century that we start seeing Gnosticism and Docetism rise up. In fact, both of these could be seen as a roundabout way of demonstrating the claim. It would be unthinkable that a deity would take on a body or allow himself to die on a cross. Surely it must have been a trick somehow! Were the Christians making legends, this is where they would go, but they instead saw these people as heretics.

                          There are more, but my post is getting lengthy, so let me state what we have so far. These claims themselves are not controversial.

                          Jesus died by crucifixion.

                          Jesus was buried and the tomb was found empty. (To be fair, some dispute the empty tomb, but I find it to be quite solid)

                          Jesus’s closest followers claimed to see Him alive after His death.

                          Skeptics like James and Paul joined the movement.

                          The movement was utterly shameful and would have been rejected by most everyone in the culture back then.

                          I find the best explanation of all of this data is the one that the church itself gave. They were convinced that God raised Jesus from the dead. Why were they? Probably because that was in fact what happened. The only belief I really have to add to this is that there is a god, and if we’re even coming at this as neutral and not assuming atheism or even theism, then we could in fact consider this as possible evidence for theism, or something that could at least give us pause before going with atheism. (I do of course argue for theism elsewhere on independent grounds, but that is not the subject of this debate.)

                          For Gary’s case, he is going to have to work to show the claims that I have wrong if he thinks there are any and he is going to have to provide a better historical explanation that explains more of the data better than my theory does.
                          I look forward to seeing what that is.
                          Nick: "I also want to add in that there were a number of shameful aspects about Christianity. These were so shameful that Christianity should have never got off the ground in an honor-shame culture.

                          For instance, Jesus was crucified. This would make Jesus someone you would not want to talk about over the dinner table any more than you talk about convicted pedophiles at the dinner table. In fact, to quote Bart Ehrman: Christians who wanted to proclaim Jesus as messiah would not have invented the notion that he was crucified because his crucifixion created such a scandal. Indeed, the apostle Paul calls it the chief "stumbling block" for Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Where did the tradition come from? It must have actually happened. (Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. pages 221-222)

                          Gary: I do not question the historicity of the crucifixion, only the bodily resurrection claim.

                          Nick: "Christianity was also a new belief system. In a modern individualistic society, new is good. We like novelty. We like people thinking outside the box. Not so back then. Again, Ehrman on page 312 of the above work says to recall that in the ancient world, if something was old, it was venerable. Robert Louis Wilken points out the same in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Older was better because the older people were closer to the gods and their wisdom survived the test of time so surely we should allow it.

                          In fact, this is why the Roman Empire granted toleration to the Jews and allowed them to not sacrifice to or worship the emperor, provided they did both of those things for him. When the early church began doing its evangelism, they tried to show that their belief was neither new nor strange and often wanted to argue that they were teaching the religion of Moses. After all, the new was viewed with suspicion.

                          Gary: I do not contest that it would be very odd for any first century Jew to believe in a dying/rising Messiah, especially a crucified one.

                          Nick: "Christianity also taught a bodily resurrection. This sounds really nice to a lot of us today, but not so back then. Crossan and Reed in In Search of Paul point out that resurrection would be like returning to the shackles of prison again. At the end of Phaedo, Socrates asks that a cock be sent to the god of healing at his death. Why? Because he is being released from the prison of the body. Were Christianity changing the story to be more legendary as it went out into the pagan world, it would have dropped this belief and gone with more of a spiritual resurrection, which would have been just fine with Gnosticism."

                          Gary: Neither me nor most skeptics believe that the Christians made this stuff up. We believe that the early Christians sincerely believed that there had been a bodily resurrection, and, that this belief gave them great courage to boldly preach the message of Jesus. However, we contend that it is more probable that first century Jews came to this conclusion based on a mistake or several mistakes (false sightings, visions, rumors based on the supernatural---"I saw a figure in the fog last night. I think it was Jesus."), than that an actual dead body was reanimated by an ancient middle-eastern deity. Let me re-emphasize this point: MOST SKEPTICS DO NOT BELEIVE THAT EARLY CHRISTIANS MADE THIS STUFF UP TO DECEIVE.

                          Nick: Christianity had a high ethical system as well. Question. Before examining the evidences for the belief system, which one sounds better to you? Is it one that calls you to die to yourself, to not be attached to worldly wealth, to forgive those who wrong you and to not seek to do harm by your own means and to keep sexual activity only between husband and wife in a marital union, or one that allows you to live life as you see fit provided you follow a through rituals from time to time?

                          Gary: If the Gospel stories are historically accurate, the disciples of Jesus had already accepted poverty, pacifism, and sexual morality, and for some, chastity, as a way of life. Therefore, if one is convinced by false sightings, visions, and supernatural claims that Jesus has risen, and is the Messiah (and/or God in some sense), it would only seem natural to adopt the lifestyle of the disciples. Once again, I do not think the Christians were lying. They genuinely (but incorrectly, in my opinion) believed a dead man had been reanimated by an ancient deity and this was a dramatic, life-altering event for them. I agree, I do not believe that first century Jews would do all this for something they believed was a lie.

                          (More later tonight)
                          Last edited by Gary; 07-27-2015, 08:25 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Gary View Post

                            Gary: It is noteworthy that we have several ALLEGED group appearances. Let's leave out the Gospels, as per Nick's request, and only concentrate on Paul. Paul states that the appearance of Jesus to him was personal, not as a group. His alleged traveling companions may have heard a sound or seen a light (depending which version, in which chapter of Acts you read) but Paul does not allege that his companions saw Jesus or heard him speak. Paul recounts a list of witnesses in I Corinthians, but he recounts it not as if he is listing people he has interviewed to confirm their story, but as if he is reciting a Creed. How do we know Paul verified this information? The list of witnesses is oddly out of order and even incorrect. Cephas is not listed as the first witness in the four Gospels or in Acts.
                            You know why it sounds like he's reciting a creed?

                            Because....he....is....

                            I have stated numerous times that this is a creed that Paul received and existed prior to him. How do we know he verified this information? Because he tells us. He spent two weeks with Peter and the Greek word used is historeo. It's the word of a historical inquiry. As for order, if the list is supposedly incorrect and goes against the GOspels, we go with the list first.

                            And when Paul recites (as part of a Creed which he has received second, third, or fourth hand) that five hundred witnesses saw the resurrected Jesus at the same time and the same place, how do we know that Paul has interviewed a single one of these people? Maybe Paul is just reciting a list of witnesses that he was TOLD was true, but Paul never verified it. And when Paul says that some or most are still alive, again, is this first hand knowledge or second/third/fourth hand information? Bottom line: we don't know.
                            Also, there is more than one group appearance in the text.

                            How do we know? Because he knows them. He knows them well enough that he knows some of them have fallen asleep. Also, all of these people would be known to the Christian community. An investigator would come to Jerusalem and be told "Oh. You want to speak to a witness? Well here's one of them." This is seen as apostolic tradition that Paul got directly from the source. Again, I don't know any scholar that denies that the disciples had experiences of appearances and that group appearances took place. Even Ludemann tries to explain it and the explanation he used he has since abandoned.

                            Really, you're only showing you don't know how to do history.

                            Neither me nor most skeptics believe that the Christians made this stuff up. We believe that the early Christians sincerely believed that there had been a bodily resurrection, and, that this belief gave them great courage to boldly preach the message of Jesus. However, we contend that it is more probable that first century Jews came to this conclusion based on a mistake or several mistakes (false sightings, visions, rumors based on the supernatural---"I saw a figure in the fog last night. I think it was Jesus."), than that an actual dead body was reanimated by an ancient middle-eastern deity. Let me re-emphasize this point: MOST SKEPTICS DO NOT BELEIVE THAT EARLY CHRISTIANS MADE THIS STUFF UP TO DECEIVE.
                            Actually, this isn't so. Most skeptics I know of think the early church taught a spiritual resurrection and then it became a bodily one later on. Were they changing the story, they would have the resurrection become more and more spiritual. THat never happened. Now why did the Christians not change the story? Because they couldn't. You can say they were mistaken, but you've never given a plausible scenario. (And again, I do not hold to this supernatural/natural dichotomy so for the life of me I don't know why you keep speaking about supernatural things over and over.)

                            If the Gospel stories are historically accurate, the disciples of Jesus had already accepted poverty, pacifism, and sexual morality, and for some, chastity, as a way of life. Therefore, if one is convinced by false sightings, visions, and supernatural claims that Jesus has risen, and is the Messiah (and/or God in some sense), it would only seem natural to adopt the lifestyle of the disciples. Once again, I do not think the Christians were lying. They genuinely (but incorrectly, in my opinion) believed a dead man had been reanimated by an ancient deity and this was a dramatic, life-altering event for them. I agree, I do not believe that first century Jews would do all this for something they believed was a lie.
                            Except my argument is about the movement getting on past the disciples. Why would Gentiles take this on willingly when there were numerous other mystery religions around?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                              You know why it sounds like he's reciting a creed?

                              Because....he....is....

                              I have stated numerous times that this is a creed that Paul received and existed prior to him. How do we know he verified this information? Because he tells us. He spent two weeks with Peter and the Greek word used is historeo. It's the word of a historical inquiry. As for order, if the list is supposedly incorrect and goes against the GOspels, we go with the list first.



                              Also, there is more than one group appearance in the text.

                              How do we know? Because he knows them. He knows them well enough that he knows some of them have fallen asleep. Also, all of these people would be known to the Christian community. An investigator would come to Jerusalem and be told "Oh. You want to speak to a witness? Well here's one of them." This is seen as apostolic tradition that Paul got directly from the source. Again, I don't know any scholar that denies that the disciples had experiences of appearances and that group appearances took place. Even Ludemann tries to explain it and the explanation he used he has since abandoned.

                              Really, you're only showing you don't know how to do history.



                              Actually, this isn't so. Most skeptics I know of think the early church taught a spiritual resurrection and then it became a bodily one later on. Were they changing the story, they would have the resurrection become more and more spiritual. THat never happened. Now why did the Christians not change the story? Because they couldn't. You can say they were mistaken, but you've never given a plausible scenario. (And again, I do not hold to this supernatural/natural dichotomy so for the life of me I don't know why you keep speaking about supernatural things over and over.)



                              Except my argument is about the movement getting on past the disciples. Why would Gentiles take this on willingly when there were numerous other mystery religions around?
                              Nick: "You know why it sounds like he's reciting a creed?

                              Because....he....is....

                              I have stated numerous times that this is a creed that Paul received and existed prior to him. How do we know he verified this information? Because he tells us. He spent two weeks with Peter and the Greek word used is historeo.

                              Gary: Keep your pants on Nick, I stated above that I agree with you that the witness list in I Corinthians is a Creed. I'm not pretending to make a shocking announcement to you about this.

                              Now, your claim that "Paul tells us that he had verified the Creed in I Corinthians because he spent two weeks with Peter and James" is a very, very important claim, in my humble opinion. It is this very claim to which I clung for almost four months before deconverting from Christianity. "SURELY Paul was given the list of witnesses when he met with Peter and James. SURELY Paul discussed the "Jesus" that he had seen on the Damascus Road with Peter and James. SURELY Peter and James quizzed Paul about his claim of apostleship and his claim of seeing Jesus. And, SURELY Paul received the Creed in I Corinthians from Peter and James, two eyewitnesses."

                              "It is just impossible that any of these "SURELY'S" are false assumptions," I smugly thought to myself as I fended off the atheists with whom I was debating the veracity of the Resurrection claims.

                              But, Nick, "surely" and "probably" are not the same as fact. I know that this point is very hard for Christians to contemplate, but what are other possibilities here:

                              1. Paul, James, and Peter had too many other issues to discuss during those two weeks regarding pressing issues in the Church, especially the issue of Gentiles keeping the Law. Maybe they didn't discuss the witness list.
                              2. Paul's descriptions of his interactions with the Eleven are usually marked with controversy and outright dispute. Maybe Peter, Paul, and James spent the entire two weeks arguing, not discussing witnesses to an event that all three already believed to be fact.
                              3. Paul lied. Paul never spent two weeks with Peter and James. He fabricated this story to reinforce his claim of being the thirteenth apostle. No one but Paul refers to Paul as an apostle. Why would Jesus need a THIRTEENTH apostle, when he already had 12 apostles whom he had already commissioned to go out into the entire world and preach his message. why would Jesus need a "missionary to the Gentiles" when he had already sent 12 apostles to the gentiles (the world)?? Maybe Paul was mentally ill and invented this story.

                              "Preposterous!" Christians will say.

                              Yes, but preposterous is not impossible, is it?

                              Prior to David Petraeus, I assumed, and never thought possible, that the top general of the US military and the head of the CIA would give national secrets to his mistress. But he did, didn't he?

                              Nick: "Also, there is more than one group appearance in the text. How do we know? Because he knows them. He knows them well enough that he knows some of them have fallen asleep."

                              Gary: Let's look at the Creed from I Corinthians 15:

                              "For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[c] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.[d] 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.' --Paul of Tarsus

                              So let's list the appearances:

                              1. Cephas
                              2. The Twelve (I thought Judas was dead and the new apostle wasn't chosen until after the Ascension?? Oh well, they were probably using a euphemism....)
                              3. The Five Hundred
                              4. James
                              5. All the apostles
                              6. Paul

                              "All the apostles"??? Weren't the Twelve/Eleven the apostles?? Did Paul mean that Jesus appeared to the Twelve again?

                              Weird!

                              Sounds more to me that Paul was just rattling off a Creed, a Creed which he had never verified. But that is just my humble opinion.

                              "Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[c] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.[d]" This is still part of the Creed! The same Creed that has Paul referring to the Eleven as "the Twelve" and calling the original eleven disciples both the "Twelve" and the "Apostles". Believe what you want, but I don't believe that Paul verified any of this information. If he had of, the Creed wouldn't be so awkward, and down right bizarre.

                              I can't prove Paul didn't verify the facts in this Creed, but Nick cannot prove that he did. We must resort to probabilities, once again.

                              Nick: "Actually, this isn't so. Most skeptics I know of think the early church taught a spiritual resurrection and then it became a bodily one later on. Were they changing the story, they would have the resurrection become more and more spiritual. THat never happened. Now why did the Christians not change the story? Because they couldn't. You can say they were mistaken, but you've never given a plausible scenario. (And again, I do not hold to this supernatural/natural dichotomy so for the life of me I don't know why you keep speaking about supernatural things over and over.)"

                              Gary: Well, I guess I should not try to speak for all skeptics, but the ones I read, in particular Bart Ehrman, believe that early Christians believed in a bodily resurrection. Do you dispute Ehrman's position on this issue?

                              Nick: "Except my argument is about the movement getting on past the disciples. Why would Gentiles take this on willingly when there were numerous other mystery religions around?"

                              Gary: My contention is that most (not all) of the converts to Christianity were poor and uneducated in the first century. What did Christianity offer that might be appealing to people of this class:

                              1. Equality
                              Masters, Freemen, Slaves, Men, Women, Gentiles, and Jews were all equal in this belief system.

                              2. Justice
                              One may not receive justice in this life, but one would receive justice in the next. The righteous will be rewarded and the "wicked" oppressors, punished. This must have appealed to a lot of people living under the boot of the Roman Empire.

                              3. Riches
                              You might not get rich in this life by joining the Christian movement, but you were promised, by the leader himself, a mansion of gold, a crown of jewels, and streets lined with gold.

                              For people living in poverty, misery, and oppression under the Romans, this must have been very appealing.
                              Last edited by Gary; 07-27-2015, 10:22 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                                Nick: "You know why it sounds like he's reciting a creed?

                                Because....he....is....

                                I have stated numerous times that this is a creed that Paul received and existed prior to him. How do we know he verified this information? Because he tells us. He spent two weeks with Peter and the Greek word used is historeo.

                                Gary: Keep your pants on Nick, I stated above that I agree with you that the witness list in I Corinthians is a Creed. I'm not pretending to make a shocking announcement to you about this.

                                Now, your claim that "Paul tells us that he had verified the Creed in I Corinthians because he spent two weeks with Peter and James" is a very, very important claim, in my humble opinion. It is this very claim to which I clung for almost four months before deconverting from Christianity. "SURELY Paul was given the list of witnesses when he met with Peter and James. SURELY Paul discussed the "Jesus" that he had seen on the Damascus Road with Peter and James. SURELY Peter and James quizzed Paul about his claim of apostleship and his claim of seeing Jesus. And, SURELY Paul received the Creed in I Corinthians from Peter and James, two eyewitnesses."

                                "It is just impossible that any of these "SURELY'S" are false assumptions," I smugly thought to myself as I fended off the atheists with whom I was debating the veracity of the Resurrection claims.

                                But, Nick, "surely" and "probably" are not the same as fact. I know that this point is very hard for Christians to contemplate, but what are other possibilities here:

                                1. Paul, James, and Peter had too many other issues to discuss during those two weeks regarding pressing issues in the Church, especially the issue of Gentiles keeping the Law. Maybe they didn't discuss the witness list.
                                Yep. Too many issues so Paul never once bothered to get the facts of Jesus's life. Considering we have also a Lord's Supper tradition from them, I think we can safely say Paul verified the claims that he was preaching and since he received this testimony from the apostles, they would have discussed it to make sure he understood the creed and agreed with it.

                                2. Paul's descriptions of his interactions with the Eleven are usually marked with controversy and outright dispute. Maybe Peter, Paul, and James spent the entire two weeks arguing, not discussing witnesses to an event that all three already believed to be fact.
                                Maybe they spent the two weeks going fishing and never discussing anything. Why should I believe any of this?

                                3. Paul lied. Paul never spent two weeks with Peter and James. He fabricated this story to reinforce his claim of being the thirteenth apostle. No one but Paul refers to Paul as an apostle. Why would Jesus need a THIRTEENTH apostle, when he already had 12 apostles whom he had already commissioned to go out into the entire world and preach his message. why would Jesus need a "missionary to the Gentiles" when he had already sent 12 apostles to the gentiles (the world)?? Maybe Paul was mentally ill and invented this story.
                                Paul's reputation is on the line with the Galatian church. He's not going to share a story that anybody can say is wrong.

                                "Preposterous!" Christians will say.
                                No. That's your line.

                                Yes, but preposterous is not impossible, is it?

                                Prior to David Petraeus, I assumed, and never thought possible, that the top general of the US military and the head of the CIA would give national secrets to his mistress. But he did, didn't he?
                                A seed of doubt is not enough. You need a theory that is in fact plausible and let's also say, let's suppose Paul didn't check the claims. The creed exists and is accurate whether or not Paul verified it.

                                Comment

                                widgetinstance 221 (Related Threads) skipped due to lack of content & hide_module_if_empty option.
                                Working...
                                X