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  • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    Dave. Picture a homicide. We have ten pieces of evidence that led to the conviction of Smith. Smith's defense attorney knows the simplest theory that explains all the data is "Smith is the murderer." Instead, he comes up with ten theories to explain the ten pieces of evidence. Unfortunately, the problem is with multiple theories that they become more likely to contradict and mix up with one another. Now if you can come up with ten theories that somehow explain everything, that might be different, but I haven't seen it done yet.
    Christians can state that it is their opinion that the cumulative evidence points to the first century reanimation of dead human tissue (resurrection), or that a resurrection/reanimation best explains the accumulated evidence, in their opinion, but they cannot claim that a resurrection is the ONLY explanation. There are many, more probable, naturalistic, explanations for the evidence, but Christians dismiss these naturalistic explanations as "implausible". The problem is that "implausible" is NOT the same as "impossible", and, what is "implausible" is a matter of personal opinion.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Gary View Post
      Christians can state that it is their opinion that the cumulative evidence points to the first century reanimation of dead human tissue (resurrection), or that a resurrection/reanimation best explains the accumulated evidence, in their opinion, but they cannot claim that a resurrection is the ONLY explanation. There are many, more probable, naturalistic, explanations for the evidence, but Christians dismiss these naturalistic explanations as "implausible". The problem is that "implausible" is NOT the same as "impossible", and, what is "implausible" is a matter of personal opinion.
      My claim is that it's the best explanation. (And I notice for all your talk on probability, you're not touching McGrew and Earman.)

      Strange. Norman with zero credentials in the field is someone we should all listen to.

      People like McGrew and Earman who have credentials in the field we can ignore.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Dave View Post
        I think alternative theories could also be plausible and can also explain the data even if they involve different explanations for different items.
        Feel free to present the alternate theory or theory that best explains the data.

        It wasn't shameful because they believed Jesus was risen by God (honored by God). They also gained honor by sharing their possessions with each other.
        Problems here. First off, if Jesus was raised, then the shame was reversed, but only if He was raised and one would need good reason because to get to the resurrection, one has to go to the cross and the thought would be "Why would a King or Messiah be on the cross to begin with?" THat would stop most people from even investigating the claims.

        Could people gain honor by being generous? Sure, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the shame of believing in a crucified Messiah.

        The early Christians believed they would receive eternal rewards for undergoing suffering. This may have been part of Jesus' original message: "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven."
        And this is only true if they really believe He had been raised, and the question would be "Why did everyone believe this?" Any system offered rewards for those who followed it, but the other mystery religions and philosophies and such did better by offering it in this life and often without the stringent self-sacrifice.


        The creed makes no reference to an empty tomb and does not explicitly say that the appearances are physical in nature so we can only speculate what is meant by "appear".
        No we can't. 1 Cor. 15 speaks of resurrection even using the word anastasis which means a bodily resurrection. A spiritual resurrection makes no sense to the Jewish mind. Also, the expectation of the day, especially in Israel was burial. You didn't want dogs running around carrying body parts especially around the Passover. THat would lead to rioting.

        What we can say with some degree of certainty is that according to Paul there was early belief that Jesus died, came back to life and then appeared to his followers on different occasions. We don't know if any grave checking was done at this point or not or if that was even possible.
        Of course it was possible. Anyone could go and look. If it was false, why in fact start the story where it could most easily be disproven, Jerusalem?

        People sometimes have very realistic dreams that are interpreted as a visitation. People sometimes are mistaken about what they see (Ghosts, Mary apparitions). People sometimes think they see something and then exaggerate what they saw. And there are some occasions when people lie about something just to be included in a group (Elvis sightings). These are all things that happen and could explain the shared belief that Jesus was still alive. To this day people are still claiming to have visions of Jesus and some Muslims even convert to Christianity because of this. Then there are Mary appearances too, but it seems she only appears to Catholics and not protestants.
        For the last two, this assumes that these are not real appearances of something. Can you demonstrate that? I personally know Muslims who have had this kind of experience. To get to the appearances, without the empty tomb, these kinds of experiences were known already and here's what it meant. The person was dead. If you saw someone after they died, you were sure they were dead. Furthermore, this is only individuals. What about group appearances, of which there are three? Hallucinations and visions are not shared.


        Paul may have been lying about an actual appearance to gain credibility. People do lie sometimes when they want to be recognized as important.
        Paul had enemies in Corinth. Why would he lie and put his honor on the line that way? Furthermore, Paul was already in his position important to the Sanhedrin. His pedigree in Philippians 3 is excellent. Why exchange that for the honor of a troublemaking cult? If you have to go to "He may be lying" it's kind of a height of desperation.


        Paul was a charismatic person and had several good ideas for his version of the gospel. He may have genuinely thought that his ideas were a direct revelation from God. From Galations 1:11-12, "For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."
        This would be relevant if my thinking depended on this passage. The idea however here is that Gospel does not refer to the life of Jesus, but rather to confirmation. Galatians 1 is a Jeremiah type passage. It's Paul describing himself in similar terms.


        They really thought Jesus was still alive and they kept preaching his message.
        They did. Why?


        Some of these could be exaggerated oral traditions and some could be invented by the authors.
        My case has never depended on these one iota.


        Someone could have invented this story to suppress any notions that the resurrection was spiritual as opposed to physical. It could have been a separate oral tradition that became popular among some of the followers. The author of Mark puts this oral tradition into his gospel and the other gospel authors copy from Mark and add some of their own improvements. Acts does not have any new converts going to check out the empty tomb nor is it mentioned in any of the sermons. It would seem from Acts that many converts are capable of believing and being baptized without the need to investigate any resurrection claims.
        Why should it be mentioned? This is the Acts of the Apostles. It's not the Acts of the hearers. Also, all of these people in the audience had just seen a bona fide miracle. They were being spoken to in their own language by people who knew the language. They would also know about events that had happened recently in the area. As for the body being physical, I've pointed repeatedly to Gundry and Martin in reference to the nature of the body. No one has responded to this.


        Everyone was convinced they were doing God’s will and were preaching his words. This ties in with #2.
        This has never been part of my argument.


        Papias may have been reporting hearsay or it may have been true. Papias also says that Judas Iscariot lived on and became bloated, wider than a chariot, with pus and worms coming out of his body.
        This has also never been part of my argument, but I recommend reading Bauckham on this point. He refers to the Judas account.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Gary View Post
          Why don't I become a Jew? Answer: I don't believe the Jewish claim that an invisible god spoke out of the clear blue sky to three million Hebrews camped around a mountain in the Sinai peninsula at some point in the Bronze Age. This is another supernatural claim with no good evidence to support it.
          Why then do you laud of one of their secondary beliefs if you hold the vast majority of their beliefs in utter contempt?
          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
          sigpic
          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
            My claim is that it's the best explanation. (And I notice for all your talk on probability, you're not touching McGrew and Earman.)

            Strange. Norman with zero credentials in the field is someone we should all listen to.

            People like McGrew and Earman who have credentials in the field we can ignore.

            I can't find your "McGrew" citation. Can you give it to me again?

            As for Bart Ehrman, I don't know what he was saying in 1998, but I do know what he is saying now and this is it (my summation of his position):

            Just because we have 10 billions copies of a particular ancient text, and all those 10 billion copies have very few discrepancies among them, we still cannot be sure of what the original text said...if we do not have the original! Here is an example why:

            A man writes a gospel about Jesus life and death, in Rome, in circa 70 AD. Let's call this man "Bob". Bob shares his gospel with a few friends, but he never widely distributes it. One of Bob's friends, however, shows Bob's gospel to Randy who is visiting from Antioch. Randy copies Bob's gospel...but...adds details to Bob's gospel, A LOT of details, even changing some of Bob's details because Randy believes that Bob made some mistakes in the story. Randy adds and alters details because of stories "received directly from eyewitnesses" that are circulating in his hometown of Antioch at the time.

            Randy takes his copy of Bob's gospel (with his added and altered details) back to Antioch, calls this gospel, "The Gospel of Bob", and it is this gospel that becomes widely circulated and from which all ten billion copies of the Gospel of Bob existing today are derived. The original Gospel of Bob was destroyed in a fire within a few months after Randy copied it and no other copies of it were made.

            So are the 10 billion copies of the gospel of Bob, which we have today, identical or nearly identical to the original Gospel of Bib...written by Bob?

            No!

            If you don't believe that this is Ehrman's position, go to his blog and ask him (he interacts with his blog readers): google, "Bart Ehrman's blog". Or do a youtube video search and you can listen to one of his recent lectures on this subject.
            Last edited by Gary; 08-06-2015, 07:47 PM.

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            • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              Why then do you laud of one of their secondary beliefs if you hold the vast majority of their beliefs in utter contempt?
              Because I look at the evidence, all the evidence, and determine if there is sufficient grounds to believe it. Norman believes that it is "implausible" that any Jew would make up the story of God speaking to the Jews at Sinai. I believe that there is sufficient evidence to believe that these stories were written during the time of King Josiah for political purposes and were foisted on the populace as "This is our ancient history, recently, and miraculously, found in a remodel/spring cleaning of the Temple.

              Comment




              • Let's get it straight from the horse's mouth. Here's.....BART!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                  Are you serious? Because a Protestant pastor in sixteenth century Switzerland and the editors of Bibles believe that the detail about Jesus' folded burial clothes was an historical fact, people today should believe it??
                  You made the rather outrageous claim:
                  First, I don't know of any prominent NT scholar, Christian or non-Christian, who claims that the "burial garments" detail is a historical fact. It could be true. It could be an embellishment. If there is such a scholar, please identify him or her.
                  Or, first face appearances would make the claim outrageous, anyway. However - you quite clearly do not know of any NT SCHOLARS, Christian or non-Christian.

                  The founding apostles did not say that people should believe because the founding apostles were witnesses to these matters. The founding apostles, and others, were saying that people could see for themselves the miracles that were being performed among them, and that the said miracles were evidence of the truth of the apostles' message.
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                  • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                    Because I look at the evidence, all the evidence, and determine if there is sufficient grounds to believe it.
                    Given your posts here, I don't believe you.
                    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                    sigpic
                    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                      I can't find your "McGrew" citation. Can you give it to me again?
                      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/miracles/

                      As for Bart Ehrman, I don't know what he was saying in 1998, but I do know what he is saying now and this is it (my summation of his position):
                      Yeah. Listening to the vid. Not hearing anything new here. Ehrman, like you, puts too much on Inerrancy and has a fundamentalist concept of preservation. He married his Christianity to it. Reality is most of us have read Bart Ehrman. We've probably read more of him than you have and I can tell you a key aspect I notice in Ehrman's books. He ignores the best arguments against his position. It's consistent.

                      Just because we have 10 billions copies of a particular ancient text, and all those 10 billion copies have very few discrepancies among them, we still cannot be sure of what the original text said...if we do not have the original! Here is an example why:
                      Okay. Let's see it.

                      A man writes a gospel about Jesus life and death, in Rome, in circa 70 AD. Let's call this man "Bob". Bob shares his gospel with a few friends, but he never widely distributes it. One of Bob's friends, however, shows Bob's gospel to Randy who is visiting from Antioch. Randy copies Bob's gospel...but...adds details to Bob's gospel, A LOT of details, even changing some of Bob's details because Randy believes that Bob made some mistakes in the story. Randy adds and alters details because of stories "received directly from eyewitnesses" that are circulating in his hometown of Antioch at the time.
                      This would be relevant if we had radical radical differences. Unfortunately, we don't, and Ehrman is not giving you the best look of transmission. Very interesting to note that you leave out what Craig Evans said in response to it. Why is that? Do these copies differ? Yes. Are they radical differences? No. Again, the best work on this is the one that I referenced earlier. You can see it here. You can even read his debate he had with Dan Wallace here. The claim of attestation a thousand years later isn't really accurate either. We have numerous numerous manuscripts from early on. But still, you're giving a debate with Evans and Ehrman and only referencing what Ehrman says. Do you think that's a fair way to do things?

                      Randy takes his copy of Bob's gospel (with his added and altered details) back to Antioch, calls this gospel, "The Gospel of Bob", and it is this gospel that becomes widely circulated and from which all ten billion copies of the Gospel of Bob existing today are derived. The original Gospel of Bob was destroyed in a fire within a few months after Randy copied it and no other copies of it were made.

                      So are the 10 billion copies of the gospel of Bob, which we have today, identical or nearly identical to the original Gospel of Bib...written by Bob?

                      No!
                      Here's the irony. Ehrman says one thing, but then he writes books on the historical Jesus and he uses references from the Gospels that he says are unreliable to source his views. Which is it? If the text is unreliable, then why does Ehrman think they are suddenly reliable when he quotes them? This is something Michael Bird points out in How God Became Jesus. By the way, I've read that book and Ehrman's book that it responded to. Can you say that?

                      If you don't believe that this is Ehrman's position, go to his blog and ask him (he interacts with his blog readers): google, "Bart Ehrman's blog". Or do a youtube video search and you can listen to one of his recent lectures on this subject.
                      I've read his books. Again, I have them here and in quoting the book, I quote it because I have read it. That's what you do when you do scholarly research. You read both sides.

                      I don't think anyone here thinks you really do that.

                      I think everyone here knows that I do that.
                      Last edited by Apologiaphoenix; 08-06-2015, 10:23 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/miracles/



                        Yeah. Listening to the vid. Not hearing anything new here. Ehrman, like you, puts too much on Inerrancy and has a fundamentalist concept of preservation. He married his Christianity to it. Reality is most of us have read Bart Ehrman. We've probably read more of him than you have and I can tell you a key aspect I notice in Ehrman's books. He ignores the best arguments against his position. It's consistent.



                        Okay. Let's see it.



                        This would be relevant if we had radical radical differences. Unfortunately, we don't, and Ehrman is not giving you the best look of transmission. Very interesting to note that you leave out what Craig Evans said in response to it. Why is that? Do these copies differ? Yes. Are they radical differences? No. Again, the best work on this is the one that I referenced earlier. You can see it here. You can even read his debate he had with Dan Wallace here. The claim of attestation a thousand years later isn't really accurate either. We have numerous numerous manuscripts from early on. But still, you're giving a debate with Evans and Ehrman and only referencing what Ehrman says. Do you think that's a fair way to do things?



                        Here's the irony. Ehrman says one thing, but then he writes books on the historical Jesus and he uses references from the Gospels that he says are unreliable to source his views. Which is it? If the text is unreliable, then why does Ehrman think they are suddenly reliable when he quotes them? This is something Michael Bird points out in How God Became Jesus. By the way, I've read that book and Ehrman's book that it responded to. Can you say that?



                        I've read his books. Again, I have them here and in quoting the book, I quote it because I have read it. That's what you do when you do scholarly research. You read both sides.

                        I don't think anyone here thinks you really do that.

                        I think everyone here knows that I do that.
                        Nick. Do you believe that your God will punish non-believers in the after-life, who in this life, refused to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior? If so, how? And, do you believe in Hell? If so, would you describe Hell as you believe the Bible teaches it to be?

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                          Problems here. First off, if Jesus was raised, then the shame was reversed, but only if He was raised and one would need good reason because to get to the resurrection, one has to go to the cross and the thought would be "Why would a King or Messiah be on the cross to begin with?" THat would stop most people from even investigating the claims.

                          Could people gain honor by being generous? Sure, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the shame of believing in a crucified Messiah.
                          This is only a problem if there was no belief that Jesus was raised, which we both agree is not the case.

                          And this is only true if they really believe He had been raised, and the question would be "Why did everyone believe this?"
                          Because they were seeing him again. I can hear them saying, "Christ is alive! He will return and establish God's kingdom forever." This would be a welcome message among the downtrodden who very much disliked the Romans.

                          Any system offered rewards for those who followed it, but the other mystery religions and philosophies and such did better by offering it in this life and often without the stringent self-sacrifice.
                          The Essenes would be a counter-example to this claim. They were not even allowed to get married, something Christians were allowed to do and the Essenes did not use money or have property. According to Josephus the Essenes had a large following.

                          No we can't. 1 Cor. 15 speaks of resurrection even using the word anastasis which means a bodily resurrection. A spiritual resurrection makes no sense to the Jewish mind. Also, the expectation of the day, especially in Israel was burial. You didn't want dogs running around carrying body parts especially around the Passover. THat would lead to rioting.
                          They may have believed Jesus was physically alive again, but there is no evidence at this point that they checked the grave. The evidence cited in this creed is that Jesus was "appearing" to people. It gives the impression that he was not living with them again, but just making "appearances". Also, the creed makes no mention of what ultimately happens to Jesus. If the ascension was historical it would have been an amazing feat and would leave an impression worth including in this early creed.

                          Of course it was possible. Anyone could go and look. If it was false, why in fact start the story where it could most easily be disproven, Jerusalem?
                          Or it could have been impossible if the location was unknown, if the body was among many, many other criminals in a common grave.

                          When you say "why start the story" this implies deception, which is not what I'm proposing. I am proposing that the disciples genuinely believed Jesus was alive again. I doubt the disciples would have challenged the authorities with their claims. In fact, it's very possible that most of Jerusalem knew very little about this movement when it first started. We don't have any secular accounts of the Christians this early on.

                          For the last two, this assumes that these are not real appearances of something. Can you demonstrate that? I personally know Muslims who have had this kind of experience. To get to the appearances, without the empty tomb, these kinds of experiences were known already and here's what it meant. The person was dead. If you saw someone after they died, you were sure they were dead. Furthermore, this is only individuals. What about group appearances, of which there are three? Hallucinations and visions are not shared.
                          No, I can't demonstrate those appearances are not real. Likewise we cannot prove that spirits are not communicating with their loved ones in these ADC accounts. Nor can we prove that people are not experiencing reincarnation as testified in these Reincarnation accounts. Yes, I have read several of these stories and some include "facts" that can be difficult to explain. I'm not sure that means we should jump to the simple, supernatural answer.

                          As for him still being dead, I think a lot of the appearances were cases of mistaken identity. It was a big city with a lot of people in it. If there was a notion of Jesus still being alive a lot of them would have been on the look-out for him. The sightings of Elvis Presley after his death are a perfect example of people not able to accept someone being dead and thinking they saw him here and there, at the airport, at the diner, etc.

                          I don't think we should assume that the creed is a perfect history of all of the appearances. It could very well be listing names by order of importance. Peter was the most important of the twelve and James was the most important out of the rest of the apostles. So there may or may not have been group appearances here.

                          The group of 500 could be an exaggeration or it could be referring to an instance similar to what happened in Zeitoun, Egypt when Mary was seen by thousands of onlookers. Mary has appeared to several groups of people. Mary appeared in Knock, Ireland in 1879 to a group of villagers who for three hours saw Mary, Joseph, and John along with a lamb on an altar and hovering angels. She appeared in the sky in Pontmain, France to a group of children for about three hours in 1871. Then there are the famous, more recent sightings in Medjugorje.

                          Paul had enemies in Corinth. Why would he lie and put his honor on the line that way? Furthermore, Paul was already in his position important to the Sanhedrin. His pedigree in Philippians 3 is excellent. Why exchange that for the honor of a troublemaking cult? If you have to go to "He may be lying" it's kind of a height of desperation.
                          It's not desperation. It's a perfectly reasonable explanation because people lie all the time. Paul wanted to be considered equal to the apostles.
                          "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." 1 Cor. 9:1-2.

                          I don't see why you're referring to Christians as troublemakers. You make them out to be these shameful rabblerousers as if they had nothing going for them.

                          Comment


                          • Why don't Gary and Nick just respectively post the entirety of infidels.org and tektonics.org on a zip file? This thread has become a loose, disorderly hodge-podge of every skeptical objection ever anyway...
                            Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

                            I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

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                            • Originally posted by fm93 View Post
                              Why don't Gary and Nick just respectively post the entirety of infidels.org and tektonics.org on a zip file? This thread has become a loose, disorderly hodge-podge of every skeptical objection ever anyway...
                              And when the explosion from the contact of those two websites is over, we can see what is left!
                              If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                                http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/miracles/



                                Yeah. Listening to the vid. Not hearing anything new here. Ehrman, like you, puts too much on Inerrancy and has a fundamentalist concept of preservation. He married his Christianity to it. Reality is most of us have read Bart Ehrman. We've probably read more of him than you have and I can tell you a key aspect I notice in Ehrman's books. He ignores the best arguments against his position. It's consistent.



                                Okay. Let's see it.



                                This would be relevant if we had radical radical differences. Unfortunately, we don't, and Ehrman is not giving you the best look of transmission. Very interesting to note that you leave out what Craig Evans said in response to it. Why is that? Do these copies differ? Yes. Are they radical differences? No. Again, the best work on this is the one that I referenced earlier. You can see it here. You can even read his debate he had with Dan Wallace here. The claim of attestation a thousand years later isn't really accurate either. We have numerous numerous manuscripts from early on. But still, you're giving a debate with Evans and Ehrman and only referencing what Ehrman says. Do you think that's a fair way to do things?



                                Here's the irony. Ehrman says one thing, but then he writes books on the historical Jesus and he uses references from the Gospels that he says are unreliable to source his views. Which is it? If the text is unreliable, then why does Ehrman think they are suddenly reliable when he quotes them? This is something Michael Bird points out in How God Became Jesus. By the way, I've read that book and Ehrman's book that it responded to. Can you say that?



                                I've read his books. Again, I have them here and in quoting the book, I quote it because I have read it. That's what you do when you do scholarly research. You read both sides.

                                I don't think anyone here thinks you really do that.

                                I think everyone here knows that I do that.
                                Ok, I read the McGrew article---all of it. McGrew is obviously a Christian believer, but still a very interesting article. Here is the last section of the article, which I agree with entirely:

                                4.2 How much would credible miracle reports establish?

                                In the final analysis, the relevance of background beliefs looms large. To say this is not to endorse a lazy and unprincipled relativism; rather, the point is that one's considered rational judgment regarding the existence and nature of God must take into account far more than the evidence for miracle claims. That is not to say that they could not be an important or even, under certain circumstances, a decisive piece of evidence; it is simply that neither a positive nor a negative claim regarding the existence of God can be established on the basis of evidence for a miracle claim alone, without any consideration of other aspects of the question.

                                For the evidence for a miracle claim, being public and empirical, is never strictly demonstrative, either as to the fact of the event or as to the supernatural cause of the event. It remains possible, though the facts in the case may in principle render it wildly improbable, that the testifier is either a deceiver or himself deceived; and so long as those possibilities exist, there will be logical space for other forms of evidence to bear on the conclusion. Arguments about miracles therefore take their place as one piece—a fascinating piece—in a larger and more important puzzle.

                                Gary: And herein lies our inability to come to agreement on the "evidence" for the Christian miracle claims. You come to the evidence with a bias of belief that they must be true because you believe in the Christian God, and in your view, the Christian God is perfect; He cannot and does not make mistakes. If the claims in his Word are false, then He is false. Such a conclusion would be catastrophic to your world view.

                                I too come to the evidence with a bias; a bias of disbelief in the likelihood of virgin births, resurrections, and other miracle claims. I believe that anything is possible, including miracles, but I believe that miracle claims are the least probable, so if there is a reasonable, more probable non-miracle explanation, more probable based on personal experience, and cumulative human experience, then I reject the miracle claim due to it being less probable, not due to it being impossible.

                                I have another bias I bring to the evidence: I don't believe that Yahweh ever existed (for multiple reasons) and I believe that Jesus is dead, because in my experience as a physician, truly dead people stay dead.

                                For me to accept evidence now, contrary to my new, current worldview, would be a blow to my ego, and my self-esteem, for (foolishly, it would turn out) having abandoned my previously cherished faith for inaccurate evidence.

                                So, we do have evidence for this miracle claim:

                                1. Personal testimony from Paul.
                                2. Four anonymous books written decades after the alleged event with lists of alleged eyewitnesses.
                                3. A culture-defying new belief that dramatically changes the behavior of numerous people and spreads, eventually, to every corner of the world.
                                4. Second century hearsay testimony by Papias regarding the apostolic authorship of the gospels.

                                The evidence is good enough for you. It's not good enough for me. And I believe that we can chalk up our disagreement to our biases...and call it a day.
                                Last edited by Gary; 08-07-2015, 02:39 PM.

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