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The reason people reject the resurrection

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  • The reason people reject the resurrection

    I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural. Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:
    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • The tomb was empty.
    • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
    • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.


    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  • #2
    Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural.
    I know plenty of people who are perfectly fine with the notion of the supernatural but who still don't agree that an actual Resurrection is the best explanation of minimal facts arguments.

    Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:
    • Jesus died by crucifixion.
    • The tomb was empty.
    • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
    • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.
    Unfortunately, the "facts" which J. Warner Wallace chose for his list are not as factual as he would like. Even other champions of the minimal facts approach like Gary Habermas would say that the claims on this list are highly disputable.
    1. Jesus' death by crucifixion is a fairly uncontroversial fact of history. I don't think anyone (other than Mythicists) will have a problem with granting this.
    2. The empty tomb narratives, however, are quite a bit more dubious; to the point that Habermas doesn't include them among his own list of minimal facts. That said, I personally don't mind granting the empty tomb for the sake of minimal facts arguments.
    3. We have exactly one undisputed eyewitness testimony from a person claiming to have witnessed the risen Jesus. A more reasonable claim would be one like Habermas uses in his approach: soon after Jesus' death at least some of his followers had experiences which they believed were of the risen Jesus.
    4. The idea that the apostles all "died rather than renounce their beliefs" is simply untenable. With the exception of Stephen, all of the accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles seem to be much later legends. There is no good reason to think that any apostle other than Stephen was killed for his belief.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

    Comment


    • #3
      I am prefectly fine with the supernatural, Those events currently without a natural explanation, and still do not believe in the 'physical resurrection' of Jesus Christ.

      It is obvious from the atheist and agnostic perspective the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is rejected.
      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

      go with the flow the river knows . . .

      Frank

      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also Muslims and Jews believe in the supernatural and do not believe in the physical Resurrection of Jesus/
        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank

        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
          • Jesus died by crucifixion.
          • The tomb was empty.
          • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
          • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.
          I would say:
          • Jesus died by crucifixion, like many reformers and revolutionaries of the period
          • There was a bit of confusion over where the body was buried
          • His followers were in the habit of having 'visions' and they 'saw' him in their visions
          • Many religious people feel strongly about their religious beliefs, and it affects their lives and actions

          That doesn't add up to a resurrection or anything supernatural. Possibly it adds up to magic mushrooms or the equivalent.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
            I am reading J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity", and was struck by the fact that the one reason people reject the resurrection of Jesus is because of a rejection of the supernatural. Once you allow the possibility of supernatural events, the resurrection of Jesus is the explanation that fits best with the facts:
            Nope, though that is one reason.
            • Jesus died by crucifixion.
            • I can accept this to be true, and still see the story behind it to be myth.

            • The tomb was empty.
            No actual historic evidence that the tomb was empty. That was written decades after the supposed event took place
          • Multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Christ.
          Only Paul, and he didn't even mention an empty tomb.
        • The apostles were changed, and died rather than renounce their beliefs.

        • Islamic terrorist Martyr themselves for their misguided beliefs as well.
          Last edited by JimL; 05-23-2020, 10:20 PM.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
            We have exactly one undisputed eyewitness testimony from a person claiming to have witnessed the risen Jesus. A more reasonable claim would be one like Habermas uses in his approach: soon after Jesus' death at least some of his followers had experiences which they believed were of the risen Jesus.
            Fair enough, and groups of people claimed to see Christ risen, and group hallucinations are unlikely.

            The idea that the apostles all "died rather than renounce their beliefs" is simply untenable. With the exception of Stephen, all of the accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles seem to be much later legends. There is no good reason to think that any apostle other than Stephen was killed for his belief.
            Though we cannot just discount the accounts of their deaths as legendary without further evidence. But we have no record that the apostles recanted, and they died in times of pressure for Christianity.

            Blessings,
            Lee
            "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
              I am prefectly fine with the supernatural, Those events currently without a natural explanation, and still do not believe in the 'physical resurrection' of Jesus Christ.
              So which alternative do you adopt? I would maintain with Wallace that no alternative explanation fits the facts better than the resurrection of Jesus, once the possibility of the supernatural is acknowledged.

              Blessings,
              Lee
              "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                I would say:
                • Jesus died by crucifixion, like many reformers and revolutionaries of the period
                • There was a bit of confusion over where the body was buried
                • His followers were in the habit of having 'visions' and they 'saw' him in their visions
                • Many religious people feel strongly about their religious beliefs, and it affects their lives and actions

                That doesn't add up to a resurrection or anything supernatural. Possibly it adds up to magic mushrooms or the equivalent.
                So do you deny the existence of the supernatural? Starting with that assumption, you will accept any natural explanation, such as group hallucinations, however implausible.

                Blessings,
                Lee
                "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by JimL View Post
                  No actual historic evidence that the tomb was empty. That was written decades after the supposed event took place.
                  Well, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead is early (see 1 Cor. 15:3-8). And all the early Jewish leaders would have had to do to refute this claim was to produce the body!

                  Only Paul, and he didn't even mention an empty tomb.
                  But he mentions the resurrection, again and again. And it was said he appeared to the disciples, to Peter, to James, and to more than 500 (1 Cor. 15:3-8 again).

                  Islamic terrorist Martyr themselves for their misguided beliefs as well.
                  Which doesn't prove that what they believe is true, but it does show what they believe to be true.

                  Blessings,
                  Lee
                  "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    One fact that needs to be acknowledged on both sides of the supernatural supposition. The New Testament documents are the sole evidence of the events claimed. It is attributed to Jesus to have argued, in John 7:17, ". . . If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. . . ." The writer John explained, John 20:31, ". . . But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. . . ." And in his letter, 1 John 5:13, ". . . These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. . . ." Indeed, if one by believing finds one's self actually knowing God, John 17:3. That is a supernatural event in and of itself, Romans 1:16.
                    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

                    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

                    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                      Well, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead is early (see 1 Cor. 15:3-8). And all the early Jewish leaders would have had to do to refute this claim was to produce the body!
                      That doesn't really mean anything. The claim was made by Paul to a relatively small group of followers. fThe authorities probably didn't much care at the time or even know if the body was buried somewhere in a particular tomb or destroyed. The idea that christianity was a big deal to them at the time and that the body was buried in a specific tomb somewhere is all based on christian story's ( the NT) written decades later.

                      But he mentions the resurrection, again and again. And it was said he appeared to the disciples, to Peter, to James, and to more than 500 (1 Cor. 15:3-8 again)
                      .
                      It was said by Paul of course, Paul was basically the founder of christianity, that's what he obviously wanted his followers to believe. Like Jim Jones, Paul had an agenda.

                      Which doesn't prove that what they believe is true, but it does show what they believe to be true.
                      Sure, but it shows that people can be very gullible, whether it be Islamic martyrs or christian.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I think saying that "the one reason" is a big oversimplification, given that Muslims reject the resurrection but certainly don't reject the supernatural. What they do reject is the crucifixion of Christ.
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                          group hallucinations, however implausible.
                          In the sorts of spirit-vision quests common among primitive cultures, those seeking spiritual insight tend to fast, mediate into a dream-like / trance state, sometimes ingest hallucinations, and then be guided through their quest by others who would help them (before, during, or after it) interpret what they were seeing. The human mind in these trance/hallucinogenic states is very suggestible, and the 'content' of the visions often very unclear thus often requiring suggestions about what it was they were seeing to help the viewer understand afterwards what it was they really saw.

                          Paul's writings indicate that spiritual visions were common among the early Christians when he talks about their practices (e.g. 1 Cor 14:26 "When you come together, each of you brings... a revelation, or an interpretation"). And he has a number of visions himself - including 'seeing' the resurrected Jesus. And we have the Book of Revelation which is entirely visions. And we know that by the 2nd century those branches of Christianity that were placing more emphasis on these ongoing spirit-visions were forking off into what would be called "Gnosticism".

                          Because of the vagueness of the content of these kinds of visions, their interpretation is often communal rather than individual. So the group will come to an agreement about what the vision was/meant. Of course, this interpretation will then influence the next person in the group who has a vision, as their mind in that suggestible state will be influenced by what they expect to see.

                          So, it is not at all in the least implausible, that a large number of Jesus followers did vision quests expecting to 'see' the resurrected Jesus in the spirit world, and as they talked over their visions afterwards they came to the consensus that that was indeed what they had seen.

                          It's worth noting that these claims were not particularly widely believed outside the group of Jesus' followers. Josephus's detailed account of the factions in Jerusalem leading up to the war in 70AD indicates barely any Christians present. The argument that we, 2000 years later, ought to believe these guys Totally Saw the resurrected Jesus because of a change in their behavior, is difficult to take seriously given the vast majority of their contemporaries weren't convinced.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                            So which alternative do you adopt? I would maintain with Wallace that no alternative explanation fits the facts better than the resurrection of Jesus, once the possibility of the supernatural is acknowledged.

                            Blessings,
                            Lee
                            For myself and millions of others, neither. Wallace is a highly biased source proposing an extremely circular argument. The evidence presented by Wallace is only believed by those that are already Christians that believe it.


                            Also Muslims and Jews believe in the supernatural and do not believe in the physical Resurrection of Jesus, and they do not buy Wallaces arguments.
                            Last edited by shunyadragon; 05-24-2020, 07:13 PM.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment

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