If we heard about something similar today (someone's body goes missing, then three days later someone Tweets they saw the person), wouldn't we just call it a conspiracy theory?
Indeed, if most major religions were started today, wouldn't we just call them a combination of fake news, conspiracy theories and memes that went viral?
Does the internet provide a microcosm that gives some insight as to how this works?
No, the Christian tale of the Resurrection is not particularly early in the field of faux (religious) "news". Shamans claiming gods and miracles predated that particular bit of "information" by thousands or even tens of thousands of years, so it is not "early" at all.
Recently started religions: Consider the Mormon religion, or more recently the 2X2 religion. Both are considered fake by many...and absolutely true by many. People believe what they wish, and truth seldom plays a large part. Doubly so if actual proof (either way) is unobtainable for whatever reason.
"Shamans claiming gods and miracles predated that particular bit of "information" by thousands or even tens of thousands of years, so it is not "early" at all."
That's fair, but the resurrection has to be one of earliest to achieve such viral "success". Among all the Christian denominations, the one common belief is that Jesus suffered death and was resurrected. That story has become the mainstay of a religion that currently has around 2.18 billion adherents, including denominations like the Church of LDS and the 2X2s.
Why has this story been so successful? The idea of there being no proof either way is interesting. Based on our knowledge of human physiology, we know it's not possible for a person who has been dead for three days to come back to life. So I wonder why belief in this story persists?
If you pay attention to the story it wasn't a physical awakening. It was a resurrection of the spirit.
A man died on the cross. His corpse was interred into a burial chamber. Three days later that corpse came back to life and walked and spoke among the living.
This is not a "spiritual awakening"; it is a tale of a three day old corpse that came back to life and it cannot be read any other way. One can add any sort or amount of "spiritual awakening" to the story but it remains a tale of living corpse walking the earth.
He was 'flesh and bone' appearing and disappearing at random. Doesn't sound like a corpse to me.
Just so. That's the story - that the corpse came back to life.
You make it sound like a zombie movie with a happy ending.
LOL Well, isn't it? A friendly zombie to be sure, but a walking, talking zombie nevertheless.
That's one thing I've always liked about Christianity. We can laugh at jokes about our belief. No, he wasn't a zombie but the mental image is amusing.
Is this perspective an example of the resurrection story adapting to fit a changing (i.e. more skeptical) cultural environment? Is the story evolving?
The belief persists because it "proves" an eternal life. Something that millions (billions?) of people intensely desire without ever considering the negative ramifications of it. Fear also plays a huge part, as most people are very, very afraid of death and they are told it will never happen.
But I don't even agree that it is so "viral", though I will concede that it is largely a matter of perception. About a third of the world is Christian, with about the same being non-religious. Islam isn't far behind Christianity, either.
And while the numbers are huge, there have been areas where the entire population believed in a god(s) - the whole "known" world, then. Jews, for instance, tell us that 100% of the early population knew their god, and others have come very close to that in more "modern" times (meaning only a few hundred or thousand years ago).
Could it be that our knowledge is incomplete?
Consider quantum mechanics, string theory, multiple universes. These are scientific theories that, (in at least two of the cases), are considered seriously by scientists. I think either of those would be as belief-straining to average folks as a corpse coming back to life would be to logical-minded folks.
In a world where the demanded proof must be empirical, I think there are a lot of accepted non-religious, (as in scientific), theories/ideas/beliefs that rival the resurrection belief for credibility.
Yes our knowledge is incomplete, but technically, no scientific hypothesis, even those considered fundamental to our understanding, has ever be "proven" to be true. It would be more accurate to say they have simply not been falsified. This is because science is based on inductive reasoning, not deductive. So all scientific knowledge is provisional.
Therefore when we say a scientific hypothesis is "accepted" it means one of two things: 1. there is a consensus that it's the best explanation we currently have for certain phenomena because it has been verified by observation, including repeated accurate predictions; or 2. it is not supported by observations etc. but is a viable explanation that's worthy of consideration and development.
String theory is one of the explanations we currently have for a group of phenomena, but there is no consensus that it is the best explanation. So it falls into the second category. It can can take decades for a scientific hypothesis to be considered and developed, but that doesn't mean it is accepted in the first sense above.
But even hypotheses that are unsupported by observation still have an amount of rigor applied to them. Like most theoretical frameworks in physics, string theory is underpinned by mathematics. Anyone with the relevant knowledge can check the underlying mathematical models. If those models don't work, then the framework is not consistent.
So string theory isn't accepted as a viable explanation just because some people really like the idea. It's given serious consideration because the underlying mathematical models work.
In contrast, the explanation accepted by most Christians for the resurrection, is that a supernatural being willed Jesus back to life. This explanation is not underpinned or supported by anything other than the fact that some people say it's true. Moreover, it is not accepted in either of the senses described above, but in the sense that it is believed to be categorically, undeniably true (see comment above describing resurrection as "undeniable").
There is no equivalent acceptance that I know of for a scientific hypothesis which is unsupported by observation, including string theory. Different scientific hypotheses have their supporters and detractors within the scientific community, but there are no sacred cows. If some new observation categorically falsified string theory tomorrow, it would be discarded. The same can not be said of religious belief. Therefore I think it's reasonable to say that giving serious consideration to a scientific hypothesis unsupported by observation, is not equivalent to believing the resurrection story is true.
The resurrection of Jesus is more of a belief than historical fact. It will always remain a belief and many people say that it is true, for the simple reason that the entire edifice of the Catholic faith is based on the resurrection of Christ. After going through various books on the subject I am of the opinion that Christ never died on the cross. Hence the question of resurrection does not arise. Some research point to the fact that Christ went to the Indian state of Kashmir and attended the world Buddhist conference at Haran in 80 AD. His remains are supposed to be in Srinagar which has a Jewish marking. I will add that any belief cannot be contested if it is based on what a billion people think and believe as true. However it is good to discuss such topics once in a way but I doubt if a dent can be made in the eternal belief of resurrection.
I think you might be looking at this from the wrong angle. Who controlled the 'news' during that time? If you look at those in control of approved information dissemination to the masses, maybe it is an example of fake news.
Who controlled the 'news' during that time?
Ideas spread mainly by word of mouth back then, and I imagine that would make it even easier to fake something. No video. No recordings. The only evidence of a "miracle" would be the words of people who claimed it to be true.
So why would one religious message spread more than another? Why do some memes or conspiracy theories go viral and others don't? Is the answer the same?
It would be impossible to say. In the context of society in that century. I would say, where religion is concerned, the value of the message to one's every day life would determine how well it could spread, even if miracles were involved.
I would think today the successful conspiracy theories work, where others fail, is because they tap into a more universal belief. 9-11 comes to mind, like JFK, Hillary's emails, Trump and Russia, etc. We all lack a basic trust of the government so we can easily believe the possibilities.
Tapping into a universal belief is certainly likely to be part of the anatomy of a viral idea.
Avoiding death is a biological imperative. The result is a natural fear of death. It's easy to see how the idea of eternal life taps into that natural human fear.
If we accept Dawkins' notion that ideas can be the cultural analogue of genes (spread from person to person within a culture based on the 'fitness' of the idea) then it's easy to see how assuaging a deep-rooted human fear would be high on the list of attributes that would make an idea more viral than others.
More broadly I wonder if religions could reasonably be considered as collections of viral ideas tied together with some a narrative. The ideas "evolve" over time based on the environment, i.e. current culture. So when new scientific knowledge threatens an accepted religious viewpoint, it simply adapts to meet that new challenge, much like a species adapts to changes in the environment.
I agree, for the most part. As a believer, I can tell you that experience coupled with observation leads me to accept the probability of more. But, I believe all religion is 15 oz of bs wrapped around an ounce of truth and they have no idea which is which. Which is why they fight.
Not possible= Miracle. Not having the scientific Knowledge to explain something does not mean it didn't happen. Here is a scenario, Multiple dimensions with similar characters. What if the characters were moved into alternate realities where there were similar but not exact circumstances. Can you prove this didn't happen or just lack the science to explain it.
Just one example of things that can happen, hope that helps to broaden the perspective. Also some very credible people reported the event.
Thank You, Martin
I did say based on our knowledge of human physiology, it's not possible. Sure we can hypothesize about different dimensions etc. We could equally hypothesize that Jesus was an extraterrestrial who was brought back to life by advanced alien technology, or that Jesus was a time traveler etc. But based on what we actually know, the current best explanation of the resurrection is that it's a story made up by some men who wanted to continue a movement after the death of its leader.
LOL Which seems more probable, given the state of our knowledge base today?
That a group of ET's visited, used their advanced technology to rebuild the neural pathways that had disintegrated in three days of degradation and revived Jesus (but didn't fix his hands) OR
That a small group of followers that stood to benefit greatly, made up a tale that he came back to life and then disappeared?
I know what MY answer is (and suspect that I know yours, too!).
How did "a small group of followers" stand "to benefit greatly?"
They remained powerful (actually gained in power as the head of the movement was gone). They kept the respect and obeisance of the people. They lived off the efforts of others (I presume none of them had a job, farm or fishing boat). Never underestimate the power of being the head of a religious following.
That they went on building the church shows it was effective.
Thank you for your reply, wilderness. However, those who continued to follow were persecuted and imprisoned, off and on, so it was not as if they enjoyed power in any traditional sense. Their mission was to spread the gospel. It was no easy task. It would have been easier to walk away, and not face persecution.
The church was effective because of the Resurrection. Had there been no resurrection, there would have been no movement. It would have been "dead in the water." Evidence supports the resurrection. Here is a clip you may find useful, if HP allows it.
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=yo … ;FORM=VIRE
That they were. But they didn't have a crystal ball of the future, so what eventually happened has little to do with the why they would concoct a wild tale of the walking dead.
The church was effective because of the tale of the Resurrection - that they would live forever. Whether it actually happened is irrelevant; all it required was to convince people it did. Just as today - there is zero evidence it actually happened (outside of the reports of unknown people claiming to know what others said happened). All it takes it to convince people it did happen.
Your link presents, as evidence of the Resurrection, a mental exercise asking what people would think if he didn't die. That is not evidence; it is a mental exercise in a "what if".
History is replete with reports of miracles, from covering the earth with 5 miles of water while retaining life in a boat (what happened to whales when the oceans became fresh water?) to men living for days in the belly of a fish to flying men with hammers creating thunder. None have been shown to have any basis in reality. That too pat answer that "God can do anything" just doesn't cut it when it comes to violating the natural laws of our universe.
Well, that's not quite it, but that link was not the right one. My bad!
I'll get back to you another day. I'm actually battling a horrible migraine which hasn't let up all day. Time to get off my iPhone.
Talk to you later. Thanks.
Take care of yourself - those are no fun. Good night, savvy.
I appreciate your well wishes, wilderness. I am much better today. Regarding your point that :"They remained powerful (actually gained in power as the head of the movement was gone). They kept the respect and obeisance of the people."
In fact, this statement is not true. Are you referring to the apostles of Jesus? Those who knew him directly and saw him crucified? If so, you are mistaken in assuming they "gained in power." In fact their lives were rather wretched. Furthermore, they did not remain together as a group.
The apostles travelled about, by sea and land to preach the gospel. Christians could be killed and arrested for proclaiming the name of Jesus, and they were. Indeed, they sufferred whippings, beatings, stoning, near starvation, shipwreck and imprisonment. Tacitus and Suetonius reported the first statewide persecution of Christians under Nero.
That they were willing to die for their faith shows the depth of their convictions. Had they not seen the risen Christ, they would not have gone through all of this trouble and heartache.
What most people do not know is that the Jews of 1st century Judea had expected the coming of a King who would free them from the bondage of Rome. They had hoped for a deliverer. Jesus is not who they had in mind. However, everything he did fulfilled the prophesies of the Old Testament and they, the apostles and followers of Jesus, came to believe he was the Son of God, who came to deliver the world. However, they had hoped for a triumphant delivery.
When Jesus was convicted of treason and subsequently crucified, their hopes were dashed. (Dying by crucifixion was reserved for criminals back in those days.)
But when Jesus came to them after his death and they were even able to touch him and see that he was flesh and blood, they were astonished and overjoyed. They knew beyond a doubt, that Jesus was who he said he was. That is why they were willing to die for their faith.
In fact, all the apostles, except John died horrible deaths because of their faith. Peter and Andrew were crucified. Matthew was speared with swords and beheaded. Philip was impaled by iron hooks and hung upside down. James was beat with clubs. The list goes on, but you get the drift.
It was because of the faith of these apostles that the gospel grew and that even today, underground missionaries (such as those who spread the gospel in China or North Korea where Christianity is illegal) are willing to risk their lives to share their faith.
The point is that no one does that. No one is willing to die a humiliating death for something they think might be real or is possibly real. The apostles were convinced because they saw Jesus alive after his death and were therefore fully convicted that he was the Son of God.
Yes, the apostles. Let's look at it: if they failed to make the story of the resurrection all that's left is to admit their god died. Is gone. No longer exists.
Where does that leave the apostles? Are they still able to convince people to believe them, honor them, support them? They have nothing left to offer but a dead god, so why would anyone follow them? Better to remain with Mithra, Jupiter, Apollo and the rest of the gods of Rome - gods that remain alive and will.
Yes, it was from faith in the apostles that the gospel grew. But if they just let Jesus die, did not concoct a tale of the Resurrection? What then? You are pointing out a very good reason to make such a tale, for without that faith the apostles become nothing, losing all of the respect, honor, power and support from the people.
Bottom line is that the ONLY "evidence" we have of the Resurrection is the word of that small group that stood to gain the most from the tale of a physical impossibility that violated all the natural rules they (and we) know of. You recognize that, commenting that the apostles needed to maintain the faith of the people - that without that faith their religion and their power would never have survived Jesus's death.
So you honestly believe these deeply pious men would make up a tale, live wretched lives and die horrible deaths because otherwise, they would have "egg on their faces? No offence, but that the oddest theory I've heard yet.
Like I said, they gained nothing. There were no adoring crowds. They had no power over people. No honor. They were hungry and thirsty and imprisoned most of the time. This was first century Judea. Only the brave were willing to utter the name of Jesus.
Rome was a cruel place for Christians. They remained followers because of the love of Jesus, his healings, his miracles, and finally because they believed he lived, died and rose again.
As for natural laws. We have them. Supernatural laws exist as well.
I am not here to proselytize. I am the last person qualified to do that. Just wanted to set the record straight about those times and offer what I believe to be evidence. That is not to say I expect you to believe me. In fact, I do not expect that at all.
However, history tells the story. What little I have told you about first century Judea and the lives of the first Christians, in general, has been documented in historical records and ancient texts. There is evidence of that.
Enjoy your Labor day weekend!
Did Muhammad? Did the Catholic priests molesting little boys? History is replete with "deeply pious men" that have been some of our greatest villains. Don't forget as well that the only reason to consider them "deeply pious" is their own claims. Certainly there is nothing recorded anywhere else.
"Supernatural laws exist as well." And that has the exact same proof as the Resurrection: none whatsoever. Only words designed to support a belief, and nothing else.
Yes, history has documented much. But not the Resurrection or any of the other biblical tales of events violating natural law. Only belief supports them, and while millions accept belief as truth, proof and knowledge, I am not one of them.
You have a great weekend as well - I certainly intend to. Spending some time at the lake, perhaps, with my grandchildren. Or watching dozens of hot air balloons take off at once. Or just a cookout with my children and their children. I shall enjoy whatever we choose to do.
Jesus was not a villian, nor were his apostles. We do have proof of that.
The men you of spoke of did not suffer persecution, nor would they have been willing to bear any. It is not fair to equate them with pious Christians. Besides which, Mohammed was the founder of Islam.
Although you will not believe it, the canonical gospels accurately relate the life of Jesus, and it is based upon eyewitness account. That is an accepted fact among New Testament scholars.
Enjoy the cook-out!
I did not intend to imply Jesus OR apostles were villians. Just men like the rest of us.
You misunderstood the reference to Mohammed or other "prophets" or holy men from the past. You will (I assume) deny the truth of what they said even though you cannot prove it false. Why then accept the truth of the apostles? I assure you that millions and millions of people accept the absolute truth of the Koran, something which you will deny in favor of your own choice of spiritual writings. From an objective viewpoint outside of either belief, there is approximately the same amount of evidence of either; virtually none at all. Or as much as the gold plates that Joseph Smith found and translated into the Book of Mormon.
Perhaps they DO accurately relate the life of Jesus. And perhaps they do not. Where are the rest of the eyewitness accounts - the ones that paint a different picture? Where are the meticulous Roman records of His life? For that matter, where are the originals of the gospels - the ones before Nicea? Never forget that those gospels were re-written by men hundreds of years after He died - men that most definitely had an axe to grind and power to maintain - nor that we do not know who wrote the first version.
As I have stated in another article...."The Jewish people of ancient times took the responsibility of documenting history very, very seriously."
That is a known historical fact.
Furthermore, The NT is reliable primarily because of the eyewitness factor, although other factors are involved.
I also wrote this in an article, "Thus, in lieu of the eyewitness factor, it is important to note that the gospel of Mark has been dated at approximately 60-70 A.D., and that the gospels of Matthew and Luke are dated at 80-90 A.D. The actual ministry of Jesus began during the late 20’s to the early 30’s, in the 1st century....many of the eyewitnesses of Jesus's life would have been alive after his crucifixion; this fact is crucial! There is no question that 1st century Jewish eyewitnesses would have refuted anything that did not reflect the truth."
The ancient Jewish people had no patience for "fake news."
As for the Koran, it borrowed many sayings from Jesus. Apparently, Mohammed was not particularly scrupulous about record keeping or truth telling, as were ancient Jews. The Jewish people has the utmost respect for the written word and they insisted upon the truth. Period. There is no disputing that. All good scholars know this to be true.
Mohammed was not particularly concerned with integrity. That is why he stole parts of Bible texts and inserted them into the Koran. His religion was different from Christianity and his people were different than the ancient Jews. In fact, Mohammed even subscribed to something called Taqiyan, which allows his followers to lie, supposedly, in the face of persecution.... but in reality, to deceive in any situation in which it benefits Islam.
The fact is, the New Testament contains the greatest amount of accurate, eye witness testimony and information pertaining to the life and teachings of Jesus (of Nazareth) than any other known source. Even agnostic New Testament scholars acknowledge this fact about the NT. While this may not be known to the general population, primarily because most individuals, including Christians, do not bother to do any proper research, it is true, nonetheless.
Other ancient sources exist as well. Some are reliable and some are not. It really depends upon whether they meet the "criteria of authenticity" which is a standard that scholars use for determining whether ancients texts are reliable. Archaeology is also another aspect of understanding the reliability of ancient texts.
Wilderness, if one assumes the God of the Israelites is God you have only a few choices. Either only the Jews are true followers and every religion that came after is false. Or one is true. Both Christianity and Islam cannot be right.
Mohamed claimed Jesus was a prophet who did not rise from the dead. If Jesus did not rise from the dead he was no prophet. Prophets can't lie. So, if Jesus is a prophet Mohammed is a liar, therefore no prophet.
Just so. And both versions have millions of adherents, all completely convinced of the truth of their belief. From the outside no one has a lock on truth, and all religious belief systems are of the same value.
I'd have to disagree on all religions being of the same value because of the manner in which I define value. Just looking at the two Abrahamic religions which rose from traditions of the Judaic religion. The religion which allows the most willing participation juxtaposed to the religion which is more totalitarian in its beliefs of what the religion can do to force participation easily determines value.
The religion which allows more for freedom of conscience is of more value.
The religion which has evolved by allowing open debate, finding the words within it which allow for greater and greater equality of all humanity is of much more value than one which insists on interpreting by social values of millennia past.
You have to first define value. Then see if value is contained within any religious structure.
I realize you were raised in a somewhat bizarre take on Christianity and that will color your opinion but the good thing about Christianity is you don't have to agree with anyone, on anything, in order to claim faith. No one sits in earthly judgement. Only those who acquiesce voluntarily are roughshod herded.
Sorry - I did not mean to indicate that all religions have the same value in regard to their teachings. Some are clearly abhorrent (human sacrifice, discrimination, etc.) and some at least profess to treat all the same. Some are, therefore, much more acceptable in terms of modern morality, then.
But when considering which of them is "Truth" with a capital T, that all their tales are True rather than false to fact - that's a different matter. None can produce their god and all make claims that we know to be false.
I'd agree that no religion can provide proof of the supernatural claims but calling them all equal is not a fair summation.
Again, the intent was to express that the claims have equal proof of the supernatural whatever religion it might be. I did not intend to indicate that all religions are equal in all ways - only that they are equal in their lack of ability to prove their supernatural claims.
Don, I think I understand your enthusiasm for correctly supported forum participation because it is an enthusiasm that I share, but, the message of my comment was simply one of concept. A lesson on the process of a scientific hypothesis and theory was an unnecessary one. That you disagree with the concept my message offered is fine, that you think it needed parsing and a tutorial to support your parsing is not.
When a discussion involves factual representations, a response such as yours would be a worthy effort, but when the message is simply one of concept; such as this discussion of 'beliefs', your effort would border on insulting.
That science has no "scared" cows is not pertinent to the comparison of strongly held scientific beliefs to strongly held religious beliefs--even when acknowledging that religious beliefs do have "sacred cows."
To me, disbelief is just as valid as belief. Neither can, (as yet), be empirically proven or disproven. Criticism of either is only valid as informed, (or uninformed), opinion.
So, your science lesson changes nothing in my message that the concept of belief comparison between scientific thought and religious thought is purely in the eye of the beholder. One as alien to the other as the other is to the one.
I don't believe the similarity you are alluding to is a matter of opinion, and I felt it right to outline why I think that. If that came across as patronizing that wasn't the intention.
To your point, sure, as Arthur C. Clarke said, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".
But I don't care if some people think giving consideration to scientific hypotheses is the same as believing in the resurrection. That's demonstrably not the case. What I am interested in is why Christians believe stories like the resurrection in the first place (and it should be noted that a good number of scientists are Christians too).
Just to be clear, I have nothing against anyone who chooses to believe someone can be brought back to life after being dead for three days, but I won't pretend their belief is equivalent to giving consideration to a scientific hypothesis. It isn't.
The idea of the resurrection is not based on reason. As far as I can see, it's based on wishful thinking. Again, I have no problem with wishful thinking, but what causes some people (including otherwise reasonable people) to suspend their disbelief when it comes to something like the resurrection? How could a doctor who happens to be Christian, for example, truly believe that someone was "resurrected" after three days?
Is this type of belief like a virus, that spreads and causes the host to behave in ways beneficial to the virus but not necessarily the host? Who's to say this type of belief is not beneficial? If it does allay some deep-rooted fear about mortality, isn't that of some benefit? In that sense is it more like a meme, or a conspiracy theory that some people latch onto because it fulfils some need they have?
Don, belief in the resurrection is called faith. You can't explain it. If you could it would require no faith.
No one should have to defend their faith. If you choose to have faith, good on you. If you choose disbelief, good on you.
That's the problem I run across with those who have no faith. Their faith is in themselves. Which is fine, but then they expect others to have faith in their faith. There's the problem. Believe what you want but there is a reason no one is going to believe in you.
If one believes in a higher power they follow a line of reasoning. Is it one God or many? If one, what explanation makes the most sense? You haven't even moved past the first question. Why would anyone be interested in your opinion if you haven't done the homework?
As I say, I have nothing against people who have religious belief. I understand a miracle is, by definition, an extraordinary event that can't be explained by natural and scientific laws. So faith is really the only thing that such belief can be attributed to.
Doesn't that mean people can claim literally anything as long as they categorize it as a "miracle" though?
I could claim a guy called Bob came back to life after being dead for three days; was witnessed alive by his friends and family, then ascended into the sky on a cloud, never to be seen again. If anyone questions why there is no witness accounts of this, I can claim they were expunged from the historical record by divine intervention because God wanted it so. If anyone asks how I know, I can claim divine revelation.
Is what I described not also, by definition, a miracle?
No one can prove Bob didn't exist, that he wasn't resurrected, and that he [/i]didn't[/i] ascend into the sky. No one can prove witness accounts were not expunged by divine intervention, or that I was not told about it by divine revelation.
Is my claim really beyond all reasonable dispute though, just because the nature of the claim categorizes it as a miracle?
If I wrote a book describing the events, what's the difference between that book and the Gospel, aside from the fact the resurrection is an old story and mine would be new (the Gospel was new once too)?
How many people globally on Facebook could I convince? How many "believers" could I gain? Is it a million miles from the truth to suggest that someone, somewhere (perhaps a few people) would take such a claim seriously if I presented it the right way?
So what's the difference between my story, and a run-of-the-mill conspiracy theory aside from the fact that my story involves a miracle? And that leads me to the question:
If there is no difference between my story and a conspiracy theory, other than the involvement of a miracle, what's the difference between the resurrection and a conspiracy theory, other than the fact that one involves a miracle and the other does not?
Your Bob could not be proven in an international Court of law.
Unless it was backed by military and politics from trillions of tax payers money.
Money and power is the only true God for people who are sheep dogs and sheep.
Guy named Bob. Has a heart attack.. Despite all attempts at resuscitation. He is pronounced dead ,and an hour passes..in that time he had this intense sensation of hurtling through space. Then a Lazarus syndrome took effect. And his heart thumped again and again. When he got out of the hospital he bought plane tickets. Everyone asked him Bob ?where you going? Bob replied... Everywhere! Then he took off into the sky and we never saw him again. Some would call it a miracle. We knew him as Bob.
No one here has any understanding of the ancient Jews of 1st century Judea. If they did, they would not say half the things they have said, and that includes you.
As I stated before, the New Testament contains the greatest amount of accurate, eye witness testimony and information pertaining to the life and teachings of Jesus (of Nazareth) than any other known source. Even agnostic New Testament scholars acknowledge this fact about the NT. While this is obviously not known to the general population, primarily because most individuals, including Christians, do not bother to do any proper research on this well established fact, it remains true, nonetheless.
Nothing anybody says here has made any sense. First learn about the "criteria of authenticity" regarding ancient texts. Otherwise, you're merely spouting foolish theories. Everything I've heard here is mere speculation.
If you know nothing about first century Judea and the Jewish people of that time, which obviously, nobody here knows anything about, then all anyone is doing is rambling.
I wouldn't set to much store in the criteria of authenticity. They are guidelines, nothing more. They do not prove historicity.
Can certain principles of historical study help us determine how likely it was that a person called Jesus existed, was a preacher, and was crucified under the governorship of Pontius Pilate? Sure. Can they tell us if Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God? No. Neither can they tell us if Jesus came back to life after three days by the power of God.
As soon as you claim something is divine revelation, divine intervention, or simply a miracle, it effectively removes it from the scope of what historical and scientific study can determine as true.
That means not only can you claim literally anything, you can also claim anything in defense of your claim, e.g. people don't come back to life after three days in modern times because that's just not part of God's plan.
If the "principles of authenticity" can't prove that a figure called Bob didn't come back to life after three days, that he didn't ascend into the sky on a cloud, and that this wasn't revealed to me by divine intervention, then it has no utility here, other than to further highlight the issue with claims of the divine.
I made no claims to "divine revelation" nor would I. Nor am I stating that I can prove the resurrection. However, historically, the evidence is compelling and it is worth looking at.
The point I am stressing is that there were many eyewitnesses leading up to the crucifixion, during the crucifixion, at the tomb of Jesus, after the crucifixion and after he rose again. The eyewitness testimony meets the criteria of authenticity. Furthermore, the Jewish people of that time (the 1st Century) would have balked at any written word that did not accurately reflect the truth because they would have been alive during the time of Jesus, who likely died in 30 AD. They were not into "fake news". They took the matter of the written word very seriously. It was a huge part of their culture for a number of reasons.
Also, the apostles would not have been willing to die horrible deaths had they not seen Jesus alive again. They would have recanted and given their allegiance to Caesar rather than be brutally murdered, as each of them were.
These men were not crazy, nor were they jihadist who were promised virgins in heaven. They were devout, sane men who suffered constant persecution because they would not deny what they saw. Without the resurrection, Christianity would have been "dead in the water." The apostles would have gone back to their lives, disappointed that Jesus had died a criminal's death. There would have been no Christian movement.
"Also, the apostles would not have been willing to die horrible deaths had they not seen Jesus alive again."
And yet history is replete with martyrs that gave their life for their cause and not a single one of them saw Jesus come back to life.
If you are referring to Christians who came later, that is true. As I had explained earlier, the Jews were seeking a Savior, but Jesus was not the person they had in mind. They expected someone who would rise up like a king and defeat the Romans. Jesus did no such thing. Furthermore, he died the most humiliating death that a man can die. Only criminals were crucified. So even though he preached brotherly love and forgiveness, and had the power to heal, the apostles were deeply saddened after his death, but they felt he may not have been the Messiah after all. However, when he rose again and appeared to them, they knew in their hearts that he was who he said he was.
Long story short, a movement has to have a beginning, and events had to unfold the way they did, so that others would come to believe. The apostles were instrumental in spreading the word and they had the power of their conviction. There are even documented stories of Roman centurions, who upon seeing the dedication of the apostles under extreme persecution, became believers as well.
John 20:26:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I only listed one verse, but John 20:26-29 gives the full context wherein the apostle Thomas would not believe Jesus had been resurrected from death unless he saw him. Once he saw him and became convinced, Jesus spoke those words. They are meant for all.
I wasn't (referring to later Christians). Only noting that large numbers of people have died for a cause; it doesn't take seeing a corpse come to life to convince people that their cause, whatever it might be, is worth more than their life.
Yes, of course. Anyone can die for any cause. However, Christianity is not just "any cause" in my opinion. The gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches love and forgiveness, has had the power to change lives in dramatic ways that are also quite grounded and positive.
But you will never know that by observing the lives of most "soft" Americans who claim to be Christians. True Christians are rare. Most real Christians are "underground" missionaries. They are the ones who risk their lives for their fellow man and who readily give their lives for others. They are the true Christians. We call them saints, or at least I do. And they have and do walk the earth, without a doubt.
Most other "believers" are not very loving, forgiving or brave, myself included.
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me on that day, 'LORD, LORD, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
In other words, all talk but no love and forgiveness, does not a Christian make.
Wilderness…. keep mind that dramatic imagery in the Bible verse above was an important part of the culture of that day. Ask anyone from the Middle East. They'll tell you.
"I made no claims to "divine revelation" nor would I."
That presents a quandry. If there is no claim to the divine, then we are free to consider the resurrection story in light of what's most likely to be true relative to known natural and scientific laws, rendering it no more than a tall tail.
If there is a claim to the divine, then we can't determine historicity, i.e. historical actuality, because the most important part of the claim (resurrection from death by the power of God), by definition, violates the natural and scientific laws we would use to determine actuality.
In other words, either the resurrection story is a miracle claim, in which case the historicity of the event is of no concern because you can claim anything if you call it a miracle. Or it's not a miracle claim, in which case we can bring the full force of current scientific knowledge (and basic common sense) to bear on the story, the same way we would any other.
It can't be both though.
"[First century Jews] were not into "fake news".
First century Jews, like Jesus himself by all accounts, believed God spoke to Moses via a burning bush; that Moses parted the red sea by holding up a staff; that two of every species of animal on earth were contained in a vessel 500 x 75 feet; that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and lived inside it for three days before being spat out unharmed; that Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt for looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah, to name only a few stories.
I think it's unsafe to assume first century Jews were not partial to a bit of fake news.
"Also, the apostles would not have been willing to die horrible deaths had they not seen Jesus alive again."
As you pointed out, there are people today who voluntarily die horrible deaths, not only on the promise of an afterlife, but also for political reasons, loyalty to a cause or a leader etc. Sadly, people don't need to think they have witnessed a miracle to be willing to die a horrible death.
"They were devout, sane men who suffered constant persecution because they would not deny what they saw."
No they are claimed to have been those things by the texts that described them as such. Those texts were selected from many that were written, and compiled to form the "Gospel" at the Council of Nicea. Many texts did not make it into the final edit. See the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Philip, the Secret Book of James which are part of the Nag Hammadi library.
Those Gospels include passages like: "Those who say that the Lord died first and then rose up are in error – for He rose up first and then died".
Also, many scholars believe the Gospel of Mark (the earliest known Gospel) originally ended at Mark 16:8: "Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid". The commonly known longer ending that gives account of the "resurrection" of Jesus, is an addition likely added in the 2nd century.
"The apostles would have gone back to their lives, disappointed that Jesus had died a criminal's death".
Or fabricated a story that Jesus was resurrected to continue their movement. People have done far worse for less.
I'm straying into critiquing the resurrection story itself which is not what I intended to do. Instead I'm more interested in the viral nature of the story. Resurrection itself is not unique. In the ancient Greek religions alone, Asclepius, Achilles, Memon and many others were resurrected and made immortal. Why did this one go viral?
I think there are lots of reasons, but one reason can be seen in Corinthians 15:17: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins". So either the early Christians enjoyed the soothing elixir of belief in a paradise after death, and the notion that all suffering is ultimately worth it because good people will be rewarded in heaven, or they can choose to believe the Messiah was just an ordinary man killed like a common criminal by the Romans due to the machinations of the Jewish establishment.
It's amazing what the power of hope can lead people to believe..
It seems likely this one went viral because it had the power of Rome thrown behind it. Without that it would have almost certainly withered and died.
"I made no claims to "divine revelation" nor would I."
Lol. You're quite the eloquent debater. No question. I Just read your comment and will re-visit again another day, as it is getting late.
What I meant by the above statement is that I cannot prove there is a God or that Jesus is divine. No one can. But where Jesus is concerned, I have followed the evidence and I am not ashamed to say that I find it compelling. Consequently, I believe Jesus lived, died on the cross, and rose again.
As for God, or a Higher Power, I believe in that as well. Why would you or anyone not want to, when all is said and done? Without it, all nations would live as atheist nations do and have... and history tells us that story is vile and filled with fear and death.
In fact, new atheist's know full well that without the underpinnings of democracy we have in America, specifically because our nation was built upon Judeo Christian principles, they would not be able to enjoy the comfortable life and free speech they have. Just ask anyone in North Korea where God is not allowed. Without God, the entire world would be as hellish as that place.
I digress, but perhaps not so much. At any rate, I celebrate your free speech and mine. I say thank God for Judeo Christian principles and so do smart atheists who live in the United States, by the way. Rather hypocritical of them, but it's not as if following Christian principles necessarily applies to them. They can just ignore them, do whatever they feel, but still fully enjoy the benefits. It's more convenient that way.
Time for me to get some sleep. Got to get up early!
Jews are chosen God's people. Jews, only go to heaven.
Sorry folks, all the rest of us, must retire forever in enteral torture.
Now you are more on track to the point of my previous comment Don, and I am relieved.
Your Clark quote was appropriate to the topic, (as would be several others of his), and it gets to the crux of my original point. Belief is simply that--belief. Christians that believe in the Resurrection do so because they want to. There is no supporting logic beyond that. But they don't need logic to support their belief.
However, since the event cannot be empirically disproven, scoffers and critics stand on no firmer ground than the believers.
As to your question of why Christians believe this story, you know the answer as well as I do; it is because their faith tells them so. But, I would venture that there are two aspects of that belief; those that believe it is literal and those that believe it is metaphorical.
And, relative to observably reasonable people "suspending disbelief," that is a belief question well above my paygrade. I just know that I can't prove them wrong and those sincere believers that walk the walk' live a life of serenity that could be enviable.
From the Huffington Post.
Can Science Explain the Soul?
"The soul has never lacked for believers, including around 90% of the American public, according to pollsters. But science has remained aloof, basically for two reasons. First, the soul has been assumed to be a matter of personal belief, not objective knowledge. Second, science deals in visible, concrete things using objective data. But since the era of quantum physics began over a century ago, invisible things and fleeting events have entered science, so subtly that the realm from which they emerge is almost a matter of faith."
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/can-scie … izfiWPYgaA
It takes many centuries for most of us, to change our thoughts patterns that we are spiritual sided rather than religious ancient news.
I hope it only takes decades for most of us to discover that over military and politics powers to be is about money and control. Very little to do about our freedom and human rights. They act as our daily Gods controling their sheep dogs and their following sheep, to keep each other inline.
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