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Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

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Compassionist
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Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#1 Post by Compassionist » February 26th, 2015, 6:07 pm

Source: http://www.str.org/articles/did-jesus-r ... m-the-dead
If the bones of Jesus were found tomorrow, would you walk away from Christianity? You should. Why? Because faith in a dead Jesus is worthless. Even the Apostle Paul says so. In I Corinthians 15:14, he writes, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." Did you catch that? The bones of Jesus would make our faith useless.

C'mon Paul, isn't that kind of harsh? No and here's why. Imagine a group of people who have dedicated their lives to Peter Pan. They construct a beautiful building to gather in celebration of Pan's life. They sing songs to him and tell stories about his wonderful deeds. What would you think about such a group? What a waste of life. Peter Pan is a fairy tale. We should feel sorry for such people.

Well, if Jesus did not rise bodily from the grave, then Christianity is a fairy tale. Just like Peter Pan, it's make believe and Christians are wasting their lives. And what should people think about us? Paul concludes that if Christ hasn't been raised, "we are to be pitied more than all men" (verse 19).

So, when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus, what's at stake for Christians? Everything.

HISTORY 101

How in the world do we show that a 2,000-year-old event actually happened? Mary Magdalene didn't whip out her flip camera and record footage of the resurrected Jesus. The disciples didn't snap post-resurrection photos on their iPhones and then upload them to Facebook for all their friends to see. So what's a historian to do? Two things in particular:

#1 – Find the facts.

Historians rely on historical data like archeology, ancient documents and recorded eyewitness testimony to reconstruct the past. In addition, certain principles guide them in determining which historical accounts are reliable and which are not. For example, if there are several independent sources reporting the same event, that's pretty reliable history. If those sources are actual eyewitnesses and not secondhand reports, that's pretty reliable history. If those eyewitness accounts are closer in time to the actual event, that's pretty reliable history. Given this process of investigation, historians can discover historical facts.

#2 – Find the best explanation.

Once the historian has gathered her facts, she looks for an explanation that fits the facts. She has to determine if the facts support an alleged historical event. Sometimes she concludes "yes," and sometimes "no." There are plenty of times when there just aren't enough facts, so the historian simply says, "We don't know what really happened." Since there is no video footage for most of human history, the honest historian does her best to the follow the facts to the best possible explanation.

COLD HARD FACTS

Do we have any facts that support the historical resurrection of Jesus? Absolutely. And we won't just use arguments from guys on our side. To make the strongest possible case, we'll rely on those facts that virtually all scholars who study this subject agree upon, including critics of Christianity. Resurrection scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona call this the "minimal facts” approach.*

Notice this approach does not require us to defend an error-free Bible. It does not require us to show the Bible is the inspired word of God. Although they're important issues, inerrancy and inspiration are not essential to our case for the resurrection. Instead, the minimal facts approach lets us build common ground with the critic. Basically, we're saying to the skeptic, "You show me your historical facts and I'll show you how they are evidence for the historical resurrection of Jesus."

So, what are the minimal facts? Habermas and Licona list five:


Fact #1: Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.

Not only is Jesus' crucifixion recorded in all four gospels, but non-Christian sources report the event too. Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus are just a couple of those sources.

And remember, virtually all scholars accept this fact.


Fact #2: The disciples believed they had seen the risen Jesus.

Scholars recognize two important pieces of evidence for this fact. First, the disciples claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. Paul lists the eyewitnesses in I Corinthians 15:3-8:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

By the way, it's legit to cite the Bible here. Even critical scholars believe I Corinthians is an authentic letter written by Paul. At this point, we're simply using it as a source of ancient history, not as an inspired book of the Bible. Thus, we have a reliable list of people who believed they saw resurrection appearances of Jesus.

Second, the disciples really believed they had seen Jesus such that it totally transformed them. Jesus, their leader, had been brutally killed before their eyes. Understandably, they split. Peter even denies Jesus three times. But something happened, transforming them from cowards who abandoned Jesus to courageous men who risked life and limb for His message. They didn't just claim Jesus rose, they really, really believed it.

And remember, virtually all scholars accept this fact.


Fact #3: Saul of Tarsus (Paul), an enemy of the church, converted because he believed he had seen the risen Jesus.

Before his Road-to-Damascus experience, Paul tried to destroy the Christian church. He beat Christians, imprisoned them, and killed them. But suddenly, he converts to Christianity. Why? Paul and Luke both report it was because he believed the resurrected Jesus had appeared to him.

And remember, virtually all scholars accept this fact.


Fact #4: James, the brother of Jesus and a skeptic, converted because he believed he had seen the risen Jesus.

The Gospels tell us James was skeptical of Jesus' ministry (Mark 3:21; John 7:5). He was unconvinced. However, James eventually converts and is even martyred for his faith in Jesus. What transformed this skeptic into a believer? He believed he saw the risen Jesus. Remember the eyewitness list in I Corinthians 15? Verse 7 tells us "[Jesus] appeared to James."

And remember, virtually all scholars accept this fact.


Fact #5: The tomb of Jesus was empty.

Where was Jesus publicly executed? In Jerusalem. Where did the disciples start proclaiming Jesus' resurrection? In Jerusalem. Think about those two facts together. How does Christianity get started if Jesus' corpse is still in the tomb? It doesn't. Jewish and Roman leaders simply pull out the dead body and game over. But that doesn't happen. Instead, the disciples preach the resurrection in the very city Jesus is crucified. That's only possible if the tomb is empty.

This is the one fact not accepted by "virtually all scholars." However, Gary Habermas found that about 75% of scholars buy this one and that's still a large majority.

There you have it—five historical facts that need an explanation.

Colossal Conclusion

What do these facts point to? That Jesus Christ is no longer dead. His resurrection explains all five facts very well. The minimal facts give us solid evidence He has risen indeed. However, that won't stop the skeptic from offering other explanations. When you encounter one, remember this: just because an alternative explanation is possible, it does not make it probable. Anyone can give a different explanation, but we want one that best fits the facts.

For example, some scholars suggest the disciples stole Jesus' body. Does that fit the facts? No way. It doesn't explain the resurrection appearances of Jesus. It doesn't explain Paul or James' conversions. Indeed, if the disciples stole Jesus' body, then they knew his resurrection was a hoax. But why would they die for something they knew was false? They wouldn't, and thus, we can discard this possible explanation.

Facts are stubborn things. And after looking at the cold hard facts surrounding the end of his life, the best explanation is that Jesus rose bodily from the grave almost 2,000 years ago.

Resurrection Changes Everything

First, a resurrected Jesus confirms the truth of Christianity. Our faith is not founded on a fairy tale. It’s founded on fact. Jesus declared Himself to be God, to be equal with the Father, to forgive sins, to be the only way to God, and a host of other radical claims. His resurrection is confirmation of the truth of those claims. Thus, we can have total confidence Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Second, a resurrected Jesus makes transformation possible. Sin no longer has to dominate our lives. There’s a new way to be human. Paul, an eyewitness to the risen Jesus, explains: "But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Romans 8:10-11). If the power of God's Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, cannot that same power transform you and me? Absolutely.
What do you think of the above?

Compassionist
Posts: 3511
Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#2 Post by Compassionist » February 26th, 2015, 6:11 pm

Source: http://www.str.org/articles/why-should- ... surrection
The Resurrection is the Defining Moment
It is the resurrection that separates Jesus from all other good teachers, intelligent gurus and world leaders in history! The resurrection proved that Jesus was and is God, and demonstrated the fact that all of us will have a life after this one. Jesus is the one man who died and then came back to life to tell us about the other side. Even Paul was careful to tell us that without the truth of the resurrection, there is nothing special or powerful about Christianity:

1 Corinthians 15:12-19
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Doubters Remain
But why should I believe anything in the scripture about the resurrection? Why should I even consider these claims to be true? Over the centuries, many doubters have argued that the resurrection did NOT occur and they have taken one of two positions. They have either claimed that Jesus never died on the cross, or that Jesus never came back to life. Let’s look at the claims of the doubters and see if they hold up to careful scrutiny and reason.

Argument ONE – Jesus Didn’t Die
The first claim we are going top examine is the assertion that Jesus never died on the cross in the first place. These folks claim that Jesus was only injured up there on the cross. Later when He was taken down, He was in a swooning state of semi-consciousness, and only appeared to be dead. He came back to his senses later and appeared to the world, not as a man who had come back to life, but as a man who had recovered from His injuries! OK, this is the claim; now let’s take a look at whether or not this claim holds up to scrutiny.

The Roman Soldiers Would Not Have Allowed It
There was a tremendous penalty to be paid by Roman soldiers if they allowed a capital criminal to either escape or avoid the penalty to which they were sentenced. The soldier himself would have to take the punishment. It would be a death sentence for the soldier to bungle the execution. For this reason, Roman soldiers were brutal and meticulous, executing their orders with precision to make sure that they did not find themselves on the cross. Roman soldiers NEVER bungled executions of this nature, and history verifies this truth. Look at how the Bible describes the death of Jesus:

John 19:31-35
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

The Soldiers Didn’t Break Jesus’ Legs
The soldiers always confirmed that the executions were complete by assuring that each man on the cross was dead before taking them off. If they were not, the soldier would use a club to break their legs so that their own body weight would suffocate them. Unable to push themselves up with their legs to take a breath, and unable in weakness to continue to pull themselves up with their arms, the victims would simply suffocate under their own weight, unable to breath. The Gospels tell us that the soldiers came to break Jesus’ legs, but saw that he was already dead.

John Saw Water Come from Jesus’ Side
Not only that, but the gospels also tell us that one of the soldiers stabbed Jesus in the heart area with a spear and that water and blood rushed from the opening. That’s not uncommon for someone who has been dead for a while. The body cavity begins to fill with clear liquid, water drawn from the body itself. Blood in this situation appears watery and this is consistent with someone who is already dead. Coroners know this is true today, but to see this described in an ancient document is remarkable.

And Where Did He Go?
But if this wasn’t enough, we still have the issue of where Jesus went after the recovery. If he didn’t rise from the dead and then ascend into heaven, where did he go? There is no historical document that even attempts to account for a recovered Jesus, who lived after the recovery in some far away land. All things considered, the notion that Jesus did not die is preposterous.

The Bible Offered an Eyewitness to Verify the Death
Take a look at the description of the burial of Jesus offered in the Gospel of Mark. Notice the description of Joseph of Arimathea:

Mark 15:42-46
It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock.

You may wonder why there is such an accurate description of Joseph in this passage. Is Mark just trying to validate Jesus’ death by using a prominent Jew (even one on the council!) to verify the burial? Is Mark trying to impress his Jewish readers? Not likely, since he apparently felt the need to describe the meaning of “Preparation Day’ to the reader. It is apparent that non-Jews are Marks audience here! Joseph is not going to impress a non-Jew. So why mention him in so much detail? Here’s why: Mark wants the reader to be able to ask Joseph for himself! Mark is supplying the reader with a living eyewitness who not only saw the crucifixion, but also touch and wrapped the dead body of Jesus Christ! It’s ridiculous to think that somehow all the disciples of Jesus who took his grotesquely beaten body off the cross, wrapped it in linen, scented it with spices and prepared it for burial would not have noticed that he was still alive. You have to think this through. It makes no sense.

Argument TWO – The Disciples Imagined It
Once we have examined the issue and recognize that Jesus did, in fact, die on the cross, the next doubt you will encounter is whether or not Jesus actually rose form the dead after the crucifixion. Those who deny this fall into three camps, the first of which proposes that the disciples imagined the entire resurrection. This is commonly referred to as the Hallucination theory. The disciples, in their incredible grief and wishful thinking, imagine the entire resurrection as a sort of hallucination. The resurrection is not a scientific truth, therefore, but simply something that the disciples honestly believed they saw, based on their despair and grief.

But There is no Such Thing as a Group Hallucination
Imagine yourself having a hallucination and then snapping out of it only to discover that your best friend had the exact same hallucination, down to every detail! That’s just not going to happen. Hallucinations are personal. There is no such thing as a group hallucination. And that would have to be the case here with the disciples. When two people are questioned separately and tell you the exact same story, you know you are dealing with eyewitness accounts, not vivid imaginations! Not only that, but imagine a hallucination that lasts for days and weeks on end. That’s also never happened before and would have been the case here if you are to believe that the resurrection was just a hallucination. Jesus appeared to his followers for 40 days.

And What About the Corpse?
Are we to believe also that after having experienced this hallucination that the disciples would not have checked the tomb? Eventually they would have discovered the corpse, and realized that the hallucination was just that. But, of course, the corpse was not to be found…

They Claimed to Be More Than Sincere!
The biggest problem with the hallucination theory is that it does not account for the group sightings of Jesus in which everyone, including doubters like Thomas, got the chance to eat with, speak to, touch and be touched by Jesus himself. These experiences move the resurrection from hallucination to reality. Is it possible to be sincere in one’s belief, yet be sincerely wrong? Sure! But the disciples claimed to be more than sincere, they claimed to be eyewitnesses:

John 21:24-25
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

2 Peter 1:16
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Argument THREE – It’s All Just a Legend!
Many of those who deny the truth of the resurrection will try to tell you that it was a legend that was developed over time by people other than the disciples, people who heard stories and twisted them or misinterpreted them or invented them in order to create the faith system that we have today. They would argue that all of it is a myth, a legend created over time.

But There’s Not Enough Time!
But here is the problem: there is not nearly enough time for this type of legend to develop. This myth theory requires several generations to pass so that there or no remaining eyewitnesses of the real events left to dispute the mythology. But the first Christian documents recording the life of Christ appear on the scene within the first generation of the eyewitnesses. They were able to review the stories and testify to their validity. No one could have started the mythology without their knowing it. But that’s not all! There are also non-Christian historical records of Jesus that date back to within the lives of the eyewitnesses! These historians had no reason to perpetuate the mythology and attest to the fact that something did in fact happen here on planet earth 2000 years ago. Check out these early historical records:

Thallus (52AD)
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus and he is so ancient that his writings don’t even exist anymore. But Julius Africanus, writing around 221AD does quote Thallus who had previously tried to explain away the darkness that occurred at the point of Jesus’ crucifixion: “Thallus in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun…” This record of Thallus, confirms that Jesus lived, and was crucified and that something spectacular and unexplainable happened on that terrible day. If only more of Thallus’ record could be found, we would see that every aspect of Jesus’ life could be verified with a non-biblical source.

Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
Sometime after 70AD, a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, writing to encourage his son, compares the life and persecution of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. The fact that Jesus is known to be a real person with this kind of influence is important. As a matter of fact, Mara Bar-Serapion refers to Jesus as the “Wise King”.

Josephus (93AD)
In more detail than any other non-biblical historian, Josephus writes about Jesus in his “the Antiquities of the Jews” in 93AD. Josephus was a consultant for Jewish rabbis at age thirteen, was a Galilean military commander by the age of sixteen, and under the rule of roman emperor Vespasian, was allowed to write a history of the Jews. This history includes three passages about Christians, one in which he describes the death of John the Baptist, one in which he mentions the execution of James and describes him as the brother of Jesus the Christ, and a final passage which describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah, retelling the resurrection story!

Pliny the Younger (112AD)
Early Christians are also described in secular history. Pliny the Younger, in a letter to the Roman emperor Trajan, describes the lifestyles of early Christians. They are said to have unmovable faith in Christ, meeting once a week before the sun rises, sang hymns to Christ, vowed to do good deeds, and ate together in fellowship.

Cornelius Tacitus (116AD)
Cornelius Tacitus was known for his analysis and examination of historical documents and is among the most trusted of ancient historians. He was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and was also proconsul of Asia. In his “Annals’ of 116AD, he describes Emoperor Nero’s response to the great fire in Rome and Nero’s claim that the Christians were to blame. In the process, he describes the persecution and execution of Jesus under Pontius Pilate and the persecution of early Christians.

Phlegon (140AD)
In a manner similar to Thallus, Africanus also mentions a historian named Phlegon who wrote a chronicle of history around 140AD. In this history, Phlegon also mentions the darkness surrounding the crucifixion in an effort to explain it, but even more interestingly, he mentions Jesus’ ability to foresee the future in describing the life of our Savior.

Here’s the point with all of this. Non-Biblical records confirm that the story of the resurrection appears very EARLY and within the lifetime of the first witnesses. There can be no doubt that these eyewitnesses would have been able to testify AGAINST the resurrection if it were only a legend that was developing. The idea that the resurrection is a legend simply does not hold up to critical thinking.

And the First Witnesses Were Women!
This ‘small’ fact is overlooked when people want to think that the reality of Jesus’ resurrection is just a myth. The first witnesses to the resurrection were women. That is recorded clearly in all the Gospels. And remember that women at this time in history and in this culture had very low social status. They were not even allowed to testify in court. They were not considered to have status that would make them trustworthy witnesses. Yet these stories are brutally frank in the way that they describe women as the first witnesses:

Matthew 28:8-10
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

If someone was trying to establish the validity of a legend and give it credence and credibility, they would never have chosen women as the first witnesses. As a matter of fact, they would have made the first witness a man of considerable status. But that is simply not how it happened, and the truth was recorded in scripture regardless of the impact that it might have on early readers. This little detail is incredibly important and testifies to the reality of what happened.

Argument FOUR – They Just Lied About It!
So this brings us to the final obstacle we will encounter with people who deny the resurrection! After examining the impossibility that the resurrection is a hallucination or a legend, many will simply argue that the disciples made it all up. They’ll say it’s all fiction and the disciples conspired to fool the world. They were consummate liars. This theory has become known as the conspiracy theory!

But They Could Not Have Removed the Body!
The biggest problem with this theory is the fact that there would be no way for the disciples to get the body out of the tomb without alerting the guards. They Jews knew that they would have to guard the body in order to prevent its theft. They wanted to hang on to the body to show that Jesus was just a man. And they convinced authorities to place a Roman Attachment at the tomb. They guarded the tomb with the same intensity with which they confirmed Jesus’ death.

And the Locals Would Have Known It!
But keep in mind that it would also be impossible for the disciples to perpetuate a lie in the relatively small environment in which Jesus was said to have walked and appeared to more than 500 people according to Paul:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

These readers could have talked to the original witnesses and they would have seen the lie coming! They would have written a lot about the fact that all of it was untrue. Yet nothing exists to expose the resurrection as a lie.

And They Had No Motive!
But most of all, the disciples had no motive and, in fact, they put their very lives in danger by holding to the truth of the resurrection. Today, many of us who believe will risk our lives to defend our faith. That’s because we truly believe and we have no evidence that what we believe is untrue. But that was not the case for the first disciples. If the resurrection was untrue, they would have known it was a lie. Would they all have carried the conspiracy to their death, knowing full well that it was all a lie? Wouldn’t at least one of them have cracked under the torture and beatings and told the truth? How did this group of misfits become able to endure all this? They were transformed not by a lie but by the truth. And knowing that death was not something to fear, they boldly stood their ground. Tell me that these men were conspiring to perpetuate the biggest lie ever told in the history of man. It simply does not make any sense. The disciples would ALL have to be crazy to hold to a lie that eventually killed them all.

Once you have dispelled the arguments for the swoon theory, you are going to have to conclude that Jesus did actually die, and after you dispel the hallucination, conspiracy and myth theories, you are going to have to conclude that Jesus did in fact rise again. Now you are in yet another position of theory and understanding. You’re now in a position that we know as traditional Christianity. Jesus did die on that cross. After three days, Jesus did come back to life. How can that be? It can be true because Jesus is God Himself, able to break the laws of nature that He established from the beginning of time.
What do you think of the above?

thundril
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Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#3 Post by thundril » February 26th, 2015, 6:33 pm

Basically, we're saying to the skeptic, "You show me your historical facts and I'll show you how they are evidence for the historical resurrection of Jesus."
Righht there you have the big mistake.
I've got a conclusion, now you show me some evidence for it.
Historical fact no 1.
It takes a lot more than 3 hours to die from crucifixion.
Fact 2. For the Romans, leaving the body disintegrating in public was a central part of the punishment. Followed by ignominious dumping of the rotting remains in a shallow grave or the town rubbish heap.
Why would Pilate have given permission for this one troublemaker to be taken down and placed in an honourable tomb?
Fact 3. There were eyewitnesses to the removal of the body, (the guards) in the account of Matthew, who says the priests must have bribed the guards to say they fell asleep ande the disciples came and stole the corlpse. But idf they were asleep, how would they know this? Mattew also adds earthquakes, walking corpses in the streets of Jerusalem, and all manner of other wonders. But if the people of Jerusalem had seen these walking corpses, why would they not believe one more? Incidentally, none of these amazing events were mentioned by the historians Josephus, Tacitus, or anyone else. So Matthew's account, at least, has to be dismissed as a fabrication.
Fact 4. Jesus appeared to Paul in a dream, not in the flesh. And Paul makes no distinction between this appearance and any of the others. He is not claiming physical resurrection.
Fact 5. If you arrange the accounts of the resurrection in the order they were written, the later an account is, the more miraculous, with the sole exception of Matthew's earthquakes and zombies tale.

Need more?: :wink: .

Compassionist
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Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#4 Post by Compassionist » February 26th, 2015, 6:46 pm

thundril wrote:
Basically, we're saying to the skeptic, "You show me your historical facts and I'll show you how they are evidence for the historical resurrection of Jesus."
Right there you have the big mistake.
I've got a conclusion, now you show me some evidence for it.
Historical fact no 1.
It takes a lot more than 3 hours to die from crucifixion.
Fact 2. For the Romans, leaving the body disintegrating in public was a central part of the punishment. Followed by ignominious dumping of the rotting remains in a shallow grave or the town rubbish heap.
Why would Pilate have given permission for this one troublemaker to be taken down and placed in an honourable tomb?
Fact 3. There were eyewitnesses to the removal of the body, (the guards) in the account of Matthew, who says the priests must have bribed the guards to say they fell asleep ande the disciples came and stole the corlpse. But idf they were asleep, how would they know this? Mattew also adds earthquakes, walking corpses in the streets of Jerusalem, and all manner of other wonders. But if the people of Jerusalem had seen these walking corpses, why would they not believe one more? Incidentally, none of these amazing events were mentioned by the historians Josephus, Tacitus, or anyone else. So Matthew's account, at least, has to be dismissed as a fabrication.
Fact 4. Jesus appeared to Paul in a dream, not in the flesh. And Paul makes no distinction between this appearance and any of the others. He is not claiming physical resurrection.
Fact 5. If you arrange the accounts of the resurrection in the order they were written, the later an account is, the more miraculous, with the sole exception of Matthew's earthquakes and zombies tale.

Need more?: :wink: .
Fascinating stuff. Thank you for posting them. Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"

thundril
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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#5 Post by thundril » February 26th, 2015, 7:16 pm

Compassionist wrote: Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"
Yes, I get that one too. My reply (if I can be arsed) is:

. . .
Many people give their lives willingly for the belief in some religion or other. How is martyrdom evidence of the worth of their beliefs?
. Is there any evidence that any of the martyrs for Christianity actually saw the risen Christ?

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Alan H
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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#6 Post by Alan H » February 26th, 2015, 7:38 pm

Compassionist wrote:Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"
Many martyrs die for their cause without needing to have seen a resurrection. Why should these xtian martyrs be different?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#7 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2015, 8:44 pm

Compassionist wrote:Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"
Adding to what Alan said: we only have the word of the believers for the reasins why people were martyred I think, unless tgere are Roman records I have not heard of that say otgerwise.

It is standard practice to claim one's most important aspect as the reason for any such event. Since JC's death and resurrection are the mainstems of Christianity draw every piece of attention to them as you can!
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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#8 Post by Compassionist » February 26th, 2015, 9:13 pm

thundril wrote:
Compassionist wrote: Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"
Yes, I get that one too. My reply (if I can be arsed) is:

. . .
Many people give their lives willingly for the belief in some religion or other. How is martyrdom evidence of the worth of their beliefs?
. Is there any evidence that any of the martyrs for Christianity actually saw the risen Christ?
I made that point with the Christians who ask me that question. They said that it is unimaginable that the disciples would spin a fictitious tale of the resurrection of Jesus and suffer for it and die painful deaths for it. What would be the point of that? In response I asked: "What evidence is there that the disciples actually suffered and died for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus?" The Christians don't have any evidence, they only have the stories of martyrdom handed down the generations of Christians. If anyone here has played a game of Chinese whispers you would know how stories distort as they are passed on from one to another. Not to mention the huge embellishments which arise over spatial and temporal distance from the origin of the story.

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#9 Post by Compassionist » February 26th, 2015, 9:26 pm

Alan H wrote:
Compassionist wrote:Here is a question I often get asked: "Why would almost all of the disciples of Jesus die as martyrs for telling the story that Jesus was resurrected if they didn't actually see the resurrected Jesus?"
Many martyrs die for their cause without needing to have seen a resurrection. Why should these xtian martyrs be different?
The Christians claim that the early Christians saw the resurrected Jesus which gave them the confidence to be martyrs. These acts inspired similar confidence in others down the line who subsequently also became martyrs. The effect snowballed over time and place. You still get Christian martyrs at the hands of North Korean or Nigerian extremists. http://www.releaseinternational.org raises awareness of currently persecuted and/or executed Christians. According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.

The Biblical accounts of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus contradict each other. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrecti ... s_of_Jesus Since none of the accounts are backed up by physical evidence (e.g. a floating Jesus hovering in a science lab doing miracles would be pretty useful) who are left debating what is true and what is false.

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#10 Post by Sel » February 27th, 2015, 2:48 am

http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm
http://www.amazon.ca/On-Historicity-Jes ... 1909697494


I have added two references at the beginning as I lost them on my first effort! Old age and all.

Compassionist
It is generally accepted that the reference to Jesus by Josephus is not accredited. It was added later by scholars. See the first reference above.

If you would like to read a recent author who, after much research, doubts the existence of an actual Jesus Christ, then refer to Richard Carrier.(2nd reference above) I have heard him speak and this guy knows his stuff. When he started his work, he thought there might have been a man called Jesus or a man after which the Biblical Jesus was fashioned. His conclusion, however, is there was no such person.

All of the arguments by your Christian friends are based solely on the Bible and the belief that it is an historical document. Quoting a work to support the legitimacy of that work is circular. If I understand false arguments, I believe it is called begging the question.

As for people rising from the dead. They don't.

Man oh man, you really get into it with these guys, don't you!
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#11 Post by Compassionist » February 27th, 2015, 9:47 am

Thank you for your links Sel. The above link says "For the first time, it has become possible to prove that the Jesus account cannot have been a complete forgery and even to identify which parts were written by Josephus and which were added by a later interpolator." Sounds like it is supporting the authenticity testimoney of Josephus.

Thank you for the book recommendation. I will check it out.

Because I live in Northern Ireland I am often accosted by Christian evangelicals. The majority of the people here are Christian.

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#12 Post by Sel » February 27th, 2015, 3:02 pm

oopps...I meant to include a better argument ... try this site instead

http://infidels.org/library/modern/scot ... ojfaq.html

This is neither up-to-date nor complete in any way but seems to be a good starting point for argument.

An interesting book is The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur. Harpur is not an atheist but questions the existence of a real-life Jesus. He considers Jesus to be a mythical creature...a mixture of previous myths.
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#13 Post by Compassionist » February 27th, 2015, 5:41 pm

Sel wrote:oopps...I meant to include a better argument ... try this site instead

http://infidels.org/library/modern/scot ... ojfaq.html

This is neither up-to-date nor complete in any way but seems to be a good starting point for argument.

An interesting book is The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur. Harpur is not an atheist but questions the existence of a real-life Jesus. He considers Jesus to be a mythical creature...a mixture of previous myths.
Thank you for the book recommendation and the Infidels link. I have read the article on Infidels. The article makes sense. I just wish I had absolute and incontrovertible evidence about everything. I have taken a look at the book using the Look Inside feature on Amazon. Interesting ideas. Thanks again.

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#14 Post by animist » February 27th, 2015, 6:07 pm

Sel wrote:I have heard him speak and this guy knows his stuff.
you would not really be in a position to conclude this unless you were already further into New Testament studies than he is

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#15 Post by animist » February 27th, 2015, 6:07 pm

this is a bit improvisatory, as I managed to submit the same message twice. Compo, I think the main thing to remember when dealing with Xians is that they need a lot of things to be right in order for their fantastic belief to become credible. I have never heard Thundril's point about the awful but very plausible practice of the Romans to just leave their crucifixion victims to rot on their crosses (rot around the cross, not rock around the clock! :laughter: ) so maybe poor Jesus, if in fact he existed, never even got to be buried in any recognisable form

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#16 Post by Dave B » February 27th, 2015, 6:16 pm

animist wrote:
Sel wrote:I have heard him speak and this guy knows his stuff.
you would not really be in a position to conclude this unless you were already further into New Testament studies than he is
Thanks, animist, I have said similar in the past. One does not have the authority to assess another's work unless one has acheived and validated greater work. All else is opinion, prejudice, bias or whatever (words not used in a perjorative way).

Sorry, Sel, animist lit a little bulb for me tgere.
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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#17 Post by Compassionist » February 27th, 2015, 10:10 pm

animist wrote:this is a bit improvisatory, as I managed to submit the same message twice. Compo, I think the main thing to remember when dealing with Xians is that they need a lot of things to be right in order for their fantastic belief to become credible. I have never heard Thundril's point about the awful but very plausible practice of the Romans to just leave their crucifixion victims to rot on their crosses (rot around the cross, not rock around the clock! :laughter: ) so maybe poor Jesus, if in fact he existed, never even got to be buried in any recognisable form
Yes, indeed. Yet the Biblical stories continue to be portrayed in documentaries as facts: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bible-TV-Minise ... =the+bible 'The Bible' TV mini series got 4.5 stars out of 5 by 212 reviewers on Amazon. What does that prove?

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#18 Post by animist » February 28th, 2015, 9:22 am

Compassionist wrote: Yet the Biblical stories continue to be portrayed in documentaries as facts: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bible-TV-Minise ... =the+bible 'The Bible' TV mini series got 4.5 stars out of 5 by 212 reviewers on Amazon. What does that prove?
I guess that the plaudits are for the series's dramatic qualities and do not indicate belief in the historicity of the events depicted. There have been series on TV based on the Hindu Ramayana, and again the aim of the producers would be to tell a story, not to prove that the story was history.

A few more thoughts about Jesus. I took on board the point made in one of Sel's references that even the independent reference to Jesus in Tacitus might not be very trustworthy since Tacitus might have got his "information" from Xians. This made wonder, being a devil's advocate for a moment, how could a Christian version of the life of Jesus (assuming there was such a life) be verified? Imagine that Jesus did appear to all and sundry after his death. If these included Romans, let's say, then they would have presumably been impressed enough by the vivid apparition to become followers of the Jesus cult, so, from our perspective, that would make their testimony virtually worthless, wouldn't it?

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#19 Post by Compassionist » February 28th, 2015, 11:13 am

animist wrote:
Compassionist wrote: Yet the Biblical stories continue to be portrayed in documentaries as facts: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bible-TV-Minise ... =the+bible 'The Bible' TV mini series got 4.5 stars out of 5 by 212 reviewers on Amazon. What does that prove?
I guess that the plaudits are for the series's dramatic qualities and do not indicate belief in the historicity of the events depicted. There have been series on TV based on the Hindu Ramayana, and again the aim of the producers would be to tell a story, not to prove that the story was history.

A few more thoughts about Jesus. I took on board the point made in one of Sel's references that even the independent reference to Jesus in Tacitus might not be very trustworthy since Tacitus might have got his "information" from Xians. This made wonder, being a devil's advocate for a moment, how could a Christian version of the life of Jesus (assuming there was such a life) be verified? Imagine that Jesus did appear to all and sundry after his death. If these included Romans, let's say, then they would have presumably been impressed enough by the vivid apparition to become followers of the Jesus cult, so, from our perspective, that would make their testimony virtually worthless, wouldn't it?
Why do we have to rely on testimony at all? If God is really real and is omniscient and omnipotent why not unequivocally demonstrate to all that God is real and not imaginary? The world would be a very different place if God was demonstrably real. For a starter, people would stop pursuing worldly goals because heaven would be guaranteed. It will also put an end to all conflicts over religion and conflicts over ideologies and conflicts over resources. Our only logical goal would then be to die as soon as possible so we can all spend an eternity in heaven with God. Alternatively and preferably, God could simply take everyone to heaven without having to suffer and die first.

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Re: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

#20 Post by animist » February 28th, 2015, 10:09 pm

Compassionist wrote:Why do we have to rely on testimony at all? If God is really real and is omniscient and omnipotent why not unequivocally demonstrate to all that God is real and not imaginary? The world would be a very different place if God was demonstrably real. For a starter, people would stop pursuing worldly goals because heaven would be guaranteed. It will also put an end to all conflicts over religion and conflicts over ideologies and conflicts over resources. Our only logical goal would then be to die as soon as possible so we can all spend an eternity in heaven with God. Alternatively and preferably, God could simply take everyone to heaven without having to suffer and die first.
I suppose that a Xian (not a fundie) might reply that you are almost answering your own questions. I get the impression that Xian who are not obsessed with sin (though these fundies don't really define what that is) kind of feel that God's plan for each of us involves some degree of suffering and challenge through which we grow and thus more full realise the glory of God. This is a crap answer, I know, since religion is crap :laughter:

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