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Old 10-27-2001, 10:21 PM   #1
lpetrich
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Post Willingness to Die For One's Beliefs?

That's another apologist argument that "933326087" had made, that the early Christians had been willing to die for their beliefs, therefore those beliefs must be true, since nobody would be willing to die for a lie.

However, that argument can be applied to others willing to die for their belief -- and to die for causes that "933326087" undoubtedly does not support:

Palestinian suicide bombers. Does this mean that the Israelis ought to be driven into the sea?

The kamikaze hijackers of Sept. 11. Does their willingness to die as a result of crashing hijacked planes into buildings mean that we ought to take the side of Osama bin Laden and convert to fundamentalist Islam?

The original kamikaze pilots of WWII Japan. Some 2000 of them were apparently willing to crash their planes into US warships. Does that mean that we ought to have supported Japan in its building of a western-Pacific empire?

I could name numerous other examples, though most of them are willingness to risk death rather than direct suicide, as in these examples.
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Old 10-27-2001, 10:30 PM   #2
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Indeed, one of the current features is the story of a rationalist who may very well be executed for his beliefs--or rather, his lack thereof, which is really what most religious persecution tends to center around.
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Old 10-28-2001, 12:59 AM   #3
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Another part of the argument is the assumption that those earliest of Christians who died *were* in a position to know (they witnessed it) the truth or falsity of the claim: Jesus died on the cross, rose again in the flesh on the third day, and thereafter ascended into the clouds.

If this assumption, as well as the assumption that they died under persecution for their beliefs is true, then the argument makes sense.

Infact, I think that it was quite a persuasive argument indeed among people that were raised Christian, and therefore accepted these assumptions without question. Unfortunately, with the internet, and the fascination of popular media with the notion that, "the evidence suggests that Jesus was a myth or at most just a dime-a-dozen preacher," it does not carry much weight any longer.
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Old 10-28-2001, 03:21 AM   #4
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The argument is that the apostles, where all killed for preaching christ crucified. Except for Juda Iscariot (guess why) and john who dies while in exile in patmos. So if all of these guys where willing to die becasue they beleived christ rose from the dead and they would know, then it follows from this that you can trust there testimony. I always found it a quite compelling argument that lacks any really good refutation. Unless you wish to claim that not only did christ not exist but neither did any of the apostles. But how large does the circle need to get.

Jason
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Old 10-28-2001, 03:23 AM   #5
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Chad just as a point to note, not everything published on the internet is either trustworthy or reliable. Any idiot can get online and publish all sorts of nonsense, and appear to be much larger than they really are. They can also claim far more authority, that people seem strangely willing to accept with little or no evidence.

Jason
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Old 10-28-2001, 03:34 AM   #6
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Unfortunately 'evidence' as such is almost impossible to come by so that faith is only what is really left to people who do believe. Then again, people shouldn't blindly believe just anything, especially in the face of obvious injustice.

Isn't it great that we can discuss things that are forever convoluted and without ending?
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Old 10-28-2001, 05:18 AM   #7
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Originally posted by svensky:
I always found it a quite compelling argument that lacks any really good refutation. Unless you wish to claim that not only did christ not exist but neither did any of the apostles. But how large does the circle need to get.

Jason


It's quite a silly argument.

The stories we have of the apostles may or may not reflect the reality of their behavior. Although traditions say some of the apostles were martyred, this is not clear at all, and is debated by scholars. Such traditions may have arisen later, when martyrdom was courted by/thrust on Christians.

Even if the apostles died because they believed Jesus rose, that is entirely irrelevant to the truth of that belief. Thousands of Hong Xiou-chuan's followers died believing that he had performed miracles, miracles people in his inner circle said they witnessed. Do you believe that madmen rose to heaven and got new bowels from god himself? Thousands of Wovoka's followers died believing that he had performed miracles, miracles witnessed by the Paiute messiah's inner circle. Based on your argument, we should believe Wovoka flew over the heads of the Plains Indian chiefs on a magic horse....

Michael
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Old 10-28-2001, 05:49 AM   #8
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Well... the martyrdom argument, I think, is not designed to show that their beliefs were true; rather, it is formulated to show that they sincerely believed in what they were willing to die for.

Here it is: All the Apostles died for preching that Christ had died and was ressurected. If they didn't really believe that Jesus died and then came back to life, they wouldn't have been willing to die for this belief. Thereofre, the fact that they were willing martyrs for Jesus proves that they really believed that he was the only man to come back from the grave.

Thus, that kamakazee pilots were willing to crash their planes into battleships for the Emporer may not prove that Japan had a manifest destiny in the Pacific, but it does prove that the pilot thought Japan did. The Palistinean(sp?) suicide bomber may not be right to think that Isreal is a false state that subverts the will of Allah and must be destroyed, but his willingness to strap a bomb to himself and detonate it proves that he really did believe all this.

I have never heard the martyrdom argument used to prove that Jesus did, in fact, die and rise from the grave. I have almost always heard it to refute claims that the Apostles were cynically creating a cult to support their own lust for power. I think this subtle distinction should be kept in mind.

[/playingJesus'Advocate]

[ October 28, 2001: Message edited by: Rimstalker ]
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Old 10-28-2001, 08:13 AM   #9
Amos
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Quote:
Originally posted by lpetrich:
<STRONG>That's another apologist argument that "933326087" had made, that the early Christians had been willing to die for their beliefs, therefore those beliefs must be true, since nobody would be willing to die for a lie.

However, that argument can be applied to others willing to die for their belief -- and to die for causes that "933326087" undoubtedly does not support:

Palestinian suicide bombers. Does this mean that the Israelis ought to be driven into the sea?

The kamikaze hijackers of Sept. 11. Does their willingness to die as a result of crashing hijacked planes into buildings mean that we ought to take the side of Osama bin Laden and convert to fundamentalist Islam?

The original kamikaze pilots of WWII Japan. Some 2000 of them were apparently willing to crash their planes into US warships. Does that mean that we ought to have supported Japan in its building of a western-Pacific empire?

I could name numerous other examples, though most of them are willingness to risk death rather than direct suicide, as in these examples.</STRONG>
Not much has changed because many Americans (fundies) are willing to die for Israel. The homecoming of Israel must occur without a nation and in the mind of each Jew. This is the same, but just another way of saying that we must find ur salvation in this world.

Just because we interpret the bible wrong should that mean that others (Palestinians etc.) should pay the price of our ignorance?


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Old 10-28-2001, 01:34 PM   #10
lpetrich
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I find it curious that svensky did not address any of my examples, because willingly going on a suicide mission represents the ultimate in willingness to die for some cause.

I like turtonm's examples of miracles -- it might be fun to collect a compendium of such miracles. But the really fun thing is that such miracles are always well-hidden; they don't take place in front of skeptics, let alone cameras.

And I don't know what Amos has in mind with his weird allegorical interpretations.

I get suspicious of some allegorical interpretations, because they often imply that some sacred book had been written in some secret code that we have to try to crack. That may well be the case in some cases, with the use of oddball language that only some in-group could be expected to understand, but that does not make life much easier for the rest of us.
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