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Old 03-22-2001, 10:15 AM   #11
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Alright, now, I'm going to start off by saying that I am a christian, but I'm trying to approach this unbiased. Would you agree that there is a certain point where you just have to have faith? I mean, this is the crutch of the Christian belief system.

And with contradictions, I've read a couple books about different things that contradict and it seems that when all the scholars go back to the original text, those documents closest to the Resurrection, they find that the contradictions aren't really what they seem once you look at the customs and the way society worked at the time.

~Andy
 
Old 03-22-2001, 11:05 AM   #12
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Of course it comes down to faith. There is no way that you can prove Christianity, although some people keep trying.

If you want to be unbiased, you have to read the opposition. Go through this document carefully, and it will give you something to consider:

http://www.infidels.org/library/mode.../resurrection/
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Old 03-22-2001, 11:13 AM   #13
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Andy, you wrote:
"Would you agree that there is a certain point where you just have to have faith?"

I agree completely. But the irony of the situation is that some Bible inerranists, when witnessing on behalf of their deity, proclaim that they have faith, and have personally "known" Jesus (whatever that means) but then still try to turn around and claim that the perfection of the Bible provides absolute proof, without even understanding that faith and proof are mutually exclusive.

Norm


 
Old 03-22-2001, 12:33 PM   #14
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What I don't understand is why people want all the Gospels to parallel about everything. I mean, if they were correct on every story and every detail was the same, who would believe? The all would have copied from each other. With all the "discrepancies" already, it seems a lot of people think that Matthew and Luke copied from Mark, so with even less "discrepancies" it would prove that they copied even more, if they even did at all. I also think it's funny that non-believers like to use scientific theory to disprove Christianity, but these same people make up a document called "Q" for another excuse. There has never been any documentation of such a book, therefore, how can it exist? Because it has to? Come on. You people say that the things that are the same were copied from some mysterious Q that has no proof of ever existing or were based from the book of Mark, and those things that don't agree disprove Christianity. Intersting...

So where do we agree on the Ressurection?
1) Jesus definately died. Look at the facts about crucifixion and you'll agree that NO ONE survived it.
2) Jesus was put into the tomb. If not, wouldn't the Pharisees argue this? I mean, according to Matthew, they paid the guards to lie about the missing body. So obviously they knew Jesus came in.
3) The body was missing from the tomb.

Here is the discrepancy. There is no proving where the body went. Non-believers say that the body was stolen, believers say he rose. The only documents that talk about the Resurrection are the Gospels, but the "contradictions" make these inaccurate and thus, can't be trusted, as non-believers say. But again, if all the stories were the same, the would all be "copied from each other," which is worse then them sort of contradicting.
And then are are the "hallucinations" of Jesus to A LOT of different people. Hallucinations generally happen once to a person, only for a seconds or minutes, and rarely, hours. According to Acts 1:3, Jesus appeared to the disciples on multiple occasions for FORTY days. What I also find funny was that the disciples didn't believe this at first. They thought he was a ghost. Jesus had to eat things to prove that he wasn't one (Lk 24:36-43). Hallucinations don't eat. Christ did on at least two occasions (Lk 24:42-43, Jn 21:1-14). Many argue this by saying Jesus never died, but even if you never died, the pain and injury from the crucifixion would have made Jesus so scraggly that no one would have followed him.

So, if you come down to it: you can't prove it, you can't disprove it. It all comes down to FAITH. We'll find out on judgement day whether Jesus really did die for us. If he didn't, we are all going into Hell anyways, because we live in pools of sin.

Andy
 
Old 03-22-2001, 01:06 PM   #15
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Another real quick point.

If the Gospels did not tell the truth about Christ, in all aspects, wouldn't you see actual Christians saying that parts were false and that they should be changed to document what actually happened? I understand that you wouldn't see any opposition to Christianity until the 2nd century, when it really started off, but wouldn't you see Christians protesting false claims in the Gospels or in Paul's letters?

I know that if I actually witnessed something happen then I would want the story to be correct, even if someone else worte it down. And wouldn't the council that distinguished "good" gospels from "bad" ones correct errors in the false claims. That would only seem logical.

Paul even says that there were still many people alive who witnessed the resurected Christ. Wouldn't one of these people have spoken up against it if the claim was false?

Andy
 
Old 03-22-2001, 01:23 PM   #16
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I think "some" are missing the point here...

If the Bible is the "perfect" and indisputable word of God as many claim we wouldn't even be having this discussion or forum!

There would be no dispute as it should be crystal clear. The perfect God would have made it so even the "village idiot" should be able to understand the meaning!

I've said before: do I need a Ph.D. in Latin, Hebrew, & Religious studies or theology
to understand it? One practically needs degrees in debate, philosophy, linguistics, and logic just to make sense of the contradictions and errancies! Then there's the matter of the various versions (Hebrew, Protestant, Catholic) and translations and so on...

It does not add up!
 
Old 03-22-2001, 01:46 PM   #17
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AuthenticMan
"I also think it's funny that non-believers like to use scientific theory to disprove Christianity, but these same people make up a document called "Q" for another excuse. There has never been any documentation of such a book, therefore, how can it exist? Because it has to? Come on. You people say that the things that are the same were copied from some mysterious Q that has no proof of ever existing or were based from the book of Mark, and those things that don't agree disprove Christianity. Intersting..."


I do not understand your suggestion that non believers "made up" Q, or that it is non believers who claim that Mark is the earliest of the synoptics. It is Christians and Biblical scholars who argue that there was once a document or documents which are now known as Q, and that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark and interpolated sayings from Q in their Gospels. Crossen suggests that Q, the sayings of Jesus, along with several other documents were in circulation between 30CE and 60CE, which would be an appropriate period to be a source of Matthew which was written possibly between 60CE and 70+CE.

Norm

 
Old 03-22-2001, 02:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by AuthenticMan:
. . .
So where do we agree on the Ressurection?
1) Jesus definately died. Look at the facts about crucifixion and you'll agree that NO ONE survived it.
2) Jesus was put into the tomb. If not, wouldn't the Pharisees argue this? I mean, according to Matthew, they paid the guards to lie about the missing body. So obviously they knew Jesus came in.
3) The body was missing from the tomb.
</font>
Not so fast. Not everyone agrees that Jesus ever existed. See http://www.jesuspuzzle.com for an exposition of this viewpoint. Others think that there was probably a person who said some of the things that Jesus said, but we don't really know when he was born or how he died. Christian scholars who are not fundamentalists believe that the gospels are a combination of fact and fiction; atheists just think that there is a lot more fiction than fact.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
And then are are the "hallucinations" of Jesus to A LOT of different people. Hallucinations generally happen once to a person, only for a seconds or minutes, and rarely, hours. According to Acts 1:3, Jesus appeared to the disciples on multiple occasions for FORTY days. What I also find funny was that the disciples didn't believe this at first. They thought he was a ghost. Jesus had to eat things to prove that he wasn't one (Lk 24:36-43). Hallucinations don't eat. Christ did on at least two occasions (Lk 24:42-43, Jn 21:1-14). Many argue this by saying Jesus never died, but even if you never died, the pain and injury from the crucifixion would have made Jesus so scraggly that no one would have followed him.

So, if you come down to it: you can't prove it, you can't disprove it. It all comes down to FAITH. We'll find out on judgement day whether Jesus really did die for us. If he didn't, we are all going into Hell anyways, because we live in pools of sin.

Andy
</font>
The Bible is fiction, and mass hallucinations are common.

Read the article by Richard Carrier that I cited earlier, and all of your questions will be addressed.

There is no evidence that there is a Hell.

I don't know about you, but I myself do not live in a pool of sin. That's just my personal choice, and I don't expect any reward or punishment in the afterlife.
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Old 03-22-2001, 04:11 PM   #19
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by AuthenticMan:
What I don't understand is why people want all the Gospels to parallel about everything.


I don't expect them to agree perfectly on everything. It would be nice if they agreed on something though. The contradictions disprove the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, and that's my main reason for posting them.

Now from a more rationalist viewpoint, in the synoptic gospels we do see pretty clear evidence that the story got more spectacular as time went on. It's generally agreed, by Christians as well as non-Christians, that the Gospel were written in the order Mark, Matthew, Luke/Acts, and that Matthew and Luke had access to Mark.

In Mark, there are no accounts at all of appearances of Jesus. The women simply find an empty tomb, and a man who tells them Jesus is risen and gone to Galilee. There the story ends. If this Gospel were the only source we'd know practically nothing about the resurrection. In fact even if we accepted every word of the account was true we would still not have to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

Matthew evidently didn't think the account of finding the empty tomb in Mark was dramatic enough, so adds a few embellishments. We have an earthquake, and the man becomes an angel of the Lord descending from Heaven to roll away the stone. We then have Jesus appearing once to the women, and a single appearance to the disciples, on a mountain in Galilee. Is it too much to suggest that the location of the appearance may have been suggested by the man's words he found in Luke? No hint of the Ascension - in fact Jesus' last words " I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." if anything preclude it.

By the time Luke/Acts is written, the story has advanced further. Luke keeps Mark's account pretty much the same, but changes the man/angel's words, omitting the reference to Galilee because he doesn't talk about that appearance, for some reason. Maybe he didn't know about it. Rather than a single appearance on a mountain, Jesus appears many times over 40 days and "with many convincing proofs he presented himself alive" (Acts 1:3), though the author does not feel tempted to describe more than a couple. Then he ascends into heaven.

So over the time the gospels were written we go from no mention of any appearances, to a couple, to many followed by an ascension. The story gets more elaborate as time goes by. Fairly good evidence for elaboration by oral tradition.

And as an aside, it is interesting to note that if the Gospels were written by the people they are attributed to, both Matthew and John were present at the Ascension, but did not think it important enough to be worth recording. Or perhaps they forgot.

And with contradictions, I've read a couple books about different things that contradict and it seems that when all the scholars go back to the original text, those documents closest to the Resurrection, they find that the contradictions aren't really what they seem once you look at the customs and the way society worked at the time.

Believers tell me all the time that the problem of contradictions has been solved. They rarely explain how.

Still, if you go back to the closest document in time (Mark) Jesus didn't appear to anyone at all. Case closed. The resurrection never happened.

I also think it's funny that non-believers like to use scientific theory to disprove Christianity, but these same people make up a document called "Q" for another excuse. There has never been any documentation of such a book, therefore, how can it exist?

Q hasn't been definitively proved to exist, of course, but there is strong evidence of its existence. For example some sections of Matthew and Luke are word for word the same, which strongly suggests they were copied from the same source. Q wasn't invented by atheists, but is agreed to be likely by most Bible scholars, including Christians. For a discussion of the evidence for Q, (and for the fact that large sections of Matthew and Luke are copied from Mark) from a conservative Christian point of view see http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/synoptic.htm

So where do we agree on the Ressurection?
1) Jesus definately died. Look at the facts about crucifixion and you'll agree that NO ONE survived it.


Josephus tells the story of three people being rescued from crosses, one of whom survives doesn't he? (Correct me if I'm wrong - I only have this second hand). So survival is possible, and it could be that the Roman soldiers got sloppy and took Jesus down while he was merely unconscious. Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible. Certainly more likely than a man rising from the dead.

I mean, according to Matthew, they paid the guards to lie about the missing body.

I've already pointed out why I don't believe that story. Matthew either got it third hand, or made it up to try to counter some rumour that was going around at the time.

And how could Matthew have known whether or not the Priests had bribed the guards anyway? Was he there when the money changed hands? He could have guessed perhaps, but guesses prove nothing and if the Gospel writers had nothing better than guesswork to support their claims they may as well have been silent.

There is no proving where the body went.

I think you've just pointed out why I don't believe in the resurrection!

The only documents that talk about the Resurrection are the Gospels, but the "contradictions" make these inaccurate and thus, can't be trusted

So there are no reliable documents at all, and hence no evidence for the resurrection.

But again, if all the stories were the same, the would all be "copied from each other," which is worse then them sort of contradicting.

If they agreed with each other it would not be proof. But since they disagree so violently I don't think they're even evidence.

What would be better evidence would be a record in the secular sources of him appearing to someone who was not a follower, and hence had no reason to either lie or force himself to believe. If he wanted the whole world to believe in him, why didn't he appear to Pilate or Caiaphas and say "hah! Bet you feel silly now!" Or to Josephus and say "make sure you put this in your chronicles". I'd be rather more willing to take their word for it.

And then are are the "hallucinations" of Jesus to A LOT of different people.

Only if we accept the Gospels as reliable, which I don't. It could have been that only a handful of people saw him, and the tales were later exaggerated.

And anyway, as I said, more people have seen Elvis Presley than saw Jesus. Do you believe he rose from the dead as well? If not, why not?

So, if you come down to it: you can't prove it, you can't disprove it.

That's why I don't believe

It all comes down to FAITH.

You can also neither prove or disprove that Mohammed was given the Koran by an angel. It's a matter of faith. Therefore you should be a Muslim. Or is Christianity the only religion which does not require proof?

We'll find out on judgement day whether Jesus really did die for us. If he didn't, we are all going into Hell anyways, because we live in pools of sin.

I hadn't seen Pascal's wager phrased like this before!

You may live in a pool of sin, mate, but I don't.

And what if there's no judgement day?

Maybe we don't need Jesus to have died though. Maybe God is actually a half decent bloke after all and will just reward us if we live good lives.

Or maybe the Muslims are right, and you're going to Hell for believing in a blasphemy.

Paul even says that there were still many people alive who witnessed the resurected Christ.

Paul doesn't tell us who the five hundred people were, or where they saw Jesus, or whether they got a good look at him or whether they just thought they just saw someone who looked like him in the distance. He doesn't even say whether he'd heard it direct from the 500, or whether someone else had just told him that Jesus appeared to 500 people. His testimony ain't worth much. And some scholars even think that the key verses in 1 Cor may be an interpolation.

If the Gospels did not tell the truth about Christ, in all aspects, wouldn't you see actual Christians saying that parts were false and that they should be changed to document what actually happened?

We do. You just haven't been talking to the right ones. As I said, Bible inerrancy is not actually a position held by the majority of Christians.

I'm told that "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism" by John Shelby Spong is a good book re-examining the Bible from a Christian perspective, though I haven't had chance to read it myself yet. You may want to see if you can get hold of a copy. Don't just think it's a choice between hard-core atheism and fundamentalist Christianity - there are many other viewpoints.

And wouldn't the council that distinguished "good" gospels from "bad" ones correct errors in the false claims. That would only seem logical.

The early Christians weren't always very logical. They chose new Apostles by drawing lots rather than interviewing candidates, and one of the ways they distinguished between inspired books was allegedly to make a big pile on an altar and knock it over. God obviously approved of the ones which landed on the altar. I'm not 100% sure how authentic that particular story is, but in light of their fondness for drawing lots I can believe it.

All the best.

Iain




[This message has been edited by Iain Simpson (edited March 22, 2001).]
 
Old 03-22-2001, 05:49 PM   #20
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Yeah:

Why bother?

In resurrecting and showing that it was done, you remove faith from the equation. And as any fundie will tell you, faith saves. So, one of the following MUST be true:

A) Fundies are full of shit, and faith doesn't save necessarily.
B) Faith alone saves, and God damned all those who witnessed the resurrection
C) God is non-existant, meaning the resurrection is MOOT. End of story.
D) Both A and B.
E) C and D. I know that this is a little contradictory, but if it could hold, it would be fun.
 
 

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