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Old 08-01-2001, 01:39 AM   #1
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Wink Why I don't by the resurrection story

It's interesting Richard, how your article brings to mind the phrase: " Thinking themselves wise, they became fools." In truth you have proven yourself a well -educated and learned scholar of history:- biblical and otherwise. However, in your zeal to heap scorn and conjecture on the bible accounts of Jesus' existence you have in fact added to the probability of it's validity.

For one specific example, you make the argument that if Jesus had in fact risen, his disciples would have recognized him right away if they had seen him. However, if the writer's of the gospel were either delusional, fanatical or purposefully deceptive, why would they go to the trouble of reporting that Jesus was not recognizable at first. If it had been a fabricated story or hallucination, wouldn't it have been easier to simply say that Jesus appeared in all his glory, and they all recognized him right away. The nuance of including that he was not recognizable to me adds an air of authenticity to these accounts. These men were relaying the truth as they new it. Ultimate truth sometimes does not fit into our humanistic little packages.
 
Old 08-01-2001, 08:57 AM   #2
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Thank you for your feedback regarding Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier. E-mail notification has been sent to the author. Although there are no guarantees, you might want to check back from time to time for a further response following this post.

In the meantime, you might want to reconsider whether anything that Richard or anyone else might do could actually increase or decrease the probability of the existence of Jesus. You also might want to consider that, if "ultimate truth sometimes does not fit into our humanistic little packages," then it sometimes does not fit into your "humanistic little package." You also need to keep in mind that Richard's article is not really about the existence of Jesus but rather about his alleged resurrection.

If you would like to discuss your viewpoints further, you are invited to become a registered user and take part in our discussion forums.

---Don---
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Old 08-05-2001, 11:51 AM   #3
Richard Carrier
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Quote:
Originally posted by <Jeff>:
<STRONG>For one specific example, you make the argument that if Jesus had in fact risen, his disciples would have recognized him right away if they had seen him. However, if the writer's of the gospel were either delusional, fanatical or purposefully deceptive, why would they go to the trouble of reporting that Jesus was not recognizable at first.</STRONG>
Because it wasn't Jesus. These are redactions of what was once a spiritual encounter or vision that was later "interpreted." Since many people saw but "did not believe" this means that it wasn't Jesus but something else that had to be "recognized" as Jesus by the faithful, i.e. through interpretation. You will note that my entire use of the unrecognition material is to demonstrate that some spiritual, not physical, story underlay the final form of the Gospels, and I describe how the shift came about in my shorter lecture on Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection.

Quote:
<STRONG>If it had been a fabricated story or hallucination, wouldn't it have been easier to simply say that Jesus appeared in all his glory, and they all recognized him right away.</STRONG>
Indeed, wouldn't it have been easier to do that if it were a physical Jesus? That is my entire point, as you will see if you read my entire essay. That it wasn't done means the earliest Christians, hence the earliest stories were not of a physical Jesus, nor of the hallucination of a physical Jesus, and the fact that the Gospels were created in an air of existing and conflicting stories, it had to "reinterpret" traditions in light of its physicalist agenda, hence explaining apparent anomalies when compared with other stories.

Quote:
<STRONG>The nuance of including that he was not recognizable to me adds an air of authenticity to these accounts. These men were relaying the truth as they new it. Ultimate truth sometimes does not fit into our humanistic little packages.</STRONG>
Actually, I do not argue against this conclusion, at least with regard to the genuine eye-witness sources (which do not survive, apart from the letters of Paul). In fact, I agree entirely with it: Paul was sincerely reporting what he truly believed. But he never says he saw a physical Jesus, but a "vision," and not even a vision of a physical Jesus but an entirely mystical encounter. I discuss this at great length in my essay. That the Gospels, which were clearly written to attack the original doctrine and replace it with a physicalist one, had to create stories that would "explain" and thus "reinterpret" the original stories. Hence, we see hints of the original, mystical nature of visionary experiences in the Gospels, which take those details and "explain" them with a veneer of physicalist exegesis.
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Old 08-05-2001, 03:16 PM   #4
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[Note the related thread, Did Jesus Christ Really Live? --Don--]
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Old 08-05-2001, 11:19 PM   #5
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Briefly, my personal reasons for doubting the Resurrection:

-----------

1.) HEARSAY. What we know of the alleged Resurrection is based on the second-hand hearsay "testimony" of the Gospel authors, none of whom is thought to have been an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus, and who--at best--simply repeated what they themselves had heard from others. Further, there were no actual eyewitnesses to the actual Resurrection-in-progress; the alleged "eyewitnesses" were witnesses not to the Resurrection itself but rather to post-Resurrection appearances only.

2.) INCONSISTENCY. There are far too many inconsistencies in detail between what one biblical author and another tells us about the alleged Resurrection for me to be able take it seriously. In fact, there are so many inconsistencies that the story has the earmarks of fiction. A perfect and omnipotent god could have, should have, and likely would have seen to it that the authors he allegedly inspired got the details of something as important as the alleged Resurrection right. [See Selected Inconsistencies, below.]

3.) NONHISTORICAL. There is a noticeable lack of historical corroboration not only of the alleged Resurrection itself, but also of the "great earthquake" [MT 28.2] and the resurrection of the Saints [MT 27.50-54] which allegedly occurred in conjunction with the Resurrection.

4.) PHONINESS: The story in MT 28.11-15 has members of the guard (which had allegedly been placed at the tomb even though Matthew is the only Gospelist to mention such a guard) accepting a bribe to lie and say that they had fallen asleep--a lie which according to many historians would have been a certain death-sentence for those soldiers.

5.) IRRESPONSIBILITY. Given that all of Jerusalem was allegedly stirred by Jesus' so-called Triumphal Entry, it would be irresponsible of this god-man to appear post-Resurrection--not to all of Jerusalem and/or to those whose testimony would be most convincing (e.g., the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, Josephus, other historians)--but rather to only a relatively small number of people, mostly friends and followers.

6.) CREDULTIY. The people of Jesus' time were highly superstitious, gullible, disposed to believe too readily, often not sufficiently discerning to be able to separate fact from fiction.

7.) MYTH. The myth of a son of a god who was born of a virgin, performed miracles, died, and was resurrected is not unique to Jesus. He wasn't the first and he wasn't the last for which some or all of these claims were made.

-----------
-----------

Selected INCONSISTENCIES follow:

-----------
Was there or wasn't there a guard at the tomb?
-----------
MT: yes
MK, LK, JN: no mention of a guard
[In fact, there could not have been a guard insofar as the women visitors were concerned in MK & LK given that they were planning to anoint the body with spices.]

-----------
Exactly who were the first visitors to the tomb?
-----------
MT: Mary Magdalene & the other Mary (2)
MK: both of the above, plus Salome (3)
LK: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women (5 or more)
JN: Mary Magdalene (1)

-----------
Exactly what time of day was it when the first visitor(s) arrived.
-----------
MT: toward dawn
MK: after sunrise
LK: early dawn
JN: still dark

-----------
Was there or wasn't there a stone still in place over the entrance to the tomb when the first visitor(s) arrived?
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MT: still in place, rolled away later
MK, LK & JN: already rolled or taken away

-----------
Was there or wasn't there an earthquake?
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MT: yes
MK: LK, JN, none mentioned

-----------
Was there or wasn't there an angel present? If so, how many?
-----------
MT: 1 angel who rolled back the stone and then *sat* on it
MK: 1 young man *sitting* inside the tomb
LK: men (2 or more) suddenly appear *standing* inside the tomb
JN: 2 angels *sitting* inside the tomb

-----------
What did the woman/women do immediately after finding (or being told) that the tomb (was) empty?
-----------
MT: ran to tell the disciples
MK: said nothing to anyone
LK: told the eleven & all the rest
JN: the disciples returned home, Mary remained outside weeping

-----------
Where was Jesus' first post-Resurrection appearance?
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MT: fairly near the tomb
MK: [not specified other than to Mary Magdalene, which presumably would have been fairly near the tomb]
LK: in the vicinity of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem
JN: right at the tomb

-----------
Did Jesus allow anyone to touch him prior to his Ascension?
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MT: he lets Mary Magdalene & the other Mary hold him by his feet
JN: on his first appearance to Mary, he forbids her to touch him because he has not yet ascended to his Father, yet he tells Thomas a week later to touch him even though he hasn't yet ascended

-----------
Did those who first learned this story believe or disbelieve?
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MT: although some doubted, most believed because they followed the revealed instructions
MK & LK: the initial reaction was one of disbelief--all doubted

-----------
Exactly what was the order of post-Resurrection appearances?
-----------
MT: Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, the eleven
MK: Mary Magdalene, two others, the eleven
LK: two, Simon (Peter?), the eleven
JN: Mary Magdalene, the disciples without Thomas, the disciples with Thomas, then the eleven again; 1CO, Cephas (Peter?), the twelve [really? one disciple was dead], 500+ brethren [120 in Acts], James, all the Apostles, Paul.)


... and there's more.

-----------

--Don--
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Old 08-08-2001, 09:23 AM   #6
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Don-

If we take your assertion on conflicting viewpoints as being proof of the resurrection story being false, then why were they not fixed?

I have read various articles on the site and seen feedback from users who assert that much of the NT was contrived around an established belief system and various details of events were manipulated in order to envoke/substain belief. Why if this was the intention of the writer(s), didn't they get it right (e.g. make accounts match up)?
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Old 08-08-2001, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich:
Don-

If we take your assertion on conflicting viewpoints as being proof of the resurrection story being false, then why were they not fixed?
Differing groups had differing theologies, politics, and viewpoints. They also prized the different gospels for different reasons.

Finally, you don't know that they weren't fixed, fixed as well as they could be.

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Old 08-08-2001, 12:02 PM   #8
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Jeff Writes:

QUOTE]For one specific example, you make the argument that if Jesus had in fact risen, his disciples would have recognized him right away if they had seen him. However, if the writer's of the gospel were either delusional, fanatical or purposefully deceptive, why would they go to the trouble of reporting that Jesus was not recognizable at first. If it had been a fabricated story or hallucination, wouldn't it have been easier to simply say that Jesus appeared in all his glory, and they all recognized him right away. The nuance of including that he was not recognizable to me adds an air of authenticity to these accounts. These men were relaying the truth as they new it. Ultimate truth sometimes does not fit into our humanistic little packages. [/QUOTE]

Shows how culturally conditioned we can be. Jeff if you read other examples of sacred writing, I have in mind the Bahgvad Gita in particular, you will note that these writings overflow with stories of appearances by the demi-gods and heroes where they are unrecognized until the end of the story. Jesus on the road to Emmaeus is a perfect example whihc parallels Krishna's appearance as the King's charioteer, but the King is not aware it is Krishna until the end. Consider all the secret appearances by Zeus and the other Gods in Greek mythology where the reader suspects it's a god, but the truth is not finally revealed until after the god has interacted with the humans incognito. Do you really think the Greek-speeaking authors of the bible were unaware of these fables?
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Old 08-08-2001, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
Differing groups had differing theologies, politics, and viewpoints. They also prized the different gospels for different reasons.
This only explains them in their original forms...at some point they were gathered together as a work...a perfect time for a little "editing" wouldn't you agree?

Quote:
Finally, you don't know that they weren't fixed, fixed as well as they could be.

Michael
In light of what I have read a 4th grader could have "fixed" those inconsistencies more thoroughly than they supposedly were.

On one hand you imply that these men had little intelligence (or at least not enough to fix the accounts of- let's say the resurrection appearances to all say the same thing) and on the other (and this may or may not reflect your view but it does many) that they concocted this vast conspiracy to control people and get their money.

I am stuck with this dilema...how did a bunch of poor, uneducated fisherman concoct a grand scheme which somehow survived (flourished actually while various other weird sects were quickly lost) for 2000 years through various cultures with a book that is obviously inconsistent?
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Old 08-08-2001, 05:54 PM   #10
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Rich,

I do not think Christianity, if it is a scheme, is a scheme that was concocted by poor, uneducated fishermen. They may have been the original witnesses to the events described in the Gospels but it is unlikely that such uneducated fishermen would have been able to write. Without any historical knowledge of the period whatsoever that leads me to think that the Gospels were not in fact written by these witnesses.
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