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Old 04-26-2001, 10:05 AM   #1
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Post The Resurrection: cutting to the heart of the matter

gcameron wrote, in another forum:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Why do we get so caught up in minutiae?

What does it matter whether or not Christianity caught on in the 3rd century in India?

What does it matter whether or not there was a Nazareth?

What does it matter whether the Gospels were written in 60 A.D. or 160 A.D.?

What does it matter whether there was a "Q"?

Isn't it a simple question of weighing the improbability of a group of writers collaborating on a conscious lie, versus the improbability of a man rising from the dead?

Perhaps I oversimplify the situation. Perhaps I will have to read 400 books of scholarship before I will be able to evaluate whether a book that says "this man rose from the dead!" should be disregarded as a laughable lie.

[...]

In my own mind, in the privacy of my own thoughts, I find myself thinking, "How ridiculous it is that anybody should think the truth of a miracle can be established merely on the say-so of four writers!"</font>
(quoted here with gcameron's permission)
 
Old 04-26-2001, 10:35 AM   #2
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Kate: That even assumes you have 4/5 independent sources. There are many theories that much of the oldest (Mark) was incorporated by the later accounts. And since we do not have a solid identity on any of the gospel writers...there may be four. There may also only be one.

And why the spotlight on details? Because you have a truly outrageous story here that violates all known laws of science. And science is the study of facts. Now...since the facts are out of whack, why the heck should we believe it?

Or put more simply: "Outrageous claims require outrageous proof."

None of which has been given.
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Old 04-26-2001, 11:22 AM   #3
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Indeed though I have found the exchange between the theists and non-theists on these issues interesting in a way, I concur heartily with this sentiment of this thread.

In my opinion the claims of theists for early dates, independence, identity of the Gospel writers, the existence of a man named Jesus 2000 years ago, extra-bibilical sources, etc., could all be assumed to be correct for the sake of argument. None of these things would make Christian claims of virgin born god-men, anthropomorphic deities, angels, people rising from the dead, swine possession, or lakes of eternal hellfire anymore believable.

If 2000 year old stories written by a handful of people are enough to get Christians to believe it - oh well. Good for them I suppose.

 
Old 04-26-2001, 01:32 PM   #4
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
If 2000 year old stories written by a handful of people are enough to get Christians to believe it - oh well. Good for them I suppose.
</font>
What I find interesting is that in my experience the majority of Christians that I have met believe in all this without ever having read the Bible. They took it on the word of their parents, friends, pastors, etc. without challenging it once.

I strongly suggest that it is due to their mental conditioning that's been hammered into them from the very beginnings of their lives that forces their innate need to belive and not the words of the bible itself.
 
Old 04-26-2001, 01:41 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by TollHouse:
What I find interesting is that in my experience the majority of Christians that I have met believe in all this without ever having read the Bible. They took it on the word of their parents, friends, pastors, etc. without challenging it once.

I strongly suggest that it is due to their mental conditioning that's been hammered into them from the very beginnings of their lives that forces their innate need to belive and not the words of the bible itself.
</font>
Do you believe that humans have an "innate need to believe" religion in general?
 
Old 04-26-2001, 02:01 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Layman:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Do you believe that humans have an "innate need to believe" religion in general? </font>
In the hope that this thread can stay on topic, I've posted a reply in Detached9's thread Why people believe religion in the Open Religion Discussions forum.

I would appreciate it very much if other replies to Layman's question could likewise be posted in that other thread.

Hopefully we can get back to the original topic, namely the question of whether there really is sufficient historical evidence to justify belief in something so unlikely as the Resurrection. Are the Gospels plus the mere existence of the early Church really adequate evidence, even if we assume for the sake of argument that the Gospels were written at an early date?

P.S.: To Layman: Please see also my thread What facts about Jesus are well-established historically?.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
Old 04-26-2001, 02:20 PM   #7
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What I find interesting is that in my experience the majority of Christians that I have met believe in all this without ever having read the Bible. They took it on the word of their parents, friends, pastors, etc. without challenging it once.

What should be understood is that the majority of Christians often had little choice but to accept things this way. We take our modern libraries, easy availability of books, our printing presses, and even widespread literacy for granted. Go back a hundred years or more and these things simply were not available to a great many people.

I strongly suggest that it is due to their mental conditioning that's been hammered into them from the very beginnings of their lives that forces their innate need to belive and not the words of the bible itself.

Well I don't know about this. Humans are arrrogant. The idea that human life has "cosmic" significance is an emotionally appealing one. But I don't call this "mental conditioning" per se - at least not by any particular group. Perhaps its just natural ego. Various religions are then created to placate this desire to think we are more than we actually may be - relatively insignificant, yet interesting and awe-inspiring creatures that inhabit a vast, awe-inspiring universe.



[This message has been edited by madmax2976 (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
Old 04-26-2001, 06:11 PM   #8
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In the thread What facts about Jesus are well-established historically?, ChristianSkeptic referred me to the article Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by William Lane Craig. That article says:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The writings of Herodotus furnish a test case for the rate of legendary accumulation, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts. When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states for these to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be 'unbelievable'; more generations are needed.</font>
Nonsense. Outright delusions can easily become widespread in only a few short years. Case in point: Numerous modern American urban legends, some of which have developed whole organized subcultures of fanatical true believers, such as the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare. If such can happen even now, in today's scientific era, then all the more so could it have happened in earlier, more credulous eras.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">All NT scholars agree that the gospels were written down and circulated within the first generation, during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses.</font>
Oh, come on. There's still plenty of controversy about the dates.

Be that as it may, Craig does not cite any other first-century sources besides the New Testament accounts. And he does not tell us why we should believe such fantastic stories, other than to assert that there is a rising conservative trend among theologians.
 
Old 04-26-2001, 06:24 PM   #9
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In the other thread, Christian Skeptic wrote:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The tomb was found empty.</font>
But what historical evidence do we have for even the existence of the tomb, let alone its emptiness, besides the New Testament?
 
Old 04-26-2001, 06:43 PM   #10
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Kate Long (KL): ChristianSkeptic referred me to the article Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by William Lane Craig.

ChristianSkeptic (CS): I also reference two scholarly level books written by Dr. Craig.

The link is most definitely not considered beyond an introduction to his case.

KL: Outright delusions..

CS: Where is your evidence that the disciples were in fact delusional?

KL: …Numerous modern American urban legends, some…

CS: How many?

KL:…[some urban legends] have developed whole organized subcultures of fanatical true believers, such as the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare.

CS: I am unfamiliar with such legends so please note there analogy to the historical claim of the disciples?

KL: If such can happen even now, in today's scientific era, then all the more so could it have happened in earlier, more credulous eras.

CS: All human eras live within bonded rationality. My point being that what good reason do we have to think the people of the past would not make rational decisions if given additional information.

KL:…There's still plenty of controversy about the dates.
Be that as it may, Craig does not cite any other first-century sources besides the New Testament accounts.


CS: and what is wrong with that apart from your contrary presumptions about "fantastic stories”?

 
 

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