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Old 04-03-2001, 04:41 PM   #111
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quote:
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Originally posted by jmcanany:
Paul was not appeared to by the "Resurrected Christ" - but by a vision of Christ (who had already took the up elevator by then). Paul doesn't count - sorry....


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Nomad: Umm... how do you know this?

Since you appear lost, Nomad, let me help you.

"As I made my journey and drew near Damascu, about noon a great light shone suddenly above me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me." (Acts 22:6-9)

Of course, Nomad, if you believe the above is fiction, then you have every right to question what Saul actually did and saw. On the other hand, if you believe that this account is history, then you have no right to question jmcanany's statement.

rodahi


 
Old 04-03-2001, 09:43 PM   #112
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I want to know what YOU think happened max. Do you have any thoughts on the matter, and can you back them up with anything more than mere speculation?

Ah yes, what happened... you wrote:

About 300 years after a peasant Jew lived, was crucified and was buried, the religion He founded took over
the greatest, and most cosmopolitan empire in all of ancient history. The question remains, how did this extraordinary event actually happen?

Well history shows how this happened as you should well know. Constantine was converted to Christianity. He instituted policies which favored Christianity above other competing religions of the day. With state-sponsored favoritism comes power - political and military power, and even great social influence. (Hey, its really good to have the King on your side ) I am perplexed as to why you call the whole thing "extraordinary" however. What aspect about it do you find extraordinary? Is it more extraordinary than an illiterate camel-driver "taking over" a different region of the world?

While we cannot be 100% certain about history, the ideas we hold about what happened in the past should at least be able to account for the events that we know did happen, and not only be plausible, but have some supporting evidence. I hope you would agree with this, otherwise we are left not knowing anything about history at all.

We can "know" things to a certain level depending upon the evidence. Historical knowledge, particulary ancient historical knowlege, is often a tentative thing, able to be displaced at any time by new evidence. Because of this, there is very little if anything in history that I would consider so concrete as to bet my life on it. The more detailed and personal the supposed events become, the typically less assured we can be of our conclusions. For instance, its fairly easy to look at the ruins of ancient Egypt and conclude with good certainty a unique civilization existed some time ago. On the other hand its not as assured to conclude that some particular Pharoah actually performed some deed as depicted on an inscription stone.

I agree, at the same time, we certainly can consider something to be more probable than another, and hopefully do so by rejecting as many a priori assumptions about what could have happened as possible. In the case of this thread, we are rejecting the miraculous, but looking to account for the rest of the events we know about.

Meaningful probability estimates require sufficient information on which to base them. We know very little about the writers of the gospels. Even the identity of the supposed writers has been seriously questioned. We know little about their overall personalities, desires, hopes, foibles, dreams, or their biases. We know only approximations of when they wrote and what they based their writings on. (Oral tradition? Mark? Q?) Likewise we know very little about early Christians (circa 33 - 100 AD), what they believed, what their differences were in those beliefs, what their character was like, etc. . (Just as a side note: If you want to claim that decisive conclusions can be made contrary to what I have proposed, then of course I'll expect decisive evidence, not just your mere speculation. )

You have not said which you believe max, but we have already agreed to reject the last option. Which remaining explanation do you find most likely, and why?

I believe it is a mixture of 1 and 2 (as I laid out). There is not remotely enough evidence to support the NT claims as true, therefore given the known propensity of ancient peoples to create numerous myths and legends concerning their beliefs, the simplest and most sensical conclusion is that the Christians did the same. Its not expected that we will any time soon find editions of the 29-100 A.D. Jersalem Times, complete historical records, pyschological profiles, character witnesses, etc., that will give us the type of information we require to make any meaningful probability conclusions other than those we instinctively make when faced with claims of a fantastic nature. (Like it or not, known human behaviour and propensities can serve as corroborating evidence. This is done even today in modern courts of law. )

If you contend that this common sense conclusion is not warranted in this instance, then you would need to provide evidence as to why we should view it differently than we do the myths of Native Americans, Australian aborigines, Eskimos, Vikings, Chinese mystics, modern day pyschics and channlers, etc. etc.

 
Old 04-03-2001, 09:57 PM   #113
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P.S.

By the way, your attempt in this thread to change who bears the burden of proof when it comes to Christian claims is glaringly apparent.

If you wish to believe Christianity is based on more than a collection of ancient myths than you may do so. I have no evagelistic motive or need to convince you otherwise. As long as your beliefs make you happy and you harm no one, its find by me. We can simply go our separate ways and that'll be that.

If you want me to believe any claims you would make then of course that will be a different matter.
 
Old 04-04-2001, 09:03 AM   #114
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:

jmcanany: Paul was not appeared to by the "Resurrected Christ" - but by a vision of Christ (who had already took the up elevator by then). Paul doesn't count - sorry....

Nomad: Umm... how do you know this?

rodahi: Since you appear lost, Nomad, let me help you.

(Acts 22:6-9)

Of course, Nomad, if you believe the above is fiction, then you have every right to question what Saul actually did and saw. On the other hand, if you believe that this account is history, then you have no right to question jmcanany's statement.</font>
Right rodahi, thank you for helping to make my point. On this thread, the resurrection did not happen. That has been my point, and the premise of the thread from the beginning, and jm has apparently had difficulty confining himself to this premise.

The thread is a mental exercise in which all parties agree that the supernatural explanation for the resurrection is ruled out. Everything else is fair game. What I am hoping to learn from the sceptics is what, if anything they believe did happen, since obviously something did happen.

In other words, I really am interested in seeing if, and how much sceptics have thought about this question.

Thank you again,

Nomad
 
Old 04-04-2001, 10:15 AM   #115
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:


Ah yes, what happened... you wrote:

About 300 years after a peasant Jew lived, was crucified and was buried, the religion He founded took over the greatest, and most cosmopolitan empire in all of ancient history. The question remains, how did this extraordinary event actually happen?

max: Well history shows how this happened as you should well know. Constantine was converted to Christianity. He instituted policies which favored Christianity above other competing religions of the day. With state-sponsored favoritism comes power - political and military power, and even great social influence. (Hey, its really good to have the King on your side ) I am perplexed as to why you call the whole thing "extraordinary" however. What aspect about it do you find extraordinary? Is it more extraordinary than an illiterate camel-driver "taking over" a different region of the world?</font>
Thanks for the reply max, but your theory really only explains what happened after Constantine converted in 313. My question is more directed at what happened prior to that.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">We can "know" things to a certain level depending upon the evidence. Historical knowledge, particulary ancient historical knowlege, is often a tentative thing, able to be displaced at any time by new evidence. Because of this, there is very little if anything in history that I would consider so concrete as to bet my life on it.</font>
That is cool. Again, I am not asking anyone to stake their life on their theory, but I would like to see if it accounts for the things that did happen.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The more detailed and personal the supposed events become, the typically less assured we can be of our conclusions.</font>
Why?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> For instance, its fairly easy to look at the ruins of ancient Egypt and conclude with good certainty a unique civilization existed some time ago. On the other hand its not as assured to conclude that some particular Pharoah actually performed some deed as depicted on an inscription stone.</font>
On the other hand, if more than one independent source tells you basically the same thing, would it be more likely to be true in your opinion or not? If not, why not? Also, if the reported thing were embarrassing to the specific pharoah, yet it was told to us anyways, would you consider this to be more reliable? Again, if not, why not?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Meaningful probability estimates require sufficient information on which to base them. We know very little about the writers of the gospels. Even the identity of the supposed writers has been seriously questioned. We know little about their overall personalities, desires, hopes, foibles, dreams, or their biases. We know only approximations of when they wrote and what they based their writings on. (Oral tradition? Mark? Q?) Likewise we know very little about early Christians (circa 33 - 100 AD),</font>
First, is it necessary to know everything about an author in order to evaluate what he wrote? Do you apply this standard to everything you read and learn? If so, how do you do this?

Secondly, we know more about 1st Century Christiantity than we know what to do with. We have multiple books from multiple sources all written within the lifetime of the first and second generation of believers, plus those that they taught. The manuscript evidence for Christian writings has been called an embarrassment of riches for very good reason, since we have absolutely nothing like it from any other culture or ancient source. Rejecting this evidence solely because it talks about the supernatural and miraculous is pretty naive from an historical studies perspective.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> what they believed, what their differences were in those beliefs, what their character was like, etc. . (Just as a side note: If you want to claim that decisive conclusions can be made contrary to what I have proposed, then of course I'll expect decisive evidence, not just your mere speculation. )</font>
I'd like to save this for another thread max, and I will get to it. At this point I would prefer to stick with naturalistic explanations for the foundation of Christianity. I am seriously interested in learning what sceptics believe, and why. This is why I appreciate your feedback.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I believe it is a mixture of 1 and 2 (as I laid out) (Note: meaning lying and mythmaking). There is not remotely enough evidence to support the NT claims as true, therefore given the known propensity of ancient peoples to create numerous myths and legends concerning their beliefs, the simplest and most sensical conclusion is that the Christians did the same.</font>
Are you aware that we do not have any equivalent from the ancient world that shows such rapid and early mythological developement? Historians of the ancient world (like A.N. Sherwin-White, and Michael Grant for example) tell us that the formation of all of Christian mythology within the first and second generation of believers is unprecedented. This does not automatically make it true, of course, but it does make it unique, and it is the explanation for this unique historical developement that I am most interested in exploring.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Its not expected that we will any time soon find editions of the 29-100 A.D. Jersalem Times, complete historical records, pyschological profiles, character witnesses, etc., that will give us the type of information we require to make any meaningful probability conclusions other than those we instinctively make when faced with claims of a fantastic nature. (Like it or not, known human behaviour and propensities can serve as corroborating evidence. This is done even today in modern courts of law. ) </font>
I understand all of this max, but what we do have is a mountain of 1st Century testimonial evidence. We have nothing like this from anywhere else about anything even remotely like the life of a single man. The crucifixion of Jesus alone is considered to be the best attested event in the ancient world (no less than 5 sources from four different people written within 20-70 years of the events). I know we tend to not think of this as very impressive, but by any standards, it is pretty amazing when we consider that we have nothing like it about anyone prior to the invention of the press in the 1500's (and later than that actually. Newspapers really only came about in the 18th and 19th Centuries).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you contend that this common sense conclusion is not warranted in this instance, then you would need to provide evidence as to why we should view it differently than we do the myths of Native Americans, Australian aborigines, Eskimos, Vikings, Chinese mystics, modern day pyschics and channlers, etc. etc.</font>
We have nothing like the evidence for these other mythologies that we have for Christianity. No one wrote about the lives of people they actually knew, and certainly if they did, we have very little evidence of it. Even after Christianity started, if we look at the written evidence for other cultures and myths, we have almost no manuscripts of real worth testifying to specific events, especially specific events about the life of a single individual that lived in the ancient past, and who never held any social position of any importance in his lifetime.

Thank you again.

Nomad
 
Old 04-04-2001, 11:41 AM   #116
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Nomad -
Jesus had ascended long before Paul's "vision" on the road - please give me some real evidence that the Resurrected Jesus appeared (resurrected body) to his enemies. The best you can do from the verses in Acts is to say that Paul heard a voice and was blinded by a great light - he did not see anyone...Acts 9:7 -Saul had fallen to the ground - saw no one -heard a voice - remained on the ground thru the entire ordeal, but when he did rise was blind. Accoridng to Acts 9, the men with him saw no man, but heard a sound, according to Acts 22:9 they saw the light and heard nothing.... Other than the apparent contradiction (the sounds heard), nobody saw any 'body' - they were blinded by the light...

Your other texts do NOT logically imply such a thing. The best you can say is that he spoke to the disciples privately on this matter (and warned them not to speak of it to boot), but you cannot validy say that he never spoke about this to anyone else. The proof text is Matt 27:63 - which of course you discount for lack of attestation (btw - notice that Matthew records that Jesus spoke the word - not the disciples...). But since I incorporate it, my story hangs together well, without committing the logical fallacy you do.

enough's enough - you don't have a case at all in these issues - please move on...


Finally- and I've had enough of Nomad's beggings,
Do not assume facts. Prove them.

Ok Nomad PROVE that Christ rose again, and that He was the Son of God.

Your methods cannot "prove" anything..... even Meier attests to that .....
 
Old 04-04-2001, 11:43 AM   #117
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"Do not assume facts. Prove them."

Wow. I thought that this is what fidests did. Assumed, or presupposed, things.
 
Old 04-04-2001, 11:51 AM   #118
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Layman -
That was a quote from Nomad. You yourself know that you can't prove that Christ was resurrected or is the Messiah by your methods... or have you forgotten Meier so fast??

 
Old 04-04-2001, 12:01 PM   #119
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Layman -
That was a quote from Nomad. You yourself know that you can't prove that Christ was resurrected or is the Messiah by your methods... or have you forgotten Meier so fast??
</font>
Why are you so sure I know that?

What do you mean by prove? Could you give me a precise standard so I can know whether or not I "know" whether or not I can reach it?

What are my "methods?"

Since I've said that I think Meier is overly cautious, what makes you think I have forgotten him? And since you seem to have obtained a respect for Meier, do you accept his conclusion that Jesus, his followers, and his enemies believed that he performed miracles?

If you are a Christian, why are you so intent on attacking only other Christians? Why don't you spend ANY time defending your supposed faith?
 
Old 04-04-2001, 12:05 PM   #120
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Which brings up a point you're all too familiar with:
your methods cannot disprove my 'naturalistic explanation'. The best you can do is say there is not "historical" textual evidence for it - -but "historical" textual evidence does not a truth or falsehood make....
 
 

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