• Gregory
    1.7k
    The standard argument, used by apologists in countless books and all over the internet, for Christianity is that the alleged resurrection of Jesus makes the most sense out of the historical record. My argument against this is:

    Every culture, civilization, and religion in history has reports of miracles. In India in particular, there are many resurrection claims.

    So if we place the accounts of Jesus's resurrection next to all the other reported miracles, it looks a lot less impressive.

    So we are free to believe what we want.

    I also wanted to point out that Christians have no way of knowing if Luke, Mark, and even Paul were real Apostles and could write Scripture. So there is a hole in the Bible
  • StreetlightX
    6.1k
    The standard argument, used by apologists in countless books and all over the internet, for Christianity is that the alleged resurrection of Jesus makes the most sense out of the historical record.Gregory

    Huh? There is barely any 'historical record' of Jesus, save a pair of fleeting mentions by Tactius and Josephus, and neither makes any reference to his resurrection. So there is no possible way that this is a 'standard argument' unless you've (1) made this up or (2) taken what other people have made up for face value.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    I'm talking about the Gospels. They have much historical detail, so they have historical value. The question is about the resurrection. My argument is that although they have four well written accounts, someone can compile a record of 100 other alleged resurrections that each, individually, might not have much authority, but taken together presents a case that resurrection happens outside Christianity.

    Then I ask the Christians: are we really unreasonable to say that resurrection just don't happen so the records are flawed? Are we not within our rights then to reject the Gospels?
  • JerseyFlight
    776
    It's shows how messed up humans are, that the idea of Jesus rising from the dead is actually considered a real event in history, because it is asserted in ancient cultural texts. Humans are pathetic creatures.
  • StreetlightX
    6.1k
    I'm talking about the Gospels.Gregory

    Then you aren't talking about 'the historical record'. At least no more than you would be if you were talking about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Mormons tried to convert me twice over the past few years. One of them said "I don't see how someone could have just made this up". But Christians say exactly that about The Book of Mormon. Dooesnt dawn on them that first century Jews might have had an agenda in writing the Gospels. Like the take over of Rome and the West. And isn't that exactly what happened
  • prothero
    328
    I am never sure what one is supposed to "believe" to qualify as a "Christian".
    For me one who admires the example and teachings of Jesus would qualify.
    Belief in Jesus as God in the flesh, the physical resurrection of the dead, and the Bible as the literal word of God itself all seem beside the point and the musings of intolerant theologians.
    Love and the golden rule seem to be the best teachings and the best of religious doctrine, the rest just seems to lead to conflict and violation of the fundamental basis of good behavior.
  • 180 Proof
    1.8k
    In the case of New Testament Gospel accounts of Jesus' Second Coming prophesy, he specifies a time and implies a place by specifying who will witness the predicted event. Here I quote (forgive the length & tedious repetitions):

    “ ... “ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

    “ ... “ (Matthew 24: 25-34)

    “ ... “ (Mark 13:26-30)

    “ ... “ (Luke 21:27-32)

    " ... " (Matthew 26: 63, 64)

    Millennia of rationalizing apologias, obfuscating mystifications, dogmatic indoctrination, schismatic martyrdoms, and countless more sanctified atrocities could no more "interpret" away the fact that Jesus did not return in the lifetimes of those to whom he'd pronounced his prophesy any more than Papal writ changes the fact that the Sun does not go around the Earth and that, as Galileo said of the Earth, "Eppur si muove."
    180 Proof
    By the eleventh year of my dozen year long parochial school catechismic indoctrination (edification), the conspicuous failure of my teachers - highly and widely learned, even brilliant, Jesuit priests - to explain away the seminal fact above with any historical and defeasible reasons (even by my naive 15-16 year old standards) had driven me to apostasy and then out of the church and christianity - which to my mind then and still now 4 decades on - is refuted thus. Quibbles about "the resurrection" are beside the point; failure of prophesy by an alleged "divinity" proves that the prophet himself was not "divine" and, therefore, that the Nicene Creed was merely a fiction and political expedience required of the bishops (church fathers) in order to appease Caesar.

    Less than a year later I encountered Nietzsche ... :fire:
  • Nils Loc
    743
    A somewhat Darwinian approach to the Christ Myth. It maybe a "just so" theory from a French intellectual but it packs a compelling punch.

  • TheMadFool
    7.3k
    The standard argument, used by apologists in countless books and all over the internet, for Christianity is that the alleged resurrection of Jesus makes the most sense out of the historical record. My argument against this is:

    Every culture, civilization, and religion in history has reports of miracles. In India in particular, there are many resurrection claims.

    So if we place the accounts of Jesus's resurrection next to all the other reported miracles, it looks a lot less impressive.

    So we are free to believe what we want.

    I also wanted to point out that Christians have no way of knowing if Luke, Mark, and even Paul were real Apostles and could write Scripture. So there is a hole in the Bible
    Gregory

    Not taking any sides on the issue but the only person known to have asked for proof of the resurrection was Doubting Thomas but all Jesus did was show Thomas his (Jesus') wounds but that, if you really think of it, is proof of crucifixion, not death [followed by resurrection]. Is there no way someone could be crucified and yet live? The diagnosis of death is a not an open and shut case even in modern times. How accurate are the instruments used to determine whether a person is dead or not? ECG & EEG, tools that are the mainstay in diagnosing death, must have a margin of error. The only conclusive sign of death according to an article I read long ago is putrefecation of the body and if a rotting corpse returns to the land of the living, that's what I'd call true resurrection - miraculous in every way. Unfortunately, animated rotting corpses aren't in any way connected to the divine and are usually viewed as evil zombies with a taste for brains.
  • Ram
    135

    I remember when I was 13.
  • 3017amen
    2.6k
    also wanted to point out that Christians have no way of knowing if Luke, Mark, and even Paul were real Apostles and could write Scripture. So there is a hole in the BibleGregory

    How is History, and pre-History verified and provable?
  • DoppyTheElv
    84
    From what I gather theres a few commonly accepted things about Jesus and also very obviously contested ones.

    Its, according to all the reading ive done about it, accepted that Jesus was a person in history and that it was believed he was a miracle worker.

    I think thats all you can argue really. A historian cant accept supernatural claims.(supernatural: acts or happenings that do not happen within our natural laws) Plenty of them do believe it happened but I dont think they can historically prove it.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    My point was that Jesus was supposed to give authority to the Apostles. But it's possible that Paul fooled everyone and was false and that L uke and Mark were just writers. So you don't have a way t o argue how half your New Testament is inspired
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    1. It's a history book
    2. What is your definition of 'inspired'?
    3. Paul was just a man/preacher
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    Its also possible "Jesus" was a mixture of different, anti-Pharisee/Sadducee teachers from around the same time. Word of mouth, amongst and with other things, can blend figures like that. I've read that King Arthur is treated similarly, in that we aren't sure if he was one person, several people, or entirely made up as a figurehead.

    As far as Jesus existing, @StreetlightX mentioned the passing references by Tacticus and Josephus. The first was actually just a mention of Christians existing and being the followers of one Christus (which has its own possibility for not even being equivalent to Christ as we know it), and the latter is thought to be near certainly doctored due to its super disjointing placement. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, it's worth it for a laugh. Josephus is like, "And the Jews suffered greatly during this time. Oh yeah, and there was this Jesus guy who was the Messiah. Hurrah. Anyways, we kept on suffering..."
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    So we are free to believe what we want.Gregory

    Thank the secular contemporary world that has all its basis and foundations in Christianity.
  • 3017amen
    2.6k
    Thank the secular contemporary world that has all its basis and foundations in Christianity.Gus Lamarch

    Yep, facts is facts. Or they're at least borrowed inferences. Just take a look at the OT/Wisdom Books; the proof of pragmatism. Is it just coincidence(?).
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    Its also possible "Jesus" was a mixture of different, anti-Pharisee/Sadducee teachers from around the same time. Word of mouth, amongst and with other things, can blend figures like that.TimefulJoe

    I am amazed that people are making assumptions that were refuted with Bruno Bauer in the 19th century ... but in the 21st.
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    What do you mean? I haven't heard of Bauer, but I'll go check them out.
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    If you're saying I am making an assumption, I said "possible," which is very much not making an assumption lol
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    What do you mean? I haven't heard of Bauer, but I'll go check them out.TimefulJoe

    Bruno Bauer was a german philosopher of the 19th century who theorized that christianity owned more to stoicism than to Judaism and that Christ did not exist as a historical figure. On his "Criticism of the Gospel History of the Synoptics" he argued that Jesus was just a literary figure. In "Christ and the Caesars" he argued that christianity was a synthesis of the stoicism of Seneca the Younger and of the jewish theology of Philo as developed by pro-Roman jews such as Josephus.

    Even people who - still today - argue the Jesus is not a historical figure use Bauer's threefold argument:

    That the New Testament has no historical value.
    That there are no non-Christian references to Jesus Christ dating back to the first century.
    That Christianity had pagan or mythical roots.

    I just made a comparison with your argument that Jesus may have been the culmination of several jewish and other religious preachers with the fact that Bruno Bauer also saw Christianity as a simple "mixture" of several different beliefs.
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    Oh okay, and big thanks for filling me in on all that. A lot of old arguments don't hold much value, despite being widely used, but this one seems still relevant imo

    The New Testament does, at least in some parts, have some notable historical accuracies, but things like the supposed people needing to go to their ancestral homes to be censused for taxing, which as far as I know has no base and would be a disaster and very illogical if actually played out, really makes a good case to question the historicity of what it is saying. After all, if we can't verify something so major happening, why should we accept that a single individual described in great detail was also actually as described? Not trying to repeat myself, but it seems pretty sound, even if it is an old argument.

    That it is a mixture of ideas, or that Jesus is a mixture of people, is just one possibility. Jesus being a mixture could, theoretically, be separate from Christianity being a mixture of things.

    I think modern Christianity, especially in its traditions, can be said to be much more a fusion of those things than one might argue original Christianity was, but that alone isn't really a case to justify taking a stance of accuracy in the Bible though imo
  • DoppyTheElv
    84
    I dont do the historical thinking myself because I dont know much about it. I just follow those who know lots more.
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    The New Testament does, at least in some parts, have some notable historical accuracies, but things like the supposed people needing to go to their ancestral homes to be censused for taxing, which as far as I know has no base and would be a disaster and very illogical if actually played out, really makes a good case to question the historicity of what it is saying. After all, if we can't verify something so major happening, why should we accept that a single individual described in great detail was also actually as described? Not trying to repeat myself, but it seems pretty sound, even if it is an old argument.TimefulJoe

    My problem with all this questioning of the historical legitimacy of the Bible is that all this questioning is only possible, because today's society was built by those who took it as an absolute truth. The bible is absolutely full of allegories, myths, and opinions, however, belittling its historical importance as a historical basis for our society, is something that is only possible thanks to itself. You don't see muslims out there questioning whether Muhammad was a historical figure, or buddhists questioning whether Siddhartha Gautama - the Buddha - was one too - and Siddhartha lived almost 700 years before Jesus -. We can only do it because Christianity has given us that freedom.

    I think modern Christianity, especially in its traditions, can be said to be much more a fusion of those things than one might argue original Christianity wasTimefulJoe

    Not even the apostles knew what Christianity was; each interpreted the "Logos" in a different way, so St. Thomas in 52 AD in India created the Indian denomination. St. Paul interpreted it in a way that, after him, was interpreted in other more diverse ways - Council of Nicaea, Council of Chalcedon, etc ... -. Christianity is today the culmination of all European history of the Late Classical Age, and of the entire Middle Ages. The problem is that questioning this brings all the metaphysical and religious chaos that Nietzsche has already said. The moment we became aware that Christianity was a human construction, it lost all its value, along with all its historical legitimacy. This is a problem.

    big thanks for filling me in on all thatTimefulJoe

    No problem :smile:
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    Same, but I'm confident we both crosscheck what any, one historian might say. Historical science is also a developing one as we discover new relics and such too, of course.
  • DoppyTheElv
    84
    Yes I have a few books about Jesus lying around. Some conservative scholars and some critical. All in all they're great reads. Very interesting.
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    Oh okay, we may be on different points, then.

    Whether or not we ever became self-aware of its tentative historical accuracy plays no part in whether it really ever was accurate at all. That baseline accuracy is what I was getting at.

    It has definitely played a crucial part in shaping Western society (especially), but not in ways unique to it. I fail to see how that would somehow put it above criticism, even if they were unique to it. Are you saying that because the Bible's historicity has come into question so have all the principles we have derived from it for the production of our society? While I would agree that is essentially what has been happening, any principles worth keeping could be kept simply because they're worth keeping. If they get us where we want to go, then that pragmatism is arguably justification enough.
    Just because the people before us accepted the whole Bible does not mean that the whole is actually worth accepting. It's more so that parts of Christianity, which they accepted in the whole, were generally beneficial. Their belief that it was historical did little more than motivate them to continue with the system as a whole, that system containing the parts that did well for them as a society (and that they arguably already accepted as beneficial, thus accepting them in their religion was merely a second self-affirmation). The reason I say the beneficial parts are not unique is that those parts are mostly, "Don't murder," "Don't steal," which are almost universally agreed on throughout the history of civilization. Not murdering each other is a requisite to successfully living together, after all, and people were living together and had laws about not murdering each other long before any Abrahamic laws came around. Too much credit is given to the Bible for shaping Western thought and especially Western progress. The Renaissance and wide-spread acceptance of coffee did leagues more for creating the progress of the West than a belief in the Bible, though the Bible was an integral part of pretty much everyone's lives.

    If other religions started majorly questioning their historicity, the societies heavily influenced by a belief in the historicity of those religions would probably have a similar development, such as if that were to happen en mass in Saudi Arabia; however, people would find other motivations, like mere pragmatism, to continue with the parts that undoubtedly work for them. Thing is, some of them have already moved on from that troubled phase. We can see the effects of Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian thought permeating Asian culture whether or not the general populace ascribes to them as a whole or think that Buddah, Lao Tzu, or Confuscious actually existed as real people.
  • TimefulJoe
    9
    Yes, very interesting. I used to work for a large bookstore chain, and large publications like National Geographic and Time seem to always be putting out new Biblical/Jesus Historical analyses.
  • tim wood
    5.4k
    Here and elsewhere so much about Christianity. Please someone have mercy on an old poster and gesture for my benefit towards where anyone ventured to say what Christianity is.

    Lacking that, no one's view expressed here is on the face of it worth anything, because who knows what anyone is writing about?
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    Here and elsewhere so much about Christianity.tim wood

    The real problem begins with Christology. At least so far this conversation has not started.
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