• Gregory
    1.7k


    Have you read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Heretics by G.K. Chesterton? Christianity is resistance to change. What you propose couldn't happen for another hundred years or so
  • tim wood
    5.4k
    Nothing, but a universal Christianity is IMPOSSIBLE because they will be divided on that issueGregory

    What, exactly, do you suppose a universal Christianity is? If the world says 2+2=5, and I 4, then I'm the mathematician. It's not a majority rule, or even consensus based. It takes just one man - or woman.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    Lewis and Chesterton argue that it's impossible to reduce Christianity to a couple of beliefs and ethical rule. To try to do this in order to fight Islam is irrational. Let the Christians and secularists unite and fight side by side if there is an invasion..
  • jorndoe
    1.1k
    Yet, it molded culture in a way that the two of them were intertwined.Gus Lamarch

    Or culture molded Christianity.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    What makes you think that? (The Athenian exposure bit)DingoJones

    It's a guess, really, but I think an educated guess.

    We have only Christian sources for this (the Acts of the Apostles if I recall correctly), but Paul visited Athens and is said to have been horrified by the various temples and statues of pagan divinities. So of course, he began preaching. To everyone he could, naturally, but among them eventually were some philosophers characterized as being Epicureans and Stoics. The Epicureans supposedly thought he was a "babbler" and were dismissive. The Stoics supposedly were interested in what he had to say, but their interest was limited and narrow, they thought he was advocating new gods of some exotic kind, and they were unpersuaded.

    So it seems Paul's efforts to persuade/convert the philosophers were all for nought. I think his denuncian of wisdom and intelligence--something I find rather odd, myself, being a fan of both--may have been motivated by his failure. He may have found that the philosophers interrupted his preaching with annoying questions, and resented the interruptions (and the questions). Just a guess.

    It wasn't the sole instance of early Christians being irritated by philosophy. Tertullian asked "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Very little it turns out. Of course, Christians began to assimilate philosophy themselves, especially during the long repression and persecution of pagans by the Christian emperors, which was fairly systematic commencing with the reign of Theodosius. The schools of Athens were closed by decree of Justinian.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    For this reason, I think, traditional religion is doomed unless unless it reinterprets or reinvents itself in a more figurative or mystical or mythical sense.
    Myths have meanings, stories have lessons even if they are not literal true or historically accurate.
    One can look at falling church membership and attendance particularly in the Western World as evidence that the Church is becoming less relevant in the modern age.
    prothero

    Except perhaps here in God's Favorite Country. There are those among us who seem to relish the "old time religion" and glory in its defiance not only of science but common sense. They whimsically think that humans cavorted with dinosaurs; are healed by TV evangelists, attend mega-churches, build creation museums. In many respects thing haven't changed here since the Scopes trial.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k


    It's one of those events that make me wish time-travel was possible. I'd be a fascinated onlooker.
  • DPKING
    8
    “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”

    -------------------------------And in another quote responding to StreetlightX--------------------------------------------

    “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?”

    - Gregory


    I want to make sure that I have a good understanding of your argument here, because I am unsure how you get to the conclusion you make based on your premises:

    1) If a miracle is merely one claim in a multitude of miraculous claims, then it is “less impressive” (*and potentially less likely to be true*)

    2) Many Cultures/Civilizations/Religions have reports of miracles, including a numerous amount of “resurrection” claims & Jesus’ resurrection is one of these many claims

    C1) the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection are “less impressive”

    3) If Jesus’s Resurrection is less “impressive”, then “we are free to believe what we want” about these claims

    C2) See C1 --- We are free to believe any, or reject all, of these claims

    **I assume (and if I am wrong. please correct me and I will be glad to rework my response), that by suggesting a miraculous claim is “less impressive” because there are many miraculous claims made throughout the world, you are alluding to a judgement about whether or not it is true and whether or not any miraculous claim is true. I inferred this because of your answer in the second quote **

    While I do think that the Resurrection presents an interesting case for belief in Christianity, I agree that the argument you proposed entails some kind of, “freedom to believe whatever you want” about the multiplicity of miraculous claims. However, I certainly don’t believe that this leads us to subsequently, “reject the Gospels” and consider all miracles as false. I think that this is one of Hume’s arguments about miracles (that even if miracles are possible, we shouldn’t believe them because there are so many and they, or their religions, contradict). Certainly, if there are a multitude of these “resurrections,” one would have to consider the evidence for each and then appropriately decide whether or not each claim is as valid as the next. That is how you would determine if it is fair to accept/reject any other theory.

    Just because a miracle is possible, it does not mean that all miracles are then more likely to be true; or probable. Say for example that you are fishing in a body of water. You might assume that it’s impossible you’ll catch anything if the body of water you choose is the pool in your backyard and you didn’t put any fish in it. But, if you were to catch something there (a miracle), you wouldn’t then believe that all pools have a higher probability of having fish in them, you’d probably believe that something specific happened in your pool.

    It is a matter of possibility, and the probability is something to be deduced later. I think that the defense of miracles, specifically the Resurrection, rests on the acceptance that they are possible, but highly improbable, events, but that after considering the evidence and alternative theories, one can reasonably conclude that a miraculous event is the best option. This same framework should be applied to any miracle claim, and often is to dismiss claims where: no one else witnessed it or it was not attested by other sources. It seems that this argument really only emphasizes the need for investigating these claims carefully, not to dismiss them. Let me know what you think!
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    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 happenedGregory

    Yeah, we're dastardly like that. I have a question... Why do people who think that Jews are super-organised and super-villianous always announce themselves? Aren't you at all worried I might tell the rest of the Jews that you're onto us? I mean, if we brought down Rome, imagine what we're doing with today's technology. It's almost like you have to be stupid to think this stuff.
  • Outlander
    608
    Religion = way of life.

    No ethnic or religious group in the past exists today as they did before and vice versa.

    We're all just random people saying things and identifying as things, under one law or Constitution. It's when that fact is ignored specifically the belief some are magically immune from it and its effects is when bad things happen.
  • xinye
    4

    Gregory,

    By saying what you’ve said in the earliest post, your argument may follow this form:

    1.Jesus’s resurrection is the gist of Christianity because it’s a miracle.

    2.For us to ever accept a religion/faith, it must has something peculiar/exclusive.

    3. Miracles of resurrection are reported in every culture, civilization, and religion in history.

    4. Therefore, embracing Christianity isn’t the best choice.

    And I believe this argument is faulty because every one of the 3 premises is problematic in its own way. For premise 1, resurrection is much more than a miracle. Besides the fact that resurrection itself is a miracle, it is the core of the Christian Gospel which meaning isn’t equivalent to any other miracle.
    And resurrection, although one of the most important foundations in Christianity, isn’t the whole importance of Christianity because resurrection can’t be separated from all of the former events that ascribe it meaning(including Jesus gives people full mercies, washes away their sins, crucified, tormented and died, while the reality of resurrection hasn't taken place), and the other thing is that people follow Christ not because Jesus’s died and resurrected — Peter was a follower of Christ before Jesus even died.
    You didn't say premise 2 explicitly but I believe you’ve suggested that way by saying that Jesus’s resurrection seems a lot less impressive when knowing that there are a lot of such miracles in other culture or religion. And this premise is also not true: The reason for us to accept a faith is about the goodness it brings to us or what about it that’s gonna make ourselves better, and it doesn’t have anything to do with wether it’s exclusive to other religion, culture, etc. For example, it is less likely that someone is a Christian because she thinks that it’s distinctive that Jesus could resurrect — the basic idea of premise 2 may work for many other conditions but our belief’s just not based on that.
    For premise 3, as I said, resurrection is the core of the Christian gospel, so it’s not equivalent to any other miracles alike — I assume you’re suggesting the miracles that bring the dead back to life in this argument’s context. According to my knowledge, miracles that resemble resurrection in other culture or religion that I can think of including reincarnation in Buddhism, Hinduism and ancient Chinese culture, and former Egyptians also believes that people can rise from the dead, but none of these entail what resurrection entails. So this premise is based on an asymmetrical analogy.
    Also I don’t see the relevance for the part in which you’re saying that we have no way of knowing if Luke, Mark or Paul were real apostles who could write the Scripture. I assume you consider this to be a loophole in the Bible because you’re suggesting that if they were not real apostles, they wouldn’t have traveled along with Jesus, which could then put the truthfulness of Jesus’s deeds, also the truthfulness of the very Scripture in doubt. However, what I’m trying to make here is that it doesn’t put the Scripture or Jesus in doubt, for 1)It’s very not likely that the Apostles are not real apostles — if you read the Scripture you’ll find that Peter writes incessantly about Paul and vice versa, and 2)It doesn’t matter even if they are not because Bible isn’t the only document where Jesus is recorded, Jesus is a real character whose deeds and life stories were attested by many historians.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    It is a matter of possibility, and the probability is something to be deduced later. I think that the defense of miracles, specifically the Resurrection, rests on the acceptance that they are possible, but highly improbable, events, but that after considering the evidence and alternative theories, one can reasonably conclude that a miraculous event is the best option. This same framework should be applied to any miracle claim, and often is to dismiss claims where: no one else witnessed it or it was not attested by other sources. It seems that this argument really only emphasizes the need for investigating these claims carefully, not to dismiss them. Let me know what you think!DPKING

    Christians accept the Bible because they believe it is a historical document. They don't see miracles as anything unusual. However!, if you point out all the many miraculous claims in other faiths and cultures, they are put in a dilemma. Either they are to accept all this miracles, or reject miracle claims as improbable. Now they might say the devil performs miracles. But I see no reason to believe that Jesus was not from the devil. He cast out demons? Yes, but could he not do it while being in cohort with Satan himself? Could not they have been fooling people? Could not Satan have given Jesus his soul back after he died??

    I'm arguing this from a Christian perspective. The reasonable thing to do is to doubt miracle claims in general, regardless if we have several documents from the 1st century speaking of a single event like this.

    Thank you
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Yeah, we're dastardly like that. I have a question... Why do people who think that Jews are super-organised and super-villianous always announce themselves? Aren't you at all worried I might tell the rest of the Jews that you're onto us? I mean, if we brought down Rome, imagine what we're doing with today's technology. It's almost like you have to be stupid to think this stuff.Kenosha Kid

    It's not about Jews in particular. Religious documents, like the Book of Mormons for example, were written in order to take over a region of people
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Also I don’t see the relevance for the part in which you’re saying that we have no way of knowing if Luke, Mark or Paul were real apostles who could write the Scripture. I assume you consider this to be a loophole in the Bible because you’re suggesting that if they were not real apostles, they wouldn’t have traveled along with Jesus, which could then put the truthfulness of Jesus’s deeds, also the truthfulness of the very Scripture in doubt. However, what I’m trying to make here is that it doesn’t put the Scripture or Jesus in doubt, for 1)It’s very not likely that the Apostles are not real apostles — if you read the Scripture you’ll find that Peter writes incessantly about Paul and vice versa, and 2)It doesn’t matter even if they are not because Bible isn’t the only document where Jesus is recorded, Jesus is a real character whose deeds and life stories were attested by many historians.xinye

    Several points:

    1) etymology is not a real science, so everything about ancient history is doubtful

    2) The original 12 Apostles alone, it can be argued, were given authority to write Scripture. So if something is not written in the new Testament by them, a Christian can quite possibly reject it. Peter could have been wrong about Paul. So a lot of the new Testament can not be proven to be Scripture, unless you are a Catholic I guess

    3) Christian historians are obviously influence by their faith when they read about miracles from other religions. If we have a bunch of miracles, it is a reasonable position to say they are all forged from imagination. This might not be the only position one can take. But the evidence is NOT strong for the Christian position. There is simply no way to prove from history that Jesus was God


    4) The Christian God is said to be not contingent but necessary. Therefore He wills the Good necessary. But He is said to be free as well. Therefore He wills the Good necessarily and freely. This may be possible in a supernatural (imaginary) being, but still I see no room left in God for Him choosing (within His nature) the Good in the face of pain and suffering. Therefore man has the ability to be greater than God. All this shows is that the Christian God is an impossibility. He never existed and never will. The Atonement (taking people's guilt and putting it on a innocent person) is just another nail in the coffin
  • Outlander
    608
    ...yep. And they think this reasonable - to punish a child for the offence of it's parents.Banno

    What a silly idea. That'd be like if I nuked your country and after hunting down and killing whoever remained (in a hysterically unnecessary painful fashion- it even cost me money, time and even men to do so, but oh well!) and repopulated it with my own people... the idea you could even begin to think that others who come after me should receive anything but the warmest embrace as if from a brother... is just bonkers. A sure sign of mental deficiency.

    Eh. Punish? No. Restore order? Of course.

    Besides, that statement doesn't have anything to do with what "they think is reasonable"- it's simply "what is". You can like it or you can dislike it, couldn't be any more irrelevant. It'd be like you saying I said I think it's reasonable for people to drown if they're underwater for several minutes without some sort of breathing apparatus.

    I mean, aside from vocalizing your opposition to reparations for slavery- things like justice, wrong being made right, equilibrium/equality, and yeah I suppose vengeance are pretty central themes in society. The difference is one teaches forgiveness or at least discourages bloodshed under the idea that a much more powerful entity has promised "Vengeance is mine".
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    But I see no reason to believe that Jesus was not from the devil. He cast out demons? Yes, but could he not do it while being in cohort with Satan himself? Could not they have been fooling people? Could not Satan have given Jesus his soul back after he died??Gregory

    At what level of decadence have we reached so that this is open to debate...

    Are you seriously proposing that Jesus was revived not by the divine grace of God the Father, but by Satan for some reason that even you can't argue in favor of? If so, please, share you "hypothesis" - whatever this word means at this point - with us, because I'm really, very curious about it - in truth, not so much in the "hypothesis" itself but more on how you'll articulate and distort christian theology to make it agree with you.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    Jews would say I am correct
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    Are you seriously proposing that Jesus was revived not by the divine grace of God the Father, but by Satan for some reason that even you can't argue in favor of?Gus Lamarch

    Can you please asnwer my question?
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Since language changes every generation, it is impossible to know for sure if the Bible is properly translated. Yes, the whole foundation of Christianity is sand.Maybe God doesn't want us looking for signs. Muslims attribute most miracles to the Evil One, and so reject the Bible as non-canonical. Maybe the planet Saturn causes miracles. In dealing with the New Testament, we have to not only keep in mind that even the Illiad has miracles and gods in it, but also ask (1) what were the motives of those writing these books, and (2)did they get the facts right.

    Prophecy has to be unpredictable, highly unlikely, not deliberately fulfillable, and certainly written earlier than the event. This is not the case with the Jesus figure

    So it's reasonable to wonder if the writers of the NT embellished on rumors from 40 years prior.

    Again, there are miracles in every religion probably in history.

    Religion has been proven to be a drug. If mushrooms are discovered to have been plentiful in Galilee
    in the first century, the game is over

    The world has all the reality it needs in order to exist. It came from potentiality, quantum uncertainty, and an infinite vagueness that cannot be put into words. Through gravity, perhaps, it leaped into actuality and finitude
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Are you seriously proposing that Jesus was revived not by the divine grace of God the Father, but by Satan for some reason that even you can't argue in favor of? If so, please, share you "hypothesis" - whatever this word means at this point - with us, because I'm really, very curious about it - in truth, not so much in the "hypothesis" itself but more on how you'll articulate and distort christian theology to make it agree with you.Gus Lamarch

    We don't know enough about Jesus to say anything definite. He could have been a black magician whom the devil raised from the dead and who deceived everyone in think he was God, had died for them, and should be worshipped as equal to anything divine and above all creation
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    Religion has been proven to be a drug.Gregory

    I think @JerseyFlight would agree with that, but only after saying how much of a stupid person I am from saying how he should agree.
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    We don't know enough about Jesus to say anything definite. He could have been a black magician whom the devil raised from the dead and who deceived everyone in think he was God, had died for them, and should be worshipped as equal to anything divine and above all creationGregory

    But what is more probable:

    1 - That Jesus was a jewish apocalyptic heretic preacher that eventually was killed and made legend, then god by his followers and after centuries of mixing political, cultural, economic and even personal opinions on the myth, Christianity was born.

    2 - Jesus was really a transcendent person that was killed and resurrected by Satan.

    3 - You will say that you believe in what you want.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    I do believe what I want. But what I want is good. Piety is not a virtue. Are there indications Jesus was evil? Yes. He said you had to hate your family in order to be his disciple. He said he came to bring violence
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    how much of a stupid person I amGus Lamarch

    I don't think your stupid. You are capable of having a conversation. I just have studied this matters in depth for many years
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Are you seriously proposing that Jesus was revived not by the divine grace of God the Father, but by SatanGus Lamarch

    If I am not mistaken, you said earlier you didn't believe in God. If you want Christianity to win over Islam but are willing to be Muslim if you have too, it seems you believe based on your emotions. Which you are claiming I am doing
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    I don't think your stupid.Gregory

    That quote is for Flight and not for you.

    I just have studied this matters in depth for many yearsGregory

    Yeah, we both know thats not true, but ok.
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    Piety is not a virtue.Gregory

    In that we agree.

    Are there indications Jesus was evil? Yes.Gregory

    So let me read them...

    He said you had to hate your family in order to be his disciple. He said he came to bring violenceGregory

    Can you please find and write down the sources for these intriguing findings of yours, because I never read any of this in the Bible, neither did any of the bibliologists and historians that I studied about.

    If I am not mistaken, you said earlier you didn't believe in God.Gregory

    That's right, but I'm not proud of it.

    If you want Christianity to win over IslamGregory

    All of us - who live in western society - should want, and help in any way possible, that our future is this.

    but are willing to be Muslim if you have tooGregory

    You again distorted information. I explicitly said that if I had no more choice, and that western society had already lost - as was the case with the roman civilization when saint Augustine converted to Christianity - I would convert by pure pragmatism.
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    It's not about Jews in particular. Religious documents, like the Book of Mormons for example, were written in order to take over a region of peopleGregory

    You can wtite a pamphlet to try and convince people you're right. You can't create one to "take over Rome and the west". The spread of Christianity did not rely on the Bible, but on violent world and church leaders. Conflating outcome and intent is a conspiracy theorist play.
  • Josh Vasquez
    3
    Hi Gregory,

    I believe your argument is:
    1. If every culture, civilization, and religion in history has reports of miracles – specifically resurrection
    claims.
    2. When placing the resurrection of Jesus next to them it looks a lot less impressive.
    3. Therefore, Christianity is no better or more correct than any other religion / belief.

    I am a bit uncertain of how you jumped to the conclusion (3), but I think this is in line with what you are trying to argue. I agree with your first premise, there is no refuting it. However, I would disagree with your second premise because there is a lot that you are not accounting for. Jesus did not simply resurrect from the dead, but he was the only person to do so who not only predicted his resurrection, but who made the assertion that he was (and is) God in the flesh. CS Lewis does a great job of highlighting Jesus’ claim to be God and not just a great moral teacher because he did intend to leave us thinking of him as a great moral teacher. If Jesus claimed to be God, predicted his resurrection, and physically resurrected, then your claim that his resurrection looks a lot less impressive compared to others is false. In fact, if these three things that I have listed are true then I would suppose there has never and will never be a more important resurrection than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not only because of who he claimed to be prior to his resurrection, but because of the ramifications it has on the eternity of all. His teachings are no longer only lessons on how to live a morally exceptional life, but on how to achieve life itself. I make this claim because if we are destined to live in eternity with God or apart from God our eternal life would take far more precedence over our earthly “life”.

    Additionally, you make the point that Christians have no way of knowing whether the authors of the gospels and Paul were real apostles who were even educated / qualified to write scripture. I believe you have a misconception of who the writers of the gospels were, with the exception of John, because none of them were actually apostles of Christ. The gospels are simply historical accounts or records of the life of Jesus as understood by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In fact, Luke was a physician who addressed both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts to a man of great esteem, Theophilus. As for Paul, there is no denying that he is an apostle because of how much he did to expand the gospel of Christ. Additionally, he was a Pharisee before he came to Christ, and thus received great education. If I understood your last claim correctly, you believe scripture was written with the intent of it becoming scripture. I find it hard to believe that the authors of the New Testament books knew that their writing was going to be canonized by the church three hundred years later and regarded as scripture. Additionally, Paul was simply writing letters to different churches with the hope and intention of keeping them focused on Christ.
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