• Josh Vasquez
    3
    There are historical documents from Christians and non-Christians backing up the claim that Jesus Christ lived and died on this earth 2000 years ago. But what about the resurrection? No one can deny that the apostles believed Jesus resurrected, but that begs the question on what basis do they have this belief? It is either the case that Jesus physically resurrected or that an alternative explanation must be true. In this post I will argue for the physical resurrection as the most rational explanation for the intensity of the apostles’ belief. My argument:

    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.
    3. The apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ.
    4. Therefore, the apostles must have had sufficient evidence for their intense belief. (MP 1,3)

    I am first going to analyze popular alternative explanations for the apostle's belief in the resurrection of Christ. They are as follows:
    (a) The unconsciousness hypothesis
    (b) The stolen body hypothesis
    (c) The twin brother hypothesis
    (d) The hallucination hypothesis

    Hypothesis (a) claims that Jesus did not actually die, but rather lost consciousness on the cross giving off the appearance as though he was dead. Therefore, since he wasn’t actually dead he was able to wake up and “resurrect”. This hypothesis is irrational because it trivializes the flogging and crucifixion process. There is no way Jesus could have survived this. Hypothesis (b) claims that Jesus’ body was stolen from the tomb. This is highly improbable because it assumes that all guards at Jesus’ tomb simultaneously fell asleep, leaving the tomb unguarded. Additionally, this doesn’t explain how Jesus appeared to the apostles post-crucifixion. Hypothesis (c) states that Jesus had a twin brother who died in his place. There is no evidence for the existence of someone who looked like Jesus during his time thus making it highly unlikely. Not once is a “Jesus twin” mentioned in the gospels - which are reliable historical accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry - or anywhere else. Finally, hypothesis (d) claims that the apostles and the two women who saw Christ after his death were actually experiencing a hallucination. This hypothesis can be refuted by a historical account that tells us there were five hundred people who witnessed the risen Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:6 Paul asserts that the risen Christ appeared to five hundred other people, which would mean that this needed to have been one massive hallucination. The likeness of a large-scale hallucination occurring is very low. I would assume Paul mentions this in the letter to the church of Corinth because he’s letting them know there is sufficient evidence for their claim to have seen a risen Christ. Thus, the most reasonable explanation must be that Christ physically rose from the dead and appeared to the apostles.

    One may be inclined to ask about the reliability of the apostles. Are we sure the apostles were mentally stable or that they weren’t lying about having seen the risen Christ? If either of these were the case I suppose there would have been some historical documentation of it. Either from a Christian historian like Luke (who wrote one of the gospels and the book of Acts) or a non-Christian historian like Josephus. Additionally, as we saw earlier, there were five hundred people who claimed to have seen the risen Christ. It’s likely the reason Paul referred to those five hundred people who witnessed the risen Christ is so that people who were skeptical could go to them as further evidence.
  • Outlander
    608
    There is no evidence for the existence of someone who looked like Jesus during his time thus making it highly unlikely.Josh Vasquez

    What? :sweat:

    Before folks start to jump on you I'll just politely say, please include links for the historical accounts of which you mentioned. Thanks.

    Basically, between you and me. These Christian-specific arguments are really only religion-general arguments. Example, if what you say is true, why couldn't some other account in some other religion be true, etc. It's a rabbit hole you're trying to go down, OP. I'd think a moment before continuing.
  • Nils Loc
    743
    Don't discount the mythical (and or ritualistic) component of the story of a dying and resurrecting god. The gospels are stories and not primary sources. I wouldn't literalize the resurrection. It is a metaphor of transition, like the turning of one thing to another by a ritual mechanism (a sacrifice/martyrdom).

    What if Jesus had not been martyred?
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    But what about the resurrection?Josh Vasquez

    Apostle Paul was very direct with his use of "sōma pneumatikos", spiritual body of Christ in the resurrection:

    Corinthians 15:42-44 "So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."

    It was a spirit body brought to "life" by God the Holy Spirit. Jesus, God the Son was dead, and to reach hypostasis with God the Father, God the Holy Spirit had to "resurrect" him in a spirit form - if we are taking the theology as reality -.
  • TheMadFool
    7.3k
    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.
    3. The apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ.
    4. Therefore, the apostles must have had sufficient evidence for their intense belief. (MP 1,3)
    Josh Vasquez

    Absolutely superb! An authentic breath of fresh air. :up:

    It turns the tables on the likes of Hume, Hitchens, and Sagan who, in this setting, appear to be put in the unenviable positon of having to deal with being hoisted by their own petards.

    No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish — Hume

    What is more likely, that the laws of nature has been suspended in your favor, or that you've made a mistake — Hitchens

    Extraordinary proof requires extraordinary evidence — Sagan

    Surely, the apostles would've given the concerns voiced by the gentlemen whom I've quoted above due consideration, right? Resurrection, even in this day and age; would qualify as a bona fide miracle and send scientists scurrying back to the drawing board. Surely then, 2 millenia ago, a time when medicine was in its infancy, rising from the dead would have been taken very seriously indeed, investigated thoroughly, and only then certified as genuine.


    However, to be fair to naysayers, the gullibility index was much; much higher than it is now. Even now, the golden age of skepticism spearheaded by influential scholars, the gullibility index is still not negligible enough to prevent scams/cons/frauds that sometimes occur on a scale so massive that it makes us wonder whether P. T. Barnum was right when he uttered his famous words, "there's a sucker born every minute." You can imagine how bad/good the situation was two thousand years ago depending on whether you were scammed or you were a scammer.
  • Kenosha Kid
    892
    Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.Josh Vasquez

    False. And trivial to demonstrate. There are many religions, and all can't be true. All have had intense believers and martyrs and they can't all have equally sufficient evidence.

    But also just logically this is a weak play. All it says is that you will not admit any cause of intense belief in the object of *your* belief that does not affirm that belief. It's just more Christian faith, it's not a proof.
  • Josh Vasquez
    3
    Hi Gus,

    I would agree with you, Paul was very intentional and direct when he uses the words “Sōma pneumatikos” in 1 Corinthians 15:44, but It is essential for Christianity to not only believe in the spiritual resurrection of Christ, but the physical resurrection is definitely just as important, if not more. I also believe Paul to have been intentional when he uses the word “anastasis” in his letters when referring to Christ’s resurrection. This is first seen in Romans 1:3-4 (NRSV) – “3regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word “anastasis” refers to a physical “standing up” and this is one of many scriptures where Paul refers to Christ physically resurrecting, not only spiritually resurrecting. Like Paul said: “If Christ has not been raised… we [Christians] are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:18-19). The Christian faith is based on the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was because of this that the apostles had the courage to spread the gospel and ultimately suffer martyrdom for the sake of Christ. As I said in my argument above, it must be the case that the apostles believed in the physical resurrection of Christ because otherwise their belief and actions were irrational. However, it is entirely possible that the apostles were irrational and had intense belief without sufficient evidence, but my difficulty with this is that they all had a willingness to suffer for their faith. In addition to there being five martyrs that we know of, none of the apostles recanted their faith. Their intense faith points only to the physical resurrection of Christ, and if predicted his resurrection and rose from the dead then Christ was far more than a “good moral teacher”.
  • SophistiCat
    1.4k
    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.
    Josh Vasquez

    Not this old chestnut again :roll: Why anyone would say something so obviously untrue is puzzling, but how this inanity gets to be repeated over and over again is beyond me.
  • 3017amen
    2.6k
    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.Josh Vasquez

    It was probably some sort of love that they experienced. You know that, walk in front of a train kind of love, you have for your family!

    Is that illogical, I wonder... (?).
  • tim wood
    5.4k
    No one can deny that the apostles believed Jesus resurrected, but that begs the question on what basis do they have this belief?Josh Vasquez
    Whether they did or not, other people certainly do. But of what value is belief as constitutive of knowledge of a fact? Answer: none, zero, and less than zero.

    And further, the gospels - the whole bible - is an edited reader. To many people a book of worth and value, But not a recounting of fact. Most reasonable people accept the proposition that Jesus was - corresponds to - a real person, but there is zero evidence of any resurrection.

    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.Josh Vasquez
    Really? Certainly that can happen. But the right proposition is that some intense belief may be....

    Something like resurrection - actually everything else too - is a matter of fact. Argument does not create fact. You can argue for what you like, but it doesn't make it so. And an obvious reason. The purported fact is necessarily antecedent to the argument. Yours, then, homilies to the choir.
  • Coben
    1.6k
    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.
    3. The apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ.
    4. Therefore, the apostles must have had sufficient evidence for their intense belief. (MP 1,3)
    Josh Vasquez
    1) If the Muslim terrorist (or any terrorist) is willing to be martyred for the sake of Allah/Islam, then they must have intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence (this is the most problematic of your assumptions)
    3. The terrorists have been willing to be martyred for the sake of Allah/Islam.
    4. Therefore they had sufficient evidence not only for their intense belief in Allah/Islam but also in the righteousness of their acts.

    Pick an act where children were killed.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.Josh Vasquez

    I intensely believe you're wrong. Therefore, there must be equally sufficient evidence that you are wrong. Q.E.D.
  • Philosophim
    288


    Thank you for a nicely written post! First, let me say that while I will critique the argument, please understand this is not out of malice, an agenda, or with the feeling that you are "stupid, foolish", or what have you. It takes intelligence and a curious mind to think on such arguments. I would also invite that if this argument is shown to have flaws, this does not discount your belief in Christ. So with that in mind, lets see if there are holes in this argument.

    1. There is an implicit assumption that we all believe the bible to be a true and accurate statement to reality

    Now if you believe that the bible is inerrant and accurate evidence, then this is not a problem. But it is a very important key in the argument you present. For example, many people consider the Koran, the holy book of Islam, to be an accurate testament to the history and events of the time. It has prophecy that has been claimed to have been fulfilled, and even predicted scientific theories like evolution before they were made. https://rationalreligion.co.uk/9-scientific-miracles-of-the-quran (for citation).

    Now I'm not saying this because I want you to believe the Koran. I'm using this because I know you don't believe the Koran. So if I told you that there were followers of Muhammad who believed in his words so much that they willingly fought and died for him, does that mean their belief in the Koran indicates that it is actually true?

    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.Josh Vasquez

    Unfortunately, this example proves that this statement is not true. There are people who have incredibly intense belief in the Koran. To the point where they have died for it. But we both do not believe that the Koran is accurate correct? We can conclude then that the intensity of belief does not have anything to do with the accuracy of the belief.

    Taking this idea outside of religion, we can see this remains true as well. I can look up at the sky and see that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. It is incontrovertible. From this observation, the only logical conclusion (if I know nothing of space) is that the Sun revolves around the Earth. To believe otherwise, would be foolish no? But because we do know about space, we realize my belief is wrong.

    So lets start with that for now. Do the points make sense? Do you believe I've made an error? Again, I welcome the discussion with all respect given.
  • Gus Lamarch
    438
    “Sōma pneumatikos” in 1 Corinthians 15:44Josh Vasquez

    If this is right

    1:3-4Josh Vasquez

    and this is right too, something is wrong about their faith.

    Quoting Craig L. Blomberg on his 1987 book The Historical Reliability of the Gospels:

    "For the Christian tradition, the bodily resurrection was the restoration to life of a transformed body powered by spirit, as described by Paul and the Gospels."

    The "transformed body" - sōma pneumatikos - is the spirit of Jesus being brought to heaven through hypostasis with God the Holy Spirit. If Paul aimed to speak of a physical resurrection, he could have very well used the term "psychikos", but he instead preferred the term "pneumatikos" because he was explicity talking about the spirit of Christ.

    Christian teaching traditionally interprets Paul as comparing the resurrection body with the mortal body, saying that it will be a different kind of body; a "spiritual body", meaning an immortal body, or incorruptible body. But that is open to interpretation, as everything in the Bible is.

    However, it is entirely possible that the apostles were irrational and had intense belief without sufficient evidenceJosh Vasquez

    For me - and a lot of people -, this is the canonical thing that happened. The resurrection was not an objective historical fact, but a subjective "recollection" of Jesus, transfiguring the dead Jesus into an imaginary, or "mythical", risen Christ. The appearance, or Christophany, of Jesus to Paul and others, was "internal and subjective". Reflection on the Messianic hope, and Psalms 16:10, led to an exaltated state of mind, in which "the risen Christ" was present "in a visionary manner", concluding that Jesus must have escaped the bondage of death.

    Psalms 16:10:
    "For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit."
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    1. If the apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ, then they must have had intense belief.
    2. Intense belief must be backed by equally sufficient evidence.
    3. The apostles were willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ.
    4. Therefore, the apostles must have had sufficient evidence for their intense belief. (MP 1,3
    Josh Vasquez

    Faith does not need evidence. That's why faith is a belief.

    If you have sufficient evidence then you are a scientist, and you don't need faith.

    But because the Apostles had faith, obviously they lacked sufficient evidence.
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