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Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Truth: The Journal of Modern Thought ^ | 1985 | Professor William Lane Craig

Posted on 10/13/2001 1:56:56 AM PDT by lockeliberty

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To: A.J.Armitage
IF you have never read of, met etc. Josh McDowell, then you've missed meeting a very interesting son of a rage-aholic/alcoholic--who set out to prove the resurrection of Jesus and all associated with Jesus an incredible hoax. . . He had one problem, he was intellectually honest and a very good researcher. . . .ending up one of several atheists setting out to do such over the centuries. . . .who ended up realizing Jesus was who He said He was and that He did what history says He did.

Josh had a burning, fierce, intense, obsessed DEEP NEED to disprove The Resurrection and anything else he could disprove about Jesus as a way of getting back at his dad for all the brutal beatings, the beatings of his mother etc. by the dad who claimed to be a Christian.

IF you seriously are interested in THE TRUTH vs your own biases, you can check out this site and the following doc:

http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html

Evidence for the Resurrection
by Josh McDowell
For centuries many of the world's distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can't be discounted.

A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. "Professor McDowell, why can't you refute Christianity?"

"For a very simple reason," I answered. "I am not able to explain away an event in history--the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?

A QUESTION OF HISTORY
After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings--or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.

From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.

LIVING WITNESSES

The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means "good news," the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: "Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective."

IS THE NEW TESTAMENT RELIABLE?

Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.

Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world's foremost biblical archaeologist, said: "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today."

Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of "authentic evidence" concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. "

-------------------------------

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .

E. M. Blaiklock
Professor of Classics
Auckland University

----------------------------

BACKGROUND

The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to "prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb's entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many "infallible proofs." Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ's tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:

FACT #1: BROKEN ROMAN SEAL

As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus' disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

FACT #2: EMPTY TOMB

As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was "too notorious to be denied." Paul Althaus states that the resurrection "could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu." Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine."

Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God's doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ's body.

Paul Maier observes that " . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement."

FACT #3: LARGE STONE MOVED

On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

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There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies . . . Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.

Clark Pinnock Mcmaster University

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Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus' body, how could they have done that without the guards' awareness?

FACT #4: ROMAN GUARD GOES AWOL The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors' wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one wand be punished with death for the guard unit's failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment "produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches."

FACT #5: GRAVECLOTHES TELL A TALE In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty--because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty--like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar's cocoon. That's enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes--undisturbed in form and position.

FACT #6: JESUS' APPEARANCES CONFIRMED

Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.

OVER 500 WITNESSES

Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ's post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ's appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience's knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: "What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, 'If you do not believe me, you can ask them.' Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago." Let's take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.

HOSTILE WITNESSES

Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ's appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ's followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.

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If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.

B. F. Bruce Manchester University

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The argument that Christ's appearances were only to followers is an argument for the most part from silence, and arguments from silence can be dangerous. It is equally possible that all to whom Jesus appeared became followers. No one acquainted with the facts can accurately say that Jesus appeared to just "an insignificant few."

Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.

The theories advanced to explain the resurrection by "natural causes" are weak; they actually help to build confidence in the truth of the resurrection.

THE WRONG TOMB?

A theory propounded by Kirsopp Lake assumes that the women who reported that the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. If so, then the disciples who went to check up on the women's statement must have also gone to the wrong tomb. We may be certain, however, that Jewish authorities, who asked for a Roman guard to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus' body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards, for they were there!

If the resurrection-claim was merely because of a geographical mistake, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb, thus effectively quenching for all time any rumor resurrection.

HALLUCINATIONS?

Another attempted explanation claims that the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were either illusions or hallucinations. Unsupported by the psychological principles governing the appearances of hallucinations, this theory also does not coincide with the historical situation. Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn't it produced?

DID JESUS SWOON?

Another theory, popularized by Venturini several centuries ago, is often quoted today. This is the swoon theory, which says that Jesus didn't die; he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Everyone thought Him dead, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection. Skeptic David Friedrich Strauss--certainly no believer in the resurrection--gave the deathblow to any thought that Jesus revived from a swoon: "It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life,

------------------------------------------------

For the New Testament of Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.

A. N. Sherwin-White Classical Roman Historian

--------------------------------------------

an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which He had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship."

THE BODY STOLEN?

Then consider the theory that the body was stolen by the disciples while the guards slept. The depression and cowardice of the disciples provide a hard-hitting argument against their suddenly becoming so brave and daring as to face a detachment of soldiers at the tomb and steal the body. They were in no mood to attempt anything like that.

The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ's body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn't they explain: "Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn't rise from the grave"?

And if such a rebuttal failed, why didn't they explain exactly where Jesus' body lay? If this failed, why didn't they recover the corpse, put it on a cart, and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity--not in the cradle, but in the womb!

THE RESURRECTION IS A FACT

Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: "I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God bath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead." Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: "raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it."

REAL PROOF: THE DISCIPLES' LIVES

But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?

Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts--prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits--we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ ."

As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.

Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

How do you evaluate this overwhelming historical evidence? What is your decision about the fact of Christ's empty tomb? What do you think of Christ?

When I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection, I had to ask the logical question: "What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!' The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted--Thomas. Jesus told him: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

On the basis of all the evidence for Christ's resurrection, and considering the fact that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with God, who would be so foolhardy as to reject Him? Christ is alive! He is living today.

You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now.

The prayer I prayed is: "Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You."

-------------------------------------

Josh McDowell, according to a recent survey, is one of the most popular speakers among university students today. He has spoken on more than 650 university and college campuses to more than seven million people in 74 countries during the last 21 years.

©1992 Josh McDowell Ministry

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OF COURSE, if your only interest in this thread is to pontificate sufficient pique to justify continuing to do whatever it is that you'd prefer to do without God's oversight, I'm sure you'll find sufficient rationalization.

I do conjecture, however, that in our lifetime, probably sooner than even I expect, those without the Blessed Hope of The Resurrection will find existence increasingly bleak.

101 posted on 10/15/2001 5:32:49 PM PDT by Quix
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To: Dominic Harr; Vercingetorix
I have to write something for a class(that I should have been writing instead of participating in this thread). I'll be back later.
102 posted on 10/15/2001 6:00:37 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Quix
Thanks.
103 posted on 10/15/2001 6:00:52 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Boru
The author attempts to build his case strictly on biblical sources, which don't even offer a firsthand account of Jesus, since none of the writers of the New Testament were even alive at the time that Jesus allegedly lived.

How can you say this? The New Testament is written by several of Jesus' disciples who followed him during his lifetime (Mathew, Luke, John, Peter) and two of Jesus' brothers, sons of Mary (James and Jude). Although it's true that Paul, who authored many books of the New Testament, was not alive before Jesus' crucifixion, he did personally know Jesus after his resurrection. (I understand how as a non-believer, you might find this part hard to swallow.) Still, although the books were written after the crucifixion, the authors were mostly eyewitnesses who knew Jesus personally.

104 posted on 10/15/2001 6:56:10 PM PDT by keats5
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To: Boru
The author attempts to build his case strictly on biblical sources, which don't even offer a firsthand account of Jesus, since none of the writers of the New Testament were even alive at the time that Jesus allegedly lived.

How can you say this? The New Testament is written by several of Jesus' disciples who followed him during his lifetime (Mathew, Luke, John, Peter) and two of Jesus' brothers, sons of Mary (James and Jude). Although it's true that Paul, who authored many books of the New Testament, was not alive before Jesus' crucifixion, he did personally know Jesus after his resurrection. (I understand how as a non-believer, you might find this part hard to swallow.) Still, although the books were written after the crucifixion, the authors were mostly eyewitnesses who knew Jesus personally.

105 posted on 10/15/2001 6:58:44 PM PDT by keats5
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To: lockeliberty
Great post.

Bump

106 posted on 10/15/2001 7:17:51 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Dominic Harr
Herodotus was mostly based upon fact, but got many, many stories and details flat out wrong. Herodotus reported several pure myths.

That is pure conjecture on your part. Of course, anything we say about history is conjecture because we have not experienced it ourselves. In the final analysis it comes down to FAITH. For the Christian the faith in Christ's work as a redemption for sins is far more important than a faith in the historical accuracy of his resurrection.

I thank you for the respect you've shown toward the Christian Faith.

107 posted on 10/15/2001 7:52:58 PM PDT by lockeliberty
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Comment #108 Removed by Moderator

To: Boru
No, my understanding that the idea that most Biblical scholars think the dating is 100 years later is out of date. In fact, some strong evidence puts at least some key parts of the Gospels were written within 50 or so years of the facts--well within the lifetime of the eye witnesses.
109 posted on 10/15/2001 9:27:37 PM PDT by Quix
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To: Dominic Harr
I'm claiming we don't know what happened, and offering a list of possibilities.

In other words, unfounded conjectures. If that isn't unfounded conjecture, there's no such thing. Offering a list of possibilities is meaningless if you don't have some evidence for it. I could propose various completely baseless theories to advance the proposition that World War II never actually happened.

I wish you understood why that is different than your claims that the story happened exactly as written . . .

You wish I understood why what is different than my claims that the story happened exactly as written - your unfounded conjectures? I understand perfectly well that they're different. But since they're unfounded conjectures, they're pointless.

Again you only have conjecture. The Apostles could have just made it all up. You are only guessing that they didn't. They could have been fooled. You are just guessing that they weren't.

No, again all these are your unfounded conjectures. I'm not just guessing that they didn't make it all up, because they behaved, by being willing to die, like people who weren't making it all up. I cannot think of any rational basis for the idea that they were fooled. You are just guessing that they did make it up, or were fooled.

You call the NT unfounded conjecture. If it is, than any eyewitness account of history is unfounded conjecture. As I have pointed out, the NT has been found to meet the tests for an historically accurate document better than any others from antiquity. For example, William Ramsey, who was one of the greatest archaeologists who ever lived, originally believed Acts was written in the mid second century and was therefore unreliable. According to "More Than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell:

He observed the meticulous accuracy of the historical details, and gradually his attitude toward the Book of Acts began to change. He was forced to conclude that "Luke is a historian of the first rank...this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

Again from Josh McDowell:

Archaeologist Joseph Free writes: "Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts."

The NT was written, as established by extensive scholarship, in mid first century, when there were many people alive who were present when the events happened, including many who were hostile to Christianity. If they had been making things up, it would have left them open to charges of fabrication, since there would have been many people coming forward to challenge their accounts.

You're free to call it a myth, but don't characterize the foundations of Christian belief as "unfounded speculation" if you don't really have anything convincing to back it up. You just don't believe, that's all.

110 posted on 10/15/2001 10:07:46 PM PDT by lasereye
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To: Boru
Even most Christian biblical scholars agree that all of the gospels were written after 100 AD. None of the writers were alive during the alleged time of Christ. No one knows who actually wrote the books of the Gospel.

You have no basis whatsover for this assertion. The idea that the Gospels were written long after Jesus time has been repudiated and is well out of date. For instance, Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, writes: "Arguments that Christianity hatched its Easter myth over a lengthy period of time or that the sources were written many years after the event are simply not factual."

The idea that they were written long after Jesus' time is essentially based on F.C. Baur's writings, who died in 1860, and had no real basis for his conclusions. Yet here we are well over a century later and people are still confidently asserting his ideas as though nothing has happened in the interim. I wonder if you even have any idea what forms the basis for dating the Gospels in the 2nd century. I doubt it.

Also, there were several Jewish historians contemoraneous to the time of Christ, yet none of them even give Jesus a mention in their writings

The Talmud and the writings of Josephus, who was Jewish, both mention Jesus. And there were various Roman historians who wrote about him.

Extrabiblical, Non-Christian Witnesses to Jesus before 200 a.d.

111 posted on 10/15/2001 11:22:22 PM PDT by lasereye
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To: Taliesan
As you and I both know, people never reject G-d or Jesus due to a true lack of proof. They may claim there is no proof, but first they have to define proof in such a way as what stands starkly before them can be ignored.

The real problem in their hearts, not their eyes, as is clearly stated in John 3:17-19. I continue to pray that G-d will open their hearts. After all, if He had not opened mine, I would not be able to see the proof either.

Shalom.

112 posted on 10/16/2001 6:50:55 AM PDT by ArGee
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Comment #113 Removed by Moderator

To: Boru
The original message of Christianity was that success and achievement in life is not important, you will be rewarded in the next life instead.

That is correct. That is still the message today. The New Testament also tells a Christian to work and provide for his own family and not to be dependent on others.

114 posted on 10/16/2001 8:01:18 AM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: Dominic Harr
First, a note on "conjecture": it's called induction. Every person you see on death row is there because of induction.

I read it. I saw no points. Please, what did I miss?

Everything you read, if you're telling the truth.

Pure conjecture on your part. Your only source is their writings. It is possible, but it could also be false. And then there's the entire question of what if they were duped themselves . . . which is also very possible.

Duped by what? A dead guy?

We've been over this repeatedly. I know they were sincere because they were willing to die for it. The other possibility other than them telling the truth, that they were crazy, can't have been the case since if they were the body could be produced. By the process of elimination, they were telling the truth.

You don't even know if he was really crucified. You have only their writings to suggest it, and they had a vested interest in 'selling' that story.

They also had a vested interest in not being stoned and crucified.

You don't know that. That is a guess.

No, it's an induction.

The 'unstated motive' could have been many things -- hope for world power. Actual cash payments. Who knows?

I was hoping someone would say that. If that's what they wanted, I can't think of anything more counterproductive than the means they used. They gave up everything(not that they had much to begin with) to wander around preaching. Instead of world power, they were martyred.

A legend can pop up overnight -- look at Clinton, for goodness' sake. The 'comeback kid'. The 'expert' is pushing a lie, with this claim.

Oh? Clinton being impeached but weasling his way out is a legend?

His basis is even flawed. Herodotus was mostly based upon fact, but got many, many stories and details flat out wrong. Herodotus reported several pure myths.

He knows that. It forms part of his argument.

It has happend before, and could happen again. It is pure conjecture to say otherwise.

Oh please. You conjecture that people have died in horrific ways for what they know to be lies, when the lies do them no good and could be renounced. Then you call the denial of your conjecture a conjecture.

I think repeating that word too often has caused you to forget what it means.

As you know, there are many possibilities. Just look at the 'wierd stories' around us every day.

There are many possible things that could fool them into thinking a dead guy is really alive and starting a whole religion around it even though their enemies can easily produce the body? Name one.

To 'prove' that he really was resurected, you'd have to disprove all other possibilities -- at least to my mind.

Don't look now, but...

115 posted on 10/16/2001 1:42:06 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Boru
I was going to fully reply to your links(which don't support things like you slanderous claim that Christians liked to kill people merely for owning book -- I don't know if that's a lie or just a projection of your paranoid fantasies about "anti-intellectuals") and your other comments. I don't think there's any point, though, given your unreasoning anti-Christian animus, such as the following.

Christianity is just one of many Eastern Mystery Cults that made their way to Rome. The one thing that differentiated Christianity is, like Judaism, it was intolerant of other religions. You could, for example, belong to the cult of Isis or Mithras and still offer sacrifices to the Roman Gods. Christians and Jews both refused to do this, or to pledge allegiance to the Emperor. That is why they were persecuted.

Romans threw Christians to the lions and lit them on fire to light the streets of Rome because Christians don't sacrifice to the Roman gods, and you conclude that it was Christians who were intolerant. You've shut yourself off even from ordinary reason.

116 posted on 10/16/2001 1:52:37 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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Comment #117 Removed by Moderator

To: Boru
Romans threw Christians to the lions and lit them on fire to light the streets of Rome because Christians don't sacrifice to the Roman gods, and you conclude that it was Christians who were intolerant.

Precisely.

It wasn't the ones killing people, it was the "arrogant" Christians and Jews who got killed who were intolerant. You've got a screwy definition of intolerance.

BTW, Christianity didn't get power, power got it.

118 posted on 10/16/2001 3:03:52 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Boru
No, it’s based on the fact that none of the Gospels existed until after 100 AD, and did not exist in anything resembling complete form until after 170 AD.

Do you mean the oldest copies in existence are dated to after 100 A.D.? That means absolutely nothing. The oldest copies of documents relating some ancient events are well over a thousand years after the events described. Nobody concludes from that that they were actually written then. What is your basis for saying that they were actually written in their final form in 170 A.D.? Provide a source for this. You don't provide any sources for anything you say. The idea for them having been written that late is irrational given the extensive archaeological confirmation of the Gospels, including a number of discoveries which confirmed things that had previously been thought to be in error.

Archaeology and the New Testament

History, Archaeology and Jesus

the reference to Jesus in Josephus’ history is a forgery, and did not exist in early manuscripts. It was added later by a Christian.

You're either in denial or misinformed. Certain parts of Josephus' references to Jesus are believed to have been added, not the whole thing. Both these links are from a website devoted to Jewish history. It's not a Christian website. If you have some scholarly analysis which proves that every reference was forged, post a link. And then there's the four Roman historians.

Josephus on Jesus

Josephus' References to Crucifixion

It does not matter if a rabbi named Jesus lived and was crucified by Rome. There were most certainly many militant rabbis named Jesus crucified during the Jewish Revolt.

Where are you getting this information? You sound very informed almost as though you're some kind of authority, but I believe not. The name Yeshua, which was the Hebrew pronunciation, means "One Who Saves". I don't think there were other Rabbis at all named that, let alone many who were crucified. Your arguments are getting ridiculous.

119 posted on 10/16/2001 3:25:33 PM PDT by lasereye
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