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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: steve-b
I'm afraid your argument is too strong for its own good. You're stuck explaining why, if all this is the case, everyone except a tiny minority of the wilfully blind was not immediately converted.

If I were a Calvinist, that wouln't be a problem. Since I'm not, it is, but not a hard one. As your ally Vercingetorix notes, the Jews were expecting a military leader, not a sacrificed Lamb. The religious leaders of the day had been attacked by Jesus and put him to death, and they led the people against Christianity. The people had called for Barnabas to be saved, not Jesus. But this predisposition against Christianity is nothing next to what would exist if there were no such person as Jesus. If that had been the case, no one could have taken Christianity seriously, let alone converted to it, let alone died for it.

51 posted on 10/15/2001 10:43:58 AM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: connectthedots
I agree, it's a good article that covers all the bases. Unfortunately for some, they will not believe, but that doesn't change the fact that it is the Truth
52 posted on 10/15/2001 10:50:20 AM PDT by billbears
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To: Quix
And may the Blood of Jesus shield you from all the tinfoil hat comments....

I think it's the other way around.
53 posted on 10/15/2001 10:58:04 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: lockeliberty
Just started reading it -- but wanted to thank you in advance. Good post (so far...).
54 posted on 10/15/2001 11:04:38 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Vercingetorix
Awhile back, I bought a Quran at a library book sale and looked it over. I found that the Muslims are told of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and the flood, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael,etc. The difference came when I got to Jesus. Mohammed says that He was not the Son of God but just a prophet. He said that the ressurection was a trick. The Christians gave Jesus a drug to make Him look dead. Then, Joseph of Aramethea gave Him the antidote in the tomb. THIS WAS ISLAM'S REASON THAT JESUS WAS SEEN WALKING AROUND AFTER HE WAS CRUCIFIED!The mere fact that Mohammed had to come up with a reason, 600 years after the fact, was powerful for me. He also says Jesus was a Muslim and came from Ishmael's line.

The problem for these other theory's is the Roman soldiers would have been killed themselves if Jesus would have been let off the cross alive, therefore they thrust a spear into His side to insure death. This also had to be done to fullfil several prophecies. They pierced Him, He was dead, no doubt about that. He was seen walking around for 40 days after His resurection by many. You also must remember He had been beaten so much that it marred His visage, according to Isaiah, so some may not have recognised Him right away. The Bible has proven to me to be trustworthy and historicaly true. To my knowledge, it has never been proven wrong.

If you keep your eye on the big picture, Jesus was sent here to die and purchase His Bride. The miracles, The speeches, and all the extras were just to fullfil prophesy and prove who He was. We either accept His gift or not. A human heart is dark beyond explaination. I believe Jesus could come and preach at any church today in the flesh and some would throw Him out. My job is to testify, the Holy Spirit brings belief. Without the Holy Spirit, a person can't belive even with the proof right in front of them.

55 posted on 10/15/2001 11:10:31 AM PDT by chuckles
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To: A.J.Armitage
"Objective" meaning anti-Christian." -- A.J.

I chose that particular reference because the authors are Christians. A Christian who really wants to know how Christianity originated is an exceedingly rare person. Freake and Gandy were students of Arnold Toynbee. They spent years in search of the historical Jesus. They never found him. What they found instead is in their book.

"Christianity obviously got started somewhere. You assert(with no proof whatsoever) that it was invented in Egypt. I could take that on faith, but I won't." -- A.J.

Don't take it on faith. Undertake the search yourself. While you are at it you might see what you can find out about the origins of Judaism. The original god of the Jews was the tribal genie of the Bedouin Khabiru who occupied and activated a volcano in northwest Arabia. The Hebrews learned of monotheism during the Babylonian Captivity -- another case of cross-cultural insemination leading to the birth of a novel religious form.

"The early Christians were often killed for their beliefs." -- A.J.

Some were. Far more Pagans and Gnostics were killed by the Literalist Roman Church though. The persecutions were in reality very mild and generally done as a last resort effort to quell the rising disruption brought on by the unruly mobs of Christians many of whom demanded martyrdom in order to go quickly to their eternal reward. Often, the Roman official who refused to grant such a request was himself put to death by the Christian mob. These little anecdotes from the early days of the Church do not often make their way into the children's catechism. Remember that the victor writes history to suit himself. The literalist Roman Church was victorious and most of the more sordid references to its early days have been removed from the popular histories or they would never have been published. You have to dig a little deeper if you want the whole story.

"If something like the story in the Gospel didn't happen, there'd be no Christians and thus no Scriptures." -- A.J.

It is the other way around. The stories came first. The Mystery Cults of Dionysus, the temple at Eleusis, the symbolic resurrections of 30,000 followers at a single event, were well known to most people of that time. Christianity is just one such cult with many variants. The variant that became the literalist Roman Church destroyed the others because of its ruthless nature and the reliance on dogma and literal historicity. For followers of the other resurrecting god/man cults the lessons of the religion were entirely spiritual and allegorical. No historical factuality was assumed or necessary once the follower had been initiated into the "Mystery."

"You're projecting your image of modern fundamentalists, with coloration provided by Islamists, on to ancient Christians. It doesn't fit." -- A.J.

I beg to differ. By their acts you shall know them. Wholesale destruction of anything and everything written was responsible for the demise of Pagan Civilization. Even owning written material could result in death at the hands of the Christian Mobs. The Taliban are well mannered and thoughtful preservers of alternative creeds by comparison with the early Christians who even destroyed what was best and truest in their own tradition in favor of a few paltry texts that were largely copies of each other or later forgeries that supported the political motivations of the orthodox hierarchy of Rome.

56 posted on 10/15/2001 11:27:21 AM PDT by Vercingetorix
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To: BikerNYC
So, would your construction have the Blood of Jesus shielding the tinfoil hats from us?

or

the tin foil hats shielding us from the Blood of Jesus?

Evidently you've never experienced much of the reality of that Precious, priceless Blood. Perhaps you will. There's nothing more powerful in the univers . . . unless maybe it's His Love . . . but then that's what caused His Blood to be shed.

57 posted on 10/15/2001 11:29:57 AM PDT by Quix
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To: billbears
God is such a delicate artist--enough evidence for faith without so much that faith is obliterated by raw facts.
58 posted on 10/15/2001 11:31:34 AM PDT by Quix
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To: Quix
the tin foil hats shielding us from the Blood of Jesus?

That's the one.

Evidently you've never experienced much of the reality of that Precious, priceless Blood.

Sorry, not a blood worshiper here. Much too pagan.
59 posted on 10/15/2001 11:33:06 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: lockeliberty; CCWoody; Uriel1975; the_doc
Some of the responses to this thread (did Jesus exist? was he really dead? etc.) show the truth of Jesus' words when he said:

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. - John 6:44

Christianity is not an intellectual pursuit (though it is not to be considered intellectual suicide!), rather it is the drawing by Christ to Himself of His elect, foreordained according to the Father's purpose. Praise God, "Salvation is of the LORD".

60 posted on 10/15/2001 11:39:12 AM PDT by Jerry_M
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To: Boru
There is no historical evidence that Jesus lived, let alone was resurrected.

. . .except for the historical evidence that Jesus lived and was resurrected. Do you define "historical evidence" as everything except that which states Jesus lived? Brilliant.

What about the 500 other people thet were supposedly ressurected along with him? Did they ascend into heaven too, or did they die again?

The bible never states 500 other people were resserurected.

61 posted on 10/15/2001 11:48:07 AM PDT by BabylonXXX
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To: Vercingetorix
You seem awfully certain of your asertions. Surely you can provide a little more backing then telling me to "dig". You made the asertions, you have the intellectual duty to prove them.
62 posted on 10/15/2001 12:00:29 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: A.J.Armitage
Assertions.
63 posted on 10/15/2001 12:02:48 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Dominic Harr
This -- seems like 'evidence' to some of ya'll?

I'm truly stunned.

I can't believe that. I can't bring myself to believe that. This piece can't be presented -- and agreed with -- as "evidence". Please tell me this is a joke?

There wasn't one single piece of evidence in the piece. Just conjecture based upon an ancient piece of literature. At best heresay with an unreliable source. At worst, either it's pure propaganda or relates a big 'scam'. Maybe Jesus didn't really die. Maybe he did, and someone just stole the body. Maybe it never happened at all, and is just a 'local legend' gone wild.

All of these possibilities are totally rejected out of hand?

Someone said they didn't see the need for non-biblical, unbiased sources? I didn't realize it was that bad. Truly, I didn't. Perhaps I better understand party partisans, now. The highly relelvant, repeated point about Atta, etc, also seems to be completely disregarded, too. Not even discussed, simply dismissed. Dang. Must re-evaluate. I'm stunned.

Have we not come any farther than that, really? Forgive this rant. But this thing with Islamic fundamentalists who have been convinced by their priests that they will go to heaven to ravish virgins in reward for killing innocents has got me *really* questioning the thinking of all religous people.

And no, this is not 'Christian' bashing. Christians are typically wonderful people, citizens, parents. This is about the nature of religous belief, and the true value of 'reason'.

64 posted on 10/15/2001 12:07:51 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: Jerry_M
You are absolutely correct Jerry. But we are called to defend our faith and our defense of the faith may be the spark that God uses to draw a person to Christ.

but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;

65 posted on 10/15/2001 12:15:43 PM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: Dominic Harr
There wasn't one single piece of evidence in the piece. Just conjecture based upon an ancient piece of literature.

Under your "reasoning" then we can conclude that no accounts of History are correct unless verified by first hand account.

66 posted on 10/15/2001 12:23:00 PM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: eddie willers
Did Mohammed Atta?

There's a huge difference between Atta and the Apostles in this regard.

Atta could be explained as a man who died as a true believer in a false cause. Lots of people are willing to die for any number of wrong causes.

In the "Christianity is a fraud" formulation, the Apostles would have been the guys making the stuff up -- it would have been their plot, which they knew to be false. And if it were false, it's not terribly likely that they -- mostly uneducated Galilean rubes -- would die as they did, without recanting what they had been preaching.

67 posted on 10/15/2001 12:45:25 PM PDT by r9etb
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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.

The argument that the writers of the NT weren't alive during Jesus' time originated around the turn of the last century and has been examined by numerous scholars and has been thoroughly repudiated in the last few decades. All the evidence including archeological - some of which hadn't been discovered yet when the idea was proposed - supports Acts having been written in the first century for instance. Some scholars who had believed the idea that the NT was written later changed their minds after examining the evidence. You should read some of Josh McDowell's writings.

68 posted on 10/15/2001 12:47:22 PM PDT by lasereye
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To: Banjoguy
There ought to be an equally tortuous body of thought regrading that, though I, not being scolarly in this regard, have never read one.

Here is a detailed medical discussion of the crucifixion, and it gives some pretty good reasons why Jesus would indeed have been dead on the cross.

As for the "giving up the body to the women" part -- I believe it was the generally duty of women to prepare the body; indeed, to prepare the body is precisely why the women returned to the tomb on the third day, only to find Him gone.

69 posted on 10/15/2001 1:13:58 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: L,TOWM
See #69 for a link to what you describe.
70 posted on 10/15/2001 1:16:18 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: A.J.Armitage
"You seem awfully certain of your asertions. Surely you can provide a little more backing then telling me to "dig". You made the asertions, you have the intellectual duty to prove them." -- A.J.

One good scholarly source is all you need to start with. It will provide references to the pertinent original literature as well as the works of the most competent contributors to the question. "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freake and Gandy is probably most directly involved with the question. Toynbee's original ten volume "Study of History" has lots of the details concerning the actions of the Church irrespective of the question of Christ's historicity.

In the end there is no substitute for extensive reading. Assertions of historical significance can only be "proved" by reference to numerous other historical assertions. Would one such reference be enough or would all such pertinent assertions have to be catalogued for your assessment?

Wouldn't it be better if you took responsibility for making up your own mind on the question? The resolve to answer the question implies that you will take responsibility for discovering the truth and accepting it whatever it is.

My assertions serve little other purpose than to suggest that the truth may well be different than the sanitized version presented by those who presume to occupy pulpits and thrones.

71 posted on 10/15/2001 1:22:27 PM PDT by Vercingetorix
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To: A.J.Armitage
If something like the story in the Gospel didn't happen, there'd be no Christians and thus no Scriptures.

This is why the Creeds are so careful to say that Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate." The Gospels are full of contemporaneous names which allow for rather precise dating and placement of the events.

If it were really "invented in Egypt," one would expect a variety of geographical errors and anachronistic references. In fact, however, it all hangs together as to time and place.

One other thing: the "no contemporaneous mention" issue finds a reasonable explanation in the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The Jewish records in Jerusalem would have been there, and probably destroyed with everything else....

72 posted on 10/15/2001 1:28:27 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: Dominic Harr
There wasn't one single piece of evidence in the piece. Just conjecture based upon an ancient piece of literature. At best heresay with an unreliable source. At worst, either it's pure propaganda or relates a big 'scam'.

Then refute it's points, rather than reject it out of hand(as you falsely accuse us of doing).

Maybe Jesus didn't really die. Maybe he did, and someone just stole the body. Maybe it never happened at all, and is just a 'local legend' gone wild. All of these possibilities are totally rejected out of hand?

These were considered in the article itself and in the following discussion. Christians reject them, but not out of hand. I don't think you even intend to discuss them, though, so much as you intend to create a fog of indeterminacy.

Someone said they didn't see the need for non-biblical, unbiased sources? I didn't realize it was that bad. Truly, I didn't. Perhaps I better understand party partisans, now.

The existence of the New Testament proves there were Christians shortly after Jesus' time of Earth. There are certain implications that follow from that. There were people around who were in Jerusalem at the time. If it had not been the case that, at the very least, something like the Gospel happened, these people would have made the start of Christianity impossible. Here, we're faced with the question of how the demoralized followers(or, rather, former followers) of an executed "criminal" became white-hot missionsaries willing to suffer death for the cause. There's a "factor X" here, as the article puts it, that, if not the resurrection, did the work of the resurrection. The article explains why the other possibilities are implausible.

There are, BTW, Roman and Jewish sources referring to Christianity.

The highly relelvant, repeated point about Atta, etc, also seems to be completely disregarded, too. Not even discussed, simply dismissed. Dang. Must re-evaluate. I'm stunned.

It most certainly was discussed, by myself and others, albeit in dismissive tones. There's a reason for that: it's a fundamentally stupid point. There's a difference between a dupe and a liar. If Mohammad Atta had, instead of being a murderous thug, a missionary for a faith he knew to be a lie put under torture and the threat of death, you might have a point. You still wouldn't address the fact of how many early Christians would have to have been in on it without telling the truth, even under the threat of fire and sword, for it all to have been made up.

73 posted on 10/15/2001 1:29:36 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Boru
There is no historical evidence that Jesus lived, let alone was resurrected

Actually, there is. Who or what he was has been questioned, but not that he existed.

74 posted on 10/15/2001 1:34:51 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: Dominic Harr
the true value of 'reason'.

"Reason" has become a worthless term. We aren't Vulcans.

75 posted on 10/15/2001 1:38:03 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Banjoguy
In order to validate this convoluted sophistry, one must believe that Jesus of Nazareth was actually dead when he was place in the tomb. There ought to be an equally tortuous body of thought regrading that, though I, not being scolarly in this regard, have never read one. How is it that the legend of the Roman Soldier and the removal from the cross is not discussed to this extent; that Jesus' body was given up to the woman, by the guard, prior to his actual death?

Calling an argument names is an easy way to avoid respoinding to its particulars.

The author has already addressed the "Jesus was never dead" argument reasonably well. I have read better, but it isn't a matter of the facts anyway.

John 3:17-19 (NIV) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Shalom.

76 posted on 10/15/2001 1:41:14 PM PDT by ArGee
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To: eddie willers
Just look at human nature and think about the apostles. Would you die for a lie?

Did Mohammed Atta?

To make the distinction a little more clear - would you die for a lie that you yourself had invented and knew beyond the shadow of a doubt was a lie?

Mohammed Atta may have died for a lie, but it was not a lie he invented. He believed it.

On the other hand, if Peter or Paul died for a lie, it was a lie they knew to be a lie. Peter claimed to have seen the risen Christ, and it was this claim that lead to his death. Don't you think that sometime before he was crucified, or at least before he had to watch his wife being crucified, he would have cut a deal?

Shalom.

77 posted on 10/15/2001 1:45:07 PM PDT by ArGee
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To: Vercingetorix; Uriel1975
Assertions of historical significance can only be "proved" by reference to numerous other historical assertions. Would one such reference be enough or would all such pertinent assertions have to be catalogued for your assessment?

Just provide a source I can check for myself for each assertion, preferably by means of a link. You assert(again with no evidence) that it's all out there. Fine: show me some.

Wouldn't it be better if you took responsibility for making up your own mind on the question?

No, it would be better if you took responsibility for your assertions. You said it. Prove it.

Discourse would be impossible if every time someone made an assertion he started to pretend the other person has a moral duty to find the proof for it. To the contrary, the person making the assertion has a moral duty to provide evidence.

My assertions serve little other purpose than to suggest that the truth may well be different than the sanitized version presented by those who presume to occupy pulpits and thrones.

"Those who presume to occupy pulpits and thrones." Someone's been reading Paine. It's just that I don't see any ermined monarchs running around. Do you? I suppose you might be English. I'm not. I'm American. Your little thrones comment is an attempt to tie in unrelated(and long settled) political issues. Anyway, you don't even understand how religion was tied in at the time.

Many of those in pulpits do present a sanitized version of the Truth, but I don't think that's what you have in mind.

78 posted on 10/15/2001 1:50:36 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: r9etb
One other thing: the "no contemporaneous mention" issue finds a reasonable explanation in the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The Jewish records in Jerusalem would have been there, and probably destroyed with everything else....

Excellent point. Beyond that, only a very small proportion of what was actually written survives.

79 posted on 10/15/2001 1:52:37 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Boru
Certainly someone who had done as much as Jesus did would have earned at least a footnote in non-biblical sources besides the passing reference made by Josephus.

This is an interesting if useless comment. The Bible is a compendium of sources that were not Biblical at the time they were produced. They were produced by men who wanted to record history. Luke wanted to record history from the perspective of an historian, the others with other agendas. However, they were not setting about to create the New Testament, they were only trying to record what they had seen and heard. Approximately four centuries later a group of religious scholars determined to collect these writings and call them Scripture. They did this after they were written and had long been accepted as historical.

Suppose there had been six other accounts written. Is it not likely that those documents would also have been included by those same scholars into the Scriptures?

To say that the sources are all Biblical is merely to say that they were all collected by believers. That does not disqualify them in any way.

What you really should be looking for is an historical document, or rather a collection of such documents, that contain similar historical details but deny the truth of the New Testament. That would be more powerful - a collection of documents from the same time frame that attack the historical accounts of the Gospels and were not included. But such documents do not exist, despite the fact that the religious and political rulers of the day were extremely interested in discrediting the nascent religion.

Care to speculate as to why not?

Shalom.

80 posted on 10/15/2001 2:01:25 PM PDT by ArGee
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To: lockeliberty
You are absolutely correct Jerry. But we are called to defend our faith and our defense of the faith may be the spark that God uses to draw a person to Christ.

You are right lock..sometimes a spark lays dormant for a long time untill someone fans it..God know where that wind (Spirit)blows to fan the flame

I really believe the word never is wasted..

81 posted on 10/15/2001 2:10:16 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: ArGee
What you really should be looking for is an historical document, or rather a collection of such documents, that contain similar historical details but deny the truth of the New Testament. That would be more powerful - a collection of documents from the same time frame that attack the historical accounts of the Gospels and were not included. But such documents do not exist, despite the fact that the religious and political rulers of the day were extremely interested in discrediting the nascent religion.

Care to speculate as to why not?

Bingo. Here's the procedure: first, pre-define the word "proof" to mean "any account of this resurrected man by anyone other than those who were convinced of his deity by the experience."

And then, of course, declare victory when no such "proof" surfaces.

82 posted on 10/15/2001 2:32:32 PM PDT by Taliesan
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To: lockeliberty
Under your "reasoning" then we can conclude that no accounts of History are correct unless verified by first hand account.

Yes.

Unless verified by multiple well-documented, independently verifiable sources -- all 'first-hand accounts' are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Same as any modern news story.

And I did not realize that anyone disagreed. I find that discouraging.

83 posted on 10/15/2001 2:34:00 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: A.J.Armitage

84 posted on 10/15/2001 2:51:01 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: lockeliberty
I recently addressed the following on another forum I think it is germaine to the topic at hand:

Someone said: "Christ was a man whose words and deeds, however great or noteworthy, were exaggerated by his followers who wrote the Gospels. ... The bottom line is, your bible was not written by God or Christ. It was written by men. Flesh and blood human beings with their own agendas, their own mistakes, and their own exaggerations.”

My response was as follows:

Ok, lets examine your statement from a logical and historical perspective. Who were the apostles? Who were the guys who wrote the gospels anyway? They were fishermen, tax collectors etc… nobody all that important.

Question, according to the historical facts, what was their response when Jesus Christ was crucified? Answer: Every last one of them chickened out, ran away and hid themselves in locked rooms. Peter was so brave that he denied that he even knew Jesus when he was confronted by a little servant girl who was approximately 12 years old. They were all cowards, afraid of being killed as Jesus had been because they had been his followers.

Some have said: “the disciples merely stole the body of Christ and said he rose again from the dead.” Problem, there is no way in the world, these 11 men (Judas killed himself) could have taken on the Praetorian guard of between 12 to 16 men who had been assigned to guard the tomb of Jesus. They were the elite SS troops of their day. They guarded the tomb in 3 concentric teams so that anyone wishing to steal the body would have had to conquer one ring of troops, the next and the next before they reached their goal. Every last one of the apostles would have died in the attempt. Ah but some have said ”they stole the body while the guards were asleep.” Sorry, doesn’t wash the guards on the outer most ring had to be wide awake, they could not leave their post nor could they fall asleep. The men within the second ring could relax but they could not leave their post, neither could they go to sleep. Only the men within the third perimeter, the one closest to the tomb were allowed to sleep. Every four hours they rotated. Those on guard in the outer perimeter went to the next ring where they were allowed to relax. Those who had been asleep closest to the tomb were awakened and took up their posts in the outer guard perimeter. If ANY of the men on the outer two perimeters fell asleep. He was awakened by being lit on fire and then THE WHOLE GUARD; everyone of them was put to death for dereliction of duty.

The disciples didn’t steal the body; if they had they would have all died in the attempt. You claim they had an agenda, they didn’t have an agenda, they were scared out of their minds and afraid to death.

Question #2 Would you die for a lie? I wouldn’t and I dare say no one else if they knew the resurrection of Christ was a lie, would either.

Every one of the apostles claimed to have seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead and it totally changed their perspective and their willingness to stand up and boldly tell the world that Jesus Christ was the messiah, was God come in the flesh and that He had risen from the dead. Shortly after the resurrection Peter, the very guy who was afraid to mention he even knew Jesus to a 12 year old girl, boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ and His resurrection before a crowd of over 3000 people. Every one of the apostles lives was transformed after the resurrection. All of them were eventually martyred for their faith. Some were even boiled in oil. Peter, remember him? He was crucified upside down for proclaiming Christ and His resurrection. If he knew that it was not true that it was, as you put it:

Just.. “words and deeds, however great or noteworthy… exaggerated by his followers who wrote the Gospels.” . . . Just a fictitious story written by… “human beings with their own agendas, their own mistakes, and their own exaggerations.”

Then all Peter or any of them would have had to do was say, “it was a LIE, Jesus isn’t the Christ, He isn’t God in the flesh, and He didn’t rise from the dead.” They had no agendas, nor were they exaggerating. Take a look at the apostle Paul. His agenda was to destroy the church and to kill as many Christians as he could in the process. However, after meeting the resurrected Christ Paul became one of the greatest followers and proclaimers of the very Christ he had hated. He tells us in his own words what he endured:

23Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. (2Corinthains 11:23-28)

Would you undergo all of this for lies and exaggerations? Neither would I.

You boldly claim, “the bible was not written by God or Christ”

I end with this, how do you know, where is your proof? Have you read it, studied it, and examined it for yourself? Or are you merely parroting the excuses and derisions of others.

Dr. S

85 posted on 10/15/2001 2:58:35 PM PDT by Jmouse007
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To: Dominic Harr
Unless verified by multiple well-documented, independently verifiable sources

Ahhh... The caveat!

Professor Sherwin-White is not a theologian; he is an eminent historian of Roman and Greek times, roughly contemporaneous with the NT. According to Professor Sherwin-White, the sources for Roman history are usually biased and removed at least one or two generations or even centuries from the events they record. Yet, he says, historians reconstruct with confidence what really happened. He chastises NT critics for not realizing what invaluable sources they have in the gospels. The writings of Herodotus furnish a test case for the rate of legendary accumulation, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts. When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states for these to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be 'unbelievable'; more generations are needed. All NT scholars agree that the gospels were written down and circulated within the first generation, during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses.

Therefore, this historian, who has presumably spent his entire life researching Roman history, has many documents that are independently verified.

86 posted on 10/15/2001 3:13:10 PM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: ArGee
What you really should be looking for is an historical document, or rather a collection of such documents, that contain similar historical details but deny the truth of the New Testament. That would be more powerful - a collection of documents from the same time frame that attack the historical accounts of the Gospels and were not included. But such documents do not exist, despite the fact that the religious and political rulers of the day were extremely interested in discrediting the nascent religion.

Excellent point.

"Extremely interested" is correct. The anti-Christians accused the Christians of all sorts of things, including child sacrifice and cannibalism. The Romans (e.g., Diocletian) would have made a great show of these documents -- if only to make the arena games more "interesting" for the irony of the Christians being killed for a lie. Yet the excellent Roman records of the time are mysteriously silent on the singular topic of those conflicting reports.

87 posted on 10/15/2001 3:26:26 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: Dominic Harr
It could have been one or two people. Especially if he didn't really die . . . if he was not dead when they took him down. Or, perhaps, it was dozens. That is not even unlikely, given the examples of other 'cults'. Look at the Branch Dividians, Jim Jones, etc. You seem to feel that the fact that many people had to be in on it 'proves' it couldn't be fraud. That makes *no* sense, to me.

You're still not understanding it, maybe on purpose. The Apostles who chose to die rather than renounce their faith were themselves the source of the information that Christ had been resurrected. All the 12 Apostles except John plus quite a number of others, such as Barnabas and Stephen, were martyred, most by crucifixion or some other ghastly method. Furthermore, the Branch Davidians didn't willingly choose to die, so that's completely irrelevant. It's probable that the people at Jonestown didn't choose to die either, but even if they had chosen it, it was because they were believing lies someone else had told them. It wasn't a lie they themselves were fabricating.

You say "it could have been one or two people. Especially if he didn't really die." Do you have any information that it was one or two people? Do you have any information he didn't really die? This seems like unfounded conjecture. At the same time you call scripture unfounded conjecture.

There have been hundreds of scholars who devoted their lives to the study of the historical credibility of scripture, based on the same criteria used to determine the accuracy of any historical account. Some of them were doubters and were not seeking to support scriptural authority. The NT has been found to be by any objective criteria (internal consistency, external consistency, the time elapsed between the date of the oldest surviving documents in and the events they describe, etc.) to be more reliable than any other ancient documents which are universally accepted as accurate. If you are not acquainted with any of this, then you shouldn't be spouting these vague generalizations.

88 posted on 10/15/2001 3:26:29 PM PDT by lasereye
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To: Jmouse007
A very well presented defense of the faith!
89 posted on 10/15/2001 3:31:13 PM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: Dominic Harr
Points? Forgive me, I really am confused. What 'points'? As I said, I see some interesting unfounded conjecture. Yet not one single 'point' that one would offer in a debate or courtroom. Please, help me. I am not joking, I don't see any 'points'. I want to know what you find so convincing. I must really be missing something.

Really, I have to ask you to READ IT before you comment on it.

The entire 'point' I see is the conjecture that the Bible is true, therefore the story must be true.

Nowhere does the article say that.

Success does not indicate veracity. Not in this world. Perhaps quite the opposite -- look at Messr. Clinton! The fact that there were people who believed it doesn't prove a thing about the veracity of the original claims. Modern popular culture believes FDR and Clinton are darned near saints.

I never said that success indicates truth, just as the article never said the Bible is true, therefore the story is true.

I said the Apostles were sincere in believing in the resurrection. There is no way Christianity could have started had they not had that belief. The reason for that is the particular circumstances around the birth of Christianity. Those were not the circumstances around the birth of Islam. Muhammad may well have been a liar, and that would do nothing to make the origin of Islam incomprehensible. That's the problem with the argument that arguments for Christianity work as well for other religions: they just don't. With no factor X, there's no Christianity. Other religions aren't like that, but Christianity is. That's not an accident.

It could have been one or two people.

It was far more than that.

Especially if he didn't really die . . . if he was not dead when they took him down.

But He was dead. He could not have survived.

If he had survived that in itself would be a miracle, but no one would think Jesus had conquered death as the Glorified Savior, because He would have been in a very poor condition.

Or, perhaps, it was dozens. That is not even unlikely, given the examples of other 'cults'. Look at the Branch Dividians, Jim Jones, etc.

If every member of the Branch Davidians was lying(for some unstated reason), would they have held up during the standoff? No, of course not. That they did proves they were sincere, just as the Apostles were sincere in believing Jesus was resurrected. That's the belief at the origin of Christianity, and it had to start somehow. C.S. Lewis famously said Jesus was either a liar, a madman, or telling the truth. You could say the same about the Apostles' claims about the Resurrection. The Apostles weren't lying, so either they were telling the truth and Jesus is indeed risen(praise the Lord!), or they were nuts. If they were nuts, the body would still be in the grave. If it was the result of insanity, it would not have happened to all of them, plus many others. Since it wasn't insanity, their sincerity means everything.

You seem to feel that the fact that many people had to be in on it 'proves' it couldn't be fraud. That makes *no* sense, to me.

That dozens of people would hold to what they knew to be a lie to the point of torture and death, for some unstated motive, makes no sense to me.

90 posted on 10/15/2001 3:40:45 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: lockeliberty
When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states for these to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be 'unbelievable'; more generations are needed.

Surely you realize this is bogus?

"It can't be false because it was written within a few generations"?

Stunningly inaccurate. Not proof at all.

91 posted on 10/15/2001 3:47:11 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: lasereye
You say "it could have been one or two people. Especially if he didn't really die." Do you have any information that it was one or two people? Do you have any information he didn't really die? This seems like unfounded conjecture. At the same time you call scripture unfounded conjecture.

I'm claiming we don't know what happened, and offering a list of possibilities.

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

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.

I respect the reasons you have your faith. I suspect it makes your life richer, and more meaningful. I also bet that living your life in a 'Christian' manner will lead you to success, happiness and good things.

I just don't agree with the mythology part. Thank you for discussing it with me.

92 posted on 10/15/2001 3:58:41 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: Dominic Harr
"It can't be false because it was written within a few generations"?

No, it can't be legendary because it was written within a few generations. It's the process of elimination.

Please, don't twist what we say. It's dishonest.

93 posted on 10/15/2001 4:00:12 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Dominic Harr
The Apostles could have just made it all up. You are only guessing that they didn't.

And they died for what they knew to be made up? In horrific ways? When they could simply have told the truth?

They could have been fooled. You are just guessing that they weren't.

Here's a new one. Fooled by what?

94 posted on 10/15/2001 4:03:14 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: A.J.Armitage

I thank you for discussing this with me. I do not wish to leave you thinking I think badly of Christians. I do not. I respect you for your faith.

But I just thought that we were in a different place than it appears we are.

Thanks, and I hope there's time to chat this up again at some future date.

95 posted on 10/15/2001 4:11:11 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: A.J.Armitage
"Just provide a source I can check for myself for each assertion, preferably by means of a link." -- A.J.

I have twice given you the most pertinent source for the assertions I made. You ignore it. Do you want me to type in the entire book and its bibliography for you? In case having a few other folks make the same assertions will somehow convince you they are valid here are a few links for your amusement.

The Jesus Puzzle Link

The Search for the Historical Jesus Link

Jesus Refutation Link

The Jesus Mysteries Link

"No, it would be better if you took responsibility for your assertions. You said it. Prove it." -- A.J.

The preponderance of evidence proves my assertion that Christ is a mythical character. If everything known about Christ is included in previously published pagan stories about more ancient resurrecting god/men then the Christ myth is a copy. The proof you seek is in the early Church Doctrine of "Diabolical Mimicry" wherein the Church Fathers attributed the preeminence of Pagan stories to the influence of the Devil who planted these ealier myths in anticipation of Christ in order to discredit him. I could list fact after fact of this sort but you would call them assertions and demand proof. If you don't know enough of the history of the period to decide for yourself whether or not these facts make a difference then there is no "proof" anyone can offer that will satisfy you.

"Someone's been reading Paine." -- A.J.

I don't know many folks from my generation who haven't read Paine.

"It's just that I don't see any ermined monarchs running around. Do you? I suppose you might be English. I'm not. I'm American. Your little thrones comment is an attempt to tie in unrelated(and long settled) political issues. Anyway, you don't even understand how religion was tied in at the time." -- A.J.

What do you call the Bush Family or the Gore Family or the Kennedy Family if not our version of ermined royalty. Please don't call me English. Until I was ten or so I thought the English were known as "DamnEnglish" thanks to my Irish Grandfather.

I was not referring to the past with my remark about persons occupying pulpits and thrones but rather to the present day political influence of the three principal monotheistic religions and the danger they collectively represent to the future of mankind. If you understood what Paine meant you would understand that a "Throne" can be as simple as a petty bureaucrat's chair.

96 posted on 10/15/2001 4:14:42 PM PDT by Vercingetorix
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To: A.J.Armitage

I appreciate your taking time to try and explain. I just don't get your points. Unfortunately, I have no more time today.

I'd love to discuss this again, some day.

Take care.

97 posted on 10/15/2001 4:18:15 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: BikerNYC
Nothing to do with blood worshipping.

But one learns to have enormous respect for such a supremely ultimate sacrifice. . . .and if God Almighty, The Boss has such respect, labels such a substance so Precious, who am I to argue.

I suspect if you had a son or daughter pay the ultimate price for you, you might have a certain quality of respect for the only object remaining, say a blood stained white handkerchief. . . . of if their blood was the only genetic match that saved your life but cost theirs?

I am skeptical that the Loved one's Blood would be 100% merely a dried red liquid thenceforth.

98 posted on 10/15/2001 5:10:28 PM PDT by Quix
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To: BikerNYC
The reason respect for The Blood have nothing to do with worship, is that The Blood does not equal THE PERSON, The Personality, Jesus The Messiah.

I suppose we could say there's a reverence for His Precious Blood, and enormous respect. But worship seems somehow to just not fit. His Blood is not equal to Him. HE is the one we worship. His Blood is "just" a Precious, Priceless, Powerful substance. . . . probably the most so in all Creation.

99 posted on 10/15/2001 5:13:06 PM PDT by Quix
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To: r9etb
Excellent link; some rather hard reading there. As good as the account in the "Case For Christ".

Thanks for including the description online, I am always grateful for a reminder in what G-d's Love actually comes down to.

100 posted on 10/15/2001 5:21:38 PM PDT by L,TOWM
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