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Source: (consider it) Thread: The historicity of the resurrection
Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
True in the same sense that it is true that Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in 55 BCE, or that the Battle of Hasting took place in 1066 AD.

[Roll Eyes] History can have some accuracy issues, but Caesar¹ and Jesus² are not in the same category and neither are Roman invasion¹ and the crucifixion.²

¹ definitelyᵃ existed/happened
² mightᵇ have existed/happened

ᵃ multiple sources, archaeological evidence
ᵇ few sources, no physical evidence

Beg pardon, but you've got a distorted idea of what historical sources look like. We actually have amazingly few written sources for people and events that everybody accepts as real (e.g. Greek and Roman history stuff), and those often very late copies of copies of copies. I'm fairly sure the only way Jesus and his church can't compete is if you arbitrarily rule out noticing any documents written by people who believe in him.

The mere fact that the documents exist (NT, patristic documents, graffiti, references by haters) is enough to tell you some facts about him; you need not take every assertion in a text as Gospel truth to learn something from that text considered as a historical artifact.

Seriously, I rather suspect that if you put Jesus and Augustus head to head, Jesus would win in terms of sheer amount of historical documentation, much of that right early. And that's even if you consider monumental inscriptions etc.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Seriously, I rather suspect that if you put Jesus and Augustus head to head, Jesus would win in terms of sheer amount of historical documentation, much of that right early. And that's even if you consider monumental inscriptions etc.

This seems like a dubious assertion, given that numerous Augustan temples still dot various locations around the Mediterranean, many dating from shortly after the Emperor's death. Plus there's all those coins. Sure, they're not "monumental" inscriptions, but I see no reason not to count them as evidence of Augustus' existence.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Crœsos
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Plus we've got an account of Augustus' life in his own words*, something we don't have from Jesus.


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*It's possible that The Deeds of the Divine Augustus was ghost-written, but even so the Emperor would have reviewed and approved its message.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

No - it would prove that Jesus existed!
And that it's all a crock.

[ 11. April 2017, 18:39: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Beg pardon, but you've got a distorted idea of what historical sources look like. We actually have amazingly few written sources for people and events that everybody accepts as real

For some people and events. Bro James picked the wrong examples. Had he mentioned Socrates, he'd have a better example. Still wrong in principle, though.*
The evidence for Jesus is essentially an inverted pyramid. It might end up balancing well, but you are taking that on faith.

*That the evidence for Socrates being real is not appreciably greater doesn't mean Jesus is therefore real, but that Socrates mightn't be.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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I'm sorry, I've been through the thread and can't find anything by Bro. James. Could you link me?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
*That the evidence for Socrates being real is not appreciably greater doesn't mean Jesus is therefore real, but that Socrates mightn't be.

I'd say the evidence on Socrates existing is slightly better than Jesus since in Socrates' case we have a non-posthumous attestation of his existence. It's not biographical and in a literary form given to exaggeration, but in terms of Socrates' existence I'd say it counts.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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PaulTH*
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A complication I have with the Resurrection being physical comes in 1 Cor 15, where Paul writes:
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. It's generally accepted that the appearances were all within the 40 days before the Ascension. While Paul had an "encounter" with the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus, it's never claimed that this is a resurrection experience of the same order as the appearances to the disciples after Easter. In Paul's case, it was the first of many deeply profound mystical experiences, which included being carried to the seventh heaven.

Yet the way in which Paul adds his experience on to the experiences of the others suggests that, to him, the experiences were of the same order, ie mystical, rather than physical appearances. But I don't trust mystical experience to the extent of building a religion around it, because such experiences are, by their very nature, subjective. The transformation of the disciples from a bunch of cowering wrecks, whose grasp of what Jesus taught was, to say the least, obtuse, into a fearless group who proclaimed the Risen Lord and all died brutal martyr's deaths, can't be explained otherwise than that they had a totally life changing experience.

So I have to claim to be somewhat agnostic on whether or not the resurrection experience of the Apostles was of a physical or mystical nature. But whatever it was, it changed them and all subsequent human history.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

No - it would prove that Jesus existed!
And that it's all a crock.
Or that Spong is right and he's not. I.e. that Jesus is divine according to His ethics only, by some ineffable mechanism. No other miracles allowed. Bollocks.

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Love wins

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'm sorry, I've been through the thread and can't find anything by Bro. James. Could you link me?

Here it is. [Cool]
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Lamb Chopped
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Got it. Though I don't think he was choosing events with an eye to their documentation, but rather to the general acceptance as "something that happened." If he had been American no doubt one of those references would have been to 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue--a typical primary school factoid.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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lilBuddha
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My point still stands, regardless of the examples chosen.
History should be approached with more caution than is typical, but it does not follow that it is all at the same level of evidence.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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BroJames
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Yes. You read me rightly. I was responding to the question posed by hatless. Anteater had said
quote:
In this view a Christian is one who lives on the basis that certain stories, particularly about Jesus are true
to which hatless replied
quote:
True in what sense?
I was attempting to answer that, not to talk about levels of attestation.
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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
That God exists, is good and loves us.

I can't be certain about that either, but I continue to have a tiny seed of faith that it's true.

Which is pretty much what The Son of man Himself said loudly and clearly before the Authorities of that day silenced Him.
Well... tried to silence Him.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
My point still stands, regardless of the examples chosen.
History should be approached with more caution than is typical, but it does not follow that it is all at the same level of evidence.

Certainly. No anything is at the same level of evidence--but some things carry such a preponderance of evidence that it would be basically ridiculous to deny them. The existence of Jesus Christ is one of them. I'd as soon deny the existence of Buddha or Mohammed. Such massive movements do not arise out of nothing.

Note that this is not a statement about precisely who or what Jesus is. It's just saying that he existed, and I know of no reputable historian who would deny it.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else. Because human. Because free will. Which means the freedom to make choices. Which then makes for a whole lot more provocative possibilities. If God did not require at the level of an offer Jesus couldn't refuse, but allowed whatever free human choice to be made, what does this mean for what we have. I think it is an expansive and grand vision myself.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Such massive movements do not arise out of nothing.

Not out of nothing, but perhaps not out of what is purported. I am not saying Jesus didn't exist, just that it is not as concrete a thing as is often implied. Hinduism has no apparent founder and managed to get fairly large.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Why would people prefer to believe less rather than believe more?

Well, I suppose because generally simpler explanations are more beautiful and more satisfying than complex ones. That doesn't mean complex explanations are wrong, but if the question is why do people "prefer" a simple explanation, it is because simpler things have more power.
Thing to be explained: People saw a man who three days prior was dead.

Easy explanation: They saw that man.

More complex explanation: This was a psychological spiritual manifestation of the blah blah blah.

Even less simple explanation: They all felt a certain something and met together and decided to say it was due to a dead man coming back to life, and stuck with that story.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
All it requires is a fourth spatial dimension. No poetry.

It's all in Flatland. All in Flatland. What do they teach them in these schools?

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

Yes.

quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
And by definition (son of God, you know) DNA analysis will be difficult.

This is Docetism. He was a human being and had human DNA.

quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
It's a point Bart Ehrman picks up on, by noting how curious it is that the idea of Jesus' burial is so prominent in creedal formulae. His idea is that the burial was used as a defence against the accusation of a disposed-of body. I.e. that Joseph of Arimathea was the key fabrication in the gospel narratives.

This smells of desperation.

quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Ideas are very powerful. The fate of 65kg of organic matter 2000 years ago is only important because of the ideas it interlocks with.

I do hope you don't think that 65kg of organic matter in the present day is only important because of the ideas it interlocks with.
Why not?
Before I could answer why or why not, I'd have to know what the hell it means. How does 65kg of organic matter interlock with ideas? WTF does that even mean?

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else.

Do you mean you think God would have done something else had he not resurrected Christ, or do you mean you think God did something else?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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simontoad
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I believe that on the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures.

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Human

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Such massive movements do not arise out of nothing.

Not out of nothing, but perhaps not out of what is purported. I am not saying Jesus didn't exist, just that it is not as concrete a thing as is often implied. Hinduism has no apparent founder and managed to get fairly large.
We're sort of talking at cross purposes here. I wasn't making a statement about all religions starting from individual founders. I was saying that any large religion which claims to have a human founder and gives details of his life in ordinary space/time (e.g. not off in the heavens or something) is therefore evidence for the existence of said person, though not necessarily that he/she was in all respects as described. I'd say the same about any political movement ditto.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else.

Do you mean you think God would have done something else had he not resurrected Christ, or do you mean you think God did something else? [/QB]
Either. I don't actually find I need to determine this any more. I used to think I had to have the answers, and then realized I didn't, and it didn't destroy anything for me. If there wasn't a resurrection then it is okay, if there was, it is also okay. The point is to follow and do, with much less emphasis on believing something.

I quoted Nietzsche above, whom I will put in my own words here (perhaps too opaque there for discussion). 'If we reduce being a Christian to holding a belief negates Christianity. It's only when we live like the guy they killed that we actually are Christian.' And I'd add that much of Christianity makes me agree with Gandhi's formula about liking Christ but not Christians. The world needs more Christian behaviour and conduct, not more belief, with the heaven promise a terrible distraction and something that can make Christians thoroughly detestable.

Still working through it, in the context of difficult life experiences (a measure of them is known on these boards, I will simply say life traumas repeated ~35 years apart accompanied by a tremendous God vacuum, but also by an understanding that this offended Christians of several decades of close friendship and presumed support).

So I consider that we may reject the statement that without the resurrection there is no point to Christianity, and sometimes think very seriously that we do not have to decide to emphasize it, believe it, or otherwise be rigid about it. We may allow it is a nice idea, but not insist that it is essential. I have come to the point of wavering, continually, for several years now, sometimes considering for and against several times in a day. Learning to tolerate the ambiguity and not deciding, and tonight as most of this current Holy Week, being on the rejection of resurrection side.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else. Because human. Because free will. Which means the freedom to make choices. Which then makes for a whole lot more provocative possibilities. If God did not require at the level of an offer Jesus couldn't refuse, but allowed whatever free human choice to be made, what does this mean for what we have. I think it is an expansive and grand vision myself.

Christianity hinges on the Resurrection not because there is some logical necessity to it, but because of God's choice. Certainly he could have done something else, though I'm not going there because it is total speculation and we don't know at all what we're talking about, or what is even possible as opposed to being nonsense. My point is that God did not choose to do something else. He chose to do this, and to make it the center of the whole complex of his saving actions toward us. His choice becomes the foundation of our subsequent choices.

One thing you might want to watch out for is the tendency in PSA thinking to act as if Jesus and God are two separate people, the one making impossible and horrible demands on the other. That gets you into a mares' nest of "what if he had done this instead?" and "Would God have rearranged his plan?" Nope. Christ IS God. God the Son and God the Father (and God the Spirit, too) did this together, in unity, as one God--not as three people with separate conflicting agendas.

What we're looking at in the whole Passion/Resurrection event is rather like a grand work of art, in which all of the parts form a unity and each glorifies the rest--nothing can be taken away. God could have chosen to make a different piece of art, sure--but this is the one he settled on, and it's pretty awesome.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Curiosity killed ...

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

There's a Kathy Reichs book Cross Bones that riffs on this idea as a side plot and suggests how dangerous it would be to be an archaeologist who found those bones, particularly in the Middle East.

quote:
Originally posted by Sipech
There are lots of potential points of discussion here, not least the open questions about what one means by "word-for-word" or "active Christians".

Not sure what the authors of the report meant by "word-for-word", but they did have a way of defining "active Christians". Participants in the research self-identified as Christian, if they also said they'd attended church at least twice in the last month they were identified as "active Christians".

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I'm agnostic. I really don't know. I'd like to think so.

Can you say whether your agnosticism about the physical resurrection is 50/50 believe/not believe? Or is it more like 99/1believe/not believe, or vice versa?

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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mr cheesy
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This project is a dumb one.

The problem with claiming x y and z about the historicity of Jesus is that exactly the same case can be made about Mohammed and probably Joseph Smith and the Buddha.

The fact that religious figures have a lot written about them is just a reflection of the fact that they're religious figures - people write a lot of stuff about them, they copy each other and (I'm sure we'd agree) tend to exaggerate stories about them.

Could this weight of material be created about a figure who never really existed? Well sure. Is there any independent evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed? Nope.

This is in marked contrast to Roman emperors. The comparison is nonsense. The imperial civil service was massive, there are official documents recording the facts. Why would anyone make it up?

Socrates is a different case, but there is very good evidence that he existed. There is detailed public evidence from detractors, why would they do that for a figure who didn't exist? The water is muddied by Plato who clearly wanted to make Socrates his mouthpiece, but IMO the curmudgeon street-philosopher who was executed by the state is beyond doubt.

In contrast, thousands of political and religious prisoners were executed by the Romans, many by crucifixion. It isn't hard to see how various messiahs might have been amalgamated into one, with a dose of exaggeration and an association with execution to quickly form a folk religion.

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arse

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I'm agnostic. I really don't know. I'd like to think so.

Can you say whether your agnosticism about the physical resurrection is 50/50 believe/not believe? Or is it more like 99/1believe/not believe, or vice versa?
You are using the word 'believe' to try and quantify something which is unquantifiable.

I hope and trust that there is a God who loves humankind. I hope there was a resurrection of Jesus and will be for the rest of us.

I know it can't be a bodily thing as atoms are shared and have been shared for millennia - who would claim which atoms? Lol

But I don't 'know' or even 'believe' either. A lot depends on my feelings at the time - which are usually positive and optimistic. But my questions are always far bigger than my answers.

When I'm completely alone and lonely the 'presence' of some 'other' is always there and I simply hope it's God.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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What an interesting thread.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Enoch
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As so often on these threads, Lamb Chopped strikes me as talking a lot of sense.


Boogie, it's because my own feelings are so changeable and unreliable that I'm so glad I can trust in external things, events that happened irrespective of how I feel about them.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm content with this statement. The resurrection created the church, not vice versa. The extent to which the created church mythologised the resurrection event is a question to which I don't have definitive answers, and don't find I need them.

As a much admired vicar friend once said, in a brief impromptu sermon (his curate left the service to handle an emergency). "The fascination with what actually happened is understandable, but I'm more interested in what difference Jesus makes in my life, our lives, today".

Yes. When the Gestapo came to collect Bonhoeffer he said "This is the end, for me the beginning of life'.

In what sense can this be true? In what way was Bonhoeffer able to know that it was true?

My wife uses the phrase, "I know in my knower", which strikes me as very good. My conviction that the resurrection created the church was a significant factor in my conversion, and I still think it very reasonable. But my conviction that Jesus lives goes much deeper now than that personal conviction about an asserted historical event. It has been fuelled by almost half a century of the adventure of faithful following. It has been a well spent journey.

I agree also with the observation re Christian behaviour. There is nothing to said against the practice of unselfish love, the agape that represents the essence of the best Christian behaviour.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else. Because human. Because free will. Which means the freedom to make choices. Which then makes for a whole lot more provocative possibilities. If God did not require at the level of an offer Jesus couldn't refuse, but allowed whatever free human choice to be made, what does this mean for what we have. I think it is an expansive and grand vision myself.

Christianity hinges on the Resurrection not because there is some logical necessity to it, but because of God's choice. Certainly he could have done something else, though I'm not going there because it is total speculation and we don't know at all what we're talking about, or what is even possible as opposed to being nonsense. My point is that God did not choose to do something else. He chose to do this, and to make it the center of the whole complex of his saving actions toward us. His choice becomes the foundation of our subsequent choices.

One thing you might want to watch out for is the tendency in PSA thinking to act as if Jesus and God are two separate people, the one making impossible and horrible demands on the other. That gets you into a mares' nest of "what if he had done this instead?" and "Would God have rearranged his plan?" Nope. Christ IS God. God the Son and God the Father (and God the Spirit, too) did this together, in unity, as one God--not as three people with separate conflicting agendas.

What we're looking at in the whole Passion/Resurrection event is rather like a grand work of art, in which all of the parts form a unity and each glorifies the rest--nothing can be taken away. God could have chosen to make a different piece of art, sure--but this is the one he settled on, and it's pretty awesome.

So the Son of Man was God the Son?

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Love wins

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Sarah G
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
...In contrast, thousands of political and religious prisoners were executed by the Romans, many by crucifixion. It isn't hard to see how various messiahs might have been amalgamated into one, with a dose of exaggeration and an association with execution to quickly form a folk religion.

It is extremely difficult, virtually impossible. The Messiah was the one who was going to inaugurate the glorious New Age of God's Kingdom, show God's forgiveness to His people and bring God's awesome presence back to the Temple. This obviously included sending the Romans packing.

If you got killed then by definition you weren't the Messiah, simple as, and we know from C1 writers that this is how it worked both in theory and in practice.

Those who wish to say the Resurrection isn't a thing need to provide a better explanation for the emergence of the Early Church with the set of beliefs it had about Jesus' status as Messiah, bearing in mind the helpful Mousethief Simplicity Criteria above.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sarah G:
It is extremely difficult, virtually impossible. The Messiah was the one who was going to inaugurate the glorious New Age of God's Kingdom, show God's forgiveness to His people and bring God's awesome presence back to the Temple. This obviously included sending the Romans packing.

If you got killed then by definition you weren't the Messiah, simple as, and we know from C1 writers that this is how it worked both in theory and in practice.

I don't understand the point you are making. Christianity, like many other religions before and since, subverted the previous understanding and definitions to create something new. Almost nothing is ever created out of new cloth.

I don't understand what you mean by "almost impossible". Take a near-contemporary example like Mormonism, which managed to riff on the theme offered by orthodox Christianity.

quote:
Those who wish to say the Resurrection isn't a thing need to provide a better explanation for the emergence of the Early Church with the set of beliefs it had about Jesus' status as Messiah, bearing in mind the helpful Mousethief Simplicity Criteria above.
Why do they? A small bunch of Jews came to believe in unorthodox ideas. For various reasons these ideas spread quickly outside of the initial believers. As the ideas spread the stories became morphed and with sufficient time it became difficult to separate what was the original story from the morphing.

I can't see that it is any kind of knock-out blow to suggest that Jews Didn't Believe in That Kind of Thing.

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arse

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Isn't this all the Prosecutor's Fallacy? Option X is very unlikely, so it must be option Y, even if Option Y is also very unlikely.

In this case, something unlikely happened. Either the development of an unorthodox Jewish sect out of nothing, or a resurrection. Both are very unlikely. One might as well say that resurrection is so unlikely that it must have been a weird unorthodox Jewish sect starting up from the ancient equivalent of a fake news Facebook meme, as the other way around.

And this is the fundamental problem; the basic extraordinary nature of the claim of resurrection. Roman Emperors came and went; it doesn't strain credulity to learn there was one called Augustus. Nothing apparently impossible is being claimed about Socrates. Resurrections, though, don't happen. And that's why I find it very hard to commit myself to saying that one occurred.

In answer to SD further up, no, I can't put figures on it. I think I said as much in another reply elsewhere.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

Boogie, it's because my own feelings are so changeable and unreliable that I'm so glad I can trust in external things, events that happened irrespective of how I feel about them.

I know, my feelings are just as changeable, but - as the replies here show, there is no certainty that those events did happen. We rely on many external things which can be snatched away in an instant, do we not?

The only certain thing is uncertainty - and learning to live with that is a lifelong process imo.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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mr cheesy
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Also, it is surely possible that the Jewish people were believing something within the parameters of acceptable Jewish belief at the time, and that later non-Jewish redactors amalgamated stories - creating a Christ figure, centralising the cross, theologising a resurrection.

I'm not even sure this process had to be deliberate, it seems to me that there is a natural evolutionary process that could have happened:

1. Stories emerge about a local preacher or possibly various local characters
2. These are superimposed onto contemporary events - such as Roman crucifixions
3. At some point the stories are repeated so many times that it is impossible to separate the events from the person.
4. Hundreds of years later when "the truth" is attempted to be gotten at by consensus, this proves to be impossible to do on a historical basis. Instead the decisions are made on a theological basis.

Nothing malicious is needed, no need for people believing unlikely things - just the natural processes of fable, myth and evolution of beliefs.

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arse

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
But does your Christianity hinge on the resurrection?

I don't think it has to. I think that God would have done something else. Because human. Because free will. Which means the freedom to make choices. Which then makes for a whole lot more provocative possibilities. If God did not require at the level of an offer Jesus couldn't refuse, but allowed whatever free human choice to be made, what does this mean for what we have. I think it is an expansive and grand vision myself.

Christianity hinges on the Resurrection not because there is some logical necessity to it, but because of God's choice. Certainly he could have done something else, though I'm not going there because it is total speculation and we don't know at all what we're talking about, or what is even possible as opposed to being nonsense. My point is that God did not choose to do something else. He chose to do this, and to make it the center of the whole complex of his saving actions toward us. His choice becomes the foundation of our subsequent choices.

One thing you might want to watch out for is the tendency in PSA thinking to act as if Jesus and God are two separate people, the one making impossible and horrible demands on the other. That gets you into a mares' nest of "what if he had done this instead?" and "Would God have rearranged his plan?" Nope. Christ IS God. God the Son and God the Father (and God the Spirit, too) did this together, in unity, as one God--not as three people with separate conflicting agendas.

What we're looking at in the whole Passion/Resurrection event is rather like a grand work of art, in which all of the parts form a unity and each glorifies the rest--nothing can be taken away. God could have chosen to make a different piece of art, sure--but this is the one he settled on, and it's pretty awesome.

This.
[Overused]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Nothing malicious is needed, no need for people believing unlikely things - just the natural processes of fable, myth and evolution of beliefs.

Possibly. There is however nothing inherently incredible in thinking that a religious movement was founded by a religious teacher who gathered a group of disciples. Founder figures of Christianity should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Possibly. There is however nothing inherently incredible in thinking that a religious movement was founded by a religious teacher who gathered a group of disciples. Founder figures of Christianity should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Not sure why. Seems as reasonable as any other explanation.

Not saying this is what happened, just saying that dismissing it isn't as easy as waving a hand and saying "that's impossible".

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arse

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
<snip> there is a natural evolutionary process that could have happened:

1. Stories emerge about a local preacher or possibly various local characters
2. These are superimposed onto contemporary events - such as Roman crucifixions
3. At some point the stories are repeated so many times that it is impossible to separate the events from the person.
4. Hundreds of years later when "the truth" is attempted to be gotten at by consensus, this proves to be impossible to do on a historical basis. Instead the decisions are made on a theological basis.

The thing about this "natural evolutionary process" is that the time scale is insufficient. The Pauline Epistles (in which the main lines of the Jesus story is already clear) date from 20-30 years after the death of Jesus. With the exception of John, the gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, are generally agreed to have been in existence by about AD 90, and to have been drawn from pre-existing material. Even John's gospel may have been in existence by this time. The account of Jesus achieves its final form within 60 years of his death.

There isn't a process where hundreds of years later decisions need to be made about the truth of the accounts, and a theological basis has to be adopted. In so far as there was any process at all, it appears to have been one which rejected later material in favour of the earlier material which had been widely accepted from very early times.

I agree that a process such as you describe is possible, it's just that the evidence quite strongly tends to suggest that that is not how it happened.

[ 12. April 2017, 14:47: Message edited by: BroJames ]

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mr cheesy
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50 years isn't long enough to create a complex myth about something? How do you know?

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arse

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
50 years isn't long enough to create a complex myth about something? How do you know?

Especially given the amount of apocalyptic material from other sources that there is to work with - the Essenes and their extended sets of scriptures and groups like the Mandeans and Ebionites.
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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
50 years isn't long enough to create a complex myth about something? How do you know?

Tch. We do it every day. It doesn't take any fifty years. Three, tops. Don't believe me? Put 'Obama birth Kenya' or '9-11 Truth' or 'Sandy Hook conspiracy' into your search window. And then stand back. You might want to wear a raincoat and galoshes.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Sarah G
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't understand the point you are making. <snip> Take a near-contemporary example like Mormonism, which managed to riff on the theme offered by orthodox Christianity.

Early Christianity was not a riff on a theme. It was a claim that the most important thing in History, ever, ever, had happened.

That the long promised Kingdom of God had arrived, that the promise to Abraham had been fulfilled, that death itself had been overcome and God had acted to redeem Israel.

The Kingdom of God arriving event would, it was assumed universally in C1 Israel, be a military victory in the usual OT way.

This was what Messiahs such as Bar-Kokhba did. If some followers had suggested, after Bar-Kokhba's death, that he really was the Messiah, they would have been laughed at. If you failed to liberate Israel, you failed. After a Messiah died- their followers moved on. They didn't discuss alternative ways of liberating Israel, because there were none.

The idea that the Kingdom of God could be achieved by the Messiah getting killed is not a subversion, it's an inversion. How does a dead Messiah do this (and there's so much more where this came from...)?

In fact in C1 Judaism it's a contradiction. Nearly.

quote:
Why do they? A small bunch of Jews came to believe in unorthodox ideas. <snip> I can't see that it is any kind of knock-out blow to suggest that Jews Didn't Believe in That Kind of Thing.

This leaves unanswered the question of where those ideas came from. We know what the Early Church believed because we have a number of different writers, one writing a mere 20/25 years after the events. They believed Jesus had been resurrected in a completely unique and unpredictable fashion, and that's what compelled them to totally rethink their expectations.
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Garden Hermit
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I have always wondered why Jesus relied on Human Memory to spread his Gospel, and not had a scribe with him to write it all down as he went along. Total opposite to Mohammed.
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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There is however nothing inherently incredible in thinking that a religious movement was founded by a religious teacher who gathered a group of disciples. Founder figures of Christianity should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Not sure why. Seems as reasonable as any other explanation.
You're not sure why Occam's razor should be adopted in this case?

(As always with Occam's razor the argument isn't that the alternatives are impossible. The argument is not to look for a complex explanation when a straightforward one is available.)

[ 12. April 2017, 15:44: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Sarah G:
This leaves unanswered the question of where those ideas came from. We know what the Early Church believed because we have a number of different writers, one writing a mere 20/25 years after the events. They believed Jesus had been resurrected in a completely unique and unpredictable fashion, and that's what compelled them to totally rethink their expectations.

You seem to be thinking that Christianity was unique in believing in a resurrected Gods.

So the answer may be as simple as that the idea came from other religions.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
You're not sure why Occam's razor should be adopted in this case?

(As always with Occam's razor the argument isn't that the alternatives are impossible. The argument is not to look for a complex explanation when a straightforward one is available.)

I'm sorry, you've got a pretty strangely sharpened Razor if you think it is a simpler explanation to believe in something impossible (ie resurrection) rather than that the story is an amalgam of various different stories.

This is one of the reasons that Occam's Razor is almost useless; a lot of the time definitions of what is actually "simple" and "more complex" are in the eye of the beholder.

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arse

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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cough Mormons cough Scientology cough

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
You seem to be thinking that Christianity was unique in believing in a resurrected Gods.

So the answer may be as simple as that the idea came from other religions.

You seem to be unaware of how very different the Christian idea of resurrection (and indeed the Jewish idea at that time) is from other stories of resurrected gods in the ancient world of the Mediterranean.

So the answer may be as simple as that it happened. (Unless of course you have an a priori belief that resurrection is impossible.)

[ 12. April 2017, 16:12: Message edited by: BroJames ]

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
I have always wondered why Jesus relied on Human Memory to spread his Gospel, and not had a scribe with him to write it all down as he went along. Total opposite to Mohammed.

You know, I love this. I think it's because God has incredibly more willingness to rely on us than we have to rely on ourselves. I mean, it's kind of scary. I was freaked out when they actually let me take a baby home from the hospital (where are the adults? Oh yeah) and be responsible for it. And here's Jesus letting the disciples etc. be responsible for basically his whole mission as soon as the cross/resurrection bit is complete.

to be sure, he did promise them his Holy Spirit's help. But I can't help thinking that cutting humanity out of it altogether would have been more efficient. God doesn't seem to value efficiency very much. [Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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