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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christianity without Jesus' physical resurrection? why or why not?
Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I'm struck by (and applaud) the huge consensus so far on this thread in favour of the bodily resurrection of Christ, quetzalcoatl. It certainly wasn't the case the last time this subject came up.

That might be because those in favour tend not to be open to the possibility that they are mistaken. It's an axiom of faith adopted for social or personal reasons, not a conclusion susceptible to reasoned argument. What's to discuss if the purpose of participation is only to reinforce one point of view?
My surprise is not that (almost) everyone here seems to agree, it's that the consensus is very different to the previous, similar discussion I recall us having.

[ 28. May 2014, 15:13: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Lamb Chopped
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Thought so.

[ETA: this is in answer to the question of where Christ's body is now]

Okay, that question has a lot of answers to it. I'll take a shot (and everyone else will too, I know)...

a) At the right hand of the Father.
b) No, we don't know precisely what that means in terms of his physical body. Because duh, the Father is spirit, and has no physical right hand, and the statement is a metaphor.
c) Nevertheless, that body IS somewhere (the disciples saw it going away at the Ascension, right?) but
d) given that we don't know very much about either space/time OR the nature and properties of the human resurrection body, any answer we venture on the subject is likely to be nonsense. Like an answer to the question "how heavy is yellow?"
e) There are a few things we DO know. Which include the fact that Christ promised to be with us (and in us, yeah), so from that we can deduce that his human resurrected body doesn't slow him down.
f) We also know that he isn't given to popping up visibly all over the place since the Ascension, and before the Second Coming, so something's going on there, can't tell you what.
g) Finally, there's the whole Eucharistic bit. If you believe in the Real Presence (yes, I do) and take those words about eating his flesh/drinking his blood seriously, then there's something odd going on here too--
h) .... but in a situation where the data and parameters are so unknown to us, it's really pretty useless to theorize. Someday we'll be told, I hope.

[ 28. May 2014, 15:16: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall
It's an axiom of faith adopted for social or personal reasons, not a conclusion susceptible to reasoned argument.

According to you.

Which is all I can say, given that you have not presented a reasoned argument, but merely an unsupported assertion.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Perhaps it would help matters if we tried not to see "spiritual" and "physical" as opposite and exclusive? If I'm remembering Paul right (and these days I hardly ever do), isn't the opposite of "spirit" "flesh"? - which is, or at least may be, a different thing entirely?

The relationship between "physical" and "flesh" is a whole other topic. If you're not careful, you end up thinking that there are no sins of the intellect. But that's another topic.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, no, just, if he is flesh, and not imaginary, where is he?

To add to what LC just said, and to repeat myself:

Jesus' resurrection body is, according the gospel accounts, clearly different to standard-issue non-last-day-resurrected human bodies. That doesn't mean it does not have materiality, but it does open up the possibility of it being physically present somewhere in ways we can't conceive of.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Thought so.

[ETA: this is in answer to the question of where Christ's body is now]

Okay, that question has a lot of answers to it. I'll take a shot (and everyone else will too, I know)...

a) At the right hand of the Father.
b) No, we don't know precisely what that means in terms of his physical body. Because duh, the Father is spirit, and has no physical right hand, and the statement is a metaphor.
c) Nevertheless, that body IS somewhere (the disciples saw it going away at the Ascension, right?) but
d) given that we don't know very much about either space/time OR the nature and properties of the human resurrection body, any answer we venture on the subject is likely to be nonsense. Like an answer to the question "how heavy is yellow?"
e) There are a few things we DO know. Which include the fact that Christ promised to be with us (and in us, yeah), so from that we can deduce that his human resurrected body doesn't slow him down.
f) We also know that he isn't given to popping up visibly all over the place since the Ascension, so something's going on there, can't tell you what.
g) Finally, there's the whole Eucharistic bit. If you believe in the Real Presence (yes, I do) and take those words about eating his flesh/drinking his blood seriously, then there's something odd going on here too--
h) .... but in a situation where the data and parameters are so unknown to us, it's really pretty useless to theorize. Someday we'll be told, I hope.

I'm not sure if that is a reply to me, or not, but assuming that it is, I would take all that as imaginary. That is not a criticism, since imaginary or symbolic things are very powerful, and maybe, the most powerful human systems that we have.

The trouble is, that there are an infinite number of imaginary things. For example, I could say that the next bodhisattva that I meet is real, but I am working within a particular symbolic system. Or when the shaman tells me that a power animal will bestow its gifts on me, he might be right, but he is guessing, I think, which is also OK.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I would take all that as imaginary. That is not a criticism, since imaginary or symbolic things are very powerful, and maybe, the most powerful human systems that we have.

As far as I can tell (and this has not been without an inner struggle on my part), Christianity makes no sense at all unless the resurrection is a material, tangible reality, and not just an imaginary or symbolic one.

You can't have the airy-fairy values without the nitty-gritty, squelchy, smelly Incarnation.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
That might be because those in favour tend not to be open to the possibility that they are mistaken. It's an axiom of faith adopted for social or personal reasons, not a conclusion susceptible to reasoned argument. What's to discuss if the purpose of participation is only to reinforce one point of view?

What evidence would make you believe that those in favour are open to the possibility that they are mistaken, and are suspectible to reasoned argument, and believe it anyway?

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I would take all that as imaginary. That is not a criticism, since imaginary or symbolic things are very powerful, and maybe, the most powerful human systems that we have.

As far as I can tell (and this has not been without an inner struggle on my part), Christianity makes no sense at all unless the resurrection is a material, tangible reality, and not just an imaginary or symbolic one.

You can't have the airy-fairy values without the nitty-gritty, squelchy, smelly Incarnation.

Well, that's very interesting. Maybe, here is one of the places, which eventually made me pull back. It sounds like an argument to convince oneself to believe in the material reality of something, that is, the resurrection. But again, where? I can see Christ in you, and you are (presumably) flesh, so that works. Well, I am happy with that.

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I concur with Dave on this. I am working with this week the notion that it probably doesn't matter if this is spiritual or bodily. It certainly changes the focus from "cheating death" and "eternal life" to one of living properly, following Jesus' example.

I wonder what additional implications are?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The relationship between "physical" and "flesh" is a whole other topic. If you're not careful, you end up thinking that there are no sins of the intellect. But that's another topic.

Or that bifurcating "intellect" and "flesh" is just as suspect.

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
The trouble is, that there are an infinite number of imaginary things. For example, I could say that the next bodhisattva that I meet is real, but I am working within a particular symbolic system. Or when the shaman tells me that a power animal will bestow its gifts on me, he might be right, but he is guessing, I think, which is also OK.

Which is as good a reductio ad absurdam as you could wish, if you take that Christianity is true. Can't be imaginary. QED.

quote:
I can see Christ in you,
Why isn't that imaginary too?

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
According to you. Which is all I can say, given that you have not presented a reasoned argument, but merely an unsupported assertion.

According to all reliable sources, I think you'll find. The assertion that God actually resurrected Jesus only has crediblity within a particular religious tradition, and then only among those who value an orthodox set of beliefs.

'Christianity' refers to a much broader strand of history. That includes those of us who have absorbed the stories and the values they represent, but reject the authority of religious institutions to dictate what we ought to believe. In some sense a fairly fundamental difference, but still Christian in contexts where such things matter.

[ 28. May 2014, 15:59: Message edited by: Dave Marshall ]

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The relationship between "physical" and "flesh" is a whole other topic. If you're not careful, you end up thinking that there are no sins of the intellect. But that's another topic.

Or that bifurcating "intellect" and "flesh" is just as suspect.

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
The trouble is, that there are an infinite number of imaginary things. For example, I could say that the next bodhisattva that I meet is real, but I am working within a particular symbolic system. Or when the shaman tells me that a power animal will bestow its gifts on me, he might be right, but he is guessing, I think, which is also OK.

Which is as good a reductio ad absurdam as you could wish, if you take that Christianity is true. Can't be imaginary. QED.

quote:
I can see Christ in you,
Why isn't that imaginary too?

Good point. It is. You see, I'm just as deluded.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
quote:
I can see Christ in you,
Why isn't that imaginary too?
Good point. It is. You see, I'm just as deluded.
Then all Christianity is delusion, on your reading. So for anybody who does not believe it's delusion, your reading is a non-starter.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall
...but reject the authority of religious institutions to dictate what we ought to believe.

Well, I certainly reject the authority and right of religious institutions to dictate what I believe or ought to believe, as I have been at pains to point out recently here on the Ship.

I also believe in the resurrection, not because it has been 'dictated' to me, but because it makes sense.

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, that's very interesting. Maybe, here is one of the places, which eventually made me pull back. It sounds like an argument to convince oneself to believe in the material reality of something, that is, the resurrection.

I'm not sure I've understood you here, but let me have another go at explaining my position.

Christianity only makes sense if God became flesh, in other words, took on our human condition.

As I understand it, there would have been no point in doing this unless God is interested in more than abstract immateriality. The fact that he created a lot of tangible stuff points in this direction, too. The interaction between bodily realities and intellectual ones is all over Christianity (although not without its squabbles and difficulties).

All that is a given in the faith. From that perspective, a bodily (albeit other-bodily) resurrection makes sense.

In some ways it would be a lot simpler to do without the hope of the resurrection, so believing it is not just something I feel the need to talk myself into so there's a sweet by-and-by. It's more that I've come to the inescapable conclusion that that is where the whole thing is headed. God is interested in redeeming materiality, not just instilling a few bright ideas.

You're not the first person I've come across who finds this whole tangible bit a little on the yukky side, though.

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quetzalcoatl
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Eutychus

I don't find it yukky, just very vague.

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Eutychus
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I'm sorry, that was directed at the peanut gallery and rather superfluous to my argument.

Of course it is tangible in that as you say, we're supposed to start working on all that in the here and now.

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
What evidence would make you believe that those in favour are open to the possibility that they are mistaken, and are suspectible to reasoned argument, and believe it anyway?

Well, evidence for susceptability to reasoned argument on a particular topic might be hard to come by, especially if the belief is based not on reliable evidence but being "caught" from others and regularly reinforced through participation in social activities where that belief is the norm.

Based on a number of threads like this, I doubt there is much interest among "the believers" in stepping outside a lifestyle that regularly reinforces that belief. Without that step, my experience is that the social, personal and intellectual attachments of belief-based church make letting go of its central tenet very hard.

But of course I might be wrong in any particular case.

[ 28. May 2014, 17:11: Message edited by: Dave Marshall ]

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall
Without that step, my experience is that the social, personal and intellectual attachments of belief-based church make letting go of its central tenet very hard.

Why would they want to let it go anyway, even if they are severed from these attachments you mention?

Have you ever considered the non-patronising theory that such people may actually be convinced that it is true based on the evidence?

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
I certainly reject the authority and right of religious institutions to dictate what I believe or ought to believe

Yes, most of us at least may if we wish leave the institution. But to retain its blessing or, at least in the C of E, exercise any authority with in it, we must assent to its statements of belief.
quote:
I also believe in the resurrection, not because it has been 'dictated' to me, but because it makes sense.
"Believe in the resurrection" is subtly different to believing God physically resurrected Jesus. And yes, it can "make sense" within the context of a community that assumes it is true. But making sense is only imposing order on our thinking. Within a church setting it can make perfect sense. But if that sense falls apart in other contexts, its value is probably limited.

[cross-posted]

[ 28. May 2014, 17:46: Message edited by: Dave Marshall ]

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Lamb Chopped
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I think you need to define imaginary.

The way I understand it, it means basically "fictional." Something that does not exist in reality outside of one's head.

From your usage, though, I suspect you mean something closer to "symbolic" or "nonphysical" or ... ?

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I think you need to define imaginary.

The way I understand it, it means basically "fictional." Something that does not exist in reality outside of one's head.

From your usage, though, I suspect you mean something closer to "symbolic" or "nonphysical" or ... ?

Again, not sure who this is addressed to, but anyway.

Yes, probably 'imaginary' is a bad word, since you could argue that everything is in a sense. The atheist predilection for physical stuff makes little sense to me, since 'matter' is itself a human construct.

Anyway. Yes, 'symbolic' is better, I think, but then my own argument collapses, as mousethief (sort of) pointed out, since any spiritual or religious position is symbolic. In fact, maybe any human position on anything is symbolic!

But I suppose some religions claim to be non-symbolic?

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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According to the book I referenced in the OP, Christianity functioned just find without the idea of a physical resurrection for several hundred years. Some believed in it, but a whole swath of people in North Africa did not, and they kept their belief about spiritual resurrection of each person going.

So I don't buy the notion just now that "Christianity does not make sense without resurrection" or doesn't make sense if God didn't become flesh etc, it seems that it may make different sense.

[ 28. May 2014, 18:09: Message edited by: no prophet ]

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Eutychus
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Resurrection is not an exclusively Christian belief. But belief in some sort of a tangible resurrection is part and parcel of Christianity, at least historically, for anyone who thinks 1 Corinthians or indeed Acts are part of the canon of Scripture.

[ 28. May 2014, 18:12: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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MrsBeaky
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall: Based on a number of threads like this, I doubt there is much interest among "the believers" in stepping outside a lifestyle that regularly reinforces that belief. Without that step, my experience is that the social, personal and intellectual attachments of belief-based church make letting go of its central tenet very hard.
I think you're probably right but I can't quite get hold of why anyone for whom the story (and I use that word in all its fullness)of the Resurrection has meaning and truth would want to let go of this central tenet... Surely they'd want to keep their faith alive and well? Whether or not they want to be a member of a church is another story.
On a personal note, I love reciting the creed: saying those words gives me a "hook to hang my hat on"and I draw strength from doing that on a regular basis, so no I don't want to "step outside a lifestyle that regularly reinforces that belief" but I am up for regularly rethinking my theology and praxis in many areas. But as you say the Resurrection is central and I don't want to move from here. This is my personal line in the sand.

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quetzalcoatl
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I know quite a few people for whom the resurrection is symbolic, meaning, I suppose new life, after something dying.

Of course, if you take that view, then you needn't be a Christian at all, since the idea of death/life is very common in religions and spiritual paths.

As Rumi famously says, 'the wound is the place where the Light enters you', (also Leonard Cohen, I think, 'there's a crack in everything, that's where the light gets in').

[ 28. May 2014, 18:40: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
What evidence would make you believe that those in favour are open to the possibility that they are mistaken, and are suspectible to reasoned argument, and believe it anyway?

Well, evidence for susceptability to reasoned argument on a particular topic might be hard to come by, especially if the belief is based not on reliable evidence but being "caught" from others and regularly reinforced through participation in social activities where that belief is the norm.

Based on a number of threads like this, I doubt there is much interest among "the believers" in stepping outside a lifestyle that regularly reinforces that belief. Without that step, my experience is that the social, personal and intellectual attachments of belief-based church make letting go of its central tenet very hard.

So, let me see if I understand:
you presuppose that the belief is not based on reliable evidence;
you have an intellectual and personal attachment to the idea that people who disagree with you do so not on the basis of reliable evidence;
you reinforce that presupposition by openly expressing the claim that the people who disagree with you 'tend not to be open to the possibility that they might be wrong', so ensuring that any discussion gets off an antagonistic footing;
and therefore the answer to my question is:
no evidence would make you believe that people who disagree with you are open to evidence.

Is that the gist of it?

[ 28. May 2014, 18:53: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Questions arising for me:

1. Did/does the physical resurrection prove Jesus' divinity?

2. Sometimes Jesus acts like a physical entity in the gospel narratives and other times not. What does this mean about physical resurrection?

3. Do we have the same patterns of thought about life, death, resurrection and visions etc - do we have the same frame of reference as is written about in the narratives in the NT? How can we know we think the same or in different ways as people then?

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
As she discusses this, she also discusses the alternative and other revelation books that were omitted from the New Testament, and illustrates how, again for reasons not about fact and truth, but political and power, they were excluded.

The problem is that the reasons of political power she cites tell against her thesis. Christians who believed in the physical resurrection refused to worship the political cult, or at least admired those who did, and got themselves killed doing so, since such refusal was seen as a political act. Christians who did not, according to Pagels' own account, did not challenge imperial power in that or any other way. (She also concedes that it was the party that eventually established orthodoxy that was more interesting in feeding the poor.) Yet Pagels wants to argue that therefore the gnostics were the ones who were really challenging imperial power. Well, maybe. But the prima facie evidence is on her own account against her.

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Why would they want to let it go anyway, even if they are severed from these attachments you mention?

I would have thought if they found there was no longer a good enough reason to believe it. It doesn't seem unreasonable to think our beliefs may be influenced by the people we spend time with and trust.
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daronmedway
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
We might do better to think of the Crucifixion/Resurrection as a single event. Sort of like the dive into a swimming pool and the coming up afterward.

Indeed. In fact isn't that pretty much what Romans 6 says (for those of us that believe "baptism" means "immersion" )? [Two face]
Doesn't matter either way 'cos Romans 6 isn't about water baptism.
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Gamaliel
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So, you're telling us that Romans 6:3-4 isn't a reference to water baptism, Daronmedway but to some other baptism - baptism in the Holy Spirit perhaps?

How do you work that one out?

It sounds suspiciously like a charismatic piece of eisegesis to me, but I'm willing to stand corrected ...

Whether you can prove this by either scripture or tradition (or both) I rather doubt - but we'll see ...

Meanwhile @Dave Marshall, of course people absorb beliefs from people they know and trust. That happens with all of us, irrespective of whether we have religious faith and convictions or not ...

I'd posit that this was how EE came to believe in the resurrection too ... yes, it might well 'make sense' but EE and all the rest of us could only come to that conclusion as it had already made sense to other people in the past - the Church (whether understood in Catholic or Protestant terms or both) and they'd passed the belief down to us to the present day.

That's not the same as allowing a religious institution to 'dictate' what we belief - it's more organic than that - but neither is it to diss or dismiss the human agencies involved in handing the Gospel down to us.

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StevHep
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It might be worth recalling that all the official creeds of the Church affirm the bodily resurrection of Jesus and that of all people in the final judgement. This belief, indeed formed the core of much of the ridicule that pagans poured upon Christianity as we see from the account of St Paul in the Areopagus. Also there was a certain to and fro Between Celsus and Origen on the subject. Celsus (Chapter 36) is quoted thus
quote:
Let them hearken to us, if such a spiritless and carnal race are able to do so: if, instead of exercising the senses, you look upwards with the soul; if, turning away the eye of the body, you open the eye of the mind, thus and thus only will you be able to see God. And if you seek one to be your guide along this way, you must shun all deceivers and jugglers, who will introduce you to phantoms. Otherwise you will be acting the most ridiculous part, if, while you pronounce imprecations upon those others that are recognised as gods, treating them as idols, you yet do homage to a more wretched idol than any of these, which indeed is not even an idol or a phantom, but a dead man, and you seek a father like to him.
Which is really just the same spirit good flesh bad viewpoint common to Gnostics and theological liberals.

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
you presuppose that the belief is not based on reliable evidence;

Yes. On the basis that there can be no reliable evidence that God physically resurrected Jesus, because it's a claim about an event documented only in stories handed down by those making the claim.
quote:
you have an intellectual and personal attachment to the idea that people who disagree with you do so not on the basis of reliable evidence;
No, I haven't said or implied that. I've only commented on a single belief under discussion.
quote:
you reinforce that presupposition by openly expressing the claim that the people who disagree with you 'tend not to be open to the possibility that they might be wrong'
Now you're on a roll, making stuff up.
quote:
ensuring that any discussion gets off an antagonistic footing;
I may have been a little unrestful...
quote:
therefore the answer to my question is:
no evidence would make you believe that people who disagree with you are open to evidence.

Is that the gist of it?

Not quite. Your question was about the case of belief that God physically resurrected Jesus. In that particular instance, for most practical purposes you would have the gist of my position. But then, it's hardly one that needs defending in almost any other context.

[ 28. May 2014, 20:01: Message edited by: Dave Marshall ]

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Gwai
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A couple people here are either imputing bad motives to other shipmates or are very close to it. Don't.

Gwai,
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
According to the book I referenced in the OP, Christianity functioned just find without the idea of a physical resurrection for several hundred years. Some believed in it, but a whole swath of people in North Africa did not, and they kept their belief about spiritual resurrection of each person going.

Yes but the book you mentioned in the OP is by Pagels, who I'm sure by "Christianity" meant to include what is now called gnosticism. But gnosticism isn't Christianity, pace Pagels. So what her book says or doesn't say isn't really germane to what REALLY was taking place in CHRISTIANITY. Which had from its earliest days a witness to the resurrection, and from its almost-earliest days four gospels which all are pretty unambiguous about it.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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I think it was MT. If we have Christianity pre-Nicea and previous to the acceptance of what are the canonical books of the NT. Maybe this should be called embryonic-Christianity or Christianity-in-formation or something? Not sure.

I understand that with the smorgasbord of ideas available these days of internet, that conjecture is rather possible. But because Pagel's can cite from the 66 of so books which have both antiquity and known provinence, it does persuade that there were people holding ideas about Jesus and the resurrection outside of accepted creedal forumula we accept today.

None of this is about the rightness or wrongness of these alternate beliefs. It is about the possible differences in a Christianity which doesn't accept physical resurrection but considers it spiritual alone. It is circular reasoning to suggest that because the canonical gospels support physical resurrection that it is therefore what was held at the start, because if the books were selected by those who had the belief they selected the ones which supported the belief and omitted the others. There is info to suggest that the disparate books were actively suppressed as well.

All of this leads me continually to the query: what if it was not physical and was spiritual. Does this actually change things? In some ways, I wonder if it would have to, because presumably while resurrection in bodily form was something Jesus got, I had not expected that this would something for you or me, but we would get the spiritual variety.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
Did/does the physical resurrection prove Jesus' divinity?

Not on its own, no, but it attests to it. All the more so in that the gospels tell us Jesus foretold his resurrection. I often say that his resurrection demonstrates his victory over evil and death.

quote:
Sometimes Jesus acts like a physical entity in the gospel narratives and other times not. What does this mean about physical resurrection?

Assuming that you are talking about after Jesus' resurrection, it means that his resurrection body was similar yet different to a usual one. One of the oddest things is the way people keep failing to recognise him. At the end of Mark's gospel it says he appeared to some "in another form" (what, as an armchair or a toaster or something?).

But as has been pointed out already, Jesus' resurrection body is in a class of its own. Unlike Lazarus et al, it's not a ressuscitation of a body from this age. Unlike what is promised for believers, it appears before the eschaton and thus not reserved for the age to come.

quote:
Do we have the same patterns of thought about life, death, resurrection and visions etc - do we have the same frame of reference as is written about in the narratives in the NT? How can we know we think the same or in different ways as people then?
In, say, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul's understanding of cosmology and natural science is quite clearly different to our contemporary understanding. But the thrust of his argument in the same chapter about the bodily resurrection of the dead and why it matters is easy to follow nonetheless, whether or not you buy into it.

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Anglican_Brat
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Can Christians not believe in Jesus's resurrection?

Well, what is the purpose of the question?

Certainly, in terms of self-ascribed identity, Christians can believe in any number of things. There is nothing stopping me from saying that I am a Christian and believe that pink unicorns orbit Mars. So, yes, there is nothing stopping a Christian from saying that he or she doesn't believe in Christ's physical resurrection.

A better question might be, recognizing that Christians may disbelieve in the Resurrection, should one who disbelieves in the doctrine be given an authoritative role in the faith community? Can one who disbelieves in the Resurrection serve as a preacher of the faith?

I would say, "No" because preachers and ministers are called to represent not themselves, but the faith community. The institutional Church as a corporate entity has decreed that the Resurrection is a key tenet of the faith. As such, a corporate community has every right to call leaders that reflect that belief.

Christians who disbelieve in the Resurrection of course, in our pluralistic culture, are entitled to create their own communities and their own churches. But I who believe in the Resurrection, would have little interest in joining such a church.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Does apply to Spong the American former bishop? I think he came to disbelieve pretty much all of it.

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by MrsBeaky:
I can't quite get hold of why anyone for whom the story (and I use that word in all its fullness) of the Resurrection has meaning and truth would want to let go of this central tenet... Surely they'd want to keep their faith alive and well?

Probably. But there's two questions here. Did the physical resurrection actually happen? And is believing that it did essential for a faith to be reasonably described as Christian?

My answers are no and no. The first I explained in a previous post. The second is more interesting. If a positive attachment to the stories of Jesus are the foundation of Christianity, I don't think it makes any sense to insist on belief in one particular interpretation as historical fact. Unless of course you want to use Christianity for building a political empire or managing a religious institution.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall
Did the physical resurrection actually happen? And is believing that it did essential for a faith to be reasonably described as Christian?

My answers are no and no. The first I explained in a previous post.

I looked for this "previous post" of yours in which you explained why you believe that the physical resurrection of Jesus didn't happen, but, alas, I couldn't see it.

Could you direct me to it? I would like to assess your reasoning.

Thanks.

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Could you direct me to it?

Certainly.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
None of this is about the rightness or wrongness of these alternate beliefs.

It most certainly is. It can't NOT be about the rightness or wrongness of the alternate beliefs, as you go on to demonstrate.

quote:
It is circular reasoning to suggest that because the canonical gospels support physical resurrection that it is therefore what was held at the start, because if the books were selected by those who had the belief they selected the ones which supported the belief and omitted the others. There is info to suggest that the disparate books were actively suppressed as well.
Your assertion does not follow from your "because." Anyway the canonical gospels are far, far older than the gnostic gospels, and it's their age, and the witness of the Apostolic Fathers, that date the belief in the resurrection early. So you are misrepresenting my argument.

The fact the gnostic gospels were actively suppressed supports your argument how? It is part and parcel of the early church seeing that they were not in keeping with the apostolic teaching, and were causing harm to the Church.

quote:
All of this leads me continually to the query: what if it was not physical and was spiritual. Does this actually change things?
Yes, it does. It means Christianity is not true.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
Does apply to Spong the American former bishop? I think he came to disbelieve pretty much all of it.

And he was cynically dishonest to continue to draw a paycheck from a church that officially does believe it, and it was craven of TEC not to fire him.

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The canonical gospels are not older. Some are. But some gnostic books are about the same age, and at least the Gospel of Thomas is older.

I don't understand why your Christianity hinges on Jesus' physical rising. Christianity would simply exist differently than it does if our notions about various aspects were different. This is interesting. This is a discussion of what might be and the possibilities.

[ 29. May 2014, 02:40: Message edited by: no prophet ]

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
The canonical gospels are not older. Some are. But some gnostic books are about the same age, and at least the Gospel of Thomas is older.
Some material in the Gospel of Thomas may date to the 1st century. The Gospel of Thomas itself as a complete work shows evidence of Gnostic influence which emerged in the second century.

Some Gnostic groups rejected the bodily Resurrection because they rejected the material world completely. Heck, there is one Gnostic passion account which sees the spirit of Jesus leaving the body, laughing because the body is worthless.

The bodily Resurrection IMHO is the logical result of the Bodily Incarnation. God who took on human flesh at Christmas, raised human flesh at Easter, in the person of Jesus Christ.

[ 29. May 2014, 03:25: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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Tea
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This 2002 article claimed that one third of Church of England clergy doubted or disbelieved in the physical resurrection.

Would a survey of Anglican clergy today yield very different results?

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MrsBeaky
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
Originally posted by MrsBeaky:
I can't quite get hold of why anyone for whom the story (and I use that word in all its fullness) of the Resurrection has meaning and truth would want to let go of this central tenet... Surely they'd want to keep their faith alive and well?

Probably. But there's two questions here. Did the physical resurrection actually happen? And is believing that it did essential for a faith to be reasonably described as Christian?
My answers are no and no. The first I explained in a previous post. The second is more interesting. If a positive attachment to the stories of Jesus are the foundation of Christianity, I don't think it makes any sense to insist on belief in one particular interpretation as historical fact. Unless of course you want to use Christianity for building a political empire or managing a religious institution.

As I said in my other post, for me belief that something remarkable happened at that first Easter is central to my faith and has been central to the faith of the majority of Christians ever since.That something remarkable was described in the creeds as "on the third day he rose again" and the stories were written in the Gospels. And no, we cannot prove any of it forensically and I have friends who cannot accept it as fact but who would still call themselves Christians.
I have always felt it was right to accept people's own descriptions of themselves so if someone calls him/herself a Christian but cannot accept the idea of a physical resurrection then so be it.That is their business and is their faith and I'll willingly listen to them and hope they will do the same with me.
I have never forgotten something said by the former Dean of Chichester Cathedral in a sermon where he exhorted us to have grace with one another in matters of theological positions and he said:
"The question is not so much, do you believe in a physical resurrection but rather, have you encountered the Risen Christ?"
I come back to this again and again when going through the pain barrier if re-examining my faith.

As to your final point, it's difficult isn't it to avoid empire-building? And yet as soon as human beings gather together, a corporate identity evolves and any organisation then comes up with statements around which they gather...yes it would be wonderful if the church would eschew control and empire building but it would also be wonderful if we could all recognise how difficult it is not to become like this and to try to help the church avoid such pitfalls.

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StevHep
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
if a positive attachment to the stories of Jesus are the foundation of Christianity

'If' is the biggest word you use here. There is no reason to suppose that this is so. The foundation of Christianity for each Christian is a relationship with Jesus. We become attached to the stories because of the relationship we do not form the relationship because of the stories. Faith flows from our response to the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Why is this important? Because the relationship we have is with the crucified, risen and ascended Jesus not some nebulous ethereal spirit of Jesus. Our physical sufferings and physical death have been shared by God that we may share in His eternal life in the whole of what we as humans are, spirit soul and body, in the physical resurrection of which He is the first fruits.

[ 29. May 2014, 06:39: Message edited by: StevHep ]

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