For Jimmy

I’ve gotten entangled in a discussion in the comments on another thread. It has drifted far off-topic, so I’m giving it its own thread.

jimmy wrote:

Well, to honestly think about it, If I was given legaly tested, historicaly alive today witnessed the American revolution, so how do you know it happened?accurate, evidence, and if thousands of eyewitnesses attested to it, and if I had experienced it myself, I would be a fool not to believe in the reality of it.

Okay, fair enough. But as discussed above, Greenleaf was assuming his conclusion, and seemed to think that nth-hand hearsay constituted acceptable witness testimony.

As for historical accuracy, while no doubt there are many real place names and historical figures and events (or some distorted version thereof), there are equally many events recounted there that never happened. Herod’s slaughter of the children of Bethlehem, for instance, the worldwide flood, the sun and moon standing still for Joshua, and the Hebrews’ enslavement in Egypt.

Thirdly, why do you say there were thousands of eyewitnesses to the events of the Bible? Because the Bible says so? That’s circular reasoning.

Personal experience is probably most convincing, but only to you. Do you have any evidence that whatever happened to you wasn’t just in your head? If you met someone who claimed to have met Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, and that they regaled him with stories of life at Hogwarts, would you believe him, even if he seemed sincere?

You know, come to think of it, the bible had something to say about you. Yes, it was written specifically for you! it says, “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God…”

First threats, now insults? Remember, “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22).

I respectfully ask you to take a look at nature around you and describe to me how all of the universe could have just “happened”. If you can accurately explain this one fact to me, I will be satisfied.

And if I can’t? What then?

Let’s cut to the chase: I don’t know how life started, or how the universe started. No one does. But if you take a question like “how did X occur?” and answer, “I don’t know, so God must’ve done it”, you’re not explaining anything; you’re just giving your ignorance a name.

And if (or when, hopefully) scientists figure out the answers to these questions, then what will you do? Find another gap in our knowledge to squeeze your god into? A few centuries ago, you might’ve asked how it is that the planets move in their courses, or why lightning strikes, or where comets come from, or how an acorn can grow into an oak. You don’t ask these questions today because we have perfectly good naturalistic explanations. What will you do in twenty or thirty or fifty years, when many of the current gaps in our understanding have been plugged? Ask why, if there’s no god, gravitational mass is the same as inertial mass? Sorry, but god of the gaps is a losing strategy.

Maybe right now you have snowed yourself into believing that you enjoy atheism

Please stop telling me what I believe or how I feel. You don’t know, and you’re just being condescending.

but remember the words of karl marx, “How purposeless and empty life is, but how desired!”

Argumentum ad hominem. You’re saying, in effect, “Karl Marx said this, and Marx was a Bad Person, therefore he’s wrong in what he said.”

I would ask you to step back for a moment and show me one contradiction or atrocity in the bible.

Where to begin? I’ve always liked the multiple deaths of Judas: Matt. 27:5 (hanging) vs. falling down and bursting (Acts 1:18). The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are different (and have significantly different numbers of generations). And, of course, there’s Dan Barker’s Leave No Stone Unturned: An Easter Challenge for Christians, which simply asks for a consistent account of the events of the resurrection that includes all of the details in the Bible. There are many others.

Yes, I’ve seen attempts at reconciling these contradictions, but they generally involve pretzel logic, very careful parsing, and/or adding things to the text that just aren’t there (“If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book”, Rev. 22:18).

As for atrocities, how about when Lot offers to let the mob rape his daughters (Gen. 19:8)? In 2 Kings 19:35, an angel kills 145000 people. In Judges 11, Jephthah sacrifices his daughter (and Yahweh accepts the sacrifice). And let’s not forget the time when God himself is said to have committed the single worst act of mass murder in history, killing everyone on earth (Gen. 7:21-23). Before you object that that’s the Old Testament, remember that the New Testament introduced the idea of Hell and of infinite punishment for finite crimes, which is monstrous.

I have studied evolution from the perspective of the oppostion

As far as I can tell, your studies have been limited to young-earth creationists like Kent Hovind and Answers in Genesis. In the spirit of “know your enemy”, it would be a good idea to find out what the proponents of evolution have to say. The Berkeley site I mentioned earlier is a good introduction aimed at the lay reader.

Take, for instance, this exerpt from “the lie”

It looks as if that paragraph comes from The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. In the future, could you please cite sources? I don’t mind looking stuff up, but can you please not make it harder than it needs to be?

[From AiG:] It is an easy task to understand that no scientist was present over the suggested millions of years to witness the supposed evolutionary progression of life form the simple to the complex.

[snip more in the same vein]

This is just the “Were you there?” argument, and it doesn’t hold water. Do you deny that the Tunguska event happened because no one was around to see it? Pluto is said by astronomers to orbit the sun every 248 years. Do you deny this because it was only discovered about 70 years ago, so no one has ever seen it complete a revolution?

Scientists learn about the past by trying to come up with an explanation for something, asking what we should see if the explanation is correct, and what we should see if it isn’t, and then checking to see which way things are. If you’ve ever seen a cop show where a detective says something like “The murderer must’ve returned to the quarry to bury the murder weapon. Let’s go look for footprints!”, it’s the same principle.

Well, first, you don’t believe in God, so I don’t know how you think Jesus is God, but anyway, they are both members of the trinity.

Right. As I understand it, the idea is that God sacrificed his only son Jesus so that all humans everywhere could be forgiven their sins and be spared from having to go to Hell.

But according to the doctrine of the Trinity, God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three aspects of the same person. So the story of the crucifixion is that God (temporarily) sacrificed himself to himself in order to create a loophole by which he could get around his own rule and avoid sending people to the place of punishment that he created (or subcontracted).

This makes no sense. If he wants to forgive people, why not just forgive them? If this requires changing the rules, why not just change the rules? He’s done it before: it used to be against divine law to work on Saturday, eat pork, or wear gold jewelry, but now it’s okay. So why the contortions?

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114 Responses to For Jimmy

  1. arensb says:

    Administrivia

    As I write this, there are 100 comments on this post, and things are starting to get unwieldy. I don’t want to turn into another John A. Davison, so is it worth starting another thread for the next round of comments?

    Like

  2. Troublesome Frog says:

    arensb,

    You make a good point. I typically just lurk when these kinds of discussions come up, but Jimmy has invested quite a lot of time coming back and dealing with the topics at hand. That’s a rare and refreshing thing. Kind of addictive, really. Maybe a topic with narrower scope? Hydrodynamic sorting / geological colum, pheraps?

    As a side note, is Davison really a college professor? Really? I finally bothered to do some googling around after seeing him show up on Good Math Bad Math. I always just thought he was a typical nut like Charlie Wagner or Ed Conrad. I had some interesting instructors in school, but none of them seemed quite so… unhinged. I seriously doubt that any of them–for all of their eccentricities–would have spent hours upon hours trolling blogs. Wow.

    Like

  3. jimmy says:

    well, if nothing else, your welcome to bring it to my blog.

    Like

  4. Fez says:

    Soooo….we done here?

    Like

  5. jimmy says:

    Whatever you guys want. doesn’t matter to me. If you don’t want to continue cluttering your blog, I’ll create another one or we can do it at the one I gave a link to.

    Like

  6. arensb says:

    Actually, you didn’t give a link to it. You need to use <a href=”http://foo.com/bar.html”>link text</a>.

    Like

  7. arensb says:

    Also, I have no problem continuing here. I was just wondering whether this thread was in danger of getting too cluttered for most readers.

    Like

  8. jimmy says:

    Ah, I see. Yeah, I’m all for continuing it here, I’m just VERY busy right now since it’s coming up on the Hovind sentencing.

    Like

  9. spider says:

    To arensb

    Now lets just say you are right and evolution is right.
    assuming that, what happens when you die???
    you (or anybody) die and are buried and become dust thats it

    Now lets just say jimmy,God,the Bible, and creation is right.
    now what happens when you die???
    you (or anybody) will die and go to hell
    unless you believe in God and what Jesus did for you on the cross
    is this worth the risk???

    Now i guess your answer will be something
    like “what about all the other religions that
    say you will go to hell if you don’t do what
    they want”

    I challenge you to read through the Bible
    and you will see that there are no contradictions
    The Bible was written by a lot of different people
    in different parts of history and still there are
    no contradictions!!!

    The other religions are full of contradictions and lies
    One only has to read their “holy book” or whetever
    they call it to find that out

    Also read R. A. Torrey’s essay
    Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible
    Is the Word of God

    I hope and pray that after you read all this you will
    believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and by saved

    Like

  10. arensb says:

    spider:

    Now lets just say you are right and evolution is right.
    assuming that, what happens when you die???

    Right off the bat, you’re confusing evolution and metaphysical naturalism. Go learn the difference before you come bothering the grown-ups.

    Now lets just say jimmy,God,the Bible, and creation is right.
    now what happens when you die???
    you (or anybody) will die and go to hell
    unless you believe in God and what Jesus did for you on the cross
    is this worth the risk???

    Go read up on Pascal’s Wager and what’s wrong with it.

    I challenge you to read through the Bible
    and you will see that there are no contradictions

    Then maybe you’d be interested in taking Dan Barker’s Easter challenge. It’s quite simple, really: just tell us what happened on Easter, without omitting any detail in the Bible.

    I hope and pray that after you read all this you will
    believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and by saved

    There are Christians I admire, but it’s asshats like you who make me want to stay away.

    Like

  11. spider says:

    to arensb
    “Right off the bat, you’re confusing evolution and metaphysical naturalism.”

    You are saying that evolution is fact and metaphysical naturalism is a religion or belief
    that is not correct. Evolution is a theory. A theory is something that has not been
    proven right. So therefor a belief or a religion.

    I will take “Dan Barker’s Easter challenge”
    and answer on the Pascal’s Wager question
    I have been busy lately with work and school etc
    and will answer them as soon as I can

    Like

  12. arensb says:

    spider:
    The correct answers were:
    a) Evolution is both a fact and a theory
    b) In science, “theory” does not mean “hunch” or “guess”. It means “well-supported explanation”.
    Thank you for playing.

    Like

  13. jimmy says:

    arensb, I finally found a little extra time, so I am concerned by the stance taken by you about the resurrection, and have compiled a short refutation for it, which will, I trust, show you the error of the document in question.
    “Many bible stories are given only once or twice, and are therefore hard to confirm. The author of Matthew, for example, was the only one to mention that at the crucifixion dead people emerged from the graves of Jerusalem, walking around showing themselves to everyone–an amazing event that could hardly escape the notice of the other Gospel writers, or any other historians of the period. But though the silence of others might weaken the likelihood of a story, it does not disprove it. Disconfirmation comes with contradictions.”
    “One of the first problems I found is in Matthew 28:2, after two women arrived at the tomb: “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (Let’s ignore the fact that no other writer mentioned this “great earthquake.”) This story says that the stone was rolled away after the women arrived, in their presence.
    Yet Mark’s Gospel says it happened before the women arrived: “And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.”
    I’m afraid that the claim here is sadly contorted. The interested scholar will note that in Mark’s account, the women showed up at the tomb and the stone was still there (And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?) After this, the stone is not there (And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.). The claim that these two accounts contradict one another is obviously fictional, because in both instances the stone is present, and later is removed, the only difference being the amount of detail into which each writer went. Luke’s gospel simply states, “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.” The concept that the women, although they were present when the angel came and rolled the stone away, still “found the stone rolled away”, is not hard to grasp. The simple fact is that no contradiction exists.
    At this time I am sure that you will notice that these four accounts come from four distinct authors, each from a totally different walk of life. These four men admittedly delve into different amounts of detail, the substance of which remains entirely plausible and credible; Dr. Simon Greenleaf, an authority on evidence, supporting this in his great work testimony of the evangelists.
    Also, consider the following work;
    Evidence for the Resurrection
    by Josh McDowell
    For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.
    A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”
    “For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
    How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?

    A QUESTION OF HISTORY
    After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.
    Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.
    From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.

    LIVING WITNESSES
    The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.
    The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.
    F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”

    IS THE NEW TESTAMENT RELIABLE?
    Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.
    By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.
    Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist, said: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”
    Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of “authentic evidence” concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. ”

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

    BACKGROUND
    The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.
    A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.
    But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:
    FACT #1: BROKEN ROMAN SEAL
    As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus’ disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.
    FACT #2: EMPTY TOMB
    As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was “too notorious to be denied.” Paul Althaus states that the resurrection “could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.”
    Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the “Toledoth Jeshu.” Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine.”
    Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God’s doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ’s body.
    Paul Maier observes that ” . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”

    FACT #3: LARGE STONE MOVED
    On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

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

    Clark Pinnock
    Mcmaster University

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

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

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

    FACT #6: JESUS’ APPEARANCES CONFIRMED
    Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.

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

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

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

    F. F. Bruce
    Manchester University

    The argument that Christ’s appearances were only to followers is an argument for the most part from silence, and arguments from silence can be dangerous. It is equally possible that all to whom Jesus appeared became followers. No one acquainted with the facts can accurately say that Jesus appeared to just “an insignificant few.”
    Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.
    The theories advanced to explain the resurrection by “natural causes” are weak; they actually help to build confidence in the truth of the resurrection.

    THE WRONG TOMB?
    A theory propounded by Kirsopp Lake assumes that the women who reported that the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. If so, then the disciples who went to check up on the women’s statement must have also gone to the wrong tomb. We may be certain, however, that Jewish authorities, who asked for a Roman guard to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards, for they were there!
    If the resurrection-claim was merely because of a geographical mistake, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb, thus effectively quenching for all time any rumor resurrection.

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

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

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

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

    THE BODY STOLEN?
    Then consider the theory that the body was stolen by the disciples while the guards slept. The depression and cowardice of the disciples provide a hard-hitting argument against their suddenly becoming so brave and daring as to face a detachment of soldiers at the tomb and steal the body. They were in no mood to attempt anything like that.
    The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ’s body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn’t they explain: “Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn’t rise from the grave”?
    And if such a rebuttal failed, why didn’t they explain exactly where Jesus’ body lay? If this failed, why didn’t they recover the corpse, put it on a cart, and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity–not in the cradle, but in the womb!

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

    REAL PROOF: THE DISCIPLES’ LIVES
    But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?
    Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts–prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits–we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this “risen Christ .”
    As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.
    Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.

    WHERE DO YOU STAND?
    How do you evaluate this overwhelming historical evidence? What is your decision about the fact of Christ’s empty tomb? What do you think of Christ?
    When I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence for Christ’s resurrection, I had to ask the logical question: “What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!’ The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted–Thomas. Jesus told him: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
    On the basis of all the evidence for Christ’s resurrection, and considering the fact that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with God, who would be so foolhardy as to reject Him? Christ is alive! He is living today.
    You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now.
    The prayer I prayed is: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You.”

    Mt 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
    2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
    3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
    4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
    5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

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  14. arensb says:

    jimmy:

    arensb, I finally found a little extra time, so I am concerned by the stance taken by you about the resurrection, and have compiled a short refutation for it, which will, I trust, show you the error of the document in question.

    Which document is this? It looks as though you mean Leave No Stone Unturned, Dan Barker’s Easter challenge, but since you’ve been gone for almost two weeks and had never expressed any interest in it, I had to do some digging to figure out what you were talking about. In the future, if you could cite your sources, it would be helpful.

    The simple fact is that no contradiction exists.

    Okay, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to produce a timeline that shows when everything happened, and in what order, which is all you need to do to meet Barker’s challenge. It doesn’t even need to be the true timeline, just one that’s consistent with everything in the Bible.

    Also, consider the following work;

    Evidence for the Resurrection

    by Josh McDowell
    […]

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

    First of all, the empty tomb need only be explained after it is determined that there was an empty tomb. I mean, you could come up with an explanation of why Superman doesn’t have a birth certificate, but it’s kind of pointless unless you demonstrate that Superman exists.

    Secondly, it looks as though you just copied and pasted this page in its entirety. If you were going to do that, why didn’t you save yourself the trouble and just give the URL?

    Actually, I take that back: both you and he have quotations interspersed in the text, but he has some additional typos that you don’t have. So I suspect that both you and he copied the same document.

    (Aside: amusingly enough, comparisons like the one I just made above are used both in evolutionary biology, and in historical analysis of texts like the Bible.)

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

    Wait a moment. Back up a step. These facts have not been established. Yes, it says in the Bible that this stuff happened, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

    It’s certainly plausible that there was a Rabbi Yeshua ben Yossef living in Judea around 20-30 AD, that he was arrested and executed by the Romans. Heck, there may even have been some intriguing story about what happened to his body afterward.

    It seems that McDowell starts by assuming that the Gospels as we know them today give accurate accounts of real events, and from that concludes that those events really occurred. That’s called assuming one’s conclusion.

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

    Which papyri are these, then?

    Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the “Toledoth Jeshu.”

    I assume you know tha Josephus’s Testimonium Flavianum is strongly suspected of being a later addition to the text, right?

    As for the Toledoth Jeshu, if it’s from the fifth century, that gives plenty of time for Christianity and its associated stories to become widespread, whether true or not. To give a modern example, there was an episode of South Park that made fun of Scientology. The existence of this show doesn’t mean that the authors believe that Xenu actually exists, just that Scientology’s myths are well enough known that they can make fun of it and be understood by a wide audience.

    [And so it continues, assuming the conclusion over and over. Snippety-snip.]

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

    How exactly does one trust someone who doesn’t exist? Could you please trust the Flying Spaghetti Monster for a few minutes and show me how it’s done?

    2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

    Given the ancient world’s (and the modern world’s, come to think of it) attitude toward earthquakes, I’m sure the locals, including both Judeans and Romans, took note of it. Are there any extrabiblical documents that mention this earthquake?

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