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Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#101 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 9th, 2012, 6:02 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

animist wrote:we seem to be going round in circles somewhat. For me it does not matter whether some Jesus of some description existed in a place called Nazareth: I rather think that he did, since I cannot see that anyone (quite a few people in fact) would wish to spend time on fabricating stories about people and places that never existed.
I can, in this instance, because there was a bunch of stories in circulation prophesying the existence of the Messiah, and lots of people believed them. Wishful thinking can work wonders.
animist wrote:Now, fabricating stories about people and places that did exist a generation earlier: that is much more understandable. But I would rather call these stories myths than lies
I'd call them legends, I think, whether they were about real people or not.
animist wrote:I think of the Jesus myth as a very strange twist of fate, a bit like the King Arthur myth of a few centuries later, when no doubt a real Romano-British war leader became the object of veneration as "The Once and Future King".
Actually, I think there is quite a bit of doubt about that. I get the impression that most historians consider King Arthur to be a composite of several legendary individuals. And it seems reasonable to think that the same might be true of Jesus. It's possible that the legend really is based on the life and death of just one man, but it seems more likely to me that it was constructed by a messianic sect, to fit with scriptural prophecy. The words and deeds attributed to Jesus could have included some of the words and deeds of any number of Jewish rabble-rousers and would-be prophets of the time. Or not. I don't know, and I'm happy not knowing. What annoys me [---][/---] and clearly it annoys Alan C. too [---][/---] is the widespread assumption that all reasonable people agree that the Biblical Jesus did exist. And that if you don't agree, you must be some kind of extremist nutter. It's infuriating!

Emma

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Alan C.
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#102 Post by Alan C. » July 9th, 2012, 6:40 pm

What kind of evidence would satisfy you?
Compo, this really is my last word on this subject.

Historical evidence! I am getting sick of having to point out, nothing was written down about him during his supposed existence, by anybody! The Romans were fastidious record keepers but made no mention of him.
You have to remember that there was no birth certificate or death certificate or marriage certificate officially produced during the birth, life, death and the alleged resurrection of Jesus. Also, there were no passports or driving licences or fingerprints databases or national insurance numbers or tax records or any audio/video or photographic records.
All those things apply to lots of historic figures but we know they existed because of other historical evidence, there is none for Jesus.
I hope that's plain enough.

PS.
Just had a look at your link.

Did Jesus really exist? Is there any historical evidence of Jesus Christ?
Typically, when historical evidence of Jesus’ existence is sought, what is meant is evidence “outside of the Bible.” But the Bible is a reliable historical source of evidence for the existence of Jesus and nothing in the Bible has ever been discredited by secular historians.
:hilarity:
It's in the bible so it must be true, no Compo that is not evidence :D
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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animist
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#103 Post by animist » July 9th, 2012, 6:58 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
animist wrote:we seem to be going round in circles somewhat. For me it does not matter whether some Jesus of some description existed in a place called Nazareth: I rather think that he did, since I cannot see that anyone (quite a few people in fact) would wish to spend time on fabricating stories about people and places that never existed.
I can, in this instance, because there was a bunch of stories in circulation prophesying the existence of the Messiah, and lots of people believed them. Wishful thinking can work wonders.
animist wrote:Now, fabricating stories about people and places that did exist a generation earlier: that is much more understandable. But I would rather call these stories myths than lies
I'd call them legends, I think, whether they were about real people or not.
animist wrote:I think of the Jesus myth as a very strange twist of fate, a bit like the King Arthur myth of a few centuries later, when no doubt a real Romano-British war leader became the object of veneration as "The Once and Future King".
Actually, I think there is quite a bit of doubt about that. I get the impression that most historians consider King Arthur to be a composite of several legendary individuals. And it seems reasonable to think that the same might be true of Jesus. It's possible that the legend really is based on the life and death of just one man, but it seems more likely to me that it was constructed by a messianic sect, to fit with scriptural prophecy. The words and deeds attributed to Jesus could have included some of the words and deeds of any number of Jewish rabble-rousers and would-be prophets of the time. Or not. I don't know, and I'm happy not knowing. What annoys me [---][/---] and clearly it annoys Alan C. too [---][/---] is the widespread assumption that all reasonable people agree that the Biblical Jesus did exist. And that if you don't agree, you must be some kind of extremist nutter. It's infuriating!

Emma
myths versus legends - much the same, fine. Arthur - yes, maybe, I don't think this contradicts what I said; some of Arthur's alleged victories were in very different parts of Britain, which might make it improbable that he could have won them all. But that does not mean that there was not an "Arthur", that is my point. So with Jesus - the fact that he probably did not do everything, to put it mildly, that he is alleged to have done does not mean that there was not someone, or someones, who did some of them. And I would dispute your point about deliberate fabrication ex nihilo, so to speak, which to me implies some premeditation and indeed coordination among the gospellers; it is the very disparateness of these records, including contradictions between them, which for most non-believers casts doubt on their reliability - and still more on any notion that they were divinely inspired. I should not myself have used the word "fabrication"; maybe "accreting and publishing" is better.

To move to more serious matters, WTF is that speckled hen thing???

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#104 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 11th, 2012, 3:41 pm

animist wrote:Arthur - yes, maybe, I don't think this contradicts what I said; some of Arthur's alleged victories were in very different parts of Britain, which might make it improbable that he could have won them all. But that does not mean that there was not an "Arthur", that is my point.
Well, what you said was "no doubt a real Romano-British war leader became the object of veneration as "The Once and Future King"". I was rather mischievously suggesting that by "no doubt" you mean "certainly", when what you probably meant by it was "probably". Either way, though, there is enough doubt about it to make "no doubt" inappropriate. It's possible, but there's not enough evidence for it to enable us to conclude that it's probable, let alone certain. It's at least as likely that King Arthur was a fictional character, possibly inspired by any number of war leaders, kings or common soldiers, and/or by earlier legendary characters. We just don't know. Even if the fictional King Arthur was inspired by real people, that doesn't mean that there's a real Arthur, any more than there's a real Oliver Twist or a real Emma Bovary or a real Jay Gatsby. Fictional characters often are inspired by real people. They're still fictional.
animist wrote:So with Jesus - the fact that he probably did not do everything, to put it mildly, that he is alleged to have done does not mean that there was not someone, or someones, who did some of them.
No, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that we have no good reason to think it particularly likely that Jesus, a single individual, who fairly closely resembles the character in the gospels, even if he didn't perform miracles or rise from the dead, did exist. We just don't know, one way or the other.
animist wrote:And I would dispute your point about deliberate fabrication ex nihilo, so to speak, which to me implies some premeditation and indeed coordination among the gospellers; it is the very disparateness of these records, including contradictions between them, which for most non-believers casts doubt on their reliability - and still more on any notion that they were divinely inspired. I should not myself have used the word "fabrication"; maybe "accreting and publishing" is better.
Well, yes, if you're talking about the gospellers. I was thinking about the early Christians who would have transmitted these stories orally. I can imagine that they started to tell each other stories that were based on a combination of scriptural prophecy and the reported words and deeds of any number of men who were, at that time, running around preaching and rousing rabbles and getting into trouble, some of whom might or might not have been called Jeshua or Yeshua or Joshua or whatever. It may have been that these stories were understood initially to be just stories, but that over time, as the stories were retold and re-retold (and exaggerated and elaborated and distorted in the way stories often are), they acquired a life of their own, as the people who heard the stories, and later the people who told them, started to forget that they weren't about anyone real. When eventually someone started writing the stories down, he may have believed them to be true. Or not. I don't know. My point is not that I believe there was no such person as Jesus and that the gospels must be entirely fictional, but rather that such a thing is perfectly possible, and one doesn't have to be an extremist to suggest such a possibility.
animist wrote:To move to more serious matters, WTF is that speckled hen thing???
That is such a serious matter that it needs to be discussed in the appropriate thread.

Emma

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#105 Post by animist » July 14th, 2012, 8:35 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
animist wrote:Arthur - yes, maybe, I don't think this contradicts what I said; some of Arthur's alleged victories were in very different parts of Britain, which might make it improbable that he could have won them all. But that does not mean that there was not an "Arthur", that is my point.
Well, what you said was "no doubt a real Romano-British war leader became the object of veneration as "The Once and Future King"". I was rather mischievously suggesting that by "no doubt" you mean "certainly", when what you probably meant by it was "probably". Either way, though, there is enough doubt about it to make "no doubt" inappropriate. It's possible, but there's not enough evidence for it to enable us to conclude that it's probable, let alone certain. It's at least as likely that King Arthur was a fictional character, possibly inspired by any number of war leaders, kings or common soldiers, and/or by earlier legendary characters. We just don't know. Even if the fictional King Arthur was inspired by real people, that doesn't mean that there's a real Arthur, any more than there's a real Oliver Twist or a real Emma Bovary or a real Jay Gatsby. Fictional characters often are inspired by real people. They're still fictional
I won't say that I think you may be confusing "fictional" with "fictitious" since you will simply show me that dictionary definitions do not show a distinction: no doubt(!) the two words are used interchangeably by many people, but I think there is a worthwhile distinction between them, albeit prescriptive rather than descriptive in terms of usage, so that "fictional" should relate to fiction, ie novels or other literature consciously imagined, whereas "fictitious" simply means non-existent or false. So I do not think it is appropriate to call either Jesus or Arthur fictional in the way that Emma B was, and clearly the gospel writers believed in the existence of the former. Re Arthur, I was obsessed by the historicity of this personage in the 1970s and read a good deal about him; I have not read much since, so can only recall what my impression at the time was from writers like Leslie Alcock, which is that it is quite likely that Arthur existed - in the sense of more likely than not. Of course, while I think the analogy of Jesus and Arthur is interesting, it breaks down crucially in that no-one really believes that Arthur will somehow "return", so I guess that scholars can disagree over him without quite the emotive/spiritual force which drives and inevitably distorts the debate about Jesus's existence
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
animist wrote:So with Jesus - the fact that he probably did not do everything, to put it mildly, that he is alleged to have done does not mean that there was not someone, or someones, who did some of them.
No, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that we have no good reason to think it particularly likely that Jesus, a single individual, who fairly closely resembles the character in the gospels, even if he didn't perform miracles or rise from the dead, did exist. We just don't know, one way or the other.
we certainly don't, no, and the evidence is pretty feeble; I think it as least as likely that he did exist as that he did not, though
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
animist wrote:And I would dispute your point about deliberate fabrication ex nihilo, so to speak, which to me implies some premeditation and indeed coordination among the gospellers; it is the very disparateness of these records, including contradictions between them, which for most non-believers casts doubt on their reliability - and still more on any notion that they were divinely inspired. I should not myself have used the word "fabrication"; maybe "accreting and publishing" is better.
Well, yes, if you're talking about the gospellers. I was thinking about the early Christians who would have transmitted these stories orally. I can imagine that they started to tell each other stories that were based on a combination of scriptural prophecy and the reported words and deeds of any number of men who were, at that time, running around preaching and rousing rabbles and getting into trouble, some of whom might or might not have been called Jeshua or Yeshua or Joshua or whatever. It may have been that these stories were understood initially to be just stories, but that over time, as the stories were retold and re-retold (and exaggerated and elaborated and distorted in the way stories often are), they acquired a life of their own, as the people who heard the stories, and later the people who told them, started to forget that they weren't about anyone real. When eventually someone started writing the stories down, he may have believed them to be true. Or not. I don't know. My point is not that I believe there was no such person as Jesus and that the gospels must be entirely fictional, but rather that such a thing is perfectly possible, and one doesn't have to be an extremist to suggest such a possibility.
agree with much of this, though I doubt that these things originated as simple stories, and I certainly would not call you or Alan an extremist! (all right, I know that you were not attributing anything like this to me). My hunch is that something odd happened after the death of one of these men, probably one of the preaching Jesuses who populated the area at the time, however, but it is no more than a hunch. My only bother about the Jesus-existence thing is that too much emphasis by unbelievers on disputing the existence of Jesus (and Alan seems to dispute even whether Nazareth existed in Jesus's time) may distract from what seems to me to be the main problems for believers: the chaotic way in which the gospels appeared without acknowledgment of each other, the cavalier way in which the Church accepted some and not others of these gospels as canonical, the discrepancies between the accounts, and the delay between the supposed events and the appearance of the first gospels - plus of course the intrinsic unlikelihood of the main event. As you say, there was always going to be a temptation, given the Jews' history and culture, to "make" something happen which would fulfil the prophecies, though why it should have happened when and in the way it did (the formation of a Jewish sect which eventually persecuted Judaism) is something which might support the supposition that something indeed happened which was a bit out of the ordinary - to put it no more strongly.

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#106 Post by Compassionist » September 18th, 2012, 6:16 pm

Dear Reader, if you have the time and the desire, I would like to discuss the following with you. Thank you ever so much.

Source: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2 ... ce-easter/

I am quoting from the PDF:
http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/conten ... ostles.pdf

Copyright, 2009 Reclaiming the Mind Ministries
May be reproduced unaltered for free.

The Death of the Twelve Apostles

How their martyrdom evidences Easter


By C. Michael Patton
with discussion questions

I have an interest in the death of the
Apostles. We all should. Every Christian
should spend some time looking into the
historical records. There are many legends
concerning their deaths which makes the
historical evidence hard to interpret. Many
times the accounts conflict with one another.
Most early Christians wanted their home to be
crowned with the stature of having been the
final resting place of one of the twelve. It is
probably for this reason that there were
embellishments forged.

Sifting through the wheat and the chaff is not
easy task. The martyrdom of some of the
Apostles is more certain than others.
Historians will have different degrees of
certainty concerning the circumstances of their
deaths. For instance, unbiased historians will
not take issue with the historical credibility of
the martyrdom of Peter, Paul, and James the
Apostle. Many of the other accounts have
decent historic validity as well. Some
accounts, however, raise the eyebrow and
cause us to remain agnostic.

However, when boiled down to their least common denominator, it is very feasible to believe
that all but one of the Apostles suffered and died a martyr’s death, even if we can’t be sure of the
exact details.

Amidst some uncertainty, one thing is clear—the reason given for their death was the same in all
accounts. They were killed because they proclaimed to have seen Christ die and then to have
seen Him alive. They all died because of an unwavering, unrelenting claim that Christ rose from
the grave. They died for Easter.

Personally, in my mind, the gruesome death of the Apostles as recorded below was one of the
greatest gifts that God ever gave to the Church. It contributes much to Christian apologetics by
answering the "how do you know?" question concerning the resurrection of Christ.

The following is my attempt to take the best of all the sources and share the most likely scenario
for each Apostle’s death. At the risk of spoiling some of the “legends,” I have given each
account a grade of probability from A (highest probability) to D (lowest probability).
Read through the accounts of their deaths. Use it this Easter. Tell your children. This may sound
odd, but in a very real sense, I thank God for bringing about the Apostles’ deaths, for in their
deaths they sealed their testimony in blood making our faith in the risen Christ built upon a solid
foundation.

(1) The Apostle James

James, the Apostle of the Lord, was the second recorded martyr after Christ's death (Stephen was
the first). His death is recorded in Acts 12:2 where it is told that Herod Agrippa killed him with a
sword. Clemens Alexandrinus and Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History II.2) both tell how the
executioner witnessed the courage and un-recanting spirit of James and was then convinced of
Christ resurrection and was executed along with James.
Date of Martyrdom: 44-45 A.D.
Probability rating: A for the death of James, C- for the death of the executioner

(2) The Apostle Peter

Although, just before the crucifixion, Peter denied three times that he even knew Christ, after the
resurrection he did not do so again. Peter, just as Jesus told him in John 21:18-19, was crucified
by Roman executioners because he could not deny his master again. According to Eusebius, he
thought himself unworthy to be crucified as his Master, and, therefore, he asked to be crucified
"head downward."
Date of Martyrdom: ca. 64 A.D.
Probability rating: A

(3) The Apostle Andrew

Andrew, who introduced his brother Peter to Christ, went to join Peter with Christ in eternity six
years after Peter's death. After preaching Christ's resurrection to the Scythians and Thracians, he
too was crucified for his faith. As Hippolytus tells us, Andrew was hanged on an olive tree at
Patrae, a town in Achaia.
Date of Martyrdom: 70 A.D.
Probability rating: B

(4) The Apostle Thomas

Thomas is known as "doubting Thomas" because of his reluctance to believe the other Apostles'
witness of the resurrection. After they told him that Christ was alive, he stated "Except I shall see
in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my
hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). After this, Christ did appear to him and
Thomas believed unto death. Thomas sealed his testimony as he was thrust through with pine
spears, tormented with red-hot plates, and burned alive.
Date of Martyrdom: 70 A.D.
Probability rating: B concerning his martyrdom, D concerning the exact method of execution.

(5) The Apostle Philip

Philip was corrected by Christ when he asked Christ to “show us the Father, then this will be
enough for us” (John 14:8). Christ responded, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have
not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show
us the Father ‘?” (John 14:9). Philip later saw the glory of Christ after the resurrection and
undoubtedly reflected with amazement on Christ's response to his request. Philip evangelized in
Phrygia where hostile Jews had him tortured and then crucified.
Date of Martyrdom: 54 A.D.
Probability rating: C

(6) The Apostle Matthew

Matthew, the tax collector, so desperately wanted the Jews to accept Christ. He wrote The
Gospel According to Matthew about ten years before his death. Because of this, one can see,
contained within his Gospel, the faith for which he spilled his blood. Matthew surely
remembered his resurrected Savior's words, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
world" (Matt. 28:20), when he professed the resurrected Christ unto his death by beheading at
Nad-Davar.
Date of Martyrdom: 60-70 A.D.
Probability rating: B

(7) The Apostle Nathanael (Bartholomew)

Nathanael, whose name means "gift of God" was truly given as a gift to the Church through his
martyrdom. Nathanael was the first to profess, early in Christ's ministry, that Christ was the Son
of God (John 1:49). He later paid for this profession through a hideous death. Unwilling to recant
of his proclamation of a risen Christ, he was flayed and then crucified.
Date of Martyrdom: 70 A.D.
Probability rating: C

(8) The Apostle James the Lesser

James was appointed to be the head of the Jerusalem church for many years after Christ's death.
In this, he undoubtedly came in contact with many hostile Jews (the same ones who killed Christ
and stated "His [Christ's] blood be on us and our children" (Matt. 27:25). In order to make James
deny Christ's resurrection, these men positioned him at the top of the Temple for all to see and
hear. James, unwilling to deny what he knew to be true, was cast down from the Temple and
finally beaten to death with a fuller's club to the head.
Date of Martyrdom: 63 A.D.
Probability rating: B that he was cast down from the temple, D that he was being beaten to death
with fuller’s club after the fall

(9) The Apostle Simon the Zealot

Simon was a Jewish zealot who strived to set his people free from Roman oppression. After he
saw with his own eyes that Christ had been resurrected, he became a zealot of the Gospel.
Historians tell of the many different places that Simon proclaimed the good news of Christ's
resurrection: Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania, Britain, Lybia, and Persia. His rest finally came
when he verified his testimony and went to be with Christ, being crucified by a governor in
Syria.
Date of Martyrdom: 74 A.D.
Probability rating: B

(10) The Apostle Judas Thaddeus

Judas questioned the Lord: "Judas said to him (not Iscariot), Lord, how is it that you will show
yourself to us, and not unto the world?" (John 14:22). After he witnessed Christ's resurrection,
Judas then knew the answer to his question. Preaching the risen Christ to those in Mesopotamia
in the midst of pagan priests, Judas was beaten to death with sticks, showing to the world that
Christ was indeed Lord and God.
Date of Martyrdom: 72 A.D.
Probability rating: C

(11) The Apostle Matthias

Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot (the betrayer of Christ who hanged himself) as the twelfth
Apostle of Christ (Acts 1:26). It is believed by most that Matthias was one of the seventy that

Christ sent out during his earthly ministry (Luke 10:1). This qualifies him to be an apostle.
Matthias, of which the least is known, is said by Eusebius to have preached in Ethiopia. He was
later stoned while hanging upon a cross.
Date of Martyrdom: 70 A.D.
Probability rating: D

(12) The Apostle John

John is the only one of the twelve Apostles to have died a natural death. Although he did not die
a martyr's death, he did live a martyr's life. He was exiled to the Island of Patmos under the
Emperor Domitian for his proclamation of the risen Christ. It was there that he wrote the last
book in the Bible, Revelation. Some traditions tell us that he was thrown into boiling oil before
the Latin Gate, where he was not killed but undoubtedly scarred for the rest of his life.
Date of Martyrdom: 95 A.D.
Probability rating: A that he was not martyred, C that he was thrown into boiling oil

(13) The Apostle Paul

Paul, himself a persecutor of the Christian faith (Galatians 1:13), was brought to repentance on
his way to Damascus by an appearance of the risen Christ. Ironically, Paul was heading for
Damascus to arrest those who held to Christ's resurrection. Paul was the greatest skeptic there
was until he saw the truth of the resurrection. He then devoted his life to the proclamation of the
living Christ. Writing to the Corinthians, defending his ministry, Paul tells of his sufferings for
the name of Christ: "In labors more abundant, in beatings above measure, in prisons more
frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes minus one. Three times I
was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I
have been in the deep; In journeys often, in storms on the water, in danger of robbers, in danger
by mine own countrymen, in danger by the heathen, in danger in the city, in danger in the
wilderness, in the sea, among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in
hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness "(2 Cor. 11:23-27). Finally, Paul met
his death at the hands of the Roman Emperor Nero when he was beheaded in Rome.
Date of Martyrdom: ca. 67 A.D.
Probability rating: A

An Afterthought:
I believe that the deaths of the Apostles increase the certainty level of the historicity of the
resurrection to a level that is beyond excuse for disbelief. People do not die for their own lies,
half-truths, or fabrications. If the Apostles truly died proclaiming to have seen Christ dead then
alive and ascend into heaven, Christ is who He said He was, God incarnate who came to take
away the sins of the world.

An Objection:
However, some might object to my reasoning. You may object to my reasoning. The question
that gives rise to the objection is this: Don't many people die for something they believe? Does
this mean that if you die for something, it is true? To be sure, many people have died for
something that they believed and this does not make it true. The 9-11 bombers believed
something and died for that belief, but their deaths do no give credence to the validity of their
beliefs in any way. There is a big difference in dying for something that you believe having
received the basis for that belief from someone else and dying for something that you believe
because you witnessed the events that establish the belief.

From a historical stand point, the difference is as great as day and night. The suicide bombers
and others who die for their faith are dying for something that they believe because the have
heard it from someone else. This adds no valid verification to what they believe from an
standpoint of evidence or reason. It would be like me dying for my faith in Christ's resurrection.
All that this would prove is that I truly did believe that Christ rose from the grave, but it would
not verify in any way that He actually did rise from the grave. Why? Because I did not see it. I
was not a first hand witness.

Now if I died a martyr's death saying that I saw Christ die and rise from the grave with my own
eyes that would be a different story. Why? Because it would not verify a belief handed down
from someone else, but a belief in something that I witnessed firsthand. At this point, you have
only three options for explaining the Apostles’ belief: 1) Say that they died for a lie knowing that
it was a lie, 2) that they were delusional or crazy, or 3) that was the truth, Christ did rise from the
grave.

To say that they died knowing it was a lie places a great burden of proof upon the proponent of
this view and completely lacks in any historical credibility (no matter how many attempts have
been made to substantiate such). It would take a much greater leap of faith to believe this than to
believe that they were telling the truth and Christ actually rose. Remember, the possibility of an
alternative does not amount to probability.

To opt for number two and say that they were crazy suffers from the same fate as the first. There
is no way to substantiate this. There is absolutely no historical evidence in favor of this supposed
insanity for even a single Apostle, much less all of them. From a historical standpoint, this would
most certainly be a greater leap of faith than to believe that they were telling the truth.
The only option is the last---that Christ did raise from the grave and He is who he said he was.
All others are blind leaps into the dark.

The motives for these blind leaps are many I am sure, but let me mention a couple of the most
likely.

People who deny this evidence are sometimes motivated by an anti-supernatural bias. This bias
starts with the assumption that Christ did not rise from the grave because it is impossible for
people to rise from the grave. But this argument is completely unsustainable since it begs the
question. It may be true that people don’t normally rise from the grave, but simply because you
do not have personal empirical evidence of its possibility does not make it impossible
objectively. I do however understand this bias. I think that it is foolish to uncritically and
characteristically accept stories of happenings that fall outside of our God-given means of
empirically acquiring information. But belief in the resurrection of Christ, as I have been
arguing, is not in any way an uncritical belief (at least it does not have to be). The evidence
compels us to adjust our bias at this point.

Another motive that people have for rejecting the evidence is less intellectual and more
emotional. Many people have an emotional bias against the very idea of God. This emotional
bias, practically speaking, comes to us from a variety of avenues. For some, it is their
upbringing. They have a commitment to that which they were taught. We all want mom and dad
to be right and we will do everything in our power to cheer for their beliefs. Why? Because they
become our beliefs and we have a lot invested in them. For many, if Christ rose from the grave,
then they, their family, their religion, and all their friends are wrong. This is sometimes too much
to handle emotionally.

For others, the emotional objection comes from a jilted experience. They have called upon God
to save them from sickness. They have looked for His mercy in their family. They have prayed
for their basic needs and He, in their estimation, has not answered. Therefore, they are apathetic
to the evidence of the resurrection, being guided by their emotional experiences and longings.
Both of these emotional objections to the resurrection are understandable.

I know that emotion unbridled is a much more powerful source for belief than the cold facts of
the intellectual realm. But, at the same time, while the objections are understandable, they should
not be not admissible or sustainable. We cannot let emotions rule our belief system. We must be
ready to look past our experience and our traditions so that we can see the truth. Once we do,
then the truth can take the hand of our emotions and train them properly.

In sum concerning the initial objection, the 9-11 suicide bombers may have sincerely believed
their religion, but their conviction carries no inherent verification. All we know is that they were
sincere in their belief. The disciples, on the other hand, died for something that they claimed to
have witnessed firsthand. This carries no "hearsay" but firsthand testimony. It is a completely
different story.

Therefore, the objection, while understandable at first glance, really must be dismissed as an
irrelevant and false comparison. Here are your three options concerning the Apostles:

1. They died for a lie and knew it (unsustainable do to lack of any reasonable motive).

2. They were all delusional and crazy (but this would take more faith than any option since
you would have to explain how they all had the same delusion and craziness—many
being at different places and different times).

3. What they said was true. Christ did rise from the grave and is who He said He was.

To conclude, I want you to listen to the words of Ignatius, a second century church Father who’s
beliefs were sustained by the reasoning of my current argument concerning the Apostles’ deaths.
“Mindful of him, do ye by all means know that Jesus the Lord was truly born of Mary, being
made of a woman; and was as truly crucified. For, says he, "God forbid that I should glory, save
in the cross of the Lord Jesus."11 And He really suffered, and died, and rose again. For says
[Paul], "If Christ should become passible, and should be the first to rise again from the dead.12
And again, In that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.13
Otherwise, what advantage would there be in [becoming subject to] bonds, if Christ has not
died? what advantage in patience? what advantage in [enduring] stripes? And why such facts as
the following: Peter was crucified; Paul and James were slain with the sword; John was banished
to Patmos; Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews who killed the Lord? But, [in truth,] none of
these sufferings were in vain; for the Lord was really crucified by the ungodly.” (Ignasius: The
Epistle of Ignatius to the Tarsians, III)

Happy Easter—celebrate the resurrection and proclaim the kingdom!
The evidence is there. Do you believe? . . .

Discussion Questions:

1. It was said in the article that we can thank God for the death of the Apostles. Why would
we be compelled to do such a thing?

2. If the Apostles had recanted their faith in order to save their lives, how would things
possibly be different?

3. It was said that one cannot compare the deaths of the 9-11 hijackers and their religious
convictions to that of the Apostles. Summarize the difference.

4. If one were to die for something that they said they saw, this adds credibility to their
testimony, no matter how extraordinary. Give a modern-day example of some
extraordinary claim that would parallel the death of the Apostles. It does not have to be
real; be creative.

5. All of the Apostles were God honoring men. While they were sinners in need of God
mercy, they followed Christ as much as anyone. Why do you think God allowed such
suffering in their lives?

6. Do you think that the Apostles had any idea that Christians would be referring back to the
gruesome circumstances of their deaths 2000 years later? Explain.

7. Read Romans 8:28. Considering the suffering of the Apostles, what does this tell you
about God’s purpose for suffering and how does it give you hope in your own suffering?

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#107 Post by Alan C. » September 18th, 2012, 7:06 pm

You owe me 15 minutes compo :wink:

What a load of abject nonsense, according to the above the average date for "martyrdom" was around 67 AD (John 95 AD) How long do you suppose folk lived 2,000 years ago and in the dessert? If they were all aged 20 at the supposed time of Jesus then they achieved remarkable longevity.

As for Easter (Eastre) It was celebrated for hundreds if not thousands of years before Christianity reared it's ugly head and kidnapped it.

Reclaiming the Mind Ministries :laughter: They obviously don't get the irony.
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#108 Post by Dave B » September 18th, 2012, 7:41 pm

What a load of abject nonsense . . .
Thanks for the concise critique, Alan, that saves me reading it! :laughter:
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#109 Post by Alan C. » September 18th, 2012, 7:48 pm

I demand repayment of my 15 minutes compo, so....Fill your boots (as they say in Ireland :) )
The celebration we know as Easter dates back long before the time of Christ, and has its origins in traditions that involved ritualized sex and consumption of a wide variety of potent psychedelics and aphrodisiacs, including marijuana.
Incubated deep in prehistory, Easter developed through centuries of spring fertility festivals in ancient Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, pagan Europe and Christian Rome, to become the fractured mass of a resurrected god and egg-laying chocolate rabbit that we know today.

The most recognizable trail of the modern Easter Bunny leads from pre-Christian Germanic peoples, who worshiped the love and fertility goddess Ostara. Ostara was revered in many cultures under many different names, including Astarte, Esther, Ishtar and Eastre. She is the source of the name "Easter" as well as words like "estrogen." We get the story about the egg-laying rabbit from Ostara, as legend has it that Ostara changed her pet bird into a magical hare which laid eggs for children during her festival.

According to exhaustive research by German entheobotanist Christian Ratsch in his book Marijuana Medicine, Ostara's spring worship involved the sacrifice, roasting and consumption of a sacred hare, quaffed down with hemp beers, followed by public, collective lovemaking. The Germanic fertility goddess Freya was similarly honored with cannabis as a sacrament.

Cannabis, eggs and fertility were closely associated among Germanic pagans. Ratsch discovered that the hardy Nordic peoples would feed cannabis seeds to hens, so that they could lay eggs through the long winter season. As spring equinox approached, they would use stalks of the plant as arrows to "shoot away winter," ushering in a season of verdant growth and urgent lovemaking.

Cannabis orgies in celebration of Ostara were eventually outlawed by the Catholic Church. Pagan sacraments like hemp beer fell victim to secular laws, like the Bavarian Purity Act of 1516, which outlawed beer made from anything but hops and barley. Only the sacred hare survived, transformed into a chocolaty economic opportunity for candy makers and dentists.

Grecian galas

Easter celebrations around the world always involve eggs. For thousands of years, the egg has been a recurrent symbol in spring fertility festivals like those celebrated by the Germanic pagans. Today we use the term "Dionysian" to describe such festivities, after the Greek god Dionysus, the god of intoxication, poetry, love and orgiastic sexuality.

Although Dionysus has become famously synonymous with wild partying, it is less well-known that he was featured in the epic Greek story of Persephone and Hades. Their sacred marriage, or sexual union, was celebrated in the town of Eleusis, at two notable times of the year. The first, in the spring, was called the "Lesser Mysteries" and featured what early Catholic Church father Hyppolytus (AD 170-236) called "carnal generation," or sex; and the second, in the fall, was called the "Greater Mysteries."

At the Lesser Mysteries, initiates ingested some kind of psychedelic. In their book Road to Eleusis, authors Wasson, Hoffman and Ruck suggest that "the winter bulb [consumed at the Lesser Mysteries] may have been a metaphor or analogue for another plant that also seemed to grow suddenly from an egg-like bulb within the cold earth... the mushroom." Indeed, Eleusian revelers also considered eggs among the sacred, edible objects of the celebration, and Greek stone reliefs and vases depict the deities of Eleusis with mushrooms.

Road to Eleusis further explains that Persephone, who was stolen away to the land of the dead, ravished, and symbolically force-fed a pomegranate seed by the mythic underworld god Hades, came away with child after her mother cut a deal with king-god Zeus for her resurrection. Myth records that Persephone's child was Dionysus, named Bacchus by the Romans.

Like Jesus and Persephone, Dionysus was a resurrection deity, and his death and rebirth was compared to the seasonal display of trees and plants. Dionysus' most ardent worshippers, the Maenads, collected and ingested magic mushrooms, among numerous other psychedelic treats, many of which they mixed with wine. These were the "flesh" and "blood" of their god. In spring, hordes of admirers gave stoned, drunken praise to the lustful god at the Greater Dionysia, a civilized, theatrical version of earlier, sexually explicit, rustic practices which again found favor in Rome as the Bacchanals.
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#110 Post by Dave B » September 18th, 2012, 8:23 pm

What's the source for that, Alan?

Would have thought that Germania was a bit cold for growing canabis - more likely to be into the fly agaric I would have thought.
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#111 Post by Alan C. » September 18th, 2012, 9:15 pm

What's the source for that, Alan?
There are lots Dave, I didn't link it cos it promotes the use of illegal substances :D But what the hell.
Easter: sex and drugs celebration! There you go.
I just happened to be reading it when compo made his post.
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#112 Post by Dave B » September 18th, 2012, 9:26 pm

Thanks.

I wonder if it was the Romans who started using bits of other people's religions, absorbing and adopting them as their own, as a tool for integrating conquered people?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#113 Post by Fia » September 18th, 2012, 9:33 pm

Any group who wants to control folk has no further to look than religion, to recreate it as your own is the history of religion...

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#114 Post by Alan C. » September 18th, 2012, 9:47 pm

Dave
I wonder if it was the Romans who started using bits of other people's religions, absorbing and adopting them as their own, as a tool for integrating conquered people?
I would think it pre-dates the Romans by a large chunk.
Fia
Any group who wants to control folk women has no further to look than religion,
Fixed that Fia. :)

I know they (religions) want to control everybody but women always seem to get the shit end of the stick and it annoys me. :cross:
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#115 Post by Alan H » September 18th, 2012, 10:00 pm

Alan C. wrote:Easter: sex and drugs celebration! There you go.
I just happened to be reading it when compo made his post.
Yeah, yeah... :rolleyes:
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1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#116 Post by Alan C. » September 18th, 2012, 10:33 pm

^ You doubt my word? Why?

I never knowingly lie and I object to your insinuation.

I was indeed reading the text I posted just as compo made his post, must have been one of them bloody miracles eh!
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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#117 Post by Alan H » September 18th, 2012, 10:47 pm

:smile:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#118 Post by animist » September 19th, 2012, 9:43 am

Alan C. wrote:You owe me 15 minutes compo :wink:

What a load of abject nonsense, according to the above the average date for "martyrdom" was around 67 AD (John 95 AD) How long do you suppose folk lived 2,000 years ago and in the desert? If they were all aged 20 at the supposed time of Jesus then they achieved remarkable longevity.

As for Easter (Eastre) It was celebrated for hundreds if not thousands of years before Christianity reared it's ugly head and kidnapped it.

Reclaiming the Mind Ministries :laughter: They obviously don't get the irony.
yes, their longevity is a good point to make. What is odd is that, even if they were likely to live this long, they did so despite their earthshattering experience of seeing the living Christ. One would expect that all these deaths might have happened in the AD30s, soon after the crucifixion and claimed resurrection, when the authorities would have tried to eliminate the remainder of Jesus's gang and the resurrection witnesses would have submitted to this persecution, but no, nothing happened at this point. Again we have this odd gap of several decades, then the gospels appear (maybe) and these executions too. It is almost as though someting kickstarted the faith after a long hibernation - not a good reason to believe in any objective force behind the martyrdoms, maybe it was a belated clearing up operation sparked off by the appearance of early gospels. BTW, Michael Patton founded Theologica.

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#119 Post by Compassionist » September 19th, 2012, 9:47 am

Thank you Alan C. for your enlightening posts. Here are your 15 MINUTES back! :D

How would we know for sure whether or not Jesus was resurrected and whether or not the Apostles died as martyrs?

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#120 Post by Alan H » September 19th, 2012, 9:58 am

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Evidence (?) for Christ's Resurrection

#121 Post by Nick » September 19th, 2012, 11:31 am

Alan C. wrote: How long do you suppose folk lived 2,000 years ago and in the dessert?
They probably all drowned in custard...... :wink:


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