Jewish Disciples Wouldn’t Have Created the Idea of the Resurrection, So It Must Have Really Happened… Right?

If you’ve discussed the resurrection with Christians before, then you’re probably familiar with the above argument. Since first century Jews didn’t believe in a bodily resurrection like Jesus’s, then they’re no way the disciples would have believed it without actually witnessing it for themselves. William Lane Craig has used this argument several times:

He made the case again in a 2005 debate at California State University. At the 29 minute mark, he says that Jews like the Pharisees believed in a resurrection that would happen to everyone at the end of time. They never believed that an individual could have a bodily resurrection within the course of human history.

But recently, while I was reading Crossan’s The Historical Jesus, he pointed out something that I hadn’t thought of before. It turns out that there are a couple of New Testament passages that really throw a wrench in Craig’s claim. For instance, Mark 6:14-16 says:

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

Here, we have a number of people who are ready to believe that Jesus is actually a resurrected John the Baptist, Elijah, or some other prophet from antiquity. And we find similar passages in both Matthew and Luke as well. So now we have a problem. Either Craig’s argument is totally false, and the idea of a bodily resurrection from the dead is something that people in Jesus’s time were ready to believe with virtually no evidence, or the writers of the synoptic gospels were lying or mistaken. Either way, it illustrates how an actual resurrection is the least likely explanation for the resurrection story.

If you’d like to read about other issues with the resurrection, you can check out this article.

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110 thoughts on “Jewish Disciples Wouldn’t Have Created the Idea of the Resurrection, So It Must Have Really Happened… Right?”

  1. I think you might be giving WLC’s position more credit than is due. He’s arguing that simply because most Jews didn’t believe in a resurrection, the disciples wouldn’t have talked about it. The problem with this is that there’s an even more plausible explanation that hasn’t been explored: cults begin with pretty fantastic claims.

    Take any recent cult in the last 100 years, and you’ll find people accepting big claims at face value. Go back a little further, and you could even argue the LDS church is simply a cult that managed to grow fast enough to develop a doctrinal inertia of its own.

    Why can’t the New Testament be that inertia for Christianity? All you need is a few guys going around telling everyone they swear up and down that they knew this dude came back from the dead. Congratulations, that’s how it spreads, and it wouldn’t be the first time people made false claims to become famous. In fact, just based on the sheer volume of people lying for fame alone, one could argue that it’s entirely almost certain that these people were just making stuff up to promote their cult.

    Finally, WLC is trying to shift the burden. It’s his job to actually show that someone coming back from being dead for three days is more plausible than naturalistic hypotheses. At best, he’s guessing along with everyone else as to what happened. The simple fact is that we don’t know what happened back then, except that some people who followed a rabbi came out of Judea with a message that slaves really identified with.

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  2. I agree with SB’s point. There’s a whole slew of arguments centered around the basic premise that the ancient Christians wouldn’t have bought this if it wasn’t true. Nevermind that there was a real shortage of reliable, publicly accessible records back then, and fact checking was something of an undiscovered art. Nevermind that people back then believed any number of things that no modern Christian would accept, like the entire Greco-Roman pantheon, and things that you think could be easily disproved even by their standards, like that malaria could be cured by binding a nail from a crucifixion to your forehead and sprinkling the whole mess with cow manure. Nevermind that even with all our improved access to records and data, Scientology happened. Even without a direct disproof, the whole proposition is a bit shaky, is what I’m saying.

    But all that said, I still really love this counterargument.There’s something beautiful about a person being proven wrong by the very document they are trying to defend.

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  3. Hi Nate, when I read this post, I wondered: (1) Was the situation back then so simple that there were just two views, individual resurrection or no individual resurrection? (2) Does Nate think things were so simple? I’ll leave you to answer the second question, but I thought I’d do some research on the first.

    First, it is questionable whether we should call Herod a Jew, or representative of Jewish thought. Josephus calls him an Idumean, and the historians say he embraced Graeco-Roman culture. So we may need to look at both Graeco-Roman and Jewish views of resurrection to understand what Herod may have thought

    Historian NT Wright has undertaken perhaps the most comprehensive recent survey of first century views on resurrection, so I had a look at his Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins. And it doesn’t take long to see that there were many different views on resurrection in the ancient world.

    The Greeks had a word for resurrection, so they obviously thought about it, but Wright reports that ” whenever the question of bodily resurrection is raised in the ancient world the answer is negative”. If they had hope at all, they tended to believe more in immortality, whether via superstition, hope, mythology or the view that the emperor lived on.

    Among the Jews, there was a “spectrum” of belief about life after death, from total disbelief to resurrection, which was a specific type of belief in the afterlife, not a general view as you may have taken it (i.e. there were other, non-bodily, views of the afterlife). It generally was part of a belief that God would resurrect and restore the entire nation sometime in the future. Those who died in the meantime were not immediately resurrected, but in some intermediate state. The possible return of Elijah or other prophets was part of Jewish folklore and some rabbinical texts, but these were special cases – in any case, Elijah didn’t die but was “taken up”, so he couldn’t have been resurrected. Wright stresses that Jewish beliefs about resurrection were at that time quite fuzzy and only partly formed.

    In contrast, christians almost 100% believed from the beginning that Jesus was individually and bodily resurrected, and that believers would be too (though in a slightly different way).

    So Craig (who you might recall has a PhD in New Testament) got it pretty right. The Jews did, in the main, believe in a different sort of resurrection, or in none at all. Herod’s comment may not have referred to resurrection at all as the Jews normally understood it (after all, Jesus was clearly old enough to have been alive while John was still alive, so couldn’t have been resurrected in the sense we are talking about), and it was in any case an aberrant and minority view. Herod doesn’t express a view much like the later christian view. There is no contradiction.

    So your argument depends on two implicit assumptions, that Herod spoke a representative Jewish view and that there were just two binary views among Jews. Once we see that neither of those assumptions is true, the argument ceases to be an argument. It is no wonder that most secular scholars believe in several of the following – that Jesus’ tomb was empty, that his disciples had some form of visions of Jesus after he died, that belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus goes back to the very earliest days for christianity and that it formed a significant basis for the expansion of the faith.

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  4. Hi Unklee,

    Some issues:

    “In contrast, christians almost 100% believed from the beginning that Jesus was individually and bodily resurrected, and that believers would be too”

    I’m pretty sure this is not true, but shall claim that I’m probably ignorant. You have sources to back you up on this?

    “So your argument depends on two implicit assumptions, that Herod spoke a representative Jewish view and that there were just two binary views among Jews. Once we see that neither of those assumptions is true, the argument ceases to be an argument.”

    I’m assuming you’re referring to Nate’s argument. But I think this cuts both ways – similarly if Jews back then had a spectrum of belief about Resurrection, then WLC’s initial argument will have zero merit.

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  5. I made this statement on unkleE’s blog a while back, “Here is what “The Eleven” thought when the women told them of the empty tomb. “Luke 24: 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

    unkleE’s reply,”I think it can be said objectively that most historical scholars accept that the tomb was known to be empty and/or Jesus’ followers had visions of him alive after his death, which led to very early belief that he had been resurrected (not on the first day, as described in the passage you quote, but within months maybe, certainly a few years). We may take those things as probable historical facts.

    Give a rumor months or a few years and there will be Elvis sightings ! Oh wait , I think that already happened ! 🙂

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  6. Hi Powell,

    “You have sources to back you up on this?”

    Yes, you can find any number of scholars who say that – e.g. Hurtado (who says it is probably now the majority view), Casey, Bauckham and (I think) Ehrman – and not that many I’ve come across who’d say differently.

    “if Jews back then had a spectrum of belief about Resurrection, then WLC’s initial argument will have zero merit”

    But this doesn’t logically follow from the facts. A fair summary is that the majority of Jews believed,as I have already said, “in a different sort of resurrection, or in none at all.” So WLC’s argument that the christians weren’t predisposed to belief in resurrection of the kind believed by christians is quite accurate. And certainly, if there is any argument against that, Herod’s statement, which cannot logically imply resurrection since Jesus and John were contemporaries, is obviously not it.

    “Zero merit” is a very strong statement! 🙂 And unjustified! 😦

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  7. Hi UnkleE,

    Powell said exactly what I was thinking, and I think the point still stands. Like you, I don’t think the beliefs about resurrection were binary back then, and that’s why I agree with Powell’s critique: I don’t see how Craig can claim that the early Christians wouldn’t have been predisposed to the belief. How could he know that? The passages in question don’t just talk about what Herod thought — they supposedly report the thoughts of a number of people at the time: some thought that John had been resurrected, some thought Elijah, and some thought it was another prophet. If true, this shows how readily some people entertained the notion of resurrection.

    And I’m afraid I don’t understand your point about Jesus and John being contemporaries. I get the impression that they didn’t know who Jesus was, but did know who John was. So it’s not that they were trying to conflate the two people — they just thought that this person going around preaching was John back from the dead.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments!

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  8. @Unklee,

    Thanks for the link! Will check them out and correct my misconception.

    With regards to WLC:

    I think “zero merit” is the same degree as “the argument ceases to be an argument” so I will stand by that 🙂

    Also, what Nate said.

    Cheers

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  9. Hi Nate,

    The point about Herod is twofold.

    (1) He doesn’t represent a significant view in first century Judaism. Wright, Jeremias (who WLC quotes) and others have said that there was very little, perhaps nothing, in Judaism that points to the christian view of resurrection. Herod’s view is not representative.

    (2) John & Jesus were both contemporaries and both famous, and it is inconceivable that Herod didn’t keep tabs on potential troublemakers like them. So how could he have thought John had literally come back to life as Jesus since Jesus was around when John was alive? So Herod must have been thinking of something else other than what the christians claimed about Jesus. Ergo, the christians didn’t copy from any idea that Herod had.

    So both these points make your argument from Herod quite untenable. There may be a similar argument somewhere, but this surely isn’t it. So far WLC’s argument isn’t touched. If you want to make a successful argument, you have to find an example that parallels the christian claims, and then show how, even if it was a minority view, a learned Pharisee like Paul, an educated gentile like Luke and faithful Hebrews like James and Peter were all influenced by this obscure idea.

    If that idea was tenable, I suppose scholars would have taken it up, but I’m not aware of any who have done so (though I’m not saying there aren’t any). That is perhaps why mainstream scholars like Sanders, Casey, Ehrman and many others believe the disciples had visionary/hallucinatory experiences of Jesus after he died, and this led to their belief in the resurrection and in his divinity – because that seems to be the only explanation that fits.

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  10. Hi Powell, I only gave you one reference, but you can find what the others I mentioned say in their books:

    Hurtado – How on earth did Jesus become God?
    Casey – Jesus of Nazareth
    Bauckham – A very short introduction to Jesus
    Ehrman – How did Jesus become God (original title!)

    You can look most of these up on Amazon, Look Inside and get a bit of an idea without buying them (though I have 3 of the 4 and have read them right through). Thanks.

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  11. Is there a time in human history when resurrections were the order of the day? Has human nature changed so drastically since that time that now any story of an alleged resurrection is treated with skepticism while then it seems to have been the norm.

    No eyebrows are raised when Jesus raised Lazarus and none, as far as I can tell were raised when Elijah? Elisha raised a dead boy. The resurrection of Jesus is odd still. There is no witness to the actual event and even then, it is the report of one telling the others that it has happened. One must be credulous to believe it happened.

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  12. Carrier’s viewpoint gives yet a different slant on this whole question. The first gospel – let’s call it the first comic book of the genre – was written by “Mark”, and the textual fingerprints indicate he wasn’t a Jew (errors in geography + customs). His geographical errors were later repaired by Matthew, who seems to actually have known the layout of Judea and was a Jew.

    Mark was the first writer to firmly place Jesus as a historical earthly figure, and to claim an earthly type of resurrection. He wasn’t Jewish.

    The question of what the disciples believed about bodily earthly resurrection presumes quite a lot up front. It presumes the first comic book encapsulates what the first-gen disciples really said and did at all. Forty years after the fact.

    Resurrection, the atonement, the life and work of Jesus, etc., may all have been “heavenly/celestial” events. The book of Hebrews says essentially that. Paul’s authentic letters are ambiguous. Euhemerization of celestial figures to give them earthly histories was common fare at the time for Greco-Roman culture. And that is the culture from which Mark comes.

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  13. I think something Matt said is key:

    The question of what the disciples believed about bodily earthly resurrection presumes quite a lot up front. It presumes the first comic book encapsulates what the first-gen disciples really said and did at all. Forty years after the fact.

    And unkleE, I think this is where WLC’s argument is problematic, and yours as well. You probably feel the same way about my points, too.

    WLC claims that the most likely explanation for a first century belief in Jesus rising from the dead is that an actual resurrection occurred. It’s fine for Christians to believe in the resurrection, but to claim that it’s the most likely scenario is going way too far. Furthermore, he’s arguing for this by saying that the idea of a resurrection like Jesus’s simply wouldn’t have been tenable to them.

    I’m sorry, but these passages just show that that isn’t true — unless the synoptic writers were mistaken, of course. They were prepared to believe that Jesus was a resurrected individual, and there’s nothing in the text to tell us what type of resurrection they were talking about. Nor does it probably matter. We already know that there were many different views about Jesus’s resurrection, too, which shows how open people were to many different ways that someone could be resurrected. To say that Herod’s view that Jesus was John means he was thinking of something very different than the kind of resurrection attributed to Jesus is just an assumption. It’s an assumption to say that Herod knew who Jesus was — in fact, I’d say the context indicates that Herod did NOT know who Jesus was, which explains why they were trying to figure out who he was.

    I feel like I’m simply taking WLC’s argument to its logical conclusion — so if you have problems with what I’m saying, wouldn’t that mean you have problems with WLC’s claims, too?

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  14. The entire project of apologetics on such issues requires a dismissal of what a lapse of 40 years really means. People need to get a lot more honest about the source documents. What I mean by that is that the gospels don’t pass as *histories* at all. They fail to disclose:

    1. Who their authors were
    2. Who the authors talked to in order to obtain the information related
    3. How those sources knew what they were talking about

    They have no pedigree, to be blunt.

    They aren’t histories. People should read Herodotus or similar to see just how differently ancient *histories* actually were. They were nothing like the gospels.

    So a 40 year lapse is a big deal, precisely because the pedigrees are so very shabby. Folks want to dismiss this and say that it was short by ancient standards. Perhaps – if we’re talking about ancient histories that included dates, authors, sources, etc. We’re not talking about that. Thus, comic books. (Except we usually know who wrote comics, LOL)

    The reason for reluctance in the community to admit of such a first line error is that Historical Jesus scholars would have little industry remaining if they admitted to having almost no historical datum. The writings of Paul are some of the only authentic, pedigreed documents we have. They aren’t histories either, and they disclose precious little about the life of Jesus. Bankruptcy is a difficult admission. We had a first comic book written, anonymously and without sources. 40 more comics followed, similarly anonymous (or forged) and similarly unsourced.

    Typically blog comments have better pedigrees than the gospels. 🙂

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  15. I like the comic book analogy. It works on so many levels. Just look at the protagonist: can read people’s thoughts, can heal people, can turn one substance into another, can fly, and has a fantastic healing factor. Rabbi JC and the C-Men.

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  16. Hi Nate,

    I don’t want to draw this out too much, but I think the argument looks weaker the more it is examined.

    1. WLC bases his argument on the “minimal facts” accepted by most scholars. Part of this is the apparent fact that many scholars, I think probably a majority, and not all of them christians (e.g. Casey, Ehrman, Sanders) believe the disciples had visions/hallucinations of Jesus after his death, and this led to them believing he had been resurrected in a way quite different to normal Jewish belief, and thus led to them believing he was divine. You can verify this is what these scholars conclude, and you can decide if you want to oppose their conclusions.

    2. He argues that the “Jewish concept of resurrection” was different to the christian one and quote Joachim Jeremias that there is no concept like the christian concept of resurrection in all the “literature of ancient Judaism”. He could have quoted NT Wright saying the same thing. Again, you can accept what these scholars say, or not. But notice he doesn’t say that there were no other ideas around, only that the literature and Judaism don’t contain the christian concept. So WLC was correct.

    3. Herod was not considered a Jew by many, he was hated by Jews generally, he certainly doesn’t represent “Judaism” and I’m not aware of him writing about christian-style resurrection. So he’s outside what WLC was describing. We don’t know exactly what he believed, just a throw-away line, and if he had heard of Jesus before this (I think he would have, you think not, but it is only a small point anyway) we can rule out the christian concept of resurrection. But in any case, it sounds like a minor superstition.

    4. So for your argument to work, you’ve got to explain how a superstitious offhand comment by a hated despot somehow indicates a wider Jewish viewpoint not reported anywhere in the literature, yet it nevertheless caused an educated Pharisee like Paul and faithful Jews like James and Peter to suddenly come up with a radical belief about Jesus. You haven’t shown any of that, and you certainly haven’t shown that anything WLC was actually wrong. You idea sounds pretty unbelievable, and makes WLC’s argument seem stronger to me, but then I’m already convinced! 🙂

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  17. As Matt points out, Mark’s Gospel contains geographical errors later corrected by Matthew. A reputable scholar such as Raymond E Brown notes a number of these Markan errors in his Introduction To The New Testament.

    This type of issue does not prove the Gospels are non divine, but, and it is a very big but, they should cause the devout to question.

    Why would an all powerful deity allow errors in his testimony to humanity which was intended to cause them to believe?

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  18. UnkleE, I’m kind of surprised we see this so differently. To your points:

    1) I don’t have a big disagreement with this. My objection is to WLC’s more extreme claim that no one at the time would have thought of a resurrection like the one attributed to Jesus unless it had actually happened. And as you point out, that’s not the consensus of most scholars either.

    2) I’m not sure exactly what “ancient Jewish literature” they were talking about, but the OT has a story about both Elijah and Elisha raising children from the dead. And there’s another story about a dead man’s body touching Elisha’s bones and immediately coming back to life. All 3 of those stories are remarkably similar to Jesus’s resurrection. And according to Hebrews 11:17-19, Abraham thought God would bring Isaac back to life. I don’t believe the writer could have known that, of course, but the claim is more problematic for many Christians.

    3) Why can we rule out the Christian concept of resurrection? How do you know he wasn’t thinking something like that? It’s not that crazy a concept — the OT gives examples of it, and plenty of non-Jewish religions had similar stories, too. People have been fantasizing about coming back to life or living forever as long as people have had imaginations. I’m not saying that all the Jews had strong beliefs that resurrections were going to occur. But WLC’s comment is that the concept would have been so foreign and extreme to them, that the best explanation for Jews accepting that such an event had happened is that it really happened. That’s a far more extreme statement than what I’m saying, especially when some New Testament passages seem to back up my point.

    4) I’m not saying that someone like Paul simply invented the resurrection story. But I can see how some of Jesus’s early followers might have begun to believe such a thing had happened without an actual resurrection having occurred. In other words, my biggest problem with WLC’s argument is his pretense that an actual resurrection is the only viable explanation for the disciples’ beliefs.

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  19. @ Nate

    I think Unklee would agree with your points, however just differ in the conclusion.

    Technically WLC is correct – and I would agree – most likely there wasn’t a resurrection belief for the messiah. There were resurrections for other people, but these are not counted.

    Hence the conclusion for WLC and also Unklee is that therefore resurrection for Jesus did occur because it would be impossible/or unbelievable hard for Christians to come out with this narrative.

    Obviously we disagree, and don’t think it’s such a huge leap between John the baptist rising again, or Lazarus, or the boy Elijah raised and then Jesus raising.

    @Unklee

    I’m not sure why you keep hammering the point on the fact that Herod’s views are not the mainstream Judaism view. Why does it even matter? Even if it’s not the mainstream view, this fact alone showed that people OTHER than mainstream Judaism saw resurrection as a possibility. Incidentally, I would say the 12 disciples are also not mainstream Judaism? In fact, mainstream Judaism today continue to reject Jesus as the messiah.

    So either way, whether the resurrection concept is a mainstream Judaism belief does not matter. If it were, it would prove WLC wrong, if it weren’t why does it even matter? It’s like me saying that you can’t believe the bible is inerrant because you are a protestant since that is the mainstream belief. (IIRC you are a protestant right?, correct me if I’m wrong)

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  20. Thanks Powell. You’re probably right about their focus on things being different for the Messiah. I wasn’t really thinking about that…

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  21. I’ll throw in a couple more cents. In the video clip WLC doesn’t really offer evidence for why Jesus’ resurrection is “radically different” from the Jewish conception, but in ‘Reasonable Faith’ he focuses on two points:
    1) Jesus’ resurrection was an individual event whereas the Jewish conception was a corporate event.
    2) Jesus’ resurrection was ‘in history’, whereas the Jewish conception was at the end of days.

    OK, but here’s the kicker: Christianity was a messianic cult that was expecting Jesus to usher in the end of days. As far as they were concerned, the general resurrection was at hand. Consider 2 Baruch 50-51 (a Jewish text from about 100 CE). It describes the resurrection as occurring over time. In the first stage, the dead are returned to their original body and join the living in ordinary human form. Some time after this the judgement commences and then they are bestowed with an angelic body. So is it really so crazy to think that an apocalyptic sect might interpret the death of their messiah as culminating in the “first-fruits”, as Paul puts it, of what is otherwise an imminent event? I don’t see why we should think that is so improbable.

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  22. after all, Jesus was clearly old enough to have been alive while John was still alive

    Most reputable NT scholars believe that the Gospel of John, written anonymously, was done so somewhere between 95 CE and 105 CE. This means that if pseudo-John were born the day Yeshua died, he would have been 65-75 when he published his book, and would have just missed meeting the man. Had he been born 10 years earlier, he would have been 75-85, using the memories of a 10-year old.

    I’m not really sure you thought that one through, Unk.

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  23. I believe he meant Jesus and John the Baptist were contemporaries, not Jesus and the gospel writer. According to the Bible John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and furthermore their mothers were friends who became pregnant within a few months of each other, so UnkleE is correct. Herod later had John the Baptist executed and shortly afterwards people began saying that Jesus might be John the Baptist come back to life.

    In that passage, he is quoting hearsay, and that hearsay itself might have come from people who had never met either man in person, but only heard reports of them. The point of bringing it up was simply to demonstrate that regardless of the mainstream religion’s stance on resurrection, there were other views out there. So it doesn’t really matter whether it made sense for Jesus to be John the Baptist or not; the mere fact that people speculated proves that, as in all diverse societies, you cannot make sweeping claims about what everyone in it found plausible and implausible.

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  24. I believe he meant Jesus and John the Baptist were contemporaries, not Jesus and the gospel writer.” – It’s entirely possible that he DID mean that, but he could have been clearer.

    It’s my personal belief that Yeshua was believed by some to have been the Messiah, but the Messiah was expected to fulfill one of three roles, according to whom you spoke – he was to become a military leader, like David, destined to throw off the yoke of Rome and free Israel; others expected he would be a supernatural cosmic judge of the earth, while yet others (especially, the Essenes) expected he would be a priestly ruler who would provide the authoritative interpretations of his god’s law for his people.

    At no point was he ever expected to be a dying and rising savior, and when he did die, those who believed in his Messiaship scrambled to find an explanation in past prophecies. As we all know, if you lie on your back and gaze long enough at the clouds above, you can eventually see anything your mind can conceive.

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  25. We’re stuck, having to rely on speculations about what ancient, superstitious people may, or may not, have found believable, and then we’re supposed to use those speculations as a great evidences for the God that these men makes claims about.

    If one would assume that a perfect and all powerful being would act in such a manner in order to deliver his vastly important message to all of mankind, then man is capable of believing anything.

    It sounds crazy because it is.

    We may all have crazy beliefs even if we don’t share this one.

    But anything can be “validated” the way people try to validate the Bible. And the more I hear it, the more I read it, the crazier it sounds.

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  26. Everyone argues over the un-witnessed Resurrection of the character, Jesus of Nazareth. Why?

    Why not argue over the Resurrection of Lazarus?

    Now this was a bring-back-to-life miracle performed by the character, Jesus in a very public fashion and witnessed not only by the disciples but also some of Lazarus’ family and friends and also some of Jesus detractors.

    There is no hiding with this one. It was right out there in full view.

    Jesus wanders into town like the lone gunslinger and tells his pal, Lazarus to get his bandaged arse out the hole and step into the light. And he does, too! Nw just how damn cool is that

    One could almost imagine Jesus saying in Aramaic:

    ”In your face, Mithras! And how do like them apples, eh?”

    This is so much easier to discuss as there is bound to be oodles of contemporary, extra biblical evidence of this account, yes?

    I mean, Lazarus was walking about happy as Larry and fit as a fiddle. A story like this must have spread faster than an STD in a Roman whorehouse, for the gods’ sake.

    I am not completely au fait with how they went about recording stuff in the Old Days, – did they still chisel on stone tablets atop mountains? But I am sure Unklee will be able to direct us to the written non-Christian testimony of this miraculous event, proving that bringing someone back from the dead is a walk in the park.

    What about it Unklee?

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  27. Why would an all powerful deity allow errors in his testimony to humanity which was intended to cause them to believe?

    1. Because he was a complete dick and just didn’t have the time to check on everything … sheesh.

    2. Deep down he’s a nice guy really and he was just having a bit of fun.

    3. It is all make believe and the only true dicks are those who believe this nonsense?

    I’m torn, what do you lot think?

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  28. Ark, Christian theologians see the situation with Lazarus as a resuscitation not a resurrection. The difference being that Lazarus still grew old and died, but in the case of Jesus it was meant to be into a new eternal body that would never age or die.

    But anyway as you mention the Lazarus resuscitation, it is mentioned nowhere except in one book of the New Testament, not even in the other Gospels. Yet there was supposed to be a huge crowd who witnessed the event. Certainly ranks high on the list of likely totally fabricated events.

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  29. Hi Nate & Powell,

    I think I have said all I want to say about where I think Nate’s argument is weak. I don’t want to be a pain and go on and on. But it is an interesting discussion, and I’d like to at least answer your questions.

    “UnkleE, I’m kind of surprised we see this so differently.

    Nate, I think the key point for our disagreement may be your characterisation of the argument, as in the title of your post. But that isn’t the argument. His argument goes something like this:

    1. There are a small bunch of (“minimal”) facts which the majority of secular scholars agree on, including that the disciples had visions of Jesus after he died and these visions led them to think that he had been resurrected.
    2. This wasn’t an easy step for them to take because there was no tradition within Judaism for that sort of resurrection. They wouldn’t have taken it if the experiences weren’t very convincing.
    3. Therefore this is one reason why we should believe in the resurrection.

    You have omitted #1, so obviously that makes the argument much weaker.

    “I’m not sure why you keep hammering the point on the fact that Herod’s views are not the mainstream Judaism view.”

    Powell, yes I am a Protestant, though I’m a disbeliever in denominations.

    I keep saying this because it is important for WLC’s actual argument, not the truncated argument Nate has put in his post title. See my comment to Nate above. The argument doesn’t require that there be absolutely no resurrection belief by any Jew anywhere, as Nate’s argument implies, but simply that such belief wasn’t very influential, or common, or respected, so that it means that the resurrection appearances must have been strong experiences to engender this belief.

    Like

  30. Hi Nate,

    I think that this is a great argument and when you brought it up under your last post, I borrowed it in my discussions with Christians on Theology Web. In addition, I pointed out to my Christian friends on TW that many Jews in the first century believed that John the Baptist was Elijah come back from the dead; and all of Judea was aware of the “raising” of Lazarus, it was even reported to the Sanhedrin (who then sought to kill Lazarus). And of course there is the raising of Jairus’ daughter; and the people in the OT that were raised from the dead by Elijah, Elisha, and Elisha’s bones.

    So even though “raisings from the dead” were rare, they weren’t unheard of in first century Judaism. And by raising Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus, Jesus put himself on par with Elijah and Elisha! And if Elisha’s bones could raise someone from the dead, why can’t Jesus raise himself from the dead?? I don’t see any reason why any Jew would be at all shocked by Jesus’ raising from the dead, due to the prior precedents.

    Well, guess what was the Christians’ answer: “Stupid Atheist, Jesus was “resurrected” from the dead, Lazarus was “raised” from the dead. Have you even read the Bible?? Jews of the first century would know the difference! Why don’t you go read some actual scholarship!”

    ???

    How would any first century Jew know the difference between a “raised” body and a “resurrected” body? Jesus did plenty of magic tricks prior to his death, such as walking on water and flying to the top of the temple, and he did magic tricks after his “raising”: he walked through locked doors and teleported between cities. WHAT’S THE FRICKIN’ DIFFERENCE?? And if you say that Jesus’ resurrected body didn’t need to eat, drink, or use the toilet…how would the disciples know that if the “resurrected” Jesus was always asking for a broiled fish lunch?

    Liked by 2 people

  31. And if you say that the difference between a “resurrected” body and a “raised” body is that the resurrected body is immortal; it will never die…how would anyone know that until the “raised” person actually…died…a SECOND time?? Wouldn’t the Jews have been completely unaware of Jesus “resurrected” status because he disappeared forty days later! If he had lived on…and on…and on…and on…and on, century after century…then they would have known that he was resurrected, but he disappeared into…thin air…

    For all they knew, Jesus was sitting on the top of the highest point of the temple again or walking on water in the middle of the Mediterranean…

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Everyone argues over the un-witnessed Resurrection of the character, Jesus of Nazareth. Why?

    It goes back, Ark, to what I said earlier – Yeshua didn’t fit the Messiah paradigm, he didn’t fulfill any of the three qualifications I mentioned earlier. In fact, one could easily ask why a god would allow his alleged son to die such an ignominious death. That’s when the spin doctors took over and found a way to turn a negative into a positive – their god had allowed his son to die so that he could resurrect him and prove that he was the real deal! After all, the resurrection of Lazarus is reported by only one anonymous gospel author, whereas all four plus Paul maintain that the resurrection really happened – it HAD to have, otherwise their entire house of cards would come a-tumblin’ down. Without the resurrection, there IS no Christian religion, just another prophet who ran afoul of the law and got his ass handed to him.

    We both know that nothing supernatural happened, the body was either slipped out of the tomb that first, unguarded evening, or entirely fabricated.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Note specifically, Peter, how Yeshua deliberately waited four days, so there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Laz was really dead. I loved the line, “He stinketh.”

    At any rate, ask Ark – that’s how drama is created. But then again, how would he know –?

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Resuscitation and not Resurrection? Really?
    So, Jesus’ miracle raising a four day old corpse was simply part and parcel of the day to day comings and goings of a 1st Century Jerusalem Paramedic was it?
    Thank god he didn’t to perform the kiss of life in this case. That would have been enough to make an imaginary god like Jesus to throw up!

    One thing I cannot understand is why unklee bothers.
    Truly.

    He has been a Paulinite (”Christian”) since my Grandad fell off the bus and yet here he is, mixing it with normal people (mostly – not you Arch) arguing the toss over historical fiction that normal people have absolutely no truck with,

    And not only that , he is ”championing ” Christianity’s Number One Arsehole, Mister Kalam Divine Command Theory, himself, Senor Dipshit,William Lane Craig.

    Apologists like unklee are secretly atheists. There can be no other reason why he feels the need to continually enter an atheist arena such as this and blather on in a pitiful attempt to justify his belief in this garbage.
    I am convinced he is really crying out for help, for someone – anyone to show some empathy and welcome him into the arms of normal people.

    Just say the word, unklee. We’re here for you.
    You don’t need ”saving”, you aren’t a (gag) ”sinner”. Honestly, your already fair dinkum, mate.

    Hang up the theological boxing gloves, unk. Most people here have been in your shoes,so you are in good company.

    Ark.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Dude, I think the criticism of his logic was valid, but talking about him as a person like that really bothered me. The whole “you’re really not a believer” thing was patronizing, and I’ve been on the receiving end of attitudes like that plenty of times, as I’m sure you have. It is not fun. This whole time he has been respectful of us as people, even as he disagrees with us, and I think we should do likewise.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Lane, I can’t help but ask … have you had much contact with unkleE?

    Many on this blog have and while we may not feel towards him to the extreme level as Ark, we do understand where he’s coming from. His manipulative attitude and so-called “superior knowledge” (based on his “extensive study” of scholars) gets old after awhile.

    I’m sure he’s a nice enough person in real life, but on the internet, he can bring out the worst in people.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. I suspect that Land is still at that stage where he sees good in everyone, which died in me when my best friend killed my puppy.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. *Smile* – you must be a newbie if you are unfamiliar with unklee’s condescending and often sycophant delivery style.
    With a friend on board like you he will be grinning from ear to ear at your naivety and will gleefully welcome you to his fan club – and I’m sure he waive the fees. … ”dude”.

    But stick around…. you’ll learn. And remember you heard it here first.

    😉

    Liked by 1 person

  39. @Nan.

    I’m sure he’s a nice enough person in real life, but on the internet, he can bring out the worst in people

    Worst? No, unklee brings out the best . in me! He loves me so much he banned me.

    Remember, Wally has affirmed I am the Son of Satan! lol …

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Nan; I haven’t had that much contact with UnkleE, but I have known a lot of people like that. And I get that it’s annoying. In fact, I won’t pretend that some of his comments in this very thread didn’t make me roll my eyes. So I do understand where Ark is coming from. But I still felt like he crossed the line from disagreeing with ideas into personal attacks, and I think that’s a line worth defending.

    Archaeopteryx1; “I suspect that Lane is still at that stage where he sees good in everyone.” Damn straight. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Supposedly….after his resurrection…Jesus didn’t need to eat, but he ate broiled fish anyway. Very weird.

    It seems to me that it was more important for the authors of these stories to prove that the “raised” Jesus was a real flesh and blood body and not a ghost. They don’t seem interested in proving his body was “immortal”. For all we know, the earliest Christians didn’t see Jesus’ “raised” body as any different from Lazarus’ “raised” body, the only difference being that Jesus’ “raising” was a sign that he was the Messiah. The alleged appearances of Jesus proved to the emotionally devastated and ghost-seeing disciples (Sea of Galilee) that Jesus was the messiah and that they would soon reign with Jesus, sitting on twelve thrones, ruling over the re-established Davidic Monarchy in the New Israel.

    From the little evidence we do have, I will bet it is very possible that the original “raised from the dead” stories about Jesus did NOT include an Ascension (it is only mentioned by one gospel author, and he admits he was not an eyewitness.) So it is quite possible that the truth is that Jesus lived on, appearing here, and appearing there, for many years, and then when he died the SECOND time, as all “raised” people do…God carried his body to an unknown location and buried him…kind of like with Moses. And that is why Papias, in the second century, believed that Jesus lived on into his 50’s after his “raising”!!

    Maybe the author of John never meant any of his miracle stories, or God-cooking-fish stories, to be taken literally. Maybe they were told for theological purposes only, not meant to be seen as historical events.And since we don’t know what his purpose for telling these stories was (no one else in the Bible tells about this cooking-fish-story), we should chalk it up to a theological story, not an historical story.

    But we will never know for sure why he wrote these stories because no one knows who wrote this book! *****So the mature, rational thing to do is to NOT believe a tall, supernatural-laden tale until there is evidence to support its veracity.*****

    We don’t believe stories about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster on the basis of poor evidence, so why should we believe it about a man who lived twenty centuries ago who allegedly walked on water, turned water into wine…and cooked fish on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius after he had just received his shiny, brand-spanking-new, superhero, I-can-cook-fish-by-just-wiggling-my-nose body?

    It
    is
    a
    tall
    tale!

    Liked by 3 people

  42. @Lane

    But I still felt like he crossed the line from disagreeing with ideas into personal attacks, and I think that’s a line worth defending.

    Nope. People like unklee need to be shown for what they truly are.
    His approach is manipulative, and condescending. He is the Cherry Picker par excellence.
    And contrary to what he believes, he is willfully ignorant almost to the point of being disingenuous.

    Engage him about Moses and the Exodus and the impact it should have on his beloved Jesus of
    NazarethNowhere.
    See if you can get a straight answer to the archaeological problems and the fact the biblical character, Yeshua actually believes he was a real historical person?
    Fifty bucks says you he will blow you off with the theological two step – that;s if he even engages you.
    And if he does …. boy oh boy you are one ‘Favored Son’, let me tell you.

    He touts the biblical scholarly ‘consensus’ ticket like its a mantra given him by Yahweh, yet he has nothing to say ( of any worth) regarding the consensus over the historical fiction of the Pentateuch or the archaeological consensus regarding the Egyptian captivity, Exodus and conquest.

    Do you know how long we have all heard his ”minimum facts” bullshit?
    What facts for christsake? There are no frakking ”facts” about the resurrection – other than the fact it is simply a story.

    And while the others are more tentative in their approach dealing with him, I could care less.

    He tailors his arguments and responses to ensure his game plan is hardly disrupted at all. You will note he will never engage me any more.

    You should read one of his posts – Nazareth revisited, I think it is called.

    His arse was handed to him on a plate by some bloke called Bernard, and when he finally had no answer left he cut the thread off but still managed to leave stating something along the lines that if Bernard was not prepared to accept what the ”experts” say then there was no point in continuing dialogue.

    Very similar to what he did on this thread and as far as memory serves almost every occasion he pops over to Nate’s blog.

    Again … stick around long enough and you will learn.

    Ark

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Sorry I’m just now seeing these. Lane, for what it’s worth, I completely agree with you! I’m given grief about it too, from time to time, but I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. Glad to have someone else on here that sees it the same way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  44. But Ark, I think it’s okay to just let the drama play out without attacking him over it. First, I’m not prepared to say that unkleE is disingenuous about anything he says. In fact, I think he’s usually very sincere about it. But even if we leave that aside, if his arguments are so problematic, then I think most objective readers will be able to see that, especially if our responses deal with his arguments and not his character.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. He lived across the street. I chased him home with a baseball bat, but his mother wouldn’t let me kill him. (A very narrow-minded attitude on her part, if I do say so myself!)

    Liked by 3 people

  46. It seems to me that it was more important for the authors of these stories to prove that the “raised” Jesus was a real flesh and blood body and not a ghost.

    Exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. The boy was a year older and a head taller. You can irritate me all day, even get on my last nerve and you’re perfectly safe, but you don’t want to make me angry – you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

    Like

  48. i’m totally freaking out.

    some of you may remember me having a panic about my sister sending her troubled 14yr old son to an out of state “Christian” boarding school. well, I just found out where he is:
    http://teenchallengeusa.blogspot.com/
    i’m horrified and can’t sleep over this.
    that poor child
    and he doesn’t get out until December.

    this is terrible!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know what to do. I can now send him mail, but it all has to be “approved” by assholes calling themselves christians.
    it’s really making me sick. i’m seriously disturbed by thinking what he is having to endure.

    help me.

    Like

  49. I wish I could, Pauli, but the truth is, at his age, there is nothing you can do except attempt to reason with your sister. You have no legal standing, and even CPS won’t interfere, due to the religious factor.

    To add fuel to the flames, I ran across this documentary:
    http://freedocumentaries.org/documentary/jesus-camp

    The good news is that due to the negative publicity generated by the above documentary, the ‘Jesus Camp’ was closed.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. And continue to communicate with him, but hold back that temper of yours or you’ll find yourself on a blacklist, and that won’t help your nephew. You might look into the legal requirements in his state for emancipation, and once he’s out, consider trying to help him break free – legally – from his parents, but for now, just give him all of the support you can. Yeah, I know, it’s frustrating to feel so helpless, but not everything can be fixed.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Does anyone but me find it strange that, according to Genesis, Yahweh created the entire Universe for the Jews, his Chosen People —

    — yet of all of the religions in the world, Judaism comprises only 0.22 of 1 per cent?

    Liked by 4 people

  52. And on top of this Arch, every time Yahweh gave them land, they still had to kill the people who occupied the land in order to receive Yahweh’s gift.

    That would be like me giving you a Bentley, but you still had to kill the original owner in order to receive my gift. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  53. Psychologist Eric Berne, in his book, “Games People Play,” had a name for that – he called that game, ‘Let’s You and Him Fight‘.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. @arch

    All the more making the Jews even more special! In any case isn’t it written that most will perish and only very few will be saved?

    In fact, revelations say only 144k will be saved. I mean you can take it as a metaphor where 144k is not 144k

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Out of the billions and billions of humans who have ever lived, this god created an entire universe, had a 13-year old virgin impregnated, had his son murdered in agony, to save 144 thousand? Sounds like a piss-poor plan to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  56. @Nate

    But Ark, I think it’s okay to just let the drama play out without attacking him over it.

    You’re pulling my leg, Nate, right?
    What do you think he does to you every time he drops one of his sugary- not-so -sweet comments on one of your posts?

    Do you truly think he is showing you any respect?

    He is not interested in your – or anyone else’s POV, if it in anyway clashes with his own. He’s merely here to rubbish your deconversion – in a nice gentlemanly scholarly fashion (sic) and try to show you that you really know Jack S*** and that you were never a real Christian no matter the nonsense you had to put up with and still do.

    Besides, when it comes to hypocrisy and hypocrites of this nature, I don’t do ”nice.’ And every approach is part of the drama!

    Failing this , of course, he might really be a closet atheist. Won’t be the first one, either.

    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  57. if his arguments are so problematic, then I think most objective readers will be able to see that, especially if our responses deal with his arguments and not his character.

    I’ll bet there was someone who said exactly the same thing about Tomas Torquemada.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. thanks arch, I saw jesus camp, and when my sister told me she had sent him away, I referenced that movie, but she insisted it isn’t like that. well, now that I know where he is, it is exaclty like jesus camp.

    i’m just going to write him nice little letters and hope for the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. That’s a lot of information, Powell – I’m going to have to read some more of his stuff, he doesn’t seem to pull any punches. Thanks for the intro.

    Like

  60. @Arch

    Glad you like it!

    From the brief reading I have regarding other articles, it seems that this is actually a Christian website or that’s how I see it.

    Interesting to see one of their contributors whacking the core tenet of Christianity.

    Like

  61. Ark, nate may be one of the few truly good people left – if he wants to advocate for courtesy and wants to be long-suffering and gracious, maybe we shouldn’t discourage him.

    He actually seems to do a better job of exuding the christian virtues better than most christians. We may need more like him rather than less.

    Like

  62. Hi Powell,

    Yes, that was me…fighting the fight of debunking supernaturalism on as many Christian blogs as I can.

    🙂

    Gary

    Liked by 2 people

  63. Ark, nate may be one of the few truly good people left – if he wants to advocate for courtesy and wants to be long-suffering and gracious, maybe we shouldn’t discourage him.

    Agreed, he is one of the few nice guys left. And because he doesn’t wish to offend unklee , even though his arguments are somewhat suggestive of a condescending rude individual, I for one don’t mind taking his arguments to task and exposing them for what they are: absolute crap.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. He actually seems to do a better job of exuding the christian virtues better than most christians. We may need more like him rather than less.

    For flipping heck’s sake, William, are you serious?
    That is really cruel to suggest Nate has ”Christian virtues”.

    I don’t thin k you actually thought this statement through, did you?

    Maybe an apology to Nate is due?

    Liked by 1 person

  65. I don’t know about you people, but in my village whenever a person has ended up in a morgue for the wrong reasons and wakes up from their death like slumber, people run away, it is a news story. To tell me back in the day it was common place for people to resurrect and everyone goes on with their business is to bullshit me.

    And when we start wasting time on this minimal facts business, I wonder what others have smoked. No one witnessed a resurrection. No one. All we have in the bible is so and so said they heard so and so say.

    Someone should read about the early church and their beliefs in healing and resurrections. You will be amazed.

    Liked by 2 people

  66. Someone should read about the early church and their beliefs in healing and resurrections. You will be amazed.

    I’ll go you one better than that, Mak – apply that sponge-like brain of yours to reading stories in church history about “incorruptible” corpses – bodies of certain church officials which, due to the purity of the individual during life (according to the church), their bodies didn’t decay after death – while you’re there, read about all of the behind-the-scenes bizarre means employed to make that appear to be happening!

    Liked by 1 person

  67. They listen because he makes like he actually knows something by dropping names and referencing various sources to “support” his views. Any politician does the same.

    Liked by 3 people

  68. Unkle E can reference scholar after scholar but not one of them can provide any evidence of a “resurrection”. No one witnessed the body in question come back to life. No one witnessed this body exit his tomb. All these scholars can do is try to convince us that people living 20 centuries ago sincerely BELIEVED that they had seen a resurrected body.

    So the only evidence that Christian scholars have regarding this alleged event are claims of post-death appearances to grieving relatives and friends by the dead person. And each year, probably since the beginning of time, thousands of grieving humans have claimed to see their dead loved ones and friends. How many Christians believe such claims? Probably not many. So why on earth do they believe ONE claim, about ONE dead man, who lived and died several thousand years ago??

    It makes no sense whatsoever.

    What about Paul? He wasn’t a friend or relative, yet he believed. Answer: Paul specifically states he “saw” Jesus in a “vision”. Visions are not reality. There are numerous natural, much more probable explanations for Paul’s very odd conversion than that he really did see a resurrected dead body.

    It
    is
    one
    big
    tall
    tale.

    Liked by 4 people

  69. According to Acts (not Paul) all he really saw was a bright light. His only indication that it was Jesus was a phantom “voice” (most likely in his head) that identified itself.

    Of course, there’s also the question of the guards that were with him. Some translations say the guards heard the voice but didn’t see the light; others say they saw the light but didn’t hear the voice. Hmmm. Who are we to believe?

    Plus, something many don’t realize is this “heavenly” event supposedly took place THREE years after Jesus’ heavenly ascent. I’ve always wondered why he waited so long if spreading the word to the Gentiles was so important.

    But who am I to question such sacred facts?

    Liked by 4 people

  70. i’m sure we all agree that Nate is a nice, civil guy. good job, Nate.

    and I think we all can agree that Ark is absolutely correct in putting Unklee and all those other bullshitters in their place.
    Personally, I love it.
    Ark is an artist with his words as much as he is with his camera.
    good job, Ark.

    Like

  71. Are you freakin’ believing this?!!!

    Judge Orders Kentucky To Give Millions In Subsidies To Creationist Amusement Park

    The state of Kentucky must give millions of dollars in tax subsidies to a Noah’s Ark theme park owned by a creationist ministry, even though that ministry refuses to comply with the state’s request not to engage in hiring discrimination, according to an opinion by a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench …[read more – http://thinkprogress.org/health/2016/01/25/3742625/documents-michigan-contradict-flint-narrative-snyder/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tptop3&utm_term=1&utm_content=52&elq=505a0cc81e6244479a86c95c2bb773d6&elqCampaignId=4880&elqaid=28912&elqat=1&elqTrackId=13bacc82b5d64d69bc3c14a9161ff26e%5D

    Liked by 1 person

  72. @Arch,

    I don’t think this is the end of it – the judge ruled that ARC can apply for subsidies, but it’s still up to the City Council to determine if they approve the subsidies.

    Previously they didn’t allow ARC to apply for it even.

    Like

  73. oh, I won’t be going to see it either. lol.

    speaking of the ark:
    two days ago I watched “noah” with russell crowe. OMG, it was ridiculous. more than half of the movie wasn’t even in the bible.
    I at least thought with modern movie technology they would have an amazing scene with all of the animals, but no, it took less than 2 minutes for all of the animals to come running in so fast and then they all laid down and went to sleep for the whole cruise. ridiculous.
    also, the fallen angels, who were giant rock creatures, built the ark. ???????
    and there was an evil stowaway that tried to kill Noah. ??????
    and noah’s daughter in law gave birth to twins girls and noah was going to kill them?????

    Like

  74. I guessed that’s what you meant, Powell.

    And on a totally different subject, a new series debuted on TV last night – “Lucifer” – it seems that Satan decided he’s had enough and chose to retire in Los Angeles (I would have guessed Las Vegas, but maybe that was too much like home). Lucifer Morningstar, dapper, sophisticated, charming, has a black-feathered angel who keeps popping in to demand that he return to Hell, as things are getting ‘out of balance’. Lucifer also encounters a hot little detective and joins her in the hunt to catch the bad guy, who kills her, but he brings her back to life (also, as an immortal, you can shoot him all day, to no avail). From the teaser at the end, one can infer that he becomes an official police consultant and intends accompanying her to solve crimes. His black-feathered angel thinks he’s being influenced too much by humanity, that he’s going soft. Lucifer can’t stand kids, but the cop has a 6-year old daughter who idolizes him, and you can tell he grudgingly likes her too.

    The show has all of the elements for some interesting plot twists and Lucifer gets off some good anti-religious one-liners.

    Liked by 2 people

  75. Ark,

    You’re a good guy. You all are (even the ladies – good guys).

    I value each of your insights and enjoy your wittier and sometimes crueler comments as well.

    keep on keepin on.

    Liked by 3 people

  76. As another off topic contribution, there is an interesting article here where Bob Grundry defends his new book, ‘Peter: False disciple and apostate according to St Matthew’.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2016/01/25/bob-gundry-responds-to-larry-hurtado/

    Once again this scholarship shows the real insight from looking at the Gospels separately and asking why did Matthew change what he did from the earlier Gospel of Mark.

    Anyway it makes one think.

    Like

  77. Dear skeptic friends. What do you think of this statement:

    I am often by Christians that I do not know enough about Christian scholarship to question the historicity of the Resurrection. Here is my response:

    I encourage Christians, and persons of other supernatural belief systems, to read both sides of the issue in question, but I warn you of one thing: conservative Christians will NEVER be satisfied with the number of Christian scholars you read UNTIL you finally agree with their position. Christians want you to read STACKS of books written by Christian scholars. Not just one or two, but STACKS. I have read NT Wright’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God”, all 800+ pages, and I have studied the writings of Christian apologists such as Mike Licona and others, but it is never enough. I am always “ignorant” because I haven’t read enough Christian literature.

    Let me throw out this suggestion: If any religious person tries to convince you of the central supernatural claim of his or her Faith, such as that God gave Mohammad his “Word” in the form of the Koran while sitting in a cave, or Joseph Smith received God’s new “Word” in the form of the Golden Plates on a farm in upstate New York, or the Buddha ordered a water buffalo to recite the words of a Hindu text in ancient India, or Christians and their claim of the bodily resurrection of Jesus in first century Palestine, tell them this: I’ll give you FIVE minutes to tell me the evidence for your supernatural claim. If within five minutes you convince me that the evidence for your claim is strong, I will read your religion’s scholarly books. If not, I’m not going to waste my time.

    Isn’t that reasonable? If Hindus can’t give you strong evidence for a talking water buffalo within five minutes, are you really going to spend hours and hours reading Hindu books to verify their supernatural claim? I doubt it. So why should we demand any less from Christians??

    Dear Christians: Give us the evidence for the bodily Resurrection of Jesus in five minutes, and if it is strong, we will read your scholars’ books. But if all you have is hearsay, generalizations, and assumptions, we are not going to waste our time reading a bunch of your religion’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. Many Christians on Theology Web have accused me of not only using poor logic but also that I am ignorant regarding scholarship on the question of the Resurrection. However, these accusations can easily be shown to be completely bogus.

    First, on what issue related to the early Christian belief in the Resurrection of Jesus do I disagree with the majority opinion of scholars? Answer: None. I accept all positions held by the majority opinion of experts regarding the early beliefs, writings, and practices of the early Christians, even (reluctantly), the empty tomb. So how can someone who agrees with majority expert opinion on every issue in question be using poor logic regarding the subject??

    Secondly, if I accept the majority expert opinion regarding early Christian beliefs and practices on every issue related to that subject, just as I accept the majority expert opinion on every other subject of Antiquity, why do I need to become an expert myself on early Christianity? Just as I nor the overwhelming majority of educated people feel the need to fully research the beliefs and practices of the Romans and their empire to accept as fact what the majority of historians say about this group of people—we simply accept majority expert opinion on the issue—why then should we do extensive research regarding early Christianity?

    Christians won’t admit this but the real reason why Christians are never satisfied with the quantity of research that we skeptics have pursued regarding their belief system is because they will never be satisfied with our knowledge of the “facts” until they have convinced us of the reality of the supernatural…miracles…MAGIC! Until they can convince us that magic is real, that it happens every day, all over the world, due to the supernatural powers of their invisible Bronze Age deity, they know that their evidence on its own is too weak to convince us.

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