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Second Post...Would only accept 3000 characters...LOL
You said, "Our brains can do remarkable things that appear to be magical. It's not unusual for someone to think they see a recently deceased loved one on the street or in a crowd. We hear their voices in our minds and want to believe they are communicating with us. What is real and what isn't? The Disciples could have been so distraught they may have felt it would make people feel better if they made up a story. How many parents have told their young children that their favorite pet has gone to heaven and is living there? Why do they do that? To keep the children from feeling their loss and to play on their ability to believe in magic."
Individuals may "see" or "hear" something in such cased as you mentioned, but in regard to the resurrected Jesus, the record tells us that all of the disciples saw Jesus on different occasions, individually, as a group, and as Paul reminds us, over 500 saw him at once. They even touched Jesus. Thomas, doubting Thomas, in fact, wouldn't believe unless he touched him. Jesus appeared and offered his wounds for verification - end of doubt.
As for making people feel better, it just doesn’t work that way in real life. In fact the disciples, per the above facts, the disciples gave their lives for the Gospel's sake, of which the physical resurrection was central. The really believed that they saw the resurrected Jesus. Any other conclusion ignores the text and enters the realm of pure speculation.
Hope this helps some. Would love to sit over coffee and discuss it. Perhaps a group would like to meet at a local restaurant and ask some questions. I would give a simple presentation on the historicity of the resurrection, 10 min or so, and then open to questions.
Just saw your post an hour or so ago. I will be glad to try to help clarify some things.
You said, "I still have a problem with believing Jesus actually floated up to heaven. I understand this is the crux of Christianity and demands belief if one is to be saved. What bothers me about having to believe this is it demands we believe in magical thinking and plays on the human ability to believe in the unknown and superstition.
First, any presupposition that begins with the existence of God can consistently posit the miraculous. Well, honestly, if the resurrection was actual and physical as the evidence leads on to believe, then ascending into heaven is no real problem. Don’t put the cart before the horse, because the ascension was not a vacuous event but rests on the factuality of the resurrection.
You said, "The Bible (written by men) asks us to take a leap of faith that this actually happened in order for us to be Christians."
The leap of faith to which you refer is no where found in Scripture. In fact, I address this issue in my soon to be released book, Love Still Wins: Loving God, Eternal Hell, And An Answer To Rob Bell. There I address the fact that my faith is not faith in the contemporary sense of the word and even a casual reading of Scripture will support this proposition. While I use other passages in the Bible to drive this point home, I will begin with Jesus. For starters, he never expected either his disciples or his enemies to believe him without sufficient reasons for doing so. To his enemies particularly, he had this to say, "“Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (John 10:32)." The answer, of course, was that they did not do so for any of the miracles he performed but because in that same context he made himself "equal with God."
The Apostle Paul grounded his faith in the physical resurrection of Jesus as well (1 Corinthians 15). He never considered his faith a blind leap into the dark but rather a substantiated reality.
The Apostles were hiding cowards after the crucifixion. It wasn’t until their certainty in regard to the resurrection that they became the bold witnesses they were. Nothing blind about their experiences.
You said, "If archeologists actually discovered without a doubt the remains of Jesus, I would be more willing to believe in Christianity and the teachings of Jesus. He was an amazing humanitarian and understood our frailties."
But that is the very problem that even Jesus' enemies had in the first century. The religious leaders and Romans, for example, knew the tomb of Jesus was empty and started the first naturalistic lie to explain the empty tomb - "the disciples stole the body" (Matthew 28:13).
Well said, Courseaire. When Jesus referred to the beginning, he confirmed the divine intent for the sexes.
Thank you, teufel.
NOTE: this is 6 and 7 of last post even though it reads as 1 and 2.
I enjoyed the interaction and I hope any readers brave enough to read it, will be enriched by it. I pray that they see Jesus Christ for who he is, God incarnate, redeemer, risen Lord, and soon coming King.
You get the last word, Andrew,
Closing Arguments: Thank you, Andrew for your interaction. I hope first of all that we had an audience, and secondly, that they were enriched by our debate.
In this debate…………..
I have noted the existence of those objective realities like order in the cosmos, the human genome, and the complexity inherent to the universe and life and you give no evidence that naturalism is a sufficient first cause.
Additionally, you discard the logical argument of first cause and posit that said complexity arises from purely natural causes. You discard the argument despite your allegiance to science which seeks, well, sufficient first causes.
I have noted certain inherent qualities that define our humanity, like mind, reason, morality, and volitional freedom: all realities that require a personal, intelligent, holy, and free first cause. I pointed out that the kind of reality you posit, apparently materialism, offers no logical explanation for those qualities. While you persistently insist that you do not maintain that ultimate reality is only materialistic, you argue within that frame of reference throughout. This, I might add, logically reduces those qualities, including the supposed freedom to the pawn of those forces that make us the physical, and even though some claim that uncertainty concerning those previous states "frees" us, jumping from the nature of reality, ontology, to knowledge of said reality, epistemology, does not release one from the logical link to said reality.
I have very briefly pointed out the historical evidence for the resurrection. You, however, have decided to believe against the evidence. Believing that the disciples lied and that the tomb was not indeed empty. Believing that the disciples gave their lives for something they knew to be a lie, even though, as you say, there is "no documentation or scientific evidence" to show that anyone has ever died for something they know is a lie.
Also, Andrew, your reasoning is circular in regard to the resurrection and it rests you’re your apparent materialistic bent. For example, you know that the resurrection of the dead is "impossible," so you reject any evidence to the contrary. Of course, you try to cover you materialistically dictated presuppositions with the appearance of open-mindedness to the evidence by saying, "Perhaps some day we will realize that our science is wrong, and that bodies can come back from the dead, but until that day, we have to conclude that the resurrection of the dead is impossible."
Number 6 and 7 next....
If you don't mind, lets end the debate with the following - if not it will drag out way too long for any readers..
You said, "Nonsense! The resurrection was one part of a broader story of Jesus. They added it onto the rest of the Jesus story and, realizing how effective it was as evidence, they made it central to the story."
Really, Andrew? The resurrection was "effective as evidence" and then you deny its evidential validity by claiming that the disciples lied about it?
You said, "Both history and biology contradict the "empty tomb" theory. There is no record in history of a dead man coming back to life, and our biology tells us that once you are completely dead (as Jesus would have been had he been crucified and then left for three days), you stay dead. Thus as far as we can know anything about our world, the resurrection of the dead is impossible. Perhaps some day we will realize that our science is wrong, and that bodies can come back from the dead, but until that day, we have to conclude that the resurrection of the dead is impossible."
Ah, biological impossibility, again. Materialism is the ultimate reality in your thinking it seems, Andres, regardless of your claims to some adherence to a supernatural. Evidently, you’re your position, naturalism is true therefore miracles are a prior and ipso facto eliminated as possibilities.
Andrew, the empty tomb is historical and the 12 facts mentioned earlier are naturalistically inexplicable.
Consider the conversion of the unbelievers as part of the evidence.
--James, Jesus’ previously skeptical brother, was converted when he believed he saw the resurrected Jesus.
--Paul, a leader in the persecution of the Church, was also converted by a real experience he believed to be the risen Jesus
Neither of these were Jesus' disciples prior to seeing what they believed was the resurrected Jesus.
You make it sound like Jesus' disciples were blind pawns willing to preach in his name regardless of the facts, but the above two men, James and Paul, were antagonistic toward him originally.
James, was his half-brother and was not a believer before Jesus died and rose.
Paul is a unique story as well. Not only opposed to Christianity, but militantly hostile (watched at the stoning of Stephen and then with papers to gather Christians for their demise). It was Jesus' appearance to him that changed his course. Paul, of course, became the apostle to the gentiles - the most prominent and persuasive evangelist and teacher of the early church.
Finally, the change of the day of worship for Jewish converts from Saturday to Sunday, the 1st day of the week, isn't something to be taken lightly.
I will post my closing arguments in the next post….
Ok, Andrew, forthrightly divulge your view of the supernatural then.
Explain your view of a dead man rising as impossible in light of your belief in the supernatural.
You said, "The alternative to this possibility, however, is that a dead man came back to life. This is not just unlikely; it is impossible. Never in recorded history has a dead body come back to life. It simply does not happen."
I give you a chance to reveal the kind of supernaturalism you maintain.
Even though your arguments are materialistic, I give you a chance to describe the kind of ultimate reality you believe in.
Oh, and explain how "God" does not qualify as supernatural, if you don't mind.
3…..You said, "Presumably, the Apostles made a lot more converts outside of Jerusalem simply because there were a lot more people outside of Jerusalem! So within a few decades of the start of Christianity, the vast majority of Christians were indeed outside of Jerusalem, and couldn't necessarily have gotten to Jerusalem to vindicate the Apostles' claims."
Answer: Andrew, the fact that more converts were eventually won east or west of Jerusalem is not the point. The gospel was preached first at Jerusalem. The truth claim of the resurrection and the empty tomb were, as a test for truth "falsifiable." In other words, it wasn’t a vacuous claim made with no corresponding evidence (another test for truth) but one that depends upon verifiable evidence consistent with said claim.
You said, "As far as those Christians who were in Jerusalem, how do you know they didn't check the tomb, find that it was indeed occupied, and then forsake Christianity?"
Answer: There is no evidence at all that your scenario took place. In fact, Christians became a real nuisance in Jerusalem and elsewhere with their resurrection message. Evidently the Romans and the Jews believed the tomb to be empty and the persecution to which the Christians were eventually submitted revealed that fact. In fact, if the tomb had not been empty, stopping Christianity in its tracks would have been as easy as dumping the body of Jesus in the midst of the crowd during Peter's sermon on Pentecost.
I think I hit them all.
2…..You said, "And, of course, you complete ignore the crux of Wong's argument: that an intelligent designer would not design complex systems. Again, the point of design is to make things as simple as possible so that they can function in a variety of conditions. The human body is far more complex and interdependent than it would be if it were designed."
Answer: Andrew, What makes you think an intelligent designer "would not" design complex systems? That is purely speculative. We are dealing with qualitative differences in intellect here, i.e. God verses man. After all, "Simple" and/or "complex," in fact are relative terms you know, depending upon the intellect of the designer and the observer. The idea the MS Windows is simple is relative to the knowledge the observer and/or user. Simple, perhaps in Bill Gates estimation but infinitely complex in the eyes of the uneducated having never used a computer. So, the uneducated should posit that Windows had no designer but is rather the result of matter plus time plus chance because of its perceived complexity
It is most likely that the complexity you admit is the result of our human ignorance
You said, "At least mass hysteria has occurred in the past, though perhaps not involving hallucinations specifically; unless I'm very wrong, the dead have never come close to returning to life."
Answer: So, Andrew, which is it? Hallucinations or mass hysteria? Neither fits the evidence. Having admitted the unlikelihood of a mass hallucination, the mass hysteria you mentioned is as unlikely given the evidence. In fact, the text tells us that the disciples were initially in hiding after the death of Jesus and it wasn’t until after Pentecost that they began preaching the gospel to which the resurrection was central.
You also said, "you still haven't responded to my point that the Apostles could have lied about the resurrection. Yes, they died for their belief in Jesus, but they could easily have believed in Jesus in general but not in the Resurrection specifically. They lied about it because they didn't believe people would take them seriously. Are you going to respond to this point, or just keep ignoring it?"
Answer: Oh, but I did respond to it, Andrew. They didn’t just die for their "belief in Jesus," they died for the Jesus they believed rose from the dead. The very Jesus with whom they reported to have conversed, walked, ate on several occasions, and over a period of about 40 days, and all after his death - that was the Jesus they believed in. And remember, the resurrection was central to their message not a fabricated addendum to a story they wanted everybody else to believe - a "story" they knew to be false. Remember, they really believed they saw the resurrected Jesus - again as they, at least most of them, died for preaching it.
one more post, i think...
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