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EngRMP
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July 17, 2009 1:51 pm  

Antiqueone,
A beautiful analogy of the caterpillar... I think it fits well in the Christian picture of life/death.

I'm guessing that you're worried about culling because you think that humans will decide that the purpose of evolution is culling, and therefore we should help that along. It might be argued that Hitler was thinking along these lines with his "perfect race". But, I think most reasonable people see natural selection as a very effective culling mechanism... diabetics, etc have a harder time surviving to the point that their genetic code propagates. In addition, most reasonable people see that it would be very difficult to judge diabetes/etc as a reason to destroy the rest of the genetic code present (which might still have value). I think the fear should be more on the other end of the spectrum from culling... trying to genetically create "perfect" beings... genetic diversity handles random adversity much better.

I'm sure the contradiction of choice vs pre-determination must have been asked a million times, so I'm guessing that you have an easy answer... but I'm confused. In your example, whatever choice the child makes, if it doesn't have any effect on the outcome of his/her life then it's not any important sense of choice that would allow a God to judge the person's character. Instead, choice is what culls the weak from the whole... it allows different paths to be tried and evaluated. So, choice is another example suggesting that if there is a God, that evolution was chosen as the way of creation and life... God's purpose is to have life exist and evolve according to natural selection. What am I missing?

And, of course, if we knew there was something better waiting for us after death, then why don't we all just kill ourselves. If the answer to that is that we have to prove ourselves on Earth, and our choices will be judged as the proof that we lived properly.... ummm, then choice is not pre-determined, and we're right back to the evolution argument.

Finally (I think), if God has a goal (the ends to his his/her purpose), then couldn't that goal be a certain evolutionary stage. If we believe that evolution has gotten us to a better place than 5-cell creatures (earlier genetic evolutionary stages), then wouldn't it be logical to assume that further evolution will get us to an even better place. And, as current individuals, we are doing our part, according to that plan, by protecting our genetic code and being good stewards to the genetic code of others (current and future).


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Bombi
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July 17, 2009 2:32 pm  

Thanks for the insight, DntW8up. I get it.


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stiphy
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July 17, 2009 4:11 pm  

Rotorhead: when are you going to realize that just because you can’t touch, taste, smell, feel or hear something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and doesn’t mean that it currently is affecting you? We can’t feel the effects of the moon’s gravity, but it does affect the tides, doesn’t it.?

You just answered your own question, we can feel the effects of the moon's gravity...by looking at the tides. The cause and effect may have taken a lot of work to prove, but THEY HAVE BEEN PROVEN based on observation with the 5 senses you mention.

I guess this is a core part of the disagreement. I would never say something is true (aka not just a hypothesis) based on ANYTHING BUT the ability to touch, taste, smell, feel or hear something. I may hypothesize that something exists but until I can prove it by observation I would never base my morality on my hypothesis or claim its existence to be "true." The tools we have to "observe" truth with are the 5 senses you mention above.

The idea that something can be called an absolute truth without being observed is one of the most dangerous constructs that human beings have created. This anti-logic scares the hell out of me and is the basis of most religion. When we deviate from our senses we live in a world where morality is impossible as ANYONE can claim that they have unobservable proof that something immoral is moral, that up is down, that wrong is right, that A is not A. This is why I feel that religion is inherently an immoral practice as it leads to infinitesimal possibilities of immoral behaviors masquerading as morality based on unobservable superstition.

Sean


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 4:13 pm  

Rotorhead: when are you going to realize that just because you can’t touch, taste, smell, feel or hear something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and doesn’t mean that it currently is affecting you? We can’t feel the effects of the moon’s gravity, but it does affect the tides, doesn’t it.? Earlier Europeans thought the giraffe was a complete figment of someone’s drunken imagination….until someone brought one back to Europe. Open your mind a bit, I say. There is profound evidence for the existence of God. If the God of the Bible really exists, wouldn’t it be wise to find out who He is and what, exactly, he wants with us?
Most people do not reject the idea of there being a Creator Being. Rather, thye reject the idea of there being a Creator Being who demands morality from His creation. In order to clear their consciences and relieve themselves of guilt, they reject the idea of God as the only source of absolute morality. Doing so allows atheists to live however they choose—as morally or immorally as they desire—with no feelings of guilt for their refusal to be accountable to God.

You say that just because you can't use your six senses to validate the existence of something doesn't mean it is not there. I agree. But the things that are not detectable by our senses are measurable by other means. Their effects on things are detectable using instrumentation or our senses. And their effects are repeatable and verifiable through observation and experimentation.

Where is this profound evidence of god? That is the big question.

Most of the leaps in human knowledge have come about as a result of a better understanding of the natural world through science. Don't you think that if there were in fact overwhelming evidence of god's existence that the most intelligent people in the world would realize this and accept it. Instead just the opposite is true, the most intelligent people in the world, our elite scientists, overwhelmingly reject the existence of a god. So I ask again, where is this profound evidence for the existence of god?


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 5:13 pm  

From the other thread from which atheists are forbidden to post.

I submit that Christianity does indeed have an absolute truth which has been observed, and that is why I believe that truth claim.

What is this absolute truth that has been observed? Do tell. I always love to hear about what it takes for someone to abandon reason.


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jogetz
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July 17, 2009 5:34 pm  

The truth that has been observed is no secret.

The central truth claim of Christianity is that a person by the name of Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead never to die again circa 33 A.D.

The claim finds it support in multiple eyewitness accounts, and is the most reasonable explanation to explain generally accepted events / circumstances that took place at that time and soon thereafter.

It will not do to limit "science" to the chemist's test tube or the astronomer's telescope. (Unless it is necessary to do so to protect a particular point of view.) The archaeologists shovel and the historians pen are equally weighty in matters of what is verifiable. The unique thing about these vocations is that they deal directly, not with what might have happened, but with what actually did.

There are certain verifiable historical anomalies that without a reasonable explanation simply do not make sense.

The minimal anomalies / events being:

Jesus was crucified

Jesus was buried in a local tomb.

His followers claimed to experience post death appearances of Jesus.

Several persons formerly hostile to Jesus and his teachings became central figures in the early Christian movement which made the claims that Jesus has risen from the dead.

The first question of course is what proof is there for these events? And the second is, if they can be supported, what explains them most reasonably?

When I have a better opportunity to expound, I will do so. For now, I leave you with the above.


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Michaelds9
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July 17, 2009 6:07 pm  

The truth that has been observed is no secret.

The central truth claim of Christianity is that a person by the name of Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead never to die again circa 33 A.D.

A Venezuelan man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.

Carlos Camejo, 33, was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly sought to stitch up the incision on his face.

"I woke up because the pain was unbearable," Camejo said, according to a report on Friday in leading local newspaper El Universal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_premature_obituaries

CARACAS (Reuters) - A Venezuelan man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.

Carlos Camejo, 33, was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly sought to stitch up the incision on his face.

"I woke up because the pain was unbearable," Camejo said, according to a report on Friday in leading local newspaper El Universal.

His grieving wife turned up at the morgue to identify her husband's body only to find him moved into a corridor -- and alive.

Reuters could not immediately reach hospital officials to confirm the events. But Camejo showed the newspaper his facial scar and a document ordering the autopsy.

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN149975820070917


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 6:08 pm  

The truth that has been observed is no secret.

The central truth claim of Christianity is that a person by the name of Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead never to die again circa 33 A.D.

The claim finds it support in multiple eyewitness accounts, and is the most reasonable explanation to explain generally accepted events / circumstances that took place at that time and soon thereafter.

Where is the proof that this happened? What sources other than the bible support this? The problem with the bible is that it is hearsay. There are no eyewitnesses alive today and no chance to question the eyewitnesses. The truth of the resurrection would not hold up in a court today much less to scientific scrutiny. To make such an outrageous claim you should be able to support it with overwhelming evidence. Where are the contemporary roman documents to support the resurrection. Are you aware that the resurrection story was borrowed from earlier religious mythology? In order for the accounts of miracles to be taken seriously they would need very much corroboration. After all they are pretty far fetched based on the life experiences of modern man.


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jogetz
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July 17, 2009 6:29 pm  

Michael,

Take a close look at the whole sentence that I wrote:

"The central truth claim of Christianity is that a person by the name of Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead never to die again circa 33 A.D."

The eyewitnesses did not simply claim that he "woke up". In that case he most definitely would have needed immediate medical attention and would hardly have inspired their renewed devotion.

JG


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dntw8up
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July 17, 2009 6:50 pm  

The claim finds it support in multiple eyewitness accounts, and is the most reasonable explanation to explain generally accepted events / circumstances that took place at that time and soon thereafter.

Sorry, but there are no eyewitness accounts. The stories were told around campfires for generations before people wrote them down. I guarantee you that any story I tell you today that you verbally pass along to your ancestors, will not be recognizable in a couple of generations as the story I originally told.


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jogetz
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July 17, 2009 7:12 pm  

Rotor,

As I said before my time is not the best right now, so I will unfortunately have to keep my response brief at the moment.

First, there is indeed extra-biblical evidence to support at least several of my statements. There are a number of non-christian records that apply to what the eyewitnesses were claiming and to their actions.

Second, even if it were to be admitted that the Bible (in this case I assume you are referring to the 4 Gospels) is hearsay (and I don't agree with that due to some of the linguistic features and otherwise unnoticed details contained in the portions that are applicable), there are certain things that the writers say that simply don't have a satisfying explanation unless of course the writers were simply trying to convey what really happened. Further, even if the facts of what the New Testament writers penned are unverifiable through first hand observation, there is no denying that what was written does give a good picture of what they were actually claiming to be true.

Are you aware that the resurrection story was borrowed from earlier religious mythology?

Not true. There is nothing quite like it until post first century. There was copying of the idea, but it was not by Christianity, rather, it was from Christianity. The late borrowing my other religions is actually a testament to the surge in the early Church due to its claim of Christ's resurrection. The other religions were simply trying to tap into the same surge.

Third, there are certain verifiable historical facts and events that, especially when taken together, simply don't have a more reasonable explanation than a resurrection.

The truth of the resurrection would not hold up in a court today much less to scientific scrutiny. To make such an outrageous claim you should be able to support it with overwhelming evidence.

Finally (for now), this is a question of human history. You can't recreate an event in a laboratory. The question is did it happen, or didn't it? Here I am afraid Archaeology and History trump chemistry and astronomy.

I really don't need "overwhelming" evidence (although what evidence there is is quite compelling), all I need is evidence that points to a good rational explanation as being a resurrection. Your charge is that belief in a resurrection is "irrational" and "unreasonable". All I need to do is show that historically it is not.

Otherwise, we might also be waiting for your "overwhelming" evidence for atheism.


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jogetz
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July 17, 2009 7:20 pm  

dntw8up,

Quote:

"Sorry, but there are no eyewitness accounts. The stories were told around campfires for generations before people wrote them down. I guarantee you that any story I tell you today that you verbally pass along to your ancestors, will not be recognizable in a couple of generations as the story I originally told."

Not true. the earliest written accounts date to within approximately 10 years of the actual event (the resurrection). Not only that, but that writting quotes an already-circulating pericope, that may be dated to within 1 year of it. There were indeed eyewitnesses.

Your statement also contains a bit of an anachronism. You are projecting today's shortcomings into the past. Before the printing press and computers with word processors, it was common for important information to be passed on via memorization. There are some societies today that still practice it and via it are able to pass along things deemed important to be communcated through multiple generations with mimimal loss or change of that information.

JG


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stiphy
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July 17, 2009 7:57 pm  

Michael,

Take a close look at the whole sentence that I wrote:

"The central truth claim of Christianity is that a person by the name of Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead never to die again circa 33 A.D."

JG

So if he's still here how come no one I know has ever been introduced to him? Where is this immortal Jesus? This should be the easiest thing in the world for Christian's to prove, just have him come out on TV and show his face. Yet this has never been done.

If you can come up with a response that goes beyond the traditional non-sequitur of "he's alive in the tree's/birds/in all of us" that is completely unreproducible and unprovable I'll believe!

Sean


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jogetz
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July 17, 2009 8:07 pm  

Quote:

"If you can come up with a response that goes beyond the traditional non-sequitur of "he's alive in the tree's/birds/in all of us" that is completely unreproducible and unprovable I'll believe!"

I only offer verifiable historical facts.

Here they are again:

Jesus was crucified

Jesus was buried in a local tomb.

His followers claimed to experience post death appearances of Jesus.

Several persons formerly hostile to Jesus and his teachings became central figures in the early Christian movement which made the claims that Jesus has risen from the dead.

The question I am posing is, given these facts (and I will offer evidence as I go), what is the most rational explanation for ALL of them?

No "take it by faith" here.

Your question : "Where is he now?", while interesting, really has no bearing on whether the resurrection actually took place or not. Just because I can't necessarily give you the evidence that you would like, doesn't mean there is not other good evidence to support the claim. The claims truth or falsity rests on the evidence that DOES exist, not on what we would like to exist.

JG


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antiqueone
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July 17, 2009 8:27 pm  

Sean: My Dad is alive, but I can't see him. I would have to travel to Maine to do so. Jesus is alive, but we can't see him: he is not presently here on earth. If He showed up on TV, there could be no doubt about His existence. If there were no room for doubt, there would no longer be any choice whether to believe or not. Jesus said He would come back again. When He does, there will no longer be any room for doubt, but it will be too late to choose.

Thoughts to add to Jogetz re Jesus death and resurrection. If he didn't die, the Jewish Rabbis and Romans would have quickly produced him and squashed Christianity in its tracks. They did not. If he did die, they would have produced his body. They did not. If the early Christians tried to steal his body, the Roman soldiers who were charged with guarding his tomb on pain of death by crucifixion themselves would have stopped them and probably have killed them. When Jesus was killed, his disciples acted like a bunch of cowards. They slunk away and hid in a room. Peter denied him 3 times. They were not the kind of people who would have tried to steal the body anyway. They feared for their lives. Later, when Jesus did return they were so changed that they spoke out strongly about Him and amost all of them continued to state the truth even though it meant they would be (and were) killed in gruesome ways. If Sotomayor told you that you would be boiled in oil unless you admitted that you lied when you said Abraham Lincoln was shot to death, what would you do? Even if you believed Lincoln was shot, would you let her boil you in oil or would you agree with her and everyone else if they said that Lincoln probably died in his old age on a farm in Illinois?


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stiphy
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July 17, 2009 8:38 pm  

JG,

You continue to say they are verifiable historical facts...but I have seen no verification of these so called facts. And to make a claim as extraordinary as the one that is made by Christian's, that someone rose from the dead never to die again, requires a huge amount of verification.

But if you're convinced on these facts at least you are basing your decision to live your life the way you choose on what you perceive to be facts and not on superstition. I can respect that even if I disagree over the validity of the data you are using to make said decision. I think many religious people however "have faith" with no reason to back it up...and that scares me for the reasons I outlined in my previous posts.

I would like to see what your "facts are" if you get the time to share them.

On another note I often hear that "god doesn't have to prove himself". This is something I cannot accept. If someone wants me to praise him he better give me good reason to do so. I would rather spend an eternity in Christian hell than a moment with someone who asks me to blindly follow and not to think. To get empathetic and hypothetical, if I put my place in my creator's shoes I would be appalled at giving my creation it's greatest ability, the ability to think, only to have my creation purposely suppress that ability. To do it in my name would be infuriating, probably the thing I would want to punish my creation the most for. So if I'm wrong and my thoughtful disbelief lands me in Christian hell then I will gladly and proudly take my place next to rotorhead and others who choose to think rather than believe!

Sean


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 9:12 pm  

As I said before my time is not the best right now, so I will unfortunately have to keep my response brief at the moment.

First, there is indeed extra-biblical evidence to support at least several of my statements. There are a number of non-christian records that apply to what the eyewitnesses were claiming and to their actions.

Second, even if it were to be admitted that the Bible (in this case I assume you are referring to the 4 Gospels) is hearsay (and I don't agree with that due to some of the linguistic features and otherwise unnoticed details contained in the portions that are applicable), there are certain things that the writers say that simply don't have a satisfying explanation unless of course the writers were simply trying to convey what really happened. Further, even if the facts of what the New Testament writers penned are unverifiable through first hand observation, there is no denying that what was written does give a good picture of what they were actually claiming to be true.

Are you aware that the resurrection story was borrowed from earlier religious mythology?

Not true. There is nothing quite like it until post first century. There was copying of the idea, but it was not by Christianity, rather, it was from Christianity. The late borrowing my other religions is actually a testament to the surge in the early Church due to its claim of Christ's resurrection. The other religions were simply trying to tap into the same surge.

Third, there are certain verifiable historical facts and events that, especially when taken together, simply don't have a more reasonable explanation than a resurrection.

The truth of the resurrection would not hold up in a court today much less to scientific scrutiny. To make such an outrageous claim you should be able to support it with overwhelming evidence.

Finally (for now), this is a question of human history. You can't recreate an event in a laboratory. The question is did it happen, or didn't it? Here I am afraid Archaeology and History trump chemistry and astronomy.

I really don't need "overwhelming" evidence (although what evidence there is is quite compelling), all I need is evidence that points to a good rational explanation as being a resurrection. Your charge is that belief in a resurrection is "irrational" and "unreasonable". All I need to do is show that historically it is not.

Otherwise, we might also be waiting for your "overwhelming" evidence for atheism.

You mention extra biblical accounts of this story but you provide no references. That seems to always be the case with christians. Linguistic features have nothing to do with whether the story is hearsay. They do not prove truth.

Resurrection story #1 - prechristian.
"Again, Set found Osiris' coffin, took his body out, and dismembered him into 14 parts, scattering them across the land of Egypt. Each part represented one of the 14 full moons (each year has 12 or 13 full moons[1]).

Once again Isis set out to look for the pieces and she was able to find and put together 13 of the 14 parts, but was unable to find the 14th, his penis, which was eaten by the oxyrhynchus fish (a fish with an unusual curved snout resembling depictions of Set). Instead, she fashioned a phallus out of gold and sang a song around Osiris until he came back to life.

Osiris was resurrected. So it was that Isis conceived Horus. Due to this experience, Osiris became Lord of the Dead, and the Afterlife. [2]"

Resurrection story #2 - prechristian
"The Greco-Roman cult of Dionysius had their God, born of the virgin, Semele, being torn to pieces by the Titans. He was then resurrected by his mother. In commemorating his sacrificial death, the devotees ate bread and wine to represent his body and blood.

So Hera had the newborn Dionysus killed by a couple of Titan assassins who tore him to bits, even though he kept trying to escape them by changing forms to hide from them. When he died a pomegranate tree began to grow where his blood had fallen. Disconcerted by this, the Titans decided to be on the safe side and boil the pieces of his body in a great cauldron.

Luckily he was resurrected by his grandmother (though in some accounts it was by his half sister, Athena) and was entrusted to the goddess Persephone for safekeeping. Persephone, in turn, hid him with a king and his wife, who disguised him in girls clothing and hid him in the women's quarters of their palace. Eventually, of course, Hera discovered he was still alive and resumed her campaign of harassment, driving his royal foster parents insane and causing them to kill their own son when they mistook him for a deer. "

When you say that there are verifiable historic accounts, state your sources.

As for overwhelming evidence for atheism, I am not making any extraordinary and outrageous claims that fly in the face of logic and reason. If you are asking me to prove that god does not exist, then I defy you to prove that unicorns and the flying spaghetti monster do not exist. The burden of proof is on the person making the outrageous claim.


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 9:31 pm  

Jesus is alive, but we can't see him: he is not presently here on earth.

Thoughts to add to Jogetz re Jesus death and resurrection. If he didn't die, the Jewish Rabbis and Romans would have quickly produced him and squashed Christianity in its tracks. They did not. If he did die, they would have produced his body. They did not. If the early Christians tried to steal his body, the Roman soldiers who were charged with guarding his tomb on pain of death by crucifixion themselves would have stopped them and probably have killed them. When Jesus was killed, his disciples acted like a bunch of cowards. They slunk away and hid in a room. Peter denied him 3 times. They were not the kind of people who would have tried to steal the body anyway. They feared for their lives. Later, when Jesus did return they were so changed that they spoke out strongly about Him and amost all of them continued to state the truth even though it meant they would be (and were) killed in gruesome ways. If Sotomayor told you that you would be boiled in oil unless you admitted that you lied when you said Abraham Lincoln was shot to death, what would you do? Even if you believed Lincoln was shot, would you let her boil you in oil or would you agree with her and everyone else if they said that Lincoln probably died in his old age on a farm in Illinois?

How convenient, Jesus is alive but he is currently off-world and can't be reached for comment.

Please provide a non-biblical account contemporary to the time of Jesus that even mentions Jesus. If he was such a great prophet then where are all of the roman and Jewish accounts of his miracles outside of the bible? All of your accounts are based on the bible and are single sourced, and the bible is unverifiable hearsay.


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rotorhead
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July 17, 2009 10:06 pm  

dntw8up,

Quote:

"Sorry, but there are no eyewitness accounts. The stories were told around campfires for generations before people wrote them down. I guarantee you that any story I tell you today that you verbally pass along to your ancestors, will not be recognizable in a couple of generations as the story I originally told."

Not true. the earliest written accounts date to within approximately 10 years of the actual event (the resurrection). Not only that, but that writting quotes an already-circulating pericope, that may be dated to within 1 year of it. There were indeed eyewitnesses.

Your statement also contains a bit of an anachronism. You are projecting today's shortcomings into the past. Before the printing press and computers with word processors, it was common for important information to be passed on via memorization. There are some societies today that still practice it and via it are able to pass along things deemed important to be communcated through multiple generations with mimimal loss or change of that information.

JG

You continue to make unsubstantiated claims. Where are these early written accounts? References???? Something outside of the bible. Something that does not simply restate biblical accounts.

You must have never played telephone (Chinese whispers). It is a game where you tell a story and pass it around. Each person is supposed to pass it along reliably. It doesn't happen that way, certainly not for a thousand years. You seem to think that people in the past had better memories than people do today.

They are getting ready to release a digital version of the oldest known version of the bible, the Codex Sinaiticus. I understand that it is different from the present versions of the bible, especially about the accounts of the resurrection.
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/07/06/ancient.bible.online/index.html


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stiphy
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July 18, 2009 3:24 am  

Sean: My Dad is alive, but I can't see him. I would have to travel to Maine to do so.

The difference between your claim that you're dad is alive and you're claim that Jesus is a live is pretty clear: if you did travel to Maine you would see you're dad. If you were trying to convince me that he was alive I could travel to Maine and if you were right he'd be there. If you can tell me where I can go to meet Jesus in person I'll hop a flight and if he's there I'll believe!

Sean


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jogetz
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July 18, 2009 4:52 am  

Rotor,

In one of your last posts to me, you started off by saying:

“You mention extra biblical accounts of this story but you provide no references. That seems to always be the case with Christians. Linguistic features have nothing to do with whether the story is hearsay. They do not prove truth.”

Be patient, my references are coming.

Linguistic features can be used to determine the likely source of information, and if the source appears to be an eyewitness, it does indeed have bearing on whether the information is hearsay or not.

As to your pre-Christian resurrection stories, I think you better look a little more carefully at them. There is a bit more here than you seem to realize.

Your first story regarding Osiris is one that is commonly used to try to discredit the claim that Christ was resurrected. You recited it this way:

Resurrection story #1 - prechristian.
"Again, Set found Osiris' coffin, took his body out, and dismembered him into 14 parts, scattering them across the land of Egypt. Each part represented one of the 14 full moons (each year has 12 or 13 full moons[1]).

Once again Isis set out to look for the pieces and she was able to find and put together 13 of the 14 parts, but was unable to find the 14th, his penis, which was eaten by the oxyrhynchus fish (a fish with an unusual curved snout resembling depictions of Set). Instead, she fashioned a phallus out of gold and sang a song around Osiris until he came back to life.

Osiris was resurrected. So it was that Isis conceived Horus. Due to this experience, Osiris became Lord of the Dead, and the Afterlife. [2]"

True enough, the story as it is told here does use the word “resurrection” to describe what happened to Osiris. However, this is really just a modern writer’s poor choice of words to describe what happened. In actuality, this story does not resemble Christ’s resurrection in the least and is in fact very much unlike it. First, Osiris is described as being dismembered and then partially reconstructed (although remaining impotent, the missing 14th part). The story then says that Osiris “came back to life” and that he was thus “resurrected”. However, what your recital fails to mention is that he came “back to life” only in the realm of the dead, and that his dismembered, but reconstructed body remained quite dead. Take a look at this quote from the Egypt Origins.Org:

Link: http://www.egyptorigins.org/excerptsfromplutarch.htm

“For they say that Diochites is the name given to a small town, on the ground that it alone contains the true tomb; and that the prosperous and influential men among the Egyptians are mostly buried in Abydos, since it is the object of their ambition to be buried in the same ground with the body of Osiris. Memphis, however, they say, the Apis is kept, being the image of the soul of Osiris, whose body also lies there.”

This is an excerpt from the greco-roman writer Plutarch’s comments on the Egyptian legend of Osiris. Please note particularly the last few sentences. According to Plutarch, many of the influential and prosperous among the Egyptian people of his time desired to be buried in various places because it was held that the body of Osiris was in that same ground. Does this sound like a bodily resurrection to you? I don’t think so. So, strike one for you.

Next you turn to the myth of Dionysus. Your story goes like this:

"Resurrection story #2 - prechristian
"The Greco-Roman cult of Dionysius had their God, born of the virgin, Semele, being torn to pieces by the Titans. He was then resurrected by his mother. In commemorating his sacrificial death, the devotees ate bread and wine to represent his body and blood.

So Hera had the newborn Dionysus killed by a couple of Titan assassins who tore him to bits, even though he kept trying to escape them by changing forms to hide from them. When he died a pomegranate tree began to grow where his blood had fallen. Disconcerted by this, the Titans decided to be on the safe side and boil the pieces of his body in a great cauldron.

Luckily he was resurrected by his grandmother (though in some accounts it was by his half sister, Athena) and was entrusted to the goddess Persephone for safekeeping. Persephone, in turn, hid him with a king and his wife, who disguised him in girls clothing and hid him in the women's quarters of their palace. Eventually, of course, Hera discovered he was still alive and resumed her campaign of harassment, driving his royal foster parents insane and causing them to kill their own son when they mistook him for a deer. "

Again, you are seeing only what you want to see here. In fact most of what your recital calls “resurrections” are really “rebirths”. That is why its always women who “resurrect” him. Its much closer to a type of reincarnation than it is to resurrection. Take a look at this quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Link: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/164280/Dionysus

“In Orphic legend (i.e., based on the stories of Orpheus) Dionysus—under the name Zagreus—was the son of Zeus by his daughter Persephone. At the direction of Hera, the infant Zagreus/Dionysus was torn to pieces, cooked, and eaten by the evil Titans. But his heart was saved by Athena, and he (now Dionysus) was resurrected by Zeus through Semele. Zeus struck the Titans with lightning, and they were consumed by fire. From their ashes came the first men, who thus possessed both the evil nature of the Titans and the divine nature of the god.”

Notice a couple of things here. First, although Dionysus was torn to pieces, cooked and eaten by the Titans, they missed a piece. Athena was able to rescue his heart. In some way this kept him from being “too far gone to bring back”. Zeus was then able to “resurrect” him THROUGH Semele. Semele was a woman. He was “resurrected” through be re-born. Again what we have here is the word “resurrect” being a poor choice by modern writers to try to describe what happened here. Yet, this bears no resemblance whatsoever to the bodily resurrection of Christ from a tomb to never die again.

In short, to try to point to either of these stories and claim that Christianity somehow extracted the idea of the bodily resurrection of Christ from them is simply ludicrous. The problem is that people who are looking for something to attempt to hurl at the truth claim of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead tend to fixate on the word “resurrection” when they see it in a description,, failing to look at the details of what is actually being said. Surely you are more objective and careful in your research than this, Rotor. Aren’t you?

You will note I have provided names and links for my sources. Would you please do the same for yours? It would be interesting to see where you are pulling this information from.

You continued:

“When you say that there are verifiable historic accounts, state your sources.”

OK, I’ve kept you waiting long enough.

First, let me again state the claims I have made.

There were four:

1.) Jesus was crucified

2.) Jesus was buried in a local tomb. (I should have added that it was found empty a few days later).

3.) His followers claimed to experience post death appearances of Jesus.

4.) Several persons formerly hostile to Jesus and his teachings became central figures in the early Christian movement which made the claims that Jesus has risen from the dead.

Now here is my first extra-biblical source I present as supporting evidence:

Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Historian, circa 115 A.D.

Link : http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/tacitus.html
Note: the site is called earlychristianwritings.com because it has compiled early writings about Christians, some by Christians themselves, and others by non-Christians. Tacitus falls into the second category.

Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”

Here Tacitus mentions the fact that Christians derive their name from that of one “Christus”. Tacitus also mentions the fact of Christ’s crucifixion as well as place and the roman authority under which it took place (Judaea & Pontius Pilate). He also speaks of Christians holding what he called “a most mischievous superstition”. This is very possibly a reference to the Christian’s claim that Christ was raised bodily from the dead. It could be termed “mischievous” by Tacitus because Christians could not effectively be controlled by threatening them with death due to their belief that they too would share in such a resurrection themselves. As a support for this idea, Tacitus goes on to describe the various means by which Christians were martyred at the hands of the roman authorities. Granted this point is speculative, but if this does not explain the reference, the what was he talking about? Tacitus is considered to be a careful researcher and tended toward written records for is sources of information. Therefore, there is a good possibility that his reference to Christians and their doings, finds its source in some type of roman record to which he would have had access.
So there you have my first non-biblical reference in support of my 4 claims.

You close with the following:

”As for overwhelming evidence for atheism, I am not making any extraordinary and outrageous claims that fly in the face of logic and reason. If you are asking me to prove that god does not exist, then I defy you to prove that unicorns and the flying spaghetti monster do not exist. The burden of proof is on the person making the outrageous claim.”

Would you please look again at my 4 points and then tell me which one(s) are extraordinary and outrageous? I think they are quite tame. The burden of proof is most definitely on me to support my claims, but the burden of proof is upon you to explain why simple historical facts are “outrageous”. Perhaps you might find the implications that the facts suggest to be “outrageous”, but the facts themselves are simply the facts.

More later.

JG


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stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 956
July 18, 2009 10:08 am  

JG, I don't see how Tacitus proves a resurrection occurred, he simply proves that Christian's in 115 AD believed in it then as they do now. Just because something is repeated for many years doesn't make it true. For many years it was preached that the earth was the center of the universe...

If you were trying to get people to follow you and you're newly minted religion, but knew they were afraid because they would be persecuted would you not invent a story such as the one about the resurrection? By promising eternal life and using the resurrection as an example of it you can then recruit more people to you're cause, get more followers etc. Tacitus simply proves that the Christian's were using the resurrection as a marketing tool for their newly formed religion. The Muslim's do the same thing I believe with their "40 Virgin's" after death bit (I am not all that familiar with Islam so forgive my lack of detail), most great religions have stories such as the resurrection that they use to control people. Martyrdom is a very common tool used to control other people. The story of the resurrection was a brilliant way to achieve this level of control.

Looking at the 4 claims, it seems far more likely that his "followers" and those who were "hostile" were more likely savvy politicians looking to advance their agenda than evidence of anything supernatural happening. We have had thousands of years of politicians concocting scheme's to control others, it seems far more plausible that this was just a highly successful iteration of this common behavior than evidence of god:

1.) Jesus was crucified

Seems like there is good historical proof for this.

2.) Jesus was buried in a local tomb. (I should have added that it was found empty a few days later).
Again, seems like this is historically true. It being found empty is related to what was going on in 3.

3.) His followers claimed to experience post death appearances of Jesus.
Of course they did, because they were trying to establish a following...what a great way to continue on with their new "religion" which at the time was really the best way to control other men. The bonus effect of making martyrdom more palatable made this a VERY effective strategy. The key word in your statement is "claimed" though as this is the key. This does not mean it occurred.

4.) Several persons formerly hostile to Jesus and his teachings became central figures in the early Christian movement which made the claims that Jesus has risen from the dead.
Again, seems historically true. Just as in politics of today people switch sides to gain greater power when they see that doing so would be in their best self-interest. This doesn't suggest to me that anything supernatural occurred, it suggests to me that politics has been what it is for a long, long time. That maybe people then lack principal's just as many do now.

Jesus and Mohamed, and those who used their names to gain power and control over other human beings are arguably the world's greatest politician's. But that does not mean that what they say is true. Historically Jesus appears to actually have been a great man who did make things better on earth during some dark days. In order to accomplish what he sought to do he used the tool of his day to gain power. This was not logic and reason but superstition. Unfortunately, because his means was corrupt his message is corruptible, as evidenced in the horrid ways organized religion has used his words to maim, kill and desecrate others.

Thanks for the discussion,

Sean


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antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
Advanced Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 389
July 18, 2009 12:49 pm  

Sean: your point 3. -- experiences of the post-death appearance of Christ. Response:
-over 500 witnesses
-many of those who claimed to see him had been such cowards that when he was crucified they ran and hid. Something changed them so radically that they were willing to go to their death in horrible ways (see Fox's book of Martyrs) rather than recant their claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Would you be willing to be nailed upside down to a cross because you refuse to recant your atheist ideas?
-The Romans and Jewish Rabbis had a vested interest in proviing this claim of resurrection was untrue and they did not do it.
your point 4 --We agree it is historically true that some of Jesus' greatest opponents became major figures in the early movement. Your conclusion does not bear out. People switch sides to gain greater power when they see that doing so would be in their best self-interest. -Paul is an example of such a convert. He was like one of our Supreme Court Justices. He had it made. He was smart, educated at the finest institution of his time, Was in a position of power and was actively persecuting, and causing to be killed, those Christian upstarts. Something happened to him on his way to Damascus to arrest and torture Christians there that completely changed him. Giving up his position of power and prestige, he became a wandering missionary. He was
Put in prison over and over
Flogged an uncounted number of times
Faced death over and over
Received 39 lashes from the Jews 5 times
Beaten with rods 3 times
Stoned one time(and left for dead)
Shipwrecked 3 times
Spent a day and night in the sea
And was in continual danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, Gentiles
Was in danger in the city, in the country, at sea, from false brothers
Was weary and in pain often, without sleep
Often hungry and thirsty, cold and naked
And continually concerned about the health of all of the churches

That sure worked out for him, didn't it? And STILL he professed faith in Christ. Makes me wonder, doesn't it you?


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jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 65
July 18, 2009 3:07 pm  

Sean,

You said:

"JG, I don't see how Tacitus proves a resurrection occurred..."

I never said that it alone does prove the resurrection. I said it supports some or all of my 4 points. And from your comments, you would seem to agree with me on this:

"Tacitus simply proves that the Christian's were using the resurrection as a marketing tool for their newly formed religion."

Keep in mind that Tacitus wrote circa 115 A.D., but he describes events that happened much earlier during the reign of Nero. Nero reigned from 51 to 68 A.D. This places the time period that Tacitus discusses very close to the time of Christ's crucifixion (33. A.D.). In only 25 years Christianity had spread from a remote outpost in the near east to the capital of Rome and had made a considerable impact on the populace there. To simply try to get this whole thing to ride on the back of an idea of some type of a superstition wave, just doesn't offer much of a valid explanation.

You also said:

"Just because something is repeated for many years doesn't make it true."

No disagreement with you there, but ...

Based on the observation above, your "many years" has now been cut down to about 30 (the time between the crucifixion date - 33 A.D. and a few year into to Nero's reign). There were many pagan superstitions via Greek and roman mythology circulating around the empire during this time (virtually all of them pre-dating Christianity for many years). What explanation do you have for why Christianity "trumped" them all?

You also say:

"Looking at the 4 claims, it seems far more likely that his "followers" and those who were "hostile" were more likely savvy politicians looking to advance their agenda than evidence of anything supernatural happening."

Really? Those "savvy politicians were basically joining the ranks of a persecuted minority. There was nothing to gain and everything to lose for them to make the switch from a "political" point of view. Paul (Saul) was already an esteemed and established member of the Judaism. How was Turning his back on all he had and joining the lowly sect of Christians he had vigorously been persecuting a good "political" move? It just does not add up. Then we have James, Jesus' brother, also became a prominent member in the Jerusalem church. Yet, the Gospel's do not describe him in a favorable light in regards to Jesus prior to the crucifixion. What caused a change of mind in him to the extent that he believed his own brother was God? And if you want to say, well, he was just another one of those power seekers who saw a situation that he could take advantage of by joining in the fabrication of superstition that was so rampant, well then you have another problem to explain. If you can just make up anything you want and incorporate it into what you claim as truth (the idea of the resurrection according to your scenario), then why would you make up accounts of the life of Christ (the Gospels) which show you in a very unfavorable light in regards to the one who you are now claiming has been raised and who you now worship? Exactly how would that encourage people to become followers of your "new religion"? Further, both Paul and James were martyred for their claims. Is that your idea of a good "political" move? Again, it just does not add up.

You make this response to my point #2:

2.) Jesus was buried in a local tomb. (I should have added that it was found empty a few days later).
Again, seems like this is historically true. It being found empty is related to what was going on in 3.

How does your scenario explain the empty tomb? The birthplace of Christianity was Jerusalem. Few would dispute this point. So, how is it possible that the story of a resurrected corpse could ever catch on in a city which was only a short walk from that tomb? Unless of course it was empty. Whatever possibility you want to suggest for an explanation, you have to give one that satisfies all 4 of my points. You have not. #2 is answered by your response.

And as i said, "more later". I am far from done.

Have to go now. My wife will be looking for me to drive her to a cookout and I've still got to hit the shower.

JG


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rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2457
July 18, 2009 4:59 pm  

JG et al,
I agree with everything Sean said.

I am sorry that the details of my resurrection stories didn't match the details of the christian resurrection story. I was simply pointing out that having your god rise from the dead (resurrection) was a common theme in many religions of the time. Virgin birth was another fairly common theme as the story of Dionysus demonstrates.

The Tacitus story sounds like he is describing a religious cult. However as Sean mentions that only proves that there were cult members who followed Jesus it doesn't prove that any of their beliefs are true.

Antiqueone keeps throwing in biblical references as if that proves something, every religion/cult has it's religious text but none of them are provable.

JG, you have still failed to prove that a resurrection occurred. Do you believe everything that you read? The bible makes fantastic claims, none are provable, the only thing that you can prove is that there were people living back then who claimed to believe them.

Do you think that muslims believe what is written in the qu'ran? Does that make it true? Do you believe what is written in the qu'ran?

How about a more modern example of religious cults. The book of mormon. It is claimed that the Angel Moroni led Joseph Smith Jr to the golden plates which contained the text of the book of mormon. So as you can see it was divinely inspired just as the bible was, the stories may vary but both have their mandates from god. The mormons unlike the christians have sworn statements verifying their fantastic story.

"The Three Witnesses were a group of three early leaders of the Latter Day Saint movement who claimed in a statement of 1830 that an angel had shown them the golden plates from which Joseph Smith, Jr. translated the Book of Mormon and that they had heard God's voice testifying that the book had been translated by the power of God."

"The Eight Witnesses were the second of the two groups of "special witnesses" to the Book of Mormon's golden plates.
Unlike the Three Witnesses, the Eight testified that they both saw and handled the plates. Another difference is that the Eight testified they were shown the plates by Joseph Smith, Jr. rather than by an angel as had the Three Witnesses."

So here we have another holy book, it claims to be inspired by god and of course there are witnesses to its authenticity. Do you believe that the book of mormon is the word of god? If not then why, it has all of the necessary ingredients.

There are many many holy books which make fantastic claims, none are provable, at most you can prove that there are people who believe their claims. Do you believe everything you read? What does it take to believe one over the other?

The most likely determinate of your religion appears to be the location of your birth and the religious affiliation of your parents. You were probably born in the americas which means that you are most likely christian. If you had been born in Damascus you would most likely be a muslim. If you had been born in Mumbai you would most likely be a hindu. Children rarely question what they are taught as fact in their formative years. You are probably familiar with the Jesuit motto "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man" .

I would bet from Sean's views that his son will be raised free from these religious encumbrances. Though he will probably be exposed to this religious nonsense when not at home. Adults should not be allowed to brainwash children. Religion should not be taught until people are adults and can look at it more objectively.

So JG et al, Why don't you believe in the qu'ran, why not the book of mormon. When you understand why you don't believe in them then you will understand why I don't believe in the bible.


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