still on this resurrection debacle

As to the account given of his resurrection and ascension, it was the necessary counterpart of his birth. His historians having brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground. The wretched contrivance with which this latter part is told exceeds every thing that went before it. The first part, that of the miraculous conception, was not a thing that admitted of publicity, and therefore the tellers of this part of the story had this advantage, that though they might not be credited, they could not be detected…. But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon-day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given…. It is in vain to attempt to palliate or disguise this matter. The story, so far as relates to the supernatural part, has every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face of it. Who were the authors of it is as impossible for us now to know, as it is for us to be assured that the books in which the account is related were written by the persons whose names they bear, the best surviving evidence we now
have respecting this affair is the Jews. They are regularly descended from the people who lived in the times this resurrection and ascension is said to have happened, and they say, it is not true. It has long appeared to me a strange inconsistency to cite the Jews as a proof of the truth of the story. It is just the same as if a man were to say, I will prove the truth of what I have told you by producing the people who say it is false”

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

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The case for Jesus H. Christ

I think the Jesus whose story is told in the bible didn’t exist. I don’t know whether the character was built on a real person[s]. If I was asked to make a case for Socrates, the base facts to begin with would have been the parents, when and where they lived and if possible a few of  his contemporaries. We would name Crito, Xenophon, as his contemporaries, a birth place would be named, and so many other facts.

In an attempt to make a case for the existence of Jesus, apologists have resorted to make assertions about the resurrection that they think if are agreed on, would compel even the skeptic to change his mind on the historicity. This assertions come from WLC he of the DCT and the KCA.

Before you read the assertions, here is a piece that you should begin with. It sheds some light on the problem we will try to answer below.

The assertions are called facts and are as listed below.

  • FACT #1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. 
  • FACT #2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
  • FACT #3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
  • FACT #4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.

Tell me, friends, who tells the life of a person they know based only on their deaths and the events that happened thereafter. These four above are not facts, they are assertions. The christian asserts that Jesus was buried and resurrected. It is not a fact. I wouldn’t even want to discuss whether he died on the cross or not and whether there is a tomb or not for this would lend credence to a legend. The issue that must first be settled is who were his parents, when and where was he born and who were his contemporaries if any.

On assertion number three, there is none, repeat none, skeptic who Jesus appeared to. Neither did this apparition appear to Pilate, to the Pharisees, to the gentiles. The people who claim to have seen him can all be said to be those who already believed such an event would occur. Besides, Paul whose writings as quoted as being aware of 500 witnesses didn’t see Jesus, if he existed. It can actually be said, whoever Paul is, he is the creator of this Jesus narrative.

Point 4, is confirmation bias. There is no proof of this. There is no record left by any of the supposed disciples telling us what happened. What we have are anonymous gospel accounts that tell the story.

The apologist tells us on point 3

The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances. This is one of the most important marks of historicity. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke, and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in Mark, Matthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John.

This ignores the scholarship on the NT that shows that Mark was the first to be written and Mathew & Luke borrowed from it. It is no rocket science that they will have a similar story with a few additions like the different genealogy stories in Mathew and Luke. John’s gospel is written later in the day, it is only a credulous person who will take it as evidence on the matter.

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time reading on the Jesus story knows that the Josephus text mentioning Zombie Jesus is most likely a forgery.

The statement

There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along

is in need of demonstration. Eusebius? seems to have no qualms lying for Jesus. To claim they wouldn’t lie is to put them on a high pedestal without the slightest justification. There is no reason to believe they couldn’t lie. We have no reason to believe those who claim to have seen the golden plates Joseph Smith translated to the book of Mormons as saying the truth.

In conclusion, we find this comment

So I guess the problem here is that I’ve made a minimal facts case and cited historians across the ideological spectrum for the four facts – including people like Gerd Ludemann and Bart Ehrman! You’ve responded with your opinion, and cited no scholars to either refute the four facts, or to propose an alternative naturalistic explanation to the subset of minimal facts

ably demonstrates the thin case on which the assertions for Jesus lie so that it has been reduced to minimal facts assertions that are themselves in need of demonstration. And why ignore the historicists who argue this fellow Jesus as portrayed in the bible did not exist? If my faith and life in the nether world depended on it, the case I would be making wouldn’t be based on minimal assertions. I would make a proper case.

And lastly, please, please Jesus apologists, read beyond William Craig and Strobel. Start by reading Celsus’ arguments against the Christians. I promise it will not kill you to read something different, maybe just enlighten you.

William LC case for the resurrection of Jesus

For the Ark

Of all my friends on the blogosphere, I know of none other than the Ark who will enjoy this conversation taking place immediately after the crucifixion of Zombie Jesus.

First, I will declare the story is not originally mine and that I am just the hand that will bring it to the public, who otherwise may not see it. It is adapted from The truth about Jesus: Is he myth by M.M Mangasarian

The following conversation takes place between us and the apostles.

We ask

How long have you known Jesus?

I have known him for one year.

And I for two.

And I for three.

Has any of you known him for more than three years?

No.

Was he with his apostles for one year or for three?

For one.

No, for three.

You are not certain, then, how long Jesus was with his apostles.

No.

How old was Jesus when crucified?

About thirty-one.

No, about thirty-three.

No, he was much older, about fifty.

You cannot tell with any certainty, then, his age at the time of his death.

No.

You say he was tried and crucified in Jerusalem before your own eyes, can you remember the date of this great event?

We cannot.

Were you present when Jesus was taken down from the cross?

We were not.

You cannot tell, then, whether he was dead when taken down.

We have no personal knowledge.

Were you present when he was buried?

We were not, because we were in hiding for our lives.

You do not know, therefore, whether he was actually buried, or where he was buried.

We do not.

Were any of you present when Jesus came forth from the grave?

Not one of us was present,

Then, you were not with him when he was taken down from the cross; you were not with him when he was interred, and you were not present when he rose from the grave.

We were not.

When, therefore, you say, he was dead, buried and rose again, you are relying upon the testimony of others?

We are.

Will you mention the names of some of the witnesses who saw Jesus come forth from the tomb?

Mary Magdalene, and she is here and may be questioned.

Were you present, Mary, when the angels rolled away the stone, and when Jesus came forth from the dead?

No, when I reached the burying place early in the morning, the grave had already been vacated, and there was no one sleeping in it.

You saw him, then, as the apostles did, _after_ he had risen?

Yes.

But you did not see anybody rise out of the grave.

I did not.

Are there any witnesses who saw the resurrection?

There are many who saw him after the resurrection.

But if neither they nor you saw him dead, and buried, and did not see him rise, either, how can you tell that a most astounding and supposedly impossible miracle had taken place between the time you saw him last and when you saw him again two or three days after? Is it not more natural to suppose that, being in a hurry on account of the approaching Sabbath, Jesus, if ever crucified, was taken down from the cross before he had really died, and that he was not buried, as rumor states, but remained in hiding; and his showing himself to you under cover of darkness and in secluded spots and in the dead of night only, would seem to confirm this explanation. You admit also that the risen Jesus did not present himself at the synagogues of the people, in the public streets, or at the palace of the High Priest to convince them of his Messiahship.

Do you not think that if he had done this, it would then have been impossible to deny his resurrection? Why, then, did Jesus hide himself after he came out of the grave? Why did he not show himself also to his enemies? Was he still afraid of them, or did he not care whether they believed or not? If so, why are _you_ trying to convert them? The question waits for a reasonable answer; Why did not Jesus challenge the whole world with the evidence of his resurrection? You say you saw him occasionally, a few moments at a time, now here, and now there, and finally on the top of a mountain whence he was caught up in a cloud and disappeared altogether. But that “cloud” has melted away, the sky is clear, and there is no Jesus visible there. The cloud, then, had nothing to hide. It was unnecessary to call in a cloud to close the career of your Christ.The grave is empty, the cloud has vanished. Where is Christ? In heaven! Ah, you have at last removed him to a world unknown, to the undiscovered country. Leave him there! Criticism, doubt, investigation, the light of day, cannot cross its shores. Leave him there!