Just as we test the historicity of any event, not through emotional conviction, but with historical evidence, I would like to devote some time to laying out a brief historical case for the Resurrection of Christ, the central issue of the Christian faith.

Here is what we need:

1. Internal Evidence: Evidence coming from within the primary witness documents, the New Testament.

2. External Evidence: Collaborative evidence coming from outside the primary witness documents.

Internal Evidence:

  • Honesty
  • Irrelevant Details
  • Harmony
  • Public Extraordinary Claims
  • Lack of Motivation for Fabrication

Honesty:
The entire Bible records both successes and failures of the heroes. I have always been impressed by this. It never paints the glorious picture that you would expect from legendary material, but shows them in all their worst moments. The Israelites whined, David murdered, Peter denied, the apostles abandoned Christ in fear, Moses became angry, Jacob deceived, Noah got drunk, Adam and Eve disobeyed, Paul persecuted, Solomon worshiped idols, Abraham was a bigamist, Lot committed incest, John the Baptist doubted, Abraham doubted, Sarah doubted, Nicodemus doubted, Thomas doubted, Jonah ran, Samson self-served, and John, at the very end of the story, when he should have had it all figured out, worshiped an angel (Rev 22:8). I love it! (ahem).

And these are the Jews who wrote the Bible!

In addition, the most faithful are seen as suffering the most (Joseph, Job, and Lazarus), while the wicked are seen as prospering (the rich man). In the case of the Gospels, the disciples who recorded it claimed to have abandoned Christ and did not believe in His resurrection when told. Even after the resurrection, they still present themselves as completely ignorant of God’s plan (Acts 1:6-7). Women are the first to witness the resurrection which has an element of self-incrimination since a woman’s testimony was not worth anything in the first century. If someone were making this up, why include such an incriminating detail? (I am glad they did—what an Easter message this is for us today!)

Irrelevant Details:
The Gospel writers (especially John) contain many elements to their story that are really irrelevant to the big picture. Normally, when someone is making a story up, they include only the details that contribute to the fabrication. Irrelevant details are a mark of genuineness in all situations.

Notice this small segment of the Gospel of John 20:1-8 (HT: Gregory Boyd, but modified):

“Early on the first day of the week (when? does it matter?), while it was still dark (who cares?), Mary Magdalene (an incriminating detail) went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved (John’s modest way of referring to himself—another mark of genuineness) and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have taken him!” (note her self-incriminating lack of faith here). So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. They were running, but the other disciple out ran Peter and reached the tomb first (who cares who won the race? a completely irrelevant detail). He bent over (irrelevant, but the tomb entrance was low—a detail which is historically accurate of wealthy people of the time—the kind we know Jesus was buried in) and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in (why not? irrelevant detail). Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb (Peter’s boldness stands out in all the Gospel accounts). He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head (irrelevant and unexpected detail—what was Jesus wearing?). The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen (somewhat irrelevant and unusual. Jesus folded one part of his wrapping before he left!). Finally the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went inside (who cares about what exact order they went in?)

Harmony:
The four Gospel writers claim to have witnessed the resurrected Christ. The same is the case for most of the other writers of the NT. The four Gospel writers all write of the same event from differing perspectives. Although they differ in details, they are completely harmonious to the main events surrounding the resurrection, and all claim that it is an historical event. Many people are disturbed by the seeming disharmony among the Gospels since the Gospel writers do not include all the same details. However, this is actually a mark of historicity since if they all said exactly the same thing, it would be a sign that they made it up. However, the Gospel writers contain just enough disharmony to give it a mark of genuine historicity.

Public Extraordinary Claims:
The Bible records that the resurrection of Christ happened and gives the time, place, people involved, and it names many of the witnesses. In other words, the extraordinary claims were not done in secret as would be the case if it were fabricated. Look to all the ancient myths and you will see how obscure the mythology has to be in order to claim historicity. Why? Because if you give too many details of times, people, and places it can be easily disproven. If it was a fabrication, the author should have said only one person knew about it. He should have said it happened in a cave or a place no one has ever heard of. We have those type of stories that start religions.

Lack of Motive for Fabrication:
There is no reasonable explanation as to why the Apostles (or anyone for that matter) would have made up such a story. They had no popularity, power, or riches to gain from it if it was a lie. They were in constant persecution because of their confession, and finally, most met a terrible death, sealing their testimony in blood.

Beyond this, it was culturally unacceptable at all levels to have a crucified and resurrected Messiah. The Jews certainly were not expecting their Messiah to be crucified. The Greek world would have nothing but disdain for the idea of a bodily resurrection. Therefore, for this idea to arise as a fabrication at this time in history would have been about the most counterproductive story anyone could have made up.

It could not have been an illusion, for illusions do not happen in mass over time. It could not have been a case of mistaken identity (i.e., they merely thought they saw Christ), since it is impossible to explain how this many witnesses could be mistaken about seeing someone dead and buried, and then seeing the same person alive three days later. It could not be that Christ did not really die, since the Romans were expert executioners, and many people helped in the burial process, wrapping Christ in burial cloths as was their custom. It could not have been made up since all the objectors (and there were plenty of them) had to do was to produce a body.

In the end, all other alternatives for the resurrection, while possible, are completely improbable and take a greater leap of faith than believing that Christ rose from the grave.

Next I will cover the external evidence.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    147 replies to "Evidence of the Resurrection: Part 1 – Internal Evidence"

    • Scott F

      “The four Gospel writers claim to have witnessed the resurrected Christ. ”

      Do the four Gospels really claim to be eyewitness accounts? Luke?

    • Scott F

      “In the end, all other alternatives for the resurrection, while possible, are completely improbable and take a greater leap of faith than believing that Christ rose from the grave.”

      Improbability is the most subjective of conclusions. Given that there is a God who does miracles, then the resurrection is barely worth a mention. Otherwise, it is pretty hard to swallow. It all depends on where you start.

    • Carter

      Michael:

      You do a wonderful job on this blog.

      Since I believe that the Bible is the word of God I need not further proof if any were possible. The willingness of the Apostles to die for this teaching is convincing to me. The phenomenal growth of the early Church is convincing to me. The most convincing thing to me is my own experience with the Living Lord Jesus.

      In Christ,
      Carter

    • Nate Hardee

      I am going to have to second Scott F on his two points. The writer’s (compilers) of the Gospels were themselves not an eyewitness, maybe John, if he wrote John. Also, no reasonable historical investigation would conclude that a man rose from the dead. That is my problem with trying “prove the resurrection”. I believe, and I understand and appreciate your reasons for having faith, but for me that last step of believing a man rose from the dead is strictly a faith step.

    • Nate Hardee

      I do like your point about harmony. To me the fact that the Gospels were not exactly alike points to a higher likelihood that the events could have happened. If I asked four people to describe a car wreck right after it happened I would probably get four stories that got the main points right but differed greatly on the details. The fact that the Gospels, 30 to 50 years after the events, describe the same story so closely, says a lot.

    • C Michael Patton

      Nate, of course the last step to every issue is a “faith” step. Even when I go to sleep at night, it is a “faith step” that I will wake up. The issue is the warrent for such faith. Some faith steps are irresponsible leaps contrary to the evidence. Others, like belief in the resurrection, are responsible beliefs according to the evidence.

      I agree with you both though, it should have been worded differently—they are based on eyewitness accounts (or at least claim to be).

    • Mike B.

      I have a few things I could say about this, but since there already seems to be some pushback, I’ll only pick one.

      “It was culturally unacceptable at all levels to have a crucified and resurrected Messiah.”

      First of all, it is irrelevant that the Greeks would have found the idea of bodily resurrection disdainful. The gospels were written by Jews with Jewish sensibilities for whom bodily resurrection was actually a cardinal feature of their eschatology.

      Second, while the idea of a crucified Messiah was certainly a scandal, the resurrection is actually the only way one could possibly overcome this scandal. Claiming that Jesus rose from the dead and would return some day to complete his Messianic mission is the only way to prevent Jesus’ death from being a complete embarrassment to his Messianic claims. In some ways, it even tries to turn this apparent weakness into a strength. After all, what greater confirmation could there be of Jesus’ authority than for God himself to raise him from the dead?

      I think that this is actually a pretty good reason to make up the story of the resurrection. Some of your other arguments are a little bit stronger, particularly the testimony of martyrdom. I’m curious to see how others will respond.

    • The resurrection once believed might be used to overcome the shame of the cross if people could be made to believe it. But what motive would people have to believe it. The logical response to a crucified candidate for Messiah is to write him off as another fake. A few fanatical friends might try to float such an idea but why would anyone outside the immediate circle believe them. Yet this belief continued to spread widely and was eventually accepted as the official belief of the Roman Empire. How is that explained?

    • Ryan

      Mike B.

      In High School I had a friend that was talking boldly and arrogantly and then got “jumped” (beat up) by several other guys that didn’t like the way he was talking.

      My response cowardly as it was, was to rationalize my lack of assistance to my friend by saying, “he shouldn’t have said all of those things”. Did I try to replenish his image afterward? No, as cowardly as it was, I wanted to distance myself from him. My friend was a real person that I would have to look in the eye from time to time. Jesus if not resurrected was a dead guy! Easy to forget and deny association with. That would have been the natural response of the Apostles, it is contrary to human nature to want polish a dead persons image at the cost of your own life.

    • eric

      Indeed, Christianity stand or fall with the Resurrection of Christ. I appreciate your blog. I like to share what I learn from Dr. Habermas ‘Minimal Facts’. He list six though there is a longer version of twelve minimal facts. These facts are generally accepted by majority of ‘critical scholars’ who actually studied this subject. Each facts when expanded will devastate skeptics challenge such as Swoon Theory, just to name one. His book The Risen Jesus and Future Hope is a good start.
      When he comes on ‘Converse with scholars.’ it would be nice to have him expand on his Minimal Facts to really appreciate it.

    • bethyada

      ScottF Improbability is the most subjective of conclusions. Given that there is a God who does miracles, then the resurrection is barely worth a mention. Otherwise, it is pretty hard to swallow. It all depends on where you start.

      Nate Hardee Also, no reasonable historical investigation would conclude that a man rose from the dead. That is my problem with trying “prove the resurrection”.

      Yet the disciples consistently pointed to the resurrection as proof.

      Evidence of the resurrection is an appropriate type of proof. It may be reasonable to have presuppositions, but when the evidence accumulates to prove them incorrect it is time to abandon them. Yes it is difficult to believe in the resurrection of the dead if you deny God or miracles. But when the evidence shows the resurrection is true it is time to change the denial of these things.

    • hornspiel

      CMP,

      Thank you for this post . There is a vocal lot of ex-Evangelicals out there trying hard to unevangelize the faithful. Attacking the resurrection of Jesus is key to maintaining their position. No one who has recanted their faith has In my knowledge done so because of evidence against the resurrection. Only after being overcome by doubts about the problem of evil, eternal suffering of the damned, blood-thirsty behavior by OT Jews sanctioned by God, etc. have they then sought for plausible scenarios to explain away Easter.

      That said, I think that we do need to think more critically about the discrepancies in detail and tone of the 4 accounts. Rather than saying glibly “the Gospel writers contain just enough disharmony to give it a mark of genuine historicity” I’d rather say “the contain the kind of disharmony one would expect of eyewitness accounts recorded many years after the fact.” The fact that there are truly irreconcilable differences in details supports the historicity of the four accounts on the “main events,” as you say. If it were a made up story, the details would have been more harmonized.

      So my question is, can evidence of human fallibility in recounting the events of the death and resurrection, actually be evidence for the historicity of the resurrection?

    • Swoodward

      Well this might not be the most appropriate forum to post this thought but I would be interested in feedback. I look at this week as the most important historically in all of mankind so, am I wrong to be angry that there is so much made of candy and the Easter bunny and egg hunts? I mean, what gives with this crap?

    • C Michael Patton

      Horn,

      Don’t misunderstand me…I am not saying that the disharmony is based on human failure in any way, it is just the fact of having various historical witnesses who all attest to the same event with different details that creates the possibility of disharmony, but in now way a necessity of seeing is as such. I think that all of the accounts can be harmonized well.

      I might have worded the original wrong though.

    • Rick

      Mike B. #7-

      One difference, as pointed out by NT Wright, is that the role of messiah, mission, and authority of executed messiahs had previously been passed along to that of a relative. But not in this case. Even though the brother of Jesus, James, took a leadership role, he still pointed to the resurrected Jesus as the Messiah and Authority.

      Also, some of mentioned the need for a different “worldview” (belief in miracles, etc…) to see how the Resurrection is possible and real.

      N.T. Wright touches on these and some other points in this brief clip.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0Dc01HVlaM

    • Ken Pulliam

      Michael,

      I really don’t find that any of these arguments have much weight.

      As it relates to (1) honesty –the gospel writers would not have had the women to be the first to witness the resurrection, there are other explanations which could explain this. One would be that the gospel writers are actually using a literary technique to bolster their claim. IOW, since people would assume it unlikely that they made up the story of women being the first, the fact that they did adds credibility to the story (just as you conclude). Another explanation, and I find this one more likely, is that the “empty tomb” story developed much later in the tradition and a natural question would arise, “why are we just now finding out about this”? There is no mention of the empty tomb in Acts nor is there any mention in Paul’s epistles. By having the women be the first to discover the empty tomb, it became somewhat understandable to the first readers of Mark as to why this was not revealed earlier (i.e., the embarrassment factor) and in addition, Mark he says that the women were afraid and told no one.

      Concerning (2) the inclusion of irrelevant details in John 20, this is probably the weakest of all your arguments. Most good story tellers will include what might seem to be irrelevant details. We see it all the time.

      Regarding the (3) harmony , this can be explained simply on the fact that Matthew and Luke made use of Mark’s document and John may have too and of course they all made use of oral tradition. As you admit in the comment section, the gospel writers were not eyewitnesses but had to rely on source material that was available to them.

      (continued in next comment)

    • Ken Pulliam

      (continued from previous comment)

      In reference to the (4) Public Extraordinary Claims , it seems to me that it could have been much more public. If the risen Jesus had appeared to Pilate or Herod or the High Priest, and this had been documented in non-canonical sources, you would have a strong case for the resurrection. The fact that Jesus only appeared to his followers makes it much more suspect in my opinion. If the account of Joseph of Arimathea is genuine, then it seems that Peter would have mentioned him on the day of Pentecost and said something like: “Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and its now empty. You can go and look for yourselves. You can also ask Joseph if Jesus was really dead and what he thinks happened.” Joseph would have been the star witness for the resurrection and yet he is not mentioned at all outside of the gospels. As for the non-believers producing the body to silence the disciples, there are two problems. One, if Jesus was buried as criminals were in those days, it may have been impossible to locate his particular grave. Second, even if they had produced a body on Pentecost, it would have been so badly deteriorated that no one could have made a positive identification.

      As it relates to (5) Lack of Motive for Fabrication, I don’t believe the early Christians made up the story. I think that one or more of them experienced something they interpreted to be the risen Jesus. As these stories were told and retold, a lot of embellishment took place until eventually you have an empty tomb, Jesus eating fish, and so on. One thing we know from contemporary visions of Jesus is that the percipients are sincere. They really believe they have seen something.

      (continued in next post)

    • Ken Pulliam

      (continued from last comment)

      If people are thoroughly convinced that they have experienced something real, they will stake their lives on it, especially if it has religious ramifications. The evidence of this among non-Christian religious people is seen throughout history and today.

      So, I don’t think your arguments are too convincing UNLESS one has already by faith accepted the canonical gospels to be the divinely inspired Word of God. If one wants to believe in the resurrection of Jesus because it seems true to him (ala Plantinga) or because he believes he has experienced the risen Jesus in his own life (ala Craig), then that is fine. I believe, however, that they should be honest about the real reasons and not try to pretend that their faith is based on historical evidence.

    • John

      Thank you for a marvelous blog of The Resurrection.

      Frankly, I’ve long been a skeptic. I question what I read in newspapers, magazines and books, and what I hear on the radio, in the movies, on TV and from podiums and pulpits. I remember when the Chicago Tribune’s front page ran a big banner headline saying something like “Dewey Wins” or “Dewey Beats Truman.” I’ve read old Science textbooks that contain “facts” that today seem rediculous.

      But if a weather forecast says there’s an 80% chance of rain, I take an umbrella with me when I go out. If a fire alarm sounds in a building where I am, I evacuate quickly. And when I was a boy 70 or so years ago, junior skeptic that I already was, I believed that if I ate meat on Friday I’d go to Hell. My point is, whether we admit it or not, we all accept many statements as true based on what most folks call “faith.”

      There’s enough evidence to accept that the Resurrection actually occured. That’s obvious. Is there proof? Proof? There’s absolute proof of nothing.

      Few statements, if any, can be absolutely proved, not even that two lines parallel will never meet.

    • Ken Pulliam

      People in the first century claimed to see a resurrected man. These people were so committed to their belief in the resurrected man that they started a new religion and some of them died for their beliefs. Shouldn’t that convince us of the reality of what they claimed to see?

      I don’t necessarily think so. I would suggest comparing these claims from the first century with claims from the 20th century of people who say they saw aliens from outer space. There are many, many claims and many eyewitnesses who are still living today. As Stephen Law asks: Aren’t these people justified in taking their experiences at face value? And aren’t we justified in supposing, on the basis of their testimony, that at least some of these subjects have indeed met, been probed by, etc. aliens? He answers, “No,” and gives five reasons. He then uses those same five reasons to dismiss religious visions .

      I highly recommend his discussion to anyone who has not already made up his or her mind about the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.

    • EricW

      Re: 20. Ken Pulliam:

      I think your statements are a reason the Acts and Corinthian/Galatians-mentioned workings of the Holy Spirit have to be given a greater place in Christian life and worship. I.e., it wasn’t just the resurrection appearances/accounts that proved the Messiahship of Jesus. It was also the realized promise and experiences of the outpouring(s) and workings of the Holy Spirit.

      Reading the book you recommended/linked to on VISIONS OF JESUS has been faith-confirming for me. Thanks again for alerting us to it.

      Re: alien visitations. Funny you should mention this. I was somewhat personally acquainted with a well-known purported abductee, Karla (Kandy) Turner (now deceased). I also had a friend, a strong Evangelical Christian and a highly intelligent degreed physicist and philosopher, who had personal experiences with both poltergeists and the “grays.”

      Life is strange.

    • EricW

      Or maybe the resurrection appearances were instances of encephalitis:

      http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100331/NEWS01/4010346/She+had++monster+tumor+

      (Truly weird story – anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis)

    • Damon

      Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Christ was witnessed by over 500 brethren.

      It’s unlikely that over 500 people would have the same exact ideas, beliefs and experiences.

      It is reasonable to belive that if they all saw the same miraculous event, they would all be in agreement that, “Yes, we saw a resurrected Jesus”

      It is unlikely that with that number of witnesses, that if someone wanted to fabricate details about such an event, they would not be soundly corrected by someone (or many) who was (were) a witness(es)to the event.

      It is also unlikely that you could get that many people to lie about and event like this.

    • Vinny

      Does anyone really think that Paul interviewed each one of those 500 people? Isn’t it more likely that someone told him a story about Jesus appearing to 500 people and Paul believed it. No doubt Paul believed that many of those five hundred people were still alive and that they would testify to having witnessed the appearance, but that does not mean that Paul had any first hand knowledge of their claims. The fact of the matter is that Paul is the only one who gives a first person report of an appearance of the resurrected Jesus. All the others are second hand at best.

    • Rick

      Vinny #24-

      “The fact of the matter is that Paul is the only one who gives a first person report of an appearance of the resurrected Jesus. All the others are second hand at best.”

      John and Matthew may disagree with you, if they are the writers of those gospels, but even if you are correct, does that impact the reliability of the accounts? Paul is not the only one giving the report of many seeing the resurrected Christ (1st hand or 2nd hand).

    • Ken Pulliam

      Damon,

      You said: It’s unlikely that over 500 people would have the same exact ideas, beliefs and experiences.

      First, as was pointed out by Vinny, the 500 Paul mentions are anonymous, no details are give as to when and where they supposedly saw Jesus and no way to fact-check any of it.

      Second, just 10 miles from where I live, back in the 1990’s thousands of people on multiple occasions claimed to see the Virgin Mary. They apparently had the same exact ideas, beliefs and experiences .

    • Damon

      Vinny #24

      Vinny, I appreciate the skepticism. The fact that should be in question is not whether Paul interviewed all 500, but whether the 500 brethren exisited. Either they did or they didn’t. You could argue that they did not…but none of the other NT writers disagreed or corrected Paul…and they easily could have. I believe Paul was stating a know fact, not his opinion and not a heresay account. You could argue otherwise….

      You state that “…that does not mean Paul had any first hand knowledge of their claims” and this is possible.

      Maybe Pauld did not have had first hand knowledge, but maybe he did have first hand knowledge–there is nothing to suggest he didn’t. We only have Pauls testimony. Since most of the brethren were apparently alive at this time and these letters were widely circulated, I would suggest either the ‘500’ did not exist or they heard what Paul wrote and agreed.

      Since the title of the post is “Evidence for the Resurrection” and we both agree that Paul was, at the very least, a first hand witness to the resurrected Jesus…then the argument for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is still viable.

    • Jason C

      Vinny #24

      Remember that in an honour/shame society making a claim of 500 witnesses, when you couldn’t produce anything close to that number would see you solidly clipped around the ear. Also, that section is generally regarded as a Creed dating back to within 5 years of the crucifixion. It was indeed what Paul received, handed down.

      Ken Pullian #16

      Here we go round the mulberry bush… (1) honesty, apparently the disciples were so convinced of their falsehood that they placed females (regarded as only half as good a witness as a man) as the fictional first witnesses to an event (that didn’t happen) in order to convince others that it happened. What a brilliant idea! [/sarcasm] Arguments from silence, which is all your assertions about the mention of the tomb in Acts are, simply beg the question. Christians (as Paul was addressing in his letters) would have already known about the tomb. Non-Christians in Jerusalem would already have known about it (something about a seal on the stone to keep it shut springs to mind). Non-Christians outside Jerusalem are rarely addressed.

      (3) harmony I would have said, not necessarily eye-witnesses, however Church tradition from the earliest days has been that Matthew and John were the writings of eye witnesses, and Mark was based on Peter’s teachings. Luke of course claims to be the record of other witnesses, compiled orderly.

      (4) public extraordinary claims once again, a whine about how if only Jesus had done x, y, z we’d have far more evidence and then the atheist could complain that he should have done m, n and o instead. Once again, as Matthew records, the Temple elders sealed the tomb and set a guard (although I’m sure atheists claim this didn’t happen either) so they could find the tomb if they wanted. Pulling out a body of approximately Jesus’ height and build with the marks of crucifixion would have all they’d have needed.

    • Jason C

      Ken Pullian #26

      Or perhaps they did have a vision of the Virgin Mary? Without actually assuming that they didn’t we’ve no reason to doubt their experience.

    • Michael T.

      Ken,
      Basically all you said in a nutshell is that you disagree what the inference to the most likely explanation from the data should be. The criteria behind what CMP is explicating are the widely accepted criteria for judging the authenticity of any ancient document.

      It is clear that you have a non-supernatural bias and will look for a natural explanation no matter how unlikely. So when someone points to the self-incriminating details rather than admitting that this is something that historically is a hallmark of authentic eyewitness documents you will instead insist they simply put in those incriminating details to bolster their case (which is odd considering the modern criteria for authenticity didn’t come to be used until modern times – somehow they must have known almost 2000 years ahead of time what would make their documents appear more authentic). Or when someone points out the numerous people who claimed to see the risen Christ you will say “well he didn’t appear to X,Y, and Z so it’s not enough”. I’ve even seen claims by individuals claiming Christianity was actually a Judaic cult that did hallucinogenic drugs and the whole thing was an acid trip.

      Ultimately the burden of proof for a supernatural event for you would be it happening to you personally it would seem (and even then you would likely doubt it). I agree that the historical claims here do not “prove” Christianity in a beyond the shadow of a doubt way and I don’t think CMP is saying they do. However, they do make the inference reasonable and warranted. The only reason one would think otherwise is that they’ve determined a priori that there is nothing supernatural.

    • Ken Pulliam

      Jason,

      You said: Pulling out a body of approximately Jesus’ height and build with the marks of crucifixion would have all they’d have needed.

      Which would have been what? Another interesting fact is that the gospels nowhere tell us anything about Jesus’ physical appearance.

      In addition, we know there were at least two other people crucified at the same time as Jesus, how do you know they were not of the same approximate height and build of Jesus?

      You also said: Or perhaps they did have a vision of the Virgin Mary? Without actually assuming that they didn’t we’ve no reason to doubt their experience.

      Most evangelicals I think would be highly dubious of the various claims that people have made to see the Virgin Mary if for no other reason than Mary’s messages associated with these appearances contradicts evangelical theology.

    • Ken Pulliam

      Michael T.,

      I have not determined a priori that the supernatural does not exist. I am open to the possibility but I would like to see some decent evidence.

      Do you believe the appearances of Mary at Conyers, GA, and Medjugorje, Bosnia are genuine? If not, why not?

      Do you believe that Jerome’s claim that he saw Jesus and Jesus ordered him to be scourged is true? If not, why not?

      Do you believe that the claims of Ramakrishna to have seen the Hindu god Kali as well as Muhammed are true? If not, why not?

      Do you believe the claims of 30 different people interviewed in Visions of Jesus: Direct Encounters from the New Testament to Todayare real? if not, why not?

    • C Michael Patton

      Fellas, what it comes down to is not whether or not you can produce other scenarios than that which history suggests, but whether or not those other scenarios are compelling to militate against the evidence. Again, I have written about this before.

      Here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/12/some-alternative-explanations-for-the-resurrection-of-christ/

      Especially here for the philosophical epistemic underpinning: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/10/the-sufficiency-of-probability-in-the-christian-belief/

      I could produce alternative explanations for the assassination of JFK or the landing on the moon (and, believe me, there are plenty of them out there).

      Michael has said correctly that if you start with an anti-supernaturalistic bias (i.e. you are an atheist who is looking to support an atheistic worldview), you will not be able to see this evidence as supportive of the resurrection and therefore MUST come up with alternatives, no matter how unlikely.

      As well, if you are emotionally committed to the resurrection, you are going to say “bravo” and “amen” to everything I have said because it confirms your prejudice.

      In the end, there is so much more to the mystery of belief than we realize. All I have done here is produce a case that makes it intellectually viable to believe in the resurrection of Christ, at least, or intellectually responsible to believe in the resurrection of Christ, at most.

      I will not say which it is, I will simply say that if you don’t admit that belief in the resurrection is viable, it is a strong indication that your presuppositions are your primary guide, not the evidence.

    • Ken Pulliam

      Michael,

      You said: I will simply say that if you don’t admit that belief in the resurrection is viable, it is a strong indication that your presuppositions are your primary guide, not the evidence

      I guess it depends on what you mean by viable. Is the resurrection possible based on the limited evidence we have? Yes. Is it likely, not in my opinion.

      I think your presupposition or bias argument against the supernatural is not valid. You are biased to believe in the resurrection because of your Christian experience and/or training and thus the amount and quality of evidence you need is far less than one who say was brought up as a Muslim. The Muslim is not biased against the supernatural just your supernatural.

    • C Michael Patton

      Ken, we are all bias to believe whatever mom and dad (or any respective authority which we respect in our lives). That is just the way it is. Anyone who does not admit to this is simply flipping a multiple sided coin.

      Our experiences cause us to be bias. Our emotions cause us to be bias. These are about the two most powerful factors that, left unchecked to some degree, determine what it is we believe. This certainly does not discredit us. We just need to know how to evaluate our experience in a critical way attempting to step outside them to interpret reality. Easier said than done!

      Conversions from one side to another don’t really increase credibility too much in my opinion and should not be used in a heavy-handed way. Christians use atheists that convert to Christianity or theism (such as Anthony Flew). Catholics use Protestants who convert to Catholicism (Peter Kreeft) and vice-versa. Biases are recreated at this point as commitments change. We must be ready to change to conform to the truth.

      In the end, the beliefs that I have concerning the resurrection, and 2000 years of Christianity, have much warrant. Could it be clearer? You bet! Why isn’t it? I don’t know…a fly in the ointment of my beliefs.

      Sure you can draw a narrow parallel between alien sightings and the resurrection, but these must be seen in the context of implications that they have as well as the type of evidence that is present, both internal and external.

    • C Michael Patton

      As well, I might note, I have seen people go through bouts of serious clinical depression that causes them to lose all their faith and interpret all the data in a completely different light (and I am dealing with someone now in this position). And I have seen people who don’t experience such things that never doubt at all, but I wonder if they truly believe since belief is so natural and easy.

      There is a great mystery in belief and unbelief. I think Ruth Tucker’s book on this subject is very well done and open ended enough to see that she is truly trying to understand this mystery.

      Why did you quit believing? All we can do is listen to your testimony, but the evidence is strong enough in favor of Christianity to make us all thing (and I am sure you would admit) it is much deeper than this.

      However, as my current series of blog posts has been wrestling with, we still need to cover all our bases as Christians even if I don’t have a magic formula to bend biases, emotions, and experience. They are simply too powerful. That is why Christians are firmly committed to the finality of the power of God to change hearts. And this is one of the primary reasons why I am am a Calvinist! But that is a minor issue in the bigger picture that is being discussed here.

    • One thing that needs to be remembered is that Christianity had critics from the very beginning. Galen the physician criticized them, men such as Celsius wrote books against them, people spread wild rumors about them. If the evidence for Christianity was as flimsy as some would claim it to be would it not have been cut off at the knees before it spread anywhere and if Christianity was a mystical experience that slowly became an historic fact would that have not constantly be thrown in Christians faces.

    • […] Part 1 is posted now, and you should be able to find Part 2 on his blog soon. […]

    • mrman51

      Thank you one and all for a wonderful discussion from both sides of the fence.

    • Yohan Perera

      Hi,

      You are presenting some sophisticated evidence here… A very good job indeed. I am going to subscribe to your RSS feed. I want to read all the blog articles of this series… Specially I like the part in which you stress out the irrelevant portions found in the Gospels which gives evidence that the writers were honest…

    • Alockslee

      1. Internal Evidence: Evidence coming from within the primary witness documents, the New Testament.

      2. External Evidence: Collaborative evidence coming from outside the primary witness documents.

      Internal Evidence:

      * Honesty
      * Irrelevant Details
      * Harmony
      * Public Extraordinary Claims
      * Lack of Motivation for Fabrication

      Simply put, the claim of “Lack of Motivation for Fabrication” is ridiculous since the document is the basis for your entire claim of the existence and reporting of everything in support of your beliefs.

      Where is the secular, independent, contemporaneous evidence that supports your claims? Josephus is not valid since the only sections even remotely related is known to be forgeries and not accepted by the vast majority of scholars.

      Any work close to the time is not at the time of the events and occur long after the claimed events.

      So since your entire belief is based upon a claimed work without any proof of who wrote it is not traceable your whole theory falls apart.

      In responding please do so with only secular non biased sources and remember only those who have nothing at stake or is taken in whole or part from the Bible or the NT.

      TFR

    • […] Evidence of the Resurrection: Part 1 – Internal Evidence […]

    • […] Evidence of the Resurrection Part I – Internal Evidence and Evidence for the Resurrection Part II – External Evidence – [Reclaiming the Mind] – C. Michael Patton does the opposite of the cable networks and takes the Easter season to offer a defense of the resurrection. […]

    • […] internal evidence (i.e., confirming features within the biblical texts) he cites the […]

    • Amigo

      I feel that every discussion with Ken is the same:

      1. We make an argument.
      2. He says (in effect), “Is that the best you can do?”
      3. We say, “Is that really all you can say in rebuttal?”
      4. They go back and forth for awhile
      5. At this point, someone calls out someone else for bias…(which is true)
      6. The other party mentions that we are all biased…(which is true)

      Seriously though, as someone who has read Lüdemann, Crossan and even the radical Price, I’ve gotta say that arguments like these are actually faith building. As with any discussion there are questions that arise early on, but as the alternatives work themselves out and I really think through the alternatives, I always end up thinking that for the data alone (independent of worldview issues), the resurrection is the best explanation.

      But, as NT Wright said about his philosophy professor who read his book on the resurrection, thought it was a powerful argument, but chose to believe some other yet to be confirmed explanation, “Fine, that is as far as I can take you, the rest requires a complete shift in worldviews.” I think those of us in the more Reformed corners of Christianity would completely agree.

      From what I know about Ken, I think he would agree as well. All of my friends who are former atheists (at least the ones who became Christians as adults) will attest that they didn’t used to see the world in the way that they see it now. Everything is radically different, and it was much more than simply believing the evidence for the resurrection (which was a catalyst in some cases). [Insert something about Thomas Kuhn, haha]. Of course, I would say that it was the work of the Holy Spirit. On the side of the spectrum, the same could be said about those who are agnostics now (like Ken). When he embraced his agnosticism it was a radical shift in perspective, much more than simply choosing to believe that their may be another explanation for the data on the…

    • Amigo

      TFR,
      I’m not going to get into a fight (in fact, chances are that I will never read this comment thread again), but your argument has a serious problem:

      You say, “In responding please do so with only secular non biased sources and remember only those who have nothing at stake or is taken in whole or part from the Bible or the NT.”

      Problems:
      1. There is no such thing as a non-biased source. Every source comes from a “somebody” and every “somebody” is subjective. History is always told through a biased perspective. For instance, which do you consider more “non-biased,” CNN, FoxNews or MSNBC? Your answer depends on your personal bias. None are non-biased, not even close.

      2. By asking for only “secular” sources, you are saying that you will only accept evidence in favor of the resurrection from people who deny the resurrection? Do you see the problem here? You are begging the question. If they are already known as “secular” sources, then they manifestly do not believe that the resurrection happened. Of course, if they believe the resurrection happened and tell about it, recount firsthand accounts, etc., then they are by definition not “secular.”

      3. If a “secular” historian were to say that Christians claimed that Jesus had risen from the dead, you would simply respond that they were just claiming what we already knew the Christians believed. This happens all the time in discussions on Tacitus or Pliny the Younger, right?

      4. If a non-Christian, 1st century document were to be found written by a Jewish or mystery cult member claiming that they knew of someone who saw the disciples steal the body from the tomb, would you believe it? Would this count as evidence? If you think it would count, then you shoot yourself in the foot, because this would clearly not be either a “non-biased” or “secular” source.

      I hope that helps you see the problems with your criteria for acceptable evidence.

    • Alockslee

      Amigo and others here…
      I am asking for evidence other than the book and those based upon that book which is only geared to promote your beliefs.

      For example, show us where any secular, non christian governmental entity at the time claimed for the accounts you say is the major basis for your beliefs that actually prove any of this occurred.

      Like the dead walking the streets of the town, city or even milling about around it. Certainly something of that magnitude would show up someplace. Even Josephus commented about the color of the buildings and conditions. This obviously overtly mundane report about those particulars would pale in comparison to the resurrected dead coming back to life, the sun standing still, the earth quaking and please don’t tell me or anyone else that they were too far away to notice or felt it if it happened.

      This isn’t meant to incite, just inquire and discuss the topic as presented. Take a look at this link and then follow the instructions asked to see if any of you can do this as you are all such knowledgeable people on the subject or at least should be able to produce a simple time line using just the alleged facts contained in your NT: http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=stone

      Or try this one: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/epistles2.htm

      That covers Paul and his allegedly written letters.
      Try those and I can post many more to which anyone is welcome to respond to and about civilly. This is about discussion of the topic and should be considered carefully in your response since many here contend their beliefs and justifications for them are valid, well then convince everyone that you can.

      Try it and stick to the terms of the challenges. The first one you use only the NT and the other secular sources please not biased to support something proved to faked to support a religion.

      T(hanks) F(or) R(eading)

    • Alockslee

      To Amigo, as to biased sources here is the problem with using the NT and things based upon it to “prove” your point.

      1. The book was not written at the time of the events;
      2. No one can prove the people the work is purported to have been written by are the actual people stated and/or that those people mentioned are real people;
      3. No secular contemporary source gives any supporting data to back up the NT claims of Jesus, the Disciples and the alleged events taking place and/or such claim are of such a magnitude that they would have been noticed and reported regardless;
      4. The portions people claim to follow are so full of contradictions they simply ignore it when asked to explain them;
      5. The portions that are often relied upon as absolutes are the very same ones that are ignored when it becomes troublesome to adhere to them by the very same folks who force them on others.

      I can continue but that is more than enough to keep you busy in responding to. Please do try and keep the proselytizing to a minimum if you do.

      (Alockslee is the name and TFR means Thanks For Reading)

      TFR

    • […] he gives internal evidence – which he defines as “evidence coming from within the primary witness documents, the New […]

    • Alockslee

      Amigo said:”3. If a “secular” historian were to say that Christians claimed that Jesus had risen from the dead, you would simply respond that they were just claiming what we already knew the Christians believed. This happens all the time in discussions on Tacitus or Pliny the Younger, right?”

      Check the following link for more about your listed claimed “sources”

      http://www.rationalresponders.com/silence_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_quotjesus#comment-157635

      That is just one of very many that do away with your “sources”

      As to your last sentence, please try to stay on tract and not engage in circular reasoning or trying to pretend to argue a point when you aren’t but only stating your opinion and then acting as if it is supporting the premise your sources can’t. You next jump to an assumption and act as if they are proof when the source material you rely upon doesn’t stand up as valid or accepted by independent secular sources that real historical events are tested and stand up because of the existence of secular evidence, while your material has nothing beyond itself or that of something a follower produced to bolster their beliefs.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to Jen #31

      You first have to prove that the lack of physical description of Jesus allows for a actual person.

      Next you have to prove this isn’t a conglomeration of the past deities prior to this time and a creation to match the needed persona.

      Move on to the fact that the written material you have is not original but only copies at best to something that is not supported by any source from secular entities which would be unbiased or in the extreme biased against and would go to better prove the existence far better than an account that is nothing more than a purported work to invent such a person and religion.

      The NT lacks the necessary support form contemporary outside sources of a secular nature that exist and prove other facts from the same period. So why doesn’t anything exist to prove a learned rabbi who would have to know how to read and write to become a rabbi not exist but you claim works exist from his followers that according to you would have been destroyed just as your claims to why nothing exists form the main person of your religion.

      Your arguments do more to disprove your faith than it does to bolster it. If the surviving works exists and has survived then certainly any work for the Master or leader of it would have been preserved at any cost. And to continue to state that this being you claim to be god couldn’t insure that absolute proof survived to prove his existence is plain silly.

      With every effort your position becomes so transparent and indefensible it is reduced to utter nonsense. You must prove your sources with the same proof that others historical figures are made to do and until you do, you are left without any reasonable expectation of even a foundation to start from. The NT is not ptoof nor is it usable in any manner until you can prove the validity of the material and the authorship beyond doubt.
      TFR
      TFR

    • donsands

      Is that quote from Greg Boyd, the same Greg Boyd who is an Openest teacher?

      I like it. And the Bible does prove it’s truth by the integrity of the writers.

      I like Dr. Luke’s secong Epistle wher he begins by saying:

      “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself ALIVE to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:1-3

      I share this scripture verse with my atheist friends.

      Have a blessed Easter! Jesus truly is our living Lord and Savior and Friend!

    • Glenn Shrom

      I am wondering if Michael Patton is willing to amend the article so that there is no claim that Luke claims to have seen the resurrected Christ, and anything else along those lines that would need correcting. Otherwise, please let us know where the basis is for the claim that Luke claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ, etc.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Other than that, I think the general five points about why the documents seem authentic and true, and also the four points about the external evidence, are all totally valid. The “rebuttals” to these seem to be about certain specific claims in the article that miss the big picture. A specific is about producing the body … while there could be many reasons why the corpse wasn’t produced besides just a resurrection, this misses the general point that there was plenty of time and motivation to create the arguments that would prove the whole account to be a fabrication in the early centuries, yet such arguments were not produced, or were not united. There was a story, for instance, that the disciples stole the body at night, but nobody has explained how they could have gotten past the guards, or tried to produce evidence that the guards weren’t there, … etc.

    • Having followed the link to the rational responders site there are a couple of things I would like to note. This post seems to assume that the resurrection was just an interesting historical that anyone might comment on as a curiosity. It was a claim of what was regarded as a fanatical sect which secular historians would have avoided to not embroil themselves in this kind of controversy. The proof of this is that all but three of the sources listed (Seneca the younger is marginal) were alive after the persecution of Christians by Nero attested by both Tacitus and Suetonius. If these people did not mention Christ or Christians even to show that they were a sect who had made their founder up it can only be that they did not want. A understandable response to a touchy religious controversy.
      That Christian did not refer to the relevant passages in Josephus does not prove they were not there but they did not feel they needed to. I see no evidence that anyone in the early denied the historicity of Jesus, whatever they thought of His claims.

    • […] But there are good reasons for belief in the resurrection. I’ve dealt with them in a series of blog posts (which we’ve also made available as a handout), but recently came across another good summary by Michael Patton. He lists internal (i.e., in the Bible) evidence for the resurrection such as honesty, irrelevant details, harmony, public extraordinary claims, and lack of motivation for fabrication. That information is summarized here. […]

    • Alockslee

      To the recent responses about my comments;

      First of all those who rely upon the two passages contained in the Josephus writings, those portions have been rejected as later interpolations by early christians who simply inserted them to make it appear Josephus had made them when he did not.

      To continue to offer only NT and later work based upon it is not valid since it forces the person you are trying to convince that the the existing copies of this purported work is valid, which is not the case and since it fails to meet the same requirements of other historical accounts it is not valid to use as factual historical documentation of the alleged events.

      Next, claiming honest accounts doesn’t elevate the NT or those of believers in using it to generate work solely upon it to substantiate the claims contained in this fiction.

      A work of fiction is always a work of fiction no matter how much you pretend it to be something else. Don’t get angry of the facts of history simply because you want it to be different than history supports and it certainly doesn’t support your misguided belief system anymore than it supports any other religious belief period.

      Other historical accounts that were in direct conflict of the authorities exist including the Roman Emperors actions and they as you claim controlled the material. So how do you overcome the negative comments of what exist about the Romans when it exists and known to be valid, with the fact that nothing supporting your religion from those said same periods which you continue to claim would have destroyed it due to its content.

      Your arguments don’t work nor do they overcome the facts of history which has nothing mentioned outside of your NT and we know that was a construct by early groups. Since you haven’t the necessary proof to even demonstrate one account from any reliable source that would show honesty behind the account you basically have nothing but fiction and that as you know is fabrication…

    • Alockslee

      In response to Mike #55;

      You seem to think that attempting to explain away the complete avoidance of the major source of historical accounts from the very period you must in order to verify and prove your claims is ridiculous at best.

      The reason Josephus wasn’t quoted was the sections now used by current believers is that those sections were added after that time!

      You can’t ignore the experts and then chose to pick and chose religious adherents to support you. That is not honest nor is it ethical in proving the history of your claims.

      So why do you do that? Because it is far to difficult for you to even entertain the possibility that your entire belief structure is nothing but a fiction. Face it when you look at the overwhelming base of your claims it shows that you have only your NT and material based upon it. Even Michael here uses that and alludes to material but never ventures into a complete examination of the facts vs the fiction that he uses.

      If you look at the facts and set aside your beliefs long enough to see the facts examined fully you will have to conclude that you are simply furthering a fantasy which would be seen if you allow yourself an honest chance to do so.

      I researched and looked at your claims for a very long time and after doing so concluded that your claims are nothing but fiction without any basis in reality.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Why is it no one ever explains the problem with the 3 days claim when I have shown the period at best is not even 2 full days at best?

      According to the claims jesus was placed in a tomb before sunset on Friday and was said to be out either before dawn or at later during the day.

      So since the counting of days at the time and the reason to place him in the tomb was to observe Passover before the evening on Friday and the day counts from sundown to sundown of the following day, how do you even begin to claim 3 days?

      Frankly, you can’t and that is a major point of the belief system.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Another point I brought up and it is avoided was the link to the FFRF site which asks for anyone to take the gospels accounts and put together a precise chronological ordered account of the resurrection.

      All you have to do is include the complete accounts in order of the reports in the gospels and present the time line in a complete account.

      Doing this will only result in so many contradictions and put the believer with the position of being unable to reconcile their beliefs verse what they have been ignoring that is claimed to be absolute word of their deity.

      Remember you have to put each of the points in chronological order and it is from the NT, nothing else so go ahead just list it out and then refute the NT which you use as your source of belief.

      http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=stone

      So much for “harmony”!!!
      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      From what I understand, the Jews spoke of “three days” not necessarily meaning three full days. A part of a day counted as a day in this type of reckoning. Therefore the day He was crucified counted as one day, Saturday as the second, and Sunday when He arose as the third. This seems to be the case elsewhere in Scripturaul usage too.

    • Alockslee

      Lets now point our attention of the works Michael makes claims about being authentic, historical, in harmony, etc..

      http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/marshall_gauvin/did_jesus_really_live.html

      Why are the earliest copies written in Greek? the disciples were alleged to Jewish and would have written in Aramaic, or Hebrew, not Greek. They were governed by Romans (Latin) and while some Greek existed those who were followers would not have been literate in Greek, but if at all more prone to use Aramaic or Hebrew or even Latin instead of Greek.

      So much for the honesty of the work especially since the existing examples are from long after the period and not one person can prove who wrote it in the first place.

      When responding stick to discussing the facts of the website and avoid the typical attack the messenger routine as so many believers try to avoid dealing with the facts to prevent open honest discussion from reality and only stave off having to look at the truth of what exists as opposed to what those believers hope to prevent from surfacing to disprove their religion.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to #56;

      After wading through the rhetoric on your blog making claims to “extra-biblical references” existing, all you offer is fiction written based upon the copies in Greek and not the language at the time nor contemporary to the time of this alleged events, it is simply material based upon a fiction in the first place.

      Where are the extra-biblical accounts by reliable sources that even mention the earthquakes, dead walking the streets, and other accounts claimed to have taken place that would have been seen by others even though the events wouldn’t have been related to those claimed by you?

      Your blog doesn’t provide anything beyond the bible based accounts and uses only those in agreement with your religious beliefs to reach your intended conclusions. You appear to raise questions to the contrary but fail to properly examine the issues fully and only at best mention existence of it.

      So how about answering the questions I posed, take the challenges I linked to and then post your responses here so everyone can see your efforts? If you do it properly and honestly you will have to conclude that nothing exists to support you continuing beliefs and conclude according to the facts, not fiction.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      cherylu on 06 Apr 2010 at 11:57 am #
      Alockslee,
      From what I understand, the Jews spoke of “three days” not necessarily meaning three full days. A part of a day counted as a day in this type of reckoning. Therefore the day He was crucified counted as one day, Saturday as the second, and Sunday when He arose as the third. This seems to be the case elsewhere in Scripturaul usage too.”
      —————————————————————————-
      In response: Sorry your argument doesn’t wash. The disciples were jews, and knew that a day was counted in accordance with the traditional methods. The fact you now comes forward and try to ignore that fact means you are refusing to accept the practices of the time.

      It also means that whoever wrote the copies chose to ignore that fact as well. Had they been the original people you believe they are that would have been done without a second thought.

      When the 3 days argument was refuted which it was, the whole resurrection claims is gone. Not one of the existing explains they weren’t following the tradition since the NT is moot as to the changes, so historically you have to go with the traditional practices, to dismiss it now is demonstrating your ignorance to the period practices.

      The whole reason to entomb the body was because of Passover and you can’t make 3 days from less than two.

      Thanks anyway but your comments are easily dismissed as nonsensical at best. Try your hand at the chronological ordering of the accounts from the Gospels and do it according to the terms listed on the link. Remember follow the rules and use only the full accounts of the gospels in the NT. You have to use every bit of the 4 gospels and don’t explain or excuse parts, just list a complete chronological account and include everything, then conclude what happened using it all. Make sure that you follow the rules.
      TFR

    • Adam

      The evidence is beyond despite. There are ways to explain it as wrong, but it takes far greater leaps of faith to do that than it does to accept it as true. No one can look at the evidence and say that the evidence is too weak to accept. The only way one can look at the evidence and reject it is if they have a philosophical predisposition that causes this (believing God can’t exist because their is evil in the world or having an anti-supernatural bias).

    • Michael T.

      Alocksee,

      Quick comment on the three days thing. There are many different positions scholars take on how this should be interpreted. A possible scenario is that Jesus wasn’t crucified on Friday. It must be noted that placing the crucifixion on Friday is a matter of tradition, nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that this is the case. All we are told is that it is the day before Passover and that it is the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath. One must realize that in 1st Century Judaism Passover would be considered a Sabbath Day and thus there could be two Sabbath days during the week that Jesus was crucified. Thus making the period between the Day of Preparation and the First Day of the week longer then the Friday – Sunday that is traditional.

      Yet as I said this is just one of 20 different ways that this could be interpreted. Suffice to say I find nothing here that creates an intractable contradiction as you seem to assert.

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      Are you familiar with the quotes in this article?

      http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/historical-secular-quotes-about-jesus/phlegon.html

    • Michael T.

      Alocksee,
      Re. 57

      “since it fails to meet the same requirements of other historical accounts it is not valid to use as factual historical documentation of the alleged events.”

      What criteria are you using to determine historicity?? The criteria you seem to be laying out are much higher then historians use when determining a documents authenticity (i.e. Herodotus’ account of the battle of Thermopylae). You claim that the New Testament is a work of fiction, but offer nothing to prove that it is fiction other than your a priori assumption that it must be. You claim some parallels to other beliefs (which many Secular scholars refute) yet even if this were so this commits the genetic fallacy.

      Re: 58

      “You can’t ignore the experts and then chose to pick and chose religious adherents to support you. That is not honest nor is it ethical in proving the history of your claims.”

      Whose experts? One could claim we’re cherry picking Christian experts while you’re cherry picking Secular experts. The idea you have that one is more objective then the other is simply a matter of bias, not fact.

      Re: 60
      Interestingly enough this is exactly what one expects from eyewitness accounts. You are expecting modern historical precisions from people who aren’t modern historians (and the Church is guilty of this too sometimes). I’m a lawyer by training and the one thing you learn about eyewitnesses is that generally there stories are similar, but they always contain discrepancies. Why?? Because people are different. They pick up on different details and remember things differently. Thus to me this lends credence to the assertion that these are or are based on eyewitnesses.

      Re: 62
      Greek was the most common language spoken in the Ancient Near East during the time of Jesus. The local language was Aramaic, but the Greeks had conquered the entire region and many people spoke Greek as it was necessary to carry on trade and business with anyone outside of…

    • Renton

      Is it really true that one historian is as good as another? As an historian, I’m appalled at that statement. Some are good; some are bad. And one of the ways to tell the difference, is to look at physical evidence. In this case, today we don’t see people walking on water or moving mountains with just faith and a prayer; so we conclude that THOSE “historians” were mostly unreliable.

    • Alockslee

      Lets start with the last portion of your response Michael,

      First of all the Romans were in charge in the area, and the language of the time among the Jews was Hebrew or Aramaic and had been since Jerusalem was founded or don’t you understand that jesus was found in the temple speaking to the rabbis when according to your accounts his parents found him.

      Latin, Greek or other languages were not used by the priest of the temple during the worship services and would not have been used to converse, preach or pray by the congregation, simply do the necessary research and you will find that to be the fact.

      The immediate followers of jesus who could write would have learned writing and reading from the torah since they would have gone through bar mitzvah in accordance with the jewish law or don’t you understand the religion of the jews at the time.

      There have fun and as to the rest of your poor attempts at refutation, it falls flat since you know full well historical accuracy and accepted scholarship follows a standard pattern and doesn’t follow your nonsense approach that just blindly adheres to a construct based upon past religious beliefs and inaccurate dating.

      Finally, you have nothing that even puts the earliest writing of the claimed texts in the same period and they also contradict one another so badly that it cancels out the entirety without even moving beyond the NT itself.

      Still waiting for your resurrection time line according to the terms on the link. Once you accomplish that following the rules using on the NT it will be clear you either reach the fact it it didn’t happen or simply refuse as the others have in the past. Either way you fail to overcome the truth that you have only fiction and little if any facts. The facts you may have don’t prove your basis for belief and that too is too high a hurdle to clear, so suffice it to say you have nothing but fiction and fiction is certainly not fact.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to #66. notice the date of alleged birth of your source person approximately 80 CE. So please tell us all how a person who is born at least 50 years after the alleged event that is the basis for you religion is considered contemporary?

      Also, look up the eclipse on a real website that covers what it is and then report what it has on it and stop basing your defenses from another misguided fantasy believing person.

      BTW if we follow your example, you just refuted Michael’s defense of not happening during Passover since Passover is set on the full moon and the eclipse had to be on a full moon to take effect to be the type you claim.

      Thanks so much and keep it coming the more you discuss the facts the sooner you will be able to come to grips with this fallacy you cling to so closely.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Seriously folks simply take a few minutes and read the following web page here:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/marshall_gauvin/did_jesus_really_live.html

      Once you have dealt with this author’s arguments then you will have a better understanding of how nonsensical you sound in trying to put forth anything remotely valid on this topic.

      You can hold to any religious belief you want, but, don’t try to argue a non fact as if it were, you lose every time! If you must defend your position then do so honestly and stop trying to inject falsehoods and insert something you know isn’t true, can’t be proved or even speculate about what happened because you weren’t there and nothing exists outside the fiction you think is valid to back you up. Work produced form it by later authors is only fiction based upon fiction so don’t employ that as it is far worse than using the first source and offers nothing to bolster a thing in this discussion.

      Spend some time reading the actual history and learn the facts and you will soon learn what you are trying to do is not possible and is only a fiction. Fiction is not reality and no amount of wishing (prayer) will change it.

      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      Here is an interesting quote from this article:

      http://www.ntgreek.org/answers/nt_written_in_greek.htm

      If this information is accurate, it says a lot about why New Testament manuscripts are written in Greek.

      (The actual quote is in the next comment as it is too long to put in this one.)

    • cherylu

      Here is the quote:

      “Most Jewish Funerary Inscriptions in GREEK!

      In the next article in the same issue of Biblical Archaeological Review, the author, Pieter W. Van Der Horst, points out that no less than 1,600 Jewish epitaphs — funerary inscriptions — are extant from ancient Palestine dating from 300 B.C. to 500 A.D. The geographical spread of these inscriptions reveal that Jews were living all over the world at that time, especially the Roman period. In other words, when Jesus’ brother James said in Acts 15, “Moses has been preached in every city for generations past and is read in the synagogues on every sabbath” (v.21), he was simply stating the truth. Peter, in his first sermon, enumerates a list of the countries from which Jews came to worship on that first Pentecost of the newly formed Christian Church (Acts 2:9-11).

      Van Der Horst goes on:

      “One of the most surprising facts about these funerary inscriptions is that most of them are IN GREEK — approximately 70 percent; about 12 percent are in Latin; and only 18 percent are in Hebrew or Aramaic.

      “These figures are even more instructive if we break them down between Palestine and the Diaspora. Naturally in Palestine we would expect more Hebrew and Aramaic and less Greek. This is true, but not to any great extent. Even in Palestine approximately TWO-THIRDS of these inscriptions are in GREEK.

      “APPARENTLY FOR A GREAT PART OF THE JEWISH POPULATION THE DAILY LANGUAGE WAS GREEK, EVEN IN PALESTINE. This is impressive testimony to the impact of Hellenistic culture on Jews in their mother country, to say nothing of the Diaspora.

      “In Jerusalem itself about 40 PERCENT of the Jewish inscriptions from the first century period (before 70 C.E.) ARE IN GREEK. We may assume that most Jewish Jerusalemites who saw the inscriptions in situ were able to read them” (“Jewish Funerary Inscriptions — Most Are in Greek,” Pieter W. Van Der Horst, BAR, Sept.-Oct.1992, p.48).”

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      I read about 2/3 of the article you linked above. It was so long I didn’t make it to the end.

      But what I can say is that I saw a whole lot of assumptions made by the writer of that article. For instance the one where he said that miracles are impossible. Can he “prove” that they are impossible?

      It seems to me that article was written by someone that had already completely made up their mind that Jesus didn’t exist and set out to “prove” it. A priori???

      A good share of what he claimed as impossible or obvious doesn’t appear impossible or obvious to me in the slightest.

      One other thought that stuck out to me. He said the Apostle Paul knew nothing of the Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels. He never spoke of all the things He did and said there. Because He didn’t repeat everything said in the Gospels doesn’t prove He didn’t know them–what an assumption that is. And to state he knew nothing of a miracle working Christ when Paul himself spoke of miraculous things being done by Christians as Jesus Himself had said would happen is again an outrageous statement that appears to have been made by someone that hasn’t taken the time to read what Paul said and given any serious thought to it.

      Sorry, your article appears extremely biased to me. He didn’t simply state what he believed to be facts–he drew conclusions repeatedly that to me seemed totally unwarranted. There is a whole lot of interpretation going on there.

    • C Michael Patton

      Sorry folks, I have not and cannot participate here or on the other post. I have way too much going on and cannot possibly keep up with all the comments.

      I pray that things are staying civil and on track.

      No nonesense about Jesus never even existing, please (I think I caught something about that earlier). You have to be a fringe radical to suggest that. Its about like saying people did not land on the moon.

      Anyway, it would waste the time and purpose of this blog.

      Stick to the resurrection. If you don’t think Christ ever existed, just stay out of the issue. I don’t want the arguements turning to such nonesense.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      You apparently need a history lesson. When Alexander the Great conquered Persia (and Israel with it) in 331 BC the Greeks employed a process of forced Hellenization whereby the local populations were forcibly made to adopt Greek language and customs. This resulted in many Israelites being largely Hellenized by the time Greek rule ended. When the Romans conquered Israel in 64 BC they did not force Romanization on the Jews, but rather allowed them to have independent religious and cultural practices within certain boundaries as was typical of most conquered Roman territories. The result of this was that even at the time of Jesus many Jews and the vast majority of the people in the surrounding area spoke Greek.

    • cherylu

      Michael T,

      Have you ever read a book by Harvard law professor Simon Greenleaf entitled, “The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administrated in Courts of Justice”? It was published in 1874. It demonstrates how the Gospel accounts would be acceptable in a court of law. If you have read it, I wonder what you think of it as a fellow lawyer?

      It is available online here: http://www.tektonics.org/harmonize/greenharmony.htm

      I just ran across it this a.m.

      Alockslee,

      Incidentally, this book also contains a harmony of the Gospel accounts like you have been talking about. I haven’t looked at it however.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      “In response to #66. notice the date of alleged birth of your source person approximately 80 CE.”

      Most of the primary source documents we have concerning ancient historical events, much less the secondary attestations were written well more then 50 years after the event in question. For instance the primary source for the Battle of Thermopylae is Herodotus writing 40-60 years after the event. Secondary attestations don’t come until over 80 years after the event and most, if not all of these, are just retelling what Herodotus said.

      This type of thing is common in ancient history. There are historical events that historians believed happened and weren’t written about until over 100 years after the fact. As I said you must realize that to call into question the Bible on grounds that it wasn’t contemporary or doesn’t contain contemporary attestations is to call into question every ancient historical document we posses. Your standards for contemporary attestations are NOT the standards used to judge the historical nature of most ancient documents.

      You can’t have it both ways. Either based date of writing vs. date of event and contemporary attestations the Bible is reliable or no ancient historical document (with a few exceptions) is reliable.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      When Alexander the Great conquered all of Persia in 331 BC (including Israel) the Greeks forced all those conquered to adopt Greek language and custom. When the Romans conquered Israel in 64 BC they did no such thing. As was common for the Romans they allowed the conquered Israelites to keep their customs and religion within certain boundaries. The result of this was that many in Israel and almost everybody in the surrounding areas spoke Greek. I know of no scholar or historian who disputes these facts. Maybe you do??

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      “In response to #66. notice the date of alleged birth of your source person approximately 80 CE.”

      I think most historians specializing in ancient history secular or Christian are going to have a beef with your idea of contemporary. For most historians this would be considered a very contemporary account. For instance the primary source or the Battle of Thermopylae is Herdotus writing 40-60 years after the event in question (longer then the Bible I might add) and the secondary attestations are largely (like the Bible) simply rehashes of what Herodotus said with the earliest being 80 or so years after the event in question.

      You don’t realize it I know, but the standards you want to use are NOT the standards historians use. If they used your standards we wouldn’t know a single thing about what happened prior to 1700 AD. In ancient history historians writing over 100 years after an event is not uncommon. So as compared to most ancient historical documents the Bible fairs extremely well and better then most accounts that historians consider factual.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      I read the article you linked and it is so full of disinformation, a priori assumptions, and just outright falsehoods that I don’t even know where to respond so I will just say a couple things

      1. The theory that Jesus was a complete myth and never lived is more outside of mainstream scholarship then the assertion made by Christians that the Gospels are historical. There are currently only 2 scholars living out of thousands of Bible scholars who provide any support to the Christ myth theory. They are G.A. Wells and Robert Price. Of these two neither is unequivocal in their support for the theory either.

      2. The obscenely late datings for the Gospels are well outside of mainstream scholarship and the few who do date them this late do so because of the prophecy in Mark predicting the destruction of the Jewish temple.

      3. The work called Supernatural Religion is often attributed to Cassel’s but was published completely anonymously. It has been widely questioned as to assertions and method. Furthermore I find it odd that someone who is ripping on the Gospels for being anonymous is citing an anonymous book.

      3. Related to 2 Iranaeus is not the first person to quote the Gospels. Ignatius for instance quoted them and we know he died prior to 117 AD with most scholars placing it around 108 AD.

      4. Most of the Gnostic Gospels mentioned we’re written well after 200 AD.

      5. Already addressed the Greek issue

      6. Already addressed the issue about not having original documents.

      7. This writing is likely quite old because it is missing some recent information such as the discovery of Nazareth and the discovery that people did travel to their ancestorial homes for census.

      I could go on but you get the point. This article contains so much disinformation and outright falsehood that it is hardly worth the time of people to respond to. Whether you realize it or not this view is even more radical and outside the realm of mainstream scholarship the Christianity itself.

      I would highly suggest that if you wish to be taken seriously and actually convince someone you fact check your sources and avoid source which use the rhetoric this sources does. Furthermore you might want to consider adopting a viewpoint that isn’t more radical and extreme then the one you’re arguing against.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      Just thought I’d throw this out there. I’m sure you are aware who Bart Ehrman is and are aware that he is no friend whatsoever of Christians. Yet despite that he had to say this about the hypothesis you are advancing.

      “I don’t think there’s any serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus. There are a lot of people who want to write sensational books and make a lot of money who say Jesus didn’t exist. But I don’t know any serious scholar who doubts the existence of Jesus.”

      Ehrman, Bart (2008), interview with Reginald V. Finley Sr., “Who Changed The New Testament and Why”, The Infidel Guy Show

    • Alockslee

      In response to #79, Where are your sources? Please be kind enough to provide them so your research can be cross checked to insure this isn’t just another attempt to list a bunch of allegedly valid material as if it refutes anything and then not list them so it can be clearly seen for what it is, just another claim from another believer who doesn’t cite anything of merit either.

      Waiting for your sources and please make sure that you list them according to their author,location where they can be found on the web and when you do please make absolutely sure that it is from an actual scholar that is not so blinded by their belief system (christianity) that they can’t be honest in their written material.

      You claim the article is so full of misinformation, then please post what you contend is misinformation and then refute it with factual, valid, independent from bias of your belief system and then make your conclusions based upon what you have proved, not speculate upon.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to #76, funny you bring this site up as an attempt to make your position argument. You must not have seen my prior posts about that site and the author of it, where I not only refuted his points one by one, I also proved that tektonics almost every time failed to post any valid source material to base their position on.

      So in the future please find someone who actually quotes a source and then quotes them accurately and then makes a conclusion based upon the quoted material which is not the case with the author on that site.

      As to the “site” you got through about 2/3’s the way, please tell us which one that was as I have listed several. What on that site was so troubling to you that prevented you from finishing it?

      Was it the facts? Was it the irrefutable evidence from those who don’t follow your fantasy and/or the complete lack of those on your side of the discussion having nothing to offer?

      You spend time beating around the bush but say little to nothing to defend your side. where is your Time-line using the complete accounts from the 4 gospels? Certainly such a learned person as you are can accomplish something so critical to your belief system , that without it your entire structure for it fails should be able to do it in record time.

      So, please using the task laid out complete it and remember don’t omit anything and then show us all what did happen with the claimed resurrection since the gospels certainly don’t agree and don’t defend it either just do as it asks and conclude on what you have when finished.
      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      I didn’t see or remember your reference to the site I mentioned in #76. And if you read my comment again, I said I had just found that online book. I had not read it. I merely asked Michael T his opinion of it.

      And the site I got about half way through was the same article Michael T spoke of above.

      And you know what, I find it quite amusing and frustrating that you expect us as Christians to read a site by infidels.org and be totally convinced by what they have to say. And yet you totally and completely refuse to accept any evidence we offer you written by a Chistian because that would be too biased! How is that for a double standard anyway??

    • Alockslee

      In response to #75, Wow! The single most important point in your belief system and a guy that spends so much time dedicated to expousing this religious viewpoint and he doesn’t have the time to spend on defending the very religion his whole life is dedicated to.

      Well we wouldn’t want to keep you from something more important now would we? Certainly this discussion that has shown not one of the fellow followers have anything to use to defend their religion except the very fiction that was created to develop it initially poses a problem.

      So run along Mr. Patton and don’t give this a second thought since you don’t have the time to discuss the single most import part of your religion and leave those left to flounder and eventually resort to the usual tactics of misquoting history, trying to thump the book that has been proved to be nothing more than an historical novel at best and most likely a creation so long after the alleged events that even you would have to agree if you would allow yourself the opportunity.

      Thanks for bailing out so soon and we both know the reason, it isn’t time that is the problem, it is simply you know full well that you can’t overcome the facts with fantasy and want to withdraw before you too are shown to have been pushing a fiction to others here.

      Please don’t get upset but running away is not what a true believer would do in this case, but we all certainly understand and wouldn’t want you to have to go to any effort just to be proved unable to even defend the primary and most important basis for your faith.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      cherylu, if you can’t remember what you have just read then please write it down so you can.

      If you want to discuss the topic then fine but at least make some effort to cite your references and don’t try the elementary ploy of driving the discussion off topic which is again another trick employed by those followers of the f&e squad when they are faced with having to defend their religion and have to really look at it logically.

      You of course find that having to take a logical look at your religion causes you to realize exactly how illogical it is and then having to really go through what you haven’t got with respect to tangible proof renders your position moot.

      In other words you really don’t read the material that disagrees with your beliefs but only claim to, you certainly don’t quote it and when you do you conclude in error 9 out of 10 times. Finally you rely upon those that support your side but create more nonsense the deeper you investigate folks like the tektonics site.

      So, in the future, please take the points I post one at a time and then work through them until you are able to reach the logical conclusion that I offer, you will if you are willing to really see what is written.

      Next once a source you offer is refuted and I have given reasons for it, move on and stop using them since that source has been invalidated. You have to stick to valid, secular sources of history, untainted by this religious brainwashing that prevents the person form seeing the truth when given. Please don’t even try to turn this around it will not work.

      Don’t claim your NT is truth without proving it by real sources and start if you must by proving who wrote it by real evidence not speculation.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Lets return to a point that needs to be proven in order to start with and then once that happens it can be used in the future.

      1. The period of time claimed by those who believe in the resurrection from entombing to the “resurrection” is said in the NT to be 3 days.

      I have proved that the period if it happened, which there is nothing but your NT that even claims it that might be close to the alleged time of this alleged event and that period is not 3 days and actually less than 2 days.

      So, the facts shown here are that we must consider the period to be based upon the Jewish dating tradition which runs from sundown to sundown to be a complete day. So Friday night to Saturday makes one and then the period of Saturday night to the latest period given in the gospels is Sunday during the DAY and that is not complete according to the period tradition.

      That renders the time period to be at best 1 & 1/2 days to 1 & 3/4 days, but in no way is it beyond 2 days period.

      So the 3 days claim is invalid and nothing from your source documents provide anything to dispute it, nor can you invent other information or explain it since it is the infallible word of your deity.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Moving onto the next problem for christians is the claims of what was said by “jesus” and then argue the NT is full of his spoken words.

      Lets face it folks, nothing in the NT or any other documents in existence have ever proved that jesus existed nor actually said anyhting. All they do is allege it was uttered by a person called jesus, but nothing ever written by this person described in the NT has ever been found that is accepted by the experts on either side.

      So, without a single shred of evidence of anything written or any reliable proof of this individual ever being produced which can be properly validated, tested or even shown to be of him the claims fall flat until something can be produced to show that he existed or if he did he said anything whatsoever.

      Which leads us to the next phase of the discussion, where is the proof that anything from this alleged individual was said and that the NT is simply a creation of a construct used by a group of people to invent another religion just like other religions were invented in the past and/or have been invented throughout history.

      The Romans kept very detailed records so where is the record of the trial and the crucifixion? We know there are records of other trials so where is this particular record? It doesn’t exist and would exist if it happened, which it doesn’t.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      cherylu on 07 Apr 2010 at 10:24 am #

      Alockslee,

      I read about 2/3 of the article you linked above. It was so long I didn’t make it to the end.

      But what I can say is that I saw a whole lot of assumptions made by the writer of that article.

      ———————————————————————-
      In response: Please provide the article you can’t remember and then take the time to refute the arguments on that site.

      Certainly you can do this if you disagree and work through each portion to disprove it.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      I am still waiting for Michael to post the list of extra-biblical references he claims exists to prove his position.

      Where are these references? Again these are nothing but written material based solely upon the NT that were drafted by later followers who needed something to add to the amount of material to help bolster their position and beliefs.

      Where is the outside, secular extra-biblical materials that report the extraordinary claims of those in the NT? certainly someone somewhere had to also witness these widespread “miracles” that are so plentiful and have been recorded only in the NT.

      Basically when challenged to produced the proof, followers will claim tons of stuff exists, but never produce it. In fact when they produce anything at all it is always something based upon the NT, written by a follower and then it isn’t extra-biblical at all but just another piece of further nonsense that only restates what was written or weakly attempts to make some lame explanation to try to defend and fail to accomplish it with each demand by logical thinking people who question this religion.

      So again where is this evidence and when is Michael gonna provide it so it can be shown to be nothing more than just more nonsense upon nonsense just like the source of it all that created it in the first place. remember Josephus is the only source that is given as contemporary and those passages are forgeries, so this time lets see something else or just admit nothing exists to prove your faith.
      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      It’s funny how you have a double standard. The article you link doesn’t cite sources for it’s assertions either and yet you have no problem holding it up as being true. Furthermore, if you simply Google the author you will find out that he was not Biblical scholar. Here are some quotes from the article to demonstrate.

      “Some of the ablest scholars of the world deny that he ever lived at all.”

      Which scholars is he referring too? He doesn’t name names.

      “Mark copied and enlarged an earlier document which is called the “original Mark.”

      What sources does he cite for this proposition? None

      “What it was, who wrote it, where it was written, nobody knows. The Gospel of John is admitted by Christian scholars to be an unhistorical document”

      Which scholars again. He doesn’t give any source for this statement. Just “Christian scholars”.

      “We are told that Mark was written some time after the year 70, Luke about 110, Matthew about 130, and John not earlier than 140 A.D”

      Who told him this?? Which serious scholar actually dates John after 140? Just google “Rylands Fragment”. This papyrus contains a portion of the Gospel of John dated to 125 AD.

      Again I could go on. I’m just pointing out your ridiculous double standard here. You are willing to accept a document containing a position that is even more outside of the scholarly mainstream then mine from somebody who isn’t even an expert in the field. Furthermore the document has no citations and contains nothing more then unverified assertions on the part of the author. And then you have the nerve to turn around and demand that I give you sources for what are generally accepted facts in the scholarly community??

    • Alockslee

      Cherylu, lets look at your claim that Greenleaf wrote something to prove your religion in court.

      First of all what did he actually prove? Please tell everyone here what he accomplished?

      Next, explain what if anything he did as all that is ever given is that the ancient document exists, may corroborate some details of a fictionalized account, but doesn’t prove that the claims in it are true.

      Notice it doesn’t prove the events it only repeats and compares some parts of it, nowhere in the article which is edited by the way, proves any of it actually happened.

      In conclusion all it does if it does anything at all show a discussion of some old material being written by the same person which disproves the claims of whole lot of people believe that it was written by some disciples of an alleged person and even the documents themselves can’t be proved to exist at the time of the events. Next it is written in a language that would not have been used by the Jews who followed him since they were rebuilding the Jewish religion and would have relied solely upon the traditional language, HEBREW or Aramaic and certainly not Greek as as pointed out Greek was not the language of the JEWS!!!

      Thanks but trying to argue the JEWS used Greek as their primary language is ridiculous and claiming the disciples would have done it especially after they were being killed for trying to restore the religion to the people as claimed in the NT, is again a pathetic argument to even offer.

      So so much for your Greenleaf and Greek arguments.

      Lets see you resurrection timelines and your refutations of Rook Hawkins paper on the other sites.

      TFR

    • mbaker

      CMP,

      Talk about spamming. I’m seeing all these posts in a row by an obvious atheist. I know you are preparing for the funeral of a good friend, and don’t have a whole lot of time right now, but as the author of this post I hope you will personally respond to the charges made here against Christianity as a whole. Michael T. has gone above and beyond the call of duty here, and his common sense posts are much appreciated. Now it’s time for you to answer the arguments.

      Thanks and God bless.

    • Alockslee

      Continuing, according to your main experts, jesus preached to the jews and that was why the people of the time wanted him out of the way.

      The Greek documents prove they were written by a writer well after the fact since it contains facts that occurred AFTER the events it purports to describe. It is prophecy, it is a few historical facts woven into the myth creation to give it a bit of certainty to the myth and is the proof that shows that they were written long after the alleged events in an attempt to keep their efforts alive.

      No one in the Roman government would have destroyed records of a convicted criminal and they would have gone to great effort to preserve them had it happened since so many groups were rebelling against them. It would have served as a reminder to anyone who tried to start a rebellion against them as a deterrent such as the Death Penalty exists today.

      So lets not use this line of argument any longer since I just proved it doesn’t work to explain away the lack of proof by the Romans or anyone else for any reason. It simply doesn’t wash or hold water to do so so please stop with it as it falls flat.

      As to the documents proving anything beyond it being a fiction, the Iliad exists and is not questioned as being anything but a fiction so it doesn’t prove ZEUS exists anymore than the NT proves jesus did either. So much for the ancient document proves a thing at all.
      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Alocksee,
      It is impossible to answer you because of the double standard you present. You assume a worldview is true and then ask someone to use only people who ascribe to that worldview to prove it false. You are asking the impossible, not just for me, but for you too. If we are going to play this game I want you to prove to me that the naturalistic atheist worldview is true only using non-atheists.

      The fact of the matter is that an individual’s scholarship stands or fall on it’s merits not on whether or not that individual is a Christian or not. For instance one of the foremost experts in Koine Greek (The Greek spoken between 300 BC and 300 AD) is Daniel Wallace (who contributes to this site on occasion). Now if you go to any secular school to learn Koine Greek there very high chance you will be using his book, Greek Grammer Beyond the Basics, to learn from. His scholarship in that book is accepted as accurate and correct. It’s stands on its own apart from his personal views. You simply can’t write someone’s scholarship off because they are a Christian anymore then I can because they are an atheist. The standard here is are they are reputable scholar – not are they a Christian or Atheist.

    • Michael T.

      As to sources

      1. With regards to proving that the Christ-Myth Theory is outside the mainstream I already quoted Bart Erhman. If you want me to quote other secular scholars stating the same thing I can.

      2. As to the late dates for the Gospels, Google “Rylands Fragment”. This is a portion of the Gospel of John generally dated to 125 AD. Dan Wallace does a good job of explaining the different theories here. Suffice to say no one, or at least very few modern scholars date John as late as your author does. Most don’t go past 110.
      http://bible.org/seriespage/gospel-john-introduction-argument-outline#P93_20865
      (go to the dating section)

      3. Just Google “Supernatural Religion” or something. That this book was written anonymously is common knowledge.

      4. For the discoveries regarding Nazareth look here. This is the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
      http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_Item_eng.asp?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=1638&module_id=#as

      5. For the fact that Koine Greek was widely spoken in the Roman times just Google “Koine Definition”. Any online dictionary will indicate that it was the English of its time, a common language used by those who didn’t speak the same native tongue to communicate. Hence the name “Koine” Greek which translates “Common” Greek.

      Ultimately all this stuff is just common knowledge stuff. Furthermore since your author makes blanket assertions without any citations to scholars who actually hold the position he advocates it’s a little hard to refute him with scholars. Why? Because no scholar takes his assertions seriously. No serious Bible scholar is ever going to write a paper refuting a non-expert who makes outrageous claims no one in the academia considers viable. Seriously don’t take my word for it – look through the various scholarly journals and see how much is written concerning Christ-Myth Theories. Almost nothing because even secular scholars consider it absurd.

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      As Michael T said and as I said before, you are operating on a ridiculous double standard here.

      And you are so sure that if we just jump through all of your hoops, we will come to believe as you do. As a matter of fact, you have actually had the nerve to come on this blog and demand that we jump through all of your hoops!

      And by the way, this is the second time I have told you that I did not read that book by Greenleaf. I saw it was available on line and asked Michael T about it. I did not try to use it as proof–pretty hard to do when you haven’t read it and really know nothing about it at all. If someone read it online and it was good, it may have been useful as proof to them. But I did not know one way or the other. Uh, maybe if you can’t remember what you have read you should take notes so that you can—ya think?!?

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      It’s funny how you have a double standard. The article you link doesn’t cite sources for it’s assertions either and yet you have no problem holding it up as being true. Furthermore, if you simply Google the author you will find out that he was not Biblical scholar. Here are some quotes from the article to demonstrate.

      “Some of the ablest scholars of the world deny that he ever lived at all.”

      Which scholars is he referring too? He doesn’t name names.

      “Mark copied and enlarged an earlier document which is called the “original Mark.”

      What sources does he cite for this proposition? None

      “What it was, who wrote it, where it was written, nobody knows. The Gospel of John is admitted by Christian scholars to be an unhistorical document”

      Which scholars again. He doesn’t give any source for this statement. Just “Christian scholars”.

      “We are told that Mark was written some time after the year 70, Luke about 110, Matthew about 130, and John not earlier than 140 A.D”

      Who told him this?? Which serious scholar actually dates John after 140? Just google “Rylands Fragment”. This papyrus contains a portion of the Gospel of John dated to 125 AD.

      Again I could go on. I’m just pointing out your ridiculous double standard here. You are willing to accept a document containing a position that is even more outside of the scholarly mainstream then mine from somebody who isn’t even an expert in the field. Furthermore the document has no citations and contains nothing more then unverified assertions on the part of the author. And then you have the nerve to turn around and demand that I give you sources for what are generally accepted facts in the scholarly community??

    • Alockslee

      Lets move onto two dates of major importance to followers of christianity:

      1. Date of birth for jesus;

      See the following: http://www.revneal.org/Writings/jesusbirth.htm

      2. What is the date of jesus’s alleged death;

      See the following: http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com/2005/12/21/when-did-jesus-die-year/

      So if this alleged person lived and died then how old was he?

      Most christians claim and these are evangelicals who also claim the bible is the infallible word of god and that is said to be 33 years old when he was allegedly crucified but the NT is quite vague and doesn’t corroborate the exact date, nor does it support in any of the gospels between the 4 fictionalized accounts enough data to prove it was true in the first place.

      Was he 33, 36, 50 or any age since the books were not written until years later and those stories can’t be even proven to be by anyone especially an alleged disciple or even a person alive at the time of these so-called events.

      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Cheryl,
      I have no idea about this book or it’s contents. Never even heard of it to be honest. Getting the Bible admitted into court under the Federal Rules of Evidence would be an interesting thought experiment. I could think of a few ways to get it in, but it would be difficult to say the least, especially considering you’d have to have a case that it was relevant to in the first place.

    • Alockslee

      cherylu, #96 & Michael T # 97, well now hows it feel when you finally get some of exactly what you expect everyone to swallow hook, line and sinker.

      I gave you several sources and you still haven’t discussed the issues contained in anyone of them. all you have done is dismissed them or complained without any detailed discussion to present any facts to defend your position.

      This is an open forum and the discussion was already underway, so if you can’t handle real discussion and just want to run off then do so, Michael already bailed and we all know exactly why that was, he knew right off he couldn’t win the argument so he just left you all to falter on your own.

      So where is your arguments? All you present is more of the same stuff, NT and the stuff based on it and nothing of substance beyond it. I on th4 other hand have logically discussed and proved each point otherwise you wouldn’t have become so defensive and now are trying to change the subject or complain about some simple challenges to your beliefs. If you can’t even defend your basic beliefs then you certainly can’t handle the finer points such as specifics about dates and the person involved.

      Too bad, but it is so typical with evangelicals and fundamentalists they are always trying to force their beliefs down on everyone else but they can’t hang when challenged to actually discuss it and then have such a problem when they finally look at what they have, little to nothing.
      TFR

    • cherylu

      Michael T,

      Thanks. I had never heard of it before either. Just something I came across this a.m.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,

      With regards to dates. We have no idea the exact birth and death dates for most historical figures. For instance we have no idea the exact date of the historian Josephus’ death. Most scholars put it in the year 100, but we don’t know. I’m not sure what your point is.

      As to double standards. What is our double standard??? I pointed out a number of the flaws in your so called “source” in 79, 95, and 97. There is nothing in there to discuss. It is nothing more then a set of assertions from a non-expert without citations or anythings. I could write a essay right now on why the Sun revolves around the Earth if you like – it would be hard to refute, but still absurd in light of accepted facts. I can’t refute something that doesn’t provide the method or basis for it’s assertions. There is nothing to refute.

      Now if you don’t mind please prove to me that the naturalistic atheist worldview is true using only NON-Atheist sources.

    • Michael T.

      Alocksee,
      CMP bailed because he never takes part in these discussions after the first day. That is his policy and it always has been, for this post and every other one. He’s too busy with other things (family, running Credo House, teaching etc.) to be in the forums here 24/7.

    • Alockslee

      #97, Michael T and you aren’t doing exactly the same thing, no citations to back up the fiction you hold as true and yet can’t give any real historical proof as to support your beliefs, now have you.

      So the question of proof rests upon you to prove the following:

      1. That jesus existed at all;

      2. That the NT was written by any of the people claiming to be disciples and prove it;

      3. That if jesus existed that anything claimed to have been done by him actually happened and produce any source material that has no stake in your belief system that would be independent proof of these so-called “miracles” ever taking place at all;

      4. That you can discuss the subject with anyone where you have to back up your position with facts instead of having accept it blindly and not ask for proof in order to believe it;

      5. You cannot set aside your unproven beliefs in order to discuss the subject without bias and simply convince a person who doesn’t blindly agree with you and therefore not challenge you in the first place.

      This demonstrates that you aren’t able to back up your claims, nor are you capable of even doing so and that proves just how little belief and how fragile your certainty is in the whole ideology.

      So lets see you meet those simple conditions which the majority of you claim to hold to on a daily basis.

      TFR

    • Kyle

      Michael T.,
      As you can see, there’s little purpose in using reason and argument with these types. I prefer the tact that they often use for ID and YEC, “When you have an argument that is published in a peer-reviewed journal or by an academic publisher, come back and then we’ll talk about it.”

      I recently heard Robert Price (who argues for the Christ myth, but personally isn’t confident of the position), say that he is the only scholar in the guild (that he knows) who thinks this is a live question. He was arguing that he doesn’t care how minority his position is, and that he personally enjoys the difficult challenge of arguing for the position whether or not it’s true. Of course, he has academic credentials, but isn’t currently a professor, hasn’t published academically on the topic and when his non-academic publications have been reviewed by peers they have been received negatively.

      If Robert Price admits to being the only biblical scholar arguing this position, and there are some 10,000 members of the Society of Biblical Literature, then “Some of the ablest scholars of the world deny that he ever lived at all” is manifestly false. Even if 75% of the scholars in the SBL are Christian (most actually aren’t), then that leaves 2499 non-Christian scholars who believe the evidence supports Jesus’ existence.

      If mythers want serious recognition, then they should go out, earn the credentials and then put them on the line to make their case in an academic form (journal or academically published book). Unfortunately, almost all of Doherty’s arguments were considered by academia over a century ago and found wanting…nothing has happened to change that view among scholars.

      To quote James Dunn (a serious scholar in response to Price), “Gosh! So there are still serious scholars who put forward the view that [Jesus is] a later myth foisted on an unknown, obscure historical figure” I’d recommend his entire response in “The…

    • Alockslee

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls Since folks here like this as a “source for quoting or supporting their posts, notice the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in several languages.

      Notice the scrolls were about the HEBREW bible and not some other books. Notice that the works were in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. the Greek were the translations from the earlier works and meant for distribution to areas outside of sect’s settlement.

      It doesn’t the Greek bible, but the HEBREW bible and that was recorded in Hebrew and Aramaic the major written languages of the time and area.

      Greek was used as well but not the language used by those of Qumran who were jews (Essenes) of whom some claim jesus was a member.

      There you go Michael T, Cherylu and other here, refute the facts and then try to argue the earliest existing copies of the NT were written by disciples who would have stuck to the language of the time and they were jews who learned Hebrew at their temple and during their studies in learning it. If it was another language it would have been Aramaic, not Greek since they would have wanted it available to their people first and then translate them to spread it later. Paul never met jesus and never claimed to in person, only to have been converted later AFTER the alleged death.

      The works attributed to him have been proved to be by other in the majority so the works used here are suspect in part to begin with and therefore are easily disregarded due to the fact of forgeries attributed to him.

      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      Re: 104
      See post 95. I told you where you can find this information. It’s common knowledge stuff. As to your assertions.

      1. To prove Jesus actually existed as a historical figure I offer the collective work of every single Bible Scholar, Christian and Secular, alive today save Robert Price. That’s thousands of scholars against one.

      2. Depends on what you mean by “prove”. No one can “prove” in the mathematical sense of the word that any historical document is factual or who it was written by. We can’t say for certain that Josephus wrote “The Antiquities of the Jews, Herodotus wrote “The Histories”, or that Homer wrote “The Odyssey”. It’s completely impossible to prove any of this in a mathematical sense. We can only apply certain criteria to ancient documents and draw inferences from that as to who wrote them, when they were written, and if they are accurate.

      3. What you ask for here is logically impossible. Please just think a moment about what you are asking for. You are asking for someone who believes that Jesus performed miracles, rose from the dead, etc. and yet didn’t believe. What is the likelihood of that?? Absolute zero. If you believed Jesus did these things you would believe and as a result you would have a stake in the system. You are asking for something that is a logical absurdity.

      4. You ask for the same thing. Blind belief that there is nothing science cannot inquire into and nothing which exists beyond the natural. No belief could ask for more blind faith then that.

      5. ROFL!! Back at ya man. Your beliefs are just as “unproven” as mine (and of course more so in my mind – but that’s just me).

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      Hebrew Bibles used in Jewish Temples even today are written in, are you prepared for this, HEBREW!!!!. Hebrew was today and was at the time of Jesus the liturgical language for the Jews in the same way Latin is for the Roman Catholic Church. They were written in that language because that is the language it was originally written in. Catholic Mass was held in Latin up until the mid-20th Century in another parallel.

      What actually supports my case though is the Septuagint (of which portions existed among the dead sea scrolls) which shows the amazing impact of the Greek language of the area. The Hebrew texts were actually translated into Greek. This was completed in 132 BC. It is simply a accepted historic fact that at the time of Jesus Koine Greek was the lingua franca in the Eastern Mediterranean. I can’t believe you want to dispute this. If you were writing something in 1st Century Palestine designed for everyone to read you would write it in Greek.

      Webster’s Online Dictionary has this entry for “Koine”

      “the Greek language commonly spoken and written in eastern Mediterranean countries in the Hellenistic and Roman periods”

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      The term “Hebrew Bible” generally refers to the Old Testament. The New Testament was what was written in Greek and in question by you here.

      Google the term “Hebrew Bible” and you will find that it means the Old Testament.

      As I understand it, there were quotes from the New Testament found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, the Hebrew Bible spoken of was the Old Testament, not the New.

    • Michael T.

      Cheryl,
      No New Testament documents were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of the documents were written before Christ with even the newest document being in 70AD.

    • Alockslee

      Here is a quick response to viability of the speculation presented by those who continue to deal with the resurrection time line and the issues covered on rook Hawkins essay.

      One can always speculate as to viability of your beliefs, that in and of itself doesn’t support, prove or in any way produce a shred of evidence to bolster your beliefs, all it doesn’t is suggest a possibility at best but in no way does it give any factual basis for your religious beliefs, now does it.

      So you are back at square one and actually lost ground since you can’t even admit to known facts that Michael asserts to back him up and by doing so only reinforces my arguments.

      All you have is speculation and the NT is no different in asserting it to be truth of something than the Iliad does to prove the existence of the Greek Pantheon as none here would agree those deities exist or have ever existed as viable but under Michael’s offer of proof it is just as viable due to the age of the story and the historical fact of Plato living and being accepted as such.

      Not one scholar has even suggested Plato being a fictional being, however not one person here can prove the existence of the construct of jesus or prove your religious beliefs are based upon a single solid foundation and only are speculation on the part of the believer at the extreme.

      If you want to rely upon pure speculation then you are just being foolish and please engage in real discussion and stop this speculation and ridiculous attempts at arguing from a strawman position. either put forth facts that prove your position from a true fact based position or just admit you have nothing and then you must accept the reality not the fantasy of your religious ideology.
      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      Only one scholar out of thousands questions the existence of Jesus. You seem to think that scholars think in all or nothing terms. Either the Gospel’s are 100% true or 100% false. The fact of the matter is that most secular scholars believe the Gospel’s to be both true and false. The position of Secular scholars with regards to the Gospels is that they contain a accurate depiction of a Jewish teacher interspersed with legendary material. Only one of them believes the Gospels to be pure fabrication and he isn’t a professor at any accredited school and hasn’t been published.

      I mean really what more proof do you want then the unanimous opinion of thousands of Bible scholars who have read all the relevant material Biblical and Non-Biblical and spoken with one voice that Jesus was a historical figure. Are you claiming to be an expert on the same level as these?? If your are then please publish some work. Don’t sit in a forum like this wasting your time on us. What you have to share is too important. Get working on your paper right now and then present it in a peer-reviewed journal so that everyone can see your work and comment on it. In the meantime since I am not an expert I think I’m safe sticking with the the consensus of 99.999% of scholars who agree that Jesus existed.

    • cherylu

      Well, Alockslee, I guess that you know better then all of those Biblical scholars that have delved into this subject. Presumably in depth since they are Biblical scholars. If only one of them is known to currently believe that Jesus was possibly a myth and thousands of them, even non Christian ones, believe He existed, I would say that the great burden of proof is on YOU to show otherwise.

      For starters, you might give us your academic credentials that will make us feel inclined to believe that you know more about all of this then all of the scholars spoken of above.

      (See Kyle’s recent comment.)

    • cherylu

      Michael T,

      I have been wanting to thank you for all of the work you have done on this thread. I have really appreciated it.

    • Alockslee

      Kyle on 08 Apr 2010 at 11:19 pm # Michael T.,
      As you can see, there’s little purpose in using reason and argument with these types.”
      —————————————————————–
      In Response: I simply love this typical response which is exactly the action taken by those among the f&e squad who realizes that discussing the subject logically leaves them in a position of having to carefully examine what they fear to do the most.

      To examine their religious ideology means one thing they can’t because if they do their entire belief structure falls completely apart and must refrain and more likely refuse to engage in a civil discussion whereby a legitimate discussion based upon sound principles of logic and facts preclude their side from producing anything of substance and the very sources tat are relied upon by them is so contradictory in and of itself that even examining the NT too closely destroys the religion by itself.

      So the fall back plan is to pretend to disengage and now that failing tries to eliminate the discussion entirely so that they may escape the reality of their beliefs have no basis in reality nor can in any way be supported in the normal sense of balanced human thought process and/or any valid structured psychological rational basis.

      In conclusion those of the f&e squad simply run away because they know they haven’t a real belief and only pretend faith and belief.m If any of them did have something to offer it would have been given instead of retreating into a fantasy world of denial and projection of hatred toward anyone who broaches the subject in honest debate. the fear of being proved wrong is too much to endure since it shows the silliness of their ideology and forces them to be responsible for their own actions and that is far to much for them to face since reality is the one thing they can’t accept or deal with as adults.
      TFR

    • Michael T.

      “Today, nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically. There is general agreement that, with the possible exception of Paul, we know far more about Jesus of Nazareth than about any first or second century Jewish or pagan religious teacher.”

      Stanton, Graham (2002), The Gospels and Jesus (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press p. 145

    • Alockslee

      Michael T. on 09 Apr 2010 at 12:35 am #
      Cheryl, No New Testament documents were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of the documents were written before Christ with even the newest document being in 70AD.
      ———————————————————
      In Response: the example was provided to prove the language in use by the religious jews in the time period. Many claim jesus was an Essene and therefore it is logically reasonable, in fact it is more than likely that he probably was either a member or at least familiar with them and that is easy to believer if he did exist to have followed the writing of work in direct compliance as they did,

      Meaning Hebrew, Aramaic as the primary languages which is exactly what you find when you examine the scrolls today, with a small amount being translated into Greek in the latter period of the community before the collapse of it. The Essenes were a strict orthodox sect of jews so using Greek would be only to insure the scrolls would survive and not simply because Greek was used by people who migrated to the area.

      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      Regarding Michael T’s last comment:

      Please tell us who is failing to accept evidence given by secular scholars? It is pretty obvious to me that if you can not and will not accept a concensus like that of historians, both Christian and non Christian, then there is nothing short of a miracle, an act of the very God you don’t believe in that will in any way convince you!

      By the way, where have we projected hatred toward you? We have seen plenty of hostility coming from you to us however.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      I think we have all been very reasonable here. We simply have different burdens of proof. You expect something to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to believe. I don’t. You just can’t live that way. To me one does not have to have certainty in order to believe something is true. If I had to have certainty that a girl loved me in order to get married for instance I could never get married.

      I have seen all the arguments for a late dating of the Gospels and find the arguments for a Early dating more convincing. You act like it’s a settled issue when it isn’t. In the past 20 years even some liberal scholars such as John A.T. Robinson have been arguing for earlier datings then the 70-100 typically given.

      I have seen the arguments regarding lack of secondary attestation and find the fact that we even have the few we do have shocking. Most ancient sources don’t have any at all. You mention Josephus’ writing for instance. As you correctly note the so called Testimonium Flavianum is determined to be a forgery by Christian and Secular scholars alike. What you don’t note is that most secular scholars today using textual criticism believe that this was a genuine reference to Jesus that had been modified later to further incorporate Christian ideas. In other words most scholars consider it both genuine and a fraud, but that it does mention Jesus. You also fail to mention Josephus’ mention of “James, the Brother of Jesus, which most secular scholars also consider to be a genuine reference.

      Ultimately your presuppositions are going to determine how you interpret the evidence. The problem with presuppositions is that you can’t prove that your naturalistic presuppositions are superior to mine which allow for non-natural phenomenon (and I can’t do the reverse).

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      The theory about Jesus being a Essene is advanced by one person, Alvar Ellegård, who is no longer living. This person was not a Bible Scholar or a Historian. He was rather a professor of English. His views, like all Christ-myth views are not considered viable positions by the very secular scholars you claim to esteem.

      Really though, if you have some new evidence write a paper and publish it.

    • Kyle

      Alockslee,
      I’ve read Doherty and Wells. Neither seem familiar with basic Second Temple culture. As for me, I’ve never been afraid to question my personal beliefs (evangelical) or change them, but they’ve often held up to the challenge.

      But we’re talking about academic discussions, not our personal faiths. If your argument were academically credible, surely there would be empirical evidence like a journal article…but there’s not. Nobody questions Jesus’ history outside of internet infidels and one or two academics with irrelevant credentials to the pertinent fields (like Carrier for instance). Of course, Robert Price goes back and forth, but he’s the only one with relevant credentials who argues your position…out of tens of thousands of Ph.D.’s in all sorts of universities with all sorts of faith perspectives. There’s also a Ph.D. or two who argues for a flat earth…I’m not kidding either.

      1. Bart Ehrman – agnostic/atheist – agrees that much of the gospel narrative is historical
      2. E.P. Sanders – agnostic/liberal Protestant – agrees that the basic narrative is historical fact
      3. Maurice Casey – atheist – believes the general outline to be historical and will argue against the silliness of mythicism in his new book on Jesus
      4. Craig Keener – adult convert from atheism – trusts the gospel narrative
      5. Nick Perrin – adult convert from atheism – trusts the gospel narrative
      6. James Crossley – atheist – argues that much of the narrative is authentic
      7. Amy Jill-Levine – secular Jew – holds to the historicity of the basic narrative
      8. Geza Vermes – Jew – holds to the historicity of the basic narrative
      9. Gerd Ludemann – former Christian, now atheist – basic narrative is factual
      10. John Dominic Crossan – secular Christian (agnostic on God) – historical

      I could go on for hours, but I think you get the point. Religious perspective isn’t the deciding factor. My suggestion? Get off the web, get the degrees and get published…

    • Kyle

      Michael T,
      You said, “We simply have different burdens of proof. You expect something to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to believe. I don’t. You just can’t live that way. To me one does not have to have certainty in order to believe something is true.”

      This is a great point. I recently heard Robert Price admit that he’s skeptical whether people can know anything at all with sufficient justification to make any truth claims. He’s very consistent in his skepticism. Most internet infidels are more than willing to accept his statements concerning his skepticism on the historical Jesus, but unwilling to follow him on matters of science, non-biblical history and the like. Few skeptics are consistent to the level of skepticism they demand from Christianity.

    • Alockslee

      To cherylu, #118 You are, along with Michael T and Kyle.

      Simple stuff, and you still haven’t produced a timeline of the resurrection according to the challenge nor the others here either.

      Not one here has gone through and refuted Rook Hawkins Essay nor posted much beyond simple comments about how they are ignoring the subject.

      I have tried to discuss this and only find the host running away, you unable to read a simple web page and take a simple challenge and then produce the results and conclude in accordance with the result in an honest truthful fashion.

      As for Michael T, he has yet to go beyond denials and hasn’t overcome any of the material posted, only decrying it to be non religious as an excuse.

      So look at the material, refute it according to the challenges on the various sites and then make an honest conclusion based solely upon the results you have from the tasks.

      Hows that for laying it out? Try for a change of just blind obedience and acceptance of unproved fiction of the religion you subscribe to and allow the true real facts to be understood without rejection as I have looked at yours and made the unbiased determination your ideology is not valid.

      Fairly easy if you aren’t afraid of being completely honest with yourself and being open to facts instead of living in fantasy.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Kyle # 121, No Kyle we are discussing the truth verse fictionalize creation of a religious ideology and the unwillingness of people like you to honestly examine and allow without your religious programming to see clearly the facts of what you hold to. Once you do it without being controlled by your conditioning you will have to conclude that nothing tangible exists to rely upon to continue in a fantasy based life style and then be able to accept personal responsibility for yourself instead of pretending to hand it over to some mythical controlling entity which was created via a collection of stories patterned after previous religious icons.

      Can you do that honestly and conclude solely upon facts and leave all the speculation aside in order to do it? If you are an evangelical it is a big risk to allow yourself to think without the programming and constant crutch of your fellow group members. whenever this is discussed there is always another who rushes in to return the conditioning so you don’t break from the cult. Those who do the examination properly and are honest always find they see the facts and are then able to break the conditioning to escape the hive mentality.

      So can you accomplish it? No one needs to be published to question or argue the truth of historical fact verses this fantasy/ fiction you live by. Don’t be upset, prove it to yourself you can do it and stop preventing what you fear the most and that is being freed from mental bondage of that very allegiance you only think you have. No one can stick to the rules and overcome it. So if you think you can try it all you to do is comply and follow some very simple rules. I don’t think you will nor do I doubt you will fail when if you do try.
      TFR

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      1. Only if one is a hard inerrantist do the discrepancies in Resurrection accounts create an issue. Since I am not one I will leave that to someone else to answer who is one.

      2. I did go beyond basic denials. I gave sources of common knowledge (Webster’s and the Israeli Antiquities Authority even) which directly contradict your source.

      3. You cite non-scholarly sources and then expect us to cite scholarly sources to refute you. How isn’t this a double standard? New Rule – I’m not responding to any non-scholarly documents. The reason is simple – you aren’t going to find any responses to documents no scholar considers credible. No one is going to waste their time refuting the claims of non-credentialed nobodies. Think of how many scientists today spend time refuting people who assert the Earth is flat?? NONE!!! If you want to advance your position give me something scholarly so that I can see the academic discussion that’s been going on. The fact of the matter is you continually link to internet sources containing bare assertions that only link to other internet sources for their content.

      So please give me a scholarly document written by a reputable scholar to back you up. This is what you expect of me to refute you and it is what I expect of you to attack me. It’s only fair that the rules are the same for both of us.

    • Michael T.

      Alockslee,
      You are just as conditioned as the rest of us. You just don’t realize it. But then again maybe I just need to get rid of my disillusions and start believing in government coverups, UFO, Aliens, Bigfoot, etc. After all it’s only my conditioning which keeps me from believing in these things. I just need to open my mind and escape the Matrix….

      The truth is you have presuppositions and biases just like the rest of us. You are as much a prisoner to them as anyone else. There is no such thing as an objective person and if you think there is you are fooling only yourself. The very fact that you are willing to accept the word of a bunch of people considered to be nutjobs by the entire academic world shows this painfully well. It’s almost worse then the 9-11 conspiracy theorists. So much for free thinking….

    • Kyle

      Alockslee,
      You and I are both culturally conditioned, and you are ignorant to suggest that a secular worldview is any less conditioned than a religious one.

      You argue that you will not accept biased sources such as the NT, or secular writings that may have been skewed by a political agenda, etc. yet you will gladly argue from a blog post by someone who is a self-proclaimed evangelical atheist blatantly skewed toward a particular ideology. Yet you expect non-biased sources from everyone else.

      I gave you a list of atheists, agnostics, Jews and former atheists who all agree with me against your position. I could list 100 names more and refer you to their work. I’ve read much of it, yet your discussion thus far shows that you have yet to engage any real scholarship even if it is from an atheist perspective! Who’s the close-minded one? Pot, let me introduce you to your new friend Kettle.

      I’m arguing from scholars outside of my worldview, alongside scholars within my worldview. I’ve read and am discussing the majority views (nay the only academically published view) regardless of religious belief…yet you respond that I’m the one working under a bias, while you present “evidence” and “sources” that are laughed out of academia and only appealing to internet infidels? I believe you should read up on something called “confirmation bias,” because you’re clearly displaying a severe case of it.

      And amidst this you accuse me of not being able “to honestly examine and allow without [my] religious programming.” Yeah. You say that if I look at it without my Christian worldview that I will see that no tangible evidence exists, yet I’ve suggested the work of 10 non-Christian or adult converts from atheism who do not have a Christian worldview yet believe tangible evidence exists.

      Circular arguments and question begging layered in ad hominem aren’t my thing, so I’ll leave you to discuss with Michael and Cheryl. Peace.

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      You have kept demanding “proof” from secular scholars that what we believe is not a myth and that Jesus ever existed, and then when you are given what the vast percentage of those scholars (minus one or two) say you still continue to tell us He is a mythical entity and to demand that we jump through your hoops so that we can become just like you.

      And you insist you are not baised but we are?? LOL

      Me thinks you protest too much.

    • Alockslee

      In response to #107 (Michael T)
      1.It would be very easy to prove the existence of jesus by outside sources simply produce the records of the authorities trial of him, other records of lesser criminals exist, so why doesn’t the records of jesus such a high profile figure, especially something from the religious authorities many claims were involved as well. Since nothing exists and would exist you haven’t any evidence toshow he even existed.

      2. Well now you claim thousands of authorities believe something and by publishing their theories makes it valid in someway. Historical proof of the existence of those items listed prove they exist, and not one historian has questioned the authorship of their written work. The NT however is riddled with holes, contradictions and is written in a language different than that in other religious documents of the jews at the time. It contains reports of events that came after the alleged period you believe to be the time of crucifixion and has not any reliable outside evidence to support the claims of jesus and/or of the claimed authorship being a disciple.

      Continued in next post…
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Cont. for #107 response:

      2. The complete lack of corroborating evidence to prove the existence of such a miracle worker, thousands of followers, fantastic feats of accomplishments and not one person reports seeing anything that even resembles the claims in the NT. Even if the events were not credited to jesus, had any of them occurred someone somewhere would have would have reported it even if they didn’t credit jesus or his followers with it.

      3.I am asking for the typical response that is required of any other historical claim and the application of the same standards of scholarship as with any other valid historical claim. You simply want to give this area an excuse not to be subjected to it simply because when it is under the widest and loosest scrutiny it fails completely and that little effort refutes the entire religious ideology.

      4. Now you decry science as the testing method used to prove historical fact from fantasy. Sounds like another intelligent design believer denying fact and relying upon fantasy. Your IT methods were already struck down in Federal Court and kicked to the curb, so don’t even bring up that stupid ignorant claim again since it is nothing but religious doctrine labeled something else.

      When you can disprove the scientific approach let see it and again stick to tangible evidence not claims that require absolute adherence to smoke and mirror tricks and provide not one shred of tangible proof to back up your claims. The leading proponents of your IT are considered jokes in their respective fields and should be removed after undergoing the necessary medical treatment to treat their mental illnesses.

      5. Glad to see you like to laugh! Now that I have completely refuted everything you claim to believe in and have not seen even a basic argument in response to my challenges, you must be close to hysterics due to the facts vs. your fantasy being shown to be nothing of substance and invalid at each and every point.
      cont…TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      Why on earth would your fellow atheists be convinced that Jesus actually existed if they did not have very good historical reasons to do so? Remember, we are speaking of historians and scholars here. Not just your every day Joe off of the street.

      As I asked before, why don’t you accept what they have to say? Do you know way more about the history involved and the reasearch done then they do? In other words, are you the expert to end all experts on this subject? If so, show us your credentials and all of the proofs you have that tops the works of all of these known scholars.

      Or else, maybe just maybe, do you think you need to admit that you have a very heavy bias here and that having to admit the very existence of a historical Jesus would rock your very being to the core?

    • cherylu

      Oh Alockslee,

      You are the only one reading here as far as I can tell that thinks you have come anywhere close to refuting our claims. Like we have said repeatedly, you certainly haven’t convinced the scholars in the field, have you? Again, how is it that you know so much more about it then any of them do?

    • Alockslee

      cont… Part 3 responding to #107

      Michael T would act as if he has said anything of substance and after very little substance, listing a few authors, personal attacks of the character of the authors thus proving that he has nothing to offer to argue the facts so he employs the standard fascist fundie scenario of attack the messenger because they aren’t able to provide a shred of proof to back up their claims.

      It is such an easy thing to do with the f&e squads simply challenge any of them on the merits of their religious beliefs and they will do anything but discuss the facts vs fantasy of it. At no point do any of them produce even a single piece of evidence to prove their deity existed. What they do produce is a collection of fantasy tales put together from unknown sources that aren’t even close to the time of the alleged events.

      Not one bit of evidence from outside sources that would exist had any of the nonsensical claims happened is ever brought forward. No they continue to bring up a fantasy existence, fraught with holes and contradictions, then attempts to excuse the problems with further and more fantastic nonsense that can’t possibly be considered to be anything else but.

      Take care MT, you serious need to learn how to discuss a point and focus on reliable sources instead of the fellow misguided fools who simply parrot back the same tired fictions that created the myth in the first place but never prove their position in any credible sense. So much for publishing makes the point and lends credibility to the author since fiction writers (your religious heroes) don’t prove their theories only advance the same old doctrine and dogma. They can’t prove what never existed.
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to his failure in #126 MT now tries to compare the loonies among his ilk to this discussion of the lack of factual evidence to support his position.

      Are you wearing the tri cornered or another design of your tin foil hat while typing?

      Whenever a logical discussion is attempted by people on this subject nothing no matter how far fetched an idea, the f&e crowd will try it in the hopes that they can drive the discussion of topic and thereby prevent the other here from realizing just how ridiculous their beliefs really are when seen for what they are.

      No MT, you don’t get to change the subject or cause it to be derailed, I will simply put it back on topic and you will have to see it for the fiction and fantasy it truly is, a complete fabrication of what really happened and what more importantly did not happened but only was created by fellow deluded followers who won’t accept the facts over their delusions that is the major cause of suffering, war, death and repression over the past 2,000 years in this world.

      Wake up and smell the coffee MT, once you free yourself from the mental enslavement you term religion you will recover from the damage caused by it.

      Best wishes in that effort since no one else here is offering any help towards your recovery and please remember that until you do you will never be free and able to face responsibility of your own life as millions already have and no longer a slaves to this fiction you continue to promote.
      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      Resorting to name calling and personal attacks does not go over very well on this site. As a matter of fact, if you read the blog rules, these things are strictly forbidden. People have been banned for this type of behavior in the past.

      Just letting you know so that you are aware in case you didn’t read them before you started commenting here.

    • Alockslee

      In response to #127. MT suggest that large numbers of people who believe as he does serves as some kind of proof to bolster his position, which certainly doesn’t prove a thing beyond the level and spread of indoctrination on the populace brought about by years of forced adherence in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the efforts to prevent the discussion of that evidence with those afflicted by this mental controlled oppression under the guise of so-called religious belief.

      So MT, if a large number of your fellow believers were to cal form armed revolt against the Federal government and had a group of fellow believers being constantly bombarded with calls for it from say a major news channel 24/7 would you follow along even though it is a serious criminal act?

      Whoa, wait a minute that sounds quite familiar with the recent arrest of believers spouting the same things you already did and Fox sounds just like that major news channel.

      So since you proclaim the same beliefs as those under arrest does that mean you support them and agree with them as you already have said in prior posts? Good thing not everyone is so blind to your group’s beliefs and aren’t programmed to believe such nonsense as you do. Only a person under mental control wouldn’t be able to set aside their beliefs long enough to discuss an opposing viewpoint without struggling with the concepts in such conflict as to produce nonsensical responses such as you have generated in past posts.

      Thanks for proving my points so well and illustrating the reason for having to continue to help in the recovery of the minions among your fellow sufferers!!
      TFR

    • Alockslee

      In response to cherylu #135, I did no such thing to anyone here. I simply commented on the general labeling applied to those among the religious right and what they are considered to be.

      Remember the Fascists in Germany under the Hitler regime did exactly the same things in taking over and then forcing compliance under the original identity notions of a population under this same said “blood identity” constructs.

      It lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and other Eastern Europeans, so don’t try to play the name calling card with me since it never happened. In fact look at Michael T’s comments about me in which he refers to me as a conspiracy theorist, and other such references, so don’t even bring up name calling unless you go after him with even more effort than me since he is a member of your religious beliefs and that is standard tactics among your type, ilk or chose the term that properly describes your fellow minions that are so conditioned that they can’t get through the day without their beliefs, nor can they deal with normal everyday events without attaching some nonsensical religious significance to them not shared by other outside of your cult.

      So, you practice what you are preaching and stop trying to limit my Freedom of Speech on this issue and take heed to what is being discussed since you still fail and continue to refuse to post the answers requested from the challenges and then conclude using only the facts from the results of doing it according to the rules. Of course you won’t since it only proves that you can’t do so as it would require honesty and setting aside your conditioning long enough to accomplish looking as the factual truth instead of the fantasy you subscribe to.

      TFR

    • cherylu

      Alockslee,

      When speaking to Michael T you told him to stop relying on his “fellow misguided fools.” That is not name calling???

    • Alockslee

      Here is another point of interest I keep hearing form the f&e crowd that America was a christian nation at it’s founding.

      http://www.tektonics.org/qt/tripoli.html

      Read this page and then show me from the facts of history where you can further that nonsense any longer.

      The president, Congress and others quite frankly covered this under the Treaty with Tripoli.

      Read it, then lets see if you can admit to the factual history that states like Texas are trying to change and revise to indoctrinate the children of America into a f&e crowd member.

      Take care and the truth is out there if you are willing to stop ignoring the proof that your beliefs are merely fantasy and reality is still there when you are ready to accept responsibility for your own actions.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      cherylu on 09 Apr 2010 at 10:08 am # Alockslee,

      Resorting to name calling and personal attacks does not go over very well on this site. As a matter of fact, if you read the blog rules, these things are strictly forbidden. People have been banned for this type of behavior in the past.
      ——————————————————–
      In Response: Michael T resorted to it first and you let it go without calling him on it, so don’t jump on me for simply reporting the labeling attached by FOX news.

      I haven’t called any person here a name. So don’t claim I did, this is nothing more than another ploy to remove my Freedom of Speech on this discussion just because you can’t collectively or individually overcome the truth and factual data I post and have been bested at every point leaving you to realize that your religious beliefs are nothing but a fantasy based upon a fiction.

      Don’t fret you will recover from the programming and survive to become non dependent upon the ideology that has been inflicted on so many people called evangelicalism and fundamental christianity.

      TFR

    • Alockslee

      Michael T wrote in #127 the following:

      Circular arguments and question begging layered in ad hominem aren’t my thing, so I’ll leave you to discuss with Michael and Cheryl. Peace.

      ——————————————————————
      In Response: He should be familiar with such things since he used them throughout his responses to my posts. Practically each reply form him engaged in such practices and to further his goals also resorted to implying or even outright claims of what his fellow believers hold as part of their worldview and recently have examples of such outlandish acts with the arrest of fellow f&e members in attempting the killing of police officers and planned attacks at funerals of anyone attending.

      This is now the norm for his ilk now that they have exhausted every opportunity at forcing conversion on Americans, they now plan armed insurrection and intend to follow the Fascist agenda of the Third Reich which also used religion as the basis for it’s rise to complete control of Germany.

      One only has to look at Fox News to see this is the case and the personalities on Fox only employ these tactics to help stave off the masses from recognizing them as the perpetrators of the acts they project upon other who warn against this type of conduct.

      Bye MT, your departure means you accept defeat and acknowledge you have nothing to offer to prove your claims.

      TFR

    • C Michael Patton

      Folks, I am not able to moderate here, but I can see, at least that this has turned into a “forum”, and there are posts coming one after the other without following the rules. Although, more often than not, I let this type of thing go (being the gracious person I am :)), this subject seems to have turned in such a way that it needs a moderator and none is present right now. Therefore, I am closing. Thanks for participating.

    • C Michael Patton

      One thing that everyone should know about Alockslee:

      http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_cl.html?a=usca&id=5600

      While this might now discredit his arguments, it does show you where he is coming from and what he IS willing to accept.

Comments are closed.