Friday, April 06, 2007

Q&A: Why don't you believe in the Resurrection?

Question
Why don’t you believe in the Resurrection?

Answer
In a previous blog article of mine, Consistency of thought, I wrote that one of the main reasons why I left Christianity was because, as a Christian, I was using double standards when deciding what to believe. When I was a Christian, I would laugh at someone who might claim that they heard a dog speaking English. Why? Well, the idea of a talking dog is inconsistent with daily experience and our current knowledge of canine anatomy. But, as a Christian, I was more than willing to believe a four thousand year old story that a donkey once spoke.

Incredible claims require very good evidence, so as a Christian I would not believe the talking dog story if very good evidence was not presented. But, at the same time I fully accepted the Bible’s account of a talking donkey without any evidence at all. Can you see the inconsistency here? On leaving Christianity, I was free to use the same set of standards to evaluate various claims. As a result, I no longer believe the talking donkey account described in Numbers 22:28-30, just as I would not believe the hypothetical claim of a talking canine.

I approach the claim of Jesus’ Resurrection in the same way. The idea of a person bodily rising from the dead after three days is so alien to our daily experience of death and so counter to what we currently know about the human body, it’s only rational to be skeptical of such a claim unless very, very good evidence were presented. Is there good evidence? Consider the following: (1) we have no independent, non-Christian records of the Resurrection from the time of the event; (2) the accounts were written in an age of wonder and superstition, when stories of resurrected ‘god men’ were quite common, (3) when you work through gospels in the order in which they were written, the accounts of the Resurrection become more incredible and fabulous – indicating legendary development; and (4) there is evidence that the gospels were tampered with years after they were written (consider the late insertion of Mark 16:9-20).

In his article on the Resurrection, the historian Richard Carrier presents the following scenario:

“Can you imagine a movement today claiming that a soldier in World War Two rose physically from the dead, but when you asked for proof all they offered you were a mere handful of anonymous religious tracts written in the 1980's? Would it be even remotely reasonable to believe such a thing on so feeble a proof?”

Imagine if such a movement existed. If you are a Christian, and you ask me why I don’t believe in the Resurrection, I would turn the question around and ask if you believe the claim that the World War Two soldier rose from the grave? If you think you would answer no, think about why you wouldn’t believe that claim, and you will then understand why I don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead.


Additional reading
1) Jeff Lowder provides a good overview of both sides of the Resurrection debate.
2) Apologist William Lane Craig argues that the Resurrection is a historical fact.
3) Historian Richard Carrier argues why he doesn't buy the Resurrection story.

27 comments:

Pete said...

This was a very interesting post, was thinking of writing a post myself today on how Christians can't decide whether Good Friday should be a day of mourning or happiness. Obviously as theological scholar I was confronted with the same questions you raise (well I have only read your last post thus far - going to have to take some time to read the rest) and managed to keep my faith in spite of reading about mythology and stuff like that. The only difference is that knowing about the mythology helped me to look for God in other parts of the text.

Will keep reading your blog, thanx.

CyberKitten said...

It would appear that without the Ressurection there would be no Christianity...?

Paul declared in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:14-17):

"And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."

KenC said...

Kevin writes:
1) we have no independent, non-Christian records of the Resurrection from the time of the event

Hmmm - I can easily name 3:
Josephus
Tacitus
Pliny the Younger

You aren't trying, man!

Scaurus said...

Pliny the Younger and Cornelius Tacitus wrote over eighty years after Jesus was crucified. They don't mention him rising from the death. Josephus does (as far as I can remember), but modern scholar highly doubt the authenticity of this short passage. Fact is that secular sources give no detailed information about the life and resurrection of Jesus. It just didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Look like you are the one that is not trying, Kenc.

Josephus's "Testamonium Flavianum" (sp?) is highly dubious. For instance, if you excised the entire passage from the page, and read it without it, it is clear that the whole thing reads just fine without it, and the "Testamonium" then seems like an awkward digression in the middle of a sentence.

Also, the writing of the passage is very, very dubious as well. As I once heard Robert Price say in person, the comparing the language of the Testamonium with the rest of the book is as if you were reading the Canturbury Tales and all of a sudden, there is a whole page written as if it were from "USA Today."

Also, why would a Jew suddenly, at random, start babbling on about the true messiah, etc.? Did he have a moment of schizophrenia?

Just like the bible, why does the Testamonium not show up in the earliest works of Joshephus' "History of the Jews'?

It was clearly inserted by Christians.

Try again, Kenc.

Roger Saner said...

Sounds like what you really gave up in the dog-speaking vs donkey-speaking case was a literal view of Scripture.

You wrote that, "Incredible claims require very good evidence" and I wonder what the "very good evidence" you would look for to believe that a donkey spoke (and I hope you're not putting down Shrek either!)...would 2 people suffice? 10 people? 100? Given the lack of modern audiovisual recording equipment back then are you then claiming that this categorically did not happen? I hope not! Surely you have to admit the possibility?

You wrote, "I fully accepted the Bible’s account of a talking donkey without any evidence at all." That's not correct - you accepted the Bible's account of a talking donkey precisely because you believed Scripture - that was your evidence. Now you've moved away from Scripture as (literal) Truth you need to find other evidence to corroborate the donkey speaking claim...and you can't...therefore it didn't happen?

Now you're restricting what is true only to what is supported by evidence...and only that evidence which makes its way to you?

-------------------x------------------------

Moving on, looking at the resurrection, let's assume that I agree with you that it didn't happen. And what if that was commonly accepted by Christians - do you think that this would change anything? In one of the comments someone referred to Paul saying that if the resurrection didn't happen Christians are to be pitied above all people...but what if that is only because the resurrection proves Christ was God? What if we agree that Jesus was indeed God but didn't rise from the dead?

I've just written a post which contends that in the face of Holy Saturday - the day in which we face the abandonment of God by God (which also happens to be today) - our faith truly tested, for only without the promise of anything from God are we free to offer ourselves to Him as a gift - otherwise we're simply looking at an economic transaction.

Perhaps more Christians would be served to consider Christianity without a resurrected Christ.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kevin, the issue on the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is not as easy as an anachronistic analogy of a risen dead soldier. Tom Wright make a good point, if the people in Jesus' time saw the 2 criminals who were crucified along with Jesus three days after they died, they would say the world is a strange place. They wouldn't say that these criminals are the 'sons' of God, the messiahs of YHWH.

To appreciate the impact of the resurrection, the best way would be to examined the effect of the resurrection. Just like how we appreciate every other movement. Copernicusian scientists exist today because they deem Copernicusian's discovery worthy to hold on to even though being persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church back then. We can't find many (though there still are a few) believe in pre-Copernicus astronomy. So if the nascent Christian community deem that their faith worth holding even though they were exposed to severe persecution, i think we shouldnt be too fast to close its case.

If an agnostic or atheist asked me whether is there any 'proof' that say Jesus rose from the dead, i would automatically assumed that he/she is asking for a video-recorded tape of the event. Even if i can produced that tape, he/she can still say that the tape is fabricated with visual effect.

I think 'proof' is an ambiguous word. It demands different qualitative degree to different people.

(1) we have no independent, non-Christian records of the Resurrection from the time of the event;

Even if we have, will it compel anyone to believe? I think people will just brush it off with a higher degree of doubt.

(2) the accounts were written in an age of wonder and superstition, when stories of resurrected ‘god men’ were quite common,

No doubt, it's common in that time. But why just Christianity survived? Where were the rest of those 'god men' followers? Besides, the first diciples of Jesus are monotheistic Jews. And this bunch of people is like today's Muslim. They wont worship a man as God. If they do, then something really big must had happened that changed their centuries of belief.

Bar-Kokhba was deem as the messiah in 132-135 AD. They even minted new coin to mark this messianic movement. But the curious thing is that there is no Bar-Kokhba's follower that claim that he has risen from the dead.

Again, my point is that we dont generalize Jews tradition together with the other ancient belief. Just because other religions has no problem with 'god men', that doesnt mean Judaism is fine with it. Tell this even to today's devoted Jews and you can expect to see how they torn their clothes and shout 'blasphemy!'

(3) when you work through gospels in the order in which they were written, the accounts of the Resurrection become more incredible and fabulous – indicating legendary development;

First of all the literary style back then is not the same as today's biographies. To argue for validity of any account based on the style of writting literature is gross anachronistic.

The gospels are theological biographies, not modern biographies. Different category demands different set of judgement.

I dont say the chinese write at the wrong direction just because i'm educated in an English school.

(4) there is evidence that the gospels were tampered with years after they were written

Even if the gospels were tampered, this do not necesarily means that they were tampered to include what was not meant to be included. Documents, especially historical documents, are tampered to better preserved the historical reports too. It's the same now, and the same back then. If we can believe in current development of science or news, which periodically updated with correction and nuances, i dont think we should deal differently with the tampered gospels.

I hope these would present afresh some reasons why there are still people who believe that Jesus was resurrected.

Blessings.

Sze Zeng said...

Add to the point on the gospels being 'tampered'. Well usually whenever i buy a book, i will check out whether is there a second or updated or revised edition. Why? Simply because I assumed the latest edition is more nuanced and present the author's thought more clearly.

But of cos i will only buy those updated edition which was done by the author himself or those who are authorized by him. I dont buy an updated edition which is 100 years after the author's lifetime.

Thus, I hav bias towards the canonical gospels which very high chances were written within 1 generation rather than those Gospel of thomas or judas etc.

Peace Kevin.

KenC said...

scaurus says: Pliny the Younger and Cornelius Tacitus wrote over eighty years after Jesus was crucified. They don't mention him rising from the death.

Mr. Anonymous says: Look like you are the one that is not trying, Kenc.

Read the texts - what exactly is the "depraved superstition" of which they speak?

While reading, also remember 2 things.

1)This did not take place in a time nor place that benefited from the concept of a free press. News of a Valid Alternate God within the empire would have not been tolerated.

2)Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet. Heck, the printing press wasn't even around yet. News traveled slowly - especially forbidden by death news.

Sze Zeng said...

Dear scaurus,
First of all, no 'external' testimony doesnt means that an event did not took place. Even with external testimonies, that doesnt mean the event did actually took place. In fact, if there is external testimony, it should raise our suspicion on those external sources rather than supporting our case.

Historians and scientists deal with the data that we have. Neuroscientist publishes neuroscientific research. If a Cosmologist publishes a neuroscientific report, it raises a few eye-brows.

The same goes to the canonical gospels in the Bible. If one assumed that the canonical gospels are not reliable because they are 'internal', then its like a person who thinks neauroscientific report is not reliable because it was written by neuroscientist. He/she prefers a Cosmologist's writting a neuroscientific report.

Peace

Panda said...

Hi Kevin - or should I say Thomas? ;-),
At the end of the day it's all about what you want to believe with your heart. My wife loves me and that is a miracle, just take my word for it. I can't give you scientific proof, but deep down in my heart I know this is the truth ;-)
I know about books that try to proof the accuracy or inaccuracy of Christ's resurrection - and this certainly is interesting food for thought. But history can't be repeated, so you have to make up your own mind. If you ask me, the strongest evidence for the resurrection can be found in the lives of people that were radically changed by Christ's resurrection power (and this still happens today and I am a witness of this). Peter openly proclaimed the good news of the resurrection in Jerusalem (Acts 2) directly after Christ's death on the cross. Why didn't he stay in hiding or why didn't he just go back to his boat to do some fishing again? Why did he want to take the risk of being killed like Jesus (and look what happened to Stephen in Acts 6 and 7). Was he just a mindless fool? And do you think all other devout Jewish followers of Jesus were just a bunch of misguided fanatics? Why did Paul - after he was a persecutor of Christians - become an enthusiastic follower of Christ? Why did all these people give up their lives if they knew for a fact that Christ's resurrection never really happened? Doesn't make sense to me. Give me one good reason why devout Jews wanted to become Christians if Christ was still in the tomb - what made this new belief so very attractive to them? Kevin, Christ loved Thomas just as much as he loved Peter. I trust that he still loves you - whatever honest doubts and intellectual barriers you have. I appreciate reading your thoughts and all the respectful discussions that are going on in the comments on your thought-provoking blog. Greetings from the Netherlands!

Panda said...

One final point - that will be VERY convincing to you and all your blog readers. This is a DUTCHMAN speaking English. (Well, more or less).

Kevin Parry said...

Roger Saner wrote:
Given the lack of modern audiovisual recording equipment back then are you then claiming that this categorically did not happen? I hope not! Surely you have to admit the possibility?

Hi Roger! Thanks for the comment. As we don’t have audio-visual recordings of the event, it will never be confirmed (or disproved) entirely. So I will never emphatically claim that it didn’t happen. I admit it is possible that a donkey once spoke. However, we shouldn’t ask if it was possible, but rather if it was probable. I will never say that a talking donkey is entirely impossible, but based on what we know about nature, I would think it highly improbable (and this forms the basis of my unbelief). But I do admit that I could be wrong, and the Bible could be right – but, as you say, there is no way to tell for sure.

Roger Saner wrote:
Moving on, looking at the resurrection, let's assume that I agree with you that it didn't happen. And what if that was commonly accepted by Christians - do you think that this would change anything?

This is an interesting comment. I’ve heard the argument that if Christians accept a spiritual and not a bodily resurrection, then the whole debate would evaporate. I think the argument would then move to whether Jesus existed at all (as a man, that is)

Sze Zeng wrote:
Even if we have, will it compel anyone to believe? I think people will just brush it off with a higher degree of doubt

If people still don’t believe, that is their problem, but this doesn’t change the fact that external confirmation of Resurrection from outside sources hasn’t yet been found. As it stands, we have no non-Christian texts written at the time that confirm the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth, life and death. Events such as Herod’s massacre of the innocents, the world wide darkness and the risen saints walking the streets of Jerusalem at Jesus’ death – events that would have caused a stir in that part of the world – are not mentioned anywhere outside the Gospels, despite the fact that there were other historians and writers living in those parts at the time. I’m not saying that lack of external confirmation emphatically disproves the Gospel accounts, but it does give us reason for some doubt.

To appreciate the impact of the resurrection, the best way would be to examined the effect of the resurrection. Just like how we appreciate every other movement. Copernicusian scientists exist today because they deem Copernicusian's discovery worthy to hold on to even though being persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church back then.

I don’t think popularity or the number of martyrs is a correct measure of the truthfulness of a specific movement or claim. A lie can be as popular as a truth, and people are even willing to die for something that is false, but which they believe to be true. I’m sure many have died for Islam, but does this make Islam true? You are right: the heliocentric model of the solar system is popular, but so is astrology.

But why just Christianity survived? Where were the rest of those 'god men' followers?

Just as one cannot use popularity or impact to measure the truthfulness (or falsity) of a movement or claim, I don’t know if survival can be used either. Does survival depend on truth? There are still people who keep a rabbit’s foot in their pocket, avoid walking under ladders, and who believe in astrology. Many such superstitions, many of which are quite false, still survive today after many centuries, and after many statements (attacks?) from skeptics who have shown them to be false. One can simply argue that Christianity survived, not because it is true, but because of other, more obvious factors. I think that Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christianity as a state religion throughout the Roman Empire (and the brutal suppression of all other ‘god-men’ sects) is one reason why Christianity is still around today.

First of all the literary style back then is not the same as today's biographies. To argue for validity of any account based on the style of writting literature is gross anachronistic.

All the more reason to be careful of viewing the Gospels as absolute truth. Are we not imposing our own modern biases and expectations if we proclaim that the gospel writers wrote objective, historical facts?

Documents, especially historical documents, are tampered to better preserved the historical reports too. It's the same now, and the same back then.

I guess it depends on the motive of those who tamper with documents: is the tampering done in an attempt to accurately reflect historical truth, or is it done to force the text to reflect current beliefs? There are many instances where historical accounts have been adjusted, not through careful historical analysis in order to determine truth, but rather to support the beliefs and ideologies of the day. With regards to the Gospels: it has been argued that the ending of Mark was only added during the 2nd century, not in an attempt to discover historical truth, but to counter those in the church who preached a spiritual, rather that a bodily, resurrection. There are instances where verses in the Bible have been rephrased over the years to support various theological beliefs or to counter other, rival beliefs. Again, I’m not saying we should throw out the Gospels in their entirety because there is evidence of tampering, but rather we should approach the Gospel accounts with some level of skepticism.

Thanks for taking the time to write, Sze Zeng. I really appreciate the time you have taken to comment, and so far it’s been a fascinating discussion.

All the best
Kevin

Rocinante said...

If you think about it, the story of the WWII soldier rising from the dead is more of an argument for the resurrection than a argument against it.

I think (I'm not sure) that the premise underlying this argument of Mr. Carrier's is that we in the 21st century are smart and the people of the 1st century were stupid. We know that people don't rise from the dead, but back then people would because they were just not acquainted with the elementary facts about death (even though they saw a great deal more of it than any of us do).

If you look at the biblical record you will see that people's initial response to the empty tomb was just as it would be today.

Somebody stole the body!

Why? Because dead people just do get up and walk away. They knew that as well as you and I do.

To say the resurrection story spread because the people of that time were, to put it bluntly, idiots, is just a way to avoid doing any real thinking about the issue. Kevin, you're obviously an intellegent and thoughtful person, so I suspect you must have other reasons.

P.S.: This response is based on Kevin's initial post. I have not read the other posts. I apologize if I'm re-covering covered ground.

Rocinante said...

ERROR: In my 4th paragraph I meant to say...

Why? Because dead people don't just get up and walk away...

Kinda shoots down my whole argument otherwise.

Laughing Boy said...

Would it be even remotely reasonable to believe such a thing on so feeble a proof?

No.

But if I discovered that millions of people worldwide believed, including people of renowned intellect and unquestionable integrity—including formerly outspoken critics—I'd be compelled look into it a little more closely.

First thing I'd do is check into the veracity of those "tracts" with the understanding that all human communication, tracts or otherwise, are influenced by the creator's worldview.

Sze Zeng said...

You are right that we dont have reliable comprehensive non-Christian texts written to confirm the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, life and death. Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Talmud etc contain only passing remarks about Jesus' life. It does give us some doubt, but such doubt shouldnt be too daunting for us to regard the Gospels as reliable. Just as you mentioned, that this doubt doesnt disprove them.

I agree that popularity is not the measure for truth. Having that said, popularity is still an indication that something is worth believing. It hold us from dismissing a claim too fast. On other hand, putting Christianity, Islam, astrology and heliocentricism at the same par wouldn't be too appropriate, dont you think so? Islam doesnt take historical-critical method into account, astrology doesnt take anything into account besides one's experience and aspiration, while heliocentricism is a specific study in astronomy that takes scientific rigority into consideration.

I'm more interested in knowing why the nascent Christianity survived in the 1st century, because not only then were all reasons for it to die if it is a lie but also the early Christian movement didnt have any political influences such as the Constatine's adoption. During that time, there weren't any political nor social advantages for being a Christian. Facing persecution from the Romans and the Jewish religious authority, there is no reason for it to survive. Christians are laughed as idiots and lunatics for worshiping a crucified man, not only by the non-Jews, but by the Jews too. And the Jewishness of the nascent Christianity shouldn't be overlooked. These 1st century Jews are like today's Jews. They wouldn't worship a man. If they do, then that means something big might had happened that changed their centuries-old of presumption.

I totally agree and have no problem to acknowledged that the Gospel writters weren't writting objective, historical facts (in fact, i dont think any historical writting can be objective in any strong sense). But neither were they writting fairy tales as well. Those account were not 'biographies' per se, but 'theological biographies'. Our modern bias is not a good measurement to say that the Gospel accounts are historical biography nor fairy tales. 'Theological biography' is distinguishable from historical biography and fairy tale.

It's a worldview of difference altogether. Probably the nearest analogy that i can offer is that, theological biography is biography which were written through presumptions just like all other modern/ancient biographies,.

I think the gospel accounts were written to support beliefs with historical data. Not really meant to record historical facts objectively or to support belief with fabrications. Historical events were being drawn to support beliefs would be a better way of seeing what the Gospel writters were doing.

Mark's conclusion might be tampered in 2nd century (might be earlier/later), but since our main concern is the Resurrection, thus we should focus more on the earliest account of the Resurrection. And we can draw strong cases that the early Jews worshipped Jesus as God from the letters of Paul and the epistemic changes of the staunch monotheist Jews to worship a crucified man as YHWH. There are very high probability that (1) no precedental Jews expect resurrection to happen before the end time, (2) Jews' understanding of resurrection is a bodily resurrection, (3) Jesus' tomb was found empty on the Easter day, (4) early testimonies from people that claim to have seen the risen Jesus, (5) staunch monotheistic Jews worship Jesus as God (6) drastic changes in the lives of Jesus disciples.

These 6 points are not answers but data that any of our hypothesis need to take into consideration.

Thank you for your correspondent too.

Blessings

Lui said...

In India, there lives a man known as Sai Baba. He claims to be able to "materialise" gold watches and ash. He is loved and admired by possibly millions of people. Of course, the man is a fraud, and his tricks have been exposed for the whole world to see (and for rabid followers to ignore and downplay, as they must if they are to maintain their reverence of him). Clearly, you don't need to be living millenia ago to be duped and minipulated by charlatans and holy men. Witness the rise of Scientology, astrology, New Age bullshit, creationism and "The Secret". Yet we're to believe that people who DID live millenia ago were somehow as well equipped (if not more so!) to deal with bogus claims than people living today who AT LEAST have tools available to them to assess such claims? Effectively, what we're being told is this: "Our modern techniques for assessing evidence weren't available back then, and no one can prove that those things didn't happen, so let's give the benefit of the doubt to the claims themselves and bend over backwards to elevate them to the status of fact."

No thanks. It's time we outgrew these myths, and faced the world lilke adults instead of scared children clutching at hope because we don't like what bad-old science has to say.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi lui,

Appreciate your shared thoughts. I know about Sai Baba. Heard about him from my school teacher when i was 11 :)

Were you generalizing all claims under the same category? If i understand you rightly, u seem to be saying that as long as one is being discovered as fake, all others are fake as well. That's like saying 'because Hwang Woo Suk's team fabricated stem-cell report, all other stem-cell reports are fabrications.' Isn't that a bit oversimplifying things and thus muddling issues at hand?

Having tools to access doesnt necessarily means one is more accurate at describing facts. That said, there are modern historical-scientific tools that are being used to examine this Jesus, the 1st century Jew. May i know which kind of historical tools that you used when examining Jesus of Nazareth?

I'm not here to convert or propagate. I'm just trying to discuss some of the objections that are being raised agaisnt Christianity. Hope that's not abhoring to you.

:)

Peace.

Lui said...

"If i understand you rightly, u seem to be saying that as long as one is being discovered as fake, all others are fake as well. That's like saying 'because Hwang Woo Suk's team fabricated stem-cell report, all other stem-cell reports are fabrications.' Isn't that a bit oversimplifying things and thus muddling issues at hand?"

It would be muddling the issues at hand, so thankfully it's not what I was saying. What I was saying is that the arguments raised in defence of Christ are often banal and annoying, of the variety I mentioned: we can't prove that he didn't rise from the dead, and we should be "fair" to the people living at the time, so therefore Christ must have done everything purported of him. My mentioning of Sai Baba was meant as a warning about human gullibility, and that we should be very cautious about accepting the extraordinary claims of holy men and/or their followers.

Sze Zeng said...

Dear lui,

Thank you for clarifying. It does help to carry the discussion forward.
:)

Regarding your annoyance on the Christian apologetic, are you suggesting that we stop examine it? If yes, then the implication is that we have to just prevent our eyes from looking into the existing data and approaches (eg.4 gospels, literary theories, philosophy of history, epistemology etc) and jump straight into conclusion that Christianity is not valid.

If not, then where else can we explore from there?

Again, i appreciate your reminder that we should be careful with human guilibility and be cautious in the marketplace of ideas. That serves a great deal to admonish me in the context that i grew up in. There are basically 4 main religions, then there are many other sub-sects of each of these 4. Add to that, there are modern and postmodern ideologies floating (which i regard no less religious) around, on every pages of our school texts, and in our tv programs and advertisements.
So, that's really a good reminder.

Probably you'd missed my earlier question, which historical-scientific methods that you used in assesing Jesus of Nazareth?

Take care.

Lui said...

"Regarding your annoyance on the Christian apologetic, are you suggesting that we stop examine it?"

No, but quite frankly there are more pressing issues facing humanity than whether a guy died centuries ago came back to life. I really have no respect for religion whatsoever. It's unworthy of respect. It's lazy and banal, and the quicker we're done with it, the better.

Sze Zeng said...

No? But you assumed that's waste of time and for no good. What kind of 'good' that you foresee if without such discourse?

Sze Zeng said...

At first you stated that you are disatisfied with the lack of scientific examination on Christianity. When i asked you what kind of scientific examination that you are not content with, you went on to say such examination is not worthwhile.

So if you had already assumed that such matter is not worthwhile, then you shouldn't had asked for any scientific validity or whatsoever in the first place. That's not helpful for any discussion/conversation to move forward. It wasted other's time to respond to your already assumed presumption. And this is really banal.

And if you didn't study or read into an issue (eg.historical Jesus), do you think your opinion on such issue has any validity?

Would you listen to someone talks on quantum mechanics when he/she hasnt read or studied into it? Apply that common judgement to yourself in the matter on Jesus of Nazareth. If you know nothing, the best thing to do is to zip. Talk about what you know.

Apologies if this remark is harsh, but you'd wasted ppl's time with your unchecked assumption.

Peace.

Lui said...

Hi Sze Zeng, sorry for the delay in replying to your message.

“At first you stated that you are disatisfied with the lack of scientific examination on Christianity. When i asked you what kind of scientific examination that you are not content with, you went on to say such examination is not worthwhile.”

It has shown itself to not be worthwhile, because when you peel back the extraordinary claims made by Christianity, it’s all just hearsay and ignorance masquerading as knowledge. There is nothing in the Bible that could not have been written by someone living at the time.

”So if you had already assumed that such matter is not worthwhile, then you shouldn't had asked for any scientific validity or whatsoever in the first place. That's not helpful for any discussion/conversation to move forward. It wasted other's time to respond to your already assumed presumption. And this is really banal.”

I understand your concern, but I think that humanity would do better to acknowledge that it cannot take the word of Bronze Age nomads without a grain of salt. The major religions demand that people give them the benefit of the doubt. This we have done for centuries, and what has been the result? War, internal strife, ignorance and persecution. I think it’s high time we stopped giving religion so much respect simply because it demands it.

”And if you didn't study or read into an issue (eg.historical Jesus), do you think your opinion on such issue has any validity?”

Even Christian scholars have admitted that the miracle stories in the Bible are hearsay and unreliable. If Christianity had anything really going for it, it would be front-page news. It would convince even the most hardened sceptics.

”Would you listen to someone talks on quantum mechanics when he/she hasnt read or studied into it?”

No, but we seem to give an awful lot of time to listening to people who claim to have profound insights even though their religious faith precludes knowledge of any of the topics that are intruded by their claims. Society is often only too eager to play along with this accommodation to religious irrationality.

Anonymous said...

Great blog post!

I don't believe in the resurrection, either. I would not really say I'm a christian anymore, either. But I was a biblical scholar (a lot of good that degree is doing me now!), and I would say that the message of the bible actually is NOT resurrection, but incarnation - god with us and in us. For christianity to ever remain relevant to modern christians, I think they need to do away with the whole resurrection idea, especially as a test of whether you are a true christian or not.

I think they need to replace it with an emphasis on incarnation, and how fully a person is incarnating a living, passionate spirit in their lives. If you are dull, droning, and do not daily question your beliefs, you are not incarnating god and therefore are not a christian! ;)

Edward T. Babinski said...

Hi Kevin, I'm Ed Babinski, editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists. I've also composed some pieces on the resurrection.

My letter to Habermas
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/babinski-jordan/2.html

THE WORD ABOUT THE GROWING WORDS OF THE RESURRECTED JESUS
http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2010/03/word-about-growing-words-of-resurrected.html