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Resurrection of Jesus

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I'm sorry if this has already been posted, but these five premises, often claimed to be used along with Bayer's theory of probability, makes Jesus' resurrection the only probable event of these claims.

1. Jesus was killed by Roman Cruxifiction in the first century A.D.

2. Jesus' followers were so convinced ...of his resurrection they died for this belief.

3. Jesus' tomb was empty.

4. Saul (Paul) a self-admitted persecutor of the early church experienced a radical transformation into a believer.

5. James, Jesus' half-brother who was a skeptic became a believer. Using Bayes' Theorem of Probability we find that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of those five facts.

Now, I'm literate enough in calculus-level probability to know that using probability theories for events is an extravagant claim. But I'm curious, how would o

- Are these five claims accepted as historical fact? Many people making these claims seem to believe so. I have asked for which historical/anthropoligical societies have come to a consensus on all five of these things, and so far, I've yet to get them. But is this experience at all similar to anyone else who's debated the same thing?

- What are some possible alternatives to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected?

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- What are some possible alternatives to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected?
If he ever existed and was really killed, then the only "alternative" is that he was not resurrected. It does not matter whether Geller bent spoons in honor of Christ, nor that many died in Jonestown. Someone else probably has a similar list to "prove" that Mohammed's visions were really the voice of God. Edited by softwareNerd

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I'm sorry if this has already been posted, but these five premises, often claimed to be used along with Bayer's theory of probability, makes Jesus' resurrection the only probable event of these claims.

1. Jesus was killed by Roman Cruxifiction in the first century A.D.

2. Jesus' followers were so convinced ...of his resurrection they died for this belief.

3. Jesus' tomb was empty.

4. Saul (Paul) a self-admitted persecutor of the early church experienced a radical transformation into a believer.

5. James, Jesus' half-brother who was a skeptic became a believer. Using Bayes' Theorem of Probability we find that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of those five facts.

Now, I'm literate enough in calculus-level probability to know that using probability theories for events is an extravagant claim. But I'm curious, how would o

- Are these five claims accepted as historical fact? Many people making these claims seem to believe so. I have asked for which historical/anthropoligical societies have come to a consensus on all five of these things, and so far, I've yet to get them. But is this experience at all similar to anyone else who's debated the same thing?

- What are some possible alternatives to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected?

Did you calculate the probability of each event in your list or you took it as 100%?

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1. Jesus was killed by Roman Cruxifiction in the first century A.D.

2. Jesus' followers were so convinced ...of his resurrection they died for this belief.

3. Jesus' tomb was empty.

4. Saul (Paul) a self-admitted persecutor of the early church experienced a radical transformation into a believer.

5. James, Jesus' half-brother who was a skeptic became a believer. Using Bayes' Theorem of Probability we find that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of those five facts.

Now, I'm literate enough in calculus-level probability to know that using probability theories for events is an extravagant claim. But I'm curious, how would o

- Are these five claims accepted as historical fact? Many people making these claims seem to believe so. I have asked for which historical/anthropoligical societies have come to a consensus on all five of these things, and so far, I've yet to get them. But is this experience at all similar to anyone else who's debated the same thing?

- What are some possible alternatives to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected?

For #2--My ex-GF was so convinced that two mutual friends of ours were egregious vocal racists that she was willing to lose our relationship over it. Should I conclude that these mutual friends are racists in spite of the fact that I never saw evidence of it (and believe me the allegation was such that they'd've not troubled to hide it from me if they were)? And this individual claims to be an eyewitness to the event. The overwhelming majority of Christian martyrs could not possibly have been around for the events recounted in the gospels. In fact I do not recall ANY (alleged) eyewitness to ANY of the (alleged) events of the gospels (much less the smaller number--and quite variable, depending on which gospel you read--of people who saw the empty tomb or the risen Jesus) being martyred (though I am unsure of this; perhaps you will cite me chapter and verse). One's belief of a story told about events before one was even born is not evidence that it is true; it is evidence that someone has told it to one who then believes it is true.

For #4-Epilepsy. Though we cannot really know for certain if that's what's going on because the two bible accounts of this event contradict each other over the issue of whether his companions heard anything or not.

Are these events historical? Well, it's hard to be certain of ANYTHING in the Bible because the Bible is not in fact a credible document; it is rife with contradictions in the threads of the stories. There isn't even agreement on what day Christ was crucified (John maintains it was *before* the passover meal, during preparation, which would be a Friday afternoon, the other gospels maintain it was *after* the passover meal, which would be a Saturday). It is my belief that the author of John (the last written of the gospels) changed the pre-existing story so he could draw parallels between Jesus and the lambs being slaughtered for Passover.

Here is a counter-challenge to you. Tell me what happened on Easter. Using Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1:3-12, and I Corinthians 15:3-8, construct a coherent, non-contradictory chronological account without leaving out anything that any of these sources says. (H/T Dan Barker of Freedom From Religion Foundation for this.) Once you have failed to do this, try again to assert the Bible is a reliable source for people to be martyred over.

edit: added emphasis in last paragraph--it's no win if you leave anything out.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito

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..Holy crap. I re-read my original posts, and I TOTALLY screwed up - people now think I seriously was convinced by these arguments. I was not paying attention to what I was typing.

Here's what I should have typed

I'm sorry if this has already been posted, but many people insist on saying that these five premises, often claimed to be used along with Bayer's theory of probability, makes Jesus' resurrection the only probable event of these claims.

Now, I'm literate enough in calculus-level probability to know that using probability theories for events like this is not very identifiable

The person claimed that these five premises are accepted historical fact. I asked him to prove to me that secular historians agreed upon these five claims, in the form of historical/anthropological societies, and he really didn't give me any. He just cited the Craig-Ehrman debate. I told him that he should have no problem giving me some if what he said was true. I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience when debating this, where they didn't actually prove that historians came to a consensus on these things. Of course, my rebuttal was in no way dependent on the veracity of those five claims, because really - he seemed to think that he was going to intimidate me by citing a probability theorem that he thought I wouldn't understand (given that I'm a math obsessee and a chem. eng major, it didn't work). I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience when asking for someone to back those claims up

Sorry if anyone thought I was a theist, or was seriously trying to argue theism.

Edited by Black Wolf

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Points 2, 4 and 5 seem irrelevant as proof of anything to me. People in power switching sides, some winning, some losing? Zealots dying for their beliefs? Kind of an everyday affair, is it not?

Points 1 & 3 are more "factual". Except that we have no contemporary description of Jesus or his crucifiction, and they seem to find a new Jesus' tomb every other thursday 'round here in Israel. I think someone even dug up a couple around Nazareth, just for the hell of it.

Possible alternative: guy sees a preacher dude get nailed by the Romans (Jews?). Waits a few years, starts telling amazing stories about him to anyone willing to listen. Maybe steals his corpse, dumps it somewhere, maybe not. Starts a cult and away we go.

There's a Chasidic sect that hailed its head as the messiah. Dude's been dead for over 20 years now - an act that for all intents and purposes prevents him from being the messiah (the torah's pretty specific about it: son of David, born in Bethlehem, not dead. I'm almost quoting it verbatim). Doesn't stop 'em one bit. The guys at the top are raking in the dough and the ones at the bottom are conditioned to obey the top. Get confrontational with them on a large scale, and I'm sure you'll encounter a whole bunch of willing martyrs.

Edited by TheWetNurse

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I'm sorry if this has already been posted, but these five premises, often claimed to be used along with Bayer's theory of probability, makes Jesus' resurrection the only probable event of these claims.

1. Jesus was killed by Roman Cruxifiction in the first century A.D.

2. Jesus' followers were so convinced ...of his resurrection they died for this belief.

3. Jesus' tomb was empty.

4. Saul (Paul) a self-admitted persecutor of the early church experienced a radical transformation into a believer.

5. James, Jesus' half-brother who was a skeptic became a believer.

Using Bayes' Theorem of Probability we find that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of those five facts.

1 - True

2 - True

3 - I'll take their word for it.

4 - True

5 - True

I fail to see how that means that Yeshua was resurrected. That is a massive leap. There are many, simpler explanations for the tomb being empty and two men changing their minds.

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The person claimed that these five premises are accepted historical fact. I asked him to prove to me that secular historians agreed upon these five claims, in the form of historical/anthropological societies, and he really didn't give me any. He just cited the Craig-Ehrman debate.

I have no problem with the claims, accepting that they are true doesn't lead to a belief in a highly improbable event - it certainly doesn't constitute proof or probability.

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Ah, William Lane Craig's favorite argument that, for some reason, the people who debate him never try to debunk, despite the fact that it is laughably easy to do so. The only of those 5 claims that are indisputably true are 2 and 4. The rest are predicated on the existence of Jesus which, while probable, is far from certain.

So, 1 by 1:

1.) Yeah, probably. So were many other people.

2.) And? How many Muslims/Hindus/Zoroastrians/etc. have been so convinced of their own religion that they died for it?

3.) Given that the only sources that describe the life of Christ, in detail, are four widely disparate gospels that were written by people decades after his supposed death, we can pretty safely discount this one.

4.) This is an indisputable historical fact. So what? See #2.

5.) Francis Collins (director of the Human Genome Project) was a skeptic who became a Christian after he saw a beautiful waterfall. Convinced? Neither am I. Also, see #2.

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Ah, William Lane Craig's favorite argument that, for some reason, the people who debate him never try to debunk, despite the fact that it is laughably easy to do so. The only of those 5 claims that are indisputably true are 2 and 4. The rest are predicated on the existence of Jesus which, while probable, is far from certain.

So, 1 by 1:

1.) Yeah, probably. So were many other people.

2.) And? How many Muslims/Hindus/Zoroastrians/etc. have been so convinced of their own religion that they died for it?

3.) Given that the only sources that describe the life of Christ, in detail, are four widely disparate gospels that were written by people decades after his supposed death, we can pretty safely discount this one.

4.) This is an indisputable historical fact. So what? See #2.

5.) Francis Collins (director of the Human Genome Project) was a skeptic who became a Christian after he saw a beautiful waterfall. Convinced? Neither am I. Also, see #2.

It is such a shame that William Lane Craig wins so many debates... because the theists view him as this prolific theist. His claims are very easy to debunk when people have time to think about them... but that's not available in a public debate. I wonder if an Objectivist crushed him in a debate, that would entail more positive publicity of Objectivism

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He wins them because "debate" is pretty much all he does. He's got practice, and--since he does virtually nothing else--he has plenty of time to develop an encyclopedic knowledge of his opponents' views and prepare canned responses to them. If that doesn't work, he hones his techniques for controlling the debate by using various distractions, to ensure his opponents waste time responding to non-sequiturs.

Also, he is extremely good at presenting the more intellectual arguments for God. His presentation of the Teleological and Cosmological arguments, in particular, are flawless. Rebutting those arguments--skillfully presented--in a timed debate is not as easy as it sounds, and when his opponents have to use valuable time to rebut his juvenile, high school tactics (like the one about Jesus' resurrection), he virtually assures he will be the winner.

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1. Jesus was killed by Roman Cruxifiction in the first century A.D.

2. Jesus' followers were so convinced ...of his resurrection they died for this belief.

3. Jesus' tomb was empty.

4. Saul (Paul) a self-admitted persecutor of the early church experienced a radical transformation into a believer.

5. James, Jesus' half-brother who was a skeptic became a believer. Using Bayes' Theorem of Probability we find that the resurrection is the most probable explanation of those five facts.

- Are these five claims accepted as historical fact? Many people making these claims seem to believe so. I have asked for which historical/anthropoligical societies have come to a consensus on all five of these things, and so far, I've yet to get them. But is this experience at all similar to anyone else who's debated the same thing?

- What are some possible alternatives to the conclusion that Jesus was resurrected?

From the little bit that I have looked into Christian Evidential Apologetics, I think the point of the second, fourth, and fifth points are to emphasize that if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then these people all did these things with full knowledge that he had not risen.

It's a little bit different from other examples of "zealots" doing radical things because they've drummed up belief. These guys would have had full conscious awareness of their insanity if Jesus had not risen because the evidence would have been readily available to contradict them.

It is mostly employed in response to the idea that his disciples stole his body from the tomb: it may be likely that someone would die for something that they did not know was true, but it is quite a bit less likely that these men would have died for something which they knew to be a blatant lie (i.e. if they had stolen his dead body, etc..)

Concerning the historicity of the events, there are numerous resources available (I will attempt to track them down if anyone likes.. though they really aren't difficult to find... one author which comes to mind is Lee Strobel).

The evidence of textual integrity of the New Testament (the evidence that it was not significantly altered over time in any major way) is actually quite abundant. There are thousands of copies from all over the Roman Empire from within a very short time frame after the originals (in comparison to other writings in antiquity) with surprisingly minimal differences.

I say all this as clarification to help you understand the Christian position/reasoning behind these issues. I'm not really into debating these small details myself, so please don't be disappointed if I refrain from getting into the "nitty-gritty" stuff.

However, I suppose I have now officially "outed" myself concerning my brand of Theism. :)

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Bart Ehrman takes William Craig to task for calling the list "facts".

The debate should be readily available on youtube.

Edit: And I should add, argues against the list presenting the likeliest possibilities in relation the the Bayes equation.

Edited by PuckPuck

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From the little bit that I have looked into Christian Evidential Apologetics, I think the point of the second, fourth, and fifth points are to emphasize that if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then these people all did these things with full knowledge that he had not risen.

It's a little bit different from other examples of "zealots" doing radical things because they've drummed up belief. These guys would have had full conscious awareness of their insanity if Jesus had not risen because the evidence would have been readily available to contradict them.

It is mostly employed in response to the idea that his disciples stole his body from the tomb: it may be likely that someone would die for something that they did not know was true, but it is quite a bit less likely that these men would have died for something which they knew to be a blatant lie (i.e. if they had stolen his dead body, etc..)

Concerning the historicity of the events, there are numerous resources available (I will attempt to track them down if anyone likes.. though they really aren't difficult to find... one author which comes to mind is Lee Strobel).

The evidence of textual integrity of the New Testament (the evidence that it was not significantly altered over time in any major way) is actually quite abundant. There are thousands of copies from all over the Roman Empire from within a very short time frame after the originals (in comparison to other writings in antiquity) with surprisingly minimal differences.

I say all this as clarification to help you understand the Christian position/reasoning behind these issues. I'm not really into debating these small details myself, so please don't be disappointed if I refrain from getting into the "nitty-gritty" stuff.

However, I suppose I have now officially "outed" myself concerning my brand of Theism. :)

Obviously you didn't read my post earlier in this thread. For instance:

In fact I do not recall ANY (alleged) eyewitness to ANY of the (alleged) events of the gospels (much less the smaller number--and quite variable, depending on which gospel you read--of people who saw the empty tomb or the risen Jesus) being martyred (though I am unsure of this; perhaps you will cite me chapter and verse). One's belief of a story told about events before one was even born is not evidence that it is true; it is evidence that someone has told it to one who then believes it is true.

What is your source that actual eye witnesses to the events described in the Gospels were martyred? If it is anyone else you are talking about, your argument falls apart. Those self-same Gospels, or the Book of Acts? That might make the death of those apostles part of the same lie that they supposedly cannot have believed to go through with it. If the martyr was so much as 20 years after the fact, this argument falls apart... they are taking their inspiration for martyrdom from a story they heard which could be a lie.

I also explained why the Gospels are, on the basis of their own content only, unreliable taken as a group. And I'll repeat what I said to the OP, this time knowing the guy I am talking to is NOT playing "devil's advocate" (ironic phrase, eh?)

Tell me what happened on Easter. Using Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1:3-12, and I Corinthians 15:3-8, construct a coherent, non-contradictory chronological account without leaving out anything that any of these sources says. (H/T Dan Barker of Freedom From Religion Foundation for this.) Once you have failed to do this, try again to assert the Bible is a reliable source for people to be martyred over.

Until you do that, you're nothing but a bag of hot air trying to tell us the gospels are reliable.

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I'm sorry if this has already been posted, but these five premises, often claimed to be used along with Bayer's theory of probability, makes Jesus' resurrection the only probable event of these claims.

That's either an outright lie, or a horrible misunderstanding of Bayes' Theorem.

With regard to the claimed resurrection, I recall reading somewhere that it was not reported in the original New Testament, that Paul added the story later on, and that there are no contemporary reports of the claimed event other than his, even though Paul said many people were present. Does anyone know if that's correct?

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That's either an outright lie, or a horrible misunderstanding of Bayes' Theorem.

Or quite possibly both.

With regard to the claimed resurrection, I recall reading somewhere that it was not reported in the original New Testament, that Paul added the story later on, and that there are no contemporary reports of the claimed event other than his, even though Paul said many people were present. Does anyone know if that's correct?

I doubt Paul added the stuff to the gospels, mainly because Paul was active in the 50s and the gospels were written much later. I think the legend of the resurrection was an add on (of course it had to be since it could not have happened), but not by Paul.

None of the gospels appears to have been written by an eyewitness. The earliest was Mark written no earlier than 70 AD, about 40 years after the crucifixion, minimum. Whoever it was that wrote it (certainly not Mark), wrote it in Greek, not Aramaic (which would be the language Jesus and his mostly illiterate followers spoke). He also ended it at Mark 16:8, two different endings (a short one and a long one) were added later. Matthew and Luke were written 15 years or so after this (an estimate to be sure). They extensively cribbed from Mark and used some other source we don't have any more for a lot of what Jesus said. None of these three claims Jesus was divine even though Matthew and Luke claim he was the literal Son of God. (The phrase "Son of God" as used elsewhere is not to be taken literally, after all Moses was named as the Son of God, as was the entire nation of Israel, in what we now call the Old Testament, which back then was the only testament.) John came out even later, All were written in Greek, originally, and it's clear in some cases the author didn't know the geography of Judea at all so was nowhere near it.

It is true, absolutely true, that there are no contemporary accounts of Jesus, either from Jews or Gentile Romans or Christians, and certainly no accounts of the miracles alleged to have surrounded the crucifixion, and there are lots of contemporary sources that survive that make no note of him or the miracles (and some of the miracles would have got someone's attention IF they happened). The closest we get to a non-Christian source is Josephus but he wrote well after the alleged fact and the paragraph in question is _clearly_ a forgery added centuries later, and we can even name the forger with some confidence. Eusebius, a lying son of a bitch.

(This does not mean I don't think there wasn't some guy named Jesus; I think there was--but he was of no account whatsoever until people started building a legend around him after his death. But that's a different topic.)

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Bart Ehrman takes William Craig to task for calling the list "facts".

The debate should be readily available on youtube.

Edit: And I should add, argues against the list presenting the likeliest possibilities in relation the the Bayes equation.

I saw this quite a while back, I recall Ehrman utterly destroying William Lane Craig.

I recommend Ehrman's books, his latest, Forged, concerns authorship of much of the New Testament. His earlier one, Misquoting Jesus, made a bigger impression on me, probably because I read it first. He's a bible scholar and former fundamentalist who now refers to himself as an agnostic, though I heard an interview with him where he said point blank that he does not believe in God.

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I doubt Paul added the stuff to the gospels, mainly because Paul was active in the 50s and the gospels were written much later. I think the legend of the resurrection was an add on (of course it had to be since it could not have happened), but not by Paul.

Thanks for the info. I recall hearing the story was inconsistent, but I didn't realize just how inconsistent.

I also found the following page with more details:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/symes01.htm

The amount of deception and evasion is crazy.

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Much of my knowledge of the bible is thanks to Bart Ehrman actually, so I can heartily second Ninth Doctor's endorsement of his material. Ehrman also has six courses available from the Teaching Company (teach12.com)--there is a lot of overlap between those courses but a lot of stuff is worthwhile as well. (Actually, watching one of his courses caused my sister in law to decide she was no longer a Christian! That was a huge reaction, more than many Christians would have, but it turned out her faith rested on biblical infallibility; once the pillars were knocked out from under that premise the whole edifice came tumbling down, for her.)

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