You don’t need to go to Seminary to decide if Dead Bodies can be Resurrected

If you were following the intense conversation in the previous post on this blog, you read the following comment by Pastor Baxter, of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, my former Christian denomination:

“It would be an interesting thing if Gary took a sabbatical from his practice, and took 18 months of classes at the Fort (Fort Wayne—an LCMS Lutheran seminary). If he intends to be actively critical as he states, it would seem rational that he would take an objective view, and learn and understand that which he so cavalierly trashes.  My guess is he knows his lack of objectivity, and the blow to his ego that finding out most of what he spouts is twaddle, he (doesn’t)…dare expose his psyche to such trauma.”

Pastor B. is a good guy.  I didn’t used to think so, but I do now.  I truly believe he cares about my well-being, he is just more blunt in his attempt to bring me back into “the fold” than other Christians.  He means well.

But what is it that I would learn by going to seminary that would convince me that a first century man really did come back from the dead with a “heavenly” (supernatural) body?  Would I learn that there really were eyewitnesses to this event?  Would I learn that there are secret documents known only to the clergy that contain eyewitness evidence from multiple sources, including non-Christian sources, which support the supernatural claims of the Bible?

Answer:  No!

If this evidence existed it would be on the Internet.  It is not.  There is no secret evidence that can only be learned by going to seminary and earning a PhD in theology!
Image result for image of a wizard
This again is another tactic of cults:  “You, dear cult member, do not have the training and education to understand all the complex aspects of the Truth.  Only someone who has intensely studied our belief system and our holy book can intelligently discuss and debate the Truth. Therefore, trust the leaders of the group to tell you the real truth.   DO NOT CHALLENGE THE LEADERSHIP.  If you do, you are an ignorant know-it-all and should keep your stupid mouth shut.”

Dear Reader:  There is no such thing as an expert in “resurrections” or “resurrected bodies”.  There is no such thing as an expert in the Supernatural.  Going to seminary is not going to teach you ONE damn thing about the reality of the supernatural.  You can only determine the reality of supernatural claims by using prior probability and good ol’ common sense!

My advice:  Take all the emotion out of the discussion.  Ignore the pleas about how wonderful and loving the (invisible) Jesus is and about all the wonderful happiness you are missing out on by rejecting him.  Ignore the threats and innuendos that (the invisible) Jesus is going to torture you forever in his eternal torture pit for rejecting him.  Look at the evidence.  Look at the facts.  Is there really good evidence for the claim that a never-heard-of-before-or-since resurrection of a dead body occurred in first century Palestine?

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23 thoughts on “You don’t need to go to Seminary to decide if Dead Bodies can be Resurrected

  1. At seminary you'd learn something more than you know. You'd learn that God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus. You'd learn about the historical Jesus only crazy people deny existed. You'd learn that only the loony theological left thinks the four gospels are anonymous. You'd learn the four gospels are the best attested books in antiquity. You'd learn how to examine the truth claims of the historical Jesus and his disciples. You'd learn if he is who he says he is (I AM HE, YWYH), resurrecting from the dead is not only possible but must have happened. YWYH can't stay dead. You'd learn not to jump to conclusions as you're wont to do. You'd learn of your lack of brilliance. You'd be humbled by the scholarship you've never read. You'd certainly tune down the BS factor of your blog.

    Somethings you'd learn.

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  2. Thank you, Anonymous, for your comment on the evidence.

    “You'd learn that God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus.”

    What is the evidence for this claim?

    “You'd learn about the historical Jesus only crazy people deny existed.”

    I, nor most skeptics, doubt Jesus' existence. What we doubt, due to a lack of good evidence, are many claims others have made about him, in particular the supernatural claims about him. That Jesus was a real historical person who lived in first century Palestine, preached an apocalyptic message about the impending Kingdom of God, got on the wrong side of the Jewish authorities, and was ultimately crucified by the Romans is NOT disputed by the overwhelming majority of skeptics.

    “You'd learn that only the loony theological left thinks the four gospels are anonymous.”

    Can you back up this claim? From my reading, the majority of ALL New Testament scholars reject the idea that eyewitnesses authored the four gospels. You are welcome to disagree with the majority of experts on this subject, but please back up your claim that only a “looney” minority holds this position.

    “You'd learn the four gospels are the best attested books in antiquity.”

    It is true that more COPIES of the four gospels exist than any other book from Antiquity, but having a lot of copies does not mean that the facts asserted in those copies are historically true or that they correctly retain the stories of the originals. You do agree that no known originals exist of these four books, correct? If we don't know that the originals said, we can't be sure than the thousands of alleged copies are the same as the original.

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  3. “You'd learn how to examine the truth claims of the historical Jesus and his disciples.”

    Can you provide a reputable scholarly source that states that we can be certain that the historical Jesus said the things that the four gospels say he said?

    If we don't have any books written by Jesus or any books written by CONFIRMED eyewitnesses who heard Jesus say things, we cannot be certain what Jesus or his disciples ever said.

    “You'd learn if he is who he says he is (I AM HE, YWYH), resurrecting from the dead is not only possible but must have happened.”

    You are making a supernatural assertion. I do not need a theological degree to determine the probability of a supernatural claim. I only need a functioning adult brain, prior experience, and knowledge of how frequently other humans have claimed to have witnessed a resurrected dead body.

    “YWYH can't stay dead.”

    You might as well say that Zeus can't stay dead. Until you prove the existence of Yahweh, Yahweh is just as non-existent to me as Zeus, Jupiter, and Lord Krishna.

    “You'd learn not to jump to conclusions as you're wont to do. You'd learn of your lack of brilliance. You'd be humbled by the scholarship you've never read. You'd certainly tune down the BS factor of your blog.”

    Maybe. But even if I accept the majority position of New Testament scholars on EVERY issue related to early Christianity, it would have ZERO bearing on the believability of the supernatural claims. NT scholars can only tell us what early Christians believed they saw and experienced, they can't tell us if these ancient people really did see and experience what they thought they saw and experienced.

    Supernatural claims do not require a theology degree to make an informed decision on their probability.

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  4. Do you believe that Jesus told a woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more” and then told the men wanting to stone her, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

    The Bible says that Jesus said these things. However, scholars say that the EVIDENCE is that the oldest copies of the gospels do not contain these statements or even this entire “Woman Caught in Adultery” story! The EVIDENCE indicates that this story and these statements allegedly made by Jesus were ADDED later by someone other than the original author.

    Bottom line: We cannot be certain of one single quote in the Gospels that it ever actually came out of the mouth of Jesus.

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  5. The clergy have a vested interest in protecting the status quo. I can't imagine what you would learn in seminary that would change your mind. You smartly focus on the resurrection. No special learning needed. Every dead person throughout human history had stayed dead. It is special pleading for Christians to demand we believe what is written in the Bible and not what we can see and know with our eyes.

    The Bible says Hesus resurrected from the dead. So what. Books say lots of things that aren't true. Why should we accept Bible claims of bodily resurrection and not that Harry Potter had magical powers? Both stories are plausible in a fantasy environment, but in the real world dead people stay dead and magic wands are toys.

    I contend that Gnosticism is alive and well in the Evangelical church. If you, Gary, just had this “special” knowledge that we Lutheran's have, why, you too can be one of us.

    The bottom line is that Christian belief requires irrational faith. Ignore the fact that all dead people stay dead, Jesus is alive. Every core tenet of Christianity requires this sort of faith.

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  6. Gary . . .

    Kinda yanked my comment out of context just a tad??!

    Bruce I'll ignore – bit of a parrot.

    The first comment to what I said went a good bit further than did I with my words.

    Th reason I said it would do you good was very neutral, which apparently, both you and Bruce missed completely. My key words? –

    “It would be an interesting thing if Gary took a sabbatical from his practice, and took 18 months of classes at the Fort (Fort Wayne—an LCMS Lutheran seminary). If he intends to be actively critical as he states, it would seem rational that he would take an objective view, and learn and understand that which he so cavalierly trashes.”

    My point was as clear as it could be, and resembled nothing you made of it not Bruce's conclusions.

    Address my words, not your loose “translation” of what I said. What I said commits you to nary a thing save understanding what Jim and I speak of. Never said you had to complete a year of vicarage, then a 4th year of studies, then sign you commitment to recaiving a call. I neither said not insinuated any of that.

    And no, you don't know all I learned there, degree and my collar notwithstanding. In fact – this post is pretty indicative of why I made the suggestion to begin with.

    And stop playing that silly “pastor vs. laymen crap, I have never implied it whatsoever. But you, in making it, seem rather anti-intellectual.

    Someone withan under-grdduate degree in the physical sciences – say biology – is not going to know what you know as a D.O. – now is he? No.

    Criticize mefor the actual meaning of my words, and imy clear clear intent – I have no problem with that.

    That is most certainly NOT what you did.

    Pax – pb

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  7. And . . .

    Why do you keep rambling away about the Resurrection?

    You Know it is an Article of Faith. As such . . .

    I cannot objectively prove it.

    You cannot objectively dis-prove.

    You know that!

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  8. Really? Tell that to Christian apologists.

    If it is all based on faith, why are we debating this? Faith is personal. It is based on feelings. I cannot prove what you feel to be wrong, only what you assert to be fact. If you are not asserting that the Resurrection is fact or that Yahweh's existence is fact, then there is no need for us to discuss these topics.

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  9. I'm not the one with an entire site dedicated to dis-proving matters of Faith, and you know I didn't start it or continue it – to be more emphatic, I made the “prove/disprove statement to you over two year ago, you agreed with me, and I have not raised the issue once since with.

    Christian apologists have only circumstantial evidence, as you have only circumstantial evidence A Christian believes what he believes, you believe what you be3live.

    NO ONE can prove the other wrong.

    Now that we have that straight, please quote me accurately and in my intended context from no on. You did not do so with this post.

    Pax – pb

    P.S. Pl;ease attach my intials my comment above this one – I hit the publish sequence aqnd didn't notice. Thanks . . .

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  10. Well, Pastor B., thank you for your clarification.

    If only all Christians would admit that their belief system is based primarily on faith, and not primarily on evidence. If they would do so, there would be no need for blogs such as mine and Bruce's.

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  11. Mysticism: belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.

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  12. Bruce said, “I contend that Gnosticism is alive and well in the Evangelical church. If you, Gary, just had this “special” knowledge that we Lutheran's have, why, you too can be one of us.”

    When Bruce says, “the Evangelical Church” he is talking about Lutheranism, and I think he has hit the nail on the head. The Gnostics believed that true Christianity was about finding secret knowledge of God through mystical experiences. I believe that this is what Vicar Jim and Pastor Baxter are trying to convince me of in our discussions. Instead of appealing to evidence that confirms the divinity of Jesus such as eyewitness statements they are appealing to a special knowledge that can only be obtained by:

    —years of study at a Seminary
    —faith (blind belief)

    Once again, this is the practice of the cults: You know nothing. We have more training and experience. God has revealed himself fully to us. God has not revealed himself fully to you because you don't know enough and do not have faith.

    Gnosticism, Mysticism, Pietism…the proponents of these movements all thought they had a secret “in” with God that others did not possess. I say this kind of thinking is nothing more than emotion-driven superstition.

    There is either evidence for the existence of Yahweh or there isn't. There is either evidence for a first century resurrection or there isn't. Appeals to mysticism (faith) just don't cut it.

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  13. Attention Readers: This Blog may soon end.

    Google Blogger, my blog host, has informed me that unless I set up a new account in “the Cloud” and purchase certain apps, I will lose the domain ownership of this blog.

    I have no intention of purchasing these apps.

    Therefore, (much to the glee of my Christian readers), this blog may soon end. It is possible that Google Blogger is just bluffing, but maybe not.

    If this blog is terminated, I may or may not continue blogging. If I do start a new blog, it will be under some version of “Escaping Christian Fundamentalism”. Hopefully Blogger is just bluffing in an attempt for increased business and my blog will continue. But if not, it has been an honor and privilege to interact with all you.

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  14. Gary –

    Withdraw you comment “(much to the glee of my Christian readers)”. You say that not knowing if it's even true, and the frank matter of the fact is that I know all of the Christian readers you just purposely slammed for no reason, would be sorry to see you lose your blog, because we would have no way of keeping contact and the possible openings in your spirit toward the faith again.

    You know better than that! Way better! This in NOT us versus you at all, this is us trying to stop you being against you!

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  15. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for the tip. I will consider blogging on WordPress in the future, but for now I'm going to take a break.

    I see that someone else is posting comments as “administrator” so that probably means that someone has purchased this domain.

    I'm going to shut down comments. I'm not sure what will happen to the prior posts.

    Take care everyone!

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  16. Gary,

    It looks like I'm late to the party. I don't take pleasure in your losing your domain name. However, if I do a WHOIS on your domain I can see you're letting it expire on the 17th. Your domain is not owned by Blogger but by Enom.com through whom you registered your domain on 10-17-2011. AFAIK Blogger remains free and will not force you out of your domain name, which they really can't because Enom hosts your domain name, not Blogger. If you need help in understanding how this all works email me. I will be happy to help you where I can.

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  17. Gary, I hope you'll regain control of this domain and website again. It's been really interesting to read this blog and see how you changed from a christian fundamentalist to a skeptic atheist. Thanks for all the thought provoking and interesting posts and discussions.

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