Is There Any Evidence that Perceived Sightings of Jesus were the Cause of the Resurrection Belief?

Image result for image of the resurrection

Ask any conservative Christian, “What caused the Resurrection belief?” and you will get this response:  Multiple people, sometimes in large groups, saw the resurrected Jesus.  But is there any evidence to support this claim other than the Appearance Stories found in three of the four Gospels—books which even Roman Catholic scholars, who very much believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, doubt were written by eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses?

If there is any other evidence, I would like to see it!

If one takes a look at the Early Creed quoted by Paul in First Corinthians 15 nowhere in that passage does it state that anyone believed in the Resurrection because Jesus appeared to him or her.  This creed simply lists people to whom the resurrected Jesus allegedly appeared.  For all we know, the perceived appearances were manifestations of a pre-existent belief in Jesus’ resurrection.

The fact is, we have no idea why the earliest Christians believed in the resurrection of Jesus!

I have suggested before on this blog the possibility that the Empty Tomb triggered the Resurrection belief.  In their despair at the loss of their leader and the loss of all their hopes and dreams, the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb gave the disciples of Jesus a glimmer of hope.  As long as there was a dead body, no one could claim that Jesus was risen from the dead; that he really was the messiah; that the New Kingdom of God, the New Israel, would still be created; or that the Twelve would reign as princes on thrones with Jesus.  But with a missing body, there was still hope that their fantastical dreams could still come true!

This glimmer of hope lead to speculation as to the cause of the Empty Tomb.  At first the obvious was considered:  Someone took the body (this is even suggested in the Gospel accounts)!  But then someone suggested that maybe God had raised Jesus from the dead, as had (allegedly) happened on at least two occasions in the Old Testament.  “Think about it!  A risen Jesus could still defeat the Romans and re-establish the throne of David!”

But then these devout Jews began to wonder, “What about the Resurrection of the Righteous Dead? Isn’t that supposed to happen with the establishment of the New Kingdom of God?  What if…  What if the general resurrection of the dead has begun, with Jesus as the first fruits!”

Impossible, you say?

Here is an example of a modern religious sect grappling with the massive disappointment and disillusionment of a failed prophecy.  Question:  If one has invested one’s entire being and livelihood into a belief, which is easier:  Admit that you were wrong or reinterpret the “failed prophecy” into a fulfilled prophecy?

Dorothy Martin (aka “Marian Keech”), the cult leader in Leon Festinger’s cult group study (credit: AP Photo/Charles E. Knoblock).

Excerpt from Matthew Ferguson’s Celsus blog (guest article written by Kris Komarnitsky, author of Doubting Jesus’  Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box?):

The cult group Leon Festinger studied consisted of eleven hardcore members and numerous transitory participants. It was led by a woman who believed she was receiving mental messages from spacemen on another planet. This woman, Dorothy Martin (aka “Marian Keech”), received a message from the imaginary spacemen in August of 1954 that said a great cataclysm would ensue around the world on December 21st of the same year. The cult group publicly declared this belief, which attracted a lot of attention from the media and the public. Additional messages from the spacemen led the cult to believe that at midnight on the eve before the cataclysm they would be removed from the planet and spared from the destruction. In order for this to happen, they were instructed to wait inside certain identified parked cars and the spacemen would then transfer them from the parked cars to a flying saucer where they would be whisked away. Imposter cult members – two social psychologists and sometimes up to five hired participant-observers – infiltrated the group and were able to observe firsthand over a period of weeks the buildup to these expectations and the reaction of the hardcore believers to the shock of disconfirmation on December 21st when none of the events occurred as they expected.

When none of the events occurred as they expected, two of the hardcore cult members rejected their beliefs and left the group. But the other nine did not. Instead, they went through a period of intense group rationalization over a period of hours (Festinger et al. 1956: 158-170). Many explanations were floated as the group wrestled with their catastrophic disappointment. For example, they reasoned that the spacemen must have given them the wrong date. Another explanation was that the events had been postponed, possibly for years, so that more people could prepare to “meet their maker”. Yet another was more complex: The message from the spacemen, which had them waiting inside parked cars from which they would be moved to the flying saucer, must be symbolic because parked cars do not move and hence could not take anyone anywhere; therefore, the parked cars must symbolically refer to their physical bodies, and the flying saucer must symbolically refer to the importance of their own inner “strength, knowing, and light” for their rescue. The cult group even considered leaving the disconfirmation unexplained while insisting that the plan had never gone awry and accepting that they did not have to understand everything for it all to still be essentially true.

During this rationalization period, one of the participant-observers feigned frustration and walked outside. One of the hardcore members, a medical doctor, followed and offered verbal support. Here are the words of a normal human being who has staked everything on a belief, only to have that belief cruelly disconfirmed by reality:

I’ve had to go a long way. I’ve given up just about everything. I’ve cut every tie. I’ve burned every bridge. I’ve turned my back on the world. I can’t afford to doubt. I have to believe. And there isn’t any other truth.…I won’t doubt even if we have to make an announcement to the press tomorrow and admit we were wrong. You’re having your period of doubt now, but hang on boy, hang on. This is a tough time but we know that the boys upstairs are taking care of us….These are tough times and the way is not easy. We all have to take a beating. I’ve taken a terrific one, but I have no doubt. (Festinger et al. 1956: 168)

In the end, the group settled on an explanation provided by the group’s leader, which was based on a timely message she received from the spacemen. She said that the steadfast belief and waiting by their group had brought so much “light” into the world that God called off the pickup and the cataclysm (Festinger et al. 1956: 169). This explanation was jubilantly received by the group. According to Leon Festinger, “The group was able to accept and believe this explanation because they could support one another and convince each other that this was, in fact, a valid explanation” (1989: 255-256).

 

 

 

 

End of post.

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30 thoughts on “Is There Any Evidence that Perceived Sightings of Jesus were the Cause of the Resurrection Belief?

  1. Gary –

    OK, let’s take a look at this. The disciples believed that Jesus’ tomb was empty because he had been resurrected!

    In other words, their explanation for the empty tomb was “it must mean he’s been resurrected”.

    Yeh, I can see how that might work for the members of a really small, cult belief. You’d have a few dozen who would figure that the most likely explanation for Jesus’ empty tomb was that he had been resurrected (of all things).

    In fact, in a small and fanatical cult, that could certainly become the “explanation” – with no need of “sightings” at all. Who needs “sightings” when you’re already a “believer” on the basis of an empty tomb?

    In other words, nothing hinges on “sightings”. They are entirely secondary novelties.

    Nevertheless, according to your theory, somebody did claim to have seen something that was understood to have been Jesus. And, this was after the small cult already believed Jesus to have been resurrected.

    But, according to your theory, they believed because of the empty tomb.

    Which begs the question: Why wasn’t the empty tomb even mentioned in the 1 Cor 15 creed? If that were the reason they believed in the first place, then, it would seem like the empty tomb should have merited at least an “honorable mention” in the creed…

    My Question To You:

    Are you of the belief that the person who formulated that 1 Cor 15 creed

    (1) was sane enough to realize that nobody else outside the small cult was going to believe Jesus was resurrected on nothing but the empty tomb? Or, perhaps
    (2) had simply forgotten the real reason (the empty tomb) that the group believed Jesus was resurrected? Or, perhaps
    (3) was embarrassed to admit that the disciples believed because of the empty tomb, and therefore decided to drop that altogether from the creed, and instead, focus on “sightings”, rather than telling the real story in the creed?

    I guess I’m wanting to hear your theory to explain why the idea that the disciples believed Jesus to have been resurrected, on the basis of the empty tomb, was not only dropped from the early narrative (the 1 Cor 15 creed), but flat-out denied in the Gospels later on.

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    1. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,

      As I have been told multiple times by conservative Christian apologists, the statement “he was raised on the third day” implies an empty tomb. If the body has been raised, then the tomb has to be empty. In addition, the Gospel of John states the the “beloved disciple” believed due to the Empty Tomb. So the idea was not forgotten. So even according to the Gospels, the first belief in the resurrection was due to the Empty Tomb.

      Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; –The Gospel of John

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m entirely unsure as to why you’re quoting the gospel of John, when clearly, it’s not “eyewitness” evidence.
        But, as is often true with your posts, this has been taken out of context. Classic Gary word-twisting, basically.

        The NEXT LINE in that gospel reads ” 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.”

        OBVIOUSLY, what John believed in the previous verse was that Jesus body was gone. Because OBVIOUSLY, the next line indicates very clearly that they didn’t understand that Jesus “must rise again from the dead”. So, they went home. That’s it. Not only is there ZERO indication that they believed Jesus to have been resurrected because of the empty tomb – the gospel clearly DENIES it – just like I said.

        Regarding the “implication” of an empty tomb – I don’t agree that the creed of 1 Cor 15 “implies an empty tomb” at all. I think it clearly implies that “where-ever the body was put originally, it’s not there any longer” – and that could have been a trench grave.

        But, that is beside the point: Either way you look at 1 Cor 15, there is no evidence whatsoever that the reason the disciples believed was because of an empty tomb. There is no statement in that creed that says they saw the empty tomb (or grave, or whatever). That “fact” (if it is actual fact) is of no importance whatsoever to the formulator of the creed.

        So, again, I ask my question, now that we’re done with the first round of your ususal “dancing”:

        Are you of the belief that the person who formulated that 1 Cor 15 creed

        (1) was sane enough to realize that nobody else outside the small cult was going to believe Jesus was resurrected on nothing but the empty tomb? Or, perhaps
        (2) had simply forgotten the real reason (the empty tomb) that the group believed Jesus was resurrected? Or, perhaps
        (3) was embarrassed to admit that the disciples believed because of the empty tomb, and therefore decided to drop that altogether from the creed, and instead, focus on “sightings”, rather than telling the real story in the creed?

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        1. I have no idea what the person who formulated the Early Creed was thinking. It is purely a matter of speculation.

          I don’t accept your interpretation of the passage in John. Why would the author claim that only the “beloved disciple” believed (realized) that Jesus’ body was missing, saying nothing about Peter believing (realizing) that the body was missing? I will see what scholars say about this passage.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. From wiki: “The central debate over this verse is what exactly the Beloved Disciple believed. The earlier verses mention only Jesus’ grave clothes as being in the tomb. The debate is whether the Beloved Disciple could have come to believe in the resurrection based on such minimal evidence. If he did suddenly understand what had happened, why did he not share this understanding with Peter, or with Mary Magdalene who is also believed to be present? Why, after this revelation, does the Beloved Disciple simply leave to go home in John 20:10? A long line of scholars including Saint Augustine have thus argued that the Beloved Disciple simply came to believe Mary Magdalene’s story that the body was gone”

            (wiki John 20:8)

            Commentary from REV bible: ““believed.” Believed what? Many people say Peter and the other disciple believed in the resurrection, but that cannot be the case. For one thing, the next verse (John 20:9) says they did not know about the resurrection.”

            John Gill’s Expository: “and believed” – that the body was not there, but either was taken away, or was raised from the dead; but whether as yet he believed the latter is doubtful, by what follows;

            My Note: I join ranks with that “long line of scholars including Saint Augustine [that] have thus argued the Beloved Disciple simply came to believe Mary Magdalene’s story that the body was gone”.

            Here’s one link for you… http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.831.6770&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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            1. If you read the end of my long comment, I say that some scholars/apologists agree with your position, but the majority agree with my position. Bottom line: You CANNOT rule out the possibility that the first person/persons to believe in the resurrection of Jesus believed because of the Empty Tomb.

              Your entire argument that the resurrection belief was based on appearances, and that these appearances must have been more than just sightings of a bright light, falls apart.

              Admit your defeat, ft. We will never know what was the inciting event for the first person/persons to believe that Jesus had been raised/resurrected from the dead, but your argument that it HAD TO HAVE BEEN appearances falls flat.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Here’s what I’d admit to:

                I’d admit that you are using a theological interpretation of much-debated line from a theological (not historical) document which you place no creedence in, in order to make your (supposedly) historical case that the disciples could have believed on the basis of nothing but the empty tomb.

                In other words, you’re just spewing stuff out. It’s the “Gary two-step”.

                That’s what I’d admit to.

                Lemme know when you got something serious to offer.

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                1. My god, how dense are you, ft? I never claimed to KNOW the origin of the resurrection belief. I was only refuting your claim that it is unreasonable to think that the resurrection belief originated from the empty tomb because we have zero evidence of such a claim.

                  Breaking News: the Gospels ARE evidence! They just are not highly reliable evidence.

                  I’m done trying to get through to your indoctrinated (brain-washed) brain.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. wait wait wait…

                    WHERE did I claim it was “unreasonable to think that the resurrection belief originated from the empty tomb because we have zero evidence of such a claim.”

                    Maybe could you do a cut-and-paste and show me that statement?

                    Because, what I remember doing is simply posing a question to you (which you have never responded to, in typical Gary-dance style):

                    Are you of the belief that the person who formulated that 1 Cor 15 creed

                    (1) was sane enough to realize that nobody else outside the small cult was going to believe Jesus was resurrected on nothing but the empty tomb? Or, perhaps
                    (2) had simply forgotten the real reason (the empty tomb) that the group believed Jesus was resurrected? Or, perhaps
                    (3) was embarrassed to admit that the disciples believed because of the empty tomb, and therefore decided to drop that altogether from the creed, and instead, focus on “sightings”, rather than telling the real story in the creed?

                    Are not simply NOT going to answer this question?

                    Like

                  2. Gary,

                    Wow. I have to applaud your REMARKABLE patience and stoic composure with your blog commenters! It’s astounding and deserves the highest admiration! I tip my Steampunk top-hat to you good Sir. 😉

                    Like

        2. I never said that the Gospels were NOT evidence on this question, only that they are unreliable evidence since we do not know their authors nor can we be certain that these books contain eyewitness testimony since most scholars doubt they were written by eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses.

          I will give the opinions of various Christian apologists/scholars on the meaning of the passage in John 20:8 in which the author states that the beloved disciple entered the tomb, saw the burial garments, and “believed”:

          All About Jesus Christ
          apologists:

          …when he [the beloved disciple] joined Peter in the tomb, John saw the meaning of the careful arrangement of grave clothes, and perspicaciously believed in Christ’s resurrection (John 20:8-9). This spiritual insight may account for John’s listing as second only to Peter when the apostles gathered in the Upper Room after Christ’s ascension (Acts 1:13). Source: here

          William Barclay Study Bible:

          When they came to the tomb, John looked in but went no farther. Peter with typical impulsiveness not only looked in, but went in. For the moment Peter was only amazed at the empty tomb; but things began to happen in John’s mind. If someone had removed Jesus’ body, if tomb-robbers had been at work, why should they leave the grave-clothes?

          Then something else struck him–the grave-clothes were not dishevelled and disarranged. They were lying there still in their folds–that is what the Greek means–the clothes for the body where the body had been; the napkin where the head had lain. The whole point of the description is that the grave-clothes did not look as if they had been put off or taken off; they were lying there in their regular folds as if the body of Jesus had simply evaporated out of them. The sight suddenly penetrated to John’s mind; he realized what had happened–and he believed. It was not what he had read in scripture which convinced him that Jesus had risen; it was what he saw with his own eyes. Source: here

          John Burton Coffman Bible Commentary:

          verse 8: Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed.

          This is the climax of the whole paragraph regarding fine cloths. It resulted in John’s everlasting faith that Jesus had risen from the dead. There were three elements of this convincing sign: the open grave, the absence of the body, and the undisturbed linen cloths. As for the reason why the stone was removed (supernaturally), it cannot be viewed as a means of letting the Lord out, but as a means of letting his disciples in for the purpose of beholding and being convinced of his resurrection. Source: here

          Bible.org

          John 20:8 says John saw and believed. Is this the point of John’s salvation? The first question one must ask is, “In this context, just what is it that John believed?” John certainly must now have believed Mary’s report, that the body of Jesus was missing. I think he believed more than this. I think he believed that Jesus had somehow been raised from the dead, though he did not yet understand how or why. The point here seems to be that John believed in the resurrection of our Lord before he even knew or realized that he was supposed to. Source: here

          Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

          vs.8. Then went in … that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre—The repetition of this, in connection with his not having gone in till after Peter, seems to show that at the moment of penning these words the advantage which each of these loving disciples had of the other was present to his mind.
          and he saw and believed—Probably he means, though he does not say, that he believed in his Lord’s resurrection more immediately and certainly than Peter.
          Source: here

          Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

          vs 8. and believed] More difficulty has perhaps been made about this than is necessary. ‘Believed what?’ is asked. That Jesus was risen. The whole context implies it; and comp. John 20:25. The careful arrangement of the grave-cloths proved that the body had not been taken away in haste as by a foe: and friends would scarcely have removed them at all. It is thoroughly natural that S. John speaks only of himself, saying nothing of S. Peter. He is full of the impression which the empty and orderly tomb made upon his own mind. S. Luke (Luke 24:12) speaks only of S. Peter’s wonder, neither affirming nor denying his belief. Source: here

          Gary: I could go on… To be honest, there are some apologists and scholars who believe that “he believed” means what ft suggests: that the women were right. The body was gone. But a review of many commentaries appears to indicate that (ft’s) position is a minor position. Most apologists and scholars argue for the meaning that the beloved disciple believed that Jesus was risen/resurrected.

          Therefore, there IS evidence that the Empty Tomb MAY HAVE triggered the first belief in the resurrection of Jesus!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am not, nor ever have, refuted the idea that the belief in the resurrection could have started with nothing more than the empty tomb.

            I ASKED YOU A QUESTION, WHICH YOU REFUSE TO RESPOND TO. BUT I’LL REPEAT IT HERE ONCE AGAIN:

            Are you of the belief that the person who formulated that 1 Cor 15 creed

            (1) was sane enough to realize that nobody else outside the small cult was going to believe Jesus was resurrected on nothing but the empty tomb? Or, perhaps
            (2) had simply forgotten the real reason (the empty tomb) that the group believed Jesus was resurrected? Or, perhaps
            (3) was embarrassed to admit that the disciples believed because of the empty tomb, and therefore decided to drop that altogether from the creed, and instead, focus on “sightings”, rather than telling the real story in the creed?

            Like

            1. The case study of a 1950’s cult discussed in this post provides evidence that NOTHING is needed for a group of superstitious people to believe the most bizarre claims other than very gullible minds. It is entirely possible that one of Jesus’ disciples experienced a “vision” of Jesus (a vivid dream) and that was all that was necessary to ignite the Resurrection belief. The rest of the appearance claims were possibly based on illusions, dreams, and mental hysteria.

              You are asking me to believe that the early Christians were rational people. I don’t think they were. I think they were completely nuts, just like the people in the case study above. So asking for rational explanations for the behavior and beliefs of irrational people is…irrational.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. I did, you just don’t get it: I believe that the author of the Early Creed was most likely a religious nut case, prone to believe almost any wild claim.

                  That is my answer, like it or not.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. sounds like a very thoughtful, intelligent, and truly intellectual and scholastic response.

                    Makes me wonder why so many consider you a “lightweight”….

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                    1. Typical fundamentalist Christian: If you can’t destroy the skeptic’s argument against your precious superstitions, you go after the skeptic personally.

                      Cult behavior.

                      Sick mind.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. oh, goodness, no. I wasn’t going after your “personality”. I was going after your complete lack of scholarship, supported reasonings, and intellectual discipline in answering a well-worded, polite, and intelligent question.

                      your “personality” speaks for itself.

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                    3. Exactly right Gary. If the Fundy-Christian can’t equitably and cumulatively answer the challenges/questions OR provide independent corroboration for their Greco-Roman 4th-century Canonical claims… then yes, sadly 98% of the time they resort to petty, childish personal attacks on us.

                      But don’t get too discouraged or frustrated Gary. I promise… after multiple tantrums at you for 5, 10, 15-years, you get used to it and it means nothing. Just grin, take 5, and stoically walk away. Then try again another day with the next one.

                      You can respectfully lead a donkey to the water, but you can’t… well, you know what I mean Sir. 😉

                      Like

  2. This is the reasoning used today about the delayed endtimes, that our prayers are essentially damage control. I asked my southern baptist neighbor why the world didn’t end under the Antichrist Obama, and he said god answered their prayers and spared us a while longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there is always a good excuse for a failed prophecy.

      When I was growing up in the 70’s, fundamentalist evangelicals were certain that Jesus would return during their lifetimes due to the (alleged) prophecy that the Second Coming would occur within a generation after the re-establishment of the nation of Israel (1948). I forget exactly what their excuse was when a generation came and went and no Jesus, but I’m sure it was a reinterpretation of the word “generation”. After all, if “one day” can mean “a thousand years” just imagine what “a generation” might mean in God-speak!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I could see the confusion if it said “many generations” will pass, but it doesn’t. Even the Mormons have their failure in this, yet somehow millions now excuse it. They say “when a prophet speaks and it comes true it is of god. If not, the prophet was speaking presumptuously. What a cop out that is, but beliebers believe.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m for the belief that the empty tomb was a later theme.
    In fact, as there is no evidence whatsoever one can assert that it was all made up.
    Referring to the stories in any way other than regarding them as fictional lends them unwarranted credence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The case study in this post is good evidence that your position is perfectly plausible: the entire Jesus belief was the product of someone’s fertile, hyper-religious, overworked imagination.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve had to go a long way. I’ve given up just about everything. I’ve cut every tie. I’ve burned every bridge. I’ve turned my back on the world. I can’t afford to doubt. I have to believe. And there isn’t any other truth… […]

    These are tough times and the way is not easy. We all have to take a beating.

    As I was reading this poignant study Gary, I immediately thought of this NT passage:

    And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. –Matthew 19:16-25

    Sound familiar? The neurology of the human brain is unbelievably malleable and is perfectly capable of creating FANTASTIC imagery, fiction, and visions based upon what it has been fed, what has stimulated those neurons, especially repeatedly over many years or a lifetime. Imagine this slight tweak:

    And looking at them [Dorothy Martin, aka Marian Keech] said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with [God’s spacemen/angels] all things are possible.” –Matthew 19:26

    Then comes the rationalization for insane suffering now for some “promises” in the afterlife! The following passage of this biblical parable go on to explain to Peter and the disciples their rewards IN HEAVEN for suffering so much for Christ now, on this crappy Satan-owned Earth…

    And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. –Matthew 19:29

    Great post Gary! This is why we still today have many gullible, vulnerable humans TRICKED, duped, conned into marketing scams over and over and over. Christianity (Christology) is no different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly right, Taboo. I believe that many human beings are attracted to fantastical claims simply because they are depressed or bored with their lives (reality). That is why so many conversions to religion occur during times of emotional trauma. Check out the “testimonies” of many preachers, evangelists, and apologists and I will bet that most of them “believed” during a time of emotional crises.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. You hit on many very real, very tangible recent medical-psych studies too over the last 5 – 15 years Gary. Case and point, if I may please…

        Mind and Matter …and then…

        Bibliography – Mind and Matter …with its list of clinical studies links.

        One particular hyper-religious Christian follower you have here Gary should enjoy those 2 links immensely. 😉 😛

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  5. Category errors – there is no evidence that any of the closest disciples of Jesus ever recanted their belief that Jesus was raised, despite persecution. Now if they were the ones making up the story, under pressure they could and probably would have gone back on their made up story. This didn’t happen.

    Also, the belief in the resurrection was no something that one or two people convinced everyone else had happened. Numerous, independent experiences of the risen Jesus convinced his followers that He was alive after He had been dead, by crucifixion.

    We have groups, pairs, crowds, and individuals all seeing Christ for themselves.

    You accept the empty tomb. Who stole the body? In their despair the disciples wouldn’t have stolen the body. So who would have? The Romans? Couldn’t have cared. The Jews that had Jesus killed? Wouldn’t have done it.

    Also, the belief in the Resurrection – and the only Resurrection the early mostly Jewish would have meant when they spoke of a resurrection was a bodily one – was central to the teaching of the early church. Without it, there would be no Gospel. The whole New Testament centres on Jesus being alive after His crucifixion. Paul gives us the earliest creeds dating back to within 2 years of the Resurrection – 1 Cor 15, Romans 10:9, see also Galatians.

    We also see that they were proclaiming a resurrected Christ 50 days after Jesus had been crucified.

    Like

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