The Resurrection Belief Probably Originated from One of Simon Peter’s Trances, Part 2

Image result for image of the apostle peter
The Apostle Peter

 

A continuation of a discussion in the previous post:

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  No.  Paul is not an eyewitness. If the author of Acts is correct (see chapter 26), Paul’s appearance of Jesus experience occurred in a “heavenly vision”.  Visions are dreams.  Visions are internal phenomena inside the brain.  Visions are not reality.  You cannot be a witness to a Jesus sighting if you only saw a talking bright light in your head!

Conservative Christian apologist: [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  NT Wright says you are wrong.

“It is in fact impossible to build a theory of what people thought Jesus’ resurrection appearances consisted of (i.e. whether they were ‘objective’, ‘subjective’, or whatever—these terms themselves, with their many philosophical overtones, are not particularly helpful) on this [Greek] word [opthe] alone. The word is quite consistent with people having non-objective ‘visions’; it is equally consistent with them seeing someone in the ordinary course of human affairs.”  (emphasis, Gary’s)

–NT Wright, “The Resurrection of the Son of God”, p. 322

According to NT Wright, it is possible that when early Christians claimed that Jesus had “appeared” to them, they were speaking of seeing him in a vision, similar to the description of Paul’s “heavenly vision” on the Damascus Road, (at least according to the author of Acts).  Just so you don’t think I am taking NT Wright out of context, Wright goes on to say that he believes that there is other evidence for us to believe that Paul and the other witnesses listed in the Early Creed literally saw a bodily resurrected Jesus, but one cannot use the word “appeared/was seen by” [opthe] as the only evidence because this Greek word can mean a vision, a sighting in the brain that is not consistent reality.

Conservative Christian Apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Yes, I too would have loved being there when Paul first met Peter and James.  What did they talk about?  We don’t know! Paul does not tell us.  Maybe they all shared their stories of seeing a brilliant, bright light and believing it to be an appearance of Jesus!

“We learn that after the appearances James and Jesus’ brothers were counted among the believers (Acts 1)   Assumption!  We have no idea when the alleged appearance to James occurred.  We have no idea when James became a believer.  All we know is that he is included in the Early Creed as a receiver of a Jesus appearance.  Most scholars believe that this creed was formulated three to five years after Jesus’ death.  How do we know that James’ name was not added to the Creed years later when James finally had his appearance experience?   We can’t be sure of the composition of the original creed.  Maybe James wasn’t in the original creed.  Most scholars believe that Paul’s addition of his name to the Creed is a later addition.  Paul’s name was not originally included in the Creed.  So why couldn’t James’ name have been a later inclusion?  Bottom line:  We have no idea when James became a believer.  It is entirely possible that James converted on Palm Sunday when “all the world” was following Jesus as the Messiah, the new King of Israel (at least according to the author of John).  Hey.  If everyone in the USA and in its capital, Washington DC, were declaring my brother the new king of the United States, I might jump on the band wagon too! The whole claim about James is built upon so many flimsy assumptions it isn’t funny.  If Muslims or Hindus used such flimsy evidence for one of their supernatural claims conservative Christians would bust their seams laughing.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  I am a physician.  You are not.  So please don’t lecture me on what constitutes an hallucination and what does not.  Vivid dreams are not hallucinations.  Look it up in a medical text book.  Vivid dreams can seem very real to the person dreaming.  Vivid dreams can contain visual, audio, and tactile components.  I assert that when groups of early Christians claimed to have seen Jesus, it probably was no different from groups of modern day Catholic Christians claiming to see the Virgin Mary.  In both circumstances, all anyone else sees is a cloud formation, a bright light, or a stain on a wall!  We have concrete evidence that many groups of people, throughout history, have seen something real in their environment such as a bright light or cloud formation and have sincerely believed that they are seeing an appearance of a heavenly being!

Bottom line:  Christians cannot prove that “appearances of Jesus” to groups of early Christians were any different than “appearances of the Virgin Mary” to modern (Catholic) Christians.  Paul uses the Greek word “opthe” repeatedly in the Early Creed to describe what these eyewitnesses saw, and according to NT Wright that Greek word can mean an internal sighting or an external sighting.  And an external sighting does not preclude seeing an illusion (a real object in your environment which you perceive as something else) such as a bright light and believing that the bright light is an appearance of a being.  After all, isn’t this exactly what the author of Acts says that Paul claimed happened to him??? (Acts chapter 26)

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Yes.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  My point is that Peter “saw” something and could not initially figure out if what he had seen was real or a figment of his imagination.  The fact that he later interpreted what he had seen proves that people who experience vivid dreams and trances can be confused in the moment by these experiences.  They are not thinking clearly in the moment.  People who are not thinking clearly, in particular people with little if any education and people who are highly superstitious, can become confused and interpret their experience in any number of odd, fantastical ways.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Seriously?  So because Homer was reliable in his details of the Greco-Trojan wars, we should assume he is also reliable when he tells us about one-eyed monsters, called Cyclops??  I don’t think so.  Ancient writers did not have the same standards of a modern history author.  Conservative Christian apologists seem to always forget that.

Do you really believe that most “noted historians” believe that there is good evidence for the historicity of the story of Jesus walking on water?  How about the story of Jesus turning huge pots of water into wine?  Raising the dead??  No way.  Even most moderate Catholic and Protestant scholars would admit that there is no way to confirm if these stories are true!  And the same goes for the detailed appearance stories in the Gospels.  These stories cannot be confirmed. They may be true, they may not be true.  Remember, the details in the Gospels’ appearance stories are NOT part of Dr. Habermas’ Minimal Facts Argument.  So if Dr. Habermas is true to his own argument, not even Dr. Habermas would use the details in the Appearance Stories as historical “facts” when debating a skeptic.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Have you ever had a vivid dream in which you saw and heard someone speaking to you…and then you wake up in a cold sweat, thinking that your dream was real?  I have.  Studies show that many people have.  Vivid dreams frequently involve seeing, hearing, and even being touched/touching someone.  You seem to desperately want to twist my “vivid dream” into an “hallucination”.  I refuse to let you do that.  I do not believe that anyone had an hallucination as the origin of the Resurrection Belief.  

Think about this:  If Jesus’ (adopted) father, Joseph, can have a vivid dream in which a heavenly being appears to him and tells him to move his entire family to another country in the middle of the night and Joseph believes it and does exactly what the heavenly being commanded (according to the author of Matthew), then we should not be surprised that another first century peasant, Peter, also had a vivid dream and believed and did exactly as that heavenly being—Jesus—commanded.  Many poor, uneducated or poorly educated, superstitious, people are extremely gullible!

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  You are assuming too much.  The author of Acts says that all that Paul saw was a talking bright light in a “heavenly vision” and believed it to be the resurrected Jesus.  Period.  That is evidence that completely disproves your argument.

I discussed above how the concept of “resurrection” probably came into the picture.

Empty tomb–>vivid dreams of a resuscitated Jesus–>Jesus does not return—>doubt about resuscitation–>must be a sign that the general resurrection of the righteous dead has begun, with Jesus as the “first fruits”.  The remaining righteous dead will be resurrected any moment when Jesus returns from heaven as the messiah to reestablish the throne of David (in which we will reign as PRINCES!).  Jesus’ tomb is empty and he has not yet returned because he wasn’t just raised from the dead (resuscitated), he was resurrected.  The End of Times has begun!  Jesus will appear to destroy the Romans on May 5, 36 CE!!!  (And when Jesus doesn’t show up, that date keeps getting pushed back and back by every new generation of Christian prophets.  They are still predicting exact dates of Jesus’ return as I am writing this text!)

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Even the evangelists insinuate that the disciples initially believed that someone had taken the body.  Why wouldn’t they have initially believed this?  Isn’t that the usual explanation for an empty grave and missing body?? So initially, the disciples believed that someone (the gardener?) had moved the body.  However, for whatever reason, one of the disciples had a vivid dream in which Jesus appeared to him,  igniting a glimmer of hope that Jesus had been raised from the dead.  Then other disciples “saw” Jesus in their own dreams, trances, false sightings, or in illusions.  I doubt the the idea of “resurrection” was ever their initial thought.  I would bet that their initial belief, after thinking that someone had taken the body, was a “resuscitation” .  But “resuscitation” morphed into “resurrection” for the simple fact that the resuscitated Jesus never showed up! If Jesus was truly the Messiah, he had to show up and since he wasn’t showing up, the only answer was that God had taken him to heaven and would soon send him back to destroy the Romans and set up the New Israel.  And every Jew knew that when the messiah comes, the righteous dead would be resurrected, so to tie all this together (or hold their dreams together) they decided that Jesus had been resurrected, initiating the General Resurrection, with everyone else following tomorrow…or next week…or…in 2019!

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Google it.  You will find dozens of testimonies by grieving family and friends of seeing, hearing, and touching their dead loved one.

Conservative Christian apologist: [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Some stories include that.  Others do not.  But don’t take my word for it.  Google it or buy some books on the subject.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  You are making many baseless assumptions…once again.  Google it or buy the books.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  That is nothing but philosophical psychobabble.  No one knows for sure why the early Christian resurrection belief developed.  You many think that you KNOW what happened but most modern, educated, non-Christians (and even many non-evangelical Christians) will say that you are naive to make such a silly claim.  The truth is, you believe that a bodily resurrection is PROBABLY the origin of this belief and I believe that a vivid dream is PROBABLY the origin of this belief.  Your position is not stronger than mine!  Just because you have three anonymous ancient books, two of which blatantly plagiarize the first and one that 50% of scholars believe used the first as a template, that is NOT good “positive evidence”.  It is very possible that you have just one independent source, written by a non-eyewitness, writing in a genre that allowed for embellishments, for the original empty Joseph of Arimathea tomb pericope.  It could be pure fiction!  It is also entirely possible that even though the authors of Matthew, Luke, and John sincerely believed that Jesus had appeared to people after his death in some fashion, they INVENTED stories of a walking, talking, broiled fish eating corpse for literary/evangelism purposes.  You cannot prove they didn’t, my conservative Christian friend!

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Good grief.  I never said that police detectives CHARGE people based on speculation.  What I said is that police detectives develop theories (which must be consistent with and not-contradict the agreed upon evidence) as to the cause of a crime using speculation.  Big difference.  Police detectives pursue their speculative theories to prove them true or false.  Only if their speculative theories are proven true, do they charge the suspect.

Conservative Christian apologist:  [comment deleted at apologist’s request]

Gary:  Nonsense.  I don’t need to give you the references of alleged resuscitations in the OT.  There are only two or three of them. Look them up.   (Google:  “stories of people raised from the dead in the Old Testament” and you will have the information you are requesting in two seconds.)

Look.  How many times do I have to repeat myself:  I do not claim to know what happened 2,000 years ago that gave rise to the Resurrection Belief I am simply speculating as to the most probable explanation.  And let’s be frank:  You have no GOOD evidence for your belief either.  You too are speculating!  HEARSAY is not considered good evidence in any modern court of law.  So until you can convince the majority of experts that the Gospels contain eyewitnesses stories of people seeing a walking, talking, fish eating, into-the-clouds-levitating corpse, you’ve got no better evidence than I do.  Paul never tells us what he saw, and according to NT Wright, it is entirely possible that when Paul claimed “have I not seen the Christ” he was talking about an appearance in his head!

The conservative Christian “case” for the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is built upon hearsay, conjecture, and many, many assumptions.  It is a very weak case!

Image result for image just say no to superstition

 

 

 

End of post.

 

 

 

 

 

94 thoughts on “The Resurrection Belief Probably Originated from One of Simon Peter’s Trances, Part 2

  1. Fact:

    The earliest extant copy of the Gospels is Mark written in c. 70 CE… about 40+ years AFTER the events surrounding Yeshua’s execution. In this Gospel there is NO RESURRECTION story at all. The women (only) at the tomb simply leave and do nothing and say nothing. End of earliest known story of Yeshua’s empty tomb.

    Paul’s epistles never explicitly discuss a LITERAL resurrection, only the common mainstream version of an afterlife by the Pharisees and hints of those from the Essenes outside of Jerusalem. It is the later retro-grading or retro-fitting 40+ years later by Greek-Roman Gentiles—completely oblivious to Second Temple Messianism—of making up and adding their well known recognizable Greek Apotheosis (for Gentiles) they force into the “pseudo-historical” record. After all, once most all Palestinian Jews were either exterminated or forced out of the Levant in 70 CE and 74 CE (Masada), the Victors (Gentile Romans) could write history. 😉

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      1. Thanks kiabooks for that mention. Actually this is the information Paul (apparently) received from Peter (see Galatians 1), “For what I received I passed on to you“—second-hand, third-hand(?) who knows, it isn’t Paul’s own eyes. But it was not an appearance of Jesus himself in the flesh to Paul. Unfortunately, there are a number of problematic and contradictory verses, passages as to what and who Peter saw or was told by the women at the empty tomb (Mark). So can 1 Cor. 15 be counted as gospel or only (biased) rumors from closest followers? 🙂

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            1. Nope. And there’s no guarantee that Paul’s words in Corinthians or else were were not changed by later church leaders to match with the literal Jesus teachings.
              I don’t think Paul cared if Jesus himself was a real living person or not.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Exactly. Paul was obviously much more concerned with finding creative, imaginative ways of convincing (scamming, deceiving) very gullible Gentiles who had no learning of true, authentic Second Temple Judaism/Messianism. Why? Because his fellow Jews treated him as a blatant heretic. Remember? Also, Paul seemed to completely ignore the fact that Jewish Synagogues ALREADY WELCOMED Gentiles into Judaism via long established policies of the Noahide Laws. Therefore, authentic Jews in the first Synagogues Paul tried to convert or rebel for his own new cult/religion treated him justly. Hence, Paul goes out to more naive people, Gentiles with a very (Herodian?) Hellenic Apotheosis that they’d recognize and identify with. 🙂

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                    1. One other important point I want to make in this line of comments/discussion that too often is (intentionally?) overlooked by Christians and usually unknown to non-Christians… regards the FULL CONTEXT of Yeshua’s birth, familial setting (geopolitically as well as religiously), and his/the cumulative setting of Judaism under the rule of the Seleucids, then quickly thru the Maccabeans & Hasmonean kingdoms, to the Roman Empire and its provinces of Syria, Samaria, Judea, Perea, Decapolis, etc, from at least 200 BCE thru 70 CE. This is a large portion of Second Temple Judaism and Messianic fervor.

                      One MUST HAVE a thorough-to-exemplary understanding of ALL these dynamics in order to have even a nominal clue about the time prior to Yeshua, during Yeshua’s very short life, and what followed up to 70 CE, and really beyond that into 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea! Of those several centuries, Messianism—the Jewish kingly savior/restorer—is HEAVILY steeped in the Second Temple Period then gradually exterminated or forced out of Palestine by the Greco-Romans who would not tolerate in the least any level of dissension to their laws and customs! This cannot be overstated.

                      Therefore, if any human being today wants to know as much as possible about Yeshua bar Yosef’s ENTIRE contextual background and his Jewish sectarian group the Nasirites/Nazarites/Nasiri/Nasoraeans, and WRONGLY mistranslated by the Greeks as “from Nazareth,” then they have no choice but to study deeply and intimately Yeshua’s Jewishness, specifically those sects in the rural areas of Judea! You will NOT get any of this from today’s current 4th-century Greco-Roman Canonical New Testament—only vague obscure hints of a caricature—and then further distorted by early Church Fathers (also all Greek Gentiles!) that totally maligned any authentic hope of the real Yeshua bar Yosef the Nazirite/Nasiri/Nasoraean.

                      There is a specific agenda behind why modern Christians today do NOT want to address this authentic Jewish-Roman history or flat-out deny (wrongly) that it is relevant. No, on the contrary if you claim he was the foretold Jewish Messiah, then you MUST utilize Second Temple Jewish sources and the authentic Hebrew Tanakh/Scriptures accompanied by all Tannaitic literature I mentioned above. It has to be done. Otherwise, babbling about a Greek-Roman “Christ” is not the historical Jewish-Arabian Yeshua bar Yosef. Period.

                      Liked by 1 person

        1. When Paul declares in 1 Cor 9 “have I not seen the Lord”, (using the unambiguous verb “to see”, in Greek), he is saying with great clarity that his claim is that he himself has seen the resurrected Jesus.

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          1. Geeezzz, you have a THICK skull ftbond. Again, I remind you… you have broken our gentleman’s agreement from months ago to IGNORE each other’s comments here. Remember? Do you not have any honor or integrity Sir?

            I will continue ignoring your comments as they are a waste of my time, your time, and most any readers here on Gary’s blog. So… move along.

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          2. Numbskull. LOL He’s referring to his vision on the road to Damascus, which was TLE, or an epileptic seizure… common then, very understood today.

            From here on out I am ignoring your empty comments and replies ftbond. Again, move along and honor our previous gentleman’s agreement. Thank you.

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            1. …… or not.

              chuckle That’s what I love about so many statements made by some (most) of the people on this board. You can follow every one of them with “….or not”.

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                1. I think he saw the resurrected Jesus.

                  But, I have no idea what that looked like, and I have no idea what happened in that encounter.

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                    1. I said, as plainly as possible, “I think he saw the resurrected Jesus. But, I have no idea what that looked like”.

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                    2. Nope. No evidence other than Paul’s own testimony. And, testimony is accepted as evidence in any court in the US.

                      The question, then, is whether Paul is lying.

                      I don’t think he is. You might. That’s fine.

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            2. A vision full of light that consistently happens with Simple Focal Seizures and TLE or Temporal Lobe Epilepsy…

              If an expanded more detailed explanation of these now well understood medical conditions is needed, go to my 5-part series Saul the Apostate. The Babylonians in 1067 BCE called it the Sacred Disease or Holy Disease for its bizarre supernatural spectacle of manifestations from its sick, ill victims.

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            1. “opthe” – as Wright notes – can be a “vision”.

              That is NOT the verb used by Paul, when he declares “have I not seen the Lord”.

              Learn some Greek.

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            2. once again, Wright is referring specifically to “opthe”, which WE translate (sometimes) as “to see”, but in fact, it means “to appear”.

              And, once again, this is NOT the verb Paul uses when he says “have I not seen the Lord”

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  2. Seems that all this comes to is “you can’t prove it wrong or happened any other way, therefore my claim is valid” or…
    “What other way would there be for the resurrection stories?”
    Shifting the burden and arguments from Ignorance. That all the CCA seems to have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t prove that to these conservative Christians. In their worldview, a supernatural explanation is just as probable as a non-supernatural explanation…except when it comes to the supernatural claims of other world religions!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gary –

    You quote NT Wright out of context, and, you demonstrate your own ignorance of the Greek texts at the same time:

    “It is in fact impossible to build a theory of what people thought Jesus’ resurrection appearances consisted of (i.e. whether they were ‘objective’, ‘subjective’, or whatever—these terms themselves, with their many philosophical overtones, are not particularly helpful) on this [Greek] word [opthe] alone. The word is quite consistent with people having non-objective ‘visions’; it is equally consistent with them seeing someone in the ordinary course of human affairs.” (emphasis, Gary’s)

    You post this in response to a claim that Paul was not an eyewitness of the resurrected Jesus.

    But, Paul clearly declares in 1 Cor 9 “have I not seen the Lord” – and – the verb used there is not “opthe” at all but rather, is heoraka, which is unambiguously “to see”.

    Your linguistic “snow job” might work on someone who doesn’t read Greek. It doesn’t pass muster with me.

    Paul claims to have seen Jesus.

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    1. Strong’s Concordance:

      horaó: to see, perceive, attend to

      Original Word: ὁράω
      Part of Speech: Verb
      Transliteration: horaó
      Phonetic Spelling: (hor-ah’-o)

      Definition: to see, perceive, attend to

      Usage: I see, look upon, experience, perceive, discern, beware.
      HELPS Word-studies
      3708 horáō – properly, see, often with metaphorical meaning: “to see with the mind” (i.e. spiritually see), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception).

      [The aorist form (eidon), is discussed at 1492 /eídō, “see.” The future tense, and middle-passive form, are discussed under 3700 /optánomai, “see.”]

      Strong’s Concordance
      horaó: to see, perceive, attend to
      Original Word: ὁράω
      Part of Speech: Verb
      Transliteration: horaó
      Phonetic Spelling: (hor-ah’-o)
      Definition: to see, perceive, attend to
      Usage: I see, look upon, experience, perceive, discern, beware.
      HELPS Word-studies
      3708 horáō – properly, see, often with metaphorical meaning: “to see with the mind” (i.e. spiritually see), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception).

      [The aorist form (eidon), is discussed at 1492 /eídō, “see.” The future tense, and middle-passive form, are discussed under 3700 /optánomai, “see.”]

      Gary: To “see with the mind” is not reality, ft.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. this is all nice info.

        and, again – this is a different verb from “opthe”. (first of all)

        secondly, this verb is indeed used as “to see with the mind” in precisely the same way we use it in English, when we say “Oh, I see”, or even “I have seen the future”. It has nothing to do with “something appearing”, like a trance or an hallucination.

        The other verb you mentioned – opthe – (which has nothing to do with “horao” – means “to appear”. It does NOT mean “to see”.

        Learn some greek.

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          1. that’s nice info, too.

            But, what’s it got to do with “opthe”??? NT Wright was talking about the verb opthe.

            Do you think they’re the same verb or something? I have no idea what you’re getting at….

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            1. According to this information, the verb used in I Corinthians 9 is simply a different verb tense of the verb used in I Corinthians 15. Regardless, even if Paul used a verb which means “to see with the eyes” it still could have been a vision (vivid dream). Most people who claim that they have seen their dead loved one do not say, “but it was only in my mind”. They believe that they really saw the person with their eyes.

              What is really amazing to me is that you are willing to bet your entire worldview on the statements of ONE man who lived 20 centuries ago. We know nothing else about this man other than what he tells us and what some anonymous author (Acts) alleges about him. Isn’t that irrational?

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                    1. I’ll check it out. Paul claimed that there was something that gave his great affliction and he asked God to relieve him of it. He never says what it was.

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  4. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”

    were christians receiving revelations from other christs ?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Someone posted “One MUST HAVE a thorough-to-exemplary understanding of ALL these dynamics in order to have even a nominal clue about the time prior to Yeshua, during Yeshua’s very short life, and what followed up to 70 CE, and really beyond that into 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea!”

    This is absolutely true.

    And, absolutely irrelevant to whether Jesus was resurrected or not.

    If Jesus were resurrected, that resurrection was not caused by any particular “dynamic”, nor by any “cultural” or even “religious” view. And it certainly wasn’t caused by anything written about it.

    If Jesus were not historically resurrected, then, hey, learning “stuff” about Jesus might be interesting, but most likely, it won’t help you get a job… 🙂

    However, if you want to know something about the “historical person called Jesus of Nazareth” (and whether that “of Nazareth” part is even correct), then yeh, I’d agree with the statement I referenced.

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  6. Some person posted here:

    And, absolutely irrelevant to whether Jesus was resurrected or not.

    What this poorly educated person constantly fails to grasp or read with sufficient high school comprehension of everything I wrote and have explained here and on my blog… is that 1st- thru 5th-century CE Greco-Roman Christology laid false claim several decades AFTER events in Jerusalem to Jewish Messiahship—or rather THEIR version of it—in order to make their Hellenistic Greek Christ more supernatural (Apotheosis), more authoritative, and most of all more recognizable by Greek Gentiles. True Second Temple Jews then already knew too well that Jesus WAS NOT the Messiah or even a substantiated Greek Christ.

    Nonetheless, spreading this false fraudulent (foretold in ancient Scriptures) Messianism/Greek Christ conflated their eventual ‘divine resurrection’ in a Greek-Roman apotheotic tapestry for their new Roman cult. Hence, it DOES indeed relate significantly not only to the bogus tales of resurrection, but debunks or undermines all of Hellenistic Christology related to a Jewish Messiah, or earliest Gentile Christianity.

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    1. For the person’s crude simple mind only one question needs to be asked of him then answered… Was Jesus a Jew? The next issues to address with this unlearned person is who in that time-period and what ancient literature is most authoritative about 1st-century CE Sectarian Judaism during the Second Temple Period—this is Yeshua’s/Jesus’ historical familial and cultural background. It can NEVER be ignored or denied. Period.

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    2. someone posted this:

      “1st- thru 5th-century CE Greco-Roman Christology laid false claim several decades AFTER events in Jerusalem to Jewish Messiahship—or rather THEIR version of it—in order to make their Hellenistic Greek Christ more supernatural (Apotheosis), more authoritative, and most of all more recognizable by Greek Gentiles. True Second Temple Jews then already knew too well that Jesus WAS NOT the Messiah or even a substantiated Greek Christ.”

      This is the “Any True Scotsman” argument, if I’ve ever seen it.

      Most real New-Testament-oriented scholars (skeptics and believers alike) would most assuredly agree that the story of the resurrection of Jesus was indeed promulgated within a very short time after his crucifixion, unlike what the amateur, cut-and-paste reader of far too much conspiracy-theory nonsense might agree to. But, then, who cares? It’s this kind of stuff above (in the first paragraph) that makes most real scholars want to avoid “Jesus mythologists” altogether….

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  7. Someone who avoids the purpose, value and significance of factual context and background to ANY investigative research, similar to a homicide detective, and who either is too lazy to do the work (and becomes a heckling antagonist just to be annoying not constructive) or too naive to understand the inherent purpose and meaning of accumulating the factual context and background surrounding the case… would say something useless as:

    This is the “Any True Scotsman” argument, if I’ve ever seen it.

    If one wants to better, more intimately understand Papuan tribes in New Guinea, you learn their various dialects of language, culture, history, and GO THERE. You don’t ignorantly spout “I can speak on behalf of the Papuan tribes and what they are, how they live, and what is of value to them… BUT I’ve never been there, met one, or learned from them their own language, culture, and history.” See the distinction? See this heckler’s struggle to understand the full value of cumulative context?

    for Gary… see below…

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  8. Gary,

    I have repeatedly upheld the agreement from months ago to simply ignore each other’s comments, and yet Ftbonehead continuously dishonors his own word and promise. He is more than welcome to post generically or to others within the guidelines you have for your blog, however, I would like to request from you Gary, if I may, that IF he replies again and again specifically/directly to me like he’s done here and over the last weeks… to just delete his comment and inform him to address his replies another way, e.g. generically and to anyone else. Or here’s a novel idea! Keep your word and ignore, passover (if I can borrow a mythical tale 😉 ), overlook the comments! Perhaps this will get thru his dense, thick skull… maybe? LOL 😉 I have no desire nor the time to see notification from Ftbonehead. I’ve made this clear to him politely in the beginning, but he shows no class or common dignity to honor his agreement. Better ideas? Better suggestions?

    On a secondary note Gary, does WordPress have a feature to where you can block a specific Commenter’s fluff and intentional antagonism? I’m unsure. I may contact WordPress’ Support Team on that. 🤔 Anyway, thank you Gary in advance.

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  9. Gary –

    You DO understand that the way WE translate a word from Greek into English (and, in fact, the way a particular word might be used in the Greek itself) is HIGHLY DEPENDENT on context, do you not?

    So – I can use the verb “horao” to say things like this:

    “That which we have seen with our eyes”
    “Have I not seen our Lord”
    “they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels”
    “See to that yourselves”.

    In the first two of these, it is (for us) a literal “seeing” of something or someone. Because that’s the context.

    In the third it iss clearly NOT a literal “seeing” of anything physical, but, rather, a vision (because it says so).

    In the fourth – “See to that yourselves” – the word has nothing to do with “vision” at all. Just as we use it precisely in the same way in English.

    Whatever it is you’re trying to prove by doing your cut-and-paste from (of all things, Strongs – sheesh), it isn’t working. Because none of it addresses CONTEXT.

    In the verse in 1 Cor 9 where Paul says “have I not seen the Lord”, there is nothing to indicate anything but a literal “seeing” of someone. “I saw Bob” is NOT understood to be a “spiritual thing”. “I saw Bob like an angel” IS understood as such. “I can see you” is understood in context to be a literal “seeing” of someone at that time. “I can see you dancing in the clouds” is clearly an “imaginary” reference.

    Trust me on this: You can’t just “pick and choose” from the “possible translations” of horao and use them in a sentence. You can’t just substitute “spiritually seen” for “seen” in “Have I not seen our Lord”? That’s not at all how it works. If you’re talking about “seeing” in a “spiritual” sense, it (again) is made clear in CONTEXT, like “I saw that God is good”. Obviously, this is not a literal “seeing” either in English or in Greek.

    You really need to learn something about how translation works, Gary.

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    1. According to the information I have read both words are simply different tenses of the same Greek verb. But whatever. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care if Paul thinks he saw a pink elephant with his two eyes. I think Paul was a nut job. Any guy who thinks he may or may not have taken an intergalactic trip to a third heaven is not dealing with full deck.

      Even more, in the only list we have of eyewitnesses outside of the Gospels, the Early Creed, the verb used is “opthe” which CAN mean to see with the mind.

      Your religion has the WORST evidence for its veracity of any major world religion!

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      1. “Ophte” means “to appear”. It can mean “appear, as in a vision”. There is no dobut of that. You are correct.

        And, if that’s all it was – a VISION – then there was really no reason to claim “resurrection”, was there?

        After all, if they KNEW they had just had “visions”, then even they couldn’t know whether Jesus were resurrected, or, just assumed into heaven – OR – if his body had been stolen. His body could have been stolen, yet, in this “vision”, Jesus is speaking to them “from beyond the grave” (spooky music in background).

        Bottom line – if THEY knew they had just seen a “vision”, then, dang, there’s nothing to base a resurrection on….

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        1. Most people who claim to have “seen” their dead loved one do not claim it was a vision. They believe it was real.

          The anonymous author of Acts quotes Paul as saying his experience was a “heavenly vision” but since we can’t identify this author or interview him we have no idea if he he quoted Paul accurately or if he simply made up this quote. Why are Christians so gullible to believe everything that anonymous ancient (Christian) authors wrote??

          So when Paul says he “saw” a dead person, I don’t view his claim as any different than any other person claiming that they have seen a dead person. Since we have massive evidence and experience that tells us that dead people do not come back from the dead, we can assume that Paul is nuts…Period…regardless of which Greek verb he used to describe his dead person sighting.

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          1. re: “Most people who claim to have “seen” their dead loved one do not claim it was a vision. They believe it was real.”

            I think you’ll find that most people think that what they experienced was real, but, not that they had encountered a physically-alive being. I personally know people who will swear they have been “visited” by a deceased relative, like a father or mother, but none of them will say it was their relative having come back from the dead. They will insist, though, that what they experienced was “real”.

            I don’t know why you’re bringing up Acts to me, though. You know I place no reliability whatsoever on what either the Gospels or Acts have to say.

            We do, however, have massive evidence that dead people stay dead. And, of course, this is what makes the claims of Jesus’ resurrection – or, ideas of a “general resurrection at the last day” – to be difficult to believe for the Naturalist or Deist. But then, any idea of the miraculous is difficult for such to believe, primarily because of a different worldview than the Supernaturalist has.

            The thing is, having a Naturalist view is no more rational than having a Supernaturalist view. That gets down to whether Nature (this universe) was created by a “thing” (ie, a process), or a “being”. And, there is absolutely no way possible to go back before the Big Bang and find out which of those things it was.

            But – putting that aside: if all that Paul and Peter (et al) were claiming was just an “experience” that many have had – hallucinations or other non-veridical “encounters” (as it were) with a deceased person – then there was no reason to label those as “resurrection” – or – conversely – there would be reason for everyone who had had such experiences to label them all as “resurrection”. But, clearly, that latter option has not been taken.

            Therefore, to make a claim that someone had been resurrected requires something more than just the very common experience that (for example) grieving people often have of “seeing” a deceased loved one.

            Just saying that you believe Paul was nuts, though, just shows your bias. OH – and it also shows why it’s difficult to consider you as a “scholar”.

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            1. Therefore, to make a claim that someone had been resurrected requires something more than just the very common experience that (for example) grieving people often have of “seeing” a deceased loved one.

              Gullible, superstitious people have been known to believe and claim a lot of crazy things.

              We have gone round and round regarding the historical evidence for this alleged event many times, ft. But I have a strong suspicion that you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus primarily due to evidence. I will bet that you believe in this fantastical claim primarily because of your subjective personal perceptions and experiences regarding this belief. To prove I am right, please answer these questions with a simple yes or no answer.

              1. Prior to your decision to become a Christian, had you spent any time investigating both apologetic and skeptic arguments for the resurrection of Jesus?
              2. Do you believe that a spirit resides inside your body?

              3. If yes, do you believe that this spirit communicates with you in any fashion?

              4. Does your belief that a spirit lives inside your body, communicating with you, provide you with emotional/psychological comfort?

              Thank you.

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              1. I’m not going to bunnytrail here, Gary.

                the topic has to do with hallucinations and/or other non-veridical “visions”.

                When a loved-one of a person dies, then that person knows they’re dead (presuming they’ve been so informed).

                If that person has an “experience” in which they “see” the deceased loved-one, do you think that somehow that person has ceased in knowing that the loved-one is dead?

                Granted – if the person “sees” the deceased in a fashion that is truly convincing enough, the person might start to suspect that (a) there was a mistake made, and the “deceased” never died at all, or (b) the “deceased” actually faked their own death for some reason – and etc, etc. In other words, it IS possible that a person can wrongly believe that a loved-one is dead, due to an error, or a fraud, etc.

                Setting that aside, though, people that have “visions” of deceased loved-ones are not insane, but rather, quite “normal” – because they continue to realize that the deceased person is still dead. They do not start thinking “oh, she’s still alive, and I know it, because last night I saw her out on the back porch!”

                Peter, Paul, John (and perhaps others) could all have been insane. In other words, they had “visions” (or, hallucinations – as are quite common) – but – unlike a more “healthy” person, they did not still hold to the realization that the deceased (Jesus) was, in fact, still quite dead. Instead, all of them, being insane, decided that “Jesus lives”, and then go around preaching that “Jesus lives, and is Messiah”. And, that’s a possibility, of course. They may all simply have been insane.

                OR – it’s also possible that P, J and others did, in fact, see a “living Jesus”, and his death was just faked. Or maybe it was a real-life person who was an identical twin of Jesus, claiming to be Jesus. Or, maybe the Muslims are correct in saying Jesus was never crucified (although, that’s not a theory I’d push).

                YOUR answer is that they were all insane. And, that’s fine with me. But, I don’t buy into your theory.

                Do you have a problem with that? Or do you just have some kind of “need” to ensure that everybody thinks you know the real answer?

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                1. Yes, we have all heard your arguments many times before.

                  Would you please answer my questions? I think it is very important to our discussion of this topic. I believe that your subjective perceptions and experiences color your views on this subject. That is why you and I will NEVER come to agreement on the historical evidence.

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                  1. re: “Prior to your decision to become a Christian, had you spent any time investigating both apologetic and skeptic arguments for the resurrection of Jesus?”

                    I don’t understand this question. To the best of my recollection, I never made a “decision” to “become” a “Christian”. I’ve certainly never once ever made any statement to the effect that “I decided to become a Christian”, to the best of my recollection. I may have responded to some question that may have been worded in a similar fashion, thus perhaps making it appear that I agreed with the notion that I had made any kind of “decision” about “becoming” a “Christian”, but if that were the case (and, I doubt that it is), then it was simply because that question itself was unimportant to whatever we were talking about.

                    But, to express an idea that “I made a decision to become a Christian” is decidedly not in my commonly used language at all. It, in no way, describes anything about how I became convinced that Jesus was historically resurrected.

                    Furthermore, this question asks only if I had spent time before such a “decision” in investigating both apologetic and skeptic arguments for the resurrection of Jesus”, yet, which is fine, but, you do not ask “at what point did you investigate both apologetic and skeptic arguments”? Clearly, in your own case, you yourself started “investigating” long after you had supposedly “made a decision for Jesus”. Yet you give me nothing but a “yes or no” question regarding one specific point in time – “prior to your decision” – which shows me you have no interest whatsoever in knowing the truth. You just want to try to control the narrative.

                    So, the rest of the questions are irrelevant.

                    If you want to figure out some way to ask questions in such a way that actually might produce something that represents reality, then I’d encourage you to do so.

                    But, as that first question is worded, I can’t really be of any assistance to you in this matter.

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                    1. Yes. I believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus before doing any research on this issue, and it sounds like that is the case with you also. I think this is typical of the overwhelming majority of Christians.

                      Do you believe that a spirit (other than your own) resides inside your body?

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                    2. I came to “believe” Jesus was resurrected when I was about 18 or so. However, as I’ve told you before, I became deeply skeptical – “believing” something doesn’t make it true.

                      It wasn’t until I turned really skeptical, and started seriously looking into the historicity (or lack thereof) of the resurrection – most assuredly, including the views of the skeptics – that I became convinced of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. And, that was many decades after I first “believed” Jesus to have been resurrected.

                      Nowdays, I find the notion of “resurrection” (referring to the very-Jewish concept of it, of which you are completely aware) as totally “unbelievable”. Yet, I am convinced, despite that, that Jesus was indeed resurrecting as an historical event. But I have no problem at all with a skeptic (or anyone else) finding the idea of “resurrection” as “unbelievable”. I share that same notion.

                      I am also convinced that I do indeed have a “spirit”, which means I am convinced that I am not a robot, an automatron, something driven entirely by the determined motions of electrons through my grey matter. If one’s thoughts – hence, one’s reasonings – were determined as such, then, the very “reasoning” that would lead one to believe their own thoughts were nothing more than the determined motions of electrons in their grey matter is, in itself, entirely invalid. Thus, I think that Naturalism, which would hold that we have no spirit (of course) is entirely self-refuting.

                      As to whether some other spirit, other than my own, “resides” in me, I do not know. When speaking of such things, one can only speak in the language of analogy, or metaphor, or in some other more-or-less “poetic” fashion, because it is impossible to actually speak of anything of the “spiritual realm” in a “literal” fashion.

                      But, is that what you’re really interested in? Whether I think, or believe, that some other spirit “resides” in me? Are you wanting to know if some other spirit is, perhaps, paying rent? Or, merely freeloading? Perhaps you’re wondering if, in this “residence”, whether it has it’s own room?

                      What is it you really want to know, Gary? Can you not just “cut to the chase” and dispense with all the “religious” stuff?

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                    3. I want to know if you believe that the invisible spirit of another being lives inside your body, communicating with you in some fashion, giving you special insight into the truth that someone who is not a believer does not have.

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                    4. re: “I want to know if you believe that the invisible spirit of another being lives inside your body, communicating with you in some fashion, giving you special insight into the truth that someone who is not a believer does not have.”

                      This question is just LOADED with verbage YOU use, but, I rarely (if ever) use it. Sound real religious to me.

                      I believe God is spirit, I believe God can communicate with humans, and vice-versa. I believe that the “place” in me – almost assuredly, in my subconscious (which really can’t be called a “place”) – is where my physical being meets my spiritual being, and where my spirit meets God.

                      If simply believing that (a) there is a God, and (b) He is the type of God that actually resurrected someone (Jesus) gives me “special insight into the truth”, then it is only “special insight into the truth” that there is a God, and that He resurrected Jesus.

                      But, when you ask about “special insight into the truth that someone who is not a believer does not have”, then, I got no idea how to answer. I don’t know what you mean by “believer”: “believer” in what?

                      The OT is full of stories (and, they’re probably all “just stories”, but with a theological point) about guys who spoke with God, who “walked with God”, who were considered “friends of God”, and so on. And, this is long before either Jesus or Moses, for that matter.

                      So, I don’t know what level of “truth” a person can have – or whether I can have some higher level of it – because of anything I believe.

                      But again, I have no idea what you mean when you refer to a person who is “not a believer” — and I have to ask “believer in what”?

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                    5. According to William Lane Craig, even a Christian who is completely ignorant of any historical evidence regarding the resurrection can know that it was a real historical event by the testimony of the Holy Spirit in his heart. Do you believe that?

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                    6. I don’t know Craig’s exact words, but, I wouldn’t put it exactly as you put it.

                      I believe it is entirely possible for a person who is completely ignorant of any historical evidence regarding the resurrection can actually have an “experience” which leads them to believe that Jesus was resurrected, and, because the resurrection was an actual, historical event, then what that person has experienced is not just a “subjective experience”, but rather, a subjective response to an objective reality.

                      You and I might look at the same waterfall, and you’d say “it’s beautiful”, and I’d say “it’s just water” – thus, each of us having our own subjective responses to an objective thing.

                      If Jesus were historically resurrected, then it’s entirely possible for a person to have an “experience of Jesus” that is totally valid.

                      But – it’s a weak position. When a person finds themselves questioning their “belief” as I did, and as you did, then it gets down to whether one can be satisfied that Jesus was historically resurrected (or not). But, no amount of “experience” can answer that question, once it starts getting (inwardly) asked…

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                    7. Do you believe that it is rational, for a Christian who at some point in the past believed in the reality of the resurrected Jesus based solely on a personal experience (like you and me) but who has never doubted (unlike you and me), to continue believing in the reality of this event without investigating the historical evidence?

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                    8. Gary –

                      there are millions of Christians out there, some living in little tiny rural villages in Africa, some living under regimes that have outlawed Christianity, some living in populations where scant few people have anything beyond an elementary-school education (if that much).

                      If those Christians, in those circumstances, became “believers” because of experiences with what they understood as “Jesus”, then it is perfectly rational for those people in those circumstances to continue with their beliefs based on those experiences. It can hardly be considered “irrational” to not consider the historic view when, in fact, they will never even encounter anyone who even thinks in terms as you and I do.

                      They may never, in their lifetimes, run into the same issues that you and I ran in to. Thus, they’ll have no need whatsoever to answer the questions posed by the “higher critics”.

                      In this country, though, where we all have access to at least a fairly decent public education, I would think it not only reasonable, but even increasingly necessary to take a hard look at the historical picture. I think it is an absolute absurdity in this day and age that there are many seminaries that (evidently) never even touch on the views of the “higher critics”.

                      I’m not at all impressed with the “church in general” on this topic at all. Nor am I impressed with the so-called “leading apologists” like Craig or Habermas who, despite their high degree of knowledge, still can’t bring themselves to concede that (for example) when it comes to history, the Gospels are just not reliable. As you know, I tossed off the “bonds” of Trinitarianism a long time ago. I – unlike so many evangelicals – do not think Jesus was a literal sacrifice at all (nor, do I think Paul thought that). I think we can relate to Jesus’ death AS (or, “as if”, or “like”) a sacrifice. We can see it in that fashion if we wish. But, the fact is, Jesus’ death didn’t somehow “change God” at all. From our human perspective, if we were worried that God wouldn’t or couldn’t forgive sin, then, we could consider Jesus as the “ultimate atonement”. But, what it really was, was the assurance that God does indeed forgive sin – but then, even all through the OT, God forgave sin.

                      But, I’m rambling on “theological” stuff – one of my least favorite topics of all times. So, back to you….

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                    9. So if it is rational for Christians to believe in the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus without having ANY knowledge of the historical evidence, then historical evidence is not the primary reason or evidence for the Christian Resurrection belief. Personal (subjective) experience is the primary reason or evidence for belief in this alleged event. And if personal experience is the primary evidence for this alleged event, no amount of disconfirming historical evidence is going to change the minds of most Christians.

                      Why should any sane skeptic debate Christians on the historicity of the Resurrection if this is the Christian mindset??

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                    10. It’s clearly not MY mindset, is it?

                      Nor was it yours. And you, like me, debated this topic within yourself.

                      The only difference between you and me is that we came up with different conclusions.

                      Now, the idea that “personal subjective experience” is the primary reason or evidence for a belief in what you refer to as an “alleged” event, I would agree that that is true for many believers. And, I would also agree that for many Christians, they “believe” simply because they learned the story from others they trusted (so, in that respect, it’s even worse than just having Christians that believe on a basis of “personal subjective experience”).

                      However, just for the record – and as I pointed out – if Jesus were truly resurrected, then a persons experience may in fact be a subjective response to an objective reality – not merely an “entirely-in-the-head” subjective experience. (Again – I’m just saying that for the record).

                      Why would a sane skeptic debate Christians that believe on this “experiential” basis?

                      I have no idea. I’d think it would be better to educate, not to debate. That’s why I’m a big fan of Ehrman. He’s done more for the sake of Christianity as a skeptic than he ever did as a believer.

                      For example, like you, Ehrman pushes the hallucination/non-veridical vision idea – and never once does it occur to him (as it does not occur to you) that a sane person who has had either an hallucination or a non-veridical vision of a deceased person does not lose sight of the fact that the person is, in fact, deceased. Only an insane person disconnects from that reality. And, that’s when you have to ask “were Peter and John and James (son of Zebedee)” all insane? Did Jesus just manage to recruit fully 25% of his “inner circle” from an asylum someplace? Maybe even more of them, if there is any historical truth to guys like Matthew and Mark and the rest of “The Twelve” having seen the resurrected Jesus? Were they ALL actually insane people who had disconnected themselves from the reality that Jesus was dead?

                      That’s what you’re arguing, in part. It’s what Ehrman is arguing. And, I don’t think it flies. I think they were sane individuals who, upon having some kind of hallucination or non-veridical vision, would – like sane people do – have to juxtapose that experience against the known fact that Jesus was dead. Dead people stay dead.

                      But, then, what if he wasn’t dead? That’s the game changer, isn’t it?

                      Reminds me of a very recent story of two women who were called to a hospital to confirm their brothers identity – a brother who had (if I remember correctly) had been beaten very badly, with very distorted features – and to sign the papers to “pull the plug”, because the doctors had determined they could do no more for him. So, they verify the identity, sign the papers, and the doctors pulled the plug, and the man died. The sisters go home, buy a casket, make funeral arrangements, and – then the brother shows up on the doorstep of one of the sisters. Needless to say, she was beside herself, shocked beyond belief. And she calls her sister and says “he’s alive”, and the sister “couldn’t believe it”. As most people would have a hard time believing it. Thing is — it took a REAL AND LIVING PERSON to convince these sisters that their brother was still alive. As, of course, it would, for any sane person. One sister just calling the other sister and saying “he’s still alive, ’cause I saw him” wasn’t going to convince anyone. And, the one making the call would have had to have been insane to make such a claim. She would have had to have been totally disconnected from the reality that her brother was dead.

                      OH – BTW – the guy in the hospital wasn’t their brother.

                      So, you and Ehrman argue for the effective insanity of Peter, John, James bar Z, and the rest of “the Twelve” (presuming that they were historical characters).

                      You might as well just argue that they lied. It’s as easy to believe that as it is to believe they were all insane.

                      I could go on and on, at great length, with more of my own reasonings – none of which I’d expect you to agree with. But – the reason I even have these reasonings in the first place is because long before I ever began to chat with you, I had already run the whole thing through some harsh machinery. I just didn’t come out with the same answers as you.

                      So, I’d say “keep on educating”. Because I think you’re right – it’s probably pointless to attempt to argue with those that believe in the resurrection on an experiential basis.

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                    11. However, just for the record – and as I pointed out – if Jesus were truly resurrected, then a persons experience may in fact be a subjective response to an objective reality – not merely an “entirely-in-the-head” subjective experience. (Again – I’m just saying that for the record).

                      And if Elvis really is alive, someone’s subjective experience of an Elvis sighting is not merely an “entirely-in-the-head” experience.

                      It may be true that for you the primary reason that you continue to believe is the historical evidence but I would bet that a significant percentage of your belief is still based on your subjective personal experience. That is why I don’t believe it is a valuable use of my time to debate you on the historical evidence. If we debate at all, it should be on the reliability of subjective personal experiences (allegedly) involving the supernatural.

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                    12. “I would bet that a significant percentage of your belief is still based on your subjective personal experience.”

                      That’s a child’s retort “Your just saying that because you’re a girl“!!!

                      and here I was, thinking you were more of the “scientific” type.

                      Gary, it’s OK with me if you thought Peter was insane. And John. And James bar Z. And anybody else that claimed they had seen Jesus, resurrected. But, you need to own up to your own position: Healthy, sane people have hallucinations and/or non-veridical “visions” of deceased people all the time, but the reason they’re not insane is because they don’t start thinking the decease really is alive again. That’s what guys like you and Ehrman leave out of the equation all the time.

                      So, it’s either that Peter, John, et al, were insane, having lost connection with the reality that Jesus was dead, or, they really did see Jesus alive again after his crucifixion. It’s one or the other.

                      People that don’t believe Elvis died, and then think they’ve seen him, is a totally different ball of wax. Or, even if its the other way around – they think they’ve seen Elvis, and therefore, they think he didn’t really die – either way, it’s something totally different. It might be a form of denial, or it might be a form of extreme skepticism and distrust – both very typical of the “conspiracy theory” mindset. But it doesn’t “fit” with P, J et al. Unlike the “Elvis sighters”, they knew Jesus was dead.

                      And – Note: what I’ve just said is entirely independent of anything that i myself might “believe” about Jesus. What I’ve just said is stock psychology.

                      Another Note: I would argue that your “Elvis” stuff is just non-related obfuscation – typical “Gary smokescreen”.

                      Your real position – very often stated – is that P, J, et al, just had hallucinations or other non-veridical experiences, and, they therefore believed Jesus to have been resurrected – “alive again”. In other words, they lost touch with reality. They were insane. You already know that a totally sane person can have hallucinations and non-veridical visions of a decease person, but, the reason they’re not insane is because despite the “vision”, they still know the dead person is still dead.

                      So, I’d say “be bold” – stick with your “insanity” argument.

                      And be aware that others might disagree, because it’s difficult to imagine that Peter, John, James bar Z, and all others – whoever they might be – that claimed to have seen “Jesus, resurrected” were all insane people, having completely lost touch with the reality of Jesus’ death, and instead, claiming him to be alive again because of hallucinations or other non-veridical visions.

                      And BTW – this whole statement of yours is a total farce:

                      “It may be true that for you the primary reason that you continue to believe is the historical evidence but I would bet that a significant percentage of your belief is still based on your subjective personal experience. That is why I don’t believe it is a valuable use of my time to debate you on the historical evidence. ”

                      Historical evidence??? For what????

                      Here’s some “historical stuff” for you:

                      Jesus existed
                      Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist
                      Jesus was a “teacher of truths”
                      Jesus had a reputation as a faith-healer and/or exorcist
                      Jesus was crucified….
                      ….in Jerusalem
                      …. at the insistence of the Jewish leadership
                      …. by Pontius Pilate
                      …. at the Passover
                      Jesus was buried
                      Jesus tomb was found empty
                      Some of Jesus’ followers claimed to have “seen” Jesus, post-crucifixion
                      Some of his followers claimed he had been resurrected
                      Some of his followers claimed he was Messiah

                      You wanna debate history? OK, there’s the list. Start the debate. I’m all ears.

                      Heck, you can even add a few things to the list, I suppose. And, we’ll debate them. But it’ll probably be a short debate because I already know we agree on most of it.

                      But, let’s go for it: Start the debate on “historical evidence”. Let it begin.

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                    13. Do you believe that subjective personal experiences are sufficient evidence to believe that the supernatural operates in our universe?

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                    14. No, not with someone whose view of history is biased by his subjective personal experiences.

                      When I discuss the historicity of Hannibal’s crossing of the alps with elephants (an unproven historical claim) with a debate opponent, I know that I will not need to contend with a belief that the spirit of Hannibal lives somewhere in my debate opponent’s body, giving him secret wisdom and insight on this issue.

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                    15. “…not with someone whose view of history is biased by his subjective personal experiences.”

                      hey, pal, I took your advice (years ago, before you had written it):

                      “But if the truth—the real truth no matter how cold, ugly, and painful it may be—matters more to you than the comfort and security of your faith, step out of the Christian “bubble” and explore the criticisms of your Christian belief system. ”

                      And, it’s because I did this that I no longer believe in a Trinity, in “substitutional death”, in “sacrificial atonement”, and many, many other things.

                      I did, however, come out “on the other side”, convinced that Jesus was historically resurrected.

                      I don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about when you describe me as “someone whose view of history is biased by his subjective personal experiences.”

                      In fact, YOU don’t know what you’re talking about, either. You just like to set up strawman arguments. And – that’s a classic example of one of them. That’s also a classic example of “ad hominem”.

                      I suspect the reason you don’t like to talk about “history” is because it always boils down to this:

                      If Jesus were resurrected, then that resurrection had no dependencies whatsoever on the Gospels, or on what Paul wrote, or on anything ever written in the OT, or in the Bhagavad Gita, or in Homer, or in the Encyclopedia Britannica, or on any other written source or, for that matter, on any other historic event. It’s a “stand-alone” thing. Either it happened, or it didn’t happen. But nothing written, either before or after, changes whether it happened or not.

                      So – it’s that one event. And, some people “way back then” said the event – the resurrection of Jesus – happened.

                      Is that true? Or were they lying?

                      Is that true? Or were those “claimers” insane?

                      This is always the point you fall apart at, Gary. Because really, your “big fight” is against all the “religious BS” you yourself once believed.

                      Me? I put that stuff aside long ago. And never went back to it. That’s why I “don’t do gospels”. You still do, because that’s your real obsession.

                      What you can’t handle is the idea that the Gospels may all be totally inaccurate, whacked-out, and historically unreliable – the equivalent of reading Harry Potter books – and yet, that has nothing to do with whether Jesus was resurrected or not.

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                    16. Yes, you believe the word of one first century whack job who believed he had taken an intergalatic voyage to a “third heaven” where he overheard top secret communications between the leadership of space aliens, communications which they forbid him to ever disclose to earthlings. Sorry, but that is not rational thinking, ft.

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                    17. “I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord….”

                      That’s the way Paul prefaces the story of the “3rd heaven” voyage… “visions and revelations”.

                      Do you think that a person who claims to have had a “vision” – and who KNOWS it was a vision – is insane?

                      I could certainly see where a person who thought a “vision” was an “objective reality” might very well be insane. But, if the person KNOWS it was a vision, then, they still can clearly distinguish between that vision and objective reality – which is generally considered quite sane.

                      I strongly suspect that your issue has to do with the fact that you do highly selective reading, and in this case, simply choose to ignore that Paul has announced he is talking about “visions and revelations”….

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