Debating Jeremy, Part 2: What is “Good Evidence” for the Resurrection?

What's good 'evidence-based' practice for classrooms? We asked ...

Jeremy, Reformed Baptist: What is considered good evidence? What is interesting is that a large majority of the western world considered the evidence [for the resurrection of Jesus] good until the mid to late 19th century. Although there is much to discuss in this avenue (works of Locke, Immaneul Kant, Descartes, Diderot, Hume, Gottfried, and many others), your question begs the argument what good evidence is. Certainly we cannot argue that what is in history books by definition is good evidence because that would assume the culture of our time is correct. If that was true and it was before the mid to late 19th Century then the resurrection would have been assumed as true and taught in every history book across every public institution in the land.

Gary: I question that as late as the mid to late 19th century (the 1800’s) that the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was considered an historical fact by most historians, included in most public university history text books as an historical fact. I would need to see some evidence to concede this point.

I would be willing to concede that the resurrection of Jesus was probably included in the public university history text books of Christian Europe as an historical fact prior to the Enlightenment, as the Christian Church held full sway over universities and even governments, routinely burning at the stake anyone who dared to challenge Christian orthodoxy.

But I must point out the obvious: Yes, during a very long period of the last two millennia, all of Christian Europe believed the resurrection of their Lord and Savior to be true, but why didn’t the overwhelming majority of Jews?? If Jesus was truly the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, then why did so very few Jews accept him as their Messiah? Some scholars estimate that no more than 1,000 Jews converted to Christianity in the first century after Jesus’ death. That is a pitiful conversion rate! Why was the evidence so good to pagans and Romans but so pitiful to the overwhelming majority of Jews, the very people who would know the ancient Jewish teachings about “messiah” best?

“Certainly we cannot argue that what is in history books by definition is good evidence because that would assume the culture of our time is correct.”

Sadly, this statement reflects the deep suspicion and distrust with which many conservative Christians view experts in the sciences and humanities. The ongoing success of our advanced industrialized nation depends on the lay public trusting and having confidence in the knowledge and expertise of experts. When each individual believes that he or she is the final authority on all matters—“because the experts are biased”—our culture will descend into chaos. Trust the consensus opinion of modern experts, Jeremy! Most of them are not foaming-at-the-mouth God-hating atheists. In fact, the overwhelming majority of them are theists, and in this country, the overwhelming majority identify as Christians. The overwhelming majority of historians in the United States and in the West as a whole identify as Christians. There is no bias against the Christian god, Jeremy. That is a conservative Christian conspiracy theory. If there were, the majority of historians would write Jesus of Nazareth off as a fictional character, as the evidence for his existence is slim. But…evidence for his existence does exist, and it is sufficient for most historians to conclude that Jesus was a real historical person. The same cannot be said for his alleged resurrection.

Bottom line: If we can’t trust modern historians regarding their position on the historicity of the resurrection, then we should not trust modern historians regarding their position on the historicity of Jesus! Conservative Christians can’t have it both ways.

Jeremy: In fact, your example crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC is primarily documented by four ancient writers at least two or three generations after the events. Some apologists have come out against this comparison. (one example) Now we can do a lot of assumptions about those authors including the “Civil Wars” allegedly wrote by a scribe dictated by the Caesar himself. But their truthfulness to what they heard via oral tradition or Caesar made up, one could try to argue it didn’t happen and that the whole thing was made up. The Jesus Seminar has done that very same thing with the Scriptures. Certainly, I would trust the sources of the crossing of the Rubicon are enough evidence to provide a degree of certainty to the event. However, where the issue lies (especially for the naturalist) is if we think it is possible Casesar crossed the Rubicon, or Jesus raised from the dead. The naturalist assumes one is possible and the other is not.

Gary: We can be very certain that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon without the four ancient writers you refer to having written a single word! Why? For the simple reason that Caesar would not have been able to return to Rome with his troops without crossing this river! And we know by extensive documentation that Caesar showed up with his troops in Rome and overthrew the Republic.

However, where the issue lies (especially for the naturalist) is if we think it is possible Caesar crossed the Rubicon, or Jesus raised from the dead. The naturalist assumes one is possible and the other is not.

True. If one has decided in advance that regardless of the evidence, the supernatural does not exist, then there is no point in continuing the debate. I personally do not hold this position. But isn’t it also a problem when the theist asserts that the probability of a miracle is just as great as a natural cause for odd, difficult-to-explain events? This isn’t the case in every other area of the Christian’s life, so why is it the case in regards to the alleged resurrection of Jesus? If the Christian wakes up and finds his keys missing, is a supernatural explanation at the top of his list? No, it is way down at the bottom. So why do Christians insist on asserting a miracle as the most probable explanation for an empty tomb and a few ghost sightings when other, much more probable (based on cumulative human experience) natural explanations are available?

Jeremy: ‘What is good evidence, but more importantly is there such thing as truth and ultimately can we know truth?’

Gary: I would use the same standard of “good evidence” that I would use for any very unusual claim, natural or supernatural. And, yes, I believe that alleged events are either historical or they are not historical. They are either true or not true.

For ordinary claims, I will accept ordinary evidence. For very extra-ordinary claims, whether natural or supernatural, I will demand extra-ordinary evidence. If I claim that I drove my car yesterday to the store, you are probably going to take my word for that claim. However, if I claim that I am in richest man in the world, you would be a fool to take my word for that claim. If you are intelligent (which I believe you are), you will demand a higher standard of evidence to believe that I am richer than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

So if you ask me to believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed, simply based on the fact that multiple authors in the first three centuries CE refer to him, I am willing to accept that as sufficient evidence. But if you ask me to believe that this same man came back to life after being brain-dead for three days and later lifted off the surface of the planet into outer space without any mechanical assistance, just because multiple authors tell some version of this story, I am not going to accept that as sufficient evidence. It has nothing to do with it being a religious claim. I would do the same thing for alleged sightings of Martians and alien abductions. I am consistent. It is Christians who are inconsistent. For UFO sightings and alien abductions, I doubt that most Christians would accept eyewitness testimony as sufficient to believe these claims, yet they insist that we skeptics should accept contested eyewitness testimony from 20 centuries ago for a claim of dead corpse reanimation!

Jeremy: I have no such belief that I perceive the resurrected Christ in my body. The passage of still small voice (1st Kings 19:11-13) has been clearly misinterpreted by evangelicals for years. Sadly, many times we take
our belief from ‘proof texting’ which ends up devoid of the context and meaning to the original reader. To help clarify I do believe that I have been given a new nature, one that desires to please God. That the
Holy Spirit (third person of the one being of God) has placed a seal upon me because I am being saved to the hope of a future resurrection. This isn’t a feeling or the ability to hear God’s voice. I believe in a closed cannon (finished scriptures) and no more revelation from God personal or otherwise. I believe in a relationship, and in prayer, but that relationship is more of a relationship status and an inner
testament to what I believe than a two-way dialogue.

Gary: Would you agree that, if you do consider yourself an evangelical, that yours is a minority position in evangelicalism? Do a google search for “having a personal relationship with Jesus” and you will find A LOT of evangelical websites telling you that you can perceive the presence of Jesus within you and that Jesus will “lead you” and “move you” to do things (speaking in a still, small voice). Jeremy, if you can honestly say that your belief in the resurrection of Jesus is entirely evidence and intellectually based, then I believe that it is possible for you to evaluate the historical evidence without a disqualifying bias.

But just to clarify: Are you stating for the record that you do not now, nor have you ever, perceived the presence of the resurrected Jesus?

Jeremy: In conclusion what standard will you use in evaluating the evidence I was to give you? What would you use as tools to evaluate it?

Gary: As I said above, I will use the same standard of evidence for any unusual, very out-of-the-ordinary claim, regardless of whether the claim is natural or supernatural.

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End of post.

21 thoughts on “Debating Jeremy, Part 2: What is “Good Evidence” for the Resurrection?

  1. Ehrman, talking about “history” and “miracles” – and, in a couple of sentences, explaining why you don’t find the resurrection of Jesus in college textbooks:

    “Since historians can only establish what probably did happen in the past, and the chances of a miracle happening, by definition, are infinitesimally remote, they can never demonstrate that a miracle probably happened.

    This is not a problem for only one kind of historian ‑‑ for atheists or agnostics or Buddhists or Roman Catholics or Baptists or Jews or Muslims; it is a problem for all historians of every stripe. Even if there are otherwise good sources for a miraculous event, the very nature of the historical discipline prevents the historian from arguing for its probability.

    https://ehrmanblog.org/historians-can-talk-resurrection-members/
    https://ehrmanblog.org/historians-problem-miracle-members/

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    1. But the historian can argue for good evidence that the alleged deceased person was seen alive again by multiple people, people claiming to not only have seen him, but touched him, and seen him perform laws-of-nature defying feats such as walking through walls, disappearing/appearing, and levitating into space. Not even Christians allege to have evidence of the actual moment of reanimation, or the moment of Jesus’ exit from the tomb. I am not asking for that.

      If the multiple appearance claims were based on good evidence, historians would mention this fact in world history textbooks. They don’t.

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      1. I am asking for the same quality of evidence for this alleged reanimated corpse sighting that I would request for a very unusual, extra-ordinary natural claim. For instance, imagine that someone claims that aliens in an oval shaped UFO abducted ten of Farmer Brown’s cows out his pasture last night. What evidence would YOU require to believe this claim?

        In a natural world, I believe that space aliens are within the realm of possibilities. Nothing says that Earth is the only inhabited planet in the universe. So it is possible, in my worldview, for cows to be abducted by beings from another planet flying in an oval spacecraft.

        This demonstrates that I am not requiring a different standard of evidence for a resurrected corpse sighting than I would for odd, out-of-the ordinary natural claims, such as an alien cow abduction sighting.

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  2. There are a number of modern historians that argue that there were indeed multiple claims of people having “seen” Jesus alive after his crucifixion.

    “From considerations such as the research areas above, perhaps the single most crucial development in recent thought has emerged. With few exceptions, the fact that after Jesus’ death his followers had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus is arguably one of the two or three most recognized events from the four Gospels, along with Jesus’ central proclamation of the Kingdom of God and his death by crucifixion. Few critical scholars reject the notion that, after Jesus’ death, the early Christians had real experiences of some sort.” [1]

    Of course, most historians offer an explanation other than anything miraculous:

    “First, after a hiatus since their heyday in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, recent trends indicate a limited surge of naturalistic explanations to the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. Almost a dozen different alternative theses have emerged, either argued or suggested by more than forty different scholars, with some critics endorsing more than one theory. In place of the resurrection, both internal states of mind (such as subjective visions or hallucinations[36]) as well as objective phenomena (like illusions[37]) have been proposed.[38] The vast majority of scholars, however, still reject such proposals.” [2]

    1 &2: Habermas, Resurrection Research From 1975 to the Present

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    1. “The vast majority of scholars, however, still reject such proposals.” [2]”

      Where is the evidence to support Habermas’ (a rank fundamentalist) claim that the “vast majority” of scholars reject all naturalistic proposals? And, for what reason do these scholars reject these naturalistic proposals? Do they reject them because they are impossible or just improbable. If they reject these naturalistic proposals because this “majority of scholars” believes that a bodily resurrection is more probable than one of the many natural explanations, then I would cry “foul”. The vast majority of NT scholars are Christian believers. Their supernatural presuppositions have biased their scholarship.

      Note: The overwhelming majority of historians do NOT reject natural explanations for the alleged reanimated dead corpse sightings in first century Palestine because if they did, descriptions of these extra-ordinary sightings would be included in public university world history text books. But again, they are not. Imagine: A victim of Roman crucifixion, who claims to be the King of the Jews, a direct threat to Caesar, survives and escapes! It would be a major historical event. But. no mention of it in Jewish, Roman, or Persian texts, only in Christian works of evangelism!

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    2. What evidence would you require to believe that aliens from outer space, in an oval spaceship flying at the speed of sound, have abducted some cows from a local pasture?

      I bet that you will demand the same quality of evidence that I would. Let’s see.

      My demand for good evidence of a resurrected corpse sighting will be exactly the same as the evidence I would demand for an alien cow abduction. Therefore, I have eliminated bias against the supernatural.

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  3. “My demand for good evidence of a resurrected corpse sighting will be exactly the same as the evidence I would demand for an alien cow abduction.”

    And, of course, if you don’t believe there are aliens that ever abduct anything, then no amount of “evidence” would convince you of aliens abducting cows. You’d have to (a) believe there are aliens, (b) that they are of sufficient intelligence and technologically very highly developed, such that they have spacecraft, (c) that they travel, at times, to Earth, (d) that they have an interest in “abducting things”, (e) that they have the capability of abducting things — and so on and so on. But, clearly, you don’t even get to “step ‘b'” without getting past “step ‘a'”. You’d have to somehow first be convinced that there are even aliens out there.

    If one is not convinced that there are aliens at all, then the rest of the list is balderdash. Or, if one is not convinced that the aliens have sufficient technology to allow the to travel enormous distances in a short amount of time, then everything past “step ‘b'” is balderdash. And, so on.

    What I’m getting at is that there are a whole truckload of “suppositions” one would have to make (or, agree to, or be convinced of) before anything about “cows being abducted” could even be considered.

    If you – as an atheist – are not even convinced of a “Supernatural” in the first place, then it flat doesn’t matter how much evidence about a resurrection is brought forth. It’s simply never going to convince you. And that, my friend, is called “bias”.

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    1. You have no idea what I believe about aliens. I have stated above that my worldview allows for intelligent beings living on other planets, in other galaxies. I would view an alien abduction claim as very improbable, but not impossible. Here is an example of the kind of evidence that would get my attention for an alien abduction claim:

      Four different households witnessed an alien cow abduction from Farmer Brown’s cow pasture on August 21, 2019, each house located within a half mile, in different directions, of the pasture. Each household has at least two members who claim to have seen the abduction, some have as many as four (two parents, two teenage children). All total, twelve individuals claim to have seen the alien cow abduction on the same night, August 21, 2019.

      Someone from each household called the local police within two minutes of each other that same night reporting the same claim: an oval flying object is “beaming up” cows out of John Brown’s cow pasture. Long, slender, tube-shaped beings manned the aircraft and directed the cows into the space ship. The major details are all the same, with some minor discrepancies such as the color of the aircraft (most say white, two say yellow) and the number of cows abducted (nine say “10” and three say “11”. The police immediately call the local FBI who immediately go to the four houses and interview each alleged eyewitness separately. Although members of each household had discussed among themselves what they had seen, the four households had had zero contact with each other after the event and prior to the FBI interrogation. Telephone records confirm this.

      In addition, the national air defense system detected a very rapid moving object over the skies of this city on the same night at the same time, traveling at a speed much faster than any known human aircraft or rocket, and heading directly into outerspace, until satellites lost track of it. The military denies that it had anything to do with this event.

      I would consider this excellent evidence, and would strongly consider the possibility that space aliens are abducting cows from earth.

      The evidence for sightings of the resurrected Jesus are not of this quality. Not even close.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. backing up to this: “The overwhelming majority of historians do NOT reject natural explanations for the alleged reanimated dead corpse sightings in first century Palestine because if they did, descriptions of these extra-ordinary sightings would be included in public university world history text books. ”

    Wrong.

    Ehrman disagrees with Crossan who disagrees with Ludemann who disagrees with Tabor, and so on and so on and so on. They all disagree WITH EACH OTHER, Gary. And that’s why there are so many theories. NONE of them agree on any given naturalistic explanation.

    Moving ahead: You’re right – I don’t know what you believe about aliens.

    But, I know what you believe about the “supernatural”. You’re atheist.

    And, that’s bias, my friend. And because of it, I don’t see how any amount of evidence that a resurrection occurred could convince you that it did. There would always be some possibility – no matter how remote – that there was a natural explanation for it.

    You can’t get around your own bias, Gary. All you can do is admit to it, and proceed from there.

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    1. When dealing with atheists, you need to go one step further and ask the atheist if he/she is a hard atheist or a soft atheist:

      Negative atheism, also called weak atheism and soft atheism, is any type of atheism where a person does not believe in the existence of any deities but does not necessarily explicitly assert that there are none. Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist.—

      I am a negative atheist, or soft atheist. I do not believe in the existence of gods for the same reason that I do not believe in the existence of unicorns and leprecauns: Lack of good evidence. I do not assert that gods, unicorns, and leprechauns do not exist, only that I find no good evidence to indicate that I should believe in them. Give me good evidence for the existence of unicorns, and I will be more than willing to change my mind.

      Ditto for gods and leprechauns.

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    2. Definitions:
      Bias: A partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation.
      Objective: Undistorted by emotion or personal bias; based on observable phenomena.

      Based on these definitions, Christians are just as “biased” as atheists. In fact, I tend to think it fits the former best since few believers are willing to consider “objective” information, especially as related to the resurrection.

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      1. And evangelicals are even more biased than the average orthodox Christian. Asking an evangelical Christian to objectively evaluate the evidence for the Resurrection (when he believes he has a personal relationship with the dead person in question) is like asking the mother of an accused murderer to objectively sit as a member of her son’s jury! We don’t allow mothers of the accused to sit on their sons’ (or daughters’) juries because we know from cumulative human experience that a (perceived) close personal relationship with the accused creates a strong bias.

        The same is true for evangelical Bible scholars.

        We can’t trust their scholarship!

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    3. “NONE of them agree on any given naturalistic explanation.”

      So what! We skeptics are not trying to prove what DID happen, only what MIGHT have happened.

      The problem lies in the fact that Christians and skeptics of Christians (including Jews, not just atheists) view the probability of an actual bodily resurrection as the cause of the early Christian belief about what happened to Jesus of Nazareth very differently. Non-Christians see this explanation as highly improbable while Christians see it as highly probable. Skeptics (including Jews) see the combined explanation of a stolen body with alleged ghost sightings as FAR more plausible explanations for the Resurrection belief than a once in history dead corpse reanimation/transformation (the Trinitarian teaching).

      You can’t blame skepticism of the bodily resurrection of Jesus purely on anti-supernaturalism. We atheists see many of the same flaws and weakness in the Christian argument that Jews and other non-Christian theists make against this Christian claim. Again, that is why this alleged event is not in public university history textbooks. The only people who believe this claim (with very few exceptions) are Christians.

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  5. Actually, I don’t think I can trust your assessment of “Evangelical scholars” as being biased because of YOUR bias.

    You already hold to a belief that they can’t be unbiased. And, you’ve attempted to argue that for months now, but never once have you yourself even defined what is meant by the term “personal relationship with Jesus”.

    Heck, you’ve even stated that you can accept the scholarship of Brown and Wright. BUT – not Licona (for example), because he uses a term that you yourself can’t even define.

    Heck, Gary, it could very well be said that YOU have a “relationship with God” — in the same fashion that eah human has a “relationship” with the universe: (here’s an article that shows that some people actually do think in those terms. I’m posting it as an example of what some others think, and not as any representation of what I myself think)

    https://opinion.inquirer.net/48859/man-and-universe-relationship

    First Problem: You continually argue that an Evangelical scholar can’t be objective in regards to the historical event known as “the resurrection of Jesus”, because they claim to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. BUT – you yourself do not (and, almost certainly) can not provide an actual definition of that term that all Evangelicals could agree with (and, most assuredly, not one that all Evangelicals do agree with).

    Second Problem: You do not allow for the possibility that a person can have a “relationship” with a resurrected being. But this is an expression of YOUR bias: You are not convinced that Jesus was, in fact, historically raised from the dead in the first place, and therefore, it is not even possible for someone to have a relationship with that resurrected being.

    Third Problem: You accept the scholarship of Brown and Wright – both professing “believers” – and accept that they can be objective in regards to historic inquiry because they don’t use the phrase “I have a personal relationship with Jesus” (or, other expressions to the same effect), but Licona does use such phrases, and therefore, he cannot be objective. And yet, scholars such as Ehrman, Dillahunty, Howe and Crossan all consider Licona’s scholarship worthy of being accepted as “scholarship”, and thus, have engaged in public debate with him. So because of a sentence or phrase – which you yourself cannot define sufficiently – you disqualify the scholarship of someone who uses that phrase, while other actual scholars (unlike yourself) do not. This too is an example of your bias: if a person uses a particular phrase – and even though each person that uses that phrase might not even mean the same thing – any and all such persons cannot be objective when it comes to historical inquiry. And yet, you yourself cannot even define what that phrase really means.

    Really, if I thought about it, I could probably find a truckload of problems with what you’re trying to assert about Evangelical scholars, and whether they can be objective or not, when it comes to historical inquiry.

    The REAL fact of the matter is that EVERYONE has “biases” – including Ehrman, Crossan, Tabor, Brown, Wright, et al. But, the way each of them handle their biases is to admit to being aware of them, and then, proceeding to do their work as a scholar in a manner that will at least “pass muster” as “good scholarship”, even with those that disagree with the findings.

    Good scholarship has to stand on it’s own, and guys like Licona, Craig and Ehrman all understand this.

    Unfortunately, YOU don’t seem to understand this.

    THE BIG QUESTION: WHY SHOULD ANYONE PUT YOUR VIEW – THAT AN EVANGELICAL SCHOLAR WHO SAYS HE HAS A “PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS” CANNOT BE OBJECTIVE – AHEAD OF THE VIEW OF TRAINED AND ESTEEMED SCHOLARS (SOME OF WHOM ARE SKEPTICS AND/OR ATHEISTS) WHO BELIEVE THAT SCHOLARS LIKE CRAIG AND LICONA CAN BE OBJECTIVE?

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    1. Please provide a source where Ehrman or any other skeptic scholar says he or she believes that Mike Licona objectively assesses the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

      Any true evangelical knows what “having a personal relationship with Jesus” means. Jesus is their “best friend”. Best friends communicate with each other, back and forth. all the time. That is the standard evangelical view of a personal relationship with Jesus. I know you are not familiar with this concept but you have admitted that you are not a Trinitarian evangelical. You are an Arian evangelical, whatever that is.

      You and I have beat this dead horse many times in the past. I am interested in debating Jeremy, a Trinitarian, not you, a non-Trinitarian, who has invented his own personal denomination and doctrine.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You know full well that my non-Trinitarianism has nothing to do with it.

    Your problem with me is that I don’t put any reliance on the historicity of the Gospels, and as such, you can’t get into endless discussions about this-or-that problem with the Gospels with me. And, I don’t need the Gospels to be “inerrant”, nor do I even need them to have some “authority” as being “The Word of God”. Proving there are problems with the Gospels has no bearing whatsoever on whether Jesus was resurrected or not. But, you want to argue with those that (for some reason) seem to think the historic event of the resurrection has some kind of “dependency” on the accuracy of the Gospels. And, you can’t handle the fact that I can see clearly that the resurrection of Jesus, as an historical event, has no dependencies whatsoever on whether the Gospels are accurate or not. And, you can’t deal with that.

    Now, about this: “Any true evangelical knows what “having a personal relationship with Jesus” means. Jesus is their “best friend”. Best friends communicate with each other, back and forth. all the time.”

    I’m very aware of this concept. What you don’t know is that I myself was an Evangelical before I went into my Great Disillusionment and Skepticism. And, I’m very aware that “personal relationship” is nothing more than a manner of speaking. Both evangelicals and non-evangelicals would certainly admit to prayer – talking to the Lord. And, both evangelicals and non-evangelicals would also assert that the Lord communicates to us – through (for example) the bible, through circumstance, through reason, and in a number of ways. And, as far as this “best friend” business goes, that is just an expression of the fact that the only being that a person can put their full trust in is Jesus.

    Of course, I do realize that YOU had some really super-whacked-out ideas about this kind of stuff yourself, and, you spend a great deal of time trying to justify your reasons for rejecting it. Me? I don’t have to bother with that. I already reject the pop-language often used when speaking “Christianese”. And, the truth is, I don’t mind you calling to task people who use such language.

    HOWEVER- that just means they probably need to re-examine what they’re even saying, and why they’re saying it. It has NOTHING to do with whether one’s scholarship – whether in math, science, geology, or history – can be quality scholarship that must have rational, reasoned support.

    If you’re going to insist that Licona can’t be a scholar because he believes he has the Holy Spirit, then you must hold Ehrman to the same standard, and point out his bias as an atheist.

    Or, you can consider doing what a RATIONAL person does, and just drop this very obsessive-compulsive thing you’ve got going on, which is clearly eating your brain up. Because historians – whether skeptics or “believers” – all have to support what they write with well-researched and well-reasoned arguments, and Ehrman can’t get away with saying “Jesus couldn’t have been resurrected, because I don’t even believe there’s a God”, nor can Licona get away with “Jesus must have been resurrected, because I heard the Holy Spirit tell me so”. Those things don’t fly in the world of historical studies.

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    1. I found this excerpt below to be quite intriguing, as well as faulty in terms of fair-play or utilizing commonly agreed upon terms and definitions of say… historicity and consensus-authority, to name just two…

      Your problem with me is that I don’t put any reliance on the historicity of the Gospels, and as such, you can’t get into endless discussions about this-or-that problem with the Gospels with me. And, I don’t need the Gospels to be “inerrant”, nor do I even need them to have some “authority” as being “The Word of God”. Proving there are problems with the Gospels has no bearing whatsoever on whether Jesus was resurrected or not.

      Using this exact same logic allows me to proclaim to you PolycorpseScribe that my and thousands of other Sasquatch/Bigfoot followers/believers know beyond a shadow of doubt that they exist, they live, yet no bones have been discovered EVER, they are remarkably invisible (for the most part) just like an invisible diety, (holy) spirit, or healer-redeemer, etc, and only appear for us “True Believers.” The overwhelming evidence of these god-like creatures is indisputable to all of us!

      Now, my impenetrable belief in Sasquatch/Bigfoot (albeit satirical use of) has equally as much weight/validity (or more) as YOUR belief and evidence in a Greco-Roman caricature named Jesus Christ. This is a completely fair and rational comparison of our two faith-systems.

      Furthermore, the only way around this conundrum PolycorpseScribe is for equitable effort in exhaustive examination of ALL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE. This most certainly includes Independent, non-Christian sources and evidence for or against a Greco-Roman caricature named Jesus as well, along with the same on Sasquatch/Bigfoot. Or rather NO compelling evidence for a Christ as portrayed in the 4th-century CE Canonical Gospels. 🙂

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  7. Well this gets us, with skimming through PolycarpsScribe’s responses to where I figured. Often times I encounter people who just want to hear the ‘reasons’ why it hasn’t been proved false, which is what many in the past have made attempts to argue. The majority of scholars and ‘free’-thinkers have moved past the bashing and saying that it can be disproved and moved onto an epistemological discussion about the nature of evidence and knowing.

    Sorry it has taken so long for a reply, another reply will be forth coming, but I will need to take some time in formulating as I’ve not taken the time to write out my full rational which leads to the conclusion of accepting the resurrection.

    That being said to give you at least a response to your one question.

    I’ve never perceived a ‘feeling’ of the resurrected Christ. That being said I would say these have been my experiences:

    Change of Nature & Influence of the Holy Spirit
    Desire to do something different than my selfish desires, not easy to explain, but I don’t want to do things that are
    “wrong”.
    Desire to please God, not out of fear of reprisal or out of ‘getting something’

    Connection with His people the Church
    I have felt instant connection to people who are of like faith
    I have a desire to help meet the needs who are of the household of faith

    Advocate before the Father
    I pray and believe that there is a true response to that request. Although, I don’t believe that prayer is wish
    fulfillment I do believe that prayer changes me to reflect the will of God. After many tough situations in my life I
    have found that once I turned my heart towards God and didn’t try to fix it on my own the situations work
    themselves out. And often times not until then.

    These things being said these are not the ‘reasons that i believe’. I believe because it is true. I’ll give my defense soon. appreciate your patience. 🙂

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    1. Great. So you have never perceived (sensed, felt) the presence of the spirit of the resurrected Jesus at any time or place. But you believe that you have experienced the effects of his presence in your life. What percentage of your belief in the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is based on strictly historical evidence and what percentage is based on the changes that you have seen in your life which you attribute to the presence of the resurrected Jesus?

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