Believing Scientists Respond: Why Are You a Christian?

(Gary M) #83

And that is the million dollar question!!! Can someone sincerely and honestly believe to have seen a dead person but be wrong? Can someone be a reliable person but provide unreliable testimony simply because they are mistaken?

Is it possible that the people listed in the Early Creed sincerely believed that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to them, but yet were all mistaken? They all really did see something, but that something was not a resurrected body, but a bright light, a shadow, or other natural phenomena which they mistook for a resurrected Jesus?

I say that the odds of this happening are much greater than the odds that the Creator God, if he (or she) exists, violated the laws of physics to resurrect a corpse.

(Gary M) #84

Do you have any confirmed, first hand, eyewitness testimony that states that ANYONE saw a body? Yes, we have stories, written decades later, about people seeing a risen body but are these stories any more factual and historical than the stories in Genesis chapter one and two which even most of the Christians on this website do not believe to be literally true?

(Gary M) #85

Paul never once describes his Jesus appearance experience in his own writings. For all we know, Paul saw a bright light on his bedroom wall one night and believed it to be Jesus. No body.
No voice. Only a bright light. How do we know that the story in Acts is historical when the majority of scholars don’t even know who wrote the Book of Acts? We have no idea what Paul saw because Paul never tells us.

(Dominik Kowalski) #86

Licona in the video above has already refuted this claim, and the way I see it, it´s just another hallucination-hypothesis. But let´s have a closer look.

  • This hypothesis of Peters hallucination would only be valid, if it would have been described as 1) a one time only event for a very short period of time, 2) the preaching message as very differing through the subjective hallucinations of other apostles, 3)if at any time the gospels would be actually saying, what you´re proposing the whole time, for some reason, namely that the disciples saw a shadow/light which they interpreted as Jesus

What you´re offering is merely a static shadow which had the contrast of Jesus or something and it´s astonishingly similar to the mass-hallucination-hypothesis, which you claim to not be supportive of. The accounts clearly describe 1) a body, looking and talking like Jesus, but a bit changed although with the same wounds from the crucifixion, 2) a similar if not same experience among all eye-witnesses, with the exception of Paul, 3) a longer period of time, likely a few weeks of the risen Jesus staying with the disciples, talking and interacting to them and, especially in the case of Thomas, interacting physically.

It is said that he appeared to all Apostles and 500 witnesses at once, and in the case of the latter Paul is very cautious to point out that there are still eyewitnesses alive, obviously if someone wanted to ask them. But I´d rather ask you, why should I, as not a professional scholar, try to make a point to someone who doesn´t accept positions, which aren´t even disputed among atheistic scholars like Ehrman and Lüdemann. Again I give you a lecture, this time from Richard Bauckham, who changed our understanding of the eyewitnesses:

Don´t you think someone would need a bit more convincing material, than just a bright light, to attribute this light to a man, whoms followers he´s killing?

You know what, let´s change the game. Rather than me saying, that there is no point in the scripture that would support this notion, how about you give me the textual evidences, which would be either corresponding with the body being a bright spiritual light or with the data about hallucinations, that could have slipped in? I´d accept both approaches for now.

No, I will not say a priori, that I disagree because I´m a supernaturalist, but because of two reasons:

  1. It doesn´t correspond with the data or gives an account for following events without proposing a medical phenomenon, which is impossible, as far as we know.
  2. It emerges from circular reasoning (miracles are improbable, because my worldview sees them as improbable, but the video explains it better)

Currently reading it.

Every page lists its sources clear and cautious, so there is no problem for the reader to research themselves. Not everything cited is automatically a miracle. But some are greatly supported.

This makes me believe, that you didn´t read it. Links for newspaper articles, Youtube-Videos from local news and references to other books with clear specification on which page to read it more, are given. So what are you talking about?

You´re building up a typical strawman, but not a very strong one. Why not both? What speaks against a treatment and a prayer in my church at the same time? You might add, from where do I know what helped? Again, Keeners book doesn´t just present cases where this is disputed, but clear cases from people with no medical treatment, where healing set in after prayer.

I´m living in Germany, the access to the Internet here is worse than in most countries in the second and third world. And I just offered a different perspective, not a proofable conclusion. One weakness in western society is our arrogance, that we have figured everything out.

Watch the video above, it adresses you circular reasoning. My point is always, that a person, agnostic towards everything (Resurrection, God, Miracles? Maybe…) would lean towards the Christian side, since it doesn´t require mental gymnastics to offer a solution, which is fitting with the following events.

Read. The. Bible. and show me the textual parts which could support your notion of it being just a misinterpreted visual effect or something like that. An article from a peer reviewed scholar supporting your position would be welcome too.

The great thing about scholarship is, that we don´t have to accept any proposition offered. That Paul experienced his vision on the road to Damascus is undisputed among scholars from every background

No. Exactly not the case, neither how it is described, nor how it would make sense in historical perspective. I don´t think that the sun is able to bring a dedicated person to full conversion toward preaching alongside the earlier enemy.

Clear knowledge on the authorship is helpful, but not necessary in the context of other texts to filter out historical important data. Although we don´t know exactly who it was, we can say it was a person close to Luke and probably the same author who wrote Acts. But what does that have to do with the facts accepted by virtually every scholar? Habermas has already shown, that even with the minimal facts approach, accepted by all sceptics, the data points to bodily resurrection.

And why should we think that? Paul met John, Peter and James in Jerusalem and stayed with them for some time to discuss the same material of the Gospels. It´s safe to say that they talked in the past about their experiences with the risen Jesus and made sure, everyone preached the same message. Paul mentioned the full gospel again in the first letter to Corinth for the people to stay true to it. The most probable answer to why he isn´t describing the exact event of his experience? He didn´t think it was important. It is still enough for the scholars to pull some facts out of it, so why should we be bothered about it?

(Dominik Kowalski) #87

And for Gods sake, put your answers all in one post, please

(Gary M) #88

You insist that the disciples thought they saw a body. You have zero proof of this. Yes, later stories talked about a body, but the later stories may be theological embellishments. Bottom line: You cannot prove that every Jesus appearance described in First Corinthians 15 was not due to an illusion (a bright light, shadow, etc.) which the disciples perceived to be Jesus. Your insistence on a body is an assumption. It is not based on any confirmed eyewitness statement.

In 2016, hundreds of people in Knock Ireland believed that they all saw an appearance of the Virgin Mary. It is on videotape. All I see is the sun and some clouds. Very excitable religious people “see” what they want to see.

(Gary M) #89

You are asking me to read non-eyewitness accounts which were never meant to be understood as historically accurate history texts to find support for my theory about what actually happened in accounts that may be purely fictional!!! You are not being logical, my friend.

Please provide ONE confirmed eyewitness account of ANYONE claiming to have seen a resurrected BODY.

You: Habermas has already shown, that even with the minimal facts approach, accepted by all sceptics, the data points to bodily resurrection.


No where in Habermas’ writings does he claim that there is a consensus among scholars on WHAT if anything the disciples saw, in particular, that a body was seen. The consensus is that the disciples experienced SOMETHING that convinced them that Jesus had appeared to them. That’s it.

(Gary M) #90

Yes, and it is entirely possible that Paul, Peter, and James talked about each of their experiences seeing a BRIGHT LIGHT!

Once again, please provide ONE confirmed eyewitness statement of ANYONE claiming to have seen a BODY.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #91

I think you’ve made it clear to all here that you would like to see what very few Christian thinkers ever attempt to offer: some clear and scientifically verifiable “proof” of the resurrection event, and we also see that the transformed lives and cultures that we reckon as evidence are not satisfactory as such to you. We get it … and simply don’t share in your determined skepticism that all assent to subjectively proposed (or even merely probable or plausible) truths is always so fraught with danger that we need to generally shun such things in hopes that hard sciences will eventually render some verdict. Most of us are fairly skeptical in our own turn that you or anybody else actually even lives according to such a principle - but if it helps you feel better to think that you do, good luck with that.

Meanwhile, though, it’s probably time to move on since this forum isn’t about rehashing resurrection evidence with atheists, though (as you have seen) we often still try to be generous in letting tangents run their course.

(Gary M) #92

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fascinating discussion!