Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?

(George Brooks) #209

Which kind of resurrections are not possible?

The “resurrection of Jesus” is much more like that of Lazarus than of the general resurrection hoped for by Christians - - experienced either immediately after death, or immediately before the End of Days.

The Resurrection of Jesus doesn’t present us with Jesus, as some kind of clone, while his dead body is still in the grave (which is just as what happened with Lazarus).

So… if Lazarus’s body had already been cremated… would his resurrection by Jesus had led to a hole in the ground where his ashes occupied space? Or would Lazarus have been returned to life in a new body…leaving his original ashes undisturbed?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #210

But this is the irony. Do you see the irony? A person who really thinks a corpse came back to life, writes how a (mass?) hallucination is implausible.

Today we know there are mass hallucinations, for example. What was that place where people saw the appearance of the Virgin Mary? There were thousands of people.

With Christianity, the evidence is very murky, in my opinion and I’ve listened to hours of debates on the topic.

The biggest issue, I have, are the claims of John’s resurrection! Before Jesus was crucified and killed, people thought that HE was the resurrected John the Baptist! No Christian apologist (I know of) cares to investigate this claim. And yet, it’s right there in the Gospels. So, the first thing we are being told, is that the disciples come from an environment where a resurrection belief can take place EVEN if it’s misplaced. In other words, John has really not risen from the dead, but people believe that he did in-spite of him being dead.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #211

Look at Matt 27, mass Resurrection of the Saints has happened, according to Matthew! It’s surprising to me that Christian Apologists, like WLC, admit this is likely a form of a language that does not reflect the reality of what really happened. What’s wrong? If it said one extra Saint rose, WLC would believe, but too many saints and WLC things it’s apocalyptic language? Embarrassment of the riches (of the testimonies)?

I don’t know what the resurrection of Jesus present us with. How can you be sure that every Christian who believed it MUST have confirmed his tomb was empty? Again, if the same people (of which Jesus’ disciples were a part) could believe John the Baptist rose from the dead while his body is in the tomb, why did they need an empty tomb for Jesus to believe he rose?

Note, I’m not saying Jesus’ disciples believed in John’s resurrection. Only that they were a part of the same people, spoke the same language, fished at same lake, went to same school (if there were schools, etc…)

WIth regards to Lazarus, I think that whole story was made up by John (the Gospeler). Also, WLC says Jesus was the first fruit of the resurrected, and yet, Lazarus was raised before him. Like I said, if one wants to believe in the resurrection, go ahead. But then Jesus is not special, because the resurrections were a dime a dozen back then. I, personally, prefer consistency.


Interesting, I will check that material. Well, the point here is that the resurrection would be something that was only possible because of divine intervention, while a mass hallucination would have to occur as a natural phenomena if you are advocating for an atheistic worldview, he is not saying that a resurrection taking place without being a miracle is more likely than a mass hallucination. I find the general structure of this arguments a little weird…because they basically say that “Religious people claim A is a miracle”, “A is extremely improbable or even impossible”, “Therefore, A is not a miracle”. But isn’t the whole point of calling it a miracle precisely the fact that it is very unlikely or even impossible to happen without invoking divine action?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #213

You lost me at a highlighted area. I am an ex-Christian myself, and am siding with the atheist worldview now.

I did like the debate between Arif Ahmed (UK Cambridge) and Gary Habermas (Christian apologist). Arif had a point that really resonated with me. IF a person is open to the supernatural, then ALL supernatural should be in play, including supernatural hallucinations or trickery that cannot otherwise explained naturally.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #214

Why is it always all or nothing with supernatural events or resurrections? Let’s start with supernatural: Just because somebody is “open” to some claims of supernatural occurrences doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to go around accepting every claim to supernatural, does it? Likewise, just because somebody accepts the testimonies and witness to Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t mean they have to accept all resurrection claims; and the ones in the bible (saints coming back to life, and Lazarus or other raised people) aren’t even held up as resurrections to be considered on par with what happened to Jesus. His was a categorically different event and theirs something more like (but not necessarily identical to) mere resuscitation [or some other literary appeal going on like what WLC spoke of in your video].

You claim to adhere to this “all-or-nothing” approach in the name of consistency, but instead it makes your approach incoherent. It is the same as me pointing to some past evolutionary hoax (like Piltdown man) and saying that all evidences for evolutionary science are either true, or else they are all fraudulent hoaxes. You could reasonably answer “no – there were a few hoaxes or frauds, but there is a vast body of evidence that is valid and does not fall under that category.” But then I reply: “no, no – I want to be consistent. If I accept that some evolutionary evidences of the past were real, then I need to accept them all as real.” At which point you would rightly roll your eyes and say I am off my rocker.

But that is exactly what you are doing with supernatural or with resurrections. You want them all to be accepted or rejected whole cloth whilst ignoring the vast scale of numbers between 0% and 100%. You can try to mask this incoherence in the name of “consistency”, but that just doesn’t work. All the vast middle ground doesn’t disappear just because you want it to.

[added and correcting edits]

(John Dalton) #215

That’s an interesting point. To me, it says more about what “Mark” thought. It’s interesting that this appears there. My vague understanding is that Jews of the period probably would not have thought of such a thing (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m off base here). Matthew (with his more Jewish focus) accordingly shifts the focus of the story to Herod. Luke keeps it.

(Luca) #216

I have absolutely no problem with those other resurrections.
To me the reason Jesus is special is because he died for us. It holds more value than the other resurrections. And he didn’t die again afterwards.
Lazarus will die again. Lazarus got the same body, Not a new better one. No consistency problems here.

(Luca) #217

I don’t understand the point of this. Can you explain it a bit more? sorry! :slight_smile:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #218

The question is, Is Jesus Christ unique as the Messiah or Savior? Yes or No?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #219

Yes they do have to accept every claim, IF they want to be consistent. It makes no logical sense, in my opinion, to believe the resurrection claim of Jesus, but deny the resurrection claim of everyone else. Once you are open to the resurrections being plausible, why stop at Jesus only? Look, it’s Christians (even some on these thread) who are accusing atheists of someone ignoring the “historical evidence” for the resurrection of Jesus. And yet, the same claims are made by others as well. All I’m saying, is that lets be consistent. If there is a God, and if he is open to resurrecting people, why would he only resurrect the one fellow? Why not more resurrections?

My approach is scientific. According to the established modern science, dead people don’t ever come back. Not in 1 day, not in 3 days, not in 30 days. You can believe they do, but don’t fault me for somehow ‘ignoring’ the evidence. A book, written in Greek may be sufficient for you, but not for me.

(Luca) #220

Who denies the biblical resurrections/resuscitations?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #221

As the saying goes, we are all unique, just like everyone else. I don’t think Jesus was any more unique than other religious founders or religious figures.

For one, Jesus’ promises can be tested and proven false. I may have already made that claim, but it bears repeating.

Matt. 21:22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

I know for a fact that Christians have the same limitations as atheists do. There are NO special benefits to being a Christian. In fact, the New Testament has Paul saying… “If there is no resurrection, then we are to be pitied the most”. Modern Christianity takes after Paul more so than it does after Jesus.

And, secondly, Jesus made a false promise. He said, on multiple occasions, that he will return before the generation of his hearers will pass away.

Matt. 24:32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Matt. 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. 28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Modern Christian inerrantists, claim that Transfiguration was that ‘coming’, but they miss the bolded part. Jesus was clearly talking about a coming in which he will ‘repay every man according to his deeds’! Nothing of the sort happened at the Transfiguration!

And there is the mini-comission

Matt. 10: 5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. …

Matt. 10:22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. 23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

Much of the New Testament epistles talks about Jesus coming quickly, and being “right at the door”! That never happened, so atheists are on good footing for disbelieving Jesus. If there is a final judgment (as the New Testament claims, and there is no reason to believe it’s true), I think I’ll be on a good footing by pointing out false promises as a reason for disbelieving.

(Luca) #222

This is all refuted before. And it is quite off topic man. Stay with the resurrection not with “false” promises of Jesus.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #223

Hi John,

Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke all have “Peter’s confession” passages. And there, when Jesus asks… “Who do the people say that I am?” the response is …“John the Baptist (among others)” And Jesus responds, in all three Gospels… DO not tell this (I e. that I’m the Christ) to anyone. So it wasn’t just Herod.

I’m not really saying that it’s a ‘contradiction’. It just data. I am convinced that it’s impossible to find a true contradiction, because, given enough imagination, you can come up with a story to harmonize anything.

“Jesus rose from the dead” vs “Jesus did NOT rise from the dead” is not a contradiction, because they could be talking about different Jesus’, or different dates (Sunday vs Saturday), etc…

I brought up John’s resurrection, because the claim is made (and implicitly refuted by the Gospelers). One can argue, that John’s resurrection is a stronger claim, for it has been recorded by Christians who were NOT followers of John, and, in some ways, competing with John for the followers. Mandeans were John followers and Christians probably competed with them.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #224

I was asked about Jesus’ uniqueness and I responded on that point.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #225

Not just Biblical, but ALL other resurrection claims.

(Luca) #226

You have already stated those resurrections from a wiki page. And they are just not the same.
Except maybe the Buddhism claims i know nothing about them.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #227

So, you are calling a fellow Christian miguided? Justyn Martyr said…

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound* nothing different from what you believe*** regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all;**

So, you claim there are differences, but the 2nd Century Christian apologist claims otherwise.

(Luca) #228

You are saying here that the resurrection of Jesus is the same as the resurrections zeus performed?
Who did zeus resurrect? Where they a real person? Is zeus even a real person? Has anyone seen zeus on mount Olympus? Sure the resurrections are in a way the same. But is the historicity the same?