Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #229

Look, Christians obviously are more moderns to us. Adherents of many other middle eastern religions died out. Many of their beliefs are known only because the Christians argued with them and recorded their beliefs for the sake of refuting them.

But, I think Justyn Martyr would be in a good position to determine whether Christian belief is different from the belief of others in that time and area. Justyn Martyr made a claim that the beliefs regarding virgin birth, resurrection, etc… was NOT different.

When it comes to the powers of Zeus vs Yahweh, I’m not an expert, because I’ve never met either of them. But I would be surprised if you disbelieve Zeus. After all, he was a Greek God with Godlike powers (allegedly). I’m sure very smart people believed and worshipped him.

(Luca) #230

I think Justin Martyr is addressing the resurrections of the greek gods if i read that paper right. (I can sometimes misread things please correct me if i do!) But from what i remember from history class.
Zeus most of the times came down to earth to have sexual intercourse with humans. To so on create demigods. So i don’t really think the virgin birth is the same. Resurrections are very common in greek and egyptian mythology. But they just aren’t the same in terms of historicity. Zeus was the leader for a lack of a better word right now, of all the other gods.
He could turn into animals. strike people with lightning all that. But zeus was the brother of hades. Both of them where “born” by 1 titan called Chronos. The difference between these is that Zeus was “born” and could cease to exist. Was not omniscient and not omnipresent and omnipotent.
Yahweh is eternal. No beginning no end. Omnipotent omnipresent and omniscient. They are the same in small things but there are huge differences.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #231

I can’t really argue with you, perhaps there were differences. But this is how religions work. Judaism, no doubt, borrowed and assimilated ideas of other religions. My point, is that Justyn Martyr, living in the 2nd Century, claimed in his letter to the emperor that Christians propound nothing different from what the non-Christians believed.

At the very least, it shows that the environment was full of resurrection ideas. Perhaps not all of the motifs being the same, but one can understand how a belief that is slightly different from the general belief can take hold in a given group. For instance, if I were a Mormon, I’d work among the Christians more so than among Hindus or Muslims, because Mormonism is very similar to Christianity.

(Luca) #232

Sure i agree with you!
Edit: Well with the last part. I only agree that resurrections were common things in religions.
But i will keep saying that none of them compare to Jesus. :stuck_out_tongue:

(John Dalton) #233

Interesting as well; thanks for pointing it out. A few things though. Things aren’t quite so baldy stated as a resurrection here as in the Herod passages. Also, Mark puts this event in Caesarea Phillipi, which I see was a Greco-Roman city. Matthew follows suit. Either reason could have been enough not to worry about it.

I’m not bringing this up as a contradiction either, and it may well mean nothing. I just think it’s interesting in the light of the history of the authorship of the gospels as I understand it.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #234

If you consider Luke’s gospel, it clearly states what others are implying

Luke 9:19 They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.

So they clearly or boldly state Jesus was considered John the Baptist after John was killed. Or some one risen from the dead.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #235

Hey, so can I.

(Mark Twombly) #236

Great, then there should be other discoveries of bona fide transitional life forms apart from these hoaxes, and we should have them in abundance. Darwin certainly expected that if his theory were true. Where are they? Where is that long list that should be there if micro to macro were the slam dunk you claim it to be?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #237

Keep reading, my friend, keep reading…

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #238


You are beating a dead horse. This question has been resolved a long time ago, except for you and you inerrantist twins. For one thing Jesus made statements about His Return which pointedly did not have any time limits.

Matthew 24:44 (NIV2011)
44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.

So we have two traditions of what Jesus said, one with a time frame and one with no time frame. Some people even today have put a date on His Return despite what He said and of course have been disappointed. Most people have used their God given mind to decide that He was right when He said, “Be ready all the time, because I am coming when you don’t expect Me.” Some people, unlike you, know how to determine the truth when there are two different opinions.

I do not know what you mean by special benefits to being a Christian. I would say knowing God the Father and Jesus the Savior is a “special” benefit. This is not because we are special or better than others, but on the contrary because we know that we are sinners, who trust in God and not in our own righteousness.

We also have a strong sense of right and wrong based on our love for Jesus and His love for humanity. I am bemused by the discussion of morality found on these pages. Jesus taught a relational ethic based on right relationship of love between us and God and humans with each other. It is not absolute, but caring for others, even those who oppose us.

Non-believers seem to think that Science will solve our problems, but our biggest problems are people problems and science does not address these problems. Science is not evil unless it takes the place of love. The answer is the Kingdom of God based on God’s Love, not that this is an easy answer.

The fact is Jesus is risen from the dead. We know this because many people talked to him before He returned to Heaven, and others such as Paul experienced Him after He returned to Heaven. Many of us know Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

The spirit of science is that people should not take the word of others for what is true. Christianity tells us that we can know God for ourselves, and that means you. We know that God keeps Hid promises because we know God’s love and forgiveness. If you have not, that is too bad, but that is only your experience.

You claim that people who believe in God for some reason must accept all claims of the super natural as true. You should know that this is false. It is like saying that people who trust the claims of science must accept all claims of science to be true.

Some people have said that Marxism made a science of history and said that everyone should reject faith and accept scientific socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. So you agree?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #239

I don’t see why both can’t be true. Why must there be a contradiction between Jesus coming within the generation of people listening to him, and yet, noone knowing the day or the hour? It’s like saying, I will die in the next 100 years, but I am not sure about the day or the hour. Both can be true.

I don’t deny that there is a special benefit of being in a special group. I meant, there is no evidence of a benefit of having omni-potent being at your side. Yes, there are benefits to being a part of the group, perhaps you can have a nice feeling thinking about a blissful afterlife. But there is no special knowledge, special help right here on earth.

I don’t think there are good evidence for believing in the resurrection. A good argument can be made that Jesus’ promises were false. And humans can be very creative with the stories we write. There is a high probability the Gospels are just stories also.

Unlike science, God is claimed to have unimaginable power and wisdom. I think if one can posit God raising people from the dead, there is no reason why he can’t raise anyone else from the dead. After all, we are dealing with (allegedly) a very much advanced and powerful being who acts in ways that are beyond our comprehension and understanding. I think one would have to make a case why such a God would only do that one special resurrection and no other resurrections!

But science doesn’t ask you to believe. Science offers an explanations and welcomes a refutation.

No, I do not agree with Marxists. I think people should have a right to whatever faith they wish to follow.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #240

No one is saying that Christians benefit by being members of a special group. Stop fixating on that nonexistent bogus claim.

I am saying that Christians benefit from knowing that they are forgiven when they confess their sins. Christians benefit from knowing that they can take responsibility for their lives and need not fear what people think about them.

Christians benefit from knowing that Love is stronger than Hate, that Life is stronger than Death, that Justice is stronger than Fear, that Truth is stronger than Doubt, that Goodness is stronger than Sin.

Wisdom comes from Truth and Understanding. Wisdom comes from knowing that Jesus Christ is the Logos, Atheism is a lie and lies have consequences. Atheism means that life has no meaning or purpose.

I guess you haven’t heard. God raises everyone who dies from the dead. Some God takes to Himself because they rejoice in love and justice. Others go to live with those who prefer to live by hatred and oppression, like your friend, Joseph V.


Over time, the fossil record has been filled in with more an more detail…but we’re “still looking for transitional forms”?

Everything is a transitional form.

That’s why platypuses (platypi?) are so weird. It’s why manatees have “toenails.” It’s, arguably, why we have appendices. Transitional forms. We always look at “now” and see “lack of transition,” but there has been significant “transition” even in the human race over the incredibly short span (geologically speaking) of just the past few thousand years!

(George Brooks) #242

@fmiddel and @marktwombly,

There was a recent thread on this very topic. I strongly recommend reading at least the first few postings…
and why the phrase “intermediate form” can be a better choice than “transitional form”…

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #243

Well, if majority of the world is in Hell (as interpreted by the mainstream Christians), then I would say Love is not stronger than Hate at the end.

And here is another point where Hate may win over Love. Basically, God will do Joseph V. as Joseph V. would do Christians. But, Joseph V. was not a loving individual (and not my friend). (Joseph V. = Stalin for those who may not be aware)

(David J) #244

Of course you can be a christian without believing the resurrection.

There are 100’s of denominations that believe their interpretation is right! Just choose one you agree with, if it doesn’t exist, create a new one!

(David Heddle) #245

That’s just silly.

  1. There may be denominations that believe they have everything right, but I’ve never been in one. It would be difficult, because I have never been in a denomination where any two people agreed with each other 100%, so that would seem mathematically, to eliminate the trope from the onset.

  2. Words have meaning. I always paraphrase my atheist friend Jason Rosenhaus the math prof from JMU who used to write the well-regarded “Evolution Blog” on the science blogs network. He debunked this kind of argument this way (paraphrasing): If someone claims they are a Christian and Elvis is the Christ–they are not a Christian.

It may be that some argue that you can be a Christian without believing in the resurrection. (I don’t think so, but I think that you could have the argument.) But it is not because you can call any set of beliefs you have “Christianity” just because they might include Jesus. Words. Have. Meaning.


Christianity is all about the resurrection, and a bodily one at that. (Is there any other kind?) The mystery of faith is “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.”

(George Brooks) #247

Jesus was bodily lifted into the sky. So was Enoch. And Elijah. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Hebrew discussions of about human interaction with God focus on the physical. There are even fairly “concrete” episodes of a physical God interacting with humans.

But this was not the only view of things amongst the ancients. The Egyptians believed in spiritual dimensions and emanations… both for the divine and for the human.

The whole concept of “ghosts” was a belief in a spirit world that didn’t require bodies. And there is a Gnostic layer of Christianity that seems difficult to dismiss:

We, with all things, are now this one resurrected body. Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 1:23

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” 1Peter 2:5

“There is one body, and one Spirit.” Ephesians 4:4

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” 1Corinthians 15:44

While the Sadducees rejected resurrection… and the Pharisees endorsed bodily resurrection, I think you will find the Greek/Western views on resurrection were surprisingly varied.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #248

The rule is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Joseph V. punished the innocent and rewarded the guilty. God does not act like Joseph V., so please do not lie about that. God punishes the guilty and rewards the innocent.

If you defend J V and compare him to God, you act as his friend.