Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?

(Christy Hemphill) #269

You wouldn’t believe them. There are lots of accounts from the Muslim world of people having Jesus appear to them in visions during Ramadan.

(Christy Hemphill) #270

You’ve also freely admitted you think the arguments by Jesus’ mythicists are compelling ones, so forgive us if your ability to evaluate good arguments doesn’t rate very highly with many of us here. :slight_smile:

(Christy Hemphill) #271

Lots of Christians believe other resurrections are also historical. There are modern accounts of resurrections. See Craig Keener’s Miracles. The difference is Jesus is the only person believed to have been resurrected to immortality.

You don’t believe a claim because of it’s topic. It seems like you are saying if one resurrection claim is true, all of them have to be true. What kind of logic is that? I think some people are miraculously healed. That doesn’t mean I think everything a televangelist says about the people miraculously healed by his ministry-send in your gift of $50- are true. All claims can be evaluated.)


That is different. Myself and Christians suffer too, because we are in a fallen world. But I have a peace that is unexplainable. I don’t need to chase after money or power or fame or acceptance. I can lose all of those things, and my Creator still loves me and Created me for a purpose.

If your car was designed to have 4 wheels, and it only had 3, it doesn’t matter how much hp you have or how loud the speakers are or how shiny the paint is. It still would go very fast or smooth. It was designed to operate the most efficient or ideal with 4 wheels. Having a 4th wheel is the only thing that can make it work right.

God designed us to be dependent on Him (have 4 wheels). We rejected Him, were separated from Him, we lost our 4th wheel. No amount of power (hp), speakers (fame), paint (acceptance) can fill that missing void of God.

I believe you are suffering just as much as those will in hell (slightly less, as in hell, God is completely void, on earth, there are at least glimpses of Him). You are trying to drive your car with 3 wheels, or live counter intuitive of you design. Outside of designers specifications. Many machines will work outside of specs…but far from optimal. The mechanics will waste their lifetime trying to fix problems, but never will be able to, until they get the machine operating under manufactures specs.

Not at all works based. For the grace of God we are saved through faith in what Jesus did for us, that we couldn’t do.

I said it is about your heart, which only you and God knows. You can fail at keeping to you diet many many times, but if you really want to in your heart, you are “saved”.

Jesus did the work we couldn’t do. We try to not sin (to glorify Him) but we fail (some more than others), but if we want Jesus to be have Lordship in your life, you are saved, that’s it!

But…again like with diets…if in your heart you really want Him to be your Lord, there generally should be some fruits of that. We are renewed by the transforming of our mind. We now live to glorify Him. So if you continue living a sinful life, did you really want Jesus as Lord of your life? I can’t say, that is only for you and God to know. That whole faith without works is dead.

You don’t strive for the works, but they come as a fruit of your faith.

But we are all different and in different places in our life’s. Some have a healthy church and fellowship with others to help them grow more spiritually mature than others. Is an infant life the same value as an adult life? Yes. It can an adult get more physical work done? Yes. Some are more spiritually mature than others and sin less. They are not more saved, just more sanctified.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #273

Well, I am open to the truth. It would depend on an appearance. Supposedly, Jesus would know how to convince me that he is real.

Also, I know Christians who have admitted that if a Prophet Muhammad appears to them and calls them to follow Islam, they would ignore this and consider it a work of the Devil. I think Muslims, in general, would hold a similar position. So, I would assume the actual converts to Christianity are very open to embracing it to begin with and a ‘vision’ is just one more item to tip them in that direction.

I am assuming you don’t believe Sai Baba resurrection narratives? These Resurrections supposedly happened in the last decade. And yet, something tells me you won’t believe these stories and yet you believe a 2000 yo story you can’t verify.

I’d like to consider myself more consistent. I don’t believe Sai Baba resurrections and I don’t believe Jesus resurrections.

(Christy Hemphill) #275

I haven’t investigated them and no one I trust has either. So I neither believe nor disbelieve. It’s not a matter of consistency (I believe all reports or I believe none.); that isn’t even logical. It’s about evaluating sources. People I trust have investigated some modern day resurrection reports, and reports of visions of Jesus, and I see no reason to doubt them. I know from personal experience working in an animistic culture that plenty of stuff happens that has no rational/natural explanation. I don’t believe the physical world is all there is to reality. I don’t think all miracles and resurrections are “Christian” either. This non-Christian instance came up on another discussion forum:

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #276

OK, I did read the example. However, I wonder if a scientist would want a closer look at the ‘resurrection’. What we know about death, empirically, and what happens to our bodies contradicts any movement that was described in the article. Some twitching is possible, but not getting up.

Now, I wonder if a religious predisposition opens one up to believing a resurrection or some supernatural event, where natural occurrence is more plausible.

In your example, ‘Atheist Professor’ is supposedly a sign of objectivity. However, Atheists believe in Ghosts and can be as suggestible as non-Atheists. At 5:19 on the following clip, you can see that a suggestion of a dark place being haunted was enough to give some Atheists … Ghost sightings!

In your example, perhaps the professor had some mushrooms beforehand? Or some other dietary item that did not completely agree with his body?

(Christy Hemphill) #277

The difference between you and me is that there is nothing in my worldview that is threatened by the professor’s account, whereas you feel obligated to come up with alternative explanations to alleviate the threat. If someone says to me they saw a ghost, I don’t feel I must somehow discredit their account. That’s not to say I believe everyone’s account of every supernatural experience, but I don’t have to disbelieve them to maintain my narrative. You do. So, in some ways you are in the same position as YEC folks faced with radiometric dating. You have to come up with an alternative explanation. That doesn’t make you super trustworthy as someone able to objectively evaluate facts.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #278

I can’t say my view is threatened by the supernatural, I just feel that the claims that contradict nature require extraordinary evidence. I think I’ve already said that to be consistent, by believing in Jesus’ resurrection I should also believe in every other resurrection claim throughout history. But Christians I know (perhaps you are different) don’t want to accept other resurrections. They need Jesus to be special.

Unlike YEC, I’m not threatened by science. I embrace it. I think it was Ricky Gervais who said that you can destroy all books, religious and scientific. And in 1000 years, they’ll all come back. Religious books will all be different, but scientific books will be the same, because science is consistent and true.

(Luca) #279

So Sai baba claims to resurrect people? A human?
How is this in any way the same as Jesus? Why should Christians believe that to be consistent?

(George Brooks) #280

What I would do to re-create that event is to give someone a powerful herbal concoction that makes them comatose for a few days, or at least for a day at a time. Add one dead pig in a nearby hole covered with a cloth or some other loose obstruction.

Organize a party at the pre-arranged time … and invite a few disbelievers…

(Christy Hemphill) #281

That just strikes me as really dumb. Why would you possibly contend this? How is it any different than saying, “if I believe my friend was miraculously healed from cancer, to be consistent I have to believe every other report in history of someone being miraculously healed?” Do you not acknowledge that their are differing levels of credibility in all claims including resurrection claims? I just have a hard time trusting your judgment on anything when your approach to history is so irrational. No historian evaluates the accuracy of a historical claim based on whether or not they can accept every other claim of its type that has ever been made. That makes no sense at all.

All the Christians I know accept the other resurrection accounts in Scripture; the widow of Zarephath’s son, the Shunamite woman’s son, Lazaurus, the widow of Nain’s son, Jairus’ daughter, Tabitha, Eutychus… If the apostles raised people from the dead as a miraculous sign in the early church, non-cessationist Christians don’t have a problem with the idea that people can be raised from the dead as a miraculous sign in modern times.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #282

Not necessarily. Christians do not consider Muhammad to be a prophet. Muslims, on the other hand, do consider Jesus (Isa) to be a prophet. Muslims in fact have a very high view of Jesus as a healer and as one who will return at the day of judgment. (They even believe, though it’s not recorded in canonical New Testament accounts, that he made a clay bird into a living bird! So he has the power to bestow life, according to the Qur’an.)

So as long as he doesn’t appear and say, “Hi, I’m the Son of God and in fact God Himself! Worship Me now!” Muslims would not, a priori, have any reason to reject visions of Jesus.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #283

Wow @Christy, tell me how you really feel. Now, let me ask you. Since you believe in miraculous healings, why wouldn’t you believe every other report in history of someone being miraculously healed? You believe it’s something that does happen, so why not in those other times?

And how would you know if a cancer was healed miraculously vs otherwise?

Spontaneous regression is a well-authenticated and natural phenomenon. Its study may lead us to a better understanding of the natural history of neoplastic disease which so commonly progresses but rarely regresses.

So, how does a scientist rule out spontaneous regression (which is a natural phenomenon) and conclude that a miracle has taken place?

I mind you, there are no cases of spontaneous limb regeneration. God never heals amputees or Down’s Syndrome. And resurrections don’t happen.

I’ve done some digging on the example you showed me yesterday, of the resurrection in Africa, and here is what I found:

Grindal reports the conversation he had with a tribesman the next morning, in which the tribesman reveals that “Some did and some didn’t see the resurrected drummer boy (p. 69).

Hm…this appears an evidence of mass hallucination, something Christian apologists claim CAN’T happen (but resurrections can???).

OK, but William Lane Craig thinks the mass resurrections in Matthew’s Gospel (Ch. 27) are just imagery, not a real resurrection. And I am not just referring to the Christian Scripture claims. I’m talking Sai Baba’s resurrections too. And lets not forget John the Baptist.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this example. Yesterday, I posted a youtube video of Derren Brown (UK Mentalist and an Atheist) giving a religious experience to an atheist. If you only watch the first 10 minutes of the clip, you’ll find that Atheists, like all other human beings, are very suggestible. Just a mere suggestion of a haunting in that cave (at 5 min mark) caused some ATHEISTS!!! to see an image of a nun or some other ghost sighting. IF you judge someone merely on human testimony, you would conclude that a Ghost (or something of that sort, maybe DEMON even) does exist in that place, based on several Atheists claiming to have seen something. And yet, these people were given a suggestion and their mind concocted the story. It’s stories like these that cast doubt on the miraculous. There is a strong evidence of people being easily suggestible (no matter the education or presuppositions) and NO evidence of miracles.

I’m sorry.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #284

Bishop Saliba denies this and insists that he questions potential converts to ensure their faith is genuine.

“When I see a person wishes to be Christian, I don’t stop him,” he says, “but we try to test him.”

Abu Radwan, the convert, says he does get assistance from the church — about $200 a month. And he believes that being Christian will help his family get resettled in a Western country.

I would imagine that a strong Muslim believer would not be open to conversion to a Christianity. But if there are other ideas at play, a conversion is possible. For instance, when I lived in the Soviet Union, there was an idea of Communism to bring people to the bright future. When the Soviet Union began to collapse in the 19980s and early 1990s, many people became disillusioned with Communism (and Atheism) and started to look for other ideas. Since Christianity was the predominant religion in Slavic territories, some turned to Christianity (and in predominantly Muslim republics, the people turned to Islam). I think the more desperate a situation is, the more open the people are to religious experiences and conversions.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #285


From what you have told me, I know that your native land has gone through much trauma, the church you grew up in has gone trough much trauma, your family has gone through much trauma, and undoubtedly you have too, although not as much.

However, even though you have given Stalin an excuse for the trauma he created, and Vlad P. an excuse for the trauma he is creating, you cannot let go of the fact that the people who suffered the most in your native land teach eternal damnation to a fiery Hell, rather than a spiritual Hell.

If they are wrong, you need to forgive them as you have JVS, (but don’t excuse him.) This should allow you to forgive your native land for its failures.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #286

I appreciate your thoughts. However, please consider that the trauma under Yeltsin (a big friend of the US) was an equivalent to a physical war on Russia and some other republics. It just so happened that the more friendly the USSR and Russia were with the US, the worse off they were. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but two times in a row appears to be a pattern. When good ole Gorby was a leader, USSR collapsed. Under Yeltsin, Russia almost collapsed. I can understand why Vlad P. is not rushing to be a friend of the US now. And, btw, using logic, one can assume that any Western leader now would want to see Russia as weakened as possible.

If Russians elect a friend of the US, who would be open to disarming Russia (as Gorby and Yeltsin were), that would be the biggest mistake for them, because they would present a perfect opportunity to make sure Russia can no longer pose a challenge to anyone ever again. It’s just common sense thinking.

I think the people in Russia (which is not my native land, btw, as I’m from the what is now Ukraine) are done with apologizing, because apologies don’t seem to get them anywhere.

I love to be able to discuss resurrection and politics on the same thread. :smile:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #287

The problem is your point of view bases the problems of Russia on others and not itself. The USSR feel apart because it was held together by force. If you want people to like you and help you, you need to be nice to them. You certainly do not support people like Assad. You admit your mistakes and try to win the confidence of your neighbors.

I always knew it would be difficult to make the transition from Stalin to democracy and I am sure mistakes were made. However it appears that you and Russia have decided to stop trying. This week there was an Op-Ed in the NYTimes saying that VP is following policies that keep Russia weak by playing to his base that prefers a sugar high to beef or economic strength.

(Luca) #288

We can never be sure if it truly is a miracle. But if something is highly unlikely, And there has been a prayer for it. Then it defenitly could be a miracle.

Can’t happen in certain situations.

Can you give me the paper where WLC discusses this? And i’ve been trying to look for something on sai baba. But who is he? What did he claim to be and do? These things have to be considered.

I have watched him. But the problem is, I don’t particularly find people who go around praying for others to get instant healing very persuasive either. Because they feel like they are able to heal on command. And i believe only God can do such thing. And derren only tries to fight those kinds of healers. Not the miracles of God.

(George Brooks) #289


So… at the death, is the soul capable of watching over loved ones, or communing in some other dimensional realm… waiting for the End of Days?.. and a new fleshly body?

Or … is the soul completely unaware of anything until the End of Days?