Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #310

I’ve already mentioned the claim of John the Baptist’s resurrection. According to the Gospels (which are not exactly friendly to the John’s (the Baptist) movement), people, including Herod (the enemy of John, who had him killed) thought John was raised from the dead in the person of Jesus. Now, John was beheaded and thought to have been raised from the dead.

However, if you look at a history, Pauline Epistles were likely the first Christian documents. And Paul boasts that he receives the Gospel through a revelation, and not information from ‘any man’.

Gal (NASB). 1:11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Eph. (NASB) 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

Acts (NASB) 10: 9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;

Acts (NASB) 22:17 “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,

So, here is information on Peter and Paul, falling into a trance as if it’s not some abnormality! It is THESE people’s testimonies that are now presented as a valid historical evidence for a resurrection!

1 Cor. (NASB) 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

1 Cor. (NASB) 15: 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

Now, the question of Paul ‘receiving’ is an interesting one. Elsewhere, he claims to be getting his information through a revelation. Why wouldn’t he be receiving 1 Cor. 15:3 through a revelation also? At any rate, he talks about Jesus’ appearances, and includes himself in that list. But Paul only received a visionary appearance (or the 2nd coming of Jesus has already happened, when Jesus returned bodily to appear to Paul).

I think Christians want to read the Epistles through the lens of the Gospels, but I think it’s the Epistles that present an earlier picture of Christianity.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

Interesting. I wish I could interview the people who are listening to the ‘spirits’ that disagree with 1 John 4:2. Where did the idea that Jesus Christ has NOT come in the flesh originated from and was this idea earlier than the one we have today?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #311

I know Christians who claim that “Ghosts” are just demons.

(Luca) #312

Well i suppose they could make that link. To me it isn’t very relevant.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #313

The threat of nuclear war decreased and Russia lost its ability try to bully other nations.

I feel so sorry for people who want to be bullies and can’t!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #314

You missed the first part of TR’s statement, which is “Speak softly,” by which I think he basically meant, be nice, but don’t let others take advantage of your niceness.

I think he was talking about being the opposite of being a bully, who speaks tough because he is afraid of others.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #315

How do you feel about people who want to be bullies and CAN and are bullies?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #316

I feel sorry for them too.

(David Heddle) #317

I missed that memo. I believe in the resurrection and feel no burden of proof. Now, if I were convinced that I had to make someone else believe through rational argument, then I would feel a terrible burden of proof. Fortunately what I am held accountable for is to give the gospel. The acceptance thereof, and the belief in miracles such as the resurrection which often come along “for free” with a positive response to the gospel, are out of my control. I’m responsible for the message, not the response. So there is no burden of proof. None whatsoever.

You seem to be arguing that we are responsible to prove what we believe. Speaking for myself, I’d say that’s just not the case. It’s about faith and trust, not quod erat demonstrandum. I, for one, literally do not know why I believe. (At some level I accept what is probably a false dichotomy: either my beloved Calvinism is true or I’m insane.) The burden of prove only shows up when certain presuppositions are agreed to (such as the existence of God, and the bible as his word) either because they are actually accepted or to debate arguendo.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #318

Well, here is the issue, as I see it. Many Christians, present Christianity as IF it’s something so obvious that only a willfully ignorant person would not accept it. Atheists are accused of WANTING to end up in hell. We are being told that we don’t WANT to follow the truth!

I appreciate your honesty. Of course, I am not saying that you should stop believing whatever it is you want to believe. It’s a free country.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #319

That would be a charitable reading of it. I was aware of the first part and my omission of it was deliberate because I hear the whole thing as … "If you make sure all others know that you can back up your words with force and bad consequences (for them), then you won’t have to speak very loudly. If you are the “biggest baddest” bully around, then all those who care about their own welfare will attend to your every whispered word. I wish your reading was the correct one, but I’m afraid I may be a bit closer to the truth. Knowing what little I do know about T.R., I think my reading fits better.

For better or for worse (whichever understanding above is correct), the bully model is the model is the one we have embraced in our interactions with much of the rest of the world for the century since.

(David Heddle) #320

Does that really happen with any frequency? I’ve never seen it and never experienced it. (I was an atheist for the first 32 years of my life, and I can’t recall anyone ever witnessing to me with that approach.)

EDIT: typo

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #321

Romans 1 is often quoted as a proof that the knowledge of God is written on everyone’s hearts and that people are ‘without excuse’. That strikes me as gaslighting.

In general, Christianity is presented as a ‘slam dunk’. There can not be a rational refutation of Christian doctrines. See below article for an illustration


I think you need to reread your example, pal. There were no visions or appearances of John. John died, then people started hearing information about Jesus, and then they confused this with John and some considered he might be resurrected. No appearances, no empty tomb. This won’t work either.

As for Paul and Peter, you baselessly call those appearances abnormalities. The hallucination hypothesis has been refuted by scholars and no scholars anymore, perhaps with the exception of Ehrman. Paul said he received the gospel through revelation, nothing else, which Paul claimed even Abraham knew. That means almost everything he tells us derived from humans. Conflating this with 1 Cor 15 is a stretch beyond an ability to defend. Furthermore, we know Paul received this from humans, as he actually says he “passed on” what he “received”, a common rabbinic formula for the transposition of tradition.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #323

Pardon me, but I find it highly ironic, that you claim hallucination hypothesis has been refuted, even as you postulate a physical resurrection instead, as a more likely hypothesis(!). Do you see the irony?

As for John’s resurrection, I think you need to reconsider my claim. People allegedly saw Jesus, walking and talking, NOT in a vision, and thought he was John the Baptist, according to Christians.

So, it is possible for people of that time to consider someone raised from the dead (John), based on seeing someone else (Jesus).

(Luca) #324

To one who doesn’t believe in God that is ironic. To someone who does believe in God this is reasonable.


[quote=“SuperBigV, post:273, topic:38153”]
Well, I am open to the truth. It would depend on an appearance. [/quote]

Are you really though? Would you rather know something that you can’t prove or only go with what you can’t prove, even though it isn’t the truth?

Go back to that hypothetic miracle that you accidently observed and filmed from multiple angles and your 5 friends saw it, and you guys discussed it many times and both agreed on what you saw. And the filmed evidence was destroyed and all your friends died in a freak accident. Basically trying to develop a scenario where you couldn’t chalk it up to hallucinations or illusions or bias or any other event. What you saw literally happened, and you have/had proof of it happening.

But, you could no longer prove it to have happened, but you knew it happened, would you still believe it, or would you be convinced that others were correct.

Obviously hypothetical and philosophical question (like if a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a noise)

I am actually curious, would you believe in yourself, even if you could not prove something to anyone? Would you still believe it?

If anyone appears to a Christian and claims to want or deserve the glory that God does, they will not follow them. Again, a Christian by definition of the word is a follower of Jesus. That is like being surprised at a mathematician admitting if a circle called itself a square, they wouldn’t believe it.

I would say that any convert to Christianity was searching for their Creator, and when He revealed Himself to them, they accepted it.

I never heard of it, but, it could have happened? Lazarus was also resurrected. Getting a second life isn’t very common, but it happens. What has only happened once, is a resurrection, that lead to an eternal life. That is the resurrection that is unique to Jesus, and the resurrection claimed to be the foundation to Christianity. It wasn’t the resurrection itself that was “neat”. It is the entire framework behind it.

You sure about that? Historically it has been exactly the opposite.

Because a few thousand years ago, science books said the sun revolved around the earth…

And religious books haven’t changed their main message since they were written…

I agree with you there.

I kind of agree with that too. This is only reason why I believe God allows tragedies and hardships. It brings us back to Him. When all things in life fail, we see that He has always been there, and always will be. It is sad to see people go through hardships, but if it is for the better, than it is good.

Moth will destroy clothes, death/diseases with destroy family and friends, rust/corrosion will destroy metals, water will erode mountains, but God will forever endure and be there for you. He is the only thing that will never leave you nor forsake you, and cannot be moved or destroyed. It is comforting knowing this, it is the ultimate anchor/foundation/truth that brings peace and comfort.

I forget this at times, we all get angry and sad, but when we remember who God is, we will never fear or be sad. When my mom died, I mourned, I remembered the fun times I had with her, and will miss her having fun time with me and my family. But she, nor anyone could last forever. She had faults too. But God has no faults, He will last forever. Anything else that was created by Him, is a great blessing for us to enjoy, I am very thankful for those things, but we must always remember that He is why we have that blessing, and He is to forever be praised.

I agree with this greatly, I am not a huge fan at all of indoctrination. I am actually quite against it. I don’t think that knowing or repeating what you were taught is of any value. I teach my children what I believe and why, and when they are older, will encourage them to challenge authority respectfully. I want them to see God in my life (like any other human I interact with) and come to a God they see in me. But I don’t want them to try to please me or do what I did because I did it. This is why I don’t like the “What Would Jesus Do” slogan of the 90’s. I think it is much more important to know “Why Did Jesus Do”. I see little value in what my children’s actions are, but I see great value in their logic and reasoning and heart as to why they are doing things.

My children aren’t robots here to do my will. There are humans God has entrusted me to train to be their best.

There is no way to prove the supernatural. That doesn’t mean it didn’t or couldn’t have happened though. I am curious to see your answer to my philosophical question above. Would/could you believe in something you knew to have happened, but could no longer prove? Would you begin to doubt yourself as time went on?

It depends who their are talking to I think. The proof of a Christian’s testimony should be in the light of God in their life.

Though I think the reason Paul was making this more adamant, was that he was talking to the Jews. He was trying to convince them that their Messiah has come, and it is known because of the resurrection. Because if the Jesus died and stayed dead, then he couldn’t have been their messiah that was prophesized about in their texts.
But I don’t think that Paul ever tried to convince a Gentile quite a strongly of this. They didn’t believe or know of a messiah in the first place or a God who created them.

Any time one comes to know God, it is a revelation from God. Sometimes He uses a man, event, or a vision. But it is always a revelation, not information of any man.

That is why I am not convinced that any words I can saw can lead you to God if you aren’t seeking Him. But if you are seeking Him, He can use my words a tool for His divine revelation.

This is why I pray that God may use me to reveal Himself to you or anyone who reads this. I pray they see Him who they are seeking and that He may be glorified in my life and my posts (anything I do).

I don’t think it is so much as willingly ignorant, rather willing pride. Refusing to accept that someone else is in charge of your destiny, or that there is a better way than the life you currently lead.

That isn’t my intent either…depending on how you use hell as a place of torment. Of course no one wants to be tormented. However, don’t people eat themselves to obesity? Smoke themselves to cancer? There are many people who don’t want the consequences of their actions, but still keep doing those actions.

How would you talk to a morbidly obese person who keeps eating horribly unhealthy meals? You know there is a better way, and they can’t see it.

It is rough, especially if you care about that person.

Our sensibility and inner love and compassion for the other can be turned into sin. When we put that burden on ourselves and give us the authority to be able to change their ways that is a bad thing. We take the glory and from God when we think that we can convert someone through our clever words or logic. It isn’t anything we can do, nor anything we are told to do. Though we are told to become tools that God can use to lead others to Him, and that it is only through His strength and mercy that we have the ability to be used as a tool for Him to reveal himself to those who seek Him.

But if they don’t listen to you, your only conclusion would be that “they want to be fat”? Right? Not in a mean way, it is what it is.

So when an atheist says they don’t want to know their Creator, what I hear, is I want to go to hell. When I hear a non-Christian say they want to earn their salvation, that means the want to go to hell. They might not realize that isn’t what they want, but it is what they will get. If you don’t want God, then you won’t get Him, if you want the glory, then you can’t give it to God.

There can be some truth to that. When people are in the dark they don’t want the light. Thiefs don’t want to get caught, they hid in the dark, they wear masks. They want the end state of what they are going for, but no one is proud of the means with which they go through to attain the ends.

Some don’t want to know God, because then they have to be accountable to some one other than themselves. Believing in a God would change that, they don’t want that.

If you have been born with a silver spoon, most think they are entitled to great wealth. They are no better of a human than anyone else. What about those with great athletic ability or good looks that bring them wealth, or an intelligent mind. Or those with deformities or lower intelligence or born into poverty. Who deserves any of this? What is fair? Live the life you were given, and glorify the Creator for everything you do have, because you could have less. The more blesses you are, the more thankful you should be. Also knowing that the less blesses you are, the more thankful you should be. For those with little, can see the anchor that God is easily, but those with much things can find it difficult to see God. That is why it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to entire the kingdom of God. A rich man thinks he can run his own kingdom, where as a poor man, seeks refuge in the kingdom of God.

I would not tell you to stop believing in what you want to believe in either. God gave you the free will to chose Him or not, who am I to take that away from anyone? But if you are ever down and out and hit rock bottom, or the glass ceiling or are tire of striving for something you can’t attain and come to find that life is meaningless and a chasing the wind, that you search to know the God who can give you meaning and did give you purpose when He created you.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #326

But then why refer to scientists refuting hallucinations? That seems like a non sequitur, for if one believes in God, it should not matter what scientists say or don’t say, no?

(Luca) #327

Because there are 4 accepted facts about the resurrection. And people argue that hallucinations are unable to explain those.

I don’t understand what you are saying here.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #328

Yes, I’m open to the truth. I only want to know the truth, and nothing but the truth.

Your example is telling for it’s a hypothetical example that doesn’t happen in a real world. Noone has observed an amputee regrowing their limb. So, if I “saw” something like that, I would have to review the situation on a case by case basis.

But a bigger question, in my opinion, is why would a God rely on such methods to ‘show’ himself? If this is the same method he communicated with the Bible authors, I am not sure Christians would be so confident in calling the Bible the Word of God!

I don’t know. It would depend on the situation. I think I would more likely think that I may have a mental illness vs a miracle actual happening. Mental illness is far more likely.

Let me ask you. How would you determine if someone has a mental illness?

Yes, I’m sure the science will find the same conclusions, perhaps by traveling a different route, but the outcome will be the same. A few thousand years ago, science was controlled by the Church (at least in Europe it was). Galileo was burned at the stake for his idea. Hint, it wasn’t the scientists who killed him.

This is a hypothetical. I will tell you that I’m open to investigating whatever it was that I experienced. If it was a one off occurrence, I’d probably conclude that something was off with my perception, before jumping to the conclusion that it was a miracle.

But I think this is the difference between us (Atheists and religious). I think that faith is useless in knowing whether something is true, because by faith, one can believe anything is true. (Matt Dillahunty said it and I think it accurately describes the situation.). To know the truth, one should not rely on faith, in my opinion, because by faith, people can come to contradictory conclusions. So, when you say that you would not tell me to stop believing in what I want, we are talking different languages. I’m not basind my view on belief, but on evidence.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #329

I’m saying that it’s ironic for a person to claim scientists reject mass hallucinations as they are arguing for the bodily resurrection. I think if you poll the same scientists, they would tell you that a mass hallucination is FAR more likely than a resurrection, even if mass hallucinations are not likely.

Also, why would someone believing in the resurrection on faith care what scientists say or think on the matter?