Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection?


(Luca) #330

this is up for discussion.

Can you give me an example? I really dont see why you say this. Sorry!


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #331

How many scientists believe resurrections are possible? I’m talking about scientists whose opinions are used to argue that mass hallucinations are impossible.


(Luca) #332

The scientists that are Christian. Or those who see that it is possible if there is a God, But they are not convinced that there is one.

If someone in this forum post said that you should ask them. But the answer depends on the stuff i said above.


#333

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?

Not really, since I don’t follow Ehrman’s (made-up) claim that miracles are by definition the most improbable event. The hallucinaiton hypothesis has been seriously refuted and even atheist NT scholars get this.

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).

No, again, people never saw Jesus walk and think “that’s John!” They heard rumors about Jesus after John died, and conflated that with John because of the similarity between the two (not to mention their association). But there was never a movement that arose that actually believed in the resurrection of John the Baptist, the NT simply says it was rumors based on reports and that’s that.


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #334

The mass hallucination hypothesis is valid, assuming we are talking about a group of people, who may have fasted for a few days prior or hallucinated something or had a few trance sessions.

Having said this, and this is the argument Arif Ahmed made, IF you are willing to posit a SUPERnatural explanation, then the possibilities are truly endless, including a SUPERnatural mass hallucination. This point, I think, Christians don’t consider when they think that ruling out all natural leaves them with only ONE supernatural explanation.

Well, you are arguing with the Gospels here. I’ve already quoted the passages, but I will quote them again (all quotes from NASB)

Mark 6:14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.”

People were saying these things about Jesus (according to the Gospel of Mark and Matthew). Namely, that he, the person who walked about, talked, taught, ate, slept, etc… was really a risen John the Baptist.

Luke 9:18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” 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, this is exactly what they were saying. Jesus Christ was John the Baptist risen from the dead. And what is interesting, is that Christian apologists seldom mention this point. Its an anomaly to their worldview. But I think it’s very prominent in the Gospels. And, if anything, it makes a case for John’s resurrection. This testimony is an equivalent of finding a Pharisee document, dating to the 1st Century, stating that the disciples stole Jesus’ body. Here we have Christians acknowledging a wide held belief (people were saying…) that John rose from the dead, but they were ‘correcting’ this belief by making it known that the people were mistaken.


#335

Trance sessions? I assume you’ve been taken by those few idiosyncratic translations that use the word ‘trance’ that I’ve seen you post (though I’ve no clue which translation you were using). The hallucination hypothesis is not valid, since again, it has been refuted. There is not a single medical account of a group hallucination … ever … and this is because a hallucination is a projection of one’s own mind. There are other problems but, in short, it’s indefensible. Some atheists still can’t come to terms with the fact that the group hallucination idea exists only in the imagination of the scientific literature. And the fact that different groups and people are independently having the same hallucinations, even Paul who wasn’t even a Christian is a stretch so manifest that Occam’s Razor just takes care of all of it.

Mark 6:14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.

I’m not arguing with the Bible here. Herod hears a few reports about Jesus, and then freaks out and proclaims John is back. There was never a group of individuals who ever begun to claim John was resurrected, nor were there any appearances. Luke 9:18 is also obviously, if it has any relevance here, based on these same rumors. Again, no revelation experiences of John.

So, this is exactly what they were saying. Jesus Christ was John the Baptist risen from the dead. And what is interesting, is that Christian apologists seldom mention this point.

They don’t mention it because it’s irrelevant. Rumors were going around that Jesus was really just a risen John … and? There is … no anomaly. I still fail to see how this has any relevance to anything. Again, no hallucinations of John, no vision experiences of John, just people confusing Jesus with John. Which of my premises does this contradict?


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #336

So, John dies. And then the people claim to see John alive. And, in Luke’s Gospel, according to the words of Jesus’ disciples, the people Jesus is John the Baptist or one of the prophets who has risen (!). So, while Jesus was alive, he was thought to have been resurrected John (or one of the prophets).

Here is Robert Price (ex Christian turned Atheist) on this
http://robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_jesus.htm


(Luca) #337

Vlad, the hallucination theory doesnt work when you look at it in detail.
And i dont see what the point is when you argue that people thought john was raised.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #338

You continue to use a double standard in which science is allowed to progress and develop, but then religion (in your imagination) is expected to be one instant monolith that has to drop out of the sky in perfected form. This persistent misunderstanding continues to derail your arguments.

Galileo wasn’t burned at the stake. Nor was anybody else that we know about or that you could name, with the possible exception of Giordano Bruno, if you were willing to count him as a scientist (…and you would really be scraping the bottom of the barrel to think of him so – and in any case it almost certainly wasn’t his ‘science’ -such as it was – that got him killed.) These are Scientistic myths that you are repeating that have long been debunked by historians. You do realize, don’t you, that in repeating them to prop up your narrative, you are doing to history what some creationists are doing to science? You make yourself an ideological twin with the very parties you imagine you are opposing.

… like, for example, that Galileo was burned at the stake? The answer to this was, and continues to be: “No”. The Christian understanding of faith is not that it enables one to believe anything and everything. Perhaps your understanding of faith reduces it to this. So much the worse for your understanding, and all your arguments that follow from it.


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #339

I stand corrected. However, Galileo DID recant his theory that the earth moves around the sun to AVOID torture and death.
My point still stands. Church was not open to science and we don’t know how many scientific findings would be found quicker had the environment been more conducive to it http://www.baskent.edu.tr/~tkaracay/etudio/agora/news/Galileo.html

I mean, my point, was to show that the Church did not like science. Even Protestant beacons, such as Calvin, called people crazy for teaching the earth moves

However, even though Calvin did not make the oft-quoted statement about Copernicus cited above, a statement he made in a sermon on 1 Corinthians is relevant. There, Calvin warns against those who say “that the sun does not move and that it is the earth that moves.” He describes those who hold this view as “stark raving mad” and as “possessed” by the Devil.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #340

And your point would continue to be … wrong. If the church hated science it sure had a funny way of showing that … founding universities, sponsoring Jesuit scientists, and all. For something that allegedly “controlled science” as you say, I guess it could have just made science go away if it had wanted, right? Instead we find [many?] great scientist thinkers of the time not only in good standing in the church, but even as respected leaders.

It would be more accurate to say that many key church leaders of the time opposed any aggressive promotion of heliocentrism as factual – especially the Pope after Galileo made it an odious issue of personal insult. Opposing this one facet of science is not the same as opposing science generally. In fact, Bellarmine actually was following the science of his day in rejecting Galileo’s appeals to view scripture in a different light. Bellarmine saw no need to revisit settled theological understandings in order to accommodate some new idea of science that he (rightly!) saw was far from settled as science! If you read through the link you provided about John Calvin (thanks for that!), you would have read on to see that while Calvin most certainly rejected Heliocentrism, he most certainly did not see science generally as a bad thing. Making the “Heliocentrism = Science” conflation is easy for us to fall into today, but back when heliocentrism was new and far from scientifically settled, those were not synonymous things. It would be like us accusing somebody today of being a science-hater because they refuse to accept the existence of dark energy … or some tenet of string theory. It does not follow that the person questioning these still-developing concepts has rejected science generally. In fact, she may have scientific reasons (as Bellarmine did) for holding at arms-length the new concept in question.

[Correction and clarity edits]


#341

Yep, we’ve established that. There were rumors going around that Jesus was really the resurrected John. Again, no appearances of John. Seeing Jesus is not an appearance of John. No hallucinations of John. No revelations of the risen John. No early cult proclaiming the resurrection of John. That, again, contradicts none of my premises. Are you simply making the point that some people thought resurrection was possible in 1st century Judaism? If so, I’ll grant you that, especially since I never made the claim.

Here is Robert Price (ex Christian turned Atheist) on this
http://robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_jesus.htm1

To put it as bluntly as I can, and I’d hate to sound dismissive, but I don’t think you should be reading Price. I’d also hate to intrude on one of your other conversations…

I stand corrected. However, Galileo DID recant his theory that the earth moves around the sun to AVOID torture and death.
My point still stands. Church was not open to science and we don’t know how many scientific findings would be found quicker had the environment been more conducive to it

This is only one aspect of the full picture, and without the full picture, we get nothing that is actually correct. The trial of Galileo is much more complex and detailed as proponents of the idea of the “historical conflict of religion and science” would like to think. At the time of Galileo, the science was against him, decidedly so. It would not be until almost a century until the science was really beginning to show, in the judgement of the scientists, that heliocentrism was correct. Galileo’s main proof for heliocentrism was ocean waves, which we know today to be an incorrect proof. Galileo was using his incomplete and unsubstantiated theory to reinterpret the Bible, which is what really stung the Church and got them going (otherwise, Galileo was even good on publishing his theories with the Pope a little earlier). James Hannam quickly summarizes his first Galileo chapter in pg. 278 of his highly renowned monograph God’s Philosophers:

According to the traditional history of science, Galileo was a man of unparalleled originality. He was, supposedly, the first person to show that objects of different weights fall at the same speed, the first to claim that vacuums could really exist and the first to realise projectiles move in curves. He rejected Aristotle when everyone else followed him slavishly. It is said that he proved Copernicus was right and that the Inquisition cast him into prison as a result. As it turns out, none of these things is exactly true. Galileo never proved heliocentricism (as we have already seen, it was Kepler who effectively did that) and his trial before the Inquisition was based more on politics than science. Galileo’s scientific achievement was solidly based on the natural philosophy that came before him. Appreciating that fact should not diminish our admiration of his genius. While almost all his theories can be traced back to earlier sources, he was the first to mould them into a coherent whole and the first to show how they could be experimentally demonstrated. In that sense, the long road to modern
science really does start with him.

There are quotations of the high ranking theologians of Galileo’s day specifically saying that if he could show heliocentrism was correct (again, the science of the time said otherwise), they would accept his theory, but until then, there was no need to reinterpret the Bible. Some theologians did accept his theory, many actually, which complicated his trial even more. Galileo was put under house arrest with a ridiculous amount of freedom compared to others who received the same punishment, and it was there that he wrote his major scientific works that we look back to today.


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #342

Ok, I am not sure why you keep repeating the claim of “No appearances of John”. My point, is that seeing Jesus was enough for some people to conclude John rose from the dead. No appearance of John was required! And perhaps to THEM, John DID appear in the person of Jesus. Otherwise, why would they claim John risen from the dead instead of became reincarnated?

Perhaps, but science loves to be proven wrong. Religion, on the other hand, no so much.


#343

I fail to see how this is relevant, since the resurrection of Jesus was originally based on appearances that the disciples believed they had. Again, you have not told me the conclusion you’re drawing from this John thing. The entire thing of John erupted between a confusion of him and an associate of his (Jesus), and these were just rumors, no solid claims that ever grew into a cult, that wrote writings, etc. What part of the resurrection evidences Christians bring up is this supposed to refute?

Perhaps, but science loves to be proven wrong. Religion, on the other hand, no so much.

Perhaps, but this looks like goalpost shifting from the topic of the relationship between science and religion regarding the Galileo trial. I didn’t type that up for nothing, a concession would be appreciated since I provided you with more information.


(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #344

I’m tired. You see to not be getting the point. John was dead. John was thought to have been risen from the dead. HOW and WHY is irrelevant. Some people thought Jesus was risen John. That’s it. Appearance of Jesus to THEM was appearance of risen John. I’m not sure why are you splitting hairs here.

Remember, we know (if Gospels are to be trusted) this is what the people thought, because Christians recorded it. They were a hostile witness to John’s resurrection and were writing to correct the misconception.

Takeaway here, in my view, is that Jewish people could believe in a resurrection of a person A, based on appearance of person B. Pure and simple.

Look, the church has a history of torturing and killing people who were heretics. The challenge today, in reviewing historical cases of inquisitions, is determining the exact reasons people were burned and killed by the Church.

Giordano Bruno supported heliocentrism, but also denied some doctrines considered essential by the Church. He was killed for his views. Was heliocentrism the reason? Probably one of them, but may be the other reasons outweighed his ‘sins’. I will grant you that.

Just look at what happened to Charles Darwin. He was a heretic until Christians came around to agree with him. And now, Church becomes pro science again.


#345

I’m not splitting hairs. I just quite frankly didn’t get your point.

Takeaway here, in my view, is that Jewish people could believe in a resurrection of a person A, based on appearance of person B. Pure and simple.

Oh, that’s your claim. Well, it’s more complicated than that of course, since Jesus and John were originally associated with each other and held similar views and were in the same social circles. And these claims remained rumors, not actual cult/religious claims. And you misstated at least one thing, it was not based on the “appearance” of B, but rather the information/rumors about them (see Herod passage). So I’d agree with the statement above as long as you always make sure to note these nuances, since it isn’t fully accurate to simply say “ancient Jew thought A is resurrected because they saw B”.

I don’t see the relevance in any of this, though, unless you actually believe Jesus’ resurrection operated in the same way.

Look, the church has a history of torturing and killing people who were heretics. The challenge today, in reviewing historical cases of inquisitions, is determining the exact reasons people were burned and killed by the Church.

Can you name a single scientist killed in the Middle Ages for their scientific views? Giordano Bruno was a mystic, not a scientist, and if my memory serves me, he was killed for rejecting the virginity of Mary and for believing in the many worlds idea (which is not science by any means, let alone back then). Bruno was questioned for his heliocentric views, however heliocentrism was not one of the things he was eventually condemned for. Tim O’Neill has excellently written about Bruno here and here.

Just look at what happened to Charles Darwin. He was a heretic until Christians came around to agree with him. And now, Church becomes pro science again.

Darwin was a heretic? I don’t know much about the religious circumstances of Darwin’s theories so you’ll need to fill me in, but I’m pretty sure he was no heretic. I checked the Wikipedia article on Darwin and it seems to be totally incorrect of a claim.


#346

I am not sure I follow you here.

Though religion is a construct of man, therefore imperfect. I just meant the main theme of a religion has not changed since inception, rather details get changed.

I just found his statement ironic.

But I don’t find science and religion to at odds with each other, rather in harmony. Science amplifies religion.

You can’t prove religion/beliefs wrong though.

You can say there isn’t enough evidence to prove it. Or give reasons why some things aren’t logical, but one can say the same about atheism.

But this differs from Jesus. That was believing in the resurrection of person A, based on appearance of person A.

The Jews didn’t believe in physical resurrection, but they did believe in spirits etc. If you told another Jew you saw a physical resurrection, they would think you were crazy.

N.T Wright explains this in much more detail
http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/07/12/christian-origins-and-the-resurrection-of-jesus-the-resurrection-of-jesus-as-a-historical-problem/

They had no reason to believe in the physical resurrection other than few like Lazarus. Multiple people can’t have the same hallucinations.
People won’t die for a lie(they will for a lie, but not something they know is a lie). Especially a lie about another “Lazarus” rising from he dead.
They wouldn’t have though their Messiah could die without restoring Israel’s kingdom 1st, they have no need to lie for a physical resurrection of this non messiah.

But if this guy did raise from the dead physically, like Lazarus did why? They might not have known right away, but in time they learned it was prophesied, this was their Messiah the ended seeing alive again and then realized the gravity of what was done on the cross, and that His resurrection validated it.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #347

My response about the double standard was actually to Vlad, and not to you. Sorry about that. It was his quote, embedded within your quote, that provoked my response. He was insisting that church texts would not come back the same if forced to start fresh over a thousand years, but that science books would. That was what I was joining you in criticizing. Sorry about the confusion.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #348

Sorry to pile up here when your already tired, but I’m not asking for any response to this but just wanted to pick up on your Calvin link before I forget.

This is an interesting observation. You are almost certainly right that Calvin and Luther did not accept heliocentrism. On re-reading your link to the Calvin article, it seems there is an important distinction to be made. Calvin’s objections against heliocentrism seemed to be fueled most by his common sense approach to the world. I.e. he took stock of the world, and let his common sense observations inform him about truth, after which he appropriated scriptures that would, of course, to the extent that they touch on it, confirm only true views of the world. Calvin’s problem is that common sense was no longer a friend of science on this issue (and a growing number of others since). So it looks like Calvin wasn’t so much challenging heliocentrism on scriptural grounds (though he certainly and conveniently found an ally there!) but was instead challenging it as obtuse or perverted science. This may seem like a “splitting hairs” distinction to those who only have an eye to defending anti-religious ideological turf, but it is an important distinction nonetheless. Did Calvin think science was against God / church, or did he think instead that heliocentrism was a fringe theory against both science and wider religious truth? The author from your excellent link seemed to think the latter case is more accepted by scholars in the relevant fields. This has implications for how Calvin would react now were he exposed to more recent developments on in science (and in our understanding of scriptures too!).


(Christy Hemphill) #349

You still seem to think that if a report is similar to another in some aspect, it has the same credibility. THAT ISN’T HOW NORMAL PEOPLE EVALUATE CREDIBILITY. Pointing to the fact that some people thought John was resurrected and the fact that some people thought Jesus was resurrected does not automatically make those claims equally credible. We understand what you are saying, we don’t understand why you think it proves anything. Yes, people believe all sorts of wrong things and report them. So what? That doesn’t establish that no reports are ever credible. Every claim needs to be evaluated for credibility on its own merits, you can’t just grant a claim credibility or lack of credibility based on claims with similar content.