Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Others. Evidence for the Resurrection, Part 5


Hyperbole

A popular ploy is just to claim there is great evidence. A couple of examples, the first from here:
I believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an historical reality. The resurrection is on solid historical grounds, independently of what I am about to talk about. Jesus appeared to His disciples---the original skeptics of the resurrection---over a period of 40 days, offering them "many infallible proofs." They in turn went out and turned the Roman Empire upside down with the message of the cross and resurrection.

In addition to the massive historical evidence for the resurrection,...
The second from here:
Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!
Really? Better than the Normandy landings? When people makes claims as wild as this, they lose all credibility right from the start.

The False Dichotomy

Here is a great example:
Easter is not primarily a comfort, but a challenge. Its message is either the supreme fact in history or else a gigantic hoax.
Once you have claimed that, it is trivial to show the aspostles were sincere, as so many were martyred, and so the resurrection must have happened, right?

Well, no. There are other possibilities. The apostles could have been mistaken (they thought they saw Jesus resurrected, but did not), they could have believed something subtly but significantly different (a spiritual resurrection, not a bodily resurrection).

Unwarranted Assumptions

A lot of web sites are preaching to the choir - they are there to reassure Christians that the resurrection happened. Consequently, they make certain assumptions that Christians will accept as true, despite the lack of support for them. Here is one:
At this point I would like to move on to the direct evidences for the resurrection of Christ. There are a certain number of historical facts that we can glean from the biblical records. They are: Jesus died by crucifixion, he was buried in a tomb known to the authorities, his disciples were distraught because of his death, his tomb was found empty, the disciples believed that they saw Jesus risen from the grave, this experience changed their lives, the message was central to early church teachings, and it was preached in the very city in which Jesus died (Miethe, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?, p. 19, 20). These historical facts will be the basis of our argument for Jesus' resurrection.
A fact is something we know to be true. These are not facts. They might seem to be facts to Christians who assume the Bible is accurate, but we nevertheless cannot be sure of anything from back then.

In particular, the evidence for an empty tomb, as discussed on a previous page, is conspicuously lacking, and yet this is vital to the argument being presented.

This web page would also like us to think the empty tomb is a historical fact.
6.1 Three Well-Established Historical Facts
6.1.1 The Empty Tomb
He then offers the usual evidence, including discovery by women, the supposed account by Paul and claims the gospel accounts are true as well. It all adds up to something that might be true, but probably is not.

This page by ICR is an excellent example of how, if you assume the Gospel accounts are true, it is easy to prove the resurrection. But that is a huge assumption. Sure, for Christians who want their beliefs confirmed that is enough, but not for anyone.

The Turin Shroud

Amazingly some Christians still cling to the Turin Shroud as evidence fore the resurrection.
The faint image on the Shroud was not painted on. It was lightly burned on. It's as if at the moment of the resurrection, Christ's body let off a burst of radiation, as His body changed from mortal to immortal.
Right, so Jesus got this brand new body - but he still had the crucifixion marks in his hands, according to John.

There is no mention in the Bible of a burst of radiation. The author is just making this up to fit the evidence, and then claiming the evidence fits his claim!

The methodology for the radiometric dating is given in detail here, and gave a date of 1260 - 1390 AD.

The link above claims this was because the sample was taken from an area that was later repaired, but there is no evidence that that is the case besides the author's desire for the shroud to be authentic - again, he is making stuff up to fit the evidence. Indeed, the methodology described specifically says "The strip came from a single site on the main body of the shroud away from any patches or charred areas."

Historical Evidence for Christianity

This web site attempts to make the case that the evidence for early Christianity is evidence for the resurrection. However, this evidence is what we would expect to see if the alternative scenario presented earlier is correct.

Authenticity of the Gospels

From here:
The Gospel of Matthew, dating around the 70's C.E., was written in Greek for the largely Greek-speaking Jews of the time. (14) Matthew draws heavily on the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. The book of Matthew is the most contested book concerning its authorship since no clear indications appear to validate Matthew as the author. But the best indication for Matthew's authorship (as well as the other Gospels' authorship) is found in Eusebius' citations of Papias which is probably reliable.
Whether this guy is clueless or deliberately trying to mislead, I do not know. Here is the citation he mentions:
"So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able."
As the author states, Matthew was written in Greek, what Papias was talking about was written in Hebrew. How can he possibly think they were the same text?

From the same page:
Concerning the internal material, Mark's work on the passion and Resurrection of Jesus reads more like a straightforward account in a biographical format. This differentiates from later apocryphal gospels that are embellished and theologically charged.
It also differentiates it from the later Biblical gospels, which also indulge is embellishment and theology. Seems we can reject those accounts too.

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