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Real Encounter: 13 Reasons Jesus’ Disciples Did Not Hallucinate

Cleopas

NOTE: Christians around the world celebrated Good Friday and Easter last week, which commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus we began a six-part series on these events by Dr. Peter Kreeft in which he examines each of the plausible theories attempting to explain what happened to Jesus at the end of his life, particularly whether he rose from the dead.

Part 1 - 5 Possible Theories that Explain the Resurrection of Jesus
Part 2 - Rejecting the Swoon Theory: 9 Reasons Why Jesus Did Not Faint on the Cross
Part 3 - Debunking the Conspiracy Theory: 7 Arguments Why Jesus’ Disciples Did Not Lie
Part 4 - Refuting the Myth Theory: 6 Reasons Why the Resurrection Accounts are True
Part 5 - Real Visions: 13 Reasons the Disciples Did Not Hallucinate
Part 6 - (Coming soon!)
 


 
If you thought you saw a dead man walking and talking, wouldn't you think it more likely that you were hallucinating than that you were seeing correctly? Why then not think the same thing about Christ's resurrection? Here are thirteen reasons the disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus were not hallucinating:

(1) There were too many witnesses. Hallucinations are private, individual, and subjective. Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the disciples minus Thomas, to the disciples including Thomas, to the two disciples at Emmaus, to the fisherman on the shore, to James (his "brother" or cousin), and even to five hundred people at once (1 Cor 15:3-8). Even three different witnesses are enough for a kind of psychological trigonometry; over five hundred is about as public as you can wish. And Paul says in this passage (v. 6) that most of the five hundred are still alive, inviting any reader to check the truth of the story by questioning the eyewitnesses—he could never have done this and gotten away with it, given the power, resources, and numbers of his enemies, if it were not true.

(2) The witnesses were qualified. They were simple, honest, moral people who had firsthand knowledge of the facts.

(3) The five hundred saw Christ together, at the same time and place. This is even more remarkable than five hundred private "hallucinations" at different times and places of the same Jesus. Five hundred separate Elvis sightings may be dismissed, but if five hundred simple fishermen in Maine saw, touched, and talked with him at once, in the same town, that would be a different matter. (The only other dead person we know of who is reported to have appeared to hundreds of qualified and skeptical eyewitnesses at once is Mary the mother of Jesus [at Fatima, to 70,000]. And that was not a claim of physical resurrection but of a vision.)

(4) Hallucinations usually last a few seconds or minutes; rarely hours. This one hung around for forty days (Acts 1:3).

(5) Hallucinations usually happen only once, except to the insane. This one returned many times, to ordinary people (Jn 20:19-21:14; Acts 1:3).

(6) Hallucinations come from within, from what we already know, at least unconsciously. This one said and did surprising and unexpected things (Acts 1:4,9)—like a real person and unlike a dream.

(7) Not only did the disciples not expect this, they didn't even believe it at first. Neither Peter, nor the women, nor Thomas, nor the eleven believed. They thought he was a ghost; he had to eat something to prove he was not (Lk 24:36-43).

(8) Hallucinations do not eat. Yet the resurrected Christ did, on at least two occasions (Lk 24:42-43; Jn 21:1-14).

(9) The disciples touched him (Mt 28:9; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:27).

(10) They also spoke with him, and he spoke back. Figments of your imagination do not hold profound, extended conversations with you, unless you have the kind of mental disorder that isolates you. But this "hallucination" conversed with at least eleven people at once, for forty days (Acts 1:3).

(11) The apostles could not have believed in the "hallucination" if Jesus' corpse had still been in the tomb. This is a very simple and telling point; for if it was a hallucination, where was the corpse? They would have checked for it; if it was there, they could not have believed.

(12) If the apostles had hallucinated and then spread their hallucinogenic story, the Jews would have stopped it by producing the body. Unless, that is, the disciples had stolen it, in which case we are back with the conspiracy theory and all its difficulties.

(13) A hallucination would explain only the post-resurrection appearances. It would not explain the empty tomb, the rolled-away stone, or the inability to produce the corpse. No theory can explain all these data except a real resurrection. C.S. Lewis says,

"Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and if it is invention [rather than fact], it is the oddest invention that ever entered the mind of man) that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus (Lk 24:13-31; Jn 20:15; 21:4). Even granting that God sent a holy hallucination to teach truths already widely believed without it, and far more easily taught by other methods, and certain to be completely obscured by this, might we not at least hope that he would get the face of the hallucination right? Is he who made all faces such a bungler that he cannot even work up a recognizable likeness of the Man who was himself?" (Miracles, chapter 16)

Some of these "hallucination" arguments are as old as the Church Fathers. Most go back to the eighteenth century, especially William Paley. How do unbelievers try to answer them? Today, few even try to meet these arguments, although occasionally someone tries to refurbish one of the three theories of swoon, conspiracy, or hallucination (e.g. Schonfield's conspiratorial The Passover Plot). But the counter-attack today most often takes one of the two following forms.

  1. Some dismiss the resurrection simply because it is miraculous, thus throwing the whole issue back to whether miracles are possible. They argue, as Hume did, that any other explanation is always more probable than a miracle. Yet this is simply unjustified bias against miracles.
  2. The other form of counter-attack, by far the most popular, is to try to escape the traditional dilemma of "deceivers" (conspirators) or "deceived" (hallucinators) by interpreting the Gospels as myth—neither literally true nor literally false, but spiritually or symbolically true. This is the standard line of many theology departments in colleges, universities, and seminaries throughout the Western world today. But we've already seen why that doesn't work.

On Wednesday, we'll wrap up this series by answering five more common objections to the resurrection.
 
 
Excerpted from “Handbook of Catholic Apologetics", copyright 1994, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, published 2009 Ignatius Press, used with permission of the publisher. Text reproduced from PeterKreeft.com.

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

Dr. Peter Kreeft

Written by

Dr. Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and a noted Catholic apologist and philosopher. He is a convert to the Catholic Church from reformed Protestantism. He earned an A.B. degree from Calvin College, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University, followed by post-doctoral work at Yale University. He is a regular contributor to several Christian publications, is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences, and is the author of over 60 books including Making Sense Out of Suffering (Servant, 1986); Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics (Ignatius, 1988); Catholic Christianity (Ignatius, 2001); The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion (IVP, 2002); and The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings (Ignatius, 2005). Many of Peter's books are also integrated into the Logos software. Find dozens of audio talks, essays, and book excerpts at his website, PeterKreeft.com.

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    This is a bit off topic but:

    I wanted to express some appreciation to Brandon Vogt for the work he does in gathering and presenting the articles here on Strange Notions. I was noticing that it seems that most of the commenters here are critical of the articles (myself included). I imagine that having each article met with criticism and disagreement could get frustrating after a while and may seem like an exercise in futility. Even though I often disagree with the conclusions, I do genuinely enjoy reading the articles and am thankful for this website.

    So, thanks Brandon!

    And now back to your regular programming of why Dr. Kreeft is entirely wrong! ;-)

    • William Davis

      I agree, though I have made it a point commend better articles. The articles that are inconsistent with modern exegesis seem to fair worse.

      • "I agree, though I have made it a point commend better articles."

        Really? :) Which ones?

        • William Davis

          I've like the articles that dealt with presuppositions, such as Bart Ehrman and the question of miracles. I couldn't find the link, but I also liked the article about modern understanding of the soul as a general concept for what makes life work. That's just a couple off the top of my head.

          In general, I'm interested in philosophy, and I think there has been a lot of great philosophy that has come out of the Catholic Church. I have yet to read anything I don't like from Thomas Aquinas (though obviously I don't agree with him on a lot, that doesn't mean I don't like how he puts it).

          The mind is also of great interest to me, and I've enjoyed discussing articles relating to it, though I've been pretty critical of those articles. Perhaps an article by a neuroscientist would be harder to critique.

          Thanks for your interest in what I have to say, and sorry if I was harsh on Kreeft and WLC the other day. I find some of their comments about people of opposing views offensive at times (like being full of hot air). They are both smart people, but I disagree with their epistemological position that historical events are provable. One can be certain of his/her views, but still realize they have not been proven, at least beyond doubt. By the same token, there is no way anyone will ever prove that the resurrection didn't happen.

          • Doug Shaver

            By the same token, there is no way anyone will ever prove that the resurrection didn't happen.

            Quite so. But no one needs to prove it didn't happen. Christians need to prove it did happen. So far, every apologetic argument I have seen reduces to: The resurrection must have really happened because Christians have always believed that it really happened.

          • "So far, every apologetic argument I have seen reduces to: The resurrection must have really happened because Christians have always believed that it really happened."

            Doug, once again, that's a crude and unfair representation of the arguments we've posed at Strange Notions (and elsewhere in the Christian tradition.)

            In fact, it's not even a simplistic reduction; it's simply a misrepresentation. NO serious Christian I know of has ever claimed the Resurrection happened simply because "Christians have always believed that it really happened."

            Once again, you've created a false straw man. Per our commenting policy, that needs to stop.

          • Interestingly, though, that particular argument actually has some probative significance, can indeed be considered weakly truth-indicative of the resurrection event, even if not robustly truth-conducive. But, you're right, it would still be only one evidential argument among many others in what's otherwise a cumulative case that's VERY suggestive even if not entirely conclusive.

          • Doug Shaver

            NO serious Christian I know of has ever claimed the Resurrection happened simply because "Christians have always believed that it really happened."

            I didn't say they had. I know that isn't what anybody actually says. But I do believe that in the final analysis, that is what the stated arguments boil down to.

            that's a crude and unfair representation of the arguments we've posed at Strange Notions (and elsewhere in the Christian tradition.)

            I am prepared to defend it, if you will allow me.

            Once again, you've created a false straw man. Per our commenting policy, that needs to stop.

            I don't believe that accusation is justified. But, it's your forum, and you are the judge and jury. Do I get to defend myself or not?

            If not, I will leave without further protest. I have tried my best to avoid violating your rules, but if it's this easy to violate them, it's not worth the stress to keep second-guessing you.

          • William Davis

            That pretty much sums it up. That is why Christianity has historically been so intolerant of doubt, it is the maintained belief that keeps it going. If an entire generation didn't believe, that would be the end of Christianity. I'm not saying I want everyone to stop believing, but that is how it seems to work. Belief is a powerful thing.

          • The intergenerational tenacity of a given set of beliefs, from a pragmatic semiotic perspective, cannot, alone, indicate epistemic vice. Indeed, ceteris paribus, it's considered, rather, an epistemic virtue called conservatism or traditionalism, which is of significant axiological import. See Tom Short on Peirce's pragmatism:
            https://home.isi.org/conservative-pragmatism-charles-peirce

            Now, the epistemic virtues of conservatism must be placed in a dialectic with progressivist virtues, otherwise a traditionalism will devolve into the traditionalistic.

            One must locate a belief system's epistemic vices elsewhere and get more directly at why its followers are not interpreting reality within their epistemic rights.

          • William Davis

            History has many traditionalistic cultures who fell apart because of their inability to evolve. With no competition, traditionalistic cultures do well. Egypt lasted for nearly 3000 years and was generally hostile to all cultural change. Akhenaten tried to change Egyptian religion to monotheism, but the culture was even able to resist the efforts of a "god" king. It must of been awkward for a "god" to deny the existence of the other traditional gods.

            With the integration of the entire world in the modern era, there has never been so much competition, and it is a reasonable fear that too much change could devolve into pure chaos. I'm sort of a radical moderate myself. Radical in the sense that what we shouldn't accept something as necessary or right just because it is traditional, but moderate in the sense that we should not fix something that isn't broken, or change things just for the sake of changing them. Interesting times we live in, I wonder if we will end up with some kind universalist religion when everything settles. Many religions make some really good points, and most have a lot in common.

          • Radical in the sense that what we shouldn't accept something as necessary or right just because it is traditional

            Not radical, really. That's why I qualified it, ceteris paribus, all things being equal, because it's a default epistemic bias, pragmatically, hence otherwise radical in the literal etymological sense of being rooted. And that's why I prescribed the dialectic, which is precisely what we see in what you referred to as a universalist trend, what I referenced earlier today in terms of inclusivism, pluralism, polydoxy, interreligious dialogue, comparative theology, the mystical core, the perennial philosophy, etc

            To Brandon's counterpoint, then, the cumulative case, evidentially, includes more than tradition, explanatorily. Additionally, per Luke Timothy Johnson's point, existentially, it includes 2,000 years of religious experiences, signs and wonders, transformed lives and exegetical scholarship.

            Now, understandably, one individual's or group's interpretive frames and experiences may have little epistemic or normative force for others, but that doesn't, alone, disestablish their epistemic rights and normative justifications. It takes authentic dialogue and charitable interpretation, i.e. benefit of the doubt, before an in depth, rather than superficial, critique can even begin to properly interpret such an existential orientation, which is FAR more than evidential propositions. So, no apologetic defense is occasioned unless another individual or group comes along and claims one isn't within her epistemic rights or is wholly irrational. Caricatures thus often result, quite innocently, from bad arguments rooted in superficial (mis)understandings, not from bad faith, grounded in disingenuous, even mischievous, misconstruals. Or maybe not a bad argument but one deserving of further inquiry and solicitation of further nuancing.

            This is all quite distinct from a proselytizing that imagines one's own epistemic rights and normative justificationss should necessarily have conclusive epistemic force and impactful normative impetus on others. Proselytizing is, in turn, quite distinct from evangelizing, which St Francis encouraged us to do at every possible opportunity, using words, however, as a last resort.

            Finally, a theodicy question often gets posed regarding why, then, are faith's consolations bestowed here and not there? Generally, augmented love, not additional consolation, is the essence of faith. In any particular instance, no one knows.

          • Phil

            Hey William,

            it is the maintained belief that keeps it going. If an entire generation didn't believe, that would be the end of Christianity.

            I would argue that it is the personal experience of Jesus that truly keeps Christianity going. If no one had any personal experiences of our Lord, then it would be the case, especially in our rationalistic and scientific culture, that there would be no good reason to believe some of the radical things that Catholic Christianity claims.

            Christianity claims that we believe our faith so much that we are not to offer physical defense in response to those who are persecuting us, but rather we offer our very life. (This is very different from radical Islam which promotes violence and conversion.)

            If there is no reason to believe these radical claims, why would anyone make the sacrifices that Christianity calls for? Well, one could argue that the sacrifices and life that Catholic Christianity calls for leads to a true joy and peace--which I have found to be true beyond a reasonable doubt. If true joy and peace is what the human person desires and Catholicism is a path that leads to this, I would say that we have good reason to hold it as having a good amount of truth to it.

          • William Davis

            The religious experience is very real, but I wonder what it is exactly. I went through some interesting TTC lectures on the spiritual brain. The lecturer didn't have a whole lot of answers, but there were clear common denominators in the religious experience of various faiths. To specific I wonder if you are actually experiencing something primal that you call Jesus.

            http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/the-spiritual-brain-science-and-religious-experience.html

            I grew up in an extremely religious environment, and I remember trying to believe in and talk to Jesus when I was a child, but it always felt like talking to myself. I spent time wondering whether I was doing it wrong, or whether there was something wrong with me. By high school I had given up, I maintained the pretense required by my religious environment, but I didn't feign religiousness more than required. The consequences for doubt in my environment were dire, as these Christians took the whole Bible quite literally.

            I learned pretty quickly that studying how the world worked, science and astronomy in particular, evoked a religious experience in me where Jesus never did. I wonder if this is the same fundamental phenomena. For me, learning about the marvelous universe we live in is learning about God.

            I've never thought that everyone needed to be like me, but perhaps human religiousness manifests itself in different ways for unknown reasons. I think your approach here is the best path for evangelism, one is never going to prove their religion, but it was always supposed to be about faith anyway.

            If there is no reason to believe these radical claims, why would anyone make the sacrifices that Christianity calls for?

            You make a valid point, but self-sacrifice is found in almost all major religions and even outside of religion in ideologies. Think of all the political martyr's who died for freedom, summed up by Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty, or give me death." You mentioned Islam, and it is more disposed to violence than Christianity (though Christian hasn't always turned the other cheek, and I'm perfectly fine with that) but suicide bombers are sacrificing themselves for their cause as much as Justin Martyr himself death. Obviously Justin Martyr's sacrifice was much more noble and effective, but self sacrifice is self sacrifice. There are different words for martyr's in different faiths, and each has their own rich history. One good recent example is Mahatma Gandhi who was willing to starve himself to death in protest of violence between Hindu's and Muslims. Self-immolation is a disturbing practice by some Buddhist monks, but again self sacrifice is self sacrifice. That fact that some of these monks have burned themselves alive with no obvious reaction to the pain is pretty amazing, even if misguided. Again, I'm not trying to take away from your faith, but the Bible makes it pretty clear that Jesus is the only way, and I know this isn't the case, look at the world and history.

          • Phil

            The nature of religious experience is very interesting, and in the end a true experience of God cannot be denied. Yes, people can misinterpret certain experiences, because we can deceive ourselves and even demons do have a limited ability to grants visions and such (look at Mohammad where there is good reason to believe that he was deceived). That is why we need a good spiritual director.

            You are exactly correct that learning about the universe is learning about God! One of my favorite insights in regards to the physical sciences is that "science is re-thinking what was already thought into existence by the Creator".

            I'm not trying to take away from your faith, but the Bible makes it pretty clear that Jesus is the only way, and I know this isn't the case, look at the world and history.

            Think about it this way--you can't gain salvation through something that doesn't exist. If Jesus did die and rise so as to open the gates of heaven, then salvation only comes through him. Now this doesn't mean that only those who know Jesus in this life can come to be in the presence of God, through Jesus. God's mercy can extend beyond that. But we ought to also hold that, here on earth, the fullness of Jesus is present in his Church.

            So even those that are trying to "gain salvation" through different routes would only come to salvation because of Jesus. Of course, if Jesus did not die and rise, all bets are off. That is why the personal encounter of our Lord is the only way that a person comes to know who Jesus is.

            These sorts of things can be very foreign to our "modern" mind, but they are no less reasonable. Christianity can give us the language to talk about these things that the secular culture doesn't even have the language to talk about. (Sadly, many people assume that this sort of religious stuff is false, without a true investigation. This investigation many times can't be just intellectual. Some have had true intellectual conversions, but most conversions come through a personal encounter with God.)

          • Phil

            I was doing some reading for a paper I am working on and I found a great insight that was relevant to our discussion. This is from Robert Barron's "Bridging the Great Divide".

            He sets aside a chapter where he is analyzing the story of Adam and Eve and puts forward the thesis that it has both a positive side and a negative side. On the positive side, the human person has been called to mature, to freely choose between good and evil. On the negative side, the human person has turned in upon herself, in pride, because she realizes how vulnerable she is. Put simply, she has begun to see God as a rival and must protect herself.

            He concludes the chapter by stating that living as truly human is not returning to that innocence of the garden where one uncritically believes what God says. God is seen in this way as some external lawgiver.

            So we ought not simply uncritically believe what is passed onto us in regards to religion, but we must also not close ourselves off to the possibility that it is true. We open ourselves up to the possibility of the Divine and we come to know the truth of the Christian faith, through critical reflection, study, and prayer.

            The proper stance then is one which he calls "theonomous". One that comes to understand that God is not some purely external entity that we are in competition with, but one who dwells in our the depths of our very being. One who desires us to give ourself over to truth, in complete trust, because that is the true state of reality. And when we are acting in accordance with the truth of reality, it leads to the true peace and joy we were made for.

            In all, I would categorize my humble experiences of our Lord as a slowly growing awareness of the truth of this "theonomous" view of reality. A truth that I cannot rationally deny at this point.

          • William Davis

            I like that explanation, and I too do what I can to give myself to the truth, as much as possible. It is interesting how people with the same pure motives can come out on different sides of an issue. I like people with pure motives, regardless of their creed, beliefs, or worldview.
            Johnboy Sylvest brought Hans Kung to my attention, and I agree with him on a lot. I do have a trust in uncertain reality, whatever is, is, and I have faith it is right, whatever the true nature of reality is. Perhaps someday I could be convinced that God directly intervenes in this world miraculously, but so far I'm not convinced. It probably will take personal experience to do it, and if I never believe in miracles, I don't see why God would mind. If he cares about such things, he knows my heart, and knows my motives as pure as I can make them.

          • Phil

            Hey Doug,

            If one wants hard empirical evidence for or against the resurrection of Jesus, it isn't going to happen (as you hint at). Now, is there reasonable evidence to believe in the resurrection, sure--this series of articles has shown this to be the case. In other words, one cannot simply say, "These Christians are crazy irrational lunatics". But even these articles can't possibly provide "proof".

            Now, the only way to "prove" the resurrection is to personally experience our risen Lord. I can tell you I believed in the truth of Christianity for many years because of the reasonableness of what I had been taught. But it is only within the past 2 years that I can now say that I have next to no doubt as to the existence of our risen Lord Jesus, and he continues to desire to establish a relationship with each and every one of us. In other words, proof only comes through personal experience of our Lord.

            Those who know me would not say I am overly credulous. In fact, I situate myself smack dab in the middle between being overly incredulous and being overly credulous. These experiences of our Lord are more real than even this real physical world that we normally experience. That's the reason it has led to such a surety of my trust in our Lord.

            My final invitation is to simply keep yourself open to a personal encounter with our Lord. It is only our own fault when we shut ourself off to God--and each of us does this to a certain extent.

          • Doug Shaver

            Now, is there reasonable evidence to believe in the resurrection, sure--this series of articles has shown this to be the case.

            In my epistemology, evidence is neither reasonable nor unreasonable. Those words just don't apply to it. Evidence is a fact or a set of facts. In the case we're discussing here, reasonable people disagree about which of several hypotheses is accounts for that evidence.

          • Phil

            I think that the way I phrased it made it confusing.

            It may be better to rephrase my statement as "the fact of the resurrection is reasonable to hold because of good evidence for that conclusion".

            So, it is reasonable to believe that the evidence actually supports the proposed conclusion.

            An example of "unreasonable" evidence would be to hold that because my dog ran through the yard, therefore the Republican candidate has won the election.

          • Doug Shaver

            So, it is reasonable to believe that the evidence actually supports the proposed conclusion.

            Reasonable people can so believe. Other reasonable people can believe otherwise.

          • Doug Shaver

            In other words, one cannot simply say, "These Christians are crazy irrational lunatics".

            I quite agree. I have occasionally scolded some of my fellow unbelievers for saying such things.

    • Hey, thanks, OM! I really appreciate the kind words. Since the atheist commenters here definitely outweigh the Catholic commenters (though the pageviews and backlinks skew far the other way), I sometimes feel like I've created a digital piñata.

      But nevertheless, I hope everyone agrees that even in disagreement, the discussion can be fruitful.

      I know I've learned a lot from you and others over the last couple years, especially where Christianity's greatest difficulties reside. Even though I still find Christianity more compelling than atheism, I value your insights, conversation, and friendship.

      Thanks again!

  • William Davis

    (1) There were too many witnesses. Hallucinations are private, individual, and subjective. Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the disciples minus Thomas, to the disciples including Thomas, to the two disciples at Emmaus, to the fisherman on the shore, to James (his "brother" or cousin), and even to five hundred people at once (1 Cor 15:3-8). Even three different witnesses are enough for a kind of psychological trigonometry; over five hundred is about as public as you can wish. And Paul says in this passage (v. 6) that most of the five hundred are still alive, inviting any reader to check the truth of the story by questioning the eyewitnesses—he could never have done this and gotten away with it, given the power, resources, and numbers of his enemies, if it were not true.

    We don't have any eyewitnesses, we have documents. Besides, eyewitness testimony has real problems, to the point that modern law is trying to get away from eyewitness testimony as much as possible. Remembering what one saw is often the problem, and memory is very much subject to alteration after the fact.

    This is from a recent article in Newsweek entitled "The end of eyewitness testimony

    "There have been 318 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence since 1989. In most of those cases, the eyewitnesses who testified felt confident in their memories when under oath on the stand. Yet eyewitness testimony contributed to 72 percent of those wrongful convictions, according to the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal and public policy group."

    http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/28/end-eyewitness-testimonies-285414.html

    Wikpedia has a good write up eye witness testimony, here is one quick quote:

    "The legal system in the United States makes juries responsible for assessing the credibility of witness testimony presented in a trial.[4] Research has shown that mock juries are often unable to distinguish between a false and accurate eyewitness testimony. "Jurors" often appear to correlate the confidence level of the witness with the accuracy of their testimony. An overview of this research by Laub and Bornstein shows this to be an inaccurate gauge of accuracy.[5]

    Another reason why eyewitness testimony may be inaccurate comes about due to an eyewitness's memory being influenced by things that they might hear or see after the crime occurred. This distortion is known as the post-event misinformation effect (Loftus and Palmer, 1974). After a crime occurs and an eyewitness comes forward, law enforcement tries to gather as much information as they can to avoid the influence that may come from the environment, such as the media. Many times when the crime is surrounded by much publicity, an eyewitness may experience source misattribution. Source misattribution occurs when a witness is incorrect about where or when they have the memory from. If a witness cannot correctly identify the source of their retrieved memory, the witness is seen as not reliable.

    While some witnesses see the entirety of a crime happen in front of them, some witness only part of a crime. These witnesses are more likely to experience confirmation bias. Witness expectations are to blame for the distortion that may come from confirmation bias. For example, Lindholm and Christianson (1998) found that witnesses of a mock crime who did not witness the whole crime, nevertheless testified to what they expected would have happened. These expectations are normally similar across individuals due to the details of the environment."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyewitness_testimony

    In general, eye witness testimony is very unreliable. Not only do we not have eye witnesses in your case, Paul says Cephas and the twelve say Jesus first, but the gospels say the women did (even though the original gospel Mark, didn't even say that). This is more than a minor contradiction, this is a contradiction about who the eye witnesses were. In court, contradiction are not positive as you falsely claim. If two witnesses pick out two different people in a lineup, then you have a real problem in court. Of course if they give every single detail exactly the same, then you know they are copying each other. Major story differences are problematic, minor details are positive, even though eye witness testimony as a whole is quite unreliable.

    If you are familiar with the synoptic problem you'll know that Matthew and Luke copied Mark, or vice versa. If these aren't independent accounts, we don't have as many witnesses as some might thing. The original Mark's gospel says the women only saw an unnamed man in the tomb who claimed Jesus was risen. The women were not witnesses, they were just aware of second hand information

    Last, I would like to point out other massively witnessed miracles.

    Here's a link on the miracles of Mohammed:

    http://www.sunnah.org/history/miracles_of_Prophet.htm

    They claim there were thousands of witnesses for some.

    Romulus (founder of Rome) was witnessed ascending into the heavens by the entire Roman senate supposedly.

    Joseph Smith's miracles have tons of eye witnesses, and are as well attested as those in the gospels

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Healings_and_miracles

    Here is a good link going into more detail, on many, many more well documented miracles.
    http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4c.html
    I typically don't use Richard Carrier, but his research here isn't bad.

    Last, take this huge list of mass delusions that were witnessed by thousands in some cases.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/mass_delusions_and_hysterias_highlights_from_the_past_millennium/

    Perhaps the 500 witnessing Jesus was a mass delusion due to expectation. Expectation has a major effect on perception.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      eyewitness testimony has real problems

      So does documentary evidence, and even confessions are sometimes found unreliable, so it's hard to see what's left. In contemporary matters, for which laboratory tests can be done, there are iffy issues of interpretation, laboratory repeatability, keystroke error, and the like.

      I suppose that's why medieval courts required not just eyewitness testimony, but at least two, independent eyewitnesses.

      However, that an eyewitness may be unreliable in one matter does not mean that all eyewitnesses are always unreliable. An excellent book by Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition as History gives an excellent account of this in the study of various legends in Africa and elsewhere. That deBrazza became a culture hero in the Congo does not mean that deBrazza did not exist. In particular, eyewitness accounts tend to be more reliable when they are accounts of life-changing events than when they are passive witnessings of third-party events.

      For example, the tradition in my family told me by my father's father was that his grandfather, whom he had never met, had been crushed between coal cars in the railroad yards in Washington NJ about 1880 or so. He had stepped between two cars in a line in order to get at some on the other side of the track when a switch engine pushing some other cars onto the siding shoved them together. Years later, I located two newspaper accounts of the accident, though they disagreed on some particulars like age and time of night, supported this family tradition right down to the cars being coal cars. So it was preserved without error for approximately a hundred years.

      OTOH, I don't recall what I had for dinner last Wednesday.

      • William Davis

        However, that an eyewitness may be unreliable in one matter does not mean that all eyewitnesses are always unreliable.

        You are correct, but I have no way of determining the reliability of the witnesses to the resurrected Jesus. Obviously Paul believed them and had visions himself, but he never says much about the visions. Were they dreams perhaps? One of the best examples of Paul discussing it comes from 1 Corinthians 15, but one has to consider the context, he is trying to convince some of his converts that Jesus was really raised from the dead. That means the Christians in Corinth had some reason NOT to believe Jesus was literally resurrected. Was another witness contradicting Paul's story?
        At work, for example, I know everyone, and some people are MUCH more reliable than others. I can't get to know and analyze a text like I can a live person over time. Interestingly enough, skeptical people tend to more reliable than non-skeptical people. Some people will believe anything.
        Using the 7 undisputed epistles one can make a week analysis of Paul. No one would argue he wasn't a zealot, and zealot's are great at getting things done. Zealots perceptions tend to be warped by their own zealousness, however. I've had personal experience with this, and had to learn how to get out of my own way to see things clearly. Even if Paul was wrong about the resurrection, I still think it was important that he did what he did, else the world would likely be a very different place (probably much worse, but one could argue all day about that to no avail).

  • David Nickol

    (8) Hallucinations do not eat.

    This one is my favorite.

    • I wonder why? Despite your sarcastic comment, Kreeft is making a valid point. We have no evidence of a hallucination eating real food that other people, including the person purportedly experiencing the hallucination, can actually touch and eat themselves. The very idea is absurd, and thus so is the "hallucination" theory.

      • David Nickol

        We have no evidence of a hallucination eating real food that other people, including the person purportedly experiencing the hallucination, can actually touch and eat themselves.

        I do not believe in an all-encompassing "hallucination theory." However, there would be nothing remarkable at all about a person eating something to have a hallucination of someone else eating it, too. I take it your point is that a hallucination can't consume something like a piece of fish. However, is a person having a hallucination of someone eating with them going to be careful to (a) make sure he transfers a real piece of fish into the hallucination's hand, make sure it goes into the hallucination's mouth, and verify after the hallucination is gone that the fish is gone, too? Supposing a group hallucination (which I think highly, highly improbable). Are the hallucinating people going to make sure all necessary precautions have been taken to make sure the hallucination authentically and truly consumes a piece of fish?

        The very idea is absurd, and thus so is the "hallucination" theory.

        I agree that the hallucination theory is absurd, but it seems to me it is a theory Kreeft invented himself. It seems to be a theory that assumes the Gospel accounts of the resurrection and post-resurrection events are faithfully recorded by eyewitnesses, but that the eyewitnesses are reporting hallucinations in good faith.

        • Luke C.

          Though no longer an official diagnosis in DSM-5, folie à deux or "shared psychotic (or paranoid) disorder" was part of classification systems for decades. Very rare, and thus, not a very likely explanation, as you've said, but not impossible in my mind, either.

          • Loreen Lee

            Well, if such were true, and internment a poetic way to describe living within the context of current events, I don't think the powers would be would want the lunatics to be running the asylum. So best ignore the 99 percent.

  • David Nickol

    I don't think anyone would disagree that if you accept the Gospels (and Acts) to be accurate reports of what people personally witnessed, then it is preposterous to claim all the reported supernatural phenomena were actually hallucinated. But who has ever made such an argument?

  • David Nickol

    The five hundred saw Christ together, at the same time and place.

    What is the evidence for this?

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      1 Cor 15:6: "Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time..."

      Of course, he's breaking his own rule of not assuming the accuracy of the New Testament, and it's hearsay - Paul says there were 500, but we never hear the 500 people's point of view.

      • William Davis

        It could have been that Paul had a "vision" while 500 people were around. Paul yells, "Didn't everyone see Him?" Everyone looks puzzled, then nods in agreement, not knowing what else to say, and not wanting to start an argument.

        • Pofarmer

          Then, where were the 500? Serious scholarship suggests there weren't much more than 1000 Jewish converts in the entire first century, and yet we're told that there were 500 sightings right here in one spot? That simply doesn't compute. Then you've also got the problem that the whole 500 thing never appears in the Gospels. Wouldn't that have been a pretty strong claim? So, you've got a throwaway line in one passage of one book of 500 something or other, that may very well ve interpolated anyway.

          • William Davis

            Paul doesn't say that the 500 were Christians, so it could have been that Paul just had a vision while in a market somewhere with 500 people around. It could also be that Paul is just repeating a story that he had heard. He gives no detail, so it is hard to say. Obviously the Christians he is talking to do not believe that Jesus rose physically, and he is trying to convince them. The fact that there were Christians this early in the game who did not believe in a literal resurrection is very important to me, and something that often gets overlooked in the conversation.

          • Pofarmer

            "The fact that there were Christians this early in the game who did not believe in a literal resurrection is very important to me, and something that often gets overlooked in the conversation."

            Yep. I really wish I understood more about religious beliefs generally during the period. Richard Carrier, Mathew Ferguson, and Andrew Dickson White have been somewhat helpful on this. I just don't think most people, taking for granted our modern understandings of things, can really appreciate just how much people believed in all kinds of supernatural things.

          • dconklin

            >yet we're told that there were 500 sightings right here in one spot?

            There is nothing that said it was in "one spot." It is far more likely that the 500 were over the 40+ days after the resurrection.

          • dconklin

            >Serious scholarship suggests there weren't much more than 1000 Jewish converts in the entire first century

            Please name these "serious scholars"--across the spectrum.

            BTW, 5,000 were converted at Pentecost alone.

          • David Nickol

            See the following for one answer:

            How many Jews became Christians
            in the first century?

            The failure of the Christian mission to the Jews

            David C Sim

            Australian Catholic University

            Research Associate: Department of New Testament Studies University of Pretoria

            Abstract

            This study examines the early Christian mission(s) to the Jews, and attempts to determine, albeit speculatively, the number of Jews in the Christian movement in the first century. It is argued that the combined Christian mission was marked by a distinct lack of success. Neither the Law-observant gospel of the Jerusalem church nor the Law-free gospel of the Hellenists and Paul made much impression upon the people of Israel. Throughout the first century the total number of Jews in the Christian movement probably never exceeded 1 000 and by the end of the century the Christian church was largely Gentile.

            Does the Gospel of John say, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not"? Or does it say, "He came unto his own, and 5000 Jews converted on the very first day"?

            By the way, I believe Acts claims 3000, not 5000 converts.

          • dconklin

            Thanks for the ONE source. BTW, I need the title of the journal in which this was published so I can request a copy through interlibrary loan--never mind! I found it here: http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/viewFile/430/329.

            Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

            You had me worried for abit there!

          • David Nickol

            Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word
            believed; and the number of the men was about five
            thousand.

            These are minor points, but Acts 2:41 says,

            Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.

            "That day" in Acts 2 is Pentecost. Acts 4:4, as I read it, refers to some time (however brief) after Pentecost. And there are several further
            references in Acts to the numbers growing again.

            I think the larger a number is in the Bible, the more skeptical one ought to be about it.

          • dconklin

            So, now we are up to 8,000.

            >I think the larger a number is in the Bible, the more skeptical one ought to be about it.

            So, we flip that around and say that 1,000,000 Jews died in the fall of Jerusalem and when a critic of the Bible gives a much lower number we go for it.

            Again, if what the NT says was not true then the critics of the day would have pointed it out.

          • Michael Murray

            You won't hear from Pofarmer here. He is one of 20+ atheists banned awhile back in a purge. You can find him over here

            http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com

          • dconklin

            Seems like abit of justice. I got banned from Quora because one of the critics couldn't deal with the truth.

          • Will

            So you are saying Po got banned because Catholics couldn't deal with the truth? Are you also saying that your ban from Quora was just? Your comparison seems ill conceived, lol.

          • dconklin

            >Your comparison seems ill conceived, lol.

            It is your comparison which is utter and conmplete nonsense.

          • Will

            Lol! BTW it's "complete" not "conmplete" unless this is a word I'm unfamiliar with ;)

          • dconklin

            Obviously (from looking at the keyboard), this is a typo.

          • Will

            Yes, the "Lol" at the beginning of the comment should have been a hint it was said in jest. The fact that you upvote yourself makes you appear quite narcissistic, just fyi. That isn't to say you are a narcissist, it could have been an accident like the typo.

          • dconklin

            >The fact that you upvote yourself makes you appear quite narcissistic, just fyi.

            FYI, that was test to see if one could even do that. Try a new lie.

          • Will

            Dconklin said

            FYI, that was test to see if one could even do that. Try a new lie.

            So it's a lie to give you my subjective opinion of how upvoting yourself appears? How could you possibly see into my head and know otherwise? If you click the upvote button again, the upvote will go away, so there is a clear problem with your excuse. Here is another problem, you upvoted yourself 15 days ago.

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ecowatch/organic_farmer_dealt_final_blow_in_landmark_lawsuit_over_monsanto8217s_gmo_contamination/#comment-2524466181

            and here

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ecowatch/organic_farmer_dealt_final_blow_in_landmark_lawsuit_over_monsanto8217s_gmo_contamination/#comment-2524101780

            and here

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ecowatch/organic_farmer_dealt_final_blow_in_landmark_lawsuit_over_monsanto8217s_gmo_contamination/#comment-2513881817

            and here

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ecowatch/organic_farmer_dealt_final_blow_in_landmark_lawsuit_over_monsanto8217s_gmo_contamination/#comment-2513600335

            There are more, but that is plenty to establish a pattern a prove your blatant lying. You have been caught red handed, and demonstrated a general lack of intellectual ability not realizing it would be so easy to prove you a liar. You, of all people, want to lecture someone else on the truth? You are a liar AND A NARCISSIST. I can't stand either.

            1 Cor 6 9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.…

            I don't believe for honest reasons, but I'm none of these (though the homosexual stab offends me), so it seems I might stand a better chance of getting inheriting the Kingdom than you. Obviously "You shall not lie" is one of the tend commandments.
            I realize personal attacks violate the comment policy here, but this seems well deserved, and I'll run the risk of having my comment deleted. If I ran the site, I would ban you for this, because I really do despise liars. You've got a lot of work to do if you are going to go back and remove your own upvotes in all these, and more cases.

            Edited to add blockquote in case he changes his comment. Also, I suppose it's possible that he has accidentally upvoted himself in tons of cases in the past without realizing it, and just now decided to "test" if he can upvote himself, but excuse me if I don't buy it, especially with someone so quick to call me a liar without warrant (which I obviously find offensive).

          • dconklin

            >There are more, but that is plenty to establish a pattern a prove your blatant lying. You have been caught red handed, and demonstrated a general lack of intellectual ability not realizing it would be so easy to prove you a liar.

            I have actually proven that people have lied and web pages have come down because of my work.

            >Here is another problem, you upvoted yourself 15 days ago.

            https://disqus.com/home/discus...

            Now, if you checked more carefully, you would have noted that one post had an upvote, but the one above it did not. If I had done the one on purpose, why didn't I do the one before it?!?

            It is really easy to catch a liar, in part, because they don't know how to analyze the evidence that is right on front of them. They assume way too much--possibly because they have an agenda to protect.

            If you were here, you'd see the cramped space I'm working it type on my taptop--the seat is also very uncomfortable after awhile. You'd also see all the typos I make in trying to post and how I catch most, but not all, of them. Then you get the goofy popups that get in the way!

            >I would ban you for this, because I really do despise liars.

            I'm with you on despising liars. I just don't ASSUME that anyone with a differing opinion than mine is a liar.

            >You've got a lot of work to do if you are going to go back and remove your own upvotes in all these, and more cases.

            You can do that? I'll have to try it!* Thanks for the note!

            * I just did it on the post that you were responding to and it works! Although that was within a minute of hitting the upvote.

            >especially with someone so quick to call me a liar without warrant

            I didn't call you a liar--that would require me having the ability to read your mind--something I do NOT assume to be able to do. I simply noted that what you said was a lie.

          • Will

            Sorry, I don't buy your story, and I made sure to blockquote what you said so you can't change it, as I don't trust you. I'm sure you'll make the upvotes disappear, but I've been coming to this site for over a year and people here know me well enough to know I'm not going to make something like this up . You called me a liar for saying saying the way you subjectively appear from my point of view, then you say this?

            I just don't ASSUME that anyone with a differing opinion than mine is a liar.

            This is right after you ASSUMED I was a liar for my subjective opinion. I think we need to add hypocrisy and "not practicing what you preach" to your list of vices. I've said my peace.

          • dconklin

            >Sorry, I don't buy your story,

            That's because you are not willing to hear anything that is contrary to what you already "believe" to be true.

            >I made sure to blockquote what you said so you can't change it

            I've never done that. Never had a need to.

            > You called me a liar for saying saying the way you subjectively appear from my point of view, then you say this?

            I never called you a liar--try telling the truth.

            >This is right after you ASSUMED I was a liar for my subjective opinion.

            Again, I never claimed that you are/were a liar.

            >your list of vices.

            I didn't have a list of vices. nor did I present one.

      • dconklin

        >Paul says there were 500, but we never hear the 500 people's point of view.

        Not required. If there were ANY truth to the fact that the resurrection did NOT happen, the Jewish leaders of the day could have taken people to the tomb and that would have been the death knell to the early Christian movement. The fact that Paul could appeal to the 500 indicates that his readers knew who he meant--otherwise, again the Jewish leaders could have protested: "Who are these 500?" They didn't because even they knew that Paul was telling it like it was.

        • OverlappingMagisteria

          1 - That verse is from 1 Corinthians. It's a letter to other Christians in Corinth, not to Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. The Christians in Corinth are very unlikely to travel all the way to Jerusalem to confirm 500 people's stories, and they are very unlikely to question Paul, who is a leader in the early Christian movement

          2 - You wrote: " The fact that Paul could appeal to the 500 indicates that his readers knew who he meant..." I find that hard to believe. The average person in Corinth knew a list of 500 people in Jerusalem?

          • dconklin

            >The Christians in Corinth are very unlikely to travel all the way to Jerusalem to confirm 500 people's stories

            They go there once a year for Passover till Pentecost.

            >The average person in Corinth knew a list of 500 people in Jerusalem?

            You don't have to have a "list" of 500 people. You ask him to name a couple or so, and when you go you ask around.

            BTW, you missed the "again the Jewish leaders could have protested: "Who are these 500?""

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            I see... the Greek gentile Christians (who are largely not well off) make an annual expensive trip for Passover, a Jewish holiday...

            And no.. I didn't miss the Jewish leaders comment. I said that 1 Cor. is a letter to Greek Christians. It was not published and distributed for Jewish leaders to see.

          • Will

            It is nearly 1000 miles (flight distance 817 mi) from Corinth to Jerusalem. A normal person walks about 3 miles per hour. Walking constantly, with only 8 hours per sleep a day would require 17 days of walking one way. Of course, people don't fly, so 30 days would be more likely. I'm sure people who could barely survive spent 2 months out of the year walking back and forth to Jerusalem.
            Of course, that's just my quick overly simplistic math. This article claims, considering the roads, it was over 1200 miles, and it would take two to three months, which is probably much more accurate.

            The distance between Jerusalem and Corinth is about 1243 miles. To cover such a distance, a man in the prime of life had to walk for two or three months. Since Paul was visiting the communities which had been founded in Minor Asia during his first journey there and since he also travelled in Europe to found new ones in Philippi and Thessalonica and Beroea and Corinth, we can safely assume that he had left Jerusalem over more than a year. It then sets the council of Jerusalem around the year 49 or 50.

            http://www.bible-calendars.com/II11.php

          • dconklin

            > I'm sure people who could barely survive

            There is no evidence for that. People transported cinnamon from (today) Sri Lanka, up into Egypt in the 1500's BC. Then you have the Silk Road and caravansaries sp?) along the way.

          • Will

            For the very wealthy, sure. The very wealthy were rare, top 5% say, nothing like today. The average person is wealthier today than the top 10% then.

          • dconklin

            It doesn't take wealth to walk--Paul and those with him did it.

          • Will

            It takes wealth to be able to afford leave you farm, or whatever employment you have, buy food along the way, pay for lodging for months. If it's a two month journey, you'd have to leave in February when it is quite cold at night. Corinth, of course, fairly mild because it is on the coast, things get much colder inland, especially at higher altitudes. Paul had handouts from Christians to keep him going, and free lodging, so it's possible that other Christians would have done the same, but there was no guarantee. If you are a lone farmer, you farm would be in shambles by the time you returned to Corinth unless you have serious help.
            I've read books on ancient Rome that include descriptions of how rare travel was for common people in those days, but I don't think this convo is worth trying to dig out quotes. This guy is amazed that Jesus walked form Nazareth to Jerusalem every year, and it's only 70 miles away, right in Israel.

            When first beginning to study first century Palestine, I was impressed by the idea that Jesus and his family and neighbors walked to Jerusalem for annual festivities like Passover. Nazareth is seventy miles from Jerusalem and the road is not flat. No one except military officers and very high ranking political officials would have ridden horses. Even donkeys were reserved for luggage and the richest merchants. Everyone else walked. I estimate that the trip took three days. Let’s see … seventy miles, three days. That is three long days. Just as an experiment, I walked twenty-one miles one day. It took months of training, expensive shoes and socks, and more than one blister. But in a sense, for the average person in the first century, every day was a day of training, except, of course, the Sabbath.

            https://firstcenturygourmet.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/walking-in-the-first-century/

            Historians interpret things in light of how things actually were in the 1st Century, we know from various non-Christian texts. In general, it is a fascinating period of history, especially for Greece and Rome.

          • dconklin

            ROFL! And where did Paul and his companions get the money they would supposedly need for food? You could also work for food, or fish for food (the fish can be filleted and salted and be taken along with you). Thirdly, it is NOT cold at nite in Turkey in February--it is not like our climate here in MN--even today I went shopping with no sweater--for Istanbul see here: https://weatherspark.com/averages/32431/2/Istanbul-Turkey; for Antalya see here: http://www.holiday-weather.com/antalya/averages/february/. Fourthly, they could stop off at the various caravansaries along the route--for more info see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravanserai.

            >it's possible that other Christians would have done the same, but there was no guarantee.

            It was their custom to do so.

            >you farm would be in shambles by the time you returned to Corinth

            Nope. You let the land go fallow while you are away.

          • Will

            Nope. You let the land go fallow while you are away.

            If you are a poor farmer (and almost all farmers then were poor), and you let all of your land fallow for an entire season, you and your family starves to death the following winter. How many books have you read and/or classes have you taken on ancient Greece and Rome that were not written by people inside of your Christian intellectual bubble.
            I was raised fundamentalist protestant, went to Christian schools through High School, and my Dad is a protestant preacher. I was taught a revisionist, and deceptive version of history, I was taught that evolution and psychology were basically lies of Satan since they conflict with Christianity, among other things. You seem so deep in that false world that it will be impossible to have a rational conversation with you. I know that world all too well, and I consider it to be a moral responsibility to oppose it as the thought crime that I think it is. I realize everyone wants to think they will live forever, but can't we find a better way? At least Catholics and "liberal" Christians are willing to think about things with an open mind. From your other links, I'm guessing you subscribe to Biblical inerrancy? Do you?

          • dconklin

            >If you are a poor farmer (and almost all farmers then were poor), and you let all of your land fallow for an entire season, you and your family starves to death the following winter.

            "when a field lies fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting."

            >How many books have you read and/or classes have you taken on ancient Greece and Rome that were not written by people inside of your Christian intellectual bubble.

            In each class in grad school I was required to read for 35 hours of outside reading. I took more credit hours than an MBA grad would take to get their degree.

            >I was raised fundamentalist protestant,

            That explains alot.

            >You seem so deep in that false world

            You don't even understand what letting land go fallow means and you are claiming that I'm in the false world?!? You are projecting your own world, not mine.

            >From your other links, I'm guessing you subscribe to Biblical inerrancy? Do you?

            You are in error.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Are we talking about Greek farmers? I was under the impression that by this time most Greek farms were large estates.

          • dconklin

            Probably not--not much arable land. According to this site (http://historylink101.com/2/greece3/jobs-farming.htm) most farms are 4-5 acres. You maybe thinking of the Roman estates.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            From wiki:

            From the 4th century BCE onwards property starts to become concentrated among few land owners, including in Sparta where according to Aristotle, the land has passed into the hands of a few (Politics, II, 1270a).[5] Nevertheless, the aristocratic estates in Greece never achieved the scope of the great Roman latifundia; during the classical period, the wealthy Alcibiades possessed only 28 hectares (Plato, 1 Alcibiades, 123c).[6]

            This suggests that there were few small farmers in Ancient Greece.

            Although in the end, this is a fairly minor point. My main disagreement with you (judging from your posts) is that you underestimate the gullibility of people and overestimate the reliability of the biblical accounts.

          • dconklin

            >you underestimate the gullibility of people and overestimate the reliability of the biblical accounts.

            I don't do either; most critics you overestimate the gullibility of people and underestimate the reliability of the biblical accounts.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Of course you don't think you do. I was just outlining my main point of contention and my opinion that the farming is very much a side concern.

          • dconklin

            >Of course you don't think you do.

            That's because I go by the evidence at hand. I do not make things up as some critics have. I have actually read the Bible and scholarly literature in the field. I learned how to do an exegesis so as to extract the meaning out of the text--I have yet to meet a critic who has ever done one or displayed any knowledge about how to do one. In most cases, the critics show that they are completely unaware of what scholars in the field say in the refereed journals.

            >my opinion that the farming is very much a side concern.

            Farming was just an example. WD brought it up.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            This argument that you are making is basically an argument from authority with you self-appointing yourself as an authority.

            I do not make things up as some critics have.

            What critics are you referring to? That is a vague accusation.

            I have actually read the Bible and scholarly literature in the field.

            So what? You disagree with the scholarly consensus on many different topics. I'm glad you read books and made a study of the bible, but I fail to see how that invalidates other more mainstream opinions than yours.

            I learned how to do an exegesis so as to extract the meaning out of the
            text--I have yet to meet a critic who has ever done one or displayed
            any knowledge about how to do one.

            Are you talking about random internet critics or are you talking about scholars? If the former, don't you think you are setting the bar to low? Many people, Christian and non, are not deeply read up on biblical scholarship. I do not think this invalidates the perspective of the non-believer that the books in the bible are not inspired by God.

            In most cases, the critics show that they are completely unaware of what scholars in the field say in the refereed journals.

            The scholars in the field largely disagree with you. Most people don't read scholarly journals. Usually a few scholarly books is enough to get a decent grasp on the subject. You are getting very close to using the n+1 books fallacy*, in which the apologist asserts that the non-believer cannot be a real nonbeliever till he reads n+1 apologetic books, where n is the amount of read apologetic books.

            In the end, if you think there is strong evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, it is your case to make.

            *this fallacy originates with picklefactory who was banned from commenting here.

          • dconklin

            >This argument that you are making is basically an
            argument from authority with you self-appointing yourself as an authority.

            If that was true, then so did you with your: "you underestimate the gullibility of people and overestimate the reliability of the biblical accounts." BTW, one is supposed to think for one's self. But, if you haven't been trained in HOW to think, how would you know how?

            >>I do not make things up as some critics have.
            >What critics are you referring to? That is a vague accusation.

            If you read comments on the Bible, specifically Daniel, you'll find that critics of the Bible that it was wriiten "ex eventu", that it was written quite late. None of that is true and in fact, there's 84 different lines of evidence that shows that it couldn't possibly have been written that late.

            >>I have actually read the Bible and scholarly literature in the field.

            >So what? You disagree with the scholarly consensus on many different topics.

            I can do so, based on what I said before: That's because I go by the evidence at hand.

            >I fail to see how that invalidates other more mainstream opinions than yours.

            See comment above.

            >I learned how to do an exegesis so as to extract the meaning out of the text--I have yet to meet a critic who has ever done one or displayed any knowledge about how to do one.

            >Are you talking about random internet critics

            Yes.

            >I do not think this invalidates the perspective of the non-believer that the books in the bible are not inspired by God.

            The typical critic starts from that POV and thinks that they've found enough hooks to handg their unbelief on. Because they have NOT actually read scholarly works they don't know what they are talking about. Over on Youtube I dealt with a critic who flat-out lied about what a scholar said in his paper. Or, they'll "read" a popular book on the subject by a scholar and never realize that in the professional literature the scholar says virtually the opposite or retracts what was said in the book.

            >You are getting very close to using the n+1 books fallacy*, in which the apologist asserts that the non-believer cannot be a real nonbeliever till he reads n+1 apologetic books, where n is the amount of read apologetic books.

            Well, since I didn't say that you need to read apologetic books, your "point" is pointless.

            >if you think there is strong evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, it is your case to make.

            If I made the claim, then yes I have to prove it. If you think there is strong evidence that Jesus did not rise from the dead, it is your case to make.

          • Will

            But, if you haven't been trained in HOW to think, how would you know how?

            I'll plug an excellent online course on this subject if you interested. I used to think I was good at critical thinking until I took this and read some books on the subject.

            http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/your-deceptive-mind-a-scientific-guide-to-critical-thinking-skills.html

            I agree that we have no choice to think for ourselves, but it is extremely helpful to not only think about how we are thinking (meta-cognition) but learn and draw from a wide variety of subjects. I'd much rather discuss philosophy (particularly philosophy of mind), science, ect. for better ways of modelling reality and thinking about it before we even approach the Bible. Of course, this requires years and can't be done in the combox.
            In general we are unable to sufficiently touch on the other persons web of belief in a combox, and all knowledge needs to be interconnected in a large context to think about thinks more clearly. Even then, things are often as clear as mud ;)

          • dconklin

            >I agree that we have no choice to think for ourselves, but it is
            extremely helpful to not only think about how we are thinking
            (meta-cognition) but learn and draw from a wide variety of subjects.
            I'd much rather discuss philosophy (particularly philosophy of mind),
            science, ect. for better ways of modelling reality and thinking about it
            before we even approach the Bible.

            Sort of correct. A wider variety of disciplines is one of my keys (science, philosophy of science, sociology, business management, history, seminary, philosophy, etc..)

            The diff would be I would use the Bible: most people for instance would fail to understand even the second verse--so how well did they understand the first?

          • Will

            History is important. Out of curiosity, do you think the Noah story is historical, and if so, how much? Odd that you say "sort of correct" when I'm talking about myself. I'm guessing you mean I have a similar perspective, or something like that?

            The diff would be I would use the Bible: most people for instance would fail to understand even the second verse--so how well did they understand the first?

            Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying people are generally bad at interpreting the Bible? No argument there, but even Christian scholars widely disagree on much.

          • dconklin

            >Out of curiosity, do you think the Noah story is historical, and if so, how much?

            Can't say. I only know two things (one directly related, one not explicitly):

            1) The biblical story did NOT come FROM the Semitic myths--note the plural. Way too many differences and very significant differences.
            2) Where we can check (and this is the key which is always overlooked by the critics) the Bible has ALWAYS come put "smelling like a rose."

            > Odd that you say "sort of correct" when I'm talking about myself. I'm guessing you mean I have a similar perspective, or something like that?

            Close enough! I meant that have a similar approach but diifer on one point.

            >Are you saying people are generally bad at interpreting the Bible?

            Correct.

            >No argument there, but even Christian scholars widely disagree on much.

            If you spend time reading scholarly journals you'll find that either the differences are virtually insignificant, or that some are just flat out wrong (like the date of the book of Daniel), or only a few have some real crackpots ideas.

          • Will

            You seem serious about scholarship, so I hope you will read this post which is a bit long but there is so much to tell here if you are unfamiliar. The flood story did originate from Sumeria, but you are right it wasn't semitic myth (other things come from there). I can go into the origins of El and Baal in a separate post and many things we found in the ancient Canaanite city of Ugarit (which has helped us translate the Bible better) in a separate post. The flood myth almost certainly worked into the Jewish myths via Babylon which had conquered Sumeria way before encountering the Jews. As for as ancient history goes, this is one of the few things which is essentially provable.

            Initially, some assumed with great eagerness that the flood levels at Ur and Kish were identical and provided marvelous evidence for a historical kernel of the Genesis Flood story (Peake, 1930), but the enthusiasm could not be maintained. The level of the great flood at Ur was sandwiched between remains of the Al Ubaid cultural phase, the last purely prehistoric period of southern Mesopotamia, and a layer of debris from the early Protoliterate period. The great Ur flood, thus, can be dated with a high degree of certainty to about 3500 BCE. Kish, however, produced evidence of two floods at the end of the Early Dynastic I and beginning of the Early Dynastic II periods, around 3000 to 2900 BCE, and a still more impressive flood dating to the Early Dynastic III period, around 2600 BCE. All three of the Kish floods were much later than the great flood at Ur. Watelin argued that the earliest of these three was the deluge of the Bible and cuneiform literature.

            Within a few years, excavations of a third Mesopotamian site, Shuruppak, also uncovered a flood stratum (Schmidt, 1931). It is of particular interest because, according to the Mesopotamian legend, Shuruppak was the home of Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah. (The Sumerian Ziusudra means "life of long days." The Akkadian equivalent, Utnapishtim, is "he found life," while the alternative Atra-hasis means "exceedingly wise.") This flood level separated late Protoliterate and Early Dynastic I remains and dates from around 2950 to 2850 BCE. Perhaps, but not certainly, the Shuruppak flood may be equated with the earliest flood at Kish. No other Mesopotamian sites have produced flood remains of significance (Mallowan, 1964).

            http://ncse.com/cej/8/2/flood-mesopotamian-archaeological-evidence

            Have you ever read the original flood myth starring Ziusudra? There are many, but here is the oldest, Eridu Genesis. Eridu is probably the oldest city on earth, dating to about 5300 B.C. and Shuruppak dates very close. Eridu Genesis was written about 2300 B.C., and the most conservative estimate of Genesis or the Torah is 1300 B.C. but the real date is probably more like 800 B.C. In other words the origin flood myth shows up 500 years after events, and Biblical Genesis shows up over an entire millennium late. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a bit later dating to probably 2100 B.C. and evolving from there. If you haven't read it, everyone should read the oldest Narrative ever written (written in the first language, cuneiform). I'll quote from page 20-21:

            ’Then was the launching full of difficulty; there was shifting of ballast above and below till two thirds was submerged. I loaded into her all that 1 had of gold and of living things, my family, my kin, the beast of the field both wild and tame, and all the craftsmen. I sent them on board, for the time that Shamash had ordained was already fulfilled when he said, "in the evening, when the rider of the storm sends down the destroying rain, enter the boat and batten her down." The time was fulfilled, the evening came, the rider of the storm sent down the rain. I looked out at the weather and it was terrible, so I too boarded the boat and battened her down.
            ...‘For six days and six nights the winds blew, torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world, tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts. When the seventh day dawned the storm from the south subsided, the sea grew calm, the, flood was stilled; I looked at the face of the world and there was silence, all mankind was turned to clay. The surface of the sea stretched as flat as a roof-top; I opened a hatch and the light fell on my face. Then I bowed low, I sat down and I wept, the tears streamed down my face, for on every side was the waste of water. I looked for land in vain, but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain, and there the boat grounded; on the mountain of Nisir the boat held fast, she held fast and did not budge. One day she held, and -a second day on the mountain of Nisir she held fast and did not budge. A third day, and a fourth day she held fast on the mountain and did not budge; a fifth day and a sixth day she held fast on the mountain. When the seventh day dawned I loosed a dove and let her go. She flew away, but finding no resting-place she returned. Then I loosed a swallow, and she flew away but finding no resting-place she returned. I loosed a raven, she saw that the waters had retreated, she ate, she flew around, she cawed, and she did not come back. Then I threw everything open to the four winds, I made a sacrifice and poured out a libation on the mountain top. Seven and again seven cauldrons I set up on their stands, I heaped up wood and cane and cedar and myrtle. When the gods smelled the sweet savour, they gathered like flies over the sacrifice. Then, at last, Ishtar also came, she lifted her necklace with the jewels of heaven that once Anu had made to please her. "O you gods here present, by the lapis lazuli round my neck I shall remember these days as I remember the jewels of my throat; these last days I shall not forget. Let all the gods gather round the sacrifice, except Enlil. He shall not approach this offering, for without reflection he brought the flood; he consigned my people to destruction."

            So Biblical Genesis exaggerated the length of the flood, but other than that it's the same story. A loosed dove, a sacrifice to the gods, if you keep reading Utnapishtim is blessed with the gift of eternal life. Gilgamesh gets the gift, which is a flower, but immortality is stolen from him and his people by a serpent. Sound similar to Genesis? There's more, here is an article from none other than Biblical Archaeology that discusses a later Babylonian tablet (1900-1700 B.C.) that says the animals entered the ark "two by two".
            There are many other interesting things in Gilgamesh, one is the tradition of anointing oneself with fragrant oil on special occasions: "He became merry, his heart exulted and his face shone. He rubbed down the matted hair of his body and anointed himself with oil. Enkidu had become a man; but when he had put on man's clothing he appeared like a bridegroom." Recall that moschiach (messiah) and Cristos (Christ) both mean anointed one.
            There is so much more, and Nimrod may be a reference to Gilgamesh, from Wiki, "The association with Erech (Babylonian Uruk), a city that lost its prime importance around 2,000 BC as a result of struggles between Isin, Larsa and Elam, also attests the early provenance of the stories of Nimrod.[3]" Gilgamesh was a king of Uruk, the Epic begins with "In Uruk he built walls, a great rampart, and the temple of blessed Eanna for the god of the firmament Anu, and for Ishtar the goddess of love." The Epic spends much more time on his exploits as a mighty hunter of monsters (I hope I don't need to quote Genesis). Gilgamesh is on the Sumerian King's List and fragments have been found in multiple places. It says the "After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish," indicating how big of a deal the flood was in their history. Notice how the lengths of the reigns change after the flood....this time the Sumerians were more exaggerated (good on the Biblical authors for cutting that back). Ever wonder about the snake in Genesis? Check out Ningishzida a god with a human head and serpent body who is "lord of the Good Tree". I can explain why God used a rib to make Eve (it was a joke in Sumerian language because the word for "rib" also means "life") but that would involve going into other works like Enuma Elish, and I've gone on too long already. My career is in engineering, but I find ancient history and the origins of man and civilization important and fascinating :)

            If you spend time reading scholarly journals you'll find that either the differences are virtually insignificant, or that some are just flat out wrong (like the date of the book of Daniel), or only a few have some real crackpots ideas.

            I don't agree, but that is a whole separate, convoluted topic that I'll ignore for now :)

          • dconklin

            >The flood myth almost certainly worked into the Jewish myths via Babylon
            which had conquered Sumeria way before encountering the Jews.

            There is NO evidence that is the case. It is simply assumed.

            As I said before, whereever we can check the Bible always comes out smelling like a rose. So, if we can't check, I do NOT assume that this one time the critics got it right.

          • Will

            There is NO evidence that is the case. It is simply assumed.

            You didn't even read my post. I provided tons of evidence that this is the case. In fact, I consider your statement here another lie. You are not a clearly not a scholar, quit pretending like you are, it's sad and dishonest.

            You address nothing it my post, just make a ridiculous claims. I suppose this is how you typically operate, just like the fundamentalists I grew up around. It's thought cancer, nothing less. This will be my last post to you (even though I enjoy writing about ancient history), it's clear you are a waste of time.

            Edit to add: I'm sure you've read people you trust who say there is no evidence for the flood myth coming from ancient Sumeria, in spite of everything I wrote in that post. This is either complete irresponsibility or outright dishonesty. Either way, your belief system is going down the tube, in part thanks to apologists not doing what is moral, and what is right...i.e., dealing with the truth and the facts.
            I have encountered many Christians here that agree that the flood myth came from Sumeria....these are believing Christians who are serious scholars, unlike you.

          • dconklin

            >You didn't even read my post. I provided tons of evidence that this is the case.

            That would be two lies, right there--you ASSUME way too much. Evidence is concrete and verifiable--it can be checked. Verbal similarities tell one nothing about who copied (if at all) from whom.

            >I'm sure you've read people you trust who say there is no evidence for the flood myth coming from ancient Sumeria, in spite of everything I wrote in that post. This is either complete irresponsibility or outright dishonesty.

            Nope; Gerhard Hasel a respected scholar in the OT--before his death--noted the significant differences between the myths of the ANE and the biblical Flood.

            "The Motive or Theological Cause of the Flood. In contrast with the ancient Near Eastern flood stories, in which no cause of the flood is given (Gilgamesh epic) or in which the gods decide to wipe out their human slaves because they are making too much noise (Atrahasis Epic and Eridu Genesis), the biblical account provides a profound theological motivation for the flood: humankind's moral depravity and sinfulness, the all-pervading corruption and violence of all living beings ("all flesh") on earth (Genesis 6:1-8,11-12 ), which demands divine punishment." Richard M. Davidson, OT professor at Andrews University, quote is from "Flood, the" in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, online @ https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/view.cgi?number=T267

            >I have encountered many Christians here that agree that the flood myth came from Sumeria...these are believing Christians who are serious scholars, unlike you

            Well, since I never claimed to be a scholar, you have a non-point--the diff between you and I is primarily the fact that since I have actually been trained in this field I know what to look for and how to weigh the evidence at hand. Secondly, not all biblical scholars are OT scholars, nor have even all OT scholars studied the subject for themselves. In one case a scholar wrote an article, based on what he had been told (mirtake #1), by others who he trusted (mirtake #2), 20 years ago (mirtake #3).

            As I said before, whereever we can check the Bible always comes out smelling like a rose. So, if we can't check, I do NOT assume that this one time the critics got it right.

          • Will

            Umm, da flood didn't wipe out mankind. It was only 40 miles by 400 miles. Do you really think all the women, children, and babies who drowned horribly were "wicked"? The entire concept that God intentionally brings floods is despicable from a modern point of view. I get it way, back then, but to believe it today? Did God bring all these floods too? Were all these people "wicked"??? Many of the people killed in these floods were CHRISTIAN!

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deadliest_floods

            Besides, you think that that one minor plot change means they didn't get the idea from the Sumerian/Babylonians from everything I've posted? Are you saying that modern vampire movies didn't get their idea from the original Dracula? Wow!

            As I said before, whereever we can check the Bible always comes out smelling like a rose. So, if we can't check, I do NOT assume that this one time the critics got it right.

            Dude, this is just the beginning of the problems with the Bible. Each time, you just declare, "Well, the Bible never gets anything wrong, so it must not have gotten in wrong this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time..." This defines irrationality.

            If God exists, I'm sure he appreciates me defending him from foolish accusations like murdering babies with floods ;)

          • dconklin

            >Umm, da flood didn't wipe out mankind. It was only 40 miles by 400 miles.

            We have no idea how big the Flood was; your dimensions are devoid of any support. I have long thought that the Flood was a "local Flood" and there seems to be some internal evidence that this was so.

            >you think that that one minor plot change means they didn't get the idea from the Sumerian/Babylonians from everything I've posted?

            Who said that there was only one change and that it was minor?

            >Each time, you just declare, "Well, the Bible never gets anything wrong, so it must not have gotten in wrong this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time, or this time..."

            I have never said anything of the sort. I said and I quote: "As I said before, whereever we can check the Bible always comes out smelling like a rose. So, if we can't check, I do NOT assume that this one time the critics got it right." Note the use of the words "assume" and "one". You also ignored the first sentence.

          • Will

            We have no idea how big the Flood was; your dimensions are devoid of any support. I have long thought that the Flood was a "local Flood" and there seems to be some internal evidence that this was so.

            I gave you support from the National Center for Science education in my first post, I'm not quoting again but I'll give the hyperlink, the easy way. Clearly, you aren't reading my posts, or you don't understand them.

            http://ncse.com/cej/8/2/flood-mesopotamian-archaeological-evidence

            With regard to the Amalekites, I see you think it's just fine that God would kill women, children, babies, even the oxen just because someone has been attacking you for a while I doubt. That bothers me as does much else about you. Besides, why didn't God just flood them, being omnipotent and all? Or how about just strategically kill the instigators. Can God really not do something the U.S. military can do with precision strikes now? In addition you are wrong about the Bible, as usual, the Amalekites were just one of many cases.

            And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. Deuteronomy 2:34

            And we utterly destroyed them, ... utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. Deuteronomy 3:6

            And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them. Deuteronomy 7:2

            And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them. Deuteronomy 7:16

            Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deuteronomy 13:15

            But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. Deuteronomy 20:16-17

            And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21

            So smote all the country ... he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. Joshua 10:40

            Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:2-3

            If the Bible has much historical accuracy, the Jews made genocide a habit. Perhaps they were just stories to scare off enemies...I'd like to think so.

          • dconklin

            >I gave you support from the National Center for Science education in my first post,

            And where in that post did you indicate where it came from? I just checked and don't see it. Could be my allergies screwing up my vision, but I hope not!

            >Clearly, you aren't reading my posts, or you don't understand them.

            When I quote you, how can you lie and claim I didn't read it?

            Did I read each and every single, it and and the? No. If I quote you it is either because I agree with you--so why lie and claim I don't understand? Or, I quote you and show you why I think that you are wrong. So again, I, a) READ what you posted and b) had to UNDERSTAND what you posted. WHY LIE?!?

            >for a while

            Hmmm, didn't I say "SEVERAL CENTURIES" (emphasis added this time since you obviously aren't reading my posts).

          • Will

            And where in that post did you indicate where it came from? I just checked and don't see it. Could be my allergies screwing up my vision, but I hope not!

            It was right under the blockquote, perhaps in the future I should put it in the blockquote to make it easier to notice. You've hit on some triggers for me, that I explain in my post, I'll apologize again for being so harsh. I took people trying to force me to believe God is a monster when I was a child pretty personally, and resented not being able to say my peace. One of the reasons I'm here is because I know that this continues to this day. Believing God is a monster is a pretty depressing way to look at reality, at least to me. I had rejected the Hebrew Bible, at least, before I was a teenager, but as I've said, I'm fond of some of Jesus's and Paul's writings, even though I certainly don't think Jesus is God even if a minded version of God exists (the necessary being could just be quantum fields or whatever underlies them).

          • Will

            Oh, and the ancient Sumerians were no more "wicked" than the Jews. Sure they took slaves, but so did the Jews. Here is the oldest known law code:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Ur-Nammu

            The Jews were always bad mouthing non-Jews in the early days, they were quite racist. They didn't even know the Sumerians of course.

            http://www.religioustolerance.org/god_cana.htm

            I'm guessing you think God was behind genocide too...Wow!

          • dconklin

            Before one begins talking about as given subject, one should carefully define the relevant terms. On "slavery" see https://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/slavery-in-the-bible-15/

            >The Jews were always bad mouthing non-Jews in the early days, they were quite racist.

            Therre is NO evidence for such a remark and it is actually worse when the critics condemn the Jews for something, but they say NOTHING about the Gentiles doing it to the Jews.

            > They didn't even know the Sumerians of course.

            Quitel likely since one could say that by the time of the Jews they had been absorbed into other cultures from their very early days (5500 BC to 1940 BC when Sumer came under the rule of the Amorites).

            >I'm guessing you think God was behind genocide too.

            The only incident that could be considered to be such was with Amalekites, who had been attacking the Jews for several centuries, before God gave the Jews the order to be His instrument to punish them. Again the critics of the Jews ignore what the Amalekites had been doing for centuries.

          • Will

            Before one begins talking about as given subject, one should carefully define the relevant terms. On "slavery" see https://bibleapologetics.wordp...

            I've been overly harsh on you, I apologize. I also apologize that my posts are long, but often takes many words to convey all of the relevant information. Let me just debunk this apologetic on slavery and clarify where my anger is really directed, I've just grouped you with them, perhaps mistakenly. It's mainly this kind of misinformation that has got under my skin for quite some time, and I'm taking it out on you because you seem to be parroting much of it. Don't take my word for it, take the Bible's. Notice Leviticus 25 clearly describes chattel slavery (I'll go into this more below). The fact that it is only allowed for non-Jews just goes back into the racism theme. I'm very glad Jesus patched some of this stuff, and tried to change things so they were based on love. It's pretty clear to me that Paul did not write Ephesians or 1 and 2 Timothy, and he did not seem to be a proponent of slavery at all.
            Your link seems to meander around a bit, and it it's not clear how common chattel slavery was with the early Hebrews. The idea that their morality came from God and God=Jesus seems incredibly problematic here though? Can you see why the "Bible always smells like a rose" set me off? Is genocide, chattel and sex slavery, smelling like a rose?

            I certainly can't show that Jesus didn't rise from the dead, but it seems immoral not to have major objections that people still connect some of this stuff to God. Add to it the murder of the firstborn. In the recent movie "Exodus" even Moses calls Yahweh a monster, and rightfully so. It gets worse when the Bible says God literally hardened Pharoahs heart (Exodus 9:12), like he wants to murder the firstborn. To make matters worse, look at the what this Christian site says the reason is:

            The best, most direct, simple answer to the question above is: “In order to demonstrate His power, and in order that His name might be proclaimed throughout the entire earth.” The reason that is the best, most direct, simple answer to the question is because it is God's own answer. See Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9:17. God raised up Pharaoh and hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to promote His own glory.

            http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/aiia-pharaoh.html

            So God set the whole thing up so he could murder countless children because he's a vain, proud, narcissistic murderer? Are these guys serious??? The fact is they are! If God wants to show his power, why not soften Pharoah's heart, teleport the Jews right to Canaan, and the reward the Egyptians for being nice with great harvests for the next 1000 years! Surely they would believe in Yahweh then, I know I would. As you can tell, my moral objections are the strongest, and they are powerful moral objections that sometimes result in righteous anger on my part (this festered for years as I was never allowed to speak my peace on any of this when I was young).

            I usually don't quote from "evilbible.com" but the information here is accurate, the Hebrew Bible clearly allows for chattel slavery of non-Jews and sexual slavery.

            Many Jews and Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants. Many translations of the Bible use the word “servant”, “bondservant”, or “manservant” instead of “slave” to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is. While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn’t mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock.

            The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.

            However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

            The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated.

            If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

            Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave. What kind of family values are these?

            The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery. How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave?

            When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

            So these are the Bible family values! A man can buy as many sex slaves as he wants as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and has sex with them!

            What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing

            When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

            You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.

            Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

            Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

            In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

            The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

            http://www.evilbible.com/evil-bible-home-page/slavery/

            I'm thinking that last may have not come from Jesus, as it isn't in the the first (Mark) or second (Matthew) synoptic gospels, as far as I know. I like Paul of Tarsus and Justin Martyr, and I appreciate Abraham who argued with El not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. It's not all bad, but there is plenty bad in there, depending on the author. I think I like El, not Yahweh, but that's another story whether they were different gods.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_(deity)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh

            According to Deuteronomy 32:8–9 they are not the same deity. There is more if you read the Yahweh link. You can google more, but it's my theory that Yahweh was originally on of the many sons of El.

            When the Most High (Elyon, i.e., El) gave the nations their inheritance,
            when he separated humanity,
            he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings,
            for Yahweh's portion is his people,
            Jacob his allotted heritage.

          • dconklin

            >it it's not clear how common chattel slavery was with the early Hebrews.

            It wasn't--that's the point of the article. What we are thinking when we use the term "slavery" is NOT what the Bible is talking about. So, when the critics lump the two together ...

          • dconklin

            See also https://www.andrews.edu/library/car/cardigital/Periodicals/AUSS/2004-1/2004-1-02.pdf

            >You address nothing it my post, just make a ridiculous claims.

            The first phrase is a lie as shown by the first couple of lines which I quoted FROM YOU. The second half has no basis in fact, which is why you didn't prove it.

          • Darren

            dconklin wrote,

            "when a field lies fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting."

            OK, I feel in the mood to bang my head a bit.

            Not that I think this will convince you, but it does bother
            me to let such pernicious error stand as it posses a hazard for the unwary.

            So, as someone who _actually_ farms (grew up farming, still
            farm today), you have several misconceptions.

            First, allowing fields to lie fallow is for a growing _season_, not a couple of months (not sure about Corinth, maybe they have more than one season per year, but in Kansas and Georgia, not so much).

            Second, soil does not magically replenish itself – you have to _do_ something, add manure, grow cover crops that are tilled in, get flooded by the Nile, etc. With the exception of the being flooded by the Nile, this takes _work_, months of work, not sitting around twiddling thumbs, not taking a 4 month walkabout.

            Thirdly, farming is hard work, then and now, and work every
            day of the year. Fields may lie for a few months at a time with nothing in the off-seasons, but animals insist on being fed and watered every single day. Then there are the endless chores, the fencing, the clearing of land, the repairing of buildings and irrigation ditches, etc., etc.

            The idea that ancient farmers could take a 4 month holiday
            every year and expect their farm to be in any condition to put back into production is no more realistic than contemporary Americans leaving their jobs, leaving their houses, walking around for 4 months out of every year and expecting to come back to their lives just as they left them.

            If you really want to prove your claim, take a 1,200 mile
            walk, spend 40 days in a strange city, walk back, and tell us how things went.

          • dconklin

            >allowing fields to lie fallow is for a growing _season_, not a couple of months (not sure about Corinth, maybe they have more than one season per year, but in Kansas and Georgia, not so much).

            Several problems--the most glaring is extracting from yourr peronal experience and virtually assuming that it ios the same world-wide AND not doing a lick of research:

            1) "The Mediterranean climate is characterized by two seasons: the first dry and hot, from April to September (river beds tend to dry up);"; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_ancient_Greece

            2) Passover (this year) begins sundown Friday, April 22, 2016 and ends Saturday, April 30, 2016.

            So, during the time the Jews and Gentile converts would be gone from Corinth is during the hot and dry time of the year.

          • Darren

            That was sufficiently obtuse to warn-away even the most credulous bystanders.

            My work is done.

          • dconklin

            Wiki is obtuse? Try again.

          • dconklin

            {Previuous reply got lost!}

            >First, allowing fields to lie fallow is for a growing _season_, not a couple of months (not sure about Corinth, maybe they have more than one season per year, but in Kansas and Georgia, not so much).

            From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_ancient_Greece: "The Mediterranean climate is characterized by two seasons: the first dry and hot, from April to September (river beds tend to dry up);" It just so happens that Passover (this year) runs from sundown Friday, April 22, 2016 and ends Saturday, April 30, 2016. Thirdly, "Grain crops, such as barley and wheat, were planted in October and harvested in April or May. Olives were harvested November through February. Grapes were normally picked in September." from http://historylink101.com/2/greece3/jobs-farming.htm--so, if one was growing grain, you harvest it and THEN you goto the port and take a boat pover--faster than walking, or if you are growing olives or grapes, you can go while they are ripening on the tree or vine.

            >Second, soil does not magically replenish itself – you have to _do_ something, add manure,

            They didn't have the animals to use their manure. As the website notes, they plowed the weeds back in: "The Greeks did not use animal manure, possibly due to the low number of cattle.[citation needed] The only soil additive was weeds ploughed back into the ground after fields came out of fallow."

            >but animals insist on being fed and watered every single day.

            See above.

            >4 months out of every year

            Who said that every Jew did this every year?

            >If you really want to prove your claim, take a 1,200 mile
            walk, spend 40 days in a strange city, walk back, and tell us how things went.

            Or, you can learn to think outside the box and how to do some research.

          • dconklin

            The JEWS who belonged ot the church could and would/did travel to Jerusalem and they could tell the Gentiles who were GRAFTED onto the living tree could also have travelled.

            >It was not published and distributed for Jewish leaders to see.

            Who said it was not "published"? Are using today's standard's to judge the past? Who said that the Jewish leadsers would have been unaware of what was said? Did the believers hide their beliefs under a bushel basket? Is there in any evidence to support such a claim?

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Sorry, but you are claiming that people made a yearly ~3 month journey. You are also claiming that a letter sent to Corinth to what was then a still small religious group would attract attention of Jewish leaders 800 miles away. I'm not sure you should be asking me for evidence.

            Also, regarding your claim that critics could just show Jesus' body in response to Paul's claim...1 Corinthians is written around 20 years after Jesus' death. Do you really think (assuming that the letter even got the attention of critics) that they could open up a 20 year old tomb? For what reason? To show some rotting bones? What would that prove?

          • dconklin

            >I'm not sure you should be asking me for evidence.

            Asking one to think is NOT asking for "evidence."

            >that they could open up a 20 year old tomb?

            "could"?!? How hard could it be?

            >To show some rotting bones?

            After 20 years, nothing would be "rotting."

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Let's play out the scenario:
            "Hey, Jesus rose from the dead."
            "Nonsense, he died 20 years ago! Look let's open this tomb which I have somehow ascertained is his. Look, that's his bones!"
            "No, that's someone else's bones. Jesus rose from the dead!"
            "Gosh, why did I even bother...?"

          • dconklin

            >Look let's open this tomb which I have somehow ascertained is his.

            That would be the tomb where the guards were placed. The one where the Roman guards came and claimed that the disciples stole His body while they slept which would have gotten them killed.

            They could also have checked back at Pentecost.

          • Will

            The distance between Jerusalem and Corinth is about 1243 miles. To cover such a distance, a man in the prime of life had to walk for two or three months. Since Paul was visiting the communities which had been founded in Minor Asia during his first journey there and since he also travelled in Europe to found new ones in Philippi and Thessalonica and Beroea and Corinth, we can safely assume that he had left Jerusalem over more than a year. It then sets the council of Jerusalem around the year 49 or 50.

            http://www.bible-calendars.com/II11.php

            Is it really wise to just make up stuff like everyone going to passover every year from Corinth to Jerusalem? Your claim is obviously false, it was a rare person who could afford to make such a trip, and doing so risked your life to bandits. Read histories on the Roman empire during the time period. Here is a picture of the terrain, boats were preferable, but quite expensive. Paul was quite a man to travel as much as he did, and his the protection of being a Roman citizen was very valuable.
            https://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN092MAPS1.htm

          • dconklin

            >Is it really wise to just make up stuff like everyone going to passover every year from Corinth to Jerusalem?

            The making things up as you go along trip, is your claim that I said that everyone went every year.

            > Your claim is obviously false

            Acts 2:5-11 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language ... 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

            Thank you for making it so easy.

          • Will

            And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

            Dwelling: a building or place of shelter to live in; place of residence; abode; home. That means they lived there. The Greek word is katoikountes or κατοικοῦντες which is usually translated as "living in" or inhabiting. I have no reason to think what is said in Acts is true, but even if it is true, it is not saying what you seem to think it is saying, even with the translation you are using. Sorry, but that's pretty bad.

            I don't doubt the Jerusalem was a multicultural city while it was under Roman rule, but this is no argument that people from Corinth spent over half the year, every year, traveling back and form from there. I also don't doubt that Jews who lived in Israel traveled to Jerusalem but Corinth is a very long way from Israel. Notice how I source my claims, you should try it. Do you have an actual source for your claim? Acts is not one.

          • dconklin

            >That means they lived there.

            ROFL! There's isn't enough homes for a million people--try doing some research into the "feast of booths." Secondly, if they were permamnent residents they would not have been described as "Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, " A sound exegetical analysis of the text requires that one use the whol, not a snippet or worse, one word and try to build an edifice on it--that would be an eisegesis.

            Adam Clarke's commentary suggests that the term you looked at "Οἱ κατοικουντες" would be better translated by the word sojourn, because these were not inhabitants of Judea, but the strangers mentioned in Acts 2:9-11, who
            had come up to the feast.

            Albert Barnes agrees "The original does not mean that they were permanent dwellers in Judea, ... "And all ye that dwell" … - All others besides native-born Jews, whether proselytes or strangers, who were abiding at Jerusalem."

            Thomas Coke points out that the Greek word means "Sojourn." The "Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary" agrees: "οἱ κατ. ἱερ. ἅπ., the sojourners (Acts 2:5) from other parts."

            OTOH, Gill points out that (Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.") shows that they were the natives and citizens of Jerusalem that
            mocked and scoffed; for to these the apostle addresses himself,

            Then comes the verse you looked at--how/why did you not see that this means that Peter has now shifted to a different audience within the whole?

            etc., at http://www.studylight.org/commentary/acts/2-14.html

            > I have no reason to think what is said in Acts is true

            Where we can check the Bible has A:LWAYS been proven to be true. At least one scholar walked through Acts and checked and found it to be so.

            >Acts is not one.

            Real scholars work with the evidence they have at hand and do not willy-nilly dismiss it because they don't like it--that's the earmark of a bigot.

          • Will

            Do you realize Adam Clarke's commentary was written 18th or 19th century? NRSV Translation:

            5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

            Here is a list of scholars involved in the translation. Bruce Metzger is considered to be on of the best of the 20th century

            The following scholars were active on the NRSV Bible Translation Committee at the time of publication.[3]

            William A. Beardslee

            Phyllis A. Bird

            George Coats

            Demetrios J. Constantelos

            Robert C. Dentan

            Alexander A. DiLella, OFM

            J. Cheryl Exum

            Reginald H. Fuller

            Paul D. Hanson

            Walter Harrelson

            William L. Holladay

            Sherman E. Johnson

            Robert A. Kraft

            George M. Landes

            Conrad E. L’Heureux

            S. Dean McBride, Jr.

            Bruce M. Metzger

            Patrick D. Miller

            Paul S. Minear

            Lucetta Mowry

            Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm.

            Harry S. Orlinsky

            Marvin H. Pope

            J. J. M. Roberts

            Alfred v. Rohr Sauer

            Katharine D. Sakenfeld

            James A. Sanders

            Gene M. Tucker

            Eugene C. Ulrich

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Revised_Standard_Version

            Biblical scholarship is in a much better place today as these men have spent their entire lives reading all of the variant texts of the New Testament, and other Greek sources so they are experts on the dead language.

            Real scholars work with the evidence they have at hand and do not willy-nilly dismiss it because they don't like it--that's the earmark of a bigot.

            When was the last time you read the Holy Qu'ran? Or the Book of Morman? Or Buddhist texts? Have you dismissed them without reading them? I am at least familiar with the Bible. You might want to think before you call someone a bigot for dismissing a text, lol. Besides, here is the definition is "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions." I'm misinformation, but you can certainly believe what you want. The Bible doesn't seem very tolerant of someone believing Christianity isn't true, and we won't get into attacks on atheist, heretics, and those of other religions over time. One could argue that Christianity has been an inherently bigoted religion, but things are a bit better now :)

          • dconklin

            A dated commentary beats none at all, any day of the week. I didn't call into question the NRSV translation.

            >Biblical scholarship is in a much better place today as these men have spent their entire lives reading all of the variant texts of the New Testament, and other Greek sources so they are experts on the dead language.

            That is correct. No one said otherwise.

            >>Real scholars work with the evidence they have at hand and do not willy-nilly dismiss it because they don't like it--that's the earmark of a bigot.
            >When was the last time you read the Holy Qu'ran? Or the Book of Morman? Or Buddhist texts?

            Back in college in the late 60's when I took courses in the history of religions, etc.. But, your point is non sequitur.

            >You might want to think before you call someone a bigot for dismissing a text

            I didn't call anyone a bigot. Try reading more objectively.

            >One could argue that Christianity has been an inherently bigoted religion

            Only if one were intentionally lying. The Gospel that Luke wrote showed inclusiveness.

          • Will

            All I am trying to say, is that if I'm a bigot for dismissing Acts as being unreliable historically, you are one too for dismissing other religious texts. Of course, I do not agree that this makes you, or me, a bigot. I have reason to think Acts is unreliable:

            Acts and the Gospel of Luke make up a two-part work, Luke–Acts, by the same anonymous author, usually dated to around 80-90 AD.

            Anything written decades after the events is likely to be full of embellishments and story telling, it's just how things were generally written back then.

            Luke seems to have taken as his model the works of two respected Classical authors, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who wrote a well-known history of Rome, and the Jewish historian Josephus, author of a history of the Jews.[18] Like them, he anchors his history by dating the birth of the founder (Romulus for Dionysius, Moses for Josephus, Jesus for Luke) and like them he tells how the founder is born from God, taught authoritatively, and appeared to witnesses after death before ascending to heaven.

            Do you think Romulus, "founder of Rome" ascended to heaven, was born of the god Mars and a virgin, and worked miracles?

            http://serene-musings.blogspot.com/2007/01/romulus-remus-lesson-for-christianity.html

            If you take the stories of Romulus and Remus (born of a god and a virgin, worked miracles, ascending into heaven), and add them to Mark's gospel, you get Matthew and Luke. Romulus and Remus predate Jesus by hundreds of years, and the story was circulating when the gospels were written. The Greeks expected a son of God to literally be born of a God, Jews had a very different understanding.

            Acts was read as a reliable history of the early church well into the post-Reformation era. By the 17th century, however, biblical scholars began to notice that it was incomplete and tendentious – its picture of a harmonious church is quite at odds with that given by Paul's letters, and it omits important events such as the deaths of both Peter and Paul. The mid-19th century scholar Ferdinand Baur suggested that Luke had re-written history to present a united Peter and Paul and advance a single orthodoxy against the Marcionites. (Marcion was a 2nd-century heretic who wished to cut Christianity off entirely from the Jews). Baur continues to have enormous influence, but today there is less interest in determining Luke's historical accuracy (although this has never died out) than in understanding his theological program.[25]

            All quotes are from this link:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_the_Apostles#Genre.2C_sources_and_historicity_of_Acts

          • dconklin

            >if I'm a bigot for dismissing Acts as being unreliable historically,

            Again, I didn't say that you were a bigot. You are making a claim without evidence--which is the thought pattern of a bigot. Try reading this: https://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/the-historicity-of-the-book-of-acts-15/ (I love the footnotes!).

            >you are one too for dismissing other religious texts

            Hmmm, I already told you that I looked at those texts back about 45 years ago and now here you are, saying that dismissed them without looking at them?!?

            > I have reason to think Acts is unreliable:
            Acts and the Gospel of Luke make up a two-part work, Luke–Acts, by the same anonymous author, usually dated to around 80-90 AD.

            I would think that way too, if I dated the work that late--but ;late dating went out the window a long time ago. Acts ends BEFORE the death of Peter and Paul which places it BEFORE 60 AD or so. Luke was probably written in the mid-50's as a way of supporting Paul's work to the Gentiles--as a way of showing that even in the ministry of Jesus, the Gentiles (and women) got fair play.

          • David Nickol

            [OverlappingMagisteria] The Christians in Corinth are very unlikely to travel all the way to Jerusalem to confirm 500 people's stories

            [dconklin] They go there once a year for Passover till Pentecost.

            I don't understand. It's 50 days from Passover to Pentecost. Who are the people you are claiming traveled from Corinth once a year to spend 50 days in Jerusalem? Passover itself is 7 days. Are you claiming that Jewish-Christians from Corinth traveled to Jerusalem and spent Passover there and then waited for Pentecost?

            There is no doubt that many people came to Jerusalem for Passover, and some traveled great distances. But it is not clear to me what you are claiming about the Jewish-Christians of Corinth.

          • dconklin

            Note the places listed:

            Acts 2:9-10 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

            > it is not clear to me what you are claiming about the Jewish-Christians of Corinth.

            When I stated that people would travel I was told that I was "obviously wrong." I'm not wrong, they are approaching the subject with an agenda of disbelief.

          • David Nickol

            When I stated that people would travel I was told that I was "obviously wrong."

            First, I find the words "obviously wrong" only in your own message. Who said you were "obviously wrong"?

            Second, I don't think anyone was denying that people could and did travel to Jerusalem from far away places.

            Third, you did not answer my question: "Are you claiming that Jewish-Christians from Corinth traveled to Jerusalem and spent Passover there and then waited for Pentecost?" You said: "They go there once a year for Passover till Pentecost." Who is "they," and where do you get your information that anyone went to Jerusalem "for Passover till Pentecost"?

            The question, as I understood it, was whether people would travel from Corinth to Jerusalem to check the accuracy of Paul's claim of Jesus appearing to 500 people. Paul was writing 20 years after the alleged appearances. I doubt that anyone from Corinth would have traveled all the way to Jerusalem 20 years after the crucifixion to try to find eyewitnesses to one event, even one as spectacular as the appearance of the risen Jesus to a crowd of 500.

          • dconklin

            >First, I find the words "obviously wrong" only in your own message. Who said you were "obviously wrong"?

            Good question! I can't find the post either. The poster couldn't believe that people would travel to Jerusalem, I showed him the relevant texts and thanked him for making it easy.

            >appearance of the risen Jesus to a crowd of 500.

            No one has claimed that He did.

    • Doug Shaver

      What is the evidence for this?

      The New Testament, obviously. But Kreeft said his argument would not depend on assuming the truth of the New Testament.

  • Luke C.

    (1) - (3), (7), and (9) These assume the NT to be historically accurate, which I thought we were not supposed to have to assume.

    (4) Not clinically accurate for someone suffering from a chronic mental disorder with psychotic features, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    (5) Insane is a legal term; you're looking for psychotic. And psychosis could explain this.

    (6) Your evidence for this claim?

    (8) Not clinically accurate. Someone could surely hallucinate that a person was eating.

    (10) People can and do have mental disorders that would allow this.

    (11) Sure they could have. Psychosis is a perceptual and/or experiential break from reality. Delusions are irrational beliefs. Pretty much anything is possible as a result.

    (12) Not if someone disposed of it secretly, there never was a body to produce, or they were psychotic.

    (13) No, psychosis and delusions could explain it all.

    • Loreen Lee

      Hi Luke; In order to be disciplined and more in keeping with the expectations of these blogs, I thought I should address each issue separately, but please forgive if I do my usual, and attempt a general statement which attempts to express my overall perspective obtained.

      Are you aware for instance of the following statements made by philosophers?
      Neitzsche: Insanity with respect to an individual is rare, with respect to a general population most common. (A paraphrase if you will permit).
      In making a comment as a description of events today, I did not think to include the reason for same, which was that I believe the current events today could provide comparable illustrations of what was happening during the time of Christ. Similar expectations in many ways, fears regarding phenomena that do not seem at present to be controllable. Conspiracy theories, mythological stories in the sense of alternative explanations offered, and hallucinations which can accompany PTSD for instance as a consequence of military combat. Of course,. all of these phenomena present themselves in a very different way which may, for some make the kind of comparison I envision difficult. Can we compare Superman or Star Trek to Jesus Christ, without being blasphemous. (Sorry I can't avoid the satire, the humor may originate from my inability to make comparable and justifiable explanations.)

      Neitzsche also made the point in his philosophical/novel Zarathustra, that everyone thought a person insane because they could not hear the music. To interpret this, and as an compensation to my previous remark, the comment highlights many things I believe about the perception of madness in others, in many cases, that even if the renting of the tabernacle, the storm, etc. were considered hallucinations, such may be illustrations, as in the case of much allegorical and analogical elements in scripture, and the parable of Jesus as ell, of 'music' or 'significance' or 'commentary' that is represented within the sphere of the empirical. If only it were possible to scientifically examine the possibilities of the implications of this remark of Neitzsche within the context of projections of thought general upon external circumstance.
      Anyway, this for the argument on the other side of the debate.

      There is also the Stoic saying, which I have previous stated on site: "They concluded that only a stoic sage could be considered to be sane, but when they searched for one they could not find him."

      In conclusion, I should merely like to state my personal view concerning what is considered madness, again, which is that it is important to search for the truth within the madness, and that most often the 'cause' (I realize causation is generally not a part of psychiatric diagnosis), of the madness, can indeed be a result of the search for 'truth'.

      This last comment hopefully can balance the the opposition between the first and second of these suggestions. Without getting into the complications involved in any discussion of miracles, (a physical phenomena), the evidence possibly of any revelation within consciousness, (as discussed from scripture to the post moderns) may I suggest, speaks of miracles as the evidential support of some state of conscious awareness.
      I realize these statements are unsupported. I realize they are not 'thorough enough'. I realize that you are competent in the field of mental health. I realize that you may not consider them 'worthy of belief'. But thank you just the same for allow me to state my understanding which comes from much personal study on the issue. That is my story. And as I believe I have stated before, story for me involves a comprehensive applicability to all the issues discussed within this series. And I believe it is possible to a (a) (the) truth with any of these stories.

      Thank you..

      • Luke C.

        Hm. I'm not saying that nothing good can come from one's experiences of "madness" or "insanity", or that the states never contain grains of truth or reality.

        "Insane" is really a legal term (it doesn't appear in the DSM-5), and usually defined as the inability to differentiate right from wrong (whether state-like or trait-like). Not sure if this clears up anything for you.

        • Loreen Lee

          I am not going to elaborate on this comment. I do understand in depth the difference between the legal definition of insanity and the diagnosis within the DSM which are continually redefined. I don't think the particular term 'legal' is of major import to the comparisons I have set forth in my comment. I have used it as an umbrella term which would include hallucination and other possible phenomena such as catatonia, paranoia, and any imagined or real attribute that you might designate as cause for the above remarks. Thank you.

          • Luke C.

            Sorry, Loreen. I was not meaning to be pedantic. No offense meant. I'm not arguing that Kreeft's assertions are impossible; rather, I'm attempting to disarm them. I don't think they compel the conclusion he's drawing, and I was pointing out why. I also don't mean to be dismissive of your or anyone else's personal search for truth.

          • Loreen Lee

            Thank you Luke. It is true that the elements within Biblical scripture are held to be beliefs. Religion does indeed, (my belief) deal, primarily with the subjective aspect of what it is to be human, whether that is or is not defined within the context of personal as human or divine. I don't discount the 'reality' that these discussion are difficult, and I do accept the 'reality' that we may come to different conclusions.

            I have been attempting over the last while to clarify and testing the possibility within many contexts, that a viable term to use with respect to all of the issues raised in this series would be that they are all 'stories'.
            Story or Narrative. Hopefully a very extensive term that could replace by inclusion terms such as mythos, and yes, dare I say it even religion, and now I will really go off the deep end, and could also include the subjective element with science.

            I did mention in my rants that this would indeed reduce me to silence. It is that 'monster' irony raising it's Dionysian persona against any Apollonian possibility of rational virtue!. Ah! That madman, Neitzsche. Take care.

      • Loreen Lee

        I did come back for a rewrite. Not able yet to figure how to work on 'story' off site. Still working on it.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    ...but if five hundred simple fishermen in Maine saw, touched, and talked
    with him at once, in the same town, that would be a different matter.

    Dr. Kreeft is implying that the 500 witnesses in 1 Cor 15 touched and talked with Jesus, but where does he get this idea? 1 Cor 15 only says that Jesus "appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time." There is no detail about what happened during this appearance. In fact, it is not even clear whether Paul believes that the appearance to the 500 was a physical, bodily appearance, or a spiritual vision - The same phrasing is used when Paul says that "he appeared also to me. " I think everyone agrees that Paul never met the physical Jesus - but had a vision.

    The only other dead person we know of who is reported to have appeared
    to hundreds of qualified and skeptical eyewitnesses at once is Mary the
    mother of Jesus [at Fatima, to 70,000].

    My understanding is that only the 3 Fatima children claimed to see Mary, and not all during the Miracle of the Sun. Of the thousands that gathered there, some, not all, saw the sun do some interesting things (change color, spin, move) after they had stared at it for a bit.

    • Pofarmer

      Perfect example of a mass hallucination.

      Hasn't anyone here ever played a trick on a group of young kids in the woods? "Oh look, over there, a coyote, look out". Pretty soon the whole group is "seeing " it, and telling where it is and to be careful until you get back to camp, etc. it's really not that hard with any group that is suggestable.

  • GCBill

    Sorry Mr. Vogt, but you didn't write this article. ;)

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Some of these reasons seem to be unrelated to the hallucination theory and I'm not sure why they were even brought up.

    (2) The witnesses were qualified/honest - That's an assertion, but even if we accept it as true, so what? The hallucination theory does not claim that the witnesses were liars. Someone who hallucinates is entirely honest when they explain their hallucination.

    (7)The witnesses did not believe at first - Are we assuming that people who hallucinate instantly believe their hallucinations? It is not possible for someone to expeirence a hallucination but not believe what they saw?

    (8) Hallucinations don't eat - Why not? I admit, that I've never hallucinated (as far as I know), but I've had dreams where people eat. Why couldn't a hallucination eat?

    C.S. Lewis quote under (13) - There is an assertion here that because the disciples did not recognize Jesus, he must have been real. Why? Are hallucinations more recognizable than real people? If anything, I'd think it would be the other way around. It seems that it would much easier to hallucinate a vague unrecognizable face than for a real person to have a vague unrecognizable face.

  • One problem with these kinds of historical apologetics arguments about the resurrection is that they each make the point "It's very unlikely that X, therefore the resurrection." But the resurrection is also very unlikely.

    Assuming that every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience, it's exceedingly unlikely that it's all hallucinations. But it's astronomically unlikely that a person rises from the dead.

    It doesn't mean you have to commit to any answer. Maybe you think all known alternative explanations are so unlikely that they probably aren't true. If you find that the chances of the resurrection are much lower even than even one of the alternatives, you still are justified in rejecting the resurrection explanation, although you might remain agnostic about what really happened.

    I don't know what happened. But, given available evidence, it seems that any of Kreeft's myriad alternatives are far more probable than that Jesus physically returned from the dead.

    • David Nickol

      Assuming that every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience, it's exceedingly unlikely that it's all hallucinations. But it's astronomically unlikely that a person rises from the dead.

      I can't agree here. A virgin conceives and gives birth to Jesus. Astrologers come and find him because of an inexplicable star. The family must flee to Egypt because Herod tries to kill off a possible future king. Voices boom from the sky when Jesus is baptized. He heals the sick, cures the blind, walks on water, calms storms, predicts the future, and raises at least two people from the dead. Assuming all those things and many many more (the feeding of the 5000, the instantaneous healing of lepers, the casting out of "evil spirits") appear to be true, I think the only explanation is that something very unprecedented is going on, and you can't cling to old beliefs like "people don't just rise from the dead . . . period!"

      I don't know how it is possible to maintain that no imaginable evidence for the existence of God or resurrection from the dead could amount to proof. If I felt that way, I wouldn't see any point in discussing it.

      The problem with the series by Peter Kreeft is that modern biblical scholarship (including scholarship by believing Catholics) does not assume that "every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience." That is the view of a tiny minority of contemporary biblical scholars (at best) and possibly of no one at all worthy to be called a biblical scholar.

      • "The problem with the series by Peter Kreeft is that modern biblical scholarship (including scholarship by believing Catholics) does not assume that "every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience." That is the view of a tiny minority of contemporary biblical scholars (at best) and possibly of no one at all worthy to be called a biblical scholar."

        As has been pointed out before, David, this is neither what Dr. Kreeft claims, nor what is relevant to his case. He never says that "every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience," nor does his case depend on that claim.

        Kreeft focuses on a very small handful of episodes from the Gospels which are widely accepted by most mainstream biblical scholars as historically accurate.

        Rejecting his whole case with a sweep of the hand in the name of "modern biblical scholarship" is not to seriously refute (much less engage) his argument.

        • Doug Shaver

          He never says that "every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience," nor does his case depend on that claim.

          It does not depend on the claim that all the events are actual. It does depend on the claim that some of them do. That has to be demonstrated, not assumed.

          • And he has demonstrated them. He has made strong arguments to show why the specific accounts in question are more plausibly true than not.

      • I probably gave my complaints a too strongly, but only by a little.

        Someone who was an eye-witness in the life of Jesus claims that he was born of a virgin birth, astrologers come and find Jesus because of some inexplicable star, the family runs away to Egypt, voices boom when Jesus is baptized, 5000 people are fed, Jesus walks out of the tomb and then shoots up into the sky. Maybe he claims to have been a personal witness to each of these events, or got them from direct testimony. I'd say it's more likely he's nuts. And that's what I'm getting at. Almost any explanation that involves the writer's psychology, as regards Jesus especially, would be more likely than that the stories are historically true.

        And why?

        I don't know how it is possible to maintain that no imaginable evidence
        for the existence of God or resurrection from the dead could amount to
        proof.

        Because there is evidence that would convince me that Jesus physically returned from the dead in an immortal body. He can come over to my house, or I can go over to his, and we can chat about it over coffee. That would work.

        The problem with the series by Peter Kreeft is that modern biblical
        scholarship (including scholarship by believing Catholics) does not
        assume that "every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual,
        historical experience." That is the view of a tiny minority of
        contemporary biblical scholars (at best) and possibly of no one at all
        worthy to be called a biblical scholar.

        This is another problem, sure. My whole point (you do not agree, maybe) is that even if it could be shown that the gospels were eye-witness accounts, I still wouldn't accept the miracles recorded in them, especially physical resurrections. Convincing me otherwise is easy. One of those physically resurrected people can pay me a visit.

    • "But the resurrection is also very unlikely."

      A basic principle of probabilistic analysis is that we don't just consider whether something is generally likely or unlikely, but whether it is likely given the particular background information.

      For example, the resurrection of a man from the dead is indeed,generally "very unlikely," as you affirm, all things being equal. But given the background information surrounding the particular case of Jesus' resurrection--namely the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances, the transformation of the disciples, the explosion of Christianity, etc--its likelihood is significantly higher (or as Christians would say, highest.)

      "Assuming that every one of the Gospel events corresponds to an actual, historical experience, it's exceedingly unlikely that it's all hallucinations. But it's astronomically unlikely that a person rises from the dead."

      Again, resurrection may be "astronomically unlikely" in general, but we're analyzing a particular case. A valid probabilistic analysis considers the evidence and background information in this particular case. And it reveals that the resurrection hypothesis is not "astronomically unlikely" (a charge for which you provide no support anyways) but is in fact the most likely explanation.

      "Maybe you think all known alternative explanations are so unlikely that they probably aren't true."

      But even scientists will accept, at least temporarily, the best explanation available, while still be open to future alternative theories. Only people who are completely closed-minded, who won't accept a supernatural explanation even when all naturalistic explanations are completely untenable, will refuse to accept the currently-best explanation available.

      "If you find that the chances of the resurrection are much lower even than even one of the alternatives, you still are justified in rejecting the resurrection explanation."

      Well, of course! But this has not been done. If you believe it has, perhaps you can share.

      "I don't know what happened. But, given available evidence, it seems that any of Kreeft's myriad alternatives are far more probable than that Jesus physically returned from the dead."

      I'm startled for two reasons by this comment. First, the audacious claim that any of the alternative theories mentioned are more plausible than resurrection, which would presumably include the most outlandish theories such as the "swoon" theory. Second, that you would make such a sweeping claim without any support whatsoever. Why would some (or any) of the alternative theories Kreeft debunked be more plausible than the resurrection hypothesis? You haven't provided any reasons to think this is true.

      • "A basic principle of probabilistic analysis is that we don't just consider whether something is generally likely or unlikely, but whether it is likely given the particular background information."

        Exactly, and what Paul is pointing out is that the background knowledge tells us that theistic resurrection is an incredibly unlikely explanation (even Christians believe this happened only twice, ever.) Then we ask how does the evidence change that? So we have an incredibly unlikely possibility, then a handful of non-independent accounts that it happened. It makes it slightly more likely than incredibly unlikely.

        We then have to compare this to a naturalistic explanation. I think we would be entitled to look at all together, hallucination, mistake, lying. We know these things happen relatively commonly. We then consider how likely actual theistic resurrection is as an explanation of accounts of it. I would say it makes something relatively common slightly less likely.

      • Doug Shaver

        A basic principle of probabilistic analysis is that we don't just consider whether something is generally likely or unlikely, but whether it is likely given the particular background information.

        The only probabilistic analysis appropriate in this context is a Bayesian analysis. To do that, we have to start with a prior probability of the alleged event, which just is the probability of its occurrence given our background information. In other words, prior probability means how generally likely or unlikely it is. After establishing that prior probability, then and only then we can see whether, and by how much, the evidence in question changes that probability.

        And, it's begging the question to factor the evidence itself into one's assessment of prior probability. That's what the "prior" means: "before," i.e. before we've looked at the evidence.

        But given the background information surrounding the particular case of Jesus' resurrection--namely the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances, the transformation of the disciples, the explosion of Christianity, etc--its likelihood is significantly higher (or as Christians would say, highest.)

        None of that counts as background information except for the growth of Christianity and, if we stipulate Jesus' historical existence, the crucifixion. All the rest of it depends solely on the evidence, and so you're begging the question if you use it to determine your prior probability.

        Again, resurrection may be "astronomically unlikely" in general, but we're analyzing a particular case.

        The analysis is supposed to determine whether, in this particular case, the evidence is sufficient to justify believing that the resurrection occurred. The analysis will be irreparably biased if we presuppose the historical reliability of the evidence.

        A valid probabilistic analysis considers the evidence and background information in this particular case.

        Yes, but it does not treat the evidence as if it were background information.

        And it reveals that the resurrection hypothesis is not "astronomically unlikely" (a charge for which you provide no support anyways) but is in fact the most likely explanation.

        That is what the analysis is supposed to reveal, but you cannot base the prior probability on the intended outcome.

        Why would some (or any) of the alternative theories Kreeft debunked be more plausible than the resurrection hypothesis? You haven't provided any reasons to think this is true.

        If you would like to publish a Bayesian analysis of Kreeft's five theories, I can write one up. Send me an e-mail if you're interested, and we can start negotiating.

      • Prior probabilities are prior beliefs and prior beliefs are ineluctably subjective, so, while valid, Bayesian inference is weak, essentially merely plausibilistic but not robustly probabilistic. So, your point's well made, the alternative hypotheses aren't discernably more plausible, much less more probable. At best, approaches like Swinburne's are useful in establishing epistemic rights to believe, inferential reasonableness. And, in my view, that complements the deductive arguments of natural theology that he's trying to improve on, adding a modicum of plausibility to the other epistemic virtues already enjoyed by good philosophical theology. All to say that I wholeheartedly concur.

        • Loreen Lee

          Now I have to under what Bayesian analysis is all about! And Swinburne, and....and...and....and...(if only I could leave it all up to God!)..

          • Loreen, the difficulties with these logics, both formal and informal, are not unrelated to the implications of the thought of Wittgenstein, Godel and others. You'll get this, readily, I suspect. You have some grasp of abduction from our references to Peirce. This is my account of why Brandon's recent counters are spot-on.

            There seems to be some seamless crossing over in this discussion between two types of inference, abductive and bayesian. However, one should be aware that the relationship between abductive and bayesian inferences is problematic, hence controversial, still being worked out.

            Abductive inference infers explanations, which confer heuristic value from epistemic virtue. Bayesian inference employs antecedent probabilities (and likelihood functions) to derive posterior probabilities as their consequent. That's dense, but hang in there.

            The problematics present when trying to map these heuristic virtues (like the one's I often list as a litany of epistemic virtue), via a principled strategy, to prior probabilities and likelihoods. So, consider:

            For obvious reasons, that one should, without exception, necessarily infer to the best explanation wouldn't be prescribed among those principled strategies, precisely because, often enough, there's insufficient evidential warrant for ANY of our explanations? That's an unavoidable weakness of abductive inference, why it's considered merely a heuristic in the first place. Simply put: common sense and intuition only go so far. Concrete examples would go here, but are they needed?

            Now, regarding those very same interpretive frames or heuristics, an unavoidable weakness of bayesian inference is precisely that, in the first place, it cannot extend from an existing to a novel heuristic or framework. More simply put: what's implausible today may well be plausible tomorrow. Concrete examples would go here, but are they needed?

            This is not to suggest that either of these inferences is not an indispensable, even invaluable, tool of inquiry, but only to caution that, from problem to problem and context to context, while they are inherently weak from the get-go, they can get even weaker.

            Combined, often enough, they might be useful to establish that one's working within their epistemic rights but, even in the same instance, aren't necessarily going to be strong enough to also demonstrate the irrationality of competing hypotheses. Concrete example: Both sides of the topic at hand, as well as every other topic devoted to dueling plausibilities.

            Even worse, the facile coupling of an interpretive framework (using an inference to the best explanation that's relatively inadequate) to bayesian priors, more closely resembles ---not a probabilistic, but --- an analytic argument, in which one's conclusions have already been embedded --- not only in one's premises, but --- in one's frame-bound definitions. Simply put: One can inadvertently construct a circular argument. Concrete examples would go here, but are they needed?

          • Loreen Lee

            Thank you Johnboy. Just as I am accepting the 'reality' that elements within my questioning, will certainly be deemed incoherent, you have provided me with a 'justification' that my questions could indeed be considered 'appropriate'. My coming up with the thesis of 'story' for instance, (as a broad concept that would cover both what? the epistemic and ontic.) I would now interpreted as an abductive hypothesis. My questioning as to the 'probability' that all of the research, scholastic, etc. will inevitable defeat what we still await as the argument within the last of the series. What I referred to in a former conversation, that these discussions, etc. are not necessarily 'bearing fruit'. That the arguments are of course analytic, and that one's conclusions are already embedded: in other words the search for error rather than explanation, etc. etc. etc. Indeed that all of these epistemic ventures occur within an ontological situation.
            Need I go on. Thank you Johnboy for having faith in me. And yes I have similar faith in mathematics. I am still caught between naturalism and religion, looking for 'explanation', now that I am aware that there is indeed a 'problem', perhaps within some incoherence in the relation of concepts, in use, I know not.

            As I mentioned to Doug I find it ironic, when I rediscovered, and finally decided to address what I found to be even psychologically unconscious associations, I set out to attempt to find coherence, (relations between concepts, etc. etc.) So I think it is appropriate that I am now being found incoherent.

            Also, the difference between epistemic and ontological distinctions. Could this not also be a 'problem'. to define within any context. What is a most interesting distinction is that the positivist rejection of metaphysics can I believe be place within a purely epistemic context. But in this current idea of reductionism, the problem is more acute, the scope is more chronic, because I believe it involves ontological presuppositions, as well as epistemic ones. (correctly worded?) like what is being regarded as a rejection of religion within these comments,would possibly entail a whole new perspective of what constitutes homo sapiens. (P.S. to avoid cognitive bias, - I am not saying this is impossible, just that it needs to be considered within an assessment of what this issue involves.)

            I do have another theory. Just testing. Just questioning. Don't expect to find the answer. Do I make sense? Have I understood your description. Your better at making conceptual relationships, than I am, obviously. Hopefully, I'll be able to get beyond the abductive stage, but I have been unable to fully assimilate your concepts, so I don't even have any idea this leading me. Thanks.

          • Wow, Loreen. I knew you'd get it. At one point, I was unsure whether the fruit you referred to was epistemic, adding new information, or relational, building mutual respect.

            But, yes, it's what I referred to in the past as a nonvirtuous epistemic, dyadic cycling of abductive hypothesizing and deductive clarifying, plausibilistic exchanges, all without the benefit of inductive testing in a robustly triadic inferential cycle.

            Let me qualify that this dyadic cycle is valuable as a tool to conceive of and construct heuristics that can, eventually, foster new testable hypotheses, just like my affirmation of coupling abductive and bayesian inferences. But, we must look over our epistemic shoulders and take account of the ontological leaps we have made, discerning strong from weak inference. And, as you pointed out, previously, our axiological epistemology is only as good as the awareness we bring to reality, for we cannot process that which we cannot even see. Some interpretive stances are more than different ways of thinking about reality but are different ways of seeing it. Yes, you made sense and properly gathered my meaning. Three wheelers cannot go anywhere without the third wheel, but it's still best to keep the engine running and back wheels oiled and spinning, so the bearings don't freeze up or rust out, should that other wheel become available, offering opportunities to go places we've not yet travelled.

          • Loreen Lee

            This is a scary procedure. Quote: nonvirtuous epistemic, dyadic cycling of abductive hypothesizing and deductive clarifying, Am I justified in questioning the use of "ready to hand" for instance in Heidegger's philosophy. I'm just in wallow. I suggested to my doctor that I want to get on medication, just in case the what-ever-not start moving even faster over the connections. (Excuse. I know the vocabulary but just can't make reference to it at this moment) It's just that I'm over whelmed by the possibility that I really do not know what I'm thinking about, or as Heidegger said, yes it is an incredible question, I do not know how to think, or (is this a translation) how I think. Maybe I can concentrate on trying to understand what these comments, like that quoted above refer to. But I don't know how to do that. How do you genius male philosophers think these concepts up in the first place. Yes, I admit, I do not believe I fully comprehended Kant's transcendental deduction, for instance, and now I'm wondering, or perhaps realizing for the first time, that I really didn't comprehend anything.

          • It's not a gender issue but a hard-wired personality typology, in my case, a myers-briggs INTP (introverted intuitive thinking perceiving). Look up online myers-briggs testing, if you want to try that angle on your journey of self-discovery. If you think of your cortex as having 4 quadrants and several layers, your personality development is partly governed by which quadrant is dominant (a LOT of neural connectivity).

            Throughout development, connectivity grows, experiences get richer, primarily from side to side (corpus callosum) and front to back or back to front, laterally (same hemisphere). What's called our 4th or inferior function is associated with the quadrant lying catercorner to our dominant function, because there's no natural growth pathway in that direction.

            Studies have shown, using PET scanning and glucose metabolism, that if one is forced by circumstances to operate in an environment that places demands on that suite of functions located in that inferior quadrant, her brain will burn 100X hotter. Anyone who does this for a protracted period of time, then, due to work or social circumstances, can suffer a syndrome called type-falsification, which, from excess energy consumption and the stress of performing or being other than you were designed, can make you sick, literally.

            There have been studies in certain Christian church surroundings where, believers, projecting onto Jesus an mbti typology of ESFJ (extroverted sensing feeling judging) have been urged by social pressures to conform to that personality type, which, of course, is a very superficial way of imitating Jesus, and very discomforting, for example, to someone like me, who, in a manner of speaking, is the opposite of Jesus! (Had to develop boundaries to keep well intended people from bothering the daylights out of me!)

            Off-topic, parlor material ;)

          • Loreen Lee

            Thank "God' for science.....

          • William Davis

            I agree. I spent a lot of time reading books on how to "take care of the brain". If you ever want to read something besides philosophy, I can recommend this book:

            http://www.amazon.com/The-Brain-Diet-Connection-Intelligence/dp/1581826001

            I've read others but this is the best, in my opinion. Doing the stuff he recommends works. Not only am I "smarter" but my overall quality of life has improved.

          • Yes, best settle for science rather than omniscience or we could fry our brains ;)

          • Loreen Lee

            I'm laughing. And I've decided to hold my 'piece'. There will be enough to deal with in finding a good relationship to that messianic, long awaited for 'computer'!!!!! It's the end of the world. Haven't you been told!!!!!

          • Loreen Lee

            Had to get back again. I remember reading about the church chastising some Jesuits I believe and nuns who were looking into the Ennegram. Of course, I do read my daily horoscope. The structure of 12 can present a very good 'schemata' for comparing possibilities, which I understand is quite all right, as long as you are lucky to talk to someone who does not 'define too narrowly'. And science itself does not seem to have abandoned the concept!!!! I have purposely trained myself to speak within community, to counter my tendency to always keep things to myself. But generally I've been known to be a listener. But now????. Like who want to talk to oneself within the psychological context of modern interpretations!!!! I'm always off-topic, it seems. Unless that is interpretated as: . Always hallucinating!!!!! (Tp demur to Geena I will discipline myself and not grin grin.)

          • nothing occult about enneagram, just good long-observed phenomenological account of personality types, mapping roughly to mbti ... what the church needs is a jesuit pope who acts like a franciscan :)

          • Loreen Lee

            That was the purpose of astrology charts as well. The interpretation has changed much. Today reading was incredibly accurate. Usually it's a bunch of nonsense. But it's a great way to follow the movement of the planets, even if merely -geocentric. Do you know much about Newton?

            Wasn't going to answer. Was going to 'for sure' stop any dialogue. Interesting the Church has always talked about the NT as 'story'. God's story, or a story 'written by God'. A way to described 'metaphysical realities'?????Still don't believe the atheists will be able to 'explain it', just find arguments against it!!!!! But the more I read these Catholic hermeneutics on New Advent, etc. the more I feel that are 'too abstract'. So I really don't want to continue on with my 'heresies', although I find it interesting that indeed there are so many Catholics, questioning and asking for answers. It's just possible that the aesthetic will be forsaken for the intellect, alone. (or something). The important concept for me in all this word/flesh, etc. is the idea of a reciprocal relationship between matter and consciousness. And if this is forsaken, (the aesthetic -unity connection - two ways?) (I have related these triadic metaphysical concepts, so if you haven't I'm sure you'll find it easy to figure out. For me it's just another challenge in working out the relationship between the real and the ideal!!! (in my life even). I think possibly too, I'm beginning to see the Copernican revolution within a different context, after all it's all about a resurrection of the 'body'!!!. Wish I could check out these ideas with someone else, but it doesn't really matter. Don't want the problems involved in being a heretic. I pay my dues. Hopefully, science will some day be able to really connect those neurons with people's conscious thoughts. And maybe the 'reduction' can really be achieved. Anoher way of looking at the word made flash????.So many possible interpretations. But, In a way we live in a completely idealized world., and the Post-moderns want to over come the logos. But I don't know how crazy my thoughts really are cause I can't check them out with anyone. Sure empirical evidence is 'real', and it's not a 'naive' realism. . The 'models' can be fully substantiated by science.. True? . But.....????? So I'm determined to just go on living in 'my' world....I'm tired of being incoherent. I just want to enjoy my 'madness', and 'incoherence'. .

            I've promised not to think about these things for awhile, if ever.. So thanks a lot everybody, I couldn't have come to these meandering 'poetics?' if it were not for you guys. And I'm really tired of all the 'argument'. I don't mean the interpretations there. I mean when the first post on scripture hermeneutics came up I was fearful to put forward the possibility that all of these scriptures happened after the death of Jesus, and over time. But I don't think they can tie all the pieces together as a 'proof'. Am I a pessimist. I'm just so tired. Thanks Johnboy. . ..

          • William Davis

            Johnboy is right, the right prescription is to take a break. Your brain will be working on making sense of everything in the rest period, especially over sleep. I realize it can be difficult to take a break (i've had problems with overthinking myself), but figure out some way to do it, go for walks, get out of the house, visit people, whatever you can do.

            Be careful with brain medicine, in the right situation it can be helpful but in my limited experience I've seen it do more harm than could. My favorite calming medicine is matcha, a powdered green tea. Buddhist monk's have been using this stuff for centuries to both calm their minds and increase concentration, not to mention it's anti-cancer effects. Quality matters, and the best stuff I've found comes from domatcha, I get it from amazon:

            http://www.amazon.com/DoMatcha-Organic-Harvest-Matcha-2-82oz/dp/B003O7T87C/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1429037136&sr=1-1&keywords=domatcha

            If you don't eat much fish, a molecular distilled fish oil can dramatically increase mental function over time (I eat fish and take fish oil). It is more effective than any anti- depressant on the market.
            Just my little bit of advice, a rested brain comprehends better, and I've had many things fail to make sense until I walked away and came back later :)

          • Loreen Lee

            Yeah! I became really aware that I was 'over thinking' when I visited the doctor's office this morning. The thoughts have slowed down. I really feel like I've made some valuable connections. Indeed possibly I have an answer that at least satisfies me, with respect to a solution of the Book of God question. But there is no reason why I have to share my intuition. Perhaps it is best, as I anticipated might be one solution, that my conjectures end in silence. But if anyone thinks they have absoloutely 'won the argument' with respect to Kreeft, et. al. just remember that 'it's ALL in Your head'.)......Take care. wish I had the ability that explicate mythological history like you do!!!!

          • glad you're getting relief! be well, we're all rooting for you, Loreen

          • Loreen Lee

            P.S. It's the absorption in the ideas alone, that is central. I've generally been pretty good at developing 'awareness' in this regard. And I know that it can be brought on through a purposeful juxtaposition of seemingly contradicting ideas. Neitzsche understand this entirely. Out of chaos, (necessary) comes order. Indeed, isn't that the order to creation itself. What's with the theodicy problem. Just want to blame God for everything. Once he's gone, what will the source of the difficulty be? Entropy I guess. But I have faith that even that will someday be explained. !!!! What's the saying? Live with it? I'm going to the cafe for a nice expresso. Take care, of yourself and those kids!!! Wish I had spent more time with mine. My daughter is so right about me. People pleaser, and always into my own head!!! Good description from JB. It's been such a pleasure meeting both of you.

          • William Davis

            Thanks, it's been a pleasure talking with you as well.

          • Loreen Lee

            I just made an interpretation that the reductionist thesis, could possibly be - the ultimate word made flesh. then I find this: http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/lecture/aquinas-and-why-the-new-atheists-are-right/4730/ Haven't read it yet. I've really had enough. Can't argue. This is something that has to be 'understood', internally as well as externally, or something. This is a long process thing, or something. I just said that - like without thinking....And I don't want to get all caught up in ego stuff! .I wonder if the EN people would be interested. You're friends with them. Like there's too much happening again. But at least I'm not thinking faster than I can type. I'm not going to read it right now. I've got to take your advice, and just get away from things. Take care.

          • William Davis

            The human brain has never before had access to so much information, so care has to be taken so we don't go into overload ;) Nice link though, I'm on board with Catholics here. I think the world needs better religion as opposed to no religion, but getting there has been a lot of work, and I think it will take a lot more. Baby steps :)

          • Loreen Lee

            Just so. You've described my situation, exactly. There's just too much to absorb. Yes. I'm on board with much of what Father Barron said too. And I did find my history of philosophy agreed with his. Is it a complete downhill process that is happening though? I just can't see that. I'm trying to see some positive in all these developments. But I'll never be able to wrap my head around all Catholic doctrine, etc. etc. etc. - maybe it's all because I never did absorb that Latin that was once upon a time an obligatory subject in high schools!!!! (can I make a grin grin)......

          • Loreen Lee

            So just listened. Wrong again, of course. But glad I found a sort of positive thing in thinking about reductionism. Don't think I could put it into Barron's cosmological theories. Maybe some kind of step forward from some kind of idealism. Like some way I like the ideas of individual religion I'm a doomed heretic, but so glad I've read Marx, some Feuerbach, Russel's why I'm not a Catholic, etc. etc. etc. But I've had enough. There has to be a good within every bad, though possibly? And maybe it's not 'God' but the church that somehow assumes the rights of primary causation. Will keep trying to understand Catholic metaphysics, but as you can see, I've obviously said enough. Sorry Father Barron wasn't as positive as I thought he would be with respect to the new atheists. Take care.

          • Loreen Lee

            On my previous 'worry note'. I've come back to your quote: But, yes, it's what I referred to in the past as a nonvirtuous
            epistemic, dyadic cycling of abductive hypothesizing and deductive
            clarifying, plausibilistic exchanges, all without the benefit of
            inductive testing in a robustly triadic inferential cycle.

            For me I think the switch is just giving up on deductive and inductive logic. Proposition logic is more relational, right? I just won't have an 'immaterial intellect' at this time and space.. Anything 'beyond' that I cannot know with certainty, etc. I pledge not to say that God can't be defined, and then in the next sentence recite such things as 'he is simple, the prime mover, and all the rest of them'. "Only "I am that I am" -Descartes' cogito rewritten? No more 'vowels'. And what the atheists call: metaphysical naturalism? (What a crazy term). I'm a 'Kantian'.

            Thanks for your patience, Johnboy. And I won't be arguing with EN any more. That there is all that 'put down' kind of argument, remains unfortunately, the only clog in my theory of becoming some kind of black matter and or energy, or something. As long as I'm not a 'disembodied spirit', or some sort of dissociated mind. !!! I'll leave the philosophers to work out the 'epistemology'. Love.

      • Loreen Lee

        It always seems lost to the centrality of these arguments the distinction between faith and reason, revelation and reason, etc. etc. And a further distinction can be made between possible interpretations of 'belief' within these contexts.

      • William Davis

        One of my problems with miracles is accepting one groups miracles and rejecting another's. A comparison of Jesus's to say Mohammed's or Joseph Smith's miracles would be very interesting. That is something I don't think I've seen before, and if one could somehow demonstrate Jesus's miracles are more probable than other groups, that would give Christianity's claims more credence in my mind. I consider Christianity's claims in the context of everyone else's claims, and can't find a good metric to differentiate one group from the other. This is why the most consistent course for me is to divine intervention (not God) as a whole.

        • I've seen bayesian formulations of this argument, but, as a case in point regarding updating versus resetting priors (antecedent probabilities & likelihood functions), pluralistic interpretations of religious, like polydoxy and the perennial philosophy, would suggest that the interpretive frame for thus differentiating religious differences is, at least, much more complicated or possibly needs wholesale replacement.

      • Loreen Lee

        My difficulty Brandon, is clarifying that scripture is considered to be 'different' from ordinary texts, as it is the Word of God. Indeed, there is confusion here, in the application of concepts to temporal realities within the sphere of science, or reason, and the applications of concepts, which I believe are held to be, within the definition or jurisdiction, I know not what is the better word here, of articles of faith.

        Please know, that my belief, here is that I do not feel that these arguments can defeat what is held within Catholicism to be a reality. I just think it is most difficult to clarify a conceptual framework that will please everyone! (or something) Hope I'm making sense. In other words do we necessarily have to 'speak differently' with respect to matters 'of faith' than we do otherwise? And indeed is this truly a problem, or am I just a doubting Thomas. Do I really know what is meant by The Word of God?

      • A basic principle of probabilistic analysis is that we don't just consider whether something is generally likely or unlikely, but whether it is likely given the particular background information.

        Of course. Maybe the time I started typing this response was 6:09.48947 pm. What are the chances of that? So no argument there. I think that Jesus's coming back from the dead is highly unlikely given the particular background information. That background information being that there's probably some records of a historical figure, Jesus, being raised by God and that there's probably no such thing as a God who does miracles.

        Given that I don't accept that wilfull violations of natural principles as we know them are more likely for an event than for the event to just have happened according to those physical laws, it's straight-forward to calculate a probability for the resurrection. I did so here.

        Now, you may say the probability is too low! No, it's not. Not given my current knowledge and set of beliefs about the world. Now, my beliefs about the possibility of God raising people from the dead could be adjusted. Maybe someone shows me sufficient evidence that God exists, or, better yet, someone introduces me to a person who has resurrected.

        But even scientists will accept, at least temporarily, the best explanation available, while still be open to future alternative theories.

        Not if all the available explanations are terrible. For example, there's no good way to combine relativity and quantum mechanics. There are a lot of candidate explanations. I don't presently accept any of them. What's the matter with staying agnostic?

        First, the audacious claim that any of the alternative theories mentioned are more plausible than resurrection, which would presumably include the most outlandish theories such as the "swoon" theory.

        Not just the swoon theory. Also Kreeft's "crazy" alternatives. Jesus as an alien. Jesus as a time traveller. All these seem more likely given what I presently know, than that God raised Jesus physically from the dead.

        Second, that you would make such a sweeping claim without any support whatsoever. Why would some (or any) of the alternative theories Kreeft debunked be more plausible than the resurrection hypothesis? You haven't provided any reasons to think this is true.

        See the link above. Or here it is again: https://boltzmannbraindotorg.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/probability-of-the-resurrection/

    • Peter

      "But the resurrection is also very unlikely."

      Of course the Resurrection is very unlikely. That's the whole point of it.

      If it were commonplace, we wouldn't have a global religion following it for the last two thousand years. The significance of the Resurrection is that it occurred despite being very unlikely.

      • Pofarmer

        The signifigance is that people believed the ressurection, not that it occured. From the bery beginning, almost no one had any kind of proof that it did or didn't happen, or could have even reliable aquired it after the destruction of Jerusalem. Which is handy.

    • Loreen Lee

      Even Einstein, in anticipation of possible wartime threats, wrote the letter that began the Manhattan Project. I understand that he had some later regret in this regard. Of course, all is fine, we have agreements, etc. etc. on nuclear control, nuclear waste, etc. etc. and that wonderful computer Messiah is sure to have some solutions that are 'beyond human understanding'. Or am I 'hallucinating' again!!

    • So, Paul, stipulating to your account of the relative plausibilities, do you consider the resurrection explanation irrational? Are believers, in your view, within their epistemic rights, so to speak?

      • So, Paul, stipulating to your account of the relative plausibilities, do you consider the resurrection explanation irrational? Are believers, in your view, within their epistemic rights, so to speak?

        That's a good question. I'm not sure. I suspect, though, that believers could be within their epistemic rights. If I believed that God does physical miracles in the world, that would have a strong effect on the probability of the resurrection. And it's not obvious to me that belief in such a God is universally irrational.

        The question of the resurrection cannot hinge only on some historical evidence. It has to depend also on deeper core beliefs about God, miracles, the nature of the universe, and our experience or lack of experience of the divine. Historical evidence isn't sufficient to change that. This is a philosophical, even a personal, divide, one that can be bridged probably only by deep personal experience and careful philosophical consideration, if at all.

        What I can say with confidence is that it would be highly irrational for me, knowing what I know, to believe that Jesus returned bodily from the dead.

        • Well put and not inconsistent with what I wrote here, emphasis added:

          Now, understandably, one individual's or group's interpretive frames and experiences may have little epistemic or normative force for others, but that doesn't, alone, disestablish their epistemic rights and normative justifications.

          .
          https://strangenotions.com/real-encounter-13-reasons-jesus-disciples-did-not-hallucinate/#comment-1968980813

          Of course, epistemic virtue presents as a matter of degree, so the quality and quantity of justification, which delivers epistemic warrant and/or normative impetus, will necessarily vary from one believer to the next, whatever their worldview.

    • One problem with these kinds of historical apologetics arguments about the resurrection is that they each make the point "It's very unlikely that X, therefore the resurrection." But the resurrection is also very unlikely.

      Yes, you've got the argument's form right (from ignorance), but Luke Timothy Johnson and others would amend it It's very unlikely that A-Z, ergo ...
      and further suggest that the faith is grounded elsewhere, in the religious experiences of the followers.

      See:
      https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/book-reviews/how-jesus-became-god

      These bayesian/abductive approaches also rely on interpretive frames. Depending on how one interprets reality's initial, boundary and limit conditions, and/or other primal and ultimate realities, for example, as a mereological whole begging explanations versus infinitely regressing contingencies, one might arrive via an argument from ignorance at any of a number of competing interpretations that are equiplausible, whether theological, atheological or nontheological, and still be within one's epistemic rights. For one who's thus established in his theological interpretive frame via such epistemic warrants, the antecedent plausibilities would justifiably differ when considering the plausibility of the resurrection, in particular, the faith, in general.

      • I think I agree, if I understood it rightly.

        Historical documents, like the Gospels, provide evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead. Even if the gospels provided a huge amount of evidence for a bodily resurrection, whether it's sufficient evidence for you depends on your prior probabilities. My prior probabilities are just too low for history by itself to work.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      But it's astronomically unlikely that a person rises from the dead.

      a) How do you know? Or is this just an attempt to put a coat of mathematical paint on a deeply-held belief? :)
      b) Probabilities, whether astronomical or not, seldom venture out in public unaccompanied. There is no P(X). There is only P(X|M). That is, whether the odds are astronomical or not, depends on the model and prior assumptions being applied. For example, the odds may be astronomically low if one assumes that only known natural laws apply. I know one guy who rose from the dead, but he had been dead only an hour or two. (Then too there is the custom of the "wake.") However, the odds may be quite different when dealing with the author of all natural law. Such an author is no more inhibited from making exceptions than the author of a novel is inhibited from violating the laws of grammar.

      • How do you know?

        https://boltzmannbraindotorg.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/probability-of-the-resurrection/

        Or is this just an attempt to put a coat of mathematical paint on a deeply-held belief?

        Maybe this too. Maybe the link above is what this is. I don't think miracles are very likely, and much of my beliefs about things like miracles are deeply held.

        Now, it'd be easy to change my mind. Jesus came back bodily from the dead and is now immortal, right? Give me his address. I'll look him up.

        Probabilities, whether astronomical or not, seldom venture out in public unaccompanied.

        The probabilities given at the very end of the blog post all have chaperones. Most of the linked blog post is about how I fix my priors.

  • Papalinton

    I'm sorry to say this post is unbelievably tawdry scholarship. It is apologetical surmising at its worst. Is there not even a scintilla of embarrassment among genuine scholars for the paucity of corroborating evidence for any of Creeft's claims? I, along with 13.9 million contemporary Jews and some 1.6 billion Muslims simply reject Creeft's claims. Mind you, I don't consider Judaism and Islam fare any the better than Christian claims, but on this Creeft effort, I am pretty confident that his claims are eschewed as nothing more than Christian propaganda by Jews and Muslims. One must always be mindful in the broader context that what a Christian thinks must be properly counteracted by what a Muslim or Jew thinks. To not do so, protectively and undeservedly cocoons Christian arguments from the genuine field of criticism. From the very outset 2000 years ago, Judaism never subscribed to the validity of Creeft's assertions. Muslims, even after 600 years of hindsight and reflection, categorically rejected then as it does now, Creeft's view and attempts at apologetical rationalisation of the Christian mythos.

    "Depending on the interpretation of the following verse, Muslim scholars have abstracted different opinions. Some believe that in the Biblical account, Jesus's crucifixion did not last long enough for him to die, while others opine that God gave someone Jesus's appearance, causing everyone to believe that Jesus was crucified (majority view). A third explanation could be that Jesus was nailed to a cross, but as his body is immortal he did not "die" or was not "crucified" [to death]; it only appeared so. In opposition to the second and third foregoing proposals, yet others maintain that God does not use deceit and therefore they contend that crucifixion just did not occur. The basis of all of these beliefs is the following verse in the Qur'an:
    That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
    Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-
    —Qur'an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158[1]"
    [Wiki]

    I would say the prospect of Creeft's rationale being any more cogent than centuries and centuries of Muslim scholarship that forms the basis of their perspective of Jesus expressed above, is simply untenable. That equally squares with the 2,000 year Judaic view about the Christian resurrection fable.

    • Loreen Lee

      Yeah! I struggled with this text when it was posted on EN. Guilt for the killing of Christ? An hallucinatory response to such guilt? What was made to appear to them? - the guilt in the killing or the death as a real or ideal or hallucinatory state of consciousness. There are those that doubt )that he was crucified?) and there is no 'certain' evidence one way or another, just as is the case , may I presume, of conclusions within these comments. And then, - an expressed surety that 'they killed him not'.....Now there can be certainty? ------because Allah raised him up? The state of consciousness? The body? What is the reference now?

      I had a completely different interpretation in my original attempt on EN, which was a result of an intention to accommodate the possibility of some kind of acceptance of Christianity, specifically in regard to any possible negative connotation regarding a boastful nature or rationale, but that boast merely was a way of suggesting the order of a principle or belief in high esteem because of its sanctity, for instance.

      On reading this again, I will forgive myself for the difficulty I had in completing my attempt to read the Qur'an in its entirety. For I cannot continue with any guilt, doubt, or lack of certainty in this regard. But then, there is justification for questioning my logical ability, I understand. Thank you.

    • David Nickol

      Is there not even a scintilla of embarrassment among genuine scholars for the paucity of corroborating evidence for any of Creeft's claims?

      I hope no one believes this series by Peter Kreeft (not Creeft!) is representative of Catholic Biblical scholarship.

      • "I hope no one believes this series by Peter Kreeft (not Creeft!) is representative of Catholic Biblical scholarship"

        I'm not sure what you mean by "Catholic Biblical scholarship." Perhaps you can explain?

        There is such a wide-spectrum of belief among Catholic biblical scholars that, as I'm sure would you agree, hardly nothing could be "representative" of the whole swath.

        • David Nickol

          I'm not sure what you mean by "Catholic Biblical scholarship." Perhaps you can explain?

          By "Catholic biblical scholarship" I mean what a student would be likely to learn in a large, well-regarded Catholic university (e.g., Notre Dame, Georgetown, the Catholic University of America), what one finds in the New American Bible, and what one would expect from such major Catholic exegetes as Raymond E. Brown (now deceased), John P. Meier, Joseph Fitzmyer, John J. Collins, Gerhard Lohfink, and a host of others.

          There is such a wide-spectrum of belief among Catholic biblical scholars that, as I'm sure would you agree, hardly nothing could be "representative" of the whole swath.

          I think "Catholic biblical scholarship" nowadays is pretty much "biblical scholarship." I think, for the most part, that "mainstream" biblical scholarship is neither Catholic nor Protestant, and mainstream scholarship would include acceptance of such basics as Markan priority, the existence of Q, and little tendency to believe any of the Gospels were written by Apostles or even eyewitnesses to the life of the earthly Jesus. Certainly those who hold to the more "traditional" beliefs of someone like Peter Kreeft are in no danger of being disciplined by the Church. But I think they would be considered out of the mainstream or "old fashioned."

        • Doug Shaver

          I'm not under the impression that Kreeft's scholarship is representative of Catholic scholarship. If I didn't know better, I would not even think he was Catholic. I would think he was an evangelical Protestant.

          • Papalinton

            Dr. Kreeft is a convert to the Catholic Church from reformed Protestantism.

          • Michael Murray

            Many of the contributors here are converts from Protestant forms of Christianity.

            https://strangenotions.com/contributors/

          • Pofarmer

            If you've ever read "The True Believers" by Eric Hoffer, that explains a lot.

        • William Davis

          I definitely agree with you here.

      • Papalinton

        Apologies to Dr Kreeft. I have corrected the error.

  • Firstly, if you thought you saw a dead person walking, I would first think he did not actually die and that the reports of the death were mistaken. If I were convinced that he did die, I would then think I was mistaken in seeing that same person. If I were convinced he was the same person, yes I, in 2015 would probably conclude I hallucinated. But, I don't think anyone really had any conception of hallucination in the first century.

    • Loreen Lee

      Yes. stories do get rewritten, do they not?

  • There were too many. There were about 500. 517 are recorded. But I disagree that these are each credible accounts of people who saw Jesus after his death.

    I think we have five accounts of seeing Jesus, and that they are generally not credible. We have the account in Corinthians. Paul did not see Jesus appear, nor did he witness Jesus appear to over 500 and the rest. He was told this happened. And we are not told by whom. Further, Paul seems to accept his road to Damascus vision as a visitation of the same character. I think Paul did have a hallucination which he interpreted as a visitation from the God of the people he was persecuting. Stranger things have happened.

    Then we have the other Gospels which are not independent. So we have between 3 and 5 accounts of some people seeing Jesus either directly in the flesh, or in visions. I think it most likely that people had dreams of Jesus, some like Paul may have hallucinated. These eventually became the mix of myth and history and outright theological addition that make up the New Testament.

  • "(5) Hallucinations usually happen only once, except to the insane."

    Not necessarily. Auditory hallucinations can be constant and last years. There certainly would have been insane people in the area as well. Perhaps some of these were the basis of the stories that he appeared alive.

  • Most people didn't believe it at first. True. Most did not and still do not believe it.

  • "(8) Hallucinations do not eat." Sure they do. Why wouldn't they?

    • Luke C.

      I assume he meant that hallucinations cannot eat real food; in which case I think he's discounting the possibility that if one is already hallucinating a person, why couldn't one also hallucinate the food he's eating?

      • Loreen Lee

        But you will note, Luke, that this is just one part of an extended materialistic based historical critique of gospel. If you consider it by itself, the idea of thinking up the question,'why couldn't one also hallucinate the food he's eating' for instance, could also be considered weird. For it is not one person involved in this, but requires an explanation for how could so many think such was so. These difficulties can, of course, be explained as an attempt to 'put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. We are not thinking of the difficulty of establishing the veracity of when the gospels were written, in what order, and by whom. The biblical scholars are themselves caught within the limitations of being within another 'piece of the puzzle'.

        I believe this is a general description of what occurs within the subjective realm of experience generally. We never are able completely to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. This is the case with even finding the 'theory of everything', I understand. The subjective parallel to this, as has been discussed in a post by father Barron, is of course the monotheistic tradition. But still we are unable to put all the pieces together. Our subjectivity remains within a context that is unexplained, and in search of all the metaphysical elements from unity, to peace, patience, and understanding. (Which I hope you will bear with respect to these comments). I just 'believe' that this confirms for me the needs to 'allow others' their 'stories'. We have no access to the puzzle. Or is that perhaps what religion, as a category, attempts to provide: a common element, a story, which necessarily contains elements of the ludicrous and fantastic.. Can/will science be able provide an alternative, comparable solution to the puzzle, is all I ask? What does it really mean to 'face reality'????

  • Yes, actually people do speak to their hallucinations and they speak back. Haven't you seen A Beautiful Mind? Or ever watched a schizophrenic person have an imaginary conversation?

    • Doug Shaver

      Or ever watched a schizophrenic person have an imaginary conversation?

      I once knew a woman who not only talked to her plants, but assured me that they talked back to her.

      • Loreen Lee

        Surely you do not consider that necessarily a criteria of 'insanity'.....in the diagnostic sense. If so, what about all the imaginings of 'what do those people think of me": and other similar internal 'dialogues'. By the way, you have also in this context, revealed something about how you think about, and assess other people. Do you assume that you have access to her private domain of thought: I can only remember Wittgenstein assuring us in this regard: We have no private access. We cannot assume knowledge of the integral relationships of ideas and contexts within the memory of an individual for instance, and therefore what that statement 'meant to her'..Within my attempt to find clarification in assessing these dilemnas, there is perhaps the possibility that as a general rules,such are not matters of 'social significance'., but do or may require respect for the 'significance' of the 'individual'.

        • Doug Shaver

          Surely you do not consider that what she said would fall necessarily within any criteria of 'insanity'

          No, and I didn't mean to imply that. I do not presume that people who see or hear things that aren't real are insane.

          For example, I think it probable that Joan of Arc really saw those visions and heard those voices she talked about, but I also don't think there was anything wrong with her. George Bernard Shaw so argued in the preface to his play Saint Joan, and I find his argument compelling. This does not mean that I believe for a second that any saints actually had any conversations with her. It just means I don't think she had to be crazy to imagine that they had.

    • Loreen Lee

      And they could then even 'imagine' that they were eating with them. This however, also 'reveals' to me the extent to which, as individuals, within a more 'realistic context', we too could see ourselves as bring to that world 'hallucinatory' or rather subjective experience, that could be described by the possibility we are indeed capable of living within 'parallel worlds'.

  • Peter Kreeft Part 5 "The apostles could not have believed in the "hallucination" if Jesus' corpse had still been in the tomb."

    Part 1 "We do not need to presuppose that there really was an empty tomb"

  • "the Jews would have stopped it by producing the body" Why? Maybe the Jews felt they should not desacrate a tomb because a few people say they saw Him alive.

  • Number 12 AGAIN, relies on the empty tomb and the "data". This is not accepted as historically true. There is no agreement that there would even have been a tomb, crucified traitors aren't buried the day after being nailed to the cross. They were allowed to rot in place, which was an important element of the punishment.

  • Doug Shaver

    Here are thirteen reasons the disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus were not hallucinating:

    I don't need to decide whether Jesus' disciples were hallucinating until I'm convinced that Jesus' disciples saw him after he was crucified. I have no good reason to think they did. I have seen no document that I have good reason to believe any of them wrote.

    • Loreen Lee

      That's the paradox, the dilemna, call it what you will, that my introduction of the idea of 'insanity' itself into this thread, is an attempt to address. How do you determine which comes first? Although I am not very competent in the use of the following distinctions, I still ask which comes first, for instance: the quantitative analysis? or does even this occur within the context of a 'qualitative experience',? Is it not possible that to a certain degree there could be what I am poorly describing as an hallucinatory experience as a kind of framework for any kind of proposed context in which we can assess even the qualitative aspects which you refer within your comment as the need to make a distinction between the 'hallucination', and :the need to first establish whether: "the disciples 'saw and interacted with him after he was crucified'. Am I making sense? (Is this merely the problem of Descartes clear and distinct ideas, again, put in another framework? If so, unfortunately I cannot speak to you within the context of mathematical formulae. "We see through a glass darkly?"

      • Doug Shaver

        Am I making sense?

        Others here might understand you. But, I'm sorry, to me you are unintelligible.

        • Loreen Lee

          Thanks. Back from doctors. I am aware that the problem for me is 'how to state the problem'. It is amusing to me that at the beginning I was seeking coherence, and not the problem is overcoming the coherence in my search! Anyway attempted another rewrite. Thanks for confirming that you saw some difficulties. I'm just searching for 'the context'.

        • Loreen Lee

          Also, Just a clarification. My comments may be unintelligible. I am aware of the difficult I am having in making them. But I shall leave it to your friends on EN, to perhaps come to consider the possibility that this would fall within the category, (if it were a formal argument that is!!! NOT) that you're making a statement that is ad hominen, that is directed to me as a person..
          (Which really doesn't both me at all.) Take care.

  • Peter

    The problem with arguments against a non-supernatural imagined Resurrection is that they automatically raise the standard of evidence, needed to verify that a real supernatural Resurrection took place, to such high levels that the recorded accounts as they stand are deemed by materialists not to be sufficient.

    All arguments that the Resurrection was nothing other than a real supernatural event hit the same brick wall of scepticism. The more one tries to present the Resurrection as a real event, the less materialists are likely to believe it.

    While arguments portraying the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact are counter productive where materialists are concerned, they are very powerful at convincing lukewarm Christians and other theists who are already predisposed to the possibility of miracles.

    Unfortunately, for those whose heart is set in stone against the likelihood of miracles ever occurring, any attempt to present the Resurrection as real will only reinforce their scepticism.

    • Loreen Lee

      There is some difficulty in my assessment to make clear what should, does, constitute 'reality'. Thus my 'crazy' introduction of the 'notion' that there can be truth even in madness. Thanks.

    • Doug Shaver

      they automatically raise the standard of evidence, needed to verify that a real supernatural Resurrection took place, to such high levels that the recorded accounts as they stand are deemed by materialists not to be sufficient.

      Why should we think they are sufficient? Just because your religion says so?

      Muslims have no problem believing in the supernatural, but they don't think your "recorded accounts" are sufficient evidence of a resurrection, either.

      • Peter

        Of course they don't otherwise they wouldn't be Muslims, but ex Muslims do.

        • Doug Shaver

          Of course they don't otherwise they wouldn't be Muslims, but ex Muslims do.

          That does not rebut what I said. You implied that that there cannot be any reason to doubt the gospel stories except for disbelief in the supernatural. Muslims are proof that that is not so.

          • Peter

            And ex Muslims are proof that it is so.

          • Papalinton

            The competing Christian and Islamic perspectives on supernatural superstition simply cancel each other out. Professor David Eller, internationally renowned anthropologist eruditely observes:
            "In the final analysis, there was not even supposed to be 'religions'. There was only sup[posed to be religion - one true, and therefore compulsory, factual statement about the spiritual world and moral imperative flowing from those facts. Here, most purely and profoundly, religion implodes - not because religion and anti-religion (i.e. science or symbology) meet but because religion and religion meet. Nothing is more destructive to religion than other religions; it is like meeting one's own anti-matter twin. First, other religions represent alternatives to one's own religion: other people believe in them just as fervently as we do, and they live their lives just as successfully as we do. Then, the diversity of religions forces us to see religion as a culturally relative phenomenon; different groups have different religions that appear adapted to their unique social and even environmental conditions. But if their religion is relative, then why is ours not? Finally, awareness of other religions reduces the truth probability of one's own. Assuming that there are, say, 1,000 religions in the world, each with an equal chance of being true and all at least to some degree mutually exclusive, then each religion has a 1/1,000 chance of being true and a 999/1,000 chance of being false. In other words, whatever you believed before the comparison, there is only a 0.1% chance of being correct and a 99.9% chance of being incorrect. If that is not upsetting to religious credulity, I don't know what is."

            How does Dr Kreeft and others [you?] respond to the intellectual robustness of this critical observation that doesn't dissolve into a nonsensical argument from personal incredulity or a resort to unfounded religious faith?

          • Peter

            Vatican II turned this argument on its head by declaring that there is truth in all religions, but that in some it is more complete than others, culminating in Catholicism where it is wholly complete.

          • Papalinton

            Cheap words. Meaningless. And the final element of the claim is unmitigated self-aggrandised arrogance.

          • Peter

            The point here is that other religions are not necessarily contradictory, as your citation claims, but complementary.

          • Papalinton

            Which? I'm all ears.

          • Bingo! and further countered by the fruits of 1) comparative theology 2) interreligious dialogue 3) religious pluralism 4) soteriological inclusivism 5) sophiological polydoxy 6) perennial tradition 7) mystical core of organized religions 8) mythic interpretations don't lend themselves to literal propositional juxtapositions 9) that there are indeed fallible elements in conflict, imperfections & sinfulness in institutions is precisely why the great traditions aren't just kingly or priestly but prophetic or, 10) simply: same roots, different shoots, many fruits!

          • Doug Shaver

            No they aren't. Logic doesn't work that way. If I say "No F is G," you can prove me wrong by producing an F that is G, and if you do, I cannot contradict you by producing an F that is not G.

    • Pofarmer

      Think about this for just a minute Peter. Let's say that Jesus really was the Son of God, got crucified and raised from the dead and had miraculous powers. O.k? And yet, he basically only appears to the same 12 "disciples" that had been following him the whole time? He can go through walls, raise into Heaven, etc, etc. and yet, if this were really so important, why not appear to the Pharisees and Saducees and convert them with his awesomeness! I mean, the whole point was to "save the Jews" right? And yet, the smallest group if convers by far, were the Jews, who were right there in the supposed place and the supposed time to witness these miraculous events as they occured and all the buss would have been inevitably going around Jerusalem. Imean, how could they have denied it. You don't think ancient people gossiped? It's not that the story runs up against impossible skepticism, it's that it runs up against hard reality, and it really doesn't measure up any more than any other ancient mystical religion does, it's just that more people beleive it, and they are afraid to think critically about it. People are told from childhood that to doubt their faith is a sin. Throught history apsotates were excommunicated, tortured, and killed outright. The message has been clear, believe or else. Accept uncritically or else. Guess what?

      • Peter

        You forget that in early Christianity, people were ostracised, tortured and killed outright for believing in the Resurrection. This is a radically different message from the one you're trying to describe.

        • Doug Shaver

          You forget that in early Christianity, people were ostracised, tortured and killed outright for believing in the Resurrection.

          There is no evidence that anybody was ever persecuted just for saying "Christ is risen."

          • Peter

            The writings of the Church Fathers would say otherwise.

          • Doug Shaver

            Let's see a quotation.

          • Peter

            "The blood of martyrs is seed" Tertullian.

          • Doug Shaver

            Tertullian is saying that martyrdom was good for the church. You said the martyrs will killed for the specific reason of affirming the resurrection. Tertullian didn't say that.

          • Peter

            Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity. Affirmation of Christianity implies the Resurrection. Those martyred for Christianity were martyred for belief in the Resurrection.

          • Doug Shaver

            Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity.

            Did Tertullian say that?

          • Doug Shaver

            I see three problems with that analysis.

            1. In the passage you quote, Tertullian not only fails to say they were martyred for affirming the resurrection. He does not give any specific reason for their martyrdom.

            2. If I want to know why person A killed person B, I need to ask person A, or at least ask someone I can trust to know what person A was thinking.

            3. The resurrection of Jesus is not the only belief unique to Christianity. Even if I know that someone hates Christians enough to kill them, that doesn't mean their hatred is motivated specifically, or even at all, by the Christians' belief in the resurrection.

        • Pofarmer

          There's actually very little, if any, evidence of that.

  • Luc Regis

    Christians around the world commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    The fact that Jesus existed and was crucified is not in any serious doubt historically. But too bad that the same cannot be said about the so called resurrection.

  • Doug Shaver

    the Jews would have stopped it by producing the body.

    How do we know they didn't try that?

  • Pofarmer

    Uhm, folks, mass hallucinations and mass hysteria are a thing. We even have modern examples of mass hallucinations such as people thinking they are seeing the sun move in the sky or seeing Mary ascend through the rustling leaves in a tree while impartial observers with cameras see nothing. It is pretty common, especially if someone is in a suggestive, emotional state. Do you guys really expect these arguments to be taken seriously by any skeptics?

    • bdlaacmm

      Pofarmer,

      Your comment only serves to reveal your prejudices. You write "We even have modern examples of mass hallucinations such as people thinking they are seeing the sun move in the sky..." etc. How about instead writing "We even have modern examples of mass witnesses to miracles such as people seeing the sun move in the sky..."

      And no - no one expects self-identified, so-called "skeptics" to be convinced. At least, I don't. From long experience, I have found that persons who call themselves "skeptics" are in reality the least skeptical people I have ever met. They have absolutely zero skepticism about their totally unproven belief that the miraculous is impossible.

      Consider what Dostoevsky wrote about this very subject (in The Brothers Karamazov):

      "In my opinion miracles will never confound a naturalist. It is not miracles that bring a naturalist to faith. A true naturalist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles. And if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him."

      • Pofarmer

        So, when Pentecostals start speaking in tongues and falling on the floor in a worship service, that's all genuine.

        As to your last quote, I actually see quite the opposite. Believers are ready to call nearly anything a miracle, and are willing to ignore evidence to the contrary to prop up their faith. Witness the whole "Missouri Angel" brouhaha a year or so ago.

        ""We even have modern examples of mass witnesses to miracles such as people seeing the sun move in the sky...""

        Thing is, when you have independent witnesses there, and people writing newspaper articles, etc, saying, well, we really didn't see anything, then it begins to look less like a miracle and more like something else.............

  • Raul88

    I've a question for any atheist/agnostic let's name you X. Suppose you're cloned. Then we have X1 and X2. X1 travels back in time to Palestine around year 30, and he witnesses everything the Gospels and Acts refer. Let's say that everything was as accounted except, maybe, some minor appreciation details. Now he want to help us to finally solve these never ending discussions and, particularly, X2 doubts. How X1 must write the "fifth gospel according to X1" so his XXI century cloned X2 finds it ABSOLUTELY convincing ?

    • Luc Regis

      Too far down the rabbit hole for me to waste time considering. Might make an interesting movie though.

      • Raul88

        But you have time to consider why the gospels do not deserve to be trusted. Being unable to define what you consider trustable.

    • Pofarmer

      What if he wrote, "Pssst, nothing happened that I can find, and you wouldn't believe all the crazy things these people think about how things work!!"

      • Raul88

        I've clear what I would write to me if I find eveything is false. But, apparently, you have NO IDEA what you would write to convince YOURSELF everything is true.

        • Loreen Lee

          You've nailed it. Bye everybody.

        • Pofarmer

          I wouldn't write anything.

          • Raul88

            Why ? Maybe because you know they will NOT TRUST YOU whatever you say ?

          • Pofarmer

            Nope, because there are better kinds of evidence.

          • Raul88

            A video recorded interview with risen Christ ? Ups, unfortunately not usual in 30 AD ! Anyway, I bet your fellow atheist friends will quicky judge it crudely edited.

          • Pofarmer

            Oh, now c'mon. No need to be snarky. Seriously, though, what would some better types of evidence be which we have for other early figures? What kind of evidence would we strive to create if we knew the questions being asked today?

          • Raul88

            That's exaclty what I'm requesting without ANY luck yet. What you (X1 in 30 AD) would write (only media available then) to convince you (X2 in 2015)

    • William Davis

      Ii wouldn't be interested in a gospel from X1, I would be interested in direct communication with X1. If X1 really saw everything the gospels claimed, he would be able to convince me, and I would become a Christian :) Too bad we don't have a time machine (view only to avoid paradox) then we could prove historical events.

      • Raul88

        If you know what you will ask X1, you must be able to say what X1 should write. No ? As a matter of fact, early christians converted the way you mention, no by reading gospels not yet written

        • William Davis

          Early Christians weren't talking to themselves, and they were not talking to a very well educated person from the modern era who is a skeptic. There is a HUGE difference. It is impossible to know ahead of time how the conversation would go. I can't predict that version of a potential future self.

          • Raul88

            But X1 is YOU. So well educated, so modern era, and so skeptic as YOU. Why are you unable to say what YOU (X1) should write to convince YOU (X2) ?

          • William Davis

            I think you have a poor understanding of personhood. A major (in fact completely unique, no one has ever time traveled) experience like that would result in a different version of me than the one continuing on with my normal life. I know enough to know that I don't know ;)

          • Raul88

            Forget about your X2 version, and just try to convince your fellow atheists here. If you are qualified to judge something as not deserving trust (the 4 Gospels + Acts), it shouldn't be difficult for you to say what deserve it (Your own gospel)

          • William Davis

            Everyone knows I'm not a witness, why would they believe my gospel?

          • Raul88

            Because you (X1) traveled back in time and you've seen everything

          • William Davis

            Oh, lol, I screwed up the X1 and X2. The problem is I am not X1, I didn't travel back in time, so I don't know what to write. I would need some courses on aramaic, greek, latin first of course. I'd hate to wind up dead due to lack of ability to communicate.
            It's not the wording of the gospels that is the problem, it is lack of trust. It isn't anything personal, but if I trust the gospel writers and Paul, why should I not trust Mohammed, Joseph Smith, or Zarathustra. Are you familiar with Jim Jones? Trusting him ended in death for all his followers. Obviously Yeshua of Nazareth is in a completely different league from Jim Jones, but i can't just give trust, it has to be earned. Most religious people trust their parents and/or others that share their belief, so this is the real source of trust. I was raised in a fundamentalist home that taught me God was judge, jury and executioner. I was also taught that everyone who didn't believe like they did was going straight to hell. Catholics were especially bad, as they were apostate idol worshipers. I hope you can see why I have a deep skepticism toward Christianity, but not necessarily toward God (I learned to separate God from a specific theology).

          • Raul88

            I do not say that we must trust anyone (i.e. Jim Jones). But anyone tell me yet how a trustable account would be. If personal history make us to judge NO ONE is trustable, it makes no sense to discuss if the gospels are. We've a prejudice that makes useless any dicussion

          • William Davis

            If the gospels had some deep insight into reality, like the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, that would go a long way to show they were in touch with something divine. The fact is, the writers of the gospels and Paul just knew what was expected in their day, here is an example:
            1 Corinthians 15
            39 Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

            We know that animals and birds have basically the same flesh as humans, even similar DNA. We know the moon is nothing like the body of a human....it's a moon. Many thought stars were angels, for example, Isaiah 14:12:
            How you are fallen from heaven,
            O Day Star, son of Dawn!

            This is about Lucifer, and apparently (if the gospels are any indication) Jesus thought the stars were angels too, Luke 10

            17 The seventy[d] returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

            The stars are angels? Nah, we know better now. How could God get this wrong?

          • Raul88

            I see ... something like "Jesus has risen from the dead ! Let me say this too E=mc^2 ! You do not understand it, but your grandgrandgrandchildren will do !"

          • William Davis

            It would have been easy for them to grasp. "The stars are the same thing as the sun, but angels are from another realm." One simple sentence like that would be incredibly impressive and consistent with actual divine knowledge.

          • William Davis

            Out of curiosity, are you actually in Argentina or just family there?

          • Raul88

            I live in Argentina ... you have PLENTY of prophecies in the OT & the NT far more telling that "the Sun is just another star" and their fulfillment always find some "explanation" ... Isaiah wrote about the suffering lamb, Jesus said about Temple destruction, Gamaliel in Act ch 5, etc, etc ...

          • William Davis

            It's easy to fulfill a prophecy in a story, there is no reason to actually think it went down that way. To believe the prophecy's were fulfilled is to assume the accuracy of the Bible. One has to establish it's accuracy first before any of that is even relevant. We're quite skeptical here in the U.S., unlike where you live where the country is over 3/4 Catholic. I was brought up by fundamentalist Christians, so I have had a very long time to learn about and criticize the Bible. There are different kinds of non-Christians, I'm one that has immersed in a Christian world since birth but never been able to believe. It isn't that there is something wrong with me, I embrace a largely Christian morality, I just don't think the same. Christian suppositions about what causes belief or non-belief are false in many cases, I know, because I know myself pretty well.

          • Doug Shaver

            But anyone tell me yet how a trustable account would be.

            If it's a written account, the first thing I need to know is who wrote it. If I'm going to trust someone, I need a reason. If I don't know who wrote the gospels, I have no reason to trust them.

          • Doug Shaver

            But X1 is YOU.

            OK, let's play this game out. Suppose my time-traveling clone could convince me that he saw Jesus talking and sharing meals with his disciples a few days after dying on the cross. Now what? From that hypothetical scenario, what should I infer about the credibility of the gospels?

          • Raul88

            That's NOT the game. The game is: What your time-traveling clone must say to convince you.

          • Doug Shaver

            That's NOT the game.

            Then is game is pointless.

        • Michael Murray

          In this hypothetical is future me supposed to know with 100% certainty that what I am reading was written by past me ? Am I allowed to ask questions and get answers ?

          • Raul88

            Of course no.

        • Doug Shaver

          As a matter of fact, early christians converted the way you mention, no by reading gospels not yet written

          We have no record, from a time before the gospels were written, of any Christian telling another person that a crucified itinerant preacher had been raised from the dead.

          • Raul88

            That's clearly false, Paul's letters are certainly earlier than Gospels and speak again and again about the resurrection.

          • Doug Shaver

            Paul's letters are certainly earlier than Gospels and speak again and again about the resurrection.

            I didn't say we have no pre-gospel record of anyone believing in the resurrection. I said we have no pre-gospel record of anyone being persecuted for believing in it.

          • Raul88

            You SAID that before (just read it) and now you say another falsehood. Paul's letters also records his persecution for believing and preaching the resurrection. And are pre-gospel. Nero persecution is an undeniable historical fact and most experts date gospels later than 68. Maybe you find funny discussing FACTS. I don't.

          • Doug Shaver

            Paul says he was persecuted. He is not specific about the reason. The story we have about the Neronian persecution does not say that Nero was responding to anything in particular that Christians were saying.

            I am not denying that Christians were persecuted on some occasions. I am denying that there is evidence that the reasons for the persecutions had anything to do with what Christians were saying about Jesus.

      • Almost persuaded ... dang!

        • William Davis

          Lol. At least I would trust myself to be a reliable eye witness ;)

    • Doug Shaver

      Time travel has some serious logical difficulties, but if I were convinced that it was happening, I would not need to talk to any clones of myself, and I would not trust only one person's report even if it was my clone. I would need the consistent testimony of several people as diverse as possible in their biases.

      • Raul88

        Philip and Simon the Zealot are as diverse as possible in their biases and give a consistent testimony.

        • Doug Shaver

          Philip and Simon the Zealot are as diverse as possible in their biases and give a consistent testimony.

          You think we have their testimony. I don't.

          • Raul88

            We have it. They die for it. You will reject that too saying "there is no enough evidence for that". You will reject ANY testimony (even from your clone) because you DO NOT WANT to accept those testimonies. What you want is a probe that FORCE your freedom. Sometimes God did it, but very rarely. Good luck.

    • David Nickol

      How X1 must write the "fifth gospel according to X1" so his XXI century cloned X2 finds it ABSOLUTELY convincing ?

      Your question is seriously flawed, because it does not take into account what a "gospel" really is. Here's a good, brief description from Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University:

      The gospels are very peculiar types of literature. They're not biographies. I mean, there are all sorts of details about Jesus that they're simply not interested in giving us. They are a kind of religious advertisement. What they do is proclaim their individual author's interpretation of the Christian message through the device of using Jesus of Nazareth as a spokesperson for the evangelist's position. The evangelist is not an author of fiction. The evangelist has traditions that go back through the Greek to the spoken language of Jesus, which was probably Aramaic. In other words, I think there's some kind of continuity between what Jesus would have been saying to other Jews in 27 to 30 and what the Evangelists in Greek are saying to their own communities, that Jesus said. But, as historians, we have to sift, and go through and try to figure out what corresponds mostly to the period of the composition in Greek and what corresponds to the lifetime of the historical Jesus.

      A fifth "gospel" would not be convincing, since the gospels are not objective biographical or journalistic accounts of the ministry of Jesus, but statements of faith by the evangelists and works of Christian apologetics.

      Now, if X1 could go back and be a follower of Jesus, or an observer of the followers of Jesus, and could give us contemporaneous accounts from the ministry of Jesus, such accounts would provide us with some very interesting material to work with and compare . I suppose it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that some documents of that nature might remain to be unearthed.

      • Raul88

        You miss completely the point. You don't like to call it "fifth gospel" ? OK. No problem. That's not the point at all. Tell us contemporaneous accounts that you will find convincing. X1 is a clone of you. It's easier for him to write as you do than as Mark.

  • Loreen Lee

    Just found this. You see, I do agree. My musings are indeed quite incoherent. https://thomism.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/logos-and-the-sensible/ If motion is not subjective, what is it? How do we deal with quantative realities. Hegel's logic was perhaps appropriately rejected by I think Russel, because it was once again going back to 'dogmaticism'. Yet Hegel, I understand that repeatedly emphasized that mathematics would not provide an answer for everything. If I'm so incoherent? Teach me, or give me the answers!!!!

  • Loreen Lee

    I don't believe this. Another post comes in from New Thomism: https://thomism.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/knowledge-and-algorithm/ I relate this (coincidentally!!! bah bah) with my asking what Heidegger meant that we have to get back to poetry. What? does this mean that all, please held with the correct word here, JB, has to be like the parables Jesus offered. I would think that the scientist would certainly respond no. I think about that course which included an analysis of fuzzy concepts. Neitzsche 'demonstrating?' that all language is ultimately metaphorical, etc. etc. Is poetry, perhaps the way we need to ask questions? Will I ever be able to figure anything out, when I can't even find the means to get back to Aristotle. What was the purpose of buying all those books on poetry that Heidegger recommended.
    I know this has something to do with the aesthetic. I also know/believe that JB. will agree with this from what I remember reading.in his comments. The aesthetic, the inner voice, yes I'm beginning to get poetic here. I do have a schemata worked out, and I do think that I can see a difference between intellectual understanding (say under Kant's a priori concepts, and possibly, what poetic understanding, which would be the internal, developmental understanding of the individual. Going back to all those (Platonic) concepts of gifts and fruit of the holy spirit - like maybe just, maybe the use of terms like knowledge, piety and fortitude have a different reference than the knowledge understood within the scientific paradigm. But that would mean they are indeed personal. And that raises the question where there as developed some sort of independence from God, if I dare say that going from the cosmological proofs, to the intuitive, Cartesian proofs,in which I positied some kind of 'equity' relattionship, to Kant, where the requirement of individual liberty, responsibility, freedom are definitely asserted, and now a complete reductionist denial. You tell me where the contradictions are? Where the incoherence is? Have I become 'God'?????? but of course not, my consciousness is merely what my neurons are doing. Maybe I should take some of that medicine.

    • Loreen Lee

      Gospel of the Day

      Jesus
      said to Nicodemus: 'You must be born from above.'
      The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but
      you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with
      everyone who is born of the Spirit."
      Nicodemus ...

      This thought is common, but differently interpreted in the religions I have wondered about in my self-directed Comparative Religion courses. Sometimes its within the context of secondary causation, sometimes intuitive, sometimes - no it's just that Kant avoids elaboration of the 'poetic?' (as poetry generally illustrates the difficulty of conveying internal thoughts) for a concentration on the categorically imperative maxims, just as in the emphasis on natural law.

  • Peter

    The entire significance of the Resurrection is that it was considered impossible. Only such an impossibly radical event could have justified such a pivotal change in world history. If the Holy Land at that time had been populated by superstitious people who imagined miracles as commonplace, the Resurrection would not have had the momentous impact that it did. Instead, it was populated by grimly sceptical people, largely typified by St Thomas, who wanted strong evidence.

    In many respects, the opinions of sceptics on this thread mirror the mindset prevalent at the time of the Resurrection. It could only have been the sheer intensity of scepticism at that time which caused such an enormous impact when the Resurrection was counter-intuitively realised to be true. Had there been anything less that such extreme scepticism present, the Resurrection would not have attained the resounding significance that it did when it was shockingly realised that no other explanations could be found.

    The Resurrection actually relied for its momentous impact on the prevalence of an intensely sceptical mindset. The presence nowadays of such sceptical observers, as on the SN and EN sites, who still demand hard evidence, only serves to prove that such extreme scepticism would also have existed at that time. Without such intense scepticism the Resurrection would have had no momentous significance.

    The presence of such scepticism nowadays merely proves that the background of scepticism which propelled the Resurrection to unprecedented global importance would have been an historical reality. The sceptics of SN and EN , far from rebutting it, actually support the phenomenon of Resurrection by their very existence.

    • Papalinton

      Peter, where did you dig up all this superstitious resurrection tosh? Judaism has never for one moment ever been convinced to subscribe to the Christian mythos. Muslims, even after 600 years of untrammelled christian proselytising and hegemony, were not one bit convinced and simply rejected christian religious tosh out of hand. How do you explain these historically-founded facts?

      Robert W Funk, renowned Bible Scholar and Chairman of the Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University, with profound intellectual and insightful acumen notes:

      "If the evidence supports the historical accuracy of the gospels, where is the need for faith? And if the historical reliability of the gospels is so obvious, why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of the evidence?"

      The only reason why Christian resurrection nonsense is being challenged so robustly and vigorously today, as never before, is because there. has. been. not. a scintilla. of. evidence. Religious faith is an abject and total epistemological failure. Religious faith is a failed epistemology. The epistemological foundations of Christianity is as equally baseless as the epistemological foundations of Islam, or Scientology, of Mormonism. They. are. all. supernatural. superstitious. phantasies.

      • Peter

        As I have explained, extreme scepticism at the time was crucial for the Resurrection to have had the desired effect. Your own intense scepticism is a contemporary manifestation of that same scepticism. It is living proof that such scepticism exists among human beings and would have existed in the past.

        Without such proof as provided by your own scepticism, there is no certainty that scepticism would have existed in the past, leaving open the possibility that everyone was superstitious. And if everyone was superstitious, accepting miracles as unremarkable, the Resurrection would not have had the profound impact that it has had over the past 2000 years.

        The more extreme the scepticism, the greater the impact of the Resurrection.

        • Papalinton

          The resurrection has had nil effect on 1.6 billion Muslims who rightly do not believe in the Christian mythos. The resurrection has had nil effect in Judaism. Despite centuries of proselytising on the sub-continent Christianity has made virtually no inroad into India and a nil effect on Hinduism.

          You live in a theologised bubble replete with a Christian-variant belief in supernatural superstition. That is all it is; a belief in supernatural superstition.

          You have no answer to why Muslims and Jews reject the Christian mythos, therefore you leave it hanging, unanswered, a veritable and unshakable albatross around the neck of every believer. Talking of 'the profound impact the resurrection has had' is simply apologetical obscurantism in the face of having to now deal with how you can convince people, let along substantiate, such obvious unmitigated nonsense as a putrescent corpse revivifying to full physical health.

          Your interpretive reading back into the Christian writings does not turn this resurrection assertion into fact.

          I'm sorry, Peter, you just have to realise and accept that your belief in belief in a 'son of god' that, Dodo-like, once roamed the earth dispensing magic, is pretty much seen today for what it is, a childhood inculcated figment of the imagination. Unfortunately for the purveyors of this fiction, the existence of the Dodo has comprehensively more evidentiary and factual clout substantiating it than for the existence of any imagined Godman that is supposed to have walked this earth.

          I think it fair and reasonable to conclude that the reality of the resurrection is pretty much as dead as a Dodo.

          • Peter

            May I remind you that the subject in question over these several threads is to demonstrate, in the face of widespread scepticism among atheists who claim a lack of evidence, that the Resurrection actually occurred as an historical fact.

            The situation of Jews and Muslims, on the other hand, is rooted in a position of faith which wholly denies in principle that Jesus was God incarnate. To this end, evidence of the Resurrection or lack of it plays no part whatsoever it determining the respective beliefs of these religions.

            Since the object is to determine the role of evidence in verifying the Resurrection, any arguments involving the faith-based religions of Judaism and Islam fall well outside the scope of this discussion. It is not so much a case of a dead albatross as of a red herring.

          • Doug Shaver

            If Jesus isn't God, his resurrection is superfluous.

            In that case, Muslims should have no problem believing he was raised form the dead. Resurrection does not logically entail divinity.

            any arguments involving the faith-based religions of Judaism and Islam fall well outside the scope of this discussion.

            The beliefs of Jews and Muslims are valid rebuttals to the claim that the evidence is sufficient to convince anyone who is not committed to disbelief in the supernatural.

  • Muddleglum Smith

    > Hallucinations usually last a few seconds or minutes; rarely hours.
    Any psychologists out there that can be cited? I once had my pure nihilistic atheism given a severe blow and would have loved an immediate way out.
    This much I know: It happened on a fine spring morning while I was sauntering from an enjoyable math class to the science building for another enjoyable class--I enjoy science. I had never touched drugs or alcohol--not even nicotine--because I wanted my brain to be in its best working order. I did get a drink of water from the drinking fountain.
    In the middle of my walk a door opened in space about a foot or two from the ground. A figure stood to one side, but my attention was immediately attracted to large rusty-red stones under a painfully blue sky in the background. As my eye dropped down, I saw slate-gray, reptilian forms, somewhat man-size. I took a bit of time taking these things in. These beings proved to be intelligent because, after waiting for me to recover from my astonishment and incredulity, they offered me great power if I walked through the doorway. They explained that with that power I could have anything I wanted. That sounded very alluring, to be sure, but I was a bit leery given the impossibility of the scene, my scientific training against the supernatural, and the usual training we all have against advertisements. My eyes wandered as I tried to think the offer over.
    Throughout this weird conversation the figure that I been ignoring from the beginning had remained standing within and to the side of the threshold of the door on my right. I now turned my attention to the figure and saw that it was a rather ordinary looking man; he was ordinary enough that I have basically forgotten what he looked like except that he seemed very sorrowful.

    After a pause--I think I was stalling for time by making conversation--I asked him if what they were telling me was true.

    He nodded but then said the obvious: that I had to walk past him to enter. About this time I felt a great fear, I think engendered by, of all things, his sorrow. I headed pass the doorway for my class immediately.

    This seems to be rather too complex for a hallucination. It also took a couple of minutes, at the least, to get through. Unless some clown had sprayed the water fountain with LSD immediately prior to my drink and I was extremely sensitive to it, I can offer no theory of why this happen. I had previously studied various forms of the supernatural, including ESP, but as I had suspected, none held water. However, from this time on, I backed off a bit from the supernatural and focused more on philosophies like Marxism (the Edgar Cayce of economics) and obvious religious crazies like Christian Science and Mormonism, yet still rejecting the concept of a personal god and still calling myself an atheist. As you can see, it would be much easier if I could get around that crazy happening. I prefer the pure logic of nihilism.

    Hmm, I just realize that if I had taken that offer for power I would have had to reconcile using it with true nihilism. Ouch!