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Is there evidence of Jesus' ressurection?

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by GhostAnime, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. GhostAnime

    GhostAnime Searching for her...


    Since there isn't a particular thread aimed at this topic, I will start a new fresh debate on TheFightingPikachu's challenges to the non-religious view on why there is no evidence of Jesus' resurrection.

    To highlight:

    And Pikachu's response:

    First, let me just say that you cannot compare this to the evidence of Evolution. Evolution is seen by scientific experiments, tests, and consistency with other fields of science. It answers many of biology's questions about life. It is practically necessary.

    Jesus' resurrection merely has eyewitnesses who we can't even prove to have seen him at the time of resurrection. Plus, most of his witnesses of those "miracles" are those who are already his disciples. Ever thought of the possibility of lying to get followers? Even if some of them were persecuted beforehand, so what? Nat Turner died for his vision of God. There are plenty of people who do crazy **** in history for the sake of their beliefs. That's no reason to say they're true, because they OBVIOUSLY conflict with each other.

    You so easily discount the errors these writers put out and the inconsistency in their statements about Jesus' life, but can you name one writer or a group of writers we depend so much on in history who make false and inconsistent statements?
  2. Green_Man

    Green_Man Banned

    No /end thread
  3. legendarypokemonmaster

    legendarypokemonmaster Well-Known Member

    The bible obviously!
  4. TheFightingPikachu

    TheFightingPikachu Smashing!

    Evidence for Jesus' Resurrection

    You put quite a bit in that post. It may take a while for me to respond to everything you've said. Perhaps I will even edit this post to add responses.

    First, let me make an important note about martyrs. The fact that the followers of Jesus were killed for their faith does not automatically mean their beliefs were correct. It would be careless to claim that it did mean that. If I were to die tomorrow for my beliefs, it would not prove nothing about the accuracy of my beliefs. However, martyrdom means those who are killed sincerely believed what they claim to believe. How about the Muslims who crashed planes into the WTC? Well, since I've heard people say you talk about this GhostAnime, what does psychology say? Should we suspend judgment about whether these Muslims believed that "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet"? No, martyrdom refutes the stereotype that the disciples were liars, or that they went around spouting stuff that didn't matter to them.

    In that vein, Nat Turner is a horrible example to use to counter my point. According to the Wikipedia page, it is highly misleading and careless to say he "died for his vision of God." He was executed for being part of a violent rebellion, which took the lives of men, women, and children. Additionally, psychological and political factors would be very difficult to deny in this case, because his fellow slaves were being mistreated by slave owners. In the case of Jesus' earliest followers, such alternative factors are often alleged without even the slightest evidence. For example, some have claimed Paul converted because he started to feel bad for the Christians he was persecuting. Where is the evidence for this? There is none.

    Time to lay out a few ground rules. Skeptics commonly use phrases like these to dismiss things Christians believe, but I'd like to turn them around to point out some often-overlooked facts:

    1. The Bible is not a source.
      This is often used to dismiss any value the biblical documents might have as evidence. This of course, is ridiculous. British historian A. N. Sherwin White points out that Roman historians are quite confident of the accuracy of the book of Acts, even in matters of detail. Liberal scholar John. A. T. Robinson similarly comments:

      “I have long been convinced that John contains primitive and reliable historical tradition, and that conviction has been reinforced by numerous studies in recent years.”
      (Redating the New Testament, page 9)

      I could go on, perhaps include a few great statements about the Old Testament. But it is at this point that I want to go on the record to point out what the skeptics have correct. The Bible is not A source. It is multiple sources. In historical matters, one cannot simply find something that appears contradictory between (for example) Matthew and John, then proclaim them both unreliable. By focusing on the way these documents are bound together in one volume, they miss the multiple reports from different authors. This brings me to my second point:

    2. The Bible was written by humans.
      This is often used in response to the view that the Bible is inspired by God. I believe it is inspired by God, but I do not expect skeptics to believe this before they believe Jesus came back from the dead. In any case, of course the books of the Bible were written by humans! One cannot have it both ways. If the books of the Bible were written by human, then let them be judged as books written by humans. To dismiss them because of the flimsiest of supposed contradictions and errors is unsound. No works written by humans are treated in such a way. Pointing out a minor error in one book of the Bible might make sense as a critique of inerrancy. But it is a horrible critique of the general reliability of these books.

    With those things in mind, I will respond to your points. Keep in mind that I am not citing the Bible as though you should already believe it is from God. It is a set of documents from ancient times, which can be examined with the tools of critical history.

    In response to your claim about how many errors and inconsistencies are in the gospel accounts of Jesus life, all I can say is that you need to present them. Too often many contradictions are simply assumed to exist, and no work is done toward seeing if some solution to an apparent discrepancy might clear it up.

    You want me to get out the Skeptic's Annotated Bible? It's a horrible place to start, because of how careless the author is, but here, how about this one? The whole "contradiction" in these passages is the result of Steve Wells (the Skeptic's Annotated Bible guy) missing the word "about" in the passage in Luke.

    Another principle to remember is that sometimes things are different without being contradictory. Look at this one. John mentions that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus. Mark, Matthew, and Luke mention more women who came. But John didn't say that only Mary Magdalene came, nor do any of the accounts say that these specific women were the only ones. As a matter of fact, they all mention Mary Magdalene! These passages aren't saying disagreeing with each other, they are merely saying different things. If I told you that I was in a particular competitive battling tournament, then told someone else that I was in two different tournaments, my first statement wouldn't be a lie, would it?

    Since I mentioned the women who saw Jesus after the resurrection, that is an excellent time to mention why this gives extraordinary evidence for Jesus' resurrection. Have you ever heard of the criterion of embarrassment? Well, to the male followers of Jesus, having the women see Jesus first after His resurrection is embarrassing. Luke even tells how the women's claim, to these men "seemed like idle talk" (Luke 24:11; see also the NETBible note on this verse). If the male disciples of Jesus were making things up, would they have made up a story where the men had to eat their words and admit that these women were right? The best hypothesis is that they reported things this way because they actually occurred.

    Before I go any further, in case anyone is overly skeptical, I need to point out that Jesus was really dead. The Romans knew a thing or two about how to kill people, and crucifixion did that, painfully. If you want to try to argue that Jesus actually survived the cross, be my guest. You'll have a hard time.

    In response to the point that Jesus miracles were only done in the presence of His own followers, hence fabricated, I merely point you to what His opposition said:

    "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!"
    (From the Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a)

    The fact that the Jews who disbelieved claimed He practiced sorcery is evidence directly refuting the view that He only did miracles in the presence of His own followers. In the years when Jesus' followers were preaching after His death, they did mention His supernatural deeds, no doubt. The above source is very useful because it shows that their response to the claim "Jesus did miracles," was not "No way, He didn't do anything of the kind," but "No, He did sorcery. His power came from the Wicked One!" Thus this provides extraordinary evidence that Jesus did miracles.
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  5. Auraninja

    Auraninja Try to understand.

    I believe it is simply faith that would lead one to believe in Jesus' resurrection. I do not believe that you can prove something supernatural with science. If you believe it, then good for you. If you don't, then that's okay too.
  6. Jb

    Jb Tsun in the streets

    This is quite a difficult topic, obviously the general would be the Bible. Though, maybe Jesus would only appear to thoes who belive. I myself, and my mom have had dreams of Jesus, that appeared to be telling us a messege.

    No proof science wise, but it depends on your ideal off proof
  7. AzukanAsimbu

    AzukanAsimbu Petal Paladin

    Maybe hes a zombie?

    but is this related to the Catholic claim that jesus will ressurect on May 21st?
  8. yoursavior

    yoursavior Calm Mind

    I guess that depends on whether or not you believe The Bible is a reliable, historically-accurate source, as the external evidence for Jesus Christ's crucifixion is less than stellar. The only contemporary external reference I'm aware of is an excerpt from Josephus' work Antiquities of the Jews...
    Unfortunately, there are a couple problems with this source, the major one being that it was written in 97CE, well after the time that Jesus supposedly lived, and the second being that he provides no evidence for Jesus' resurrection and does not even purport that it happened, only the fact that Christians believed it to have happened. This basically leaves the Gospel accounts as the only source. I'm not familiar enough with the Gospels to make any claims of contradictions or historical reliability, but from many papers I have read The Bible is not generally considered a credible source. There are many allusions to history that are accurate, such as kings, pharisees, governors, and cities, but there are also many things that are unverifiable externally and many cases of symbolism, metaphors, and parable that subtract a great amount of logos from the text. One thing I can say, though, is that The Bible is not written in the same manner as contemporary historical documents, but rather in the style of stories and myths of the time. Correlation cannot determine that it is a story or myth, but the fact still remains.
  9. TheFightingPikachu

    TheFightingPikachu Smashing!

    Dude, you claim references in the Bible to pharisees are inaccurate?

    And, no, the New Testament documents were not written in the style of myths. The gospels in particular were written in the style of historical documents of the day.


    Wow, that was a lamebrained mistake on my part. I shouldn't have read your post so carelessly. My apologies.

    Since you brought up the issue of references to Jesus' crucifixion from outside the Bible, it would be valuable for me first of all to point out that the Talmud's statement that Yeshu was hanged is a reference to the crucifixion (see my first post), since crucifixion did involve hanging on a tree.

    Additionally, one of the greatest Roman historians, Tacitus, refers to Jesus as one who "suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius" (Annals, 15:44). As this Wikipedia page points out, some have claimed this passage was added to Tacitus's Annals by Christian scribes, but the evidence for such editing is extremely flimsy. This evidence is useful against the claim that Jesus survived the cross.

    There are a few more, and maybe I'll edit this post later to add some of them, but they don't specifically mention resurrection either. Why would they? They weren't going to make the case that Jesus came back from the dead unless they believed in Him. And if they believed in Him, they wouldn't be secular authors!

    Actually, I'd like to point out a few things.

    First of all, Josephus had a number of purposes in writing. From one source (I think it was The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls by Jodi Magness), Josephus wrote some books with the purpose of entertaining the Romans. Other sources state that he attempted to make Judaism intellectually acceptable to the Romans in some works. Further, some sources indicate that at times in his writing, he wanted to justify his siding with Rome in the Jewish Revolt.

    In a slightly different line of thought, I'd like to point out that other ancient sources with purposes other than simple reporting were considered reliable:

    "Best known are Plutarch's Parallel Lives, a series of 4 single biographies and 23 pairs of biographies. Many of the pairs, such as those on the legendary lawgivers Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius, the generals Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, and the orators Demosthenes and Marcus Tullius Cicero, are followed with a brief comparison. Composed with great learning and research, the Lives are not only historical works of great value, but they are also, and purposely, character studies with a moral."
    (Encarta Encyclopedia, "Plutarch," bold emphasis added)
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  10. cantab

    cantab Well-Known Member

    Even if Jesus died and was resurrected, the remaining claims of the Bible and of Christianity need not be true.
  11. GaZsTiC

    GaZsTiC Alternating

    Why do they believe this and why May 21st?
  12. yoursavior

    yoursavior Calm Mind

    I said the references to the pharisees are accurate; read the sentence again.

    And The Gospels are written in the style of the legends and myths of the time. Here is an excerpt from contemporary historical documents of the time...

    Compared to whichever Gospel you choose, this is obviously written in a completely different style, with a completely different purpose, that purpose being to record history. The Gospels were written as propaganda for Jesus, not as historical documents.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  13. GhostAnime

    GhostAnime Searching for her...

    Okay, fair enough.. I suppose. They believed something.

    I hate using Wiki.. but whatever.

    I don't want to hear one quote from a scholar/historian. Show me a survey/poll that it is well accepted within the academic circle.

    I'll respond to the rest of your points later.

    And.. by the way, you really want to argue that the Bible is a historical document? I'm curious as to hear your opinions on stories outside of Jesus that "happened" .. such as Noah's Ark?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  14. Palkia98

    Palkia98 Well-Known Member

    It is all on your opinion of the bible, in my opinion, since he did rise from the tomb, it was then used for another body, thus, no real tomb that says it was his
  15. bel9

    bel9 n3w 2 sppf :3

    No. There is no definite evidence.

    But the lack of evidence does not discredit or change the importance of the story.

    The story of a hero's resurrection is an important story that has been played out for centuries in other cultures before Christianity. During Lent I worked to improve myself in ways that I believe will make me a better person to my family and community. On Easter I will be "reborn" and will be "better" for the changes I have made.
  16. Charmander#4

    Charmander#4 Dating Rosie Palms?

    I find it hard to argue about this kind of thing. In any other debate, all I would have to say to dismiss this was "Is there precedence for such an event happening?", and the answer would be "No.", which would end the argument. Then someone might say "But one time has to be the first!". And that is true. So I would answer "Is there any hard evidence indicating that someone can, in fact, rise from the grave of their own accord, days after dying of crucifixion?" and the answer would, of course be "No."

    In a scientific debate, this would lead us to the conclusion that a person cannot get up and walk away after dying from crucifixion. But then there is the factor called "God". Apparently, invoking his name gives you explanations for everything. It is the real-world equivalent of saying "A wizard did it". But is it acceptable as an argument? No, it is sadly not. Until the existence of a deity can be proven decisively, they will not be acceptable for use in an argument. It is a matter of faith. If you believe in God or whatever other deity you worship, that's cool. But do not bring them to a serious debate. You cannot use belief in the existence of dragons or Bigfoot as an argument either. And while you might think that you can, such is only the case in the presence of others who share your faith. If you are arguing with someone who is not as religious as yourself, try to present hard evidence instead. If you are unable to do so, stay out of the argument. You have lost before you even started.

    But don't listen to me, I'm just the Antichrist:

    "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist." (2 John 1:7)
  17. Assassin9399

    Assassin9399 Wanna hug?

    Alright, now it's very possible that the I'm going to say makes no sense, but aren't there poisons who create a state that someone looks dead, feels dead and behaves dead, but he isn't... Isn't that possible with Jesus? I mean if it was pretended that he's dead he could easily stand up from the dead, right? The Romans thought he was dead, and then he's burried, fake dead state is over, and he walks out of his grave.

    BTW, what is actually the proof that he was resurrected outside the bible and things that used the bible as source? Maybe I didn't see it where it was written, but it din't catch'd my attention.

    PS. I don't know if there is such poison, in literature there is, but I don't trust things that are just written.
  18. Charmander#4

    Charmander#4 Dating Rosie Palms?

    Yes, but that would bring up quite a few issues. First of all, he was tortured before he even got up on the cross. Then he was stabbed in the side with a spear. Man must've lost quite a bit of blood. On top of that, there is infection of the wounds, lack of food and water in his weakened state, exposure to the elements, etc.

    I'm not saying it's impossible, just very improbable.
  19. TheFightingPikachu

    TheFightingPikachu Smashing!

    An important clarification

    Whatever else we believe about Him, Jesus was undoubtedly a human wasn't He? Where did you say anything about Jesus not coming in the flesh?

    BTW, I totally agree with your second post.

    That brings up an important point. No one should argue that Jesus came back from the dead naturally. That would be absurd.

    But let's think of it this way. Is there evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead? One cannot presuppose that this cannot provide evidence for a miracle of God without being guilty of circular reasoning. Of course, all of this is weird because I've been informed that most atheists/agnostics don't tend to say that God certainly does not exist. You should ask for evidence. But don't toss it aside when someone presents it. Look at my first post in this thread: there really is some good evidence out there.

    GhostAnime: Don't worry, you're not chopped liver. I will edit my post to respond to what you've said. Right now I'm out of time.

    EDIT: I've gone and done it now. I treated you like chopped liver, and for that I apologize. Here is my response to your previous first-page post:

    Actually, statistics are easily abused. You've heard the famous saying about lies and statistics, right? Anyway, had I made a case based solely on statistics, it could easily have been dismissed as an argument ad populum. In this case, statistics from historians generally might be highly misleading because most historians are not historians of that area or time period (i.e., it isn't really important whether Civil War historians accept or reject the Bible). I'd be inclined to believe most historians (across the board) revile the Bible, but their opinion is not necessarily based on any examination of evidence, especially if their field of specialization is far removed from the time and place of the biblical writings.

    I believe it happened, but I find it very difficult to demonstrate it to atheists, so I don't worry about it. To be honest, it goes back to the points I made about the Bible not being a single source, and being certainly written by humans. I believe that every book of the Bible is accurate, but it is logically possible from a historical perspective that certain books were more or less accurate. The question of Noah's Ark doesn't really have to be discussed at the same time as Jesus' resurrection. Do you see that it could be logically possible that Matthew, John, and Paul could be accurate, while the author of Genesis might not have been (or perhaps was speaking figuratively or something)?
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  20. cantab

    cantab Well-Known Member

    I'll answer these two claims together, since they are related.

    In 1650 in Oxfordshire, Anne Greene was hanged, beaten to ensure she was dead, declared dead, and taken away for dissection. Her breathing resumed, and she went on to live for many more years. ( http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Greene,_Anne_(DNB00) )

    In 1724 in Scotland, Maggie Dickson was hanged and declared dead. While her body was being borne to the grave, a knocking was heard from within the coffin, and Maggie was found alive and well. She continued to live for several decades. ( http://www.the-grassmarket.com/history/maggie-dickson.html )

    In 1818, again in Scotland, Matthew Clydesdale was similarly hanged, declared dead, and taken away for dissection. An electric shock was applied to the body, and Clydesdale reportedly stood up and looked at the professor. The professor then stabbed Clydesdale in the jugular. The courts in Glasgow never again ordered an executed criminal to be dissected, suggesting that they believed the account. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/enlightenment/oddities_enlightenment.shtml )

    In 2008, Velma Thomas had been deemed brain dead for 17 hours, having been admitted to hospital with no pulse or detectable brain activity. Life support was terminated. Ten minutes later, she awoke. ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-minutes-life-support-machine-turned-OFF.html )

    Four cases, found without too much effort. Doubtless there are many more.

    In each, one can argue that the declaration of death was mistaken. If professional executioners in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and medical professionals in the 21st, can make such a mistake, then why couldn't the Romans executing Jesus have made the same mistake?

    Or one can argue that they 'genuinely' died, and came back to life. In which case, it seems to me reasonable to call it a natural, albeit rare, phenomenon.

    Arguably, both options are split only by questions of the definition of death. It's a complex phenomenon (unsurprising considering humans are complex organisms), and the definition of death challenged physicians in the 20th century and indeed continues to do so.

    And if you intend to claim that crucifixion is a more reliable method of execution than hanging, I contest this on two grounds. Firstly, crucifixion is slow, potentially taking days. The cause of death is also disputed; postural asphyxiation is commonly claimed, but some experiments have called this into question, indicating that death would instead have come from blood loss, infection, or ultimately dehydration. According to Mark, Jesus was on the cross for 9 hours. If his wounds had healed sufficiently, death by blood loss could be prevented, and that's not long enough for dehydration or infection to kill. It is I believe not known how the Romans determined death, but it may have been as simple - and unreliable - as apparent cessation of breathing.

    Secondly, if crucifixion was any good as a method of execution, wouldn't it have been used more throughout history? Obviously in Christian regions it wasn't, but it wasn't used much even in areas that weren't Christian.

    All things considered, I don't think it's at all implausible that Jesus simply survived his crucifixion.

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