SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
THE RESURRECTION RUSE
The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being. The doctrine that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his execution is the heart of the Christian faith according to the Church and the gospels and the first Christian writer who was also an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
The emotional aspect of the doctrine is more important to believers than anything else. They go on about it being spiritual and miraculous and supported by evidence but that does not change the fact that a story of a man showing we will all rise from the dead like him to enjoy eternal life will mean something huge to us while some other wonder would not. Just because a miracle gets into your heart does not mean that you care that it is a miracle. It is the benefit you want. If the Jerusalem Temple miraculously rose from the ashes that miracle would not have the same impact as Jesus doing that and indeed would be deemed rather unimportant. The debate is not about truth or even spiritual truth at all. That is why the Christian side has to be replete with hidden intentions and motives and lies.
Christians say that the resurrection of Jesus is central and core and indispensable Christian doctrine for it manifests what our lives are all about. God wants to save us from sin and vulnerability and death and give us bodies that are able to pass through dangers untouched and that can traverse one end of space to the other instantly and which are beautiful and glorious and live forever. Jesus supposedly had a body like and gave us a taste of what to expect and above all manifested God's eternal plan.
Jesus himself said nothing about what his resurrection body was like. The doctrines about the ghost style body are based on hearsay. It is not certain that even the New Testament supports it. A vision of a Jesus who appears in ghost like body does not mean Jesus has a ghost like body. Even in Catholicism, apparitions are done by different methods. It is thought by some that Mary did not appear bodily in Lourdes but was seen by remote vision. The Bible believers always really believe in their own theories and speculations and interpretations rather than in the Bible.
An interpretation is not evidence
The gospels are taken as offering evidence for this resurrection. But if they are, the fact remains that they are giving us interpretations and interpretations are not evidence at all. For example, they do not state there was no way Jesus could have been put in the tomb and then sneaked out when the women at the tomb were not looking.
The gaps in the resurrection accounts prove that there is no evidence for something important that would disprove it could have been omitted. The gospels only give an interpretation of what they think or wish had happened but an interpretation is not evidence. For example, the gospels do not say if there was no way the crucifixion or death or burial of Jesus could have been faked or if Jesus looked healed after his resurrection which might suggest a miraculous resurrection or that it was a look-alike. Jesus entered the upper room though the doors were locked and Luke says he instantly disappeared neither of which necessarily have to mean anything magical. Did he evade the cross by having a substitute nailed in his place? Perhaps when the disciples saw Jesus ascend into Heaven in Acts he walked up a mountain and was hidden by fog and they assumed he was returning to Heaven. Absolutely no evidence bad or good is given for the ascension apart from an interpretation. When the resurrection is dubious the miracles of Jesus which are all of lesser importance are even more so. They were not reported by men who were reliable in religious matters for they wanted people to believe in the resurrection without evidence.
The resurrection tale is unconvincing
Too long has the Christian Church managed to seduce the world with its lies and these lies are so vicious that they even say that those who doubt the Christian teachings will rot in Hell forever. Atheism hopes to see the day when everyone will say they have no religion. The Church delivers its teaching with a charming smile but that only means that if it is done without ill-feeling it is still vicious in principle.
The Christian religion is unable to give adequate verification of any of its claims. It claims that the followers of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion left evidence that he rose bodily from the dead leaving an empty tomb and appeared to his friends and now reigns as our king in Heaven and from there he administers the salvation he won for us. We know we have to accept the simplest explanation we can find. The gospels record the alleged evidence for the empty tomb and the visitations of the risen Jesus. If the gospels are convincing (they are not - an empty tomb and apparitions afterwards of the person who had been in the tomb still does not prove a resurrection) in relation to their claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead then where is the miracle? It is easier to believe that the miracle is in the credibility of the records and not in the miracle of resurrection. The plausibility of the records only means that the records are plausible not that they are correct. Something rather different from an actual resurrection could have been what really happened. Then some psychic or supernatural forces set to work to guide writers to tell a story that supported a resurrection story and was believable. The lesser miracle of psychic guidance of the writers is what should be accepted not the huge miracle of resurrection. The fact that the (fragile but let us put that out of our mind) plausibility of the records only means that the records are plausible not that they are correct suffices to show that the resurrection is false. Had Jesus really risen he would not have made the mistake of guiding his followers to present evidence that is useless never mind insufficient.
It is conveniently forgotten by the Church that though the resurrection of Christ has great importance in the New Testament, it is not important by itself. It is important in that Jesus was found alive after his death TO GO UP TO HEAVEN! The resurrection was Jesus’ salvation and the ascension its completion. However, we know that Jesus ascending into Heaven is nonsense for if he went up is he living in a cloud or did he go to the moon or to Mars? It is totally ridiculous to believe in the resurrection and to deny that Jesus is up in the clouds. If one is not true then why trust the other?
The resurrection implies that God sanctions suicide for Jesus knew he was going to die if he did not change his ways or escape but didn’t. It would be a sign that the Devil was behind Jesus.
Perhaps Jesus survived the crucifixion. There is no Bible proof that the crucifixion he experienced was that bad and indeed we read that Pilate couldn’t believe he had died so soon. Was he buried alive? The earthquake in Matthew could have opened the tomb and the women could have assumed that Jesus was not inside though he was hiding until the coast was clear. Then he got away. Perhaps Jesus died of his injuries after and nobody ever knew what became of him. Perhaps the empty tomb triggered the apostles to believe that they were having spiritual inspirations and visions that a resurrection had happened and Jesus was appearing to them. Many people have visions which are certainly false but which cannot be put down to classical hallucinations.
Matthew never actually says that the story of the soldiers that Jesus’ body was stolen by his disciples – remember the twelve were not the only disciples Jesus had - was a lie. He does not even say that the guards were lying about sleeping on duty. His evidence is useless and it proves Matthew is not the word of God. The Church lays a lot of stock by the testimony of the gospels but ignores the testimony of Mary Magdalene in John that the Lord could have been removed by a mysterious “they”.
No matter how strong the evidence for resurrection supposedly is, there is no evidence that it was the direct work of an all-loving God. God can give you a sense that you will rise again and does not need to raise Jesus from the dead to show you that. There are many things we sense anyway. The resurrection of Jesus tale is an attempt to use an alleged event as evidence for the Christians are trying to convince themselves that they will somehow rise.
Suppose the resurrection is all about claiming to be from a God of love then there is stronger evidence that it could not have happened. Jesus supported the Jewish Law though it said that God commanded the murder of adulterers, apostates and heretics by stoning. No good God would raise him from the dead to promote preaching like that even if he no longer intended the legal murders to be implemented. If the Devil raised Jesus then he might just as easily have made the body of Jesus invisible in the tomb and caused the witnesses to miraculously hallucinate that the tomb was empty and that Jesus appeared and used the witnesses to steal him and he protected them from getting caught and then wiped their memory of this so we would have no evidence for saying a resurrection took place. We must remember that the gospels themselves speak of a terrifying era where demon possession was rife and Jesus warned about how crafty Satan was and that he could fool the elect or the saints and Jesus warned that the possibility of the final war between good and evil and demons and man could break out anytime and he spent more time on the scary stuff than the nice stuff. Jesus stressed how good Satan was at blinding people to the truth. The question arises did say Mary Magdalene imagine or lie that Jesus rose and that she seen him? Did the apostles later on despite having no visions imagine that the Holy Spirit told them they did have visions and that Satan wiped their minds? Did they imagine they had memories of seeing Jesus?
A good tree bears good fruit according to Jesus. The best way to assess is to assess the first fruits. In the generation after Jesus Christians were deliberately seeking to be martyred and tortured to death and even knocked on the door of their persecutors to get arrested and destroyed. That was why Tacitus described Christians as haters of mankind. St Polycarp, allegedly a close friend of the apostle John, deliberately sought the worst death possible. The things that happened would make you believe Christianity was itself a Satanic hoax. No wonder it was expert on how wily Satan was!
The fruits of Christianity have been a vulgar hypocrisy and crass error and an endless stream of deaths and wars which would back up the diabolical agency explanation. Any good Christianity has done could and would have been done without it so the good fruits are irrelevant. Satan would not have raised Jesus when it was easier to do a few magic tricks to make it seem that he had. It would be easier for a supernatural power to do all these tricks than raise a man from the dead so belief in the resurrection is irrational for God couldn’t have raised Jesus either. That Jesus made his resurrection the one sign for this age – meaning that it was the one miracle that Satan could not do shows that Jesus was lying for Satan could have made it look like he could do it.
Why follow the risen Jesus when he told lies? He said in the gospel of Luke that the Law and the Prophets revealed that the Messiah had to die and rise again. This is untrue. There is no proof of this resurrection at all in the Old Testament. Another lie he told was that he was flesh and bone for ghosts cannot be felt though there are thousands of “true” ghost stories that they can be touched.
The apostles themselves told lies.
Jesus' frequently did miracles according to the gospels. There were just too many miracles done by him. It doesn't ring true - it leads us to doubt the account of the resurrection of Jesus. It is important that a miracle should only be done extremely rarely. If miracles happen too often they cease to be signs. Most of the miracles were healings. The fact that he did so many then and doesn't bother now shows that those miracles were petty. Christians respond that they were not for he did them out of compassion - the only hope they have got of an answer. But he didn't need to help by an obvious miracle. He is supposed to use doctors today to heal people and there is no obvious miracle there. The miracles were petty.
Jesus told the Jews and the apostles that he spoke only the word of God. He said he believed the story of Jonah in the whale for three days was true. In saying this Jesus contradicted the Law of Moses which proves that since Jonah’s story rested on one anonymous testimony it has to be rejected. One testimony is not grounds for believing in a miracle. We would believe anybody if we start saying it is for it is too unusual so you need very strong evidence. This shows that the apostles would have been too easy to convince that Jesus rose from the dead.
You do not believe an account about people seeing ghosts especially when the account is a second hand source. You know that since such events are so rare and unnatural that you need stronger evidence than you would need even to convict somebody of murder because murder will happen more easily than a miracle. If you deny that you will have to believe every tall story to be consistent and fair. The gospels are just not good enough for they are not first-hand documents and they are bad at presenting good evidence. We read of a man or men in white robes around the tomb at the time of Jesus’ disappearance. How can Christians ask us to believe nobody took Jesus' body? The man or men could have done it for they were there alone. They are called angels? But angel simply means messenger and a man can be a messenger and the tale is compatible with men in white being taken for angels. The case for a magical resurrection couldn't be more foolish or worse.
Paul stated that some Christians in Corinth were denying the resurrection of the dead and by implication that of Jesus. Christians in the past have tried to deceive people into thinking that they didn't deny the resurrection but only doubted. They do not like to admit that many people in those days lost their faith for the resurrection was so dubious. "How can some of you say there is no resurrection?" is a complaint about denial not doubt. Doubt would be, "How can some of you say that there MIGHT be no resurrection?"
Paul said that if he and the apostles are wrong about Jesus having risen from the dead then they were false witnesses. You never argue that if you are wrong about x you are a false witness for x unless you mean that you would be lying if you are wrong. So Paul admits that if the resurrection never happened they are liars. They are not people deluded by false visions. They are liars. He is trying to smear those who deny the resurrection by accusing them of slandering himself and the others. This is to anger his flock in Corinth against the critics. Moreover, when he is so sure that he and the apostles are liars if they are wrong about the resurrection that is an admission of lying. He could only be sure they are liars if no resurrection happened if they had been lying all the time to start with.
Paul’s visions could have been hallucinations or caused by sheer willpower and the power of suggestion and we are not told what the 500+ who he says saw Jesus saw so that we can be sure it was Jesus – perhaps they saw what they thought was a ghost in the sky or a look-alike doing a magic trick. The brevity of this assertion though he wanted to demolish the claims of the Corinthians who denied the resurrection shows that he was embarrassed to say anything more about the 500+.
Why did they have to lie?
Jesus according to the New Testament really had royal blood and a right to the throne. If so, he had to be slain. The trouble was that the close relatives were in the line of succession and thus in danger too. James the brother oddly enough was never exalted as a possible Messiah. The claim that Jesus had risen from the dead and was Messiah but hidden from the earth in Heaven would have saved their skin ...
The alleged relations not being liquidated has to be explained somehow. Is that the answer? It's compelling.
To believe something like the resurrection which is an extraordinary claim and logically requires exceptionally good evidence that no reasonable person can question you have to see all the evidence. There are hundreds of objections to the resurrection miracle and so to believe you would have to work through them all. Nobody does this so Christianity manipulates people to think they believe in the resurrection and believe rationally. Anybody with money to burn could get four people to write out sceptical documents that seem to verify a resurrection of some other Messiah in a more detailed and scientific fashion and create a better hoax than the gospellers.
God Actually, Roy Williams, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2008
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
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