Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Passion of Jesus, the BBC and the Resurrection

Some people have written saying they were 'delighted with the last episode and the presentation of the resurrection, probably the best thing about the whole film and possibly the best presentation of the resurrection I've seen. '

Was it better than Paul's presentation of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15?

Paul was writing to converts to Jesus-worship who scoffed at the whole idea of God choosing to raise a corpse.

Sadly, Paul could not show them the BBC film.

Or use any of the details from the film.

No wonder he was reduced to telling people 'For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands'

If only Paul had seen the BBC film, or learned about any of its details, then he would have been far more able to teach what a resurrected body was like to Christian converts who scoffed at the idea of a corpse turning into a resurrected body.

The Impossible Faith

The Impossible Faith is an essay by JP Holding , where he attempts to show that Christian converts were all sceptics, who converted because the evidence was overwhelming for a corpse rising from the grave, eating some fish, and then travelling into the sky on its way to Heaven.

Most of it is really bad, but JP Holding does make one or two good points.

I quote him 'Suppose, for example, you are starting a new UFO cult, where the faithful will be taken up into a UFO that is waiting for them. Such a cultist would usually follow advice from factor #7, and make sure the UFO is somewhere where people can't go and check up on it (e.g., assert that the UFO is hiding behind the Moon). But suppose you ignored this advice, and instead asserted that the UFO was waiting in a cave in a mountain not far from the city. The last thing you would do is encourage people to go to the cave and check out your claim - thereby discouraging the very gullibility that your cult's survival depends on.'

This seems like good advice for early Christians , who made sure that this alleged resurrected Jesus had gone to Heaven before telling people about a resurrection.

If you claim that somebody has been resurrected, then you need a really good answer when somebody asks to see this resurrected person.

But what should we conclude if this hypothetical cult of JP Holding's had members who scoffed at the whole idea that there was a UFO in a cave in the mountain, but still remained cult members?

We would have to conclude that the cult did not think it a central belief that there was a UFO in a cave in the mountain. People could remain cult members, and still scoff at such a claim.

And they clearly could not have been converted to such a cult by stories of a UFO in a cave in a mountain.

After all, these cult members scoff at the idea.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is writing to cult members who scoff at the idea that God would choose to raise a corpse.

Clearly early Christianity could not have been built on the idea of a corpse rising from the grave. The logic of JP Holding's analogy is very clear - cult members do not scoff at central beliefs of their cult. So if they do scoff at any belief, we know that that belief is not central to the cult.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Saturday

If you are one of those people who think the Gospel of Matthew is historical, you will realise that Easter Saturday is when the tomb of Jesus was first guarded.

Matthew 27
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63"Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

65"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

According to the Bible, those idiots left the tomb unguarded for a whole night, a night when nobody would have been around to see any tomb raiders.

What was the point of people guarding a tomb after they had left it unguarded?

But, of course, the story of the guard only appears in the Gospel of Matthew.

All the other Gospels assume that people could get to the body of Jesus.

Do Christians enjoy rational debate?

NT Wright gave a lecture at NT Wright on Can a scientist believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

The organisers set up a discussion forum at Discussion forum

I put some questions about NT Wright's speech, quoting what Wright said, and quoting the Bible.

Unable to answer these questions, the organisers simply deleted them. They left only one of my posts, and deleted the rest.

They apparently aren't even able to answer the questions in the post they did leave.

That is how confident Christians are of the arguments put forward by their best scholars.

Christians have to delete and censor people who point out the apologetic tricks that their best scholars resort to.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Being born of a virgin

Mark 3
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

Didn't the family of Jesus know that he had been born of a virgin?

If you had a family member who was born of a virgin, would you be sceptical of his claims?

Christian apologists like Gary Habermas and Mike Licona solemnly tell us that James was a sceptic about Jesus.

This shows the nonsense that Christians believe. How could somebody be sceptical when their own brother was born of a virgin?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Resurrection Debate

Don't forget to check out my resurrection debate at Resurrection of Jesus