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liamconnor
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 11:07 pm  The Best Naturalistic Explanation for Christianity Reply with quote

I believe I posted something like this before and it got derailed; or rather, the issue was dodged.

A quick scenario: Let us suppose a man who is undecided on the issue of Jesus' resurrection (and for that matter, the existence of God). He wants to know in what direction the historical data points. If he is an honest thinker, does his homework, I believe the "best" naturalistic interpretation of the evidence he will find will include the following:

1) Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb
2) The body of Jesus was stolen by a non-disciple sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning; that is, during the Sabbath.
3) Sunday morn the tomb was discovered vacant by women disciples
4) Several days later, a large number of his disciples, individually and collectively suffered hallucinations which were consistent with each other: a) they were bodily and involved the delusion of "touch" b) they left the impression of a commission to preach a specific message which was consistent among them all
5) These disciples believed and preached that their master was raised by God, and that this event was the culmination of God's acts in history.
6) Paul persecuted the Jesus movement. He too suffered from an hallucination from which he believed he had encountered Jesus and received from him a similar vocation.

Are there better naturalistic explanations which have responsibly dealt with the data?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 101: Tue May 24, 2016 6:50 am
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Gday all Smile

Now, let's consider

Paul and Group Hallucinations -

Paul appears to have travelled to Paradise in the Third Heaven, most likely according to the simple 3-heaven cosmology like so :


It seems that's where he "received" his gospel -
"I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ" Gal. 1:12
He “did not receive it from any man.”

And he describes what he received from 1 Cor. 15:3, indented to show structure :
Code:

3  For I delivered to you, as of prime importance, what also I received (paralambano):
     that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
4    and that he was buried,
     and that he has been raised on the third day according to the scriptures,
5      and that he was seen (ophthe) by Cephas, then by the twelve;
6      afterward he was seen by over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom
               are still alive, though some have fallen asleep;
7      afterward he was seen by James, then by all the apostles;
8      last of all, as to one abnormally born, he was seen by me as well.


That all seems quite clear :

Paul had a vision about Jesus Christ, and learned how he died, and was buried, and was raised again. No mention of it being on earth.

'According to the scriptures' means the Jesus Christ story is already found in the Jewish Tanakh, for those wise enough to recognise and decode it, such as Paul.

Various people had Jesus Christ visions before Paul, but he was the last one - he was an 'ektroma' in Greek, literally meaning 'born out of time', but implying a miscarriage or abortion. Paul is calling himself an abortion.

But we only have Paul's word for all of it. No other early writer describes any visions of Jesus. None on Paul's list left any description. There is no evidence that any 'group hallucination' occurred, nor is there any evidence that the visions were the same - because we don't have ANY clear first-hand description of a Jesus Christ experience.

Even Paul only alludes to a visit to heaven, and tells us what he 'received' - he doesn't describe his Jesus Christ experience at all.

Acts, written much later, by unknown hand, has some legendary accounts of Paul's vision which contradict with each other.

So the entire hallucination story boils down to ONE essentially unknown ancient person making some claims about visions.


How can that possibly be considered evidence for ANYTHING historical ?

Let alone supernatural resurrections ...


Kapyong

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 102: Tue May 24, 2016 7:46 am
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Re: The Best Naturalistic Explanation for Christianity

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liamconnor wrote:

I believe I posted something like this before and it got derailed; or rather, the issue was dodged.

A quick scenario: Let us suppose a man who is undecided on the issue of Jesus' resurrection (and for that matter, the existence of God). He wants to know in what direction the historical data points. If he is an honest thinker, does his homework, I believe the "best" naturalistic interpretation of the evidence he will find will include the following:

1) Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb
2) The body of Jesus was stolen by a non-disciple sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning; that is, during the Sabbath.
3) Sunday morn the tomb was discovered vacant by women disciples
4) Several days later, a large number of his disciples, individually and collectively suffered hallucinations which were consistent with each other: a) they were bodily and involved the delusion of "touch" b) they left the impression of a commission to preach a specific message which was consistent among them all
5) These disciples believed and preached that their master was raised by God, and that this event was the culmination of God's acts in history.
6) Paul persecuted the Jesus movement. He too suffered from an hallucination from which he believed he had encountered Jesus and received from him a similar vocation.

Are there better naturalistic explanations which have responsibly dealt with the data?


RESPONSE:

Sure. The story is a fable originated by Paul c. 56 AD. Only the Crucifixion of Jesus as an insurrectionist is most probably historical.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 103: Tue May 24, 2016 8:22 am
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[Replying to post 96 by Kapyong]

Hello Kayong.

Kapyong wrote:
Well, I have absolutely no interest in arguing about meanings of words.


Neither do I.

Kapyong wrote:
If you wish to consider my use of the word 'naturalistic' to be incorrect (yes, of course I checked the meaning before writing) then you may do so.


I do so.

I can't have an intelligent conversation about terms if we can't agree what they mean. So, because you have absolutely no interest in arguing the meanings of these words, and we don't agree on those terms, our conversation using those terms comes to an end.

The OP concerns itself with the BEST naturalistic explanation for Christianity, we NEED to agree on what "naturalistic" means in order to do that.

Kapyong wrote:
My view is :

* Paul had a Jesus Christ experience


You have a view.
But this "view" is not a fact.

Kapyong wrote:
* many persons, even to this day, have Jesus Christ experiences


Again, as in Paul, these claimed experiences make supernatural claims. And since we cannot agree on the meaning of "naturalistic" or "supernatural", we won't be able to discuss that.

Kapyong wrote:
I am quite sure you would agree with that (?)


As you can see above, no.
I can't agree with that.

Kapyong wrote:
So,
I see no value at all in arguing whether such an experience is natural or supernatural.


Then you make yourself irrelevant to the OP.

Kapyong wrote:
Do you think all experiences which happen inside people's minds are supernatural ?


I wont be able to discuss with you what is or what is not supernatural.

Kapyong wrote:
What is your explanation for Jesus Christ experiences ?
Have you ever had one ?


More than one.

Smile

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 104: Tue May 24, 2016 8:44 am
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.
Kapyong wrote:

so when you are shown to be wrong, you stoop to the gutter of personal attacks. Disappointing.

Be a man, admit you were wrong, and learn from it.


Moderator Comment

This post is far too personally addressed. "Let's stick to the evidence" as you say -- or stick to the issues.

Your points are strong enough without the personal remarks


Please review the Rules.


______________

Moderator comments do not count as a strike against any posters. They only serve as an acknowledgment that a post report has been received, but has not been judged to warrant a moderator warning against a particular poster. Any challenges or replies to moderator postings should be made via Private Message to avoid derailing topics.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 105: Tue May 24, 2016 4:07 pm
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liamconnor wrote:

[Replying to post 86 by Kapyong]

You appear to be a late comer in this debate.

I don't have the energy to get you up to speed.

You do not seem to have read much literature on the subject. Perhaps you did. I can't know for sure. But the entirety of your vague explanation has been touched upon at least once throughout several threads over the last month or so.


Warning Moderator Final Warning

Please do not make any comments of a personal nature.

Please review the Rules.


______________

Moderator final warnings serve as the last strike towards users. Additional violations will result in a probation vote. Further infractions will lead to banishment. Any challenges or replies to moderator warnings should be made via Private Message to avoid derailing topics.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 106: Tue May 24, 2016 8:28 pm
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Gday Blastcat,

Hmmm ...

'Naturalistic' comes from 'natural', which comes from being 'found in nature'.

Humans are founds in nature,
human experiences are natural,
so human Jesus Christ experiences are natural.

Seems pretty clear to me.

Do you want to discuss Jesus Christ experiences such as what happened to Paul ?
Or not ?

Paul had a Jesus Christ experience.
How do you interpret that ?

Let's say it WAS 'supernatural' then.
So what ?

Jesus Christ experiences are supernatural, therefore ...
Therefore what ?

Do you have a point you'd like to share with us ?


Kapyong


Last edited by Kapyong on Tue May 24, 2016 9:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 107: Tue May 24, 2016 8:59 pm
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Gday Blastcat and all Smile

Blastcat wrote:

The OP concerns itself with the BEST naturalistic explanation for Christianity, we NEED to agree on what "naturalistic" means in order to do that.


But I thought everyone already knew what it means ?
Naturalistic is about natural forces and processes, which boils down to being
"found in nature".

Why did you insist on arguing ?
Do you have a different meaning in mind ?
That's why I don't want to argue - I thought everyone already agreed.
Unless you have a different meaning to share with us, can we just move on now ?

Kapyong wrote:
My view is :
* Paul had a Jesus Christ experience


Blastcat wrote:

You have a view.
But this "view" is not a fact.


Ah, now that is quite interesting indeed.
So you don't agree that Paul had a Jesus Christ experience ?
How do you interpret Paul's apparent claim of a visit to Paradise in the Third Heaven ?
What do you think of the stories in Acts about Paul's Jesus Christ experience ?

Kapyong wrote:
* many persons, even to this day, have Jesus Christ experiences


Blastcat wrote:

Again, as in Paul, these claimed experiences make supernatural claims. And since we cannot agree on the meaning of "naturalistic" or "supernatural", we won't be able to discuss that.


Everyone knows 'naturalistic' essentially means found in nature. Why on earth do you have to keep arguing about word meanings?

What is it about Jesus Christ experiences that you think is 'supernatural' ?
I.e. not found in nature ?

You refer back to 'again, as in Paul' as if the reason you say Paul did not have a Jesus Christ experience is because it contained supernatural claims. It's all quite confused really.

Kapyong wrote:
What is your explanation for Jesus Christ experiences ?
Have you ever had one ?


Blastcat wrote:

More than one.
Smile


I see.
in your view - were they natural experiences, or a supernatural ones ?
What is the difference, in your view ?
How did your experiences compare to Paul's ?
Or even Mohamed's ? Or Pascal's great experience of fire ?
It would be great to hear all about them.
Smile


Kapyong

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 108: Tue May 24, 2016 9:05 pm
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Gday Zzyzx Smile

Kapyong wrote:

so when you are shown to be wrong, you stoop to the gutter of personal attacks. Disappointing.
Be a man, admit you were wrong, and learn from it.

Moderator Comment
This post is far too personally addressed. "Let's stick to the evidence" as you say -- or stick to the issues.
Your points are strong enough without the personal remarks

Please review the Rules.


Sorry 'bout that Sad
Yes, I went a little too far.


Kapyong

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 109: Wed May 25, 2016 4:01 am
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Like this post (1): Bust Nak
Gday Bust Nak and all,

Bust Nak wrote:

[Replying to post 71 by liamconnor]
We were talking about the N.T. --documents which are no later than 100 Ad, ...


I know you were just repeating liamconnor's mistake, but I think such an error should be quickly cleared up. Smile

Surely the starting point for discussion on issues such as dates of the NT books would be the consensus of modern NT scholars ?

That is - the 'view of the academy' as they say.

The current view of the academy is that the NT writings could stretch to as late as c.150. We should all be able to agree on the basic background information, right ?


You know -
Wouldn't it be handy if the consensus of the academy on the dates of early Christian writings, as well as their texts for reference, and even scholarly analyses - could be quickly and easily checked, maybe on some sort of web-site ?

SHAZAM ! Amazing ! Here is that very web-site :
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

Incredibly, Peter Kirby called it "Early Christian Writings". Smile


Kapyong

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 110: Wed May 25, 2016 5:12 am
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Re: The Best Naturalistic Explanation for Christianity

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Gday JLB32168 and Blastcat and all Smile

Blastcat wrote:
If you say that mystics have met your burden of proof, do you believe everyone who claims to BE a mystic?


JLB32168 wrote:

There are many, many, many mystics from different religions. I conclude that most likely all of them are experiencing some supernatural event. I also conclude that only some of them are experiencing supernatural events informed by the Christian deity – whom I regard as the only deity proper.


Okay then Blastcat Smile
My understanding has increased.

I see now there is already a little sub-argument going on about the supernaturality of mystic events like Jesus Christ experiences. Looks like I blundered right into it.

It seems you disagree with my theory being naturalistic because it involves Jesus Christ experiences.

Mate Smile all you had to do was say that you disagreed and then argued your point. You didn't really have to quote the dictionary at me. That was rather rude. My English literacy is superb.

But tragically, there was then a mis-communication between us two.

My lack of interest in word debates was because I just use the accepted standard dictionary meanings. Why would anyone want to argue ? That's all I meant.

Unfortunately, we must have had a bad line, and you accidentally mis-heard me as if I insisted on some different meaning, and refused to talk about it, or something.

But I hope that little slip is all behind us now. Smile
I can confirm that of course I use words like 'naturalistic' in their standard ways - and in this case it all boils to 'natural' obviously meaning in 'nature'.

Thus, my short useful definition amounts to :
natural = found in nature.
What do you think about that ?


So then,
let's get back on track -

Please explain to me your view about the supernaturality of Jesus Christ experiences.

Did Paul have a Jesus Christ experience or not ?
Was it natural or supernatural ?

I know a woman who claims she had a life-changing Jesus Christ experience.
Was that a supernatural experience ?

You said you had had several too.
Were they supernatural ?

So -
what is it about a Jesus Christ experience that makes it supernatural - i.e. 'above nature' ?

Hmmm ... surely not all Jesus Christ experiences are supernatural ?

I sometimes visualise, or imagine, or even day-dream about Jesus Christ. Obviously that is not a supernatural experience, right ?

What about a deep meditation trance in which Jesus Christ seems to speak to my very heart ?
Is that possibly supernatural ?

How about an over-whelming shaft of immensely powerful white light from above that suddenly transfixes me with divine energy as I serve at the altar right at the climax of the Catholic eucharist service, changing my whole life's direction ?
That sounds supernatural, right ?

Can you give use some guidance on where the dividing line between natural and supernatural lies ?

Perhaps if you describe your Jesus Christ experiences as examples ?


Kapyong

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