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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 41: Fri May 20, 2016 10:07 am
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liamconnor wrote:

[Replying to post 34 by PghPanther]

Imagine picking up a history book on Christian origins and reading your summary explanation!

Blanket statements (like yours) are easy and comfortable because they require almost zero intellectual energy and absolutely zero education in the particular field.

Since you have not dealt with any of the historical data, or anticipated the obvious problems that your blanket statement would yield, my hypothesis remains the "best" natural explanation, i.e. collective, widespread, uniform hallucination.


Just my opinion here, but shouldn't you explain, in greater detail, what historical data he has not dealt with yet? Can you provide any additional historical data that we haven't seen yet? If not, then I'd say this is a baseless charge that warrants an apology.

I'd also like to know what education you think PGH lacks that does not allow him to intelligently comment on possible naturalistic explanations for the origins of Christianity. For that matter I'd like to see you list his educational background, since you feel able to decide that he does not have any applicable training as it relates to this topic. You shouldn't be able to do that unless you have this knowledge, agreed?

I also object to someone calling PGH lazy (zero intellectual energy) when no effort was made to explain what data was not dealt with, what obvious problems exist with the statement, or why it should be considered a blanket statement. Just because you say so isn't good enough.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 42: Fri May 20, 2016 12:33 pm
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liamconnor wrote:

[Replying to post 34 by PghPanther]

Imagine picking up a history book on Christian origins and reading your summary explanation!

Blanket statements (like yours) are easy and comfortable because they require almost zero intellectual energy and absolutely zero education in the particular field.

Since you have not dealt with any of the historical data, or anticipated the obvious problems that your blanket statement would yield, my hypothesis remains the "best" natural explanation, i.e. collective, widespread, uniform hallucination.



History Schmistory...........I'm talking reality as opposed to your pseudo academia attempt to hash out all this ancient story telling.

I have seen and experienced events that become embellished within hours, days or weeks of it happening..

And what pray tell was the sole source of information back then?

Not some video camera or tape recording........not even real time reporting.........but gossip among the crowd of believers..........

That is the most fertile ground for embellishment of all............

After all you wanted a natural explanation and I just gave it to you...........its very simple and easy how it could happen that way....

....and perhaps you don't happen to like that explanation because of your whole world view and belief system might be nothing more than the result of gossip/story telling among the Biblical Amway sheep.........

But it is an natural explanation of which you must consider even if you don't like it for whatever lack of intellectual appeal you demand.........

Reality is reality...........look at it face to face no matter what level of ugly you perceive of it.


Last edited by PghPanther on Fri May 20, 2016 12:57 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 43: Fri May 20, 2016 12:50 pm
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Kenisaw wrote:

liamconnor wrote:

[Replying to post 34 by PghPanther]

Imagine picking up a history book on Christian origins and reading your summary explanation!

Blanket statements (like yours) are easy and comfortable because they require almost zero intellectual energy and absolutely zero education in the particular field.

Since you have not dealt with any of the historical data, or anticipated the obvious problems that your blanket statement would yield, my hypothesis remains the "best" natural explanation, i.e. collective, widespread, uniform hallucination.


Just my opinion here, but shouldn't you explain, in greater detail, what historical data he has not dealt with yet? Can you provide any additional historical data that we haven't seen yet? If not, then I'd say this is a baseless charge that warrants an apology.

I'd also like to know what education you think PGH lacks that does not allow him to intelligently comment on possible naturalistic explanations for the origins of Christianity. For that matter I'd like to see you list his educational background, since you feel able to decide that he does not have any applicable training as it relates to this topic. You shouldn't be able to do that unless you have this knowledge, agreed?

I also object to someone calling PGH lazy (zero intellectual energy) when no effort was made to explain what data was not dealt with, what obvious problems exist with the statement, or why it should be considered a blanket statement. Just because you say so isn't good enough.



You now what is funny about this?...........I have a double major of BS in Psychology/Pre-Med and a minor in Theology.............LOL!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 44: Sat May 21, 2016 12:41 pm
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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?



1) Jesus was crucified and died on the Friday before Passover.
2) The body of Jesus was turned over to his followers (Joseph and Nicodemus) that same day by the Roman governor.
3) The body of Jesus was taken to the personal tomb of Joseph to be washed and prepared because the tomb was conveniently close to the place where Jesus was crucified.(John. 19:42)
4) The body of Jesus was heavily wrapped and coated with 100 pounds mixture of aloe/myrrh.(John.19:39)
5) The entrance to Joseph's tomb was covered with a large stone and the disciples departed.(Matt.27:60)
6) The Next day (Saturday) the chief Jewish priests asked for and received permission from the roman Governor to place a guard at Joseph's tomb, which they did, also placing seals on the tomb.
7) The next morning (Sunday) Joseph's tomb proved to be open and empty.

The obvious conclusion is that the Jewish priests took possession of an already empty tomb on Saturday. The obvious reason for the tomb to have been empty was that the body of Jesus, which was in the possession of his followers, was already in the process of being relocated to it's actual intended final resting place. The body of Jesus was never intended to be interred in Joseph's personal brand new family crypt. Only the Taharah (ritual cleansing and wrapping) was performed. The fact that the tomb proved to be empty is conclusive proof that Joseph never intended for his tomb to be the final resting place of Jesus. Matt.28:16 indicates that the eleven remaining apostles then journeyed to Galilee, the home of their deceased friend and his family. The obvious conclusion is that the apostles and some of the early followers of Jesus transported his body, heavily wrapped and coated in aloe/myrrh resin gum to facilitate just such a trip of several days, back to Galilee.

Six week later, upon their return from Galilee, the apostles and early followers of Jesus began to spread the rumor of the "risen" Jesus as per Acts chapters 1-4. All of which proved that the fears of the Jewish priests had been exactly correct.

Matthew 27:
[64] lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.


The entire question of the missing corpse and story of the "risen" Jesus can be explained in this verse. Because exactly what the priests feared would occur is exactly what DID occur. Except that the disciples did not have to "steal" the body. Joseph had every legal right to bury the body where ever he chose to.




Some years later Paul collapsed while on a journey to Damascus. Desperately ill, Paul was left at the the home of a Christian man to recover. During his recovery, and while being cared for and prayed over by a Christian man, Paul experienced delusions that he met with and conversed with the years dead Jesus. After his recovery Paul became a committed Christian.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 45: Sat May 21, 2016 1:40 pm
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Like this post (1): rikuoamero
I enjoy this every time you write it.

Fits the data without appealing to magic and explains all that needs explaining. The outrage at this naturalistic explanation is hilarious to me. ''That's ridiculous! It makes way more sense with the rising and walking through walls and flying off into space parts!''

I am fascinated, though. There's no reason to think this outline isn't exactly what happened (unless you're invested in the Harry Potter version, of course), and so it means potentially the remains of this man are still out there and discoverable. Kind of gives you goosebumps.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 46: Sat May 21, 2016 5:23 pm
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Inigo Montoya wrote:

I enjoy this every time you write it.

Fits the data without appealing to magic and explains all that needs explaining. The outrage at this naturalistic explanation is hilarious to me. ''That's ridiculous! It makes way more sense with the rising and walking through walls and flying off into space parts!''

I am fascinated, though. There's no reason to think this outline isn't exactly what happened (unless you're invested in the Harry Potter version, of course), and so it means potentially the remains of this man are still out there and discoverable. Kind of gives you goosebumps.


If he runs true to form here, liamconnor will ignore my response and continue to claim that we have dodged the issue. I can provide just as many responses to his OP's as he can provide new OP's however.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 47: Sun May 22, 2016 6:37 pm
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[Replying to post 45 by Inigo Montoya]
Quote:

I enjoy this every time you write it.


I don't enjoy that you don't stick to OPs.
Quote:

Fits the data without appealing to magic and explains all that needs explaining. The outrage at this naturalistic explanation is hilarious to me. ''That's ridiculous! It makes way more sense with the rising and walking through walls and flying off into space parts!''


As this OP is THE BEST NATURALISTIC EXPLANATION, we are weighing NATURALISTIC EXPLANATIONS, not the RESURRECTION. Your naturalistic explanations do not fit in all the data. Any comparison of any explanation with the original Christian one is inappropriate to this forum.

If you read my theory above, you will see that I am not claiming Jesus was raised. His body was smuggled (naturally) and his disciples all suffered unanimous, consistent, uniform HALLUCINATIONS.

So then, it is THAT theory with which you are to contend. My theory accounts for all the details, though it certainly raises questions. Your theory does not.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 48: Sun May 22, 2016 6:41 pm
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Please read TotN's most recent post and prediction so we can all laugh together

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 49: Sun May 22, 2016 8:20 pm
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[Replying to post 48 by Inigo Montoya]

I did

Quote:

If he runs true to form here, liamconnor will ignore my response and continue to claim that we have dodged the issue. I can provide just as many responses to his OP's as he can provide new OP's however.


what in there is worth responding to?

Oh and I glanced through the other wild theory, which not even Bart Ehrman would endorse.

His theory requires that the all the disciples conspired to lie about Jesus being raised. It requires that they transported the body on the Sabbath. That no one from Galilee said "what? Jesus' body is in his family tomb right now". It is the "throw-out" explanation of someone who has not read the N.T., or at least not read it with a critical eye towards history. It is a waste of my time to respond to a theory which does not even attempt to ask the obvious questions.

It is not my job to teach people how to think. But, once more, in my philosophy class I was required to challenge Plato and Aristotle. Real thinking came when I was required to ask, "But what they might say to my challenge?" And so on...

As far as I can tell, Tired of Nonsense has not learned the second step, which has made me tired of debating with him.


Last edited by liamconnor on Sun May 22, 2016 8:39 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 50: Sun May 22, 2016 8:28 pm
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Reminder: we are discussing which NATURAL explanation works best with the available data. Perhaps not all are familiar with the data itself--I assumed most were, since most are very adamant about their theories.

Here is a list of just a few things that any explanation of Christianity’s origins must take into account:

I begin with a comparison of just a few elements in 1st c. Jewish theology with the theology of the early church.

1) Jews did not believe the Messiah would be divine; this would’ve been anathema. The Christians believed Jesus was the Son of God, co-eternal with him and currently reigning with him (this can be traced back, chronologically, from Revelation through all four gospels to Paul).

2) Jews did not believe the Messiah would be killed—that would be a sure sign he was NOT the Messiah; Jesus was executed.

3) Jews believed the Messiah would restore Palestine to the Jewish people, banishing paganism from its lands. Jesus did not do this, and did not even seem interested in it.

4) Jews did not believe the death of any human was required by God. Such was an abomination according to Jewish law—they had the temple, there was not doubt the sacrifices there were efficacious. Christians believed that Jesus’ death was “atoning” (however we theorize about the mechanics of that concept).

5) Most Jews (excepting Sadducees) believed that at the end time, when God finally restored peace and order in the world, God would raise from the dead all Jews into a new mode of life, immune to further death. There is no hint that this would occur for one individual in the middle of history. The Christians believed that this happened to Jesus in the middle of history, that he was not merely “raised” back to his former life, but entered into a new mode of living. They believed that the general resurrection and the consummation of God’s kingdom was still yet to come.

These are not subtleties; if they were, we would not have so much bickering throughout all of history between Jew and Christian. These are radical differences. Only a radical cause can lie behind the shift. Vague explanations like “the evolution of tales” will not suffice.

Now for texts:

An explanation must account for the creed given in 1 Cor. 15.

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, bin which you stand,
2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day bin accordance with the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."
(1Co 15:1-8 ESV)

(foreword: the hermeneutic of suspicion is not a rational approach. The assumption that Paul is deliberately lying requires demonstration like anything else. And it would be intellectually honest of anyone if such appeals would also anticipate the obvious questions that arise from them. I will give an example of what this looks like in number 1 and 3 below).

Things to glean from 1 Cor. 15:

1) The creed was given the Corinthians prior to this letter (the suggestion that Paul here lied obviously raises a number of questions: why would Paul present a lie which the Corinthians could obviously detect by simply saying “Ummm, no, this is the first we have heard of any of this.” Let alone, on what grounds did they become Christians if not for a creed like this).

2) The creed was given Paul. From Galatians and Acts we can infer that Paul received this creed during his visit in Jerusalem. This places the creed, or at least its contents within three years of Jesus’ crucifixion. In three years’ time a tale about a one foot fish can evolve into a three foot fish; it is not enough time for Jewish beliefs, as described above, to evolve into Christian beliefs. Indeed, it is improbably that 2,000 years could account for mere evolvement—as testified by Jewish beliefs today when compared to them centuries ago. They have remained Rabbinic to this date (and props to them!).

3) Paul alludes to at least 500 individuals and explicitly names Peter and James. The Corinthians knew Peter (read chapter one) and some preferred Peter’s style of preaching or position to Paul’s. In Romans Paul names two other apostles, Andronicus and Junias (an apostle, by definition, was one who had seen the risen Christ) not mentioned elsewhere. (once more, the objection that Paul is lying about these two apostles raises more questions than it solves—a member of the Roman church hears that he is to greet Andronicus and Junias—persons Paul made up! They scratch their heads and ask “who?” And then go about their way...? Baloney. Occam's razor demands that the Corinthians knew Andronicus and Junias, and that these two had personal stories about encounters with the risen Jesus).


Explanations of Christianity’s origins must account for the above. I maintain that the best NATURAL explanation involves widespread, consistent, uniform hallucination (basically everything Christians believe, except Jesus' body was robbed by a non-disciple; and the encounters were pathological).

(there are of course other factors a theory must account for, gleaned from the gospels—the empty tomb, women witnesses etc.-- but this will do for now).

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