Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Quote of the day: "Christianity Provides A Framework of Hope"

"Christianity not only provides a framework of hope, but other frameworks human beings need to survive such as a moral law." -- Tom Davis.

In I Peter we are admonished to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us. Hope is thus a defining characteristic of Christianity -- that the deepest longings and aspirations of the human heart have the potential to be wonderfully fulfilled.
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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
So does every OTHER superstition; that doesn't make them true, remember?

RkBall said...

Ah, but our "superstition" is grounded in the historicity of the resurrection -- which makes it a rational and sure hope.

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
"Historicity"? Would that be the same "historicity" that saw your cult add verses to Mark 16 (which ends with women simply arriving at an empty tomb)in order to juice up the sales pitch? Or the same "historicity" that saw Matthew add utter BS like "earthquakes" and "angels" to this account to do the same?

RkBall said...

Mark -- the original ending was probably lost, but the resurrection is well attested to in the remaining gospels and the fact that Mark is writing the gospel in the first place, in which he starts his gospel by proclaiming that Jesus is Lord -- the central proclamation about Jesus. Not living, not Lord.

Nothing wrong with earthquakes and angels. But neither of these are needed to establish the resurrection. Take these minimal facts agreed to by most historians:

1. Jesus died by crucifixion and was buried.

2. His disciples believed they saw Jesus risen from the dead several times after he died.

3. The apostles preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem at an early date.

4. The apostle Paul who had persecuted the Church believed he saw Jesus appear to him and became an ardent follower.

5. The Church was born and grew.

6. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday -- the day Christ rose -- their primary day of worship.

7. James the brother of Christ, a skeptic during his lifetime, subsequently became a believer.

The explanation that best fits the historical evidence is that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.

In fact, the cumulative historical evidence is so compelling that one recent theory suggests that Jesus had a twin brother.

Whiff of desperation.

RkBall said...

The resurrection is based on early, multiple, persistent eye-witness testimony among those who had much to lose and little or nothing to gain.

RkBall said...

"Our cult" is the so-called cult which has perfected textual criticism and works harder than anyone to establish the original texts.

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
In which case, your cult's ghost stories are no more convincing than any OTHER cult's ghost stories; the ending to Mark (the earliest account of this cult leader's supposed "resurrection") was added because it wasn't sufficiently convincing alone, so later accounts simply threw in more and more fantastic tales to try to draw in the rubes. This is how "angels" and "earthquakes" were added to the fable, so if the Greek writers who were willing to add such baloney to a word of mouth story decades and centuries afterward, it doesn't say much for those stories' "historicity" in the first place. The idea that Didymus (meaning "twin" in both Greek and Aramaic) was either a twin of, or someone that looked very similar to this cult leader is hardly new; it was in common circulation among the gnostics, writing at THE SAME TIME that your little magic book was being copied and spread by word of mouth, so what is more believable: that this cult leader was "resurrected", or that someone who merely looked like him was mistaken for him? Finally, your cult doesn't HAVE any "eyewitnesses"; it only has friend of a friend retellings of these ghost stories, that were added to and changed whenever your cult leaders wanted to juice the sales pitch, and which were originally written down centuries after the events to which they relate supposedly happened.

RkBall said...

You say it's a deliberate fable. No, you do more than this, you say that you know that it was a deliberate fable. You have 100% epistemic certainty -- at least, this is what you are expressing.

Fine.

And the apostle's motivation for accepting punishment, deprivation, torture, and death rather than renounce their preaching of the resurrection was?

RkBall said...

And let's not forget the point of the original post -- the hope which Christianity gives. You scoff at the very idea.

I assume you are looking forward to extinction, all you hopes and dreams evaporated and you extinct, your body rotting in the grave?

One day, as you lie dying, you may cease to scoff at those who believe that God loved the world he created and gave his Son so that those who receive him will enjoy life beyond the grave with him.

I'll enjoy my eternity -- I'll be singing Amazing Grace. I hope you'll be there too.

RkBall said...

"and which were originally written down centuries after the events to which they relate supposedly happened."

You really don't know what you are talking about.

P@J said...

Rick, you can Gish Gallop around the point, but your statement “The resurrection is based on early, multiple, persistent eye-witness testimony” is false. People reporting later what eye-witnesses reported at the time, (or what eye-witnesses were reported to have reported) is not eye-witness testimony, it is hearsay. There is no more eye-witness testimony of your sky-friend’s resurrection than there is on Elvis’ resurrection. At least the witnesses to Elvis’ are still around to be interviewed and can be assessed for credibility.

As for eye-witnesses, I was once in a room where several hundred people personally witnessed a man in long sleeves saw a scantily-clad woman in half through the torso. She later got up out of the box and danced around the stage! A miracle!

Joe_Agnost said...

RK_Ball asks: "And the apostle's motivation for accepting punishment, deprivation, torture, and death rather than renounce their preaching of the resurrection was?"

I dunno... what is the reason so many people go broke from giving all of their money to Benny Hinn because they think he can cure disease??
The easiest, most logical, answer is that is that people are dumb. There are a lot of gullible suckers out there Richard... you don't have to be one of them!

Your hypothesis that because so many people believed it at the time, and had lots too lose, then it must be true is without merit. My Benny Hinn example is ample evidence that lot's of people might actually believe something - but that doesn't make it true!

And RK_Ball - are you denying that the gospels were written 60+ years after JC was born?

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
Their motivation was the same that drives any other religious nut to do what they do; they think they're going to be rewarded by their particular imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, just so long as they "believe".

RkBall said...

“The resurrection is based on early, multiple, persistent eye-witness testimony” is false. People reporting later what eye-witnesses reported at the time, (or what eye-witnesses were reported to have reported) is not eye-witness testimony, it is hearsay. There is no more eye-witness testimony of your sky-friend’s resurrection than there is on Elvis’ resurrection.

We have Mark's testimony -- he may well have been a direct eye-witness; he was certainly among the apostles from the outset.

We have the gospel attributed to Matthew. Assuming it was written by Matthew, we have direct eye-witness testimony.

We have Luke, an historian, who was a companion of Paul providing historical corroboration.

We have John, and the gospel attributed to him, and, especially I John.

We have the witness of Peter who specifically testifies of seeing Christ glorified.

We have the direct testimony of James the brother of Christ, who was an unbeliever during Jesus' lifetime.

We have Paul's report of 500 eye-witnesses; many still alive at the time he wrote and presumably available to talk with; dismiss this as hearsay if you wish.

We have Paul's own direct testimony of seeing the resurrected Christ.

The resurrection of Christ has stronger historical validation than most events in antiquity.

It is your choice to dismiss these reports of eye-witnesses and their companions.

RkBall said...

"The easiest, most logical, answer is that is that people are dumb. There are a lot of gullible suckers out there Richard... you don't have to be one of them!"

So, the apostles first invented the story of Jesus' resurrection -- and then suffered deprivation, torture, death etc. because they were sucked in by their own fable -- is that your argument?

You've got a real problem on your hands.

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
Finally, no known part of your little magic book dates to within a 1st-century lifetime of the events that it purports to relate, and your cult has modified its story over and over again (before and after the Council of Nicea), to the point where no-one with any sense can believe anything it says without an ample grain of salt.

RkBall said...

"And RK_Ball - are you denying that the gospels were written 60+ years after JC was born?"

What does 60 years after he was born have to do with anything? This is like asking do you deny that Mr. So-and-so's obituary was written 80 years after his birth.

The earliest extant written witness to the resurrection is not the gospels, but the early writings of Paul.

When do you think I Corinthians was written, and what information does it provide about the resurrection?

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/gary-habermas-explains-the-earliest-source-of-resurrection-facts/

RkBall said...

"SDC said:
Finally, no known part of your little magic book dates to within a 1st-century lifetime of the events that it purports to relate"

Patently untrue. Perhaps you are thinking of extant manuscripts, an entirely different matter?

RkBall said...

"SDC said: Their motivation was the same that drives any other religious nut to do what they do; they think they're going to be rewarded by their particular imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, just so long as they "believe"."

Except even secular historians agree that the apostles believed that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. How do you explain this? This is not pie-in-the-sky.

Your answer doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

"Patently untrue. Perhaps you are thinking of extant manuscripts, an entirely different matter?"

SDC said:

Hardly; no doubt you're thinking of the supposed "testimony of Paul", someone who never even MET your cult leader, and only converted to your superstition after having a brain injury and suffering hallucinations. Can you tell me why a 2nd-hand account of someone who hallucinates "visions" is any more believable than, for example, Andrea Yates or Phillip Garrido, both of whom had similar hallucinations?

Anonymous said...

SDC said:
Also, are you so afraid of the truth that you're now only willing to approve comments that you have a boxed apologetics reply for? You claim that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all written by the supposed "apostles" that these parts of your little magic book were named after, but there is absolutely NO evidence to suggest this. If these supposed "eyewitness accounts" HAD been written by "eyewitnesses", they wouldn't be in Greek, they'd be in Aramaic. Your claim of "500 eyewitnesses" is no more reliable than the Muslims' claim of Mohammed having ridden a winged horse over Jerusalem, or any OTHER cult's similar fairy tales, because they come from the single source of your little magic book; if someone was actually wanddering around Judea doing things of the sort that your cult claims, methinks that someone else would have taken notice of it, no? Last but not least, you accept the fairy tales of your superstition unquestiningly, in a way that you wouldn't even CONSIDER doing if identical tales were presented by any other cult; how do you know exactly WHAT these people (if they actually existed) claimed to have seen, unless you swallow the tales in your little magic book whole?

RkBall said...

"having a brain injury and suffering hallucinations"

And what is your manuscript evidence for this -- or do you even have any? Perhaps you are, you know, just "making this up".

RkBall said...

"but there is absolutely NO evidence to suggest this. "

Not true. Church tradition has evidentiary value.

RkBall said...

"they wouldn't be in Greek, they'd be in Aramaic."

Are you qualified to comment on the strategies of the 1st cc. Church to nurture and proselytize the Greek-speaking Gentiles?

Do you have manuscript evidence for this view, or are you, you know, just "making this up"?

RkBall said...

" the single source of your little magic book;"

The New Testament is not a single source; it is a collection of, what, 27 distinct writings.

RkBall said...

"Last but not least, you accept the fairy tales of your superstition unquestiningly, in a way that you wouldn't even CONSIDER doing if identical tales were presented by any other cult; how do you know exactly WHAT these people (if they actually existed) claimed to have seen, unless you swallow the tales in your little magic book whole?"

I will respond to serious queries, but not ones laden with words like fairy tales and magic book.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"