Debate: Was Jesus actually resurrected and other arguments


I want to repeat, for the second time in the thread, that the believer has no burden of showing that the Resurrection happened. The believer only has the burden of having reasons that he himself believes. These reasons needn’t be communicable. It is similar to the fact that – if you doubt that my wife loves me – I simply cannot show you all the evidence I have. Why? Because it consists of a set of experiences some of which are so subjective that they simply cannot be shared with another person.

I agree with VictoriousTruther that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I fail to see that kind of extraordinary evidence in the historical record. That’s not to say that I think the resurrection story is unremarkable. Lots of signs point to it being true. But none of these signs, in my estimation, provide proof to a skeptic. And I don’t think they’re supposed to. I believe that ultimately the power to believe in the resurrection does not arise from hard evidence, but from the indwelling witness of the Holy Spirit, which is extraordinary evidence indeed.

Now if we want to talk about things like the design argument, there I think there is a much stronger secular case to be made that something like a God must exist. But that case would not even begin to prove that this God was the Christian God. And I think that’s good. If we start to create a religion where revelation is not needed, since we have physical evidence for everything, we stop depending on God for our daily bread.



Continue posting the evidence you have been procuring but I now also want you to provide evidence of original sin and thus a reason for there being a christian conception of Jesus in the first place. If original sin has nothing to do with your conception of Jesus and religious denomination then ignore this comment.


If we’re evaluating each fact separately, I don’t see how this has anything to do with the resurrection. Perhaps you take it as a different investigation?


Thanks to the person who posted the “minimal facts” resource. One of the best homilies I have ever heard is that “certainly is the opposite of faith.” If there were incontrovertible evidence of Jesus’s Resurrection, we would have no need to have faith in it. And it is the one central thing a Christian must have faith in. I have faith. I think the “minimal facts” thing is weak.

  1. that Jesus died by crucifixion; There is historical evidence that He was crucified and pronounced dead. But “dead” back in those days was “non-responsive, with no life signs, as ascertained by direct touch.” You know the saying, “saved by the bell?” People were routinely buried in Victorian England holding a string that led up to the ground surface, attached to a bell. If the “dead” person work up, they pulled on the string, the bell rang and cemetery attendants “resurrected” the “deceased.” This actually happened many times, because even as late as the 1800’s, medical science was not that good at diagnosing final death. But no one claimed these people were God. I believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. I have Faith. But I will not have my Faith sullied by a weak historical argument.

  2. that very soon afterwards, his followers had real experiences that they thought were actual appearances of the risen Jesus. I personally have faith they met the risen Jesus. But there can be no reliable, historical proof that what they saw was Jesus or even if they were telling the truth. The could be reasons for either of those possibilities.

  3. that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; Not proof of anything. Is this professor really saying that someone being willing to die for something makes that something the truth? If so, all the ISIS nut-jobs must be champions of the truth. I don’t think so!

  4. that these things were taught very early, soon after the crucifixion; Again, not really proof of anything. Lots of things were taught in that era that were not true.

  5. that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ; Completely irrelevant

  6. that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience. Completely irrelevant

I will stick with Faith.


Fideism is condemned by the Church…

As against these views, it must be noted that authority, even the authority of God, cannot be the supreme criterion of certitude, and an act of faith cannot be the primary form of human knowledge. This authority, indeed, in order to be a motive of assent, must be previously acknowledged as being certainly valid; before we believe in a proposition as revealed by God, we must first know with certitude that God exists, that He reveals such and such a proposition, and that His teaching is worthy of assent, all of which questions can and must be ultimately decided only by an act of intellectual assent based on objective evidence. Thus, fideism not only denies intellectual knowledge, but logically ruins faith itself.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Church has condemned such doctrines. In 1348, the Holy See proscribed certain fideistic propositions of Nicholas d’Autrecourt (cf. Denzinger, Enchiridion, 10th ed., nn. 553-570). In his two Encyclicals, one of September, 1832, and the other of July, 1834, Gregory XVI condemned the political and philosophical ideas of Lamennais. On September 8, 1840, Bautain was required to subscribe to several propositions directly opposed to Fideism, the first and the fifth of which read as follows: “Human reason is able to prove with certitude the existence of God; faith, a heavenly gift, is posterior to revelation, and therefore cannot be properly used against the atheist to prove the existence of God”; and "The use of reason precedes faith and, with the help of revelation and grace, leads to it."

Faith, in Catholicism, is a supernatural virtue, not a motive for credibility.

Faith is NOT to be understood as belief in the absence of all evidence or proof.


Classic case of moving the goalposts. Establishing THAT something happened is not dependent upon establishing WHY it happened.


The proclamations of the Catholic Encyclopedia are not authoritative as speaking for the Church. The citations you quoted are authoritative, but I don’t see them proving what the author said in the first paragraph you quoted. One can very well believe that reason PRECEDES faith without thereby believing that ALL items of dogma can be known through reason. Once we find reason to believe that God exists, it is utterly unclear to me why we cannot just take things on His word. Why should we expect that reason alone could arrive at the Assumption, for example, or for that matter, the Resurrection?

Thoroughgoing fideism may be condemned by the Church, but the Church does not so far as I know insist that all doctrines can be arrived at without revelation. Indeed, Thomas Aquinas says precisely the opposite.


You are correct that some truths cannot be arrived at by reason alone, but these can be deduced by reason from definitive revelation. Even some truths that are not specifically revealed follow rationally from revealed truths. In this sense, revelation can form the premises of reasoned arguments much like undisputed facts or self-evident truths are axiomatic and are the starting premises for arguments to other truths.

Whether or not the Resurrection is to be understood as revealed truth or historical fact is a good question. Why can’t it be both? The believer could take it as revealed, but there could also be probative and valid historical reasons for it to be evidentially accepted as historical. These would be separate arguments.

As an aside, the reason @VictoriousTruther’s contention – that the Resurrection depends upon showing the doctrine of original sin to have historical basis – is moving the goalposts or muddying the water, is because establishing that something happened is not dependent upon establishing why it happened. It could be legitimate to accept original sin as revealed doctrine, but also accept that the Resurrection has sufficient historical grounds to be accepted as fact.

For the believer, both the Resurrection and original sin, could be viewed as revealed truths, but what the citations from the Catholic Encyclopedia show is that the ultimate grounds for accepting revelation is that the proposition “God exists” can be shown by natural human reason, and not in itself a matter of faith.


no, not at all. But an offer is an offer. However, the IRS might have
problems with it. I can set up a 501c(3), that’ll take care of the IRS.
Then, you can donate.

Let’s schedule a game of golf to talk it over. Maybe have a few bourbons.


Good, this is moving in an important direction, I think. Personally, I don’t think that we have historical reasons to BELIEVE the resurrection happened, but I do think we have historical reasons to think that the claim of a resurrection is not a defeater in the way of Christianity. That is to say, one would ordinarily say that a religion which made such a claim is plainly false, simply because the claim itself would appear to be plainly false. However, the varieties of evidence we have for the resurrection – though not rationally persuasive – nevertheless are considerable enough that they undermine the claim that Christianity is false because the resurrection didn’t happen. Does that help make sense of my view?


LOL with all respect are you writing a research paper?


"You know the saying, “saved by the bell?” People were routinely buried in Victorian England holding a string that led up to the ground surface, attached to a bell. If the “dead” person work up, they pulled on the string, the bell rang and cemetery attendants “resurrected” the “deceased.”

This counter argument never held any water with me at all. Sure, medical science wasn’t what it is now. However, the other side of that is that the Romans were exceptionally skilled in killing people. They were very good at it and regularly did it. Further, given the trauma Christ went through with a scourging that was intended to physically damage him nearly to death, adding the crucifixion on top of that makes it extremely unlikely he didn’t die.


I agree. I thought his (or her) question was moving the goalposts, as well.


Yup. I just don’t think we need to yield any ground where it need not be yielded, so I will defend the most forward position.


So you just want to prove a person resurrected but in no way will support a christian depiction of it involving angels, original sin, or him being the son of god. So you are not a christian? Heck, what i’m saying here is not that the lack of support for christian doctrine surrounding the event then means nothing happened but it does rule out this specific explanation or description of what happened.


No Original Sin, no specific christian denominational depiction of jesus ever existed. But a historical Jesus could have existed and such a person may have been resurrected (In a very specifically defined sense of the word; definitions will vary and some will be more likely accepted).


You do know how the genetic fallacy works, do you not?

Establishing whether the Resurrection is or is not an historical fact does not depend upon the person doing the proposing. A person’s “belief system” is irrelevant to the question of historical fact.

I thought as a disinterested seeker of truth, @VictoriousTruther, whose beliefs lack any “comfort value” or “selfish motives,” you would be the first to recognize that. Yet, here you are trying to clutter the path to clarity of truth with the impugning of “selfish motives.”

I am beginning to suspect that you have a difficult time separating the truth from motives for holding the truth, which is why you are projecting your own incapacity onto others. (Perhaps, this: Debate: Was Jesus actually resurrected and other arguments makes more sense, now?)


You’re stubbornness and selfishness can cause incapacitance. You could even be trying to bring out his pride or selfishness. So, you could inherently be evil. B/c that is what evil does.

VictoriousTruther, if you’re pride is distorting your reality, I advise you confess your lack of humility and do penance. If you don’t, the evil and stubborn can destroy your charity even if you hold on to your intellect.


Let me further point out that your bringing this up at all is to deflect from whether your “critical” question, THIS ONE:

…has been adequately answered.

There were numerous “actual references” to Christian martyrs who had the chance to recant to save their lives, but didn’t.

By the way, those references were to documents that are considered by most historians to be reasonably reliable as sources. Many are considered to have been based upon public records of the time.

I will rephrase a point I brought up earlier that you never did address.

These reliable documents provide details about the martyrdoms of some of the Apostles, but also of disciples of Apostles like Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and others.

The question I asked previously was: Why would later followers of Jesus, who were not Apostles, have willingly given up their lives for their beliefs if the actual Apostles wimped out?

That wouldn’t make any sense. The motives for credibility of people like Polycarp, et al, came from the strength of the beliefs of those Apostles of whom they were students. These individuals did not know Jesus personally, and yet (as those citations above show in great detail) these individuals remained faithful, did not recant and were tortured and suffered excruciating deaths as a result. That wouldn’t make any sense unless the Apostles themselves would have demonstrated a willingness to have done the same.

We can, then, be reasonably certain that if these second generation (and following) Christians were willing to undergo torturous martyrdom for their faith, they must have had reasonable conviction that those from whom they received their conviction would have been just as willing to do the same. Therefore, those who so died in those times would likely have had reliable evidence that the Apostles, for the most part, died or would have been willing to die for their faith. The tradition of most of the Apostles having been martyred is very likely to have been true, given the persecutions of Christians by the Romans at the time.

In other words, we have more reason for thinking the Apostles suffered martyrdom than we have for believing they wouldn’t have or didn’t.


Furthermore, that the apostles died for their belief is not enough, because as others have said even the suicide bomber does so for his belief. The difference with the apostles though is that they were eye witnesses to the Resurrection. Therefore, if the Resurrection did not happen they would not be dying merely for their belief, but for a known lie. Now, would you die for a lie? Would anyone die for something they know to be a lie? You can’t really get much more validation of an eye witness testimony than someone willing to die for that testimony. I can’t think of anything more validating than that. Can you? The apostles were poor and persecuted for their testimony. They were not rich or well treated for it.

What we should really be asking is what would VictoriousTruther accept as evidence for the Resurrection. Because if there is nothing within reason that he would accept as evidence for the Resurrection then we are wasting our time. In such a case he has a philosophy against miracles in general. So it doesn’t matter how much evidence you give him because he will always deny it. But note that he does not deny it based on the evidence but based on his faith in his philosophy against miracles.

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