The Differing Resurrection Accounts


#41

The point is, there were witnesses to the resurrection. We believe it. You don’t have too. You will not convince us that we are wrong. We believe. I’m guessing we won’t convince you that you are wrong either. My question to you is; Why does it matter? Why spend so much effort to refute our beliefs?

Let me break it down into parts:

  1. I’ve mentioned this briefly in a thread a few months back but I’m a puzzle solver by nature. My bathroom has a box filled with books with various mathematical puzzles, logic puzzles, brief mysteries. etc. I like understanding the logic behind things. I dislike when movies and novels seem to be written on the fly and forego an internal logic. Things like religion are no different. I want to see the underpinning of it all. As a kid who grew up Catholic (until about 13) I struggled with that, and the more I’ve studied into adulthood I get far more questions than answers.

  2. There are quite a few believers (Catholics are no exception) that focus their attention solely on their faith and don’t have much concern with other faiths. At the same time there are also quite a few believers (and again Catholics are no exception) who not only focus on their faith but want to study other faiths, and in doing so see flaws or have questions about those other faiths. I would assume you would not have a problem with Catholics discussing incongruities they see in non-Catholic faiths with those believers. A Catholic asks a non-Catholic about his or her faith. He or she gets an answer, but sees issues with the answer and asks further question. Knowledge and understanding are good. What I am doing here is no different, except for the parties involved.

  3. Some (not all) Christians see Christianity as more than just a belief system, but as something that is convincing on its face. The idea is that if one doesn’t see the harmony and logic within Christianity than that person is choosing to disbelieve and has not properly studied the faith. What’s interesting is that non-believers are often caught in a catch-22. If one presents an argument against Christianity the non-believer is often told they need to study A, B, and C. When that same non-believer presents arguements against A, B, and C the cycle continues until the non-believer is said to be malicious in his or her questioning, or fixating on it, or has ulterior motives, or some other character flaw that derives from doing a great deal of study on Christianity without also accepting it.

And just a thought, If you’re right, nobody will ever know it. But just in case we’re right, well, we’d like to err on the safe side.

I find the safe side to be “I can’t say for certain” while at the same time determining whether to apply a small or large amount of doubt. In my case I’m not saying it can’t be true but the story stinks like 2-day-old milk left in a hot car.

God bless…

Thank you very much. A good day to you…


#42

Mike-

Both J. Warner Wallace (a cold-case detective with the LA police department) and Lee Strobel (Yale Law and former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune) were raised as atheists.

They both brought that same puzzle-solving approach that you describe above as well as their professional skills to their independent investigations of Christianity.

They both became believers.

I’d recommend you check out their books or at least some YouTube videos.

Folks like you can find evidence for God. :yup:


#43

[quote=Mike from NJ]3) Some (not all) Christians see Christianity as more than just a belief system, but as something that is convincing on its face. The idea is that if one doesn’t see the harmony and logic within Christianity than that person is choosing to disbelieve and has not properly studied the faith.
[/quote]

It is unfortunate that some Christians (maybe most) do not appreciate the necessity of Faith in understanding the logic of Christianity to the extent you describe. However, although unaided reason (without Faith) would still have enough resources at hand to understand the reasonableness of Christianity, although, may find the proffered arguments unconvincing. Still, there are some arguments that may be more convincing to you than others, based on your own antecedent probabilities.

If nothing else, it should encourage you to see that WITH Faith, the arguments for Christianity can be proof enough to reason. Everyone is different, and seeks the Truth (hopefully) with his own baggage of First Principles. Some of those first principles may need examining, as in themselves they are unproven assumptions upon which everything else is built. An Atheist can not prove the non-existence of God any more convincingly than a Theist can prove the existence of God using empirical arguments.


#44

*“Witnesses do not remember things the same way. People see different details depending on a huge variety of reasons; What angle did they see it from? What were they focusing on at the time? What were they thinking about at that moment?” *

Exactly my point. The story is about the accident, not the incidentals. Victim 1: “A car hit us and left the scene” Officer: “Were there any other witnesses?” Victim 1: “Yes there were three women by the side of the road”, Victim 2: “No, I only saw one woman there.” That doesn’t mean that the accident did not occur and it doesn’t change the fact that there were witnesses to the empty tomb. The number of those witnesses is not important to the story. It was a woman or some women who went to the tomb, but none of the Gospel writers argue about what they testified to: “The tomb was empty.”

“And, one important point to remember: NONE of the gospel writers claim to have been there when the women discovered the tomb empty. So NONE of them were actual witnesses to how many women were there and who they all were. All were recounting the story as it was told to them. Even the same speaker will tell the story differently each time it is told. What if Mary told the first person she saw “I went to the tomb and He was gone!”? Then when she calmed down a bit she told the next person “Some of us women went to the tomb and found it empty!” and that guy asked “Who? Who was with you?” What if somebody else told the story to the third guy and one of the others to the fourth? You would never expect those stories to line up point by point.”

I’m not talking telephone here, what I meant by “other person” was one of the other witnesses. As I said above, and you readily admitted, different witnesses will give different accounts of the same events. One tells the writer of Matthew her version, another tells the writer of Luke her version and also Mark and John and in the end there are varying accounts of who was there and exactly what happened but ALL of them said in the end,

“…and we (I) looked inside and the tomb was empty!”

THAT is the truth of the Gospels, not who and how many were there. Varying accounts of the incidentals does not nullify the truth of the story.


#45

Randy, I’m not much for scorekeeping when it comes to converts. Occasionally the Catholic News on CAF might have an article on so-and-so converting one way or the other. But no faith (or lack of faith) rises or falls when a particular individual joins or departs from a faith/non-faith. We could go back on forth on listing various converts, but that’s avoiding the topic of hand and the scorekeeping doesn’t prove or disprove anything. We could get into raw numbers if you want. I just think it won’t get us anywhere.

As far as the two examples you gave, I’d never heard of J. Warner Wallace. Lee Strobel on the other hand… well, to put it charitably, I find him lacking :wink:


#46

I don’t find Christianity to be reasonable per se, but I do find that reasonable people can follow Christianity or most other faiths. I hope in the same regard that while you would disagree with some things a non-Christian would put stock in that a reasonable person could choose a non-Christian faith or no faith.

Still, there are some arguments that may be more convincing to you than others, based on your own antecedent probabilities.

My “antecedent probabilities” are no different than what most people have when judging non-religious claims. It’s when the stories are religious in nature that some different standards often seem to be applied.

If nothing else, it should encourage you to see that WITH Faith, the arguments for Christianity can be proof enough to reason.

Replace Chrisitanity with practically any other religion and its followers will give the same response. I find that no religion has a leg up on another in that regard.

Besides, of what value is a concept if one must first believe in it before being shown it is “true”?

Everyone is different, and seeks the Truth (hopefully) with his own baggage of First Principles.

My first principles include ideas like:

  • The more conflicting elements in a story the less likely it is to be true.
  • The more missing elements in a story the less likely it is to be true.
  • The more a story has to be rescued from itself by numerous explanations that run counter to what the story says the less likely it is to be true.

You’re asking me to replace my principles, sound they all are, with a different set of principles:

  • The stories in the Bible are true.
  • Christianity is true.
  • The Catholic Church is true.

Some of those first principles may need examining, as in themselves they are unproven assumptions upon which everything else is built. An Atheist can not prove the non-existence of God any more convincingly than a Theist can prove the existence of God using empirical arguments.

I agree that God and Christianity can neither be proven nor disproven, but there is a sliding scale of plausability each person must give on all things. In this case, the story of the resurrection I happen to find quite unplausible based on the words of the story itself.


#47

Your example is not equivalent. In the Gospels the women aren’t just witnesses but participants. The angels (all one, two, or three of them) speak to them. The man in the white garb speaks to them. They do (or maybe don’t) speak to the 11. Their roles in the story are parallel to the men in the car in my story. They were the ones that were hit.

It would be if you take my story and the victims appear in court. In one telling, Bob is alone in the car. In another it’s Bob and Carol. Still another it’s Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice and possibly more people stored in the trunk. Then the lawyer for plaintiffs tries to weave the stories together to indicate that perhaps there were two cars of people (even though they all mention Bob was in their car). And the lawyer ignores the fact that only one person mentions that there was a march in the streets which was causing traffic to be diverted, by simply ignoring it.

All told it’s at least possible that the story is true, but if I were a judge in that case I’d have a hard time believing it. It’s like the question of who Paul denied Jesus to three times. I’ve seen people try to patch together any scraps of consistency by saying that he actually denied him 6 times. Anything to maintain the narrative.

I’m not talking telephone here, what I meant by “other person” was one of the other witnesses. As I said above, and you readily admitted, different witnesses will give different accounts of the same events. One tells the writer of Matthew her version, another tells the writer of Luke her version and also Mark and John and in the end there are varying accounts of who was there and exactly what happened but ALL of them said in the end,

“…and we (I) looked inside and the tomb was empty!”

One, you seem to suggest that we can accept that two or more significantly different stories can be true so long as the conclusion is true. We know that not to be the case.

Two, the tomb wasn’t empty. It had a different number of angels or a man in white garb (often considered to be Jesus). As an aside, some believe the “apostle whom Jesus loved” in John is John himself, so he is perhaps an eyewitness.

In short, when those different accounts are differing accounts where elements are missing, events need to be added, one person is mistaken for six or more the differences go beyond mere perspectives of eyewitness. It feels fabricated. It’s a story that as I mentioned wouldn’t pass the sniff test if a non-Christian faith tried to pass off a similar story to Christians.


#48

[quote=Mike from NJ]My “antecedent probabilities” are no different than what most people have when judging non-religious claims. It’s when the stories are religious in nature that some different standards often seem to be applied.
[/quote]

You are making the same mistake as those whom you find objectionable in their quick judgement that you aren’t comprehending their proven Christian arguments on purpose or though laziness. Your antecedent probabilities are vastly different from everyone else’s. Your first principles are likewise vastly different, or at least different than virtually everyone else.

Just because you think and view things a certain way, does not by any means, mean that is the standard by which all men are judged. :wink:

I agree that God and Christianity can neither be proven nor disproven, but there is a sliding scale of plausability each person must give on all things. In this case, the story of the resurrection I happen to find quite unplausible based on the words of the story itself.

The story should be evaluated independently of the messenger as well. IOW, is it possible, if Jesus is the Son of God, that the Resurrection account is true.

You are putting too much emphasis on the conveyance of the message itself (a first principle with you.) You know that the Biblical account is ancient and difficult to harmonize. But do you really know why? No! How can you? Thousands of years of Christian scholars who DO believe, have been trying to sort out that difficulty.


#49

I’m not proposing that we keep score. I’m recommending that you read their books or watch their YouTube videos. :thumbsup:


#50

Then you must find it unsettling that even skeptical scholars agree that:

  1. Jesus died on the cross
  2. The disciples believed that Jesus appeared to them and they were transformed by this.
  3. Paul, the enemy of the Church, became its greatest theologian.
  4. James, the skeptical brother of Jesus, became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
  5. The tomb was found to be empty.

Sorry, Mike, but for every “conflicting element” you claim to see in the NT, I have more that are harmonious.

This is not logical. Brevity has nothing to due with truthfulness.

**Barack Obama won the presidential elections in 2008 and 2012. **

This brief statement is 100% true. I don’t need to be Karl Rove and write a book on the subject before you will agree with what I have said about those elections.

We’re not trying to rescue the story; we’re trying to rescue you from misunderstanding or discounting the story.

And none of these truths are at odds with your principles. You simply don’t understand how that can be the case.

Ironically, this is precisely why many atheists become Christians; after examining the evidence objectively, they come to the realization that not only is Christianity plausible, it is also probable.

I look forward to hearing SPECIFICALLY where you think the “words of the story” of the resurrection fall short of your standards.


#51

After the Titanic sank, survivors were interviewed. Some survivors said the ship broke in two before it sank. Other survivors disagreed. Yet, did anyone doubt that the ship sank? :nope:

If one gospel writer mentions that there were two angels or three women while another mentions only one, there is no direct discrepancy. If there were three women and two angels actually present and one writer only mentions one of each, so what? It doesn’t mean that the other women or angel was NOT present.

In your example, one witness may only see Bob because she was fixated on him because he looked familiar. Maybe she saw the others but simply didn’t mention them because Bob was driving. The point is, your analogy does not prove how many people were in the car one way or the other. However, if both witnesses agree that Bob was driving, then you have multiple attestation.

Just like in the gospels. The tomb was empty. Multiple witnesses made this claim.

Oh? You have expertise in the are of eyewitness testimony? Please share that with us.

Meanwhile, I gotta go with an actual expert in this area; here is an article he wrote:

You Can Trust the Gospel Accounts, Even If They Don’t Agree
by J. Warner Wallace
coldcasechristianity.com/2016/you-can-trust-the-gospel-accounts-even-if-they-dont-agree/

Right. And that apostle saw that the tomb was empty. Except for the Shroud of Turin, of course. :thumbsup:

Except that people with REAL credentials…you know, people who investigate stuff like this professionally…disagree with your conclusions.

Oh, sure…they WERE atheists just like you…until they used their professional training to EXAMINE the evidence exhaustively. And the conclusion they came to was not what they expected (or wanted).

We have a word for Atheists who examine the facts objectively: Converts. :yup:


#52

If you were a judge where? In California, you, as a judge, would instruct members of the jury as follows:

“Do not automatically reject testimony just because of inconsistencies or conflicts. Consider whether the differences are important or not. People sometimes honestly forget things or make mistakes about what they remember. Also, two people may witness the same event yet see or hear it differently” (Section 105, Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, 2006).


closed #53

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