<

Women at the Tomb? Weak Evidence for the Resurrection.

The women at the empty tomb isn't much evidence that Jesus was divineLet’s consider an incident from that first supposed Easter. All four gospels say that women were the first to discover the empty tomb. (Of course, who was actually at the tomb varies by the gospels, as do many other important details about the resurrection, which makes the gospels unreliable as history. But let’s ignore that for now.)

Many apologists point to the women as an important fact arguing that the gospels are reliable. Greg Koukl says:

Women, disrespected in the ancient world, are the first to witness the risen Christ. Why include these unflattering details if the Gospels are works of fiction?

I don’t know who argues that the gospels are fiction. I don’t think they’re history, but I certainly don’t think that they were deliberately invented. But let’s set that aside as well.

William Lane Craig says:

The discovery of the tomb by women is highly probable. Given the low status of women in Jewish society and their lack of qualification to serve as legal witnesses, the most plausible explanation … why women and not the male disciples were made discoverers of the empty tomb is that the women were in fact the ones who made this discovery.

That is, having women make this momentous discovery is embarrassing.

This is an application of the Criterion of Embarrassment, which argues that you’re likelier to delete something embarrassing than add it to your story. And if a story element is embarrassing, that points to its being historical fact.

But what’s embarrassing? Things that look embarrassing to us may not have been so to the author. For example, all four gospels show Peter denying Jesus three times. That’s pretty embarrassing … or is it?

Paul’s relaxed approach in converting Gentiles conflicted with the more traditional approach of Peter and James (the conflict is shown in Galatians 2:11–21, where Peter is called “Cephas”). Maybe supporters of Paul built their case by circulating a story in which Peter looks foolish, and this story became part of the canon.

So our question becomes: is it embarrassing to have women discover the empty tomb? These apologists certainly think so, and historical records agree on women’s unreliability. Josephus, a first-century historian, stated, “Let not the testimony of women be admitted because of the levity and boldness of their sex,” and the Mishnah (a Jewish legal text written in 220 CE) concurs.

However, this flimsy argument is much more popular than it deserves to be. I’ll respond in several ways.

Give the original authors credit for being good storytellers. As plot twists go, having women make the discovery instead of men isn’t particularly shocking. But if you find it a powerful argument for the truth of the story, then you can imagine why that element might have become attached to the story.

The gospel story wasn’t made up. The point that women were unreliable witnesses is relevant only in rebutting the charge that the story was deliberately invented, a claim I don’t make. I’ve never heard this hypothesis except by apologists. Instead, what best fits the facts for me is that the story documented in the gospels (in incompatible versions, but that’s another story) is the result of forty or more years of oral history. Each gospel is a snapshot of the tradition of a different church community in widely different places (perhaps Alexandria, Damascus, or Rome?) and over decades of time.

Believers might demand, “Well, how do you explain the empty tomb?” But of course, that assumes the accuracy of the gospel story to that point. It’s like saying, “How do you explain Jack’s cutting down the beanstalk any other way than that there really was a giant climbing down after him?”

Who cares about women’s “unreliability”? Women discover the empty tomb, they tell men, the men verify the story, and then the men spread the word. If you don’t like women as witnesses, you’ve got the men.

That women were less reliable as witnesses in court doesn’t matter because there is no court in the story! The women were trustworthy where it mattered—in conveying the story to people who knew and trusted them.

Tending to the dead was women’s work in this culture. Instead of women discovering that Jesus had risen, imagine this incident:

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, Simon Peter and James entered the kitchen to prepare bread for the community. In the darkness of the kitchen, a voice called out to them saying, “Why do you tend to minor matters when there is the LORD’s work to be done?” And they took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

What’s wrong with this story? It’s that preparing bread is women’s work in this culture. It makes no sense to have men come across Jesus in the kitchen. And the same is true for men dealing with the dead. According to the Women in the Bible web site:

It was the women’s task to prepare a dead body for burial. … Tombs were visited and watched for three days by family members. On the third day after death, the body was examined. … On these occasions, the body would be treated by the women of the family with oils and perfumes. The women’s visit to the tombs of Jesus and Lazarus are connected with this ritual.

The Bible also gives clues to women’s role in mourning in Jer. 9:17–20 and 2 Sam. 14:2.

Mark focuses on reversals, and the other gospels followed Mark’s lead. Richard Carrier gives a detailed discussion of this topic and argues that a the-last-shall-be-first philosophy led Mark to add this touch.

Given Mark’s narrative agenda, regardless of the actual facts, the tomb has to be empty, in order to confound the expectations of the reader, just as a foreign Simon must carry the cross instead of Peter, a Gentile must acknowledge Christ’s divinity instead of the Jews, a Sanhedrist must bury the body, and women must be the first to hear the Good News.

He continues with a fascinating hypothesis about the relevance of the names of the three women that Mark places at the empty tomb. You can read the argument and decide for yourself if it’s well founded.

Seeing the gospel story as no more supernatural than any other myth from the past best explains the facts.

Photo credit

Related links:

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Bob Calvan

    As we are told in the Gospels. “The cross to those who are perishing is foolishness, but to those who are saved it’s the power of God.

    As usual Bob S. and Retro prove the validity and truth of the Gospels.

    The Resurrection accounts that Bob attacks are foolishness to Bob, just as predicted by the inerrant scriptures.
    And as the Psalm tells us the “Fool in his heart says there is no God”
    So Bob S and Retro are “Fools (in the biblical sense) leading themselves and their families to Hell. As they truly know God in their hearts but reject Him in unrighteousness. As we are told in Romans.

    Funny how theses two God haters fulfill the scriptures that they deny.

    • Retro

      Funny how theses two God haters fulfill the scriptures that they deny.

      Really? A Bible verse that states that anyone who disagrees with the Bible is a wrong and a fool?

      Is that all it takes to impress you Bob Calvan?

  • Rick Townsend

    Bob, You state:

    I don’t know who argues that the gospels are fiction. I don’t think they’re history, but I certainly don’t think that they were deliberately invented. But let’s set that aside as well.

    Let’s not. You don’t think the stories are true narratives accurately describing history. You don’t think they are made up. What DO you believe about the Gospel narratives?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      That they are each a snapshot from four different churches at four different locations and times.

      That they are the result of decades of oral history.

      That they accumulated error as they were passed along (said another way: that there was no mechanism, natural or otherwise, to prevent errors from creeping in).

      That in their original autographs they were a translation. The original events were in a Jewish/Aramaic culture, and the NT authors lived in and wrote for a Hellenistic/Greek culture.

      That should get you started.

      • Rick Townsend

        What is your evidence of this accumulation of error? Where are the competing versions that have less error and support your assertions of falsehood? Why are there no scholarly experts who support this view?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          What is your evidence of this accumulation of error?

          Are you asking how I know that errors accumulated in this particular situation? I would point to the changes in the Jesus story over time, from 1 Cor., through Mark, then Luke and Matt., and then to John.

          But if this is going to be a point on which you’d like to dwell, let me try to sidestep that to move the conversation forward. We see error accumulate in similar situations of oral history, and if you claim that this instance was impervious to error, I’d like to see your evidence.

          Why are there no scholarly experts who support this view?

          Support what view? That errors occur in oral storytelling?

          Why–do you doubt this?

  • Bob Calvan

    Really? A Bible verse that states that anyone who disagrees with the Bible is a wrong and a fool?

    Is that all it takes to impress you Bob Calvan?

    Yup ! That is all it takes is the word of God.

    Point is you and Bob are spitting in the wind. You are giving us reasons why the resurrection is foolish. And we all ready know you are going to tell us this from the scriptures.

    From theses verses :

    1 Cor. “..For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    And also in 1 Cor:

    “…23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God…”

    Point is we already know you think the cross and resurrection are foolish. The Bible tells us exactly what you will do. You have nothing new in the past 2,000 years. You are telling us what we already know what you are going to say .

    And unless God opens your heart , you do not have the capability to even understand spiritual things

    As the Bible says also in 1 Cor: 2

    14″ But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised…”

    And in Psalm 14

    The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

    Your blog accomplishes nothing..You do not have the power to deconvert a believer because they are bought with the blood of Jesus Christ..All you are doing is what is prophesied in the OT and NT.

    You and Bob need to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and plead with him to open your hearts and save you.

    Or you can wait till judgment day and there to you will confess Jesus as Lord to your damnation..The choice is yours!

    • Retro

      And unless God opens your heart , you do not have the capability to even understand spiritual things

      Well, maybe your God should start doing His job and open all the hearts of all of us unbelievers then. What is He waiting for?

      You and Bob need to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and plead with him to open your hearts and save you.

      Isn’t it you Bob Calvan that says man can’t do anything to save himself? If God’s going to open my heart and save me, then He just better go ahead and do it.

      Or you can wait till judgment day and there to you will confess Jesus as Lord to your damnation..The choice is yours!

      Bob Calvan, on October 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm, you posted: “I have told you over and over, the only way one can become a Christian is a supernatural event. God must regenerate that person. John 6:44.

      It is not in mans power to save himself..In fact no one seeks God.”

      For once and for all, please explain to me how it is that you can say “the choice is yours” and at the same time say “no one seeks God”. Sounds like a big contradiction to me.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Bob C:

      I can write something that says that you’re an idiot and quote that back to you. Would that carry much weight? And if not, why should the material that you quote be of much interest to me?

  • TheRealRandomFunction

    Well, I have a bit of time, so here’s another post.

    The gospel story wasn’t made up. The point that women were unreliable witnesses is relevant only in rebutting the charge that the story was deliberately invented, a claim I don’t make. I’ve never heard this hypothesis except by apologists. Instead, what best fits the facts for me is that the story documented in the gospels (in incompatible versions, but that’s another story) is the result of forty or more years of oral history. Each gospel is a snapshot of the tradition of a different church community in widely different places (perhaps Alexandria, Damascus, or Rome?) and over decades of time.

    I’ve dealt with this before, but it seems I’ll have to do so again. Bob ignored me the first time, so I don’t really think he’ll pay attention to me now, but perhaps someone else will get something out of this.

    Bob’s theory is that the gospel stories (as we have them) are simply the result of the accumulation of errors over time. That we started off from some perfectly natural, materialistic explanation, and that over time we get errors, legendary developement and after awhile voila! The gospel stories.

    Passing over the fact that Bob has absolutely no idea or theory for what actually occurred (as that would require him to provide evidence and data supporting a claim, something that’s he’s rather loathe to do), let’s just examine this possibilty.

    First, let’s take the following:

    That they are the result of decades of oral history

    How long do we really have before the actual event (whatever it was), and the first recounting of it as a resurrection?

    Well, in 1st Corinthians 15 we have:

    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7

    Now, we have a passage where Paul talks about receiving an already existing creed describing the event (whatever that event actually was), as a resurrection. 1 Corinthians was written (approximately) about AD 54. So, we have about 20 some odd years between the “event” and the writing of 1st Corinthians. Since it mentions a creed already in existence by that time, we have that in less than 20 years, legendary development has turned whatever actually happened into a resurrection story. That is just TWO decades of oral history, at maximum. Can we lower the time line any further than that?

    Well, we can.

    From wikipedia:

    The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus’ death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.

    So, at least according to “most biblical scholars” (a consensus!) we have pretty much 5 years to go from a perfectly natural, mundane event to supernatural event that contradicts everything the Jewish people would have known at that time. (The Jewish people were actually smart enough to know that people don’t normally rise from the dead).

    Now is there some disagreement on this? Sure. There are some who say these versus date later. If we are to be charitable however, we must go with what “most” Biblical scholars say (just as skeptics demand we go with what the “consensus” of scientists are) and put this creed at 5 years post “the event”. Even if we are not charitable, we have at most 20 years.

    But let’s be overly generous. Let’s say we have 50 years. 50 Years for a perfectly naturalistic, normal event, to a completely and utterly supernatural one. Is it reasonable to assume that over 50 years, a story can change to that extent ?

    You see, that’s the key. Bob’s idea is that the resurrection account was passed around much like a game of telephone. Person A tells person B who tells person C who tells person D and as this goes on errors creep in at every retelling, until at the end we have the supernatural. Now this model probably isn’t really an accurate idea of how the gospel stories were in fact told (a tree or a web would be a better model) but as this is the simplest, and it can be shown that the other models offer no help to Bob, let’s deal with this one.

    Now at the beginning, let’s assume all honest actors. So nobody is deliberately lying and inserting falsehoods into the gospel stories. We can assume this as, if we have lying actors involved in transmission, Bob’s hypothesis shifts from “legendary development” to “it was all made up”. As he says that is not his hypothesis, we’ll leave that till later.

    So, let’s just assume “errors” are introduced after every retelling. First of all, do we have any evidence of a story changing at this level of magnitude, over 50 years, much less 5?

    No. To say that a perfectly natural event changed into a story of the resurrection just through “errors” would be like saying that your wedding changed from you marrying your wife, to you marrying a demon from hell, just through people recounting it with “errors”. We simply don’t have any stories like that. Details of the story may change (for instance, what you served at the wedding may change from chicken or fish to ribs), but the idea that, through errors alone you can go from a natural wedding, to marrying a demon, is absurd to the highest degree. It simply does not, and has not happened.

    Also, let’s look at this another way. Let’s take the worst case scenario, (the game of telephone) and let’s give it 50 years of time to morph into the resurrection. Let’s take the change to be purely through the accumulation of errors. Let’s ask ourselves this question. About how many times do we think this story was passed on from person to person in 50 years? Remember, we are dealing with ancient Israel. Pre-internet, pre-telephone, even pre-postal system I believe. Communication in that time was difficult. Put that together with the fact that once you tell someone the account once, you are not likely to repeat yourself, and its unreasonable to assume that (even in this worst case scenario) the story was passed on that many times! Once the story has been passed on to everyone in the community (which would only take a small number of tellings, as long as each telling involved multiple people), the story would only continue to be passed on if someone left that community and went to another. A trip that could take days, if not months or years.

    Finally, let’s deal with this:

    That they accumulated error as they were passed along (said another way: that there was no mechanism, natural or otherwise, to prevent errors from creeping in).

    First of all to jump from there was no mechanism to prevent errors to “errors are plausible and in fact that is what happened” is a tremendous leap of logic. One might as well assume that since there is no mechanism to prevent a piece of wood from catching on fire, that piece of wood must be aflame.

    Going from that however, there are many natural mechanisms that existed even then to mitigate error. Let’s list some.

    1. Repetition: The more we repeat something, the better we remember it. The idea that this was already a creed by the time of 1 Corinthians shows that these stories were not simply idle coffeehouse chatter. These were stories that were repeated by the early Christians.

    2. Possible writings: Just because we do not have earlier writings, does not mean that they do not exist. If the stories and accounts were written down, that serves both as an aide to memory, and as an aide to transmission. While I cannot say these definitively existed, writing did exist back then, so its not unreasonable to assume that these stories were written down.

    3. Importance: Simply put, when we recount events, our recounting does not wildly differ from one recounting to the next with regards to events we care about. Tale tales are one thing, but news reports are another. The gospel story (as we have it) is pretty central to Christianity. It wasn’t just some tall tale, it was the core of their belief system. It is entirely reasonable to assume that (barring blatant falsehoods) every care was taken to ensure accurate oral transmission.

    This is not even dealing with additional methods of self-correction / averaging that can take place if we go away from the telephone model of oral transmission, and into a web or tree based model of oral transmission.

    There you go. A pretty thorough debunking of Bob’s “oral history” argument. We have much less actual time for the story to develop as Bob thinks, we have no evidence that simple error accumulation leads to such a gross change in the story (natural to supernatural) and we have every reason to believe that efforts were taken to mitigate error buildup over time.

    Sadly, I don’t expect an intelligent response addressing the main points of this rebuttal from either Retro or Bob. They will perhaps attack the tangential points, but that’s about it, if they bother to intelligently respond at all.

    • Orbital Teapot

      Hi Random,

      I like your post. I’m not sure I’m convinced by it (which would imply my becoming a Christian), but it seems to me that your arguments are strong.

      Something MUST have happened to the apostles soon after Jesus’ death, which convinced them that Jesus had risen from the dead. What that something was is a mystery.

      Maybe as we study psychology, we will better understand what can turn a bunch of desperate folks into a new Church with people ready to die for their belief. But for now, the traditional account is a real possibility.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Something MUST have happened to the apostles soon after Jesus’ death

        Why?

        You seem to have already categorized the gospel story as history. How do you know it’s not legend?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      RRF:

      A thorough discussion. Thanks.

      Passing over the fact that Bob has absolutely no idea or theory for what actually occurred

      Already covered that. The gospel stories are legendary. That’s what actually occurred.

      Well, in 1st Corinthians 15 we have:

      We have 1 Cor. 15 … and then we have the gospel stories. One is miniscule, and one is much larger. One is old, and then we see the accumulation of embellishments over time.

      1 Cor. hardly gets you out of your bind.

      we have about 20 some odd years between the “event” and the writing of 1st Corinthians.

      I see your point. That’s insanely long—plenty long for the accumulation of legendary material within a pre-scientific culture, steeped in Greek customs and mythology.

      The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus’ death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.

      We’ve already moved just to this one teensy bit of the story (compared to the longer gospels). Another interpretation of the creed being in a different style is that it was added by later writers.

      What’s the date of our oldest copy of this chapter? Many decades of time for hanky-panky by copyists, I’m guessing.

      If we are to be charitable however, we must go with what “most” Biblical scholars say (just as skeptics demand we go with what the “consensus” of scientists are)

      I’m interested in the consensus of biblical scholars. But the consensus view of science demands respect in a way that the consensus view of biblical scholars does not. What do you suppose the consensus view of Muslim scholars would be about various points of the gospel story? You might reject them because they have a religious agenda. Good point—but then why not do the same to the Christian scholars?

      We simply don’t have any stories like that.

      Do you listen to the Skeptoid podcast? You might find it interesting—very little on religion, but it attacks hundreds of nutty extraordinary stories. Can frogs live inside solid rock? Were the “Bosnian Pyramids” built by aliens? Did two women visiting Versailles go back in time in 1901? Stories can become believable (perhaps not by skeptics like you and me but by many people nevertheless) quite quickly.

      1. Repetition: The more we repeat something, the better we remember it.

      Three words: Challenger memory experiment. Our memories are notoriously unreliable.

      Just because we do not have earlier writings, does not mean that they do not exist.

      Granted, but this doesn’t help your case much. Your goal is insanely difficult—to show that the gospel story is true, not that it could be true (which I grant). I have no obligation to prove that the game of telephone happened. With a claim this big, simply pointing to the unreliability of human memory and the poor fidelity of story transmission is all I have to do to show that the evidence points away from the supernatural elements of the gospel stories being true.

      Simply put, when we recount events, our recounting does not wildly differ from one recounting to the next with regards to events we care about.

      Three words (again): Challenger memory experiment.

      The gospel story (as we have it) is pretty central to Christianity. It wasn’t just some tall tale, it was the core of their belief system.

      So you treat the central claims of the other guy’s religion with the same kid gloves? Or are you as tough as I would be?

      This is not even dealing with additional methods of self-correction / averaging that can take place if we go away from the telephone model of oral transmission, and into a web or tree based model of oral transmission.

      And how does the web model change things? Bob is telling RRF the gospel story, but Retro overhears and says, “Hold on now, Bob, you’re telling that story wrong.” How do we adjudicate this disagreement? Is Bob right or is Retro right? Or are they both wrong? Before any written standard, this doesn’t help.

      A pretty thorough debunking of Bob’s “oral history” argument.

      Or not.

      We have much less actual time for the story to develop as Bob thinks, we have no evidence that simple error accumulation leads to such a gross change in the story (natural to supernatural) and we have every reason to believe that efforts were taken to mitigate error buildup over time.

      That’s your argument? That’s how you support the most incredible claim possible, that a supernatural being exists and created the entire universe? I’ll grant you that any or all those things are possible, but that’s paltry evidence that this is the most plausible explanation that this is the best interpretation of the facts.

      Sadly, I don’t expect an intelligent response addressing the main points of this rebuttal from either Retro or Bob.

      I’d just declare victory and move on if I were you.

      • TheRealRandomFunction

        Addressing the longer comment:

        Already covered that. The gospel stories are legendary.

        This is the issue under debate Bob. Simply assuming you’re right isn’t intellectual, or honest.

        We have the gospel stories. You believe they are legendary myths due to the accumulation of significant quantities of errors over time.

        I have given facts and evidence that they are not. Simply going back and assuming you’re right isn’t the way to promote an intellectual conversation. Its just a way to annoy me.

        One is old, and then we see the accumulation of embellishments over time.

        Again, only you “see” this, as this is the issue under debate .

        I see your point. That’s insanely long—plenty long for the accumulation of legendary material within a pre-scientific culture, steeped in Greek customs and mythology.

        It’s only “insanely long” in today’s day and age Bob. Back then, before the internet, before the postal service, before the phone, when communication was much more difficult, it was not nearly that “long”, due to the fact that it would have been much harder to spread the story around.

        Another interpretation of the creed being in a different style is that it was added by later writers.

        Indeed. Why would you go with that instead of the consensus Bob? You, who have so often talked about bowing down the consensus of experts?

        I’m interested in the consensus of biblical scholars. But the consensus view of science demands respect in a way that the consensus view of biblical scholars does not.

        1. Why does the consensus of “science” mean more?
        2. What does this have to do with anything? Science cannot, has not, and will not disprove the supernatural, or even render it less likely. (Feel free to offer some counterexamples if you have any).

        What do you suppose the consensus view of Muslim scholars would be about various points of the gospel story? You might reject them because they have a religious agenda. Good point—but then why not do the same to the Christian scholars?

        It would be wise to not assume too much with me Bob. I know you like to lump things into easily categorized stereotypes when it comes to believers, but that does nothing but annoy me.

        Treat me with an ounce of respect, and I’ll return the favor. Comments like the above will get only the same in return.

        I would not automatically assume that if a Muslim theologian had a different interpretation its because he/she has an agenda. But let’s say its logical and wise for me to do so. Should I not also assume that the interpretation of any atheist is not due to any scholarship on the part of the atheist, but just because they have an agenda?

        You fob off the majority, consensus opinion, simply because they are Christians and thus they can’t be objective. Can I do the same to atheists?

        Three words: Challenger memory experiment. Our memories are notoriously unreliable.

        Anyone in the experiment think that the Challenger didn’t explode? Or that it actually turned into an angel and flew away? Or that it was actually crewed by vampires?

        Probably not. As I’ve said, its reasonable to believe that there are errors in details. To go from errors in details to what is in essence a complete rewrite of the event, just through accumulation of errors, is unprecedented, and not supported by the experiment at all.

        Granted, but this doesn’t help your case much. Your goal is insanely difficult—to show that the gospel story is true, not that it could be true (which I grant).

        No. My “goal” is to examine your idea that the gospels are false simply due to the accumulation of errors over time. So far I’ve found evidence that suggests that there wasn’t nearly enough time, and I have found no precedent demonstrating that errors of that magnitude could actually accumulate at ALL.

        You have not dealt with either of these issues.

        I have no obligation to prove that the game of telephone happened.

        That’s fine if you don’t want to give any evidence of your beliefs. But then let’s call it for what it is. Namely, that you hold unintellectual, irrational opinions based on emotions alone.

        If you can’t give the slightest piece of evidence demonstrating that “legendary development” is plausible, then I’ll go with the theory that does have evidence.

        With a claim this big, simply pointing to the unreliability of human memory and the poor fidelity of story transmission is all I have to do to show that the

        If human memory and story transmission were unreliable enough such that the gospel stories could have been created simply due to the accumulation of errors, we would have no confidence in any historical tale told, ever.

        After all, if 5 years is long enough for an almost complete rewrite of all major details, why not 1 year? Why not half a year?

        Simply saying “Human memory is unreliable therefore the gospels aren’t true!” isn’t an argument. It isn’t.. anything at all really.

        That’s how you support the most incredible claim possible, that a supernatural being exists and created the entire universe?

        No. Let me be absolutely and perfectly clear with you Bob. I am examining your claim that the gospels are simply due to the accumulation of errors over time. That nothing supernatural actually occurred, just “legendary development”. I’ve examined what paltry reasoning you’ve brought forth in support in this claim, and I’ve found it wanting. I’ve brought forth actual FACTS demonstrating that, according to the consensus of actual experts, there wasn’t nearly the amount of time for legendary development that you thought there was. I’ve asked you to provide evidence supporting the idea that the accumulation of errors can lead to a story being altered to the extent that you’ve claimed it to be. You haven’t done that.

        That’s all I’ve done. So if you continue in acting as though I’m arguing some different point, what else can I conclude but that you aren’t paying any respect to what I’m saying at all, just fitting it into one of your stereotypes?

        I’ll grant you that any or all those things are possible, but that’s paltry evidence that this is the most plausible explanation that this is the best interpretation of the facts.

        You don’t have a scrap of evidence that supports your idea. Studies taken and twisted out of context does not evidence make. So even if whatever evidence I have is “paltry”, I’ll take the theory that has “paltry” evidence over the theory that has no evidence any day.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Its just a way to annoy me.

          Well, let’s not underestimate the value of that. But to point to my long post, rebutting you point by point, and saying that all I’ve done is repeated that I’m right and you’re wrong doesn’t square with the facts.

          Again, only you “see” this, as this is the issue under debate .

          You agree that legendary accumulations are added with time. Aren’t we on the same page here? Your only quibble is about how much accumulation would happen within a certain amount of time. Show me that it’s inconceivable that the resurrection element of 1 Cor. 15 could exist without it being literally true, and we’ll be on the same page with that as well.

          You, who have so often talked about bowing down the consensus of experts?

          The consensus of the scientific community–not what we’re talking about here.

          1. Why does the consensus of “science” mean more?

          Science delivers, and new theories fairly quickly become the consensus view (or rejected) within the worldwide scientific community. Religions have been squabbling for millennia. There is no consensus within religion, just within certain divisions of religion.

          Science cannot, has not, and will not disprove the supernatural, or even render it less likely.

          It doesn’t disprove the supernatural, but by showing alternative plausible explanations, it does indeed make it less likely.

          It would be wise to not assume too much with me Bob.

          This is one of those things where you could simply straighten me out on your own thoughts. That would be the easy route.

          Or, you could just get annoyed. Your call.

          Treat me with an ounce of respect, and I’ll return the favor.

          Never happened before. (Wait–it’s not April Fool’s Day, is it?)

          I would not automatically assume that if a Muslim theologian had a different interpretation its because he/she has an agenda.

          That wasn’t the question. I asked about the consensus of all Muslim scholars. If you don’t think they have an agenda, great. Let’s toss the Muslim consensus into the mix. They have very learned scholars as well.

          the interpretation of any atheist is not due to any scholarship on the part of the atheist, but just because they have an agenda?

          A religious agenda? Uh no. They’re not religious.

          As I’ve said, its reasonable to believe that there are errors in details.

          And that’s the point of the Challenger memory experiment. I guess we agree.

          To go from errors in details to what is in essence a complete rewrite of the event

          There are errors in details in the first retelling by the eyewitness. Repeat many times, and I suspect that many more errors will accumulate. Your challenge is to show that this couldn’t have happened. (That the gospel story could be accurate, I’ve already agreed with.)

          I’ve found evidence that suggests that there wasn’t nearly enough time

          Let’s grant that. Showing that the accumulation of error might not have happened doesn’t make your case. You must show that the best explanation is that it couldn’t have. (And that a supernatural explanation is better.)

          you hold unintellectual, irrational opinions based on emotions alone.

          Is that how you shirk your burden of proof? I’m afraid that I don’t find it convincing.

          If you can’t give the slightest piece of evidence demonstrating that “legendary development” is plausible, then I’ll go with the theory that does have evidence.

          You could reread my post to find this evidence. If you’d like.

          If human memory and story transmission were unreliable enough such that the gospel stories could have been created simply due to the accumulation of errors, we would have no confidence in any historical tale told, ever.

          Historians reject supernatural elements in stories. Period.

          In the case of Alexander or Julius Caesar or any other figure from 2000 years ago, you point to a valid problem—how do we trust the stories? We’ve got nothing else (and nothing much hangs in the balance), so we go with what we’ve got, being open about the limitations of our data.

          In the case of Jesus, very much hangs in the balance and the story is full of supernatural claims—good reasons to be skeptical.

          After all, if 5 years is long enough for an almost complete rewrite of all major details, why not 1 year? Why not half a year?

          Why not a day? Ask a celebrity or business leader who’s furious about a false story written a newspaper article.

          Simply saying “Human memory is unreliable therefore the gospels aren’t true!” isn’t an argument. It isn’t.. anything at all really.

          Agreed. Thank Jove that’s not the argument I’m making.

        • TheRealRandomFunction

          But to point to my long post, rebutting you point by point, and saying that all I’ve done is repeated that I’m right and you’re wrong doesn’t square with the facts.

          I think you are a bit mixed up Bob. I made a long post that completely debunks your idea. In your suppsed “rebuttal” your very first paragraph beings with assuming the very thing you should have to prove.

          You agree that legendary accumulations are added with time.

          No. I think it is possible that some errors were added over time. I don’t claim that any passage of the Bible is in error, because I have no evidence for that. I do claim that the idea that the simple accumulation of errors can result in the resurrection story from a perfectly natural event is ridiculous.

          It doesn’t disprove the supernatural, but by showing alternative plausible explanations, it does indeed make it less likely.

          Plausible to whom? Also, when has “science” come up with a “plausible” explanation to the resurrection? Sure, you’ve come up with ridiculous ones, but that’s not “science”.

          This is one of those things where you could simply straighten me out on your own thoughts. That would be the easy route.

          I did. You obviously didn’t care to read that part.

          That wasn’t the question. I asked about the consensus of all Muslim scholars. If you don’t think they have an agenda, great. Let’s toss the Muslim consensus into the mix. They have very learned scholars as well.

          Even if the Muslim consensus offers a different interpretation to this verse (which by the way, you haven’t shown) why should I pay the Muslim consensus any greater heed than the Christian one? Regardless of an agenda, I expect Muslim theologians to be experts on the Koran, not the Bible. Just as I expect biologists to be experts on biology, and not physics.

          A religious agenda? Uh no. They’re not religious.

          I didn’t say the agenda of the atheist was “religious”. Though its nice of you to admit that atheists aren’t religious. Its odd though that you expect them to receive the same protections afforded religions however.

          There are errors in details in the first retelling by the eyewitness.

          Error in details is not the same as a complete rewrite.

          You have consistently failed to address this fact. I guess its because you can’t.

          Repeat many times, and I suspect that many more errors will accumulate.

          Why should I assume that?

          Your challenge is to show that this couldn’t have happened.

          No. If your idea of debate is that you get to float every possible notion that you just happen to find possible, not support it with evidence or reason, just with your biases and emotions, and I must completely and totally disprove it, let me know now.

          I have better things to do with my time.

          You must show that the best explanation is that it couldn’t have.

          I have absolutely no reason to believe that such accumulation of error is reasonable. Nor have you provided any. Your one and only piece of evidence, the challenger experiment, only shows that errors are possible immediately. That’s IT.

          Is that all you got?

          Historians reject supernatural elements in stories. Period.

          Well.. except for the ones that don’t.

          But of course, you don’t call them historians.

          You could reread my post to find this evidence. If you’d like.

          I have, several times. So far the only thing I’ve found that could even be considered evidence (if I was feeling especially charitable) is the challenger experiment. That is not NEARLY enough to make your claim remotely possible. If you believe otherwise, you are just biased.

          Why not a day? Ask a celebrity or business leader who’s furious about a false story written a newspaper article.

          Why not a day? Let’s agree to reject everything that’s ever been written a day after it occurred ok?

          I really do have better things to do with my time. I can’t believe I got sucked into this fruitless debate with you. I guess I really, really really want to believe you are a rational person, and that you are unbiased enough to actually deal with what I say, and not simply what you want me to say. That if I post a rebuttal to a claim you make, you can deal with it honestly, and that you are capable of offering evidence.

          Sadly.. that is more and more proving to not be the case.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          You agree that legendary accumulations are added with time.

          No. I think it is possible that some errors were added over time.

          Huh?? Then why say “No” to my “You agree that legendary accumulations are added with time”?

          I do claim that the idea that the simple accumulation of errors can result in the resurrection story from a perfectly natural event is ridiculous.

          Why say that? Did you poke through the Skeptoid site to see the huge list of nutty stories that people accept? Surely some of those are false.

          Take the story of Apollonius of Tyana—lots of miracles claimed. If you reject them, what mechanism put them into the historical record and why is the gospel story surely free of those mechanisms of error?

          when has “science” come up with a “plausible” explanation to the resurrection?

          History recognizes thousands of legendary stories. What’s implausible about the Jesus story being yet one more?

          You obviously didn’t care to read that part.

          And that’s not the point. It’s your determination to be thin-skinned and take offense. That’s your prerogative, but don’t blame it on me.

          why should I pay the Muslim consensus any greater heed than the Christian one?

          No idea. I wouldn’t.

          I expect Muslim theologians to be experts on the Koran, not the Bible.

          Take a hundred Muslim theologians who are unschooled in the details of the gospel story, then put them in a year-long Random Function school. You’d make sure that they understood the Christian story and all the apologetics in its favor. Now ask them about the resurrection. What do you think they’d say?

          Though its nice of you to admit that atheists aren’t religious.

          A shocker, I know. I hope you were sitting down.

          Error in details is not the same as a complete rewrite.

          Uh … agreed. And how does this fit into an argument?

          Why should I assume that?

          Then you tell me: what happens when one person tells another, who tells another, and so on, over the course of 40 years? Will errors accumulate in the stories? Why or why not?

          I have better things to do with my time.

          We’ll have to talk about “burden of proof” sometime.

          Is that all you got?

          That’s it. And apparently “that’s not good enough” is all you’ve got.

          Well.. except for the ones that don’t.

          Oh? Show me where the historical consensus is that any miracle happened.

          I really do have better things to do with my time.

          There is a god!

  • TheRealRandomFunction

    To address one possibility, its worth noting that, with regards to the cargo cults, the original events were already being close to supernatural (to them) and actually in accordance to their existing belief systems. So the distance from actual event to final story (to them) is quite small.

    With the resurrection, unless Bob wants to opine that some natural but highly advanced event occurred (perhaps aliens?) we are going from a perfectly natural event (to the Jews) to a supernatural event (to the Jews). Moreover, given that we have an entire religious sect that preached the idea of there NOT being resurrection from the dead, this was a supernatural event that was NOT in accordance to previously held beliefs.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Interesting point about the cargo cults. I’m not sure how they fit in.

      we are going from a perfectly natural event (to the Jews) to a supernatural event (to the Jews).

      The NT writings are to and for a Greek culture. A Jew saying, “Hold on, now, that’s not kosher from my standpoint” would carry little weight.

    • Retro

      Moreover, given that we have an entire religious sect that preached the idea of there NOT being resurrection from the dead, this was a supernatural event that was NOT in accordance to previously held beliefs.

      And there were also entire religious sects that preached the idea that of there BEING resurrection of the dead.

      According to the Gospels account themselves, the prevailing Jewish belief was that the resurrection would come at judgment day. As illustrated in John 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

      Jesus resurrecting Lazarus, the resurrection of several people during the Crucifixion, and Jesus’ own resurrection all simply fit into the belief that they were living in the last days, and the final day was coming very soon.

      • Orbital Teapot

        Hi Retro,

        Well, of course the Bible was wrong in claiming that the end was near, just as fundamentalists and other crazy cults nowadays are wrong in using the Bible to claim that the end is near.

        • TheRealRandomFunction

          When does the Bible say the end was near?

        • Retro

          I’m so glad you asked. Are 101 verses enough for you?

          1. “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2)

          2. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Matt. 3:7)

          3. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees.” (Matt. 3:10)

          4. “His winnowing fork is in His hand.” (Matt. 3:12)

          5. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17)

          6. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7)

          7. “You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.” (Matt. 10:23)

          8. “….the age about to come.” (Matt. 12:32)

          9. “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27)

          10. “There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28; cf. Mk. 9:1; Lk. 9:27)

          11. “‘When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?’ ‘….He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.’ ‘….Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.’ ….When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.” (Matt. 21:40-41,43,45)

          12. “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matt. 24:34)

          13. “From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. 26:64; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 22:69)

          14. “The kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)

          15. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. ….They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them.” (Mk. 12:9,12)

          16. “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mk. 13:30)

          17. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Lk. 3:7)

          18. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. ” (Lk. 3:9)

          19. “His winnowing fork is in His hand….” (Lk. 3:17)

          20. “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Lk. 10:9)

          21. “The kingdom of God has come near.” (Lk. 10:11)

          22. “What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Lk. 20:15-16,19)

          23. “These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:22)

          24. “This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Lk. 21:32)

          25. “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” (Lk. 23:28-30; Compare Rev. 6:14-17)

          26. “We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Lk. 24:21)

          27. “I will come to you. …In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.’ …’Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?’” (Jn. 14:18,20,22)

          28. “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” (Jn. 21:22)

          29. “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days…’” (Acts 2:16-17)

          30. “He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31)

          31. “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15)

          32. “As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come…” (Acts 24:25)

          33. “Not for [Abraham's] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned.” (Rom. 4:23-24)

          34. “If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die.” (Rom. 8:13)

          35. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)

          36. “It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand.” (Rom. 13:11-12)

          37. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Rom. 16:20)

          38. “The time has been shortened.” (I Cor. 7:29)

          39. “The form of this world is passing away.” (I Cor. 7:31)

          40. “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (I Cor. 10:11)

          41. “We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (I Cor. 15:51-52)

          42. “Maranatha!” [The Lord comes!] (I Cor. 16:22)

          43. “…not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.” (Eph. 1:21)

          44. “The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:5)

          45. “The gospel …was proclaimed in all creation under heaven.” (Col. 1:23; Compare Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:18; 16:26; Col. 1:5-6; II Tim. 4:17; Rev. 14:6-7; cf. I Clement 5,7)

          46. “…things which are a shadow of what is about to come.” (Col. 2:16-17)

          47. “…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord… …We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… …You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.” (I Thess. 4:15,17; 5:4)

          48. “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23)

          49. “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” (II Thess. 1:6-7) [published by PreteristArchive.com]

          50. “Godliness …holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come.” (I Tim. 4:8)

          51. “I charge you …that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Tim. 6:14)

          52. “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (I Tim. 6:19)

          53. “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self… …Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women… …These also oppose the truth… …But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all…” (II Tim. 3:1-2,5-6,8-9)

          54. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (II Tim. 4:1)

          55. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Heb. 1:1-2)

          56. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)

          57. “He did not subject to angels the world about to come.” (Heb. 2:5)

          58. “…and have tasted …the powers of the age about to come.” (Heb. 6:5)

          59. “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it’s end is for burning.” (Heb. 6:7-8)

          60. “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Heb. 8:13)

          61. “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Heb. 9:8-10; Compare Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21-22; 3:17; 4:13)

          62. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 9:11)

          63. “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin.” (Heb. 9:26)

          64. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 10:1)

          65. “…as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25)

          66. “…the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:27)

          67. “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” (Heb. 10:37)

          68. “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14)

          69. “Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty.” (Jms. 2:12)

          70. “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. …It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (Jms. 5:1,3)

          71. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” (Jms. 5:7)

          72. “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (Jms. 5:8)

          73. “…salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:6)

          74. “He …has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (I Peter 1:20)

          75. “They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (I Peter 4:5)

          76. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” (I Peter 4:7)

          77. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (I Peter 4:17)

          78. “…as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed.” (I Peter 5:1)

          79. “We have the prophetic word …which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (II Peter 1:19)

          80. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (II Peter 2:3)

          81. “In the last days mockers will come. …For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (I Peter 3:3,5)

          82. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (II Peter 3:10-12)

          83. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (I Jn. 2:8)

          84. “The world is passing away, and its desires.” (I Jn. 2:17)

          85. “It is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18)

          86. “Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18; Compare Matt. 24:23-34)

          87. “This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (I Jn. 4:3; Compare II Thess. 2:7)

          88. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation. …About these also Enoch …prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…’” (Jude 1:4,14-15)

          89. “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions…” (Jude 1:17-19)

          90. “…to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 1:1)

          91. “The time is near.” (Rev. 1:3)

          92. “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” (Rev. 2:25)

          93. “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.” (Rev. 3:10)

          94. “I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 3:11)

          95. “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” (Rev. 12:5)

          96. “And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” (Rev. 18:24; Compare Matt. 23:35-36; Lk. 11:50-51)

          97. “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 22:6)

          98. “Behold, I am coming quickly. ” (Rev. 22:7)

          99. “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” (Rev. 22:10; Compare Dan. 8:26)

          100. “Behold, I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:12)

          101. “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:20)

        • TheRealRandomFunction

          I don’t have enough time to deal with all 100 verses. If you expect me to, you’re insane.

          To give some general comments, most of these can be dealt with at a high level by noting that in some he is dealing with his crucifixion and resurrection 3 days later, in some he is dealing with the rending of the temple curtain and in some it doesn’t even say that the end of times would be soon at all!

        • TheRealRandomFunction

          Moreover, almost all of these have been addressed by apologists either on the web, in books, or both. The fact that you posted these verses means that you either haven’t done your homework (in which case you should), are just throwing spaghetti up against the wall (which is completely unintellectual), or hoping that the list that you obvious cut and pasted from skeptic website will somehow overwhelm me (which is ridiculous).

          If you really, honestly, want an answer to these verses, crack open a book or two, or visit a website. They are addressed there in much greater detail, and with much greater intelligence than I ever could.

          If you expect me to deal with each one, you are no better than the worst creationist. You wouldn’t tolerate the Gish gallop if it was done by a creationist, I don’t tolerate the same strategy from a skeptic.

        • Retro

          I don’t have enough time to deal with all 100 verses. If you expect me to, you’re insane.

          You asked where the Bible said it, and I happened to have 101 places where it speaks of the imminent end of the age.

          To give some general comments, most of these can be dealt with at a high level by noting that in some he is dealing with his crucifixion and resurrection 3 days later, in some he is dealing with the rending of the temple curtain and in some it doesn’t even say that the end of times would be soon at all!

          Your implication was that the Bible never said the end was near, but the opposite is true, the end being near is central to the New Testament.

          Take your time and read through these verses, and you will see that leaving your family behind, selling everything you own, risking your life, and traveling and preaching all over the cities of Judea only makes sense if you believe that the end of the age is coming within your lifetime.

          Matthew 10:23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

          In fact, the whole entire Bible is capped off with the words of Jesus saying: “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 20:20)

      • TheRealRandomFunction

        Also, actually, its worth dealing with this:

        Jesus resurrecting Lazarus, the resurrection of several people during the Crucifixion, and Jesus’ own resurrection all simply fit into the belief that they were living in the last days, and the final day was coming very soon.

        Did the disciples believe they were living in the last days before, or after Jesus was resurrected?

        If it was only after, then the resurrection didn’t “fit into ” anything. You can only “fit into ” pre-existing beliefs, not beliefs that are generated from an event.

        • Orbital Teapot

          Hi Random,

          I don’t quite understand the theory of those who say that the last days refer to Jesus’ resurrection. After all, the NT was not written before the resurrection, but decades after, and then it was obvious to all that Jesus’ resurrection, while it opened up a new era for believers, did not mean the end of the world: everything continued to run smoothly in first-century Roman Empire. People still died, suffered, and so on. Those who wrote the Bible wrote them for a community of their time, with a purpose that suited their time. Just as we read science-fiction which is supposed to take place in the future, but which indirectly addresses today’s issues.

          So, my question is: what’s the point, for the NT writers, of referring to Jesus’ resurrection as the end, as it was obvious that it wasn’t, at least not in a literal sense? Wouldn’t they have made a better point if they said, instead, that Jesus’ resurrection was “the beginning of a new era” or “the beginning of the last days” rather than the end of the world, period?

        • TheRealRandomFunction

          I don’t quite understand the theory of those who say that the last days refer to Jesus’ resurrection.

          When did I say this?

          In Retro’s avalanche of verses, not everyone of them refer to “the last days”. Some of them just refer to Jesus “coming again”. Some refer to the “kingdom of heaven”. Some explicitly refer to the last days.

          So, my question is: what’s the point, for the NT writers, of referring to Jesus’ resurrection as the end, as it was obvious that it wasn’t, at least not in a literal sense?

          When do they refer to the resurrection as “the end”?

          Wouldn’t they have made a better point if they said, instead, that Jesus’ resurrection was “the beginning of a new era” or “the beginning of the last days” rather than the end of the world, period?>

          In fact, that’s precisely what they did. See Retro’s “first fruits” as an example.

        • Retro

          So, my question is: what’s the point, for the NT writers, of referring to Jesus’ resurrection as the end, as it was obvious that it wasn’t, at least not in a literal sense?

          Don’t confuse the “end times” or the “end of the age” with what we today think of as the “end of the world”.

          The end of one age would become the beginning of the new age. The old age would end and the kingdom of heaven would begin.

          As far as I can tell, the Bible never speaks about the “end of the world” where the Earth would be literally destroyed. The apocalyptic language in Revelation was symbolic, and it was referring to replacing the present corrupted system with God’s perfect and eternal system, and it would be here on Earth.

          Essentially, Jesus would return and become king of the Earth, and everything would be perfect from then on.

          As you mentioned, as time went on, everybody could see that the end hadn’t come yet, so the excuse was created that God was waiting just a little longer to allow the Gentiles to be saved.

          The church started to change at this point. Rather than being poor and wandering around preaching like the Disciples and Paul did, church leaders like Deacons and Bishops were created, and these people got paid to run the churches in each city.

          Finally, Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, and it’s been exploited ever since for political and financial gain.

          But hey, this is all just my opinion, and I’m sure many will disagree. I encourage you to read up on it and make up your own mind.

  • TheRealRandomFunction

    Retro

    And there were also entire religious sects that preached the idea that of there BEING resurrection of the dead.

    According to the Gospels account themselves, the prevailing Jewish belief was that the resurrection would come at judgment day.

    Indeed.

    Jesus wasn’t resurrected on the last day. Nor was Lazarus.
    The disciples realized this. You don’t ask how to figure out when the last days are coming, if you think you are actually going to live in them (just as one example). The resurrection on Judgement Day is different. That is the resurrection of everyone. Not just one man.

    But even if you are right, and the idea of a resurrection wasn’t a complete 180 from the disciple’s beliefs, you still have the fact that this was a resurrection. Even the disciples knew that people don’t normally rise from the dead. Thus, its still an immense gulf for the story to travel just via “errors”.

    Bob,

    The NT writings are to and for a Greek culture.

    What were the disciples Bob?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I dunno–men? Carnivores? Aramaic-speaking Jews?

      • TheRealRandomFunction

        Jews.

    • Retro

      Jesus wasn’t resurrected on the last day.

      Which is why Jesus was called the “firstfruits”:

      1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

      1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

      Of course, the “firstfruits” appear at the beginning of a harvest, with the rest of the fruits coming quickly afterwards. The New Testament authors believed they were living in the end times, and the harvest was the analogy Jesus used for the end of the age.

      Even the disciples knew that people don’t normally rise from the dead. Thus, its still an immense gulf for the story to travel just via “errors”.

      In the OT, Elijah resurrected two kids: 1 Kings 17:17-24 and 2 Kings 4:32-37.

      2 Kings 13:21 even tells us the story that even Elijah’s bones could cause a resurrection: “Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”

      Wasn’t it the expectation that the coming Messiah would do great things just like the prophets in the OT like Elijah did?

  • TheRealRandomFunction

    Wasn’t it the expectation that the coming Messiah would do great things just like the prophets in the OT like Elijah did?

    Indeed.

    We also have the fact that the initial disciples didn’t believe the women at first, and even after seeing the empty tomb, didn’t believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected. We have the fact that when he first appeared to the discples, they thought he was a ghost. We even have doubting Thomas. Hardly the reaction of people for whom a bodily resurrection of their messiah was a short stretch (mentally speaking).

    So you are right, in that resurrection from the dead was not an absolutely singular event. If you go from that to the disciples thinking that its entirely normal for people to rise from the dead, or that the Bible says that, well.. the evidence you have don’t support that.

  • TheRealRandomFunction

    I remember why I didn’t come to this board in the first place.

    While I’ll probably continue to post here, it will hopefully be infrequent.

    I have much better things to do then speak to people who are unwilling, or unable to listen.

    • Orbital Teapot

      Hi Random,

      If you are interested, we may exchange some emails about apologetics and theology. I may learn some things and perhaps you will benefit from it in some way.

      • TheRealRandomFunction

        That could be reasonable.

        Discussions with Bob have constantly proven to be fruitless, but you seem to have the ability to actually read what I say and understand it. Thus, conversation with you is actually possible.

        When there’s an argument coming from Bob that particularly strikes my fancy I may take the time to post a rebuttal, but I’m not going to get dragged into another “discussion” with him. Its obvious to me that he doesn’t actually want an intellectual discussion with me, (or really anyone), and its become obvious to me that I lack the necessary patience to deal with him.

        Bob, I’m certain you are a smart guy in other aspects of life. When it comes to Christianity and theism however things change. You seem unable to comprehend even the most basic argument I (or anyone) makes, instead constantly retreating to convenient theistic stereotypes that you can attack. You seem utterly oblivious to the idea that not everyone thinks as you do, or finds the same things plausible. You seem to think that a “civil debate” is you floating whatever idea you find plausible, usually without any evidence, or sometimes with the most miniscule amounts, and that I am required to absolutely disprove it. That is not an intellectual debate.

        You constantly seem unable to understand when I am critiquing your arguments, and when I am actually making my own claims. You make leaps of logic that have no support, and you seem blind to that fact. When I call you on these leaps, you don’t bother responding or defending yourself, you just go on “hammering” away.

        I know I’m not “civil” and in that, you got me beat handily. If civility was at all important, I might care about that. I’m more concerned with arguments, truth, and having an open mind. By all means however, stay “civil”. Keep being a “hammer”.

  • Bob Calvan

    The end is near refered to the destruction of Jerusalem which happen in 70 Ad..Those were fulfilled perfectly

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Why imagine that the gospels are prophecy? It’s much more plausible to imagine that the gospels were written after the destruction of the temple and that the “prophecy” had already happened.

    • Retro

      The end is near refered to the destruction of Jerusalem which happen in 70 Ad..Those were fulfilled perfectly

      What about the general resurrection and the Second Coming of Jesus? These things were also predicted to happen within the lifetime of the Disciples:

      “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt 16:28)

      “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:22)

      “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15) (Modern translations remove the word “about”, but it’s there if you look it up in Youngs Literal Translation.)

      “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (II Tim 4:1) (Modern translations remove the word “about”, but it’s there if you look it up in Youngs Literal Translation.)

      “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” (I John 2:18)

      It only makes sense that the Disciples and other early believers would abandon their families, sell everything they owned, and wander around preaching if they thought the end was coming within their own lifetimes. (We just recently saw the same thing with Harold Camping’s followers: since they thought the end was coming so soon, it only made sense for them to spend their life’s savings to put up billboards.)

      The fact that the Second Coming of Jesus and the general resurrection never occurred within the lifetime of the Disciples clearly demonstrates that the New Testament authors’ predictions were wrong.

  • Bob Calvan

    Yeah Bob, the destruction of Jerusalem happend , millions of Jews were killed and millions put in slavery. And not one of the NT writers reports it?

    Wow there is a strong argument on your part?
    Which also puts all the NT books before 70 AD..Even Revelation as John is told to messure the temple. So thatr had to be before 70 AD

    • Bob Seidensticker

      What’s the motivation to report what everyone knew? The gospel stories are about Jesus around the year 30, not about current events in 70.

      This is especially true when you can be silent about it and put prophecy in the mouth of Jesus.

      Sure, you could argue that the NT had to be before the destruction of the temple. But a strong case could also be made that the gospels were written after the destruction.

      Can we find a plausible natural explanation for any “prophecy”? If so, that’s the explanation we must hold as tentatively the one that best explains the facts.

      • Retro

        But a strong case could also be made that the gospels were written after the destruction.

        You can usually tell when a “prophecy” was actually written by looking at when the “prophecy” goes from being historically accurate to historically inaccurate.

        These “prophecies” will record some recent historical events as future predictions that apparently come true. This part of the “prophecy” is written after the event it’s supposed to predict. The reader sees that these apparent “predictions” so far have come true and believe the rest of the prophecies will come true also.

        The problem is that these “prophecies” then go on to start predicting actual future events, but these “prophecies” are simply guesses and they stop getting things right.

        If the Gospels and Revelation were written after 70 AD, it explains why they were able to accurately predict the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.

        It also explains why everything the Gospels and Revelation predicted would happen after 70 AD was wrong and never happened.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Bible#Prophecies_after_the_event

        • Bob Seidensticker

          The book of Daniel is another example. Supposedly written in the 6th century BCE, its information gets progressively more accurate until the Maccabean era. After events from 165 BCE, the events become inaccurate again.

          Conclusion: it was pseudepigraphically written, around 165 BCE.

      • Rick Townsend

        One of the strong evidences that the Gospels were written before 70 AD is that the destruction of Jerusalem is not recorded anywhere in the New Testament. Since Jesus predicted the destruction as recorded in the Gospels, somewhere in the tale one would expect Luke or someone else to record the fulfillment of the prophecy. The fact they did not is evidence the bulk, if not almost all, of the NT was written before this historic event in 70 AD. Hence the NT writings would have been complete or mostly so within 40 years of the events recorded in the Gospels.

        The Revelation to John is likely one of the last books, and likely written after this historic benchmark. But John was concerned with other things, and was writing what he was told to write, according to the book.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          One of the strong evidences that the Gospels were written before 70 AD is that the destruction of Jerusalem is not recorded anywhere in the New Testament.

          And as has been said earlier, another explanation of this is that this note would take the steam out of a “prophecy” by Jesus. This explanation doesn’t rely on a supernatural claim and is, as a result, far more plausible.

          Since Jesus predicted the destruction as recorded in the Gospels, somewhere in the tale one would expect Luke or someone else to record the fulfillment of the prophecy.

          An interesting point. How do the scholars who hold to a post-70 date respond to this question?

  • Greg G

    Mark ends with the women being afraid to tell. The oldest versions end at that point and Matthew and Luke diverge here so their versions ended there, too. That is what Mark’s readers were supposed to expect from women. Mark has Jesus curse the fig tree, throw the Temple tantrum, and then the tree was seen withered. This is a foreshadowing of the destruction of the Temple. The Evil Tenants parable immediately follows and clearly blames the Jews while justifying giving the land to someone else.

    People would have been wondering why God would have allowed that to happen. Mark explains all that and why the Disciples were still there when it happened.

  • Pingback: hefalimp cardijon

  • Pingback: air duct cleaning 77018

  • Pingback: cialis or viagra

  • Pingback: cialis douleurs musculaires

  • Pingback: online slots

  • Pingback: tadalafil e20

  • Pingback: video

  • Pingback: does working out help you last longer in bed

  • Pingback: divorce lawyer

  • Pingback: acheter du cialis en france

  • Pingback: cialis sur ordonnance pas cher

  • Pingback: payday loans online

  • Pingback: cialis 5 mg scheda tecnica

  • Pingback: URL

  • Pingback: automotive

  • Pingback: goat sex

  • Pingback: how can i last longer in bed men

  • Pingback: soundcloud plays

  • Pingback: bitcoin casino

  • Pingback: mmpr licensed producers mmpr licensed producers

  • Pingback: buy youtube likes

  • Pingback: olie

  • Pingback: lawyer directory

  • Pingback: xlovecam generator

  • Pingback: novelty techpoint

  • Pingback: cialis son prix

  • Pingback: Texas lawyer Alex Begum

  • Pingback: New Songs 2014

  • Pingback: Evidence management system

  • Pingback: Robert Shumake

  • Pingback: Slendera

  • Pingback: Orlando vacation rentals

  • Pingback: testinate 250

  • Pingback: thai massage

  • Pingback: ροζ τηλέφωνα

  • Pingback: nature's comfort reviews

  • Pingback: Sydney escorts

  • Pingback: Shaahin Cheyene

  • Pingback: Knox County criminal defense lawyer

  • Pingback: cupboards

  • Pingback: frases bonitas

  • Pingback: www.floridasupremecourt.org

  • Pingback: kitchen cupboards

  • Pingback: document management

  • Pingback: www.law.fsu.edu

  • Pingback: Flight Tickets

  • Pingback: Charles Floate

  • Pingback: Richard McArthur Washington

  • Pingback: Richard McArthur Silverton

  • Pingback: Richard McArthur Reid Realty

  • Pingback: best wireless speakers

  • Pingback: Richard McArthur Port Orchard

  • Pingback: cialis authentique prix

  • Pingback: brides of ukraine agency

  • Pingback: raleigh nc wedding videographer

  • Pingback: cult education

  • Pingback: Viagra

  • Pingback: buy fb likes

  • Pingback: healthy snacks

  • Pingback: Crime News

  • Pingback: mas info

  • Pingback: bay area overhead door

  • Pingback: visit here

  • Pingback: booter

  • Pingback: Madden 15

  • Pingback: love cupid online dating

  • Pingback: love cupid online dating

  • Pingback: dbz power levels

  • Pingback: emily blunt

  • Pingback: emily blunt michael buble

  • Pingback: bforex احتيال

  • Pingback: make money online surveys

  • Pingback: porn

  • Pingback: Carey Martell

  • Pingback: travel insurance with car rental coverage

  • Pingback: Faucet Repair

  • Pingback: Knockdown Texture

  • Pingback: agree with this

  • Pingback: Illinois Process Servers

  • Pingback: bakersfield cpr

  • Pingback: wordpress plugin development

  • Pingback: Lawyer

  • Pingback: google market

  • Pingback: kvar

  • Pingback: Flat Fee MLS Realtor IL

  • Pingback: shakeology alternatives

  • Pingback: Arlington VA dryer vent cleaning

  • Pingback: renta de autos en cancun

  • Pingback: Alexandria Counties dryer vent cleaning

  • Pingback: forex robot

  • Pingback: renta de autos en cancun

  • Pingback: Golden Hints

  • Pingback: see more

  • Pingback: search for used cars

  • Pingback: vorzeitige

  • Pingback: maths tutor pune mumbai

  • Pingback: hyundai tiburon

  • Pingback: achat cialis 20 mg

  • Pingback: allergies omega 3

  • Pingback: legal highs

  • Pingback: One little mortgage website that could save you hundreds!

  • Pingback: car dealers in chicago

  • Pingback: 13 of the hottest mortgage programs out there!

  • Pingback: an eye doctor

  • Pingback: workplace injury

  • Pingback: eye serum

  • Pingback: advertise property for sale

  • Pingback: Afford a Home with these tips...

  • Pingback: desktop reviews

  • Pingback: motivational speaker

  • Pingback: Seattle WA For Sale By Owner

  • Pingback: Payday loans

  • Pingback: apartamentos lisboa

  • Pingback: read more

  • Pingback: cialis prostatectomia

  • Pingback: craft

  • Pingback: pirater un compte facebook

  • Pingback: payday loans

  • Pingback: fitness supplies

  • Pingback: sign repairs

  • Pingback: bets10

  • Pingback: Coupons

  • Pingback: harga jam casio

  • Pingback: Whatsapp Hack

  • Pingback: pre-foreclosure

  • Pingback: Titfuck

  • Pingback: Making Money

  • Pingback: superbahis kayit

  • Pingback: Troy

  • Pingback: Oakland County college planning

  • Pingback: IT Services

  • Pingback: Manhattan appliance repair

  • Pingback: bee wild pest control

  • Pingback: appliance repair near Manhattan

  • Pingback: appliance repair near Cos Cob

  • Pingback: juicy couture outlets


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X