Sunday, November 20, 2011

Resurrection Sundays: Concluding thoughts

As promised, here is this weeks "Resurrection Sundays" post. It will be a special post since, in addition to being quite late, it will also be my last one. Don't get me wrong- I will always post on the Resurrection. However, it will be the last one with the name "Ressurection Sundays", and the last one to be posted strictly on a Sunday. I had fun making this little series, I really did- but now it's Christmas season, and I have Christmas shopping and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim playing to do. So until further notice, Resurrection Sundays are on hiatus. However- as a little Christmas gift, I will put a poll on the side of my blog, allowing you to suggest to me what topic I should post on next.

Now for the post. To begin, I would like to state that, throughout my posts, I have never claimed to have "debunked the Resurrection". I have never even claimed to be infallible- after all, there is only one pope. However, I do think that I have sufficiently demonstrated why the Resurrection cannot be proven on historical grounds. Alternate scenarios cannot be ruled out. We know that many people can come to hold a false belief. We also know that tombs can become emptied in non-miraculous ways, and that stories of empty tombs have been invented. Long story short, there are alternative explainations that, at minimum, explain away the Resurrection without appeal to the divine.

As mentioned beforehand, we have precedent for claims of visionary experiences from multiple people. Hell, according to this article, angels have been seen and experiences not only Christians, but by Jews and Muslims as well. Although these angel cases are totally anonymous and of extremely poor evidential value, they can still be tell us alot about how easily people will accept unsubstantiated stories. Skeptics have usually argued that these cases arise due to the witness' altering their memories subconciously. Often, when these cases are scrutinized-it is revealed that only one person actually saw the entity, while the others, in a state of hysteria, just went along with it. In faith communities, especially conservative Christian ones, miracle claims are quite celebrated, and it becomes almost a contest of who has the better miracle story. Does this sound like the early Christian church to you? Add some end of the world prophecies to the mix, and I think it does!

Also, when it comes to the empty tomb, it could've been made up. Why not? According to Dale Allison, we have precedent for stories of empty tombs being discovered back in the day. Even if it can be proven improbable- it will always remain a possibility. Of course- the tomb could have been emptied naturalistically as well. For instance, what if the Jews were to have entered the tomb and stole Jesus' remains. Perhaps they didn't parade the corpse around the streets, as they merely wanted to deny Jesus a proper burial- perhaps in protest of Joseph of Aremathea's descision to let him be buried. Going even  further, what if this is the controversy Matt 28:11-15 alludes to? Now, I'm not saying this is what happened- but I am saying that a scenario like this is certainly possible- and perhaps even probable. As Allison maintains througout his excellent book and article on the Resurrection, there are many ways in which a tomb can be emptied naturalistically.

Finally, to conclude this post, I want to remind apologists that the sources we do have come only from believers. We haven't a shred of evidence that any non-Christian living at Jesus' time thought of him as being "unique". To them, he was the same as any other false messiah. He helaed a few people and was eventually killed. I have always felt that this is the very best argument against the divinity of Christ (and by extention, the Resurrection). Jesus' life was just simply unremarkable. He held common false beliefs at the time; he performed the same type of Psychosomatic healings other Pagans and false messiahs did; legends arose around him after he died; etc.

Overall, I think that the case for the Resurrection is strong. However, I also think that the evidence for alien encounters and angels are strong too. In all of these cases, we have groups of people claiming to have seen the same thing. However- angels are often affiliated with New age beliefs incompatible with Christianity, and Aliens are just hard to fit into a world where Theism is true. All these strange phenomena just don't seem to lead anywhere and, as I have argued before, all seem to be incompatible. And that's it for Resurrection Sundays! I hope that you all enjoyed these little posts as much as I have.

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