Dr. Richard Carrier and Naturalistic Explanations For Jesus’ Resurrection Appearances

 
john76
 
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john76
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19 April 2017 19:47
 

Skeptics have long posited naturalistic explanations for Jesus’ resurrection appearances to Cephas and the Twelve.  Maybe, out of terrible grief or some completely natural transcendent mental state, the disciples were hallucinating.  On the other hand, maybe the disciples were inventing resurrection stories to lend divine clout to, and carry on, Jesus’ social ethic cause of “loving your neighbor and enemy,” a ethical cause the disciples may have been willing to die for (like Socrates).

Historian Richard Carrier characterizes the possibilities in the following way in a recent blog post:

“Of course Habermas tries to sell Strobel on the tired apologetic line that “no one dies for a lie.” Surely not, “if they knew it was a hoax,” we hear said. This is a classic straw man. And as such, another lie. It’s one thing to ask how likely it is the resurrection appearance claims were a hoax. It’s altogether another to ask how likely it is they were like every other divine appearance experience in the whole history of all religions since the dawn of time: a mystical inner vision. Just as Paul tells us. Our only eyewitness source. Of course, a case can be made for the apostles dying even for a hoax: all they needed was to believe that the teachings attached to their fabricated claim would make the world a better place, and that making the world a better place was worth dying for. Even godless Marxists voluntarily died by the millions for such a motive. So the notion that no one would, is simply false.” see: http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/12263

If you are interested, I have outlined the theory that the resurrection stories were “Noble Lies” here: http://palpatinesway.blogspot.ca/

What do you think?  Should we have a naturalistic or miraculous explanation for Jesus’ resurrection appearances?

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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19 April 2017 21:05
 

There is no god so that leaves out any miraculous explanation for Jesus’ resurrection appearances.

 
 
MrRon
 
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MrRon
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20 April 2017 03:34
 

A God having himself tortured and killed in order to rise again to provide some loophole for his own rules is the most ridiculous thing ever. EVER!

Ron

 
Ola
 
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Ola
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20 April 2017 04:44
 

Just because it’s ridiculous doesn’t mean it’s not true.
cf Trump is POTUS.

 
Lausten
 
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Lausten
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21 April 2017 04:29
 
MrRon - 20 April 2017 03:34 AM

A God having himself tortured and killed in order to rise again to provide some loophole for his own rules is the most ridiculous thing ever. EVER!

Ron

It is, and so is any kind of sacrifice, but that’s what they used to do, so it would have seemed fine to them. Carrier’s theory involves euhemerization, the changing of a god story into a story of real person. It was popular at the time the gospels were written. Unfortunately, education was not very popular at the time and libraries were rare and they sometimes burned. So when Augustine picked up the letters of Paul, he thought they had been written after the gospels. He thought Paul was describing a man who had become a god, but (according to Carrier), Paul was describing a celestial being who only descended a couple to the levels of heaven, then performed some magic god ritual sacrifice.

That story probably would not have survived the Middle Ages. But it became history of a real person, and they’ve been trying to make it work ever since.

 
 
Brian888
 
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Brian888
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21 April 2017 06:26
 

You raise a good point about Paul.  Assuming for the sake of argument that there even was someone we’d identify as Jesus, Paul’s accounts pretty clearly suggest that the “resurrection” as he understood it was not a physical thing, but a mystical/psychological experience.  Pretty standard stuff for any religion with a mystical bent.

 
Lausten
 
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Lausten
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22 April 2017 12:29
 

In Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus, one of the things he points out pretty early, and then spends a lot of time building on, is what the 7 authentic letters of his don’t contain. Paul says scripture is the only source we have for Jesus. Jesus is celestial. No historical events. No Jesus preaching or disciples. No miracles performed on earth. He was only ever heard by apostles, not the thousands from the gospels. You know him by revelation. And, Jesus existed forever.

There are a few verses here and there that require additional discussion, like the word “brother”, but even with those, it’s pretty amazing when you think about that list.

 
 
john76
 
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john76
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24 April 2017 11:43
 

And the “noble lie” theory of Christian origins is as old as the religion itself (see Matthew 28:11-15).

It is also (questionably) attributed to Pope Pious X, quoted in John Bale, Acta Romanorum Pontificum “For on a time when a cardinall Bembus did move a question out of the Gospell, the Pope gave him a very contemptuous answer saying: All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us and our companie.” Whether Pope Pious actually said this or not, it still shows the “noble lie” theory of Christian origins was definitely present in history.

The permission of lying under special circumstances would not separate the Hebrew and Christian scriptures from other ancient spiritualities. It would actually put them all very much in line.

The justification of lying hypothesis is very interesting. It resonates with much in spirituality … even shamanism ...where the neophyte is taken in with ‘magic’ to attract their attention and then is taken to the Truth… and the understanding that what they initially through was magic was simply deception ... and the recognition of how early they were deceived.

Justified lying occurs a lot in ancient spirituality. Confucius, in the ‘Analects,’ indicates “The Governor of She said to Confucius, ‘In our village we have an example of a straight person. When the father stole a sheep, the son gave evidence against him.’ Confucius answered, ‘In our village those who are straight are quite different. Fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers. In such behaviour is straightness to be found as a matter of course.’ (13.18)” .

This is also true of the Code of Manu. Roger Berkowitz says of the Manu based society, that its division of society into four castes, each with its own particular obligations and rights, is a desired end because it reflects the natural order of society. He says ‘“The order of castes, the highest, the most dominant Gesetz, is only the sanction of a natural-order, natural legal- positing of the first rank, over which no willfulness, no ‘modern idea’ has power. It is nature, not Manu or the Brahmin legislators, that divides the predominantly intellectual from those who are predominantly physically or temperamentally strong, and both of these from the mediocre, who are extraordinary in neither intellect nor strength. The ancient Indian caste system is an artifice, a Holy Lie—but it is a lie that serves natural end.’

Similarly, we see the permission of lying in Islam. In the Pro-Muslim book ‘The Spirit of Islam,’ Afif A. Tabbarah writes, concerning the mandates of Muhammed, ‘Lying is not always bad, to be sure; there are times when telling a lie is more profitable and better for the general welfare, and for the settlement of conciliation among people, than telling the truth. To this effect, the Prophet Muhammed says: ‘He is not a false person who (through lies) settles conciliation among people, supports good or says what is good.’

 
 
john76
 
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25 April 2017 18:20
 
 
 
john76
 
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john76
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26 April 2017 18:03
 

You think Jesus is a trustworthy character?

Then why does Mark portray Jesus as a fallible human prophet who couldn’t perform miracles in his home town? :
“4Then Jesus told them, ‘A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own household.’ 5So He could not perform any miracles there, except to lay His hands on a few of the sick and heal them.” Mark 6:4-5?

Jesus’ family knew there was nothing particularly “miraculous” about Jesus (having been around him all his life), so they didn’t come to him for miracles.

So if we have a widely successful faith healer whose family knows Jesus is nothing special, what are we to think?

Perhaps Jesus was just a sham faith healer, just like every other faith healer in history.