What do you really think about the resurrection of Jesus?

Why do you think so?

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David Bundrick said:

... We can never be sure of anything we're told to believe without a shred of scientific poof...

The essence of science is "Test all things, and believe what checks out."

If you test the proposition: "God can teach and guide me," with your life, it works. You won't need to "believe" anything "we're told to believe", as such. Some of what people tell you will turn out true, not all of it.

Science will help you understand the workings of anything that holds still long enough to be measured, but scientism turns out to be just another one of those things "we're told to believe."

The Bible? What various people thought had happened in the course of a long historical interaction between God and humans, who got some of it right and some of it wrongheaded.

But when you know, from your own life, that God continues to teach and guide you -- then you can't doubt that this is part of a long divine courtship of the whole silly human race, in which that book plays a prominent role. You literally can't imagine that God is not using this flawed book to communicate with humanity in general, and you among them. It doesn't mean that they, or you, have necessarily gotten it right.

A significant number of people who had literally known Jesus became convinced, by something, not "that they'd been told to believe" he was alive, or had expected any such thing, but that they'd encountered him restored to life after a very ugly death -- and this made all the difference in their lives & subsequent history. God could have fooled them... but this isn't some pointless detail like the state of Mary's hymen. The whole story says truly mind-blowing things about God's power, the nature of this universe, the way God does and doesn't act through it -- and the meaning of that condition we call "death," along with everything else that happens to human beings in this world.

Alas,  I do envy true believers - I really do, because life would be so much easier. Mark Twain defined "faith" as "believing in what you know isn't so". I cannot make myself believe in a super being out there who micromanages this vast universe, even to the point of "communicating" with one species. All I can do is believe that all people are good and deserve respect and kindness, even ones who do apparently very bad things, and live my life accordingly. I'm an old man, and I've tried drinking the kool aid a number of times, but it's never taken hold. The best to you, friend.

Forrest Curo said:



David Bundrick said:

... We can never be sure of anything we're told to believe without a shred of scientific poof...

The essence of science is "Test all things, and believe what checks out."

If you test the proposition: "God can teach and guide me," with your life, it works. You won't need to "believe" anything "we're told to believe", as such. Some of what people tell you will turn out true, not all of it.

Science will help you understand the workings of anything that holds still long enough to be measured, but scientism turns out to be just another one of those things "we're told to believe."

The Bible? What various people thought had happened in the course of a long historical interaction between God and humans, who got some of it right and some of it wrongheaded.

But when you know, from your own life, that God continues to teach and guide you -- then you can't doubt that this is part of a long divine courtship of the whole silly human race, in which that book plays a prominent role. You literally can't imagine that God is not using this flawed book to communicate with humanity in general, and you among them. It doesn't mean that they, or you, have necessarily gotten it right.

A significant number of people who had literally known Jesus became convinced, by something, not "that they'd been told to believe" he was alive, or had expected any such thing, but that they'd encountered him restored to life after a very ugly death -- and this made all the difference in their lives & subsequent history. God could have fooled them... but this isn't some pointless detail like the state of Mary's hymen. The whole story says truly mind-blowing things about God's power, the nature of this universe, the way God does and doesn't act through it -- and the meaning of that condition we call "death," along with everything else that happens to human beings in this world.



David Bundrick said:

Alas,  I do envy true believers -


If you want to talk about what I'm not talking about, this puts you in good company -- closer than you know to people who think I should swallow the Bible whole. It's not about "believing in" but about being open.

Observing what it is that observes is one good way in -- but so is questioning your own assumptions.

Unfortunately being a true believer isn't that easy.  First there's the fact that just because you believe doesn't mean you understand.  Second is the fact that just because you know what is the right thing to do doesn't mean you want to do it.  Third is the fact that just because you want to do what right doesn't mean everyone else does or that the world will not trample you if you do.  I could go on but you get the idea.:)  In many ways it's harder than not being a believer.  The difference to me is that I'm happier and that's in spite of not understanding everything that happens, well at least some things that happen; still not being able to stop eating too much ice cream; and still going crazy trying to make some money in a profession that rewards those with a lack of integrity.

I do believe in a "higher power" as addiction assistance groups refer to a supreme being.  I believe the greatest gift we were given as human beings is the gift of free will, which means to me that this supreme being (or is it a collective pantheon as some cultures throughout history and into the prescoincent believe) is not into micro management.  The laws of nature were put in motion, if I drop something it falls down as opposed to dropping up as in space.  Sometimes there are anomalies to the norms, and often we do not have explanations for those anomalies. 

As for Jesus, to me he was an awesome teacher.  It was the need to recruit pagans that the myths developed.  Look at how many religions throughout history have heroes with virgin births, deaths and resurrections (with resurrections coinciding with the coming of spring).  Christianity is a hybrid.  The Bible has a lot of good stuff in it, some of the OT is historically correct!   The Psalms are poetry, much of which was written by David, including during the time when Saul was pursuing him.  But then we get to the New Testament and eventually the Council of Nicea, and human agendas and politics slid in the door. 

Christianity in its most basic form doesn't believe Jesus was a demi god like Helen or Troy or Hercules.   Christian dogma says Jesus was fully human AND FULLY GOD.  Then we have the Trinity, which is not once mentioned in the Bible itself.  (Then there's the mishrad about the 3 Magi, which the Bible never says how many of these Zoroastrians came from Persia!  The 3 gifts are symbolic.  It's a story meant to teach certain values, not to teach fact.)  

To me, Jesus was an awesome teacher who not nearly enough of his supposed followers actually follow!  He really boiled things down to the essentials:  Love God, Love One Another.  What could be easier?  

To me, Jesus was a Buddha.  There have been multiple Buddhas throughout human history, people who have deeply spiritual lives who try to teach us a better way to live with each other.  I do believe that there is that which is of "God" within every person, and I'll even take the step of saying within all sentient beings. 

I was raised to believe in the viigin birth and the resurrection 3 days (or so) after horrific execution.  Letting that belief go was a conscious decision for me, and in no way does it lessen the importance of Jesus the man for me.  In no way does it lessen his teachings. 

But I keep in mind that the Bible as we know it is a compilation that was greatly influenced by human agendas and politics, and the similarities Christianity has with other belief systems throughout history tells me it's a hybrid of multiple religions. 

And I do not use the word "Christian" to describe myself, for oh so many reasons, including all the horrific actions that have occurred under that label. 

Much of that "OT" is not at all historical; and there seems to have been politics involved from as far back as it goes....

But who was it with this "need to recruit pagans"?

'The Church', as just another Jewish sect -- and not at all militant, as these groups went -- ought to have done just fine without a massive missionary effort. Actually the main explanation I know for violent opposition from both the Roman authorities and rival Jewish groups was the fact that Christians were making pagan converts in significant numbers, and not imposing the traditional disciplines on them. Noncompliance with pagan customs was okay with Romans as long as the perpetrators were Jews practicing their inherited traditions -- but that tolerance got brittle if sectarians started corrupting respectable Romans; it got difficult for Jewish congregations to maintain if the authorities were likely to confuse them and their services with some mass-market sect that was recruiting pagans and teaching them to defy Roman customs, while not really teaching them how to be proper Jews.

Now if it was God who'd seen "a need to convert pagans", that puts those "myths" on a different footing.

It doesn't necessarily render them accurate; it does imply something more than human craziness behind them.

I can't see that stories of a virgin birth would have gained Jesus any followers... "You're telling me this guy was born without a father, so I should accept his Torah interpretations and expect the imminent arrival of God's reign? Huh?"

But convincing experience of Jesus' living presence, after he'd been publicly executed & was presumed dead -- That would change matters significantly. "People thought he was a false Messiah, because dead folks don't become King. But he's alive; God raised him up & he'll be back soon with legions of angels; you just wait!"

Many 1st Century Jews were sure that "the Kingdom of God" was going to be reestablished by a massive revolt ala the Maccabees, only for real this time. Certainly these groups weren't expecting crushing military  defeat and the destruction of the Temple -- but they proved to be gravely mistaken about God's intentions & how these would be realized.

It doesn't look like contemporary Christians had a much better track record, in terms of predicting the immediate future -- except that they weren't expecting a Kingdom based on military might, and don't seem to have bought into those disasterous revolts.

As for God's long term intentions -- what that Kingdom ought to look like when it arrives -- That seems to have been the burden of Jesus' message; and nice ethical precepts seem to be only part of it.

If you have not already, pick up a copy of the Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson, a Deist but not a Christian cut and pasted the gospels, deleting such nonsense as the virgin birth and the "miracles" and leaving the important parts. Makes for good reading.

Betsy Packard said:

I do believe in a "higher power" as addiction assistance groups refer to a supreme being.  I believe the greatest gift we were given as human beings is the gift of free will, which means to me that this supreme being (or is it a collective pantheon as some cultures throughout history and into the prescoincent believe) is not into micro management.  The laws of nature were put in motion, if I drop something it falls down as opposed to dropping up as in space.  Sometimes there are anomalies to the norms, and often we do not have explanations for those anomalies. 

As for Jesus, to me he was an awesome teacher.  It was the need to recruit pagans that the myths developed.  Look at how many religions throughout history have heroes with virgin births, deaths and resurrections (with resurrections coinciding with the coming of spring).  Christianity is a hybrid.  The Bible has a lot of good stuff in it, some of the OT is historically correct!   The Psalms are poetry, much of which was written by David, including during the time when Saul was pursuing him.  But then we get to the New Testament and eventually the Council of Nicea, and human agendas and politics slid in the door. 

Christianity in its most basic form doesn't believe Jesus was a demi god like Helen or Troy or Hercules.   Christian dogma says Jesus was fully human AND FULLY GOD.  Then we have the Trinity, which is not once mentioned in the Bible itself.  (Then there's the mishrad about the 3 Magi, which the Bible never says how many of these Zoroastrians came from Persia!  The 3 gifts are symbolic.  It's a story meant to teach certain values, not to teach fact.)  

To me, Jesus was an awesome teacher who not nearly enough of his supposed followers actually follow!  He really boiled things down to the essentials:  Love God, Love One Another.  What could be easier?  

To me, Jesus was a Buddha.  There have been multiple Buddhas throughout human history, people who have deeply spiritual lives who try to teach us a better way to live with each other.  I do believe that there is that which is of "God" within every person, and I'll even take the step of saying within all sentient beings. 

I was raised to believe in the viigin birth and the resurrection 3 days (or so) after horrific execution.  Letting that belief go was a conscious decision for me, and in no way does it lessen the importance of Jesus the man for me.  In no way does it lessen his teachings. 

But I keep in mind that the Bible as we know it is a compilation that was greatly influenced by human agendas and politics, and the similarities Christianity has with other belief systems throughout history tells me it's a hybrid of multiple religions. 

And I do not use the word "Christian" to describe myself, for oh so many reasons, including all the horrific actions that have occurred under that label. 

Yes, David.  Jefferson was a product of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason.  I've long been familiar with Jefferson's version of the Gospels, and interestingly enough, he felt that he followed the teachings of Jesus, and that this entitled him to refer to himself as a Christian.   (I take issue with just how closely he followed Jesus' teachings, but then I remember to "judge not."  <G>)

Unfortunately, some folks these days take Jefferson's reference to himself as a "Christian" to mean that he was a Christian in THEIR sense of the word.  They take it completely out of context, and then use this as "evidence" that the "founding fathers" were "Christians."   <sigh>   Ah, the pitfalls of generalizations. 

Jesus was clearly a 'unitarian' -- that is, Jewish rather than a conventional 'Christian'.

But trying to decide which quotes were 'really him' and which were the excesses of later followers is not necessarily as easy as Jefferson thought. One can easily distinguish which passages resonate as true from those that seem spurious or exaggerated -- but then one has to leave open the possibility that one simply hasn't found the meaning, given that Jesus was almost certainly speaking Aramaic & needing to rely on metaphor, sometimes very exhuberatedly so.

Quotes that suggest 'The Trinity' may simply be misinterpretations of 1) Jesus speaking prophetically 'for' God and 2) a mystical sense that he, and the rest of us, are incarnations of God's Spirit -- something that Genesis definitely hints at, not to mention later Jewish mystics.

I don't know why I stumbled upon this and I don't want to take part in the general topic but I thought it would be interesting to point out that people who have after life experiences speak of floating upwards (with one person I met telling me she was floating downward, fearfully,  before she came back).
 
Agnikan Ashwin said:

If Jesus did physically and bodily resurrect, then was His ascension physically and bodily a process of going up into the sky?

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