Thursday, 18 October 2012
The Resurrection [Part 2]
PREVIOUSLY I wrote about the resurrection and its impact on the christian faith. It is an essential of the faith, for if Jesus was not resurrected -he wasn't the Son of God, and if we are not resurrected after death - then our faith is meaningless.
Put succinctly enough I hope. This is why those who are not Christians must deny Jesus' resurrection! I am going to basically go over some theories against the resurrection- I'm not going to debunk them, there's no need for that. But I will lay them out here as best as I can so that you can see for yourself what Christendom is up against. If in the future I do a part three, I intend to explain heaven, and where and what it is - I may possibly do that seperately, although it encroaches on resurrection territory.
1. A denial of Jesus' existence entirely. This is not a common argument amongst scholars, after all there is more evidence of Jesus than there is of Julius Caesar. You will likely find this argument from someone untrained in history or archaeology. After all it's hard to believe that a figment of the imagination was "crucified, and buried", and accounted of in various histories (that of Josephus, Herodotus and Tacitus). But there is an argument (which I used in my RE GCSE back in 2002 and got a B for actually!) that Rome invented Christ as a means to subvert the Jewish faith. Now, there are so many holes in this argument, as to why Rome would care about Jewish belief, why they would invent a false god who would eventually topple their own "civilized" beliefs, and also how they could come up with this - inevitably fulfilling prophecies that the Jews themselves had never thought of. The logistics of hanging a man on a cross, paying off the disciples, re-inventing an alien religion, and after all that, creating a PACIFIST religion which denies Caesar as god, yet the Jews acknowledged Caesar's divinity "We only have one King- Caesar". It makes no sense.
Josephus: Antiquities 18.3.3 Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.
2. The disciples stole the body. Yes, this old chestnut remains today, this makes little sense, the disciples steal the body and yet proclaim him alive - even going to their deaths? If Jesus was dead, his church died with him. Theres no getting out of that unless the disciples had a death wish, which I doubt considering the gospel stories which often show the disciples afraid of death!
3. The crucifixion didn't actually kill Jesus: Some people believe that "in those days" medicine just hadn't advanced enough to know when people were dead. They believe that Jesus had slipped into deep unconsciousness after being whipped by a cat and nine tails, forced into near exhaustion by carrying the cross, being kicked and beaten by guards, having nails driven through his hands and feet, being fed vinegar instead of water, spending hours in agonizing pain on the cross and then having his heart pierced by a spear (blood and water spurting out indicates his heart was pierced) just put him into a coma.
Now I can't really describe how awful crucifixion is, but it plays on exhaustion. You see they force you to carry your cross which weighs alot, then they put you on the cross in such a position as every breath you take causes you to have to lift yourself. The more tired you get, the more you suffocate. This is why they break your legs if you aren't dead. Your own body weight suffocates you.
So after having his heart pierced, Jesus then lay in a tomb, with no water or food, gigantic welts and exposed ribcage on his back, and a heart with a spear sized hole in it.
4. A Disciple died instead. Basically some muslims believe that Jesus - a prophet - allowed one of his disciples to take his place, then Jesus could claim to be resurrected. However, if this were remotely possible, this would mean Jesus would - drive a nail through each hand, each foot, and stab himself in his side - as well as convince all his disciples to go along with this even TO DEATH.
Put yourself in this position, a friend of yours has just died, and now this guy who claimed to be the son of God is asking you to die as well, yet you know hes a liar, and as every Jew knows - God doesnt lie!
5. A Spiritual resurrection: Held by New Agers, they believe Jesus became an Ascended Master who raised himself to a higher plane of existence. They believe that Christians have the wrong end of the stick and Jesus wasnt the son of God, but on a quest for godhood. Just like Buddha.
Now, these arguments dont exist in a vacuum, theres a good reason why they exist. With 2000 years between the cross and today, anyone can say anything and there is literally no proof either way. I could say that there are fairies living on Jupiter, but unless I and my opponent could go there we can't prove it right or wrong. This is what feeds the debate on this, Christians will vehemently defend the resurrection, Opponents will attack it. There is a real hatred of the faith these days, many see it as the cause of all the world's problems - along with other religions. Best to reply with love.
This is no comprehensive guide to arguments against the resurrection, there are likely more. But I just hope that this gives you some common sense arguments, or a new perspective on and for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Next Part I will definitely cover the other resurrection - OURS.
That will be a few weeks away, other stuff to come in the meanwhile.