Suppose the Resurrection was proven false, what would explain the Gospels?

Whatsisface

Well-known member
If there was no resurrection then our faith is useless. 1 Corinthians 15

However as it says in Acts when presented with the resurrection some sneered but some wanted to know more.
... so at least its been presented here
Ok, but what would explain the Gospels?
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
Would be difficult ... as an old atheist friend once said to me " that Bible is spooky, it cant be man made"
This is a very large thread now and only two or three people have directly given an answer, which is odd because an answer is quite easy.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member

Suppose the Resurrection was proven false, what would explain the Gospels?​

there are basically 2 choices:
The authors knew resurrections was a lie and were deliberately attempting to mislead others
or the authors believed the resurrection was true because they were misled by others and/or were mistaken.
1Thess,
In this thread, some people have been answering with another option, that the Christian story was meant as an allegory, parable, or moral/spiritual story, based on Jesus and Jesus' teachings. Thus, it was not a lie, but a hagiographic spiritual story that guided adherents.

One problem that I have with this theory is that Paul and Acts seem to take the story literally, and Luke wrote Luke and Acts.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
The question is what would inspire the writters of the Gospels to write about things they weren't eye witnesses to?
I think that John and Matthew were witnesses of the gospel events. Irenaeus in the 2nd century wrote that John lived in the c. 90's AD. The Gospel of John is considered written around this time, maybe in c. 100. John is called the Beloved Disciple in it.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
I think that John and Matthew were witnesses of the gospel events. Irenaeus in the 2nd century wrote that John lived in the c. 90's AD. The Gospel of John is considered written around this time, maybe in c. 100. John is called the Beloved Disciple in it.
My understanding is that the scholarly consensus has it that the Gospels authors are anonymous, not eyewitnesses and were writing decades after the events.
 

Leatherneck0311

Well-known member
1Thess,
In this thread, some people have been answering with another option, that the Christian story was meant as an allegory, parable, or moral/spiritual story, based on Jesus and Jesus' teachings. Thus, it was not a lie, but a hagiographic spiritual story that guided adherents.

One problem that I have with this theory is that Paul and Acts seem to take the story literally, and Luke wrote Luke and Acts.
Suppose/explain=height of denial.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Logically possible or impossible? Irrelevant! It is logically possible that gravitation could not exist. For a Christian, the resurrection is proven subjectively true by experience with the risen Lord and verified objectively by the gospels. An analogy with the foolish OP would be this equally foolish question:

Suppose the existence of gravitation were proven false. What would explain the validity of F = Gm1m2/r2?

In the first sentence above our experience with gravitation shows its reality and the consequent foolishness of pondering its non-existence, while the second contains its objective verification.
The gravity example is a helpful analogy:
If gravity were proven false, then to explain the validity of statements related to gravity, one would want to consider what about gravity was proven false, or how it was proven false.

In the case of the Resurrection, CS Lewis did a thought experiment, where he considered alternatives to Jesus' divinity, and he came up with his Lord, Liar, Lunatic trilemma. That is, for Lewis, the alternatives to Jesus' divinity were less likely than Jesus' divinity, so he concluded that Jesus was divine.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
He doesn't hand out souvenirs.
I don't know. Maybe He did sometimes because He was a carpenter.
Bread, wine, and fish are not quite souvenirs.
When he gave his cross to Simon of Cyrene, it may have been not so much given as taken from him...
Paul handed out cloths to adherents in Acts.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
So how do you know you're experience of Jesus is the real thing?

There are two possibilities as far as I can see, it really is from Jesus, or you just think it is, and the whole experience is from your belief alone. If someone truly thinks they have a relationship with the creator of the universe who loves them and will give them eternal life that will have a powerful effect. Just as adherents of other religions have an experiential relationship with different God's to yours. None of them say it's Jesus on the other end.

So, how have you determined it's the real thing, or from with you alone?
I think that people's senses of the presence or reality of God or divine persons counts as evidence, but maybe not proof.

For example, certain dogs have a great sense of smell. If they smell a person's trace, it is evidence that the person was present. However, it's not full proof because the dog could be confused, could be smelling the person's stolen clothes without the person being ever present, etc.

Similarly, a person could believe and report that he is seeing a small pink elephant, and it is evidence that he is seeing one, even if you don't believe his report or find the existence of small pink elephants to be ridiculous.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
I think that people's senses of the presence or reality of God or divine persons counts as evidence, but maybe not proof.

For example, certain dogs have a great sense of smell. If they smell a person's trace, it is evidence that the person was present. However, it's not full proof because the dog could be confused, could be smelling the person's stolen clothes without the person being ever present, etc.

Similarly, a person could believe and report that he is seeing a small pink elephant, and it is evidence that he is seeing one, even if you don't believe his report or find the existence of small pink elephants to be ridiculous.
Thanks for a reasonable answer to my question, I think you're the only person ever to give an answer.

I can sort of agree that people's sense of God counts as evidence, but your answer doesn't say how you can determine whether it's the real thing or from the belief alone. Because of this I don't know how much weight to give to said evidence, particularly when adherents of other religions have the same sort of experience, but they get to different Gods. It indicates that the presence doesn't tell you which God.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
There are logically possibly reasons why it might have, such as the body being removed from the tomb and stories growing around this that Jesus had risen from the dead.
This is a common theory, eg. Grave robbers could have taken it for magical or talismanic purposes (eg. Mummy powder) or for potential grave goods in the shroud wrapping.

This theory has a few problems though. How common was it in Judea to rob not just grave riches, but bodies too? Plus, supposedly the wrapping was left in the tomb.

Another is that it's not enough to just think of the appearances as stories growing, eg. legends based on rumors generations later. John the Gospel author/source lived into the 90's AD, decades after Paul had already been preaching the appearances. Paul said that Jesus appeared to the 12, and most of the 12 were still alive at that time. So to think of the testimonies as just legends growing up like modern legends about Merlin isn't much of a specific explanation.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Suppose there wasn't, and that it was merely written that there were.

That's what the OP is asking you to consider.
Couldn't there hypothetically be witnesses who claimed to witness the narrated resurrection story events, even if the resurrection itself were false?
This hypothetical would still match the OP?
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
There technically are a few other explanations that either people generally disregard or are practically insufficient as explanations. One is that aliens, time travelers, angels, demons, etc. could have been messing with people's minds to make them envision the supernatural miracles, from the wine at Cana to the 40 days' appearances up to the Ascension. These go in the Outlandish category and anyway would still be relying on belief in the supernatural or in the extreme paranormal.

Then there are arcane theories like Atwill's theory that the Romans made an unusual fable, and the conspiracy theory that the Romans staged a magic trick for some purpose like pacifying the Jews. The Jesus seminar hypothesized that dogs ate His body, but this would not explain the appearances.
 

Lion IRC

Active member
I find the alternative explanations for the Gospel Resurrection account more implausible than the existing explanation.

But since the Op doesn't ask for more credible explanations, I'm gonna offer these;

- a huge bunch of unemployed pranksters with a martyr complex who enjoy persecution and torture thought it might be fun to troll the Roman authorities.

- Alien abduction. Area 51 - its all there.

- Quantum vacuum fluctuations. Spooky.

- Holographic universe simulated Resurrection. The Matrix.

- Roman authorities deep faked it. Big Brother. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
""That would be very stupid thing for the apostles to die for wouldn't it? A hoax?""
...
You're supposed to be thinking of the best explanation under the OP's hypothetical supposition, not the worst ones!
Well, the OP is asking for what would explain it, but it could be the case that no explanation is without serious difficulties.

For example, in your response, you suggested that the persecution might be misreported or that the witnesses might not have had a chance to recant....
Your response is reasonable....
But not without difficulties...
There was persecution in the 1st century of Christians based on Roman histories like Tacitus and Josephus' story of James' killing.
The Christians killed had many years to recant...
I understand that you mean that the scale of the Persecution could have been exaggerated...
But the quandary that @The Charismatic Lady presented is still a real difficulty for arguments against the Resurrection.

So the quandary still exists.
I welcome you to my thread on the arguments and counterarguments here:
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
that is perfectly valid to consider. and one that i pointed out earlier. as there are hundreds of saints an martyrs that died professing. now if it were a hoax then we would believe that many of those in on the hoax would have caved....yet none did....it makes no sense. We have liars lying to preserve their lives all the time and through all of history....yet we have believers enduring.... liars and hoaxers would not have done such.
let alone all the documented eye witnesses.... not just documented by the gospel but by other historic writings. and then there is the complex prophecies of the OT...that played out in the NT.... and then there are the many ..many historical references in the NT that historians now accept as true that they did not before ...until discoveries were made and documented.

I got into this argument on my thread on the Resurrection Arguments. It has several components:
  1. The apostles taught that they saw Christ resurrected physically. This was a collective teaching that they were all saying.
  2. The apostles must have known whether they were seeing Jesus resurrected physically. It wasn't something that they were confused about or misinterpreted.
  3. The apostles could not have knowingly lied about it. Why? Because
    1. (A) they knowingly expected death for their claims and
    2. (B) they wouldn't lie about something that they expected death for.

I want to deal with this point that you made:
now if it were a hoax then we would believe that many of those in on the hoax would have caved....yet none did...
How do we know as a fact that none "in on the hoax" caved? The NT does not even claim that none of the witnesses to the appearances ever caved.

Hypothetically, a few people could be in on the hoax, escape to India, and never be heard from again by the Judeans. Meanwhile, in India they could hypothetically be preaching to the tribes there, get killed by a village tribe, and recant under pressure just before they were killed. Meanwhile, back in Judea, no one ever heard of their recantation. This hypothetical scenario explains how people could get away with a hoax without being forced to admit it, yet without any recantation being known by the rest of the Church.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Besides, did you ever hear of the Antiquities of the Jews, specifically book 20? You think the dead rising in such numbers on such a concentrated focus of time would escape the antiquities? What kind of daft do you have to be to ignore this?
You refer to Matt. 27:
"the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

I recall a tradition outside the Bible that 2 sons of a high priest reenlivened at this time. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details.

One problem with proving or disproving the verse in Matthew is that it doesn't give more details about this incident. It makes it sound like dozens of graves physically broke open within a few days after Easter Sunday, walked into Jerusalem and were seen by dozens.
However, closer analysis raises questions like whether the physical graves broke open physically and literally, or if the grave opening refers to a transformed spirit body rising through a closed grave. If it means the former, then who if anyone witnessed the grave literally opening?

Depending on the details of the event, Josephus might not have included it, considering the event to be unsubstantiated visions.

If you are looking for stronger counterarguments to the Resurrection of Christ, let me point you to my thread on the topic.
 
Top