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Why did the apostles risk being persecuted if the Jesus resurrection didn't occur?

I’ve slowly been tipping toward atheism and doing a fair bit of research however one claim that Christians seem to make is the above questions. They also couple this with the fact that apostles weren’t exactly gung-ho for Jesus immediately after the crucifixion. Please offer your thoughts.

Posted: March 30th 2010

George Locke

If Jesus claimed he would be bodily resurrected and then was not, this ought to cast doubt onto his divinity. If Jesus never made such a claim, then why should his death be cause for alarm?

You’re wondering about the truth of the resurrection story. If you start your inquiry accepting everything else the Bible says, then of course you’re going to believe in the resurrection too.

Posted: April 2nd 2010

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Eric_PK

I think this is one of the silliest questions that comes up. I used to be surprised that people don’t see the holes in before the ask it, but not any more.

My first thought is “why do people think that the events that are mentioned in the bible actually happened that way?”

It doesn’t take a lot of bible study to realize that the gospel accounts really don’t mesh well with each other – there are differences in opinion on fact and they have different tones and goals.

And it doesn’t take much study of history to note that the gospels were not written at the time Jesus is said to have lived. Mark (believed to be the earliest written gospel) dates somewhere around 60-70 CE, 30 years or so after the purported death of Jesus.

Before that they were oral traditions, and I’m sure you’ve noticed how much the stories that your family tells drift in 5 years, much less 30 years.

And the gospels were written by people who were advocates of christianity – they are first-century commercials for christianity. I would treat their claims with the same amount of skepticism I give to an infomercial.

My second thought is “why would somebody think that a willingness to suffer for a cause is evidence for the validity of the cause?”

History is littered with the corpses of people who died for causes that are at least extremely suspect. The Heaven’s Gate folks showed ultimate devotion to their cause, but that didn’t mean that there actually was a spaceship hiding behind comet Hale-Bopp.

Posted: March 31st 2010

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SmartLX www

My most recent thoughts and discussion on the subject are summarised here.

Posted: March 30th 2010

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Blaise www

Just examine the assumptions in the question, and you should get a pretty clear picture. Assumption #1 – There is no reason to risk persecution unless it guarantees a supernatural afterlife. Assumption #2 – The stories of the apostles are true. Assumption #3 – The events in question, now that we’ve assumed they are true, could only have occurred if the idea of a god and supernatural afterlife.

Number 1 is obviously silly, as people risk the same or worse every day for much less important things, like money, power, or fame.

Number 2 is demonstrably false, as not only is there NO historical evidence whatsoever for the events described in the New Testament (and in fact much contradictory evidence), but the gospels all contradict each other, as well.

Number 3 ignores any number of non-supernatural possibilities, all of which would make a much more likely explanation. They could have been using a religion as a means to achieve secular power, they could have been deranged, they could have been naive or mentally deficient, etc…

Posted: March 30th 2010

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logicel

This is another very common question. Refer here, here, and here for answers to similar questions.

Original sin is a foundational Christian belief. Therefore, the resurrection has very important significance—it lends support to the existence of original sin. Why else would the father of Jesus sacrifice his own son unless there was a 'good’ reason for such odd and glaringly unloving behavior?

The followers of Jim Jones also thought he was prophetic/divine and committed mass suicide upon his command. They had no evidence that Jones were divine, it was their faith, that is, belief without evidence that allowed them to accept an extraordinary claim without extraordinary evidence. Their behavior certainly did not confirm the divinity of Jim Jones as their mass suicide did not pitch in for the lacking evidence.

The apostles could have simply lied, or they could have believed honestly (but wrongly) that Jesus was resurrected. They certainly were not impartial, regardless of any danger their belief might have put them in, or their less than perfect acceptance of the personality of Jesus. A Christian’s critical faculty is often not applied to such a threatening examination as that there is insufficient evidence that Jesus was resurrected.

Most importantly, there were no contemporary accounting (the apostles’ accounts were belated) of this astounding event or the new testament describing hundreds of dead bodies being resurrected from graves (something that contemporary historians would have noted also).

Posted: March 30th 2010

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