Ed Babinski - Jordan exchange (Part 1)

 

Ed Babinski and Jordan copied me in on a discussion that Ed initiated regarding their respective deconversions/conversions. Since much intriguing material was discussed about the resurrection and only a shortened version is available on Jordan's website I have obtained both Jordan and Ed's permission to post the full discussion here. This will be of particular interest to those following the discussion with Jordan I am having on the resurrection. Particularly interesting is the letter Ed wrote to Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Liberty University, Dr. Gary Habermas. I have put Ed's emails in the light brown colour ("wheat") and Jordan's in white. Since they were forwarded and copied to me I did not always have the header and date information, but the order should be correct. Any new emails will be added asap as they are received.

 

 
---------- Original Message ---------------------------------- From: Ed Babinski Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 21:13:31 -0400

Hi G.Z.,

I'm Ed Babinski editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists (Prometheus Books, 1995).

I enjoyed reading your testimony. http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/docs_files/birth_files/02birth.htm

I've read tons of religious testimonies over the decades, from all sides, from one religion to another and vice versa.  And spoken with such people in person as well.

I was a Christian activist in high school and college but I left the fold after vigorous written debates, hundreds of letters long, with two former Christians who had left it before me.  Both of their testimonies are also in Leaving the Fold.

In your testimony you seem to have portrayed atheists as unable to read or understand either the Bible or Ben Franklin,  while Tim LaHaye and Hugh Ross emerged as the voice of reason.    (Yet when you filled in the blanks in the Franklin quotation I don't see how adding "like other dissenters" effectively changes the meaning of Ben's admission that he "held doubts as to Christ's divinity." )

You also claimed that the Bible prophecies prove something.  They proved the opposite to me after I compared the O.T. prophecies in context with what the N.T. authors were trying to make them say.

You also blamed all the negatives of modern day America on secularism, not seeing any negatives in America of the past.   Nor considering a host of sociological reasons for America of the present.    I would say that America is a nation rich with guns, money, advertising, obesity, greed, and sex.  But it is also a nation rich in churches, preachers, radio and TV religious broadcasters and with a far higher percentage of evangelical Christians per capita than many nations that have demonstrably lower crime rates, higher literacy, lower abortion rates, etc.  The Scandinavian nations, and Japan come to mind in those respects.

It would seem that your conversion also centered round a joyous feeling, a feeling this was IT.  Many conversions to a host of different religions and denominations and even cults come down to people saying they KNOW it's right because it feels right.   I too experienced a wonderfully joyful sensation (a few years into my conversion) that I wrote about in my own testimony in Leaving the Fold.

My greatest learning experiences came latter though, via contact with others whose intelligence and facility at communication I admired, and whom I tried valiantly and with prayer and faithfulness and intelligence to show that they should reenter the fold rather than leave it.  They didn't reenter it, though I found in the end after about five years of debating, that I could no longer honestly say I believed the things I had formerly about Christ and Christianity.

As a Christian I was a loving activist.  I didn't preach intolerance like Rev. Phelps or Falwell.  I preached the love of God. I invited people to our campus group and to church. I held free book tables on campus, leaving out tracts and books and even some records I felt that God might use to bring more people into the fold.  I read Lewis, the Inklings, Chesterton, Schaeffer, Little, Stott, McDowell.  And a host of testimony books and also listened exclusively to Christian rock music (of the 1970s), because I would have agreed with you at that time that it was the only thing worth singing about.  I wrote my own Christian tunes and still have the book containing their lyrics.

It was my study of the Bible that led me out, mostly the prophecies, and what Jewish scholars were saying about them in their original Hebrew contexts, and about the use of the Old Testament by Christians in general. Made me consider that maybe the Bible of the Hebrews doesn't agree quite so easily with the "New Testament."  Not in theology, soteriology, prophecies, etc.

I also studied the "coming soon" predictions of judgment in the N.T. (Preterism seems to make more sense than say, Tim LaHaye's premllennialism, but still, the way that the last written N.T. letters, like 2nd Peter include excuses for the late arrival, makes it obvious that early on in Christianity, predictions had been made of Jesus's soon return, predictions that had originally been understood in more than just a figurative sense. And the predictions did not come true and began to require excuses.)

I also found it curious that Satan was mentioned so infrequently in the O.T.    In the O.T.  Yahweh does the killing, commanding armies to kill every breathing thing, even pregnant women and children. And disobedience of such commands was met with death.   Yahweh also allegedly cursed people's wombs (even with misconceptions if you read what Hosea says). And Yahweh sent plagues and famines so that children were left to suck the withered breasts of their dying or starving mothers, or be eaten by their own parents.  The O.T. also boasts that Yahweh drowned an entire world of men, women and children.  (Imagine how such actions would have stained the reputation of a devil.)

Then in the N.T.   "Satan's"  a major player though still, not causing nearly as much trouble as Yahweh causes when he has a mind to, if you believe the O.T.

I think I also tired of the apocalyptic motifs in general.   I could see such motifs at work in writings that preceded the N.T. and works that paralleled those in N.T. times.

After leaving the fold I recognized that I had been manic-depressive for a long time as an activist Christian.  I'm much more even keeled today. After leaving the fold I also gave up activism.  I have only been a rare attendee of any sort of atheist or freethought group.  I do belong to an e-group called exitfundyism but it's only for people needing a shoulder to cry on or vent or a bit of advice or have questions.  But I don't go out waving signs. Or handing out tracts on the street.  I love family, friends, family, music and comedy and intelligent discussions. I have Christian friends who play chess, ping pong, whom I work with. I've even gone to church with them -- very occasionally.    I agree totally with your view that "church politics" can be found in any political organization, even atheist ones.    I'd sooner choose individuals to connect with than organizations.

I also agree with America's founding fathers, concerning the benefits of diversity.   If more people truly recognized the full range of diversity of beliefs and testimonies and experiences we'd all be better off.  It would add more genuine humility to everyone's views, more understanding. We'd probably discover that the things that people with the most diverse religious and political beliefs hold in common, ring out the truest, the most universally.   In fact, that was the reason why the book I edited included testimonies of people who left their "fundamentalist Christianities" behind for more moderate to liberal pastures, and also for other religions, as well as for agnosticisms and atheisms.  I wasn't trying to prove that everyone has to end up at exactly the same infallible destination.  Though I do see it as a truism that moderate/liberals of all the world's different religions and denominations get along pretty well together, while the more fundamentalistic members of even the same religion or denomination tend to get along less well together.  (Diversity also seems to frighten the more fundamentalistic among us. They react in a more reactionary fashion when faced with genuine diversity. They want the Bible taught in school but not other holy books.  And certainly not all of them taught with the same reverence and seriousness with devout and serious members of each religion speaking to the class, telling them how and why they converted.   And of course fundamentalists may want I.D. taught in school, but not that man might be the result of alien biotechs doing a Sim World project.  And they certainly don't want students raising other questions regarding accelerating arms races in nature, et al.   Ever read my paper, "Why We Believe in a Designer?" )

Best, Ed

 


Does that mean you don't buy the veracity of the Resurrection?

--
"Jordan"
===============================
G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se.
http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan
===============================

---------- Original Message ---------------------------------- From: Ed Babinski Date: Mon, 3 Sep 22 2:11:3 -4

With what part of the "My Position" portion of my opening page http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/default.htm) are you at odds?

Ed:   I read your opening page and your testimony before contacting you. And I applaud your skeptical outlook and approach.  So we'll stick with the points you find the most clear cut and convincing from your opening page. Though to be honest, I bet we have both debated people on this issue and other issues, and never convinced our partners to switch "sides" on anything we each consider "major" or "essential."   In fact, I've read dozens of such detailed debates and never seen a person switch sides on major issues.   All of Craig's opponents and Habermas's remain in the same place as do Craig and Habermas.   Though to be doubly honest, you and I share something unique, we each switched sides at least one time in our lives.   And we both know of others who switched also.  (In fact even in the book, WHY CHRISTIAN KIDS LEAVE THE FOLD, the author, who is an evangelical Christian, bemoans the fact that a close friend of his who used to preach boldly to atheists about the superiority of Christian faith, eventually left the fold.)

My general opinion is that "proof" is a much more slippery subject than most evangelical Christian apologists recognize it to be.  Take for instance the origin of legends.  There is no sure formula for predicting how long it takes legendary materials to accrue. In the cases of the founder of the B'hai faith, or Halle Sallase, or the most famous Jewish medieval messiah (Shabbati Sevi), or even in Josephus, legends can accrue quite fast, from days to within a generation. Depending on the kind of figure Jesus was and the devotion he inspired as the enthusiasm spread (during quite an overly enthusiastic era in Palestine), legendary materials could have accrued fast. The Evangelical apologist assumes this was not the case. The doubter assumes otherwise.  Each can site examples from history to "prove" their point.  (I believe I can even site examples from the N.T. itself, viewed chronologically, to demonstrate the doubter's point of view.)

 My Position

 Nearly all New Testament scholars, regardless of their theological leanings,  agree:

 a. Jesus Christ existed.

 ED:   Agreed, but I would not say "Christ," but Jesus of Nazareth existed. Though  sorting through exactly what he may or may not have said or taught or did (and  what it all meant in its original historical context) remains a task that keeps  historians busy. All of the alleged words of Jesus could fit inside a 16 page  booklet. It's also important to compare what different Gospels have Jesus saying,  teaching, and doing. Take the synoptics and John for instance. And also study  such sayings and doings in terms of the order of the N.T.'s composition.

 ----------------------

 b. He faced crucifixion.

 ED: Agreed.  Roman's favorite means of capital punishment.

 --------------------

 c. By Godly hook, earthly crook, or whatever, there is no body.

 ED:  Agreed, there is no body.  But perhaps the question of whether or not an  identifiable body could have been produced after so many weeks after Jesus's  death is more to the point. According to the reports that Luke later collected  and incorporated into his Gospel/Acts "the resurrection" was not preached until  weeks after Jesus was dead.

 And, how Paul imagined the "resurrection" and Jesus's subsequent "appearances"  remains a theological point of contention.

 --------------------

 d. Jesus' followers saw SOMETHING they believed to be a risen Jesus.

 ED:   Disagree. The most we can claim is that Paul claimed that some of Jesus's  followers claimed they saw something.  The earliest claim in I Cor. is that Paul  taught that Jesus "appeared" to Peter and then to the twelve, and "appeared" to  James and then to the twelve. And those stories, obtained via Paul, are second  hand, not first hand.  Paul's own first-hand story about an "appearance" simply  consists of a light and a voice. People who experience visions and/or NDEs from  many different religions have seen and heard as much.  Catholics see Mary too,  though Protestants do not. American Indians see animal totems. Thailand Buddhists  see appropriate figures from their religion when they have NDEs. (There's a  website if you plug in  Thai Near Death Experiences).  Most people who have NDEs,  if they see bright figures and hear a voice at all, are unable to identify it.  Though I would assume that many of them who are religious might tend to identify  it within the sphere of their individual beliefs.

 ---------------------

 A missing body and convinced followers do not a resurrection make. Therefore, I  ask the skeptic to outline the rest of the story. Joint hallucinations: Where is  the psychological evidence?

 ED:   I admit that I do not know what Peter allegedly saw and what the twelve  then saw after him, nor do I know what James allegedly saw and what the twelve  then saw after him. But neither do I have Peter's and James's words for it, nor  the twelve. Instead I have only Paul's, written 15 or more years later.

 Robert M. Price has suggested that the line in 1st Cor. about the "appearances"  might even be a later insertion, his article is online at The Journal of Higher  Criticism, and also here:

 http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/index.shtml

 Also note that in 1st Cor.,  Peter and then James are each said to have seen  Jesus singularly followed by "the twelve," it's almost like a formula of some  sort, a way of legitimizing their claims to being leaders of the early church.  Does this hint at some dissension as to leadership? Maybe Paul didn't get  involved in that controversy, but listed each claimant's separate claims to  authority, i.e., their "visions" side by side, followed by "the twelve."  Anyway,  these are second hand claims being related by Paul and not by the people  involved.  We don't know what they saw, and neither does Paul tell us, like how  the visions appeared to Peter or James, what information was divulged during such  visions, where the visions took place, or when.  Paul doesn't tell us a thing  about allegedly being "taken up into the third heaven" either. So much missing  that I would be curious to know more about, say, before committing myself to  believing it all.  I mean, lets say some people of certain sects had visions  during this tense period of unrest and rabid enthusiasm in Palestine, a time of  self-proclaimed prophets, charismatic healers, desert apocalyptists and unrest of  the poor and unrest of the Jews with Roman and it's paganism and authority. We  know at most that one of those Jewish sects back then became a world religion (by  hook or crook, though Constantine's conversion helped, just as Asoka's helped  Buddhism flourish in India, and Islamic conversions of men of power helped Islam  spread and flourish and political revolutions helped communism flourish) after  piggy backing itself on Judaism and certain Hellenistic ideas.  Even if visions  of some ineffable sort happened (I don't doubt that people claim to have had  visions, especially people dedicated to specific beliefs, people in different  religions,  sects and denominations round the world) but even if a religion grew  up around such a thing why would that make it the one true religion? And why  couldn't you also doubt other aspects of that one true religion? And still asked  questions of its holy books and the interpretations of those books?

 Speaking yet more broadly and skeptically, it is a known phenomena in tightly  knit religious groups that when a leader claims to see visions, the followers may  also, or at least agree with the leader.  Joseph Smith got a dozen or so people  to attest to having seen the fabulous gold plates. I'm not sure about the case of  Mohammed and the angel he allegedly took dictation from, if anyone claimed to see  that happened, or evidence of it, or of his fabulous rising up into heaven on the  back of a stallion. But religious leaders have claimed to see things or their  followers agree they have seen things, even to the extent of agreeing they saw it  themselves.

 Howard M. Teeple, a former fundamentalist with degrees in library science and  later, theology, examined the reasons why Jesus's followers probably would not  have simply acquiesced in the fact of his death, nor accepted that he was simply  dead and gone. Apparently even in John the Baptists' day people many people did  not think that John the Baptist was simply dead and gone, but that, he was coming  back.  The poor were oppressed, and also felt threatened by a combination of  lofty rich political/church unions. So the poor felt lost, and in need of  somebody on their level, a hope to sustain them. To admit defeat would be to bow  the knee to those powers they despised.

 The nation of Israel was oppressed too, over and over again, and that only made  their faith stronger and their claims of the victory of their nation's god, as     something to hold onto deeper and make broader more universal.  In fact, there  are many loan words and borrowings that Israel made from other religions that  increased the universality of their god. From Egypt they gained metaphors and  ideas from Amen Ra as seen in an ancient hymn to Amen Ra as also seen in one of  the psalms. From Baal they gained metaphors and ideas of Yahweh as no longer  simply a god of war, but a god of the land and pastures, and of the need to  "ransom" their first-born (whom the Baalites were sacrificing). Later, from  Persia they gained the notion of a truly universal deity, and perhaps of life  after death in paradise or torment, and a resurrection (Daniel). At any rate,  scholars can trace some of these borrowings of words and metaphors for greatness,  just as they can trace the borrowings of wisdom sayings from other ancient  cultures that found their ways into the "Proverbs" (of Solomon). (Likewise the  N.T. is filled with borrowings. The word "gospel" for instance, was borrowed from  Hellenism and invocations to the Emperor Augustus. "Virgin birth" a very popular  idea back then, also applied to Roman Emperors. Vertically rising up into heaven  was also a common conception in both Hellenism and Judaism and all the world's  religions. Sacrifice, also common.

 At any rate, with oppression comes resentment, and with resentment comes the need  to make your case bigger and better, to defy the authorities. Is this done  consciously? Like creating a fairy tale on purpose? No. It's like the way two  people debate try to win the other over and start citing half remembered facts  and without even noticing it, the story gets more airtight in the retelling and  in the questioning, a little gets added here and there, until you're certain  nobody can doubt you now.

 Which reminds me, there was a book that discussed a UFO cult whose prophecies had  failed. Some of them fell away but the few members that remained had a stronger  faith than ever! It's a type of psychological phenomenon that's universal. It  made the 7th Day Adventist church grow, a huge Christian church in Korea grow,  the Jehovah's Witnesses grow, even the first century Christians grow -- after  predictions of the soon coming judgment of the world did not pan out.

 Similarly, to the earliest followers of Jesus, the idea of everything ending with  their charismatic founder's death was unthinkable in ways that we perhaps today  cannot really fathom. While the notion of resurrection WAS thinkable back then  (as when people even hoped that Jesus was John the Baptist come back, and in  apocalyptic hopes of a general resurrection at that time and place). Neither do  we have the same apocalyptic otherworldly fervour that many first-century

 Palestinians had.  Josephus mentions some Egyptian fellow who had tens of  thousands of followers who followed him into the desert. And the Essenes also  held to expectations similar to some held by the earliest followers of Christ.  (See the new book, The Messiah Before Jesus).

 If you want to read more about such matters I'd suggest section two, "The  Evangelical Apologists Are They Reliable?" of the following book online:

>http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/beyond_born_again/index.shtml

 Though to get a taste of what I said in my very first paragraph above, i.e., of  comparing the story of the resurrection in a chronological fashion, I'd suggest  my letters with the resurrection apologist at Liberty University, Gary Habermas.  (Not available online, just via snail mail.)  The points that I make in those  letters are as essential and clear-sighted to me as the points you make on your  homepage.

 Here's just one point from my Habermas discussion, dealing with the story of the  "raising of Lazarus":

 Before discussing the "raising of Lazarus," a story found only in the Gospel of  John, let's discuss the Gospel of John in relation to the other Gospels. In  particular let's discuss one story in John in relation to the other Gospels. I'm  talking about the story of Mary, sister of Martha, sitting at Jesus's feet and  anointing them with expensive perfume and wiping Jesus's feet with her hair in  the town of Bethany. (John 12:3) Stories like that one are found in the earlier  three Gospels:

 Mark 14:3 -- An unnamed woman anointed Jesus's head in Bethany at the house of  Simon the Leper.

 Luke 7:37-38 -- An unnamed sinner anointed Jesus's feet and wiped them with her  hair in Nain at the house of a Pharisee.

 Luke 1:38-39 -- Mary, the sister of Martha, listened at Jesus's feet in an  unnamed town at her house.

 Did you ever get confused about similar events like those listed above? Say, in a  Sunday School discussion, you mixed up the name of the town where the woman  anointed Jesus's "head" with the name of the town where the woman anointed  Jesus's "feet." Was it Nain or Bethany? Or you confused the woman who "listened"  at Jesus's feet with the woman who "anointed" Jesus's feet? The unnamed sinner  lady in Nain, became, until you looked it up, Mary, sister of Martha? Well,  something like that appears to have happened in the minds of Christians before  the Gospel of John was composed, the last written of the four Gospels. By that  time, similar persons and events from the earlier Gospels had become amalgamated  in people's minds. In John 12:3, Mary, the woman who simply "listened" at Jesus's  feet is now also anointing them and wiping them with her hair. Thus the unnamed  woman of the town of Nain became amalgamated in people's minds with "Mary,  Martha's sister." And the unnamed town where Mary lived became amalgamated with  the town where the woman who anointed Jesus's "head" lived, "Bethany." And Mary  used expensive "spikenard ointment" on them, as the lady in Mark (and possibly  Luke) did. Only this time is it not at Simon the Leper's house, nor at the house  of a Pharisee, but at "Mary's house."

 What does the above discussion have to do with the "resurrection of Lazarus"  story? Well, it shows how the Gospel of John amalgamates things from earlier  Gospels. And only the Gospel of John depicts Lazarus as a real person. Luke  mentions a real Mary and Martha, but says nothing about them having a brother,  nor in which town they lived. So the author(s) of the Gospel of John appear to  have amalgamated Mary and Martha, the town of Bethany, and the "Lazarus" from a  parable in the Gospel of Luke -- a parable in which a poor beggar named "Lazarus"  dies and goes to "Abraham's bosom," while a rich man suffering in nearby "Hades"  sees Lazarus and pleads with Abraham to "send Lazarus to my Father's house, to  warn my brothers?so they may repent [and avoid going to Hades]," to which the  answer was, "?neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead."

 Think about it?a "Lazarus" who dies and someone who hopes Lazarus will be "raised  from the dead" to "persuade others" "to repent." But such persuasion is predicted  not to work. Where does that appear outside of Luke?

 Why in John.  John's "Lazarus" is now a concrete person, the "brother" of Mary  and Martha from Luke. (Neither is this Lazarus a poor "beggar," since he's rich  enough to have his own tomb and live in a house with his "sisters.") He is  "raised from the dead" -- a parable come true. And, as predicted in the parable,  such a miracle fails to persuade those who refuse to listen to Moses and the  prophets, namely the Pharisees: "Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary  and beheld what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the  Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done." The Pharisees refuse  to repent, and even decide, after hearing of this great miracle, to seize Jesus  and have him executed. What a coincidence! Two "Lazaruses," one in Luke and one  in John, both die, both illustrate that "even though he be raised from the dead,  they will not be persuaded," in fact, "Lazarus's resurrection" in the Gospel of  John elicits even a stronger negative response.

 Not surprisingly, when you add a whole new miracle found in none of the other  Gospels, and make it the focal point for the Pharisees' decision to have Jesus  seized and executed, you have to do something with the fact that all three of the  earlier Gospels agreed that it was Jesus's overturning of the tables in the  Temple that made the Pharisees decide to have Jesus crucified. So the author(s)  of John decided to remove the table-turning episode from the end of Jesus's  ministry and move it to the beginning of Jesus's ministry. All so that the  Pharisees would decide to have Jesus seized and killed due to the unsettling  nature of the stunning resurrection miracle that was added to the last Gospel.

 The question remains, did the "raising of Lazarus" actually take place or might  the story have been a later invention, based on an amalgamation of information  and names found in earlier Gospels? The moving of Jesus's "table-turning" episode  from the end of the earlier Gospels to the beginning of the last written Gospel  adds to the force of such a question, since the author(s) of John made it appear  quite obvious that it was now necessary to make room at the end of their Gospel  to display the totally new miracle and make it the new reason why the Pharisees  decided to seize and crucify Jesus.

 And there is also the even wider question raised by the fact that the Gospel of  John concentrates on a handful of major miracles in Jesus's ministry, the Lazarus  miracle being used to illustrate that Jesus was "the resurrection and the life."  The author(s) have Jesus speak those very words, along with a lot of "I ams," one  after each major miracle. How unlike the Jesus who is portrayed in the earlier  three Gospels, who asked his disciples not to tell anyone he was the Messiah, and  who did not speak in such an "I am" manner even after healing people, performing  exorcisms, or raising the synagogue ruler's daughter who was "at the point of  death" (in Mark's version) or who had "just died" (per Matthew's version).

           The Gospel of John is a theological creation from its opening verses of Greek  philosophy --  that the author(s) depict not as Jesus's words but as the author's  own interpretation of Jesus ("In the beginning was the Word?") -- to Jesus's  long-winded prayer in the garden, allegedly spoken on the eve of his death.  Keeping in mind that the latter prayer was uttered only once in Jesus's life, and  while the apostles were all asleep, or at least falling in and out of sleep, it  seems quite a feat to be able to write down all twenty-six verses of it (chapter  17). The Gospel of John also ends by stating that it was written "that ye may  believe." How objective could such a work be?

 -    E.T.B.

 ADDENDA:

 JESUS'S PARABLE IN LUKE ABOUT "THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS" WAS NOT UNIQUE

 [A story about two men dying, one a rich man and the other a beggar, with the  former suffering in the next life while the latter was blessed, was not uncommon  in the ancient world. - E.T.B.] [And] it is quite possible that a version of the  Egyptian and Jewish story was current in first-century Palestine and that Jesus  would have known it.

 -    Richard Bauckham, "The Rich Man and Lazarus: The Parable and the Parallels,"  New Testament Studies, Vol. 37, 1991, pp. 225-246

 The belief that everyone would one day be "raised" or "resurrected" from the dead  appeared late in the history of Judaism, and was most likely borrowed from the  ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism. In fact such a belief only began to  appear in Apocalypses written just two to three hundred years before the advent  of Christianity. Even in Jesus's day the Jewish group known as the Sadducees  continued to argue that there was no Scriptural warrant for switching from the  old Jewish idea of death as the end of life to the then "modern" idea of a  general resurrection of the dead.

 -    E.T.B.

 Anyone who was an orthodox Jewish believer, who was determined to adhere to "the  faith of our fathers," who did not want to relinquish the Old Testament and  desired "no other gospel" (and this was all true of the Sadducees) was bound to  reject this teaching of "modern theology." One did not want to fall victim to  "modernism!" But the Sadducees could not hold back the tide. Expectation of the  resurrection of the dead had become general among the Jews by their day.  -    Willi Marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth

 -------------

 JORDAN: Persecution of persons who knew they had asserted lies

 ED: Exactly what did each persecuted person assert concerning Jesus's

 resurrection?  We have Paul's words which don't describe much about "resurrection  appearances."  He seems more concerned with where Jesus must be put in the  spiritual hierarchy "at the right hand of the Father, enthroned in heavenly  places," than about describing appearances.

 While the Gospels along with Acts, all having been composed later than 1st Cor.,  raise questions of a different sort. I delve into those questions in my letters  with Habermas.

 ------------------

 Where is the psychological evidence? Legends formed in decades, not centuries:  What of historians' criteria regarding legends?

 ED: There are no hard criteria of that sort. And, for that particular time and  place, with so much unrest and turmoil and apocalyptic hopes, and a small cult or  cults enthusiastically arising, I would not be willing to place bets on the odds  of legends forming over "long" periods, but probably shorter ones.  And in fact,  I can see some evidence of legends evolving simply by comparing the Gospel  accounts, as I pointed out to Habermas.

 



Hi Ed,

I understand your arguments. I presented many of them myself. They have
already resurfaced in my debates
(http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/debates_files/debates.htm).

I'm pretty sure I've already answered them but you are welcome and
encouraged to contact me further regarding unaddressed resurrection issues.

In Truth,

--
"Jordan"
===============================
G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se.
http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan
===============================
--

 

Ed then copied Jordan and I the letter Ed wrote to Christian apologist Dr. Gary Habermas.


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