Did Jesus Really Die and Rise?

Leila Miller

Christian belief boils down to one thing: The literal, bodily resurrection of a man named Jesus, who lived in first century Palestine.

If Jesus of Nazareth did not die on a Roman cross, if he was not buried, and if he did not rise again on the third day, alive, then you have no reason to give him or Christianity another thought. But if he did, then he deserves your full attention. As C.S. Lewis said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

To keep it short(ish), this post assumes that Jesus actually existed. There is a fringe group of atheists and others who argue that he never lived at all, but the “Jesus is myth” theory is rejected even by reputable secular historians and scholars.

Some theories claim that Jesus never actually died on the cross but merely fainted (the “swoon” theory), or that he was drugged and later revived. I believe those theories to be quite a stretch, so for this post, let’s assume that Jesus did truly die on that cross (a pretty safe assumption considering how good the Romans were at executions). If he truly died on that cross, then there are two possibilities (if we discount a “mass hallucination” of thousands of people for weeks):

1) He stayed dead, but his disciples pretended he rose.

2) He rose from the dead.

Let’s go with the first option. It seems okay until you think it through and consider human nature. Remember, the disciples’ hero and leader had been very publicly, brutally executed, and they knew they could be next. They were understandably fearful in the aftermath of the crucifixion. Their hopes were crushed, and their dreams had died with Jesus. They hid. They locked themselves away. They sat in mourning and defeat, hoping to stay unnoticed. They were not brave. They did not want to die.

So far so good, and in keeping with what we all know of human nature. Any reasonable person would have done the same. Human nature.

But now here’s where Option #1 goes a little wonky:

On the third day after Jesus’ gruesome death, one of the fearful, cowering disciples suddenly has an idea: “Let’s pretend Jesus didn’t stay dead! Let’s pretend he rose from the dead!”

Can you see the problem? What are the odds that someone would say that or even think that? Oh, probably…  zero.

But let’s say that for some inexplicable reason, it happened that way. The next thing we would have to believe with Option #1 is that everyone else thinks that is a great idea! Yep, even though everyone saw Jesus die a public death, and even though his body is decomposing in a heavily guarded tomb, all these frightened, demoralized folk think that a (literally unbelievable) hoax would be a fine idea right about now!

The followers of the dead man, somehow excited about perpetrating this lie, suddenly shed their massive fears, come out of hiding and boldly begin to tell people, with straight faces, that their friend’s corpse has just risen from the dead!

Are you still with me?

Okay, so even though the disciples know they are deceiving everyone, they go all over the place acting like Jesus really did rise from the dead despite all evidence to the contrary, and thousands of folks just naturally believe them! Can you imagine that such a thing could happen in real life? (Correct answer: No. It would never happen.)

But let’s keep going. That original group is actually starting to make people mad again. In fact, people want to kill them now for spreading this obvious lie and triggering mass conversions among the people (who are apparently not too bright).

So, the imprisonment and executions of the liars begin. Beatings, stonings, beheadings, crucifixions (upside down, even), and all sorts of ugliness awaits the perpetrators of the hoax. You can think of lots of folks who would keep up a hoax when facing those conditions, right?

Wrong. You can’t think of any. Because it’s illogical and unreasonable that any one person would consent to be tortured and killed for a known lie, and impossible that an entire group would agree to it, with not a single defector shouting, “Wait, we were just kidding! It’s a lie and I don’t want to die a brutal death for a crazy lie!” (Which is what a reasonable person would do.)

Again, it’s what we know of human nature. We might be willing to suffer, bleed and die for a loved one, or a nation, or a great cause. But no one would willingly die for, or convince his or her friends to die for, a lie.

It’s unreasonable. It’s illogical. It doesn’t happen. Option #1 is impossible.

Turns out, Option #2 is the only option that reasonably explains the actions of the disciples. It’s the only option that doesn’t fly in the face of human nature.

Jesus Christ truly rose from the dead. And they saw him.

The only reason that they were changed in an instant is because Jesus did rise. They were not lying when they proclaimed this good news to the people. There was no hoax. Jesus Christ had truly risen.

He is risen.

There is no other reasonable explanation, is there?

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164 thoughts on “Did Jesus Really Die and Rise?”

  1. SWAN SONG FOR “MOTHER” EARTH

    In this world so full of pride
    it’s all about ME, set God aside
    the pressure is on to collect fancy titles
    forcing others to listen to our recitals

    Man wants to live in his own perception
    twirling in a pool of vile deception
    following the voice of the great deceiver
    acting as satan’s true believer

    How can there be any peace
    how can the world’s fire cease
    if we see ourselves as the center of the earth
    which we cover with blood and dearth

    We’ve lost the sense of right and wrong
    we can as well sing our swan song
    and we dare to call her “MOTHER”
    while it’s her we try to smother

    “Mother” earth is taking revenge
    she shows her face as an avalanche
    “how can you do this to us” we ask
    “well simple, you didn’t fulfill your task”

    In maltreating her, we defy our Creator
    He placed us here to be her curator
    but even in the Garden we didn’t behave
    and chose to become satan’s slave.

    The Father begs us to open our eyes
    to turn back to Him and be wise
    if not, the dice will be cast
    die will “the dead hand of the past.”

    No greater blind than he who does not want to see
    No greater deaf than he who does not want to hear

    Rita Biesemans, July 31 2014

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  4. Vernct Thornpakc

    I would go with the mass hallucination theory. Only a few people claim to have seen him. They could have been mass hallucinating/ conspiring (or a mixture of both a la if you wish something to be true, your brain makes you believe it is). After the initial “encounter,” everyone just went along with the story, as people were superstitions and gullible in that era. Moreover, our account of the rising is not immediate. The bible was only written later, so it was a myth already at the time of writing. Do you literary believe in Odyseus’ story? No. Why not? Why would Homer lie? Because it is a myth, he didn’t lie, he was just telling a story he didn’t even witness.

  5. Excellent article, Leila, and very solid answers to the comments. I heard a fine explanation of the Resurrection by Mark Shea in an interview on “Kresta in the Afternoon:” http://avemariaradio.net/audio_archive/kresta-in-the-afternoon-april-21-2014-hour-2/
    He says that one-fourth of the Gospels are about the Passion and Resurrection. That 500 saw the risen Christ (1 Cor. 15:6). He mentions that hallucinations are very private affairs and that the only time mass hallucinations are ever invoked are when people are trying to explain away the Resurrection.That on at least 3 occasions the disciples don’t even recognize the risen Jesus, and he says many other fascinating things. He also wrote a post on it: http://www.mark-shea.com/resurrection.html

  6. If you can perpetrate a Genesis story and have this wildly unscientific account of creation held
    in deep virtual regard for thousands of years;: if Judaism still exists after missing the boat on our-their Messiah; it seems to me that anything is posible in the realm of theology. If it was proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead I would in no way be disappointed with Christianity. I would continue to say the Our Father, pray the rosary and believe the Eucharist is the real body and blood of Jesus. ” Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof ” Khalil Gibran

    1. James, St. Paul himself wrote that if Jesus did not actually rise, then we are the most pitiable of men. Why would you still believe any of Christianity if even its greatest Apostle wouldn’t? Sorry, that is non-sensical to me. Christianity is false if there is no Resurrection, and the Eucharist? It’s a nothing.

      Here’s the exercise that no one has tried with any success (barely any have tried at all when I’ve posed it before): What happened, step-by-step, after the death of Jesus and the subsequent fear of his followers? Give me a scenario (in real time, that actually picks up right there) that can explain why the Apostles and the first waves of Christians bet their lives on something that was not true. Tell it as a narrative, because I’m truly interested.

    2. It seems I have more faith than St Paul then. Jesus has the words of life, everlasting, that’s all I need.

    3. You may be making up your own version of Christianity. Who do you say that Jesus is? If he is not the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who became Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin, by the Holy Spirit, and if He did not die and rise for the forgiveness of our sins, then Jesus has no words of life at all. He is a mortal man who died a criminal, and we are still in our sins. What you are claiming (that Christ is not God, did not rise, but we still eat his flesh and drink his blood, and he still has the words of eternal life) is exactly nonsensical. It is not Christian belief.

    4. Here are the words of “poor” St. Paul, who wrote huge portions of the Sacred Scripture (the same Sacred Scripture, from the same Church, which teaches about the Eucharist that you believe in). His words could not have more import:

      1 Corinthians 15

      3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[c] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.[d] 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

      12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died[e] in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    5. I did not claim anything. I said ” If ” I can’t help it if you are stuck on
      dogma that has not been clarified by reason, by time. ” Anything you
      can imagine is real.” Picasso And with that kind Catholic i bid you bon soir. And St paul, pray for us too.

    6. St. Paul says “if”, too: Here it is:

      If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died[e] in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

    7. Catholic pilgrim

      Exactly. If Christ is fully God & fully man (& rose from the dead), then by partaking of His Body & Blood, we gain the Divine substance & are transformed to eternally be one with God. It’s the most important thing anybody could do on this Earth. If the Resurrection did not occur & Jesus is Not who He says he is, we Catholic Christians (& also the Eastern Orthodox Christians) are Cannibals, honestly, cannibals (& this claim was even historically charged by some Greek pagans against early Christians).

    8. Faith in the Eucharist if the resurrection were disproved is to be a Christian without Christ. Nonsensical.

    9. There is no such thing as a Christian w/o Christ. He lived and died to bear
      witness to the Truth. 99% of what Jesus gave us were INSTRUCTIONS on
      how to get to heaven. He even gave INSTRUCTIONS on how to throw a
      dinner party. Have you ever brought a stranger into your own home for a
      meal? Of course not, neither have I – but it is definitely on my life list. it’s like something Francis does when he sneaks off Vatican grounds to hang out
      with the homeless. But back to the dinner Why KPE ? Because you and I
      and 99% of all Catholics don’t have the HUMILITY to do such a thing. Can
      you imagine doing this with friends and neighbors around ? The stares alone
      would shrink you to dust. And don’t think you can cop out and say we invite
      strangers to a communal meal where you and the beggar can lost in the shuffle. Jesus made your dinner party up close and personal. So, if we can’t even have fun in a perfect way .. ?. And so there you are, all hung up on theoretical issues like resurrection. If faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain there shouldn’t be any issue with Leila’s gee, can anyone help me out here scenario. If we believed in Adam and Eve until Benedict came along to formally announce (along with the shepherds and the Magi) it was all an allegory, the supernatural details of this mystery shouldn’t be pivotal to the life Jesus lived. .

    10. But James, you are not the arbiter of what is Christian doctrine. The Church is. The Apostles (including St. Paul) and their successors are. Scripture testifies to that teaching. So, with all due respect, you are dead wrong. If the resurrection is false, then Christianity is null. This is what Christianity teaches (as opposed to james). You do not have the authority to change Christian teaching on this or any other point of doctrine. Why did Christ become Incarnate? To die for our sins, so as to open the gates of Heaven to us again. That is why He came. To save us from the effects of sin; to save us from death. If he is not God, then Christianity is false. Do you believe that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Incarnate?

    11. Do you believe that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Incarnate?
      Why of course, Leila. Don’t you know I’m playing off your own post ?
      And once more, I can’t help it if you are theologically unsavvy. What
      I posted above is true. That is why trads and orthodox are in such a
      small minority – they can’t think outside the box. So I will leave you with
      a quote that is very appropos to a certain ilk.
      ” Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ”
      Albert Einstein

    12. I’ll stick with Christian teaching, but thanks for the offer to leave it. 😉

      If you believe that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Incarnate. And that He is God (and you and I are not), do you also believe that He came to earth to die for our sins so that the gates of Heaven would be open to us again?

    13. Of course, Leila. If he didn’t sacrifice His life for us no one would have taken his INSTRUCTIONS seriously.

    14. That wasn’t really the question. Let me go from what you said: So, was his death just so that we would follow instructions? Or was it to atone for our sins and open the gates of Heaven that had been closed for us at the Fall? Why did he die for us, James? And, do you believe he rose from the dead?

    15. Of course I believe He rose from the dead, Leila. You know as well as
      I do my original take on your post was to say my faith is so great that
      even if He didn’t it would not affect my faith. Which Fall ? I don’t do
      serious reads on allegories.

    16. How could finding out that Jesus is not God not affect your Christian faith? A merely human Jesus negates the basic tenets of Christianity; you understand that, correct? Honestly, it’s not clear to me what you believe in.

      What Fall? The one that closed the gates of Heaven to mankind. The one that is in the Bible, the Catechism, and in all of Christian tradition. The one discussed by every pope and saint in history.

      Are you okay with the fact that you have made up your own version of Christianity? I am fine with the fact that you don’t hold to the Catholic Faith as being true (we all have free will), but please make sure you don’t represent your beliefs as Catholic. That would be leading others astray.

      For anyone interested, Christianity is not up to anyone’s personal interpretation or feelings. It’s a revealed religion:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/06/sorry-youre-not-allowed-to-do-that.html

    17. Ok, we’ve reached our workingl limit Liala and so it’s time for me to
      move on so you don’t become an occcasion of sin. Historically we
      are ususally good for a three round superficial jousting and then you
      play rough, start scratching and get all righteous on yourself. But I
      do think it was an inspired post this time around and hope a few of
      our resident agnostics take on your challenge. : )

    18. Take care, James. I hope you come back to the Faith of the Church in its fullness (the Catechism is a great resource, with footnotes to Scripture and the Fathers, as well as the Popes). And it’s “Leila”. God bless!

    19. Oh. Don’t let me drag you through this again. Seems that you have come to an impasse with Leile. Been there. Done that.

    20. Leila,

      One should accept all or nothing. You say all. I say nothing.

      Anything in between is just people tripping all over themselves.

      Hope all is well.

      Bill S.

    21. One should accept all or nothing. You say all. I say nothing.

      Given what has transpired, can you explain the nothing other than “I refuse to believe?”

    22. I have to portray my atheist worldview to make my arguments and get closer to the truth with the answers I get. Its a work in progress. If it is all or nothing, I have to say nothing because I am certainly not accepting all.

    23. I have to portray my atheist worldview to make my arguments and get closer to the truth with the answers I get. Its a work in progress. If it is all or nothing, I have to say nothing because I am certainly not accepting all.

      But that in itself is already false so how can you get to the truth on false premises?
      It is false because you do believe in God and it is not a Deist’s God but a Theist’s God.
      If you are searching for truth, the only way to arrive at truth is to affirm and be clear of where you are.

      To claim for yourself the label “Catholic” is indeed all or nothing. There is no half Catholic even though some may think there are. Any Catholic who does not fully give ascent to the Church teaching is protestant though they may not realize this.

      It is important to be sure of where you are at, because the only way forward is to know where you are currently.

    24. I was baptized and raised Catholic. When I am asked to check a box for religion, I check Catholic. I was married in a Catholic Church and raised my kids Catholic after having them baptized. The Magesterium is not going to tell me I am not Catholic any more than Congress is going to tell me I am not American because I think they are useless.

    25. No, I am not talking about that.
      It is important that you know where you are at with regards what you believe and then affirm those that you believe.
      There is no point saying you are an atheist when you are not.
      It is very important to be honest with yourself and with others. It does not help the discussion if you say you are an atheist when you are actually quite the opposite.

    26. My world still makes more sense as seen through the eyes of Richard Dawkins (even if I think some of his ideas are not correct but that overall he knows what he is talking about) than through the eyes of Pope Francis (who believes that Satan is a real person and I’m not supposed to disagree with that).

    27. My world still makes more sense as seen through the eyes of Richard Dawkins

      Actually it doesn’t because it denies the very essence of your own humanity. You just don’t see it.

      Just before I saw your post, I just got a notification from Mercator Net and the top headline was Dawkins spewing out excrement such as this: parents who had had a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome in pregnancy should “abort it and try again.” It was “immoral” not to terminate the foetus at this point. ”

    28. I can disagree with Dawkins statement about having an abortion if a fetus is shown to have Down syndrome and trying again. That doesn’t make all his books hogwash.

    29. Like I said. He is perhaps (yes perhaps) good with biology, but not much else.

      But he is far too stupid and too arrogant to see that he should confine his pontifications to his field of expertise.

    30. (eve(even if I think some of his ideas are not correct but that overall he knows what he is talking

      With regards biology, I say perhaps. With everything else, I say no hope.

      than through the eyes of Pope Francis (who believes that Satan is a real person and I’m not supposed to disagree with that).

      Satan is a real being. I am not sure whether person is an apt term.
      And no you are not being ask to just agree. But you should study. If you are willing to put so much time, effort and money to reading the likes of Dawkins, then maybe it is about time that you put time effort and money to reading the likes of Jeff Cavins and Tim Gray, Ignatius of Loyola and Pope Benedict.

    31. Well. I do accept an overwhelming majority of what Dawkins says and Satan to me is the fictional character introduced in the Book of Job and other ancient writings. How a fictional character became real is a mystery to me.

    32. He is not only in the book of job. In fact, the most mention of hell and Satan came from the Lord’s own mouth.

    33. ..even if he didn’t (rise) it would not affect my faith.

      Isn’t your “faith” the belief in the Resurrection? If it is, how would knowing that affect your faith. I lost my faith when I stopped believing in the Resurrection. You would still have faith? Faith in what? Eternal life? I guess you can believe in life after death (as do other religions) even if Jesus did not rise and his soul went to heaven like the rest of us. But that’s not Christianity.

    34. Yes, Bill, as stated, if Easter hadn’t happened my faith in the life of Christ
      would not (hypothesis) be crushed. Having the ability to see miracles in
      everyday life, everyday, I know God is with us. No, your probly right that
      it wouldn’t be Christianity but look how say, Machiavelli and Don Quxote
      influenced the world with their life to the point where their names became adjectives. Look at the Unitarians who cling to the values of all religions and live their lives accordingly. This is more to the point of what I am trying to convey. In any case, our dear Leila conjured up this challenge and I daresay, took it on..

    35. Sounds like you don’t want to walk the tightrope without a safety net. You want to stay Christian even if you reach the conclusion that the Resurrection might not have happened as described by Paul in his epistle and later by the evangelists. I’m in the same boat. I don’t want to give up the benefits of being Catholic just because I don’t believe that a man rose from the dead and ascended to a heaven in the sky.

    36. Sounds like you don’t want to walk the tightrope without a safety net. You want to stay Christian even if you reach the conclusion that the Resurrection might not have happened

      He is one confused person.

    37. Well, I kind of see what he is struggling with. I believe in the God that you have spoon fed to me. But I don’t accept any Ressurection, Ascension, Assumption, etc.

    38. Well, I kind of see what he is struggling with. I believe in the God that you have spoon fed to me. But I don’t accept any Ressurection, Ascension, Assumption, etc

      Well, I don’t see what he is struggling with. His whole point of view is devoid of reason. While you do not believe in Christianity, there is a consistency about your reasoning – (or at least there is now ).

    39. Yes, Bill, as stated, if Easter hadn’t happened my faith in the life of Christ would not (hypothesis) be crushed.

      Sorry, James but Bill is absolutely correct here. Even St Paul says so.
      If Christ did not rise from the dead, then your faith is in vain. He is just one more guru among many. In fact, He would be a lot worse than Buddha or every other guru that came before or after Him. None of them claimed to be God. He did.
      So if He did not rise from the dead, then He is a lying charlatan who is right now – dead as a dodo.

    40. Not so, James. Marc knows a lot about theology and Catholicism. He’s gotten me to a certain level of acceptance of a concept of a fatherly type of intelligence behind all this that he calls God. That’s about as far as he can get with me. But he does know his stuff.

    41. Bill, I don’t think you’re a troll, I never did. But it is a bit nauseating how
      you ingratiate yourself. Marc shares the same problem that many of
      the Paulian type Catholics do. He knows nothing of Eastern deism so
      it is impossible for him to understand that ttwo points make a straight line.
      Buddha didn’t rise from the dead or even say memorable things except
      to his followers. And yet, this religion is not only older than Christianity
      but still very much alive. What you may not know is that Buddha said he
      would keep reincarnating so that all would have a chance to escape the
      opposite of everlasting life = everlasting death. His message is basicallly
      the same as Jesus’ message. Now I am a very firm believer in pointing
      to a source but will not do the work for you. Marc and you need to read
      the Bahagavad-gita and the four noble truths to make a straight line – or you’re both theologically unsound. Now please don’t engage me with your
      I -might- be- this- or- that- but- can’t- say- for- sure. He did get that right.

    42. James,

      I know you think you can take a little bit of eastern religion and a little bit of western religion and use them to develop an overall worldview. I personally don’t think the ancients had any inside information about what life is all about. But I understand what you are trying to do. It is opposite of what Leila does. She accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church in their entirety and has set out to live by them. That approach has worked for her but it doesn’t work for everyone. People who are gay or want to control the size of their family through abortion or contraception and many other people from all kinds of backgrounds and circumstances can’t buckle under to the Magesterium. I know I am going off on a tangent but this is all about you either accept the resurrection and live by the rules or you don’t and do your own thing. One goes with the other oppression or freedom, order or chaos. It all depends on what you believe according to many on this thread.

    43. Right, Bill. But what these hardliners do that others will not do is to deny
      the title, Catholic, because it doesn’t fit their version of what Catholic is.
      Even you are a Catholic, agnosticism not withstanding.. Don’t ever let them take away your membership in this church that is more diverse in
      scope than they care to ponder. If Paul and the saints ever came back
      – Jesus said some would but we won’t go there – and saw the history of
      the church I’m sure they would brand us anything but Catholic.

    44. Well said, James. There are all kinds of Catholics. It is not even a matter of good Catholics v. bad Catholics. It has more to do with how seriously we take religion as it relates to every facet of our lives. Some see it as being our first priority. Some don’t. Some see their religion as the only true religion and then their interpretation the only interpretation of that only true religion. Some see their religion and interpretation as one of many religions and interpretations.

    45. You are a theological illiterate, Marc, the product of a closed mind.

      If I am illiterate about theology, it is your kind of theology that I am illiterate of. And for that I am thankful for it cannot be anything other than sheer grace that I have been spared from it.

      You are absolutely clueless about Christian theology. You’ve got some kind of syncretistic, perhaps new agey kind of faith going on and that is anything but Christian.

    46. if He didn’t it would not affect my faith

      If He didn’t, there’d be no Christian faith to speak of.
      Sorry but this a very dumb argument for Christianity.

    47. But there is a Christian faith. It doesn’t matter anymore because the Christian faith is well established. It might be wrong, like Islam is wrong, but you don’t say there is no Islam faith if Mohammed was a fraud. The faith still exists. It is just based on incorrect information.

    48. But there is a Christian faith. It doesn’t matter anymore because the Christian faith is well established. It might be wrong, like Islam is wrong, but you don’t say there is no Islam faith if Mohammed was a fraud. The faith still exists. It is just based on incorrect information.

      My point there was that if there is no resurrection there would not be a Christian faith to speak of. The Christian faith rests on the resurrection, Islam on Muhammad. Even if Jesus did exist, if he was only human and is now dead, there would still not be the Christian faith that we speak of now because the central event of Christianity is the Resurrection.

    49. Christianity was built on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. If that was just a misunderstanding about an empty tomb taken to be confirmation that he rose from the dead, history is not rewritten. All the same things happened so that Christianity is the most followed religion in the world.

      Islam is based on sheer nonsense and it is almost as big as Christianity. You can’t say there would be no Islam if the angel Gabriel did not really appear to Mohammed.

    50. Christianity was built on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven

      Don’t read belief as “belief unsupported by reason and facts”. We believe so because it is so. We don’t believe in the tooth fairy.

    51. For centuries the resurrection was simply a matter of faith. You accepted it or you went to hell. Now, people are compiling what they believe to be facts and using reason to validate something that for the most part has been accepted without questioning by billions.

    52. For centuries the resurrection was simply a matter of faith.

      Of course it is a matter of faith for those who have not seen. Jesus Himself has blessed those who will come to believe who unlike Thomas had the privilege of touching and seeing Him.

      But we hold it on faith precisely because people did see Him, people did talk to Him after the Resurrection and on top of that, He did what He promised and sent the Holy Spirit.

      You accepted it or you went to hell

      I don’t know about that. That is an exaggeration on some zealot’s part.

      Now, people are compiling what they believe to be facts and using reason to validate something that for the most part has been accepted without questioning by billions.

      Perhaps those billions who accepted it without question have had first hand experience of what it means to know the living Christ.

      Anyway, have to go to the land of nod now.

    53. Basically, a handful of people might have seen first hand or heard second hand that the tomb was empty. By and large, the belief in the resurrection was accepted and it made people feel good. That’s all that can really be said with certainty.

    54. Basically, a handful of people might have seen first hand or heard second hand that the tomb was empty. By and large, the belief in the resurrection was accepted and it made people feel good. That’s all that can really be said with certainty.

      Sorry Bill but that is pure hogwash.
      St Paul testifies to Jesus appearing to 500 at once. The resurrection would not be accepted as fact if there was no support for it. The many appearances of Jesus to different people (not just once) is documented by these people. The Christian faith would not explode in the way it did if the resurrection was not a fact.

      If the tomb was merely empty – then the spin that the Jews put to it (the apostles stole His body) would have gained ground. But it didn’t because people did see Him and more to the point, experienced the power of the Risen Lord. Jesus did not just rise from the did, He enabled His disciples (common folk) to perform the great miracles that He did as well.

    55. St Paul testifies to Jesus appearing to 500 at once. The resurrection would not be accepted as fact if there was no support for it. The many appearances of Jesus to different people (not just once) is documented by these people.

      This is why Catholicism/Christianity is all or nothing. And it is why I have to go with nothing. To say that Jesus did not appear to 500 people is to call Paul a liar, therefore saying the Bible is not true and the rest falls like a house of cards. Cold turkey is the only way to deal with a religion that keeps trying to make you believe more stories and comply with more rules.

    56. To say that Jesus did not appear to 500 people is to call Paul a liar, therefore saying the Bible is not true and the rest falls like a house of cards.

      No it doesn’t because Catholicism does not rest on Paul alone.

      a religion that keeps trying to make you believe more stories and comply with more rules.

      The question is not whether there are more stories but whether they are true and helps make sense of our physical and spiritual lives. The question is not whether there are more rules, but whether the rules are in fact good for you and leads to the right path.

    57. The stories and the rules is where I get off. I can accept the Jewish concept of a creator, the teachings of Jesus having to do with peace and love and the idea of a human spirit which inspires us to be the best we can be. But I wouldn’t call that a religion, just an adjusted worldview. I can change my atheist worldview to allow for the possibility and likelihood of the existence of a God for which we have too much information in religions that are not consistent with one another but for a few basic tenets.

    58. The stories and the rules is where I get off.

      Indeed. But that won’t be because the decision to get off was arrived at intelligently. It was just a decision to get off for no other reason than because you chose to. Or more precisely because you have determined in these areas, that YOU are God.

    59. Saying you don’t need religion is not claiming to be God. That’s a stretch, don’t you think?

      It is when the reason for saying you don’t need religion is so that you can do as you please, you can make your own rules as you please, you are the moral arbiter of morality as you please.

    60. That is just being your own person and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be your own person. It’s got nothing to do with making yourself God.

    61. That is just being your own person and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be your own person

      I suppose Hitler was just being his own person and so was Stalin. The paedophile is just being his own person. The Muslim who cut off the head of Foley was just being his own person.

      It’s got nothing to do with making yourself God.

      It does. Without God, everything is permissible.

    62. There are many factors, including cause and effect, that go into deciding what is and isn’t permissible. Some include Church teaching in that decisionmaking process. Others don’t. The problems in the world today could be attributed to that disparity, but the Church is unnecessarily strict on what can and can’t be done. Being so strict causes the Church to lose credibility and is a major factor in its being ignored by more and more people. Gay marriage is a particular sticking point. If my son chose to marry another man, I would accept it and not give Church teaching a second thought. Same with contraception. Practiced it my whole adult life. It matters little what the Church says on the subject.

    63. There are many factors, including cause and effect, that go into deciding what is and isn’t permissible

      According to who?

      but the Church is unnecessarily strict on what can and can’t be done

      Strictness has absolutely got nothing to do with it -nada, zilch. It’s all about truth or falsity, good or bad.

      Being so strict causes the Church to lose credibility and is a major factor in its being ignored by more and more people.

      Sorry but that is a terribly, terribly stupid statement. One that church objectors rehash over again on auto parrot.

      People ignore Church teachings because they are difficult – Christianity will always mean the cross and holiness. Both run smack into the hardness of hearts of those who want the easy and deviant life.

      As Chesterton said: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried

      Gay marriage is a particular sticking point. If my son chose to marry another man, I would accept it and not give Church teaching a second thought

      So what? It only shows that you have not processed your position intellectually like all your other positions. There’s nothing new in that.

      All arguments for gay marriage are stupid and the homosexual act is a heinous perversion. No matter how you twist it, that’s what it is. You can’t transforms a perversion into a good just because you say so.

      Your approval of gay marriage is not because you have thought about it but because you have a son who is gay – it’s all based on feelings.

      I wonder IF you had a son who is a paedophile if you would approve of paedophilia too.

      Same with contraception. Practiced it my whole adult life. It matters little what the Church says on the subject.

      So what with that too. As I said, above, it’s all because you prefer being God. Bill S has determined that he and he alone is the moral arbiter of his actions and that’s all there is to it. God is not allowed to have a say at all.

    64. So basically, you are trying to convince me that the only way to live a happy and fulfilling life is to live in accordance with the teachings of the Church. Living a fulfilling and happy life is all that I am looking for. The teachings of the Church that infringe on my ability to that happy and fulfilling life are of no value to me.

    65. So basically, you are trying to convince me that the only way to live a happy and fulfilling life is to live in accordance with the teachings of the Church.

      No, I a not trying to convince you. I am just stating a fact.

      Living a fulfilling and happy life is all that I am looking for.

      And you will never, ever find it in I/Me/Myself decides what is right and what is wrong. True happiness can only be found in a life surrendered to God.

      The teachings of the Church that infringe on my ability to that happy and fulfilling life are of no value to me.

      The teachings of the Church that infringe on your ability to find happiness? But you have been living your life without care for the teachings of that Church. Can you say that you are deliriously happy at such unfettered freedom? I doubt it.

      It is counter-intuitive but true happiness is only found in following the teachings of the Church. Very many converts have come home to the Church because of the very teachings that many Catholics leave the Church for. These previously non-Catholic men and women through determined searching and rigorous study have come to understand how truly life-giving and joy-giving these teachings are.

      Kimberly Hahn (a convert) told of a man who have repented and converted but was still struggling with his family life. His daughter was with an unsavoury group and there were other difficulties in their life. To be faithful, he decided to reverse his vasectomy. Right after that, so many blessings came to their life.

      The book I mentioned in to you in another post (Something Other Than God) has the subtitle “How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It.

      In her story, Jennifer Fulwiler decided one day (way before she became Catholic) that she will give living the Catholic life a try. For one year she decided that she will live her life in obedience to ALL that the Church teaches. This means no contraception for her. And that was very difficult because she suffer from DVT and a pregnancy could very well kill. But she stuck by this decision and through a series of events in her life, God showed her why the teachings of the Church is true.

      People who insist living their own lives according to their own rules end up living in a jail. The door is open but they can’t seem to bring themselves to walk out of it because sin is a addictive and idolatry of self is sin.
      I suggest that you search for truth while the jail door is still open.

    66. These are great stories but I think the people giving their testimonies cheapen the relationships they have had with their significant others (who seemed like loving and caring soul mates) when they accept the Church’s forgiveness of their “sins”. The promiscuity is one thing, but the long monagomous relationships should not be a cause for guilt that then is relieved by confessing those relationships as having been wrong in any way. They don’t seem so wrong to me.

    67. These are great stories but I think the people giving their testimonies cheapen the relationships they have had with their significant others (who seemed like loving and caring soul mates) when they accept the Church’s forgiveness of their “sins”.

      The cheapening of their relationships happened the moment they engaged in the homosexual act. Disordered behaviour is what cheapens us and our relationships because we are called for something better.

      The promiscuity is one thing, but the long monagomous relationships should not be a cause for guilt that then is relieved by confessing those relationships as having been wrong in any way.

      This is an oft quoted “reasoning” by “gay marriage” advocates. At first glance it seems reasonable enough (even a friend of mine who happens to be a priest said this) but this is downright stupid once you take it apart.
      Firstly, a sin/perversion does not lose its innate evil character just because you commit it with one person only.

      If adultery is a sin, it does not make it any less evil if you should permanently keep one paramour or trade one for another and still another.

      Paedophilia does not make it any less a sin if you are faithful to molesting only one child consistently instead of taking several children.

      Torture does not become good just because you keep torturing only one person all the time instead of doing it only once to that person and thereafter doing it to several different people.

      The same with the homosexual act. It is intrinsically disordered and depraved. Monogomous active homosexual relationships are nothing more than fidelity to sin, an entrenchment of sin.

      What makes it worse is that it gives the act a veneer of respectability and thus hoodwinks the non-thinking public into something that is intrisically depraved.

      Your next argument would most likely be: but what is wrong if done by consenting adults.

      But if consent is all that matters, then adultery is good and promiscuity is good so long as everyone consented.

      Furthermore, consent does not determine morality. For one thing, the age of consent is movable. In some countries, the age of consent for is puberty which can be low as 8.

      They don’t seem so wrong to me.

      Perhaps not. But neither you nor me nor any human being is the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong.
      Paedophilia does not seem wrong to paedophiles. In fact, they call it “loving” the children.
      Bestiality is not wrong to those who practice it. The greedy will find all sorts of justifications for their greed, so can the murderer, adulterer, liar, etc.

    68. At first glance it seems reasonable enough (even a friend of mine who happens to be a priest said this) but this is downright stupid once you take it apart.

      Maybe you ought to judge things (if you insist on doing so) by what seems reasonable “at first glance” because that’s where your common sense seems to be at it’s best.

    69. Maybe you ought to judge things (if you insist on doing so) by what seems reasonable “at first glance” because that’s where your common sense seems to be at it’s best.

      The first glance look is one devoid of reason unless you are trained to look like a hawk and very few are.

      It happens to all of us – we think something is okay at first glance then we come closer and investigate we realize that it is false. When we really start thinking about it (or when someone starts to show the flaws of that first appraisal) we finally see what a flawed outlook it is.

      If you are saying that the detailed look that I gave is not up to scratch then maybe you can tell me where it fails?

    70. Whenever someone starts this bs about “well if that’s ok, who’s to say that or that or that is not ok. Who’s to say that me punching you in the face is not ok. If homosexuality is ok, who’s to say pedophilia, beastiality, adultery, etc. is not ok either?”, I usually end the discussion. I’m not getting sucked into Catholic games.

    71. Whenever someone starts this bs about “well if that’s ok, who’s to say that or that or that is not ok. Who’s to say that me punching you in the face is not ok. If homosexuality is ok, who’s to say pedophilia, beastiality, adultery, etc. is not ok either?”, I usually end the discussion. I’m not getting sucked into Catholic games.

      It is not Catholic games. It’s fact.

      Your reply does not in any way address my point. It is a non-answer. Perhaps because you are too much of a logical thinker when you put effort to it and you know that my arguments hold.

      You end the discussion and refuse to get sucked in because of the simple reason that even you know it is true. You may not want to believe it but your intellect knows it is true.

      So you are caught in a trap – your intellect tells you it is true but in the meantime you have a homosexual son and you believe that to acknowledge what your intellect tells you would be to betray your son. You don’t know how to continue affirming your son in light of what you know to be true.

    72. Yes. It is most definitely a Catholic morals game and I’m not biting.

      And you’re not biting because you know I am right.
      Because if you have even the tiniest bit of logical counter-argument, you would give it.

    73. In your world, which is largely shaped and regulated by the Church, it is entirely logical for you to make the ridiculous argument that you have made. But in the real world, the world with which the Church Militant insist on doing battle, it has become acceptable in some regions for same sex couples to do their thing and to even marry if they so choose. That is the world in which we live. Most of it is civilized and governed by laws to keep the peace and protect those who can’t protect themselves once they are born.

    74. In your world, which is largely shaped and regulated by the Church, it is entirely logical for you to make the ridiculous argument that you have made

      But you KNOW it is NOT ridiculous. Because if it is really ridiculous, you would have shown by now why it is ridiculous. You are quite good at logical thinking and if there is even the tiniest argument that you can muster to counter what I have written, you would have laid it out on the table by now. The fact that you haven’t means that you yourself know that it is true.

      But in the real world, the world with which the Church Militant insist on doing battle, it has become acceptable in some regions for same sex couples to do their thing and to even marry if they so choose. That is the world in which we live.

      Indeed this is the world in which we live. A world in which paedophilia is rife. A world were all sorts of sin is out on display.
      And you are right, the Church Militant is doing battle because evil must be battled. Should we just accept evil?
      You see, even this response from you is so terribly weak, because you know there is no way of defending it.
      Your response boils down to: because it is being allowed. Well in the Islamic world, stoning a woman to death is allowed. Killing those who leave Islam is allowed. So going by the logic of your argument, I suppose that is okay too.

    75. And you are right, the Church Militant is doing battle because evil must be battled. Should we just accept evil?

      It all depends on what kind of battle you have in mind. Trying to assure that gay marriage is not allowed in your state is a battle you have no right to wage. It is aggression that must be countered by people like me who have to form a defense against that kind of Church Militant.

      It depends also on what you mean by “accept” and what you mean by “evil”. Letting other people do their thing in areas that don’t affect you or anyone else would be the right kind of acceptance. Being forced to violate your own religious taboos would be the wrong kind of acceptance.

      And what is evil by your definition might not be evil to me, others or society in general.

    76. It all depends on what kind of battle you have in mind. Trying to assure that gay marriage is not allowed in your state is a battle you have no right to wage.

      Sorry but this is so, so very, very dumb coming from you. You just told me that I can determine what is right and wrong and now you are telling me that I can’t? Make up your mind.

      Letting other people do their thing in areas that don’t affect you or anyone else would be the right kind of acceptance

      Your brand of morality and logic is so terribly terribly deformed. All evil affect someone. There is no such thing as a private sin.

      And what is evil by your definition might not be evil to me, others or society in general.

      And so we are back to square one. So if to me homosexuality is evil, then it is perfectly okay for me to set in motion the eradication of homosexuals because after all, according to you, I get to define what is evil in the same way you do.

      For someone who once had the capacity for rational thinking, you really have abandoned that just to be able to stick with what you want.

    77. It is not my job, calling or responsibility to worry about whether people who are none of my concern are moral or immoral. People are paid to keep the peace, enforce the law, etc. Whether I care or not what you choose to do has little or no impact on anything or anyone.

    78. It is not my job, calling or responsibility to worry about whether people who are none of my concern are moral or immoral.

      And that is perfectly consistent with the I/Me/Myself morality.

    79. You just told me that I can determine what is right and wrong and now you are telling me that I can’t? Make up your mind.

      In matters that concern only you, you most definitely have to rely on your own worldview to determine if something is right or wrong for you to do such as when you have had enough to drink. If you get in a car and run someone over and you are over the legal limit, someone other than you will determine if your actions were right or wrong.

    80. In matters that concern only you, you most definitely have to rely on your own worldview to determine if something is right or wrong for you to do such as when you have had enough to drink.

      Sorry but it doesn’t work like that. When you say that we get to determine morality, we get to determine morality.

      If you get in a car and run someone over and you are over the legal limit, someone other than you will determine if your actions were right or wrong

      Well not according to what you said earlier. You said every single person gets to determine, now you are saying that there is an authority that determines and it is the government.
      But what if the government decides that it is okay to stone adulterers, and kill those who apostasize? By your logic, that is perfectly moral.

    81. Sorry but it doesn’t work like that. When you say that we get to determine morality, we get to determine morality.

      I’m not discussing morality. That is you obsession not mine. Right and wrong can be anything. Not just morality. It could be the difference between going right or going left when there is only one right direction. It is wrong to try to tell other people how they should behave when that behavior is not affecting you or others. It’s not immoral. It is just wrong. It is immoral to tell people in Africs that they can’t use condoms because someone could die following that condemnation.

    82. But neither you nor me nor any human being is the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong.

      Sorry. But this is a ridiculous statement. I am the arbiter of what is right or wrong for myself and you for yourself. Where these decisions affect other people, those people as well as the government may have some say in the matter.

    83. Sorry. But this is a ridiculous statement. I am the arbiter of what is right or wrong for myself and you for yourself. Where these decisions affect other people, those people as well as the government may have some say in the matter.

      So therefore it is not you who are the arbiter of what is right and wrong but the government. If the government says that what you are doing is wrong, then no matter how you protest it is wrong.
      But suppose we go with your idea that we are all the arbiters (i.e. the determiners) of morality, of what is right or wrong. Then there would not be right or wrong as such, only what is moral for you and what is moral for me. The goal post will be infinitely movable.
      But suppose that for me it is perfectly moral to torture you and your family should you aggrieve me in some way? You will have no reason to complain considering that you have allowed me that prerogative to determine what is moral? You cannot tell me that what I did was wrong because according to you as far as I am concerned I determine what is moral.
      If someone were to cheat you and as far as that person is concerned it was perfectly okay for him to cheat you, would you be fine with that? By saying that we are the moral arbiters, then you will have no grounds to complain. What is right or wrong then is determined by the strongest. The bully determines morality.

    84. What is right or wrong then is determined by the strongest. The bully determines morality.

      It makes no difference whether you think what you are doing is right or wrong. If it affects me or my family and I don’t like it, I can usually settle the matter by reporting it to the authorities, suing you or by some other legal means including killing you in self defense.

    85. It makes no difference whether you think what you are doing is right or wrong. If it affects me or my family and I don’t like it, I can usually settle the matter by reporting it to the authorities, suing you or by some other legal means including killing you in self defense.

      But if you say I can determine what is right or wrong, then why would you complain if I do something that is right for me.
      So therefore, according to you what I did was wrong. But as far as I am concerned what I did was right. So what is it really? Is it right or wrong for me to torture you and your family? And who determines whether it is so?

    86. But if you say I can determine what is right or wrong, then why would you complain if I do something that is right for me.

      Think about you just said. Now think about what I said. I don’t care about your moral standards and what you think is right or wrong. If it affects me and I don’t like it, you’re going to hear from me and maybe the authorities. A restraining order is a perfect example.

    87. Think about you just said. Now think about what I said. I don’t care about your moral standards and what you think is right or wrong. If it affects me and I don’t like it, you’re going to hear from me and maybe the authorities. A restraining order is a perfect example.

      So therefore your position that we get to determine what is moral is false.

      Because if you are conceding to me the right to make my own morality, then it would be pretty stupid of you to now complain that my morality is in opposition to yours.

      You have not even addressed the case of the third person who cannot fight back nor report me to the authorities. So I suppose as far as you are concerned, it is fine for me to torture him because it does not affect you at all.

      In fact, your response has not even addressed the morality of my actions at all. All you have said is that you do not like it. You cannot say whether it is right or wrong, just that you don’t like it because it is affecting you.

    88. You cannot say whether it is right or wrong, just that you don’t like it because it is affecting you.

      Ah! So now you get it. If you want to watch porn in the confines of your own home by yourself or with your wife, I don’t care because it is for you and your wife to decide what is right or wrong for you. The government might have something to say about it if it is child porn or in any case where children can be adversely affected. But other than that, you are perfectly free to do that as you so choose. It is entirely up to you. If you want to be a faithful Catholic, you won’t do it because you know the Church’s stand on it. The people in the videos were attracted to what the Church says about God and love and forgiveness so much so that they accepted what the Church had to say about their relationships with their partners and repented for something that they would not have otherwise had any problem with and that was not hurting anyone.

    89. Ah! So now you get it. If you want to watch porn in the confines of your own home by yourself or with your wife, I don’t care because it is for you and your wife to decide what is right or wrong for you.

      And if I were to watch children porn then that would be okay with you as well because it is not affecting you?

    90. Marc, I don’t give a damn what you do. I leave that up to people whose job it is to worry about such things. The only thing you can do to me is annoy me.

    91. Marc, I don’t give a damn what you do. I leave that up to people whose job it is to worry about such things. The only thing you can do to me is annoy me.

      Well, Bill that is really sad. You think it is okay that people out there are watching children porn so long as they do not bother you. I suppose it would be perfectly okay with you too if I were a paedophile so long as it’s not your children I am messing with. That is very, very sad.

      But yes, perfectly consistent with your brand of moral logic.

    92. Marc,

      What if I lived next door to a same sex couple and saw them show affection for one another in some way. Do you think I would care what went on in their house?

    93. What if I lived next door to a same sex couple and saw them show affection for one another in some way. Do you think I would care what went on in their house?

      Of course you wouldn’t, You said so above, so long as it is not affecting you, you don’t care. If they were molesting children next door, you wouldn’t care either.
      Like I said, consistent with your brand of moral logic.

    94. Maybe we’ll ask Leila to do a post on Would a form of Christianity had
      arisen if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Don’t forget, Peter said, You
      have the WORDS of life long before he understood what was to happen.
      Get humble, Marc, invite that bum to youor next family dinner.

    95. Maybe we’ll ask Leila to do a post on Would a form of Christianity had
      arisen if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead

      There would not even be Christianity as such. No one would worship a dead carpenter.

    96. Catholic pilgrim

      james, please don’t flatter yourself. You’re no great defender of truth (nor an Einstein), no offense. And what do “trads” & orthodox have to do with our discussion? It’s a discussion using logic & reason, not a numbers game, by the way.

    97. Seeker of Truth CP. Ok, I shouldn’t rag Trads and Orthodox and will
      refrain from doing so. Thank you for pointing that out.

    98. If it were proved that Jesus did not rise from the dead, that means you would worship a piece of bread. Why? What would be the point of worshipping a piece of bread, or praying to a god that didn’t exist? It’s illogical.

    99. Many Christians (Baptists et al) break bread and wine (grape juice)
      as a way of commemorating Jesus command to do so. How you so
      absurdly dismiss thiese Christians as “worshiip(ers) of bread” is not
      very charitable.

    100. Baptists don’t believe in transubstantiation. They don’t worship the bread and wine they have at their communion services.

      Catholics believe that the bread becomes the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not God, then the bread is just bread and there’s no point in worshiping it.

    101. I know that. So, if i strike the Eucharist from my first post 2 days ago can we say Go in peace to serve and love the Lord ?

    102. Many Christians (Baptists et al) break bread and wine (grape juice)
      as a way of commemorating Jesus command to do so. How you so
      absurdly dismiss these Christians as “worshiip(ers) of bread” is not
      very charitable.

      JoAnna was not being uncharitable. I am – because I will say this: you are being dim.
      Baptists don’t worship bread because they don’t believe that Jesus is the bread. As far as they are concerned, they eat to commemorate this symbol of the Last Supper. Nothing more.

    103. The big dis here is that her tone suggests that Baptists et al are somehow inferior. And I did imply that the Eucharist and most likely the rosary probly needs to be taken off the table but not the Our Father.

    104. The big dis here is that her tone suggests that Baptists et al are somehow inferior. And I did imply that the Eucharist and most likely the rosary probly needs to be taken off the table but not the Our Father.

      You cannot get one iota of suggestion of Baptist inferiority in her tone whatsoever. That is a product of your fevered imagination.

    105. TO MARY, ARK OF THE NEW COVENANT

      O Mary, Daughter of Zion

      Mother of Judah’s Lion

      bring us, children of Your Tribe,

      to Your Son, God’s Divine Scribe

      Though being the chosen people

      we act as dumbed down sheeple

      if we keep rejecting Him

      our future looks extremely grim

      Some of us accepted the Messiah

      after prompts by Jeremiah

      but most descendants of Judea

      live as in the times of Hosea

      O Virgin of Israel

      bring the ones seduced by Samael

      to Jeshuah Savior and Son of God

      even “ceaselessly” us do prod.

      Rita Biesemans, July 16 2013

      Our Lady of the Mount Carmel lead us up the Mountain

    106. MARY, THE MYSTICAL CITY

      Mary, Mystical City

      where Jesus, our Savior, resides

      look down on us with pity

      who are carried with the tides

      Will we ever fathom

      the greatness of Your being

      satan spitting his venom

      to prevent our souls from healing

      But You, God’s living Tabernacle

      are constantly pointing to Your Son

      to prevent us from sudden debacle

      to bring us the Victory already won

      We cry out to You, Oh Mystical City

      to pull us out of the dangerous sinkholes

      we are willing to be gritty

      to save our eternal souls

      Mary, our Mother spread Your Mantle over us to keep us safe in Your City.

      Rita Biesemans written 11-29-2013

    107. They should read about the Eucharistic Miracles in Santarem, Portugal and Lanciano, Italy. I visited those places.
      I myself have NO doubt of the real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

    108. ” …or praying to a god that didn’t exist? ” If I hadn’t seen with my own eyes the rabid theology of (esp) converts I would never have imagined.

    109. Huh? What are you talking about? If it were proven that Jesus didn’t rise, that would mean that God did not exist. How is that “rabid theology”? It’s simple logic.

    110. John Paul II wrote the following in his encyclical “Faith and Reason”: “Faith without reason withers into myth or superstition. Deprived of reason, faith is left with only feelings and experience. It loses its universality.” (n. 48).

      If reasons shows that Jesus did not rise, but you still have faith, then you have divorced faith from reason and have descended into vain superstition.

    111. Before Christianity there existed faith and reason and the universality of
      eastern deism and Judaism is not only still around but very much alive.

    112. JoAnna, i don’t believe you are a reasonable person so I will end this
      thread and look forward to your next blog.

    113. Catholic pilgrim

      His instructions on how to get to Heaven were: I AM the Way, the Light, & the Truth. Not dinner parties, not poor people, not mustard seeds, (however good all these good things are), JESUS Alone is the WAY to Heaven. All those other things are works of redemption & healing- NOT Salvation. Salvation is something very specific. Redemption/healing is something very essential & interrelated to salvation but there is a clear distinction. Read NT Wright. james, did you even actually read Pope Benedict’s “Nativity” book? He clearly writes that the shepherds were there as witnesses on the first Christmas; as to the Magi, he thinks they were Persian/Zoroastrian men. We are called to receive Christ as our salvation by Baptism of the Holy Spirit & water (there’s absolutely nothing theoretical about that, it’s very real to those who have Eyes of Faith & a sense of objectivity). In Baptism (which Christ in the Gospel EXPLICITLY commands us all to undergo: “… in the name of the Father, of the Son, & of the Holy Ghost…”), we are joined to Christ’s Death & Resurrection. Who are you to disagree with our Lord’s command? People (who are now Saints in Heaven) who accepted the fullness of the Catholic faith have gone on to do greater acts of charity than you could ever accomplish, Mr. james (with all due respect). If it’s all so “theoretical” to you, why are you wasting time here arguing about it? Why aren’t you out doing charity work? Yes, Christ wants radical hospitality/charity (but His mission encompasses works of charity & is still greater than that). If it were only works of charity/hospitality, then Christ’s Incarnation (Eternal Word of God made Flesh) & mission was worthless. Jews (following Abraham’s example) & even several Non-Jewish people were already pretty great at being hospitable/charitable before Jesus came along. Jesus came for Incarnation, Death & Resurrection. This is very inclusive to charity works (yes) but at the same time infinitely greater.

    114. Catholic pilgrim

      And also: the central Mission of Christ Jesus was actually to bring the Kingdom of God to us humans by His birth, death & Resurrection. To Institute the Kingdom of God by His birth, death & Resurrection, Period. You know, the Kingdom of God that St. John the Baptist was shouting about in the wilderness/desert? (Read Pope Benedict’s second book on “Jesus of Nazareth” & read about why St. John the Baptist had to baptize Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was already clean as clean can get, innocent & without any stain of sin.) Bringing “instructions” was not the central mission.

    115. Catholic pilgrim

      St. John did NOT want to baptize Jesus, Jesus had to almost force St. John to baptize Him (as it was very necessary), james

    116. He lived and died to bear
      witness to the Truth. 99% of what Jesus gave us were INSTRUCTIONS on
      how to get to heaven.

      Sorry but this is yet another less than intelligent apprehension of what Christianity is.
      What Jesus gave us is not instructions to get to heaven!!
      What Jesus gave us is Himself – HE IS the way to heaven. No one goes to the Father but through Him.
      St Catherine of Siena put it beautifully: All the way to Heaven IS Heaven because Jesus said I AM THE WAY.

      I seriously have no idea where you got your beliefs from but I am telling you right now IT AINT CHRISTIAN!

    117. I seriously have no idea where you got your beliefs from but I am telling you right now IT AINT CHRISTIAN!

      And we know what opinions are like … and most everybody has one.

    118. And we know what opinions are like … and most everybody has one.

      It is not opinion. It is fact. That you think it is opinion shows how bankrupt your understanding of Christianity is.

    119. Catholic pilgrim

      james, your faith would be totally vain. If the Resurrection of Christ Jesus did not occur, our whole Catholic faith (Eucharist, rosary, Our Father, & all) must be thrown away in the garbage can. That’s how important the Glorious Resurrection is. There would be no other point for having the Christian revelation around. Please read NT Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” & “How God became King”. You mentioned Judaism. The Greeks (especially Plato) were based on the escape of the soul from the body. Historical Judaism held Resurrection of the dead to be essential. It was also an earthy religion, especially in the theology of the Temple of Jerusalem. Heaven & earth KISS on the Temple, the body & the soul live in peaceful harmony (totally non-Platonic). Also, When St. Paul (a Jew) speaks of a “spiritual body”, he means a physical body like the one we have now but raised (or resurrected) in a way that the body will NEVER die (hence, the “spiritual” part). Because of sin, our current physical bodies will die. Our resurrected physical bodies will also be spiritual in the sense that they shall never die. Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection. You MUST have all 3 in 1 Christ, or everything (I mean, everything- including the whole cosmos) is worthless & in vain. If Resurrection doesn’t matter, it’d be dishonest to everybody to keep Christianity around.

    120. Thanks for the advice CP but I stand by my post. You’re way too hung up on
      bodies. I recommend you read the Bahagava-gita so as to triangulate another
      dimension to your understanding of jesus’ words.

    121. James, your faith would be totally vain if the Resurrection of Christ Jesus did not occur.

      I think Catholic Pilgrim has a point James. I think it is all or nothing. For these people it is all. For me it is nothing. What is in between is people tripping all over themselves. I respect Leila’s “all” approach and I prefer my “nothing approach”. Trying to interbreed Catholicism with Hinduism will get you nowhere. If Jesus rose from the dead, then I am dead wrong. If he didn’t then these people are dead wrong. There is no in between. You can’t just be a little bit pregnant. It is or it isn’t.

    122. If it was proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead I would in no way be disappointed with Christianity. I would continue to say the Our Father, pray the rosary and believe the Eucharist is the real body and blood of Jesus.

      Wow. That is kind of strange. I am with you on the praying because I have found that prayer has worked for me, not always, but sometimes. The Eucharist though. Hmm. You would believe in that miracle even if the Resurrection were proven to have not happened? I think it would still have great symbolic meaning, but I would not be as likely to accept that it is the real presence. Just so you know, I don’t believe in either miracle.

  7. OK, let me play devil’s advocate.

    First of all, your discussion of “human nature” only holds for those with direct, first-hand knowledge of the Crucifixion and its aftermath. Saul of Tarsus, for example, apparently did not see the Crucifixion; Luke almost certainly did not; and Mark may or may not have. Now you may say that only stupid people would believe such a claim, and that no one would be willing to die for something so daft unless they had evidence that it were true, but history is against you. People have died for Islam, for Mormonism, for Buddhism, for Jim Jones, and for the Heaven’s Gate cult. These religions are mutually contradictory, so the fact that people were willing to die for them cannot be sufficient to prove they are true.

    What about the writings we have from the original Apostles, though — the ones who actually witnessed the Crucifixion? As the popularity of The Da Vinci Code shows, all a skeptic needs to do is to insist that we know nothing directly from the Apostolic Age, and that later believers, perhaps motivated by a desire to exaggerate the importance of their Founder, changed the story later. After all, we all know patriotic lies about George Washington — that he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac, that he told the truth about chopping down his father’s cherry tree, etc.

    There is something to the approach you take, but it is not airtight.

    1. Howard, your examples in the first paragraph are not similar. In those examples followers are willing to die for what they BELIEVE to be true, not what they KNOW is a lie.

    2. Yes, that is right.
      And no one ever said that just because people are willing to die for something, that the “something” is true. That is not the argument I made.

    3. Correct. However, just how many people would *know* one way or the other? Not many! Hence John 20:29: “Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”

      So the only martyrs that “count” towards your argument are essentially the Apostles. A skeptic would note that we know little or nothing about what happened to most of them after Pentecost; there are legends, but even those are not always consistent. The martyrdom of Peter in Rome must have been noted by the Romans, and the Jews should back us up regarding the martyrdom of James the Greater. Josephus certainly backs us up regarding James the Just, who was probably the same as James the Lesser.

    4. Just to clarify: You don’t believe the New Testament as legit history? If not, on what basis do you discount it? And why only the (12) Apostles as the martyrs that “count”? A lot happened before Pentecost.

    5. Um, Howard, I was playing on your dialogue. Sheesh!

      “A hundred or two” is more than 12, and if two hundred people saw him die, the word gets around. The Romans didn’t let people live, and that was understood by all, Jews and Romans. As for sight, there were thousands who saw Jesus post-Resurrection.

    6. All that assumes that you can take the New Testament at face value. If you accept that, it’s case closed. On the other hand, if early Christian authors were lying about the Resurrection, why should they be believed when they say *anything* — even that there were 12 Apostles? And if they were lying about the Resurrection, they were CERTAINLY lying about “thousands who saw Jesus post-Resurrection”. Of those thousands, of course, we know the names only of the Apostles and the Myrrh-Bearing Women. We don’t even *know* that the Blessed Virgin saw Jesus on Easter Sunday, although that is a safe bet.

      So how do we know that the Apostles were not merely under the influence of some weird cult of personality? Look at the “disciples” of Hitler — Himmler and Goering and Goebbels, for example. Even when Hitler was in a hopeless situation in Berlin, which would clearly fall to the Soviets within a matter of hours, Himmler and Goering were still willing to lick his boots from afar. Goebbels actually stayed in the bunker with Hitler; he and his wife first murdered their children, then committed suicide. If the Apostles were liars, they would be similarly incomprehensible to a sane person.

      Here’s the thing, though. If the Apostles were merely under the influence of a magnetic personality, and they lied to make their founder seem more important, there is one thing you can certainly count on: they also would have lied to make themselves look more important. But look at St. Peter. It is clear that he was the most important of the Apostles — to him were entrusted the keys of the kingdom, and he always appears first in a list of the Apostles (as Judas appears last). However, in the Gospels he consistently acts like something of a buffoon. You can bet that neither Goering nor Himmler ever intentionally presented himself as a buffoon. Nor did he become perfect even after Pentecost. So the argument can be turned around: if the Apostles lied about the Resurrection, they might have lied about anything, but if they present themselves as weak, vain, and foolish, they must be unwilling to lie about anything.

      This is the kind of element you need to add to your argument.

    7. I’ve definitely used that argument before, but it doesn’t negate the argument that I posted. In fact, your Hitler thing doesn’t make a good analogy, because I’ve never argued that folks can’t be persuaded to follow evil murderous dictators. In fact, that is unbearably common in human nature and experience.

      The thing that no one will do (even devil’s advocates) is give a scenario that could be plausible. Show how the whole thing went down, if Jesus stayed dead. How did this religion get off the ground?

      And yes, we could say, “Sure, you might believe in the Resurrection [Peloponnesian War] [Revolutionary War] if you take the accounts on face value, but what if they were all liars?” See, we could say that about any written historical account. So, you’re right… if people want to dialogue that way, we cannot win them over, ever. That’s just an exercise in futility, and then I wish them well and go off to dialogue with folks who at least will entertain the idea that something extraordinary happened that was recorded by astonished and convinced men.

    8. Catholic pilgrim

      Howard, in your comparison between the Apostles/Early Christians & Nazi leaders (besides being grossly offensive but for argument’s sake permissible), you say the Apostles would be capable of anything like the Nazis & also “if the Apostles were liars”. Um, no. The Apostles were never recorded of committing grave immoralities like suicide or planning to assassin Roman/Jewish authorities who imposed death penalties on their lives (unlike the Nazi leaders). The Nazis feared losing an amazingly powerful Empire (Third Reich) which they had built up by violence & hatred & the Reich was even close to having its own nuclear power capabilities. The Nazis were self-absorbed by power. In their lifetimes, the Nazi leaders gained A LOT (an powerful Empire, in fact). What had the Apostles to gain in their lives by accepting Christianity? Nothing. They gained no wealth, no Empire, no fancy respect, no power. In fact, they knew their acceptance of the Resurrection claims & Christ claims (Christ Jesus is Lord of Lords) meant their deaths. Why would 1st-century Jewish fishermen (like St. Peter the Apostle, who even had quite the reluctant personality when it came to defending Jesus in public before His crucifixion, three times!) give up living a comfortable, quiet & stable life & trade it for the outrageous claims of the Gospel of Jesus (which they knew would mean death) when there was nothing to gain for themselves?? Occam’s Razor leads us to conclude they actually did encounter the Risen Lord. Anything else is too complicated & makes no sense of the lives of the Apostles & early Christians.

    9. Catholic pilgrim

      The Apostles were never recorded of committing grave immoralities like suicide or planning to assassin Roman/Jewish authorities who imposed death penalties on their lives (unlike the Nazi leaders) “when faced with death unlike the Nazis”, I should have added. The only suicide amongst the Apostles was that Pre-Resurrection case of Judas the betrayer (for 30 coins).

    10. Howard, you are off the mark. Leila pointed out that the absurdity resides in the willfully accepted martyrdom by those who literally would have “KNOWN” that Christ’s resurrection was a lie (see e.g., “so even though the disciples know they are deceiving everyone …”). She never mentioned Paul or any second-hand believers. So as I previously stated your references to Islam and Jim Jones followers are not analogous. And your follow up comment is therefore a non sequitur.

    11. So the only martyrs that “count” towards your argument are essentially the Apostles

      No, because He appeared to more than the apostles. St Paul mentions 500 seeing Jesus at one time.

    12. But see, no one has ever shown to me how it could have played out, if Jesus did not rise. Let us just stick with the first witnesses. Okay, so pick it up with the folks at the time of Jesus’ death. They are hiding in fear, after their leader is executed. Take it from there. “One of the followers suddenly says [or does]….” That’s the answer and narrative I’m looking for. I am honestly curious how that would play out.

    13. Catholic pilgrim

      Howard, please don’t place the Christian definition of Martyrdom (which at its root is love & the imitation of the utterly non-violent innocent-dying-for-the-guilty death of Christ) with the Islamic definition of martyr (which is based on violence, kill others like in 9/11 or as a murdering soldier like the so-called Iranian martyrs). It’s offensive. As to Mormonism: even though Mormonism is NOT Christian, the false “prophet” Smith stole & abused Christianity for his own gains, & if you actually read Mormon history (from Non-Mormon sources) it’s very clear that their martyrs actually used violent resistance in walking into their deaths. Buddhists (like the Tibetan monks protesting the Chinese conquerors) burn themselves up; that’s not martyrdom, it’s suicide (which is bad). As to the other crazy cults, Yeah, there’s a reason why crazy cults have a relatively short lifespan. No crazy cult (like Jim Jones or even the Jewish violent Zealot cults that had their own crazy Messiahs around the time of Jesus/Roman Palestine) lasts 2000+ years. Crazy cults (even the ones that endorse violent behavior from inception) last a relatively short time, Christianity (against ALL odds) has lasted 2000+ years. Howard, I recommend you read NT Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” (all about the historicity of the Resurrection & its mutations) & “How God became King”. NT Wright is an Anglican clergyman, but his books are very solid. Ratzinger would approve.

    14. Catholic pilgrim

      Don’t be so quick to toss off Saul of Tarsus. He wrote close to half of the New Testament, & his writings are very historically reliable. But his own conversion story is a witness to the Resurrection of Christ Jesus. The fact that a highly educated (Tarsus was a college town after all, one of the best educated cities at the time) religiously zealous Jewish Pharisee who openly enforced measures against early Christians (who he aggressively viewed as threats) converted to one of the most zealous Christians ever (& endure shipwrecks, beatings, stoning, persecution, arrest, & ultimately beheading) for his love of Christ after some illuminated vision of the Resurrected Lord speaks VOLUMES. Western scholars have a hard time realizing why St. Paul’s vision on Damascus involved so much light (lamination), but Eastern Christians (Catholics/Orthodox) know exactly the significance of illumination in connection with the glorious Resurrection. In short, St. Paul’s remarkable conversion story only adds to the validity of the Resurrection.

  8. Pingback: Pope Francis Saddened Over Relatives Killed - BigPulpit.com

  9. You have written a fine introductory summary of the current thinking of those seeking understanding about the Resurrection claim.

    The case you make in your brief post for Resurrection is similar to the more extended one put forth in the following book that I highly recommend:

    The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God) by N. T. Wright

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0800636155/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_4V18tb1MAJFN3

    By leaving your readers with the final question (“There is no other reasonable explanation, is there?”), you challenge us to reach for our own answers. This is good. What kind off answer?

    An answer in the context off arriving at a judgment? An answer in the context off taking a choice? An answer in the context off making a decision?

    Those of us who seek reasonable judgments may arrive at a reasonable explanation about what happened in the past and what difference it makes to us today. We will thus have the benefit of our reasoned judgment about the past.

    Those of us who seek a choice among the available options you and Wright examine may take one for the present moment. We will thus have the benefit of our reasoned judgment and the exercise of our free will for the present.

    Those of us who seek a decision about how the Resurrection fits with our future courses of action may make one. We will thus have the benefit of our reasoned judgment, the exercise of our will, and more. What more? The benefit of decisions we make when we accept grace – filled insights and inspirations about the Resurrection and do more that understand: we act on them and thus the Resurrection changes everything for the future.

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