Poll

The Known Facts about Christianity Lead to:

Certainty that these three events occurred
20 (62.5%)
A weak conclusion that these three events occurred
3 (9.4%)
Uncertainty about whether these three events occurred
6 (18.8%)
A weak conclusion that these three events didn't occur
1 (3.1%)
Certainty that these three events didn't occur
2 (6.3%)

Total Members Voted: 32

Voting closed: January 07, 2018, 03:34:33 AM

Author Topic: List of Proofs For vs. Against the Virgin Birth, Resurrection & Ascension  (Read 11914 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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I believe in God and that Jesus was real. I think there is life after death and that miracles probably happen. I love Jesus and His teachings, and I frequently pray and go to Church. But my problem is that I have uncertainty whether these main supernatural claims about Him are true. I would prefer to have a strong opinion because Jesus and the Church asks us to believe the claims. In fact, they consider faith to be salvific. When people say "Christ is Risen" on Paskha, this is something I would like to answer with sincerity. At this point, it looks like I will be someone with Holy Doubt like St. Thomas, and I have to accept that even though it's not what I prefer.

Below I am listing the proofs and disproofs for the transfigured resurrection. I think that the issue of the virgin birth comes down most clearly to the transfigured Resurrection, since the latter is easier to prove. Only Mary and her partner (eg. God) would know the truth about the Conception directly, but it would be confirmed if indeed Jesus was a miraculous being like the transfigured Resurrection would show.

Proofs of the Transfigured Resurrection

  • The Old Testament predicts that the Messiah would be killed and resurrect.
    But not everything in the Old Testament seems very trustworthy, like the pairs of the world's animals being herded onto the ark about half the size of the Titanic and the world's plants surviving a lengthy flood underwater.
  • The Lord / Liar / Lunatic / Later fabrication dilemma
    C.S. Lewis laid the basis for this proof. None of the alternatives are free from objection:
    If He was a liar, why did He choose to: emphasize God and morality, understand the prophesy of the Messiah being killed, and voluntarily meet martyrdom? Maybe he didn't think Pilate would kill him because Pilate's wife liked him and he was not actually stirring insurrection?
    If he and the early Christians were delusional, then what are we to make of the many miracles that go beyond simple delusions- like walking on water?
    If the miraculous parts of the gospels were a fabrication inserted later, then how were they so thoroughly intertwined through all four gospels by people so close to the 1st century Christian community?

    Was the emptiness of the tomb a lie (it probably was not because it has attestation in all the gospels and Acts), a mere accidental removal of the body that coincided with the resurrection prediction, or was the body taken intentionally as a ruse? It probably wasn't a coincidence either, so that reduces the likelihood that the apostles were just deluded about things.

  • The apostles said that they saw Him resurrected in the flesh and His Ascension, they taught morality, and were persecuted.
    But sometimes persecuted sects that teach morality - like the Mormons and early gnostic Christians with their apocryphal gospels - can make things up or fantasize.

  • The tomb being empty with the grave clothes inside
    But a sympathizer of the Christians could have stolen the body. The guard was put on the tomb only on Saturday after the Friday Crucifixion. Perhaps the guards could have been overcome and forcibly bribed if Jesus had at least 70 followers as recorded. The grave clothes could have been left there to make it look like resurrection.
  • James, Jesus' brother, becoming a leader in Christianity after originally being a doubter (John 7:5)
    But maybe the Mormons' family members got pulled into the Mormons too after being doubters?
  • Christian Miracles and signs that have happened after the resurrection
    eg. Weeping icons, Marian apparitions, healings, etc.
    But other religions claim miracles too.
  • The spread of Christianity in the world is very far
    But perhaps the spread of Christianity is explained because it meets a deep psychology need, not necessarily because it is factually true or not?

The Disproofs of the Transfigured Resurrection
  • The Virgin Birth, Transfigured Resurrection, and Bodily Ascension are beyond our understanding and experience in the natural world. Such occurrences are next to impossible, which is, after all, what makes them miracles. Granted, God can do anything, and so God could do this too, supposing of course that He is the kind of being that would do such things as a Virgin Birth, etc. And besides that, I believe that all kinds of cosmic anomalies are actually possible even though our current understanding of science does not expect them.

    However, it is not just a matter of whether such extremely rare and macro-important events could happen, but whether they did happen in this particular time and place with this particular person out of all the very many locations and moments in the universe. That is, the events are near-impossible and the particular location and moment normally would also have an extremely small chance of being the one selected if at random.
  • There are cases where sects that are (1) persecuted, (2) teach God and morality, and (3) claim miracles make up and fantasize stories. Examples include the 1st to 2nd century gnostic Christians who wrote fanciful apocryphal gospels combined with moral teachings and the Mormons who were sometimes killed for their fanciful claims. There are Asian gurus, Bahais, and Sikhs who have moral, inspiring teachings, masses of followers, claims of miracles, and past persecution.

    Thus, the fact that other sects like the early Christians meet those three qualifications does not mean that they did not make up the more fantastic aspects of their narrative, like the Virgin Birth.

Could you please briefly list any more proofs or disproofs of the Transfigured Resurrection?

Next I will list potential methods to find more proofs and disproofs.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 03:47:53 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline Sleeper

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You may not like my answer, but I believe the proof for all three lies in our personal experience of the risen Lord, through our union with Him in the sacramental life of the Church. We can't directly experience Christ if He didn't ascend to Heaven. He could not have ascended if He remained in the grave. He could not have risen from the dead if He weren't born without sin.

Christ (and the truth about Him) makes Himself known to any who desire it, so long as we are willing to do the things that make such an encounter possible. That's what faith is. For me anyway.

Offline hecma925

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It's proven every time I'm at Liturgy, especially on those feast days. 
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

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Offline Asteriktos

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..it would be confirmed if indeed Jesus was a miraculous being like the transfigured Resurrection would show.

But won't we all have a transfigured resurrection?

Offline Porter ODoran

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At this point, it looks like I will be someone with Holy Doubt like St. Thomas ...

I'm afraid you need to reread his story.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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The "proof" of the Resurrection lies in its eyewitnesses, in its necessity*, and in its fruits in the kosmos and in ourselves. One could add the "proofs" of prophecies (as cited in our Symbol of Faith) and of Christ's own word, altho we approach these thru the Evangelists (i.e., the eyewitnesses above).



* theological, cosmological, [the-]anthropological, eschatological, &c. &c.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Mor Ephrem

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At this point, it looks like I will be someone with Holy Doubt like St. Thomas, and I have to accept that even though it's not what I prefer.

St Thomas didn't have "Holy Doubt", he had "Faith".  "Faith" seeks, finds, and then travels through Mesopotamia and the Indian Subcontinent preaching the findings until being stabbed in the back with spears by Hindus.  "Holy Doubt" sets down a lot of meandering thoughts about theological subjects on an internet forum and calls itself "holy" so that it's not just "doubt". 

Quote
Below I am listing the proofs and disproofs for the transfigured resurrection.

What on earth is "the transfigured resurrection"? 
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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You may not like my answer, but I believe the proof for all three lies in our personal experience of the risen Lord, through our union with Him in the sacramental life of the Church. We can't directly experience Christ if He didn't ascend to Heaven. He could not have ascended if He remained in the grave. He could not have risen from the dead if He weren't born without sin.

Christ (and the truth about Him) makes Himself known to any who desire it, so long as we are willing to do the things that make such an encounter possible. That's what faith is. For me anyway.

Is that you, St Athanasius? 
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Offline rakovsky

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Sleeper and Hecma,

I understand what you and others mean about having a personal experience with Jesus, when Sleeper writes:
You may not like my answer, but I believe the proof for all three lies in our personal experience of the risen Lord, through our union with Him in the sacramental life of the Church. We can't directly experience Christ if He didn't ascend to Heaven. He could not have ascended if He remained in the grave. He could not have risen from the dead if He weren't born without sin.

Christ (and the truth about Him) makes Himself known to any who desire it, so long as we are willing to do the things that make such an encounter possible. That's what faith is. For me anyway.
We pray to Jesus, love Him because of His story and morality, and then when we pray or afterwards we feel warm about it. My uncertainty is whether this is imagining because people also pray to Buddha or other people and feel they have a personal experience. St. Christopher was removed from the Vatican calendar in 1969 because there wasn't enough evidence of his existence, yet people claim miracles to his name.
(http://www.catholic.org/news/saints/story.php?id=56049) Additionally, it looks like the 8th century St Albert of Cashel, allegedly a bishop, was created by monks in Germany in the 12th century based maybe on St Ailbe of Emly from the 6th century, as there was no bishopric of Cashel in the 8th century. I am not questioning that Jesus was real, but rather whether the personal experiences people have may be  something they are imagining. On the other hand, I suppose that even if Jesus were not God born incarnate of a virgin people could really still experience Him just as they experience other saints who are in the afterlife.

The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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The "proof" of the Resurrection lies in its eyewitnesses, in its necessity*, and in its fruits in the kosmos and in ourselves. One could add the "proofs" of prophecies (as cited in our Symbol of Faith) and of Christ's own word, altho we approach these thru the Evangelists (i.e., the eyewitnesses above).
* theological, cosmological, [the-]anthropological, eschatological, &c. &c.
Porter,

I agree that these are proofs. I mentioned the eyewitnesses and prophecies in my first message above. Christ's own word is part of the dilemma posed by CS Lewis I mentioned too- it shows that we would normally presume that He is not a liar because of His wonderful moral teachings. Or were you drawing another inference from Christ's word as to how it proves His resurrection?

The "necessity" proof is interesting. It says that the world is fallen and sinful and only God incarnating and sacrificing Himself with death could save it. I understand the logic, however I am not sure that this is really the only way- after all, Christ said at Gethsemene about this question that all things are possible. If one accepts human evolution or some other force to have created humanity, perhaps God also use subtle forces in the universe to perfect it throughout time and space instead of martyrdom? A patient can have an illness and to one doctor one way might seem the only way to treat it (eg. amputation), but perhaps with enough research it can be found that another method could be used (eg. antiobiotics). And then it's still a question of whether this particular martyrdom in time and space was the one. I do understand the logic and don't reject it, but I have a sense that skeptics could be right when they say that this is an outdated, narrow a way of thinking and that there can be other ways to achieve improvements and reconciliation rather than sacrificing a life. Still, it's an interesting point.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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If you think the necessity of the Cross and Resurrection can be exhausted in a casual paragraph, you may not understand "the logic."

As for whether the saints the Evangelists were liars, or our Lord was a liar ...

Indeed, I see both these responses I'm making impinge upon "What is truth?" Perhaps you can write us a paragraph describing how you, Rakovsky, establish to your satisfaction what is true -- not in this matter but in all matters.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline primuspilus

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If they were lies, they could be extraordinarily easy to refute. The Jews and Romans could simply cart someone out to refute ANY of the claims. Nobody ever did. Not in Roman accounts of the period, nor Jewish.

PP
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 02:22:49 PM by primuspilus »
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If they were lies, they could be extraordinarily easy to refute. The Jews and Romans could simply cart someone out to refute ANY of the claims. Nobody ever did. Not in Roman accounts of the period, nor Jewish.

PP

What do you mean?
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Offline rakovsky

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St Thomas didn't have "Holy Doubt", he had "Faith".  "Faith" seeks, finds, and then travels through Mesopotamia and the Indian Subcontinent preaching the findings until being stabbed in the back with spears by Hindus.  "Holy Doubt" sets down a lot of meandering thoughts about theological subjects on an internet forum and calls itself "holy" so that it's not just "doubt". 

What on earth is "the transfigured resurrection"?
Hello, Mor!

Thanks for coming onto the thread to talk with me.

You're right that St Thomas had faith not doubt and he became a great evangelist. However, when I referred to a similarity with myself, I meant the earlier time when he had doubt.

In John 20, it says:
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24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
For me, I don't rule out belief that hard. I think they could find a supernatural aspect in the shroud or Jesus could appear today whereby it could be better documented or confirmed. That's a reason why I made the thread on Jesus' appearances. Or maybe they could use time travel, clairvoyance, or another method.

As for Holy Doubt, this is a real concept I heard in Orthodoxy.

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Doubt is holy when it cares enough to inquire instead of merely ingesting. It could be the first step toward a faith that runs deeper than doctrine. It's courageous to let go of comforting beliefs and see what's left, or as Irish pyro-theologian Peter Rollins puts it, to burn away our false ideas of God, church, and self to uncover radical truth. He suggests the truth we find might be, "not what remains after the fire has died that is true, but rather the fire itself."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/w-hunter-roberts/holy-doubt_b_4862248.html

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"Holy doubt is an essential element of faith, yet we are tantalized by stories that give historical insights in support of the foundations of our faith. Finding Jesus explores six artifacts that are windows into early Christianity and our desire to know what happened. These windows let us see that faith is deeper than history, but knowing these complex stories can sustain us as we grapple with today’s questions. Finding Jesus’ stories reveal our very human and complex hunger to understand mystery and our past." – Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun on the Bus

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Saint Thomas did not believe the other apostles' claim that Christ was risen until he saw Christ before him and touched the wounds. The Orthodox Church teaches, officially, that Holy Doubt is acceptable and desirable, and reserves one Sunday each year for St. Thomas.
http://www.christianforums.com/t7611150-2/

By the transfigured Resurrection, I mean more than simply a resusitation of a person who was clinically dead. It wasn't just that Jesus' heart stopped and brain waves weren't detectable and then He revived. It wasn't even like Lazarus where he was in the tomb for a few days and then got resurrected and walked out like a normal living person. Jesus in the Bible transfigured and appeared in a room and vanished and reappeared and vanished multiple times before Ascending.
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Offline Luke

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If you believe, as I do, that God created the universe, than the virgin birth is no sweat.  The LORD knows how everything works, so planting the Son into Mary is no sweat for the LORD.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 06:35:23 PM by Gamliel »

Offline rakovsky

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I think normally what is supposed to happen is that a person reads the story about Jesus' miracles and martyrdom, and reads how ancient sages predicted a hero's martyrdom and resurrection. The story inspires the person and he prays about whether the story is true. Then a rare event might occur, like the cloud image that this lady photographed after praying about it, and that confirms it for the person:



For me the problem with this method is that it feels unreliable and very subjective. The story definitely inspires me, but unfortunately I know that not everything that inspires me or I want to be true is. I think prayer is a special way to talk with God, but I worry that it could also create an expectation in one's mind that prepares him or her to interpret things like the cloud as a confirmation.

A person could pray to a Hindu deity or Buddha and experience some phenomenon that he/she perceives as confirmation.

What do you think about this? Next I will list some ways that I would find more persuasive for myself.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 10:40:01 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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I think normally what is supposed to happen is that a person reads the story about Jesus' miracles and martyrdom, and reads how ancient sages predicted a hero's martyrdom and resurrection. The story inspires the person and he prays about whether the story is true. Then a rare event might occur, like the cloud image that this lady photographed after praying about it, and that confirms it for the person: ...

Gosh, that wouldn't be normal at all. There's no definition or context to make that normal.

Now, what should happen is that a person is born into a loving and humble religious community in which the Resurrection serves as underpinning, enwrapping, and goal of what they think and do. The person grows toward God in his three persons as tho he grows toward the sun and is nourished by the teaching of fathers and elders as tho he were nourished with cool water. The fruit comprises the proof, the paradigm makes manifest the reality.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 11:59:13 AM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline orthonorm

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When it comes rakovsky, agreement is not a matter which is of any concern. Agree or disagree, few Internet as well or meticulously as he.

He is among the oc.netters I haven't met in person but wish I could. I cannot fathom he isn't singularly interesting.

Offline rakovsky

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Thanks for your compliment, Orthonorm. Let me respond here briefly to the responses made by Porter, Gamliel, and Primus.

Primus wrote:

Quote
The Jews and Romans could simply cart someone out to refute ANY of the claims. Nobody ever did. Not in Roman accounts of the period, nor Jewish.
This is a good point. If the Empty Tomb was a lie, the pharisees could have carted out Jesus' body. However, this does not rule out alternative explanations for why the tomb was empty, like the apostles stealing the body.

Gamliel wrote:

Quote
If you believe, as I do, that God created the universe, than the virgin birth is no sweat.  The LORD knows how everything works, so planting the Son into Mary is no sweat for the LORD.
This makes some sense. I don't see the virgin birth as something difficult for God to do, but as something extremely rare for Him to do. So it's more a question for me of whether He did do something so out of the ordinary in this case.

Porter reacted to my story of how one comes to faith by saying:
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Now, what should happen is that a person is born into a loving and humble religious community in which the Resurrection serves as underpinning, enwrapping, and goal of what they think and do. The person grows toward God in his three persons as tho he grows toward the sun and is nourished by the teaching of fathers and elders
I think Porter is right as to how people grow in Christianity when they are raised in the faith. Rather, I was addressing how people outside the faith would come to it. In my case, I grew up going to Church, praying, reading the Bible. I also familiarized myself with the fathers over the years. So I agree with and have a strong attraction to Christian morality, culture, and ideas. My issue is more with whether the main supernatural miracles happened in a factual sense.

For example, someone could grow up in a close Christian community and still question whether the 7 day creation really happened, whether one of the Russian saints overpowered a demon and rode it to Jerusalem, whether there really was a 8th century bishop saint Albert of Cashel, or whether St. George slew an actual dragon.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Porter ODoran

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For example, someone could grow up in a close Christian community and still question whether the 7 day creation really happened, whether one of the Russian saints overpowered a demon and rode it to Jerusalem, whether there really was a 8th century bishop saint Albert of Cashel, or whether St. George slew an actual dragon.

You'd think so, but in fact probably not. Altho what you mean by "a close Christian community" might be the question. Premodern Christian communities close-knit enough to be, say, a village of ancient roots did not suffer from such restless urges to deconstruct the fabric of their own world.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Rather, I was addressing how people outside the faith would come to it. In my case, I grew up going to Church, praying, reading the Bible. I also familiarized myself with the fathers over the years. So I agree with and have a strong attraction to Christian morality, culture, and ideas. My issue is more with whether the main supernatural miracles happened in a factual sense.

If one has got to convert, one already faces an almost impossible hurdle, dwells in an almost intolerable limbo. It's unnatural for a human being to live without roots or real environment. Of course, many of us have endured this suffering and we do fervently pray our children or at least our grandchildren will avoid this horror and grow up whole. Time will tell what God will do for them, or how long his wrath will dwell on the modern world -- till seven generations? -- but I do have strong trust that he will by some means still save them. -- But to return to what you said at first, that a convert (as you've now clarified) "normally" finds the faith thru some manifest miracle -- I do not think that this is either practically or theologically true.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline rakovsky

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Let me list here briefly some potential ways to come to a stronger conclusion.

  • Time Travel. We don't have the technology

  • Jesus could appear today like He did to the apostle Paul and St. Thomas. People do occasionally report appearances of Jesus to them. But I am not sure what to make of those modern appearances, since I am skeptical of the mass Marian apparitions and suppose that a person could subconsciously will themselves to see a vision.

  • Text criticism. Perhaps scholars could find something in it the New Testament that proves the resurrection stories to be fabrications. But they have gone over the texts so many times I doubt they will find anything new or conclusive. For example, some cite the fact that women were the first to find the tomb empty as proof that it happened, while others claim that the "main" Marcan gospel has a grammatical ending that shows the original post-resurrection narrative has been lost and replaced with another one. Others try to find second-rate contradictions in the gospels to claim that they aren't reliable.
  • Clairvoyance or Remote Viewing. This seems unreliable and subjective. I read a number of remote viewing and clairvoyant reports and they vary widely. Typically the clairvoyants claim Jesus was a magical person or being with special powers. One clairvoyant named Courtney Brown claimed in his book The Crucifixion Ruse that the crucifixion was intentionally arranged to look like Jesus was killed. A slavic clairvoyant basically reported basic features of Jesus from the gospels. Perhaps they are just reading their own perceptions of Jesus or others' views on Jesus into their "visions".

    Here is an example of how the clairvoyance works
    Quote
    The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus
    by Lani A. George

    In February 2005, I added several targets to my blind pool, including "Jesus Christ/ Crucifixion and Resurrection / Primary Purpose." Easter was coming up, which made me think of it (although my church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrates Easter this year on May 1)... To be honest, when I pulled the target to work on April 8, 2005, I had completely forgotten it was in my blind pool of targets. I usually have anywhere from 40 to 60 in my blind pool, including anywhere from 5 to 10 targets pulled from the TRV University pool of targets, which helps keep me from anticipating what the target might be.


    I began to get ideas and concepts almost immediately, such as "light" and "angel", which I declared as imagination and tried to ignore. When ideas present themselves in the wrong places in a session, they must be declared as imagination and ignored. If these ideas are legitimate data, they will resurface later in their proper places. However, the emotions that came through were very strong and included "amazed, wondrous, surprised, fascinated, happy, astonished, grave, serious, fearful, joyous, awe, reverence and hope" among others.



    My sketches were filled with spirals, but not a lot of physical detail, which you would expect from a more conceptual target. As I got deeper into the target, interesting ideas began to surface. From facing the target, I got the concepts of "ethereal, spiritual, ongoing, embarking and 'like a journey'".
    http://www.trvnews.com/tmn/042705/jesusredux.html

    So perhaps she was envisioning the concept of Jesus in our collective thinking, rather than the actual person of Jesus in history.

  • The Shroud of Turin. Some scholars claim that the image on it has miraculous properties. If so, it could prove that the image was made as a result of a miraculous event - in this case the Resurrection. I will post one of the articles discussing this below. The problem is that there are scholars on both sides of the issue who dispute it in great detail and write scientific and historical books on the subject. So I don't know what to make of that myself except that the scholars don't seem to have a conclusive answer on who or what is in the shroud, or when and how it was made. It appears that it came from the Middle East no later than the 6h century and precisely reflects a person killed in the way Jesus was, although some detractors claim it was made in Western Europe during the early Renaissance.
    Quote

    The Turin Shroud DOES have miraculous powers... whether it is genuine or not

    • Italian scientists claim shroud was created by 'supernatural event' as burst of ultra-violet light necessary to leave imprint on cloth wasn't then possible
    • Implication from research is that image of Jesus was scorched onto linen by divinely generated light given out by His body


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077341/The-Turin-shroud-DOES-miraculous-powers--Whether-genuine-not.html#ixzz3XapMxzc3

What do you think of these methods and can you consider others?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Dan-Romania

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Perhaps sometimes we need to just believe, without sight contrary to what we think or can fantom in our heads.

Or it could be that some of this events are to be taken allegorically.

1.If for example the author meant the asexual conception literally then it would certainly not be a concept all foreign to nature. See Parthenogenesis.

2.Personally I don't find it so hard to believe that a man can be resuscitated after a certain low amount of time. There are many cases of clinical death or all sort of people being resuscitated nowadays even in longer periods.

3. The Ascension. Now this part again it is a little hard to fantom with the intellect so easy. Where did he really ascended, if that is meant literally?  Where is heaven located? Is it somewhere in the sky? We know the sky is not just the sky but the firmament of the whole Universe and that the Universe is great. 

3a And how he ascended? Did he fly? Levitated? Again that is pretty unobsverable. But I guess all this would make him God, or prove he is God. 

The questions is , is weather reason (is meant to) end/s where faith starts or not. Is there really meant to exist something as unreasonable faith? Unto which extend and unto which end would the justification for that be?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Gosh no. Just no.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Haven't you read Christ's parable in which Holy Father Abraham advises the rich man in torment that, if his brothers still living do not heed the warning of their religion, even one rising from the dead to testify of the afterlife would have no consequence with them?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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We do not have a time machine, but we have time. The human race coexisted with the Godman. Which of those who beheld him were compelled to trust to him? Or to make it only a practical matter, what proportion of those who beheld him did trust?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline rakovsky

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Perhaps sometimes we need to just believe, without sight contrary to what we think or can fantom in our heads.

Or it could be that some of this events are to be taken allegorically.

1.If for example the author meant the asexual conception literally then it would certainly not be a concept all foreign to nature. See Parthenogenesis.

2.Personally I don't find it so hard to believe that a man can be resuscitated after a certain low amount of time. There are many cases of clinical death or all sort of people being resuscitated nowadays even in longer periods.

3. The Ascension. Now this part again it is a little hard to fantom with the intellect so easy. Where did he really ascended, if that is meant literally?  Where is heaven located? Is it somewhere in the sky? We know the sky is not just the sky but the firmament of the whole Universe and that the Universe is great. 

3a And how he ascended? Did he fly? Levitated? Again that is pretty unobsverable. But I guess all this would make him God, or prove he is God. 

The questions is , is weather reason (is meant to) end/s where faith starts or not. Is there really meant to exist something as unreasonable faith? Unto which extend and unto which end would the justification for that be?
Dear Dan,

Thank you for your response, which shows the kind of systematic thinking I like. I understand what you mean about how it could be an allegory. This seems to be how the theologian Marcus Borg saw it. He did not think Jesus rose in a physical form but that people had visions of Him and described Jesus' miracles in an allegorical form. Personally, I doubt that this is how it was intended, because it says things like the apostles didn't believe it happened. It would be easy to believe it was an allegory, but disbelief in this situation is more proper for a miraculous situation.

1. Sure, a virgin birth is not totally ruled out in nature, although normal pathogenesis I heard always would result in a female. Nonetheless, mutations exist, and I could allow some extreme event to occur.
2. Sure, it appears that it may occasionally happen that people revive after being dead briefly.
3. That's a good question of where He would ascend to. What makes it so that heaven is a place physically in the direction of "up" in the sky? If heaven is a different dimension or reality, wouldn't He just transfer to that reality, without going up toward the sky?
Allegorically it makes sense in heaven being "up". I suppose if it's to be taken literally, one can compare it to how people feel they float up in near-death experiences.
At that point, they would be looking at Him in His transformed body.

4. Finally, you make a good question asking whether there is such a thing as unreasonable faith and what would be the justification for such a situation.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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God exists, Jesus existed. As a result of Him, the knowledge of God has been introduced around the world, which is not only a major task of the Messiah, but at this point it couldn't be duplicated, since it already occurred.

We don't "know" with our current level of technology whether Jesus' main miracles (Virgin Birth, Transfigured resurrection, Ascension) occurred. I hoped that something like the Turin Shroud could be very strong evidence, but scientists disagree over it with arguments that sound good.

People usually say things like they feel inspired to believe it, or that the Bible's story sounds real. Skeptics usually say that it's scientifically impossible and it sounds like fantasy. Others get into the arguments in my first post.

So that leaves me with uncertainty. I don't know what there is to do about that except to pray and be open-minded about it. Christianity does not seem like it is absolutely judgmental if you fail to believe and need proof like the apostle Thomas did.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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WGW,
You wrote:
In this respect LBK is correct regarding St. John the Baptist.

However, if it's any consolation, the Mandaeans were also unconvinced.  But look what it got them.

When I read the Mandaean Book of John, which contains an alleged dialogue between St. John and our Lord, our Lord comes across in a bright light, and they blasphemously make St. John look bad.  The whole thing smells of sour grapes of a legalistic people who could not accept the radical message of love, hope and forgiveness taught by our Lord and so decided to erect a cult around his Forerunner and falsify an animosity between them.  Some of these were probably followers of St. John who never embraced Christianity, but who did embrace Gnosticism, and later migrated east, forming a syncretic religion with followers of the ancient Babylonian faith (there is a lot of stuff in Mandaeism).
It appears to hard to tell if the Mandeans' beliefs and records about John the Baptist and Jesus have any independent source outside of Christian and Muslim circles.

Quote
So I challenge you Rakovsky to do this: compare the central religious texts of Christianity with those of other faiths. http://www.sacred-texts.org has nearly of all of them.  I challenge you to find one that is either as consistent or has the same message of love.  The texts of the Baha'i faith are more consistent because Bahuallah wrote all of them, and the printing press precluded scribal transcription errors.  However there is nothing loving about the Kitab-Al-Aqdas, which is basically a list of laws, including the odious requirement for arsons to be burned alive.
Let's turn attention to some moralistic alternatives.
1) Quakerism is very attractive. But it's ideas cannot really be considered so separate from Christianity, which to a major extent it's based on. Rather, it appears to be a Christian sect, in whom nowadays belief in the extreme miracles of Christianity is unnecessary for attaining membership. But I don't find its interpretation of Christianity to be reasonable. Namely, its founder portrayed his views as legitimate Christianity, but they consider the Eucharist and Baptism to be unimportant as distinct rituals.

2) Unitarianism and Transhumanism are very attractive too, particularly together. In Transhumanism, the person raises themself spiritually and morally, which has a resemblance to our belief in theosis. One could say that prophets throughout the world have been inspired to preach morality and sacred teachings and perform miracles. Then one can absorb those teachings spiritually while following Unitarianism's belief in one God. Besides Christianity, this seems to me the best religion. But the problem is that it's very arbitrary. It would require strong spiritual discernment for someone to say for themselves which beliefs are correct. People would easily propose moral teachings that they think are correct but are not necessarily so.

3) Jainism was Ghandi's religion or close to it. It is extremely compassionate and based on avoiding causing needless harm. Its practitioners are generally vegetarian pacifists. It may be one of the world's oldest religions, going back to 5000 BC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism
The problem is that Jains believe that there are gods and the universe is a continuum rather than there being one God who created the universe at one point in time. I suppose both models - Unitarianism and Polytheism - are scientifically reasonable based on our current knowledge. But how would the Jains know this? Isn't it more likely that concepts like love and creation and being and life come together into one whole, God, rather than being fractured into multiple gods?

4) Rastafarianism would be appealing, but it could also be considered a sect of Christianity. And I can't agree with its beliefs about the Ethiopian emperor, the spiritual centrality of Africa, or Cannabis.

5) Sikhism sounds good and caring. But perhaps a few centuries into the religion it developed the idea of a saint soldier and sounds militaristic, which is not particularly attractive.

6) Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that seems to have a lot in common with Christian monotheism without the Torah or character of Jesus. They have a demigod that could be compared to the angel of the devil. Although their religion is often depicted as Dualist, they see the main creator God as the good God who they worship. They have fire temples and seem to see fire as having religious significance and properties, which I don't know is really true.

7) Christianity is something I find morally and spiritually true. However my main difficulty is uncertainty over whether the extreme main miracles were factually true. If it were my choice on what happened, I would want it to be true. I could undergo hypnosis to make myself believe it, but that does not seem morally right, and wouldn't solve the problem of rationally clearing up what happened, since hypnosis is not rationally arriving at a decision.

Christianity appears to have a similarity to many schools of gnosticism, in that it sees a holy "knowledge" (gnosis) as bringing salvation. Those without the secret knowledge are in the dark, while those with this knowledge are saved. In Christianity, the sacred knowledge is that Jesus was the Messiah, God's literal Son who resurrected, and the Christians made this hidden knowledge public after Jesus' Resurrection or Pentecost. In Evangelical Protestantism, this knowledge is the one determinative criterion for Judgment, making it absolutely rigidly "gnostic". But in more traditional Christianity there is more openness and uncertainty as to how Judgment occurs. To me it seems problematic to make a rational opinion about whether an event in the material world physically occurred or not a criterion for judgment.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline FinnJames

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Why do we need proof? If belief in these three (Virgin Birth, Resurrection, Ascension) leads people to more loving and balanced lives, isn't that enough? What do we lose by simply considering these things to be mysteries taught by the church that are beyond human understanding? Even if they're 'only' mythical stories, they're useful ones worth believing in.

It seems odd that some, many Protestants I think, believe strongly in the resurrection and ascension but deny the possibility of the virgin birth. A while back the BBC news website carried an article about virgin births in several of the 'lower' species (lizards and the like), so that sort of thing is at least physically possible, not that I'm equating the Theotokos/Virgin Mary with a reptile.

Offline wgw

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That sounds a bit like the plot for an X Files episode, FinnJames.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline wgw

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You may not like my answer, but I believe the proof for all three lies in our personal experience of the risen Lord, through our union with Him in the sacramental life of the Church. We can't directly experience Christ if He didn't ascend to Heaven. He could not have ascended if He remained in the grave. He could not have risen from the dead if He weren't born without sin.

Christ (and the truth about Him) makes Himself known to any who desire it, so long as we are willing to do the things that make such an encounter possible. That's what faith is. For me anyway.

Is that you, St Athanasius?

A very nice compliment, Sleeper, and you did sound like my favorite saint there.  And I think your advice is spot on.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

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That sounds a bit like the plot for an X Files episode, FinnJames.

Or an oc.net thread  ;) :P

Offline wgw

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WGW,
You wrote:
In this respect LBK is correct regarding St. John the Baptist.

However, if it's any consolation, the Mandaeans were also unconvinced.  But look what it got them.

When I read the Mandaean Book of John, which contains an alleged dialogue between St. John and our Lord, our Lord comes across in a bright light, and they blasphemously make St. John look bad.  The whole thing smells of sour grapes of a legalistic people who could not accept the radical message of love, hope and forgiveness taught by our Lord and so decided to erect a cult around his Forerunner and falsify an animosity between them.  Some of these were probably followers of St. John who never embraced Christianity, but who did embrace Gnosticism, and later migrated east, forming a syncretic religion with followers of the ancient Babylonian faith (there is a lot of stuff in Mandaeism).
It appears to hard to tell if the Mandeans' beliefs and records about John the Baptist and Jesus have any independent source outside of Christian and Muslim circles.

Quote
So I challenge you Rakovsky to do this: compare the central religious texts of Christianity with those of other faiths. http://www.sacred-texts.org has nearly of all of them.  I challenge you to find one that is either as consistent or has the same message of love.  The texts of the Baha'i faith are more consistent because Bahuallah wrote all of them, and the printing press precluded scribal transcription errors.  However there is nothing loving about the Kitab-Al-Aqdas, which is basically a list of laws, including the odious requirement for arsons to be burned alive.
Let's turn attention to some moralistic alternatives.
1) Quakerism is very attractive. But it's ideas cannot really be considered so separate from Christianity, which to a major extent it's based on. Rather, it appears to be a Christian sect, in whom nowadays belief in the extreme miracles of Christianity is unnecessary for attaining membership. But I don't find its interpretation of Christianity to be reasonable. Namely, its founder portrayed his views as legitimate Christianity, but they consider the Eucharist and Baptism to be unimportant as distinct rituals.

2) Unitarianism and Transhumanism are very attractive too, particularly together. In Transhumanism, the person raises themself spiritually and morally, which has a resemblance to our belief in theosis. One could say that prophets throughout the world have been inspired to preach morality and sacred teachings and perform miracles. Then one can absorb those teachings spiritually while following Unitarianism's belief in one God. Besides Christianity, this seems to me the best religion. But the problem is that it's very arbitrary. It would require strong spiritual discernment for someone to say for themselves which beliefs are correct. People would easily propose moral teachings that they think are correct but are not necessarily so.

3) Jainism was Ghandi's religion or close to it. It is extremely compassionate and based on avoiding causing needless harm. Its practitioners are generally vegetarian pacifists. It may be one of the world's oldest religions, going back to 5000 BC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism
The problem is that Jains believe that there are gods and the universe is a continuum rather than there being one God who created the universe at one point in time. I suppose both models - Unitarianism and Polytheism - are scientifically reasonable based on our current knowledge. But how would the Jains know this? Isn't it more likely that concepts like love and creation and being and life come together into one whole, God, rather than being fractured into multiple gods?

4) Rastafarianism would be appealing, but it could also be considered a sect of Christianity. And I can't agree with its beliefs about the Ethiopian emperor, the spiritual centrality of Africa, or Cannabis.

5) Sikhism sounds good and caring. But perhaps a few centuries into the religion it developed the idea of a saint soldier and sounds militaristic, which is not particularly attractive.

6) Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that seems to have a lot in common with Christian monotheism without the Torah or character of Jesus. They have a demigod that could be compared to the angel of the devil. Although their religion is often depicted as Dualist, they see the main creator God as the good God who they worship. They have fire temples and seem to see fire as having religious significance and properties, which I don't know is really true.

7) Christianity is something I find morally and spiritually true. However my main difficulty is uncertainty over whether the extreme main miracles were factually true. If it were my choice on what happened, I would want it to be true. I could undergo hypnosis to make myself believe it, but that does not seem morally right, and wouldn't solve the problem of rationally clearing up what happened, since hypnosis is not rationally arriving at a decision.

Christianity appears to have a similarity to many schools of gnosticism, in that it sees a holy "knowledge" (gnosis) as bringing salvation. Those without the secret knowledge are in the dark, while those with this knowledge are saved. In Christianity, the sacred knowledge is that Jesus was the Messiah, God's literal Son who resurrected, and the Christians made this hidden knowledge public after Jesus' Resurrection or Pentecost. In Evangelical Protestantism, this knowledge is the one determinative criterion for Judgment, making it absolutely rigidly "gnostic". But in more traditional Christianity there is more openness and uncertainty as to how Judgment occurs. To me it seems problematic to make a rational opinion about whether an event in the material world physically occurred or not a criterion for judgment.

Regarding Jainism,mthe or cosmology is not in accord with modern astrophysics.  They believe, like physicists did before the discovery of the Big Bang, that the universe always existed.  But the Big Bang in my opinion proves creation ex nihlo, since even the atheist Stephen Hawkimg proclaims that questions about what took place before the Big Bang have no meaning (since Time and Space originated in that explosion).  The Big Bamg should be seen as a giant neon sign in the sky saying "Orthodoxy is True."

But look, you can't prove the miracles attributed to Jesus actually happened intellectually.  You weren't there.  All you have is the testimony of hundreds of thousands of Roman subjects who went to their deaths, including all of the Disciples except St. John, because they believed in the Resurrection.  ultimately it is called faith for a reason, as in, taking a leap of.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Fabio Leite

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Why do we need proof? If belief in these three (Virgin Birth, Resurrection, Ascension) leads people to more loving and balanced lives, isn't that enough? What do we lose by simply considering these things to be mysteries taught by the church that are beyond human understanding? Even if they're 'only' mythical stories, they're useful ones worth believing in.

It seems odd that some, many Protestants I think, believe strongly in the resurrection and ascension but deny the possibility of the virgin birth. A while back the BBC news website carried an article about virgin births in several of the 'lower' species (lizards and the like), so that sort of thing is at least physically possible, not that I'm equating the Theotokos/Virgin Mary with a reptile.

Parthenogenesis would theoretically be possible, but I never heard of it occurring in more complex life-forms, specially humans. In the case of humans, if it happened, the baby would necessarily be female, and a clone or "twin daughter" of the mother.

The fact Jesus is a man proves it was not a parthenogenic process.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline rakovsky

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Regarding Jainism,mthe or cosmology is not in accord with modern astrophysics.  They believe, like physicists did before the discovery of the Big Bang, that the universe always existed.  But the Big Bang in my opinion proves creation ex nihlo, since even the atheist Stephen Hawkimg proclaims that questions about what took place before the Big Bang have no meaning (since Time and Space originated in that explosion).  The Big Bamg should be seen as a giant neon sign in the sky saying "Orthodoxy is True."
Maybe they could consider the universe to have existed before the Big Bang? There is a theory that the universe is recreated repeatedly. But it sounds like you are right.

Quote
But look, you can't prove the miracles attributed to Jesus actually happened intellectually.  You weren't there.  All you have is the testimony of hundreds of thousands of Roman subjects who went to their deaths, including all of the Disciples except St. John, because they believed in the Resurrection.  ultimately it is called faith for a reason, as in, taking a leap of.
The Roman subjects clearly saw Christianity extremely appealing. But physical appearances are only clearly said to have had about a dozen witnesses. And even then Matthew's gospel ends with some of those witnesses doubting. And in the case of the modern Marian apparitions, hundreds or thousands of people are claimed to be witnesses, while some people at the apparitions did not see Mary but the sun or nothing unusual. Yet there are many Catholics who strongly believe in the Marian apparitions.

As for totally proving the resurrection, you are right that this would be very hard to do. However, I wish to have a real opinion about whether it physically happened, rather than necessarily knowing that it happened. And my hardship is knowing that what I believe should be true in reality based on morality and spirituality, along with what I want or feel to be really true, often sadly are not so. It can be sad.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 10:15:48 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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So what do people think that the best way is to reach a conclusion about this puzzle? I go to Church and pray a lot about it. Is there a particular theologian or scholar whom you would recommend writing to, in order to discuss this in more depth?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline LBK

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So what do people think that the best way is to reach a conclusion about this puzzle? I go to Church and pray a lot about it. Is there a particular theologian or scholar whom you would recommend writing to, in order to discuss this in more depth?

Have you talked to your priest about all these doubts?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 10:25:28 PM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline rakovsky

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So what do people think that the best way is to reach a conclusion about this puzzle? I go to Church and pray a lot about it. Is there a particular theologian or scholar whom you would recommend writing to, in order to discuss this in more depth?

Have you talked to your priest about all these doubts?
In a much shorter form, although at the moment we are between priests. But this is very important advice.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 10:49:48 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline LBK

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So what do people think that the best way is to reach a conclusion about this puzzle? I go to Church and pray a lot about it. Is there a particular theologian or scholar whom you would recommend writing to, in order to discuss this in more depth?

Have you talked to your priest about all these doubts?
In a much shorter form, although at the moment we are between priests. But this is very important advice.

So what did your priest say?
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline rakovsky

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So what did your priest say?
One of them said that he knows that this can be difficult for some people and that he had doubts in the past and that it is something to pray and read the Bible about. Another one talked about how if God could make the earth and its creatures in 7 days He could of course make the Virgin Birth and Resurrection happen.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 11:16:48 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline LBK

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So what did your priest say?
One of them said that he knows that this can be difficult for some people and that he had doubts in the past and that it is something to pray and read the Bible about. Another one talked about how if God could make the earth and its creatures in 7 days He could of course make the Virgin Birth and Resurrection happen.

Well, then, these things are mysteries. Only God knows how He could do such things, they're beyond the minds and reasonings of mere human beings. You'll just have to learn to accept that.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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There is no evidence for the Virgin Birth, or Bodily Assumption. The only evidence is for the Resurrection, and that evidence is the movement of Christianity itself.
I reject all that I wrote that isn't in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Also, my posts reflect my opinions (present or former) and nothing else.

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Re: List of Proofs For vs. Against the Virgin Birth, Resurrection & Ascension
« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2015, 11:08:52 PM »
rakovsky, you once raised the argument that the disciples who doubted in Matthew 28 means that they only saw a non-physical vision of Christ. My response is that it doesn't necessarily have to mean that. It is just as likely a possibility that they are influenced by the Jewish eschatology or Hellenistic philosophy of the time, so they doubted the very idea of a Resurrection. Plus, Jesus was Resurrected in a glorified state, so He might have appeared different to them. Thirdly, just because Jesus appeared to the disciples "as a whole" a fourth time, doesn't mean that everyone present should be in every position to be convinced. Not all 12 may have been present during His appearance to Peter at the lake, nor His appearance to Thomas.     
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

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Re: List of Proofs For vs. Against the Virgin Birth, Resurrection & Ascension
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2015, 11:20:05 PM »
Quote from: rakovsky
1. Many Christians say that they believe because of faith or vice verse. But the problem is that this is a kind of circular logic that begs the reason for why they would have faith. Just because we love certain things or feel an emotional attachment to them (ie. in the heart) doesn't make them factually true.
Emotion did play a factor in my conversion, but my continued strength in the faith rest in my case that my belief is rational.
 
Quote
2. The Occam's razor proof you give is not really so strong or else we would believe the group miracle claims of other persecuted sects.
I know it's not. My answer to the Poll of this thread is that we have a weak conclusion for the Resurrection. But however "weak" to the mind of a skeptic, it is strong enough for me to have faith in it. You may then ask, "then how do you know the claims of the Gnostics and the Charismatics are false?" The answer is that I don't. Firstly, I cannot speak for them, their experiences, or their rationale; I can only speak for my own. Secondly, I don't claim to have an objective case for and against all religious claims. But until I get convinced that the arguments for the Gnostics/Charismatics are stronger than the Orthodox, I will trust that God has preserved His Church through Apostolic Succession from the 1st century until now. 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 11:22:25 PM by byhisgrace »
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us