What is a Plausible Naturalistic Explanation for the Origin of Christianity?

by leavingwt 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • SixofNine

    "What is a Plausible Naturalistic Explanation for the Origin of Christianity?"

    The best plausible, naturalistic explanation for Christianity I've heard is that Satan made it look like the phenomenon happened naturally and organically.

  • leavingwt
    Satan made it look like the phenomenon happened naturally and organically


  • dgp

    XJW4EVR, I am afraid you are asking for a proof that you know no one can give you. Say the man died like two thousands years ago and. Since he was not an Egyptian, nor a Peruvian, and he didn't die in the Tirol, of course the body of a man who died that long ago needs to have rotten. The fact that you don't find a body is no proof of anything at all. And it is a very weak foundation for faith, by the way. Who says no one hid the body because it was rotting?


    Well, dgp, as the atheists say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  • alice.in.wonderland

    It's not something that can be explained in a few paragraphs. I don't have time to write an essay, besides here's an explanation, but not mine because I don't believe Christianity originated from God(s) that exist in people’s heads and presumably nowhere else.

    The Evolution of God - Polytheism, the Religion of Ancient Israel

    From Polytheism to Monolatry

    But first let’s make it clear—in case it isn’t already—what philosophical bias will inform the enterprise. Attempts to explain changes in religious doctrine come in two basic varieties: the kind that stress the power of ideas and the kind that stress the power of material circumstance. Was Israel pushed toward monolatry, and ultimately toward monotheism, more by theological inspiration and reflection, or more by politics, economics, and other concrete social factors?

    From Monolatry to Monotheism After all, the “problem of evil” doesn’t arise in acute form unless you believe in a single all-powerful and good God. Only if God is omnipotent does all human suffering become something he is choosing to tolerate, and only if he is wholly benevolent does this choice become something of a puzzle. And this kind of god, infinite in power and goodness, is exactly the kind of god that, so far as we can tell, didn’t exist before the exile; this is the kind of god whose emergence during the exile we’re trying to explain. Monotheism can’t be the premise of the theological reflection that created it.

  • dgp

    All right, XJW4EVR. One question: since when "no possible proof" means "proof"?

    One cousin of mine went missing and we never found his body. That was like 40 years ago. He would be like eighty now, but, considering the kind of like he liked to live, most probably he got killed somewhere. If someone came wth a piece of paper, saying that he died but came back from the dead, would you believe it?

    Certainly, what is good for the goose is good for the ganter.

    One cousin of mine went missing and we never found his body. That was like 40 years ago. He would be like eighty now, but, considering the kind of like he liked to live, most probably he got killed somewhere. If someone came wth a piece of paper, saying that he died but came back from the dead, would you believe it?

    No, based on what you have said. However, your antecdotal story is in no way analogous to the testimonies regarding Jesus resurrection. Thanks for playing though.

  • dgp

    I'm glad you evaded my question whether "no possible proof" is the same as "proof". So, I have another question for you: Do you have proof to support your not believing my cousin came back from the dead? Obviously not. So, HE HAS RISEN.


    Sorry, dgp, I did not answer your question, because it was not a question but a sentence fragment that made no sense to me. However, you have rephrased it, and I will answer. First, I have never said the "no possible proof" is the same as "proof". This is an idea that is entirely of your own construction. Secondly, while you have pointed out that the production of a 2,000 year old corpse would extraordinary, and obviously too hard for skeptics to accomplish, I will lower my standards.

    Show me something historical that would clearly demonstrate the existence of the body back then. Simple as that. Do your research and bring me something that impeaches the testimony of the disciples and makes them out to be liars, and I will reconsider my stance as a Christian.

    BTW, your assertion that the body was hidden is just that an assertion with no premises that upholds the conclusion.

    Lastly, I will no longer address your anecdotal hypothetical based further based on your own testimony:

    considering the kind of like he liked to live, most probably he got killed somewhere

    This statement seems to imply that your cousin led an unsavory lifestyle. This does not compare to the life that Jesus is reported to have led. Therefore your analogy fails miserably to account for the testimonies of the Gospels.

  • dgp

    One question: since when "no possible proof" means "proof"?

    This sure looks like a question. Do you notice the question mark at the end of the sentence? If it didn't look like a question to you, then you need to really read posts.

    Now, on to more affairs of the flesh: The "no possible proof" of my construction comes from the fact that you're asking that I provide a proof that no one can give. You want someone to show you the body of a person who is supposed to have died 2,000 years ago, and then come back from the dead. No one, not just skepticals, can produce that body. You couldn't, could you? But the reason for that, which is the point you're missing, doesn't have to be that the man was resurrected. Maybe the body just rotted, you know? I can't produce the body of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Lincoln, and that doesn't mean the men rose from the grave. Or did they? By the way, the comrades in Moscow do have Lenin's corpse. Unfortunately, they don't have Stalin's dear old body. Does that mean that Stalin is still alive?

    Let's see this as a syllogism.

    If a person dies, he or she leaves a corpse behind.

    A living person doesn't leave a corpse behind.

    Therefore, if there is no corpse, the person in question isn't dead.

    The first two sentences are the foundation of the third. A syllogism is an easy way to see whether something holds water or not. "Something" in this case not meaning "a container".

    The syllogism above leaves out the fact that bodies rot. After a while, the worms and bacteria and everything see to it that no corpse is left behind. So, the fact that there is no body is not proof that someone didn't die.

    Christians claim that this can't be the case with Jesus. He died, they say, and he rose from the grave. That is why there is no body. The syllogism would be:

    Jesus died, and he did leave a corpse behind.

    But he was resurrected. He rose from the grave in body and spirit.

    That is why no one can produce his body.

    Yeah. Where is the proof that he resurrected, that is, the proof of the second sentece? In the third sentence, which should correctly derive from the second and the first, not the other way around.

    I don't have to prove the man is dead. YOU GUYS have to prove he is alive. You're the ones making the claim that the regular processes of life didn't take place in that man. YOU need to produce the extraordinary evidence.

    By the way, if I managed to come up with a body of 2,000 years ago, say a bunch of bones, and a skull, and I said "See, this is Jesus' body", would you believe me? Maybe in that case you would ask me for a DNA test of Mary and God Almighty, since they are claimed to be the parents of Jesus. But I wouldn't really think any less of you if you didn't believe me when I said the bunch of bones were Jesus. The reason is, I do believe the body rotted. No one can produce it. But the man isn't alive.

    I am very much sure that Julius Caesar is dead. I can't produce his body because they burned him. Or so the tales say.

    The "something historical" that you need could perhaps be a death certificate. Gee, if Herod had had foresight, he would have issued one, in nice Roman characters and with impeccable Latin. They could even have produced it with TWO WITNESSES, unlike most cases of child abuse nowadays! Then we would have "historical proof" that Jesus was dead. Perhaps it would come with one of those fancy seals that they used to melt. Or on a scroll, probably manufactured with the cedars of Mount Lebanon. On the other hand, the Gospels would still say that Jesus is still alive, and I'm sure many a person would believe that. Including you. I don't think your faith can be shattered that easily.

    There are no historical records of Jesus ever having been born or even crucified. I know people will say that Flavius Josephus said this or that, but all he had was hearsay. He was not an eye witness, or ear witness, or whatever. I still remember the priest who taught us one course in college and said that he didn't believe in Jesus because of the Bible, but because he believed that the apostles were telling the truth. Say Peter told the truth to a friend of his, and so on... the chain continues until this day. But all this priest had was hearsay, too. But then he was a Catholic, so I'm sure he was not reliable. He believed strange things like the Trinity anyways, so... can we believe the man? No! As if he had the present NewLight!

    Just to conclude, for now, my cousin was an idealistic person who thought he should rise against the powers that be. That got him killed. The last report we had was that he had been tortured in jail, and we never knew what happened to him after some time. Some people say he successfully ran away, but, in 40 years, he hasn't returned. He was anything but "unsavory". In fact, he was the kind of guy who gets killed and willingly sacrifices himself for what he perceives to be the greater good. Very much like Jehovah's witness rank-and-file guys who do the work while some guys out there reach a consensus of two thirds on, say, whether seven million people should accept blood transfusions or not, say they shouldn't, and then claim it was God Almighty (sorry, Jehovah) who told them that. Very much like that indeed.

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