History of Salvations: Israelites and Judahites
If I am able to make others think, then I am more than satisfied.
Why not apply this same standard to yourself? You have been working on a thesis that the whole Christian religion was invented by Paul out of thin air decades after the events happened, especially the resurrection upon which the whole thing is based.
When presented with scholarly evidence to the contrary, you completely ignore it and either talk about pot bellies or just tell everyone (especially me) to just believe whatever you want. I'm cool with that; but I would MUCH rather you actually respond to an honest critique of your ideas.
Why so many atheists, agnostics and heretics seem to be consumed with rewriting the accounts surrounding Jesus is the REAL story here. It is just fascinating to me.
You have spent probably a year rewriting what some critics (who cannot be taken seriously) say about Salvation. Isn't it obvious? Here it is in a nut shell without all the pseudo intellectualism:
A guy performed lots of miracles and fulfilled hundreds of prophecies written long before. Then, he was murdered by leaders but came back to life three days later showing himself to hundreds of people. People wanted to be able to keep living like this man did and either not die or be resurrected as they had just witnessed.
And that's it Doug. Just like people today, People don't want to die. Simple. That's what Salvation is all about ...eternal security.
After the events, and at great personal cost (family shunning or worse), those eye-witnesses and many others put faith in the man Jesus because they had good reason to. Like anyone with any sense they reasoned that they could either keep living or be resurrected since they had seen it done with their own eyes. You simply cannot divorce Salvation from the Resurrection.
That is what makes your attempts to ignore clear evidence contrary to your assertions so egregious. Lots of scholars know that the foundational Christian events were recorded and believed to have taken place in Jerusalem at about the same time that they are purported to have taken place.... as I posted.
If you are bound and determined to remain an unbeliever, it is simply not necessary for you to resort to the recesses of denial (or pot-bellies). Your determined unbelief will not be threatened by just accepting what other scholarly unbelievers also concede to.
The amount of effort spent by atheists, agnostics & heretics in confusing the simple issue of Salvation/Resurrection of Jesus strongly reminds me of EXHAUSTING Watchtower efforts to do THE EXACT SAME THING. Only instead of denying the resurrection, they focus on telling people that the Age of Grace (gentile times) are over. Furthermore they reason, since the Age of Grace is over, people must now put faith in an organization instead of Christ Alone as the object of faith. Of course, this disqualifies them from the Salvation Jesus offers and definitely qualifies as putrid IDOLATRY.
Sorry to use such strong language, but I am deeply embarrassed how I used to fall over mere men like the elders and governing body in my vain efforts to be good enough for God to save. What a complete wast of time....but I digress.
The Watchtower spent vast amounts of time, resources and many books from the 40's through the 80's to convince people of ONE THING. And I quote the title of one of the main discourses given at the 1958 International Convention in NYC Yankee Stadium:
THE GENTILE TIMES HAVE ENDED. GOD'S KINGDOM RULES!
Now why was it so all important for them to teach that the Age of Grace (latter gentile times) was over ? Easy. If the AGE of GRACE is over, then the offer of salvation and the doctrine of JUSTIFICATION is out the door with it. Justification is an accounting term that means that there is no debt owed.
Romans 8: 30 - and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Watchtower 1938 p. 104, 105 - The ... other sheep are in a different position... They are still human creatures, not even justified.
The deception employed to shut down Jesus offer for salvation is staggering. It is like Satan saw the Church Age gaining momentum and he went all out to try and shut it down.
The two charts below from 1947 illustrate traditional Christian views with notes explaining what the Watchtower was trying to do. The images should be read from left to right as a timeline, not one on top of another as displayed here. You may need to copy and paste images to your own computer and then enlarge to see the detail.
Perry your approach is faith based ours is historical, philosophical, political and economic. For my part I want to understand how people make meaning and create typologies in order to deny that an individual experienced death and destruction.
Evidence is none of the things you list. The problem with some lies in their prior commitment to other ideologies like materialism and methodological naturalism.
‘Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. - Professor Richard Leowin, geneticist & evolutionary biologist, Marxist
These are some of the evidences:
1. Prominent non-christian scholars place the foundational Christian events at the time and place in which they are reported, not decades later. See previous video clip posted.
2. We have sincere eyewitness testimony. Early Christian apologists cited hundreds of eyewitnesses, some of whom documented their own alleged experiences. Many of these eyewitnesses willfully and resolutely endured prolonged torture and death rather than repudiate their testimony. This fact attests to their sincerity, ruling out deception on their part. According to the historical record (The Book of Acts 4:1-17; Pliny’s Letters to Trajan X, 97, etc) most Christians could end their suffering simply by renouncing the faith. Instead, it seems that most opted to endure the suffering and proclaim Christ’s resurrection unto death.
These we not faith based believers like other faith based martyrs. They were the original group and had first hand knowledge as to whether or not they were lying.
3. The conversion of key skeptics, most notably Paul and James. Paul was of his own admission a violent persecutor of the early Church. James the brother of Jesus was not a believer. Having grown up with Jesus, he thought Jesus he was "beside himself" (crazy). Both radically changed their minds after meeting Jesus after his death.
4. A fourth line of evidence concern enemy attestation to the empty tomb and the fact that faith in the resurrection took root in Jerusalem. Jesus was publicly executed and buried in Jerusalem. It would have been impossible for faith in His resurrection to take root in Jerusalem while His body was still in the tomb where the Sanhedrin could exhume it, put it on public display, and thereby expose the hoax. Instead, the Sanhedrin accused the disciples of stealing the body, apparently in an effort to explain its disappearance (and therefore an empty tomb). How do we explain the fact of the empty tomb?
5. Female testimony. Dr. William Lane Craig explains, “When you understand the role of women in first-century Jewish society, what's really extraordinary is that this empty tomb story should feature women as the discoverers of the empty tomb in the first place. Women were on a very low rung of the social ladder in first-century Israel.
There are old rabbinical sayings that said, 'Let the words of Law be burned rather than delivered to women' and 'blessed is he whose children are male, but woe to him whose children are female.' Women's testimony was regarded as so worthless that they weren't even allowed to serve as legal witnesses in a Jewish court of Law. In light of this, it's absolutely remarkable that the chief witnesses to the empty tomb are these women... Any later legendary account would have certainly portrayed male disciples as discovering the tomb - Peter or John, for example.
The fact that women are the first witnesses to the empty tomb is most plausibly explained by the reality that - like it or not - they were the discoverers of the empty tomb! This shows that the Gospel writers faithfully recorded what happened, even if it was embarrassing. This bespeaks the historicity of this tradition rather than its legendary status." (Dr. William Lane Craig, quoted by Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998, p. 293)
The late jurisprudential prodigy and international statesman Sir Lionel Luckhoo (of The Guinness Book of World Records fame for his unprecedented 245 consecutive defense murder trial acquittals) epitomizes the confidence in the strength of the case for the resurrection when he wrote,
“I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”More information on the resurrection/salvation here.
The invocation of a famous defence lawyer is interesting, as we know that defence lawyers are not there to provide evidence of truth, but they are there to discredit any facts brought by the prosecution. The LACK of evidence is what both sides face in this debate, 2000+ years after the putative facts happened, or didn't happen.
Perry the polemic from the period of antiquity and late antiquity is truly an eye-opener. That over the centuries Christian exegesis sought to position itself in opposition to Judaism. The 'evidence' you cite could be seen in this light.
None of this of course need destroy your faith
edit: it could be argued that the woman who found the tomb empty was Jewish not christian -so what does this say re the period in question. How many Jewish women had to bury their dead and tend their tombs?