Here is an interesting discussion about how Christianity probably began
Hierarchical political interest may have been involved
The beginning (and end) of Christianity is the resurrection. There is no middle ground here. It either happened or it didn't.
12 facts that both skeptic (atheist) and Christian scholars agree on is really the ground zero on where to start on Christian origins.
Here is another video of Carrier explaining how Christianity started out from Judaism beliefs in the coming Messiah Christ.
Both Early Christianity and Early Rabbinic Judaism were far less orthodox and less theologically homogeneous than they are today; and both religions were significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion and they also borrowed allegories and concepts from Classical Hellenistic philosophy and the works of Greek-speaking Jewish authors of the end of the Second Temple period before the two schools of thought eventually firmed up their respective "norms" and doctrines, notably by diverging increasingly on key issues such as the status of "purity laws", the validity of Judeo-Christian messianic beliefs, and, more importantly, the use of Koine Greek and Latin as sacerdotal languages replacing Biblical Hebrew.[
Sea Breeze, you lost me at the empty tomb. There was no tomb and it wouldn't matter if it was empty anyway. An empty tomb would prove an empty tomb. What you really have are texts: you have claims that there was a tomb and the tomb was empty, claims made in Greek some 40+ years later (at least). Your argument comes down to Believe the Bible. But I don't believe the Bible, I'm an atheist.
Food for thought.
The ancients were quite imaginative when creating their gods and to their extent of what they were capable of.
If these gods were able to be resurrected after experiencing death, why not ask them to save yourself from experiencing death ?
If these gods were immortal and did not experience illnesses or death, why not ask your select god to save yourself from death ?
A lot people became JWS because they were told that if they remained righteous in the eyes of god they wouldn't be killed at Armageddon and they would live on in a earthly paradise possibly for ever. (immortality)
The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. A few extant Egyptian and Canaanite writings allude to dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Baal. Sir James Frazer in his book The Golden Bough relates to these dying and rising gods, but many of his examples, according to various scholars, distort the sources. Taking a more positive position, Tryggve Mettinger argues in his recent book that the category of rise and return to life is significant for Ugaritic Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Osiris and Dumuzi.
In ancient Greek religion a number of men and women became physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. Asclepius was killed by Zeus, only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis and resurrected, brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes, were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus's Histories, the seventh century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.
Many other figures, like a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, Menelaus, and the historical pugilist Cleomedes of Astupalaea, were also believed to have been made physically immortal, but without having died in the first place. Indeed, in Greek religion, immortality originally always included an eternal union of body and soul. As may be witnessed even into the Christian era, not least by the complaints of various philosophers over popular beliefs, traditional Greek believers maintained the conviction that certain individuals were resurrected from the dead and made physically immortal and that for the rest of us, we could only look forward to an existence as disembodied and dead souls.
Greek philosophers generally denied this traditional religious belief in physical immortality. Writing his Lives of Illustrious Men (Parallel Lives) in the first century, the Middle Platonic philosopher Plutarch in his chapter on Romulus gave an account of the mysterious disappearance and subsequent deification of this first king of Rome, comparing it to traditional Greek beliefs such as the resurrection and physical immortalization of Alcmene and Aristeas the Proconnesian, "for they say Aristeas died in a fuller's work-shop, and his friends coming to look for him, found his body vanished; and that some presently after, coming from abroad, said they met him traveling towards Croton". Plutarch openly scorned such beliefs held in traditional ancient Greek religion, writing, "many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures naturally mortal."
The parallel between these traditional beliefs and the later resurrection of Jesus was not lost on the early Christians, as Justin Martyr argued: "when we say ... Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus." (1 Apol. 21).
I am very impressed by much of what I have read from Richard Carrier's atheistic scholarly writings.
I read the link you posted. There so much I could say but consider just one point regarding historical evidence.
In your link, New Testament scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona list the following five criteria noting that “a historian who is able to apply one or more of the following principles to a text can conclude with much greater confidence whether a certain event occurred
First of all did you know that Bible Scholar Michael Licona starting to lean more to agnostic than a true believer in the resurrection! Yes he starting changing his believe in the bible being the Word of God after he wrote his book.
He served as an apologetics coordinator at the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) from 2005 through 2011, when he resigned as a result of the controversy surrounding his book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach in which he seeks to prove Jesus's bodily resurrection, but at the same time In a passage in his book, Licona questioned the literal interpretation of the story of the resurrection of the saints in Matthew 27, suggesting the possibility that it might be apocalyptic imagery alluding also to the resurrection of Jesus.
He changed his position on the resurrection of Jesus being apocalyptic imagery and now denies he ever said that about Jesus because his career was in danger of crashing. In a radio exchange with Ehrman, Licona said that if Jesus actually rose from the dead, Christianity is true even if it were also true that some things in the Bible were not.
Licona noted what he saw as several problems with the argument for inerrancy provided by American Christian systematic theologian Norman Geisler
In 2017 Licona debated Matt Dillahunty.
During the debate
Michael Licona acknowledged his belief in ghosts,
in post mortem experiences,
in the efficacy of ouija board, which he claims to be supported by empirical evidence
NOT A VERY RELIABLE PERSON TO BELIEVE IN WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT HISTORICAL EVIDENCE of Jesus.
Gary Habermas was born in 1950 and is old school when it comes to assessing what is HISTORICAL EVIDENCE.
Today-2021- bible scholars know a lot more what constitutes RELIABLE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE.
For Example, Under the Topic; A MATTER OF HISTORY it says this;
1. Historical claims are strong when supported by multiple, independent sources.
These OLD SCHOOL SCHOLARS USED THE SCRIPTURE; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 and would try to reason that 500 eyewitness was plenty of historical evidence to prove many saw Jesus resurrected. Here are some words used many times verbatim by these old scholars.
There is plenty of eyewitness testimony that establishes it. For example:..…
After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once,---1 Corinthians 15:3-8
This is why these types of reasoning's don't work anymore.
Can you imagine if I was accused of murdering an entire family and was arrested for a crime I didn't commit. And when my Court date finally arrived and I sat before a Judge and Jury and defended myself by saying;
"I have five hundred Witnesses who can testify I didn't commit the crime"
And the Judge says; "Name the Witnesses"
And I say; "I don't know or have their names"
And the Judge says; "Where do they live?"
And I say; "I have no idea where they live."
And Judge says; "Where are the 500 witnesses?"
And I say; "They Been dead for over 2000 years."
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE JUDGE AND JURY WILL DO?
Today we don’t have one single name of those 500 witnesses mention by the bible writer
We don’t have any addresses
We don’t have any certified letters by them
We don’t have any other sources that name those 500 witnesses.
So it’s not historical evidence like those two old Bible scholars Claim
All it is ----------is a BELIEF!------With no actual historical evidence---just anecdotal stories.
The 500 witnesses is apparently from The Acts of Philip. Jesus makes an appearance in Athens to 500 Jews who convert on the spot.
pistolpete, regarding Licona's acknowledged belief in ghosts and in demons, a great many of his fellow Christians believe in such (and the New Testament teaches the existence of demons) and many Christians also believe in ghosts (heck, the KJV calls the Holy Spirit the Holy Ghost and some NT accounts of the ascended Christ make it appear that some of Christ's disciples believed in apparitions and ghostly spirits of the dead), so why would Christians think that his beliefs in such discredits him as a NT scholar and historian in the minds of Christians?
Regarding micro scale psychokinesis, I remember reading that even Carl Sagan in one of his agnostic/skeptic books and Sam Harris in his book The End of Faith (I don't have citations available for such at this time) said there seems to be scientific evidence for micro scale psychokinesis. Sagan and Harris later recanted their ideas of micro scale psychokinesis being scientifically plausible after fellow non-theistic skeptics later criticized those views of theirs.
john.prestor, wasn't The Acts of Philip written much later than 1 Corinthians? If so, how could the writer of 1 Corinthians have gotten the idea of the 500 witnesses from The Acts of Philip?
I would argue the talk of 500 witnesses is a late interpolation in 1 Corinthians. Someone wrote that into the earlier letter when they were copying it.
Regardless, I've never found another text which speaks of Jesus appearing to 500 people at once.