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Please Help Me Continue to Examine Why I Believe Jesus Rose Bodily from the Dead

Forums Forums Religion and Secularism Please Help Me Continue to Examine Why I Believe Jesus Rose Bodily from the Dead

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    I wrote an article titled Food of The 5000.

    I have copied the introduction below.

    I am new to CFI forums and I want to respect the rules. I will add a link at the bottom to the website I created.  There are no products or services associated with this article/site.  It is a personal project of mine to further civil discourse and my own understanding.  If this is in anyway objectionable to the CFI community please let me know.  I want to follow the spirit and letter of the forum rules.


    Food of The 5000

    Here is an idea. Humbly offered.  It was inspired by David Smalley’s podcast, The Dogma Debate.  Please note that I am not writing this to prove the idea.  I’m just sharing it.  I hope this promotes further understanding through civil discourse.  I am willing to change my mind if I become convinced of a fuller understanding of the topic.

    Smalley asks really good questions about Christianity and religion in general. Hard questions.  The kind of questions that should never be ‘off-the-table’ or ‘under-the-carpet’ for decent human beings.  Questions such as, ‘How could you worship a god who commanded his followers to kill innocent children?’  Or, ‘Why would a loving god take on a human form and then say that he did not come to bring peace into the world but rather a sword?’  Or, ‘Why would the creator of the universe leave slavery off the list of forbidden things?’  Smalley has many, good, valid questions. He is a stand-up comic, so ridicule for the sake of a good joke is not off the table (thank God), but the main theme of the show is to ask questions in a civil, respectful, conversational format.

    I believe his questions and concerns are sincere.  I believe him when he says that he has wrestled with and researched these questions over many years with an openness to change his mind, whether he likes the answers or not, if the evidence supports it.

    He calls himself an “agnostic atheist”.  He also identifies as a Secular Humanist.  I’ve listened to many Dogma Debate podcasts over the last couple of years. I have patronized the show and encouraged others to do so.

    Yet, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth died and rose from the dead. I believe that the Nicene Creed is accurate enough for me to recite and profess in my church every week.  I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is consubstantial (of the same substance, nature, or essence) with the “maker of all things, visible and invisible”.  I haven’t always believed this.  I am 57 years old.  I have had periods in my life of various levels of belief and/or unbelief.

    Smalley’s Dogma Debate challenged me to take a deeper look at the reason for my belief. I was surprised when I came up with a reason that I have not heard addressed on his show (I probably missed it).  I also don’t recall it being addressed in the Christian apologetics I have heard or read (which is probably more of a reflection of my ignorance than my originality).  I seriously doubt I am out ahead of the apologists with anything new, but it’s a new clarity for me.  I am thankful to Smalley for the challenge.


    For the full text: https://foodofthe5000.wixsite.com/mysite/ful-text

    Very best regards,

    Seth W-T


    Except the evidence for all those people is very weak


    I’m going to guess you’re Catholic.  They are the only Christians I know of who use strange words and perform the same magic rituals regularly as part of their worship.  Because that’s what it is when you “recite the Nicene Creed”.  It’s a magic ritual.  A spell.  Its purpose is to connect you to divinity at the very least, but may also have a second purpose.  Such as absolving you of sin.  The Our Father or Hail Mary prayers, said in service, are just a connection to divinity.  But said in penance they are a connection to divinity and a magic spell to remove the stain of sin.

    You believe because you want to, and that’s okay.  But that is the real reason you believe.  You don’t believe because the evidence is so convincing.  There is none.  It’s all a bunch of stories.  And the evidence that those stories are true is all just other stories.  I have asked Catholics what the best evidence they have is and I’ve always gotten the same answer.  The miracle at Fatima.  Another story, and an unconvincing one at that.  About 100 years ago, when people still shit in buckets in their bedrooms, a bunch of people stared at the sun for a few hours.  Eventually a percentage of the crowd saw “something”.  Not everyone saw something, and of those who did, they didn’t all see the same thing.  A miracle supposedly happened, yet what, exactly, it was, nobody there could agree on, if they saw anything at all.  That doesn’t smack of the most powerful thing in the universe doing a thing.  It sounds more like a bunch of desperate zealots stared at the sun until their brains made something up for them.  Someone in the crowd gasped, pointed and shouted, “Look!”, then other people started seeing things too.  It’s called “mass hysteria” and you can easily identify mass hysteria because, since it’s all just a mass hallucination and the brains are not actually connected, the stories don’t match.  That is Fatima.

    You can believe whatever you like.  I don’t mind.  But the real reason you believe is because you want to.  No evidence convinced you it was true, no evidence will convince you it’s not.  Religious belief is 100% choice with some mental conditioning guiding it a bit.


    SethWT said,

    Why I Believe Jesus Rose Bodily from the Dead

    Are you sure you want to examine the tale of the resurrection?  OK, but be prepared to be very disappointed with the result of the inquiry.

    Question 1: Was Jesus actually dead when he was “entombed”?

    Question 2: If Jesus was dead, in what physical condition do you imagine would any human rise from the dead after three days?  Any period longer than 15 minutes, will cause the brain to die from oxygen starvation and rigor mortis of the body to set in and begin the process of cell disintergration.

    If he could be resurrected at all that would make Jesus a zombie. That’s a medical fact.

    What supernatural miracles must we add to avoid the conclusion that Jesus was either not dead to begin with or if he was dead, he could not have been resurrected?

    Question 3: If Jesus was resurrected, where did he go? Did anyone ever see Jesus again after the resurrection?



    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by Write4U.
    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by Write4U.

    Of course, if you accept that these people and concepts, characters the situation they find themselves in, are unfolding within our Mindscape, as opposed to products of our material world of Physical Reality, then I  believe the whole thing makes a lot more sense.  We create the stories that help us the most.


    Seth, who knows, you might find this interesting.  It’s about recognizing the distinction between what’s unfolding within our individual and collective minds, ‘Mindscape’ and the ‘Physical Reality’ of the material universe cascading through time and evolution.




    Thank you for your comment.

    I understand that you feel that “the evidence for all those people is very weak”.  I found David Fitzgerald’s Jesus Mything in Action instructive on that point.

    To clarify, I am fairly certain that there are fictitious characters among The 5000.  I tried to give a nod to this by writing “The accuracy of my belief is bound to the accuracy of the communication from The 5000 passing from person to person to AD 325.” and, “They could have been liars and they could have been wrong.  There are even arguments that Yeshua and The 5000 never existed at all.”

    I respect that the evidence may be too weak for many reasonable people to believe it.

    Assuming that you would you agree with me that there is an actual difference between “no evidence” and “very weak evidence”, I have a question for you.  Will you believe very weak evidence if it comes to you from someone with whom you have a strong “relational trust”?

    Seth W-T



    Thank you for your comment!

    First, I agree that I believe because I want to.  It may also be the “real” reason – I have to think on that a bit.  🙂

    But before I can address any of your other interesting comments,  I need to clarify something.  This is not a challenge – I am sincerely just trying to understand you.  You wrote, “You don’t believe because the evidence is so convincing.  There is none [my emphasis]  It’s all a bunch of stories.  And the evidence that those stories are true is all just other stories.”  Are you asserting that there is actually no evidence at all, or are you being a bit hyperbolic?  Which is fine with me, I’m good with hyperbole, again, I just want to clarify so I can learn from you.

    Seth W-T



    Thanks for your comment!


    1) Yes I believe Jesus was already dead when he was entombed.

    2) a, It is impossible for humans to rise from the dead.  The condition of the body is to me a secondary issue.  I acknowledge that I’m already beyond physics and medicine to believe that Jesus rose from the dead at all.

    b, I believe that The 5000 claimed that it was a supernatural event; a miracle.  I have a “relational trust” in their claim that an impossible miracle actually happened.

    3) Many of The 5000 claimed to have seen and even touched Jesus after his resurrection.

    Seth W-T



    Thanks for your comment!

    And thanks for introducing me to Earth-Centrism.  I appreciate your essay. It demonstrates your affection and respect for your fellow human beings and all that is unfolding in our universe over time.  I admit I had to skim a bit because it is past midnight and I have to work in the morning.  🙂  I really wanted to respond to everyone who so graciously took the time to reply to my little article.

    I loved your reminiscence about how the world changed with the first moon walk.  I am 57 and remember seeing it on TV.  Thanks for reminding me of the great honor that has been given to me to be in that transitional generation of humans who saw our Mindscape and physical reality evolve so dramatically with “one small step”.  Very cool.

    So I think you are asking me to consider that Jesus was not an actual human or at least that his bodily resurrection was more of a collective Mindscape creation of many humans, over time, not an historical factual event.  This sounds somewhat like what I feebly described as the “Pagan Humanism” I would probably pursue if it were not for the “relational trust” I have in the stories of The 5000.  Those stories are pretty explicit, in my understanding, that they are relating what was for them an actual “walk on the moon” moment for their generation.

    I better get to bed before I start blithering even worse. :)…

    Thanks again!

    Seth W-T




    SethWT said,

    2b) I believe that The 5000 claimed that it was a supernatural event; a miracle.  I have a “relational trust” in their claim that an impossible miracle actually happened.

    3) Many of The 5000 claimed to have seen and even touched Jesus after his resurrection.

    Something is wrong here.

    The 5000 are associated with the story of the “loaves and fishes”, not with the crucifiction. Jesus fed the 5000 and then sent them away. This occurred before he was arrested and crucified.

    It seems highly unlikely that The 5000 all returned and touched Jesus after he was crucified and resurrected. it seems much more plausible that the “rumor” of Jesus’ resurrection made the rounds and some people falsely claimed that they saw and/or touched Jesus after his resurrection. Psychologically this is a common practice among believers in miracles. They tend to agree with metaphor as if it was factually true.

    Most accounts maintain that Jesus was taken from the tomb and given a proper burial as afforded all worthy people.

    I am absolutely convinced that the story of ‘loaves and fishes” itself is metaphorical and not factual. Hence all mention of The 5000 is just fruit of a poisoned tree (itself a non-factual metaphorical judicial term).

    Collectively referred to as the Passion, Jesus’ suffering and redemptive death by crucifixion are the central aspects of Christian theology concerning the doctrines of salvation and atonement.



    In secular and liberal Christian scholarship, the appearances of Jesus are explained as visionary experiences[13][14][15] that gave the impetus to the belief in the exaltation of Jesus[16] and a resumption of the missionary activity of Jesus’ followers.[13][17]



    Géza Vermes notes that “[t]he empty tomb and the apparitions are never directly associated to form a combined argument.”[71] While the coherence of the empty tomb-narrative is questionable, it is “clearly an early tradition.”[71] Vermes rejects the literal interpretation of the story, as being proof of the resurrection,[72] and also notes that the story of the empty tomb conflicts with notions of a spiritual resurrection. According to Vermes, “[t]he strictly Jewish bond of spirit and body is better served by the idea of the empty tomb and is no doubt responsible for the introduction of the notions of palpability (Thomas in John) and eating (Luke and John).”[73]


    It’s all metaphor, because once you start dissecting the facts, nothing makes sense anymore, including the many interpretations by so-called experts.

    Why not read the bible as a mythological fable with some useful moral messages. Everyone would agree with that and it might even make more people consult the bible for guidance.

    To insist on biblical factual truth messes up the whole purpose of the bible. It is not a scientific instrument, it is a moral guide with many metaphorical examples to illustrate the value of attaining moral knowledge of Virtues and Sins.

    Anyone who insists on biblical factual truth, also will have to deal with this document which draws attention to factually false posits.

    However it also acknoweledges moral values to be gleaned  from scripture. I refer to this book often as it puts scripture in its proper perspective.








    @SethWT Don’t feel so bad. There are those who feel some of my chosen scholars’ evidence is weak. I like David Fitzgerald too, as well as Acharya S and Robert Price. I also like Bishop Spong’s work too.

    However, I believe that your Jesus rose only symbolically and is actually symbolism for the sun. Lots of dying and rising deities are symbolism for the sun, including and especially Ra. I can explain more after work if you’d like and if you are truly open to the idea of Solar mythology, it could blow your mind. If not, you’ll probably be among the naysayers. Whatever the case, I really don’t bring it up very often because it often becomes a battleground in which the naysayers don’t wish to examine that possibility. Even Spong has mention that much of Xianity is based on the solar and lunar movements- by that I mean, Easter is set by the moon (lunar date) and I can explain that more in detail too. However, that is just one example as to how bishops, deacons, priests, ministers, passively admit to modern day religion being related the Solar mythology. And to be honest, the way Easter is dated every year, via the moon, is right there in the Episcopal Book of Worship. Yes, lunar is part of the mythology too.


    Will you believe very weak evidence if it comes to you from someone with whom you have a strong “relational trust”?

    No. You are mixing two different things here. In the case of deciding if there is a savior deity, and that makes a big impact on how I live my life, I’m not going to put that into the trust of a relationship. I would need strong evidence.


    and if you are truly open to the idea of Solar mythology,

    Mriana, that sound interesting, I only know the simpleton’s version.  If you were ever into writing more about it, I’d love to read it.

    Oh I do know that Sun Worship makes more sense to me than a lot of other worshipful beliefs – after all, we pretty damned well dependent on it* after all.



    *Or HE.  After all it is providing the sperm that Mother Earth brings to fruition.       (  poetry, not science 😉  )



    You should know this about me, I tend to get lost in my own mind and get a bit off track.  It started out as a response to you, and that did periodically reappear, but a lot of that was just musings on the strangeness of Catholicism (from my perspective).

    There is absolutely no empirical evidence for anything magical anywhere, ever.  It’s all stories.  I understand that the majority of historians, religious and nonreligious alike, have concluded that there was most likely a historical Jesus figure.  I am a big fan of accepting the conclusions of the experts, whether I like them or not, so I am forced to conclude that Jesus likely existed.

    When it comes to evidence of the magics in the Bible, that’s another story.  No historian or scientist anywhere has found any corroborating evidence of Jesus or anyone else going all Harry Potter on history.  And many of the arguments of “evidence” I have heard have been less than compelling.  The last such argument I heard, for example, was that the Bible was absolutely true as evidenced by the fact that Jesus rose from the grave 3 days after his crucifixion.  The argument was literally that, because the arguer believed that story to be absolutely true, it was.  And since that story was absolutely true and in the Bible, that proved that all the stories in the Bible were absolutely true.  That doesn’t even make it to circular logic.  That’s just sprinting to the end.

    There is plenty of evidence that places and people in the Bible absolutely existed.  No doubt about that.  But magic?  Zero evidence for that.  Zero real evidence, anyway.  It’s all stories, though some prefer to call them “eyewitness accounts”.  It’s still just a story though.  And there is a suspicious lack of evidence for some big things in the Bible.  There is no archeological evidence that anyone wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  There is zero evidence that Egyptians held massive numbers of specifically Jewish slaves.  There is actually pretty good evidence that the Massacre of the Innocents never happened.  At the time Josephus wrote down every terrible thing Pilate did.  Josephus hated Pilate and wanted to make sure he was remembered as a monster.  Yet there is no mention of slaughtering babies in the works of Josephus.

    Probably the best evidence there is for anything magical in the Bible is the fulfilled prophecies in it.  And that would be impressive.  IF we had original, dated manuscripts from a time definitely before the thing happened to show that the prophecy came first.  We do not.  And, in fact, a group of Jewish scholars studying the source material for the Bible and Torah.  These people had every reason to find the works authentic.  But instead they concluded that there was plenty of evidence that the fulfilled prophecies were actually added after the fact.  And, of course, “prophecy” is generally crap anyway.  You can only see the connection after the fact because of the vague wording.  That means you can match anything close to it.  “The river Hister will overflow its banks” becomes a prophecy for Hitler and WWII.  Never mind that there is a river Hister and it does overflow its banks from time to time.  Floods happen.  You can only match that up after it happens because you find patterns which just aren’t there until it’s over.

    To be clear, I don’t mind if you’re Catholic or Mormon (well, I may be a bit of a Mormophobe) or a Voodoo priest or whatever.  It’s all good.  You’re polite and likeable and that’s good enough for me.  I feel no deep seated urge to purge all religion from the face of the planet like some of my fellow atheists do.  If ever I come off as combative I promise you, I’m speaking to my own life experience, not to you in the angry bits.  And if you believe there is evidence of any sort I would love to hear it.  I will rip it to shreds if I don’t find it convincing, and I never have, but it wont’ be personal.


    Keeping in mind I haven’t had any discussions directly with Smalley I would like to address the questions from my own perspective.

    How could you worship a god who commanded his followers to kill innocent children?

    The Bible alleges the specific God in question, namely, Jehovah, created life. It belongs to him (Ezekiel 18:4) . He created a nation of laws, Israel, in order to demonstrate the need of a messiah, and to produce that messiah. So all life depended upon that. Without it all life would eventually be destroyed forever. The innocent children he commanded to be killed were a threat to that effort.

    Why would a loving god take on a human form and then say that he did not come to bring peace into the world but rather a sword?

    First of all there may need to be some distinction made due to the influence of tradition. The Bible mentions many gods and sometimes applies the term to men. Moses and the Judges of Israel, for example; and Jesus. Jehovah and Jesus aren’t the same. So, while Jesus was prophetically called a mighty god (Hebrew ʼEl Gib·bohr′ isaiah 9:6) he isn’t God Almighty (Hebrew ʼEl Shad·dai′ Genesis 17:1) which is reserved exclusively to Jehovah. Having said that, Jesus was a god who took human form, and was a god in that form.

    The sword in the world refers to a conflict between the world and Jehovah’s purpose. Jesus said the world was founded upon the blood of Abel. Though the Biblical terms ‘world’ and ‘earth’ can be interchangeable depending upon the context, they are often not the same. The world will be destroyed but the earth will last forever.

    Why would the creator of the universe leave slavery off the list of forbidden things?

    He left it up to mankind to decide.

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