Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Wes Nunn The empty tomb of Jesus is an historical fact, as certain as the destruction of the second Temple in 70 AD. The best explanation for the empty tomb is that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers to ensure that the disciples of Jesus didn’t steal the body and lie about the resurrection, on orders from Caiaphas, the high Jewish priest. A “merely human” Jesus is not a sufficient explanation for the most popular religion in the world, nor can it explain how Christianity flourished under threat of persecution as a doctrine that undermined the Roman hegemony of the time. There’s just no way that Jesus was a mere man. The Bible would not exist today if Jesus was a mere human who opposed a political ideology and was tried for treason. Rational human beings would not risk persecution and certain death to spread his doctrine unless they were 100% sure that he was more than just a man.
The empty tomb of Jesus is not a historical fact. It's actually likely related to the weird cyclops cave in Homer's Odyssey. Also the soldiers are completely made up specifically because of the whole ending of Mark. It's pretty blantantly obvious there.

Mark ends with the giant stone rolled away. Keep in mind this is not what Jewish funerals or burials looked like, its a scene where the cyclops house has a giant rock in front of it rolled away. Nobody puts dead body in giant caves with roll away stones. But, Mark ends like that scene in the Odyssey. And the obvious skeptical answer is that why is he magically resurrected when clearly it's more plausible that somebody just stole the body. Like misplacing one body makes a person the messiah. That's silly.

In response to that criticism Luke puts the tomb being guarded by some of the most elite soldiers in the Roman Empire. So now a dead body of some nobody person is being guarded by basically the ancient version of Navy SEAls, for entirely spurious reasons when clearly the actual explanation is Mark's ending had critics so Luke invented some reason why the most obvious criticism couldn't be true. But, the only reason Luke made up this historically impossible thing was because Mark was written as fiction and was more concerned with the sort of literary ending the whole thing than with the obvious criticisms that people would raise when told this story.

A merely human Jesus could aptly explain the religion. It's growth was not extra-ordinary and in fact it's grown much more slowly than Islam. And the there's actually very little record of any active persecution except for a few years under Nero. For the most part the Romans didn't know who the Christians were until it got pretty popular. And then Roman kind of collapses around the 2nd century anyway, and started sliding pretty quickly backwards. To the point that the Christians took over, not so much because they were were so powerful but Roman had fallen so entirely far.

The Bible is entirely a story that only makes sense within the historical context the religion arose in. In reality the blood sacrifice of demigods does not do anything magical. You do not actually get magical blood that fixes the universe. And only God's blood had enough magic to do it, so he gave himself a body and killed it. That is not how reality actually works. Blood is merely the oxygen carrying cells of various species of animals on this planet. It is not actually magical. But, some religions like the Jews took to blood propitiation. And then got taken over by the romans, who loved their demigods so it's little wonder why exactly out of that region we get the blood sacrifice of a demigod. As all the various cultures in the regions the Romans took over had their own pagan influences to their local relgiions.

Also, nobody seems to care that the Christians apparently worshipped an escaped criminal. It seems like if you offered that religion on the surface the obvious explanation is that somebody who was due to be executed escaped and was somehow on the run gathering outlaw followers. It seems like if that was something pitched on the level it would tend to make that a proper crime, but nobody seemed to think that was what happened, enough to take the early Christians at face value.

Also, early Christians, the earliest records we have of them are found in a letter of Pliny to the Emperor. And we don't find them facing persecution and death for Jesus. We find them quickly recanting, insisting that they were never Christians. Praying the the Emperor and spitting on pictures of Jesus to save their own skins. While most of these are pretty basic arguments for Christianity that you'd find in any apologetics book. Not one of them sustains any understanding of history or how religions form. Also, blood isn't magical. The entire central story behind the whole Jesus thing doesn't make any real sense. You don't cleared away sins with blood. That's not actually a thing and never has been, early Jewish beliefs aside. We also know the reasons religions like that developed but it's simply the case that no aspect of that makes any sense.

So we have a religion that is absurdist on the face of it, better historical, literary and religious explanations for everything you mentioned. And that magic has never been the right answer to anything, ever, it's simply never been correct. So to try to suspend how reality actually works because Jesus is magical is a problem. And the better explanations for all of that does not require any magic. You really could have Mark write the gospels largely as fiction, and Luke try to fix the clear plot holes that were intended for literary reasons. And a bunch of ahistorical nonsense that doesn't actually work.