alloneword

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« on: June 03, 2007, 03:35:01 am »
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html

   

   'Because the tomb is already empty when the angel opens it, it is possible that it was already empty when the guards sealed the stone. Matthew fails to say that the sepulcher was opened and checked before it was sealed, so that it is possible that the disciples had removed the body and replaced the stone Friday night after Joseph's departure. Of course we would regard such a ruse as historically absurd, but the point is that if the guard is a Christian invention aimed at refuting the Jewish allegation that the scheming disciples had stolen the body, then the writer has not done a very good job.'

   

   So Craig admits that the Gospel stories leave open the possibility of theft?

   

   I'm sure he will deny elsewhere that the possibility of theft really was left open by the Gospel stories.

   

   But it suits him here to claim that there is such a hole in the stories.

1

NCApologist

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 05:31:50 am »
No, Craig isn't saying that it is a possibility that there is the possibility of theft. He states it right there in the paragraph you pasted":

"Of course we would regard such a ruse as historically absurd, but the point is that if the guard is a Christian invention aimed at refuting the Jewish allegation that the scheming disciples had stolen the body, then the writer has not done a very good job."

Craig is saying that if this the story of the guard is fabricated as an apologetic for the empty tomb, then it wasn't a very well thought out defense.

Dr. Craig has stated in his debates before that no reputable scholar today holds to the Stolen Body Hypothesis.
What would the disciples do with a stolen body? Take it to John Dominic Crossan's house?

Craig would buy into the hallucination theory before the stolen body.

2

William

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2007, 06:07:57 pm »
It seems to me that much rests on the historical fact that the apostels were martyred for their faith. For if they were, then they most certainly believed waht they were saying.

   What is the strongest historical evidence that the apostles were martyred for their faith?

3

NCApologist

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 05:55:20 am »
Good morning William:

Yes, there is evidence of the martyrdom of the Apostles.
There is a book called Fox's Book of Matyr's

Luke's Book of Acts, which many liberal scholars acknowledge is a wonderful work of dedicated historian mentions the death of Stephen and James.
Josephus mentions the death of James, the brother of Jesus.

Tacitus writes ~100AD:     Nero fastened the guilt [of starting the blaze] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius [14-37] at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.[42]


There is very little dispute over the deaths of the Apostles. I am yet to hear anyone debate Craig on this point. Historians almost universally agree that the earliest church members were treated cruelly by the Roman Empire.
Some debate exists on Paul. The most popular story has his death coming in Rome ~67AD, other stories exist of him being set free and making it to Spain to help spread the Gospel.

I hope this helps

4

William

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2007, 01:08:26 pm »

NCApologist wrote: Good morning William:

Yes, there is evidence of the martyrdom of the Apostles.
There is a book called Fox's Book of Matyr's

Luke's Book of Acts, which many liberal scholars acknowledge is a wonderful work of dedicated historian mentions the death of Stephen and James.
Josephus mentions the death of James, the brother of Jesus.

Tacitus writes ~100AD:     Nero fastened the guilt [of starting the blaze] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius [14-37] at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.[42]


There is very little dispute over the deaths of the Apostles. I am yet to hear anyone debate Craig on this point. Historians almost universally agree that the earliest church members were treated cruelly by the Roman Empire.
Some debate exists on Paul. The most popular story has his death coming in Rome ~67AD, other stories exist of him being set free and making it to Spain to help spread the Gospel.

I hope this helps


    I wasn't so much questioning that the apostles were executed. I was questioning wether they were executed for their faith. For the fact that they were willing to die for their faith is compelling, perhaps peremptory, evidence of their belief in the resurection. But if the reasons for whihc they were executed involved other considerations, political power etc, then this is not very good evidence.
    If you say to a man "recant or die" and he does not recant, and then you kill him, you can be pretty sure that he believed what he said-or he was crazy.
    What I want to know is what is the evidence that it was a "recant or die" situation. You mention Nero, for example-Nero feared the politcal power of the new Christian sect. So there may have been much more involved than the imagined scenario of "recant or die". Perhaps they new that NEro was such a pernicious fellow that even if they recanted he would not spare their lives? Perhaps recanting would have put them in equal peril with the Christians?
    For the argument to be effective, one needs show evidence that the apostles were killed in a recant or die scenario.



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NCApologist

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 05:39:07 am »
Good morning William:

Nero did not execute Christians because of a fear political take over. What political power of this new sect? There is zero evidence of any political take over by the apostles and early church.
In 30+ years this band of new believers was not threatening a political take over of the Roman Empire.

Nothing in Paul's documents or again, in the book of Acts even hints at a desire for politcial power by the early church.
Paul already had political power as a member of the Sanhedrin. Why would he give that up and join a group of rag-tag freaks.
Same can be said for Joseph of Arimethea giving up his tomb.

Stephens death is probably 2-4 years after the death of Christ. Why was he executed? For his faith in Jesus Christ.
Same for James the brother of Jesus.

So this takes us back to the question "Why did the early Christians die?" For their faith in Jesus Christ.
No other hypotesis is even close.

You mentioned the following:
Perhaps they new that NEro was such a pernicious fellow that even if they recanted he would not spare their lives? Perhaps recanting would have put them in equal peril with the Christians?
Given the situation recant or not, you would recant. You would roll the dice and take your chances that Nero would change is heart. A person going to the gallows would clearly recant...........unless what they preached was true! Then there would be no reason to recant.
And there is no evidence of people recanting. Extra biblical sources seem to say the complete opposite.

The last bit of evidence is the emergence of a new religion in the face of extreme persecution. If the apostle were creating a new belief system on social and political status, Chrisitanity would've died off in the second century. It didn't. Why? Because it's belief system was founded on the teachings that any person could come into a relationship with the God of the universe.

Regardless of the death of the apostles, let's say none of them were killed. We still have an empty tomb, a new religion, 4 individual documents, no conflicting stories, eyewitness accounts and the transformed lives of Paul and James.

6

William

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 11:13:38 am »

NCApologist wrote: Good morning William:

Nero did not execute Christians because of a fear political take over. What political power of this new sect? There is zero evidence of any political take over by the apostles and early church.
In 30+ years this band of new believers was not threatening a political take over of the Roman Empire.

Nothing in Paul's documents or again, in the book of Acts even hints at a desire for politcial power by the early church.
Paul already had political power as a member of the Sanhedrin. Why would he give that up and join a group of rag-tag freaks.
Same can be said for Joseph of Arimethea giving up his tomb.

Stephens death is probably 2-4 years after the death of Christ. Why was he executed? For his faith in Jesus Christ.
Same for James the brother of Jesus.

So this takes us back to the question "Why did the early Christians die?" For their faith in Jesus Christ.
No other hypotesis is even close.

You mentioned the following:
Perhaps they new that NEro was such a pernicious fellow that even if they recanted he would not spare their lives? Perhaps recanting would have put them in equal peril with the Christians?
Given the situation recant or not, you would recant. You would roll the dice and take your chances that Nero would change is heart. A person going to the gallows would clearly recant...........unless what they preached was true! Then there would be no reason to recant.
And there is no evidence of people recanting. Extra biblical sources seem to say the complete opposite.

The last bit of evidence is the emergence of a new religion in the face of extreme persecution. If the apostle were creating a new belief system on social and political status, Chrisitanity would've died off in the second century. It didn't. Why? Because it's belief system was founded on the teachings that any person could come into a relationship with the God of the universe.

Regardless of the death of the apostles, let's say none of them were killed. We still have an empty tomb, a new religion, 4 individual documents, no conflicting stories, eyewitness accounts and the transformed lives of Paul and James.


      I think that the desciples belief is important because otherwise you cannot rule out conspiracy hypotheses. A conspiracy hypothesis explains both the empty tomb and the disciples testimony. They were lying perhaps.

      Look, your the one claiming that someone raised from the dead and that there is evidence for this. ANd you are the one claiming that the brutal execution of a jew 2000 years ago has something to do with my salvation. YOu are the one with the burden of proof.
   
      I asked what was the best evidence that they were killed specifically for their faith. And you gave me only evidence of their death-well 10 of them died.
     12 people signed a document giving testimony that they saw JOseph Smiths gold plates. If they had been killed as many Mormans were-due to religious,political, and cultural conflict- before they recanted, then we could say the same thing of them.

     So I am not at all satisfied with the evidence for the disciples belief in the resurrection.

     That aside, I want to ask a more general consideration. HOw is it possible to have evidence for a miracle.
     I see people do all sorts of things in front of my eyes that seem impossible. I don't call them gods, I call them magicians.
    Even if Chris Angel claimed to be God I would not believe him. ANd neither would you. YOu would only say that there is a naturalistic explanation for what he is doing. You would say-wow, thats cool, I don't know how he is doing it, but there must be a naturalistic explanation. We do that all the time.

   SO if you would say that about someting ostensibly supernatual that happens before your eyes, how much more should you say it for sometihng that happened 2000 years ago.

7

NCApologist

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William Lane Craig on the possibility of theft
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 12:05:42 pm »
Good afternoong William:

Boy you and IconoclasticGoat are giving me a tough Friday! I appreciate the candid discussions.

I once debated the conspiracy theory myself but I just don't have enough evidence from the given documents. I see a group of people that got nothing "earthly" out of preaching the gospel. Whether I use Pauls letters or extra biblical documentation, I just don't have enough to say that the early church was rooted on a conspiracy.
And again, Paul already had it made as a member of the Sandhedrin so he was living the good life to begin with. Then add multiple prision sentences, he surely would've recanted and gave up the gig of preaching Jesus.

I don't know what kind of evidence you want? The book of Acts and non-biblical writers, oral tradition and the history of the Roman empire all support the claim that these people (Christians) were martyred for their faith. This would include the early apostles.
I would suggest reading Fox's Book of Martyr's for addition support.

You bring up an excellent point about the dozen people testifying about the plates. A very good point.
However, the question is WOULD they have given up their claims of seeing the plates?
More importantly the number of witnesses to the resurrected Lord numbered over 500. That is pretty amazing.

Magic vs. the Resurrection:
What we have here is a dead man, there is no doubt Jesus was dead when put into the tomb. We also have a wealth of data that Jesus appeared to 500+ persons, which forces me to ask "hallucinations? Twin Brother? or resurrected from the dead"
After looking at the evidence I am absolutely forced to say that Jesus was risen from the dead.
A magician is good, but after 2000 years of researching it we will find evidence to show how he fooled us. Such hasn't occured with the resurrection.

Have a great weekend!