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Disciples' persecution demonstrates sincere belief in Jesus
« on: September 15, 2020, 09:28:46 pm »
I offer an argument that the persecution of the disciples demonstrates their sincere belief in Jesus and his teachings. Note that I am not arguing for the validity of Jesus and his teachings, however, I would like to follow up with that argument in another post.

If the disciples did not sincerely believe in Jesus and his teachings, then they wouldn’t have endured persecution.
The disciples endured persecution.
     C. Thus the disciples sincerely believed in Jesus and his teachings. (1,2 MT)

In support of premise 1, it seems to be common among humans throughout history, that we make choices in life based upon our belief that they will maximize our utility. The disciples were essentially given two choices, reject Jesus as God and live, or proclaim Jesus and endure persecution and death. The first choice is obviously the better option of the two, unless the second choice to proclaim Jesus somehow outweighs the negative repercussions of persecution and death and the opportunity cost of living.

The disciples endured incredible persecution, which led to gruesome deaths, so it follows that they must have believed that proclaiming Jesus was the option that maximized their utility. This utility would be found in fulfilling a calling greater than this life and result in eternal life with God, by obeying the teachings and believing the promises of Jesus.

I imagine two main objections to premise 1.

The disciples did not sincerely believe in Jesus and endured persecution because:
The disciples wanted fame.
The disciples were delusional.

 In response to the first objection, It is true that fame motivates individuals, but when faced with extremely painful repercussions and death, I think the vast majority of individuals would choose to live. Thus I find it highly unlikely that fame would somehow have higher utility than living and giving up a lie, as fame is useless if the individual ceases to exist.

I anticipate the second objection, but I do not believe this to be a valid objection to my argument. The disciples could have been delusional, but they still would have sincerely believed in Jesus and his teachings. I do not however believe that all of the named and unnamed disciples of Jesus were somehow delusional or tricked into believing, but I hope to expand upon this within my next post.

I would appreciate feedback and other objections.