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On a page about Evolution, you wouldn't expect to see people putting in words like 'alleged' and 'supposed'. I don't think they are appropriate here either. -- BenBaker

Sorry, evolution is a scientific fact, not a religious belief. They are not equivalent. Natural selection, which is a theory and not a fact, is clearly identified as such. --User:Dmerrill
Sorry, evolution is a scientific theory, not a scientific fact. Worse, it takes a tremendous leap of faith to believe that life evolved out of inanimate chemicals. There is no evidence—that is, no scientist has been able to reproduce the event on which evolutionary faith is based. On the other hand, historical evidence for the resurrection does exist. <>< User:tbc
I'm going to have to not say 'sorry' here, but still. In actuality, "inanimate" chemicals, such as amino acids, have indeed been found in a lab, when induced with an electric current, to produce self-replicating materials. While advanced life has not been isolated (by 'advanced' I mean things like bacteria), it is in bad form to claim that there is a "leap of faith" involved in this scientifically repeatable experiment. User:Ravenscraft
[Written in reply to Ravenscraft, ignoring for the moment RK's following comment, which was made before this reply.] I assume you're talking about Stanley Miller. I took a little time to look into the details of his experiment, and I stand by my claim. It still requires a leap to believe that life evolved out of "self-replicating materials." Amino acids are a far cry from a DNA sequence. Dubbing the leap to be one of faith rather than anticipation that future, advanced experiments will yield expected results seems to me to be fair until those results actually exist. But we digress. Perhaps it should be taken up at talk:Origin of Life now that the creationist POV has been squashed there.
TBC's ignorance of basic science is not helping his argument. He is simply using the argument of authority combined with circular reasoning to prove that hs personal beliefs are facts. -- RK
You have no basis for claiming I'm trying to "prove" that my beliefs are facts, RK. Actually, I am not presenting my beliefs at all. I am merely criticizing the level of experimental evidence for evolution. Still, by using the word "belief" you bring up a fascinating point that I was studying tonight. In Michael Polanyi's essay, "The Stability of Beliefs," he advances the argument that science is a closed system of belief. [1] I'm intrigued by this whole issue and intend to read Polanyi's magnum opus Personal Knowledge to see if I can understand it better. Then maybe I'll take a stab at elaborating Larry's Faith and rationality page.
As for my "ignorance of basic science," I see that the scientific community has coined "molecular evolution" to describe the field that I was trying to describe. It's on my todo list to bone up on it. But calling molecular evolution "basic science" is disingenuous. Newtonian physics is basic science. Organic chemistry is basic science. I delved into molecular evolution enough tonight to conclude that it is still in its infancy. <>< User:tbc
You misunderstand Dmerrill's point, Tim: The Darwinian theory of how evolution occurs, and the theory that present life came into being by that process, are indeed "theories" (though they are generally accepted since they are the best theories available). But "evolution" itself is simply an observable fact of nature: gene pools change over time, and new species arise. The reports of these observations are quite well-known and are acknowledged as reliable even by those who reject Darwin's theory that they explain our origins (that's why creationists use terms like "created kinds": they can't deny that new "species" evolve because we've seen it). It would be intellectually dishonest of you to accept the ancient "eyewitness" accounts of the resurrection, but reject the many modern published, documented, and peer-reviewed reports of speciation. --LDC
I don't reject the reports of speciation, Lee. I simply choose to reject the belief that life came from non-life until stronger evidence exists. But in the interest of improving the 'pedia, I added a list of scientific theories to Origin of Life. Come to think of it, I move that we take this discussion to talk:Origin of Life where it belongs. <>< User:tbc
So present the evidence [re. the resurrection]. -- User:The Epopt
I just noticed Epopt's request. I'm not sure presenting such evidence is really appropriate for the Wikipedia. I may want a fair presentation here of historical events, but I think that would cross the line against NPOV. Anyone who sincerely wishes to find the evidence is able to find it, provided they are even mildly energetic. -- BenBaker

Is the similarity between the Christian Resurrection and the cult of Adonis in Ancient Greece worth of a mention? The central part of this cult was the death and resurrection of Adonis 3 day's later. To celebrate followers would run through the streets of Athens, and in moments of ecstacy castrate themselves. -- 213.122.152.xxx

I'm not sure what one has to do with the other, beyond the superficial circumstances of the stories. Given that the first witnesses to the resurrection were Jews rather than Greeks, any real connection seems unlikely. While I'm not familiar with the story of Adonis, the celebration doesn't seem to have any Christian parallels, and I would guess that the theologies surrounding the two events are vastly different. --Wesley

Whether they are related would certainly be an intriguing investigation. For those of us who aren't Christian, there exists the possibility that the Adonis story, or one like it, was a source of the Christian belief. Obviously Christians would not consider that true, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a sidenote in this article. --User:Dmerrill

Many elements of Christianity exist in other religious systems. To assume that Adonis led Christians to believe in the Resurrection is to ignore all the historical evidence, namely, the eyewitness accounts. Honestly. For a "modern" generation to accept the concept that matter and energy are interchangeable but to deny the eyewitness history of Jesus' resurrection is intellectual bigotry. Very selective application of our "scientific" understanding of the universe. <>< User:tbc
I made no assumption about whether the cult of Adonis was a source. I only said if there *is* evidence of that, or if historians suspect there is one, it's worth a mention. By all means, please include information about the eyewitness accounts. Being npov doesn't mean leaving out the best evidence available, even if some of us find it uncompelling. --User:Dmerrill

Actually, scientists are quite consistent in rejecting any theory that (a) doesn't help explain or predict real-world phenomena, or (b) has nothing more to support it but old eyewitness accounts that can't be tested and verified today by anyone. The reason I believe in mass-energy isn't because Einstein said so, it's because the computer I'm typing this on today uses electricity from the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant that wouldn't work if it weren't true. I can repeat things like Millikan's oil-drop experiment, or Michaelson-Morley, and many others today if I wanted to, and see the results for myself directly. I don't choose to believe the resurrection because (1) it's not relevant to me in any way, and (2) I can't test it myself, even in theory. That's entirely consistent with my beliefs about everything else. --LDC

Comparing the Resurrection to something like nuclear fission strikes me as comparing apples to oranges. The one is an historical event, the other something that is taking place in Diablo Canyon and elsewhere. No question that the latter is much easier to objectively verify. It's generally easier to verify that some event happened five minutes ago than that some event happened one or two thousand years ago. A better comparison would be with other ancient historical events. Having said that, what's the purpose of this article? Yet another pro/con apologetics forum? -- Wesley

There is something else at stake in this discussion besides the status of "evolution," and scientific theories. It goes to an issue that has been raised in the article dedicated to similarities and differences between Judaism and Christianity, and that has to do with universality of truth-claims. An awful lot of people in the world do not believe that Jesus was the son of God (any more than you or I may be children of God); more importantly, for them this is not at all a question of an historical event. Claims that Jesus was resurrected become, in effect, claims that other people's religions are wrong. Now more than ever this is a very important issue, and I think anyone who believes strongly in something has an ethical responsibility to think about whether s/he understands his/her belief in such a way that suggests that other people's religions are wrong.

I think the importance of this article is not that it tells us about something that really happened, but it tells us more about Christianity (and something many Christians believe really happened).

On a slightly different note, I'd like to share something from my own experience, as a Jew. Just as among Christians there may be debates about whether Jesus was resurrected, so among Jews there are debates over whether God really revealed Himself at Sinai. One of the arguments for such a revlation is that there was a huge number of eye-witnesses. The reason many Jews reject this argument is that in fact these are not "eye-witnesses" in any meaningful sense. For example, they cannot be called to a witness stand today and be cross-examined to test the validity of their claims (and as criminologists have demonstrated, eye-witnesses are notoriously unreliable). The point is, the evidence (such as it is) for revleation at Sinai is not "eyewitnesses," it is a text -- the Torah -- which claims that there are eyewitnesses. This is not the same thing as an eyewitness. It is some book's account, and it is that account that is in question.

Even if there were eyewitnesses, the question is, what did the eyewitness actually see, and what did they think they were seeing? Even today many eyewitnesses see the same thing but think they see different things. (Although, if they are all put in the same roomn they will eventually readjust their story to some consusnsus, which they will then all believe fervently they saw). Anyway, I think this is what is at stake in the difference between the "theory" of evolution and my people's belief in the revalation at Sinai. The difference is that scientists claim that observed phenomena must be understood in terms of other observed phenomena. The orthodox religious belief explains observed phenomena in terms of things that cannot be seen (at least, within my own religion -- the Torah is explicit, one cannot see God and live, God is literally/ultimately unseeable).

There are many Jews who do not claim that God "really" revealed Himself to Moses at Sinai; the story is a myth. Not a myth in the common sense that it is "wrong," but a myth in the sense that it expresses some truth metaphorically. I happen to love the book Moby Dick (although I do not love it as much as I love the Bible). In that book Ishmael claims to have witnessed a lot of things. In fact, I do not believe Ishmael saww any of those things -- I do not even believe Ishmael was a real person. Yet that does not mean that for me the book is just a trivial entertainment, I think the book is profoundly true, truer, for example, than books about the whaleship Essex (a real boat that really did have a nasty run-in with a real whale).

Now, if I may go back to Jesus' resurrection -- It too is NOT an historical event; strictly speaking it is a written account of an historical event, and like many, perhaps most written accounts, has mythic functions (in the sense that my own sacred literature is for me myth). It is possible that the book is not based on any eye-witness account but was written after the fact. One of the tasks of early Christians was to refashion Christianity from a Jewish sect to a religion that could appeal to non-Jews. So -- to respond to the query about Adonis. Perhaps the first Jews who were followers of Jesus did not claim that he was resurrected, but to make the emerging religion more appealing to non Jews (Greeks and Romans) non-Jewish Christians evoked the Adonis cult in a new story about Jesus? This is pure speculation on my part and I wonder if there are any critical Bible scholars out there who would weigh in. -- SR

Your point is well taken, and I don't mean to be insensitive in any way. Regarding the reliability of historical events, it strikes me that the same lack of eyewitnesses applies to any other event around that time: did Alexander the Great exist, and how true are the stories about him? What about King Tut? As for whether God was present on Mt. Sinai, you could just as well ask whether Moses was ever really anywhere near Mt. Sinai. What evidence do you have that he was? Gregory Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria debated that same point in the 14th century, regarding Moses and other "Old Testament" events, and regarding the Transfiguration of Christ on Mt. Tabor as described in the Gospels; I find it very interesting that Jews have struggled with the same issue.
I will certainly admit that I have religious reasons to believe that Christ's resurrection is historical, but I don't think it's a religious belief per se. I believe that Alexander the Great conquered Persia and Egypt because I believe the history books I've read on the subject; his conquest undoubtedly had an impact on the rise of Christianity, but my belief in Alexander the Great's accomplishments aren't religious. I also believe that Christ's resurrection means that death is conquered, and I need not fear death. This I would call a philosophical and religious belief. Most Jews believe that Jesus did not rise from the dead. That's also an historical claim, and one that Jews have religious reasons to make. The controversy is over what happened historically, not just about something relatively abstract like whether trinitarianism is monotheistic. I also have a hunch that many of the critical Bible scholars also have religious, or areligious, reasons to "debunk" Christianity if they can; some have been trying at least ever since the Enlightenment. --Wesley
Its funny that you say that, since Orthodox Jews make the opposite claim. I have come across many Orthodox Jews claiming that higher biblical criticism has been invented by Chrisitians to "debunk" Judaism, and therefore make Christianity out to be the truer religion! In point of fact, neither their claim nor your idea is correct. Biblical scholars are not out to prove that Judaism nor Christianity is false. Rather, they are out to investigate the historical facts behind these texts, and report on them in a neutral way. I see the beliefs of Orthodox Judaism and of mainstream Christianity as very similar in this way; their faith depends on ignorning historical studies. My personal response (which is mainstream in Conservative and Reform Judaism) is that faith must strive to be true. Therefore, faith needs to be based on facts as much as posssible, even when such facts are not in accord with some of our previous beliefs. While this has been a painful struggle for me, I eventually gave up some of the Orthodox Jewish beliefs that I was taught as a child and teeenager, because some of them were proven false. That doesn't mean that Judaism itself is false, but it does mean that this one narrow interpretation is no longer tenable. Granted, this is a much easier thing for a Jew to do than a Christian. Judaism never had a tradition of assuming that the Biblical text must always be read literally and historically, and our theology always was more flexible, since we never had the concept of incarnation. User:RK
I don't know if there is a way that Christianity can survive if there was proof that Jesus's literal resurrection never took place. However, no one is claiming that they have such proof. Rather, they are merely pointing out that the traditional Christian claim of proof is also lacking, because (A) the New Testament text was written decaded later by people who were not eye-witnesses. (B) Even the eye-witnesses themselves could not know if Jesus had truly died and went to heaven, or if he merely was in a coma, (C) the text itself has no guarantee of being accurate; we only know what the text claims about the statements of the eye-witnesses. For all we know, the eye-witnesses could have made very different claims. -> In other words, you can't use an ancient text (from any faith) to prove the claims made in that text. That is circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is common in all religion, of course. I am just explaining why people are saying that these positions should be presented as religious claims, instead of as historical facts. User:RK
SR, I appreciate your thoughtful take on this subject, and I agree with much of what you are saying. I also think that there are people who identify themselves as Christians, or rooted in the Christian tradition, who take the resurrection as a myth about renewal or humanity's relationship with God or various other theologies.
That being said, I actually don't believe that we have the words of any eyewitnesses concerning the resurrection. The earliest written reference to a resurrection in the New Testament, if I am not mistaken, comes from Paul, who never ever knew Jesus during his lifetime. Mark, which was probably the first of the Gospels to be written, has a disputed ending that most scholars believe not to have been part of the original ending. Either the actual ending after 16:8 was lost, or it was never even written. Given that, we really have no record from that Gospel of any resurrection, and in any case it was written many years after Jesus's death and (in my opinion) not the account of an eyewitness either.
I think the important point, though, is not whether it is a "historical" fact or not, but what the resurrection means to Christianity, and I think that the meaning is what really matters. After all, the Bible also says that Lazarus was raised from the dead, but so what? Jesus's resurrection, real or not, imparts an important theological point that is deeply meaningful to most Christians. Anyway, that's my two cents worth. -- Egern
I want to thank both Wesley and Egern for their thoughtful remarks -- parts of which perhaps might be worth incorporating into the article (or providing the basis for development of the article)? I also want to respond briefly to Wesley, assuming some of his questions were not rhetorical -- there is indeed a lack of evidence for many stories in the Bible (if you don't ming, I will just use this to refer to the Hebrew Bible) which has led many scholars to suggest that the ancestors of the population of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel came from a number of places, and only a small percentage if any came from Egypt where they may or may not have been slaves. This may actually be the case and doesn't change my cultural/ethnic identity, religious beliefs, or love for the Bible. As for Alexander the Great etc. -- there is much much more evidence that he really did conquer a huge territory (including Judea, a mixed blessing but it eventually gave us Hannukah...). Nevertheless, I would be that many historians would explore the extent to which contemporary or subsequent stories about him were mythological in chartacter i.e. had political functions. I have no doubt that Alexander existed, but I won't take eversy story about him at face value. I believe George Washington existed -- I even believe he won the Revolutionary war and was twice elected President. But I do not really believe that he chopped down the cherry tree and then confessed to his dad about it. I personally believe Jesus existed and I'd like to credit him for some terrific parables. But I do not believe he walked on water or changed water into wine. And I admit I have a religious reason for rejecting those claims. But I also have a scientific bias - I am skeptical of all such miracles, even ones in my own sacred litarture. And yet that literature is still very meaningful to me. It is in this spirit though that I very much appreciate Egern's thoughts on the importance of the resurrection for Christians -- SR

I want to respond briefly to both egern and SR. Regarding eyewitness accounts, I believe that both Matthew and John were eyewitnesses; John speaks of the resurrection both in his Gospel and in the introduction to I John. Luke gathered testimonies from a number of people, much like any decent biographer or historian. I'll have to look and see whether I can dig up any other extrabiblical eyewitness accounts. I know Luke reports that there were many, even if he himself was not one of them. Regarding whether the historicity matters... well, there are certainly things in the Bible and in Tradition that don't have to be strictly historical. I don't think the Creation accounts in Genesis have to be taken literally for our faith to stand, but their theology does (only one God who made everything else, it was all good at the time, etc.). Our church celebrates the finding of Christ's tomb and cross in 326 A.D. by St. Helen. Whether the cross she found was the actual cross or not, doesn't much bother me. But the resurrection itself has always been considered by Christians to be essential to the faith, as an actual occurrence. Paul said that if it didn't really happen, then Christians were to be pitied above all men. (I Corinthians 15??) Christians have lived and died the death of martyrs in hope of the resurrection, both in hope of Christ's in the past and in hope of their own in the future. Whether you believe the resurrection or not, the claim made by most Christians over the last 2000 years is that it really, truly, physically happened. And Christians have claimed that overall, their faith is based in reality, not merely in nice stories that help them feel good, or less guilty, or anything of that sort. "References available upon request." Respectfully yours, --Wesley

Wesley, I don't agree with you that any of the Gospels or epistles were written by eyewitnesses. I don't think that any of them were written before a couple of generations after Jesus's death, during which time various oral traditions developed and it was thos eoral traditions that served as the sources of the Gospels. If you accept the two-source hypothesis concerning Matthew, for example (and I think that most Biblical scholarship does), he then would have gathered most of his information from Mark and Q, and perhaps other miscellaneous sources as well. As for the literal importance of Jesus's resurrection, while I realize that it is important to most Christians and has been throughout history, I can cite the example of Bishop Spong (who wrote a whole book that expresses a different position) as someone who has managed to find importance in the Easter story without taking it as being literally true. So I would argue that belief in its literal truth is not necessary for one to have a kind of religious faith, as much as many Christians might believe that it is. --Egern
Most dates I've seen for these books tend to be somewhere between the 60s and 90s A.D. If a 30 year old Matthew saw the risen Christ, he could very well have written about it at the age of 60. But that's beside the point. If you deny that Peter saw the risen Jesus and preached about the resurrection on the day of Pentecost just a few weeks later, then you deny both the written accounts in the New Testament itself, the written accounts in ancient documents of similar age, such as the letter of Polycarp to the Philippians and the Epistle of Barnabas, and the tradition of the church. Can one have religious faith without believing in the literal resurrection? Of course. Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus all have religious faith. I'm sure that Mr. Spong is religious as well; but his faith has little in common with the Christianity of history. This isn't just my opinion. What Christians have confessed and practiced over the centuries is a matter of historical record.
Besides, all Christian theology just completely caves in on itself if the resurrection didn't happen. If that's true, then it no longer has any practical relevance to my life. And the saints and martyrs of history have died in vain. --Wesley
I understand that it would be a considerable shift in theology to reject the literal truth of the resurrection. All I am trying to say is that it is possible to find meaning in the myths of Christianity without taking them literally. -- Egern

I removed the ant-Jewish, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, and anti-Atheist propaganda. No encyclopaedia should state that it is a historical fact that God literally raised Jesus from the dead. The tepid remark that "not all people believe this" did not even begin to ameliorate the abuse. This encyclopaedia is not for religious missionizing; it is for an NPOV discussion of the topic. User:RK

Wesley writes "And I removed the anti-Christian slander that was in the paragraph following the New Testament quotes"

I am sad to hear that you feel this way. In point of fact, there was no such slander. The only offensive material was the insulting claim that everyone in the world that isn't a Christian is ignorant of indisputable historical facts; i.e. the repeated claims that Christianity is true and all other faiths are false. I don't think that people are aware how offensive these claims in an encyclopaedia would be to Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, neo-pagans, etc. All the "offensive" part of the entry was saying was that Chrisitians have certain beliefs ...in precisely the same way that other Wikipedia entries make such statements about all other religions. Christianity (or Judaism or Islam...) shouldn't be in privileged positions, where their theological claims are represented as indisputable facts. Consider how both Christians and Jews would feel if the entry on Islam stated that it was a fact that the Jews and Christians deliberately distorted and falsified the Bible, and that it was a historical fact that the Koran was actually dicated by an angel to a prophet! Wikipedians would have a fit! To religious Muslims, this angelic revelation is an indisputable historical event...but to everyone else on the planet it is a theological claim, a belief. IOW, Wikipedia does not assume that one religion is true, and that all others are false. Consider how Chrisitans would feel if Romans claimed that the existence of the classical Roman gods was an indisputable historical fact, and that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are therefore by implication defintively false. You'd blow a fuse. User:RK

Wesley continue "...replacing it with the names of some early people who wrote about the resurrection. I'm all for NPOV, or I'd like to think I am as much as the next guy. I'm doing my darndest to do this from the standpoint of documenting history of belief. Remarks about historicity in general don't really belong on this page."

But they do belong here, because some people wrote about the resurrection of Jesus as an indisputable historical event. This is what other Wikipedians were objecting to. Religious Christians believe that it was a historic event, sure, but as far as a non-Christian encyclopaeida goes, is must be reported as a faith claim. User:RK

Wesley wrotes "Remarks about faith vs. works are entirely off topic, as far as I can tell." RK responds by saying "But this is the topic, isn't it? That was the initial claim, and most of us are saying that it needs to be rephrased to maintain NPOV."

Wesley states: As far as I can tell was just a weak attempt to use one facet of Protestantism to give all Christendom a black eye. Calling the resurrection just a "religious belief" in the opening paragraph is nothing short of slanderous to contemporaries who believe the resurrection is real,

In that case, by your distorted definition of the word, I and everyone else here is "slandering" you. But that's not true at all! Why turn everyone into an enemy? If you are unable to deal with non-Christians, then you need to learn some tolerance - because most of the world isn't Christian. You don't have the ability or right to force an encyclopaedia to accept your religious beliefs. At this point, you have veered from contribution to outright vandalism. If you are unable to face the fact that we are talking about religious beliefs (as opposed to indisputable historical facts) then you have no business working on this Wikipedia entry. Frankly, I'm disappointed by this turn of events.

but more importantly, it doesn't do justice to the nature of the belief that has been held consistently by Christians down through the centuries. I think that the article, as it stands at the moment, identifies the belief as one that's held primarily if not solely by Christians. That ought to be enough by itself to identify the topic to new readers as a Christian one, and they can draw whatever conclusions they like from that. As to historicity, we can both cite specific pro and con historians and data points until the cows come home. That seems to be the general Wiki NPOV procedure for this sort of stuff, though this will undoubtably prove to be one of the severest tests as to just how achievable NPOV really is. --Wesley

Ok, maybe I lost my temper a little bit when reacting to Wesley's recent statements. The entry had stated that Chrisitans believe that Jesus was literally resurrected from the dead by God. Wesley responded by claiming it was "slander" to call this a belief; he clearly views the resurrection as an indisputable historical fact, and is unwilling for anyone to use the word "belief" to describe it. But how else can a non-Christian respond?

Wesly, I wrote most of the entry on Judaism and its theology, I am Jew, but I refused to state Jewish beliefs as fact. That would be a violation of Wikipedia policy; thus in order to maintain NPOV and to be as objective as possible, I stated that Jews had certain "beliefs". This most certainly was not anti-Jewish slander, and it would outrageously inappropriate for anyone to claim that it was. Consider the following quotes that I wrote from the Judaism Wikipedia entry.

Most fundamentally, Judaism entails the belief in one, and only one God </wiki/God>. Judaism affirms theism </wiki/Theism> as the basis for religion, as does Islam and Christianity. God is conceived of as a creator and a source of morality, and has the power to intervene in the world in some fashion.

Here I state that it is a belief, and not that it is an indisputable fact, either explicitly nor implicitly. Further, I didn't say that God IS the creator and source of morality, but rather I only stated that God is CONCEIVED OF as such. Similarly, consider this quote:

Judaism has always affirmed a number of other Jewish Principles of Faith, but unlike Catholicism, the Jewish community has never developed any one fixed, binding catechism. A number of formualtions of Jewish beliefs have appeared, most of which have much in common with each other, but differ in certain details. A comparison of several such formulations demonstrates a remarkably wide array of tolerance for varying theological perspectives. Some of the general Jewish beliefs include (- and here a long list of beliefs appear-)

Again, instead of affirming Jewish principles of belief - which would effectively turn Wikipedia into a Jewish religious tractate - I NPOV'ed the beliefs of the Jews by presenting as their principles of faith (as opposed to their ontologically true statements, i.e. facts) This is how all the religion entries in encyclopaedias work; it just isn't slander. User:RK

agreed that entries should not be slanderous. An article that claimed that something did not happen which historically did happen would be false. -- BenBaker
No, Ben, you are confused. You are subverting and vandalizing the entry by turining Wikipedia into a Christian proselytizing tract. Further, you are putting words in my mouth. I never said anything like what you attibuted to me. User:RK
o.k. I'm confused. I thought I was agreeing with you, and now you have claimed I am putting words in your mouth. sigh. I certainly don't think I have added your name to words I typed. I don't think I have vandalized and subverted the entry. I certainly haven't tried to make the entry into a tract. I started the entry, as I recall, just to explain where a particular phrase came from, and how it is understood. Perhaps when you read this, you can explain the basis for your comment. -- BenBaker

Ok, it seems I was too vague in what I was calling slanderous. What I most objected to was calling the resurrection a "religious" belief, and the suggestion that Christians are unconcerned with facts or with reality, bringing in the sola fide/faith-not-works theology of Protestantism to support that view. The resurrection is similar to other religious beliefs, in that it is a dogma of the church, part of the historic creeds. It's also different in that it is an alleged historical, verifiable event, unlike other dogmas regarding something like the omniscience of God, or the nature of the Trinity. I don't think it's an "indisputable" historic event. I think it's a highly disputed historic event. I didn't remove and have no intention of removing the material about Gibbons' question about historical records of midday darkness, or about the mystery cults. I might introduce material suggesting that the other resurrection stories of the mystery cults did not lead to the invention of the story of the resurrection, if I find any such material and if I find the time to include it. I do tend to suspect people who try to discredit the historicity of the resurrection of looking for ways to discredit Christianity, much as you would likely suspect someone who doubted the Holocaust of being anti-semitic.

As for NPOV in the articles, I think most of the material I have personally inserted in the main articles has been written as you suggest. I certainly don't disagree with the NPOV principle. I did make some remarks here on the discussion page that someone else moved to the main article; I can't take responsibility for whether those were properly framed for inclusion in the full article. And I've detected lapses on your part regarding NPOV phrasing in the past that have needed correction as well.

I think that part of what makes this subject so offensive to non-Christians, is that Christianity itself is offensive, due to the apparently exclusive nature of its claims. That's just the way of it. To make Christianity appear otherwise would be to misrepresent Christianity as it has historically been believed and practiced. --Wesley

Speaking as a non-Christian and thus, I hope, as non-partison, I must ask: are there any Christian leaders, theologians, or even Chrsitian sects or movements or branches, that reject the universal and exclusive nature of Christian claims and have sought to rework Christian belief and practice in a pluralistic way? I know Vatican II reaches out to other faiths, including not only Judaism and Islam but Hinduism as well -- but at the same time it reaffirms that Jesus is "the" way. So what I am asking is, are there Christian theologians/Christian movements who have redefined Jesus and various beliefs about/practices concerning him as "a" way, "our" (that is, "their") way, but not the only way, or a way that is fundamentally universally true or right? If so, I would benefit from the various articles on Christianity and Christian beliefs addressing this.--SR
On this issue, I'm afraid that being actively non-Christian is just as partisan as being Christian. Even saying this, I agree that is a relevant question. I also feel it is a question that has no satisfactory answer. As Wesley mentioned, the monotheistic and universal claims of Christian belief is inherently in conflict with polytheistic and pluralistic claims. Even if there were groups or people who redefined Christian beliefs, if they redefined them as polytheistic or pluralistic, they would be rightly rejected as being no longer Christian. In the same way, I suspect that if a Hindu scholar would redefine Hinduism as a monotheistic religious belief, it would be rightly rejected as not being consistent with its history and previous beliefs. -- BenBaker
You are being paranoid. Stop imagining that this entry is "non-Christian" or anti-Christian. It is NPOV.
Neutral is an ideal. I am striving to make sure this article is neutral. I don't want it to be anti-christian, however, as that is just as biased as making it christian. --BenBaker
The resources on these websites discuss various responses within the Christian community to this issue.
* http://www.jcrelations.net/frmain.htm
* http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_othe.htm
* http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_if.htm

Wesley wrote "Ok, it seems I was too vague in what I was calling slanderous. What I most objected to was calling the resurrection a "religious" belief, and the suggestion that Christians are unconcerned with facts or with reality, bringing in the sola fide/faith-not-works theology of Protestantism to support that view. The resurrection is similar to other religious beliefs, in that it is a dogma of the church, part of the historic creeds. It's also different in that it is an alleged historical, verifiable event..."

Oh. Sorry. I see what you mean, but that isn't how it came across. And I'm thin skined when I come to this subject for a variety of reasons. But what you say here clarifies the point, and is not a violation of NPOV (as far as I can tell) at all, nor is it even offensive to non-Christians. Yes, I concur that that entries on this (and other religious topics) should note the difference between theological beliefs that are purely non-historical (i.e. the nature of God), and religious beliefs that by necessity entail belief in a real historical event, such as: the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, the dictation of the Torah to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai, the Angelic revelation of the Koran to Mohammed. I don't see any problem in making this clear.RK

RK sees the point of mentioning historicity, so I have restored it. I removed some of the explanations of Mithraism and Osiris-ism to their own pages. There is little information there, anyone who wishes to elaborate on those articles is invited to do so. I removed the phrase 'Religious Christians' as it is redundant. Christianity is solely a religious belief, it does not have the same secular and sacred dual meaning as the term 'Jewish'. -- BenBaker.

No, Ben, I said no such thing. Rather, I pointed out that the entry should say that Christians believe that certain events happened, but these beliefs are not accepted by the entire world as historical facts. They are thus religious beliefs. As for your bizarre statement that you removed the information on other views of resurrection because "there is little information there", I reject your statement outright. You are obviously frightened by the parallels between what you preach as a historical fact, and the actual historical fact that the resurrection of the son of God story is older than Jesus. If you were intellectualy honest, and you truly felt that there was not enough information there, then the thing to do would have been to expand upon it. But in point of fact you censored it; this shows that you do not want readers to know anything about the historical origins of the stories in the New Testament. This is not a Christian (or Jewish or Muslim...) encyclopaedia, designed to push one person's faith. Rather, Wikipedia is a non-religious encyclpaedia, designed to describe the sum knowledge of humanity on the entry. User:RK
I don't recall censoring anything. If anything, I have expanded upon the article to include views that I didn't actually hold myself (mentions of Osiris etc.) I have even researched the Mithraism article as I thought it was rather skimpy based on two sentences. Perhaps you didn't notice this when you claimed I wasn't being intellectually honest. It is common on less controversial topics to depend on the reader to follow links if they want to read something that is related but not directly relevant. Perhaps you and I have different criteria for what is relevant. Just because this is viewed as controversial shouldn't change the principle in working on the Wikipedia. I didn't delete the information, I just moved it to its own article. -- BenBaker
What exactly is the point of that "historicity" paragraph that follows the NT verses? I deleted it before because I thought (a) a discussion of historicity in general isn't really useful on this page, the subject should be covered elsewhere and perhaps linked to from here; and (b) the "faith vs. works" bit in the last part of the paragraph is loaded with Protestant terminology. IF this paragraph stays, that section needs to identify Protestant ideas as such instead of generalizing them to all Christianity. I frankly think the faith vs. works distinction doesn't seem to have any relevance to the subject at hand. It would be fine to include in some article doing a comparison/contrast of different branches of Christianity. "Denomination" is a Protestant word as well; it implies that visible unity is unimportant, an ecclesiology which is quite different from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox views. --Wesley
I'm a bit confused why Protestant versus Roman Catholic versus Orthodox wording or issues was even inserted into this article. I don't believe I did it, but I may have re-inserted a paragraph that someone else had put some of that discussion in. As far as I know, the RoJC is non-sectarian. As to historicity, I'm not sure why people don't think it is relevant. Perhaps the encyclopedia shouldn't mention any events that happened more than a few decades ago, as the reader may not have been alive when those events occurred? -- BenBaker
Ok, since I'm not sure who actually inserted the text in the article, I'll withdraw any accusations, and will also delete the "faith vs. works" portion; it would need to be further qualified if it were left in. Whether the resurrection is historical, is certainly relevant. The paragraph in question doesn't seem to shed any light on whether that particular event is historical. --Wesley

I have changed the wording of the first sentence.

  1. 'Christians believe' - yes they do believe this (others don't)
  2. in a 'literal, historical fact' - this is what Christians (in the generally accepted sense) believe
  3. description of what is believed to be so by Christians

I think this both represents a view which is

  1. acceptable to literal believing Christians - it nowhere denies the Resurrection
  2. acceptable to non-Christians and atheists - it states only a Christian belief in what Christians consider to be a fact

-- user:The Anome

Well, actually your first item in the second list isn't really true. you are denying the resurrrection occured by relegating it to just be 'the Christian belief' instead of 'the historical event'. And as such, of course it would be acceptable to non-Christians and atheists. -- BenBaker

I expect we are getting closer to a compromise, but I still say that 'RoJC' is the name of an event, or the event itself, not that is it is the name of a belief or the belief itself. Some may disagree with the historicity of the event, or believe in it. I can reasonably talk of the event named 'Throwing the One Ring into Mordor', while firmly knowing this event never occurred. I certainly like your phrasing better, but I still think the event vs belief nomenclature must be resolved. Perhaps someone has a third phrasing that will be satisfying to both sides? --BenBaker

I agree that the term refers to an event rather than a belief, albeit that the event never occurred. I would have no objection to the article starting with the sentence

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ refers to God's raising of Jesus Christ from the dead after his Crucifixion.

as long as the following sentence makes it clear that Christians are pretty much the only people who believe that this event actually happened. Wording the second sentence so that it satisfies both sides may be tricky, however. --Zundark, 2001 Dec 24

This sounds good to me too. Anyone have a suggested wording for the second sentence? --Wesley
I don't think that Ben Baker is interested in a better wording. He wants this encyclopadeia to firmly state as a fact certain things. He does not understand the Wikipedia project or NPOV. User:RK
RK, I'm sorry you don't feel I am engaging in this discussion in good faith. I'm not sure it is possible to prove that I am. I generally think it is impossible to prove a negative, especially when the closed-world hypothesis doesn't apply. That said I have no problem with the first sentence suggested by Zundark. It shouldn't be hard to make the second sentence say that Christians believe it is true, and non-christians may or may not believe it is true.

I may be wrong, but it seems possible that there are non-christians who believe Jesus was raised from the dead, but who still do not consider themselves as christian. --BenBaker

I'm going to take a stab at that first paragraph, since there don't seem to be any takers. --Wesley

I honestly do not understand this debate. It seems obvious to me that when a non-Christian describes RoJC as a "belief," what they mean is that Christians (or many Christians) believe that God brought Jesus back to life after Jesus was crucified. It seems equally obvious to me that when a Christian says "God brought Jesus back to life after Jesus was crucified" that person really believes that it happened. "Belief" is not necessarily the opposite of "fact."

Steve, what you say here is obviously true. There is no debate, as such; Ben Baker just doesn't care. He is rewriting this entry as a Christian catechism because he is either unable or unwilling to talk reasonably about this topic with non-Christians. He is trying to make Wikipedia into a tool for proselytizing his faith. Your only error is in trying to uncover the reason why Wesley and myself and you have been unable to make our points clear to Ben. There is no misunderstanding. Ben simply has an agenda here, and your discussion of the issue is a threat to his worldview. User:RK
again, RK wants to attack me. I assume because he rarely runs into people who truly, deeply disagree with his opinions. Or perhaps he has run into people who disagree with him and don't allow for the idea that he won't change his mind. I don't know. It certainly isn't true that I am using Wikipedia as a tool for proselytizing. Of course, RK may think that, regardless of what I say. I do stubbornly believe that Wikipedia shouldn't have blatantly anti-christian bias. (I'm not sure this is one of those cases, by the way.) I also have been around long enough to be open to the fact that people exist who will never agree with me, no matter how I feel about it, or think. --BenBaker

I am pretty sure that everything I believe in I believe in because I believe it to be true. I believe that today is Tuesday. I believe that evolution occurs. I believe physicists when they tell me that we are made up of atoms. I DO see one way in which "belief" and "fact" are different, or rather, should be used differently. Sometimes people disagree as to the facts. In that case, to say "I believe" means "I think this is a fact, but I know others do not agree that it is a fact." So I cannot understant why a Christian would object to RoJC being described as a belief. I understand completely that many Christians really do believe that it happened. But don't they understand that many people believe that it didn't happen? For them to describe it as a belief doesn't mean that they don't really believe it happened, it merely signals their recognition that not other people do not share their beliefs about this "fact."

If we are talking about a doctrine or a belief that was not based on a historic event, I'm sure your argument be stronger. Since we are talking about a belief that is historical, I'm not sure it makes sense to say that it either is just believed or not believed. If the calendar says Dec 26th,2001 A.D. is Wednesday, and you believe it is Tuesday, then it is a historic fact that it is Wednesday. You are still free to do as you like and believe as you like, but it would be inaccurate for you to claim all people should simply say it is a belief that December 26th,2001 A.D. is Wednesday. I'm trying to work with your example here. I wonder if I need to qualify my statement as to Gregorian Calendar etc. The RoJC is an event that isn't even dependent on a man-made artifact like a calendar. incidentally, I also am pretty sure that everything I believe in, I believe in because I believe it is true. I would also say that just because I believe something is true, that it automatically becomes true. --BenBaker
I guess I wasn't being clear. I am definitely talking about "historic events." What does it mean to say that "December 26th is Wednesday" is a "fact?" That 12/26/01 is Wednesday is so because of a social convention. I admit that it would be hard to change this convention, but if everyone in the world wanted to, 12/26 could be a different day. If we want to say that "12/26 is Wednesday" is a "fact," all we mean is that it is avery strong social convention, i.e. practically everyone agrees with this. I think it is clearer to say that it is a "fact" that practically everyone agrees that 12/26/01 is Wednesday.
In fact, NOT everyone agress that Jesus was resurrected. In fact, a minority of people believe this.
It is true that the RoJC either happened or did not, and it does not matter what people believe happened -- i.e., if it happened, it happened even if no one believes it. But by the same logic, if it didn't happen, it didn't happen even if EVERYONE believes it! SO: that the RoJC is, as you put it, a "historical event" by which I think you mean "something that happened" does not in and of itself prove that it did or didn't happen.
I know that you believe that it did happen. But I have to repeat my question: don't you know that there are many people who believe that it didn't happen? This is why it makes a LOT more sense to say "12/26/01 is Wednesday" is a "fact" -- in this case, fact means uncontroversial. But RoJC is very controversial, and I don't see that it makes sense to use the same word to describe both things.
What is the "fact" about the RoJC? Just as it is a fact that practically everyone believes that 12/26 is Wednesday, it is a fact that many people believe that JC was resurrected, and many people believe that he wasn't. It is a fact that you CLAIM that the RoJC is a fact. It is a fact that many people CLAIM that the RoJC is a fact. But it wouldn't be right for an article on the RoJC to say that "it is a well-established fact that JC was resurrected," -- that simply isn't true. -- SR
I'm going to work hard to ignore that last sentence; I have no idea in what context it would make sense. To repeat what I said elsewhere, I think the resurrection is a disputed historic event, not an undisputed or indisputable event. Let's compare this to, I don't know, say the murder of JFK. The standard historical account is that he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, and that Oswald was acting alone. A number of people think that someone else was involved, based on the number and location of shots fired, and so on and so forth. Just look at any murder trial where the defendant pleads innocent, and perhaps claims to have been far away from the scene of the crime at the time it happened. Assuming a body was found, no one doubts that a murder took place. The prosecution and defense will offer different versions of how the murder happened and who committed it. This is why police officers and journalists refer to the defendant as "the defendant" or "the alleged perpetrator" rather than as "the killer." They need to maintain the semblance of a neutral point of view while they're sorting out the facts. The prosecutor will go ahead and call the accused the murderer, but everyone knows that the prosecutor isn't trying to be perfectly objective, but is trying to present the case in as one-sided a way that she can. And the defense will also seek to present as favorably biased a view of events as possible. While writing Wikipedia articles, we need to assume the voice of journalists, not that of defense or prosecuting attorneys. --Wesley

It is a fact that heaven and hell do not exist. At least, I believe it is a fact. I do understand that some people believe that it is a fact that heaven and hell do exist. So I will say "I do not believe in heaven and hell." Please do not misinterpret me to mean that my belief about heaven and hell is somehow wishy-washy, trivial, or should not be taken seriously for some other reason, just because this is what I "believe." -- SR

Could someone list non-Biblical sources of historical evidence for the resurrection? --User:Chuck Smith

From the article:
Non-Biblical records
Some of the earliest records of the resurrection outside the New Testament are found in the writings of Josephus (37 - 110), Ignatius (50 - 115), Polycarp (69 - 155) Justin Martyr (100 - 165), and Tertullian (160 - 220).
Were you looking for additional sources, or for more specific citations among their writings?

More specific citations.

Here are a few citations where specific mention is made of Christ's resurrection:

The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians -- 1:2 - 2:1, 12:2

The Letters of Ignatius...

  • ... to the Ephesians -- 20:1
  • ... to the Magnesians -- 11:1
  • ... to the Trallians -- 9:1-2 (one of the more detailed mentions of the historical events)
  • ... to the Romans -- 6:1
  • ... to the Philadelphians -- 8:2 - 9:2
  • ... to the Smyrnaeans -- 1:1 - 3:3 (another passage with slightly more historical details than the others)

Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, book 18 chapter 3

The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, probably written by Clement I, also speaks of the resurrection at length.

Hope this is helpful. Perhaps these should be listed in the main article?? --Wesley

See also : Resurrection of Jesus Christ