Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Second Responding Post to Jonathan Pearce on the Veneration of Jesus' Tomb

Jonathan Pearce wrote a blog post making a point that a lack of veneration of Jesus' tomb as evidence that there was no tomb from which Jesus rose from the dead three days after the Crucifixion. I disagreed. You can read the original response I posted at the end of this post. There has been some back and forth in the comments section on that post. Pearce's latest comments brought up some issues that I think takes more space than are appropriate for the comments sections which is why I started another blog post. I had written: Better folks have already ripped such arguments [that there were no guards at the tomb] to shreds, It's been 2000 years do you really think that none of those ideas have been trotted out or answered before?

"ripped to shreds"? By who?

Please don't tell me you refer to Craig who all but admits agnosticism in his article, and this is the article which is used to defend this position by so many other apologists!

I have seen much of the same muddled thinking on the Debunking Christianity blog many times. Do people like Pearce really believe that William Lane Craig is the only Christian scholar that  has ever lived? Dr William Lane Craig is indeed brilliant and respected and correct in much of what he says and teaches but he doesn't speak for all Christians and he is not right about everything. The Bible is right. God is right. You, me, and him are only right when we obey God and speak the truth.  I find it shocking that Pearce is not better acquainted with the work of Christian scholars. 

No Offense intended but in addition to William Lane Craig, I'd count Gary Habermas, Timothy McGrew, Mary Jo Sharp, Michael Licona,  Darrel Bock,   Craig Evans, James White, and J.P. Holding as knowing more about the Resurrection than Pearce and whose scholarship carries considerable more weight! If you want to see such anti-Resurrection arguments, you can start with them and branch out. There have been many people in the past 2000 years ripping such drivel to shreds.

Why would Paul, Peter, John or any of the first Christians would venerate a tomb of a man they knew to be alive and had told them to get busy doing evangelism?
One would assume that all the Apostles would have known the whereabouts, as well as the various Marys and Salomes and others who the various Gospels disagree as visiting.

Disagree? How do the Gospels disagree? If I tell you that Sally, Jane, and Martha went to the store, but tell another person that Martha went to the store how is that a contradiction? It might be a disagreement but it's not a contradiction. So we don't know how many women were at the tomb Easter morning. So what? 
We don't have their names or titles. That does not mean they were not there. Not worth basing an argument against the Resurrection on.

The fact that the evidence points towards Joseph of Arimathea being fictional should lead one to conclude that his tomb most probably is too, especially given the utterly improbable scenario of sentencing a man to death and then asking the people who sentenced him to death for the worst possible crime to release his body for an honourable burial!

Evidence? How does Pearce know Joseph of Arimathea was fictional? He can't  prove that. There is evidence that tells us Joseph of Arimathea was a real person. And we know that if a man had enough clout he could ask for the body of an executed person. Josephus was allowed to stop the execution of  his three friends who were being crucified.

 A tomb to which women seemed to know, visit but have NO WAY of being able to roll away the stone, and no forethought to find a way, but HEY, luckily angels are on hand to help.

That really is a really not the only assumption you could make. They would have known the soldiers had been  placed there at the tomb. I would think they thought that they could ask the guards to open the tomb for them enough to enter and take care of Jesus' body. 

 A tomb to which they are travelling to anoint an already anointed body. A tomb at which guards are incredibly unlikely to be posted, who contrive to be bribed (a fate worthy of execution) to deny the most incredible thing they ever would have seen (and yet not be converted by).

Miracles themselves are not enough to convert a man from a sinner to a child of God. With all the evidence around us of God's existence and power, people still continue to disbelieve. Why would the guards be better or smarter than Atheists today? Wait. Maybe some of them did become Christians because of the experience. Pearce is wrong. We can't say one way or the other.

Around which an earthquake unattested by any other source takes place. And during which, according to Matthew again, a parade of resurrected dead Saints swan around a municipal city without anyone else noticing or reporting it.

I wonder if Pearce ever really read the Gospels. The texts do not tell us how far outside of Jerusalem was the earthquake felt. And other people around Jerusalem did notice the dead saints walking around.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people. - Matthew 27:51-53

And so, this tomb, the most holy place on earth (for if that happened now, given that Graceland, without bones, is venerated; and given that other such places, with no body or bones, are venerated such as Međugorje; Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida; Lourdes; Shrine of the Three Kings; Mount Tabor; House of Peter; Mount Carmel; Nazareth; Bethany (resurrection of Lazarus)!!!; the Jesus Trail; Galilee etc etc), is forgotten for 300 odd years. And this is not odd to you. This, with all the other odd information, half of which I have not mentioned, is not odd?

I find it odd that you would think that Pearce would imagine any of those places as holy. Venerating a place or an object does nothing to deepen my relationship with God or helps anyone. I'm sure the first Christians thought the same way. Notice that in the New Testament there is nothing and no one venerated but Jesus Himself. We don't see all the fodder examples Pearce props up until Christianity becomes the state religion and people join bringing in their paganism without being converted.  And some people compromised and added other ideas and concepts into Christianity in order to get converts. You know...same thing happens today.

You are exhibiting an extraordinary amount of cognitive dissonance here. Wow!

That said, nothing I say will ever convince you as a dyed-in-the-wool, head-in-the-sand sort of person.

I just find it sad that people such as yourself spend so much time accepting possible over probable so that your belief-system is a tapestry of possibilities absent of any kind of strong plausibility.

 I often wonder if people like Pearce ever really stop and think about what they believe. On one hand admitting that Christianity may be true but rejecting it because in their opinion it isn't plausible. Further opining that they can't reason it as being probable. Hello!? A miracle, by definition, cannot be probable. So you cannot use that determine if it's true or reasonable. I don't think my head is in the sand. I have sifted through evidence. Studied a lot of Science and History, and I have concluded that the Bible is true. And if that makes one who disagrees a liar, then they are a liar. I have to say that one who find  arguments like the ones Pearce uses compelling should look very closely without the arrogance of thinking that you get to determine what is enough evidence and just look at what God has provided for us objectively. You will find that Jesus was right. 

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. - John 3:19-21

What had happen' was.....: FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Why was Jesus' tomb not venerated?