The Resurrection of Jesus and the Martyr Argument

It’s not really interesting at all. The entire line of argument is just a red herring.

The US currently has thousands of people who are certain that Donald Trump was robbed of the election by a cabal of Satanists who murder babies to eat their adrenochrome. Many of those who believe this were driven by this belief to storm their nation’s Capitol and try overthrow the election.

So that a bunch of people believe something very firmly and are willing to take drastic actions in response to this belief is not by itself a very compelling argument for the truth of their belief.


It’s only compelling because they were in the position to know that they were telling an actual lie versus just believing in something, or perhaps believe in a hallucination.

We know that Jesus was a historical person, as well as Peter, Paul and James. It’s the difference between dying for a lie and just dying for something you believe in.

I was surprised @Rumraket didn’t see that difference as well.

To show that it’s not different you have to show that these men were not historical persons or that they somehow didn’t really know Jesus or that hallucinations (not beliefs) are strong enough that people aren’t willing to recant under threat of death (for more than one person who claims to have this hallucination).

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How do you know that? How did you establish where these people were at the time of Jesus crucifixion, purported entombment, and claimed resurrection, and how did you determine what they did or didn’t actually witness?

No, it isn’t. Lie vs truth is a false dichotomy. People can be sincerely mistaken for literally millions of reasons. They don’t have to have been told lies, or lie themselves, to have come to believe in something and purportedly be willing to die for it. The possibilities here are nearly endless.


um…I’m not sure how to make this more clear. Yes, OF COURSE! I understand that.

Ok - so what do you actually think - they did hallucinate it? Otherwise, you’re saying they did die for a lie.


  1. A bunch of people lied to start a religion and a history records with high confidence a few did die for it, and perhaps others maybe did.
  2. A couple of people hallucinated a resurrection and history records with high confidence a few died for it, and the rest made up a few lies to fill in the story that they were there too. Or Peter and Paul wrote all the books of the Bible and scholars are wrong…I don’t know what hypotheses you can come up with here…
  3. Jesus really did rise from the dead.

Other options? Feel free to explain. I’m just not really sure what option you think best explains the data.

No, those are not the only options.

I think something like Paulogia’s scenario below is all but certainly what happened.


The followers of QAnon are also in a position to know whether they are lying v.s. just believing something, although I don’t think hallucination is a likely explanation.

That does not mean what they believe is true.


It would be nice to feel that you had read my entire post, but I don’t feel you have. I’ve seen this video before and tried to summarize what I remembered Paulogia saying in #2. I even asked “other options?” It’s not as if I presented those two sentences as the only option, even though the video basically describes my first sentence you quoted. I was interested in what Mikkel personally thought.

I don’t find Paulogia to be a very thorough researcher or at least a fair one. “If you’re honest with yourself, you have to admit that I have [given a credible explanation]” :roll_eyes: Poison the well much?

Anyway, his argument breaks down fairly fast and I haven’t studied apologetics closely in a while. He presents it as if John just followed Peter after Peter’s hallucination. But we know that’s not what the gospels say, so there have to be huge fabrications and going on to jump from - John and Peter were both disciples of John the Baptist to - they didn’t know each other until after the resurrection. Or someone just had to be a liar. And these people that began to spread stories really had to be interested in a conspiracy about a dead person…as if they knew him then they’d be aware that John wasn’t an initial follower, etc. For sure Paul has to be lying because he doesn’t record himself starting his ministry right away in a fit of guilt.

So Paulogia’s argument maybe sounds good to someone who’s never looked at all the interwoven details that can be found that make it harder to explain everything as tales embellished over time or as lies. I’ve already asked you when we discussed this before to look at those details in a book that covers them systematically, but it didn’t seem you had any interest in studying those details that way. I’m not going to argue those details unless there’s something specific you want to bring up.

Your analogy doesn’t work unless Q is a public figure and his followers claim he somehow performed some miracle that they personally witnessed after he was put to death by lethal injection and a few continue to declare the miracle to true while being tried for murder related to incitement with capital punishment as a possible sentence.

And yes, if QAnon followers wanted to be sure of what they believed to be true they could look up alternate ideas. They could look up people who’ve changed their mind about QAnon. This is true about any belief. But it’s interesting we don’t have any evidence from the 1st century there was an alternate story besides the ones the gospels themselves give us and tell us people were circulating! We don’t have them trying to explain away why some people at that time are saying Peter never saw the resurrected Jesus because they saw Jesus’ grave in such and such a place…

But we do.

There is good evidence Mark used Jesus ben Ananias for his stories on Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet

Seutonius on Emperor Vespasian curing the blind with his spit.

The Bacchae for Paul’s blinding story and release from prison.

Homer’s Odyssey for Jesus calming a storm.


That is not the scenario at all. Watch the video again if you are interested in presenting an argument against what was actually said there.

I already responded to that, but to remind you: These “interwoven details” only show that the stories have some oral or written sources in common. Those sources could be based on real events, but they could also be errors or legendary elaborations. You have no way of knowing which.

I could turn that around: If you are going to insist that the “resurrection” is true but QAnon is false, then you have to show that the belief in the resurrection was based on internet postings by a highly placed anonymous government official with the highest level of security clearance.

Do you really think that is a sound argument? If not, then how does it differ from yours?

Not nearly as interesting as the fact that we don’t have so much as single word documenting this guy who was walking around raising the dead and performing other miracles before thousands of people that was written while he was alive.

How do you explain that?

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About the resurrection @witchdoc :neutral_face:

I meant alternate stories about witnessing that specifically. I don’t mean hundreds of years later people saying stories were similar. I mean alternate evidence people were bringing up at the time. Did any of the church fathers try to defend Paul that his story plagiarized another story? Do we have anyone writing that the resurrection was a fraud?

Faizal I know you will go around and around with me on this, so I’m not going to reply further. But I hope you rethink your arguments because my impression of them is not favorable: especially QAnon, so no, I’m not going to defend the analogy you gave and that I think is poor as if it was my own. :sweat_smile:

That does not motivate me to rethink them in the least. Quite the contrary.

It is not an analogy. It is a fact that there is not so much as a single word written about Jesus that dates to the time he was alive. Or is that another basic fact of reality that does not exist in your worldview?


No, you’re not answering my question. Here it is again:

Try actually answering how you know these things, instead of asking me to offer an alternative account. You’re the one who believes these things, not me. So what is that belief based on, I mean other than the mere fact that “it says so in this book”?


Why not be more forthcoming and admit that you can’t explain it, instead of trying to distract?

He offered QAnon as an analogy, not an argument. Analogies are explanatory devices.

But his question has nothing to do with the analogy.

Why is there not a single word written about Jesus that dates to the time He was alive?

Faith is about believing things for which we lack sufficient evidence. True faith in no way precludes admitting where the evidence is thin or nonexistent.

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There were numerous supposed messiahs around the time.

Gabriel’s Revelation is an interesting tablet collection of prophecies dating to the period.

There is some controversy whether it says “in three days, live, I Gabriel command you” vs “in three days, the sign”

This prophecy is understood to relate to Simon Peraea, who claimed to be King and was killed by the Romans in 4BCE.

Another story relating to resurrection is Dionysus, the son of Zeus and Semele (of God and mortal human woman, sound familiar?), who was the God of Wine, posessing the power to transform water to wine.

Dionysus died, his heart was saved by Athena, and Zeus resurrected Dionysus.

When tales get told and told again verbally like Chinese whispers, and the gospels written after 70AD, that is a lot of time for tales to be mixed and matched, and tales to grow taller and taller with each retelling.

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Not surprising, but again, I mentioned people themselves claiming to witness a miracle, the resurrection. They didn’t write up a story later about Jesus without claiming to be involved. When I look at the evidence and how it’s dated by scholars, some of these claims that the resurrection is based on certain stories (that would have been repulsive to Jews) don’t seem compelling. Especially if Christianity is true, the general themes of Christianity would be compelling to humanity - they pop up in Marvel comics and movies anyway.:slightly_smiling_face:

I need to make time for other things tonight, but I’ll try to read your links tomorrow.

So generally you’re asking me how I would know the gospels are reliable. That also has to do with my faith - and the specific reasons why I believe perhaps shift and change over time. As a kid and still today it is my own belief in my need for grace and frustration and sorrow over my sins that is the foundation of it. As an adult I’ve appreciated the themes and the depth of the Bible. That 66 books written over millennia can provide the basis for a coherent religion should be interesting to anyone I think. As I’ve gotten older my personal longing for justice and what I’ve analyzed about culture and its values seem to fit with what the Bible teaches we were created for: kingdom, love, righteousness, worship, thirst for true knowledge, etc. (Lol, this randomly popped in my head but I watched a talk @swamidass gave and I think he mentioned there wouldn’t be pursuit of science in the afterlife. I definitely disagree. I would like to survey Christians here to see what their opinions are. I digress). But once I began listen to videos of apologists and reading about the historical argument for Jesus and the resurrection, to me the most compelling historical document is from Polycarp. Because we know he was an apostle of John and because his letter contains so many New Testament citations, I just think you have to really believe rumors can do amazing things that we have all these letters and gospels originally spread throughout the Roman world that the church obviously had to be very interested in preserving and passing around. I’ve not seen anyone provide specific evidence for when and how those rumors spread in order to account for the coherence of the New Testament. Paulogia’s argument had a LOT more explaining to do.

I also think the book of Acts is compelling evidence in that way. The book itself doesn’t make a lot of sense if Christianity was based on resurrection rumors only. It makes sense if Jesus really did rise again but we have imperfect people trying to figure out how to be faithful while dealing with their own sin and recording some of early history of the church.

All the historical, archaeological, geographical evidence put together has been very compelling too and strengthens my faith but I don’t have it memorized and I haven’t reread it or listened to others talk about it in a while.

I’ve also read the Quran and listened to people criticize Islam. You can make a devasting case quite quickly against it using Islam’s own sources. You just can’t with Jesus and the New Testament in that same way.

This happened with Mormonism, the branch Davidians, and the Heaven’s gate cult. We have more examples of this than we have of resurrections.

The gospels were in fact written decades later by people who weren’t involved. You have no-one who claimed they themselves witnessed the miracle of the resurrection. No-one.

Such continuous overstating of the supposed ‘evidence’ for the resurrection pushes people away from Xtianity.


I wasn’t specific, but was referring to people who were killed by others (not suicide) and had a chance to recent a specific lie they knew they began.

How are you saying Matthew and John are no one? Or help me understand what you mean by “no one” claimed they themselves witnessed the resurrection.

Watch at 8:50. This prof has read the church fathers in their original languages and said in the first four centuries all references are unanimous that Matthew was the first gospel.

He argues as a manifesto within the first 10 years to show how Jesus fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah. I haven’t read the book to see why he argues that. But I need to put it on my priority list. Anyway, it seems odd that the church would pick an obscure apostle to name the gospel unless he had something to do with it. It does make sense to me that the apostles would pick him to actually write it since he was the most literate/educated.

So now I guess you can accuse me of overstating the evidence :slightly_smiling_face: even though it’s just an argument. I don’t think people believe in Christianity unless they personally see a need for Jesus in their own lives.

Since you have no examples of this happening with the early Christians, I don’t know why you are insisting on that.


The entire reason Paulogia launches into Peter had to hallucinate because of post-traumatic stress and Paul had to because if guilt is to negate this argument about martyrs not willing to recant I just explained. If others’ deaths or involvement in early Christianity are not as well established, then he feels he can make the other apostles rumor followers or figments of imagination. My point was there are a lot more details that make John especially being only a rumor follower problematic. Paulogia obviously knows he has to give some explanation for John since we know he is a historical person since we have evidence of his disciples, like Polycarp.

Not at all. You should watch the video again, because you clearly did not understand it. Or, if that is too much for you, just watch at 6:00.

He does not question the historicity of any of the disciples or apostles, as far as I know. You really are very careless in understanding the views of people who do not accept your beliefs, I must say.