Practice English Speaking&Listening with: #4: Opstandelsen

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Hi! I am Per Holbo - Welcome to The Corner Kick

Lately on The Corner Kick we've been through several series about Christianity

The purpose of these series is to build an accumulative argument that Christianity is true

We've asked some important questions about truth, the existence of God and miracles

We've been looking at the gospel accounts status as eye witness statements

And now we've reached the essence of it all

We've arrived at the only question that really matters:

A question that calls for an answer

A question that can only be answered with either a "yes" or a "no."

And this "yes" or "no" is definitively determining weither Christianity is true or not

To be blunt: a "yes" to this question can only lead

to the conclusion that Christian faith is true

And a "no" to this question is a definite rejection

A "no" simply means that Christianity can NOT be true

A "no" means that Christianity is not worth the

paper that The New Testament is written on

Now, what is this question that can be so determining?

Well, it is simply this: Did Jesus raise from the dead?

If you've been watching all the previous videos in these series

It should be very clear to you that there are quite strong arguments for three foundational claims:

First that truth must be objective

and can therefore to some extent be known through observation and logic

Secondly that the most obvious explanation for the existence of anything at all

is the existence of a creating God

And thirdly that the existence of a creating God not only

makes miracles possible, but even very likely to occur

With these three basic claims firmly established:

That is: Obejctive Truth, A creating God and Miracles being plausible

Our examination of the ressurection of Jesus can be done from an actual objective basis

Because now we cannot ignore the ressurrection as an explanation

based on the assumption that the dead could never come alive

instead we can now consider the ressurrection as a possible explanation

There are 5 historical facts about the ressurrection of Jesus

Facts that are important when we consider if Jesus really did rise from the dead

1: Jesus was crucified by the Romans under the rule of Pontius Pilate

2: Jesus was buried in a tomb placed in a public location

3: Afterwards the tomb was empty

4: The Apostles were convinced of the ressurrection of Jesus to

such an extent that they were willing to die for their conviction

And 5: Saul of Tarsus was an aggressive persecutor of Christians, but was suddenly converted

to Christianity because he believed that he had seen the ressurrected Christ Jesus in a vision

Now, you should notice that these 5 facts are agreed upon

by some of the most critical scholars of The New Testament

These facts are not specifically Christian in nature

But are on the contrary facts well established in the academic world

These are historical facts to the extent that any

historical review can place anything as a historical fact

Take for example Bart Ehrmann, who is a scholar with an extremely negative view of The New Testament

Bart Ehrman is a part of "The Jesus Seminar," a group of scholars

with the clear goal to disprooving the reliability of the Gospel

And Bart Ehrman says this:

"It is a historical fact that some of Jesus followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead

soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name;

one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death.

Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus,

not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection."

In another quote he states this:

"It is undisputable that some of the followers of Jesus came to think that he had been raised from the dead,

and that something had to have happened to make them think so.

Our earliest records are consistent on this point, and I think they provide us

with the historically reliable information in one key aspect:

the disciples belief in the resurrection was based on visionary experiences."

In fact only one of the previous mentioned claims are not agreed upon by "The Jesus Seminar"

although it is agreed upon by the vast majority of scholars

And that is the empty tomb

Therefore I'll bring two arguments for the empty tomb

The first argument is that the gospel accounts have all

been written no later than 65 years after the crucifiction

in addition to this all letters by Paul were written no later than 35 years after the crucifiction

This means that all of this has been written while most of the people who could verify

or object to this story are still alive to do so

And remember that this applies for both adherents and opponents of the Christians

Not a single source that we know of exists that claims the tomb was NOT empty

or that Jesus was not buried in a tomb

On the contrary we have plentiful sources confirming the tombing

and confirming that the tomb was afterwards empty

Secondly it is rather peculiar that the gospel accounts all

claim that the first to witness the empty tomb were women

In those days in that culture, the testimony of a woman was per definition deemed untrustworthy

Woman weren't even allowed to testify in the justice system

According to the Rabbinic tradition there's even a prayer

where you thank God for not creating you as a woman

But never the less the first to witness the empty tomb are women

If someone were to invent the tale of the empty tomb

it would be a rather strange idea to place women as the first witnesses

that would be something to avoid

and yet this is the very claim of the gospels

That fact strengthens the truthfulness of the story

Now that we have established these 5 facts as very probable

we can use them as a base for examining wiether Jesus really rose from the dead

The Apostles claim the ressurrection

Bart Ehrmans claimis that the apostles had some kind of visual experience,

but he doesn't get any closer than that

So let's take a closer look at why Bart Ehrman and others with him come to the conlusion that

the apostles must have hadsome kind of visual experience

First of all Jesus was crucified by the Romans under the rule of Pontius Pilate

What we generally know about the Romans and about how they executed by crucifiction

tell us that Jesus most certainly died as a result

Through history the so-called "swoon theory" has been proposed

This theory was probably set forth for the first time by a german by the name of

Karl Friedrich Bahrdt in 1780

and in other versions by frenchman Karl Venturini around the 1800's

German Heinrich Paulus from 1802 forward

and german Friedrich Schleiermacher in the 1830s

There are several different versions of the theory, but they all circle around the idea

that Jesus was only apparently dead or in a coma

and that the Essenes, a secret order of jews

scared away the Roman guards and rescued Jesus from the grave

There are several problemswith the woon Theory

First of all the Roman soldiers were well trained in execution

they knew exactly what they were doing

Secondly if the soldiers did not perform their duties properly

they themselves would take the place of the person they were meant to execute

That would be a quite strong incitement to make sure the prisoner actually IS dead

Thirdly the gospelaccording to Matthew says that the soldiers punched Jesus in His side with a spear

which resultet in water and blood coming out of the womb

Back then they didn't know what this meant

And we know for sure they didn't know, because the church fathers attempted all sorts of explanations for this detail being in the gospel

They even attempted to exlain it by suggesting it had asymbolic meaning

That the water and the blood symbolised babtism and communion

So we know they weren't aware of the implications of this

Today we know that if blood and waterflows out of a wound in the side

It's a clear sign that Jesus was in fact dead

And not only do we know that Jesus was dead

We also know the cause of His death

When someone dies by strangulation the inner and outer mebranes of the lung will part

which makes blood and water slide down in between them

and end in a bulk in the side

Fourthly Jesus was put in a cold and moisty tomb,

which certainly wouldn't improve is chance of survival

if He was indeed in a coma

In front of the grave there was a stone weighing about a ton

and a group of soldiers placed to prevent anyone from stealing the body

It really is a very peculiar and highly unlikely theory

Another row of theories circle around the disciples, the Romans

or the Jewish authorities having stolen His body

And there's no doubt that all three of these groups would have good reasons to do so

The Romans and the Jews because they would have reaosns to fear the disciples stealing his body

so that they could afterwards claim the ressurection

And obviously the disciples because then they could claim the ressurection

But if either the Romans or the Jews had indeed removed the body it would be rather obvious

for them to arrange a procession showing the body as soon as the disciples began preaching

the risen Jesus

This would have been a very easy and most effective means

to thwart the Jesus movement at its birth

"They say he has risen? - well, look. Here he is!"

So that's not very likely either...

What then about the disciples?

Well, let's imagine the situation that would have been the background for such a conspiracy:

Jesus has just died on the cross. The disciples are talking about it all...

They are scared silly...

Outside they can hear the Roman soldiers tromping around...

They are afraid of what the Jewish counsil might be up to

Because when Jesus, the leader of their movement, has just died...

They know who is likely to be targeted for whatever comes next

And this is when one of the disciples proposes an idea:

"Hey! I know! What about... we steal the body of Jesus..."

"And then we just claim that he has risen from the dead..."

The disciples discuss the idea and after a while they reach a conclusion:

If they do this, their families would still disown them

They would life as poor and persecuted people

They would still be under pressure from the Jewish Counsil

And they would be in constant risk of being whipped or in other ways punished

And finally they would be in constant fear of stoning or other forms of lynching by mobs

In short, they would have a crappy life...

all built on a lie, they themselves have come up with

This talk would then end up in them all coming to an agreement:

"Great idea! What a fantastic crappy life to live! Let's do this!"


Even if someone could have managed to arrange this kind of elaborate conspiracy plan

to make it look like Jesus had risen from the dead

it would have called for a collaboration of so many people that sooner rather than later

someone would have broken ranks and revealed the entire conspiracy

To give a more modern comparison think about the Watergate scandal

Here there were about twelve very powerful men involved in a conspiracy

to cover up the truth of what had really happened

but at the moment everything went public the entire house of cards crumbled

These powerful men practically qued up to reveal the truth

in an attempt to minimise the consequences for themselves

To compare this with the apostles, we know they were so convinced about the ressurrection

that they were willing to pay for that conviction with their lives

This means that at least we cannot claim that the apostles were part of some crazy


You can lie about something if the lie gives you some sort of advantage, but...

who would keep telling something they know is a lie if the price of such a lie is death?

and neither would you keep lying if the lie does not give you an advantage

but rather is quite disadvantageous

which we know is the case with the apostles

Another line of theories is that of mass hallucinations or

what is called cognitive dissonance

These two theories say somewhat the same:

That the disciples had somekind of visual experiences

based on the massive grief they must have been in after His death

But here too there are huge problems

First of all mass hallucination is an idea within psyciatry

that has been utterly rejected by the experts

Mass hallucinations simply are impossible

And there has never been any documentation of it

The reason is that hallucinations of any kind happens inside your head

This means that even if a group people run each other up

They never see the same things

They see things that build on top of other people claim to have seen

but they never see the same things

The fact that hallucinations is something happening inside your head also means that

the person hallucinating can see and hear and sometimes even smell the hallucination

but they are never able to touchtheir hallucinations

When it comes to cognitive dissonans, which are not to be understood as the same as hallucinations

but rather as imagining something that you tell yourself is real

some of the same things apply

You can't touch what you think you have seen

And you never imagine what others imagine

but rather build on top of what other people have talked about

In addition cognitive dissonance is very fragile

in explanatory power for the one experiencing it

If even one or two of your friends question the validity of what you think you have seen

You are prone to reject it instantly

This is very well known among veterans returning from a war zone with PTSD

Both with mass hallucinations and cognitive dissonance it applies that

the more situations where someone believes to have seen something

and the more locations involved in these sightings

the less likely these explain the truth

Regarding the ressurrection of Jesus we have many different experiences

in many different locations and experienced by many different people

We even have testimonies from locations so far apart that the people experiencing them

would have no chance of being able to talk to each other about it between these experiences

And finally we have Saul of Tarsus

who imparts a serious death blow to all of these theories

Saul was an aggressive persecutor of the Christians

but then he became a Christian himself because he believed to have seen the risen Jesus

Now this really calls for a rather special explanation

These theories are quite weak with regard to the experiences of the disciples

but when it comes to Saul of Tarsus these

theories are hopelessly ineffective in their explanatory power

He had absolutely no interest whatsoever in giving up his pursuit for power

in the jewish society

He had it all:

The acknowledgement of the counsil

temple soldiers and enough money to live a life in luxury

why in the world should he have a burning wish to have a vision of the risen Jesus?

None of these theories hold for further inspection

and especially Saul of Tarsus is a determining factor that forces even Bart Ehrman

to conclude that the apostles must have seen something...

It could not just have been hallucinations or cognitive dissonance or a conspiracy

They did see something that changed their lives

The claim of the apostles is that they have seen the risen Christ

The claim of Bart Ehrman and likewise sceptics is that they have seen something

They have no suggestions as to what it could have been, but still they seem to hold on to

a claim that it certainly could NOT have been a ressurrection...

And the argument for it not being ressurrection?

Well... just that miracles are impossible...

This brings us back to the fact that everything is based on a presupposition:

Does God exist?

If not... miracles are impossible...

But if He does exist... miracles are not only possible...

they are even likely to occur

and if miracles ARE possible

Then the ressurrection is by far the most likely explanation of

what happened after the death of Jesus

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The Description of #4: Opstandelsen