Resurrection and Worldview
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In this new fifth edition James Sire offers additional student-friendly features to his concise, easily understood introductions to theism, deism, naturalism, Marxism, nihilism, existentialism, Eastern monism, New Age philosophy and postmodernism. Included in this expanded format are a new chapter on Islam and informative sidebars throughout.
The book continues to build on Sire's refined definition of worldviews from the fourth edition and includes other updates as well, keeping this standard text fresh and useful. In a world of ever-increasing diversity, The Universe Next Door offers a unique resource for understanding the variety of worldviews that compete with Christianity for the allegiance of minds and hearts.
The Universe Next Door has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been used as a text at over one hundred colleges and universities in courses ranging from apologetics and world religions to history and English literature. Sire's Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept provides a useful companion volume for those desiring a more in-depth discussion of the nature of a worldview.
S79 Keyword Searching To find articles: Use descriptive terms from your thesis statement. Use subject specific databases relevant to your topic. Consider alternative terms that identify your key concepts or the type of information you are seeking. If available, set date restrictions for your results. Eagle Card opens new window. Writing Center opens new window. Copy Center opens new window. Information Technology opens new window. Campus Safety opens new window. Chapel opens new window. Phone: Text: In response, the obvious suggestion is that the disciples must have had some selfish ulterior motives for the promulgation of Christianity.
But we then must explain our second observation: the extreme suffering and persecution endured by the apostles. We have good evidence that Peter was crucified in Rome under the reign of Nero and that the apostle John was exiled to Patmos and died hundreds of miles from his home. Josephus tells us that James, the brother of Jesus and another witness of the Resurrection, was stoned to death. The apostle Paul, who also claimed to have seen the risen Jesus, was imprisoned numerous times, flogged, beaten, and stoned before being executed in Rome around 69 A.
We have less information about the other apostles, but according to early church historians, eleven out of the twelve apostles were put to death for their Christian beliefs. Even if we are not certain whether all the apostles were martyred, there is almost no doubt that they suffered terribly for their faith. Yet there is no record of any of them ever renouncing their belief that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. All of this raises the question: what did the apostles have to gain? Surely, a man might die for what he believes to be true, but would anyone die for what he knows with certainty to be a lie?
I can think of many examples of men and women dying for their beliefs, but cannot think of any examples of people dying for what they know to be false. Of course, the martyrdom of the apostles does not prove that Jesus did rise from the dead, but it seems to indicate that the apostles truly believed that they had seen him risen from the dead. Two pieces of evidence support the conclusion that the tomb in which Jesus was placed was actually empty. In fact, the second point is related to the first.
We have no evidence that the Jewish leaders ever produced a body to counter the claims of the apostles. But why would he refute such a counterargument if the Jewish leaders were instead arguing that there was still a body in the tomb? This passage seems to indicate that the early Christians did have to respond to the accusation that they stole the body, but never had to respond to the charge that the tomb was not empty. Again, many skeptics take the account of the empty tomb seriously enough to construct scenarios which could account for its existence see below.
If one wants to refute the idea of the empty tomb, I think that the most plausible way is to claim that the early Christian movement in Jerusalem was too small to attract attention before it was too late for the authorities to produce a body. To make this explanation plausible, one would have to dismiss the accounts of the rapid growth of the early church presented in Acts. In addition, why would Matthew have included a rebuttal to the claim that the disciples stole the body if no one had ever claimed that the body had been stolen?
And why would someone claim that the body had been stolen unless the tomb was indeed empty? Although I think it is possible to deny the empty tomb, the evidence that we have seems to support its factuality. Therefore, one might envision constructing an alternative scenario based on some kind of hallucination or even a conspiracy by the disciples.
The weight of this piece of evidence is profound. In his second letter to the Corinthians, which is undisputedly regarded as authentic by non-evangelical scholars, Paul records the hardships that his faith has brought him:. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. But in this case, the physical consequences of his conversion are perhaps even less of a factor than the religious consequences.
Paul was a very well-educated, devout Jew of the party of the Pharisees, one of the most strict and pious of the Jewish sects see Phil. In contrast, Peter, John, and the other disciples were mostly uneducated fishermen who had been intimately associated with Jesus throughout his ministry. However, Paul underwent a complete transformation of his worldview in a matter of days. He went from regarding Jesus as a false prophet who would lead his followers into perdition, to believing that he was the unique Son of God who alone offered salvation to all mankind.
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I have not read of anyone who denies that for this radical shift to occur, some event of tremendous psychological magnitude must have taken place. Again, such an explanation affirms that Paul truly believed he had seen the risen Jesus and therefore accounts for his subsequent sincerity. Not being a trained psychologist, I cannot say whether this explanation is technically plausible, but as a layman it does strike me as unlikely. To refute their claims, Paul points out that bodily resurrection must be possible since Jesus rose from the dead.
He then makes the following statement:. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
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In addition to affirming the Resurrection appearances of Jesus that are recorded in the gospels, Paul states that Christians saw the resurrected Jesus at the same time. It is important to note that Paul adds that most of these witnesses are still living, the implication being that the Corinthians could potentially go and question them. If we want to rebut this point, there are two possibilities. If these other people really believed that they had seen Jesus, then what evidence do we have that this final item was fabricated?
Also, travel was relatively easy between Corinth and Jerusalem during the Pax Romana. Would Paul risk making a blatantly false public statement that could be easily verified? Alternatively, we could claim —as many skeptics do- that there was indeed an appearance to five hundred eyewitnesses, but that this appearance was some kind of mass hallucination so that the witnesses were sincere, but deceived. Lastly, I think it is very important to consider what alternative, naturalistic explanations have been put forward to explain the Resurrection.
As I mentioned before, many skeptics assume that there must be some plausible, naturalistic explanation for the Resurrection without ever considering the evidence.
Therefore, as Jeff Lowder mentioned in his essay, the implausibility of alternative claims can come as quite a surprise. The following is a list of the major competing naturalistic explanations for the Resurrection:.