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Suppose, for one moment...

Cyrillic

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...that you're a reasonably-well off and educated Athenian, since you've listened to a few philosophers and sophists in your youth. You live in Athens around 50AD, earning your living by selling gaudy replicas of Greek statues to philistine Romans selling cheese on the Areopagus. Suddenly you hear a lot of commotion, and you walk up the hill to see what's happening. Apparently a stranger with a Cilician (or is it Syrian?) accent started adressing the now quickly gathering crowd, and he talks about a new religion of his, how you have worshipped his God without knowing it and how his God has recently raised someone from the dead.

Well now, how would you react?

This though-experiment has been on my mind for a while.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I'd probably rile up my fellow gaudy idol merchants and start a riot.
Nah, they aren't idols but statues of athletes meant to be looked at.

You can substitute seller of statues to a cheese merchant if you want.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
You can substitute seller of statues to a cheese merchant if you want.
I would never sell cheese.
Because you'd eat it before you would be able to sell it or because you just don't like cheese?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Cyrillic said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
You can substitute seller of statues to a cheese merchant if you want.
I would never sell cheese.
Because you'd eat it before you would be able to sell it or because you just don't like cheese?
I don't care for most cheeses.  I'm more into Jesus. 
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
You can substitute seller of statues to a cheese merchant if you want.
I would never sell cheese.
Because you'd eat it before you would be able to sell it or because you just don't like cheese?
I don't care for most cheeses.  I'm more into Jesus.
Even as an Athenian cheese-seller in 50AD who has just heard St. Paul's sermon?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Cyrillic said:
Well now, how would you react?

This though-experiment has been on my mind for a while.
To be more serious, I have thought about something similar every now and then in the sense that I've marveled at how Christianity was able to spread so far and so fast in so many diverse contexts. 

I can't imagine another religion appealing to me and would like to believe that it is because I really believe in and trust Christianity, but is that it?  Or is Christianity just my religion, another part of my humdrum life which isn't worth dumping because no alternative really seems worth the bother?  And if it is more of the latter, what was that first encounter with Christianity like that made them feel differently?  And how come I haven't felt that strongly enough about it?  And so on.
 

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Cyrillic said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
You can substitute seller of statues to a cheese merchant if you want.
I would never sell cheese.
Because you'd eat it before you would be able to sell it or because you just don't like cheese?
I don't care for most cheeses.  I'm more into Jesus.
Even as an Athenian cheese-seller in 50AD who has just heard St. Paul's sermon?
What did St Paul say about cheese that made me want to eat it?
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Cyrillic said:
Well now, how would you react?

This though-experiment has been on my mind for a while.
To be more serious, I have thought about something similar every now and then in the sense that I've marveled at how Christianity was able to spread so far and so fast in so many diverse contexts. 

I can't imagine another religion appealing to me and would like to believe that it is because I really believe in and trust Christianity, but is that it?  Or is Christianity just my religion, another part of my humdrum life which isn't worth dumping because no alternative really seems worth the bother?  And if it is more of the latter, what was that first encounter with Christianity like that made them feel differently?  And how come I haven't felt that strongly enough about it?  And so on.
This.

Besides, we have twenty centuries of precedents to look back upon: there were many Christian emperors, saints, martyrs, jurists, artists, philosophers etc. Christianity is one of the very foundations of our world, or at least our western world. To a certain degree being a Christian in the modern world isn't that strange or looked down upon. But what was Christianity to, for example, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, but a new, tiny foreign religion preached by a fellow with a weird accent, whose acceptence would entail a radical shift in your way of life and would possibly alienate you from society? What would we have done in his place? Can we ever truly know?
 

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I'd celebrate at the chance to add a new god into my Pantheon, or wonder why he was talking about Jupiter is such a fashion.
 

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Cyrillic said:
...that you're a reasonably well off and educated Athenian, since you've listened to a few philosophers and sophists in your youth. You live in Athens around 50 AD, earning your living by selling gaudy replicas of Greek statues to philistine Romans selling cheese on the Areopagus. Suddenly you hear a lot of commotion, and you walk up the hill to see what's happening. Apparently a stranger with a Cilician (or is it Syrian?) accent started addressing the now quickly gathering crowd, and he talks about a new religion of his, how you have worshipped his God without knowing it and how his God has recently raised someone from the dead.

Well now, how would you react?

This thought experiment has been on my mind for a while.
I would grab a writing quill and some parchment and write the book of Acts. 8)
 

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Cyrillic said:
...that you're a reasonably-well off and educated Athenian, since you've listened to a few philosophers and sophists in your youth. You live in Athens around 50AD, earning your living by selling gaudy replicas of Greek statues to philistine Romans selling cheese on the Areopagus. Suddenly you hear a lot of commotion, and you walk up the hill to see what's happening. Apparently a stranger with a Cilician (or is it Syrian?) accent started adressing the now quickly gathering crowd, and he talks about a new religion of his, how you have worshipped his God without knowing it and how his God has recently raised someone from the dead.

Well now, how would you react?

This though-experiment has been on my mind for a while.
I think about those kinds of hypotheticals too. The part in bold is easy to agree with. Even nowadays there are alot of people who syncretize religions and say that we just believe in the same God, and even Hindus do. I would guess that the raising from the dead could be a case of resuscitation of a person mistaken for dead.

In the gospel story however it talks about the revived Christ appearing and vanishing regardless of walls, and it talks about the Ascension. So the gospel Paul was talking about was not really just resuscitation. I would have taken Paul's vision of Jesus to be a religious hallucination like some people might have today in other religions.

Still, the pagan religions are much more obviously myths, and for someone who was interested in different religions, like many people are today, Paul's ideas would have been interesting, especially when he included different, impressive proofs like I discussed in my thread on Proofs about Christianity, which I would invite you to:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,64444.0.html

The huge advantage of living in 50 AD is that you could go and interview people for yourself. The main thing you would want to find out is whether he appeared to the apostles in physical form like the gospel says or if it was just a vision. However, you would have to be skilled in understanding people's testimony and sensing honesty.

In those years, we might get a better answer about contradictions that we notice today between accounts like whether there was a shining angel at the tomb or a young man in a white robe. Those contradictions might be explained by memory loss over decades.
Or we could find out about issues like this one in Matthew 28:
15 Then Jesus said to them [the women], “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.
17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
If He was standing physically right in front of them so they could hear Him, what would they have doubts about? And why does Matthew's gospel end by leaving some disciples present at the appearance doubting?
I suppose the answer could be that at that moment He might not have been showing His physicality and so some people doubted. The answer could add that later He showed Himself physically, but that Matthew doesn't happen to mention the later appearance.

So if you lived in 50 AD, you could go and find out why Matthew ended his gospel with alleged apostolic witnesses doubting whether they really saw Him. Matthew probably had not written his gospel yet, but this would be the kind of information you would get if you investigated firsthand. You might find out that some Christians claimed to have seen an apparition and others didn't, like we find with the alleged Marian apparitions today. Perhaps they would disagree over whether Jesus showed himself physically at all after the resurrection. Or they would say He was clearly as a person who barely survived Crucifixion, and then He left for a few days, after which people only saw Him as a vision. Or they would confirm the short gospel accounts, but in much more detail.
 

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Wouldn't it depend on the personality and the circumstances you are placed in?  If you are a celibate philosopher who knows Plato and Aristotle front and back, you might scoff with pride at the foolishness of these pseudo-Jews.  If you are a simple cheese-seller making a living for his family, who might have had a brother who was killed in the Colosseum, you might be open to the message of this strange man after being distraught with the religion of the land.  You could be a soldier who worships the emperor and Rome, and hearing the gospel of a King who would come to judge the world would rile me up to arrest you, beat you, and kill you.  If I am a priest of the temple of Zeus, I would get very irate at the insult this man gave to my god, thinking how arrogant of him to make people believe there is only one god, and would lay a curse on him.  I could be a man in that same temple, who sees how this priest steals from the poor to make himself live, and be admired by the justice and love the Christian preaches.  I could be a woman who despises being used as a tool, and admired by the choice of celibacy the Christian makes.  I could be a slave who is inspired by how the Christian says I am of equal status to the master, and just as much a son of God as he is.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I don't care for most cheeses.  I'm more into Jesus.
Don't worry, this one was not lost on yours truly. ;)
 

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The huge advantage of living in 50 AD is that you could go and interview people for yourself. The main thing you would want to find out is whether he appeared to the apostles in physical form like the gospel says or if it was just a vision. However, you would have to be skilled in understanding people's testimony and sensing honesty.
How many people outside of Judea would have had the financial means and opportunity to do that kind of travelling, though?
 

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"great, another crazy man" seriously
 

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Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
 

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JamesR said:
Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
Then why do you believe now? Have you had any visions of Jesus lately?
 

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I feel that if I were such an Athenian, I would be a devout enough believer in my own national gods but, simultaneously, accepting of any new deity that popped up. As such, I might listen to the Cilician preach, consider what he has to say, but then leave without retaining all that much, treating the whole situation as little more than a curious diversion. I've got my gods, let him have his own.

However, should he start bad-mouthing my own pantheon or begin to preach some sort of monotheism, I might get a little miffed. I suspect that in this world, I'd be more inclined towards moments of fanaticism and any atheism would hardly be tolerated. After all, what good does this stranger see in fewer gods?

Gods forbid his faith threatens the Empire.
 

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minasoliman said:
Wouldn't it depend on the personality and the circumstances you are placed in?  If you are a celibate philosopher who knows Plato and Aristotle front and back, you might scoff with pride at the foolishness of these pseudo-Jews.  If you are a simple cheese-seller making a living for his family, who might have had a brother who was killed in the Colosseum, you might be open to the message of this strange man after being distraught with the religion of the land.  You could be a soldier who worships the emperor and Rome, and hearing the gospel of a King who would come to judge the world would rile me up to arrest you, beat you, and kill you.  If I am a priest of the temple of Zeus, I would get very irate at the insult this man gave to my god, thinking how arrogant of him to make people believe there is only one god, and would lay a curse on him.  I could be a man in that same temple, who sees how this priest steals from the poor to make himself live, and be admired by the justice and love the Christian preaches.  I could be a woman who despises being used as a tool, and admired by the choice of celibacy the Christian makes.  I could be a slave who is inspired by how the Christian says I am of equal status to the master, and just as much a son of God as he is.
This reminds me of Rodney Stark's thesis that Christianity spread primarily because of its appeal to women. The difference is that he found the main attraction among upper and middle class women, rather than the poor. In particular, his thesis was that you could get the exponential growth of the Church in her first 200 years simply by social networking, rather than requiring mass conversion.

What's interesting, however, about your ideas or Stark's is that they rely on rational cause and effect, rather than miracles, to explain the spread of the faith. If I had to locate the point where the spread of the faith really seemed to demand a miracle for explanation, it would be at the beginning, right after the Resurrection, when the faith was "actuated". It just seems to me highly improbable that Christ's disciples would have gone around proclaiming the risen Christ, in the face of a hostile religious and secular establishment, if they had not in fact witnessed Him. Once that got going, history takes its course. I suppose it's analogous to how I see Creation: started by a miracle, nature from then on.
 

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I suppose this means that, if I were a philosophical cheesemaker (or any manufacturer of dairy products), I would most likely have been unimpressed by yet another itinerant preaching some weird Eastern cult. If my wife, on the other hand, told me about these nice Christians she got to know at her toga-knitting group, I could be interested.
 

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Cyrillic said:
...that you're a reasonably-well off and educated Athenian, since you've listened to a few philosophers and sophists in your youth. You live in Athens around 50AD, earning your living by selling gaudy replicas of Greek statues to philistine Romans selling cheese on the Areopagus. Suddenly you hear a lot of commotion, and you walk up the hill to see what's happening. Apparently a stranger with a Cilician (or is it Syrian?) accent started adressing the now quickly gathering crowd, and he talks about a new religion of his, how you have worshipped his God without knowing it and how his God has recently raised someone from the dead.

Well now, how would you react?

This though-experiment has been on my mind for a while.
I would be praying to God for guidance. If needed, fasting. Keep praying until i got signs that convinced me, would ask for more info, and since google wasn't existed yet, i would stalk st. Paul and another apostles
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
If I had to locate the point where the spread of the faith really seemed to demand a miracle for explanation, it would be at the beginning, right after the Resurrection, when the faith was "actuated". It just seems to me highly improbable that Christ's disciples would have gone around proclaiming the risen Christ, in the face of a hostile religious and secular establishment, if they had not in fact witnessed Him.
That's a good proof. But the other issue is that other persecuted sects like the Mormons, Asian gurus, and early gnostic Christians have claimed miracles that I think they invented themselves. Islam began as a persecuted sect and claims miracles happened (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_of_Muhammad), although I find normal Christianity far preferable to any of those sects.
 

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I would probably have persecuted him or scoffed at him.  It does make me wonder about the honesty of my belief.  A friend urged me to look at other religions once because if I hadn't it was likely crap to begin with, and if I came back to my faith it would be stronger.  (She was a pagan of some/many varieties, BTW.)  I read a bit about Norse paganism and Islam.  But I didn't put any real effort into it.  I would probably have done the same with St. Paul.  Maybe listen to what he had to say, then go back to worshiping Ares/Zeus/Demeter/Whichever god would most likely answer my prayer at the time... 

This is a good thought-experiment.  It is probably worth thinking about Christ if you have been Christian all your life and try to figure out how to make your faith more sincere. 

Lord I believe, help my unbelief!
 

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One thing to remember is that Christianity was not the only new religion going around and winning converts. I think what made it unique was that Christians, unlike devotees of Isis or Mithra, refused to pay any respects to official Roman idols or gods. I think for some personalities that would be off-putting, but there were probably many, most likely the ones who were disadvantaged by the current system, to see that as an asset.

This conversation interests me also in the way that it mirrors our current predicament, where Christianity is seen as the religion of stick-in-the-mud reactionaries. Back then, the reactionaries were the pagans and the Jews, while the radicals were the Christians. At the same time, Christianity doesn't strike me as having been politically revolutionary, at least not in its Orthodox form. St Paul told his readers to honor the Emperor and all that.
 

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JamesR said:
Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
Really?  You would be a Dawkin's original in the first century?  How do you know you just don't join the most popular belief among the most educated Greeks: Platonism.  You'd probably disregard the Resurrection not because of proof, but because you think the flesh is a cage to be liberated from.

That's essentially what you are.  You proudly imply how stupid others are who don't think like you. So you must be a Platonist who think those Christians are nothing but fools, who lack the wisdom of Socrates and the rest of the philosophers.
 

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  • JamesR said:
    Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
    This is one of the disproofs of Christianity on the "God is Imaginary" website, and the disproof sounds reasonable. (By the way, I deny that God is imaginary.)

    Two Bible passages talk about Jesus' ongoing appearances to believers.
    Paul writes about it in Hebrews 9:28:
    So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear the second time, not to bear sin, but to bring full salvation.

    John 14:21-24 says similarly:
    He who has my commands, and obeys them, it is he who loves me; and he who loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will show myself to him.
    Then Judas, not Iscariot, said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will show yourself to us, and not to the world?"
    And Jesus answered and said to him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.


    The "God is Imaginary" website sees this as a problem:
    When we look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 [about Jesus' post resurrection appearances], there is a question that comes to mind -- why did Jesus stop making these appearances? Why isn't Jesus appearing today? It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefited from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions. So... Why doesn't Jesus appear to everyone and prove that he is resurrected, just like he appeared to Paul? There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you. And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. If Paul needed a personal visit from Jesus to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why wouldn't you?

    Jesus promises that he will appear to you. All that we have to do is pray to Jesus like this: "Dear Jesus, please appear to us, as you did to Paul and the 500 brethren, so that we can see the evidence of your resurrection. In your name we pray, amen." [Matthew 18:19 says] Jesus is actually in our midst. So he is right here already, supposedly. Yet when we pray to him to physically materialize, as he did to hundreds of others, nothing happens.

    http://www.godisimaginary.com/i50.htm
      Here are the facts:
    Jesus has promised to answer our prayers [eg. Matthew 7:7)
    It would be trivial for Jesus to appear since he is all-powerful and timeless.
    We know it is OK for Jesus to appear to people because, according to the Bible, Jesus has appeared to hundreds...
    The only way for Jesus to prove that he is resurrected is to appear to people. Therefore, each person needs an appearance by Jesus to know that he is real.
Therefore, since Jesus does not appear, we know that he is imaginary.
http://www.godisimaginary.com/excuses.htm

I know of at least three rebuttals to this disproof,
but I am not sure that they are satisfactory.

First,
people sometimes do have visions of Jesus when they ask for Him to appear. One example is the video: "Barbara Yoder a former atheist ask to see Jesus and receives a supernatural encounter" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqGV8tsBBsY
However, although she says at one point that Jesus walked into the room, it sounds like she might be using a metaphor to describe her emotions.

Second,
when Paul and John talk about Jesus' appearance, it seems that they might be talking about Jesus appearing in people's hearts, rather than seeing a mental image of Jesus' form, since Jesus describes this spiritual entrance by God by saying: "we will come to him, and make our home with him". But if that's what they mean, then the term "appearance" sounds misleading.

Third,
one rationale is that if Jesus were to appear to people it wouldn't make a difference, because the Christians already believe, while non-Christians would dismiss the vision as a hallucination. (This rationale is given here: http://gii.josiahconcept.org/proof-50) However I disagree, because some people like Paul were changed because of such an appearance.

So I am not sure what the answer is to this.
 

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The Hebrews reference must be to the Parousia/general resurrection since this is where "full salvation" occurs.

The Gospel references are likely spiritual since Jesus said to Thomas "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” From this we can reasonably surmise that Jesus does not intend to physically appear to every single believer in their lifetime.

Regarding the appearance to the 500, Matthew specifically says that some doubted. So at least some of the NT writers were aware that a physical appearance does not automatically cause belief.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Wouldn't it depend on the personality and the circumstances you are placed in?  If you are a celibate philosopher who knows Plato and Aristotle front and back, you might scoff with pride at the foolishness of these pseudo-Jews.  If you are a simple cheese-seller making a living for his family, who might have had a brother who was killed in the Colosseum, you might be open to the message of this strange man after being distraught with the religion of the land.  You could be a soldier who worships the emperor and Rome, and hearing the gospel of a King who would come to judge the world would rile me up to arrest you, beat you, and kill you.  If I am a priest of the temple of Zeus, I would get very irate at the insult this man gave to my god, thinking how arrogant of him to make people believe there is only one god, and would lay a curse on him.  I could be a man in that same temple, who sees how this priest steals from the poor to make himself live, and be admired by the justice and love the Christian preaches.  I could be a woman who despises being used as a tool, and admired by the choice of celibacy the Christian makes.  I could be a slave who is inspired by how the Christian says I am of equal status to the master, and just as much a son of God as he is.
This reminds me of Rodney Stark's thesis that Christianity spread primarily because of its appeal to women. The difference is that he found the main attraction among upper and middle class women, rather than the poor. In particular, his thesis was that you could get the exponential growth of the Church in her first 200 years simply by social networking, rather than requiring mass conversion.

What's interesting, however, about your ideas or Stark's is that they rely on rational cause and effect, rather than miracles, to explain the spread of the faith. If I had to locate the point where the spread of the faith really seemed to demand a miracle for explanation, it would be at the beginning, right after the Resurrection, when the faith was "actuated". It just seems to me highly improbable that Christ's disciples would have gone around proclaiming the risen Christ, in the face of a hostile religious and secular establishment, if they had not in fact witnessed Him. Once that got going, history takes its course. I suppose it's analogous to how I see Creation: started by a miracle, nature from then on.
Well, the problem is clear.  It becomes very difficult to see the miracle behind "cause and effect".  Do we not say God has a plan for all of us, that He is in control? That is not to say our freedom is lost.  We are not puppets of God, but God works with is nonetheless.  That is the miracle.  Not merely just showing off and attracting people away from their free will into His grace, but actually engaging in the will.  When a man calls on his posse to stone the Christian to death, and the Christian accepts his fate and openly forgives the men right before his death (rather than the cursing, anger, or cries he usually hears), that must have had such an impact on the ringleader, so much so that the way to Damascus hit him like a ton of bricks and blinded him.

I heard a story of one of our bishops who would go to a certain area in Africa and seemed to have trespassed in a tribal part.  At the point of death, he fearlessly proclaimed, "God sent you, and for this reason either He sent you to kill me that I may go to heaven, or He sent you to hear from me.  I am ready to accept from God, not you, what He has in plan for me." The man being amazed put his spear down and listened.  You could say the boldness of the bishop kept him alive to spread the gospel, or you could also say God too was involved and miraculously turned a threatening situation into the point of salvation.

It's all perspective.  Some people are searching for magic and call that "miracle".  But I don't think that's what miracle in the Church truly means.  Christ does not want people to forcefully beliebve in Him.  He is content with leaving people to their freedom and allow the Church to prove His resurrection by their actions and sacrifices for themselves and others.  For those who are blind, they search for a body, when they do not realize that the Church is the living resurrected body of Christ.  If Christ was around in and of Himself to satisfy the desires of the blind in heart, there is no need for the Holy Spirit, and no need for a Church, and there is really no need for free will in humanity.  You need to see actions, energia, not mere scientific analysis of proof.  That is where the miracle lies.
 

JamesR

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Volnutt said:
JamesR said:
Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
Then why do you believe now? Have you had any visions of Jesus lately?
Pascal's Wager I suppose, but given that I am finally starting to realize just how much fun the world can offer me, the thought of a secular but fun life sounds better than a boring religious life that doesn't turn out to be true.
 

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minasoliman said:
How do you know you just don't join the most popular belief among the most educated Greeks: Platonism.  You'd probably disregard the Resurrection not because of proof, but because you think the flesh is a cage to be liberated from.
Heck, who knows? I certainly might have. There is no way to know for sure. Everyone is a product of their times much more than they'd like to think, even me. But as a whole, this same concept also tends to make religion less credible since it becomes easier to dismiss it as just the product of an era.

That's essentially what you are.  You proudly imply how stupid others are who don't think like you. So you must be a Platonist who think those Christians are nothing but fools, who lack the wisdom of Socrates and the rest of the philosophers.
On the contrary, I hate Platonism--at least from the way you describe it--and probably would still hate it even more than I do some of the difficult concepts of Christianity. That whole stupid supernatural-is-the-most real garbage is what bothers me the most since I don't grasp how people can give so much credence and primacy to something that cannot be perceived by the five senses let alone proven to be true. I'd actually see the body as the ultimate reality as well as the material world. So yes, I probably would deny Christianity. But it'd be not because of its emphasis on the physical body but because of its spirituality immaterial mumbo jumbo that would still be too Platonic mystical for me. Give me Hume over Plato any day.
 

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JamesR said:
Volnutt said:
JamesR said:
Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
Then why do you believe now? Have you had any visions of Jesus lately?
Pascal's Wager I suppose, but given that I am finally starting to realize just how much fun the world can offer me, the thought of a secular but fun life sounds better than a boring religious life that doesn't turn out to be true.
You'll burn out on that. Look at orthonorm. He was a veritable master of debauchery all his life and where has it gotten him?

I'd rather be wrong about God than have no creed but my own pleasure.
 

JamesR

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Volnutt said:
JamesR said:
Volnutt said:
JamesR said:
Ask to see the risen Christ. No body no belief. If his claims can't be substantiated by the risen Christ, then I'd dismiss his God into the large pile of others I wouldn't believe in or would disregard.
Then why do you believe now? Have you had any visions of Jesus lately?
Pascal's Wager I suppose, but given that I am finally starting to realize just how much fun the world can offer me, the thought of a secular but fun life sounds better than a boring religious life that doesn't turn out to be true.
You'll burn out on that. Look at orthonorm. He was a veritable master of debauchery all his life and where has it gotten him?

I'd rather be wrong about God than have no creed but my own pleasure.
To each his own. Either way it doesn't really matter since we'll have no way to know that we were wrong if death really is the end of everything. But I know that if the only options are a life of the bridle known as religion for nothing, and a life of pleasure for nothing, I'd choose the latter in a New York second. But to avoid the risk of derailing yet another topic when Mina already seems a bit irritated at me on this thread, I'm pulling out of here.
 

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For me JamesR its a matter of living an Orthodox life with such zeal, passion, conviction that anything else isn't worth it.

Yeah everybody mocks those in earnest here and scold those as beautiful as Alxandra's faith as utter foolishness that deserves derision. She's "right" most of the time and I find her posts to be striking when I don't want them to be.

So you have to make a decision what kind of life do you want to live? I think living life as a Christian is far more fulfilling than other alternatives. I'm not at all interested in myself, that's something I'm working on to overcome (not of my own accord). For you maybe you find meaning outside the Church and that's OK too.

If your heart isn't in the Church then why bother?
 
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