Reply to "Help me answer some questions in relation to Christianity"

Thank you all for your email replies. I am working my way through them as I write. I have been asked to clarify some detail so here goes...

Reliability of Fatima Witnesses

Witnesses at Fatima in 1917 as per written records consisted of Masons, Communists, Atheists and Christians. They saw the sun, contrary to all cosmic laws, twirl in the sky, throw off colors and descend to earth.

A reasonable diversity of witnesses don’t you think. I don’t see how Masons, Communists or Atheists of the time would have 'desired to see something' extraordinary that could be attributed to Marian phenomenon

 

Endorsed as a miracle

Lets look at the definition of a Miracle “A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment” Does the events described above conform to the definition? If we are to believe the testimonies of the above mentioned then probably yes.

Who estimated the attendees at Fatima?

Avelino de Almeida, writing for a Portuguese newspaper and Dr. Joseph Garrett, professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra estimated the number of people attending.

Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians.  Lets look at the whole sentence taken from his records where ‘superstition’ is mentioned.

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea”

The “mischievous superstition” spoken about here are the teachings promoted by Jesus and his followers which later would be called Christianity.  

Scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilatus to be both authentic, and of historical value. Period.

There is no other written account as far as I know of another Jesus who openly called himself the Christ. By openly calling oneself the Christ you were almost certainly guaranteed of execution at the hands of the Jews for blasphmey. If there were other Jesus’s as one email mentions do you think they would openly go around saying they were the Christ? Most likely not unless they had a death wish.

 

Tacitus would have wrote about the resurrection if it happened

The Jews vehemently deny the resurrection. It is highly probable Tacitus did not hear about the resurrection. On the other hand if he did hear about it do you think a non Jesus believer of  Tactius’s stature being a respected Senator and Historian would report that a man called Jesus who died of crucifixion mysteriously rose from the dead. He would be laughed at all the way to Rome. Tacitus could certainly  write of the crucifixion of Jesus because this was common and understandable, that such an order was issued by a Roman magistrate..

 

What Doctors examined Alexandra da Costa

Alexandra da Costa was an invalid most of her life. She was hospitalised and monitored over a 40-day period whereby she received nothing only the Eucharist. She was observed by Dr. C A di Lima, Professor of the faculty of Medicine of Oporto, Dr E. A. D. de Azevedo from the same, Professor Ruj. Joao Marques, professor of medical science, Pernambuco, professor of the branch of nutrition of the school of Social Service,  president of the society of Gastroenterology and nutrition, Pernambuco. Dr Gomez de Araujo of the Royal Academy of Medicine, Madrid, specialist in nervous diseases and arthritis. They monitored her weight, blood, temperature, breathing, blood pressure. There is written testimony to this. It is claimed by persons close to her she did not eat or drink but only the Eucharist for 13 years. 

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Comment by Heather Spoonheim on February 5, 2013 at 9:22pm

Ok, so is Prahlad Jani, who claims to have gone 70 years without food, proof that Amba/Durga really exists?  He is still alive and periodically undergoes scrutiny by those silly enough to feel it is even warranted - which gives us the potential to examine him first hand.  If you believe a god could exist then you should really make the effort to examine this fellow because if his claims hold up then he is proof that your gods do not exist.  Alternatively, if you find out how he pulls off his con then you'll have a explanation equally applicable to Alexandra de Costa proving that such feats can be faked.

I still need to ask you for photos of the 'sun miracle'.  There are plenty of photos of the crowd - why not a single photo of the event?

And as for Tacitus, it is clear that he was aware of the stories being told by Christians and that is where his relevance ends.  With all those holy men popping out of their graves and wondering around town at about the time of Jesus' resurrection, don't you find it odd that not a single contemporary writer even mentioned such extraordinary events?  I mean you literally have a city inundated with zombies yet not a single letter written home by Roman soldiers of the period ever mentions the zombie infestation.

Comment by Richard Schweitzer on September 8, 2013 at 7:46pm

There are a couple of problems with the initial post... I'll just address those because the treatment of the idea considering these points negate the rest of the post. First, the definition of miracle... the IP chose to pick and choose in this regard (not an unchristian-like decision). The actual definition according to Webster, and the one much closer to the Christian definition as opposed to a "secular" definition, is: "1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs." The word "divine" takes the event out of realm of standard science. Something happened, we don't know what but there are some theories. However, there is nothing to indicate something of divine origin other than the extremity of witness accounts.

Also, Tacitus, while a reliable and intelligent chronicler of events, was writing many decades, close to a century, after the event itself, so his knowledge of it is no more reliable than any other. He may have believed it happen a certain way, but since he could not have been there, and his only sources could have been other written accounts that also cannot be verified, or speculatively, supposed eye witnesses who would have to be very old and possibly swayed by their own agenda, even Tactitus' accounts are no more than heresay.

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