Sunday, February 25, 2024

historicity of the empty tomb


But in the last several years, a remarkable change seems to have taken place, and the scepticism that so characterized earlier treatments of this problem appears to be fast receding. Though some theologians still insist with Bultmann that the resurrection is not a historical event, this incident is certainly presented in the gospels as a historical event, one of the manifestations of which was that the tomb of Jesus was reputedly found empty on the first day of the week by several of his women followers; this fact, at least, is therefore in principle historically verifiable. But how credible is the evidence for the historicity of Jesus's empty tomb?[1]
The canonical authors give limited but acurate accounts of the kind of tomb that would have been used, [2] There is no first century account other than the Gospels early church writers do point to the empty tomb.If there was an empty tomb why would the early apologists the apostoli fathers not mention it? Because they didn't think about things the way we do.They had no concept of a modern courtroom much less courtroom evidence.

According to both Eusebius and Jerome,Hadrian (c. A.D. 135) built a temple to both Jupiter and Venus on the site of the tomb, that is how christians marked the site of the tomb. When the Jeswis-Christians fled Jerusalem after the revolt of 134 they aprized gentile christians of this knowledge. That also indicates that the tomb was vindicated at that time since Romans desecrated the site. [3]

From the second half of the second century we have the Gospel of Peter (aka GPet).GPet gives us a look at the empty tomb reflecting the notion that the empty  tomb was well established by that time.

For the stone was large, and we were afraid lest anyone see us. And if we are unable, let us throw against the door what we bring in memory of him; let us weep and beat ourselves until we come to our homes."

[55] And having gone off, they found the sepulcher opened. And having come forward, they bent down there and saw there a certain young man seated in the middle of the sepulcher, comely and clothed with a splendid robe, who said to them:

[56] "Why have you come? Whom do you seek? Not that one who was crucified? He is risen and gone away. But if you do not believe, bend down and see the place where he lay, because he is not here. For he is risen and gone away to there whence he was sent."[4]
There are critics, such as Mark Cameron support idea of GPet as reflecting an ancient and independent tradition.[5]"John Dominic Crossan argues that the Gospel of Peter, as it is found in the modern day, was composed in the 2nd century but incorporates a passion narrative source that predates all other known passion accounts."[6]

There are writers after the second century who allude to the empty tomb, "Of these the most explicit and of the greatest importance is Eusebius, who writes of the Tomb as an eyewitness, or as one having received his information from eyewitnesses."[7]

I have made a much more involved page with lots of documentation going into great detail on the subject,Its on my original website Doxa, 9t's ca;ed "have tomb,will argue."[8]

I invite the reader to read that essay.


[1]William Lane Craig, "The Historicity of the empty tomb of Jesus,"extract, Cambridge Unversity Press,1985,

[2]Gary D. Myers,"the Empty Tomb: archeaology and early Chuch writers Point to Jesus Tomb" NOBTS, (MARCH 28, 2016) Myers is the director of public relations at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

[3] Ibid.

[4]:Gospel of Peter," Linius,org,1998;2020

[5]Walter Richard Cassels, Supernatural Religion - An Inquiry Into the Reality of Divine Revelation, Read Books, 2010. Vol. 1, p. 419–422

[6]Crossan, John Dominic. The Cross that Spoke, pp. 16–30. Wipf and Stock, 1988.

[7]Op cit,Myers fn2.

[8]Joseph Hinman, "Have Tomb,Will Argue," Doxa, apologetocs website, 2010.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

My answer to those who say Christianity in America is in decline. Civilixation is indecline, books are in decline learning is in decline. Thinking is in decline. Democracy is in decline, dencency is in decline, everything that has made modern life worth living is in declie, so why npt christianity? That is npthing more than the great falling away preduced at theend times.

Arguments for the Existence of God

I. Cosmological Argument

II. Fine Tuning Argument
dialogue o FT:

III.Religious Experience

.....A.Thomas Reid argument

.....B.The Empirical Study of Religious Experience

IV.The Transcendental Signifier Argument

V.Hartshorne's Modal Argument

VI. Argumemt from Laws of Nature

These arguments re not offered as absolute proof that God exists but as the basis for a rational warrant for belief.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Empirical Trace of God?

The atheists with whom I converse on the net seem to think that I really believe the studies I conclude that God exists they make a big thing of pointing out that they don/t. Of course they don't claim they do but those atheists just don't listen whenI explain my argument.

"I am skeptical" says:

I'm not belittling anything. I'm telling you that personal experience does not constitute empirical evidence. I'm telling you that all those studies make no such claim, and you are reading that into them. They don't show the causation that you infer from them. You can have all the experiences you like. Be happy with it. I have experiences, too. But don't try to tell a scientist that it's empirical evidence, because it isn't. And all the positive effects your studies point out are not the product God unless you can show actual evidence that they are. Those studies don't say that. You haven't shown it.[1]
The problem is we have two different concepts of reality working here, Notice his major concern is that there be scientific proof of God, Anythig short of that is not proof. This is not science but ideology. Science does not prescribe itself as the only form of knowledge, that is the ideology of scientism.I work by a new standard of proof, called "rational warrant." Rather than prove absolutely that God exists I seek to warrant belief. Atheists criticize fait by cayingitis believing things without a reason, That implies that having a good reason should be enough. This argument supplies a good reason to believe.

Why should we assume that such experiences are experiences of the divine? The first reason is because the content of the experience is largely that of the divine. Even when the experience is interpreted by the receiver not be about God the receiver has been known to act in way consistently with belief in God, and the experience described is the same experience as those described by those who say ‘this was God.’ Ergo it’s just a matter of interpretation. The vast majority of those who have these experiences do believe they are about God.[2]

In a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God, Johns Hopkins researchers report that more than two-thirds of self-identified atheists shed that label after their encounter. Moreover, the researchers say, a majority of respondents attributed lasting positive changes in their psychological health—e.g., life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning—even decades after their initial experience.[3]

Secondly, there is a voluminous and ancient tradition of writing about experiences by people from all over the world, and the brunt of this tradition is that it’s an experience of the divine. Literary and philosophical works such as Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill,[4]

Experiences that people describe as encounters with God or a representative of God have been reported for thousands of years, and they likely form the basis of many of the world's religions," says lead researcher Roland Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "And although modern Western medicine doesn't typically consider 'spiritual' or 'religious' experiences as one of the tools in the arsenal against sickness, our findings suggest that these encounters often lead to improvements in mental health."[5]
The works of W.T. Stace  [6] and many other such writings which catalogue these experiences, and many more works of the experiences of individual mystics by the mystics themselves reflect t. Thirdly, grounded in empirical evidence, the universal nature of such experiences implies the experience of a source external to the human mind encountered by all who have such experiences. When I say “external” I mean it originates externally but is experienced internally. This includes human brain structure and brain chemistry as a conduit not that it circumvents natural processes. The works of W.T. Stace are very influential. He shows that, as Ralph Hood Jr. put it, “within and eventually outside of the great faith traditions mysticism has flourished.”[7] Stace offers five characteristics that demonstrate the commonalities to mystical experience; these are characteristics that are found universally in all cultures and in all forms of mystical experience:

The contemporary interest in the empirical research of mysticism can be traced to Stace’s (Stace, 1960) demarcation of the phenomenological characteristics of mystical experiences (Hood, 1975). In Stace’s conceptualization, mystical experiences had five characteristics (Hood, 1985, p.176):

1. The mystical experience is noetic. The person having the experience perceives it as a valid source of knowledge and not just a subjective experience.
2. The mystical experience is ineffable, it cannot simply be described in words.

3. The mystical experience is holy. While this is the religious aspect of the experience it is not necessarily expressed in any particular theological terms.
4. The mystical experience is profound yet enjoyable and characterized by positive affect.
5. The mystical experience is paradoxical. It defies logic. Further analysis of reported mystical experiences suggests that the one essential feature of mysticism is an experience of unity (Hood, 1985).

The experience of unity involves a process of ego loss and is generally expressed in one of three ways (Hood, 1 976a). The ego is absorbed into that which transcends it, or an inward process by which the ego gains pure awareness of self, or a combination of the two.[8]

The experiences themselves are real and they have a total transformative effect upon thelifeofthe experoecer Thisisnot a trick or psychological problem it's real. The question is: what inexperienced? We have major reasons to think it's God:

(1)We would not even have religion without it. What are the odds this "imaginary" thing would affect the validity of the most hated aspect of life for atheists?

(2) The effects of the experience match the major promises made by God about redemption.

(3) the experiences themselves are the same the world over despite different names of deities,which indicates they are all dealing with the same reality.

"But don't try to tell a scientist that it's empirical evidence, because it isn't." The studies themselves are empirical in the scientific sense, the researchers say so."Three empirical instruments have been developed to date. They are the Mysticism Scale by Hood (1975), a specific question by Greeley (1974) and the State of Consciousness Inventory by Alexander (1982;  [9] the data is empirical we are extrapolating from that.This is done in science as with smoking causes cancer before they had a causal mechanism.

The experience of mystical consciousness itself is empirical: Definitions from Oxford Languages · em·pir·i·cal /imˈpirək(ə)l/ adjective based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

"they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument"[10] Webster:"originating in or based on observation or experience. empirical data. 2. : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory.``[11] In scientific terms: "Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.Jan 5, 2024"[12] That wpi;d still indclude the actual experience of God as emirical.

Science offers it's specialized version of empirical that fits scientific learning. But why should that be the standard by which all belief is measured? Even so the data is scientifically empirical, we are extrapolating to ask what does that data teach us?


[1] "Is there evidence for an infinite loving God?" Metacrock's BlogFEBRUARY 03, 2024

[2] Joseph Hinman, Trace of God:Rational warrant for Belief.Colorado Springs:Grand Viaduct, 2014.

[3]Vanessa McMains.
"Profound Experiences Linked to Mental Health Benifits," HUB,Johns Hopkins Unversity. Apr 26, 2019,

[4] Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A study on the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual consciousness. New York: Dutton, 1911.

[5]OP Cit, Vanessa McMains

[6] W.T. Stace, Teachings of the Mystics: Selections from the Greatest Mystics and Mystical Writers of the World. New American Library 1960. A good General overview of Stace’s understanding of mysticism is Mystical Experience Registry: Mysticism Defined by W.T. Stace. found onine at URL:

[7] Ralph Hood Jr. “The Common Core Thesis in the Study of Mysticism.” In Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion. Patrick Mcnamara ed. West Port CT: Prager Publications, 2006, 119-235. Google books on line version: URL visited 8/20/2012

[8]Robert J. Voyle, “The Impact of Mystical Experiences Upon Christian Maturity.” originally published in pdf format: google html version here: Voyle is quoting Hood in 1985, Hood in return is speaking Stace. =us&ct=clnk&cd=2&ie=UTF-8\\

[9]Vanessa McMains, op cit

  [10] About 32,400,000 results (0.32 seconds) ​based on experiments or experience rather than ideas or theories. empirical evidence/knowledge/research.empirical adjective - Oxford Learner's Dictionaries

Oxford Learner's Dictionaries › english

[11]Empirical, Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster › dictionary › empirical

[12]"Empirical Research in the Social Sciences and Education," Penn state University libraries ›Jan 5, 2024

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Is there evidence for an infinite loving God?


On Randal Rauser's Blog Daniel Wilcox speaking to atheist  Dana Harpar: "I agree with you and others that there is no evidence for the infinite and loving God of many Christians or for any of the revealed religions at all."I think I've given plenty of good reason to believe in God and to make a leap of faith. Now I will argue if God does exist God is the loving God of revealed religion,ie of Christianity.

I could appeal to devine revelation then argue for the validity of the Bible. That would be a profuntory answer, one expected of any apologist and guronteed to turn off skeptics. Instead I have two arguments:

I.The nature of religious experience.

II.The Phenomenology of Christian love


The nature of religious experrience as a whole demostrates the loving nature of God. I will use Mystical experience (ME) as my argument but it applies beyond that.There are two core aspects to mystical experience: (1) a profound sense of the undifferentiated unity of all things, and (2) A profound sense of God's all pervasive Love. This second aspect is at the core of the experience and is so much a part of it that lift is missing that is a  good reason to doubt that it is a true mystical experience.

Mystical experience is backed empirically to such an extent that it almost constitutes proof of God's existence.200+ studies over 50 years all showing the validity of the experience with no counter study, not one. The experience is overwhelmingly positive and transformative, makes your life better across the board.What I mean by this is illustrated by a sample of one of the studies, a summary of findings from two.This was published on my religious experience argument back in the summer.

Wuthnow study:

*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style


*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion

Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences)

II. Phenomenology

Love is more than just a feeling of butterflies in the stomach. It is an experience as well as an ideal. It's concept but it os a;so ex[eroenced,phenomenological apprehension.

I don't feel very loving right now, but I don't have to feel any way to talk about love, because love is not merely a feeling. A lot of people think that love is just the special way of feeling about a person, or the warm fuzzy that comes from being with a certain person. Love is much more than just a special way of feeling. It is also a value, a commitment, a sense of orientation toward others, a philosophy, a way of being in the world (an existential engagement).

There are degrees of love and kinds of love. The Greeks called sexual and romantic love Eros From which we get our word "erotic." The kind of love friends feel they called Phileo or "brotherly love" (as in "Philadelphia"). The highest form of love they called Agape. That is usually the kind of love the Bible speaks of when it speaks of God's love for us. 1 John tells us "He who loves knows God for God is love."

Agape Means: the will to value the other, or the will to the good of the other; the desire for the other to have the best. It entails the idea of according the other all rights and human dignity. It is not personal, it's a commitment to all people. Agape is sometimes translated Charity (as in kJ trains 1 Corinthians 13 "if I speak with the tongue of men and of angles and have not charity") but this is more condescending and patronizing than the actual meaning of the term. Charity can be paternalistic in the negative sense, controlling, colonizing, derogatory. Agape is a totally positive thing; one must actually seek the good of the other whatever that may be, even against one's own interest.

Now I will start saying "crazy stuff," these are things that I have theorized about and I guess they make up the radical edge of my own philosophy because they have been scoffed at plenty of times on these boards. But I don't care I'm saying it anyway.

Basis of everything: connection with Being

When I say love is the basis of everything, I mean it really is. I believe that when the Bible says "God is love" it means it literally. In other words, we should put an "itself" there. God is "love itself,": the thing that love is actually the essence of what God is. Now you may ask how can God be both being itself and love itself? Because these two are inextricably bound up together.

Love is giving, the idea of seeking the good of the other, according the other full human dignity equal to one's own, these are ideas that entail give over, supplying the other with something. It's a positivity in the sense that it supplies an actual thing to someone. Being also shares these qualifications. Being is giving in the sense that it bettors itself upon the beings and they have their existence. It is positive in the sense that it is something and not taking something away, it's not a void as nothingness is, but moves in the direction of filling a void; nothingness becomes being, the existence of things.

So love and being are really the same impulse and they both unite in the spirit of God. God is the basis of all being, of all reality. God's character is love; that is God seeks the good of the other and bestows upon us the ultimate human dignity of being a child of God.

Motivating force behind creation

Love is the basic motivating force behind creation. God's motive urge to create was not out of a need due to looniness, but out of a desire to create as an artist, and desire is fueled by love. Art is love, artists love art, as revolutionaries love. Revolutionaries are in love and their revolutions are often expressions of love, what He Guava called "a strange kind of love, not to see more shiny factories but for people." So God creates as a need to bestow love, which entails the bestowing of being.

Now let's not have a bunch of lectures about "perfection" based upon not knowing what perfection is. Let's not have a buck of Aristotle thrown in as though it were the Bible. There is no baseline for comparison from which one can really make the judgment that need is imperfection; especially the sort of need one feels to be creative or to bestow love; that is a different sort of need than the need for food or shelter.

Basis of morality

Love is the basis of morality. Love is the background of the moral universe, as Joseph Fletcher said. Austin said it too. That means all moral decisions are made with ultimate reference to God's love which is the driving force behind morality. Many people think Christian morality is about stopping impurity. These people regard sex as the greatest offense and think that basically sin = sex. But nothing is further from the truth. Sin is not sex, sin is an unloosing nature, or a selfish desire to act in an unloosing manner.

  Love requires selfless giving over OT the other for the good of the other. That means all moral actions must ultimately be evaluated with reference to their motivational properties. That's why Jesus spoke as he did in the sermon on the mount: if you hate you are a murderer. Because the motivation itself is the true essence of the sin, the rejecting of love and acceptance of self as the orbit creates the motive that eventually leads to the act. He is not saying that the act sin OT sinful of course, but that the sin begins with the motive not just with the act. In that sense morality is somewhat teleological, although I normally eschew teleological ethics. I am not saying that the morality of a given act is based upon outcome, but that the end toward which moral motions are given is the goal of doing love.

    Love is too central to the nature of the faith to be floating out as a mindless idea divorced from divine consciousness.

[1] Joseph Hinman,"Argument from Religious Experience (for existence of God),"Metacrock's Blog."(AUGUST 31, 2022)

God, Science, and Ideology by Joseph Hinman is a very important book. Hinman was a PhD candidate in the UT system, his field was history of ideas and he studied the history and philosophy of science. He brings this knowledge to the critique of athye8ist ideology on the internet. Hinman summarizes 20years of arguments with atheist apologist and takes down some of the major atheists figures such as Richard Dawkins,