Rethinking Tal Bachman

In thinking about Tal’s comments this weekend. I think his quote on the documentary may have missed the mark. If his intention was to scare non-LDS away and make them assume that Mormons are one notch shy of religious fanaticism, then mission accomplished. If his intent was to encourage current LDS to think through the origins of their faith and the reason they devote so much to the church, he failed. It only encouraged Mormons to think that he was a bitter crackpot that they have no good reason to listen to. I think that’s a shame, because he’s a very eloquent guy and I think he has a lot of good things to say (though I disagree with him on a great deal as well).

On the other hand his quote: “it could be the best thing invented, but if it’s invented it’s not worth dying for” is right on the money. I absolutely agree. And I’m not just talking about Mormonism. I think that is so true about Christianity as well. It pragmatically works very well in my life, but if it’s not true, it would be stupid to die for a fraud.

Tal brought to light this dilemna:
1) If it wasn’t true, would you want to know?
2) What sort of things would you need to look at to know if it is true.

For my own Christian faith, my answer to #1 is YES absolutely I would want to know. For #2, it is all about the historical reliability of the Resurrection. If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then he is not who he claimed to be, and there is no reason to worship him. The sort of things that I would look for to refute the resurrection would be something either like the bones of Jesus or a historical document with the same level of reliability as our earliest manuscripts of I Corinthians (the first historical mention of the resurrection).

What about you? How would you answer these two questions?

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8 thoughts on “Rethinking Tal Bachman

  1. 1. If Christianity wasn’t true would I want to know?

    Of course.

    2. What sort of things would I need to look at to know if it is true?

    Tangible evidence doesn’t really work for me–I don’t think that Christ can be proven or disproven. I don’t think that God can be proven or disproven. I don’t know that religion is something that can be ‘true’.

    So, in my life, I base my faith on spiritual experiences that I have had. I try to cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and through the way that I live my life (and ideally through reading Scripture… but I’m not as good at that). And, ultimately, I made a decision in which I chose to believe in Jesus Christ. I decided that based on the fruits of Christianity in my life (which were good), and based on me being unconvinced that one can know for sure either way, I would rather choose to believe than not believe.

  2. Oh, by the way, speaking of Tal Bachman, I agree–in choosing to describe the zealous faith in terms of acts of terrorism (as on or off the mark as the assertions may have been), he lost his audience. It was such a shocking statement that the point got missed, I think.

    And it lessened the rest of what he said–that was so beautiful and poignant.

  3. How could 1 Corinthians 15 be refuted?

    Paul says Jesus became a spirit. How could that be refuted?

    The early converts to Jesus-worship in Corinth scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise a corpse.

    If we found letters by early Mormons sayaing that early converts to Mormonism were scoffing at the idea of Joseph Smith translating scripture, would that cast doubt on the official Mormon history?

    Paul reassures these Jesus-worshippers by telling them they are idiots for wondering how corpses could be reformed.

    He points out that earthly beings are as different from heavenly beings as a fish is from the moon. Nobody expects a fish to turn into the moon. That would be stupid. No wonder he thought of the Corinthians as idiots for thinking that resurrection involved a corpse turning into a heavenly being.

    Paul is clear that resurrected beings are not made from the dust that corpses dissolve into.

    ‘The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.’

    In Paul’s view, all Christians will become spirits, just as ‘the last Adam became a life-giving spirit’.

    Paul knew what happened to corpses and he wanted the h**** out of there. ‘Who will rescue me from this body of death?’, he asks in Romans 7:24.

    I am currently involved in a debate on the resurrection at
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12232

    Comments are always welcome on that forum.

  4. I have to agree with katyjane, I don’t think you can disprove or prove the ressurection of Christ. Although physical evidence is nice, religion is based on faith. If it could be proved that Christ rose from the dead there would probably be many more Christians in today’s world.

    Even if Jesus’ bones were found, people would still find a way around it. Though some would leave Christianity, I don’t think it would change a true believers mind. There is always a way to “spin” facts. I think that is what Christians would do if some concrete evidence were to emerge refuting Christ’s divinity.

    I’m sure Non-LDS Christians can’t understand why people still believe in Mormonism. Why would Mormons would still believe in Joseph Smith after learning about mDNA evidence against the Book of Mormon or that Joseph Smith was married to multiple women that were already married or a multitude of other “facts” that disprove Mormonism (in the minds of Non-LDS). However, Mormon’s have been able to mount logically sound defenses to these seemingly insurmountable challenges. I think all Christians would do the same if the claims of Christ came under fire by cold, hard facts.

  5. I should clarify that I don’t think ANYTHING can be proven in the strictest sense of the word “prove”, not even my own existence. But I do believe that there is enough evidence of the resurrection for Christianity to be a reasonable and rational faith.

    I think Christian who would remain Christians despite contradictory evidence of the resurrection would be better described as idealogues than believers.

  6. How can there be evidence for Paul’s claim that Jesus became a spirit?

    Paul asks in Romans 7:24 ‘Who will rescue me from this body of death?’

    Paul believed Jesus was rescued from his body and became a spirit.

    How can there ever be evidence for that?

  7. Let me clarify. I believe that there is historical evidence that Jesus physically rose from the dead. It was not a spiritual resurrection or a metaphysical resurrection, but a physical, empirically verifiable event.

  8. If there was evidence that a corpse was given eternal life, the converts to Christianity in Corinth would have believed that, and Paul would not have talked about our present body being ‘done away with’, or being destroyed’.

    Paul asks in Romans 7:24 ‘Who will rescue me from this body of death?’

    Paul knew what happened to corpses and he wanted the h*** out of there.

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