Tuesday, 9 March 2010

No authentic religion can be built on projections

Highly controvertial professor Gerd Lüdemann declares: "Despite profound experiences with your God ... your  hopes [Jesus] for the future died. They clashed with brutal reality .. And had not your followers .. proclaimed belief in your resurrection, all your words and deeds would have been blown away like leaves by the wind ...But you did not return, because your resurrection did not take place, but was only a pious wish. That is certain, because your body rotted in the tomb – that is, if it was put in a tomb at all and was not devoured by vultures and jackals ...No authentic religion can be built on projections, wishes and visions, not even if it appears in such a powerful form as that of the Christian church, which has even exalted you to be the Lord of the worlds and coming judge. But you are not the Lord of the worlds, as your followers declared you to be on the basis of your resurrection, nor did you want to be ... You deceived yourself, and your message has been falsified by your supporters for their own advantage, contrary to the historical truth. Your teaching was a mistake, since the messianic kingdom did not materialize” (Lüdemann, Gerd, 1999, The Great Deception and what Jesus Really Said and Did, New York: Prometheus Books, pp2-4).
Most if not all New Testament Scholars disagree with Lüdemann's interpretations. But my question today is: HOW do we know Lüdemann is wrong? Will be nice to get some comments on this...


John Walford said...

Hi Ferdie,

No authentic religion can be built on projections - that's certainly true but the Christian faith is not built on projections. The vision of God's Kingdom that the Disciples projected was a vision built on the supremacy of Israel. Until the end they believed that the Kingdom would come in power and that they would establish an empire to finally eclipse Rome. Jesus' vision of a Kingdom built on submission to the King, the suffering, death and resurrection of the King and the rebirth of a fallen world was a million miles from anything they imagined. Given this you would have to ask Prof Ludemann why they then defended their subsequent accounts of Jesus' resurrection with their lives. Men are willing to die for what they believe to be the truth, not for something they have made up.

Anonymous said...

John, precisely who defended the accounts of Jesus' resurrection with their lives? We have a biblical reference to the apostle James being killed, and some first-century legends about the martrydom of Peter, but most of the apostles vanished from history.

John supposedly lived to a ripe old age. There were much later legends that developed about the other apostles, but it would be impossible to take any of them seriously.

I suppose one could name Judas, but that doesn't prove your point. He didn't risk his life for Jesus.

Bottom line is there are precisely two apostles who allegedly were willing to risk their lives by contemporaneous accounts. John allegedly lived a long life and the others are unaccounted for.

Not to mention that men are willing to die for all sorts of stupid things. Why did peasants die to fight for the emporer? Why are people willing to die for Mohammed, Heaven's Gate or David Koresh?

I just don't get that line of argument.

Peter F.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who denies Jesus' birth from a woman in the flesh and resurrection and ascension with a divine resurrection heavenly Adams' flesh body are filled with the spirit of the anti Christ: 1john. if they were honest they may openly say they are 'Christian' atheists and despise, reject, ignore, forget and hate the whole scripture and Christians, hate the living God, hate the light, hate the truth, hate the children of God because they were never regenerated from YAHWEH in heaven and are Reprobates, Apostates and children of the devil with whatever criminal-religious-cloak they mask themselves. They believe in the idolatry of evolution, which means the were born like animals, live like animals and will under the wrath of almighty God die like animals ordained for the netherworld of darkness where the power of God will preserve them for the day of judgment. The first encounter which they will experience with the lake of fire will be when they sink in it and feel the hot warmth of His righteous furious judgment.

Frederik Mulder said...

Wow guys! Interesting posts. I would encourage all who want to post comments to do so under their own names - no hard feelings.
Thanx John and Peter F for your thoughts.

Peter, you are certainly right that there are numerous legends and theories about the deaths of some apostles. It is interesting though to remember that there are well documented evidence that very early on, the likes of Ignatius and Polycarp were martyred for their faith in Jesus. It would be very strange for them to have died like that, if the apostle's whom they were students of, were not willing to do so also.

Second. You are also right that being willing to die for what you believe in is not unique to those who followed Jesus. What I think is quite unique about those who died for Jesus though, is that they were willing to die for him, based on their belief that he died on the cross and rose bodily from the dead. Those who died in the Jewish revolts did so, not because of the hope for resurrection, but to restore Israel, the Temple and Jerusalem.
Thirdly. No human argument will ever convince you or anybody else about the resurrection of Jesus (although I think there are significant and legitimate evidence). The evidence alone cannot produce faith. But that's an issue for another time.

Thanx for the participation!

John Walford said...

My comment about being willing to die for what they believed was not intended to imply that such an action inherently justifies the belief but that such an action inherently demonstrates their belief. If the accusation is that they had effectively made it all up, that would be an extraordinary thing to do. As to the death of the disciples, I haven't had time to look them all up but Eusebius and others attest to the martyrdom of all the Apostles with the possible exception of John who certainly lived to old age.

Frederik Mulder said...

Thanx John!

Anonymous said...

Yes, my beloved brothers, I think you are all brave and great apologists, I guess I'm a weakling, I don't even want to mention Bultmann's name in our holy fellowship, it eclipse the beauty of Jesus and it feel like adultery even to call him a theologian. Unless what Andrew Murray says that the Liberalists are only there that we may enjoy the excellence and beauty of Jesus, our faith, the truth and our love for each other. John Bunyan writes in his the Ruin of the Antichrist, that the Antichrist washes us white!
Henry James Jackman

Anonymous said...

'most if not all' ?!! Goodness, that's quite a claim. He is not only cited favourably, but in conversations at conferences and the like, it is obvious that many agree with Ludemann's main thesis.

steph fisher