Sketches on Atheism / This Jesus Fellow

Christianity’s (other) god-awfully awkward, nightmarish problem

Evidence

Let’s be frank: Christianity, by and large, isn’t the easiest of religions to be terribly confident about… and I’m proud to say, it just got a lot worse. You see, Christians have a problem; a brightly coloured, stunningly awkward complication hidden away right in the very foundation slab of their religion, but it’s not the kind of problem you’re probably thinking of. Yes, there is the slew of grossly amateurish script continuity blunders, the bumbling admission that god somehow miraculously missed every cultural, political and scientific hotbed of the day, the plagiarising of older messianic plotlines, the fact that no historian, satirist, or court record keeper seemed to have noticed the stories hero, and the somewhat embarrassing realisation that this god-man, Jesus, failed to say anything new or even marginally useful. As troubling as all these blotches are for the bright-eyed apologist the needle I’m talking about here is far more damaging to the everyday functioning of the religion, and it all has to do with evidence. Not the absence of evidence, that hole is plain to see, rather the evidence which the authors of story tell us Jesus went out of his way to provide on his forty-day Judean zombie walkabout.

Here’s the story as presented: Jesus sacrificed himself (to himself, to save humanity from himself), was quite dead, entombed, rose 24hrs later and spent the next five weeks making appearances (six in total), then disappeared with an assurance to be back for tea and cake at some later date. Resurrection: it’s the triumphant centrepiece of Christianity, the shiny supernatural event around which the church is built, and without it there isn’t a religion. The character defeats death, and to prove it he furnished his living congregation with irrefutable evidence.

Evidence_BrownDid you see the problem? Did you spot it whooshing past like a startled teenager bolting naked from his girlfriend’s bedroom? Here it is again in slow motion: Jesus spent forty days running about proving to his mates that he’d pulled off a David Copperfield. Now one more time in extra super-slow motion: Jesus produced evidence. “To them He presented Himself alive after His passion by many proofs,” wrote the author of Luke (Acts 1:3), then says that Jesus appeared to the disciples and ate with them just to demonstrate that he was flesh and bones. “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.” Even more specifically, in John there is the famous account of Doubting Thomas; a story that is at once a direct appeal to, and presentation of, proof. “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.” Evidence, it seems, wasn’t just important to Jesus, it was essential. So much so that he delayed his departure from the earthly plateau, not to say anything new, but rather to provide stone-cold hard evidence of the supernatural event. In fact, the character sets a pretty clear standard for what that evidence should be. It had to be physical, verifiable, observable, and it had to be testable as displayed in the story of Thomas who is encouraged to poke and prod at the human specimen.

Now this begs the question: if Jesus didn’t expect his own disciples to believe without evidence why then is “faith” (belief without evidence) the central tenet of Christianity? Look at the story and Jesus is in fact quite clearly antagonistic to Christian articles of faith, working instead to establish belief with evidence. Not to beat a dead horse, but if faith had been the linchpin of belief (as any Christian polemicist would have you believe) then surely Christianity’s central character would never have wasted time prancing about Judea proving the resurrection. The very fact that he did (according to the story) raises some appalling problems for the Christian saddled with nothing but their faith, because faith (we’re told) contradicts the eight-letter word which Jesus quite conspicuously thought indispensible to belief: EVIDENCE.

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208 thoughts on “Christianity’s (other) god-awfully awkward, nightmarish problem

    • Cheers, Larry! It’s odd… i only first saw this last week while arguing with Physics & Whisky about evidence. Seems to be a pretty big thing to miss, but there it is!

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      • You miss the point you heathen swine—it’s about FAITH, not evidence!

        Take ten demerits and start again …

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  1. Amazing. In all of my readings and musings, I never came up with this one. The central role of evidence in “Jesus’ ministry.” Think how interesting things would get if he were to reappear for another 40 days? I once lost a story I had written about his return but I lost it. I think I will have to go back and revisit the story. When I wrote that original story, Fox (sic) News hadn’t been born yet. Bwa ha hah ha!

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    • Me neither, Steve. I feel a little ashamed to have missed it considering it’s just the type of WTF that my feelers are always on the look out for. I guess it was just too damn obvious, sitting out there in plain sight that no one (including me) even noticed the contradiction.

      Yes, find the story… I want to read.

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    • The resurrection from death of Israel and it’s re-establishment in Palestine bring to fruition the prophecy of Ezekiel, the DRY BONES utterance of more than 2,000 years ago and from 1948, a war-victory famine has struck the USA. Now, the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24 is current.

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  2. As a Quaker, I have become increasingly skeptical of “belief” in some specific precept or interpretation or creed as having anything to do with real religion. That sort of “faith” isn’t what religious faith is about. After all, I can (and generally do) believe three dozen things before breakfast each morning; belief isn’t something I can control, but a function of what is firing in my brain at any given moment. The only way to get unwavering belief is to subscribe to a particular creed — but that is not true faith; it is simply substituting idolatry to cut-and-dried human ideas or scriptures for a real, living relationship with God. God can’t be pegged down and stuffed inside our concepts of God; God can only be encountered in relationship.

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    • Good connection, I’ve made it myself (so it must be obvious, no?). Instead of a tangible idol we are issued with intangible ones visible only to the naked faith. They could have shot themselves in the foot with that idea—who then needs a priesthood or house of worship? But they covered their bases pretty well.

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  3. In the prophesies regarding the advent of the Messiah(Christ), his beginnings were to be humble, his image was to be unimpressive and his manner was to be sober, sad and unappealing; in this, Jesus was true and those who had the most to loose if the Law of Moses was set-aside, the Jewish Priesthood, could not successfully oppose Jesus until Jesus allowed them to take and kill him; as the sacrificial lamb-of-God whose death AND RESURRECTION by God were to become for attentive Jews and Gentiles their focus, the Priesthood made it their business to persecute Jews attracted to Jesus’ commandments and who left the Temple behind, assaulting and murdering leaders who led many away from the now-superceded L.O.W. Priesthood.

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    • Simon of Peraea was more of a messianic figure than the Jesus character. In fact, Menahem, Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Athronges the Shepherd, Judas the Galilean, John the Baptist, the Samaritan prophet, Theudas, the Egyptian prophet, John of Gischala, Jonathan (the weaver), and even Simon bar Giora were all much better messianic figures than jesus…. Plus they were actually real people!

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      • John the Baptist, whose mother was a cousin of Mary(Jesus’ mother), preached the advent of Jesus Christ and witnessed the descending of the Power of God on Jesus following Jesus’ baptism by John. Having undergone much abuse preaching Jesus’ advent, John, who was soon to be murdered to silence him, was pleased to see Jesus’ advent.

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      • Robert, I don’t want to disappoint but all these you are quoting here are all drawn from that book of myth. You need to change your library

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    • The terms ‘messiah’ and ‘christ’ mean different things to different people. It’s an interesting exercise to look more closely into their derivation and original meanings; and see how they’ve been perverted over many centuries.

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  4. Correction: My final ” W ” was meant to be a ” M ” for Moses; The L.O.M., following the 10 plagues on Egypt and the Pharaoh that directly led to the softening of the Pharaoh’s heart, was a restrictive law(s) burden that adherence-to was a recognition of God as their guide in life but led them to his son-to-come for salvation. The Ten Commandments began the L.O.M. after the ten plagues had released them to their God. Quickly disrespecting God, even after witnessing his deliverance of them from 430 years of slavery, they reverted to their worship of Egyptian idols, not to him who had proven himself by miraculous works in freeing them. Condemned to two generations(40 years) of wandering in the relatively-tiny Wilderness of Sinai(Wilderness of Zin-modern), God sustained them with food and water until he let them enter the land allotted to the twelve tribes(twelve sons of Jacob/Israel), pointedly refusing it to Moses whose sins in God’s service were to be a public punishment, as he watched them leave him outside it.

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      • Jews celebrate the Law of Moses because their ancestors received it from him following their exposure to the angel of death and their freeing from their slavery. Stubbornly resisting efforts to deny it, they adopted it as their religion, even preferring it to Jesus’ commandments.

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    • Excuse me, Robert, but what the heck are you babling? This has nothing to do with John’s point. Are you giving witness? Then it is to things you didn’t witness but things you are taking on faith, which is John’s point. Jesus expected you to have evidence, not just faith.

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      • if that was so, what about we who were not there, like ” Doubting ” Thomas, who refused Jesus until he felt the crucifixion scars and then believed? Sure, faith is more difficult than seeing but Jesus even included us who believe, not having been there. The Apostles(sent) were chosen personally by Jesus, witnessed his death(some of them), witnessed his resurrected appearance afterward and having been given the power of God to preach and convince many of Jesus, dedicated their tumultuous futures to preach him, until their killings. Paul, the converted Saul of Tarsus, refutes Atheists and Temple dis-information in his letters to gatherings of believers, themselves beset by Temple trouble-makers.

        9

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      • Robert, there is a preacher man in Nairobi who claims to speak to god and that he can prophesy what is to happen. Should he believed or should we take him to the lunatic asylum?

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      • Prophet Dr Edward David Owuor…. He actually calls himself prophet!? Priceless! Good to see he can cured AID’s, though… that’s helpful 😉

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      • Were one to foretell rain on Wednesday a fair question would be is Wednesday tomorrow? Since Wednesdays occur every seven days can one demand the forecast on a Wednesday 9 months in the future or must it be the upcoming Wednesday? Even a wild guess could hit one day of seven, so how can one forecast an event 2,000 years distant? The answer is, only if one already knows. A prophecy foretold that Babylon in Iraq would never again become a place to be inhabited by people; it was the principal city of the Babylonian Empire and it remains uninhabited. How could the Bible prophet know the future except that God revealed it. But wait, you by the sweeping nature of your claims, cannot admit to the existence of a higher being, one so high that by comparison, we cannot imagine it. Inductive reasoning presupposes something and then seeks it’s proof; deductive reasoning accumulates proofs before pronouncing their conclusion. You accommodate the former.

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      • Which prophecies are these in th OT that you keep talking about?
        Your belief is based on antiquity not on truth content of a particular piece of art.
        It appears to me you limit your definition of prophet to messengers of god which these men and women were not but were rather gifted with the ability to express themselves poetically, even if it is bad poetry at that!

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    • “The softening of Pharaoh’s heart” … good heavens, God can change His mind? His own mind? All these years and I never knew …

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    • Am late to the party Rob, am just wondering, do you actually believe these things you are writing or was it one of those bad days you found yourself with a computer and internet connection?

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      • Rob you really are a great dreamer. How can you claim that text in Isaiah is about events to happen 700yrs later? Did you read to the end of the chapter!

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      • Hey, today, people try their hand at telling the future, doomsdays and such. How about Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy? He prophesied that Israel, dispersed throughout Europe by the Romans following their attempt to defeat Roman Legions, many centuries later would coalesce in dry, dusty, hostile Palestine. The chief Bastard Hitler brought a mindset from Austria to Germany that was intended to exterminate European Jewry but provided the impetus for Jews to flee from imprisonment and death. Low and behold, that Exodus from Europe continues, long after the 1948 creation of the nation of Israel. Persecution drove them from comfortable lives among family roots to take their chances with their lives on the waves among the ” sharks ” underseas, to find a homeland hinted by the Balfour Declaration in WWI. That is proof of a higher power that knew the future, enlightening the Jews.

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    • Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart?
      How can we tell who were god’s messengers if the sorcerers had the same abilities? Is god a sorcerer albeit a big ass sorcerer?
      This Jesus you claim to have been prophesised does not issue any new law, in fact even though most people think the sermon on the mount was a great revolutionary speech, in most instances it is life denying. It preaches poverty, subservience.

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  5. wow John. 🙂
    You have managed to do it again. I hadn’t ever looked at it in this flipped way before. Far too often I had been beaten over the head, and beaten my self over the head..with the fact that I am unable to believe without seeing. And thought there IS that story of Thomas…the doubter…I was left in shame that Jesus himself said “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Going with your reasoning…even Paul had an alleged “encounter” that would qualify as evidence to many…causing his change from unbelief to belief….?

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    • Once, Paul said he had forsaken the rewards of this world to follow Jesus. Being a motivated Pharisee as well as being a lawyer, only Jesus could turn him from killing Jesus’ Apostles and disciples into being a totally committed preacher of the Gospel, to oppose them who had commissioned him to destroy Jesus’ group.

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      • Even the Jews refuse Jesus, even after posting Mezzuzahs on their doorways to commemorate the slain lamb and being protected from death by it’s blood; Jesus was the lamb of God, furnished by him to be what mankind needed, a path to salvation. Atheists refuse God and like all refusers of God, have today as their rewards; make the most of it, you who are hopeless.

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      • Do you say it is something more? or less? If there is no immortal soul, the grave with it’s colonies of organisms that reduce us to dust await us, Atheist or believer in God.

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      • If, as you say, Rabbis refuse belief in the Exodus, why then do they celebrate Passover today, except as a commemoration of the Passover of the angel of death which visited all other houses not marked by the blood of a lamb? you are deluded to make such a claim about Jewish Rabbis.

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      • Once I attended a Bible-class at Temple Israel and the Rabbi did not disavow the Exodus, and I am not Nathan. God told Moses(at the burning bush), I am who I am, meaning that it was not for Moses to require of God, a name

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      • Sorry, Nathan, but you should look up the Etz Hayim published by The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Here’s an extract:

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred…the rejection of the Torah as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.” ”
        – Rabbi David Wolpe

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      • “threatening me with hell is like threatening to force feed a vegetarian unicorn meat…”
        AhHa haha ! I totally missed this! Tell me you have it in picture form…I can think of a thousand and one places to post it!

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      • Robert, there are actually other possibilities than the one you put forward. Especially reading the writings of Paul in depth. The fact that persecution of those who did not believe like himself caused him guilt? If there were followers of Jesus with the same martyr syndrome Jesus seemed to promote, who willingly gave their lives for their beliefs..(true believers) It would certainly affect a man…who was striking, and even killing them..if they were to look up and say…”i forgive you”.
        This type of behavior throws us…knocks our feet out from under us. No supernatural needed. I don’t believe “only Jesus” could turn him away from killing…In some supernatural way. I do believe that guilt would have eaten such a man up…and completely affected him.

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      • Really struggling to turn him into a blubbering mess, aren’t you? By his own account he was traveling toward Damascus on his mission to further damage Jesus’ Apostles’ works. Paul looks backward after his conversion and critiques his conduct and actions, without mercy for his former enthusiastic zeal.

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  6. I forget which authors (plural, note) put forward the case for JC’s twin brother stepping into his shoes (literally).
    In fact most Christians seem totally unaware that JC had brothers and sisters—a ‘fact’ that I imagine most Catholics must find very uncomfortable, because if they all were begotten in the standard fashion their Virgin Mother must’ve been a right little enthusiastic bonker —surely His Holy Nibs was the only Immaculate Conception? Otherwise the others would have gotten a great write up too—either way His uniqueness takes a fearsome hit.

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    • Provided of course the character actually ever drew an earthly breath. I’m of the opinion it was nothing but metafictional charcater; created by crisis cultists as an easy medium through which impart their various teachings and fashioned on the likeness of Simon of Peraea and Menahem.

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      • You’re no fun … then there’s some very interesting cases made (speculative cases) for substitutions. Dammit, we could have a field day with this.

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      • Take that back, mongrel! I’m a barrel of fun! Must admit i’ve never heard of the substitution ideas. I have heard that Peter, or Paul, or someone (the merchant) took down the not-quite-dead jesus and spirited him away… Oh so naughty!

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      • I have a photo on this hard drive taken from something I read somewhere alluding to that possibility … I can’t put it in a comment but if I ever find it I’ll post it with commentary. (This is one crowded drive, I tells ya!)

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  7. I was going to post but you’ve beaten me to it (God moves in mysterious ways, no?) on JC’s multiple personalities, as in:

    I think it was Einstein who said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over whilst expecting a different result”; and as a lad it was often said that “the first sign of madness is talking to yourself”*.

    So JC often either did exactly that—or He Knew more than he was letting on when he popped out to the wilderness (and other places, let’s not beat about the bush here) for a quick pray. To Himself (Them selfs? He to the other two, or all three of him?)(Oops … Him?) Ye gods, it gets complicated …

    * A lot of my teachers and other would-be indoctrinators ended up doing that when I was a lad

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  8. Like your words and thoughts! I’m disappointed your muse hasn’t made an appearance yet, although your new fan seems to be keeping you entertained in the interim. 🙂

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  9. Pingback: Not the Moon | FORESTALL

  10. Great post, as always. Allow me, if you will, to play devil’s advocate here for a few seconds.

    We atheists are always as asking the believers to provide proof and, as you point out, there was proof, Jesus was very clear on making sure they all knew it to be true. Couldn’t this very thing be used as the “evidence” or proof that there is a god?

    Admittedly, I myself don’t believe much about what is in the bible, but for those that want to believe, the proof has already been shown and recorded, even if they themselves were not there to see it happen. I didn’t see the Constitution signed personally, but it happened. I’ve never set eyes on Australia, but I read about it in a book, so I believe it exists.

    We could go into the whole “proof destroys faith” argument, but why do that when neither of us believe anyway. I just had a thought and i figured I’d share it with you.

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    • MM, currently there remains a group whose collective self-image is at risk if Jesus Christ was the long-awaited Messiah, they are Israelis. The Bible tells of a future event in which a few Jerusalem Jews will cry to God for the Messiah to save them; it will trigger the response they wish but, that response will reveal to their up-to-now-blind eyes the Messiah their forefathers crucified and whom they have denied for most of two thousand years, the scarred Jesus, come to save them. There is a precedent: Joseph, son of Jacob, sold into slavery by jealous and greedy brothers, had become by the will of God, the third ruler in Egypt and recognizing his brothers while they did not know him, revealed himself to them and brought their family along with Jacob to Goshen to escape the famine. Once again Israel is rescued by God, even as he would 430 years later, cause Israel-in-slavery to return to himself. This we expect when Jesus appears to those few Jerusalem Jews and as the scales fall from their eyes, their recognition of he who had been rejected and killed and then revealed to them will cause a wide0spread shame and anguish among Jews.

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      • IMO, eventually Sciences will coincide with the Bible and helping that to come-about will require a better understanding of what actually happened in the Genesis-creation, the timing and the connections between what the creator revealed as opposed to what man interprets and contends happened. For instance, the seven days(six + one of cessation) were likely very far apart, not a week as most contend because the account does not impose the week unit, it says nothing about the span of time from beginning to completion, a week unit was imposed by early HRCC reasonings just as they claimed the Earth was the center of the solar system, a claim not found in Genesis.

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      • Possibly will be … perhaps it’s all perspective. Would the Horse’s Head Nebula perhaps be the Mushroom Nebula from a different perspective? Or from close enough would it just be another island in a sea on a planet?

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    • Hi Mike! Rautakky dealt with this question nicely below. If, as we’re told, evidence was so important to jesus why then didn’t the character reveal himself to the satraps and legionnaires and court officials… those whose testimony would be credible and believable down the ages.

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  11. To be fair, “doubting Thomas” is seen as somewhat of an insult.

    Conveniently, the kind of evidence Jesus talks about only comes AFTER you already believe.

    The resurrection thing was a bit weird…

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    • Ah, but why then spend 40 days walking around if it wasn’t to prove the resurrection? Nothing new was said, no supplements added to the alleged ministry except a call to evangelicalism. Nothing new there. If we’re to believe the story (especially what is written in Luke) then the entire exercise was to simply provide evidence of the supernatural event.

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  12. A nother solid post John. My dad who was an atheist used to speak about this problem.

    If we are expected to take the evidence provided by the Bible by faith, then it is actually totally unimportant wether the events described in the Bible really happened. The division between people who end up in eternal joy and those who do not is not about wether the story is true, or not, it is all about wether people believe it or not. Most people who believe it take it at face value because of cultural indoctrination and heritage and same goes for most people who do not believe in it. The division is arbitrary and has nothing to do with morals for example.

    If ortodoxia is more important than ortopraxia, then most people who end up in heaven have not even chosen to believe and certainly no one would willingly choose to believe in something they knew would cause them eternal torment, or even oblivion if the other possibility would be eternal happiness with all their loved ones.

    Any examination of the Biblical account with a critical eye, wich is something we have to do, if we are to search for the trurth in any historical document (and the word document here does not imply it is true), will inevitably damage any faith we could have for it. Only through the lenses of faith, will the story remain plausible, to the examiner.

    One evidence piece the Christian believers allways bring up, in discussions about the resurrection of Jesus, are the guards at the sepulchre, even though, if one reads the Gospels through, it is obvious that the Matt’s version is a fabrication. If we treat the four Gospels with same integrity, then Matt’s vision stands totally apart from the others. It has much more fantastic story line, with the dead rising from graves during the crucifixion. It makes claims about the guards and angels, that did not seem important enough for the other Gospels to mention. And it gives wittness to stuff that the writer could possibly not have known about, like private conversations between the officials.

    But then, if one of the Gospels is a fabrication, how do we know, that anything in the Bible was ever divinely inspired? Or true? A good story no matter how fictional has allways a little bit of reality incorporated in it, to give it more plausiblility. And giving this internal evidence in the story is like saying, that Aslan must be a real person, because in the Narnia books he is described and there is internal evidence in these books how he is for real, even though the child characters sometimes doubt those who have seen Aslan.

    For some reason Jesus did not walk up to the Romans and tell them to crucify himself again. And for some reason none of the officials were given chance to bear wittness to the resurrection, so that they might have left us an independent and separate document about the resurrection. What would the temple priests, or Pilatus (who was alledgedly not even keen on executing Jesus in the first place) have said, or written about the resurrection, if they had been provided with the same evidence as Thomas, or challenged in public by this resurrected Jesus? Why was Jesus hiding from his enemies after the resurrection? Was he who had alledgedly allready conquered death (and an incarnation of the one and only god) affraid of them?

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    • That’s an excellent observation, Raut: revealing himself to the satraps and legionnaires and court officials (those whose testimony would be credible and believable down the ages) would’ve served the purpose of “proof” better than just a few ‘appearances’ to the characters friends. Evidence for the supernatural event, so the story tells us, was vital… so why purposefully limit that evidence? There are so many holes in Christian doctrine, but this one really stabs “faith” in the eye.

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      • Why not provide himself to the officials?
        Possibly because he was still smarting from the last time they nailed him up. Obviously it made his eyes water and he was in no rush for a replay (neither would I be, ouch).

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      • Conveniently, you ignore reality of that time; Israel was a conquered nation and had to respect the Roman army and the Roman Governor, as did the Hebrew Priests. During Herod-the-great’s administration, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and warned of Herod’s intent to kill the child, they were spirited away to Egypt(no friend of the Jews, Cleopatra wanted Judea-Palestine for a possession) and Alexandra(mother of Herod’s second wife Mariamme) spied for Cleopatra, wanting to re-enstate the Hasmonean family ruling house. After a short time Herod died(but not before killing Alexandra) and Mary,Joseph and Jesus returned only to learn that Herod’s son(also named Herod) had been appointed by Rome to rule, so they diverted to Nazareth near the sea of Galilee in the north far from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The reality was that the Priesthood needed to have Jesus condemned as evil but the Romans posted a sign on Jesus’ cross proclaiming him, the King of the Jews. Everybody in that area had to know of the three crucifixions that day, a public event at the city dump, Golgatha. Bodies were burned there because the poor and criminals had no burying places, arable ground was highly valued so those wealthies had tombs chisled in the rock. Joseph of Aramathea, a member of the ruling Jewish ruling body, begged for Jesus’ body and had it put into his tomb.

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    • Common sense tells me that the Chief Priest, who commanded the tomb sentries, would have been eager to prevent a Martyr-myth by their enemies acting to steal Jesus’ body, so that a mystery about it’s disposition would be a controversy. Roman soldiers were apart from Temple soldiers and were commanded by Rome’s governor/king; they were used to protect Rome’s interests in that contentious land, leaving religious matters to the Priests.

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    • Following the third-day resurrection, Jesus showed himself to the women and to his disciples for a span of forty days; there was a public crucifixion so imaginary suspicions of secrecy are debunked.

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      • @Robert R. McKenzie. You have been very active in this topic convesation and I appriciate your effort, since no other theist has appeared to defend your cause.

        Now, I have to ask, and I hope you do not get this the wrong way, but do you not see, that you are mainly speaking totally of topic and beside most points anyone here has presented? Is that a subconscious admission, that you really can not argue the topic post, or did I just not get your refined point?

        If three out of four testimonies do not mention the guards at the tomb, do you honestly think, that we should take the one with the guards as the most accurate description about the events? Did the other Gospel writers simply forget, or ignore the guards? It is a pretty big deviation from the description of events (not that the other three could keep it together either), is it not? Not something that could be dismissed by the forgetfullness of the Gospel writers, or anythin as such, is it? If the other Gospel writers forgot something as obvious and crucial to the plausibility to the entire story, then, are any of them reliable sources on anything?

        If you missed it, the point of this topic was (as far as I could grasp it), that Jesus provided evidence for his doubting followers, but left everyone else including contemporaries, us and all the people in between, not to mention people who have never even heard of him, totally without any other evidence, than the one from his following. No confirmation what so ever from outside this cult about the supernatural powers of the cult leader. Have you got any idea how many such cults we have even today in the world, in wich the only evidence such miraculous prowess is provided by a band of followers? Or how many such cults there have been before and after Jesus? Even the story, that these followers were ready to die for their belief does nothing to confirm the truth value of the story, because 1) the information of the conviction of the first generation is only supported by the internal story line, wich it supports and 2) because even if it was true that they were convinced about it, that actually counts to absolutely nothing, since people commit suicides all the time for religious convictions regardless of the evidence they have to back up their beliefs.

        Anecdotal evidence is good enough source in historical research, but it does not support extraordinary claims, like stories about the supernatural, or other unnatural claims. We do not consider it reliable even in situations, that do not require anything as wondrous as for example a resurrection. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence about the UFOs. If you do not accept anecdotal evidence to be valid for abduction stories, you are guilty for the fallacy of special pleading, if you at the same time think that we should accetp anecdotal evidence for so much more extraordinary event. You see, how ever impropable the abduction stories are, they do not need the observable laws of this material universe we can measure, to be broken, like the idea, that a dude was actually dead, but resurrected. Especially so, when the anecdotes of the event are not direct eye-wittness stories of him, dying nor of the actual event of the resurrection. It is only something they deducted, from their very limited perspective to have happened.

        And there is even the very great likelyhood, that the entire story is just a fabrication, since it is not confirmed by any outside information. If Jesus was a god, he did a sloppy job to convince people of his divinity, unless it was his sole intention to be mysterious, so that only some people would find this weak evidence reliable. But then, that also means he divided his followers to those who for some reason deserve evidence and to those who are simply gullible enough or culturally indoctrinated. With proper evidence there would not be a need for faith (we do not hold faith, that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, instead in all practical appliances we may say, that we know he did), but then, what is faith for? What is the purpose of faith?

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  13. If Jesus was resurrected, why didn’t he hang around for a lot longer and start making the changes he talked about. Why wait for a second coming?
    Oh well.

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    • I had a theist the other day asking what evidence i’d need to believe in the resurrection. I said, Jesus purchasing a cafe and serving coffee to the 66 generations of people who’ve come after. Seems reasonable

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    • In the Bible there is a reference to Jesus as the SECOND ADAM, from the Garden of Eden account forward, God chose to avoid men’s traditions of first-born inheritance, choosing Abel instead of Cain.

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  14. Ok, i’m pickin’ up what you’re laying down.

    If the evidence of resurrection proved that a miracle was done (for argument let’s assume resurrection was a miracle), then that proved JC to be a credible witness to said miracle, and that he wasn’t just batshit crazy. If he was credible, AND resurrected, then the faith was based on this evidence, at least for that moment in time.

    So, if at some point evidence was present, then belief in that evidence at a later date is based on the past, but proven existence of it. Faith is belief in the absence of present evidence right?

    Are there any faiths we have in things now, for which there is no longer existing evidence? Things for which we have faith in the record of the evidence? Like say…most of human history lol

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    • Oh, sneaky…. I saw what you did there. You only picked up the stuff on the periphery. Cheeky thing. Point being, as nothing new was said in those 40 days we must assume the only reason for the zombie walkabout was to prove the supernatural, meaning sweet baby jebus didn’t expect anyone to believe without proof… which the story says he provided. The shortfall in the story is of course that he would have done a hell of a lot better job of providing real evidence by visiting Tiberius in Rome and asking to be crucified again.

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      • but wouldn’t that have been a bit…showy? jesus was nothing if not humble.

        and just because what he found out about life was a big fat duh, doesn’t mean it was any less useful does it? *see: every other freaking religion, every self-help group, and my parents.

        but, back to the original issue. so you’re saying the evidence is not the problem, but that it was not good enough? one resurrection is meh, but two, two resurrections, now that’s something to pay attention to lol

        and actually, as a skeptic, i get that. photoshop was big back then. but what about all the other miracles? do those count? i’d say lazarus and the fishes thing was pretty slick. hey, lazarus and the fishes–good band name.

        now, i don’t know the bible anymore than i’ve seen in cartoons, so you can fill in the blanks for me. you mentioned that it was suspect that he only told a handful of people (disciples). well, i thought he gave evidence to all kinds of people (who also saw it first hand and didn’t believe him either), but only a few literates were able to record it.

        i think this is a good point you’re onto. me? i quit after the rib thing. that did it. i was like, “oh, hells no”

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      • Excellent band name! But the point was actually that the character saw the need for evidence, yet the church is founded on faith, which is the opposite.

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      • but didn’t he see the need for faith because he figured out that we’re all skeptical shits? even god doubts himself at least once in the old testament.

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      • Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life for yourselves, once he began his ministry, time after time the Priesthood tried to mock and denigrate his message, many times he avoided being arrested by simply vanishing from among them; his time to be crucified was not yet at hand. When he decided it was, he prevented armed resistance to his arrest and allowed his death because he was God’s sacrifice, the sacrifice no other man could make. after his resurrection, he openly walked about displaying his resurrected and healed body. Teaching his disciples, after 40 days he left the Earth and angels present said he would return in the same manner he left.

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      • see that’s what i’m saying. i think if i’d been poked in the ribs and hung up to dry, i too would want to go around sayin’ “wanna see my scar?” granted i am not as nice as jesus, and i’d probably do it out of spite.

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      • What would you estimate your recovery time as, considering you were hung most of one day on a cross, secured by spikes through your appendages, a spear-thrust through your side into your organs and being laid in a tomb guarded by Temple soldiers to prevent access to you? Only the power of God could repair Jesus’ body and he to be walking about, scarred but healthy. all due to God raising him.

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      • exactly-that’s seems pretty miraculous to me too. i get a paper cut and i’m down for the count

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  15. John – I read something yesterday that made me think of you. Seems apropos to this post and discussion –
    “There is an apparent paradox underlying the formation of large-scale human societies…to depend on what Kierkegaard deemed ‘power of the preposterous’ (as in Abraham’s willingness to slit the throat of his most beloved son to show commitment to an invisible, no-name deity…) Humankind’s strongest social bonds and actions, including the capacities for cooperation and forgiveness, and for killing and allowing oneself to be killed, are born of commitment to causes and courses of action that are ‘ineffable’ – that is, fundamentally immune to logical assessment for consistency and to empirical evaluation… The more materially inexplicable one’s devotion and commitment to a sacred cause – that is, the more absurd – the greater trust others place in it and the more that trust generates commitment on their part.’ Scott Atran, Anthropologist, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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    • I’m down with that. Group dynamics underpin societies, and societies (as a whole) can’t be fully understood by every individual. Trust is essential… but something like WW1 couldn’t possibly be understood by the average Johnny. He had to trust the reasons why everyone was fighting. Some behavioral scientists call it Suspension of reality; a well-practiced cognitive trick used by audiences when imagining a story in the process of being told or remembered. Quite literally, to buy into a fictional story an individual has to suspend their rational idea of the world around, and the more fanciful the tale the deeper the suspension of reality needs to be. Remarkably, this act of deliberate denial comes more easily to us than labouring through rational scepticism. We are, at a genetic level, more prone to accept a false casual association with perceived long-term benefits than wrestle with more costly scepticism. In a word, denying reality is cheaper.

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    • I can’t be bothered looking it up—but was ol’ Abe (a) alone with his son when he made the histrionic gesture? Or was he (b) the only guy in the crowd that could see (and talk with) God?

      Option b seems more plausible. Powerful stuff, beats ol’ Wossisface making an elephant disappear in front of all those people …

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  16. Glad I found your blog. I literally just posted a couple of days ago a brief post titled, Jesus Couldn’t Convince People Standing Right Next To Him. I love what you’ve written here. Excellent work.

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  17. This is more of a question I suppose … Spirit, the substance that souls are made of, was a Greek concept that found its way into the New Testament. The writers of the Old Testament were unlikely to ever stumble upon the mind / body problem for instance, because they had no concept of spirit as a different kind of stuff – the only way to exist was to have a physical body (I don’t know how sheol works under these circumstances). The Biblical Hebrew word translated as spirit actually means breath (ruach). This is why the Christian afterlife is so complicated – besides souls going to heaven and hell, there’s also the resurrection. Dead people are going to be very busy. I’m remembering this from an Old Testament course that I took as part of my undergrad degree a long time ago. Do I have this right?

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    • The Latin “spiritus” seems to come from the much older Proto-Indo-European Speis, which means it could be as old as 7,000 BCE. Most the Judaic creation myth is however stolen from Zoroastrianism so their Atar (“sacred fire” revealed in the oldest Gathas) might also be the well from which it’s drawn. The concept might through originate from the Vedic religions notion of Brahman (“the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world”) which also pre-dates the biblical Abraham. The term “holy spirit” (I just saw) pops up three times in the Torah, so it looks like the idea was known and used.

      I think if you really want to tickle the true source you’d have to go waaaaaay back to the first Paleolithic burials with grave goods. Letting the dead keep items that were only useful to the living (tools, weapons, water bladders, jewelry) meant the human mind had made the leap to imagine some existence outside the physical reality. I said it somewhere (can’t remember where) but if I ever had a time machine the first place I’d go would be back to that first burial (with grave goods) to witness that moment.

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      • Ecclesiastes 3:19(+ or -) makes clear that Solomon(writer of this book)talked about a notion that the soul of Man at death goes up and the soul of a beast goes down; He doused that notion by explaining that Both went down to the Earth. His father David talked about death; Abraham specifically directed that his bones be carried to lay beside those of Sarah in the cave of Macpelah(?), plainly indicating that he wanted to be sure he & she would die and lay as they had in vibrant life, together. Had we a mobile Soul, we would have no need for bones. Ezekiel spoke of the resurrection of Israel, the bones gaining flesh once again to be in existence; this we have personally witnessed in 1948 with the reappearance of Israel in the land of promise, Palestine(+ or -). The notion of a soul was OK as long as no mysterious qualities are attributed to it. Greeks were fond of their imaginations, creating out of the air Gods for this and Gods for that, as their desires ran. David’s description of death was final, the breath goes, the thoughts perish, etc. He also expressed his faith in God, that he would bring forward his son, to be his token sacrifice, to be proof of his own faithfulness to his promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose Abram(Abraham) due to his faithfulness, out of Iraq and led him(with his father Terah, Sarai(Sarah), his family and possessions) to Palestine(+ or -) and after the test of his faith over many years, made Sarah fertile and Isaac(Laughter) was allowed; the second test in the new land was to require of him the sacrifice of Isaac to Abraham’s dismay. Faithful to a fault, Abraham gathered up firewood and took Isaac to kill him in obedience to God’s instructions. About to do the deed, God with-held Abraham’s knife and provided a Ram caught in the thorny brambles instead. This Ram was emblematic of the Jesus -to-come-much-later, complete with the crown of thorns and free of guilt, to be the sacrifice for men. As Solomon said, the soul(breath,life,being)of the Ram and that of Jesus went down into death, the grave, tomb, etc. Jesus was not God, he was the son of God but was mortal(dying) so that he could be killed.

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      • “soul of a beast” — eeek! I was taught that the beast don’t have souls, only people have souls.

        But why did ol’ God have to ‘test’ Abraham? God is omniscient … (unless he was having the same sort of fun a cat has when toying with a mouse before killing it. A sadistic Almighty with a sense of humour? Naaaa …)

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      • I take it you couldn’t be bothered to actually look-up the scriptures mentioned, therefore you feel comfortable talking off the top of your head, unread, ill-considered and bigoted.

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  18. Am so late to the party, I don’t know how I missed this but it is quite telling of the supposed Christ followers. He goes around providing evidence, then they come and say you need faith! What a ridiculous lot!

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  19. Ah come on Mr.S.N.Ape! Why even bother asking the question of where the evidence is, when it’s obvious that the whole story of the resurrection is obviously a croc o’shite anyway? Anyway, isn’t Christianity essentially Paulinist?

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    • Well of course it’s a croc, but pointing out the contradiction is what makes the children laugh. It’s all about the children… Just ask the Catholic church!

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      • I know I know, I just had to have a little stab at the fire there. Well technically I am Catholic by birth, but I know feck all about it, except for the copious amount of drinking that goes on – in that regard I was a staunch Catholic in my late teens and all of my twenties!

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      • Technically speaking i’m still a Catholic. I think they should have an “Opt Out of Program” form…. Fudging the numbers and cooking the books just doesn’t look good for any business

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      • No you’re right of course. I only once had cause to call on the faith for authentication when I completed the Pilgrim’s Way and was waiting to pick up my certificate from the cathedral offices, which subsequently broke out into an argument because the nun behind the desk didn’t believe that my companion and I had actually walked the last 200km before reaching Santiago de Compostela. Aparently we lacked evidence in the form of a rubber stamp in our ‘pilgrim’s passports’ for our previous stop, even though we both had 1100km of rubbery evidence between us for the rest of the way! Exactly what you said, fudging the numbers and cooking the books!

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  20. A few errors… it was three days. not 24 hours. You forgot to mention that directly after the famous doubting Thomas scene Jesus says, “Blessed are they who believe without seeing”, meaning that Jesus’ purpose in his post-mortem appearances is probably not only or not primarily to provide evidence for his disciples as you think. (but also note, saying that those who believe without seeing are blessed doesn’t necessarily mean blessed are they who believe without evidence, unless you want to define evidence as a narrow empiricist verificationsim). Lastly, belief without evidence is not the religious definition of faith, even though it is a colloquial use of faith. Look the word up in a dictionary- there are multiple definitions of faith. Faith as belief without evidence is a central tenet of fideism, but most certainly not of Christianity in general. You said that faith “we’re told” contradicts evidence at the very end of your piece. To whom does this “we’re told” refer? I have to say, I’ve never heard a Christian apologist defining faith as belief without evidence.

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    • No errors at all.

      3 days? As the story goes it’s actually more like to 36hrs: died late Friday afternoon, rolled out of bed before sunrise Sunday morning. Do the math.

      I forgot to mention nothing. The point was that he PROVIDED evidence on demand. I don’t give a fuck about what the character said after that. If, as the story is told, evidence is freely available to those that ask then it is evidence I will request…. Call me a rational human being.

      You have a very peculiar notion of faith. “Faith:” definition from four dictionaries:

      ‘belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.’

      ‘Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.’

      ‘firm belief in something for which there is no proof’

      ‘belief that is not based on proof’

      “We’re told”… as in “we’re told” in the only account of the story as presented. Do you have some other source for this story that perhaps I’m not aware of?

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      • Faith, evidence of things unseen. Obviously knowing the results before they occur makes gamblers richer and stock-traders so, getting an edge is constantly the stuff of illegal actions-trials. If one asserts the non-existence of something, one ought to offer better than notional evidence. Conversely, if the events are witnessed, events foretold exactly, thousands of years before, are evidence of a higher being, one not constrained as are we by short life, shorter intelligence and conflicting self-interests, then we err by refusing to concede. Now as to judging, a higher being arguably is wiser and lower beings are foolish to contend their own reasonings are above themselves, leaving one to ask, am I wise to judge that higher being or the offspring he claims and who acknowledges him as his heavenly father.

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  21. Sure okay. I wasn’t aware you were trying to challenge the traditional account. But, if you think its 36 hours, then why didn’t you say 36 hours?
    Well, in the postyou try to flesh out an inconsistency between Jesus thinking that evidence was important and faith as belief without evidence. As you say, “Evidence, it seems, wasn’t just important to Jesus, it was essential. So much so that he delayed his departure from the earthly plateau, not to say anything new, but rather to provide stone-cold hard evidence of the supernatural event.” Here you seem to be implying that evidence was important to Jesus and that he didn’t simply provide it and quite clearly, the latter doesn’t necessarily imply the former. anyway, if you did only mean that he provided it, then there is no inconsistency. What is the inconsistency between Jesus incidentally providing evidence through his post mortem appearances and faith being belief without evidence? You need to say that it was Jesus’s purpose or intention to provide evidence, for it to be inconsistent with faith being without evidence. In addition, simply because Thomas received evidence when he asked, doesn’t mean that this becomes some general spiritual law that applies to everybody. Jesus told a rich man that he had to sell everything and give it to the poor- this doesn’t become a general spiritual law that everybody has to sell everything and give it away. Now, on faith being belief without evidence. Your definitions seem quite selective. I don’t deny that they appear, but there are others which are more in alignment with what I said. One of the definitions Collins provides is ” trust in god and in his promises and actions”. Nothing here about it being without evidence. In addition, and more importantly, Christianity’s sacred text has provided its own stipulative definition of faith as the “evidence of things not seen”. Now when somebody does provide a stipulative definition of a term, as, for example, philosophers often do, it becomes quite stupid for their opponents to insist on another definition of the term.

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    • Hi Louis

      “What is the inconsistency between Jesus incidentally providing evidence through his post mortem appearances and faith being belief without evidence? “

      The character didn’t just “incidentally” provide evidence. Read the story: nothing new was said, no supplement to the characters ministry added. One must assume from the narrative given that the provision of evidence with the only reason for the zombie walkabout.

      “Thomas received evidence when he asked, doesn’t mean that this becomes some general spiritual law that applies to everybody.”

      Evidently you’re not aware of the meaning of the word, precedent, in Law.

      “Christianity’s sacred text has provided its own stipulative definition of faith as the “evidence of things not seen”.”

      Perhaps you can present some of this “evidence” of things not seen…

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      • Louis said: “Jesus told a rich man that he had to sell everything and give it to the poor- this doesn’t become a general spiritual law that everybody has to sell everything and give it away.” Oh, but it became that – at least for a period! Look at what happened to Ananias and his wife. Funny, how it has not been like that, after the initial end-of-the-world cult leaders died out. I mean did the early Christians abandon the sell all your property rule right after the first apostole died, or was the change into capitalistic Christianity some sort of slow process?

        Sometimes it seems the Apologists (the modern day pharisees) are reading a completely different Bible, than the common Christians, or anyone else, for that matter…

        As for the number of hours the Jesus character alledgedly spent dead, it is a very inconsistant story. If we look at it as an historical document, there is no telling at wich moment after the execution Jesus Character left the tomb. This is obvious, because from historical standpoint (even if we think supernatural events are possible) the Gospel of Matt contradicts the other gospels in such a great many occasions, that it can not be taken as any sort of wittness account to what really happened. It is an obvious fairy tale based on the other Gospels, fabricated in order to refute some of the contemporary doubt cast on the entire story by applying magnificent hogwash and supposed information the writer could not have been privy to. In this light Jesus could have left the tomb right after the alledged eye-wittnesses had seen him being put there, wich is much more plausible, than that he waited for a few hours before leaving. What would have been the purpose of him waiting around there, anyway?

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      • Annanias & Saphira were betting against their profession of faith as a hedge, meaning they were fickle and inconstant; loosing the power of God to preach the Gospel they died, sentenced by themselves: possessing the power of God within themselves, they denied God. As for ignoring the bear in the room to swat a fly is akin to swallowing a camel while balking at a fly. Apply this to your squabble over the number of hours which I see consumes you.

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      • Obstinate refusal to trust; Once I was working at a convenience store ideally situated at the confluence of several major highways and an Interstate where we got numerous pleas for guidance by confused drivers including one who had overshot hid destination by 50 miles and faced retracing his journey with understandable frustration. The instance at point though was the guy asking for directions who rejected them with profanity and continued his errant journey. One can live their life without God and without Jesus and like all mortal humanity die, but if there is a real possibility of something beyond that terrible interruption , one would weigh the possibility, the cost and decide if the offer is real enough to commit. I believe the offer is good and am committed to labor, even if success at increasing is difficult or even none, in the service of he who created us and his son who is the focus of the prophesies of the elect of God. Those however who elect to, like Judas Iscariot deny for whatever reason the very essence of hope will fade to black. Even for Saul of Tarsus, a blinding light and the voice of Jesus were needed to convert him from a murderous direction. Neither you nor I could resist such proof, but what of us not so blessed, and there were cases of people who converted from unbelief to belief, only to recant; those have chosen their ends.

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      • Robert R McKenzie, are you reading some sort of apologist version of the Bible? In my common version of the book, it says, that Ananias and his wife Saphira were killed because they did not yield all their money to the apostoles as other members of the Christ cult did.

        They had sold their house according to the command by Jesus, but had kept some of the money for themselves. By no means is it fair to suggest, they had been “sentenced by themselves”! It was their money, right? To kill someone for being dishonest about what little money he & she had after they had allready sold all their property and given to the congregation is disgracefull. Is it not? Were they sent to hell or heaven for their discression of not giving every penny to the apostoles? What sort of Communists were the early Christians?

        This couple had committed themselves to the cause of the apostoles and did as they were told, but had a precaution, just incase the entire sherade of the end of the world coming real soon (“during your lifetimes”) would prove to be a hoax. For their skepticism, they were killed. Is the morals of the story supposed to be, that one just better have faith without any doubt and give every penny to the congregation, or else? In what way can any of this ever be justified? People allways say it is only in the Old Testament where the atrocities of the Bible take place, but the New Testament is just as horrid. Less people get killed, but then again, it does describe quite a lot shorter time frame.

        When you profess, that you are “committed to labor, even if success at increasing is difficult or even none…” it seems to me, that you are being exactly like “…the guy asking for directions who rejected them with profanity and continued his errant journey.” Alltough without the profanities, I hope. 😉

        You see the difference between the information you gave him was based on real life physical evidence, while he had this faith, that he was getting somewhere on his chosen path. That is why he got angry at you, since in his mind there was somthing positive waiting him at the end of his road, allthough he was just waisting his time.

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      • My point was simply that because jesus provided evidence doesn’t mean that it was necessarily his purpose to do so ( though, of course, it might have been). Besides, its not true that nothing new was said. At least in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives the “Great Commision” after his ressurection.
        “Evidently you’re not aware of the meaning of the word precedent in law”. the gospels are not legal documents and while a legal system may provide something of an analogy for some parts of Christianity Christian revelation and its application is not meant to function as a legal system. So your comment about legal precedent could not be more misplaced.
        “Perhaps you can present some of this “evidence” of things not seen…” my objective in mentioning the definition of faith as evidence of things not seen is to challenge your contention that faith is belief without evidence. You haven’t answered that, but rather presented me with a red herring. We were arguing about whether the argument in your post is valid and even if Christianity is false it doesn’t mean that your argument is valid. If Christianity is false, it doesn’t follow that all arguments made for the fact that it is false suddenly become valid. It is quite possible, and quite probable for people to believe in something true for fallacious reasons. So whether I can present evidence for my position, or even whether my position is true is irrelevant to the validity of the argument in your post.

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      • Hi Louis

        I’m aware of the “Great Commission” but the idea of evangelical work is nothing new. Every religion in history has declared pretty much the exact same thing! What would have been unique if the call was “Don’t get new members, and by god don’t collect money from them!!!” So, NOTHING new was said, leaving any observer with half a neuron to conclude the only reason for the 40 day zombie walkabout was to prove the supernatural event, and absolutely nothing else.

        I presented four different dictionary definitions of faith; each stating quite clearly it is belief WITHOUT evidence. I really don’t know how to make that point any clearer to you.

        So, you can’t actually produce any evidence for things unseen. Figured as much….

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      • Faith did not begin with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; many faithful people preceded him but Jesus’ presence did not require faith because he was within their sight; faith really was turned to sight. Since, the concerted campaign by those guilty of his killing, their dedication to thwarting the preaching of the Gospel and the denial of the advent of the Messiah was self-serving and maintaining the authority of the Law of Moses was their only way to retain control of Israel. The Hebrew priesthood did not then nor does it now care what Gentiles believed, they wanted only to retain their positions as being the leaders of the Jews so they elevated the LOM and debased Christianity. Happily for them, misled Christianity cherished the beginning of the LOM, the Ten Commandments to the exclusion of Jesus’ commandments. Foolish Christians hold onto the LOM while professing Jesus. Fickleness, your name is Christianity.

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      • Off the meds, huh? Naughty monkey.

        Now we’ve been through this already…. Moses never existed. Even the Jews know this, so hyping back to some fictional character isn’t really helping you establish the plausibility of another fictional character named Jebus.

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      • Conveniently for your argument, you listen more to your notions than to historical fact. Muslims acknowledge Moses as well as Jesus, too bad your convictions disallow facts and embrace fancy.

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      • “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred.” (rabbi David Wolpe)

        “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed” (Robert Coote, San Francisco Theological Seminary.)

        “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are “a fiction written around the middle of the first millennium,” (Niels Peter Lemche, University of Copenhagen)

        “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” (Baruch Halpern, Pennsylvania State University.)

        And finally, this little gem from Christianity Today, September 7, 1998

        “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery. And remember those reassuring Sunday-school stories about archaeologists finding Jericho’s walls lying outward just as the Book of Joshua suggests they fell? It turns out that the most respected archaeologist to dig at Jericho earlier this century, Kathleen Kenyon, differed.

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      • The aftermath of Jesus resurrection was to demonstrate convincingly to all dismayed at his death his resurrection and his healed scars could not be less than a direct repudiation of Temple claims that he was an imposter; the 40 days of his constant presence silenced the connivers who had to find some way, to deny him and regain popular credibility. Not yet having received the power of God to preach the Gospel , the distressed disciples were to experience his faith-building presence and his teaching; their dedication subsequent to receiving the power of God, however portioned, became undefeated except by their murders.

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      • simply because the idea of evangelism was nothing new at that point, doesn’t meant that it wasn’t new in the context of Jesus’s teaching and his disciples’ faith in him. Do you think they should simply have assumed that Jesus wanted them to tell everyone? Doubtful.
        Yes you presented four definitions and then I presented a definition that supported my case and pointed out others like it to you. You didn’t respond to this. I also said that Christianity has provided a stipulative definition of faith and that it was irrational to argue about the definition of a term when your opponent has provided a stipulative definition of a term. For example, Harry Frankfurt wrote an essay “on bullshit” where defined bullshit in a certain way. My point is, it would be very irrational for critics to them come along and say that bullshit really means something else entirely. You also didn’t respond to this.
        A popular case for Christianity includes some of the arguments of natural theology and then a case for the ressurection. I’ve defended two of the arguments for natural theology on my blog. If you really wanted evidence for Christianity you would not ask some random guy to defend it in a comment box. You would read books by people who seemed to you it’s best representatives, and who can defend it much better than I can.

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  22. Pingback: A look at “The God Argument” by A.C. Grayling | Sense in a World of Nonsense

  23. I think this whole Christianity is as much bullshit as the next atheist. I have an issue though…I just started a new blog and have noticed that the majority of my posts are angry posts about Christians. Why do I feel it is so necessary to prove them wrong? Why can’t I just be secure enough within myself to just carry on and laugh at their bullshit in privacy? I am not, by any means, judging you. I think you are brilliant. I guess I am curious if you ever had the thoughts I am having?
    Cheers to you and your amazing brain! You know so much and I feel that is fundamental when discussing such topics.

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    • Thanks Angie! What new blog… do tell! I want to visit, I want to visit!

      I picked sketches on atheism only because of the sheer amount of religious shit I saw on Fox (cough) News message boards, back when they allowed comments. Until I started messing around there (just for fun) I really had no idea there were people who actually believed the earth was 6,000 years old. I thought it was a joke, but then I realised it wasn’t, and that kind of got me mad. Wilful ignorance is unacceptable, and then I started learning about the efforts of the Discovery Institute and got even more pissed off. Aggressive wilful ignorance is just too much. That kind of shit had to be put down. You, like me, have every right to be mad at the crazies peddling the crazy. If they take it out onto the street then we have every right to mock it, and I don’t see any reason to exercise tolerance when confronted with barefaced lunacy.

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      • Agreed when your god starts putting restrictions on my life…I speak up. Just needed some validation. Thank you. My new blog is a result of ignorant Facebook posts. I didn’t want to fight with people on FB but I needed to get rid of the anger somehow, therefore I gave birth to Thoughts of a Liberal Reading Feminist. Voila. I am not as educated as you. My subtitle says it all “Like the sides of a drunks’ car, a place for me to highlight my purging.”

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      • You give me waaaay to much credit. I’m just a mischievous bastard who can string a sentence together 🙂

        Got your blog up… looks great! Get ready to be trolled. Atheism and green cooking, does it come any better than that?

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      • Oh cool, I hope you enjoy it. I am actually trying to figure out how to disassociate the two blogs. I know a lot of my green cooking followers would spew their morning coffee in record distance if they saw my “dark” blog…

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    • Yeah, i saw it this morning… Oh well! That would have been a funny emergency Vatican meeting to sit in on: “He said fucking what!?!”

      What does that mean, privatised it?

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      • “I don’t agree with religion bashing. It’s not my cup of tea. I’d rather read something positive.” That was the nicer comment. It made me feel too judged and truly, I don’t want to be a negative person. Although, I don’t believe they understood my point of the blog. Which is just expression, trying to move some of that anger-using a creative, non-violent avenue.
        Plus I was trying to keep the blog under wraps. I exposed a lot about myself that my family did not know and now that they know it exists I’ll feel to guarded to truly express myself in raw form. Blah blah blah…I’m a coward….
        But thank you for that. I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my stuff. I guess I should go and stir my compost….

        Like

      • Stir the compost, yes, (I added heaps to mine today), but you’re anything but a coward. What you said to that mother took gold plated balls and a wit few are in possession of. Maybe that was the wrong analogy, but you know what i’m saying.

        Like

  24. I stirred…fucking black gold in that container! Yes! And then I jumped on the trampoline wondering…how do I move this energy? Where is my next creative outlet? Felt so good to write on that “dark” blog. Maybe I’ll start another blog and hope it stays under wraps. Or grow some of those gold plated balls….
    Cheers!
    PS: I’m dying to know… are you British or you just don’t like z’s but really like u’s?

    Like

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