Ben, the current Christian to visit these pages with his claims, has declared that he has evidence that Jesus Christ, the son of his god and the supposed savior of humankind existed. He has directed me to a series of guest posts on his blog that supposedly contain this evidence (this post will deal with the first two, and yes, it’s very much the same stuff I’ve posted before. This is for Ben to comment on since he refuses to post my comments on his blog). He’s also claimed that this evidence is also in “academic libraries”, a recognizable and typical logical fallacy called appeal to authority. If Ben has actually gone to academic libraries, he’d realize that they are not filled only with verified claims. An academic library will have those as well as long superseded claims, that have been demonstrated as false by additional research and complete guesses by authors. Ben may have a background in physics and math, but he does not seem to have a background in research or the writing of academic papers.
Hope against hope, I went out to look at the “evidence” that Ben thinks is so persuasive just in case it was something new. Nope, nothing new at all. It’s a rehash of William Lane Craig’s nonsense and other apologists. Their claims are only valid if you have the presupposition that Christianity is true and if you do not consider how your arguments affect your own religion. In other words, I have never seen one person convert because of the supposed evidence these folks offer, deciding that JC really did exist from the evidence and then deciding to worship him. So if you’ve seen rebuttals to those poorly constructed claims by good ol’ WLC, you’ve seen the rest of the posts on this topic here and don’t need to waste your time.
Ben, you do need to come here and show me how you think this nonsense is actual evidence and rebut my points. That is, if you really do think it’s that great. If not, then you should be willing to admit that and not just ignore how it fails in order to keep your willful ignorance intact.
I’ve found, in my decades of dealing with the false claims of Christians, that they often invite guest posters when they want to trot out a claim but not take personal responsibility for it. They believe that this tactic will give them plausible deniability when it comes to needing to defend the claims made by the guest poster. They will often turn around and when confronted with the failure of the claims claim that “well, *I* don’t believe that, it was just the “guest poster”. So you can’t expect me to defend what they said.” Is that what Ben is doing? That remains to be seen.
Christians like Ben, are correct that if their supposed savior can be shown not to have existed as claimed, then their religion is worthless. Even Paul acknowledged this in 1 Corinthians 15, and his only answer is since Christians exist, then the religion must be true. Like Paul, modern Christians have a problem in that their claims are not based on reality, but on stories told to them. Paul relies on hearsay, and hearsay that not all of the “gospels” agree on. Paul runs into the problem that people that supposedly were around for the claimed events don’t even believe in them. Modern Christians who live thousands of years after such events have it even harder, and as we’ve seen, have to resort to apologetics again and again. They sometimes try to claim that they are only trying to claim a historical Jesus, but it is more than clear that they do not believe in some itinerate Jewish man who claimed he was the messiah, did no miracles, and did nothing to be noticed and also believe that this human is savior of the human race. They believe in a divine being that did miracles, and *that* Jesus, the one that Peter supposedly denied three times, is no where to be found.
First post by Ben’s guest starts with the poster claiming that it is the weight of the evidence that will turn the tide in his favor to show that it is more probable that the resurrection occurred than it didn’t. This is a remarkable “tell” to show that the evidence itself is not terribly convincing at all, even to Christians. Even for them, it’s only “probably” true, but for them faith is not enough so they must gin up claims to convince themselves of such things.
Since we know that the claims of the gospels were held suspect by people perhaps only 60 years after the supposed events, this shows that the poster’s claim that the claims of the gospels were “common knowledge” is false. The poster claims that the gospels are “eyewitness testimony”, which can be shown false by simply reading the gospels. If it were from a certain person’s perspective, who was watching the events at the tomb, events that are completely different from gospel to gospel? Why are they so wrong in number of men/angels, who entered the tomb, what was found there, etc? The claims of “eyewitness testimony” presented as if eyewitness testimony is never questioned is also an indication that the poster has little knowledge about just how inaccurate eyewitness testimony is.
Now, unsurprisingly the poster does the expected. He first tries to claim just how wonderfully accurate the stories are and then turns on a dime to make the usual excuse that the errors are what make it true, because *only* real humans would make such mistakes. A perfect story would be indication that it was made up. As always, Christians can be light on their feet when they must contradict themselves. They unfortunately don’t realize that their gospels are a great example of the game of “telephone” where a phrase is whispered along a line of participants, and it gets mangled by the time it gets to the end. Discrepancies *do* invalidate eyewitness testimony. Anyone who’s been at a criminal trial knows this. Unfortunately, the poster seems to never have participating in one of those. Perhaps if he did, he’d know not to try to lie to the jury as he is attempting in his post.
This poster also tries to claim that the “evidence of the empty tomb” is very important in his second post. Alas, for our poster, he doesn’t seem to realize that no one knows where this supposed tomb is and there is no reason to assume that this story is an actual occurence. There are at least three claimants for where this magical place, the most important place in Christendom is and no one agrees. The poster assumes that there is an actual tomb when there has never been one shown to exist. All we have are details in a story and nothing to support them, much like we have a lot of details about how Isis resurrected Osiris but not a scrap of actual evidence to support that claim either.
Details can make a story seem more real, make it more relatable, but it does not make it true. I would also say that the continual improvement to the story makes it interesting too, like a story told by a fisherman. The gospel of Mark has very little about the resurrection. The women come upon the tomb, find it empty and run. The last few verses after that scene, with its claims of immunity of poison, etc is not on the earliest copies of Mark. Then we have more and more additions, in the later gospels. JC showing up unrecognizable, the apostles coming to the tomb, the finding of the burial cloths. Then JC shows up after the whole thing, hundreds of people come to see him which leads to the point that the author of John has JC doing so many things after he was resurrected, the “whole world” could not contain the books about those stories. My, JC got busy after he was dead, but again, for the claims of so many events by JC existing, it’s again curious that so many people doubted the stories about him so soon after these events supposedly happened. It’s gotten so bad that Paul has to claim that JC came to him but no one else could see JC, since well wouldn’t it be embarrassing if he got the description wrong.
It also seems that our poster has no idea what “historical evidence” actually means. He wants to claim that stories recorded in one single source is incontrovertible historical evidence and he wants to claim that the belief of other people in stories is evidence of the truth of the claims. If this were so, then the claims of the Book of the Dead would be just as much evidence for the Egyptian gods as would their belief in those gods. Thus, the Christian God is just as “probably” real as Amon-Re, Isis, etc. Our poster also claims that since women were used as eyewitnesses in the tale, this means that it must be true, though he also admits that it was no problem for women to be used as witnesses. If there is no problem then claiming that their use is nothing special as he would also try to claim. Christians often have a problem with the wanting their cake and eating it too in their need for evidence to support their flagging faith.
Our poster also wants to claim that since the apostles preached in Jerusalem, the story must be true since it would be easy enough to find contradicting evidence and there was none found. There was no body of Jesus to be found so, per the poster, it *must* have been magically resurrected. The Jews who were written to have a “polemic” must have really said that too. All of what Silverswiper claims is based on the assumption that there was a JC in the first place. There is no evidence that any of the story happened. No one noticed the supposed earthquake or sky darkening. No one noticed the dead “saints” walking the streets. No one noticed a man who supposedly gathered a Roman legion’s worth of men (plus their women and children) just outside of an occupied city. No one noticed a man raising the dead or causing trouble in the temple. The Jews don’t notice JC either, so it’s rather hard for them to be claimed to “know” that the tomb was empty when this supposed messiah avoided their notice (yes, there is one mention of a Joshua who was a sorcerer, funny how he was hanged by the Jews rather than cruxified by the Romans and didn’t come back at all).
It was all in a story. I may as well say that all of the events of Die Hard took place in reality too, and it’s just magic that no one saw helicopters crash or a terrorist fall 30 stories in Los Angeles. Why Hans Gruber must have resurrected too!
This sentence by the poster is probably the best one out of these first two posts about supposed evidence. “The empty tomb is a well-supported historical fact. It is easily explained by Jesus’ actual resurrection.” Nice circular reasoning there, isn’t it? The empty tomb is supported by the resurrection which is supported by the empty tomb. But again, we have no tomb at all to start with.
Second piece of this review of supposed evidence will be up when Ben’s guest poster finishes his four part series.