Back near Easter, I had a youngish Christian wanting to try out apologetics on me. He’s back and I’m very pleased that he did return. It’s not a easy thing to debate religion with an atheist, and one as aggressive as I am.
You can see his post attempting to refute my post about easter here. I figured I’d make my answer here and there so we can have a nice fresh page to debate on.
Hah, and you think your post is long! Hi Derek, Again, thanks for returning. I know that it can be uncomfortable to discuss Christianity and theism with an atheist. I am definitely one of the more aggressive ones, so be warned. And don’t worry about length. You’ve certainly seen where I don’t give a hoot how long a post is. I’d love to have parakeets but I think my cats would terrorize them to death. I need a big ol’ crow that could stand its own.
My point about the second class citizens is that the Bible has much about how second-class women are and has one very little bit about how everyone is supposed to be equal. As always, the parts of the bible to be followed depend on the person, not some idea that the words are a divine truth. There are some sects that do not treat women as such, but most consider a woman less than a man, basing their nonsense on Paul. Of course, most of these sects ignore the parts about women not teaching, because that’s rather inconvenient in the US. IJM does good work (though there are some questionable things they’ve done as my research has shown). However, the basic idea of women as second-class is about as Christian as the idea of taking care of the least of these.
I’ve always been interested in the various sects of Christianity. My former church was Presbyterian. It split because one woman said that this god told her that the church we had needed to be torn down and replaced. The “new church” half was recognized by the Presbytery and the other considered well, I think heretics isn’t too strong a word since they didn’t believe the woman’s claims and kept the old church. They became an independent church. It seems that splits like this are always happening in Christianity, there’s always someone who thinks that they have the “right” version. Open theism is certainly a strange one. It seems like a rather curious attempt to make God over into what reality indicates, a way to have a god but excuse its incompetence. It certainly isn’t the god of Christianity it’s describing.
I’d like to ask you, why do you “lean” more towards Wesleyan Aminian theology? What makes it better than say Calvinism or Roman Catholicism?
Now, onto the other stuff. There is no evidence that this cruxifiction happened at all. If it happened on a Passover, one could recalculate it since Passover is based on lunar events. There would also have been a Roman date which we also could figure out what it was in our calendar, and Romans are anything but “atemporal” as a people. But we have neither. And yes, dates are forced on other ancient documents. We know Alexander’s birthday. That we do not know one of the most important dates in your religion makes it seem very odd to me. I ask you to tell me what reference to Jesus are contemporary and non-biblical. I want to know which ones you are talking about before I tear into them. Again, there is no evidence anyone was cruxifed as this man. But, assuming the story is true, then he was crucified as a danger to Rome. He was also supposedly famous for doing miracles, so much so that he had over a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) just outside of Jerusalem an occupied city. And no one noticed this, in a country that was, as you said, known for revolts. Or remarked upon this to the soldiers. Knowing more than a few soldiers, I find that hard to believe considering how they gossip.
Different accounts and different viewpoints does not excuse why entirely contradictory events were claimed. These events cannot have occurred together. There can’t be more than one “first into the tomb”. There can’t be the thieves tormenting Jesus and then not doing so. There cannot be a Jesus so distraught in Gesthemane that he wept blood, and a Jesus that did not weep at all and had no trouble going to the cross. The bible presents all of these as the “truth” and they cannot all be; so why consider any to be the truth and not just a set of stories? Your example of breaking a leg in Hawaii can be proven by evidence of a certain event happening. Your story will not say “ I broke my skull.” It will not say “I was in Massachusetts”. If it did, you would be providing misinformation, correct? Since the Gospels do contradict themselves, they can be shown to be doing the same thing. This is not simply different viewpoints or different emphases. It is claims that one thing happened and then a completely different thing happened. One of the events is not true (per you perhaps intentionally) and I know that the Bible says that lies and liars are not loved by this god, with no exceptions given at all.
This is not simply not mentioning something as in your second example, it is giving another event that precludes the priorly claimed one from happening.
You claim that we can’t hold the people writing then to the same standards as now. Why not? They weren’t stupid. They wrote the truth as often as we do, so it is anachronistic at all to expect them to write facts down and hold to those facts. Writing to an audience does not require changing what are supposedly the facts. There is no evidence to show that Matthew and Luke were adding their “own recollections” since we have no evidence that the event happened at all or that they were there. Another explanation, just as valid, is that they were adding stuff to make the story more appealing and that stuff never happened. Humans can invent things or borrow things, Derek, and they could have been doing it then just like humans do it now with the claims of miracles and other nonsense. The authors cannot be shown to be apostles or anything like that; they were written by people we do not know well at all over a span of decades at best. We do not know their provenance and your arguments depend on believing things that are not true. And no, it would not take an infinite amount of pages for any biography.
It may have not been an intentional hoax. Other religions pop up and I don’t think they are intentional hoaxes. Do you? People hear things and elaborate on them. And people aren’t necessarily stupid. They can simply be ignorant and wanting to believe in such things. It’s very attractive, a religion that says that even slaves will get magical rewards in heaven, that some omnipotent being loves you and will answer your prayers. Again, the friends aren’t saying that you broke your skull when you broke your leg or saying that you were in Massachusetts when you were in Hawaii. That is what the authors of the gospels have done. Your analogy fails again since we are not talking about omission. We are talking about events that cannot happen concurrently and both be true. The authors have no idea if the stories are true but report them as true, and they cannot be shown to be true via any other source. Now, there were people writing in ancient times that did their best to cooroborate their stories, so it is no excuse to say it’s anachronistic again. It was done, these people didn’t do it, so why? It’s like now. People want to claim things as true and do their best to remain willfully ignorant of anything that contradicts them, for example creationists. They have a reason to intentionally tell a false tale and it is for no beneficial purpose to those they tell it too.
Your analogy does bring up one more problem: why can’t this god keep its story straight? It has supposedly influenced mankind over and over again? Why not now? Why the confusion? And nice try but no, police do not automatically assume that just because stories are the same or similar, the witnesses have talked to get their claims to match. Nor do they assume that since there are differences, it must be true. It always amuses me when Christians want to use both arguments “the gospels are the same so it must be true. The difference don’t matter at all” and “the gospels are different so it must be true. The differences matter very much.” Which is it?
The timing issue and the cock are little things when it comes to the problems in the stories. I’ve listed them in the blog post and some again in this post at the beginning. I known that it’s constantly debated of what happened, when it happened and what does it “mean”. That’s why we have Christian sects up to our eyeballs. No one can agree on this nonsense that is supposedly some magical truth. And no they do not agree on the MAIN points, Derek. You want to pick and choose what you want to claim as “main points” so you can ignore the problems. You want to pick and choose what to take literally and figuratively. Each Christian does that, and we have a million different variations of what is “really” literal and what is “really” figurative. Again this is why we have so many sects, because Christians aren’t one big happy family. I have called that the magic decoder ring. And the magic decoder rings have changed since the scientific method has been around. What was declared as true and inviolate has been shown to be untrue. Yep, the claims of the earthquake is nonsense and the dead walking is even more hilarious. But everyone used to think it literally true. And now, since we know it’s not by evidence and investigation, those things become just figurative conveniently and why Matthew simply *must* have been using a mysterious “literary device” that no one can explain. Now, I can say that the whole Christ story is figurative, that it’s just an ideal being put forth. What tells you that it must be literal? We have no evidence for the events in it, so why think it, and not the earthquake or the walking dead literally true? Does this mean that the miracles aren’t true, that no one was raised from the dead, fed fish and loaves or saw JC walking on water? Or resurrected?
To me, this running around trying to find evidence, claiming bits figurative and literal is the best indication that most, if not all, Christians have very little faith. Someone with faith, aka belief in the unseen, would not be so desperate as many Christians are when they are looking for evidence. It is unfortunately easy to watch them intentionally lie to provide supposed “evidence”, they keep themselves willfully ignorant so they do not encounter things that might shake their faith. We have had Christians, Jews, Muslims, looking for evidence for millennia and you have found nothing. Does that mean that they never will? No, but the prospects are certainly looking dim.
You have said that you believe that JC is real and this text doesn’t dissuade me from that. Let me ask: what would dissuade you or are you blindly faithful and would never consider anything that might show you that you are wrong, either that atheism is correct or that another religion got it right?
Oh and earthquakes are easy to find. 2000 years is nothing when it comes to geological evidence. So, if there is no evidence yet, there is no reason to think it’s hiding or worn away. You might as well as say “we were created last Thursday and God is playing hide and seek for no reason or that we got the wrong god.” If a god wants to hide all of the evidence, then it is intentionally damning honest people and that whole story about the lost lamb is complete nonsense. I can see a vicious god like this but I don’t think that is the god you claim exists