Quantcast

«

»

Feb 27 2007

From the sidelines, another “historical” Jesus flap

When religionists get into nasty debates because one of them thinks he’s found such-and-such evidence proving this or that claim about their god/savior/holy man, and all the others think he’s full of it for one reason or another, atheists find themselves in the curious position of watching the whole scrap from the sidelines. It’s like being a parent, watching your kids arguing over topics that seem profoundly important to them, like who would win in a fight between Superman and the Incredible Hulk, but couldn’t matter a hill of beans to you as you spend most of your time in the real world.

Most recently, there was the whole flapdoodle over The DaVinci Code, a bad novel that became a boring movie that nevertheless sold zillions and launched an entire cottage industry of Christian apologetics works dedicated solely to debunking the novel. That evangelists sincerely seemed to believe that the faith of millions could be blasted to smithereens by a book written and openly marketed as fiction (and thus at least more honest than the Bible in that regard) says more about the worth of faith than any criticism an atheist could make.

Now we have a similar media circus in the offing over a Discovery Channel documentary premiering this coming weekend, executive produced by no less a filmmaking luminary than the King of the World himself, James Cameron.

The Lost Tomb of Jesus purports to present physical evidence of not only the burial place of Jesus, but also Mary Magdelene, and the rest of a whole massive family the two of them are said to have sired as man and wife. That this claim will prove staggeringly provocative to Christians doesn’t begin to describe the full impact of it. If what the documentary claims is true (and I’m not for a nanosecond saying it is), then it would be proof that the Resurrection never occurred. And if the Resurrection never occurred, then Christianity is false. Full frickin’ stop. Two thousand years, untold billions of minds washed and lives lost for the biggest of all lies.

We atheists already know pretty confidently that Christianity is false, but this documentary casually intends to be marketed to a mass audience, in the interests of telling them to their faces that their whole lives are a lie, and claiming to offer “historical evidence” that this is so. On the face of it we atheists ought to find the whole thing amusing as all git-out, and to a degree it is. But it’s too bad that this documentary is going to be 100% full of crap, its “evidence” not worth the paper it’s printed on. Christians will rightly dismiss it as not proving a thing, then go on to get the wrong idea that their traditional beliefs have been given an intellectual shot in the arm. Lost in the shuffle will be any room for legitimate discussions of why Christianity ought to be rejected, buried under the media-feuled “controversy” over “evidence” that isn’t really evidence claiming to disprove something that the use of common sense alone ought to be sufficient to reject as stuff and nonsense.

Let me say that, as a filmmaker currently at work on a documentary of my own, the idea of slapping together a doc like this with such obviously slapdash and credulous research work offends my professional sensibilities almost as much as being told Jesus not only didn’t get crucified but repeatedly bred with Mary Mag would offend a Christian. Director Simcha Jacobovici seems to have gone about the project the same way creationists think you do science: start with the predetermined answer, grab whetever evidence looks supportive of it, and rush the results to the public without any of that pesky peer review.

After all, doesn’t it just seem awfully conveeeenient that the entire family crypt of the guy everyone believes died and rose from the dead because he was actually, you know, God just happened to be found beneath a Jerusalem apartment complex? With everybody’s names on all of the ossuaries so you’ll know who was packed where?



Jesus and Family buried here. For real. They have a nice little lintel and everything.


Cameron himself, whom many folks were starting to think was a guy who had some respect for science after his recent deep sea documentaries and oft-stated desire to shoot 3D IMAX footage on location in orbit, sounds no less dippy and doe-eyed than Oprah when he discusses his attraction to Jacobovici’s project: “I’m not a biblical scholar, but it seemed pretty darned compelling.” Replace “biblical scholar” with “biologist,” and “it” with “intelligent design,” and you’ll see the intellectual laziness of Cameron in all its embarrassing glory.

Not exactly redounding to Jacobovici’s credibility is the fact that he was taken in by that infamous recent forgery, the James ossuary. If he was that easily gulled then, what’s stopping him now? Especially as he’s clearly a man on a mission to be the world’s first to present proof of any physical remains of Jesus. And rack up huge ratings while doing it, of course.

Devastating fiskings of the claims the documentary makes aren’t hard to turn up. And over the period the doc airs, we’ll see Christian sites getting into the ring with their objections too. And once again, we atheists will be sitting here on the sidelines, shaking our heads and wondering why the kids get so worked up arguing over superheroes and fantasy, when they could be doing their homework, devoting their time to knowledge and learning — something real.

17 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    D.A.N.

    Think of the greatness of the sun. It silently rises and sets each day, painting our skies with magnificent colors. Yet every second, millions of tons of hydrogen are destroyed in explosions that start somewhere near the core of our sun, where the temperature is 13 million degrees Celsius. That’s hot. The earth’s entire oil, coal and wood reserves would fuel its energy output to the earth alone for only a few days. Tongues of hydrogen flame leap from the surface with the force of one billion hydrogen bombs! They are thrust up by the enormous thermonuclear explosion at the core of the sun where 564 million tons of hydrogen fuse each second to form helium. Almighty God created it, and guilty sinners have to face Him on the Day of His Wrath. What an unspeakably fearful thing.

  2. 2
    Martin

    I suppose it would be, if someone were dumb enough to believe that.

  3. 3
    Zed

    I have been reading some xian fiskings of this docudrama and it is apparent that xians suck at fisking, but then again they suck at apologetics also.They clearest exception to be made is that if a hypothetical Jesus died then the history was written after the fact by no one who knew him, the result lack any evidence between the grave and the new testament.

  4. 4
    D.A.N.

    Here is a little explanation that is appropriate to that last comment. It explains the gap that you are talking about Zed. By the way, I consider myself to be evangelical fundamentalist with a monotheistic belief system.40 year gap

  5. 5
    D.A.N.

    Rebuttal to your comments on my blog here

  6. 6
    checkitontheinside

    “When they could be doing their homework, devoting their time to knowledge and learning — something real.”I think that is the best thing I have heard so far on this site.When I saw the commercial on the Discovery Channel, I was excited to see that there was someone doing research on the subject and publishing something. I enjoy the Discovery Channel and trust the information they give. I spoke with my pastor about the Discovery Channel show and he completely dismissed it. He said, that Jesus and Mary were very common names during the time of Jesus. I retorted with but they are looking for DNA. He responded with The DNA evidence, because of age, is partial at best. I had to agree with that. He also stated that to base any information on the non-cannon texts is a bad idea. Here I am quoting the email he sent. “I just don’t have a lot of trust in non-canonical sources. I’ve read a lot of them and frankly the style is so bad, the blatant attempts at polemics so obvious, that I find them even less objective than the canonical documents. A few minutes with “The Gospel of Mary” or the “Last Testament of Peter” makes you appreciate the New Testament canon.”I am sure you guys don’t care about the value of my pastor’s information but I can assure you he knows his stuff. He is the ….brightest…. pastor I know. I can really relate to him. When we talk I get a lot of really good information about the bible, Civil War, works of literature and other random topics.

  7. 7
    D.A.N.

    You are really cracking me up on the position of your article. Let’s go to the common sense file again. It is clear your article has no common sense, you are forgetting to pose the question of why would Christians, who base the entire belief system on the resurrection, burry all of then in clearly marked graves (or ossuaries) and in a tomb that is not hidden? In my opinion, this story will sink faster then the titanic. This is so absurd and lacking common sense entirely. There is evidence like all four accounts of the gospel, Paul’s account in the bible, and even the great historian Luke in the bible. There is factual information that Jesus did appear to some 500 people after the resurrection. Even the Roman guards with the standing orders to crucify anyone upside-down if they go near the tomb, found the two ton rock removed and Jesus gone. All people of all walks of life and different ethnic backgrounds and different economic statuses all collectively believe and have experienced The Lord. Most all religions believe in Jesus i.e. Indian and Tibetan Buddhists consider Jesus a great guru and bodhisattva (a redeemer) and even Muslims and the Koran speaks of Jesus. There is truly overwhelming evidence that Jesus did exist and was resurrected and performed miracles recorded in history in many different locations. For Him,Dan

  8. 8
    Martin

    Dan, we happen to think the documentary is most likely a crock, something you seem to have missed in your reading of the original post. However, the “evidence” you offer in rebuttal to it is no less inane than the rebuttal you attempted to make to my comment on your blog. What “factual information” is it that you think you have for Jesus’ resurrection? Why, the Bible, of course. (That the Gospels each contradict one another on the event itself doesn’t seem to have registered with you.) And what extra-biblical historical evidence are you providing to shore up the biblical accounts? Why, none at all, of course. Because, of course, there are none. (And yes, before you bring it up, we know about Josephus.)The fact is that it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty anything about Jesus’ life at all. Both you and these documentary filmmakers are simply trying to sell competing versions of a popular myth. That people from all walks of life and different backgrounds have chosen to believe this myth has no bearing on whether it can be proved as historical fact.At least checkit’s pastor is a refreshing reminder that there are some in the Christian community whose thinking is not entirely muddled on this issue. (Though I disagree with his rationale for trusting the NT canon any more than non-canonical texts. What we need are accounts from unbiased, non-Christian, non-biblical sources, and these are pretty thin on the ground…say, nonexistent.)

  9. 9
    D.A.N.

    Martin,You are going by what you have read at all these atheist web sites. You must RESEARCH IT and find out for yourself what is right and wrong especially when your salvation is at stake here. You are making sweeping arguments and not commenting on the specifics that I even address at my blog in the comments section. You stated: “That the Gospels each contradict one another on the event itself doesn’t seem to have registered with you.” This is a typical atheist or even a bully response to try to talk down to someone who disagrees with them but I will move on with the discussion. I hope I can help you understand the bible a little better so here it goes. The bible is infallible. In Matthew and Mark two different people are describing the same things. They do not use the exact words because two different brains are interpreting the same occurrence like if you and I were to watch fireworks and you would describe the different colors and I would describe all the different shapes. It still is the same thing so maybe you can point out the differences in detail. By saying the Bible is a lie is saying God is a lie and I can discuss that error at a latter date.There are many history books that correlate the bible and the events that happened but I will admit you have to “research it”. You ask for evidence and it’s all out there in books and yes even on the web (if it is credible site). For instance in first and second Corinthians Paul is talking to “The Corinthians” or the people of “Corinth” do you not believe that they once existed? Here is one site that talks about the town of Corinth. There are countless examples like these but you can not ignore them, like the other points I made at my blog that you chose to ignore. Prove the things in the bible did not exist. It will be impossible to say that Jesus did not say this or did not say that because the bible itself is written history that explains everything that took place. Let me ask you this; is a journal and calendar admissible in court as evidence of an event? You bet it is, and the bible is just that a journal and a calendar of events written down to record the history of that time. Is an American History book a lie? To recklessly say it isn’t evidence would not work in court and is typical atheist rhetoric but not substantiated with proof. I don’t want to use this as evidence by any means but there is an old saying that states “if thirty people tell you that you’re drunk, then fall down” and if 85% of this nation alone and some 90% of all of history of mankind believes in the bible and even believes that Jesus did exist and did perform true miracles and did resurrect from the grave to cheat death. Is a group of people that large of a sample just plain mass hysteria? Then couldn’t you just conclude that maybe, just maybe, it is true. Just fall down because you are drunk!For Him,Dan

  10. 10
    Martin

    Well Dan, you seem pretty confident about your biblical expertise. Let’s see how much you get right and how much you get wrong.The bible is infallible.Gong! Strike one! The Bible is a collection of books written over a period of thousands of years by hundreds of writers, then edited into its current form following centuries of ecclesiastical haggling. The present NT canon was not decided upon until the year 397. Also, numerous passages have been rewritten by various copyists, scribes, and editors, and as no original manuscripts of any single biblical book exist, it is impossible to tell what those manuscripts initially said compared to what people read today. Literally thousands of inconsistencies have been documented, not the least of which are the two conflicting creation myths in Genesis 1.So to claim that the Bible is “infallible” after all of the extreme makeovers it has gone through to get to us is simple willful ignorance.In Matthew and Mark two different people are describing the same things. They do not use the exact words because two different brains are interpreting the same occurrence like if you and I were to watch fireworks and you would describe the different colors and I would describe all the different shapes.Gong! Strike two! Really, Dan, this is pathetic. Let’s look at the differences between the resurrection stories in Matthew and Mark.In Matthew, the resurrection is witnessed only by Mary and Mary Magdelene, plus some temple guards, who faint dead away when an earthquake (that no one else in Jerusalem feels? hmm) signals the arrival of the angel who rolls away the stone. Jesus then meets the two Marys, but, oddly, only after they have run from the tomb to tell the others.In Mark, Mary and Mary Magdalene are accompanied by a third woman, Salome. There are no guards, nor is there any earthquake. Instead, the stone has already been rolled away from the tomb and the angel is already there, waiting for them. Jesus does not appear to the women then, only later, and later still he appears to the remaining 11 disciples.So by simply reading the text of the Gospels themselves (not some atheist website), it is clear this is not a case of two people simply giving slightly different descriptions of a shared event. These are two distinctly different accounts. And the defense you’ve made (“two different brains are interpreting the same occurrence like if you and I were to watch fireworks and you would describe the different colors and I would describe all the different shapes”) is absurd on its face, for two reasons: 1) if the text really is something to go by, then neither Matthew or Mark were themselves present to witness the resurrection according to the very gospel accounts, and 2) just about every biblical scholar worthy of his degree agrees that the canonical gospels were written many decades after the fact by unknown hands, and not the men for whom they are named. The earliest gospel that can be dated is Luke, and that only takes you back to about 70 or so. So a reasonable conclusion to make is that the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life are based on word-of-mouth stories passed down over a few decades, and undeniably soaked in myth because of it. This was an age when people believed in oracles written in sheep entrails. It’s no stretch to think a story about a holy man coming back from the dead would be promptly and widely believed in such a primitive culture.For instance in first and second Corinthians Paul is talking to “The Corinthians” or the people of “Corinth” do you not believe that they once existed?Well duh, Dan. That the Bible features many actual known historical locations and what have you does not mean one should automatically believe all of its supernatural claims. Most of the ancient Greek and Roman myths include real locations too, but that fact does not stand as evidence of the existence of Zeus. Spider-Man comics take place in New York City, but that does not mean Spider-Man exists. (And if there are, as you say, “many history books” that shore up biblical claims, why didn’t you name any so that we could read them for ourselves?)I don’t want to use this as evidence by any means but there is an old saying that states “if thirty people tell you that you’re drunk, then fall down”If you don’t want to use it as evidence, why bring it up, as it only makes your arguments sound even sillier than they already do. These are all irrelevant points. Every historical work, whether it’s biblical history or American history, ought to be evaluated by what evidence actually supports it. Biblical history is naturally going to be harder to support with evidence, both because it’s so ancient, and, unlike American history, it’s chock full of supernatural claims that we are told we are supposed to take “on faith”. That may be fine for guys like you, but not for those of us coming at the issue as a scholarly matter. Dan, I admire you coming over here to defend your beliefs. You’re trying to fight well above your weight class, and that takes guts. But if you’re going to respond to the facts we give you by whining poisoning-the-well logical fallacies (“typical atheist bully response”, etc.), then it seems you’re still not ready for adult swim yet. You’re welcome to keep trying, but you’ve got quite a way to go before you get good at your apologetics.

  11. 11
    Martin

    One more note while I’m at it. This remark: if 85% of this nation alone and some 90% of all of history of mankind believes in the bible and even believes that Jesus did exist and did perform true miracles and did resurrect from the grave to cheat death. Is a group of people that large of a sample just plain mass hysteria? Then couldn’t you just conclude that maybe, just maybe, it is true.…is a logical fallacy called the Appeal to Popularity. It could also be called the Appeal to Belief. If you wish to come here and argue, understand that you are dealing with experienced debaters and, in many cases, people who have been academically trained to argue. We can spot bad arguments a mile away, and nothing marks a person as a bad arguer more than the clueless use of logical fallacies. Do yourself a favor and learn what these are, so you don’t make them again and waste both our time and yours. We will, of course, call you on every bad argument and fallacy you make.

  12. 12
    D.A.N.

    OK I understand your points and they are valid but to explore the mind of one atheist out there I have a few points for you. For the extreme makeovers comment I only read the KJV because it was the first translation from the original Greek and Hebrew text and it was “accepted as so” by many smart scholars at the time. You are correct these days with all the different versions now there is a miscommunication of scripture. Just to be consistent and true I use the original translation of the year 1611 KJV.I argue because I have a strong belief and evidence that if you are wrong you will go to hell and I don’t want that and you are arguing why? Is it trying to be right, or is it something deeper like revenge to God? Are you on a mission to disprove there is a God to yourself or others (doing the work of the devil). I really didn’t want to be repetitive but I have yet to get an answer for these points from a different atheist that I posed this to. So I feel it is fitting to ask them to you. The points are still valid to this discussion so I will submit them as “exhibit A” but read it as though I am giving them to you, which I am now doing. I will try not to repeat my arguments even though many atheist sound like Richard Dawkins clones. “Point 1: I want to ask what are the atheists or to personalize it more, Martin’s ‘ultimate purpose in life’ do you agree to the statement of ‘Atheists will admit to feeling that there is something more to existence -something bigger’ Do you think that this existence is really it and this is the best we can have, survival of the most corrupt and evil. Man being corrupt and flawed is just the best the universe has to offer?Point 2: If we all destroy all of us will that be it then? Do you think then some mole rat will take over as the dominate species. Fanatic Islam blowing up things until a country gets fed up and nukes the world. I can not in my heart when I look up in the sky, believe that this is all we will have. That there is something more out there for us to do then to just pollute and destroy. What an incredible waste of space (to coin a phrase from Contact). Point 3: Do you honestly believe that all of this, even our morals, intellect, DNA and all the facets of life happened by accident or by some sort of order and design?Point 4: Do you believe that Jesus did exist and moved people enough to have people write about him? There were many people in history that saw what Jesus did and wrote about him. Even the apocrypha’s about him were written even if they may have had different eastern or western flair at times. It still moved enough people for it to last longer then even many governments like I pointed out earlier. People wrote about Plato and Socrates also but no one in history claimed that they were God or that they performed any miracles but they were very intelligent men that warranted people writing about them. Do you even give Jesus that credit? That maybe he talked like no one in the world ever and it stirred the world enough to keep this movement going this long? In summation as a basis for most of my arguments I use scripture because that is what the Christian has a Schoolmaster for his learning of God. I have heard that it is flawed and unreliable by atheist but it is what we have as a baseline and evidence of theology. To negate it you, as an atheist, must negate all books of science and physics (your basis of knowledge) theory or otherwise. You have your books as evidence and we have ours. I am trying real hard to get some sort of C.S. Lewis conversion out of you where he was a devote atheist who, in his search to disprove Christianity, became a Christian himself. I do honor your opinions even though without faith it will be impossible for any Atheist to understand God because that is the exact thing that he requires of us. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.As for my slogan I made up before I am correcting it because of an oversight in my spelling which as you know by now is quite atrocious. The slogan now is: When an Atheist wins an argument, he loses eternity.”Martin, I am sincere when I say I care, it is not just Christian babble. I actually care, look at that quote I made up, you loose the gift of eternity in heaven and it’s hard to watch you all go down. It is like noticing a house on fire and I see a child in the house playing with his toys oblivious to his surroundings and I scream “Get out! your going to burn!” You are that child (of God’s). Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?. Oh that’s right verses are kryptonite to atheist. I must admit you are all helping me with my hermeneutics and apologetics but it is at a great expense and that is very sad. I am wrong and we are all worm food, so what, if you are wrong you go to hell for eternity. 2 Corinthians 5:11 comes to mind.For Him,Dan

  13. 13
    checkitontheinside

    There are many history books that correlate the bible and the events that happened but I will admit you have to “research it”. I honestly have found trouble finding information on bible events that correlate history. Telling me to research it is a poor service to anyone. I have heard many pastors talk about how much history is in the bible. However, never provide anything to read or look at. Do you know where to find it?The difference between Secularists and Christians has always frustrated me. I can read a brand new book written by Dawkins for free at the library. However, a new book written by any nearly theologian costs money. Theologians offer some information without money but the information is, at best, elementary. I understand that everyone needs to make money to survive. Dawkins has his day job as a professor and a media guru for Atheism. Many of the theologians have a church, temple, radio and TV viewers they serve. However, it is the church’s responsibility to further the faith, not Dawkins.Dawkins, and many other evangelical Atheists, have to responsibility to spread the message of Atheistic. They feel obligated to do so because they think that a supernatural god only generally causes chaos between people. On the other hand, Christians are commanded, >the great commission, to spread the faith. Yet, they offer none of their research into the bible for free. I have found a few exceptions to this rule. For example, Faith with reason: Why Christianity is true which is a book given out by the few people who even address a reasoned mind.

  14. 14
    Martin

    I argue because I have a strong belief and evidence that if you are wrong you will go to hell and I don’t want that and you are arguing why? Is it trying to be right, or is it something deeper like revenge to God? Are you on a mission to disprove there is a God to yourself or others (doing the work of the devil).Then please present this evidence. My view is that if a God exists who first refuses to make his existence unambiguously clear, then chooses to punish people with an etertnity of torture for doubting his existence, then that God is evil by definition and not worthy of worship or even respect by anyone with a shred of respect for human dignity. But such a God does not exist so we have nothing to worry about there. What we do have to worry about is a world full of relgionists who persistently want to shove that deviant belief down our throats. If we’re on a “mission” to do anything, it’s just to live our lives in peace without the vile cancer of religion being imposed upon it.I will try not to repeat my arguments even though many atheist sound like Richard Dawkins clones.I don’t suspect you’ve actually read any Dawkins, but that’s neither here nor there.Point 1: I want to ask what are the atheists or to personalize it more, Martin’s ‘ultimate purpose in life’ do you agree to the statement of ‘Atheists will admit to feeling that there is something more to existence -something bigger’ Do you think that this existence is really it and this is the best we can have, survival of the most corrupt and evil. Man being corrupt and flawed is just the best the universe has to offer?So what if it is? Who said life was perfect? Who said the universe owes us anything? If your perfect God existed, then you might have a reason to complain life isn’t perfect. But we live in a natural universe, with flawed people trying to make their way as best they can. And considering how much corruption and evil comes from people who claim to have a direct line to God, religion seems to be a very large reason for the flaws and corruption you disdain. Yes, lacking any evidence to the contrary, this existence is all we have. Therefore we must make the best of it we can. We can start by abandoning ancient myths designed to inculcate guilt and fear and distrust of one’s fellow man.Point 2: If we all destroy all of us will that be it then? Do you think then some mole rat will take over as the dominate species. Fanatic Islam blowing up things until a country gets fed up and nukes the world. I can not in my heart when I look up in the sky, believe that this is all we will have. That there is something more out there for us to do then to just pollute and destroy. What an incredible waste of space (to coin a phrase from Contact).It would be, so let’s abandon the belief systems that encourage followers to hate and destroy and start trying to live together in peace and harmony for a change. I can’t help what you can or can’t believe about this being all there is, but wishing does not make things so. We have to start improving the world now.Point 3: Do you honestly believe that all of this, even our morals, intellect, DNA and all the facets of life happened by accident or by some sort of order and design?As with most folks ignorant of the basic sciences involved, you’re conflating a number of things here. Accident, for lack of a better term, may well be the reason we’re here, but life on earth evolved through a nonrandom process called natural selection. Our intellect developed via the same process, while our development of morals has been an ongoing process of exercising that intellect.Point 4: Do you believe that Jesus did exist and moved people enough to have people write about him? There were many people in history that saw what Jesus did and wrote about him.There is ongoing argument about whether there was an actual historical Jesus. My own opinion is that it’s possible that the Jesus of the NT was inspired by or based on one or more actual people. (Though much of the Jesus story is swiped from the worship of Mithra, a popular savior figure at the time.) But even if we had solid proof that there was such a man, that would get us no closer towards proving the existence of God or the Bible’s supernatural claims. The existence of Jesus is a historical curiosity but not much more than that. And the longevity of Christianity is not that impressive. The gods of ancient Egypt were worshipped for around 5,000 years.I have heard that it is flawed and unreliable by atheist but it is what we have as a baseline and evidence of theology. To negate it you, as an atheist, must negate all books of science and physics (your basis of knowledge) theory or otherwise. You have your books as evidence and we have ours.Sheer, unadulterated hogwash. Science is based on actual research. It’s a process of drawing conclusions about the natural world through observation and experimentation, and scientific works are verifiable by such experimentation and are vetted by a process called peer review to ensure that their conclusions stand up to rigorous examination and testing. What you have is a 2000 year old holy book full of claims about angels and devils and talking donkeys, that people are instructed to “believe” on “faith”. There is no basis whatever for comparison between the two.(Reply continued later…)

  15. 15
    Martin

    I am trying real hard to get some sort of C.S. Lewis conversion out of you where he was a devote atheist who, in his search to disprove Christianity, became a Christian himself. I do honor your opinions even though without faith it will be impossible for any Atheist to understand God because that is the exact thing that he requires of us.As long as you require us to take the Bible’s extraordinary claims on “faith” and not evidence, you’re going to have a hard time getting that conversion. And you should also note that most of us here had religious upbringings. Therefore you’re not really giving us a pitch we haven’t heard before.Having read Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I’m unimpressed. Hopefully you’ll be able to offer better.Martin, I am sincere when I say I care, it is not just Christian babble. I actually care, look at that quote I made up, you loose the gift of eternity in heaven and it’s hard to watch you all go down.I fully understand you are sincere. But unlike you, atheists do not have the hubris that leads us to expect eternity, to think that a life of never-ending bliss and perfection is our due. We are here for as long as we’re here. I’d like to live a million years, but that isn’t reality. I prefer to focus on reality, and not the unreality of wishful thinking.

  16. 16
    Stephen

    I am trying real hard to get some sort of C.S. Lewis conversion out of you where he was a devote atheist who, in his search to disprove Christianity, became a Christian himself.Dan, it may come as a surprise to you that I, Martin, and many others here have already had just such a conversion, only in reverse.We grew up in devout Christian homes, and became “saved,” according to every metric you likely apply to yourself. Then a funny thing happend: our faith became so strong that we were willing to question our dearly-held beliefs with honesty and integrity, with the goal of determining, once and for all, which tenets of our faith were actually true. We were so assured in our faith as to be absolutely confident that close, unbiased scrutiny and healthy skepticism would only confirm what we already believed. As a result, we sought, and we found–just not what we expected to find.As we sincerely studied each major area of apologetics underpinning our faith (origins, history of the Bible and its construction, effectiveness of prayer, etc.), we discovered that secular answers were consistently better than Christian answers. We discovered, to our shock and dismay, the degree to which apologists had systemmatically lied to us. This, in turn, drove further cycnicism and curiosity, such that we dug deeper and deeper, asking tougher and tougher questions, at every step resolving more and more of the illusions, half-truths, deceptions and lies of Christian apologetics.After realizing that all of the reasons I thought I had for believing were founded upon either the sand of apologetics or the vapor of faith, I was no longer able to sustain belief. I had to reconstruct my understanding of the universe, somewhat literally, from the ground up. Along the way, I discovered several reasons why, even if God or gods exist, I should not believe in or worship them.So it’s a bit of an insult for you to come here and suggest that you know more about Christianity than we do. We have been where you are. You have not been where we are. Neither, for that matter, has C.S. Lewis.I am no longer able to sustain belief in the Christian God, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume he does exist, and that every single word of the King James Version of the Bible is true. What if it’s entirely up to God to choose whom he will save and whom he will burn? What if, in his infinite love and glory, God has predestined a subset of us, among formerly devout Christians, to be tormented for all eternity? (Romans 9:14-23)If the Bible is true, who am I to violate God’s will by believing in him? Who are you to violate his will by trying to convert us back?Martin, I am sincere when I say I care, it is not just Christian babble. I actually care, look at that quote I made up, you loose the gift of eternity in heaven and it’s hard to watch you all go down.It is good that you care. In my experience, most Christians do not. But if you genuinely believe that a wrathful God is nonetheless worthy of worship, why would it bother you at all to think of us being tormented in Hell for all eternity? It doesn’t add up.

  17. 17
    D.A.N.

    OK I will answer all the newest points on your new blog “An evangelical visitor” It will take me a couple of minutes to answer all points but I will do my best. To stay on subject on this blog I wanted to point out that we should not forget his last adventure trying to disprove the Bible hereJames Cameron is someone not to count on for facts this is for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>