Bart Ehrman v. Mike Licona Debate: "Can Historians Prove the Resurrection of Jesus?"

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

The other 12 parts can be found on YouTube.

BTW: This helps describe what historians do and what they can know about the past, especially when it comes to Jesus and his resurrection.

For a link to all of the parts click here.

kiwi said...

I will watch it.

Like Dawkins who refuses to debate creationists, I think historians should not debate apologists who claim historians can prove the resurrection. It is not worth the time.

If we want to sensibly understand and reconstruct the past, we have to start with what we observe now. And we observe that people never rise from the dead, and that people sometimes have weird beliefs that they know is false.

Those 2 little observations are enough for historians to dismiss the resurrection.

dvd said...

kiwi

So you would dismiss UFO landings before more then one person and cases where in such circumstances a person has "touched" the craft in question? That does not happen in our experience.

Or stories where a person survived a 33000 FT drop after exploding in A JET which was the result of a terrorist bomb? This also definitely does not happen in our experience.

kiwi said...

We do know that sometimes people survive after a plane crash.

Also we do know that unidentified flying objects exist. Some objects can fly, and sometimes they are unidentified.

So if we sensiblyn reconstruct history, it could involved unidentified flying objects, or plane crash survivors.

I'm not sure what is your point?

Robin said...

All that can be shown is that the evidence can be taken this way or that way depending on one's assumptions. The evidence doesn't demonstrate that the resurrection happened or that it's even the best explanation of the evidence. The evidence shows that it's rational to believe the resurrection happened.

kiwi said...

But the issue is whether or not historians can prove the resurrection.

Historians are constrained by a methology. Most Christians and non-Christians agree that the resurrection is not something historians can prove, for a variety of reasons.

It seems to me the only people who think history can prove the resurrection are apologists like Craig, Moreland, Habermas or Licona. To the best of my knowledge, serious Christian historians who are not commited to be apologists, will not make that kind of silly claim.

If I recall correctly, just reading the introduction of "A Marginal Jew" of the Catholic John Meier gives a pretty good idea of what doing history is about, and its limitations. But people like Craig, Habermas and Licona are primarly interested to reach a predetermined conclusion more than anything else, which is a shame.

Robin said...

I don't believe that they can. What can be shown is that it's reasonable to believe that it did.

Dave said...

>What can be shown is that it's reasonable to believe that it did.<

Enlighten me - show that it's reasonable (rational as you put it earlier) to believe the resurrection.

Steve said...

After listening to just a few minutes of Ehrman I have a feeling that the President and professors of this Baptist College are thinking to themselves, "Oh S%*t, what the hell were we thinking!" I had to laugh a little.

But kudos to them for being willing to expose their students to Ehrman. I only wish my Baptist college had been willing to do the same... maybe I would have begun to think more clearly and rationally before spending 20 years in full-time ministry.

Steven Carr said...

Paul says he went to heaven.

Does that prove he went to heaven, because he was an eyewitness to his own life, and eyewitness testimony is always to be believed by historians?

lee said...

I have to agree with Steve. Those responsible for inviting Erhman to this debate must have been gobsmacked. How could anyone hear Erhman and not leave with serious questions concerning the reliability of "sacred" text.

kiwi said...

I'm listening to it right now.

I don't understand why Licona thinks it's enough to make an appeal to authority when he talks about his "facts".

If I would explain why evolution is a fact, I would not refer to a consensus and cross my arms. I would point out the evidence that lead most people to think it is a fact.

I understand that in a debate format maybe there's not enough time to do that in depth, but... It should at least be done superficially, because the conclusion entirely depends on his limited "facts".

So... I struggle to see the value of what Licona has presented so far, besides giving a little bit of information on how historical methods. From memory, Craig did a much better job.

Up to part 6 now.

dvd said...

Kiwi

But we don't have in our experience someone surviving an Exploding Plane that is travelling at 600 MPH, then falling 33000 Ft and living. But that has happened.

Its one thing to survive the "blast", its entirely another to have survived in the Plane when it was travelling close to 600 MPH.

Yes we have "UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT", but who touches them?

Brother OMi said...

It's sort of like walking on water.

I walk on water every time it rains. I can see someone taking that and running with it.

Cars can hydroplane. So can cars "float" on water?

the miracles discussed in the Bible are most likely exaggerations. It's funny when I return to my old stomping grounds and I hear stories about the things my friends did. Many of them are exaggerated. They are being told close to 20 years after the fact by people who were not there!

WHen i attempt to correct them (note that I was a witness to these events), they look at me like I am crazy.

Jason said...

Steven said: Paul says he went to heaven.

He did? Where?

kiwi said...

DVD, I don't understand what your point.

"But we don't have in our experience someone surviving an Exploding Plane that is travelling at 600 MPH, then falling 33000 Ft and living. But that has happened."

Yes, we have in our experience people surviving plane craches.

Surely you don't expect that we have every possible case of speed and length documented? Parameters are details. A higher speed and a longer fall simply means his chances of surviving were lower.

"Yes we have "UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT", but who touches them?"

Huh?

Tommy said...

2000 years later and he's still the only man to ever claim to be God that anyone is still talking about. If he wasn't who he claimed to be, why do you figure so many people (including you and other atheists) can't seem to stop talking about him?

One last point - You have never seen a person raised from the dead, therefore it could not possibly be true according to your ridiculous argument.
Fact - Science has never seen a black hole yet they maintain they exist. You can't see wind, does that mean it doesn't exist? You can't see emotions, does that mean they don't exist? We've never been to the lowest level of the ocean floor, so does that mean it can't possibly exist? No one saw the Big Bang happen, but I'd be willing to bet you believe in that? No one has seen macroevolution, that is one species becoming another, which is what Darwinism teaches, so does that discredit Darwinism?

If you really believe there is no Jesus Christ, then quit making money off of his name. If you blame Christians for the wrongs of the world, I would like to point out that the atheist governments of the Soviet Union and China have not been well known for their humane treatment of individuals, while the U.S. which was founded on a fundamental belief in God is undoubtedly one of, if not the most humane society in the history of the world as we know it.

Tommy said...
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Tommy said...

Jesus Christ was either a liar, lunatic or exactly who he claimed to be. Would the apostles have been willing to die for either of the first 2 choices and would we still be discussing someone who fits the description of the first 2 choices after 2000 years?

Believing that this universe was created via Big Bang requires the same amount of faith (in my opinion more) than believing that there is one true God and that Jesus Christ was his son that was sent to earth.

If Christians truly are so wrong, why are atheists so intent on changing our minds? The Bible answers this question. The fact that atheists are so interested in discrediting Christianity (not Islam, not Buddhism, not Hinduism) proves exactly what the Bible discusses. Other religions believe in a God, but why do atheists seem to attack only Christianity? Answer - Satan is not interested in discrediting false religions. Choose to believe it or not, but as an atheist you have to ask yourself this question. WHY are you so driven to discredit only one religion?

Sad really. If you don't believe, fine. Go get a job and do your own thing, but allow us to do ours. Our society wants everyone to accept everyone as they are, that is, unless a person is a Christian. Funny that 2000 years after Christ, his followers are still the persecuted people of the world.

Anthony said...

Tommy,

Before interacting with you too much, let me ask you: are you just going to be a fly by, just leaving a comment to "put us in our place" or are you willing to discuss the issues with us?

why do you figure so many people (including you and other atheists) can't seem to stop talking about him?

Well actually Christians are the ones talking so much about him, we are responding to you. It's Christian apologists and other evangelists who keep pushing the discussion.

If Christians truly are so wrong, why are atheists so intent on changing our minds?

There are several reasons for this. First, Christians are usually the ones trying to change our minds. Secondly, there are many ramifications of what Christians believe that have in impact on our environment (global warming, etc.) and culture (prejudice against homosexuals for example), to list just two.

Go get a job and do your own thing, but allow us to do ours.

And the same thing can be said to you and other Christians.

Tommy said...

Sorry, I must have misunderstood. I thought I posted under a blog titled 'Debunking Christianity' which gave me the idea that atheists were trying to 'debunk' Christianity.

Secondly, Christians do believe that homosexuality is wrong, but Christians also believe that individuals should have the right to make their own decisions. I wouldn't vote for gay marriages, but as a Christian, I also judge the act of homosexuality as wrong without judging the individual.

Let me follow that up by also saying that we all sin, all of us, and no one sin is greater than another, so is a homosexual person worse than I? Absolutely not. I struggle with all types of sin on a regular basis (that I won't even get into here!). I do not think I'm better than anyone. More likely I am worse.

Does this mean that I, as a Christian am not entitled to vote my beliefs as an American, the same as someone else? I'm not going around beating up gays with baseball bats or blowing up abortion clinics, but that doesn't mean that I don't think they are morally wrong and have a detrimental affect on our society as a whole. That is my opinion, and yes, my opinion is driven by my faith. I would hope that I am entitled to that right the same as you are entitled to yours.

As for the global warming comment, I must admit, I'm not sure how that relates to Christianity at all. I believe in clean air and taking care of our environment as much as the next person and just because Conservative Republicans are usually the choice of the evangelical Christians, that doesn't mean that all their actions are 'Christ-like'. But then, none of us are perfect.

Anthony - your points are well taken, and I appreciate and respect the way you responded to me. Saying that, let me close by saying this - I know that many Christians can be very judgmental and this is why we're accused of being hypocrites, but the fact is, Christians are no different than anyone else, other than the fact that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Doing this does not automatically make us perfect and free of sin, nor does it keep us from being rude, obstinate, opinionated, etc. All it does is affirm that we accepted the grace that was Jesus Christ dying on the cross to atone for our sins. My point is, if you don't believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that is your prerogative, but writing books to encourage others to lose their faith makes little sense to me unless Satan does in fact exist and is only concerned with tearing down our faith. You must admit that it is interesting that you don't see books written by atheists attacking any other religions, which by the way, many of which do not find homosexuality morally correct.

Again, I do appreciate your earnest response and I apologize if I come off too harshly. I am passionate about my faith and I do honestly have a hard time understanding someone devoting their life to tearing it apart, while making money at it. I'm speaking of the author here.

kiwi said...

"One last point - You have never seen a person raised from the dead, therefore it could not possibly be true according to your ridiculous argument."

No, no. Please read people carefully.

My point was that, historians have to reconstruct the past with what is compatible with what we observe and know now. And we know that people don't rise from the dead.

"Fact - Science has never seen a black hole yet they maintain they exist. You can't see wind, does that mean it doesn't exist? You can't see emotions, does that mean they don't exist? We've never been to the lowest level of the ocean floor, so does that mean it can't possibly exist? No one saw the Big Bang happen, but I'd be willing to bet you believe in that? No one has seen macroevolution, that is one species becoming another, which is what Darwinism teaches, so does that discredit Darwinism?"

We're talking history, not science. Those are 2 extremely different discipline. Trying to make a parallel between both is meaningless, and it's not the same kind of methodology used.

The rest of your angry rants are not worth commenting. You are not looking for an intellectual discussion, but to throw tantrums.

Tommy said...

Kiwi,

If you're talking history, the Bible can be, and has been confirmed by several secular sources which I'd be happy to get a list for you to reference if you'd like. What you're talking about is what you consider to be accepted history by your standards. This doesn't disprove anything and your argument is empty. I'll ignore the insult as lack of any logical debate.

Anthony said...

Tommy,

I will write more tomorrow but I did want to give a couple of quick comments. First, please understand that many on this blog are ex-Christians (including me) who believed for many years, who were very devoted to our faith and well versed in theological issues, but abandoned that faith because of the weight of the evidence. This blog partially exists to discuss that evidence.

You wrote: you don't see books written by atheists attacking any other religions

Actually there are a number of books by atheists and other skeptics against various religions faiths other than Christianity. Prometheus Books has over 30 on Islam. Most of the attention is against Christianity because that religion is the most dominate in Western civilization (especially the United States) and the most evangelistic.

Again, I will get back with you tomorrow on your comments.

kiwi said...

Tommy,

The Bible has been confirmed? What is that sentence supposed to mean?

And you'll provide a list of secular sources for what, to make an appeal to authority? Making that fallacy seems to be the favourite hobby of apologists.

No that's not my standard, that's the standard historians use. If we wouldn't use our present knowledge and observations to try to understand the past, we would have no mean to distinguish between what is fact and what isn't.

I'm not insulting you, I'm telling it like it is.

Jeff Lord said...

Tommy,
above you said,
"One last point - You have never seen a person raised from the dead, therefore it could not possibly be true according to your ridiculous argument."

Ehrman is not saying that because we have not seen someone raised from that dean that Jesus could not have been risen from the dead. He is saying that as an historian, we have a limited access to history and we can only go on probability. The resurrection of christ is the least probably thing that could have happened. It does not mean that it didn't happen or can't happen. It means it isn't likely and that is all that we can say. To say otherwise is to simply go beyond what historical probability can give us. If you believe that Christ rose that is totally fine. But you have to concede that you do so NOT based on historical probability but on faith.

AndreLinoge said...
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Steven Carr said...

TOMMY
Would the apostles have been willing to die for either of the first 2 choices and would we still be discussing someone who fits the description of the first 2 choices after 2000 years?

CARR

How strange.

Paul says Christians were persecuted on the issue of circumcision.

Acts has an alleged letter from a Roman. It says Paul was charged with nothing serious, apart from an internal Jewish dispute over Jewish laws.

I guess the Jews were just too dumb to think of telling the Romans that Paul was a follower of a criminal, who his followers claimed had cheated death and was still alive. If it had occurred to the Jews to have Paul charged with following a recently executed criminal, claimed to be still alive by his followers, then Paul’s defense that Jesus really had been killed would hardly have saved him.

You can imagine the trial scene :-

‘You are charged with following a rebel who claimed to be king, and who you claim still leads your movement. How do you plead?’

‘Not guilty. Jesus was crucified and is now in Heaven.’

‘Pathetic. If this criminal is still alive and leading your movement, then he obviously can’t have been killed. Do you think we Romans believe in people returning from the dead?’

But not even Acts claims Paul was ever charged with anything serious.

Tommy said...

Anthony -

Thanks for taking the time to reply in a kind and calm attitude. I do apologize to the other atheists here that have taken me too harshly. That was not my intent.

I would be interested in seeing the list of books by atheists written against other religions when you have time to post some of them, Anthony. Thanks for the information that I was unaware of.

Kiwi - when I referred to you insulting me, I was referring to your statement that The rest of your angry rants are not worth commenting. You are not looking for an intellectual discussion, but to throw tantrums.', not anything you said concerning your argument against Christianity.

As far as your statement on using present knowledge to prove the past goes, I have no desire to get into an endless debate on this issue. I'll just say that I am sure that there are several things that you most likely believe (or maybe you don't) that can't be proven by present knowledge. If you're like most people, some questions have to come to your mind and one of those questions inevitably should be 'where did the first man come from?' If you use present knowledge, you would have to assume that it was impossible based on your rationalization because as we know it today, man can only come from fertilization of an egg within a woman. So that begs the question, where did the first woman come from and it MUST have happened at the same general time as the creation of first woman. But how were they birthed?

Jeff - thanks for your comment. I agree that there is faith involved in Christian belief. My response to the 'resurrection not being possible because no one has ever been raised from the dead' was in response to Kiwi more than the author in that particular example. I still maintain that we believe the Bible as the Truth and as a historical reference. You can discredit any history book if you try hard enough. Find a history book being used in Italy or Germany on WWII and you'll find a different version than what is used in our schools here in the United States. You have to find sources you believe are reliable and trust them based on your faith in the author or authors and the way it was put together.

As for using purely information we can gather for ourselves firsthand to decide what can or can't be true. That would certainly limit our ability to understand things and I don't think that anyone here is saying that. At least I hope not.

Thanks for taking the time to write without attacking. I'll try to do the same and please forgive me if I have been attacking in some of my verbiage. I honestly have atheist friends that I think very highly of and I would hope that just because our beliefs on this issue differ doesn't keep us from understanding and treating each other with respect. I'm guilty as charge, so like I said, please accept my apology.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to me.

- Tommy

mrsonic said...
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mrsonic said...
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mrsonic said...

"Would the apostles have been willing to die for either of the first 2 choices and would we still be discussing someone who fits the description of the first 2 choices after 2000 years?"

The Muslims believe jesus' deciples would not die for paul's lies.do you agree with them?

...


And Paul is the perfect model of that, with his practice that became a foundation stone of messianic Paulinanity:


"To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those
under the law I became as one under the law - though not being myself under the law - that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law - not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ - that I might win those outside the
law." (I Corinthians 9, 20)


Recalling that every apostle and disciple of 'Isa 'alaihi as-salaam
was thoroughly kosher, in every respect a keeper of the Law of Moses, and that kosher followers of 'Isa were hunted down and slaughtered for the three centuries before and the three centuries after the triumph
of Constantine and the Council of Nicea, we see Paul setting forth the method by which such Christians were located and identified, even where they practiced in secret for reasons of the Ten Persecutions of
the ten Roman emperors preceding Constantine.

Paul's mission, you will recall and all Paulines agree, was to spread his gospel message as the New Covenant to be fully realized in the future Millennial Kingdom, identifying Jesus as the bringer of salvation promised throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.


The kosher followers of Jesus, who knew those Scriptures intimately
from birth, knew better. Jesus himself recognized each of them and appointed them as rabbis, and each of them read from open Scripture that the Law had previously kept closed to the goyim, just as Jesus did, and they knew what Paul was doing. Paul was the Temple official responsible for counterintelligence and suppressing subversion against
Temple Israel ~ deception of this nature, to spy out heretics,
dissidents, and particularly minim ("minim" is what the followers of
Jesus are still called today), and to foster cryptic mystery sects to
deflect them from successful restoration of liberty, was second-nature
to him.


So when Paul went among the keepers of the Law, he pretended to be a keeper of the Law and played the pharisee to gain their confidence and in the evenings, in intimate brotherly conversations, insinuated his departure from the Law and falsification of the Good News. When he went among those without any Law, he pretended to have no Law; while in fact he knew the Law intimately and "kept it" as he chose from moment to moment, or rejected it, just as he says throughout his writings, or falsified it, claiming that Jesus
had "finished" the Law and it was no more, or that "all things" were
already "fulfilled" in some future pie-in-the-sky scenario.



> Paul says: THAT I MIGHT WIN the jews and the gentiles.


To a completely novel "No-Law" mystery religion with a solar calendar
and pagan festival seasons, monogamy and subjugation of women, and an
always-in-the-future "Kingdom" that is "not of this world" when "the
Saviour" returns to depose Caesar and rule with a rod of iron wielded
by "the elect of God." Paulinanity in a nutshell.
Kosher Christians kept Passover and prayed and fasted and spread the
real Good News, which had entire tribes of them waiting in Tema when
the Messenger of the Covenant of Malachi 3:1 arrived. But Paulinanity
was set up with deception and treachery to root them out and kill as
many of them as the bishops could manage, which was a lot more when
the Pauline trinitarian intelligence organs took over
control of the legions.

3:71. O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): "Why do you
interfuse truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you
know?"


Those who know are those few who pursue Scripture through to find what it actually says, and then fail to go where it tells them to go for salvation. Negus Najjashi accepted Islam and remained the King of Israel on the Lion Throne of Judah that Solomon 'alaihi as-salaam had
sent south to Abyssinia with his son Menelik. But then Najjashi
wasn't lying about Jesus, either. Today's quasi-Talmudic Princes of
Paulinanity aren't about to give up their crimson thrones and pacific
estates built on false expectations and falsehood.


Instead they continue the war of Temple Israel against God and His
Messenger, to deprive the goyim of their heritage in Abraham and rule
the nations in the name of jesus, whom they despise. And then their
pawns come to places like soc.religion.islam and try to challenge the Messenger of the Covenant with empty rhetoric.

It must be hell for them. I guess it is, since they're still waiting
for God's mercy to come in the clouds with the angels, so they can sit on their thrones for a thousand years and rule the world.
Yeah, that sounds like a hell, waiting forever for the power to
tyrannize people in the name of jesus

Tommy said...

A better version of this debate with actual video rather than cheap make-do stills can be found on YouTubehere.

(BTW I'm not the same Tommy as the Christian guy above.)

Anthony said...

Tommy: You must admit that it is interesting that you don't see books written by atheists attacking any other religions

Again there are a number of reasons why more attention has been given to Christianity and the other monotheistic faiths. I found a good summary here:

Myth: All Atheists are Anti-Christian, Hate Christianity, Oppose Christians

Although I do not have a bibliography of skeptic writings against other religions I did find a few. For example Meera Nanda has written several books on Hinduism, these include:

Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodern Critiques of Science and Hindu Nationalism in India

Breaking the Spell of Dharma and Other Essays

Wrongs of the Religious Right: Reflections on Science, Secularism and Hindutva

Postmodernism and Religious Fundamentalism: A Scientific Rebuttal to Hindu Science


She has also written numerous online articles.

Regarding Islam Ibn Warraq has written:

Why I Am Not a Muslim

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out

What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text, and Commentary


Two other works on Islam are:

Robert Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel

All of these books can be found on Amnazon.com

Tommy said...

I was too hasty. The "good" video version isn't complete yet. Later parts still to be uploaded.

kiwi said...

Tommy:

"I'll just say that I am sure that there are several things that you most likely believe (or maybe you don't) that can't be proven by present knowledge."

I'm not sure if you understand my point. What I'm saying is that when we reconstruct the past, it has to be consistant with what we know and observe now.

As far as I know, there is no information that leads us to believe the big bang is an impossible event. The theory of evolution is consistant with the vast array of evidence we observe now. (But as I've said, I wouldn't want to compare history with science.)

A man rising from the dead is impossible. It isn't just because we don't observe people rising from the dead that we think that, it is because we know that when the brain is dead, it is over.

To say that the resurrection - an event that we know is impossible - is the best explanation is silly. It is not worth the time of any rational person.

Otherwise, just how exactly do we distinguish between fact, fiction and legend, if we assume the past works differently than the present? If the past doesn't correspond to our reality, then anything goes. We might as well just accept as true everything that is written.

"You can discredit any history book if you try hard enough."

Some books are more credible than others. And some events and people are better documented than others. Dr. Ehrman explains well in his presentation why the Bible is not the kind of documents historians hope for.

Dr Funkenstein said...

2000 years later and he's still the only man to ever claim to be God that anyone is still talking about. If he wasn't who he claimed to be, why do you figure so many people (including you and other atheists) can't seem to stop talking about him?

Christianity has a prominent role in modern US and, to a lesser extent, UK/European society - certain groups use it as a tool to manipulate the political and scientific process for their own ends, which ultimately impacts on non-Christians.

It has an extensive history that explains much of why our society now is the way it is.


General interest - I don't believe in any of the ancient Egyptian gods and so on, but I find ancient Egypt museum exhibits and books very interesting. Some people also just like a debate about various topics.

You can't see wind, does that mean it doesn't exist?

You can feel wind - sight is only 1 of 5 sensory modalities

You can't see emotions, does that mean they don't exist?

Emotions are the product (partly at least) of environmental stimuli generating a response in certain regions of the brain/divisions of the nervous system, and alterations in levels of neurotransmitters etc etc



We've never been to the lowest level of the ocean floor, so does that mean it can't possibly exist?

Actually we have - it's in the Phillipines, called the Marianas trench. Exploration was conducted down there decades ago.


No one saw the Big Bang happen, but I'd be willing to bet you believe in that?

Because all observations point to the fact that the universe has expanded and is continuing to do so (as far as I am aware, I don't keep up much with physics). Noone saw my bike get stolen from my garage a few years back, but the missing bike, broken door lock and damaged garage door all suggest that someone did indeed break in and take my bike.

No one has seen macroevolution, that is one species becoming another, which is what Darwinism teaches, so does that discredit Darwinism?"

Macroevolution (evolution at the species level or above) has been and is being observed - a quick search on google can reveal examples in salamanders, birds, plants to name just 3.

Jesus Christ was either a liar, lunatic or exactly who he claimed to be. Would the apostles have been willing to die for either of the first 2 choices and would we still be discussing someone who fits the description of the first 2 choices after 2000 years?

He could also have been a myth, or a combination of some of the factors eg a real person, but with embellishments added to his life story.

There are people willing to risk their life for all sorts of phoney causes for all sorts of causes, from Islamic terrorists to cult leaders like David Koresh and Jim Jones

Believing that this universe was created via Big Bang requires the same amount of faith (in my opinion more) than believing that there is one true God and that Jesus Christ was his son that was sent to earth.

Physics dealing with cosmology is difficult to understand thoroughly, and requires a lot of background reading to know about the observations that lead to the conclusion - I don't mean this disrespectfully, but my guess is you probably don't possess anywhere near the level of knowledge of physics to understand it.

Tommy said...

Ok, I apologize, but I don't really have the time in the day to reply to the deluge of responses and nor do I have a desire to debate our beliefs endlessly knowing we all are probably convinced of our own ideas.

I'll just say a few last things before I go (but I will check back periodically for comments):
1) You can believe in a God or you can believe that we were started by some random action. Whatever you believe requires faith. If you feel you've done all the research possible and have come to the only logical conclusion, kudos to you. I, as a Christian continue to look for answers. I do believe that there is a God and that Jesus Christ was God incarnate, and I will continue to search for answers to questions that are brought up. I would hope that everyone would do the same.
2) I have no issues with atheists, muslims, agnostics, hindus. All I ask is to allow me, as a Christian to have my beliefs. We all have morals and a sense of right and wrong. You can feel free to disagree with mine, but that does not give anyone the right to impose their morals or beliefs on me.


Anthony - I really appreciated the way you responded to me and I am going to look up a couple of the books you listed. If I could give you my e-mail without it being public, I would. I would have enjoyed conversing with you on our opposing opinions. You are a better person than I and never once even hinted at insult. Thank you.

Thanks to all of you for your input. Mr. Sonic, if you could list some references for some of your points, I'd be interested in researching them. Much of what you spoke of was unfamiliar to me.

Like I said, I'll continue to check back and may post once in a while, but don't want this to be a daily project for me. (I'm a single dad and all and spend too much time on the computer as it is!)

Good luck to you all and I hope that just because atheists and Christians don't have the same belief of how we all got here doesn't mean that we can't get along.

Anthony said...

Tommy,

Click on my profile link, you will find my email address there. Write me sometime, I would love to correspond with you regarding these issues. Also on my profile page is a link to my Myspace page, there you will find a blog entry where I describe a little of where I was a few months ago.

Anonymous said...

"Ehrman is not saying that because we have not seen someone raised from that dean that Jesus could not have been risen from the dead. He is saying that as an historian, we have a limited access to history and we can only go on probability. The resurrection of christ is the least probably thing that could have happened. It does not mean that it didn't happen or can't happen. It means it isn't likely and that is all that we can say. To say otherwise is to simply go beyond what historical probability can give us. If you believe that Christ rose that is totally fine. But you have to concede that you do so NOT based on historical probability but on faith."

Craig answered this point in his debate with Ehrman pretty effectively by showing that Ehrman doesn't have a very good grasp of just what it means to call something 'probabale' or 'improbable.' Ehrman was reduced to making blatantly point missing jokes (I'm not going to believe in god's existence on the basis of a mathematical proof) and ridiculing the sort of university at which such a reply would be considered seriously (which Craig demolished with a reference to Oxford!).

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/crec/website/resurrection-debate-transcript.pdf

(see pages 14-19, and page 33)

Steven Carr said...

So Craig was not able to produce a resurrected body, an empty tomb, or somebody who named himself as seeing a flesh and blood Jesus risen from the grave?

Russ said...

To The Christian Tommy:

You said,
"2000 years later and he's still the only man to ever claim to be God that anyone is still talking about. If he wasn't who he claimed to be, why do you figure so many people (including you and other atheists) can't seem to stop talking about him?"


I'm an atheist and former Christian, though I was never what one might consider devout since even as a child I recognized that the religious claims made by the adults around me were not consistent with the natural world, not consistent with claims that the god they wanted me to worship was caring, or smart, or powerful. Through my child's eyes I could see that a thing that would murder by drowning all the infants in the world - as well as all the kids my age - while it saved rattlesnakes, cockroaches and naked mole rats was evil incarnate. It was not a loving father. As is the case with you, Tommy the Christian, the adults around me lied to me.

As I grew up and investigated the world independent of their negatively biased influence, I discovered a reality in which the pieces fit together perfectly if one left out the silly assumption of the supernatural and its related "spiritual" entities. Gods, ghosts, demons, angels, devils, and the rest of their ilk are not real, Tommy the Christian, and pretending that they are real only obscures efforts to make sense of the world. If you believe in these things, you lie to yourself, and if those around you foster such belief, they are lying to you.

When you ask why "so many people (including you and other atheists) can't seem to stop talking about him?" it's because the lies that believers exchange among themselves cause them to act in ways that are antithetical to the overall health, welfare and future prospects for mankind. Observably, Tommy the Christian, the claims that religious belief, including Christianity, benefits mankind are false. For instance, over the past two years billions of prayers have gone out to the to the various versions of the Christian God beseeching improvement of the US and world economies have failed to show an effect. No god is out there, so the prayers are less than merely useless. They also divert attention from the problem. But don't fret, Tommy, when the problem has been resolved through purely natural means, that solution can be dishonestly seized upon by Christians to shore up the superstition of prayer. "See," they'll say, "we prayed and it has come to pass. Our Lord answered our prayer," once again deluding themselves with the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. They simply choose to ignore that since their prayer is manifest superstition the result would have been the same had their prayer been offered up to a toad.

You stated,

One last point - You have never seen a person raised from the dead, therefore it could not possibly be true according to your ridiculous argument.
Fact - Science has never seen a black hole yet they maintain they exist. You can't see wind, does that mean it doesn't exist? You can't see emotions, does that mean they don't exist? We've never been to the lowest level of the ocean floor, so does that mean it can't possibly exist? No one saw the Big Bang happen, but I'd be willing to bet you believe in that? No one has seen macroevolution, that is one species becoming another, which is what Darwinism teaches, so does that discredit Darwinism?


Tommy the Christian, for all the things you mention here there exists good, evidence-based reasons for having confidence in them, including the impossibility of resurrecting a person known to be dead. One proven phenomenon you referred to, evolution, demonstrates irrefutably that the wacky origin fables of Genesis are not true: Adam and Eve never existed; there was no original sin; mankind is not innately sinful, not inherently evil; there never existed a need for mankind to be saved; there never existed a need for a savior; there never was a sacrificial savior; there will never be a second coming of said non-existent savior; and, contrary to the gruntings of paid Christian clergy with a financial interest, there will never be a judgement day or a rapture.

You said,

If you really believe there is no Jesus Christ, then quit making money off of his name. If you blame Christians for the wrongs of the world, I would like to point out that the atheist governments of the Soviet Union and China have not been well known for their humane treatment of individuals, while the U.S. which was founded on a fundamental belief in God is undoubtedly one of, if not the most humane society in the history of the world as we know it.


Christian clergy are largely a bunch of charlatans who make money hawking the merits of the "Christian" brand while it produces no results that reflect their claims. Of course, since the Christian clergy have never been concerned about the truth of their claims, they content themselves with the free cash. Christians are not better people than non-Christians.

The statistics, the studies and the demographics all strongly emphasize that being a Christian imparts people with no special personal goodness, and no special benefits. From the numbers one might conclude that the god of the Christian fundamentalists actually wants to point to their lives as observably worse than those of other Christians. They have higher crime rates notably including the violent crimes of rape, murder, armed robbery, child and spouse abuse, and incest. They have higher rates of marital infidelity, divorce, abortion, pre-wed pregnancy, and preventable health problems like obesity. They have lower levels of education, income, home ownership, and access to healthcare. It is at least of interest to note that non-believers fare better in all of these categories than do Christian fundamentalists.

Tommy, not too many who visit this blog would "blame Christians for the wrongs of the world," especially not all the Christians for all the wrongs. However, lots who visit here would be quick to note that Christianity isn't helping the world in the ways or to the extent that it says it does. Since interventionist prayer is pure superstition, we need not look to it as a source of assistance to mankind, but we can look to the 100 percent supernatural-free humanitarian aid that churches conduct.

To me any aid that actually benefits a person in need is valuable, but how much aid are US Christians really providing? Currently, US Christians donate over 200 billion dollars annually to churches and it is that amount that gets counted as a charitable contribution, but in reality, after expenses - mortage, salaries, insurances, retirement accounts, electricity, gas, maintenance, honoraria, books, computers, office supplies, televisions, advanced lighting and sound systems, decorations, vehicle leasing and maintenance, professional fees(in megachurches you can supersize all these expense and then add in exercise equipment, pool maintenance, game systems and lots more) - rarely more than 15 percent of donations to churches makes its way to comforting the needy.

You declared,

Believing that this universe was created via Big Bang requires the same amount of faith (in my opinion more) than believing that there is one true God and that Jesus Christ was his son that was sent to earth.


Not so. There exists plenty of consistent data to support the Big Bang hypothesis. By contrast, there exists no evidence "that there is one true God and that Jesus Christ was his son that was sent to earth."

Among the tens of thousands of Christianities, the numerous gods and saviors they describe are so varied that there is no "one true God" or even one Jesus Christ. From denomination to denomination Christianity's gods and saviors run the gamut of human wishful thinking, but Christianity is nowhere near "one" religion or "one" theology, and it has many gods and many saviors. When Christians want to exercise political clout, they use the word "Christian" to give the impression of a unified body. But, in services on Saturday, or Sunday, or Wednesday night, the true nature of the beast reveals itself as in the harsh, glaring light of religious sectarianism and human tribalism, they proclaim their own heaven-bound righteousness while vilifying the hell-bound practitioners of other Christianities. Pentacostals are certain that they will peer down from heaven at Catholics roasting in hell. Roman Catholics have no doubts that the Eastern Orthodox are doomed. Baptists gloat that God loves them but not those icky Presbyterians. In their own minds, their own imaginations, every Christian congregation stacks the deck of their god's intentions to their favor.

It's observed that for each and every Christian sect, denomination, and individual congregation, their version of god hates what they hate and likes what they like, just as they have defined it to be. They all fashion their god to encompass their existing biases, prejudices, loves, hates, wants and desires. Then, they choose their favorite Bible verses to support their confirmation bias. If they already hate gay people, then their god hates gay people. But, notice this: since secular law disallows the maiming of individuals for stealing, or stoning to death of stubborn or rebellious children, even though their god commands both of these, they do not let their god have its way. That is, they reject their god's commands in all things except for those where their god's proclivities aligns with their own existing notions. Fact is, most of the Biblical God's commands are outright rejected by Christians everywhere since they recognize just how morally reprehensible their god really is.

You ask,

If Christians truly are so wrong, why are atheists so intent on changing our minds?

Think George Bush. That is, Christians are making decisions - societally crucial decisions like the use of the secular legal system to dispense religious hatred - based on figments of their imaginations. It is essential that we jerk more people out of the stone age and into the twenty-first century, if we are to survive and advance the causes of humankind. Consider the potential consequences to the world of electing as US President someone who wants the world to end so they can see their imaginary Jesus. Phrased with a bit of a twist, imagine putting the US's nuclear arsenal into the hands of a religious psycho hell-bent on bringing on Armageddon.


Tommy, you stated,
The Bible answers this question. The fact that atheists are so interested in discrediting Christianity (not Islam, not Buddhism, not Hinduism) proves exactly what the Bible discusses. Other religions believe in a God, but why do atheists seem to attack only Christianity? Answer - Satan is not interested in discrediting false religions. Choose to believe it or not, but as an atheist you have to ask yourself this question. WHY are you so driven to discredit only one religion?


That's not the case, Tommy. Irrationality needs to be mitigated in whatever form it comes.

You said,

Sad really. If you don't believe, fine. Go get a job and do your own thing, but allow us to do ours. Our society wants everyone to accept everyone as they are, that is, unless a person is a Christian. Funny that 2000 years after Christ, his followers are still the persecuted people of the world.


Tommy, this brings it all to a head. Why can't you simply be left alone you wonder? In short, Christians have never left anyone alone, and, given the money and power at stake, they likely never will. Two words: evangelical Christianity. And three more words: Christian political objectives. Christians want power and control over others. The two words and the three words together point to an in-your-face heavily-financed politically-motivated religion that claims to have all the answers but has few if any, yet claims the right to freely invade everyone's life from the public square and to dictate other's behavior via statute. It's not enough for Christians to believe and finance their hogwash of false promises themselves. No, no, no. They want to force others to finance their hogwash and to buy into ideas that can't stand up to critical scrutiny. Until Christianity can demonstrate that adhering to its tenets confers some benefit to mankind, it should, and, from me at least it will, be subjected to mockery and ridicule.

If Christianity was true, one would expect the quality of life for all Christians to be so obviously better than all non-Christians, especially we poor atheists, that everyone would be compelled to adopt Christianity.

Alas, such is not the case. Personally, since I, a complete materialist atheist, live a life qualitatively and quantitatively superior to almost all Christians on the planet, until someone demonstrates to me that Christianity confers some observable benefit to humanity that is not solely the product of their own superstitious imaginings - great things will happen after you're dead, for example - I will remain a rather contented 100 percent supernatural-free complete materialist atheist.

Anonymous said...

Eric, for my assessment of the Craig v. Ehrman debate check this out.

Cheers.

Retired At 40 said...

To Tommy,

Atheists by definition do not believe in any religion. So they are happy to debunk any religion whether it be Christianity or any other.

However, you live in the United States and you have associated atheism with American atheists who are confronted with Christianity as this is a "Christian" country.

If you begin to see other religions taking hold in the United States, you will see the same efforts made to debunk those religions as the one you hold so dear.

Why is it that you beleive that atheists do not have the right to disagree with your beliefs and to have a site called Debunking Christianity?

Also, why do you believe that book mill authors like Lee Strobel should be allowed to make money off of Jesus name but that atheists should not be able to provide a counter argument?

Why do we also have the Hindus and Muslims and other religions still believing in their religious figures after all these years? Does this prove their beliefs as accurate?

Perhaps you should take your own advice and stick to sites you agree with and avoid getting your feelings hurt.

Retired At 40 said...

Oh, I forgot.

"Funny that 2000 years after Christ, his followers are still the persecuted people of the world."

Boo hoo.

According to a recent survey, atheists are more hated in America than either homosexuals or Muslims. I personally don't have anything against those two groups. Who exactly is it doing the hating, Tommy?

Is it really the atheists or is it the Christians like yourself?

Tommy said...

Nothing like the old 'ambiguous survey' comment to make your point. Was that survey run by you over a test size of 2 people or what?

Seriously, you're posting on a website titled 'Debunking Christianity' trying to make your point that Christians aren't under attack.

Ludicrous.

Retired At 40 said...

Actually, it was by the University of Minnesota. It was fairly well publicized and you can find it with an internet search.

It is interesting that Christians who live in a nation largely of Christians where the President of the United States is an evangelical and both parties pander to Christians for their vote can still consider themselves under attack. It is an interesting perspective.

I would not expect a Christian to be swayed by reality, however, when most of your beliefs are the result of your own imagination or someone else's.

Retired At 40 said...

A brief synopsis for you:

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”

The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts.

The study is co-authored by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and associate professor Doug Hartmann. It’s the first in a series of national studies conducted the American Mosaic Project, a three-year project funded by the Minneapolis-based David Edelstein Family Foundation that looks at race, religion and cultural diversity in the contemporary United States.

To maintain complete impartiality, I pulled this off an blog called "Atheism Sucks!"