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Atheist Experience
Unanswered Question (10_31_04)

So I ask again...<br /> ASSUME Jesus both walked the earth in human form and performed miracles. Also assume he taught a message about what we must do to follow him, then arose from the dead after his crucifixion. There were many witnesses to all these events.<br /> <br /> So, ASSUMING the above is true, (it is) then the message is true as well, wouldn't you agree!<br /> <br /> The evidence is there. Witnesses were present during his lifetime, and millions more will testify to their personal experiences with Jesus once they let him into their hearts. Do you think all these people are lying?<br /> <br /> Well?<br /> <br /> Karen

I guess nobody's there...

Wow. No replies (by Karen) for the answers to the "Unanswered" question.

Karen, where are you?

You ASSUME quite a lot here, and you know the saying. When you ASSUME...you make an ASS of U and ME. :-)<br /> <br /> I suppose I could ASSUME Zeus did all of the things the Greek and Roman myths said he did, and if I ASSUME those things are true, then the stories of all his wonderful magic exploits would be true, too.<br /> <br /> But ASSUMPTIONS are not evidence, dear, despite what you may think. We have no reliable historical records outside of the Bible itself to attest to Jesus's life. The earliest synoptic Gospel, Mark, can only be dated to around the year 70, decades after Jesus' purported death. <br /> <br /> Christians may claim there were many witnesses to Jesus' miracles. But if so, where are their individual accounts, and how could any historian verify them? "Yes, I saw Jesus at 7:15 PM last Tuesday heal a blind man..." Paul tells us there were 500 witnesses to Jesus' loaves-and-fishes stunt, but his word on that is all anyone has to go by; he doesn't name any of these 500 people, nor does he include their own corroboration in their own words. And this is the same Paul who admits to misrepresenting himself however he sees fit in order to spread the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Should I take the word of a self-confessed con man? <br /> <br /> Let's not forget, also, that the "eyewitness" accounts of Jesus' resurrection in each of the four Gospels are wildly inconsistent with one another.<br /> <br /> Finally, remember that these writings were the product of a primitive, pre-scientific, superstitious and unenlightened culture. People believed all manner of wacky things. Stories were frequently told, and believed, about miraculous events involving Roman emperors and generals. Nothing special here.<br /> <br /> Certainly millions of people will testify to their "personal experiences with Jesus once they let him into their hearts." And I don't think they're lying. They're simply in the throes of religious rapture, captured by a beautiful delusion. You can find followers of just about any religion who will give you similar testimonials. This is neither impressive nor even particularly interesting.<br /> <br /> Care to try again?

Martin

Care to try again is your last response? I would love to debate your response on a forum. I truly would like a verbal dialog. One of the reasons logical "believers" do not even mess with these sites is due to the lack of logic and the length of the responses. Once the response has surfaced; we usually find the answer/arguement mystically involving mythological gods and scattered other b.s. "historical" things.

Karen,<br /> <br /> Instead of asking us to make all those assumptions in order to trap us into agreeing with your religious beliefs, perhaps you would be better served by actually proving to us that all those things were true as you say they are. Can you give us primary or secondary sources outside of the bible that prove that Jesus existed, performed the miracles described in the bible, preached philosophy to his followers, and became alive after dying? If so, I'm sure we would all be more than happy to look at that evidence because so far no one has been able to come up with anything substantial to support all those assumptions which you hold true.<br /> <br /> As Martin said, religious testimonials are far from concrete evidence of anything. Millions of people believe they have had personal experiences with ghosts, UFO's, alien abductions, etc. Do you take their word at face value? What about the millions of Muslims who have their own testimonies about Muhammad?<br /> <br /> But just for argument's sake, let me see if I can answer your question anyway. Assuming the things you mentioned about Jesus are true, then does that make his "message" true as well? Not necessarily. Even if it was proved that Jesus was a real person and did some somewhat impressive acts of magic/healing/preaching, then got himself killed and somehow escaped death for a little while, I still think it would be a long shot to conclude that everything that he was purported to say was true and that he would return in the future to bring judgement and salvation. That is a very extraordinary claim which would need its own backing to give it merit. Simply proving Jesus existed and did those things would not be enough to validate something so unprecidented as to return in the future and judge all of mankind. I would have to see it to believe it.

Andrew,<br /> <br /> You can't prove there is a God as much as I can't prove there is. But I do have an experience that is unexplainable. I also have the Bible. There is no other book like it! Lets say you are right and there is no God. Then I have nothing to lose. But on the other hand, lets say you're wrong, you have everything to lose forever. I ask you to seek God with entire heart, ask Him to show you Him. With the experience I had, I will never doubt! There is feeling I can't explain. My life is so full. I wish you could experience it. I ask you to go beyond your life and just check it out from a different perspective - prayer. What do you have to lose? Sincerely, A believer <br /> <br /> P.S. You said, "You would have to see it to believe it." By that time, it will be too late." You have done your homework which is commendable but do it again with prayer! It is that important!

Good grief, "Believer". You really are new at this, aren't you? Pascal's Wager? That's your idea of an argument? Are you not aware that Pascal's Wager can be applied to ANY GOD of ANY RELIGION? Why not believe in Zeus? Hey, if he doesn't exist, you have nothing to lose, but if he does, you have everything to gain! Why not Shiva, or Bast, or Amon-Re, or Odin, or Thor, or Wotan, or Kali? If they don't exist, you've lost nothing, but if they do, you've gained everything! Right? Isn't that how it works? If Pascal's Wager were valid, a person would have no reason not to join every religion on Earth, just to cover his bases! You'd even have to join the Indian Thugee cult and go around strangling people! After all, the goddess Kali might not exist, BUT LET'S SAY YOU'RE WRONG. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING TO LOSE FOREVER!<br /> <br /> A lot of newbie Christian debaters, inexperienced in arguing with atheists, often make the mistake of using foolish and discredited arguments like Pascal's Wager. So I won't criticize you too harshly for the kind of mistake rooted in naivety. I understand you are sincere in what you wrote, and this is why I am sure you don't realize your post reflects the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of your religion. <br /> <br /> Not only does Pascal's Wager demonstrate the flaws I illustrated above (experienced Christian apologists know better than to use it anymore for those reasons), but it shows that fear is one of Christianity's main selling tools. <br /> <br /> "You have everything to lose forever." What exactly does this mean? Simply put, it is an appeal to fear, specifically regarding the Doctrine of Hell, the idea that non-believers in the Christian faith deserve an eternity of torture as punishment. The Doctrine of Hell alone renders Christianity immoral and unworthy of consideration by anyone with a shred of respect for reason and human dignity. Any belief system that threatens horrible punishment for non-compliance is evil by definition. Even if your God exists, Christian doctrine shows he is unworthy of respect, much less worship. Unfortunately, most Christians have had their rational faculties so damaged by their faith that they see the Doctrine of Hell not as threatening but as an expression of their God's "love"! But there is NOTHING loving about someone, even your God, who says, "And if you don't love me back, YOU'RE IN BIG TROUBLE!" To claim this is loving and good is to strip the terms "love" and "goodness" of any meaning they could possibly have. But the intent of the Doctrine of Hell is merely to keep believers afraid, and thus compliant.<br /> <br /> You make another appeal to emotion when you suggest we "seek God with entire heart [sic]". It is characteristic of the religious mindset that emotion (the heart) is given great importance while intellect (the mind) is dismissed as unimportant. ("You have done your homework which is commendable but...") Sorry, but atheists use their minds; its why we're atheists. You won't get far with us by going the emotional route; asking us to pray to a being we have been given no sound reason to believe exists is silly, isn't it? So make with some evidence instead of feeble emotional appeals.<br /> <br /> You are mistaken about the Bible. There are quite a number of books like it. There are something like 2000 active religions in the world today, and almost all of them have their sacred holy texts, some written all in one go, some (like the Bible) cobbled together over centuries from loose, disparate sources and rife with inconsistencies and contradictions because of it. I know you'll probably say, "But the Bible is true and their books aren't!" But that's just your belief talking. Any devotee of any of the other religions would say the same thing with just as much fervor. As far as historians and archaeologists have been able to determine, the Bible contains a handful of verifiable facts (like the Babylonian captivity of the Jews), but seems mostly to be a compilation of legends and myths passed down orally for centuries before being written. Most tellingly, there is no ironclad historical evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ, at least, not in the form he appears in the Bible. The earliest Gospel (Mark) can only be dated to about 35 years after Jesus is said to have been killed, which doesn't make it an eyewitness account.<br /> <br /> I'm happy that your life is "so full," but guess what -- so is mine. I have terrific friends, a supportive family, an exciting career, fun hobbies, and total freedom. What's more, I don't need to ground my life in "unexplainable" experiences and feelings, much less the fear of angering a violent and vengeful deity, to enjoy this fullness. I really have no wish to experience your life, as I have found a life unencumbered by such appalling superstitions is much healthier and more rewarding. You asked us, "What do you have to lose?" It's simple. Integrity, self-respect, reason, dignity and happiness: all the things that religion seeks either to undermine or control in a person's life, in favor of "feelings" you "can't explain."<br /> <br /> No thanks.

P.S.: Here is a quick list of the common logical fallacies Karen employs.<br /> <br /> "ASSUME Jesus both walked the earth in human form and performed miracles. Also assume he taught a message about what we must do to follow him, then arose from the dead after his crucifixion... So, ASSUMING the above is true, (it is) then the message is true as well, wouldn't you agree!"<br /> --BEGGING THE QUESTION, also known as circular reasoning, a fallacy in which an argument's premise assumes the truth of its conclusion. Assuming your claim is true does not constitute evidence for that claim.<br /> <br /> "Witnesses were present during his lifetime, and millions more will testify to their personal experiences with Jesus once they let him into their hearts. Do you think all these people are lying?"<br /> --Falls under both APPEAL TO BELIEF and APPEAL TO POPULARITY<br /> http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-belief.html<br /> http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-popularity.html

Where did Karen go? :P

Chris,

She forgot to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. ;o)

Hey~<br /> <br /> The Bible (Genesis) and evolution are not two different things. The Bible references the exact same order that evolution does. light, water, land, plants, animals, people They actually walk hand in hand with each other. It's hard for me to see what the big fight is all about. The Bible has all kinds of truth in it, that it takes us thousands of years to discover. Like, the Bible says that the earth hangeth from nothing. People have thought that Hercules held up the earth. Some Chinese cultures thought that the earth sat on the back of a gigantic turtle. The Bible also says... do not drink the blood of animals. People have actually used the blood of animals as medicine. and of course they got very sick. But, if they would have just read the Bible, they would have known better wouldn't they have? The Bible is the truth and the way to a healthy happy lifestyle. It promotes love and only things that will help you and your family prosper. <br /> <br /> God loves you, even if you act like He isn't there.<br /> <br /> ~Carey

Carey,<br /> <br /> Thanks for the entertaining letter. While I'm glad to see you're not one of those pinheads who thinks believing the Bible requires you to deny all modern science, I think you're overestimating the Bible's accuracy on other scientific matters. (Not to mention being ignorant of other mythologies. It was Atlas, not Hercules, who held up the Earth.) After all, Ezekiel 7:2 suggests a widespread flat-earth belief even though Aristotle predicted a round earth. And of course people in Jesus' time thought epilepsy was caused by demon possession (see Luke 9). <br /> <br /> The church imprisoned Galileo for daring to declare the Earth went around the sun, and they murdered poor Giordano Bruno for daring to suggest that the stars were other suns like our own! Today, it is the religious community that is throwing itself bodily in the path of stem cell research, which has the potential to cure all sorts of illnesses like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, and has countless other potential applications. 1 Timothy 6:20 exhorts Christians to reject science if it appears to conflict with Biblical myths.<br /> <br /> Your examples are rather quaint (if these primitive people had used one set of ancient mythological texts rather than another, they'd have been better off!), but you ignore one thing. ALL modern scientific advancements have come from hard working researchers following the rigorous methods of science, NOT from reading the Bible, which has nothing to say on such subjects as physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, or any relevant field of conemporary science you coould name. Modern scientific research is what cured polio and smallpox, and is getting closer to a cure for cancer, HIV, and, ultimately, perhaps someday even aging and death itself. Knowledge is what promotes health and happiness, not ancient holy texts and storybooks. <br /> <br /> Finally, if you think your ancient storybook "promotes love and only things that will help you and your family prosper," then please expain the following passages. Thanks:<br /> <br /> Proverbs 23:13-14; Jeremiah 15:7-8; Malachi 2:3; Matthew 10:34-36; Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:29-30; Ephesians 5:22; II Kings 2: 23-24; John 3:18; John 3:36. <br /> <br /> The above is, of course, only a small sampling.<br /> <br /> Gus the Invisible Cosmic Rabbit loves you, even if you act like he isn't there.

Hercules did not hold up the earth...but he did give it a rather astonishing enema while cleaning the Augean stables...

Carey~<br /> The Bible does not reference the exact same order now understood by science. For starters, while "light" was allegedly created on the first day and plants were allegedly created on the third day, the Sun, Moon, planets and stars were allegedly not created until the fourth day. That doesn't make sense in any context, but it's particularly at odds with modern astronomy, which posits (among other things) that the light we see in the sky mostly comes from the Sun. Furthermore, fish, birds, whales and bats were all allegedly created on the fifth day, but land-dwelling creatures, presumably including lizards, mammals and dinosaurs, allegedly were not created until the sixth day. That order of development conflicts greatly with modern paleontology, biology, and genetics. In summary, right from the very first chapter, the Bible is completely at odds with reality.<br /> <br /> Elmo loves you, and so does Barney. Unlike God, each of Them can actually be seen on TV.<br /> <br /> -Stephen

Carey,

You can't actually say that the Big Bang (No-one*Nothing=Something) has the same order of events as the Creation (God*nothing=Something).

And besides, the Big Bang was made compatible with the billions-of-years-old earth while the Creation states a-few-thousand-years-old earth.

"ASSUME Jesus both walked the earth in human form and performed miracles. Also assume he taught a message about what we must do to follow him, then arose from the dead after his crucifixion. There were many witnesses to all these events.

So, ASSUMING the above is true, (it is) then the message is true as well, wouldn't you agree!"

No, it doesn't mean that in the slightest. The things you ask me to assume have no bearing on the veracity of any claims of Jesus' divinity.

You ask me to assume that Jesus was a real person who changed water to wine and whatnot, and who eventually rose from the dead. This *does not imply* that he was the son of YHWH. All it entails is that he did those things.

You need to work on your inference skills.

Why do a lot of the posts by Christians ask us first to assume the existence of God or Jesus? Then provide some lame reason to believe? I was advised by my dear old Dad that assumption is the mother of all f@*k ups. So I choose to assume nothing and wait for that much anticipated evedence I never seem to get.

Even if everything about the Christian God is true and he exists, I'd rather go to hell when I die because I don't want to live my life under a dictatorship.

I wouldn't rather go to hell when I die. I wouldn't care to live under a dictatorship, we don't always get what we want. I just find ideas to fix the problems. That keeps me busy.

Devin Westley Harper,

Unfortunately Devin you probably won't go to hell because it doesn't exist. Otherwise you would be burnt toast.

In some of my replies I've made it seem like the people I reply to are Christians because that's what happens to me alot here. But this real big fan of mine is undoubtedly one. I just don't get how I would be burnt toast when I obeyed the Bible when I was a Christian. That's why I don't believe in the Bible. No one else followed the scripture as I did.

Oh wait, he said hell doesn't exist. Nevermind, I thought he was mad at me because I gave him a bad name.

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