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What is required to prove Christianity?

I'm Christian, and I really want to take the time to research and find proof that what I believe is in fact, true. Since I grew up in the church, it's hard to always think of the biggest questions that would come naturally to a non-believer.

Can you please tell me, from an atheist's perspective, *if* Christianity were true, what would be required to prove it beyond reasonable doubt? I don't plan to debate it here, I'd just like questions to fuel my research.

Thank you! Rick

The resurrection of Christ is what your faith is based upon. No resurrection, no true Christianity! If you are trully a Christian; you ought to know were to begin.

Hi Rick,

I think the simplest answer to this question might be this- If you (or your religion) makes a claim, back it up. Saying something is so does not make it so. To be blunt, the most helpful thing I might say is that actions speak louder than words.

If you make a claim that you have a book that tells you how to live a good life, live that good life exactly as the book tells you. Don't tell me about it. Your actions will speak far more clearly than your words ever could.

Basically, any claim you (or others who say the represent you) make with regard to religion that can not be backed up with actions or evidence does not demonstrate itself as valid "proof".

I hope that helps.

Rick,

I did an Atheist Experience episode a while back (http://www.atheist-experience.com/archive/?y=2007#table) episode #517 on "Leaps of faith". I identified 30 or so leaps of faith that you have to make from being a reasonable skeptic to believing in Christianity. First, you have to believe that there is such a thing as a God, you have to believe that there's only one such God, that that God has the ability to create the universe, that he got bored one day and decided to do that, etc. For each one of these leaps, you'd have to provide miraculous evidence for the claim. I identified them as leaps because none of the claims logically follows from the previous ones, but they do require the previous ones to even make sense. As far as I'm concerned, Christianity is around 30 universes away from the one in which I live.

Because of this enormous distance between reality and Christianity, there isn't one little bit of evidence that will convince us. We would be unimpressed with Jesus' holy foreskin, hypothetically touted by the Catholic church as a money making con game like so many other relics they've invented. I guess if there were such a thing, Christians would have made it up already and tried to market it.

How about the question of what the world would look like if God actually existed (the first leap)? First, there would be no religion, there would be no idiots on street corners yammering on about God. There would be no religious nuts trying to take control of the US government to bring about the end times. There would be no need for Churches, tax breaks for belief in things without evidence. Prayer would work, so there would be no poverty, disease, or suffering. One could merely ask God about his actions rather than make up just-so stories. There would be no need for holy wars, killing of unbelievers, etc. Strangely, a Universe with a God is not too different than one that would exist without the belief in God. If God existed, there would be no need for belief and therefore few of the ills that religion brings to humanity.

--Don

Rick:

Thanks for writing. This may not answer your question, but it's something to consider. You wrote:

>I'm Christian, and I really want to take the time to research and find proof that what I believe is in fact, true.

It's not really how people's minds actually work to "believe" and then "justify," is it? Does it makes sense to believe ghosts exist, and then set out to see if we can justify what we believe? Shouldn't we _at least_ encounter something _first_ that we _at least_ think justifies a belief in ghosts, and then see if our assumption is right? I guess my question is--if you lack justification for it, why do you believe it? What is informing your belief?

>Since I grew up in the church, it's hard to always think of the biggest questions that would come naturally to a non-believer.

That's understandable.

>Can you please tell me, from an atheist's perspective, *if* Christianity were true, what would be required to prove it beyond reasonable doubt?

I just see this along the lines of the top question. If _you_ can't think of anything what would justify belief Xian, the question you need to be asking isn't "How can I prove it," but "Why do I believe it?"

>I don't plan to debate it here, I'd just like questions to fuel my research.

I can share what deconverted me. I don't know if that will help you or not though, because we may not share the same Xian assumptions about Xianity.

1. I thought the Bible was far more reliable than it was. When I researched how the Bible was put together, I was floored at how ignorant I was--and how wrong in my assumptions. I didn't read atheist literature, and I didn't read apologetic literature. I just went into history books to see "how was this book built, by whom, and why?" Before this, I had believed the books were inspired writings, and never really questions "who said so?" When Jesus or an apostle mentioned "scripture," I was taught to preconceive of that as "The Bible" -- but I totally overlooked that the Bible didn't exist when these statements were made. In fact, the Hebrews had a vague notion of holy writings--but nothing like the OT we have today. In fact, the Hebrew "Bible" was canonized right around the same time the Bible was. I had always assumed there was a solid OT, and then a solid NT was added. That's not how it worked.

2. Get a Bible with marginal notes, and read it. Just one example of something that freaked me out was a translation note in John 7:53-8:11 that said, "The oldest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain these verses." As a Xian, the idea that the Bible could contain forged material--and that Xians knew this and kept it in there, anyway--was astounding to me.

After awhile, I began to see that a person had to have faith in the men who decided to create the Bible (Jesus and God never instructed anyone to build a Bible for posterity--see if you can find such a command in any of the books anywhere)--not the writers, but the guys who said, "Hey, let's make an authoritative text out of these old letters and some of the Hebrew writings..." They decided which books were "inspired" and which were apocrypha. Why? How? On whose authority?

This pretty much killed my acceptance of the Bible as god's word. I was still a theist for many years after that--but once the Bible is shot through, what's left to justify Xian claims and doctrines?

That's one of the main reasons my card house ultimately fell. I believed in god--not in men. And when I realized "faith in the Bible" was "faith in men" and not god, I began to see accepting that book as god's word as a form of blasphemy. Then I went out and sought "god"--and ended up an atheist after many years of seeking. I found answers--but they were a lot different than what I expected.

Good luck to you on your journey.

QUOTE - "What is required to prove Christianity?"

ANSWER - A person can prove almost anything is true if they read only that evidence that is favorable to their view, and ignore any evidence that disputes their view.

QUOTE - "I'm Christian, and I really want to take the time to research and find proof that what I believe is in fact, true."

ANSWER - "Don't read arguments that are irrational, that do not provide evidence for something, depends upon playing on a person's emotions, and put forth examples that prove nothing." Forget about the taboos like (you will go to hell for asking questions) and (forbidden knowledge) because it's there to protect the guilty. The biologists, botanists, paleontologists, astronomers, geologists and physicists in the world are not wrong about the age of the earth, the universe, and about evolution. Start reading books. Ask question of qualified experts. Where did religion come from? It all started in ancient Sumer. In the area now know as Iraq.

What is needed to justify belief in Christianity? No less than was allowed to Saint Thomas, the doubter. I happen to agree with what Richard Dawkins said, 'Doubting Thomas should be the Patron Saint of Agnostics, Atheists, Skeptics, and Scientists.'

Faith is absolutely worthless to anyone that is not already a subscriber to a particular supernatural proposition. I may go so far as to say that Faith is absolutely worthless to the subscribers of religion as well, except they just don't realize it.

By-the-way, I consider it an act of cowardice to throw down a gauntlet and then flee the arena. You made several propositions in your message. You should not make unjustified assertions, especially when you do not intend to defend them.

I also consider it intellectual sloth for you to beg people to build your case for you. It would make you much stronger to argue your own position.

For example, all you need to do is start a thread that says, "I'm a Christian, and I can justify this belief to you." While I do not doubt that you shall fail, your failings will strengthen you.

Sinisterly, Greenmagi

Green = not quite ripe Magi = wise man Green + Magi = not quite ripe wise man Greenmagi = realizing my ignorance daily

"I'm Christian, [...]" Thought you were Rick. :) scnr

"Can you please tell me [...] what would be required to prove it beyond reasonable doubt? [...]"

The main concept of Christianity is that the human being possesses an eternal soul that is only temporarily (=during natural life) inside of a physical body, maybe because that's the way God creates new souls: By growing them in his quantum garden and then, when it's time, releasing them into his eternal playground of Heaven.

Since a soul is inherently eternal, a soul that didn't get the imprint of Love (the main BIOS) correctly, cannot be undone. It can also not be released into the eternal playground because it would be poisonous, suck light instead of giving it. Because of that, souls that have turned out bad have to be put in some kind of soul garbage can, a dark playground for useless evil power that cannot invert itself to give light instead of consuming it.

To reiterate: Christianity believes in an existence where God has not managed to create true death. Rationalism believes in an existence where [nature|god|FSM] has managed to create true death.

To prove Christianity to anyone (and to make that proof meaningful - after all, even if Christianity is true, people would still have no rational reason to join the club), proof for the eternal immaterial soul would have to be presented. And that proof would have to imply that the spiritual component *stays existent* (keeps experiencing something) after the physical body has died.

First of all, I have to give some credit to the first part of my response to the Non Prophets podcast I listened to today. The guys were discussing how generic the term "Christian" is.

Rick, you are a Christian. Not just any Christian, but a very specific, Rick-centric Christian. Your version of this generic, Jesus-centered belief system is unique. Not one other Christian in the world is likely to have exactly your set of Christian beliefs. My buddy George, just down the hall, is also a Christian. However, I'm willing to bet most anything that the two of you differ greatly on what "Christianity" is. I am presuming different definitions of both heaven and hell, differences in the specifics on JC and being saved. Different interpretations on current world hot spots and how much of each conflict was dutifully predicted by the Bible. (George says all the current middle-east stuff is part of God's big plan, for instance. Do you agree?) Anyway, you are labeling yourself in a way you think is specific, but in fact is very general, very generic, very wishy-washy.

If you guys could all get together and agree on the meaning of , oh, say, about 90% of all scripture, you could not only reduce the petty-squabble ratio in your own churches, but also present a unified front that could help provide a much needed consistency to your arguments for a God and/or his kid.

We atheists, on the other hand, pretty much agree. No God.

So, among other things, for you guys to have any prayer of providing and showing me proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" regarding your sky-guy(s), a little consistency in even the most basic of your arguments would help greatly.

For me to actually believe, though, God would have to make a personal appearance in a form and/or way that I would immediately and unmistakably accept as real and true (if he exists, he obviously knows how to do this. I don't.), and tell me why faith is so frickin' important to him. Too, the Dude would have to fess up and apologize for a lot of things. If he fell back on the "Hey, I created you!" stuff, I'd start giving him a list of all the reasons I haven't sent him a 'Thank You' card just yet. Like why did he send only one kid. China didn't get any Christian messengers, and it was a huge civilization at the time. Nor did India nor North or South America. Nor Rome. Just the one kid. Why? And I'd ask why he made the universe big but he keeps us on this one planet. And why he made the planet 70% water and yet he gave us no gills. Why cliffs and why tiggers. And he'd better have good answers, because just knowing he exists would not currently get me all born-againy.

Right now I've got all kinds of reasonable doubt that he doesn't exist, so I know what my standards are. If he exists, he knows what they are too, and he's not doing much about it. If he's real, he knows that his current methodology is reaching a minority of the planets inhabitants, and none of his sycophants are handling the belief stuff very well anyway. Hence it would be wise for him to try something new.

You may want me to go to heaven, but if he wants me there too, its high time he did something proactive.

I'm not holding my breath. Or covering my gills.

There is no support for Christianity by any historian living at the same time and place as Jesus was said to have lived and performed his miracles. Not one Jewish, Greek, or Roman writer ever mentions him during his supposed life time. The writings of historians who lived long after the death of Jesus were not witnesses and have been proven forgeries. We do have much better evidence for the existence of other figures - Caesar etc. Christo was a generic term, but the "Teacher of Righteousness" was probably James. Paul was his rival. Paul's teachings (Christianity) were the exact opposite of James teachings - the Jewish head of the Church of Jerusalem.

Rick, it would be silly if humans had objective evidence for the existence of God. Would it make any sense to you that beings with the IQ of around 100 were somehow were able to prove the existence of a being that forged the universe? Open a worm hole and on the other side is God waving back "oh you found me!"

QUOTE: - Rick, it would be silly if humans had objective evidence for the existence of God. Would it make any sense to you that beings with the IQ of around 100 were somehow were able to prove the existence of a being that forged the universe? Open a worm hole and on the other side is God waving back "oh you found me!"

Oh! I think that estimate is far too high! If man had treated science, as the religion would want us to we would all be dead! All the questions would have been answered with the latest revised edition of the authentic Bible! Plagues would have run rampant. Scientist validate everything by testing it, they try to prove that it is false every possible way before they know it is true. I don't believe that is how theologians work. So, the inquiry into why anything happens would have ended with "god did it." Like why did god choose to send illiterate sheepherders of one culture to spread his word throughout the world, especially when their very salvation depended upon getting the message? Take a WILD f ' n guess....

"What would be required to prove it beyond reasonable doubt?"

The same kinds of consistent evidence that we use for everything else that we hold as true should also apply to religious claims. I don't understand how some religious people can apply the same standards for proof that all rational, logical people use to decide if a claim is true, but when it comes to their religion, all those standards for proof goes out the window.

The believers answer with faith and end of conversation. I think believers are dishonest, hipocritical, and foolish for using different standards for proof with the God question, but can reject claims of leprechaun, pixies, or the spigette monster by using a different set of standards.

If you are planning on conducting some experiments for proof of God, then you have to ask if God is detectable. If God is detectable, then what kind of devices should be needed to detect its presence? Let assume that God's presence is located in a different dimension. Then a device is needed that can detect this dimension. Or if God is said to speak to believers, then a device is needed to record these conversations. And in order for the data collected for God's existence, it also has to pass the scientific method. Can your experiments be repeated? Are there different experiments you can do that result in the same conclusion? Can the conclusions you've came up with be verified by peer review. Now that's how you prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can provide this evidence, let's see it and take it through the ringer.

My assumption is that believers have no such evidence, but just faith. Well I have evidence that this God that religious people speak of is a mass delusion. There are multiple researches from the scientific field of Psychology, Sociology, and Neurology, and research on Cults, that confirms that mass delusions can happen. Religion tries to indoctrinate people very young, they seem to associate mostly with one particular group, and they take their cue from higher authorities that dictate their actions. So I'm pretty confident that it's all a mass delusion that began very early in a person's life to believe in something that is not there.

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