Saturday, May 25, 2019

Jesus Was Resurrected Because...Grave Robbery Was Illegal?

One of the common reasons Christians and apologists give to say that the resurrection of Jesus was an historical event that really happened, as opposed to allegory or myth, was that the disciples didn't steal the body from the tomb of Jesus - because grave robbery was illegal.

There are two problems with this argument:

1) The mere fact that something is illegal doesn't prevent that something from happening. Murder and insurrection were illegal in the Roman empire - yet we see, for example, in the gospels that state laws against murder and insurrection certainly didn't prevent those murder and insurrection from happening. Barabbas, the man who was released in place of Jesus (see Mark 15:7), was charged with those very two crimes.

So the fact that there were laws in place to prevent grave robbery isn't an iron-clad guarantee that ensures no grave was ever robbed.

2) If indeed grave robbery was illegal, then why were there no trials of any of Jesus' disciples for such a crime?

Jesus was allegedly crucified by the Roman authorities and placed in a tomb. Three days later, that tomb was empty.

Afterwards, the known associates of this man the Romans had executed (the disciples/apostles) were proclaiming that he is no longer in that tomb.

In one instance of the resurrection narrative, a celestial force defeats the Roman soldiers put on guard to prevent this very thing.

Yet, for all the trials of the apostles that are recorded in Acts, no-one brings up grave robbery even once.

So then we come to a two-pronged problem:

a) If Jesus was indeed killed by the Romans and grave robbery was illegal, then why were there no trials of the disciples for either grave robbery, being an accessory to grave robbery, or for associating with a man condemned and executed by a Roman governor?

b) If a man the Romans had condemned and executed had indeed come back to life, this would make him an escaped convict - thus, the Romans would surely have rounded up Jesus and all his known associated and made sure the escaped convict was dead by killing him second time around.
Yet we know this didn't happen either.

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So Christian apologists face a hurdle:

Either grave robbery wasn't illegal, thus opening the possibility up that the disciples of a crucified Jewish messiah figure took the body of the man they pinned their hopes on, thus enabling an embellishment (or outright myth making), or;

Grave-robbery was illegal, but no-one in authority noticed to ever press charges of such a serious crime - even though the testimony of those who had seen Jesus after he left the tomb spread like wildfire across three continents, or;

The gospels are reporting myth and embellishment.

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Stay warm and healthy!

-Damien

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hard Questions For Christians (Part 1)


I have to admit that my brand of atheism is slightly antagonistic. 
Some people find this unsettling or controversial, and I can tell you for a fact that my atheism has damaged friendships and relationships.
When I was a Christian, the concept of losing friends and relationships by boldly proclaiming Christ was something that was welcomed - so now as an atheist, if I lose friends by boldly proclaiming atheism, is that an indication I am on the right path?

This is because when I write something, I want it to be compelling reading that invites you to read further, something that makes you want to respond, or at least something that challenges pre-conceived ideas.

I believe in the free exchange of ideas. No-one ever became more wise and intelligent by putting blinkers on and telling everybody else to shut up.

However, in the course of exploring my atheism, I have come up with some hard questions that have made Christians squirm and struggle answer properly - or worse, have seen Christians put the blinkers on, then want you to be more wise and intelligent by shutting up and not exploring ideas.

I'm going to put some of these hard questions below.

If anyone reading this have answers to my questions, I am more than happy to go over your answer, and if you have some challenging questions of your own, I am more than happy to accept and try answer it myself.

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On the topic of evolution by common descent:

The topic of evolution is a goldmine for challenging Christian fundamentalist belief. 

For me, whenever I have engage in a debate on the theory of evolution, this is one I throw out:

If God came down and spoke to you personally to tell you that evolution was how he did things, would you still be an anti-evolutionist?

The reasoning behind this question is to show that it is not evidence that an anti-evolutionist looks for when researching anti-evolution ideas, but validation.

The other reason behind this question is to show that God never comes down to reason with people. God seemingly leaves everything up to fallible interpretation of the Bible, which has been interpreted by fallible humans using fallible translation heuristics.

I did get an answer once, which was along this line:

"God, if evolution was how you did things, then why didn't you leave any evidence?"


To which I replied:
I can only imagine God saying to you:
"I gave you fossil evidence, DNA evidence, phylogenetics, embryology, homology, even vestigial organs. Do you know why humans have a vomeronasal organ does? I don't! Heck, I even made you 97% similar to chimpanzees!".


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On proof for God:

Whenever I have debated someone on the concept of proof for God, I have found I am usually able to stop conversations with the following question:

Give me a particular piece of evidence or a proof for the Christian God that could not be applied to the gods of other religions.

Give me a proof for your God that could not also be proof for someone else's god!

The reason behind these questions are two-fold:

1. The best case for God is not found in objective evidence that can be scientifically evaluated - but in philosophy (Argument from Design, Argument from Morality, The Transcendental Argument, The Ontological Argument, Argument From First Cause, et al).

That's not to say that I think philosophical arguments for God are convincing. All I am saying that the best and most studied arguments for God are philosophical, not scientific.

2. The best evidence that a Christian can give for their God supports, at best, a vague Deism - there is a God, but all this God did was create the initial conditions of this universe, then left the universe to its own devices, and not interfere or intervene in human affairs.

But then, put simply, if there is a supreme being that created the universe, that supreme being is not the Christian God - for it is the Christian God that allegedly intervenes in daily affairs.

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On charging God with doing evil:

A common reply to my attempts to paint the all-knowing, all-loving and all-kind God as a genocidal psychopath is to say that because God knows everything, God is justified in doing whatever it is that is necessary to achieve his plans.

To which I reply:

Imagine a hypothetical scenario in which aliens came to invade Earth. 
In the dead of night, the aliens come to take your loved ones away for testing, which you know will involve a lot of pain and their likely death.

Knowing what is about to happen to your loved ones, would you let these aliens take them away, or would you fight back to try ensure their survival?


Bear in mind that these aliens have superior knowledge - they know more than you and have a higher understanding of their action.
They also have superior weaponry - so any attempt at fighting back may result in your suffering as well.

You want to know what responses I have got to this scenario?

"Have these aliens shown a willingness to be identified with humanity?"

"Do these aliens have my best interests at heart?"

Which are both ways of saying that because God is (to the responder) kind and loving, God has a free pass to whatever he likes to people - up to and including causing their premature death.

To me, this is:

1. A case of "the means justify the ends". Sure, God can put me and my loved ones through severe pain and suffering. But he puts me and my loved ones through suffering because he cares for me.
But if nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), why can't God demonstrate his love for mankind in a way that minimises suffering?

2. Giving God a free pass, simply because he's God.

3. Not actually answering the question. Would you fight back against the aliens to stop your loved ones suffering, even if it meant you may suffer in the process?

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Until next time, stay healthy and rational.

-Damien

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Response To Israel Folau

If you have been keeping up with current events in the Australian media, or even media in the sporting field in general, you will be aware of the controversy surrounding Australian rugby player Israel Folau.

I won't go too much in to the detail of what he's done. That's already been reported and covered.

But what I want to do is give this response. 

If Mr. Folau (or anyone who is like-minded) come across this, then I hope it achieves one of two things:

1. That this helps you consider that you're not in a religion of love - you're in a religion whose selling point is moral superiority;

2. That saying bad things about people who are in no way harming you or anyone else is not an effective way of evangelising - it's just promoting the fact that you think you are morally superior because you have sidled up with the creator of the universe - the very definition of moral superiority.

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Mr. Folau, if your religion requires you to believe that people who don't believe the same thing as you deserve punishment;

If your religion requires you to accept and to be morally comfortable with torture (for that is what Hell is in Fundamentalist Christianity - a place of literal torture);

If your religion requires you to believe that adults who partake in consensual sexual activity deserve punishment;

Then it's time to reconsider your religion.

DM me if you want to chat about this more.

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Guest Appearance On Unwoke Ungit Podcast

Last night, I had the pleasure of having an indepth chat with Lewis Ungit, which was recorded to become an epsiode of the Unwoke Ungit podc...