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Online skeptic54768

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Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« on: July 17, 2014, 12:16:26 PM »
As you guys all know, I don't really start new topics all too often, but I felt that this topic would be a fun one.

I would like the atheists to explain how they think Christianity started, especially considering something as groundbreaking as the Resurrection of Christ.

I want to see if the atheists' explanation makes more rational sense than the simplest explanation (Occam's razor), which is that Jesus rose from the dead.

So, how did Christianity start when people who were alive could have squashed the Resurrection myth?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 12:30:22 PM »
As you guys all know, I don't really start new topics all too often, but I felt that this topic would be a fun one.

I would like the atheists to explain how they think Christianity started, especially considering something as groundbreaking as the Resurrection of Christ.

I want to see if the atheists' explanation makes more rational sense than the simplest explanation (Occam's razor), which is that Jesus rose from the dead.

So, how did Christianity start when people who were alive could have squashed the Resurrection myth?

Jesus survived a crucifixion. A simpler explanation than yours.

Christianity was made up by Paul not by Jesus.
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Offline Energized

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 12:56:20 PM »
Christianity was made up by Paul not by Jesus.

This.

E.
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Offline Timo

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 01:14:53 PM »
I would like the atheists to explain how they think Christianity started, especially considering something as groundbreaking as the Resurrection of Christ.

Is the resurrection of Christ really groundbreaking though? 

Quote from: Justin Martyr
And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; Æsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus.[First Apology]

I think that sometimes critics of Christianity make the parallels between Christ and other dying and rising gods of the Mediterranean out to be a bit more than they are, but the fact is that there were other dying and rising gods in the Mediterranean before Christ.

And even in the Jewish tradition, it's not as if no one ascends bodily into heaven before Christ.  Enoch and Elijah do.  He's also not the only one that's brought back from the dead.  Saul has a medium bring Samuel back from the dead [1 Samuel 28].

So, how did Christianity start when people who were alive could have squashed the Resurrection myth?

I've never understood why people thought that this is a compelling argument. False ideas spread today even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  And there was no snopes in the first century.

I guess I haven't answered the question.  But I'm not sure I need to.  There is no reason to think that Christ was real and the other dying and rising gods were not.  I mean, where do you suppose all the other dying and rising gods came from?
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Offline Airyaman

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 01:33:46 PM »
To the people not present, the story of his resurrection was enough. Its enough for the OP after all. So it never had to happen, you just have to believe it did. That's how myths and legends often come about.
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Offline epidemic

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 01:41:30 PM »
As you guys all know, I don't really start new topics all too often, but I felt that this topic would be a fun one.

I would like the atheists to explain how they think Christianity started, especially considering something as groundbreaking as the Resurrection of Christ.

I want to see if the atheists' explanation makes more rational sense than the simplest explanation (Occam's razor), which is that Jesus rose from the dead.

So, how did Christianity start when people who were alive could have squashed the Resurrection myth?

With information traveling on foot and donkey, and 40 years before the resurection story appears on paper.  I think that the odds are pretty good one could pass this story off as fact.   A couple of ancient nay sayers would be easily dismissed.

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2014, 02:46:45 PM »
There are numerous legendary heroes...such as Robin Hood and King Arthur...who exist in folk tales widely believed at the time, yet for whom there is no contemporary documentation. This figures are interesting for students of mythology...and for historians these figures are mysteries.  Maybe such people existed...maybe not...nobody knows.

Jesus is the same.  There is no contemporary documentation of Jesus being alive, and none of his execution or resurrection.  The Romans, who occupied the region, did keep records. No Roman at the time recorded any rumor of a resurrected rabbi. 

The burden of proof is on those who claim Jesus existed. 

Offline Dante

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2014, 03:02:32 PM »
My guess is that, since it’s such a mish-mashed hodge-podge borrowed of earlier myths and religions, it most likely was started by some Romans as a means to control the pagan peasants and other illiterate masses into thinking they had hope to get out of the dreadful, subservient life they were living and into an eternity of bliss, if only they follow the rules of the State appointed clergymen.

From there, I’m sure it was passed down from generation to generation, until it became the “Truth”.

I'm hoping screwtape, KCrady, or Graybeard will be along shortly with more details.

Oh, and BM.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 03:08:14 PM »
As you guys all know, I don't really start new topics all too often, but I felt that this topic would be a fun one.

I would like the atheists to explain how they think Christianity started, especially considering something as groundbreaking as the Resurrection of Christ.

I want to see if the atheists' explanation makes more rational sense than the simplest explanation (Occam's razor), which is that Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus resurrecting from the dead is hardly the simplest explanation.  It may be the shortest and utilize the fewest words, but that does not make it simple.  And it certainly incorporates more assumptions than the relatively simple "human beings can be wrong and spread misinformation" explanation.  It certainly incorporates more assumptions than the relatively simple "human beings will be inclined to embrace ideas that assuage their natural fears of death and oblivion, irrespective of truth-value".

Basically, I think you need to re-use Occam's razor here - you've missed a few spots.
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Offline Energized

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 03:13:38 PM »
The burden of proof is on those who claim Jesus existed.

But the bible doesn't get the story straight about the resurrection. Not one christian can definitively say what the events were after the stone was rolled away.

Not one.

Oh sure, skeptic will say that each book was written from the point of view of the author, and how just because one writer says 1 was present while the other writer says there were 3, the first writer didn't feel the need to mention the other 2 people because they weren't important. So the story still makes sense, see?

I've said this on the forum before - I don't have the physical strength to do the mental gymnastics required to keep the story straight...

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'O pitiful shadow lost in the darkness,
Bringing torment and pain to others.
O damned soul wallowing in your sin.
Perhaps it is time to die?'

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Offline epidemic

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2014, 03:19:00 PM »
with in a couple of years a guy named Smith had people believing he had magic underpants and golden tablets describing his church.   People didn't even question the fact that the golden tablets conveniently disappeared.

All in all with the information engine of the time I don't see any problem managing to take a story of a rabbi and puffing it up to a god like myth.

You start out in the first few years with a story of jesus and his teachings and each decade you add a few new wild claims as people die off and soon you have a guy who could walk on water and raise the dead.  Especially when you have all the key players supposedly dead by the time the first official new testament bible story was written.

Just imagine how someone could convince you to drink coolaid in the information age or that hale bop comet had aliens in it ready to wisk your soul to heaven. 

imagine a guy who could get you to give him all your money and shave your head bang a tamborine and wear a stupid orange robe to beg for money for your candles.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 03:22:12 PM by epidemic »

Offline screwtape

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 03:30:05 PM »
False ideas spread today even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  And there was no snopes in the first century.

This. 

Today, just look at the tea bagger bullshit:  Obama is a communist.  Obama is a secret muslim.  Agenda 21.  Comin' for mah gunz.  Benghazi, Benghazi! BENGHAZI!  The IRS went after conservatives.  Obama's buying all the ammo.  I could even add non-tea bagger bullshit, like homeopathy, anti-vax, chiropractic, or pretty much every word uttered by Dr Oz or Oprah.

All those are complete lies that a large portion of the American population believes, despite abundant information that would debunk all of it. 

People on the whole are only slightly smarter than chimps.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 03:47:03 PM »
Religions win by having bigger armies and more flexible stories. So while the armies were throwing stones, the religion they touted wasn't set in stone, and people were able to adjust it as variables in reality became obvious. The sun is the center of the universe, no wait, this just in, no its not, but we knew that all along, but you are still all sinners so send us all your money.

Christianity stuck in a few power centers and got forced down folks throats and then it became the norm because it could be modified as necessary by each and every practitioner, so it was easier to deal with than Hinduism, which is a bit more specific about stuff, I've heard. Or the muslim religion, which only has a couple of variants, because despots and such are more normal in their lands and they get to keep things a bit more under control.

Your religion is flexible, but individual followers are not. Once they've made up the Truth, they stick to it despite evidence. And it is that dedication to wrong-thinking that has moved christianity spiraling downward through history, always ready to make things worse.

Needless to say, I'm not actually impressed.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 03:58:00 PM »
Things people believe that are lacking good evidence and are clearly not true:

Scientology.
Rastafarianism.
Cargo cults.
Professional wrestling.
Astrology.
Alien abductions.
Moon landings were faked.
Psychics.

Need I say more?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online skeptic54768

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 04:15:44 PM »
Well thought out responses, guys.

But, I must say that Christianity is not like the other religions of just listening to someone's claim. The early Christians would have eyewitness testimony to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection was bollocks, it would have died. They would have said, "He promised us he would resurrect and he didn't. There goes that idea of having a messiah to look up to" and they would've walked away with their heads hanging down in shame.

it is completely different from anything else.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

Offline Don_Quixote

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2014, 04:21:15 PM »
See the problem is there are no eyewitnesses of the said Resurrection.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2014, 04:32:45 PM »
Well thought out responses, guys.

But, I must say that Christianity is not like the other religions of just listening to someone's claim. The early Christians would have eyewitness testimony to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection was bollocks, it would have died. They would have said, "He promised us he would resurrect and he didn't. There goes that idea of having a messiah to look up to" and they would've walked away with their heads hanging down in shame.

it is completely different from anything else.

There were no eyewitnesses...there are only second hand claims of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, eyewitnesses to what, exactly? You seem to think that 2000 years ago, a bunch of people saw Jesus the ghost, or something like that, and we're supposed to consider that worthy of serious thought?

Christianity is an invention that attempts to replace the Old Testament with a kinder, gentler set of mythology for people to cling to. It is nothing more than the hijacking of am older religion that became too tough to swallow as time went on. The blood lust and animal sacrifices, along with the unjust death punishments for breaking the outdated rules.

Online skeptic54768

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2014, 04:33:09 PM »
See the problem is there are no eyewitnesses of the said Resurrection.

Sure, there are:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24&version=NIV
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2014, 04:40:30 PM »
Well thought out responses, guys.

But, I must say that Christianity is not like the other religions of just listening to someone's claim. The early Christians would have eyewitness testimony to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection was bollocks, it would have died. They would have said, "He promised us he would resurrect and he didn't. There goes that idea of having a messiah to look up to" and they would've walked away with their heads hanging down in shame.

it is completely different from anything else.

There were no eyewitnesses...there are only second hand claims of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, eyewitnesses to what, exactly? You seem to think that 2000 years ago, a bunch of people saw Jesus the ghost, or something like that, and we're supposed to consider that worthy of serious thought?

Christianity is an invention that attempts to replace the Old Testament with a kinder, gentler set of mythology for people to cling to. It is nothing more than the hijacking of am older religion that became too tough to swallow as time went on. The blood lust and animal sacrifices, along with the unjust death punishments for breaking the outdated rules.

Scholars place Paul's earliest letter at 50 A.D. Also, Jesus is said have died between 27-37 A.D. Even if we say jesus died in 33 A.D., that is only 17 years to 50 A.D. Someone who was 15 years old during jesus' crucifixion would only be 32 in 50 A.D.

Plenty of people would easily remember.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - Jesus (said 2,000 years ago and still true today.)

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2014, 04:50:42 PM »


There were no eyewitnesses...there are only second hand claims of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, eyewitnesses to what, exactly? You seem to think that 2000 years ago, a bunch of people saw Jesus the ghost, or something like that, and we're supposed to consider that worthy of serious thought?

Christianity is an invention that attempts to replace the Old Testament with a kinder, gentler set of mythology for people to cling to. It is nothing more than the hijacking of am older religion that became too tough to swallow as time went on. The blood lust and animal sacrifices, along with the unjust death punishments for breaking the outdated rules.

Scholars place Paul's earliest letter at 50 A.D. Also, Jesus is said have died between 27-37 A.D. Even if we say jesus died in 33 A.D., that is only 17 years to 50 A.D. Someone who was 15 years old during jesus' crucifixion would only be 32 in 50 A.D.

Plenty of people would easily remember.
[/quote]

Yep, the resurrection was so impressive, Paul was so wowed, that he rushed home and wrote about it. Seventeen years later.

And of course, there is no chance that his mind might have altered his memories of the subject. Psychologists studying the subject today tell us that the more we remember an incident, the more we distort it. Each time we remember it, what we are actually remembering is the last time we remembered the event, not the event itself. It is impossible, sans photo and video and audio evidence, to remember specifically what happened in the past. George Bush said he remembered seeing the first plane fly in to the World Trade Center live and being shocked. The only video of that event was released many days later. Nobody saw the first plane hit live on TV.

I recently went back and watched some of the replays of live TV on 9/11, including the very programs I was watching on that morning. And my memory of the events was notably different that the video record.

Nobody can tell you accurately what happened 17 years ago. Especially if they've thought about it a lot between then and now.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2014, 04:54:13 PM »
Well thought out responses, guys.

But, I must say that Christianity is not like the other religions of just listening to someone's claim. The early Christians would have eyewitness testimony to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection was bollocks, it would have died. They would have said, "He promised us he would resurrect and he didn't. There goes that idea of having a messiah to look up to" and they would've walked away with their heads hanging down in shame.

it is completely different from anything else.

What eyewitness evidence supports the idea that Jesus died and came back to life rather than just survived the crucifixion?
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Offline SevenPatch

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2014, 05:00:44 PM »
If the Resurrection was bollocks, it would have died.

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world and it is still around?  Does that mean it is not bollocks?

Why exactly would Christianity have died if the Resurrection story was made up? 

If anything, assuming the Ressurrection never happened, making it up would have been smart right?  It really helps the story, no?
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Offline Timo

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2014, 05:19:25 PM »
But, I must say that Christianity is not like the other religions of just listening to someone's claim. The early Christians would have eyewitness testimony to the Resurrection.

Why would this matter?  There are people that were around when President Barack Obama was born and raised in Hawaii just five decades ago.  And there is official state documentation, as well as a newspaper announcement of his birth, that put it on the record.  And yet, there is a sizable portion of this country that will have none of it and insists that he was born in Kenya.  Why would that be the case when there are so many people that can so easily correct them?
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Offline Timo

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2014, 05:32:09 PM »
Also, Skep, let me ask you again:

...where do you suppose all the other dying and rising gods came from?
Nah son...

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2014, 05:32:37 PM »
Scholars place Paul's earliest letter at 50 A.D. Also, Jesus is said have died between 27-37 A.D. Even if we say jesus died in 33 A.D., that is only 17 years to 50 A.D. Someone who was 15 years old during jesus' crucifixion would only be 32 in 50 A.D.

Plenty of people would easily remember.

I would like you tell me to whom you spoke on the morning of 9/11 at 1130 a.m. I would like you to tell me verbatim what you said, what they said, etc. I also want you to tell me what you had for lunch, what you had for a snack in the afternoon and what did in the evening.

Then, I want you to tell me the name of the person you spoke to three days after 9/11. Let's say the first person you spoke to after lunch. What did you eat for lunch? What was the weather like? Was it on the phone or in person? Who was there? Did anyone else witness the conversation?

See, the bible is pretty descriptive and the conversations were pretty detailed. As you say, 17 years would be easy to remember, right? Hey! I'm only asking you to remember an event 13 years ago which was pretty spectacular. Surely this should be a piece of cake.

E.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 05:34:13 PM by Energized »
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2014, 05:42:02 PM »
In the late 1970's, in an issue of National Lampoon (old humor magazine from the 20th century), they did a joke about Elvis faking his death so he could get away from the pressures of fame and that he was really hiding out somewhere.  Within a couple years of that, I started seeing 'Elvis Sighted' type headlines on supermarket tabloids such as National Enquirer.  By the mid-1980's the 'Elvis is Alive' meme was a genuine cultural phenomenon, and singer Mojo Nixon did a terrific rock and roll song about it in 1987:


Humans are storytelling animals, and also transmitters of memes and legends. Psychologists have proven that we can install false memories in ourselves and others.

The best reason to believe the Jesus legend is that it is popular, billions of believers.  But many people believe Elvis is alive as well, and 50 Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2014, 06:01:39 PM »
I love the whole Elvis is alive thing. It so closely parallels the stories about Jesus. There are even videos of Elvis' close friends describing how Elvis had supernatural powers and did miracles. Have you seen the one where they say he parts the storm to stay dry? That is Elvis, not Jesus.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 06:07:54 PM by Foxy Freedom »
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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2014, 06:03:15 PM »
But but but, how could that have gone on saying that when there were eye witnesses around that could have refuted that?
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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2014, 06:43:10 PM »
Psychologists have proven that we can install false memories in ourselves and others.

You don't remember that time you beat up that mugger and the pretty girl gave you her phone number?  Yeah it was that time we went to pick up your mom's car, I think it was 11 years ago now.  It was amazing!  What? You lost the phone number, too bad, she was cute and seemed like she was into you.

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I wouldn't be surprised if it is easier to plant false memories than to help someone remember something that they have forgotten.

"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks