Author Topic: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?  (Read 3324 times)

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Offline Tero

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #87 on: July 18, 2014, 12:17:31 PM »
There sre entire books on this. Read From Jesus to Christianity.

The process is Christology.

About 100 years after a popular Jesus myth circulated a couple of guys get together. "It would be a good idea if..."  And it snowballed.

Offline Timo

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #88 on: July 18, 2014, 12:37:22 PM »
I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

Sidebar, do you think it's fair that God conditions salvation on belief in Christ given that some of us only have the Bible and a set of imperfect messengers when a generation of Judeans witnessed Christ's ministry and miracles first hand?  Isn't it easier for such people to have believed and therefor unfair of God to hold us to the same standard?
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #89 on: July 18, 2014, 12:47:46 PM »
Christians were a blip on the radar until about 60 AD when Nero blamed them for a fire.    So for 30 years after Jesus death, barely anyone was a Christian at all.   

Paul's letters were written before that, but the gospels were written after that.  Since so much time had passed, it's possible that Jesus existed, and possible he didn't exist at all and was invented for the purposes of the church, since they could claim to have eyewitness testimony to things that nobody could disprove.

After a few centuries of persecution and being a growing underground cult... (Pagans considered them atheists and intolerant) the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity somewhere around the year 300-320.   With the leader of a large empire converted, there was no more support of paganism and Christianity grew from a cult to a religion.

With Christianity being organized and empowered almost 300 years after Jesus, they could gather any writings they wanted.  They could have changed things, added things, "found writings" that they created... who was going to say the emperor lied or was lied to?   This is why there were writings around the time of the gospels that weren't included in the Bible.

If you consider Scientology, which came out in an era of information and modern thinking, grew to about 50,000 members, give or take, over the last few decades...   and this was a religion invented by a guy that we KNOW was a SCIENCE FICTION WRITER!   There are quotes from L Ron Hubbard to the effect of "forget being a novelist, the real money is in inventing a religion!".

Now, with the growth of the internet, Scientology has been shrinking.   It's been exposed to everyone as a cult and a sham so it's much harder for them to get recruits.   In the same way, Christianity is shrinking in the United States now that it's been exposed online as having many, many holes in it.

Let's imagine instead, that Scientology had been invented in Jesus time with some slightly different mythology to fit the time better... let's imagine that a Roman Emperor had adopted Scientology as his primary religion and used his power to gather "official" church writings into a collection.

Scientology tries to force their believers not to question it, and they attack anyone who does question it, so, this likely would have worked well as a religion of the state at that time.

So given that Christianity took decades to even start to become a blip... decades for the myth to grow.

And then didn't really become more than a cult for a few hundred years...

It doesn't seem like a good source to take as "concrete proof" that a guy died and rose from the dead, or turned water into wine, or made the blind see.

Skeptic, if you google around a little bit on what I wrote above, you should be able to find that it's pretty accurate.

I'd think if Jesus rose from the dead and there was a time of miracles where all the disciples were healing everyone, there'd be more historical evidence for that beyond "...30-40 years later, Nero got pissed cuz he thought the Christian's started a fire"

And the main reason the church grew beyond a cult was the adoption from Constantine, though, at the time, it was a popular minority cult.

People give different reasons why Constantine might have genuinely felt he converted or faked a conversion to assert more control over rebellions parts of the population.   Either way, Constantine certainly was no eye witness to any miracle or to Jesus.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #90 on: July 18, 2014, 12:48:44 PM »
WTF! Simple!!!??? How "simple" is it to rise from the dead??? If it is that "simple" please explain in biological and scientific terms, referencing what we know today, as to how this was done.

Or was it "Magic"?

I am saying it's simple because God is all-powerful. It really is kind of ridiculous to say that God can't make a dead man rise.

of course if you are thinking in purely naturalistic terms of "no God" then of course you will think it's hokum and hogwash. but, I personally try to look at the bigger picture of God being all-powerful.

That's where you lose me in the logic again.

God is all powerful--or at least powerful enough to raise a guy from the dead. So, why not raise everyone? Why the sporadic, hit and miss miracles in isolated places sprinkled here and there throughout history?

Why the need for a story book,  of all the cumbersome, primitive communication tools, to tell humanity what he is all about? In dead languages, yet, so it needs to be constantly translated, just like every other book ever written by humans.

If he wanted to communicate to everyone, he could show up at halftime at the Superbowl, right on the field. Or in the middle of the World Cup. Or take over the internet right now with his message, broadcast in the language of each person online. Send a text to every cell phone in every language. That message would get to 99% of the planet in a few hours.

There should be no need for people to risk death smuggling bibles to North Koreans--for one thing, they would rather have some food.  God should just show up at the next big Kim Jong Un love fest, smite that little bastard into eternity, multiply one bowl of rice into a million and take his bow. After that, North Korean people would stampede like a herd of buffalo in heat to the nearest Christian church.

But, instead, like every other god in history, this one can only travel as fast and as far as a human believer, carrying a book. And who knows if the human believer is from the correct one of the many thousands of Christian denominations? Even after hearing god's vitally important message, it has to then be interpreted anew by every human believer, whose understanding may be wrong and is certainly limited.

Why does this all-powerful god seem to have the exact same physical constraints in time and space as every other god before and since? I have said it many times before: If there was an all-powerful god who wanted everyone to know about him, and to understand his message, we all would. Since we don't, there isn't.

And that's Occam's Razor, babycakes. :angel:
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.

Offline epidemic

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #91 on: July 18, 2014, 01:03:26 PM »
I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

Well that might be a good start, considering people who knew him wittnessed his miracles and heard his sermons, needed further miracles to believe.  I people who wittnessed first hand him raise the dead, heal the amputated, walk on water, change water into wine... these same people all required further proof.

Why would I 2014 years later require any less proof with only translated old second hand stories.  I would say the bible is not as good as hanging with Jesus and seeing him in action.

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #92 on: July 18, 2014, 01:08:08 PM »
It certainly seems i have bitten off more than I can chew.

I believe I have failed.  :-\

Never in my wildest dreams did I think this thread would blow up this fast. I need some of my Christian buddies to give me a hand with this stuff.

Everyone loves you so much that you get all this attention.

You are world famous now!

Imagine all those readers.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #93 on: July 18, 2014, 01:09:51 PM »
WTF! Simple!!!??? How "simple" is it to rise from the dead??? If it is that "simple" please explain in biological and scientific terms, referencing what we know today, as to how this was done.

Or was it "Magic"?

I am saying it's simple because God is all-powerful. It really is kind of ridiculous to say that God can't make a dead man rise.
It really is kind of ridiculous to say that god cannot create a world full of perfectly free willed creatures that can successfully exercise that free will without ever causing an innocent entity to suffer.
It really is kind of ridiculous to say that god can't convince every single sentient entity that he loves that he freakin' exists without violating their free will.
It really is kind of ridiculous to say that god cannot manifest a better way to communicate with his beloved creations than an old-ass poetic book without violating their free will.
It really is kind of ridiculous to say that god cannot achieve the salvation for humanity without requiring the sacrifice of an innocent.
It really is kind of ridiculous to say that god cannot prevent demons from leading his beloved creatures astray (in this case, essentially assuring their ability to exercise their free will.  You know - informed decisions and shit).
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #94 on: July 18, 2014, 01:29:53 PM »

I'd think if Jesus rose from the dead and there was a time of miracles where all the disciples were healing everyone, there'd be more historical evidence for that beyond "...30-40 years later, Nero got pissed cuz he thought the Christian's started a fire"

And the main reason the church grew beyond a cult was the adoption from Constantine, though, at the time, it was a popular minority cult.

People give different reasons why Constantine might have genuinely felt he converted or faked a conversion to assert more control over rebellions parts of the population.   Either way, Constantine certainly was no eye witness to any miracle or to Jesus.

Channeling someone on my ignore list:

But can't you see? Constantine's conversion to Christianity was the miracle he himself witnessed! And therefore, the fact that he witnessed a miracle (his own conversion) is proof that Christianity is true!

Back to Rationalityland (just as fun as Disneyland, but much cheaper-- and no lines). The lack of contemporary accounts of all these incredible (in every sense) events, and the big time gaps in the storyline don't bode well for the all-powerful being.  News accounts, diary entries, letters home, stone tablets, all commemorating the day dad or daughter got healed by a disciple of Jesus, reports of raucous celebrations of joyful healed people that had to be quelled by soldiers, souvenir coins and plaques with Jesus' face on them. There should be thousands of artifacts-- we are talking about miracles, here.

Think about all the evidence future archeologists in the year 5014 will be able to sift through showing that Hitler, or the international space station, or 9/11, or Michael Jackson, or Hurricane Katrina, or the US Tax code, or the Chinese manufacturing economy were real. And none of that is miraculous.

If future archeologists only found one account, and just a passing mention at that, of someone flying a plane into a building, and not a single other piece of evidence that said anything like that had ever happened, what should they think? That people were flying planes into buildings so often that people didn't comment on it?[1] That there had originally been thousands of accounts about 9/11, but only one survived, even though all the tax records the IRS ever collected are there, along with several bootleg Chinese videos of Pia Zadora movies. Or that people in the never flew a plane into a buidling, and that was just a story someone made up? 
 1. A theist here actually proposed that miracles were so common in bible times that nobody noticed--that is why there are so few accounts about the early Christians...
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.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #95 on: July 18, 2014, 01:33:05 PM »
A theist here actually proposed that miracles were so common in bible times that nobody noticed--that is why there are so few accounts about the early Christians...

I admire your dedication to this subject.

With that said, people used to believe in miracles and see things all the time. A dead man rising would have been "ho-hum" everyday life. They weren't "extraordinary events" like the atheists today think. They were commonplace.

I certainly would not expect a historian to write about mundane things that happen regularly. The problem is that you guys are applying your present mindset onto 2,000 years ago. Things don't work that way.
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #96 on: July 18, 2014, 01:45:26 PM »
If you insist that there's an All-Powerful God that does everything and everything is possible, and work down from there, then it is logical that he could do things like make a man rise from the dead.   There's no actual proof that a man rose from the dead, but you can believe it because an all powerful god, who there is also no proof for, could do that... and the book, that there's no proof he inspired, said he could.

However, if you ask for "why do we believe that there is an all powerful god at all?"

- The Bible is full of problems.  The New Testament was written multiple decades after Jesus death and isn't supported otherwise historically.
- The whole Biblical story was put together hundreds of years later and translated and canonized by multiple errant people who ignore some books and place others.
- There is all kinds of stuff in the Bible you wouldn't expect to see from a being older than time who supposedly loves us.
- The universe doesn't look like it was created to support much life or for us to be the "center of attention" of a creator who loves us.
- All scientific data on the age of the universe, and whether there was a global flood, and all that stuff, supports that there was never a global flood... 8 people didn't repopulate 7,000,000,000 in 4,000 years... the earth is not 6,000 years old.   Civilizations were flourishing and recording history DURING the supposed time of the global flood.

- Oh... and FYI?  More water than exists on the entire planet didn't "drain off" forming the Grand Canyon... drain into what?  A bath tub stopper to the center of the earth where the devil drank it all and had to pee a lot?  C'mon.

- God never speaks to anyone or sends any new clear messages today that are clearly divine in nature.
- Nothing in the Bible explained things that only a god would know and people didn't know at that time.
- Statistically, all prayer has no effect, in spite of the Bible promising that prayer has effect in dozens of places.  All seemingly answered prayers can be explained as coincidences that happen equally for people who didn't pray at all.

(my relative might recover from an illness without any prayer at all)

- Everything in nature that seemed miraculous or god driven... almost everything has been explained by science.  Lightning, thunder, volcanoes, asteroids, tidal waves, disease, drug induced hallucinations, the sun, stars, planets... it's all been explained except for the origin of life (abiogenesis) and the origin of the big bang.   Of which there are educated guesses for both that do not include god, and they're tracking down the answers for those too.

THERE IS NO REASON AT ALL TO START WITH AN ASSUMPTION THAT THERE IS AN ALL-POWERFUL GOD.

Try reasoning the universe as if there is NOT, and it starts making sense.


« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 01:47:05 PM by YRM_DM »
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Energized

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #97 on: July 18, 2014, 02:14:45 PM »

I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

Well, you've proven to yourself that he's real. Your whole life is devoted to it.

So, you're basically saying that your lifestyle, how you define yourself as a person (your outlook, etc) is devoted to something that even you cannot prove exists.

And you want to convince others that it's a real thing even though you can't prove it? Do you not see how insane that is?

E.
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Bringing torment and pain to others.
O damned soul wallowing in your sin.
Perhaps it is time to die?'

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #98 on: July 18, 2014, 03:32:58 PM »
for what it's worth, the question of the jesus' existence has been done here heavy duty, several times.  In one of the threads there is an itemized destruction of the alleged extrabiblical accounts of jesus.  Here are some links to those conversations where one of those destructions might be:

this one is a long one. 68 pages.  tough to say where the really good stuff is without slogging through the whole thing.
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,6776.msg151481.html#msg151481

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24866.msg553541.html#msg553541

focuses on Josephus
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20104.msg444031.html#msg444031

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,13779.msg305941.html#msg305941

good one, by bert. two posts long
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,13232.msg294482.html#msg294482

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25039.msg558100.html#msg558100

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25026.msg557893.html#msg557893

etc
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #99 on: July 18, 2014, 04:24:14 PM »

I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

And you want to convince others that it's a real thing even though you can't prove it? Do you not see how insane that is?

E.

What evidence would I accept?

1 - God/Jesus talking to me in a voice that wasn't my own telling me verifiable things I didn't know.

2 - You have a relationship with God/Jesus... have him tell you some very specific things about me that you could not find out online, and tell me those things in enough detail that there'd be no other way you could know.  (this might not totally convert me but it'd give me pause)

3 - My girlfriend's daughter is instantly healed from a debilitating brain condition.

4 - Any evidence exists that prayer moves the needle... not 100%, but, a provable amount.

As Matt Dillahunty says, if there's a god who loves me and knows me, presumably he knows exactly what it would take to convince me, but still hasn't done it.

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #100 on: July 18, 2014, 05:21:46 PM »
That last part is important. Believers say, "No matter what god does, you still will not believe." They apparently have little faith in the powers of their god.  :angel:

We hear from folks frequently who got exactly what it took to convince them. For skeptic it was the healed dog and the blood on the wall. For Luk it was talking to priests or attending mass or whatever. For Jst it was reading the JW bible and suddenly it all became clear. For that burger guy, it was a song on his car radio one night, IIRC. For other people it was something else. 

So, god knew what would convince each of them. And he did it. It was not anything these folks did. In several cases people said they were sinners, busy misbehaving and ignoring god completely, and still god found them.  So they were obviously not doing what they tell us to do-- praying in the right way, with sincerity and open hearts, attending services even if they did not believe (fake it till you make it) and so forth. It was all up to god. Right?

He still has not done that for any of us. We have done many of the things these religious folks have done. I have been to many, many kinds of religious services. I have talked to many people about their faith, and have read many religious works. I have considered the possibility that this or that god existed. I have been surrounded by religious people every day. But nothing "took". 

God knows what he has to do so it will "take" for each one of us. And still he does not do it. Most, perhaps all of us, will die without knowing god. Whose fault is that? Ours? Or god's?

The theists here will say it is our fault. Because they cannot entertain the other possibilities: god does not want some people and it therefore not very loving; or god cannot reach some people, and is therefore not very powerful, or god does not exist.
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.

Offline Airyaman

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #101 on: July 18, 2014, 07:14:58 PM »
<snip>

The theists here will say it is our fault. Because they cannot entertain the other possibilities: god does not want some people and it therefore not very loving; or god cannot reach some people, and is therefore not very powerful, or god does not exist.

I used to lurk on the pagan forums at belief.net. It was interesting to read that some of the heathen and pagan people said that they had indeed encountered the Christian god, but that he was very cold and indifferent to them because they had not chosen to worship him. Now, if such a god does exist, then he could also just not want to let us know about him because there are people he just doesn't like.
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #102 on: July 18, 2014, 07:47:49 PM »
We hear from folks frequently who got exactly what it took to convince them. For skeptic it was the healed dog and the blood on the wall. For Luk it was talking to priests or attending mass or whatever. For Jst it was reading the JW bible and suddenly it all became clear. For that burger guy, it was a song on his car radio one night, IIRC. For other people it was something else. 

Great post, nogods (my spellchecker keeps trying to change you to no-goods  ;D). Its interesting that in the above examples, it took a different version of this god fella to get to each of them. It took customized religious or pseudo-religious material presented in specific forms to convince each of them.

So either this god guy is too inept to invent a version of religion that will appeal to me (or nogods or jetson or whoever), or we all got our shots when we were young and we're immune. Or, of course, maybe he just doesn't exist.

But if he is real, you gotta have faith, plus you have to be susceptible. To one of his prearranged religions. At least if you are a doubter of one sort or the other. I assume most people get born into lutheran or baptist or catholic households and just fall for it from the start. But possibly because they have genetic predispostions to fall for that specific form, a la their parents.

Oh well. If he is real, his only actual superpower is being invisible to a bunch of us, and as talents go, that seems to be a less than optimal one for any given omnipotent deity. I'd hate it if I have to spend all of eternity crying out in pain as I roast in hell just because it didn't occur to god to take the form of a delicious snack food to get my attention.

Oh wait, the catholics have that, don't they. I'll have to go give JC a nibble this Sunday and see if that convinces me.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #103 on: July 18, 2014, 07:55:05 PM »
skep the way you have refuted all comers, demonstrated most clearly and unambiguously a case for our lord jeebus and provided verifiable historical and archaeological evidence from multiple independent and unbiased sources only the most belligerent, demon possessed, feeble of mind, brainwashed by the international atheists agenda Illuminati led demons could not agree with you.

splendid work skep, splendid i  say...BRAVO, BRAVO

HAIL  JEEBUS
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Offline jetson

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #104 on: July 18, 2014, 08:40:43 PM »
skep - come join the dark side. This is one of the best threads I've seen in a long time when it comes to reasons to doubt. It can be painful to lose faith, but it is also extremely liberating and wonderful. While I was never a deep believer, I never felt better inside, or more alive than when I decided to call myself atheist. I get to abandon mythology as a lifestyle, and live as a real human being.

Dear Jesus, if you're real, please let skep be an atheist, if only to show him how cool it is.

Offline skeptic54768

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #105 on: July 18, 2014, 08:57:57 PM »
skep - come join the dark side. This is one of the best threads I've seen in a long time when it comes to reasons to doubt. It can be painful to lose faith, but it is also extremely liberating and wonderful. While I was never a deep believer, I never felt better inside, or more alive than when I decided to call myself atheist. I get to abandon mythology as a lifestyle, and live as a real human being.

Dear Jesus, if you're real, please let skep be an atheist, if only to show him how cool it is.

While this thread certainly was not what I expected, I am not an atheist again.

What you said in bold is how I felt when I became a Christian. So, I guess "personal feelings" aren't a good reason to convince someone either way, right?
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 skeptic54768

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #106 on: July 18, 2014, 09:01:21 PM »

I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

Well, you've proven to yourself that he's real. Your whole life is devoted to it.

So, you're basically saying that your lifestyle, how you define yourself as a person (your outlook, etc) is devoted to something that even you cannot prove exists.

And you want to convince others that it's a real thing even though you can't prove it? Do you not see how insane that is?

E.

Now that is very interesting. I feel like God has proven Himself to me though. I am truly sorry I can't duplicate the experience for you.i wish I could. I do wish the Lord would come down and make you a believer. but, at the same time I understand the importance of free will. This is very confusing.
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 #107 on: July 18, 2014, 09:02:33 PM »

I guess I can not prove Jesus to you. What evidence would you accept, anyway? Would you have to feel his nail marks like Thomas? Is that the only thing that can possibly prove Jesus to you?

I am sorry I can not do that.  :(

Well, you've proven to yourself that he's real. Your whole life is devoted to it.

So, you're basically saying that your lifestyle, how you define yourself as a person (your outlook, etc) is devoted to something that even you cannot prove exists.

And you want to convince others that it's a real thing even though you can't prove it? Do you not see how insane that is?

E.

Now that is very interesting. I feel like God has proven Himself to me though. I am truly sorry I can't duplicate the experience for you.i wish I could. I do wish the Lord would come down and make you a believer. but, at the same time I understand the importance of free will. This is very confusing.

How was your free will not violated, and why would mine be if he did the same thing to me?
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #108 on: July 18, 2014, 09:02:58 PM »
skep - come join the dark side. This is one of the best threads I've seen in a long time when it comes to reasons to doubt. It can be painful to lose faith, but it is also extremely liberating and wonderful. While I was never a deep believer, I never felt better inside, or more alive than when I decided to call myself atheist. I get to abandon mythology as a lifestyle, and live as a real human being.

Dear Jesus, if you're real, please let skep be an atheist, if only to show him how cool it is.

While this thread certainly was not what I expected, I am not an atheist again.

What you said in bold is how I felt when I became a Christian. So, I guess "personal feelings" aren't a good reason to convince someone either way, right?

You can only convince yourself if you want to. For me, the emptiness of believing in mythology was no match for the fulfilling an amazing feeling of being a godless human being.

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #109 on: July 18, 2014, 09:03:50 PM »
Well that might be a good start, considering people who knew him wittnessed his miracles and heard his sermons, needed further miracles to believe.  I people who wittnessed first hand him raise the dead, heal the amputated, walk on water, change water into wine... these same people all required further proof.

Why would I 2014 years later require any less proof with only translated old second hand stories.  I would say the bible is not as good as hanging with Jesus and seeing him in action.

Another good point. But, perhaps God was using them as examples to show us precisely how he doesn't want us to be.

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 #110 on: July 18, 2014, 09:05:41 PM »
You can only convince yourself if you want to. For me, the emptiness of believing in mythology was no match for the fulfilling an amazing feeling of being a godless human being.

The response I would make to this would be a derailment. It would be best saved for a new topic.
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 #111 on: July 18, 2014, 09:07:02 PM »
How was your free will not violated, and why would mine be if he did the same thing to me?

I always heard it being put like this:

Jesus is knocking on the door, but you have to open the door and let Him in. Jesus isn't going to kick the door down and break in to you.

Perhaps I just opened the door and let Jesus in?
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 #112 on: July 18, 2014, 09:08:48 PM »
Another good point. But, perhaps God was using them as examples to show us precisely how he doesn't want us to be.

You could put it that way:

Quote from: The LORD Thy God
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.[John 20:29]
Nah son...

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #113 on: July 18, 2014, 09:09:40 PM »
I always heard it being put like this:

Jesus is knocking on the door, but you have to open the door and let Him in. Jesus isn't going to kick the door down and break in to you.

Perhaps I just opened the door and let Jesus in?

But what if God has already hardened our hearts?
Nah son...

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Re: Atheists, How Did Christianity Start?
« Reply #114 on: July 18, 2014, 09:10:18 PM »
Sidebar, do you think it's fair that God conditions salvation on belief in Christ given that some of us only have the Bible and a set of imperfect messengers when a generation of Judeans witnessed Christ's ministry and miracles first hand?  Isn't it easier for such people to have believed and therefor unfair of God to hold us to the same standard?

But, the point is that some people DO believe it without requiring first hand direct in-your-face proof.

Why would God "feel sorry" (so to speak) for the ones who don't believe?
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 #115 on: July 18, 2014, 09:11:49 PM »
How was your free will not violated, and why would mine be if he did the same thing to me?

I always heard it being put like this:

Jesus is knocking on the door, but you have to open the door and let Him in. Jesus isn't going to kick the door down and break in to you.

Perhaps I just opened the door and let Jesus in?

Fair enough. But he has to really knock. I don't want to imagine it.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.