How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
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26-01-2014, 08:52 AM
How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
I woke up with this thought on my mind, for whatever reason. Maybe it was born out of a dream I had, who knows. But that thought was all the reasons that I've heard over the years as to why Christianity is the "right" religion (and that I'm not equipped with refutations for all of them).

The subset of Christianity I was raised in (Southern Baptist) taught "Once saved, always saved" and so my mother (who is still a churchgoing, believing Baptist), while not happy with my atheism, is not concerned for my eternal soul because I was "saved" as a child. She believes I will still go to heaven, but she has told me on a couple of occasions that my children don't have that "insurance" and what if I'm wrong?

Basically she would prefer if I would encourage or even make the children go to church so they can be saved, too. Things like that are fairly easy to respond to. Pascal's Wager, it seems to me, is one of the most easily refuted as there are so many different religions out there with wholly different paths to salvation.

But it occurs to me that there are some arguments brought up that I haven't a ready answer for and I wondered how each of you might respond to them. What refutations you might use for these that I might borrow.

1. We serve a risen or "living" Savior...
This is the one they dragged out whenever I would ask how we knew ours was right. It was because we served a risen Savior while other religions do not. I know there are some deities in the past that were said to have been "risen" as well and I suppose I could always bring up that there isn't sufficient evidence to believe the resurrection even occurred, but what is y'alls typical response to this argument?

2. The transformative power of Jesus...
This is another one that was brought up. That while other religions might have converts, no one changed a man's heart like Jesus did. We had this one pastor who left our church to become a missionary in Japan and they would write back to us with stories of how Jesus was changing hearts and minds like no other false god could. How would you all respond to that one?

Well, I am off to enjoy my church-free morning, but I will come back later and check replies. Thanks for indulging me, fellow heathens. Big Grin

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26-01-2014, 09:35 AM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
(26-01-2014 08:52 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I woke up with this thought on my mind, for whatever reason. Maybe it was born out of a dream I had, who knows. But that thought was all the reasons that I've heard over the years as to why Christianity is the "right" religion (and that I'm not equipped with refutations for all of them).

The subset of Christianity I was raised in (Southern Baptist) taught "Once saved, always saved" and so my mother (who is still a churchgoing, believing Baptist), while not happy with my atheism, is not concerned for my eternal soul because I was "saved" as a child. She believes I will still go to heaven, but she has told me on a couple of occasions that my children don't have that "insurance" and what if I'm wrong?

Basically she would prefer if I would encourage or even make the children go to church so they can be saved, too. Things like that are fairly easy to respond to. Pascal's Wager, it seems to me, is one of the most easily refuted as there are so many different religions out there with wholly different paths to salvation.

But it occurs to me that there are some arguments brought up that I haven't a ready answer for and I wondered how each of you might respond to them. What refutations you might use for these that I might borrow.

1. We serve a risen or "living" Savior...
This is the one they dragged out whenever I would ask how we knew ours was right. It was because we served a risen Savior while other religions do not. I know there are some deities in the past that were said to have been "risen" as well and I suppose I could always bring up that there isn't sufficient evidence to believe the resurrection even occurred, but what is y'alls typical response to this argument?

2. The transformative power of Jesus...
This is another one that was brought up. That while other religions might have converts, no one changed a man's heart like Jesus did. We had this one pastor who left our church to become a missionary in Japan and they would write back to us with stories of how Jesus was changing hearts and minds like no other false god could. How would you all respond to that one?

Well, I am off to enjoy my church-free morning, but I will come back later and check replies. Thanks for indulging me, fellow heathens. Big Grin

My 2 cents:

1. I grew up with this one, too - especially around Easter time, obviously. My answer now - so what? There's no evidence for this other than the bible; which is not evidence. Also, the other religions also believe they serve a living deity, though maybe not a sacrificed savior; but their teachings don't include a savior. I think it goes back to your argument against Pascal's wager - how do you know your religion is the right one? Just because their myth is unique doesn't make it true.

2. I have known people who have "transformed" their lives through Buddhism, meditation, and modern psychology as well. Because some people don't want to believe they had it in themselves to change and so need to project it on to Jesus doesn't mean that it is true. God isn't needed as an explanation - they are doing it themselves, even if they don't realize it and have to think it is a god or a religion that is changing them. It is the discipline to stop harmful behaviors and start beneficial ones that "changes" them. Some people need a "road to Damascus" experience to kick start it, I guess. Some people need to hit bottom and get to an AA meeting. Some people need help to get to a therapist or psychiatrist. A changed life is not proof that their myth is true.
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26-01-2014, 10:46 AM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
Quote:Escape Artist Wrote:
1. We serve a risen or "living" Savior...
This is the one they dragged out whenever I would ask how we knew ours was right. It was because we served a risen Savior while other religions do not. I know there are some deities in the past that were said to have been "risen" as well and I suppose I could always bring up that there isn't sufficient evidence to believe the resurrection even occurred, but what is y'alls typical response to this argument?

2. The transformative power of Jesus...
This is another one that was brought up. That while other religions might have converts, no one changed a man's heart like Jesus did. We had this one pastor who left our church to become a missionary in Japan and they would write back to us with stories of how Jesus was changing hearts and minds like no other false god could. How would you all respond to that one?

Well, I am off to enjoy my church-free morning, but I will come back later and check replies. Thanks for indulging me, fellow heathens. Big Grin
[/quote]

Pretty much agree with meremortal's responses

To add:
Quote:1. We serve a risen or "living" Savior...
Why does it matter if there is a risen Saviour ? The logic just isn't there and being risen does not prove Jesus is a God or Saviour. This is not an "atheist" response but classic Islamic or Jewish response that God could do a miracles and raise Jesus but none of this makes Jesus God. Jesus could be a saviour in terms of giving over a message - but then any advisor or prophet who helps someone in life to come close to God is a Saviour.
Also Jews, Muslims and other religions claim to serve God not a historical person, resurrected or not, surely this is the best (assuming there is a God of course)

So - even if there was evidence for a resurrection (which there isn't) it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference in terms of worshipping a saviour.

Also consider - what's at stake ? If you generally live with good humanistic values & actions but lacked this one extra caveat "worship the saviour Jesus" - does it really make sense to burn in Hell and not be saved ? Is that justice ? Is that belief in a Just & Merciful God ? Sounds more like the belief in an arrogant dictator.


Consider - I create some autonomous sentient creatures who depends on me for everything. Some generally behave themselves and all is going well whilst there are deviants.
I also want to guide them so if some deviate and steal from or kill some of my other sentient beings I made I need to teach them a lesson either by revealing some knowledge to them like an ethical revelation (for them it might look like a miracle) or by punishments or rewards. So I carry on with this simulation, caring, guiding and giving purposes for the sentient beings I created.
However if one of those sentient beings behaves really well, builds homes for other sentient beings and has compassion - the only thing is they don't recognize me as their creator, sustainer and saviour - WHAT IS MY RESPONSE ?
I can switch them of at an instant. They are just my Sims. I even knew what they were going to be up to. I even made them autonomous & sentient as a more dynamic bonus for added action replays so they are not just puppets.
If I was Just and Merciful I might reveal my presence to this long lost autonomous sentient being and guide them. However What do I care if I don't get acknowledgment from them ? I sustain them ! I am infinitely more wise & powerful relative to them ! It would be insanely arrogant to go mad and start torturing them just because they don't recognize me or call upon my name !!!

The alternative hypothesis is God is a sadistic fascist dictator who has poor self esteem and does need acknowledgment & worship via "a saviour"

Quote:2. The transformative power of Jesus...
A well read person will know dozens of radical transformations for all sorts of reasons by all sorts of methods - there is no reason to infer Jesus or God. Even if it was a weird paranormal transformation that atheists cannot explain - there are still dozens of other metaphysical or God like experiences in which Jesus is not required to be inferred. In Judaism or Islam for instance there are many radically transformative stories - but no Jesus required (they attribute the transformation to God) In Hinduism it would be transformative powers of the gods - depending on the manifestation.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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26-01-2014, 11:22 AM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
Jesus' story is by no means "unique."
Check this site for some examples.

Atir aissom atir imon
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26-01-2014, 11:26 AM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
(26-01-2014 11:22 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Jesus' story is by no means "unique."
Check this site for some examples.

Agree. But christians consider it true in their statement that they are the only ones who serve a "risen savior". I guess my point was, even if it is "unique", that doesn't make it true. Your point that it isn't even unique just makes it all the worse for them. Hmmm. Good point. That would be something else to point out to them about that argument. There have been plenty of other resurrected savior myths in human history. Thumbsup
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26-01-2014, 11:40 AM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
(26-01-2014 11:26 AM)meremortal Wrote:  
(26-01-2014 11:22 AM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Jesus' story is by no means "unique."
Check this site for some examples.

Agree. But christians consider it true in their statement that they are the only ones who serve a "risen savior". I guess my point was, even if it is "unique", that doesn't make it true. Your point that it isn't even unique just makes it all the worse for them. Hmmm. Good point. That would be something else to point out to them about that argument. There have been plenty of other resurrected savior myths in human history. Thumbsup

Yeah, a lot of stories in the Bible are also copied from other religions.
A neat little site I found compares Christianity to Mithra. Not sure if it's true, but it has a lot of interesting similarities to say the least.

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26-01-2014, 12:18 PM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
I remember Hitch knocking those down quite neatly.... Can't remember it word for word, but this is the gist of it.

Even if you can prove that Jesus existed, was born to a virgin, turned water into wine, cured the sick, and rose from the dead... It still doesn't prove that he was what he claimed to be.

But there were many, many people of Jesus' time and before, who also claimed to be the messiah... They all claimed to have performed the same kind of miracles as Jesus. Jesus had no more validity than any of them... His cult simply took root, and evolved into Christianity.

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26-01-2014, 12:25 PM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
Just popping in to say all the responses so far are very helpful. Thank you. I'm not super-well-read, I'm afraid, as far as transformative stories or "testimonies" go, at least not insofar as they might go for religions other than Christianity.

I'm still a baby atheist, so to speak, and once I decided for myself that there was insufficient reason to believe in the God I'd been taught about (or any god for that matter) I let the matter settle at that. I tend not to enjoy debate, and more or less leave people be about what they believe or don't believe. I just don't like to get into it. But I think now that it would be helpful to me if I had at least some sort of response to some of the things I am told by those who do know I'm an atheist.

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26-01-2014, 02:03 PM
RE: How we know Christianity is the "right" religion...
Escape Artist,
Next time somebody says they serve a risen Christ, ask them to show you his empty tomb. Then ask how they know it's his.
Doc
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