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Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
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06-08-2014, 10:37 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2014 10:42 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
You want a plausible alternative explanation?

Here's one.

Two or three people made it the fuck up, and got a bunch of people to believe it to be true.

Let's say it was Mark and a few buddies. I dunno. Could be. The OP is arguing that the only plausible explanation is God, and to counter that I only have to show that another plausible explanation exists, and your argument is weakened. I don't have to show it's actually true unless I'm trying to convince you that it's true. I'm not. I'm just demonstrating that your reason for us to believe -- process of elimination of other possibilities -- has not completed its process of elimination.

So Mark and company make it up sometime around what we now call the year 40. Or maybe, someone whose names never actually appear. Why? Let's say it was a passive resistance movement opposed to Roman rule. They adopted the symbolism of the existing Messianic prophesies and Jewish traditions. Maybe they believed those, or maybe they were convenient iconary, or maybe they made for a rich dictionary for coded metaphors. I'll say the last one. They adapted the existing Messianic mythos (the belief that the Messiah WOULD come, to be specific) to serve as a codebook to keep their activities secret from the Romans. Wouldn't be the only time that someone's done something like that.

Was there a real Jesus? Maybe. Maybe they wrapped this around a real historical figure who preached some stuff and was executed, with nothing supernatural there happening at all. Maybe there were six historical figures, and they got consolidated. Maybe there were none, and they invented it out of whole cloth.

So what embellishments might they add to hide the code in? Well, they start with a hefty dose of Jewish beliefs. Throw in some elements such as the Golden Rule, or carrying the soldier's gear further than he wishes you to, or so on, to define the movement's tactics and ethics. Disparage your political enemies -- the Pharisees, the Emperor, Pilate.

Would they die for these beliefs? Well, they wouldn't exactly believe them, so no. But if they were committed to their resistance, then they could easily be willing to take the secret of the code and metaphors to their graves. They would be willing to die to protect their movement, if not because they believed literally in these coded metaphors.

Let's say they do just that. They die for their cause. The original inventors are winnowed by angry Romans, as are their lieutenants and THEIR lieutenants. Eventually, the knowledge that it was just coded metaphor is lost. The lower ranks of the resistance believe it literally, and attrition moves them to the upper ranks. Let's say this happens by, oh, the year 55. In the coming years, they set down this oral tradition into writing. Alternatively, let's say some of the leaders do survive to dictate it into written form... but they don't reveal the underlying fraud.

There. A plausible, naturalistic explanation for everything in the New Testament. For them being willing to die for their beliefs. The fabulous miracles. The lack of any contemporary evidence for them. On and on.

Do I claim that this is true? No. I make no such claim. I suspect it's false. It's a conspiracy theory that I whipped up off the top of my head, and I'm not that good a guesser. I could provide ten other equally plausible explanations, all mutually-contradictory, just as easily. The point is not to prove it true. The point is to prove the OP's claim of having exhausted all plausible alternatives to a literal new testament as FALSE. If I can provide a single plausible alternative, his argument fails. And I have done just that.

Also, it invites the question: which is MORE plausible? That a resistance movement of a conquered people should wrap their values and messages inside a metaphorical, religiously themed codex? Yes, that's more like a Dan Brown novel than reality. But you know what's even LESS realistic? That an omnipotent being decided that the best way for him to not send humanity to hell was to just keep damning them for roughly 4000 years before finally taking human form, living 30-odd years as a human, and being tortured and executed, all so he could change his mind about the sin of humanity if the appropriate hoops were jumped through... when he could have done that with an omnipotent snap of his proverbial fingers 10 seconds after he kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden. Which of these two is more plausible?

None of this is addressed to the OP, btw. OP's stuck on transmit. You don't waste time sending to someone who can only transmit. I'm just putting it out there so it's on the record.
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06-08-2014, 11:15 PM
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
(06-08-2014 09:54 PM)hbl Wrote:  The Bible is the word of God because it proves it so and since you can't find anything wrong with it, it is infallible.

You can't find anything wrong with it? Really? Wow. And it's infallible because....... let me think.....it says it's infallible? And it's true because..... it says it's true?

Please don't ever become a trial lawyer because if you use this type of strategy as proof, I pity your poor clients. They're doomed to a life behind prison.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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06-08-2014, 11:15 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2014 11:32 PM by hbl.)
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
(06-08-2014 10:37 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  You want a plausible alternative explanation?

Here's one.

Two or three people made it

We have at least 12 accounts of the resurrection whose sources are eyewitnesses and all of them agree to the historicity of the event (the closest are the four gospels, Acts, John's letters, Peter's letters, and Paul's letters). On the other hand, not one single account exists from anyone of that time that refutes the narrative of the NT documents.

Is it fair to say you lose?
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06-08-2014, 11:39 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2014 11:46 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
(06-08-2014 10:29 PM)hbl Wrote:  
(06-08-2014 10:20 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  1 - No. First, establish who the 'original' disciples were, because there is an ever revolving cadre of roughly 11~13 at any given time. Then, you need to establish that they themselves actually existed. All of this is before we get to looking at the claim of resurrection, which for the record the oldest writings (the Epistles of Paul) speak only of a spiritual Jesus and a spiritual resurrection, or of nothing at all (the oldest version of the oldest Gospel, Mark, ends without the resurrection).

There is no revolving 11 to 13. It was always 12. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. James son of Zebedee was the first to be martyred and was not replaced.

Nope, try again dumbass.






(06-08-2014 10:29 PM)hbl Wrote:  Jesus and these Apostles are the most documented people in antiquity.

Nope. The first century is one of the most well documented times in ancient history, and nobody says shit about any of them or any of the supposed miracles. John the Baptist is mentioned, but not Jesus or any of the Apostles or miracles. Nothing about the hours of supernatural darkens, nothing about the twin earthquakes, nothing about the rending of the Temple veil, nothing about all those Jewish zombies walking around and 'appearing unto many'. Not a single fucking word form any contemporary historical source.

(06-08-2014 10:29 PM)hbl Wrote:  If that standard is not good enough for you why would God need to provide more since that won't convince you either? God's not going to waste words on you.

The all powerful creator of the universe knows, and can provide for with no cost to himself, exactly what would be needed to convince me at this very instant. We both know however that he won't do this. You, in your delusion, think that I'm simply not worth the effort (noting, once again, that it would be zero effort or cost for an omnipotent being); I however conclude that it is more simply because your god is imaginary. It makes far less assumptions, and is ultimately a far simpler (and thus far more likely) explanation then that your God exists, but has a battery of excuses for why he refuses to make his presence undeniable and verifiable.


(06-08-2014 10:29 PM)hbl Wrote:  Paul only ever spoke of the physical Jesus he saw resurrected, sharing the same bodily resurrection message as Peter, James and John in 1 Cor. 15. Mark makes mention of the resurrection of Jesus also bodily.

Where was that again dumbass?

1 Corinthians 13-17 (NIV)
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Paul speaks of visions of Jesus, but never of meeting him in person or seeing him in the flesh.

Mark is the earliest Gospel, and the earliest versions of it do not have the resurrection story. The resurrection story was added to Mark, after it became popular in other Gospels (which is funny, because Matthew and Luke copy Mark's gospel wholesale). The oldest, best copies of Mark do not have the resurrection.

Not that you'd know this from reading your Bible at home or just regurgitating what your pastor prattles on Sunday or in 'Bible Study'.


(06-08-2014 10:29 PM)hbl Wrote:  You are confused in your mistaken assumptions which frankly is delusional.

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06-08-2014, 11:43 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2014 11:47 PM by hbl.)
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
(06-08-2014 11:39 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Paul speaks of visions of Jesus

Paul never speaks of visions of Jesus. Always the physical Jesus just as the 12 Apostles taught.

Here's the name of the 12 Apostles,

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Apostles

Also there are more sources for Jesus than any 10 figures in antiquity. So even if God provided 90 more sources you would not believe. You can see how God doesn't cater to your flesh. He provides the best proof, most documentation, and lets you decide.
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06-08-2014, 11:52 PM
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
The living eyewitnesses would have been a controlling factor preventing significant legendary development. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul mentions that over 500 people witnessed the resurrected Christ. In addition to that, there were eyewitnesses to his death, burial, and to the empty tomb. So, when the gospel accounts were formed, most of these eyewitnesses were still alive and could attest to their truthfulness. These people would have been a controlling factor in verifying what did and didn't happen, keeping in check any myths that might arise.
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06-08-2014, 11:52 PM
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
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06-08-2014, 11:54 PM
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
In addition, legendary development begins in the details and slowly morphs into bigger things over time. However, the resurrection of Jesus is not a mere detail, but is the core fact of the NT documents. Therefore, it is the least likely historical claim that would be susceptible to legendary development, especially within the necessary timeframe and locale.
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06-08-2014, 11:57 PM
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
The origin of Christianity hinges on the belief of the early disciples that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. If the resurrection of Jesus is a legendary fabrication, then how could Christianity have been established at all? The very fact that Christianity exists attests to the earliest followers of Christ believing in the resurrection and not that it was a later addition to the Christian faith. Why else would they live and die the way they did? Why else would anyone believe them? How else would it have spread so early and so quickly if their primary belief, the resurrection of Jesus, wasn't true?
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06-08-2014, 11:59 PM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2014 12:17 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why I Don't Believe in Atheism
(06-08-2014 11:15 PM)hbl Wrote:  
(06-08-2014 10:37 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  You want a plausible alternative explanation?

Here's one.

Two or three people made it

We have at least 12 accounts of the resurrection whose sources are eyewitnesses and all of them agree to the historicity of the event (the closest are the four gospels, Acts, John's letters, Peter's letters, and Paul's letters). On the other hand, not one single account exists from anyone of that time that refutes the narrative of the NT documents.

Which in itself is fishy. If the Romans and Pharisees knew of it and wanted to dispute it, there likely would have been such accounts. On the other hand, if it didn't happen, and only started being mentioned, say, ten years later, and then only in a small cult that wouldn't grow in sufficient numbers to gather general public awareness for decades? Yeah, there wouldn't be refutations from people at that time. Why would there be? "Crucified Jewish heretic at request of Jewish elders. Body taken for burial by a Jew. He did not rise from the dead after three days." Which of these things... the execution, who took the body, and that he didn't rise from the dead... would you NOT expect to see appear in, say, government records or newspaper accounts in the modern day? The latter, because there wouldn't be a solitary reason to say it. It would go without saying. Dead people not rising from the dead is not the sort of thing one would normally make a note of, and the lack of a historical note that the Jesus did not rise from the dead, is exactly the same lack of historical note of non-resurrection of ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE WHO EVER DIED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. (EDIT: For that matter, I'm of the impression that we don't even have independent, non-Christian sources for Jesus existing, for his execution, or for the disposal of his body.)

And to be specific, the accounts CLAIM to be from eyewitnesses, which is not the same as them actually being from eyewitnesses. Not unless you're willing to take them at their word... which is kind of the point, isn't it? You think they're reliable because you've taken them at their word, and you've taken them at their word because you think they're reliable. In fact, they differ on many points regarding the historicity of the events in question (eg, how did Judas die? Who owned the land he died on?), and also stretch all credulity regarding how these narrators were supposed to have personally witnessed things (eg, who exactly was the eyewitness to Jesus's moment of hesitation in the garden at Gethsemane? Or when he was tempted in the desert? How was it that when the women who found the tomb open, and departed, and said nothing on the subject to anyone, this event was still recorded despite the complete silence of the eyewitnesses?).

There may be what you consider 12 separate sources... I won't comment on that number, not as qualified as others here... but the claim of being separate? The other synoptic gospels are heavily cribbed from Mark, to the point where calling them separate is a stretch. Yet even if they were, I could sooner believe that 12 people invented such a myth, and put down slightly different 1st-person accounts of it, and signed their names to it as eyewitnesses than I could believe all the supernatural malarkey. Otherwise, I would be a Mormon, on account of all the witnesses THEY had signing their name to the account of the tablets and their translation and an ACTUAL ANGEL BEING PRESENT. If you're not a Mormon, ask yourself why not. Once you understand that, you'll finally get why atheists don't believe in the Christian story, the standard of evidence you'd have to meet to convince them (roughly the same as what would take to convert you to Mormonism, except more, because we're not as credulous as you and you're already 90% of the way to Mormonism already) EDIT:... and also why the we don't take the Bible at its word, any more than you do the Book of Mormon.

Also, if that were enough to persuade me of bizarre supernatural claims, I'd believe that Elvis wasn't dead and that alien abductions were routine and had a perverse interest in peoples' butts. And let's not forget all the stories from people who've met Santa Claus. And the old accounts of fairies. HEY! EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS! IT REALLY HAPPENED! JUST ASK THEM! No one at the time noted in their diary, "Tonight, Uncle Billy-Bob did NOT get beamed up into a flying saucer." So it must be true! [/sarcasm]

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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