Why I'm Not a Christian

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mattrose
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by mattrose » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:32 am

I'm not sure if you're totally playing devil's advocate or seriously asking the questions, but I suppose it doesn't matter too much as to how I'd answer :)
steve7150 wrote:We don't need to know the authors but we need to know they are credible and how exactly do we know that?
I think the answer to this question comes down to what you mean by the word KNOW. It's obviously a key word for you (you used it 3 times). I think one of the biggest false dilemmas in a cultural is insistence on certainty. People feel like they need to know things with absolute certainty, but that's just not how life works (in any area, let alone faith). If the question is.. how can we know with absolutely certainty that the writers of the Bible were credible?.... then the answer is... we can't! If the question is... is there good reason to believe that the biblical writers are credible?... then the answer is... sure. There are many solid reasons for believing that (including arguments in different fields... logic, history, etc).
The supposed authors are mostly unknown characters outside of the bible, and if it has not been proven that the bible is credible then what credibility do these people unknown to secular history have?
The nature of literary preservation has a funny way of telling us what is credible. Only works worth reading tend to survive the passage of time. You simply don't get hundreds and thousands of copies of something that isn't considered a serious literary work. That's not to say that the literary work in question must be true... but it is to say that people believed it to be true.

Outside of the bible what evidence do we have about the bible authors? In fact what evidence do we have of Jesus himself? Luke said he interviewed many people but we only know that from Luke. How do we know Luke is credible, from Paul? How do we know Paul is credible, from Luke? We have some references to a "Christos" possibly in a couple of secular letters but it's not definite that "Christos" is even Jesus. What if the bible authors just conspired to make up a story and convinced others that a man rose from the dead. At that time in history 2,000 years ago people were very gullible to wild stories like resurrection, why don't things like that happen now?
The argument that for the existence of any character in history there may not be a lot of evidence yet for example we believe Alexander the Great was real isn't strong because the claims of Jesus are so extraordinary and demands life changing changes that there must be a stronger level of evidence then your typical character in history. Where is the evidence outside of the bible that Jesus rose from the dead?[/quote]

Actually, I think the evidence is quite good for most of the NT books. Even liberal scholars tend to recognize the authorship of a good portion of the Pauline corpus. The last decades of scholarship have basically destroyed the notion that the New Testament was written late (post AD100). Basically, there aren't really good reasons for doubting that traditional authorship claims (unless, again, you are insisting on absolute certainty). Steve has already addressed the credibility of Paul.

Historians, Christian or otherwise, do not really doubt the historicity of Jesus' existence or death by crucifixion. Historians, Christians or otherwise, also do not doubt the empty tomb or the appearance testimonies. Of course, many of them do doubt the interpretation (that Jesus rose from the dead), but none of the theories they've come up with to explain the empty tomb or appearances are convincing. Then, of course, you'd have to explain a third major piece of evidence that the Gospel account is reliable... the existence of the Christian movement in the first through fourth centuries, coming to reign in the midst of the Roman Empire. How could this be? Christianity was illegal. It's adherents were persecuted. Any explanation other than that they actually believed Jesus rose from the dead... that they believed the New Testament writings to be credible... is very difficult to argue.

So it's not just a Scriptural argument. Alone, it does sound circular (why do I believe in Jesus... b/c Scripture says so... why do I believe Scripture... b/c God tells me to). But we also have reasonable arguments, traditional support, and, of course, experience on our side. Jesus actually is alive and leading his people today.

steve7150
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by steve7150 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:53 am

I'm not sure if you're totally playing devil's advocate or seriously asking the questions, but I suppose it doesn't matter too much as to how I'd answer :)











I'm playing devil's advocate as i've heard this and i know how i would answer it, but these are real life objections that do come up.

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mattrose
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by mattrose » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:19 am

That's what I thought.

Do you mind sharing how you would answer it?

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morbo3000
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by morbo3000 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:23 pm

mattrose wrote:That's what I thought.

Do you mind sharing how you would answer it?
I've already said this in other threads, but I really think that apologists would get a lot more mileage by giving up the necessity of inerrancy and inspiration.
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
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morbo3000
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by morbo3000 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:37 pm

mattrose wrote: Why I'm Not a ChristianThird, I can't believe in Christianity because Christianity doesn't seem to be making a difference. The Bible itself says that we will know the truth of something by its fruit. What is the fruit of Christianity? I don't see many churches really making a difference in their local communities. In fact, what difference would it make if churches just disappeared tomorrow? I'm not sure it would make much of difference. It might even help because, at least then, some other institution would build something on their land and pay taxes!
Actually, Christianity has made a huge difference in the world. In America alone it includes the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, half-way houses, soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy counseling, addiction recovery programs... the list goes on and on. While secular programs exist in each of these areas, without fail, they have their origins in Christianity. The value of all people as children of God, care for the poor, widow and orphan, setting captives free, are all fundamental Christian principles that led to the founding of these ministries. If we were to erase the positive impact Christianity has had on the world, we would be very sorry indeed.
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
JeffreyLong.net
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Re: Why I'm Not a Christian

Post by steve7150 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:58 pm

That's what I thought.

Do you mind sharing how you would answer it?






I wish i had a brilliant answer but before anyone can believe in Jesus they have to accept God exists and i appeal to the irreducible complexity of everything.
If they accept God exists then i appeal to the question, why would he create us and then if he created us would he not communicate to us what he has in mind for us. If they accept that then i'm in a position to talk about the fact that nothing other then the bible claims to be from God, so then what is the evidence the bible is true.
Then i would use the reasons you gave which are all good but you have to get the person to be open to the possibility that the bible may be authoritative.
If a person is not open minded to learning about God then of course none of this will work.

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