Best Argument for the Historical Jesus *Ever* January 21, 2008

Best Argument for the Historical Jesus *Ever*

I get a lot of email from Christian fundamentalists. They tell me their miracle stories of why god exists, and I try to point out the rational explanations to their miracles, and so forth. It usually doesn’t get anywhere. Sometimes, they have nice things to say about the book, though, and I appreciate that.

But this sentence from a recent email is my favorite one in a long time:

Historical evidence supports the evidence of Jesus Christ, or we would not be starting the year off as 2008 A.D. I’m sure a man like yourself who is big on logic can understand that.

I can’t argue that sound argument, can I? 🙂

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Gadren

    I’m reminded of one particularly fundamentalist Sunday School teacher I had in the LDS Church who tried to claim that Christ had to have been born in AD 1 (even though the dating system is inaccurate), by appealing to a verse of Church doctrine about the founding of the LDS Church:

    The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh[…]

    Now, any sensible person would read this as the sort of formality of the era, sort of saying “AD 1830” in longhand (and even then I knew that this wasn’t meant to be interpreted literally), but this teacher was using it as a way to denounce liberal theologians who were trying to shift the calendar away from Christ.

  • wow….I thought we had actually started using CE and BCE anyhow, as AD didn’t really mean anything accurate to begin with.

  • Historical evidence supports it if we ignore things like Herod died in 5/4 BCE. We weren’t looking for consistency, were we?

  • Karen

    Man, it’s harder and harder to separate the fact from the satire. This sounds just like one of those joke videos we recently discussed here.

  • To any intelligent theists reading (and I know there are plenty hanging around here, I’ve seen you posting in the comment thread), please help people like that not make theism look so bad. Five minutes a day could make a difference!

    It’s honestly no fun trying to have any kind of argument with people who have trouble with keeping their drool in.

  • Andrew

    Ahh Philistines… gotta love em.

  • I’ll give you a better argument. Because we use BC and AD in our calendars, therefore Jesus exist.

  • Mercurious

    Somedays I wonder if people like this have to go to sleep with a tape playing. The only thing on this tape is…
    breath in
    breath out
    breathe in
    breathe out……….

  • Siamang

    I’d agree 100% with him. And then point out that the existence of Thursday is 100% proof of the existence of Thor.

  • chancelikely

    Siamang beat me to it.

  • Jen

    Oh, you have to be kidding.

  • QrazyQat

    I figured out that “it’s 1958” argument too, but I was 8 years old. By the end of the year I saw the huge hole in it.

    BTW, it’s not 2008. It’s 2551 BE. At least here in Thailand, where they use the eastern version of the Buddhist era for figuring out the year. Naturally, they also use the Gregorian calendar because they deal with others who use it. The Wikipedia article on calendars shows nearly 40 others.

    Your correspondent, at the very least, should acquainted with Thomas Aquinas’ advice to Christians which, paraphrased, is: “When you’re talking to others who know something about science and nature and how the world works, be careful not to put your foot firmly in your mouth, cause you’ll make us all look like idiots.”

  • Mriana

    Historical evidence supports the evidence of Jesus Christ, or we would not be starting the year off as 2008 A.D. I’m sure a man like yourself who is big on logic can understand that.

    What historical evidence is that?

  • Nick Beam


    Hey man! I was just noticing that you had put up a copy of my email and my ” Pray For Hemant” blog. I wasn’t writing the email or starting the blog to start some kind of war between Christians and atheists. To tell you the truth man, I support the book and your views inside the book. I have had nothing but posotive things to say about you, and I TELL all the people that I come across that they should pick up a copy of it. As far as the blog is concerned, as a Christian I do pray, but I feel like you and your viewers have made a mockery of me. I’m not hurt by this, but I do not understand. Although we may not agree with each others theologies, we do not have to be so abrasive towards each other. If my Pray For Hemant blog was offensive or disturbed you or anyone else, I will gladly take it down. Keep in mind, I understand that you all do not believe in Jesus, and I am not trying to convince you other wise. I have a full understanding that I cannot convert anyone, because no one converted me, but God. Actually, before my conversion, I was a lot like you all and I did not want to hear anything about God, and instead of listening I would avoid Christians. Yes, I pray for the starving chieldren, I have been giving money to the homeless for the longest,and I try to make the world a better place everyday. I was not trying to offend you or any other atheists. I would like to point out however that in your book you felt like there were a lot of stereotypes about atheists that were not true, and that is why you call yourself the friendly atheist. I must tell you from the things that I have seen today, it has made me question whether those things might be true. I have not once made fun of atheist, I have not once blogged about how ludacrist your beliefs are. And I do not agree with them. Look, I care for all people, including you and your atheist friends, and I keep an open mind towards other people’s beliefs. If not I wouldn’t have wasted my time or my money that I spent at Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of your book. It really is all that I have been talking about since I read it three weeks ago. And please do not find it offensive that I pray for you man, it just means that I care. Forgive me for caring bro. I would really like to keep the lines of communication open, because I feel we could learn a lot from each other. I just ask that you keep the mockery and abrasiveness down a little bit. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my email, and posting my blog on your page. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • Yep, I think you lost Hemant, we need to accept Jesus into our hearts right now.

  • Billy

    I have recently been reading an overview of Anglo-Saxon history by Geoffrey Hindley called (surprisingly) “A Breif History of the Anglo-Saxons; The beginnings of the English Nation.” A really fun book (though the names make French names look easy). It covers very well the theological battles (often intertwined with sword battles) between the various kingdoms and their own versions of christianity. It also shows Bede’s influence in popularizing the idea of an Anno Domine date, rather then reignal dating.

    So a sixth century cleric comes up with a new dating system (in ENGLAND!) and this is proof of the historicity of Jesus?

  • Mriana

    Nick said:

    If my Pray For Hemant blog was offensive or disturbed you or anyone else, I will gladly take it down.

    No, I don’t think you need to take it down- it’s a nice sentiment, but don’t expect it to succeed. If it makes you happy, then go for it, but in all honesty, I seriously doubt you will see results.

    IF Hemant was still a Jain, would you still be praying for him? What if he converted to Islam, would you be praying for them then? Why? Because you honestly believe Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong? Somehow that doesn’t make much sense to me either and sounds a bit egotistical. How would you know that your belief was right and everyone else was wrong? Even that doesn’t seem like a fair assumption and seems elitist.

    My only problem with this is that it is a bit elitiest and arrogant to assume you are right and everyone else is wrong. If you take a close and open-minded look at all the various beliefs (and I’ve said this many times over) you will find that a belief in God, any god, is only a human concept and none of them are really right or wrong- they are just beliefs- and to pray for someone who doesn’t have the same belief as you do is a bit futile. It would be more productive to go out and do something to help allievate the suffering in the world- not just throw money at it or pray.

    I think a good example of this, from the religious stand point, is MLK Jr. He didn’t just pray for equal rights, he got up and took action to make it come about. Gandhi is another example of human action to change the way things are in the world. Also, it is something that can be changed through human effort, as well as a worthwhile cause. Changing one’s beliefs is not as worthy of a cause, IMO, and I hope you can see the difference.

  • Sarah H.

    Nick said:

    Actually, before my conversion, I was a lot like you all and I did not want to hear anything about God, and instead of listening I would avoid Christians.

    I don’t think that accurately describes Hemant’s position at all, from what I’ve seen here. Hemant and most of the posters here don’t have beliefs that are set in stone – if better evidence comes along, it’s examined and considered. Reading past and current theologians and following religion-related news is something lots of atheists do. I resent the implication that we’re sticking our proverbial heads in the proverbial sand! 🙂

  • QrazyQat

    With most atheists, in my experience, it’s not that they avoid Christians and don’t listen to them. It’s the opposite. The more exposure to Christians and their explanations of what and why they believe, as well as exposure to their holy book, the more atheism seems not just logical, but a darned good idea.

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