Posts Tagged ‘ Evidence ’

Frosty Video Responses

A few weeks ago I uploaded the video and blog post about God proving His existence. Over on the YouTubes, I got my first internet troll!

Okay. Maybe he does not think he is a troll but actually doing some good atheist works by confronting us Christians.

Regardless, after a short dialogue, he made such a long response that I decided to respond here. I will put the entire discourse here so that perhaps we all could learn something and engage in meaningful dialogue.

This will be long …

frosted1030:
We don’t define evidence as you do. Or, in layman terms, your weak assertions don’t meet the standard quality of evidence required.


Response:

Firstly, thanks for commenting!

Secondly, I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence. I agree that complexity does not necessarily lead to the conclusion of “creator”. An explosion certainly leads to complexity! I can concede order does not necessarily conclude intelligence. I have seen a river lay a neat pile of sticks and reeds all facing the same way and looking like a pile someone built.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence? If so, that is a major fallacy. Without historical evidence, even the scientific method falls apart, because we have to rely on what we and others have recorded as evidence. Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written? Yet we do this all the time. We accept historical sources as evidence. Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again. That in and of itself is not enough (look at all of the “faith healers” today who are really tricksters … we certainly agree on that, I am sure), but the Gospels meet the expectations of historical documentation and then far exceed them in many cases (largely in volume of manuscripts and consistency in content among the manuscripts. There is a video on the channel that briefly covers this.)

Maybe I misunderstood your assertion (for which I apologize if true), but some of your videos as well as your comment on this particular video lead me to that conclusion (and also assuming you watched the entire video.) Otherwise, is there evidence that could convince you? (Luke 16:29-31 serves as a reminder to us, though, that, no, no evidence will. But I and others are willing to have the dialogue!) Again, thanks for “stopping by!” I like a good discussion!

And now for the big response-o-rama:

frosty1030:
@a simple man of God “I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence.” We define evidence, in this context, to be fact that supports or does not support a predictive model based on a specific definition. In this regard, the theist’s perpetual last ditch resort fallacy is removed (goalpost moving). This is why you will never see a specific definition for a deity with any quality. “

I guess, then, we have to discount the numerous prophecies made throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that said a specific person was coming and would do certain things. Further, Jesus made several predictions that He would be arrested, beaten, crucified, and rise again. This certainly qualifies as predictive and setting a specific definition. The facts that support this would be Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. That looks like what you asked for. No goalposts being moved, and throughout the Bible God gives us definitions of deity [there is only one (Exodus 20:2-3, Isaiah 37:16, 1 Timothy 1:17), creates and controls everything (Genesis 1, Colossians 1:16-17), knows everything (Isaiah 40:26, Jeremiah 17:10, Hebrews 4:12-13), source of morality (10 Commandments)]. But, having already read your entire response, I know this will not be good enough for you. I will get back to it …

An explosion certainly leads to complexity!” Careful with that strawman. We shall not be discussing cosmology without context.

Carefeul there! You are putting words in my mouth and creating the strawman. My only point is that any explosion causes anything that is ordered to become very complex by being spread out and made into a mess.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence?” We do not consider fables (no matter how apparently accurate in small bits) as they fail to meet the base qualifications. This is an old apologist argument, pretending that you don’t understand that one inconsistency, fallacy, or inaccuracy is enough to demonstrate a fiction, not the other way around. If you doubt this methodology, do ask how many scientists have been put on the project of finding Neverland as there are fewer inconsistencies and more facts in Peter Pan then there are in your fables.

What is your evidence that the biblical stories are fables? The Bible has vast archaealogical evidence supporting much of the history it shares. In the past 20 years alone we have found evidence of David and Solomon and several of the kings who followed after them. Many people groups and settlements mentioned in the Bible were found specifically by following the Bible’s descriptions. Jesus is mentioned by several people outside of the Bible and Christianity.

As for the inconsistencies and facts, to which do you refer? I keep seeing and hearing the same tired examples that have been refuted time and again through the centuries. If you refuse to interact with those answers, that does not prove your point nor contradict our arguments. So, please offer examples rather resorting to the very things you accuse me of doing.

Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written?” A track record of consistency, and changing conclusions when the facts reveal better more verbose detail pointing to a different conclusion. Something theism can not do due to presuppositional fallacy.

Firstly, and again, where has the Christian message (as a whole, not merely some of us who have made mistakes or have gone off the rails in their attempts to defend the faith, such as people like Westboro Baptist Church or those who resort to overly-simplistic arguments) been inconsistent? I concede there have been people who have abused the name, and sometimes we make mistakes. We are sinful people. It is why we show grace to others, including atheists. (And I am sorry people attempt to lump all atheists together so that those like Lenin, who killed millions by his decrees, laws, and actions, are made the defacto representation of atheism.)

Secondly, I feel like you misunderstand presuppositionalism. Yes, some misrepresent it. However, how is saying “People think wrongly about foundational things, so it is helpful to reveal those wrong thoughts and fill in possible gaps” a fallacy? What is the point of education if not to correct incomplete and wrong knowledge?

Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again.” First off, you sound like the guy standing there holding her purse full of bricks outside the women’s bathroom at a restaurant, six days later. The only difference is that you have been holding that purse for over two-thousand years. Face it, she ditched you.

The simple answer here is Jesus’ words from Luke 16:31: “If they do not hear Moses and Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

I am pretty sure that we all agree with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile …” He also said in that book that our faith and the gospel are foolishness to this world, which is why we need our minds corrected (regenerated) to be able to believe. We wait, but we were not given a purse with bricks but a command (Matthew 28:18-20) to share the news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and hope for the future glory.

Secondly, we have much earlier stories that say the same thing, yet you discount them, even though they were written in a time of illiteracy, when most stories were passed down “word of mouth.” Ever play telephone? Let’s look at one: Horus was born to Isis-Meri (became Mary), Foster father: Seb (called Jo-Seph) from royal ancestry, Birth date Dec 21/25, Birth announcement by angels, witness to birth 3 solar deities (wisemen), Death threat during infancy, no info between ages 12-30, raised the dead, traveled with 12 disciples, baptized at 30, baptizer beheaded, betrayed, crucified, dead for 3 days, resurrected . Seem familiar? That story was written over three-thousand years before the events in your fables were said to take place. What about Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra? All predating your fables, all very very similar (though nit-pickers will find all the differences) and all passed down the same way. Did you really think your fables were unique?

I am only slightly surprised you pulled out this tired trope. (I am surprised people as intelligent as Bill Maher still believe this stuff.) For my reply, I refer to Lutheran Satire’s fun response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0-EgjUhRqA

In short, this argument is incredibly easily refuted, and there is absolutely no evidence to back up the claim that the Christ-myth predates the Gospel.

is there evidence that could convince you?” Sure. Bring your deity to a press conference, let it stand trial for crimes against humanity, allow it to answer any and all questions put to it including detailed questions by scholars, and scientists. If you can’t or won’t, ask yourself why you bother insisting upon fantasy through fallacy.

My first question in response to this is, “but would even submit to God were He to come (again) and answer your questions?” (And I refer you back to Luke 16, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man that ends with the quote in verse 31 seen above.) We also need to know what precisely is meant by crimes against humanity, especially seeing as the Christian argument is that all of humanity has commited crimes against a holy God and each other. Does God not have the right to do with His creation as He sees fit? If He is guilty of anything, it is relenting in completely wiping us out at the first sin. Instead, He lets us deal with the results of our own sinful behavior, but He offered a way out through Jesus if we are willing to turn and believe. He will return one day to remove those who have hated Him and renew all of Creation. Perhaps I will make a video responding to the penalty of sin to answer your inevitable questions about Hell and judgment …

Whew! That got wordy!

What are your thoughts? How would you respond to either of us? Would you have changed any of our arguments?

The Core Facts: The Crucifixion

I may not be the most eloquent nor wise, but to get some good truth and wisdom go check out Proverbial Thought. If nothing else, the proverbs are excellent!

Also, the youth pastor with whom I work speaks on all of this. Find Jesse Bollinger at Fervent Youth.

Last week I implicitly made some bold assertions: Christians have faith in provable facts, and only a handful of facts should be enough to prove that assertion.

In other words, Christians should not and do not have a blind faith (though there are some who claim it is, both within and outside of the Church), and it is justifiable to say so.

And right off the bat, let me say that if someone says there is no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth even existed, they are being intellectually dishonest. The mere fact that Christianity has existed since the first century is more than enough evidence. I will even make the statement now that I will delete comments that seriously offer that argument. It is not censorship, it is keeping the garbage and the trolls out.

Also, one great resource to find all of this information (though not necessarily an exhaustive source, though they source very well) is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek (Crossway, 2004).

Now, and finally, on to the first of the Four Core Facts:

Jesus’ Death on the Cross

First for the obvious argument: A crucifixion is not hard to believe in area of Palestine 2,000 years ago. People were crucified left and right throughout the Roman Empire, rather literally.

Secondly, we know there were many people claiming to be the Messiah since at least the Maccabean Revolt until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (Yeah, I used A.D. and am not afraid to use it!) It is not unheard of to have “messiahs” crucified. They were calling for the downfall (or at the very least to be left alone by) the Roman Empire. We still treat treason as a capital offense today.

Poor Pontius Pilate, while by no means innocent, is given a bad rap during the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Barabbas (the man released when Jesus was crucified) was one of these messiahs. We need to remember that Pilate was in charge of keeping the peace. He would want to squelch any insurrection before it happened, if possible. He knew that Jesus was not trying to overthrow Rome, but he also knew that the Jews might very well all rise up if he did not acquiesce to their demand to kill Jesus.

This man just wanted to keep the peace (even if he hated the Jews).

Thirdly, Hebrews have long and largely believed that the Messiah, or Christ, would be a man who would arise and defeat all of Israel’s enemies, effectively making them not only a viable world power but perhaps even the strongest (depending on to whom you talk). This man would not be defeated but be more triumphant than King David ever was!

Further, the Jews have believed that there would be only one resurrection in all of history: at the very end of history as we understand it!

Fourthly, there are many arguments about Jesus fainting on the cross (“Swoon Theory”), that the Disciples stole the body, that the Jews/Romans hid the body, or that there was mass hallucination within the Disciples making them think they saw a resurrected Jesus.

  • This first point also works within the third Core Fact, but it must be explained here, as well. If the Disciples stole the body, they would know the Resurrection was a lie. People generally do not die willingly for a lie (though a lot of movies and TV shows have people doing it quite a bit). Especially when faced with intense and prolonged pain or death, people usually come clean.
  • If the Jews and/or Roman authorities hid the body, they could have easily stopped the expansion of the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • The same argument can be made for mass hallucination: the authorities could have easily stopped the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • I am still surprised people still use the argument of “Swoon Theory”. Here is why: 1) He was flogged with a whip with metal balls or pieces of metal and/or glass fragments in the tails. He was bleeding from all over His body before even making it to the cross. 2) He had a crown of thorns (thorns up to two or three inches long) pushed on his head … more blood. 3) He was wrapped in a purple robe, which would have rubbed on his fresh wounds and pulled out any scabs when it was pulled off. He lost even more blood. 4) He was crucified by having his arms stretched out to either side (potentially dislocating His shoulders), having nails run through His wrists (more blood) causing paralysis of his hands, having a nail run through His feet (more blood) effectively making Him crippled, and having a spear thrust into His side (more blood, if there was much of any left). 5) He was buried for at least 36 hours and as much as 80 hours without any food or water to help revive Him. 6) He would have had to roll away a heavy stone and overpower two Roman soldiers to escape … after all of that other stuff having happened to Him.

Not likely.

Lastly, even though the Gospels may not have been written for at least 30-40 years, they were written to a) spread the Gospel to people and b) combat stories which had arisen contrary to the truth. This means the story was definitely well-circulated before they were even written, and there was plenty of time to have fact-checked the story before then.

Even after the gospels were written, it would have been possible to fact-check most if not all of the story being presented. Whether that be by people were still alive and had been there or by checking with the government and locals! (“Were those governors and kings really there?” “Are these places really in existence?”)

In truth, this post could go on for another thousand words briefly covering other evidences for the Crucifixion.

I think this is more than enough evidence, though.

Next week, I delve into Core Fact #2: The Despair of the Disciples

I would like to think you found this informative, or at least a good reminder of some points.

Are there any other thoughts on the matter?