The Atheists Wishful thinking and Truculent Disrespect for our freedom of Religion
I was in the car and tuned into the Michael Medford program hearing him interview David Silverman who is representing atheists. They turned their focus on discussing the white house’ Christmas tree ornaments, where there was ornament on the tree with Jesus on it and they had Obama instead. Medved asked Silverman if this was acceptable and he responded that there is a real person living called Obama and denied that here ever was a real person named Jesus. Medved, a Jewish radio host took the position that this was asinine, ignorant as well as bigoted.
This is the standard diatribe from atheists, for example Jon Murray “There was no such person in the history of the world as Jesus Christ. There was no historical, living, breathing, sentient human being by that name. Ever. [The Bible] is a fictional, non historical narrative. (Jon Murray, President, American Atheists).
What he is saying is: there was no Jesus therefore the New Testament is not true or should exist. Can we say Christopher Columbus did not exist, therefore there is no America? We constantly hear: the closer I looked at the evidence, the less evidence I found; this is a legend that began with good intentions; all religions have their start in mythmaking. I’m sure you have heard the same and more.
This view of Jesus has been promoted by certain Rabbis throughout the centuries. Even my mom held this belief, until later in life when I became a Christian (Messianic Jew). It changed when she asked her Rabbi about Jesus and was finally told that there was actually a Jesus but they refuse to believe he was the Messiah.
Whether Silverman learned this from others or came up with this viewpoint on his own, I would like to bring some clarity to his ignorant statement that is still circulating. He doesn’t exist unless someone claims to find a tomb with his name on it, then he does exist. The argument then changes to: he didn’t resurrect.
Would an atheist say the same for Mohammed? Because then they would really have a fight on their hands.
Since there is not widespread records of Jesus from the Romans he did not exist. Maybe one can use the same argument that since Egypt, the Pharaoh did not write of Moses and the Jews in captivity it didn’t happen either. Or maybe they wanted to revise their own history so they don’t look bad? Over 25,000 ancient sites have been discovered by archaeologist pertaining to the Bible, as well as the records confirming tens of thousands of individuals and events. Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist, said, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted its biblical reference.”
The bible has three basic ways to be validate its record: Archeology, manuscript evidence and prophecy.
Atheists often say we do not know who really wrote any of the Gospels, even though the gospel begins with the name of the person (Ex: the Gospel according to Matthew).
An American atheist site wrote an article titled “DID JESUS EXIST?” I will not answer every silly or disfigured argument but will answer a few points to show how they go about their logic.
Thus, although Papias ca. 140 CE ('Common Era') knows all the gospels but has only heard of Matthew and Mark, Justin Martyr (ca. 150 CE) knows of none of the four supposed authors. It is only in 180 CE, with Irenæus of Lyons, that we learn who wrote the four “canonical” gospels
I suggest he dig deeper. The flaw of the argument is that Papias knew of only two gospels, therefore none of it can be true.Papias spoke of an original Aramaic version of the Gospel of Matthew, which existed even before the Greek one, which does not help the atheists argument at all. Papias was born 70 and 75 A.D., and died, A.D. 160. We have only fragments of his works. It is Eusebius (the church hsitorian) that speaks of Papias as well acquainted with the Scriptures. There are many sources besides Papias who we have a small amount of writings from, so why focus on Papias?
Polycarp of Smyrna quotes Matthew, Acts Hebrew and 1 Peter and 10 of Paul’s epistles.
Clement of Alexandria lived from 150 to 215 AD. He gives 2,400 citations from the New Testament, citing from all the New Testament, books except Philemon, James and 2 Peter. He gives 2,400 citations from the New Testament. Tertullian lived from 160 to 220 AD has over 7,200 New Testament citations.
Ireneaus quotes Paul’s words over 200 times and nearly everything else except Philemon and 3rd John. And even states there are 4 gospels – to add or subtract is heresy.
Origen lived from 185 to 254 AD. He makes nearly 18,000 New Testament citations. All the church pastors and apologists refer to the Bible that was already partially circulated, all the letters were not put together as one unit as we have today until later, 170 AD. The world was not like ours today, it took far longer for a letter to circulate through different regions and countries, it was especially difficult because Christianity was underground, it was not a legal religion.
It is clear that the gospels of Matthew and Luke could not possibly have been written by an eye-witness of the tales they tell. Both writers plagiarized (largely word-for-word) up to 90% of the gospel of Mark, to which they add sayings of Jesuse and would-be historical details.
Matthew, Mark and Luke agree and also have differences. Matthew has 42% difference. 58% agreement with other gospels. Luke has 59% differences, 41 % agreement with the others. So this kind of statement shows a bias and is inaccurate. And if the letters did not agree they would use that as an argument as well; there must be agreement, since they all were there and each described events that took place over the 1200 days of Jesus’ ministry.
Zindler refers to L. Gordon Rylands' book Did Jesus Ever Live? pointed out nearly seventy years ago: “For Justin, in his Dialogue with Trypho, represents the Jew Trypho as saying, “ye follow an empty rumour and make a Christ for yourselves.” “If he was born and lived somewhere he is entirely unknown.” (“DID JESUS EXIST?” by Frank R. Zindler The American Atheist, Summer 1998).
First: Justin is quoting what they believe and further states “And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing.” CHAPTER IX -- THE CHRISTIANS HAVE NOT BELIEVED GROUNDLESS STORIES. “I excuse and forgive you, my friend,” I said. “For you know not what you say, but have been persuaded by teachers who do not understand the Scriptures; and you speak, like a diviner whatever comes into your mind.”
Justin Martyr lived between 110-166 A.D. quotes all 4 gospels, Acts and the epistles of Paul. Written 140 AD: “For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord” (Dialogue With Trypho, 34), “He preexisted as the Son of the Creator of things, being God, and that He was born a man by the Virgin” (Dialogue With Trypho, 48).
Polycarp (69-155 A.D): “and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in His Father who raised Him from the dead” (Polycarp to the Philippians 12:2).
Clement of Rome (30-100 AD) quotes Matthew, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews. writing between 60-90 A.D: “For Christ is with those who are humble, not with those exalt themselves over his flock. The majestic scepter of God, our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Clement 16:1-2).
Ignatius died about 110 A.D. in his letter to Polycarp He states “Jesus is God,” “God incarnate.” “We have also a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin” (Letter to the Ephesians).
There is the Didache which was certainly written before 100 AD.
Theophilus (115-181 A.D)., Bishop of Antioch (To Autolycus 2:22 160 AD).: “For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice but what else is this voice but the word of God, who is also his Son.” So the early Church also believed in the eternal Son as the word and God, since it was God who spoke to Adam in the garden.”
And lets not overlook Marcion in 140 Ad brought a controversy by rejecting the entire Old Testament and some of the new. He accepted Luke and 10 of Paul’s epistles which shows that by this time the Bible was well known as people judged him as a heretic for doing this.
Hippolytus was born in Rome in 170 A.D: “For Christ is the God over all” (Refutation of All Heresies 10.34). There are so many others that can be quoted that lived in the first and second century. Atheists need to be honest to themselves and history or they will never come to the first step on the journey to the truth.
This view of Jesus not existing is also promoted by certain theosophists and Occultist that believe the bible is written in code and the literal words actually represent something else. The real spiritual meaning is in code for those initiates, thus the person Jesus was an archetype representation for us all.
Roman History, Jewish history does record a real person named Jesus from Nazareth that did live at this time period and was crucified for what he did. Even the Talmud which has collected early writings, (some shameful teachings from certain rabbis) has this mentioned. The Babylonia Sanhedrin 43a we read, “On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth) and the herald went before him for forty days saying (Yeshu of Nazareth) is going to be stoned in that he has practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel”. The accusation that Jesus practiced sorcery is similar to the Pharisees accusing Jesus in Matthew 12:24: “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons”. One would expect a hostile source like the Talmud to have this and use it in its critique of Christianity. It goes on to say “he was hanged on the eve of the Passover” just as the New Testament teaches.
Rabbi Hisda (d. 309) quotes Rabbi Jeremiah bar Abba who mentions, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.” (b. Sanhedrin 103a; cf. b. Berakhot 17b) “Our rabbis have taught that Jesus had five disciples: Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah”
From just these passages that mention Jesus by name, one must conclude that Jesus did exist.
Again, atheistFrank R. Zindler stated, “That the writers of the Talmud [4th-5th centuries CE, FRZ] had no independent knowledge of Jesus is proved by the fact that they confounded him with two different men neither of whom can have been he.”
For one to have this position they must deny a lot of secular as well as religious history and contemporary historians. Taking a hubris attitude shows a real lack of knowledge. There are hostile references to Christian beliefs found in the writings of numerous Roman historians. Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius and Pliny the Younger. Of course atheists make excuses for everyone of them, they can all be discounted as reputable.
Tacitas (52 A.D +) writes, “Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome” (Tacitus, Annals 15.44)
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus (52 AD.) his original writings are not found. He is quoted by Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD. “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian, wrote of riots that took place in a Jewish community in Rome (49 A.D.) that caused the Jews to be banished from the city mentions “Christ.” “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the City.”(Life of Claudius, 25:4)
Lucian of Samosata, a second century Greek: “The Christians . . . worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws” (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13.)
Roman author and administrator Pliny the Younger, served as the governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, he wrote in 112 A.D., that Christians worshipped Christ.This was two hundred years before the “deity” issue was debated in the church under the Emperor Constantine.
In my opinion I believe this shows is not just willful ignorance but an intentional animosity, even hatred targeted at Christianity. Would you hear an atheist deny there was a Buddha or a Mohammed, or any other religious figure? Certainly not, in fact you do not see them openly protest or condemn any other religion like they do Christianity, why is that?
A Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion (70 AD. or after), writing to encourage his son, compared the life and persecution of Jesus with other philosophers who were also persecuted for their ideas. “What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? … Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?...After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men...The wise king...Lived on in the teachings he enacted.”
From this outside source, we can conclude that Jesus was a wise and influential man who died for his beliefs, and that his followers adopted these same beliefs in their lives.
Flavius Josephus was a member of a priestly family and a Phariseewho was commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee in AD 66 and was captured by the Romans and became attached to their headquarters. He became the court historian for Emperor Vespasian and died in 97 A.D. He has two references to Jesus in his “Antiquities” (18:3), “Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had him condemned to the cross, those who loved him at first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.
In Antiquities 29:1, he describes how Ananus the High Priest “assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James confirming Paul's description of James in Galatians 1:19 as “the Lord's brother.
Greek satirist Lucian, who lived in the 2nd century
mentions what Jesus taught and established that Christ was worshipped in the
first century. “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day, the
distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on
that account...You see, these misguided creatures start with the general
conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of
death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it
was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers,
from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and
worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on
faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods, alike, regarding
them merely as common property.” (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine. 11-13)
Julius Africanus mentions a historian named Phlegon who wrote a chronicle of history around 140 AD. In this history, Phlegon also mentions the darkness surrounding the crucifixion in an effort to explain it:
“Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth to the ninth hour” (Africanus, Chronography, 18:1) Exactly what is mentioned in the gospels
Phlegon is also mentioned by Origen, a near contemporary who lived in Alexandria (185 - 254) “Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events . . . but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 14). “And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place ...” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 33)
Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine.”
Though Jesus, Yeshua is called Yeshu (a dergatory name) It confirms that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, healed the sick, raised the dead by using the secret ineffable name. He was worshipped, arrested by the Jews, beaten with rods, given vinegar to drink, wore a crown of thorns, rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, was betrayed by a man named Juda, thatYeshu was put to death on the sixth hour on the eve of the Passover and of the Sabbath and had followers who claimed he was resurrected and ascended, leaving an empty tomb!
In it we read the disciples of Jesus had planned to steal the body of Christ. However, a gardener named Juda discovered their plans and dug a new grave in his garden and removed Jesus' body from Joseph's tomb and placed it in his own newly dug grave. The disciples came to the original tomb, found Jesus' body gone and proclaimed him risen. the gardener related what he had done, in order that Yeshu's followers should not steal the body and then claim that he had ascended into heaven. The Sages removed the body, tied it to the tail of a horse and transported it to the Queen, with the words, "This is Yeshu who is said to have ascended to heaven." Realizing that Yeshu was a false prophet who enticed the people and led them astray, she mocked the followers but praised the Sages.”
This book coincides with the biblical account of men being paid off to lie and spread the rumor. Matt 28:12-15 “When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.'" And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
The story brings historic validation that Jesus did live and die, he was a historical person, not a myth though the facts may differ. Dr. Paul Maier comments “ . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”
The New Testament mentions the High Priest as Caiaphas, but no record was found of him being high priest. Nearly 1,950 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, November 1990 they accidentally uncovered an ancient burial cave. The inscription in the burial chamber was that of the Caiaphas family. The Caiaphas name had only been mentioned in the New Testament and by Flavius Josephus, Josephus refers to him as Joseph, who was called Caiaphas of the high priesthood. Joseph or Caiaphas was the high priest in Jerusalem between 18 and 36 AD. The remains are of a 60-year-old man found with the inscription on his craved ossuary, fit for a high priest, was the name Yehosef bar Qafa (Joseph, son of Caiaphas). Coins found in the cave were bronze minted in 42/43 (C.E.) during the reign of Herod Agrippa I. These are similar to images of coins found on the Shroud of Turin Ð believed by many scientists to be the burial shroud of Christ.
Ronny Reich writes in an article in Biblical Archaeology Review, “From the period between the second century B.C.E. and the second century C.E., there are only six such names, and perhaps you will exclude one or two of these because they are names of rulers or former rulers. Three of these names, however, are especially pertinent here because they, like Caiaphas, come from priestly families.”
Fact: There is more manuscript evidence for the Bible than almost any other book in ancient history. Hostile sources refer to Christ, and agree with many points in the New Testament, how can this evidence be disregarded for both the existence of Christ and the Bible’s history. The words of Jesus are contained in the New Testament; his teachings appear in and are confirmed from sources outside the New Testament.
The fact is when atheists say there is no Jesus, it is wishful thinking on their part. It’s like the opposite of positive thinking; they have this reaction every time they hear the name Jesus; on the news, on TV, in a book, in a conversation. It must be hard to deny reality. Its like having an opinion that the sky is not blue because you are intentionally color blind. Better yet; its like there is no sky because you don’t want to call it sky, like everyone else does.
So with a disregard for history, atheists turn their anger toward individuals the exemplify Christ in their lives today.
American Atheists — a New Jersey based group that promotes the separation of church and state — tells CBSDenver.com that the only reason Tebow is popular is because he constantly injects his Christianity among the public.
Tebow is one person that is not ashamed to show his love and allegiance for God.
Atheists most outspoken ultracrepedarian is Bill Maher, who loves to make a controversy over Christianity and recently said some filthy things that I will remit, Maher: “Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.”
Does Bill Maher believe there is a Devil and hell but not a Jesus? Or does he use what he does not believe in to show what he does not believe in? That’s a double negative argument.
This also caught my eye, High school basketball players
beaten for 'Tebowing' and I thought how much more is being unreported. “two
South Carolina high schools boiled over after a basketball match, with two fans
of the victorious side reportedly beaten up by opposition supporters for “Tebowing.”
I don’t think this is about Tebow anymore. Its not about his ability, or team or even His faith — but faith itself. The true faith given to the saints; it’s called Christianity.
Why is it that atheists are so enraged at Tim Tebow doing a short bow in pray when Muslims gather in large groups in the open and prostrate to the ground praying out loud and atheists have nothing to say?
Atheists want people to think that a imaginary man was invented by someone else’s writing, a conspiracy no doubt, and this imaginary man quoted and fulfilled 330 scriptures accurately from over 2,000 years prior and the people of this new religion were executed for believing in what did not happen by a government and civilization of their time that were threatened; that it is all made up! That it took nearly 300 years before they could come out from being an underground church because none of this was real. Really is that what atheists want people to believe?
Even the Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of Judas” and the “Gospel of Phillip” and all the other counterfeit books assume Jesus was a historical contemporary figure of the first century. The scriptures tell us that there were many eye witnesses to his life and his ministry.
Atheists should stop trying to make a myth, clearly they are threatened and want to rid the world of the one persons religion that makes them feel guilty. This is obvious conclusion because they have no complaints of any other religion, even the one that they are personally called infidels by.
Let me ask a candid question: Can an atheist prove other atheists exist in history? They have to rely on other peoples writing just as we do to affirm this. Seems to me that the same standard used should be applied equally.
Maybe we should start saying that “Atheism does not exist,” therefore atheists do not exist. After all they cannot prove there is no existence of God. they can only make a personal opinion of it. An atheist would have to travel off planet earth and look through all the vast universe, throughout all time to make the unequivocal statement, there is no God. Earth is as a piece of dust in the vast ocean of solar systems contained in the universe and yet some man who is like a piece of dust on earth can actually declare this kind of statement! This does seem to remind me of Psalm 14:1. God has indeed revealed his existence by nature, creation and if one refuses to acknowledge what they see they certainly cannot understand what they cannot see that made it.
I suggest for skeptics and honest agnostics to read “Evidence that demands a verdict” by Josh McDowell.
For references to Jesus in the writings of Josephus read “Jesus and Christian Origins outside the New testament” by F.F. Bruce.