Continuing Conversation on Homosexuality and Resurrection

About six months ago, I blogged about an interaction that I had on Twitter. Apparently, something about that conversation stuck with the other person, because s/he appears to have found that post and decided to try to continue the conversation this month. As JB has commented on five other places in addition, and most of those are older posts, I am writing this post to consolidate all of those conversations, share them with my other readers, and give JB a place to continue discussion should s/he wish.

Warning: This post will be of considerable length.

Before I begin quoting JB’s comments and my replies, I’d like to point out that I threw, several times, an accusation that s/he failed to meet the requirements for an honest discussion. While the following flowchart does not completely show all of the rules for an honest discussion, I think it is a good start, and a good reminder to everyone (click for larger size):

Debate-Flow-Chart1

Although this is from a site called “Atheism Resource”, I would have agreed with it as a Christian. I think it does a very good job of showing the bare minimum rules that should be followed. Please let me know if there is anywhere that you see I have failed to meet these ideals, especially if I seem to be unaware of it.

JB’s first comment was on the post about our Twitter conversation:

Don’t you need to prove that homosexuality is inborn? 🙂 -JB Dove

My reply:

The burden of proof does lie on the person claiming that homosexuality is inborn, yes. But smarter people than I have already done that legwork:

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/271/1554/2217.short

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/261/5119/321.short

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=495588

http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33773/title/Can-Epigenetics-Explain-Homosexuality-/

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/06/14/499483/study-male-genetic-homosexuality/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/homosexuality-linked-to-genes-ethical-dilemmas-loom-as-genetic-study-of-gays-families-suggests-predisposition-is-inherited-through-mens-mothers-1485079.html

http://io9.com/5967426/scientists-confirm-that-homosexuality-is-not-genetic–but-it-arises-in-the-womb

JB then said:

Awesome.

Link 1: “in particular that homosexuals have more maternal than paternal male homosexual relatives, that homosexual males are more often later-born than first–born and that they have more older brothers than older sisters.” — Not genetic, but a great environmental reason. To which I’d respond “duh.”

Link 2: Wow, a sample size of FOURTY? This isn’t compelling evidence. Also, looking at siblings and drawing the conclusion that something is genetic ignores the reality that attraction is probably more environmental [or as Dr. Julie Harren, Ph.D., LMFT argues:

“Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment = Temperament
Parents + Peers + Experiences = Environment
Temperament + Environment = Attraction” ]

Link 3: “the rate of homosexuality among nontwin biological siblings, as reported by probands, 9.2% (13/142), was significantly lower than would be predicted by a simple genetic hypothesis and other published reports” . Continuing to make my point.

Link 4: Our first indicator that Time is ummm…. not that reliable… is that it uses the long-demolished myth that 10% of the population is homosexual. And cites an article from 1993 to make the point. Good lawd. NPR says 3.8% http://www.npr.org/2011/06/08/137057974/-institute-of-medicine-finds-lgbt-health-research-gaps-in-us

WA Post says: “More specifically, 1.8 percent of men self-identify as gay and 0.4 percent as bisexual, and 1.5 percent of women self-identify as lesbian and 0.9 percent as bisexual.”

Moving on to the rest of the article, your link has a guy that claims it’s not DNA or genetics. Is this supposed to be helping you? They are so desperate to prove that it’s biological, but I’m confused as to why. I’ll ask you that later on.

Link 5: “Still, only 20 percent of identical twins are both gay, said Rice. Furthermore, linkage studies looking for a genetic underpinning to sexual orientation have not turned up any “major” homosexual genes, Rice noted.”. Hm, that’s interesting.

Link 6: Should have posted your thinkprogress and Huffpo articles closer to the top and when reading your more scientific articles, should have realized that your own sources are disagreeing with your own sources and claims. Also, these are old.

Link 7: Again, an article from 1993 that is so old that all the other ones are disagreeing with it.

Link 8: I don’t disagree, since our temperment + environment are being formed in the womb. Doesn’t really prove your point though.

So in conclusion, why the assumption that homosexuality is inborn and that attraction is not based on many factors and is fluid AND that attraction COULD be unhealthy?

I did not reply to this comment, because I obviously need to do further research to do a good job. Also, before I knew this comment existed, five other threads had been started. Let’s return to this one later.


 

The first other thread is, perhaps predictably, on my post about gay marriage and homosexuality. JB started with the following comment:

“I’d rather have Christians who accept homosexuality, even if they are being ultimately inconsistent, than Christians who don’t.” << I thought that most non-Christians didn’t like that Christians were inconsistent with Christian teachings?

Also, what if suicide rates are what they are, because of the underlying issues of one who identifies as homosexual AND even if living in a life style with someone of same gender, etc they don’t feel happy? That was my experience.

My reply:

I don’t like Christians being inconsistent with Christian teachings, but I prefer inconsistency to immorality, and telling homosexuals that they are evil and thereby driving them to suicide is immoral.

What if the reason you didn’t feel happy was because of your specific partner or because your church kept telling you you are evil?

Outside of religion, do you have any reason to think homosexuality is wrong?

I do not think I asked that first question well. What I was trying to convey is that many of the ill effects of homosexuality, such as being victims of bullying, are due precisely to Christians telling homosexuals that they are sinning. We can only put the blame of unhappiness on homosexuality alone if all other factors are ruled out. Guilt from a religious upbringing is a powerful thing; it can continue to plague someone even if they no longer believe anything about the religion. If a person is told by their trusted community (religion) that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong, he or she is bound to experience some unhappiness from living that lifestyle, even if there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Further, many people are unhappy in heterosexual relationships; any relationship with another human being can be a cause of unhappiness, and sexual orientation does not protect from abuse or just not having chemistry. I need more evidence than an anecdote from someone with an agenda before I can accept a conclusion.

JB replied:

“telling homosexuals that they are evil and thereby driving them to suicide is immoral.” Agreed. But telling someone that sexual expression outside of one man and one woman in marriage, is UNHEALTHY is not immoral.

No one told me I was evil so guess that wasn’t it.

Outside of God’s word, the following things lead me to believe that alternative sexual expression is not healthy:

Biology. A man and a woman are different and complimentary.
Psychology. Same as above. Look at studies on fatherlessness. You can’t honestly say that two women = one man and one woman unless you believe a father doesn’t matter.

Social order. A mom and dad is Ideal for children- all things equal, which biological parent does a child not deserve? Sure, same gender parents [creating a child in a tube or adopting or the biological child of one parent] can LOVE their child. But unless you pretend the genders are identical, a woman does not offer a child what a man does and visa versa. The data on this is long standing and clear.

P.S. It’s funny you’ve used the same tired arguments like “450 species exhibit homosexual behaviors”. This is simply laughable. An animal humping an animal of the same gender and then having sex and procreating with the opposite species is not “homosexuality”. P.S.S. Did you ever follow up on those “homosexual” penguins? Where one went and impregnated a female? I ask again, why the desperation to believe this INNATE? Why shouldn’t it be a choice? [Like I said, I don’t believe attraction is a choice, but liberals believe it’s inborn vs choice, the only two options for them I suppose].

I continued:

I never said two women equals a man and a woman or any other such combination. However, there have been studies that show that homosexual couples make just as good of parents as heterosexual couples. Here’s just one of the first results in Google Scholar:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J082v32n02_02#.VPUX6_nF_wk

It’s on you to produce evidence that homosexuality is harmful. Show studies. I have. Can you?

Telling someone that their natural urges are unhealthy is immoral, especially when all of the scientific studies on the matter agree that there is nothing unhealthy (or unnatural!) about homosexuality.

People keep pointing to animals exhibiting homosexual behavior to show that it is part of nature. A penguin impregnating a female penguin does not mean that no animal ever has exhibited homosexual behavior. Have you looked up bonobos yet? You know, the animal whose whole society appears based on sex? Sure, you can argue that none of them are strictly homosexual, because everyone has sex with everyone regardless of gender, but there is definitely “homosexual behavior”. This only means that male bonobos have been observed have sex with male bonobos, and females with other females.

Why don’t you tell me what homosexuality is if it is neither inborn or a choice? You have yet to offer that third option, and I obviously don’t see it. I’m willing to consider it if you can show it.

JB said:

You really don’t read anything unless it agrees with you relating to this issue do you? Studies that show homosexual parenting is equal are flawed.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-ethington/same-sex-parents-study-flawed_b_1584745.html

http://www.narth.org/docs/flawed.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/10/study-children-fare-better-traditional-mom-dad-fam/?page=all

http://tomohalloran.com/2014/03/26/gay-parenting-studies-flawed/

So you ignore the 100s of studies on fatherlessness too?

“Telling someone that their natural urges are unhealthy is immoral” < Do you argue that sexual attraction to children is inborn and natural? NOT action on it, obviously. But the orientation? Would love to see if you hold a consistent belief across the board.

“This only means that male bonobos have been observed have sex with male bonobos, and females with other females.” << Also, dogs hump chair legs and cushions. Also, animals eat their young. Also, monkeys are cannibals. IT’s not a good argument to say “because we’ve seen animals do ___, humans should/could/can/ do ___”

Yes. Re: Julie Harren, Ph.D., LMFT
Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment = Temperament
Parents + Peers + Experiences = Environment
Temperament + Environment = Attraction.

Can be healthy or unhealthy. Hopefully you and I agree that even an attraction, not acted on, to children is UNHEALTHY. We might disagree that a sexual attraction between siblings is unhealthy. Sexual attraction to a parent [even between consenting adults] isn’t healthy. Sexual attraction to animals isn’t healthy. Sexual attraction to an abusive man/woman isn’t healthy. And so on. Do you disagree that attraction can be unhealthy, or since it’s natural, it’s all good?

At this point, I had become frustrated, and I think you’ll see that in this and other threads. When I wrote my previous comment, I had honestly forgotten to consider pedophilia, and that was an error on my part. I also make reference to another thread in this comment, which we’ll get to shortly:

You accuse me of not reading what I disagree with after openly saying you won’t look at a link I posted? On a blog that is about the fact that I underwent a paradigm shift? That is the height of dishonesty.

The first link you posted is about a study that was proven wrong that had the claim that homosexual parents were worse. It was referenced in a Michigan court case on same-sex marriage. The judge said, “The court finds the witness wholly unreliable and puts no weight on his testimony.” You can see the full ruling here:https://joshderke2014.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/mi-gay-marriage-ruling.pdf

The second link is put out by the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, a biased source widely known for its junk science:http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/queer-science

The third link references the same study as the first link. For the record, the scientific community rejects that study because the kids he studies aren’t largely in families that have two married same-sex parents, but kids from divorced couples with a mom or a dad that lives with a member of the same sex.

The fourth link is a blog post, and I have no reason to care what he says.

Do you have actual studies that support your position? Again, I do. And if fatherlessness is such a problem, what about a couple of men raising a child? What about a group of two fathers and a mother? Or two mothers and a father? If your problem with homosexuality is the lack of both sex parents, do you have a problem with polyamorous relationships?

I think pedophilia is most likely inborn, at least as much as homosexuality is.

You’re right, it’s NOT a good argument to say that “behavior x is natural and therefore good for humans”. That isn’t the argument I’m making. I’m saying “homosexual behavior is obviously observed in nature and therefore saying that it is unnatural is ridiculous”.

So you think that sexual orientation is based on a combination of Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment + Parents + Peers + Experiences? None of those are factors over which a person has much control, you know. In fact, that’s probably longhand for what most people mean when they say that homosexuality is “natural”, because most people are arguing “natural” as opposed to “choice”. After all, a common argument is that homosexuality is wrong because it is a choice.

I don’t think I’m willing to say that having an attraction is itself unhealthy, regardless of what that attraction is. Almost every human has a strong appetite for sugar, but I don’t think anyone would say that that is unhealthy. However, it is obviously unhealthy to over-indulge one’s sweet tooth.

Obviously, having an attraction that, if acted upon, is unhealthy or harmful could easily lead to bad consequences, but I don’t think that means the attraction itself is unhealthy.

I’m not even sure I would say that pedophilia is necessarily unhealthy for the adult; acting on pedophilia is immoral because a child cannot meaningfully consent and is (at least in something like 99% of cases) harmed in some way (normally physical and mental health). That’s why statutory rape laws exist. But is the adult harmed by acting on his pedophilia? Does his physical health suffer in any way? I don’t see how, as awful as that sounds. His mental health should suffer in that he should feel guilty for raping a child, but I don’t know whether that would be outweighed by the pleasure he feels from satisfying his desire. I would hope so, but I don’t know.

When two consenting adults without STDs who happen to be different genders have sex, who is harmed? So far, you have only pointed to problems with same-sex partners as parents. What if we set aside that issue? Who is harmed when two consenting adults have sex? How is that unhealthy? Even if it is completely, 100% a choice to both have that orientation and act on it, where does the harm come in? Whose health is harmed and how?

And no, I don’t think that natural = moral. However, it is worth looking to nature before claiming that something is not natural. Humans, after all, for all our fancy technology, are apes, with a wide variety of instincts and sometimes conflicting impulses.

One of the questions I asked there sums up my entire position on homosexuality: When two consenting adults have sex, who is harmed? It is important to focus on this, I think, because it is entirely a different issue than whether homosexual couples can make good parents. Also, many heterosexual couples are bad parents and there is no “fit for parenting” test before heterosexuals can marry; why should there be for homosexuals?

JB’s reply was simple, refused to answer any question I’d posed, and refused to show evidence for his position:

Well, you are consistent. I’ll give you that. Scary, but consistent.

Of course, it is well within his rights (I guess I’m assuming this is a guy, now; I still don’t know) to avoid further conversation, but when I see a reply like that, it certainly looks as though he has no response. (I would also expect him to assume I have no response if I failed to answer his questions.) Wanting to emphasize the point, I said:

Of course I’m consistent. That’s a cornerstone of having a rational worldview. I’m not sure how wanting evidence that something is harmful before agreeing that it is is scary, though.

There have been no further comments on that thread.


 

The next thread is considerably shorter, and possibly for good reason. On my post about interpreting the bible and how I can’t help but see moderate Christianity as inconsistent, JB commented:

“Ken the Fundamentalist believes that the Bible is the Word of God – an omniscient, omnipotent God.”

Yup.

“Because he understands that truth cannot contradict truth, he thinks there is no scientific or historical evidence that contradicts what God says in the Bible.”

Yup

“Therefore, he rejects evolution and affirms that there was a literal global flood and a literal Exodus from Egypt.”

Yup.

“He thinks people with same-sex attraction are making a choice (or worse, have a disorder) and are required to avoid that choice (or stay chaste).”

Wrong. Attraction isn’t a choice, doesn’t mean it’s healthy or inborn.

This time, it was my reply that shut down the discussion:

As I said, “not real people; representative aggregates”. You may disagree with Ken, but I used to agree with him, so you can’t say I am wrong to use that as a representation of what some Christians really believe.

I’m not discussing the idea that homosexuality is wrong in these comments because it is not relevant to this post. This post is about whether the position “homosexuality is or can be moral” is consistent with the Bible. If you can support that, feel free to do so, but since it obviously is not what you believe, I think you have wasted your time commenting on this thread.

Moving on to the two other short threads… JB also commented on my post with a random philosophical question on whether god can make another god:

In Judeo Christian theology, God cannot deny his own nature. So God cannot lie. When he forgives sins he “forgets” them. God does not tempt people to do evil, etc.

God can’t make a rock bigger than he can lift, because that’d be outside of his nature [creating an infinite rock that’s existed for all time, etc]

God can’t stop being God, so he can’t create another entity that would make him cease to be God. And so on.

I simply asked questions:

Why can’t god change those rules, if he’s really god? If he’s truly omnipotent, he could change his nature.

Further, why would god cease to be god if he creates a twin for himself?

Of course, there is no response to this; what could JB say? Christian theology does not have answers to these questions.


 

JB’s final thread starter was on my last post:

http://thereforegodexists.com/ Here’s a block you’ll really like sinking your teeth into. Of course, he’s not right about everything.

After taking a look at that blog, at least scrolling completely down the front page, I said the following:

Nothing on the front page of that blog seems remotely new or interesting to me. Most of it doesn’t even have to do with proving god exists; all but two of the posts (again on the front page) operate under the assumption that god exists, and those two are arguments I’ve answered on this blog already. Given that I have more important things to do with my life than read and respond to the same tired old arguments that I already refuted to my satisfaction as a prerequisite to leaving Christianity, I’ll not be paying much attention to it.

You can, of course, link to a particular post or two that you find particularly powerful, but I’m not wasting my time digging through those archives when I barely have time to clean my pet cages.

JB:

Suffice to say he’s dismantled most of your arguments.

My response:

That would be interesting, as I normally do not make arguments of my own, instead offering rebuttals of Christian arguments. That being said, it should be easy for you to point me to at least one example.

I am still waiting for that example. It is probably not the best idea to judge a blog solely by its front page – I think mine gives a false impression that way – but it doesn’t take long to realize that most arguments for the existence of god boil down to the same few, and I have shown fallacies in all of those.


 

Returning to the first thread, JB began commenting on the post that was about our Twitter conversation again:

You’re getting pissy that I’m answering back? I thought your problem was that I’d stopped responding in the first place? If you prefer to write without anyone responding and holding you accountable, I’ll leave. 🙂

For the record, I am saving for last the thread wherein I actually get pissy. Hopefully, offering this out of order isn’t too confusing. I tried to explain myself briefly:

I’m getting pissy that you are not engaging in honest discussion. You can still show that you are capable of that, but my experience with previous Christians who argue like you do does not leave me with much hope.

He misrepresented my position:

Not agreeing with you doesn’t = “not being honest”

And I pointed out that that’s what he had just done, explaining myself more thoroughly:

I never said it did. In this comment, you misrepresent what I’ve said in other threads, which is another dishonest maneuver in discussion. Previously, you have demonstrated a refusal to actually listen to what I’m saying (evidenced by having to repeat myself multiple times) as well as a refusal to look at my sources while accusing me of that behavior when I’ve obviously changed my whole worldview. Those are also traits indicative of an unwillingness to have an honest discussion. Instead, they show that you are only here to preach your own worldview… which is one that I once embraced and used to preach myself. It’s annoying when I’m already in poor condition (tired, overworked) because I’ve heard it all before, but I’m still willing to engage in honest discussion and look at the evidence once more. I’ve demonstrated this repeatedly.

Surely you agree that I can’t be expected to respect you as a rational being when you aren’t offering me the same courtesy I’m offering you. If I really wanted to shut down your point of view and keep it from appearing in comments on my blog, I could delete your comments and block you from commenting again. I have not done so, and I will not delete your comments here or block you unless you become more obnoxious. Also, you are the one who blocked me on Twitter, not the other way around. You’re the one who wanted to shut out the opposing viewpoint. I enjoy challenging my viewpoint when possible, or I would not allow people like you to comment and continue commenting.

Perhaps it was wrong of me to say such things, to remind a person trying to have a conversation that I do have the power to shut him up in my space. Perhaps part of the reason he has not replied is that this reads like a threat, or because it actually does make it look as if I started censoring when he never comments again after I say something like this.

I find it frustrating to deal with comments like JB’s, but I also don’t want to be closed-minded. I want to discuss opposing views on religion, and I want to be open to evidence that I am indeed wrong. I have demonstrated this be changing my mind before. I did not accept evolution until I saw evidence for it; I thought homosexuality was bad until I realized there was no evidence to support my position; I changed my mind on the Resurrection when I saw that the historical evidence was not as good as I had been taught. Because I have this experience of changing my mind based on evidence, I always expect the same behavior from others.


 

I have saved this one for last, because I want to end with my last comment on this thread. JB commented on my Problems with Christianity page:

If Christ hasn’t risen, why are people Christians? You have a lot of explaining to do to justify the disciples 180 degree personality changes pre-crucifixion to after. Let’s start there, since Christ rising from the dead is the crux of Christianity.

I would have been perfectly justified, I think, to say simply, “This page is not about that; it is a list that shows posts and planned posts, one of which will be about that. If you would like to discuss that topic on that post, you’ll just have to wait; I’m sorry.” I have not yet done the amount of research I would like to do before writing on the topic of the resurrection, although I have done enough to think my conclusion is reasonable (or I would not have one). Instead, I engaged:

Actually, no. First, you have to prove that Jesus really existed, and his disciples really went through that change you are claiming.

Even if you could, and I know you can’t because I’ve tried, you still would have to show that the resurrection is the most likely explanation, and it has already been shown that it cannot be.

http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/improbable/

JB, at this point, began mocking me, which is I think the first time he began acting like someone unwilling to have an honest, rational discussion:

Oh nooooooooo. You can’t seriously mock Christians for not believing your theories on evolution etc and think Jesus didn’t exist.

Until you present a more likely explanation for the most known historical figure in human existence, I guess resurrection will have to do. Occams Razor and whatnot.

Since I’m not the world’s best person, I threw some of the same behavior right back:

Well, those are some shockingly ignorant comments. So much so that I might have to devote a post to them!

Here’s a list of the most obvious problems:
1. Evolution is a fact. It is not “my” theory; it is a proven, observable fact of life, and anyone who says differently is ignorant or lying.
2. The burden of proof is on those who claim that Jesus did exist. There is insufficient evidence on either side to say definitively, according to the person who wrote the scholarly book about Jesus not being a historical figure.
3. Occam’s Razor does not work that way. It says the simplest explanation is most often correct, and the simplest explanation, assuming the Jesus of the Gospels is more or less historical, is that the disciples lied. Far from pointing to a complete reversal of observed fact around every person who has ever died, Occam’s Razor would point to ANY OTHER EXPLANATION.
4. Any other honest way of looking at the issue shows that the Resurrection is the least likely explanation. The whole point of the Resurrection was that it was impossible and therefore special. If it were just highly improbable, we would have seen more Resurrection events.
5. You clearly didn’t look at the link I posted that shows a historical Jesus figure does not mean a Resurrection is the most likely explanation. This is a really old argument, and has been thoroughly debunked.

Please come up with something I haven’t already debunked to my own satisfaction as a prerequisite for leaving Christianity.

JB replied (I have fixed his formatting):

1. Nope.
2. Sure. Hence the wealth of historical evidence to that end. So much that it’s only the rare and uneducated new atheist that would ignore it to pretend he wasn’t real.
3. You’re claiming that a religion of 2 billion people came from a mythical person OR a person who was killed who’s disciples claimed he rose again [and strangely people hopped on board and were killed for doing so.] Not the simplest explanation. But I’m waiting eagerly for any other good explanations you might have.
4. It’s hardly improbable that if God came to earth in human form that death would keep him in a grave. Try again.
5. Well DUH. But you at least need to have the intellectual integrity to believe what 99% of historians do and acknowledge Jesus was a historical figure.

Fixed > “It’s MORE improbable that if God came to earth in human form that death would keep him in a grave. Try again.”

Bah! This format didn’t keep your classy numbers.

I then became downright pissy (to be honest, I needed a nap):

  1. Nope. http://evolutionfaq.com/articles/five-proofs-evolution
  2. Read what I actually wrote: The author of the ONLY scholarly book for the hypothesis that Jesus is not historical says there is not enough evidence on either side to be 100% definitive.
  3. If you actually read the link I posted, you’d see there is a much better argument. Also, Islam is a really big religion, too. So is Buddhism. Are those true?
  4. I have yet to see convincing evidence that a god exists, let alone was incarnated. Have you even read C.S. Lewis? Even he was willing to admit Jesus as liar or lunatic were options that needed considered and refuted before claiming he was Lord.
  5. So you admit you are not willing to have an honest discussion. For the record, as I’ve said twice, the link I pointed to operates under the assumption that Jesus was a historical figure.

Are you going to continue to be a dishonest, ignorant creeper with no willingness to listen while expecting me to listen to you, or are you going to honestly try to explore our differing views and do some research? So far, you have shown no willingness to be anything but a megaphone, and I have little patience for such rude behavior.

JB said:

I don’t think Islam or Buddism are true and yet manage to acknowledge that Mohammad and Buddha existed. Do you ?

I want to see your thoughts and defense of your arguments, not read links to BOOKS.

Of course C.S Lewis liar, lunatic, Lord argument is great. But you’re still needing to acknowledge Jesus existed before one could move on to those.

This is where I quote his earlier comment directly, against him, because I’m a jerk like that:

Again, I’m willing, for the sake of argument, as I have said now THREE TIMES, to operate under the assumption of Jesus as a historical figure. I keep pointing to that link because it gives arguments that I agree with, OPERATING UNDER THAT ASSUMPTION, better than I could.

You really don’t read anything unless it agrees with you do you?

JB continued refusing to even look at the link I’d provided:

OK, so communicate with me YOUR thoughts on why people followed Jesus, since he was murdered and they’d just denied his name, since he didn’t rise from the dead.

I resisted the urge to just say, “My thoughts are to agree with the link I posted, because that author is a scholar in a relevant field. If you want to know the arguments I agree with, please at least try to read some of that.” Instead:

Perhaps they had visions of Jesus – hallucinations are far more common than most of us realize, and dreams were given more importance in ancient times.

Perhaps one of the disciples started lying and the others, desperate to believe, accepted it.

Perhaps the promise of Heaven for belief and/or threat of Hell for disbelief was just too great to pass up.

Also, it’s an important point that, historically, Christianity was a minority cult for 300 years. People weren’t flocking to it until Constantine. There’s a small percentage of the population now who believe that Elvis isn’t dead. It’s completely believable that a small percentage of people in ancient times, without access to photographs of Jesus in the grave, would be duped by a few people making an outlandish claim.

Another important note is that resurrection claims in ancient times or ancient religions were not really all that uncommon. Here’s a list of ten:http://listverse.com/2013/03/30/10-resurrected-religious-figures/

If you really want to see a good explanation, well expressed, as I’ve said repeatedly, you’ll have to read the book on the matter. I cannot do the subject justice as well as he can, and I don’t want to try in the comments section, especially at this time of my life. You can also look up Bart Ehrman’s works; I have not read it myself, but I hear he has a good book on the subject (I’ve only read a couple of his books).

As you appear unwilling (thus far) to read a book that disagrees with your worldview, here’s just a chapter that gives the nutshell version of why skeptics deny the resurrection:http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/lecture.html

If you remember nothing else, this is the most important point: it is not up to me to say “here’s how it happened without the resurrection”; it is up to YOU to demonstrate that the resurrection happened. Can you do that? Nobody else has. Appeals to Occam’s Razor are insufficient.

Obviously; this is not as well expressed as it could be, and certainly not convincing. Indeed, it is difficult for most humans to accept “I don’t know” as a better answer than “I know”, even if “I don’t know” is the only honest answer. JB said:

Hallucinations aren’t a compelling reason, are they? Person A hallucinates something he believes is true. He tells person B about what he believes is true. You are arguing that Person B believes simply because Person A told them of the hallucination. But doesn’t that only work if we’re not dealing with sane people? If a bunch of atypical people are hearing about something [that is a hallucination] sure, maybe they buy it. But sane people [I know atheists don’t think this] don’t believe things unless there are sufficient enough reasons.

If it was a lie, WHY did the disciples lie? They’d just denied they even knew Jesus [again, according to the narrative] because they rightly feared further persecution. Romans weren’t kind to those who stood against them, or those who stood with those who stood against them. So they lied to align themselves with a guy who stood against rome and was brutally murdered for it? And people hearing that, would believe it because of desperation to do so?

It’s hard to argue the hell/heaven argument, that theology didn’t develop until the early church was more established [which was growing so rapidly because of the claims that Jesus was alive]

Christianity grew far before Rome. By thousands. Rome heard about it because of Paul at the END of his trip. [Paul was beheaded in Rome]. Rome jumped on an already popular ship for political reasons. You can’t argue Christianity was FOUNDED because of Rome “making it popular” anyway. Still not reasonable to think that sane people would accept a risen Savior without any evidence [people who saw him, interacted for 40 days, as many as 500 ppl at one time in narrative], just because told so.

The Resurrection happened for the following reasons: Synagogue rejects that had returned to family businesses then became the leaders for a religion that spanned the whole world, every culture and people group. They went from hiding in locked rooms and denying they knew Jesus to each and every one of them DYING refusing to stop talking about him. Jesus is the most popular/well known figure in movies, music, literature, his impact literally splitting the way we tell time into a time before his birth and after.
And for over 2000 years, we’ve seen human movements and individual transformation that isn’t explained in any other ways, in the lives of murderers, slave owners, slaves, prostitutes and johns, homosexuals, adulterers, families racked by divorce, people dying of disease, people being beheaded and buried alive, torn apart by lions and killed for sport. And the more atheists try to crush it [with force or with blog posts 😉 ] the more it grows. It’s not human.

Although it is missing the obvious point that Islam grows despite atheists and Christians trying to crush it, I think my response there was the best comment in any of these threads:

Again, please do the research of reading at least the sources I have linked and you will better understand my position.

Side note: Christianity is not growing in developed countries; it is in decline. There have been numerous polls demonstrating this, and Christian sources are aware of it and bemoaning it:http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=42346&columnid=4545

Most of what you’ve just said cannot be backed by historical data. As just one thing, there is no evidence that the disciples were martyred for believing in the resurrection. If you have any interest in furthering a discussion on the resurrection, please at least read or watch this debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman.
Transcript: http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/p96.htm
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac

I’m going to focus on one claim you’ve made in particular, because I don’t think you’ve thought through the implications of it, although I could of course be wrong. Maybe you mean exactly what it sounds like you mean. Maybe I’m completely misinterpreting you. If so, please correct me.

“But sane people [I know atheists don’t think this] don’t believe things unless there are sufficient enough reasons.”

By this, do you mean that only insane people believe things without sufficient reasons?

If so, which of the following is true?
A) All those who accept evolution, from the schoolboy in the classroom to the scientist in the National Academy of Sciences, each and every one, are insane.
B) There is sufficient reason to accept evolution.

What about followers of other religions? Is there also sufficient reason to believe the claim of Krishna’s resurrection, which millions of Hindus believe, or are all Hindus insane? Is there sufficient reason to believe that Muhammad is a prophet, or are all Muslims insane? Is there sufficient reason to believe that Osiris resurrected, or were the ancient Egyptians just generally insane? What about all of the other religions out there?

What about people who change their mind on an issue, first believing (just as a for instance) that abortion should be illegal and later believing that it should be legal (or vice versa, doesn’t matter)? Are all such people insane, did two contradicting viewpoints both have sufficient reason for belief, or did they believe something based on insufficient reason?

Is my mother insane or is there actually sufficient reason to believe that wearing black bras cause cancer? Is my sister-in-law insane or is there actually sufficient reason to believe that animals don’t suffer?

There are a multitude of issues on which people disagree. Are you really saying that on each of these issues, one side only has insane people whereas the other has sufficient reason?

JB has not yet commented again. I can only hope that he has decided to do some research on these issues, although perhaps he has decided to leave me alone for another six months. Only time will tell.

Seriously, though, how can anyone possibly think that sane people don’t believe things without sufficient reason?


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