Is there a New Atheism?

100 comments
Fr. Barron and Dr. Hahn

I could sit and listen to Fr. Barron and Dr. Hahn talk about anything all day long. Such wisdom and perspective.

Anyway, here they speak a few minutes on the “New Atheism” fad. I particularly liked their comments about how our own weak or strong presentation of our faith gives rise to a weaker or stronger atheism as a response.

This cause and effect is at the heart of the popular misconception that our Faith contradicts science and reason. When we have really weak representations of our faith out there claiming to deny science and reason on account of faith, it’s easy to understand why so many scientific and rational people would be against what they falsely believe our religion to be.

Naturally, many of the atheistic arguments out there pounce on those weak arguments and end up looking strong in comparison. But when we can break out of the mis-framed premises and see them with a bit more perspective, we see the shallowness and basic ignorance of these “new atheism” arguments.

I remember reading “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and having similar feelings. The arguments Dawkins makes with a straight face are verging on infantile. But when they infect a culture of spiritual infants, they can sadly still do a lot of damage. So it’s important to take them seriously enough to be able to put them back into a realistic context – which is usually enough to defeat them by itself.

That’s one reason I’m looking forward to reading Hahn and Wiker’s (relatively) new book, Answering the New Atheism (it’s sitting on my shelf waiting to be read) that Dr. Hahn mentioned in the video. It is sure to be packed with helpful and enlightening info.

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Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm

You (the christian) have taught me everything I need to know to destroy your belief systems once and for all. The time for politeness, and “live and let live” is over.The new atheists are on the march. We are in bookstores. We are on television. We are everywhere, even in political circle. But nowhere is our effect being felt more than on college campuses and by young, crtical people.

The decline of christianity is speeding up and the number of people willing to nominally follow this faith is falling fast! With in the next 100 years christianity will have lost all its political power and a vast majority of its cultural power as well. Church buildings will be torn down or converted into better uses. Most western peoples will laught at the very idea of “one god ” and find only scorn for the bible, torah or coran  It may well take a full 200 years but judeo christianity will have died.The death of the one god may take longer then most would like but we may rest assured that he is in fact dying.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

If science disappeared from human memory, we would soon be living in caves again. If theology and religions disappeared from human memory, no one would notice. Theology is a completely and utterly useless pursuit. It is self-indulgence of the first order. It grieves me that public money is spent on theological colleges while real education struggles to gain the funds it needs to maintain itself.

Matthew Warner June 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Les amis –

I had to remove a couple of your comments. A comment section is not a place to just copy and paste really long articles from other people on issues not relevant to this post. It’s a place for sharing your thoughts and talking about it with other. Your thoughts are welcome, but please stay on topic and keep them concise. Thanks so much!

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Fair enough.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Atheism’s firm foundation on a desire for evidence, and not belief, is consistent with rational thinking and plain common sense. We use evidence as the basis for our scientific, medical and legal work. On the other hand, religions are a set of beliefs, and many people follow them regardless of what evidence or rational thinking might suggest is a better option. This is why most mainstream religions need to indoctrinate children when they are young, before their critical thinking skills have been fully developed. 

Alice July 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

Just a thought I had while reading this comment (and I’ve only gotten this far in the comments so far): You say that atheism is based on a desire for evidence and not on belief and that religion is based only on belief and not evidence. In my experience and in the experience of many Christians I know (both “cradle” Christians and adult converts), true Christian faith is based on evidence of a *living* God. Christianity itself is grounded in the evidence of those who experienced Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection firsthand, and it continues because people since then have encountered a living, resurrected, personal God and not just an idea or belief. You can deny that such evidence exists, but anyone who has encountered that evidence firsthand cannot deny it no matter what someone else’s “rational thinking and plain common sense” may claim. A person born blind cannot “see” color and rainbows and mountaintop vistas, but they may learn to experience these things in a way that convinces them that they do indeed exist, even if just by hearing someone they trust talk about them. So much is possible when “evidence” isn’t gathered by only one means (such as “rational thinking”).

As I said, just a thought….

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Dear Alice in wonderland
yes! I denied that “evidence” , it is common to all religion and with auto persuasion they would experience any mystic delirium.
There is no jesus and the delusion of a few don’t make the story credible.
God is a human invintion that why he is so cruel intolerant and violent, It is the way we were in the bronze age .

Alice July 3, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Ah, Les Amis, you have addressed me with one of my favorite pet names! :^) Anyway, for a long, long time thinking locked me too out of a true relationship with the Living God, so I understand your dilemma. It was when I realized that thinking was not enough to gain me peace of mind and heart that I opened the door to the Love who was knocking. I was raised by an abusive father and neglectful mother, so for many, many years I rejected the idea that my parents could have loved me, and rejected the idea that I too could be a loving parent. But eventually I learned that just because my parents gave me so much evidence that parenthood fails, doesn’t mean that it always does or that there is something wrong with the whole concept. I was basing my belief and faith and life on limited evidence, and on my own anger and pain. Sadly it is too late for me to get back the literal motherhood that I rejected, but it is not too late for me to love like a mother, or to teach others that motherhood is a gift.

As you can see, I think and speak much in metaphor. Like Jesus, I prefer stories to theories–though I can read and write and discuss them as well as anyone else, but to me stories (whether factual or not) are much stronger evidence and truth than abstract thinking, which can lead one just about anywhere and nowhere.

People are cruel, intolerant, and violent, not God. Jesus said that when a man looks at him, “he sees the one who sent me”–God. That is the simple image of God that I trust. For me it is practical and solid and enough.

I pray for your heart, Les Amis.

Ciao,
Alice

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

You are sweet , crazy bonker but sweet.
Have a nice day Alice in wonderland.
Daniel

Alice July 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Thank you, Daniel, even for the “crazy bonker” moniker. :^) By the way, had I been a boy my parents would have named me Daniel, and if my son had been allowed to live that is what I would have named him. Peace be with you.

Bill June 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I am not terribly worried about “the new atheism.” Most of the examples of it that I’ve seen have been weak, shallow, and infantile drivel. The proponents go immediately into mud-slinging mode, with no rational argument whatever, just emotional tantrums. (There are already a couple of examples here, and I am sure there will be more.) The few exceptions to this lack of intellectual rigor are also flawed.

However, we Christians need to get busy and witness, while getting into the media and top of mind with the Word. I don’t know what’s more surprising to me: the arrogance of the atheists who think that in 2000 years Christianity hasn’t heard this stuff and shown how false it is, or the silence of the Christians who think the atheists will just go away.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

“Even today I am not ashamed to say that, overpowered by stormy enthusiasm, I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven from an overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune of being permitted to live at this time.”

– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 5

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Ah the reducito ad Hitlerum arguement; Hitler believed in God therefore every Christian is a Nazi? please. Hitler was not a Christian that much can be seen by his deeds. “‘It is not anyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. “- Matthew 7:21.

Incedently, while we’re talking about Mass Murderers, were Stalin and Mao not atheists? surely by your logic atheists are worst than Christians?

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Les amis de Robespierre,
I agree what paedophile priests have done is disgusting and those who attempted to cover-up such abuse should be prosecuted, but are you suggesting that we stop going to church because a few priests are paedophiles? would you stop sending your children to school because a few teachers are paedophiles? clearly not.
If you are so well informed as you appear surely you know that Pope Benedict has been at the fore-front of trying to clean up what he himself has called “the filth” of the church. The acts of the individual reflect upon the individual, not the church or the Pope.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:44 pm

6000 priests so far !
Yes! 6000

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Got any statistics about teachers? or social workers?

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Yes but I m on a train on my phone so you ll wait for it.
PS I like the way you debate but you are on the loosing side there is no justification for it and trust me the problem is so big in your church that it is not comparable and the cover up is a catho speciality.
But I guess you must be hurt by all of it.
My in law are catho and I saw what it made to them.

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm

The problem is not big, the sex abuse allegations that have recently come to light in the World’s media are from the 1970s and 1980s, today there are relatively few cases of sex abuse.
Perhaps your missunderstand stems from your belief that everyone in the Roman Curia is pulling in the same direction. No doubt there are people that want to sweep sex abuse under the carpet “for the good of the church”, but the Pope is not one of them and there are many Bishops and Archbishops who want to expose the paedophiles as much as you do.

Kevin Francis Bernadette Clay June 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Protestantism naturally leads to agnosticism which leads to atheism by the mere fact that if everyone is right then everyone wrong – the fruit of liberalism: the false notion of a freedom to think and act as on chooses. This is the rule of Satan: the dethroning of God and the enthroning of Man in His place. This is why even the slightest tendency towards Protestantism must be kept from our homes, churches, and society. This, in short, is what has corrupted the conciliar Church via the Second Vatican Council: what Cardinal Suenens called “the French Revolution in the Church” or what Pere Congar called “the October Revolution”. Note: both who helped bring about this revolution. – T

J Ginn June 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

This thread is a mess.

Some Christians will fall away from the faith. Some will stay strong. I think a little persecution is good for the Faith. It lets us know what side you’re on. If someone chooses to be athiest, well, frankly, I don’t care, except I do feel sorry for them. But that’s a choice they’ve made, and everyone has free will. There’s no point in my arguing about anything.

But for those of you who CAN be persuaded, you might actually try to read something academic AND Christian, such as Hahn and Barron’s book. What could it hurt? What are you afraid of? Or are you just lazy?

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Now we ve got computer to communicate, that is why we ll win , we don’t hide anymore and don’t talk about comon sense when you have imaginary friends.
By the way we are Belgian and you are finish in our country.
We are making sure of it.

Marie June 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

You know, I swear that everything I begin to read always *happens* to coincide with current blog ‘events’ ;)

Pope John Paul the II tells us in ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope’ that ‘statistics are not useful’ in measuring the success of religion – ‘we are speaking of values that are not quantifiable’. We are told the issue is completely different because the Church is less concerned with numbers than reaching the hearts of men. Christ called us his ‘little flock’ [Luke 12:32], and he knew that success would not be easy. If it was, those numbers would probably be the opposite of what they are today.

On a different note, I find it really interesting that Fr. Barron suggests that the result of a weak atheism comes from a weak presentation of ourselves, using Pascal and Voltaire as a comparison. I think about how little I knew two years ago, and how still little I know and have yet to learn because of my lack of education in the faith. I couldn’t agree more that in challenging ourselves, we challenge others, and how necessary this is.

Bill June 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hey, Les amis de Robespierre —

Ask the Russian Communists how well their plan to destroy the church worked. Also the Nazis. Also the government of France. And the Belgians shouldn’t start counting coup just yet.

There are over a billion Catholics in the world. There are over a billion Moslems in the world (and if I were Belgian, I’d take a look at what’s going on in the mosques if you think you’re “winning”). Not to mention the Hindus, the Wiccans, etc. I believe your notion of your control is just a bit delusional.

The fly on the chariot wheel said, “Look what a cloud of dirt I can raise.” And we know how that worked out for the fly …

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm

You should watch the news and revise a bit your statistic.
People don’t need us to become non believer, they do it on their own, that why religion will be at the end a page in an history book .

Catholic Pro-lifer June 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Unfortunately, since you don’t believe in life after physical death, you won’t be here to see it.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Science is moving fast.
Who know I coud be the first 300 years old human.(I m exagerating a bit)

Catholic Pro-lifer June 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Or a lot…

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm

And yes it is true that we want your church down and not only because of the last event. I don’t want to be rude but you are see as monster and not only by atheist and if you want your church to survive you better change fast , very fast.
See from outside you are crumbling and your belief have no place in the 21 century and most of you are in denial.

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

The Church has remained, mostly, the same for the past 2000 years. It has seen off Arianism, Gnosticism, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, it does not need to change to meet the challenge of New Atheism it needs to tell the old old story (ironically I think thats a protestant hymn) of The Gospel.
Given that many of the Church’s beliefs can be empirically proven ( abstinence before condoms, teaching on abortion), which specific parts of Catholic teaching have no place in the 21st Century?

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Any and certainly not your value or morality.

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm

The belief that life begins at the point of conception ( a scientific fact) and that terminating a pregnancy is muder?
The belief that Homosexual intercourse is unnatural, a philosophic argument that harks back to Plato, and counterproductive to the purpose of sexual organs?
The belief in the traditional family? (its statistically proven that children born into a family consisting of a married mother and father do better at school than those not born into such a family)

Catholic Pro-lifer June 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

How dare we be against the murder of thre unborn!

Well, with ironclad arguements like these, I’m totally convinced.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Nihab outlaw in Belgium and even our muslim prefer a bier to a prayer

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Here we go again with your bronze age value
you have no moral

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Come on Paul you cannot be that stuck in a old book who got 14800 differences with the original text.
that make your book a fraud

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

That would depend on what kind of differences we’re talking about. Gramatical errors or really really big differences? small differences are more likely than not the result of translation, but I’d be happy to hear some examples from you.

Just because the bible is old does not mean that it is wrong, and it is a leap of logic to assume so, afterall; we trust the Roman and Greek historians to tell the truth.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Big differences in the meaning and in the story itself
The book is in the British museum in London.
Go to see and ask by yourself

Matthew Warner June 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm

If anyone is interested in discussing the sex-abuse scandal in the Church…can I ask you to please do it over on this post over here? I posted on it recently, and it would be far more appropriate for over there.

Les amis – claiming that Christianity is going to be gone soon or in a couple hundred years is just simply ignorance of history. Your arguments are Exhibit “A” of what Fr. Barron and Dr. Hahn are referring to when they speak about the weak new atheism arguments that are so prevalent these days.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm

200 years is a long time and as I said communication and science fact has change the parameter.
I ve spend 20 years studying these changes and believe me there are enourmous changes.
But even in 200 years some believers could live on the fringe of society.
We are living in a time of change and even in 10 years you ll see the difference.
I know it is hurting believer
ps. I agreed that abortion is sometime taken too lighly.

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Ofcourse there can be big changes over 200 or even 100 years, when you look at politics or Society both have changed a lot over the past 100 years, and yet the Church has remained constant, teaching what she has always taught for the past 2000 years, so it really is a logical absurdity to suggest that the church will be gone in 200 years. What was it Chesterton said? “4 times the faith has gone to the dog, and each time the dog has died”?

You’ve piqued my interest, I might just go to the British museum (won’t be hard, I live in London) and see what you’re talking about.

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

By the way, when I searched “bible, british museum” in google, this came up: http://www.britishmuseum.org/the_museum/news_and_press_releases/press_releases/2007/biblical_archaeology_find.aspx

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Sinaiticus codex or check the book call “the bible fraud”
still on phone I don’t have the name of the autor

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm

The teaching of your church don’t have any impact anymore in the mind of people. It does nt work anymore and you don’t seem to understand that. You still can be seen only because of your political influence or by by”charity work”
In Belgium only one church out of five is open and there is nobody in the open one
by the way where are you from

Catholic Pro-lifer June 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm

So our Church makes no impact except for the impact we make in the major arenas of politics and charity work?

You do realize that we’re still the largest sect of the largest religion in the world?

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm

So? How many catho read the bible, pray go to church or even talk of god but still say that they are christian.
Trust me ! A lot
go in churches through Europe if you don’t believe me

Paul Stead June 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm

For a start The Truth is not a popularity game, not in the sense of “there are few christians in Belgium therefore Christianity is wrong” anyway. Its one of the problems of today’s relativist society that people assume that for some-thing to be right the majority of people must believe it (for example if I had a pound for everytime I’ve heard some-one say “man-made global warming must be true because loads of scientists believe in it” I’d be a rich man). The authority of the Church waxes and wanes based not on what Society as a whole is doing, but based on what the leaders of the Church are doing, if the leaders are faithfull to God then the Church prospers which perhaps gives us a clue as to why the Church has become less meaningfull to the Western World since the second half of the 20th Century.
That said, the teaching authority of the Church does still have an influence on catholics, think of those that make pilgrimages to Fatima or Lourdes, those that offer themselves up for Confirmation and the modern day Martyrs, clearly they are affected by church teaching, or at least a desire to know God more fully.

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm

You live in London
I m on my way to Middlesbrough

Les amis de Robespierre June 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Are you trying to convince yourself
you r not an idiot , study by yourself.
I propose that you start by “zeitgeist the movie” free on the net , the religious bit last 30min and check everything in it and check again and again. It will shake the very base of your faith itself but at least you ll know but ckeck everything like I did

Paul Stead June 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

So I watched “zeitgeist the movie”, a few general observations; 1: if the maker of the movie wanted to appear scholarly surely he should not have put part 1 in the same movie that he claims 9/11 was an inside job. 2: If he wanted to appear scholarly he could not put a voice-over quote which basically repeats the basic tenants of Christianity in a silly voice to make it sound pathetic (incedently, Christians do not believe God to be an invisible being who lives up in the sky, we believe that God is transcendent of time.)
Into specifics… any one who knows anything about the early church knows that the fish has nothing to do with the Zodiac (not in this content anyway) it was used by the early church under persecution to identify other Christians because ICTHUS (fish in greek) stands for Jesus Christ Son God Saviour.
Admittedly I dont really follow the quest for the Historical Jesus that closely, and I dont know enough about Old Testament scholarship to comment on the pagan stories.
But I will say this, the movie gets silliest at the point that the narator claims the Christian religion is an invention of the Emperor Constantine, and that he used the Council of Nicaea to formulate Christian doctrine. This is clearly absurd, the Creed of Nicaea was not the purpose of the council, the purpose of the Council was to resolve the Arian controversy. What is the narator’s explanation for the Martyrdom of Christians from the year 30AD-325AD?
just one more point, the narator claims that Historians Suetonius, Tacitus and Pliny only mention a “christ”, this is what Tactitus says: “”Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures of 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 one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus,” who else could he be talking of?
Also, as I said I dont really follow the Quest for the Historical Jesus but I do know that even the Jesus Seminar believe that Jesus existed.

p.s I hope this isn’t too long.

Catholic Pro-lifer June 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

It’s not too long. Great comment.

Les amis de Robespierre July 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Comparative Religion shows that the story of Jesus already existed in numerous religions prior to the alleged time of Jesus. Chrishna, Horus, Orpheus, Bacchus, Osiris, Dionysus, Buddha, Apollo, Hercules, Adonis, Ormuzd, Mithras, Indra, Œdipus, Quetzalcoatle, etc. The motif of a Crucified Savior was already existant prior to the alleged time of Jesus.

Les amis de Robespierre July 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Do you have a rational explaination for the story of jesus being written or carve in so many place long before his birth?
Don’t you think that your guy lose all credibility.
History don’t lie , the wall of Luxor don’t lie.
Justin Marthyr had a hard time to justifie that to the new christians and trust me we love asking these questions to theologians or ecclesiastics because they can not answer.
ps: Ultraviolet light reveals that a manuscript of Tacitus has been overwritten, an original “e” of chrestianos (the good) replaced by an “i” to read christianos (the Christians),

Les amis de Robespierre July 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

History has proven that there were dozen of christian sect at the beginning and the first manuscrits were by Paul. Christians existed before but Constantine organise theses sects and ordered Eusebius to gather manuscrits and create your book.

Les amis de Robespierre July 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Even the earliest full account of Jesus in the Bible, the Gospel of Mark, is admitted by the Catholic Church to date to at least A.D. 70, a full 40 years after Jesus’ alleged death and resurrection. (Mark makes reference to an event that happened around A.D. 70, so it could not have been written any earlier. Modern scholars now date the Gospels as being written near A.D. 170, a full 140 years after the alleged event, since no one makes any reference to a Gospel of Mark, or any other Gospel, prior to this time.)

Paul Stead July 2, 2010 at 5:06 am

1. You make it sound like 40 years is a very long time, it’s not. Many myths take take centuries to develop, the Gospel being written only 40 years after Jesus’ death make them amaingly historically accurate. As for the Gospel of Mark being written in 170A… It is widely thought among biblical scholars that Mark was the first gospel to be written and Matthew and Luke followed after it. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, The destruction of the Temple is not mentioned in Acts, therefore putting Acts at a date before 70AD (Jesus prophesies that the temple will be destroyed in Luke 21:6 so Luke would have a vested interest in reporting the destruction of the temple as it would prove Jesus’ prophesy true) The last historical reference made in Acts is the appointment of Festus as procrator which occured sometime between 55AD and 59 AD, putting the writting of Acts somewhere between 55 and 70AD, meaning that Mark must have been written somewhere between 35AD and 50AD.
And, uh, if “Comparative history” shows that Jesus “existed” in various other cultures, why is the Jesus Myth Theory rejected by Modern Bible Scholars?
See here: http://www.publicchristianity.org/Videos/zeitgeist.html

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

You still has not given me a rational reason why so many similarities with countless of pagan myth.
Is it not possible that the new testament is just a plagiat?
And as I said if jesus did not die on the cross for our sins , if it is only a story, then the very base of christianity is a fraud.
By the way why are you chrstians and not muslim or buddhist?

Les amis de Robespierre July 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm

The base of christianity is jesus and the fact that so many gods have the same mithology that jesus make the new testament lose all credibility .
He did not die on the cross for our sins witch is the base of the faith.
The story of jesus was writen on a wall in Luxor in 3000 BC.
Jesus is a myth and your faith is base on bronze age stories reapeated trough the ages.
If jesus is a lie so is christianity.

Matthew Warner July 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Les amis –

First, you just left 5 comments on this post all saying almost the same exact thing. If you just post it at the bottom here, everyone will get it. Sorry for any confusion!

Second, the story of salvation history started with the first human being….before any of the history you are referring to. So your point is moot. Jesus was the end of a long story all by itself…not the beginning. The fact that there are echos of Him throughout history is, contrary to your point, actually MORE evidence of His reality and an example of His permeation into all that we are.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 5:54 am

You are on denial.
No historical jesus make your belief as the same as a monster story for kids and you are digging so deep in illogical reasonnig that you guys are loosing all credibility .
Salvation? And please describe what you mean by first humans.
That does not make sense even for my partners (she is a former nun and an Egyptologist by the way)
ps I m neely blind and my computer software can be funny in foreing language and my partner don’t want to check my comment.
She said that I m waisting my time but I don’t agreed.
Have a nice week end guys. My name is Daniel( not Dan please)

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 6:46 am

Hi Daniel.

“Comparative Religion shows that the story of Jesus already existed in numerous religions prior to the alleged time of Jesus. Chrishna, Horus, Orpheus, Bacchus, Osiris, Dionysus, Buddha, Apollo, Hercules, Adonis, Ormuzd, Mithras, Indra, Œdipus, Quetzalcoatle, etc. The motif of a Crucified Savior was already existant prior to the alleged time of Jesus.”

Suppose that this statement is 100% correct and that almost everything in Christianity can be shown to be quite similar to something from an older religion. What follows? Absolutely nothing. To say that Christianity is therefore incorrect is to commit the genetic fallacy. It is similar to the following line of “argument.”

-The only reason you’re a heliocentrist is because you were born in 20th century America. Had you been born in the middle ages, you would be a geocentrist. Thus, the only basis for your belief in heliocentrism is accidental and heliocentrism is therefore wrong.-

Of course, the above is an example of extremely sloppy thinking, yet it is analogous to the thinking that those who would try to dismiss Christianity because of a few alleged similarities to other religions attempt to employ. I’m not sure what your main objection to Christianity is. You seem to be all over the place. Can you sum it up in maybe a syllogism as to why Christianity is false, arguing for the truth of both premises? I’d be happy to engage you, but I am just not sure where to begin. Thanks.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 8:11 am

In fact, Daniel, let me give some very plausible alternate explanations to account for your objection that I quoted above.

1. The similarities could just be coincidental. This is certainly possible. Coincidental things happen all the time, so why should it count against Christianity if there was a myth about a particular event but it actually ended up happening in the history of Christianity? I’m sure I could sit down right now and write some sort of story today only for many of the same details and events in my story to happen to someone sometime in the future. My story now would certainly not undermine the truth of the event that parallels my story in the future.

2. There could be a reverse causation. In other words, sometimes people are so quick to try and “prove Christianity wrong” that they take a myth that was written AFTER the time of Jesus which borrows heavily from Christianity. They then say that it was Christinaity that took from the myth, even though the myth was written many years after the time of Jesus.

3. There isn’t the parallel that one thinks there is. Many times the comparisons are way overblown. I’m working off the top of my head here so I can’t remember all the details, but the Egyptian (I think) myth about a virgin birth that is compared to the Christian virgin birth has almost no similarities when you actually look into what the Egyptian myth claims. There are all these details that the two accounts do not share, and so when one looks more carefully at the myth, we see that borrowing is extremly unlikely.

4. The God of the Old Testament is showing who the true God is by turning myths into reality. A good example of this is the often compared myth about a flood with Noah’s ark. It is very possible that God actually used that myth and brought it to reality to show that he really is the true God. In other words, these myths about Gods and things that Gods can do which make them so powerful can actually be accomplished by the true God. This is a way to show his power and his true godliness.

So there are at least four very possible other explanations for your objection. Because there is so much positive evidence for the historical Jesus and the truth of the claims of Christianity, there is no reason to believe in the theory that Christianity is just another myth. To do so, you would have to show that none of the 4 options I proposed above are even possible. As long as there are other explanations to your objection, combined with a vast amount of evidence FOR Christianity (which many people above have outlined and I would be happy to reiterate), the claim that Christianity is jut another myth borrowed from other myths is baseless and irrational.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 10:41 am

Coincidences? Come on
my partners would tel you that the story of jesus was carve on a wall in Egypt. She read it .
Read Justin Marthyr and all the justification that he had to find for his futur followers.
Sorry but comon sense and history tel me that it never happens.
But it is difficult for a theist to admit it, they all try to find like you did , non proven excuses.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

Why nobody can come with a tiny prove?
We are talking about the son of god and the only trace you ve got is a very doubtfull book which does not fit with history.
You don’t have an account during his life time.
Surprising for a guy who walk on water.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

Daniel,

“You still has not given me a rational reason why so many similarities with countless of pagan myth.”

See my 8:11 am post. These are completely rational possibilities. If you claim that your theory is the only possible explanation, you need to show why the four possibilities I provided above are not possible and that there are no other possibilities.

“Is it not possible that the new testament is just a plagiat? ”

Most likely not. We have thousands of new testament manuscripts, some dating from the second century. The story of Christianity’s origins is the most well attested to historically documented event of ancient antiquity. The amount of manuscripts and writings about it is overwhelming. In addition to 27 separate historical documents which coomprise the new testament, we have letters of Clement, teh Didache, the shepard of hermes, the episte of Barnabas, writings of polycarp, Justin Martyr, Ignatious of Antioch, and Irenaus just to name a few. All of these writings attest to the historical truth of Christianity. Why blow off all these documents because you think you see a few similarities with other myths? Is that really the rational move? If you are skeptical about the truth of the gospels, you need to also be skeptical of ever other event of ancient antiquity. It is only when our worldview is at state that we switch our skeptical dial way, way, way up.

“By the way why are you chrstians and not muslim or buddhist?”

Because it is an historical fact that Jesus of Narareth rose from the dead, thereby vindicating his claim to speak for God, and ultimately, his claim to be God. Buddihsm is an atheistic religion, which is clearly false since naturl theology dictates the existence of a divine being. Islam is also a false religion because they falsely teach that Jesus is not God. The law of non contradiction says that both Christianity and Islam can not be both correct since they both make polar opposite truth claims. Because Jesus was God, Islam is false.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

Nazareth was a burial site without houses at the time of jesus
only your god is a true god then?
And say what you want but there is too much coincidence .
You are ridicule with your lastpost you are in such denial of the evidence in front of you.
No wonder christianty is going down the drain slowly.
Comon sense bobby comon sense and check the contain of your manuscrit and the dating of them.
Even St Paul did not believe that jesus was from this realm and talk only of the crucifiction
ps how do you find morality in the bible, your god is a homicidal maniac.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

“Nazareth was a burial site without houses at the time of jesus
only your god is a true god then?”

Yes.

“And say what you want but there is too much coincidence .”

Okay, as long as you know that this isn’t an argument and that you blew off all the other three possibilities I suggested.

“You are ridicule with your lastpost you are in such denial of the evidence in front of you.”

Thanks!

“Comon sense bobby comon sense and check the contain of your manuscrit and the dating of them.”

Yes, I have done that. I have multiple scholarly sources that I have checked with.

“Even St Paul did not believe that jesus was from this realm and talk only of the crucifiction”

I would be more than happy to discuss the biblical exegesis with you.

“how do you find morality in the bible, your god is a homicidal maniac.”

I would rather stick to one topic as opposed to jumping all over the place, but again, I’d be happy to discuss this. What is an example you have in mind?

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 10:53 am

And the god of the old testament is a monster and believing in it is immoral and inhumane.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

Daneil,

“Coincidences? Come on”

This is not a rational argument, but a simple blow off.

“my partners would tel you that the story of jesus was carve on a wall in Egypt. She read it .”

I’m pretty sure I know what you’re referring to here, but please provide a link with more information about this. If it is what I’m thinking of, it provides absolutely no problem for Christianity, but show me what you’re referring to, and I”ll explain why.

“Read Justin Marthyr and all the justification that he had to find for his futur followers.”

Suppose Justin Martyr was a complete moron. What follows? Nothing. How does Justin Martyr grasping at straws and giving bad arguments undermine all the historical evidence for Christianity we have?

“Sorry but comon sense and history tel me that it never happens.”

Again, this is not an argument, yet an assertion based on faith.

“But it is difficult for a theist to admit it, they all try to find like you did , non proven excuses”

Okay.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 11:03 am

“Why nobody can come with a tiny prove?”

The proof is in the historical data. As I mentioned, it is an historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. The historical evidence for it is overwhelming.

“We are talking about the son of god and the only trace you ve got is a very doubtfull book which does not fit with history.”

Give me an example of a supposed historical contradiction.

“You don’t have an account during his life time.”

Is that necessary? How many accounts from ancient antiquity do we have from people’s lifetime? Do you not believe a single thing from ancient antiquity? Are you also saying that “If we do not have an account of someone during someone’s lifetime, then it is not rational to believe it.” Is that the principle you are basing your skepticism on? How can you rationally justify that statement?

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

Revise your historical data even the Vatican admit it do not fit and you are a chistian because you r born in western civilisation ;no other reason

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 11:24 am

“you are a chistian because you r born in western civilisation ;no other reason”

Again, this is a GREAT example of the genetic fallacy. Suppose that I admit that the only reason I am a Christian is because of where I was born. How does that prove that Christianity is false? How does it undermine a single argument I have given? Suppose that a Chinese person born in China makes all the exact same arguments I just did. Are his arguments valid because he was born in China and my EXACT same arguments are invalid because I was born in America?

Paul Stead July 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

Daniel,
You still have not explained why there is not wide-spread support for the “Jesus Myth” theory among biblical scholars, if this theory were backed up by the evidence, as you suggest would it not be in the the interest of Ehrman, Crossan, Funk et al to pick up this theory and run with it? and yet they dont. Perhaps you could provide the names of scholars who support your claim?

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

That’s a great point, Paul. Even the most waaaaay out there liberal skeptic scholars like the Jesus Seminar don’t hold to the “Jesus myth.” It is just such an intellectually bankrupt position to hold. Atheists Dawkins, hitchens, John Loftus, and David Ramsey Steel, just to name a few, also believe in an historical Jesus.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Biblical scholar? First your bible have more than 14000difference with the original text ( sinaiticus codex at the British museum)
historical studies are our references . The bible is meaningless and does not bring any historical fact.
Christian theology is a waste of time , there is too much contradiction in the bible and no hard fact as a archeological find to back it up.
Shame that my partner do not want to get involve with that debate, she would tel you that after Luxor she left her order.
Now she studying Coptic text on early christianity.
She s not a nun anymore because her study told her that she s been lie to and realise that most of the scholar were sceptical.
If you read other mytology you will see the comon fact between them and jesus even in the old testament you have a proto jesus call joseph.
Do you need a biblical scholar or have you been that brainwash that you can see it.

Paul Stead July 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm

See, thats just avoiding the question because the truth is that your theory is backed up by no serious scholars, only poets and German linguists. the people who I cited, Ehrman, Crossan and Funk aren’t Christians (well, not orthodox christians anyway, I think Crossan might be a liberal), so are you suggesting that they have also been brainwashed? As Bobby said; Dawkins and Hitchens also believe in a historical Jesus, perhaps they have also been brainwashed. Thats how absurd your argument is.

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

“First your bible have more than 14000difference with the original text.”

If I recall correctly, these errors are counted in a completely asinine way. I think something like if one copy had inserted a word like “the” (obviously in the Greek or Hebrew), it would be counted as 1 mistake, plus 1 for however many copies DIDN;T have the word “the” there. So if there were 1000 copies, and one of them had the word “the” where the other didin’t, that would consititute 1000 errors. Something like this is true.

In any event, there is not a single variance that actually chnages the meaning of the text. It’s little things like insertions of small words or misspellings. Please provide me with an example of a variance that makes a difference.

“The bible is meaningless and does not bring any historical fact.
Christian theology is a waste of time”

Oh, okay!

“If you read other mytology you will see the comon fact between them and jesus even in the old testament you have a proto jesus call joseph.”

Yes, same for Adam, Moses, David, etc. It’s called “typology” and was the thought of the early Christians. Again, what is your statement trying to prove?

“no hard fact as a archeological find to back it up.”

This is simply not true. I invite you to consider the work of William Albright and Gearge Wright. Also, there was a British skeptiuc arounfd the turn of the century (last century) named Sir William Ramsay who set out to show archeologically (if that’s a word) that bible is false. But as most people who give the data a fair chance realize, the archeology confirms the bible. He ended up writing about Luke “I regard Luke as the greatest historian who has ever lived, save only Thucydides.” Here was a world class, skeptical scholar who sought out to show that the bible is false using archeology, yet he became converted because of the evidence.

“She s not a nun anymore because her study told her that she s been lie to and realise that most of the scholar were sceptical.”

Well, she was lied to here.

“Do you need a biblical scholar or have you been that brainwash that you can see it.”

Yup I’m brainwashed. You win by claiming I’m brainwashed.

Les amis de Robespierre July 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm

They don’t believe in the historical Jesus at all.
Guys stop swimmig in your own believe and start to look a more objective approach to the historical jesus and his “life”
Have a nice week end from me and my partner

Bobby Bambino July 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm

“Have a nice week end from me and my partner”

Okay, you too Daniel. Nice talking with you.

Jill July 3, 2010 at 12:59 am

I could listen to Fr. Barron all day as well; he’s very down to earth and easy to understand yet at the same time thought-provoking. And I’m not even a Christian.

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

According to one of the world’s leading Biblical archaeologists, William G. Dever,

“Archaeology certainly doesn’t prove literal readings of the Bible…It calls them into question, and that’s what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so.”[103] From the beginnings of what we call biblical archeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the “archeological revolution.” Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.[104]

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

I knew that I heard about that Albright fellow somewhere
and that guy is not taken seriously.

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

Dever is not a biblical scholar. He reads the bible in a literalistic, fundamentalist way, not taking into account genre or anything else, and uses his archeology expertise as a hammer to beat Christianity over the head with. I would love to see what he specifically has in mind.

This is the problem with modern experts in certain fields. They use their expertise in one field to try and speak authoritatively in another. He can say what archeology says, but then it is up to the biblical scholar to harmonize that with the bible. I would love a specific example rather than these generalities.

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

In fact, Bill Dever even says in your quote “Archaeology certainly doesn’t prove literal readings of the Bible.” So Fundamentalists are wrong. Yes, we already knew that. Nothing new here.

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Your bible is fraud.The original bible that Constantine ask Eusebius to gather have too much difference with your book.
You cannot take the bible to prove god or his son, that would be the same to take comics book to prove batman or superman.
By the way the bible is immoral and disgusting, the way your savior talk about women for instance is a bronze age horrible view.
I don’t understand how you can claim morality out of it.

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Can you explain to me how anything you just said addresses my post?

“Your bible is fraud.”

Oh, okay!

“The original bible that Constantine ask Eusebius to gather have too much difference with your book.”

I will ask again. Give me an actual example of a textual difference that is a substantive difference.

“You cannot take the bible to prove god or his son, that would be the same to take comics book to prove batman or superman.”

I don’t know where I attempted to do that. It is a cumulative argument based on all historical documents. I outlined the idea above, which you blew off.

“By the way the bible is immoral and disgusting, the way your savior talk about women for instance is a bronze age horrible view.”

Yes, you’ve mentioned this before and I asked you to give me a specific example and you didn’t. What specifically did Jesus say that you claim is immoral? Honestly, enough with these overarching generalities. Let’s look at specifics. One thing at a time. Archeology? Morality? Comparative religion? History?

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

You are dismissing serious archeologist as christian basher and keep coming back with biblical scholar.
Name an artefact or building wich prove any biblical claim?
None! And the story of your savior print on a wall 3000 years before his birth should create suspicion but you bury your head in theology

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm

“You are dismissing serious archeologist as christian basher and keep coming back with biblical scholar.”

No, I’m saying his is biblically incompetent if he understands the bible the same way a fundamentalist does. What are some specifics he mentions?

“Name an artefact or building wich prove any biblical claim?”

Let’s start with the city of Ur.

“None!”

The city of Ur.

“And the story of your savior print on a wall 3000 years before his birth should create suspicion but you bury your head in theology”

Again, I need to know what specifically you’re talking about. But as Fulton Sheen writes in teh beginning of his book “Life of christ”, he mentions that Jesus is the only prophet whose birth has ever been foretold. This is not true of Zorastra, Buddah, Mohommed, or anyone else. So if somthing about Jesus was written on a wall 3000 years ago, it only adds to the Christian case.

But if I am thinking of what you are, I recall that this stone tablet is missing a TON of words, and much of what the “experts” claim is said in this tablet is based on a lot of guess work. I once heard the tablet being read for what it actualy said then followed by the words that “experts” believe should be there, and it was comical. But again, just mentioning “printing on a wall” isn’t terribly specific, nor can i intelligently comment on something so vague.

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Another one I really like is the stone tablet mentioning the “House of David.” This is one of those classic examples where people were going around for years saying “David never existed, there is no historical evidence” and then the stone tablet shows up. I hate to add links, but this has a picture of the tablet
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/israel/house-of-david-inscription.html
I have no idea what the other stuff on the website is nor can I necessarily vouch for it.

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Sorry to keep bombarding with posts, but this site is better for info about the tablet.

http://www.bible-history.com/resource/ff_mesha.htm

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm

The fact is simple ! No trace of man call jesus nothing , niente, rien du tout, zero. Not a historical reference.
You are trying to convince yourself.
If only you knew how good it is to get rid of religious dogma and looking for the truth and not only what it suit your belief.
There is so many who tried to look for evidence and they all failed.
The last one were trying to find the ark and guess what?
Most of the biblical scholar are bathing in their own juice studying a book who has no historical value. Their study and their work are worthless.
Archeology come with old stone and factual object.
Please for the love of Darwin there is a lot more that horrible book to study

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm

*yawn

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Morality was only a nota bene and history , archeology and cparative religion are part of the same set of tools.
And about attitude of j to woman it’s a bit long so sorry
Jesus says that divorce is permissible when the wife is guilty of fornication. But what if the husband is unfaithful? Jesus doesn’t seem to care about that. 5:32, 19:9
When Jesus’ mother wants to see him, Jesus asks, “Who is my mother?” 12:47-49
Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he’ll give you a big reward. 19:29
“Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days.” Why? Does God especially hate pregnant and nursing women? 24:19
Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins who went to meet their bridegroom. 25:1
Mark

Jesus shows disrespect for his mother and family by asking, “Who is my mother, or my brethren?” when he is told that his family wants to speak with him. 3:31-34
Jesus will reward men who abandon their wives and families. 10:29-30
In the last days God will make things especially rough on pregnant women. 13:17
Luke

Even Mary had to be “purified” after giving birth to Jesus. Was she defiled by giving birth to the Son of God? 2:22
Males are holy to God, not females. 2:23
Peter and his partners (James and John) abandon their wives and children to follow Jesus. 5:11
Jesus, when told that his mother and brothers want to see him, ignores and insults them by saying that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. 8:20-21
Abandon your wife and family for Jesus and he’ll give you a big reward. 18:29-30
John

Jesus tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he hasn’t yet ascended — as if the touch of a woman would defile him and somehow prevent him from ascending into heaven. 20:17

good night my debating friend

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Daniel,

I’d prefer if you expressed objections of your own rather than simply copy and paste off of an anti-Christian website. Unlike firing off rapid fire objection after objection in a quick and thoughtless way, answering the questions you copied and pasted takes time. Now that’s fine, but I simply do not have the time to give a detailed and thoughtful answer to all of the objections. Let’s take them one at a time. Which one would you like me to discuss?

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

You forget that I m neely blind and yes I ve got list pre made, far more easy for the quote

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:09 pm

“You forget that I m neely blind and yes I ve got list pre made, far more easy for the quote”

I sincerely apologize. But could we still just discuss the one that bugs you the most for now?

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

It does not make the Christian case, youare using the same excuse than justin marthyr and can not conceive that your story is just a copy.
And Horus mythology is carve on a wall in Luxor identical to the christ story. The prove of the fraud is carve in stone( and my girlfriend had work on that seen them and translate them)
ps ur you are cheeky on that one Jerusalem as well if you want

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I need to read the actual story itself (not someone’s summary of it) in order to comment more specifically on it, so my “excuse” above is based on pure speculation.

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm

House of David can be debate. There is argument about the time of the writing and house of David was often use to describe the Jews. It is far from conclusive and weak anyway

Les amis de Robespierre July 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm

4 30 am I m going to bed good night friend

Bobby Bambino July 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Right-o. Wow, sorry, didn’t know it was that late where you are. Sorry for keeping you up. Good journey.

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