Can Atheism also be “Apathetic-ism?”

There has been a strong reaction to my last post on atheism. Those opposed to my article say that I’m shifting burden and that I’m “silly.” They contend that atheists only reject the Theist God. They say that’s the definition of atheism. Really? The last time I checked, Scientologists, Hindus, Buddhists, and my German Shepherd all reject the Theist God too. According to the atheists, these must be atheists too. Why does this not make sense? (My dog is offended by the way).

LET’S BEGIN

Can Atheism also be “Apathetic-ism?” Can someone call themselves an atheist and also say that they are NOT making any claims about God? That they “just don’t buy what Christians are selling?”

I agree that people who are truly in the “apathetic” category don’t owe me or anybody anything. They are the ones who aren’t buying anything anybody is selling because they don’t care. They aren’t making propositions about the universe, God, gods, religion, etc., and they aren’t attaching any labels to themselves either (like atheist).

An atheist, however, is not apathetic. By definition an atheist is categorized by his belief and affirmation that “there is no God.” That isn’t an apathetic statement. It’s a very opinionated one.

Little_Fairy_And_The_Unicorn_by_thefantasim

Pick up your categorical logic book and look at the rules for obverting (A) & (E) propositions. “Atheism is true” is the same as “Theism is untrue.” Not apathetic.

Let’s use a favorite character of atheists for an analogy: Unicorns.

Let’s say that I call myself an “A-unicornist.” I reject the idea that unicorns exist.

If someone wants to argue that unicorns exist, I would ask him to provide evidence. I do not believe that there is any historical, scientific, philosophical, or moral evidence for them. Not only that, I believe that there is good evidence from science to prove that unicorns can’t exist. If there is some evidence for unicorns, my opponent should provide it. I would have to look at it and make a decision about whether or not the evidence was convincing. If I don’t find it conniving. What I mean is that what I know about unicorns still seems to be stronger than my opponent’s reasons for unicorns. I’m reject their claim, but…. I am still be giving reasons for why I don’t believe in UNICORNS.

How can I take my self seriously as an “A-unicornist” and not have a single reason for why I call myself that. Saying that I merely reject the claims of “Unicornists” may make me apathetic to the issue, but it doesn’t suffice as a reason to be called an A-unicornist. A real A-Unicornist is not apathetic on the issue of unicorns. Nobody is fooled. Everyone knows that I am asserting my belief in the non-existence of the horned horse. Any attempt to dodge that claim is dishonest and illogical.

Any questions?

 

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25 replies
  1. Stephen B says:

    “My dog is offended by the way”

    If your dog is smart enough to be offended then it’s smart enough to have a position on the existence of God.

    “The last time I checked, Scientologists, Hindus, Buddhists, and my German Shepherd all reject the Theist God too”

    Hindus believe in Ganesh, Kali and many other Gods, hence they’re not atheist. Not complicated.

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      Stephen B. You are proving my point that your comment is contradictory. Hindus are indeed NOT atheist. However Hindus do reject the Theist God (as you pointed out). Therefore, you are WRONG about the definition of atheism i.e. the rejection of the Theist God. Hindus reject the Theist God and at the same time are not atheists. That shows that your definition is wrong and contradictory.

      This is a great example of the misunderstanding of 1st and 2nd order questions. I’ll post about that soon.

      Reply
  2. Stephen B says:

    “Therefore, you are WRONG about the definition of atheism i.e. the rejection of the Theist God. ”

    I never said “the Theist God”. I said “atheist means not a theist”. Hindus believe in Gods, therefore they are theists. Again, this isn’t complicated.

    Feel free to disagree with my position, but it is not contradictory.

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      Steve. Hindus are not Theists. The only Theists are Jews, Muslims, and Christians. It looks like you need to do a little studying on this subject.

      Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        Rather than reply with my own snarky comments, Gil, I’ll just ask you to provide a cite for that claim. However, I will say that the term ‘monotheist’ is generally used to describe the stricter position you claim is ‘theist’. Dictionaries describe the latter as belief in God or Gods. It CAN refer only to monotheism, but it also is commonly used as an umbrella term encompassing monotheism, polytheism and others.

        As for Hinduism, there is at any rate debate about whether it is polytheistic or monotheistic anyway. I’ve never seen anyone deny that it is theistic at all. It’s bizarre that you should claim anyone who disagrees with you that it isn’t theistic ‘needs to do a little studying on the subject’.

        http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/beliefs/theism.htm

        And even if we allow your definition of theism – as only referring to Christianity, Judaism and Islam – rather than my usage as an umbrella term including polytheism etc, all it means is a misunderstanding between us in terms. Specifying that atheism means ‘not a theist, pantheist, polytheist etc’ solves that and avoids the confusion and apparent contradiction.

        Reply
  3. Stephen B says:

    “By definition an atheist is categorized by his belief and affirmation that “there is no God.”

    Here’s a dictionary definition: “A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods:”

    Note that the definition includes people who simple ‘lack belief’ in God. There’s no affirmation there. No statement of knowledge.

    “How can I take my self seriously as an “A-unicornist” and not have a single reason for why I call myself that.”

    Does one seriously have to offer people reasons not to believe in unicorns? Does that apply to every single fantastical beast that cryptozoology has to offer? That there’s no reasonable evidence for their existence should be reason enough. No-one has provided the a-unicornist with sufficient reasons to believe. Simple as that.

    A couple of other questions – if you believe ‘theist’ refers only to people who believe in a single God, why do we also have the term ‘monotheist’? And have you found any cites yet to rule out the use of the term ‘theist’ for anything other than Christians, Muslims and Jews?

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      It’s telling to see how you said, “here is THE dictionary definition…” as if all the dictionaries carry the same agreed upon descriptive phrase for each English word. With a little work on your part, you will find that not all dictionaries agree. I’d get off your smart phone apps and turn a few real pages. You may be surprised what you find.

      On the request of providing citations for you on an explanation of Theism, you are displaying what’s so wrong with much of our culture today. So many people rely on the quick regurgitation of other people’s blog comments. If you seriously (and I mean seriously) want to understand the difference between the henotheism of Hinduism and the theism of Christianity, you should do a little studying for your self. Crack a book on world religions. Anything. It isn’t other people’s responsibility to do your research for you.

      Reply
  4. Stephen B says:

    “It’s telling to see how you said, “here is THE dictionary definition…””

    This is very odd, Gil. Look above. I said: “Here’s a dictionary definition:”

    For me to say ‘Here’s a dictionary definition’ and then have you chastise me for saying ‘THE’ definition is quite bizarre. I went on to say “Note that the definition includes people”, with the definite article there clearly referring to the definition I just quoted, which I clearly identified as being ‘a definition’. Elsewhere, I said: “Dictionaries describe the latter as belief in God or Gods. It CAN refer only to monotheism”, so I was – again clearly – allowing that more than one definition exists. The person insisting that only ONE definition was allowable was you, when you insisted that “The only Theists are Jews, Muslims, and Christians”.

    “With a little work on your part, you will find that not all dictionaries agree”

    Gil, it was YOU who claimed that only one definition of theism was correct, not me.

    “If you seriously (and I mean seriously) want to understand the difference between the henotheism of Hinduism and the theism of Christianity”

    Here’s a strawman. I didn’t claim the two were the same – though I did point out the truth that some Hindus argue that their religion can be seen as monotheistic – I merely disputed your claim that ‘theism’ can only mean ‘monotheism’.

    “It isn’t other people’s responsibility to do your research for you.”

    I’m not asking you to research anything. I’m asking you to back up your claim! I’ve offered links refuting your claim. In return you’ve offered:
    1) Misquotes of my posts.
    2) Patronising remarks.
    3) Strawmans of my position
    4) Flanelling.

    Do you have anything else?

    Reply
    • Gil Gatch says:

      You are right. You did say “a” dictionary definition. My apologies. But honestly guys… the bizarre thing here is that you are having to pose a red herring argument about the definitions of words due to the fact that IF you do indeed need to provide evidence for your claims (the same as you insist that we do), your position becomes increasingly difficult (not to mention that it levels the playing field). This would be dreadful. So you dodge the whole thing by making this diversion about what the definition of “atheist” is. You don’t want to have to answer your own demanding set of parameters to make a claim. If I’m wrong then provide evidence to your claims, and we will get on with the debate. “But we’re not making any claims–we’re atheists.” And around and around we go. And that’s what’s sad and bizarre.

      Answer this question: If Christianity could be absolutely proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, would you believe then? Honestly?

      Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        “the bizarre thing here is that you are having to pose a red herring argument about the definitions of words”

        Gil, it was you who disputed the definition of theist – a dispute that I pointed out made no difference to the argument anyway (at best it required clarification on the part of the other person that ‘atheist’ includes ‘a-deism’, ‘a-henotheism’ etc) – and who then refused to offer anything to back it up. And you still haven’t. Then you turned around and made out like it was ME claiming that only one definition was valid, whereas your argument against me was based on the idea that only one definition of ‘theist’ was valid (yours).

        “My apologies”

        Apology accepted. However, I’ll say that this kind of mistake is more likely to happen if you’re starting with the assumption that whoever you’re discussing a matter with cannot possibly be as well-educated on a subject as you, and that throwing enough lofty ‘better get off your iPhone and hit the books’ style comments at them will scare them off.

        “If Christianity could be absolutely proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, would you believe then?”

        I would. I stopped believing due to lack of evidence and compelling counter-arguments to the ones I had for Christianity in the first place.

        Reply
        • Gil Gatch says:

          This was a quick search, but I hope that this will this work for you Steve.

          1) Theism, as the word is currently employed, may be said to denote a philosophical system which accepts a transcendent and personal God who not only created but also preserves and governs the world, the contingency of which does not exclude miracles and the exercise of human freedom. Theism, therefore, leaves room for the Christian revelation and is in various forms the view of the world common to all orthodox Christian philosophers; it is also required by *Judaism and *Islam.

          2) Theism refers to the belief in a personal creator-God, distinct from the world (contra pantheism) yet constantly active in it (contra deism), who is therefore worthy of worship. As creator, the God of theism is both intelligent and powerful. As personal, he is capable of self-revelation, a moral being with just and benevolent concerns for his creatures. As alone transcendent, he is free to act sovereignly in the creation. In this immanent activity, he seeks his own good purposes for history in general and for individual persons.
          In this more specific sense, three major theistic religions may be identified: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Each affirms one personal creator-God, self-revealing, active in creation, and worthy of worship. Of these three, Christianity gives the fullest account of God’s involvement in his creation, in terms of the incarnation and redeeming work of the eternal Son of God.

          3) Theism is the worldview that an infinite, personal God created the universe and miraculously intervenes in it from time to time

          4) Theism means the existence of a personal God, Creator, Preserver, and Ruler of all things. Deism equally means the personality of God and also his creative work, but denies his providence in the sense of theism.

          5) Theism, which concerns the existence and character of God as an extramundane Being, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the universe;

          6) Theism, that is, the belief of an extramundane personal God.

          1 F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1608.

          2 Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 677.

          3 Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 722.

          4 John Miley, Systematic Theology, Volume 1 (New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1892), 57.

          5 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 136.

          6 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 34.

          Reply
          • Stephen B says:

            Gil, thanks for taking the time to put that together, but none of that overcomes the points I already made. See this para from my previous post:

            “And even if we allow your definition of theism – as only referring to Christianity, Judaism and Islam – rather than my usage as an umbrella term including polytheism etc, all it means is a misunderstanding between us in terms. Specifying that atheism means ‘not a theist, pantheist, polytheist etc’ solves that and avoids the confusion and apparent contradiction.”

            All your references also ignore my already stated point that some Hindu’s argue their faith IS mono-theistic.

            “They contend that atheists only reject the Theist God.”

            Right, because they/we mean something different to you by ‘theist’. Simply read that as ‘reject belief in any God’ instead and equivocation is avoided.

            It’s not conducive to good debate if two people are misunderstanding each other’s terminology. Far better, as soon as the misunderstanding is detected, to simply clear up that misunderstanding. Arguing that the other person’s argument doesn’t work if one uses a different definition of a word to the one they intended is simply a waste of time for everyone.

      • moose says:

        gil you say “answer this question, if christianity could be absolutely proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, would you believe then? honestly?

        you can’t prove anything about christianity, the amazing stories and claims of christianity are comical. but for myself even if you could prove christianity to be true (which you can’t), i would never go back to christianity (yes i am a happy ex christian), a god who sends people to hell (where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched) just for being skeptical or for not believing the amazing stories of the (un) holy bible–that is a god unworthy of any attention or respect.

        “men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.” robert heinlein

        Reply
  5. DagoodS says:

    Gil Gatch,

    To explain some miscommunication…if you don’t mind… I will spring off your unicorn example. When a person says, “I reject the idea unicorns exist” we immediately gain a mental picture similar from person to person. We all think, “Pure white horse. Singular horn in forehead. Magical properties. Very often flowing mane & tail.”

    Now what happens if a person says, “I believe in unicorns,” and I reply I do not, beginning to show evidence there are no horses with horns, and the person replies, “No, no. The unicorn I believe in doesn’t have a horn.” And the next person I discuss with claims they believe in unicorns, only their unicorn doesn’t have to be white. And the horn is hidden from those who don’t believe in unicorns. And the next person says their particular unicorn has magical properties, but never demonstrates them. And the next unicornist says….

    The difference between “unicorns” and “god” is how we each have a very similar concept regarding unicorns but extremely varied differences regarding god. Your discussion whether Hindus qualify as theists highlights the difference. Some hold to monotheism, some to polytheism, some to deism. Some hold to a Jewish G-d, some to a Christian, some to Allah. Some Christians hold to a Trinity, some are creedal, some are Mormon.

    Some hold God can do this; others say God can never do that. Indeed, gods have been as varied as humans over the course of history.

    Therefore, as an atheist, when I claim, “There is no such God” I am responding to a particular version. Because of the differences, I must first wait for the person who claims there is a God to provide me with a particular property of this God, and then I compare whether reality conforms to the claim.

    For example, if a theist claims God created the world 6,000 – 10,000 years ago, I look to the reality I see. As the universe looks far greater than 10,000 years old, I confidently declare I am an atheist to a Young Earth Creating God. Now, I am not (at this point in the discussion) atheist to ALL creating Gods—just the one currently proposed. The theist may then double-down and insist God deliberately created the universe to look old, even though it is young. Again, I compared this claim to reality, using a consistent method, and again I declare my atheism toward this type of God. OR the theist may agree with me against the Young Earth Creating God theists, and declare God created the universe 14 billion years ago, but in the order of their holy scripture. I compare this claim to reality, using a consistent method, and again declare my atheism toward this type of God.

    When a person claims unicorns exist, we can engage in discussion immediately, as we are both in agreement regarding what a unicorn is. When a person claims a god exists, I must first delve much further to define “god” as we may not even remotely be in agreement with what the other person is saying. We are very, VERY likely to talk past each other. Unlike unicorn discussions.

    I am not picking on your unicorn analogy—it is fine. I am using it to demonstrate the problems we have in discussing god as “god” tends to be so ill-defined and indeterminate, the discussions are necessarily more complex than unicorns or symmetrical shapes.

    Reply
  6. Martin says:

    The Unicornist and the A-Unicornist (at a horse ranch in Wyoming)…

    A-Unicornist: Have you ever seen a more beautiful group of horses!
    Unicornist: Not all of them are horses.
    A-U: No? All I see are horses. What… is there a mule in there?
    U: No. No mule, but THAT one over there is a unicorn.
    A-U: Huh? You mean the one grazing by itself on the far right?
    U: Exactly. That one is a unicorn.
    A-U: What do you mean, “That one is a unicorn.”? It’s a horse just like the others. Besides, unicorns don’t exist.
    U: Wrong. That’s one just over there. You’re looking at it. You can’t possibly deny that it’s there.
    A-U: I’m not denying that “IT” is there, but it’s a HORSE … no different from the others. NOT a unicorn.
    U: Wrong. You have eyes, but you refuse to see.
    A-U: See what exactly? I see a horse. What I don’t see is a HORN, and not because I refuse to see it. It isn’t there. If that were a unicorn, it would have a horn, or at least the remnants of a horn that used to be there.
    U: You don’t understand. You can’t expect to actually see the horn. It’s not something you can witness or test in any empirical way. It’s a faith position not unlike YOUR faith position that unicorns don’t exist and that THAT animal can’t possibly be one.
    A-U: I have a “faith position” that unicorns don’t exist? What are you smoking, man? What does faith have to do with it? But WHATEVER! Let’s say for the sake of argument that unicorns do exist, or that they did at least exist at one time. That animal over there is a horse. It looks and acts exactly like the other horses. Why would THAT horse be any different from the rest of them? They’re all in the same pasture. None of them stand out in any significant way. Your supposed unicorn doesn’t stand out in any significant way.
    U: It stands out to me.
    A-U: How so? I mean, if unicorns exist, and if they exist without horns, how do you know that all the animals in that pasture aren’t in fact unicorns as well?
    U: Well, there can only be one unicorn, and that’s the one. I know because it speaks to me on a personal level. I’m sure this is hard for you to understand, but I have an unshakeable faith that the animal over on the far right is not just a horse like the others. It’s a unicorn.

    Reply
  7. Alec says:

    Well this is a futile attempt at Unicorn hunting.
    Let us reason and search for God…..

    The Old Testament – written by Hebrew descendents over a vast period; the trials as a nation beginning with the Covenant of Abram (Abraham), Isaac, and Jacob (Israel); written by Hebrews to tell the story of their fallen nation that has been given more chances at redemption than pardons handed out by Presidents Ford and Clinton.
    Sure, there were some problems, but why heap it on? The Hebrews did enough of that on themselves and the Old Testament didn’t hold anything back, it’s all out in the open. If it were a scam wouldn’t it be filled with fluff and Cotton Candy like the Vedas and sayings of Hindu and Buddha?
    It is always mentioned – the baby killing, what if a girl gets raped, slaughtering of cities, but have you considered the context of the stories? Take the story of Esther (a woman hero) in the Book so named, for instance. Hebrews were blamed because they didn’t worship the king of Persia, if it weren’t for Esther (a woman hero), the nation (a people) of Israel would have been wiped out. During the time of King Ahasuerus (Khshayārshā – AKA by Greeks – Xerxes I), you know the tall guy that was the Persian King in that remarkable fable about the Spartans at Thermopylea (480 BC). Well, Esther, a Hebrew was his wife. This was during the time of Hebrew’s enslaved in Babylon. It is even interesting how the Greek – Persian war plays into the Old Testament verification. Don’t believe Hollywood that makes up fairy tales out of true events- I am an A-Hollywood.
    The fact that the Hebrews of Israel were slaves and oppressed for a majority of their history, which does include the time of Jesus (They were under Roman Rule) should speak volumes of why a lot was not said by enemies of Christ. Yet, those that saw Christ were not made to worship him, but a lot did. Posing the question of what it would take ? Futile.
    Now, as any intellectually honest person would research through Biblical and non-biblical text, they would find that Jesus Christ is the “Human form” of God (Yahweh, Jehovah – “Theist God”). Why is that missing from the talks and Debates – of “Theists” for the existence of God? Christ revealed the Glory of God.
    Just the amount of Pre-history that is verifiable through the Old Testament is enough to get it passed by an education board as a geology text book. These 39 books of Law of the Hebrews, Poets, and Prophets tells the narrative that redemption was needed for the people and they were given all of the signs and tools to do so. But even with Moses, the Law and the Prophets and all of the evidence given to the religious Hebrews (now called Jews , under the Roman Empire) with no reason to doubt BUT they did doubt. So what makes people any different these days? People doubt because either they don’t care or are still waiting for “the” sign. There is a saying, “one cannot see the forest through the trees”. Life = Forest and their Sin = Trees. The Hebrew nation (as a people) of Israel still exists, can you doubt that?
    Back to the point of Jesus Christ..
    Even though, hijacked and sidetracked by Catholicism which turned into the pagan Assyrian/Babylonian worship of Semiramis and Nimrod (another biblical figure descendent of Ham) through the worshiping of Mary; the story of Christ is still verifiable and he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is why he never said he was Christ, witnesses know he is. If one bears witness of their self, the witness is not true. His only offense to the leaders of the religious Hebrews was Blasphemy (ascending to the height of God, calling himself God). Even the Talmud witnesses of Jesus Christ. One has to honestly ask why would the Jews that reject Christ “God has come in the flesh” and come up with deceit to cover up the death and resurrection to deny Jesus as the Messiah that was waited for? The answer is because they didn’t know their own teachings. Almost irrefutable. If you want to talk about Osiris, Horus, and Spaghetti. One would have to have not done their homework and read that Israeli King Josiah in the book of 2 Kings and 2 Chron was killed because he didn’t listen to the Jehovah believing and fearing Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, 2 Chron 35 : 20-22 n 2 Kings (through King Solomon – On the side of God). Even Egyptian Kings believed in the God of the Hebrews after the Exodus.
    It is remarkable that the terrible things that are in the Bible and early Catholicism are levied against Christianity and God; while the atrocities done to both the Hebrews and Christians by their enemies are overlooked and dismissed all together.
    Sounds a lot like the here and now. Atheists are just as the religious leaders of Israel in Jesus’ time, deniers but want all the praise as gods for their moral stature in the community..
    Just remember – by the preponderance of facts that Jesus Christ came and did what he did than history records of Julius Caesar.
    If Jesus is proved then God is proved. To the Glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

    Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      “Just remember – by the preponderance of facts that Jesus Christ came and did what he did than history records of Julius Caesar.”

      Nonsense. Utter nonsense. The Romans kept very detailed records, and there is nothing in any Roman record that even so much as mentions Jesus. There’s a huge amount of contemporary accounts of Caesar.

      Reply
  8. Charles says:

    Well that would make sense as the Romans didn’t have much in the way of respect for Jews and Caesar, himself, was a Roman Emperor. The American slave traders kept very detailed records as well but there are countless families that are unable to trace their lineage past the late 19th century.

    To Romans a Jewish self proclaimed King on death row would have had very little significance and Pontius Pilate was said to have gone through with the cruxifiction on behalf of the Jewish religious leaders. So he may not have needed to record such an execution because the crime alleged wasn’t against Rome. Secondly; its factual that more contemporary Biblical and extrabiblical authors wrote about Yehashua than the Roman Caesar of the first century.

    Reply
    • Bill says:

      False again. Exactly zero contemporary authors wrote about Yehashua. All we have comes from at best decades later. In contrast, we have books actually written by Caesar – for example The Gallic Wars.

      Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      Can you tell me who wrote about Jesus while he was alive? I can reference to you many letter mentioning Julius Caesar while he was alive. Likewise there are contemporary portraits, and direct quotes. We have nothing similar for Jesus. Are there any extra-biblical accounts at all written while he was alive? In fact I could just say any accounts at all written while he was alive.

      Reply
  9. Charles says:

    Yehashua was not a “Christian”. His followers weren’t called Christians until the 1st century. In fact; if I’m not mistaken, it was taken as an offense to be called a Christian (little messiahs) at the time because Messiah was designated for Yehashua Himself. So no, what we have as the NT are a collection of writings from authors who proclaim Yehashua’s life in their Gospel accounts, a brief historical account of His Apostles and followers and letters to various Churches that would aid in understanding and spiritual guidance. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that no one wrote of Yehashua while He was alive in the flesh. Like I said; He was considered a blasphemer by the religious leaders and quite insignificant to Roman citizens.

    The Hebraic religious lifestyle at the time contained heavy memorization and oral tradition so there wasn’t much in the way of Jewish public records. (except perhaps Herod’s census or the Tanakh scrolls used in the synagogues). The whole point being it would make perfect sense, historically, that no one may have written about Yehashua while He walked the earth and it doesn’t take away from the validity of the scriptures or extrabiblical accounts written about Him afterwards. The fact remains there have been followers of Christ since the 1st century. At least one non Jewish author wrote about Him among a myriad of early Christian authors. And; interestingly, He is mentioned in the Koran and described throughout the OT. (not to mention the truth of His words being as timeless and relevant as they are) I think this is quite remarkable for someone who’s existence is so often questioned these days.

    Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      It may not surprise you that he wasn’t mentioned while he was alive, but the fact remains that he wasn’t. Someone claimed he was written about more than Julius Caesar, which is clearly utter nonsense.

      “interestingly, He is mentioned in the Koran”
      Yes, Muslims see Jesus as a prophet, like Moses.

      “The fact remains there have been followers of Christ since the 1st century”
      Which proves what? There are Cargo Cults who worship John Frum, despite no such person ever apparently having existed. Look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

      Reply
  10. Terry L says:

    It may not surprise you that he wasn’t mentioned while he was alive, but the fact remains that he wasn’t.

    I don’t find this surprising at all. He didn’t seek for fame; why should anyone have written about him during his lifetime?

    Jesus didn’t lead armies, rule nations, or incite rebellion (though he did cause a couple of scenes in the temple with the moneychangers). He was a itinerant preacher who Rome ignored, historians felt was destined to be forgotten weeks after his death, and the religious leaders hated.

    No, his fame was greatest among the common man; those whose sons and daughters he restored to life, those whose leprosy he had cleansed, those whose sight he had restored. Some rumors of him had reached some of the wealthier members of their society… even the centurions stationed in Judea, but they were men of war, not of letters. No one saw any reason to write this man’s biography.

    What finally sparked the flame that became Christianity was his death and subsequent resurrection. Soon, there were few in the known world who hadn’t heard of him… but it was a little late to write about him during his life. By the time most realized there was something there to write about, he had come and gone!

    What we DO have, however, are records written, as you said, within decades of his death by those men who were his closest associates, and the men with with they traveled and whom they taught. Of those records, we have far more copies than any other ancient document.

    You’ve mentioned Caesar; the earliest manuscripts we have of any of his writings antedate him by 1000 years. All 10 copies! The New Testament manuscripts are estimated to have been written within 10-90 years after the death of Christ, and our earliest manuscripts date to 25-50 years of their writing.

    Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      “I don’t find this surprising at all.”

      Right, so I was right! My point stands.

      “What we DO have, however, are records written, as you said, within decades of his death by those men who were his closest associates”

      No we don’t – we have no idea who wrote those records. No modern scholar I know of thinks the Gospels were genuinely written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

      “You’ve mentioned Caesar; the earliest manuscripts we have of any of his writings antedate him by 1000 years”

      You’re comparing apples and oranges – we have no manuscripts of Jesus’ writings at all. We have a wealth of contemporary writings ABOUT Caesar, ie written during his lifetime.

      Reply
      • Terry L says:

        >>Right, so I was right! My point stands.

        I don’t have a problem admitting you’re right when you are. It’s just that you often aren’t! 😉

        I just don’t understand your objection; You made the point that no one wrote about Jesus during his lifetime. I pointed out that this is exactly what one should expect if the Bible accounts are true. In fact, if people *had* written about Jesus during his lifetime, it would detract from the credibility of his story. That would mean that he was seeking either earthly power, glory or fame during his lifetime, and caught the attention of the historians of the day.

        The Gospel narrative is much more impressive when you understand that this relatively unknown carpenter/rabbi had such a world-changing impact… and wasn’t even here (in the flesh) to do it! Your point stands… but in the Christian’s favor!

        >>No modern scholar I know of thinks the Gospels were genuinely written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

        You didn’t quote all of what I said, and in the omission, changed the meaning of the sentence. You omitted, “and the men with with they traveled and whom they taught.”

        I don’t claim, for instance, that Mark was one of Jesus closest associates… only that he learned from those who were.

        Matt Slick (whom you probably don’t trust) disagrees with you, at least about Luke: “Most scholars affirm that Acts was written by Luke” (ref: carm.org/when-were-gospels-written-and-whom) Unfortunately, neither of you cite sources. It’s somewhat of a moot point anyway.

        John does claim to be an eyewitness (regardless of the name of the author). Luke includes many detailed descriptions of cities, cultures, etc. in Luke and Acts that could only have been accurately described by an eyewitness to those events.

        >>You’re comparing apples and oranges – we have no manuscripts of Jesus’ writings at all.

        True. We have no record of him ever having written anything (except a few words in the sand). He didn’t come to write books.

        Reply

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