I Never Thought About it That Way …

  • Rick Townsend

    Bob, I know the tag is “humor,” but I simply fail to see anything funny. It is serious distortion instead. There is no indication in scripture that there was ever any attempt to convert mindless followers. On the contrary, the opposite is true. Similarly, while Jesus was a threat to the authorities, there was no indication of general fear in the local populace. And the “Zombie, Frankenstein, Dracula” references? How is that relevant? This is simply a mean, angry tirade.

    Why not address a more serious trilemma, that posed by C. S. Lewis? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis's_trilemma. The work is already done for you, since the reference presents your side as well. All of the arguments raised there against the trilemma are easily addressed and well-documented. Of course if you are more comfortable with cheap shots like this, then fire away. But I think you are better than that, and this comic attempt is kind of a low blow even for an atheist-skeptic Jesus-denier.

    • Retro

      But I think you are better than that, and this comic attempt is kind of a low blow even for an atheist-skeptic Jesus-denier.

      Atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers have certainly taken their share of abuse from Christians over the years. Being threatened with eternal torture for simply being unable to believe may not seem that bad to you, but it’s a lower blow and much less humorous than anything Bob S has posted here.

      Why not address a more serious trilemma, that posed by C. S. Lewis?

      Sounds like an excellent idea.

      Since the earliest Christian writings are the simplest, and they become more and more elaborate as time goes on, why shouldn’t we see this as documentation of a developing legend?

      Thus, we now have a “quadlemma”, and the choices are Lord, liar, lunatic, or legend.

      BTW, Lewis wasn’t actually trying to prove anything HISTORICAL with this argument. Lewis was simply making the argument that people cannot accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, while rejecting His claims to be God.

      Lewis’ main point is that if Jesus wasn’t actually God, then Jesus shouldn’t be considered moral.

      • RandomFunction2

        Besides, as Dawkins said about this trilemma, being deluded about oneself does not imply that one cannot be in other respects “normal” and cannot be “well-adjusted” to some extent. Jesus may have had delusions of grandeur, but he still was not crazy in the common sense of that word.

        • Rick Townsend

          Having delusions of grandeur suggests pride and arrogance that was not part of Jesus’ makeup. Lewis’s point was not that “if Jesus wasn’t actually God, then Jesus shouldn’t be considered moral.” It was that if He wasn’t the Son of God, then He was either liar or a lunatic.

          You have to prove from existing evidence that He was liar or lunatic. The “Legend” idea is simply a red herring. He would still either know or not know, and the earliest documents show Him to believe Himself to be Lord (and to proclaim it clearly), not liar of lunatic. So the legend idea didn’t have time to develop before the first writings in the 50-65AD period. “Legend” doesn’t work.

        • Retro

          Lewis’s point was not that “if Jesus wasn’t actually God, then Jesus shouldn’t be considered moral.”

          I’ll let Lewis speak in his own words:

          “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.” – C.S. Lewis

          You have to prove from existing evidence that He was liar or lunatic.

          We can discuss this if you wish, but believing the story to be true isn’t actually required to do so. We could just as easily discuss which fictional character would win in a fight between Superman and Batman.

          So the legend idea didn’t have time to develop before the first writings in the 50-65AD period.

          How long did it take for legends to develop about Elvis after his death?

          Rumors circulated about Paul McCartney, and he wasn’t even dead. Maybe Paul was really dead for a while but then resurrected?

          “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain

          Newspapers accidentally report people dead all the time. How’d you like to open the morning paper and read your own obituary?

          Please explain to me why historians at the time of Jesus never recorded anything about an earthquake, the raising of dead saints, or three hours of darkness in the middle of the day Jesus was crucified.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Retro is right–”legend” is the missing piece.

          Worrying about pride and arrogance in Jesus’s character is like worrying about the character of Merlin. Merlin is just a story.

          Similarly, the gospels of the life of Jesus are simply the written form of the result of 40 years of oral history in a pre-scientific culture.

          You have to prove from existing evidence that He was liar or lunatic.

          Nope–the atheist isn’t making the claim. I’m pretty sure that it’s you who is making the supernatural claim. I’m willing to listen, but don’t imagine that I have the burden of proof.

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob has reached a new low! Boy there is a ” CLEAR THINKING ABOUT CHRISTIANITY” and ”A CIVIL CRITIQUE FO CHRISTIANITY”.

    • Retro
      • Retro

        People are about as offended as they want to be. I find it humorous that you and Rick feel that a simple cartoon is such a low blow. It’s easy to call everything a “low blow” when you’re wearing your belt on top of your head.

        What is your opinion about Muslims getting so angry over a cartoon of their Prophet Mohammed?

      • Bob Seidensticker

  • Rick Townsend

    Reference: Nope–the atheist isn’t making the claim. I’m pretty sure that it’s you who is making the supernatural claim. I’m willing to listen, but don’t imagine that I have the burden of proof.

    You never prove anything yet claim victory. You have the burden of proof of showing Jesus was either a liar or a lunatic. If you can PROVE that, then there is a possibility that my claim, (He was and is LORD) will be in doubt. That was Lewis’s point. Seems like a pretty easy thing for clear thinking smart guys — don’t shrink from this opportunity!

    Comparing the legend claim of contemporaries like Elvis is silly. No one has claimed anything supernatural about him, and he has no followers willing to die for anything, so it simply isn’t in the same camp. The Legend idea is simply a red herring argument in this context.

    • Retro

      You never prove anything yet claim victory.

      Yeah, I know the feeling.

      Comparing the legend claim of contemporaries like Elvis is silly. No one has claimed anything supernatural about him, and he has no followers willing to die for anything, so it simply isn’t in the same camp.

      Would you prefer someone like Joseph Smith as an example then?

      Smith made supernatural claims about a lot of things, and still has lots of followers around today, and one of them is even running for President. Joseph Smith was willing, and DID, die for his claims. Why would he do this if he knew it was all a lie?

      Seems like a pretty easy thing for clear thinking smart guys — don’t shrink from this opportunity!

      Would you accept this criticism if it came from someone like William Lane Craig?

      Here’s a blurb from the Wikipedia entry on “Lewis’s Trilemma”:
      Philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig cites this as a reason why he believes it is an unsound argument for Christianity.(Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Crossway Books (1994) pages 38-39.)

      • Rick Townsend

        Clearly you are confusing this blog with the “clear thinking about Mormonism” blog. Being willing to die for your faith is an indicator, but is not proof. Only an indicator. Lots of folks have died for wrong ideas. (Nazi cult worship of Hitler and Japanese emperor worship come to mind. I would put Islam in this camp.) We have other corroborating evidence in the case of Christianity, but not in Mormonism. No archaeology nor literary proof whatsoever for Joseph Smith’s claims.

        As for Craig’s comment, I disagree with him on this point, but you took it so far out of context as to be impossible to critique. Use your own critique, not his without detail on what you find compelling.

  • Retro

    Being willing to die for your faith is an indicator, but is not proof.

    I agree. I’m glad I won’t be hearing you say this about the Disciples.

    We have other corroborating evidence in the case of Christianity, but not in Mormonism. No archaeology nor literary proof whatsoever for Joseph Smith’s claims.

    Slow down. We DO have lots of archaeological evidence for SOME of Smith’s claims.

    I think what you mean is that Smith’s SUPERNATURAL claims aren’t supported by evidence.

    As for Craig’s comment, I disagree with him on this point, but you took it so far out of context as to be impossible to critique.

    Then please, tell me what the context is.

    Use your own critique, not his without detail on what you find compelling.

    I DID! I don’t care if you agree with me or not, but at least try to understand what I’m saying.

    Humor me and answer a question for me: Could you write a story that contained a trilemma, and the main character would either be insane, a liar, or was telling the truth?

    • Rick Townsend

      As usual, you missed the distinction between Jesus’ disciples and those of the false religions I cited.

      Mormonism—no archeological evidence supporting the accounts cited in the book of Mormon. Zero.

      William Lane Craig’s concerns have been adequately addressed in lots of places on this particular point. I don’t need to do your research for you on this.

      Could I write a story? Irrelevant. I’m more concerned with the story God wrote.

      • Retro

        As usual, you missed the distinction between Jesus’ disciples and those of the false religions I cited.

        Which is what? Joseph Smith knew he was full of it and he died rather than recant, so your argument doesn’t hold up this case.

        Mormonism—no archeological evidence supporting the accounts cited in the book of Mormon. Zero.

        You’re right, and there is also zero archeological evidence supporting the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark or the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Conquest of Canaan, the Ark of the Covenant, the first temple, and King David’s kingdom seems to have been at most only a small tribal kingdom.

        On the other hand, there is way more evidence about what Joseph Smith did and said, and the eye witness testimonies are much better documented than anything in the Bible.

        William Lane Craig’s concerns have been adequately addressed in lots of places on this particular point. I don’t need to do your research for you on this.

        Whatever. Craig understands that the Lewis Trilemma doesn’t prove anything about the historicity of Jesus.

        Could I write a story? Irrelevant. I’m more concerned with the story God wrote.

        Of course you could, so explain to me how a story with a trilemma in it proves that the story is true or divine.