On Friday I'll be arguing with my Christian Union - lend me a quick hand!
On Fridays, Nottingham's Christian Union have this event called "lunch bar".
You go to the Portland building at 1pm where they'll have a room booked and will out sandwiches as a free lunch. The catch is that you listen to a Christian speaker talk. At the end you get to ask questions. This Friday the topic is the evidence for the historical Jesus.
I have some basic knowledge of the basic Christian argument and rebuttals, but as there's only about 10 mins for questions and I'll be sharing the time with others in the audience, I want my questions to be as simple, direct and effective as possible.
I think the general Christian argument uses the following points:
1) The Bible being a reliable eye witness testimony.
What we can deduce from the earliest surviving copies.
They claim that there was no room for exaduration and rumour building.
Perhaps the best examples would be urban legends that have cropped up within the last 60 years?
That Christianity didn't really take off in Israel where the events happened, but was more successful in places like Greece and Rome that was further away... people had less direct knowledge of the place in question?
Matthew felt the need to say that the Jewish Authorities had paid the Roman Solidiers guarding the tomb to claim that the disciples had stolen the body. Why would he feel the need to claim this?
2) That Jesus and the people who wrote the Bible had no reason to exadurate as it cost them their lives. They were either mad, liars or genuine.
I find this one a bit more difficult to refute...
It's common sense that when people really want to believe in something then they'll exadurate to persuade others, and even themselves, that it is true. Christians try and point out the difference on someone whose belief is based on something they themselves were told (the reason why faith in other religions are false) while the apostles were talking about something they'd seen with their own eyes. How can I argue that people can be deluded over what they thought they saw? Especially in such a short time frame?
Anything else I've missed/should mention?
Any input will be appreciated! Thanks.