HELP ME - in a debate about Apostoles, Jesus, history, psychology, Bible authenticity, prayer, morality...
Hello you beautiful people!
I started a thread about the findings of the Jesus' family tomb and the new documentary by James Cameron - and it seems to have turned into a real theist vs atheist debate.
It's a Croatian forum, so I translated it (expect some translation mistakes), so you guys can have a go at it, too. I already know how I'll answer and I see some of his irrationalities, but maybe you guys can give me some tips, too, as you surely have more knowledge than me, a new guy on this forum.
Here's the post, I cut out a few unimportant stuff, my comments are in these [square brackets]:
[I said if Jesus really existed, he was surely a man, not God]
If the apostoles were with Jesus all the time, and if they saw him get crucified, burried... would it make sense that they went through all of the trouble and in the end die like that, if it was all a lie? Of course they wouldn't.
Jesus was resurrected. Besides, it says in the Bible that after the resurrections more than 500 people saw him, of which many lived in the time when [something - (I guess about the apostoles and their deaths, I'm not familiar with this and don't know how to translate it)] by Corinthians was written, so anyone could have come to Paul and ask him, OK, where are these people, show them to me. Paul couldn't have written something like that if these people didn't really exist. Besides, you said you don't believe in the Bible - don't you know the Bible is the most supported [backed up? (don't know who to translate this expression)] book from ancient literature? Did you know that?
For comparison with other ancient literature works... It's unusually huge the richness of authentic texts of the New Testament in comparison to other known ancient sources. For example, the history of Thucydides (460-400 B.C.) is available to us in only 8 transcripts from the year 900, nearly 1300 years after it was originally written.
Aristotle wrote his works around 343 B.C., but the earliest transcript we have is from year 1100, nearly 1400 years after it's been created, and there are only 5 copies in circulation. Caesar lead his Gallic wars between 58 and 50 B.C., and if all of it is true can only be verified by 9 or 10 transcripts from 1000 years after his death.
Un comparison with these works, The New Testament is overshadowing us by the amount of material. Today there are more than 24000 pieces of New Testament texts. Iliad, for example, has only 643 transcripts and it's on the 2nd place, after the New Testament.
In 20th century archeological findings proved the correctness of New Testament statements. The discovery of the earliest handwritings (John Ryland discovery from year 130, Chester Beatty from year 155 and Bodamer papirus II from year 200) bridges the timespan between the time of Jesus and the existing handwritings from later times.
The most meaningful discovery connected to the historical rationale of the Holy Bible hapopened between 1947 and 1956. Then the finding of hundreds of clay [bottles?] in 11 caves on the shore of the Dead Sea, in which Esens, a group of radical Jews, kept safe over 850 writings of the Holy Bible, shook all the critics of the Bible.
So you saying that the Bible is not authentic has no sense.
And how do you decide what is true? For any literature or historical work? Do you apply the same rules for them as for the Bible? I think not.
Jesus couldn't have been a man because no man could've ever done the things he did. Besides, even if he was a man, he wouldn't have claimed he's God, and get killed for that. He was a Jew and knew what he was doing if he said he's God. A liar would have run from a situation like that and make himself a pleasent life, not get himself crucified.
If you think he was a schizofrenic, and that he was deluding himself, than you don't know psychology. No schizophrenic acts like that, especially not under pressure.
The only option is that he was God. That would be consistent to his works, character, and the fact that he later returned.
About the prayer [I said that when I was young I realised that praying to God has the same effect as praying to a stone], everyone here makes the big mistake. People've been talking about things they don't understand for a long time. Do you know what the Bible says about prayer? The Bible is very clear to which kinds of prayers God answers. Read Jakov - 2nd chapter [Croatian=Jakov --> English=James, but I didn't find anything about prayer in that chapter].
[I said that I came to a conclusion that God and the Bible have nothing to do with our morality, which Christians cliam they get it from, and he goes to show I'm wrong in the following paragraphs]:
OK, let's see your logical conclusions - tell me, then, who decies what's good and what evil?
Let's take that question for example.
Can humans really have a right to do what they think is right and that the rest of us is OK with that? If I ask you today, what is good and what evil, what would you say to me? If I pull out a gun and kill someone on the street, would that be evil or good? How do you know? Did you really take your thoughts to their logical conclusions? Is "homo mensura" the answer?
If you say, that's against the law - than you're wrong! That's the wrong answer. We can't decide if something is good or bad according to the law and the constitution. Today it's against the law to kill someone here in Croatia, but 50 years ago it was perfectly OK to kill someone Jewish, Gipsy, or Serb. What if times like those come again, when it'll be OK to kill someone, and the goverment will not only "overlook" it and not punish you, but also support you to do things like that? The law and goverment are not enough to tell us what's good and what's bad.
Maybe you'll tell me that it's in our conciousness to know what's good and what's bad. Wrong again, because your conciousness can lie to you. Everyone has a conciousness, but not every one of them works the same way. If everyone in their conciousness knew what's good and what's bad, there would be no stealing, murders and other crimes. Would you allow someone like Hitler to work according to his conciousness? So not even our conciousness is not good for deciding what's good and what's bad.
Maybe you'll say it's against religion to do crimes. Stalin knew the Bible, and is responsible for 20 million deaths!! What about Muhammad Ata (pilot of a WTC plane)? He believed in his God, too! He prayed to God and spent time by reading what he thought was the word of God. He too thought he was serving his God by killing thousands of people. You think we have to let faith decide what's good and what evil? That's not the answer.
You think we can tell what's evil, because today we're more advanced, we live by democracy, we know science, we're more educated? Is that the answer? Only 50 years ago they forbid canibalism on islands around New Zeland, because they thought human is a higher creature and shouldn't be eaten, but science today is telling us that a human is just a more developed animal. Well but we do eat animals, don't we? Also, when a cow is having a [baby], nobody with a mind would ever say that what the cow is carrying is not a calf, but rather something else, on the other hand our science is convincing us that what a woman is carrying in her womb is not a baby, but just some embryo, something we can get rid of if we want. Is that the truth you want to believe? Do you want to believe that science can tell you what's good or evil, what's true and what a lie? That's not the truth I want to believe.
Thank for your help.