Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


THE APOSTLES WERE CREDULOUS
 
If Jesus told men who were gullible to proclaim his resurrection and everything else then he could hardly have really risen from the dead for at least he would have the divine power to pick decent witnesses. He might even have not existed. If we believe because of their testimony we are wrong. We actually believe because of their gullibility.

Jesus told them he spoke only the word of God and he said he believed the story of Jonah in the whale for three days was true. In this Jesus contradicted the Law of Moses which proves that since Jonah’s story rested on one anonymous testimony it has to be rejected or at least not believed. One testimony is not grounds for believing in a miracle. We would believe anybody if we start saying it is for a miracle is too unusual so you need very strong evidence. This shows that the apostles would have been too easy to convince that Jesus rose from the dead. Christians say that Jesus existed before his birth and saw that the Jonah story was true and was testifying to it. There is no trace of that idea in the text.
 
In the gospels, Jesus behaves and talks like a normal man who had to go to the scriptures and think about things like everyone else. He does not say he knows everything – and the Church holds that as man Jesus did not know everything but kept what he knew as God out of his human side.
 
The apostles accepted the Jonah story so if they were tricked by an impostor after Jesus’ death all somebody had to do was to remind them that they believed Jonah came back from the dead too and believed it on worse evidence. This was the trick David Whitmer used to get people to believe in the Book of Mormon despite the fact that the alleged translator Joseph Smith was clearly a fraud and a fake prophet and despite the fact that Whitmer had no problem saying he was both of these. Whitmer said that many things Christians believe are believed on less testimony than on the testimony of twelve men for the Book of Mormon being true.

The apostles thought that Jesus was a ghost when they saw him from their boat when he was walking on water (Mark 6). It was dark and if they had been level-headed they would have supposed that it was somebody on a raft that they could not see in the waves.

They asked Jesus to save them from drowning during a huge tempest admitting that he had the power to do it and yet they were afraid they would drown.

Thomas refused to admit that the resurrection of Jesus happened despite the evidence of his friends and the open tomb. He thought that evidence should not be heeded and that is what gullible people think for they prefer to twist the evidence and imagine evidence into existence. That is why the argument that when he testified to Jesus rising – a claim for which there is absolutely no evidence for we know nothing about Thomas at all and have not heard his side – that it must have happened when he above all people said it did, is unacceptable.

If Thomas were the only apostle to have disbelieved despite the testimonies then that reflects terribly on the rest because by accepting him as one of themselves they regard him as a reliable witness. A person who is so easily fooled is not that. They show themselves up as no better than he is. If Jesus made Thomas his apostle we know the meaning of that.

The apostles had little faith in Jesus at times for people who saw some of his powers (Matthew 8:26). They resisted strong faith in favour of weaker faith according to the gospels for they were gullible. They believed what they wanted to believe not what they should believe.

Jesus had to put the apostles in their place once for each of them wanted to be more important than the rest in matters of spirituality which explains why they let feelings and not sense tell them what to believe.

At that time, they could have died for their association with Jesus for the Gospels say the Jews wanted to kill Jesus and his disciples who would carry on his work if anything happened to him. The apostles were religious masochists. They must have been worse than credulous when they risked their lives to follow a doomed man who constantly complained about their lack of faith.
 
The Romans did not tolerate Messiahs. The apostles even let Peter provoke the crowd, who had come to take Jesus away in the hope of getting him put to death, by cutting off the ear of Malchus. They knew he had a sword and incidentally, one wonders why the Romans did not confiscate it long before. And why didn’t the crowd confiscate it for they had a chance? If Peter had a sword he would not have got the chance to use it so the story was made up.

Peter would have been arrested for that and certainly would not have been allowed to walk away despite what the gospel says and he would not have warmed himself with Jesus’ enemies later. If he had he was gullible to believe that they would forgive him for attacking Malchus, the high priest’s servant, that easily. The Jews would not have been afraid to admit the attack happened though Jesus had allegedly cured the ear for it was one of a long long stream of healings that Jesus had performed.

The gospels allege that the Jews made out the reason Jesus vanished from the tomb is because his body was stolen by his disciples - an extremely serious accusation for the crime of grave robbing was punished by death. Peter and John ran to the empty tomb not believing that Jesus was gone. When they did that and risked their lives for they could have been accused of stealing him they would have died for any nonsense.
 
The women, particularly deranged Magdalene who the gospel says had to get seven demons evicted fromher, who started the empty tomb story and who like lunatics saw angels were accepted into the fold of the witnesses of the risen Jesus. When the apostles accepted members like that it says a lot about them.

One proof that somebody had been credulous in spiritual matters is sufficient to destroy belief in their reliability as religious teachers. However, it does not prove that they were wrong all the time but only that we cannot know what to make of their statements even if they are true.

 




WORKS CONSULTED
 
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
Decoding Mark, John Dart, Trinity Press, Harrisburg, PA, 2003
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
In Search of Certainty, John Guest Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1983
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane, Lion Books, Herts, 1984
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson Pan, London 1985
Mind Out of Time, Ian Wilson, Gollanez, London, 1981
Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988
The Bible Fact or Fantasy? John Drane, Lion Books, Oxford, 1989
The Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten and Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Messianic Legacy, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1987
The Metaphor of God Incarnate, John Hick, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1993
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element Books, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Truth of Christianity, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
The Turin Shroud is Genuine, Rodney Hoare, Souvenir Press, London, 1998HoarHo
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Vatican Papers, Nino Lo Bello, New English Library, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1982
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Raymond E Brown Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montefiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve, Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing Cumbria, 1997
Why People believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
 
 

BIBLE VERSION USED
The Amplified Bible
  
THE WWW
 
Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker debates Mike Horner.
www.ffrf.org/debates/barker_horner.html

A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection
http://www.phlab.missouri.edu/~c570529/PhilosoStop/resurrection.html

Earliest Christianity, G A Wells, Internet Infidels
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/earliest.html

A Resurrection Debate by G A Wells,
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/resurrection.html

Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/1/1sink97.html

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story, by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

The Resurrection by Steven Carr
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/resr.htm
 
The Evangelical Apologists: Are They Reliable? Robert Price
www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/beyond_born_again/chap5.html

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner www.ffrf.org/debates/barker_horner.html
 
Jesus Slept! This page asks if Jesus could have been doped on the cross meaning that the explanation for the resurrection was that he was never dead.
http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/146%20mandrake.schtml
 
Beyond Born Again
http://www.infidels.org//library/modern/robert_price/beyond_born_again/chap6.html
 
Did Early Christians use Hallucinogenic Mushrooms? Archaeological Evidence. Franco Fabbro.
http://people.etnoteam.it/maiocchi/fabbro.htm
 
Blessed Easter
www.mindspring.com/~bab5/BIB/lessons.htm
 
Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4e.html
 
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?
www.askwhy.co.uk/awstruth/ChristianCase.html
 
Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm#Twelve