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?

Patrick H

The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being. The doctrine that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his execution is the heart of the Christian faith according to the Church and the gospels and the first Christian writer who was also an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).


The emotional aspect of the doctrine is more important to believers than anything else.  They go on about it being spiritual and miraculous and supported by evidence but that does not change the fact that a story of a man showing we will all rise from the dead like him to enjoy eternal life will mean something huge to us while some other wonder would not.  Just because a miracle gets into your heart does not mean that you care that it is a miracle.  It is the benefit you want.  If the Jerusalem Temple miraculously rose from the ashes that miracle would not have the same impact as Jesus doing that and indeed would be deemed rather unimportant. The debate is not about truth or even spiritual truth at all.  That is why the Christian side has to be replete with hidden intentions and motives and lies.


Core doctrine


Christians say that the resurrection of Jesus is central and core and indispensable Christian doctrine for it manifests what our lives are all about.  God wants to save us from sin and vulnerability and death and give us bodies that are able to pass through dangers untouched and that can traverse one end of space to the other instantly and which are beautiful and glorious and live forever.  Jesus supposedly had a body like and gave us a taste of what to expect and above all manifested God's eternal plan.


Jesus himself said nothing about what his resurrection body was like.  The doctrines about the ghost style body are based on hearsay.  It is not certain that even the New Testament supports it.  A vision of a Jesus who appears in ghost like body does not mean Jesus has a ghost like body.   Even in Catholicism, apparitions are done by different methods.  It is thought by some that Mary did not appear bodily in Lourdes but was seen by remote vision.  The Bible believers always really believe in their own theories and speculations and interpretations rather than in the Bible.
An interpretation is not evidence
The gospels are taken as offering evidence for this resurrection. But if they are, the fact remains that they are giving us interpretations and interpretations are not evidence at all. For example, they do not state there was no way Jesus could have been put in the tomb and then sneaked out when the women at the tomb were not looking.

The gaps in the resurrection accounts prove that there is no evidence for something important that would disprove it could have been omitted. The gospels only give an interpretation of what they think or wish had happened but an interpretation is not evidence. For example, the gospels do not say if there was no way the crucifixion or death or burial of Jesus could have been faked or if Jesus looked healed after his resurrection which might suggest a miraculous resurrection or that it was a look-alike. Jesus entered the upper room though the doors were locked and Luke says he instantly disappeared neither of which necessarily have to mean anything magical. Did he evade the cross by having a substitute nailed in his place? Perhaps when the disciples saw Jesus ascend into Heaven in Acts he walked up a mountain and was hidden by fog and they assumed he was returning to Heaven. Absolutely no evidence bad or good is given for the ascension apart from an interpretation. When the resurrection is dubious the miracles of Jesus which are all of lesser importance are even more so. They were not reported by men who were reliable in religious matters for they wanted people to believe in the resurrection without evidence.

The resurrection tale is unconvincing
Too long has the Christian Church managed to seduce the world with its lies and these lies are so vicious that they even say that those who doubt the Christian teachings will rot in Hell forever. Atheism hopes to see the day when everyone will say they have no religion. The Church delivers its teaching with a charming smile but that only means that if it is done without ill-feeling it is still vicious in principle.
The Christian religion is unable to give adequate verification of any of its claims. It claims that the followers of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion left evidence that he rose bodily from the dead leaving an empty tomb and appeared to his friends and now reigns as our king in Heaven and from there he administers the salvation he won for us. We know we have to accept the simplest explanation we can find. The gospels record the alleged evidence for the empty tomb and the visitations of the risen Jesus. If the gospels are convincing (they are not - an empty tomb and apparitions afterwards of the person who had been in the tomb still does not prove a resurrection) in relation to their claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead then where is the miracle? It is easier to believe that the miracle is in the credibility of the records and not in the miracle of resurrection. The plausibility of the records only means that the records are plausible not that they are correct. Something rather different from an actual resurrection could have been what really happened. Then some psychic or supernatural forces set to work to guide writers to tell a story that supported a resurrection story and was believable. The lesser miracle of psychic guidance of the writers is what should be accepted not the huge miracle of resurrection. The fact that the (fragile but let us put that out of our mind) plausibility of the records only means that the records are plausible not that they are correct suffices to show that the resurrection is false. Had Jesus really risen he would not have made the mistake of guiding his followers to present evidence that is useless never mind insufficient.
It is conveniently forgotten by the Church that though the resurrection of Christ has great importance in the New Testament, it is not important by itself. It is important in that Jesus was found alive after his death TO GO UP TO HEAVEN! The resurrection was Jesus’ salvation and the ascension its completion. However, we know that Jesus ascending into Heaven is nonsense for if he went up is he living in a cloud or did he go to the moon or to Mars? It is totally ridiculous to believe in the resurrection and to deny that Jesus is up in the clouds. If one is not true then why trust the other?
The resurrection implies that God sanctions suicide for Jesus knew he was going to die if he did not change his ways or escape but didn’t. It would be a sign that the Devil was behind Jesus.
Perhaps Jesus survived the crucifixion. There is no Bible proof that the crucifixion he experienced was that bad and indeed we read that Pilate couldn’t believe he had died so soon. Was he buried alive? The earthquake in Matthew could have opened the tomb and the women could have assumed that Jesus was not inside though he was hiding until the coast was clear. Then he got away. Perhaps Jesus died of his injuries after and nobody ever knew what became of him. Perhaps the empty tomb triggered the apostles to believe that they were having spiritual inspirations and visions that a resurrection had happened and Jesus was appearing to them. Many people have visions which are certainly false but which cannot be put down to classical hallucinations.
Matthew never actually says that the story of the soldiers that Jesus’ body was stolen by his disciples – remember the twelve were not the only disciples Jesus had - was a lie. He does not even say that the guards were lying about sleeping on duty. His evidence is useless and it proves Matthew is not the word of God. The Church lays a lot of stock by the testimony of the gospels but ignores the testimony of Mary Magdalene in John that the Lord could have been removed by a mysterious “they”.
No matter how strong the evidence for resurrection supposedly is, there is no evidence that it was the direct work of an all-loving God.  God can give you a sense that you will rise again and does not need to raise Jesus from the dead to show you that.  There are many things we sense anyway.  The resurrection of Jesus tale is an attempt to use an alleged event as evidence for the Christians are trying to convince themselves that they will somehow rise.


 Suppose the resurrection is all about claiming to be from a God of love then there is stronger evidence that it could not have happened. Jesus supported the Jewish Law though it said that God commanded the murder of adulterers, apostates and heretics by stoning. No good God would raise him from the dead to promote preaching like that even if he no longer intended the legal murders to be implemented. If the Devil raised Jesus then he might just as easily have made the body of Jesus invisible in the tomb and caused the witnesses to miraculously hallucinate that the tomb was empty and that Jesus appeared and used the witnesses to steal him and he protected them from getting caught and then wiped their memory of this so we would have no evidence for saying a resurrection took place.  We must remember that the gospels themselves speak of a terrifying era where demon possession was rife and Jesus warned about how crafty Satan was and that he could fool the elect or the saints and Jesus warned that the possibility of the final war between good and evil and demons and man could break out anytime and he spent more time on the scary stuff than the nice stuff.  Jesus stressed how good Satan was at blinding people to the truth.  The question arises did say Mary Magdalene imagine or lie that Jesus rose and that she seen him?  Did the apostles later on despite having no visions imagine that the Holy Spirit told them they did have visions and that Satan wiped their minds?  Did they imagine they had memories of seeing Jesus? 


A good tree bears good fruit according to Jesus.  The best way to assess is to assess the first fruits.  In the generation after Jesus Christians were deliberately seeking to be martyred and tortured to death and even knocked on the door of their persecutors to get arrested and destroyed.  That was why Tacitus described Christians as haters of mankind.  St Polycarp, allegedly a close friend of the apostle John, deliberately sought the worst death possible.  The things that happened would make you believe Christianity was itself a Satanic hoax.  No wonder it was expert on how wily Satan was! 


The fruits of Christianity have been a vulgar hypocrisy and crass error and an endless stream of deaths and wars which would back up the diabolical agency explanation. Any good Christianity has done could and would have been done without it so the good fruits are irrelevant. Satan would not have raised Jesus when it was easier to do a few magic tricks to make it seem that he had. It would be easier for a supernatural power to do all these tricks than raise a man from the dead so belief in the resurrection is irrational for God couldn’t have raised Jesus either. That Jesus made his resurrection the one sign for this age – meaning that it was the one miracle that Satan could not do shows that Jesus was lying for Satan could have made it look like he could do it.

Why follow the risen Jesus when he told lies? He said in the gospel of Luke that the Law and the Prophets revealed that the Messiah had to die and rise again. This is untrue. There is no proof of this resurrection at all in the Old Testament. Another lie he told was that he was flesh and bone for ghosts cannot be felt though there are thousands of “true” ghost stories that they can be touched.

The apostles themselves told lies. See my page The Lying Apostles.

When the gospels themselves indicate that the twelve apostles were fanatical for following a man at the risk of their own lives for they could not be loyal to him despite the alleged miracles and who could not believe in him even to the extent that they abandoned him at his death why should we not take their slip of the tongue for it that we should not listen to the apostles or their Jesus? Jesus said BEFORE his resurrection, in other words, before he proved who he said he was, that anybody who would leave all they know and love and go to a foreign land just for him should do so. Jesus was every bit a cult leader as Reverend Moon and everybody knows that people like that should not be listened to. The lie that the resurrection changed the apostles from cowards to determined men is not even in the Bible but has been made up by Christians to make it seem that the resurrection must have happened. Yes they hid after his death but as soon as they were able they came out of the closet.

If the eleven witnesses to the Book of Mormon being a miracle had not been written about a lot after the incident we would not have the proof we have now that they were unreliable. It was lucky for the testimony of the twelve apostles that Jesus rose for the twelve to have been obscure after this time. It led to a dearth in the records. We only know what at most three of them testified to. Jesus appointed them as his witnesses and most of them failed for they left no evidence behind – a sure indication that he was not a prophet of God at all.

The apostles, who the New Testament says were the only authorised spokesmen for Jesus after he left the world, said that the Old Testament which has the Law at its centre is more reliable even than the miracle of the Son of God being transfigured and made glorious (2 Peter 1:19) and Jesus said that the Law is far more reliable and believable than any miracle and even a saint rising from the dead with a message of conversion (Luke 16:31). This tells us that the Old Testament is more important than the New and that if the Old Testament does not support the resurrection we should not believe in it. The resurrection story just came out of a silly interpretation of the Old Testament therefore we are not to stake anything on the resurrection because it was not from God. The Bible and Jesus himself warned that we should not take any miracle that conveyed a false or unverifiable message as being evidence that we should heed the message. The message then determines if the miracle is from God. But there is a lot of disagreement over the interpretation of Jesus’ teaching therefore there is no reason to trust in the resurrection. No ordinary person could be expected to believe in the resurrection for they would need to be theologians to have the green light from God for believing in it for God comes first and it is blasphemy to accept a miracle unless you are as sure as humanly possible that it backs an authentic divine message and is real. Good fruits mean nothing for they could be accidental. The Devil could do a miracle seemingly from God for a bad purpose and it could backfire. When God brings good out of evil it would have to.
Jesus' frequently did miracles according to the gospels. There were just too many miracles done by him. It doesn't ring true - it leads us to doubt the account of the resurrection of Jesus. It is important that a miracle should only be done extremely rarely. If miracles happen too often they cease to be signs. Most of the miracles were healings. The fact that he did so many then and doesn't bother now shows that those miracles were petty. Christians respond that they were not for he did them out of compassion - the only hope they have got of an answer. But he didn't need to help by an obvious miracle. He is supposed to use doctors today to heal people and there is no obvious miracle there. The miracles were petty.

Jesus told the Jews and the apostles that he spoke only the word of God. He said he believed the story of Jonah in the whale for three days was true. In saying this Jesus contradicted the Law of Moses which proves that since Jonah’s story rested on one anonymous testimony it has to be rejected. One testimony is not grounds for believing in a miracle. We would believe anybody if we start saying it is for it 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.

You do not believe an account about people seeing ghosts especially when the account is a second hand source. You know that since such events are so rare and unnatural that you need stronger evidence than you would need even to convict somebody of murder because murder will happen more easily than a miracle. If you deny that you will have to believe every tall story to be consistent and fair. The gospels are just not good enough for they are not first-hand documents and they are bad at presenting good evidence. We read of a man or men in white robes around the tomb at the time of Jesus’ disappearance. How can Christians ask us to believe nobody took Jesus' body? The man or men could have done it for they were there alone. They are called angels? But angel simply means messenger and a man can be a messenger and the tale is compatible with men in white being taken for angels. The case for a magical resurrection couldn't be more foolish or worse.

Paul stated that some Christians in Corinth were denying the resurrection of the dead and by implication that of Jesus. Christians in the past have tried to deceive people into thinking that they didn't deny the resurrection but only doubted. They do not like to admit that many people in those days lost their faith for the resurrection was so dubious. "How can some of you say there is no resurrection?" is a complaint about denial not doubt. Doubt would be, "How can some of you say that there MIGHT be no resurrection?"

Paul said that if he and the apostles are wrong about Jesus having risen from the dead then they were false witnesses. You never argue that if you are wrong about x you are a false witness for x unless you mean that you would be lying if you are wrong. So Paul admits that if the resurrection never happened they are liars. They are not people deluded by false visions. They are liars. He is trying to smear those who deny the resurrection by accusing them of slandering himself and the others. This is to anger his flock in Corinth against the critics. Moreover, when he is so sure that he and the apostles are liars if they are wrong about the resurrection that is an admission of lying. He could only be sure they are liars if no resurrection happened if they had been lying all the time to start with.

Paul’s visions could have been hallucinations or caused by sheer willpower and the power of suggestion and we are not told what the 500+ who he says saw Jesus saw so that we can be sure it was Jesus – perhaps they saw what they thought was a ghost in the sky or a look-alike doing a magic trick. The brevity of this assertion though he wanted to demolish the claims of the Corinthians who denied the resurrection shows that he was embarrassed to say anything more about the 500+.
But didn't the apostles die for their faith in the resurrection of Christ?
The Christians make a big thing out of the claim that the apostles were persecuted and put to death for declaring the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But not a single word of the New Testament speaks of them suffering for the resurrection of Jesus doctrine. What they might have suffered for was preaching the moral message of Jesus who was hated by the Jews and the Romans. The Jews would have been happy to believe that if Jesus did rise from the dead that it was a satanic illusion. The apostles were never hounded for stating the resurrection of Jesus was fact not even when they were supposedly accused according to Matthew of robbing Jesus' grave.  In reality nobody knows what happened to those men for the accounts are swamped in lies and legends and what if they deliberately provoked their killers as St Stephen did?  A real martyr does not deliberately bring it on himself.  If the apostle felt that Christianity though lies was better than what else was out there they would have felt justified in dying for it for they had to die badly anyway in those terrible times.
Suppose the apostles died over saying Jesus rose. They died then for their preaching. But did they really believe?
The apostles believed. So we are told. If they did, how strong was their belief? We cannot assume that their faith or belief was that strong if they were killed for their belief. Religion is full of tales of saints who struggled with faith and barely believed but who still died for the religion. People do die for religion who have weak beliefs.
There is no evidence whatsoever that the apostles died only for their faith. People do die for lies they think will help the world. If they were martyred they could have died because they thought their hoax was good for the world and doubtless they had other reasons, possibly stronger, for forfeiting their lives. And it is dishonest for Christians to argue as they do, “The apostles died for their belief in the resurrection therefore they were sincere and we must take their testimony seriously”, when there might be a natural explanation for their “visions” and when the only account of their alleged beliefs is gospel hearsay. It is not the apostles whose martyrdom counts but the four gospellers and we know nothing about and have no reason to believe they were martyred for their faith in the gospels they wrote.
People do die for lies they think will help the world. If the apostles were martyred for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus they could have died because they thought their lie or hoax was good for the world and doubtless they had other reasons, possibly stronger, for forfeiting their lives.
It is dishonest for Christians to argue as they do, “The apostles died for their belief in the resurrection therefore they were sincere and we must take their testimony seriously”, when there might be a natural explanation for their “visions” and when the only account of their alleged beliefs is gospel hearsay. It is not the apostles whose martyrdom counts but the four gospellers and we know nothing about and have no reason to believe they were martyred for their faith in the gospels they wrote.
Muslims die for their faith in Muhammad who proclaimed that Allah or God said that Jesus did not rise from the dead. The apostles dying for the resurrection of Jesus would then prove nothing. Their dying would not prove that Jesus really rose. Christians reply that Muslims die for a revelation that was not publicly observable while the apostles died for one that was. The Muslim only takes Muhammad's word for it that Allah spoke while the apostle dies for what he saw and witnessed: Jesus returning from the dead. They would not have died for what they knew was a lie.
If people die for faith or for what they cannot know to be true at all then people can die for a lie especially a pious lie. Many frauds and false prophets in time because they have been lying so long and so much and so many people including themselves want the lie to be true start to think they believe in their own lies. The battered wife who knows her husband is evil will begin to believe and act as if he was a brilliant husband if she lies to herself and to others that he is a good husband for long enough.
The Christians hold that the apostles were delighted to be abused for Jesus for they thought it meant they were counted worthy to suffer disgrace for Jesus (page 204, God Actually). They used belief and possibly self-deception to welcome suffering! They had a motive then to suffer!


Why did they have to lie?


Jesus according to the New Testament really had royal blood and a right to the throne.  If so, he had to be slain.  The trouble was that the close relatives were in the line of succession and thus in danger too.  James the brother oddly enough was never exalted as a possible Messiah.  The claim that Jesus had risen from the dead and was Messiah but hidden from the earth in Heaven would have saved their skin ...


The alleged relations not being liquidated has to be explained somehow.  Is that the answer?  Its compelling.


To believe something like the resurrection which is an extraordinary claim and logically requires exceptionally good evidence that no reasonable person can question you have to see all the evidence. There are hundreds of objections to the resurrection miracle and so to believe you would have to work through them all. Nobody does this so Christianity manipulates people to think they believe in the resurrection and believe rationally. Anybody with money to burn could get four people to write out sceptical documents that seem to verify a resurrection of some other Messiah in a more detailed and scientific fashion and create a better hoax than the gospellers.
God Actually, Roy Williams, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2008
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006