*Dialogue with a Christian

 

Do the words "Josephus" and "Strobel" save the day for the fans of Jesus?
Is a "personal encounter" with the Lord valid evidence for the existence of Jesus?

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* Christians – please read before sending your emails

A genuine email, so very, very typical of the Christian response to Jesus Never Existed

Sir,

First of all you haven't done very good research as even Josephus (a first century, unconverted Jew), attests to the fact that, yes, there was a Jesus who was crucified and reported to have raised from the dead. You can buy his book. Second, I feel very sorry for you as you really think you are wise and yet people who believe as you do are called fools. I would honestly pray and ask God to show you the truth. Yes, there have been many atrocities in the name of Christ during the centuries, but true followers have had their lives changed and been given hope and healing through a personal relationship with Jesus. I'm sorry you have not experienced that. Undoubtedly, you have had poor examples and or been hurt by someone professing to be Christian. Not everyone who says they are is and also His true followers are not perfect but are working toward that perfection. No matter what so called PROOF you produce you cannot convince me or many others that Jesus has changed, blessed, and comforted them by His presence. He is so real. I will pray for you to know the truth so the truth can set you free.

Blessings

Juanita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A second response from our Christian friend – "A personal experience with Jesus"

If you read Josephus (which, I have, by the way), then how did you miss the fact that Jesus existed! The title of your book says He never did. By the way, I am not blinded, fooled or IGNORANT. You are not the only one who has done research and is educated. I have been teaching Biblical studies and Christian doctrine for 30 years.

I was converted by a personal encounter with Jesus in 1976. Nothing you can say will ever convince me. He and I converse, that I feel His presence and have experienced a life change for the better since I met Him.

It's not about head knowledge, church doctrine, or historical facts or fallacies. It's about meeting the MAN who died for my and your sins and who loves you more than life itself. You can use my replies and think that you are wise if you want to, but in the end you better hope you are not mistaken. I know Him as well as I know who I am.

All your typical worldly wise scoffing cannot take me away from His love. The peace of God that I have and the answers to prayer that I've experienced is something no one else can change. Sorry, but many, including C.S. Lewis and Augustine, at one time didn't believe but, later they were converted. Another book you should read is The Case for Christianity by Lee Stroebel (by the way, he set out to disprove the claims too, by researching, and lost!). I will continue to pray for you.

His,
Juanita

 

 

 

 

 

 

A third response from our Christian friend – "Jesus is inside me"

Of course, I know people are dilusional sometimes, but it's pretty difficult to be dillusional (hearing God speak, scriptures that you accidentally turn to and they speak to your situation perfectly; hundreds of times, and prayers are answered too many times to be coincidental) for 35 or more years. It's difficult to explain to a rationalist that it's more than just feeling good. It's actually feeling His presence! You can't understand that because you haven't experienced it. I HAVE hundreds of times over the years. Actually, most everyone that knows me personally still believes I am sane and intelligent at the same time and I don't even drink or do drugs so I'm not hallucinating! Keep trying Ken, your arguments are good IF I believed only mentally, but I believe with my heart, mind and spirit and Jesus is as real as the nose on my face. See, He not only did exist for a short time on earth, but HE exists now in heaven and by His spirit inside of me.

His,
Juanita

 

 

 

 

 

 

A final response from our Christian friend – "You're hurt, but one day you will bend the knee"

You truly must have been wounded by someone who called themself a Christian.

True Christianity is anything but self-serving. It is putting others needs ahead of your own and dying to self. This concept isn't one that your experience with (or lack of) Christianity has been demonstrated.

You also are not a very good judge of people if you see me as being evasive. I can be very in-your-face when necessary.

Here's the bottom line. Jesus said "I am the truth, the way, and the light" He is truth. He is the only way to God, there is no other.

Whether you choose to believe or not believe does not change that TRUTH. Someday, even your knee will bow and your tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and you will finally know the TRUTH. I hope you find it before that time.

Juanita

The arguments, examined in detail:

 

You haven't done very good research

A cheap jibe, always forthcoming from naive Christians because the JNE findings are too disturbing for them to accept. Often made by people who have read next to nothing themselves.

I suggest you use the site search option, available on every page, before rushing to judgement.

Site Search:
Josephus attests Jesus was crucified and reported to have raised from the dead.

Indeed he does – in a most notorious forgery. And think about it: Josephus grew up and lived through the "apostolic age". Yet he knows nothing about any apostles. He describes, in detail and more than once, the "four philosophies" among the Jews and that does not include Christianity.

Josephus is discussed in more than forty articles on the JNE web site.

I feel very sorry for you Mutual. But not everybody needs an imaginary friend to help them through the day. In fact, it's infantile. Grow up. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus are all fantasies.

People who believe as you do are called fools

A tired old quote, "Our Bible says ... the fool says there is no God" and therefore that settles it?

Whole libraries of books say that the religious are fools – and go on to provide the evidence why that is so.

Honestly pray and ask God to show you the truth.

Notice, no suggestion of getting down to a library. "Honestly praying" is not just talking to yourself, it saves you from all the hard work of reading and thinking.

If Christianity really is the truth, why don't Christians do as Jesus promised and "do greater works" than he did (John 14.12)? Why can't they "handle poisonous snakes and drink any deadly thing without harm" (Mark 16.18)?

Many atrocities in the name of Christ during the centuries.

Yes, the atrocities are so enormous and so universal even the godly can't deny them.

The excuse is to claim that the perpetrators were never real Christians. Funny how real Christians are so very, very rare. But then only fantasies are "perfect", fantasies like Jesus himself.

True followers have had their lives changed

.

Membership of a community changes people's lives – it provides companionship, rules, direction.

The Hitler Youth and Al Qaeda could make the same claim.

Many given hope and healing through a personal relationship with Jesus.

A fool's paradise. The delusional often have hope, hope that will never be fulfilled.

Embracing reality is the only real hope. Science in 200 years has benefited humanity vastly more than Christianity in 2000 years.

Science gives hope and modern, scientific medicine provides healing – as even the godly know damn well.

Undoubtedly, you have been hurt by someone professing to be Christian.

Same old limp assertion thrown at every non-believer. The words masquerade as compassion but are actually an ad hominem attack. "You're hurt, not thinking clearly, your judgements are unsound."

Christians just can't handle a rational, happy person rejecting their imaginary godman.

His true followers are not perfect but are working toward that perfection. And "true followers" happen to be members of your own particular church/sect, I suppose, not the hundreds of others?

No matter what so called PROOF you produce you cannot convince me.

Spoken like a true fanatic, "I don't need facts, I'm not interested in logic, I've known the truth from the first moment I believed."

The closed and dogmatic mind. And that's what makes religion so dangerous.

Jesus has changed, blessed, and comforted many by His presence. He is so real.

Yes, in your thoughts and unconscious he surely has.

Every Christian creates his or her own Jesus in their own mind. The fantasy works just like any other delusion – and just as long as you don't test it too hard.

Jesus will help you recover from a heartache but he won't lift a finger if you toss yourself out of a window. Try it if have doubts.

It's about a personal encounter with the saviour who loves you. And what would be your response to a Muslim who said he'd had a personal encounter with Muhammad or a Hindu who said he'd had a personal encounter with the god Rama, or even a Christian who said that Jesus had spoken to him and said he should kill the local witch?
I have spoken to, made friends with, and shared Jesus with a dyed in the wool Muslim girl and she, after investigating claims about Jesus, and praying, also had a personal encounter with Jesus and accepted Him as her Saviour and is now radiantly happy and full of His peace. You are ducking the question. Let me say the words that you believe but are avoiding saying:

"My experiences of Jesus are valid and true. I just know it. Other people's claims of experiences of other gods are invalid and not true. And I just know that too. God speaks to me. But they are deluded."

So tell me, what is it that makes your experience genuine and every non-Christian experience false?

 

Muslims and Hindu's may all have a faith in their god or gods, but they don't have peace of mind and they don't experience the Presence of God.

Rationalists have problems with delusional religious experiences – and not just Christian ones. Ancient history is full of encounters with gods that no one today believes ever existed. Were they all lying or mistaken?

It's not a trivial matter. The unshakeable conviction that God has vouchsafed a personal message has motivated many of the most murderous maniacs in history – from Crusaders through to the 9/11 bombers.

That's why rationalists are very wary of the religious.

 

You truly must have been wounded by someone who called themself a Christian.

On the contrary, it is very apparent to secularists that it is not unbelievers who have been "hurt" but many of those who fall into the clutches of religion – the lonely, the unwed, the widowed, the sexually insecure, alcoholics, drug addicts, habitual criminals, abused women – in fact, all those who are in some way or another lost and dysfunctional.

The church becomes a surrogate family, Jesus a surrogate father and lover. They are to be pitied and the church condemned for profiting from their misery and misfortune.

I will pray for you to know the truth so the truth can set you free.

And I will hope that you might test your faith with a little genuine research.

Try removing the distorting lenses of Christian belief and read a real history book. Or two.

 

PS: Free and open debate?

 

There are obvious limits to Christian/non-Christian debate on Premier Christian Radio.

December 2012:

For a lively (and for Christians, an unsettling debate) on the "historical truth of the nativity story", Ken Humphreys had been invited to debate with Ben Witherington III, a noted American apologist.

Having confirmed Ken as the speaker and announced this on-air on 15th December, Justin Brierley, the presenter, withdrew the invitation at short notice with the dubious excuse that "things have moved around a bit". Brierley apologised for the "cancellation" of the show, but Glory Be, just days later Premier Christian Radio and Justin Brierley ran the show, substituting a Bible tutor and committed Christian to present the skeptical position!

Even Witherington must have realised that he was on to a loser and forced Brierley – a presenter not normally afraid of Christianity's critics – to back down.

 

 

 

 

 


email the author –
Kenneth Humphreys
 
01.11.10

 

 

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