Gary, You are a Fundamentalist Atheist (so Christians Can Ignore You)

Image result for image of a strawman

I’ve noticed something very interesting in my many conversations with conservative Christian apologists:  If a conservative Christian such as myself deconverts from “the Faith”, it is never because he or she made this decision based on a thorough, rational evaluation of the evidence, in their view.  No.  It is always because the deconvertee was a “fundamentalist”.  What is a fundamentalist?  A fundamentalist is a knuckle-dragging literalist who believes that every sentence in the Bible was dictated by God himself, and, that every narrative in the Bible must be accepted as historical fact.  If the Bible says that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, then dog gone it, Jonah really was swallowed by a great fish.  To believe that the Jonah and the Fish Story is allegorical, is heresy.

So when an ex-conservative Christian, such as myself, attempts to engage these Christian apologists regarding the evidence for their supernatural-based belief system, they immediately throw up a wall:  “You are still a fundamentalist.  You may be an atheist, but you still think and read the Bible as a fundamentalist.  (Christians can safely ignore anything you have to say!)”

I suggest that this is nothing more than the use of the Straw Man Fallacy.  It is a strategic, defensive ploy to discredit and if possible destroy the critic in order to avoid dealing with his or her legitimate criticisms of their belief system.  They attack the critic to shut him or her up and to convince less indoctrinated Christians reading the conversation to ignore anything that the “knuckle-dragging” atheist has to say.  And this doesn’t just happen to me.  The same accusation is made against other former conservative Christian deconvertees, including New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman! Anyone who has read Ehrman’s blog knows as a fact that he is not a fundamentalist.  Many atheists, in particular mythicist atheists, find his objectivity very annoying.

Here is a recent example of a conservative Christian apologist’s use of the Strawman Fallacy against me:

Image result for image of strawman

Conservative Christian apologist:  I’ve found that Fundamentalists–be they Christian Fundamentalists or atheist former Fundamentalists [like you, Gary] , are really obsessed over the idea of EYEWITNESS testimony [for the Gospels]. But the fact is…

Gary:   Question, several times now you have referred to me as an “atheist fundamentalist” yet I am not a mythicist. I even believe in the historicity of Jesus’ empty tomb. This infuriates many of my atheist friends who feel that my position on this issue gives undue credibility to the supernatural claims of Christianity.

I have been banned from mythicist atheist websites because I persist in asking these mythicist atheists this question: “Why do you accept majority expert opinion in most areas of your life but reject it when it comes to the historicity of Jesus? Aren’t you being inconsistent? Aren’t you behaving just like many conservative/fundamentalist Christians whom you condemn for their “biased” positions?” This very much upsets them and they either ask me to leave or they ban me for “enabling the Christian worldview”.  So would you kindly give an example of what a non-fundamentalist atheist would look like? Or do you believe that all atheists are “fundamentalists” simply because, by definition, all atheists deny the existence of your god?

Apologist: I never said you were a mythicist.  Mythicism is to history what flat-Eartherism is to science.  It has to do with the basic way you read the Scriptures. You, like Bart Ehrman, Dan Barker, and a lot of former Fundies-turned-atheists, still approach the Bible with the same mindset and fundamentalist assumptions regarding a wide range of things.  And just for the record, mythicists like Carrier have just taken many of Ehrman’s claims to their logical conclusions.

Gary:  “It has to do with the basic way you read the Scriptures.”

I read the Gospels as first century works of Greco-Roman biography. I neither accept all stories within those books as statements of historical fact nor do I reject all stories as fiction. I accept the majority consensus of scholars regarding what is and what is not historical. How is that fundamentalist?

Image result for image of strawman

Apologist:   As I’ve said before with your comments on Brown and Wright–you take what they say and contort them to fit with your conclusions. They would not agree with your conclusions concerning the Scriptures because they were never Fundamentalists. As you say on your blog, you grew up a Fundie, you consider yourself having “escaped Fundamentalism.” I’m just telling you that your basic approach to all this is still determined by that very thing. It still is the lens through which you view things. Example: Richard Dawkins is clearly an atheist, but one of his big beefs with the Bible/Christianity is that Genesis 1-11 contradicts science. That assumption: that Genesis 1-11 is even trying to do science/history–is largely a Fundamentalist presupposition. His jumping off point in his critique is that of a very Fundie way of viewing things. I submit you do that too. You can’t help it–you grew up in all that. It simply affects the way you view things, even now, when you have rejected the Christian faith as a whole.

And so, when you keep saying that you simply accept the majority consensus of scholars–sorry, you really don’t. The conclusions you come to are not the majority consensus. They are the consensus of a certain segment of scholars. Anyway, no need to go round in circles on this.

Image result for image of strawman

Gary:  I don’t think you can give even ONE example where I have contorted Wright or Brown’s statements. I never said that either one of them doubts that the Gospels contain at least some eyewitness information. I never said that either one of them doubts that there is sufficient historical evidence to believe in the resurrection.  What I said is that Wright does not believe that anyone knows who wrote the Gospels. Simply stated: He does not believe that there is sufficient evidence to state as an historical fact that Matthew, John Mark, Luke, and John the Apostle wrote the Gospels. Therefore, to believe in the traditional authorship of the Gospels if even conservative scholars like NT Wright reject it is fundamentalist thinking.  I never said that Wright does not believe that the eyewitnesses including Paul listed in the Early Creed did not see a body. I simply stated that Wright believes that this conclusion cannot be based solely on the meaning of the Greek word “opthe” used in First Corinthians 15.

Regarding Brown, I never said that he doubted the historicity of the bodily resurrection either. However, I did provide quotes in which he states that he does not believe that the Gospel authors were eyewitnesses or even associates of eyewitnesses. He believes that they were individuals one or more generations removed from the alleged events they describe. He also believes that there is a good deal of embellishment (non-historical, fictional) narrative in the Appearance Stories.

I suggest that you are using the term “fundamentalist” as a foil; as a straw man. I will bet that you label all skeptics and atheists as fundamentalists. Is it possible that you do this in an attempt to convince naive Christians, in particular, younger Christians, reading your blog to shut their ears to anything that any skeptic has to say. Is the evidence for your position so tenuous, that you must destroy the critic to protect it??  If your position is as strong as you believe it to be, there is no need to demonize skeptics. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Image result for image of strawman

Apologist:  Apparently, you do want to go in circles.  You quote Wright about the authorship of the Gospels–he says we don’t know for sure, but he also acknowledges that M,M,L,J were named such by the early 2nd century. There is nothing that says they couldn’t have been actually written by MMLJ; there is nothing other than the testimony of early 2nd century Christians like Papias that says they were definitively written by MMLJ. You take that and then proceed to suggest that the Gospels WEREN’T written by MMLJ. And you use that to then say, “Ha! Not eyewitnesses! Ha! The resurrection accounts were later embellishments to what was originally just visions and dreams!” No evidence for any of that, and you are going far beyond what the evidence actually says.

Brown and Wright acknowledge that the Gospels are ancient historical biographies, not modern biographies. They weren’t trying to do straight chronology; they had artistic freedom to shape their biographies in the form of a story. You then take that as if they are saying, “Oh, some parts are historical, but some parts are fiction.” And then, since you are now an atheist and obviously reject any suggestion of healings and supernatural events on the basis of your presupposition that there is no God or anything “supernatural” to begin with–you proceed to go through the Gospels and suggest you know which parts are “fiction” (i.e. the healings/supernatural stuff) and which parts are “history.” Wright and Brown would never take things that far, and yet you are appealing to them in an attempt to justify your own conclusions.

That’s what I’m saying. I’m not demonizing you–I’m simply pointing out what you are doing.

…And I’m sure you’re looking for material for another post on your blog. Have at it. 😉

Gary:  You are Straw-manning again.

“There is nothing that says they couldn’t have been actually written by MMLJ”

I never said that the Gospels could not have been written by MMLJ. Experts, even the majority of experts, can be wrong. I simply stated that most scholars do not believe that MMLJ were written by eyewitnesses nor associates of eyewitnesses, and therefore doubt the traditional authorship of the Gospels.

“there is nothing other than the testimony of early 2nd century Christians like Papias that says they were definitively written by MMLJ. You take that and then proceed to suggest that the Gospels WEREN’T written by MMLJ.”

Strawman. Show me ONE quote where I said that the Gospels were NOT written by MMLJ. I never said any such thing. I simply quoted the majority scholar opinion on the authorship of the Gospels. I suggest you are intentionally distorting my views in order to discredit me, thereby allowing you to avoid dealing with my criticisms of your beliefs.

“And you use that to then say, “Ha! Not eyewitnesses! Ha! The resurrection accounts were later embellishments to what was originally just visions and dreams!” No evidence for any of that, and you are going far beyond what the evidence actually says.”

Again, you are mischaracterizing my statements. What I am suggesting is that since the authors of these books were not eyewitnesses or even associates of eyewitnesses, according to the majority expert opinion, the question should be asked: what parts of these Appearance Stories come from the mouths of eyewitnesses and what parts are embellishments? If even conservative Christian scholars like Mike Licona and Raymond Brown admit that there are non-historical narratives in the Appearance Stories, how can we know what is fact and what is non-fact? How do we know then if the original appearance stories involved sightings of a literal walking, talking body or simply the sightings of a body in dreams, visions, trances, false sightings, or illusions? That is a far cry from “The resurrection accounts were later embellishments to what was originally just visions and dreams!” That is a statement of fact. I made no such claim. I simply suggested a possibility.

“you proceed to go through the Gospels and suggest you know which parts are “fiction” (i.e. the healings/supernatural stuff) and which parts are “history.” Wright and Brown would never take things that far, and yet you are appealing to them in an attempt to justify your own conclusions.”

Where did I ever make such a categorical statement of fact??? It has always been my stated position that it is IMPOSSIBLE to disprove the existence of the supernatural. Why do you do this? Is your position that weak?

 

Debate responsibly, my friends.  Truth is at stake.

 

 

 

End of post.

 

66 thoughts on “Gary, You are a Fundamentalist Atheist (so Christians Can Ignore You)

  1. It is almost impossible to debate anything with a Christian fundamentalist as they believe that persecution (which they consider any challenge to their beliefs to be) is part and parcel of being a true Christian. It even says so in the bible.
    So they positively relish being shown (told) why they are wrong because it demonstrates all the more why they ”know” they are right!

    Like

    1. If only we stupid atheists knew the intricate nuances of Christianity—that only a PhD in Theology can give you—we would see that:

      –ghost-impregnated virgins can give birth to little demi-gods.
      –human beings can walk on water.
      –brain dead corpses can come back to life, eat broiled fish, and later levitate into outer space.

      Silly, ignorant, stupid, fundamentalist atheists!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Carmen, see Gary’s comment below: THAT is the characteristic of a Fundamentalist Atheist. Lol…you read the Bible with the most wooden of wooden literalism, you read into certain passages things that aren’t there but that help your preconceived conclusions, and then you go out and use what you’ve concocted to try to “evangelize” others to your new-found faith.

      Like

        1. To characterize the story of the virginal conception as “a ghost-impregnated virgin giving birth to a demi-god”–yeah, you aren’t serious.

          Like

          1. ”To characterize the story of the virginal conception as “a ghost-impregnated virgin giving birth to a demi-god”–yeah, you aren’t serious.”

            While this description is obviously intended to come across as a pejorative ( not that I don’t think it is a hoot)
            how does something along the ,lines of: ”A Jewish Maiden who had never known a man, was covered by the Holy Spirit in order to be God’s chosen vessel for the Son of God” differ in any meaningful way?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I’m deadly serious. I’m calling out ancient nonsense for what it is. I am hoping that one day you and other brain-washed theists will realize this. These stories are ancient tales, Joel. They may be told in a historical setting, but that doesn’t make them true anymore than stories of one-eyed Cyclops in the historical setting of the Greek-Trojan war.

            Like

            1. In a post in which you claim Christians call you a “fundamentalist” in an attempt to demean you and avoid serious debate, you engage in demeaning caricatures to score cheap points with those in your circle….huh….

              Like

              1. I demean beliefs. I never demean people.

                I have never inferred that you are not the very intelligent person I believe you to be. However, I believe that you are brain-washed, as I once was. You are a very intelligent, brain-washed individual who I am trying to help escape from a fear-based ancient superstitious belief system. If you were a liberal Christian universalist, I would wish you a nice day and not engage you.

                Your beliefs are dangerous both for you and for society in general.

                If I must point out the silliness of your superstitions to achieve the goal of opening your eyes to reality, I will do so.

                Like

              2. What you simply refuse to acknowledge, Joel, is that almost every interlocutor that takes issue with your position was in a similar position as you are in, whether liberal or fundamentalist.
                Every argument you put forward, every apologetic excuse you retreat to these people have heard – and in the main – used during their former days as Christians.
                Although I doubt any of them would be so arrogant to suggest they would ever convince you simply by trying to explain how untenable your position is.
                However, there are others that read along who may be struggling with doubt who prefer not to comment. Perhaps one of these people will be monitoring these exchanges, waiting for one such as you to fully explain your position with evidence in the hope that you will assuage their doubt.
                And yet, so far, on Gary’s blog as on your own, all you have offered is rhetoric and bluster.

                Like

      1. @Joel
        An atheist is simply one who has no belief in gods – yours or anyone else’s , Joel.
        Is this so difficult a concept for you to grasp.
        That is it.
        Simply look at the word: A-theist.
        Any other perspective an individual brings to the table outside of this specific parameter depends solely (souly?) on that person’s worldview.

        Like

  2. Gary,

    I’ve been at this a lot longer than you, having ”interacted” with countless Joels over the past 12 years. I give you praise (and worship) 😁 for your continued attempts to engage Christians who refuse to accept and understand your story and arguments at face value. Joel calling you a fundamentalist is his way of dismissing you out of hand. As you stated in your post, Joel is using strawman arguments. That he considers Dr. Ehrman a fundamentalist is hilarious.

    These days, I don’t bother with the Joels of the world. If they persist, I oh-so-politely tell them to f**k off. 😁

    Keep up the good work.

    A sinner saved by Reason,

    Bruce

    Like

    1. Bruce, Gary has come on my blog for the past few weeks, and he’s been peppering me with stuff in order to get material for this blog. I don’t mind.

      And yes, Ehrman comes from a Fundie background and it colors the way he comes to the text even today. The early Christians weren’t expecting some kind of Hal Lindsey/Tim LaHaye prediction to unfold within their lifetimes, and then completely made stuff up and changed their theology to keep the movement going after that big disappointment that their “End Times” expectations were dashed. The early Christians were not 20th century Evangelicals. His entire understanding of Jesus as an Apocalyptic prophet is based on that Fundie assumption regarding the “End Times.”

      Sorry, but he (as does Gary) still carries with him a number of assumptions from his Fundie days.

      Like

      1. The Jesus followers initially sold all they possessed and moved into a commune in Jerusalem, waiting for Jesus to return at any moment. That is fundamentalist behavior! They were much more nutty than Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye.,,who were extremely nutty!

        Like

    2. And I’d hardly say I’ve been ignoring him. I’ve been trying to respond to practically every one of his 200+ comments on my blog for the past two weeks.

      Like

      1. You’ve been very generous with your time, Joel. Most conservative Christian bloggers would have given me the boot a long time ago. I commend and applaud you for your willingness to listen to opposing points of view.

        Like

  3. Your blog is living proof that the Bible contains lies. See, a man can be tempted more than he can bare. The natural man is no enemy to god—reason is.

    Like

  4. I confess… I’ve oft chided Gary for being a “fundamentalist” (although, I don’t believe I’ve used the term “fundamentalist atheist”).

    But, I’d have to admit: Guys from former fundamenatlist backgrounds to seem very much to retain the very same fundamentalist approach in reading the bible – whether they believe it or not.

    It’s a “mindset” thing. That mindset doesn’t change, just because the “belief system” changes. If a person is wired such that he/she gravitates toward a fundamentalist view – an extremely brittle, literal, “it’s gotta mean this one thing, or it means nothing” approach – then, that “wiring” is just gonna be there, whether the person professes Christianity or Atheism.

    You can see this very thing it all different occupations, relationships, and so on: it’s basically a mentality that is looking for one very predictable, unquestionable, set-in-stone “source” of a “truth” which will provide a world-view that is somehow “comfortable” to the fundamentalists brain-wiring.

    The thing I see very commonly from ex-fundamentalist Christians is that they thought the bible was a substitute for a relationship to God. And, it’s sad – but – this very thing is commonly taught in so many churches (whether they intend to convey this idea or not).

    The thing is, once that “source” fails to deliver – ie, for the ex-fundamentalist Christian – once it’s discovered that the bible just might have errors in it, or that the Greek really does say something quite different than the English, or “I handled snakes and got bit, and ended up in the hospital, so the bible isn’t true”, and so on – then that brittle fixation to that “source” (the bible, not God) cracks. Everything the fundamentalist once believe – all of it – must be wrong. It can’t be a matter of re-thinking the issue. The very nature of the fundamentalist mindset is that there can be no re-thinking. That’s why (for example) fundamentalist Christians will completely reject, out of hand, anything that someone like Ehrman says. It can’t be (for example) that the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate in the Gospel of John didn’t actually happen. If the fundamentalist had a mind-wiring that wold allow pondering that possibility, then, that person wouldn’t be a fundamentalist.

    So, what you end up seeing in the arguments of the ex-fundamentalist Christian are really their rejections of stuff that once gave them a comfortable “brain fix”. The fundamentalist really believed an animated corpse did rise up out of Jesus’ tomb, rather than a transformed and supernatural body. Hence, it’s a “walking, talking corpse” that the ex-fundamentalist rejects. And, the whole problem is this: There is no reason at all to believe Jesus was a raised-up, “walking, talking corpse” in the first place. Corpses, whether re-animated or not, do not suddenly appear in a room. They do not appear unrecognizable at one point, then become recognizable at another. They do not appear with wounds on some occasions, then without wounds on others. A transformed, supernatural body might well do that, but not a corpse. But, that was the ex-fundamentalists very brittle, wooden, lacking-in-nuance view in the first place. And, after “de-conversion”, it remains the same as it always was. Only, now, rather than being a “comfortable ‘fix'”, it’s a major disappointment, something to be rejected.

    But, I think it mainly gets down to brain wiring. And, it’s not at all limited to “religious” stuff at all. It’s like a guy who, as a kid, was shown the wrong way to swing a baseball bat, but believing it to be the “right” way (because after all, it’s what he was raised with). Consequently, he can never hit a baseball – and then becomes frustrated, and vows angrily to never waste his time playing baseball again – when all along, the problem was because he learned wrong in the first place. But, the possibility that he learned wrong in the first place can not enter his mind. He “learned right”, and “it just doesn’t work”. So, no more baseball.

    Unfortunately, fundamentalists live with some very serious tensions: there’s supposed to be a formula – “if it says ‘he shone like the sun’, then it has to mean he actually shone like the sun”. And, finding out that the statement can not be taken literally, then, it turns to an angry and mocking rejection: “how can any rational person believe someone ‘shone like the sun???” – never realizing that most other people simply don’t have an issue with it, because they just don’t take it literally in the first place.

    So, my totally un-educated guess is that it’s just a brain-wiring thing….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @FT

      So, my totally un-educated guess is that it’s just a brain-wiring thing…

      Raised from the dead is raised from the dead. It matters little what terms or words one chooses to define it. Dead is dead. Period.
      That you believe this nonsense simply means you have been indoctrinated to accept specific terms that appeal to you.
      Therefore, my totally uneducated guess is that for you it’s just a brain .- wiring thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Do you think people can be supported to move past this more rigid, black/white kind of thinking, despite brain wiring.? I don’t know. I definitely thought more in fundamentalist type ways when I was much younger. What do you think about Fowler’s Stages of Faith.?

      Like

  5. I think it’s referred to as ‘brainwashing’ by some. Perhaps ‘social conditioning’ would be a better term. Whatever; it does its job until one realizes it’s all nonsense.
    Joel, in plain and simple terms – there is no invisible being which waved a magic wand to create life. That’s a childish belief which most sensible people eventually recognize as wishful thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly right, Carmen. Christians (and all theists) have created an imaginary friend to make them feel safe, comfortable…and superior to others. It is a childish mindset. Abandon your imaginary friend, Joel. You don’t need him. You will be just fine on your own!

      Like

  6. “However, I believe that you are brain-washed, as I once was.”

    any time someone is claiming that another person is “indoctrinated” or “brainwashed”, it is actively demeaning that person, an attempt to minimalize or dehumanize them. It is saying “you (you poor soul) are incapable of making rational determinations on your own, and instead, have allowed others to determine your positions for you”.

    and Gary, you do this repeatedly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anyone who believes that an invisible superhero is going to punish them for committing a thought crime (not believing in him or her), and devotes his or her entire life to convince others of this belief, is brainwashed. I make no apologies for that statement. Sometimes people involved in cults must be jolted out of their delusions by presenting their beliefs for what they are: superstitious nonsense.

      Conservative Christianity is a cult. Make no mistake about it. Any organization that lures you in with promises of love and eternal happiness but threatens you with eternal damnation if you leave, is a cult. Period.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. re: “Anyone who believes that an invisible superhero is going to punish them for committing a thought crime (not believing in him or her), and devotes his or her entire life to convince others of this belief, is brainwashed…. Any organization that lures you in with promises of love and eternal happiness but threatens you with eternal damnation if you leave, is a cult. Period.”

        From our many, many conversations over the last year and a half, you know full-well that I am one who is convinced that Jesus was, as historical fact, bodily-resurrected. And, you also know that I myself have never put forth any claims that “if you don’t believe this, you’re headed for eternal damnation”, nor have I ever stated anything remotely resembling the idea that “an invisible superhero is going to punish them for committing a thought crime (not believing in him or her)”. Heck, you know very well that I don’t even buy into the “Trinity” concept of God. I hardly fit the mold of what you consider a “conservative Christian”.

        Are you now claiming that you’ve never called me brainwashed or indoctrinated?

        Like

        1. If you actually believe in the bodily resurrection of a real person called Jesus, it appears you are either brainwashed, indoctrinated, or delusional. (Or a combination)
          Take your pick. If you consider that a personal attack it’s on you. I consider it an valid observation.

          Like

          1. Carmen – is your name “Gary”? if not, then why are you answering posts made to Gary?

            I don’t know who you are, and I can asssure you, I couldn’t give a rip about what you think.

            If and when I get ready to say something to you, I’ll address you. But, so far, I’ve not seen anything you’ve had to say that I felt was worth my taking time to address.

            Like

              1. so far, Carmen, I really don’t give a rip what you say. I do, however, consider it worthwhile to point out that you’ve got no more business answering a question addressed to someone else in a blog than you do in real life.

                Gary is quite capable enough of answering questions addressed to him.

                Like

                1. Calm down, ft. Anyone is welcome to reply to any comment posted on my blog, whether it is my comment, your comment, Carmen’s comment, or anyone else’s. If you don’t like what Carmen is saying you have the option to ignore her. Please do not tell other readers of my blog what they can and cannot do.

                  Thank you.

                  Like

                  1. the question is way too broad to give a yes or no answer to. You need to refine it.

                    example 1: — are you asking if I believe God will punish a non-believer because he/she is a non-believer?

                    example 2: — a non-believer in what, exactly? one who doesn’t believe there is a God? one who doesn’t believe Jesus was – what? bodily resurrected? existent? messiah?

                    If you’re asking whether there might be “punishment” in the afterlife, the answer is “yes”. Just as I believe there will also be “reward”.

                    Other than that, you need to refine your question if you want a yes or no answer…

                    Like

                    1. Gary, I’m wondering if ftbond knows what DEAD means. (afterlife seems to me to be a contradiction in terms)

                      Like

                    2. If you believe that any belief or lack of belief can result in some form of punishment from your God, then, in my opinion, you are brainwashed and a member of a cult.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  1. You must understand, Carmen, that ft has no real concept of what an open blog is and thus when he is on his soapbox he believes no one else has a right to ‘speak’

                    Like

          2. Yet, how can anyone know this with absolute certainty, Carmen, unless we know the person intimately or can somehow get inside their head? I think someone can review their own experience, and feel that they personally held former views because of indoctrination or brainwashing. We can always speak for ourselves.

            But, does this necessarily mean that everyone else has come to their view /conviction of the resurrection of Jesus in the same way?

            For instance, suppose someone, through study and careful thinking and reflection has come to feel that there is indeed a creator. This would then allow for the possibility of the supernatural. What if in their examination of the testimony of the church, they came to feel that the apostolic witness of the resurrection was true, and the best explanation for the genesis and spread of the early Christian church.

            You might very much disagree with the person’s views and share that, but can you say without a doubt that they came to their position through mental illness, brainwashing or blind indoctrination. Everyone is very different, so it just seems more complex to me.

            Like

            1. Evidence – or in this case, lack of – Becky.
              There’s one reason to believe the unbelievable – a person simply wants to. A person wants to because of indoctrination, brainwashing or delusion.

              Like

            2. Just like there’s no evidence that Jesus actually was an historical person, there’s no evidence for bodily resurrection. The reason they sound like myths? – They probably are. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Bur, Carmen, it is the consensus of most scholars of antiquity, even those who are not Christian, that Jesus really did exist as a historical person. Of course, there is a huge difference of opinion relating to His identity as the Son of God. 🙂

                Most NT scholars also affirm the empty tomb. Of course, as Gary has shared, there is a difference of opinion relating to causation? Was the body stolen or moved? Were the apostles testifying to an objectively real event, or were they responding to this perfect storm of visions, grief-induced vivid dreams which they accepted as reality? Was Paul suffering from delusional thinking or psychosis? Or, not? We all have to be persuaded in our minds.

                But, I personally could not say that everyone who disagreed with my conviction, either way, was delusional, mentally ill, or simply brainwashed. Again, I think it’s much deeper and more complex.

                Give you the last word. Think you’re a good person, Carmen. But, we have a difference of opinion.

                Like

                1. @ Becky

                  At the risk of incurring the wrath of ft for ”jumping in”, could you please present the evidence – any evidence, in fact, that there ever was a tomb,
                  Thanks.

                  Like

                2. Becky,
                  Of course I’m a good person! Just ask the students sitting in front of me today (I’m a High School Substitute and it’s the last day of regular classes before exams start) 🙂
                  The thing is, in order to form an educated opinion one needs to consider evidence. There are also better explanations which need to be considered on the subject of the resurrection of Christ. Just so you know, I believed the myth for over 35 years. However, upon examination and reading many, many books (over about a two-year span) I came to realize the ruse. In actual fact, after reading the Bible from cover to cover I recognized the mythical qualities it contained and realized that if there IS a god (and I don’t think there is) I certainly wouldn’t give any kind of reverence to the god of the Bible. I now believe in good (which I have for a long, long time), not any gods. My motto has become, “Science explains most things; religion explains nothing”.

                  In my opinion, in order for us to be good we don’t need god(s). For the evidence, I have eight grandchildren who are growing up to be kind, good young people – without the influence of any kind of supernatural being.

                  Like

                  1. Hey, I have eight grand-kids, too. They are wearing me out this summer. LOL

                    Well, I guess the whole subject is deep to thoroughly discuss here. I would agree with you, Carmen, that myth and allegory is certainly present in Scripture and sometimes used to present aspects of deeper truth, and also that the understanding of the nature and purpose of God is progressive through time. I don’t have a fundamentalist view of the Bible, but do believe that it contains and reflects the word of God, none the less, and should be taken seriously, albeit not always literally. The genre needs to be considered.

                    You know, sometimes Scripture speaks in metaphor or in anthropomorphic ways. To give an example, I mean, how does God “speak?” Does He have a voice box? Does He mold things literally out of clay like a potter? How could the reality of creation and God’s care be connected and interpreted to people of ancient times who did not have a modern-day grasp of science or human origin? Voila, we have Genesis one and two.

                    Also, I think Jesus, showing us the very nature of God, is the hermeneutic (lens) through which we should view and interpret the Bible, not the other way around. So, for example, if I read a story in the OT which seems to flatly contradict the teaching of Christ to love even our enemies, then I question whether this story objectively reflects the word of God, or perhaps is also being impacted by the cultural bias and limited understanding of the time. Sometimes, I just have to be honest, and realize that I’m uncertain or that I don’t have all the answers.

                    I’m ok with that. Even the apostle Paul shared, “We see through a glass darkly.”

                    I personally would not interpret the resurrection of Christ, in a mythical way.

                    But, in all fairness, there are some Christian believers though, actually people in my church, who also do not interpret the resurrection of Jesus in a literal sense as well. They would see this all as a more spiritual, yet very real, experience of the risen Christ., and still, consider themselves committed Christians.

                    Can’t totally agree, but have great confidence that God’s Spirit will guide us to truth together.

                    Hope you enjoy your summer. Be blessed, Carmen. Thank you for sharing your views with me. Also, think that reason and science is very important. But, for me, this does not conflict with my Christian faith.

                    Like

                    1. @ Hi, Becky
                      I realise you were in dialogue with Carmen but could you at least have a look at my question and see if you can provide some evidence for the claim concerning the tomb?
                      I’ll settle for evidence of where it is.

                      Like

                    2. Don’t you realize, Ark, that there is no “s” in the word “realize”? I hope you come to the realiZation that the proper spelling of all English words, including r-e-a-l-i-z-e, comes from the shores of AMERICA!

                      🙂

                      Couldn’t pass that up, my South African friend!

                      Like

        2. Do you believe that your God will punish non-believers, in any fashion, in this life or in the (alleged) after-life? Please do not give me a long convoluted explanation. A “yes” or “no” answer is requested.

          Like

  7. Gary — a note: It appears that my answer to your question about “punishment of unbelievers” did not end up in the right place. At least, not on my screen…

    Just a note to let you know what I meant to be responding to, in case it looks confusing…

    Like

  8. Ark Carmen Gary – what I said, and ALL I said, is this: ” I do, however, consider it worthwhile to point out that you’ve got no more business answering a question addressed to someone else in a blog than you do in real life.”

    Anybody can say whatever they want, whenever they want, in this blog (provided it’s not a “bootable” offense, as per Gary’s determination).

    But, if I address a question to Bob, about something Bob said to ME, personally, then I don’t see that anybody else has any business in answering my question to Bob.

    Can they, though? Sure. And, I’ll probably respond “you got no business answering my question addressed to Bob, about something he said to me”.

    Is that me on a soapbox? OK, fine… I can live with that.

    Like

    1. Just ignore comments you don’t like, ft. Let me be the moderator. If someone starts breaking my rules of “polite debate” and saying something inappropriate to you, I will edit or delete their comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. @ft
      Well perhaps this would be as good a time as any to show how much integrity you have by presenting the evidence you have regarding your afterlife belief to all of us?

      Like

  9. And here was I thinking this blog was called ‘Escaping Christian Fundamentalism‘. Isn’t that clear enough for your critics? Or don’t Fundamentalists think that the Bible is the literal Word of God anymore?

    But really, Gary, what are you thinking, writing about what you declare your blog to be expressly about? No wonder God’s Chosen are baffled and bewildered.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s