Dear Christians: Please Provide Evidence that Jesus is Still Alive Today

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Gary: You believe that the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is strong enough for it to be sufficient for you to believe, but you said above that you would not describe it as strong, per se. Very good.

Let’s assume as fact that Jesus was seen alive again after his crucifixion and burial, either through some rare natural explanation (we know of at least a couple of other people who survived crucifixions) or the Creator of the universe performed a miracle, and brought Jesus back to life.

What evidence do you have that Jesus is still alive today and that he rules as omnipotent Lord of the universe?

Christian: I don’t know if I have any strong empirical evidence to offer just things that encourage me. These would be the categories of those things:

1. Testimonies of people whose lives changed radically after an experience with Jesus. some people used to be really big jerks and now they’re not.
2. Alleged miracle accounts. There is this guy Keener I think his name is who wrote a whole volume on some of them. maybe you don’t find the evidence to be strong enough for any of them but of course it could be something to consider.
3. Answers to prayer like the example I gave above that have a reasonable degree of complexity and specificity.

Gary: The early Christian Church has told you and every Christian for the last two thousand years that Jesus of Nazareth not only was seen alive again after his death, but that his dead corpse had been transformed into a superhero-like body with unlimited supernatural powers, that this body lifted off the face of the earth into the sky, that he is the Creator of the universe, and that at this very moment, he reigns as omnipotent Lord and Master of the cosmos. What evidence is there for this fantastical claim?

Any?

We have ZERO eyewitness testimony from someone alleging to have seen Jesus disappear into the clouds. We have one account of this alleged levitation, from someone who admits that he was not an eyewitness, and whom many scholars doubt was even an associate of one of the eyewitnesses. This is the same author who alleges in the Book of Acts that Peter’s shadow magically healed people of their illnesses as he passed by on the street!

So isn’t it possible that even if Jesus survived his crucifixion by some natural explanation/or was miraculously raised from the dead by a Creator, that he lived for a few more years and died just like the rest of us? What evidence is there that Jesus is still alive and well??

-You stated above that you are “uncertain” as to the evidence that Jesus answers prayer and intervenes to alter the course of human events. That doesn’t sound like convincing evidence to believe that a first century peasant is the current ruler of the universe.

-Testimonies: If you go on youtube, you will find hundreds of videos by Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Hare Krishna, etc. who believe that their conversion to their new faith has dramatically changed their lives; changes that could only have occurred by the intervention of their god, proving that their new religion is the one true religion. How do we know which of you is correct??

-Miracles: I’ve read Craig Keener’s book, “Miracles”, both volumes, cover to cover. Keener lists hundreds of alleged miracles…but admits that he did not spend one DIME to investigate them. Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons can also give thousands of accounts of similar “miracles”. So either a lot of different gods are doing a lot of different miracles, or a lot of random chance occurrences are being falsely interpreted as acts of a god.

-Answered Prayer: You said previously that the evidence that Jesus answers your prayers is sufficient for you but probably unconvincing on its own.

So David, is it rational, based on the evidence you have presented, to believe that the Creator and ruler of our universe is a back-from-the-dead first century peasant turned superhero?

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End of post.

38 thoughts on “Dear Christians: Please Provide Evidence that Jesus is Still Alive Today

  1. Granting your stated assumption: “Let’s assume as fact that Jesus was seen alive again after his crucifixion and burial, either through some rare natural explanation (we know of at least a couple of other people who survived crucifixions) or the Creator of the universe performed a miracle, and brought Jesus back to life.”

    I’m PRESUMING (hopefully, correctly) that this question, which was in bold, is the main thing you’re asking: “What evidence is there that Jesus is still alive and well??”

    So – first – did Jesus come back to life in a rare-but-natural event (like, a case of Lazarus Syndrome), or, was his “coming back to life” an act of God (whether being raised up to an eternal life, or, a to a temporary one)?

    If we determine that Jesus coming back to life “naturally” is a non-starter, then we can move to the other options.

    Now, as a starting point, let me first mention the common objections to the “swoon theory”, because I believe these objections are relevant. The “swoon theory” that Jesus didn’t really die, but just appeared to have died, has long been rejected – and, at least partly because a survivor of a crucifixion is probably going to be crippled and hobbled for quite some time after the crucifixion (if not permanently), and thus, is hardly likely to convince anyone that he is a resurrected being, or an exalted Messiah. In the mid-19th century, Strauss took this position, writing “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill and wanting medical treatment… could have given the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life: an impression that lay at the bottom of their future ministry”. Other scholars have had similar objections or concurred with Strauss, and wiki notes that scholars consider it uncontroversial that Jesus did indeed die from crucifixion, rendering the “swoon theory” as obsolete.

    I think the same objection of Strauss (and others) could be applied in the case that Jesus really did die, and then due to some kind of “Lazarus Syndrome” effect, came back to life: he’d still be crippled and hobbled. He’d probably be battling severe pain, swelling, and maybe even infections for weeks, at least, and then, would still be left with limited use of hands and feet, probably unable to walk in any “normal” fashion (if at all). Not a real convincing “Eternally-living Messiah”, but more like a person to be pitied.

    And then, this begs a question: If Jesus did survive the crucifixion, why on earth would he go announce his presence to anyone? If he survived the crucifixion and found medical help for his wounds, and finally began to recover somewhat, then he’d probably want to lay real low, in fear for his life. There would be nothing to stop either Jewish or Roman authorities from simply crucifying him again if they found out. And besides, even his own followers didn’t “save his butt” from crucifixion. It’s difficult to imagine what reason he’d even show up to them again. But, since we’re assuming he did, it is still very difficult to imagine how a claim of “eternally-living Messiah” who is “seated at the right hand of God” starts with this bodily (and probably psychologically) broken and crippled person.

    Granted, Jesus’ disciples (first century Judean peasants) would almost assuredly consider the fact that Jesus was alive to be a “miracle”, but, that doesn’t translate into an “eternally-living Messiah”. This battered, crippled and hobbled Jesus is still a guy that is going to die again. There’s nothing that suggests otherwise, in this scenario. I’d also grant that despite his wretched physical condition, Jesus’ disciples could have used this “miracle” (the rare but natural resuscitation) to proclaim him as “Messiah” – but – again, we have to ask whether he’d even want anyone to know he was alive (again).
    So, for much of the same reasons that the swoon theory has long been rejected, I think the “rare natural explanation” of Jesus having actually died, then revived, etc, can be even more rejected: cases of the Lazarus-Syndrome-type revitalizations are extremely rare, and, added to the other objections (for which the swoon theory has long been rejected), it doesn’t seem compellingly plausible that the disciples to claim that Jesus was Messiah and the Eternal Lord of the Universe.

    That leaves us with the “God did it” (miraculous) options, going by the working set of assumptions you specified.
    Whether God raised up Jesus to an eternal life, or whether he raised up Jesus to a “temporary” or “mortal” life (only to die again, later), we’re talking about “miraculous” and “supernatural”.

    But, we have to answer whether God raised up Jesus to an eternal life, or to a temporary life, and whether he was raised up in some kind of crippled, hobbled fashion, or in some “bodily capable” (and NOT crippled and hobbled) fashion.

    Option 1: If God miraculously (ie, “supernaturally”) raised Jesus from the dead to a temporary (mortal) life in a bodily-capable fashion (but, not having supernatural qualities), then that’s certainly no point of shame or embarrassment for his disciples. It would truly be miraculous to see someone that has “risen from the dead”, and who is not still suffering effects of a crucifixion, such that he can’t even walk well or grasp things with his hands well. Nonetheless, there is nothing in this scenarion to suggest “resurrection” over “resuscitation” (as with Lazarus, Tabitha, an a couple of OT examples). Still, it could still mean (to the disciples) that Jesus was indeed Messiah. It would just be a different “gospel”, with different meanings than the one that developed, a different story that was told: Jesus died, was buried, was raised — and then, “lived to be 90, having taught the Kingdom of God to all Judea” (or something). So, since there is nothing in the scenario to suggest “resurrection” over “resuscitation”, it’s hard to see how this could lead to claims that Jesus was raised up to eternal life, and lives exalted in the heavens, seated at the right hand of God, and so on. I think we can blow off this option.

    Option 2: If God miraculously raised Jesus up from the dead to a temporary (mortal) life in a crippled and hobbled body still suffering the effects of a crucifixion, then, it’s really hard to distinguish between that “miracle scenario” and the “rare natural explanation” – and, equally hard to imagine that the crippled, hobbled creature – one that would probably be in fear for his life, and wouldn’t want anyone to know where he was – was Messiah. This option is effectively no different than the swoon theory, in that Strauss’ objection still applies: “It is impossible that a being who had [ in this case, been raised from the dead, and yet ] stolen half dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill and wanting medical treatment… could have given the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life: an impression that lay at the bottom of their future ministry”.

    Option 3: If God miraculously raised up Jesus in a bodily-capable form (not crippled and hobbled), and there were indications that this body was not a “natural” body, but one of supernatural qualities, then it could well be understood that, having supernatural qualities, this body was no longer bound by nature, and thus, no longer bound to die again. In other words, in order to distinguish this body as being “resurrected”, and not merely “resuscitated”, there would have to be some indication that this body was no longer subject to naturn, and hence, no longer subject to death. This raised body had to be seen as “supernatural”, and not subject to nature, else, we’re right back to Option 1 – a Jesus that is raised up, bodily capable, and yet, not an “eternal life”.

    Clearly, though, a “resurrected” body (a “supernatural” body, and not merely a resuscitated body) is the view that Paul takes. Once a body has been set free of this “temporal nature”, it is free from death, and clearly, Jesus’ body had been set free (in resurrection) from this nature (and from death). And, in Paul’s writings, it is impossible to get around the fact that Paul understood Jesus to be living eternally, exalted and at the right hand of God – resurrected, not resuscitated; Supernatural, not natural.

    Did Peter, James, John (and others of the Jerusalem church) have this same view? Paul says in Galatians that he shared his gospel message with those of the Jerusalem church to assure that he “had not run in vain”, and he reports that they concurred. The Jerusalem church understood Jesus to have been resurrected, not resuscitated, and as a resurrected being that was not subject to nature (and hence, not subject to death again), Jesus was understood to live eternally: resurrected biengs are not subject to death; hence, they have eternal life. It is impossible to imagine that the Jerusalem church could have disagreed with Paul over the “eternally living” (or, “resurrected”) status of Jesus, and not to have seen mention of that in Paul’s letters, when on the other hand, he talks about disagreements with the Jerusalem church over cutting someone’s foreskin off.

    So, basically, of the scenarios discussed above, the only one that results in a gospel of a resurrected (and thus, eternally-living) being is this last option: Jesus miraculously raised in a capable, non-crippled, non-hobbled body that itself displayed evidence of being something more than a miraculous resuscitation. There must have been evidence it being “supernatural”, and thus, of no longer being subject to nature, nor to death. Otherwise, it would have been a resuscitation.

    IS THAT WHAT THE DISCIPLES SAW? (assuming, as we are, that Jesus was indeed seen alive again after death). Well, it’s the only option that leads to a claim of an eternally-living Jesus. The other claims simply lead to a resuscitated Jesus.

    So – “how do we know Jesus is alive and well??”

    If the Jesus that the disciples saw displayed evidences of being supernatural, and thus, no longer subject to nature nor to death, then this would be cause for a claim of resurrection, not resuscitation. And, if Jesus was resurrected, then, he lives eternally. That is “resurrection”.

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    1. But you do admit that it is possible to survive a crucifixion.

      Good. If Jesus survived the crucifixion and was simply unconscious when he was laid in the tomb, isn’t this scenario possible:

      Someone opened the tomb within a short time after the stone was rolled in front (a few hours or a day or two) and finds Jesus alive, but in bad shape. This person took Jesus to his or her house, nursed him, and brought him back to good health. This care lasted SIX months, at the end of which, Jesus was just fine. If the Gospels are correct that not one bone was broken during his crucifixion, why would he be crippled or hobbled? Jesus, still under the delusion that he was the promised messiah, “appeared” one last time to his startled disciples (six months after he went missing), told them he was going away for a short time, but that he would soon return to establish the Kingdom.

      His “nurse” then wisks Jesus to India where she keeps him until his death (with Jesus believing to the last breath that God will soon empower him to return to Palestine as King of the Jews).

      His ongoing absence caused the disciples to engage in cognitive dissonance for why he hadn’t come back. Their final solution to the puzzle: Jesus has been resurrected to heaven! That is why he hasn’t come back. But he will soon return to finish the general resurrection. He was the FIRST FRUITS!

      Cognitive dissonance resolved!

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  2. re: “But you do admit that it is possible to survive a crucifixion.”

    Well, I didn’t mention that in my response. The Assumption was that Jesus died and then came back to life, either by a rare natural phenomenon, or, by a miracle.

    But, we both already know that Josephus had three friends that got crucified, and he managed to attempt a rescue — one lived, and the other two died, while having the best medical care possible at the time. So, yeh, there’s no reason to think a person can’t survive a crucifixion, but, I’m sure it depends on a lot of different variables.

    None of that was an issue in either your post, nor in mine. Again, I was responding, using your stated Assumptions.

    Regarding your suggested scenario: I think you ought to write that up “formally” and submit it for peer review!

    Is is a possible scenario? Sure, anythings possible. The question is whether it’s plausible or not.

    I’d admit that for me, personally, it’s not real convincing. But, that’s just me.

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    1. To millions of non-Christians (Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, etc.) the possibility that Mary Magdalene paid money to sneak a convalescing Jesus out of Roman occupied Palestine is much more plausible than a resurrection.

      But you will never be convinced of that.

      However, the fact that millions of Jews, Muslims, and Hindus would see this possibility or another natural explanation as plausible is evidence that belief in a natural explanation for the Resurrection belief has nothing to do with a bias against the supernatural.

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  3. re: “To millions of non-Christians (Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, etc.) the possibility that Mary Magdalene paid money to sneak a convalescing Jesus out of Roman occupied Palestine is much more plausible than a resurrection.”

    No argument with that.

    re: “But you will never be convinced of that.”

    This is correct. But, this is because, as I did my own investigation, I became convinced that Jesus being resurrected was the most plausible explanation for what really happened. For example, in your suggested scenario (in this thread) that Jesus shows up six months after the crucifixion, and then takes off, not to be seen again, doesn’t lead to a belief in a “resurrection”. Why would they not simply say “Jesus was assumed into heaven, like Enoch”?

    You don’t seem to understand that Jesus’ story did not “have” to result in a “gospel”, and in particular, not “The Gospel” as we now have it. It was, after all, just Jesus and his disciples in a small-ish “Messianic” movement, but being “Messiah” doesn’t require a resurrection at all. So, the first question one has to answer is “WHY did the disciples claim ‘resurrection’ (of all things) when they could simply have claimed ‘resuscitation’ (which would be seen as ‘miraculous’), maybe followed by Jesus’ “assumption” into heaven (for which there was precedent). Instead, for some reason, they claimed “resurrection” – something entirely unexpected, and for which there was neither (a) precedent, or (b) necessity.

    So, my first thought about your scenario (which, I really think you should get peer-reviewed!) is that it doesn’t really explain why the “resurrection” idea came up at all. I mean, “resurrection” would have been (quite literally) about the last thing that would be considered, because “resurrection” was supposed to be something that happened “at the last day”. So, somehow, you need to explain why the idea of an “individual resurrection” – which was totally out of line with commonly-held resurrection beliefs – would have even come up (as opposed, to, say, an assumption into heaven – or for that matter – a vacation in Patagonia, both which are more “believable”).

    re: “However, the fact that millions of Jews, Muslims, and Hindus would see this possibility or another natural explanation as plausible is evidence that belief in a natural explanation for the Resurrection belief has nothing to do with a bias against the supernatural.”

    No argument with that.

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    1. Why would they not simply say “Jesus was assumed into heaven, like Enoch”?

      These people were DESPERATE for a Savior. They were living under brutal occupation. Jesus had told them that he was the Messiah. Every Jew knew that the Hebrew Scriptures promised that the Messiah would usher in a new and powerful JEWISH kingdom, re-establishing the throne of David. These guys had probably spent many sleepless nights dreaming about sitting on thrones as princes, ruling alongside Jesus. All their dreams came crashing down the day Jesus was arrested and then executed. How could this be if Jesus truly was the Messiah???

      That was the dilemma. That is what caused classic cognitive dissonance: How do we reconcile reality (an executed Jesus) with our dreams and hopes of a restored, independent, powerful Jewish kingdom?

      An Enoch-like assumption into heaven was not going to bring about the New Kingdom! The New Kingdom would ONLY be established at the same time as the general resurrection of the righteous. So resurrection HAD to be part of the solution. And with a little ingenuity, they came up with the idea that Jesus had been the FIRST FRUITS of the resurrection and that he was coming back to complete the resurrection of all the righteous dead and to establish the New Kingdom.

      Very simple.

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      1. Almost. Except the True Jews did not see Yeshua as the long-awaited Messiah. And still don’t.

        It was Paul that convinced the Gentiles that the sandal-wearing guy was someone special. And they bought it. Along with a few of the more Greek-leaning Jews.

        And the rest is history.

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    2. @ PolycarpsScribe

      But, this is because, as I did my own investigation, I became convinced that Jesus being resurrected was the most plausible explanation for what really happened.

      For this assertion to carry any weight at all it falls to you to detail exactly what it was that convinced you.
      If you are not prepared to divulge any details, on what grounds can you expect anyone to treat such a claim with anything but disdain?

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  4. Gary –

    Yeh – and like I say, I really think you ought to pass this by some real historians, once you get it written up in detail.

    Honestly, to me, it just looks like a slightly worse version of the “swoon theory”. But, let some real NT historians have a look at it. They might think it’s absolutely genius. Heck, I could imagine Ehrman, Crossan, Funk, Tabor and Ludemann all saying “wow, why didn’t I think of that”???

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    1. You are, once again, failing to recognize that I am not trying to describe what DID happen. I am simply giving you one of many different POSSIBLE explanations.

      Skeptics are under no obligation to provide one iota of evidence for possible/plausible explanations for the early Christian resurrection belief. Supporting evidence would only be required if we were asserting that ONE particular explanation is historical fact. When discussing possibilities/plausibilities, our only requirement is to refrain from listing possible explanations which contradict any known, agreed-upon evidence. My “Nurse Mary Magdalene” scenario does not contradict any of the known, agreed-upon evidence (what little there is).

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    2. There are many, many possible natural explanations for the early Christian Resurrection belief. Here are just a couple more:

      -the Sanhedrin moved the body on Saturday after sunset without telling anyone else.
      -non-believing members of Jesus’ family took the body on Saturday night and secretly reburied him somewhere else.
      -Pilate changed his mind about allowing the Jews to bury the body of a traitor to Caesar. He had the body removed during Passover while all the Jews were inside their homes.
      -Relic dealers stole the body, thinking they could later sell off body parts of the “King of the Jews”(some of these body parts can be found in Catholic churches today!!)
      -aliens from another galaxy with advanced technology beamed the body aboard their mothership.
      …and there is more…

      Millions of Jews, Muslims, and Hindus would accept any one of these possible explanations for the Resurrection belief as more plausible than a resurrection. These millions of theists have nothing against the supernatural. Their issue is with a silly, outlandish claim for which there is no good evidence!

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  5. re: “You are, once again, failing to recognize that I am not trying to describe what DID happen.”

    Nahh, I get that just fine.

    What I don’t get is why you even bother with these “alternate scenarios” of yours, like, Nurse Magdalene or ‘bright lights’. All you gotta do is say “I don’t believe in miracles, so, I don’t believe the resurrection happened”, and leave it at that. Because underneath all the verbage, that’s what it boils down to.

    And, really, for me, that’s fine. I don’t have a “job description” that says I’m supposed to convince you otherwise.

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    1. And what do you say to the millions of theists (Muslims, Hindus, Jews, etc.) who also believe that an alternative, natural scenario most likely explains the rise of the Resurrection belief? Bias against the supernatural??

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  6. It’s like this…

    I am convinced that Jesus was resurrected (not resuscitated) in an historical event which left his burial place absent of a corpse.

    It’s not my job to convince you, or Hindus, Jews, etc, to accept the historicity of that event. My job is just to be able to present my reasoning (such as it might be). You are entirely welcome to believe whatever you wish. Nothing, for me, hinges on you agreeing with my historical assessment. In short, I can provide you with my info and reasonings, but what you do with them are your own business. It’s no sweat off my back if you, or Hindus, Muslims, or Jews reject what I have to say.

    If you, or a Jew or Hindu or Muslim (or anyone else of a different view) wish to persuade me of some other point of view (ie, the Nurse Magdalene idea), then it is incumbent upon YOU (or, the Jew, Muslim, Hindu, et al) to provide enough info to persuade me. Otherwise, I’m quite comfortable with my own assessment of the history.

    So, for the millions that believe in an “alternate scenario”, that’s totally, absolutely fine with me. But, if any of them (including you) wish to persuade me that my view is wrong, then it is entirely upon you (or the Hindu, etc), to show me how and why the alternate scenario is correct.

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    1. I’m not trying to persuade you to believe any particular natural explanation for this supernatural belief. I am simply demonstrating that your claim that no other explanation is plausible is false. Millions of theists agree with atheists that a resurrection is the least plausible explanation for this first century belief.

      That is the issue.

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  7. Gary, buddy, I never once claimed that “no other explanation is plausible”.

    I simply assert that the resurrection is the MOST plausible.

    If someone, including you, wishes to persuade me that some other scenario is MORE plausible than the resurrection, then, by all means, get to persuading.

    I’ve read explanations by Ehrman, Ludemann, Crossan and Tabor, and have not been convinced by any of those very learned scholars. Maybe you can do better than them.

    But, don’t go twisting my words or putting words in my mouth. I’ve never once said that “no other explanation is plausible”.

    In fact, I’ve said the dead opposite, even going so far as to say quite clearly that if someone came up with incontrovertible evidence that Jesus wasn’t crucified, or, wasn’t resurrected, then I’d drop Christianity like a hot potato. So OBVIOUSLY I allow that there might be some other, more plausible explanation.

    But, so far, neither you, Ehrman or Ludemann has come up with it. And, if it’s your great “mission in life” to convince Christians to blow off Christianity, then, it’s YOU that has to do the persuading.

    For my part, though, I have no mandate to convince you of anything.

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    1. Your statement demonstrates why it is a waste of time for a non-Christian skeptic (theist or atheist) to discuss probability or plausibility with a Christian (just as it is a waste of time to discuss probability and plausibility with a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or Mormon regarding his or her supernatural beliefs) as the Christian will always deem his cherished superstition as more plausible. It is basic human nature.

      Even if we were to trot out the bones of Jesus H. Christ himself, many Christians, such as apologist Randal Rauser, would refuse to abandon their supernatural belief. It has a name: Confirmation bias.

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  8. re: “Your statement demonstrates why it is a waste of time for a non-Christian skeptic (theist or atheist) to discuss probability or plausibility with a Christian”

    Buddy, I’d say that actually, it’s more of a statement as to why it’s difficult to discuss most anything with you – you twist words and put words into peoples mouths. And, I’m fully aware (and so are you) that I’m not the only person who has called you on the carpet for it.

    re: “Even if we were to trot out the bones of Jesus H. Christ himself, many Christians, such as apologist Randal Rauser, would refuse to abandon their supernatural belief. It has a name: Confirmation bias.”

    So, what’s that got to do with me? Nothing – unless you’re in the habit of judging a group by the actions of a few.

    I said, in my msg, “…if it’s your great “mission in life” to convince Christians to blow off Christianity, then, it’s YOU that has to do the persuading”.

    So, go for it. Persuade me to be an atheist. Show me how you know atheism is true.

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    1. I can no more prove the reality of a-theism than I can the reality of a-unicornism or a-leprechaunism.

      I am asserting that your buddy, Jesus the Christ, the ghost of an executed first century messiah-pretender, is a figment of your superstitious imagination. I dare you to prove me wrong with some actual objective evidence of his existence!

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      1. I just left a response for Nan, which I think might suffice as a response to you as well. Please check that out.

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    2. If I may … what is there to show? Atheism is simply a person’s perspective related to religion in which they dismiss any belief in a supernatural power/entity. The burden of proof rests upon the person who believes such a being exists when there is no viable evidence of same.

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      1. Nan – oddly enough, I dismiss Atheism, and it’s partly because it’s just not natural.

        If Atheism were the natural inclination of Humans, then we should see 95% of the worlds population as Atheist – but – we see exactly the opposite of that. 95% of the worlds population believe in a “supernatural” of some type.

        So, can’t you even give me the “Positive Case for Atheism”?

        For my part, I got zero interest in convincing you of either “supernaturalism” or, in particular, “theism”. Just no interest at all. To me, what you believe is just not terribly important.

        I’m just waiting for one of you Atheist-types to make the “Positive Case for Atheism”.

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        1. At one point in time in human history, it was the inclination of every human being on earth to believe that the sun “rises” in the east and “sets” in the west. Yet science has proven this universal human inclination COMPLETELY false.

          Don’t trust inclinations, perceptions, or warm fuzzy feelings. Trust objective evidence!

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        2. Poly-S … again, there is no “positive” or “negative” as related to atheism. There is nothing to “defend.” It’s simply a “neutral” state of mind as it relates to one’s belief in any sort of superior being.

          It seems you have a need/desire for those who don’t believe in supernatural entities to “defend” their position. What I don’t understand is why? Is it because you think/believe your outlook is superior? If so, isn’t that rather presumptuous?

          IMO, if you are convinced in your own heart and mind that your belief in a transcendent being is valid and logical, then so be it. I see no need to “prove you wrong” just as I see no need for me to defend my position (which, BTW, I have not stated).

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          1. Ft Bond/PolyS has a strong need to prove atheists, or at least this atheist, wrong. That is why he is addicted to this blog. He can’t leave even though he has been asked to leave, and banned, multiple times. Why? Why does PolyS have such a desperate need to prove us wrong??

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            1. Why does ANY believer feel the need to prove atheism wrong? Because their “godly” leaders have told them this is their solemn duty. Oh and isn’t there some kind of similar “commandment” in that several thousand year old book they revere? 😉

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  9. So, what’s the objective evidence that there is no God?

    Tell you what – Let me first “preface” the question, because I’m truly hoping neither to get a snarky answer, or a “pat” answer, like “it’s up to theists to provide the evidence” — SO – if you will, kindly bear with me, and I’m asking for a real conversation with an educated person —

    Human beings have certain primal, or “low level”, or “animal” emotions which have served evolutionary purposes. Fear is one of those base-level, virtually instinctive emotions that serves to prepare a person for an action, which is quite often (if not always) “fight or flight”.

    When I feel fear, I do not, in any sense, try to deny that I feel that fear. I admit to it. And, I determine if fight or flight is necessary. My determination of “that which frightened me” will lead me to fight, flight – OR – to realize that there was nothing to either fight nor flee from. But – I don’t use my “rationale” to deny fear at all.

    Now – according to various studies, there seems to be an evolutionary purpose (or, advantage) to “religion” – or, really, to a sense of “the supernatural” (which developed into “religion”). I see no reason to deny this (apparently) inbuilt sense. It, like fear, is something that is “built in”. In the same respect that it would be unhealthy to attempt to deny fear (when it occurs), it also seems unhealthy to deny this “sense of supernatural, or spiritual”.

    I suppose, then, I’d ask: What’s the evolutionary advantage of denying something that (apparently) developed as an evolutionary advantage?.

    You claim to be a Medical Doctor. You should be well-read, and should be able to discuss this on a respectful and intellectual level, and I’m hoping for that level of reply.

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    1. I believe that evolution has caused most living creatures, including humans, to see causation in practically every event in their lives. Let me give you an example:

      A group of antelope hear rustling in the tall grass a few yards away from them. The ones who internalize causation think—lion!—and bolt. The antelope who do not internalize causation at that moment, ignore the noise—and are eaten by the lion. Now, if you are a smart antelope and do not want to be eaten by a lion, you internalize causation EVERY TIME you hear rustling in the grass. In other words, every time the tall grass makes any sound, you assume lion, and you bolt. This means that you experience a lot of false alarms. You expend a lot of energy running from nothing more than the wind rustling through the grass or a small bird. But you survive! Your fellow antelope may consider you silly and superstitious, but who cares! They get eaten by lions and you don’t.

      And most importantly for your species, you get to pass down your DNA (containing a heightened sensitivity to causation) which produce more antelope with a heightened sense of causation, while the antelope with a lower sense of causation do NOT pass on their DNA..because they have been eaten by lions.

      Now, let’s replace antelope with human beings. The same principle applies. The “superstitious” humans who read causation into every event in life survived in the primitive world, while those who didn’t were eaten by a lion or a saber tooth tiger. Being superstitious also improved your chances of survival if you didn’t understand how the weather works. If the sky turns black, the wind starts to blow hard, and it starts to thunder, the human who sees causation in this event will say, “The sky god is angry today. We better stay inside the cave, because sometimes when the sky god is angry, he kills bad humans with bolts of fire from the sky.”

      Being superstitious was a HUGE advantage when we were living on the African savannah…along with lions, tigers, and bears, and didn’t understand how the weather works. In addition, believing that all events were caused by gods, gave their frightening, dangerous world some order. As long as they did whatever they believed would please the gods, they would be ok (most of the time). Being superstitious gave structure and a sense of security to primitive humans. In our modern, educated societies, we no longer need superstitions to provide structure and keep the “herd” under control. Superstitions, which were once very useful, are now a hindrance to progress. Science and technology have taught us how to protect ourselves from large predators and from storms. We no longer need to believe that invisible superheroes will protect us from a scary, dangerous world, if we perform certain rituals and prayers to appease them.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. There is zero objective evidence for your god or any other alleged god named by human beings during the last 100,000 years of our existence. That is the objective evidence that there probably are no gods!

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  10. Yeh, I’ve read this same info elsewhere. It’s basically talking about HADD – Hypersensitive Agency Detection Device.

    But, while a lot of people have offered the same ideas that you report, the jury is still out on that.

    One study, in it’s Conclusion, states “In conclusion, our study confirms previous research that people occasionally detect agents in ambiguous stimuli (in line with HADD reasoning). This study nuances the idea that we have a “bias” towards agent detection (in contrast to HADD reasoning), as people generally did not detect agents and because mild to moderate threatening situations never intensified agent detection. Thus, the term “hypersensitive” seems unwarranted.”
    [ Maij, van Shie, van Elk ]

    So, according to these researchers, their data showed that HADD doesn’t exactly perform “as advertized”, and that, as noted, even the term “hypersensitive” seems unwarranted. And clearly, we don’t assign agency to every stimulus we encounter. Most of the time, we just conclude “I don’t know what the heck that was”, and move on.

    So, while HADD (or, perhaps, just “ADD”, if “hypersensitive” is unwarranted) MAY certainly account for some level of superstition.

    But, Visala and Leech point out “It is not, in fact, the case that the standard model [the cognitive optimum, HADD, EtoM]gives us a complete account of the existence and persistence of particular and content-specific theistic beliefs. […] There are far more mechanisms involved in particular belief formation than are specified by the standard model. Even if it turns out that the cognitive mechanisms that the standard model posits are unreliable, the irrationality of theism does not follow. In other words, if the standard model catches only some causal pathways through which the theist’s beliefs come about, then it is perfectly possible that the other pathways are rational. This is enough, we claim, to dismantle the unreliability arguments as they stand now.”

    In short, Visala and Leech have determined HADD, EtoM does NOT provide a full account for “belief formation”, and thus, “…the irrationality of theism does not follow”.

    Van Eyghen writes “…there is reason to think that other significant contributors to supernatural belief can confer reliability”, and “what cognitive mechanisms yield does not suffice to make a distinction between ‘supernatural being’ and ‘god’. A mechanism can produce beliefs that some supernatural being exists and also beliefs about that being’s nature. Classifying that being as a ‘god’ requires more”.

    In other words, Van Eyghen is saying “sure, things like HADD can contribute to formation of an idea or belief of a “supernatural being”, but, he “[denies] that the production of both monotheistic and polytheistic beliefs can be attributed to the mechanisms.”

    Marc Andersen concludes in a recent review article that “taken as a whole (…) experimental findings can hardly be said to support current theoretical models of the HADD.” (Andersen 2017) Pascal Boyer and others argue that the cognitive mistakes generated by HADD are easily overridden and seldom leadt o stable beliefs (Boyer 2002). In collaboration with John Lanman, Justin Barrett responded that HADD might not be immediately responsible for supernatural beliefs, but could still strengthen or encourage supernatural beliefs (Barrett and Lanman2008). Applied to our discussion, HADD might not be responsible for how people come to have spirit-beliefs (by means of experiences) but explains why people who already belief in spirits have more spirit-experiences

    I suppose I could go on, but, yeh, while the old “wind in the bushes” thing might demonstrate that we do have an ability (to our advantage) to attribute agency (though sometimes, wrongly), it is highly debatable that that (HADD) is anything more than just a part of the formation of “religious ideas”. In fact, it is so debatable that one could argue that the “HADD mechanism” and “sense of the supernatural” are related only by coincidence. (Although, I don’t argue that, myself).

    BUT, I’m glad to know you have a reason – however questionable – to bolster your belief that there is no God.

    I guess I would have thought that if you were as reliant on science as you seem to claim, you would have investigated this (old) HADD/supernatural idea a bit more, and discovered that it’s not at all as “settled” as you might think.

    And, it certainly doesn’t get into why we (starting as very young children) have beliefs about the afterlife, and why people across different cultures instinctively believed that some part of their mind, soul or spirit lived on after death (as reported in a three-year study done at Oxford).

    But, that’s OK. Those “natural tendencies”, where-ever they came from, do NOT mean “there is a God”. Nope, they provide NO PROOF WHATSOEVER that there is a God.

    However, if those natural tendencies ultimately caused humans to stop and ask the question, “Is there a God? Or are we sometimes just making the ‘God thing’ up, rather than saying ‘I don’t know’?”, then we can set aside those natural tendencies, and superstitions. We can just say “I don’t know”. That’s easy. But, doing so doesn’t answer the question of whether there’s a God or not. It just tells us that God isn’t in our superstitions. After all, it wasn’t “superstition” that created the universe, and we still don’t know what did.

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    1. So, according to these researchers, their data showed that HADD doesn’t exactly perform “as advertized”, and that, as noted, even the term “hypersensitive” seems unwarranted. And clearly, we don’t assign agency to every stimulus we encounter. Most of the time, we just conclude “I don’t know what the heck that was”, and move on.

      Where was this study done? Suburban Kansas City or a jungle village in India that is surrounded by wild tigers? Makes a difference. I suspect that for most people living in the educated West, our “causation sense” has been desensitized over the last few hundred years.

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  11. That particular study was done at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    My guess – and it’s only a guess – is that those who do such research (at least, some of them) have long since arrived at the same point you have (about modern Man being “desensitized”) and that this is a part of the ongoing discussion/dispute/research into the topic of HADD and other cognitive stimulus that might be formative of “superstition”.

    But, I’m not attempting to argue one way or the other about HADD, per se. I’m just pointing out that although the “working model” you present (the good old “wind in the bushes” scenario) IS disputed by other competent professionals, and, is NOT considered “established scientific fact”. And, with all respect, I’m suggesting that you’re probably not the first to consider that there might be a difference between primitive Man’s and modern Man’s response to HADD. Likewise, I’m also suggesting that this difference may well be taken into account by modern researchers.

    Nevertheless, modern Man (some of them) – especially in the advanced and educated West – can certainly set aside “superstitions”, and beliefs that “inexplicable things” must therefore have a “supernatural cause”. We can be really intelligent about it. Yet, that does NOT provide an answer to whether there is a Creator God or not. It just tells us that once we’ve acquired enough knowledge about things like HADD, and get a real grasp on things like “superstition”, and realize that “inexplicable things” don’t have to be explained by saying “God did it”, ultimately NONE of that definitively answers the question of whether there is a God.

    And, being an educated person that is capable of employing (at least) a certain level of “scholastic distance”, I would also say that the fact that the question of God’s existence has NOT been disproved through the aforementioned studies and research, neither does this fact (ie, that the studies & research have not disproved the existence of God) somehow prove that there is a God.

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    1. Yet, that does NOT provide an answer to whether there is a Creator God or not.

      No amount of studies will EVER prove the non-existence of a God if such a being does not exist! Why don’t you get that? No one, including all the top scientists in the world, can disprove the non-existence of something that does not exist, FT, in particular when that being is alleged to operate with supernatural powers. The only option is to try to prove this being does exist, if one is so inclined. So the onus is on YOU, as a believer in this entity, not on us, the skeptics.

      You might as well ask me to disprove the existence of leprechauns.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Institute of Noetic Sciences research topics that are similar to what the Yogis of India and the Himalayas call Samadhi, union with God, ESP and so on.
        That institution was founded by a former NASA astronaut who had some really far out ideas and was open about it. .

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  12. And, there it is, folks… He’s rolling out the “you gotta prove something to me” routine. It’s the last “fig leaf” of the atheist.

    But, the onus isn’t on me at all, because I’m not trying to convince you of anything. If I were trying to convince you that there is a God, then sure, the onus would be on me. But, you gotta remember that it’s totally fine with me for you to be atheist.

    I just haven’t seen you, or any other atheist that frequents this blog, make a “Positive Case for Atheism”. I keep on seeing reasons to not have the really warped-out fundamentalist Christian whacko theology that you got your mind blown on. But, that’s a case against something. I keep looking for the case for something – namely, Atheism. And, I just ain’t seein’ it.

    I’ll keep checking back, though… Right now, I gotta attempt to give my cat a pill. If you have a cat, and have ever tried that, I’m sure you know it can be a challenge…

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    1. I just haven’t seen you, or any other atheist that frequents this blog, make a “Positive Case for Atheism”.

      Do you revel in behaving like an ignorant Nob? Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods.
      Why would anyone want to believe in gods? Why do you believe in a god?
      The mere notion is absurd.

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