Is it Rational to Believe that a First Century Peasant is Lord and Master of the Universe?

Image result for Jesus in the field | Jesus, Photo, Image

Is it rational to believe that an Intelligent Being created the universe? Well, some fellow atheists will disagree but I would say yes. Since scientists have not reached a consensus as to the origin of the universe, I would say that belief in a possible Intelligent Designer/Creator is rational.

But is it rational to believe that our Creator is a first century peasant? No. That is not rational.

The only evidence that a first century peasant is the omnipotent, omniscient creator and ruler of the Cosmos is something his followers call “answered prayer”: silent petitions directed telepathically to this first century personality; petitions which come to pass no more frequently than random chance.

No. Belief that a first century peasant is the creator and ruler of the universe is not rational.

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End of post.

42 thoughts on “Is it Rational to Believe that a First Century Peasant is Lord and Master of the Universe?

  1. Why is it “irrational” to think that God, the Creator of the Universe, would choose to reveal Himself by embodying Himself in a human form?

    “The Word (logos) became flesh…” – that is the commonly-held understanding of what is often called the “incarnation”. A Spirit (that is, the Spirit of God) dwelt bodily in the form of Jesus Christ.

    I don’t see that that’s any more irrational than the belief, held by many many religions, that a human being has a “spirit”. But, in the case of Jesus, the spirit in Jesus was not a “created spirit”, but rather, the Spirit of the Creator.

    Do you think a “first century peasant” was floating around the void, and then decided to create the universe? If so, then, I’m thinking it’s possible that you don’t understand what the “logos” is, and, on top of that, perhaps you don’t understand that human beings are comprised of body and spirit.

    But, I’m just saying, the way you pose the question seems to indicate an awkward misunderstanding of concepts like the logos, the spirit+body, and the incarnation.

    And, that lack of understanding can, of course, cause one to think “this is irrational”, but the problem is that the persons own thinking is hindered by a lack of understanding, hence, it appears irrational to them.

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  2. Well, based on all the evidence we have about Him from the historic resources, collected in the New Testament and confirmed by other sources such as Tacitus, Josephus and others, yes, it is where the evidence leads if you follow it with an eye to critical reasoning and don’t feel the need to special-plead your approach ie study the sources as you would the sources for any other historic figure and events, and you should conclude that Jesus was God incarnate.

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    1. You are once again using the same, tired, illogical argument, Liam. Just because a first century man with the name Jesus is mentioned by a few authors in the first three centuries CE is not evidence that he is alive today and ruler of the Cosmos. (BTW: Unless you come back to defend your statement, this is your last “drive by” comment.)

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  3. There is no evidence, absolutely none – zilch, zero – outside the bible of Jesus, let alone his being God. The very few references to Christians are just that; references to cultists themselves, not to any god-man. Not only are Liam and Polycrap’s comments drive-by they are dishonest and disingenuous, not unlike the Christian con artists who tampered with Josephus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Evidence??? That “Jesus is Lord”?????

    Of course there isn’t “evidence” of that. What would you expect? That there is some kind of document (outside of NT theological claims) filed somewhere that states Jesus’ job title and description? Perhaps you’d like to see some news blurb from the 1st century Jerusalem Times that says “Jesus of Nazareth has just been appointed to be Lord”????

    The belief that “Jesus is Lord” is derived, theologically, from his having been resurrected.

    Granted, if Jesus was NOT resurrected, then, it’s all bogus anyway.

    But, if Jesus WAS resurrected, then understanding what that resurrection means, and thus, understanding “who the risen Jesus is”, is a matter of theological reasoning.

    If Jesus were, in fact, resurrected, and the theological reasoning used in order to determine what that resurrection means, and thus who Jesus is, is flawed. then fine — but, fill us in on what that resurrection means, and who Jesus (therefore) is. I’d be really interested to know, myself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll be leaving an answer to the “alive today” question in another of your blog posts…

        Evidence that he is “Lord of the Cosmos”? I’ve already answered that.

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      1. “Belief is all there is as there is no evidence”.

        Well, that actually goes both ways. If you read some great skeptic scholars like Ehrman or Ludemann, it becomes quickly evident that all they have is “belief” as well (but in the opposite direction — that Jesus didn’t rise up from the dead).

        Whether you like it or not, historical studies have to do with plausibility”, and they depend heavily on educated *reason, and the ability to make reasoned inferences from limited data.

        However, Ark – that is a lot for one to wrap their mind around. So, I won’t waste my time (or yours) trying to explain in any detail.

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        1. I am aware of how the historical method works, and this includes the area of plausibility which states that any hypothesis must be more plausible than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject;

          As we are talking about the resurrection of someone supposedly crucified to death for sedition how plausible is it that this actually happened?
          Therefore in the absence of any evidence to the contrary almost any other explanation is more plausible, including alien abduction.
          And this is what educated reason suggests.

          So, whether you like it or not: Belief is all there is as there is no evidence.

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  5. Polycrap says: Evidence??? That “Jesus is Lord”??
    This is what Liam claims, ft, I merely disputed it. But I get it: why read others’ comments when all you’re interested in is the sound of your own voice. If you’re so convinced a first century peasant is God and rose from the dead, why don’t you go away and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick? That is what he expects of his followers, not just mere ascent to the myth.
    Or you could just go away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True enough, Neil. If they would do as their savior suggested, it seems there would be little time to “defend” their faith on blogs.

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  6. You guys really aren’t too persuasive.

    I mean, you’re great at “going on the attack”, but you’re all like that dog that chases the cars — he has no idea what he’s going to do if he catches one.

    Basically, though, all most of you skeptic/atheist guys persuade me of is that I really don’t want to be anything like you.

    But, so far, I’ve not seen ANY of you present a case to explain WHY I should, myself, become a skeptic or atheist.

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    1. It’s ugly. It’s cold and boring. It is devoid of any comfort.

      But it is most probably the truth: Your friend Jesus the Christ, Allah, Lord Brahma, the Mormon god, etc. do not exist, except in the superstitious imaginations of a couple billion theists. If there is a Creator, he/she/they/or it doesn’t give a crap about you. He may have started this whole process we call “life”, but now could care less what happens to you or anyone/anything else.

      The truth doesn’t have to be pretty or comforting to be true. I never told you or anyone else that my worldview is the prettiest.

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  7. “most probably the truth”.

    I suppose that opinion, plus about four bucks, will get me a half-decaf mocha latte at Starbucks.

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  8. Arke –

    I’ve always enjoyed your considerable wit, your highly-developed knowledge of history, and your thoughtful and insightful commentary.

    But, you’ve never actually made a case as to why I should be an atheist, or how I can be assured that atheism is true. .

    Would you mind doing so now?

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    1. Sure;. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. Period.
      Now, if you’re clever, and you think just a little bit more than you are accustomed to this reply will tell you all you need to know.

      All the best
      Ark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It doesn’t tell me WHY I, myself, should decide to adopt a “lack of belief in gods”. What would be my motivation for deciding on this “lack of belief in gods”? What’s the big upside?

        And, probably first and foremost – What can you offer to convince me that my current “belief system” is wrong?

        I’m just looking for the “Positive Case for Atheism” here.

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        1. No-one cares whether you become an atheist or not. It’s your constant peddling of superstition that is irritating, not to mention your supercilious, dishonest and frequently abusive tone. If it suits you to subscribe to the view that a first century peasant rose from the grave then that’s just lovely – but it doesn’t give you the right to harass Gary and everyone else here who has more sense.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Atheism is not a mere lack of belief. Atheism has definite content in terms of its interpretation of reality, though admittedly (in my humble but accurate opinion) believers have not been very good at explaining why this is so. But here’s why: atheism’s rejection of the idea of God is simultaneously a positive claim about the nature of the universe. This is because the normative concept of God is that God is He in whom all things find their reality. The universe exists but does not have to. Why, then, does it exist? The theist explains that it exists because God both created it and actively keeps it in existence at every point of space and time. In other words, the question is not “why did the universe begin to exist” but “why does it continue to exist?” But why does God exist? The theist explains that God exists necessarily. To be absolutely clear, this is not an arbitrary claim, as if we believers made it up to answer a question. No, the very qualities which mark out the very notion of God and without which He would not be God are such that they entail His existence. We are actually quite familiar with ontological primitives like this: things which are the way they are by necessity and could not be otherwise. Mathematical truths are like this, as are the “laws of logic.” What it means for something to fall into the category of mathematical truth is precisely what places it under the umbrella of “things that simply could not be otherwise.” If this point is pressed, I believe one will eventually find that the logic inevitably unfolds to the point of stating that mathematical and logical realities exist intrinsically because they are predicates of the infinite God.

    But let’s set that aside for a moment. In view of what normative theism as described above entails, what does it mean to say that God does not exist? To make this statement is to make a statement about the internal constitution of the world. If I, as a theist, am asked to explain what the world is at its very bottom- to explain its essence or nature- I would answer that the world exists as an expression of the life and qualities of God whose existence is owed to the free act of God to sustain it. But what about the atheist? What is the world to the atheist? Why does the world exist? To reject the existence of God implies a definitive answer to this question.

    And this is why God is not like a teacup in orbit around the Earth. God is not some specific particular “thing” floating around in space and for which we lack evidence. God is rather the explanatory backdrop to everything else. Even prior to any engagement in philosophical reasoning, one is by definition left with two options: either the world is sustained in its being from the outside or it is not. If it sustained from the outside, then you are a theist (because the reasoning leading to the affirmation of its outside-sustenance will generate an infinite regress if you invoke anything other than something whose intrinsic qualities render it an exemplification of the concept of God). If it is not sustained from the outside, then it is self-perpetuating. And this means that the atheist must give an account of what about its qualities entail its self-perpetuation- another way of stating that the universe must exist. If the universe must exist, then there must be something about the universe which makes this the case. One cannot simply make the assertion: “oh, that is necessary.”

    And if one does not know how to answer the philosophical question, then one is neither atheist nor theist, but agnostic in the customary sense: not one who thinks the existence of God as about as unlikely as the tooth fairy, but one who is not sure whether God exists or not.

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    1. Just because your worldview seems to have all the answers to the big questions does not mean it is true. At one time, every person in the world believed that the sun revolves around the earth, and they could back up that belief with very common sense observations of the “behavior” of the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, day after day, year after year.

      But the sun does not “rise” or “set” does it?

      Sometimes admitting, “We don’t know all the answers…yet” is the correct response.

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    2. Serro … the only reason you attribute all the things you do to a “god” is because this is what you have been taught at some point in your life. There is NO evidence of any supernatural being inserting itself into the development and/or the sustainability of this world … except in your mind (and others of like reasoning).

      And I personally have no problem with that … but to try and convince others who disagree with this thinking is, in most cases, a fruitless endeavor.

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  10. @PollysParrot
    Again … the answer to your question …. in fact all your questions about atheism are contained in my reply.
    So … once more …., if you’re clever, and you think just a little bit more than you are accustomed to this reply will tell you all you need to know.
    Under the circumstances, perhaps you, specifically need to think more than a little.
    But I’m fairly confident if you drop the attitude you might just see the light?

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  11. Serro gives the philosophical underpinnings for “God” in a well-written post. It’s not an exhaustive representation of the matter, but I’m guessing Serro didn’t want to write a whole book in this blog. But, it’s a pretty decent expression of some of the “issues”.

    And, he’s correct in saying that “atheism’s rejection of the idea of God is simultaneously a positive claim about the nature of the universe”.

    Atheism – in acknowledging no God (or gods) – nothing “behind” nature – is saying that “nature is all there is, and there is nothing else but nature”.

    And, that’s fine. But, it’s where we run into problems.

    If “nature, and only nature, is all there is”, then everything that exists, exists only as “events” in a long chain of “causual events” going back to the Big Bang, or (some speculate) even before the Big Bang – with the Big Bang itself being just “another one of those events”. Nature, then, is defined by, and comprised of, just “whatever happens” when strings, quarks, bosons, atoms, molecules, photons, electrons, and so on, just move in whatever direction they were caused to move in by some previous event – and, in turn, each of these “movements” causing something else – like, the formation of a new molecule, or of an object of some type that then explodes, causing the formation of a gas cloud, and so on and so on.

    Well and good so far.

    The problem, though, is this: if this is true – that “nature, and only nature is all that exists” – then our own “thoughts” are likewise just “events” that are caused by the movement of electrons and atoms and molecules going through a particular structure of “grey matter”, and that happen to result in sensations that we know of as “thoughts”. But, all thoughts, then, are themselves, simply “caused events” – equally part of the ongoing chain of caused events that traces back to the Big Bang (or, maybe, even before that).

    but, if that’s the case, then anything of “reasoning” is out the door, because our reasoning can be nothing but a series of “caused events”. Thus, any conclusions we reach by “reasoning” – or, by making “inferences” – can be correct ONLY by a “fluke”, unless those reasonings can be verified according to some known quantity or quality – for example, in mathematical terms: I can know that “1 = 1, a thing is equal to itself” because “it is what it is”. I simply see that “this apple is this apple”. And, from this one thing, I make make other mathematical inferences, because there is, at the bottom, a known quantity. “If I have this apple, and place another alongside it, then it is what it is – it is two apples”.

    BUT – we derive the idea that “there is no God” from reasoning, yet, there are no “known quantities” (as in math) that can confirm those reasonings. It is a conclusion that is made only as a result of the movement of electrons and atoms and such, going through a particular bunch of “grey matter” in somebody’s head, and being such – with nothing “at the bottom” to actually confirm it. Therefore, that conclusion (that there is no God) can be correct ONLY by a fluke, if it’s true that “nature, and only nature, is all there is”. And, therefore, it is a conclusion that simply cannot be trusted.

    In this respect, the idea that “there is no God”, and that therefore, all there is, is “nature”, and nothing but nature – is self-defeating. Because if it is true that our thoughts themselves are nothing more than events in a long, ongoing chain of random cause-and-effect events, then the reasoning by which we came to that conclusion is, itself, nothing more than events in a long, ongoing, and random process of cause-and-effect events.

    Our thoughts, and thus, our reasonings, can only reliably reach “truths” (such as “there is a God”, or “there is no God”) if (a) our thoughts are independent of the chain of “cause and effect”, and (b) we have agency to formulate our own thoughts.

    In other words, our reasonings that might lead us to say “there is no God” can only be reliable if we have “free will” – that is, thoughts that are free of the chain of causual events, and that we therefore have agency to formulate. And, the downside is that there can be no “free will” apart from the existence of a God that has created us to have agency, and thus, thoughts and reasonings that are independent of the ongoing chain of cause-and-effect events that comprise “nature”.

    OR – AT LEAST – THAT’S ONE VIEW.

    I’m totally open to hearing some other view that deals with this conundrum, and have actually been asking for such a view, which I’ve called the “Positive Case for Atheism” (if it exists).

    But – a problem: If you cannot demonstrate how your thoughts and reasonings that led you to conclude that “there is no God” are anything other than the random movement of electrons and atoms through your grey matter, then, you can be nothing more than a “meat computer” that is simply spewing out noises through a flapping jawpiece, comprised of just whatever “sensations” formulated in your grey matter – and as such – I’ll have scant little reason to consider it “true”.

    So, throw me a bone here. Somebody tell me how this is all supposed to work.

    (I hate to say it, but my full expectation is just to get a bunch of “snark”)

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    1. You assume that we are more than just a collection of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

      How do you know that we aren’t?

      What if we are just one species, of the many species of animals, who all struggle every moment to survive, to pass on our DNA, and hopefully, to find a little pleasure during our short existence. It is only because of our large brain that we have advanced to the point where we have the spare time to sit around and contemplate philosophical mind-benders such as those in your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And, he’s correct in saying that “atheism’s rejection of the idea of God is simultaneously a positive claim about the nature of the universe”.

      What exactly is this (your) idea of God? You have yet to explain it or describe it.

      Atheism – in acknowledging no God (or gods)

      An erroneous statement. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. There may well be gods somewhere but no evidence has been presented for them so far.
      Feel free to present evidence for your god. and if it passes muster maybe I’ll acknowledge your god.

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  12. re: ” You assume that we are more than just a collection of protons, neutrons, and electrons.”

    I never assumed any such thing at all.

    re: “How do you know that we aren’t?”

    I never said we weren’t.

    YOU claim to be atheist, meaning you don’t acknowledge “God” or a “supernatural”. And, that, as Serro pointed out, says something “positive” about your view of the universe: the universe (aka, “nature”) is all that exists, and the only thing that exists. That’s YOUR statement, by virtue of being an atheist.

    So, fine. Explain to me, then, if that’s your view, why I should even remotely trust your view?

    After all, if nature is “all there is”, and nature is comprised of just an ongoing chain of cause-and-effect events, then your thoughts themselves must be nothing more than cause-and-effect events. Your thoughts, and hence, your “reasonings”, can be nothing more than electrons and molecules moving through your particular construct of grey matter, and in the end, just producing whatever “noises” it’s going to produce.

    So, I’m not seeing (at all) why I should regard any conclusion you have reached by such so-called “reasoning” as being true. Including the idea that atheism is true, and “nature is all that there is”.

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    1. YOU claim to be atheist, meaning you don’t acknowledge “God” or a “supernatural”.

      Again, yet another erroneous and poorly worded statement which shows your lack of intellect and your willingness to be dishonest.

      There is the tacit implication in your sentence that there is a god – your god … ”God”, and atheists simply refuse to acknowledge its existence.
      This is, of course, bollocks. No verifiable evidence has ever been presented for this god, ”God”.
      So once you do present evidence then it can be evaluated.

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  13. Ark –

    so far, your responses are prime examples of electrons and molecules just going where they will in your particular blob of grey matter, ultimately resulting in the production of “stuff” that you type out on your computer.

    there’s no question that somehow, there are sensations which you call “thoughts” that formulate in that grey matter, but if they are all nothing but the cause-and-effect events as is the rest of nature (and, why wouldn’t they be?) then why should I give any regard to them? They are, after all, just stuff that “happened” in your brain.

    NOTE: I didn’t mention a thing about “God” (or gods, or supernatural) at all in this message. I asked a valid question.

    If you can’t give a valid answer, then that’s fine. Just say so.

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    1. You are like the elephant sitting at the edge of the herd contemplating the meaning of your existence while the rest of the herd is fighting off an attack by a pride of lions. The herd doesn’t care about your philosophical dilemma, they just want you to get off your ass and do your job of defending the herd.

      Life is about survival, and in your herd, survival requires that you follow the herd’s rules or be banned or terminated. You can sit around and spin these mind-bending philosophical head games but they are irrelevant to your survival. Your survival depends on obeying the rules created by your herd!

      We non-supernaturalists are simply trying to change some of the rules of the herd: All decisions based on science and reason and none based on superstitions!

      It’s that simple, FT.

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  14. Is it really that simple, Gary?

    If you haven’t noticed, humans have evolved to the point to where you and I are sitting here talking via computer. You’re not in some “herd” someplace, fighting for survival. You’re here, engaged in this conversation exactly as much as I am. We don’t have any lions breathing down our backs.

    We’ve ended up exactly where “evolution” or “human development” allowed us to go – and that means we’ve developed to a point at where we can ponder philosophical matters. And, in fact, you might even have noticed that humans reached that level thousands of years ago. Plato certainly was asking philosophical questions. So were the ancient Indian gurus, the ancient Hebrews, and so on. This level of “thought” and “philosophy” has long been part of the human psyche.

    So, while I appreciate your attempted appeal at throwing us all back to a time before the Bronze Age, while at the same time, asserting “All decisions based on science and reason and none based on superstitions!”, you clear have missed that what I’m asking you IS a question about “reason itself” – which you assert as one of two preferred ways of approaching things.

    So, again – as I asked earlier (with absolutely no reliance on, or mention of God, gods, the supernatural, or superstition: “there’s no question that somehow, there are sensations which you call “thoughts” that formulate in that grey matter, but if they are all nothing but the cause-and-effect events as is the rest of nature (and, why wouldn’t they be?) then why should I give any regard to them? They are, after all, just stuff that “happened” in your brain.”

    YOU say “science and reason”. I’M asking you to explain to me how “reason” is supposed to be reliable, if your thoughts are nothing but movements of electrons and atoms in your grey matter.

    And, I’ll again add: If you don’t have an answer, just say so. It’s a lot easier than all the “dancing” you’re trying to do.

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    1. why should I give any regard to them [sensations/thoughts]? They are, after all, just stuff that “happened” in your brain.”

      Because a hundred thousands years of cumulative human experience has taught us that paying attention to our senses increases our chances of survival.

      It is all about survival, FT.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. the dance continues.

    I very clearly prefaced my question as this (and, I see it bears repeating): “you clear have missed that what I’m asking you IS a question about “reason itself””

    Gary, look – The question has been, and still is this: If nature is the only that that exists, and it’s all just a series of cause-and-effect events, then, that would mean your thoughts, and hence, your reasonings, are nothing but cause-and-effect events themselves, and as such, there is no reason to trust them beyond what can be empirically verified – then why should anyone trust your reasoning that “nature is the only thing that exists”? There is, after all, no empirical data to show that to be the case.

    but — alas — those electrons and molecules that go through your grey matter just cause noises like “it’s all about survival” to come out — something that has absolutely nothing to do with the question, and in no way comes close to answering the question.

    I think I’ve got the lay of the land, here, Gary. And, in fact, your answers themselves prove my point: your own ability to “reason” doesn’t even take you as far as being able to answer a direct question about your own “belief system”.

    So – I’m gonna leave off, here. I think probably everybody is seeing how this is going. And, I figure, most people can tell when there’s the “Evasion Dance” happening.

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    1. And I believe that your brain is so fully saturated with this preposterous first century body-snatching superstition that you are incapable of thinking clearly.

      I’m done.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. that’s always the first line of defense: the good ol’ adhominems…

    like I said, I think everybody can pretty much tell how this is going…

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    1. Without thoughts we have no mind, and that is the end result of Buddhism. Buddha was an atheist.
      Thoughts are life. There’s no middle ground on this.

      Like

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