Posts tagged ‘Jesus’
The test read positive. Ayesha’s face flushed; tears formed in her eyes. She was trapped. She would be killed. She was a stain on her family’s honor. Amir, her soon-to-be husband, would turn her in as soon as he found out. She knew she deserved death. The shame was unbearable.
That night she had a vision. The brightness blinded her at first, but gradually she saw an angelic face and it said, “Ayesha! You are favored indeed by Allah! For God himself is the Father of your child. Do not be afraid. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High.”
The next day Ayesha told her fiancé that God had impregnated her, she was still a virgin, and an angel had told her this. Would you believe Ayesha?
An ancient book says a man 2,000 years ago was born of a virgin and was sired by God himself. I once believed this, because I believed the Bible — a book I thought God himself wrote.
I was wrong.
Here are five reasons why I no longer believe in the virgin birth…
Kieran Bennett recently completed his series on why Christians de-convert. To answer this question, he considered 94 of the 117 de-conversion stories he read on one of the largest archives of de-conversion stories on the internet.
Here is what he found:
- Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample (14.89%).
- The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second mostan equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%).
- 12.76% of the de-converted Christians in the sample spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.
- For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.
- Only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
- In another 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, people tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion
- And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample he read…
The following post was written on April 7th, 2007:
Last year about this time, I celebrated Easter as a committed believer of the Risen and Living Savior. I have done so every Easter I can remember except for a rebellious stint I had while in my 20s (we all have those, no?). The one thing I knew for certain was that it was impossible to be a true Christian without this conviction.
.…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. - 1 Cor 15:17-19 (NASB)
Of course I believed in the Resurrection. It is a foundational belief. It is essential. As C.S. Lewis would say, it is part of “Mere Christianity”.
I have always been an avid reader, and I always saw books in the library or store that had titles that just screamed, “Open my cover and browse my pages if you dare. For we are here to challenge your Christian beliefs!” My church pastors had words for authors of books like this: Pseudo-Intellectuals, who “professing themselves to be wise, they had become fools” (Rom 1:22). They were likely angry apostates, out on an agenda to debunk The Word of God, the Anvil that has worn our many Hammers. It was easy to pass by these books left on the shelf without thinking another thought…
The phenomena of the SuperChristian is, for sure, nothing new. Just read the mid-second century document, The Marytrdom of Polycarp. Not only did his entire martyrdom mirror that of his Saviour, he was accused of being an atheist (for not believing in the gods of the Romans), served Christ flawlessly for eighty-six years, and found the persecuting crowd unworthy of his time.
Today I seem to meet a lot of modern-day SuperChristians. Sure, in the gospels they might be condemned as “Pharisees,” but, of course, they really do love Jesus. So who is a SuperChristian? How about someone who doesn’t drink or go out partying? I have always found this interesting. Do these people know Jesus was a Jewish man in the 1st century? Have you ever been to a Jewish wedding? Well, back in 1st century Palestine, these weddings were “off-the-hook” as we young wannabe-gangsters say. Jesus himself famously gave the best stuff at the end of night, even after everyone was already tanked (John 2:1-10). It is amusing to watch the lengths these SuperChristians go to explain that passage. And if John’s gospel is too mystical for you, the relatively anti-semitic Gospel of Luke furthers the Lord’s party animal instincts: “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” (Luke 7:33-34)…
…what have you got to lose?
Take a walk with me for a moment – I’m not asking you to change your views, just to let your mind wander into hypotheses for a while. The Roman occupation was a difficult time and Jews were very open-minded about messiahs and were actively looking and praying for him. There were a number of messiah claims and rumors of messiahs at that time.
Jesus had, of course, come as a Jewish messiah. He was Jewish, and he was the man prophesied in Isaiah (or so you claim). He was there as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies – he had come to redeem the children of Israel, god’s chosen people. Yet the overwhelming majority of good, god-fearing, open-minded, ‘messiah wanting’ Jews decided, based on the evidence, that Jesus wasn’t the one. So much so that Paul and the other apostles decided that god was telling them to go preach to the gentiles. A cynical man would say that they came to that conclusion because the Jews were having none of the ‘messiah’ talk – so therefore god was ‘guiding them’ to try somewhere else (in the same way god guided me not to go out with Kate Moss)…
We’ve had several entries on this subject over the course of this blog including:
- Jesus – to be or not to be, that is the question!
- Is Jesus mentioned in the Talmud?
- Were the Gospels eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus?
However, on a recent comment, evanescent mentioned this subject and I would like highlight it (with some slight edits for flow):
There is good reason to believe there was a man at the centre of the cult that became Christianity. Actually, there was probably many men at the time. The cult that become Christianity retrospectively convoluted stories about its leader.
A fantastic set of articles exploring the historical evidence (or lack thereof) for Jesus can be found here: http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/camel.html…
We’ve all heard versions of the phrase: “You can have a personal relationship with Jesus.” or, “I have a personal relationship with the Lord.” etc.
Here’s a slightly long version of it that I read recently:
“The point of a personal relationship with Jesus is that Jesus is specifically concerned with the details of every person’s life. If a friend came to you and said “You know, I’d just like to go get some coffee and spend some time with you and talk about what is going on in your life” would you be selfish to accept? Not if the person is truly sincere in that they want to know. So that’s how I see it. Not as something selfish, but in fact as responding to an invitation to spend personal time with Jesus. Because He loves each one of us, both as a body of believers, and as individuals.”
At some point in my de-conversion process it struck me that this idea is bunk. I’ve had friends offer to sit and talk over a lunch, but I’ve definitely never done lunch with Jesus.
As I thought it through, I realized that the whole “personal relationship/ revelation/ experience” jag is just another delusion…