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Should Atheists Insist on Biblical Literalism?
My answer is YES, and here is why:
- Christianity makes certain truth claims which are based upon alleged historical events related to Jesus: his birth, his ministry, his miracles, his crucifixion and, finally, his resurrection;
- The most fundamental of these claims are extraordinary in nature because they are contrary to my common experience and what we know about science - specifically the various miracles and the resurrection - and my basic points apply to any religion which makes truth claims that are based in the supernatural;
- Christian truth claims are contrary to the truth claims of other religions - all religions cannot be correct;
- Christianity and other evangelical type religions ask me and others to accept their truth claims and in fact there has been substantial conflict between the religions in trying to make their beliefs dominant.
So, given the extraordinary nature of the claims of Christianity, I think that there should be extraordinary proof of the events. Yet, Christianity cannot give even ordinary proof:
- There is no proof of any of the key events about Jesus that are contemporaneous with his alleged life;
- All the later evidence of Jesus outside of the New Testament are interpolations by later Christians or based upon myth circulating at the time;
- The evidence that is in the New Testament is contradictory within itself as well as often contradictory with what we know from archaeology;
- A study of the development of the Bible clearly shows that the story developed over a period of time (the first books written that are in the New Testament have very little about Jesus and the subsequently written books embellish the myth along the way);
- The New Testament is clearly a conflation of assorted myths from other contemporaneous religions, philosophies and prophesies from the Tanach.
The most important message of the New Testament is that one should treat their fellow human beings as they would like to be treated them self. That and nearly every worthwhile part of the New Testament can be found in Humanism, so I have no reason to believe the Jesus story and every reason to question it.
The hope offered by the Jesus story is that we will have eternal life. I believe that to be pure delusion!
If the facts don't fit, I'd quit! Become an atheistic humanist!
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