GLIMPSE OF A DEBATE BETWEEN FRIENDS

Cecilia, I thank you for the article. It was interesting and illuminating on a couple of points. As you might imagine I am widely read in this subject. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris–these are all authors I am very familiar with. (These and many others.) Responsible scholarship demands a thorough analysis of ALL the facts, including the academic efforts of antagonistic personalities.

Sadly, many of these antagonists cast a stain on their own work by revealing their unflinching (and therefore unobjective) bias. This often manifests in almost adolescent use of vitriolic language that has no place in an academic format. This reveals research tainted by preconceived notions, and writing that more resembles an emotional rant than it does a rational and objective scientific assessment of facts. Choosing to present their findings in this light undermines their credibility. A scholar does not need to be resort to insults to be effective.

This article written by Frank Zindler and printed in American Atheist magazine makes the claim that Jesus was not a real person. This is a claim that is not supported by responsible scholarship in general or the scientific community at large. In fact, this “theory” (though it does not quite meet the criteria of an actual scientific theory), is considered more of a conspiracy, shared by a very small percentage of atheists. Nonetheless, Mr. Zindler did bring up a couple of interesting points, e.g., several of his comments on the Gospels, which I will address point by point later.

For now, the bigger issue is how can you have read the evidence I presented in my blog, compared it with this article, and still given Mr. Zindler’s article more credence than mine? Indeed, how could Mr. Zindler, an obviously educated man, ignore all the evidence for the historicity of Jesus that goes back thousands of years to the writings of Moses (c. 1460 B.C.E.) and, arguably, to creation itself? Not to mention impugnable extra-biblical sources? This is the underlying Theological issue that needs to be addressed first.

* Christianity is hard. Following rules is hard. We saw this in Adam and Eve’s example (see Genesis 2:17 3:1-5). They had but one rule, but even that was too hard. And the Tempter was there with the simple solution: man shall “be as gods” (or god), knowing (or determining for oneself what constitutes) good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). This is an original and basic sin. This is the state which dominates fallen man’s (by this term I mean both men and women and all humanity) life in entirety. As a result, man has a false center: man instead of God.

Sin is an assault against God, or at least an attempt to evade God’s governance in favor of man’s. It is man’s opportunity to be his own god, determining what is good and evil for himself.

A clear example of Satan using this principle of sin is in a progressive society, particularly the entertainment industry, which twists virtue into a farce and a joke while at the same time making evil into a commonplace matter. Look at our society’s attitude toward fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, and alcohol, etc. Sin gains the disguise of trivialness, AND THOSE WHO ATTACK TRIVIAL MATTERS ARE MADE TO LOOK RIDICULOUS. Evil has been painted good. Good has been painted evil. Mr. Zindler’s article will elicit such a response from many, despite thousands of years of our ancestors worshipping God and shaping the world through their Christan faith: Generations of world leaders, scientists, inventors–men and women far brighter than you or me or Mr. Zindler. What principle could cause people to disregard and disrespect their own history?

The Principle of Sin.

Man shall “be as gods” (Gen. 3:5). Those who adhere to this principle of the Tempter’s plan attempt to establish themselves as “gods”, i.e. as the only sources of meaning and interpretation. From here they attempt to legislate
all meaning out of the universe in order to declare themselves the sole determiners and sources of meaning.

In this state, MAN chooses what is good and evil, moral and immoral. This state has grown secular humanism, paganism, atheism, many other isms, and idolatries. Here MAN gives himself the authority to “discern” what is good and what is evil: he picks and chooses a “god or gods” after his own taste.

Here, according to the Tempter’s Plan and the Principle of Sin man worships himself, and his SELF knows better than God.

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