God the abusive boyfriend?

One new(ish) claim among Internet atheists is that the Christian God is an abusive partner.

The usual argument (at its strongest) goes about like this:

God accuses the believer of sin and “forgives” and then accuses of sin again. God expects you to sacrifice for Him. He says He is better than you and your best deeds are like filthy rags to him. He wants to be in control of your life. You have to fear him. If a human partner was like that, it would have been seen as abusive. – Terrible anti-Christian argument

The problem with the above arguments is that everything in it is completely out of context. Continue reading

Why I don’t try to be good without Jesus

In a recent internet discussion, someone was blasting “Christianity” and wishing for Christians to deconvert. She mentioned, in her rant, a lot of ugly things “Christianity” does in her view. I answered that I dislike those things too. But Christianity is Christ-ianity, being like Christ and following him. The things she mention is not Christ-ian, as Jesus will never recommend them. (It is, methinks, shocking how un-Christian some church people are.)

She then answered, among other things, that she agrees with me about Jesus. But I could be Christ-like enough by just following the golden rule. If I don’t proclaim the sexist and otherwise ugly things some Christians are (in her opinion) known for, I could as well drop the label Christian and just be good, like Jesus was good.

Here was my answer: Continue reading

Why is there so little extra-biblical evidence of Jesus?

Once upon a time, about 75 years ago, an avid motor sport enthuisiast, R.A. Cing, set up a motor sport library. Over the next 30 years he collected reports of races all over Europe. Words like “Grand Prix” were found right through his library. Names like Tazio Nuvolari and Juan Manuel Fangio cropped up everywhere. He was so complete in his collection of motor racing data that the overwhelming majority of newspaper reports and other information on motor racing, had a copy of it in his library. He had some films and photo footage taken at races(there were no video cameras or DVD cameras then), that nobody else had.

Last year, some people started doubting wether these races that the library spoke of actually happened. They pointed out that:

a) Much of the library’s information do not exist anywhere else.
b) Those race programs and newspaper reports on old races that are found outside the R.A. Cing Library (RACL), mostly also has copies of them inside the library.
c) There are some contradictory reports in RACL, for example two reporters disagreeing on wether driver X or driver Y caused a certain accident.

From that, they concluded that RACL reports are faked, that most racers in the library never raced, that most of those races never happened. (Fictitious story)

And that is the main mistake in complaining that there is little extra-biblical evidence of Jesus.

Right from the beginning of Christianity, Jesus’s followers collected all the best and most reliable data about him, and made it part of what they kept. Some time later, they made an official list of all the best and most reliable material they have, the material they already valued most. That list was called the Bible.

And now people ask why there is little extra-biblical evidence of Jesus. What we actually have, that is wrongly called very little, is:

-> 27 documents collected in the New Testament, and some of those has quotes from even earlier sources
-> several 1st/2nd century Jewish references to him, including at least 3 in the Talmud and more than 1 from Josephus.
-> 10 pre-AD 50 (within 20 years of the death of Jesus) creedal confessions, and at least 7 other 1st/ 2nd century Christian writers
->at least 7 Pagan 1st/ 2nd century historians mentioning him

There is a wealth of early evidence of Jesus. Not to mention the wealth of other early evidence confirming Christianity and New Testament facts in other ways (outside the scope of this blog entry), without talking directly about Jesus.