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  #46  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:45 pm
snarflemike snarflemike is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1peter315 View Post
You and I have different standards of evidence.
What is your standard of evidence that allows you to believe (a) that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist, and that (b) a world-wide religion was founded on the myth of his existence?

EDIT: given your other statements, let's not pursue this avenue right now. All things in their proper time.
  #47  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:46 pm
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Estevao Estevao is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by snarflemike View Post
That's about on par with not believing we landed on the moon, or not believing that the holocaust happened.
I've noticed that people who think that Jesus never existed sound a lot like Holocaust deniers, they always say something to the effect that "there should be more evidence!".

I think this Q and A from the best Christian apologist alive today answers this Jesus myth denialism:


Quote:
Michael, it is not theologians who state that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person, but professional historians. In denying this fact you are flirting with kookdom. On this score the Christian can rest comfortably within the historical mainstream and leave you on the outside with the cranks. Even you have to admit that, for better or worse, that is where things stand. I invite you to read Bart Ehrmanís book Did Jesus Exist?, a book by a non-Christian New Testament scholar. He really takes your mythicists to task for their historical incompetence and tendentiousness. When you start aligning yourself with such people, then we see clearly just who it is that thinks the Emperor gorgeously arrayed.
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/are-m...ly-nonsensical
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  #48  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:46 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
He claims that Jesus never existed? He has no clue what he's talking about then. Even atheist historians accept that Jesus existed.

Here the Huffington Post discusses Jesus' existence with Bart Ehrman, pHD; one of the worlds leading atheist scholars on the New Testament and the historical Jesus.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1400465.html



"Among the variants of the Jesus myth theory, the hypothesis that a historical Jesus figure never existed is supported only by a very small minority of modern scholars. Bart Ehrman has stated that now virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and Robert M. Price agrees that this denial perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars. Myth theorist G. A. Wells has also softened his stance on the non-existence issue. Van Voorst and separately Michael Grant state that biblical scholars and classical historians now regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory

The goal of my journey is the discovery of truth.

I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.

I do have thoughts about that article...

This is absolutely true: "It would be really unfair to suggest that it's part of being an atheist to deny the existence of Jesus as a historical person."

For me, the reason why this is true is because of what atheism is. I define atheism as:
The belief that there are no gods. (Strong atheism)
A lack of belief in any gods. (Weak atheism)

Using these definitions, I am a weak atheist. More precisely, I am an agnostic weak atheist, as I do not claim to have knowledge that there are no gods, but I also have not seen sufficient evidence to believe in any. I am first and foremost a skeptic, and my atheism is just a subset of my skepticism.

For me, atheism is a position on a single question: "Do you believe in any gods?"
It is not an answer to this question: "Do you believe that a historical person existed?"

That would be ahistoricalpersonism. I don't know any of those.

The question of whether or not there was a Jesus of Nazareth has no impact on my atheism.

The question of whether there was a divine Christ DOES have an impact on my atheism.

To demonstrate the existence of God incarnate (i.e. Christ), one should first demonstrate the existence of God. One thing at a time.

By the way, just because I'm not convinced there was a Christ doesn't mean that I don't value and appreciate much of what the bible has to say, or what religion has contributed to society, etc. None of that has one bit to do with the truth of whether or not there is a god. And in fact, I wish that more Christians were more Christ-like.
  #49  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:47 pm
snarflemike snarflemike is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by 1peter315 View Post
This is about my answer to the question, "Do you believe in any gods?" My answer is, "No. I haven't yet seen sufficient evidence to warrant such a belief." I haven't singled out Christianity. Before you can have a Christ, you first need to have a God, do you not?
Quite right. What arguments for God's existence have you investigated and found wanting? There are quite a few.
  #50  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:51 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by snarflemike View Post
What is your standard of evidence that allows you to believe (a) that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist, and that (b) a world-wide religion was founded on the myth of his existence?
I do not deny that Jesus of Nazareth existed. I do not deny that there was a historical basis to the King Arthur legend either. I am skeptical; that is different from denying.

(b) When you say "his", are you referring to Jesus or Mohammed?
  #51  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:53 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by snarflemike View Post
Quite right. What arguments for God's existence have you investigated and found wanting? There are quite a few.
I have found them all wanting. I listen to at least one apologist lecture or debate per week.

Are there any that you find persuasive? I am interested in knowing what people believe and why.
  #52  
Old Jun 28, '13, 9:58 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by DavidFilmer View Post
Atheists often accuse us of a logical error called "reasoning from ignorance." We don't know how thunder happens, so it must be a god banging a big drum. After all, what else could it possibly be?

But here's an atheist making that exact mistake. "How could we possibly know at what point our ancestors were endowed with immortal souls? We can't answer that question, so it must have never happened!" Great logic. Bertrand Russell, you are not.

Is light particles or waves? We can't possibly answer that question (we really can't - not now, and not ever - it has been proven and is settled scientific fact), so light must not exist if we cannot even say what it IS. Wow. What is this bright stuff all around me?

It's unusual to see an atheist make this mistake.

By the way, I mentioned light - if you ever have a discussion with an atheist who knows physics, tell him that the Blessed Trinity is the quantum superposition of God. Watch him blow a cork.
If that were the mistake I were making, I would agree with you. That would be bad logic. But that's not what I said.
  #53  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:05 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Guitar Man View Post
Hi Brikar,
The one premise that must be accepted by those who have faith in the creator is that the creator exists eternally and independently outside space and time.
As far as all the rest goes it is evolution or one should say the evolving creation. The "Big Bang" gave us Time, Space and the Quantum Vacuum. everything else is a result of the evolving process from that point.
When creationists and evolutionists take up mutually exclusive positions they do each other and us all a disservice. From this point of view Creationists appear to deny that the creation process is on going, and evolutionists glance over the fact that more and more scientist's are coming to the realisation that the universe is the way it is because it can't be any other way in other words the universe is the way it is because to exist it must be this way.
Let me explain this way: The same laws of physics that give us consciousness exist in the quantum vacuum therefor the quantum vacuum itself has a consciousness, is poised and participating with us and with the universe as creation continues to unfold.
: If the intensity of the Big Bang caused the expansion of the universe to go one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second faster or slower the universe as we know it would not be here and would definitely not be able to sustain life.
Nearly all accept the premise now that the probability of this occurring by chance is practically nil and that when Einstine famously said "God dose not play dice" he knew what he was talking about.
This is not blasphemy. This is God. As Augastine said " The bible is not a book of the natural sciences".
Einstein said, "God does not play dice!"

To which Niels Bohr replied, "Stop telling God what to do!"

And I would agree with Einstein. Also, unicorns do not play dice.
  #54  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:19 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrawberryJam View Post
You may or may not be confusing souls with eternal souls.
Catholics do not believe things based on a consensus of opinion.
And could you pretty please clarify this comment:
Oh, also, we can't say when God started giving anything a soul, since a lot of Catholics are split on whether or not animals have souls. So, maybe that first little germ of life that formed in the waters even had a soul. This is not something that has been declared yet.

I'm confused by this, as you seem to ignore the Adam and Eve dogma everyone must believe.

Inform me of how there may have been eternal souls prior to these only two literal persons.
Hi StrawberryJam,

My point here is that I don't believe in souls, but many if not most people do. And of those who do, some believe that only humans have souls. And of those who also believe in evolution, they that means some human got the first soul. It also means that human's mother didn't get a soul. But they were both human. According to evolution, everyone who has ever reproduced was the same species as their mother.

The context of this my letter to my sister was in response to a question she had asked me about how I found science and faith to be at odds. So that is an example of how someone with a certain set of faith-based beliefs could hold another set of beliefs that could present a moral quandary.
  #55  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:28 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoformeo View Post
Brikar,

There have been a number of good responses to this. The only thing I would add would be to ask your brother if he really wants to know the answers to his questions. It seems he is awfully snide and snarky, and most individuals like that really don't want to hear logical, rational, well-developed refutations. They just have a gripe for one reason or another and they take it out on us believers in a manner such as this, that is triply demeaning to Christians, apparently uplifting for their own personas (as if to prove to themselves that they are intellectually superior to us idiotic believers), and completely and utterly ignorant, incoherent hogwash.

A sincere truth-seeker will want to hear sound arguments against what he has proposed. After all, if his arguments can withstand the best refutations that Christianity has to offer, then it only bolsters his position. Unfortunately, most of his kind are not this way. Hopefully your brother is.

Short answer is that there are many good answers to what he has proposed, and many prior posters have provided excellent resources, especially Fr. Spitzer and Magis. My own humble stab at this very topic can be found here: http://www.geologian.com

Be patient with your brother, and above all pray for him. Plant seeds and let God do the growth. Christ be with you and your brother.
I appreciate it when Christians are Christ-like.
  #56  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:37 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by ManOnFire View Post
Tell him: either a godless cosmos had a beginning, or it had no beginning (always existed in one form or another). Then ask him: "If the godless cosmos had a beginning, then the only way for the very first something to pop into existence from absolute nothing is by magic. Do you believe in magic even though there's no scientific proof?" Science can't even develop a theory for how absolute nothing could magically spontaneously morph into the very first something without sounding ridiculously illogical. Then tell him, "if the godless cosmos had no beginning, then it has always existed in one form or another, which means that science is indefinitely flawed since it is forever impotent to scientifically explain how a godless cosmos could Exist when it was never born, by definition. Also, sadly, this would mean there is no reason for the cosmos's existence, since it was never born, by definition."
Umm... How do you know that:

1. There was ever "nothing"?
2. What is the difference between "nothing" and "absolute nothing"?
3. A very first something popped into existence? What something are you referring to?
4. The only way a first something could have popped into existence was by magic? First please demonstrate that magic can cause things to pop into existence,
5. Because science isn't afraid to say "I don't know." that somehow means religion wins by default.
  #57  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:42 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ke View Post
I suggest you NOT engage someone this disrespectful and snide, especially if he is family. Agree to disagree.

He is not "way above" you. He is really quite ignorant on a number of fronts, and his note is FULL of inaccuracies and logical fallacies, starting with his premise.
That's right. I am not in anyway above my sister. She is a good and moral person and I do not wish to cause her distress. She engaged me with questions, and I replied.

And yes, I am ignorant on a number of fronts. Guilty as charged.

And I would appreciate it if you could be more specific about my inaccuracies and logical fallacies.

Thank you.
  #58  
Old Jun 28, '13, 10:56 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveabrous View Post
First I would point out that that is what science may say now but in 100 years it will change.
Yes and no. Science is first and foremost a method for describing the universe and arriving at conclusions about it. The method doesn't really change.

What does change is our body of knowledge, which tends to become a closer and closer approximation of an accurate description of the universe. Science is self-correcting. Scientists make their names by debunking the claims of other scientists. I like that system. It's a kind of quality control. It's exactly the kind of intelligent design that I really do want more of.

Religion changes too, but only reluctantly, and often in the face of facts revealed by science and various moral quandaries that arise as cultures change over time.
  #59  
Old Jun 28, '13, 11:06 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
He made 3 assumptions here than he didn't prove.

So your brother is very mistaken to believe that people who existed thousands of years ago had no access to God.
I don't believe that people today have access to God either. Or to Vishnu. Or to Thor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
Even Christopher Hitchens, a very famous atheist, admitted that the universality of religion is actually a good argument in its favor, since such widespread cultural commonalities cannot be explained away as cultural constructions. Belief in God is something intrinsic within human nature; and that's true whether you're a Catholic, Australian Aborigine, or Native American.
OK, so you're saying that if belief in God is natural, then that supports the existence of God?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
The atheist simply assumes that all religions make the same claims.
Wow. That's way off the mark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
None of them teach that God incarnated to make Himself known.
Are you saying Jesus is not God incarnate?
  #60  
Old Jun 28, '13, 11:08 pm
1peter315 1peter315 is offline
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Default Re: Way over my head. letter from atheist brother

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Originally Posted by KEP1983 View Post
This shows just how little your brother knows about Abraham and his life story. It sounds like he's read a lot of Richard Dawkins and swallowed it whole.

Besides, didn't your brother talk about how brutal life was back then? Shouldn't Jacob have been culturally conditioned to be around knives? And didn't God provide the Ram before anything serious happened?

What you brother doesn't see is that the story of Abraham and Jacob is a typology (a foreshadowing) of what was going to come later. God was going to sacrifice His own Son. There was also the foreshadowing of Christ's substitution-- the Ram-- who takes our place. The whole story is a foreshadowing of Christ's life, written many many centuries before it happened.

The Jews and Romans then unknowingly fulfilled the foreshadowing, which was written many many centuries ahead of time. The chances of that happening are pretty slim.
Are you saying that there is a context in which causing your son to believe that you are about to murder him, because you actually are, is a good thing?
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