Answers to Atheists

The proof of the existence of God is the resurrection of Jesus. Only an insane person would not believe Jesus was God after witnessing Jesus rising from the dead after being dead as a door nail for three days, and then Jesus tells you it was God who did it. However, as the resurrection occurred 2000 years ago and you obviously can’t witness that resurrection, I am left to argue evidence of that resurrection or what I call “evidence of proof”. Evidence means “having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” Federal Rule of Evidence 401. Proof is a weighing of the evidence and determining that the evidence meets a particular standard of proof. In the law, there are at least five levels of proof ranging from the easiest to hardest to meet. Those levels are reasonable suspicion, probable cause, preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt.
The best evidence of proof for Christianity is The Gospels themselves. The Gospels are so utterly brilliant that they provide circumstantial evidence that Jesus was God. The Words of Jesus are so utterly genius that these Words are what one should expect from a supernatural being. The Gospels are the greatest written works of all time and the best selling works of all time. Moreover, as ancient documents, The Gospels are admissible hearsay evidence in a court of law under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(16).
If I were to give you a copy of Einstein’s annus miriabilis papers, and told you that they were fiction, after reading those papers you could reasonably conclude that the papers are, in fact, not fiction based on the genius contained therein. You could also conclude that a single brilliant mind was responsible for the creation of those papers. You would have circumstantial evidence that a single person was responsible for those papers, and based on the author’s name appearing on those papers, that Einstein was the author. It is unlikely that any reasonable person would present such genius in the form of fiction, and even if it were presented as fiction, it is even less likely that they wouldn’t at least take authorship or credit for it. In apply this to The Gospels, it is reasonable to conclude that due to the utter genius contained in therein, that a single person was responsible for the Word, and that this person was named Jesus. This is also circumstantial evidence that Jesus actually existed. Circumstantial evidence is admissible in a court of law.
Once you have provided the foregoing evidence that Jesus was God, the next question becomes, “what level of proof does this evidence satisfy?” A reasonable level of proof to use is preponderance of the evidence, or in layman’s terms, “more likely than not.” In submitting the evidence that Jesus was God to the jury, a reasonable jury could conclude that based on the utter brilliance of The Gospels, that Jesus was the Son of God. One our side, you have The Gospels and the utter brilliance of the greatest mind that ever existed contained therein to prove Jesus must have been God to devise the Word. We have the opinions of a multitude of highly intelligent people throughout the ages who would agree with the utter brilliance of The Gospels. The other side has many non-believers who do not share this opinion. They have an assumption and presumption that only the material world exists, because that is all they can see or experiment on. Science, however, does not prove that God does not exist. Indeed, there is every reason to assume that the original cause of the creation of the universe is vastly different than our modern laws of physics and the material world as we know it, as we do not know of any way that the quantum field or foam can create itself out of nothingness. Therefore, it would be quite reasonable for a jury depending on who sits in the jury box, to conclude that God is more likely than not, and that more likely than not, Jesus was his Son.
Once you have gotten to the point of understanding that it is reasonable to believe that more likely than not, Jesus was the Son of God, the next question is why believe in Jesus and not atheism? At this point, I raise a modified form of Pascal’s Wager. In short, given the options offering infinite reward versus those only offering finite reward, it is reasonable to choose the options offering infinite reward. Even if the probability of an option offering infinite reward is tiny, because the payoff in the form of eternal life is infinite, this means that the reward being offered is always infinite, as a tiny probability multiplied by infinity still equals infinity. Atheism only offers a finite reward of a life of loose moral living followed by a soulless death, or worse, an infinite punishment in hell.
Now, Pascal being a “wagering” man, would choose the option offering infinite reward with the best “odds” of being correct. I’ll call this the “religious racetrack”. You eliminate all options offering infinite reward without evidence of proof, and simply take the “horse” among those options with the best odds or best evidence of proof. Christianity has the best evidence of proof among those options of infinite reward offering proof, as The Gospels are utterly brilliant works beyond any other religious or non-religious work. Indeed, the difference between Jesus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (“FSM”) is that the FSM does not have the brilliance of The Gospels backing him up.
Once you understand that under a modified form of Pascal’s Wager, it is reasonable to believe in Christianity over all other ideologies, philosophies and religions, you can make the argument that you should believe in Jesus and start a journey of Faith that brings you to proof beyond a reasonable doubt that God exists through your personal experience and awareness of God.

Your argument is persuasive to a Christian. To an atheist turned Christian, it would also be persuasive. To an atheist before he turns Christian, it will not seem to be conclusive because the atheist does not want to believe it is persuasive and will concoct plenty of ways to punch holes in your logic. What persuades the atheist to become a Christian is something more critical in his experience of life: perhaps the birth of his first child; or the death of his parents; or the realization that life empty of meaning is also empty of joy; or even simply the need to give thanks and be forgiven for one’s sins.

A better proof of Jesus Christ as God is in the music of Mozart:

youtube.com/watch?v=6KUDs8KJc_c

“Beauty is truth; truth beauty.” John Keats, English poet

Nobody can explain away the sublime beauty and truthfulness of sacred music.

Not all atheists do that. Some of them are open-minded and are willing to follow the logic where it leads. Jennifer Fulwiler was an atheist who was converted to Catholicism largely through the evidence for the Resurrection. The book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel played a significant role in her conversion because it uses arguments similar to those mentioned by the OP. (Actually, it was written by a Protestant, but the arguments it uses for the Resurrection are ancient and Catholic.)

Things like the birth of her child also played a role because it led her to see that there was more to man than molecules. But I don’t think we should exclude historical arguments either just because some atheists will refuse to be convinced.

I agree with this. C.S. Lewis, for example, attributed one of the reasons for his conversion to reading Chesterton.

So I think any amount of evangelizing or apologetics will help to soften up a candidate for conversion.

In my own case, however, I found Mozart to be more persuasive than Chesterton.

And I don’t think it was coincidental that my reconversion followed soon after my father’s death.

I’m quite convinced that a determined atheist will not be converted by logic or courtroom antics alone.

I do appreciate your logic and how much thought you put into this but how exactly does this pertain to just atheists? The argument is that Jesus is God. Atheists don’t believe in God in the first place so of course they’re not going to believe Jesus is God. I feel like this argument should be more directed at all non-Christians. Any person who believes in a God in the first place would probably have a stronger probability of believing that Jesus was the son of God. I’m really confused as to what caused you to single out atheists.

As Thomas Paine said (paraphrasing), I was not there when any of it happened, I was not there when it was written, etc. Therefore I have the right to be skeptical of it. Sure, I wasn’t here when Einstein wrote his papers, but we are looking at 70 years ago, not 2 millenniums. We know where Einstein grew up, went to school, who he married, what he liked to do for fun, where he did his research at and that he followed a strict process in order to get his reason and thoughts out to the public in his peer reviewed journals. Besides, Einstein talked about physics and taking stuff we already gained knowledge of and furthered it using equations and theories that have been accepted by the scientific community. Jesus came and talked about philosophical things as well. He was definitely a brilliant man but there have been so many brilliant and deep philosophical men throughout history, what makes Jesus stand apart from the others? There are many people alive today (old by now) who had personally met Einstein. No one can say the same for Jesus. He grew up across the world in the middle of the desert, he did not write the Gospels himself, and all the Gospels were written later on after his death.

I’m not trying to bash Christianity in anyway shape or form, if someone is a Christian I have absolutely no problem with that. I don’t think the logic holds up in the argument as to how we can relate his teachings to that of Einstein or that we can use the Gospels to prove the existence of God, let alone that Jesus was God. Faith is complete trust in someone or something without knowledge to prove it to be correct. You always hear people say that you just gotta have faith. If someone has faith then that’s awesome, but I don’t think you can argue faith against someone if they would like evidence for the faith other than scripture from what your own religion says, such as Jesus rising from the dead.

“To someone with faith, no explanation is needed. To someone without faith, no explanation suffices.”

I think the best way to deal with Atheists is not to try to argue against them. In their mind, that just gives them even more reason to dislike Christians (they now have a “side”: Atheism). The best we can do is to politely tell them what we believe, pray for them, and show them the love that Christ showed.

I read through it. To summarize what it seems to be saying “anyone that draws these set of conclusions from this set of information will conclude Christianity is true.” I don’t think it is very convincing by itself. But I applaud taking the time to articulate and express the thoughts;the presentation of other arguments I have encountered have seemed more elusive.

Pardon my mistakes. Sent from a mobile device.

Great ideas by all.

I love Mother Teresa’s method–Love!

I watch the documentary of her life–she manifested love and many, if not almost all, had to agree that God worked in and through her. Adam, Eve, Pharaoh, Pilate and Judas even turned away.

I lived through her life and forgot the impact that she made and makes.

I would think that the documentary is on YouTube–I have not looked. I have my own DVD.

“Argument” can refer to a spectrum of different ways of presenting ones stance in support or opposition of a position. If you are referring to the style of presentation that is motivated by anger, annoyance, so on then I agree with you. Otherwise I think an exchange of opposing viewpoints can be interesting, enlightening, entertaining, and constructive. Such as sitting down and having a discussion over tea about worldviews.

The argument I present hinges on a sophisticated understanding of evidence and levels of proof. I choose atheists as the main target audience, because they are the ones claiming there is no evidence of God. The argument persuasively demonstrates that there is indeed court admissible circumstantial evidence that God exists and that Jesus was his Son. If there is such evidence, and it can rise to a level of proof of preponderance of the evidence for many people, than Christianity is indeed a reasonable evidence-based belief system for anyone. I have yet to find anyone who has successfully popped a logical hole in this argument. Faith is trust in God’s will. However, trust does not have to be complete or undoubting. There is always room for growth. The Gospels are full of stories of the Apostles’ waivering Faith. The Gospels do not at all say that you must have absolute Faith to be a believer. This is a serious and grave misconception. The argument I present is meant to give non-believers an evidence-based reason to believe, so that they may begin to grow in Faith. The argument is also meant to give believers an argument against atheistic claims.
@Jerbear. Notice I said assume you were told Einstein’s papers were fiction. I supposed I also should have said assume you have never heard of Einstein, have no way of verifying Einstein’s existence outside these papers, and that you understood physics to a degree. I am using this only as an illustration to show that evidence of brilliant genius set forth only in a document is circumstantial evidence that a single brilliant mind did indeed exist to put this stuff down on paper, and that one can presume that the author is the one whose name appears on the paper. Again, I target atheists, because many of them have never bothered to actually read The Gospels to verify the utter genius that was Jesus, but it doesn’t stop them from pretending that they know all about Christianity. Atheists also like to claim that Jesus never actually existed. The circumstantial evidence I suggest shows that Jesus was indeed a real person.
I do appreciate all your thoughtful feedback, however.

Actually I have a very close friend/co-worker who is atheist and is very supportive of people who “have faith”. She asks questions, doesn’t argue, has no anger whatsoever toward Christians, and even defends their right to believe. She even said, “Well giving up things for lent is probably a way that most Catholics draw closer to God. They demonstrate with their outside what they feel on the inside.” I thought that was very mature and insightful. She genuinely doesn’t believe in any deity or creator. She’s got a genius IQ and we talk all the time about our beliefs/non-belief. She doesn’t dislike Christians at all but she doesn’t like them telling her she’s going to hell and being nasty or pushy. I feel that drawing closer to her helps her see that my belief is the reason I do what good I do in this world. Lots of people don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus, it doesn’t make them idiots, it makes them non-Christian and Jesus told us what to do about that–to love them and show them what being a Christian is about.

Presenting the Resurrection argument outright is a poor move in my opinion. One needs, in my opinion, to prove the God of classical theism exists before starting on such an argument, otherwise the antecedent probability is just too low and will not likely be accepted by any non-Christian (let alone an atheist). I found this post really good as far as laying things out: edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/05/pre-christian-apologetics.html#more

Well, you often find people with a high I.Q. who are surprisingly unbelieving.

Reasons may vary from one person to another. I don’t think it’s the high I.Q. that makes them atheistic. I think it’s something a good deal more deep-seated than that … something they have to work out on their own … at which point the high I.Q. might be an asset rather than a seeming obstacle. :thumbsup:

For those who believe, no proof is necessary and for those who don’t, no proof is sufficient.
So your very long proof of Jesus’ divinity is only proof if you already believe it. For those who don’t, your proof is specious.
In my opinion it is unwise to try to convert people to your religious beliefs. You wouldn’t like it if they tried to convert you and possibly succeeded.

youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc&feature=kp

This is Ben Stein and Dawkins talking about God and no god.

If they succeeded at converting you then I would say that you would be happy that they tried to in the first place. I understand what you’re getting at though.

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@ccmnxc. I would apply the same argument to the antecedent classical theism if I could, but I can’t. The Gospels are on an entirely higher plane of genius, than the Old Testament. The reason for that is simple. The Old Testament doesn’t have Jesus. Besides, my argument challenges the non-believers to read The Gospels for themselves to see whether my claim that The Gospels are of utter brilliance on a divine level of inspiration is plausible. If I were going to try to convince someone that God exists, the first place I would send them to is The Gospels. I know of no other written works more convincing than those. In addition, there is a big problem with your suggestion of proving the antecedent God through an examination of the history of God. Your argument leads to a presumption of the evolution of God, which plays directly into the atheist’s argument for the mythological evolution of God.
***cott. My argument is designed for those who do not already believe, or who’s faith is shaky, or who’s faith is being assaulted by atheists, or simply to shut the mouths of the ardent but vocal non-believer. It is an argument giving an evidence-based reason to believe and a reason to read The Gospels to begin a journey of faith.

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