The early founders of Christianity seem wholly unaware of the idea of a human Jesus
It would be nice if people could decide whether the early Christians were “wholly unaware of the idea” that He was God - or that He was man. It seems that what is important is, that He should not be the Jesus Christ of the NT & the Christian Church; He can be anything else - but not that.
The Jesus of the Gospels bears a striking resemblance to other ancient heroes and the figureheads of pagan savior cults
One saviour is likely to look pretty like another; salvation is not really the kind of activity that allows for much “originality”. A three-headed man would be “original” - but he would look rather unlike a man.
The objection is so impressed by externals that it overlooks inner significance: Jesus was neither the first nor the last Jew to be crucified, & He was certainly not the first “saviour” in Jewish history - as even a slight acquaintance with the Book of Judges (for example) will show. The NT message about Him does not claim such things, & the Church does not - for NT & Church both emphasise other things about Him as being far more important - so there is no objection to answer. If He had not had fore-runners, to indicate at least approximately what kind of thing salvation might be, He would not have been recognisable as a, the, Saviour.
Which “ancient heroes and the figureheads of pagan savior cults” are meant ? This remark is so vague, that a great many figures might be meant, or not meant.
If these objectors would deign to read the NT before talking in this ill-informed & illogical way about its central Figure, we might get somewhere.
Contemporary Christians are largely ignorant of the origins of their religion
No doubt - but what (if anything) does that prove ? Contemporary members of all sorts of groups - pigeon-fanciers, philosophers of science, apologists for secularism - are probably not as well-informed on every detail of their group as they might be. Christianity is a religion - not a course in Ancient History (fascinating as that is). One is a Christian, not because one has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Second Temple Judaism, but because one has faith in God through Jesus Christ. Those who discount God are not in a position to know this faith from within - they have only themselves to blame, if they reject the one thing that could correct their ignorance; their ignorance is self-inflicted.
Fundamentalism is as strong today as it ever has been, with an alarming 44% of Americans believing Jesus will return to earth in their lifetimes
If the term were defined, it would be possible to have something resembling an intelligent discussion about it: does Fundamentalism in this context mean:
*]the movement in US Protestantism which is associated with the publication of “The Fundamentals” shortly before WW1
*]- or: the sort of Christianity which is at home with belief in the existence of an Almighty, Transcendent, Infinite, Gracious, Tri-Une Creator God ?
*]- or: something else ?[/LIST]
And God simply isn’t there
It would be interesting to know why atheists expect Christians to be impressed by anything as illogical as that sentence fragment - failure to “find” God, is not proof there is no God to find. If we cannot infer that X causes Y, even though the relation between X & Y has so far been such that, when X occurs Y also does, the failure of atheists to find God so far cannot be treated as proof that there is no God. Men who wear dark glasses cannot reasonably complain of not being able to see the sunlight.