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Tough Answers to Atheists Debate
AUTHOR: Unknown
PUBLISHED ON: March 18, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Christian Living

                        Answers To Tough Questions

Below you will find a public exchange between myself, a Christian, and
an atheist, who uses the screen name PHOTO ONE on the PC-Link network.
She made some serious charges against Christianity, which I present
first.  My responses followed, and I thought this might help you in
some way. My responses were taken from a book by McDowell and Stewart,
titled: “Answers to Tough Questions”.  I hope you find some use
for this material.
—————————————————————–
Subj:  Religion is a myth.
From:  Photo One
Posted on: PC-Link

Christianity is just an old myth. Jesus never existed.

The Bible was written centuries after the events took place and
cannot be relied upon because so many people changed it. There
was no concept of recorded history during that time period.
Nobody recorded history. It’s all fake.

Christians are all united in their belief in Christ, and
that’s about all they are united in.

Various Christian bishoprics were engaged in a power struggle in
which the chief weapons were bribery, forgery, and intrigue, with
elaborate fictions and hoaxes written into sacred books and
ruthless competition between rival parties for the lucrative
position of God’s elite.

The “unity” of the early Christian church was acheived by
bloodshed, repression and Inquisition.  The church itself was
built to make men powerful; it was not the gentle pilgrims
spreading the “good word”.  It was a very lucrative institution,
and it did whatever it had to do, including mass murder, to remain
in its state of power.  They sought to control the minds of the
populace because therein lay their wealth and power.  .

End of PHOTO ONE’S posting.
———————————————————-

      ************** MY RESPONSES *****************

There are still many people today, like Photo, who make the
claim that Jesus never existed, the He was only a mythical
character.

Betrand Russell (one of Photo’s favorites) put it this way:
“I may say that one is not concerned with the historical
question. Historically, it is quite doubtful whether Christ
ever existed at all, and if He did, we do not know anything
about Him, so I am not concerned with the historical
question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned
with Christ as he appears in the Gospels” (Why I am Not
a Christian, page 11 note 8).

Those who make such statements are not historians, but are
surprisingly ignorant of the facts.

The New Testament contains 27 different documents which
were written in the first Century A.D.. These writings
contain the story of the life of Jesus and the beginnings
of the Christian church from about 4 B.C. until the decade
of the A.D. nineties.

The facts were recorded by eyewitnesses, who gave firsthand
testimony the what they had seen and heard. Moreoever,
the existence of Jesus is recorded by Jewish historian,
Falvius Joesphus, who was born in 37 A.D.. He wrote: “Now
there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful
to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works–
a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.
He drew over to him both many of the Jews and and many of
the Gentiles…. when Pilate, at the suggestion of the
principal men amongst us, had him condemned on the cross…
he appeared alive again the third day.
(Antiquities XVIII, III)

Although his passage has been contested because of a
reference to Christ, the fact of his existence is not
in question.

Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 112), a Roman historian, writing
about the reign of Nero, refers to Jesus Christ and the
existence of Christians in Rome. Tacitus, in his
“Annals, XV, 44” and in his “Histories” refers to
Christianity and the burning of Jerusalem in 70 A.D..

Roman historian Seutonius (A.D. 120) references Jesus
in “Life of Claudius” and in his “Epistles X”.

The testimony, both Christian and non-Christian, is more
than sufficient to lay rest any idea that Jesus, in fact,
never existed. We know more about the life of Jesus than
just about any other figure in the ancient world. His
birth and death are detailed more than the most ancient
figures whose existence is taken for granted by historians.

“Indeed it has been argued–and I think very rightly–that
myth theories of the beginnings of Christianity are
modern speculative hypotheses motivated by unreasoning
prejudice and dislike. ‘It would never enter anyone’s head,’
says Mereshovsky, ‘to ask whether Jesus had lived, unless
before asking the question the mind had been darkened by
the wish that he had not lived.'” (Roderick Dunklerly,
Beyond Gospels).

There seems to be some kind of general consensus among Atheists
that the New Testament documents were written many years after
the events took place and hence do not contain reliable
information. However, the fact is that the life of Jesus was
written by eyewitnesses or people who recorded firsthand
testimony. The writers were all living at the same time these
events transpired, and they had personal contact with the events
or with people who witnessed the events.

There is strong internal testimony that the Gospels were
written at an early date. The book of Acts records missionary
activity of the early church and was written as a sequel by
the same person who wrote the Gospel according the Luke. The
Book of Acts ends with the Apostle Paul being alive in Rome,
his death not being recorded.

This clearly shows that it was written before he died, since
other major events in his life had been recorded. Since Paul
was put to death by Neronian persecution in the year 64 AD,
it is clear that the Book of Acts was composed before this
time. If the Book of Acts was written before 64 AD then the
Gospel of Luke, to which Acts was a sequel, had to have been
composed some time before that, probably in the late fifties.
This would make the composition of Luke at the latest within
30 years of the events. Since Matthew was written before Luke,’
it is clear that the first Gospels were composed well within
the times of the events.

This evidence led the liberal scholar John A.T. Robinson to
re-date the new Testament documents much earlier than most
modern liberal scholars would have us believe.
Robinson argued in his book, “Re-Dating the New Testament”
that the entire New Testament could have been completed
before the year AD 70.

These facts also led W.F. Albright, the great Biblical
archaelogist to comment: “We can already emphatically say
that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any
book of the New Testament after AD 80, two full generations
before the date between 130-150 given by the more radical
New Testament critics of today.”

There is a strong possiblity that the Apostle John’s
banishment to Patmos under Domitan was as late as AD 95-96
in Revelation I. There is strong tradition John wrote
Revelations there at that time. This is testified by
Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and Irenaeus (New
Testament Survey, Gromacki).

The evidence points out that (1) the documents were not
written long after the events but within close proximity
to them, and (2) they were written by people during the
period who were acquainted with the facts or were
eyewitnesses to them. The inescapable conclusion is that
the New Testament picture of Christ can be trusted.

From “The Bible and Archaeology” we see the following:
“The interval between the dates of original composition
of the New Testament and the earliest extant evidence
becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the
last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have
come down to us substantially as the were written has now
been removed. Both the authenticity and the general
integrity of the the books of the New Testament may
be regarded as finally established.” This was written
by Sir Frederick Kenyon, former director and principal
librarian of the British Museum, an expert and
authority on ancient manuscripts and their authority.

This ends my response.  I hope this helps you resolve any
doubts which you may have about the Bible’s authenticity.
You may know someone who doesn’t put much trust in the
Bible… you may want to share some or all of this information
with them as you witness to the truth.

God Bless you.
Rob

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