Unlike their site, we allow and encourage comments and discussion.
This is a rebuttal and critique of a speech “Truth Leaves You Accountable Before God posted on the NorCal Seed Sowers web site. My replies are in standard and original content is in italics.
The following Persuasive Speech was written as a college assignment by Gabija Turauskaite
In my experience, when it comes to the conversations I’ve had over the years about the truth behind the gospel of Christianity, one area of disagreement has been the misconception that there is an alleged lack of evidence. This could not be further from the truth.
I can’t speak to the other conversations but the lack of evidence is absolutely a major part to which we disagree. There simply is no substantial evidence outside of the Bible that backs up the claims of the Gospels. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and one thing Christians refuse to accept is that the Bible is not evidence, it is the claim. The Bible makes a number of claims that can be tested by science, history, and archeology. For better or worse the Bible fails these tests routinely.
The Bible often makes failed claims about nature. For example, the Bible claims (indirectly) that the Earth and universe was created in six twenty-four hour periods about 6-10k years ago. All the hard sciences say this is in error by many orders of magnitude. The Biblical creation myth is not only nonsensical, but clearly wrong. It tells of a global flood that lasted more than a year in which only 8 people survived, but geology and physics are clear that this never happened. It tells of the Hebrew nation once being enslaved by Egypt. Again, archeology is clear that this event is fiction. A mass exodus would have crippled Egypt’s economy, and not a single plague is recorded anywhere outside of the Bible. Moreover, the claims of the New Testament are just as fictional.
My job today is going to be to persuade of the truth of Christianity and the dangers of dismissing it.
My approach will be organized in such a way as to present first –evidence behind the truth of Christianity, second –distinguish the problem with which this truth inevitably leaves everyone with, and thirdly –present the answer and solution to this problem.
I will make it clear that Christianity is false, there is no problem, and therefore no need for a solution. The only “problem” is one that Christianity invents as to sell you a “solution”. There is no danger in dismissing Christianity’s claims.
The key event which highlights Christianity as the only true means of salvation is the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ after His crucifixion (1 Corinthians 15:14), which authorizes the credibility behind His teachings and personal statements on His exclusivity as Lord and Savior, unlike such that any other religion or religious leader in history may have claimed.
A resurrection somehow “authorizes credibility” to Jesus how? Hercules resurrected as did countless other deities in mythology. Does this mean that Hercules can also save people from sin? Hardly. Also, a claim to resurrection is not evidence of a resurrection.
Let’s look at another example of another fictional character in the time of Jesus:
“Even before he was born, it was known that he would be someone special. A supernatural being informed mother the child she was to conceive would not be a mere mortal but would be divine. He was born miraculously, and he became an unusually precocious young man. As an adult he left home and went on an itinerant preaching ministry, urging his listeners to live, not for the material things of this world, but for what is spiritual. He gathered a number of disciples around him, who became convinced that his teachings were divinely inspired, in no small part because he himself was divine. He proved it to them by doing many miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. But at the end of his life he roused opposition, and his enemies delivered him over to the Roman authorities for judgment. Still, after he left this world, he returned to meet his followers in order to convince them that he was not really dead but lived on in the heavenly realm. Later some of his followers wrote books about him.”
This was Bart Ehrman’s description of Apollonius of Tyana, which has equally “documented” sources. It’s just one more religious figure that didn’t succeed.
Now, when it comes to historical science and verifying any distant past events or accounts in terms of their accuracy and credibility, historians are normally lucky to find one or two surviving ancient sources or documents, at the most, to confirm the facts.
This is absurd. True events often leave mountains of evidence. According to the Bible, Jesus was bigger than the Beatles and Elvis combined! But now the author is setting us up for lowered expectations and falsehoods. The vast majority of the events mentioned in the New Testament are not mentioned anywhere else in history. In fact many of them don’t even pass the smell test.
For example, there is no reason to make every person travel to their ancestral homeland for a census as the NT contends happened at the time of Jesus’ birth. Worse, there is no evidence it happened! Sending millions of people all over the Roman Empire to their ancestral homes from thousands of years before they were born? Imagine the confusion and problems millions of people going ancestral homes would have caused. What about those who had no idea where those homes were? The historians of the day also make no mention of this census.
Another example is the slaughter of the innocents by Herod. No historians mention it. How can one be expected to believe that tens or hundreds of thousands of male children were slaughtered under his order yet find no mention of it anywhere in the annuls of history?
The supposedly infallible gospels wildly contradict each other about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. They disagree about when and where he was born and who was there.
We could go on and on about the false historical claims of the Bible, but suffice it to say, if we can’t say the Bible is incorrect about these supposed events of this magnitude, why should we accept it’s claims about a wandering messiah (one of hundreds in the area at that time) that supposedly rose from the dead? We would be fools to accept that claim at face value.
For example, when it comes to various great historical leaders we study today, such as Julius Caesar, according to E. M. Blaiklock, a scholar who has catalogued most of the secular writings of the Roman Empire, practically no documentation exists coming anywhere even close to the timespan of his life. Nonetheless, Caesar’s existence remains unquestioned.
This is a blatant and common Christian falsehood . Unlike the mythical Jesus, we have mountains of evidence for Caesar. We have Caesar’s bust, made in his lifetime, we have the currency with his likeness that was issued by him during his reign, we have the words of Caesar himself and writings about him composed by his friends and enemies. We have nothing of that quality when it comes to Jesus.
Sadly, E. M. Blaiklock is not an objective source and not very credible. He was known to author 3 or more books a year where a good author will author one well researched book every 3-5 years. He clearly was on a mission to confirm his beliefs and wasn’t examining the evidence from an objective viewpoint.
On the other hand, official documentation upon the life events of Jesus can be found in thousands of historical writings just merely written in the time span of 130 years within his life and after death. It includes as many as 42 different authors, including nine secular sources.
Unlike those of Caesar, none of these authors are eye witnesses. There is no “official” documentation of the life events of Jesus. No birth records, no tax records, no trial records and no death records. The gospels simply do not qualify as official records as they are anonymous, contradict each other on major events, and were written at least 4 decades after the supposed crucifixion. (1)
Many of these “sources” have been altered and embellished by the early church and therefore are highly suspect. (2)
No one who wrote about Jesus ever met him, these are all hearsay accounts.
Since indeed there is an abundance of these sources, by carefully examining each of them together, an undoubtably solid case can be established for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ being assuredly historical events.
Again this is simply false. Historians at the time would have noted this miracle worker and the major events that supposedly happened. No one would have missed the supposed eclipse that happened at the crucifixion and the earth quake at the same time, but all non- biblical historians are completely silent on this. They also fail to mention the rising from the grave of 500 dead jews! One would think a zombie uprising would make the mention of at least a few non-biblical historians, but again there is nothing. These historians usually don’t mention Jesus, but only Christians and never do they mention miracles. Even Paul himself never mentioned the virgin birth or Jesus’ miracles!
Jewish legal authority Haim Cohn (Attorney-General of Israel and later Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court) scrutinized the different Biblical accounts of Jesus’ trial in The Trial and Death of Jesus, and his verdict is clear. On point after point he finds that the Gospel writers get their facts wrong on ordinary claims, so they shouldn’t be believed when it comes to extraordinary claims. (3)
In fact, an investigation as this had been made in the past by one of the world’s leading experts on evidence, Dr. Simon Greenleaf. One of his major works was called A Treatise on The Law of Evidence, which the U.S. judicial system still relies on today. Being a known atheist, Greenleaf believed that the resurrection of Christ was either a hoax or a myth, but as a professor and founder of Harvard Law school, he was challenged by three of his law students to apply his rules of evidence to the resurrection account of Jesus Christ.
The results of this investigation he recorded in a book called An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice: With an Account of the Trial of Jesus, in which he compares the accounts of the four New Testament gospels to other writings of known historians of the time such as Tacitus, Josephus, Seutonius and more.
Greenleaf would have been laughed out of court if he had been foolish enough to try to prove the existence of Jesus in a court of law. None of the “evidence” he submitted would have been valid. The gospels are hearsay at best and clearly not admissible under the Rules of Evidence. (4) According to legal authorities, documents of any type must meet three criteria in order to qualify for the Ancient Documents Rule: 1) that the document is at least 20 years old, 2) presumed to be genuine, 3) come from proper custody (cf. Black’s Law Dictionary, FRE 901(b)(8)). There is no reason to presume the Gospels are genuine nor do they come from proper custody. Original copies of the Gospels don’t exist so there is no way to validate their authenticity. In addition we know that there are a number of interpolations and embellishments made to the gospels.(5) The authors of the Gospels were highly educated, Greek-speaking Christians who probably lived outside Palestine. This rules out the idea that Jesus’ disciples were authors of the Gospels. (6)
After examining the amount of consistencies and the resolved paradoxes, the only logical conclusion left for him to draw was that these documents were evidences of true events.
As I have clearly shown that this is simply not the case.
Also having considered the fatal dangers of proclaiming the statements, which the authors of these sources did not hesitate to boldly proclaim, Greenleaf wrote, “it was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.” (1)
Greenleaf’s error is that he presupposed that the gospels are factually correct. The number of historical errors inside the gospels make the clear case that they are not factually correct. The Gospels claim that the Jews were not allowed to put anyone to death (John 18:31). This is blatantly false. Nor would they have held a pre-trial if there was reason enough to turn someone over to the Romans (7) In another mistake, John 18:28 asserts the Jews could not enter Pilate’s Praetorium because they would be defiled. Cohn retorts: “Nothing in Jewish law or ritual, however, would support the contention that by entering the king’s – or anybody’s – place or a courtroom a Jew could become impure.” (8) Robert Price notes another historical error: if the Sanhedrin had asked Pilate for the death penalty, it would have been death by stoning, as the Torah required (Mishnah Sanhedrin 6:4h & i).
Gospel writers have Pilate resort to a “tradition” of releasing a prisoner to the crowd for Passover (Matt. 27:15, Mark 15:6, Luke 23:17, John 18:39) but this is an invention of the Gospel writers and clearly does not have any historical merit. (9)
Having established that there is indeed solid documented credibility for Jesus’ resurrection I would like to now present an example of a previously mentioned concept, a statement of exclusivity, that Jesus makes about Himself in the context of the gospel of John: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (2) Let’s look now at the problematic threat this poses humanity with, when that which He says turns out to be the truth.
The author clearly has not established that there is documented credible sources for any resurrection.
In the context of the Bible, God’s character is portrayed not only as that of great love but also as that of complete and utter holiness.
Who does our author think she is fooling? Anyone who has read the Old Testament would come to the same conclusion to that of Richard Dawkins:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ~ The God Delusion
Dawkins is correct. Her god orders genocide, condones slavery, values women on the same level as cattle, orders people be executed for the “crime” of picking up sticks on the wrong day, murders an entire planet except for eight people and box full of animals, orders the death of infants and pregnant women, and countless other atrocities. This is not a god of love or holiness, but that of an evil maniac!
Because God is perfect, holy and just, not only does He have a love toward goodness, but also a righteous hatred toward evil. He cannot condone acts of sin let alone allow them to ultimately go unpunished. His standard of judgement is His perfect Law. An example of this would include the 10 commandments.
The 10 Commandments are not a good example of a “perfect law”. The first 4 commandments are all about the god’s vulnerable ego. The next 6 are not terrible but are in dire need of improvement. There are no commandments against slavery, genocide, rape, or countless other crimes. Even the Code of Hammurabi is a better example and it predates the 10 Commandments.
By the results of a survey I put together, 90% of the people surveyed believed themselves to be a good person. At the same time above a third answered that they would take it into their own hands to murder an innocent person for a very large sum of money.
This gives great insight into how skewed our own perception and standard of goodness can be, especially when it comes to the evaluation of our own selves. Most believe that what is right and wrong is a matter of subjective preference.
Most people are good people. If this wasn’t true, society would have deteriorated into an uncivilized disaster. Saying that a person would agree to murder a person for money is vastly different than actually carrying through with said act. Until you can demonstrate an objective moral code or even a lawmaker, subjective situational ethics are what people use to determine right from wrong. You use empathy and evidence along with the rest of us, you just claim to get them from a God which you cannot demonstrate.
Fortunately, unlike our own morality, God’s standard is objective and because of His perfection, it requires absolute perfection. His Law is hard as nails and demands complete fulfillment. Because God is so holy and His justice is so thorough, He will not only punish murderers, rapists and thieves, but also those who have lied, dishonored their parents, committed adultery, sexual immorality, idolatry, blasphemy, covetousness, or greed.
As I have clearly noted before, this god’s morality is pathetic and he is not perfect by any standard. Any god that condones slavery is not perfect and doesn’t deserve worship. This god doesn’t seem to mind that people own slaves and gives guidelines for abusing those slaves, but seems very offended by who you might sleep with in the privacy of your own bed. Is this a rational or moral? Hardly.
Also note the obvious moral loophole here. As long as Christians ask for forgiveness for any murder, rape, theft, etc – they can escape any judgement. Christians will be absolved of any sins, which might be why our prisons are full of Christians.
If we genuinely and honestly are to examine ourselves, we would have to admit that according to this standard, we have fallen short and broken these at one point, if not countless times ourselves and thus, are guilty –making us deserving of divine punishment which is hell. The Bible describes such a place as an eternal lake of fire.
This god’s standard for morality is inferior to secular morality. The god of the Bible says that genocide is acceptable. Secular morality disagrees. The god of the Bible says slavery is permissible! Secular morality disagrees. The god of the Bible says that picking up sticks on Saturday is worthy of death. Secular morality says this is absurd! No, this god’s standard is not one to strive for, but to discard for all time as an example of what not to do!
The god of Christianity, by the Bible’s own description, knows about every child ever molested, could prevent every molestation, was present for every molestation, and cant be bothered to even lift a finger to protect an innocent. With the Christian view of forgiveness, you can expect to see that child molester in heaven. On the other hand I am willing to wager that nearly everyone who reads this rebuttal would be more than willing to stop that molestation from happening if they knew about it. That is why secular morality is far superior to any biblical morality.
If anyone deserves this eternal lake of fire, it’s the Christian god.
Author and Evangelist, Ray Comfort, writes, “Many people believe, that because God is good, He will forgive everyone, and let all sinners into Heaven. But they misunderstand His goodness. When [prophet] Moses once asked to see God’s glory, God told him he couldn’t see Him and live. Moses would instantly die if he looked upon God…all of God’s glory was displayed in His “goodness.” The goodness of God would have killed Moses instantly because of his personal sinfulness. The fire of God’s goodness would consume him, like a cup of water dropped onto the surface of the sun.” (3)
According to John 3:16, you only need to believe in Jesus for salvation. No strings attached. Ephesians 2:8, you are not judged by works – you have been saved through grace.
And thus, here lies the problem, because like Moses in this case, we fall incredibly short of the perfect standard of what God says is good, this leads many to the eternal punishment of hell. The reason I say many and not all is because God being rich in mercy went to great lengths to provide a way for mankind to be reconciled, redeemed and justified back to a perfect relationship with Him for those who will humbly receive it.
Before I explain what this way is, first imagine yourself standing in the courtroom before a judge. You have been declared guilty of terrible crimes and you are sentenced to capital punishment.
Would you think to say to the judge, “well [sic] hey, I have done good works too! On my way here I washed your car windows, mowed the neighbor’s lawn, walked old ladies across the street, should not these things cancel out my crimes at least a little bit?” Most likely you would not say this, because it would come to be of no relevance on this day, to the system that demands consequences for crime and justice to be served. In fact it will be an even greater offense, attempting to bribe the judge in such a way as to corrupt his verdict.
This is not bribery.
Now, take into consideration the very same scenario in the courtroom. However, this time in walks the very individual against whom you have committed all of these horrible crimes. To your surprise, however, instead of seeing to it that your punishment be executed, this person steps up to the front and demonstrates his mercy and loving kindness [sic] toward you as he selflessly satisfies the debt of your crimes by agreeing to take upon himself the deadly punishment that you are due, so as to legally dismiss your case and provide you with a second chance to life.
This is an insane analogy! What is staggering is that people can’t see it for the sophistry it is! If this was attempted, it would be a colossal miscarriage of justice and any judge that accepted this punishment by proxy would be thrown off the bench as an incompetent fool! There is no legal way that an innocent person can be punished for the crimes of another and to call this “legal” is vapid nonsense! Let’s also remember that this “person” taking the punishment was the one who set up the rules and created the situation in which you have found yourself in to begin with.
What would your reaction suddenly be toward this individual and toward your crimes? I would imagine that first, you would be terribly grieved, for the fact that your crime had cost the life of this individual when it should have been your own! Being completely undeserving, you would nonetheless be unspeakably grateful for his noble sacrifice, that this person cared so much for your life despite your animosity and transgression toward him. Holistically by the action of this person you would have been justified before the law, however, being now set free, by no means would you even entertain the desire of committing another crime again! This incident would inevitably leave an everlasting impression upon you.
Actually, this line of reasoning is faulty – as the judge and sacrificial lamb are played by the same person (according to the Christian trinity). So the Judge sends himself in to court to sacrifice himself to himself (to appease his own laws) to save you from himself. And who could honestly live with themselves for allowing an innocent person to take the punishment for their own crimes? No moral, self-respecting person would accept this sacrifice – as it is unnecessary and completely unfair. If the Judge is a parallel to an all powerful god, he could just as easily forgive the guilty without needing a blood sacrifice.
The function of this illustration is just a feeble attempt to portray the type of legal transaction that had to take place in order for the fallen man and woman to have the chance to be saved from the eternal consequences of his or her sins.
No, the function of this illustration is to make you feel guilty and not take responsibility for your own actions and instead cast the punishment onto a mythical being. This is not justice, but the antithesis of justice. This is pure adulterated sophistry designed to make you feel like you have a way to get out of your past actions.
This is what it meant for Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, to willingly go on the cross and die the gruesome death that he did not deserve. Considering the work of Christ is a priceless gift, to take part in its possession one must willingly receive it. Because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, it is through repentance –a turning away from sin, and through placing one’s trust in Jesus Christ alone as the payment for these sins that one will receive the precious gift of passing from death unto salvation and life everlasting.
But we are dealing with a myth. There is no evidence outside the Bible that this crucifixion ever happened. But why would anyone want to partake in the death of some innocent person in payment of their own crimes? Only a person who is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions would do such a heinous thing.
Since I have now presented some solid pieces of evidence and illustrations of the way the truth of Christianity personally affects each and every single person, the ball now is in your court to decide what you will do with this knowledge. Because this truth leaves you accountable not before men, but before God Himself, my prayer is that you consider your response to an opportunity as this wisely, as it will bare [sic] consequences affecting not only your present life, which is merely a vapor, but your whole eternity.
This is begging the question that there is an afterlife for one to participate in. There is no evidence of any life after this just as there is no evidence for life before birth! Appealing to a fear of death is to play the fear monger. It offers no reasons to believe this myth of a god to be true. I could just as easily say there is a god that is superior to Gabija’s god that will punish you for obeying Gabija’s god.
In this world of uncertainty, you cannot know when the day will come that you will breathe your last, it could be tomorrow or even today for all you know. And for this reason the scripture tells us that today is the day of salvation. So turn to the Lord in repentance and faith now. Jesus’ words speak for themselves when He says, “what [sic] shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” and “what shall a man give in exchange of his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
More empty claims, appealing to fear instead of logic, and failing to present evidence. As Christopher Hitchens said, that which is presented without evidence can (and perhaps should) be dismissed without evidence.
As stated before, what has been offered by this author is a “solution” to a problem that has not been demonstrated to exist. We have not concluded that this god exists, not have we demonstrated a “soul” is in jeopardy – or shown to exist either. She has attempted to sell you a baseless fear of the unknown and the cure to that fear is her god. The tactic is similar to a mob boss demanding payment for a danger he sets up. Don’t want to burn for eternity (or have your business blown up)? No problem, we have a solution to your situation and all you have to do is pay up! And you should be thankful for all the help our mob has given you! After all, without our help, you business would go up in flames!
In conclusion, Hitchens said it best:
“This is nonsense. It can’t be believed by a thinking person. Why am I glad this is the case? To get to the point of the wrongness of Christianity, because I think the teachings of Christianity are immoral. The central one is the most immoral of all, and that is the one of vicarious redemption. You can throw your sins onto somebody else, vulgarly known as scapegoating. In fact, originating as scapegoating in the same area, the same desert. I can pay your debt if I love you. I can serve your term in prison if I love you very much. I can volunteer to do that. I can’t take your sins away, because I can’t abolish your responsibility, and I shouldn’t offer to do so. Your responsibility has to stay with you. There’s no vicarious redemption. There very probably, in fact, is no redemption at all. It’s just a part of wish-thinking, and I don’t think wish-thinking is good for people either. It even manages to pollute the central question, the word I just employed, the most important word of all: the word love, by making love compulsory, by saying you MUST love. You must love your neighbor as yourself, something you can’t actually do. You’ll always fall short, so you can always be found guilty. By saying you must love someone who you also must fear. That’s to say a supreme being, an eternal father, someone of whom you must be afraid, but you must love him, too. If you fail in this duty, you’re again a wretched sinner. This is not mentally or morally or intellectually healthy. And that brings me to the final objection – which is, this is a totalitarian system. If there was a God who could do these things and demand these things of us, and he was eternal and unchanging, we’d be living under a dictatorship from which there is no appeal, and one that can never change and one that knows our thoughts and can convict us of thought crime, and condemn us to eternal punishment for actions that we are condemned in advance to be taking. All this in the round, and I could say more, it’s an excellent thing that we have absolutely no reason to believe any of it to be true.” (10)
1) Fitzgerald, David (2010-09-30). Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All (Kindle Location 873). Lulu. Kindle Edition.
2) Fitzgerald, David (2010-09-30). Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All (Kindle Location 54). Lulu. Kindle Edition.
3) Fitzgerald, David (2010-09-30). Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All (Kindle Locations 1276-1277). Lulu. Kindle Edition.
4) Federal Rules of Evidence › ARTICLE VIII. HEARSAY › Rule 802. The Rule Against Hearsay
5) Ehrman, Bart D. (2009-02-20). Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (p. 184). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
6) Ehrman, Bart D. (2009-02-20). Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (p. 106). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
7) Fitzgerald, David (2010-09-30). Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All (Kindle Locations 1321-1322). Lulu. Kindle Edition.
8) Fitzgerald, David (2010-09-30). Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All (Kindle Locations 1324-1326). Lulu. Kindle Edition.
9) Price, Robert (2003) The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, ( Page 313) Prometheus
10) Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson 2009 http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1572150/quotes