The Reason Rally, Followed by Atheist At Church Day

This March 24, there will be a rally in Washington, DC called “The Reason Rally.” The idea is to revel in non-religiousness and promote secularism. The name is picked to try to communicate that the anti-religious people are reasonable, while religious people are not.

Several Christian apologists are planning to attend to interact with the crowd and attempt to show that Christians can be reasonable, and we have thought through the evidences for Christianity quite well, thank you. A few of the atheists, such as P. Z. Myers, were a bit perturbed at the idea of Christians coming to their rally, apparently considering it an insult. Myers called us “arrogant and obnoxious,” “a swarm of ticks,” “not honest,” superstitious, and lairs (not counting the curse word). Maybe it’s just me, but these do not sound like reasoned statements. Nevertheless there was a hint that in response, the atheists might return the affront by coming to church.

So we are now promoting Sunday, March 25 as “Atheist at Church Day.” All atheists are hereby invited to attend a local church. You can pick any you’d like, but I would suggest finding one that will pick a paragraph of the Bible and explain it. You’ll learn more about Christianity that way.  But I might suggest coming early………the good seats in the back fill up quick. ;)

If you’d like to read more, see here.

 

 

About these ads

About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Atheism. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The Reason Rally, Followed by Atheist At Church Day

  1. thoughtofvg says:

    Love the idea of the atheist at Church day. I hope it goes well!

  2. Ryan says:

    These questions is directed to humblesmith:

    If you were confronted with undeniable evidence that there was no Creator would you accept the evidence? knowing it would change your whole identity and understanding of the world you live in?

    Would anything in your life be different? Would you still go to church?

    • Ryan says:

      These questions are*

    • humblesmith says:

      If there were undeniable evidence that a creator God did not exist, then I would have to accept it…..it would be undeniable, so I would have to accept it. And yes, it would change my whole identity and understanding of the world. My life would be radically different, and I would not go to church. What would be the point? If there were no God, then there would be no ultimate meaning or purpose to life or the universe, and whatever I did while alive would not matter one whit after I’m gone. I might as well do whatever feels good, for there would be no long term justice or accountability. BTW, this exact question is why in the 1800s, many state constitutions expressly held to freedom of religion, but prevented atheists from being on juries.

      Fortunately, there is solid evidence for the existence of a creator God.

      • Mike says:

        Funny, because if I had learned there was a God who had a son named Jesus, I might consider doing whatever I want, because then I can throw all my sins onto him and and get away with everything!!!

  3. Ryan says:

    also, what would this evidence be? What would be sufficiant evidence to you that Christ didn’t exist or was not raised from the dead?

    If you were confronted with such evidence, would you honestly admit that you were wrong, even though doing so would mean that the years and energy that were invested into study and belief would be unfounded?

    1 Corinthians 15:12-20 reads that:

    Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

    But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

    And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

    Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

    For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

    And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

    Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

    If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

    But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

    (KJV)

    So if Christ has not been raised from the dead our faith is vain.

    Therefore I propose that the resurrection is beleved in faith, because evidence can only clarify certain events, at least as far as I know.

    But I think its a interesting question to ask ourselves, would our lives actually look any different if we believed there was no God? If there was evidence of this, would we accept it? or would we dismiss it as merely false or even a “evil trick”?

    • Ryan says:

      believed*

    • humblesmith says:

      You are correct that the passage from Corinthians says that if Christ be not raised, our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins.

      As for what evidence would suffice to show that God did not exist, it is tough but not impossible. First, as most atheists have discovered, you cannot positively prove a negative such as the non-existence of God. However, the evidence would be two things. 1) if it could be shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead. From a practical sense, it would be rather difficult today, but not impossible, to discover the bodily remains. But during the first months and years of the church, when the Jewish leaders hated the Christians so much, they could have easily squashed Christianity by merely producing the body. They would have done so if they could, and since they did not, it shows they could not.

      2) it it could be shown that logic does not apply to the world, it would be evidence that there is no God. For if there were absolutely no purpose, meaning, or design, or if the world was truly random and meaningless to the point of logic not being applicable to the world, it would demonstrate that ultimate meaning was impossible, and thus no ultimate, and no God.

      As for what to do with evidence, we do the same thing with all evidence. We deal with it logically and reasonably. Sometimes it means adjusting our view of the world, and sometimes it means adjusting our view of the bible. We have had to adjust both at times. Over the centuries, the view of the bible has held up quite well, especially considering how often we’ve had to adjust our view of how the world works. So far, no sufficient evidence has arisen to disprove the key elements of Christianity, and much evidence to prove Christianity.

  4. Ryan says:

    Meaning, do we as Christians dismiss evidence that doesn’t match with our understanding of the Bible, or do we explain that evidence away to fit our worldview, or even decide that this evidence is a temptation (since it might challange our beliefs). Once something is labelled as “a trick of the devil” it can be automatically rejected.

    • Ryan says:

      Because we begin with the belief that The Bible is true, we start with this belief and understand evidence through this belief. Are we sure there isin’t evidence out there that challanges us to such an extent that we decide not to look into it?

  5. Ryan says:

    look forward to reading your responses

  6. Robert says:

    A few of the atheists, such as P. Z. Myers, were a bit perturbed at the idea of Christians coming to their rally, apparently considering it an insult. Myers called us “arrogant and obnoxious,” “a swarm of ticks,” “not honest,” superstitious, and lairs (not counting the curse word).

    I’m no fan of Myers, and I stopped visiting his blog a long time ago, but I was not able to find where he makes these insults. Care to provide the source?

    You can pick any you’d like, but I would suggest finding one that will pick a paragraph of the Bible and explain it.

    Do any of them explain Matt. 27:52-53?

    “and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

    I would be interested in know why such an incredible event like this is not mentioned in any historical document. It’s not even mentioned anywhere, besides Matthew, in the New Testament.

    Of course, we can expand that question to include a lot of the rest of the Bible, but that paragraph should do.

    • humblesmith says:

      To find the post from P.Z. Myers, go to the link I gave in the blog post and look at the comments. Blake Anderson provides a link to Myers’ response, which is the blog post with the quotes I gave. It is on Myers’ blog, dated March 5.

      You’re asking about the particular event mentioned in Matt.27:52 and to why it was not written about by more people. First, compared to Rome, Jerusalem was small town in a backwater country. Many things that happened in such towns were not recorded. Second, it may have been recorded and not survived, which must have happened to many things. After all, it’s impossible to have recorded and kept all events from all towns, even amazing things. Third, it was recorded, by an eyewitness named Matthew. Fourth, if the things we can corroborate about the eyewitness accounts in the Bible are shown true by such a corroboration, it increases the likelihood that that the things we cannot corroborate are also true. Fifth, there is some evidence to suggest that a report may have in fact existed. In Gary Habermas’ book, The Historical Jesus, he provides a quote of a decree that was chiseled in stone in the first century, and found in Israel in 1878 (p.176-177). The decree is an ordinance of Caesar saying that grave robbing is declared illegal, punishable by capital punishment. This stone demonstrates that something happened in the mid-first century to prompt the leader of the world, Caesar, to pass an anti-grave robbing law in a remote backwater country, and give it the highest level of punishment. If you put yourselves in the shoes of people who were not eyewitnesses and hearing the reports from another country, the evidence lines up.

      So an eyewitness account plus a possible historical corroboration is as strong of historical evidence as can be expected from any local event in such a place as Jerusalem.

      (does this mean you’ll be coming to church this week? ;)

      • Robert says:

        It is on Myers’ blog, dated March 5.

        I referenced the entry, and while I do see “arrogant and obnoxious”, I didn’t see the other disparagements. But no matter, I wouldn’t put it past PZ to say them.

        You’re asking about the particular event mentioned in Matt.27:52 and to why it was not written about by more people. First, compared to Rome, Jerusalem was small town in a backwater country.Many things that happened in such towns were not recorded.

        Well, yes, many things that happened in such towns were not recorded. Many things happen everywhere that are not recorded. This is a trite objection.

        But we’re not talking about “many things”. We’re talking about long-dead people, rising out of their graves, and walking around the city.

        And there were plenty of historians at that time, writing the history of that area. Perhaps the most well-known is Flavius Josephus. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was:

        a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70.

        Second, it may have been recorded and not survived, which must have happened to many things.

        Josephus’s works The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94) survived.

        Third, it was recorded, by an eyewitness named Matthew.

        Yes, I mentioned that. My question is, why was it recorded no where else, not even in the other gospels?

        Fourth, if the things we can corroborate about the eyewitness accounts in the Bible are shown true by such a corroboration, it increases the likelihood that that the things we cannot corroborate are also true.

        Indeed so, but it doesn’t make the event “likely” or historical.

        Fifth, there is some evidence to suggest that a report may have in fact existed. In Gary Habermas’ book, The Historical Jesus, he provides a quote of a decree that was chiseled in stone in the first century, and found in Israel in 1878 (p.176-177). The decree is an ordinance of Caesar saying that grave robbing is declared illegal, punishable by capital punishment. This stone demonstrates that something happened in the mid-first century to prompt the leader of the world, Caesar, to pass an anti-grave robbing law in a remote backwater country, and give it the highest level of punishment

        I got a good chuckle out of this one; I would love to see someone in person present it with a straight face.

        First of all, Habermas cites the ordinance as suggesting a reaction to Jesus’s alleged empty tomb, not as evidence in favor of the historicity of Matt. 27:52-53. Secondly, Dr. Richard Carrier, a historian of the ancient near east, translated what the ordinance actually says, and explains what it means:

        (1) the law is prefaced by a reference to the importance of family burial cult, and thus the motivation for the law seems to have been a grievance against those who were depriving people of the right to pay cult to their dead ancestors, a circumstance that has little connection with the supposed case of the missing body of Jesus; (2) the first thing it aims at preventing is not the taking of bodies, but the moving of entire tombs and graves, which makes no sense as a concern that would arise from the mere theft of a body; (3) the second thing it prohibits is the destroying of tombs, which again makes no sense in the case of the empty tomb story; (4) the edict goes out of its way to mention a worry that body-snatchers are stealing bodies to do injury to them, which again makes no sense as a concern that would arise from the empty tomb account; (5) the law goes out of its way to prohibit stealing a doorstone, yet none of the empty tomb accounts mention the stone being carried off, and it is not clear what this would even have to do with that case; (6) then the law prohibits switching stones, which likely refers not only to doorstones but to all stones, since the actual word for doorstone is used in the previous section while the generic “stone” is used here, and this is very likely a law against taking a stone from a tomb’s walls or alcoves, in order to use it elsewhere, and perhaps putting in its place an inferior stone, a worry that has no link at all with the story of Jesus’ tomb, and thus begs for an explanation.

        (does this mean you’ll be coming to church this week? ;)

        Oh, I’ll be happy to go to any church and repeat the above to anyone who holds to the historicity of Matt. 27:52-53. What a wonderful topic for Bible Study!

        Can you recommend a church?

        • humblesmith says:

          The good Dr. Carrier seems to be saying that since the law in its entirety does not correspond one-to-one with this specific case, therefore the law and this case are not related. I trust that either his passion got the best of him, or else I’ve misunderstood, either of which would be preferable to how his article comes across at first read. If this apparent logic was followed, it could be said that no law was ever written to apply to any specific case, since the law covers more ground than the case in question. I also hope we do not resort to having to show the good Dr. how to diagram pronouns, as he inappropriately does in his point (2) (re: to what ‘those’ refers). But no matter, if he is as equally determined to be off the point in the rest of his article as he is in these six points, it would be a rather circuitous route in trying to reply. The rest of his article does a very energetic job of refuting something….too bad most of it is off point. The point was never that the passage could be shown as a one-to-one causation, but that it shows a minor corroboration to graves being emptied in Israel. It does this.

          As for the churches, any one that teaches the Bible will do just fine. But be careful, there are plenty that do not.

          • Robert says:

            It’s not clear you read Dr. Carrier’s article. As I already noted, the Roman ordinance was cited by Christian apologists as evidence of Jesus’s alleged empty tomb. This contention is what the article responded to, demonstrating it to be bunk.

            The Roman ordinance has not been cited by anyone as evidence for a mass resurrection of long-dead “prophets and saints”, as recounted in Matthew 27:52-53. This is a novel invention on your part.

            So, zombies invade Jerusalem, and the response of the Roman government, you would have us believe, is to…pass a law against grave robbing?.

            I’m not sure what’s more hilarious – that anyone would propose such an apologetic, or that anyone would actually believe it.

  7. Ryan says:

    The Old Testament doesn’t seem (as far as I know) to refer to the lake of fire?

    This is just a thought, but is it because God became Man that Hell now exists?

    Because God has revealed himself in human form? Because in the New Testament Hell is stated as a place of gnashing of teeth and weeping.

    Does hell exist because God has made The Sacrifice? and since he has reveled Himself, if people turn away there rejecting the Only Son of God?

    and to turn away from this Ultimate gift of Grace means that There is a place in the NT now known as Hell?

    becuase of the Justice of God for those who reject His One and Only Son? the Word made flesh? Is hell a result?

    did the people who were killed off in the Old Testament by Israel go to Hell? Or did they get an oppourtunity to believe in Christ?

    Was the Good news shared with them after they had died? were they given the option to hear the Truth of The Good News?

    Paul says as far as I remember that all are without excuse since Gods invisible qualities are evident.

    does this mean that People who believe in God, yet dont believe in Christ are to also go to heaven?

    For how can they know Christ is God based on Gods invisible qualities, unless God has revelaed this to them?

    If someone lives and dies as a Muslim for example, and never hears the good news, does God take that into account?

    or are they without excuse?

    Is the Good News Preached to them after death?

    Doubting Thomas saw and therefore believed, but from memory Christ expressed that blessed are those who believe without seeing?

    What about those who are so intellectually disabled that they seemingly can’t comprehend such beliefs?

    • humblesmith says:

      Oy, such questions.

      1. The lake of fire is only specifically mentioned in the New Testament. But the OT does mention that the dead will experience fire, Isaiah 66:24. This could be poetic, but it does mention it.
      Hell, however, is a bit stronger in the OT, for the word for grave (sheol) is sometimes used in the OT to mean something deeper, stronger than mere death. Also see Daniel 12.2

      2. Hell exists because God respects the image of Himself He placed in mankind. God gave us the freedom to love Him or not. If we do not love God, He allows us to go away from Him for all eternity. Since God is good, going away from God is torment. Some people take issue with hell, but what kind of God would force people to go to heaven against their will, when they don’t want to go? People cannot stand to go to church one hour a week….what kind of God would send them there for all eternity?

      3. Hell was not created in the NT. The concept is taught in the OT, as I showed above.

      4. The people who died in the OT are judged just as the people of the NT: those who put their faith in the Salvation that God provided will be with God for eternity, and those who did not, will not.

      5. We are not told specifically about all peoples in the OT, but we do know that some did hear God’s message. In Jonah, the prophet was sent to another country with the specific message to repent and follow God. Other prophets were sent outside of Israel also, such as David and Daniel. So we can conclude that a loving God provided a way to those outside of Israel.

      6. People who deny Christ will not be in heaven. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). This goes for everyone, period.

      7. The Bible says we are given one life to live, then when we die, comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Every adult who dies will be judged by what they did with Jesus while they were alive.

      8. Paul, in Romans 1, says that all people can observe the world and know there is a God. This is enough knowledge so that they can know that God exists, but not enough to tell them of Jesus. They cannot know about Jesus unless God reveals it to them. God reveals it to whom He wills, and to those whom He reaches through Christians. It’s God’s job to do the revealing and the saving, our job is to merely do what He says.

      9. As to those who are mentally disabled, keep in mind that it does not take much to be saved….you do not have to know every detail of doctrine to be saved. Even mentally disabled people can understand the gospel. To those who are so low level that they cannot understand, they would be considered like babies, which the Bible tells us will go to heaven.

      • Ryan says:

        Where does it tell us babies will go to heaven?

        • Ryan says:

          And does this mean that Muslims are destined for Hell? Are followers of Judaism destined for Hell?

          If someone has never known about Christ, If they were never told, how can they deny Him? Are they destined for Hell, or is it only those who hear, yet decide to turn away?

          If a person is abused in the church, and as a result turns away from God, are they to go to Hell?

          Why doesn’t God warn us about this in this day and age, rather than sending people to tell others?

          • humblesmith says:

            Yes, it means that Muslims and Jews that deny Jesus are destined for hell. Likewise for Americans, Frenchmen, and Baptists. But please don’t blame me for this, I did not write the Bible. If it were up to me, I’d let in everyone that seemed to me ought to go.

            As for those who never heard of Jesus, you have to realize that it is God’s job to get the message to them, and God does so regularly. If they will believe, God will send a messenger with the message, as is demonstrated several times in the Bible.

            If someone is a true child of God, He will not deny them. If I have a child that has gotten hurt and stopped talking to me, they are still my child. If they were never God’s child in the first place, they will not go to heaven. Christianity has always taught a doctrine called “perseverance of the saints” that says God gives grace to His children so they can persevere.

            I don’t know why God works the way He does. You’ll have to ask Him.

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks for your response

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s