Blasphemy Challenge

The Jesus dvd and rationality?

First, I would like to know about this dvd that is claiming that Jesus never existed? I don't want to waste money on buying it but I would be interested in seeing what it has to say. And i'm not about to submit a video that would ruin my chance for a possible place in eternity for a dvd, so another way to get the dvd would be nice. But beside that, I had a question about the whole blasphemy challenge and the rationality behind it all. Hypothetical question, i guess. Jesus is God or He isn't. So if you are athiest you still have a probability that if you are wrong about there not being a God you would still have a 50 percent change to still have eternal life. If there is no God then it wouldn't matter anyways. So if there is a God and you still had that 50 percent chance to still have eternity you have apparently just screwed yourself, making your once 50 percent to know 100, if the verse quoted on the site is interpreted right. I really hope it was interpreted wrong because I would want you to still have that 50 percent chance. So doing the blasphemy challenge, to me at least, seems like a pretty unrational thing to do. And about the Jesus thing. Do you athiests use science to prove everything about the universe and everything in it. If so how would you prove Jesus, or any other person in history that is now gone. I mean you can't prove scientifically that someone existed. That's why I wanted to know what the video was all about. I have a lot of other questions that would make this way to long so i'll leave you with that. Like I said earlier, I hope the whole blasphemy being an eternal sin isn't right. I would say pray but you wouldn't care as much that way, or would you? Are you offended by prayer? Sorry, i'll stop asking questions. Thanks!
Atheist Answer: 

You're talking about The God Who Wasn't There. It goes past atheism, which merely denies the resurrection as improbable without the existence of God, and examines all the documentation presented as evidence for even a historical man named Jesus.

The idea is to question all the unspoken assumptions that most Christian apologists make when arguing for the resurrection; it's easier for them to start with a real man than from scratch, but are they justified in doing so? I haven't seen the film either so I can't comment on its efficacy, but even if it falls flat it asks questions worth asking.

It's impossible to prove 100% that the deceased existed without physical evidence, human remains for example, but there are other ways to support it. Take the Roman emperors for example: their names and faces are on statues, busts and coins created during their lifetimes, and are visually consistent. Jesus has nothing like this; his only support is a set of documents, chief among them the Gospels, and the first of which were written well after his death. This is why these are so ferociously defended, but they are not above criticism and that's where the movie starts.

Your argument against the Blasphemy Challenge is exactly the reason why it exists, because you've restated Pascal's Wager with its major inherent flaw intact.

Here's the core of the problem: even if atheists are wrong, Christians are not necessarily right. If there is indeed a god, out of the thousands of gods humans have worshipped and the infinite number of gods we haven't even thought of yet, the chances that the real god is the Christian god exactly as described are not just miniscule but negligible.

By throwing in with any god, including Him, one has a far greater chance of offending some other god who happens to be the real one, and being forced to explain one's worship of a popular, well-liked but still false god. Atheists wouldn't have that problem, and might even receive credit for combating belief in false gods.

Even if the probability that there is a god and a Heaven is 0.5, you must multiply that by the probability given the assumption of a god that it's your particular one. To reach that 50 percent you mention, the second bit would have to be a certainty, and it is not. If there are just two other possible gods, then by worshipping yours you have a 1 in 6 chance of Heaven and a 1 in 3 chance of Hell. In fact there are an infinite number, so you're even worse off.

Taking the Blasphemy Challenge, therefore, is not a reckless act. It publicises one's acceptance that Christianity is a poor choice, and there is nothing to fear from renouncing it in what's intended to be an irreversible way.

I'm not offended by prayer, because I think it has no effect except a psychological one, and it mostly affects the praying person anyway.

This is a site built for answering questions, so go ahead and make more questions for us. If you have responses to the above, post a comment under this one. Keep in mind that formatting doesn't work in the question field, so it pays to keep new questions short.

- SmartLX

Are you truly rational?

Hello! I am a 25-year-old Christian. Let me start off by saying that I am not here to get into a debate with anyone nor to change anyone's mind about Christ or bash anyone for not believing in Christ. I saw a video on youtube that made me think. I was listening to a debate with Matt Slim & Kelly today & came across a video from another atheist titled "Rational Responders oopsie". Of course it caught my attention & I watched it. Anyway, he talks about a video that was uploaded by the Rational Responders. The man with whom he was talking about is David Mills & he uses the Bible to pick up dog feces. I watched the video for myself & saw that indeed it was uploaded by Rational Responders. My question is can you claim to be rational when you upload videos such as this & make fun of Christian beliefs & make fun of Jesus? I understand that you don't believe in God & we live in a country that has a freedom of religion, which I am grateful for. I just don't get it! I have an atheist friend who never bashes or makes fun of people if they believe in God nor does he make fun of religion or Jesus. He just believes what he believes, that is rational in my opinion. I must add that I DO NOT agree with the radical Christians who protest at a soldier's funeral or hold signs that say "God hates fags"! I don't agree with those people & I stay very, very far away from those types of people. They are TOXIC! The video, among other things I've seen from you all, made me cry. I would never make fun of you for not believing in Christ or bash you for what you believe in so why do you do it to Christians like me? Why do you make fun of Jesus & religion? You are NOT rational at all! All you are is a bully! I would also like to add that the picture of the World Trade Centers with the caption "Imagine no Religion" should not be applied into Christianity religion. My God has NEVER told me to kill thousands of people for not believing the same thing I believe. That is putting Christians like me into the same category as the terrorists. I am NOT a terrorist. I'm sure you'll have an answer for me on this question & I look forward to reading it. Thank you for your time.
Atheist Answer: 

Thankyou for sharing your feelings, Monica. I'm sorry you were so upset. Among the most imporatnt things about the actions and media you describe is the very fact that you and other regular everyday religious people take them so personally. Sadly, although you would not make fun of atheism there are many Christians who would gladly denounce it, ridicule it and tear it to pieces. Some of us feel the need to respond in kind. It's unfortunate.

For the benefit of others, this is David Mills' video. It was his way of taking up the Blasphemy Challenge.

In brief, the Challenge is an invitation to publicly deny the Holy Spirit, precisely because the Bible says that doing so prevents one from ever being forgiven (Mark 3:29). It's a commitment to disbelief in response to those who say that everyone's a believer underneath, or that we should worship God just in case he exists. It's also an ongoing opportunity for atheists to declare themselves and show their numbers in the face of the majority religion of the Western world.

David Mills went past declarations and desecrated a Bible to show that it holds no special value to him. All the things he said and did were calculated to put him beyond "saving". That's how confident he is that the Christian God does not exist. It's not intended as an insult to Christians, but to Christianity itself. To individual Christians it is simply an emphatic statement of disagreement.

This brings us back to you, Monica.
- Were you upset because Mills somehow did God or Jesus an injury by soiling their supposed words? What possible harm could a mortal do to those two?
- Were you upset because Mills damned himself? If so, that's considerate of you, but Mills is quite confident that he cannot be damned in this way. He's an adult and he can make his own decisions.
- Were you upset because you have learned to revere physical Bibles as they contain the word of God? Whatever is written in a book, Monica, it's still just a book. The words transcend the paper. That's why burning books never accomplishes anything.
- Were you upset because Mills attacked your beliefs directly? Then keep in mind that he did not attack you. His ultimate message to Christians themselves was simply, "I think you are wrong." Not stupid, not bad, not dangerous, just wrong. Anyone can be wrong; this is not an insult at all. (I will admit, as he would, that he was very rude about saying it.)

It's the same idea with the Imagine No Religion poster. Religion is the target, not religious people. Nobody expects the general populace to suddenly turn extremist en masse and join Al Qaeda or the Westboro Baptist Church.

The poster makes two points:
- Some atrocities are committed explicitly in the name of religion. Whether by Muslim terrorists now or Japanese generals in WWII (under the banner of their god-emperor Hirohito) or Catholic and Protestant soldiers in the Thirty Years War or by island tribes millenia ago, religion has many deaths to answer for. While of course atrocities are also committed for other causes unrelated to religion, lack of religion by itself is not motivation to do any such thing.
- Those who fly planes into buildings and ruin soldiers' funerals are working from exactly the same basic texts as other religious people. Only the interpretations are different. While not everyone chooses the interpretations which lead to violence and bigotry, they are always available. Those who defend their religions as valid, justified and in need of protection sadly make it easier for the extremists within those religions to do the same with their own versions.

You have every right to be offended by whatever strikes you that way, but there's no reason to be personally insulted. It's not our intention to upset you, either; that achieves nothing. We're just trying to make points forcefully and encourage people to think.

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