Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why is there no evidence for Christianity?

Christians love to explain why there is no evidence for Christianity by saying that people in the Gospels were obscure, so we cannot expect evidence for their existence.

Victor Reppert is a good example of a Christian who rationalises away the lack of evidence for his beliefs by telling himself that he cannot expect to find any.

In Victor's view, we cannot expect people in the first century to confirm the existence of Judas, Lazarus, Thomas, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, Barabbas, Nicodemus, Bartimaeus, Jairus, Simon of Cyrene, Joanna, Salome, Martha etc etc - people who have no existence in church history outside the Gospels.

As Richard Dawkins points out, this is exactly the sort of behaviour to be expected from people who believe without evidence. They need to find a way of telling themselves that they are being reasonable to believe things for which there is no evidence.


Blogger finney said...


You're an idiot.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

It seems the only thing Christians know is how to respond with Christian love, rather than produce evidence for their beliefs.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I find it helps if you add a little explanation to any claims you make. I realise that this isn't how it's done in religious circles. for example, "God is love" is expected to be taken as understood in some say. I presume you're using the same sparse method of reasoning here too, with "You're and idiot."

5:08 PM  
Blogger Phil C said...

Hi Steven,

I like to drop in occasionally to see how your blog is getting along. I'm sorry to see you are still posting the same kind of strange reasoning. Why don't you leave Dawkins and Hitchens to keep doing their thing? They do it a lot better, even if they also hit a brick wall further down the line.

Anyway, as to this post: the gospels themselves offer historical evidence for these persons' existence. But if you say they don't, I have a funny feeling that if there was any other evidence for them it would, under your terms, not count as "real evidence" because it supports the gospel accounts.

As usual, this post adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge or understanding. It's just a restatement of your conclusions the unreliability of biblical evidence. Why not just post a link to an old blog entry?

8:19 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'The the gospels themselves offer historical evidence for these persons' existence'

Of course, this is like claiming the Book of Mormon is evidence itself for the people named in the Book of Mormon.

And Pcraig cannot explain why no Christian in the first century put his name on a document claiming he had heard of these people, except by retreating to a fantasy world, where there was evidence, but sceptics rejected it.

In PCraig's fantasy world, there is evidence, but sceptics reject it.

But in the real world there is no evidence, which is why PCraig has to say that the Gospels are evidence for the Gospels.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Perhaps if PCraig could just name one person who named himself as having seen Judas, or been to Arimathea, or had heard of Arimathea....

8:46 AM  
Blogger Phil C said...

"this is like claiming the Book of Mormon is evidence itself for the people named in the Book of Mormon"

Eh? Of course the Book of Mormon is evidence for those people. Like any exhibit shown in a courtroom, the question is whether it is reliable evidence or not. We have lots of reasons for doubting the Book of Mormon's testimony: so it is bad evidence.

So the question here is whether the gospels are reliable historically. The fact that some of the people in the gospels are not mentioned elsewhere is an interesting point, but you have to look at other things to decide whether the Gospels are to be trusted or not. You have to broaden the scope of the question.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Why is there no evidence for the reliability of your own memory?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'Why is there no evidence for the reliability of your own memory?'

I think I heard this argument before somewhere.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So the question here is whether the gospels are reliable historically." (pcraig)

And the answer is no. Much of the story is made up to 'prove' fulfillment of OT prophecy. Then childish doctrines like "lend to everyone who asks" are put in Jesus' mouth to devalue him as a teacher and make us turn to Paul's fantasy of a divine human sacrifice. You have 12 apostles in order to fit with OT conventions, and then they are made to look like morons in order to make it seems that any real followers Jesus might have had were all retarded and should be discarded so we can join in Paul's Damascus road hallucination. I don't share Steven's view that Jesus never existed, but rather believe he existed as a rather not so famous Jewish reformer who sought to abolish animal sacrifice, not some uberpopular Godman walking around healing everyone and teaching bad communistic economics and saying you would go to hell unless you believed he was the Messiah and God himself.

5:25 PM  

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