Apostles, Therefore God?

Question from José:
Hi! I´m atheist, but I was born into a Christian family and It´s still difficult for me to answer too many questions. I don´t believe in the Bible, but there are a lot of websites claiming that is completely real because so many reasons.
Well, my question is about apostles. Jim Wallace claims that God truly existed because of the martyrdom of the apostles. He said, If It was a joke, no men would have been killed. They would have said that they invented Jesus or something like that. No one die when they know it´s all a lie. Could you explain that to me? I really want to know what your answers are.
Thank you so much.

Answer by SmartLX:
Jim Wallace isn’t the only one to make that claim, many prominent apologists have at least touched on it. I’ve covered it in a piece called “Did they Die for a Lie?” And Other Appeals to Character. I even recorded audio for it. The shortest possible summary is that the possibilities are endless.

Check it out, then comment there or here if you need clarification on anything, or just to say what you think.

2 thoughts on “Apostles, Therefore God?”

  1. Jose, there are many layers to this question. First I’d like to address the whole issue of dying for a cause. Just in WW II for example, a lot of Japanese died believing their emperor, Hirohito, was a god and his cause just. Germans believed Hitler was worth dying for. French Resistance personnel were routinely tortured, multilated, and killed, yet they fought on.

    Human determination and belief in a cause is not an unusual thing. It may very often be totally misplaced and illogical, but still history is littered with such stories. So such a claim about the disciples dying for their cause shouldn’t be considered rare in the annals of humanity.

    Some believers think that the disciples belief and supposed death (I’ll get to why I said supposed later) show that the supernatural aspects of the claims about Jesus must be true. But that’s an error in logic. Did the belief of Japanese soldiers make Hirohito a god? I don’t know anyone who thinks so. Did belief in the Third Reich help Germany conquer the world? Not even close. Did belief in Jim Jones make the kool-aid drinkers in Jonestown right? Nope.

    Faith in, and dying for, some belief does not make the belief itself true, or logical. In fact “belief” as used in religious connotations is often defined as acceptance of something as true WITHOUT evidence. So the supposed death of the disciples can only prove that they believed it to be true. That doesn’t mean they were right or wrong, it only means they thought they were right. After all, 900 people in Johnstown thought Jim Jones was right…

    The other thing to consider is simply this: There is scant evidence that the disciples actually died in all the horrible ways claimed. There is NO claim in the Bible about it. The stories are based on church tradition. Many of the stories cannot be traced back earlier than a couple of centuries after Christ died. In other words, they could be made up. Given the editing and messing around with books of the Bible, it’s entirely plausible that non-Biblical claims were just created fluff to add legitimacy to the early church still struggling to take hold. Without any independent confirmation, there certainly is no reason to consider the claims gospel (pun intended).

    The stories of the disciples’ deaths don’t prove anything, and simple application of logic and an understanding of human history make it clear enough why…

  2. Dying for beliefs does not make the said beliefs true. A lot of jihadist elements would have been justified in their actions otherwise (!). Obviously they are not justified – its a case of lunatic beliefs leading to lunatic actions.

    As a funny aside, I’d like to invoke this quote by Bertrand Russell here: “Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so”.
    He could not have been more right …

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