Welcome to ATA, the new and the old!

“The more questions we receive, the more active the site is. It’s just that simple.”

This is Ask the Atheist, fueled entirely by your curiosity. The more questions we receive, the more active the site is. It’s just that simple.

We’re happy to announce that the Rational Response Squad have restored the old version of the site in archive form, right here. Some of the content has already been reproduced on the new site, but now it’s all back for good. Enjoy.


6 thoughts on “Welcome to ATA, the new and the old!”

  1. LX

    Good to have you back. I don’t want to waste your time, and I’m sure you know this but there is a lot of evidence from secular sources to prove to any legitiment thinking person that was certainly some dude named Jesus who was called Christ, that he claimed to be God, that he was crucified, that some people claimed he rose from the dead, that he had followers that sang hymns, took communion and believed in an afterlife based on faith. They mention Jesus, Herod, John the baptist, pilate, James as Jesus’ brother the Sanhedren and even the High priest Annanias. And most of all these Historians weren’t trying to give Christianity any props, they actually were either making fun of Christians or talking about how Jesus was a blasphemer for calling himself God. Check out the writings of Tacitus, Josephus, Julius Africanus, Pliny the Younger, Lucian of Samasota or the Jewish Talmud.

    Now none of this proves that Jesus conquered death and is God etc. but certainly we can all at least admit he was on earth doing the stuff the Bible claims he was doing. Most of these writings are from arond 50-60 years ad. Some even earlier.

    Then you still have to take into the account of non cannonical scriptures, the Gnostic Gospels and the dead sea scrolls.

    Then finally if you want,you can go to the Gospels?

    The reason the one dude was talking about Nero is because if Atheist used the same zeal to debunk these writings as they would those about Nero, you might just question that too?

    Thanks again for commenting on my blogs, peace be with you and the Mrs. feeno

  2. It’s hardly a waste, Feeno. This is just the sort of thing ATA is here to talk about, so rather than shift it to a new question I’ll leave it here on the sticky post as an example.

    By Nero I think you mean Napoleon. The apologist paraphrased by his atheist opponent in the debate was indeed arguing that if Jesus is uncertain, so is every contemporary historical figure. I’ve had the same argument made to me using Tiberius Caesar.

    In my reply, as you can read, I pointed out the evidence for Napoleon which is additional to the level of evidence for Jesus: the likenesses, the coins, the genuinely contemporary accounts, his first-hand writings, his observable effect on history during his lifetime and so on. Most or all of these are available for Nero and Tiberius, too.

    My final point in that piece was that once you accept that nothing is completely certain, you are free to discuss relative likelihood based on the available evidence, and the historical figures brought up by apologists nearly always trump Jesus in that respect.

    There are at least some extra-Biblical accounts of Jesus within a century of the supposed date of the crucifixion, including by historians such as Tacitus. (I pointed out to the guy who argued using Tiberius that Tacitus wrote a couple of lines about Jesus and six whole books about Tiberius. He did at least one book’s worth on Nero.)

    Pliny the Younger and Lucian discussed Christians, who certainly existed in 112 AD and 221 AD respectively, not Jesus himself outside of the Christians’ claims of him. The Talmud claim is still up in the air (see the conclusion in the link), and the Josephus passage is a battlefield to this day. Once you get to the Gospels and other New Testament sources, impartiality goes out the window as the author’s goal in every case is to convince the reader of the divinity of Jesus.

    Having said all that, there is enough material to say on balance that there probably was an itinerant Jewish preacher who gave rise to the Christian faith one way or another. Most atheists think so. The famous “new atheist” writers such as Dawkins and Hitchens think so. Those who don’t are often derided by atheists as “Jesus mythicists” or “Jesus mythers”.

    Where atheists differ sharply from apologists is that we don’t see good reason to take any particular event in his life as read:
    – his birth and upbringing (first-century Nazareth itself has yet to be located),
    – his time in the “east” (a black hole even as far as Christians are concerned),
    – his actual itinerary as an active preacher (e.g. where exactly was the Sermon on the Mount?)
    – his trial (while many of those supposedly involved such as Pilate, Annanias and Caiaphas are accepted historical figures, the trial itself is undocumented; just because Forrest Gump met JFK in the White House doesn’t make the meeting real) and
    – his crucifixion and entombment (the “empty tomb” is a common apologetic tool, but…what tomb?)

    That’s why apologists like William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas lose the majority of their atheist target audiences when they simply assume, supposedly for the sake of argument, that all the critical events of the Gospels are true except for the supernatural ones. They assume far too much.

  3. David Mabus, I presume. If so, your reputation precedes you.

    Read my piece on prophecies, then cite a specific prophecy by Nostradamus which you think cannot be explained by any of the alternatives to chance or true prescience which I present therein. I suggest that #4, Shoehorned, will apply most widely.

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