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Jesus

Was Jesus an Extraordinary Person?

The conventional notion about the character of Jesus is that he was an extraordinary person: unique, grand, captivating, a paragon of virtue, and a teacher of concepts that all human beings should use to govern their lives. But is this true? The biographical material shows that Jesus was not a peace-maker, did not offer socially useful ideas other than being charitable, possessed no ethical concepts more advanced than those of his society, and did not have original thoughts. The evidence does not prove that he was charismatic. The prevalent notions that Jesus was the perfect human being, a great teacher, or the perfect moralist are constructs created because of the belief that he was divine.

Griffin Beak, Mermaid Fin, and Dragon Blood Stew

"Occasionally apologists will ask me what I would consider to be sufficient evidence to believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Fair enough. Seeing as I deny that there is sufficient evidence to reasonably believe in the resurrection, what amount or type of evidence would I consider adequate to meet the onus probandi for establishing such an extraordinary claim? The best approach that I have found to answering this question is by an equally extraordinary analogy."

Enigmas about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

What sense does it make that the resurrection of Jesus, the momentous event of the Christian faith, should take place without any witnesses? Why was the risen Jesus not seen by anyone other than his own followers? Why did the apostles "doubt" in the presence of the risen Jesus or go so far as not recognizing him? Since it is the most important event of the Christian faith, how can we explain the remarkable differences that exist among the various evangelists regarding what transpired on the resurrection day? How can we understand that certain passages should present the risen Jesus as a spiritual being who would go through walls, appear and disappear at will and who had the appearance of "a spirit," etc., whereas others state that he was flesh and blood?

Jesus as Cipher

What is unique about Jesus, in a way more extreme than the others, is his lack of soul. To put it in mythological terms, "Jesus was emptied out on the cross"—he is unique among mortals in that his soul was completely annihilated on the cross. He became a cipher, a projection screen: he lacks any depth or reality in himself, and yet retains enough integrity to hold our ideals up.

The Cognitive Dissonance Theory of Christian Origins: A Cordial Reply to Dr. William Craig

When it comes to the resurrection of Jesus, there is intense interest in the historicity of Jesus' discovered empty tomb and his postmortem appearances to his followers. The historian, or the interested lay person, can ask, did these two key events reported in the gospels really happen, or are they legendary embellishments on a resurrection belief that was arrived at by other means?

Prosecuting the Anti-Christ for Identity Theft

People are watching for the Anti-Christ to trigger the end times. Although there are wildly divergent schools of thought on the topic, it appears that most people who believe in the inevitability of the Anti-Christ as part of the eschatological terrain also believe that he will be a wolf in sheep's clothing or, more precisely, a demon in savior's robe. The Anti-Christ will portray himself to be Jesus, and people will likely fall for the ruse to Jesus' great detriment. Can prosecutors indict and convict the Anti-Christ for identity theft? This article explores that possibility and explores some of the obstacles that prosecutors are likely to face.

The Shroud of Turin: The Great Gothic Art Fraud — Because If It’s Real the Brain of Jesus Was the Size of a Protohuman’s!

This note is intended to describe why, from an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image is an embarrassingly obvious fraud committed by a Gothic artist following the standard conventions of his time. The artistic errors are so severe that it is impossible for the shroud to record the image of an actual human body—unless it was a very seriously pathological person with a brain the size of a Homo erectus.

Interpreting Evidence: An Exchange with Christian Apologist JP Holding

Did some of the early Christians at Corinth doubt the reality of Jesus' resurrection? Was Paul trying to defend the reality of Jesus' resurrection in his first letter to the Corinthians? Komarnitsky says "yes" on both counts; JP Holding says "no." Those who think the only way to interpret the evidence is that Jesus resurrected from the dead might want to take a closer look at each point of evidence.

Was Jesus Raised from the Dead? A Response to William Lane Craig’s Resurrection Argument

"The only way that Craig can criticize the account I have given is by arguing that his theory, that Jesus was raised from the dead, is to be preferred because it is simpler than proposing a theory to account for the empty tomb and proposing an independent theory to account for the post-mortem appearances of Jesus. The 'simplicity' of Craig's theory is only skin deep. My account of Craig's 'four facts' involves well-known and well-documented cultural phenomena, whereas his account proposes a God which intervenes in human affairs, for which I have yet to see any convincing evidence."

Answering Theists’ Questions

Hemant Mehta, known as the "Friendly Atheist" and the man who "sold his soul on e-Bay," is a well-known defender of the atheist stance who has written at least one best-selling book. Mehta recently persuaded Christian apologist Lee Strobel to answer some questions posed by his atheist friends. Strobel, in turn, asked his Christian theist friends to submit questions for atheists to answer. Seven of Strobel's friends complied. Whittenberger offers his answers to the questions posed by Strobel's Christian theist friends.

Christmas Counterpoint

"I like to find secular counterpoints to Christmas, not secular counterparts. That, in a nutshell, is the topic of this essay. There is a secular side to Christmas, one that a nontheist can enjoy with the rest of society without betraying their nontheist views. In fact, I propose that the very shape and spirit of the holiday is significantly nonreligious, from twinkling lights and fake snow to the eggnog and fruitcake. Yes, Virginia, there is an atheist's Christmas!"

Beauty is Not an Argument: The Three Moral Commands of the Gospels

The legitimacy of the three main commandments of the Gospels--"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," "Love your neighbor as yourself," and "Love God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind"--is accepted not only by believers, but the first is admired by many unbelievers as well. However, although they sound pretty, they do not pass philosophical scrutiny, and they must be rejected by a morally-minded and reasonable person.

One of Jesus’ “Good Deeds” Examined

There are probably few of us who have never heard the saying, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone"--the words attributed to Jesus in the story told in John 8:1-11 of the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned to death for her crime. This is often taken to show that Jesus possessed great measures of wisdom and kindness. Plugaru believes, however, that this story demonstrates nothing of the kind.

Should Jesus Sue?

Capitalism has certainly been kind to fundamentalist Christianity in America. Profits from Christian product sales have run well into the billions of dollars, yet Jesus is said to have taught that one cannot serve both God and Mammon. Should Jesus take a cue from FOX News and their attempt to sue Al Franken? Perhaps he should.

The Missing Night of Matthew 12:40

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Jesus, Matthew 12:40). But if Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday morning, how is this three days AND three nights? Internet apologist Glenn Miller explains, but is his "explanation" really that--or is it just typical apologetic smoke and mirrors?