Boxing Pythagoras

Philosophy from the mind of a fighter

Archive for the tag “Why I Am Not a Christian”

Hierarchies of Absurdity

I read an article, today, by Brian Doyle at The American Scholar which describes how his view of the peculiarities of Mormonism led him to reflect on those tenets of his own belief that others might find crazy. I had a very similar experience. One summer, some years back, I was having a discussion with a friend about the ridiculous assertions made in Scientology. At the time, I was still a Christian– and a Young Earth Creationist, at that. While I was opining about the absurdity of Xenu killing the citizens of his galactic empire using hydrogen bombs and volcanoes, one of my friends asked me, “Is it really that much weirder than claiming that Yahweh drowned the whole planet, then repopulated it by the inhabitants of a single boat?”

I was taken aback, for a moment. I realized, then, that the strange and miraculous stories embedded in my own faith sounded just as ludicrous to an unbeliever as Scientology had sounded to me. I fumbled together a reply, saying the authors of the Biblical text were more reliable than a crooked science fiction writer, but my friend once again befuddled me with his response: “Why?”

It was my search for the answer to that question which led me to lose my faith in Christianity.

Read more…

On the Resurrection

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about Why I Am Not a Christian.  My entry is one in a long line of similar declarations with that same title made by many people, from complete amateurs to inordinately famous philosophers. However, whereas most of these other declarations list whole litanies of reasoning behind their dismissal of the Christian faith, I mentioned only a single point of concern. I am not a Christian because I do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.

In my article, I gave a quick overview of some of the reasons that I do not believe this claim. I pointed out that, contrary to stories often passed among Christian circles, there are almost no references to Jesus by non-Christians within 100 years of his death. I discussed reasons for doubting the claim that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses to the event. I talked about discrepancies between the Gospel accounts, with one another as well as with contemporary historical records. Of course, even some people who know about and understand these things still believe in the Resurrection. Some, particularly Christian apologists, even assert that Jesus’ Resurrection is the most reasonable account, given all the facts.

Given the recent Easter holiday, this tends to be the time of year where those Christian apologists lay out their arguments for the Resurrection in full force. In particular, I read an article which fairly typifies many of the usual claims made by apologists on the subject. It was written by a friend of mine named Ray Ciervo, who holds a Masters degree in Apologetics from the Southern Evangelical Seminary, and who operates a ministry called No Pat Answers. The purpose of the ministry, as declared on its website, is to help prepare Christians to defend their faith without resorting to “pat answers,” which he defines as, “trite, glib, shot[s] from the hip, that [are] not very well thought out.” The article in question was posted to the No Pat Answers blog a few days ago, with the title How Can We Be Sure of the Resurrection? Unfortunately, I do not find many of the claims made by the article to be overly defensible, nor the arguments to be very convincing.

Read more…

Why I am not a Christian

As I was flipping through the radio stations while driving home, last night, I stopped on a local Catholic broadcast. It was right around 7:00pm, which meant that Catholic Answers was being aired– a program dedicated to apologetics and engaging the questions that people, both within and without, may have about Catholicism. Last night’s episode was specifically asking for non-Christians to call in and share the reasons they have, if any, for not being Christian. I was extremely tempted to call in, myself, but I had other plans which took precedence, unfortunately. So, instead of engaging with the apologists on Catholic Answers, I will have to content myself with laying out my reasoning, here.

In 1927, the very famous 20th Century philosopher and logician, Bertrand Russell, presented a lecture to the National Secular Society in South London which was entitled, “Why I Am Not A Christian,” a lecture which would later become widely reproduced and wildly famous. In the essay, Lord Russell lays out nearly a dozen different topics to explain why he did not adhere to the faith so widely practiced throughout the West. My own list is quite a bit shorter than Russell’s– in fact it consists solely of a single topic:

“…if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14 (NRSV)

Read more…

Post Navigation