Sunday, September 23, 2007

Defending Islam by attacking Christ

From this Debate Islam thread.

Funny how pointing out the utter depravity of Allah and his prophet often leads to defending Christ. An easier and more drastic contrast cannot be made.
"Professed upon pain of death?? People will say anything when threatened with pain and death, so that does not prove anything."
What evidence do you have that those men lied, or are you just making things up?

Christ's Apostles all saw Him tortured and slaughtered. They knew He was dead. They were hiding behind locked doors for fear of the authorities.

Within hours, they all (but for the Apostle John, who was still persecuted) died horrible deaths because they resolutely held to their testimony that Christ had risen from the dead.

Why would any one of them die for what they knew to be a lie? Would not at least one of them have said, "Hey, wait a minute! This is all a misunderstanding. I was only speaking metaphorically!"?
"There is evidence of that by the fact that the date of the calenders were reset to his birth."
Our calendars were reset because of the impact of His life, words, and work. Do you have a religion named after you? Does nearly a third of the world's population worship you? Has anyone built, written, painted, or composed anything at all in your honor?
"what was written about him many decades after death cannot be taken as word for word correct."
Why not? Do you automatically dismiss all eyewitness testimony? What evidence do you have that they erred?

What was written about Christ was written by His Apostles, all of whom were eyewitnesses to everything He did and said in His public ministry. Add to that the work of those who interviewed eyewitnesses to all that had happened and you've got every reason to believe their accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.

You also have the testimony of the prophets who foretold what Christ would do. You have the testimony of the Church fathers and the first Christians who suffered persecution and death for their confession.

Ironically, you also have the involuntary validation of the Apostles' message by the authorities who had Christ put to death. Would not those who hated Him and His movement so much that they murdered an obviously holy man have produced the corpse to destroy forever what you consider the Apostles' "fairy tale"?

They did not because they could not.
"To do so is rather naive in my opinion."
Is it not "naive" -- and intellectually irresponsible -- to dismiss out-of-hand the overwhelming amount of eyewitness testimony regarding the greatest Man Who ever lived? A Man of Whose words and deeds we have more historical evidence than any other figure of the ancient world?
"No doubt the writers of those books had their own agendas...all men do, and that must be taken into account when reading these books of the Bible."
What was their agenda? How do you know?

The Apostles didn't hold unswervingly to the confession of Christ's resurrection because of money -- many of them lost their worldly possessions. They didn't do it for prestige -- their "heresy" cost them their social standing and their reputations. They didn't do it to please their families -- they were often disowned for their faith. They didn't do it for political benefit -- the religious and secular authorities of their day persecuted and killed them without mercy. They certainly didn't do it for power or glory -- by their own hand they confessed their sinfulness. They took their place in the Church as the servants of all (not a "public servant" like a politician, but an actual servant). They testified to the greatness of the risen Messiah.

The only reasonable explanation left to a intellectually-honest person is that the Apostles knew beyond any doubt that the Son of God had risen from the dead.

Besides Josephus, here are two other non-Christians testifying to the person of Christ (credit to myrick007):
Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman Historian who lived c.55-A.D. c.117. He writes of "Christus" in his ANNALS Book XV, Chapter 44:

"Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated by the people for their crimes. This was the sect known as Christians. Their founder, one Christus, had been put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race."

LUCIAN: (120-180 A.D.)

A Greek satirist that spoke scornfully of Christ and Christians, affirming that they were real and historical people, never saying that they were fictional characters.

"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account....You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property."