Saturday, May 3, 2008

Refuting Theist Myth: Exercise in Futility

In a message group I belong to a member recently posted an inquiry. It speaks to two common theist ploys: falling into the trap of trying to refute myth, and dealing with a patently bogus theist proposition.

Here’s his posting:

I am having a discussion on the resurrection of Jesus and the gentleman’s line of reasoning goes something like this –
“Jesus’ disciples went to their deaths proclaiming that He did physically rise from the dead. While others may die for their faith, these first followers of Jesus knew the truth—one way or the other. I know of no example of people dying for a lie.”

Now the last point is an argument from personal ignorance. But I was hoping to find some reference to refute the argument of the disciples’ personal "knowledge" of his resurrection. Can some one point me to a good argument?

My response:

You won't find any contradicting New Testament scripture as to his disciples’ belief in resurrection, if by disciples you mean the remaining eleven Apostles. And why would you? The New Testament wasn't exactly an even handed treatment of various Christian perspectives. It established exactly what the church fathers wanted it to, the Jesus' resurrection fable being central to the preferred Christian doctrine. Dissenting interpretations were not welcome.

James (alleged bro of Jesus) was the leader of the "Christian Jews" who practiced a reformed Judaism, and viewed Jesus as Prophet and Rabbi, but not a deity. Thus, it is likely they did not believe in resurrection. But their take isn't admitted into church canon. The losing point of view would be suppressed, purged, redacted / revised into obscurity leaving only 100% concurrence with the dominant cult's resurrection doctrine.

According to John 20:19-23, Jesus appeared to the apostles after his death and showed them his crucifixion wounds. Thus, scripture would have you believe they all would have had "personal knowledge" that he died and was resurrected.

So, now what? Trying to refute a fool's fable is a fool's errand at worst, an exercise in futility at best. You might as well try and refute Wicca theology that goddesses and gods are able to manifest in personal form; or argue with Muslims that Mohammed didn't really fly up to Paradise on his horse like the Quran says; or tell a Mormon that the Angel Moroni was a fabrication. It goes nowhere.

As for the inane comment about "not knowing of anyone who has ever died for a lie": Oscar Wilde said it best: "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it." I'm sure you can dispatch that fallacious theist idiocy rather easily. Start with every Muslim who ever died for Islam; or every American soldier who died in Vietnam to stop the spread of Communism; or every soldier who died in Iraq, and those that will.


Simon said...

How about most of the German army and quite a few civilians dying for the lie that they were the master race?

DromedaryHump said...

Simon, deed an example.

How about the Japanese on Okinowa who threw themselves off cliffs because they believed the Americans were going to torture them to death?

How about the "Heavens gate" whackos who poisoned themselves in the expectation of beaming up to the mother ship?

Or the nuts at Waco who followed the lie of Koresh; or the imbeciles who followed Jim Jones into the jungles of Gyana?

The list is endless.

Anonymous said...

DromedaryHump, you do understand what a lie is? All of your examples are of people who genuinely thought certain things. Just because they were wrong doesn't mean it's a lie.