A guest post by Neil Robinson. You can read more of Neil’s writing on the Rejecting Jesus blog.
I often feel I’ve run out of thing to say about Christianity, or rather, I think I’ve said all I want to say about it. It’s not much of a challenge to show how insubstantial, inconsistent and spurious religious faith is. None of it actually works, even though Christians, in the face of all the evidence, continue to insist it does.
On his Theological Rationalism blog, James Bishop smugly tells his readers how he can ‘defeat atheism’ with three questions, chief of which is asking, ‘What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?”’ Although I’ve already responded directly on his blog, for me it would be if any of the promises Jesus made (or was made to make) actually came true in the ‘real world’.
Jesus said that Kingdom of God would descend on the Earth within the lifetime of his original followers, in Luke 21:27-28, 33-34; Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 34 and here in Matthew 16:27-28:
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels… I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.
Did this come true when he said it would?
He claimed that the judgement of the nations and their peoples would immediately follow, with the righteous going on to populate the new Earth while the wicked were sent to eternal punishment:
But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25.31-46).
He promised that whatever his followers pray for in his name, God would grant. No ifs and buts, he would do it. Matthew 17.21, Matthew 21.21-22, John 14.12-14 and here in Mark 11:24:
…if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’
Does this ever happen?
He said that with enough faith, believers would literally be able to move mountains. (Matthew 17.20).
They literally don’t.
He guaranteed that his followers would be able to drink poison and handle serpents with impunity (Mark 16:18).
Those who are stupid enough to take him at his word find they can’t.
He said ‘very truly’ that believers would be able to do even greater miracles than he himself did:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14.12).
Where’s the evidence of this?
The fulfillment of any of these promises would be enough to convince atheists – well, me anyway – that Jesus’ God exists. If those about the Kingdom and judgement had come to pass when Jesus said they would, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I could still be convinced, however, if his guarantees of miracles and answered prayers regularly came about in the spectacular ways he said they would. The fact is, they never have done and they don’t; the world would be a very different place if they did.
All that the ridiculous claims Jesus makes for his God convince me of is that Jesus himself was, at best, deluded, and at worst, an utter fraud – a traveling salesman who promised the Earth and delivered absolutely nothing. His unfulfilled, empty promises are evidence enough that his God, like all the others, does not exist.