Jesus’s Own Words Prove God Doesn’t Exist

jesus

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).

Did this?

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.

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15 Comments

  1. GeoffT

    I have to say that I can think of no evidence that would persuade me, there and then, that a god exists. If he appeared in front of me, waving some celestial apparatus, I’d assume I was deluded and if, by some seeming miracle, all the diseases in the world disappeared overnight, I’d be looking for a natural explanation. Of course, if god wanted to prove he existed, then he would be able to work out evidence that would convince me, but that’s not my problem.

    That’s the difficulty that these theist type articles can’t address. They invariably rail against atheists for ‘not accepting the evidence’, then try and turn the discussion round by saying ‘okay then, what evidence would you accept?’ Firstly, they haven’t provided any evidence in the first instance to lead to the second, despairing, question, but in addition it’s not for atheists to say what evidence might be convincing; it’s for theists to adduce it, then have it considered. The problem underlying this, of course, is that theists have already reached their conclusions regardless of the evidence, and in doing this enter a state of cognitive dissonance, whereby they are unable to recognise that what they see retrospectively as evidence, is actually nothing of the sort.

    Reply
    1. Infidel753

      I’ve had that very conversation with a theist. He told me that I was unreachable because even if I saw a corpse rise from the dead and walk around, I’d just think I was hallucinating. I told him that that would be an appropriate response, since there are many documented cases of people hallucinating, but no documented cases of corpses rising from the dead, therefore the hallucination explanation is more plausible.

      It’s more accurate to say that there’s no evidence that would be instantly convincing on the spot. If a mountain did move when someone prayed for it to do so, or if a corpse returned to life, that wouldn’t prove the existence of a specific god. It would just prove that there was a phenomenon there worthy of serious investigation. Only that serious investigation, preferably by trained scientists, could eventually tell us what was really going on.

      Reply
  2. Rebecca

    I’ve often thought about what makes the difference in people. I was reared in a progressive Lutheran church. My parents were more or less nominal, cultural Christians at the time. Yet, even as a young child, I had this intense desire to understand and to know God. Where did this come from? I often say that spirituality is just part of my DNA. 🙂

    Other folks seem to not have this inclination or are vehemently opposed to the very notion that there might even be a creator at all. Again, what leads to this difference? I suppose it’s different for every person.

    Anyway, here is a link to an article that I ran across in Time magazine which illustrates how a thinking theist might evaluate a level of evidence concerning creation which to them proves compelling or at least thought provoking.

    http://time.com/77676/why-science-does-not-disprove-god/

    Reply
    1. GeoffT

      It’s an interesting article that confuses conjecture with evidence, then sets up strawman arguments, which can safely be debunked.

      For example, it says that many people claim that science proves god doesn’t exist. Well I have never, ever, heard anybody say that, but by pretending that there is such a claim it causes outrage in theists. Now outraged, they are susceptible to more incorrect claims. We do have a good idea of how life was formed from inanimate matter; that’s the basis of abiogenesis. Similarly, we may not know exactly what consciousness is, but to imply we aren’t making progress is ridiculous. And the continuing obsession with the fine tuning argument is getting tedious. The universe wasn’t fine tuned round life, life adapted (tuned itself if you like) round the factors that exist in the universe. It’s no more complex than that.

      Anyhow, your comments imply that you agree with me that the article is intended to appeal only to theists.

      Reply
  3. ObstacleChick

    I am over looking for evidence that God or gods exist. Ancient books don’t do it for me. People giving their personal anecdotes don’t do it for me as people convince themselves of untrue things all the time. If a god declared itself to me I might think I am hallucinating, being tricked by someone, or meeting an alien. Maybe I am just jaded and closed minded at this point. But given the sheer size of the universe, probability dictates that if there is a god or gods, they are unlike the ones that have been worshiped and feared by humans on earth.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Quote for the day | Civil Commotion

  5. Lynn123

    Hi, Neal. Having been born into the Christian world (IFB in the U.S.) and having that be the center of my life til around age 50, I think we have something in common maybe, as far as feelings. Speaking for myself, when I deconverted from Christianity, I felt great resentment that I’d been HAD for my whole life. I had blamed myself for all the confusion I’d felt during those years and suddenly felt quite angry that I took it all so very seriously. It caused me a lot of self-torture mentally. I certainly felt like a victim.

    I then became focused on how a lot of it actually made no sense, and I pondered on the things you mention in your post. I feel like I’m thru that phase of my life and into a phase of seeing what belief has to offer a person as far as making them happy and encouraging them to do good in the world. I look at the alternative to that-being someone who throws it all out and just wants reality, “truth,” and find myself lost in nothingness. Could I return to true belief of the things I was taught? No.

    I guess what I wanted to ask you is-do you feel any kind of emotion about convincing Christians that they’ve been taught a bunch of stuff that’s not real? Do you want to save others from being fooled like we were? Do you think they’ll be better off when they reject it all? I’d love to hear about your motivation. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Neil

      Good question, Lynn. I don’t write with the aim of deconverting Christians. I think that’s unlikely to happen (though actually it has once or twice), but I hope that something I – or Bruce or the other atheist bloggers out there – say will perhaps give someone, a waiverer perhaps, pause for thought. Maybe created a chink in their armor (of God!) and make them think. Religious faith seems to shut down people’s critical faculties and my hope would be that something I say will reawaken those faculties, just a little bit.

      As I say, this has happened once or twice as a result of my blog because commenters have told me so; some have said my ramblings have helped them move from blind faith to a more reasoned and evidential basis for their lives – and that pleases me greatly.

      In the end though, I write because I have to. I write because of the compulsion to offset, admittedly in a very small way, the drivel, maliciousness and downright lies that are spewed out daily by churches, evangelists and Christian blogs. A voice in the wilderness, that’s me!

      Reply
      1. Lynn123

        Hi, Neil. Sorry I misspelled your name. I can so relate to your satisfaction at getting someone to think more critically. Teachers enjoy teaching. I read of this father who’d sit with his older kids and evaluate commercials on TV together. “What is the purpose of this commercial? What are they trying to get you to spend your money on? What do they want you to think? Does that make sense? ”

        Re what churches teach, do you find them mostly producing drivel, maliciousness and downright lies, or do you think they do more good than harm?

        You mentioned to Rebecca that maybe she wants to maintain her own comfort in holding onto her beliefs. I’d ask, what’s wrong with that? I’m assuming her beliefs are important to her, and she certainly seems like a very nice person. I think most people in most religions are benefited by holding their beliefs, and I’m not sure the world would be better off if they gave them up.

        One more thing-I laugh at myself when I remember how I truly thought it would be so great if churches were more about teaching-teaching church history, studying the Bible critically,etc. I was all into that idea and could picture me proposing it. It finally dawned on me that that’s not why people attend church. It is a lot about comfort and hope and many other things.

        Reply
  6. Rebecca

    Neil, I want to add to this that I think there are a great many verses attributed to Jesus that on the surface can certainly appear problematic. I could actually add to your list. 🙂 However, this understanding and insight does not personally lead me to atheism, but, instead to deeper reflection and study in order to more fully understand. I just want to share only one example.

    Although I may not always agree with him, I think the NT scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman has some tremendous insights and knowledge to share. Of course, he is not a Christian believer, largely due to his struggle with human suffering, not so much his view of Scripture. This is what he has to say relating to one of the verses that you mentioned in your article, Mark 16:18.

    What is most striking to me as a scholar of the NT is that the passage in which Jesus’ words about handling snakes are contained was not originally part of the Gospel of Mark. Or of any other book of the NT. The oldest form of the Gospel of Mark that we can reconstruct ended with 16:8. Jesus has been dead and buried, on the third day some women go to the tomb, Jesus is not there, a young man who *is* there tells them that he has been raised and that they are to tell the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee, and then – the climax of the scene, and arguably of the Gospel – the women “fled from the tomb and didn’t say anything to anyone, for they were afraid.” Period. That’s it. That’s where the Gospel ends.

    I’ve always thought that someone in the ambulance on the way to the hospital ought to tell one of those snake handlers, “You know, that verse wasn’t originally in the Bible.”

    Preach on Dr. Ehrman…

    To put it another way, not having all the answers right now in dealing with difficult and even confusing Biblical passages does not equate in my mind, to the certainty that “Jesus was a fraud,” or “There is no God.”

    Reply
  7. Neil

    You’re right, Rebecca, Mark 16.9 onwards is not in our oldest manuscripts and like many other parts of the bible (John 8.1-11, for example) is a later addition. But most evangelicals dismiss such scurrilous notions; to them the bible is the infallible word of God and to suggest someone added to it or altered it (see the Bart D. Erhman post above) is anathema.

    I can tell you desperately want to preserve some sort of faith in God/Jesus and the bible, Rebecca, but you seem to be doing so by employing a form of cognitive dissonance. You seem to be saying, ‘I know the bible is fallible, inconsistent and even lacks integrity. I know too that the promises Jesus made didn’t come about, but all the same I’m going to cling to my beliefs (because they’re a comfort to me?) I’m going to put the problems I find in the bible down to my own shortcomings and my need to study it in more in-depth.’ This isn’t right, Rebecca. The fault lies with the bible and in what churches, even liberal ones like yours, say about it – not in you.

    May I say that you are drawn to atheism, Rebecca, much more than you care to admit. You read and comment on my blog, on Bruce’s and on several others of an atheistic bent. Why is this, if not because the ideas you find there hold some appeal to you ?

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Neil, my mind thinks and reasons differently. I’m very comfortable with unanswered questions, mysteries, shades of gray…My faith is just not rooted in the infallibility of the Scripture. It never was from the beginning.

      And, I’ve really found that often, over time, challenging sayings of Jesus or other difficult teachings in the Scripture do become clarified with additional reflection and study. I think that whole process of thinking deeply, and questioning honestly is one way that we actually grow in our faith, and relationship with God. For me, this has just not led to atheism.

      I think, if any thing, if I were not a Christian, I would be Wiccan or something like that. I’m not kiddin. Spirituality really is part of my DNA. It’s not something that I’m clinging to. It’s part of who I am.

      Anyway, this is me. I’m not judging if people have had a different experience.

      Reply
  8. Rebecca

    (((Lynn))) can’t resist, jumping in to give you a hug. You seem like a very nice person as well.

    Actually virtual hugs all around. Bruce, I appreciate that you provide an open forum for these interesting and thought provoking discussions.

    Reply
    1. Lynn123

      Thank you!

      Reply
  9. Bill Cribbs

    He was referring to His transfiguration. Peter, James, and John were there to witness the event.

    Reply

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