Tag Archive: Resurrection of Jesus

Christians Don’t Do the Works Jesus Did, Proving Jesus Never Resurrected from the Dead

jesus raising the dead

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. It’s a one-of-a-kind divine religious text that is to be, with rare exception, read and interpreted literally. Of course, when confronted with glaring contradictions, Evangelicals will abandon literalism quicker than Sarah Huckabee Sanders abandons truth at a White House press conference. When confronted with Bible verses that are contradictory or which put God/Christianity in a bad light, Evangelicals discard the literal, plain meaning of a text in favor of a convoluted, look-the-rabbit-ran-that-way, theological explanation.

Take John14:12-14. Printed with red ink — the universal sign for “Jesus is talking” — the Son of God said that he would soon return to his Father in Heaven, and once he was gone his followers would do greater works (miracles) than he did. Wow, what a statement, right?

What were the works (miracles) that Jesus did?

  • Healed the sick
  • Cured the deaf and mute
  • Gave sight to the blind
  • Reattached severed body parts
  • Fed 5,000 people with 2 loaves of bread and 5 fishes
  • Fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fishes
  • Caused the lame to walk again
  • Cured mental illness
  • Raised the dead
  • Turned well water into Boone’s Farm
  • Walked on water
  • Stopped storm winds from blowing
  • Walked through walls
  • Resurrected himself from the dead

What a list of miracles! The writer of the gospel of John said, in John 21:25:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

According to that verse, the Bible contains just a small handful of the millions of miracles performed by Jesus. Why, Jesus worked so many miracles in three years, that if all of them were written down, all the books of the world wouldn’t be able to contain them. Wow, just wow! So many miracles, yet there is not one non-Biblical contemporary record for any of them. If a Jewish itinerant preacher performed millions of miracles in a thirty-six-month period, you’d think at least one Roman historian would have mentioned it. Yet, the pages of history are silent.

For the sake of this post, I am going to go with the miracles performed by Jesus as recorded in the gospels. In John 14:12, Jesus told his followers that after he ascended back to his Father in Heaven, they would perform works (miracles) as great as and greater than those worked by him. The Christian church has existed for almost 2,000 years, yet there is no recorded history of Christians doing greater works (miracles) than Jesus. In fact, Christians today think a “greater work” is Jesus helping Grandma find her lost keys or causing someone’s cancer to temporarily go into remission. Healing the sick? Raising the dead? Causing cripples to walk? Giving sight to the blind? Where, oh where can we find and see such medically verifiable miracles? And if Jesus worked millions of such miracles, where can we see legions of people being healed? Where can we see thousands of people being fed with 2 Big Mac’s and 5 orders of large French fries?

Modern Christians are supposed to be greater miracle workers than Jesus, yet everywhere we look we see impotence. Why is that? Evangelicals will make all sorts of peculiar theological arguments, attempting to explain away the clear, literal reading of John 14:12. Perhaps, there is another explanation for the present-day paucity of miracles. Jesus said that miracle-working by his followers was contingent upon him returning to his Father in Heaven. Perhaps, the real reason Christians can’t work Jesus-esque miracles is because he never resurrected from the dead and ascended back to Heaven to the right hand of his Father. Maybe, just maybe, when Jesus died, he stayed dead. You know, just like every other human who has ever lived and died.

John 14:12 remains a direct challenge to the belief that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Had Jesus really escaped the permanency of death and magically floated away from the earth until he could no longer be seen, then Christians from 33 CE until today should have the power to repeatedly do the miraculous. That they don’t tells me that Jesus died on a Roman cross centuries ago and was buried in a borrowed tomb, never to be seen again.

Thus saith the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of Bruce.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

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Why Evangelical Christianity has the Power to Harm and Destroy

how beliefs affect us

It concerns me that more than a few atheists dismiss religious beliefs as quaint, silly relics that pose no threat or concern to them. Unfortunately, ignorance and indifference about religious beliefs can and does have catastrophic consequences. One need only to look to the election of Donald Trump to see what happens when religious beliefs are ignored. More than eighty percent of voting white Evangelicals voted for our pussy-grabber-in-chief. Trump, ever the con-man, used Evangelical beliefs about social hot-button issues to his advantage. Trump is no more a Christian than I am, yet he and his handlers knew that exploiting Evangelicals religious beliefs would help them gain the White House. While some Evangelical voters have buyers regret, many of them continue to support Trump, regardless of how many prostitutes and porn stars come out of his closet. All that matters to them is that Trump supports their values and ideals. You see, beliefs matter.

As an atheist, I believe that Evangelical Christianity is built upon numerous lies; namely that the Christian God exists, Jesus is God, Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. These four lies in particular fundamentally and ruinously affect the lives of those who believe them, especially those who spend decades as Evangelical believers. These lies affect how Evangelicals think about the world and their place in it. These lies affect how Evangelicals view others, especially those who don’t believe as they do. And most importantly, these lies affect how Evangelicals vote and engage the political process.

I am well aware that Evangelicals are somewhat diverse in belief and practice. I also realize that a smattering of Evangelicals hold progressive/liberal values. However, in the main, Evangelicals are united when it comes to the four lies mentioned above. These lies, along with others, are what make them Evangelical. If a person professes to be an Evangelical, yet rejects one or more of the aforementioned lies, then it is fair to say that he or she is Evangelical in name only.

Of these four lies, two of them have the potential to cause the greatest harm. I want to conclude this post by briefly examining these two lies.

First, the lie that Jesus resurrected from the dead fundamentally affects how Evangelicals view life and death. Why aren’t most Evangelicals concerned with global climate change? Why do they show little interest in ending war, famine, and violence? In the resurrection of Jesus, Evangelicals see the power of the Almighty on display. Their God has power over life and death. Their God controls everything, and if Jesus is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, and he holds the world in the palm of his hand, why worry about the future? In their minds, God has an unalterable, unassailable plan for everyone. We live and die when God says we do. What happens between life and death is up to God. When you believe your God can do anything, well, anything and everything is possible. No need to worry, the one true God is always on the job.

Jesus, of course, did not rise from the dead. Jesus was human, just like the rest of us. When he died on a Roman cross, he stayed dead, never to rise again. Understanding this fact causes people to behave differently. If Jesus was a mere mortal who lived and died, then there is no hell to shun and heaven to gain. All we have is the here and now. What matters, then, is how we live in the present, knowing that what we do affects future generations, for good or ill. There’s no God coming to our rescue. There’s no God who is going to make our lives brand new. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how different the thinking is between someone who believes the resurrection lie and someone who doesn’t.

Second, the lie that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God materially affects how Evangelicals live their day-to-day lives. People’s beliefs that the Bible is some sort of divine roadmap or blueprint for life affects the choices and decisions they make. The Sounds of Fundamentalism and Christians Say the Darnedest Things series aptly reflect what happens when people really, really, really believe that the Bible is a direct message to them from God. Why are Evangelicals endlessly up-in-arms over hot-button social issues? The Bible. Why do Evangelicals believe that the United States is a Christian nation and that the separation of church and state is harmful to their faith? The Bible. Why are Evangelicals anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-LGBT, anti-gun control, anti-same-sex marriage, and anti, anti, anti? The Bible. From invectives against how women dress to calls for Muslims/illegal immigrants to be sent back where they came from, the justification for such violence against people is found in the Bible.

If we want a better tomorrow, secularists and progressive people of faith must attack and destroy the lie that the Bible is in any way some sort of supernatural message sent to humans by a supernatural God. While the Bible certainly has teachings that have cultural and social value, in the main the Bible remains a Bronze Age religious text that has little relevance for today. In fact, the Bible is one of the most dangerous books ever written. When literally believed, it becomes a weapon with the power to kill and destroy. Religious Fundamentalism (and Evangelicalism is inherently Fundamentalist) harms everything it touches. We must not allow the lie about the nature of the Bible to go unchallenged. Ignoring the power the Bible holds over Evangelicals will only further our democracy’s demise. When people who believe the Bible is divine gain the power of the state, we shouldn’t be surprised when the United States becomes a theocracy. If we don’t want the Christian flag flying over the White House, we must muster every available tool in the secularist, rationalist toolbox to expose the lie that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.

I realize my words might seem harsh to some of my Evangelical readers. But, recent battles over gun control, abortion, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, and immigration have taught me that this is not the time to live and let live. If truth is to prevail, then lies must be exposed. If truth really matters to Americans, then exposing Evangelical Christianity for what it is — a religious political party — is essential. All one needs to do is look at the Ohio legislature, Congress, and the Trump presidency to see what believing lies can do. Sitting idly on the sidelines watching Bart Ehrman debates on YouTube or reading the latest, greatest book on atheism is not the answer. Like it or not, non-Evangelicals must educate themselves about Evangelical beliefs and practices. In doing so, we are better equipped to wage war against the cultural genocide being waged in the name of God. One of the reasons I continue to slog through Evangelical blogs, websites, and social media is because I know it is important to do so; not so much for myself, but for my children and grandchildren. By exposing what it is Evangelicals say and do, I shine a light on their absurdities and lies. Just remember, Evangelicals really do believe the words they write and speak. That alone should scare all of us into action.

Remember, beliefs matter.

Note

Takeshi Kovacs is a character in books written by Richard K/ Morgan — Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies. Altered Carbon was recently turned into a Netflix series starring Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs. I watched the first season of Altered Carbon and found it to a delightful, yet complex futuristic drama. I heartily recommend it for your viewing.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.