Sunday, February 07, 2010

Appearing in Kansas

The day after my debate in Topeka, Kansas (this coming week) I'll be giving a talk in Olathe, Kansas for the Kansas City Freethought community. That's Friday, February 12. The event will be held at 6pm (and go until 9pm) at the Bass Pro Shop on 12051 Bass Pro Drive (Olathe, Kansas 66061). I'm told you just "enter the front doors, take the center staircase to the second floor, then enter the hallway north of the gun section." (Awesome.)

You can get more info at the Skeptics Meetup Page. As far as I know attendance is free. I'll be selling and signing my book afterward, but only insofar as I have any left after the previous day's event. I'll give three short talks (about 20 minutes each), each one followed by its own brief Q&A. The topics will be On Miracles and the Historical Method, Debating the Jesus Myth, and Why Everyone Says Medieval Christians Invented Science.

11 comments:

R said...

Dr. Carrier,

I saw your debate in Topeka and wanted to say a few words to you. First off, you were a gentleman and a scholar and I would have liked to meet you in person. The debate was very interesting and i enjoyed being there.

During the debate, you asked why Jesus would not appear to you and reveal himself and show you that he is risen from the dead. I have an answer for you. In Luke's Gospel, chapter 16 Jesus uses a story of two men to give some spiritual truth. One of the things he teaches is that if men on earth will not listen to the message of the Old Testament Prophets and Moses then they will not believe the truth even if someone rises from the dead. Moses and the prophets teach us that we are sinful men who cannot keep God's Law and need a Saviour. They reveals God as Holy and righteous and set apart from sin. Were Jesus to appear to men today, they would reject him just as the Jews of AD 30 did. God has chosen to use His word and His people to spread the Gospel of His Son and not miraculous appearances (save the apostle Paul). This is his divine plan for redeeming the humble and contrite to Himself. He is looking for men and women who can humble themselves enough to obey what the bible teaches us.

During the debate the issue of probability came up quite often. I want to point out the while not many people have risen from the dead yet, the bible teaches that ALL people who die will be risen in the future. Some are risen to eternal life, and some to eternal punishment. In the future resurrection will be quite normal and expected! The probability that you and I will die is 1 and the bible teaches that the probability we will be resurrected is 1 as well. 100 years from now we will all know these things to be true, but the bible teaches us that we can know now. I will pray for you to know, understand, and believe these things.

Sincerely,
Rex Bloom

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Hey Rex,

You know the Bible also says that Jesus appeared to Thomas and that had a successful impact. It also says Jesus did NOT appear to the people of Sodom even though he ADMITTED they would have been saved as a result.

And, if Christians would pay attention to themselves in their own ranks, they'd notice struggling Christians who could use the natural confidence that comes from a one on one session with Jesus.

So let's not pretend like humans aren't social creatures who thrive on interpersonal contact.

BTW, pointing to your magic book that tells you no one cares about evidence scores you MAJOR negative points in the "is this person a critical thinker?" category. If anyone from any OTHER religion did that to you, I'll bet your bullshit detector would get a serious reading. Just sayin.

Ben

R said...

Ben,

Actually the bible says that if the works Jesus did had been done in Sodom the city would have remained to this day. (Matthew 11) Not quite "being saved" but a good point.

I understand where you are coming from about using the bible, but Dr. Carrier basically said "If Jesus were really raised from the dead then he should appear to me..." If that is the context of the question then an answer from the bible is warranted.

Regarding the probability of the resurrection. Yes, I am leaning on the good book as you say. I would simply suggest that to say the resurrection did not happen just because it is improbable is a shaky position at best. There are lots of things that happen to a few people and not to everyone and we do not dismiss them as not happening.

RE: "So let's not pretend like humans aren't social creatures who thrive on interpersonal contact"

Can you explain this statement a little more because I believe this is true and am not sure what I said that would make you think otherwise:

Sincerely,
Rex

Luke said...

That sounds like a dangerous place to talk about the possibility of Baby Jesus not existing.

Winston Smith said...

Dr. Carrier, I saw your follow up performance at the "Bass Pro Shops" on Friday night.

Interesting stuff, but nothing new, and as you point out your mythicist position is just a hypothesis and not considered mainstream.

I didn appreciate you saying that most Mythicist works are either uniformed, misleading, or ignorant. Acharya S comes to mind on that score.

By the way, my friend and I kept count, and...I kid you not...you said "BULLSHIT" 22 times!

LOL!

The first couple of times were impactful. Buy the tenth or eleventh time it was boring. But from the 20th time on it was, well, like stupid...like you didn't really have confidence in your argument.

So, if a Ph.D. can use that term, I will too and say: BULLSHIT!

Pikemann Urge said...

Well, let me play devil's advocate for a bit. R says that even if Jesus did appear, it wouldn't change the hard-of-heart, even if he did all the miracles in the world right there in front of them. I doubt it, but it sort of makes sense.

In some cases in the world today, whenever somebody, particularly in the health/medical field, does something wonderful, that person is persecuted, or doubt is cast upon them by other professionals. Partly because of jealousy (that person did it without THEM involved), partly because of human nature to stamp out anything unorthodox.

So there is something, however vague, to be said for that position. However, most people are not like that - it's usually professionals - and if Jesus appeared today and convincingly showed he was God's son, I think Richard and all of us here would accept him as such.

R said...

Pikemann,

Good post, thanks for the feedback. I am very curious about atheists and how they think. I know very few people as bold as Dr. Carrier in denying that there is a God. It seems most people are religious or simply don't care either way. So this has been interesting for me to say the least.

With that in mind...

I would suggest that if Jesus appeared today as Dr. Carrier asks Him to do, people would still not believe.

Supposing he did come. What would he say? Why would he come? He came once already, and we have his message from that time recorded for us (Gospels). If he came again he would have the same message: There is judgment coming and I am the one who can help you. People who are not interested in God and not convinced that they have done sinful things that deserve punishment would not see a need for Jesus no matter what he did, said, or revealed. Some of the best 'thinkers' of Jesus time where the ones who put Him to death and they saw the miracles he did.

The Bible is clear that Jesus came to seek and save the Lost. If you do not believe that you are Lost then you will have no need of Jesus. It would be like a Doctor offering a cure to a disease you did not believe you had. Even if you believe in your mind that Jesus is who he claimed, that sort of believing is not what the Bible talks about for Salvation. Jesus is not looking for people who believe facts about Him. He is seeking people who NEED Him.

That is why in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus He says (or has Abraham saying) that if the Rich man's family will not hear Moses and the Prophets then they would not believe though someone came back from the dead. If the LAW of God and God's holiness and righteousness and the coming future judgment does not affect you and show you that you have a NEED, sadly, even if Jesus appeared you would see no real need of Him. Go through the Gospels and see how he talks to people who come to Him. He is always telling them things and asking them things that will reveal they have sinned and need a Savior. (Rich Young ruler is a good place to start)

The Gospel presented in the New Testament is not about only believing facts ABOUT Jesus.

Well I have probably over-posted. If you are still with me, thank you for reading,

Rex

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Rex,

A: Just because *some* people might be that stubborn doesn't mean ALL people would be that stubborn. I even mentioned struggling Christians who need more confidence despite adopting the Christian moral paradigm. Are you denying it? Didn't more evidence help doubting Thomas? Didn't more evidence help Gideon in the OT?

B: You pointed out that Jesus only said Sodom would *remain*, but he also said that the people of Tyre and Sidon would have *repented*. One would infer that if a city no longer needed to be judged, that would *necessarily imply* Sodom also would have repented.

C: I agree that salvation is a different issue than believing facts about Jesus. However, one cannot build a relationship on non-facts. It is just as silly to skip that issue as it is to conflate them.

Ben

Pikemann Urge said...

Rex: "Some of the best 'thinkers' of Jesus time where the ones who put Him to death and they saw the miracles he did."

I don't see them as thinkers. I see them as dogmatic, repressed and repressive clergy, blind to reality as a result in living in ivory towers.

Otherwise I certainly take your point. One wonders, though, what happens to those who don't think they need salvation via Jesus. Are we damned? How are we viewed?

Richard Carrier said...

R said... In Luke's Gospel, chapter 16 Jesus uses a story of two men to give some spiritual truth. One of the things he teaches is that if men on earth will not listen to the message of the Old Testament Prophets and Moses then they will not believe the truth even if someone rises from the dead.

That's simply false.

Thus yet another reason to reject the Bible as a bunch of baloney.

(see my demonstration of how false this claim is in Sense and Goodness without God, e.g. pp. 280-82, and from a different angle in Why I Am Not a Christian)

100 years from now we will all know these things to be true, but the bible teaches us that we can know now.

The Bible is lying. As just noted above.

The question is thus why you believe such a lie.

And Licona gave no convincing reasons to.

Richard Carrier said...

Winston Smith said... By the way, my friend and I kept count, and...I kid you not...you said "BULLSHIT" 22 times!

Far more disturbing than saying the word bullshit is a couple of guys who count how many times a guy says it.

And then think ten times is good but eleven times is bad.

The funniest thing is that you won't even see why this is funny.