Part 2 continued from
Read that first if you will, then part 2 will be in context.
Christians are superstitious!
Resurrection and ascension
Evangelicals say - The New Testament accounts of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, state that the first day of the week after the crucifixion (typically interpreted as a Sunday), his followers encounter him risen from the dead, after his tomb is discovered to be empty. The resurrected Jesus appears to them that day and a number of times thereafter, delivers sermons and commissions them, before ascending to Heaven. Two of the canonical gospels (Luke and Mark) include a brief mention of the Ascension, but the main references to it are elsewhere in the New Testament. After the discovery of the empty tomb, the gospels indicate that Jesus made a series of appearances to the disciples.
These include the well known Doubting Thomas episode, where Thomas did not believe the resurrection until he was invited to put his finger into the holes made by the wounds in Jesus' hands and side; and the Road to Emmaus appearance where Jesus meets two disciples. The catch of 153 fish appearance includes a miracle at the Sea of Galilee, and thereafter Jesus encourages Peter to serve his followers.
The final post-resurrection appearance in the gospel accounts is when Jesus ascends to Heaven where he remains with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. The canonical gospels include only brief mentions of the Ascension of Jesus, Luke 24:51 states that Jesus "was carried up into heaven". The ascension account is further elaborated in Acts 1:1-11 and mentioned 1 Timothy 3:16. In Acts 1:1-9, forty days after the resurrection, as the disciples look on, "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." 1 Peter 3:22 describes Jesus as being on "the right hand of God, having gone into heaven”.
The Acts of the Apostles also contain "post-ascension" appearances by Jesus. These include the vision by Stephen just before his death in Acts 7:55and the road to Damascus episode in which Apostle Paul is converted to Christianity. The instruction given to Ananias in Damascus in Acts 9:10-18 to heal Paul is the last reported conversation with Jesus in the Bible until the Book of Revelation was written.
My Reply - Any unbiased historian will tell you that the Gospels were written with an agenda to preach the good news to people in order to convert the masses. Therefore, we have zero evidence that any of the events surround the Resurrection even took place as described.
Christians have a set of circular arguments to try to prove that the Resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact and it is the only conclusion one can draw from the events in the Gospels.
First of all, what the church doesn't tell you is that outside of the New Testament, there are NO historical documents from the era that say that Jesus rose from the dead. Not even one. Even the most knowledgeable Christian apologist or scholar will reluctantly admit this.
In addition, even more damaging is the fact that outside of the New Testament, none of the historians of the time during the period Jesus lived (approximately 0 AD - 33 AD) even mention the existence of a Jesus of Nazareth. It’s not in any of their writings, accounts, or reports. That is a tremendous blow to the Christian religion. Christian apologists though, try to cite historians of a later era such as Josephus or Tacitus. However, those historians lived long after Jesus’ time and were reporting on rumours and stories they heard. Also, some scholars think that the writings of Josephus referring to Jesus are an interpolation for many reasons. As no Jewish/Roman historian would refer to Jesus as "My Lord".
Believers will tell you that the apostle Paul claimed in 1 Corinthians 15:16 that there were five hundred people who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. However, there is a difference between one person claiming that there were five hundred witnesses and five hundred witnesses themselves claiming that they saw the resurrection. Not one of these five hundred witnesses has ever been identified in any way.
It’s very suspicious that after Jesus rose from the dead, he only appeared to his followers, and not to any of the non-believers, Romans, the Jewish leaders, or people who had no interest invested in his ministry. Now think about this for a moment. If the resurrection actually happened, and five hundred people saw it, it would have drawn such monumental attention that Pilate and the other Roman officials would have noted it, along with the Roman historians at the time! And almost everyone around would have been converted! However, we DON'T even have ONE historical document other than the New Testament, which itself was completed almost a century after Christ's existence, that validates the Resurrection!
The Resurrection event that was described in the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were not even written until decades after Jesus’ supposed crucifixion. Scholars and historians have different estimates of when the Gospels were written (with Christian scholars estimating the dates much closer to Jesus’ lifetime of course) but the earliest texts of those Gospels are nevertheless dated long after Jesus’ supposed life on Earth. In fact, those four Gospels weren't even mentioned by the Church Fathers until the Second Century A.D.!
References : The Historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection: The Debate between Christians and Skeptics by Jeffery Jay Lowder and Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier. The Barker-Horner Debate: Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead? (1996)The Geisler-Till Debate (1994) Horner-Till Debate (1995)
Adam and Eve.
Evangelicals say - The story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of original sin: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned," said Paul of Tarsus in his Epistle to the Romans, although Chapter 3 of Genesis does not use the word "sin" and Genesis 3:24 makes clear that the couple are expelled "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". St Augustine of Hippo (354–430), working with a Latin translation of the epistle, understood Paul to have said that Adam's sin was hereditary: "Death passed upon (i.e. spread to) all men because of Adam, [in whom] all sinned". Original sin, the concept that man is born in a condition of sinfulness and must await redemption, thus became a cornerstone of Western Christian theological tradition.
Over the centuries, a system of uniquely Christian beliefs has developed from the Adam and Eve story. Baptism has become understood as a washing away of the stain of hereditary sin in many churches, although its original symbolism was apparently rebirth. Additionally, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted to have been Satan, or that Satan was using a serpent as a mouthpiece, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah and it is not held in Judaism. A Christian basis for this identification can be found in Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 where Satan is called the "Old Serpent".
My reply - Why was I born in sin? Because Adam sinned! Then why did Adam sin? If it was because of Satan, why did he sin? Why did God make Adam with free choice knowing he would sin? There are no answers! In fact there are more questions than answers! There is another question one could ask. If evil did not exist before Adam sinned, how could Adam know that what he was about to do was evil? How was he to know that it was wrong to disobey God? Was he not innocent like a new born baby? He must have been set up, like in a sting operation. Why did God allow evil and rebellious Satan any where near man his pinnacle of loving creation (in his image)? Would you willingly allow a known and convicted paedophile near your loving creation your very own children? The idea of being punished for a crime committed by someone else is unethical, incredulous, ridiculous and unacceptable. Original sin belongs to each of us because it belongs to all?
Thank goodness that science reveals established facts that the Biblical creation story is not literally true, and demonstrates that Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden are myths and not historical figures. (In fact the Genesis creation account is nothing more than a demythologised myth.) Thus the idea / doctrine of original sin is destroyed. There can be no inherited guilt or punishment for the fall of Adam as it did not literally happen out side the text of the Bible.
There is no need for a Saviour to atone for sin as no sin was committed as there was no Adam and Eve: the scientific evidence shows that Adam and Eve could not have existed, at least in the way they’re portrayed in the Bible. Genetic data show no evidence of any human bottleneck as small as two people: there are simply too many different kinds of genes around for that to be true. There may have been a couple of “bottlenecks” (reduced population sizes) in the history of our species, but the smallest one not involving recent colonisation is a bottleneck of roughly 10,000-15,000 individuals that occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. That’s as small a population as our ancestors had, and—note—it’s not two individuals.
Further, looking at different genes, we find that they trace back to different times in our past. Mitochondrial DNA points to the genes in that organelle tracing back to a single female ancestor who lived about 140,000 years ago, but that genes on the Y chromosome trace back to one male who lived about 60,000-90,000 years ago. Further, the bulk of genes in the nucleus all trace back to different times—as far back as two million years. This shows not only that any “Adam” and “Eve” (in the sense of mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA alone) must have lived thousands of years apart, but also that there simply could not have been two individuals who provided the entire genetic ancestry of modern humans. Each of our genes “coalesces” back to a different ancestor, showing that, as expected, our genetic legacy comes from many different individuals. It does not go back to just two individuals, regardless of when they lived.
These are the scientific facts. We can dismiss a physical Adam and Eve with near scientific certainty. Homo sapiens originated in Africa 150,000 years ago and began to migrate 55,000 to 60,000 years ago. New Research Confirms 'Out Of Africa' Theory Of Human Evolution
ScienceDaily (May 10, 2007) — Researchers have produced new DNA evidence that almost certainly confirms the theory that all modern humans have a common ancestry. The genetic survey, produced by a collaborative team led by scholars at Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities, shows that Australia's aboriginal population sprang from the same tiny group of colonists, along with their New Guinean neighbours.
The research confirms the “Out Of Africa” hypothesis that all modern humans stem from a single group of Homo sapiens who emigrated from Africa 2,000 generations ago and spread throughout Eurasia over thousands of years. Academics analysed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA of Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians from New Guinea. This data was compared with the various DNA patterns associated with early humans. The research was an international effort, with researchers from Tartu in Estonia, Oxford, and Stanford in California all contributing key data and expertise.
The results showed that both the Aborigines and Melanesians share the genetic features that have been linked to the exodus of modern humans from Africa 50,000 years ago.
Until now, one of the main reasons for doubting the “Out Of Africa” theory was the existence of inconsistent evidence in Australia. The skeletal and tool remains that have been found there are strikingly different from those elsewhere on the “coastal expressway” – the route through South Asia taken by the early settlers. But in the latest research there was no evidence of a genetic inheritance from Homo erectus, indicating that the settlers did not mix and that these people therefore share the same direct ancestry as the other Eurasian peoples.
Geneticist Dr Peter Forster, “For the first time, this evidence gives us a genetic link showing that the Australian Aboriginal and New Guinean populations are descended directly from the same specific group of people who emerged from the African migration.”
University of Cambridge