BUFF SCOTT, JR.
The Atheist and Jesus
[Part 1 Of 2]
The Atheist’s Scenario “Have you looked upon this man ‘Jesus’ with your bare eyes? Have you been in his personal presence? Have you touched him with your hands? Were you there when he taught the crowds and allegedly healed the blind? You say No? Then how can you be so sure he existed as a real person? Could he not have been a figurative celebrity in a fictional narrative, very much like the imaginary story of Adam and Eve?”
Enough Is Enough
It is easy to become frustrated with people whose questions are like the ones expressed above. It’s getting to be a frequent matter among those who lack biblical perspective and others who reject historical reality. I’m not putting down freedom of expression. I support the practice very strongly. I do not, however, appreciate the rhetoric of agnostics and atheists who scoff at heaven’s affirmations. Far too many of the ill-informed are appraising many of the biblical accounts as nothing more than fairy tales. And they do this without credible evidence or persuasive logic. So listen up, please, as we grapple with this issue.
Credible Logic Is Consistent With Credible Logic
I have never seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. I have never touched them. I have never been in their personal presence. I have never heard their messages. Nonetheless, I believe they did most of the things history attributes to them. I base my faith on external
evidence. Not only do we have their own testimony, but the testimony of numerous others who were contemporary to their time and who wrote about them.
We do not question the soundness of the witnesses who attested to their existence, nor doubt their credibility. We accept what has been reported about them as honorable and credible. Therefore, who among us questions the former existence of Washington and Lincoln? Even if neither had ever written a word, we would still believe both men served as Chief Commanders of this once great Republic, based upon the testimony of eyewitnesses who wrote about them.
How’s Your Vision?
Here is where I’m coming from: We have copious testimony about the man Jesus from numerous eyewitnesses
—His birth by a young virgin, His life, His teachings, His compassion, His wisdom, His miraculous wonders, His rejection, His agonizing death on a Roman tree, and finally His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. Why are many so reluctant to accept the attestations of these eyewitnesses? I think the chief reason is because they have not examined their testimony painstakingly, thoughtfully, and deliberately.
Furthermore: We are forever exposed to the effects of His existence, both past and present
. There is no effect or result without a cause, and no cause that does not produce an effect. My hand casts a shadow on the wall. The hand is the cause
, the shadow is the effect
—or result. No hand, no shadow. To confirm that God exists, we need only look out upon our universe and its vast array. God is the Cause, the universe is the effect. Additionally, all of the moral and spiritual qualities in and around us are the result of a specific Cause—the God of creation
So, where does all of this lead us? Simply, just as we have the effects of Washington’s and Lincoln’s existence, so too we have the effects of Jesus’ existence. To deny the one is to deny the other.
A Northeasterly Experience
A number of years ago, in Connecticut, while conducting a study of biblical testimony in the home of friends, a young man called out from the bedroom and asked how I knew the biblical accounts were true. I responded, “Allow me to first ask you a question or two. Have you read the Book?”
He answered, “No, I haven’t read it.”
I then inquired, “If someone wrote a famous book today and it became the ‘talk of the town’ because of its controversial contents, would you be qualified to pass judgment upon it without first obtaining a copy and evaluating its validity?”
He saw the point and answered, “No.”
I then added, “How, then, can you pass judgment upon the scriptures when you admit to not having examined them?”
The bedroom/living room discussion ended at that point.
The fact is: Scoffers and skeptics of biblical history are speaking without close examination of the testimony. In a Court of Law, they would be thrown out on their heels
About 2,000 year ago a Jewish historian by the name of Josephus witnessed and recorded the war between the Roman Army and the Jewish people. The major part of the battle occurred in and around Jerusalem. The account by Josephus is almost an echo of the predictions of Jesus, as recorded in the 24th chapter of the Book of Matthew
and the 21st chapter of the Book of Luke
The war began in 67 A.D. and ended in 70 A.D. On August 10, 70 A.D., Jerusalem was stormed and what followed was a universal massacre of the Jewish people—1,100,000 perished, and 100,000 survivors were sold into slavery. The book can be found in almost any Library.
What’s my point? Scoffers and skeptics have little or no problem accepting this bit of history as well-grounded. Why, then, do they doubt and reject another form of history that testifies about Adam and Eve, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Egypt’s pharaohs, Kings Solomon and David, Isaiah—but most of all, Jesus of Nazareth? And note, please: The biblical historians who wrote about Jesus were contemporary to Josephus!
Why accept his history while rejecting the historical writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?
[Part II Later]