Atheist Ramblings - 4.2

From approximately August 2001

More tall tales...

...Ok. Lets imagine an incredible event that defies natural laws, is witnessed by very few people, and is written about by annonymous authors who wrote about the event several decades afterwards. If you read the stories, would you believe the story was likely real or would you be interested in some corroborating evidence?

...If it were an anonymous retelling of the Roswell, NM preported UFO crash, few if any would embrace it.

...What if it were a story of a soldier on Omaha Beach on D-Day who died only to magically return to life 2 days later to lead his men against the Nazis?

...Well, one incredible event that is unfortunately not questioned often enough is the resurrection of Jesus. The authors of the resurrection stories are mostly unknown (no, it wasn't Mark who wrote Mark) who wrote second hand reports at least 30 years after the event... and they don't even tell the same story! But their reports are accepted as likely true by far too many people.

...Then the cincher is then that some uncritically point to scattered references by the historian Josephus as corroborating evidence and "proof" that Jesus lived and died as written in the Bible. Unfortunately, Josephus isn't always a reliable historical reference for events.

...For example, in "War of the Jews" Book VI, Chapter 5, Josephus retells eyewitness stories of how soltiers and chariots were seen flying through the evening sky upon the clouds over Jerusalem.

...While events like flying chariots may have been accepted during Josephus' time, few would accept it as a likely truth now. Interestingly, most theists I have confronted with this little tidbit have readily discounted the story of flying chariots as "nonsense" or "second hand stories", but they immediately accept Josephus' references to Jesus as authentic (despite the fact that the references weren't "found" for 300 years and that the text snippets do not seem to fit the writing style or tone of surrounding text...)

...Tall tales take many forms. And we should be watchful of them however they come.