I was born into a Roman Catholic family. Around 20 years ago I stopped practicing religion. I said to myself what’s the point! I am busy with other stuff and religion is just an extra burden on me. So I quit it and got on with life. Recently I started to question the meaning of life so I started to search. I discovered the following information.
Did Jesus exist after all?
Independent Non Christian sources on the existence of Christ Jesus
1 -Cornelius Tacitus Non Christian (56 – 117AD) historian and Roman Senator in a passage ‘Annales, book 15, verse 44’ refers to Christ, Pontius Pilate and a mass executions of Christians. General scholarly view considers Tacitus to be authentic
2 – Flavius Joseph a Romano-Jewish historian (37-100AD) Book 20 Chapter 9,1 "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference
- How does one explain what happened in Portugal at Fatima in 1917, “The Miracle of the Sun” which was witnessed by an estimated 30,000 – 70,000 people?
- How to explain the Apparation of Mary in Egypt Cairo 1968 witnessed by 1000's of people called Our Lady of Zeitoun?
- How to explain the miraculous healing of people in Lourdes France and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in a place called Medjugorje where 100,000’s of people go annually.
- How to explain the wounds on the hands, feet and side of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887 – 1968) which he had for 50 years which apparently were those of Jesus & his ability to read people and heal people all in the name of Jesus.
- How to explain how the body of St Bernadette of Lourdes 130 years after her death has not decomposed. Her body is not artificially preserved.
- How to explain how Alexandria da Costa (1904-1955) survived on no food for 13 years only the Eucharist. Verified by independent doctors
- How to explain how Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824) had wounds which apparently were those of Jesus on her body.
Can someone please give me some answers based on facts?
Why do you need to answer anything?
You can simply say "I don't know" and the burden of proof is still on them. If you simply state that you have no answer, they still have all the work ahead of them. All those things can just as easily be attributed to the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
They need to prove that any of those things you listed actually refer to, or are done by their version of a deity. Unless they can provide solid proof of that, they have no grounds for their belief other than "faith" and therefore, you have no reason to answer anything, nor do you have any way to counter their argument because it is very difficult to prove "feelings" wrong.
** Consider the place for new values in a world of facts and fictions
Start by reading a book by Michel Onfray. Atheist Manifesto is its title in the US edition and translation from French. Ought to be many used copies -- it deals with questions related to yours -- and more besides.
It offers a clear destructive set of arguments against the "great" monotheisms in general and xianity in particular. But, Onfray goes beyond destroying xian belief and consequently xian morality -- he provides a completely secular foundation for personal and social behavor rooted in the rational hedonism of Epicurus.
Reported apparitions depend upon the reliability of supposed witnesses, which is notoriously unreliable. Millions of people have testified to seeing faces on Mars. Despite the FACT that the claim has been thoroughly debunked, people still report it as true. And there is no shortage of "witnesses" to flying saucers and such. That does not make them true. Why do people persist in believing this delusional nonsense? Because they WANT to believe it. So all these purported miracles, visions, etc. mean absolutely nothing.
As to those supposed historical records relating to Jesus, Erich von Daniken supplies similarly specious evidence for ancient visitations from space aliens, so that means nothing, either. As to the allusions to Christ: the notion of a "Christ" was a common concept among the Jews. In fact, they are still waiting for him to make his debut on Earth. And Jesus? How many millions of them were there in the middle east at the time?
Of the two historians you mention, only Tacitus is considered an authentic, unbiased historian. And his only mention of a Christlike figure named Jesus is contained in a single paragraph, wherein he labels the claim as "superstition." He goes on to mention that a number of Christians were killed. Had he been aware of a specific Jesus being crucified and subsequently resurrected, he no doubt would have mentioned it; but he didn't.
To take some of your questions at random: You evidently accept the report that Catherine...had Jesus wounds on her body. Then I assume you accept as fact that Jesus' likeness appears randomly on pieces of toast, right?
30,000 to 70,000 people witnessed the "Miracle of the Sun"? Who counted them? The Vatican? Of the tens of thousands of people who evidently witnessed some "extraordinary solar activity," only three children reported seeing visions. Now THAT'S what I call proof. Nevertheless, the Vatican endorsed it as a true miracle, so I'm convinced.
And you evidently take as fact that "...deCosta survived 13 years without food... Verified by independent doctors"? Which doctors exactly? Did they conduct a 13 year experiment in which they isolated deCosta and monitored his daily consumption of Jesus' blood and flesh? Or did they weigh and measure his stool every morning for 13 years? Ludicrous!
Finally, It hardly counts as reliable evidence that someone at sometime wrote something down in a book. These are claims only. And, of course, that includes the preposterous claims of the most popular book ever written.
Face it, Con: you never left the church.
Let's just take the 'miracle of the sun'. You get a bunch of cult devotees all frothed up about magic, prime them on the sort of experience they'll have, then tell them to stare at the sun for 10 minutes. Would it surprise you to discover that a bunch of them started seeing weird stuff, having colour disturbances in their vision, and then began blithering on like lobotomized buffoons? Mass hysteria has been well documented, and it only takes a few very charismatic believers to peel back the sanity from a larger group of devotees.
I've been part of these sorts of things countless times in my youth while attending Pentecostal rituals. The other believers buy the whole show - hook, line, and sinker. Those with doubts don't dare say a word around those all worked up into a frenzy over the shenanigans.
Moreover - there were plenty of cameras floating around in 1917 yet I notice that no one even suggests any photos of the phenomena either exist or were ever taken. The story has changed and grown over the years as much as many such urban legends. Do you actually think there could possibly be anything to this silly old legend? Seriously?
Every one of the incidents you have described have sane, rational explanations, do some research (somewhere other than christian resources!)
Did you know, Con, that people taking a placebo pill will often show signs of improvement? And that even when they are specifically told they are being given a placebo, they still sometimes show signs of improvement? Scientists have studied it with fascination. It has nothing to do with theology. Lourdes is a placebo. Nobody ever blames it for their deterioration, do they? Only their 'healing'.
And there's that whole Jesus toast thing...
As for miracles, my backspace key is a daily miracle :)
Come one, you mean you haven't heard about carbolic acid for stigmata, Fatima in 1917, not one observatory recorded the sun zig-zagging for that "foretold" event. All photos are of the crowd..interesting. Is that what you would photograph if the sun was exploding?
The catholic church is, was, and will always be a magic show. How many murdered popes have there been? The closest thing to a miracle is how rapist priests continue to evade the law.
You cant take the word of 1, 10, or 1,000,000 of the faithful. They want to believe more than anything. Their accounts are all useless.
I will not do your research for you but I can assure you that each and every one of these have a rational explanation.
If they didn't have an explanation it still would not be reasonable to claim it as evidence of god, let alone the Christian god.
You can find just as many 'miracles' from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Belief is a powerful thing, unfortunately.
Did you hear about the new Eucharist diet. Holy Crap ! I lost 120lbs praise the lerd!
Thank you, I could only be bothered to deal with one. I've nearly stopped responding to them when they bring up 10 things because as fast as you should one down they jump to the next and eventually they go the full loop and you just end up repeating yourself. I guess we'll see if you have better luck, :D
Bravo, Gallup's. Excellently executed.
First thing I'd do is point out the dates of those you reference in 1 and 2.. Both were born after Jesus was to have died..So there was no way they could have known him personally.
Also, it's well known the Romans kept immaculate records. Now, in the Bible it says when the Jewish leaders came to Pilate complaining that Jesus had broken the law.. Where are the records of that? And where are the records of Pilate stating that he saw no law broken? Also remember he sent the case out to another Precept for review to be sure he hadn't missed anything.. Essentially there would be a back-up of records of this exchange. Finally, there would also be a record of Jesus's execution..... Yet no records of any of those have been found.
How do you explain that..?