Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 10. September 20th, 1949
No Reply from Junior Atheist
No Reply from Junior Atheist
"You have given a very neat little proof of the existence of something, but what exactly has induced you to correlate this something with that confused bundle or dogmas and sup; erstitions, the Christian Religion? Junior Atheist's Anti-God Father.
"The life and death of Jesus are those of a God, for if any man could invent it he would be more astounding than the hero himself." Rousseau.
Any person who has read any part of this controversy will know that Junior Atheist and his relations, being unable to reply to proofs, indulge in destructive criticisms to impress and then ask another question. I have already pointed out that some facts arc not to be fully understood because a finite mind cannot grasp the concept of an Infinite Being. This must be admitted now that I have at last proved that "something" to exist without a word to refute the proofs.
There has been no answer from my letter to Junior Atheist, no answer, that is. which is argument. He has simply asked another question.
|1.||Can it be proved that Christ founded the Christian religions?|
|2.||Can it be proved that Christ was God?|
The first question can only be answered—yes. No-one has yet attempted seriously to prove otherwise. There have been disputes concerning the content of the Christian Faith, but that is another question and one which can only be answered after it is proved that there is a God. Clearly the Christian religion started with Christ and His apostles.
The second question is not so simply answered. But Christ again and again, both in public and in private, asserted that He was God—Mark XIV 61-64: Matthew XXVI 63-66; Luke X 22; John X 30-33.
The First Answer
Now either He was God or He was not. If He was not God, then either Christ knew it and was a liar or did. not know it, did not realise it, and was therefore Insane.
There is no evidence from His life that He was a liar. There is no evidence that he was insane. The New Testament which records His life is one of the most thoroughly tested of all historical documents and neither that document nor any other contemporary writings support such a suggestion.
The Second Answer
Any reader of C. S. Lewis's book "Miracles" knows the importance of miracles to the proof of the Christian tradition. To disprove those miracles the New Testament must be proved unhistorical. Even Harnack admits its veracity and historicity.
How can those miracles, as far above man's natural powers in 1949 as then, be explained except by saying that Christ was the supernatural being able to suspend those laws of nature which govern human and material activity? Most evidentiary of His Divinity in spite of Dr. Barnes is His resurrection. [?]
1. Christ did die. The disciples, Jews and Romans were certain that He did. It was physically impossible for Him to live after being scourged and crucified. Had He not died but crawled from the tomb, would the impression on His disciples have been so great?
2. Christ then rose from the dead as a fact., He appeared suddenly and perfectly restored. So great was the impression on St. Paul, for example, that he mentions this miracle alone 21 times in his epistles. The evidence for this most profound miracle of them all is strong enough to convict any man if evidence of such a strength was used in a court of law.
The Great Objection
Could it not be that Christ was merely a superman?
Any unprejudiced person would. on the face of the facts of His life, be willing to concede that such a fact is improbable.
None of his sayings are substantially inconsistent with His being God. Nor any of His teachings, nor the sayings of His disciples. He explicitly said He was God and He nowhere explicitly said that He was not.
Point one—there is no inconsistency.
In fact His disciples who knew Him believed Him to be God, 700,000,000 Christians also believe it and numerous great philosophers advance reasons for it being so. There is no atheist philosopher whose genius can be compared with that of Aquinas and other philosophers who believe this fundamental doctrine include Neibuhr, Maritain, Augustine et alia.
Point two—it is believed by intelligent people.
It is also clear that Christ did not think so.
"I and My Father are one. (John 10.)
"As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20.)
But most important of His sayings making this belief of His clear is the answer to Caiphas. Having been put on His oath to testify, truly His reply was most convincing:
"I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us If Thou be the Christ, the Son of God ..." said Caiphas.
And Christ replied, "I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the Power of God and coming in the clouds of Heaven."
If this is a lie, then it is a monstrous He and there can be nothing to prove or suggest that it is one.
Point three—Christ made it clear, that He was.
Perhaps most astonishing of the proofs is the accuracy of the prophecies which foretold His coming.
Plutarch, Virgil and Cicero all refer to the expectation of His coming as an expectation common among nations. But the prophets are precise.
The 2lst Psalm and 53rd Chapter of Isaiah was written hundreds of years before Christ described His last days exactly.
In Genesis (MIX 10) we are told that He will appear when the Jews no longer enjoy self-government. Christ appeared when they were ruled by the Romans.
Daniel (IX 25) predicted the exact number of years between the edict to build Jerusalem and the coming of Christ.
The only possible solution to the problem of their accuracy and consistency is a Supreme Author who knew the future.
Point Four: The prophecies are consistent and accurate in their nature and certain that He is to be God.
There are other points which suggest that the Christiain Faith is sustained by God and not a fiction: the number of past and present mar-tyrs. the present vitality of the Church, the survival of an organisation through 2,000 years of persecution and the growing list of persons in all classes of society outstanding for their concern for the good of man.
If You Can't Argue—Shout!
This defence against reason, the defence of unproved abuse and insinuation is over-common in Salient. The argument was not concerned with the persecution by Christianity or to be more precise the alleged persecutions by Christians. In the last issue of Salient I quoted a statement concerning the problem of the Church and Fascism. I repeat that Communism, Fascism and Nazism were all condemned by the Church in that order of time. There is not need to repeat it. The acceptance of the Fascists |by| the Church is no; a fact and nothing Junior Atheist has said in any way proves me wrong.
I have previously queried his complaints about taboos. His answer is to pity my intelligence and a refusal to discuss the point. If there are any taboos they should be called rules, and rules exist in order to help man, not to prevent man from helping his fellow men. Since neither the taboos nor their effects have been set out by my over-assertive opponent how can I dispute them?
To commence an argument by admitting a proof and then to dismiss the proof as casuistry is the height of illogical stupidity and impertinence. But who knows? Some day even a Senior Atheist may reach the dizzy heights of casuistry; certainly it will be a long time before Junior Atheist arrives at the ABC of logic—the principles of causality.
The Proof of the Pudding
Junior Atheist has not bothered to argue this case rationally. He has questioned things that his finite mind cannot grasp. He has indulged in a great deal of evasion and wasteful, irrelevant criticism and some criticism which could be relevant if he had proved it. This he has consistently refused to bother to do.
In my opinion such a controversialist shouldk eep his thoughts to himself Instead of insulting Salient's readers. I do not suggest that he be compelled to keep them to himself, but if he asks for trouble he should be prepared to make an hon-est attempt to defend his ideas.
Therefore I challenge him to advance proofs for the theory of atheism. A refusal to fight the issue on rational grounds is an indictment of any Junior Atheist, Junior Theist or Junior Pieintheskyist.