Skip to comments.Atheist Taunts Christians With ‘Easter Challenge’
Posted on 03/31/2013 11:46:55 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
Norman Barker performed a duet with Judy Garland in the 1948 film Easter Parade. His son, Dan, became a pastor, before falling away from his Christian faith in 1984.
In 1990, Dan Barker, by then a devout atheist, published an essay, which he titled An Easter Challenge For Christians. And he has reissued his transparent attack on Easter every year since then.
This year, his challenge appears on a blog hosted by the so-called Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist hate group, based in Madison, Wisconsin, for which Barker and his wife serve as co-presidents.
In his anti-Easter essay, Barker writes, My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly what happened on the day their most important doctrine was born.
The atheist suggests that, since he first issued his challenge nearly a quarter-century ago, only an Assemblies of God pastor and Lutheran grad has ever taken him up on it. And neither ultimately got back to him.
But heres the rest of the story that Barker, the deceiver, conveniently ignores: His challenge is not straightforward. Indeed, The important condition of the challenge, he writes, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted.
Of course, such trickeration is to be expected from those who shake their fists at God; who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ; who disbelieve that He conquered the grave.
Barker seeks to cast doubt upon the Easter story by deconstructing every jot and tittle of the four Gospel accounts of the Easter story, as well as the briefer accounts that appear in the book of Acts and I Corinthians.
He maintains that any putative discrepancy in the Biblical accounts, any apparent inconsistency in Biblical detail (however small, like the matter of whether visitors to Christs empty tomb on Easter morning saw one angel or two), is prima facie evidence that the resurrection was a fiction.
But thats an absurd proposition. Sure there are discrepancies in the Gospel accounts. But no more than those to be found in reading the various biographies of, say, Abraham Lincoln. Does Barker question whether Lincoln truly served as president of the United States?
And while the atheist makes the case that the Gospel accounts of Easter were ahistoric, they actually were corroborated by the first century Roman-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.
In the Testimonium Flavianum, Josephus writes about Jesus, a wise man who was a doer of wonderful works. He attests that Jesus was condemned to the cross and that he appeared alive again the third day.
Barker can dispute Josephus historic account of the Easter story, as he questions the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But there is no dispute, no question that something miraculous happened on the first Easter Sunday.
For the frightened disciples who abandoned Jesus on the night he was arrested, who hid themselves away when he was crucified, were suddenly emboldened three days after Christs death.
In His name, they set out to make disciples of all nations. And it is no coincidence that, two thousand years later, Christianity is the worlds dominant faith.
I read the Bible through from cover to cover four times during my sophomore year in college for the explicit purpose of finding scientific contradictions in it. By that, I mean statements in the Bible that were false that I could throw back at her to show her how ridiculous it was to believe in God. I had even decided to write a book called: All the Stupidity of the Bible. Something amazing happened as I did this. As I considered and thought about these things, I found that I could not find a contradiction to find some kind of scientific inaccuracy in the Bible. I just simply was not able to do it. I gave up writing the book because of lack of material!
If you start out with the premise that every word of the bible is the absolute "gospel truth", then any discrepancy must mean that it is all questionable. If you are to stick to your initial premise.
However, if you believe that the popular method of teaching of the time was by allegory, then it all makes more sense.
I’ll bet Dan Parker’s birth certificate actually says “Daniel,” so since there are two different accounts as to who he actually is, I’m going to assert he really doesn’t exist at all.
He is risen indeed. Our Church was packed today. Nice to see new members.
I pray this guy and his wife get to know Jesus before he denies knowing them. That would be hell for sure.
Baker’s response would probably include: “because billions are caught up in a “lie” and want to “educate” them”.
There’s nothing to discuss but, I have good news:
Jesus Loves You.
So after twenty five years no one has sufficiently answered his rigged challenge and Christians are supposed to take this seriously.
Who gives a rats rear end?
I’ve got friends contemplating becoming atheist who taunt me.
I laugh and tell them “The fact that you are questioning God is healthy and is a sign he is working in your life”.
Many of them ARE homosexuals. He is risen. Glory be to Him. This man can rot in his own disbelief.
Barker seeks to cast doubt upon the Easter story by deconstructing every jot and tittle of the four Gospel accounts of the Easter story, as well as the briefer accounts that appear in the book of Acts and I Corinthians. He maintains that any putative discrepancy in the Biblical accounts, any apparent inconsistency in Biblical detail (however small, like the matter of whether visitors to Christs empty tomb on Easter morning saw one angel or two), is prima facie evidence that the resurrection was a fiction.
Mr. Barker apparently subscribes to (or takes advantage of) the Fundamentalist view that the Bible is "written by God" and is a perfect recital. I've studied the reports written by Bible scholars about the accuracy of the translations of the various "editions" of the Bible, particularly when traced back to the source. Leavened by spending a few decades with a technical translator (of modern languages) I've learned how meaning-based translation of the source can be impaired by culture chasms, not to mention intentional mistranslations by interested parties to posit a particular slant.
Culture differences: if your vocabulary didn't include a method for describing very large numbers, you might have a problem describing events that happen in what now we believe to be "geological" time.
Mistranslation: One glaring example, footnoted in the Revised Standard Bible, is the phrase "suffer not a poisoner to live." Consider how that was mistranslated for centuries. Indeed, there are some scholars who want to exchange main text and footnote, as the more accurate.
But there is another, more glaring problem with the challenge. Eyewitness testimony is very, very unreliable, even when the most well-intentioned people try to describe what they saw. Indeed, detectives reportedly distrust eyewitness testimony that does not have discrepancies, because different people focus on different things. Also, people in different places physically will see different "slices" of the activity, so the reports will vary just because of viewing perspective.
So the challenge depends on a known axiom of evidence interpretation to discredit the basic story falsely. If Mr. Barker were honest, he would take the stories and determine if they deviate in significant ways, not trivial ways.
(These questions are what makes comparative theology so interesting to me.)
Ever wonder why after 2000+ years multitudes of people throughout world history vividly still worship and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah? No other ‘spiritual figure’ receives a close 2nd place. Only absolute, eternal truth can resonate down through the ages as the story of Jesus the risen messiah. So called atheists just deny the truth but they cannot ignore it as a neutral bit of data.
Thank you for the thoughtful responses and many good points to consider.
IMO, your sister’s question indicates a “Look at me! Aren’t I edgy and shocking?” mentality. I’ve seen that sort of thing from people who wear their homosexuality on their sleeves, as well.
Lets pray that your sister has a bad nightmare or scary experience (without harm) that scares the he[[ right out of her and for good. Sometimes I go to You Tube and visit stories of people who had NDE of he[[ and then it drove them straight to Jesus.
Another so called atheist devoting their life to religion.
I don’t believe in astrology, but I can’t imagine devoting myself to a life of debunking it.
Sounds more like they are mad at God than true atheists.
I pray almost daily for my atheist son who was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. Eternal hell is a long time for regrets.
Yes but not everyone has an identical view of events. Some are second hand accounts.
And omissions of certain details that others report doesn’t mean it’s false. If anything different accounts shows the accounts are genuine. It’s what you expect if you interview people witnessing something from their vantage points. Some may say things others cannot. That doesn’t make the accounts false because they all don’t have all the same things mentioned.
Further there are no points in any of the accounts that contradict another. This would be an obvious source atheists would have jumped on immediately as “proof” of it being a false account. Since all the accounts never have a point of conflict, they’ve had to go on this fishing expedition of saying that if all the acounts aren’t identical and they’re false because they all don’t mention the same things they must be false. that isn’t how it works.
The accounts are true, they agree with each other where their evidence overlaps. They are absolutely true. True doesn’t mean 4 authors across time and some writing the account not from firsthand knowledge, are not going to have identical accounts. They all agree where they speak of the same particulars. Not speaking of every single detail doesn’t somehow “make it false”. that isn’t a logical premise in the first place.
If I discuss an event I see, and describe the event, and someone else was there and describes the event, and adds in what the weather conditions at the event were like that day, and I didn’t, that doesn’t affect the truth in my statements or the other persons. If another witness who knew someone in the event describes the event, and adds in some information about one of the participants maybe we don’t know, that doesn’t make my statements false, or cast doubt on our descriptions of the event.
What would cast doubt is if my description of the events are way different than what others describe. If I say events went a, b, c but other writers have different orders, then you could point to error somewhere.
All accounts that agree on what they describe, but that they may not describe things with all the same particulars (ie some omit certain things because of one reason or another) just shows accounts from different people of the same event do agree. You can’t say they’re false because they aren’t exact duplicates of their accounts.
Why have four gospels if they are all identical? You never in real life get two witnesses to anything giving an identical account of an event. If anything this would prove the genuineness of the accounts.
Sounds like something right out of Seinfeld:
I Corinthians 15:6 ....” He appeared to more than 500 people, most of whom are still living” .... So how many eye witnesses are required in any court of law? 500+ should probably do it