Dialogue with Clamat (re: Jesus)

This dialogue began in the comment exchange for the post How many wrong beliefs did Jesus have? at Randal Rauser’s blog.  I’m picking up the dialogue at the point “clamat” made the following comment, to which I will respond one piece at a time:

clamat:  Staying calm doesn’t mean what one is saying is rational, any more than raising one’s voice means what one is saying is irrational.

Mike:  I agree.  I didn’t say otherwise.  I only pointed out that behavior can be unusual without being irrational, and that this was the case with Jesus.

clamat:  And I seem to recall that Jesus “cried out with a loud voice..My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me?” So apparently, by your reasoning, this loud “crying out,” i.e., failing to “stay quiet,” means he wasn’t rational.

Mike:  Not at all.  First, I was making the point that when Jesus was crucified He did not revile those who reviled Him, nor did He threaten those who were mistreating Him.  That was what made His behavior different from normal human behavior.  Generally speaking, therefore, He could be said to have “remained quiet” during His suffering, but that quietness is in relative terms.  I was not trying to make the point that He didn’t literally utter a single word.  That wouldn’t have proven anything, for people can quietly seethe when they’re feeling mistreated.  One of the few statements Jesus did make that fateful day, in addition to the one you mentioned, was “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Again, this may not be normative for humans in this position (antiquity does not report that victims of Roman crucifixion were prone to such utterances), but there’s nothing irrational about it if one believes that this life is not all there is.

clamat:  Giving a “rationale” for doing things doesn’t mean one is rational, it means one is rationalizing.

Mike:  That’s just not true.  A person who gives a rationale for his actions might be rationalizing, but he might be simply explaining why he did what he did.  The latter was the case with Jesus.

clamat:  The most evil people in the world give a “rationale” for their atrocities.

Mike:  Yes, some do.  And this demonstrates that they’re being rational.  They are, of course, not right.  Being rational doesn’t make you right; it just means you have reasons for doing what you do.

clamat:  You can’t honestly dispute that many, many people have made claims that, on their face, are qualitatively indistinguishable from those made by Jesus. Including many claims to actually be Jesus (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2010/05/jesus_jesus_jesus.html).

Mike: I acknowledged from the outset that a mere human being who says things like  “I am the way, the truth, and the life” and “You must love me more than the members of your family,” would rightly be considered irrational.  It was the basis of my point that Jesus was altogether unique in saying these things with good reason.

As for people thinking they are Jesus, I’ll add to your link by pointing out that the guy accused of shooting at the White House apparently said he was Jesus.  But that there are people who claim to be Jesus no more disproves the reality of Jesus than people claiming to be Napoleon disproves the historicity of Napoleon.

And if you think that the statements these sort of people make are “qualitatively indistinguishable” from those made by Jesus, then I have to question whether you are really a fair-minded person – unless you are completely divorcing their statements from their behavior, but then that’s an exercise with no practical value.

clamat:  I assume you think the Three Jesuses of Ypisilanti were delusional, despite the things they said. Why do you think Jesus of Nazareth was telling the Truth? It seems to be because Jesus of Nazareth was really “eloquent.”

Mike:  I know Jesus Christ tells the truth because my conscience bears me witness that it is the truth.  No one else speaks so directly and persuasively to the biggest problems of the human race, which are, unquestionably, sin and death.  I know that I have a sin problem and a death problem – and in that regard I am no different from any other human being.

I saw nothing in what the “Three Jesuses of Ypsilanti” were saying that touched on my life.  My heart, however, goes out to them for truly there are some tormented people in this world.  I am glad everyone is going to heaven, which means they even if they don’t find relief in this life they will surely find it in the next.

clamat:  But eloquence is entirely subjective. In the immortal words of the Dude, well, that’s just your opinion, man. It’s trite, but entirely accurate. Eloquence is in the ear of the listener.

Mike:  I could agree that eloquence is somewhat subjective, but not “entirely” subjective.  For if it were entirely subjective there would be so such thing as a survey-of-great-literature course in a university because all literature would be random and there could be no agreement about what distinguished good literature from bad.

clamat:  In my opinion, plenty of cult leaders have said things just as eloquent as the Sermon.

Mike:  Notwithstanding my example just above, I’m speaking more of moral eloquence than rhetorical or literary eloquence.

If you believe that “plenty of cult leaders” have said things just as eloquent as the Sermon on the Mount, then you have pretty low standards for eloquence.

clamat:  Prove my opinion is wrong. You can’t.

Mike:  Not to you, I agree.

clamat:  Similarly, I defeat your argument by simply offering my bald opinion that, oh, the Koran, say, is marked by far superior moral “beauty” and “clarity.” (again, eye of the beholder).

Mike:  I have to believe that you’re just saying that to be argumentative.  I can’t believe you really hold to it.

clamat:  Whether Jesus of Nazareth actually rose from the dead is a matter of some dispute, to make the understatement of the year. All the rest is just your own attempt at eloquence. Others would praise their personal heroes just as passionately, and in similar terms.

Mike:  No problem.  I’ll put my Hero up against theirs.

clamat:  On their face, Jesus’ claims to be “the way” (whatever that means), the “truth” (whatever that means) and the “life” (whatever that means) are just as likely to be the product of a sick mind as were those of Jim Jones. Or as conniving a mind as the Baghwan. Or as deluded a mind as Mohammed.

Mike:  If you cannot distinguish between the life and teachings of Jesus on the one hand, and the lives and teachings of the other three, then I have to conclude that you are not yet a morally serious person.

clamat:  That said, in my opinion, Jesus of Nazareth said some wonderful things, the Golden Rule being perhaps the best.  But Confucius and said it first.

Mike:  Ah, but Confucius didn’t say what Jesus said.  The golden rule as Jesus delivered it (see Matthew 22:34-40) was the second part of a two-part answer to the question “What is the greatest commandment in the Torah of Moses?”  I doubt if Confucius was even aware of the Torah or Moses.  However, since Confucius didn’t live until some one thousand years after Moses, I suppose it’s possible he could have have been a biblical exegete after all.

You are, of course, welcome to answer if you like.

6 Replies to “Dialogue with Clamat (re: Jesus)”

  1. Mike,

    I’m going to respond in both places this time, but since it started in Randal’s blog, that’s the one I’m going to follow from here out. I just don’t have time to keep up with two threads. Hope you understand.

    It was the basis of my point that Jesus was altogether unique in saying these things with good reason.

    In other words, Jesus’ claims to be divine were unique because only Jesus was divine. Sort of assumes the conclusion in a big way

    But that there are people who claim to be Jesus no more disproves the reality of Jesus than people claiming to be Napoleon disproves the historicity of Napoleon.

    I wasn’t trying to disprove the “reality of Jesus.” It’s not possible to disprove Jesus’ divinity. Which is why theists tend to insist on it.

    My point is that you can’t prove that people who claim to be Jesus are not Jesus. But it’s highly unlikely they are. It’s far, far, far more likely they’re crazy or lying, for whatever purpose, good or ill. I can’t prove that Jesus wasn’t what he claimed to be (assuming the words ascribed to him by latter-day authors are accurate). But given the wealth of sick or dishonest or deluded people who make similar claims, it’s highly unlikely. It’s far, far, far, more likely he was crazy, or lying. That his purpose was laudable doesn’t make his claims any more true.

    I know Jesus Christ tells the truth because my conscience bears me witness that it is the truth.

    As is so common with believers. Your inner witness isn’t exactly objective evidence, now is it?

    More importantly, your conscience confirms Jesus was telling the truth. Precisely. If Jesus’ words did not comport with your conscience, you wouldn’t endorse them. In other words, Jesus must agree with you, not you with him. That’s not a criticism, it’s just observing the truth that people choose their gods, not the other way around.

    [Me:] Prove my opinion is wrong. You can’t.
    Mike: Not to you, I agree.

    This suggests you can “prove” it to others. I’ll just point out that “proof” does not mean “persuades the most people.” Just because Obama was elected doesn’t “prove” he was the “best” candidate.

    I have to believe that you’re just saying that to be argumentative. I can’t believe you really hold to it.

    No, I don’t. But a billion people do. Can you prove them wrong without resorting to the subjective confirmation of your conscience? Personally, my vote for best moral statement – where clarity, consistency, and brevity weigh more heavily than “beauty” – is the one at the end of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.

    I doubt if Confucius was even aware of the Torah or Moses.

    Or Jesus. So what need of Moses, Jesus, or Christianity?

  2. In other words, Jesus’ claims to be divine were unique because only Jesus was divine. Sort of assumes the conclusion in a big way.

    Jesus didn’t explicitly claim to be divine.  He explicitly claimed to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of Messiah.  That is in no way “assuming the conclusion.”   On the contrary, one may examine His life, death, and resurrection and make a decision about whether or not they match was the Old Testament was prophesying.  As they heard the apostles preach, listeners were going through this comparison process throughout the book of Acts.  Some concluded that He was the scriptural fulfillment of the expected Messiah; some refused to believe.  It’s the same way today.

    I wasn’t trying to disprove the “reality of Jesus.” It’s not possible to disprove Jesus’ divinity. Which is why theists tend to insist on it.

    I can’t speak for all theists.  For one thing, not all of them profess faith in Jesus.  What I can say is that when I examine Jesus’ claims I can only conclude one of two things (because they are mutually exclusive):  He was either telling the truth or He was not.  I see ample evidence that He was, and to say that He was not requires evidence I cannot find.

    My point is that you can’t prove that people who claim to be Jesus are not Jesus. But it’s highly unlikely they are. It’s far, far, far more likely they’re crazy or lying, for whatever purpose, good or ill. I can’t prove that Jesus wasn’t what he claimed to be (assuming the words ascribed to him by latter-day authors are accurate). But given the wealth of sick or dishonest or deluded people who make similar claims, it’s highly unlikely. It’s far, far, far, more likely he was crazy, or lying. That his purpose was laudable doesn’t make his claims any more true.

    That His purpose was laudable might not make His claims any more true, but it does provide reason that we should pay more attention to them than we do the White House Shooter or the Three Jesuses from Ypsilanti.

    As is so common with believers. Your inner witness isn’t exactly objective evidence, now is it?

    No, but everyone has a conscience and therefore everyone has the same ability to examine the evidence.

    More importantly, your conscience confirms Jesus was telling the truth. Precisely. If Jesus’ words did not comport with your conscience, you wouldn’t endorse them. In other words, Jesus must agree with you, not you with him. That’s not a criticism, it’s just observing the truth that people choose their gods, not the other way around.

    You speak of conscience as if its content is static.  Jesus elevates my conscience because He sensitizes me to issues to which I was previously oblivious.  Thus when I began reading the Bible in my late 20’s, it wasn’t that what I read about Him agreed with my conscience.  Rather, it was that I became conscience stricken in realizing how inadequate my conscience had been.  I had been setting the bar much too low for myself (and too high for others, I should add).

    This suggests you can “prove” it to others. I’ll just point out that “proof” does not mean “persuades the most people.” Just because Obama was elected doesn’t “prove” he was the “best” candidate.

    I was only suggesting that you don’t seem open-minded on the subject.  Therefore, no one could prove to you that Jesus was who He said He was as long as you are in this state.

    No, I don’t. But a billion people do. Can you prove them wrong without resorting to the subjective confirmation of your conscience?

    I stated the importance of conscience in deciding about the claims of Jesus, but I did not say it was all that mattered.  Facts matter, too.  My conscience is examining the facts set before me: specifically, that we have documents from antiquity which foretell a great person and great events (what we collectively call the Old Testament) and other documents which demonstrate that there was actually someone who fulfilled those predictions (what we collectively call the New Testament).  The document praised by those billion people you mention, while throwing some faint praise toward the Bible, basically ignores its central themes and exalts someone whose lifestyle and deeds fall far short of that which we see in Jesus.  Thus its not just my conscience (or even the consciences of millions of others) that distinguishes the Bible and Jesus from the Quran and Muhammad – it’s the facts of history.

    To revisit conscience for a moment, however, I would to God that some of those billion followers of Muhammad and the Quran would spend some more time paying attention to their conscience instead of just their religion so that they would stop trying to kill innocent people in the name of God.

    Personally, my vote for best moral statement – where clarity, consistency, and brevity weigh more heavily than “beauty” – is the one at the end of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.

    I don’t know the work well enough to identify the statement to which you refer.  I think Monty Python can be riotously funny (“It’s only a flesh wound”) but I can’t get serious about trusting them with matters of life and death.

    Or Jesus. So what need of Moses, Jesus, or Christianity?

    I’ve never heard that Confucius has a solution to sin and death.

  3. clamat responded to me again at the Randal Rauser blog post.  I’ve reproduced that response, as well as my response to him, below:

    So you do not dispute that Confucius developed a profound moral teaching – perhaps the single most profound moral teaching – completely independent of Jesus, et al. There are many other examples, from many other traditions, which demonstrate that it’s simply not necessary to come to Jesus to be moral.

    Jesus was the manifestation of God as a human being.  Every human being has a conscience, and that conscience comes from God.  Through his conscience, a human being can think morally.  He can even develop teachings about morality, as Confucius did and others have done.  Confucius did it independent of the knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth, but with the conscience God (i.e. Jesus) had provided him.  However, a person who thinks morally will have his conscience – at whatever level it currently exists – upgraded when he studies Jesus of Nazareth.

    And morality alone should solve for “sin.” (Whatever “sin” might mean, exactly. As far as I’m concerned, pride, lust and covetousness cannot be sins under any reasonable conception of the word. It is unjust to convict people of thought crimes. If you can demonstrate covetousness is a sin without resort to the simple, simplistic mandates of the Bible, I’ll listen.)

    Morality could solve for sin…but obviously it doesn’t, as anyone who’s tried it knows.

    As for covetousness, it is first of all a sin against oneself wherein you rob yourself of the contentment and joy you would otherwise have over what is your own.  Simultaneously, it robs your neighbor of the love you should having for him, for if you love someone you will be happy that he has what he has.

    As for “solving death.” Unless there are bulletins from the afterlife I’m unaware of, you’ve got exactly zero evidence that Jesus solved for death beyond a few scant pages of pleasant poetry in a single ancient book.

    The New Testament is more than poetry and more than a few pages.  It is extensive testimony soaked in the blood of those who would not lie or keep quiet about what they saw and heard.  The truth about Jesus and His resurrection – and what it meant for others as well as themselves – was dearer to them than their own lives.  You can reject this evidence if you like, but you can’t honestly say it’s “zero evidence.”

    My uncle Frank solved for death and sin. How do I know? He said so, according to a book written by a guy who knew his best friend. Plus the book (written by the guy who knew Frank’s best friend) says Frank was a really good guy. Frank obviously solved for death and sin. What other possible explanation can there be for Frank’s life and what he said? According to a book. Written by people who didn’t know him. And then translated, edited, and elided multiple times. Resulting in institutions that have afforded their leaders enormous power, even over one’s soul, for thousands of years.

    Your “Uncle Frank” story is too contorted to follow.  However, I can assure you that the New Testament does not authorize any institution.  Leaders who say otherwise are misleading you about Jesus.  He is Spirit.  You can relate to Him…directly…now…everywhere…and always.  You do not need church.

    I humbly submit you are not exercising your powers of conception to their fullest.

    The limitation lies not in my conception but in your perception.  You do not understand the story of Jesus if you think it could have been fabricated.  Find me another life like it – oh, and make sure the biography of it was written well in advance over a thousand-year period by dozens of collaborators, most of whom never had contact with each other much less the subject – and I will concede that I have failed to exercise my imagination sufficiently.

    All the best,

    All the best to you as well.  And Jesus Christ is where you will find it.

  4. clamat responded again at Randal Rauser’s blog post, so here is my response to that:

    Too contorted? It’s a short paragraph comprised of ten sentences written in plain, modern English. No complex grammar or unusual syntax, no SAT words, no references to esoteric philosophical concepts or obscure histories. The paragraph distills the Jesus/Bible story you have told above, substituting the name “Frank” for “Jesus” and the word “book” for “Bible.” I find it hard to believe this very simple passage is too “contorted” or that the analogy was lost on you.

    If “Frank” substitutes for “Jesus” and “book” substitutes for “Bible,” then the contortions include the reference to “Uncle” (which I suppose now carries no meaning), the assumption that the New Testament was not produced by eyewitnesses (which contradicts the New Testament itself), and the omission of the Old Testament (which was the set of documents to which the New Testament writers were constantly referring as documentation for their claims – not the New Testament).

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. Are you referring to (1) the New Testament or (2) to the Old Testament “prophecies” of the messiah?

    The latter.  Therefore, only your answer (2) below is relevant.  But some of the incidental things you say in (1) deserve a response for their own sake so I’ll comment on them, too.

    If (1):

    It seems to prove my point pretty clearly. The question is whether the Bible is an accurate, reliable account of the life of a real person. If we were discussing any other book, surely you’d conclude the fact that it was written by dozens of people who didn’t have contact with each other or the subject they were writing about makes it far less likely to be accurate.

    Yes, of course,  That’s the very point I’m making.  Such circumstances would make it all the more difficult to get the story right.  The fact that they did get it right – and that they got it right before He ever lived – is what points to God’s hand being in it.  Note carefully that I was speaking of the Old Testament.  

    As for the New Testament, it was largely written by people who knew Jesus firsthand.  The rest was written by contemporaries and colleagues of those eyewitnesses.  There is no mystery that their stories would have been consistent.

    But because you’re start from an unshakable commitment to the truth of the Bible you must convince yourself that these weaknesses are somehow strengths when it comes to your chosen Book.

    Actually, I started reading the Bible in my late 20’s with no such conviction at all.  It was only serious reading and study of the texts that lead me to that conviction.  Faith was not something I packed for my journey; it was a destination to which my journey took me.  I wasn’t looking for faith, I was looking for truth.  Once I found truth, there was something to have faith in.

    Many books describe many lives, some just as fanciful and fantastic as that of the Biblical Jesus. Many people think the lives described in their chosen Book are just as exemplary as the ones described in yours. Muslims, the Koran, and Mohammed being just one example. Why should I believe you over them?

    Do you really think the life of Muhammad approached the life of Christ?  Muhammad was a man of bloodshed; the only blood shed by Christ was His own.  Muhammad amassed political power; Jesus eschewed it.  Muhammad accumulated wealth; Jesus gave away everything He had.  I could go on.  To suggest that Muhammad’s life was like that of Christ is frivilous.

    Your contention that the Jesus story told by the Bible is true is based entirely on your inability to imagine that anybody could have made it up or gotten it wrong. Your lack of imagination is not an argument. Or, more accurately, it’s an argument from incredulity. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s an argument from credulity.

    My argument is like the argument that says “Astronauts probably did land on the moon because it’s impossible for me to conceive that something of that scope involving that many people over that period of time could have been faked.”  I wasn’t on the moon when it happened; I wasn’t at Mission Control in Houston.  I cannot know from direct experience; I have to make a decision based on the data to which I have access.  Based on that data, I cannot deny the moon landing.  In the same way, I cannot deny the story of Jesus.

    If (2):

    Suffice it to say the Old Testament prophesied the birth of Jesus of Nazareth just as clearly and specifically as Nostradamus did the death of Henry II. (And just as trustworthily, given a thousand years of selective translation and editing.)

    I’ll start with your last point.  There are more extant copies of the Old and New Testaments than there are of any other documents from antiquity.  The process of sifting through and comparing them has led inexorably toward one ideal: to determine as precisely as possible what the originals said.  This process therefore leads in the exact opposite direction in which you are pointing.  That is, you want to suggest that time and process has allowed the editing and shaping of the documents when the reality is that time and process have worked against anyone who wants to edit and shape the texts.  Compare any two Bibles you can buy at a bookstore: they will only diverge in details, never on substantive and recurring themes.

    The Old Testament prophesied much, much more about the Messiah than His birth.  If you read a translation of the New Testament that shows its quotations of the Old Testament in distinctive print, then you will see how the Old Testament referred to Christ over and over and over -pulling from a variety of Old Testament books.

    I have never studied Nostradamus so I do not know what prophecy he may have made that some may or may not consider to have applied to Henry II.  I can tell you, however, that Nostradamus was one guy and this is a very important part of the point I am making to you about the Old Testament: It was not one person who prophesied about Christ, it was many.  It is the combined testimony of all these men of God which becomes so powerful.  It is the expectation that, being at such a distance from each other as well as Him, they could not be in agreement about His life that makes it so unique that they are.

    The core contents of the Old Testament have been known since the time of Christ, and there has been no serious dispute about this issue since.  That each book in many and varied ways testifies to the coming reality of a great Messiah is what lends an authenticity to Jesus not enjoyed by any other figure, whether in antiquity or modernity.

  5. clamat responded again and here’s my response to him:

    You can have no idea that the authors of the New Testament “got the story right” unless the story can be confirmed against something independent of the New Testament.

    You speak as if the New Testament were a single document written by a single person or group at a single point in time in a single room.  The reality is that it is a file drawer into which depositions from a long list of various witnesses – geographically and chronologically dispersed – have been placed.  The testimonies of these various witnesses corroborate each other and provide a solid case.  You’re like the juror who will never convict because he always wants one more witness than there is.  The New Testament is a file of hundreds of witnesses.  It’s more than enough for a conviction.

    Referring to the prophecies of the Old Testament doesn’t get you anywhere because the authors of the New Testament could have simply written the new story to line up with those prophecies.  (To the extent the New Testament actually does line up with the Old. Again, I think people who believe the OT prophecies tell of Jesus are reading through the pleasant haze of rose-colored glasses.)

    Again, you remind me of the juror unwilling under any circumstances to convict.  You are here contradicting yourself in order to make sure you don’t convict.  That is, you are saying that any correlation between the testaments was fabricated by those who wrote the New Testament, but that there really is not a correlation.  Commit to one position or the other because they certainly cannot both be true.  You’re not committed to either position – you’re only committed to not giving a conviction.

    As for your claim that multiple, contemporaneous eyewitnesses wrote the New Testament, the weight of Biblical scholarship, produced by both theists and non-, is squarely against you.  This is certainly true of the Gospels.

    Your view of “the weight of Biblical scholarship” is selective and prejudiced.  There are plenty of scholars whose work confirms the reliability of the New Testament documents including the gospels.

    Shall we actually number the scholars on each side and then compare the tally?  Or shall we simply be more reasonable and acknowledge that truth is not determined by majority vote?

    Even if we grant certain of the Pauline epistles (the originals are gone, and analysis of the text and external references leads many to question whether about half of them were actually written by Paul), this is <i><b>one</i></b> contemporaneous author, not many authors telling consistent stories.

    You demonstrate a greater familiarity with criticisms of the Bible than you do with the Bible itself.  Paul’s letters were written to various groups spread across the Mediterranean shore over a period of years, if not decades.  Most of these cities he visited and so the people knew him face to face.  In these letters he made reference to other apostles (and they made reference to him).  These independent groups corroborated Paul and his story to each other – as well as that of other apostles.  The letters are extraordinary evidence of a geographically-dispersed movement of people whose common bond was knowledge of the fact that a contemporary itinerant Jewish rabbi had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of Messiah.  To say that Paul’s letters represent only one contemporaneous witness is to reveal a gross, and perhaps wanton, ignorance of their contents and their provenance.

    I stand by my charge:  You are fully committed to the truth of the Bible

    Yes I am.  However, it was not an a priori commitment.  My reading and my reason led me to it.

    (to the extent it comports with your own personal values

    I assure you that the values of God as revealed in the Bible are an ideal for which I am still striving.  It was the beauty of His morality that caused me to realize how insufficient mine was.

    – “Man, being a gentleman, returned the favor”).

    If you approached all literature with the same cynicism you apply to the Bible – that is, as a juror unwilling to convict – you’d probably be unwilling to accept that Rousseau actually said this.

    It makes no difference that you came to Christ later in life.

    I’ve begun to see that nothing makes a difference to you.  Your commitment is to denial of Christ.  You welcome any philosophical or historical position that supports that commitment.

    I can’t know the circumstances or psychology that may have influenced your conversion.  At this point, I doubt you can, either.  What is clear to me is that <i><b>now</i></b> you are more committed to commitment than to critical thinking, and thus your faith is impervious.

    You are projecting your position on to me.  It is you who are more committed to denial than to critical thinking.  I know that it was critical thinking that led to my conviction about Jesus Christ.  And that it is critical thinking that keeps me convicted about Him.

    Everyone believes.  It’s just a question of who and what we believe.  For you it’s Rousseau; for me it’s Jesus Christ.

    This I know: you will eventually acknowledge Christ and will do so willingly.  The sooner that happens, the better for you and those you love.

    Which is why you genuinely believe – and I have no doubt your Belief is genuine – that the evidence for the Moon landing and the evidence for Jesus Christ are equivalent.

    If you truly were a critical thinker – and not just a critic – you would know the validity of the comparison.  Until then, you are avoiding the facts and simply taking comfort in the number of people who surround you at the moon landing conspiracy conventions.

    Sincerely, and until we spar again!

    In the meantime, I encourage you to spar with Christ – He is a far more worthy opponent for you.  Moreover, when He defeats you, you will be glad He was stronger.  Just ask Jacob.

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