As silly as it sounds there are actually liberal and moderate Christians who claim that the scientific method led them to Jesus Christ. In fact, a Christian said this very thing to me just the other day. So I had to do what any self-respecting atheist would do. I called him out on it:
“What experiments have been done which suggest that 1. There is a god. 2. It is the Abrahamic God. 3. That God had a child from a virgin. 4. That child sacrificed himself for the vicarious sins of others. etc.?”
I could have course gone on and on with other questions too, but I thought those four would be sufficient. As it turns out, this Christian didn’t answer any of them. Instead he ignored the issue entirely and sidestepped the argument to whether or not there was a “historical Jesus.”
He then followed that up with the old, “There is more evidence for Jesus then there is for Plato, Alexander the Great, or Julius Caesar.” This is of course a ridiculous argument especially since he used people who we actually have a great deal of evidence for their existence. He could have used Socrates and might have had a slight case, but he instead chose three people who are pretty well established by actual evidence.
Plato built a school. Alexander built a city. Caesar ruled the Roman Empire. We have many contemporary accounts of each of them from both supporters and critics. Jesus on the other hand built nothing, wrote nothing, and had no contemporary accounts outside the Gospel of Mark. Despite his alleged fame mentioned in the Bible and the claims of massive earthquakes and zombies at his death, not one contemporary writer mentioned him or any of those events.
But all that doesn’t actually address the main issue. The claim wasn’t really about the “historical Jesus,” it was about “Jesus Christ.” It is pretty much common knowledge that even if a historical Jesus existed, his last name was not Christ. The Christ is a title, not a proper name. It is a title which refers to a messiah.
The fact is that there are scientific experiments that lead to Jesus Christ. There are no scientific experiments that lead to Christianity or any other religious belief. That is why religious beliefs are not scientific facts. If religious believers could prove their respective religions, they would have done so for all to see. Instead, they rely on indoctrination, poor arguments, and taking advantage of people when they are most vulnerable.
At some point down the line, we have to make a choice between science and faith. When it comes to deities and supernatural claims, religious believers, no matter how liberal or moderate they claim to be, will have to reject the scientific method in order to hold onto their faith. They may embrace science most of the time, but they cannot apply the scientific method to their religious beliefs without fear of losing those religious beliefs.
Stephen Hawking put it best when he said, “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”
- Atheism 101: The Jesus Myth (examiner.com)
- Getting To The 24th Century (skepticink.com)
- Transformers Gets Hijacked By Christians (skepticink.com)
- Religious/Secular Misconceptions (skepticink.com)
- If Christianity Isn’t a Religion, Churches Should Pay Taxes! (skepticink.com)
- A Case Against Missionaries (skepticink.com)