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If Jesus Were Proven to be Son of God / God Incarnate, Would Atheists Become Christians?
Baptism of the Christ
if Jesus were Proven to be Son of God / God Incarnate, Would Atheists Become Christians - Or Would They Still Reject Him?
This question was posed in the HubPages forum, but I feel that it is not quite as straightforward as it, at first, seems.
We are being encouraged to wonder about proof that Jesus was 'Son of God' / 'God Incarnate', when we don't even have absolute proof that Jesus ever really existed. Some scholars believe that he did, but others think that he was a mythical deity, in the tradition of other heavenly heroes.
Furthermore, we are wondering about Jesus being the 'Son of God', when we don't even have proof that God exists.
So we would need something truly fantastic to happen, that would prove the existence of God, and the existence of Jesus, together with proof of a father-son relationship between the two ~ even though they are both actually the same superbeing ~ beyond all doubt, before many of us could start accepting this as truth.
It would be hard to provide convincing proof, since modern illusionists can perform apparent miracles before our very eyes. What might constitute absolute proof? ~ I cannot imagine.
So we shall just have to assume that something amazing might happen, which would be convincing to atheists, agnostics, members of other religions and various other doubters.
Presumably, we would all be expected to accept that the devil and hell were real, too?
* * *
(I have written an article, for Hub Pages, concerning the question of whether Jesus was a real historical person. His existence in history, though, even if proven, does not confirm that he was divine. The link is below: 'Jesus Christ or Julius Caesar ~ Who is More Likely to Have Been a Real Person?')
Of course Doubters Would Believe - Wouldn't They?
OK. Now that all doubters have, somehow, become convinced that Jesus really is Son of God and / or God Incarnate, are they going to become Christians ~ disciples of Jesus, who accept him as their saviour?
I used to wonder about this, and I used to be convinced that ~ yes, they would.
After all, why wouldn't they?
Christianity is about following socially acceptable rules and about caring for our fellow man ~ 'love one another' and 'love thy neighbour', as Jesus said.
Of course we should love one another, and respect our parents, and refrain from murdering, etc, etc. The Christian ethic is a wonderful thing.
Of course, if everyone knew that Jesus was our Heavenly Redeemer, then everyone would love him, praise him and follow him ~ wouldn't they?
Well, again, I don't think that it is quite as simple as this.
"I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth"
Something to Think About
If Jesus were to be proven as Son of God / God Incarnate, then are we talking about an abstract idea of God, who we don't really know anything about, or are we talking about 'God', as described in the Old Testament?
Since our only evidence of Jesus, and of the God of whom he was begotten, is in the two testaments of the Bible, then I would suggest the latter. Indeed, Jesus is reported as indicating that he accepted the Hebrew Scriptures:
Matthew 5:17 ~ King James Version:
Jesus: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
In stating that he came to fulfil Old Testament law and prophecy, Jesus was clearly accepting the Old Testament; and, if he is 'Son of God', then, we must assume that he is son of the O.T. God.
In other words, we are talking about Jesus being an incarnation of, and / or the son of, the being who ordered the slaying of various innocents, including the infants of the people of Amalek, and numerous other babies! We are talking about the God, who had sport with the devil, over torturing poor Job.
If he is that God, then he must have done those things.
In the Old testament, God ordered, or condoned, some terrible suffering.
Did 'Creation' not work out as hoped? ~ Drown everyone! [Genesis 7:4]
Are your sons cheeky? ~ Have them stoned to death! [Deuteronomy 21:18-21]
Do you think that your daughter may not have been a virgin at marriage? ~ Have her stoned to death! [Deuteronomy 22:13-21]
Don't follow this particular God? ~ Have your whole family slaughtered. [1 Samuel 15:2-3]
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother ... then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place.
And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard'. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, until he is dead ...
The 'Ten Commandments' can be found in Exodus 20:2-17. Numbers 6 to 10 concern moral behaviour, but 1 to 4 concern behaviour towards God.
Rightly or wrongly, the impression received is that priority should be given to praising God over not murdering people ~ because God declares himself to be 'a jealous God'. This is worrying.
Here is the King James version of these verses:
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
No Other Gods!
If any man takes a wife and ... speaks against her, .... saying, I took this woman, and ... found her to be not a virgin: then the father and mother of the damsel, shall bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity, to the city elders, at the gate, and the city elders shall chastise that man.
But, if it is true, and the tokens of virginity are not found for the damsel, then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones until she is dead.
Conclusions from the Ten Commandments
God wants us to praise him, to put him first, to put him before our families, to put praising him before worrying about not murdering, etc, etc.
If we do not behave accordingly, then we might (deserve to be) drowned, split apart by the sword, suffer fire and brimstone, be turned to salt, be stoned to death, suffer eternal torment in hell, etc.
And all this, because God becomes jealous?!
1 Samuel 15:2-3
Thus saith the Lord of hosts;
'I remember what Amalek did to Israel, how he laid in wait for him, when he came up from Egypt.
'Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'
Admittedly, when God supposedly became Jesus (or when part of God did, since, confusingly, he still also seemed to be up in heaven) he did say 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'.
Jesus doesn't quite seem to be fulfilling old testament law, here, but it seems that there was a New Covenant ~ a New God for a New Covenant.
So, was Jesus supposed to be the same God or a different God? Is this really monotheism? And did this 'new God' always do things morally right?
He wanted us all to turn the other cheek, love one another ~ including our enemies, etc, etc. And yet ...
According to the Bible, Jesus called families away from their parents and he shunned his own relatives. This doesn't feel right! What about honouring thy father and mother?!
There is something else worrying about the New Testament ~ or, at least, about some Christian interpretation thereof.
While it was no longer quite so fightening to be accused of adultery, it came to be considered very bad indeed not to be a follower of Jesus.
Many Christians preach that it is a case of accepting Jesus, or suffering eternal hellfire. They seem to think that this is what Jesus said.
Hell! Not 'sheol' as in the old testament ~ not 'the grave', but a place of eternal suffering and torment.
Apparently, it is not a matter of being a good person or a bad person ~ it is purely about accepting Jesus, as one's saviour ~ on faith.
I have read articles, by other Christians, saying that this is all a misunderstanding, and that Jesus does not actually condemn people to rot eternally in hell for this reason. That is reassuring.
So, the important question is this:
If Jesus were to be proven true, would he, or would he not, expect us to follow him ~and, if someone, who was a perfectly moral individual, chose not to, would he condemn that person to suffer and burn in eternal hellfire? This needs to be clarified, because a lot would depend upon it.
Murderer or Doubter - Which is Worse?
It is one thing to punish people for murder, rape, child abuse, etc; it is another to condemn them, simply for not worshipping, obeying or following God in heaven, or God incarnate ~ while rewarding those who believe, on the basis of blind faith!
It is like saying; 'I love you and will care for you and reward you, as long as you love me, praise me and obey me; but if you stray; if you go to someone else, or cease to love and adore me, I will hate you and torture you and you will rue the day that you turned your back on me.'
If this were said by a man to his wife, or to his child, then the authorities would try to get the innocent party away from the dysfunctional party as soon as possible.
A Beloved World?
John 3;16-20 KJV says:
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
From John 3:16-20, one might assume that 'condemnation' simply means death; not deathly torture.
But why should there be any condemnation at all?
Why is 'he that believeth not' linked with men, who 'loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil'?
Why should someone be rewarded with eternal life in paradise, simply for believing something that others find hard to believe?
At least the people, to whom Jesus preached, had actually met him; the rest of us are just supposed to believe through blind faith.
If Jesus were proven to be truly God, then this 'blind faith' aspect would disappear ~ an aspect that seems to be very important to Christianity ~ so would faith, based on something real, still count, anyway?
There was a man named Job, who was perfect and upright; he feared God, and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters.
One day, when the sons of God [??!!] came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came.
The Lord said to Satan ..."Considered my servant Job. There is no-one else like him on earth; a perfect and an upright man, who fears God and shuns evil."
But Satan said that God had always protected Job and blessed his work, so he had nor reason to be otherwise. He suggested that if God ruined everything, then Job would curse him.
So the Lord told Satan that he was putting all Job had into satan's power ~ as long as he didn't hurt Job himself.
One day. Job received a series of messengers:
The Sabeans had stolen his oxen; the fire of God had burned up the sheep and the servants; the Chaldeans had stolen the camels; the servants were murdered and a great wind had blown down the house where his sons and daughters were eating and the sons were all dead.
Job tore his cloak, shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Concerns - If Jesus Were Real
If Jesus were proven to be real, then potential Christians would need to consider:
~ whether Jesus, in the form of God,really had caused babies to be sliced apart with the sword, and / or whether he condoned such behaviour.
~ whether Jesus thinks that those, who do not accept him on faith, should rot in eternal hellfire.
~ whether Christians would be expected to turn their backs on parents and loved-ones ~ even if those loved-ones were being sent to hell.
What if Jesus does agree with punishing those, who do not believe in the God of the Bible and of Christianity ~ even their tiny babies?
What if Jesus thought that it was acceptable for God to have some kind of wager with the devil, over the good man, Job, causing him pain?
What if those, who do not accept Jesus as their redeemer, really will suffer eternal hellfire? (Remember that these could be loved-ones!)
Should we all decide that this is morally right and follow him?
Should we decide to follow him, anyway, out of fear?
Should we turn our backs on our families, if they do not join us?
Not everyone wants to be a follower. Not everyone would be convinced. Some people follow their own path. If that is a moral path, should they be punished? Should they be punished for ever more, until the very end of time? For what?
What if one decided to be a follower, but one's perfectly decent parent, or spouse ,or child, did not? What if following meant eternal life in Paradise; but rejection meant eternal suffering in Hell? Wouldn't heaven become a hell, given that knowledge?
Some say that hell is simply separation from God. But why should God decide to separate loved-ones from one another, just because they doubted him, or his existence, etc?
Of course, we must remember that this is the God who slaughtered babies, simply because their parents worshipped another form of god and fought with God's chosen tribe. Separating families is minor, compared to this.
God's Creation of the Sun and Moon - Michelangelo Buonarroti
An Ethical Question
If Jesus were proven to be Son of God / God Incarnate, would atheists become Christians ~ or would they still reject him?
A complex question.
I think that it would be extremely difficult to find proof that Jesus was the Son of God, even if that is exactly who he was / is.
But, assuming that this was indeed proven, would atheists accept him?
Atheists don't believe that God exists, because there is no reliable evidence that he does. If real evidence were forthcoming, then, presumably, they would believe.
But would they accept God and accept Jesus as their saviour?
That would depend upon the person.
Some would ~ just as Christians do today.
They might approve of the Christian ethic, and believe that the story of Jesus is a good and moral one.
They may be turned away by the idea of Jesus being the incarnation of a God, who punishes his creation; who orders babies to be killed; who sends doubters to hell, etc.
So, a lot would depend on what Jesus might say about all of this, if and when his reality was shown to be true.
Of course, many Christians, today, do believe the Bible stories and do believe in Hell and they accept them and still worship God / Jesus.
It is not that believing in the wrath of God turns everyone away ~ but it might well turn away a lot of people; people, who would find it morally reprehensible and unacceptable.
Love Your Enemy
It is unlikely that God, if God exists, is anything like the way 'he' is described in the Old Testament.
It is unlikely that a supreme omniscient being would make a world, people it, and then decide that he had made a mistake and punish his creation.
It is unlikely that a supreme creator would order murder and rape.
It is unlikely that clay people ever came to life.
The things attributed to God were just that ~ things attributed to God, by an ancient tribal people, who knew no different.
The Bible gives their understanding of what God might be like.
Jesus is described as sharing that understanding, to a degree ~ though he does not seem to support the punishments meted out in the Old Testament.
Since it is unlikely that God exists as described in the Hebrew Scriptures, yet Jesus accepted the Scriptures and is supposed to be God incarnate or Son of God, then that makes little sense.
Furthermore, the Bible does not really indicate that Jesus was specifically 'Son of God' ~ certainly no more so than Adam, or various others, such as those beings mentioned in 'Job'..
Another Related Conundrum: 'Ten Atheist Inconsistencies'
Another item discusses the supposed 'Ten Atheist Inconsistencies'.
Read my article and see what you think: 'Top Ten Atheist Inconsistencies' Examined'
Top-Ten Atheist Inconsistencies Examined
In an unlikely imaginary scenario, where everyone suddenly believed that Jesus was Son of God, it would be hoped that Jesus would clarify a few things and say that Christian teaching had got some things wrong.
~ that God did not slaughter the Amalekites, or torture Job, or anything similar.
~ that there is no eternal suffering in hell.
Hopefully, if Jesus really did come to us, as the proven Son of God, then he would say that he would like us all to be good to one another, and to our planet, and that he, himself, just wants to set a good example ~ that he hopes that we will follow this good example, but that there will be no terrifying threats, one way or the other.
Related HubPages Articles by Tricia Mason
- Jesus Christ or Julius Caesar ~ Who is More Likely to Have Been a Real Person?
- The Execution of the Wood-Gatherer in Numbers 15
- The Destruction of the Babies and Children of Amalek - Gods Slaughter of the Amalekites
- God, Ghosts and Guesswork
- Genghis (Chingis) Khan, Mongol Emperor ~ and The Bible: A Comparison of Morality
- God is Love by Percy Dearmer ~ Analysis of a Popular Hymn (And Bible Analysis)
- QUOTE: How could the Earth, and all Creation, be so Beautiful, without a Creator?
- Turek and Geisler Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist But They Believe in Gods Morality and the