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Nearly ten years after Richard Dawkins said that "a serious historical case" can be made that Jesus "never lived" (even if he admits that his existence is probable), it is astonishing to me that some atheists still agree with him. New Atheists should accept the academic reality that the vast majority of specialists in secular universities throughout the world consider it beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus lived, taught, gained a reputation as a healer, was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and was soon heralded by his followers as the resurrected Messiah.
Unless skeptics can begin their arguments from this academic baseline, they are the mirror image of the religious fundamentalists they despise—unwilling to accept the scholarly mainstream over their metaphysical commitments.
But serious theists have always leaned on philosophical, theological, and personal arguments for God, instead of proposing a God-of-the-gaps.
They've also welcomed explanations of the mechanics of the universe as further indications of the rational order of reality, and therefore of the presence of a Mind behind reality.
As an intellectual movement, Christianity has a head start on atheism.
Even as thoughtful a man as Lawrence Krauss, a noted physicist, did this just last month on British radio following new evidence of the earliest moments of the Big Bang.Before beginning, though, I want to point out that these tips don't necessarily concern atheists in general. Obviously, there are vast and varied beliefs among atheists.But the advice here applies to some of the most common beliefs I've encountered.This is the 1,984th year since April 7, AD 30, the widely accepted date among historians for the crucifixion of Jesus (the 1,981st if you find the arguments for April 3, AD 33 persuasive).Christians have been pondering this stuff for a long time.
It is not enough to quip that "intellectual" and "church" are oxymoronic.