(Note: This letter, from me, is continued from Page 24)
"I find it amusing that you, like almost every other Christian, are mostly ignorant of Jesus' prophecies. That the one thing your savior talked about over and over and over again more than anything else goes largely ignored by the Christian community because it's apparently not that important. How much more obvious can it be that they were failed prophecies, and that Christians struggle with them so badly because of that? You tell me to go debate other people, but guess what, I refuse. You told me many a times that you'd rather debate me than go to a source I pointed out, so I dug down and found the material, but now you say I should go look at some sources or debate someone else because you're too busy. Hypocrisy."
Wow, seriously? So because I don't interpret these prophecies the same way you do, then I'm "ignorant of Jesus' prophecies"? This is pretty much what I was talking about above, and the reason I don't want to debate them with you. You obviously think that your way of interpreting them is the only way of logically interpreting them, and you practically admitted as such in your response. I find it hard to debate people who arrogantly think their subjective interpretations of these prophecies, where they understand them in a way that suits their preconceptions, is the only rational way to interpret them. It's obvious that nothing I could possibly say in response to this could change your mind, so it would be a waste of my time to try.
"Jesus didn't just start in his hometown, he picked up disciples from various places around different towns."
Still starting locally, in relation to the entire world.
"And you're missing the point: this is God's eternal plan of salvation. If this was a divine plan, there is no need to think of necessary conventions like "starting locally" or "convenience" - this is God's ultimate plan! He could've simply had some Gentiles magically wander into Jesus' path."
Or He could have started locally.
"You have such contradicting logic here: you want to think all the events of Jesus were constantly limited by the natural world, but you also want to claim the events of Jesus were divine, eternally significant spiritual moments."
I'm not quite following your argument. He could have done it one way, but He chose to do it another way, therefore….what, exactly? Once again, you seem to think that God choosing to do things in one manner can only mean that He was incapable of doing them in any other manner.
"Oh, did we once again forget the fact that I used to be Christian, and studied various forms of Christian prophecy and apologetics for 5 solid years? How can you possibly say I'm only looking at one side when I used to be a Christian and studied all this Christian mess for years, especially concerning NT prophecy?"
Because, obviously, something changed in your attitude towards the possibility of miracles. You now consider them automatically the least likely explanation for something, but you clearly didn't do so when you were a Christian, or you wouldn't have been one. If your rejection of Christianity was due to your studies of prophecy, etc, then you would still believe that miracles could happen, just that the "real" Jesus story doesn't happen to have any. In fact, unless you have an argument you've been holding back on, you'd probably believe that Jesus was resurrected (since all of the earliest sources are in agreement on this fact), but would just be arguing that Christians misunderstand the significance of it. Thus far, you have yet to give any evidence suggesting that Jesus wasn't resurrected, but have been, at best, arguing around it.
"And I bet you're growing weary of debating me at this point, since you're so used to your internet atheists running away from debate after you debunk their theories based upon stupid youtube videos like Zeitgeist."
You're right that I am growing weary of debating you, but it's only because we're supposed to be debating whether Jesus was resurrected, and you keep wanting to go off on unrelated tangents. The only rational argument you've given is that the chance of a miracle occurring is infinitesimal, thus the chance that Jesus was resurrected is infinitesimal, but now you seem to deny ever haven given such an argument in the first place and are arguing instead that the stories contain contradictions and that the prophecies were misunderstood, neither of which come anywhere near suggesting that Jesus' resurrection didn't happen.
"The last email demonstrated the following things were very likely, historically speaking:
1) Jesus taught salvation through following Jewish law and doing good works
2) Jesus taught he was the Son of Man come to bring the Kingdom of God to earth during their lifetime, to fulfill OT prophecies in Daniel and Enoch
3) Jesus failed in these prophecies
4) Jesus never taught he was God incarnate, or part of a 'trinity'
5) Jesus' death is contradictory to Jewish notions of "Messiah"
6) Jesus' persona as "God" is contradictory to Jewish notions of "God"
6) Jesus representing a (blood sacrifice for sin/passover lamb) is contradictory to Jewish notions of "sin forgiveness"
With all these things taken into account for his life, what sense would a Resurrection make in a Christian context? Little to none. But in any case, I'll gladly say the Resurrection happened if it makes you happy, just to show that it doesn't change my interpretation one bit."
If so, then I guess we're done here, since that's all we were debating in the first place. If you want to debate the prophecy stuff, I'm not interested, since you've already shown that you think that anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of them is ignorant of the prophecies in the first place.
"So what are you going to claim my motivations are now for rejecting theological interpretations, and instead believing in historical ones?"
The problem is that you're just playing "what if". If that had been your argument in the first place, that , yes, Jesus was resurrected, but Christians have misunderstood the significance of it for the last 2000 years, then I wouldn't have debated you in the first place, since I have no interest in debating people's personal, subjective interpretations of the events. I definitely feel that those closer to the events, and who live within the society that the events happen in, will have a better understanding of those events and their significance than people from almost 2000 years later an entirely different type of society. Sources closer to the events are more reliable than sources from further away.
"I claim it's because I find historical-based theories more compelling than theological apologetics, but will you continue to claim it all comes down to my belief in miracles?"
That depends. Are you now seriously saying that you no longer believe that the chances of a miracle are infinitesimal, that miracles aren't always the least likely explanation for something? Are you now saying, for real, that you think there's a good chance that Jesus was resurrected? If so, then I will agree that it does not all come down to your disbelief in miracles, that something has changed in your attitude from the beginning of our conversation. But if your intention is that we now move on to debating your interpretation of the prophecies and other issues, then I'll call the discussion "done with" right now, since I have no interest in debating that stuff with you. If you agree that there's a good chance that Jesus was resurrected, then I'm good for now.
"If the Resurrection of Jesus was supposed to be God's singular path to spiritual salvation, God should've made that clear as day. But since God chose to not make it clear as day, and even decided to break many of His own previous rules in the process, then I don't really care if I end up in hell burning for eternity. In fact I'll give you some statistics: I'm 80% convinced the Resurrection didn't happen, but if it did, I'm 100% convinced the Resurrection didn't mean what Christians thought it did. And because of this, the Resurrection loses all meaning for me whether I think it really happened or not."