The followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a deity created by Bobby Henderson to mock other deities, claim there is no evidence for religious belief.
I don’t claim to speak for all religions, but I am a Christian, and I feel I need to defend Christianity against claims such as this, which declare that there is no reason to believe in any religion:
“Nonbelievers get hung up asking for evidence when really we should be looking at why does [sic] religion thrive despite evidence?”
I don’t believe Christianity thrives “despite evidence.” There is ample evidence for those who are willing to seek it out and think about it. This article will be long, but it could be MUCH longer if I listed all the proofs, and not just samples of each proof. Christianity is alone among the religions of the world in being able to demonstrate the reality of its claims. Some of these wonderful proofs include:
- fulfilled prophecy
- fulfillment of the Old Testament law
- abundant typological fulfillments
- archaeological proof
- historical proof of Jesus’ existence in ancient texts
- changed lives
- the heroic impact of Bible-believing Christians on history
–Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ that the messiah would come as a baby and grow into a man who would be mocked, spit upon, rejected and killed. Micah prophesied that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Zechariah said he would be sold for 30 pieces of silver. There are dozens of other prophecies which Jesus fulfilled and many more that are yet to be fulfilled at his second coming. No other religion can claim even one prophetic fulfillment!
–Jesus said that he not only came to fulfill the “prophets,” but also to fulfill “the law.” What does this mean? The Old Testament law was an intricate system of rituals and sacrifices which seem senseless to the uninformed onlooker, but to those who have sought to understand the significance of Jesus’ statement, an amazing and wonderful picture of Jesus begins to arise. The most obvious fulfillment was proclaimed by John the Baptist when he declared: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).” Jesus was the sacrificial lamb of God who took away the sins of the world! The law required that a lamb be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus fulfilled this once and for all! He was also the scapegoat which had to be sacrificed outside the city. He was crucified outside Jerusalem, just as the law required, and on Passover, just as the law required. He became the high priest in the order of Melchizidek who is now the “one mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5).” There are so many ways that Jesus fulfilled the law that multitudes of books could be written about the subject (and have been).
–Jesus also fulfilled the “types and shadows” that the writer of Colossians and Hebrews spoke about. For example, Moses was given the pattern for the tabernacle (portable temple in the wilderness) as a model of the true sanctuary in heaven. While the high priest could only enter the earthly tabernacle and carry out his ritual duties of blood sacrifice, Christ (our high priest) entered the heavenly tabernacle and sprinkled his own blood once and for all for eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12) The lamb was a “type” of Christ. The high priest was a “type” of Christ. The tabernacle was a “type” of the heavenly sanctuary. The Old Testament was supernaturally designed to point us to the true messiah. Who could have ever imagined such an amazing plan? What other religion can make this claim? NONE!
How could one man coincidentally, or even purposefully, fulfill all of these requirements in order to be the messiah? (There are MANY, MANY, MANY more than what I mentioned above.) I don’t think anyone could have even thought that a man could somehow “fulfill the law,” yet Jesus declared that was why he came! (Matthew 5:17) Even if someone human wrote this story, he would have had to make Jesus fulfill ALL of these requirements of the law and the prophets. Is anybody that capable?
Even so, we know the record of Jesus’ life was written by men who lived at the same time he lived, so he was a historic person, not a myth, which makes the fulfillment of all these details even more miraculous since they didn’t exist in a contrived story, but in a life that was lived in reality! We also know the Old Testament was written by many different people over hundreds of years making it very difficult to give credit to one man as a designer/author. To this day, the church continues to mine the Bible to discover new ways that Christ fulfilled his Word. The depth and beauty of this mining endeavor is unbelievably amazing. The Bible and Jesus have a supernatural source. There is no other explanation.
–Archaeology is also a source of evidence for the biblical record. The following is a long paragraph from my book, The Narrow Way, which reveals that the biblical record is trustworthy. Skeptics may bring up Kathleen Kenyon or Israel Finkelstein, whose efforts have been used to discredit the Bible by questionable dating of pottery (Kenyon) or the use of domesticated camels (in the case of Finkelstein), yet they overlook the vast amount of evidence which supports the truthfulness of the scriptures. Some of this evidence includes:
. . . references to the “House of David” and the “king of Israel” on the Mesha Stele; the Behistun Rock, which helped to translate Near-East inscriptions that over and over have confirmed the Bible; Hittite monuments and documents (historical critics had always pointed to the Hittites as biblical “myths”); the Lachish Ostraca, which confirmed the truth of the Babylonian captivity; 17,000 cuneiform tablets at Elba which confirm the existence of writing before the time of Moses (critics had said Moses couldn’t have written the Pentateuch because writing wasn’t in existence; razors found in Egyptian tombs that proved Joseph shaved (when critics scoffed at Genesis 41:14 saying that it wasn’t possible for Joseph to shave because razors didn’t exist); cuneiform records from the excavated libraries of Assyrian kings which confirm the biblical record of the thirty-nine kings of ancient Israel and Judah; a clay prism describing Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah; the discovery of the Egyptian cities Pithom and Ramses (whose buildings have a layer bricks that have less straw in them, just as Exodus 5 claims); four clay cylinders in the city of Ur which confirm the existence of the Israeli King Jehu; the Siloam Tunnel Inscription which confirms the biblical story that a reservoir was constructed in anticipation of the siege of Assyria; the Cyrus Cylinder; the Dead Sea Scrolls; the excavation of Gezer; the historical accuracy of Luke; worldwide flood accounts and geological evidence that supports a worldwide flood.
–The existence of Jesus is also confirmed independently of the Bible by outside sources. The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius wrote in his Antiquities:
Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works–a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.
Pliny the Younger wrote about the dilemma of how to deal with the Christians and how he resolved it by interrogating the followers of Jesus, executing them if they remained resolute that they were Christians. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote in his Annals about how Nero tried to blame the Christians for setting Rome on fire.
To get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite torture on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most michievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome . . .
Jesus was also mentioned by Lucian, a second century playwright, in his play, The Passing of Peregrinus, where he makes fun of the gullible church, whose leader was crucified in Palestine.
–There are millions of people whose lives have been changed by following Jesus. One person that comes to mind is John Newton. He was a slave trader who turned to Christ and penned the words to the song Amazing Grace. After his conversion he influenced William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament, who worked tirelessly (and successfully) to abolish slavery in the British Empire.
There are also countless cannibals who have come to Jesus! One of them was featured in the film, End of the Spear. His name was Mincayani and he killed a missionary who came to his tribe. Later, he received Jesus and became like a family member to those whose loved ones he had killed.
A modern day conversion can be found in the story of Joshua Blahyi, an African warlord who was also known as General Butt-Naked because he and his tribe fought in the nude, thinking it would somehow make them impervious to bullets. Blayhi disappeared and when he came back he was a Christian. He began a ministry where he sought forgiveness and reconciliation with the families of the 20,000 people he had killed. He had also committed human sacrifice for a number of years. Yet Jesus made him a new man.
–Finally, it’s impossible to talk about Jesus, the “Light of the World,” without mentioning how wonderful the impact of his Word has been on history. Where do I even begin? Slavery was prevalent in the Roman Empire until, through sheer moral force, it was abolished in the years after Christ. Christians used their money to purchase slaves in order to set them free. Christians traded places with slaves, redeeming them with their own body. They also cared for the poor and sick in heroic ways, even during plagues.
It was Luther, a Bible-believing Christian, who was finally able to break the stranglehold of power that the Catholic Church had on society during the middle ages. Wycliffe, Huss, and Tyndale also acted heroically to oppose the Inquisition. This opened up the world of science, education, political freedom, human rights, medical advances, and so many other blessings they can’t be listed here.
As mentioned before, it was the Christians (in particular the Clapham Sect) that worked to abolish slavery in the British empire. Christians also worked to abolish American slavery. The great abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, was a committed Christian. So were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. The first antislavery tract in America was written by the Christian, Samuel Sewall. Even Thomas Paine, who believed in gradual emancipation, was inspired by the scriptures in his stand against slavery.
Christians formed the only organized opposition to Adolph Hitler. Early on they wrote the Barmen Declaration to oppose the rise of Nazism. The Pastor’s Emergency League was made up of over 1000 evangelical pastors who were almost all arrested and imprisoned. Among them were Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Niemoller. Bonhoeffer assisted the Jews, opposed Hitler and ended up being hanged in a concentration camp. Corrie ten Boom hid Jews in her home until she was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck with her sister who was also a Christian.
Christians around the world spent the 20th century opposing communism and tyranny. They were sent to gulags and mental hospitals because they believed in God, while Marx, a student of Ludwig Fuerbach, believed that man created God out his own mind. (The same position as Flying Spaghetti Monster creator, Bobby Henderson!) Millions were killed under these atheist dictatorships, yet Christians such as Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, would openly oppose communism in the name of Jesus. As a result of his obstinance, Wurmbrand would spend years in a Romanian prison.
Those who followed Jesus and his gospel were the heroes of history! Yet, I wonder if Bobby Henderson realizes that his tactic of saying that God is a creation of man’s mind has been tried before . . . and it contributed to the suffering of millions! I feel so frustrated when people just play with words as though they have no consequence. The Flying Spaghetti Monster may seem like a funny and harmless ploy useful in discrediting Christians, but all ideas have consequences!
If the Pastafarians (followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) were honest, they would have to admit that the supernatural existence of their god is questionable. There is no evidence at ALL to support their claim to its deity. Christians, on the other hand, have mounds and mounds of evidence to support their claim!
I challenge the Pastafarians to provide even one evidence for their faith!
Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have any prophecies which foretold his birth hundreds of years beforehand which included the city he would be born in and intricate details of his life, such as his betrayal and his death? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have a sacred book which was written by dozens of authors from different times and places, yet all point to him–or was he merely a creation from somebody’s mind? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have a city/place of birth or do his followers have to resort to co-opting the birthplace of Jesus–as the picture below shows?
Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever inspired anybody to sell his own body to redeem another who was in slavery? Did the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever influence the greatest scientists in history such as Newton (the Father of Physics) and Boyle (the Father of Chemistry)? Have the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s scriptures (Does he have any?) ever been confirmed by archaeological digs? Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster ever infused anybody with new life-changing power to help overcome addictions, hatred, fear, racism, and many other crippling lifestyles, attitudes, and emotions, only to become people of love, courage, forgiveness, and strength? In fact, even making these people the greatest heroes of history?
It’s difficult to show any type of evidence if your deity is made up in your mind, but it’s not difficult to show evidence for the historical Jesus who interjected himself into human history in order to reveal that there is Someone in the universe that is trying to communicate with humanity in an amazing way . . . a person who is so loving and kind that he was willing to pay the penalty for our sin rather than leave us hopeless. This is the God I love. This is the God I serve. I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of others who also loved and served Him–Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Martin Luther, John Huss, William Wilberforce, Richard Wurmbrand, William Booth, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the other great heroes of history.