“Jesus never existed”. Not only is there overwhelming scholarly consensus that he did (even among non-Christian scholars), but any atheist making this claim is ultimately doing themselves a disservice–not only by setting the bar artificially and unnecessarily high and essentially flipping the burden of proof onto themselves, but because the strongest arguments for Jesus’ existence are also arguments against his divinity and his status as the so-called Messiah.
“Jesus said bring them and slay them before me”. This is “true” to the extent that the Bible claims Jesus uttered those words. But Jesus was actually telling a parable–in an attempt to justify the doctrine of Hell–of a hypothetical king who says those words within the context of that parable. In other words, Jesus did not literally order any men to be killed before him. Of course, the irony here is that this is actually more damning (ha) than the alternative: If Jesus had truly ordered these men to be killed, an apologist could find some way to rationalize their deaths as morally justified, or claim that the story was only applicable to that specific instance at that specific point in time. But parables are by definition intended to be universally applicable, and the orthodox doctrine of Hell (if it were real) is infinitely more morally abhorrent than the mere execution of a few men.
Ridiculing Genesis. The Genesis stories are prime fodder for atheists and standup comedians everywhere, and for good reason: They are the most ridiculous stories in the entire Bible. But everyone already knows that, and most Christians will simply dismiss such ridicule by saying that the stories are meant to be taken metaphorically.
So instead of Genesis, how about ridiculing the problems with the Bible that people don’t know about, and which aren’t as easily written off as “metaphorical”? Think Jesus destroying a fig tree because it wasn’t fig season. Animal babies being born with stripes because of what their parents were looking at while mating. Jesus saying the end of the world would come within the lifetimes of his original followers. Or my personal favorite, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on two donkeys at the same time because the writer of Matthew sucked at reading Hebrew. No more Noah’s Ark jokes please.
“How the hell could they have fit two of every animal on the Ark?” OK, sometimes taking jabs at the Ark story is just too hard to resist. But if you’re going to do it, at least don’t make this mistake: Despite the popular conception of “two of every kind” on the Ark, the Bible is clear that there were actually seven pairs (or just “seven”, depending on which translation you read) of every “clean” animal–which includes the VAST majority of animals–and two of every “unclean”. That’s right… the Noah’s Ark story is even more ridiculous than even most atheists realize, by a factor of three to seven times.
For the rest of the series: