How Could All Those People Be Wrong?

One of the poorest arguments for anything is that “a bunch of people believe it,” unless it is put in proper context. Say for instance, “Biblical Archaeologists agree the gospels were written in 70 AD.” Of course, no Biblical expert would say that, they’d give a date range. The point being that it is possible to rely on a group of experts who generally believe something and therefore you can probably surmise it’s correct–unless you have time to dig into the research yourself to come to your own conclusions (in this day and age that’s hard to do on every subject, you have to pick your battles). You can also expect with any field of study, if something is in complete error that the truth eventually emerges because the one thing experts like to do is argue and are never satisfied.

But let me be clear, expert consensus is still not evidence by itself, it is more of a guide when we can’t all be experts. It also rules out statements like “The Controversy of Evolution” as there is no controversy amongst the majority of scientists, particularly those working in evolutionary biology.

Expert consensus is not the same as mass belief, especially mass belief that somehow attests to the extraordinary (someone raising from the dead). Mass belief or predominant beliefs have often been wrong throughout history and we can’t test miracles that supposedly happened in the past. Mass belief can also get people killed such as all of the accused witches and heretics that were tortured and executed.

If you need to make an argument for the existence of God don’t use mass belief. It’s kind of like peer pressure. “All these people believe in God, why don’t you?” There are far better arguments.

SIDENOTE: The Littlest Atheist is paying tribute to one of my earliest cartoons showing Jesus as a zombie. Since then I’ve seen other zombie Jesus depictions on the web. I think what our hero says in panel 3 is pretty damn accurate.

5 thoughts on “How Could All Those People Be Wrong?

  1. That’s not accurate! Zombies are undead. That means they haven’t really come back to life. They’re essentially wlaking corpses subject rot and decay. Jesus came back to life both body and spirit restored to life. Sorry, he wasn’t a zombie.

  2. Seriously? As if someone could raise from the dead period? We’re going to debate between the “undead” and Jesus “back from the dead”? This is too funny. Because Jesus “back from the dead” ain’t the same as you and me “back from the dead.” It’s something else if it were to assume it happened.

    I guess maybe the Littlest Atheist was wrong then. I think you’ve just inspired the next comic strip and we have to define terms. This is ridiculous but also fun!

    A zombie by most popular definitions, is an animated corpse. Therefore we would have to figure out if Jesus came back to life as a human or is he just playing around with a corpse like a puppet. Or is he more like a ghost that can materialize a body?

    Jesus retained his wounds according to the doubting Thomas story so how is that different from a zombie coming back to life (as defined by Zombie living or undead) and retaining their wounds from gunshots or a car accident? By the amount of decay that would occur? So would Jesus’ body be static, the wounds never healing but never getting worse? Or would Jesus’ wounds be human–get infected due to the severity and he would die again?

    Also if Jesus were alive like a human, how did he keep disappearing like a ghost? The whole fully human/fully god theology never made sense as a way to rationalize these problems we’re pointing out. If he can’t be human like us, then it can’t be “our” substitutionary death because he’s cheating. For all we know, he can turn pain on and off to endure the moments before death. And again, what is the definition of death if it is not eternal–there’s no sacrifice if it isn’t permanent. Ohhh, too many questions.

    Good point, though, Sean. I like it!

  3. Well my arguement to that is a little different. Okay so you are saying majority conotes truth… Muslims Hindus Buddists and a whole slew of other people say Christianity is wrong! How could all those people be wrong?

  4. Well no, our little guy, and me, is saying that mass belief can be wrong. Mass belief can be right too, but mass belief by itself is no indicator of truth.

    One argument I’ve heard for a multitude of beliefs, from Christ’s resurrection to aliens, is that so many people believe it–it has to be true. Well, no. A majority can be wrong. This also encompasses supposed martyr evidence. If people are willing to die for what they believe it must be true–again no. Christians aren’t alone in martyrdom. You can die for your beliefs, but your beliefs, however strong they are, can still be untrue.

    Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists joined together en masse who say Christianity is wrong could be wrong too. What needs to happen to evaluate truth is to actually provide evidence or in this case more likely dismiss invalid evidence (like if you were to say the Shroud of Turin is evidence then is it really? Or is it a painted fake?).

    So no, we would never want to rely on mass belief for truth. I think all religions and nonbelievers should agree on this.

    Expert consensus I think is different than mass belief as experts are usually qualified in their fields and use evidence–however, they should always be subject to questioning too. They’re just more reliable and I like the fact that experts are always debating each other with egos on the line. Better that than a herd mentality based on religious childhood rearing.

    So if you need to make an argument for your religious stance, whatever the hell it is, don’t tell us we should believe “because so many people have and do now.”

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