The evolution of atheist thought is interesting to watch.
. First it’s - “Jesus was just a man.”
PROBLEM: documents from antiquity show that some very “other” things took place during the life of Jesus.
. Then it’s - “There are no extra Biblical documents referring to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Show me even one and I’ll change my mind.”
PROBLEM: As it turns out there are dozens of extra Biblical references to Jesus from the time of Jesus and /or his disciples, from both friend and enemy alike.
. So it’s - “Well, you can’t trust that information. If it comes from an eyewitness, I won’t accept it because I declare that eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable. If it comes from a student or close associate of the eyewitness I won’t accept that either because I declare that it’s hearsay and hearsay isn’t reliable either.”
. Finally it’s - Jesus didn’t even exist.
I don’t know what Oy Vey means, but I think it might fit here. I just read today, “A fanatic is one who entrenches himself in invincible ignorance.” That certainly fits most of the atheists with whom I’ve spoken regarding the life of Jesus.
So the atheist boasts to h/herself, “Now that I’ve effectively eliminated any evidence that disagrees with my world-view, I solemnly declare that I will fearlessly follow the evidence regardless of where it might lead.”
This kind of retreating and changing of boundaries and definitions goes on and on and on in the atheist’s world. Reality is, if you debate with an atheist, that person will reject offer after offer. On the other hand, ask an atheist what evidence s/he would consider reliable regarding the life of Jesus and the silence that follows will extend on into infinity. That’s because the atheist’s rejection of Jesus has nothing to do with evidence or the lack thereof. The rejection of Jesus is a choice that is made regardless of evidence. Some have said, “If Jesus appeared in front of me, then I’d believe.” The fact is, the atheist would NOT believe if Jesus just appeared in front of h/her. That type of event would entail and miracle and atheists do not believe in miracles. If Jesus appeared the atheist would come up with a naturalistic explanation for seeing Jesus and that would be the end of it.
The only point that I can see, in talking to atheists on the net is that there might be someone who is an honest seeker listening in. For the rest? Well, as the saying goes, “The gates of hell are locked from the inside.”