Meet former pastor Charles Templeton, one-time sidekick of American evangelical rock star for the Redeemer, Billy Graham. When I first read about Templeton. I liked him immediately. Not only was he a non-believer, he once worked as a newspaper cartoonist, landing his first job at the Canadian “newspaper, “The Globe and Mail" during the Great Depression.
But what really depressed him were the lies he had been peddling in the name of Jesus. Templeton eventually went from a pastor for Jesus to a promoter for Old Earth science, as well as a mind-over-blather debunker of Biblical Christianity.
In short, my kind of guy.
Templeton’s loss of testimony caused the evangelical community to poop a proverbial Biblical brick.
Below is some of the hysterical self-righteous reaction to his bold break from the "historical" Jesus crowd.
From an evangelical website:
“In 1996, the book ‘Farewell to God’ was published for all the world to see. The author, Charles Templeton, claimed:
“‘I oppose the Christian Church because, for all the good it sometimes does, it presumes to speak in the name of God and to propound and advocate beliefs that are outdated, demonstrably untrue, and often, in their various manifestations, deleterious to individuals and to society.’
“As this story unfolds, you will see the devastating results of compromising man’s theories with God’s Word, beginning in Genesis.
“ . . . Fueled by concern about the spiritual state of post-Depression youth, mass evangelism exploded onto the American scene in the 1940s. Thousands of young servicemen and civilians streamed to arenas to see the programs, which included preaching, music and various acts. One of the leaders in this movement was a young man from Canada--Charles Templeton, born in 1915. He was generally acknowledged to be the most versatile of the new young evangelists. Templeton soon rose to prominence, even surpassing another dynamic young preacher, Billy Graham. In 1946, he was listed among those ‘best used of God’ by the National Association of Evangelicals.
“As the pastor of the rapidly growing Avenue Road Church in Toronto, which he had started with only his family and a few friends, Templeton also became one of three vice-presidents of the newly-formed Youth for Christ International organization in 1945. He then nominated his good friend, Billy Graham, to be field evangelist for the new ministry. Templeton, Graham and a few others regularly spoke to thousands, winning many to Christ both in America and in Europe.
“Newspapers and magazines carried reports of his meetings informing readers he was winning 150 converts a night. In Evansville, Indiana, the total attendance over the two-week campaign was 91,000 out of a population of 128,000. Church attendance went up 17%.
“However, despite his popularity and seeming success as an evangelist, all was not well with Charles Templeton. The more he read, the more he found he was beginning to question the essentials of the Christian faith, because he could no longer believe God’s Word beginning with Genesis.
“In a conversation with Billy Graham concerning Templeton’s desire to attend Princeton Theological Seminary, Templeton stated:
“‘But, Billy, it’s simply not possible any longer to believe, for instance, the biblical account of creation. The world wasn’t created over a period of days a few thousand years ago; it has evolved over millions of years. It’s not a matter of speculation; it’s demonstrable fact.’ Templeton warned Graham that it was ‘intellectual suicide’ to not question the Bible and to go on preaching God’s Word as authoritative.
“With this background of doubt about God’s Word welling up inside and lacking any type of formal education, he decided to pursue a degree in theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Resigning from the church he had pastored for several years, Templeton began, with special permission, his coursework at Princeton in 1948.
“Rather than assuage his doubts by providing sound theological answers for the questions he had concerning the authority of the Bible, the historical veracity of Genesis and the deity of Christ, Princeton only served to increase his qualms. This is not surprising, considering the influences that had infiltrated Princeton through people like Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield concerning one’s approach to the Scripture in Genesis.
"For instance, Hodge, who accepted the millions of years and rejected literal creation-days, taught: ‘It is of course admitted that, taking this account [Genesis] by itself, it would be most natural to understand the word ['day'] in its ordinary sense; but if that sense brings the Mosaic account into conflict with facts, [millions of years] and another sense avoids such conflict, then it is obligatory on us to adopt that other.’
"Warfield . . . went further and, unlike Hodge, even accepted Darwinism. Templeton, like generations of others, was taught at Princeton to reject parts of Genesis in favor of man’s beliefs concerning such things as billions of years.
“After graduating from Princeton, Templeton accepted a position with the National Council of Churches, conducting preaching missions across the United States and Canada. However, he faced increasing health problems, specifically frequent chest pains. He visited a specialist in Pennsylvania who encouraged him, after finding nothing wrong with his heart, to clear up the conflict in his life--namely, the doubts he harbored about the authority of the Bible from which he so fervently preached to thousands each night.
“This reminds [me] of another who suffered illness because of a great conflict in his life regarding teaching that undermined God’s Word. Charles Darwin, who started out in training to be an Anglican minister, ended up rejecting Christianity the more he believed in evolution. It has been said that inner conflict, because of knowing that evolution would wipe the idea of God from the minds of millions, contributed greatly to Darwin’s psychosomatic illness.
“Templeton’s struggles affected others, too. As Templeton wrestled with the ‘demonstrable fact’ of evolution which made it impossible for him to believe ‘the biblical account of creation’, he sought out his close friend, Billy Graham. This caused Graham, as well, to grapple with tough questions that shook the very roots of the faith he professed and preached daily--namely, ‘Was the Bible completely true?’
“With ‘science’ pulling Templeton one way and the Bible seemingly pulling him in an altogether different direction, he resigned from his position with the National Council of Churches and took over the Department of Evangelism of the Presbyterian Church USA. At the same time, he hosted a CBS TV series, called ‘Look Up and Live.‘
“Finally, however, the doubts about everything he stood for became too great and he decided to leave the ministry.
“In his autobiography, ‘Farewell to God,’ Charles Templeton lists his ‘reasons for rejecting the Christian faith.' Most of these relate to the origins issue and thus the accuracy of the book of beginnings--Genesis . . . .
“Templeton, like Charles Darwin, had a big problem understanding how one could reconcile an earth full of death, disease and suffering with the God of the Bible.
"'Why does God’s grand design require creatures with teeth designed to crush spines or rend flesh, claws fashioned to seize and tear, venom to paralyze, mouths to suck blood, coils to constrict and smother--even expandable jaws so that prey may be swallowed whole and alive? . . . Nature is, in Tennyson’s vivid phrase, "red in tooth and claw, and life is a carnival of blood."'
"Templeton then concludes:
“‘How could a loving and omnipotent God create such horrors as we have been contemplating?”
“One can fully understand his dilemma, considering he was indoctrinated to believe the earth was billions of years old. Since the fossil record would therefore represent billions of years of earth history, he would have to believe that the same death, disease and suffering in the world around us has been going on for millions and millions of years, and cannot be the result of sin, the Fall and the Curse.
“One wonders whether Templeton would ever have written his ‘Farewell to God,’ had the Church in his day rejected the billions of years, shown the fallible nature of the dating methods, and taught clearly that there could be no death, disease and bloodshed before sin. What a difference there might have been in his life if he had understood that the world he was observing was not the world as God originally made it, but one which was now suffering the effects of sin, the Curse and the Flood.
“Had the Church (and colleges like Princeton) not compromised the Word of God with man’s fallible teachings, one could only wonder about what such a powerful evangelist might have accomplished under the hand of the Almighty God.
“Those in the Church who compromise with the idea of an old earth (billions of years) cause those they come in contact with to stumble as Templeton did. If the earth is billions of years old, there is no loving God as the Bible portrays! Templeton completed his slide to unbelief by stating that the ‘entire resurrection story is not credible.’
“It’s even sad to see Templeton’s old. friend Billy Graham, in essence spreading doubt concerning Genesis when he answers questions about dinosaurs by claiming:
“‘ . . . [T]he Bible does not specifically mention dinosaurs. The book of Job . . . does mention large creatures of Job’s time such as “the behemoth, . . . whose tail sways like a cedar" . . . . This probably refers to the elephant or hippopotamus, however, since dinosaurs apparently died out long before God placed humans on the earth.'
“ . . . [After] leaving the ministry in 1957, Templeton [took] a prominent place in journalism. Among other things, he [was] the executive managing editor of the 'Toronto Star,' editor-in-chief of 'Maclean’s' magazine, director of 'News and Public Affairs' for the CTV television network, and [was] the author of twelve books.
“He [used] his influence in the secular media to spread his destructive message, attacking the infallible Word of God.
[Ed. note: Templeton died on 7 June 2001 aged 85, and sadly had suffered from Alzheimer’s towards the end]”
(“The Slippery Slide to Unbelief: A Famous Evangelist Goes from Hope to Hopelessness,” by Ken Ham and Stacia Byers, Creation Ministries, http://creation.com/the-slippery-slide-to-unbelief-a-famous-evangelist-goes-from-hope-to-hopelessness
Other evangelical eager-believer beavers branded Templeton as a rank apostate. In “Death of an Apostate,” condemner and critic Carl Wieland wrote of Templeton:
“Up to 30,000 people a night would flock to hear Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton1 who, in his heyday, was more famous than his team-mate at the time, Billy Graham. Thousands professed to have found salvation in Christ through Templeton’s preaching.
“Then things changed. Templeton had long had doubts about the history in Genesis, which is foundational to the entire structure of the Gospel, and how it seemed to contradict the ‘scientific facts’. Logically, ‘millions of years’ meant that the fossils were laid down long before man, hence before sin. But the fossils showed death, bloodshed and disease. So, the whole idea of a Fall ruining a once-perfect world, to be redeemed via the ‘last Adam' Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:46), was meaningless. And no one seemed to be able to give Templeton answers to his associated questions: 'How could Noah fit all those animals onto the Ark?' 'Where did the water come from?' And more of the very ones dealt with in frontline CMI literature, such as ‘The Creation Answers Book.’
“The reaction from his colleague, Billy Graham, implied that it was ‘unspiritual’ for Templeton to be concerned with such things. Our article highlighted his tragic descent into total unbelief, and the eventual writing of his book,’Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.‘
“Sometime after our article appeared, Charles Templeton died after a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. A Canadian Gospel broadcaster used the occasion to draw a lesson for Christians from his countryman’s ‘fall from grace.' Templeton, he implied, was wrong to ask the questions in the first place. Trying to use commonsense and reason to approach issues of faith was wrong; it was the ‘flesh’ (as he labeled the intellect) at war with the ‘spirit.'
“Such a confused and Biblically unwarranted response to Bible/science issues still reigns in many conservative Christian circles today. Sadly, it reinforces the secular caricature that Christianity and reality occupy two separate zones. Christian faith is thought to be only ‘in your head,' some emotional crutch that might ‘work for you,' but has nothing to do with hard facts.
“The Apostle Paul, however, well knew that his faith was based on concrete reality. The Lord Jesus died on a cross and rose again, as a fact of real history (and biology), sharing food with those who saw, touched and spoke with Him after His Resurrection. If that history and biology concerning the ‘last Adam’ was wrong, said Paul, it was not a side issue; Christians would be a miserable lie-believing bunch whose faith was therefore futile (1 Corinthians 15:17).
“I think that, ironically, Paul would have taken the side of Templeton--the Apostle agreeing with the apostate-to-be on one point, anyway: He would have chastised the broadcaster (and, dare one say it, Billy Graham) for being unconcerned with whether the Bible contradicts facts. Same with the Lord Jesus Himself, who taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your MIND (Matthew 22:37)!
“If that which He stated concerning the first Adam (the HISTORY of his creation from dust and his Fall into sin ruining the whole creation, and the BIOLOGY of the deathless world in which he lived originally prior to that Fall) is not really, truly true, we would also be miserable believers in falsehood, because all the hope of the Gospel is based squarely on the truth of its background history.
“But Paul would have gone on from there to proclaim that the Bible’s history really was true. Creation, the Fall, the Flood--its biology and its geology. The first Adam fell in space, time and history just as surely as the last Adam rose in space, time and history.
“So, if one investigates the past with the right ‘glasses'--the right philosophical axioms (pre-suppositions) as one’s starting point--the evidence, especially in the ‘big picture,' will be seen to be totally consistent with the Bible’s history. These vital points are brought out in our two-part article ‘The culture wars’ . . . .
“Biblical faith is not an excuse for ignoring the facts; it gives the right basis for understanding and interpreting the facts, which never speak for themselves, anyway.
“If only those surrounding Charles Templeton had not tried to fob him off with spiritual-sounding platitudes, but had dealt squarely with the real issues he was raising. If only they had shown him how many of the ‘facts’ bothering him were really faith-interpretations that were originally developed on the basis of first rejecting the Bible’s history, and that real science does not conflict with that history. How different things might have been!”
(“Death of an Apostate,” by Carl Wieland. Creation Ministries. http://creation.com/death-of-an-apostate
Some evangelicals who have been part of the pile-on over the dead-and-gone Templeton, nonetheless admit that “. . . we do believe he [Templeton] . . . ha[d] a message of truth for the Church today. He state[d], ‘A major factor in the dramatic decrease in attendance at church services around the world is undoubtedly the irrelevance of contemporary preaching.’
“Templeton is quite right--much of the teaching of the Church is irrelevant, as God’s Word has been relegated to merely a ‘religious’ book--a book of ‘stories.' Genesis is, by and large, not taught as history. The Church does not ‘connect’ the Bible to the real world, as scientists have supposedly shown it can’t be trusted in areas of biology, geology and astronomy. So, when the Church tries to preach morality, the world (like Templeton) responds in a similar way to actor Bruce Willis from the ‘Die Hard’ series: ‘. . .[W]ith what we know about science, anyone who thinks at all probably doesn’t believe in fire and brimstone anymore. So organized religion has lost that voice to hold up their moral hand.’
“Templeton (unlike many Christian leaders in the Church today) [was] consistent. He recognize[d] that if you can’t trust the Bible in areas of science (geology, biology, astronomy, etc.), then you can’t trust it in areas of morality and salvation, either. As Jesus said, ‘If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?’ (John 3:12). As more and more people in the compromising churches become consistent in how they approach the Bible--having accepted man’s teachings concerning millions of years--more will wake up one day and say with Charles Templeton: ‘Is it not foolish to close one’s eyes to the reality that much of the Christian faith is simply impossible to accept as fact?‘ [S]hould one continue to base one’s life on a system of belief that--for all its occasional wisdom and frequent beauty--is demonstrably untrue?’3
“And the end result [is the] anti-gospel--the message [of] HOPELESSNESS for a dying world--the bottom of the ‘slippery slide’?
“’I believe that there is no supreme being with human attributes--no God in the biblical sense--but that all life is the result of timeless evolutionary forces . . . over millions of years. . .. I believe that, in common with all living creatures, we die and cease to exist as an entity.’
“[Ed. note: See also this review of 'Farewell To God' on the Tekton Apologetics site, pointing out a number of other fallacies; for example: hand-wringing ‘arguments from outrage,' emotional appeals that amount to ‘no intelligent person would believe . . . .’ the genetic fallacy, chronological snobbery, etc. Templeton also ignores the answers evangelicals have already provided to many of the other ‘problems’ with the Christian faith, just as he did with the creation-related topics we answered above. One must wonder whether he truly wanted answers].
“What a contrast this is to the truth all people need to hear and believe:
“Isaiah 40:28: ‘Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not grow weak nor weary? There is no searching of His understanding.’
“1 Peter 1:3–4: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you.’"
(“The Slippery Slide to Unbelief,” by Ham and Byers, Creation Ministries, emphasis in original, http://creation.com/the-slippery-slide-to-unbelief-a-famous-evangelist-goes-from-hope-to-hopelessness
Despite this mindless evangelical onslaught, Templeton remained unbowed, openly acknowledging that, from his early career in his religious ministry, “I had never believed all that fundamentalists believe-the Genesis account of creation, for instance, or the monstrous evil of an endless hell. But now the entire fabric was coming apart.’
As one sympathetic biographer notes:
“Templeton knew what the problem was: doubt. ‘How does a man who each night tells 5,000 to 10,000 people how to find faith confess that he is struggling with his own?’ Following the closing service at [an evangelical] campaign in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, described [as] ‘the greatest crowd ever to gather in the history of Harrisburg,‘ Templeton made the decision: He would no longer conduct campaigns. He accepted a position as head of the Department of Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. He taught at seminaries and universities and wrote two books, one of them being 'Evangelism for Tomorrow.'
“During this period, Templeton spoke at Yale for a week, meeting afterwards with various students. One was the outstanding man in the senior class. He was also the captain of the debating team and an avowed atheist. The two of them debated the truth of Christianity alone in a borrowed office. At the end, neither had convinced the other. The student conceded, however, that Templeton had made ‘a hell of a good case.’
“Templeton's first reaction was elation, but he realized that he, too, had a concession to make: His arguments no longer convinced himself. ‘In the heat of discussion I believed them, but, alone, I knew that I had been role-playing.’
“During this time, Templeton was hosting the CBS network's religious television program ‘Look Up and Live’ (1952-55). Not long after his debate with the Yale student, Templeton quit the television program and 'gave up the ministry.'
“About his irrevocable decision to leave the ministry, Templeton states, 'There was no real choice. I could stay in the ministry, paper over my doubts and daily live a lie, or I could make a break. I packed my few possessions in a rented trailer and started on the road home to Toronto.'
“Thu, began his various careers as writer, editor, producer, politician. ‘The only activity I will not return to is the Christian ministry; I am and will remain a reverent agnostic.’
(“Charles Templeton: Inside Evangelism,” https://etb-former-fundamentalists.blogspot.com/2012/04/charles-templeton-inside-evangelism.html
Below is further background on the tenacious Templeton, found in a book review:
"For more than 20 years, Charles Templeton was a major figure in the church in Canada and the United States. During the 1950s, he and Billy Graham were the two most successful exponents of mass evangelism in North America. Templeton spoke nightly to stadium crowds of up to thirty thousand people.
"However, increasing doubts about the validity of the Old Testament and the teachings of the Christian church finally brought about a crisis in his faith and in 1957 he resigned from the ministry.
"In [his book] 'Farewell to God,' Templeton speaks out about his reasons for the abandonment of his faith. In straightforward language, Templeton deals with such subjects as the Creation fable, racial prejudice in the Bible, the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus’ alienation from his family, the second-class status of women in the church, the mystery of evil, the illusion that prayer works, why there is suffering and death, and the loss of faith in God.
“He concludes with a powerful personal statement., ‘I Believe.'"
(“Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.” Paperback – International Edition, September 10, 1999, https://www.amazon.com/Farewell-God-Reasons-Rejecting-Christian/dp/0771085087
Another observer actually regards Templeton as Billy Graham’s “better half:”
“By 1957, [Templeton] was an agnostic. In revivalist circles, it was a seismic event, a tsunami, an earthquake, as if Graham himself had renounced Jesus.
"In [his] memoir, ‘Farewell to God,’ Templeton explained his reasons: difficulties of the Creation myth, bigotry in the Bible, sexism, historical problems of Jesus, failure of prayer, the mysteries of evil, suffering and death. As compelling as his best sermon, full of ragged grief, the closing words are, ‘I Believe.’
"But search the web, and you will still find rancor.
“Divided from colleagues and friends (though he and Graham remained close), even losing his wife, Templeton went back to journalism. He met his second wife on the set of a CBC television drama. 13 months after they wed, he had a son. He also acquired a step-son and a daughter--one of them, Ty Templeton is a world-class comics artist.
“He went on to try his hand at politics (nearly becoming Premier of Ontario) before returning to radio and TV news casting. And he wrote plays and a bestselling novel, 'Act of God,' about an archaeologist who discovers the bones of Christ, and his lifetime friend, now a Cardinal and papal candidate, who decides to kill him to protect the Church.
"Life was full if not easy. Finally, in 1982, he fell prey to Alzheimer’s disease. Retiring from public life, he fought for each inch, according to his son, stretching his memory and performing daily exercises such as spelling words backward. He kept his vocabulary almost until the end, when the disease shut down what his brain needed to live. He died on June 7th, 2001, age 85.”
(“Billy Graham’s Better Half.” By Kenneth E. Nahigian, 11 December, at “The Eloquent Atheist,” http://www.eloquentatheist.com/2007/12/billy-graham%E2%80%99s-better-half/
Templeton Takes on the Gospels, the Place and Time of Jesus' So-Called "Virgin" Birth, Hesys' Alleged "Miracles," and the Resurrection That Never Happened
I have a personal copy of Templeton’s book, “Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith" [Toronto, Ontario, Canada: McClelland & Stewart, Inc., 1996.)
In it, he points out the paucity of evidence concerning Jesus’ purported existence, doing so clearly and unequivocally.
--On the Unbelievable Birth, Death and Life of Jesus
“It may come as something as a surprise to the reader to learn that we know remarkably little about Jesus of Nazareth. . ..
“We don’t know the date of his birth--it was certainly not December 25 in the Year One. Nor do we know for certain where he was born, although it was in all likelihood in the city of his childhood, Nazareth--certainly not in a Bethlehem stable. Nor do we know the exact date of his death, although it would seem to have been around the year 30 A.D historians of that time. The great secular historians of that time (Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, and others) mention Jesus only briefly, making passing reference to the fact that he preached in occupied Palestine and was crucified by the Roman government.” (p. 85)
--On the Historical Unreliability of the Christian Gospels When It Comes to Their Jesus Stories
“The earliest Christian records extant are the Pauline epistles, and they were written around 50 A.D. It was another ten years or so before the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were completed. But the names attached to the gospels are pseudonyms--none of the authors were among Jesus’ apostles and it is likely that none of them so much as saw or heard him.”
Moreover, Templeton notes that these accounts “are mutually contradictory, lack authenticity, and are in large part of the nature of legends. The stories of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his cleansing of the Temple, and his arrest, trial, and crucifixion have about them an aura of reality but, beyond that, the various accounts differ so radically and at so many points that, with all the good will in the world, they cannot be reconciled.” (pp. 85-86)
--On the Lack of Historical Evidence for the Virgin Birth
Templeton points out that the accounts of Matthew and Luke differ on fundamental points regarding the birth of Jesus. For example, at the time Luke says Jesus was being circumcised and Mary was being purified in Jerusalem, Matthew claims Joseph, Mary and Jesus were in hiding in Egypt, waiting for Herod to die.
Additionally, he notes that there is nothing in the historical record that mentions the supposed Herod-ordered slaughter of every male child in Bethlehem. Concludes Templeton, “It seems likely that the birth in Bethlehem was inserted into the story at a later date to validate the clams made by Jesus’ followers that, through Joseph, he stood in a direct line of descent from King David, whose roots were in Bethlehem.” (Templeton, p. 91)
As to the Christian claim that Jesus was God, born of an unwed Jewish virgin who conceived through the power of the Holy Ghost, Templeton bluntly concludes, “If one approaches the New Testament account with an open mind and unflinching realism, the evidence clearly indicates that Jesus was an illegitimate child who, when he came to maturity, resented it and was alienated from his parents and siblings.” (p. 93)
--On the Lack of Evidence for Jesus’ Miracle Acts
Templeton persuasively explains the afflictions suffered by those in the Gospel accounts, which were supposedly healed by Jesus’ miraculous powers:
“Most of the illnesses that afflict humans were beyond the comprehension of the men and women of that day and, of course, beyond Jesus’ comprehension, too. No one at that point in history had even a rudimentary understanding of the causes of physiological or psychological illnesses or of the various other afflictions to which humankind is subject. Most thought of them as punishments from God or the machinations of Satan or other evil spirits.
“When, for instance, epilepsy brought on a seizure that caused the victim to collapse and writhe on the ground as though struggling with an internal enemy, when food poisoning produced a paroxysm of vomiting, when a raging fever led to intense shivering and delirium, or when a migraine attack produced visual aberrations and excruciating pain, it seemed reasonable in that pre-scientific time to interpret such phenomena as the work of an evil spirit. And, when the affliction passed, it was equally reasonable to interpret it as the triumph of a benign spirit over a malign.
“Many illnesses, then as now, were psychosomatic and could be ‘cured’ when the sufferer’s perception changed. Just as today a placebo prescribed by a physician in whom the patient has faith can affect an apparent cure, so, in earlier time, faith in the healer could banish adverse symptoms. With each success, the healer’s reputation would grow and his powers would, as a consequence, become more efficacious.
“It would appear evident that this is what happened with Jesus . . .
“It is clear in the text that Jesus was seen by the general populace as a wonder-worker. The stories of his exploits were before him--by word of mouth, of course, and thus subject to embellishing--and when he entered a town the state of heightened expectation would often be close to mass hysteria. As a consequence, the apparently miraculous would happen.” (pp. 111-12)
--On the Absence of Historical Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection
Except for the claims made by anonymous Gospel writers, no evidence exists that Jesus ever rose from the dead. In fact, Gospel accounts of the alleged resurrection are, from a realistic point of view, completely implausible.
Indeed, as Templeton reports, supposed historical verification of its occurrence is relegated to a single sentence in the Gospels. If, as he observes, Jesus’ resurrection was accompanied by an extraordinary earthquake, the wholesale rending of the Temple veil and a large-group resurrection of the dead witnessed by many, why, then, do these phenomenal events merit but a single sentence in Matthew--and virtually no mention in the other Gospels or in contemporary historical accounts?
Moreover, what about all those folks that supposedly were resurrected with Jesus and wandering around town after Jesus rose from rot? The same people who were never I.D.-ed or their “oh-wow” experiences in Heaven recorded for posterity. The same people who no one could seem to recognize by name and track down?. All vanishing witnesses to their own resurrections. How convenient.
And what about those 500 folks who allgedly saw Jesus after he supposedly conuqered Maggotville? They turned up missing, too, along with their all their names and stories. Again, how convenient.
And how about Paul and Matthew being the sole sources of such fantastical stories? The Bible is truly a convenience mart for one-stop fantasies.
Writes an understandably skeptical Templeton:
“Let the reader imagine the scene: The astonished spectators, the gathering crowd, the family members and friends, weeping and delirious with excitement. Surely someone would have plied them with questions: ‘What happened as you died?’ ‘Did you see God?’ ‘What is Heaven like?’ ‘Were you reunited with our parents and other members of your family?’ Surely the answers to these and other questions like them would have flashed across Palestine within hours and been recorded somewhere. But there is not one word of it in history. The entire resurrection story is not credible.”
Add to this the fact that the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection not only differ from one another on many major points but are irreconcilably at odds with Paul’s account in I Corinthians on who Jesus supposedly appeared to after rising from the dead. (pp. 120-22)
Charles Templeton was a firmly rooted, articulately gifted, intellectually curious and courageously honest human being who came to grips with the deceptions, superstitions, abuses, fallacies, silliness and vacuousness of the Christian church. In subjecting it to his searing investigation, he had the brains, the guts and the integrity to reject it all.
If Jesus were alive today, perhaps he could follow in Templeton's footsteps.
Meanwhile, let the evangelicals rail. Chuck Templeton ain't in hell.
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2017 12:13AM by steve benson.