I READ ATHEISTS just about every day.
It’s not my choice. It’s my job. I have created enough YouTube videos about the Bible that Google analytics tells me I have about 150-200 people watching my videos every hour.
It’s a little intimidating to think that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, someone is watching me on a video. It’s just one more reason to behave myself wherever I am and whatever I’m up to. Not that it always works.
There’s one sour side effect to this YouTube ministry: atheist trolls.
There are serious-minded atheists and agnostics, too. (Atheist = There’s no God. Agnostic = I don’t know if there’s a God.) Those folks are easier on my adrenaline, though often harder on my brain. They can ask tough, honest, sincere questions.
Trolls spit talking points and trash.
It’s especially tough this week, as we get ready to soberly commemorate the Crucifixion and then celebrate the Resurrection.
One of my YouTube chores every day or two is to sort through the comments “held for review” or held as “likely spam.”
I’ve got just a few “held for review” left to read, but I’ve got 64 waiting as “likely spam.”
I’ll take you with me for a minute so you can read along.
Here are four in a row “held for review.” Sometimes, I confess, I get a little snarky with some of them. Sometimes I just wish I could. These bracketed notes are just “wish I could.” Instead, I’ll ignore the first three.
“You are mentally ill.” [You’re not going to talk me into running for public office.]
“It never happened and neither did Jesus.” [Would you mind pointing out a historian specializing in classical history who agrees with you? Everyone I’ve come across says otherwise.]
“So where is heaven?” [First stop after West Virginia and last stop of your heartbeat. If you’re a Wesleyan, you’ve got to want it. If you’re a Calvinist, you’ve got to get lucky. If you’re an atheist, don’t go to West Virginia.]
“Apparently you and many others need a history lesson. Josephus and Tacitus mentioned Christians but never Jesus. There is utterly no proof or evidence for Jesus ever being real.”
I approved three of the four. “You’re mentally ill” was hateful and accurate when I watch broadcast news. I don’t approve of hatefulness, I mute it on TV, and I don’t vote for it in November.
The comments about Josephus and Tacitus are especially frustrating to me. Those are two Roman writers who mentioned Jesus by name. Many atheists discredit those sections of Roman history, even though most historians don’t. So I have to keep making the case over and over, so newbie Christian readers won’t get misled or discouraged.
This must be what it’s like for a preacher who has to repeat the same sermon several times every Sunday.
Trolls aside and atheists challenged, we move on to a solemn and mournful Friday ahead.
I’ve created several videos that seem fitting for this time of year.
Easter season videos
Two Deaths is a video about the toughest Good Friday I’ve had to face so far.
Bible writers weren’t the only ones talking about crucifixions…or the crucifixion of Jesus. Roman writers did, too, with gritty detail. Jesus’ crucifixion actually shows up in Roman history books and letters written in his own century.
Lots of folks are genuinely perplexed about why seemingly intelligent people believe Jesus rose from the dead. Here’s why Christians believe it. And it’s not all about the stories in the Bible. There’s Roman history, too. And some Spirit.