Celsus Arguments Against Christianity
The first of 4 arguments I believe to be of importance is that of the virgin birth. Jesus claims to be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. It was said that Jesus was born to a virgin and God himself. When it was time for Mary to give birth she and her husband set off to have God’s son. Because there was no room at an Inn Jesus was born in a stable. On the contrary to what the Christian religion believes Celsus says that Jesus was born to a mother who was a spinner, and his legitimate father a Roman soldier, Panthera (Celsus pg. 57).
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It seemed as if it ere common knowledge the transgressions that Jesus mother had committed with the Roman. When this was found out Jesus mother was cast out by her carpenter husband and convicted of adultery (Celsus pg. 57). The Jews then went on with the story by saying this was explained by the fact that Herod wanted Jesus killed so they fled to Egypt (Celsus pg. 59). Herod feared that the son of God was going to be born and become the rightful king taking Herod’s throne. Herod sent out a decree that all male babies born would be put to death.
Celsus felt that being a God, Jesus should have not been afraid of death, but yet embrace it like the roman Gods did. He was a king after all, and kings were noble, righteous, brave, and willing to die for their subjects. This argument against Jesus seems to be just the beginning, in my opinion, of the downfall of his character. The next point I feel valid to Celsus arguments is that of the Christian faith and their followers. Celsus argued that instead of Jesus wanting all to follow his disciples seemed to pray on the weak and dumb (Celsus pg. 73-75). Jesus followers were the weak, poor, lame, children, and women.
This was hardly the kingdom that was respectable. Roman Gods had kingdoms and armies of all kinds. It takes men, women, children, poor and rich to have a community. This was not the case for Christians. Christians used the excuse that those who were educated, sensible, or wise were evil (Celsus pg. 72). By welcoming only the weak and slow into the Christian fold it looks as if they can only sell their ideas to those who can’t think for themselves. It was like they were more interested in finding followers that were going to follow them no matter the stakes without any sort of challenge. Christianity seemed to be for the lower lass. This is surprising considering that Christianity was met with resistance from the Roman government where a lot of it needed to be done in secrecy. This seems to be a slap in the face to the Romans who encouraged progression and education, yet felt that loyalty was a must. Roman Gods are that of noble character and moral values. They surround themselves with people of the same likeness. Roman Gods were held to a higher standard and were expected to lead their lands with a moral compass and the best interests of everyone. They did not have the luxury of taking risky or even selfish chances.
They had to be the upmost and noblest of leaders to lead their people to a better life Jesus did not seem to follow this thinking, and surrounded himself with ten or eleven friends that he associated with (Celsus pg. 59) that were less than moral men, yet he was gaining followers (Celsus pg. 57). This was very dangerous to Rome. The next argument that seems to be of merit was that of GOD being God. In the reading Celsus makes points that the Christian God is nothing like the Greek and Roman Gods. The Christian God seemed as if he did not have an explanation as to why he let things happen to Good people.
He did not have anyone he answered to. The Roman Gods and Kings were the authority of the land, but did not have the right to be reckless with their kingdoms and subjects. The decisions the Romans made affected everyone under their reign, and they made sure that what was done was done in the best interests of all. Not only was it their moral compass, but also an ironclad duty to guide those under their authority in the ways of rightness. God did not follow this thinking pattern. God was justified by his followers by saying that it was a test they needed o endure. He was never challenged, or even questioned. Questioning seems to be a bit of taboo. Celsus brings up important points about God being unreachable and unable to save them from harm. My thinking on this was that he was sitting up in the sky watching, but doing nothing. Celsus points out that God keeps his purposes to himself for long periods of time and just stands by when evil overcomes good (Celsus pg. 77). Instead of stopping the suffering that going on he continued to let it happen. He just stood by when plagues, fires, earthquakes, and famines riddled the land.
It is hard to fathom God being all knowing and all mighty, yet he sits around and watches as thousands of his followers are killed through these disasters that he could have ceased with a single command or swipe of his hand. It does not seem to be something that a God with love for his children would let happen if he truly loved them like Christians claim. Instead his followers continued to believe that they just needed to have faith and they would be delivered. For Christians God, in likeness, is thought to be as man is with hands, body, and a voice that he uses to speak to his followers.
In fact, it says man is made of God’s likeness and image (Celsus pg. 103). Celsus disagreed with this point wholeheartedly. That is not how God is at all. It was known that the true God in his infinity is without shape or color (Celsus pg. 103). Celsus also showed discord in the fact that God is all powerful, but did nothing to save his own son from torture and death (Celsus pg. 39). Instead of using divine power, he let his son die a humiliating death. Kings and Gods would not have let this happen. They would have protected their own with everything they had, even if this meant their own deaths.
The last argument that seemed to have merit for me in this book would have to be that of Christianity being unoriginal, and taken instead from many other religions. Instead of being something original and brought about by itself. The Christian faith is just a melting pot of many other religions and laws. It is said that Moses wrote their history so it reflected them in a positive light. His doctrine was not only held by him, but many other nations and cities such as Egypt, Assyrians, Indians, Persians, Gaul, Getae, and so on (Celsus pg. 55). Many of the laws that are eld by Christianity were given their start by other nations. Even circumcision was said to be started by another society and picked up by the Jews. It seems as if all the facts are more of fables and stories from other people. It is even said that God’s wisdom and man’s goes back to Heracleitus and Plato (Celsus pg. 93). Homer even writes about the Christians beliefs in the afterlife or resurrection. He says “The gods will take you to the Elysian plains at the end of the earth, and there life will be easy” (Celsus pg. 109). This is one of the biggest draws to the Christian faith.
Everyone wants to believe that this life is not all there is to life. They want to believe there is life after death. It makes a person feel better about their lives. My point to this is that if the life hereafter is founded on someone else’s principles, what is honest and original about Christianity? I think the thing that was the most eye opening point to me was the fact you always here the prophesy of this God and how he was slapped on a the cheek, and he did nothing in retaliation, except turn the other cheek. Plato shares the same sentiments when he is talking to
Socrates in the Crito (Celsus pg. 113).. He talks about never ever doing wrong to someone even if they have avenged us first. He says that in doing that because we were wronged first, it is no different than if we had harmed the person first. Plato says it best in an exerpt “So we should never take revenge and never hurt anyone even if we have been hurt” (Celsus pg. 113). I think Celsus was just in thinking Christianity had quite a few flaws in it. Celsus was Looking at it as many should. While they are taught that it is enough to just believe, sometimes that is not enough.
Celsus was standing up for his country and his officials. He was putting thought in himself and the rules that were put down. We are taught to stand up for our country. How many times are we led astray by others? Do we simply just take officials word for it that They are doing what is right? I agree with Celsus that you stand for your country and your leaders. I also think and agree that you challenge someone if what they are saying seems to be a bit off. Celsus stood up for his gods and leaders of his country against someone who was threatening their very existence.