I was a lifelong atheist before I became Catholic.
There is nothing like walking into a church on Christmas,
hearing the songs I knew all my life but thought were
about fairy tales, and realizing it’s all true.
It wrecks me every time.
Some have spoken of the universe spontaneously creating itself: the whole cosmos propped up by nothing, absolutely nothing. As miracles go, this would be unparalleled. Everything from nothing? Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but this would mean the virgin birth of the cosmos. In fact, it’s the virgin birth of the cosmos but without a virgin, without anything. Here would be the greatest conjuring trick every pulled: nothing up the sleeve, no sleeve, not even a magician. Just pure magic, out of nowhere.
It is of no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospels, is not historical and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been superadded by the tradition of his followers… Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.
I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it’s silly to talk about him not existing. I don’t know anyone who is a responsible historian, who is actually trained in the historical method, or anybody who is a biblical scholar who does this for a living, who gives any credence at all to any of this.