Welcome back to another episode of the Daily Sabbath! Today's installment is "A Christian & an Atheist Vol.3". Our host Jay Lee sits down with guest Calvin Smith for a thought-provoking conversation. They explore topics such as the concept of separating individuals who do not conform to societal norms, the existence of Jesus and the credibility of biblical accounts, and other challenging questions of faith. Join Jay and Calvin as they dive deep into these complex subjects and engage in a respectful, intellectual dialogue.

  • [00:12:17] Jesus: Real person or fictional character?

  • [00:19:23] Early Believers' testimonies and ulterior motives.

  • [00:23:42] Limited evidence for Jesus' resurrection.

  • [00:26:24] Non-Christian witnesses of Jesus' existence.

  • [00:35:54] Experts debate reliability of ancient New Testament manuscripts.

  • [00:38:19] Book debunks Christian myths on Jesus' existence.

  • [00:44:40] Believing in miraculous claims.

  • [00:49:57] Reading Bible twice led to agnostic atheism.

  • [00:54:16] Historical evidence isn't what leads to faith.

  • [01:03:36] Jesus reaches people through conviction and addressing humanity's brokenness and sin problem.

  • [01:06:10] Belief in inherent sin and power struggles.

  • [01:12:04] Disagreeing on Hell and final judgement

Guest Bio: Calvin Smith is an atheist activist working with the Secular Alliance of Michigan and Michigan Atheists as their Social Media Manager. Calvin is also a former conspiracy theorist and Christian, and previous host of the Unquestionable with Calvin Smith Podcast. Calvin considers himself a skeptic, atheist, humanist, and most importantly, a truth seeker.


The closing song is "Do Not Delay" by Maria Segerholm


The Daily Sabbath is a Provision Podcast Production

For more from Pastor Jay and the Daily Sabbath:

Show Transcript

Jay Lee [00:00:00]:


Hey. This is pastor Jay, and you're listening to the daily Sabbath podcast. Hey, guys. Pastor Jay here. Welcome to the daily Sabbath podcast. So today's episode is my 3rd interview with Calvin Smith, a self Proclaimed atheist. And to be honest, my intention for this third conversation was I wanted to try to get away From the intellectual and philosophical type conversations. And with any real conversation you have with real people, sometimes things don't go as plan.


Jay Lee [00:00:44]:


And the conversation ended up getting very sort of intellectual and academic again, which is great. But, you know, because of the limitations of time, I think we weren't able to really truly dig into some of these topics that we explore. And so I think it would be really irresponsible of me not to come back to some of those topics. Because I know for some of you guys who are listening, maybe this is new information. And so I don't wanna leave you with these lingering questions or these new questions that maybe you've never really thought about and haven't had a chance to do much study on. And so in the next episode, I'm gonna do sort of a follow-up of this conversation with Calvin. And maybe go into a little bit more depth in places where I feel like it was left ambiguous and things could have been explained better or or more clearly. And so after you listen to this interview, if there are lingering questions, please make sure you check out the Following episode.


Jay Lee [00:01:38]:


And also just feel free to reach out to me. You can message me at our Instagram account daily sabbath or you can email me at j@dailysabbathdot But enough of that, here is today's episode. Hope you enjoy. Alright. Welcome to the Daily Sabbath podcast. I'm your host, Jay Lee, and I am super excited about this for a couple of reasons. One, I'm super excited because this is my 1st interview back in forever, and so I'm just excited about that. But the second reason why I'm super excited is because of the guests that I have today.


Jay Lee [00:02:18]:


You know, inevitably, whenever I talk to people who listen to this Podcast, the guest and the episodes that people always mention are the Christian and an atheist episodes with my guest today, Calvin Smith. And so just a refresher, for those of you guys who are familiar with the podcast, you know him. But just for those of you guys who might be listening for the 1st time, he's also known as unquestionable Calvin on TikTok and social media. He is an atheist activist, and he's working with the Secular Alliance of Michigan. Calvin would consider himself to be a skeptic and an atheist, a humanist, and most importantly, a truth seeker. And so, Calvin, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast again.


Calvin Smith [00:03:02]:


Yeah. Absolutely, Jay. I I appreciate you inviting me on and, you know, thinking of me. I love having these conversations, and I like being on your show and talking to you. And I appreciate you coming on my show as well. When I was doing my podcast, and We had a really awesome discussion over there. And, yeah, it's always nice to talk to you and talk about this type of stuff.


Jay Lee [00:03:22]:


Yeah. And You are entering rarefied air here because you are only the 2nd person who has made 3 appearances on the show, And so you you are on in air here, so congratulations.


Calvin Smith [00:03:37]:


Alright. I will take my trophy and my prize money anytime.


Jay Lee [00:03:42]:


And, yeah, like I was mentioning in the intro, whenever I do talk to somebody who listens to the show, inevitably, they always Mentioned these episodes, and it seems like they're just really intrigued by these episodes. They're intrigued by you. They really enjoy them. I don't know. Like, do you have any thoughts of why maybe people enjoy these interviews with you and me so much?


Calvin Smith [00:04:04]:


Well, I mean, first thought that comes to mind is people see, like, you know, Christian and an atheist, and they immediately think, Oh, Man, there's gonna be a fight. This is gonna be someone's gonna tear someone a new butthole. It's gonna be a bloodbath. So people tune in for that reason. So 1, I think it's pure curiosity and 2, I think that these subjects are important. It's, I think, Not necessarily the belief in a god or a higher power itself being important, but the whether that claim being true, You know, if there actually is a higher power or a god or something out there, I think that's arguably the most important Aspect of our entire existence would be if there was truly an you know, some sort of higher power that was out there, And it is demonstrably true. It's out there. We just don't have that evidence for it yet.


Calvin Smith [00:04:58]:


I mean, that's probably the most important question we could ever possibly get an answer to.


Jay Lee [00:05:02]:




Calvin Smith [00:05:03]:


So I think it's important to have these conversations and kinda hash it out, get our ideas out there. And if people claim to have evidence for some sort of higher power, I, You know, I wanna see it because, you know, if if you believe in something, I wanna believe in that thing too.


Jay Lee [00:05:16]:


Yeah. Yeah. It's funny. And it's kinda funny to hear you say that because I think a lot of times, maybe People, when they encounter Christians and granted, maybe it's in, like, some sort of public setting, and maybe sometimes these Christians are Frankly, annoying. But a lot of times, I think the question will come at some of these Christians who are evangelizing and talking about their faith. It's like, You know, why are you doing this? Like, why are you attacking people with your faith, or why why do you feel like you have to why don't you just let people be and believe what they wanna believe? You know? And I think a lot of times what Christians will say is, well, I mean, if this is really true, right, that there really is this god and there really is a Jesus who Died and rose again. Like, it's the most important thing in the world. And, of course, if we care about people, we would wanna talk to them about it.


Jay Lee [00:06:06]:


And so it's kind of interesting to hear you coming from the other side of things as, you know, an atheist saying, hey. Pretty much the same thing. Like, If there really is a god, I mean, is there anything more important? And so these conversations are definitely worth having, and, Yeah. I agree with you. I think that people yeah. Maybe they tune in initially because they're wondering if we're going to fight. But I I do think Right.


Calvin Smith [00:06:30]:


And then when they tune in, realize like, oh, wow. This is Actually, really insightful conversation. They're not yelling at each other still. You know? Like, wow. Look at how much I'm learning instead of just, like, Looking for the win, like, counting the


Jay Lee [00:06:42]:




Calvin Smith [00:06:43]:


The hits and, you know, you know, not not actually looking at the arguments. I'm here just for the fight type of thing. Yeah. So that's That's kinda why I like doing these types of discussions and why, you know, like doing what I do. It's because that's kinda my whole thing is I'm trying to defeat the stigma of, like, Being nasty and, you know, mean towards each other about these types of conversations. Like, don't get me wrong. I still have my moments, You know, in person, on social media where, you know, I can get a little worked up, you know, if if I mean, I'm only human. I admit to it.


Calvin Smith [00:07:11]:


But all in all, my mission is to defeat that stigma, that we're all you know, we can have these types of conversations without getting worked up and then still learn something in the Yeah.


Jay Lee [00:07:20]:


Yeah. No. For sure. And so I appreciate that. I think that's something that people appreciate about you in these episodes is that We are able to achieve, I think, real dialogue, and I think that's something that you don't see too often where people are just sort of kind of talking past each other, talking at each other, but I I think we're able to achieve real dialogue here, and so I think people appreciate that.


Calvin Smith [00:07:43]:


I agree.


Jay Lee [00:07:44]:


And so for today, you know, Calvin, I think in the times that we've Spoken before in the previous 2 episodes and also when I was on your podcast. I think the the topics tended to be pretty kind of, intellectual, Kinda philosophical. And so today, I wanted to take a little bit of a different route and maybe get more of your thoughts and your impressions. So I think one of the things that you've mentioned previously is that you've actually read the Bible a lot. And I think you said that you've read through the Bible at least once, maybe. Many times have you read through the bible?


Calvin Smith [00:08:16]:


I've read it completely from cover to cover twice, but I still can continue to read it almost every day. I read, You know, probably 3 or 4 pages of Job this morning, when I was reading for a TikTok video that I made in response to this, because you know you can't just you know, I'm not one of those guys who's gonna cherry pick the and and, you know, not get the context of everything, so someone mentioned Job 12 7 through 10 in a TikTok video. They're like, Did you read Job 12:7 through 10? And I was like, You know what? I did, but I don't remember what's going on. So you know what? Let's take a look at it. That's pretty much what that video was. And so I read 7 through 10 on the video. But, You know, before the video, I obviously read the context of everything, you know, a couple pages before and after just to make sure everything was cool and clear Yeah. You know? And that I wasn't being that guy who just picked a verse that someone said and, you know, said it.


Calvin Smith [00:09:09]:


So, yeah, I've I I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but I I do Think that I I know more about the Bible than than most Christians do, if I'm being honest. I mean, maybe I'm tooting my own horn. But but, Yeah. I think it's I think it's important for to, because, you know, I started reading the Bible as kind of a believer. I more so was agnostic, but, I mean, At the time I started reading it the 1st time, if someone would have asked me, I probably would have said that I was I was a Christian at that time. But in in deep inside, I was like, I'm not a 100% sure right now. Even still now, I'm not a 100% sure. Not that I'm claiming to know Mhmm.


Calvin Smith [00:09:46]:


For certainty.


Jay Lee [00:09:47]:


Okay. But,


Calvin Smith [00:09:47]:


yeah. Yeah. I've I've definitely read it a couple times, and I read the the Quran and, the Bhagavad Gita. And I started reading the book of Mormon. It's incredibly boring. So I only got maybe a quarter of the way into it and then just it Fell off. I still need to pick it up and read it again, but, oh, man. It's so boring.


Jay Lee [00:10:05]:


Alright. Well, I give you permission not to read it. I'm just kidding. But, okay. So yeah. So you're very familiar with the text. And so I I just kinda wanted to get your thoughts, your impressions just in in reading it as a text. Like, what is your impression of who Jesus is, the importance of Jesus, what his message was? Like, if you were going to try to Try to summarize from your reading of the text.


Jay Lee [00:10:31]:


What thoughts would you share about, like, what it presents to us about Jesus and who he is and what his message is?


Calvin Smith [00:10:38]:


So it's it's kinda interesting. I kinda touched on, kind of going back to TikTok again. Sorry again. But, So I I made a TikTok about this maybe a day or 2 ago about how 77 so now now you mentioned Jesus. Right? You know? And and Jesus, he he comes into the New Testament. So, I'm I'm not sure if if you or or many people know this, but 77% of the the Bible is the Old Testament. 77.6% of the Bible is the Old Testament. So Think of watching an hour and a half long movie, and the main character, the main guy that you wanna see, the guy who's on the cover of the movie, You don't even see him or hear his name until the last 20 minutes of the movie.


Calvin Smith [00:11:26]:


That's essentially What's happening with the Bible is that Jesus is is absolutely nowhere named or mentioned. Now they mention the Christ or they mention, you know, a messiah or, You know, something to that effect, but they never specifically mention Jesus, anywhere in the old testament. Nowhere is that name found. So Anyways but so I would think of Jesus as being a person who took the ideas of the Old Testament and Refined them to to his liking. I I would kind of look at at Jesus as being, if I'm being honest, just Another apocalyptic preacher of the time. You know, apocalyptic preaching was Mhmm. You know? Even today, it's it's nothing, you know, that's, That's gone. By any means, people are still doing it, and I you know, it definitely was happening even more back in that those times.


Calvin Smith [00:12:17]:


So I feel like Jesus was just a guy who had a lot of apocalyptic preachings that were based off of ancient, Near Eastern and Jewish cultural cultural norms and and stories and, essentially, refining those and finding out what his local community likes and getting a small group of people that that, You know, he he got a cult following from, and that cult following grew, and his teachings grew. And, his story got more and more exaggerated as time went on. And it eventually turned into, you know, the Paul Bunyan of today. You know? You it's it's how I look at it as it's No skin off my back if Jesus Christ was a real person who existed. You know, I'm I'm still honestly still kind of on the fence as to whether Jesus, This Jesus from the Bible was even a real person. I'm still kind of on the fence as to is this guy just purely a character in this in this book? I'm not totally convinced, but I digress. It's regardless of the things that were said that he did in the Bible, The question is, did he actually do those things, and did he actually say those things? Did he say the red parables in the Bible, you know, the the colored red parables? Is that what he actually said? How do we know that's what he said? Bottom line is we we don't. We we just don't know.


Calvin Smith [00:13:41]:


We believe it. You know, you can believe it. You can read it in the Bible, and it says Jesus said this, but what reason outside of that do you have to think that he said that or did that or that happened? So how I look at it is that Jesus is just a guy, if he existed at all, was just a guy from ancient Near East. And he had some teachings that people caught on to and it spread and Now it's the world's largest religion.


Jay Lee [00:14:11]:




Calvin Smith [00:14:12]:


And I mean, I feel like that's not uncommon. You know, you look at Hinduism and Islam and These other religions and that's I mean, look at Scientology, for example. That's basically what's happened with Scientology. It started off as a very small cult following of people, and now there's, You know, hun almost hundreds of thousands of people that are following Scientology. Yeah.


Jay Lee [00:14:31]:


So you're saying that just because there's a lot of people who follow something doesn't necessarily mean that it's true or it Correct. Okay. So let let's let's kinda go into some of that. So it's interesting to hear you say that. So let first, let's just start with, like, the text itself. Right? Well, first of all, like, in the new testament and I I I think you're still kind of Questioning the historicity of it, the reality of it outside of the text, but just within the world of the text itself. Right? You know, Jesus's claim was that he was the fulfillment of all of these promises that you see in the old testament or the Hebrew scriptures is a more PC term, and that, you know, all of them actually testify of him. And so, you know, a lot of times, Christians, when they're studying the old testament and granted, there are There are portions of the Christian community who feel like, the old testament, it's old.


Jay Lee [00:15:24]:


We don't need that anymore, right, which is Extremely uninformed because exactly like you said, Jesus's Bible was the Old Testament, and so much of the Bible is the Old Testament. And, really, what we would believe is to understand the New Testament, you actually have to understand the Old Testament because it is what leads up to and make sense of everything that happens in the new testament and what happens in the ministry of Jesus.


Calvin Smith [00:15:49]:


You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that because That's an argument that I get into literally almost every day, is Christians disregarding the Old Testament. And it's like, so And then they'll say, but the 10 commandments. And I'm like, oh, man, you just caught yourself, right? Oh, boy.


Jay Lee [00:16:12]:


So they want part of it, but they don't want it.


Calvin Smith [00:16:13]:


Yeah. That drives me crazy. It's like you can't you you can't have the new testament without the old testament. So, yeah, I'm just I'm glad That


Jay Lee [00:16:21]:


Yeah. So that


Calvin Smith [00:16:21]:


you say that.


Jay Lee [00:16:22]:


I'm interest so so that's why I'm kind of, I find it interesting that in your reading of the bible. Like so, again, kind of disregarding whether or not you think it actually happened, but just, like, living in within the world of the text itself That in your reading of through the Bible, you have not seen any connections between the Old Testament and some of the prophecies season the promises that God was making to, you know, the Israelites and the Jewish people, and then what happens with Jesus in the Like, you you don't see any correlation there?


Calvin Smith [00:16:56]:


Not really. So how I see it is so correlation isn't causation. And so just because these things so, you know, the old testament happened, and there's there's even portions of the old testament that are even thought to be Closer to when the New Testament was actually, you know, beginning to be written, small portions of it. And so it makes you sit back and think like, okay. So how Is is it even possible that they could have seen these things in the the Old Testament, said, okay. This needs to happen. This needs to happen. Enable for this to happen.


Calvin Smith [00:17:28]:


Couldn't they just say that it happened in the New Testament? And, I mean, it's it's an unfalsifiable claim. Drawing a blank on anything that I could use as an right now. But


Jay Lee [00:17:39]:


Like, that he was gonna be born in Bethlehem, that he was gonna


Calvin Smith [00:17:43]:


be a Nazarian going to test that Right here today, right now, how can we test that and prove that to know that that was fulfilled? We can't.


Jay Lee [00:17:52]:


So I mean, You might be able to. It depends on if there's any extent historical evidence.


Calvin Smith [00:17:59]:


Right. I guess I guess let me clarify that. We could. There are ways that we could test that, but do we have that evidence? Do we have that reason to believe in that


Jay Lee [00:18:09]:




Calvin Smith [00:18:11]:


So, yeah, I mean, not to say that there isn't true things and true events, true people, etcetera, that, you know, are in the Bible and are present in the Bible. And there's, You know, King Nebuchadnezzar, definitely a real person. You know? Not a doubt in my mind. There's a plethora of evidence to corroborate his existence, but It's like when it goes down to the supernatural or paranormal things that happen. Like, talking about King Nebuchadnezzar when he just gets out on the grass and just Eating grass for a number of years. I think I think it was, like, 3 years or something. He was eating only grass, like a cow I


Jay Lee [00:18:42]:


don't remember how long, but he basically went insane for a period of time.


Calvin Smith [00:18:46]:


Yeah. And there is liter like, I really searched for some sort of corroboration for that. Like because I feel like if a king just got down and just started eating grass For a number of years that somebody would have written that down, like, somewhere, nowhere. It does not exist. There there is Absolutely not a single person on the planet that ever said that they saw him eat grass even once. So why would I believe


Jay Lee [00:19:10]:


Well, there's at least 1 person. Right? Because somebody wrote that. Yeah. But you I I understand what you're saying. Somebody outside of the scripture writers. But I mean


Calvin Smith [00:19:19]:


Right. Because it's like, did that person actually see it, or did they just But I mean you know?


Jay Lee [00:19:23]:


There is still at least 1 person. Right? Because I think, to be fair, sometimes I think we disregard the fact that, yeah, there are people who are claiming to be witnesses of certain things, who are writing these things, which, have been preserved in these new testament documents, but We we discount them because, well, they have an ulterior motive. You know? They're believers. They're followers of this thing, so They their word can't be trusted. We we kind of disregard it as this is not real evidence, which I mean, I understand that there is obviously the possibility That this person has ulterior motives and could be deceptive, right, because they're trying to promote, you know, this thing that they believe. But it's also you have to admit, it's also a little unfair to say just because I support this particular position, therefore, my words don't count. So it seems like the only words that could count would be, like okay. So we have the testimony of the people who actually wrote the new testament documents like that.


Jay Lee [00:20:22]:


Jesus rose from the dead. Then you also have documents of maybe, like, early, you know, early church fathers who say that they knew you know, they were associates of the apostles who were witnesses of Jesus rising from the dead. Right? So you you have these testimonies that say, hey. We Either saw it or we knew the guys who saw it. Right? But it kinda seems like we disregard those. Like, well, they're believers, so that can't be trusted.


Calvin Smith [00:20:51]:


So I wouldn't disregard them just simply because they're believers. I would disregard them because I see no reason to believe them other than Saying, I know a guy who knows a guy who did this. You know? Like, if I if I if I met someone on the street and They told me that they know a guy who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Why would I believe him other than that reason? Like, what so I enabled for me to believe this guy on the street that said, hey. Let's even go even further. My best friend let's say my best friend approaches me and says, hey, I saw a guy that ascended into heaven. He rose from the dead, and he got hit by a car and then ascended into heaven. I watched it happen.


Calvin Smith [00:21:38]:


I was a witness, and there was a bunch of other people there. Okay. Mike, that's his name. So I would say, Okay, Mike, can you give me a witness? Just some who else was there? Who else was there with you? Yeah. Oh, well, couldn't tell you. Couldn't tell you. And not a not a single of the 500 people out there. I couldn't tell you a single one of their names.


Calvin Smith [00:21:57]:


Mhmm. Okay. Could you did anyone else write this down? Did anybody else write this down? Anyone. No, none of the 500 people wrote this down. How can you prove to me that there were 500 people there? Well, I can't. I I have no reason other than telling you that 500 people do you see where I'm getting at? Is that, like, him just saying that the stuff happened, Even though he's my best friend, I I all in all, you don't know what's going on in their head. You don't know what alternative motives they may have. You don't know if They had some sub sort of psychotic breakdown.


Calvin Smith [00:22:33]:


You don't know if they're being manipulated by somebody else to push a different motive or, you know, anything. You you really don't know. Even though this is my best friend, I still would not believe him. So why would I believe a guy 1000 of year you know, in a book that's 1000 of years previous to me, Some random guy who I don't I'm not even sure existed. Why would I believe that when he says a guy said this?


Jay Lee [00:23:01]:


Yeah. So I guess if your friend just tells you, hey. I saw a red bird, it's easy to accept that testimony because there's nothing Unbelievable about it. There's nothing amazing about it. But the more unbelievable something is that somebody tells you, I guess, maybe the more likely you are to be skeptical. So if your best friend tells you, hey. I saw a guy rise from the dead, there's a natural skepticism that would come into play. So I I I get that part.


Jay Lee [00:23:28]:


I I get the part where it's like, the more fantastic and more unbelievable the claim, the more likely you are to be skeptical, even if it's somebody you trust. Right.


Calvin Smith [00:23:37]:


Yes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That's pretty much where I'm coming from.


Jay Lee [00:23:42]:


So I mean, that makes sense, and it is not my belief that people come to believe that Jesus really rose from the dead and that he lives now know, necessarily because they were presented with a bunch of historical evidence or, well, here's all of the, you know, eyewitness testimonies and their Affidavits and, you know, their certified statements and, you know, here's how many of them we have. Like, I I don't think most people come to believe because They saw a bunch of that kind of information, but I do think, though, there is considering that this is something that happened 2,000 plus years ago, There is evidence. I mean, there is testimony. And, again, going back to your what you're saying, maybe it's not enough evidence For you to say, I believe it now. Like I said, I don't think too many people come to believe it because they were presented with a bunch of evidence. But I think there is evidence still, And I think there's a decent amount of evidence that could at least make a person say, that's interesting considering that this is something that happened 2000 years ago. So for For instance, like, at the beginning of our interview, you were talking about how you're still kind of on the fence of whether Jesus is even a real person. Right? And so Mhmm.


Jay Lee [00:24:54]:


I mean, Stop to think like, okay. What would convince us that Jesus was a real historical person? I well, 1, some sort of eyewitness Testimony that is recorded that is, you know, contemporary Yeah. From that time. But also on top of that, Well, if the only eyewitness testimony that we have that is contemporary from that time, which obviously we have, the new testament documents, because the new testament documents, regardless of whether you believe the Truth claims, they are pretty reliably dated back to the 1st century, so they're at least contemporary, and then, you know, the witness of early church fathers. But I think probably a skeptic would say, well, if I really wanna believe Jesus really existed, I need to see eyewitness Testimonies from people who are not Christians. Right? Like, who are not people who followed this religion. And we have that too. Right? We have, You know, a handful, which, you know, maybe I don't know exactly how many.


Jay Lee [00:25:50]:


Maybe there's, like, 5 or 6, but there's 5 or 6 Roman or Jewish Historians who are not, at least not that we know of, are not Christians, who are not followers of Jesus, who testified that there was this guy named Jesus of Nazareth.


Calvin Smith [00:26:07]:


Now could could you I I all I already kind of know what names you you're thinking of.


Jay Lee [00:26:14]:


Well, there's only 5 of them. So, yeah, I would think that you


Calvin Smith [00:26:17]:


Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus. Who else is there?


Jay Lee [00:26:22]:


I don't know. You're right, though. It's those guys.


Calvin Smith [00:26:24]:


Well, those 3 so those 3, they were all born Any anywhere between, 30 CE to 200 CE. Any anywhere in between there. So That quite literally means that they would have lived well after Jesus would have lived according to the chronology of the Bible. And to be fair, None of those people specifically said that they were firsthand witnesses of Jesus. None of none of them ever did. They Claim to, again, to have known people who knew Jesus or knew people who knew a guy who knew Jesus or knew a guy who Thinks he saw Jesus in a dream or something like that. But, to be fair, those those 3 people and the the other couple people whose names are totally escaping me right now, they they never once claimed to to have seen Jesus or be firsthand witnesses. And, frankly, they historically could not have because we we have Not their exact day of birth, but we have their their years of birth indefinitely.


Calvin Smith [00:27:25]:


So but isn't that and


Jay Lee [00:27:27]:


isn't that how we know How anybody from history existed? I mean, none of us living today are eyewitnesses of anybody who lived in history before our lifetimes. Right? So


Calvin Smith [00:27:39]:


And I only believe the people that existed that we have evidence to believe we had they they existed. So, Like George Washington. That's usually the one that people usually go to is, Oh, you know, why do you believe George Washington exists? Well, we Quite literally have his like have his like body.


Jay Lee [00:27:58]:


We do. We have his bottom somewhere.


Calvin Smith [00:28:01]:


So we And that's like he was president of the United States. Right.


Jay Lee [00:28:06]:




Calvin Smith [00:28:07]:


a pretty major deal.


Jay Lee [00:28:08]:


I'm taking somebody else's word for it.


Calvin Smith [00:28:12]:


I'm pretty sure that the Declaration of Independence and, you know, these types of things are pretty noteworthy documents of historical times and, you know, other people that were there and can corroborate his existence. So if you go back to the witnesses of Jesus Christ, Name me 1.


Jay Lee [00:28:27]:


But aren't you okay. Let's let's let's stay on this example they're raising. Now, obviously, it's Mhmm. It feels different because George Washington is not nearly as ancient As Jesus of Nazareth.


Calvin Smith [00:28:38]:


And George Washington wasn't making any supernatural claims that he could


Jay Lee [00:28:41]:


But I mean see, I think part of part of the issue though is Part of your argument is that you've already, a priority, dismissed it because it has supernatural claims. Like, that's part of your evidence of the the fact that


Calvin Smith [00:28:55]:


the the testimony is not reliable. Yeah. Because supernatural things don't exist, So I don't have a reason to believe in supernatural things until it's been demonstrated. So it being put in a book is no different than me looking at, like, Harry Potter and saying, you know, the magic wand of Harry and I'm like, okay. What are the 2 differences between these things? Well, they tell her now we have more evidence for Harry Potter's existence than we have for Jesus'.


Jay Lee [00:29:16]:


Let's You


Calvin Smith [00:29:16]:


know, at least we can look at Daniel Radcliffe in his face.


Jay Lee [00:29:20]:


Yeah. So let I mean, let's let's stay on your example here with George Washington. So obviously, it's different because George Washington is much more modern, not as ancient. And let's just kind of forget for a second about, you know, the idea of supernatural claims, but just Did this guy exist? And at least to me, when I'm listening to you, I feel like all of the evidence that you just said For why you believe George Washington exists is all the same evidence that I'm using for why I believe Jesus existed. It's just that you don't accept, Maybe because it's more ancient, but it seems like No. Because you're saying that there's contemporaries of George Washington who who Mhmm. Talked about him, who We've never seen them either. How do I know that any of those guys existed? There's no video evidence, but also there's a document.


Jay Lee [00:30:08]:


Right? The declaration of independence that Purportedly records things that George Washington or just this body of people have said that have been passed down to us.


Calvin Smith [00:30:18]:


And and I know what you're saying. So it's like, how how do you dismiss the Bible but but not dismiss these other


Jay Lee [00:30:23]:


books because of


Calvin Smith [00:30:24]:


the actual books?


Jay Lee [00:30:25]:


Not the supernatural parts, but just just on the question of did these people really exist?


Calvin Smith [00:30:32]:


Right. So because, again, Witnesses. Again, you can look at, you know, the people who signed the Declaration of Independence. You can you can get evidence that, you know, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, all these people actually existed to corroborate George Washington's existence. We have clothing and bedding and stuff from


Jay Lee [00:30:51]:


evidence also the same kind of evidence, Which is, like so okay. You're saying I can corroborate George Washington's existence because I can I can corroborate the existence of John Adams? How? Because of the Right. Because you can look at


Calvin Smith [00:31:06]:


so we have we have Josephus. Right? You look at for example, if we look at, like, Josephus as being, Let's say he's claiming to be a firsthand witness. Well, the guy that he talked to who is that guy that he talked to? We don't know. We don't know who this guy he says he talked to a guy who says he or he that he talked to an apostle. This apostle was unnamed. How do we know that apostle saw Jesus? Well, Mhmm. The book claims that the apostle saw Jesus. Well, who wrote that? You know, if that was before Josephus.


Calvin Smith [00:31:37]:


See what I'm getting at is that we don't know who is writing these things down. We can follow the trail all the way back to George Washington. We can follow it all the way back to John Adams or Ben Franklin or Abraham Lincoln, whoever it is, we can follow a trail, a paper trail back to these people, But you can't follow a paper paper trail back to Jesus, especially take away the Bible. What do you have as far as evidence outside of the Bible For Jesus existing, like, what what else is there?


Jay Lee [00:32:06]:


Well, you've already dismissed the evidence of these non Christian writers that we were talking about. So yeah. I mean, if you're gonna dismiss these you know, because this is something that happened 2,000 plus years ago. Right? So Mhmm. You know? But if you're going to dismiss the testimony of the few, you know, non Christian testimonies that we do have that this guy really existed, Then yeah. I mean, I guess you're only left with Christian witnesses. Well, I mean, there's also the writings of outside of the new testament that are from Christians. But, Yeah.


Jay Lee [00:32:37]:


Definitely. The new testament writings are by far the the main source of our knowledge of him, but it seems like you're dismissing this.


Calvin Smith [00:32:45]:


So I know I know you you mentioned, 1st century. So I I'm not sure if you're aware, but the the New Testament the the earliest known Writings of the New Testament only go back to, like, the 3rd, maybe the 4th century. It's like the the absolute furthest back. So we have absolutely nothing, Literally no no contemporary writings from the 1st century that corroborate Jesus in any way, shape or form. So If those writings don't exist and we just have people saying things, you know, saying that Jesus existed, said that he did this, and we're not able to lead that paper trail all the way back to Jesus, Why would I believe that Jesus did any of these things? How do I know that, you know, again, these scribes that were writing the Bible and translating the Bible for 100 or 1000 of years. How do I know that not even one of them had some sort of ulterior motive to change a word when, in fact, we have Lots of evidence of scribes being caught changing the Bible and its words. Like, that's not even a secret. It's not even not even questionable.


Calvin Smith [00:33:51]:


It's an absolute fact that scribes have been caught and severely punished for editing the words in the bible and attempting to publish it. And in some cases, it actually worked. I mean, look up, the blasphemous comma, for example. I can't remember the I know it's in Luke, but I can't remember the exact verse. But the blasphemous comma put a, comma in the wrong place, and it made Jesus out just from that 1 comma being there. It made Jesus look To be a murderer from that one simple comma being there, and, like, I I cannot remember it. I could send you what the the verses and everything on it, but it's called the blasphemous comma. And, it's a very big thing, especially in older King James Bibles, till it was later changed.


Calvin Smith [00:34:29]:


I think in the early 1800 is, I think, when they initially caught it, and we're like, oh, Shoot. We need to fix that so that doesn't look so bad because I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be there. And it wasn't, you know, that was a mistake, That was put in there. So who who's to say that there isn't other mistakes throughout the Bible Mhmm. Or exaggerations in the Bible that were put in there from someone else that Made things seem more extraordinary. And why would I believe those things outside of what the Bible says? Especially when it comes to Jesus and him being the son of God or, you know, God incarnate, however you wanna define that.


Jay Lee [00:35:05]:


Yeah. I mean, we're we're touching on a lot of different issues here, and Things of which you and I frankly are not super qualified to to to really


Calvin Smith [00:35:14]:


That's fair.


Jay Lee [00:35:14]:


That's fair. Right? You know, because right now, I think that the issues that we're talking about are getting into the manuscript evidence. And, yeah, you and I are probably not Equipped enough to be able to discern between, you know, varying views, but I I understand what you're you're saying. Well, first of all, that issue that you identified about the Murderous comma, I'd be interested to hear about that. But my understanding is that the Greek manuscripts don't have punctuation, so I imagine that might be maybe a translation issue. But, Yeah. In terms of the manuscripts, it is true that we don't have any originals. Like, we don't have the original, like, from Paul's hand to us or from Mark's hand to us.


Jay Lee [00:35:54]:


But I I would dispute, and I I think, again, this is something we'll have to defer to the experts, But I think there's plenty of reputable new testament scholars who who would say that, first of all, we have tons of manuscripts. You know, maybe not all complete new testaments or complete documents, but we have tons of thousands of manuscripts from the new testament, at least pieces. I do believe there is a a fragment that goes back, and, you know, obviously, it depends on which expert you're talking to, but we We do have a fragment that goes back as early as, like, earlier than 90, 80. But I do believe that we do have some Fragments that are dated older than what you're suggesting. But, I think the people who do study manuscript evidence, Unless you're talking to only the the the fringest, most, most skeptical date the new testament documents to the 1st century. So I I think we would need to also deal with that if we were gonna continue to to go down this this Trail of, you know, talking about the reliability of the Bible. I it's not just how old is the oldest manuscript that we have, But how old is the original writing of this document? Right? And so we would have to debate whether whether or not there were significant changes introduced between the original writing of the document and the oldest manuscript that we have. So that's that is definitely a debate.


Jay Lee [00:37:28]:


But in terms of the dating of the original documents, I think there's plenty of scholars who would date these New Testament documents back to the 1st century, which puts them in contemporary times with The events that they supposedly speak of, including the life of Jesus, the life of the apostles.


Calvin Smith [00:37:47]:


I would encourage you, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the author David Fitzgerald. Actually I had him on my podcast. He is, he's a Jesus mythicist. He buddies with, like, Bart Erman and stuff like that. And, I actually I I interviewed on My Man cast. And then he came out to Michigan maybe a month or 2 ago, and he did a book signing on behalf of the nonprofit that I work for. And I met him in person, got a couple books signed by him. But the reason why I bring him up is he wrote a couple books.


Calvin Smith [00:38:19]:


It's called Nailed Top 10 Christian Myths on Why Jesus Never Existed at All, and I encourage you to pick that up, and what he does is he breaks down every single person who has ever claimed to have been a firsthand witness or that People claim are firsthand witnesses of Jesus. He breaks down every single one of them, and he explains how they are not and what evidence and what reason he has to not believe that. So he has 2 volumes of that, and then he also has a book called Jesus Mythhing in Action where he breaks down the New Testament more specifically, And he breaks down the ages of the New Testament. He said at this meeting that he was at, to to the conference of people, if someone can present me of some evidence that Jesus existed, then I will write a book about not reading any of my old books over the past 30 years of of looking for this evidence of Jesus Christ. And, again, he he clarifies, just as myself, that I truly don't care if Jesus existed or not. I care about the superpowers that he supposedly have and the superpowers that other people supposedly had throughout the bible. That's my big contention. You know? Again, if someone were to come up to me today with some so they came up to me with a tooth, And they said, this is you know, I can show you the evidence that this tooth is Jesus Christ's tooth.


Calvin Smith [00:39:48]:


Can show me the evidence? I would say, Great. Cool. I'm convinced. Now prove the magic stuff.


Jay Lee [00:39:54]:


Mhmm. Yeah.


Calvin Smith [00:39:55]:


You know, that's where where it ends.


Jay Lee [00:39:56]:


Yeah. So This this first half of the conversation did not go in the direction that I was gonna go. I was trying to I was trying really hard to steer it into more just kind of examining The the the text for itself within its own world, but, it's it's okay. It was I think this was a still a good conversation. I think some of my Some observations I think that I'm making on my end about kind of your position. 1 is I do feel like you've already decided that supernatural things cannot happen, and therefore, I feel like there is actually no evidence that there's no evidence that anybody could present to you short of Jesus actually standing before you when you seeing him with your own eyes. Maybe like a Thomas experience where Jesus is standing before you and you can put your fingers in in the holes, you know, in his in his hands and his feet. There's There's no evidence that anybody could show you to make you believe that a soup supernatural thing could have possibly happened.


Jay Lee [00:40:59]:


So that's one observation I make is that it's sort of a priority almost. Like, it's already dismissed out of hand. The other thing that I think I'm I'm noticing in This conversation that we've been having, it does feel like we're coming down to a difference of which experts we are believing, You know, that you have your experts that you believe who present certain kinds of evidence about, you know, the historicity of Jesus and the manuscript evidence and the dating and things like that. And then I have my experts and my scholars that I am depending on in their work, in their expertise You know, the same subjects. And so I think we're coming down to a place where it's like we're we're just we're we're drawing on 2 different sources of knowledge, 2 different streams of scholarship, and it's kind of hard for us to be able to go beyond that. In this moment, I mean, we could study more. But in this moment, it's hard for us to go beyond, well, which experts are right.


Calvin Smith [00:41:58]:


What I would clarify is that I don't follow experts. I don't even like to call anybody experts. I think that's weird. I don't think you can be an expert in anything if I'm being completely honest. Expert is such a


Jay Lee [00:42:09]:


Well, expert to just mean that you know more than the average person about a certain subject.


Calvin Smith [00:42:15]:


I don't follow the experts. I follow the evidence that they present. So the fact of the matter is that David Fitzgerald, him along with other people, you know, I'm not just looking at David Fitzgerald, I just use him as an example and he's someone that I have Read a lot about and watched, or and interviewed him personally, and he has personally, communicate with me. We're buddies. So, yeah, I reference him. Mhmm. But Not to say that there isn't quite a few other people out there that that would corroborate that that evidence, and that's the whole thing is that David Fitzgerald is saying, hey. You know, this is the evidence that they're claiming.


Calvin Smith [00:42:51]:


This is why I don't believe in that. So You're reading his perspective, and then how I look at it as is I don't take anyone's word on faith. Okay? I don't just look at someone and say, you know He's right. They're you know, just because he said that, Jesus doesn't get snow. I'm taking what he said. I've been reading his, like, 150 page book for, like, 3 months now. I because I'm really breaking it down. I'm actually personally researching a lot of these people that he's bringing up because some of these people, I don't even never even heard about.


Calvin Smith [00:43:18]:


So I don't follow experts. I I follow the evidence that they present. So if if one of your experts, quote, unquote, experts, you know, presented something Demonstrable and empirical? I believe it. You know? Because that's the honest thing to do. That's that's you know, I would totally believe it. And that would bring me into my next thing is that, you mentioned that that you're kinda getting the, I'm kind of closed off that that there's nothing that could convince me that Jesus was who he was unless he was standing right here before me.


Jay Lee [00:43:49]:


Any miraculous claim.


Calvin Smith [00:43:51]:


Right. Any miraculous claim. And to be fair, I mean, I don't really know what it would take to convince me that those magic things happen. But If enable in order for me to believe that Jesus Christ, you know, is worthy of my worship and that It's purposeful and that he actually is there to listen and that there is a heaven and a hell, unable for me to believe Any of that, I need it is a requirement for me personally that I need justification for these supernatural events that happened. Really, if I can get solid justification for those events, whatever it may be, I probably would be convinced of the God of the Bible and of Jesus price. Now would I follow those people? Absolutely not. There is absolutely no way that I would follow either of those things. Never.


Calvin Smith [00:44:40]:


We could go more into that if you really wanted. But, so it's not that I'm closed off to the information. It's that I don't have a reason to believe that information. You know, saying that people are walking on waters and or walking on water and turning water into wine and Rising from the dead and descending into heaven and, you know, all of these miraculous things, that's just not something that I can take off of faith. You know, what else do I need to take on faith? What other claims of other religions do I need to take on faith? And, you know, what about them? They seem they have a lot of followers and a lot of people who claim to have evidence for their god too. So it's like it it comes down to, I just don't have a reason to believe it. And if a god or Jesus existed and wanted me to know he existed and loved me and wanted me in heaven with him, All they would need to do is and they would know how to do it if they were all knowing and all powerful. They would know how to convince me of That, without impeding on my free will, albeit Yeah.


Calvin Smith [00:45:43]:


I feel like that's that's definitely possible for them to do. And they just They either haven't done it, or they're not there to do it, or they don't have the power to do it. It's it's really only 1 one of the 3 options.


Jay Lee [00:45:54]:


Yeah. But, you know, actually, something that you're saying kinda reminds me of some of these stories of Jesus in the gospels. There's a story in the gospels where, basically, Jesus is teaching, and he's teaching in parables. And then later on, the disciples privately are like, hey, dude. You know that story you told about the Farmer in the sea. It's like, what does that mean? Right? Mhmm. And it's interesting. I mean, he does explain it to them what it means.


Jay Lee [00:46:19]:


But one of the things that he said to them was, Like he who has ears to hear and eyes to see, the secrets of the kingdom have been given to you, but to to the rest, Only in parables, which is kind of interesting because I think, usually, we think of parables as like, oh, Jesus is the master teacher, And he's he's using these illustrations to make it easier for us to understand it. Right? But in that scene, it makes it almost sounds like sound like Jesus kind of obscured the teaching. Right? And he said, to you guys, I have revealed all the secrets of the kingdom. Everybody else, they get it in parables. And It kind of feels like the difference between like, because that's a question that I was asking in in reading that story. What's the difference between these guys that they get it? Just Here it is. And everybody else, it's just sort of veiled a little bit. And it kinda feels like the the difference was they were actually there following him and seeking him out and, like, explain this to us.


Jay Lee [00:47:16]:


We wanna understand this and and and giving themselves to really, like, be his disciples. And everybody else was, Maybe they're intrigued. Maybe they're interested. Maybe they when Jesus came into their town, he came and he they came and, like, okay. I'm gonna check out this Jesus guy. But, you know so for some people, they completely changed their lives. And other people, he just kinda came in and out of their town and and nothing, and they just went back to their lives. And and so I guess the the point I'm trying to make so that was a very long way to get to this


Calvin Smith [00:47:45]:


You're good.


Jay Lee [00:47:46]:


Is to maybe question one of your premises, which is that If Jesus wanted me to believe in him, I mean, surely, he would make that apparent. But I think, actually, there's a lot of examples in in the New Testament where Jesus didn't, Not because he doesn't love people, but there seemed to be an onus on people to to open themselves up, and he was Also, totally willing to walk right by you and walk right in and out of your town and and let you miss it, basically. So I I I would just kind of question that that premise where and I'm not saying that this is necessarily you because I do feel like you've sought the truth much more than The average person. Right? So I can't explain why he hasn't just revealed himself to you. Right? Because you've Been reading his book plenty.


Calvin Smith [00:48:31]:


Yeah. I mean, like like I said, I I picked up the Bible the first time as not not necessarily a devout Believer by any means, but I picked it up because that's what my family believes is that they believe in the Bible and, you know, they're Very devout throughout my family, and they said, if you want to know God, there you go. Pick up the Bible and get to know him. And so I said, you know what? Screw it. Okay, Fine. I'll do it. You know? What version should I read? And they said King James


Jay Lee [00:48:59]:


Mhmm. All


Calvin Smith [00:48:59]:


day. So I said, okay. There's a first message. James. Oh my gosh. I was just about Say, just for clarification, anyone listening out there, if you haven't read the Bible before, please do not start on King James version. Like, not even, like, It's it's such a hard just because it's so hard to read. It's so hard to understand.


Calvin Smith [00:49:18]:


I skipped over a couple little parts of it. Like, couple Psalms and, What was, like songs of songs and stuff like that? I skipped over a couple things, but not a whole lot. I still would consider it a full Cover to cover read through. I don't think I missed any of the important things that happened and then the 2nd time that I read it through, I picked up an n l t version. Much easier translation to read And I read every single word in that book from beginning to end, and annotated it the entire time. It took me 8 months to do it, of reading it almost every day. I took like a 2 week break when I was on vacation because I was like, I need a break from this book for a minute. Yeah.


Calvin Smith [00:49:57]:


It took me, like, 8, 9 months to to read the Bible the 2nd time. As opposed to the 1st time, it took me, like, a month to read it because I just was, like, You know, reading it without note taking or anything. But by the end of the 1st read through, I consider myself an atheist by the time I finished it the 1st time. So, I was like, there's there's no way I believe in the like, because, obviously, I didn't believe in any other God claims or, you know, higher power claims, So I didn't believe in this one right here, the only one that I'm really familiar with. So I'm atheist. I believe that there was no God. And here I am 7 or 8 years after reading the Bible the 2nd time, and, you know, now I consider myself an agnostic atheist because I can't I can't prove that there is no god. I can't show you evidence of not God.


Calvin Smith [00:50:42]:


Like, that's not that's not something I can do. That wouldn't be an honest position to have. So it's like I stay agnostic on it. You know? I'm totally open to it. I mean, that's quite literally is basically my part time job is Searching for God. Mhmm. Quite literally. I mean, you could put it that way as my part time job is is searching for God or searching for a God, whatever God or, you know, Supernatural or paranormal claim that may be.


Calvin Smith [00:51:06]:


You know, my part time job is being a truth seeker. So I mean, like, I'm open to it. I want to know the truth. And then, you know, If you know your God or someone else's God, like I interviewed a Sikh on my podcast. It's my last interview I ever did. I interviewed a Sikh, never talked to someone of that faith before. Mhmm. And, you know, I I gotta say I don't believe in his God claims either.


Calvin Smith [00:51:28]:


I I don't see see reason to believe it. So, Yeah. Yeah. That's just that's just come where we're coming from is that, you know, I just look at, like, the Bible as, you know, being about as truthful as the Quran. You know? The Quran has true stuff that happens in it, happens in it. It has not true stuff that happens in it. And the the does, and the Book of Mormon does. You know? They all have true and not true things, and it's like, where do you differentiate? How do you differentiate The truth from the not truth, and, you know, where do you draw that line, and why do you draw the line differently in other doctrines, but not in this one?


Jay Lee [00:51:59]:




Calvin Smith [00:51:59]:


That's kinda where I'm coming from.


Jay Lee [00:52:01]:


Yeah. Well, I mean, there there's so many well, I guess we're gonna have to have a a volume for there's so many different things that we


Calvin Smith [00:52:10]:


could talk about. Always down.


Jay Lee [00:52:11]:


Yeah. But, you know, I mean, I I I just wanna kind of reflect on some of what we're talking about here. I I think I mean, I do think there are Qualitative differences between the Bible, the historical verifiability of it, the credentials of it than any of these other, Religious texts, but I think something that is clear to me, which maybe I already knew, is that There's no evidence available not not to say there's no evidence. Like I said, we we have a disagreement of What evidence is is convincing or is reliable or not? But it's clear to me that there's no amount of evidence that could be presented to you that is gonna suddenly turn you into a Christian. At least with the evidence that is currently available, there's no amount of it. It's not a lack of knowledge necessarily or or even Yeah.


Calvin Smith [00:53:04]:


I mean, I would I would partially agree that. So, like, at the moment with the Proclaimed evidence that, you know, Christians and Christianity and, you know, even Islam or Hinduism claims to have. No. I mean, if they're gonna keep Presenting that same stuff? No, I'm not going to believe that because I have reason not to believe this. So now if someone could present, You know, something new. You know, I always investigate these things. I don't, you know, just I'm not one to just you tell me something is up and deny it. You know, I actually investigate these things.


Calvin Smith [00:53:30]:


Yeah. Again, kind of my whole shtick is that I'm, you know, I investigate things that I'm that are claimed. But, Yeah. I mean, I would definitely say that there are ways that there is who knows? How do I know that maybe You could say something in the next sentence. You could say something that is so Absurdly baffling. Something so otherworldly that it could convince me that there is a God. Who am I to say Mhmm. That you couldn't the next words to come out of your mouth could be the reason why I become Christian? I truly wouldn't know.


Calvin Smith [00:54:11]:


And that's that's kinda why I did my podcast is, you know, how do I know unless I talk to these people?


Jay Lee [00:54:16]:


Yeah. And kind of what I was trying to get at is I I if that statement from somebody does come, it's it's definitely not going to be an evidential kind of historical I I just don't think that that's that's possible, which I kind of already knew that eve even, you know, the message of Jesus Listen, the message of the scriptures is pretty clear that it's by faith. Right? That it there's a a spiritual or existential knowing that happens when a person comes to believe in Jesus and and give their life to to follow him. And so, You know, maybe these 3 conversations we have were just confirmation of what I already knew, which is, yeah, Not that these kinds of things are not helpful, but, ultimately, people don't come to have a life transformation and just suddenly give their life to follow Jesus because of these kinds of evidences, but it's a spiritual An existential kind of knowing. It's something that you can only know by faith. That's kind of why I was sort of with today's conversation, I was interested in sort of Removing ourselves from just the avid the, you know, the informational and trying to kinda get out the some of the Spiritual claims of the Bible. So


Calvin Smith [00:55:35]:


And just kinda where I would come from is as far as, like, if if you have to believe it on faith, Then, I mean, I guess you could say no. I I never would believe it if that is truly the only way to comes to the conclusion that, you know, Jesus my lord and savior or, you know, something to that effect. If you have to have faith in it, enable to believe it, then no. I never will believe it because I come from the standpoint that faith is not a reliable way to truth. It's not a reliable pathway to truth. Faith is Belief in something in lieu of evidence. It's it's you you believe in something, you know, on faith. You know? You just do.


Calvin Smith [00:56:12]:


You just believe it. And I I just can't do that. You know? I I just can't. Yeah. And, I mean, yeah, I would think that A god would understand that and, you know, humor me a little bit, you know, and being like, Hey, knock down your ego a little bit. You know, here's why I exist type of thing. But, you know, I'm almost 10 years into to doing this, truth seeking, all day, every day, and, You know, no dice. And I like to think I'm a pretty, pretty open, open person here, you know, willing, willing to understand it.


Calvin Smith [00:56:44]:


You know, I keep reading the book And I keep looking for the evidences and I just keep getting further and further away from it. And, if it's just on faith, I just can't I can't believe that.


Jay Lee [00:56:55]:


Yeah. And I think that is pretty much what it is gonna come down to. Like I said, I'm I'm I'm not going to accept that there's no evidence. I I I don't accept that. I think we have a difference of opinion there, but it's very clear from from the bible, even itself, and the message of Jesus that Faith is required. Actually, it's pretty much the only requirement. You could not know any of the the the historical information or the scientific information or whatever, But faith is the minimum requirement. And so if that is


Calvin Smith [00:57:26]:


the What would


Jay Lee [00:57:27]:


the stopper, then, yeah, it it'll always be the blocker.


Calvin Smith [00:57:30]:


What would what would My contention is that, you know, I as a person just can't take things on faith, so I would hope that God would have some humor on me and show me something. Just something. You know, he knows what it would take. But instead he's going to allow me, you know, Obviously, you know, we had this conversation a little bit on my show and on your show, but like, you know, what's going to happen to me then after death if your God is real? And he just, know, I was just was supposed to have faith, and he was never going to prove that that he existed to me. Well, I mean, I'm gonna go to hell by The terms of the Bible and, you know, the Christian faith, I, I mean, I'm going to hell. So then it's like I would put myself in your shoes. Like, why why would I wanna follow a guy that's gonna send someone like me? You know, I like to think I'm not I'm not a bad person. You know, why would I wanna follow someone that's gonna send this pretty okay dude to to hell forever, like, for all of eternity? Mhmm.


Calvin Smith [00:58:28]:


You can't even begin to fathom or register that length of time for the you know, I was Christian up until 21, 22. So for the last 20, 30 years of my life, I just didn't believe it, but I'm going to eternal punishment for that? I mean, why why would you wanna Wanna hang out with someone like that?


Jay Lee [00:58:49]:


Yeah. I mean, that's another big topic in terms of what is hell, what is Final judgment if if such a thing exists, what is the true nature of it? So that's maybe another conversation. But, yeah, I mean, I get what you're saying. And I think, I mean, if we're being honest, I think a lot of Christians do struggle with that question. Like, do all of these people really deserve eternal punishment just because they didn't follow Jesus. And so, you know, I mean, at


Calvin Smith [00:59:18]:


the point being honest ask the question where you would ask question, like, do these people deserve it? I don't even need to ask that question. I said these people don't deserve it.


Jay Lee [00:59:26]:


They don't deserve eternal punishment. I think there's a lot of factors, though, that go into that to answering that question of do they deserve it, which is 1, what exactly is the nature of this judgment? Right?


Calvin Smith [00:59:38]:


And the thing was, I would disagree no matter no matter what you say next, I'm going to disagree with it wholeheartedly with my chest because I don't think there is anything there is nothing that anybody could do to me or to another person that would justify infinite eternal punishment torture nonstop, never ending forever and ever and ever.


Jay Lee [01:00:05]:


Well, again, and so


Calvin Smith [01:00:06]:


for finite crimes. It's it's just not just a Well,


Jay Lee [01:00:09]:


that's why I'm saying again. It depends on what your understanding of this punishment is. So that is one view of what, you know, hell is. There are other views. Now granted, your view is the Mainstream evangelical view.


Calvin Smith [01:00:26]:


It's the canon view.


Jay Lee [01:00:27]:


Yeah. The canon view. It's the mainstream evangelical traditional view, But there are other views. There are also views that final judgment is that you don't get to live forever, but that at some point, you cease to exist, which is still a punishment. I mean, that's kind of sad to think, like, yeah. I I I would like to live forever with my, you know, loved ones, and it will be sad to think that somebody will not get that gift of eternal life and would cease to exist because they refused, You know, the grace of God. And so not to say that that's not a significant punishment, but it's it's Maybe a little bit more understandable where, okay, if god's saying, hey. I I reached out to you.


Jay Lee [01:01:12]:


I gave you so many opportunities. You didn't want me. You don't you don't want this life, so I'm giving you what you asked for. You will not enter into this life.


Calvin Smith [01:01:22]:


And see, that's where I would say, but, god, I have been reaching out to you. I've been reading your book every damn day for 10 years. I've been searching for you. I've been pray I've prayed for you. It might not recently, you know, obviously, way before my 2nd read through the Bible, but I have. I've cried for you. I've went to church. I have screamed for you.


Calvin Smith [01:01:42]:


You know? I I've truly sought you out for my life, and I don't have that evidence yet, and you're going to punish me because you won't give me the evidence, you know, and so I don't get to, You know, even if it's not eternal torture forever and ever and ever, I don't get to exist in this afterlife with you or with my family or whoever it may be, or whatever it may be. I don't get to do that, and I don't know what else I could have possibly done. You know? Like, if I'm open to it, I'm ready for it. I want the evidence. I want to believe you. It seems like a god problem. It seems like a you problem. Mhmm.


Calvin Smith [01:02:21]:


I've I've done my part.


Jay Lee [01:02:23]:


Yeah. I mean, mysteries, honestly. I I can't answer that. I I'm not you, so I don't know the full extent of your experience and What ways in which god has or has not tried to speak to you? I mean so I'm I'm going to at least allow the possibility that Maybe god has been reaching out to you in some way that you are not receptive to or not able to hear for some reason, Blind 2 for some reason.


Calvin Smith [01:02:50]:


But I mean, that's the thing is that I'm open to it. I'm looking for it all the time. And, you know, he I mean, he's God. He should make it. You should be able to make it pretty obvious. You know, if he's making it so incredibly subtle to where I don't even notice it, I mean, what's even the point.


Jay Lee [01:03:05]:


That's true.


Calvin Smith [01:03:05]:


You know, and and even trying to to convince me or anything. Like, just, you know, if God exists, I don't know, push over my water bottle or something. Like, literally, it's It's sometimes as simple as that. Like, literally, if like I'm just saying, if my water bottle sitting right here were to fall off of my desk right now, I will believe That God is real. Okay? Sometimes it's as simple as that, but it's like God it's just not happening. Here's my water bottle still sitting here on my on the edge of my desk. Yeah. So it's a guy.


Calvin Smith [01:03:35]:


I'm open to it. You know? It's Yeah.


Jay Lee [01:03:36]:


And I and I don't know why he doesn't just Knock over the water bottle. I think what I do know is if if we follow the in in the scriptures, the way that Jesus reaches people And the way that I feel like he has reached me and and and other people, the way that he reaches people is through conviction, Through the, what we would call the gospel message. Right? This this idea that, wow, something has gone terribly wrong with the human race, That there's a brokenness in us, you know, not just some of us, but collectively as a species. There's this brokenness in us, and there's something in us that tends us towards Destruction and what the the Bible's claim would be, maybe going back to try to try to bring it full circle, go going back to what I was trying to see if we could Arrive at with our conversation, there's this persistent brokenness in the human race, and I think we can all see it. We can all feel it. We watch the news. You can see There's something desperately wrong with humanity, and basically, what God is saying is it's because you're separated from me And that connection with me is broken because of your sin, and there's something that needs to be done about that sin problem. And basically, the answer is redemption that, you you know, if you're if you're accepting the gospel message, one, it's I have to come to a conviction like, yeah.


Jay Lee [01:05:02]:


It's true. I mean, I see the brokenness of humanity, but I don't just see it out there in them. I see it in me. You know, maybe I'm not out there killing anybody, but that thing in them that causes them to do what they do, I see it in me too. I see that seed of Selfishness. I see that seed of greed. I see that seed of pride in me. Maybe I grew up in a different environment, and I don't Express it to the degree, but I see the disease in me too, and what is the solution to that problem? Right? And and that is How the Bible describes people coming to know or have evidence is the conviction of these spiritual truths, That there's a brokenness in humanity.


Jay Lee [01:05:44]:


We're separated from god. We're guilty, and there's a judgment that is well deserved, But Jesus has come to be our redeemer, and he's offered a sacrifice so that we can have that forgiveness. And and It's that kind of a a knowledge that happens for somebody to come and believe and come and follow Jesus. Now that might not be the kind of Evidence that you're looking for, but that's the kind of evidence


Calvin Smith [01:06:10]:


Kinda kinda how I see that is that, like yeah. You know? Again, I I read I read the Bible, and I I say, you know, these are, You know, guy someone, whoever wrote this book saying that we're broken and sinful and, you know, need to repent for, you know, yada yada yada, Give our life to Jesus, etcetera. But why? Mhmm. Why do I need to believe you? Faith? So What what it would come down to me is the reason why I would believe that something is, quote, unquote, wrong with with humans It's not because of our inherent sin or anything like that, but we're a bunch of smart monkeys. We're a bunch of really smart monkeys With a god complex and and and really love to blow each other up and have control, and, you know, I think that's that's bottom line, why the world is the way it is, is that we're monkeys in a power struggle. You know, who's gonna be the top monkey? You know? Then it that's that's really what it is. Bottom line is that evolutionarily, we we want Power. We want to be on top.


Calvin Smith [01:07:16]:


We wanna be number 1. That's ingrained in our DNA as humans and as animals. Yeah.


Jay Lee [01:07:22]:


That's I 100% agree with you in that if I was an atheist, then I would have the exact same conclusion, that at the end of the day, We're just animals. We're monkeys. We want power. I seek mine because what other reason do I have not to seek My own benefit over someone else, and if that tramples on somebody else's rights or happiness or, you know, whatever, Who cares? Right? You know, I mean, obviously, I don't wanna have to pay any kind of consequences for that because, you know, again, I'm seeking my own Best life. But in terms of, like, whether something is right or wrong or, you know, whether war is righteous or unrighteous or, you know, whether I should, You know, be altruistic. Yeah. I mean, if I was an atheist, I would totally agree with you. It's just everybody is just trying to get their own, and there's no Reason I could give to anybody why they shouldn't do that, and I completely agree with that assessment.


Jay Lee [01:08:16]:


I would say, though, again, kind of going back to different kinds of knowledge, I think even though that's the cold hard logic of it, if we're we're if we're just here and we're just animals, I have no reason to hold myself to any kind of Standard. I should just do what makes me happy and what allows me to get the most benefit in my life, but I think most people, it's really hard to accept that Cold, hard logic. I think most of us, if we look within and examine whether we really truly believe that is true and we live in a amoral world where There is no such thing as good or evil or right or wrong, that these are all just fictions that we've created to sort of get people to behave in society. I think most of us Can't really believe that. That murder being wrong is just my opinion. Genocide being wrong is just my opinion. I don't think anybody It's hard to really accept that.


Calvin Smith [01:09:09]:


Yeah. I mean, bottom line, it's sad and it's dark and it's Gross. But, I mean, bottom line, that's that's what that's what it is. I mean, it's it's cold, hard truth, and it sucks, and it's Really gross. But, you know, even as an atheist, I'm willing to look at that and say, okay. Well, I wanna make you know? So I look at it as I do still have reason. I do still have purpose. You know, I don't I don't need to have, like, a, like, a Bible or a God or a Jesus belief to Yeah.


Calvin Smith [01:09:37]:


Still believe that I have a purpose or that I still have morals. They're just subjective to me. And do I think that my morals are better than a lot of other people's? Yeah. I do. That's subjective to me, though. Yeah, I could think that, you know, murdering grandma is a bad idea, but, you know, my neighbor thinks that murdering grandma is a great idea. You know? How am I gonna prove him that wrong. Well, what I what I do is what makes me happy is making other people happy.


Calvin Smith [01:10:02]:


How do I make other people happy? Well, I don't Wanna hurt them. They don't like being hurt. You know? Humanism is name of the game right here. You know? Humanism and well-being. So I put people's well-being and happiness before even my own. And what because that makes me happy is seeing other people happy, making other people happy, Doing acts of kindness to make people happy. And I think spreading those morals is more altruistic and Overall, more objectively good than ending the life of someone before they're able to enjoy it. Not to say that, again, Morals are subjective, so that person's still gonna believe, well, that's stupid that you think that, you know, killing people is wrong.


Calvin Smith [01:10:44]:


I think that's dumb, and I think that killing people is the right thing to do. Okay. Well, that's that person's opinion, and maybe they shouldn't be out left out in society so that other people because I sorry not sorry, but I'm gonna lock the person up Who's gonna end that person's life so so they can be locked up for a little bit? Chill out. This person can live their life and do things that they wanna do, and they can come out when they're ready, you know, when they're ready to be an adult and when they're ready to to hang out. If that makes me a bad, immoral person and that we're living by my subjective morals, so be it. I truly don't care, but killing people's wrong, and Yeah.


Jay Lee [01:11:18]:


You know. You're you're okay. You accept that morality as subjective, and you're okay with The fact that, hey, okay, it's subjective, but if enough of us agree and have the power to enforce our vision of what is moral on A weaker group of people because we feel like they're


Calvin Smith [01:11:37]:


Well, I wouldn't use it for us. Weaker. I wouldn't I wouldn't use that.


Jay Lee [01:11:39]:


Well, doesn't it ultimately amount to that?


Calvin Smith [01:11:42]:


Necessarily. Because they can be strong people. It's it's a matter of


Jay Lee [01:11:47]:


You can only enforce it if you're stronger than No. Or at least have more power. More influence.


Calvin Smith [01:11:51]:


Isn't necessarily a thing. So there's strength in numbers, people believing in the same thing, but you can't force people to believe. So


Jay Lee [01:11:58]:


Yeah. You can't force him to believe it, but you can lock him up because he doesn't agree with the majority, which is power.


Calvin Smith [01:12:04]:


Not agreeing with the majority, but ending the life of no we're not looking at it as as majority or anything like that. We're not looking at it in the in terms of numbers and statistics, we're looking at you are ending that person's life, and that person cannot enjoy their life and do the things that they want to do because you are choosing to end it short. So you're going to go away for a little bit. You're gonna learn why that is not a good thing to do and why, I guess, you could say why Calvin believes it's not a good thing to do and why he believes that. And then you can watch some stuff if you want on why people think that is a good thing to do. So they give them the choice Mhmm. But they can come out, and they can either Kill someone and go back to jail and think about it again, or they can come out and be a decent human being and learn to love each other and, you know, Live life and and do things together rather than end people.


Jay Lee [01:12:51]:


But if they can never but if they can never learn To live in society the way that they should, you feel like they need to be separated away?


Calvin Smith [01:13:01]:


Yes. If need be.


Jay Lee [01:13:02]:


So here's just 1 thought that I'll present to you. Right? Because that is very similar to the concept of judgment. It is very similar. Necessarily. Right?


Calvin Smith [01:13:13]:


So because I'm not an almighty, all powerful God that's gonna send people away forever for all of eternity. I'm just gonna lock these people up for maybe, You know, who knows how long? Couldn't tell you. But I'm not going to punish these people forever.


Jay Lee [01:13:26]:


Yeah. I guess I'm just trying to point out that it seems like You feel like it would be okay from a human justice standpoint to segregate those who refuse to Basically, live as we think that they should, but it seems like God can't


Calvin Smith [01:13:42]:


Yeah. If you can't play nice, then


Jay Lee [01:13:43]:


Then somehow that's immoral for me.


Calvin Smith [01:13:44]:


Or say it's something nice and don't say anything at all. So we'll separate each other. You guys can go kill each other all over here if you want. You can go kill each other all you want over here if you want to do that. But me and my people are gonna be over here and we're gonna do our own thing. Or we're gonna lock you guys up because you're the 1 guy in this whole society that wants to kill people for some odd reason. So you're gonna go away and like learn why we don't do that and like what What the purpose of us not doing that is, but that's not sending people away forever.


Jay Lee [01:14:11]:


Yeah. I don't know. To me, that that's still just, and we can agree to disagree here. To me, that sounds an awful lot like heaven and hell. But how? How is it sounds very similar.


Calvin Smith [01:14:19]:


Like heaven


Jay Lee [01:14:20]:


and hell. Because Because, basically, what god is doing is he's saying, look. You have this life. I'm giving you every opportunity to turn to what is right, To turn to a life of love, to accept this thing that I'm offering to you and and become who I created you to be, but I'm not gonna force you to. But at some point, there is a cutoff. Right? Because if god never cuts it off, then that means suffering, pain, Evil will exist forever. So at some point, he says, there is a cutoff that's coming one day, and I am going to separate. Right? There are those who will humble themselves and accept love, basically, and who they should be, repentance, whatever.


Jay Lee [01:15:01]:


But those who refuse, I'm gonna segregate them away from them.


Calvin Smith [01:15:04]:




Jay Lee [01:15:04]:


Maybe forever.


Calvin Smith [01:15:05]:


That's that's a process forever, so that's what I'm going to believe.


Jay Lee [01:15:09]:


There is a stream of theology that says that Hell might not be forever, and that if they will repent, if they will turn from their ways and finally realize, okay. You know what? I don't wanna be separated from god And as people, I want to embrace, you know, humility and forgiveness and love that they can come out. It's possible.


Calvin Smith [01:15:29]:


Okay. But what but that's not what the Bible says. That's the thing. Is that like we're like, I understand that these people are saying this and coming up with these theological, Justifications, but that's not what it says. So to me, it's just like, okay. I believe that when you die, a leprechaun's gonna give you a kiss on the cheek. You know? That's what hell is. I don't know.


Calvin Smith [01:15:49]:


Like, that's that's about the the truth value of it is, I


Jay Lee [01:15:53]:


It could also be that at some point, God just says, sorry, and, You know, you cease to exist. You don't get to


Calvin Smith [01:15:59]:


And that's not fair.


Jay Lee [01:16:00]:


In 2 attorneys.


Calvin Smith [01:16:00]:


At least I allow these people to still exist and that they have a chance to get out and live life more and Exist and rehabilitate, but God's not giving them these chance.


Jay Lee [01:16:09]:


He's just not going to torture them.


Calvin Smith [01:16:11]:


You know? That's the thing is that I'm saying to lock these people away. Lock them up. They can still have 3 meals a day, watch TV, play video games, whatever it is. They can still, you know, do things in a jail cell. They can still Live to an extent in there while they rehabilitate. God is going to send these people to hell and, according to the bible, forever, That's not that's not at all what I'm trying to do. So that's why I would say that that's not because I'm not going to torture these people. I'm not going to throw these people into a pit of fire or, you know, anything to that matter or allow other people to torture them, you know, throw them in a place.


Calvin Smith [01:16:46]:


Mhmm. You know? I think that there's still Justification for finite crimes, you know, regardless of what those may be. And and needless to say, me Simply just not believing in God is considered a crime in Christianity, and that's punishable. So It's not the same. I wouldn't lock somebody up simply for not wanting to believe in me or to believe in the words that I say. I wouldn't say, well, then you're just gonna go to hell. No. You're gonna go to jail when you act on those beliefs.


Calvin Smith [01:17:16]:


When you act on those beliefs and you harm other people, when you're gonna get locked up, not when you don't believe what I say. You can yell at my face and scream at my face and say you're not gonna follow me all you want. Cool. Great. Go cry somewhere else. Bye. But I'm not gonna lock you up forever in jail anyways just because.


Jay Lee [01:17:33]:


Okay. Well, I mean, I think that the way that you're framing it The way that you're framing the decision that God is putting to us is, you know, that's one way to frame it. I would say that the way that maybe the Bible frames it is that we were created in his image. That knowledge of who we are is in here. We have suppressed it, turned away from it, and now we have fallen into this corrupted state, and we need redemption. He's offered a way for redemption, not by earning it. That's that's the difference between, you know, a Christian and, let's say, a Muslim or other phase. It's not because He's offered redemption, but I don't earn it by, you know, following the 5 pillars or anything like that.


Jay Lee [01:18:18]:


He's offered it as a free gift. It's like a plea bargain, basically, That the condition is if I if I will confess, yes. You know what? I have denied, you know, god, and I have denied who who he is, and I am guilty, And I do need forgiveness that if we'll confess that, the plea bargain is that he will impute what Christ the sacrifice that he's made made on our behalf.


Calvin Smith [01:18:40]:


And that's when I would end it with, I don't believe you. Prove it. That's that would pretty much be it.


Jay Lee [01:18:48]:


Alright, Calvin. Well, we we've Talked a lot. This interview did not go in


Calvin Smith [01:18:53]:


this afternoon. Though. I mean, does it ever actually go the way that we plan? I mean, usually, we just go off on tangents and just kinda Yeah. I don't I don't even know what happens, but it's still fun. I still love coming out here and talking to you. So


Jay Lee [01:19:03]:


Yeah. No. I I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and, you know, yeah, We I mean, we wanna hear what you really think, and I I'm trying my best to share what I really think and, you know, in ways that are respectful, and I think we achieve that. You know, I know that a lot of the people who are listening to this, you know, they they think about you, and they're hoping that At some point I'll,


Calvin Smith [01:19:23]:


like, blow up and be like, you know?


Jay Lee [01:19:27]:


They're no. They're hoping that Jesus is gonna reveal himself to you. I know. I hope it doesn't make you feel weird knowing that there's a group of Christians out there who are praying for you to to come to have that kind of revelation from him.


Calvin Smith [01:19:39]:


I've had a group of Christians praying for me for 10 years. So let me


Jay Lee [01:19:43]:


Well, we've we've added a few more.


Calvin Smith [01:19:45]:


Like, as Creed would say, with arms wide open.


Jay Lee [01:19:49]:


So, Calvin, let us know, like, if people wanna connect with you more, how can they find you?


Calvin Smith [01:19:54]:


Yeah. Easiest way to find me right now is, on TikTok. More than likely, I have about 30,000 followers over there. You can follow me, at unquestionablecalvin. Just one word. You can follow me on Instagram at unquestionablecalvin. I just made a Facebook page. Just unquestionablecalvin on there.


Calvin Smith [01:20:11]:


So you can look that up. I Post kind of TikToks and memes and stuff over there. Just random stuff that, you know, maybe I don't want my family seeing or that they don't wanna see. I'm on YouTube, unquestionable Calvin again. I don't have a whole lot of content over there yet. I'm still kind of on a bit of a break here trying to figure out what I wanna do and everything. And then I'm a social media manager for the, the Secular Alliance of Michigan, a nonprofit here in Southeast Michigan, and Michigan Atheists, the 501c3 organization here. And, yeah, and they're social media managers, so you can follow them on social media where we have Facebook groups where we just talk about stuff.


Calvin Smith [01:20:46]:


Christians are welcome as long as you're cordial and, you know, you you're not here to fight or embarrass anybody. You're welcome you know, friendly debate is welcome in these groups. It's encouraged, in fact, but no nastiness allowed. I'm I'm the admin, so I will not I don't allow nastiness. So, yeah, you can come join us there. Yeah. I'm pretty much everywhere if you just look up unquestionable Calvin, or if you wanna listen to my podcast that I'm no longer doing. It's unquestionable with Calvin Smith.


Calvin Smith [01:21:12]:


It's on Spotify and YouTube and, all other streaming platforms. Again, I haven't made any content since July with that, but, there's about 40, 42 episodes that you can listen to there, where I talked to Jay, actually on there once. So you can actually go there and listen to the interview that I had with him.


Jay Lee [01:21:28]:


Alright. Well, thank you so much, Calvin. Appreciate you taking time to be here on the show again.


Calvin Smith [01:21:32]:


Absolutely. Thanks. I appreciate it.


Jay Lee [01:21:35]:


The closing song for this episode, do not delay, is by Maria Sagerholm. The Daily Sabbath is a provision podcast production. If you're enjoying the show, please leave us a rating and review, and share this episode with someone. You can also check out all of our links in the episode description.


Calvin Smith [01:22:49]:


I can see my way up, and my heart is

Comments & Upvotes