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The Truth of the Bible

This is an excerpt from my book, Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey. A bit of background: Jim is a wealthy, housebound, and somewhat obnoxious atheist, and Paul is the young acolyte of a famous pastor, doing his best to evangelize. It’s 1906 in Los Angeles, and they’re in Jim’s study.

♠  ♠  ♠

Do God and Jesus exist?“Let’s discuss the accuracy of the Bible.” Paul looked for approval from Jim, saw nothing, and continued. “Many say that the Bible contains the world’s greatest literature. It’s certainly the world’s most influential book—a book that has inspired mankind for thousands of years.”

“I won’t disagree.” Jim picked up what looked like a clumsily wrapped cigar laying on the sofa and put the soggy end in his mouth. It left a small dark stain on the seat cushion.

Paul wanted to continue but was distracted as the end of the thing bobbed up and down under Jim’s shaggy mustache while he chewed, making gentle crunching sounds. “Is that a cigar?” Paul asked finally.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum—cinnamon bark,” Jim said, his words garbled as he spoke while holding the cinnamon stick with his lips. “It promotes sweating.”

Paul had never considered sweating worth promoting. He tried to ignore the noise, deliberately looking down at his note card to avoid the distraction. “So what I’m saying is that the Bible is very accurate. Researchers have found thousands of copies, enough to convince them that errors introduced from copy to copy have been insignificant. And old, too—less than 400 years after the New Testament originals.* In other words, today’s English translations started with a copy that differed minimally from the original text. Aside from the different language, we read almost the same words as were originally written two to three thousand years ago.”

Jim shook his head. “That’s a foolish argument.”

Paul’s jaw went slack.

“I can say the same of Homer’s Iliad,” Jim said. “It’s quite long and very old—older than much of the Old Testament. We have many old copies of the Iliad, and today’s version may also be a decent copy of the original. Using your logic, must we conclude that the Iliad is correct? Must we say that Achilles really was invulnerable, that Cassandra really could see the future, that Ajax really was trained by a centaur?”

“But that’s not a good comparison,” Paul said. “No one believes the Iliad. Biblical fact is quite different from Greek mythology.”

“Don’t change the subject. You introduced the question of the accuracy of manuscript copies. Does your logic help us judge the accuracy of ancient books or not?”

“I don’t think the Bible and the Iliad can be compared is all.”

Jim sighed. “To your point, no one believes the Iliad now, but they once did. Achilles, Hector, Helen, Aphrodite, the Trojan War—the Iliad tells much of the history of the Greeks just like the Bible is a history of the Jews. And, of course, many of the places and people in the Iliad actually existed. Archeologists have found Troy, for example.”

Jim held up a hand as Paul opened his mouth to speak. “Of course I see the difference. While the Iliad and the Bible were the histories of their people, only the Bible is believed today. Here’s my point. Let’s assume that the Bible and the Iliad are both faithful copies. That doesn’t make them true.”

Paul said, “It’s not just the Bible—other sources confirm Bible stories. Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, for example, writes about Jesus.” He glanced at a note card in his hand. “Also, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and other writers from that time.”

Jim jerked a hand as if dismissing a gnat, and his face showed an exasperated disgust. “I’ve read these sources, and they strengthen your case not a bit. They basically say, ‘There are people who follow a man named Jesus’ or ‘Jesus is said to have performed miracles.’ I already agree with that! I’d be interested if an eyewitness from the Jerusalem Times newspaper wrote a report the day after a miraculous event, but that didn’t happen. You’re left with four—not thousands, but four—written accounts that summarize the Jesus story after it had been passed around orally for decades, and they’re not even completely independent accounts. I need a lot more evidence than that.”

Paul thought for an instant how satisfying it would be to take their argument to the street, even though it would be an unfair fight. He rubbed his right fist against his left palm and strained the muscles of his upper body to drain away some rage. In five seconds he might remind this atheist of his manners. But he had to take the high ground and he pushed on, using a response that Samuel had given him. “Why do you need more evidence? You never saw George Washington, but you accept the historical account of his life. The Bible has the historical account of Jesus’s life—why not accept that?”

Again Jim shook his head. “We have articles from newspapers of Washington’s time published within days of events, and there are hundreds of accounts by people who met him. We even have Washington’s own journals and letters. By contrast, Jesus left no personal writings, we have just a few Gospels as sources of his life story, and those are accounts of unknown authorship handed down orally for decades before finally being written. They were even written from the perspective of a foreign culture—Jesus and his disciples would have spoken Aramaic, and the New Testament was written completely in Greek.”

“You’re overstating the problem. If you don’t like Washington, take Caesar Augustus—you accept the story of Caesar’s life even though he’s from the time period of Jesus.”

“How can you make this argument? Are you stupid?” Jim leapt to his feet. “The biographies of historical figures like Washington and Caesar make no supernatural claims!”

Paul opened his mouth to protest but retreated as Jim waved his arms as he stalked back and forth in front of the sofa like some hysterical prosecuting attorney.

“They were great men, but they were just men. Suppose you read that Washington was impervious to British bullets during the Revolutionary War or Caesar was born of a virgin—these claims were actually made, by the way. You would immediately dismiss them. Or what about Mormonism: Joseph Smith invented it just fifty miles from my hometown of Syracuse, shortly before I was born. We have far more information about the early days of his religion—letters, diaries, and even newspaper accounts, all in modern English—and yet I presume you dismiss Smith as a crackpot or a charlatan. In the case of Jesus, the most extravagant supernatural claims are made—why not dismiss those stories as well? The Bible has tales you wouldn’t believe if you read them in today’s newspaper, and yet you see them as truthful ancient journalism.”

Paul struggled to keep his hand steady as he glanced at his note card. He had no response but was not about to admit it. He decided to try a new line of attack and took a deep breath. “Okay, answer this one. The Bible has stories of fulfilled prophecy. Early books documented the prophecy, and later books record that prophecy coming true. There are hundreds about Jesus’s life alone. For example, the book of Isaiah details facts about the Messiah’s life, and then the New Testament records the fulfillment of that prophecy.”

“Show me.”

“Okay, let’s look at Isaiah 53.”

Jim walked to his bookshelf and pulled off a large leather-bound Bible.

Paul turned to his own copy. “Isaiah says, ‘He is despised and rejected of men’—Jesus should have been the king, but He was rejected by his own people. ‘He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth’—He could have proven that He was God with a word, but He chose to keep silent. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities’—this describes the beatings He endured before crucifixion. ‘With His stripes we are healed’ and ‘He bore the sin of many’—Jesus was whipped and took the burden of our sins when He died. All this was written hundreds of years before the crucifixion.”

“Unconvincing,” Jim said. “‘He is despised’ doesn’t sound like the charismatic rabbi who preached to thousands of attentive listeners and had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And I notice that you’ve ignored the part of this chapter that was inconvenient to your hypothesis: in the same chapter, God says, ‘Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.’ Jesus is counted as merely one of the great ones and must share with them? That’s quite an insult to the son of God. And who are these equals? Most important, note that there’s no mention of the resurrection here. How can this be a Jesus crucifixion story without the punch line? This chapter is actually a very poor description of the crucifixion because the ‘he’ in this chapter is not Jesus but Israel.”

“But the Gospels themselves refer back to this chapter as prophecy of Jesus.”

“I don’t give a damn—this chapter isn’t about Jesus.”

Paul felt blindsided, as if he were lying on the ground, wondering where the haymaker came from. Samuel hadn’t told him about this rebuttal. Paul said, “Well, what about Psalm 22? It describes the crucifixion experience and has Jesus’s last words, exactly. It even describes the guards casting lots for his clothes. And this was written centuries before Jesus’s day.”

“Come now, think about it! The writers of the Gospels were literate, and they would have read all of the Law—what we call the Old Testament. They could have sifted through it to find plausible prophecies before they wrote the Gospels. Don’t you see? It’s as if they looked at the answers before taking a test.”

Paul leaned forward. “You’re saying that they cheated? That they deliberately invented the Gospel stories to fit the prophecy?”

“Think of the incredible boldness of the Bible’s claims,” Jim said, “that Jesus was a supernatural being sent by an omnipotent and omnipresent God who created the universe. That’s about as unbelievable a story as you can imagine. Deliberate cheating to invent this story—that is, a natural explanation of the Gospels—is much more plausible than that the story is literally true—which is a supernatural explanation. But here’s an explanation that’s more plausible still: suppose Jesus was nothing more than a charismatic rabbi. The original facts of Jesus’s life were then told and retold as they went from person to person, each time getting a little more fantastic. Details might have been gradually changed until they matched a particular prophecy. If people assumed that Jesus was the Messiah, he had to fulfill the prophecies, right? The Gospels were passed along orally for decades after Jesus’s death before they were written down, gradually translated into the Greek culture on the way. No need to imagine the deliberate invention of a false story.”

“But there was no oral tradition. The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses.”

“Prove it.”

“Ask any minister!” Paul said with a chuckle that probably betrayed his unease. “It’s common knowledge. Matthew was an apostle, he was an eyewitness, and he wrote the book of Matthew. And so on for the other Gospel authors—all apostles or companions of apostles.”

“The names of the Gospel books were assigned long after they were written. No one knows who wrote them—each Gospel is anonymous, and the names are simply tradition. No Gospel begins, ‘This is an account of events that I witnessed myself.’ Even if they did, should that convince me? You take any fanciful account, put ‘I saw this myself’ at the beginning, and it becomes true? A natural explanation—that the Jesus story is just a legend—is far, far likelier than the supernatural explanation.”

Jim had been noisily worrying his cinnamon stick but now set it back on the sofa. “Besides, we have lots of examples of similar things in other religions—holy books that are really just myth. For example, we can probably agree that the Koran, Islam’s holy book, is mythology. Muhammad wasn’t really visited by the angel Gabriel and given wisdom from God. Did Muhammad invent it? Did a desire for power push him to create a new religion, with him as its leader? Through extreme fasting, did he have delusions that he interpreted as revelations from God? Any of these natural explanations and many more are much more likely than the Koran being literally true. Or Gilgamesh or Beowulf or the Hindu Vedas or the Book of Mormon. They all have supernatural elements and they are all mythology. How can you and I agree that these are mythology and that mankind throughout history has invented religion and myth, but you say that the Bible is the single exception? When you cast a net that brings up Christianity, it brings up a lot of other religions as well.”

“You can’t lump the Bible in with those books. It’s in a completely different category.”

“Prove it,” Jim repeated, and he slammed his Bible onto the table.

“Why should I have to prove it?”

“Because you’re the one making the remarkable claims.”

“Remarkable?” Paul paused, his mouth open, as he collected his thoughts. “How can you say that? You’re in the minority and you reject the majority view. Christianity is the most widespread religion the world has ever seen. Almost everyone in this country is thoroughly familiar with Christianity. They wouldn’t think the claims are remarkable.”

Jim smiled. “I wouldn’t make that majority claim too loudly. Within your own religious community, your views are in the majority, but your flavor of Christianity isn’t even in the majority right here in Los Angeles. Even when you lump together all the denominations of Christianity worldwide, the majority of people on the Earth still think you’re wrong.

“It’s true that the tenets of Christianity are widely familiar, but that doesn’t make them any less remarkable. A God who can do anything, who has been around forever, and who created the universe? Take a step back and see this as an outsider might. You’ve made perhaps the boldest claim imaginable. No one should be asked to believe it without evidence, and very strong evidence at that.”

Jim picked up his cinnamon stick and waved it as he spoke. “Suppose someone claims to have seen a leprechaun or a dragon or a unicorn. Next, this person says that, because no one can prove him wrong, his beliefs are therefore correct. And since they’re correct, everyone should adopt them. This is nonsense of course. He is making the bold claim, so he must provide the evidence. In other words, we are justified—no, we are obliged—to reject extraordinary claims until the extraordinary evidence has been provided.”

“I have provided evidence!” Paul said.

Jim leaned back on the sofa and looked at Paul, for the first time at a loss for a quick retort. “Son, this is what I expected from you,” he said quietly, almost gently. “But this evidence barely merits the name. What you’ve provided is a flimsy argument that might satisfy someone who wants to support beliefs that he’s already decided are correct. But don’t expect this to convince anyone else.”

Paul sat back in his chair as if hit in the stomach. He had been preparing for a debate like this with increasing intensity for two years, and he thought that he deserved more. He didn’t expect accolades for his cleverness . . . but something? He tried to salvage the discussion and glanced at his note card, almost used up. His voice felt shrill and unreliable as he began. “But you must adjust your demands given how long ago this was. You can’t ask for photographs and diaries when the events happened close to two thousand years ago. It’s not fair.”

“Not fair? Suppose you come to me and ask to buy my house. I say that it’s worth three thousand dollars. You say, ‘I’ll give you five dollars for it.’ I say, ‘No—that’s ridiculous. I must reject your offer.’ And then you say, ‘But that’s not fair—five dollars is all I have.’”

Jim leaned forward, staring at Paul and with his arms outstretched. “That would be absurd. But it’s equivalent to the argument ‘since proving the fantastic claims of the New Testament is quite hard, you’ll have to accept whatever evidence we have.’ No, I don’t! I won’t accept five dollars for my house, I won’t accept pathetic evidence for leprechauns, and I won’t accept it for God.”

Jim paused and then said, “And while we’re at it, neither should you.”

I am the punishment of God….
If you had not committed great sins,
God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.
— Genghis Khan

*Older copies have been found since 1906.

Photo credit: Sheba_Also

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rick Townsend

    By placing your fiction (i.e., made up story, just to be clear) in 1906, you conveniently leave out lots of evidence and research that is much more up to date. For instance, comparing the Illiad to the Bible is simply no contest. Homer’s work is clearly fiction, has never been understood that way, is written in a fanciful way that leaves little room for even a suspicion that it was ever intended otherwise, and has no archaeological or fulfilled prophecy corroboration. These are all the opposite for the Bible, as any minimalistic amount of research shows.

    You write with trite short answers you make up or attempt to reason out as if these arguments are cogent and have not already been answered. They have all been addressed. You just don’t agree with the answers for whatever reason, and so you usually make up something else just as trite as the original answer, then derisively sniff, “I’m not impressed,” or “weak argument, IMO.” Sorry, Bob, not good enough. There are real answers and real research has been done on the textual criticism issues. You know this is true, but you write from the 1906 audience to a readership 106 years later as if it is still 1906.

    If you are serious about debating the issues, then you have to get more current and address the actual research. Get caught up. You can do this!

    • Bob Seidensticker

      you conveniently leave out lots of evidence and research that is much more up to date.

      “Conveniently”? Don’t pretend that it was a deliberate dodge to avoid the good stuff. As I’ve made clear several times, the DNA evidence (for example) does nothing to bolster your case.

      Anyway, any book treatment, fiction or nonfiction, can’t thoroughly address all the arguments. No matter when the book was set, it would have had to have pared down the arguments.

      comparing the Illiad to the Bible

      You may have included the wrong link. I see nothing there about the Iliad.

      Homer’s work is clearly fiction

      To us, sure.

      If you read Wikipedia’s summary of the question, you see a rundown of arguments which you’ll have seen in discussions of the historicity of the Bible–the validation through archeology (Heinrich Schliemann uncovered Troy in the 1870s), accurate place names, passages that make sense only if imagined spoken with a long-dead version of the language, and so on.

      It’s ironic, then, when apologists bring up the Iliad as the second-most-popularly-attested work of ancient times, because the parallels between the Bible and Iliad are quite good. Doesn’t do their case much good, though. Sure, we have evidence that place names in Homer’s works are accurate, but that doesn’t make the overall stories accurate. If that evidence is no help to the Iliad, why is it trotted out for the Bible?

      I found only one place that mentions this, and it rejects your claim. This is a summary from a Classical Mythology class at Bucknell University.

      But perhaps you have evidence that no contemporary hearer of Homer’s work thought of it as anything more than fiction, like we would think of Paul Bunyan. If so, let me know.

      You write with trite short answers you make up

      You’re referring to the novel?

      You’re offended by something, but I’m not sure what. Are you saying that the dialogue doesn’t sound realistic?

      They have all been addressed.

      And here’s your platform from which to summarize those rebuttals.

      Get caught up. You can do this!

      Encouragement mixed with derision–I’m not sure I’ve seen carrot-and-stick motivation so closely intertwined. Maybe the analogy is that you’re beating me with a carrot? Whatever.

      There is a part 2 to this discussion of the accuracy of the Bible from the novel that I’ll post eventually, so this isn’t the complete story, but this is an honest attempt to respond to the issue (given the limitations of fiction and my writing ability). If you’d like to correct any errors, I welcome that.

      • Rick Townsend

        Note—Bob, I’m trying to simplify my life with an HTML format converter. If it looks too bad, please delete it and I will reattempt. Thanks.

        My Comment: you conveniently leave out lots of evidence and research that is much more up to date.

        “Conveniently”? Don’t pretend that it was a deliberate dodge to avoid the good stuff.

        You are writing a blog in 2012. Your readers are reading it in 2012. When reading the book it is more apparent to the reader that is the case. But pulling a quote out of context even with a short intro and asterisk note at the bottom, and placing it in a lengthy blog post in 2012 may or may not be good marketing. But it suggests that both the content and the answers are is relevant today to a casual reader, when all of the evidence you present has been addressed and refuted.

        I don’t have the time or energy to refute all of it here, but if you want to be laborious and go point by point we can do that. There are numerous blog topics that you could mine from the discussion, but putting them all in one long post where your atheist superman defeats the ill prepared and impressionable Christian allows the atheist to easily win every battle as if there is no answer. The fact that you place the timing “conveniently” in 1906 allows you to suggest that there are no New Testament documents dated within 400 years of the events. But current scholarship today places the oldest fragments within a few decades of the events, easily within the life span of the eyewitnesses.

        We find no record whatsoever of any dissent suggesting that there was controversy at the time accusing the witnesses of making it up, which would have been the case if such a large scale movement had been a fraud. I would point you to the accusations against Joseph Smith at the time of his revelations in the 1800s as a more contemporary example of that.

        As I’ve made clear several times, the DNA evidence (for example) does nothing to bolster your case.

        I didn’t bring this up but you are incorrect here, as has been pointed out. You have yet to explain DNA as anything other than a finely tuned computer language, more sophisticated than anything man has devised. I’ve answered your C Enigma concern, if not to your satisfaction, at least as to the substance of it, which is circumstantial and capricious at best. I know of no other argument you have made which would cause DNA to do anything other than strengthen the case for a designer. Feel free to remind me if there are others. There are some frail attempts to suggest how we might have arrived at the DNA coding we see today, but they are more akin to Rudyard Kipling just so stories than they are to anything loosely associated with scientific evidence.

        Anyway, any book treatment, fiction or nonfiction, can’t thoroughly address all the arguments. No matter when the book was set, it would have had to have pared down the arguments.

        Then perhaps you should extract the arguments rather than quoting long passages of the book with so many topics nested. I know you’re busy right now and this may have been a time saver. But no one is making you post on a schedule. That is your call.

        Reference the Illiad and the Bible issue–The link was to a site that wasn’t friendly to the Bible and still showed the numerical imbalance between the two books. Try this site for a more objective analysis if you like: http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

        My comment: You write with trite short answers you make up

        You’re referring to the novel? You’re offended by something, but I’m not sure what. Are you saying that the dialogue doesn’t sound realistic?

        I’m referring to the way you dismiss those who post on your blog as well as the novel. You come up with some “logical” sounding answer as if there is no research showing the idea to be false, such as the 400 year gap you referred to in the passage. It’s wrong.

        My comment: They have all been addressed.

        And here’s your platform from which to summarize those rebuttals.

        I thought that was what I was doing here. But you have more energy and time to generate arguments than I have to answer all of them. This may be your job, but it’s not mine. This is voluntary labor. I can only do so much., and can’t answer every issue you bring up. The fact that folks don’t have time or inclination to answer all of your atheist assaults on Christianity should not be taken as evidence there are no answers to be made. (I’m still waiting for your similar outrage to be directed at Islam, which fosters terrorist murders daily around the world while you waste your time railing against the dangers of aberrant faith healers and the like.)

        Encouragement mixed with derision

        Sorry. I was trying for pithy, not derisive.

        If you’d like to correct any errors, I welcome that.

        I try, but usually you aren’t very open to any idea other than those fitting well with your preconceptions. It must be hard when you have all the answers and the rest of the world (apart from atheists, who hold the enlightened high ground) is so hopelessly deluded. (OK, that was sort of derisive… mixed with a bit of realism that you are no longer reachable. But some of your readers may be. Some of what I write is for other readers, as I know your mind is made up. You are operating your blog in the marketplace of ideas, after all.)

        • Bob Seidensticker

          all of the evidence you present has been addressed and refuted.

          Then refute it. You say that my rebuttals to the Christian arguments have long since been addressed? Great—inform us.

          I don’t have the time or energy to refute all of it here

          I can buy that, but don’t expect a lot of sympathy for your “it’s all been refuted” driveby.

          putting them all in one long post

          I’m not following. This is indeed a long post, but it’s just one half of a discussion of just one apologetic argument.

          Maybe we’re saying the same thing, but I wanted to make sure.

          allows the atheist to easily win every battle as if there is no answer.

          Since the atheist is on the correct side of the question, this isn’t surprising that it looks this way. But if I’ve missed some important rebuttals (certainly possible!), let me know.

          The fact that you place the timing “conveniently” in 1906 allows you to suggest that there are no New Testament documents dated within 400 years of the events.

          What?? I’m writing a story set in 1906, and I provide evidence that they would’ve had in 1906. I make clear to the modern reader that now we have complete manuscripts from 250 years of the events. What’s your point??

          (1) Everyone’s informed and (2) that you’ve improved from 400 years to 250 doesn’t do your case much good.

          Uh, yeah, there are older fragments. Again, doesn’t help your case much.

          We find no record whatsoever of any dissent suggesting that there was controversy at the time accusing the witnesses of making it up

          Correct. Why would you expect to find any? I eviscerate the naysayer hypothesis (the idea that if the gospel story were false, corrections from naysayers would have shut down the early church) here and here.

          … which would have been the case if such a large scale movement had been a fraud.

          Who says it was a fraud? I’m suggesting that it was a legend—quite different than a deliberate fraud.

          I would point you to the accusations against Joseph Smith …

          Yes, we have documentation about naysayers. That’s not too surprising—after all, it happened less than 200 years ago and we have a mountain of evidence of the early days of that church, unlike the Jesus movement. I guess their existence proves that naysayers won’t necessarily shut down a church built on nonsense.

          You have yet to explain DNA as anything other than a finely tuned computer language, more sophisticated than anything man has devised.

          Agreed.

          My point, as I’ve explained many times before, is that the Design Hypothesis (in this case: the human cell looks like it was designed) fails because of DNA. No designer (the only examples of which we have are human) would, if he had the power,
          * put useless DNA in protozoa (the c-value enigma)
          * put pseudogenes (broken genes) like the one for vitamin C that is in every human cell
          * put bits of endogenous retrovirus in every human cell (example: the “Phoenix virus”)
          * create vestigial organs (blind eyes in cave fish, pelvis in some whales), and
          * put genes that are sometimes expressed as atavisms (tail in humans, hind limbs in snakes and dolphins, etc.).

          Blind, goal-less evolution, on the other hand, explains these things quite nicely.

          I’ve answered your C Enigma concern, if not to your satisfaction…

          No, not to my satisfaction!

          Then perhaps you should extract the arguments rather than quoting long passages of the book with so many topics nested.

          If the style of this post isn’t your cup of tea, OK, thanks for the feedback. Out of 170 posts, I’ve put two extracts from the book. It’s a different approach to the material, and it gives me an excuse to promote the book.

          The link was to a site that wasn’t friendly to the Bible and still showed the numerical imbalance between the two books.

          The page you linked to didn’t have the word “Iliad” at all.

          Try this site for a more objective analysis

          I did a 3-post series about two months ago on the accuracy of the Bible, including the accuracy of the manuscripts. If you missed that series, feel free to comment there.

          as if there is no research showing the idea to be false …

          Yet again, if I am omitting or forgetting or dismissing evidence or arguments, point them out.

          … such as the 400 year gap you referred to in the passage. It’s wrong.

          And, as you pointed out yourself, I have a footnote for the modern reader with an update. I see neither problem nor deception.

          I thought that was what I was doing here.

          You have been saying, “Your comments are flawed because they don’t take into account rebuttals.” That’s a claim, not evidence.

          If my arguments are flawed, that’s news to me. Show me.

          This may be your job, but it’s not mine. This is voluntary labor.

          Hey, I appreciate the finite number of hours in a day. I’m completely sympathetic to your having more important things to do, and I appreciate the comments you do provide. But again, a claim that my arguments amount to nothing is worthless.

          that folks don’t have time or inclination to answer all of your atheist assaults on Christianity should not be taken as evidence there are no answers to be made.

          It’s evidence, just not proof.

          I’m still waiting for your similar outrage to be directed at Islam

          That may be your job, but it’s not mine. I can only worry about a subset of nutty thinking. In this country, Christianity is the problem, not Islam.

          I was trying for pithy, not derisive.

          :)

          usually you aren’t very open to any idea other than those fitting well with your preconceptions.

          Hmm. Maybe I’m closed minded, but maybe your arguments aren’t effective.

          How would we tell the difference?

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