Who Would Die for a Lie? (1 of 2)

Almost all of the original apostles that surrounded Jesus died martyr’s deaths. If they knew that he was just a regular guy and that the resurrection story was fiction, why would they go to their deaths supporting it? Lee Strobel said that though people may die defending their beliefs, “People will not die for their religious beliefs if they know that their religious beliefs are false.”

While people have died for lies—the 9/11 hijackers, for example, or the Heaven’s Gate cult—they didn’t know it was a lie. That the apostles were in a position to know and still died defending it is strong evidence that the Jesus story is accurate.

Or, at least this is the story Christians tell themselves.

There are several issues here, but let’s focus first on the big one: how do we know how the apostles died? Since their dying as martyrs is key to this apologetic, you’d think that this was well established in history. But sometimes Christian historical claims have a very weak pedigree.

Our one-stop shopping source for this question is historian Hippolytus of Rome (170–235) in his “On the Twelve Apostles.” At best, this is an early third century work written close to 150 years after the facts it claims to document. At worst, it was written even later by an unknown author (called “Pseudo-Hippolytus” by historians) and inadvertently or deliberately compiled with the writings of Hippolytus.

Here’s the summary:

  • 4 apostles were crucified: Andrew, Bartholomew, Peter, and Philip (the last three upside down).
  • 3 were killed in some other way: James the son of Alpheus was stoned, James the son of Zebedee was killed with a sword (presumably decapitated), and Thomas was killed by spear.
  • 5 died natural deaths: John, Matthew, Matthias (the new twelfth disciple added after Judas left the group), Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James (Thaddeus).

Another popular source for this information is John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563 and in many later editions. Its late age, 1500 years after the events, is enough to disqualify it since we have the earlier account, but its popularity makes it an important source. To a large extent Foxe was simply a mouthpiece for the anti-Catholic sentiment in England at the time, and many sources dismiss its accuracy (Wikipedia, 1911 Britannica, Catholic Encyclopedia).

Foxe largely agrees with Hippolytus on the deaths of the apostles except for the ones that Hippolytus says died natural deaths, giving that fate only to John. He says that Matthew was “slain with a halberd” in Ethiopia, Matthias was stoned in Jerusalem and beheaded, Simon the Zealot was crucified in Britain, and Judas the son of James was crucified in what is now eastern Turkey.

James the son of Zebedee seems to have the oldest martyrdom story. Hippolytus probably got his account from Acts 12:2, written in the latter half of the first century, which says that Herod Agrippa (grandson of Herod the Great) killed him “with the sword.”

For most of the other apostles, however, contradictory stories cloud the issue. For example, Bartholomew’s death is documented in a number of contradictory ways. One account says that he was beaten and then drowned. The Martyrdom of Bartholomew (c. 500) says that he was beaten and then beheaded. The most popular, perhaps because it’s the most gruesome, is that he was skinned alive and then crucified (or perhaps beheaded).

Various sources add to the story of Matthias. He was crucified in Ethiopia. Or he was blinded by cannibals but rescued by Andrew. Or he died a natural death in Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea.

Simon the Zealot might have been sawn in half in Persia. Or crucified in Samaria. Or martyred in Georgia.

Add to this:

  • the many additional contradictory stories about other apostles not included in this brief list,
  • the decades-long period of oral history from event to writing, and
  • the time span, usually centuries-long, between the original manuscripts documenting the martyrdom stories and our oldest copies that make those copies suspect.

What can we conclude given this evidential house of cards? Only that “most apostles were martyred for their faith” is historically almost indefensible.

And it’s not just that the claim for any particular martyrdom story is flimsy; it’s that we can be certain that many of them are false because they contradict each other.

Let’s pause for a moment to savor this lesson. “Tradition holds that” or “The Church tells us that” is never enough—be sure to look behind the curtain to see what evidence actually supports a historic claim.

“Who would die for a lie?” I dunno—let’s first establish that someone died at all.

Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity,
never of the correctness, of a belief.
— Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Related posts:

Related links:

About Bob Seidensticker
  • http://adelaybeingreborn.wordpress.com/ Noah Luck

    Short, sweet, reasonable blog post. Thanks!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      Noah: Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked it.

  • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

    Two links:

    One very new – this is what is happening in Egypt today: http://goo.gl/ADLaOF

    You probably do not deny these atrocities that are being captured by news media.

    The question comes up as to why would Christians in Egypt continue in a faith that puts them in such jeopardy? Here is the other link: http://goo.gl/DtZQT8

    A conclusion – one of many possible:

    The ‘debunking’ crap that passes as scholarship today is worthless and here is why — the nice little words on paper demand that we ignore the evidence of our eyes. Real people following a real God to their real deaths.

    Mulling over documents from centuries ago is an intellectual exercise, but Christianity is much more than that. It is life and blood. Today is is fire, bombs and death, too.

    You safely proclaim that there is not enough evidence in the ancient Marytrdoms to convince you – perhaps the newly dead will do more.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The 9/11 hijackers went to their deaths for their beliefs. What do we conclude from that?

      No, the newly dead do nothing to convince me that Christianity is true. Why–do the martyred from other religions convince you that they are correct?

      • Pofarmer

        Is this supposed to be high quality apologetics? ‘Cause it looks like more of the same ole looney. Just very ernest.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Forgive me for not being hysterical, or falling apart at the first challenge, or running away. I can’t promise to devote endless hours to this board, but I will do what I can to help have a lively and, hopefully, helpful conversation.

        • MNb

          “I will do what I can …”
          Then begin with answering Pofarmer’s question: do you have any new insights to offer or only the same old tired non-arguments we atheists have heard and debunked a gazillion times before? If the latter then I’m afraid you have dashed your own hope before you properly got started.

          Rule #1: quoting the Bible doesn’t convince any atheist of anything. You violated that one already. Reason: there is no god of any kind, hence the Bible is not the divine word. Now I don’t mean to say that everything in Bible is incorrect. What I say is that you painstakingly have to argue word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark, that and how any quote from the Bible is relevant for us in the 21th Century. Thus far you have done a miserable job.

          Rule #2: whenever theology and/or philosophy conflicts with science science wins. So you already have a problem here: dead guys coming back are antiscientific. The one or two times people thought it happened (some Indians meeting the very first Spaniards) they were seriously mistaken. Had they been able to think a bit more scientifically they had killed off Hernan Cortez immediately.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I have read your rules and found them wanting. Here are life’s rules:

          Rule #1: God’s interaction with man is revealed in Scripture. Most commonly called ‘the Bible,’ this interaction is a huge part of history, and those who would dismiss all that history have the burden of doing so, not the other way around.

          Rule #2: God’s Holy Spirit ‘convicts’ us that we are wrong – it is a supernatural event, one that you may not believe in just yet, but may God grant you someday to be blessed to find more than ‘nothing.’

          As far as science goes – I enjoy science. Every discovery reveals the workings of God, and is more wondrous every day.

          Extra credit for anyone who can identify the paraphrase in the first sentence…

        • MNb

          I am not interested in your life rules; mine are fine. They are not the issue here. The two rules I gave above were not life’s rules but debating rules intending to help you to conduct a “helpful conversation.” Lost interest already?
          Looks like.

          “those who would dismiss all that history have the burden of doing so, not the other way around.”
          Antiscientific:

          http://www.livius.org/th/theory/theory-testis.html
          http://www.livius.org/th/theory/theory-maximalists.html
          Minimalism is a well respected methodological tool and these days seems to give the more reliable results. Look up the research of Israel Finkelstein.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Please – let’s not play ‘who can post more links.’

          I hope you have a happy life filled with joy and love. I am serious about that, and if your rules help you do that – that is great.

        • MNb

          Then don’t read them. I give them because I think they are relevant; if you get bored just don’t click.
          Same genuine wishes for you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          let’s not play ‘who can post more links.’

          Let me propose a different game: who can provide the most compelling evidence (though it sounds like you have no interest in this game).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Once again, this is your theology. These rules would be helpful is we didn’t know where you were coming from. I think we did before, but you’ve clarified your position.

          Moving on, this provides precisely zero evidence that would help to convince an atheist. These are claims, not evidence.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Everything on this blog are claims, Bob.

          There isn’t a piece of evidence to be found – the Wikipedia entries included. Everything here is speculation piled atop interpretation, and its’ all somebody’s opinion.

          The problem is that there is no sense of joy or pleasure. Lighten up. Enjoy life. Take a breath.

          Or do I have to prove to you that YOU exist?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So “evidence, shmevidence!” is your attitude?

          I wonder then how you distinguish between competing claims. If evidence isn’t interesting in sifting the valid claims from the false, why not become a Mormon? A Scientologist? A Satanist? There are lots options if evidence isn’t interesting. Maybe you could pick the one that promises the most women.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I don’t think that’s how to spell ‘shmevidence.’ No, wait. Yes, it is. That is correct. Thank you. As you were.

          Oh — your query! Yes – I love evidence, I just haven’t found any around here.

          At least I haven’t found any that the court will allow.

          You guys won’t let someone quote the Bible, you say that doesn’t prove anything. You won’t allow faith-based scholarship, because believers are deluded, or wear the wrong socks or funny hats or something.

          You exist, BTW. I don’t want you to forget that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you have a specific point to make that will highlight an error that I made in the post, show me.

          As far as I can tell, you have contempt for evidence. If you love it, great. Trot out some that shows that God exists.

          Quoting the Bible is often done here (I do it myself) to show what the Bible says. But “the Bible says it; that settles it” won’t convince anyone.

      • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

        Darn – I have to post this little bit twice – It is explained in Matthew 25 starting at verse 31. The righteous dead (not only Christians, but all righteous) are ‘saved,’ while the unrighteous are sent away. Among the unrighteous, in fact, are Christians.

        • Pofarmer

          2000 years, still ain’t happened. Suppose I’ll just wait. You would think, that when a prediction has been wrong for two millenia, it would get another look.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          That’s discussed in 2 Peter. Allow me to quote it, ’cause it is a great thought:

          “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.’

        • Pofarmer

          Like I said. Early Apologetics. Somebody had to answer the question of “Why ain’t all the stuff I’m prayin for happenin?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I take it that no one did, or has. Or worse, they tried to blame you, that your lack of faith caused the deficiency. What terrible things are often done in the name of God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good point! Christianity is great when you can lay all your burdens at the feet of Jesus, but not so great when nothing happens. Must be your fault.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Seriously warped ‘theology’ exists, that is true. One does not have to accept it, however. I, personally, do not accept that brand of Christian thinking.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why not? Maybe those guys have it right and you’re the one who’s confused.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And how does this resolve the troublesome statement from Jesus that there were those listening to him (no, not God but actual people, for whom a thousand years is a thousand years) who wouldn’t die until all was fulfilled?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          It is not troublesome to those with discernment.

          And a Strong’s Concordance, and the Greek-English NT, and the Hebrew-Greek-English OT & NT.

          And a hernia from lifting all that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So it’s just magic that gives you this marvelous ability to detect the truth? Or maybe just confidence in the rightness of your position?

          Do you wish upon a star as well? Do you predict the future by picking the petals off a daisy?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Magic? Them books is heavy, bub. It’s not magic that cracks those bad boys, it’s reading glasses and coffee. But to be serious for a moment, there is an approach to Biblical study that makes a big difference.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yet again, claims without evidence.

          Show me how you can reliably gain revelation through the Bible and how I can be convinced that it’s not just wishful thinking or talking to yourself.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          What claims? That a Strong’s Concordance is a big, thick book? I guess you’ll have to pick one up and see for yourself.

          The ‘revelations’ one gets from studying Scripture are usually personal, more of an ‘Aha!’ moment. I will say that ‘getting’ something, like one of the parables, can be a rush.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So then there is no reliable, repeatable approach to getting wisdom from the Bible. It’s all subjective. Is that right?

          I can appreciate that, for you, it can be a powerful experience. But you can imagine that, for me, this means very little. I’m still waiting for evidence that God even exists.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Let’s stay with the Church Fathers discussion and the proposition before us for the time being, if that is alright with you – I am being run a little ragged keeping up with multiple conversations, and I now respect that you and the board want serious discussion.

        • MNb

          The author of 2 Peter is an early example of cognitive dissonance:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Prophecy_Fails

          Here is an even earlier example:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes

          “He will come back soon!”
          Several decades later: “No, he didn’t actually mean that he would come back soon.”

        • Pofarmer

          Interesting read, thanks.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          You’re joking, right?

          An ‘early’ example of failed prophecy… from 1900? Then an ‘even earlier’ one from translations of Aesop that were done in the 19th and 18th centuries?

          2 Peter was written long before, and not in answer to failed prophecy, but in reply to persecution.

          This challenge of ‘atheism’ is not that you wish to believe in no God. Your challenge is that you wish to convince others that your ‘no god’ is a more reasonable position than God.

          –see more below–

        • MNb

          The first example was to show what cognitive dissonance means. This case gave rise to the entire concept. I find the similarities with 2 Peter striking.

          For your information: Aesopus lived some six centuries before Jesus of Nazareth. I referred to him to show that since long people were aware of cognitive dissonance.

          As for 2 Peter:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_of_Peter

          “most biblical scholars have concluded that Peter is not the author”
          “Many scholars generally consider the epistle to be written between c 100–150AD”

          http://www.willibrordbijbel.nl/?p=page&i=54181,54181

          This is from the Dutch catholic translation of your own Holy Book.

          ” Daarom betogen uitleggers wel dat de brief vrij laat zou zijn ontstaan, mogelijk pas in de eerste helft van de tweede eeuw.”
          “The letter was written rather late, possibly only in the first half of the Second Century.”
          Still love science? Remember my two rules: when science conflicts with theology and/or philosophy then science wins. And science undermines your argument; I’m totally justified to call 2 Peter a typical case of cognitive dissonance. Is a helpful conversation still possible or are you going to reject science? In the first case you’ll have to show up with a lot more evidence – or admit you’re wrong.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Hey – why does someone who rejects the authority of God so easily accept the authority of blogs?

          Relax – jus’ having some fun.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you tossing out fun ideas as they pop into your mind, or is this what you actually think?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I could not possibly hope for a serious answer to the question – but I’ll consider one, if you got it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I reject the authority of God because I see no evidence of God (and you aren’t doing anything to correct that problem).

          I don’t think of blogs as especially authoritative. One difference, though: blogs actually exist.

        • MNb

          Now I’m wondering if you’re making a joke indeed …. you love for science doesn’t look very genuine anymore.

          As you are link-averse:

          “Lendering read history at Leiden University (MA 1993), specialized in Mediterranean culture at the Amsterdam Free University (MA 1996), and worked at excavations in Holland (Riethoven) and Greece (Halos). After teaching historical theory and ancient history at the Free University for several years”
          Impressive and verifiable CV – enough for me to call him an authority in his field of research. I am not aware that your god has any verifiable CV in any field of research. A lot of rumours though from suspicious sources. What’s more, as long as you accept the scientific method JL is always open for improvement. Your god not so much.
          Oh and he is writing a book that should interest any christian and jew:

          “Lendering is currently writing a book on the separation of Judaism and Christianity”

          http://www.livius.org/about.html

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          MNb – thank you for the link to Lendering. That is a fantastic website, and I will be spending some time there.

        • MNb

          You’re welcome. I totally agree. Enjoy!

        • MNb

          This is actually a serious question. Fortunately the answer is simple. Jona Lendering is a professional, a scholar, who knows what he is writing about and takes care to explain how he arrives at his conclusions and which empirical data he uses. In short: he is a scientist.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          your ‘no god’ is a more reasonable position than God.

          It’s the starting point. It’s the default position. It’s the null hypothesis.

          That’s a redundant way of saying that you have the burden of proof. If you offer a claim and provide insufficient evidence, the rest of us are obliged to reject it.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I think we disagree on the starting point. I’ll take God, who made heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible, and you take… well, I guess you have to decide that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I follow the evidence.

          Why “take God”? Why not some other god? I guess you grew up with this view and that’s good enough for you?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          With God comes everything else. It is more than I could have hoped to have, and better than I could have imagined. I hope someday you get it.

          You’ll never guess how I found it for myself. Well, maybe you will – you are a very intelligent man.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Your religion works out great for you. OK, got it.

          Other people’s religion works out great for them. Why your religion over theirs?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I don’t recall saying that. In fact, on another of your blogs, I quoted Matthew 25 a couple of times to get you to see that God will save the righteous of any religion, and cast away some who call out ‘Lord, Lord!’

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re saying that you don’t much care which religion people adopt? Yours is fine, but some other religion might be fine as well?

          The parable of the sheep and the goats makes clear that works, not faith, get you into heaven. Yes, I’ve used Matt. 25 myself at times.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I think it is the only way to read that passage.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we’re on the same page about Matt. 25 making clear that works gets you into heaven? Good to hear.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Faith and works go together – how can they not? If you believe something, act like it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s not what we’re talking about. Jesus makes clear that works alone get you into the Kingdom.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          …?… It all goes together. Just because the Bible has been versed and reversed and torn apart and misquoted and misapplied does not mean that it must continue to be misread.

          The early Church had it right – faith creates works that create a new creature in Christ. There is no division, and no conflict between the two.

          What with the ‘works’ thing?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You have read the parable, right? That parable, read in context, makes it clear that works alone gets you into heaven.

          I just quoted the Bible. What trumps that?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          St Paul is very clear in this verse: ‘So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.’ That is from II Thessalonians 2:15.

          Only some Christians are ‘bound’ by the contents of the Bible. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Bible, I venerate the Bible, I kiss the Bible during Lent – it is our Book, written by, for, and among the Church – yet it was supplemented by the spoken words and deeds of the Apostles.

          To answer your question, the ‘work’ of the Christian is to do all that Christ commanded, not just that which made it into the notes. I hope I don’t sound facetious about this, I am just trying to explain my reasoning about the passage.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you give yourself license to roll your own? If you like what the Bible says, great, and if you don’t, perhaps this or that tradition will justify your giving it a pass?

          I’m not criticizing, but that seems to be a somewhat cavalier attitude to the Good Book.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Oh no, just the opposite. The Church remembers those spoken words and deeds, and asks us to take all of it into account.

          Yes, we believe that the Church remembers. Yet I think I may have some evidence to discuss tomorrow, if I can find it. Are you interested in the memory of the Church?

          Is that a topic that has been discussed previously?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          St Paul is very clear in this verse

          And Jesus said that you get into heaven according to your works. I think I win.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Our Lord said if you love Him, do His commandments.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And even that’s ambiguous. There are lots of OT commandments that Christians discard.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Under the NT, it’s 10 + 2, with the 2 given by Christ superseding all others since the ‘law’ was fulfilled in Him.

          That doesn’t let us off the hook that easily, though.

          There are additional ‘commandments’ that He taught, as well. “Do this in remembrance of me,” was one. “When you pray, pray thusly…” is another example.

          it’s not quite the 613 Laws of Judaism, although there are times it feels like it.

        • MNb

          “faith creates works that create a new creature in Christ.”
          How does that play out for the very faithful soldiers who slaughtered all the Cathars in South-France early 14th Century? They had faith in the very same Holy Book as you – perhaps even more faith. I’m very sure though I don’t like the new creatures in christ created that way.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          I can’t justify nor condone people doing terribly things, even if they claim it is for God. The verses in Matt 25 seems to take this into account, since there those who are rejected even as they cry out, ‘Lord! Lord!’

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Terrible things? Like sending someone into eternal torment?

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          We believe that God is, and the person’s reaction to finally seeing God and being seen by God can be bliss or torment.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wow–this dude sounds like a dick. (Are you really sure he’s worthy of worship??)

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          Once you get to know Him, there is very little doubt.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          … that he’s a dick? I think you’re right.

          No loving god can support genocide and slavery. No loving god can create a place of torture to punish those who act just like he built them to act.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          He built us as an expression of love, and built us to be peaceful, loving, joyful, patient, kind and good.

          But we became broken, and don’t act like he built us to act. We created genocide and slavery, and we create ‘hell’ by rejecting God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Next time you scratch your head and wonder why atheists get so agitated about something that doesn’t exist, remember this comment.

          He built us as an expression of love, and built us to be peaceful, loving, joyful, patient, kind and good.

          We come out of the box broken. And then he says that we can get into heaven, but only if we’re perfect. Which he deliberately made us not to be.

          You’ll say that we have Jesus for that. Great—problem solved then, right? Nope—I have to believe. Which I can’t. (Thought experiment: believe in leprechauns to see what I mean.)

          But we became broken…

          Don’t blame me. I didn’t eat the fruit.

          … and don’t act like he built us to act.

          Doesn’t sound like he’s particularly powerful if he wants us to be perfect but we keep getting born imperfect.

          We created genocide and slavery, and we create ‘hell’ by rejecting God.

          God commands genocide and he supports slavery! You’ve read the OT, right??

          A place of infinite torment—yeah that sounds exactly like what a loving god would make.

          Tell him I said thanks.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          The first part of your post appears to be minor points supported by the primary objection.

          Your primary objection seems to be about God in that He commands genocide and supports slavery. It is a strong objection.

          I once heard this question expressed in a class, and the instructor had a hard time with it. I believe the inquirer left unsatisfied, and often think about his anger and disappointment.

          I don’t want to make the same mistake as that instructor. I am seeking the right words, and hope that I can.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There are several issues here (and I could bring up many more). I’m not sure some are more important than others. But that’s not the main issue.

          Sounds like you understand where I’m coming from. Thanks.

        • MNb

          That’s not an answer. You write that faith creates works that create a new creature in Christ. Those soldiers in the early 14th Century with their strong faith created a work I call a killing spree. According to your statement that created a new creature in Christ a normal thinking person would call a merciless murder machine.
          I’m not infallible, but if that’s what faith does to people, thanks for clarifying the psychology of the murderer for Jesus. But no thanks, I rather decline faith. I prefer to stay mentally sane.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          The Crusades are evidence for really bad teaching and the worse kind of corruption on all levels. Did you know that some of those deluded men attacked and killed fellow Christians? Constantinople, the year 1204.

          The idea that the Lord rejects those who have done wrong, even if they are Christians, should apply.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And yet you are reduced to evaluating the wrong of those soldiers in the same way that I do.

          We can imagine or even wish for some absolute moral insight, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen.

        • Pofarmer

          2 timothy is early Apologetics, probably trying to answer questions christians were asking about why all this stuff wasn’t happening.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I just rebutted your claim that Christians killed for being Christians is no evidence for anything that we’re talking about. That you changed the subject makes me conclude that you agree with me that the initial claim is flawed.

          As for Matt. 25:31, just because the Bible says so doesn’t help.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          –see above–

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ditto

      • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

        We have seen that Islam is actually a Christian heresy, so oddly enough, their conviction shows us the working of God. That said, I must object to murderers being classified as ‘martyrs.’ Islam borrowed a great deal from the ancient Church, the word ‘martyr’ being one of them, but twisted its’ meaning into a horrible aberration.

        I believe it may have been a post on one of your other articles where a poster discussed the Muslim view of Jesus, and I responded with a thank you, that makes the case that Islam is actually a Christian heresy. Forgive me for not having that at my fingertips – it’s around here someplace.

        • MNb

          Islam is as much a christian heresy as christianity is a jewish heresy as the jewish monotheism is a heresy from early polytheism. So that’s not much of an argument for your particular brand of theism.
          OK. Ghandi died for his ideals. He was a Hindu. Would he have died if his particular brand of theism were untrue? Some Aztec priests died for their religion by hands of the first Spanish colonists. Would they have died if their particular brand of theism were untrue?
          Martyrdom says nothing. It only makes you, survivor, feel good.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          The survivors of persecution – do they feel good about themselves? Ask a Jew who came out of a camp. If you dare.

          I hope that even one such as yourself would hesitate to demean them, and all who perished, by such a question.

        • MNb

          Irrelevant question. I’m asking you, not a victim of Nazi persecution. Possibly my sloppy phrasing (I’m not a native English speaker) confused you. I apologize for being Dutch and thus being offensive where I don’t meant to.
          With “survivor” I meant someone who hasn’t suffered from persecution. Substitute with another more appriopriate word if you prefer to.
          So I say: it makes you feel good that early christians have become martyrs for their and your religion: “Look how they suffered! I must be right!”. Are you going to answer my questions regarding Ghandi and the Aztecs now? That, iso nitpicking on my bad English, would increase the chance of a “helpful conversation”. Are hinduism and the Aztec religion as true as your christianity?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So let’s recap. I asked you: “do the martyred from other religions convince you that they are correct?”

          I assume that your nonanswer means that, no, you aren’t convinced that the martyrs from other religions mean that those religions are true. Are you then treating Christian martyrs differently?

        • carmel Ka

          carmel->Bob Seidensticker

          “do the martyred from other religions convince you that they are correct?”

          you are trying to make a point here BUT the premises from your question are “false analogy” between people, circumstances and believes that are totally different, relevantly dissimilar(plus the “false equivocation” for martyr as terminology and meaning)
          Is simple absurd to ask that like: did the people who died , for example , the terrorists from 9/11, to convince the audience of other facts/other circumstances/history that you suppose that are the same, so that an easy conclusion.
          Changing the case to other religious is simple same false.
          I don;t see the relevance for the historicity however.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sorry–you’ve lost me. I think you’re saying that Christian martyrs help convince you that Christianity is correct, but Muslim martyrs don’t do the same thing for Islam.

          Why is that?

        • carmel Ka

          Nope, I am saying that your premises are not comparable.

          You now merely say that he terrorists from 9/11 are muslim martyrs? That I don;t think so at all. And the muslim too, the ones I know where I leave at least .

          I just simple say that analogy is false since refers to different peoples, different life experience and different history . I will add religion too.

          Putting it simple, you compare the not comparables.

          I am saying that is logical fallacy to compare premises that are totally different , as per my above example.

          Religious is another subject where everybody have opinions, of course, but logic is still a science for all, along with others. This help us to logical reasoning about the people, motivation, psychology, or religion , if you like this subject in particular.

          You are jumping to conclusion(that martyr is not trustful to convince you about a religious or another) from cases too broad presented without meaning.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I just simple say that analogy is false since refers to different peoples, different life experience and different history

          You’re a hard guy to please. A Christian dies for his faith and a Muslim dies for his faith, but they can’t be compared? “Totally different”? OK, whatever.

          What about the main points of the post? Are we on the same page there?

        • MNb

          Here we have some martyrs for religion:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxon_Wars

          And some more:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogroms_of_1096

          Would these people have died if their belief systems were untrue? Conversion would have saved their lives.
          Like I asked underneath:

          “Ghandi died for his ideals. He was a Hindu. Would he have died if his particular brand of theism were untrue? Some Aztec priests died for their religion by hands of the first Spanish colonists. Would they have died if their particular brand of theism were untrue?”

        • carmel Ka

          ->Mnb,
          All your above examples are from the history of wars (religion as a pretext), people died in wars(from links you gave me) because were lead into by people who used religious as opium, manipulation , misleading truth and following their goals.(money and power)
          They died because of manipulation, politics, money interests of the powerful ones.

          Ghandi died as shot to death, not his choice whatsoever, his religious believes didn;t matter . The Aztec priests, put to death by spanish ocupations, were not their choice at all, they could be atheists as well, same destiny would follow. The examples are all politic/”money and power rules action” related, sorry, completely misleading martyrs/religion.

        • MNb

          Perfectly missing the point, as the good christian you are. Most of them (possibly not Ghandi, but certainly the rest) could have avoided getting killed by converting, exactly like the christian martyrs in the 2nd and 3rd Century. Their persecution was also a political/money/power affair.
          Yours is an ad hoc argument. Christians get killed: because and only because of his religion and nothing else by definition. Other believers get killed: their religions didn’t matter.
          You’re deceiving yourself because it makes you feel good.

        • carmel Ka

          carmel Ka->MNb

          “Most of them (possibly not Ghandi, but certainly the rest) could have avoided getting killed by converting,” is nothing else but pure “ad hoc” supposition. History showed that persecution lead by powerful ones against the innocents(no matter christians , aztec priests , etc) was mainly to get power/control and not to convert people by force(religion was most likely a pretext). Anyhow, the way you used Ghandy and Aztec priests is “false analogy” and then you come back to me that I defended directly Christians, which I didn’t (unless you showed me where explicitly).

          “Perfectly missing the point” – my point is that politics and military actions used religion as a pretext(no matter christianity , muslims , etc) . To mixed them up to get to a point is misleading history(best example Ghandi murder) and then accuse the others that don’t think like you.

        • MNb

          In the first place I didn’t write that you “defended directly christians” – in this context I don’t even know what this means. In the second place with “unless you showed me where explicitly” you dishonestly rule out the option of implicitely. In the third place you neglect that the persecution of christians also was politically motivated. In the fourth place just repeating “false analogy” doesn’t make it correct. In the fifth place I already wrote “possibly not Ghandi”, which you prefer to dishonestly ignore. In the sixth place you still not have addressed my point: they all could have avoided – indeed possibly with the exception of Ghandi – being killed by reconverting. That’s the very definition of martyr (dying for your beliefs) and this is what the analogy makes correct.
          Repeating yourself and not addressing stuff makes you look silly.

        • carmel Ka

          Yes, they all could have avoided if the persecutors didn’t follow their objectives goals: politics, money , power , influence. The religious faith of the innocent didn;t matter too much since the goals of persecutors overcomes (example aztec priests, crusades, the ottoman wars “so called holly wars”). My point is simple as it is, religious was a pretext not a goal for the wars from your web-links, so the facts that people were Christians, Muslim, Jewish etc were not determined(their religion unimportant, easy to substitute, just to follow the real goals). The martyrs who really died for their believes ( by assuming their religious identity no matter what, tacking the risk) should be treated, if you want , case by case to determine the relevance of their goals that drove it there. You looked like didn;t get my point whatsoever.

        • avalpert

          “You looked like didn;t get my point whatsoever.”

          Because your ‘point’ is an incoherent smokescreen designed to defend your special pleading without having to address it. Yes, of course only Christian martyrs ever really died for their beliefs – everyone else it was really for politics, money, power…

        • MNb

          “Yes, they all could have avoided if the persecutors didn’t follow their objectives goals: politics, money , power , influence.”
          Nonsense. In all cases it is demonstrable that some actually did save their lives by converting. Your point is clear – I got it the first time – but it is irrelevant.

          “The martyrs who really died for their believes”
          Ah – now we get the no-true martyr fallacy.

        • carmel Ka

          Then go ahead and demonstrate that some(you false claim that you know them)had that chance. Your lack of history from the web links you posted is relevant so far .
          Prove your claiming with relevance without changing the subject !

          “The martyrs who really died for their believes”
          “Ah – now we get the no-true martyr fallacy.”

          You extracted part of my whole phrase then claiming the opposite, fallacy of manipulation. My whole phrase actually invited you to support your claiming .

    • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

      Oh – A bit from ‘Debunking Christianity’ listed above.

      “Imagine Peter leading a church service at that time, and Roman Soldiers bust in:

      Soldier: All right. Who is in charge here?

      *Everyone points to Peter*

      Soldier: You, and your entire group here are charged with the crime of arson. You will be tried, found guilty, and executed, and not necessarily in that order.
      Peter: But it is all a hoax. Jesus wasn’t physically resurrected. I don’t want to die for a lie.

      Now, is the Soldier going to apologize for bothering Peter, and then leave, chuckling how he single-handedly eliminated Christianity? Of course not. He will proceed with his orders, and, regardless what Peter says, Peter will die. Yes, he is a martyr. Yes, he died for being a Christian.

      But that does not address the crux of this argument—did he voluntarily assume a risk that by claiming it was a hoax could be avoided? According to Acts, the Disciples were the first vocal supporters of the new Christian Church. Any persecution that would focus on the leaders would center on these disciples.

      They could not “avoid” it by recanting. By then it is far too late.”

      OK – that’s the quote. Nicely described, it is, however, incorrect.

      From the around the 2nd century to the 4th, all a Christian had to do to be spared torture and death was sprinkle a little incense over a bowl as a prayer offering to the Emperor.

      Some did, but thousands refused, and all those who refused were killed.

      So – does it matter to you that this essayist is incorrect in his assertion that once you were ‘caught’ being a Christian, it was ‘too late?’

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Now, is the Soldier going to apologize for bothering Peter, and then leave, chuckling how he single-handedly eliminated Christianity? Of course not.

        Nicely handled. Many Christians miss important this point.

        I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone but Christians imagine the early Christians inventing it as a hoax, however. This is certainly not my argument.

        From the around the 2nd century to the 4th, all a Christian had to do to be spared torture and death was sprinkle a little incense over a bowl as a prayer offering to the Emperor. Some did, but thousands refused, and all those who refused were killed.

        And we’re back to the question: does the 9/11 hijackers’ deaths give evidence for the truth of Islam? If not, why bring up Christian non-eyewitnesses and talk about their deaths?

    • Pofarmer

      Why would the Muslims believe so strongly they find it necessary to kill Christians? What about the Hindu’s in India also being killed by Muslims? Is their faith any more or less true?

      • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

        It is explained in Matthew 25 starting at verse 31. The righteous dead (not only Christians, but all righteous) are ‘saved,’ while the unrighteous are sent away. Among the unrighteous, in fact, are Christians.

        I believe this is the teaching that Pope Francis was speaking of when he caused a stir earlier this year when he said that nonchristians could be saved.

        • MNb

          Because Matthew – or the pope – said something it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

    • MNb

      “Real people following a real God to their real deaths.”
      The Real People fallacy is not any better than the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  • John son of John

    “most apostles were martyred for their faith” is historically almost indefensible.” not true you need to just ask someone who studied libraries or history in that time.

    God bless

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Perhaps that wise person is you? Tell me what’s wrong.

      • John son of John

        i believe that there is two groups fools and the wise. pretty sure am myself a fool. but, if you like one can share with you the little i know about historical library preservation. but, please fellow siner could you could you consult an individual who is wiser or more intelligent than i first?

        – http:// forums.catholic.com

        http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/building-a-culture-of-religious-freedom/

        God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This isn’t an argument. If you have specifics about any errors that I made, let me know.

        • John son of John

          i know … so do you want me to mention what little one knows about the subject at hand or not? i just think you should contact someone more intelligent than me before you ask me for a critique or answer.

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I thought I already did a fair amount of research on the topic, including reading apologists’ arguments. If your point is “be sure to research it from all viewpoints,” I’ve already done that.

          That doesn’t mean I didn’t make an error, of course. That happens. That’s why I invite specific arguments from you–what did I get wrong, what is the truth, and why you say that?

          You seem confident that there’s a mistake there. But it’s just a drive-by if you don’t give me the specifics.

        • John son of John

          okay have done a lot of research my self on ancient, early, and christian history myself. so, this is what is found out thus far: that early christians were nearly the only ones who kept alive oral and written history from both christian and pre-christian history until the early 11th century. many historians have unsurpriseingly confirmed that many of the events they describe are accurate and true.

          a few of sources that confirm
          that one remembers

          http://www.zencollegelife.com/the-history-of-libraries-through-the-ages/

          -Harris, Michael. 1995 History of Libraries in the Western World; 4th ed. Metuchen: Scarecrow

          http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3896606&highlight=history+christ+lib#post3896606

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_library#Early_Christian_libraries

          http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3098290&highlight=history+christ+library#post3098290

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          OK. That seems a little off topic, but perhaps I missed what we’re talking about.

          What’s your point?

        • John son of John

          we were talking mainly about “most apostles were martyred for their faith” is historically almost indefensible.” and the historicity of Catholicism based on the Truth. the purpose that was in mind for this discussion was to prove what all historians and what those who study truth are true; factually and empirically and surprisingly in fact reality and not a lie or an un-truths as many other doubting sinners have claimed since the late 19th century.

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          OK, that’s what I thought.

          My reject the idea that most of the original 12 apostles were martyred for their faith. Might’ve happened, of course, but we simply have too poor a record to make such a claim.

          Instead of giving links, summarize why my argument in the post above is flawed.

        • John son of John

          Apostolic Succession Proved from Scripture
          and History

          sir, you and Many people deny that the modern Catholic Church is the one
          Church Jesus promised to build (cf. Mt. 16:18-19) claiming that the doctrine
          of Apostolic Succession is not found in real history or in the Bible promulgated
          by her. Even though have given you much succinct evidence and similar sources
          in the Truth is using. Will continue
          then dear, sir, …

          Let’s begin by examining the evidence contained in scripture as well as the
          non-scriptural writings of the earliest Christians for evidence
          of Apostolic Succession. The Bible contains clear indications that the
          Apostle Paul taught Apostolic Succession to his disciples and fellow workers,
          Timothy, Titus and Clement. Here are the relevant passages:

          2 Timothy 2:1-2

          You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the
          things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to
          reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

          In the passage above, there are four
          generations of believers contained in this one passage: 1. Paul himself, 2.
          Timothy, who was Paul’s disciple, 3. Those whom Timothy would disciple and 4.
          Those to whom Timothy’s disciples would preach. Paul commanded Timothy to
          hand on the gospel to reliable men and further to ensure that those men would
          also hand on the gospel reliably.

          Titus 1:5

          The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was
          left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

          In the passage above, we see that Paul was
          concerned with the appointing of capable leaders in the Cretan church. So in
          addition to his concern for the content of the message, he is
          concerned with the succession of the leadership, as well.

          Philippians 4:3 Yes and I ask you, loyal
          yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of
          the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names
          are in the book of life.

          In the passage from Philippians, Paul
          mentions one of his fellow workers, Clement, who was ordained by the Apostle
          Peter and later became the fourth Bishop of Rome (after Peter, Linus, and
          Anacletus). Like Paul, who addressed to epistles to the Church of Corinth,
          Clement wrote his own letter to the Corinthians around 80 AD. In that letter,
          he stated:

          “Through countryside and city [the
          apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest
          converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future
          believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons
          had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew
          through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the
          office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having
          received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been
          mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should
          die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry”
          (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

          “We
          are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by
          other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have
          blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and
          disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the
          good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. (ibid.)

          From these two passages, we can see that
          Clement had witnessed his mentors; the Apostles Peter and
          Paul, naming men to the office of Bishop and had received instructions from
          them that other men should succeed those Bishops appointed by the Apostles in
          the event that these first Bishops should die. Thus, history records that
          both the Apostles and their disciples such
          as Clement, Timothy and Titus understood and followed the practice of
          appointing successors to the Apostles in the Church.

          While many seem to believe that anyone with a Bible may become a “pastor” by
          simply gathering around himself a group of fellow believers to form a church,
          the Bible itself teaches that true leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ must
          be ordained by those who were ordained before them. This
          process, known as Apostolic Succession, maintains an unbroken chain of
          continuity from Jesus, Peter and the Apostles to the leaders
          of the early Church.

          The writings that many other members of the
          early Church support the idea of continuing Apostolic Succession. For example,
          the Apostle John discipled a man known today as Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp,
          in turn, discipled a man known as Irenaeus of Lyons. Around 180 AD, Irenaeus
          recorded the names of the leaders of the early church beginning with Peter
          down to his own day; thus, we have the following from a second-century
          (pre-Constantinian) Christian with impeccable credentials:

          “3The blessed Apostles [Peter
          and Paul], having founded and built up the Church [of Rome], they handed over
          the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in
          the Epistle to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the
          third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen from the
          episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was
          acquainted with them. It might be said that He still heard the echoes of the
          preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions
          before his eyes. And not only were he, for there many still remaining
          who had been instructed by the Apostles. In the time of Clement,
          no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church
          in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace
          and renewing their faith. To this Clement, Evaristus
          succeeded; and Alexander succeeded Evaristus. Then, sixth after the Apostles,
          Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telesphorus, who also was gloriously
          martyred. Then Hyginus; after him, Pius; and after him, Anicetus. Soter
          succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the twelfth place after the Apostles,
          the lot of the episcopate has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the
          teaching of the Apostles handed down in the Church, the
          preaching of the truth has come down to us.” (Against Heresies 3.3.3,
          [A.D. 180])

          In this passage, Irenaeus traces the
          succession of the early Christian Church leaders from Peter down to
          Eleutherus in his own day—a span of approximately 120 years. Using other
          historical records, we can continue to trace the leadership of that same
          Church from Eleutherus all the way down to Pope Benedict XVI today.

          The existence and leadership of this Church is well-documented and
          unassailable historical fact. The connection between the modern Catholic
          Church and the pre-Constantinian Church of Peter, James and John is
          undeniable.

          These early eyewitness accounts together with the testimony of Sacred
          Scripture prove the doctrine of Apostolic Succession and the existence of the
          Catholic Church prior to Constantine, and they drive a stake through the
          heart of any argument that the New Testament churches were
          independent of one another and not actually local congregations of the One
          Church led by the local Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome, the
          successor of Peter.

          ____

          Kings always had an office – there is a
          Hebrew term for it which escapes me – it is “one who is
          over the household.” The Temple Authorities were removed
          from their office and Peter and the Apostles put
          in their place. Peter was “over the household” of
          the King.

          And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can
          we find such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” So Pharaoh
          said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so
          discreet and wise as you are; you shall be over my house, and all my
          people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will
          I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have
          set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring
          from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of
          fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in
          his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus
          he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph,
          “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or
          foot in all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:38-44)

          Thus
          says the Lord GOD of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is
          over the household, and say to him: … I will thrust you from your office,
          and you will be cast down from your station. In that day I will call my
          servant Eli’akim the son of Hilki’ah, and I will clothe him with your robe,
          and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand;
          and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of
          Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he
          shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
          (Isaiah 22:15,19-22)

          There are many other examples. if one still wants more can give some more.

          Some other sources from the Truth –

          The Fulfillment
          of All Desire by Ralph Martin (this is a must-read book)

          More
          Christianity by Fr. Dwight Longenecher

          forums.catholic.com

          hope continues to help you in search for Truth.

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          John ben John: We don’t seem to be communicating here.

          You’re quoting from http://forums.catholic.com/. What I’d prefer is a succinct summary of the errors that I made and the reasons why they’re wrong. Or just take the most obvious one.

          What you’re saying instead is, “This is all completely wrong. Go look it up.” I’ve already done the research, and it’s not wrong. If you disagree, I welcome your clear and to-the-point correction.

        • John son of John

          Beyond the essential nature of the resurrection, however, is the change of the demeanor of the apostles after it happened. They went from cowering in the upper room to boldly going out and preaching the Good News of the man the Jews just executed for heresy. By doing this they all knew they would meet a similar fate yet did so despite earlier acts of cowardice. The Gospels clearly show that the apostles were really not sure who Jesus was before his resurrection(even Peter who’s acts during the passion showed a doubt he no longer had when Peter went to the cross). Thomas would not believe unless he touched Jesus for example. There was a clear shift that was instantaneous. More proof is the speed in which the faith went from being an outlaw religion to dominating the western world in less than 500 years affected by the death for truth by the apostles of His. even more surprising is the flourishing of Christianity as the only surviving learning center until the late 11th century.

          i think one would need a list of the errors you think others and i trying to correct have only tried thus far to correct one error in your claim against the fullness of Truth. am not quoting giving sources for foundation of argument for non-obligatory reading that also has some of the evidence for Truth which is found in the Catholic Church.

          http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3787

          http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Home

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The gospel is a story. You think it’s history? You have to show that first. Don’t assume it.

          I agree that the gospels say that the apostles were afraid and then became bold proclaimers of the Jesus story. And The Wizard of Oz says that the scarecrow, lion, and tin woodsman got what they wanted.

          They’re both stories.

          The growth of Christianity is hardly surprising. It wasn’t particularly fast, and some religion will be #1.

        • John son of John

          thank you sir for your comments. well, as the old sayin goes the truth is the truth no matter how many people believe . The fact that the gospels were records of sermons to the early church community strengthens the case for historical reliability because the community itself would exercise a form of check and balance with the historical record. Because it was a community activity–rather than the work of an isolated author–the fact checking would be part of the community life. This is why it is important that the New Testament is not the work of Jesus himself. One author is easily biased, misled, misinformed or just plain crazy. When the founder of a religion writes a book the whole book stands or falls according to his or her credentials. That’s why so many religious texts are claimed to have been given by dictation by an angel–there’s no arguing with that! Instead, Jesus does not write a book.

          It is also important to remember that not only did Jesus not write a book, but neither did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John simply sit down to write a biography of Jesus. Textual criticism shows that the gospel writers were not doing their own work. They relied on earlier written sources and earlier oral sources from the community. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels, but they did not create the gospels as a single modern author might. Instead they were like editors–gathering together the various stories which were circulating in the community and compiling them to create the gospels as we have them. Again, it is important to stress how unique these documents are. They are not the creation of any one individual, but the record of the stories and accounts and memories from many individuals.

          This varied background gives a remarkable reliability to the gospels. Instead of one single record–like a single biography–of the life of Christ we have not only four different versions (totally unheard of for any character in ancient history) but those four versions themselves are compilations of the accounts of many individuals who were present at the events. This multiplicity of sources adds an astounding level of veracity to the gospels since those many different sources check and balance and correct one another.

          The community origin of the gospels makes them completely unique documents in human history. Nowhere else do we have four accounts of a character from ancient history written within sixty years of his death, compiled not by one person but compiled out of the community experience. These documents are not compiled by a single historian who is prone not only to bias, but to factual errors and misunderstandings. Because the gospels come out of this lived and shared experience they are far more likely to be accounts of what really happened. If something blatantly false were written the community would have corrected it.

          In addition to this one must consider the Jewish context of the early church. A strict memorization of the Scriptures is part of the Jewish tradition. Jewish boys even today for their Bar Mitzvah have to memorize parts of the Scripture and are checked for it word by word. In the first century, with the scarcity of manuscripts, boys were taught to memorize the entire Old Testament, and to recite the accounts of the history of their people word for word.Surely a person who was fabricating tales–or even allowing them to be exaggerated– would not have the moral fortitude to then die an agonizing death for those lies.

          The record of supernatural events does not negate, therefore, the historical claims of a document. What you have in the gospels are documents recording a multiplicity of eyewitness events recorded by four different editors within thirty years of the events themselves. What other historical figure or event from ancient–or even medieval history can claim such a wide range of balancing, correcting and corroborating witnesses? None. In fact the standard for checking and balancing the historical claims is far higher and wider in the gospels than you would have for many universally accepted historical events and characters. so according to history and many of the other disciplines catholicism does have a truthful basis in reality, so, not just a story.

          http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/are-the-gospels-myth

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Because it was a community activity–rather than the work of an isolated author–the fact checking would be part of the community life.

          And who’s in a position to fact check? This is a religion, remember? People believe this stuff on faith, not because they saw it happen or because it’s history.

          The handful of disciples wouldn’t be around to police the story. Nothing was written. The story could easily drift, a la telephone

          This is why it is important that the New Testament is not the work of Jesus himself.

          Which is what you’d say if you didn’t have a single letter from the originator himself. If you did, of course, you’d be crowing about how authentic the message must be.

          Christians often underestimate the amount of drift likely in the original documents, since they were already a translation of the story from the Aramaic language and Jewish culture to Greek language and culture.

          Instead, Jesus does not write a book.

          I see. And that’s a good thing. Ri-i-i-ight.

          they did not create the gospels as a single modern author might

          Right. A modern author would write it as journalism or biography.

          the record of the stories and accounts and memories from many individuals.

          Yep, it’s a patchwork of stories. Hardly much on which to build the most remarkable supernatural claim ever.

          This varied background gives a remarkable reliability to the gospels.

          I gotta disagree with you there.

          we have not only four different versions

          Not independent versions.

          This multiplicity of sources adds an astounding level of veracity to the gospels

          You do know that historians invariably scrub supernatural claims from history, right?

          These documents are not compiled by a single historian who is prone not only to bias…

          … instead, they’re the summary of the results of a decades-long game of telephone.

          Sorry—that doesn’t help your accuracy.

          If something blatantly false were written the community would have corrected it.

          Based on what??

          A strict memorization of the Scriptures is part of the Jewish tradition.

          And the gospel story wasn’t Scripture!

          boys were taught to memorize the entire Old Testament

          Oh? How many boys? I’m pretty sure not all of them. Perhaps not even any of them.

          would not have the moral fortitude to then die an agonizing death for those lies.

          Wow—this is more than a hat trick. You got all the standard silly arguments here!

          No, they didn’t die for a lie, as this post makes clear.

          (I’m tired of correcting errors in this article. And I’d prefer that you give us your own arguments rather than something you pulled off the internet(s).)

        • John son of John

          “”And who’s in a position to fact check? This is a religion, remember? People believe this stuff on faith, not because they saw it happen or because it’s history.” that’s what a minority of “modern” historians believe but what they do not remember is that in the times of oral tradition one was not allowed to deviate from the story in the retelling ( e.g. homer, greek history, much of the early scriptures, babylonians, early settlers of the americas, indo-europeans, germanic tribes, ancient chinese, early “russians,” hindus, etc… ) and was often much more reliable than the written word (factoring in writers bias ) much of what one knows now about early history such as the life of alexander, caesar, ancient religions come from ancient times, and early history comes from a large amount of oral tradition which a part of has been written down them being the main source ( witnesses eh ? ) is a huge insult to judaism whose history and tradition largely comes from oral tradition to say their community is unreliable. catholicism had a large group of mainly jewish converts for about the first twenty years. so, would not they be as reliable too?

          “Christians often underestimate the amount of drift likely in the original documents, since they were already a translation of the story from the Aramaic language and Jewish culture to Greek language and culture.” so? language and culture is still continually changing and there are still words that are not known yet to other languages that still need to be translated.

          “And the gospel story wasn’t Scripture! ”

          christian scripture or jewish?

          “If something blatantly false were written the community would have corrected it.

          Based on what?? ”

          – “the traditions and truth we ( both apostles and disciples ) have taught you all ”

          “These documents are not compiled by a single historian who is prone not only to bias… ”

          both christian and non- christian historians as well even consulted at many many centers of learning libraries etc.. and at the council that brought the truth together in the bible at the counsel in the fourth century.

          Because it was a community activity–rather than the work of an isolated author–the fact checking would be part of the community life.

          And who’s in a position to fact check? This is a religion, remember? People believe this stuff on faith, not because they saw it happen or because it’s history.

          The handful of disciples wouldn’t be around to police the story. Nothing was written. The story could easily drift, a latelephone

          This is why it is important that the New Testament is not the work of Jesus himself.

          Which is what you’d say if you didn’t have a single letter from the originator himself. If you did, of course, you’d be crowing about how authentic the message must be.

          Christians often underestimate the amount of drift likely in the original documents, since they were already a translation of the story from the Aramaic language and Jewish culture to Greek language and culture.

          Instead, Jesus does not write a book.

          I see. And that’s a good thing. Ri-i-i-ight. ”

          there is nothing written for example by alexander the great and yet when the first written record of him is give the history is understood as correct again because of oral tradition. surely many oral and written records of real events kept alive from the early years until four centuries later and afterwords ( like God’s Word ) are authentic and reliable? should not orders by jews and romans to destroy all christian documents been successful? why were the christians able to keep their traditians and writings intact when their sources of knowledge were the most hated?

          http://www.cathtruth.com/catholicbible/earlyhis.htm

          http://www.icr.org/biblical-record/

          i did on many occasions, the last reply i wrote is based off of first major paper one wrote in School. not from “the internets” but i again did sources for further non-obligatory reading.

          http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=464758&page=3

          another additional account Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma

          sir, hope this continues to help

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          in the times of oral tradition one was not allowed to deviate from the story in the retelling

          I’ve read that the opposite is true—that only after writing (a standard that anyone could consult) did having a repeatable oral story become valuable. Otherwise, the story was adapted to the audience—shortened, lengthened, with stories that would appeal in particular to this audience, etc.

          is a huge insult to judaism whose history and tradition largely comes from oral tradition to say their community is unreliable.

          I also say that Jews aren’t clairvoyant and can’t fly like a bird. I wouldn’t say that that’s an insult.

          You’re saying that a story that went through a period of oral history within Judaism came out unchanged? Show me.

          so? language and culture is still continually changing and there are still words that are not known yet to other languages that still need to be translated.

          So when you have a story originating in one culture that is interpreted through the lens of another culture (to give just one example: within Greek culture, you have Dionysus dying and rising again, long before Jesus), you risk contamination. Doesn’t mean that it certainly happened, but when that very natural change explains something, that will always trump a supernatural explanation.

          christian scripture or jewish?

          Huh?? In the first century, “scripture” referred to what we now call the Old Testament. That’s it. Nothing in the gospel story was inviolate scripture.

          At best, your argument is, “The gospel story could be true.” Granted. That doesn’t mean that that’s the best explanation for why the New Testament says what it says. Natural explanations, as usual, are far more likely.

          This is why it is important that the New Testament is not the work of Jesus himself.

          Look up “naysayer hypothesis” here and read that post.

          there is nothing written for example by alexander the great

          Show me one supernatural claim about Alexander that is accepted by modern historians as accurate history.

          (What do we learn from this?)

        • John son of John

          a little about the Love of God

          oral history is valuable an answer to your take on this type of history

          “Oral History” is a maddeningly imprecise term: it is used to refer to formal, rehearsed accounts of the past presented by culturally sanctioned tradition-bearers; to informal conversations about “the old days” among family members, neighbors, or coworkers; to printed compilations of stories told about past times and present experiences; and to recorded interviews with individuals deemed to have an important story to tell.

          Each of these uses of the term has a certain currency. Unquestionably, most people throughout history have learned about the past through the spoken word. Moreover, for generations history-conscious individuals have preserved others’ firsthand accounts of the past for the record, often precisely at the moment when the historical actors themselves, and with them their memories, were about to pass from the scene.

          Shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865, for example, his secretary, John G. Nicolay, and law partner, William Herndon, gathered recollections of the sixteenth president, including some from interviews, from people who had known and worked with him. Similarly, social investigators historically have obtained essential information about living and working conditions by talking with the people who experienced them. Thus, the Pittsburgh Survey, a Progressive Era investigation of social conditions in that city designed to educate the public and prod it towards civic reform, relied heavily on evidence obtained from oral sources.

          Among the most notable of these early efforts to collect oral accounts of the past are the thousands of life histories recorded by Federal Writers Project [FWP] workers during the late 1930s and early 1940s. An agency of the New Deal Works Progress Administration, the FWP was deeply populist in intent and orientation; the life histories were designed to document the diversity of the American experience and ways ordinary people were coping with the hardships of the Great Depression. Plans for their publication fell victim to federal budget cuts and a reorientation of national priorities as World War II drew near; most of them remain in manuscript form at the Library of Congress and other repositories around the country. The best known of the FWP life histories are the “slave narratives” elicited from elderly former slaves living in the South; other narratives were collected from a variety of regional, occupational, and ethnic groups.

          http://dohistory.org/on_your_own/toolkit/oralHistory.html

          http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/valuable-oral-history-of-great-native-leader-59930192.html
          jewish oral story unchanged ( as in law )

          2448 – Moses receives the Torah on Mount Sinai

          2488 – Joshua – Elazar

          2516 – Phinehas – Elders and Judges:

          Othniel till 2566

          Ehud till 2636

          Shamgar till 2636

          Barak & Deborah till 2676

          Gideon & son till 2719

          Tola till 2742

          Jair till 2764

          Jephthah till 2787

          Ivtzan (Boaz) till 2793

          Elon till 2803

          Abdon till 2811

          Samson till 2830

          2830 – Eli and his court

          2870 – Samuel and his court

          2884 – David and his court

          2924 – Ahijah of Shiloh and his court

          2962 – Elijah the Prophet

          3047 – Elisha

          3055 – Jehoiada the Priest

          3070 – Zechariah the priest

          3090 – Hosea

          3110 – Amos

          3140 – Isaiah

          3160 – Micah

          3190 – Joel

          3240 – Nahum

          3254 – Habakkuk

          3280 – Zephaniah

          3316 – Jeremiah

          3350 – Baruch son of Neriah

          3370 – Ezra and his court (the Men of the Great Assembly — including Daniel, Mordechai, Nehemiah, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah)

          3400 – Simon the Just

          3460 – Antignos of Soho

          3500 – Jose son of Yoezer and Jose son of Yochanan

          3560 – Joshua son of Perachiah and Nitai the Arbelite

          3621 – Judah son of Tabbai and Simon son of Shetach

          3722 – Shemaya and Avtalyon

          3728 – Hillel and Shammai

          3768 – Rabban Siimon son of Hillel and Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

          3800 – Rabban Gamliel son of Simon and disciples of Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

          3810 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel and Rabbi Akiba

          3828 – Rabban Gamliel and disciples of Rabbi Akiba

          3881 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel

          3910 – Rabbi Judah the Prince – Redactor of the Mishnah

          3979 – His sons, Rabbi Simon and R. Gamliel, R. Chiyah, Rav, Samuel and Yochanan

          4010 – R. Huna, R. Judah, R. Nachman, R. Kahana

          4060 – Rabba and R. Joseph

          4085 – Abaye and Rava

          4127 – Rav Ashi and Ravina

          4260 – Completion of the Talmud through R. Ashi, Ravina and their disciples

          – source 1 http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2074/jewish/The-Course-of-Tradition.htm

          #2 – http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1114845/jewish/Why-Not-Just-Go-By-the-Book.htm

          jewish oral history unchanged

          ” Of course believing in G-d, acting like a good person, helping others, and having faith is very important in Judaism. But these are just a few of the Commandments found in the Torah, not all of the Commandments. In fact, Judaism teaches that it is impossible to maintain faith in Hashem — which is essentially emotional — without performing the physical acts of the Commandments.

          Among many Orthodox Jews, however, the Laws of Judaism are still followed, and have not been changed. The Laws of Judaism were created by Hashem. Hashem has always known the future, and therefore He created Laws that could be applied in all times.

          Some non-Orthodox groups argue that the only way Judaism could survive is if it evolves. Therefore, they argue, they must change the Laws of the Torah. (What they really mean is that we should stop keeping the Torah.) I find this ridiculous. Charedi Jews have been keeping a Judaism that has not had to change or reject any of the Laws of the Torah since Hashem gave it to all of Israel at Mount Sinai. It has survived, and so have we. How have we managed to survive? And if statistics mean anything at all, we are growing and they are shrinking.

          And note another thing: the people who argue that the Laws of the Torah should be changed are those who have never actually observed those Laws in their entirety! If Charedi Jews, who keep all the Laws that we are actually able to keep, were to argue that we must change something, it would be much more believable.”

          http://www.beingjewish.com/#unchanged


          Bob Seidensticker

          in the times of oral tradition one was not allowed to deviate from the story in the retelling

          I’ve read that the opposite is true—that only after writing (a standard that anyone could consult) did having a repeatable oral story become valuable. Otherwise, the story was adapted to the audience—shortened, lengthened, with stories that would appeal in particular to this audience, etc.

          is a huge insult to judaism whose history and tradition largely comes from oral tradition to say their community is unreliable.

          I also say that Jews aren’t clairvoyant and can’t fly like a bird. I wouldn’t say that that’s an insult.

          You’re saying that a story that went through a period of oral history within Judaism came out unchanged? Show me.

          so? language and culture is still continually changing and there are still words that are not known yet to other languages that still need to be translated.

          So when you have a story originating in one culture that is interpreted through the lens of another culture (to give just one example: within Greek culture, you have Dionysus dying and rising again, long before Jesus), you risk contamination. Doesn’t mean that it certainly happened, but when that very natural change explains something, that will always trump a supernatural explanation.”

          Christians have often wrestled with how to live in the world without being of the world. We want to pursue a pure Gospel not influenced by the culture around us. However, for better or worse, this can never be the case. The Gospel is always interpreted through the lens of culture.

          One need only take note of Paul’s use of a typical Jewish interpretive model in Galatians 3:16 or the platonic image used in Hebrews 10:1. These are but two of many examples of how the writers of the New Testament used ideas, modes of communication, and cultural concepts to communicate the Gospel. As soon as the writers of the New Testament chose to write in Greek, they chose a language that had certain nuances that could not be dismissed.

          With the advent of the printing press, the Gospel was once again filtered through a cultural phenomenon. When Paul wrote letters to churches, it was a communal event for them to be read. Now each of us reads our own Bibles in our homes and imagines how the Scripture pertains to us as individuals rather than as a group.

          In more modern times, Christians have had to wrestle with the challenges brought on their faith by modernism. In modernism, the Bible was held up to rigorous standards of reason and science and found wanting by the skeptics.

          Some agreed with the skeptics and liberal theology was born. Others reacted and fundamentalism made an appearance. But both were playing the game by modernist rules. This is no surprise because modernism’s presuppositions were as much of a given in Western society as voting is in democracy.

          The problem is that since many American Christians had been raised, nurtured and educated in a modern world with all of its philosophical trappings, we grew up assuming that the way we viewed the world was the natural and right way. In fact, without a good study of history or experience with other cultures, it is easy for us to assume that our lens is the lens.

          This is not to say, as I’m sure some are imagining at this moment, that there is no such thing as truth. It is simply a recognition that truth is always interpreted. The danger is not that we will view the world and the Gospel through a lens. The danger is that we are doing so but are completely unaware of it. When we are unaware of our lens, we tend to equate our interpretive lens through which we read the Bible with the Bible itself.

          – one of the Truth sources http://forums.catholic.com

          http://www.vaticanlibrary.va/home.php?pag=fondi_archivistici

          http://www.vatican.va/index.htm

          “At best, your argument is, “The gospel story could be true.” Granted. That doesn’t mean that that’s the best explanation for why the New Testament says what it says. Natural explanations, as usual, are far more likely.”

          natural resides in creation so by your statement the supernatural and invisible are also a part of the natural. so, even scientifically speaking there had to be a beginning causing by the first cause in reality. the gospels are just a small but complete decsription of creation.

          naysayer hyopothesis conclusion “Yeah. We should accept the simple fact that Jesus was raised from the dead by the omnipotent creator of the universe (an Iron Age polytheistic deity) who demanded a human sacrifice to assuage his sense of injustice that humans are imperfect, like he made them to be.”
          first off the jews were always monotheistic like many other religions of that time. sure, they sinned by attempting to worshop many false gods but they are not God. “Regarding how modern scholars tend to view 1st-century Jewish religion as either totally monotheistic or essentially polytheistic, University of Manitoba Professor Larry W. Hurtado wrote:

          I suggest that on both sides of the issue . . . there has been a tendency to proceed deductively from a priori presumptions of what monotheism must mean, instead of building up a view inductively from the evidence of how monotheism actually operated in the thought and practice of ancient Jews. There seems to be an implicit agreement on both sides that more than one transcendent being of any significance complicates or constitutes a weakening of or threat to monotheism. Those who see first-century Jewish religion as monotheistic tend, therefore, to downplay the significance and attributes given by ancient Jews to any transcendent beings other than God. For these scholars often, ancient Jewish monotheism must mean that the descriptions of such beings are largely rhetorical. Though I am convinced regarding some examples, I am not sure that the descriptions are always purely rhetoric . . .

          Those on the other side of the issue tend to emphasize the honorific ways in which transcendent beings other than God are described and the prominent positions they occupy in the religious conceptions reflected in ancient Jewish texts, alleging that first-century Jews were not really monotheists after all. It is clear that ancient Jews were not characteristically monists or unitarians, but does this mean that they were not monotheists? That is, on both sides there is a tendency to proceed as if we can know in advance what “monotheism” must mean, which turns out to be a very modern, monistic form of monotheism, and can accordingly evaluate ancient Jewish texts and beliefs as to whether or how closely they meet an a priori standard of “pure” monotheism. (“What Do We Mean by ‘First-Century Jewish Monotheism’?,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament)

          As the above quote shows, Professor Hurtado believes that most modern scholars have a skewed view of 1st-century Jewish monotheism because they evaluate the ancient Jewish writings with a preconceived idea of what monotheism should look like” For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine . . . appointing as their immediate superintendent, His own right Reason [Logos], his firstborn son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, “Behold, I am He! I will send my messenger before thy face, who shall keep thee in the road [Exo. 23:20].” (p. 178, The Works of Philo, “On Husbandry,” translated by C.D. Yonge)

          Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism. Jesus Christ is/was the Messiah God prepared His people to receive, but they rejected Him, and waited for a more worldly King instead of the heavenly King they were sent. The fact that Judaism rejected their Messiah doesn’t change the fact that He was their Messiah. Christ still fulfilled all the Old Testament prophesies…He is the Fulfillment of Judaism. And yes, the faith of God’s people became centered on Christ once He had come. If you go back to the origins of Christianity, as the Orthodox Christian Church has maintained unchanged, you will find the same structure to the services as were in Christ’s days on earth, and the Apostles’ time on earth. The hallmark of Orthodox Christianity is that we do not change what God gave us for our salvation. He had already designed the order of worship, and when Christ came and fulfilled the law, the structure remained but the focus shifted to include the worship of God the Son–Second Person of the Holy Trinity….and also the Holy Spirit after the first Pentecost. Even today, because in an Orthodox Church nothing changes (we believe we humans are not smarter than God and don’t need to fix what He left us) one can still experience the same structure and order of services from antiquity in Christianity, and since Christianity grew right out of Jewish practice, the roots of the services and practices are truly ancient. No other Christian faith has maintained that antiquity of practice, or that continuity of practice.

          http://www.paulcoulter.net/Writing/Introduction%20to%20apologetics.pdf

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBZzQiv0sho&list=PLY76AO-Ky4UEhcPe9Zs5bWQyEfLtx2YxR&index=109

          I would like to address Mr. Schrauzer’s article “Let Your Face Shine on Us” (Eyes to See, Sept. 2007). He presents a valid point: that nobody knows what Jesus actually looked like. Thus, as Mother Theresa said: He is in disguise as our next-door neighbor.

          I would like to offer a complementary thought. As “enlightened” Catholics, we may turn to what science has to teach us. We know that Jesus was fully human. This tells us that he had DNA. The blood which he shed for us on the cross had a certain blood type. After his Resurrection, Jesus was primarily recognized by his disciples in his mannerisms and speech. These are all very human characteristics.

          As rational Christians, we know that science is limited to testing that which is only observable matter, so we can see the cause and effect. When a baby is born we exclaim, “He has Uncle Larry’s chin.”

          Jesus has a divine Father who is pure spirit. God has no physical DNA or blood type. Therefore Jesus has only one perfect match should he have ever needed a bone marrow or kidney transplant. Mary, who also had heart problems, would be the only human match for the man-God.

          It stands to reason that Jesus also obtained his physical mannerisms and characteristics from Mary since she is the only human to provide the needed biological material which formed our Lord and Savior. Christ, along with the Father and Holy Spirit, chose this designer DNA from the start of time. Jesus chose to have Mary’s eyes, Auntie Elizabeth’s chin, or Granny Anne’s curly hair etc…

          Two questions that are intimately connected. His resurrection is the focal point of faith, for if He did not come out of that tomb, our faith is in vain. My proofs:

          1) The facts contained in scripture.
          2) The facts contained in history.

          Scripture is factual, New Testament and Old, and it can be shown in a variety of ways; through text crit, through archaeology, anthropology, etc… just as with “secular” fact. And one of the facts laid out in scripture was the resurrection. People tend to forget that the crucifixion took place in Jerusalem, the very city where the Apostles would begin preaching a raised, living Christ. Witnesses were everywhere, that wouldn’t be a logical starting point for a lie that flies in the face of the dominant belief system, yet that’s were it started.

          As others have pointed out, the Apostles didn’t waiver on their fact claim even under torture. One thing modern people don’t seem to comprehend is there was no communication between the Apostles when they were spread out over thousands of miles. There was no reason for them to keep their mouths shut if they had concocted a lie because their fellow Apostles would never have to hear about their changed story, but it didn’t happen. They told the same gospel because it was Truth.

          http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=836352&page=3

          http://st-takla.org/pub_Deuterocanon/Deuterocanon-Apocrypha_El-Asfar_El-Kanoneya_El-Tanya__9-Second-of-Maccabees.html

          as for Alexander the great

          “supernatural” deeds by him

          “There he sacrificed and prayed, dedicated his armor to Athena, and took an antique sacred shield for his campaign. Not far away at the Granicus River, Alexander met Darius’s army in May, employed for the first time his oblique battle formation, and defeated the Persians. To commemorate the victory, Alexander sent 300 sets of Persian armor to the Parthenon in Athens with the dedicatory inscription: “Alexander the son of Philip, and the Greeks, all but the Spartans [dedicated these] from the barbarians who inhabit Asia.” Alexander thus maintained the official propaganda that he was not only a king but the Panhellenic leader.

          Western Asia Minor and Darius’s capital at Sardis fell easily, followed by Miletus and Halicarnassus. The territories Alexander conquered retained their satrapal administrations, continued to pay the same taxes as before, and formed the foundations of his Asian empire.

          By autumn Alexander had crossed the southern coast of Asia Minor, and Parmenion had entered Phrygia. Both armies spent the winter at the Phrygian capital of Gordium. Divine portents and miracles were ascribed to Alexander by the local peoples, Greeks, and barbarians. When Alexander cut the famous Gordian Knot to fulfill a prophecy, he himself started to believe the myths circulated about him.

          When news reached Alexander of Greek naval victories in the Aegean, he sped eastward to the passes of the Taurus and Syria. By the late summer of 333 Alexander was in Cilicia, south of Darius and his armies. At Issus the two kings met in battle. Alexander was outnumbered, but utilizing the oblique formations he rushed the Persian center line and Darius turned his chariot and fled. The Persian line crumbled. In November, Alexander attacked the Persian royal camp, gained hoards of booty, and captured the royal family. He treated Darius’s wife, mother, and three children with respect. Darius’s army was beaten, and the King became a fugitive. Alexander publicly announced his personal claim to the throne of Persia and proclaimed himself king of Asia.”

          http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Alexander_the_Great.aspx

          http://carm.org/extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence

          “(What do we learn from this?)”

          well one could learn there is just one first cause (known as God by Catholics)
          and one Truth. and the gospels that speak of speak the Truth about God’s name. or that science is wrong all is nigh on random and there is no first cause.

          you still have respect sir, good discussing with You

          God bless

          john

          http://www.reddit.com/r/Christianity/comments/1mpp5l/what_does_jesus_really_mean_when_he_offered_his/

          http://forums.catholic.com

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Whoa, John. That’s 3500 words of who knows what.

          Suggestions: if you have a lot to say, break it into smaller comments. Make clear what the other person said with quotation marks. Don’t give a huge dump of text from some other source but paraphrase and summarize so we have something digestible.

        • John son of John

          i usually start with a few ideas but, then have trouble writing until have a half a page. did quote from other peaple do not like to plagiarize. paraphasing is not one of my strengths but, can do. i like ideas since both of us have so many do you want to start simple then go on to the rest: or does one like listing still? either one will have to start with at least statement then conclusion.

          okay, here is the simple:

          _ ” if you have a lot to say, break it into smaller comments. Make clear
          what the other person said with quotation marks. Don’t give a huge dump
          of text from some other source but paraphrase and summarize so we have
          something digestible.”

          – initial statement ”

          a little about the Love of God

          oral history is valuable an answer to your take on this type of history

          “Oral History” is a maddeningly imprecise term: it is used to refer
          to formal, rehearsed accounts of the past presented by culturally
          sanctioned tradition-bearers; to informal conversations about “the old
          days” among family members, neighbors, or coworkers; to printed
          compilations of stories told about past times and present experiences;
          and to recorded interviews with individuals deemed to have an important
          story to tell.

          Each of these uses of the term has a certain currency.
          Unquestionably, most people throughout history have learned about the
          past through the spoken word. Moreover, for generations
          history-conscious individuals have preserved others’ firsthand accounts
          of the past for the record, often precisely at the moment when the
          historical actors themselves, and with them their memories, were about
          to pass from the scene.

          Shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865, for example, his
          secretary, John G. Nicolay, and law partner, William Herndon, gathered
          recollections of the sixteenth president, including some from
          interviews, from people who had known and worked with him. Similarly,
          social investigators historically have obtained essential information
          about living and working conditions by talking with the people who
          experienced them. Thus, the Pittsburgh Survey, a Progressive Era
          investigation of social conditions in that city designed to educate the
          public and prod it towards civic reform, relied heavily on evidence
          obtained from oral sources.

          Among the most notable of these early efforts to collect oral
          accounts of the past are the thousands of life histories recorded by
          Federal Writers Project [FWP] workers during the late 1930s and early
          1940s. An agency of the New Deal Works Progress Administration, the FWP
          was deeply populist in intent and orientation; the life histories were
          designed to document the diversity of the American experience and ways
          ordinary people were coping with the hardships of the Great Depression.
          Plans for their publication fell victim to federal budget cuts and a
          reorientation of national priorities as World War II drew near; most of
          them remain in manuscript form at the Library of Congress and other
          repositories around the country. The best known of the FWP life
          histories are the “slave narratives” elicited from elderly former slaves
          living in the South; other narratives were collected from a variety of
          regional, occupational, and ethnic groups.

          http://dohistory.org/on_your_o

          http://www.winnipegfreepress.c
          jewish oral story unchanged ( as in law )

          2448 – Moses receives the Torah on Mount Sinai

          2488 – Joshua – Elazar

          2516 – Phinehas – Elders and Judges:

          Othniel till 2566″

          conclusion “e know that Jesus was fully human. This tells us that he had DNA. The
          blood which he shed for us on the cross had a certain blood type. After
          his Resurrection, Jesus was primarily recognized by his disciples in
          his mannerisms and speech. These are all very human characteristics.

          As rational Christians, we know that science is limited to testing
          that which is only observable matter, so we can see the cause and
          effect. When a baby is born we exclaim, “He has Uncle Larry’s chin.”

          Jesus has a divine Father who is pure spirit. God has no physical DNA
          or blood type. Therefore Jesus has only one perfect match should he
          have ever needed a bone marrow or kidney transplant. Mary, who also had
          heart problems, would be the only human match for the man-God.

          It stands to reason that Jesus also obtained his physical mannerisms
          and characteristics from Mary since she is the only human to provide the
          needed biological material which formed our Lord and Savior. Christ,
          along with the Father and Holy Spirit, chose this designer DNA from the
          start of time. Jesus chose to have Mary’s eyes, Auntie Elizabeth’s chin,
          or Granny Anne’s curly hair etc…

          Two questions that are intimately connected. His resurrection is the
          focal point of faith, for if He did not come out of that tomb, our faith
          is in vain. My proofs:

          1) The facts contained in scripture.
          2) The facts contained in history.

          Scripture is factual, New Testament and Old, and it can be shown in a
          variety of ways; through text crit, through archaeology, anthropology,
          etc… just as with “secular” fact. And one of the facts laid out in
          scripture was the resurrection. People tend to forget that the
          crucifixion took place in Jerusalem, the very city where the Apostles
          would begin preaching a raised, living Christ. Witnesses were
          everywhere, that wouldn’t be a logical starting point for a lie that
          flies in the face of the dominant belief system, yet that’s were it
          started.

          As others have pointed out, the Apostles didn’t waiver on their fact
          claim even under torture. One thing modern people don’t seem to
          comprehend is there was no communication between the Apostles when they
          were spread out over thousands of miles. There was no reason for them to
          keep their mouths shut if they had concocted a lie because their fellow
          Apostles would never have to hear about their changed story, but it
          didn’t happen. They told the same gospel because it was Truth.

          http://forums.catholic.com/sho

          http://st-takla.org/pub_Deuter

          as for Alexander the great

          “supernatural” deeds by him

          “There he sacrificed and prayed, dedicated his armor to Athena, and
          took an antique sacred shield for his campaign. Not far away at the
          Granicus River, Alexander met Darius’s army in May, employed for the
          first time his oblique battle formation, and defeated the Persians. To
          commemorate the victory, Alexander sent 300 sets of Persian armor to the
          Parthenon in Athens with the dedicatory inscription: “Alexander the son
          of Philip, and the Greeks, all but the Spartans [dedicated these] from
          the barbarians who inhabit Asia.” Alexander thus maintained the official
          propaganda that he was not only a king but the Panhellenic leader.

          Western Asia Minor and Darius’s capital at Sardis fell easily,
          followed by Miletus and Halicarnassus. The territories Alexander
          conquered retained their satrapal administrations, continued to pay the
          same taxes as before, and formed the foundations of his Asian empire.

          By autumn Alexander had crossed the southern coast of Asia Minor, and
          Parmenion had entered Phrygia. Both armies spent the winter at the
          Phrygian capital of Gordium. Divine portents and miracles were ascribed
          to Alexander by the local peoples, Greeks, and barbarians. When
          Alexander cut the famous Gordian Knot to fulfill a prophecy, he himself
          started to believe the myths circulated about him.

          When news reached Alexander of Greek naval victories in the Aegean,
          he sped eastward to the passes of the Taurus and Syria. By the late
          summer of 333 Alexander was in Cilicia, south of Darius and his armies.
          At Issus the two kings met in battle. Alexander was outnumbered, but
          utilizing the oblique formations he rushed the Persian center line and
          Darius turned his chariot and fled. The Persian line crumbled. In
          November, Alexander attacked the Persian royal camp, gained hoards of
          booty, and captured the royal family. He treated Darius’s wife, mother,
          and three children with respect. Darius’s army was beaten, and the King
          became a fugitive. Alexander publicly announced his personal claim to
          the throne of Persia and proclaimed himself king of Asia.”

          http://www.encyclopedia.com/to

          http://carm.org/extraordinary-

          “(What do we learn from this?)”

          well one could learn there is just one first cause (known as God by Catholics)
          and
          one Truth. and the gospels that speak of speak the Truth about God’s
          name. or that science is wrong all is nigh on random and there is no
          first cause.

          you still have respect sir, good discussing with You

          God bless

          john

          http://www.reddit.com/r/Christ

          http://forums.catholic.com

          better? or somethin else as a goal?

        • Pofarmer

          Mary had heart problems? What to fuck are you babbling about?

        • John son of John

          no, our holy Mother mary did not. God creates her without original sin. i do not know what kind/type of yew archer am one prattling about?

          God bless

        • Pofarmer

          It says it right above in your spewage.

        • John son of John

          could be just i but, did not mention many ships or whale-like creatures.

          also, i said could. there is a difference at least in English between could, can, would, is, and be.

          God bless

        • Pofarmer

          bot?

        • John son of John

          ‘bot or programming bot. i have been tempted to use a programming bot but never have used one. as for a ‘bot know how to build a robot or two but have not built more than one. do you have a reply or are going to continue to give a large amount of subjective lookin ad hominums? i assure still both a guy and one of the human race; like one can presume You are, sir.

          God bless

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No original sin means no physical illness?

          And what’s with the archery references?

        • John son of John

          one tries to read more old and middle english than the “average” reader and in middle english that is what pluck you translates to in “modern” english. english yew bowmen had to use they’re third finger to fire the bow properly. and with the same finger they taunted their enemies saying “pluck Yew” over and over again. because they needed the proficiency of that digit when archers were captured their third one was removed. so many of them could not fire again.

          almost but no, original sin means that their were no major physical inhibitions and also extra “inspiration.”

          God bless

        • Pofarmer

          Way to barf on a thread.

        • John son of John

          sorry, sir if mis-communication is between us probably my fault because learned how to speak after reading then writing first in life.

          God bless

        • John son of John
  • Scarecrow

    This blog post seems to be a very large straw man … at least it clarifies the difference between “most” and “some”. That aside, the conclusion of the blog asserts the negative conclusion without providing any proof of its claim … ironic.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      This appears to be a content-free comment. Or maybe I’m too stupid to understand your point.

      Explain the problem.

  • Rob Robinson

    Bob, thank you for your confirmation that one of the proofs for the historical Jesus, His death and resurrection–is the willing deaths of the men who followed Him. Those who believed that He had risen from the dead, in support of the four Gospel accounts of Jesus certain resurrection, died affirming that faith. Of course, there are accounts of the deaths of these men, which are very close to the time that the Gospels were written, but you neglected to mention these. I have several, the following is one that is compelling and incontrovertible:

    John the Apostle; author of the Gospel of John, eyewitness to Jesus death and Resurrection. John was willing to die, confirming that he had seen Jesus alive after His resurrection, and wrote, describing this event. The Emperor ordered his execution, which failed, and is recorded by secular historians, and confirmed by the early Christian church. Also, the death of others who wrote of Jesus Resurrection, also killed defending this truth, described by the references [1} below.

    “Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood; where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s; where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s[the Baptist]; where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile.”⁠[1]

    [1] Tertullian, Prescriptions against heretics, Chapter 36: This is the first mention of Peter’s crucifixion, but cf. John 21:18 and Tacitus, Annals, XV, 44, which speaks of the victims of Nero as crucibus adfixi. Origen adds head downwards (ap. Eus., H.E., III, i). Paul was decapitated, according to tradition, like John the Baptist; this would be his right as a Roman citizen. This is the first appearance of the story of John and the boiling oil. Location: http://www.tertullian.org/articles/greenslade_prae/greenslade_prae.htm also found at: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/tertullian11.html

    Just how many men had to die for you or your readers to admit that this is an empirical evidence for Jesus as an historical person, and corroboration of His Crucifixion and Resurrection, is unknown. Since no amount of evidence, ever convinces many of your readers. This causes the serious students of history to wonder if your readers are really searching for truth at all?

    I have written extensively on the empirical evidence from history, that fully validates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, at this link: http://robertcliftonrobinson.com/2014/07/21/the-certainty-of-the-resurrection/

    • MNb

      “one of the proofs for the historical Jesus, His death and resurrection–is the willing deaths of the men who followed Him”
      One of the proofs that Hitler was right is the willing deaths of the men who followed him (particularly in the SS, who over and over again showed contempt for death).

      “John the Apostle; author of the Gospel of John, eyewitness to Jesus death”
      Prove that John the Apostle and the author of the Gospel of John are one and the same person.

  • Deanjay1961

    Not to mention we don’t know the details of their beliefs. They only died for a lie if they agreed with Christian canon put together long after their deaths…they might not have even known Jesus was supposedly reurrected, let alone believed it.

  • NOT an Atheist

    Fairly well written article… although I would like to point something out.
    I found this part to be slightly confusing:

    “For most of the other apostles, however, contradictory stories cloud the issue. For example, Bartholomew’s death is documented in a number of contradictory ways. One account says that he was beaten and then drowned. The Martyrdom of Bartholomew(c. 500) says that he was beaten and then beheaded. The most popular, perhaps because it’s the most gruesome, is that he was skinned alive and then crucified (or perhaps beheaded).

    Various sources add to the story of Matthias. He was crucified in Ethiopia. Or he was blinded by cannibals but rescued by Andrew. Or he died a natural death in Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea.

    Simon the Zealot might have been sawn in half in Persia. Or crucified in Samaria. Or martyred in Georgia.”

    You did find these all in the Bible, right? Oh wait. You googled “apostle’s death” and clicked on Wikipedia- a website that can be edited by trained monkeys, circus clowns, or strippers. Stories taken out of the Bible can be twisted and moulded to be made into sources for atheists to write articles like these. Sorry, just not buying it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No, I didn’t find them in the Bible–hence the difficulty in pointing to anything (even something as unreliable as the Bible) that made clear that the apostles were martyrs.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I see Richard Carrier linked to this article with a big up just the other day.

        A don’t know if you seen his essay at FtB, here is a link…

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/9978#more-9978

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I hadn’t seen that. I’m a fan of Carrier’s work, so that’s a nice compliment. Thanks for passing it along!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X