Jesus a Legend: A Dozen Reasons (Part 2)

C.S. Lewis is famous for his Liar, Lunatic, or Lord trilemma—Jesus must be a liar (he knew that his claims of deity were false), a lunatic (he was crazy, which explains his nutty claims), or he was who he said he was, the Lord. But, of course, this ignores the bin into which we put similar claims—Legend. (You may want to read the introductory post and part 1 of this list.)

Let’s conclude the list of twelve possible Christian rebuttals to the legend hypothesis.

Just how skeptical are you? If you doubt the Jesus story, why imagine you can trust the stories of other figures from ancient history—Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, for example? If you dismiss the Jesus story for insufficient evidence, the same logic discards most of our knowledge of history.

The big difference between the gospel story and historical account of the great leaders of antiquity is that the gospel story makes miracle claims, and any such claims in historical accounts have been scrubbed out. I discuss this in depth here.

The game of Telephone is a poor analogy. There is no chance for participants to verify what they heard; they must simply repeat as best as they can a message that is deliberately convoluted. Not only could hearers of the gospel story ask for clarification, they could search out the source and verify it with him.

I agree that the game of Telephone is an incomplete analogy, in particular because of the huge time difference. A story passed from person to person over the course of 10 minutes can’t go through half a dozen people without significant change, and for the gospels we’re talking 30 to 60 years!

When you tell me a story, you’re right that I have the chance to make sure that I got it right, but why would I take advantage of that? I could easily have gotten it wrong but wouldn’t know. When I pass it on, particularly a story as long as the gospel, I will (inadvertently) add my errors. And so on as the story is retold from person to person—no maliciousness and no central authority directing things, just fallible people doing their fallible best.

The Christian position seems to imagine a web of authorities, quick to correct any error in each telling of the story. But it’s unreasonable to imagine these authorities everywhere, eavesdropping on each conversation like Big Brother. And when someone said, “Hold on—that’s not how I heard the Jesus story,” which person was right? There was no written authority to consult before the gospels. Oral history isn’t self-correcting; errors are likelier to accumulate with time.

Could eyewitnesses have been the final authority? That’s implausible given that eyewitness were likely far away. The gospels were written in cities all over the eastern Mediterranean, decades after the events. We can have no certainty that the handful of disciples of Jesus still alive at the time would be in Alexandria and Corinth and Damascus and Rome (or wherever the various gospels were written), ready to rein in incorrect stories.

The gospels were written by (or perhaps were one step removed) from eyewitnesses. And don’t you think that the sight of something as remarkable as the risen Christ would be seared almost flawlessly into someone’s memory? That memory wouldn’t fade in a few decades.

This is a poor analogy. In the first place, we start with the fact that we have the gospel story and work backwards to find the most plausible explanation; we don’t start with the assumption that Jesus rose from the dead and sift facts to support it.

We have no good reason to imagine that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. The legends behind this claim are flimsy.

As for the accuracy of memory, I might give you an enthusiastic and detailed account of my wedding day and then my wife might give you a different account (“No, it was your Uncle Jim, not my Uncle Ralph, who spilled the punch”). There’s a big difference between confidence and accuracy. We’ve probably all been embarrassed after confidently stating a recollection only to discover later that we were wrong.

Besides, you will declare any supernatural event in my wedding story to be a false recollection! (“No, really—we ran out of wine but some guy made some out of water and saved the day.”) Why give a pass to a story from 2000 years ago that you would reject if it happened yesterday?

You underestimate the memory skills of the ancients. They were trained for this. Think of Homer and other poets who flawlessly retold the Iliad from memory.

Was flawless repeatability even the goal for these poets or would they adapt the tale to the audience? (I’ve written more on that here.)

More importantly, there’s no evidence that early Christians were cautioned to avoid repeating the gospel until they could repeat the entire thing perfectly. If the point of the Jesus story is that the Messiah has come, who cares about the details? For passing along the gospel story in the early decades before it was written, the gossip fence is a better analogy than Homer.

If Jesus rose from the dead and the apostles witnessed and faithfully passed on the story, they did the best that they could. What more could you expect? It was preserved in short order with writing, the most advanced technology they had. Don’t criticize first-century Christians for not having cameras.

Let’s accept that the documentation we have of Jesus’ life is pretty darn good, considering. How does that help provide adequate evidence to support Christianity’s enormous claim? I care nothing for the fact that providing adequate evidence is really hard—without it, the atheist isn’t justified in accepting the claim. In fact, neither is the Christian.

No Christian lets the believer from another religion get away with insufficient evidence, and rightly so. Christianity must meet the same burden.

You’re biased against the supernatural.

And you’re not? If you heard of miracles attributed to Ganesh (a Hindu god) or Hachiman (Shinto) or Sumatinatha (Jain), would you accept that as readily as who won Sunday’s football game?

The facts that we start with are the text of the gospels and the historians’ evaluation of the quality of that evidence. We must find the best explanation for this. We don’t start with a Christian presupposition. That the gospels are legend is quite plausible given how we see stories evolve in our own experience.

What’s the likelihood that Odysseus met a Cyclops, Beowulf killed Grendel, or Jesus returned from the dead? Pretty much zero. The gospel story is as absurd as the moon being made of green cheese.

There are lots of nice things you can do with sand,
but do not try building a house on it.
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Christian Apologists Find No Meaning in Life
Christians: Can ANYTHING Change Your Mind?
An Honest Way for Christians to Separate Fact From Fiction
William Lane Craig Misrepresents Christianity and Insults Islam
About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rob

    Suppose you went to an execution of a person receiving the death penalty. You and say 16 other witnesses standing around the execution chamber looking through the glass at the person being executed. The person looked at you and smiled and turned his head as he saw the family members of the person he killed and continued turning his head but his face turned to a frown and he started crying. You didn’t see the frowning crying face, and you are a reporter going to give a report through your news bureau, you would say the person smiled at you and everyone else as he looked around. The other person on the other side of the chamber reported to his news agency that the person was crying as he looked around at the people. Which story is correct?

    The both are! One was seen from a different perspective, but they all witnessed the same thing but reported something different.

    If its a crowd of 5000 people, they are all going to see the same thing, but their perspectives will be different, but the truth is that it really occurred.

    To denounce that Jesus did the things he did in his life, and miracles of healing you would have to pronounce that the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) or Old Testament, miracles of creation, destruction, flooding, the spirit of Hashem (Hebrew transliteration of God) miracles of a bush that was burning but not kindling giving miracles to Moses to perform before Pharaoh of healing of leprosy, staff that turned in to a snake, plagues of frogs, locust etc.., death of the first born of all the Egyptians, the parting of the red sea, the parting of the Jordan river, the walls of Jericho falling down, the spirit of God leading the people of Israel through the wilderness as a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night, the spirit of God indwelling the Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple taking sacrifices for sin from the Levite High Priest, (once a year on Yom Kippor (Day of Atonement), who had to be ceremonially clean before he entered the Holy of Holies or be struck dead. The spirit of God leaving the Temple when Jesus died on the cross and the curtain around the holy of Holies split open, and then 40 days later appeared and dwelt in the Apostles where thousands saw this, are all false.

    There is more to this then you understand Bob and others.

    • adam

      ONE report of 5000 is not 5000 reports.

      Jews dont recognize Jesus as the Messiah BECAUSE HE DID NOT FULLFILL the BASICS of the prophesy.

      If there is ‘more to this’:
      Demonstrate the MAGIC of YOUR Jesus and we will all believe.

      • Rob

        Jews don’t believe it because they expect the Messiah to bring complete world peace all at once. That will happen in the Millennial reign or (second comming) of Christ. Christs purpose was to satisfy the wrath of God against all men from the sin of Adam and Eve, all who call upon the name of Jesus will be saved when their trust is in the saving work of Christ as the spotless lam of God himself in the from of a man to pay the debt for sin that they can never pay themselves. Looking at the Messiah the Jews claim to be looking for who would bring complete peace among men, can not be a regular human man, it will have to be Jesus Christ the God man who will bring peace among the nations. They are only looking for the earthly peace. They do not realize that Christ took away the need for them to sacrifice animals for their sins to be in a right relationship with God.
        The Holy Spirit left the Holy of Holies and went in to the Apostles as what are described as flaming tongues of fire. This is the same fire that didn’t consume the bush that Moses saw, and led the Israelites out of Egypt through the wilderness to the Promise Land, and entered into the ark of the covenant placed inside the Holy of Holies. Yom Kipurr is the Jewish day of Atonement for sins when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice an animal for the sins of the people. If the high priest didn’t follow instructions on doing this, he would be struck dead. Jesus the only man who is who He claims to be God made into the form of man so that he could dwell among us and live a sinless life and be the perfect sacrifice to appease Gods wrath towards all men as a Holy once for all sacrifice.
        The temple was destroyed in 70ad and the New Testament writings were all compiled between 30 and 69ad the reliability of the copies of the New Testament we have, by comparing for error and taking out commentary writings or notes on the sides or added to the documents gives us the accurate testimony of the New Testament scriptures.

        I’ll put it this way to Bob and the rest, Okay lets say it just a legend, if it is then my faith is in vain so be it, but if its not, then it will be your loss.

        And to those who want to say there is no God, and that everything was created from a big bang from some atoms, where did the atoms come from?
        God is pre-existant to everything. When he told Moses, “I AM Who I AM” he was stating His preexistence to everything to the Israelites.

        Believe what you want, but we will see who the winners and losers are in the end.

        • adam

          No, I can see that you dont even know the prophesy.

          Why Jews Don’t Believe In Jesus

          For 2,000 years Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah. Why?

          by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

          One of the most common questions we receive at Aish.com is: “Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus?” Let’s understand why ― not in order to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.

          Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
          1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
          2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
          3. Biblical verses “referring” to Jesus are mistranslations.
          4. Jewish belief is based on national revelation.

          B. Descendent of David

          Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)

          The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ― and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David. (1)

          According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

          C. Torah Observance

          The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

          Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observe Shabbat!”

          There is more here:http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

          Jesus was more of an apocalyptic buddhist.
          NOTHING like the Messiah…

        • Guest

          Joseph was of the house of David and was the legal father of Jesus.

          What Jewish ‘sources’?

          Jesus did lead the people to full Torah observance, far more than the Pharisees who were leading the people astray. You want absolute observance according to whom? Those same Pharisees? Shoot yourself in the other foot and call it a day, why don’t you.

        • Greg G.

          A legal father does not make a legal son a descendant of the legal father’s ancestors. If you are going to play that fast and loose to make a prophecy true, then prophecy is trivial.

          You still haven’t figured out Disqus yet?

        • Guest

          Yes it does, no it isn’t and yes I have.

        • Dys

          No, it really doesn’t. And yes it is.

        • Guest

          Yes, it really does, and no it isn’t.
          And what would you know about Jewish laws of adoption?
          It’s easy enough for you to sit there petulantly contradicting me, but let’s see you prove any of it.

        • Dys

          “It’s easy enough for you to sit there petulantly contradicting me”

          Yes, because you’re in a position to call someone out for petulantly contradicting people. Oh wait…no you’re not.

          “but let’s see you prove any of it.”

          What have you actually demonstrated? Nothing. Which means there’s nothing for me to prove, as you’ve failed to meet your burden of proof.

          Your treasured prophecies are trivial, and there’s plenty of reasons to suspect NT stories were constructed to “fulfill” them.

          Your story completely falls apart for a few reasons, not the least of which is that there’s no indication that Jesus was ever formerly adopted at all. On the other hand, there’s also no evidence or reason to accept the virgin birth story either, which would eliminate the need for adoption, but throws the biblical myth out the window.

        • Guest

          So you can’t do it, what a surprise.
          You’re dismissed.

        • Dys

          *Yawn*…is that really all you have? You’re a disappointment.

          Thanks for admitting you can’t provide any real evidence for your claims. You’re yet another failed apologist. You should probably try learning a bit more before you pretend to have an argument that makes sense.

          No surprise, really. When apologists such as yourself fail miserably, they almost inevitably display a monumental case of Dunning-Kruger and imagine themselves to be some type of authority with the ability to ‘dismiss’ people rather than actually substantiate their claims.

          So, like pretty much everyone else, we’re still waiting for you to actually provide something to back up your claims. Bible passages and your own wishful thinking don’t cut it.

        • Guest

          No, you don’t get to whine about it and blame others for your own failure. You’re done, and that’s that. You will not be responded to again on any thread.

        • MNb

          By anyone? I generally like DNA’s comments, so I prophetize that I will respond to him in the near future indeed.
          Am I divine now as well?

        • Dys

          “Am I divine now as well?”

          Given his sad standards of evidence, I don’t see how he can deny it.

        • Dys

          Who’s whining? You failed to back up your assertions, and now you’re pretending you have some authority. You don’t. You’ve established nothing, and you’re stamping your feet and shouting “I’m in charge” like a child. Grow up, and try to learn a few things. You’re embarrassing yourself, apparently without realizing it. Your delusions of grandeur don’t correspond to reality.

        • Greg G.

          No, it does not, yes, it is, and no, you have not. I win!

        • Dys

          Greg, only he’s allowed to play that game. When anyone else does it, it’s ‘petulant contradiction’. If you don’t let him get away with it, he’ll be clenching his fists and stomping his fight.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not just petulant contradiction when I do it. It’s world champion level petulant contradiction. I’ve already declared victory. If he denies it, it’s not contradiction, it’s poor sportsmanship.

        • Guest

          I’ve just been toying with you really. You never had a chance.

        • MNb

          Of course the outcome of the game was predetermined. That only shows your bigotry.

        • Dys

          So you posted a self-portrait? Seems fitting.

        • Greg G.

          Nice avatar. You should use it if you ever figure out how to log in to Disqus.

        • Guest

          You keep saying that, but obviously I can log in to Disqus since I am able to post here. You must be pretty dense.
          I get where you’re coming from though, but the last thing I will put up with is some freak stalking me. You will not be responded to again either, you’re not worth my time.

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

          Uh, huh. We stalk Christians because we can’t beat them fair and square in honest debate.

        • Guest

          That’s right, you can’t.

        • Dys

          Yep…you’re definitely suffering from delusions of grandeur. It’s kinda sad. If only you were actually able to defend your position, you could actually participate in a rational discussion. Ah well, you’ve chosen to go with the infantile tactic of ignoring and deflecting uncomfortable questions instead.

        • hector_jones

          He’d make the best argument for god you’ve ever heard right now … except that would be a security risk.

        • Dys

          This ‘Guest’ suffers from extreme delusions of grandeur, and is apparently blissfully ignorant that one can log in to Disqus with an actual username and block people from seeing their activity. So it looks like Greg was correct on that count – he doesn’t really know how to use Disqus.

        • Pofarmer

          What a maroon.

        • hector_jones

          Go easy. It’s his first time on the internet.

        • Greg G.

          Anybody can log in as “Guest”. It takes a little more knowledge to log in with a name, which is knowledge you haven’t exhibited. It takes a little bit more knowledge to log in properly so people can reach your comments from the Recent Comments section. Then there’s selecting an avatar, but that is apparently way beyond your ken.

          Oh, please, please, please, don’t stop responding to me. I’ll do anything you want if you’ll take me back. NOT!

          Calling me a freak is as good as a concession that I won. Thank you. Refusing to respond is a sign of fear, not much different than your bland, contentless posts.

        • hector_jones

          Oh please, me me, put me on your list of people who will not be responded to again either.

        • Guest

          Done.

        • Pofarmer

          “but obviously I can log in to Disqus since I am able to post here.”

          Here’s a hint. If you are posting as guest, and I can’t get your disqus profile, you are not logged into disqus, you are merely signed into the comments section of this blog. Either that, or you have some superdooper clearance.

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

          You do know that I have whatever email address you signed in with, right, “Guest”?

          Your paranoia is a delusion of grandeur. Stalking you is far from the minds of any atheist here, I’m sure. We’ll just humiliate you publicly–that should be enough.

        • Guest

          Good luck with that.

        • Dys

          It’s not like it’s much of a challenge. You’ve been embarrassing yourself fairly regularly so far.

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

          Yet another zinger! It’s gonna be awesome when you finally roll out a compelling argument for God … someday.

        • Guest

          not my problem

        • Dys

          That you don’t have any good arguments? Yeah, it kinda is your problem. At least it is if you expect anyone to take you seriously. During your exploration for an argument that actually holds up, you can also learn how to use Disqus.

        • hector_jones

          I hate to break it to him, but it’s already too late for anyone to take him seriously.

        • MNb

          There is no need for us atheists to humiliate you. You do a very good job humiliating yourself.

        • adam

          According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

        • Guest

          You said that already. What ‘Jewish sources’?

        • adam

          Jesus was not descended from King David. Per Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1, the Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David. However, according to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father — and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David! The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from a verse in Isaiah describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by G-ds.
          http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/17-03.html

        • Guest

          The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority–your local rabbi is a good place to start.

          I guess that’s a Jewish ‘source’… of opinion.

        • adam

          Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)

          The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ― and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s
          side from King David. (1)

          According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

          http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

          by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
          with thanks to Rabbi Michael Skobac, Jews for Judaism

        • Rob

          There is more to that, its based on the authority of the Rabbis. They have the authority to tell the people what they must believe similar to the Pope and the Vatican

        • MNb

          AfaIc rabbis have zilch authority until shown otherwise.

        • Dys

          And it’s the same type of authority that Dungeon Masters of D&D have. The authority to dictate the canon of historical or fan fiction.

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

          Pascal’s wager? Seriously?

        • Pofarmer

          So. Much. Complete. Misinformation.

        • MNb

          “but if its not, then it will be your loss.”
          What exactly will I lose? Eternal boredom in heaven? Thanks, but no thanks. Would you accept a bet, having to pay if you win it?

        • Pofarmer

          So, do ya have a source for all of the. NT writings being compiled between 40 and 69 A.D.?

        • Greg G.

          Psst. Wrong reply button. That was to MNb.

        • Pofarmer

          Dangit.

        • Guest

          The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament. This is strong evidence that it was written before then, since it would certainly have been a noteworthy event.

        • Greg G.

          The cursing of the fig tree is followed by the Temple tantrum. Later, they noticed the withered tree. In the decade or so after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, people would easily fill in the fourth part of the syllogism. The stories were not about the events of 70AD. It’s an allegory about Christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, scholars note several mentions of the Jewish Revolt and the aftermath.

          http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/mark.html

        • Guest

          Actually, no.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure, earlychristianwritings.com. search for gospel of Mark.

        • Rob

          Do you have a source for your birth?

        • Pofarmer

          Yep.

        • adam

          ….

    • MNb

      “are all false”
      Indeed, just like similar stuff in the Ilias, Odyssee and Harry Potter novels are false – fiction is a better word btw.

      “There is more to this then you understand Bob and others.”
      There is nothing to understand. People make up stories all the time, 2000 – 2700 years ago even more than today.

      • Rob

        Yes and your a story too… Jesus was prophesied about in the old testament which wasn’t completed till 300 bc and he fulfilled the prophecies in the old testament.

        His crucifiction was described in 1012BC in psalm 22, 800 years before the romans starting using crucifiction in 200 BC

        60 major prophecies and 270 ramifications. That is a hard story to follow and beat as not being true,. He was telling Mary make sure I’m borne in bethlehem, and that I have a roman style crucifixion and that lots are cast for my clothing and that they pierce my side and have driven nails through my side and resurrect me, Oh wait, make sure i die first and that I’m burried in a rich mans tomb. Uh can someone help me get this story straight, I have alot of things that to acomplish and they have to be in the right order.

        • MNb

          Repeating nonsense doesn’t make it correct. See above. I couldn’t care less about the vague OT prophecies. The OT couldn’t even prophetize the correct value of pi.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll just repeat, it’s rather easy to fulfill “prophecies” with a charachter whrn the “prophecies” are in you possession. Harry Potter does the same thing.

        • Greg G.

          The NT authors had no knowledge of a historical Jesus. They took a few Messiah prophecies and many non prophecies and used those to make up the stories. Matthew went overboard by making up OT prophecies that aren’t there.

        • adam

          Jesus did NOT fullfil the basic requirements for Messiah in the Torah.

          So Jesus can NOT be the Messiah.

          But a POLITICAL CREATION used to subjugate the public for political power, a MYTH, a LEGEND…political at that.

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

      There is more to this then you understand Bob and others.

      You got that right. you had a long list of something, but it made no sense.

      I don’t denounce Jesus; I am saying that the Jesus story is a legend.

      • Rob

        like I said, prove your not a legend

        • Dys

          There’s no point in doing so. For the purposes of the discussion, it doesn’t matter if Bob exists or not. No one’s claiming that Bob performs supernatural feats or died and rose from the dead. Bob actually existing is a mundane claim, and thus has a relatively low burden of proof.

          On the other hand, the claims made on behalf of Jesus are supernatural in nature, and are not mundane – they are extraordinary. As such, the burden of proof is substantially higher, and to date, has not been met.

          Your silly “prove you exist” rebuttal doesn’t make the point you think it does, and demonstrates you don’t understand the issue. “Because the bible says so” is completely inadequate to substantiate miracle claims.

    • Pofarmer

      Are all false. And?

    • Greg G.

      We can identify Mark’s sources. Everything Jesus was supposed to have done is found in other literature done by someone else. It’s all fiction. Matthew, Luke, John, and the non-canonical gospels worked off Mark. Even the extrabiblical references are likely dependent on Mark.

  • Rob

    If Jesus was a liar, then he was KNOWINGLY inviting the sentence of the death for Blasphemy. No one in their right mind would claim that they were literally God in the flesh. That would be absolutely Blasphemous to the Jewish mind. Okay, so he is a lunatic, He thought himself to be God, but was mistaken, to live the life that Jesus lived, and do the things he did, to call him a lunatic, you would have to exercise a preposterous imagination. The Jews wanted to and ultimate got him put to death, Pilate, said that he found no fault with Jesus. Jesus is not a Legend, everything happened according to the eyewitness accounts, therefore He must be Lord and God.

    • adam

      Lot’s of people claim to be god.
      I once met 3 people personally who claimed to be Jesus.

      Most likely all the ‘prophecy’ CLAIMS and the alot of the story were added later on to create the legend.

      Or perhaps he was as delusional as some of his followers.

      • Rob

        “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without sciences and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.”

        Philip Schaff, historian, Exposing the Myths about Jesus

        “Was Jesus a lunatic?

        Did Jesus honestly misunderstand his nature and believe himself to be something he was not? Could a human be sane and think of himself as the eschatological Son of Man who would come again at the end of the age, with the heavenly host, to judge the world?

        No. A person who believed that of themselves would either have to be correct or insane. And so, some might argue, Jesus was a lunatic.”

        “Some paranoids manifest ideas of grandeur almost entirely, and we find patients whose grandeur is very largely of a religious nature, such as their belief that they are directly instructed by God to convert the world or perform miracles.”

        Dr. Albert Schweitzer, The Psychiatric Study of Jesus

        “We cannot avoid the conclusion that Jesus was deranged if he thought of himself as God incarnate and yet was not.”

        John Warwick Montgomery, History and Christianity

        “Yet, in view of the eminent soundness of Jesus’ teachings, few have been able to give credence to the idea of mental aberration.”

        John Warwick Montgomery, History and Christianity

        As psychiatrist J.T. Fisher asserted in 1951:

        “If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene–if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage–if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurably through comparison. For nearly two thousand years the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. Here … rests the blueprint for successful human life with optimum mental health and contentment.”

        J.T. Fisher and L.S. Hawley, A Few Buttons Missing

        One can’t have it both ways. Jesus’ teachings can’t exhibit optimum soundness while the teacher is a lunatic who does not understand his own nature.

        Did Jesus’ disciples paint a false portrait?

        Could not Jesus’ followers, in either an intentional or unintentional attempt to put him in the best possible light, have painted a false portrait of him? Jews had been waiting for a Messiah. Is it not possible that this desire for a Messiah led to the deification of Jesus?

        These theories quickly fall apart upon closer examination.

        “First, all types of Jewish messianic speculation at the time were at variance with the messianic picture Jesus painted of himself , so he was a singularly poor candidate for deification. Second, the apostles and evangelists were psychologically, ethically and religiously incapable of performing such a deification. Third, the historical evidence for Christ’s resurrection, the great attesting event for his claims to deity, could not have been manufactured.”

        John Warwick Montgomery, History and Christianity

        Jesus’ attitudes toward the Gentiles, toward freedom from the yoke of the law, were not at all what was expected of the Messiah.

        “Zealot activists expected the redeemer to appear sword in hand and to lead the people againstRome’s military power. … Most apocalyptic visionaries, on the other hand, expected redemption in the shape of a cosmic cataclysm, out of which would emerge a new world with the chosen people marching toward final salvation at the head of a transformed mankind.”

        Jewish scholar S.W. Baron,

        • MNb

          Like I showed above 2000 years ago people didn’t need to be a lunatic to honestly misunderstand their nature.

          “Could a human be sane and think of himself as the eschatological Son of Man who would come again at the end of the age, with the heavenly host, to judge the world?”
          2000 years ago totally yes. Examples in abundance.

          “all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene”
          apply to modern people from the 19th to the 21st century and much less to people who lived 2000 years ago.

          “Jesus’ teachings can’t exhibit optimum soundness”
          They don’t, so there is no problem here either.

          “the historical evidence for Christ’s resurrection, the great attesting event for his claims to deity, could not have been manufactured.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! People manufactured far more fantastic claims during Antiquity.

          “he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since”
          Ask Greg how much of the NT is taken from the OT. Stuff like “love thy enemy” also can be found in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, written by a Pharysee some 100 years before Jesus was born.
          Jesus was far from original. Not that he is to blame – during Antiquity originality wasn’t highly valued.

    • MNb

      “he was KNOWINGLY inviting the sentence of the death ”
      Eh? But he knew at least a day before that he would be betrayed and receive the death penalty. Still he did nothing to avoid it. So your argument doesn’t even make sense within your own christian theology.

      “so he is a lunatic”
      Two thousand years ago you didn’t need to be a lunatic to think yourself to be a god. It was quite common, actually: the Egyptian Faraos, the Roman Emperors, Alexander the Great and many more. After the Roman conquest Judea and Galilea were full of messias claimants. In his time Jesus was nothing special – he became something special after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE.

      “everything happened according to the eyewitness accounts”
      Because you say so?

      • Rob

        He had been claiming to be God a whole lot longer than one day. Plenty of times the Pharisees wanted to get to him, because of his claims. For example “Only God can forgive sin”, “therefore so that you will know that the Son of man has the power to forgive sin”, he told the paralytic “take up your mat and walk” and the man who was paralyzed got up, took his mat and walked away.” The Jews understood that to be Jesus claiming to be God when the paralytic was healed.”

        • MNb

          “a whole lot longer than one day”
          So what?

          “Plenty of times the Pharisees wanted to get to him, because of his claims.”
          So what?
          How does this contradict anything I wrote above?

        • Rob

          “the Egyptian Faraos, the Roman Emperors, Alexander the Great and many more. After the Roman conquest Judea and Galilea were full of messias claimants. In his time Jesus was nothing special – he became something special after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE.”

          And what effect have these people had on the world from their time to today?

          Is a large population worshiping these people who claimed to be god?

          There are more documents from the first century about Jesus of Nazareth then any other person.

          As for being a Legend Josh Mcdowell and Don Stewart wrote

          ” Myth # 1: Jesus never existed.(Legend)

          There is no scholarly ground to stand on when it comes to a claim that, historically, Jesus never lived. Many Christian and non-Christian sources reference Jesus, demonstrating that he lived, performed miracles, gathered a following, angered the Jews by claiming to be the Messiah, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate about AD 30. Even non-Christian histories report his supposed resurrection and the growth of the Christian sect that followed. They also purport that Jesus was worshiped as God by the early church.

          The New Testament contains twenty-seven separate documents which were written in the first century AD and contain the story of the life of Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian church. These facts were recorded by eyewitnesses. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, born AD 37, also records the existence of Jesus. Cornelius Tacitus (AD 112), a Roman historian, wrote about Jesus Christ while writing about the reign of Emperor Nero. He wrote of the existence of Christians in Rome and referred to Christianity when alluding to the burning of the temple of Jerusalem in AD 70. This history has been preserved by Sulpicius Severus. Other references to Jesus and his followers occur in the writings of the Roman historian Seutonius (AD 120).”

          “The testimony, both Christian and non-Christian, is more than sufficient to lay to rest any idea that Jesus, in fact, never existed. In light of the evidence, it is absurd to hold such a view.”

          Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers

        • MNb

          “And what effect have these people had on the world from their time to today?”
          You’re changing the subject. The quote was an answer to

          “to call him a lunatic, you would have to exercise a preposterous imagination”
          to which I answered

          “Two thousand years ago you didn’t need to be a lunatic to think yourself to be a god.”
          and gave several famous examples to illustrate this. Then I drew the conclusion that

          “In his time Jesus was nothing special”
          Your question is irrelevant for this conclusion.

          The rest of your comment is totally irrelevant as well. I never wrote that Jesus was a myth; on the contrary, I maintain that he was historical, a messias claimant like many others, thought himself divine like many others and like all the others had deluded himself.

        • Rob

          Did the others full the sixty major prophecy’s and 270 ramifications written in the old testament as Jesus of Nazareth did? Did any of these other messiahs do this? did any one of them fulfill at least 8 of the 60 major prophecy’s in the old testament? da nada! the evidence overwhelmingly identifies Jesus as Gods son the Messiah. Anyone who disagrees is deluding themselves. You might as well stand in the middle of an Interstate with traffic driving 70 miles an hour and say to your self those cars don’t exist and will not hurt me they are just claiming to be cars but they really aren’t. You will become a legend as well splattered all over the road. The people will ask themselves about the bump in the road and the next time they drive down the road what was there before will be gone and they will assume the road was fixed and then forget about it after that.

        • MNb

          Ask others about the prophecies. I don’t care and don’t accept them as evidence. Nowhere in the OT we find the name Jesus. Plus the OT got a few other things wrong – it couldn’t even prophetize the correct value of pi for instance.

          “and say to your self those cars don’t exist”
          I can do that. Empirical evidence like cars hitting me will prove me wrong. As soon as your immaterial god hits me and I feel pain I will convert, but not before.

          “You will become a legend as well”
          No, I’m not important enough. That’s a perfect natural explanation. So what? Says nothing about your imaginary god.

        • Rob

          Emperical evidence/data

          Um, are your great great grand parents still alive? Are their great great grand parents still alive?

          Did they ever exist? where is the empirical data. But you accept that they existed though don’t you? Just because you can’t physically touch it means to you that its not real. Can you personally see the dark matter scientists have recently discovered? can you touch the air or see it without compressing it in to a liquid? From where your physical location, without anything but your body no cars or buildings or roads, someone telling you or any point of reference except the ground you physically stand on and know that the earth is round and not flat.

          You said your not important enough, there is one who knows you better than you know yourself. He is the God who created everything you see.

          Okay you would say that God didn’t create cars or buildings and things you can physically touch that you use every day. Man created them. Man can even create life using electricity and some goop, that’s empirical data you can touch. Where did the electricity come from? Where did the material for the goop come from. Where did the metal used to make your car come from, where did the wood and concrete that make up your house come from? Man made that you would say.” Where did the planet you are standing on come from?, Where did the stars in the sky come from?, Where did the air you breath come from? its older than you are and you accept that it exists. Where did the Hubble space telescope come from? who did it get in to outer space? There is nothing in outer space past what you can see, can you touch it? Is it real? can you see light? what color is light? can you touch it? There is so much mans finite mind cant touch or see yet you accept it for what it to be true. It touches you every day and you don’t know it. Tell m how is it that you are able to touch and feel something? or see something? where did you get that ability? where did you get the ability to think and reason, to believe or not believe something. What is the source of your existence? Before you can create something, create your own materials out of nothing.

          We find two things in the Bible.

          1. Angels
          2. And a special Angel named “The Angel of the Lord.”

          Question: “Who is the angel of the Lord?”

          Answer: The precise identity of the “angel of the Lord” is not given in the Bible. However, there are many important “clues” to his identity. There are Old and New Testament references to “angels of the Lord,” “an angel of the Lord,” and “the angel of the Lord.” It seems when the definite article “the” is used, it is specifying a unique being, separate from the other angels. The angel of the Lord speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and exercises the responsibilities of God (Genesis 16:7-12; 21:17-18; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1-4; 5:23; 6:11-24; 13:3-22; 2 Samuel 24:16; Zechariah 1:12; 3:1; 12:8). In several of these appearances, those who saw the angel of the Lord feared for their lives because they had “seen the Lord.” Therefore, it is clear that in at least some instances, the angel of the Lord is a theophany, an “appearance” of God in physical form.

          The appearances of the angel of the Lord cease after the incarnation of Christ. Angels are mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, but “the angel of the Lord” is never mentioned in the New Testament after the birth of Christ. It is possible that appearances of the angel of the Lord were manifestations of Jesus before His incarnation. Jesus declared Himself to be existent “before Abraham” (John 8:58), so it is logical that He would be active and manifest in the world. Whatever the case, whether the angel of the Lord was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ (Christophany) or an appearance of God the Father (theophany), it is highly likely that the phrase “the angel of the Lord” usually identifies a physical appearance of God.

          In Daniel 3 we read about three men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, together with Daniel, had been appointed to authority positions in the province of Babylon (Daniel 2:49). They were godly Jews to whom God had given “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17), and whom He had furthered to these authority positions. Because of their position, they would probably enjoy many things that not only the Jews but also most of the natives did not enjoy. They were certainly blessed people. However, one day the situation changed. Nebuchadnezzar, their boss, had made a gold image asking everyone to worship it. All in the kingdom had to worship this image and if someone disobeyed, he would be burned in the den of fire. Thus, Shadrah, Meshah and Abednego faced a challenge: Would they follow the king’s command, defending their lives, their blessings, their families, their positions, and then probably asking “sorry” from God, or would they obey to His Word, never bowing to this idol? Daniel 3:8-12 tells us that they finally chose the latter. Thus, they were brought before the king, and though he was very angry with them, he decided to give them one more opportunity: “But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Daniel 3:15), he told them. Then, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied:

          Daniel 3:16-18
          “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up”

          Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had determined that they would by no means worship this idol. Though they knew that God could deliver them, they did not consider it as given. They obeyed God unconditionally, and even if He did not deliver them (“But if NOT”) they would still not worship the king’s idols (“let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up”). As Daniel 3:28 says: They had delivered their bodies to worship Him. Their reply made the king even angrier and the den even hotter. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were immediately cast there. Yet, something unexpected made the king and his counselors astonished: instead of being burned instantaneously, these people were walking in the den, not alone but together with someone whose form was

          “like a son of God”

          (Daniel 3:25)! Immediately, the king commanded to take them out. His response is recorded in verses 28-30:

          Why wasn’t Jesus named Immanuel?

          Answer:In the prophecy of the virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14, the prophet Isaiah declared, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” This prophecy refers to the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ which means, ‘God with us.’” This does not mean, however, that the Messiah’s name would actually be Immanuel.

          There are many names given to Jesus using the phrase “He shall be called,” both in the Old and New Testaments. This was a common way of saying that people would refer to Him in these various ways. Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). None of these titles was Jesus’ actual name, but these were descriptions people would use to refer to Him forever. Luke tells us Jesus “shall be called the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32) and “son of God” (1:35) and “the prophet of the Highest” (1:76), but none of these was His name.

          In two different places, the prophet Jeremiah says in referring to the coming Messiah, “And this is His name by which He shall be called, YHWH, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6;33:15-16). Now we know that God, the Father, is named Yahweh. Jesus was never actually called Yahweh as though it was His name, but His role was that of bringing the righteousness of Yahweh to those who would believe in Him, exchanging that righteousness for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, this is one of the many titles or “names” which belong to Him.

          In the same way, to say that Jesus would be called “Immanuel” means Jesus is God and that He dwelt among us in His incarnation and that He is always with us. Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was God making His dwelling among us (John 1:1,14). No, Jesus’ name was not Immanuel, but Jesus was the meaning of Immanuel, “God with us.” Immanuel is one of the many titles for Jesus, a description of who He is.

          The Jews believe he existed, but they do not believe he is their Messiah, does that men that he isnt?

        • Dys

          “Before you can create something, create your own materials out of nothing.”

          How do you know there was ever ‘nothing’ in the first place? Unless you can demonstrate that there was ever ‘nothing’, you don’t have any point, and your special pleading to avoid an infinite regress is likewise pointless.

          I don’t think you understand what you’re arguing against. Saying that the Jesus story is a legend doesn’t necessarily mean that there wasn’t a person that the myths are based on. It’s stating that the stories are legendary, and the miracle claims and supernatural events that are claimed do not have the evidence to support them. There very well could have been an apocalyptic Jewish preacher/prophet that the Jesus myths are based on.

        • MNb

          If god is so important that he knows me better than I know myself it should be a piece of cake to provide evidence for his existence. You’re invited.

          “Before you can create something, create your own materials out of nothing.”
          Before you argue for a god creating the whole shenanigan show how god was created. Defining him into existence by stating that he exists eternally out of time and space doesn’t suffice, because then he can’t interact with our material reality, due to lack of material means.
          When I create something I can tell you which means I use and which procedures I follow. When you state that god created you can’t do that. Hence your god is meaningless.

          As for the something can’t come out of nothing blooper,
          1) that applies to your god as well, as he is something;
          2) our material reality might be eternal;
          3) quantum fluctuations suggest that something can come out of nothing indeed.

        • Rob

          God is before existence as we know and understand existence. “Supernatural” nothing tangible (touchable) to us is supernatural, unless God himself reveals himself to us as he did to our ancestors. The tangible things you understand such as atoms, dirt, water, air, you accept at face value, but how do they exist? what is their source.

        • Dys

          “God is before existence as we know and understand existence”

          Unsubstantiated assertion. Not to mention the sentence is basically self-refuting. You can hardly make declarative statements concerning existence other than the ones we know and understand.

          “what is their source.”

          Dead stars.

        • MNb

          “God is before existence as we know and understand existence. “Supernatural” nothing tangible (touchable) to us is supernatural,”
          Defining (and incoherently so) something into existence won’t do the job. You might as well write an entire book about square circles.

          “The tangible things you understand such as atoms, dirt, water, air, you accept at face value, but how do they exist? what is their source.”
          Irrelevant question. We have an abundance of empirical evidence for atoms, dirt, water and air. I don’t have to accept them at face value. In exactly the same way we don’t have to accept at face value that BobS exists, as I explained above. Repeating your error at nauseam doesn’t correct it.

        • Pofarmer

          You do realize the NT authors had access to what would become the OT, right? Read Randal Helms, “the gospel fictions.”

        • Rob

          No, the didn’t know the Tanakh, they never read it in their temples. But to be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, how did he make that happen? He had to be God to be able to do that. When his millennial reign comes and peace is established among all nations would you believe it then if it was because of one man that peace occurred? How can one man make peace among all people? Such a person predicted in the Old and New Testament would really have to be God if they establish peace among all people and nation. Has there ever been real peace among all nations? Peace that lasted for 1000 years? So if that were to occur would you then believe? So far no man has been able to establish world peace.

        • Pofarmer

          So, where do all the prophecies that mathew keeps referring to come from?

          Jesus wasn’t born of a Virgin, just like Hercules wasn’t the son of a God, and countless others. Julius Ceasar was said to be born of a Virgin, as well, and it was common mythology for a Star to appear at the birth or death of a great leader. They even paid homage to this old myth in “Thor, the dark world”. The thing most likely to bring world peace os Flobal Commerce.

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

          We not at the “how do you explain the virgin birth?” point yet. It’s just a story. Show that it’s actually history and then that question becomes relevant.

        • Dys

          “No, the didn’t know the Tanakh, they never read it in their temples.”

          Then you haven’t read the NT very well, as they refer back to the OT quite often.

          “But to be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, how did he make that happen?”

          He didn’t, because there’s no reason to believe any such thing ever happened. There wasn’t any census that would have forced Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus to have been born there. Instead, it appears to be a myth manufactured by someone familiar with the book of Micah in the OT in order move Jesus’s birthplace from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Just because the bible has a story in it doesn’t make that story true.

        • adam

          …..

        • adam

          ….

        • Pofarmer

          Josh McDowll and Don Stewart, apologetics. If you want some actual answers, you will have to look elaewhere.

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

      “Jesus was a liar” isn’t an argument that I make.

  • Rob

    Bob, you have no legs to stand on when it comes to Jesus Christ.

    I hope that’s not a literal statement regarding you having no physical legs

    The question was posed Its based on my word. The answer is its based on The Bible which is Gods Word and is the truth in its entirety.

    • MNb

      Prove it.

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

      Show me something besides just bravado. You can imagine the Bible being based on anything you want, but to get me to accept it, I need evidence. Makes sense, right?

      • Rob

        How do I know you exist? what evidence do you have to give me you exist and are not just a computer generated fantasy?Where did you come from, how do you exist, where does the air you breath come from? Oh your just a legend, your a story made up yesterday, or was it 5 seconds ago, or is it in the future you are being prophesied about right now that you will exist 300 years from now. Prove that you exist? what are you made of where did what you are made of came from? are you alive? how did you become alive? Oh by your paraents, and the came alive from their parents, and so forth. Oh wait, no, someone took some sand and planted dynamite in it and blew it up and then all of the sand formed in to you. You don’t exist, because you were never created. Explain your address, where did you come from?

        Your name is Bob Seidenstiker, your address is # street, city state, zip, country, continent, planet earth, milky way galaxy out of trillions of galaxies. Hmm, do you really exist? 3000 years from now the will say Bob who? Prove you existed 3000 years from now. Who will write about you and give evidence to a man who’s existence has no purpose or meaning except to say that the past never existed. That person will be insignificantly forgotten about and anyone who says he existed will laugh and say that person never existed, prove it, “I need evidence”

        A prophecy dating 1012 BC Namely Psalm 22 gives the exact details of the Messiahs death. It describes the roman style crucifixion Jesus went through. Its important to note that the Romans did not start using crucifixion till around 200bc 800 years after the prophecy was made. Did Jesus of Nazareth choose to be in a part of the world that had crucifixion? Did anyone who claimed to be the messiah get crucified in a roman style crucifixion?

        “HIS HANDS AND FEET WILL BE PIERCED
        PROPHECY: “Dogs have surrounded me. A band of evil men has encircled me. They pierced My hands and My feet.” Psalm 22:16 “And I will
        pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the one they have
        pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child…” Zechariah 12:10
        FULFILLMENT: “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him.” Luke 23:33

        Jesus was crucified in the typical Roman manner: His hands and feet were nailed to the cross using large spikes. This is very interesting
        considering crucifixion had not yet been invented. Both verses refer to the different reactions of the witnesses:

        Psalms refers to the witnesses who rejected Jesus as the Messiah and rallied for His crucifixion.

        Zechariah refers to the witnesses who accepted Jesus as the Messiah and mourned at His crucifixion.

        HE WILL SUFFER WITH COMMON SINNERS
        PROPHECY: “Because He poured out His soul unto death, He was numbered with the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12
        FULFILLMENT: “Then the two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.” Matthew 27:38

        HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD FORSAKE HIM
        PROPHECY: “My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off.” Psalm 38:11
        FULFILLMENT: “But His acquaintances and the woman who followed from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.” Luke 23:49

        HE WOULD BE STARED UPON
        PROPHECY: “I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.” Psalm 22:17
        FULFILLMENT: “And the people stood looking on.” Luke 23:35

        Though this prophecy literally states the Messiah would be stared upon during His suffering, there is an underlying reference that needs to be
        explained: the meaning of I can count all My bones. During a typical crucifixion, the weight of the body being pulled down on the cross would
        disjoint the bones and make them appear more prominent than usual. Count all My bones is a direct reference to the state of Jesus’ body on
        the cross.

        LOTS WILL BE CAST FOR HIS GARMENTS
        PROPHECY: “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:18
        FULFILLMENT: “The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the
        tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said… ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be.’”
        John 19:23-24

        The verse in Psalms seems contradictory until the prophecy becomes fulfilled at the cross. Jesus’ garments were distributed among the
        soldiers but the tunic was awarded to one soldier by the casting of lots.

        HE WOULD BE GIVEN GALL AND VINEGAR TO DRINK
        PROPHECY: “They also gave me gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:21
        FULFILLMENT: “They gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink…” Matthew 27:34 “A jar of wine vinegar was there so they soaked a
        sponge in it, put the sponge on a hyssop stalk, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.” John 19:29

        Skeptic Interjection: When you read the context of the verse in John, it seems like Jesus provoked the soldiers to fulfill this prophecy.
        Answer: The whole purpose of the Messianic prophecies was to reveal the identity of the true Messiah once He appeared. In order to have this
        prophecy fulfilled as a sign to us, Jesus cried out I thirst. What the soldiers chose to offer Jesus was their decision alone. Jesus could not
        control what He was offered.

        HIS BONES WOULD NOT BE BROKEN
        PROPHECY: “He guards all His bones. Not one of them is broken.” Psalm 34:20
        FULFILLMENT: “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.” John 19:33

        A typical crucifixion can last quite a while as the victim could linger for days before expiring. Many crucifixion victims died from asphyxiation as
        they would have to continually push up against the cross in order to breathe. After a certain amount of time, the guards would come along and
        break the victim’s legs so he could no longer support himself. However, because Jesus had died earlier than anticipated, His bones were not
        broken. Instead…

        HE WOULD BE PIERCED
        PROPHECY: “They will look on Me whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10
        FULFILLMENT: “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.” John 19:34

        To ensure Jesus had already expired, a Roman soldier pierced his side with a spear instead of breaking His legs.

        THE LAND WOULD BE DARKENED
        PROPHECY: “And it shall come to pass in that day says the Lord God that I will make the sun go down at noon and I will darken the earth in
        broad daylight.” Amos 8:9
        FULFILLMENT: “Now from the sixth hour until the night hour there was darkness over all the land.” Matthew 27:45

        The Jews counted twelve hours from sunrise to sunset. The sixth hour would be noon and the ninth hour would be 3:00 p.m.

        Skeptic Interjection: Why is there no mention of such an event outside the Bible?
        Answer: The darkness which covered the land was documented by two Roman historians, Phlegon and Thallus. The authors write about an
        eerie darkness that lasted several hours in the middle of the day during the Passover on which Jesus was crucified. Although the secular
        historians try to dismiss the unusual event as an eclipse, astronomers prove that due to the alignment of the planets a solar eclipse cannot
        occur during Passover, which is carefully scheduled to coincide with the full moon. Their quotes may be read on this page.

        HE WOULD BE BURIED IN A RICH MAN’S TOMB
        PROPHECY: “And they made His grave with the wicked- but with the rich at His death.” Isaiah 53:9
        FULFILLMENT: “There came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph…and [he] asked for the body of Jesus… When Joseph had taken the
        body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb.” Matthew 27:57-60

        Death by crucifixion was reserved for the lowest classes. Most victims were left to decompose on the cross without being given a proper burial.
        Out of the countless victims who suffered this fate, only one body has been recovered with traces to the Roman Empire around the time of
        Jesus. Isaiah was able to foresee Jesus receiving a distinguished burial after a lowly death. This leads us to one last point…

        HE WOULD BE CURSED FOR HANGING ON A TREE
        PROPHECY: “You must not leave His body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury Him that same day because anyone who is hung on a tree is
        under God’s curse.” Deuteronomy 21:23
        FULFILLMENT: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung
        on a tree.’” Galatians 3:13

        The verse in Deuteronomy refers to the Jewish law regarding those executed by hanging. Their bodies were not to be left in such a state after
        nightfall due to desecration laws. Because His body was removed prior to nightfall, Jesus’ body was not considered unclean according to Jewish
        law.

        Skeptic Interjection: Is Paul admitting Jesus was cursed? How could this be if Jesus led a sinless life?
        Answer: The New Testament makes it clear Jesus’ body was removed by nightfall. His physical body did not become unclean by Jewish
        standards. Paul is making a reference to the spiritual curse of sin Christ accepted for our sakes. Because Jesus defeated the power of sin and
        death, He also broke the power of the curse which He accepted in our place.

        HE WOULD ATONE FOR THE SIN OF MAN
        PROPHECY: “And He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12
        FULFILLMENT: “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood…” Romans 3:25

        Before the arrival of the Messiah, Jews were required to atone for their own sins by bringing sacrifices to the temple. When Jesus was
        crucified, He became the blood sacrifice to atone for all the sins of mankind.

        HE WOULD REPRESENT THE PASSOVER LAMB
        PROPHECY: “…Each man is to take a lamb for his family… The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect… All the people of
        the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight… Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door
        frames… On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn… The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where
        you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt… Do not break any of the
        bones.” Exodus 12:3, 5-7,12-13,46
        FULFILLMENT: “For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” I Corinthians 5:7

        The above prophecy is highly symbolic of the coming Messiah:

        A blood sacrifice is required to cover sin (Jesus would later shed His blood on the cross to atone for the sins of man).

        The Jews were to sacrifice a lamb (Jesus is referred to several times as The Lamb of God).

        The lamb must be free of physical deformities (Jesus committed no sin during His life).

        The lamb’s bones must not be broken (Jesus’ bones were not broken on the cross, a typical occurrence in crucifixion).

        The lamb’s blood would protect God’s people against judgment (Jesus shed His blood so believers would be spared God’s wrath during
        the last judgment).

        Jesus was crucified on the Passover in the year of 33 A.D. He alone fulfilled this prophecy both metaphorically and literally.

        Skeptic Interjection: The Passover lamb was not an atonement for sin. How could this represent Jesus?
        Answer: In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices were required to atone for sins. In this age of grace it is hard for us to understand the spiritual
        concepts of sin but it is evident God considers sin so severe that a blood offering was required to cover the sin. Sin also separates us from
        God’s presence and brings us under His judgment. Jesus’ death was not only to atone for our sin but to free us from judgment. This is His
        relationship to the Passover lamb, which protected the Jews from the judgment of the Egyptians.

        Skeptic Interjection: The Passover lamb was required to be free from all physical blemishes, yet Jesus was marred beyond recognition.
        Answer: The spotless lamb was a metaphor to the sinless life of Jesus. It did not mean He would be physically perfect in appearance. The
        Bible also states God wishes for us to be without spot nor wrinkle. This is an obvious reference to our spiritual behavior- not a commandment to be free of physical imperfections (or else we’d all be in trouble!). The spotless condition of the Paschal lamb simply serves as a
        foreshadowing to the Messiah’s sinless life.

        HE WOULD BE RESURRECTED
        PROPHECY: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Psalms 16:10
        FULFILLMENT: “His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.” Acts 2:31

        After spending three days in the grave, Jesus arose from the dead and appeared to more than 500 witnesses.

        HE ACHIEVED VICTORY OVER DEATH
        PROPHECY: “He will swallow up death forever.” Isaiah 25:8
        FULFILLMENT: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord
        Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:56-57

        The first three prophecies listed below concern the relative timing and historical events corresponding with the Messiah’s appearance. The
        last prophecy is famous among Biblical scholars for its ability to foresee the exact year of Jesus’ crucifixion.

        HE WOULD APPEAR DURING A TIME OF SPIRITUAL APOSTASY AND POLITICAL UNREST
        PROPHECY: “He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground.” Isaiah 53:2

        FULFILLMENT: The root out of dry ground analogy refers to the Messiah’s appearance during a time of spiritual drought and political
        upheaval. History shows Israel was in a state of chaos during the first century. The religious leaders were unscrupulous, more than 400
        years had passed since the last canonical prophet, and Israel was under the tyrannical domination of Rome. Jewish rebellions were frequent
        and the average Jew was more concerned with religious rites and worldly affairs instead of their love for God. Jesus appeared on the scene
        with new revelations from God, established the New Covenant, urged an apostate Israel to return to God, and brought the gift of Salvation.

        HE WOULD APPEAR BEFORE “THE SCEPTER DEPARTS FROM JUDAH”
        PROPHECY: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes…” Genesis 49:10

        FULFILLMENT: According to this passage, two signs would take place shortly after the Messiah appeared. Judah would lose its
        scepter/tribal identity and Jewish judicial power would be eradicated. In this verse, the word scepter is best translated into tribal staff. For
        centuries, each of the twelve tribes of Israel possessed their own tribal staff. This prophecy states the tribal staff, or tribal identity, of Judah
        would not be lost until the Messiah came. Even when Judah was deprived of its sovereignty during the Babylonian captivity, it never lost its
        national identity or tribal staff. The people still possessed their own laws, lawgivers, and judges.

        Judah began to lose its power when Herod the Great (a Gentile) succeeded the Maccabean dynasty, the last Jewish family to reign in
        Jerusalem. Furthermore, the legal power of the Sanhedrin was now being limited under Roman domination. This loss of power included the
        ability to execute capital punishment sometime between 7 and 11 A.D. The Jews believed the Messiah would appear before Judah lost its
        identity but with the legal restrictions imposed on them by Rome, their power was rapidly diminishing. The question remained: where was
        the Messiah?

        The Jews were well aware of the loss of power. The Jewish Talmud even documents the lamentations of their people with the words Woe
        unto us, for the scepter has been taken from Judah and the Messiah has not appeared! But the Messiah had appeared. He was Jesus, a
        humble Galilean teacher, traveling about the countryside.

        HE WOULD COME BEFORE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE
        PROPHECY: “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple.” Malachi 3:1

        FULFILLMENT: The above verse (and others mentioned in Psalms, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah) gives a definite reference to the
        existence of the Jewish temple when the Messiah appears. This means the temple must still be standing when He comes. Of course, the
        Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans and has never been rebuilt- for almost 2,000 years!

        The book of Daniel not only speaks of the destruction of the temple, he also provides us with an exact sequence of events:
        “…The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
        Daniel 9:26

        According to Daniel:

        The Messiah comes (This happened with Jesus’ birth in 1 A.D.)

        The Messiah is cut off (an idiom for killed) (This happened with Jesus’ crucifixion in 33 A.D.)

        Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed (This happened in 70 A.D.).

        THE EXACT YEAR OF HIS DEATH
        PROPHECY: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city… Know therefore and understand this: from the
        issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks… After
        sixty-two weeks the Messiah shall be cut off… And the people of the ruler who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… Then he
        shall confirm a covenant with many for one week…” Daniel 9:24-27
        FULFILLMENT: This prophecy is known as Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy. Biblical scholars agree the interpretation of the word week
        represents seven years. This comes from the Hebrew word for week (shabua) which literally means seven. Seven sets of seven (49 years)
        added to Sixty-two sets of seven (434 years) added to one seven (7 years) gives us a total of 490 years.
        God reveals to Daniel 483 years would pass between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the Messiah’s death.

        Skeptic Interjection: Why does the above verse mention seven weeks and sixty-two weeks instead of sixty-nine weeks?
        Answer: Critics point out the fact the Masoretic Text uses punctuation between seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. However, evidence
        shows ancient Hebrew did not contain punctuation or vowels. Through the evolution of the language, punctuation was later added into the
        written texts.

        We see in the second chapter of Nehemiah it was in the month of Nisan in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes when Nehemiah petitioned the
        king to rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes agreed to issue him a letter of approval to rebuild the city. From history, we know Artaxerxes
        ascended the throne in 465 B.C., making 444 B.C. the 20th year of his reign.

        Skeptic Interjection: There are other decrees mentioned in the Old Testament. How do we know this is the decree on which we should
        base our calculations?
        Answer: There are three other decrees in the Book of Ezra (1:1-4, 5:3-7, 7:11-16), but the reader can see they are decrees to rebuild the
        Jewish temple- not the city of Jerusalem.

        Skeptic Interjection: The second chapter of Nehemiah states King Artaxerxes issued Nehemiah letters of permission to accompany him
        on his Journey to Jerusalem. Is this the same as a decree?
        Answer: We are told in Nehemiah: “‘…May I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so they will provide me with safe passage
        until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest so he will give me timber to make beams for the
        gates… The king granted my requests, so I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also
        sent army officers and cavalry with me.” Nehemiah 2:7-9
        These verses explain the written letters King Artaxerxes issued to Nehemiah providing him with safe passage and building materials.
        Because this was an order issued by the king himself, it is obvious this was a sovereign decree. We are even told Nehemiah was
        accompanied by members of the king’s cavalry to ensure no one interfered with the orders.

        In order to accurately calculate this prophecy, we need to understand the difference between a Biblical year and a calendar year. In the
        past, men have measured the years by seasons and lunar cycles consisting of 30 days each month. Today, we know the earth completes its
        revolution around the sun every 365.25 days. But a Biblical, or prophetic, year lasts 360 days. Although there are several verses that
        demonstrate this, let’s use Revelation 11:2-3 as our main example:

        “…They will trample the holy city for 42 months. I will give power to my witnesses. They will prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth.”

        This verse refers to the seven year tribulation and mentions two witnesses spreading the gospel for 3 1/2 years (42 months). The Bible
        states the 42 month period equals 1,260 days, which gives us 360 days as a prophetic year.

        For a few more scriptural references see:

        Revelation 12:6 as compared to Revelation 12:14. The two verses compare 1,260 days to a time, times, and half a time (3 1/2
        years) equaling 360 days a year

        Genesis 7:11 as compared to Genesis 8:4 and Genesis 7:24 as compared to Genesis 8:3. These verses list the number of months
        and days Noah endured the flood. The 150 days the flood waters existed lasted exactly five months from the 17th day of the 2nd
        month, to the 17th day of the 7th month, resulting in 30 days per month, or 360 days a year.

        Skeptic Interjection: What’s the point of using a Biblical year? Was God not aware of the length of a solar year?
        Answer: The use of a biblical year instead of a calendar year is for our own understanding of prophetic interpretation. When we look
        throughout history, we can see the length of a calendar year has differed greatly (usually 300 and some odd days per year) due to the
        ignorance of the length of an earth/solar revolution. God was well aware of the technical length of a solar year but many ancient civilizations
        calculated their calendars based on lunar cycles of a 360-day year. Daniel’s prophecy is based on the 360-day lunar year which offers us a
        standard to execute our calculations.

        Our prophecy in Daniel tells us there will be 483 prophetic years between the decree to restore Jerusalem and the death of the Messiah. We
        now know:

        A prophetic year is equivalent to 360 days.

        There will be 483 prophetic years between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the execution of the Messiah.

        The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued in 444 B.C.

        History shows Jesus was crucified in 33 A.D.

        The solar-year difference between 444 B.C. and 33 A.D. is 476 years (Remember, there was no year 0 A.D. so our answer is not 477
        years).

        Using this information, we can show how Daniel was able to precisely predict the year of the coming Messiah:

        Since our difference between 444 B.C. and 33 A.D. is in modern solar years, we will need to convert the amount into prophetic years
        by multiplying our 476 solar-year difference by 365.25 days (the amount of time it takes our earth to fully revolve around the sun).
        We get 173,859 days as our answer.

        Now take our 173,859 days and divide it by 360 to reach the amount of prophetic years. Our answer is 483 years.

        Just like Daniel prophesied.

        Jesus of Nazareth, did not choose his name, or his place of birth or that it would be a virgin birth, or that he would be born during an un-restful time in Jewish history when they would be under Roman influence, or the manner of his death. The only way he could have done that is if He was Lord and God.

        Jesus of Nazareth literally fulfilled 60 major prophecies and 270 ramifications listed in the old testament, this evidence overwhelmingly identifies Jesus as Gods son the Messiah.

        The writers of the New testament weren’t going through and saying here is another prophecy, oh lets change the writing to reflect that prophecy. Your imagination that Jesus is a legend is a fine legend most of them were unskilled men such as peter and his brother. Matthew was a tax collector, Luke was a doctor, Paul was a pharisee who was initially out to murder Christians. There is more evidence that proves Jesus was real, alive, and the Messiah, Son of God, that he died, and was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven then your existence who needs evidence to prove that Jesus was nothing but a legend.

        Bob, Your a great legend already who will believe you existed. Your just a made up story.

        • MNb

          “How do I know you exist? what evidence do you have to give me you exist and are not just a computer generated fantasy?”
          You can hire a detective to track Bob Seidensticker down in Seattle. Or you can do it yourself. To what place must I go to track down your god?

          “prophecy dating 1012 BC Namely Psalm 22″
          Has your god whispered the correct year in your ear?

          “It describes the roman style crucifixion Jesus went through”
          Where in the psalm do we find the name Jesus and the crucifixion? You can pierce hands and feet in many, many ways. Spears do the job as well.

          “Did anyone who claimed to be the messiah get crucified in a roman style crucifixion?”
          Yes,

          http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messianic_claimants04.html

          Spartacus and his captured followers were crucified as well. Nothing special.

          “Your just a made up story.”

          Possible. The important point though is that BobS is material and hence can be verified. Not your god.

        • cfrobw

          Um, how can his be verified? I don’t have any evidence of him. Bob’s just a legend.

        • Dys

          You really don’t have any concept of what “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” entails, do you?

        • MNb

          That doesn’t even apply here – it may cost time and money, but it’s easy to provide ordinary evidence for BobS existing. It’s impossible to provide ordinary evidence for god.

        • Rob

          Hm, In a 200 hundred years will you still be able to prove Bob existed?
          It has cost some time and money to prove that there are things that exist that are extra ordinary. Things you cant fathom, or touch without time and money.

          The Hubble space telescope took more than 6000 years for man to build and launch in to space, so he could then peer in to the darkest areas of space where he could see no light reflecting off of anything, and has he peered further and further Galaxies and solar systems and stars became visible where it was not possible to see them or conceive of them. Man couldn’t conceive of them or understand them. Your knowledge is limited to you, your time is limited to you. If its 1pm for Bob in Seattle and Bob could travel to lets say the north star in a second, what time is it at the North star?
          Time and space are relative to our finite minds, but the God of the Bible who created everything including man in his own image and gave man a free will, is an infinite, all knowing, God who exists outside of time and space as we know it. And in His infinite mercy as He told Adam the day you eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will surely die. God could have struck Adam and Eve dead right on the spot and created again. God actually created a rock which he could have destroyed, but he chose not to because He planned to come in the form of a man to be a sacrifice for the sin of man to take upon himself the death that man owed for his sin, and God appeased his own wrath against men who turn back to him by faith through His grace through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

          Any bickering over this truth is pointless because those who’s bickering (Bob’s) did not come before the truth, they are stories after the fact by individuals who have an ax to grind, because they cant see beyond their physical limitations. In fact they don’t realize they have limitations. They believe they are their own god. Their life will fizzle out and God will continue to exist. He wastes time Griping about something because he can’t touch it, and he probably never will.

          Poor Bob, who ever he was. Oh wait he’s nothing but a legend!

        • Dys

          It’s such a shame you can’t demonstrate any of your supernatural claims are true. Since you can’t, they can be dismissed as your wishful thinking.

          That you think you’ve refuted the calls for evidence is sad. You don’t even know your own side’s arguments very well.

          “Bob exists” is nowhere on par with “Jesus existed, was the son of a god, and performed miracles”. You’ve failed your burden of proof spectacularly.

          You don’t have anything more than theological assertions. And conviction of belief doesn’t make it true, so repeating the nonsense that you can’t prove does absolutely nothing to support your claims.

          Your entire argument can be dismissed with nothing more than “you’re wrong”, because you haven’t backed up your points with anything of substance.

        • MNb

          In a 200 hundred years BobS and I will be dead. Your god is supposed to be around yet.

          “It has cost some time and money to prove that there are things that exist that are extra ordinary.”
          Then tell me how to spend that time and money. I already told you how to spend yours – hire a detective to go to Seattle or do it yourself. As soon as you have tracked him down visit him. Then you can see and hear him; if you ask him friendly you perhaps also can smell, touch and taste him. Your god not so much. You can’t even tell me where I can find him.

          “so he could then peer in to the darkest areas of space”
          If he could do that I would begin to suspect that BobS is god. But first I’d like to observe him doing that.

          “an infinite, all knowing, God who exists outside of time and space as we know it.”
          While BobS is supposed to live within time and space as we know it. We can get far more specific: he is supposed to live in 2014 CE and in Seattle. We can do that because he is material. You just defined god as an immaterial being (ie outside of time and space); hence we humans can’t observe him. Moreover as an immaterial being he can’t interact with our material reality, because doing so requires material means, which aren’t available to your god by definition.
          Thanks, you just defined god out of existence and ruined your own analogy.

        • Rob

          “Moreover as an immaterial being he can’t interact with our material reality, because doing so requires material means, which aren’t available to your god by definition.”
          Being that God created time and space for the benefit of the people He created, invalidates your argument. God can interact in His creation, you are just incapable of realizing and recognizing it. Your biased because you are his creation and can’t see past yourself. Your flesh is in the way. If you really want impherical data of the supernatural, commit suicide an you will come face to face with it LOL

        • MNb

          “Being that God created time and space for the benefit of the people He created, invalidates your argument.”
          Circular argument, my friend. “God created time and space” hence “the immaterial being called god can interact with our material reality” hence “god exists and created time and space”.
          Doesn’t work. You’ll have to show how he did it, what means he used and which procedures he followed. You can’t. Hence your god is meaningless.

          “God can interact in His creation, you are just incapable of realizing and recognizing it.”
          Yes. Apparently you can. So you’ll be happy to tell me how your god interacts in his creation, which means he uses and which procedures he follows.

          “commit suicide an you will come face to face with it”
          How inconvenient that I can’t come back to tell you you are wrong. Hence suicide doesn’t provide empirical evidence of the supernatural.

        • MNb

          Do you always ask questions that just have been answered?

          “You can hire a detective to track Bob Seidensticker down in Seattle. Or you can do it yourself.”
          Perhaps I should spell it out for you? As soon as you have done so you can see and hear him. If you ask him nicely (or use violence) you also can touch, smell and taste him. If that evidence is not good enough for you you should ask yourself why you do eat, drink and sleep. The idea that that benefits your health is exactly as illusionary – ie not.

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

          And “Bob is a person” is a remarkable claim, just like “Jesus is the son of God”?

          Sounds like you’re afraid of this burden of proof that you have

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

          Sure, you can be skeptical about my existence. Trouble is, you have myriad examples of people, conversations, internet discussions, debates, and so on. There’s no disagreement here. Supernatural beings? Not the same. Much disagreement. See the difference?

          I’ve responded to Ps. 22, Daniel, and Is. 53 in other posts. You can look them up.

        • hector_jones

          Where do you think this argument takes you? “You can’t be sure Bob exists” doesn’t lead to “God exists”.

        • Greg G.

          He speaks to people who don’t exist all the time. I wonder why it bothers him whether Bob is real.

        • MNb

          Oh, he is trying “you can’t provide evidence that BobS exists hence I don’t need to provide evidence that god exists.”

  • Rob

    Bob, I have a question for you, if you believe so quickly that Jesus is a Legend, then why didn’t you just forget about it? why did you go through the energy to write your article? Its interesting how much activity is going on on your site. When I first posted there were 45 comments now there are 97. Hmm, stop creating empirical data about something you believe is a legend. that you believe never happened. Your pointless and bring about plausibility by acknowledging the legend existed. LOL

    • Dys

      Oh boy…the silly “If you don’t believe in it, why talk about it” anti-intellectual argument. It’s the wannabe Christian apologist basically admitting that they know their arguments suck, but please stop pointing it out.

    • Guest

      Money, plain and simple. They pay him to post here.
      Why this topic? Vanity and spite, same as always.

      • Dys

        “Money, plain and simple. They pay him to post here.”

        The same as every other blogger on here.

        “Why this topic? Vanity and spite, same as always.”

        You’re a shitty mind-reader.

      • Greg G.

        He gets a portion of the advertising revenue for every hit. Every time you and Rob post here, he makes more money.

        • adam

          Then let me post, again.

          Go Bob!

        • Pofarmer

          Huzzah!

        • hector_jones

          Satan pays Bob a $10k finder’s fee for every christian he converts to atheism. This has proven so lucrative that the real Bob doesn’t even post here any more. He pays minions to do that for him while he sips mai tais on the beach.

      • hector_jones

        Atheism is just so darn profitable.

      • MNb

        Of course BobS pays us cronies a fair share of 5% of his profit. That’s the real, real, real reason we’ll never convert, despite the huge pile of convincing arguments and evidence for the christian god.

        • adam

          And that BARELY paid for my new Ferrari last year.

          Al, alone will probably will get me upgraded to a Bentley this year.

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

          Dang! Zip it, bro! Ix-nay on the oney-may!

          Ah–screw it. “Guest” nailed me. And you’re right–only money would have me writing these bogus arguments when believing in Jesus is as easy and natural as breathing air.

        • Greg G.

          You found an unexplored niche and you are filling it. The gaps between religions are gold mines.

        • Pofarmer

          Those other guys are getting paid?! Well, shit.

        • Rob

          Yeah, I wanna get paid to! I’m on Social Security Disability. With All the Posts that Bob’s article has recieved, maybe they will give him a raise LOL

        • Pofarmer

          Then you should have plenty of good reading time. Might I suggest “true believers” by Eric Hoffer?

        • MNb

          No no no no no. Only atheists get paid.

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

          My checks say “Bank of Hell.”

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

          C’mon–the game’s up. “Guest” has found us out.

          You’re on the take just like the rest of us.

        • Pofarmer

          Dang it.

        • Guest

          Now you’re making sense.

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

      Christianity is society’s 800-pound gorilla. Some things that it does are OK (giving comfort to parishioners, say), but there’s much bad about it. Deserves critique, no?

  • Rob

    I have a present day modern real in your face legend.
    It begins with a Muslim. He infiltrated the United States as a child, became president of the United States, produced a birth certificate and posted it on the White house web site. He claims its real.

    Open Adobe reader, then select file open, in the file name box paste this link

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf

    Press Enter

    Its a document preporting to be the long form Birth certificate of Barak Obama will open.
    Press Control-K
    In the left side of the page select Page Properties.
    Then under page content and Information un-check “Show Large Images”

    Click Okay

    If this was a scanned image of an official birth certificate, the whole image would disappear.

    If you look at what is left, you will see word Like STANLEY is missing the letter S
    The signature of Ann Dunham Obama is missing “Ann D”

    S was part of the document, TANLEY was added.

    Ann D was part of the original document the rest of the signature “unham Obama was added afterwards.

    If you could reverse the settings and turn small images/text off and large images back on, you would see the original scan of a birth certificate which was mostly wiped clean and the items that you can currently see were added to create this birth certificate.

    If Jesus Christ is a Legend and made up story, what does that make the current president of the United States, even though he has been officially accepted?

    Try using your skills on what you all can get empirical data on, something with substance and living breathing source and tell if its true or a story.

    Its the Legend of the United States Robbin Hood Who claimed CHANGE! He would rob from the rich and give to the poor.

    Put your good skills to work! I challenge all of you!

    In 60 seconds or less an idiot can show that this document has been faked. The persons who doctored the image weren’t smart enough to make it in to a complete solid image by merging all the layers down before finalizing their masterpiece. Then they boldly posted it up on the internet.

    As someone who has specialized in pc’s doing hardware repair, computer programming, managing computers on a corporate network, producing interactive multimedia training software to train employees in OSHA safety, building the artistic skills to create such a document myself using different software on different platforms of computers from UNIX based SGI IRIS Indigo, CP/M/DOS and Windows based PC’s, Macintosh, Amiga, Apple, using programs like Autocad, Adobe Publisher, Illustrator, Acrobat, Photoshop. I have the skills to craft such an electronic document, but I’m smart enough to make it a solid image. Assuming I were to craft a legend like Obama.

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

      Oh, Jeez–we got Birthers here, too? I thought it was just evolution deniers.

      Now I’m going to have to spray.

      • Rob

        Ah, their is a difference between Birthers and Truth seekers, I accept Obama as president, but after seeing this document, I’m questioning what he says and does.

        • Dys

          Yes, there is a difference. Birthers aren’t truth seekers, they’re propagandist imbeciles. And you’re a birther.

        • MNb

          The simple fact that you can question what he says and does based on empirical evidence like that birth certificate (forged or not) shows that Obama exists. You have nothing comparable for god. Thanks for confirming my atheism.

        • adam

          I question him always, as I do all our elected officials.

          His birth certificate, come on……PURE PROPAGANDA.

        • sals

          for all you birthers…..2 words. Militant stupidity.

    • 90Lew90

      Allowing for a minute the notion that Obama is an immigrant, what is wrong with an immigrant president in a nation of immigrants? What exactly is wrong with that?

      • Rob

        Nothing, but if he’s producing a fraudulent legal document as one of the most responsible respected men in the country, what else is he pulling over your eyes? What myths are you believing as facts because of him?

        Your about facts and truth and things that are tangible right? You want to know truth and know that your not being lied to right? Obviously you reject Jesus Christ as being God, because you don’t have tangible real truthful evidence that to the fact. What things are you believing that are incorrect? Are you being beguiled and you don’t know it?

        • 90Lew90

          The same criterion could be applied to any political figure who swears an oath on a Bible before a god he doesn’t believe in. Or anyone who does the same in a court. I don’t trust any politicians and of people who end up in court I’m inclined to think there’s no smoke without fire. Such is the precarious position of an habitual sceptic. However, when the evidence is overwhelming…

        • Dys

          This birther nonsense has been debunked already. Do yourself a favour, stop using WND as a news source. Even Fox News abandoned this idiotic crap.

          “In 60 seconds or less an idiot can show that this document has been faked.”

          And in another 60 seconds, you can do a search and find out you’re far less knowledgeable than you wish you were, because this tactic of analyzing the pdf and declaring it a fake was refuted years ago, by actual experts. The ‘secret muslim’ silliness dreamed up by racist bigots was debunked quite a while ago as well.

          Your insistence on making bad, inaccurate comparisons doesn’t do anything in your favour. You still have no evidence supporting the supernatural or miracle claims made on behalf of Jesus.

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

          Yeah–good comparison. Obama is a man eligible for being president … like over 100 million other adult Americans.

          And God is a supernatural being … like what, now?

        • MNb

          And even if Obama should not have been eligible – ie if Rob’s legend were correct – like for instance I am not, what does it mean to say that his god is not eligible? The only comparison I can think of is the fairies in my backyard. They should not be eligible either.

        • Pofarmer

          Here’s the deal. Obama is the President until 2016. Nothing is gonna change that. He is not God, is not claiming to be God, and no amount of internet sleuthing at this point is going to change anything. Frankly, at this point, I. don’t. Care.

    • MNb

      How exactly does this cast doubt on the empirically verifiable fact that Obama exists? You can doubt anything about Obama as you please; it’s irrelevant for the topic. The fact that you doubt:

      “It begins with a Muslim. He infiltrated the United States as a child, became president of the United States, produced a birth certificate and posted it on the White house web site.”
      already shows that Obama exists.
      As soon as you produce a birth certificate of god – false or genuine – I’ll pay attention.

  • rogerbasil

    As has been said to you already, but CS lewis does not include you in the paradigm of this discussion, because he points this trilemma towards those who believe in the Jesus that the scriptures depicts. You have retrofitted a 4 fourth point onto a discussion that is not dedicated to those who believe Jesus is legend. Lewis is saying, if you believe in the Jesus depicted in scripture, then you’re left with only 3 ways to view him. You’re misrepresenting his argument and stretching it into a realm it was never meant for. Another way Lewis may say this to you would be: “now that you’ve moved passed seeing that Jesus is just a legend (which you have not done), you’re left with only 3 ways to view him; liar, lunatic or Lord”.

    Such a misunderstanding of Lewis undermines your argument profoundly.

    • MNb

      I accept that Jesus is a historical character. So I have “moved passed seeing that Jesus is just a legend”. So the trilemma applies to me. And it’s still false – there is the option of Jesus being a historical character, while all the supernatural stuff is legend indeed. That happened very often during Antiquity.
      So the argument stands firmly.

      • rogerbasil

        CS Lewis expects the readers of his comment to believe the BIBLICAL claims that Jesus makes of himself. You don’t fit into that category and hence cannot comment on the problematic nature of it. You must argue for the problematic nature of the scriptures and their dependability before you engage with Lewis comment. You don’t accept scriptures claims of Jesus, nor of Jesus claims of himself. Lewis was not tackling that argument.

        • adam

          ” You don’t accept scriptures claims of Jesus, nor of Jesus claims of himself.”

          Being the Father, my bet is that you dont either…..

      • rogerbasil

        Forgive my misread of your previous response. It’s true, there is that option, but you may do well to give it more credibility than you are right now. You may consider it pure chance that nearly 2 thirds of the world subscribe some sort of allegiance to him, and as skeptic said after Jesus life, “if this thing is not from God, it will not last, but if it is, we cannot stop it” Acts 5:39. Can you explain to me the incentives of those who fabricated the story to the point of losing their lives and propagating the message so sacrificially and passionately?

        • adam

          “You may consider it pure chance that nearly 2 thirds of the world subscribe some sort of allegiance to him,”

          No chance had nothing to do with it.

          Crusades, Inquisitions, witch burnings, etc…

          It is through coercion and force that ‘faith’ was built.
          Now it is just part of the culture.

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

          Christianity claims 2/3 of the world right now? Nope–not even 1/3. More here.

          I take down the “Who would die for a lie?” argument here.

        • https://plus.google.com/103783311760679881592/about Ophis

          I think by “some sort of allegiance to him” RB is probably including Muslims, who view Jesus as a prophet. You could probably throw a couple of minor offshoot religions like Bahaiism in that group too. Two thirds would still be an overestimate (off the top of my head, without wiki-ing the exact numbers, it’s off by about a billion people or so. So we should probably categorise the 2/3 estimate as “rounded up”).

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

      Such a misunderstanding of Lewis undermines your argument profoundly.

      Perhaps it is you who misunderstands. The conventional Christian understanding of Jesus is neither liar nor lunatic, so clearly Lewis wasn’t talking to people already on board with his understanding of Jesus.

      The bigger issue is with those apologists who use Lewis’s argument. They are very clearly talking to nonbelievers (or Christian doubters). Lewis’s argument has no purpose if the target already accepts Jesus.

      Lewis is saying, if you believe in the Jesus depicted in scripture, then you’re left with only 3 ways to view him.

      The Jesus depicted in the New Testament allows you to see him as a liar or a lunatic? That’s surprising.

      Another way Lewis may say this to you would be: “now that you’ve moved passed seeing that Jesus is just a legend (which you have not done), you’re left with only 3 ways to view him; liar, lunatic or Lord”.

      Oh? Quote from Mere Christianity to make that argument. I’ve read the book twice, and I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t consider the legend option.

      • rogerbasil

        The bigger issue is with those apologists who use Lewis’s argument. They are very clearly talking to nonbelievers (or Christian doubters). Lewis’s argument has no purpose if the target already accepts Jesus.

        Doubters yes, but doubters of his authority as the creator and king of creation, not his factual historicity… That’s the crucial thing. Most people fight incredibly hard to disprove Jesus in various ways because they don’t realise that it’s the good news they’ve been looking for all along.

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

          I never said that Jesus never existed. I’m saying that claims of his supernatural feats are legend.

          I don’t think much of Jesus’s “good news.” Remember that the gospels invented Christian hell. But that’s not the point; the point is that whether the story is pleasing or not tells us nothing about whether it’s true or not.

        • adam

          “Most people fight incredibly hard to disprove Jesus in various ways because they don’t realise that it’s the good news they’ve been looking for all along.”

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

          Gee, maybe the “good news” is not that great.

        • adam

          Well, it is if you are a wealthy slave owner….
          Who just loves to beat your slaves….

          Or if you are a genocidal monster…

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, yes, the good news. God impregnated a Virgin with himself to give birth to himself to have himself killed as a sacrifice to himself for sin that he created. Whoo, hooo, whoop it up.

  • rogerbasil

    And Bob, please show me a legend in history that has such a historically detailed documentation along with such underwhelming facts about the hero of the story. Not to mention so many overwhelmingly strange coincidences with the prophecies of the old testament – many of which he could not manipulate himself. It’s easy to find ways to undermine the argument for the factuality of Jesus, but to be honest, if you had no agenda, you’d find it easier to make a case for his factuality.

    • MNb

      “please show me a legend in history that has such a historically detailed documentation along with such underwhelming facts about the hero of the story”
      How do you mean underwhelming? The virgin birth and the infanticide were exactly meant to overwhelm readers – and pretty successful, given the millions of people who still accept them as historical facts.

      • rogerbasil

        By underwhelming I mean counterproductive details, meaning things that would have only offended or deeply confused first-century prospective converts. Let’s imagine these guys want people to trust in the Jesus of their imagination. Well, why would the leaders of the early Christian movement have made up the story of the crucifixion if it didn’t happen? Any listener of the Gospel in either Greek or Jewish culture would have automatically suspected that anyone who had been crucified was a criminal, whatever the speaker said to the contrary. Why would any Christian make up the account of Jesus asking God in the garden of Gethsemane if he could get out of his mission? Or why ever make up the part on the cross when Jesus cries out that God had abandoned him? They would have concluded that Jesus was weak and failing his God. Why – in a society that assigned women such low status that they could not testify in court – would you invent women as the first witnesses of the resurrection? It would have made far more sense (if you were inventing the tale) to have male pillars of the community present as witnesses when Jesus came out of the tomb. And why constantly depict the apostles – the eventual leaders of the early Church – as petty and jealous, almost impossibly slow-witted, and in the end as cowards who either actively or passively failed their master? No my friend, if you’re creating a legend and you want everyone to trust in him and join the gang, you don’t include this stuff. There’s only one reason it is included. It actually happened.

        • adam

          “Well, why would the leaders of the early Christian movement have made up the story of the crucifixion if it didn’t happen?”

          The very same reason that Saturnalia is now Christmas.

          To bring in outsiders needed for political and monetary power. Resurrection was already present in other belief systems at the time.

          Remember, these people didnt even know where the sun went at night.

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

          why would the leaders of the early Christian movement have made up the story of the crucifixion if it didn’t happen?

          I dunno. That’s not my claim. In fact, the idea of details of the gospels being deliberately made up seems to me to only be a Christian hypothesis, not an atheist one.

          With a legend, people are telling a false story inadvertently. They actually believe it. This happens all the time, as you know if you’ve ever gotten a link to an odd news story and then gone to Snopes to see if it’s just an urban legend.

          Why would any Christian make up the account of Jesus asking God in the garden of Gethsemane if he could get out of his mission?

          Yes, that is embarrassing. You’ve got to explain why the third person of the Trinity is now getting cold feet for his own perfect plan.

          Or why ever make up the part on the cross when Jesus cries out that God had abandoned him?

          Yes, another embarrassing element. The Adoptionist view answers this nicely. In fact, dropping the supernatural claims and viewing the Bible as a combination of history, myth, and legend does the best job in explaining it.

          Why – in a society that assigned women such low status that they could not testify in court – would you invent women as the first witnesses of the resurrection?

          Think about it for a second. Taking care of the dead was women’s work in this culture. Who else could possibly have seen the empty tomb?? Be skeptical about apologists’ claims.

          1. Women could indeed testify; their testimony was simply given less weight. Read Josephus.

          2. There is no court in the story, so this objection is ridiculous.

          3. These women were part of the inner circle. They were already trusted.

          More here.

          It would have made far more sense (if you were inventing the tale)

          And there’s your problem. No one says the tale was invented. Except you.

          why constantly depict the apostles – the eventual leaders of the early Church – as petty and jealous, almost impossibly slow-witted, and in the end as cowards who either actively or passively failed their master?

          Who would show Peter denying Jesus? Perhaps … someone who didn’t like Peter. Remember that Paul and Peter were rivals. I believe it’s Galatians that highlights this.

          No my friend, if you’re creating a legend and you want everyone to trust in him and join the gang, you don’t include this stuff. There’s only one reason it is included. It actually happened.

          The more nutty, the more you believe it? Show me that your consistent: believe Gilgamesh as well.

        • rogerbasil

          Most or many respected historians disagree with the conclusions you draw and the plausibility of your argument.

        • rogerbasil

          I’d challenge your world view as an american intellectual, that if you were to live in Africa (as I do) and grew up in Africa, you certainly would not question the supernatural aspects of the scriptures, because you would have had so much first hand experiences of it. You may battle to understand other things, but not that! Western agnostic intellectualism assumes it’s experienced and knows all. You’re unwilling to believe in some things, not because you’re sure they’re not true, but because your world view won’t allow for it…

        • MNb

          “if you were to live in Africa”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I have lived in Suriname for almost 20 years now. This country is ridden with supernatural stuff, from at least four sources – one being West-Africa.
          Coincidentally all the supernatural things only happen when I’m absent.

          “You may battle to understand other things, but not that!”
          Of course not. There is nothing to battle.

          “You’re unwilling to believe in some things, not because you’re sure they’re not true, but because your world view won’t allow for it…”
          I’m not willing to believe those things because they never happen to me, can’t be verified, add nothing to the understanding of the people who believes them and because in many cases those believes hold the believers back, sometimes in a bad way.
          Poor families cooking dinner for the recently diseased is one example.
          Poor people spending a lot of money on witch doctors another one.
          People dying – like a brother of my ex-wife – because relying on faith healing a third.
          Before I went to Suriname I was a dualist. My experiences in this country taught me that all supernatural stuff is nothing but superstition. But I grant you that some superstitions are worse than others – that some superstitions even can be beneficial.

        • rogerbasil

          it’s a pity you have never seen anything supernatural. I’m not speaking only of a christian nature. Just of any kind. To deny such activity or occurences is to undermine and deny the obvious for many people on many continents. The age of reason makes it easy to deny, especially in western society, but be careful, you’re in the minority. And sure, you may not have been witness, but that does not mean you’re right.

        • adam

          “The age of reason makes it easy to deny, especially in western society,”

          Where there is less ignorance.

        • MNb

          “it’s a pity you have never seen anything supernatural.”
          Given the misery I have observed connected to supernatural things I think it a pity all those people believe in it.

          “I’m not speaking only of a christian nature. Just of any kind.”
          Only one of the examples I gave is of the christian kind.

          “To deny such activity or occurences is to undermine and deny the obvious for many people on many continents.”
          Yes. Know what? Both the concierge at my school and her son (who was a pupil of mine) used to accept a lot of supernatural nonsense. The son was very afraid due that stupid Harold Camping prophecy; his mother somewhat less, perhaps because she already was used to my skepticism. At first they didn’t get why I didn’t care about such things. But that was the breaking point. And as a result they have got rid of a lot of useless and baseless fear.
          Also at my school some pupils get so called winti attacks. Many people here believe that they are real, ie are caused by demons possessing the kids. It’s part of

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winti

          Now the remarkable thing is that only Aucan teen girls (ie of African descent) get those attacks; never any other ethnic group, never boys. It’s quite obvious to me that they are nothing but hysteria, caused by stress.
          These people are definitely be better off without those “activities or occurences”, thank you very much – and I’m not even talking that such attacks make teaching totally impossible for the entire school.
          Granted, especially islam and to a lesser extent christianity are helpful to get rid of the “activities and occurences” I mentioned. But saying “it’s a pity” is only a symptom of an evil mind. It only can come from somebody who doesn’t care about the well-being of people.
          Still I must thank you. You made me realize what made me abandon dualism: observing and understanding how horrible living in a supernatural fantasy reality is. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
          Yup. A realitiy filled with demons, ghosts, evil spirits makes life miserable.

          “be careful, you’re in the minority.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! I have been in that minority for almost 20 years now. Suriname has about 4% atheists, about the same rate as the USA. Yeah, I totally need your advise. Not.

        • rogerbasil

          “Given the misery I have observed connected to supernatural things I think it a pity all those people believe in it.”

          Given the misery I’ve seen associated with atheism and it’s sad preoccupation with the people they so disagree with makes me less compelled than the poverty of the arguments themselves.

          I hope at some stage you meet compelling, intelligent followers of Christ who can show you both intelligence, wisdom, and especially, real love; something your world view is by nature disqualified to comment on… misery defined!

        • Greg G.

          I hope at some stage you meet compelling, intelligent followers of Christ who can show you both intelligence, wisdom, and especially, real love; something your world view is by nature disqualified to comment on… misery defined!

          We have suggested to Christians that they pray for “intelligence, wisdom, and especially, real love” or whatever it would take to persuade us of what we need to understand. The results are what you are complaining about.

        • rogerbasil

          Greg, I wish you did know and experience what I have and do. I hope you meet some people who can help you forward!

        • Greg G.

          I was a Christian. At first, I thought I was seeing miracles and the people around me were seeing them, too. I eventually began to realize that it was just blowing coincidences out of proportion and forgetting about all the times when nothing happened. It’s confirmation bias.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. when I was about 10 or 11 we had just moved into a new house. A friend and I were goofing around up stairs and I wound up putting a small hole in the drywall. I prayed and prayed for that hole to be fixed. (it’s still there.) I think that’s the time I started wondering if all this praying and miracle stuff might be a set up. I don’t think I ever did really believe after that.

        • MNb

          You confuse religious prejudices based on emotions with knowledge and experience. That makes you writing silly comments.

        • MNb

          “Given the misery I’ve seen associated with atheism”
          Yeah – you have sees associations, I have first hand observations.

          “it’s sad preoccupation with the people they so disagree with”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! Another apologist who lacks comprehensive reading skills. What did I write above?

          Both the concierge at my school and her son (who was a pupil of mine) used to accept a lot of supernatural nonsense.

          I’m a teacher, silly, in a country with just 4% atheists. I’m probably the only atheist in town and certainly the only atheist at my public school. Do you really think I am preoccupied with disagreements about the supernatural? I have better things to do – teaching math and physics, also helping teens with behavioral and cognitive problems. Guess what? No supernatural stuff ever helped me with that. Discussing the supernatural with them is a total waste.

          “I hope at some stage you meet compelling, intelligent followers of Christ”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          First you write “I’m not speaking only of a christian nature” – now you suddenly restrict yourself to “followers of Christ”. My dear silly apologist, my director is a christian. He has even studied theology, because he’s active in a local church. The two deputy directors are practicing muslims. So are my ex-wife and my female counterpart. I have met buddhists, jews and hindus. Many of them are compelling and intelligent. I have encountered compelling and intelligent christians and muslims on internet. You are not one of them..

        • rogerbasil

          So glad you’ve got them around you. I’m new to written conversations of this nature and never claimed to be intelligent or compelling. Sorry I don’t meet those criteria in your view. That’s ok. You’ve heard it before I’m sure, but the greatest joy of my faith is the acceptance i enjoy despite not being the full package, my intelligence, moral performance, nor my relational ability (all things I’d like to get better at) are not what make me acceptable to others or God. I live in a world of grace – something that can only truly be understood once received! Something I hope all people get to enjoy! It’s been fun (in a strange way) taking a lambasting from you guys, but I’m going to bow out of this conversation for now. Have a great weekend. Roger

        • MNb

          My compliments (yes, I hand them out too when I think they are deserved) for your self-honesty. That’s pretty rare for the apologists entering this blog.

          “Something I hope all people get to enjoy!”
          Sorry, I think I’m better off without. And like I argued, I’ve met quite a few people who seems to be worse off with it.

          “taking a lambasting from you guys”
          Don’t take it too seriously. This is just internet, not real life. Enjoy your weekend too.

        • Greg G.

          I have spent a lot of time in SE Asia. They have their own religions and superstitions. With the charms they think work to attract wealth, those countries should be wealthier than the countries with great oil reserves. No matter where you go, people have their own proofs of supernatural events. They can’t reproduce them. The common factors are confirmation bias and a will to believe.

          I have noticed that the most magnificent buildings in a neighborhood are the temples and churches. Sometimes the opulence is despicable.

        • Pofarmer

          “because you would have had so much first hand experiences of it.”

          What in the hell are you talking about?

          2500 Children a day die of Starvation in Africa, around 25,000 a day around the world. Where are the miracles for those children and their families?

        • MNb

          The view that Jesus was historical but that the Gospels contain a lot of legendary stuff is a mainstream view.

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

          You’re running away from the issue. Respond to my points. Have respected historians done so? Then share those arguments with us here.

        • MNb

          “Well, why would the leaders of the early Christian movement have made up the story of the crucifixion if it didn’t happen?”
          Where did I claim that this crucifixion did not happen?
          And how is this a detail? It’s a core element of the story.

          “Any listener of the Gospel in either Greek or Jewish culture would have automatically suspected that anyone who had been crucified was a criminal, whatever the speaker said to the contrary.”
          Really? How do you know? Can you read the minds of those long gone people?
          Crucifixion was a Roman habit, not a Hebrew one (Greek culture is irrelevant here – Jesus was not a Greek). And judaism was totally familiar with martyrdom.

          “Or why ever make up the part on the cross when Jesus cries out that God had abandoned him?”
          Again – where did I claim did never happened?

          “No my friend, if you’re creating a legend …..”
          Excellently missing the point by setting up a false dichotomy.
          Do you know how many legends are attached to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar? It was a common habit. In Antiquity it was not only totally possible, it was highly common when writing a “biography” to add all kinds of legendary stuff.
          Like the virgin and the infanticide.
          Some aspects of Jesus’ life may be historical – that says exactly nothing about the historicity of other aspects of his life. Jesus can be historical and still all of BobS points firmly stand.

        • MR

          Not to diminish your argument in anyway, MNb, and slightly off topic to the specific points you’re making, I would just argue that Greek culture is relevant. The area had been Hellenized for a couple hundred years, not to mention that Roman culture itself was infused with Greek culture.

          Greek philosophy oozes throughout the New Testament and Jesus’ sayings, and I think a good case can be made that the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar on the side of the road, can be taken as an allegory for Jesus supplanting Greek philosophical thought. As someone interested in philosophy, that’s certainly how I read it, and that was when I was still a Christian.

          In fact, I see Christianity itself as an offshoot of the clash between Greek and Jewish thought. Whatever thoughts Romans had in this area, was largely based in what they’d learned from the Greeks anyway. (And, of course, Jewish thought originated in the beliefs of Mesopotamian cultures, and in the time between the Torah and the New Testament it was strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism….)

          Anyway, remember that the Greek philosophical schools were still in operation and Greek thought was much discussed in the Roman world. The Jewish territory lay on the road between Greece and Alexandria, another major Greek cultural center. And, let’s not forget the use of Greek in biblical names, e.g., Luke, Didymus (Thomas), Cephas (Peter), and the cultural influence of the Decapolis nearby. (I recently visited a few of those ancient cities, and the Roman ruins are built atop Greek ruins.)

          Not that any of this is important to your point. I just don’t want to see the Greeks get the short shaft here.

          Oh, ouch, did I really just say that?

        • buttle

          “Why would any Christian make up the account of Jesus asking God in the garden of Gethsemane if he could get out of his mission?”

          How could any Christian NOT make up that account, given that the supposed eyewitnesses were sleeping in Mark 14:32-42?

          “Why – in a society that assigned women such low status that they could not testify in court – would you invent women as the first witnesses of the resurrection?”

          Mark 16:8 “and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Not a very flattering account of the women…

          “And why constantly depict the apostles – the eventual leaders of the early Church – as petty and jealous, almost impossibly slow-witted, and in the end as cowards who either actively or passively failed their master?”

          The reason is that Mark is ostensibly NOT writing an hystorical account. Their failure has a purpose. The criterion of embarrassment doesn’t work here.

        • rogerbasil

          I find it amazing how smart you are as detractors of Jesus to the point that you make it seem you too could pul off a 2000 year long revolution that has had more power to transform ordinary people into loving, sacrificial people (barring all the misquoted abuses of power by selfish leaders who used Christianity as a guise for power-mongering) who tend to become more useful to society, more effective in loving the marginilised, building into society (don’t jump on gay-bashing stereo-types – there is a movement of Christ followers with real and loving responses to such challenges). Do all you want to hit hard at the famous Christian abuses, but if you’re so smart, start a 2000 year strong movement that makes people better from the inside out. You might cause doubts about the facts, but you can’t change people and this stuff can’t change the human heart like the gospel has done unstoppably for millenia. I know you all will likely laugh at what you likely term a final emotive appeal, but if you were to give the Jesus of the gospels the slightest chance to reveal his immense wisdom to make sense of the problems of your personal lives, the relationship strains you experience when you get home, the internal desire for more, the inability to even manage the complexities of what happens inside your own heart, you may well find that his words and works have the greatest explanatory power for the world we live in. And, then given some new eyes, you may even be able to argue with equal power for the other side… It may be unlikely, but it is possible. It’s happened numerous times in history, and don’t think it might not happen to you…

        • buttle

          “If you’re so smart, start a 2000 year strong movement that makes people better from the inside out”

          Thankfully we are about 3 centuries ahead of schedule:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Answering_the_Question:_What_is_Enlightenment%3F

        • rogerbasil

          That it? Your responses are purely answering my intellectual comments. Surely you have responses for the other very real aspects of life on earth, social, relational, psychological. Your intellectual courage is commendable, but your cowardice regarding engaging with other aspects of life; not so much…

        • buttle

          “You might cause doubts about the facts, but you can’t change people”

          I think that right there you already changed a little bit.

        • rogerbasil

          You sure did, like a virus strengthens the immune system, so you strengthened my convictions in what I believe and why I don’t believe what you do… (Sincerely not calling you personally a virus, I’m sure you’re a lovely person, I’d love to have a meal with you and be your friend! truly!) Remember this, persecution (as it’s been called) of the followers of Christ has historically only served to deepen their convictions. The ones that at times lose conviction are those that are left unchallenged and who become comfortable and believe it’s their own strength or intelligence that they can PRIMARILY depend upon for their adherence to the truth. History is working against, not with, your efforts, and you may do well to rethink your strategy to undermine the faith. You may find at the end, you’ve only served to strengthen the core argument of the Christian faith – you’ve certainly helped me.

        • buttle

          I don’t see you arguing for the “overwhelmingly strange coincidences” anymore, if so that’s already a small progress. When (and if) in your pursuit of truth you will begin to rely on facts and logic instead of propaganda and lies is another question entirely.

          “you strengthened my convictions in what I believe”
          “persecution [...] only served to deepen their convictions.”
          “you’ve only served to strengthen the core argument of the Christian faith”

          Yeah, sure, keep repeating it to yourself.

        • MR

          “you strengthened my convictions in what I believe”
          “persecution [...] only served to deepen their convictions.”

          The beauty of convictions is that it often blinds the convicted to their own biases, while laying them glaringly bare to others. I often say I’m rarely speaking to the person I’m speaking to. If my arguments drive a theist deeper into cognitive dissonance, that’s not a bad thing for the lurkers to see.

          “You may find at the end, you’ve only served to strengthen the core argument of the Christian faith”

          With non-sequiturs like that? Phht.

          Keep up the good work, buttle.

        • adam

          “”If you’re so smart, start a 2000 year strong movement that makes people better from the inside out””

        • Greg G.

          In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the resurrection being “according to the scriptures” and Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:9 and Hosea 6:2 for the dying for sins, being buried and rising on the third day. Paul says in Galatians 1:11-12 that he did not receive the gospel from human sources. In Romans 1:1-2 and 16:25-26, he says it comes from the prophets in scripture as “the revelation of the mystery”. Can we believe Paul on this? Paul loves to talk about Jesus. He refers to him as “Jesus”, “Christ”, or either combination 300 times in less than 1500 verse of the epistles considered to be the most likely authentic, but it is mostly adulation and adoration of the heavenly Jesus. Yet the few times he gives some kind of information about Jesus, it appears to be drawn from an Old Testament source as I have shown in a comment HERE. But that goes for all of the early epistles, too. Every time they talk about Jesus, it is in terms of an OT reference.

          Since Paul never saw Jesus and he uses the same Greek word optanomai for himself as he does for Cephas, the twelve, the five hundred, and James, he apparently thinks they saw Jesus the same way he did – through the scriptures. How could he argue that his knowledge was not inferior to the “super-apostles” as he does in 2 Corinthians 11:4-6 and 2 Corinthians 12:11 if he knew that they knew Jesus if his knowledge comes from ancient documents?

          It seems the apostles and Paul were just reading the scriptures of the day with hopes of a Messiah coming to rescue them. They began to read such things and the Suffering Servant as a hidden mystery who had suffered and died before or during Isaiah’s time, since he wrote in the past tense, but after David’s time, because of the promises that David’s seed would always be on the throne.

          The idea that the Christ was crucified seems to be something Paul inferred but the other apostles disagreed. In Galatians, Paul spends a couple of chapters trying to discredit the circumcision faction which includes the pillars identified as Cephas, James and John, where he says he doesn’t care about their position and that God agrees with him. He is still harping on the circumcision faction in Gal 5:12-13 where he wishes those who unsettle the Galatians would go the whole way and emasculate themselves. “Those who unsettle you” would be the circumcision faction and the “Who has bewitched you” people in Gal 3:1, who seem to have denied the crucifixion as Paul goes into a detailed demonstration with an OT reference in almost every verse down to Gal 3:14 or so. His logic is peccable, as in the opposite of impeccable, though, as he demonstrates that Christ was cursed and that the Deuteronomy reference says that those who hang on a tree is cursed. The Greek word translated as “tree” is the same word used in the Septuagint but other places it is often translated as “wood” or “cross”.

          After Jerusalem was destroyed and the circumcision faction was essentially wiped out, Mark wasn’t writing history, he wrote a fictional account of Jesus having been a first century person. He wrote the apostles as illiterate fishermen. Several New Testament scholars have identified the most likely sources for nearly every passage in Mark as shown in New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price (Many believers resort to using an ad hominem when they see Price’s name to avoid looking at the page but he is mainly the compiler and messenger here). If it was supposed to have fulfilled prophecy, then you should recognize the fulfilled prophecies of the Homeric epics, too.

          The Gospel of Mark ends with the irony of the women being afraid to tell, implying that is why the circumcision faction was caught up in the destruction of Jerusalem instead of going to Galilee. Having women being afraid to tell would be expected. The other gospel authors added a different ending but they didn’t have a clue that Mark was not an eyewitness.

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

      Lots of legends come to mind–Merlin and King Arthur, Ned Ludd, Robin Hood, John Henry, the Alexander Romances–but you’ll just respond with differences between Jesus and other legends. Even if the Jesus story were the coolest legend by some standard, so what? I need evidence that it’s actually history, and creating the universe and raising from the dead makes me skeptical.

      I’ve written about prophecy claims made for Ps. 22, Is. 7, Is. 53, and Daniel, which seem to be the big ones that Christians like to point to. I’ve found the claims very weak, and you can search for those posts.

      Yes, I have an agenda: to follow the evidence. I suspect that yours is harder to justify.

      • rogerbasil

        Your suspicions may be equally hard to justify, which is why you’ve got nothing to point people towards, you only point people away from something that you say has no evidence. If you worked as hard as you do to disprove it, to in fact prove it, you’d be astounded. But what’s in it for you if you did that? Nothing according to you. Anyone ever dared you to search as vigorously for supporting evidence for Christ and the resurrection?

        • adam

          ” Anyone ever dared you to search as vigorously for supporting evidence for Christ and the resurrection?”

          Yep.
          So I understand where this story comes from.

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

          If you worked as hard as you do to disprove it, to in fact prove it, you’d be astounded.

          I don’t think you understand how truth works. If the Christian story is just one more combination of myth and legend (which, given the thousands of manmade religions, is certainly where the odds point), then working hard to prove the wrong side of the issue doesn’t get me very far.

          And my challenge remains. You think that OT prophecy was fulfilled with Jesus? I’ve spend many hours researching and writing up my conclusions. Read those posts and respond. Search “prophecy” in the search bar.

        • adam

          “Your suspicions may be equally hard to justify, which is why you’ve got
          nothing to point people towards, you only point people away from
          something that you say has no evidence.”

          Well if YOU ‘believe’ that there is evidence then present it here NOW…

    • buttle

      “Not to mention so many overwhelmingly strange coincidences with the prophecies of the old testament – many of which he could not manipulate himself.”

      Dude: the authors of the gospels had the old testament wide open in front of them while they were writing. Think about that for a while… Really it takes the blinders of faith to miss that crucial detail while going on blubbering about the “factuality” of a literary character…


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