Hoare’s Dictum

simplicitySir Charles Hoare was a pioneer in computer science. He observed:

There are two methods in software design. One is to make the program so simple, there are obviously no errors. The other is to make it so complicated, there are no obvious errors.

This applies to intellectual arguments as well: you can make the argument so simple that there are obviously no errors. Or you can make it so complicated that there are no obvious errors.

You ask if radium exists? Pierre and Marie Curie gave a procedure for producing it. Refining radium from pitchblende is a lot of work, but there are no difficult philosophical impediments.

You ask how old the universe is? The scientific literature documents the experiments and data by which cosmologists conclude that there was a Big Bang. Again: lots of work, but we laypeople can easily access the conclusion.

You ask if God exists? I suggest: “Of course God exists. He’s sitting right over there!” or something equally straightforward. But no—we get convoluted, complicated arguments that fall on the wrong side of Hoare’s Dictum. There’s the Transcendental Argument, a long philosophical dissertation puzzling over what grounds logic and whether a mind must exist to hold it. If you break free by showing how it fails, there are seemingly endless variations that the skilful apologist will throw out, like Donkey Kong throwing barrels.

The Ontological Argument is another convoluted argument. First we define “God” as the greatest possible being that we can imagine. Two: consider existence only in someone’s mind versus existence in reality—the latter is obviously greater. Three: since “God” must be the greatest possible being, he must exist in reality. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t meet his definition as the greatest possible being. Here again, there are myriad variations that the apologists expects the atheist to rebut, ignoring the fact that they have the burden of proof.

Many arguments for God’s existence claim to be simple and straightforward—“the Bible is obviously correct” or “nature proves God exists” for example—but are mere assertions rather than arguments backed with evidence. Or, we’re told that the Bible says so: “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

To the rest of us, this sounds like, “Of course the Emperor has new clothes!”

When hit with convoluted argument like these for the first time, you’re left scratching your head, unsure what to conclude. These arguments are effective not because they’re correct (in fact, they fall apart under examination) but because they’re confusing.

The colloquial version of the argument is: If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, then baffle ’em with bullshit.

I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God,
“for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.
— Douglas Adams

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 10/22/11.)

25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid (Part 10)
Video From 5/20/15 Debate at WWU
Debate Results!
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About Bob Seidensticker
  • johzek

    Another apt description might be that they are muddying the water to make it appear deep.

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

      Nice one.

      • asmondius

        BACKSLAPPERS UNITE!

    • GubbaBumpkin

      One of my favourite sayings: “As deep as mud.”

      • asmondius

        Is there a natural limit to the depth of mud?

    • asmondius

      Whereas you want the water to jump up and hit you in the face.

      • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

        If we’re talking about a magical water pool that wrote a book about all the times it jumped up and hit people, entire geological regions, and the whole world in the face… Then yes, if this book accurately describes the world, it’s entirely reasonable to expect to see some magical face-hitting.

        The fact that said magic does not occur, at odds with what we would expect if said book was true – combined with the fact that there are multiple books describing mutually exclusive magical pools, none of which are impacting the world in the way we would expect according to each book’s claims – means the most reasonable conclusion is that no such magical pools exist.

      • johzek

        When the water is being muddied in one place I’ll move to another in the hopes of finding clearer water and not being splashed by dirty water.

  • MNb

    Quite a correct observation. I think it remarkable how clear cut atheists tend to write, opposed to the convoluted style of many apologists and theologians. My speculation is that the latter can’t afford (psychologically) to be proven wrong.
    In this context I think our good pal Al an interesting example. About everybody (including me) gets annoyed how he (she?) just repeats endlessly the same arguments and neglects answers. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I remember some reviews who pointed out that WLC did the same in his debate with Sean Carroll, to a point that the latter didn’t bother to answer anymore.

    • Pofarmer

      He did it in that debate, but he brings up points which were soundly refuted in other debates again and again. He even repeats things after the authors of studies have told him his conclusions are wrong and to quit using them. You would think these guys would be a hair bit inquisitive?

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

        I imagine there’s no advantage to being, y’know, accurate. WLC’s fans support him and believe his BS.

        • MNb

          But those wo don’t have as many fans as WLC do exactly the same. I’m thinking here of my compatriots Emmanuel Rutten and Jan Riemersma. So I think there is more to it. Like I wrote I speculate that they can’t afford it psychologically. Admitting they’re wrong – or even express doubt – on one point seems to threaten their entire belief system. And then what?

        • adam

          Because in their ‘belief system’ DOUBT is actually the greatest sin,

          GREATER than baby raping, mass murdering.and genocide.

        • asmondius

          Wrong again.

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

      Your patience is truly supernatural.

      • hector_jones

        MNb certainly has more patience than I do.

        • MNb

          MNb has several things in common with trolls – like enjoying pissing off people.

    • purr

      I get the same thing with anti abortionists. Very convoluted arguments and endless appeals to emotion repeated ad nauseum”but it’s an innocent baby”, “it’s selfish to kill your child”, ” parents have an obligation to their children”.

      • asmondius

        Those are very simple, straightforward arguments. Perhaps the debate itself is beyond your ken.

        • purr

          They are terrible arguments. They beg the question.

        • asmondius

          Is human life meaningful?

        • smrnda

          Is a zygote without a brain experiencing ‘human life?’

    • smrnda

      If you’ve ever read any Catholic theology, it all seems like ‘argument by extremely verbose assertion.’ It’s a lot of big words thrown together to seem profound, and when keep asking “what does this term mean?” I only get more vague terms from the faithful. If we’re using a lot of vague inflated language, you can make the terms mean almost anything. It’s pure sophism.

      • MNb

        I have had the “pleasance” of a discussion with a Flemish catholic theologian. Your description fits him very well.
        But I must admit that I have learned something from theologians like him: how analogies can “prove” anything you like. Since then it has become a hobby of mine to turn apologetic analogies around, so that they show exactly the opposite of what the apologist means.

        • Pofarmer

          The thing about Catholic theology, is that it’s fundamentally disshonest. Catholics say they accept evolution, but teach special creation for humans. They say that “The fall” is allegory, but their theology still teaches it as if it were a real event. They have what they call “natural law” which is basically the opposite of natural. The whole thing has become so convoluted that, yes, you can be arguing against two definitions at the same timel. That’s why I like to attack it at the base. If the first assertion is false, the rest of it tumbles.

        • Al

          You should apply this thinking to your atheism. The universe is meaningless therefore I am meaningless.

        • Pofarmer

          And?

        • Al

          Are you willing to admit and live by this principle that life has no meaning?

        • All

          Just because you are meaningless does not mean my life is meaningless.

        • Al

          It does it if you are an atheist.

        • All

          If your life has meaning only to someone else, your life is meaningless to you. My life has meaning to me so I don’t need an external meaning. Religion has poisoned your mind.

        • asmondius

          And, pray tell, what is its meaning?

        • smrnda

          My life has meaning to me, and meaning to other people. They may not be exactly the same.

        • Al

          If atheism is true, it doesn’t. If Christianity is true, it does.

        • smrnda

          Atheism implies nothing about the meaning of my life. Humans assign meaning. It’s subjective. A god could not add any meaning to my life. A god could just take it away by deciding to dictate terms to me. A god is just like Chairman Mao during the cultural revolution, just more powerful.

          Christianity is just pushing the subjectivity to a god.

        • Al

          Not really. In Christianity we have the Creator Himself who holds all men accountable because He created us and holds us responsible, This is true whether you believe it or not. Just like 2+2=4 is not dependent on people believing to make it true but rather it is true whether they believe it or not.

        • smrnda

          The difference is that, as we’re using the same system of numbers, if I take 2 things and 2 things and count them, I can replicate your results.

          There is no similar way for me to independently verify this god of yours.

        • SuperMark

          answer me this: if your god will forgive me for anything i do, if i just ask, how is he holding me responsible for my actions?

        • JustNosin

          Does gods ‘life’ have meaning? Who holds him/her to account? Who holds him/her to account?

        • Kodie

          You know how if you point at something, a person will turn to see what you’re pointing at, but a dog will look at your finger?

        • smrnda

          What is the source of meaning?

          Isn’t meaning subjective?

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

          … despite what it says in the dictionary?

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS.

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about.

        • asmondius

          ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • Kodie

          I take it then you don’t know.

        • hector_jones

          He told us a while back he was going to present the evidence, stalled for days, then finally told us we weren’t worth the trouble and he couldn’t be bothered.

          Ask him about that ‘Geneva’ decision that decided that no catholic priest has ever molested anyone. It’s been about a month and he hasn’t substantiated that claim.

        • asmondius

          Know….what?

        • Kodie

          You’re just trolling so I flagged your comment. Adam has asked your sock puppet Al a question which you’ve referred to at least 4 times.

        • Al

          Done that, got the T-shirt. You need to know how to read and understand. Until you do, you will never get it.

        • Kodie

          Show us a picture of you in your t-shirt then.

        • adam

          No, you’ve not demonstrated this god of yours…

          I read and understand fine.

          Where is the MAGIC of your god?

          You really DONT have any idea of what you are talking about.

          Until you DEMONSTRATE for us all this ‘god’ of YOURS is not IMAGINARY….

        • Al

          No you don’t understand. I gave you the evidence now deal with it.

        • Kodie

          Your evidence was 1 Corinthians 15 and we all told you why it’s not evidence. If that’s all you have, why do you stay?

        • Al

          I Corinthians 15 was never refuted as evidence. No counter facts were ever presented that leads one to conclude that its a false statement about the resurrection.

        • Kodie

          Circular reasoning – the book depicts a character who says they are telling you the truth, and we’re to simply believe the book is true? You might be stupid enough, but I’m not. I need what is called evidence. Not the bullshit that convinced an idiot like you.

        • Al

          How else can we know a historical person or event happened in the ancient past without historical documents to tell us they happened?

          How do you know Nero was responsible for the fire that burned most of Rome down if not by historical documents?

        • Kodie

          Sometimes we can’t. Mostly by corroborating documents and archaeological evidence. The wikipedia page on Nero says that most Romans believed that Nero started the fire and gave motive – but that is speculative. That the fire happened is not really at dispute, nor is it that Nero was a real person. That Nero started it is speculative. I mean, do you also believe that he fiddled while Rome burned down? That’s always the expression I’ve heard.

          It’s not something I’m basing my whole existence on either.

        • Al

          We know this because of written documents. So it is with I Corinthians 15.

        • Kodie

          We know what? What do you know? I don’t know that Nero started the fire. It is not confirmed. And yet, I’ve managed to go most of my life not even thinking about it or plagued with doubts and how is this going to affect me.

          A lot of history is actually like that. How do you know this or that history? Quite a bit of it simply because it’s plausible and doesn’t make that big of a difference if it’s not true.

          You don’t have a book telling you it’s true as evidence that the book is true. That’s really not historical or any kind of evidence that the book is true, only that someone wrote it, and even if the person who wrote it was convinced it is true, there’s no reason to discard the possibility that the person who wrote it was just joshing. And this is one source with no confirmations or corroborations anywhere. There is no other record of the life of a man Jesus Christ or his death and alleged resurrection. The plausible parts of that story is a man lived and died in Jerusalem or wherever. I don’t find that hard to believe.

        • MNb

          Wrong. Again. We know that there was a fire because archeological evidence. It is strongly disputed that Nero started it because 1. he was victim himself and 2. as the emperor he had to pay for the rebuilding. Moreover the authors who claimed that Nero had started it had personal reasons to do so.
          Yup – Nero was likely a scapegoat. He had that in common with Jesus. AIn’t that nice?

        • smrnda

          I’ll actually say that we don’t know this for sure. History is on shakier ground than we think, since we don’t really have many sources or much evidence. It isn’t like there is video footage of Nero burning Rome.

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

          Do these historical documents about Nero have supernatural elements to their stories? If not, then you can see the essential difference between that and the gospels.

        • smrnda

          Yesterday, I ran a 5 k in less than 15 minutes. You have no reason to disbelieve my account as no contrary accounts of my yesterday exist.

        • Kodie

          An atheist does not believe there is a deity, for you, there is still no deity. Your ultimate meaning is imaginary, but why are you so ‘all or nothing’? What do you think that’s supposed to mean to me?

        • Derrik Pates

          I have no reason to believe there is a god, and yours is too logically inconsistent to exist. That said, I don’t need any god, or anyone else, to tell me what my life means. Why do you?

        • asmondius

          Whose logic – yours?

          If you desire a God who is no more than yourself, I think you have already found Him.

        • smrnda

          There are quite a few forms of logic out there. You should read up on the Axiom of Choice and the paradoxes of set theory it was supposed to resolve. Make sure to read up on mathematical formalism.

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

          Al has a hard time looking things up here as well as in the dictionary. I’m still waiting for him to show that the definition of “meaning” or “purpose” mentions God or objective/transcendental grounding.

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS.

        • asmondius

          That bout of constipation hit home yet?

        • MNb

          Apparently your bout of constipation is stuck or you would have provided an answer.

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s establish, just for the purpose of this argument, that the Universe is meaningless and uncaused. That would mean that life is a product of the Universe. This would imply that, in relation to the Universe, life is meaningless. Does it then follow that that same life is meaningless to other life? Can we have no meaning in the ultimate sense, and yet have meaning to one another and the other life on this planet?

        • MNb

          Why do you always ask questions which have been answered to you since long?
          The Universe doesn’t provide meaning. My life doesn’t have meaning. What meaning my life has is what I give to it. That’s all I need. I’m not a frustrated, scared, helpless bigot like you. That you are not capable of making something of your life – which you think miserable anyway, hence your desire to sit hands in hands in Heaven with Rudolf Höss – does not imply that I’m not capable of it either.

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

          Maybe we should limit Al somehow. “You can’t bring up a discredited argument (without addressing the objections) more than twice,” say.

        • Derrik Pates

          I expect he’ll do whatever he wants anyway.

        • Pofarmer

          That would certainly shorten some threads. However, it does gove practice on how many ways you can refute the same bogus assertions.

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

          I do like the practice, but the brainless repetition is a bit much. If he’d just learn something from my comments and return with a stronger argument … but that’s not how the Holy Spirit rolls.

          And then, if we cut Al off, MNb (the saint of limitless patience) wouldn’t get his boxing practice.

          http://www.toysrus.com/graphics/tru_prod_images/Socker-Bopper-Power-Bag–pTRU1-10088016dt.jpg

        • asmondius

          And you think ‘Adam’ is doing a fine job for your side?

        • Kodie

          There is nothing really to discuss about your beliefs, and if you keep dodging the question and making fun of it, and Adam, we know you don’t know. There’s no reason to believe what you believe, or agree with your baseless assertions. Base them in something and stop tap-dancing.

        • asmondius

          What is the question?

        • Kodie

          Ask your mom to read it for you.

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

          We’re all amateurs here, doing the best evaluation of the facts that we know how.

        • hector_jones

          Since he thinks none of his arguments have been discredited he will just blow on past that rule like a color-blind driver running a red light.

        • asmondius

          That’s why the red light is always on top.

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

          Ah, I see how this works. Nice! You have a happier worldview; therefore, it is more likely to be correct. Very clever.

          I didn’t know that’s how things worked.

        • Derrik Pates

          Just like how a drunk man is happier than a sober man, so we should all be drunk. Because science… or something.

        • smrnda

          I’ll drink to that!

        • MNb

          I dispute that. Given what Al writes here (plus CodyGIrl, plus Asmondius, plus Norm, plus …..) I don’t see how his worldview is the happier one. They all see themselves as miserable sinners who need to be saved from themselves by some imaginary daddy. How does that make happy?

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

          I agree–their worldview is not the happier one. But that’s their argument, anyway–”the Christian worldview is happier; therefore you should adopt it.”

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS..

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about..

        • Kodie

          The meaning has to be ultimate? And it has to come from a deity? My life has meaning, you dipshit.

        • Al

          Not if atheism is true it doesn’t. Once you die it doesn’t matter because you cease to exist.

        • Kodie

          I’m not the one who has a problem not meaning something ultimately to some imaginary ultimate being. Does anyone in your life past or present mean something to you? Do you think your opinion doesn’t matter, that if there’s no god, someone you love doesn’t matter, and you don’t matter, because your love for them will die when you do?

          That’s so fucking arrogant.

        • Al

          It don’t matter who you love or if you are loved if the universe is meaningless. Again here are what some famous atheist has acknowledged:’

          ““That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and
          feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond
          dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

          – Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship”

        • Kodie

          So an imaginary sky dude is satisfactory for your life to give you the illusion of meaning, but your friends and family, well fuck them, they’re not going to last forever, so their opinion of you doesn’t matter? That’s just what I said, arrogance. Utter putrid, nonsensical, childish arrogance. The world spins around you, the universe was created for you. The man who created that universe is the sole possessor of anything that can be called meaning because it is ultimate and lasts eternally!!!!!!!

          Fucking arrogance!

        • MNb

          And I already told you that Russell was talking about external, objective meaning. For us atheists internal, subjective meaning, ie the meaning we give our lives ourselves, suffices. Of course you ignore that, because you’re dishonest to the core of your human existence.

        • MNb

          Indeed this is the single biggest failure of christianity – even worse that its disgusting sex teachings. Jesus preached humility. The idea that an imaginary sky daddy gives meaning to christian lives because christians are so special leads to unbearable arrogance.

        • hector_jones

          Above you said your life has meaning to God. Does your life have any meaning to you?

        • Al

          Yes. God gives it meaning and tells me that its meaningful. The judgement is an example of meaning since in it God will reward or punish men for the lives they lived. The fact that Christ came into the world to save its shows how meaningful it to God.

        • hector_jones

          If I could prove to you there is no god would you kill yourself?

        • JustNosin

          Who or what gives God’s life meaning??? Or does it not have meaning?

        • hector_jones

          To whom does your life have meaning?

        • Al

          God. He is the one all men are accountable to.

        • Kodie

          That’s so sad you only have one friend and live in a cave in the middle of nowhere.

        • hector_jones

          When did God tell you your life has meaning? What did he say exactly? Why does your life have meaning to him? You are nobody.

        • Al

          Its comes from revelation. The Bible. He who gives even a cup of water in the name of Christ will not lose his reward.

        • Kodie

          Gibberish.

        • hector_jones

          The Bible, yawn.

        • MNb

          The Bible tells you about god. God has inspired the Bible. Indeed, yawn for this tired circular argument.

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS.

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about….

        • asmondius

          Two demerits for cut and paste.

        • Kodie

          He just wants and deserves an answer to the question, we all do. It’s a simple question, why can’t you answer it?

        • asmondius

          It’s actually a demand (or a cry for help), not a question.

          I can help you to set your feet on the path to God, but it is a journey you must obviously make for yourself.

        • Kodie

          Typical evasive lying Christian. Not to be taken seriously.

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

          I can help you to set your feet on the path to God

          By acting like an asshole? Not really.

        • Kodie

          “I believe something that doesn’t exist loves me, therefore I have meaning.”

        • smrnda

          Catholic theology does tend to try to have it both ways. On one hand, they want the standard Christian beliefs defended, but they don’t want to be seen adhering to literal creationism and such. They want to avoid sounding like their beliefs on sexuality are just arguments by authority, so they invent ‘natural law.’ It seems that Protestants want to argue from The Bible, but Catholics want to argue that ‘nature’ teaches what the Bible supposedly says.

        • asmondius

          Natural law is simply an observation of the world around us.

        • Kodie

          A human error.

        • asmondius

          We reduce errors by having multiple observers and observations over time.

          But you go ahead and enlighten me – what is an aspect of Natural Law which is derived from human error?

        • Kodie

          Oh my god, laughing make it stop! Your religion only compounds human error.

        • smrnda

          Natural law relies on the notion of telos, which I reject as having no basis whatsoever. It implies both design and intent.

        • asmondius

          ‘Catholics say they accept evolution, but teach special creation for humans.’

          Name another species on Earth similar to humanity. A human being is also both body and soul.

          ‘They say that “The fall” is allegory, but their theology still teaches it as if it were a real event.’

          Misunderstanding on your part – the description of the event may be poetic, but the belief is that event occurred.

          Natural law is ‘unnatural’ – sounds like a confused thought. How can this be?

        • MNb

          “A human being is also both body and soul.”
          Prove that a human being is also a soul.
          Oh wait – you’re the guy who accepts what suits him until disproven and sets the bar so high that disproof is impossible.

        • asmondius

          Human creativity and imagination are examples of attributes which can not be traced to a sole material source. The human mind is not bound by the limits of the material world.

        • Kodie

          That’s not any proof. What my cat may imagine when she’s chasing a ball of tin foil. Your arguments come from a place of wishful thinking, where you imagine there’s a god, you can give him any attributes you want to, and promises that nobody can keep. So much of human imagination actually can be said to come from the butt.

        • smrnda

          Why not?

          Our minds are actually bound by limits of the material world. Please talk to anyone who studies neuroscience.

        • MNb

          Prove that the human mind is not bound by the limits of the material world.

          “Human creativity and imagination are examples of attributes which can not be traced to a sole material source.”
          They can: the brain. No brain, no creativity nor imagination. Though the reverse is incorrect. You are typically someone who has a brain but lacks creativity and imagination – only parroting what other apologists have whispered in your ears without examining it yourself.

        • Pofarmer

          It can be because Catholics fundamentally missunderstand what we are and how we relate to this planet.

        • Pofarmer

          There are many species on earth similar to humanity. We share nearly everything with other mammals. We share overall body types with other apes. We do have greater cognitive power, so we can construct the idea of a soul, and all the missbegotten theology that surrounds it.

        • RichardSRussell

          Name another species on Earth similar to humanity.

          Chimpanzees and bonobos: 98% common DNA with humans. Even higher match with each other.

      • asmondius

        yah boss, dem ‘big words’!

        • smrnda

          As a person who makes my living using big words, the difference between my big words and the theologians is that mine have precise definitions.

  • http://midwestmigrant.blogspot.com/ SkeptiLark

    A variation on the dictum taught to every first year law student:
    - If the facts are on your side, pound the facts.
    - If the facts aren’t on your side, pound the law.
    - If the law isn’t in your side, pound the table.

    • asmondius

      But in all cases, pound the client’s pockets.

  • SparklingMoon,

    As the Being of God Almighty, despite its brightness, is hidden beyond sight, the physical universe is not adequate for its true recognition.This is not a cup which could quench the thirst of complete understanding which is inherent in man’s nature. So long as God Almighty does not affirm His Existence by His word, as indeed He has done, the mere observation of His handiwork does not afford
    satisfaction. For instance, if we see a room which is bolted from inside, our first reaction would be that there is someone inside who has put up the bolts for it is impossible to put up the bolts from outside. But if over a long period no one from inside should respond to repeated calls,we would have to abandon our assumption that there is someone inside and we would imagine that there is no one inside and that the bolts have been put up through some clever device. This is the case of the philosophers whose understanding does not go beyond the observation of God’s work.

    It is a great mistake to imagine that God is like a corpse which has to be brought out of its grave by man. If God has to be discovered through human effort, all our hopes of such a God are vain. Indeed God is the Being Who has ever called mankind to Himself by announcing: I am present. It would be impertinence to imagine that man has laid Him under an obligation through his understanding of Him and that if there had been no philosophers He would have remained unknown.

    It is not at all correct to say that all God’s speaking has been left behind and that there is nothing in future. We cannot seal up His words and His speech in any age. Without doubt, He is ready to enrich the seekers from the fountain of revelation as He used to do before.(Ruhani Khazain)

    • Greg G.

      Hi SparklingMoon. Long time, no see. Welcome back!

      Ruhani Khazain’s seekers of revelation already imagine a revealer. When they find what they seek, they have no way to distinguish truth from the imaginary, which is exactly what would happen if they find something imaginary.

      Seekers of truth accept whatever they find when they are able to confirm its reality. Why would God not reveal himself to seekers of truth in a way that can be distinguished as not imaginary?

    • RichardSRussell

      Was this intended to be an example of Bob’s point about convolution and muddledness?

  • MNb

    “The Ontological Argument is another convoluted argument.”
    Even formulated in a crystal clear way it’s not that easy to point out where it goes wrong.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/

    Personally I think many of the rebuttals – including the parodies – as convoluted as the OA itself. But I think I have identified the problem. ChrisH showed me the way.
    The question is: what do we mean with “great” (greatest, no greater), “perfect” and/or “supreme”?
    Typical features are omnipotent, omnivolent, omniscient, omnipresent, well, the whole omni-everything business. There is one feature though that does not belong in this sequence. This becomes clear when we look at the opposites.

    The opposite of omnipotent is totally powerless.
    The opposite of omniscience is total ignorance.
    The opposite of omnipresent is being nowhere.

    In mathematical terms: apparently OA assumes that the opposite of infite (or at least the largest number humans can imagine) is zero.

    If the OA wants to be consistent the opposite of omnivolence should not be perfect evil, but total indifference. As a consequence we can substitute in any single version of the OA god being omnivolent with god being perfectly evil. So based on exactly the same assumptions according to the OA we get two gods, who both are supposed to be omnipotent. That’s a contradiction.

    For instance in Gödel’s version we can safely replace “positive” by “negative” without changing the argument. A bit deeper: the word positive is used in two different meanings, resulting in the same confusion doctors cause when saying that the outcome of a test is positive. That can be very bad news. In the same way Gödel’s version also allows for a perfectly evil god.

    My compatriot Rutten has recognized the problem. His answer rather belongs to “S**t Christians Say”:

    http://filosofie.be/blog/emanuel-rutten/3465/is-god-goed/

    “Verder is God in anselmiaanse zin een maximaal groot of volkomen perfect wezen (zodat bijvoorbeeld Gods mogelijk bestaan reeds Gods noodzakelijk bestaan en daarmee ook Gods actueel bestaan impliceert). Maar dan kan God onmogelijk slecht zijn omdat het groter, perfecter is om goed dan om slecht te zijn. God is dus, als God bestaat, noodzakelijk goed.”

    “God is in the anselmian meaning of the word a maximally great or completely perfect being (so that Gods possible existence already implies Gods necessary existence and with it also Gods actual existence).”
    This is for context. Here comes the gem:

    “But then God impossibly can be evil because its greater and more perfect to be good than to be bad.”
    Conclusion:

    “Hence God is, if God exists, necessarily good.”
    Comments are superfluous. OK, I can’t resist the temptation: according to Rutten (remember – he has a doctorate math) infinetely positive is greater and more perfect than infinetely negative.

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

      Thanks for the thinking on the Ontological Argument.

      They build a nutty argument out of bubble gum, but to respond to it, they demand that every bit be cleared away.

      • purr

        is ontology, as a whole, worthless? Even when applied to other subjects?

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

          I’m thinking just about the Ontological Argument for God.

        • purr

          I know. I was asking about how it applied to other subjects.

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

          I have nothing interesting to contribute to that conversation.

        • purr

          Thanks anyway:)

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve never seen it applied anywhere else.

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

          Where I’ve seen it applied is in simply making the ontological vs. epistemological distinction. That is the existence of something vs. how we can know about that thing. Usually, this is yet another smokescreen, a ploy to focus on philosophical trivia to avoid tackling the actual issue.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, I suppose unfortunately, the main way that I am exposed to philosophical arguments is by apologists who are either a) using ancient philosophy which has been refuted scientifically, like much of Aristotle or b) are trying to say that philosophy can be some source of “truth” on it’s own or c) are trying to, as you say, use philosophy as a smoke screen to try to make a solution to a particular problem more complicated than it actually is or d) use philosophy to cast aspersions on scientific knowledge. MDlP is doing a variety of these things on a couple of different threads.

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

          Dragging philosophy down in the mud to serve their filthy purposes doesn’t do much for philosophy, I’m afraid.

        • purr

          Abortion. Ontologically, a zygote is person.

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

          Dictionarily, it’s not. That is, while some people will have that as a definition, that definition isn’t universal.

          And if you want to adopt that definition of “person,” that’s fine, but then you water it down to avoid that distinction. Surely English is rich enough to have a word for what the newborn is and the single cell at the other end of the spectrum isn’t.

        • asmondius

          Human life is a path, not a spectrum.

        • MNb

          Prove it.

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

          What should we call the newborn that the single cell on the other end of the spectrum is not? That is, what is the name of the spectrum? I’d say “personhood.”

        • asmondius

          Biologically, as well.

        • purr

          Nope.

        • asmondius

          Is it alive? Is it human? Does it have unique DNA?

          Name a human being who was not a person.

        • purr

          Human being and person are synonyms.

          And alive and human and unique DNA = hela cells, cancer, and molar pregnancy.

        • MNb

          Does it have voting rights?

        • Pofarmer

          I would argue that a zygote is not yet human. It is a lump of cells. It cannot think. Or feel, or act in any way. It is a lump of cells.

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

          So we just define the single cell as a person? Sure, we can do that, but it avoids the issue.

      • MNb

        Like my compatriot Domela Nieuwenhuis said:
        To derive a divine world from the concrete world requires a salto mortale.

  • Al

    Let’s apply Hoare’s Dictum to atheism. What simple argument proves it to be true?

    • Ron

      “[Al] was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea and that was wrong.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

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

        “He was a humble man with much to be humble about.”

      • Greg G.

        Seldom right but never in doubt.

    • Greg G.

      It is presumptuous to believe an entity that is not omnipotent a god.
      It is impossible to be omnipotent.
      Therefore we cannot believe any being is a god.
      Therefore atheism is proven.

      • asmondius

        ‘It is impossible to be omnipotent.’

        Thus I find your reasoning to be in error.

    • RowanVT

      A- No objective evidence for a deity has been provided.
      B- Nature works in such a way that no deity is required.
      C- If there is no evidence for, and no need of a deity, believe in a deity is absurd.

      • Al

        A- No evidence for God not existing.
        b- atheism is not science therefore cannot explain anything.
        c- Therefore atheism is false.

        • All

          Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

        • Pofarmer

          Al seems out of his depth attempting to construct a logical argument.

        • Al

          No problem with being out depth here because there isn’t any here.

        • Kodie

          Thank you for finally admitting you have no depth.

        • asmondius

          Of depravity?

        • asmondius

          They forgot their sandals.

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS..

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about.

        • asmondius

          Two demerits for cut and paste.

        • asmondius

          People in China can’t exist because they have never been to your house,

        • Kodie

          That’s really stupid. I can go to China and see them. It would not be difficult to prove that people in China exist, or to suppose they do without seeing them for myself because China is a place on earth, and I can observe people living on earth. I don’t find the notion that people exist in another place on earth implausible.

        • purr

          So this asshat is a regular here?

        • MNb

          Yes. But which asshat are you thinking of? We have Al, we have Asmondius, we have Michel de la Pena, we have Norm from Australia. The latter two have been a bit quiet lately.
          Maybe we should organize a Biggest Christian Asshat on Cross Examined contest. It will be a close call.

        • purr

          I meant Asmondiass, but yeah, lulz

        • Pofarmer

          The funny thing, is that that this is a version of an argument used by the Church for people not existing in the “antipodes”. “There couldn’t be people on the other side of the earth because they couldn’t see the glory of the risen Jesus”. Which ain’t happenin, btw.

        • smrnda

          When it comes to thinks existing, we don’t have to prove they don’t exist. This is called the Null Hypothesis which is used in any sort of empirical inquiry.

        • asmondius

          It’s actually called ‘Because I said so’.

          Not a very ‘empirical’ argument.

        • Kodie

          It’s actually closer to “pics or GTFO”.

        • smrnda

          So, you think we should decide that things exist until we can prove they don’t? So unicorns exist, fairies exist, ghosts exist, because they haven’t been proven not to exist?

          Using such a method, how does one separate what we know to exist from what is conjectured to exist? The null hypothesis means that things like god (which you and everybody else have yet to define precisely enough) cannot be said TO exist until we have evidence. Without proof, they *might* exist, but we don’t say they do. It’s pure speculation.

          Aliens might exist. But they don’t DEFINITELY exist because nobody has proven they cannot.

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

          (A) sounds like you’re proving a negative. Have you turned over every rock for the evidence to prove that it doesn’t exist? Heck, you won’t even search in this blog for evidence that other people (not imaginary playmates) have assured you exists!

          (B) atheism is a conclusion.

        • asmondius

          Is that why it requires constant defense?

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

          I hear you, bro. People with an agenda, eh? Whaddya gonna do?

        • adam

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • RichardSRussell

          I disagree that atheism is a conclusion. That implies that a person has thot thru a variety of arguments about gods and arrived at that particular one as preferable to the alternatives. But that’s not the case. If a person has never thot about gods at all, he or she has no beliefs in them (IE, no conclusions) and is therefore an atheist by definition. This probably accounts for most atheists, in fact.

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

          Perhaps we have two kinds of people who are atheists–those that you point to, who are at the null hypothesis and haven’t thought much about it one way or another.

          Category two would be those who indeed have thought about arguments for atheism and/or arguments against Christianity a lot.

        • RichardSRussell

          Both are subsets of the general category “atheists”, which comprises people without belief in gods. The distinction seldom matters to me, but I’ve heard them called, respectively, “passive atheists” (or my favorite equivalent, “apatheists”) and “affirmative atheists”.

        • MNb

          What has that to do with your statement that atheism is not a conclusion?

        • RichardSRussell

          It’s that “conclusion” is inadequate to describe how most atheists got there. It’s like saying “all cars are battery-powered electrics”. Some are, true, but that’s hardly the defining characteristic of cars in general.

        • RichardSRussell

          Or you can think of it as the difference between the journey and the destination. “Atheism” is where you are; “concluding” is how you got there. Not everybody got there the same way. Some atheists started there and never left. Most of them, in fact.

        • Greg G.

          I have heard the distinction described as “implicit atheists” vs “explicit atheists”.

        • RichardSRussell

          And I’ve also heard “negative” and “positive”. I think I like yours best.

        • MNb

          Not for me. I have thought about a variety of arguments pro and con god indeed and concluded atheism. The same for my son. I can clearly remember when and why I (1) became an agnost; (2) became an atheist; (3) became a 7 on the scale of Dawkins.

        • adam

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS.

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about.

        • asmondius

          Are you here?

        • adam

          Yes, I am here….

          Then DEMONSTRATE of us all this ‘god’ of YOURS.

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no understanding of what you are talking about.

        • Derrik Pates

          The problem, of course, is you’re presuming your conclusion – God must exist, therefore God exists. You’re not supporting the claim, and this is frequently the best religious debaters can muster (or, well, there *could* be a god, so we should live assuming that my god exists because *mumble mumble* reasons).

        • Kodie

          Of course you don’t know how to construct a logical argument, and you don’t even know YET that atheism is not a religion.

        • asmondius

          The person did not say it was.

        • Kodie

          Yes you did.

        • asmondius

          Please then, quote my statement where ‘religion’ and ‘atheism’ appear.

        • Kodie

          b- atheism is not science therefore cannot explain anything.
          c- Therefore atheism is false.

          My favorite part was where you upvoted yourself.

        • RowanVT

          Evidence against God existing:

          Universe runs as if without a deity. No objective evidence of a deity. God thinks bats are the same as birds…

          By the way, you never did answer that one. Do you *really* think that bats are birds?

          God says rabbits chew cud (they don’t). God says he made a global flood; there is absolutely no evidence of a flood. God says he made the earth before the sun, and plants before the sun. This is incorrect order.

          Therefore, God is wrong about things. God is supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful and perfect. Therefore, God cannot exist if he can make mistakes.

          God, being all-knowing and all-powerful and perfect would also have been easily able to prevent fallible humans from messing up his perfect book, so if you try to use that argument, you’ll again assert that God does not exist.

        • adam

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

      • asmondius

        A- We exist
        B- We are far from understanding Nature
        C- Therefore atheism is an extension of ignorance

        • hector_jones

          Your religion doesn’t understand Nature either, so I don’t see what point it is you think you have just made. Your religion doesn’t even understand your god.

        • asmondius

          You are confusing the terms ‘natural law’ and ‘Nature’.

        • hector_jones

          You are the one who used the word “Nature” in the post I am responding to.

        • smrnda

          natural law is just a bunch of arguments by assertion.

        • adam

          Just demonstrate what mean in a way that DEMONSTRATES the power of YOUR god.

        • Pofarmer

          A- We exist.
          B- science has lead to an exponentially greater understanding of. Nature than theology ever came close to.
          C-therefore theology is existing in ignorance

        • adam

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

  • Ron

    The ontological argument for dummies:

    1. I imagine God exists.

    2. God must exist because I imagine God exists.

    3. Therefore God exists.

    Why? Well, because…

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20120715.gif

    • Kodie

      Or the idea that because an idea or argument is convincing, it is true. If I’m convinced, and I’ve used these arguments and demonstrated how convincing they are by convincing others to agree, then they are true. It’s never that these people don’t possess critical thinking skills.

      • asmondius

        Like atheism?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what you mean and neither do you.

        • asmondius

          Atheism is simply an idea or argument.

        • hector_jones

          Like God?

        • Kodie

          Atheists aren’t the ones who knock on doors, shout on street-corners, and send missionaries to feed bibles to hungry sick thirsty kids. Atheists aren’t the ones who like to use fallacies such as appeal to emotion or appeal to the majority, or to history, or to tradition, or threaten people with hell, or call what they do a sin. We aren’t the ones who think we’re only accountable to ourselves and our imaginary friend.

        • RichardSRussell

          Atheism is a specific condition — the absence of a belief in any gods. There are arguments in favor of atheism, but it is not an argument in itself. Nor does it need arguments to be observable. Infants don’t have the mental capacity to form abstract thots and therefore have no idea of gods. We are all born atheists.

        • adam

          And you could ‘cure’ atheism TODAY by demonstrating that YOUR god is not IMAGINARY as atheists believe.

          Your neglecting your duties to YOUR god…

    • asmondius

      The atheistic argument for dummies:

      1. I only believe in material things.

      2. God is immaterial.

      3. ?????

      4. Think I’ll just have another donut.

      • MNb

        This is the single most logical comment you ever made on this site. It still can be improved though.

        • asmondius

          Thanks – pass the donuts.

        • adam

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

  • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

    How does this sound for turning the OA against the apologist?

    The greatest possible being is perfectly satisfied. A perfectly satisfied being never feels desire to create or change anything. Therefore, if the universe was created (as opposed to simply always existing), the greatest possible being did not create it.

    Furthermore, the greatest possible being certainly did not have a hand in creating any books or telepathically communicating with ancient tribesmen.

    • primenumbers

      It is true that all wants, needs and desired stem from some lack, and any lack at all, no matter how minor denies perfection. Theists can have a creator God or a perfect God, but they cannot have both. But they’ve tied their beliefs to a perfect creator God, a God we know cannot exist, and our existence proves it.

      • asmondius

        ‘……a God we know cannot exist….’

        Know? How?

        • primenumbers

          Because we exist, therefore God can’t.

        • asmondius

          Self-defeating argument.

        • primenumbers

          “Self-defeating argument.” – argument for God defeating, actually.

        • Al

          How does that follow?

        • primenumbers

          All wants, needs and desired stem from some lack, and any lack at all, no matter how minor denies perfection. Without a desire, need or want there can be no reason to create and no creative act. So if the God of classical theism exists, it cannot have created us. Therefore because we exist, the God of classical theism cannot.

        • Al

          No. You are assuming that desire for something means lack. It doesn’t. You are assuming that for a perfect being. God created not because He lacked or needed something but that He wanted to express His glory and power in creation.

        • Kodie

          He lacked enough glory. Anyway, the results look as if the lack is “self-loathing.” He needs and requires worship? Creation didn’t turn out like he wanted it, so he flooded the planet? Sounds like god’s got issssues.

        • primenumbers

          “You are assuming that desire for something means lack. It doesn’t. ” – yes it does represent a lack, not least of what you desire. You just told us the lack in this case, a lack of expression of his glory (he was glory deficient) and a lack of exercise of his power (an unused power is a waste of potential, and unfulfilled potential is a lack). These lacks deny perfection.

        • Al

          Philosophy is incapable of adequately explaining God. Only revelation can and that is why the Bible is necessary.

        • Pofarmer

          And revelation could neevvaaarrrr be a scam. Right Al?

        • RichardSRussell

          Philosophy is also incapable of explaining why 1 = 2, which doesn’t exactly bode well for your argument.

        • primenumbers

          That’s a) a circular argument, and b) provide a reliable method of distinguishing between true divine revelation and delusion.

        • Al

          Something that could not be explained by natural processes. A prophecy that predicts the an event in the near future that happens would be an example of a “true divine revelation and delusion.”

        • primenumbers

          Ever seen a magician do a prediction trick? What if the guest from the audience was asked to pick a number – any number, and when the magician called out 99 and the audience member said yes – that’s it without him writing it down first and showing it to the audience. Would you feel somewhat cheated by that magician? What if on leaving the theatre you see the audience member get into the car with the magician and drive off, further adding weight to your reasonable suspicion that he was a stooge. You book to see the same magician at a different venue, and at that part of the act the audience member picked is the same person you’d seen picked the other night. Not very magical at all, is it?

        • Al

          Ever hear of a magician predict something years in advance and see it fulfilled? Jesus did.

        • Kodie

          If it was important to the legend, it is rather easily arranged to “fulfill” a “prophesy”.

        • Al

          Christ predicted the destruction of the temple 35 years before it happened. The way He would die was predicted centuries before it happened. How could He have arranged these things?

        • Pofarmer

          Wow, you’re thick. The Gospels were most likely written after the fall of the temple. His “death” was scripted from the scriptures. It’s not hard to fulfill a prophesy when you have it in front of you. Jesus also miffed one very important prophesy, that he would return within his disciples lifetimes. That tells you how much propheric power he had.

        • Al

          If the gospels were written after the temple was destroyed why were this not included in the gospels since it would have confirmed what Jesus predicted? The only answer is that they were written before the destruction of temple which was a major event.

          How could Jesus have made it possible for some of the prophecies about Him come true such as where He was predicted to be born and what happened at the cross?

          Jesus never predicted He would come back in their life times explicitly.

        • adam

          So IF a book is PROOF.
          Then Mohammed was right?
          Joseph Smith IS right?

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • Pofarmer

          The Gospels were set in the time before the temple was destroyed. They were vague enough that the charachter they were writing about could not be confirmed or denied. But, if you are writing about something long in the past, you generally don’t include things that happened in the near past. This is actually one of the things used to date the Gospels.

          There was no Jesus? Or the fulfilled prophecies were added on to an obscure historical figure? We have written stories Al. Stories originally written in Greek, by Greek authors who would have known Greek story telling techniques and methods. None of what is written would have been that far out for them .

          Both. Jesus and Paul said that he would return while the ones that were preaching the message were still alive, or shortly thereafter. They were wrong.

        • adam

          But the temple was NOT destroyed as Jesus stated…

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • Al

          You are ignorant. The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD is one of the best attested historical facts of ancient history.

        • adam

          No YOU are ignorant…

          The temple was NOT destroyed as Jesus stated.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • primenumbers

          “If the gospels were written after the temple was destroyed why were this not included in the gospels since it would have confirmed what Jesus predicted? ” – it was written about though. They wrote the “prediction” after the fact to make it appear a prediction had been made. They wrote myth around recent history.

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

          It’s weird, though, that that’s not what the historians say.

          I’ll go with their dating rather than yours.

        • Kodie

          The author of the story made a sequel.

        • primenumbers

          “Christ predicted the destruction of the temple 35 years before it happened. ” – no. An anonymous author “predicted” the destruction of the temple after it had been destroyed.

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

          … or that’s what the story says.

          Where’s the prophecy? You’d laugh at this example if it came from any religion but your own.

        • adam

          MANY, MANY times….

          Jesus didnt write anything.
          So at best you have people with ‘faith’ writing what they WANTED to be true, AFTER the fact, not before.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • primenumbers

          The predictions on Jesus are all just like the magic act I describe above. Jesus also predicted he’d return within the lifetime of those around him hearing that prophecy, and they’re all dead now and Jesus didn’t return.

        • Ron

          No, we only have the NT authors’ claims that Jesus made such a prediction, and those works were penned many decades after Jesus’ death. By what method can we evaluate the veracity of claims made by anonymous authors?

          And Matthew 24:29 claims that Jesus said:

          “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

          Please have a look at these images. (Click on the picture to enlarge it)

          The third one down on the left shows the Earth’s size in relation to the Sun—our closest star, which is about 150 million km away. If it were a hollow sphere, our sun could contain almost 1.3 million Earths. The remaining images show our sun’s size in relation to other stars. It’s estimated that VY Canis Majoris could contain over 6 billion stars the size of our sun.

          So if the author accurately quotes Jesus predicting the stars (i.e. trillions of humongous balls of gas located thousands to millions of light-years away) would “fall from the sky”… it’s fairly safe to say that Jesus was wrong; which makes him a false prophet.

        • adam

          Almost as well as Nostrodamus…

        • MNb

          You should ask John about this. According to him some mormon pulled it off as well.

        • Kodie

          Nobody is claiming that an actual resurrection can be explained by natural processes. We’re saying that it’s fiction, not an actual resurrection, and such “prophecies” are so easy to fulfill and profit from fools like you.

        • Al

          If the resurrection was a fiction then there would not be reliable eyewitness accounts to it. The documents where it is found would be considered works of fiction. Scholars in the field do not call the gospel accounts nor I Corinthians a fiction.
          It is the fool who does not correctly interpret the evidence and says its a fiction.

        • Pofarmer

          There are not reliable eyewitness accounts to the ressurection. Only the most extreme fundamentalsits consider the gospels as eyewitness accounts. This has been explained to you. Randal Helms et al have demonstrated where the Jesus miracles originate, Richard Pervo has deconstructed Acts. They ARE fiction. It is the fool who thinks that Ancient religious hagiographies full of miracles and superstition are anything other than fiction.

        • Al

          You have been reading lousy books on this. Notice what Luke writes at the beginning of his gospel:

          “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1

          Here Luke is going to investigate by interviewing the eyewitnesses to what had happened. We also know that Luke got over 70 historical details correct in his works.

          Matthew and John were disciples and Mark wrote down what Peter told him to.

          Are you claiming miracles are impossible?

        • adam

          The bible is MYTHOLOGY.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • smrnda

          Would you care to speculate on the number of accurate details about Dublin to be found in Ulysses by James Joyce? Does this mean that Leopold and Molly Bloom must be real people?

        • Pofarmer

          Do you have some sort of memory loss? There were lomg threads with cites and links to relevant literature. I am not going through this again.

        • Al

          You don’t need to because they didn’t make their case on the facts.

        • Pofarmer

          Absolutely, Bart Ehrman, as well as many others, are making their case on the facts.

        • Al

          Bart does not use facts to make his case against the gospels. He uses speculations.

        • adam

          Of course Bart uses facts, YOU are the one NOT using facts.

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • Al

          What facts does Bart use? Give me some examples.

        • adam

          You made YOUR claim FIRST, I will allow you to back up your statement with FACTS…

          Otherwise we will all KNOW that you have no idea what you are talking about.

        • Al

          He says Peter did not write 2 Peter because the language in the letter is to “polished”. He offers no counter facts that shows Peter could not have written this letter. No facts given.

          Your turn.

        • adam

          Have you ever read all of any of Ehrman’s books?

          Prof. Ehrman says,

          “There are excellent reasons for thinking that Peter could not write…..Apart from….legendary accounts…all we know about Peter’s life comes from the New Testament.
          What we principally learn is that before he was a follower of Jesus he was a fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee….According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi,
          a Greek work that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate.’ …And so, is it possible that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter?….I should point out that the book of 1 Peter is written by a highly literate, highly educated, Greek-speaking Christian who is intimately familiar with the Jewish Scriptures in their Greek translation, the Septuagint. This is not Peter.”

          Ehrman dismisses this possibility, stating his objections this way:

          “Nor could he have dictated the letter in Aramaic and asked the secretary to translate it into Greek, because the letter contains sophisticated forms of argumentation and presentation that work only in Greek and presupposes knowledge of the Greek Old Testament, not the Hebrew version, which Peter himself would have been familiar with.”

          But of course you could settle the issue in MINUTES if you would just DEMONSTRATE the MAGIC of your god…

        • Pofarmer

          Of course he does.

        • Kodie

          Historians do not consider the bible documents a historical account. It does not depict a historical event. You only believe theologians which is a different type of scholarship than historians, theology is the construction of a myth through fallacious arguments and an assembly of cherry-picking occasional true facts that are distorted to fool the reader.

        • Al

          On what basis do “Historians do not consider the bible documents a historical account. It does not depict a historical event.”?

          If the gospels are not presenting historical events then no ancient historical accounts are either.

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY..

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • Kodie

          It’s just a myth that takes place in a real place and time.

          We keep saying this but you forget.

        • Pofarmer

          To determine what is historical in ancient accounts, the supernatural is uneversally scrubbed. Because you don’t like this, doesn’t mean it isn’t reality.

        • Al

          Many ancient historians that historians consider reliable have supernatural accounts in them.

          Since you have disproved the existence of God then miracles are possible.

        • Kodie

          Theologians =/= historians.

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY..

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary…

        • Pofarmer

          Sure, they do, but they don’t consider the, supernatural, parts reliable, and the non supernatural parts are stronger if they are backed by other evidence.

        • smrnda

          The supernatural elements are always rejected. Nobody buys even the mild supernatural claims of 12 Caesars.

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY..

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • Ron

          I’m still waiting for you to arrange that meeting with your physically resurrected Jesus. When can I expect confirmation for a fixed date?

        • adam

          Interesting how any of these ‘believers’ could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES, by demonstrating the MAGIC that they so worship is not imaginary.

          Thanks for the Rudolph Hess ‘saved’ info last week or so…
          I’ve made good use of it.

        • Al

          If you don’t “meet” Christ in this life you will meet Him at His judgement seat where He will judge you.

        • adam

          Prove it….

          Otherwise we will all understand that you have no idea about what you are talking about.

        • Al

          Its happens after death. You will see.

        • adam

          Yes, and Santa Claus wont be bringing me Christmas presents….

          “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest
          inconvenience from it. Mark Twain

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • Kodie

          You say that like you have proof, but it’s a baseless assertion.

        • Al

          One thing we all know. WE DIE. Its what happens after death that is the issue.

        • Kodie

          You can’t say “you will see” then. You can say “I believe” but you can’t impress anyone with your beliefs if you don’t provide any evidence. As they stand now, they are your own superstitions and delusions. I have no reason to be afraid of dying and being judged.

        • Al

          Just because you don’t fear being judged does not mean it won’t happen.

        • Kodie

          Just because you threaten us “you will see” does not mean your beliefs have any relation to reality.

        • Al

          Death is not a threat. Its something that is going to happen. You should fear the judgement though.

        • Kodie

          Death is not a threat. Its something that is going to happen. You should fear the judgement though.

          Do you not see “you should fear the judgment though” as a THREAT???

          And as I said already, a baseless assertion, your superstition and delusion, for which you have never provided evidence?

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY..

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • 90Lew90

          Judgement is something that is done by your peers and it is to them you owe responsibility and ethical behaviour. Not everyone needs to think there’s a spy-in-the-sky to make them live and behave well. Usually a good upbringing will do it. But if you think that without your god you’d be a lying, raping, murdering, sinning scumbag without your god, you speak for yourself. I take issue with your implication that because I don’t believe in your cosmic policeman I must necessarily be immoral, or amoral. Sorry, but that’s just your rotten view of humanity talking. Maybe you might want to think about where you got such a rotten view of humanity.

        • Al

          It is true that at times we make judgments about others. We do it all day long.
          Never said atheist cannot live good moral lives. I have said though they have no compelling reasons from atheism to do so. All the atheist can offer is his opinion of right and wrong but never be able to ground his morality in anything but himself.

          What I am saying is that someday there will be a judgement for all human beings that God will hold all men accountable.

        • adam

          And there is no compelling reason to believe in your deity.

          However, you COULD clear up this issue JUST by DEMONSTRATING the power of your god to prove that it is not IMAGINARY…

          Like Santa

        • MNb

          What you think compelling and not compelling may oxidize at my bottom, as we Dutch say. What matters to me if I’m convinced that I have a compelling reason to live a good moral live. Moreover it’s highly important to me what my loved ones (and that specifically excludes you) think of me. Well, besided my son they all are religious and all think I live a good moral life.

          “someday there will be a judgement”
          Yeah, you are one of those pathetic christians who claim only to live good moral lives out of fear for an imaginary sky daddy. And you’re not even consistent in this respect. You are convinced you could go on a raping spree tomorrow and still be saved.

        • 90Lew90

          There are no “compelling reasons from atheism” because atheism is devoid of content. It is simply a rejection of the claim made by people like you that a god or gods exist. That’s all there is to it. Furthermore, there is plenty — plenty — upon which the morality of an individual atheist can be grounded. Culture for instance. Your Bible is not the final or even the first arbiter of morality. If you think it is then you’re daft. Moral thought and action is to an extent innate and is built upon by culture and education. Religion is an expression of culture. Culture — nurture — and nature are what give moral grounding for you as well as me. Your last sentence is pure conjecture.

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY..

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary..

        • adam

          Well then CLEAR UP the issue and DEMONSTRATE your CLAIM.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • 90Lew90

          Your Christ sounds like a nasty piece of work.

        • Al

          Ever the read the gospels?

        • adam

          Ever read the Koran, Al?

          All the way through?
          The Vedas?

        • MNb

          Yes. Jesus wasn’t a great moral teachers according to my 21st Century norms and values. Of course compared to your primitive worldview he is a bright shining star.

        • 90Lew90

          I have my King James beside me. When I said *your* Christ I meant the impression you give of your personal god.

        • MNb

          After death you will meet the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You will drink stale beer. You will see.

        • Ron

          Funny how you can’t produce the very person around whom you’ve structured your entire life. If someone asked me to present my children as proof of being a parent, I’d have no problems in satisfying that request. Yet for some strange reason you’re incapable of doing the same thing for your supernatural pal named Jesus. Why is that?

        • adam

          BINGO, there are NO reliable eyewitness accounts for it.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

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

          It’s the fool who parks his brain at the door.

          The gospels aren’t eyewitness accounts (look up the blog posts for more).

        • adam

          So give us all a precise prophecy that will occur on Friday August 22 this week?

          And not some obsure quatrain like Nostradomus

        • Al

          Doesn’t work that way. Prophecy is something that God gives an individual for a specific purpose. I don’t think they are that common now.

        • Kodie

          Of course they aren’t that common now, you’d call them witchcraft or nuttery or false religions. Why was it so common back in the biblical times? And why can’t we apply the same skepticism to books that are not historical and make claims that supernatural events including prophesy occurred?

        • adam

          Scams NEVER work that way….

          So you are either SCAMMING or you have no idea about what you are talking about.

          YOU could EASILY put this all to rest by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not imaginary.

        • MNb

          Ain’t that convenient?

        • hector_jones

          Why doesn’t God just start a blog or get a twitter feed?

        • Al

          He has through some of millions of believers.

        • adam

          According to the gnostics, those believers are believers in the deceiver, the evil one.

          Makes sense….the Creator of EVIL, mass murderer and sadists…

          But you could settle this all in an INSTANT if you would just DEMONSTRATE the MAGIC of YOUR god is not IMAGINARY….

        • hector_jones

          Sophistry

        • Kodie

          What’s really hard to understand is why you think you have answers that we’ve never heard from a more literate Christian before. Why does god send idiots like you? You don’t make a good case for the veracity of your beliefs on your sheer gullibility and ignorance alone. If there is something more to it that’s so great that you can’t explain it in words, send someone who can.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe we are getting the brain damaged apologists or something?

        • purr

          It’s a longstanding trend around here. Poor Bob.

        • Kodie

          Could be that a true Christian is silent on the subject.

        • Pofarmer

          Funny hiw that works. It appears as if fod doesn’t do snything. People do. Interesting.

        • smrnda

          The problem with ‘prophecy’ is that, if you make one vague enough, it’s not that impressive if it comes true.

          If I forecast that there will be a war in the middle east, this is like me predicting that it will rain in Manchester sometime this week.

        • Al

          Some prophecies are very clear. Christ predicted the destruction of the temple and it happened as He said would decades after He said it.

        • Kodie

          After he was written to have said it. I could write a book with a character who prophecies the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in the year 2001, but the prophet lives in 1968 before the towers were even built. I could be extremely specific about how they were destroyed, and make this document look like it came out in the late 60s but was obscure and largely ignored, and arrange to have it “discovered” in the year 2036. I don’t know why this set-up is so difficult for you to understand.

        • Al

          If a book written about NY that doesn’t mention 911 we would assume it was written before it happened. So it is with the gospels. The destruction of the temple was like a 911 and would have been mentioned by the gospel writers if they wrote after it happened.

        • Kodie

          Your reading comprehension suffers so. “We would assume” it was written before 2001? So that means it was? I just said that I wrote it today. It includes a prophet in 1968 who foresees the events of September 11, 2001, and arrange for this true document to be discovered in February of 2036.

        • adam

          Well if you ASSUME……….

          YOU know you put this all to rest by just DEMONSTRATED that your god is NOT IMAGINARY…

          Demonstrate some of the MAGIC that you say is the power of YOUR god?

        • MNb

          Guess what? The Gospels were actually written after the destruction of Jerusalem.

        • Al

          If they were why did they not say one word about the destruction of the temple in 70? Jesus predicted this and this would have been a great argument in favor of Christ because it was a confirmed prophecy.

        • MNb

          “Jesus predicted this”
          according to the Gospels, which implies that they said a few words about it. You’re very good at shooting your own feet.

        • Kodie

          Because it is not a historical document.

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

          Yes, that’s a data point, but I think the scholars’ techniques are a tad more involved than that. And they conclude that the gospels were written 40+ years after the purported events.

        • smrnda

          In the book Exterminator by William S Burroughs, Burroughs predicted a terrorist attack on the US on Sept 14 2001. I somehow do not think he is a prophet for that, even being pretty close.

        • Kodie

          In my hoax, there will be details. Another long shot here is that Osama bin Laden was a fan of the book, but the 14th was a Friday. I randomly picked February of 2036 for a hoax to be discovered…. so like, if authentic document surfaces at the tail end of January, I have already poisoned its credibility for a lot of people.

        • adam

          2 Jesus said, “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another. Every stone will be thrown down to the ground.”

          Today there remain some stones right where they were in the days of Jesus.

          When are YOU going to demonstrate the MAGIC that is YOUR god?

        • Pofarmer

          He also said he would rebuild it in three days, which, uhm, never mind.

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

          Show me a valid prophecy (not any of the Old Testament ones that I’ve debunked in this blog, though).

        • Al

          You haven’t debunked anything from the Bible. Have you dealt with Zechariah 12:10?

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

          Haven’t debunked anything? Then respond to those posts.

        • adam

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

          And stop all your mythic blabbering?

          Revelation is the SOURCE of it’s own problems.
          The problem being is that god is not consistent with its revelations.

          Is the god ‘REVEALED’ to Joseph Smith as valid as the god revealed to YOU?
          Mohammed?
          The author of the Vedas and all other ‘revealed’ ‘religions’?

        • MNb

          Weird that revelations in the interior of Papua Guinea and Brazil result in totally different explanations of the supernatural. Perhaps revelations are totally subjective.

        • smrnda

          How about this Al, how about you provide us with accurate, precise definitions, of your god and all of this god’s attributes?

          If I tell you that ‘there exists a number greater than 0 but less than 10 which is prime’ and ‘a prime number is a number whose factors are only that number and 1′ that’s a nice precise definition so we can actually determine the truth value of the statement. Your move.

        • Al

          Read the New Testament. In the person of Christ you see what God is like.

        • smrnda

          Already read them, years ago.

          Nobody agrees on what god is like, even monotheists. Jesus was a failure from the standards of the Jewish Messiah.

          Jesus also doesn’t seem that great to me. Many of his teachings can be easily distorted. He made *thinking bad thoughts* as big a crime as doing bad things (absurd) and mandated forgiveness regardless of what was done (a destructive idea that lets bad people simply say they’re sorry, and whether they mean it or not, get to walk all over people.) Jesus also advocated total pacifism, which I don’t think is morally defensible.

        • Al

          You should read the gospels again and again. There is no one in history like Christ. The mere fact that His teachings are followed and debated is proof of His greatness.

        • smrnda

          No one in history? Many of his teachings (the good ones) were lifted from Rabbi Hillel the Elder.

          Followers don’t prove much of anything. Did the existence of fanatical Red Guards prove Chairman Mao was right?

        • Al

          Who in history can compare to Christ? This shows it so well:

          “One Solitary Life

          He was born in an obscure village
          The child of a peasant woman
          He grew up in another obscure village
          Where he worked in a carpenter shop
          Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him

          He never wrote a book
          He never held an office
          He never went to college
          He never visited a big city
          He never travelled more than two hundred miles
          From the place where he was born
          He did none of the things
          Usually associated with greatness
          He had no credentials but himself

          He was only thirty three

          His friends ran away
          One of them denied him
          He was turned over to his enemies
          And went through the mockery of a trial
          He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
          While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
          The only property he had on earth

          When he was dead
          He was laid in a borrowed grave
          Through the pity of a friend

          Nineteen centuries have come and gone
          And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
          And the leader of mankind’s progress
          All the armies that have ever marched
          All the navies that have ever sailed
          All the parliaments that have ever sat
          All the kings that ever reigned put together
          Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
          As powerfully as that one solitary life”

          Dr James Allan Francis © 1926.

        • Pofarmer

          Suunds like a myth based on combing the OT for prophecies and based on the teachings of. Paul to me.

        • Kodie

          Lol.

        • adam

          But WHO can compare to Spiderman, Paul Bunyon, and Shiva?

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • Ron
        • smrnda

          Is Jesus the central figure in the human race?

          Among the billions of “Christians” in the world, most of them are probably more concerned with other people. Many US Christians are more concerned with celebrities and athletes.

          On top of that, we have a historical person, and then the legend. This isn’t that unusual – quite a few people we admire are known as much for legendary accounts (George Washington and the Cherry Tree) as they are for what they really did.

        • MNb

          Franciscus of Assisi was a greater guy.

          The mere fact that Hitlers teachings were followed for 12 years is also proof of Hitlers greatness? What an argument.

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

          Francis was greater because he actually existed?

        • MNb

          That’s quite a stupid question.

        • RichardSRussell

          No one in history like Christ? There were dozens, many of them preceding your boy, from whom his fan club lifted their tall tales to wow the rubes in the vicinity.

        • Al

          Name one person in history that in the past 2000 years where millions of people have been devoted to? Name one person in the past 2000 years where millions of people every Sunday go to a place and worship him?

        • Kodie

          Elvis Presley?

        • Ron

          Buddha
          Dalai Lama
          Haile Selassie
          Sathya Sai Baba
          Sun Myung Moon

        • RichardSRussell

          Justin Bieber?
          Eva Peron?
          Brett Favre?
          Adolf Hitler?
          Whoever the current pope happens to be?

          But what does mere popularity have to do with anything? For ~9,500 of the ~10,000 years of human civilization, the concept of the flat Earth was by far the most popular idea going. That didn’t make it right, no matter how many people believed it.

        • Al

          Who worships these people? Who was worshiping them a 100 years ago? What great teachings of theirs do people follow? What great institutions have been established in their names?

        • RichardSRussell

          Worship? The least dignified, most obsequious, self-denigrating activity ever dreamed up by human beings? Sucking up while on your knees? That’s your standard for greatness? That somebody not only welcomes and enjoys being worshipped but practically insists on it? You poor sap, it’s really eaten up almost your entire brain, hasn’t it?

        • Al

          Worship shows how devoted one is. Worship to God is appropriate since He is the one who made you and you are accountable to.

          Everyone worships something or someone. You can even worship yourself which is what you doing. Sad.

        • RichardSRussell

          Aaaaaannd … there goes the rest of it.

        • Kodie

          I exist.

        • adam

          He didnt make me and I worship no one.
          So like the rest of your statements it is OBVIOUS that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          There have been literally THOUSANDS of ‘god’ and everyone has has people like you WORSHIP them

          YOU could however settle all this by just DEMONSTRATING that your god is not IMAGINARY in the minds of its believers.

        • adam

          Or you could just worship a psychopathic monster with the emotional undevelopment of a spoiled 5 year old like the god of the bible. REALLY Sad…..

        • RichardSRussell

          OK, so you want to play the “name just one” game, eh? Well, it’s a game 2 can play at:

          = = = = = =

          Religion’s unbroken record of failure:
          • Name one scientific principle revealed thru prayer.
          • Name one medical cure discovered by reading the Bible.
          • Name one work of literature translated from tongue-speakers.
          • Name one catastrophe averted by a holy amulet.
          • Name one amputee healed by a miracle.
          • Name one supernatural event from the Bible accepted as such by historians.
          • Name one flood or lava flow held back by the literal, visible hand of God.
          • Name one mountain — or even one grain of sand — moved by faith.

          All these claims of religion — all of them, 100% — have been failures.

          Each time. Every time. All the time.

          Those who made the claims were either deluded fools or outright liars.

          Religion is beyond worthless and well into outright harmful.

          If you knew of a horse which had lost its previous 999 races, would you still bet on it for #1000?

        • Al

          There is an excellent scholarly book on miracles and the author by his research shows millions of miracles throughout the centuries have happened. In modern times there are medical reports of people being healed of blindness and cancers by prayer. Some of these accounts are medically verified.

          When Jesus spoke of faith moving mountains He was speaking metaphorically and literally.

          Without Christianity you get the holocaust and Stalin.

          Many of the early modern scientists were Christians who believed that God created the universe and it was their desires to discover how. Atheism could never birth science.

        • Kodie

          There is an excellent scholarly book on miracles and the author by his research shows millions of miracles throughout the centuries have happened. In modern times there are medical reports of people being
          healed of blindness and cancers by prayer. Some of these accounts are medically verified.

          When Jesus spoke of faith moving mountains He was speaking metaphorically and literally.

          Without Christianity you get the holocaust and Stalin.

          Many of the early modern scientists were Christians who believed that God created the universe and it was their desires to discover how. Atheism
          could never birth science.

          [citation needed]

        • Al

          Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts
          Craig S. Keener

          How Christianity Changed the World
          Alvin J. Schmidt (

        • Ron

          From pages 2–3 of Keener’s introduction (emphasis added):

          I have included most of the accounts in chapters 7–11 without asking questions of causation, since all of them illustrate the primary point that eyewitnesses can claim miracles. I do so even though I find some of the accounts more plausible and evidentially compelling for our secondary point than others, and by the end of writing the book I was more convinced of some explanations than when I began it. I thus take the accounts mostly at face value while recounting them, as is common in anthropological and other approaches, and turn to questions of possible interpretations especially in chapters 13–15.

          From page 4:

          I intended to cite two or three major collections of such information, which I assumed would be readily accessible and easily located, since I was aware of hundreds of eyewitness miracle claims and cognizant of circles that could supply thousands more.

          To my surprise, however, I failed to find many works academically cataloging such claims, and even fewer that offered medical documentation along with the many testimonies.

          From page 10:

          While I raise the question of supernatural causation, I am not assuming that is the best explanation for all miracle claims, and even less often the only plausible explanation for them. Some dramatic claims, however, for example, the instantaneous reversal of documented, long-term, organic blindness, do seem to me to welcome such discussion.

          And finally, this bit of special pleading from page 13:

          The abundance of testimonies demonstrates widespread belief that God does miracles today; many of these will be seen as of ambiguous value in an argument supporting a belief in supernatural causation, but some of them do, I believe, provide compelling support for that thesis, especially where multiple independent witnesses confirm extranormal experiences. Some readers may dismiss all testimony lacking medical documentation; although in some cases medical documentation is available, even medical documentation can be faked or its interpretation disputed, so ultimately any testimony can be discredited if one’s skepticism about miracles is thoroughgoing. In some cases, further investigation may weaken the reliability of a few of my sources and my sources’ sources; in a larger number of cases, the recoveries that some witnesses attribute to divine intervention also have natural parallels. If one does not, however, simply adopt the ill-formulated arguments of Hume and his successors, I believe that the weight of some of the accounts in this book should invite readers to seriously consider extranormal causation.

          If this is indeed your best source of “evidence” for miracle claims, you’ve lost yet another round.

        • Al

          Does Keener offer any medical documentation of a miracle?
          Keep in mind that he is claiming all that he researched was necessarily a miracle and could be explained by natural processes. However, there are many that he does record that cannot be so explained.

          Remember: I need only one miracle to prove God exist. Keener believes that there are over 300 million worldwide claims. Even if half are not, that still leaves 150 million possible miracles.

        • adam

          Keener is YOUR evidence, didnt you read it?

          ‘ I thus take the accounts mostly at face value
          while recounting them, as is common in anthropological and other approaches, and turn to questions of possible interpretations especially in chapters 13–15.’

          It also leave 150 million possible lies and deceptions.
          VERY common amoung the religious.

          Of course you could settle all this in a MINUTE, if you would just DEMONSTRATE this MAGIC of your god is not IMAGINARY…

        • Ron

          But that’s not what you originally claimed. You wrote:

          Even today there are cases of people being prayed for that were healed. In some of these cases doctors will confirm this. The book, Miracles by Keener has dozens of cases that confirm this.

          And when I specifically asked on which page Keener presents confirmed cases of prayer restoring the limbs of amputees you replied: “I have the book on kindle so I don’t know the pages.”

          But now that I’ve quoted Keener’s tacit admission to never having investigated the authenticity of any of the miracle claims presented and that he merely believes that some of them might have merit because they can’t be explained via natural causes, you want me to disprove the 150 million “possible” miracles he couldn’t even be bothered to investigate first hand? Talk about shifting the burden of proof.

          As Paul so aptly noted: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

          So here’s a better idea: Why don’t you just present this physically resurrected messiah you believe in? Because he’s the linchpin to your entire faith. And until you can provide empirical evidence for his existence, your faith—much like your presence here—is completely useless.

        • Pofarmer

          “I need only one miracle to prove God exist. ”

          How do you figure?

        • smrnda

          Keener has to go out, show me a case where natural healing is all but impossible, and then provide me with medical evidence.

          If I told you that today, I ran a 5k in 15 minutes, and I supplied one eyewitness, would you believe me?

        • Kodie

          You need one but you randomly you imagine that you have 150 million, and shown us zero.

        • 90Lew90

          CodyGirl. You’re back! Either that or you and CodyGirl have the same reading list and have been misled in exactly the same way about what scholarship is.

        • RichardSRussell

          Do you really believe all that crap? Yeah, I guess you really do.

          Let me pick out just the one most egregious falsehood in the above list of misbegotten untruths: Without Christianity you get the holocaust. Exactly backwards! It was only because of Christianity that we had the Holocaust. Has it somehow or other escaped your notice that the reason for the extermination of the Jews was their religion? And that it was perpetrated by the faithful Catholic Adolf Hitler? Following in the footsteps of the virulent anti-Semite Martin Luther? And carried out by German soldiers whose belt buckles bore the inscription “Gott mit uns” (God [is] with us)?

          But no, those are mere facts. Never let them get in the way of a good preconception, especially one based on faith, which needs no tether to reality.

        • Al

          The Holocaust was due to Darwin. Hitler wanted the superior race and he destroyed the “weaker” ones. That is evolution.

          Hitler was no Christian. He despised the church and Christians as being weak.

        • adam

          YOU prove yourself ignorant again and AGAIN…

          It was christianity that was behind the holocaust..

          Hitler was following Martin Luthers writings and Martin Luthers BLIND HATRED for the Jews…

          First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and
          to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing,
          and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. …

          Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and
          destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as
          they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

          Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic
          writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. …

          Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly
          adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” …

          Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. …

          Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and
          that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. …

          Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a
          spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind
          the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

          Martin Luther…the ‘christian’.

        • MNb

          Violating the 9th Commandment once again. Evolution is not about “destroying the weaker ones”. It’s about getting descendants and passing on your hereditary features. Depending on the circumstances the “weaker” pull that better off than the “superior”.
          Hitler wanted to destroy the “inferior” because he was a creationist like you. He actually used some of the same arguments you are fond of.

          http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/

          “iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind.”
          Yup – you can find this in My Kampf.

        • 90Lew90

          “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.”

          -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

        • Al

          Notice the date–1922. What was Hitler when he came to power in the 30′s and what he did with that power? He was no Christian then.

          Consider this from Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944 published by Farrar, Straus and Young,

          “Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:
          National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)

          10th October, 1941, midday:
          Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)

          14th October, 1941, midday:
          The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. (p 49-52)”

        • adam

          “SECRET CONVERSATIONS”

          “The problem with these anti-Christian quotes is that the German text of the table-talk does not include them, they were made up by François Genoud, the translator of the French version, the very version that English translations rely on!”

          So again, with YOUR BEST EVIDENCE, you FAIL….

          I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

          Adolf Hitler in 1941 to General Gerhart Engel. In John Toland (1992). Adolf Hitler. New York: Anchor Publishing, p. 507.

          I believe in God, and I am convinced that He will not desert 67 million Germans who have worked so hard to regain their rightful position in the world.

          Statement to Ward Price. In Max Domarus (2007). The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary. Wauconda: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, p. 21.

        • Kodie

          I don’t understand why Christians don’t think Hitler was a Christian. Is it because he took it to an extreme? I get the ‘Darwin’ angle as well – leave it to a Christian to take it upon themselves to better their own chances and enforce a survival of the fittest by killing those they see unfit. But yeah, that is something they accuse atheists of because atheism=Darwin and Darwin=genocide. Right. Obviously anyone who understands evolution as well as a Christian does is going to think of it like that.

          And yet, it seems they actually learned something from Nazis? People don’t like Nazis, mainly. Christians call Hitler a non-Christian because he is famously loathed. There’s a stigma attached to him. Morality is such a slippery and not objective thing, such that someone like Hitler wasn’t immediately loathed. That he could accomplish what he did was because either he had a Christian motive or devised a Christian motive to generate esteem in his cause from Christians. If they weren’t Jews, what were they then? To have such hatred of Jews particularly and some other groups defined to be unfavorable and so exterminated, they must have been intensely devout, or else why make such a big deal? Why get on board?

          I see the same thing happening with immigration in the US. It’s considered a laudable achievement for an American couple to create up to 20 new humans and teach them to do the same, and nobody is allowed to say they’re competing for resources and jobs. They’re natural-born Americans and have all rights granted by the Constitution, but if your idea of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and working really hard involves a step where you leave behind everything you know and sneak over the border, you’re sent back.

          Plus:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2n7vSPwhSU

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUXDKnL4xGE

        • adam

          Actually, I think it is probably pretty basic.

          Since ‘revealed’ religion is all about creating a god in your own head it is just a reflection of them, their morality their wants and desires individually.

          When you indoctrinate people into a idea that fear and abuse is love, you can get people to buy into just about anything and BELIEVE that it is good and just.

        • RichardSRussell

          Incidentally, while your post was created as a “Reply” to my list of “Name one …” challenges, let the record show that you didn’t answer a single one of them.

        • Al

          I did indeed answer some of your challenges. Prayer has healed some. I also gave you an answer to faith moving mountains.
          Is raising the dead a greater miracle than a amputee being healed?

        • RichardSRussell

          Every one of those challenges began with the words “Name one”. I have yet to see a single name. I am particularly interested in the name of the mountain you allude to.

        • Al

          There is no mountain that was literally moved. That is not what Christ meant when He said your faith can move mountains.

        • RichardSRussell

          OK, I’ll play another round in your silly little game. What has faith “literally” moved?

          Also, let it be noted that you still haven’t provided any names for anything.

        • adam

          So Jesus doesnt say what he means or mean what he says.

          So everything he ‘said’ is meaningless.

          Of course you could settle this in a MINUTE if you would just DEMONSTRATE the MAGIC power of your deity…

        • Ron

          Oh the games people play now,
          every night and every day now;
          never meaning what they say, yeah
          never saying what they mean.

          People walking up to you,
          singing glory Hallelujah;
          then thy try to sock it to you, oh
          in the name of the Lord.

          Inner Circle, “The Games People Play”

        • MNb

          So the content of the Bible is literal when it suits you and metaphorical when it doesn’t. Excellent methodology – for self-delusion, I mean.

        • adam

          Then RAISE THE DEAD, call a press conference and get some medical equipment and document your raising of the dead.

          Otherwise we ALL understand that you have no idea of what you are talking about.

        • Ron

          Speaking of Keener’s book of confirmed miracles, I’m still waiting for you to cite those footnotes listing the confirmed medical reports of lost limbs restored through prayer that I asked for two weeks ago. And lest you need reminding, 1 Peter 3:15 instructs you “to provide answers to everyone who asks”—i.e., real answers, not deflections and excuses.

        • Al

          The book is over 1200 pages and has over 200 pages of footnotes. Get the book and check it out for yourself.

        • Kodie

          That’s hilarious you telling us to read 1000 pages, while you protest looking up one or two blog posts.

        • adam

          You are not Keener are you?
          You seem to use the EXACT same techniques:

          Enter Craig Keener. The main thing he does in Miracles is
          collect lots and lots of stories of seemingly miraculous happenings, most of them healings. He doesn’t really try to do any in-depth investigation of the stories he reports, but he’s up-front about that. He talks about his limitations, like a lack of funding for investigation, lack of time off from his teaching duties, and his own lack of medical knowledge, …

          But now the bad. The problems with Keener’s book begin on the very first page when he states the book’s thesis:

          The book’s primary thesis is simply that eyewitnesses do
          offer miracle claims, a thesis simple enough but one sometimes neglected when some scholars approach accounts in the Gospels. The secondary thesis is that supernatural explanations, while not suitable in every case, should be welcome on the scholarly table along with other
          explanations often discussed (p. 1)

          This is what I call a weaselly thesis statement because it clearly says much less than what Keener wants to say. It lets him that hint at some very controversial claims, but because he’s officially only defending these seemingly banal claims, it gets him off the hook from really having to defend his views. Chris Hallquis

          Of course YOU could settle this issue by DEMONSTRATING that YOUR god is not IMAGINARY..

        • adam

          You are ignorant – the Holocaust was done by christians….

          Based on the writings of Martin Luther.
          Kristallnacht was held on Martin Luther’s BIRTHDAY for that reason…

          But of course you could put this all to rest JUST by DEMONSTRATING that your god in not IMAGINARY…

        • MNb

          “Atheism could never birth science.”
          That’s correct – but only because christians like you made very sure that atheists in the 16th and 17th Century died well before they got the chance to do any science.
          You are aware that Hitler was an anti-atheist, don’t you?

          http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/tp/HitlerNazisAtheismSecularism.htm

          As for Stalin, he didn’t mind getting deified. Stalinism was a religion, actually modelled after christianity. For instance your christian heaven was replaced by the classless society.

        • Pofarmer

          Perhaps Atheism could never birth science. But, theology certainly tried to abort it.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          So does God love cancer patients, but hate amputees? Because to date there have been zero confirmed cases of unexplained recovery from amputations, but you wouldn’t think an omnipotent God would have any problems restoring lost limbs.

          Or perhaps there’s something about conditions like cancer that allows for them to go into remission naturally, no God involved, which is not the case for amputations? Which would explain why cancer can suddenly be “cured”, but amputations cannot.

          After all, recently a case of HIV has been cured thanks to the application of an uncommon mutation (Google “The Berlin Patient” for more info). Perhaps some people have mutations which allow them to recover from cancer, which most other people do not? And if we pinpointed this mutation, we could apply this knowledge to curing cancer for everyone?

          It makes a lot more sense than saying “Praise Jesus/Muhammad/insert preferred revered figure here! This person we prayed for recovered from cancer, so our religion must be true – never mind the fact that pretty much every single cancer patient is/was prayed for and most of them never recover! One hit among thousands upon thousands of misses is proof of religion and the power of prayer!”

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

          “It’s popular; therefore, it’s true.” Is that it?

        • Al

          Nope. It shows how influential He was and is still. No one like Him. No one comes close in influential. Even you are influenced by Him.

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

          So then “it’s popular; therefore, it’s true.”

          If that’s not what you mean, explain how it’s different.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Muhammad. You know, the revered prophet of Islam, the religion that is winning by a landslide in the middle east? Even funnier, Christianity also started in the middle east, but Christians represent a tiny fraction of the population there compared to Muslims.

          Is the fact that Islam is handily beating Christianity on Christianity’s home turf evidence that Islam is the correct religion?

        • adam

          Read the Koran, the Vedas, the myths of Zeus, etc, they will TELL you
          what god is like. The bible, as we have already established is
          MYTHOLOGY.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?.

        • powellpower

          Thanks mate! Using your definition I’ve decided to join Islam as there seems to be more Muslims than Christians in the world.

          That was easy! Love your great truth filter!

        • adam

          Faster growing as well, so OBVIOUSLY it is the only TRUE religion….

          Well until the next fastest one shows up….

        • Al

          I don’t get it. How does this follow?

        • adam

          There is no one in history like Mohammed. The mere fact that His teachings are followed and debated is proof of His greatness.

          Can you NOW admit that you’ve not read the Koran in it’s entirety?

        • smrnda

          But… if I went back in time to the 1st century, would the small size of the Christians as opposed to other religions imply they were false? I mean, it took a while for Christianity to gain dominance.

        • Al

          Size or acceptance of something does not mean its automatically true.

        • smrnda

          The the popularity of Jesus means nothing.

        • Al

          Only that over a billion people today believe in Him. How many people do you think embrace atheism?

        • Kodie

          You just said

          Size or acceptance of something does not mean its automatically true.

          Why are you so disturbed?

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

          Nice! smrnda slaps down your argument so you just ignore it and repeat your argument.

          I’ll have to remember that trick.

        • Al

          That was no argument from smrnda. I thought by now you would be able to recognize an argument from assertion. Boy was I wrong.

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

          You make a stupid claim, someone responded, and you ignored the response. Just like you ignore me.

          Go back to debate school.

        • Kodie

          No, actually you contradicted what you just said.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s at least the second time Al has contradicted his own ad populum argument

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW……

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • Kodie

          Then why do you keep saying that’s proof?

        • Al

          Its proof of influence and truth.

        • Kodie

          No it’s not proof of truth, only influence. If what you’re looking for is “greater influence” that is an appropriate time to count heads. But that’s a storybook. The fictional character can have influence like Fonzie or Mr. Spock or Dumbledore.

        • Al

          Take any fictional character and tell me how much influence this character has had on mankind over the centuries and what as the nature of the influence? How many people have committed their lives to “Fonzie or Mr. Spock or Dumbledore”?

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure you can follow the shiny red bouncing ball of reading for comprehension.

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

          “Jesus was influential; therefore, the gospel story is accurate.”

          Not much of an argument.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • adam

          So for the first hundred years or so, EVEN with all the CLAIMED MAGIC, christianity had VERY LITTLE influence and truth.

          All the ‘influence and truth’ came about after it was made the state religion at the edge of a sword.

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW…..

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • Al

          There are more Christians in the world than Muslims.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • powellpower

          Nah, u need to split up Catholics and Christians

        • Greg G.

          “There is no one in history like Christ.”-Al

          That’s what some of us have been telling you.

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

          Is he great like King Arthur or Paul Bunyan?

        • Al

          Far far greater.

        • adam

          NO he’s not….

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • adam

          Read the Koran, the Vedas, the myths of Zeus, Mithra, etc, they will TELL you what god is like. The bible, as we have already established is MYTHOLOGY.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

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

          Why? Why not read some other holy book?

        • Al

          Because in the NT you have the truth.

        • adam

          We have already established that the bible is MYTHOLOGY.

          If MAGIC is the truth, WHEN are you going to demonstrate it?

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

          You’ve been around long enough. Tell me how I would respond to that claim.

        • Al

          Believe it.

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

          Wrong again.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW…….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • Pofarmer

          Why not the Secret Gospel of Mark? Why not the Gnostic Gospels? Why not the apocalypse of Adam?

        • Al

          Written long after the apostles and therefore not apostolic nor eyewitness accounts.

        • Pofarmer

          All of those works I listed are considered early or nearly as early as the canonical gospels. And some of them, even claim. In the texts, to have been written by apostles or disciples

        • Al

          Some may claim that but the church at the time and even scholars know otherwise. Take the “gospel of Thomas”. Though it has the apostle Thomas name on it we know it was not written by him because its dated to the earliest as the 2nd century. Thomas was dead by then. Same goes for the other writings of Gnostics.

        • Pofarmer

          We don’t know that at all. It’s jast that your Liberty University Apologists NEED it to be late to keep,their narrative up scholars are somewhat divided.

          “While the cumulative nature of the sayings collection understandably makes the Gospel of Thomas difficult to date with precision, several factors weigh in favor of a date well before the end of the first century: the way in which Thomas appeals to the authority of particular prominent figures (Thomas, James) against the competing claims of others (Peter, Matthew); in genre, the sayings collection, which seems to have declined in importance after the emergence of the more biographical and dialogical forms near the end of the first century; and its primitive christology, which seems to presuppose a theological climate even more primitive than the later stages of the synoptic sayings gospel, Q. Together these factors suggest a date for Thomas in the vicinity of 70-80 C.E. As for its provenance, while it is possible, even likely, that an early version of this collection associated with James circulated in the environs of Jerusalem, the Gospel of Thomas in more or less its present state comes from eastern Syria, where the popularity of the apostle Thomas (Judas Didymos Thomas) is well attested.” In other words, it’s easily possible Thomas could predate Mark.

        • adam

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

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

          There were 40 or more gospels. The canonical ones were simply the ones that were the most popular. That’s not much on which to build a claim of historicity.

        • Al

          That’s not all. Only the 4 were known to be written by an apostle (eyewitness) or by someone associated with an apostle. All others were fakes.

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

          And we know that just cuz you said so? Or perhaps because Answers in Genesis or some other infallible site said so?

          No, the 4 canonical gospels weren’t written by eyewitness; in fact, scholars make clear that we don’t know who wrote them.

        • adam

          NONE were written by eyewitnesses.
          They are ALL fakes….

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW…….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • adam

          But there are no eyewitness accounts, just stories of such….
          Not even as recent at Mohammads or Joseph Smith..

          IF ONLY you could DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and HIS MAGIC….

          Then you could settle this NOW….

          Obviously you have NO IDEA about what you are talking about.

        • RowanVT

          Why though? Why wasn’t he fine with simply existing. He *wanted* which means he felt a need to do something. After all, why does he *want* to express his glory? It makes it sound like God was sitting in the Nothing and going “Me, I’m just so amazing. I’m awesome. Everything about me is stupendous. If only I had some way of showing just how awesome I am to myself.”

          You’ve implied God is a show-off… which makes a lot of sense, actually.

        • Kodie

          God needed external validation.

        • adam

          To answer the question, why does God need worshipers, we need only ask, why does a king need subjects? A king without subjects is not a king at all. But with subjects who obey him, a king has enormous, and genuine power. He can speak a command, and an army marches. A temple or a palace springs into being. At the king’s word, his enemies can be slaughtered, and an entire nation of people can act as one.

          But what sort of a king is God? After all, a king must exist
          in some form, in order to reign. We can point to a Ramesses or a Napoleon, and say, “there he is.” As a human being, he has real needs and wants that his subjects provide. Furthermore, rebellion, or even indifference is a genuine threat to his power, and he will act to crush both, in exactly the same manner that God acts. The whole point of having subjects is that they, collectively, have power the king, in himself, does not have. By himself, he could not raise a palace or a pyramid, or conquer a neighboring nation.

          In other words, by proclaiming himself to be a King,
          God not only confesses that he is not “omnipotent,” he admits that humans have power that he lacks. Everything God commands people to do, from waging wars, to passing collection plates in church, to banning gay
          marriage is ironclad, demonstrable proof-in-action that God cannot do these things in and for himself.

          K Crady

        • adam

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?.

        • powellpower

          Is really semantics. I can rephrase what you said and argue that he needed to express glory and power exactly because he LACKED an avenue to show glory and power. And why would a satisfied being want to flex his/her/it all powerful muscle so much so that things need to be created to go woo ahh your muscles are so beautiful.

        • Al

          It is an expression of God nature to create. It was not because He lacked anything.

        • adam

          God lacked mindless worshipers.
          God is NOTHING without worshipers.

          But of course you are talking about an IMAGINARY being that you APPARENTLY know almost nothing about…

        • powellpower

          K. Because you say so.

          You say potato I say potato lol.

        • adam

          1de·sire verb di-ˈzī(-ə)r, dē-

          : to want or wish for (something) : to feel desire for (something)

          If you have everything you want for nothing.
          YOUR god would die the same death as Zeus without blind worshipers.

          But YOU could settle all this NOW, IF you could demonstrate that YOUR god is not IMAGINARY…

        • Greg G.

          He lacked a creation to express his glory and power in.

        • adam

          You could put this whole argument to rest in MINUTES.

          When are YOU actually going to DEMONSTRATE that your god is not IMAGINARY?

        • RichardSRussell

          I won’t go into detail here, but the god named God is claimed to have 4 ultimate characteristics: omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence. It’s always possible to construct a contest pitting any 2 of these against each other, and (at least) 1 of them must fail, thereby proving that no such critter exists.

          Indeed, it’s possible to pit at least 1 of them (omnipotence) against itself, as in “Can God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it?” Either answer produces a sub-omnipotent being. QED.

    • MNb

      As convoluted as the OA itself. Imo that’s the big disadvantage of all parodies. It’s why parodies may show that there is something wrong with the OA, but don’t point out what’s exactly wrong.

    • Greg G.

      Yes, as Buddhism teaches, desire leads to suffering so the greatest conceivable being would not desire.

      • asmondius

        Only works if God is human.

        • RowanVT

          You think only humans desire things?

        • Timothy Cooper

          My dog desires to go outside and play. Is my dog human?

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

      Sounds convincing to me.

      • asmondius

        Easy.

    • asmondius

      Your thought is flawed from ground zero because you are describing an anthropomorphic god.

      • RowanVT

        Aaand the God of the bible *isn’t*?

        • asmondius

          Obviously not.

        • RowanVT

          Hmmmn, he ascribes to himself emotions such as jealousy. He regrets. He angers. He created mankind in his ‘image’. He incarnated as a human.

          Sounds pretty darn anthropomorphic.

        • adam

          Not only that, but the bible gods emotional make up is about that of a 5 year old spoiled child.

        • Ron

          Jesus exhibits the same temperament when he curses the fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season.

        • 90Lew90

          Run away.

      • hector_jones

        Don’t keep us in suspense. We are dying to hear why that matters.

      • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

        If you want to define God as a non-anthropomorphic force no more personal than gravity – essentially synonymous with nature/reality – I’m fine with that. Such a God would not be involved in writing a book or telepathically communicating with ancient tribesmen, either.

  • asmondius

    Hoare’s Reality:

    ‘Simple designs never scale’.

  • reverend robbie

    The metaphor could be taken further. The evidence that a program is well written is that it produces results. When the apologist’s arguments produce God, we’ll agree that there are no errors.

  • RichardSRussell

    As if to demonstrate Bob’s point about how convoluted and arcane apologetic arguments usually get, various fundamentalists have emerged from the woodwork to supply a plethora of examples in the comments below.

    To save you having to wade thru them, they almost all boil down to “because I wish it were so, that’s why”.

  • purr

    My goodness, the Christian trolls around here are mindless energizer bunnies. Perpetual bullshit machines.

    And I say troll, because they don’t seem at all interested in honest debate.

    • adam

      Honest debate is the Destroyer of Gods….

      • Al

        And atheists.

        • adam

          Well then WHEN are YOU going to start destroying atheists?

          So far, you and people like you are the best arguments FOR atheist. When people see what christianity has done to your mind and ability to HONESTLY reason, atheists win.

          But YOU could settle all this in a MINUTE by demonstrating the MAGIC power of YOUR god…

        • Al

          Atheism doesn’t need to be destroyed. It self destructs very well on its own.

        • adam

          It doesnt self destruct at all.
          And YOU have furthered the atheist cause with your posts.
          You have become an atheist asset.

          But YOU could settle all this in a MINUTE by demonstrating the MAGIC power of YOUR god…

        • SuperMark

          “atheist asset” I love it, I feel the same way about Al. Soooooo glad I don’t think like him anymore!

        • Al

          You never did.

        • SuperMark

          so now you know how I used to think? i was exactly like you when i was a child intellectually.

        • adam

        • Kodie

          Another gem of a turd by Al.

        • Timothy Cooper

          It’s a superpower that true believers get when they lose their ability to separate fiction from reality.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Yes you’re doing such a good job of it. Keep up the “good” work

        • Ann Kah

          It is the only American “religious group” whose numbers are increasing.


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