Response to Lee Strobel’s “Five E’s of Evidence”

Case for Christ, 5 Es of Evidence

Lee Strobel has a story. No, it’s not the Greatest Story Ever Told (though he gets to that). The story is his conversion from unpleasant atheist to humble Christian servant, using his tough legal mind and journalistic experience to verify the facts of the Jesus story. (This story has been turned into a movie, The Case for Christ, which I critique here.)

He offers five reasons to accept the gospel story, each starting with the letter E. Let’s examine them and see if we can apply the eight lessons we developed from wading through Gary Habermas’s “minimal facts” argument for the resurrection.

E #1: Jesus was Executed. We can be sure that Jesus was dead. The Romans were very good at killing people. Don’t imagine that Jesus survived and then revived in the tomb. In addition, non-Christian historians like Tacitus and Josephus confirm the death. [I’ll show Strobel’s argument in italics.]

I’m always startled when Christians wallow in the agony Jesus went through. Strobel takes us on a gory journey through the details of the beating, how crucifixion worked, and so on. That apparently makes his sacrifice more impressive (though I’m unimpressed).

Strobel’s Executed claim violates our Lesson 1: it’s just a story. Yes, the story says that Jesus was executed, but so what? That’s not history. I’ll grant that someone dying is a fairly easy claim to accept. There’s nothing supernatural there, but we must emphasize the difference between a story and history. Is the gospel more than a story? That must be shown.

As for the historians, they give us little more than “there are people called Christians” (more on Josephus here).

E #2: There were Early accounts of the Jesus tale. Not only do we have four gospels, but 1 Corinthians 15 gives a creed stating that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day. This creed has been dated by scholars to just a few years after the death of Jesus.

A creed is a statement of belief; it isn’t history. (I’ve written more about the 1 Corinthians passage here.)

As for the accounts being early, if you read the story of a three-days-dead man resurrecting from the tomb in yesterday’s newspaper, you wouldn’t believe it. Why believe it in a 2000-year-old document? Does making it harder to verify somehow make the claim more plausible?

The Early Accounts claim violates Lesson 8: just because the consensus of New Testament scholars says so doesn’t make it true. To those who demand that Christian scholars get a seat at the table, I wonder if they’d like to have Muslim scholars at the table. They have no supernatural bias, and they even accept much of the story of Jesus. Oddly, they universally reject the resurrection part. Are they biased by their religion? Perhaps, but if Muslim scholars are biased, what does that say about Christian scholars? Let’s not forget their bias.

Don’t imagine legend crept in to the gospel story. Historian A.N. Sherwin-White argues that “the passage of two generations of time was not enough for legend to wipe out a solid core of historical truth.”

I’ve written in detail about Sherwin-White’s work here. In short, Sherwin-White wasn’t making an immutable rule about the growth of legend. Note also that his claim is that the truth isn’t erased, not that there’s a reliable way of retrieving it.

E #3: The tomb was found Empty. “Nobody in the first century was claiming it was anything but empty.” The authorities said that disciples stole the body, but the disciples had no motive to, and that story simply confirms that the tomb was empty! The skeptics had to invent a story to explain away this embarrassing fact.

Apologists are drawn to weak skeptical arguments like sharks to chum. “Disciples stole the body” or “Jesus wasn’t dead and revived in the tomb” are fun to knock over, but this process is just misdirection. Apologists hope we won’t notice how weak the primary argument is.

Disciples are said to have stolen the body? Lesson 1: it’s just a story. Strobel says that skeptics invented the story, but of course that story comes from Matthew, not from skeptics.

75% of critical scholars accept the empty tomb as historical.

Lesson 8: the consensus of New Testament scholars doesn’t count for much, especially when this “75%” isn’t a valid poll.

Remember that the gospel accounts of the empty tomb come decades after the supposed event. Why would anyone expect there to still be naysayers (people who knew the truth who could rebut a false tale) to challenge the gospel story? Though the Naysayer Hypothesis is popular, it crumbles with a little investigation.

E #4: We have Eyewitness evidence. In 1 Cor. 15, Paul mentions individuals who saw the risen Jesus by name and makes clear that there were 500 more. And the icing on the cake is when Paul challenges the reader to look them up to verify the claim! “No way would he have said that if it wasn’t true.”

500 eyewitnesses? That’s no evidence. And you know who agrees with me? The author of each of the gospels! None of the gospels repeat this claim. Perhaps the authors hadn’t heard of this rumor or knew it to be false; either way, Paul’s claim looks pretty weak.

“You’ll back me up on this, right guys? Guys . . . ?” Sorry, Paul, but you’re alone on this one.

(I write more about the claim of 500 eyewitnesses here.)

“I’ve seen people sent to the death chamber on a fraction of this kind of evidence.”

And now Strobel really jumps the shark. He’s seen people convicted by a single sentence written by a stranger? I doubt it. The Sixth Amendment demands that the accused be able to cross-examine a witness. Not only is Paul long dead, but we know very little about him. Strobel compounds this problem because he probably takes the conservative line by insisting that the thirteen Pauline epistles were indeed all written by Paul, though most scholars only acknowledge seven. In other words, Strobel doesn’t even accept the scholarly consensus about this “witness.”

E #5: The Emergence of the early church. The Christian church emerged in the very city where Jesus had just been crucified. “Now, how do you sell [a false story] to people if they are there and they know better?”

No, the people weren’t there! The New Testament wasn’t written in Jerusalem just days after the events it claims to document; the many books of the New Testament were written in cities all around the Mediterranean decades later. Skeptics couldn’t read it and then step out their doors to do man-on-the-street interviews to verify the facts.

Weeks after the resurrection, Peter stood up publicly and proclaimed the gospel story. People didn’t say that it was nonsense. “History shows that on that day 3000 people” proclaimed the truth and joined the church.

No, it was a story. The “people” are just characters on a page that can be made to do whatever suited the author’s purpose. The claim of history must be shown.

The 8 lessons

Some of the other lessons are relevant to dismantling Strobel’s simple argument.

  • 2. The natural trumps the supernatural. The God hypothesis might be right, but we need big evidence.
  • 4. “Given the story to this point . . .” Strobel often wants to assume part of the story as history as he evaluates what comes next.
  • 7. Evaluate similar claims with a similar bar of evidence. If you’re unimpressed with a particular claim from another religion, don’t expect us to be any more convinced by an analogous claim from Christianity.

Strobel said that he had rejected Christianity because he refused to be held accountable for his worthless life and because he was too proud to bend his knee to Jesus. The bigger issue is that he had no good reason to accept it.

[Heaven is like] when you hear someone
talk about Hawaii like they’ve been there 
but they only read about it in a brochure. 
— Kodie (commenter)

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/11/14.)

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kevin K

    I is for “imaginary”.

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

      No–E is for “Emaginary.”

  • Bob Jase

    if Strobel’s life was worthless before then its dropped in value as he’s a piss-ass poor apologist.

  • Raging Bee

    I’m always startled when Christians wallow in the agony Jesus went through.

    I’m willing to bet that Jesus himself would also be startled, and even shocked and disgusted at such pornographic fetishization of bodily suffering. If he was even half as decent as the Gospels say he was, he’d have smacked the fetishists in the back of their heads and said, “WTF are you gawking at?! Quit reading this shit and read some news instead! There’s worse suffering than mine all over the planet — do something about it!

    • epicurus

      Plus lots of people were crucified, wouldn’t they have suffered just as much? Jesus was also only crucified for a few hours before being taken down, instead of the usual many days.

    • SparklingMoon,

      If he was even half as decent as the Gospels say he was, he’d have …………..There’s worse suffering than mine all over the planet — do something about it!”
      —————————————————————————————————————————————————–

      The Jesus, the Messiah, never willingly accepted crucifixion, and the mischievous Jews of his time of Jerusalem treated him as they liked. They planned to kill him on cross to prove a cursed person on the basis of the verse in Deuteronomy, 21:23 which says that he who dies on the rod is accursed.

      Jesus was sent to reform the people of Israel of his time and to maintain the practice of Mosaic Law in its original form. Some humble people of Israel accepted him but mostly rejected him in the area of Jerusalem and specially the arrogant religious leaders of his time. It was religious leaders (pharisees and sadducees) who misguided other Israelite of the area and planned to remove Jesus from their way. They made false complaints against Jesus before Roman government that he was a rebellion who wanted to become a king of the country. Jesus was a prophet of God and used to talk about spiritual kingdom but the Jews of his time misrepresented his sayings and posed him as a rebellion of the government .

      The Jews religious Leaders compelled the Pilate to give his the punishment of cross. Pilate had made many attempts to save Jesus. He gave the enraged crowds an option either to save Jesus’ life or that of a notorious criminal called Barabbas. (Matthew 27:15–26) ”(15) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. (16)At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.(17) So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (18)For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over. (20)But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. (21)But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” (22)Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” (23) And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!” (24)When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” (25)And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (26) Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

      Jesus on the other hand spent the whole night weeping and praying in a garden, and God accepted his prayers on account of his righteousness, and (according to Bible’s descriptions) saved him from an accursed death on the cross. It is, therefore, sheer calumny to say that the Jesus , the Messiah, willingly accepted to hang on cross.

  • RichardSRussell

    Here’s another “E” for Mr. Strobel: esurient.

    • Greg G.

      I suddenly came over all peckish.

      • TheNuszAbides

        so I curtailed my Walpole-ing activities …

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Now I’m all for a bit of fantasy at times, but really , Paul says there were 500 witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, and Paul never met Jesus, apart from on the Damascus road, and his “information” came through personal revelation. Perhaps Miss Marple or Philip Marlow might make better historical detectives than Lee Strobel ? Why didn’t the dog bark ? Because Jesus was never there ! Elementary.

    • Greg G.

      Paul insists that he did not get his information from human sources. He said he got it from the Lord and from Jesus but he says he got if from the prophetic writings, which is apparently how the Lord revealed things to him. He seems to be honest about that because he never says anything about Jesus that does not have an OT passage where Paul’s ideas could be inferred.

    • RichardSRussell

      I will say, here and now, that there were really 501 witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. That makes me a MUCH more reliable source than Paul, wouldn’t you say, given that neither of us managed to name even a single one of them?

      This is not merely sarcasm. Just as Gresham’s Law says that the cheap coinage tends to drive the dear out of circulation, so does the more extravagant claim gain more attention and notoriety — and subsequently adherence — than the more modest one. “Jesus was a nice guy and, despite some character flaws, had some pretty good ideas about how people should interact with each other.” isn’t nearly as compelling an attention-getter as “Jesus was the son of Almighty God, and his every word was a divine command.”

    • SparklingMoon,

      If Paul was indeed meant to appear as an Apostle after the Messiah, the latter should have foretold something about him. How could such a person be trusted after Jesus unless he himself made a clear prophecy that, although Paul has been my bitter enemy and has done me great harm, he will become an Apostle and a holy man after I am gone. This was all the more important because Paul gave a teaching that was against the Torah. Jesus never taught the doctrine of the Trinity. Paul unjustly started preaching contrary the true teachings of Jesus, and went to the extent of creating a new faith. He set his followers against the Torah and taught them that there was no need for the Law after the Messiah’s Atonement, and Christians did not need to follow the Torah because the Messiah’s blood was enough to wipe away their sins.

      He also replaced the teachings of the Torah regarding the Oneness of God with the teaching of the Trinity, and declared it unnecessary to follow the commandments of the Torah, and turned away from the Holy Temple. It was, therefore, essential that some prophecy should have been made regarding this person who played such havoc with the Mosaic Law. But in the absence of any such prophecy in the Gospel, and in view of his hostility towards Jesus (as) and his opposition to the timeless commandments of the Torah, is there any reason at all why he should be accepted as a sage?(Ruhanikhazain)

    • Tommy

      People usually cite Paul as proof that 500 people saw the risen Jesus. But what they don’t understand or won’t admit is that there’s a difference between 500 people claiming they saw something and one man claiming that 500 people saw something.

      • Ignorant Amos

        What they also fail to understand is that Paul is saying the 500 (nice round number) seen Jesus just as he did, in a vision,i.e. hallucination….or at least that’s his claim…sounds like a porky to me. A literary device for purpose, but could well have been an interpolation if Robert Price is being accurate.

        https://celsus.blog/2013/07/04/1-corinthians-15-and-the-500-witnesses/

        And who was going to check even if he wasn’t…

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/04/500-eyewitnesses-to-the-risen-christ-not-likely-2/

        A lot of woo woo if ya ask me.

        • Bob Jase

          500 witnesses to a risen dead man and none of them thought to write any comment about it, not even a graffitti saying, “Holy shit, there’s a dead guy walking around.”.

          I really is a miracle that Christianity spread since all the supposed eye-witnesses never wrote or spoke about it.

  • Kev Green

    “Now, how do you sell [a false story] to people if they are there and they know better?”

    If this were difficult to do Fox news wouldn’t still be in business.

  • Mark Dowd

    Was this shit written before or after Trump kicked the normal right-wing misinformation machine into hyperoverdrive and began constantly gaslighting the entire country?

    All that crap about “people wouldn’t believe this shit if there was evidence against it”…ARE YOU FUCKING PAYING ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW!?!?!? Anything that’s going on for the past several years? People are fucking stupid, and are capable of being led to believe anything.

    “A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth is able to grab it by the pussy.”
    –Donald Trump (Watch it catch on)

    • Greg G.

      Was this shit written before or after Trump kicked the normal right-wing misinformation machine into hyperoverdrive and began constantly gaslighting the entire country?

      At the bottom of the article, you will see: (This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/11/14.)

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

      Yes, tragically, current events show that some Christian arguments like this are BS.

    • Pofarmer

      I don’t know if you are watching “The Orville” on Fox, but the last episode was about a society where right and wrong are determined by social media. My 16 yr old and I got to talking and he said that the main lesson that he had learned from social media is that people are stupid, generally. So, maybe there is hope.

      • Greg G.

        I like that show. It’s Star Trek as a sitcom. A few weeks ago, they found a large object floating through space and it was going to crash into a star. They had started out seeking another planet but the engine crapped out. The subsequent generations didn’t know that they were in a spaceship. It was blasphemy to say that there was more to the universe than what they saw in the ship.

        • Pofarmer

          They’ve been maybe a little heavy-handed on religion, although that is kind of Seth MacFarlane’s gig. He sneaks some good sciency stuff in there. It may have been from the same episode you’re talking about where they talked about origin myths and different species, the technological guy basically gave Lawrence Krauss answer. I could feel my wife squirm a little.

        • al kimeea

          For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky – TOS S3 E8

      • Otto

        “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

        One of my favorite Carlin quotes.

        Social media and the internet shine a light on this, before I was able to pretend it wasn’t that bad, but now there is no hiding.

        • gusbovona

          Approximately 1/2 of all Americans are below average intelligence.

        • Rudy R

          Ah, quoting my favorite philospher!

          “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” — George Carlin

    • Rudy R

      Like Trump supporters, how many of the Apostles and early Christian’s didn’t even care if the Jesus story was a lie?

  • Doubting Thomas

    The Romans were very good at killing people. Don’t imagine that Jesus survived and then revived in the tomb.

    He’s right. It would be highly unlikely that someone would suvive crucifixion. But you know what’s exponentially less likely than surviving crucifixion? Magically coming back to life.

    Math is very unfriendly to Christianity.

    • Greg G.

      Josephus says that he saw three of his friends being crucified among many. He requested to Titus to have them taken down. One of them survived.

    • Jim Jones

      > It would be highly unlikely that someone would survive crucifixion.

      Indeed. Although there are occasional examples. However none are known to have founded a religion.

      It’s just a story. No Jesus, no apostles, no facts.

      • Ignorant Amos

        As unlikely as surviving crucifixion may well have been, nevertheless, there is examples of just that occuring…

        And when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered. ~Flavius Josephus

        http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0150%3Awhiston+section%3D75

        • Jim Jones

          Indeed, although we must take Josephus’ claims where he is personally involved with a lot of salt. His story about being the last survivor is very dubious IMO.

          After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded, killing thousands; the survivors committed suicide. According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with 40 of his companions in July 67 CE. The Romans (commanded by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors) asked the group to surrender, but they refused. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide; they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person. Two men were left (this method as a mathematical problem is referred to as the Josephus problem, or Roman roulette), who surrendered to the Roman forces and became prisoners. In 69 CE, Josephus was released. According to his account, he acted as a negotiator with the defenders during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, in which his parents and first wife died.

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

  • KarlUdy

    Bob,
    Your main objection to the 5 E’s Strobel provides seem to centre around the claim that “it’s just a story”.

    Now, on the face of it, yes, it is a story. But then, all history is is a collection of stories. Stories that give meaning and structure to events that really happened. So while no one can dispute that what has been passed down to us is a story, to claim that it is just a story is either specious or Baudillardian.

    The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky. It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour. That this was a new community that began shortly before the writings that became the New Testament were written gives historians plenty to work with to find the explanations that best fit the evidence.

    Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeatedly spouting “it’s just a story” may be reassuring to you, but it’s not going to help you find the truth.

    • adam

      ” So while no one can dispute that what has been passed down to us is a story, to claim that it is just a story is either specious or Baudillardian.”

      In the very same fashion you can dispute that a Big Mac is a hamburger.

      “The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky.”
      Neither did Spiderman.

      “Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeatedly spouting “it’s just a
      story” may be reassuring to you, but it’s not going to help you find the
      truth.”

      Truth is that it is mythology, a COLLECTION of stories.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6bb6ce35eb34e549830db6b00e7642d7b0d911d7db38049a09287eaffcd05f80.jpg

      • Greg G.

        The artist who painted that picture must not have ever seen a person who was over 100 years old.

        • adam

          Yeah but ‘baldy’ had those kids killed for mocking him.

        • Michael Neville

          Different “baldy”.

        • adam

          Of course,
          Well probably
          Maybe
          Hard to know the origin of some of these stories.

        • Kodie

          I bet some of these old folk tales got kind of boring, like if you had to watch the same episode of the same tv show every time you turned on the tv. Naturally, people started adding twists, adding chapters, picking up where another story left off, but with your own opinions and hang-ups. It’s a little like a tradition of fanfic. I really have no idea about the bible’s compilation as a pile of stories, some that seem historically linked, others random spin-offs, how they ended up in the same book. Thematically about god but obviously people had their own perception of the magical agent in the sky, what he wants, how he occasionally brings the hammer down for who knows why this storm or that fire, blame sin. They always blame sin.

        • adam

          “I bet some of these old folk tales got kind of boring, like if you had
          to watch the same episode of the same tv show every time you turned on
          the tv. Naturally, people started adding twists, adding chapters, picking up
          where another story left off, but with your own opinions and hang-ups.”

          I dont really think so.

          http://www.tellabration.org/
          Tellabration is coming next month, I would encourage you to go and see live story tellers.

          Story telling before written stories was The News,
          And important to The News is remembering the story,
          Remembering is greatly assisted by EXAGGERATION.

          If YOU want to remember the story and you want the audience to remember, you have to make it——— well ———— rememberable.
          And exaggeration IS that method.

          This is just such part of story telling, that once The News was old and not news, the exaggerations became stories of their own.

          “They always blame sin.”

          An IMAGINARY disease, of which ONLY THEY have the ‘cure’.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)
          Symbiosis is the story of two planets who were hit with the same plague.
          The cure was found only on one of the planets, but the cure was actually an addictive narcotic
          The planet what the cure was found on, discovered this, realizing that the plague had been cured, and avoided addiction.
          The other planet just accepted that the ‘cure’ was just temporary without realizing they were addicted.
          The planet with the ‘cure’ restructured their GNP around one single product – the ‘cure’ and worked hard at purifying and concentrating it to make it even more addictive, but they had no star ships in which to deliver the ‘cure’ because the cure was the single product of the whole planet.
          The addicted planet had star ships, because they choose to develop technology, but their technology was allowed to decay due to their dependence on the ‘cure’.
          This created a sybiotic relationship between those who ‘believe’ they needed the ‘cure’, when the ‘cure’ is actually their problem and the planet of the ‘cure’ which had no other technology other than the ‘cure’.

          This seems to be a good analogy of ‘sin’.
          The ‘church’ has nothing else, and as long as ‘believers’ believe that they need the ‘church’ to alleviate their ‘sins’.

          Again, an IMAGINARY cure for an IMAGINARY problem, but they have little else to offer.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think we disagree. I am just saying, the kids didn’t want to listen to repeats.

        • adam

          Yet, I cant wait for repeats at Tellabration, because they are so memorable.

        • Kodie

          Well, of course, there are movies or books or certain episodes of particular tv shows that people like to revisit, but say, there’s this bedtime story and it’s the only one you know, and no matter how good you tell it, the kids ask, then what happens? Take any storybook off the shelf written by any author, and then start to make up Adam’s sequel to that story. Bring in original new characters, etc. and your own voice, your own style. Anyway, my dad tells me repeats all the time, and they’re not so much stories but dwellings, and I don’t mean houses. I mean stock accounts of stuff that happened or thoughts he had, or things he likes to complain about. I bet a lot of people have dads like that, in an almost interchangeable way.

    • eric

      But then, all history is is a collection of stories.

      Right. But we don’t accept miracle claims from other faiths when they write history, so why should we do so for this one? We don’t accept miracle claims from other non-religious historical tales, so why should we do sofr this one? Histortians and archaeologists read the Iliad, and some of them went to dig for Troy. But none of them read it and claimed that that the warrior Achilles really had a goddess as a mother and that she really made him magically invulnerable except for his heel.

      So yes, you have a point in saying that all historical accounts share some of the same issues of being necessarily secondary sources, with problems of confirmtion, reproducibility etc… and pointing out that despite those issues, we often accept what they say. But the proper response to that comparison is to say that if the Bible is like other historical accounts, then we should be as skeptical of the miracles in the Bible as we are of the miracles in other historical documents.

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

      But then, all history is is a collection of stories

      No, history is history. That’s different, in my argument, than merely a story. You can tell a story about how Alexander the Great won a battle, but if that’s all it is–and we have no reason to believe it actually happened–who cares? The stories of Alexander are some level of history–some well evidenced and some poorly evidenced.

      Is the Jesus story more than just a story? Great–then let’s see the evidence and see if we can move it into some level of “history.”

      gives historians plenty to work with to find the explanations that best fit the evidence.

      Great. They can have at it. I suspect that when they get to the supernatural parts, they’ll say, “it’s just a story,” just like me.

      Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeatedly spouting “it’s just a story” may be reassuring to you, but it’s not going to help you find the truth.

      Not what I’m doing. I’m pounding the table and demanding the evidence.

      • KarlUdy

        No, history is history. That’s different, in my argument, than merely a story. You can tell a story about how Alexander the Great won a battle, but if that’s all it is–and we have no reason to believe it actually happened–who cares?

        If you had read or quoted more carefully you would have seen my next sentence:

        Stories that give meaning and structure to events that really happened.

        My point was that the New Testament, just like the accounts of Alexander the Great’s battles, are more than just stories.

        Not what I’m doing. I’m pounding the table and demanding the evidence.

        By returning to your familiar refrain of “It’s just a story”, you are not demanding evidence. You are proposing an alternative narrative behind the origin of the New Testament for which you have no evidence. Or at least you have not given any evidence. And just stating that you don’t believe it could be a historical account is not evidence.

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

          I’m surprised that my point is so hard to grasp.

          When I say, “It’s just a story,” that’s equivalent to, “It’s all well and good to string words together, but if you want us to believe that this is actually history, you need to show us.” Or: “Gimme evidence.”

        • KarlUdy

          You mean evidence like the emergence of the Christian church? Creeds stating a belief in a resurrected Christ dating back to within the decade of Jesus’ crucifixion? And the fact that nowhere is a there claimed to be a tomb for Jesus?

          And that’s just from the points Lee Strobel included that you seem to think you’ve rebutted with “It’s just a story.”

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

          A religion emerges, and that’s strong evidence that the religion is true? Seriously?

          OK–then explain how you deal with a thousand true religions that conflict with each other.

          And the fact that nowhere is a there claimed to be a tomb for Jesus?

          So you’re saying that if Jesus didn’t resurrect, we would expect to have copies of documents that discuss this fact? Explain.

          And that’s just from the points Lee Strobel included that you seem to think you’ve rebutted with “It’s just a story.”

          Yeah, Strobel’s case is pathetic. It’s amazing how effective it is to step back and say, “Wait a minute–is there evidence for that?”

        • KarlUdy

          A religion emerges, and that’s strong evidence that the religion is true? Seriously?

          A religion emerges and grows despite extreme persecution from governing authorities and other religious leaders for no other reason than someone made up a story? Seriously? Show me the evidence for that!

          So you’re saying that if Jesus didn’t resurrect, we would expect to have copies of documents that discuss this fact?

          No. I’m saying that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we would expect to have at least one site venerated as the resting place of Jesus.

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

          A religion emerges and grows despite extreme persecution from governing authorities and other religious leaders for no other reason than someone made up a story? Seriously? Show me the evidence for that!

          Not what I said.

          I’m saying that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we would expect to have at least one site venerated as the resting place of Jesus.

          Uh huh. “Here is the resting place of a guy who didn’t resurrect and so wasn’t a god—just a regular guy.” I’m sure you could charge a lot of admission to that site. Maybe a moneymaking idea?

        • KarlUdy

          Not what I said.

          Maybe you had better explain what you mean by “It’s just a story” then.

          Uh huh. “Here is the resting place of a guy who didn’t resurrect and so wasn’t a god—just a regular guy.” I’m sure you could charge a lot of admission to that site. Maybe a moneymaking idea?

          Well, there are shrines at the burial places of the Virgin Mary, St Peter, St Mark, St Matthew, St James, St John, who were leaders in early Christianity but not gods. Jesus’ birthplace is venerated, as are many sites associated with his ministry. There is a site venerated as Jesus’ burial place too – but there’s no body in it.

        • Otto

          The whole narrative of the story is to claim that this guy didn’t have a resting place…that would kinda kill the whole point of the story don’tchathink? I mean what is more plausible…that the purveyors of the story who wanted people to believe that the savior had come to save them by dying and rising, conquering death by himself, made up the supernatural stuff that proves their point…or that it actually happened and that is why there is no resting place? When a contradictory explanation is far more plausible why in the world should anyone accept the supernatural explanation without overwhelming direct evidence?

          I mean if a man robbed killed his neighbor, but later on people that passed on the story of the killing said… ‘hey his closest friends and relatives swear up and down it wasn’t him, it was actually perpetrated by alien body snatchers who killed him, cloned his body, and then they made it look like he killed his neighbor’.

          Which are you going to believe?

        • al kimeea
        • KarlUdy

          Otto, my question would be: How did the story of Jesus rising from the dead gain currency if everyone knew it didn’t happen?

          I can’t find an alternative to an actual resurrection that doesn’t stretch credulity beyond breaking point.

        • Otto

          You seem to be advancing the notion that if people knew the resurrection didn’t happen the story would not have gained acceptance among the believers.

          We have many examples of stories gaining acceptance even though there are plenty of people around who knew the stories were wrong. Elvis is alive, Tupac is alive, etc. The beginning of the Mormon Church…these are just a few. And these are modern enough to still be able to examine the evidence in these claims and yet they still are accepted by believers.

          A quick alternative to the resurrection is that Jesus’ followers promoted the idea that he didn’t die, even though his body died. Spiritually he continued (like a ghost), his followers experienced Jesus in their dreams, etc. Over decades those stories evolved into ‘Jesus was resurrected bodily’.
          Stories like this happen all the time and it makes no difference if the people that believe them are presented with evidence. People believe all kinds of goofy things despite overwhelming contradictory information. This is far more plausible than ‘Jesus actually was resurrected by God’ and I don’t understand how you can claim natural explanations ‘stretch credulity’, any natural explanation is easily more credible than the supernatural explanation and that being the case a supernatural explanation needs to have overwhelming support to overcome that.

        • Joe

          We have many examples of stories gaining acceptance even though there are plenty of people around who knew the stories were wrong.

          I’m guessing Karl doesn’t watch the news. There’s an example playing out in front of our very eyes with Trump and his supporters.

        • Jim Jones

          > Elvis is alive,

          Well, that’s true. He’s living in a trailer park in West Texas with Marilyn Monroe and they have a child, Bat Boy.

        • Bob Jase

          Nah, he was killed by an Egyptian mummy at a nursing home in Texas along with JFK.

        • Kodie

          How did it gain currency with you? You believe it, they believed it. Not everyone believed it, just like not everyone believes it now, but regardless of any argument that it never happened, that it’s a story, that there are dozens of plausible explanations for how a myth can take root, you are not swayed by facts, by logic, or by argument. Can you imagine how many other Christians there are that are also not deterred from their beliefs by facts, logic, or argument? When you get a cult like that together, and I believe the bible gives instruction/warning about this – this all sounds a little fake, very cuckoo, too good to be true, people are going to say you’re a lunatic, but I swear it, and if you join my cult, I give you promises. This one is the one true one and everything else, you should punch it in the face, kill it, hate your friends and family and dedicate your life to this amazing new religion I just made up!

          It’s called being a zealot. As the bible describes people who are not getting on board with this bullshit even then, you have lots and lots of alternative examples in history and now of that not stopping anyone.

        • KarlUdy

          but regardless of any argument that it never happened, that it’s a story, that there are dozens of plausible explanations for how a myth can take root, you are not swayed by facts, by logic, or by argument.

          Unsubstantiated claims are not facts, logic, or argument.

          In this thread, my point has been that the unsubstantiated claim that “it is just a story” is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim. It is a hand-waving diversionary tactic. Investigate the stories to see where, when and how they came about.

        • adam

          “In this thread, my point has been that the unsubstantiated claim that
          “it is just a story” is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e902fc8a6aff8e1b1db158762d3e7bdaab1894471fb56d9f89db788237574fc3.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e5e587289bac5ccc1992d78778c7358acb676a2e909c99b3508dce327e1cd29.jpg

          “Investigate the stories to see where, when and how they came about.”

          We have, history has, that is why it is just a story

          Well unless you have EVIDENCE of talking donkeys and non-existent scribes as the source of Jesus talking to himself.

        • Kodie

          You asked how it gained currency if nobody believed it. Don’t change the subject.

        • Otto

          >>>”Unsubstantiated claims are not facts, logic, or argument.”

          Yep.

          >>>”the unsubstantiated claim that “it is just a story” is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim.”

          Provisionally concluding ‘it is just a story’ is completely valid until such time that the claim that it is a historical account of events can be substantiated, until such a time it is not a fact, logical or an argument…it is a claim.

        • adam

          “How did the story of Jesus rising from the dead gain currency if everyone knew it didn’t happen?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f972c27e2980ca47bdf19591b616c85594874d86298f9e21eaef5c8245cc4a60.jpg

          Facts were KNOWN, at the time, that there were not WMDs.
          People LIED for their own gain.

        • Kodie

          Karl seems to ignore the plenty of examples of people believing lies (among people who didn’t believe the lies AND spoke up plenty), and if you can’t prove the bible is “just a story”, then it’s only speculation he can ignore and believe whatever he wants to believe. He asked a pretty good question, but he doesn’t want to hear any answers.

        • Jim Jones

          http://www.graveyardofthegods.org/deadgods.html

          If you can’t prove all these stories are “just stories” then it’s only speculation you can ignore and believe whatever you want to believe.

        • adam

          “How did the story of Jesus rising from the dead gain currency if everyone knew it didn’t happen?”

          Common folklore, other mythologies, deceptions, propaganda

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8dc416612bbbd6243c461cfe2a6d4ee55f709d3183f0ea3f8770d4d4a294121.jpg

        • Kodie

          But you can’t be certain that was the case this one time.

        • Bob Jase

          “How did the story of Jesus rising from the dead gain currency if everyone knew it didn’t happen?”

          Gee, how did the stories about the Sumerian/Egyptian/Greo-Roman/etc gods gain currency if everyone knew they didn’t happen?

          Especially as the ‘everybody’ involved had no idea that the sun didn’t disappear at night, that they lived on a planet in space, that magic wasn’t real, etc?

        • Joe

          How did the story of Jesus rising from the dead gain currency if everyone knew it didn’t happen?

          How did people know it did or didn’t happen. It would have been localized to one geographic region at one particular time (there was no evening news back then). Even if we grant that 500 people saw it, why would the 501st person believe such an outrageous tale?

          Simply, because people are gullible and people will believe what they want to believe.

          Take a look at Trump and his supporters. He’s lied multiple times, been caught out lying, yet people believe he was correct all along. Why have you failed to realize these things during your interactions with the world?

        • adam

          “Take a look at Trump and his supporters. He’s lied multiple times, been
          caught out lying, yet people believe he was correct all along. Why have
          you failed to realize these things during your interactions with the
          world?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/663e92f94ff5bb852c0c21775f82066bbf3f741dea5e10d4f27280539e135570.jpg

        • MNb

          Self delusion is a well known psychological phenomenon. 2000 Years ago people were even more susceptible than now.
          But of course you don’t accept science when its conclusions don’t suit you.

        • adam

          “I can’t find an alternative to an actual resurrection that doesn’t stretch credulity beyond breaking point.”

          then demonstrate an ACTUAL RESURRECTION, not claiming a STORY about one is true.

        • Greg G.

          The earliest Christians were reading the scriptures to learn about the Messiah who was going to rule from David’s throne. Many generations had hoped it would happen during their generation. Most likely it was Cephas who read Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53:1-12 about the Suffering Servant and thought it was a hidden mystery disguised as a metaphor. Isaiah said he died, was buried, and he intercessed for sins, implying a resurrection. Zechariah 3 dovetails with that story where Jesus (what the Septuagint calls Joshua) is in heaven in dirty clothes, perhaps he was crushed, gets cleaned up and intercesses in heaven.

          That explains why the epistles do not have a preacher/teacher from Galilee and all that. The epistles only refer to Jesus in references to the Old Testament. Mark wrote a fictional story setting Jesus in the early first century and Christians started reading his gospels and the sequels back into the epistles. The Jesus of the gospels was a figment of the imagination of the epistle writers.

        • MNb

          Problem with story is that you need methods to separate fact from fiction. Compare Harry Potter. The series claim that London is the capital of England, that there is a pub called the Leaky Cauldron where magic happens and that England is ruled by a prime minister who resides in London.
          Now imagine that you live in the 80th Century. England doesn’t exist anymore and London has changed its name. The only available text about England at the end of the 20th Century is the Harry Potter series. What are you going to do? Conclude that wizards and witches lived in England?

        • KarlUdy

          Harry Potter is a very different type of writing. One of Aesop’s fables is about a father and a son who end up carrying their donkey. Do I think it happened? No. Why? Because of the genre of literature that Aesop was. In the same way, I don’t think that there was a ‘Prodigal Son’ or a “Good Samaritan’. By using similar methods of analysing texts I suggest that even in the 80th century, if we had the Harry Potter series faithfully preserved, we would recognize that it is not intended to teach us facts about England or London. People smarter than me may be able to learn about 20th century England and London from the series by what Rowling assumes but does not exposit in the books though.

        • MNb

          “a very different type of writing”
          Irrelevant for the problem I posed: how to disinguish fact from fiction in a given text if you don’t really know the author.

          “By using similar methods of analysing texts”

          Demonstrate it, because that is exactly the point I make: assume that you have as little background information about the Harry Potter series as about the four Gospels.

          Specifically demonstrate by using such a method that

          1) the Leaky Cauldron where magic happens is fiction;
          2) Jesus bringing Lazarus back from death is fact.

          If your method is nothing but

          “People smarter than me …..”
          I will conclude that your belief is nothing but wishful thinking (call it.faith if you like). Actually that would be OK with me; what I am not OK with is apologists refusing to admit it.

        • KarlUdy

          I’ve actually never read any of the Harry Potter books (well, I did read a couple of chapters to a friend’s kids for their bedtime story about fifteen or so years ago) so I’d be at a loss to provide any serious analysis of them. Sorry, but if you are going to infer that my Christian faith is wishful thinking because I am not so familiar with Harry Potter, then that is your prerogative.

        • MNb

          Worse, I’m going to infer that you’re a liar, because “Christian faith is wishful thinking because I am not so familiar with Harry Potter” is not what I wrote.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It isn’t necessary to read the Harry Potter books to know they are a story and that anyone believing they are anything else are engaging in wishful thinking.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Harry Potter is a very different type of writing.

          But still a story, like what the gospels are too.

          The Gospel with Mark’s name on it is midrashic writing.

          https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Midrashic

        • Joe

          Well, there are shrines at the burial places of the Virgin Mary, St Peter, St Mark, St Matthew, St James, St John,

          We also had relics made out of their bones in every church, and market stall across the Christian world at some point. They must have been multi-limbed and polydactyl?

        • Michael Neville

          One thing about Jesus that shows he was unusual is that he had nine penises. Like a good Jewish baby Little Jesus was circumcised and his foreskin would have been the only part of his body left on Earth. During the Middle Ages nine different churches in Europe and the Middle East had Jesus’ foreskin as a relic. Since we’re assured by KarlUdy that that sort of thing must be true then he must have had nine penises. I’m surprised that this little detail didn’t make it into any gospel, not even the apocrypha.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day… and the 9th… 10th.. all the way up to the 16th day.

        • TheNuszAbides

          they eventually figured out they had to use silver to stymie the regeneration.

        • Greg G.

          There’s story of a tourist visiting a church that had the skull of John the Baptist. The tourist said he saw the skull of John the Baptist on the other side of town and it was much larger. The priest explained, “Ah, but this is the skull of John the Baptist when he was a boy.”

        • MR

          I’m currently reading Baudolino by Umberto Eco in which one of the antagonists has manufactured seven John the Baptist skulls which they plan to sell to gullible Christian communities along the way. Earlier in the book the dubious corpses of the Three Wise Men are “discovered” and make their way to their final resting stop in Cologne.

        • katiehippie

          “A religion emerges and grows despite extreme persecution from governing authorities and other religious leaders for no other reason than someone made up a story? Seriously? Show me the evidence for that!”

          All that means is people really believed in it. It still doesn’t mean it’s true.

        • Phurbiefee

          Mormons? Persecuted. Have a scripture. Organized. Devoted followers. Nonsense or truth?

        • KarlUdy

          Which Mormon writings in particular are you talking about?

        • Phurbiefee

          Book of Mormon. The point I am trying to make is that the majority of believing Christians today are not Mormons. They reject its teachings and disbelieve its tenets. Yet in the space of a couple of decades less than 200 years ago, an entire new religion was established. The claims of apologists that early Christianity had a solid historical foundation [because legends can’t form in a short time, because no one is martyred for a myth, that no one would publicly claim a miracle unless he actually witnessed one, etc] should be viewed, I think, with the experiences and claims of the Mormons in mind.

        • KarlUdy

          If the beliefs of Mormons were simply regarding the activities of Joseph Smith, such a claim might have more weight. However, the Book of Mormon claims to be the writings of prophets from thousands of years ago. I could accept that all the Mormon records about Joseph Smith’s activities have been accurately preserved from the 1800s and still not believe the Book of Mormon because I don’t believe it really is the writings of prophets from thousands of years ago.

        • Tommy

          If the beliefs of Mormons Christians were simply regarding the activities of Joseph
          Smith
          Jesus Christ, such a claim might have more weight. However, the Book of Mormon Bible
          claims to be the writings of prophets from thousands of years ago. I
          could accept that all the Mormon Christian records about Joseph Smith’s Jesus Christ’s activities
          have been accurately preserved from the 1800s first century and still not believe the
          Book of Mormon Bible because I don’t believe it really is the writings of
          prophets from thousands of years ago.

          See how that works?

        • Tommy

          Deliberate daftness is deliberate.

        • Kodie

          What about all the other religions that have ever emerged. You are biased to single out how amazing it is that Christianity arose and survived. You don’t seem to have any recognition of how humans are, despite the bible (I’ve been told) tells a story about humans like nothing ever before! Humans can be charismatic and mistaken at the same time. They can be salespeople, they can be rebellious against their authorities, they can unite for a single cause. If it makes them feel worthy, people will join almost anything, even if it’s stupid and fictional, and that does not prevent anything from becoming popular! There are so many ads on tv that convince people to salivate for junk food because (1) it tastes yummy, and (2) they don’t portray so much reality in the ads – in advertising, chocolate can be an empowering treat you limit yourself to one per day, soda is the glue that holds society together, and burgers and fries help you make intergenerational connections. While that can be a useful ideal to strive for, we pretty much know a lot of the time, the target demographic customers are making excuses why they don’t make healthier choices, and pigging out alone with some regularity. So, you see how popular something false can be, just look around.

        • Bob Jase

          just for amusement sake

        • Kodie

          Pretty much!

        • Tommy

          A religion emerges and grows despite extreme persecution from governing
          authorities and other religious leaders for no other reason than someone
          made up a story? Seriously? Show me the evidence for that!

          Mormonism.

        • RichardSRussell

          You mean evidence like the emergence of the Christian church?

          At one point, Bernie Madoff was doing very well financially, and paying off his investors at a fabulous rate of return. That was certainly evidence that he was investing wisely and well, wasn’t it? And that all the investors’ money was safe and secure in the hands of a highly competent trustee?

          Those are both examples of what happens when you settle for the superficial just because it feels good.

        • Max Doubt

          “You mean evidence like the emergence of the Christian church?”

          So the emergence of the Mormon Church means their teachings are true.

          “Creeds stating a belief in a resurrected Christ dating back to within the decade of Jesus’ crucifixion?”

          So people stating their belief that aliens visit earth means there are aliens visiting earth.

          “And the fact that nowhere is a there claimed to be a tomb for Jesus?”

          So the lack of Bigfoot tracks, scat, or remains means Bigfeet cover their tracks, bury their shit, and hide the bodies of their deceased.

          Sounds like you’ve honed your critical thinking skills to where pretty much anything you want to believe can be true. If it wasn’t for the fact that your methods will more readily lead to incorrect conclusions as correct ones, I’d admire the efficiency. But let me ask, since you have so little regard for what is objectively demonstrable, why not just flip a coin, roll some dice, or seek answers from your Magic 8-Ball®?

        • KarlUdy

          So the emergence of the Mormon Church means their teachings are true.

          The existence of the Mormon Church is evidence that something significant and real happened with the community that became known as the Mormon Church. I don’t believe that Joseph Smith is a legendary accretion to Mormon folklore.

          So people stating their belief that aliens visit earth means there are aliens visiting earth.
          It at least counts as evidence. Now to ask where these beliefs originate from?

          So the lack of Bigfoot tracks, scat, or remains means Bigfeet cover their tracks, bury their shit, and hide the bodies of their deceased.

          No. A better analogy is why there is no place that is currently claimed as Barack Obama’s tomb.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Brilliant retort. That’s how we know that ancient Jews sailed to America. Because of the emergence of the Mormon Church; and the creeds stating a belief in the magical plates of Moroni within a decade of their discovery.

          I think, perhaps, you don’t know the meaning of the word “evidence”.

        • Joe

          Don’t forget we have sworn testimony from named witnesses that say they saw the golden plates.

          We don’t have that for anything in the Bible.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yep. And we’ve got depositions from dozens of citizens from Salem, Mass. who swear they saw the devil dancing with witches. Some of the most prestigious legal minds in New England sent their fellow citizens to the gallows on this testimony.

    • Michael Neville

      Saying it’s just a story is pertinent when there’s no other evidence to support the story. If you’ve got any evidence to support any of Strobel’s stories then we’ll stop saying “it’s just a story.” But when there’s no evidence then “it’s just a story.”

      Trump told a story about watching Muslims in New Jersey cheering when the planes flew into the towers on 9/11. Nobody, including Trump, has ever offered evidence to support this story. So “it’s just a story”.

    • Jack Baynes

      But you can’t use the story to support the claims of the story.
      Jesus died on the cross was buried and two days later his tomb was empty and he was resurrected.
      How do you we know that?
      Well the tomb was empty…

      You see the problem?

      • KarlUdy

        Jack, it would be a good idea to freshen up on what the New Testament accounts actually claim. And also what Christians defending the accuracy of the story would claim.

        In the gospel accounts the tomb being empty was not in an of itself seen as proof that Jesus rose from the dead. Peter went inside and say the empty graveclothes that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. The gospel accounts also record encounters with the risen Jesus.

        And the reason that Christians such as Strobel refer to the empty tomb is that there is no record in history of any veneration of any site that claims to house Jesus’ dead body. Which would be remarkable if Jesus did not rise from the dead when you consider the sites associated with Christianity that are venerated.

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

          Wait–how do you know that Peter went in and found the empty grave clothes? Oh yeah–it was in a story.

          See the problem? Turn the story into history, and then you’ve got the beginnings of something.

          Anyway, the story doesn’t even have Peter seeing where Jesus was laid. He could in no way be an eyewitness to the empty tomb. Even in the story, he’s simply told that this is the correct tomb.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          And that particular version of the story conflicts withe story in Mark and Matthew.

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

          Christians have been known to skip through the NT, picking a nice factoid here and a pretty idea there to make a daisy chain that allows them to believe something they already believe.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          They call it “harmonizing” scripture, but it sounds pretty discordant to me.

        • Jack Baynes

          Strobel made the claim that the empty tomb was evidence of Jesus’s resurrection. Which it isn’t because it’s part of the same unverified story he’s trying to prove.

          Which would be remarkable if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

          Only if you presuppose the story was true.

        • Jack Baynes

          If a real Jesus died but was not resurrected, and later a religion arose around the idea that Jesus had in fact been resurrected, would you expect people to seek out a tomb that they claimed to hold the real body of Jesus?
          No. Why would they? They assume he was resurrected, so why would they look for his dead body?
          And even if they DID look, how would they know if they found his body?

        • KarlUdy

          Interesting supposition, Jack. How this theory would sit with the evidence really depends on how long after this later religion arose, and where. Are there details or a particular theory you’re thinking about?

        • MNb

          “what the New Testament accounts actually claim”
          Supernatural stuff. History using methodological naturalism remains silent about it.

          “Peter went inside ….”
          1. A claim not supported by historical methods.
          2. Even if he did it does not justify your beloved salto mortale to a supernatural reality.

        • KarlUdy

          I was merely recounting what the account in the Bible was. Jack’s synopsis misrepresented (I’m guessing unintentionally) the Biblical account by omitting certain details.

        • MNb

          Perhaps. Then you can see my comment as just an addition to yours.

        • Jack Baynes

          No, the details you added don’t change the point of my synopsis, that the empty tomb is part of the same story as the Crucifixion and resurrection, so they don’t support one another. The authors could just as easily have said ANYONE was the one who showed up and saw the empty tomb (and in fact, the other Gospels do that), it was not a crucial detail to my point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Add as much fluff to Jack’s synopsis as you like…it doesn’t change the fact that the argument is still circular.

          Did Mo ride a flying horse? The colour of which, or the style of the saddle he sat on, are minutiae to the story that give it no veracity whatsoever.

        • Greg G.

          I see a fisherman’s tale growing with each telling. First, we have Paul’s account about it being according to the scriptures as they read that the Suffering Servant died in Isaiah 53:5, was buried in Isaiah 53:9, and rose on the third day in Hosea 6:2.

          Then Mark says that there was a boy in the tomb who told the women that Jesus wasn’t there and was raised but the women were afraid to tell. The End.

          Then we have three other contradictory accounts trying to fix Mark’s ending. It was an angel, no two angels. Then Jesus appears. Then Jesus hung around for a couple of weeks.

        • KarlUdy

          And yet, for a fisherman’s tale that grows in the telling, we have the most astounding element of the story (the resurrection of Jesus) clearly present right from the beginning. That’s not like any fisherman’s tale I know.

        • Greg G.

          That’s not like any fisherman’s tale I know.

          Here is one from early Christians:

          Acts of Peter XIII. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/actspeter.html
          And Peter turned and saw a herring (sardine) hung in a window, and took it and said to the people: If ye now see this swimming in the water like a fish, will ye be able to believe in him whom I preach? And they said with one voice: Verily we will believe thee. Then he said -now there was a bath for swimming at hand: In thy name, O Jesu Christ, forasmuch as hitherto it is not believed in, in the sight of all these live and swim like a fish. And he cast the herring into the bath, and it lived and began to swim. And all the people saw the fish swimming, and it did not so at that hour only, lest it should be said that it was a delusion (phantasm), but he made it to swim for a long time, so that they brought much people from all quarters and showed them the herring that was made a living fish, so that certain of the people even cast bread to it; and they saw that it was whole. And seeing this, many followed Peter and believed in the Lord.

          The early Christians believed Jesus was around during the time of the prophets. When it says “according to the scriptures”, that is what Paul means. It says in Isaiah 53 that the Suffering Servant died for sins, was buried, and Hosea says he was raised on the third day. What scriptures did you think it refers to?

          The word translated as “appeared to” has no pronoun in the Greek, that is imported by reading the gospels into it. Paul uses the same word for all of them, including himself, for the “appeared to” yet he never saw Jesus. (There are three contradictory accounts in Acts of Jesus appearing to Paul, which also grow with each account. In Agrippa’s court, Jesus is speaking Hebrew or Aramaic but quoting the Greek god Dionysus from the Bacchae about “kicking the against the goads”.) But Paul says consistently in his writings that he got his revelation from the Lord in the scriptures, and we know this because everything Paul says about Jesus can be found in the OT. That holds for all the other early epistles as well. 1 Timothy and 2 Peter get some information from the gospels. Maybe I have missed some information about Jesus in the epistles that cannot be found in the OT or the obvious places in those other two epistles.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          “Peter went inside and say the empty graveclothes”

          Only in the stories from Luke and John. According to the stories in Mark and Matthew, only women were at the tomb. That’s the thing about fish stories, they change with every retelling.

        • Greg G.

          How can you believe the gospels? They are either complete fiction or tales told by fishermen.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          The gospels are primarily religious propaganda.

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t mean you specifically, BTW. That was meant as a general “you”. I should have used “anyone”.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes – I took it as a generic “you”!

        • Joe

          Peter went inside and say the empty graveclothes that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in.

          Are you saying Peter contaminated the crime scene? Then how would anyone else know the truth?

        • Philmonomer

          And the reason that Christians such as Strobel refer to the empty tomb
          is that there is no record in history of any veneration of any site that
          claims to house Jesus’ dead body. Which would be remarkable if Jesus
          did not rise from the dead when you consider the sites associated with
          Christianity that are venerated.

          This is precisely backward. (But a neat piece of apologetics ninjutsu.) If there really was an empty tomb, wouldn’t there be veneration of the spot where the most important event in world history took place!!! But there is no record of veneration of such a spot among early Christians.

          Jesus was probably thrown in a mass grave, or left for the animals. There could be no veneration of a tomb, not because he was risen, but because he was not thrown in a tomb in the first place. (IMHO)

        • KarlUdy

          If there really was an empty tomb, wouldn’t there be veneration of the spot where the most important event in world history took place!!!

          Funnily enough there is …
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre
          … and Jesus’ body isn’t there.

        • Philmonomer

          My understanding is that no (secular) historians think that there are good reasons to believe this really was on the spot of Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. (I’m pretty sure there are a lot of Christian historians who think this was the site; just like I’m pretty sure there are no Muslim historians who think this was the site.)

          Moreover, there is no no history of the first Christians venerating the site.

        • Jim Jones

          That all started after the Empress Helena went to Jerusalem with a chest full of gold. By great good luck she was able to find this, Bethlehem, the crosses of Jesus and the two thieves, the nails used and the Titulus. Talk about lucky!

        • Greg G.

          Who would sell such things to a rich foreigner if they weren’t real?

        • Jim Jones

          I’m shocked, shocked! Well, not that shocked.

        • Philmonomer

          Here’s a Claim: “Jesus wasn’t crucified.”

          Here’s a response: “Of course he was crucified!!! There exists actual pieces of the cross!

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

          So clearly he was crucified, right? There’s proof!

        • epeeist

          So clearly he was crucified, right? There’s proof!

          He made a monster argument from ignorance earlier on, you don’t expect him to spot an affirmation of the consequent do you?

        • KarlUdy

          It’s a claim of evidence that needs to be investigated. But silver bullets are a lot more common in werewolf tales than real historical investigation.

        • Jack Baynes

          The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified,[1] at a place known as “Calvary” or “Golgotha”, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected.[2]

          So 400 years after Jesus died, someone decided that THIS was Jesus’s tomb.
          And you believe them.

        • Joe

          I bet the Angels guarding it were like “What took you so long?”

        • Jim Jones

          > And the reason that Christians such as Strobel refer to the empty tomb is that there is no record in history of any veneration of any site that claims to house Jesus’ dead body. Which would be remarkable if Jesus did not rise from the dead when you consider the sites associated with Christianity that are venerated.

          You don’t know about the Edicule in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre?

        • Bob Jase

          You mean the wonderful tomb ‘discovered’ three centuries after Jesus’ supposed death?

        • Jim Jones

          You suspect that the Jews lied to her for gold?

        • Greg G.

          In Acts 26, Paul is in Agrippa’s court. First, Luke has him cite the Jews as character witnesses that he isn’t crazy. Second, Luke has him tell a crazy tale of Jesus appearing to him to quote the Greek god Dionysus from Euripides. If the empty tomb was a good argument, why didn’t Luke have Paul tell Agrippa to ask the Jews about the empty tomb?

    • Susan

      all history is is a collection of stories

      Depending on how you define “story”.

      Well, no.

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

      The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky.

      No. It was chosen from many stories written by humans. Now, it is a book. that has been passed down since.

      The Book of Mormon didn’t drop out of the sky either, nor did astrology.

      Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeatedly spouting “it’s just a story”

      It is a compilation of human claims chosen by a specific group of humans.

      I must say Karl, that it’s nice to see you, as frustrated as you make me.

      There’s been a terrible parade of people on this site lately who claim they are christians that are indistinguishable from trolls pretending they are christians. (Also, who claim they are atheists but think christians are the BEST but who make no argument to support it).

      At least, you don’t seem to be one of them.

      Now, if you’d only stick around and follow through.

      • KarlUdy

        The Book of Mormon didn’t drop out of the sky either, nor did astrology.

        Which is why it is important to understand the context (historical, cultural, etc) where the documents originated. This context is fairly available to be studied for the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Astrology might be a little more difficult. Then you can examine whether treating a particular work as a historical account, fraudulent writing, work of imagination, etc fits better to that context. I find that treating the New Testament as anything other than honest accounts and communication from the 1st century Christian community creates greater problems than it solves.

        I must say Karl, that it’s nice to see you, as frustrated as you make me.

        Thanks, I guess.

        Now, if you’d only stick around and follow through.

        I’ve had my fair share of conversations here where I’ve been left unreplied to. I’ve never had any on this site come to a tidy end.

        • Susan

          Which is why it is important to understand the context (historical, cultural, etc) where the documents originated.

          Which is why, I kept plugging until my initial attempt to link to historical method is finally in my comment. You might be replying to the original comment you received through e-mail where that original attempt was unsuccessful.

          Thanks, I guess.

          I mean it sincerely. The internet is a playground for trolls. People who pretend to be something they’re not. I hate the thought of arguing with fake christians, trolls taking advantage of common talking points.

          I’ve had my fair share of conversations here where I’ve been left unreplied to

          With the exception of a particular political situation in Australia recently, I’m pretty sure I’ve always followed through on our discussions.

          But you wander away.

          So, let’s try to follow through here. You have a problem with Bob suggesting that a resurrection is just stories, and I linked you to historical methodology.

          Humans report that someone died and was resurrected.

          Which sounds like humans telling stories.

          You say it’s important to understand the context.

          What’s the context that would support the claim that someone violated all physical laws?

        • MNb

          “Which is why it is important to understand ….”
          Sure. That context belonging to our natural reality will not justify your beloved salto mortale to a supernatural reality either.

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

          Right. Comparing the NT with the Book of Mormon, and you wonder why Christians who demand evidence don’t become Mormon.

        • KarlUdy

          I don’t believe it is an accurate record of the writings of prophets from thousands of years ago. Which I understand is the key claim to the nature of the Book of Mormon.

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

          The Book of Mormon was vetted by an angel! All I’ve got in the Christian gospels is hearsay.

        • KarlUdy

          Maybe you’re missing your calling as a Mormon apologist, Bob?

        • adam

          Much as maybe you’re missing your calling as a rational person, KarlUdy

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

          No, I’m not missing it. I’ve made the case here that the Mormon argument is far stronger than the Christian one.

          Give it a try yourself–use the popular points that Christians make (short duration from event to authorship, short time from autograph to our best copies, lots of manuscripts, etc.) and see how the LDS argument obliterates the Christian claim, point by point.

          Or perhaps you’ve already read my post on the subject?

        • KarlUdy

          I thought I detected your tongue firmly embedded in your cheek when you referred to the Book of Mormon being vetted by an angel.

          Give it a try yourself–use the popular points that Christians make (short duration from event to authorship, short time from autograph to our best copies, lots of manuscripts, etc.) and see how the LDS argument obliterates the Christian claim, point by point.

          When were the events of the Book of Mormon said to have happened? When is the earliest copy we have of the Book of Mormon?

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

          Not at all. The Book of Mormon was vetted by an angel (according to the story, anyway).

          (Oh–are you OK with my saying “the story” in this context? Admittedly, I haven’t proven that it wasn’t history, and I’m assuming that the burden of proof is on the Mormon who might say that it is. May I proceed with this assumption?)

          You know the details of Mormonism, don’t you? The events happened in roughly 600 BCE, and Joseph Smith translated into modern English from the original. I presume the first printed copy (which I’m guessing we have) was typeset from Smith’s handwritten original translation.

        • adam

          “I find that treating the New Testament as anything other than honest
          accounts and communication from the 1st century Christian community
          creates greater problems than it solves.”

          ONLY for those with blind Faith.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8dc416612bbbd6243c461cfe2a6d4ee55f709d3183f0ea3f8770d4d4a294121.jpg

        • Kodie

          Why are there so many other religions if none of them, according to you, are true?

        • adam

          “Which is why it is important to understand the context (historical, cultural, etc) where the documents originated. ”

          then do

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e6c2686bb41ccacecfbfa1974323846f57f590fe27eb860520deae910a353eac.jpg

        • adam

          “Which is why it is important to understand the context (historical, cultural, etc) where the documents originated. ”

          then do

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b8e21f4f245797969c0947a765da8794c812826b9b5e6d1a040a884b1ee550af.jpg

    • Otto

      >>>”The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky. It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behavior.”

      And much of the context of the time included a heavy dose of superstition, magic and supernatural claims. Other cultures had similar beliefs but their superstitions, etc are not considered history. Now explain why this story is meaningfully different than those.

    • katiehippie

      “It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour.”

      Ok, still doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s still just a story.

      • KarlUdy

        Ok, still doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s still just a story.

        We can argue about whether it is true or not, but it is still not just a story.

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

          So it might be false, but it’s certainly not just a story. You’ll have to explain that one.

        • KarlUdy

          To say “It’s just a story” is to dismiss the story as completely without merit, or consideration towards learning about the facts pertaining to it. The Biblical accounts of the resurrection cannot be so easily dismissed by an honest enquirer.

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

          This isn’t hard. When I say, “It’s just a story,” I mean that we have a story … but not anything more. That doesn’t mean we’ve shown that it’s without merit; it means that you haven’t shown it to be anything more than just a story.

          How hard is this? I say that (so far) it’s just a story, and then you say, “Ah, well let me take it from story to history with this information…” You just don’t want to do the work–is that the problem? I’m not just going to give you that it’s history; you need to show that. If that’s too hard for you, then just admit that. But if you have the information, show us.

        • KarlUdy

          I mean that we have a story … but not anything more. That doesn’t mean we’ve shown that it’s without merit; it means that you haven’t shown it to be anything more than just a story.

          Bob, at least twice in your article you make the claim that “it’s just a story” without any any reasoning as to why it is nothing more, or explanation as to how this story that you claim is nothing more came about. Whether someone is a historian, journalist, or detective, a story should never be something left uninvestigated. And based on the context of your claims that “it’s just a story”, you seem to regard that claim as a justification to not investigate.

          If you believe it was just a story, you need to show that the stories are unconnected to the events and nothing more than just stories.

        • adam

          “If you believe it was just a story, you need to show that the stories
          are unconnected to the events and nothing more than just stories.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8638fdedfe8fad3b245ca0981085794967c878d6bfba020d03d8b426a1c98936.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/32a8ffcdaee0703b996e6a81b2e4640ff89f649ad01748d74aeea4ea7775ee98.jpg

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

          You’re hard to read here. Are you being willfully stupid or playing a rhetorical game or what?

          at least twice in your article you make the claim that “it’s just a story” without any any reasoning as to why it is nothing more

          I don’t need to argue that it’s nothing more. I say “it’s just a story,” and then the ball’s in your court. You got some evidence? Then frikkin’ provide it. The burden of proof is yours. Enjoy.

          you seem to regard that claim as a justification to not investigate.

          ?? What do I have to do—get on my knees and beg? I’d be delighted to hear some good evidence. That you continue to not provide it makes me think that you don’t have any, but if you’re just being coy or overly polite, let me encourage you—nay, beg you—to provide it.

        • KarlUdy

          I don’t need to argue that it’s nothing more.

          You do if you want to be credible.

          I get that you are saying that it is not a straightforward historical account. So what is it? Is it a fraudulent account? Is it satire? Is it inspirational fiction? Each of these options are stories, but not just stories. And the claim that it is any of these or anything else needs to be tested with the surrounding evidence we have about the nature and beliefs of the community the writing originated in, and the textual evidence of the provenance of the writing itself.

          To say “it’s just a story” is not just an argument from ignorance, it’s an argument for ignorance.

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

          You do if you want to be credible.

          There’s a burden of proof, and I don’t have it.

          I get that you are saying that it is not a straightforward historical account. So what is it? Is it a fraudulent account? Is it satire? Is it inspirational fiction? Each of these options are stories, but not just stories.

          It’s words on paper. Should I take it as more than that? Reliable history, for example? I invite your evidence.

          I continue to be amazed that I’m handing you on a platter an opportunity to show us the excellent reasons for believing that the gospel accounts are history. You continue to refuse it. It’s almost like you know there’s no compelling evidence for your position.

        • KarlUdy

          lorem ipsum is nothing more than words on paper (or screen). You should definitely take it as something more than that.

          I’m seeing if you’re willing to receive feedback to shift the tiniest bit from your statements in your post to admit that even if the gospels might not be historical, they can’t be dismissed as “just a story.”

          Am I holding out hope in vain?

        • Kodie

          It’s much more credible that “it’s just a story”, or did you miss the point of the article? You have someone who clearly doubts your outrageous claim, compares your claim to other stories that we all agree are not factual and how they come about, and if you want your story to be credible, you have to have evidence. Your evidence is special regard for the bible, which you read and accept at face value. That’s where the trouble begins. You don’t treat every religious text the same, and you expect us to favor your book, because you stubbornly think it’s true for no good reason.

          NOBODY HERE IS MAKING A CLAIM that “it’s just a story”. It sounds like many made-up bullshits before and since, and we have zillions of examples where people believe bullshits throughout history, despite those bullshits not being true. You close your eyes really tight and cross your fingers, telling us there have been no other instances throughout history where something is false but believed and even openly disputed but the believers carry on anyway. You just can’t think of any other time that has ever happened, even though people have been bringing you examples for a few days. Nobody here is saying that definitely it is just a story – just that it makes a lot more sense that way, not only because it sounds so unrealistic, but it sounds like a myth, it sounds like it didn’t happen. That tells us it’s more credible that it’s an unsupported claim – and you bear that out by not supporting your claim. You don’t wanna, you can’t, you think that’s our job. No, buddy. If you had more to tell us than whining, you would have done that by now.

        • adam

          “So what is it? ”

          MYTHOLOGY

          Definition of mythology Merriam Webster
          1 :an allegorical narrative

          Definition of allegory
          1 :the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d5d4a2909d67c62c518e6574ff1a0b42f6295b335ae8fd4039f6f765cefb813.jpg

        • Tommy

          I get that you are saying that it is not a straightforward historical
          account. So what is it? Is it a fraudulent account? Is it satire? Is it
          inspirational fiction?

          Yes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What events? The ones that are part of the story?

          Did Sherlock Holmes die when he fell at the Reichenbach Falls while in a tussle with Moriarty? If not, why not? Then apply that method to the story being discussed.

          No one writing the NT story met Jesus…at best they are retelling a story they had been told. Ergo. hearsay.

          BTW, you’d do well to revisit the definition of the word story.

        • Kodie

          Even though you can lay out so many examples, Karl doesn’t want them. If you can’t prove “it’s just a story” is anything other than speculation (even educated, experiential, analogous speculation), he wants to believe it actually happened.

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

          I tried to shame Karl into seeing that the burden of proof was his. And that he was making it a burden to share the Good News. My mistake was forgetting that he’s shameless.

        • Bob Jase

          Wrong, what is the merit of a story about someone coming back from the dead? Dracula tells the same basic story and its merit is that its a good read which I can’t say about the biblical accounts.

        • Susan

          We can argue about whether it is true or not,

          Yes.. please… let’s do that.

          If you’re claiming it’s “true”, show your work.

          By true, I assume you mean real.

          it is still not just a story.

          Why not? What part isn’t?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Karl seems to think that having inspirational application is a non-story-like attribute.

        • KarlUdy

          Susan, whether the New Testament is true or not is a very wide brief for a discussion. If we’re going to have a productive discussion around this I think a narrower focus would help. (And yes, I think it’s real – but that seems like a strange qualification. And there is no part of it that is just a story, even though there are parts of it that do not refer to historical events or people.)

        • Susan

          whether the New Testament is true or not is a very wide brief for a discussion.

          Whether a guy lived, was executed and came back to life is very narrow.

          (And yes, I think it’s real… but that seems like a strange qualification

          For being “true”?

          OK…. then, let’s just narrow it down to why you think it’s real.

        • KarlUdy

          Let’s start with the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 then. It is the earliest written account of the resurrection.

        • Susan

          Let’s start with the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 then.

          OK.

          Go on.

        • KarlUdy

          This is evidence that Jesus’ physical resurrection and subsequent appearance to witnesses was central to Christian belief from the earliest years of Christianity.

        • MNb

          No. It’s evidence that about 2000 years ago some people believed that Jesus was resurrected, not that he actually was.
          You are like the Harry Potter fanatic who claims that those books are evidence that magic happens in the Leaky Cauldron.
          But then again you already showed you are too dishonest to admit that you don’t have a method to separate correct claims about supernatural events from incorrect ones. So it can only be expected that you prefer to corrupt historical research.

        • Susan

          This is evidence that Jesus’ physical resurrection and subsequent appearance to witnesses was central to Christian belief

          This is evidence that some christians believed this. That’s all. There were so many christian groups believing contradictory things, all of which appear to be made up.

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

          “Some people believed something” does not make it real.

          Let alone “true”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were so many christian groups believing contradictory things, all of which appear to be made up.

          Exactly.

          Christians are so naive that they think it was one big hunky dorey movement from the kick off.

          The Pauline movement eventually won the day with the might makes right support of the Roman empire behind it…which took three centuries….and even then wasn’t a one size fits all, unanimous group.

          Talk about Christians being uneducated and gullible about the history of their own faith, sheesh.

        • Greg G.

          The Pauline movement eventually won the day with the might makes right support of the Roman empire behind it…

          Not to mention that the Jerusalem faction was likely wiped out by the Romans in 70 AD but for a few of their writings.

        • Susan

          Talk about Christians being uneducated and gullible about the history of their own faith, sheesh

          Well, yeah. They accept stories and ignore history.

          That’s how faith works.

          Not just religious faith.

        • Bob Jase

          Doesn’t Paul in one of the supposedly authentic letters go on criticizing Christians who don’t believe in the resurrection? Paul is our earliest known yet apparently there were already Christians who did not believe in a resurrection.

        • Otto

          Now connect the dots between ‘people believed X’ and ‘X actually happened’…

        • Susan

          connect the dots between people believed X and X actually happened.

          So far, over the last few years, all Karl has provided is that “people believed X” and then he disappears and when he comes back, he starts all over.

          He wants to make it our burden to “disprove ” X.

          That he doesn’t understand or acknowledge why honest people find this frustrating is beyond me.

        • Kodie

          People believed it, you should read the bible at face value/as a history book, read this theologist’s really fat book, I can’t think of a single other example throughout history of anything like that ever happening even after you and everyone else here list several that come immediately to mind of millions of billions of other examples there have been, you can’t prove there’s no god, demons (might) cause diseases – we really can’t say they don’t, and of course, the classic: I don’t have time for your questions, Susan.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Where and when was it supposed to have happened?

        • adam

          Why not start at the point Peter Parker was bitten by the radioactive spider?

        • Rudy R

          I second Susan…make a specific claim and show your work, that is, evidence that is compelling for a skeptic to believe, not just an “already believer.”

        • Susan

          We can argue about whether or not it is true

          It’s been 2 days. So, apparently we can’t. This is where you always run away.

          It’s not the running away I mind so much as that when you return, you always hit the reset button.

        • TheNuszAbides

          which is why the field must be truly putrid, for you to find it ‘nice to see’ Karl!

        • KarlUdy

          I’m not going to be able to commit to posting every day (or even every week to be honest). And when every post I make here could have dozens of divergent comments, it’s next to impossible to keep track of the individual lines of conversation. If you really want to have a proper dialogue, then another medium might work better.

        • adam

          “I’m not going to be able to commit to posting every day (or even every week to be honest).”

          Why cant you commit to be honest?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fa8fc0868ce20db1ffd2c541b194dd5799cffe3c05b836f0762e4e17985062e5.jpg

        • Susan

          I’m not going to be able to commit to posting every day (or even every week to be honest

          I make this point to you almost every time you visit, Karl. I don’t expect you to post every day or every week.

          I expect you to follow through on discussions instead of evade direct points.

          And I expect you to not hit the reset button every time you return as though you hadn’t started those discussions many times.

        • Kodie

          “…it’s that when you return, you always hit the reset button.”

        • adam

          ” but it is still not just a story.”

          Exactly, it is MYTHOLOGY.

    • MNb

      “Stories that give meaning and structure to events that really happened.”
      Events that happened in our concrete world. Strobel and you still have to justify the salto mortale to a supernatural reality.

      “gives historians plenty to work with”
      Historians have to stick to methodological naturalism or cease to be scientists, so they won’t help you out with that salto mortale.

      • KarlUdy

        The existence of a supernatural reality is entirely plausible irrespective of science. Science is the study of nature. Supernatural reality, by definition is a reality that is above and beyond nature. Science has very little to say, and nothing with any certainty, about what exists above and beyond its remit of study.

        • MNb

          Then I have some questions for you.

          1. Then why do all apologists (specifically including you) do such a lousy job to demonstrate that plausibility?
          2. Then why do so many apologists (including you when talking about the science called history) try to use science to back up their claims about the supernatural?
          3. What’s your method to decide – methods that cannot be taken over from science – which claims about the supernatural are correct and which ones aren’t?
          4. What does you assuming a supernatural reality add to our understanding added to the few things we understand thanks to science?
          5. How do Strobele, you or any other apologist justify the salto mortale from our natural reality as investigated by science to a supernatural reality?

        • epeeist

          The existence of a supernatural reality is entirely plausible irrespective of science.

          Is it?

          Supernatural reality, by definition is a reality that is above and beyond nature.

          First of all let’s have a list of positive attributes for the “supernatural” rather than defining it by some kind of via negativa. Only once you do that you have done that can move on to justify its existence.

        • KarlUdy

          Epeeist, I would like to know whether you are claiming science as a tool for studying nature proves that there is nothing beyond nature?

          Unless you can prove such a claim, then you cannot justify the non-existence of the supernatural.

        • epeeist

          Epeeist, I would like to know whether you are claiming science as a tool for studying nature proves that there is nothing beyond nature?

          Where did I do that?

          All I am saying is that if you want to make a claim about the ontological status of the “supernatural” then I (and I am sure everyone else) would like to see a list of its properties. Once we have that then we can move on to whether its existence is justified.

          Unless you can prove such a claim, then you cannot justify the non-existence of the supernatural.

          Seriously? You want to advance an argument from ignorance and expect it to be taken seriously.

        • adam

          “Unless you can prove such a claim, then you cannot justify the non-existence of the supernatural.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6597272c55aa1dd14b2602406d98ba576903e53dce5800dd7f26a6fb2ca9728c.jpg

        • MNb

          Your question confirms that you’re a liar, because it has exactly zilch to do with his request to name some positive attributes.
          The problem of course is that you can’t justify them. Because, as I already pointed out, you don’t have a reliable method.

        • Joe

          Unless you can prove such a claim, then you cannot justify the non-existence of the supernatural

          That for form of argument goes for anything supernatural though.

          Since we’ve established the possibility of the supernatural, where do we go from here?

        • Tommy

          The existence of a supernatural reality is entirely plausible irrespective of science.

          So according to you, supernatural realities such as Tartarus, the Elysian Fields, and Valhalla are entirely plausible.

          Supernatural reality, by definition is a reality that is above and beyond nature.

          Prove there is such a thing as a supernatural reality.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Growing up I knew tons of kids who knew all about Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and The Hulk. They could tell you where each one was born, how they gained their amazing abilities, and even who their biggest foe was. They could tell who/if they had a girlfriend. They could tell you what color hair they had. NONE of this makes the stories ‘true’.

    • Rudy R

      The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky. It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour.

      The same community that believed in the Old Testament stories, a context of folklore and mythology.

      And to piggy back off Mark Dowd’s comment on Trump supporters, we know people will believe a lie, knowingly or unknowing. For those who knowingly believe in the lie, do so out of an agenda. For those don’t know it’s a lie, believe because they trust the source. Given what we know about people getting their information bubbles, why do you, over 2000 years later, believe the minority Jewish community that believed in the Jesus story did not believe in a lie, over the majority Jewish community that didn’t believe in the Jesus story?

      • KarlUdy

        Given what we know about people getting their information in bubbles, why do you side with the minority Bronze Age Jewish community that believed in the Jesus story over the majority Jewish community that didn’t believe in the Jesus story?

        Interesting that you edited your post to describe the early Christians as Bronze Age when they were undoubtedly post-Iron Age, let alone Bronze Age. Attempts to poison the well with such obviously false information don’t help your credibility.

        For the record, Strobel’s 5 E’s is a pretty good starting place.

        • Rudy R

          OK, post-Iron Age, although the question is still relevant. Given what we know about people getting their information in bubbles, why do you side with the minority post-Iron Age Jewish community that believed in the Jesus story over the majority Jewish community that didn’t believe in the Jesus story?

        • KarlUdy

          As I said, Strobel’s 5 E’s is a good starting point.

        • adam

          “As I said, Strobel’s 5 E’s is a good starting point.”

          You have a history of saying inaccurate things.

          Strobel is as dishonest as apologist as you are.
          You do understand apologetics, right?

          It is an argument that the bible doesnt mean what it says or say what it means.

        • Rudy R

          What does KarlUdy say?

        • Jack Baynes

          But they fall apart if the Gospels are just a story, so you can’t use them as evidence that the Gospels aren’t just a story.

    • Joe

      But then, all history is is a collection of stories.

      No, just the stories. There are historical accounts, biographies, lists, tallies, diaries and more.

      • KarlUdy

        Historical accounts, biographies, diaries, etc are stories. Items like lists, etc are only history in so far as they fit in with such stories.

        • Joe

          No, sometimes they’re all we have.

    • Ctharrot

      Many Buddhists credit the millennia-old miracle narratives associated with Gautama Buddha. Is there any sort of documentary or archaeological evidence that would persuade you these narratives were true?

      Would translations of copies of copies of ancient documents do it? How about stone or clay inscriptions, dating roughly to the probable era of Buddha’s life, purporting to be first-hand accounts of his supernatural powers?

      Would you believe them? Or would interpret them as being products of the human imagination?

      • KarlUdy

        Buddha could have performed miracles and it would not impact my assessment of the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

        • Ctharrot

          I doubt anything would dissuade you from believing the NT narratives. But that wasn’t my question.

          My question was whether you can reasonably conceive of any documentary or archaeological evidence that would persuade you that the accounts of miracles attributed to Gautama Buddha are true.

        • KarlUdy

          Ctharrot, it is possible that if sufficient evidence existed, I could be persuaded by that evidence that the miracles attributed to Buddha are true.

        • Ctharrot

          What would constitute sufficient evidence? Would translations of copies of ancient documents do it?

    • adam

      “Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeatedly spouting “it’s just a
      story” may be reassuring to you, but it’s not going to help you find the
      truth.”

      NOBODY here is sticking their fingers in their ears and repeated spouting ‘it’s just a story’

      We are STILL waiting for EVIDENCE.

      ALL you have to do is provide real evidence of your “God” and YOU could end atheism forever.

      What are you waiting for?

    • Lark62

      “Evidence, please” =/= sticking fingers in one’s ears.

      King Arthur had a round table and Lancelot got it on with Gwen.

      Abraham Lincoln was a Zombie.

      Jesus rose from the dead.

      Bilbo found a Ring, then Gollum bit Frodo’s finger off.

      Zeus sends out lightning bolts when he gets pissed.

      Robin Hood really ticked off the Sheriff of Nottingham.

      Newsflash – Not every event in every story “really happened.” Do you actually not know this?

      There probably was a war lord in Britain 1500 years ago with a name something like Arthur. There really was a Sheriff of Nottingham, and poachers. That doesn’t make make-believe true.

      Paul created his mystery religion for fun and profit, or whatever motivation he found appropriate. Paul wrote in Greek. He based his religion on a real or composite Aramaic-speaking, self-appointed messiah. Other people wrote fan fiction. They also spoke in Greek.

      “Created out of whole cloth” and “pulled out of his ass” aren’t exactly the same as “dropped from the sky,” but the end result is the same.

      Believing nonsense is likewise not the path to truth. Demanding evidence is.

      Edit to add – a 5 second stroll on Amazon produces at least a dozen books in response to “Elvis Alive Fiction”

      • KarlUdy

        It is interesting that you spend so many words on pointing out that not every narrative can be trusted, and yet you accept the following narrative uncritically:

        Paul created his mystery religion for fun and profit, or whatever motivation he found appropriate. Paul wrote in Greek. He based his religion on a real or composite Aramaic-speaking, self-appointed messiah. Other people wrote fan fiction. They also spoke in Greek.

        • Lark62

          On what basis do you conclude that I accept this “uncritically”?

          Right now, that is what the evidence indicates. Show me more evidence and I will re-evaluate my conclusions.

          Which part(s) do you think are unsupported by evidence?
          – Christianity was pretty much created by Paul, but I’m not sure about his motivation
          – The NT was written in Greek
          – There is no evidence that there was or was not an actual Jesus, but wandering messiahs were common at the time.
          – People in Palestine spoke Aramaic
          – About half of the letters attributed to Paul were not written by him. The gospels were not written by Jesus’ disciples and resemble fan fiction far more than they resemble texts written or dictated by people who spent 3 years listening to god speak. Lots of people were making stuff up.

    • adam

      “But then, all history is is a collection of stories. Stories that give
      meaning and structure to events that really happened. So while no one
      can dispute that what has been passed down to us is a story, to claim
      that it is just a story”

      But to take it as factual is insanity

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8d01ed1b9f53173e882c769fa69e63c3584d87fd6bca730bcd98beca9e5c76c.jpg

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d5d4a2909d67c62c518e6574ff1a0b42f6295b335ae8fd4039f6f765cefb813.jpg

    • SparklingMoon,

      The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky. It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour.
      ———————————————————————————————————————-
      You are right that New Testament has shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour of its followers. A person can not deny that New Testament and specially four Gospels have teachings and prophecies of Jesus that had been written by his latter coming followers. It would be better if a follower of Jesus try to understand the message of Jesus through his described words in the Gospels instead by the human made explanation of later coming people. It is a fact that New Testament or four Gospels neither have the revelation of God Almighty nor the exact words of Jesus therefore a person must use his faculty of reason to make a difference between truth and story.

      • adam

        ” It is a fact that New Testament or four Gospels neither have the
        revelation of God Almighty nor the exact words of Jesus therefore a
        person must use his faculty of reason to make a difference between truth
        and story.”

        Thanks Capt. Obvious

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e5e587289bac5ccc1992d78778c7358acb676a2e909c99b3508dce327e1cd29.jpg

        • SparklingMoon,

          A prophet received a revelation for other people also who live around him. This revelation is a trust that he must has to deliver. A prophet has not permission to hide any teachings of God Almighty that has been revealed to him for the guidance of his people for he was sent. A prophet not only receives teachings but also practiced them before his people and maintained them on these teachings during his life.It is his followers who after his death spread his teachings and guide other new comers

          Jesus was a prophet of God Almighty and certainly had revelation but unfortunately in the very beginning of his mission, after cross, he had to move to eastern countries in the search of other tribes of Israel . He left a very small community of followers in the area of Jerusalem who lived with Jesus less than three years. This short time did not prove enough to penetrate faith in their hearts and it was the reason that they all had left Jesus alone at the time of cross. There are available other Gospels also and a comparison of their teachings may help the followers of Jesus to find the truth of his message.

          It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that the religions which have spread and are firmly established in the world through Prophets, holding sway over a part of the world and achieving survival and long life, none was false in its origin. Nor was any of those Prophets false, because it is the eternal practice of God that a false prophet who lies against God—who is not from God, but dares to forge things from himself—never prospers. If we should discover mistakes in the scriptures of their religions or should observe the misconduct of their followers, we should not attribute these faults and shortcomings to the founders of these religions, inasmuch as the perversion of scriptures is possible and it is possible that mistakes of interpretation might find their way into the commentaries. But it is not at all possible that a person should fabricate lies against God and claim to be a prophet and then put forward his own compositions as the word of God falsely, and yet God should grant him respite like the righteous and allow him wide acceptance worthy of the truthful.

        • adam

          “A prophet received a revelation for other people also who live around him.”

          Sorry, but hallucinations, visions, etc are not revelations, but quirks of the mind.

          If you want to claim some ‘divinity’ you much first demonstrate that your divine being is anything but IMAGINARY.

          tl:dr

        • SparklingMoon,

          If you want to claim some ‘divinity’ you much first demonstrate that your divine being is anything but IMAGINARY.
          ———————————————————————

          He who is seeking after God must first and foremost correct his beliefs; he should ascertain as to which God he is seeking after. ls he really seeking after the God who is the Creator of the whole of the Universe and who is the Owner of it and possesses all the good attributes and who is devoid of every shortcoming. Or is he seeking after a God who is the son of a woman. For example the Christians say that Messiah, the son of Mary, (who was born to a woman just as other human beings are born, and was eating and drinking) was God. It is quite possible that someone may like him and love him but human intellect does not permit that such a weak person should be taken as God, or that the gods are also born to women. When the very first step is not on the right lines, how can the second step be. The rays of Light that fall on the heart by believing in a Living God and a God who possesses ail the good attributes, cannot fall on the heart by believing in a person who is mortal, weak and helpless. I do not go into the discussion as to what do the people say: they say Allah, God or Permeshawar. The real point at issue is as to what do they think of Him. Give Him any name you like, but let me know what do you think His attributes are. It is the attributes of God that we should ponder over. (Ruhanikhazain)

        • adam

          “He who is seeking after God must first and foremost correct his beliefs; he should ascertain as to which God he is seeking after.”

          If you want to claim some ‘divinity’ you much first demonstrate that your divine being is anything but IMAGINARY.

          IMAGINING a God, is the first problem.

          “The real point at issue is as to what do they think of Him.”

          You mean just like what people think of Spiderman.

          The REAL point is IMAGINING imaginary characters are anything but IMAGINARY

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a1d48c6ea9ae94abc4986173c1c9496602e6dc86fef2062e9417b9a7f4f213b.jpg

        • Cometofacts

          ‘The Gracious and Merciful Lord who has invested human nature with the hunger and thirst of His own complete understanding has endowed human nature with two types of faculties for the purpose of arriving at that understanding. One type are the intellectual faculties the source of which is the brain, and the other type are spiritual faculties the source of which is the heart and the purity of which depends upon the purity of the heart. That which cannot be discovered through the intellectual faculties is reached through the spiritual faculties. Spiritual faculties can develop such purity that the graces of the Source of Grace can be mirrored in them, but the condition is that they should be eager for the acquisition of grace and all intervening veils and obstructions should be removed so that they might become the recipients of the grace of perfect understanding. Their recognition of the Divine should not be limited to the affirmation that there should be a Creator of this universe, but they should be able to behold His countenance through having observed His great signs and should thus be able to see that that Creator truly exists ….

          From the beginning it has been the way of God that irrespective of a person being good or bad or righteous or disobedient, or being the follower of a true faith or of a false one, he is shown true dreams or is vouchsafed true revelation so that his conjecture which derives from hearing of such matters may be converted into certainty and he may have a sample in his hands which should help his spiritual progress. The Wise Creator has so fashioned the human brain and has so invested it with the spiritual faculties that it can see some true dreams and can receive some true revelations.But these dreams and revelations are not an indication of any spiritual rank or greatness, but are only a sample of the way through which progress could be made. (Ruhani Khazain)

        • adam

          “One type are the intellectual faculties the source of which is the
          brain, and the other type are spiritual faculties the source of which is
          the heart and the purity of which depends upon the purity of the heart.

          So when a person gets a heart transplant their ‘purity’ changes?

          You know the heart doesnt do any thinking, right?

          ” The Wise Creator has so fashioned the human brain and has so invested
          it with the spiritual faculties that it can see some true dreams and can
          receive some true revelations.”

          Yes, that makes Joseph Smith and L Ron Hubbard just as divinely expired as Moses, Jesus or Mohammed.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible authors thought it was the heart and kidneys that did the thinking.

        • adam

          Yes, I understand how ignorant they were, and how ignorant their ‘believers’ are.

        • Greg G.

          Many verses use the word for “heart” often when “mind” would be better but they didn’t have that concept. Some KJV verses are translated with “reins” which means “kidneys” and is where the word “renal” comes from. Revelation 2:23 is the only NT verse referring to kidneys as “mind” where it uses the Greek “nephros” which is where “nephritis” (“inflammation of the kidneys” ) comes.

          reins in KJV = kidneys
          Job 16:13
          Job 19:27
          Psalm 7:9
          Psalm 16:7
          Psalm 26:2
          Psalm 73:21
          Psalm 139:13
          Proverbs 23:16
          Isaiah 11:5
          Jeremiah 11:20
          Jeremiah 12:2
          Jeremiah 17:10
          Jeremiah 20:12
          Lamentations 3:13
          Revelation 2:23

        • Michael Neville

          There are plenty of men who think with their little heads instead of their big ones. The Bible recommends not doing that.

        • Susan

          The Bible recommends not doing that.

          Not particularly.

        • Cometofacts

          So when a person gets a heart transplant their ‘purity’ changes?
          ———————————————————————————–

          As our physical brain has a spiritual mind as our physical heart has a spiritual heart that is connected with an unseen realm. A person receives unknown knowledge through his heart and later his mind draws it from the heart. God Almighty says that He is the source of all knowledge and He reveals it to human beings according to their need. Whenever a person meditates about a particular branch, his heart receives new knowledge to the related field . If a person peruses for God Almighty he receives knowledge about Him. God Almighty has specially promised that whoever would struggle in His way he would be guided .

        • adam

          “As our physical brain has a spiritual mind as our physical heart has a spiritual heart that is connected with an unseen realm.”

          Unseen you mean IMAGINED.

          Demonstrate what you claim is true, otherwise you are bearing false witness (LYING), not that THAT matters to the ‘faithful’

        • Cometofacts

          Unseen world does not mean imaginary. When we study physical world and its causes and effects, we find observations leading to a world small in size, particles leading to sub-particles, all of it invisible to our eyes. Solid matter changing to gases and even more ethereal in nature, and finally, it is said, the matter changing to energy.

          It is proven that all that is physical and visible to us is divisible into smaller and yet smaller particles, leading into (Lateef) ethereal, incomprehensible, and imperceptible world. Obviously, it gets its energy from a source not easily visible because of its size, and size of particles it is comprised of. There is hidden wisdom in all of this system. It is at those smallest of the smallest and ethereal (lateef) places where angels operate to fulfill their duties as a middle source between physical objects and God Almighty.

          God Almighty has divided His wonderful universe into three parts. (1) The world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments. (2) The world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture. (3) The world which is hidden beyond hidden, which is so imperceptible that few are aware of it. That world is entirely unseen; reason has not been granted the ability to reach it, except through mere conjecture. This world is disclosed only through visions, revelation, inspiration, and not by any other means

        • adam

          “Unseen world does not mean imaginary.”

          Then demonstrate that this ‘unseen world’ is anything but IMAGINARY.

          “God Almighty”

          You understand you need to demonstrate such a God Almighty before CLAIMING it actually does things?

        • Michael Neville

          While subatomic particles cannot be seen with the naked eye, we have reliable means of detecting them with instruments. The “world” of subatomic particles may seem ethereal, incomprehensible and imperceptible to you, but that doesn’t mean that actual scientists can’t comprehend and perceive it.

          If you want us to believe your song and dance about “God Almighty” then you have to provide (here’s the word that you Christians hate because it’s incomprehensible and imperceptible to you) evidence that your god isn’t a figment of bronze age priests’ imaginations.

          This world is disclosed only through visions, revelation, inspiration, and not by any other means

          That sounds like an imaginary world to me.

        • adam

          “That sounds like an imaginary world to me.”

          That’s how I would define it.

        • Greg G.

          (here’s the word that you Christians hate

          Cometofacts is SparklingMoon’s other account. He accidentally posted here with it and admitted it was his a couple of months ago.

        • Cometofacts

          As it is the way of God Almighty that for the discovery of the first two worlds that we have mentioned He has bestowed upon man different types of faculties and powers. In the same way, the Absolute Bounteous has appointed a means for man for the discovery of the third world; and that means is revelation, inspiration and visions.

          This means is not allowed to be wholly suspended at any time; indeed, those who comply with the conditions for achieving it have, throughout, been its recipients and will continue to be such. As man has been created for unlimited progress and God Almighty is free from deficiencies, miserliness and holding-back, it would be an unworthy thought that He put into the heart of man the eagerness to learn the secrets of all the three worlds and yet has deprived him wholly of the knowledge of the means of acquiring knowledge of the third world.

          This impels wise people to believe in the permanent need of inspiration and visions and they do not confine revelation. Instead, wise people, believing in the absolute bounty of God Almighty, deem the door of inspiration ever open and do not confine it to any country or religion. It is true, however, that it is limited to the straight path. By treading along this path these blessings can be achieved, inasmuch as it is necessary for the achievement of everything to follow the rules and methods which are necessary for its achievement.

          Wise people do not deny the wonders of the world of visions. They have to admit that the Absolute Benefactor, Who has bestowed upon man faculties and powers for the discovery of every little matter in the first world, would not deprive man of the means of discovering the grand affairs of the third world through which a true and perfect relationship with God Almighty can be established, and true and certain understanding having been achieved, the lights of heaven become manifest in this very world.

          This method is also open, like the methods of discovering the other two worlds, and the truthful people adopt it with great conviction and follow it and obtain its fruits. To insist that the mysteries of that world should be wholly revealed through reason would be like shutting one’s eyes and insisting that visible things should become perceptible through the sense of smell. (Ruhanikhazain)

        • adam

          “As it is the way of God Almighty”

          How does an IMAGINARY character do anything?

          ” He has bestowed upon man different types of faculties and powers. ”

          Obviously, he has bestowed upon you the superpower of bullshit.

          “Wise people do not deny the wonders of the world of visions.”

          Wise people understand that they are HALLUCINATIONS.

          Only ignorant and dishonest people claim they are visions.

        • Michael Neville

          As it is the way of God Almighty that for the discovery of the first two worlds that we have mentioned.

          You skipped a step. Before you can brag about what your god may have done, you first have to show that your god exists.

          God Almighty is free from deficiencies, miserliness and holding-back

          Again this is mere conjecture on your part. You still have to show your god exists before you can assign attributes to it.

          This impels wise people to believe in the permanent need of inspiration and visions

          There are street pharmaceuticals which will give you visions. However, to quote Chip Monck at Woodstock: “The brown acid that is circulating around us isn’t too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that.”

          Wise people do not deny the wonders of the world of visions.

          As long as you stay away from the brown acid. To quote Monck further: “Of course it’s your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?”

          To insist that the mysteries of that world should be wholly revealed through reason would be like shutting one’s eyes and insisting that visible things should become perceptible through the sense of smell.

          I think I’ll stick with reason. It has a good track record, unlike the brown acid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cometofacts is also Sparkling Moon, an Ahmadiyya Muslim eejit.

        • adam

          “As our physical brain has a spiritual mind as our physical heart has a spiritual heart that is connected with an unseen realm.”

          Unseen you mean IMAGINED.

          Demonstrate what you claim is true, otherwise you are bearing false witness (LYING), not that THAT matters to the ‘faithful’

        • Bob Jase

          “God Almighty says that He is the source of all knowledge and He reveals it to human beings according to their need.”

          So when we do something evil out of stupidity its because god wants us to not know any better?

    • Jim Jones

      How do we find the truth in Scientology?

    • Ficino

      “The New Testament didn’t drop out of the sky. It came out a context of a community who already had shared memories, beliefs, and norms of behaviour. That this was a new community that began shortly before the writings that became the New Testament were written gives historians plenty to work with to find the explanations that best fit the evidence.”

      But we do not have evidence about the community that you say provided the “context” in which the NT was written, except for the NT itself.

      The real rub is in the gospels and Acts. We imagine an early church as what we read about in Acts. But I’m seeing a trend toward dating Acts to maybe the 120s. There are no criteria for evaluating the historical core of the Gospels that are not question-begging.

      The above does not necessarily entail “mythicism.” It does entail that we have almost nothing concrete on which to establish a history of first century Christianity except, I’ll suppose, the six or so authentic letters of Paul. The “events that really happened” piece of yours above boil down to perhaps that there was a wandering preacher of messianic pretensions who was crucified. But even that conclusion rests on certain assumptions for which we don’t have evidence that passes source tests posed by the discipline of history (as opposed to biblical scholarship).

  • Donalbain

    “This thing happened. Some other guys saw it. Just ask them” That is NOT eyewitness testimony. It is second hand at best.

    • Greg G.

      “Some women saw it but they didn’t tell anybody because they were so afraid.”

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Lemme tell you the story about what happened to 3 teenagers last halloween in the woods near my home. None of those kids survived to tell the tale, but I know the whole chilling story. Gather around the campfire kids…

        • Jack Baynes

          Actually, that sounds like a good framing story for a horror movie. Someone sitting down to tell this horrible story that they insist really truly happened, but at the end of the story, all of the victims are dead.

          And the people hearing the story slowly realize that there’s only ONE possible way for the storyteller to know what happened…. and the story teller is the killer!!!!

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Sadly, if the tale is told to a xtian audience, they probably would not question how the fuck the story teller could know. There are many places in the big book of bullshit where events are described that had no possible witness(es) yet they eat that shit up hook line in and sinker. My fave silly horror story/urban legend though is the classic :’The call is comming from INSIDE the house!’ considering the tale was always told about some low pay babysitter taking care of a neighbor’s kid, how many people did YOU know way back then to have multiple landlines in their house?
          PHHHHHT

        • Jack Baynes

          Well. I remember a house where, through some quirk of the phone system, you could call one phone in the house from another one, even though they were both on the same line. Something about dialing yourself, then hanging up and letting it ring.

          Or maybe my father was just messing with me.

        • Greg G.

          I remember that. It took a little while for the connections to make so if you hung up before the system detected the phone off the hook, it would ring.

        • Lark62

          And if none of the kids survived, how do you know what happened…?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “whooooooooshhh” that is the sound a point makes as it flies over somebody’s head.

      • adam

        There there is case…

      • Lerk!

        That’s what one version says. Another version says the women saw it and immediately went and told the apostles. And therein lies the irrefutable problem — the Gospels can’t actually be harmonized.

  • skl

    It would be interesting to know if Lee Strobel had any
    suggestions as to how the stories could have been written differently to make
    them more believable. But he should know that no matter how they were written,
    they wouldn’t be accepted by those who won’t accept the supernatural.

    • Otto

      It’s not that they/we ‘won’t accept the supernatural’…it is that there is no reason to accept the supernatural.

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

      What Otto said. You seem to imagine that those of us here “won’t accept the supernatural.” Give me some frikkin’ evidence, and maybe I will. I’d be an idiot to accept the supernatural with the paltry evidence I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of paltry evidence).

      • Cozmo the Magician

        On the one hand as magician I know damn well that even ‘seeing’ evidence of the ‘supernatural’ means jack shit. And on the other hand, ‘supernatural’ kinda implies you CAN’T see it,explain it, duplicate it, or in many cases even define it (try nailing a xtian down on a definition of ‘god’. Then try getting even two of them from the same church to agree. But on the gripping hand, even if I had lock solid 100% pure undeniable proof that Jesus existed, died, and came back; I STILL would not fucking worship his egotistic, violet, genocidal, bigoted, ignorant dad.

        • Max Doubt

          “On the one hand as magician I know damn well that even ‘seeing’ evidence of the ‘supernatural’ means jack shit.”

          Yep. If I had a sawbuck for every time someone thought I was doing real magic I could afford some new Owen rings.

          “But on the gripping hand, even if I had lock solid 100% pure undeniable proof that Jesus existed, died, and came back;…”

          … we’d still have to assess the walking on water claim as a separate incident requiring its own objective evidence and analysis. Just because a dude can do the resurrection trick, even if it’s for real, doesn’t mean he can save souls or grant wishes or cater a wine and sushi party from an empty change bag.

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

          Then there’s Paul’s response: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

          He didn’t say, “If Christ has not been raised, then we’ve been wasting our time with a BS religion!” He said, “If Christ has not been raised, we’ve still got to figure out what to do with this sin that’s going to condemn us to hell.” Sometimes they’re just determined to believe.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “Yep. If I had a sawbuck for every time someone thought I was doing real magic I could afford some new Owen rings.”Sadly on occasions when I performed a mentalism act even telling the audience BEFORE and AFTER the show ‘Hey, this is a show folks.. please don’t expect me to find murderers or contact your dead grandma’ people would STILL come up to me afterwords and ask for ‘readings’ and such… Sigh.. I finally just said screw it with that act.

        • Michael Neville

          So you won’t find out who killed grandma? That’s pretty selfish of you. :-þ

        • Cozmo the Magician

          It was Colonel Mustard, in the Library, with a Lead Pipe…

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

          I know your kind–just too proud to bend the knee, amirite??

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Nah, not too proud, just a bad hip O_o hurts to bend down and get back up. But I WILL lift a finger (:

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

          I’ve been known to lift a middle finger.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Show some extra effort, lift BOTH (:

        • Michael Neville

          +1 for the post and another +1 for the Moties reference.

          EDIT What do you have against the color violet? Do you prefer cyan or magenta?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          edited… ty

        • Greg G.

          I think you made it less interesting… certainly less colorful.

    • Jack Baynes

      First, the stories should be internally consistent. If the authors can’t get their story straight, why should we believe any of it?

      Then it would nice if some of the stories that would have been noticed by wide audiences were actually noticed and recorded by those audiences

      • skl

        I don’t think so.
        Even if the stories were perfectly consistent, and even if they were
        recorded by wide audiences, they would be disbelieved by people who do not accept the supernatural.

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

          Who are these people who don’t accept the supernatural? You just speaking in general, or are you speaking about people here?

        • skl

          Let me put it this way, in current context:
          Assume for argument’s sake that the miracles of Christ actually
          occurred, just as written.
          Many people, back then and right now, will not accept them.
          And many will.

        • Greg G.

          Some would accept the claims of the miracles of Jesus then and now.
          Some would accept the claims of the miracles of Asclepius then but fewer now.

          Skeptics would reject both because of a lack of evidence. If there was sufficient evidence, then skeptics would accept the miracles. Sufficient evidence is a higher bar to reach because of the inmcompatible claims of miracles and evidence for them that is manufactured under false pretenses.

          Those who would accept Jesus miracles would reject Asclepius miracles for the same reason skeptics would.

          It comes down to who wants to be consistently rational.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You could say that about just about any silly claim you care to name:

          “Assume for argument’s sake that the magical fairies actually make people fly, just as written.
          Many people, back then and right now, will not accept them.
          And many will.”

          You can make any stupid assumption you like. Doesn’t make such assumptions any more credible.

        • Greg G.

          BTW, which “Christ” are you referring to? There were many who claimed to be the Messiah or were said to be, and some of them actually existed.

        • Joe

          Some people don’t accept climate change. Or that the earth isn’t flat.

          Do you believe you’re imparting something profound to us here?

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        At the very least, they should get the genealogy of the star of the story straight.

        • Jack Baynes

          And don’t forget who the star of the story is and give the genealogy of his stepfather instead.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Oopsie.

        • Greg G.

          Matthew makes a big deal about there being three sets of 14 generations, possibly because David’s name in Hebrew numerology is 14:
          D + V + D = 4+ 6 + 4 = 14.

          The first two sets have fourteen but he left out four generations out of the second to get there. The third set has only 13 names unless you count the Exile as a great-grandfather.

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      Please tell the class which other religions’ supernatural claims you believe, besides those from Christianity. Do you just believe them all? Why? Do you believe some of these claims, but not others? Why? If you don’t believe all supernatural claims, what criteria or process do you use to sort out the ones that are true from the ones that aren’t? Finally, please tell us why the rest of us here should use your criteria or process for determining which supernatural claims we should believe are true.

      • skl

        “Please tell the class which other religions’ supernatural
        claims you believe, besides those from Christianity…why the rest of us here
        should use your criteria or process for determining which supernatural claims
        we should believe are true.”

        I’m not a Christian. I’m not one to tell you or anyone what they
        should believe about the supernatural. Ask someone who’s religious.

        Class dismissed.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Complete dodge of my questions noted. You’re not much of a thinker, are you? For a self-proclaimed skeptic, you don’t seem to have the foggiest notion what the word means, or how to think skeptically.

          If you won’t help to give us a toolkit by which to evaluate supernatural claims, then you don’t get to be dismissive of us when we say we don’t believe anything supernatural exists due to lack of evidence.

          I’ll ask in a slightly different way: since you deride us for not automatically accepting supernatural claims, please enlighten us as to which supernatural claims you believe, and why. Tell us what toolkit you use to evaluate supernatural claims so that we can apply it ourselves. I’m asking you to teach us how to fish, here, since you seem to think you’re more expert on the subject and have given it more thought than we dismissive materialists have.

          The “why” is the really important bit, here. Show us that you’re capable of skeptical thought of some kind. The truth is, though, you’re really just a troll, so you’ll likely dodge any relevant questions in this post, too.

        • skl

          “You’re not much of a thinker, are you? … you don’t seem to have the
          foggiest notion… you deride us … you’re really just a troll,
          so you’ll likely dodge any relevant questions…”

          You got that very last part right in a very minor sense. I won’t be continuing this dialog with you.

        • eric

          Okay, but maybe you’ll dialogue with me. I’ll even rephrase the question to be more neutral. What supernatural beliefs – Christian or otherwise – do you believe in, and why?

        • skl

          “What supernatural beliefs – Christian or otherwise – do you
          believe in, and why?”

          I don’t have any supernatural beliefs, other than that I
          believe the supernatural is possible.

        • adam

          “other than that I believe the supernatural is possible.”

          Based on what?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d9a14f75bd2fd5cf65412377553b971b71f91eab7e664cd98319a438cd99a41.jpg

        • Otto

          The skeptical position should be that we don’t know if the supernatural is possible or not, it could be possible, but then again it might not be possible. That ‘possibility’ is also undetermined.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          And some reasons you believe the supernatural is possible, and therefore see fit to insult us for dismissing it without evidence (since none of us have ever seen it, whatever it might be) are…

        • Jack Baynes

          If you don’t have supernatural beliefs, what criteria do you use to dismiss supernatural claims?
          Why are your criteria for dismissing Christian supernatural beliefs better than our criteria?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          What is “the supernatural”?

        • Tommy

          I don’t have any supernatural beliefs

          Okay.

          I believe the supernatural is possible.

          There’s a problem.

        • Kevin K

          Playing the Hurt Feelings Card so soon? Poor snowflake!

        • skl

          No, my feelings aren’t hurt. I just choose not to dialog
          with such people.

          “Snowflakes” have always existed, but what’s a relatively
          new phenomenon is ‘Snowflake’ Chill’, that is, snowflakes drifting over or freezing out speech they don’t like.

          I’m no such snowflake, because unlike the modern snowflakes,
          I don’t want Clint W. silenced or banned.

          I just don’t want to dialog with him.

        • Kevin K

          Because you can’t answer his questions honestly. We ALL get it. You’re running away. Poor little snowflake, triggered by the bad man who’s not accepting your bullshit.

          You’re transparent as glass.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I asked perfectly relevant, reasonable questions regarding a subject that you brought up, which you chose to dodge by giving non-answers.

          That’s when I started insulting you.

          You could have shown yourself to be a skeptic, a thinker, someone able to offer us useful information. Instead, you pointed into the distance and yelled, “What in the world could that be!” and ran away.

          You are both a bafflewit and a coward.

        • Michael Neville

          Just for your information, you semi-literate twit, “dialog” is not a verb.

          https://dobrador.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Verbing-Weirds-Language.jpg

        • skl

          This is odd, I could not remember posting these comments and thought I had lost my marbles. I did not think Disqus would allow two posting as skl.

        • skl

          Yes, this is very odd.

        • Greg G.

          This skl is @disqus_DTPTmrhAtA with 682 comments and 120 votes. The other skl is @disqus_RoK6KOERXN with 62 comments and 31 votes and is a Private account.

        • adam

          I’m not one to tell you or anyone what they
          should believe about the supernatural.

          You do realize that was not the question you were asked, and is therefore dishonest?

        • Kevin K

          A lying Christian troll, at that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What a surprise….NOT!

        • adam

          “If you won’t help to give us a toolkit by which to evaluate supernatural claims,”

          We have given you science, but alas….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/637bfeb32fe76da958e611fbfd841246baeabb7b96c48f9a41144e316ea0e22d.jpg

        • Joe

          You weren’t asked if you were a Christian or not. You were asked which supernatural claims from other religions do you believe?

    • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

      It’s true. Those of us who stopped believing in fairies, also don’t accept Bible magic.

    • eric

      no matter how they were written, they wouldn’t be accepted by those who won’t accept the supernatural.

      No matter how they were written? Are you saying God is impotent to generate a message that would convince skeptics?

      • skl

        Perhaps you can give us your suggestions as to how the
        stories could have been written so that they convince even skeptics.

      • Lark62

        Are you saying God is impotent to generate a message that would convince skeptics?

        That seems pretty obvious.

    • Kevin K

      It would be EASY. Simple as pie. I can think of a thousand ways to prove the story.

      1. Jesus never raises bodily into heaven, but stays on Earth. Proof positive. A 2000-year-old man who isn’t Mel Brooks.
      2. Absent that (and really, why wouldn’t he stay?), any one of his miracles could be extended, but only for believers.
      ** A fountain with an endless supply of great wine — for believers only. Nonbelievers get water.
      ** Miracle healings — for believers only. And by “miracle healings”, I mean instant and complete resolution of any complaint, including amputation of limbs, etc., using nothing more than prayer. But for non-believers, they get the medical system we currently have.

      And on and on.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    The one ‘E’ evidence anybody needs as proof that a person can come back from the dead is……ELVIS. Thats right , people all over the world know that the ‘King’ lives on. And we also have SOLID proof that he even existed. Just google ‘Elvis’ and you will find tons of news stories, videos, movies and stuff showing the great god man Elvis.
    During his first life he was a generous man that helped the needy. He put his heart and sole into his music and movies. Oh and unlike a certain reality tv star, he actually served his country in the military.
    When finally his mortal body could take no more, god granted him a new immortal life RIGHT HERE ON EARTH. No going up into heaven to chill with the angels for this guy. Nope, he would continue to help the world. Elvis has been seen pumping gas, flipping burger, selling tickets to the movies, changing tires for stranded motorist. The list goes on and on and on about this holy musician’s deeds during this his second life. Anybody reading this can just google ‘Elvis sightings’ to read more about this amazing resurrection. But , unlike the christ character, this King does not want to be worshiped. His message is plain and clear ‘Work hard, serve your country and fellow humans. And don’t step on peoples shoes’. Shake Rattle & Roll.

    • Otto

      Elvis needs boats…

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Never claimed he could walk on water, or has any other special abilities. God just wont let somebody that special die. And if other people live their life exactly like Elvis did, they too may get to live forever. Your Milage May Vary, Special Conditions Apply to Customers from the following states….

        • Otto

          lol…sorry I was referring to this song.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpb4ZAAP6Z4

        • Ignorant Amos

          Apparently a lot of eejits thought Elvis did have special abilities…

          Religious organizations protested the implied sexual nature of the movements and the Parent-Teacher Association condemned Presley and rock & roll as instigators of juvenile delinquency.

          …a bit of a Pied Piper.

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

      That was beautiful.

    • Michael Neville

      Elvis has been seen pumping gas, flipping burger, selling tickets to the movies, changing tires for stranded motorist. The list goes on and on and on about this holy musician’s deeds during this his second life.

      There’s even a song about it.

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

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      You’ve convinced me, how do I convert?

      • Cozmo the Magician

        My work here is done…

  • SparklingMoon,

    Jesus was Executed. We can be sure that Jesus was dead. The Romans were very good at killing people. Don’t imagine that Jesus survived and then revived in the tomb.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The Jewish tombs of those days were not like the tombs of to-day; they were roomy and had an opening on one side, which was covered with a big stone. It was a cave like roomy place in a mountain where Jesus was placed in a state of swoon. Secondly, the Cross of the Jews was not like the hangman’s noose of to-day from which deliverance alive is nearly impossible, for the Cross of those days had no rope to be put round the neck of the victim, nor was he subjected to a fall from a wooden plank and allowed to keep hanging; rather, he was just put on the Cross, and his hands and feet were nailed to it; and it was quite possible that if, after crucifying a person and driving nails into him, it was decided — in a day or two — to forgive him and spare his life, he was taken down alive before his bones had been broken, the punishment already undergone being deemed sufficient for him. If it was decided to kill him, he was kept on the Cross at least for three days; water or bread was not allowed to come near him, and he was left in this condition in the sun for three or more days, when his bones were broken and ultimately as a result of this torture he died.

    Jesus (on whom be peace) did not remain on the Cross for three days; he did not have to suffer hunger or thirst for three days; nor were his bones broken. On the other hand, he remained on the Cross only for two hours, and the grace and mercy of God managed to bring about the crucifixion in the latter part of the day, which was a Friday, only a little time before sunset, the next day being the Sabbath, the feast Fasah of the Jews. According to Jewish custom it was unlawful and a punishable crime to let anyone remain on the Cross on the Sabbath day, or during the night previous to it; Jews, like Muslims, observed the lunar calendar, sunset being regarded as beginning the day. So, on the one hand, there was this circumstance which arose out of earthly causes, and, on the other, Almighty God brought into existence heavenly circumstances, namely, that when it was the sixth hour, there was a severe dust-storm which darkened the earth for three hours.

    This sixth hour was after twelve o’clock, i.e., close to the evening. Now, the Jews were afraid in this utter darkness, lest the night of the Sabbath should overtake them, and lest, having violated the sanctity of the Sabbath, they should deserve to be punished. ‘The Jews, therefore, besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already they broke not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water’.(John 19:31-34.) These verses clearly show that in order to put an end to the life of a crucified person it was the practice in those days to keep him on the Cross for several days, and then to break his legs, but the legs of Jesus were purposely not broken, and he was taken down alive from the Cross, like the two thieves. That was the reason why there came out blood when his side was pierced. The blood however, conceals after death. And, here, it appears that all this was the result of a conspiracy. (Ruhanikhazain)

    • Chuck Johnson

      Yes, people do like to make up emotion-laden stories.

    • Chuck Johnson

      The blood, however congeals after death.

    • Ignorant Amos

      This is a lot of angels dancing on the head of a pin counting nonsense.

      • Kevin K

        This commenter is a member of a very, very weird Muslim cult, and is very fond of long strings of copy-pasta. It might even be a bot. I would not waste pixels on it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…I’ve had my fair share of cometofacts aka sparkling moon and his Ahmadiyya Muslim woo woo nonsense in the past, along with all the burbling shite from Ruhanikhazain he copies and pastes.

          He used to present his walls of texts without any way the
          reader could know he was not presenting it as his own work. I had to point out to the fruitcake that it could be deemed as plagiarism. Now he signs of with (Ruhanikhazain). Still no way of knowing what’s his own thinking. Not much I should think.

          I normally would flick on past, but the first couple words caught my eye on this occasion.

    • adam

      Was this before or after the moon was split in two?

    • Lark62

      We can be sure Boromir is dead. We can be sure Aragorn is dead. Bilbo and Frodo sailed to the West, so that’s a bit fuzzy.

      • Joe

        We can be sure Boromir is dead

        If the stabbing and going over the waterfall didn’t kill him, having his head chopped off in King’s Landing would have finished the job.