Human Sacrifice in the Bible (2 of 2)

In part 1, we looked at Bible verses both for and against human sacrifice in the Old Testament. Now let’s turn to the New.

Things surely improve in the New Testament . . . right?

Sacrifice remains important in the New Testament. Everyone knows that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). The most popular verse in the Bible for many Christians acknowledges that: John 3:16 begins, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” And by “gave,” of course, they mean that Jesus was a human sacrifice to God.

Christians will reject human sacrifice to the Canaanite gods Moloch and Chemosh as barbaric and pointless, but apparently the human sacrifice to their Bronze Age god actually worked.

James Dobson celebrated one Father’s Day by likening the crucifixion to, not a barbaric act of cruelty, but “God’s greatest example of true fatherhood.” He said, “Look to the cross of Jesus Christ and be reminded of what fatherhood is all about” (that page has since been changed).

Yeah, that makes sense—have a pretend sacrifice of yourself to satisfy your justified rage. Human sacrifice is always a good Father’s Day message.

But does the sacrifice of Jesus work, even within a biblical context? Jewish sacrifices must be burned. How can the mojo of the dead animal or person get to heaven (in rising smoke) without the offering fire? Ephesians even says, “[Jesus] gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). Sure, Jesus may have eliminated the need for further sacrifices, but if his sacrifice was necessary, then it must have been carried out the old-fashioned way, through burning. And if it wasn’t . . . well, then that sacrifice apparently didn’t work.

Further, Jewish sacrifices must be perfect. God demands the best, and Jesus after his beating was hardly an unblemished sacrifice. But, I suppose God makes his own rules. Or it’s a mystery. Or something.

In response to the statement, “Jesus died for you,” I’m tempted to note that the 9/11 hijackers died for me, too. Maybe we should look to something besides human sacrifices to solve our problems.

But is a sacrifice even necessary?

The Bible both demands human sacrifice and prohibits it, and God demanded the sacrifice of Jesus just like any other Bronze Age god. But the craziest part is that all this isn’t even necessary. Apologists assure us that God must have a sacrifice, and yet the Bible itself shows that God can forgive just like you and I do.

When God makes a new covenant with his people in Jeremiah 31, he says,

I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jer. 31:33–4).

In a sunny frame of mind on another day, God says something similar:

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25).

And we see the line from Jeremiah repeated in the New Testament in Hebrews 8:12. What’s all this about how God’s infinite justice would be infinitely offended if even a little sin wasn’t atoned for with blood?

God seems to be a decent guy—he just forgives. The Christian story looks a bit better now, and we can forget the idea of the sacrifice of Jesus and its house-of-cards justification.

When I hear from people that
religion doesn’t hurt anything, I say, really?
Well besides wars, the Crusades, the Inquisitions,
9-11, ethnic cleansing, the suppression of women,
the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings,
suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifice,

burning witches, and systematic sex with children,
I have a few little quibbles.
And I forgot blowing up girl schools in Afghanistan.
— Bill Maher

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/30/14.)

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  • ThaneOfDrones

    But if God could just forgive people without going through the motions of sacrifice, He wouldn’t be fulfilling all the rules. Apparently God’s power is limited; we need to find the person who sets all these rules God must follow, he’s the one with the real power.

    • Bob Jase

      That would be the Editor.

    • epeeist

      we need to find the person who sets all these rules God must follow, he’s the one with the real power

      It is the man who lives in a Shack in the “middle of nowhere” with “what appears to be a cat.” He has named the cat “the Lord”.

      Hehas no interest in ruling the universe and is not even sure he believes it exists. He only believes in what she senses with his eyes and ears, though he is not too sure about that either.

  • Castilliano

    Sins were already being forgiven via animal sacrifice, so all Jesus did was spare animals.
    Seriously.
    And now, Bob, you’ve given multiple examples where Yahweh didn’t even need that…

    Now envisioning a Monty Python sketch where Jesus offers to kill himself.
    “No, no, that’s fine, Jesus. We’ll just sacrifice some livestock.”
    “But I’m the perfect sacrifice. Let me.”
    “Really, it’s okay. It’s been a bumper year.”
    “But Yahweh, my father BTW, sent me here to die for humanity.”
    “Pretty much everything you just said goes against Jewish scripture.”
    “Rubbish, I’m here to fulfill the law.”
    “That doesn’t even make sense. Laws don’t get fulfilled.”
    “Yes, it does because I say so. Heck, it’s not even suicide if I get the Romans to do it for us.”
    “Wait? What?!”
    (Jesus wanders off)
    “You do realize sacrifices have to be at the temple, don’t you?”
    (silence)
    (shrug)

    • Bravo Sierra

      Plus, wasn’t animal sacrifice pretty much a great big barbecue?

      • Yes, and it was the priests who were licking the BBQ sauce off their fingers, not the individual who brought the animal.

        It’s almost like the priesthood class had a motive to perpetuate the ritual.

        • Yes. I was discussing blood sacrifice with my father in law who had gone to seminary to become a Catholic priest. I told him I thought animal sacrifice was barbaric. He said, “Hey, all those priests had to be fed somehow. They weren’t working and contributing to society so they had to come up with a,way to get support.”

        • Pofarmer

          How did the going to seminary thing work out?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not so well by the sounds of it.

        • Pofarmer

          Or perfectly well.

        • Lol – 60 men went into seminary in that class.only 5 were ordained into the priesthood. Only one still remains in the priesthood today. My father-in-law was one of the 55 who didnt go through with ordination. He got a girlfriend instead

        • Greg G.

          We hired a guide in Sydney who had trained to be a priest but didn’t end up doing it. He stayed single because he agreed with the reasoning of the Church. The tour he gave was great and we enjoyed it a lot but I think he enjoyed it more just for the company.

        • Lark62

          It was hard work thinking up all those sins that can only be forgiven with blood sacrifice. You’ve gotta give “mixed fabrics” points for creativity. Then they had to come up with some grain offering sins to round out the diet.

          Though, one has to wonder what they were thinking when they put the kabosh on bacon.

        • Kodie

          Wonder if they burned pigs for the smell but couldn’t eat them. That seems like the kind of loophole they’d have. Whatever reason they had not to eat pigs, I mean, were there even pigs? I haven’t read much of the bible, but it’s pretty much goats and asses. Where would there be pigs if they were forbidden to be eaten? Unless it’s like India where they can’t eat cows, and yet there are cows all over.

        • Illithid

          Swine are mentioned a few times in the NT. I’ve wondered why also, if Jews can’t eat them. ‘Course, there were Romans and Greeks and such, maybe they had the pigs.

        • Susan

          Whatever reason they had not to eat pigs, I mean, were there even pigs?

          If there weren’t pigs, there wouldn’t be all these special rules about not eating pigs. There had to be “others” who ate pigs who made those who didn’t closer to Yahweh.

          “Those people” eat pigs. “Those people” don’t have special love from Yahweh. “Those people” are behaving in ways that invite demons to possess them.

          It’s hard to say for sure. It’s a story and a horrible one at that. Considering pigs are as emotionally and intellectually developed as dogs.

          They are as affectionate, curious and intelligent as dogs.

          You’d think a god would point that out. But that god didn’t think much of dogs either.

          It’s not about what it’s like to be a dog or a pig. It’s about what it’s OK to eat.

          According to reports from humans about what an imaginary being decrees.

        • Greg G.

          I mean, were there even pigs?

          Yes, there were pigs. Israeli archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman have shown that there were various Canaanite sites with indistinguishable cultures except that some had pig bones and some did not.

        • Kodie

          Are there any pigs in the middle east now? I assume there are Christians who would eat them.

    • Excellent points.

  • Anthrotheist

    So a nonsensical sin never actually required a nonsensical solution.

    That makes sense, and I can’t help but feel like making the original version so obfuscated that it could make no sense and still seem compelling is probably the main purpose of the original version.

  • ildi

    I remember one of my “wait-wut?” moments toward deconversion was reading some sci-fi novel and the aliens noticing that people were wearing the symbol for one of the more cruel forms of execution around their necks as the major symbol of their religion.

    • basenjibrian

      Prospero:
      That cross you wear around your neck; is it only a decoration, or are you a true Christian believer?

      Francesca:
      Yes, I believe – truly.

      Prospero:
      Then I want you to remove it at once! And never to wear it within this castle again! Do you know how a falcon is trained my dear? Her eyes are sown shut. Blinded temporarily she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve – as your God taught and blinded you with crosses.
      -The Masque of the Red Death

    • After Jesus’s second coming (any day now, y’know), he’ll die in an electric chair.

      And then Christians will be wearing symbols of that.

      • ildi

        I vote for C22H28N2O

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Bill Hicks has a pretty brutal standup routine where he discusses that in terms of the Kennedy Assassination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZq6UOiBu_Y

        Alsol, DarkMatter2525 did a video on that with the idea that the Jeez was killed by an M-16 (hey, it’s fiction, run with it…)

        • Somewhere (in the comments to this post?), someone said that aquariums would be religious paraphernalia if Jesus died by drowning.

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      Right?!

    • Kuno

      There’s an old joke in Germany: If Jesus had been drowned, there would be a fishtank in every classroom in Bavaria. (Expl: (Rural) Bavaria always has been and still is one of the most conservative and Catholic areas of Germany and they had a crucifix in almost every room and especially every classroom.)

  • Kevin K

    Of course, the reason heretics were burned at the stake was to make a burnt offering to Yahweh. Yahweh loves the smell of roasted heretic.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Who doesn’t?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Roast baby smells better 😉

  • RichardSRussell

    Things surely improve in the New Testament . . . right?

    I keep hearing that song and dance from the TBs, that we can skip over all the atrocities of the Old Testament, because good, loving Jesus came along and rewrote the script full of sweetness and light with the New.

    I call bullshit. Sure, the OT’s Yahweh was a petty, vengeful, mean-spirited asshole. If you somehow managed to piss him off (which never took much and seemed to occur randomly), he’d smite you dead. Not only you but most of your village and half the innocent civilians for 2 counties in every direction (because, I guess, his aim wasn’t that good). But that was the end of it. You were dead, end of story, suffer no more.

    It took that lovely humanitarian Jesus to say “not so fast there, bubba” and make sure that you roasted for all eternity afterward. And not merely for what you did! Oh, no, that would let way too many potential steaks off the hook. He nailed you for what you were thinking and intending as well. What a sweetheart!

  • These Things Were Written

    I would like to know why atheists do not accept the New Testament narrative of Jesus as factual?

    • Otto

      Because the narrative is patently ridiculous…the better question is ‘why do you…?’

      • These Things Were Written

        So, your basis of authenticating literature of antiquity is based upon whether you like it or agree with its premise?

        • Otto

          That…and the narrative does not have any indications that it records anything historical in regards to the pertinent claims, it specifically stinks of myth.

        • These Things Were Written

          What evidence can you provide to prove that the narratives of Jesus in the New Testament are not true?

          You stated that “the narrative does not have any indications that it records anything historical,” yet this is precisely what the text claims.

        • Otto

          You claim they are true…the burden of proof is yours. Nice try.

          The Scientology text claims it is historical.
          The Book of Mormon claims it is historical.
          Let me guess…you aren’t a Scientologist or a Mormon.

        • These Things Were Written

          No, the New Testament claims that it is a true and accurate narrative of the actual events that took place during the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It stands as evidence that these events did take place.

          If you have any evidence that these narratives are not reliable accounts, the burden is on you to disprove them.

          Please place this evidence Here:

        • Otto

          It stands as evidence a claim that these events did take place.

          FTFY

        • These Things Were Written

          We have a historical record from nearly 2,000 years ago from men who claimed to be eyewitnesses of the events they recorded, or had interviewed those who were eyewitnesses. These men claim that they saw and heard the things that are recorded in the four Gospels and stated that they know they are telling the truth.

          We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life…We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. ~1 John 1:1-3 (NLT)

          This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. ~John 21:24

          And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. ~John 19:35

          John writes that he has both seen and testified that the evidence contained in the Gospels is true and he knows that he is telling the truth because he was there and saw Jesus do these things.

          If you have any evidence that what John said is not true, or that the narratives of Jesus are not reliable, historical narratives, please provide it here.

        • Otto

          Quoting the Bible to prove the Bible does not fly. Lots of people in cults say all sorts of things…but I bet you don’t take their word. Your ‘standards’ are not consistent, that should bother you but I know it won’t.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are dodging the issue here which the reliability of the New Testament as an accurate narrative of the historical events which it describes.

          Unless you can present any controverting evidence to disprove the evidence that is extant today, you have not proven that Jesus is not who He claims to be, nor that the narrative of the men who wrote their accounts are telling the truth.

          I will ask again, present evidence here to impeach the New Testament.

        • Otto

          Your claim…your burden of proof. Your logic stinks and so does your apologetics.

        • These Things Were Written

          Have you studied any form of ancient history? If so, what history have you researched?

        • Otto

          Name me one non-christian PHD that accepts the NT narrative as being true.

        • These Things Were Written

          Stay on the subject at hand: I want you to disprove the New Testament narrative of Jesus from evidence. Can you do this? If not then there is nothing further that I can offer to you.

        • Otto

          I don’t have to, this has been explained to you, that is not how it works. Do you realize the tactic you are using has been used by Muslims to ‘prove’ the Quran here? Again this should bother you, but I know it won’t. I find you completely dishonest in your interactions here, until you provide some actual evidence that does not involve circular reasoning I have no interest in continuing.

          Have fun with your mental masturbation!

        • ?? It’s at this point in the conversation that we wonder if you’re not paying attention, are stupid, or are deliberately playing games.

          You’ve made a remarkable claim, that someone rose from the dead. OK, we’re listening. Prove it.

          No, the burden of proof is not ours.

        • These Things Were Written

          There is a historical record which makes this claim, and it has remained in the record for 2,000 years as un impeached. If you have anything more than conjecture or speculation that it did not happen, present the evidence. I have not found any in four decades of my own research.

          It works the same way for every event of history. We only know what people write about events and we have to determine whether these events are true or not. It is because of the supernatural nature of what Jesus did that people choose not to believe they are true.

          This is strange because all throughout human history, men have been asking for proof that God exists. He shows up on our planet and does all of the things we would expect from someone who claimed to be God, yet we say these things never happened.

          If you were there and saw what these men saw, what would you do, knowing that most people would likely never believe you?

          I think most of us would try.

          This is what they did

          And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. ~John 19:35

        • Is this your response to my challenge that you provide evidence for the gospel claims? Not convincing.

          There is a historical record which makes this claim, and it has remained in the record for 2,000 years as unimpeached.

          Unimpreached except for all the modern scholars who’ve impeached it.

          If you have anything more than conjecture or speculation that it did not happen, present the evidence. I have not found any in four decades of my own research.

          I believe you.

          For anyone who’s more open minded, I provided 3 links in a recent post that challenges the idea that the New Testament is reliable. I can provide them again if you’ve misplaced them.

          It is because of the supernatural nature of what Jesus did that people choose not to believe they are true.

          And why do you choose not to believe the Mormons? Or Muslims? Or Hindus?

          He shows up on our planet and does all of the things we would expect from someone who claimed to be God, yet we say these things never happened.

          I’m sure a perfect God can do far better than the Bible in conveying his message.

          If you were there and saw what these men saw, what would you do, knowing that most people would likely never believe you?

          And what did they see? We have a very questionable record to document it.

        • Greg G.

          Unimpreached

          Great word. We need to get that into the conversation more often.

        • Freudian slip? Or perhaps the work of Satan.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There is a historical written record which makes this claim,

          FTFY

          Said written record makes claims with no correspondence to reality in their supernatural assertions.

          SHOW US!

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “If you were there and saw what these men saw, what would you do, knowing that most people would likely never believe you?”

          I’d wonder why Jesus conveniently disappeared into the clouds, making his story just something people would have to take my word for it to believe (like all confidence men).

        • Kodie

          All Christians are mistaken when they think atheists have a burden of proof. You make the ridiculous claim, I don’t believe it. That’s why I’m an atheist. If you want me to believe a guy died 2000 years ago and somehow that means you are “saved”, you have to do better. There’s nothing about that claim that’s not a myth if you can’t do better.

        • Carol Lynn

          Let me guess! You sincerely believe that the gospels were written immediately after the crucifixion by people who actually knew Jesus and were named Matthew, Mark, Luke and, John. The merest peek into the textual history of the gospels disproves that. Go do some research.

        • Michael Neville

          TTWW is very good at making dubious assertions and very poor at supporting them. I’ve yet to see any evidence to support these assertions but I have seen several instances of shifting the burden of evidence.

        • Otto

          The historical standards he is promoting are either so weak as to allow other non-christian supernatural claims as being accepted as true, or he is dishonestly applying them.

          Gee, which could it be?

        • These Things Were Written

          Interesting that this is your observation for I have seen precisely the same thing from those who have unsuccessfully attempted to prove that the New Testament Gospels cannot be relied upon.

          All that I hear is that supernatural events are not possible, therefore the New Testament cannot be true.

          What is often misunderstood regarding the miracles that Jesus exhibited is that they really did not violate any law. The physical laws of the universe do not define the outcome of events, only they manner in which they must occur.

          When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he still died later. Jesus did not violate the laws of physics He simply displayed His ability to suspend these laws for a moment in time.

          What we find when we really study the text of the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and raising the dead was to suspend the present law of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator of all that exists.

          It is sickness and death which violate the original intent of the laws that govern the universe. Jesus simply showed us what this world will be like once He has permanently eliminated the law of death. This was the entire point of Jesus’ arrival on earth: to stop the curse which came as a result of sin, which is itself a fracture in the laws of the universe.

          Prior to sin entering the world, everything worked perfectly and there was no sickness or death on the earth. We all seem to understand that sickness and death are unnatural, and it’s a mystery why we must die. Death interrupts and tarnishes the perfect life that would otherwise be possible if it did not exist in our world.

          The evil that we see present was also not a part of the perfect work that God originally created. These are also fractures in the laws of the universe. The problem is that we have become accustomed to these things and have assumed evil, suffering, sickness, and death are natural parts of our world. They are not.

          What Jesus did in displaying His power over the physical laws was no violation but a restoration of what these laws looked like before sin entered the world.

        • Michael Neville

          You were supposed to provide evidence for your assertions, not preach a sermon. I’m not impressed by your Come to Jesus message and I’m even less impressed that you think it constitutes any sort of evidence to support your assertions.

        • Otto

          >>>”All that I hear is that supernatural events are not possible, therefore the New Testament cannot be true.”

          Please give one non-Christian supernatural event that you accept? If you can’t then I am going to accuse you of being biased against all non-Christian supernatural claims. That knife cuts both ways.

        • Kodie

          I didn’t know they gave so much computer time to patients in the mental ward.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          All that I hear is that supernatural events are not possible, therefore the New Testament cannot be true.

          Then SHOW us supernatural events, or STFU & GTFO.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re demanding something that requires a logical fallacy.

          Things can’t be proven FALSE.

          Also, you’re shifting the burden of proof, like YOUR KIND always do.

        • These Things Were Written

          There is a dichotomy in your logic. You allow Ph.D’s to make valid conclusions in all other fields except Christians. Do you really believe that any person who undergoes an advanced education in any field of study, secular or religious, has not correctly learned the necessary precepts to achieve such a degree? Preposterous!

        • Otto

          No, I am trying to rule out the special bias of someone who accepts a belief based on their religious affiliation. If such standards of scholarship that you are promoting here was widely accepted, a non-Christian that accepts such claims should be easily found.

          Your intellectual dishonesty is duly noted.

        • These Things Were Written

          What about the intellectual dishonesty of Ehrman who claims to be a New Testament scholar, while at the same time is an atheist and injects his personal bias into every book he writes.

          This is why his conclusions are so easy to impeach, he does not base his conclusions of facts but on his personal opinions. I have read a great number of Ehrman’s books and was struck by the shear absence of citations and evidence to support his statements.

          When discussing intellectual dishonesty, there is none greater than those put forth by leading atheists who assert expertise but upon examination of their statements with the facts are not able to bear the weight of scrutiny.

        • Otto

          >>>”he does not base his conclusions of facts but on his personal opinions.”

          Ehrman is a very well respected scholar, his views follow the overwhelming consensus of NT scholarship including those that are Christian PHD level scholars. If you are so well informed as to be able to refute his claims honestly, what are you doing spending time here trying to convince us? You should be at a major University showing all the other NT scholars how wrong they are and earning awards and honors for your scholarship. But you aren’t, your views are fringe rantings.

          Regardless, Ehrman is but one scholar, you should be able to find someone that accepts a supernatural claim that is a non-christian if the historical standard you are promoting is correct…but it is not correct, so you can’t.

        • These Things Were Written

          Ehrman is not a well respected New Testament Scholar in any other venue except those who dispute the authenticity of the New Testament. Ehrman is a part of a very small minority of atheists who makes statements about the four gospels without any evidentiary support.

          Ehrman does not believe that God exists, nor that the New Testament narratives of Jesus performing miracles and claiming to be God are true. It is his assertion that the writers made Jesus God, while he never claimed this for himself. How it is credible to claim authority as a New Testament scholar when one does not believe the New Testament, is a mystery. A bit like going to a doctor who tells you that he doesn’t believe in medicine.

          In all of these assertions by Ehrman, of which I have debated, Ehrman never provides any evidence to support the idea that Jesus did not claim to be God. In fact, I have demonstrated that in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, books from where Ehrman said there is no evidence that Jesus claimed to be God, that He clearly and vividly declared that He is the eternal God.

          Much or Ehrman’s difficulties originate from his treatment of the New Testament in isolation from the Old Testament. The Old Testament prophets predicted a Messiah who would open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear and heal the crippled.

          The prophets predicted a Messiah who is also God. It was by the miracles which the Messiah would perform that those who would see and hear Him, would know that He was the True Messiah.

          When Jesus challenged the Pharisees with Psalms 110:1,”Whose son is He?” They understood that Jesus was alleging that He was the fulfillment of David’s prophecy that the Messiah would be both David’s descendant, a man, and his LORD, Jehovah, God.

        • Otto

          >>>”Ehrman is not a well respected New Testament Scholar in any other venue except those who dispute the authenticity of the New Testament. Ehrman is a part of a very small minority of atheists who makes statements about the four gospels without any evidentiary support.”

          Patently untrue. Your dishonesty is again duly noted.

          But again you did not name any non-Christian PHD that accepts your view.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          How is a personal bias for EVIDENCE something you feel comfortable with decrying?

          That doesn’t say anything much good about you or YOUR KIND.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Xtian PhDs have a vested interest in asserting the veracity of xtian writings.

          That immediately makes any assessment from them suspect, on the SECULAR theory of ‘Conflict of Interest’.

        • I’ve studied history enough to know that historians always scrub supernatural elements out of history. For example, there’s the story of a supernatural being appearing to him as he wondered whether he should cross the Rubicon, urging him to advance and seize his destiny … but that’s not actual history.

          Seriously, you don’t want that rule applied to the gospel story.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are correct, all events which are later found to be myth, or contrived, are removed from history. This is a fundamental difference between the New Testament Gospels and all others. All of the miracles of Jesus, including His own resurrection, have remained in the text for the entire 2,000 year history of the surviving manuscripts.

        • Since you missed my point, let me try again. Modern historians scrub ancient accounts, removing the supernatural.

          No, Julius Caesar didn’t see a supernatural being on the banks of the Rubicon. No, Augustus Caesar wasn’t seen by a Roman senator rising bodily into heaven. No, too, to the miracles that sprang up about Alexander in his own lifetime.

          But here’s the crazy thing: scrub out the supernatural from these great men, and you have precisely the world-changing careers that we all know about from history books. But scrub the supernatural from the life of Jesus, and you have at best an influential Jewish teacher.

        • These Things Were Written

          Exactly the point! The fact that history did not scrub these supernatural works is an indication that they were believed in the years following and were held in such importance that a massive writing frenzy took place to copy and distribute these texts all over the known world. The evidence of this is the extant 25,000 copies of the New Testament Manuscripts in existence today. There is no work of ancient literature which can bear this same burden of proof as those of the New Testament.

          There was a tremendous effort in the second century to do precisely what you are alleging here, to scrub the miracles of Jesus. Origen defended the four gospels successfully against the greatest Greek atheist philosophers of that time.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If the supernatural had been removed, xtianity would have died.

          You can’t blame a bunch of grifters for continuing a lie that’s making them VERY powerful.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          All of the miracles of Jesus, including His own resurrection, have remained in the text for the entire 2,000 year history of the surviving manuscripts.

          A stirring demonstration that the NT is a sales brochure FROM A TIME BEFORE TRUTH-IN-ADVERTISING LAWS.

          Go ahead, SHOW me the miracles, right here and now.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          More ad hominem bullshit.

          Demonstrate your OWN assertion…don’t cast dirt at others’.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You are dodging the issue here which the reliability of the New Testament

          Nope, not at all.

          I’m just saying, “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! SHOW ME!”

          (you’re failing miserably, FWIW…0

        • (((Mikey goes to Hollywood)))

          Claims of magic, miracles, monsters, the concept of sin, and internal contradictions.
          The NT impeaches itself.

        • These Things Were Written

          Do you use this same criteria in evaluating the letters of Abraham Lincoln? “Quoting Lincoln to prove Lincoln does not fly”

          All ancient works of literature are quoted as self-proving artifacts of their narratives.

        • Otto

          If all we had were the letters of Abe and there was no other corroboration for the claims Abe made other than his own words…why yes we would.

          >>>”All ancient works of literature are quoted as self-proving artifacts of their narratives.”

          Lots of ancient literature has supernatural claims. According to your standard there should be some other ancient literature that recounts a supernatural claim, other than what was written in the Gospels, that you accept. Can you tell me what other supernatural claim you accept on this basis that has nothing to do with Christianity?

          If you can’t you are intellectually dishonest.

        • These Things Were Written

          Again, you are dodging your own point that asserted that we can’t quote the Bible to prove the Bible, when this is exactly how experts determine whether or not the text in the Bible and all other ancient literature bears the marks of a genuine narrative or is contrived.

        • Otto

          No, I am directly refuting the idea that ancient literature is ‘self-proving’, and that even you don’t even believe that.

          Name a non-Christian expert that has determined that a supernatural claim in the Bible is in fact true. If you can’t than you must admit that the standard you are promoting is not “exactly how experts determine whether or not the text in the Bible and all other ancient literature bears the marks of a genuine narrative or is contrived”.

        • ildi

          Frontline, From Jesus to Christ, Jesus’ Many Faces, What Can We Really Know About Jesus
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/reallyknow.html
          “Professional historians, I think, try to assemble all of the evidence that’s available for reconstructing an event. And they’re concerned about the bias in any of those sources that they use. And at the first stage in reconstructing an event is to analyze the bias of sources. We had to do so both with the sources internal to Christianity as well as the sources external to Christianity. So the gospels, for instance, are clearly statements of faith and they have certain takes on who Jesus was and what he meant to his followers. External sources like Josephus don’t have the same faith commitment, they may have some other axes to grind, but in any case you have to see what the biases of the sources are, and try to take those into account as you do your reconstruction.”-Harold W. Attridge, The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament Yale Divinity School

        • These Things Were Written

          The New Testament narrative was not merely written for the sake of those who would read these accounts during that period of history. It is clear by the text that it was the intention of the writers to record a historical narrative for all posterity.

          For this reason, we must evaluate whether or not these narratives may be impeached or they may stand as valid testimony that is credible.

          As with all articles of historical literature, the four Gospels are entitled to the same consideration.

          Sometimes modern atheists give the world the idea that they are the first to try and impeach the Gospels. Most people are not aware that this was already attempted unsuccessfully many times over the past 2,000 years. Origen adequately overcame the greatest atheist Greek philosopher of that time near 150 A.D., and impeached all of his argument against the miracles of Jesus, His claim to be God, and His historical resurrection.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The New Testament narrative fable was not merely written for the sake of those who would read these accounts during that period of history

          FTFY

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Again, you are dodging your own point that asserted that we can’t quote the Bible to prove the Bible,

          Easy. That’s called Circular Reasoning, or Assuming the Consequent, where you include your desired conclusion in your premises. It’s a logical fallacy.

        • Doubting Thomas

          All ancient works of literature are quoted as self-proving artifacts of their narratives.

          HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!

          You can’t be this dumb.

        • epeeist

          You can’t be this dumb.

          Evidence required.

        • These Things Were Written

          Is it your position then that literary experts do not evaluate the text of ancient manuscripts in determining their validity, whether secular or religious?

        • Doubting Thomas

          No. It is my position that literature doesn’t prove itself true.

        • These Things Were Written

          By this comment you show your ignorance in how literature is proven as factual or contrived. It is by the text itself which allows an expert to determine whether written text is a truthful account or a fraud.

          These techniques are used today by the FBI in evaluating written testimony. These same techniques have been applied by experts to the New Testament and the conclusions by unbiased and scientific examination determined that the writers believed that what they were writing was true.

        • Kodie

          You are totally fucked up here. PARDON MY ENGLISH BUT YOU ARE. There is no such thing as an expert who can tell just by looking at a text whether it is a true account, and no, the FBI doesn’t just know either. What kind of training do you think there is to just know things based on reading about them, that they are true, without any corroborating evidence? You believe silly things because you believe silly things!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Wrong.

          ALL text is judged by how believable it is based on how closely it hews to observable reality.

          Your NT & OT fail that test, miserably.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why are you pushing that strawman?

          Is that the only way you can (briefly, pathetically) defend your position?

        • Kodie

          What other corroborating evidence do your so-called literary experts have in evaluating the veracity of the ancient manuscripts? VERACITY. How can someone tell just by reading the bible that the essential-to-Christian-beliefs supernatural events really happened? That’s fucking nonsense. They are outrageous claims that have no other evidence. You just believe them for emotional reasons and lash out at people because 1. we don’t believe what you say, and 2. that implies you’re a fucking idiot.

          You don’t like that, U MAD?

        • Max Doubt

          “You can’t be this dumb.”

          Given the progress of the conversation so far, I reject your claim. 🙂

        • Kodie

          By your logic, every book ever written is a true story.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We’ve got PHOTOGRAPHS of Lincoln, and text from both his supporters and detractors written contemporaneously.

          YOU were all about the contemporaneous nature of texts earlier…why are you trying to impugn Lincoln scholarship when it has BETTER contemporaneity?

        • Here’s the beginning of a gospel that’s not canonical:

          I, Thomas the Israelite, tell unto you, even all the brethren that are of the Gentiles, to make known unto you the works of the childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ and his mighty deeds …

          That’s the beginning of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. So much for the value of an eyewitness claim.

          (On the other hand, Greg G’s first-hand eyewitness account of his trip to Mars is quite compelling. I’m surprised that you don’t agree since you find such accounts convincing.
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/human-sacrifice-in-the-bible-2-of-2-2/#comment-3854451894 )

        • These Things Were Written

          It is interesting that critics of the New Testament who assert that the four gospels were written at to great a distance from the events to be considered reliable, now make so much effort to support the Gnostic documents found at Nag Hammadi, written 4-500 years after Jesus was crucified and resurrected. The reason that the four Gospels are reliable and these called “The Lost Letters of Christ,” are not is due to the scientific validation that Matthew’s gospel has now been dated at 60 A.D. and penned by his own hand.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope, we’re just pointing out the hypocrisy of xtians who will SWEAR that the books of the ‘bible’ (collated at a POLITICAL synod, you’ll recall) are inerrant but the Nag Hammardi are useless.

          Take’em ALL, or don’t take any of them.

        • Scientific validation of Matthew’s gospel? I’m skeptical.

        • ildi

          “scientific validation that Matthew’s gospel has now been dated at 60 A.D. and penned by his own hand”

          [citation required]

        • Greg G.

          We have a historical record from nearly 2,000 years ago from men who claimed to be eyewitnesses of the events they recorded, or had interviewed those who were eyewitnesses.

          No, you don’t. You have one claim that it was somebody else’s story and another who read the other gospels and assumed they were eyewitness accounts.

          We have still have most of the material the gospels are based on and most of that was already centuries old fictional stories.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are quite ignorant of the evidence that exists, this is clear. Have you ever done a manuscript analysis of the remaining New Testament Manuscripts? Have you conducted an investigation in the historical origin of the New Testament text in relation to the existing New Testament?”

          If you had done these minor things yourself, rather than to regurgitate the words of other atheists, you would know that the New Testament has come down to us through 2,000 years of history as virtually the same narrative.

          An event took place in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas nearly 2,000 years ago and it was recorded by men who claimed to be eyewitnesses. These records have been scrutinized more thoroughly than any ancient text in the history of the world and never impugned.

          Yet here you are today, mindful that you are a greater expert than these men. This is not impossible.

        • Greg G.

          There are about 5,700 Greek manuscripts. Most of them were produced a few centuries before the printing press made manuscripts obsolete. They tend to have Mark 16:9-20 and the “cast the first stone” passage in John that are not in the oldest copies.

          If you had done these minor things yourself, rather than to regurgitate the words of other atheists, you would know that the New Testament has come down to us through 2,000 years of history as virtually the same narrative.

          You don’t know that the copies of copies of copies are like the originals. Most of the oldest manuscripts are scraps and were produced over a hundred years after the originals. If you had an honest thought about this, you would realize that.

          An event took place in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas nearly 2,000 years ago and it was recorded by men who claimed to be eyewitnesses. These records have been scrutinized more thoroughly than any ancient text in the history of the world and never impugned.

          Nope. We have nothing written by anybody who claimed to be an eyewitness, only claims of writers who thought they had somebody else’s eyewitness writing.

        • These Things Were Written

          How does the 300 words of Mark 16:9-20 change the facts of Jesus’ miracles, crucifixion, resurrection, or that He claimed to be God?

          It doesn’t affect these principles in the slightest.

          This is why those who assert that the Gospels have been altered, leave people with the idea that Jesus did not perform miracles, raise from the dead, or claim to be God, yet not one of these variants affects any of these important principles of who Jesus is and why He came.

        • Greg G.

          We were talking about variants. You are trying to change the subject. Mark 16:9-20 is an alteration we can see because we have older manuscripts that do not have it. But we do not have manuscripts from the first hundred years of copies for most of the New Testament. You have no idea what was added to the originals or removed from them during that period. Maybe Mark’s original ending was:

          Peter’s kinfolk said, “Pete, move away from there.”
          The said, “Capernaum is where you ought to be.”
          So he loaded the camel
          and he moved to Galileeeee.

          It tells us why Matthew and Luke diverge when they get past Mark 16:8. Luke rejected Matthew’s genealogy, nativity, and post-resurrection account.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          How does the 300 words of Mark 16:9-20 change the facts of Jesus’ miracles, crucifixion, resurrection, or that He claimed to be God?

          The number of words don’t count as heavily as the veracity / likeliness of the claims made.

          And Mark 16:9-20 changes the ENTIRE meaning of that book, so it’s reasonable to note that it’s likely a later addition.

        • These Things Were Written

          How does Mark 16:9-20 change the narrative which describes Jesus performing miracles, His claim to be God, and His resurrection from the dead? It doesn’t and thereby we see that the assertion of variants to impeach the reliability of the New Testament as an invalid argument.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It changes the entire story by claiming for xtians the powers that Jebus himself had, and as a later addition, is MUCH less likely to be genuine.

          Next?

        • ildi

          Frontline, From Jesus to Christ, The Storytellers, Emergence of the Four Gospel Canon
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/emergence.html
          “The diversity of Christianity is certainly closely related to the proliferation of gospels. Even the gospels which we have in the canon of the New Testament are not of one mind, but really represent very different religious positions and very different images of Jesus. You go beyond this, we have the Gospel of Thomas, which again is a very different image of Jesus as the revealer of the divine truth about the ultimate human self than we find in Mark, or in Matthew. We have numerous fragments of other gospels, which sometimes we only know they existed, but cannot really say what they [said].
          So the question of establishing some authority in terms of gospels, which gospels should be read and which should not be read, was discussed in the second century, especially after Marcion.

          It is characteristic that all gospels of the canon have a passion narrative because the central Christian ritual, that’s the Eucharist, cannot live without that story. And it is out of that movement that the four gospel canon arises. And it comes, interestingly enough, as a canon that preserves diversity, within limits…. There is no claim that this canon represents four gospels that are all saying the same thing. It is rather an attempt to bring together as many Christian communities that were bound to a particular gospel into one major church. And this was essentially accomplished through the four gospel canon.”-Elizabeth Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Director of the Graduate Program in Religion Duke University

          [edit added link]

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The NT fails the sniff test.

          It’s rotten to the core, appealing to only those whose metaphorical sense of smell has been blunted by long acquaintance to it.

        • These Things Were Written

          Interesting that you think that New Testament scholarship has now devolved into the “smell test.” Fortunately, how something smells or whether or not a person likes the text of the New Testament, plays no role in determining it authenticity or truthfulness; except of course, for atheists…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Biblical scholarship doesn’t stink.

          Apologetics like the swill you purvey DO stink.

        • Kodie

          What makes you believe someone died, rose from the dead, disappeared completely, went to heaven, and is waiting there for you when you die? What about that story makes you voluntarily stupid enough to believe other people, pretend experts, and tons of fallacies, and here you are sitting on your thumbs not doing a thing about it? You care that other people don’t believe, but your faculties in changing minds and hearts is impotent. Why would a good god need a dolt like you working to make more atheists? Nobody wants to be a fool like you. U MAD?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We have a historical record from nearly 2,000 years ago from men who claimed to be eyewitnesses

          FTFY

        • These Things Were Written

          The fact that you don’t know that the four Gospels were written as historical narratives, allows us to understand your inadequacy in determining its validity.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re presupposing again.

          NONE of the ‘gospels’ was likely to have been written by the putative named authors, and it’s also unlikely based on what we know that any were written within the lifetimes of those putative ‘disciples’.

        • Kodie

          No, no, dummy, you’ve told us that a dozen times. Nobody believes it because you are too stupid to believe. Why would god need a dolt like you to do his job that he can’t do? Why do you want to? If you are secure in your beliefs, nobody knows why you think you need to have your diarrhea outbursts about Jesus. Can’t you just feel good about yourself quietly, or do you need to be here trolling?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The claimed still alive and omnipresent Jesus doesn’t corroborate any of those writings, but if he could the writings would be unnecessary. That’s called a catch-22.

        • Greg G.

          Nope. The burden is still on you to prove your claim. Your method of authentication sucks. Using that, I can prove that I have been to Mars.

          This post is true and an accurate narrative of actual events in my life. This post stands as evidence that my round-trip journey did take place.

          I have been to Mars and back.

        • These Things Were Written

          You may not rewrite the law which determines what constitutes evidence and where the burden of proof remains to prove such evidence. According to the co founder of Harvard Law school, the burden of proof is on the party who makes the objection.

          “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.” ~Simon Greenleaf

        • Greg G.

          That doesn’t apply to the Bible stories. They haven’t been in a proper repository or custody, it has Mark’s of forgery and redaction, and you have copies of copies of copies with errors accruing continuously.

        • These Things Were Written

          Please list these errors here:

        • These Things Were Written

          Once again, (before your edit), you alleged that the New Testament is filled with errors, Please place these errors here to support you assertion. You claimed that changes were made from the original text to the text we have today. There is no present evidence of this so I would really like to see the evidence you have.

          If you cannot provide proof that the text has been altered then you have not proven that the New Testament is in error, which it has not. I know this is true because I have done my due diligence to confirm the text we have in our New Testament today is virtually identical to the original manuscripts.

        • Greg G.

          My edit was to fix where SpellCheck changed “marks” into “Mark’s”. That was three hours before you replied. If you went by an email notification or a new reply notification on a page that had been up for a while, you would not have seen that it was edited.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Compare the two oldest full bibles we have. They differ.

        • These Things Were Written

          And this proves that Jesus did not perform miracles, He did not claim to be God, nor did He raise from the dead? NOT!

        • Kodie

          We’re not here to change your feeble mind.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a list of the variants for beginners.

          http://web.ovu.edu/terry/tc/

          It shows that there are lots of errors in the copying process. There are no two manuscripts alike, so even if one was absolutely correct, you couldn’t pick it out of the bunch. It has been shown that the rate of variations was greater before canonization, so you can’t rely on the late manuscripts nor the early manuscripts. Since you cannot produce the originals, your claim of there being no errors is vacuous.

        • These Things Were Written

          That was a rhetorical question. I already know what the variants are and they do not prove that the text in not reliable. In truth, they prove nothing except someone has a lot of time on their hands. None of the variants changes the miracles Jesus performed, His death, or resurrection, or that He claimed to be God, so what is the point?

        • Greg G.

          None of the variants changes the miracles Jesus performed, His death, or resurrection, or that He claimed to be God, so what is the point?

          We can see that most of the miracles are rehashes of the miracles of Elijah, Elisha, and Moses from the OT plus some from the Homeric epics and the spit miracles would be from Vespasian propaganda. So that doesn’t help you at all. It only throws the rest of it into the fiction heap. Historians discount the miracle accounts in ancient writings because miracles don’t actually happen. We can also discount the New Testament miracles because they are based on other accounts of similar miracles so they are literary creations. Then we can see that the non-miracle events are also literary creations, not history, so we can dispense with the gospels and Acts and all the subsequent writings that draw from them.

          But the variants show that every copy had changes. It shows that some of the changes were simple mistakes of finding one’s place or misreading something, but there are many variants that are intentional changes.

          It has been shown that most of the changes were made before the books were canonized as the New Testament. So you would have to think they were making changes in the first century of copying. And you can’t determine what those said. The best inferences only get you to a copy of a copy of a copy, etc.

          Since the gospels and Acts are not reliable history, we can examine the epistles and see that everything they tell us about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. They do not give us reliable history either. It shows that Jesus was invented.

        • Greg G.

          That was a rhetorical question.

          You said, “Please list these errors here:” It wasn’t even a question. You would suck at Jeopardy.

          I already know what the variants are

          Why did you request a list, then?

        • Doubting Thomas

          While I think you’re saintly for even trying to engage this assclown in an actual discussion, I think mockery is much more enjoyable and just as productive. Good luck either way, though.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Contradictions of major ‘fact’ claims of accounts of (putatively) the same events are enough to impugn ALL of the accounts, especially when supernatural elements are integral.

        • These Things Were Written

          Incorrect, and you misunderstand the nature of what “supernatural ” is. This has led you to an incorrect conclusion for the New Testament narratives.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Then reconcile the factual contradictions of the four ‘gospel’ accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection.

          Here’s a list from Bob to get you started:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/04/contradictions-in-the-resurrection-account-2/

          I demand SPECIFIC, DETAILED explanations about how the central ‘facts’ of the narratives differ so between the books.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU don’t know jack-shit about me except what I’ve posted here.

          And my understanding of ‘supernatural’ is the dictionary definition, which neatly describes the claims of all xtian miracle stories.

          Try again, and do better.

        • These Things Were Written

          Read my post response to Bob Seidensticker regarding miracles string theory and quantum mechanics.

        • Kodie

          You mean you or your sock puppet? I didn’t see it, but I’m expecting it to be so full of shit, I’m wearing a gas mask!

        • These Things Were Written

          Not one of these textual variants proves that any of the text in the four Gospels which depicts Jesus’ miracles, claim to be God, or His resurrection, were changed, added, or embellished.

          This fact is well known by scholars, yet atheists continue to regurgitate these variants over and over again.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Reconcile the four ‘gospel’s accounts of the ‘resurrection’, then get back to me.

        • These Things Were Written

          The fact that you don’t know how to reconcile the four Gospels is an indication that you have not really studied them sufficiently. This is a common mistake made by the untrained who rely on the false assumptions of others, also in error.

        • Greg G.

          Why haven’t you done it? Many have tried to reconcile them but none have done it. If you think they can be reconciled, you have never attempted it.

        • These Things Were Written

          Still, you provide no evidence that the variants you assert completely change the Gospel narratives so that Jesus miracles, claim to be God, and resurrection are impeached..

          If you are able, present this evidence. It is your assertion, make your argument by presenting evidence to support you claims or withdraw your argument.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          They’re different, while putatively describing the same events.

          They CONTRADICT each other on major points.

          That’s enough for me to dismiss them as irretrievably worthless.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The fact that apologetic reconciliation of the ‘gospel’s is even necessary is a demonstration that they contradict each other.

          Thus they are suspect at best, nonsense at the extreme.

        • Greg G.

          The Gospel of Mark was changed, added to, and embellished so much, they had to name the altered versions Matthew, Luke, and John.

        • These Things Were Written

          Show me where the text was changed in the narrative of Jesus’ miracles, claim to be God, and resurrection, and we have something to talk about. Seeing that there is none, the Gospels cannot be impeached as altered text which change the basic facts of Jesus’ power as God, proof as God.

        • ildi

          “… The trouble is that these words were never in the original of Mark’s Gospel. The earliest manuscripts stop at verse 8, and most modern Bibles make this clear. Also, the Greek of verses 9-20 is in a different style from the rest of the Gospel. It looks as though someone has added it because they didn’t like the abrupt ending (a 10th century Armenian manuscript says they were by “the presbyter Ariston”).

          But what does this do to the end of Mark, and why does it finish where it does?

          The original Gospel ends with the women discovering the empty tomb and speaking with an angel. Verse 8 says: “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

          This means that alone of the four Gospels, Mark has no account of the resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

          https://www.christiantoday.com/article/was-the-ending-of-marks-gospel-deliberately-changed/80210.htm

        • These Things Were Written

          First, all that you have is a copy of Marks’s Gospel, not the original. You don’t know what the original autograph contained. Therefore, you cannot use a faulty copy to impeach what you imagine is a faulty original. It cannot be done.

          We do have complete texts in other manuscripts which fill in the missing places of Mark’s Gospel and tell us the total story. This is why four Gospels were chosen out of the total of 30 or more which also had Gospel narratives.

          When we look at the entire volume of all four Gospels, we get a complete picture of the total narrative of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

          In this total picture, we cannot validate the assertion that Jesus’ miracles, his claim to be God, nor His resurrection were embellished nor a part of the original writing. These events are in all four of the Gospels, and have existed since the origin of their writing. These narratives agree completely in substance in these critical areas with our modern copy of the four Gospels.

          The idea that these variants impeach or diminish the Gospel narrative is not supported by the entire extant manuscripts in our possession.

        • ildi

          ” You don’t know what the original autograph contained. Therefore, you cannot use a faulty copy to impeach what you imagine is a faulty original. It cannot be done.”

          Exactly! You don’t know what the original autograph contained, either, so your statement that “the New Testament was written as a record of history that has survived intact” is specious, at best. However, your original statement was to show you “where the text was changed in the narrative of Jesus’ miracles, claim to be God, and resurrection” which I have done so.

        • These Things Were Written

          That argument does not work in consideration of the total record we have extant for the New Testament Manuscripts. This record is so massive that we do know what the originals contained. If you don’t understand this then it will be impossible for you and I to continue in a fruitful discussion.

          You cannot isolate one text from one Gospel and make a case that the variants prove that Jesus did not perform miracles, claimed to be God, or was raised from the dead.

          Again, simply present variants which impeach these and you will have proved your argument. If you cannot, as I know is not possible, then end your repeated and pointless arguments that will serve no further purpose.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re moving the goalposts.

          Lack of change is more likely a sign that it’s false, because everything that’s REAL changes, if ever so slowly.

          And I don’t care if they’ve changed, I care if they’re TRUE. Show me or shut up.

        • Greg G.

          Mark says Jesus did miracles with spit. Where are those in the Matthew and Luke versions of Mark?

          The John version of Mark has Jesus saying, “I and my father are one.” None of the other versions of Mark say that.

          Mark and the Luke version of Mark do not have Jesus appearing at the tomb. The accounts cannot be reliable without mentioning something that remarkable if it actually happened. Yet the Matthew version of Mark and the John version of Mark do have an appearance of Jesus at the tomb.

          You asked for changes narrative regarding a miracle, a claim to be God, and the ressurection. I did one of each.

        • These Things Were Written

          This is an excellent Argument. Well done!

          One of the pieces of evidence that fully validates the authenticity of the four Gospels, is their singularity as four independent reports. It is important to our comprehension of the New Testament Gospels, that we understand that these men are writing an account from their own perspectives.

          As with any group of people who are recounting the same story, some of the witnesses will see things that others did not. These variations in recollection are not contradictions, but great evidence of authenticity. False accounts, and those which are contrived, make certain that all of the witnesses state the same details. Perhaps you have seen a movie where a group of people agree together on exactly what they are going to say to the authorities, before they are questioned, so that their stories match exactly and are found credible.

          When we examine the four gospels, we see that very often each of the writers have slightly different recollections of the same event. The accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not perfectly matched, for good reason. Genuine accounts that are written by multiple eye witnesses, seldom have precisely the same details.

          In the gospels, we see a genuine narrative of four honest men who have told the truth, according to their recollection. These minor differences in their accounts, are evidence of truth. Courts of law frequently have to deal with multiple testimonies concerning witnesses. It is quite common to see these variations in the story, which does not affect the actual facts of the events. These minor differences are understood by a judge as necessary to a valid testimony and do not invalidate or detract from the material facts of the testimony.

        • ildi

          “In the gospels, we see a genuine narrative of four honest men who have told the truth, according to their recollection. These minor differences in their accounts, are evidence of truth.”

          Well, I’m glad we’ve put to rest the notion that the gospels are the inerrant word of God.

        • These Things Were Written

          That is another subject, but what of the differences in recollections of the four Gospels? Their variation in what each saw, do not diminish the miracles, in fact, they reinforce the honesty of the narratives.

          It is not necessary for every detail of these events to be exactly the same. God allows people whom He uses to be themselves and use their own words and unique manner or writing and speaking. The fact that men wrote the text does not diminish the certainty that God was the inspiration.

          Inspired does not mean that every single word in the Bible are the words of God. There are words in the Bible from evil men and those who hate God. What is inspired are the laws, precepts, principles, and methods of salvation and the vehicles God uses to accomplish these tasks. Places where God is described as speaking, are understood as His word. Places where men are described as speaking for God are those inspire by Him.

          These words were tested by whether what the man said, came to pass. If a prophet predicted an event that would take place during his life, if that word did not come to pass, he was stoned to death. If his local prophecy came to pass just as He said, the people understood that He was a true prophet and spoke as inspired by God. It was then with confidence that people knew that the later prophecies which would take place in the future, would also come to pass.

          If a man spoke a prophecy that did not come to pass, he was stoned to death and all his words and prophecies were stricken from the record. The Jews were very strict in this regard. The prophets who are contained within the Old Testament Bible today, remained there because their earlier prophecies came true and their test as to whether their words were really inspired by God, was proven. We should use this same test today…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          As has been said of many books by many publishers:

          “What is good about your document is not original, and what is original is not good.”

          Do better.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          MAJOR, not minor, inconsistencies.

          HOW many people went to the tomb?
          WHO were they?
          WHEN did they go?
          WHAT did they see there?
          WHY did they go?
          WHERE did Jebus appear afterward?
          WHO did those who found the open tomb tell?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          And yet again, these are not eyewitness accounts!

        • Kodie

          You’re a cherry-picking moron!

          You don’t have evidence to back up your claims, you just can’t handle that other people don’t believe the same bullshit you voluntarily cling to! What’s it to you, fucko? We don’t believe your beliefs, move on, get a fucking life!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          What scholars?

        • ildi

          Frontline, From Jesus to Christ, The Storytellers, What are the Gospels?
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/gospels.html
          “What the gospels do share, of course, is Jesus. But that is almost trivial to say that. Because they are interested in not simply repeating Jesus. They are interested in interpreting Jesus. Matthew, even when he has Mark in front of him, will change what Jesus says. And that’s what’s most important for me, to understand the mind of an evangelist. It is that Matthew is saying, “I will change Mark so that Mark’s Jesus speaks to my people.” Now, there’s a logic to his change. He’s not just changing it to be difficult. He will change Mark, but what Jesus says in Mark does not make sense to Matthew’s people…. What is consistent about the gospels is that they change consistent with their own theology, with their own communities’ needs.”-John Dominic Crossan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University

        • Illithid

          “…coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery…”

          The Gospels fail right there, even if the idea you cite here about burden of proof were correct, which it isn’t. The oldest physical fragment of a document we possess is a scrap the size of a postcard, from around 150 A.D. Complete documents are more recent than that. The authors are unknown. There are alterations that even Christian scholars agree were added or changed. This is nothing like a reliable chain of custody, or unaltered documents. Edit: We don’t have any original manuscripts.

          And even if this wasn’t the case, do you believe every wild tale you hear? Or read? If we find a crumbling papyrus describing some Pharaoh’s ride in Ra’s flying Sun-barge, would you believe that?

          Edit: And Greenleaf was a Christian apologist. This quote from him is just an assertion of his wishful thinking.

        • These Things Were Written

          1. Your observations are made by conjecture, not the facts for what constitutes evidence originating from historical manuscripts. Of course the New Testament is a valid historical document that meets the demands of such under every requirement. The fact that you don’t know this or understand that they do, allows me to understand that you do not have the proper training to impeach the evidence that is presented.

          2. Greenleaf wrote the textbook on what constitutes valid evidence. Every first year law student knows that the burden of proof is always upon the opposing party.

          3. Again, your lack of training is apparent by your error is stating that the oldest fragment of the four Gospels is “around 150 A.D.” I have a manuscript fragment of one of the gospels that has been scientifically dated at no later than 60 A.D. In any event, even a later date would have no bearing on the authenticity, or reliability of the four Gospels. Every surviving ancient secular manuscript we have in our possession today is dated at least 400 years after the date of the events and not one of these are considered unreliable.

          4. Do you use this same criteria for all ancient works of literature as you have used for the New Testament, written too late from the date of the events? If you did, you would discover that under your requirements, not a single secular document from antiquity could be considered reliable. They all have manuscript copies written much later than 200 years from the date of the events they describe. It just so happens that the extant manuscripts of the New Testament are written closer to the time of the events than any other ancient manuscript of antiquity, by several hundred years. There are also greater numbers (24,593) of surviving New Testament Manuscripts than any other secular or religious manuscripts of ancient history.

          5. Please cite the “alterations” you are referring to as I am familiar with all that are in question and not one of these affects any of the fundamental points that are made by the four Gospel writers. All of the disputed “variants” are in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and omitted characters. There are only 400 words that are in question in the entire New Testament and not one of these alters the fundamental text. The four Gospels from 2,000 years ago are virtually identical to our new Testament today in all of the writers testimony of Jesus’ miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection.

          6. The authors are not unknown. You read this from Bart Ehrman, who is an atheist like you and knows that the authors are known. It is only in the surviving copies of the manuscripts that the copyist did not include the authors names. Even if they were written anonymously, this would not diminish their content, nor the reliability of their testimony. It is a fact of history that the authors of the four Gospels were well known in the first century and they are called by name by thousands and thousands of commentaries from the first century.

          7. Seeing that you referenced the “proper repositories” and dismissed them as irrelevant, this is an indication to me that you have no idea what this means or how it significantly affects the validity of ancient manuscripts. Concerning the New Testament, finding them all over the world, consistently in the proper repository over a 2,000 year period of history, makes it certain that these New Testament manuscripts are lawfully defined pieces of credible evidence. If you don’t understand this, it would be wise to do the proper due diligence yourself.

        • ildi

          I ran across this Frontline episode from 1998 called From Jesus to Christ – The First Christians, so somewhat dated
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/
          In the article “Importance of the Oral Tradition” under the Storytellers tab:
          “We have to remember that Jesus died around 30. For 40 years, there’s no written gospel of his life, until after the revolt. During that time, we have very little in the way of written records within Christianity. Our first writer in the New Testament is Paul, and his first letter is dated around 50 to 52, still a good 20 years after Jesus, himself.”-L. Michael White
          “Now what happens as an oral tradition arises about an historical event or an historical person is that, strangely enough, the first oral tradition is not an attempt to remember exactly what happened, but is rather a return into the symbols of the tradition that could explain an event. Therefore, one has to imagine that legend and myth and hymn and prayer are the vehicles in which oral traditions develop. The move into a formulated tradition that looks as if it was a description of the actual historical events is actually the end result of such a development.”-Helmut Koester

        • These Things Were Written

          The statement: “For 40 years, there’s no written gospel of his life, until after the revolt,” is conjecture, not a matter of fact. Critics often make statements which are not supported by evidence. Ehrman uses this tactic in all of his books. He makes statements from his own authority, but fails to include citations which point to evidence to support his posit.

          In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 32 A.D., just prior to His crucifixion and resurrection.

          For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation. ~Luke 19:43-44

          Just 28 years later In 70 A.D., Titus sacked Jerusalem. The Temple was burned and every stone upturned, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy that “not one stone of the temple would be left upon another.”

          If Matthew, Mark, and Luke did in fact write their accounts near 100 A.D., how is it that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy stating the temple would be destroyed in 70 A.D. was not included in their narrative?

          The reason is obvious. These three Gospels were written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.

        • Michael Neville

          :In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple

          Since the synoptic gospels were written after 70 CE, making an after-the-fact prophesy is not evidence of anything. This article on the Boston College website [LINK] (note that Boston College is a Jesuit school) says:

          Although some scholars disagree, the vast majority of researchers believe that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, sometime around the year 70.

          This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. Both used a written form of the Gospel of Mark as source material for their own narratives. In addition, because both Matthew and Luke contain a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark, most researchers hold that both Evangelists also had a collection of Jesus’ sayings that they incorporated into their works. This saying source is known as “Q” and was likely assembled in the 40s or 50s. This understanding of the origins of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke explains why they are similar yet different from one another. The arrangement is called “The Two-Source Hypothesis” because Matthew and Luke are seen to have two written sources, Mark and Q.

          So Ehrman is going with the general consensus of Biblical scholars and not making stuff up.

          Jesus’ prophecy that “not one stone of the temple would be left upon another.”

          Ever hear of the Western or Wailing Wall? It isn’t big, only 8 meters long, but it is a part of Herod’s Temple which the Romans destroyed. So Jesus was incorrect when he prophesied “not one stone of the temple would be left upon another.”

          Try again, this time don’t try to bullshit people who actually know something about the Bible and its “prophesies”.

        • These Things Were Written

          By “know” I assume you mean, from other atheists who wrote the commentary you included above. The facts of the Gospels prove that what you stated here is not true. The idea that these narratives were written in the 80’s or 90’s is a personal opinion. I have read these commentaries and there is no evidence from the record which supports these opinions.

          I realize that you are of a mind to accept those of your own atheist group when they tell you these things but you must understand that these conclusions are from the atheist bias and not supported by evidence.

          Please give me the actual evidence to support that the gospels were written in the 80’s or 90’s.

          What the evidence does show is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke record Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction but not the actual event taking place. This is sufficient evidence to prove that it had not taken place, for it is certain that it would have been included if Titus had come by that time.

        • Michael Neville

          Jesuits are atheists? I think almost everyone else in the entire world would disagree with that piece of silliness. Why do you think I gave a link to a Christian college website? Hint: So you couldn’t claim it was an anti-Christian source. If you claim that the synoptic gospels, or at least Mark, was written pre-70 CE then what’s your evidence? I’ve given mine which you have failed to refute.

          Mark, Matthew and Luke were writing historical fiction. This is my opinion and worth every bit as much as your unsupported opinion. If you disagree then you have to show (here’s the word you Christian apologists hate with a passion) evidence to support your assertion. So where’s your evidence?

        • These Things Were Written

          Different from your opinion, we know that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written before Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

          In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 32 A.D., just prior to His crucifixion and resurrection.

          For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation. ~Luke 19:43-44

          Just 28 years later In 70 A.D., Titus sacked Jerusalem. The Temple was burned and every stone upturned, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy that “not one stone of the temple would be left upon another.”

          If Matthew, Mark, and Luke did in fact write their accounts after Titus, and near 100 A.D., how is it that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy stating the temple would be destroyed in 70 A.D. was not included in their narrative?

          The reason is obvious. These three Gospels were written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D

          We have a manuscript copy of Matthew’s Gospel today that has been scientifically dated at before 60 A.D., which fits the Gospels descriptions perfectly.

          There is no indication in any of the Gospels that they were written as fables, myths or to deceive. I have submitted these texts to intense literary analysis used by the FBI today to detect fraud in written testimony and they pass in every regard.

        • Michael Neville

          we know that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written before Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

          Who is “we”? You and the mouse in your pocket?

          The synoptic gospels could have not mentioned the destruction of the temple so the authors could say “look, The Jeez™ prophesied this and we know it happened.” If they’re trying to make The Jeez™ look all goddish then it would help if they could point at something that happened and say that The Jeez™ said it would happen. Post-hoc prophesy is always 100% correct.

          We have a manuscript copy of Matthew’s Gospel today that has been scientifically dated at before 60 A.D

          I won’t ask for a citation for this. I know you’re either completely ignorant about dating methods or you’re flat out lying. Note these two choices are not mutually exclusive.

          There is no indication in any of the Gospels that they were written as fables, myths or to deceive.

          Oh really? Do you honestly think that Jerusalem was infested by zombies as described in Matt 27:51-53? How come Mark and Luke didn’t refer to the zombies? Why didn’t Pilate inform his superiors in Rome about the provincial capital being overrun by zombies? Why did Josephus, who went into some detail about events in Jerusalem in the 1st Century CE, fail to mention the zombies? I think that the complete and utter lack of indication of zombies outside of Matthew was Ol’ Matt was telling a porky (that comes from Cockney rhyming slang, porky pie = lie).

          I have submitted these texts to intense literary analysis used by the FBI today to detect fraud in written testimony and they pass in every regard.

          Does the term “confirmation bias” mean anything to you?

        • These Things Were Written

          The fact that you are not aware of the great care and detail of the Gospel writer, Luke, he never leaves out a detail, particularly one as important as “and this prophecy was fulfilled when Titus sacked Jerusalem in fulfillment of Jesus prediction that not one stone would be left upon another.”

          It is not possible that an event of such magnitude would have been omitted from the first three Gospels, unless it the event did not happen.

          This might be your opinion but the evidence does not support this conclusion.

          Paul’s Epistles Match The Four Gospels

          A vigorous and compelling proof for the earlier writing of the four Gospels is also supported by Paul in his epistles. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, chapter 5, verse 18, he quotes from Luke’s gospel.

          Paul: For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” ~1 Timothy 5:18

          When we examine Luke’s gospel we find that Paul was referencing a quote by Luke in his letter he wrote to Timothy. This means that Luke’s gospel must have already been written by the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy.

          Luke: And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. ~Luke 10:7

          Eusebius wrote that Paul was beheaded under Caesar Nero, who was assassinated in 68 A.D.25

          After Paul’s fifth missionary journey ended in 67 A.D., Eusebius states that Paul was beheaded by the Romans under Emperor Nero. This date was near May or June of 68 A.D., Nero forced his private secretary,
          Epaphroditos, to kill him on June 9th of the 68 A.D.25

          Since Paul died by 68 A.D. and he wrote text that came from Luke’s Gospel, it is certain that Luke penned these words before 68 A.D. It is highly probable that Luke wrote his gospel near the same writing of Matthew’s Gospel in 60 A.D.

          These facts of history are empirical evidence that Luke’s Gospel was already written while Paul was still alive.. By this corroboration from the historical record, we learn that Luke’s Gospel is certified as written before 68 A.D., when Paul was killed. Confirmation of these facts are made by a letter from Eusebius.

          After defending himself the Apostle was again set on the ministry of preaching…coming a second time to the same city [Paul] suffered martyrdom under Nero. During this imprisonment he wrote the second Epistle to Timothy. (Eccl Hist. 2.22.2)26

          We also have the record of the Romans which validates Nero’s death in 68 A.D.26a, a secondary confirmation that when Paul is writing his epistle to Timothy, quoting Luke’s gospel from chapter 10, this text had to be written before Paul was executed in 68 A.D. This is corroboration that Luke’s Gospel was also likely written by 60 A.D.

          The majority of New Testament scholars today believe that Paul’s epistles are written from A.D. 48-60. When we examine Paul’s outline for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see that it matches the same timeline as the four Gospels.

          The four Gospels are reliable as they were written very near the time of the events they describe. These facts are supported by evidence and impeach the theory that the narratives of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were written at much later dates.

        • Michael Neville

          More and more unevidenced assertions. How about some citations for your flights of illusion? Oh that’s right, you don’t have any citations or any other evidence other that what you’ve pulled out of your ass. Silly me for even suggesting that you could show actual evidence for the bullshit you’re continually posting.

          Hitchen’s Razor applies: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

        • These Things Were Written

          I have given you evidence but you will not believe it, just as Jesus came into the world and made it clear that He was answering the demand for proof that God exists. He performed healing, raising the dead, control over the natural elements of earth, and raised Himself from the dead, but you will not believe these either. It is a precarious place when a person had reached a point where it is impossible for God to save them…

          John 5:38-40 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

        • Michael Neville

          No, you haven’t given me a speck of evidence. You’ve given me assertion after assertion, claim after claim but not a hint of evidence.

          Quoting the Bible at an atheist is as effective as a Muslim quoting the Quran at you. You don’t accept the Quran as “gospel” and I don’t accept the collection of myths, fables and lies you worship either and for exactly the same reason.

        • These Things Were Written

          You see, this is where your problem arises. The New Testament is a record of history, not just a religious artifact. As such, it contains claims and describes people, places, and events which are asserted as true.

          We can evaluate the text of the New Testament to see if it bears the weight of examination and therefore proves it is a reliable narrative.

          The information I provided you proves that upon an internal examination of the what is asserted in the New Testament, we can provide a valid timeline that demonstrated the four Gospels had to be written before 70 A.D.

          The fact that you will not consider this in the slightest because it is religious, shows the narrowness of your mind an unwillingness to expand your knowledge.

        • Halbe

          You see, this is where your problem arises. The Quran is a record of history, not just a religious artifact. As such, it contains claims and describes people, places, and events which are asserted as true.

          We can evaluate the text of the Quran to see if it bears the weight of examination and therefore proves it is a reliable narrative.

          The fact that you will not consider this in the slightest because it is another religion, shows the narrowness of your mind an unwillingness to expand your knowledge.

          See how that works?

        • These Things Were Written

          If you are seeking to place the Quran alongside the Bible as a comparison for history, your argument is lost before it begins. Every scholar knows that the Quaran is not comparable to the massive record of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re committing the Special Pleading fallacy again.

          The text stands by itself, not for any apologetics to handwave away incredible / extraordinary claims.

        • These Things Were Written

          The text has existed as a historical record, in the proper custody where we would expect to find credible evidence and has been used by the stewards of this evidence and validated by them from the beginning of its origin, and for this reason the New Testament Gospels should be received as credible by every means of legal and historical authority.

        • ildi

          You are now officially failing the Turin test.

          (ha ha, see what I did there?)

        • These Things Were Written

          Seriously? The Turin test is applicable to AI, not New Testament criticism. This is becoming tedious…

        • ildi

          What a maroon! It’s actually the TurinG test, and you’re failing it because you keep repeating the same exact phrases over and over again just like a machine, combined with the witticism of the shroud of Turin being a fake, like you!

          (thanks, I’ll be here all week, tip your servers well)

        • These Things Were Written

          Is this is your tactic to deflect from your inability to prove that the New Testament Gospels have not been changed in their narratives of Jesus miracles, claim to be God and resurrection? These are the central issues which atheists have objection to and this is why I repeat my request over and over again.

          You can end this by providing proof that textual variants prove that Jesus did not perform miracles or claim to be God.

          The reason I can make this demand is because I have done the necessary diligence to prove that the Gospels cannot be impeached. I have published thousands of papers, written and published nearly thirty books and have lectured all over the world. If I was not certain of these facts I would not exercise my time by listening to juvenile arguments

        • ildi

          “I have published thousands of papers, written near a hundred books and lectured all over the world.”

          Yeah, right. What a sad sack.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          the New Testament Gospels have not been changed in their narratives of Jesus miracles, claim to be God and resurrection

          Pathetically sloppy attempt at a derail, there.

          And I don’t give a SHIT whether they’ve changed, I care if they’re TRUE…and you’re not providing ANY evidence to support your mania.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Gimli the Dwarf wants to have a talk with you

          😉

        • Michael Neville

          By your criteria the Quran also is credible. So why is the Bible more credible than the Quran, other than the fact that you’re a Christian and not a Muslim?

        • These Things Were Written

          If you have to ask this question and sincerely don’t know the answer, I can be of no assistance to you. I am not your teacher, go and learn and return to the discussion.

        • Michael Neville

          So I ask you a straightforward question and you refuse to answer it. Why are you even here if all you’re going to do is preach at us (which you have to know is not going to be effective) and otherwise toss out bullshit?

        • These Things Were Written

          Prove the New Testament Gospels are not a reliable, historical narratives of the true events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

          This is the assertion of Atheists, is it not?

          If the N/T is really a myth as you assert, demonstrate this by impeaching the text and its reliability, by any means possible.

          I have never seen you personally place any impeaching evidence here. Please do this so that we continue.

          And before you tell me that I must prove my assertion, remember that I asked why atheists do not believe the New Testament Gospels are reliable accounts. Others have presented me with some evidence in rebuttal but you have not. You ask me to chase other web sites , but will not participate in this debate by actively presenting something from your own mind.

        • Michael Neville

          I have never seen you personally place any impeaching evidence here.

          This is a LIE, asshole. I haven’t lied about you, don’t lie about me. I told you in some detail why the zombie story in Matthew 27:51-53 impeaches the Bible. Your apology for lying about me, while not expected, will be accepted.

          There is no mention of Jesus anywhere except in the Bible. The Testamoniun Flavium of Josephus is a 4th Century forgery, Pliny and Tacitus were reporting what Christian beliefs, and Suetonius was talking about Jews rather than Christians. Since the NT has lies in it (the zombie infestation of Jerusalem is only one of them), it can be disregarded as reliable, accurate evidence that Jesus even existed.

          Now it’s your turn. Show us that the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible has any connection with reality. Oh that’s right, you can’t because you don’t have any evidence that doesn’t hide in your large intestine to support your nonsense about the Bible.

        • These Things Were Written

          Rewriting history to support a flawed posit that there is no secular support for Jesus is a demonstration of your ignorance. No credible scholar today would ever take up this position and the fact that you have is proof that your position regarding Jesus and the Gospel Narratives is not a matter of evidence but of age and the impossible place you find yourself.

          We have no further need of debate you an I. You do not want to know the truth and there is no person who can make you see what you so willingly are blind to. I will be there on your day when all of this conversation is read back in testimony of your opportunities to receive the love of the truth, but you were unwilling.

        • ildi

          Good day, sir! I said GOOD DAY!

        • Kodie

          Are you in total denial of how ignorant you come off? You can keep playing a game, but everyone knows it’s a game (except, possibly, you).

        • Kodie

          Nobody’s looking to you for assistance, jackass. Why not answer any of the questions asked of you honestly? Is this something Christians are unable to do? Change the subject, don’t make eye contact, ask another question, anything to avoid responsibility for your claims. You’re personally making Christians look so shifty and dishonest! Is that what you meant to do? Are you trying to create more atheists by appearing inept?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The text has existed as a historical record

          Then you’ve got a problem.

          Because the MASTER record-keepers of that era were the Romans, who had conquered that land. NONE of their contemporary historians / essayists / diarists mention BOO about any of the nonsense you so fervently support.

          The meteorological elements alone (darkness at noon), jewish zombies raised from their graves and wandering around, the curtain in the temple being torn asunder, etc, by their lack ANYWHERE in the historical records. Darkness at noon would have been visible FAR outside where this religion held sway, so there would be NO reason to suppress it from the writings of the day.)

        • ildi

          It appears our resident “assert without references” is a fanboi of Michael Kruger:
          https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-difference-between-original-autographs-and-original-texts/

        • Greg G.

          Darkness at noon is conceivable but not near the time of a full moon.

        • ildi

          “The text has existed as a historical record, in the proper custody where we would expect to find credible evidence and has been used by the stewards of this evidence and validated by them from the beginning of its origin”
          Ah, yes, The Silmarillion. Great epic writing.

        • Halbe

          “Every scholar knows…” That’s a wild claim, yet another one you cannot back up of course. I will tell that to my Muslim friend, she will most certainly claim the exact opposite. My conclusion: you cannot both be right, but you most certainly can be (and most probably are) wrong.

        • These Things Were Written

          My assertion is that every New Testament scholar knows that the extant text of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, their reliability, authority, and proven prophetic prowess, amongst many other matchless qualities, cannot be equalled by any other ancient or modern religious texts.

          I am intrigued by your insistence into this matter for it tells me that what you know about New Testament criticism is very narrow and only comes from limited sources. If you really think the other religious texts are comparable in any way, to those of the entire Bible, I can offer you not further help or commentary.

          I am here as an exercise not as your teacher. As the ancient Rabbis often told their student, “go back and learn.”

        • Halbe

          Assertions, claims, dodges, fallacies… It’s all you have. Would be more convincing with some, you know, evidence. Which you obviously don’t have, otherwise you’d have presented it by now. Bye. Blocked.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          My assertion is that every New Testament scholar knows that the extant text of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, their reliability, authority, and proven prophetic prowess, amongst many other matchless qualities, cannot be equalled by any other ancient or modern religious texts.

          MY assertion is that’s as worthless as if you’d pulled it from the bottom of your colon, with the exception being that MY example would actually leave something physical in your hand.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are finished then…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Not hardly.

          As usual, AGAIN, you’re trying to enforce your will on others as a way to soothe your pathetically weak and maniacal ego. I don’t play that game.

          I’m just getting warmed up.

          Keep on asserting, I will keep on demanding EVIDENCE.

          You DO realize you haven’t offered SHIT for evidence, right? Assertions do NOT count as evidence.

        • ildi

          But, but, but, they have published hundreds, nay thousand of things, and talked at people all over the world!

        • Kodie

          Do you realize your mouth writes checks your ass can’t cash? You are one egomaniac nutter!

        • Kodie

          Every scholar, so you say! You are just a lunatic yapping away at the bus stop. Back away slowly… you talk paranoid gibberish.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Show me EVIDENCE!

          Your assertions are worthless, and I’m tempted to extend that assessment to YOU, *personally*

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          No it’s not. It’s a book of myths, fables and legends. Again please tell me how “we can evaluate the text of the NT to see if it bears the weight of examination” – how have you accomplished that, and was it just you or, if there were others, please cite your sources – author, date of publication, publisher. “Therefore proves it is a reliable narrative” – not it doesn’t. You provide absolutely no evidence for this. Another ad hominem attack on Michael Neville and YOUR narrowness of mind and unwillingness to expand your knowledge.

        • These Things Were Written

          In your case, it would do no good and serve no purpose…

        • Michael Neville

          That tells me that you don’t have any evidence and you want to make it my fault that you don’t. Typical Christian apologist tactic.

        • Kodie

          Because you don’t have facts, you have your fantasy.

          I want to know what you’re getting out of being here. What is your goal? If you’re secure in your beliefs, why is it so important to you, and others like you, to bother everyone else? You’re terrible at this. Does your teacher-mom know you’re on the internet?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I have given you evidence but you will not believe it

          When YOU are willing to believe islam or hinduism based on the same criterion for evidence, get back to me.

          Your ‘bible’ is NOT special, and does NOT get special exemtion from scrutiny.

        • Greg G.

          Just 28 years later In 70 A.D

          Nit: 70 AD was 38 years after 32 AD.

          If Matthew, Mark, and Luke did in fact write their accounts after Titus, and near 100 A.D., how is it that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy stating the temple would be destroyed in 70 A.D. was not included in their narrative?

          Mark was writing for literate Romans. They knew what happened in Jerusalem. When Mark had Jesus having a temper tantrum at the fig tree, then the Temple Tantrum, and then having the disciples notice the withered fig tree after a passage of time, the Romans would have connected the analogy to the destruction of Jerusalem.

          Jesus gets mad at tree > tree dies
          Jesus gets mad at temple > whole city dies

          By the time Luke wrote in the second century, the war would have faded from public memory so he had to spell it out more.

          We have a manuscript copy of Matthew’s Gospel today that has been scientifically dated at before 60 A.D., which fits the Gospels descriptions perfectly.

          That’s funny!

          There is no indication in any of the Gospels that they were written as fables, myths or to deceive. I have submitted these texts to intense literary analysis used by the FBI today to detect fraud in written testimony and they pass in every regard.

          That’s even funnier!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ***YAWN***

          More baseless unsupported counterfactual Xtian blatherassertion.

        • ildi

          “I have submitted these texts to intense literary analysis used by the FBI today to detect fraud in written testimony and they pass in every regard.”

          I’m going to have to remember to inject this precious line into my next argument.

        • Max Doubt

          “The facts of the Gospels prove that what you stated here is not true.”

          You have yet to demonstrate that the supposed magical events and alleged miracles in your bible are facts. Tell me, does this argument strategy of pulling assertions out of your ass ever actually convince anyone?

        • Kodie

          It convinces gullible desperate people like TTWW.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          By “know” I assume you mean, from other atheists who wrote the commentary you included above.

          It’s called *evidence*, dude.

          You really should try it.

        • Just projection of Christians most use logical fallacy Appeals to Authority. Since that is the only thing they can rely then think that is the only thing we have as an argument.

        • ildi

          I think I’m quoting credible sources, not random “critics.” In addition to L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, that I quoted above from the Frontline episode, there’s also John Dominic Crossan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University, who also says: “The first gospel, Mark, is around the year 70. So within 70 and, say, 95, we have the four gospels. 25 years. But that leaves 70 to 30. 40 years before that. If you watch the creativity within that 25 year span, from Mark being copied into Matthew and Luke, possibly also by John, then you have to face the creativity of that 40 years, even when you don’t have written gospels.”
          Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University: “The gospel tradition divides into two streams. There’s Mark and there’s John. Mark is the earliest gospel written, probably, shortly after the war that destroyed the Temple, the war between Rome and Judea. And Mark presents one type of Jesus with a particular narrative where Jesus begins in the Galilee and he ends his life in Jerusalem. John, a gospel that we can’t date at all, has Jesus really with the Jerusalem ministry. He’s scarcely in Galilee at all. And he’s really talking and preaching and doing in Jerusalem. It’s a quite different story and a quite different personality.”

        • These Things Were Written

          First, you are using so called “scholars” who are also largely agnostic or atheist. There are hundreds more who find evidence that the four Gospels were written before 70 A.D.

          I know that this point is a constant point for atheists to impugn and though it can be proven that the gospels were written at an early date, even a later date for manuscript copies would not prove that the original autographs were not written very near the time of the events.

          Although certain scientific testing dates some of the Gospel manuscript to 80, or 90 A.D. this does not prove that this is when the Gospels were written. These extant manuscripts of the Gospels are copies, not the original autographs.

          Since copies exist which are scientifically dated to 80 or 90 A.D., it is certain that the original Gospels were written several years before. In this regard, the evidence of manuscript copies from 80 or 90, does not prove this is the earliest copies.

          It is certainly reasonable and likely that Matthew was written before 60 A.D., and there is no controverting evidence against this early date.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          First, you are using so called “scholars” who are also largely agnostic or atheist.

          If your narrative can only survive examination from those who already believe it’s true, then it’s a piss-poor narrative and deserves any destruction that comes its way.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          REPUTABLE scholars have determined that that text was written *during*/*after* the destruction, and retconned back to make it look like a prophecy.

        • You’ve heard of Euhemerism? It’s the process of a god story turning into a human story. That sounds like what Koester was talking about.

          And then there’s another angle, that Greg G has often brought up, that the gospel story is 100% literary. Of course, any ancient story could be based on not-an-actual-person, but the fact that pretty much every facet of Jesus’s life has a literary precedent in the Old Testament, Homeric tales, or similar stories supports this idea.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So then the NT is fanfic?

        • ildi

          No, I haven’t, but interesting topic. I’m really enjoying browsing through the Frontline website, and I wouldn’t have found it if TTWW hadn’t come here with their dogmatic statements, so one can learn something from anybody!

        • These Things Were Written

          The basic premise of your argument is that if an ancient manuscript is written 150-200 years after the events they describe, it is not reliable.

          It is interesting that you did not apply this same rule to secular ancient historical manuscripts. The New Testament was written closer to the time of the events than any extant secular manuscript.

          New Testament: 60-100 A.D. Earliest copy: 60 A.D. Gap: 28 years. Surviving copies: 24,593.

          Ancient Secular Manuscript With Earliest Copies:
          Homer’s Iliad: 900 B.C. Earliest Copy: 400 B.C. Gap: 500 years. Surviving Copies: 643

          Even if we use the later date of the second century that critics assert for the writing of the New Testament, this is still hundreds of years earlier than any secular manuscript we have today.

          If a second century date for the writing of the New Testament is too late for authenticity, then so also are all secular writings of antiquity. Every secular document which has surviving copies today were written at greater distances from the occurrence of their events, by hundreds of years, than those of the New Testament.

          The surviving manuscripts of the New Testament are closer to their original writing and have greater numbers of surviving manuscripts than any secular documents of antiquity.

        • Ficino

          Is this from Evidence That Demands a Verdict? Even as an evangelical in college I realized how this argument does not demonstrate what it claims to demonstrate. Even the purported factual generalities in the above are not all accurate.

        • These Things Were Written

          The point of this exercise is to demonstrate the inconsistency of atheist reasoning. The criteria used in determining secular records of history which are validated as reliable accounts is different from those which are used to confirm the New Testament.

          Critics constantly assert that the New Testament was written at to great a distance from the events they describe to be considered reliable, while those of secular writings of Homer, for example, were written some 500 years after the events took place. Despite this great gap between the time of the events and the time of writing, the authenticity of Homer is not in question.

          There is no error in this, as these are the true facts of history as they pertain to how the New Testament has come to us, and the comparison for how secular manuscripts are considered more reliable though they were written much later than those of the NT.

        • Otto

          >>>”The criteria for determining secular records of history is different from those which are used to confirm the New Testament.”

          Only to people in cults such as yourself.

        • These Things Were Written

          When I see the reasons which people use to impugn the truthfulness of the Gospel narratives, I am struck by their inadequacies. Many of these opinions came about because of a prior bias or foregone conclusion that took place before the examination was made.

          We all understand that it is impossible to learn the truth about anything if we have already decided ahead of time what the conclusion will be.

          I would challenge any person who has doubts about the New Testament to try and find another ancient work of literature that possesses the literary integrity of these twenty-seven books.

          If a person will simply read through the Gospel of John in isolation from all other distractions, they quickly discover that what is written concerning Jesus is remarkable.

        • Otto

          >>>”Many of these opinions came about because of a prior bias or foregone conclusion that took place before the examination was made.”

          I was a believing Christian for 35 years, the only prior bias I had to deal with was the deluded views of the Christians that indoctrinated me. Nice try.

        • These Things Were Written

          I doubt it.

        • Otto

          Well using your logic you have to prove me wrong…the burden of proof is on you to show I am lying.

          Fuck you are an arrogant asshole

        • These Things Were Written

          People who claim to have been a Christian at one time are self deceived. Jesus said that there are many “Tares” that are sown amongst the true believers, placed there by satan, who think they are true believers, but are not. The evidence of this, Jesus said, is that they later leave Him and spend their time criticizing Jesus and the word of God. The words of Jesus, not mine.

        • Otto

          I don’t give a shit what you think Jesus said, I think he was a bit of an asshole just like you.

        • These Things Were Written

          Evidence of a heart that was never changed.

          You went through all the motions but were never born again. Anyone who comes into a true knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for them, would never leave Him. Judas was one who thought he was a true believer but when the time came for him to choose, he chose to deny Jesus. All that time everyone thought he was a true follower, they learned later that it was all an act.

          “Many will say to me Lord, Lord, and I will say to them, I never knew you…”

        • Doubting Thomas

          Your “Lord” is a dick and it seems you’re doing your best to emulate him.

        • Otto

          Nothing like a guy calling you a liar and then getting incensed that you insult him back…typical Christian hypocrisy.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are no Thomas and by your language, no scholar

        • Otto

          Blow me cult boy.

        • These Things Were Written

          Your true nature is revealed. If you repent and believe today, you can still be saved, though you have denied Him, He will still accept you if you are willing. This is the Gospel that is in the New Testament and it has never changed, and exists today with stunning evidence that God has visited our world and proven to us that He exists.

          Though most will reject Him His message is still going out to the whole world, “come to me that I might give you life.”

        • Damien Priestly

          Resorting to terms like “born again” and proselytizing shows
          us that you really have no arguments to make – you simply can’t make your case
          so you fallback to Christian name calling and pejoratives. It is the way Christians
          operate when they cannot win an argument.

        • These Things Were Written

          The entire point of this discussion that I started is why atheists do not believe the New Testament Gospels are reliable. These Gospels declare that God has made a way for anyone to be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The message has never changed, and the topic of this feed has always been about the evidence that this message is true.

        • Damien Priestly

          Many of us here have shown that the New Testament does not
          meet the burden of proof for truth. Since you cannot support any burden or argument
          for its truth…have resorted to circular logic and providing bible verses as evidence…a
          clear admission of failure on your part.

          This post was about Human Sacrifice in the Bible…you have hijacked
          the post with born-again evangelical clap-trap.

        • These Things Were Written

          Incorrect, you have never proven that the New Testament meets the burden of proof. All you and your associates offer is conjecture, speculation and personal opinions. I have seen these tired attempts long before you were born. In fact, they were first attempted in about 150 A.D. when the world’s leading atheist Greek Philosopher Celsus attempted to impeach the miracles and resurrection of Jesus, but was impeached himself by the diligence and intellect of Origen.

        • Damien Priestly

          Silly Christian…the burden is on you, not us. You obviously do not know how to make an argument or use logic. Demonstrate for us a resurrection or miracle…if you cannot…then you certainly can’t make anyone believe that it occurred because a poorly written old book says so…Go back under your bridge troll…you are embarrassing yourself.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Incorrect, you have never proven that the New Testament meets the burden of proof.

          Silly superstition believer, that’s YOUR job…

        • Otto

          Even if the Gospels were true…I wouldn’t worship the asshole god you bow down to anyway. It would literally make no difference as to whether I was a Christian or not. That is how little I think of your horrible religion.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          NT is unreliable because it states supernatural assertions as facts, facts that are central to the believability of the tale.

          When you understand why you don’t accept the supernatural assertions of *other* superstitions, you’ll understand why we don’t accept YOURS.

        • Kodie

          I feel like that type of assignment might be too advanced. Someone like TTWW is locked in his own tiny room.

        • Otto

          Yeah, you think you are sooo righteous…you aren’t. You are just an asshole. Your morality is a mess and you can stick your unholy religion up your ass with you head.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why should I do anything you say?

          By attacking me and impugning me based on your delusion, you’ve firmly established yourself as my enemy.

          And one of the first rules of the game is ‘NEVER do what your enemy wants you to do!’

        • Halbe

          Is being a condescending asshole a standard evangelization tactic? How many souls have you harvested by deeply insulting people like you do here?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “Is being a condescending asshole a standard evangelization tactic?”

          Based on virtually every Christian I’ve seen that’s tried to proselytize us online… I would say the answer to that question is “Yes”.

        • MR

          Worse, he dismisses the lurkers here who are currently struggling with their faith. These are the hearts and minds he should be trying to win over, but he just kicked them in the balls. “Your heart was never changed. You were never a true believer. Your belief was all an act.” I know my belief was sincere. I’ve been reading Otto’s comments for probably a couple years now and I have no reason to believe that he, or any of the other atheists who left faith behind are anything but sincere. For those lurkers who are struggling, ask yourself if what TTWW has said rings true for you. This is the language of cults. This is the language of fear-mongers. This is not the language based in a loving Christ, a loving God. This alone exposes the lies of religion. No one can tell you your journey except you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Agreed. A fervent and sincere ‘heart’ searching for truth is never to be attacked. Those who DO attack are those who peddle insincerity and baseless assertions.

        • Kodie

          That’s a lie you tell yourself.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The heart or personality stayed the same, sincere and truth-seeking.

          The MIND changed, by accepting and processing information that led to doubt of unsupported assertions.

          YOUR KIND try to impugn your opponents with ad hominems because you can’t address the substance of said opponents’ arguments.

        • Michael Neville

          I was wondering when the second favorite Christian fallacy, No True Scotsman, would raise it’s hoary head.

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 7:21-23 (NRSV)21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

          Even if the New Testament is true, you can never be certain that Jesus actually knows you.

        • Lark62

          Oh lookee here. Someone first displays his ignorance, then calls people liars about their own history.

          Let’s check the waiting list to see how many people want to become a christian so they can become just as wisevand just as loving as These Things.

          (cue the tumbleweeds)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          No True Scotsman fallacy rides again!

          YOUR KIND don’t get to pass judgement on who is an isn’t Xtian, nor how fervent that proclaimed believer was / is.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Don’t just assert.

          SHOW ME!

        • Illithid

          Who says the secular writings of Homer are “absolutely reliable”? No one with any sense. Your stamina is admirable, but you’re getting boring.

        • These Things Were Written

          I did not say that Homer was “absolutely reliable,” these are your words, I said: “not in question.” The point is that Homer was written 500 years after the events and the Gospels were written within 30 years of the events, yet no one disputes the narratives of Homer, but they do those of the Gospels.

        • Ctharrot

          “no one disputes the narratives of Homer”

          Oh. My. Crom.

          Do you actually know what Homer(s) wrote? Have you read the Iliad and the Odyssey?

          NO historian thinks that a Mycenaean hero named Achilles was bullet-proof except for the spot on his heel. That Ulysses contended with sirens and a cyclops and sea monsters on his way home. That the Greek gods took an active and personal role in the Trojan War. There’s not even a definitive consensus as to whether a Trojan War as described in the Iliad occurred. The narratives of Homer(s) are thoroughly, repeatedly, constantly disputed.

          You just make stuff up, don’t you?

        • Illithid

          I thought I’d quoted you directly. You might have gone back and edited your post to remove those words, but perhaps I’m mistaken.

          The point is that no one sensible accepts the writings of Homer uncritically. Or the writings of Herodotus. Or anyone. We don’t just believe something we read, no matter who wrote it or when. Homer says Circe turned Odysseus’s crew into pigs. I don’t believe that any more than I believe Jesus raised the dead.

        • These Things Were Written

          It would be dishonest of me to scold you for something that was true but changed by me to make me look better. I would not do such a thing. I do appreciate you candor and good points.

        • Illithid

          I’ve had debate opponents do that before. But I know that my memory is fallible, so okay. I think I’m done with this, anyway.

        • Otto

          Quit pretending you give a rats ass about being dishonest

        • These Things Were Written

          Dishonest is when one pretends to be a believer for 35 years and then later states they are not a believer so they may set out to curse and malign Jesus who gave his life for that person. Be honest enough to tell us that you really never believed in the first place.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dishonest would be maintaining as fact something one no longer believes.

          And Jebus Substitutionary Atonement™ is unspeakably vile, as it punishes somebody other than the guilty party. In this case, however, a case can be made that yahweh is guilty so Jebus’ agony was yahweh’s atonement.

        • Otto

          Dishonest is completely dismissing a person’s experience through arrogance and having your preconceived notions refuted.

          Jesus didn’t do shit, even under your cult beliefs Jesus only helps people through an ultimatum. That isn’t love, that is something out a mob story.

          ‘That is a nice soul you have there, it would be sad if anything happened to it’.

          You are a dishonest asshat, it is shitty Christians like yourself that made me realize your religion is bullshit.

        • Kodie

          Sorry you are so defensive that you have to protect yourself with lies. The truth is, you have a superstition, and people can recover and become rational. There is no holy spirit that you have that another Christian doesn’t really have, just that you are diverted by the power of suggestion from rational thinking. PLUS, you think any of us give a shit. You’re simply deluded, there is nothing more to it.

        • Lark62

          the authenticity of Homer is not in question.

          That’s what in technical terms is called an “own goal.”

          What planet are you from?

          Homers epic poems were works of fiction. Fiction.

          Ancient Greeks attributed the Iliad and the Odyssey to Homer, but he was a legend even to them.

          Homer is a legend and the works attributed to him are fiction. Yep, that fits right in with biblical stories.

          The only difference is that 2 or 3 millennia later, nobody is ignorant enough to claim the supernatural events in th Iliad actually happened.

          You really need to work on your analogies.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘own goal’ & ‘work on analogies’ reminded me of this:

          https://i.redd.it/5w3z1al6ycxz.jpg

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The NT claims supernatural phenomena as critical elements of the story.

          The secular historical documents DON’T make such a claim. If such claims are made, they are immediately excluded.

        • Kodie

          You only have to have a brain – it’s a fairy tale. I don’t think the time lapse makes it less reliable.

        • The basic premise of your argument is that if an ancient manuscript is written 150-200 years after the events they describe, it is not reliable.

          A radical and barely tenable position, I’ll admit, but there you have it.

          It is interesting that you did not apply this same rule to secular ancient historical manuscripts. The New Testament was written closer to the time of the events than any extant secular manuscript.

          You are indeed tiresome. This is a supernatural story! Yes, go ahead and remove all the supernatural elements from the histories of Alexander and Julius Caesar. Do it now; I’ll wait. I’m willing to accept the non-supernatural versions of those men.

          And, just to be consistent, I’ll also accept the non-supernatural history of Jesus.

          How about you? Are you equally consistent? Show us.

          New Testament: 60-100 A.D. Earliest copy: 60 A.D. Gap: 28 years. Surviving copies: 24,593.

          You’re adorable! With just a few small corrections, you’re onto something. The earliest copy of the entire New Testament is the Codex Sinaiticus (in the London Library, which I’ve visited twice—very cool). It dates to roughly 350CE. The oldest scholarly date given for any fragment is 125CE for P52, a tiny fragment of one page, which, obviously, tells us very, very little about the reliability of the entire New Testament. And, as I’m sure you know, that date is controversial. It could easily be 3rd century.

          As for “earliest copy: 60 A.D.,” that fragment you dug up in your back yard, get the scholarly consensus documented first and then get back to us.

          As for 25,000 copies, we’ve been over this. Just forgetful? Most are in Latin, so discard those. Of the 5000+ in the original Greek, the overwhelming majority are 9th century and later! So don’t brag about lots of manuscript and small time gap in the same argument.

          Even if we use the later date of the second century that critics assert for the writing of the New Testament, this is still hundreds of years earlier than any secular manuscript we have today.

          You’ve convinced me. Let’s take the same approach that historians take: scrub out the supernatural from historical accounts, both for Alexander and for Jesus. Deal?

          I hate to break it to you, but these arguments that you get from Strobel’s books or Answers in Genesis or whatever apologetics source is your favorite have not been preparing you well. They’re biased. They assume the Bible is correct first and cobble together as good an argument as they can (which isn’t very good). The end result is that your ammunition is blanks.

        • correction: Codex Sinaiticus dates to roughly 350 CE.

        • The fact that you don’t know this or understand that they do, allows me to understand that you do not have the proper training to impeach the evidence that is presented.

          I suggest you focus on your argument rather than ad hominems. Your insults are great, but your argument sucks.

          Every first year law student knows that the burden of proof is always upon the opposing party.

          Sathya Sai Baba rose from the dead.

          “The burden of proof is always upon the opposing party.” Go.

          Again, your lack of training is apparent by your error is stating that the oldest fragment of the four Gospels is “around 150 A.D.” I have a manuscript fragment of one of the gospels that has been scientifically dated at no later than 60 A.D.

          Just because you say so? We need a little more than that, thanks.

          I suspect that there’s a lot more of a scholarly consensus that P52 was written in the early second century than your claim. But perhaps you can convince us? Go, again.

          Every surviving ancient secular manuscript we have in our possession today is dated at least 400 years after the date of the events and not one of these are considered unreliable.

          No scholar, looking at any surviving ancient secular manuscript, accepts any supernatural claims. Shall we put the gospels through the same filter?

          They all have manuscript copies written much later than 200 years from the date of the events they describe.

          You’re clearly a very smart guy. Tell us: what is the average time gap, chapter by chapter, from authorship to our best copies for the gospel of Matthew? Now add the oral history period—the 40 to 60 years from events to autograph.

          Now tell us the time gap for the gospels and how that compares to your estimate for secular documents.

          There are also greater numbers (24,593) of surviving New Testament Manuscripts than any other secular or religious manuscripts of ancient history.

          Do you want to poke holes in that, or should I?

          There are only 400 words that are in question in the entire New Testament and not one of these alters the fundamental text.

          You mean: there are only 400 that we know to be concerned about. How many verses were changed where we don’t have two variant traditions to evaluate but only one? And what do you propose we do in those situations?

          The four Gospels from 2,000 years ago are virtually identical to our new Testament today in all of the writers testimony of Jesus’ miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection.

          Cuz you said so? I’m unconvinced.

          6. The authors are not unknown.

          Oh? Who were the authors and how do you know? Please include the dates for when the various facts were written.

        • Pofarmer

          Is this another Sock Puppet?

          Acts like it.

        • Like a really, really cocky sock puppet. It takes all kinds, I guess.

        • MR
        • Kodie

          Started account TODAY, April 14, and set disqus profile to private. Smells like a sock, but I can’t focus on who.

        • Damien Priestly

          JP ??

        • Kodie

          We’ve been in the car wash. I cannot even remember who that was.

        • Damien Priestly

          JP was always demanding proof that atheism was true…this “Were Written” moron has a bit different, circular-logic “gospel is true because the bible says it’s true” idiocy…but does sound familiar.

        • Ctharrot

          Yes, this is the latest incarnation of JP. And Jay. And Al, and a number of other aliases I’ve either forgotten or missed.

          He’s been appearing on (and getting banned from) Patheos blogs for years. Always the same JAQing arguments, the same apologetics, the same quotes, the same refusual to deviate from his script or answer tough questions honestly. The only thing that changes is the alias.

          Although, to his credit, he did surprise me today. Claiming that the Homeric epics are viewed as historically reliable? I can honestly say I’ve never read that particular howler from him or any other apologist.

        • These Things Were Written

          The classic error of those who are misinformed is their constant assumptions of facts. I am surprised to learn that Seidensticker bans persons from his forum for expressing a contrary opinion.

          Your assumption that I declared homer as historically reliable is not correct. I believe that Homer is a valid artifact of history which has been held up by critics like yourself as more authentic than the New Testament Gospels, while the New Testament was written closer to the events and with greater extant manuscript copies.

        • Ctharrot

          You wrote, “no one disputes the narratives of Homer.”

          A bluff, and a flatly false statement. Putting all the supernatural stuff aside, classical historians dispute whether there was a Trojan War, whether a King named Agamemnon existed, and even whether there was really one poet named Homer.

          I can’t speak for others, Jay, but I’ve never claimed the Homeric narratives were undisputed, or not in question. You’re the only person I can recall doing that. And it was hilarious!

        • I am surprised to learn that Seidensticker bans persons from his forum for expressing a contrary opinion.

          I’m surprised at that, too. Show me.

        • Damien Priestly

          Well, taking a post on Human Sacrifice in the Bible…and turning it into a “New Testament is true” diversion, could be fair grounds to be smitten…as it says in the bible.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “The classic error of those who are misinformed is their constant assumptions of facts.”

          I **WANT** facts to support your assertions.

          Other assertions are NOT facts.

          Show me facts or stop complaining that we’re reminding you to PROVIDE facts.

        • Still waiting for evidence that I ban people for expressing contrary opinions.

        • These Things Were Written

          I didn’t say that you banned anyone, it was in the post that I answered. This person made an allusion to certain people that have been banned from your forum. Of course, I didn’t believe it, I wanted this person to prove their assertion.

        • Ctharrot

          Sorry, you’re denying that you’re Jay? That wasn’t clear to me. You’re correct in that I can’t prove that. Just a very strong hunch, which could be wrong.

          But I can prove you’re a plagiarist. Is that something you wish to deny, too?

        • These Things Were Written

          What did I plagiarize?

        • Ctharrot

          Your itemized list about Packham and the ancient document rule. My working guess was that you appropriated and modified the text from the Wikipedia article on The Testimony of the Evangelists, but perhaps you copied from the source on which that article’s authors relied. Or maybe you copied a source that itself plagiarized Wikipedia. Who knows? With the Internet, all things are possible. Bottom line is that most (and possibly all) of what you wrote to me about Packham has been written before.

          Would you like me to walk through some sentence-by-sentence comparisons?

        • These Things Were Written

          Seeing that I have published 27 books and written over 10,000 papers, I understand the need for citations and always cite all my sources. However, in an informal setting where we are simply making comments back and forth, I rarely make citation, few people do.

          What I wrote in this forum, which you described, is from my own book, under copyright. It is likely that wherever you found this text, if may have come from me. Since that particular information is widely known, it is certain that there are hundreds of places where that text is found.

          The point is that Greenleaf’s conclusions are correct and your are wrong.

        • ildi
        • Ctharrot

          That would make sense, then. Self-plagiarism happens, and perhaps Wikipedia owes you a huge apology. What’s the name of your book?

          And I thought you’d published nearly 100 books. Or am I thinking of something else?

          Edited to add: “The point is that Greenleaf’s conclusions are correct and your are wrong.” Uh-huh. Then they’re just as correct for the old miracle claims written down by Mormons, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, etc. I can’t provide any evidence that Vespasian didn’t have healing powers, so I must accept it as true.

        • Yeah? I’ve published 27 thousand books and written over 10 million papers.

          I win.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’ve written even more than that. But I won’t tell you how many, because it would make both you and TTWW feel inadequate.

        • ildi

          But I rarely make citation, few people do.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Citations are for the little people. People like me don’t need to make them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My name is Tom…Tom Thumb…I often make citations, I’m doing it all wrong I guess.

        • Greg G.

          I collect citations from police officers. They call me “Gregory”. I hate that.

        • And if I said that I’d written infinity books, you’d say that you’d written infinity + 1. Damn you!

          But even if we put all our published works together, it’d still be dwarfed by TTWW’s output. He may be God himself. Or maybe he’s just a Poe.

        • Ctharrot

          “He may be God himself.”

          TTWW states here that he has written 27 books, and the NT has 27 books.

          Coincidence?

        • Good catch. And 10,000 = a myriad, so perhaps that’s symbolic as well.

          I was thinking of asking for a bibliography, but he’d probably say that it’s so long that it’d break the internet. Once again–he outsmarts me at every turn.

        • Michael Neville

          written over 10,000 papers

          If this is a joke then it fails to be funny. If you mean to be taken seriously then you’re a liar.

          At the website Quora [LINK] the question was asked: “Who has written the most published academic papers?”

          I found a new winner. Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell, entomologist.

          “Over the course of his career, Cockerell published nearly 4,000 papers, some of them only a few lines long. Though criticized for his haste in publishing, he persisted in publishing brief papers, appearing to use publication as a method of communication rather than one of recording dicta. Cockerell was also criticized for incompletely consulting, and casually referring to, the literature on any given topic in his papers.”

          Published in American National Biography, v. 5, pp. 123–124. Copyright © 1999 American Council of Learned Societies. Published by Oxford University Press.

          Paul Erdos published more papers than any other mathematician in history, around 1525, but he was the sole author on 28.

        • These Things Were Written

          Realizing your advanced age and diminishing vision, you should note that I said:

          “Seeing that I have published 27 books and written over 10,000 papers, I understand the need for citations and always cite all my sources.”

          You made it appear as if I had said I “published” over 10,000 papers, which is a lie.

          You can see from my statement that I said I have “written” over 10,000 papers.

          You made it appear by your reference to Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell, entomologist, in an article at Quora where the question was asked: “Who has written the most published academic papers?”, and the answer was 4,000, that by my statement that I had “published” 10,000 papers, that I was a liar.

          A paper is “an article, essay, article, monograph, thesis, work, dissertation, treatise, study, report, analysis, tract, critique, exegesis, review, term paper, theme.”

          It is not a great achievement to write over 10,000 papers in 44 years. My intent by this comment was a clarification for the question posed to me, that I understand the need for citations and have done so in all my works.

          Bertrand Russel wrote over 30,000 letters.
          Leibniz, 15,000 letters.
          H.P. Lovecraft, over 100,000 letters.

          I have many colleagues who have written more than 10,000 papers.
          How many I have “published,” at this point, is none of your concern.

          You are a person who takes pleasure by impugning people for personal satisfaction. At your age this is a genuine tragedy.

        • Michael Neville

          Why do bullshitters always try to excuse or justify their bullshit when their lies are caught?

          10,000 papers in 44 years is an average of almost one a day. I’ve written papers (and had them published). At one time I was producing one paper a month and was congratulated on being so productive. Of course there was actual research involved in my papers. If your posts are an example of your work, then your papers consisted of whatever assertions you pulled out of your rectum with no sources or citations given. That sort of paper is what you’d need if you wrote 10,000.

          Of course, by Occam’s Razor, it’s much more likely that you’re just bullshitting about 10,000 papers. So I think I’ll stand by my statement that you’re a liar. Certainly nothing you’ve written on this blog gives me any reason to think otherwise, Mr. Jesuits are atheists.

        • He’s written 124 comments with this identity. I’m sure that’s part of the 10,000 calculation.

        • How many I have “published,” at this point, is none of your concern.

          So you strung together some unintelligible letters (“I have published 27 books and written over 10,000 papers”) that mean nothing. OK, now we understand that there’s nothing behind them, but why? Sure seems to me that you wanted to claim some sort of authority. “I’ve written words,” which appears to be what you’re falling back to now, isn’t very impressive. I’m wondering if you’re a poor communicator or a liar. And then I’m wondering why I should care.

          Maybe you should return to your 5-point diatribe and reevaluate why atheists are so mean to you.

        • ildi

          “You made it appear as if I had said I “published” over 10,000 papers, which is a lie.”

          Actually, sad little asshat, you did say earlier that [you] “have published thousands of papers, written near a hundred books and lectured all over the world.” So do try to keep up?

        • So do try to keep up?

          Now, I think in a quiet moment, you’ll admit that this is unreasonable. I mean, who can keep up with all the wild claims, even TTWW himself?

        • Kodie

          Seeing that I have published 27 books and written over 10,000 papers, I
          understand the need for citations and always cite all my sources.
          However, in an informal setting where we are simply making comments back
          and forth, I rarely make citation, few people do.

          Actually, you threw an obvious smoke bomb. In this setting, when asked to back up their assertions, most people do, including most other Christians, to their credit, unless they sneak out for 7-25 days and hit the reset button when they return.

          If you are familiar with providing citations, then you’d agree that’s what’s useful here. If you are just pretending to be intellectual so that we overlook your lack of citations, then you are really really funny!

        • Kodie

          If you’ve written 10,000 papers in 44 years, you’re not so young yourself you old fucking fuck, so lay off the ageist insults.

          At your age, bragging about your accomplishments to get out of having to provide any citations, only to be found a liar, is the genuine tragedy.

        • In my mind, TTWW will always be the author of 10 billion papers. He’s just that incredible.

        • Pofarmer

          Seems to be a Strobel fan.

        • These Things Were Written

          Please “poke holes” in the fact that there are greater numbers of extant New Testament Manuscripts than all other works of secular literature.

          After 2,000 years of careful scrutiny, the best that critics can do today is to assert that there are over 200,000 Textual variants in the New Testament. What this really means is that there are 400 words that are misspelled, incorrectly punctuated, or are missing letter, in thousands of manuscripts.

          Assertions are made that there are many inaccuracies in the New Testament, which are referred to as “Textual Variants.” The New Testament contains 7,956 verses and 138,020 words.There are 24,593 surviving copies of the original New Testament Documents.

          As previously illustrated, a “variant” in these copies of the New Testament can be something as simple as a missing letter, or misspelled word. The following illustrates the types of “variants” that critics use to assert that the New Testament is not reliable.

          Manuscript 1: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole worl.

          Manuscript 2: Christ Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.
• Manuscript 3: Jesus Christ s the Savior of the whole world.
• Manuscript 4: Jesus Christ is th Savior of the whle world.

          Manuscript 5: Jesus Christ is the Savor of the whole wrld.


          Can you tell the differences between the samples from these various manuscripts of the same text? Did you notice that the meaning of each of these manuscripts is not lost by the misspelling or omission of a letter or word?

          Critics of the Bible often use the number, “200,000,” in describing how many variants there are in the existing copies of the New Testament. In fact, these critics are quite disingenuous in their statements, as a single word that is misspelled in thousands of manuscripts may be counted as thousands of variants, although only one word has been misspelled.
          In

          There are really only 400 variants out of the entire 25,000 copies of the New Testament that are in question. Not one of these variants are of any significance, nor do they affect any major doctrine of the Christian faith.

          In other words, in the very limited variants of the text within the many thousands of copies of the New Testament that are in dispute, the issues are predominately a question of spelling or punctuation. In just 50 cases, even the text that is in doubt does not change the basic tenets of the gospels, which substantiate that Jesus Christ was crucified, risen, and observed by more than 500 eyewitnesses afterwards.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t have Manuscript 1. That is Manuscript 47, after they settled on the phrasing.
          Manuscript 1 said, “Zoroaster Messiah is the savior of the Persian world.
          Manuscript 45: James Damneus is the savior of the whole world.
          Manuscript 46: Jesus Damneus is the savior of the whole world.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are not referencing the New Testament extant manuscripts but others (such as: “Zoroaster the Avesta,” a collection of non-Christian, sacred texts which was put in writing between 346-360 AD [Herz.ZW, 774], which have nothing to do with whether the variants in the New Testament proves that any of the text has been altered since its origin, particularly in matters of Jesus’ miracles, His claim to be God, and His resurrection from the dead. All these texts remain today as they were originally written and stand as evidence from history that these things took place.

          I realize that you are confused but to use an non New Testament text from the fourth century to impeach the variants of the New Testament is the ultimate bewilderment.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Again, please cite your sources. And again, the buybull cannot be used to verify itself. Do you even know what primary sources are?

        • Greg G.

          Whoosh! Right over your head. You do not know what the original texts said. They could have said that but we will never know.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          No, actually to use a NT text to impeach non NT text is the ultimate bewilderment.

        • You said the burden of proof was on “the opposing party.” I said that Sathya Sai Baba rose from the dead.

          You either agree or you’re the opposing party. If the latter, I challenged you to take up your burden of proof. You’ve given me nothing. So you’re admitting that I’m right here?

          Please “poke holes” in the fact that there are greater numbers of extant New Testament Manuscripts than all other works of secular literature.

          Already done in posts and in my last comment.

          What this really means is that there are 400 words that are misspelled, incorrectly punctuated, or are missing letter, in thousands of manuscripts.

          What does 400 refer to? Include citation.

          What this really means is that our record of the manuscripts is so fragmentary that we simply don’t know all the places where a variant interpretation was made.

          As previously illustrated, a “variant” in these copies of the New Testament can be something as simple as a missing letter, or misspelled word.

          Right. And there are 400,000 of those. I don’t make a big deal about those. I’m surprised that you are.

          There are really only 400 variants out of the entire 25,000 copies of the New Testament that are in question.

          Which is not a good thing. Here’s my thought experiment that explains that:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/04/a-simple-thought-experiment-defeats-claim-that-bible-is-accurate/

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          I love your arguments!!

        • I can’t say the same for this guy. His approach seems to be, “ignore rebuttals and just repeat your arguments.”

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Exactly!

        • Ctharrot

          “2. Greenleaf wrote the textbook on what constitutes valid evidence. Every first year law student knows that the burden of proof is always upon the opposing party.”

          1. Greenleaf wrote a leading textbook, based on the law as it stood in his lifetime. It is no longer used, in large part because much of it is obsolete. (I’m sure legal historians refer to him, of course.)

          2. No law school in the country teaches that the opposing party always has the burden of proof. The default rule, in both civil and criminal cases, is that the party advancing a claim has the principal burden of proving it. That’s been the case for centuries in the Anglo-American legal system.

          There are certain situations when the burden of proof shifts. Affirmative defenses come to mind, but even then, the burden of proof is on the defendant only because he or she is raising new facts or making a new argument that the plaintiff or prosecution didn’t.

          You haven’t been to law school, have you?

        • These Things Were Written

          Do you use this same method when evaluating the records of secular manuscripts: that they are not evidence of events which took place? ?Every ancient work of literature, secular or religious, is entitled to the same methods of evaluation for authenticity. In this regard, the New Testament passes every requirement, by a greater degree, than any secular work of ancient history.

          Greenleaf is correct in that the burden of proving whether the testimonies of the four gospels about Jesus are false, rests firmly on those who may dispute these stories. The record stands and has remained unimpeached for nearly 2,000 years. Perhaps you are not aware that In Origen’s time, just 150 A.D., there was a massive effort to impeach the reliability of the narratives of the four Gospels and Origen impeached all of these arguments quite thoroughly. It was as a result of Origen’s massive commentaries on all four of the Gospels that they were later canonized as scripture.

          I am not personally asserting knowledge about these events. I rely upon the testimony of those who were there when the events took place. There is no valid reason to believe that what is written about Jesus is not a true and accurate narrative. The text states that even Jesus’ own brothers and all of His disciples did not believe that He was God until after they had seen Him alive three days later.

          The testimony of the Narrative is that the writers did not realize all that Jesus had done in fulfilling all of the Prophecies of the Messiah until after He a departed to heaven. It took them some time to process all of the information that they had seen and heard and begin to compile it into a narrative preserved for history.

          All of the evidence that has been left to us from these manuscripts enforces the certainty that the writers were telling the truth. This is observed and understood by the manner in which the texts are formed.

          There are no artifacts of fraud in the four Gospels that are normally seen in written statements that are examined under careful scrutiny and later found as contrived.

        • Ctharrot

          “Do you use this same method when evaluating the records of secular manuscripts: that they are not evidence of events which took place?”

          Well, I don’t evaluate whole ancient manuscripts as being purely secular or religious, evidence or not-evidence. The analysis has to done on a claim-by-claim basis. For instance, there are OT claims that are credible and supported by external evidence. The existence of a King David, for example. Then we have claims like Joshua stopping the sun for a day. Miraculous, not credible, and supported by zero external evidence. History and law are rarely all-or-nothing endeavors. They are exceedingly complicated, probabilistic, and provisional.

          “Every ancient work of literature, secular or religious, is entitled to the same methods of evaluation for authenticity.”

          Yes. Which is why practicing historians (rather than apologists) routinely ignore ancient accounts of signs and miracles and wonders in otherwise credible sources. Pliny wrote that a part of Africa was populated by headless men with faces in their torsos. Historians disregard that particular claim as legend, but they draw from other parts of Pliny’s work. The examples of this are legion. Just as I credit parts of the Bible, but construe others as works of the human imagination.

          “In this regard, the New Testament passes every requirement, by a greater degree, than any secular work of ancient history.”

          Objectively false, and reflecting an utter lack of familiarity with the actual records (original and copies) we have from the Sumerians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and other peoples of antiquity.

          I’m not going to follow you any further down the rabbit hole of Greenleaf’s silly apologetics, except to note that if his methodology were applied with intellectual consistency, it would work just as well for Joseph Smith’s claims about Moroni and the golden tablets, ancient Roman claims that Marcus Aurelius called down rain for his thirsty troops and lightning to smite his Germanic foes, and any number of similar assertions and beliefs from throughout humanity’s colorful and creative existence.

          Well, Al/Jay/etc., it’s been fun. You’re putting more work than usual into these things, it seems, but the basic script hasn’t changed much. Enjoy the imaginary points you’re scoring in your head. I’ll not be engaging you any further.

          Cheers!

        • Max Doubt

          “Every ancient work of literature, secular or religious, is entitled to the same methods of evaluation for authenticity. In this regard, the New Testament passes every requirement, by a greater degree, than any secular work of ancient history.”

          Utter nonsense. There are claims in the bible’s new testament that an individual performed feats of magic, like for real, not just tricks. There is no objective evidence anywhere that any acts of magic have ever been performed or that any miracles have ever occurred. As long as you fail to meet your burden of proof that any such events actually ever occurred, you fail to support your claim, and by extension, the claims in the Christian bible.

        • These Things Were Written

          There is no flaw in Greenleaf’s legal argument for the evidence of ancient documents.

          You are perhaps referring to Howard Richard Packham, or others like him who alleged that Greenleaf’s criteria under the “ancient documents rule” is not met by the four gospel manuscripts and the strength of Greenleaf’s argument is thereby undermined.

          Packham argues that technically, under the ancient documents rule, this only applies to a limited genre of legal documents, for example, wills and contracts and other particular legal instruments, to which the four gospels do not belong.

          Packham is wrong, and so are you, on several points:

          1. The Ancient Documents Rule is not limited to only expressed legal instruments, but it also covers any type of documents.
          2. The standard for the Ancient Documents Rule is strait forward and simple: documents of any type must meet three criteria in order to qualify for the Ancient Documents Rule:
          a. The document is at least 20 years old,
          b. It is presumed to be genuine,
          c. The documents originate from proper custody, this, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, FRE 901(b)(8)).
          3. To insinuate that Dr. Greenleaf is anything less than the highest legal authority, in concluding that the four Gospels should be received under the ancient documents rule, is utter lunacy. Greenleaf was, and remains, one of the worlds greatest legal minds.
          4. Packham also alleges that in a court procedure it is solely the judges decision whether a document may be admitted. This is not correct, the issue which permit any evidence is based upon the requirement that the evidence has enough value for the trier of fact to reach a conclusion, either for or against (FRE 104 (b) notes).
          E. Packham also alleges that admitting a document as evidence is not equivalent to stating that its contents have automatically been authenticated by the judge’s decision. This assertion would mean that the written document is allowed into evidence in the case and that evidence of its contents have to be further weighed by the trier of fact.
          F. With both advocates and opponents in matters of evidence, both must cite the Gospels in order to admit or omit their contents. For this reason the probative value, and the logical and conditional relevancy of the Gospel materials is exhibited. Packham himself often cites the Gospel narratives, as well as the biblical higher critics in order to make his points.

          The four Gospels, originating from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise. Greenleaf was correct when He wrote this, and this premise has not changed over time.

          The ‘Ancient Documents’ rule regarding common law, has generally been related to the authentication of these ancient manuscripts rather than with the admissibility of their contents. Authentication of contents, does not mean admission of the facts, to these it us up to the opposing party to cross examine these facts and impeach, it possible, their statements. This is true to the present day, according to the Federal Rule of Evidence 803, “states statements in Ancient Documents are admissible as exemptions to hearsay.”

          It is the obligation of the atheist to examine the text of the four gospels and impeach them, if they are able.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There is no flaw in Greenleaf’s legal argument for the evidence of ancient documents.

          ^^^^Citation required.

        • Ctharrot

          Sigh. This is getting tiresome, Jay. Please play with the others from now on.

          Greenleaf was an immensely learned man. His apologetics were sheer gimmickry, though, untested in any US court. Name a single case in which a court applied Greenleaf’s approach to an ancient supernatural claim. One.

          I don’t know who Packham is.

          I never said the ancient documents rule is limited to legal instruments. It developed with them in mind, though, and not supernatural claims from antiquity.

          As for your Packham hand-waving, plus 10 points for effort, minus 100 for obviously ripping off Wikipedia, and changing a few words in a weak effort to disguise it. Every first year year law student knows you quote and cite your sources, Jay.

          TTWW. Bluffer. Plagiarist. Liar.

          Cheers!

        • Illithid

          This isn’t a question of law. A manuscript is evidence for a claim, but it can’t be accepted uncritically. If it addresses mundane things for which we have no contradictory evidence, we might accept it provisionally. We accept, more or less, Julius Caesar’s Commentaries as an account of the wars in Gaul. We don’t accept it absolutely, and if parts of it were contradicted by other evidence, or even unsupported by other evidence, we’d doubt it. Even if we had an original copy that we knew was written by Caesar himself, if it said his army conquered Gaul while flying in on fire-breathing dragons, we wouldn’t believe it.

          Because there aren’t any dragons!

          Similarly, so far as we know, people don’t come back to life after being dead, and there are no extrabiblical accounts of risen saints wandering the streets of Jerusalem three days after an hour of darkness. Therefore, it is going to take more than some pages of writing curated by cultists to convince a reasonable person that these events occurred.

          Other stuff: I’ve never read anything by Ehrman, though I’ve heard of him of course. I make no claim to be a Biblical scholar, I just read what they say.

          Dating of manuscripts: http://www.bible-researcher.com/papyrus.52.html

          Authorship: https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/who-wrote-gospels/

          Interpolations:

          http://www.bible-researcher.com/comma.html

          http://www.umass.edu/wsp/alpha/publications/first/gospels/

        • epeeist

          The oldest physical fragment of a document we possess is a scrap the size of a postcard, from around 150 A.D.

          If you are talking about the fragment in the Joh Rylands library, I was there the other day and the display case says “2nd or 3rd century”.

        • Ctharrot

          “You may not rewrite the law which determines what constitutes evidence and where the burden of proof remains to prove such evidence.”

          Greg might not, but surely you’re aware that the state and federal rules of evidence have changed since Greenleaf’s day, and that ideas about evidence have varied enormously by geography and time period. “Spectral evidence,” for instance, was admissible and admitted during the 17th century witch trials in New England. No longer.

          We need not get into the evolution and details of the ancient document rule, authentication, and hearsay, though. Suffice it to say that while some judges have expressed Christian sentiments in various contexts, I’m aware of not a single US court case in the which a supernatural claim from the Bible (or any other text from antiquity) was advanced, tested by the adversarial process, and adjudicated to be true. Are you aware of one?

          And in any event, the ancient document rule, in both Greenleaf’s time and ours, is all about allowing musty old deeds, contracts, conveyances, wills, and birth records into evidence. Applying it to millennia-old claims of signs and wonders and miracles is comparing apples and Osiris.

        • Pofarmer

          the ancient document rule, in both Greenleaf’s time and ours, is all
          about allowing musty old deeds, contracts, conveyances, wills, and birth
          records into evidence.

          In that context it makes sense.

          Using it for Beowulf? Not so much.

        • These Things Were Written

          The Ancient Documents Rule is not limited to only expressed legal instruments, but it also covers any type of documents.

          See my comments below to:

          https://disqus.com/by/Ctharrot/

        • Pofarmer

          Your own comments don’t constitute evidence for a claim. Because a document is genuine, doesn’t mean it is historical. It could just as easily be genuine fiction.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s an argument/assertion, NOT EVIDENCE!

          Do better.

        • Kodie

          Do you need evidence that I don’t believe your kooky claims that a person rose from the dead and therefore you get to live after you die in some fairy place with your imaginary friend?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are demanding special privilege for your ‘bible’, exempting it from the requirements of evidence demanded of other documents.

          So it’s YOU who’s attempting to rewrite the rules of evidence via Special Pleading, and YOUR KIND aren’t allowed that any more.

        • Michael Neville

          I know you went to Mars. You sent me a postcard of Olympus Mons and got me that nice t-shirt of Marvin the Martian. I know you did those things because I say so.

        • Otto

          Heavens to murgatroyd…!!!!

        • epicurus

          Thanks for the great postcard you sent me when you went on a daytrip from Mars to Phobos – one of Mars’ moons. Here it is. So between this card and the one you sent to Michael, You must have been there. No way it could be false. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf017a194f7e776b4a88ace816475570a1e6512daf56feeb749e7d62643200c1.jpg

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Holy shit! How was it?

        • Greg G.

          Well, you can’t see the forest for the lack of trees and the night life didn’t have much atmosphere. But I’ll always have the memories. In fact, I have Total Recall!

        • Max Doubt

          “No, the New Testament claims that it is a true and accurate narrative of the actual events…”

          Every single episode of the television series “Fargo” opens with a text overlay that claims all the events in the episode are true. If you accept as true any story that claims within itself that it is true, you’re irrational. Or you must believe all those “Fargo” episodes are true. Which would also be irrational. So do we use a self-ascribed claim to truth as our method for determining whether a tale is true? Not if we’re sane, reasonable, intelligent people, we don’t. Your argument is nonsense.

        • ildi

          Frontline From Jesus to Christ, Jesus’ Many Faces, What Can We Really Know About Jesus?
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/reallyknow.html
          “From a historical perspective what we really know about the life of Jesus is very, very limited depending on which gospel you read. His actual career may be something less then one year and maybe even as little as only a few months, whereas in John’s Gospel his career is nearly three years long. So there are these kinds of historical discrepancies among the gospels themselves. They range from the way his birth occurred to the actual day on which he was executed and even to the kinds of teachings and miracles that he performs throughout his career. As a result we begin to see that the gospels themselves are not as useable as historical information as we might have hoped.”-L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin

        • These Things Were Written

          Yes, I have read Ehrman and have rebutted him in these assertions under debate. Of course we know a great deal about Jesus from the New Testament, sufficient with the secular records of that period to fully validate Him as a real person, crucified and risen from the dead.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Wrong.

          The Romans kept records of criminals and punishments.

          Guess who DOESN’T appear?

          any yeshua ben yacob of any flavor, much less for crucifixion, which was for treason against the Roman government.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you’ve rebutted anything in your fucking life.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The Harry Potter books claim to be about ‘the boy who lived.’

          And at that, they’re more believable and self-consistent than your ‘bible’, much less your ‘new testament’.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Oops, I thought you said above that the buybull does not make any claims, but instead is a historical narrative.

        • These Things Were Written

          Andrea, do you expect any serious scholar to take you seriously when you cannot even pronounce “Bible” correctly?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Evidently you do not understand the sarcasm of the spelling.
          And I think you mean “write” not “pronounce.”

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Didn’t even address my comment….again.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Evidently you do not grasp the sarcasm of the spelling. (buy bullxxxx). And I think you mean “write,” not “pronounce.

        • … or did she?

          And why bring “serious scholars” into it? Who do you have in mind?

        • Damien Priestly

          You never will understand the burden of proof lies on you…not the atheist. Like saying…what proof do you have that the narrative of Bigfoot is not true…or Werewolves, Unicorns.

          This is why most Christians are too embarrassed to defend the Bible…and when challenged –say the Bible is metaphor and allegory. You, on the other hand, are either too dense or have bought too far into the evangelical mindset to ever back off — no matter how foolish you look.

        • These Things Were Written

          The issues at hand are that we have an extant record of history that was written as a true and reliable account of events which took place in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

          This record has remained unscathed, unchanged, and has survived greater assaults in past history, from more adept persons that are leveled against it today.

          If you have the ability to impeach the four Gospels then do it. Other wise cease from shifting the burden of proof to others to do your work for you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope. We’ve got a written record from, at the earliest (and stretching matters) 40 years after the putative Jebus died.

          Nothing about it says that it’s history but your mania.

        • Damien Priestly

          Simply not true — the accounts of the bible have been easily refuted since the time they have been written — until now and Christianity has changed massively since then…with many Christian denominations no longer taking the Bible as literal truth or even close. Your claim of authentication and reliability from scholars is the classic fallacy — argument from authority.

          One of the best examples for rejection of the Bible is the early Jews…who almost completely rejected Christianity since its beginning, despite Christianity being a splinter sect off Judaism. Read the book by Paul Johnson “History of the Jews” — Early Jews had no respect at all for the Christians…and quickly rejected the so called early Christian teachers like Paul — which is why he had to recruit the gentiles. Early Jews thought of Jesus (if he existed), Paul, etc as frauds….there were plenty of Jewish zealots, fake messiah’s and splinter sects…the early Jews laughed at Christianity and all other charlatan sects and priests.

          Great Jewish thinkers such as Maimonides, Spinoza, etc. were contemptuous of Christianity, despite the personal danger they risked from Christian anti-semites…That is why so many Jewish scholars moved to and lived in Muslim lands. The only way Christianity survived is because it’s pagan adaptors wiped out other Mediterranean religions by the end of the fourth century.

        • These Things Were Written

          1. How has the Bible been massively changed since it origin? What texts, and which principles?

          2. Of course the early Jews rejected Christ, their own prophecies predicted this. There were also many Jews who believed, based on the resurrection and seeing Jesus alive during the 40 days afterwards.

          3. How does persecution from Jews prove that the Gospel is not true? The records of history demonstrates that upon the execution of 5 million Christians, by ten emperors, over a 250 year period of time, the church grew massively according to Stark who numbered 56 percent of the known population of the world as believers by 350 Ad.D?

          4. Seeing that so many hated Christians at that time and they were under such great persecution, why is it that virtually none would deny Christ even when faced with death? They lost homes, money, children, and their very lives, yet they continued to believe and the Christian church continued to grow. These are not markers of a false or mythological narrative.

        • Damien Priestly

          Your response is laughable…it was the Christians who persecuted the other religions after becoming the official Roman-world religion in the fourth century…the Christians disgracefully wiped out many Greek temples and artwork..

          -> “Of course the early Jews rejected Christ, their own prophecies predicted this…”

          Border-line anti-semitism from you…no surprise! Those kinds of sentiments caused nothing but trouble for Jews over the centuries. — Jewish thinkers rejected Christianity because it was propagated by illiterates who produced an incoherent God/Son/Spirit apocalyptic, polytheistic sect…Again, my source is “History of the Jews” by Paul Johnson. Jews were monotheists…early Christians added a fictional son-of-god and the Holy-Spirit as a bizarre trinity…so Jews rejected this kind of polytheism.

          As for your continuing prophecy mongering….This prophecy sums up the New Testament approach to Jews… Mathew 27:25 “All the people answered — His blood be on us and on our children !! …”

          I’m sure you are proud of that prophecy…countless people died because of your so called “reliably true” New Testament…Great job, Jesus!!

        • These Things Were Written

          There are three primary arguments made by atheists:

          1. The Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. The number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. The miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God.

Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

          Are these points that you also support as an atheist? Then defend them, explain how your position in these 4 points proves the four Gospels are not reliable narratives.

        • Damien Priestly

          Those and other points made by atheists are made to dismiss evidence, not make new claims. Atheists don’t have to defend assertions when a god-claim is made. Because — this is the last time I will try to explain — the burden is on those who make the claim for Dragons, Bigfoot, Leprechauns, God, Unicorns, Ghosts…not on those who don’t accept the claim. All of the well written Bigfoot books and pictures out there — don’t yet show that Bigfoot is a real thing!

          An existent God and it’s Son (never a daughter, I’m trying not to laugh) — is not the default position…anymore then Bigfoot existing is the default position. We need evidence for God/Jesus that is just as good as we have for frikin cats and dogs…This is a god you are talking about…you can’t just say some people/scholars agree with a book…

          …Get Jesus back down here so scientists and the rest of us can examine him doing some real miracles. If you can’t do that — don’t waste people’s time !!

        • These Things Were Written

          By your non answer, It is apparent that you are not able to answer these questions. With this being understood, I am wondering how you can maintain a position that the New Testament is not reliable? It seems that it all comes down to the answers to these simple questions but no atheist here has the ability to answer them.

        • By your non answer (to the question, What did Julius Caesar eat for his last breakfast?) you’re showing that the idea that demanding someone answer random questions is bullshit. So stop doing it.

          And if you want to show us that Jeebus exists and is part of the Trinity, then accept the burden of proof like a man and prove something.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          You’re not serious, are you? The buybull has had so many changes to its texts. Originally passed down orally, then written in Hebrew, then Aramaic, then Greek, then Latin, then indigenous languages. So you are asserting that EVERY SINGLE THING the buybull says was original and unchanged, with no errors or misconceptions, or misunderstandings. Do you even know when and how the first buybull was “published?”

        • These Things Were Written

          Well, this is a start:

          Precisely where are these “so many changes to its texts?”

          I have been studying and writing on the New Testament Manuscripts for 43 years and I am not aware of this massive changes you are referring to. Please enlighten me.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          The burden of proof is on you.

        • These Things Were Written

          So, you have no impeachment of the four Gospels which record the eyewitness testimony of people who saw and heard Jesus, and this record has been preserved for nearly 2,000 years of antiquity?

          Your scholarly commentary is, “the burden of proof in on you?”

          This is what everyone says when they cannot refute the evidence set forth for the Gospel narratives. The reality is that neither you nor anyone else has ever been able to prove that the four Gospels are not reliable narratives. This record stand on its own and has remained unscathed through many hundreds of years of attempted impeachment.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I have “I don’t believe you.

          That’s all I need.

          Convince me or accept that your mania isn’t persuasive.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          First of all, they were NOT eyewitnesses. The first gospel was written in 66 CE, 33 years after jeebus supposedly died.
          Please indicate your primary sources.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          No the gospels are not historical primary sources, only books of legends and myths. Some of the literature of the buybull is beautiful, but it is not a history book.

        • These Things Were Written

          The writers themselves claimed that they were eyewitnesses.

          For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. ~2 Peter 1:16-18

          And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. ~John 19:35

          We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.
          He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. ~1 John 1:1-4

          Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” ~Acts 1:21-22

          The text is self proving in that those who penned the text state clearly that they were eyewitnesses and were writing a historical narrative for the purpose of laying down a record for posterity.

        • The writers themselves claimed that they were eyewitnesses.

          1. Nope.

          2. So what if they did? “I totally, totally saw this, guys!! :-)” at the top of any crazy document makes it historically reliable?

          Is this your A game? Your arguments suck. It’s almost like you don’t have any.

        • These Things Were Written

          At several places they state clearly that they are eyewitnesses of the things they are recording and that their purpose is to lay down a historical record for posterity.

          I sincerely hope you are not serious in stating that this is not important and relevant to the authenticity of the New Testament. Perhaps you don’t understand its importance?

        • At several places they state clearly that they are eyewitnesses of the things they are recording and that their purpose is to lay down a historical record for posterity.

          The only thing that comes close is the vague reference in the last chapter of John. You know the one I mean—the one that was tacked on rather than being part of the original.

          But you have this information for all four gospels? You’ve intrigued me—show me.

          I sincerely hope you are not serious in stating that this is not important and relevant to the authenticity of the New Testament.

          Right. If an ancient document declares that it is an eyewitness document (and we’re still waiting for our evidence that the gospel authors were eyewitnesses), that doesn’t mean that it was.

          But, hey, maybe I’m missing something like you suggest. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas says that it was an eyewitness document. What does that tell us?

        • Kodie

          You haven’t said anything that isn’t stupid yet.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Your claim, YOUR provision of evidence.

          We’re just saying “I don’t believe you.” Rather forcefully, but that’s not our problem.

        • It’s a supernatural story. When you read a supernatural story from another religion, do you give it the benefit of the doubt and take it as true until shown otherwise? Or do you tentatively call it false but with an open mind to consider contradicting information?

          As others have said, we have a bin for stories like this. It’s labeled Mythology. Only a very large mountain of convincing evidence will override this default estimation.

        • These Things Were Written

          Regardless of whether it contains “supernatural stories”, all ancient literature is subject to the same critical assessment according to the evidence that is presented. On this basis alone, the New Testament passes every requirement as an authentic, truthful narrative.

          The issue of whether one chooses to believe the story is another matter altogether.

          If we say that we don’t believe what these men wrote, we must ask why they would intentionally write such a detailed and precise story that included so many specific details?

          If one has been trained in the detection of fraud in written testimony, and they examine the text of the four Gospels, it very quickly becomes evident that what is written is a truthful account.

          Truthful accounts always contain very detailed and specific accounts.
          Historical scholars are struck by the sheer number of historical references to people, places, and governments that are made in the New Testament. A majority of these have been verified by archeological discoveries and found absolutely accurate in every detail.

          There are many other indicators of truthful narratives found in the four Gospels. Though a person may not believe the events are true, it is certain by linguistic analysis that the writers believed what they were writing was true.

        • The issue of whether one chooses to believe the story is another matter altogether.

          “Chooses”? Can you choose to believe leprechauns?

          Truthful accounts always contain very detailed and specific accounts.

          This sounds like C.S. Lewis’s argument. I respond here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/c-s-lewis-put-up-or-shut-up-queer-twist/

          Historical scholars are struck by the sheer number of historical references to people, places, and governments that are made in the New Testament.

          And “The Wizard of Oz” mentions Kansas. Heck, I’ve been to Kansas.

          A majority of these have been verified by archeological discoveries and found absolutely accurate in every detail.

          Oh, please. Getting the basics about the location barely gets you to the starting line. You really find this convincing?

        • Carol Lynn

          The NT doesn’t even get that right sometimes. There’s no evidence for a city called Nazareth before the 4th Century CE. So some guy couldn’t have been called “Jesus of Nazareth” around 30 CE unless the text was written after the start of the 4th Century, at least 300 years later, when Nazareth existed as a village.

          Josephus was from around there about 60 CE and the only thing he mentions being up in that part of the valley is a cemetery, which has been found underneath current Nazareth.

          • Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

          • The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

          • St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. The epistles mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

          • No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

          By the way, These Things Were Written, the correct response, is *not* “nuh uh! The bible is better than your stupid archaeology and looking at other textual sources for information that disproves it!!” but more along the lines of, “huh, that’s interesting. Maybe I should look into that a bit deeper.”

        • Greg G.

          Mark 1:9 says “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee…” Matthew 13:3 says the same thing but leaves out “of Nazareth,” which could show that it was added after Matthew was written. Nowhere else does Mark give one location in terms of a larger locale.

          The other four instances in Mark is a completely different word that should be translated as “Nazarene”. The Greek word is spelled very similarly to the word for “Nazirite” in some versions of the Septuagint.

          Mark 16:6 Ναζαρηνὸν
          Judges 13:5 ναζιραῖον

          Mark 10:47 Ναζαρηνός
          Judges 16:17 ναζιραῖος

          Note that Ν = capital ν

          I think Mark was saying that Jesus became a Nazirite.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          The other four instances in Mark is a completely different word that should be translated as “Nazarene”. The Greek word is spelled very similarly to the word for “Nazirite” in some versions of the Septuagint.

          Can you elaborate on this? What does the other word mean? Are you saying that Jesus being from Nazareth was made up because of a mistranslation?

        • Greg G.

          Nazirites made a vow to God for a given period of time (Numbers 6:2, 8, 12). They had to avoid grapes, raisins, grape juice, vinegar, and wine (Numbers 6:3-4). They could not cut their hair (Numbers 6:5). They could not go near a corpse (Numbers 6:6-8). If somebody died near them, they would have to shave their heads, burn the hair, offer sacrifices, and start the period of their vow all over (Numbers 6:9-12). At the end of the period of the vow, the Nazirite had a series of sacrifices to make and afterward could drink wine (Numbers 6:13-20). See Numbers 6:1-21.

          The Septuagint translators didn’t have a word that corresponded to “nazirite” so it was left untranslated in Numbers 6. Lamentations 4:7 had the transliteration “ναζιραῖοι, naziraioi” but Mark seems not to have known it or bothered with it.

          Judges 13:5 (LXX)
          ὅτι ἰδοὺ σὺ ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξεις καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ οὐκ ἀναβήσεται σίδηρος ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἡγιασμένον ναζιραῖον ἔσται τῷ θεῷ τὸ παιδάριον ἐκ τῆς γαστρός καὶ αὐτὸς ἄρξεται σῴζειν τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ χειρὸς ἀλλοφύλων

          ὅτι ἰδοὺ σὺ ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχεις καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ σίδηρος οὐκ ἀναβήσεται ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ὅτι ναζιρ θεοῦ ἔσται τὸ παιδάριον ἀπὸ τῆς κοιλίας καὶ αὐτὸς ἄρξεται τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ χειρὸς Φυλιστιιμ

          The above are from two different manuscripts of the Septuagint. Judges 13:5 has a translation preceding the transliteration of the Hebrew “nazirite”. The lower version has an abbreviated transliteration in Judges 13:5 but has substituted “ἅγιον, hagion”, a Greek word for “holy”, in the Judges 13:7 and Judges 16:17 verses. Both have a transliteration for the Lamentations verse. Mark’s copy of the Septuagint must have been like the upper version.

          Mark 1:9 says “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee” while its parallel, Matthew 3:13, has “Jesus came from Galilee” and the Greek is verbatim except for the word for “Nazareth”.

          Mark 1:9
          Ἰησοῦς
          ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας

          Matthew 3:13
          Ἰησοῦς
          ἀπὸ             τῆς Γαλιλαίας

          Matthew 21:11
          Ἰησοῦς
          ὁ προφήτης ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας

          If Matthew was saying that Jesus came from Galilee, there is no reason to omit that he came from Nazareth. Matthew 21:11 mentions that Nazareth is in Galilee. The other four places in Mark that is translated as “Nazarene” is the root “Ναζαρην-” with different suffixes. This is a probable indication of an interpolation into Mark from Matthew 21:11.

          John’s baptism is for repentance of sin (Mark 1:4). When Jesus is baptized, God adopts him and sends him into the wilderness (Mark 1:11-12). This might be the dedication to God of a Nazirite.

          Mark 1:24 has demons calling him Jesus of Nazareth (Ναζαρηνέ, Nazarēne). Its parallel, Luke 4:34 is verbatim for 26 words continuing into the next verse for each. Mark has the demons recognize Jesus as a Nazirite, IMO.

          Mark 14:23-25 has Jesus breaking bread and pouring wine but he does not take any for himself. He implies that he had drank wine at some point but could have been before his baptism.

          In Mark 15:23, while on the cross, Jesus was offered wine and myrrh but he didn’t take it. In Mark 15:36, Jesus was given some vinegar but he died without taking it.

          So Jesus did not eat or drink from the vine. There is no mention of haircuts or shaves in Mark, so he apparently followed that restriction.

          In Mark 5:35, Jesus was going to heal Jairus’ daughter when they were informed that she had died. Jesus told the mourners that she was just sleeping, entered, and told her to get up, and she did. So he did not break the vow by approaching a corpse.

          In Mark 15, it seems that Jesus died before either of the others crucified with him died. They were insulting him between the third hour (Mark 15:25,32) and the sixth hour (Mark 15:33). Jesus died in the ninth hour (Mark 15:34) which surprised Pilate that he died so soon (Mark 15:44). So nobody died in his presence.

          Mark’s Jesus may well have been a Nazirite which Mark may have been trying to say with “the Nazarene”, not that he was from Nazareth. Mark seems to have written about Jesus of Capernaum. The other gospels inferred that Jesus was from a town called Nazareth. Luke 7:34 has Jesus admit that he had come drinking so Luke’s Jesus certainly was not a Nazarite.

          Mark 1:9
          Nazareth (Ναζαρὲτ, Nazaret)
          Synoptic verses: Matthew 3:13 and Luke 3:21 do not mention Nazareth.

          Mark 1:24
          Nazareth (Ναζαρηνέ, Nazarēne)
          Synoptic verse: Luke 4:34 uses the same Greek word for “Nazareth.”

          Mark 10:47
          Nazareth (Ναζαρηνός, Nazarēnos)
          Textus Receptus: (Ναζωραῖος, Nazōraios)
          Synoptic verse: Luke 18:37 has the TR word

          Mark 14:67
          Nazareth (Ναζαρηνοῦ, Nazarēnou)
          Synoptic verses: Matthew 26:71 uses a different form of the word but Luke 22:56-59 does not mention Nazareth.

          Mark 16:6
          Nazareth (Ναζαρηνὸν, Nazarēnon)
          Parallel passages: Matthew 28:1-8, Luke 24:1-8, and John 20:1-9 do not mention Nazareth.

          I use the mGNT from blueletterbible.com for the NT Greek and the NRSV for the NT English.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          This is fascinating. I can’t help but wonder why this isn’t a go-to response to illustrate that the NT was (at least in part) written to match the OT.

        • This is tangential, but I just read some Christian nonsense that equated “Nazarene” with “resident of Nazareth” (to force Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecy, “He shall be called a Nazarene”). This came from, as I recall, a credentialed apologist/scholar/something rather than just an ordinary Christian.

          Am I confused? A Nazarene is a kind of ascetic, I’m guessing also known as “Nazirite,” not a resident of Nazareth. Is that right?

        • Greg G.

          Yes, the Nazirite is a Jewish thing, a person who makes a vow to God. I think “Nazarene” is a transliteration of “Nazirite”.

          Matthew appears to quote Judges 13:5 as if it was about living someplace. Matthew also has him move to Capernaum.

        • Pofarmer

          The Gospel authors appear to not understand that to be a Nazarene meant being a member of a sect, not being a resident of a town. It looks like “Nazareth” was created later, probably about the time Jesus “tomb” was found. like 4th century A.D.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes. It seems that the Gospel authors didn’t understand the “Prophesy” and he shall be called a Nazarene.” Or whatever it exactly says. They didn’t understand that it was a sect, and not a town.

        • Lark62

          My uniformed guess is that later authors confused the religious sect “Nazarene” with the town “Nazareth.” When Jesus was described as a Nazarene they thought it meant from Nazareth. Even though Nazareth did not exist when Jesus was alive.

        • “[Joseph] went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” (Matt. 2:23)

          Huh? “Nazarene” means “resident of Nazareth”?

          Matthew got a lot of things wrong. So cute.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          “Absolutely accurate in every detail” is a mighty stretch as well….

        • I’d challenge him to show that the Exodus is “absolutely accurate in every detail.” He could start by showing the 2M buried bodies of the people that God insisted die before they were worthy of the Promised Land. It’s a desert–they should be there.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Oh, but I’ve been assured by Christian “archaeologists” and “historians” that all of the evidence is buried in Saudi Arabia, so we can’t go looking for it because they won’t let anyone who isn’t Muslim do that.

          How terribly inconvenient convenient for the Christians.

        • Pofarmer

          Tell you what. Assess “Gone with the Wind” with the same critical tools you are using on the New Testament and tell me if it is historical or fiction.

        • Greg G.

          Truthful accounts always contain very detailed and specific accounts.

          No, they don’t. If you mean “only truthful accounts contain very detailed and specific accounts,” you are wrong, again. If the details are elements from other stories, you should realize it is based on other accounts of other events that involved other people, especially when those details come from fictional stories.

        • Max Doubt

          “Regardless of whether it contains “supernatural stories”, all ancient literature is subject to the same critical assessment according to the evidence that is presented. On this basis alone, the New Testament passes every requirement as an authentic, truthful narrative.”

          Abso-fuckin-lutely not. Since there is no objective evidence that any of the magical events in the Christian bible ever actually occurred, a critical assessment can only reasonably lead to the conclusion that it is not an authentic, truthful narrative.

        • These Things Were Written

          Please explain how, “there is no objective evidence that any of the magical events in the Christian bible ever actually occurred, a critical assessment can only reasonably lead to the conclusion that it is not an authentic, truthful narrative.”

          I see an opinion but not any evidence to support the assertion.

          Either you are willfully ignorant or wantonly unaware of the evidence which exists to impeach this statement.

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s your evidence that the magical events described in the Bible actually occurred? You keep saying there’s evidence but your keep neglecting to provide it. So bring out this evidence.

        • Max Doubt

          “Please explain how, “there is no objective evidence that any of the magical events in the Christian bible ever actually occurred, a critical assessment can only reasonably lead to the conclusion that it is not an authentic, truthful narrative.””

          Leaving aside for the moment your persistent, dishonest, and frankly quite dickish effort to shirk your burden of proof… There are supposedly magical events described in your bible that are claims to some alleged, but not demonstrated, truth. For you to claim your bible is an authentic truthful narrative, you’d have to provide the objective evidence that it is. You have not shown that acts of magic or miracles even can occur, much less actually have occurred, much, much less that any are described authentically and truthfully in your bible.

          “I see an opinion but not any evidence to support the assertion.”

          My position here is that you’ve failed to meet your burden of proof. And as long as you are unable to demonstrate objectively that the miracles in your bible authentically and truthfully happened, I am now and will continue to be correct. It’s sort of a luxury we atheists have.

          “Either you are willfully ignorant or wantonly unaware of the evidence which exists to impeach this statement.”

          If you are able to objectively demonstrate that the magical acts and miraculous occurrences in your bible actually occurred outside the imaginations of people who believe they did, you should probably do that now. If you aren’t able to provide that objective demonstration, you should just be honest and admit you can’t. Pulling assertions out of your ass and asking other people to prove you wrong is just making you look like an asshole.

        • Kodie

          Wantonly unaware of the claims of the loony at the bus stop? Seriously, you don’t have shit and you sound like a crazy person.

          How are you so proud of your gullibility, and large vocabulary words! There is no objective evidence to the claims of the bible. They sound preposterously insane and mythical. Your burden of proof, sorry if that ruins your life.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Show me something supernatural before you dispute Max Doubt’s assertion of disbelief for lack of evidence.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Again it’s you who are not citing sources or evidence. Please cite your sources for any critical assessments. By whom? When? And please don’t continue your ad hominem attacks of ignorance. They don’t help at all with your assertions.

        • Kodie

          Fiction often contains real facts to make it seem more realistic. When you start to talk about spooky things like raising from the dead, or the plain assumption that the body wasn’t in its tomb, so he must have resurrected his whole body up to heaven, and what kind of rational adult falls for that story?

          Why do you need Jesus? Why have you become voluntarily stupid for Jesus?

        • These Things Were Written

          Precisely how are the narratives of Jesus “fiction”? They were written as historical narratives of true events that witnesses stated were true and “they know they are true?”

          You offer hyperbole and conjecture and expect myself or anyone else to accept your opinion as an impeachment of the facts of history?

        • Kodie

          You believe that? Why should I? You give no reason to become as gullible as you are.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          What witnesses?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Precisely how are the narratives of Jesus “fiction”?

          Easy. They’re a story told with zero contemporary corroboration.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Precisely how are the narratives of Jesus “fiction”?

          Easy. They’re a story told with zero contemporary corroboration.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          By your standard, Harry Potter is true, too.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Please tell me the requirements that the buybull passes. Your are absolutely correct when you state that “Truthful accounts always contain very detailed and specific accounts.” The buybull doesn’t. Which historical scholars are you talking about – names, please. What “other indicators of truthful narratives are found in the 4 gospels. Please cite your sources for linguistic analysis. Go ahead, I dare ya!

        • These Things Were Written

          You are asserting that the Bible does not contain very detailed and specific accounts?

          The manner in which every event of the four Gospels is precisely outlined by specific details is exactly what we would expect from truthful accounts.

          Literary records which bear deceit never contain the degree of particular details with specific places, people, and non-related events as we see in the narrative of these four Gospels.

          Read the accounts of the Samaritan woman. This narrative is filled with specific details that allow us to know far more about what is taking place than Jesus simply coming to meet a woman at the well.

          Specific details about the location: In Judea, at Galilee, traveling through Samaria, coming to the city of Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave his son, Joseph.

          Details of Jesus’ arrival: Jesus sitting by Jacob’s well at 12 noon, speaking to a Samaritan woman, which no Jewish man would ever do.

          Details of the woman’s life: Married five times, the man she is with now is not her husband. A religious discussion by the woman about Jacob’s well, and Jesus’ clarification of what true worship is.

          Details about the disciples: Returning from lunch with Jesus, explaining His mission is to save people. Revealing the answer to the time of His return to earth with His church, after the harvest.
          Details about the people in the woman’s village: This woman believes in Jesus and tells the people of her village who also believe.

          As one who examines ancient manuscripts and is trained in fraud detection, these details are never a part of a story that is contrived. By the mere presence of these many specific yet focussed details, there is no doubt that the four Gospels were written as truthful and accurate accounts.

          There are hundreds of details in the New Testament which are unequalled by any other ancient text from that period of history. The details given to us by Luke are some of the most precise ever recorded.

        • These Things Were Written

          Are Jesus’ Miracles Supernatural?

          It is the miracles Jesus performed that atheists and critics of the four Gospels attack and assert that these are the reasons they cannot accept the accounts of four Gospels as true. For a long time, men have defined Jesus’ miracles as supernatural, beyond, and in violation of the natural laws of the universe.

          People have problems with the miracles that Jesus performed because human beings cannot do these things. Not many of us have ever seen something happen supernaturally, in opposition to the normal laws of physics. What we don’t realize is that science does not know all there is about the physical laws which govern the universe.

          The idea that anything which appears as miraculous is contrary to the physical laws of the universe is incorrect. It is certain that there are aspects of physics, which are currently not understood, which could explain the supernatural events described by the four gospels as properties within the laws of physics.

          Some critics have stated that if Jesus is really God and the author of the physical laws of the universe, He violated His own laws by the miracles that are descried by the four gospel writers.

          “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.” —David Hume

          What is often misunderstood regarding the miracles that Jesus exhibited is that they really did not violate any law. The physical laws of the universe do not define the outcome of events, only they manner in which they must occur. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he still died later. Jesus did not violate the laws of physics He simply displayed His ability to suspend these laws for a moment in time.
          What we find when we really study the text of the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and raising the dead was to suspend the present law of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator of all that exists.

          It is sickness and death which violate the original intent of the laws that govern the universe. Jesus simply showed us what this world will be like once He has permanently eliminated the laws of sin and death. This was the entire point of Jesus’ arrival on earth: to stop the curse which came as a result of sin, which is itself a fracture in the laws of the universe.

          Prior to sin entering the world, everything worked perfectly and there was no sickness or death on the earth. We all seem to understand that sickness and death are unnatural, and it’s a mystery why we must die. Death interrupts and tarnishes the perfect life that would otherwise be possible if it did not exist in our world.

          The evil that we see present was also not a part of the perfect work that God originally created. These are also fractures in the laws of the universe. The problem is that we have become accustomed to these things and have assumed evil, suffering, sickness, and death are natural parts of our world. They are not.

          What Jesus did in displaying His power over the physical laws was no violation but a restoration of what these laws looked like before sin entered the world.

          It is also certain that heaven exists as a physical place of residence in a dimension that we presently are unaware. Those who are no longer limited by their physical bodies may inhabit this place if they choose. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and informed them that one of the reasons that our present bodies must die is that flesh and blood in its current configuration cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.

          Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. —1 Corinthians 15:50

          It is possible that upon the death of our body, our soul and spirit have access to these other dimensions. In theory, a person who has been freed from their body may be able to see into these dimensions. This would explain why many people who have died have described other beings and physical properties of other worlds that we cannot perceive while alive.
As we come to understand that the physical laws were not violated by anything that Jesus did, I think you will see that the miracles of Jesus were nothing more than common events that are possible because He is God. These incredible abilities are what we would expect from God if He should show Himself to us and seek to prove that He really does exist. 
What Jesus did, which we consider supernatural, were really just natural events that God is capable of because He created these laws.

          Jesus And Quantum Physics

          In our present world, we live within four dimensions of length, height, width, and time. In string theory within quantum physics, up to eleven dimensions may exist.

          John records that after Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to them suddenly within a room with a locked door. Some commentators have stated that Jesus was able to move through the physical structure of the walls without harm to His physical body. In order to confirm that He was not a ghost or other spirit entity, Jesus instructed His disciples to touch Him and see that He did have flesh and bones.

          Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. ~John 20:19-20

          And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” ~John 20:26-28

          We notice that the text does not state that Jesus walked through the walls. John writes that Jesus suddenly appeared before the disciples in the room which they occupied. Quantum Physicists who have examined this text state that in order for Jesus to appear suddenly in this room without going through a physical structure, this would require access to a sixth dimension.

          When you or I move from the dimension of length to width, we are able to freely move without encountering a physical barrier. In the same way, when Jesus moved from a sixth dimension to our three-dimensional world, He did not need to pass through a closed door or a wall. Jesus suddenly appeared from an unseen dimension.

          What was it that enabled Jesus to accomplish this supernatural event?

          Dimension One: illustrated by a horizontal line for length.
          Dimension Two: A second vertical line for height, illustrated as a square.
          Dimension Three: A third line for depth, illustrated as a cube.
          The following dimensions are not perceivable by a human being, but do have a profound effect upon the universe and reality as we know it.
          Dimension Four: comprised of time itself which governs all the properties of matter at any given point. In order to plot a course in the universe, all of these first four dimensions are necessary.
          Dimension Five: Every dimension from here on presents a list of difficulties for physicists. In Quantum Physics and Superstring Theory, the fifth and sixth dimension, present us with the possibilities for other parallel worlds or multiple universes. In the fifth dimension we would see these other worlds which are currently invisible to us within our current four dimensions.
          Dimension Six: Within this dimension comes the possibility of travel through time, either forward or backward. It is also within the sixth dimension that we may be able to perceive the commencement of other universes like our own which began with similar conditions. It is this dimension that physicists use to assert that our finely tuned universe could have come from millions of others which also display constants that enable life to exist.
It is apparent that the process of death for our physical body removes the limits of four dimensions, and allows our non-material soul and spirit that remains to access the other dimensions that might exist. This ability may appear as a supernatural event when, in fact, it is simply a facet of the physical laws that already exist.

          In this regard, we can see how the miracles that Jesus performed were not violations of the physical laws by which God orders the universe, but events where Jesus made use of presently unknown principles of the physical laws, such as the multiple dimension that are theoretically possible in string theory under Quantum Mechanics.
          Man thinks that physical death is the end of life, while under the laws which God created for the universe, death is merely a mechanism whereby the spirit of a human being may enter a dimension that we are presently unaware of or incapable of piercing.

          It is possible that when Jesus showed us His ability to appear in a room before the disciples as a physical being who they touched and verified that He was not a spirit entity, He was giving us a hint as to how He was able to perform miracles of healing, walking on water, changing water to wine, and raising the dead.

          There are aspects of the physical laws, such as those possible in Quantum Mechanics, whereby events which appear as supernatural are really just events which take place naturally in dimensions we are unaware of.

        • So your argument is: science doesn’t know anything, so the miracles of Jesus could have happened, so therefore, I’m justified in my Christian beliefs? Sounds not only tenuous but also an equally good argument for Islam (or indeed any religion).

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope. One factor of authenticating literature is how credible and mundane the nararative.

          “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

          Savvy?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          No, I believe that’s your basis of authenticating literature of antiquity. Seriously, I would not take a history class or a science class with a “textbook” that’s over 2,000 years old.

    • Lark62

      Read the four gospels. It’s myth, and bad myth at that.

      Edit to add:

      Just asking questions (also known as JAQing off) is a way of attempting to make wild accusations acceptable….

      The purpose of this argument method is to keep asking leading questions to attempt to influence spectators’ views, regardless of whatever answers are given. The term is derived from the frequent claim by the questioner that they are “just asking questions,” albeit in a manner much the same as political push polls. Additionally, this tactic is a way for a crank to escape the burden of proof behind extraordinary claims.

    • Susan

      I would like to know why atheists do not accept the New Testament narrative as factual>

      Which bits? That an itinerant preacher did some preaching?

      Or that a god came to an earth (on which he created and tortured life forms to death for most of its history) …

      Said some stuff (never bothered to correct his earlier stuff about slavery, the value of women or even to mention that non-human earthlings might be worthy of empathy)

      And then died.

      Oh, wait! And then came back to life!

      And THEN “ascended” into the sky.

      Your question is vague.

      What are you claiming and how do you support it?

      • Greg G.

        Which bits? That an itinerant preacher did some preaching?

        That is the plausible part of the gospels but the epistles that were written earlier don’t support it.

        • Susan

          That is the plausible part of the gospels but the epistles that were written earlier don’t support it.

          I understand your point but he asked why “atheists” don’t accept the accounts as factual.

          Lots of atheists accept the itinerant preacher bit but not the supernatural claims.

        • Kodie

          Itinerant preacher is a plausible claim. As it is, someone came up with the things this alleged person said and did too. Whatever “wisdom” or “authority” that can be said about the character Jesus was, at the very least, invented by someone who actually existed. If we know there was an itching for a messiah at the time, and we know there were preachers or rabbis or whatever, I don’t find it terribly difficult to believe an actual cult arose around an actual person who was written in retrospect as a martyr who was totally framed, and if there was some kind of zeitgeist around this sort of general thing, why not create a fictional sensation about such a character?

          As the story of Jesus Christ Superstar, it seems to appeal to atheists and Christians for different reasons. Judas looks to be the actual star of the show, who thinks Jesus is a decent guy with a decent message who gets carried away with his fame and of course gets killed for having such a huge ego about who he is and what he can do. I find that to be plausible. Christians see Jesus just winning in spite of Judas complaining and being jealous or whatever, even if Jesus has to die at the end, because that’s supposed to be his beautiful sacrifice. I see the argument about whether Jesus existed or didn’t exist as an actual person to be pointless. A real person who wasn’t even so fanatical about himself might have – I mean you see movies based on a true story all the time, while the true story is kind of bland and the screenwriter has to punch it up and change a lot of stuff to make it interesting. Real life moves at an uneven pace, lots of uninteresting stuff happens, people don’t have someone writing their dialogue, and then the day that thing finally concluded, it didn’t have as much flair as a director, actors, writers, special effects, and editing, etc. can make it.

          Via comparisons with Gone With the Wind, I don’t think Scarlet O’Hara existed, but obviously follows some sort of type that is plausible, who could have existed. We wouldn’t be able to suspend disbelief if she didn’t have the depth of a real person in context. Jesus is a believable character because people much like him must have existed, but I don’t get too excited with people who say, “of course he existed, you dummy, every legitimate scholar things mythists are screwy!” It’s not that much to get excited about, whether a man existed – men existed, men who preached existed, and excitable egotistical delusional martyring cult leaders who think they are the messiah fucking still exist. It could easily be alternately, a story about a likely type of person who might have existed.

        • Ctharrot

          Even today, I’ve personally met carpenter-preachers, itinerant preachers, and guys named Joshua.

          You tell me there was an itinerant carpenter-preacher named Yeshua two millennia ago? Not a problem.

          You want me to believe he cast demons into pigs? Pigs I know to be real, but my experience with demons is limited to movies and D&D. No deal.

        • Pofarmer

          You make me think Kodie. And that’s a good thing. I came up on Jesus Mythicism as I was deconverting and came across Richard Carrier, Chris Remsberg, Randal Helms, Michael Shermer, and others. Was it important to my deconversion? Probably not really. I’d always rather thought of Jesus as just some teacher dude who affected some people and got crucified. The Romans, after all, crucified a lot of people. I thought that the death and resurrection story was some kind of weird sacrifice. It really is a beautiful story if you look at it just right in the right light, and don’t think about how ridiculous the whole premise of it is. So, I think, for me, especially living in the U.S. with all the fundamentalists running around, is that Jesus being a myth is just one more data point about how dishonest the whole enterprise is. Certainly there were people early on who understood that the whole thing was an invention? Or maybe not, gullible people have always existed and people in 0 A.D didn’t think anything like we do about the supernatural and gods. Surely some believed the story literally, even if it was initially meant figuratively. It’s centuries of being ruled over by the most gullible.

        • Greg G.

          I came up on Jesus Mythicism

          I came across JM about 30 years after deconverting and about 25 years after I realized I was an atheist. I read almost all of Ehrman’s books and others. I learned about all the evidence for Jesus but I figured I was missing something that the experts knew. I thought Ehrman’s book would have a slam-dunk argument for Jesus’ existence but his argument relied on imaginary evidence. That is when I became a JMer.

        • Otto

          When I heard someone ask him what is the single best piece of evidence for the historicity of Jesus, and his response was Paul’s mention of ‘James the brother of the Lord’…I thought, ‘Wow, that is incredibly weak’

        • Greg G.

          I think Paul was sarcastically saying that James does things using human authority that the Lord is supposed to do, like sending people to places. See Galatians 1:1 compared to other opening verses of Paul’s letters and Galatians 2:11-12. Then check Galatians 5:11-12 to see how sarcastic Paul could be toward the circumcision faction.

          A few years ago, I checked every use of the root “adelph-” in the New Testament. In the gospels, it was used about half and half for actual siblings vs the religious sense. In the epistles, it was used 192 times and 187 of them were in the religious sense, one referred to a sister sibling in a greeting near the end of Romans, two referred to Cain and Abel in 1 John 3:12 as siblings but they were not real people, leaving 1 Corinthians 9:5 and Galatians 1:19 as the Lord’s brother verses.

        • Otto

          So then my question would be why does he think it was being used in the sibling sense? Is it just assumed?

        • Greg G.

          Mark wrote that Jesus had a brother named James, so that confirms it for them.

          Mark 6:3 (NRSV)3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

          But near the end of Jewish War 6.2.6 there is “and of those that were with Simon, Judas the son of Merto, and Simon the son of Josas; of the Idumeans, James and Simon, the latter of whom was the son of Cathlas, and James was the son of Sosas; of those that were with John, Gyphtheus and Alexas; and of the zealots, Simon the son of Jairus.”

          That one passage has the names of all four of Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3 within 13 words in the Greek. There is the name Simon right next to “zealots” and Jairus. Simon the Zealot was one of the 12 disciples. Jairus was the ruler of a temple whose 12 year old daughter died but Jesus said she was asleep. There are a couple of other verses that look like Mark was copying heavily from Jewish Wars.

          I have been double-checking on my claim. I used BibleHub which had all the “adelph-” words and that was how I did it. I decided to double-check myself using the TR and the mGNT on blueletterbible.org . It came up with a few different results for each.

          I also noticed that Jude 1:1 says he is a brother to James, and that would be in the sibling sense of the word, but he does not say he is a brother to Jesus.

          The Textus Receptus has “αδελφ*” 196 times in 182 verses while the mGNT has it 194 times in 181 verses. There are 185 verses that has it in at least one of those Greek versions.

        • Otto

          OK, but Paul’s writings came first, so how can Mark be used to verify an earlier writing? Couldn’t Mark have been influenced by Paul?

          Sorry if these are stupid questions.

          Of course growing up in a Christian education system I was always under the impression that the Gospels came before Paul. Obviously I know that is not the case but I think it is interesting Christian education systems don’t correct that basic assumption for their students until at least college level, if at all.

        • Greg G.

          Couldn’t Mark have been influenced by Paul?

          That is exactly what I think! In Galatians 2:9 are the three names of the “pillars”: James, Cephas aka Peter, and John, the three main sidekicks of Jesus in Mark.

          Mark 14:36 has Jesus open a prayer to himself with “Abba, Father” which is found in Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15. Mark 12:31 would rely on Galatians 5:14 or Romans 13:9.

          All of the gospels have several unique matching phrases with Paul but only some of them have a lot of unique matching phrases with James.

        • Kodie

          I can’t remember where I read or saw it, but someone had speculated that future generations may worship Elvis Presley… it doesn’t make sense to me, mostly because people hardly talk about him anymore as someone they’d spot at the gas station or the grocery store. He would be quite old and possibly unrecognizable, and if he wasn’t already dead, probably dead by now even if he did go into hiding. That’s a conspiracy theory that a lot of people believed, and someone had speculated that 500 years from now, he’d be a Jesus for some people. Well, of course Elvis was a real person. The part of him most people knew was only an image. He was also invented by Colonel Parker, just like a lot of stars are invented, propped by managers and image consultants and studios forcing them to pretend to be someone they’re not to sell records or movies.

          So I don’t really have a problem with the idea of a real guy, or a fake mythical invention. A lot of people can be both. People have also said Jesus was a composite. Either he was a real boring typical guy about whom a lot of things were invented to make him popular, or he was a real delusional guy with a lot of charisma and followers, who loved him so much, they had to elaborate even more to glorify their idol, or he was invented totally out of the air and the mood at the time to fit a type of character who would have been the most successful at it.

        • Greg G.

          They worshiped Bill and Ted in the future. Or will worship them. They have time travel then. I saw a documentary or something.

          There were lots of men named Jesus in first century Judea. Some were probably preachers and some may have been crucified. But the NT epistles are not about any of those Jesuses/Jesus’s/Jesi. The gospels are about Epistle Jesus.

        • And imagine if the only information we had about Elvis was four conflicting accounts written more thirty years after his death by members of the “Elvis isn’t dead” club, none of whom had actually met Elvis.

    • Doubting Thomas

      I don’t accept it because it’s myth. It’s obvious myth. And I don’t possess the level of gullibility required to swallow such nonsense.

    • Ctharrot

      With regard to the miraclulous claims alone, and speaking only for myself, it’s because documentary accounts are poor evidence for the truth of claims describing supernatural events and abilities that flatly contradict my direct and indirect knowledge of how things like death, water, and fig trees work.

      Let’s try a thought experiment. Suppose I make two claims.

      (1) Last Monday, I flew on Delta to Athens.

      (2) On Friday, I returned home, carried through the air by spirits.

      Given just the testimonial weight of my statements themselves to start with, do you think both claims are equally likely to be true?

      • Greg G.

        If you tried to explain the flight to Athens to a first century person, they would find the latter easier to believe.

        “So you flew through the sky in a ship made of aluminum, which is like iron but lighter. And it took only a few hours?”

        • Ctharrot

          “You flew here on delta? The letter? That’s crazy.”

        • Kodie

          It’s just a boat that floats through the air in the future. Explaining how you got there from the future would probably be more difficult.

      • Lark62

        Also, if you said only the first statement, people would likely believe you. It is plausible.

        Once you make the second statement, either your truthfulness or your sanity is subject to question and everything you say is suspect.

        • Ctharrot

          Sorry, I meant, “flew on Spirit Airlines.”

    • Pofarmer

      Why don’t you accept the narrative of Hercules as factual?

      Why don’t you accept the narrative of Joseph Smith as factual?

    • Max Doubt

      “I would like to know why atheists do not accept the New Testament narrative of Jesus as factual?”

      The new testament of the Christian bible makes many claims about the supernatural activities and properties and attributes of the character called Jesus. There is no objective evidence to support any of those claims.

      • These Things Were Written

        The New Testament was not written to make claims, but to tell a historical narrative. Men simply saw and heard things that they did not believe, until after the One they had been following was crucified and risen from the dead.

        They did not believe these things themselves, as most of us today also have a hard time believing. It was not until after Jesus ascended back to heaven and they had time to process all that took place that they realized He was fulfilling all of the Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah.

        In this regard, it is not only the narratives of the New Testament which describe what Jesus said and did, but also that the Old Testament predicted everything Jesus said and did. It was upon the realization of these things that these men determined to lay down, for posterity, a record of what they saw and heard. Nothing more, nothing less…

        Then Jesus said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. ~Luke 24:44-48

        It was upon these words that Jesus told His disciples after He had risen, and as He explained to them how He had come into the world to prove that God exists and He had proven this by the miracles He performed and the prophecies He fulfilled.

        • Damien Priestly

          There is no evidence any of this is true. But, there is good evidence that people make up stories about god-men just like in the New Testament.

          Stories of miracles and resurrections provided without evidence …can be dismissed without evidence.

        • These Things Were Written

          The New Testament, which has survived time and decay in greater numbers than any other ancient literature, impeaches your assertion.

          This massive record of nearly 25,000 extant manuscripts IS the evidence and when scholarly investigated, it passes every test for reliability, authenticity, and truthfulness.

          I understand that you don’t want it to be true, so you refuse to believe it, but unbelief never impugns truth.

        • Damien Priestly

          No, you are simply making assertions wihout evidence: “…it passes every test for reliability, authenticity, and truthfulness” .– You offer no evidence of that. Just because an old book exists, does not make what is says true. The burden is on the believer of these books to demonstrate miracles, rising from the dead, etc.

          By your standard, older books that have been massively distributed, are much larger and more detailed– like the Hindu Vedas and the Buddhist Sanskrit scriptures are also true. So we must believe in Brahma, Vishnu and Hanuman the monkey-god…many people do.. Many scholars say these books have “reliability, authenticity, and truthfulness”. You cannot pick and choose.

        • Max Doubt

          “So we must believe in Brahma, Vishnu and Hanuman the monkey-god…many people do.”

          Monkey god? Just don’t look at my browser history, ‘kay?

        • Michael Neville

          How do we know that the Bible isn’t just a collection of myths, fables and lies? If you claim that the Bible is true it’s up to you to provide evidence for your claim.

          Muslims say the Quran is true. Mormons swear the Book of Mormon is true. Buddhists say the Tipitaka is true. Why is the Bible true and these other holy books not true. Be specific and rigorous in your explanation.

        • These Things Were Written

          There is no need for me to prove this, the New Testament was written as a record of history that has survived intact and has been thoroughly evaluated. It is up to you to decide if God has shown you evidence that He came to earth and performed works that only God is capable of. He died on a cross for your sins and rose again on the third day. This is the record and you must decide if you believe it.

          Jesus said that unless we all repent and believe we will all be lost.

          Perhaps at 71 years of age, this would be a good time to repent and believe the Gospel?

        • Michael Neville

          If you want me to accept the Bible as true then you have to show there’s some truth in it. But when it has uncorroborated stories about zombies infesting a town then I can dismiss it as fiction.

        • Max Doubt

          “There is no need for me to prove this,…”

          That sounds like you’re admitting you hold a belief that you can’t defend. And that’s basically what pretty much everyone here has been trying to tell you.

        • These Things Were Written

          I never said I believe anything. I merely defended a position here in the presence of many adversaries.

        • Kodie

          You defended your sincere beliefs in an imaginary friend you think you have, and expect the rest of us to do your work for you. So far, there is no reason to believe anything you say. If you can’t support your claims, then you have no business expecting anyone to believe you. Atheism = I DON”T FUCKING BELIEVE WHAT YOU CLAIM. That means you have the burden of proof. If you still think it’s our job to prove you wrong, then you must be looking out your own mouth by now.

        • Halbe

          Yes, I would like to repent and believe. However, yesterday a Muslim friend came by with the same suggestion and very similar arguments, but she said I should turn to Mohammed, not to Jesus. If I follow your lead, then what should I say to her?

        • These Things Were Written

          I don’t care if you repent and believe.

        • Halbe

          Liar For Jesus™, whoda thunk… And a coward, afraid of semi-hard questions that might challenge your worldview. Pathetic.

        • Michael Neville

          Perhaps at 71 years of age, this would be a good time to repent and believe the Gospel?

          TTWW is definitely a sockpuppet. A new guy would not know my age (actually my 70th birthday was two weeks ago) but someone who’s been here before could know it.

          One of the more silly things that Christian apologists think is that we can immediately decide to “believe the Gospel” because that’s what the Christian wants. People need reasons to believe in anything. Once we have enough reasons, we’ll believe whether we like it or not. We won’t be able to help ourselves. Christians just don’t have a lot of actual reasons to offer.

        • These Things Were Written

          You are making assumptions, it is possible to discover anything about anyone, if one has the skillset.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope, not interested.

          Only think we know is you’re pissing in the punchbowl and trying to convince us it’s sparking wine.

        • Otto

          Do us a favor and on the next account you create just name yourself ‘Dishonest Christian Asshole’ to save us all a lot of time and trouble.

        • Michael Neville

          There’s a saying among NFL players, you can bullshit the spectators but you can’t bullshit the players. Stop trying to bullshit your way out of problems that you create for yourself. It’s not working.

        • These Things Were Written

          A common tactic of those who have nothing further to offer in a debate it to turn and attack their debate opponent. By this I will take your withdrawal from intellectual debate and resorting to attacks as your inability to continue.

        • Otto

          In order to withdraw from an intellectual debate you have to first be in one…arguing the Bible is true because the Bible says so is not an intellectual argument. My 7th grade daughter offers better intellectual arguments than you do.

        • These Things Were Written

          This is true. I find it quite difficult to debate with persons who don’t know their argument, but rely upon what other persons also in error assert.

        • Otto

          >>>”This is true. I find it quite difficult to debate…”

          Your statement was true up to that point.

        • Greg G.

          That’s true but TTWW’s statement is true for two more words.

        • Kodie

          It never sounds like you even know what the fuck you’re talking about. It sounds only like you are repeating the good parts of the story you like, and not mature enough to confront the whole thing. What is this debate even about? You think it’s a debate. You are wrong. You are making baseless assertions, and you are getting your ass handed to you by everyone.

          Is that why you’re here? You want to feel faux-persecuted for your beliefs?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “faux-persecuted”

          fauxsecuted?

        • Michael Neville

          You’re not only arrogant but you’re ignorant as well. The tactic you’re describing has a name well known by debaters, it’s ad hominem, which is Latin for “to the man”.

          Now that I’ve lessened your ignorance by a tiny bit, let’s discuss YOUR debate tactics. You make assertion after assertion but never, not even once, do you attempt to justify these assertions by citing any sources. Instead you just repeat the assertions and otherwise ignore all requests to evidence to support the assertions.

          For instance, you’ve said several times that Matthew was written before 70 CE. I gave a link to a Christian college website that said none of the gospels were written before the 2nd Century. Your rebuttal was to call the website “atheist” and otherwise ignore it. You have never given any reason for us to accept your assertion that the gospels pre-dated the destruction of the Temple.

          Incidentally, you’re wrong about my age, which is another reason why I think you’re trying to bullshit your way out of accusations that you’re a sockpuppet. In fact you’re nowhere near as intelligent or knowledgeable as you think you are. Bullshitters rarely are.

        • These Things Were Written

          I presented you with evidence that confirms that the Gospels had to be written before 70 A.D. and you rejected it because you said it came from biblical text. All this while you dispute the biblical text, but use it to make your your own arguments.

          If you are not willing or able to evaluate written text, secular or religious and determine by what is written as a part of the historical record, whether the testimony is true of false, it is impossible to ever arrive at a valid conclusion.

          The only people who refuse to consider an evaluate religious text because it is religious, show the narrowness of their intellect and unwillingness to objectively search for truth.

        • Michael Neville

          No you haven’t offered the slightest evidence that the gospels are older than 70 CE. You’ve ASSERTED it several times but you’ve never once given any reason other than saying the Bible says so. Using the Bible to prove the Bible is circular reasoning. If you were a little smarter you’d know that was the logical fallacy called begging the question or petitio principii (Latin for “assuming the initial point”).

          It’s not unreasonable for me to dismiss your assertions when you either fail to provide evidence for them or only provide logical fallacies. I gave you a link to a Christian website which said the general consensus among Biblical scholars is that Matthew, the earliest gospel, was written after the destruction of the Temple. You blew that off by saying, incorrectly, that my link was to an atheist website. So don’t lecture me about “search for truth” when you lie about my citation.

        • These Things Were Written

          The four Gospels state that Jesus predicted Jerusalem would be decimated and not one stone left upon the temple within one generation. Jesus said this in 32 A.D.

          Josephus records that the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus took place in 70 A.D., 38 years later and within one 40 year generation.

          There is no place in the Gospels where the writers record that this event took place. If the Gospels were written after 70 A.D, there is no doubt that the writers would have included the fulfillment in the Gospel narratives, just as they did other prophecies that Jesus made, and were fulfilled by the time they wrote their accounts.

          This is empirical evidence that the Gospels were written before Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

          If you don’t understand the importance of this evidence or refuse to acknowledge the internal evidence and corroboration by a secular historian, then I can offer you nothing further.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s in the SYNOPTIC ‘gospels’, which have been demonstrated to have been written AFTER 70 CE.

          So try again, or show me where it appears in Matt/Mark/Luke/John.

        • Damien Priestly

          The problem with that is…the gospels were written down in final form long after the temple was already destroyed.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          What in heaven’s name do you mean by “final form?”

        • Greg G.

          Maybe the Majority Text that was decided upon in 1982?

        • These Things Were Written

          The four Gospels state that Jesus predicted Jerusalem would be decimated and not one stone left upon another in the temple, within one generation. Jesus said this in 32 A.D.

          Josephus records that the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus took place in 70 A.D., 38 years later and within one 40 year generation.

          There is no place in the Gospels where the writers record that this event took place. If the Gospels were written after 70 A.D, there is no doubt that the writers would have included the fulfillment in the Gospel narratives, just as they did other prophecies that Jesus made, and were fulfilled by the time they wrote their accounts.

          This is one piece of evidence that the Gospels were written before Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

        • Ficino

          You are repeating the same shite you typed before. Go away, annoying troll.

          Bob, time to ban this clown.

        • These Things Were Written

          I was contacted by Bob who told me that he has never banned anyone for simply commenting on a post. Perhaps you should contact him directly.

          The facts of Jesus prediction that Jerusalem would be destroyed and “not one stone of the temple would be left upon another,” is a verifiable fact of history.

          Jesus made 14 predictions, all of which came about precisely as He described. Many of these are verifiable events that are recorded in secular history.

          Have you really read and studied the New Testament?

        • You need to be very careful when you state someone else’s position. it’s not your strongest skill.

          I’ve banned loads of people, usually with great delight. However, I’ve not banned anyone simply because he disagreed with me.

        • These Things Were Written

          That is exactly what I said, someone who posts their opinion. I am certain that you are a man who is not afraid of opposition or differing opinions.

        • If only. What is making me reach for the barf bag is nutty claims with no evidence and explaining an error to you and having you ignore it and restate your fallacious argument.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Please explain how any of what you are asserting are “verifiable facts of history.” Just give me an author, a date, any hard evidence. Also please explain what 14 predictions jeebus made and how they are verifiable events in recorded history.

        • These Things Were Written

          As you are aware, there are three primary arguments made by atheists:

          1. Are the four Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. Do the number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. Are the miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Do you believe that Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God? If so, 

Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

          If these are these points that you also support as an atheist? Then defend them, explain how your position in these 4 points proves the four Gospels are not reliable narratives.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re leaving out the Zeroth Arguments:

          YOU HAVEN’T PROVIDED ANY EVIDENCE.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re leaving out the Zeroth Arguments:

          YOU HAVEN’T PROVIDED ANY EVIDENCE.

        • These Things Were Written

          Waiting for your answers to the four questions…

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          What do you mean by “final form?”

        • Damien Priestly

          “Final form” … What we have is Aramaic-language oral history,,,put into Greek writing around 100 AD plus/minus a few decades…Then provided in multiple versions because of disagreements (Mark, Mathew, Luke, John), Mark and Mathew have a very Jewish Jesus — by the time of John’s gospel, the last — we have an anti-Jewish, god-man Jesus…very different gospels. These were edited and put together as the books of the New Testament in 367 AD by Athanasius of Alexandria (an early Christian Bishop). They were called the canonical Bible when appended to the books of the Jewish “Old Testament”. Other gospels and writing about early christians was tossed out. So this is the “final form” I am talking about — in the late fourth century AD….Almost 400 years after Jesus, if real, lived.

          Although, even more changes were made to the books in the Bible during the medieval period up to the the King James English translation in 1611…Other translations and languages involved more edits too.

        • Otto

          That is such a simple yet elegant argument. I wonder why all those people that spent years getting Phd’s in textual criticism can’t see what is obviously so plane to you. They should be giving you awards. You should be teaching at a major university. You have now convinced me, I will never doubt your intellectual prowess ever again.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          (psst…dude, THIS one needs a sarcasm tag else is going to think you’re serious…)

          /s

        • Otto

          I am completely serious…are you telling me you can refute this? C’mon…get real.

        • al kimeea

          Ya, it sounds like this would be the ‘go to guy’ for any apologist to reference. Maybe Francis Collins is slumming…

        • Ficino

          This argument is laughably bad. Since the events of the gospel stories conclude shortly after Jesus’ crucifixion, the narrative does not have place for mention of the later revolt. To say that the authors would have mentioned the later destruction of the Temple, had they known of it, is an unwarranted assumption. Most people date gJohn late in the first century, and even there, there is no statement that the Temple in fact was destroyed. No basis for concluding that such a statement should have been made in the Synoptics if they postdate 70.

          What you have written is not “empirical evidence.” It is an inference that relies on an unsupported assumption about what the gospel writers should have said. Josephus gives no confirmation to your assumption.

          Neither is your reference to other prophecies that Jesus made, which were fulfilled. If you mean prophecies like “the fig tree will wither” or “she is already alive” or “I will send the HS” etc., the fulfillment is contained only in those same gospel narratives. Such connections within the narratives offer no evidence whatsoever that they predate 70.

        • Greg G.

          I think Mark put in some subtle analogies in the sandwiches so the reader would fill in the blanks. Peter denying he knew Jesus in the courtyard and Jesus was being beaten and ordered to “Prophesy!” while his prophecy was being fulfilled. The cursing of the fig tree, the Temple Tantrum, the withered fig tree all lead to the then recent destruction.

        • Greg G.

          That’s funny. Why would the gospels write about the destruction of the temple when the story ended forty years earlier? Everybody knew that Jerusalem had been destroyed when the gospels were written because it was recent, the emperor had been part of the destruction so it was his claim to fame to justify himself as the emperor so it would have been in his propaganda. The later gospels didn’t mention it because the gospel they were rewriting didn’t mention it. They had theological points to make.

        • richardrichard2013

          https://www.reddit.com/r/AcademicBiblical/comments/5v51bg/apologetics_prof_said_mark_far_predates_70_ad_and/?st=j34g8xzk&sh=d7c89508

          “Probably because of the prediction that Jesus made about the destruction of Jerusalem. It would make sense for someone to mention that something came to pass if it was written after that event.”

          interesting response :

          Why would they have to? Was there anyone in the audience who would not have known about it? If someone wrote a story about a character in 1970’s predicting that Islamic terrorists would fly planes into the World Trade Center, would he author then have to say, “and then in 2001, it *really happened?” The destruction of the Temple was 9/11 squared to the Jews of the time. Everybody knew about it, especially in the 70’s, right after it happened when Mark was writing. It didn’t happen until 40 years after the events of he story Mark was telling, so there was even less reason to say “and it really happened.” Really all of Mark’s Gospel is written in the shadow of the destruction of Jerusalem and with a keen awareness of it and is largely an attempt to explain it theologically.

        • Greg G.

          I like that example. I’ll probably steal it. I often think of how many things the words “nine eleven” brings to mind over a decade and a half later. An empire with an emperor whose legacy involved the destruction of Jerusalem and who built the Coliseum with the riches taken from Jerusalem would keep it in the minds of the people.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          No, this is not “empirical evidence.” Please cite your historical sources. Who is the secular historian?

        • Pofarmer

          You want doofus here to cite sources? Don’t you think that’s asking a bit much?

        • Pofarmer

          Why doesn’t Gone with the Wind mention WWI and WWII?????

          There is no external attestation to the Gospels until the middle of the 2nd Century. This was the consensus opinion for their authorship until the apologists cloaked as scholars took the stage in the mid 20th Century.

        • These Things Were Written

          No external attestation until the middle of the second century, really! Just because you have no knowledge of events recorded in history, does not mean they did not take place. I have over
          one hundred secular citations for Jesus from the same period of history that the New Testament Gospels were written.

        • Pofarmer

          No-you don’t. Numbnuts.

          There is no independent outside attestation to any of the Gospels until at least 125 A.D., for a small portion of the Gospel of Mark, I believe. That’s a widely known scholarly consensus.

          You can’t bullshit people who know more than you do and have researched more sides of the story than you have.

        • Greg G.

          That’s P52, a fragment with about one third of six or seven verses of John. But the spacing shows that the missing part has to be missing some words.

          Some date it to the first half of the second century, others date it to late 3rd century.

        • Pofarmer

          I was thinking more along the lines of a mention from Iraneus or Origen,

        • Greg G.

          I see. I missed the “independent outside” part. It’s hard to read on the phone sometimes.

        • Pofarmer

          Whoever this jackleg is. He’s certainly made plenty of claims with exactly zero evidence shown for any of them. It’s interesting in a sad sort of way.

        • Greg G.

          I see. I missed the “independent outside” part. It’s hard to read on the phone sometimes.

        • What fun! You brag about how scholar-ish you are and how you live and breathe footnotes, and this is your answer. Couldn’t spare one of those footnotes, eh?

          Or is this all explained by your being a Poe?

          If not, I’m getting a little tired hearing how big your dick is.

        • Michael Neville

          So how about giving us some of these “secular citations”? You keep telling us that we’re wrong but, other than your unsupported word, we have zip point shit evidence to support your assertions.

        • al kimeea

          Bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          You didn’t understand his statement. We have no mentions of the gospels in the ancient writings before the middle of the second century. There are third or fourth century quotations of Papias referencing Matthew and Mark, but the Matthew he referred to is definitely not the one we call Matthew.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I have over one hundred secular citations for Jesus from the same period of history that the New Testament Gospels were written.

          I call bullshit.

          Show them or recant…you flimflam LOSER!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I have over one hundred secular citations for Jesus from the same period of history that the New Testament Gospels were written.

          I call bullshit.

          Show them or recant…you flimflam LOSER!

        • Pofarmer

          One other thing. Date “Gone with the Wind” the same way you are “dating” the Gospels. What do you come up with?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet you can’t present the over one hundred secular citations for Jesus from the same period of history that the NT gospels were written. Furthermore, these over a hundred secular citations don’t seem to be available to the academy of NT scholarship. Get a paper written and published…there is a prize in it for ya…or at least the prestige of educating all those ignorant scholars who study this stuff in universities all over the world.

        • He has gotten papers published–10 billion, at last count.

        • Greg G.

          38 years later than nothing. Mark wrote a retrodiction into the mouth of the first century Jesus he invented.

          His readers knew what happened. They could fill in the blanks when he said Jesus predicted it.

        • richardrichard2013

          “There is no place in the Gospels where the writers record that this event took place. If the Gospels were written after 70 A.D, there is no doubt that the writers would have included the fulfillment in the Gospel narratives, just as they did other prophecies that Jesus made, and were fulfilled by the time they wrote their accounts.”

          the non-canonical mention the temple as well, but they never say that the temple was destroyed. how come they don’t have jesus’ prediction come true ? you said “there is no doubt” the question is where is your proof? what do the days of jesus character have anything to do with the destroyed temple? and if mark is written decades after jesus, he obviously must have hints of the temples destruction in his text.

          quote :

          “If Mark’s audience was primarily Gentile, the question that must be asked is what interest did Gentile Christians have in the Jewish Temple? That the evangelist devotes a major section of the gospel to the Jewish Temple and its future suggests that his Gentile readers must have had some interest in it. But such an interest stands in stark contrast with the evidence we see throughout the New Testament. In Paul’s undisputed letters, which are without question our best window into the interests and concerns of early Gentile Christianity, we see no interest in or concern for the Jerusalem Temple. In fact, the only “temple” that Paul refers to is the church itself, which he identifies as God’s temple. But even in such an identification, the Jerusalem Temple plays virtually no role. Paul never makes a case that the Jerusalem Temple is corrupt and thus needs to be replaced by the people of God. He never even uses language of “newness” when describing the church as the God’s temple, i.e., the church is the “new” temple of God. In identifying the church as God’s temple, Paul never presents the church as taking on the cultic functions of the temple. It seems that the Jerusalem Temple played virtually no role in Paul’s missional and pastoral work among Gentile churches, even in instances in which Paul identifies those churches with God’s temple. And while the value of the book of Acts for reconstructing Paul’s missionary work is debated, it is noteworthy that the temple plays no role in Acts’ depiction of Paul’s proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles (particularly given the fact that the temple seems to play a prominent role in other parts of the book of Acts). Thus, all the existing evidence that we have portrays an early Gentile Christian church that has no interest in the Jerusalem Temple.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          The four Gospels state that Jesus predicted Jerusalem would be decimated and not one stone left upon the temple within one generation. Jesus said this in 32 A.D.

          Nope.

          The four gospels don’t predict Jerusalem would be decimated. The three synoptic gospels have Jesus claim the Temple will be destroyed. But since we know Matthew and Luke copied Mark, really only one gospel has Jesus “predicting” the destruction of the Temple.

          http://biblehub.com/parallelgospels/Jesus_Predicts_the_Destruction_of_the_Temple_and_His_Own_Second_Coming_Four_Parables_of_Warning.htm

          Now it is precisely because of this prediction that scholars date gMark to after the Temple destruction, because Vaticinium ex eventu (prophecy from the event), or hindsight bias.

          Some scholars regard statements attributed to Jesus in the Gospels that foretell the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple as examples of vaticinia ex eventu, these scholars believe that the Gospels were all written after the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70, in which the temple was destroyed.[4] However some Christian scholars reject this notion as the fulfillment of the acclaimed prophecy; the destruction of the temple is not recorded in the gospels or in the other letters and date the new testament scriptures before AD 70.

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

          There is no place in the Gospels where the writers record that this event took place. If the Gospels were written after 70 A.D, there is no doubt that the writers would have included the fulfilment in the Gospel narratives, just as they did other prophecies that Jesus made, and were fulfilled by the time they wrote their accounts.

          Did you really write that and post it before reading it back to yourself?

          Why would they do that? They were writing about an earlier time. If they’d reported the sacking of Jerusalem then the prophecy of Jesus is demonstrably a plot device. Your incredulity is flabbergasting.

          This is empirical evidence that the Gospels were written before Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

          Yeah, except only scholars with a heavy religious bias think that is the case. Those with free thinking brains, even Christian ones, don’t.

          If you don’t understand the importance of this evidence or refuse to acknowledge the internal evidence and corroboration by a secular historian, then I can offer you nothing further.

          Your muddle headed thinking on this is a wonderment to behold. For someone who claims to be well read and published, you don’t seem to know much, support your assertions with evidence, or understand current mainstream scholarship.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/12/dating-the-gospels-harder-than-you-might-think/

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/12/dating-the-gospels-harder-than-you-might-think-2-of-2/

        • Bob Jase

          Well now the destruction of the temple brings up another problem for believers – their book says, ” “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

          Yet as all believers should know, the so-called ‘Wailing Wall’ in Jerusalem was part of the temple and it consists of hundreds of stones upon stones – which means that the the temple, by biblical details, still has not completely fallen.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That too.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          A document can’t be used to verify ITSELF.

          Especially when the document has a vested interest in being perceived as true.

          So I can, perfectly consistently, accept that there was a River Jordan, and a Jerusalem, while throwing out any miracle claims for lack of the extraordinary evidence they’d require.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          The gospels are not evidence! How do you explain all the contradictions and conflicts within it? Again, which one are you talking about – there are over fifty different versions.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly. The Gospels are the claim.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          A document cannot be used to verify itself!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Actually you appear to be the person “showing your narrowness of intellect and
          unwillingness to objectively search for truth.”

        • These Things Were Written

          Very well then, answer my questions, if you are able:

          There are three primary arguments made by atheists:

          1. The Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. The number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. The miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God.

Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          As usual, you’re strawmanning us to make your life easy.

          We don’t believe BECAUSE THERE’S NO EVIDENCE.

          The rest is just icing on the cake.

          If you wish to keep numbering on your points, it would be this way:

          0. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THE ‘BIBLE’ IS TRUE.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          As usual, you’re strawmanning us to make your life easy.

          We don’t believe BECAUSE THERE’S NO EVIDENCE.

          The rest is just icing on the cake.

          If you wish to keep numbering on your points, it would be this way:

          0. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THE ‘BIBLE’ IS TRUE.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Do you even know how to cite your sources, say like a footnote, endnote?

        • These Things Were Written

          I am asking the questions. I began this line of questions and I have yet to receive an answer, much less a footnote or citation.

          Go back to the beginning of this post and read my question, then follow all of the non-answers. I am still waiting for a scholarly answer.

        • What did Julius Caesar eat for breakfast on his last day?

          I’ve asked this to billions of Christians, and I have yet to receive an answer. Conclusion: Christianity is false.

          You lose.

        • These Things Were Written

          How exactly does this question prove the four Gospels are not reliable? This was the original question.

        • It doesn’t. What it proves is that I can get the burden of proof wrong just like you.

          And I’m still waiting for my answer. If your demand for answers was appropriate, then mine is, too.

        • Greg G.

          What did Julius Caesar eat for breakfast on his last day?

          Ovum, over hard.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And that means exactly WHAT?

          YOU have been impugning our veracity of self-reporting and otherwise insulting us…if we decided to return the favor, it would be no more than leveling the field.

        • Kodie

          Do you think you are debating? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Your blatant and continued lack of evidence to support your claims in almost 100 posts on your newly created sock puppet disqus account tells me you are a gullible fool who believes what he’s told and doesn’t have the intellect to participate in an actual debate. You are just condescending, but there’s no substance to anything you say. You’re stupid enough to not even know what anyone is saying or why it’s important.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Kodie Here, here!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          @Kodie ROCKS!

        • Damien Priestly

          So God told you, right?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Exactly, so please use your skill set and realize that this is the 21st century.
          We absolutely do not need a textbook from the 1st century. We have so much more knowledge.

        • Pofarmer

          I know you’ve given your age out before. I would think there would be too many posts to search and find it. Maybe JP. Almost seems like Codygirl. I dunno. There have been so many trolls come through here over the years.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Objection, Your Honor!”

          “Defense counsel is leading with an unsupported assertion!”

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Objection sustained!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          First you say, “There is no need for me to prove this.” Then you tell us that the New Testament was written as a record of history that has survived intact.” (What exactly do you mean by intact?) Then you say that “it’s up to us to decide,” when I think what you are really trying to say is that it’s up to us to believe. Historical record is a matter of conclusion, after examining hard facts and evidence, and comparing them to each other. What is not true, falls away, what is true is considered history. The only reason for the jeebus death and resurrection tale is that it was copied from other ancient gods, gods who were conceived by a virgin, mortal mother and an immortal father, gods who died and were resurrected, gods who were born on December 25… Please research Mithras, Horus, Krishna at least! And buy the way, the myth of the crucified jeebus was only written so that people could identify with human sacrifice. If a so-called savior was executed fifty years ago, we’d all be wearing little electric chairs around our necks!

        • al kimeea

          Syringe, perhaps or maybe a rope. A working guillotine!

        • Greg G.

          Christians might be chained to gas chambers.

        • I believe Jesus died by drowning, so I wear this on a necklace:
          https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/a8dc6acc-1963-44f6-8fdd-9e308eb6730a_1.4813af821b861368a031e0161ad48552.jpeg
          (Thanks to whoever I stole this from.)

        • al kimeea

          Ooooh, scary.

        • Kevin K

          Another quote to live by:

          “One can never have enough socks” — Albus Dumbledore.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is no need for me to prove this, the New Testament was written as a record of history that has survived intact and has been thoroughly evaluated.

          And evaluated to not be of the genre of history or biography by mainstream scholars.

        • ildi

          TTWW has determined that those scholars are all “atheists” so they don’t count.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…but TTWW is a Dime Bar.

          Honest Christian historians are refreshingly unbiased for the most part. At least about what the magic bits represent. Historians like Dr. James Tabor about the use of the supernatural in their studies anyway.

          https://jamestabor.com/do-historians-exclude-the-supernatural/

        • ildi

          Thanks for that link!

        • It is up to you to decide if God has shown you evidence

          ?? He hasn’t! As far as we know, he doesn’t exist! And you’ve done absolutely nothing to push the needle for any of the atheists here. Making unsubstantiated comments about topics that we’re quite familiar with isn’t making you any friends.

          Pretty hilarious, though, for you to suggest that we come to Jeebus (cuz otherwise his dad will throw us into the brimstone forever) when you’ve done nothing to make any Christian argument. You do know how apologetics works, right?

        • this would be a good time to repent and believe the Gospel

          That’s the part that I find so tricky. Just believe in the gospel. How do you do that??

          I think you should show us. Believe in leprechauns, then tell us how that went. Go.

        • Kodie

          You can’t prove it’s not a superstition and a myth, so you pretend you don’t have to.

        • These Things Were Written

          Herein is the problem that I seen in your difficulties; you seek to compare the Quran, Mormon Bible, and the Tipaka with the massive record of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. This tells me that you have not personally conducted your own research in comparison. If you had, like all credible scholars, you would never make this argument. There is no comparison, for a variety and great number of reasons.

          It appears that all of your knowledge comes from other atheists and none from your own due diligence.

        • Michael Neville

          Have you read all 40 volumes of the Tipaka? I’m not talking about “books of the Bible”, I’m talking 40 multi-hundred page volumes. Looks like you’ve got some reading ahead of you for the next several years if you want to compare the Tipaka to the Bible.

          I’ve told you before not to try to bullshit people who know more than you do. It only makes you look even more ignorant.

          Besides, ignorant Christian, you don’t understand my argument. I’m asking you to justify your belief that the Bible is true and other “holy” books aren’t. So instead of pretending that I haven’t done research, how about you answering my question? Or are you too ignorant about other religions to do so? That would be my guess, since you call the Book of Mormon the “Mormon Bible”.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Michael Neville Some great points!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Exactly! All the “other” religions have their own EXTENSIVE scriptures, which you obviously haven’t researched. The Quran, the Hebrew Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and all other ancient scriptures claim to be the one, true scripture. And when you cite references from the buybull, which one are you talking about? There are over 50 different versions.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Please list for me, the “variety and great number of reasons.” To make any convincing argument, you need to cite your sources.

        • Pofarmer

          I’d like to see a list of all the credible scholars who have compared the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Mormon Bible,, the Vidas, the Tipaka, etc,etc, and offered a reasoned opinion.

          This one does talk some ignorant shit.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re trying to claim something special about your ‘holy’ book.

          That’s called Special Pleading.

          And the koran, the hindu vedas, Code of Hammurabi, etc. have JUST AS MUCH IF NOT MORE lineage than you claim for your book (dishonestly, in point of fact, because a LOT of your purported examples aren’t ancient and date to the 12th century)

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Book of Mormon’s divine source, the golden tablets, is eyewitness attested to by sworn affidavit’s.

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

          If the NT had anything like that you’d be flying…it doesn’t.

        • epicurus

          If you are genuinely interested, why don’t you zip over to Bart Ehrman’s blog and read some of his free articles on problems with the manuscripts. You sound like you are really just here to pick a fight rather than engage in thoughtful conversation.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Agreed!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Only 2 of those 25000 manuscripts are ancient, and they contradict each other.

          And the Hindu scriptures are older, as well.

        • RichardSRussell

          Not to mention the Code of Hammurabi. That law-giving Babylonian king died ~1750 BCE. The Book of Genesis was assembled from component bits about a millennium later, somewhere around the 6th and 5th Centuries BCE.

          There’s really nothing in the Bible that didn’t draw upon material that was already kicking around at the time it was written down, aside from the specifics of who begat whom (a litany which appears in 2 different places in the Bible with respect to Jesus; needless to say, the only names those 2 lists have in common are King David at the beginning and Jesus’s dad Joseph at the end).

        • al kimeea

          Aristophanes, “the Father of Comedy” has 11 complete plays predating the Jebus myth by hundreds of years

          The ‘I Ching’ also predates Jebus’s Lost Weekend

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          I understand that YOU want it to be true. So in your mind it is. Again, please indicate your historical sources, authors, dates of publication.

        • These Things Were Written

          There are three primary arguments made by atheists:

          1. The Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. The number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. The miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God.



          Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          I ask you for legitimate answers and you counter with another question. I asked you first! 😉

        • These Things Were Written

          No, these are the same questions I have been asking from the beginning of my time here, and no one can answer them. This now includes you.

          Its okay, I have asked these questions from thousands of people like you over four decades, and they have never been answered.

        • If your goal is simply to ask unanswerable questions, ask people about the origin of abiogenesis or to prove string theory is correct.

          As for your silly questions, the burden of proof is yours, moron. I have little desire to answer them when it’s clear that you’re simply shirking your burden of proof. You know Baby Jesus cries when you do that, right?

        • Scooter

          Bob, I would refer you to your blog of September 28 in which you listed some positive points by Daryl Davis. After reading your comment above it would be good to follow your own advice.
          6. Watch your tone
          “Make your point, correct errors in logic or facts, or get annoyed at rhetorical gamesmanship, but don’t be insulting or condescending. State your correction, but don’t delight in their failure or make them feel stupid.”

        • Susan

          “Make your point, correct errors in logic or facts, or get annoyed at rhetorical gamesmanship, but don’t be insulting or condescending. State your correction, but don’t delight in their failure or make them feel stupid.”

          If Bob removes the word “moron”, the rest of his comment is in compliance with those guidelines.

          Now, any chance you’ll call out TTWW for failing to engage?

          And for being a sock puppet?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And if the descriptor moron is obviously applicable after a certain point, then that is appropriate too.

          Civility is preferred, though frank comments are allowed.

          Fuckin’ tone trolls, they get right on my goat.

        • ildi

          Plus, it’s his own fucking blog. Don’t tone troll me in my own house, bro!

        • Susan

          Fuckin’ tone trolls, they get right on my goat.

          I don’t mind an honest and thoughtful interlocutor asking for more civil exchanges. But those aren’t the people who do so.

          They get thoroughly on my goat when they ignore all the important points listed in Bob’s quote.

          People like (our recent sockpuppet TTWW,) skl and Scooter. Just a tip of the iceberg.

          That is, they do not make their point.

          They do not correct errors in logic or facts or acknowledge when someone has corrected theirs.

          They do rely on nothing but rhetorical gamesmanship.

          They do insult and condescend.

          I just can’t bear when someone behaves like a relentless asshole and after doing nothing but, when someone calls them an asshole for doing so, they complain about tone.

        • Kodie

          Maybe it’s subtle and people don’t really notice it, but I usually hang back on a new poster until they’ve shown themselves to be a liar.

        • Greg G.

          I noticed long ago that you waited until they became ridiculous.

        • Greg G.

          I noticed long ago that you waited until they became ridiculous.

        • These Things Were Written

          Perhaps you will be able to answer these questions. These are the assertions that atheists make in their attempts to impeach the reliability of the New Testament, and thereby impugn Jesus claim to be God, His miracles, and the resurrection

          1. The Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. The number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. The miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God.

Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

          Demonstrate how each of these three arguments proves that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is not reliable.

          Can you defend this position or not?

        • Can you answer my question about Julius Caesar’s breakfast?

        • al kimeea

          Know any amputees whose limbs grew back after prayer? That’s a miracle.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Better specify ‘human’ amputees.

          S/he’ll bring up axolotls, salamanders, and starfish.

        • Greg G.

          What kind of omnipotence couldn’t turn you into a newt, let your leg grow back, then turn you back into a human?

          We have evidence of humans being turned into newts and getting better. I saw it in a documentary.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Better specify ‘human’ amputees.

          S/he’ll bring up axolotls, salamanders, and starfish.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Miguel Juan Pellicer?

          https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4247

        • Greg G.

          1) No, the gospels make not credible statements. That makes them not credible.
          2) The lack of original documents makes it impossible to know that the narrative has been altered. The number of textual variants prove that alterations have been made. If there were no variants, we still wouldn’t know what the originals said.
          3) The miracles attributed to Jesus are not significantly different than other miracle stories of the day. The other miracles didn’t happen either.
          4) The miracle accounts show that the gospel narrative is fiction. The epistles don’t mention a first century preacher/teacher named Jesus but they talk about Jesus a lot but only in quotes and allusions to the Old Testament writings. The literary precedents for every event in the Gospel of Mark puts a burden on you to prove any of them happened. Since the other three gospels relied on Mark, it makes their accounts equally suspect.

          Demonstrate how each of these three arguments

          You don’t understand atheist arguments and you cannot even count.

        • Ctharrot

          “1) No, the gospels make not credible statements. That makes them not credible.”

          That really is the core issue at the heart of this comment pile, and also one of the reasons I read but don’t ever join in the fragment/manuscript-dating conversations here. We think a miracle claim is exceedingly less likely to be true than a claim that’s consistent with our personal experiences and knowledge, and that written records are crummy evidence for the truth of the miracle claims they contain, regardless of the time frame. If you showed me a 17th-century summons describing a boundary dispute between two landowners, I’d readily agree that’s pretty good evidence there was a boundary dispute between the named landowners. If you showed me a written report that a baby was born speaking perfect Latin in Croatia last week, I’d dismiss it out of hand, as would all but the most gullible readers.

          People make things up. We hallucinate. We dream. We prank. We lie. We get things wrong. We spread rumors. We tell tales. We do it aloud, we do it writing. We’ve been doing it for millennia.

          When we put incredible claims on paper doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that they’re incredible.

        • These Things Were Written

          1 Are you sure that all of the Gospels make “no credible statements?” That is a very broad brush stroke for such a great body of text. What about the first 17 verses of the first Gospel: Matthew’s Gospel which describes Jesus’ Genealogy? Not credible?

          2 The existence of 24,593 extant manuscripts does not give you reason to believe that there was an original autograph with the same text? If not, then please explain how all of the extant Gospels we have today, have the very same text, some 99 percent, from the earliest Gospel manuscript copies?

          3 Other miracles are not our subject, it is those ascribed to Jesus that are important. How do you know for certain the events you call “miracles” didn’t happen?

          4a How does something that you don’t understand become a “miracle?” In other words, what may be a naturally occurring event that is possible in the universe, just seems like a “miracle” to you because you don’t understand how it could happen.

          4b If you do a search in all the epistles for “Jesus” you will find 257 occurrences where His name is mentioned. All of these refer to the same Jesus who is described in the four Gospels, and the One who is Messiah, the fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecies.

          4c The Gospel of Mark stands on its own as a literary work which records the true events of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. It is a coequal to the other three Gospels which describe the same important events of Jesus’ public life, such as His miracles, claim to be God, crucifixion and resurrection.

          4d The “reliance upon Mark,” theory, is only a theory. There is no conclusive evidence that would allow anyone to make an absolute determination that Mark was written first. The Gospel of Matthew is just as good a candidate for first Gospel as Mark.

        • 1. It conflicts with Luke’s genealogy. It’s almost like they were making a literary or theological point rather than recording actual history.

          2. What “same text”?? There is no same text in all those manuscripts.

          I’ve responded to this idea in general here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/04/a-simple-thought-experiment-defeats-claim-that-bible-is-accurate/

          3. “How do you know for certain the events you call “miracles” didn’t happen?”
          You’re adorable when you make fundamental errors like this, over and over and over. How can I stay mad at such a cute widdle wascal?

          The burden of proof is yours.

          4. “There is no conclusive evidence that would allow anyone to make an absolute determination that Mark was written first.” Whatever–it sure blows a hole in the theory that they were independent eyewitnesses when the same phrases from Mark are found in Matt. and Luke! No person eyewitness would copy someone else’s stuff.

        • Greg G.

          1. I didn’t say the gospels make no credible statements. I said they make not credible statements, which means it makes statements that are not credible which does not mean that all statements are not credible. John 18:13 says Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. I think that is credible. John describes Jerusalem and some of the descriptions have been found to be accurate. I think New York is described accurately in Spiderman, too. Having a few credible statements does not make literature credible.

          2. Most of those manuscripts are not even in Greek. Only about 5700 are Greek and few are complete New Testaments. Some are fragments. Where a fragment is agrees with another for 30 some words is not impressive. The point is that even if there was one that was identical to an autograph, you couldn’t tell that it was. Philemon is small, perhaps a copy could be produced with no error but was the one it was copied from correct. Does it matter if 2 Peter is exact? It’s forged.

          3. Miracles have been claimed throughout history. When they can be investigated, it turns out to not be a miracle. Even Psalm 77 laments that miracles of the past are no longer happening. The miracles of Jesus are created from Homeric epics combined with Bible accounts, taken from Vespasian propaganda. The Lazarus resurrection appears to be created from the Osiris resurrection from the Pyramid Texts. Since all the miracles attributed to Jesus are found in the literature of the first century, there is no reason to think they are not created from the texts. Virgil’s Anneid is based on the Homeric epics. Jesus stories are based on the Homeric epics, too. Saying the miracles of Jesus is real is like arguing that the miracles of the Anneid were real but the same miracles in the Odyssey are not.

          4a. Chance occurances happen. If we count every waking second as an event, we should expect to see a one in a million event every month. One year in college, the guy next door in the dorm saw that I was from the same town his mother was from. She had him ask if I knew her cousin and I did because he was my grandfather. I told my grandmother about that. She thought for a minute and said that we were double-cousins because his grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers who married two sisters.

          I hadn’t seen another cousin since she was in college. She lived 2500 miles from me. I went to Norway about 20 years after I had last seen her and ran into her in Oslo.

          4b. If you did the count in English, your numbers might be off. Pronouns in Greek are a little less ambiguous than in English so sometimes English translations have to use the name to be clear when it is not used in the Greek.

          Epistle Jesus is imagined from the Old Testament passages. The gospels are fictional stories about the imaginary Epistle Jesus.

          4c. The Gospel of Mark does not stand on its own. It stands on The Odyssey, The Iliad, Flacco by Philo, some of Paul’s letters, the Old Testament, some of the Apocrypha, Roman propaganda, and Jewish Wars. That’s off the top of my head so there may be more.

          4d. There are examples of Matthew having bouts of editorial fatigue. That’s where he makes a change in the Markan text but doesn’t maintain the change throughout that passage. For example, Mark calls Herod a king in the part where John the Baptist is beheaded. Matthew corrects Mark by calling Herod a tetrarch but later in the passage, he calls him a king where Mark did. We also have examples of Luke doing the same thing with Mark and with Matthew. Nobody has pointed out an example of Mark having a case of editorial fatigue with either Matthew or Luke. That is solid evidence that Matthew and Luke depended on Mark. It also supports that Luke used Matthew, so Q is an unneeded hypothesis.

          Spit miracles and miracles that take time to happen are the type that it would be more likely to remove from a text than to add. Mark has spit miracles, an healing that took two tries, and one that wasn’t noticed until the next day. Matthew says the fig tree began to wither immediately and they others are removed or altered in both. Matthew has many things doubled which is singular in Mark. Then there is the naked boy in Gethsemane in Mark but never mentioned in Matthew or Luke. Those are hard to account for sensibly unless Matthew and Luke were dependent on Mark.

        • These Things Were Written

          Thanks for great and detailed answers. For the sake of space, I will take just one of your points now that I personally had trouble with a number of years ago, the miracles of Jesus. Are they really miracles, or simply a part of the physical laws, not presently understood fully?

          In string theory within quantum physics, up to eleven dimensions may exist. John records that after Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to them suddenly within a room with a locked door (John 20:19-20). To some, this seems like a miracle, but this event is actually possible within Quantum Mechanics.

          The text does not state that Jesus walked through the walls. John writes that Jesus suddenly appeared before the disciples in the room which they occupied. Quantum physicists who have examined this text state that in order for Jesus to appear suddenly in this room without going through a physical structure, this would require access to a sixth dimension.

          When you or I move from the dimension of length to width, we are able to freely move without encountering a physical barrier. In the same way, when Jesus moved from a sixth dimension to our three-dimensional world, He did not need to pass through a closed door or a wall. Jesus suddenly appeared from an unseen dimension. No miracle, a part of the natural laws.

          Dimension One: illustrated by a horizontal line for length.
          Dimension Two: A second vertical line for height, illustrated as a square.
          Dimension Three: A third line for depth, illustrated as a cube.
          The following dimensions are not perceivable by a human being, but do have a profound effect upon the universe and reality as we know it.
          Dimension Six: Within this dimension comes the possibility of travel through time, either forward or backward. Within the sixth dimension, Jesus could have moved into the room, without going through the walls, appearing to be a miracle, when in reality, it was absolutely possible according to science.

          It is possible that upon the death of our body, our soul and spirit have access to these other dimensions.

          Similar scientific explanations may be found later to explain every event that we think are miracles, when in fact the are a part of the natural laws. Science does not know all there is about the physical laws which govern the universe. The physical laws of the universe do not define the outcome of events, only the manner in which they must occur. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he still died later. Jesus did not violate the laws of physics He simply displayed His ability to suspend these laws for a moment in time.

          What we find when we really study the text of the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and raising the dead was to suspend the present law of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator and knowledge of how to stop death.

          These are my thought on the miracles issue. Too often people exclude things from their consideration without taking time to try and understand how they could be possible.

        • Greg G.

          I will respond here to your reply below that says it is not active. I appended your text below the second line.
          _____________________________________________________

          These are my thought on the miracles issue. Too often people exclude things from their consideration without taking time to try and understand how they could be possible.

          Being able to access the sixth dimension would itself be a miracle. I think it is more reasonable to consider more mundane events that happen everyday.

          The oldest manuscripts are mostly from John on papyri found in Egypt. John opens with a discussion of Logos, which comes from Greek philosophy that wondered how the immaterial god could interact with the material world so they came up with the Logos. Philo of Alexandria tried to work that into Jewish philosophy. It seems to have influenced John 1:1-18. Since John apparently was familiar with the work of Philo of Alexandria and remnants of his gospel are the most common found around Alexandria, it is not too much of a stretch to think John may have been written with some of the resources in Alexandria which may well have had some of the Pyramid Texts. The Lazarus story in John 11 matches up with material that was likely available in Alexandria without requiring a miracle or actual time travel.

          In Egyptian mythology, Set kills Osiris and Horus raises him from the dead in the city of Anu. Some have suggested that the name Osiris is transliterated from Egyptian to Hebrew to Greek as Osiris -> El-Osiris -> Lazarus. The city of Anu, also known as On, City of the Sun, and Heliopolis, goes through the same process as Anu -> Beth-anu -> Bethany. The name “Martha” is Aramaic for “Mistress (as the female form of master) of the house”. The hieroglphs for Nephthys are a symbol for master with a stroke for the feminine form and the symbol for “enclosure” or “house”. Isis and Nephthys were sisters like Mary and Martha. Osiris was the brother of Isis, Nephthys, and Set.

          The Pyramid Texts are writings on the inside of the tombs of the ancient Pharaohs. None of the tombs have every utterance but the same utterances are found in multiple tombs. Most of the following come from the tomb of Pepi II which has a wall that the writings fell off of. Perhaps that happened in the last 2000 years and was available to ancient pyramidologists. The pyramids were older in the first century than the first century is to us.

          John 11:1
          “Lazarus of Bethany”
          Utterance 307
          Unas Tomb, W 212
          483a N. himself is a Heliopolitan, who was born in Heliopolis,

          John 11:2
          “Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume”
          John 12:3
          “Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet”
          Utterance 576
          Pepi Tomb, P 518
          1511a anointed with the best ointment, clothed in [purple],
          Utterance 685
          Pepi II Tomb,
          2065a Behold N., his feet shall be kissed by the pure waters,

          John 11:3
          “So the sisters sent a message to Jesus”
          Utterance 593
          Menefre Tomb, M206
          1630a Two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, come to thee;
          Utterance 670
          Pepi II Tomb, Funerary Chamber, South Wall, lower east corner, N348
          1973b [at the voice of we]eping of Isis and at the lamentation of Nephthys,

          John 11:11-14
          (11:11) “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”
          (11:13) “Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep.”
          Utterance 670
          Pepi II Tomb, Funerary Chamber, South Wall, lower east corner, N348
          1975a They say to thee, Osiris N., “thou art gone, thou art come;
          1975b thou art asleep, [thou art awake]; thou art [dead (lit. thou landest)], thou art alive.

          John 11:25
          “I am the resurrection and the life.”
          The Book of the Dead 64
          I am Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, for I am born again and again ; mine is the unseen Force, which createth the gods and giveth food to those in the Tuat at the West of Heaven ; I am the Eastern Rudder, the Lord of Two Faces, who seeth by his own light; the Lord of Resurrections, who cometh forth from the dusk and whose birth is from the House of Death.

          John 11:21
          “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here'”
          John 11:32-33
          (11:32) “Mary… said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here”
          (11:33) “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping”
          Utterance 619
          Pepi II Tomb, N588, M399
          1750c Isis weeps for thee; Nephthys calls thee;
          1751a as for ’Imt.t she sits at the feet of thy throne.
          Utterance 667A
          Pepi II Tomb, N340, Nt243
          1947b (Nt. XXX 780). as the mourning-women of Osiris call for thee.

          John 11:38-39a
          “Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.'”
          Utterance 665A
          Pepi II Tomb, N335
          1914c (Nt. 735). This is this N. (for whom) thou, Osiris, shalt open the six doors.
          According to Randel McCraw Helms, Who Wrote the Gospels (p.125), R. O. Faulkner’s translation has:
          The tomb is opened for you, the doors of the tomb-chamber are thrown open for you.
          Utterance 676
          Pepi II Tomb, N411, Nt248
          2009a The tomb is open for thee; the double doors of the coffin are undone for thee;

          John 11:39b
          “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”
          Utterance 412
          Pepi II Tomb, Sarcophagus Chamber, West Wall (end), N33, Nt43, T228, P60, M24
          722a Flesh of N.,
          722b rot not, decay not, let not thy smell be bad.
          Utterance 419
          Pepi II Tomb, N444, T225, M286
          746b Horus has exterminated the evil which was in N. in his four day (term);
          Utterance 670
          Pepi II Tomb, Funerary Chamber, South Wall, lower east corner, N348
          1978c After he had exterminated the evil [which was in N. on] his fourth day,

          John 11:43
          “he cried with a loud voice”
          Utterance 620
          Pepi II Tomb, Sarcophagus Chamber, West Gable only, N11
          1753a To say: I am Horus, Osiris N., I will not let thee sicken.

          John 11:44
          “Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'”
          Utterance 662
          Pepi II Tomb, N388
          1878a Let them who are in their graves, arise; let them undo their bandages.
          Utterance 703
          Pepi II Tomb, Antechamber, South Wall, N615
          2201c O N., live, thou shalt not die.
          2202a Horus comes to thee; he separates thy bandages; he casts off thy bonds.

          _____________________________________________________

          Thanks for great and detailed answers. For the sake of space, I will take just one of your points now that I personally had trouble with a number of years ago, the miracles of Jesus. Are they really miracles, or simply a part of the physical laws, not presently understood fully?

          In string theory within quantum physics, up to eleven dimensions may exist. John records that after Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to them suddenly within a room with a locked door (John 20:19-20). To some, this seems like a miracle, but this event is actually possible within Quantum Mechanics.

          The text does not state that Jesus walked through the walls. John writes that Jesus suddenly appeared before the disciples in the room which they occupied. Quantum physicists who have examined this text state that in order for Jesus to appear suddenly in this room without going through a physical structure, this would require access to a sixth dimension.

          When you or I move from the dimension of length to width, we are able to freely move without encountering a physical barrier. In the same way, when Jesus moved from a sixth dimension to our three-dimensional world, He did not need to pass through a closed door or a wall. Jesus suddenly appeared from an unseen dimension. No miracle, a part of the natural laws.

          Dimension One: illustrated by a horizontal line for length.
          Dimension Two: A second vertical line for height, illustrated as a square.
          Dimension Three: A third line for depth, illustrated as a cube.
          The following dimensions are not perceivable by a human being, but do have a profound effect upon the universe and reality as we know it.
          Dimension Six: Within this dimension comes the possibility of travel through time, either forward or backward. Within the sixth dimension, Jesus could have moved into the room, without going through the walls, appearing to be a miracle, when in reality, it was absolutely possible according to science.

          It is possible that upon the death of our body, our soul and spirit have access to these other dimensions.

          Similar scientific explanations may be found later to explain every event that we think are miracles, when in fact the are a part of the natural laws. Science does not know all there is about the physical laws which govern the universe. The physical laws of the universe do not define the outcome of events, only the manner in which they must occur. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he still died later. Jesus did not violate the laws of physics He simply displayed His ability to suspend these laws for a moment in time.

          What we find when we really study the text of the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and raising the dead was to suspend the present law of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator and knowledge of how to stop death.

          These are my thought on the miracles issue. Too often people exclude things from their consideration without taking time to try and understand how they could be possible.

        • These Things Were Written

          Thank you Greg for these excellent points. It is my view that a number of atheists have acquired a great deal of knowledge and can present evidence to support their assertions. Where my disagreement resides is in what this evidence means. I do not believe that what is shown by atheists as evidence to impeach the four Gospels as unreliable, proves this assertion.

          What their evidence does show is that there are many opinions about what textual variants mean, differences in narratives, and factual truth of the testimony. Even amongst New Testament scholars who have published many successful books and papers, precisely what this data means has wide disagreement.

          In a great number of cases, those who have credentials as New Testament scholars have made clear and purposeful errors in their comments about the four Gospels. Bart Ehrman has written continuously that only the Gospel of John displays clear evidence that Jesus claimed to be God. Upon examination we find that there is absolute certain evidence that all four Gospels display evidence from the mouth of Jesus that He was clearly asserting He is God.

          Charts and illustrations are frequently used to demonstrate that the narratives between the four Gospels are divergent, in a different order, or omitted all together from the other narratives. The untrained believes these are proofs that the Gospels cannot be relied upon when, in fact, these are the very proofs which fully validate them as authentic testimony.

          There is adequate unanimity between these witnesses to demonstrate corroboration, but sufficient variation in their details and particular differences in the accounts to eliminate the assertion of collaboration.

          In professional examination of written text, these same differences are the types of evidence that experts look for to confirm that the testimonies are genuine and can be relied upon.

          The preceding are only a small sampling of how the evidence that atheists assert as proof for the unreliability of the four Gospels, is misread, misunderstood, and misapplied in determining the narratives are false.

        • Greg G.

          Those charts are valid reasons to doubt the gospels. Mark 15:40-41 names Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome plus many other women. But in Mark 16, he names only Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. If there was anybody else, Mark has established that he would say so. The women are told to go tell Peter but they were afraid so they told nobody. The End.

          Many times in Mark, when Jesus tells people to not tell, they tell. When the women are supposed to tell, they don’t. It is an ironic ending.

          Appeal to the other gospels fails because they disagree with their source.

          The Synoptics have Jesus arrested after the passover, John has him arrested before. John makes the change for theological reasons, to have Jesus be like the paschal lamb, whereas Mark had the “Son of the Father” twins being the goats of the Atonement ritual.

          Mark never mentions Joseph. John mentions Jesus’ mother but never by name. There are four women named Mary in John and three of them are named Mary, so it isn’t like John hated the name. The other is Martha, who has a sister named Mary. The three women at the cross are Mary Magdalene, Mary, Jesus’ aunt, and his unnamed mother with a sister named Mary.

          Mark 6:3 gives Jesus’ mother’s name as Mary, and names four brothers. John 6:42 mentions Joseph as his father and his unnamed mother. John doesn’t know what Jesus’ mother’s named was but he seems certain that it was not Mary.

          But what tells me the gospels are not history is that several scholars have independently identified sources for Mark’s material. By themselves, the references and allusions can be seen. But when they are combined, almost all of Mark is accounted for and a pattern of how the use of other literature is consistent. Mark used some Bible tales or Homeric tales and mixed in some Old Testament verses. The Feeding of the 5000 is based on Elisha’s Feeding of the 100 from 2 Kings 4:42-44 combined with one of the feasts attended by Odysseus’ son Telemauchus plus there are allusions to various other OT verses. Why two such mass feedings? Because Telemauchus attended two feasts. He walked to one and sailed to one, and so does Jesus. One feast had nine groups of 500 soldiers so Mark rounded up once and down once.

          Luke makes a change for theological reasons. Mark’s Feeding of the 5000 is in a wilderness area where the people would not find food. Afterward, they are planning to sail to Bethsaida and the disciples go ahead while Jesus goes up the mountain. A storm comes and Jesus walks on the water. They go to Gennasaret for some healings, then go to Bethsaida for a spit miracle.

          Luke moves the feeding to Bethsaida, which doesn’t make logistical sense. There is no need for a miracle meal if they are in a city. In Mark 6:45-6, the disciples get in a boat and Jesus sends the people away, then Jesus goes up the mountain to pray. In Luke 9:18, Jesus is praying with the disciples when he asks the same question he asks them in Mark 8:27. Luke skipped the walking on water, the visit to Gennasaret, the Feeding of the 4000, and the healing of the blind man of Bethsaida.

          This seems to be done for theological reasons. If they intended to go to Bethsaida in Mark 6 and Jesus rescues them, why didn’t Jesus correct their course so the end up in Bethsaida? Luke put them in Bethsaida for the Feeding of the 5000 so Jesus didn’t up in the wrong place and skipped the spit miracle.

          If you can reconcile the issues, it is a testament to your imagination, not the validity of the gospels because the gospels are intentionally disagreeing with one another for theological reasons.

        • These Things Were Written

          Thank you for taking time to give a concise answer. These are superb points and they have very sound answers. I will be busy this weekend but will get an answer back to you by Monday evening.

        • These Things Were Written

          Greg, your comments indicated by —

          —Those charts are valid reasons to doubt the gospels. Mark 15:40-41 names Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome plus many other women. But in Mark 16, he names only Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. If there was anybody else, Mark has established that he would say so. The women are told to go tell Peter but they were afraid so they told nobody. The End.

          Greg you are looking for a symmetry in the four Gospels that would not be present in a true narrative. You are also placing a burden upon these accounts which are impossible to meet because of your expectations. This is the problem with modern New Testament criticism in that it so over analyzes the four Gospels that they cease to exist as they were intended: Four men telling their own version of what happened. It is a common error that people make in assuming that the four Gospels must follow the same chronology, and report the same details of these events. We are reading the accounts of four individuals who each saw the events they describe from their own personal vantage point. Each of these men had a goal in who they were writing their narrative for.

          One of the pieces of evidence that fully validates the authenticity of the four Gospels, is their singularity as four independent reports. It is important to our comprehension of the New Testament Gospels that we understand that these men are writing an account from their own perspectives. As with any group of people who are recounting the same story, some of the witnesses will see things that others did not. These variations in recollection are not contradictions, but great evidence of authenticity. False accounts, and those which are contrived, make certain that all of the witnesses state the same details. If the four Gospels were to fit your definition for validity, they would cease to be valid.

          Matthew intends his Gospel for his fellow Jews. For this reason he includes a genealogy to demonstrate that Jesus is the rightful Messiah, descended from David’s line. Matthew wanted his fellow Jews to understand that Jesus was Messiah because He fulfilled all of the necessary prophecies of Messiah. Ten times after Jesus fulfilled a Hebrew prophecy, Matthew says: “that it might be fulfilled.”

          Mark is presenting Jesus to the Romans audience as a servant. Servants have no need of a genealogy. Mark’s Gospel is short and to the point. Mark shows us Jesus as the servant that Paul describes in Philippians 2 who set aside His rights as God and took the form of a servant to die for us. Mark does not record many of Jesus’ sermons because his emphasis is on what He did rather than what He said.

          Luke is a Greek medical doctor who is intimately knowledgeable in the human condition. For this reason he is writing to the Greeks and showing Jesus’ humanity, compassion. His genealogy demonstrates that Jesus came for all human beings, descended from Adam.

          John’s intention is clear, he wants the reader to understand that Jesus is Yahweh-God, the Creator. As God, Jesus has no beginning and no genealogy, He existed before all other things as Paul wrote in Colossians 1. John focusses on demonstrating that Jesus is God and how he presented this to the leaders of Israel and the world.

          Understanding the reason why each wrote and to whom they were writing, and that each is telling the reader what they remembered, these differences in narrative make perfect sense.

          —Many times in Mark, when Jesus tells people to not tell, they tell. When the women are supposed to tell, they don’t. It is an ironic ending.

          This is precisely the point I made at the beginning: seeing that people did not obey Jesus is what we would expect in a genuine narrative because this is what people do in real life.

          —Appeal to the other gospels fails because they disagree with their source.
          The Synoptics have Jesus arrested after the passover, John has him arrested before. John makes the change for theological reasons, to have Jesus be like the paschal lamb, whereas Mark had the “Son of the Father” twins being the goats of the Atonement ritual.

          Again, the order being different, or the author wanting to demonstrate or highlight a particular event that he is emphasizing, does not diminish the story that is being told. Jesus is still being arrested, and shown as the Passover Lamb. Demanding that all events must be in the same order and describe the same things is not a realistic expectation in a true narrative. These are people in real life situations and what we see reported is evidence that the writer is telling the truth and not making up a story.

          —Mark never mentions Joseph. John mentions Jesus’ mother but never by name. There are four women named Mary in John and three of them are named Mary, so it isn’t like John hated the name. The other is Martha, who has a sister named Mary. The three women at the cross are Mary Magdalene, Mary, Jesus’ aunt, and his unnamed mother with a sister named Mary.

          Why can you not allow Mark to tell us the story that he wants to describe? You insist that he mention Joseph, but this was not important to him or his story. The inclusion of some names and exclusion of others is exactly what we would expect in a true narrative. In accounts where witnesses get together beforehand and agree on their story so that they sound credible, we find that the witnesses all tell the same story. In written testimony where we have four individuals, if it is a true narrative, there will be differences precisely as we see as you have described here.

          —Mark 6:3 gives Jesus’ mother’s name as Mary, and names four brothers. John 6:42 mentions Joseph as his father and his unnamed mother. John doesn’t know what Jesus’ mother’s named was but he seems certain that it was not Mary.

          What if you and I and two other people were all at the scene of an event and there were the characters who are described in the four Gospels. Do you think that when each of us writes our account that they will all be in the same order, mention the same people, or describe the events exactly as the others? Of course not. This never happens in the real world. Because you have read these objections by liberal theologians or New Testament scholars, you have assumed this for your own opinion.

          —But what tells me the gospels are not history is that several scholars have independently identified sources for Mark’s material. By themselves, the references and allusions can be seen. But when they are combined, almost all of Mark is accounted for and a pattern of how the use of other literature is consistent. Mark used some Bible tales or Homeric tales and mixed in some Old Testament verses. The Feeding of the 5000 is based on Elisha’s Feeding of the 100 from 2 Kings 4:42-44 combined with one of the feasts attended by Odysseus’ son Telemauchus plus there are allusions to various other OT verses. Why two such mass feedings? Because Telemauchus attended two feasts. He walked to one and sailed to one, and so does Jesus. One feast had nine groups of 500 soldiers so Mark rounded up once and down once.

          Yes, I have read these “opinions,” by New Testament scholars, but many are preposterous. These commentators seek to conform what the Gospel writers said, into some kind of formula by drawing parallels with events that have nothing to do with what these men were writing about, is completely irrelevant. The Gospel writers are simply telling us what happened. Neither Homer or any other tale had anything to do with the facts they are describing. This is what happens when we do not allow the story to be told in the simplicity it was written and intended. You are correct in your link between the O/T and N/T. There are over 425 Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled from the O/T. There are hundreds of references to the O/T by the writers, and Jesus Himself. This is because the New Testament does not exist in isolation from the Old. The Hebrew prophets predicted a Messiah who would open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear and heal the paralyzed, as the calling card of the true Messiah.

          According to the oblique opinions of some modern New Testament Scholars, they see the four Gospels in bizarre interpretations:

          *Pervo said that the four Gospels were written as Romance Novels.
*Willem van Unnik’s believes that Luke wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts under the model of Lucian in following a set of 10 rules that other ancient historians had used to formulate their narratives.
          *Dennis MacDonald, portrays the Gospels as fiction and sees Mark as intentionally modeled after Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, which is what you described.

          I have read many of these commentaries and there are commonalities amongst them all.

          *They each have different opinions.
          *They each are seeking to outdo the other New Testament scholars with a newest and latest view.
          *They all bring confusion to the text, not clarity.
          *They are all seeking to make the four Gospels something they were never intended.
          *The first rule in correct interpretation of any ancient manuscript is in seeking to understand the text in the simplest terms; what the writers were intending. The four Gospels were accounts written by men who had seen events so extraordinary that even they did not believe them until after Jesus was seen alive after He was crucified. What would you do if you were present when Jesus did the things written of Him in the New Testament? If you had to tell people what you had seen but you were certain no one would believe you, what would you do? You would try… It was only after Jesus went to Jerusalem where He was arrested, crucified, and raised to life on the third day, that these men were certain Jesus was God.

        • Greg G.

          One of the pieces of evidence that fully validates the authenticity of the four Gospels, is their singularity as four independent reports.

          They are not independent. Mark wrote a fictional account. Matthew and Luke copied it, often word for word, letter for letter, jot for jot, and tittle for tittle. John borrowed from Mark, too, but, while not copying verbatim, some rephrases repeat point for point the elements of Mark’s stories.

          If you tell me a story with many inconsistencies, I still might accept the part about you having a cat. If you say you have a 300 pound cat, I will probably doubt that claim, too. If you tell me your 300 pound cat is a smilodon, I will not believe you without extremely good evidence. If you tell me the smilodon is resurrected, excuses for the inconsistencies in your story will be insufficient to make me believe your story.

          Matthew intends his Gospel for his fellow Jews. For this reason he includes a genealogy to demonstrate that Jesus is the rightful Messiah

          I think Matthew knew the Gospel of John. He wrote the genealogy and the nativity to respond to the conundrum presented by John:

          John 7:40-43 (NRSV)40 When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42 Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 43 So there was a division in the crowd because of him.

          The nativity story in Matthew is based on the nativity story of Moses but not from the Bible. Matthew has Joseph getting forewarned in dreams and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 1 has Moses father being forewarned in dreams. AJ 17 tells about King Herod killing people, including his son (an adult), for fear of a prophecy (made by Pharisees). Matthew combined the baby killing in AJ 1 with that. The Pharisees with the gift of prophecy would be Matthew’s model for the Magi. The gifts of the Magi are gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which are involve in temple rituals. They are described in Exodus 30:1-5; 23-25; 34-38 and in JA 3.6.3; 3.6.6; 3.8.3; 3.10.7. There are six ways to order those three items and Matthew uses the order in Antiquities of the Jews 3 which is not the order they are described in Exodus.

          He fulfilled all of the necessary prophecies of Messiah.

          The prophecy was that he would fill the throne of David. Matthew was pulling verses from the OT and making up a story to appear to fulfill it. The reference to Isaiah 7:14 is not about a virgin except in the Septuagint, where the Hebrew word “almah” is used. “Almah” says nothing about the sexual status of a young woman. It is used to refer to an adultress in one place. Matthew 2:23 says they moved to Nazareth to satisfy Judges 13:5 but that is about a Nazirite, which is not somebody from Nazareth.

          We have the literary sources for nearly every passage in Mark. The gospel intertwines stories from some of the most popular literature of the day that we still have it and use it in the same way. Nothing in Mark looks like a real account of an actual event. They don’t even look like original fiction.

          Luke is a Greek medical doctor who is intimately knowledgeable in the human condition. For this reason he is writing to the Greeks and showing Jesus’ humanity, compassion. His genealogy demonstrates that Jesus came for all human beings, descended from Adam.

          The medical doctor idea is inferred from Colossians 4:14 (doctor), 2 Timothy 4:11 (traveling with Paul), and the “we” passages in Acts. Most scholars do not think Colossians was written by Paul and even fewer think 2 Timothy was written by Paul. Matthew, Luke, and Acts rely heavily on Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews and Luke relies on Matthew which makes it very unlikely that Acts was produced in the first century.

          Luke seems to have known John, too, but mostly rejected it. But he accepted the challenge and had to refute Matthew’s genealogy because it was so poor and the baby-killing in the nativity. Matthew made a big deal about there being three sets of fourteen generations. His first two sets had 14 names but the second set omitted four names in the Bible genealogy while an included name had a curse put on his offspring. Most damning is that the third set of fourteen names has only 13 names. Matthew seems to be so confused that he counted the Babylonian exile as a generation.

          John’s intention is clear, he wants the reader to understand that Jesus is Yahweh-God, the Creator. As God, Jesus has no beginning and no genealogy, He existed before all other things as Paul wrote in Colossians 1. John focusses on demonstrating that Jesus is God and how he presented this to the leaders of Israel and the world.

          Mark had Jesus as a regular person who was the 10,000th customer baptized, or something like that. God adopted him and Jesus became a nazirite. John added some of Philo’s ideas to the legend.

          This is precisely the point I made at the beginning: seeing that people did not obey Jesus is what we would expect in a genuine narrative because this is what people do in real life.

          Why couldn’t that be written into a story about a Messiah that failed?

          Again, the order being different, or the author wanting to demonstrate or highlight a particular event that he is emphasizing, does not diminish the story that is being told. Jesus is still being arrested, and shown as the Passover Lamb. Demanding that all events must be in the same order and describe the same things is not a realistic expectation in a true narrative. These are people in real life situations and what we see reported is evidence that the writer is telling the truth and not making up a story.

          John has Jews worried about becoming defiled and not being able to eat the passover. If Jesus is killed after preparation day for the passover, he is not analogous to the passover lamb. This shows the story was still being made up.

          Why can you not allow Mark to tell us the story that he wants to describe? You insist that he mention Joseph, but this was not important to him or his story.

          Neither the name of Mary or Joseph is important in Mark or John. It is just that John goes out of his way to mention Jesus’ mom and not say “Mary”.

          The inclusion of some names and exclusion of others is exactly what we would expect in a true narrative.

          But it is remarkable that so many names and places in Mark are also found in Josephus’ Jewish Wars. I cannot think of any references to the name “Mary” in any Christian literature older than Mark nor any non-Christian literature older than Jewish Wars but I haven’t attempted a search. John may have thought Mark got the name from Jewish Wars 6.3.4 §201-213 and rejected the name because Josephus’ account was so repulsive.

          What if you and I and two other people were all at the scene of an event and there were the characters who are described in the four Gospels. Do you think that when each of us writes our account that they will all be in the same order, mention the same people, or describe the events exactly as the others? Of course not. This never happens in the real world. Because you have read these objections by liberal theologians or New Testament scholars, you have assumed this for your own opinion.

          It never happens in the real world because witnesses are not permitted to copy from one another. But they were not writing about anything that actually happened. They were adding stuff to one another’s stories with stuff from the OT and even Christian writings.

          Yes, I have read these “opinions,” by New Testament scholars, but many are preposterous. These commentators seek to conform what the Gospel writers said, into some kind of formula by drawing parallels with events that have nothing to do with what these men were writing about, is completely irrelevant. The Gospel writers are simply telling us what happened. Neither Homer or any other tale had anything to do with the facts they are describing.

          There were not describing facts, they were combining elements from fictional literature to create fiction.

          This is because the New Testament does not exist in isolation from the Old. The Hebrew prophets predicted a Messiah

          That much is true. But none of it happened. Many of the so-called OT prophecies were just verses turned into a factoid about Jesus to make it look like a prophecy. The primary prophecy about filling David’s throne never happened.

          *Pervo said that the four Gospels were written as Romance Novels.
*Willem van Unnik’s believes that Luke wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts under the model of Lucian in following a set of 10 rules that other ancient historians had used to formulate their narratives.
          *Dennis MacDonald, portrays the Gospels as fiction and sees Mark as intentionally modeled after Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, which is what you described.

          I hadn’t heard Pervo say that but that may be correct for Mark. The others had to have known they were making stuff up. I do not know Unnik but maybe. I do follow MacDonald’s ideas.

          *They each have different opinions.
          *They each are seeking to outdo the other New Testament scholars with a newest and latest view.
          *They all bring confusion to the text, not clarity.
          *They are all seeking to make the four Gospels something they were never intended.

          Each is addressing what they do. Some point to the Homeric epics. Some point to the OT verses. Some point out the Apocrypha. Some point to other literature. But they are not comparing notes with one another. A passage in Mark is often a combination of a passage from Homer with OT verses added for seasoning. Robert M. Price compiled the work of many of the scholars who have identified sources for the gospels and Acts. He found that almost all of Mark has been accounted for.

          New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash [LINK] by Robert M. Price

          *The first rule in correct interpretation of any ancient manuscript is in seeking to understand the text in the simplest terms; what the writers were intending. The four Gospels were accounts written by men who had seen events so extraordinary that even they did not believe them until after Jesus was seen alive after He was crucified. What would you do if you were present when Jesus did the things written of Him in the New Testament? If you had to tell people what you had seen but you were certain no one would believe you, what would you do? You would try… It was only after Jesus went to Jerusalem where He was arrested, crucified, and raised to life on the third day, that these men were certain Jesus was God.

          You are giving the first rule in gullibility. You have not shown that any of the gospels are true. You are only trying to make excuses for why they are such poor evidence for what you are desperate to believe.

          Of all the stories of resurrections in ancient literature, you have given no good reason to think this is the only True Resurrection™. One consistent account would be better than four inconsistent accounts that copied from one another.

        • Pofarmer

          And, even if they were independent, who cares? They could be four different stories about the same tall tales. This isn’t uncommon in folk lore.

        • These Things Were Written

          By independent, I mean that they were written by four individuals. Although you may have a theory that some borrowed from others, there is no evidence to support this supposition other than conjecture. If you mean that some of the stories are identical, this is again, a characteristic of genuine testimony. Along with the differences, this makes for a certain true narrative.

          This is a an error Greg in assuming that you know that Matthew imitated Joseph from the Old Testament. There is no evidence that this is true, it is, again, conjecture used to try and discredit a true narrative.

          It must be tremendous to look into the mind of a man who wrote a narrative 2,000 years ago and know for certain what he was thinking, what his motives were, and that he stole stories from others in order to make up a narrative about Jesus. For what purpose? These people who wrote these narrative lost everything because of their testimony. They did not become rich or start a new religion. They simply told their story, truthfully and the internal evidence of this text clearly proves that they were telling the truth. There are artifacts in how words are chosen, syntax, usage of “I”, and very detailed descriptions that tell us that these are genuine accounts. Your theories about contrivance are fantasies that cannot be supported by any evidence other than speculation.

          Where is the evidence that Luke took up a challenge to “refute” Matthew’s genealogy? Where is the evidence that he considered it “poor?” Do you have access to secret writings that impeaches what the four writers wrote or is this just hearsay and conjecture, because there is no evidence in the historical recored to support your allegations? These idea you presented are mere fantasies of someone who wants to discredit the Gospels but bear no resemblance to truth. Show evidence to support your assertions, other than conjecture.

          According to the Gospel of Matthew: Through Joseph’s genealogy, Jesus came from Abraham and David. The Messiah must come from the seed of Abraham and be from the house of David. This genealogy in Matthew, showing that Jesus came through Joseph’s line, proves that Jesus has the Legal right to the throne of David.

          Mary’s genealogy in the Gospel of Luke, traces Jesus’ line all the way back to Adam, validating that He was qualified to be the Second Adam and Savior of all men. Mary’s genealogy proves that Jesus has the Physical right to be the Messiah.

          Although Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, He did convey to Jesus the legal right to the throne as the Messiah. Joseph, as his stepfather, was descended from David and Abraham. If you carefully examine Joseph’s Genealogy, which is given by Matthew, you will see a man by the name of Jeconiah.

          In the Book of Jeremiah 22:30, the Lord pronounces a “curse” upon the entire line of Jeconiah: Jeremiah 22:30. No descendent of Jeconiah could ever be the Messiah. This presents a huge problem because the Messiah must come from the line of David. Jeconiah is from the line of David down to Joseph, who is the stepfather of Jesus. If Joseph had been the birth father of Jesus, then Jesus would have been disqualified from sitting on the throne of David, because He is descended from the line of Jeconiah, in whom, no one from his line could sit on the throne of David.

          This presented a problem for the future fulfillment of prophecies that concern the Messiah who would come from one of the descendants of Jeconiah. We notice that Jesus is from Jeconiah’s line in Matthew 1:11 of this chapter. Matthew 1:11,16 Josiah begot Jeconiah… 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

          The genealogy that Matthew presents to us, is for Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather. According to this curse placed by God, upon all of those who come from Jeconiah, neither Joseph nor any of his sons could sit on the the throne as the king of Israel. This would disqualify Jesus as the Messiah, except for one important fact: Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father; Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

          In this prophecy, we see how important the virgin birth of Jesus truly is. Had Joseph been the source of Mary’s conception, it would be impossible for Jesus to fulfill of all the prophecies of the Messiah. The precision and detail to which God made certain that Jesus is uniquely qualified as the Savior, is truly amazing.

          ~The Messiah must prove that He is descended from Abraham and David; God makes prophecies that require this.
          ~God curses the line of Jeconiah because of his evil; no descendent can be the King of Israel (the Messiah).
          ~God chooses a line of descendants for the Messiah that includes Jeconiah, and Joseph, leading to Jesus.
          ~Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by Joseph.
          ~Joseph conveys the legal right for Jesus to be the Messiah as His stepfather, while avoiding the curse that comes from the bloodline of Jeconiah.
          ~Mary’s line of descendants, also comes through Abraham and David, but not through Jeconiah.
          ~ Mary’s conception of Jesus is by the Holy Spirit, allowing Jesus to be born without inheriting the sin of Adam, as well as following a line of descendants that excludes Jeconiah.

          There is no conflict between the two genealogies of Jesus. Each was placed in the text to prove two different lines. One through Solomon, the other through Nathan

          Joseph was not Jesus’ Biological father. He was born of the Holy Spirit; therefore, His Father was God. Jesus received His legal right to the throne of David through Joseph’s line. However, He received the physical right to be the Messiah by blood, through Mary’s Line. Jesus is not a part of the cursed line of Jeconiah; He is eternal, having His origin from eternity.

          Through Joseph’s line Jesus received the legal right to be king
          Abraham-David-Jeconiah (cursed)-Joseph (stepfather)-Jesus

          Through Mary’s line, Jesus received His physical right to be be king
          Adam-Abraham-David-Heli-Mary-Jesus (conceived by the Holy Spirit)

          When God pronounced His curse upon Jeconiah’s line it would mean that everyone from the line of Jeconiah was disqualified as the Messiah, including Jesus. Except that David had two sons, Nathan and Solomon.

          Joseph came from Solomon’s line, from where Jeconiah was cursed and no son could ever be the Messiah.

          Mary came from Nathan’s line, from where Jesus was qualified to sit on David’s throne.

          This is why we have two Genealogies in both Matthew and Luke, so that we can see that Jesus is qualified to be the Messiah—because He is from the Tribe of Judah, from where Genesis 49:10 states the ruler must come. Jesus is also qualified to be the Messiah because He is descended from Adam, Abraham, and David.

        • you may have a theory that some borrowed from others, there is no evidence to support this supposition other than conjecture.

          How stupid do you think we are? Matt and Luke copied verbatim many passages from Mark!

          In the first place, that makes one wonder what the hell you’re talking about. In the second, it makes clear that Matthew and Luke (for starters) weren’t eyewitness testimony. Eyewitnesses don’t copy someone else’s stuff.

        • These Things Were Written

          How does identical text prove that the four gospels are not reliable?

          I have sat at the table and read testimonies between two witnesses and in some of their testimony in recounting events, they used the exact same sentences. This, although they never had the opportunity to talk about their testimony in advance.

          These Gospels are not Identical, they are distinguishably different, yet described the same events. Some mention details that others omit. These are classic signs of genuine testimony.

          Second, taking down dictation from witnesses who were at the scene of an event is still eyewitness testimony.

          Luke at the commencement of his Gospels states: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account.”

          Luke states that he went back from the beginning of Jesus’ story and received what he wrote from “eyewitnesses.” Luke said that he had “perfect understanding of all things FROM THE VERY FIRST, and this enables him to write an orderly account.

          Mark is acting similarly as the scribe of Peter: writing the eye witness testimony of what Peter saw and heard.

        • How does identical text prove that the four gospels are not reliable?

          Not what I said . . . but you knew that, didn’t you?

          It proves what I said above. I bet you can scroll up.

        • These Things Were Written

          –“How stupid do you think we are? Matt and Luke copied verbatim many passages from Mark!”

          –“How does identical text prove that the four gospels are not reliable?”

          Is there a difference in your mind between Verbatim and identical in describing the text that you assert was copied from Mark?

          Verbatim: word for word
          Identical: exactly the same

          You do know that the New Testament quotes the Old Testament “Verbatim” also? Does this invalidate either of these texts?

        • Greg G.

          You do know that the New Testament quotes the Old Testament “Verbatim” also? Does this invalidate either of these texts?

          Do you know that means the New Testament is not independent of the Old Testament? There are many verbatim quotes from the Septuagint.

          Verbatim text means copied text which does not validate either. The copy is as right or wrong as the original.

        • taking down dictation from witnesses who were at the scene of an events is still eyewitness testimony.

          So then the authors of Matthew and Luke weren’t eyewitnesses themselves? Interesting. Few conservatives will admit that about Matthew. Good for you for embracing the evidence.

          Mark is acting similarly as the scribe of Peter

          Is he, now? How do you know?

        • Greg G.

          By independent, I mean that they were written by four individuals. Although you may have a theory that some borrowed from others, there is no evidence to support this supposition other than conjecture.

          The evidence is that nearly every passage in Mark can be shown to have a precedent in the literature of the day. There are elements of a story used in the same order or in reverse order that fit with the chiasms in Mark. It is the density and frequency of the similarities that should wear you out if you try to say “coincidence” that many times.

          In Matthew, we see lots of verbatim passages from Mark. Matthew uses about 90% of Mark, leaving out things like spit miracles, miracles that do not appear to be immediate, and the naked boy with Jesus in Gethsemane. Matthew adds some Jesus monologues. Christian scholars have noted the similarities of the topics between Jesus talking in Matthew and the topics of the Epistle of James who never quotes Jesus. We also see an inordinate number of identical phrases shared between Matthew and James but are nowhere else in the New Testament, and almost all of them are found in the words of Jesus. James’ arguments would have been stronger if he could have added “Jesus said” to them but he didn’t.

          Luke follows Mark’s outline very closely until chapter 10 where Jesus journeys to Jerusalem while Luke seems to be borrowing topics from Deuteronomy in order, until returning to Mark’s outline in Luke 18:15.

          The editorial fatigue factor is also apparent. There are places where Matthew begins a passage making a correction to Mark’s text but returns to copying Mark’s error later on in the passage. We see Luke doing this with Mark and with Matthew, too, which proves they were copying from each other. See the link I gave you by Robert M. Price. Mark Goodacre also covers these and other evidence of Luke copying Matthew.

          Don’t say there is no evidence. There is evidence for almost all of the gospels for their sources and their copying one another.

          It must be tremendous to look into the mind of a man who wrote a narrative 2,000 years ago and know for certain what he was thinking, what his motives were, and that he stole stories from others in order to make up a narrative about Jesus.

          No, you see so many topic by topic matches and verbatim matches, it is absurd to think they were not copying.

          Where is the evidence that Luke took up a challenge to “refute” Matthew’s genealogy? Where is the evidence that he considered it “poor?”

          I pointed out the problems with Matthew’s genealogy. Those are the parts Luke didn’t use. The part of Matthew’s geneaolgy that matches up the OT texts, Luke used. Joseph can have only one genealogy. Matthew can’ follow the OT texts, nor could he count to 14 consistently. This is obvious. Luke’s genealogy has nothing to do with Mary. It clearly says “Joseph”.

          Mary came from Nathan’s line, from where Jesus was qualified to sit on David’s throne.

          Nathan’s line was never in line for the throne.

          You are attempting to show that it is theological but you are not showing it is true. Go to the Price link and see the evidence of the sources the gospel authors employed. The evidence shows that it was all invented fiction. Much of it is based on some of Paul’s letters but everything Paul said about Jesus comes from the OT. When we look at the Pseudo-Paulines, they refer to Jesus with information from the OT. And the General Epistles, too. Only 1 Timothy and 2 Peter speak of Jesus doing anything in the first century and those passages are ripped out of the fictional gospels.

        • richardrichard2013

          “Do you think that when each of us writes our account that they will all be in the same order, mention the same people, or describe the events exactly as the others? Of course not. This never happens in the real world. ”

          luke is aware of written material.
          notice how luke drops matthews angel story and sticks to marks order and wording when he has the women coming to the tomb?

        • Greg G.

          You responded to TTWW post http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/human-sacrifice-in-the-bible-2-of-2-2/#comment-3869925561

          Your response was at

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/human-sacrifice-in-the-bible-2-of-2-2/#comment-3871877364

          I read it and tried to commend you on it but it not showing up. Disqus said it was not active, then when I tried to open it in another window, it wasn’t there.

          I think at the end you meant “verse 16:8”. The text was:

          “he reason that there are identical text is that all three saw the same events and it is reasonable that they would write the same depictions, even using the same words. The differences between the three in how Matthew and Luke recorded additional parables, and miracles from the Gospels of Mark, allows the reader to understand that they are not copies of Mark, but separate and distinct Gospels written for a different audience, to show Jesus in a distinct manner, as Messiah (Matthew), Servant ) Mark, Man, (Luke), and God (John).”

          mark :
          the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

          matthew :

          So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

          QUESTIONS :

          what is interesting is the ending of the gospels. matthew has the women REPORT AFTER leaving the tomb. why DID matthew add “great joy” when “fear” OVERCAME the women in mark and “fear” caused them to be quite?

          why is an EYEWITNESS using markan WORDING even when he is disagreeing with mark? he should use his eyewitness wording, not REVERSING what the text before him says.

          “There are several scenes in Mark for which there could have been no witnesses at all, including the temptations, the prayer at Gethsemane and the trial before the Sanhedrin. Mark even claims to know what people were thinking “in their hearts” in 2:6. Mark is not supposed to be read as a memoir but as revelation and he is revealing the tomb as a secret to his audience. It would make no sense to end his Gospel the way he did if he meant to imply the women later told anybody and the fact that all of the other gospels are forced to independently invent their own contradictory endings shows that there could not have been any strong oral tradition about even by the time Luke and John were being written around the turn of the 1st Century. As soon as they lose Mark as a guideline, they fly off in different directions, and ll of them drop any indication that the women were afraid to tell anybody”

          since matthew and luke had no external eyewitness testimony for the story about women running from the tomb and since it came from marks mind, it makes sense why matthew was forced to change the story and why luke was forced to change the story.

          the story about the women running away from the tomb came out of marks brain.

          why is not mark showing the fulfilment of mark 14:28? if he really wanted his women to report he would have had 14:28 fulfilled, unless 14:28 was never suppose to be fulfilled coz it was never part of mark. mark made sure the message never got to the 11, he says “the women said nothing to anyone”

          If one were only to read Mark without any knowledge of the other gospels, one would never conclude that the women told anybody.

          this is exactly what matthew and luke were thinking and thats why they change the ending , otherwise they would have kept VERSE 16 and added the additions like we find the later scribes doing by adding verses after verse 16

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 1:8 says, “Joram became the father of Uzziah.” 2 Kings 14:1 and 2 Chronicles 25:1 tell us that Amaziah was the father or Uzziah. 2 Kings 11:2 and 2 Chronicles 22:11 tell us that Joash was the father of Amaziah. 2 Kings 8:24 and 2 Chronicles 22:1 tell is that Ahaziah was the father of Amaziah. 2 Chronicles 21:16-17 says Joram was the father of Ahaziah.

          Matthew makes a big deal about the fourteen generations. This is probably numerology crap. David’s name in Hebrew numerology is 14:

          D + V + D = 4 + 6 + 4 = 14

          So Matthew’s genealogy leaves much to be desired, doesn’t it? His whole thesis collapses.

          The prophecies refer to David’s seed, which means a male line, so Mary isn’t in the running. But if we do allow female lineage, then the numbers make it statistically impossible for someone born in that region two thousand years ago to not be a descendant of Solomon and David.

          Matthew’s genealogy goes back 30 generations to David’s grandchildren when his missing generations are included. Luke’s genealogy goes back 40 generations to David’s grandchildren. To find the number of ancestors in a given generation, you raise 2 to the power of how many generations back. So that means Jesus would have between a billion and over a trillion ancestors. The population of the earth was no more than about 120 million around the time of David’s grandchildren, so counting everyone on Earth as potential ancestors means each would be an ancestor between 8 and 8,000 times over. Limiting it to a more reasonable population pool multiplies the number of times each person would be an ancestor.

          The Bible names only four children from Solomon but it says that Solomon had 700 wives who were of royal lineage. If their primary purpose was for political alliances, we would have to assume the 300 concubines were for more active interactions, and would likely produce many children. So a person born at the beginning of the first century in that region is likely to be descended from Solomon through millions of different lineages. That makes the whole genealogy claims trivial.

          But we know that Matthew’s is wrong because of the biblical record. The post-Exile records of both are not textually supported and many of the names in Luke’s lineage are very similar to Josephus’ lineage and Luke used Josephus a lot. Josephus’ lineage is Hasmonean, so any descent from David would be incidental through the exponential factors of descent.

          Also notice that the number of generations from David is significantly different between Matthew and Luke. To have one line consistently reproducing in their twenties and the other reproducing in their thirties for centuries within the same culture is implausible.

        • These Things Were Written

          Part 1: Jesus Directed The Writing Of HIs Record

          Parts 2,3, follow this post.

          It is interesting that so many can derive so much from so little. As I have read the opinions of many here, I was struck by the constant and insistent demands for attention to the conclusions of the liberal New Testament scholar. As one who has read a great number of these hypothesis, I am always entertained by the fastidious attention to details that the modern critics make, which do not exist in the four Gospels.

          One should not conclusively come away with the idea that the four Gospels are not reliable, simply by reading the opinions of men who see fantastical scenarios which have never existed in the text of these four writers.

          About thirty years and some months ago, I was fortunate to be a part of a large group which undertook an extensive exploration of the New Testament text simply by studying the text itself, independent of any other commentary. One thing that I have noticed about all who endorse the spurious intentions of the Gospel writers to deceive us, or cause the reader to believe they are not telling us the truth, is the likely certainty that any here in this forum have shouldered even a six month analysis of the four gospel texts as a single narrative apart from an external commentary.

          Those who do study the four Gospels independent of the opinions of men, find a completely different set of conclusions. These conclusions lead to a determination that the narrative is genuine and written sincerely to tell the world the story of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection.

          Jesus said that He would preserve the precise words He wanted written about His life, death, and resurrection.

          And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. ~John 15:27

          1. Jesus said that he was leaving many things unrevealed. John 16:12
          2. He said that this revelation of Him would not be complete until after the Spirit came to “guide you into all truth.” John 16:12

          Jesus stated that the disciples would be able to remember everything that they saw and heard after He was gone, when He sent the Spirit to bring all of these things that happened to their remembrance.

          “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” ~John 14:25-26

          “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” ~John 16:12-14

          3. Jesus outlined beforehand, the precise elements of New Testament revelation:

          a. Historical: “I will bring all things to your remembrance.” John 14:26
          b. Doctrinal interpretation of the historical facts: “I will teach you all things.” John 14:26 and 16:14
          c. The Prophetic Interpretation: “I will show you things to come.” John 16:13

          4. Jesus chose certain men to witness and receive this knowledge for preservation: Mathew. 28:19; John 15:27; 16:13; Acts 1:8; 9:15-17).
          5. Jesus gave authority to these men to speak for Him, precisely the same authority of His own words: Matthew 10:14-15; Luke 10:16; John. 13:20; 15:20; 17:20; In. 1 Corinthians 14:37, we see that Paul was consciousness of this authority given to Him by Jesus.
          6. Jesus expected these men to record this revelation of Him in the four Gospels: John 17:20 and Acts 1:8, He knew this would be the only way an accurate witness of Him could be transmitted to future generations.
          7. Jesus knew that the witness of Him would also be recorded by men who were outside His original Apostles: Mark and Luke, John 17:6-9, Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 3:4-5, and they would record these words about Jesus in the four Gospels and the New Testament, John 17:14,20, Romans 16:25-26, 2 Timothy 3:16.

          “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…”

          This Knowledge Imparted To these Men, Comes By The Spirit, Not By The Wisdom Of Men:

          These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things. 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

          The Honesty Of The Writers:

          “So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery. For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6

          The Text Itself Proves They Were Eyewitnesses

          Matthew:

          This witness establishes himself as an eyewitness by the internal evidence of his accounts. Matthew reports in the first person narrative as he describes events he observes and was present at. Matthew was present when Jesus identified Himself as God before the Pharisees (Matthew 26:62-66), during His miracles (Matthew records 23 of 40 miracles), and during Jesus’ crucifixion and after Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28: 16-17).

          We can see within the text that Matthew was specifically chosen by Jesus because he possessed writing skills and an ability to remember many specific details required from a Tax Collector. It is clear by many Judaistic usages of Hebrew scripture that Matthew was likely a Jew. Evidence of this is found internally within the text as Matthew has a keen interest in demonstrating that the Hebrew scriptures of Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus.

          Matthew shows his clear intent to write his narrative of Jesus to his fellow Jews who were interested in whether Jesus was the true Messiah. We see evidence that Matthew is the true author by his great efforts in demonstrating that Jesus fulfilled the Hebrew prophecies of Messiah:

          Matthew notes that Isaiah wrote concerning the Messiah that He would have the power of miracles:

          Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. ~Isaiah 35:5-6

          Matthew records the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that Jesus had the power of miracles:

          Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” ~Matthew 11:4-6

          Mark:

          Mark was the traveling companion of Peter, who led him to Christ (Peter 5:13, Acts 12:11-12). Peter was likely not literate and able to record his testimony of Jesus. Mark was his natural choice to take his eyewitness testimony. This is the probable reason Mark is short and to the point; this is how Peter spoke in his life and this is in evidence in Mark’s Gospel. Peter later wrote himself that his testimony of Jesus was not according to old fables, but by eyewitness testimony of things he saw and heard from Jesus.

          “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” ~2 Peter 1:16-18

          Luke:

          Luke describes his intention to write to his Greek audience by doing as any Greek scholar would do; interviewing the eyewitnesses and presenting an intelligent and precise narrative. “Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account.” Luke 1:1-3

          Luke states clearly that he used the eyewitness reports that were circulating among the early disciples, and that he carefully investigated EVERYTHING from the beginning of Jesus birth, till His death and resurrection so that he could present an accurate account.

          In McCormick On Evidence; concerning the Federal Rules for Evidence, it is noted that, “While the law is exacting in demanding first-hand observation, it is not so impractical as to insist upon preciseness of attention by the witness in observing or certainty of recollection in recounting the facts.” In other words, the taking of eyewitness testimony by a scribe or person taking dictation of the events, is accepted by the court as a legal representation of eyewitness testimony.

          John

          This was the only disciple who remained with Jesus throughout His crucifixion and for this reason, he was given a greater revelation of the events by Jesus Himself. John repeatedly states that He saw these events of Jesus miracles, His crucifixion, and that He was alive after being killed, with his own eyes. He states that he knows he is telling the truth and is not lying and that he wrote his gospel for the intent purpose of preserving an eyewitness account of what really happened.

          Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about what Jesus said and did; John tells us why He did these things.

          We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands….we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. …We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. … We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. ~1 John 1:1-4

          And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. ~John 19:35

          Paul:

          1 Corinthians 11:23-23, …I received this from Jesus…

          1 Corinthians 7:10-11, …I give instructions from Jesus…
          
2 Corinthians 12:9, …Jesus told me…

          1 Corinthians 15:51-52, …I tell you a mystery… (revealed to Paul by Jesus)

          Acts 20:35, …I remember the words of Jesus…
          
1 Thessalonians 4:15 …For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…

        • Michael Neville

          Jesus Directed The Writing Of HIs Record

          How can an imaginary, non-existent, pretend, fictitious character direct anything? Got any evidence that this Jew with the Hispanic first name was a real person? Remember that the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible isn’t evidence for atheists.

        • Greg G.

          One should not conclusively come away with the idea that the four Gospels are not reliable, simply by reading the opinions of men who see fantastical scenarios which have never existed in the text of these four writers.

          It has always been there. Religious presuppositions blind a person from reality.

          About thirty years and some months ago, I was fortunate to be a part of a large group which undertook an extensive exploration of the New Testament text simply by studying the text itself, independent of any other commentary.

          You should have been comparing it to the most popular literature in the first and second centuries.

          Those who do study the four Gospels independent of the opinions of men, find a completely different set of conclusions. These conclusions lead to a determination that the narrative is genuine and written sincerely to tell the world the story of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection.

          Jesus said that He would preserve the precise words He wanted written about His life, death, and resurrection.

          And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. ~John 15:27

          1. Jesus said that he was leaving many things unrevealed. John 16:12
          2. He said that this revelation of Him would not be complete until after the Spirit came to “guide you into all truth.” John 16:12

          You are filling in the blanks with your own imagination. There are 45,000 different denominations and even more diverse versions in the early days because people disagree on what should fill the blanks. All of this makes Jesus in John 17:20-23 the biggest prayer failure of all time.

          3. Jesus outlined beforehand, the precise elements of New Testament revelation:

          a. Historical: “I will bring all things to your remembrance.” John 14:26
          b. Doctrinal interpretation of the historical facts: “I will teach you all things.” John 14:26 and 16:14
          c. The Prophetic Interpretation: “I will show you things to come.” John 16:13

          It is two millennia later and this hasn’t worked out either.

          The Honesty Of The Writers:

          “So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery. For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6

          “just to get your money” Isn’t that what a con man would say? In 1 Corinthians 9:3-12, Paul is telling the Corinthians that they should support him, as if someone has suggested that they shouldn’t.

          1 Corinthians 9:11-12 (NRSV)11 If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?

          Paul actually says he deserves more than any other apostles they support. You read the Bible with one eye closed with your thumb on the scale.

          This witness establishes himself as an eyewitness by the internal evidence of his accounts. Matthew reports in the first person narrative as he describes events he observes and was present at. Matthew was present when Jesus identified Himself as God before the Pharisees (Matthew 26:62-66), during His miracles (Matthew records 23 of 40 miracles), and during Jesus’ crucifixion and after Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28: 16-17).

          Matthew 26:57-68 is copied from Mark 14:53-72. The miracle stories should clue an adult into the fact you are reading fiction. I count Matthew having 22 of 36 miracles in the gospels but they are modified miracles from literary sources. Where are the spit miracles in Matthew? Did he miss them or did he reject Mark’s account of them?

          Matthew copied almost all of Mark. I think he got some details from John. He made up the genealogy from the OT but screwed it up big time by missing generations and miscounting the generations he added to the OT narrative lineages. He invented the nativity from reading Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews.

          Mark took the “pillars,” Peter, John, and James, from Galatians 2:9 and made them Jesus’ Three Stooges, with Peter being Curly, so he got mentioned more. Of the disciples listed in Mark, only Andrew and Judas Iscariot are mentioned after they were introduced. Mark took passages from the Homeric epics, Philo, the OT, a few Pauline epistles, then melded them with OT allusions to create the gospel. All of the other gospels borrowed from Mark.

          2 Peter is a forgery. The passage you quote is taken from Matthew’s version as it is the only one with language taken from the baptism encounter. Matthew wasn’t there. That should be a clue for you that Matthew is making stuff up and 2 Peter is forged. Everything in Mark is immediately but they wait six days before going up to the mountain. That is because the passage is modeled on Moses waiting six days on the mountain from Exodus 24:13-18.

          Luke describes his intention to write to his Greek audience by doing as any Greek scholar would do; interviewing the eyewitnesses and presenting an intelligent and precise narrative.

          Luke didn’t interview anybody. He used Mark, Matthew, the OT, especially Deuteronomy, Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, and John while assuming some of them were eyewitnesses. He mostly rejected John.

          John

          This was the only disciple who remained with Jesus throughout His crucifixion and for this reason, he was given a greater revelation of the events by Jesus Himself. John repeatedly states that He saw these events of Jesus miracles, His crucifixion, and that He was alive after being killed, with his own eyes. He states that he knows he is telling the truth and is not lying and that he wrote his gospel for the intent purpose of preserving an eyewitness account of what really happened

          John 21:24 says it was written by somebody recording another person’s account. But the gospel has accounts that are Mark’s fiction.

          Paul:

          1 Corinthians 11:23-23, …I received this from Jesus…
1 Corinthians 7:10-11, …I give instructions from Jesus…
          2 Corinthians 12:9, …Jesus told me…
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, …I tell you a mystery… (revealed to Paul by Jesus)
Acts 20:35, …I remember the words of Jesus…
          1 Thessalonians 4:15 …For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…

          1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is part of an interpolation. There is a pattern set up where there is an exhortation, a question, and an answer using the same metaphors and pronouns as the question. But the third round of the sequence lacks the answer. But the answer shows up in 1 Corinthians 11:30-31, marking an interpolation seam. The bit you reference probably comes from Luke’s version that he got from Mark’s original story.

          In the others, the word used is “Lord”, not “Jesus”. 1 Corinthians 14:21 is another “says the Lord” passage but it is quoting from Isaiah 28:11-12, so you should read those verses as allusions to the OT scripture.

          1 Corinthians 7:10-11 is an allusion to Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
          2 Corinthians 12:9 is an allusion to 1 Kings 19:12.
          1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, and Philippians 3:20-21 present what can be found in Isaiah 26:19-21a, Daniel 7:11a, 13a; 12:2, and Isaiah 25:8a.

          You missed:
          1 Corinthians 9:13-14, which is an allusion to Deuteronomy 18:3-8.

          When Paul talks about a mystery, he is talking about reading the OT through midrash which is applying scriptures to one another to invent new insights. It doesn’t guarantee that the insights will be true or useful. They could be dangerous. Paul and the Jews who defended Jerusalem against the Romans were operating under the belief that the Messiah would return during their own lifetime.

          Romans 16:25-27
          25 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

          Paul didn’t get his messages from the Lord telepathically. He read stuff in the scriptures and pretended any idea that popped into his head was a revelation.

        • Pofarmer

          They should have been comparing the NT to reality.

        • That’s weird, because the analysis of the gospels that I’ve undertaken shows them to be the imperfect works of man and nothing more. But I guess that’s just my fault or something?

          And, BTW, it has been a bucket list thing for me to help you spread your drivel thoughts with my blog. Thank you for dropping in your long essay. I can now die happy.

        • These Things Were Written

          Part 2: Evidence That Matthew Is The Author Of The Gospels That Bears His Name

          There is tremendous internal evidence within the text of Matthew’s Gospels, as well as external, historical evidence to prove he is the genuine author.

          Matthew is referred by name on fourteen occasions throughout the history of the church as the author, from 70 A.D to 400 A.D.

          The earliest copy of this Gospel was ascribed to Matthew in 125 A.D. Papias describes the “logia,” the words or oracles, which Matthew had collected.

          In the Didache, Ignatius, and the Shepherd of Hermas describes Matthew.

          The style of writing that is presented to us in this Gospel is unmistakably the style of a Palestinian Jew like Matthew:

          In the text we see that the writer is well acquainted with the geography of Palestine, which Matthew would have been, (Matthew 2:1,23; 3:1,5,13; 4:12,13,23-25; 8:5,23,28; 14:34; 15:32,39; 16:13; 17:1; 19:1; 20:29; 21:1,17; 26:6)

          The writer is familiar with Jewish history, the customs, ideas, and classes of people (Matthew 1:18-19; 2:1,4,22; 14:1; 26:3,57,59; 27:2,11,13)

          The writer is familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures and consistently seeks to attribute twenty five Old Testament prophecies to Jesus as the Messiah. (Matthew 1:2-16,22-23; 2:6,15,17-18,23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 21:4-5; 27:9)

          The writer uses terminology that is distinctly Jewish (Matthew 2:20,21; 4:5; 5:35,47; 6:7,32; 10:6; 15:24; 17:24-27; 18:17; 27:53)

          There are several early Christian writers who refer to Matthew as the author of this Gospel in their writing. Matthew was either cited or named as the true author during the first four centuries by the following:

          • Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130)
          • Clement of Rome (c. 95-97)
          • Polycarp (c. 110-150)
          • Hermas (c. 115-140)
          • Didache (c. 120-150) A combination of all four Gosples
          • Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
          • Justin Martyr (c. 185-255)
          • Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
          • Tertullian (c. 150-220)
          • Origen (c. 185-254)
          • Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
          • Eusebius (c. 325-340)
          • Jerome (c. 340-420)
          • Augustine (c. 400)

          The above record may also be applied to all four Gospel writers.

          The writing style of the gospel attributed to Matthew either was a tax collector or was intimately knowledgable of the job of a tax collector.

          “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.” ~Matthew 10:2-4

          * Only Matthew’s Gospel uses the terms, “Talent,” or Talents,” descriptions for money that a tax collector would use.
          * Matthew describes a “talent” or “talents”, 17 times in his parable of the talents. Matthew is the only writer to include this parable, because it was one that he remembered particularly well due to his own background. People tend to remember events by how much they relate to similar aspects of their own life. No other Gospel writer includes the Parable of the Talents.
          * The terms that Matthew uses for money are not found in any other location of the New Testament: “drachma tax,” 17:24, “four-drachma coin” 17:27, and “talents” 18:24.
          * This is the only Gospel that speaks of Silver, Gold, and Brass.
          * He uses terms that only a tax collector would use in their Gospel such as, “talent” in the parable of the talents.
          * This writer describes a debt, as opheile, the keeping of accounts, as sunario, in close context with logo and describes the men present at the temple, as money changers, or trapezites.
          * Both Mark and Luke refer to him as Levi (Mark. 2:14; and Luke.5:27), but Matthew refers to himself as Matthew (Matthew 9:9).
          * In his Gospels, Matthew believes that it is important to describe the change Jesus gave him in his name from Levi to Matthew.
          * The writer describes Capernaum, which is Matthew’s home town, with unique words and descriptions.
          * He calls Capernaum the Lord’s City in Matthew 9:1.
          * The writer of this Gospel continually refers to himself as a tax collector, Mathew. 9:9 and 10:3. Mark and Luke call him Matthew, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.
          * The writer of this Gospel does not use any language that would exalt himself, consistent with the deep humility he felt at Jesus acceptance of him, though he was a hated tax collector.

        • These Things Were Written

          Part 3: Did Matthew And Luke Copy Mark’s Gospel?

          Bart Ehrman has often stated that the consensus among a majority of liberal scholars is that both Matthew and Luke took the material for their Gospels from Mark.

          If so, why does Matthew have the following 13 parables in his Gospel but they are not found in Mark?

          The Tares among the wheat, Matthew 13:24-30
          The Hidden Treasure, Matthew 13:44
          The Fine Pearl, Matthew 13:45-46
          The Dragnet, Matthew 13:47-48
          The Unforgiving Servant, Matthew 18:23-35
          The Laborers In The Vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16
          The Two Sons, Matthew 21:28-30
          The Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22:2-14
          The Talents, Matthew 25:14-30
          The Judgement of the Nations, Matthew 25:31-46
          The Two Foundations, Matthew 7:24-29
          The Leaven, Matthew 13:33
          The Lost Sheep, Matthew 18:10-14

          Why does Luke have the following 21 parables in his Gospel but they are not found in Mark?

          The Two Debtors, Luke 7:41-42
          The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-35
          The Persistent Friend, Luke 12:16-20
          The Rich Fool, Luke 12:16-20
          The Vigilant And Faithful Servants, Luke 12:35-40
          The Faithful And Wise Steward, Luke 12:42-48
          The Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:6-9
          The Great Supper, Luke 14:15-24
          The Tower, Luke 14:28-30
          The King Contemplating War, Luke 14:31-33
          The Lost Coin, Luke 15:8-10
          The Lost Son, Luke 15:11-32
          The Unjust Steward, Luke 16:1-8
          The Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31
          The Attitude of a Servant, Luke 17:7-10
          The Persistent Widow, Luke 18:2-5
          The Pharisee and the Publican, Luke 18:9-14
          The Ten MInas, Luke 19:11-27
          The Two Foundations, Luke 6:46-49
          The Leaven, Luke 13:20-21
          The Lost Sheep, Luke 15:1-7

          Clearly from the text, we can demonstrate that Neither Matthew or Luke borrowed from Mark. Luke does state that he received his information from those who were “eyewitnesses from the beginning” of Jesus’ ministry on earth. He then set out to write HIS OWN narrative. Luke makes this clear in his opening statement:

          Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account. Luke 1:1-3

          Further evidence that Matthew and Luke did not copy their narratives from Mark: The Miracles Of Jesus Compared in Matthew and Luke to Mark.

          Miracles found in Matthew, but not in Mark:

          The Centurion’s Son, Matthew 8:5-13
          Two Blind Men, Matthew 9:27-31
          A Mute Demoniac, Matthew 9:32-33
          A Blind and Mute Demoniac, Matthew 12:22

          Miracles found in Luke, but not in Mark:

          The Centurion’s Servant, Luke 7:1-10
          A Blind and Mute Demoniac, Luke 11:14
          A Woman Crippled by a spirit, Luke 13:11-13
          A Man with Dropsy, Luke 14:1-4
          Ten Men With Leprosy, Luke 17:11-19
          The High Priest’s Servant, Luke 22:50-51

          Again, the text differentials between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, demonstrate that they are three separate Gospels will different texts, some of the same text, but not copied. They were observers who saw the same events but recorded their own distinct and separate narrative, from their own unique perspective.

          Greg said, on April 22, 2018:

          “They are not independent. Mark wrote a fictional account. Matthew and Luke copied it, often word for word, letter for letter, jot for jot, and tittle for tittle. John borrowed from Mark, too, but, while not copying verbatim, some rephrases repeat point for point the elements of Mark’s stories.”

          Ehrman said: ” The logic is that Matthew and Luke both used Mark (which the vast majority of scholars agree about).

          The other hypothesis, which has no evidentiary support anywhere in the historical record, is that both Matthew and Luke received their information from “Q”, an imaginary manuscript. There is no Q manuscript, therefore this cannot be a viable theory. The evidence that we do have from the historical record proves that Matthew and Luke are fully independent Gospels, written by men who were well aquatinted themselves with the events. Matthew was an eyewitness, and Luke received his information from eyewitnesses, as is his statement at the beginning of his Gospel.

          The extant record of the early Christian church, demonstrates a clear impeaching record for the idea that Matthew and Luke were copied from Mark, the existence of Q, or that any other method was in place in writing the four narratives, other than these four authors, each wrote a separate and distinct narrative:

          Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130), Clement of Rome (c. 95-97), Polycarp (c. 110-150), Hermas (c. 115-140), Didache (c. 120-150) A combination of all four Gosples, Irenaeus (c. 130-202), Justin Martyr (c. 185-255), Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Tertullian (c. 150-220), Origen (c. 185-254), Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386), Eusebius (c. 325-340), Jerome (c. 340-420), Augustine (c. 400)

          None of these men wrote to support the modern theories asserted today, nor can these ideas be confirmed in early church history. The document, Q, is non existent and the historical record bears no witness to support the modern thesis of copied texts among the Gospels writers.

          Critical scholars who imagine that the Synoptic Gospels share most of their material in common and present these in the same order, assert that this is because the text of Matthew and Luke was copied from Mark. When we examine the text for ourselves we see stunning differences in how Matthew and Luke present their narrative, even using parables and miracles that are never mentioned in Mark.

          The thesis that Mark was written first is not supported by surviving manuscript evidence, but is made by conjecture with the intent of impugning Matthew and Luke. The reason that there are identical text is that all three saw the same events and it is reasonable that they would write the same depictions, even using the same words. The differences between the three in how Matthew and Luke recorded additional parables, and miracles from the Gospels of Mark, allows the reader to understand that they are not copies of Mark, but separate and distinct Gospels written for a different audience, to show Jesus in a distinct manner, as Messiah (Matthew), Servant ) Mark, Man, (Luke), and God (John).

          The further assertion of the “Q” (Quelle) material bears no evidentiary proof, but is also made by speculation and conjecture. Those who assert Q, do so because they believe Matthew and Luke could not have written their own accounts, and must explain the “double tradition” that is observed by material found in both Matthew and Luke that is not in Mark. Other models incorrectly state that Luke adapted his text from both Mark and Matthew, or perhaps Matthew took his material from Mark and Luke.

          An intelligent person with the abilities of perception, can impeach all of these baseless assertions by simply reading and studying the four Gospels for themselves. There is no ambiguity between the four narratives if one accepts the basic premise of these four Gospels; that there are four authors, who wrote four separate and distinct narratives of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

          We do not need Q, a double tradition, nor any of the bizarre interpretations of the modern Theologian or New Testament liberal scholar to see that the text speaks for itself. If the four Gospels will be analyzed, it is for what the text itself contains, and how it relates to what the Old Testament predicted regarding a Messiah. In this regard, the entire body of the four Gospel texts, pass ever rigor of scrutiny and demonstrates that these men were writing with honesty and telling the accounts they knew and understood, from their own unique perspective. This is in keeping with the longstanding tradition of the writers of the Old Testament.

          God, without impairing the individuality, intelligence, literary style, or personal emotion of the human authors, supernaturally directed the writing of Scripture so that they are recorded in perfect harmony, His comprehensive revelation to man.

          Jesus explained how this is accomplished in John 14, and 16:

          “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” ~John 14:25-26

          “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” ~John 16:12-14

          I have been seeking to illustrate the error of assumptions that the modern atheists often makes in their conclusions. I gave you a hint last week in illustration of this exercise to demonstrate the ease of directing the atheist to make assumptions they think are true, but in fact, are not always true. So far, no one has picked up this clue and followed it to it intended end.

        • Greg G.

          If so, why does Matthew have the following 13 parables in his Gospel but they are not found in Mark?

          Why does Luke have the following 21 parables in his Gospel but they are not found in Mark?

          Why would you think they wouldn’t add new information? Luke used Matthew, too, that accounts for why they share some parables that are not in Mark. These were written 19 centuries ago. It is surprising that we have so many of their sources.

          Perhaps the comes from Gospel of Thomas saying 57, though I think much of Thomas was taken from the gospels. A parable could have been made up by anybody.

          Mark 6:17-29 refers to Herod as a king throughout. Matthew 14:1 corrects Mark by noting that Herod was a tetrarch, which is mentioned in Antiquities of the Jews, but, in Matthew 14:9, he refers to the king. Where did Matthew get the idea that this Herod was a king? Mark’s story takes much from Esther in the OT, including “Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” Matthew experience editorial fatigue and forgot to change it.

          Three of the parables from Matthew 13:44-50 are parallels from Thomas 109, 76, and 8.

          Luke has some identifying characteristics. He (or she) liked ten to one ratios, an independent use of the number five (changes the text being used to use a five), having a character ask himself a question, then answer himself with the plan, have opposite types in a parable, balancing miracles between Jew and Gentile or between male and female, banquet parables, expanding older literature, and reversals.

          From Luke 10 through Luke 18:14 follows Deuteronomy for the trip to Jerusalem including conversations, teachings, and actions of the characters. Deuteronomy 24 is about vindication of the poor and the topic of Luke 16:19-31, The Rich Man and Lazarus, is about that. I think it is also a refutation of the Lazarus story in John as Abraham says, “If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.” But John 18:13 tells us that Annas, a previous high priest, was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the current high-priest. Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1 §197-203 points out that Annas had five sons who became high priests. So Luke made Caiaphas the
          Rich Man in his parable, his father’s house is Annas’ house and his five brothers are his five brothers-in-law.

          Any Jesus saying worth quoting is worth making up and attributing it to Jesus.

          The Good Samaritan parable is an expansion of 2 Chronicles 28:15.

          The thesis that Mark was written first is not supported by surviving manuscript evidence, but is made by conjecture with the intent of impugning Matthew and Luke.

          There are many good reasons to think Mark was first and none of them involve impugning the others. Matthew “improved” Mark and Luke “improved” Matthew. Q was invented to explain the similarities without having to explain the differences between them.

          The reason that there are identical text is that all three saw the same events and it is reasonable that they would write the same depictions, even using the same words.

          That is crazy, man. You just haven’t looked at how similar they are. Here are some of the longest matching phrases, word for word, letter for letter, jot for jot, and tittle for tittle:

          Matthew 10:21b-23a and Mark 13:12b-14a: 33 words, 171 letters
          ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς / καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος οὗτος σωθήσεται / ὅταν δὲ

          Mark 10:14b-16a and Luke 18:16b-17: 30 words, 123 letters
          μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ / ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν καὶ

          Matthew 11:25b-27a and Luke 10:21b-22a: 27 words, 130 letters
          ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις ναί ὁ πατήρ ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου / πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ οὐδεὶς

          Matthew 6:24b and Luke 16:13b: 26 words, 132 letters
          δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ

          Mark 1:24b-25a and Luke 4:34b-35a: 26 words, 112 letters
          τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς οἶδά σε τίς εἶ ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ / καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε

          Matthew 24:50-51a and Luke 12:46a: 26 words, 105 letters
          ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν

          Matthew 8:9b-10a and Luke 7:8b-9a: 25 words, 120 letters
          ἔχων ὑπ ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας καὶ λέγω τούτῳ πορεύθητι καὶ πορεύεται καὶ ἄλλῳ ἔρχου καὶ ἔρχεται καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου ποίησον τοῦτο καὶ ποιεῖ / ἀκούσας δὲ

          Matthew 7:7-8 and Luke 11:9b-10: 24 words, 127 letters
          αἰτεῖτε καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν ζητεῖτε καὶ εὑρήσετε κρούετε καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν / πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται

          Matthew 12:41 and Luke 11:32: 24 words, 126 letters
          ἄνδρες Νινευῖται ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Ἰωνᾶ ὧδε

          Matthew 8:20b and Luke 9:58b: 24 words, 113 letters
          αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ

          Matthew 3:9b-10a and Luke3:8b-9b: 24 words, 103 letters
          λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ / ἤδη δὲ
            The third word of Luke 3:9 is “καὶ”. Without that, Matthew 3:9b-10 and Luke 3:8b-9 would match 44 words and 196 letters. If Matthew 3:10 had “καὶ” in that position, the phrases would match for 45 words and 199 letters.

          Matthew 24:18b-20a and Mark 13:16b-18: 23 words, 113 letters
          ὀπίσω ἆραι τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ / οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις / προσεύχεσθε δὲ ἵνα μὴ γένηται

          Matthew 16:24b-25a and Mark 8:34b-35a: 23 words, 105 letters
          ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι / ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι ἀπολέσει αὐτήν ὃς δ ἂν
            cf. Luke 9:23

          Matthew 26:24 and Mark 14:21b: 23 words, 105 letters
          ὁ μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ δι οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται καλὸν

          “” indicates a new verse for the first passage listed.
          “/” indicates a new verse for the second passage listed.
          “/” indicates a new verse for both passages listed.

          John would be writing the same depictions, too, but it doesn’t match any of those three for significant lengths.

          You argue for the Synoptics being independent, then make excuses for them being exactly the same. Several matches with two dozen words and a 100 letters are not coincidences.

        • These Things Were Written

          1. Greg, I commend you on your thorough and diligent defense of your position. Anytime a person takes such care in making their assertions, one must respect their position, and I certainly do, yours. I am fully aware of all the points you are making and have also gone down this same road myself in preceding years.
          2. I gave up this position many years ago due to the lack of evidence to support Q, M, L, and other alleged missing documents which could support the Markan priority. If there was physical evidence in the historical record to support this hypothesis, I would likely still be a believer myself today.
          3. Although a great deal of Mark’s text appears in either Matthew or Luke, this is still not evidence that either were copied from Mark. The entire basis of this claim is built upon the nonexistent Q, M, L, or other unknown documents from where these texts allegedly originated.
          4. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke are similar, these texts are not mere copies of each another. There is adequate unanimity between these witnesses to demonstrate corroboration, but also sufficient variation in their details and particular differences in the accounts to eliminate the assertion of collaboration. This cannot be resolved by current criticism that Matthew and Luke received their text from Mark, or that Matthew got his text from Mark, and Luke from Matthew
          5. Even in places where the Gospel writers are not following a chronological order, they still place the events in the same order.
          6. It is interesting that Mark often cites Jesus as a great teacher, while recounting very little of of Matthew’s teaching material, particularly in the case of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. If Matthew were really copying Mark, he would not have neglected to include this text.
          7. Mark preserves the original Aramaic words that Jesus spoke, such as talitha koum (5: 41), corban (7: 11), ephphatha (7: 34), and Abba (14: 36), while Matthew and Luke replace the Aramaic with Greek. If the text was truly borrowed, we would expect that the Aramaic in Mark’s would also be used in Matthew and Luke.
          8. Given the lack of physical evidence to support Q, M, L, or any other source, I cannot support these hypothesis.
          9. I believe that there is sufficient evidence from the text that Jesus intended to impart knowledge to the writers as to what they were to write. He said that when He departed He would “send the Spirit who would bring to their remembrance all things concerning Him.” In John 17, Jesus described people who would later believe in Him because of what these men, He chose, would write. It is clear Jesus not only chose these men, He chose what they would write.
          10. In Mark 3:13, Jesus “called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.” προσκαλέομαι proskaleomai, the Greek here is more emphatic in the sense that Jesus is summoning those who He had willed, as if He had determined their call in advance. When the Greek describes the apostles coming to Him, the text does not indicate that they chose Jesus, but He chose them. This is highly unusual as Rabbis did not call their disciples, they were chosen by their disciples. A Rabbi would never leave the impression that he was more important than Torah. The Greek in this case in Mark 3:13, in describing Jesus “call” for His disciples as much different: Here, Jesus is the exclusive object of the call, even Torah is less important that Jesus.
          11. It is my observation that those who reject the idea of God, find that they cannot believe in this spiritual imparting of information by God to the writers, therefore they look for a naturalistic explanation, which they believe is found in the undiscovered documents Q, M, and L.
          12. Those who believe that God does exist, and His ability to communicate with people who love Him, have a sufficient explanation for why Matthew Mark, and Luke use nearly identical descriptions; they have God as the source for all the information they wrote.

        • Greg G.

          2. I gave up this position many years ago due to the lack of evidence to support Q, M, L, and other alleged missing documents which could support the Markan priority. If there was physical evidence in the historical record to support this hypothesis, I would likely still be a believer myself today.

          The reason Q was invoked was to explain the similarities between Matthew and Luke. M and L were invoked to explain the unique material for each as if they thought both were only capable of copying another’s work. But there is no evidence of the documents. But the similarities are still there and they do need a reasonable explanation. Sometimes Luke agrees with Mark for facts and wording and sometimes with Matthew. The major agreements of Luke with Matthew against Mark are in the part of Luke that follows Deuteronomy. Luke seems to have been choosing parts topically and not in the order they appear in Mark or Matthew. But the verbatim matches are certainly evidence of copying.

          You can have 50 people observe someone for ten minutes and have them write up everything ten minutes after that. You are not likely to get a single 18 word match. Have them write about a day later and you won’t get the level of matches we find in the Synoptics. Think about a paper you wrote in high school that you haven’t seen since. Can you reproduce it with long stretches of verbatim matches now simply by thinking about the topics?

          So, it is a matter of who copied whom. Editorial fatigue provides clues for that. That shows that Matthew copied Mark and Luke copied from both.

          3. Although a great deal of Mark’s text appears in either Matthew or Luke, this is still not evidence that either were copied from Mark. The entire basis of this claim is built upon the nonexistent Q, M, L, or other unknown documents from where these texts allegedly originated.

          No, basis of the idea that Mark’s text was copied is because the texts are so full of matching phrases and stories. It would qualify as plagiarism.

          4. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke are similar, these texts are not mere copies of each another. There is adequate unanimity between these witnesses to demonstrate corroboration, but also sufficient variation in their details and particular differences in the accounts to eliminate the assertion of collaboration. This cannot be resolved by current criticism that Matthew and Luke received their text from Mark, or that Matthew got his text from Mark, and Luke from Matthew

          Yes, they used other sources. If they agreed with the other gospels, they wouldn’t have written a new one. Neither Matthew nor Luke liked spit miracles or the naked boy in Gethsemane. They wrote that out. They didn’t like MArk’s use of the Greek language so they reduced some of the errors and cut out a lot of the use of the historical present tense. Luke thought Matthew’s genealogy sucked and he was right. Perhaps it was the idea that God would allow a lot of innocent babies to die while letting Jesus live, so he wrote a different nativity. Luke probably thought the zombies coming out of the graves was silly. Some parts he loved and some parts he hated.

          5. Even in places where the Gospel writers are not following a chronological order, they still place the events in the same order.

          Mark had God adopting Jesus after the baptism by John the Baptist for the remission of sins. The other three gospels have Jesus being divine from before birth so there should have been no sins to be remissed. John only has John the Baptist saying he saw the dove descending on Jesus. Matthew has JtB wanting to be baptized by Jesus but Jesus told him it was all for show to go through hoops of scripture. Luke says Jesus was baptized but it was immediately after telling about JtB’s arrest to obscure who performed the baptism. These are theological arrangements, not historical. So it looks like the later gospels were written when there was a debate about the baptism. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Josephus account of John the Baptist in Antiquities of the Jews was altered around that era to specifically say that John’s baptism was not for remission of sins.

          6. It is interesting that Mark often cites Jesus as a great teacher, while recounting very little of of Matthew’s teaching material, particularly in the case of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. If Matthew were really copying Mark, he would not have neglected to include this text.

          All the more reason for Matthew to make up teachings. Mark didn’t have many teachings to work with. Most of his Jesus material would be from the epistles and they say nothing about Jesus being a preacher, a teacher, or his teachings. The Sermon on the Mount Site: James and the Sermon on the Mount [LINK] by Robert I. Kirby shows a lot of similarities in topics with the words of Jesus and the Epistle of James. Plus there are a lot of unique shared phrases between James and Matthew and 85% of them are in red letters. That is not exactly M material because it is not used the way he used Mark. It had to be rephrased a lot, het there are still a lot of matching phrases that are not common phrases because they do not appear anywhere else in the New Testament.

          7. Mark preserves the original Aramaic words that Jesus spoke, such as talitha koum (5: 41), corban (7: 11), ephphatha (7: 34), and Abba (14: 36), while Matthew and Luke replace the Aramaic with Greek. If the text was truly borrowed, we would expect that the Aramaic in Mark’s would also be used in Matthew and Luke.

          Mark used Aramaicisms and Latinisms but he usually explained the Aramaicisms but never the Latin. He used the Aramaic when he explained the name “Bartimaeus” and used “Abba, Father” from Paul’s writings to have the name “Barabbas” pre-explained for the scapegoat scenario. Matthew changed the words on the cross to Hebrew but still translated it to Greek. Luke translated “Golgotha”, Matthew and John used it. Mark 9:5 used “rabbi” while Matthew used “Lord” and Luke used “master”. Mark 10:51 uses “rabbouni” while Matthew and Luke changed it to “Lord”. Mark 3:22 used “Beelzebul” and so did Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke were not being copyists to reproduce Mark, they were improving it.

          8. Given the lack of physical evidence to support Q, M, L, or any other source, I cannot support these hypothesis.

          We can identify many of their sources but we shouldn’t expect that all of their sources would survive for two thousand years. Perhaps we could call those unknown sources as M and L, but they may not have been Christian documents and Matthew and Luke both used Josephus’ writings.

          9. I believe that there is sufficient evidence from the text that Jesus intended to impart knowledge to the writers as to what they were to write. He said that when He departed He would “send the Spirit who would bring to their remembrance all things concerning Him.”

          Wouldn’t a writer make up something like that?

          In John 17, Jesus described people who would later believe in Him because of what these men, He chose, would write. It is clear Jesus not only chose these men, He chose what they would write.

          John 17:20-23 is the biggest prayer failure of all time. Are you really blaming that on Jesus?

          10. In Mark 3:13, Jesus “called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.” προσκαλέομαι proskaleomai, the Greek here is more emphatic in the sense that Jesus is summoning those who He had willed, as if He had determined their call in advance. When the Greek describes the apostles coming to Him, the text does not indicate that they chose Jesus, but He chose them. This is highly unusual as Rabbis did not call their disciples, they were chosen by their disciples. A Rabbi would never leave the impression that he was more important than Torah. The Greek in this case in Mark 3:13, in describing Jesus “call” for His disciples as much different: Here, Jesus is the exclusive object of the call, even Torah is less important that Jesus.

          That doesn’t ring true to me. Disciples are a reflection of the master so they would have been selective in who they allowed to be a disciples. See https://discipleshipcurriculum.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/so-why-did-the-rabbis-choose/

          11. It is my observation that those who reject the idea of God, find that they cannot believe in this spiritual imparting of information by God to the writers, therefore they look for a naturalistic explanation, which they believe is found in the undiscovered documents Q, M, and L.

          You only reject Q, M, and L because you assume they would not have been inspired. It is religious superstition. I reject Q because Matthew or Luke copying from the other explains all of the evidence just as well while the text of each shows that Luke was copying from Matthew and not the other way around.

          12. Those who believe that God does exist, and His ability to communicate with people who love Him, have a sufficient explanation for why Matthew Mark, and Luke use nearly identical descriptions; they have God as the source for all the information they wrote.

          Now you are accusing God of a lack of eloquence.

        • richardrichard2013

          “Yes, they used other sources. If they agreed with the other gospels, they wouldn’t have written a new one. Neither Matthew nor Luke liked spit miracles or the naked boy in Gethsemane. They wrote that out. They didn’t like MArk’s use of the Greek language so they reduced some of the errors and cut out a lot of the use of the historical present tense. Luke thought Matthew’s genealogy sucked and he was right. Perhaps it was the idea that God would allow a lot of innocent babies to die while letting Jesus live, so he wrote a different nativity. Luke probably thought the zombies coming out of the graves was silly. Some parts he loved and some parts he hated.”

          if you read marks gospel ,it says that ALL the jews wash their hands before they eat, the stuff about washing hands and other items is in brackets. the stuff where all food is declared clean is in brackets . from historical point of view, ALL jews did not wash their hands before meal.

          if we are to think that mark and matthew relied on common material, why did mark add in unhistorical data and matthew remove unhistorical data? why did matthew remove the bit about declaring all food clean and bring the argument to eating with unwashed hands?

          if to eat with unwashed hands does not defile , then the argument has become that unwashed hands make food dirty and eating dirty food does not defile.

        • Greg G.

          12. Those who believe that God does exist, and His ability to communicate with people who love Him, have a sufficient explanation for why Matthew Mark, and Luke use nearly identical descriptions; they have God as the source for all the information they wrote.

          It occurred to me this morning that Bart Ehrman says this problem is why he lost his faith. If God and Jesus were going to inspire the original writers of the Bible texts, why were the copyists not inspired to reproduce the same words? It seemed pointless to inspire versions that would be lost before it was widely known. Why inspire two with spit miracles and two without?

        • richardrichard2013

          “he reason that there are identical text is that all three saw the same events and it is reasonable that they would write the same depictions, even using the same words. The differences between the three in how Matthew and Luke recorded additional parables, and miracles from the Gospels of Mark, allows the reader to understand that they are not copies of Mark, but separate and distinct Gospels written for a different audience, to show Jesus in a distinct manner, as Messiah (Matthew), Servant ) Mark, Man, (Luke), and God (John).”

          mark :
          the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

          matthew :

          So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

          QUESTIONS :

          what is interesting is the ending of the gospels. matthew has the women REPORT AFTER leaving the tomb. why DID matthew add “great joy” when “fear” OVERCAME the women in mark and “fear” caused them to be quite?

          why is an EYEWITNESS using markan WORDING even when he is disagreeing with mark? he should use his eyewitness wording, not REVERSING what the text before him says.

          “There are several scenes in Mark for which there could have been no witnesses at all, including the temptations, the prayer at Gethsemane and the trial before the Sanhedrin. Mark even claims to know what people were thinking “in their hearts” in 2:6. Mark is not supposed to be read as a memoir but as revelation and he is revealing the tomb as a secret to his audience. It would make no sense to end his Gospel the way he did if he meant to imply the women later told anybody and the fact that all of the other gospels are forced to independently invent their own contradictory endings shows that there could not have been any strong oral tradition about even by the time Luke and John were being written around the turn of the 1st Century. As soon as they lose Mark as a guideline, they fly off in different directions, and ll of them drop any indication that the women were afraid to tell anybody”

          since matthew and luke had no external eyewitness testimony for the story about women running from the tomb and since it came from marks mind, it makes sense why matthew was forced to change the story and why luke was forced to change the story.

          the story about the women running away from the tomb came out of marks brain.

          why is not mark showing the fulfilment of mark 14:28? if he really wanted his women to report he would have had 14:28 fulfilled, unless 14:28 was never suppose to be fulfilled coz it was never part of mark. mark made sure the message never got to the 11, he says “the women said nothing to anyone”

          If one were only to read Mark without any knowledge of the other gospels, one would never conclude that the women told anybody.

          this is exactly what matthew and luke were thinking and thats why they change the ending , otherwise they would have kept VERSE 16 and added the additions like we find the later scribes doing by adding verses after verse 16

        • Greg G.

          BTW, you may want to correct your list of parables. You have:

          The Persistent Friend, Luke 12:16-20
          The Rich Fool, Luke 12:16-20

          “The Persistent Friend” or “The Friend at Midnight” is at Luke 11:5-8.

        • These Things Were Written

          Noted, thank you!

        • Greg G.

          Matthew is referred by name on fourteen occasions throughout the history of the church as the author, from 70 A.D to 400 A.D.

          The earliest copy of this Gospel was ascribed to Matthew in 125 A.D. Papias describes the “logia,” the words or oracles, which Matthew had collected.

          Sure, they thought Matthew was written first and Mark second. Luke agrees with them so it was third. They got this mistaken idea from Papias. The Matthew that Papias referred to is not the Matthew we have as this one was written in Greek and Papias said they had trouble reading it. Perhaps Papias had a Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas and called it “Matthew”.

          The writing style of the gospel attributed to Matthew either was a tax collector or was intimately knowledgable of the job of a tax collector.

          Above you noted that Matthew was well-acquainted with the OT scriptures and I agree with that. But knowledge about taxes could come from the OT. See Exodus 30:11-16. Josephus describes it in Antiquities of the Jews 3.8.2 §193-196 and the nativity story tells us that Matthew had read some of Antiquities of the Jews.

          Josephus uses “talents” and “drachma” while referring to various taxes. He was not a tax collector.

          * The writer of this Gospel does not use any language that would exalt himself, consistent with the deep humility he felt at Jesus acceptance of him, though he was a hated tax collector.

          If the author was named “Matthew” and was a tax collector, then he has elevated himself to a disciple in a fictional story.

          ETA: I have already pointed out that Matthew cites Judges 13:5 as a prophecy fulfilled when the family moved to Nazareth. Judges 13:5 is about the nazirite. It has nothing to do with being a person from Nazareth. The author of Matthew was taking OT scriptures and turning them into pseudo-prophecies, even when they do not make any sense.

        • richardrichard2013

          “We are reading the accounts of four individuals who each saw the events they describe from their own personal vantage point. ”

          none of them say that they saw any events they mention in their gospels.


          As with any group of people who are recounting the same story, some of the witnesses will see things that others did not. ”

          luke :
          While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

          mark: 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed

          luke says that he is aware of other written stuff.

          why isn’t the version in luke a development of the version in mark?

          did mark say that the white robe was glowing or lightning ? did mark say that the 1 became two after the women had a think ?

          why is it that the stories continue to develop ?

          quote :

          > G supports this by showing how the even later non-canonical gospels continued the tendency we see in the canonicals by adapting them in order to improve the evidence or build in answers to sceptics. Thus the Gospel of Hebrews has the resurrected Jesus give his shroud to the high priest’s servant and then going off to visit his brother James.

          > The Gospel of Peter have the worried priests send their own guards to double the strength of the Roman troop, now led by an officer whose name is known (Longinus), and even set seals upon the stone, all to no effect, of course. The guards and Jews even go to Pilate and tell him Jesus has been resurrected.

        • richardrichard2013

          “It was only after Jesus went to Jerusalem where He was arrested, crucified, and raised to life on the third day, that these men were certain Jesus was God.”

          so jews who believed in a powerful super human yhwh thought that yhwh got arrested, crucified and raised back to life (was elijah/angels still alive when yhwh was dying ?) and yhwhs coming back to life made these men realise he must be yhwh ?

        • Greg G.

          1) No, the gospels make not credible statements. That makes them not credible.
          2) The lack of original documents makes it impossible to know that the narrative has been altered. The number of textual variants prove that alterations have been made. If there were no variants, we still wouldn’t know what the originals said.
          3) The miracles attributed to Jesus are not significantly different than other miracle stories of the day. The other miracles didn’t happen either.
          4) The miracle accounts show that the gospel narrative is fiction. The epistles don’t mention a first century preacher/teacher named Jesus but they talk about Jesus a lot but only in quotes and allusions to the Old Testament writings. The literary precedents for every event in the Gospel of Mark puts a burden on you to prove any of them happened. Since the other three gospels relied on Mark, it makes their accounts equally suspect.

          Demonstrate how each of these three arguments

          You don’t understand atheist arguments and you cannot even count.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I don’t need to defend ANY of them.

          I’m not a historian or a linguist.

          All I need to say is “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU, SHOW ME EVIDENCE” and keep repeating it.

          You’re trying to get us into a trap of minutiae, and it won’t work.

          If you REALLY wanted answers, why not consult with historians and linguists rather than atheists?

        • Greg G.

          People have answered them. You keep asking. Those are PRATTs.

        • Greg G.

          There are three primary arguments made by atheists:

          1. The Gospels are written too late from the time the events took place to be credible.
          2. The number of textual variants in the New Testament Gospels make it impossible to know if the narrative has been altered or embellished.
          3. The miracles that are ascribed to Jesus are a violation of the physical laws of the universe and are therefore impossible.
          4. Jesus did not claim to be God, the writers of the Gospels made Him God.



          Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

          Amongst our primary arguments made by atheists…

        • ildi
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “….I’ll come in again….”

        • epicurus

          Fluffy Pillows. Comfy Chair.

        • Greg G.

          The Comfy Chair?

        • epicurus
        • Greg G.

          I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition sketch.

        • Max Doubt

          “The New Testament was not written to make claims, but to tell a historical narrative.”

          Your new testament is a compilation of tales which, within and among themselves, are no more or less true or factual or authentic narratives than Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” or Wells’s “War of the Worlds”. You are making the claim that the tales are true. It’s your burden of proof and your responsibility to objectively demonstrate your claim.

          “Men simply saw and heard things that they did not believe,…”

          That kind of shit will happen from time to time.

          And we’re still left with this… As far as we all know, there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any acts of magic have ever been performed or that any miracles have ever occurred. You’re making claims about the veracity of your bible that you clearly cannot objectively support.

        • These Things Were Written

          There is no evidence to support the supposition that the New Testament Gospels are “tales” like the Wizard of Oz. This is a most disingenuous assessment. Experts who have analyzed the narratives of the New Testament have concluded that they are legitimate, authentic, and truthful accounts and that those who wrote them were honest in what they stated and believed them to be true.

        • Kodie

          Experts in what? Experts in how far up your own ass you can stick your head because you really want to believe a fairy tale?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Which experts? What primary sources?

        • Max Doubt

          “There is no evidence to support the supposition that the New Testament Gospels are “tales” like the Wizard of Oz.”

          They are all just words assembled into stories and printed on paper. The difference is you claim the stories in your bible are true. You. It’s your claim. You have yet to support that claim other than with vacuous declarations you’ve pulled out of your ass. Your shit isn’t evidence that the tales in your bible are true. It is evidence that you’re dishonest, or maybe just plain stupid.

          “This is a most disingenuous assessment.”

          No. Your persistence in deflecting your burden of proof is disingenuous. My pointing out your continued failure is, well, just the way an honest man engages in a discussion. Honesty appears to be a foreign concept to you.

          “Experts who have analyzed the narratives of the New Testament have concluded that they are legitimate, authentic, and truthful accounts and that those who wrote them were honest in what they stated and believed them to be true.”

          As far as we know, no experts have ever objectively shown the miracles and acts of magic described in your bible actually happened. You claim your bible is a true narrative. To support that claim you’d need to demonstrate those miracles and magical events truthfully and objectively occurred.

          So, here’s how you proceed if you’re honest… Admit you’ve failed to objectively support your claim that “[…] the New Testament passes every requirement as an authentic, truthful narrative.” And unless you have objective evidence you’ve been withholding, admit that at this time you can’t.

        • Christian “experts”? Or were these historians? Or here’s a thought experiment for you: put the NT in front of Muslim scholars. They have no problem with the supernatural; in fact, they are happy to accept that Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and God exist. But they reject the idea of Jesus being God.

          Why is that?

        • These Things Were Written

          Sorry, I can’t tell from what came before your answer what you are referencing…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There is no evidence to support the supposition that the New Testament Gospels are “tales” like the Wizard of Oz.

          Sure there is. The evidence is that the tale is written, contains elements of demonstrable truth (places, actions) and lots of downright *fantasy* that the clear-eyed and reasonable among us realize as false but amusing.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There is no evidence to support the supposition that the New Testament Gospels are “tales” like the Wizard of Oz.

          Sure there is. The evidence is that the tale is written, contains elements of demonstrable truth (places, actions) and lots of downright *fantasy* that the clear-eyed and reasonable among us realize as false but amusing.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s only amusing till they kill you for not believing it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What a loada ballix.

          The consensus of mainstream scholars agree that the “gospels” Jesus never existed.

        • ildi

          Frontline, Jesus’ Many Faces, The Historian’s Task
          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/historians.html
          “Now if you want to apply this to the question of our knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth himself and his ministry, we have to face one other difficulty. Not only that our information is fragmentary, but also that the information that we have has not been preserved in order to inform us about the historical Jesus of Nazareth, but has been preserved in order to instruct the ancient Christian churches under the authority of Jesus of Nazareth. (emphasis mine) And therefore we have, in every single piece of tradition, a transformation of the character of the material. It is almost as if you find in an ancient building, an archaeological excavation, a piece that has been reused, which came from another building originally. And we have only reused pieces….
          What Jesus actually said, and what Jesus actually did, as a brute historical fact we will never know…. Because figures of past history are not necessarily remembered for what they did, but they are remembered for what the effect of the next generation was. Socrates is of course a famous example. We don’t have a single saying of Socrates about which we can be certain. But we can know why Socrates was the topic of Plato’s philosophy, and that a number of questions of Plato’s philosophy are rooted in the figure of Socrates himself. But we cannot reconstruct his teaching.”-Helmut Koester, John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Historical narratives do NOT contradict each other on important basic facts.

          Reconcile Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, then get back to us.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Exactly!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or report an extraordinary event that all the others didn’t know about, didn’t reckon it was worth mentioning, or knew it was the bullshit embellishment of a liar.

        • firebubbles310

          Also why those four of the hundreds around at the time? Why is there a difference of opinion even in early Christianity about the events and the nature of Christ?

          Also a question for you. Would you believe a person who was struck blind supposedly by God and now spoke for him? Would you buy that and would you listen to opinions on your faith?

        • ildi

          Well, obviously there are only four authentic gospels, because there are four corners of the universe and there are four principal winds, according to Irenaeus, a Bishop of Lyon in the later second century. Works for me!

        • BlackMamba44

          Would you believe a person who was struck blind supposedly by God and now spoke for him? Would you buy that and would you listen to opinions on your faith?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6b8e0753593482c3981618dcaa80c5e9620cb621c77893f2aee94247f2db8bc7.jpg

    • Ficino

      Hello, TTWW, is yours an information-seeking question, and are you new to the discussion, or is yours a debate-initiating question?

      —————— adding:

      I see from down the page that it is a debate-initiating question. I agree with Lark62 in calling it an instance of JAQ-ing off.

    • eric

      The same reason you do not accept the Koranic narrative of Mohammed as factual; because extroadinary claims require extroadinary evidence.

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      Seriously?

      • Andrea Fitzgerald

        Read a history book.

    • Joe

      Because we don’t accept fantastical stories at face value.

    • Lark62

      For the same reason we do not accept Goldilocks and the Three Bears as factual.

      • What? I just watched a documentary on that story . . . no wait that was porn. Sorry to interrupt.

    • sandy

      Have you ever thought of going through the archives on this blog site and educating yourself? The answer to your question is right in front of you.

      • These Things Were Written

        You are assuming that I asked a question because I didn’t know the answer? It was rhetorical.

        • Otto

          You spelled asinine wrong

        • Kodie

          Nobody’s assuming that you know what you’re doing at all. Of course you believe whatever other Christians tell you. Why are you here? What kind of merit badge are you getting by trolling atheists with the most limited grasp of Christianity and theology that you have? We’ve seen much better, you’re actually terrible at this. Why does god or your church need you out on the beat?

          Or is it you’re just some lonely homeschooled teenager, well, it is Spring Break somewhere, isn’t it. You have time, so you’re going to waste your existence pestering atheists with the littlest any Christian knows.

          Good for you, you dummy!

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      Because it’s not factual. It’s a book of Bronze Age myths and legends.

    • Kevin K

      Cuz there’s no independent contemporaneous eyewitness verification of any of the events. Pretty simple, really. We don’t believe there was a Civil War era plantation called “Tara” near Atlanta, Georgia, either.

    • Kevin K

      Cuz there’s no independent contemporaneous eyewitness verification of any of the events. Pretty simple, really. We don’t believe there was a Civil War era plantation called “Tara” near Atlanta, Georgia, either.

    • Ignorant Amos
      • Kevin K

        Oh god, you’ve sicced Carrier on him. Poor fellow.

        (I’m joking, of course. Carrier is a credible scholar with an actual degree in the relevant field in question. It’s just that … well … he never met a word he didn’t like … he says in 10,000 words what it takes the rest of us mortals 12).

    • Lark62

      Present your evidence that it is factual.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      The better question is, which one?

    • Venavis

      Uh, this – http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.html

      This – http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/number.html

      And, well, these –
      http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/inj/long.html
      http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
      http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html

      You’ll find most of us don’t accept it because unlike you, we’ve actually read it. The whole thing, in its entirety, not the cherry-picked version spoon-fed by priests.

  • Ficino

    Many things written by These Things Were Written are either too poorly formulated to be amendable to reply or else are false.

    But one statement needs to be demonstrated, in particular: TTWW’s claim to possess a papyrus fragment of the NT “scientifically” authenticated as from c. 60 CE. I don’t buy this. You have got to identify the fragment, the investigators who dated it, the method of dating, etc.

    Roger Bagnall and Brent Nongbri, to name two palaeographers, have argued convincingly that the bulk of NT papyri dated second century are more likely to be from the fourth.

    • I’ve asked for evidence of this remarkable document of his. So far, crickets.

      • Ficino

        At this point, troll is merely repeating same shite. I recommend banning.

  • Damien Priestly

    I think the best Human Sacrifice description about Jesus and the crucifixion ever given — was by Christopher Hitchens… Who simply explained the death and resurrection was repeating the ancient Middle-Eastern story of the Scapegoat…The tribe would pick a goat, place upon this animal the misdeeds of the tribe and set if off to wander in the desert until death — to take the peoples’ sins away with it, hoping the god(s) would accept this sacrifice.

    Hitchens said that is exactly what the new Testament sacrifice was — Jesus is the scapegoat taking away our sins…spiffed up with some plagiarized Greek Father/Son polytheism — and Roman crucifixion gore.

    • Greg G.

      The scapegoat ritual is described in Leviticus 16:5-22. Mark sets up that scenario but he didn’t seem to understand that the Atonement/Yom Kippur was five months after the passover. There are two goats. One is chosen by lot to die and the other is released into the wilderness. It is like the cleansing of a house of mold where two birds are used. One is killed, its blood sprinkled throughout the house. The other bird is dipped in the blood and released. The blood is supposed to be like a magic conduit to carry the bad away.

      Mark used Aramaicisms and Latinisms but he usually explained the Aramaicisms but never the Latinisms, which indicates Mark’s intended audience was Roman. He explained the name Bartimaeus so that his Roman readers knew that “Bar” means “son of”. He had Jesus open his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father”, a phrase from Galatians and Romans, so that his readers knew “abba” means “father”.

      When Barabbas is introduced, his readers should recognize that there are two people called “Son of the Father”. One is released while the other is killed for the sins of the people.

      So Jesus’ blood would be the conduit for the sin while Barabbas would be the scapegoat that carried the sins away.

      • sandy

        What a coincidence that a true historical event just happens to match up with such unique symbolism and literary allusion. (sarcasm)

      • Kevin K

        It would be so much easier if we knew who this person was. Likely a non-Jew (Gentile) converted to Christianity in the Pauline style, rather than a Jewish convert (ala Peter and James), from what you’ve written.

        • Greg G.

          I think Mark had to know he was writing fiction to Romans. Perhaps he was an ex-Christian who had believed the Messiah was coming during Paul’s lifetime but realized it wasn’t happening. So he wrote a story about the Messiah who had come but they put him to death so he left and Judea, Jerusalem, and the temple got crushed.

          What ever he intended, I doubt he expected it to be taken so seriously.

        • ildi

          I always wonder what it is about some cults that they take off and turn into religions where others didn’t.

        • Greg G.

          Probably often a matter of a powerful personalities giving the religion they were connected with first an advantage.

          68 teams are selected for the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament. The odds are against each team, but one always wins it.

    • Ignorant Amos
  • Ficino

    Rumors about two alleged first-century papyrus fragments from gMark have been circulating for some years. See:

    Brent Nongbri here:
    https://brentnongbri.com/2017/07/21/a-first-century-papyrus-of-mark-probably-not-the-one-you-think/

    Larry Hurtado (“likely to be an urban myth”):
    https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/another-first-century-gospel-of-mark-not/

    As far as I can tell, the Green Family (owners of Hobby Lobby) have one papyrus fragment that Gary Habermas now says was copied c. 80-110. Dirk Obbink of Oxford had reputedly seen the fragment and put it betw 70 and 120.

    https://ischristianitytrue.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/first-century-manuscript-mummy-masks-hobby-lobby-the-museum-of-the-bible-and-waiting/

    Years have gone by since the original announcements in certain evangelical circles. None of the papyrus bible fragments, incl the one seen by Obbink, has yet been published, though the Green-funded Museum of the Bible is sponsoring a series of publications. See Brill catalog: https://brill.com/view/serial/PMB?rskey=azq393&result=4

    • Lark62

      Bear in mind the high intrgrity of the Green family, who funded ISIS by buying stolen artifacts from them and then lied on customs documents to bring them to the US.

      I wouldn’t trust them if they said sky is blue.

      • Greg G.

        I wouldn’t trust them if they said sky is blue.

        That’s just to move the blue paint for painting nature scenes.

      • Michael Neville
        • RichardSRussell

          In fact, between cloud cover, pollution, and night, it’s more often black.

        • al kimeea

          The Free Market in action…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Looks more like Blade Runner Land…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Looks more like Blade Runner Land…

  • Ficino

    My opinion: it’s time to stop feeding the troll.

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      I guess it is.

    • Kevin K

      I think it’s the troll formerly known as skl, giving up his disguise. It’s absolutely 100% his rhetorical style.

      • Greg G.

        I think it is JP. skl was never so energetic.

        • Kevin K

          skl got into an extended discussion with me one time about abiogenesis. That’s when I blocked it. Arrogantly ignorant is no way to go through life.

        • Ctharrot

          I thought it was JP/Jay/etc., but TTWW has denied it, and I’m not so sure anymore. As I recall, JP never claimed to have published over 10,000 articles and dozens of books, which TTWW has done a couple of times.

        • epicurus

          His opening – Little ol’ me would like to know why atheists don’t believe the NT, quickly turned into God answering Job – How dare you worthless maggots question me. Then he claims he knew all along, his opening question was rhetorical.

          But “I would like to know why atheists do not accept the New Testament narrative of Jesus as factual” is not really a rhetorical question, or not one most people would recognize as rhetorical.

        • Kevin K

          Exactly. If it doesn’t even know what the meaning of the word “rhetorical” is … well, the rest of what it has to offer is … not compelling.

        • Greg G.

          Nor even the word “question”. He made a brief statement to me. I responded at length. He replied that it was a rhetorical question, to which I replied that he would suck on Jeopardy!

        • Kevin K

          Yes, but apparently you’re his favorite. Teacher’s pet!

        • Greg G.

          I saw that. Someone else made a similar statement a while back. I will have to search my email when I have a better search capability.

        • Kodie

          Doesn’t seem too much like anyone who could put together any articles. I mean, maybe they are like on some trash* Christian website getting $2** an article or something.

          *I mean, they’re all not that great, but I imagine some are even worse and more clickbaity, bottom-of-the-barrel, cheap-ass Christian website.

          **I don’t really know the going rate to generate an article for some cheap-ass website, Christian or otherwise.

        • Ctharrot

          Well, it all depends on what’s meant by “article.” 10,000 spread over three or four decades averages out to roughly one or two per workday. Probably something along the lines of blog posts (or the print equivalent). We’re not talking 10,000 papers all containing original scholarship for peer-reviewed history, classics, or other journals. Ain’t no way.

          Oh, plus 27 (or more) books on top of that. 🙂

          Kinda surprised someone that prolific hasn’t cited or linked to any of his work here.

        • Kevin K

          I was a 2-a-day journalist for the better part of 20 years. That’s 2 pieces a day for the daily, plus a Sunday piece, plus longer investigative pieces that ended up as multi-part series. 2x5x50(two weeks vacation)x20 = 10,000. I’m thinking the claim is a gross exaggeration, unless it’s a full-time professional writer of some sort. And judging by the quality of what it’s writing — well, that would be a claim not justified by the evidence, either.

        • Ctharrot

          Well, who knows? Maybe some of his professional work is solid. I wouldn’t want anyone judging my meatspace skills by my Internet comments.

          Yesterday I asked him for the title of one of his books, and am still waiting on an answer. Dunno if I’ll get a response, or if I’m persona non grata, but I am genuinely a bit curious.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m guessing if anything he would have been working for some kind of Chick Tract organization.

        • Ctharrot

          I’d give him more credit than that. My money’s tentatively on CARM or somesuch apologetics outfit.

        • Otto

          It is certainly presuppositional claptrap.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or the Argument from Reason mindwankery…

          https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/reppert.html

        • Pofarmer

          Same difference.

        • Otto

          I have been asking myself which type of apologist is the most arrogant and condescending…the Catholic or the presuppositionalist. I have found out my answer strictly depends on which one I talked to last.

        • Michael Neville

          I think the presuppositionalists are more arrogant mainly because they tend to be more ignorant than the Catholics. Both are equally condescending.

        • MR

          Priceless.

        • Kevin K

          Anyone who has published dozens of books would be more than thrilled to point you in the direction of his work. People buy books.

        • Pofarmer

          His book I would try to steal as a PDF somewhere.

        • Kevin K

          Well, yes, of course. But how is he to know that? Better to give us the complete list and hope that of the hundreds of people who view this blog post, some would be persuaded by his brilliant rhetoric to buy the complete set of works! Profit!!

        • Kodie

          I would think so, that someone who is proud of their writing skills would not try to blow so much smoke, but actually make an intellectual point. It’s vocabulary and spelling are decent, but there’s no substance. If this person wrote anywhere near 10,000 articles, that’s why I think they are bragging (or lying), but just about anyone can be a contributor on certain cheap websites writing crap clickbait. They didn’t say all these articles were even about Christianity. Your writing, on the other hand, demonstrates credibility for your claim. TTWW’s claim is like the same guy emailing the local news what the temperature is in his yard every day calling himself a meteorologist.

        • ildi

          It’s the robotic repetition of the same phrasing that indicates these thoughts are not original to them but just regurgitated cud.

        • epeeist

          Doesn’t seem too much like anyone who could put together any articles.

          Especially that number. Assume he writes one per day, that means over 27 years to write the things (always assuming no duplicates of course) never mind to get them published. How he fits that in with writing so many books is a wonder…

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          As well as wasting time online writing so many comments trying to convince a bunch of atheists that his bullshit is true.

          EDIT TO ADD: Ooooh, it just occurred to me… maybe he’s counting each one of his comments as an “article”?

        • Kevin K

          By that reckoning, I have had more than 26,000 “articles” since I started commenting via Disqus.

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t see this until after I posted. Great minds… (I forget how the rest goes.)

        • Greg G.

          10,000 articles is one a day for over 27 years. Not much time for research. More like bottom of the septic tank.

        • Kodie

          I agree it’s not skl. I don’t remember anything about JP.

    • Kevin K

      I think it’s the troll formerly known as skl, giving up his disguise. It’s absolutely 100% his rhetorical style.

  • These Things Were Written

    First, I have observed a pattern here in this forum amongst atheists:

    1. After over 100 comments by myself, not one was ever taken as a place to start a productive argument. The only person in this exchange that I have seen attempt an honest exchange is Greg G. He at least tries to deliberate with me. All others are only interested in ridicule but not engaging in an intellectual exchange.
    2. For this reason, though I have a tremendous amount of information which could help the atheist greatly in being able to see the frailty of their arguments, It is not possible under a condition of ridicule and mockery to place these things before you. To do so would undoubtably continue the ridicule and present no honest intellectual exchange.
    3. When I have presented rebuttal in some arguments and the debater has reached the end of their information, or patience, they resort to an old debate tactic that is used by those who cannot adequately continue, to attack the opponent.
    4. For the above reasons, I will only engage those who present a logical arguments or systematic rebuttal. Those who resort to mockery, which does not hurt my feelings in the slightest, but makes intelligent debate impossible, I will not answer.
    5. I am aware that these statements may cause Bob Seidensticker to delete my presence from this forum, as I am beginning to see his impatience with me in later comments. In any event, I began this as an exercise to see if the atheist today can adequately defend their primary objection to the four Gospels. Only Greg G has recently tried and I commend him for his effort.

    • Pofarmer

      1) There’s no productive argument to be made if you won’t at least cite a source.

      2) If you have this tremendous amount of information, it might be helpful to actually share it, rather than assert it.

      3) I haven’t seen you actually rebut anything. You’ve not listed a single source in rebuttal, or in initial statements, for that matter.

      4) If you’re not going to include you’re sources, it’s pointless. mockery is all you’re going to get.

      5) martyrbation.

      And your strawman “objections” to the gospels are typical wishful nonsense. And it’s not even the reason the vast majority are atheists, anyway.

    • Damien Priestly

      Nice try !! …

      It is you that refuses to engage in an honest exchange…it is you who uses assertions not evidence…it is you that does not understand where the burden of proof lies…it is you who resorts fallacies…and more…

      This was a post about Human Sacrifice — you hijacked it to try to teach atheists a lesson. Yes, perhaps you should have been banished by the moderator !!

      • Kevin K

        He wants to get banned, because then he can say to his troll friends, “See, they’re being completely unreasonable”.

        I think it’s better to let him stay, just because it denies him what he seeks most — martyrdom.

        Plus, chew toys are chewy. He’s a bad-tasting one that’s been sitting out in the back yard for a couple of months, but whatever.

    • Kevin K

      Didn’t stick the flounce, either.

    • Otto

      1) Because you are a dishonest troll.
      2) Contempt and ridicule is a reasonable response to you.
      3) Saying ‘The Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true’ is not a rebuttal.
      4) You are not capable to intelligent debate so most of us gave up long ago.
      5) See #1

    • ildi

      Greg G. does rock! I learned a lot more than I did in catechism about the early church and gospels from the Frontline episode I found based on your “question,” so thanks for that! No true scholar would be able to resist citing their sources so think about what it tells us about you that you feel the need to pretend to be one. There is no try, only do!

    • Bob Jase

      1. Every atheist here has had these arguments dozens or more times before and we’ve learned that blind believers refuse to consider anhything that contradicts their beliefs – you aren’t worth wasting an honest exchange on.
      2. We know your information – its’ dogma and old crap we’ve all heard before. Didn’t impress us then, doesn’t now.
      3. So any response to you is an attack? What was that you were saying about honest discussion?
      4. oh, you’ve really hurt our fee-fees!
      5. Well you are a waste of time generally, you won’t be missed.

    • Kodie

      1. Not even you!
      2. You’ve made yourself to be ridiculed, not to be taken seriously. If you have made over 100 comments without substance, what do you expect?

      3. You haven’t made any substantial effort to debate, and you don’t seem to recognize what you are doing is not up to the level of intellectual debate.

      4. You first!

      5. Bob bans people who don’t make themselves useful. It’s not about what you believe, but about how little you say in so many words, over and over again, getting nowhere.

      Only Greg G. has the patience to try, but you are only making yourself look like an idiot, and I’ve seen Greg G. run out of patience. It’s wonderful!

    • Kodie

      My primary objection to the four gospels is they are just like any other superstition. Why do you need to lie to yourself to believe they are true?

    • RichardSRussell

      I began this as an exercise to see if the atheist today can adequately defend their primary objection to the four Gospels.

      I posted a side-by-side 4-column synopsis of those 4 gospels providing 4 different (and mutually contradictory) versions of the “resurrection” story, but apparently that didn’t meet your definition of “adequately”. What is your definition of “adequately”, anyway? Would anything qualify? Or is it simply “anything I personally would find persuasive, and there ain’t never gonna be none”?

      • These Things Were Written

        I checked all of my posts since I began here, and this is the only post I have from you. What “4 column synopsis” are you describing?

        • this is the only post I have from you

          I’m pretty sure not. I remember Richard sending this to you.

          But not a problem. Here’s a copy in blog post form:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/04/easter-critique-the-bible-cant-even-get-its-own-punch-line-straight-infographic/

          And here’s the synopsis itself:
          http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/files/2017/04/resurrection-big-one.jpg

        • These Things Were Written

          I cannot see this chart, it is too small to read. What exactly does this chart purport to prove?

        • Click on it and it gets bigger.

        • Otto

          You are asking quite a lot

        • I am; you’re right.

          I’m waiting for him to come back with, “yeah, but I clicked on it, and it was still too small to read” so I can say, “Click on it again and it’ll get bigger!”

        • Kodie

          Are you new to the internet? I would help you if you were.

        • Greg G.

          If you are using Chrome or a newer edition of Internet Explorer, click on the chart. It should open in a new window. You can toggle the size by clicking on the chart in the new window.

        • Greg G.

          If you are using Chrome or a newer edition of Internet Explorer, click on the chart. It should open in a new window. You can toggle the size by clicking on the chart in the new window.

        • These Things Were Written

          Never-mind, I downloaded it and enlarged the jpg.

          I have seen this illustration before. All that it proves is that four individuals remembered different parts of the same events. This is very common in multiple witnesses and if a person is trained in the techniques used by the FBI, these slight differences in written testimony are one of the things that linguistic experts look for to confirm true testimony in written statements.

          The existence of individuals remembering different parts of the same event, even out of order, is a classic sign of genuine testimony. Written testimony which contains fraud often contain very few details, extremely short sentences, the absence of “I”, and statements which are clearly coached in advance to agree.

        • Damien Priestly

          If the somebody gave an expert FBI analyst a written event that included somebody rising from the dead…they would be laughed out of the room. We should do the same for 2000 year old bad stories.

        • These Things Were Written

          If the FBI were using this technique on the four Gospels, they would not care whether the resurrection took place or not. They would only examine the testimonies of each witness. The existence of different details remembered by each person, but the same story, are indications of genuine testimony. This is precisely what we see in the four Gospels.

          It is possible to examine the internal nature of the text of the four Gospels for evidence in valid testimony without being emotionally invested in whether the story is true or not. In this matter, all that matters is what the facts of the text tell us in comparison with external events which have no relationship to the testimony.

        • I think the resurrection is relevant. The FBI usually looks askance at supernatural claims.

        • richardrichard2013

          “This is very common in multiple witnesses and if a person is trained in the techniques used by the FBI, these slight differences in written testimony are one of the things that linguistic experts look for to confirm true testimony in written statements.”

          what kind of bs is this ?
          the women remained silent and said nothing to anyone is not a slight difference?. if mark knew they had spoke, he would have had them report like the other gospels. if mark knew that they met jesus and touched him, he would have had his women report. if mark knew that peter ran back to the tomb, he would have had the women report. if mark knew that jesus MADE appearances, he would have had the women report. this is not slight difference, this is major difference it gets even major when matthew says that mary saw and touched jesus and REPORTED to the 11, but john comes along and has her say that the BODY is missing. this is major stuff. this is clear cut inconsistency in the story. this is like a prank.

        • These Things Were Written

          Bob, as you know, the moderator has the ability to stop a particular participant from receiving so many flags as “spam.” At least this is what the folks at Disqus have told me. Apparently if you remove the present flags, this tells the algorithm that I am a legitimate participant.

          I am receiving flags for several posts as “Spam,” meaning that the answers I give are not available to those who ask me questions or those I make comments to.

          I counted 6 comments of mine flagged as SPAM.

          Could you please look into my account at remove these flags so that my future post will not be flagged as SPAM?

          Thank You

        • RichardSRussell

          Apparently I misremembered which thread I posted it on. Here’s the link to the synopsis, and here’s one to the lesson to be learned from it.

        • ildi

          Here’s my artistic rendition (I’m not quitting my day job)

          THE EMPTY TOMB
          Questioner (Q): Ok, ok, everybody, calm down and tell me what happened:
          Witness 1 (W1): Well, you remember all the excitement recently, when the veil of the temple was rent, there were earthquakes, and graves opened, dude, and saints arose and walked around..
          W2, W3: Yeah, it was freaky, the veil of the temple was rent! As for the rest of it, W1 was hitting the wine pretty hard…
          W4: I missed it.
          W1: So that was all because Jesus was executed. We’re totally freaked because he was supposed to bring the Kingdom of God, and now we don’t know what to do… anyway, our bud Joseph of Arimathaea was able to get the body and place it in his own tomb-
          W2: I’m pretty sure it was a sepulchre hewn from rock-
          W3: A NEW sepulchre hewn in stone!
          W4: Never man yet laid, to boot!
          W1: And Joseph rolled a great stone in front of it (W2 nods agreement)
          Q: Ok, ok, so what’s the big panic?
          W1: So, on Sunday, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, mother of James and Joses went to the tomb-
          W2: -and Salome!
          W3: No, it was the two Marys and Joanna and some other women!
          W4: No, you nitwits, it was just Mary Magdalene!
          W1: and there was another earthquake!
          (other Ws roll their eyes)
          Q: Ok…. funny you guys don’t know how many women, you just talked to them. Anyway, why did she/they go there?
          W1: To see the sepulchre
          W2: No, to anoint him with sweet spices
          W3: Yeah, that’s right.
          Q: Wait, if there was a big rock blocking the tomb, how did they plan on anointing him? Makes no sense…
          W1: Point is, when they got there this angel descended from heaven and rolled that big rock away! Then he sat down on the rock in raiment as white as snow!
          W2: No, the rock was already rolled away when they got there (W3 nods agreement) and I don’t know about the young man being an angel-he was wearing white-but he was already there sitting in the tomb when they went in.
          W3: No, no, no, it was TWO men standing around dressed in shining raiments, not white, who appeared.
          W4: First of all, it was just Mary Magdalene, she didn’t go right in but came running to tell us, don’t you remember? Peter and one of the other guys went and found the tomb empty. Mary Magdalene was crying and looked into the tomb and saw two ANGELS (side-eyes W2 and W3) in WHITE, SITTING head and foot (side-eyes W3)
          Q: Huh, you guys can’t agree how many women or who there were, if there were one or two guys at the tomb, in white or not, moved the rock or not, are you sure this happened recently? I am curious, though; where the hell was the body?
          W1: The ANGEL told them that Jesus was risen and for them to run and tell us and we would see him in Galilee.
          W2, W3: Pretty much.
          W4: No, they just asked her why she was crying. She’d already come to get us!
          Q: Ok, I’m really having trouble believing you’re talking about the same event, but I’m dying to know what happens, so go on.
          W1: So, the women ran away in fear to bring word to us-
          W2: No, they’re scared and they ran away but they didn’t talk to anybody.
          W3: I think W1 has that right…
          W1: That’s not even the most fantastic part! JESUS appears to them on the trail!
          W2: Actually, it was to Mary Magdalene first, back in town-
          W4: No, no, no, he appeared to her in the tomb and she mistakes him for the gardener lol
          Q: Ok, guys, whatever. I want some of whatever you guys are smoking.
          W2: Actually, we don’t believe them either, and we’re really freaked out. What are we going to do?
          W3: Pretty much. Hey, W2, you wanna go for a walk in the country?
          [end scene]

        • Isn’t it curious that only one guy remembers the zombies walking out of their graves? Maybe that was so commonplace that the others didn’t bother mentioning it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I think the guy got some rye ergot bread (what made the witchfinding girls in Salem trip out…it’s apparently like LSD)

        • Tim Ellison

          Artistic licence on the part of the gospel writer.

        • Ficino

          I’d like to forge the apocryphal Gospel of the Soldier Over Whose Foot the Stone Rolled on Easter Morning and Who Collected a Large Cash Award in Court.

        • Greg G.

          Right, and if you tell that to people today, some of them will believe every word of it.

        • ildi

          Hopefully not anybody in the FBI…

      • MR

        I checked all of my posts since I began here….

        Ipse damnant.

    • Damien Priestly

      One more thing…a response of yours below was…

      -> “Of course the early Jews rejected Christ, their own prophecies predicted this…”

      When you make or repeat ugly statements that do harm — that belong at a KKK or alt-right rally — you can’t expect people to be polite with you.

    • Michael Neville

      After over 100 comments by myself, not one was ever taken as a place to start a productive argument.

      I knew you weren’t to be taken seriously when I refuted your nonsense about the synoptic gospels written pre-70 CE with a link to a Jesuit college website and you denounced the website as being atheist. You’re a bullshitter whose bullshit is quite obvious. So why should we expect a productive argument from you, Mr. 10,000 papers?

    • You’re remarkably humble for someone with so, so much to be proud of.

      I’ve seen absolutely nothing of interest from you. You’ve made fantastic, unsubstantiated statements that have provoked many to demand justification. I’ve seen none. You don’t like ridicule and mockery? Then don’t make arguments that provoke ridicule and mockery.

      If you want to engage with people here, you need to engage with the whole spectrum. When someone takes the time to respond to your arguments, I need to see some effort from you that you’re responding to them. If it’s clear that you’ve narrowed the conversation to just one or two commenters, then this forum isn’t a fit, and you need to find the door. I can help you.

    • MR

      You strike me as completely disingenuous so I suggest that everyone including Greg opt for ridicule. We’ll never get honest Christians to participate here if we keep feeding trolls like you.

    • Lark62

      You made 100 comments yet never managed to communicate the “tremendous amount of information which could help the atheist greatly in being able to see the frailty of their arguments”? Hmm, perhaps the fault does not lie with those nasty atheists. Perhaps you have no information and are simply full of it.

      The guidance to “Put up or shut up” comes to mind.

    • Ctharrot

      1.a. I’m sorry I ridiculed you about the Homer thing.
      1.b. For what it’s worth, my initial response to you about the claims in the NT and flying via airliners vs. spirits was an earnest, if light-hearted attempt at an exchange about epistemology and miracle claims. You chose not to engage.
      2. You have made any number of assertions, but provided very little in the way of actual support. I’d like to ask for just two items:
      (a) You claim to have a fragment of Mark dated to no later than 60AD (I seem to recall you said something about “scientifically validated,” but I could be mistaken). Can you please point to some public reporting or source for this? Are you referring to the controversial fragment Gary Habermas has declared probably dates to about 80-110 AD?
      (b) I asked for the title of your book from which you stated you drew your text regarding Greenleaf/Packham. Could you please provide that title?
      3. Guilty. I apologize. I think I did lose my patience a couple of times.
      4. Fair enough. If I don’t mock you, will you engage honestly with me? And if I engage honestly with you, will you reciprocate and actually answer questions about epistemology, the Greenleaf approach, etc. not only as applied to the miracle claims in the NT, but extended with intellectual consistency to other claims and contexts, both ancient and modern?
      5. Greg has the patience of a saint, and an especially prolific one at that.

      • These Things Were Written

        Thank you for your sincere comments. I can see that you are a reasonable person and I am certain that we will have a few good exchanges. It might be important for you to know that I am not interested in trying to change your mind, win an argument, or evangelize you or anyone else in this forum. I want a good and honest exchange of ideas and to listen to your thoughts and be heard on mine.

        I realize that many here want me to give them citations and support but It is clear that most of you have already seen a great number of these in the past and it was not very profitable. Understanding that you are likely not interested in changing your mind, nor I, mine, what I am hoping for here is to take a few key points and talk about alternatives to our own views.

        I have realized after four decades that things like a Ph.D., published works, peer reviews, and scholarly works are all worthless in the debates that human beings have in these matters. I take a very unconventional approach in current scholarship due to the fact that in my view, it isn’t working.

        If there is one thing that modern religious universities have accomplished, it is the total destruction of individual thought and criticism of the New Testament by strictly subjective experience. The only things that comes from reading all of the critical commentaries from theologians is confusion, discouragement, and in many case, a loss of faith.

        It is illogical that God sent His Son into the world under the poorest of conditions so that even persons of the lowest estate could relate to Him, but then requires them to go to university before they could understand the text that was written about Him.

        Jesus never attended any Rabbinical School, yet He had complete mastery over all the scriptures by simply reading and studying their content. When Jesus was before the scribes and Pharisees they marveled at His knowledge of the scriptures and asked where He learned all these things.

        I will talk more about this later as I have noticed that some of my posts have been flagged as “spam”, I am assuming, because they are to lengthy. I will do my best to answer your questions and hope that you will do the same for mine. I will answer your question in a following post.

        • These Things Were Written

          Perhaps I misstated the fragment. The item I am referring to is a controversial fragment from Matthew, which I am certain with your intelligence, you already know. What is interesting about this fragment is that it is asserted that it was originally misdated, which does happen. Unfortunately, bias predisposes many to push for later dates. Paleography has accurately dated this fragment to near 60 A.D.

If you are interested in the evidence, I can include as much as can be allowed under the rules for post size.

          I am sorry, but for obvious reasons of anonymity, I cannot tell you any more about my works.

          Regarding epistemology, you will likely be disappointed in my views as I do not believe the current methods for validity and scope have been working. It took me quite a long time to realize this but one of the benefits of time is that it is a great teacher. I will share with you my views in this regard, but they are not conventional.

          I am not certain whether you have read Greenleaf’s “Testimony of the Evangelists,” but It was cause for me to reconsider many conventional thoughts a number of years earlier.

          I have found that a great number of the rules that we set for ourselves due to pressure from outside sources and sometimes our own ego, often impede us from seeing the truth.

          If we are talking about honesty as an easier alternate for intellectual consistency, there is a point to be taken. Those who are not believers may think that consistency of self is not a part of the Christian faith. If this occurs, then we have made a tremendous mistake. It is not simply that we want people to believe but also to assist in a total transformation as new persons, including their view of reality that is consistent to self, inclusive and possible to live in the practical aspects of life. Every view we have of life in the world should include our personal commitment to truth, particularly when it concerns the mysteries of God His word, and how we choose to live our life.

        • Ficino

          Yes, please provide the evidence that there exists a fragment of the Gospel of Matthew that has been securely dated to A.D. 60 or earlier. And we need to know where it resides now, its provenance, who dated it, by what methods, etc.

        • Ctharrot

          1. “Paleography has accurately dated this fragment to near 60 A.D.

If you are interested in the evidence, I can include as much as can be allowed under the rules for post size.” No need to take up a ton of space. Can you please just identify the fragment, perhaps with a link to a relevant article, curator’s description, or somesuch? Before we get into your thoughts on dating, let’s see the item we’re talking about.

          2. “I am sorry, but for obvious reasons of anonymity, I cannot tell you any more about my works.” Okay, I won’t push it, although I’ve never met a published author who wouldn’t identify his or her writing.

          3. “I am not certain whether you have read Greenleaf’s “Testimony of the Evangelists,” but It was cause for me to reconsider many conventional thoughts a number of years earlier.” I own it and read parts a few years ago, but not the entirety. The fundamental premise simply doesn’t compute–evaluating miracle claims using rules of evidence that were most assuredly not developed to evaluate miracle claims? I can see why a person of faith might be persuaded by the thought experiment, but by my reckoning, it’s akin to claiming the soul can be found with an MRI scan. Moreover, the approach is untested by the crucible of actual courtroom litigation. No miracle claim has been advanced using the rules of evidence, subjected to adversarial scrutiny, and found to be true in any state or federal court since the Founding. None.

          But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that a record having no indications of fraud should be taken as authentic, and the contents–including even miracle and other extraordinary claims–presumed to be true unless they can be disproved. If that works for the miracle claims in the Gospels, it works just as well for any number of miracle and extraordinary claims in other analogous records. The tablets describing the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Book of Mormon. Alien abduction accounts. And so on.

          Does that make sense? I’m not asking you to agree–just whether you understand why I find the Greenleaf approach invalid.

        • Paleography has accurately dated this fragment to near 60 A.D

          I’ve asked you for information about this many times. Is it a secret?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya just have to take his word for it…that’s how he rolls.

        • Which may be for the best. I’m probably not smart enough (or have the touch of the Holy Spirit) so that I’d understand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Paleography has accurately dated this fragment to near 60 A.D

          You’re a liar.

          That is beyond the remit of palaeographic expertise.

          Palaeography can be used to provide information about the date at which a document was written. However, “paleography is a last resort for dating” and, “for book hands, a period of 50 years is the least acceptable spread of time” with it being suggested that “the ‘rule of thumb’ should probably be to avoid dating a hand more precisely than a range of at least seventy or eighty years”. In a 2005 e-mail addendum to his 1996 “The Paleographical Dating of P-46” paper Bruce W. Griffin stated “Until more rigorous methodologies are developed, it is difficult to construct a 95% confidence interval for NT manuscripts without allowing a century for an assigned date.” William M Schniedewind went even further in the abstract to his 2005 paper “Problems of Paleographic Dating of Inscriptions” and stated that “The so-called science of paleography often relies on circular reasoning because there is insufficient data to draw precise conclusion about dating. Scholars also tend to oversimplify diachronic development, assuming models of simplicity rather than complexity”.

        • These Things Were Written

          This is one opinion, but like all opinions there are always countermanding conclusions and extenuating circumstances. Of course if you were a textual scholar yourself, you would not assert that a colleague is a “liar” because they rely upon the scientific conclusions of Paleography, particularly in this case since you have no idea what kind of literary manuscript fragment I am describing.

          Of course the particular fragment that I am speaking of is a codex and Paleography is particularly useful due to the recto and verse of this fragment making this scientific method by scanning laser technology particularly effective at determining the terminus ante quem.

          If you had actual experience in this process you would know that the particular Paleography that was used in the fragment I am describing can differentiate within one millionth of a meter in the layers of papyrus, and measure the actual height and depth of the ink used in the writing on the papyrus. This advanced technique allows such precise analysis of ancient documents, that the actual angle of the stylus used to write on the papyrus can be determined. The scanning laser microscope can differentiate up to 20 separate layers of a papyrus manuscript at one time. It can even measure the exact height and depth of the ink used on the papyrus.

          In this case, this particular process has allowed New Testament criticism to vault from theory to actual physical evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And that helps a message get dated to a precise year how exactly?

          Citation needed.

          You are a waffling bullshit, liar.

          Palaeography is the study of hand style and script types.

        • These Things Were Written

          Perhaps you should follow the law of holes…

        • “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”? That’s hilarious! I was just about to suggest to Amos that I smell blood in your continued evasion about, not the 10 trillion papers that you’ve written, but the Bible document that dates to 60CE. I’ve asked for the citation that gives good evidence that this document exists (and, BTW, your say-so ain’t it). So far, I’ve not seen it.

          My working hypothesis: you don’t have any evidence. You’ve known that this claim was a weak point ever since you brought it up. But that’s OK. It’ll give me something to point to and laugh at. Maybe you can short-circuit that mocking by giving us the citation (or admitting that there isn’t one).

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you’ve nothing…surprise, surprise. NOT!

          The only clown in a hole here is you. When you can demonstrate an assertion with support anything other than personal flannel, you might get some respect. Until then your comments are all pure conjecture and lies.

          I’m aware of an early copy of gMark….40’s CE…that begins with “Once upon a time” and ends with “…and they all lived happy ever after”, but I can’t support my assertion…cause, like, as ya know, citations and evidence, while important in writing papers and books, are useless in this kind of format.

          You are a lying Dime Bar. Lying for Jesus a time tested trait of the Christian.

        • ildi

          Finally! TTWW has been understandably coy about this; however, the phrase “The scanning laser microscope can differentiate up to 20 separate layers of a papyrus manuscript at one time.” shows up in a bunch of religious websites. This is what they’re referring to:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalen_papyrus
          “In late 1994, Carsten Peter Thiede proposed redating the Magdalen papyrus to the middle of the 1st century (AD 37 to 70).”

        • Did you just stumble over this or did TTWW point you to this? I see your point that this could be what he was handwaving about. Unfortunately, that’s just one maverick who’s proposed that date. In the introduction, the article says, “Comparative paleographical analysis has remained the methodological key for dating the manuscript: the consensus is ca AD 200.”

          Not that impressive.

        • ildi

          Earlier I did a general search of the sentence which got a lot of hits, this time I limited to exact phrase, and turns out TTWW pretty much lifted the language out of this website (with no attribution-tsk tsk)
          https://robertcliftonrobinson.com/2014/07/26/empirical-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ/
          Website (near bottom of page): “When using the latest technology of the scanning laser microscope, Dr. Thiede could differentiate within one millionth of a meter in the layers of papyrus, and measure the actual height and depth of the ink used in the writing on the papyrus. This advance technique allows such precise analysis of ancient documents, that the actual angle of the stylus used to write on the papyrus can be determined. The scanning laser microscope can differentiate up to 20 separate layers of a papyrus manuscript at one time. It can even measure the exact height and depth of the ink used on the papyrus.
          TTWW: “If you had actual experience in this process you would know that the particular Paleography that was used in the fragment I am describing can differentiate within one millionth of a meter in the layers of papyrus, and measure the actual height and depth of the ink used in the writing on the papyrus. This advance[d] technique allows such precise analysis of ancient documents, that the actual angle of the stylus used to write on the papyrus can be determined. The scanning laser microscope can differentiate up to 20 separate layers of a papyrus manuscript at one time. It can even measure the exact height and depth of the ink used on the papyrus,.”
          UNLESS, TTWW is actually Robert Clifton Robinson “Christian Author, Philosopher, and Apologist. President of Teach The Word Ministries, Inc. Author of twenty-seven books?” Inquiring minds want to know…

        • epeeist

          I ain’t gonna link to it but Robert Clifton Robinson has his own website…

        • Does he brag about having written 10 quintillion papers? That would seal the deal for me.

        • epeeist

          Does he brag about having written 10 quintillion papers?

          It seems to contain multiple articles written per day, so that might be the basis for the “10,000 articles” claim. The ones I looked at seemed to be of the fact-free type that TTWW is posting here. I value my IQ so I didn’t spend too much time on the site, especially having looked at his article on the bible and cosmology…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good for a laugh though…in short bursts of course.

          A see Luke Breuer is interacting with him now….heaven help the lot of us…time for a sabbatical from CE methinks.

        • ildi

          Cleganebowl!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha…incidentally I’ve tickets for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience here in Belfast next month. Looking forward to it.

          http://www.gameofthronesconcert.com/

        • ildi

          Fun! I read an interview with Ramin Djawadi and as a result rewatched the burning of the sept sequence:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjtPtTUx_ks

        • ildi

          Also, best video crossover for cat and GOT lovers:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEg4SEch27w

        • Greg G.

          He asked me to jump through a hoop so he could converse with me, again. It sounded to me like the Piranha Brother’s “The Operation” threat.

        • Kodie

          Popping the popcorn.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I just did…looks like the paranoid guy posting here.

        • Good detective work.

          I remember a fascinating project that was able to do an MRI (or some other kind of computer tomography) to read a burned scroll that obviously couldn’t be unrolled without turning it to dust. While the technique might be able to see many layers, this P64 (looking at the Wikipedia photo) is just scraps of a single sheet.

        • Ficino

          They’re doing that with the Herculaneum papyri. Dirk Obbink, said by Gary Habermas to have dated the Hobby Lobby papyrus fragment of *Mark*, has worked on the Herculaneum papyri for years. Neither the Mark fragment nor PMagdalen Matthew is burnt, in any case.

        • I’m attending an apologetics conference tonight, and Habermas is a speaker. He’s been a big proponent of the “1st-century Mark” fragment. I’ll ask if it doesn’t come up (particularly if it doesn’t come up).

        • Ficino

          Whoa! #1 poor you. #2 yes, DO ask Habermas, and see if he can pin down why we should agree with the dating that he says Obbink has come up with. Why not closer to, say, 120?

        • And since dating documents of this sort invariably produces a wide range of dates from the experts, why (except for bias) should we select the conservatives’ date?

        • Greg G.

          Saying either of two things will get you physically removed from the conference: asking about the first century Mark fragment or saying “dilly dilly”.

        • Greg G.

          Good work! The similarity of the acronyms of These Things Were Written and Teach The Word Ministries is probably a coincidence.

        • Ficino

          I chime in. Good detective work!

        • Ignorant Amos

          P64 ffs…who thought TTWW was referring to a 25 year old debunked thesis about P64?…the silly tit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nailed it!

          Robert Clifton Robinson….clown uncovered….

          Fragments of Matthew’s Gospel, confirmed by modern Paleography, date these portions of Matthew at 60 A.D. These three papyrus fragments must have been written between the time of the crucifixion at about 32 A.D, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus is 70 A. D. This places the date of the writing for Matthew’s gospel at the time that Matthew was alive and witnessed the events recorded in his gospel account.

          https://robertcliftonrobinson.com/2014/09/14/the-new-testament-passes-every-literary-test-of-history/

        • Ficino

          Robinson’s statement leaves out so much that is the virtual equivalent of a lie. A date of 60 for P64 most certainly has NOT been confirmed by “modern Palaeography.” It is rejected by all papyrologists I’ve come across.

        • Pofarmer

          Robinson’s statement leaves out so much that is the virtual equivalent of a lie.

          A dishonest apologist? Perish the thought. Looking at his google rankings. He may be writing a bunch of books. But not many are reading them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh he’s a liar okay.

          My guess is he’ll do one to Croydon rather that support his fuckwittery…they usually do.

        • Greg G.

          I see RCR uses 24,593 as the number of manuscripts, which, IIRC, is the same number TTWW used. He uses 10,000 for the number of copies of the Latin Vulgate in the list. Unless it is exactly 10,000 and not a guess, it ruins the precision he is trying to show with five significant digits.

        • Ficino

          Hi Bob, I have some further stuff on the Matthew papyrus fragment. But since it may be buried on this thread, I’m going to post it on your newest thread. Please move it over here if you’d rather keep all the gMatt papyrus comments together.

        • Greg G.
        • Ignorant Amos

          If TTWW had just told us he was referring to P64 we could’ve just had a good chuckle about it and brushed him off. I got the impression he was referring to some new information about a discovery along the lines of the mysterious Mark fragments from the mummies masks ffs. What a tosser.

        • Ficino

          TTWW started out by saying “I have a manuscript” of the NT scientifically dated to 60 or earlier. Then the “I have” dropped out. And it went downhill from there, however much effort TTWW expended trying to conceal the identity of this fragment.

          Why do Christian apologists so often obfuscate or even outright lie?

        • Ignorant Amos

          They can’t help themselves. It has been that way since the very beginning…of Christianity…it’s all they’ve got ya see.

        • Pofarmer

          Why do Christian apologists so often obfuscate or even outright lie?

          May I assume this is a rhetorical question?

        • Greg G.

          Yours is a meta-rhetorical question! The internet is yours for the day.

        • Greg G.

          I thought it was about a recent discovery that hadn’t hit the news, too. It’s just an out-of-date dated manuscript.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The clown might as well just put on his big floppy shoes and red nose….a published scholar, my arse.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Brent Nongbri points out the problems with dating in this paper…

          http://www.academia.edu/436092/The_Use_and_Abuse_of_P52_Papyrological_Pitfalls_in_the_Dating_of_the_Fourth_Gospel

          Isn’t it strange that TTWW’s method doesn’t seem to be mainstream and without citation, we can’t possibly know if he is just making more shite up?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thanks for that lead.

        • Pofarmer

          It seems to me that this is just another dubious standard pushed by apologists masquerading as scholars. I agree, the method is circular.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why can’t you just stop being a class one cockhead and just tell us you are talking about the Magdalen Papyrus P64?

          Eyewitness to Jesus

          https://www.amazon.com/Eyewitness-Jesus-Matthew-DAncona/dp/0385480512

          Because it demonstrates that you are a waffling liar?

          Inevitably, Thiede’s thesis has been sharply criticized by other experts who question both his credentials as a papyrologist and his methodology. Says Klaus Wachtel of the Institute for New Testament Exegesis at the University of Munster: “Thiede’s paleographic arguments for an early dating are demonstrably untenable.” The British scholar Graham Stanton insists that “the case for a first-century date does not stand up to scrutiny.”

          http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,135738,00.html

          So 24 years after this great discovery, what is the scholarship on this issue? Why is Theide’s hypothesis not common knowledge? Is it because it is a lot of tosh?

          We agree with Thiede when he wrote ‘Caution is always the best approach in the dating of manuscripts’.[97] In this article an attempt has been made both to hear and to critically investigate his claims regarding the date of P. Magd. Gr. 17 = P64. Although we recognise the service that he has performed in facilitating a reexamination of methodological presuppositions, our verdict on his claims is a negative one. The very early manuscripts to which Thiede appealed for close parallels to P64 turned out to be not as close as the somewhat later ones which he had overlooked. Although there is no absolutely definite evidence by which P. Magd. Gr. 17 = P 64 can be dated with certainty, the available evidence points to a date around AD 200. To be on the safe side I would suggest plus or minus fifty years as the possible range.

          http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/P64TB.htm

          No wonder ya wanted to keep it under raps ya Coco. Ya Muppet…talk about digging holes.

        • These Things Were Written

          A dog has the intellectual capacity of a peanut, while he still retains the ability to navigate through complex sets of assumptions, because he believes he can control my behavior by insistent howling.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaahahahaha…at least dogs are useful.

          You have been found out ya dopey cunt…piss off, ya oxygen thief…you are a lying scumbag.

        • These Things Were Written

          Vexillum Falsum

        • Ctharrot

          Thanks for the gracious response.

          The spam thing has happened to me on rare occasion, too, even on short comments. No rhyme or reason I could discern, and Bob wasn’t able to help.

          [Ctharrot shrugs.]

        • If there is one thing that modern religious universities have accomplished, it is the total destruction of individual thought and criticism of the New Testament by strictly subjective experience. The only things that comes from reading all of the critical commentaries from theologians is confusion, discouragement, and in many case, a loss of faith.

          Fortunately for you (and me), this destruction can be observed in humans’ treatment of other humans. Therefore, the damage can be demonstrated in an empirical matter to atheists which need not presuppose God’s existence. You can just point out that whereas the hard sciences don’t require us to have a good understanding of moral agency in order to do good science, understanding of humans and of God are going to be quite perverted if our understanding of moral agency is perverted. And I think it obviously is; see for example Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson’s The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, and Eric Schwitzgebel’s Perplexities of Consciousness.

          It is illogical that God sent His Son into the world under the poorest of conditions so that even persons of the lowest estate could relate to Him, but then requires them to go to university before they could understand the text that was written about Him.

          University is where you go to learn how you’re righteous and the other guy is not (if he disagrees with you). I’m overstating a bit and especially targeting the liberal arts and social sciences, but I also think that What explains the idiocy of the liberal elite? It’s their education has some good points, as does Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber. Solzhenitsyn said something nobody wants to hear, even today:

          If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? (The Gulag Archipelago)

          In contrast to our university-taught elites who write stuff like [1], Jesus’ audience knew that they weren’t righteous. I suspect his audience also knew that the Jewish elites weren’t righteous. And yet, does not the bulk of the elite around the world blame the majority of the problems on the hoi polloi? Ezekiel 34 gets the balance of blame better. What we have is a trahison des clercs and the rabble knows it. Obviously they’re not going to be eloquent in saying how they know it; that would require university training which isn’t holier-than-thou.

           
          [1] Keith Parsons, one of the main contributors over at Secular Outpost:

          KP: I think the answer to the second part of your question is your (2)–a bad model of human nature. We (and by “we” I mean people like me) liberals, clinging to our dreams of reason, kept thinking that if we stated truth clearly and cogently and often enough, then people would believe it. Aristotle was not nearly so naive. He states that the majority of people evince a “slavish disposition,” indulging their appetites and believing whatever feels good to them. Any liberal who made such a charge today would elicit shrieks of horror and charges of (shudder!) elitism. We really have to admit that most people do not reason, but just follow their “gut,” and, as Charles P. Pierce so mordantly noted, your “gut” is your inner idiot.

          In this case, if people really are sheep, to an extent that it is uncomfortable to admit, then it is really, really important that the shepherds know what the hell they are doing. Fifty years ago (yes, I remember), science was venerated, at times almost excessively. The left and the right were united in a rock-solid commitment to science. Then the left went all pomo and, in the throes of post-colonial and post-patriarchal guilt, started to look upon science as a plot by white males to oppress women and the poor (read Bruno Latour and Sandra Harding if you think I am just being rhetorical here). The right went in two directions: One part rediscovered religious fundamentalism, which also sees science as a plot–in this case a plot by Satan to undermine Scripture. Another branch of the right discovered how much more money could be made (e.g. by Big Tobacco, Big Oil, and Big Coal) by denying legitimate research and promoting junk science (e.g. climate-change “skepticism.”). So, from both the left and the right science took it on the chin.

        • These Things Were Written

          Excellent points Luke.

    • Phil

      For me it is pointless debating the bible when the whole idea of a god is so ludicrous in the first place. If that single point can’t be addressed, the there is no sense in wasting time on ancient books.

    • Phil

      For me it is pointless debating the bible when the whole idea of a god is so ludicrous in the first place. If that single point can’t be addressed, the there is no sense in wasting time on ancient books.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      I began this as an exercise to see if the atheist today can adequately defend their primary objection to the four Gospels.

      Nope. You set up a STRAWMAN for the express purpose of knocking it down.

      Did you ASK us what our ‘primary objection to the four ‘gospels” was, AT ANY POINT?

      If you’d bothered to run a survey, collect & collate the results, and then deliver that to us as a basis for further discussion, then maybe.

      What YOU want is for us to act as your own personal bowling alley, where you set us up and knock us down.

      Not happening.

    • DogGone

      Thank you. When people come here to proselytize, I learn whom to block.

  • Kevin K

    So, in the interests of not feeding the troll, I actually have something today about the OP.

    I have often said that the whole idea of blood sacrifice makes no sense precisely because it places a strong limit on the power of the deity in question. If I were a god and the only way for me to forgive people sins was through the bloody torture and execution of an innocent person … well, that says something about the powers of that god, doesn’t it? Not only its powers, but perhaps its powers of imagination as well. I can think of dozens — maybe hundreds, thousands, or millions, given time — of ways to be allowed to forgive sins that doesn’t require a blood-soaked sacrifice.

    That Yahweh can’t think of those ways pretty much places it right alongside Queztalcoatl or the Druid gods.

    • Bob Jase

      It doesn’t help that Jesus’ unreported real last words were, “Blood and souls for my lord Arioch.”

      • Kevin K

        And the reported ones were a quote from the OT.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which version of the reported ones?

        • Greg G.

          The “Eloi, Eloi” quote of Psalm 22:1, perhaps?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…soz…a was being a wee bit facetious.

        • Kevin K

          Of course, that’s one of those many “reasons why the narrative is nonsense” things. The gospel writers had to squeeze in these OT quotes to make the prophetic narrative come out right. And, in addition, also, someone dying on the cross would not have been able to cry out in a loud voice. Death from crucifixion is due to pulmonary edema — the victim cannot breathe in enough in order to be able to cry out anything, much less last words in a loud voice. Someone crying out in a loud voice would not be anywhere near death — this is just basic physiology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Having a hole poked in the lung wouldn’t help matters either.

        • Kevin K

          My sources tell me it would most likely have been the liver — but again, quite right.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought it was the lung and that was the fluid that the soldiers got sprayed with. Blood and water. Of course, according to the story, Jesus was already dead when the stabbing occurred, so he’d have been saying bugger all in any case. The stabbing was a plot device by John’s author(s) to dispel the notion that Jesus was in a coma, or was taken down unconscious and therefore didn’t really Resurrect from the dead as the yarn claimed. A notion that is alleged to have been circulating.

          When John wrote this account to prove Jesus’ death to the skeptics, he was simply trying to show conclusively that Jesus had died. What John did not realize is that he not only proved Jesus’ death, but he revealed the “why” of Jesus’ premature death.

          http://www.hcna.us/columns/jesus%20stabbed.htm

          Look at us, debating the number of angels dancing on the point of a pin…like the crucifixion narrative was an historical event. NOT!

        • Pofarmer

          The whole water thing is to fulfill another prophesy about “springs of living water.” It’s another OT reference.

        • Pofarmer

          Dead people don’t come back to life either. I mean, it’s not like we’ve not already broken the shackles of basic physiology.

        • Kevin K

          Also true.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Jesus just got tired of everyone asking him what it was like to die, so he kept making up different stories and giving himself cool last words.

          Unfortunately nobody wrote about the time he said “Hasta la Vista, Baby.”

        • Greg G.

          I thought his last words were, “I’ll be back!”

        • Kevin K

          Exactly.

        • Bob Jase

          My copy says, “Morlock, Morlock.”

      • Kevin K

        I thought it was “Mary, I can see your house from up here.”

        • Kodie

          If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But don’t give Jebus M&Ms…. 😉

    • RichardSRussell

      There’s a regular poster on this forum who came up with a quotation that I’ve taken to repeating often, but I’m too lazy to look up who it was so I can give proper attribution. It’s this:

      Deity angry! Something gotta die!

      I’ve shipped that off to EvolveFish.com with the suggestion that it would make an excellent bumper sticker under the heading “Bible in Brief”.

      • Kevin K

        I think it’s very instructive that the first murder in “history” occurred because the god was pleased with the smell of burning animal flesh and not with roasted vegetables.

        I think Yahweh eats paleo.

        • RichardSRussell

          All those old Western movies about the farmers wanting to fence off open rangeland to protect their crops, thereby pissing off the free-grazing cattlemen, is just the modern (well, more recent, anyway) version of Cain vs. Abel.

          Historically, it’s also a parable of the conflict between nomadic hunter/gatherers vs. the rise of “put down roots” agriculture which eventually led to cities and civilization.

        • ildi

          Keto-lord!

        • Bob Jase

          if Yahweh doesn’t appreciate roasted corn on the cob, tomatoes, peppers and baked potatoes then he isn’t MY god.

          Which is isn’t.

        • Greg G.

          That takes me back. When I was in the service, we would buy some aluminum foil, steal some corn from a field (which is OK according to the Bible), then go to the beach, build a fire while soaking the corn in the ocean, wrap them in foil, and roast them. They came out roasted, steamed, and salted.

      • This is how I quoted that comment from Lark 62:

        The mystery is how people can follow a religion
        whose central theme from beginning to end is:
        “Deity angry. Something gotta die.”

      • Lark62

        After being a Christian for 35 years or so, I was in the last stages of figuring out god was nonexistent and the bible was grotesque when it clicked that the whole of the supposed “good news” rested on blood sacrifice. Blech. That was it. It was over. I was amazed that I had believed something so incredibly silly for so long.

        I hope they make a t-shirt too!

        Then I can truly say “Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.”

    • Kodie

      That’s what’s stupid to me. You’re supposed to get caught up in the emotions of someone dying for you, but it’s just about the stupidest solution to a so-called problem I could think of. It’s disgusting, but it’s also really weak. God supposedly created two people in a garden, set them up for failure, decided to start over by saving a handful of people and animals and killing everyone else, realized that was kind of fucked up and apologized, and promised never to do it again, people continued to sin and fail, god continued to be disappointed, and then one day invented this lovely solution that gets everyone off the hook, by turning his son into a fanatical cult leader who gets himself killed by design.

      First off, I think sacrificing your life is a really weird concept. Dying so that someone else may [have something] is a weird transaction. For example, in war, we send proxies of our government to kill and risk their lives, many die, many are wounded, so that I can have my freedoms, for example. I don’t actually keep my freedoms because someone died. That’s not really how it works. My “team” risks their lives to fight against another “team” and wins. Some of them die, but I don’t keep my freedoms because they “sacrificed” their life for me and my fellow citizens. I keep my freedoms because my team won, though not without some dying or getting seriously wounded. Whatever the other team is fighting our team to gain, that we have to kill more of them than they kill of ours, is their team’s sacrifice for nothing, to lose.

      Jesus, if he lived, if he was god’s son, and if he was good, could have done more with his long life than with an early death, that is how I would say “sacrifice”. For (only) argument’s sake, just say Mother Teresa wasn’t an asshole. She ostensibly devoted her life to a cause, which is actually why she’s admired by people who don’t know any better. Whatever else she could have done, it certainly couldn’t have been accomplished by committing suicide in her early 30s. Whether, in reality, everyone would have been better off is she had is beside the point.

      • Kevin K

        There’s a discussion going on over at the Progressive Christian channel with regard to why atheists aren’t being converted. And the OP is pretty right-on in terms of figuring out why atheists are not receptive to the message. One commenter keeps bringing up with blood sacrifice thing, though, accusing atheists of engaging in what amounts to a fallacious “Argument from Consequences”. (This isn’t what the writer said directly, but it’s in there). Basically, he’s saying “who cares if the concept of a blood sacrifice is morally repugnant … if it’s real, then it should be accepted.” And that’s actually a valid complaint.

        But that ignores what we’re discussing … the fact that we don’t reject it merely because it’s morally repugnant, we reject it because the entire concept of blood sacrifice is inconsistent with a deity of forgiveness. I haven’t worked myself up to writing a long-winded (and probably roundly ignored) post on that point over there … but it’s pretty much the same thing we’re discussing here.

        There’s also the fact that there’s no evidence the events in question actually took place. So, you can actually give Yahweh the Magnificent™ more credit for benevolence than Christians appear to be able to. Yahweh stayed the hand of Abraham, and did not actually command the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter, and much of the later editing of the bible appears to be specifically done in an attempt to stop the common practice of human sacrifice (on the altars to the moon and stars) by the Jewish people. So, why then would that same god make a completely 180 degree turn away and require it of Jesus? Makes no sense.

        • Bob Jase

          ” Yahweh stayed the hand of Abraham” in the revised version. Not in the original https://www.timesofisrael.com/when-abraham-murdered-isaac/

        • Greg G.

          Even in the current Bible, Abraham comes down the mountain and rides off without Isaac.

        • MR
        • Greg G.

          I didn’t see that. When I saw “the Mountain of the Murderer” i thought of Moses. I see in the comments that i was not the first.

          It looks like the article is sensationalized and the fact checking is up to the readers, though. It originally said that Isaac was going to kill his son.

        • Kevin K

          Yes, true that. Part of that editing process, I’m sure.

        • Ficino

          This is a very interesting article, thanks for posting.

        • ildi

          “Basically, he’s saying “who cares if the concept of a blood sacrifice is morally repugnant … if it’s real, then it should be accepted.” And that’s actually a valid complaint.”

          I have a problem with that one two levels: one, if it is ‘real,’ what does that say about people who are willing to worship such a deity, when this is something they consider morally repugnant? My second problem is that most Christians just talk the talk but don’t really on a visceral level buy into the blood sacrifice part, or even the conventional ‘worship’ part, i.e., they have a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus. Which, from my perspective, is fine; I’m hoping most religions move to the old Star Trek version where the crew members just did their own thing.

        • Kodie

          If there’s a better place to go and a worse place, and your abuser gives you an ultimatum, I don’t really blame people who have fallen for it, doing what they think they need to do to protect themselves. The problem is how they revise the story because they can’t admit or don’t recognize they are abused and threatened. I can’t say that’s so much their own fault either. The marketing of the church is powerful and persuasive, and not only is heaven dangled in front of them, but their social group can be taken away if they question anything. I don’t really contend with the term “worship” here, it’s more like submission, groveling… rationalizations they make to keep from facing the equation are just so obvious. Most of the Christians I know don’t seem to act as though there is any real danger of being judged and sorted though.

        • ildi

          Yeah, it took years for me to shake the fear of “going to hell” on an emotional level long after I believed any of it on an intellectual level.

        • Kevin K

          I agree with the first part of what you said. The second part, however, is highly dependent on the flavor of Christianity you’re talking about. Where I live (in the buckle of the bible belt), it’s all about the blood. They’re washed in the blood, soaked in the blood, redeemed by the blood. Blood, blood, blood. There’s more blood in their theology than in a Dracula movie.

        • eric

          we don’t reject it merely because it’s morally repugnant, we reject it because the entire concept of blood sacrifice is inconsistent with a deity of forgiveness. I haven’t worked myself up to writing a long-winded (and probably roundly ignored) post on that point over there…

          I’m not sure it needs to be that long. (1) If it’s real, then as you say ,this isn’t a forgiving or omnipotent God. (2) Bible says this is a forgiving and omnipotent God, (C) if it says inconsistent and contradictory things about God’s nature, what reason do we have to accept/believe that the blood sacrifice part of the story is the true part?

          IOW claiming ‘it’s real’ undermines our confidence in the source document that was the only thing propping up the ‘it’s real’ claim in the first place.

        • Tim Ellison

          Jeremiah 7.22 – I gave your ancestors no commands about burnt offerings or any other kinds of sacrifices when I brought them out of Egypt. This is Jeremiah claiming to speak on God’s behalf. That is one part of the anti-sacrifice party in Judaism.

        • Pofarmer

          Link?

        • Kevin K
        • Pofarmer

          Thanks.

        • Venavis

          Dated a guy who said he’d kill himself if I dumped him.

          Apparently, I should have interpreted that as romantic and loving instead of yet another reason to kick him to the curb.

    • Greg G.

      What kind of omnipotent being cannot eliminate mold in a house without the need for draining the blood out of bird?

      • Kevin K

        And require a monthly sacrifice from women after their menstrual cycles as well.

        • Kodie

          As if we don’t do enough!

    • MadScientist1023

      To be fair, the point of a sacrifice isn’t because the god needed it in order to do anything. It’s supposed to be a sign of the commitment of the follower. It’s less about giving the god fuel to do work and more about bribing them into helping. Or about showing their faith and dedication to the deity by wasting their wealth on them.

      • Greg G.

        It’s less about giving the god fuel to do work and more about bribing them into helping. Or about showing their faith and dedication to the deity by wasting their wealth on them.

        Or a scam run by the priest class because it was easier than doing honest work.

      • Kevin K

        1) I think you’ll find that there is a substantial proportion of Christians who disagree with your logic. For them it’s all about the blood, without which we would still be wallowing in unforgiven sin. I live in the heart of the bible belt, and there are large crosses on display with sayings written on the arms and posts — those messages almost all are about sacrifice and blood and “Jesus gave all”. Probably half of them directly say “blood”. Jesus — blood — redemption — secured … that kind of thing. I don’t know what proportion of Christians follow this line of thinking — but these signs appear primarily in front of the Southern Baptist churches, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the US, so I’m thinking it’s a substantial percentage.

        B) Why would Jesus be required to “show his faith” in Yahweh by volunteering to be sacrifice? That would mean that Jesus wasn’t really 100% sure that Yahweh was Yahweh. And certainly would disassociate “Jesus” as being Yahweh’s earthly avatar. It makes the whole “episode” in Jerusalem that more incoherent.

        • Greg G.

          I like the way you label your points:
          1)

          B)

        • Kevin K

          I stole it from a friend of mine who does that all the time in conversation.

        • Kevin K
        • richardrichard2013

          hello kevin, just a few question about
          this.

          in jewish beliefs, did adam ask god to forgive him? genesis does not say that adam “repented to the lord”
          if we plug in christian beliefs into the genesis story then what we see is that god, by nature, needs to violently punish himself. it is not that god “loves you.” god has urges to ritually harm himself to satisfy his laws “perfectly”
          so even if adam repented 1000 times, it would not be good enough because god has no choice but to experience ritual slaughter.

          what am i saying ? even if adam was PUNISHED, yhwh as portrayed in christian thinking would STILL need to punish himself because only he can “perfectly ” get punished.

          this would then mean that the ritually getting KILLED is greater than love.

          why do they say “god loves you” when what they really mean is that god has no CHOICE but to get ritually slaughtered:?

        • Greg G.

          I always ask why God couldn’t have created Jesus in the first place, instead of Adam.

        • Otto

          or why this existence was necessary to end up in heaven.

        • Bob Jase

          For that matter why is heaven or any other place necessary for a god that’s beyond the need for space?

        • Pofarmer

          That’s kind of a biggie. Especially for a tri-omni God.

        • Kodie

          Adam didn’t need groupies like Jesus did.

        • richardrichard2013

          or why didn’t yhwh give adam the free will he gave to the “fully human ” jesus

          adam was in mint condition before the fall . he was literally sinless according to christians.

        • Kevin K

          Sounds like a very bad BDSM relationship. “Please me, may I have another?”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So yahweh is into ‘self-abuse’?

          Kinky…

        • Without Malice

          Neither does the Genesis story say that the punishment of Adam and Eve and their descendants is in any way shape or form eternal damnation or estrangement from God. All the punishment meted out to Adam and Eve are clear, and they don’t really amount to much. Women will bear children in pain – well Duh. Men will have to work the land if they want to eat – another big duh. God even made them some clothes, so much for estrangement. All the damnation BS because of original sin was made up whole cloth by the church.

        • richardrichard2013

          hello kevin, just a few question about
          this.

          in jewish beliefs, did adam ask god to forgive him? genesis does not say that adam “repented to the lord”
          if we plug in christian beliefs into the genesis story then what we see is that god, by nature, needs to violently punish himself. it is not that god “loves you.” god has urges to ritually harm himself to satisfy his laws “perfectly”
          so even if adam repented 1000 times, it would not be good enough because god has no choice but to experience ritual slaughter.

          what am i saying ? even if adam was PUNISHED, yhwh as portrayed in christian thinking would STILL need to punish himself because only he can “perfectly ” get punished.

          this would then mean that the ritually getting KILLED is greater than love.

          why do they say “god loves you” when what they really mean is that god has no CHOICE but to get ritually slaughtered:?

        • richardrichard2013

          god willing went to his death . why ? because of sins. why ? only by SHEDDING of blood…. why ? because god designed it like that . why ? meaning god, by nature needs to wreck himself.
          there seems to be a situation that god ALWAYS knew that he was TRAPPED when he made adam thanks to his ritualistic laws;

        • Without Malice

          Maybe the lesson we’re really supposed to take from the gospels is: If you want a better world, God must die.

        • richardrichard2013

          not die, just separate himself from the flesh part. christians tell me that an immortal god cannot die, the only conclusion i can make is that yhwh separated himself from his own created flesh mask and then continued to bring into existence all the sins he separated himself for.
          So yhwh separated himself for all the deaths hitler caused and then brought hitlers actions into existence, what was the point in yhwh separating himself? why does anyone need to believe that the only way to make the world a better place is to believe that god separated himself and then entered himself to make himself alive again?

        • richardrichard2013

          god willing went to his death . why ? because of sins. why ? only by SHEDDING of blood…. why ? because god designed it like that . why ? meaning god, by nature needs to wreck himself.
          there seems to be a situation that god ALWAYS knew that he was TRAPPED when he made adam thanks to his ritualistic laws;

        • MadScientist1023

          I wasn’t talking about Christians. Neither were you in your original comment. We were talking about pagan religions that actually practiced animal sacrifice.

        • Kevin K

          I was talking about the sacrifice of Jesus’ bad weekend, and placing it context against pagan sacrifices. You’re right, pagan sacrifices are primarily about making sure the god brings rain at the right time and doesn’t let the insects eat the crops.

        • Lark62

          The OT commands blood sacrifice, making Judaism and Christianity “pagan” by that definition.

        • Kodie

          I think it is more general sacrificing, like a lamb or a goat or a virgin or your first born son.

        • Greg G.

          I live in the heart of the bible belt, and there are large crosses on display with sayings written on the arms and posts

          I drove through Indiana a week and a half ago and saw a few signs that said “Jesus is Real” on the way. On the return, I saw a similar looking sign that said “Hell is Real” on the other side of the road. I glanced over my shoulder and recognized it as one of the “Jesus is Real” signs.

        • Pofarmer

          On my first trip to Arkansas I was taken aback by all the “Jesus is the Answer” signs going out of Bull shoals lake. You were literally never out of sight of one. They seem a bit insecure about it, if you ask me.

        • MR

          My taken aback moment was a graphic, bloody mess of a billboard in northern California that looked like it was an advertisement for The Walking Dead. I was offended by the gratuitous violence and then saw the Jesus Saves, or whatever it said, and realized it was Christ’s blood-spewing hand.

        • Greg G.

          A few years ago, there was a couple of billboards visible from the intersection where I usually had to stop for the red light on the way home from work. The one on the left had flames and said, “When you die, you will meet the Lord.” The other was put up by a Campingnite that said, “The Lord is coming on {whatever the date}.” I thought, “Cool, maybe I won’t have to die after all.”

        • Greg G.

          A few years ago, there was a couple of billboards visible from the intersection where I usually had to stop for the red light on the way home from work. The one on the left had flames and said, “When you die, you will meet the Lord.” The other was put up by a Campingnite that said, “The Lord is coming on {whatever the date}.” I thought, “Cool, maybe I won’t have to die after all.”

        • Kodie

          On the drive up to my college, there was one, and my dad would always shout “what was the question?”

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “…He’s a bad-ass mutha-f(Shut Yo Mouth!)….”

        • Shaft?

        • Kevin K

          There appears to be some denomination that is giving their people little lawn signs that say “Thank you, Jesus”. Happy colors, scriplike font, all designed to make you forget that they’re thanking him for being tortured and murdered needlessly. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d6dfae27855762568a6652bb86746bf5e245326d7a7366949b170416462f939.jpg

        • Otto

          Oh get a load of the trend in my city… I read it as “ancient torture/execution device = love”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/32d6483ce09e03d9d5d9362073a866d54730879dd8284151b6be114360fa643a.png

        • Kevin K

          Somebody needs to tell those sign-makers about “safe words”.

        • eric

          Someone needs to bring that sign to a Christian anti-gay protest.

        • RichardSRussell

          Golly, here I thot that was advertising for how happy they were with their lawn service.

        • Pofarmer

          Around here it’s fucking lifesized Jesus’s with the glowing heart

        • Without Malice

          “There is a fountain filled with blood.” “Are you washed in the blood, the precious blood of the lamb?” It’s all rather disgusting.

        • Kevin K

          Totally.

        • Pastafarian heaven has a beer volcano. I’d rather be washed in beer than blood if we’re just making shit up.

      • eric

        I agree with Kevin’s response below; I think many Christians view Jesus’ sacrifice as theologically necessary, not merely some weird attempt at brown-nosing.

        But even if you’re right, Kevin’s original argument above still has teeth in a variant form: instead of “doesn’t the need for sacrifice say something negative about God’s omnipotence?” with your argument we just change it to “doesn’t the effectiveness of brown-nosing say something negative about God’s character?”

      • Lark62

        Actually, every form of “sacrifice” serves to make certain people wealthy. The people who get rich are those who claim to speak for an invisible deity.

        Once, it was “God wants your best livestock.” Now it is “God wants you to buy me a jet.” Same scam, different millennia.

        • Kodie

          I always say Jesus came to liquidate the burnt offerings system. They were backed up in roasted animals going rancid and had no bricks or fashionable clothing.

        • Without Malice

          Yes, and that livestock had to be without blemish, because hides without blemish brought in a lot more money that those that were flawed.

  • Tim Ellison

    I happen to be a Christian who is part of a large and growing movement who would argue that the only correct way to read the ‘bible’ is through a lens that is non-sacrificial. in other words, humans set up sacrifice, not their deity. There is a massive rabbit hole one goes down when reading the texts this way, but the bible seems to have an anti-sacrificial motif when read through this lens. God is against sacrifice and all the religious apparatus connected to this. Jesus was not a sacrifice but rather ended up in our violent murderous system.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Take it a step further…if humans set up the sacrifices, couldn’t they have set up the stories of a ‘god’ to frighten the rubes into supporting them?

      • Tim Ellison

        That is precisely what humans do. we create religions and seek to use them to control others and get their adoration and resources.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So why accept anything like that?

          You’re decrying religion at the same time you embrace it.

          Or better still, leave off the supernatural stuff and do what’s possible in the real world to make it better place simply because it’s the right thing to do and gives you a warm feeling?

        • Tim Ellison

          I find a great challenge to engage the texts that Christians have had as their primary documents since Paul wrote 2 Thess. The supernatural stuff is not the heart of the Christian faith – it is exactly what you have said – making the world a better place. I think that if we all could practice forgiveness and self-sacrifice offering to serve the other, well we would have a very different world.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think that if we all could practice forgiveness and self-sacrifice offering to serve the other, well we would have a very different world.

          How has that been working so far vis a vis Christianity and the diversity within?

          Bigotry and sectarianism are bywords for Christianity. Something I know about only too well.

        • Without Malice

          And that’s exactly what the Jesus character of the gospels did.

        • Tim Ellison

          I do not see where Jesus asked for adoration. He asked for his followers to imitate him.

    • ildi

      What is the role of Jesus, then?

      • Tim Ellison

        He came to tell us the true message that was opposed to religion. We killed him because we did not like that message. We love our idolatrous religions.

        • Pofarmer

          That doesn’t even make sense. How would you “kill” God?

        • Tim Ellison

          now that is a good question. i have no idea. and i think the whole idea of the incarnation is only seen through the eyes of faith – whatever that means.

        • Pofarmer

          It means it’s largely nonsense, it’s pointless violence for a tri-omni god.

        • Greg G.

          only seen through the eyes of faith – whatever that means.

          It means believing what you imagine but have no evidence for, or what someone else imagined for you.

    • Doubting Thomas

      It must to be a really cloudy lens to read the Bible and not just get it to say something it doesn’t say, but to get it to say the opposite of what it says. I think you should try climbing out of your rabbit hole.

      • Tim Ellison

        There is a very strong anti-sacrificial critique going on among Israel’s prophets.Jeremiah, Hosea. Here is the challenge according to Jesus: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

      • Tim Ellison

        All of life is interpretation. It is fascinating to reflect on the way that all of these ancient peoples gave testimony to what they thought was their experience of God. Learning this is one hell of a rabbit hole!

        • Doubting Thomas

          I agree it is fascinating. I also think it’s testimony of what ancient people made up about god, not any real insight to anything supernatural.

        • Tim Ellison

          I think that the word unseen may be better than supernatural. I would like to try and provide an account of how it is that i think there is a possibility for divine action that we could recognize. then again, perhaps we are meant to see things only the eyes of faith. i have no idea what that means, but i think it sounds good.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I have no idea what that means either.

          Again, it seems you’re trying to hold on to your faith by turning it into woo and flowery phrases. It’s a part of the process that many people go through on their way out of religion. Hell, you might even call yourself a Buddhist for anywhere from two weeks to six months.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well at least you are ready to admit it is one hell of a rabbit hole…we don’t usually get much of that from the other side of the fence around here…so kudos for that.

          And the fact that you are still on the learning journey and not entrenched, is another upvote.

          There is hope that with enough research, you will not end up a hopeless case. At the very least you seem to have abandoned most of the supernatural nonsense…a couple of brave steps further seems to be all that is required. But perhaps those may as well be a million miles.

        • Tim Ellison

          Thank you for your comments. I have been around the Christian racket for most of my life – i have 7 years of post-secondary education, mostly in theology and yet, the things that have been coming down the pike these past 10-15 years in terms of scholarship has been nothing short of remarkable. it is very sad to see how so many are just unwilling to do the hard work to figure out what it is they believe and or what it is that others believe and think. I try to have empathy for those who see things differently and learn from everyone. It is a hell of a ride and i love trying to figure these things out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Racket? Well at least you are aware that that’s exactly what it is in the end…like all religions. Beats me then why you insist on cherry-picking what ya think are the nice bits of a made up racket in order to remain a “Christian”…of sorts.

          Are you from the UK side of the pond…it’s just that some of your terminology points to that direction?

    • Otto

      Out of curiosity, how did you determine that interpretation is the only correct way to read the bible?

      Also as an aside, I think anytime a divinity is thought to be responsible for any scripture, going down a rabbit hole is a foregone conclusion.

      • Tim Ellison

        I have found the most interesting way is to read scripture from an anthropological perspective. The problem with all religion is that they ascribe some sort of theory of inspiration before they even read the text.Their presuppositions keep them from trying to see what is really going on. I see the bible as more of a conversation and we are invited to be a part of that conversation.

        • Otto

          I appreciate that you responded…but that doesn’t answer my question as to how you determined that way of interpreting is the only correct one.

        • I like an anthropological approach. A conversation sounds like a good metaphor. Where I’m stopped is the idea that there’s anything supernatural about it.

          “The Bible was 100% written by people with no supernatural input” explains things nicely and without the enormous complication of the supernatural. Occam’s razor cuts that away.

          Do you disagree?

        • Tim Ellison

          Well of course, if one presupposes there is no transcendent person behind all of this – then there is no possibility of the supernatural. In the main, I am a theist but i think that many (most?) theists just do not really spend a lot of time thinking about what it is that they think theism is all about. i am not sure that i have a clue about what it is about. I stay curious.

        • Not a clue? You’ve resolved the doublets in the Torah with the documentary hypothesis. You’re happy to accept naturalistic explanations to make sense of why the Bible says nutty stuff sometimes. You seem to understand it quite well. So what foundation remains to support your being a theist?

        • Tim Ellison

          yikes…how about this. I have been influenced by John Wesley – the Methodist. He approached his tradition with what has become known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – the way we know things. He profers experience, scripture, history and reason. I have a friend who used this approach with the story of Jesus. SO you have reason (the academy- Bart Erhman et al) you have history (ecclesial – the church – the good the bad the ugly), you have scripture (the textual jesus – which is really the gospel writers in terms of ‘jesus remembered’) and then you have your own personal experience (christus praesens). Well, the experience part, my personal encounter with the living christ is something that is very personal, very existential and not something anyone else can refute. yes, they can say i am deluded etc, but when i look at the 4 part i mention above, there is some substance to this. i mean you cannot compare jesus to the flying spaghetti monster because i do not see anyone writing about what the SM did. I mean what ethic can the Spaghetti teach us? what stories did the followers of the SM conjour up to at least give us a sense of what he would ask of us. I see with Jesus nothing but invitation. there is no threats, there is only – ‘hey, i am going this way. wanna come along?’ So i travel this 4 fold path and some of it is nonsense, and some of it is exceedingly invigorating. I have been influenced by others who are on the same journey. We learn most of what we know by influence and mimesis. Read Susan Blackwell’s excellent tome on memes. We are mimetic creatures and if someone does come along and has some amazing stories about the spaghetti monster and they bring love, hope, good, true and beautiful things to this world, well, dammit, i will follow that guy. Riffing off experience, tradition, academy and the religious texts gives me enough to keep a vision in front of me. I need to say – Pauline studies these days are immense. I highly recommend St. Saul: The Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus.

        • Michael Neville

          I mean what ethic can the Spaghetti [Monster] teach us?

          The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts [LINK] are more ethical than the Ten Commandments. I particularly like #2, it shows the FSM has a better sense of ethics than the followers of Jesus: “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate, and/or, you know…be mean to others. I don’t require sacrifices, and purity is for drinking water, not people.”

          That being said, the FSM was devised by Bobbie Henderson for a pragmatic reason. The Kansas State Board of Education was going to give Intelligent Design equal time with evolution in public high school biology classes. Henderson presented the FSM and said that his god’s creation mythology should be given the same consideration as ID. After a little thrashing around and a lot of laughing at their expense, the Board of Education decided to reverse their decision on ID.

        • Another example that beats the 10 Cs: The Satanic Temple’s 7 Tenets.

          http://thesatanictempledallas.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/7-tenets-906×1024.jpg

        • you cannot compare jesus to the flying spaghetti monster because i do not see anyone writing about what the SM did.

          I think some people have written some of his backstory. But if not, suppose I wrote it down. You’ll say, of course, that I just made it up. Very true. But we have no idea what is behind the Jesus story. It looks precisely like ancient legend that’s calcified into tradition and religion. That’s what you’d label it if you came onto it as an outsider. At best, you can say that Jesus can’t be called invented or legend for sure since we just don’t know.

          Problem is, “We don’t know” is a pretty poor foundation on which to build a worldview.

          I mean what ethic can the Spaghetti teach us?

          Should I make up one? I bet in a day I can put together much more inspiring and useful wisdom than the Bible has. Suppose, for example, I just stole from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

          I see with Jesus nothing but invitation. there is no threats

          No “Sell your cloak and buy a sword”?

          No “I come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it” (thereby brining in all that nasty baggage from the OT)?

          Not a single word against slavery?

          I think you’re selectively remembering.

          there is only – ‘hey, i am going this way. wanna come along?’

          You could distill down the good stuff from Jesus in a page. It’s really that profound? You can’t find that anywhere else?

          if someone does come along and has some amazing stories about the spaghetti monster and they bring love, hope, good, true and beautiful things to this world, well, dammit, i will follow that guy.

          Seeing this as simply a source of wisdom, without any need to declare the supernatural claims as historical? That’s great . . . though that doesn’t sound like where you were coming from.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Well, the experience part, my personal encounter with the living christ
          is something that is very personal, very existential and not something
          anyone else can refute.

          Why would we need to refute something that hasn’t been demonstrated?

          I remember watching a documentary on religion. They featured a Hindu festival where a young man carried something very heavy for a long distance to get it to a shrine. At one point he felt himself faltering and thought he couldn’t go on, but then the presence of Vishnu give him strength and he made it. Do you need to refute his personal encounter with Vishnu? Are you going to convert to Hinduism?

          Or is it more likely that he had an experience that he attributed to Vishnu but in fact wasn’t anything of the sort?

        • Ignorant Amos

          yikes…how about this. I have been influenced by John Wesley – the Methodist. He approached his tradition with what has become known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – the way we know things.

          And millions have been influenced by a multitude of other approaches to their particular favourite flavour of the cult. And even more millions of others are influenced by many other traditions outside the Christian tradition. None of them have any more veracity than any of the others, and all adherents to each tradition believe they are the True Scotsmen…unless they get convinced that someone else’s tradition is the True Scotsmen, then they convert to that tradition. But the problem is, they all can’t be right, but that could all be wrong, and in all probability, they are all wrong.

          He profers experience, scripture, history and reason.

          A claim made by all. What makes his all that special vis a vis anyone else’s claims…how do you verify the claim? What method do you use?

          I have a friend who used this approach with the story of Jesus.

          Cool, what other claims has he tested with the same method?

          SO you have reason (the academy- Bart Erhman et al) …

          The academy isn’t as reasonable as you might imagine. It is replete with infighting and arguing on all sorts of issues. One of the main arguments is on who was Jesus and what was his purpose?

          The academy is splintered on who exactly Jesus was, if he even existed at all…and the methods used in finding him are nothing short of shoddy…something honest scholars have recognised a long time ago.

          Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2012/01/will-the-real-jesus-please-stand-up/

          …you have history (ecclesial – the church – the good the bad the ugly),…

          All religions have history…some a lot more history, others, not as much history. The history of the Christian faith, once ya know it, is not what should be expect from the one true faith…it is a result of committee’s and schisms and power struggles and lies and deceit and persecutions and…well ya get the picture.

          …you have scripture (the textual jesus – which is really the gospel writers in terms of ‘jesus remembered’)…

          Yeah, ya don’t have that. The scripture ya have is at least decades removed, likely more. It isn’t composed by anyone that knew Jesus. It is OT midrash and ancient Hellenistic tropes copied, then plagiarised. It has been bastardised by endless copying, both accidentally and nefariously. We don’t even know how close the oldest copies we have are to the original stories. This subject alone, textual criticism, is massive.

          Other religions have scripture. Far better attested to scriptures. Older scriptures, newer scriptures. You must know the inherent problem with scriptures, surely?

          …and then you have your own personal experience (christus praesens).

          Indeed…the kind of personal experience that can cause people to fly passenger jets into buildings, blow up crowded market places, hammer whores to death, murder ones own children, believe in miracles….you do know that there are folk that have had personal experiences of being abducted by aliens, sexually assaulted by ghosts, and witnessed seeing the Loch Ness monster. Personal experiences like that are notoriously unreliable.

          I bet the Jesus you experience fits perfectly…while the Jesus experience of a different believer, fits their Jesus hole perfectly. And you see nothing wrong with that?

          http://www.sondrakistan.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Obama-Mirror-BuddyJesus.jpg

          Well, the experience part, my personal encounter with the living christ is something that is very personal, very existential and not something anyone else can refute.

          Just like you can’t refute the personal experiences of anyone else.

          https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/the-religious-experience-of-mormonism

          Peter Sutcliffe’s personal experience was that God told him to off prostitutes…courts of law don’t accept personal experiences as a defence…why is that do ya think?

          …yes, they can say i am deluded etc, but when i look at the 4 part i mention above, there is some substance to this.

          We know that’s what you believe…that believe is not unique. Do you accept as evidence the same criteria for all other religious worldviews? If not, why not? How do you know yours is the correct one and what method do you use to support your claim and dismiss all the others. Take the Outsider Test for Faith. When you realise why all others are woo-woo, you’ll realise why we think yours is no different.

          i mean you cannot compare jesus to the flying spaghetti monster because i do not see anyone writing about what the SM did. I mean what ethic can the Spaghetti teach us? what stories did the followers of the SM conjour up to at least give us a sense of what he would ask of us.

          Pick the lowest hanging fruit to compare? That’s disingenuous. The point of the FSM is parody. At least learn about it first. There was no writing about Jesus at first, until there was. When the writing about Jesus started, it was wide and varied, making all sorts of ludicrous assertions. You appear to be ignorant of this fact.

          To make your argument, why not compare Christianity with other scriptures. One’s that teach ethics…the sort of ethics that the Christian authors had to steal.

          I see with Jesus nothing but invitation. there is no threats, there is only – ‘hey, i am going this way. wanna come along?’ So i travel this 4 fold path and some of it is nonsense, and some of it is exceedingly invigorating. I have been influenced by others who are on the same journey. We learn most of what we know by influence and mimesis. Read Susan Blackwell’s excellent tome on memes. We are mimetic creatures and if someone does come along and has some amazing stories about the spaghetti monster and they bring love, hope, good, true and beautiful things to this world, well, dammit, i will follow that guy. Riffing off experience, tradition, academy and the religious texts gives me enough to keep a vision in front of me. I need to say – Pauline studies these days are immense. I highly recommend St. Saul: The Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus.

          Good for you. Knock yerself out. If it floats yer boat fair dues. But don’t come on here pretending that you are presenting an epiphany and you’ve got something special. More special than everyone else’s special. You haven’t. As has been pointed out by another commenter, you are just polishing the same turd with an alternative product. Until you can come up with better reasons than those that you’ve presented and that also apply to all other faiths, there is no reason to think you are different from the rest of the holy rollers that pitch up. Wishy washy liberal thinking Christianity is still Christianity, but at least the Westbro Baptist Church…the bunch of cunts that they are…don’t try to explain away the nasty bits as fluff.

    • Max Doubt

      “I happen to be a Christian who is part of a large and growing movement who would argue that the only correct way to read the ‘bible’ is through a lens that is non-sacrificial.”

      Finally! After all these centuries finally someone has discovered the the only correct way to read the bible. What took ya so long?

      “in other words, humans set up sacrifice, not their deity.”

      There. Fixed that for you. Everything else you wrote…

      “There is a massive rabbit hole one goes down when reading the texts this way, but the bible seems to have an anti-sacrificial motif when read through this lens. God is against sacrifice and all the religious apparatus connected to this. Jesus was not a sacrifice but rather ended up in our violent murderous system.”

      … is just your assertion that (1) you believe a Christian-ish god exists, and (2) you believe you know its mind, morals, and opinions better than other self-identified Christians who disagree with you.

      How ’bout you get back to us when you can objectively distinguish between what you think of as gods and any other figments of your imagination. From out here in the real world, it sounds like you’re just describing how you imagine some stories you heard.

      • Tim Ellison

        Actually I have been very challenged by the insight that some of the early Christian writers had – especially Paul. I don’t think anyone expected a god to show up nailed to a cross. And then the words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” is an amazing way to live in the world. If we could all learn to forgive others, no matter what they do to us and not have vengeance, i think the world would be healed. The huge problem many in the Christian religion have is that they believe God is violent, God will have vengeance and retributive justice at the end of time. i don’t think so. Forgiveness is everywhere when seen through the lens of the crucified Christ.

        • Pofarmer

          How about dispensing with the lenses and seeing the world as it is? It makes a whole lot more sense. To quote Christopher Hitchens. “We are evolved primates, not fallen angels. “

        • Tim Ellison

          i am a big fan of Hitchens. he was very critical of the christianity that i think is so disastrous. and yes, we are evolved and we are learning to not be violent.

        • Pofarmer

          At some level Tim, it’s all disAstrous and toxic, except for your version, of course.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Violence in the world is inherent and there is bugger all any of us can do to avoid most of it…if you believe in a god, you are lumped with it…billions of years of it…violence against one another in the human context, is but a pico of the violence in the world since life started. There’s no getting around that fact and if you believe in a god, that’s where you have to start asking questions…no free will nonsense allowed.

          Btw…while we are learning not to be violent as individuals, the end of violence is never gonna happen. Wait until the tipping point. That’s when the real violence will begin. Thankfully I’ll be well gone.

        • Max Doubt

          “Actually I have been very challenged by the insight that some of the early Christian writers had – especially Paul. I don’t think anyone expected a god to show up nailed to a cross.”

          And when Dorothy and her pals discovered the Wizard of Oz was just some dude working some machinery from behind a screen, people didn’t really expect that either. Wow.

          “And then the words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” is an amazing way to live in the world.”

          Amazing? Consider this: You’re kind of a dick to imagine anyone needs forgiveness from that “Father” you imagine.

          “If we could all learn to forgive others, no matter what they do to us and not have vengeance, i think the world would be healed.”

          Sounds like that kind of dreamy eyelash-fluttering poetry the girls used to write back in middle school. Can you draw a butterfly at the bottom of the next one?

          “The huge problem many in the Christian religion have is that they believe God is violent, God will have vengeance and retributive justice at the end of time.”

          The huge problem most people in the Christian religion have is that they believe any gods exist at all.

          “i don’t think so.”

          Since no two Christians agree on all the elements of the religion, your expressing disagreement with some of them is only as meaningful as them expressing disagreement with you. Neither you nor those whose Christian notions contradict yours are able to objectively distinguish between what is real and what you just imagine. From out here you’re just as wrong as they are; you’re all imagining shit.

          “Forgiveness is everywhere when seen through the lens of the crucified Christ.”

          You preacher kids sure do talk funny. What the fuck is the lens of the crucified Christ? Here’s a computer program that can string together philosophical sounding words and phrases way better than you. Since all you’ve got is gibberish, you should try to up your game, guy.

        • Tim Ellison

          yikes. that is some harsh critique, but i see where you are coming from. faith is a difficult thing to describe – maybe as tough as describing what consciousness it. actually, consciousness is for me the greatest argument for theism. perhaps i do try to say too much. a blog forum is not the best place to say everything at once. i try and concentrate on big ideas.

        • Doubting Thomas

          If you (or anyone else) don’t understand consciousness enough even to describe it, how do you think you know enough about it know what caused it or to think it’s evidence for god? I fail to see how this could be anything but an argument from ignorance.

        • the words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” is an amazing way to live in the world.

          It’s just a story. Call it “literature” if you’d prefer. And, like good literature, you can learn from it if you’re so inclined. No supernatural necessary.

        • Tim Ellison

          I agree – however I do like to ask questions of the authors of these texts – what do they want their readers to see and to understand.

        • Fair enough. But there again, you’re acting like Bob Price or Bart Ehrman–scholars very knowledgeable about the gospels but who appreciate that it’s just one more manmade religion out of thousands. Christianity is an interesting domain to immerse yourself in, but there’s no reason to take its supernatural claims seriously.

        • Tim Ellison

          The supernatural claims are the tricky part. There is obviously artistic licence in the writers of the gospels. We must avoid the law of the excluded middle. That is what i hate about so much evangelical christianity to ask questions or challenge the bible is a no go.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …they believe God is violent,…

          Yeah…they do…for very good reason.

          Where do ya think they’d get such an idea?

          You can’t Photoshop that image out of the picture just because you find it distasteful. That’s what most “nice” Christians have been doing all along. But that is deceitful. You must remember that YahwehJesus is derived from a war god. You just can’t airbrush that out and save your integrity. As epeeist says, that is cherry-picking and positing the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          If you are going to start the silly talk you will be sinking in my estimation.

    • How do you explain all the rules for sacrifice in the OT? Just put there by men, I guess? (Maybe the priests who’d benefit by eating the sacrifices.)

      Of course, I agree with you, but just extend this to the entire Bible. Why imagine that God was behind any of it? Or that there is a God?

      • Tim Ellison

        Thanks Bob for your reply.This is the fun and the challenge of asking the question about how is it that we read the bible. I am skeptical of all religion, including Christianity, but I think the gospel that Paul was trying to contend for was about non-violence, about grace and love. Yet, today, you see many Christians as the most unloving and ungracious persons you can imagine. They have missed the call to forgiveness. The question I ask the text, is this all just human speculation, or is there some sort of revelation? I have been digging into this for about 4 consistent years now, and i know less than when i started! The joy is in the hunt.

        • I think the gospel that Paul was trying to contend for was about non-violence, about grace and love.

          That’s nice to imagine, I suppose, but that’s hardly the primary point of Paul’s writings. His goal was to outline his theology.

          Yet, today, you see many Christians as the most unloving and ungracious persons you can imagine. They have missed the call to forgiveness.

          The problem IMO is politics. Christians are easy to lead around with the right message, and so politicians do so.

          The question I ask the text, is this all just human speculation, or is there some sort of revelation?

          If you’re truly on an honest quest (not one driven by what you’d like to find), I encourage you to look at parallel quests—for Bigfoot or Nessie or some other ephemeral quest for which there is no good evidence.

          If you find that you’re not able to convince people that Christianity is true using intellectual arguments, that should tell you something.

          The joy is in the hunt.

          Scholars like Bart Ehrman and Robert M. Price love the Bible as a research area, but they’re atheists. They’re of the “the more I learn, the more I see I don’t know” camp. Perhaps that’s a model for you.

        • Tim Ellison

          Ehrman is a good scholar. He is able to challenge alot of the nonsense that goes for scholarship. However, i am not trying to convince anyone that christianity is true – in fact i call the christian religion to be false. i look at the message of paul (the way he interprets Israel’s scripture) call that the gospel and contrast it with christian religion. Again, i share your harsh critique of the sacrificial system. The really huge problem I see is that the christianity that many atheists reject, i reject to. So my project is not to argue about truth in the bible, i am just trying to understand what it says and what this book is.

        • There are a number of good skeptical books that critique/analyze Paul. His “Christianity” was quite different from orthodox Christianity. That’s a fascinating study–have you read any of those books?

    • eric

      Seems like really poor communication on the part of God to send us a messenger that is only interpreted correctly by a relative handful of people, 2000+ years after the message is sent. Was he not concerned about the billions of Christians living before you getting the right message?

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        No more than he was concerned about all the people who lived BEFORE the message was given, or who lived on the other side of the world from where the message was given.

      • Tim Ellison

        The problem is not the message, but perhaps we are not always able to hear this. There has been folk through all of history that have suggested that God is not violent or vengeful. Religious people are obsessed with being right. I am just trying to be curious as to whether there is a way that the bible can be read anthropologically without presupposing it is inspired. it is more like testimony – it is the writings of folk who thought they were in touch with transcendence. Maybe. I like to see it as a conversation and we are invited to sit at the table and put our 2 cents worth in.

        • Max Doubt

          “Religious people are obsessed with being right.”

          Let’s see how that aligns with what you wrote in your opening post…

          “I happen to be a Christian who is part of a large and growing movement who would argue that the only correct way to read the ‘bible’…”

          The only correct way? You’re talking like a Christian who is pretty fuckin’ certain about being right. You’re obviously obsessed enough that you’ve come to an atheist forum to jump on your soapbox and tell the non-believing world that you’re right. If you think that’s a problem with religious people, knock it off, ‘kay?

        • eric

          The problem is not the message, but perhaps we are not always able to hear this.

          Are you saying God can’t communicate in a way that everyone is able to hear it, doesn’t know how to communicate with us in a way everyone will be able to hear it…or that he can, and knows how, but chooses to communicate a message critical to salvation in a way that won’t be heard by some humans?

          I am just trying to be curious as to whether there is a way that the bible can be read anthropologically without presupposing it is inspired.

          Well of course there is. All non-Christians read it that way. The problem is, without the presupposition of it being inspired, very few to nobody arrives at the conclusion that “all those miracles happened” is more probable than “the book is wrong about it’s miracle claims.”

          This is really no different than how Christians read any other religion’s text. Do you think it more likely that Moroni appeared with Golden tablets…or that the Mormon written documents of their history are wrong? Do you think it is more likely Mohammed ascended to heaven on a winged horse…or that the Koran is wrong? Take religious texts, read them “anthropologically,” and you inevitably arrive at the conclusion that no angel appeared, there was no winged horse…and Jesus did not rise from the dead.

        • Tim Ellison

          Thanks for your comments. That is a good question about how God would be able to communicate or how would we even know whether it was God, or just a figment of our imagination.I think the bible is trying to give an example of a bunch of folk who claim to have had some sort or experience with the divine – and they bear ‘witness’ to this. it is up to the reader to employ some sort of skepticism with regards to these claims and find a way to test them. i am not sure what an entry point would be for miracles – that is a huge question.

    • Lark62

      You’re right, and all those other Jesus followers are wrong.

      In John 17 22, Jesus is quoted saying, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

      “Complete Unity.” I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.

      Looks like “the world” has no reason to believe Jesus was sent by the “Father.” Awkward.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/772f808a5e8cc805cee619205872081de7bb6a6342586f2bd6104eb4e770abed.jpg

      • Tim Ellison

        great picture! This is the result of humans being so sure that they are right. I don’t claim to be right. i am interested in reading the religious texts and seeing if i can tease out a message that is not about hate, or violence or vengeance. i think there is one there, but it depends on how the story is told.

        • Otto

          But you did claim to be right…you said in your opening post that “I happen to be a Christian who is part of a large and growing movement who would argue that the only correct way to read the ‘bible’ is through a lens that is non-sacrificial.”

          I happen to like your version better than most, but I also stopped picking and choosing my religious view on what I like a long time ago.

        • Tim Ellison

          your right. i should have said that this has been a helpful way not the correct way. i am a total skeptic about my beliefs anyhow so i should not use that strong language. thanks for pointing that out.

        • Otto

          I appreciate you honesty. My personal religious skepticism lead me right out of Christianity. Not that there isn’t positive parts of Christianity, I have just found the those parts are not specific to Christianity or any religion. It was just unnecessary baggage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How many ways of looking at the texts have you investigated?

          The only way to get the crucifixion as anything more than an interpretation of OT prophecy is to read the later gospels back into the Pauline corpus.

          Paul goes to great lengths to warn his adherents about false teachers…it seems that from the get-go there were all sorts of punters jumping on the band wagon.

          Is the crucifixion and resurrection undeniable history as modern day evangelists claim or was this an idea that only Paul seemed to have knowledge of? Could it be that there was no crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus? Rather, could it be that Paul was simply inventing a story in such a way as to appear to fulfill Old Testament writings? The following analysis not only proposes the possibility of such an alternative but provides overwhelming evidence that this is just what occurred. The entire crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus was nothing more than Paul’s prophesies.

          https://bibleblahblah.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/paul-and-the-crucifixion/

          Read Bart Ehrman’s “Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew” for an idea of just how diverse and messed up the early Christian cults were, is flabbergasting. The scriptures you are drawing your conclusions from are just the tip of the iceberg and are the “fake news” that got propagated only because of who won the arguments of the day.

          I can’t comment yet on Ehrman’s complimentary book, “Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament” as I’ve yet to get around to reading it, even though it languishes in my Kindle library. Perhaps your presence here will spur me into action. Ehrman does reference a number of the alternative scriptures in the former tome.

        • Tim Ellison

          i have a number of Ehrman’s works and have dipped into them from time to time. he is a good scholar but he may miss the part about faith seeking understanding that Anselm taught us in the 12th century. There is a lot of us who do not believe prophecy is fortune telling = it was a literary trope used by NT authors to try and prove a point. of course the gospels are propoganda and and the writers have axes to grind. This does not mean that they were necessarily wrong about what they said, it just reminds us they were not objective.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem with the “Jesus was a Buddha type guy” is that without all the bell’s and whistle’s embellishment routine in the NT gospels, you’d never have heard of him. He’d have been nothing more than a minor cult leader, if he even existed, which I doubt given the evidence.

          The gospels are no more wrong than the diaries of Dr. John Watson were wrong about the exploits of Sherlock Holmes…as long as one understands they are works of fiction. But where does that leave ya? Worshipping an idea. There is a cargo cult that worships the Duke of Edinburgh…called the Prince Phillip Movement…silly isn’t it?

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

        • ildi

          I had read Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” a while ago and based on this discussion thread decided to get “Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are”-I’m about halfway through. His main premise is that biblical scholars seem to be so squeamish about calling a forgery a forgery, acting like it was ok at the time, or done out of humility, or was the result of dictating to a secretary without any evidence to back this up. At the time the canon was selected a lot of this information was unavailable, but according to him forgery was always decried even though it wasn’t illegal, and it seems to raise the question why the bible isn’t updated to discard the forgeries that historians are in agreement on. (I know, silly question.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because once the forgery is in there, it is hard to remove without tracking down every copy with it in, and destroying it.

          You must remember that for centuries no one, or at least only a select few, would’ve known these books were forgeries. Heck, how many believers today are aware of the textual problems within their holy book? Very few of them even bother their arse’s to read the friggin’ thing.

          When the NT canon was being compiled, it was the usage of the texts that garnered favour. Sticking a well known name on your own writing was how you got your writing popular as long as no one realised it was a nobody writing it. Once it was accepted reading, it was less likely to be knocked back.

          Ehrman talks of a holy text that was used as scripture even though it was a forgery. It was only pulled as a religious text when it was pointed out to the bishop that it contained what could be interpreted as heretical passages.

          I’m waiting on “The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue” as a result of recent interaction on this forum. I want to see both sides of this debate for myself. It is due to be delivered tomorrow. I usually opt for the Kindle version, because the price is usually substantially different, and I’ve no patience once I decide to go for it, but the cost is negligible and on this occasion, I’m in no hole bust to get it.

          There are a couple of decent presentations on YouTube for both “Forged” and “Misquoting Jesus” if ya don’t already know about them. A bit of repetition, but Ehrman is a good speaker so not a problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          P.S. some versions of the Bible do have footnotes explaining issues with the texts…the Adultrae Pericope in gJohn and the long ending of gMark for example.

        • Greg G.

          That is why I like to go to the NRSV and NIV side by side. Often the NRSV will footnote a reading to give the alternate reading while the NIV will have the NRSV’s alternate reading and a footnote giving the NRSV reading.

          The Woman Caught in Adultery
          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+7%3A53-8%3A11&version=NRSV;NIV

        • Doubting Thomas

          To me your path seems to be the typical trajectory of someone heading out of Christianity towards atheism. You recognize the ridiculousness, falsities, and immorality of Christianity, but long to hang on to your god belief. So you turn the Bible into something it’s not in order to keep it relevant and you turn your god belief into something more ethereal. I think with a bit more intellectual honesty you’ll find the will power to push it all aside and face reality as it is inst