Where Are the Good Christian Arguments? (The Problem of Evil Isn’t One.)

Where Are the Good Christian Arguments? (The Problem of Evil Isn’t One.) May 18, 2018

Let me begin by admitting that, like most people, my sense of the best arguments in any field is limited. There is only so much time to listen to podcasts and read books and blogs. I try to stay up to date on what passes for compelling arguments in Christian apologetics, but I’m sure I’m missing some good stuff.

Two kinds of apologetics

Nevertheless, the Christian arguments that I come across seem to be of two sorts. One category is the earnest statement of a weak argument. I’ll provide an example shortly. The second is the deep and convoluted “No, I can’t make this any simpler” philosophical argument.

I’ve tackled a few of the philosophical arguments (see the list at the end). I haven’t found any that are compelling, but one of the fallbacks for the apologist with this kind of argument is to say that I’ve only responded to some of the variants of that argument. They’ll point to a stack of books and demand that I respond to all the new ’n improved versions, despite the fact that even within the philosophical community these arguments aren’t widely accepted. Only the most popular interest me, because a boring, convoluted, esoteric argument doesn’t make for an interesting blog post.

The biggest obstacle for me is the idea that a loving god who desires a relationship with humanity would make his presence known only with these vague and esoteric arguments.

Does a God exist who desires us to know him? He’d make himself known.

Christian slapdown of the Problem of Evil

What prompted this post was an article by Mikel Del Rosario, the “Apologetics Guy.” He says that he’s a Christian apologetics professor, speaker, and trainer. He has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola and a Master of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, so you’d expect a substantial argument.

You’d expect wrong.

I come across articles like this frequently. I’m eager to respond, but there’s just not that much to say. Either the points that come to mind are already out there in a few of my posts or I can deal with it in just a paragraph. My response becomes nothing more than a comment, not a blog post. Take a look at the argument, and you may see what I mean.

Del Rosario raises three points.

1. The Problem of Evil Isn’t An Argument for Atheism

Del Rosario says,

[The Problem of Evil] really isn’t an argument for atheism. It’s not even a challenge to the existence of God.

(The Problem of Evil states that a good god wouldn’t allow the evil we see to exist, but since evil does exist, the Christian god can’t exist.)

He supports this claim by quoting atheist Sam Harris: “If God exists, either he can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or he does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.”

If I may paraphrase Del Rosario’s response, he says, “Aha! You said, ‘If God exists’! If God exists, then you lose, Mr. Atheist.”

No, Harris doesn’t think that the Christian god exists; he’s simply arguing that evidence shows that any god in charge is impotent or evil, which conflicts with the Christian claims of omnipotence and omni-benevolence. Conclusion: the Christian god doesn’t exist.

If Del Rosario wants to accept Harris’s hypothetical, I don’t think it takes him where he wants to go, so this word game fails.

Del Rosario continues:

But some still insist that all the evil and suffering in the world, especially the stuff that seems totally pointless to us, must mean there’s no God.

No, I don’t conclude that there is no God, but that’s where the evidence points. And that’s enough.

2. The Problem of Evil Doesn’t Mean There’s No God

Del Rosario gives the example of a child’s pain and fear during a medical procedure. The adults understand the importance of the procedure, but they can do nothing beyond supporting the child through it. The problem with this popular analogy, of course, is that the adults are limited while God isn’t. If God wanted to help a child with a medical issue, it could be done immediately and painlessly. If God wanted to terraform Indonesia, he could find a dozen ways to do it without the 2004 tsunami and without inconveniencing a single person. That he doesn’t is just more evidence that he doesn’t exist.

Dr. Glenn Kreider said, “If God is good and evil exists, then God will one day do something about evil and . . . we have an eschatological [end times] hope that evil and all of its effects will one day be removed. So there is a redemptive work of God and he is acting redemptively in a fallen world.

So there are problems in the world, and God will address them in his own sweet time? I await the evidence for this incredible claim. No, I won’t just accept that on faith.

The atheist view sounds far more responsible: some problems in this world we can fix, and some we can’t. Let’s not wait for some supernatural something-or-other without any obvious existence to pick up the pieces. Rather, let’s join together to make the most progress we can.

Concluded here.

Appendix

Here are a few of the posts I’ve written that respond to philosophical apologetics.

Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people.
Otherwise there would be no religious people.
— Dr. House in House (season 4, episode 2)

.
(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 9/3/14.)

Image via Forsaken Fotos, CC license

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  • skl

    If you could disprove the resurrection, I think you’d squash christianity forever.

    • Raging Bee

      Nah, even if a widely-known and revered Christian leader admitted the Resurrection had been disproven, many of the believers would simply stone him to death and go right on believing.

      • Doubting Thomas

        Actually, according to a poll I read, a surprising number of Christians don’t even believe in the resurrection. At least not literally. All that shows is that there’s no end to Christian cognitive dissonance.

        • Orange East Yellow

          The story and imagery, etc. is too lovely.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I take it you’ve never seen The Passion of the Christ. It’s a gore fest.

          I also have to question the sanity of anyone who hears a story of someone being tortured to death and thinks to themselves “That’s lovely.”

        • Orange East Yellow

          The horror genre, by itself, is attractive to lots of people. And most fabulous stories become fab only because they include, evoke lots of different types of emotions. You dont unravel something unless you know its strong points. The story is fantastic, full of fantastic creatures, angels, demons, fantastic events, miracles, etc. Only thing is that its a fantasy. Being a fantasy doesnt stop it from being fantastic. And you are looking at parts of the story. As a whole, its fantastic. The people who believe in it dont realize they fell for it just because its fantastic. You are right in questioning their sanity. But they cant understand that. You may also look here to and see what other kinds of cooky stuff lots of people believe. Although its about US, it can apply to virtually any place on the planet.
          https://www.google.co.in/search?q=weird+things+americans+believe&rlz=1C1SAVU_enIN543IN546&oq=weird+things+amer&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j35i39j0l4.7311j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        • Doubting Thomas

          The people who believe in it dont realize they fell for it just because
          its fantastic. You are right in questioning their sanity.

          The story and imagery, etc. is too lovely.

          You said torture porn was “lovely.” It’s your sanity I’m questioning. Don’t try to pawn your crazy onto other people.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I had meant the whole story, and associated imagery etc. Seems there was some misunderstanding between my writing and your reading. Happens.

        • Doubting Thomas

          If “the whole story” includes the gruesome death, then my point stands. If you’re just talking about the return from the dead, then I could see your description as fitting. Sort of a prettier Shaun of the Dead.

        • Orange East Yellow

          Of course the whole story includes the gruesome death. If the whole story, including the gruesome death, isnt lovely, then, perhaps you should explain why so many are infatuated with the story? Just calling them insane doesnt solve the prob because a lots of people capable of highly sophisticated levels of thinking are also believers of these stories.

        • ildi

          What makes you think that people are infatuated with it because they think it’s a lovely story? Look at Markus R’s comment below that “we are a fallen race, slaves to sin.” Do you think MR is seeing a lovely story?

        • Orange East Yellow

          OK. I agree you have a major point there. Its a blackmail bamboozle. That’s a major part of the explanation. But I still think its a lovely and magnificent story on the whole. You look at the virgin birth, the beautiful angels and magi and other fantastic things there. The beautiful church buildings, and songs, etc. Do you think “lovely” is a major part of the explanation?

        • ildi

          The trappings are pretty, and if you grow up religious and don’t examine it closely, the bff Jesus part is lovely, I guess, but no, I didn’t think the story is lovely once I actually examined the premises. I made the comment in another thread that a wtf moment for me was reading a a science fiction story where aliens came to earth and were astonished to see that the symbol for a major religion is one of the worst ways of executing somebody. So color me surprised that you still think the story is lovely.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I have never been christian. When I first heard the story, I only got the nativity bits, and it seemed lovely. Some years later, I heard the crucifixion story, and it was a big put-off to me. And I got the details of the crucifixion in bits and pieces, even many more years later. I guess I got the “lovely” impression because I heard the lovely part first. And first impressions are powerful, long-lasting. Looking at the whole story, I think crucifixion is spooky, but only a small part of the story.

        • ildi

          “I think crucifixion is spooky, but only a small part of the story.”

          spooky? alrighty then… maybe we have different connotations of the word? However, I guess I can see how you see the crucifixion as a small part of the story as a non-christian.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I think I should have said “repulsive and spooky”. A bloodied skeletal crucified man, is a ghastly, repulsive sight. And I have never been able to digest the idea that humans can utterly humiliate, crucify, and kill god.

        • ildi

          Tell me more about this lovely story!

        • Orange East Yellow

          I would have liked to go silent. However, it would suppress the point that the first-impression is a powerful thing. And the first impression through nativity, was positive. And the church buildings, paintings, songs etc. are beautiful, impressive works of art.

        • ildi

          You are switching the discussion to the importance of first impressions, when I’m reacting to your original statement that “The story and imagery, etc. is too lovely.” Fine, if you haven’t changed you opinion of whether the entire story is lovely or not after you moved past first impressions to the, you know, actual story.

        • Orange East Yellow

          OK. OK. The whole story is not lovely. Agreed/ But it seems lovely when first impression is gained through the lovely parts. This point is also important?

        • Orange East Yellow

          The first-impression is important because xtians know about the power of first-impression, and use this power to gain hold into children’s brains. Now, this same power could be used for the opposite reason too. For example, telling children about the ghastly cock-a-bull crucifixion in which humans kill, crucify god, parts first would likely inoculate them against the story.

        • ildi

          This is all well and good, but you started the convo with an uncritical statement about the lovely Jesus story.

        • Orange East Yellow

          That was wrong. Agreed.

        • ildi

          🙂 Related, this is what pops into my head for “spooky”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4SoXILDOI4

        • Orange East Yellow

          We do seem to have different meanings for that word. I would associate “spooky” with ghostly, fear-inducing, things. Things that I dont understand, and should stay away from. My first sighting of the bloody cross was through a window. It was a window to a room which was always locked, but I could see it daily, and nobody told me what
          the bloody man on the cross was. So, it was “spooky” to me, and has remained as such, ever since.

        • ildi

          It’s not so much different meanings, I’m thinking it’s that I wouldn’t call the crucifixion spooky because I was raised to believe it was true and in retrospect it’s a horrifying story to believe.

        • Orange East Yellow

          OK then. The word “spooky” has same meaning for both of us. Only thing is that we started with different perceptions of the same image.

        • ildi

          Yep

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Orange East Yellow

          Great vid !!

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, killing God doesn’t make much sense. But people feel great guilt over it.

        • Read more of the posts here, and I think you’ll see that the “lovely” bits are more than outweighed by the nonsensical and the harmful.

          You do know that Matthew claims that the virgin birth is a fulfillment of prophecy but that there is no actual virgin birth prophecy, right?
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/12/virgin-birth-of-jesus-fact-or-fiction/

        • Orange East Yellow

          Yup. I do know there’s no virgin birth prophecy. And xtians have made enough trouble for me, so that I have first-hand experience of the harms of xtianity. I also see the harm they have created throughout history, and continue to do even now.

        • Pofarmer

          Interesting. Might I enquire as to where you’re from?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s the point. If folk following a cultist leader who got the electric chair started to wear a little electric chair with a frazzled man on it, Christian’s would line up to call them insane.

          And btw, you just invoked the ad populum fallacy. Just because lot’s of people are doing something, even if they are in other topics capable of highly sophisticated levels of thinking, doesn’t make their thinking on this particular issue have any more veracity, or any less insane.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I agree their thinking on this point is BS. I was looking for an answer that did more than just call them insane. I think I have an answer now. They believe it because their first-impression was gained at a young age, and the first-impression at that time was positive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They believe it because their first-impression was gained at a young age, and the first-impression at that time was positive.

          For most folk. The first impression is dishonest. The first impression is something like the Nativity Story which is the cramming together of contradictory yarns pulled from the OT. It’s adults lying to children. Of course the problem is that just as many of the adults are unaware that they are lying, because what they know about the lies, they got from the adults in their lives when they were children.

          All the stuff in the bible that would influence children is censored out as part of the brain washing process. I have two “buybull” apps on my phone. The Olive Tree Bible Study app…and the Bible for Kids app…that’s right, a bible app designed especially for kids. Although the stuff in the kids app is about as much as most Christians I know understand about the bloody thing.

          Now, what about all those adults that either convert to a religion, or find their lapsed religion again? As kids we are introduced to the lie that is the modern day Santa myth. It’s all just a bit of fun. By the time we are 8 or 9, the bubble is burst and the truth is out. So what would we call and adult who found Santa at 35, or started believing in the existence of Santa at 35 after 26 years understanding it was made up nonsense? Insane?

          Perhaps insane is a bit strong in today’s language, even in the pejorative sense, but I’d assert it is definitely a mental disorder that the most of the establishment is too afraid to acknowledge officially.

          Might we say “delusion”?

          Though there are a few that have had the balls to call it for what it is…

          https://www.indy100.com/article/robert-sapolsky-neuroscientist-thinks-religion-mental-illness-schizophrenia-7834981

          There is plenty of articles to say it’s otherwise, but I think that is just pandering.

          I thought this bit of satire was apt…impositional religion…

          http://thepoliticaljunkies.org/tpjmagazine/2015/7/8/dsm-shocker-impositional-religiosity-declared-a-mental-disorder-satire

        • Orange East Yellow

          Rather than calling them insane, IMHO, the thing to understand here is that all humans are susceptible to various kinds of biases, which make us do irrational things, behave in illogical ways.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
          The main prob with religion is that there’s a whole lot of humans who have a vested interest in infecting others with this particular bias. Adult converts, and returnees are mostly due to this type of active conversion effort only. There may be some other reasons, like some mystical experiences, etc. for some. But I would attribute most of the adult conversions to the vested interests who bamboozle others into believing. And among adults, most of the neo-xtians seem to be illiterate, or semi-literate, poor tribal types. Africa, India, etc. So, they can be categorized as child-like, despite being adults. Their illiteracy and poverty makes them more vulnerable. What do you think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What do you think?

          I think it wasn’t me who introduced the term “insane” into this conversation. Please define the term as being used in context to this discussion?

          I also think you make some valid points in so far as they go. But your observations are only part of the picture.

          The main prob with religion is that there’s a whole lot of humans who have a vested interest in infecting others with this particular bias.

          I don’t think that’s the main problem with religion. And I’d be curious to know exactly what the vested interest a whole lot of humans have in infecting others in this particular bias.

          Adult converts, and returnees are mostly due to this type of active conversion effort only.

          Adults return to, or seek out a new religion, for emotional reasons, not rational ones. While those ditching religious beliefs, usually do it for rational reasons after a spell of critical thinking. Bob had an OP on that topic fairly recently.

          There may be some other reasons, like some mystical experiences, etc. for some. But I would attribute most of the adult conversions to the vested interests who bamboozle others into believing.

          This is not reserved for religious woo-woo of course.

          And among adults, most of the neo-xtians seem to be illiterate, or semi-literate, poor tribal types. Africa, India, etc. So, they can be categorized as child-like, despite being adults. Their illiteracy and poverty makes them more vulnerable.

          This is true. And higher education seems to correlate with less belief in claims that can’t be supported. But let’s not pretend this is a “neo-xtian” thingy. Think evangelism and missionaries. It’s as old as religion itself, and Christianity in particular. It’s only more noticeable because of the rise in secularism in places with less poverty and more education.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I think insanity came into the conversation when someone questioned my sanity for saying that the story is “lovely”. There was some misunderstanding that I was calling the crucifixion lovely, while my intention was to refer to the whole story of jesus. I have now accepted that the whole story aint lovely. Only parts of the whole story are lovely. Currently, I think we are using “insanity” to mean some mental disability unique to Christians, which renders them incapable of proper/rational thinking. I dont think xtians have such a mental disability. Existence of large numbers of ex-christians should prove my point.
          Agree–my observations are just a part of the picture. For example, someone said the concept/fear/blackmail of hell is crucial to christianity. That’s correct.
          Priests and ruling class of priests have a vested interest. Politicians who exploit religion to consolidate their power base are another important vested interest. Vested interest is power, prestige, money, sex, supposed spiritual benefits, etc.
          I agree its about missionaries and evangelism. But why do missionaries focus on poor illiterates? I think the missionaries know that they have little chance of converting well-off, educated folks. Another way of saying this is that the poor, illiterate are easier to convert. Missionaries see greater chance of success there. So, they seek out poor, illiterates.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think insanity came into the conversation when someone questioned my sanity for saying that the story is “lovely”. There was some misunderstanding that I was calling the crucifixion lovely, while my intention was to refer to the whole story of jesus. I have now accepted that the whole story aint lovely.

          Indeed.

          Only parts of the whole story are lovely.

          Very few. And am pushed to think of any without an element of negativity. Which makes the overall story not lovely.

          Currently, I think we are using “insanity” to mean some mental disability unique to Christians, which renders them incapable of proper/rational thinking.

          I’m not. Ever heard of the condition called “compartmentalization”?

          Compartmentalization is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

          I dont think xtians have such a mental disability.

          I do when they have their religious heads on. Unless you think believing all the nonsense that is written in the bible is proper/rational thinking?

          Existence of large numbers of ex-christians should prove my point.

          Because nobody with a mental disability ever got better?

          You do know that temporary insanity is a legal defence in law, right?

          Let’s not use insane anymore. Though it is still apt for anyone claiming the Passion narrative is “lovely”, it’s probably not the correct overall term for believers in supernatural woo-woo.

          Delusional? Psychology adds caveats to save the religious.

          Delusions are fixed beliefs that do not change, even when a person is presented with conflicting evidence.

          All good so far?

          Delusions are considered “bizarre” if they are clearly implausible and peers within the same culture cannot understand them.

          What? So if they are clearly implausible, but peers within the same culture can understand them, they are not delusional? Seriously?

          The 100,000 witnesses at Fatima were not delusional?

          https://www.livescience.com/29290-fatima-miracle.html

          An example of a bizarre delusion is when an individual believes that his or her organs have been replaced with someone else’s without leaving any wounds or scars. An example of a nonbizarre delusion is the belief that one is under police surveillance, despite a lack of evidence.

          But because a lot of people believe Mo rode a flying horse to visit the archangel Gabriel to get the instructions passed doen from God, there’s no delusion? Nope, not having it.

          Agree–my observations are just a part of the picture. For example, someone said the concept/fear/blackmail of hell is crucial to christianity. That’s correct.

          Not really. Most Christians don’t believe that shite either. Most Christians don’t give it much thought. It’s used to scare the kiddies, but if adult Christians really believed that crap, they’d all be as good as gold in the here and now. We just don’t see that to be the case. Even among the best of them.

          Priests and ruling class of priests have a vested interest. Politicians who exploit religion to consolidate their power base are another important vested interest. Vested interest is power, prestige, money, sex, supposed spiritual benefits, etc.

          To a far lesser extent today than historically, but yes, that is still a problem. My issue was with your saying it was the “main prob” and a “whole lot”…they seem quantitative at the upper end. I don’t believe it is the case. And the trend seems to be that it is less and less. Certainly in the mainstream institutions. The evangelical fuckwits are stroking the masses of course, but that’s a few with vested interests making a handsome living out of a whole lot with no vested interests. Unless of course we include the promise of salvation as a vested interest.

          I agree its about missionaries and evangelism. But why do missionaries focus on poor illiterates? I think the missionaries know that they have little chance of converting well-off, educated folks. Another way of saying this is that the poor, illiterate are easier to convert. Missionaries see greater chance of success there. So, they seek out poor, illiterates.

          Which was my point also, just that it is not as novel as you allude to when saying “neo-christian”, that’s all. But because we have all become more educated, it is becoming polarized to where there is little education, and therefore more noticeable.

        • Orange East Yellow

          Impositional religion is a new concept/phrase to me. Thanks for introducing me to it. I am thinking about it, before I can form some proper view. The author has given some reasons for not sparing religion, even if it claims to be sacred, etc. The author has overlooked the argument that lots of these religions themselves attack other religions. They dont regard other religions as sacred. So, there is no reason that their religion should be regarded as sacred by others.

          Its a nice write-up. The list of meltdowns was priceless. I would regard it as a common, widespread, but serious problem for humanity. Authoritarianism, dictatorship, etc.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All religions are “impositional religions” to other religions.

          I live in a place where cults within the cult of Christianity are impositional to each other…to the point of murdering each other.

          Well recognized throughout history of course, but this is the 21st century ffs.

        • Greg G.

          For a first impression, Noah is presented to children as a bunch of happy animals in a boat to distract from the thought millions of drowned animals, people, and childten.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ricky Gervais nails this…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6omFJhKr6o

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or ya could go with the just as funny version by Eddie Izzard…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LtiyefHCe4

        • epicurus

          I got the impression OEY was referring to the resurrection rather than crucifixion as that was the line of discussion.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I have clarified that now. I was talking about the whole story of Jesus, not just resurrection or crucifixion.

        • Pofarmer

          The idea is lovely. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” And it’s powerful.

          “And the Lord said to Mary, you shall be with child. And she said, But how can this be that I have never known a man?”

          It speaks to people. I’ll admit that. It’s complete fiction, violent and brutish and ridiculous by modern standards if you really think about it. But on the surface it’s a very pretty and powerful story.

        • ildi

          Sort of like rom coms are sweet until you actually think about it (someone else had linked to a pop culture detective video in another thread and I loved it).
          http://popculturedetective.agency/2018/stalking-for-love-at-the-movies

        • Ignorant Amos

          But on the surface it’s a very pretty and powerful story.

          When eejit’s like that goat Mel Gibson apply cinematic license to it perhaps, but the actual words in the book are not that graphic in comparison. Some of the movies made are comedic…verging on the ridiculous. And The Life of Brian satire is still the most entertaining not-version.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Film_portrayals_of_Jesus%27_death_and_resurrection

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you’re saying that those that believe this bullshit are actually all snuff porn addicts?

          As a piece of horror fiction, it’s poor. As a piece of fantasy fiction, it’s poor. As a piece of historical fiction, it’s poor. That’s why Hollywood has to jazz it up when replicating it for the big screen.

          The problem is, the folk we are discussing here, don’t think it’s fiction. They are gloating over some poor schmuck allegedly getting thrashed within an inch of his life, then getting nailed up on a piece of wood designed to be among the most torturous methods of punishment. It’s tantamount to searching out ISIS decapitation videos and playing them on a big screen at a celebratory beheading party…worse in fact.

        • Orange East Yellow

          My overall view is that the believers of this BS are mostly revenge-addicts. This story creates a blood-libel, and gives a reason to seek revenge. So, they become part of this revenge-cult, and stay there.
          What I was saying in above post is that the story has various scenes in it, and this horror story is just a small part of the whole, bigger story. Initially I was saying that the story is lovely. Now, I think parts of the story are lovely, and people stick to it because their first-impression was through lovely parts of the story.

        • Yeah, but God’s marvelous plan and all that!

          No? Nothing yet?

      • You could find the tomb of Jesus to prove that he hadn’t risen and it would change few minds.

    • Doubting Thomas

      If you could prove the resurrection, then you’d validate Christianity forever…..but we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    • epicurus

      Nope. Many would just reinterpret their faith. Here is a blog post on on that notion by Randal Rauser, Baptist seminary professor and blogger.
      “So I ask myself, if Jesus’ body were discovered would I leave the Christian faith altogether, or would I instead adopt a more liberal interpretation of that faith?”

      https://randalrauser.com/2018/03/i-believe-on-the-third-day-he-rose-again-but-what-about-those-who-dont/

      • Ficino

        Such a discovery could be taken as proof of Islam, i.e. that they found the body of the dude who was crucified in place of the prophet Jesus pbuh.

        • epicurus

          Yeah, Muslim’s would love that (I guess).

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Just like the Millerites evolved into the Seventh Day Adventists.

        • epicurus

          Yes. I wonder if there are any religions that just totally ended immediately after a failed prophecy, not counting those that killed themselves as part of the prophecy fulfillment (like Heaven’s gate people).

      • skl

        I guess I should say biblical christianity would be squashed forever. As in what the apostle Paul says:

        “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in
        vain and your faith is in vain… If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

        • Greg G.

          There is also:

          1 Corinthians 15:19 (NRSV)19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

          which seems to have anticipated and refuted Pascal’s Wager. Instead of losing nothing, they are to be most pitied.

        • epicurus

          Maybe. I’m not saying you are wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear of someone or group(s) who say they are biblical but still don’t follow the quote by Paul.
          Since I gave a Randal Rauser link the previous comment, here is another just for funzies about being biblical.

          https://randalrauser.com/2018/01/cant-define-biblical-dont-accuse-others-failing-biblical/

        • ildi
        • If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins

          Paul’s comment is idiotic. If Christ has not been raised, there are no sins!

        • skl

          “If Christ has not been raised, there are no sins!”

          I think the Jews, and other people, believed in sin, and divine punishment for sins, before Christ and since.

        • Paul wasn’t a Jew at this point, remember? He was a Christian. He’s referring to the central tenet of his religion and wondering what would happen if it were false.

          If it were false, the grounding of his religion wouldn’t exist, and he should drop his belief.

        • skl

          You said “If Christ has not been raised, there are no sins!”
          and that that was idiotic.

          What I find idiotic is the idea that a Jew or even a Jewish Christian would say there are no sins. The old testament talks about sin over and over. In other words, they would say there are sins, whether Christ existed or resurrected or not.

        • A sin is an offense against a god. If there are no gods, there are no sins. The only god Paul is imagining is the father of Jesus, and he is hypothesizing about there being no gods (when he imagines Jesus not being raised).

          Just to be clear, I’m assuming that Paul’s “If Christ has not been raised” means “If the claim of Jesus’s resurrection is false.”

        • Orange East Yellow

          Skl does seem to have a point there. Christianity did not come out of a vaccum. Even if there be no christianity/Jesus, Paul would have been a Jew, and believed in sin because of his Jewish beliefs.

        • If he has a point, that doesn’t elucidate it for me.

          Paul was a Christian. He believed in one god. If Jesus be not raised (that is, if the foundation of my religion is false), then “you are still in your sins” isn’t the correct conclusion. Rather it’s, “Hey, this entire thing is a house of cards! With no resurrection, there is no Jesus as the son of God, and since Jesus was key to God’s (revised) plan, God’s gone as well.”

          If you’re talking about a hypothetical world where there was no Jesus and so Paul was still a Jew, that’s a different situation.

        • Orange East Yellow

          By describing your comment as “idiotic”, SKL has made it harder to obtain consensus. Not very wise in the first place.
          Even if Paul realized whole thing was a house of cards, and Jesus was not son of God, he should fall back on his Jewish beliefs, which include concepts of sin, etc. Seems relevant to me.

        • No, it was me who introduced “idiotic” into the conversation.

          My assumption was that Paul had one religion, Christianity. There is no fallback. If the resurrection story is false, then Jesus wasn’t the son of God, and since God requires Jesus, he fails as well. No gods; therefore, no sin.

          We’re approaching the round-and-round part of the conversation, I fear.

        • Orange East Yellow

          Then your assumption is wrong. He was a Jew initially.

        • Yep. Round and round. I think we’re done.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So any religious person that converts to another religion and then subsequently loses faith in that new religion for X reason, must automatically revert to believing the original belief?

          So him being a Jew initially is non sequitur poppycock with regards to losing faith in following Jesus because the Resurrection is deemed to be made up nonsense. Which it is anyway.

          The problem here, is that Paul’s Resurrection of Jesus took place in a lower level of the Heavens, so he knew he was onto a winner with the statement in the first place. Who could demonstrate it never happened?

        • Orange East Yellow

          We are talking about a 1st century jew from Judea. Its hard to see how atheism was the default fall-back option there.

        • Ignorant Amos

          False dichotomy. The variety of of religious beliefs in 1st century Judea was not Judaism or atheism.

          Paul was not from Judea. Accounts of his antics in Judea come mostly from The Acts. The Acts is a complete work of fiction and unreliable as a source. Paul spent most of his time not in Judea from what we know.

          Tradition has it that he was a Roman Jew from Tarsus. Tarsus was a major trading centre in the Mediterranean. Paul would’ve been privy to all sorts of belief systems. Tarsus was the centre of the Mithraism, a Zoroastrian based cult. Mithraism was syncratic in nature. How much of Christianity was influenced by Mithraism and introduced by whom? There are definitely parallel’s. Early Christian patriarchs were quick to recognise that as the case, and quick to put in place apologetic excuses.

          This conversation is hypothetical, and as such, we are free to assume any reasonable outcome. Had Paul’s faith been dented as a Jewish Christian, it is just as reasonable to assert that he’d have ditched the whole kit and caboodle as a fail, rather than revert to square one. Especially as there was such a plethora of woo-woo bandwagons to jump onto at the time. And by all accounts, folk changed religions at the time like they changed their knickers. That is demonstrable by the variety of cults even within Christianity from the very beginning.

          Paul’s teachings took him in such a direction, I can’t see there being anyway back to his Jewish past even if he’d wanted to…and the question is, what Jewish past was that? He’d certainly have been subject to criminal charges for blaspheming and more.

        • skl

          “A sin is an offense against a god.”

          Agreed.

          “If there are no gods, there are no sins.”

          Agreed.

          “The only god Paul is imagining is the father of Jesus, and he is hypothesizing about there being no gods (when he imagines
          Jesus not being raised).”

          Disagreed.

          As not only a Jew but a Pharisee, Paul believed there are sins and there is a god, even without a Jesus. But Jesus adds
          something new to the old mix. Eventually Paul comes to
          believe Jesus is not only the son of god but also, mysteriously, god. Paul is going all in on this new mix, this gospel
          – call it Christianity. Paul is just telling others that his big,
          life-altering, new bet (Christianity) would be crazy/wrong
          if Christ had not risen; that it’s the opposite of
          crazy/wrong because Christ has risen.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not sure Paul actually went as far as believing Jesus was God. Got any passages, etc?

        • skl

          Here’s one:

          “yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all
          things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

          which I found at https://carm.org/did-paul-think-jesus-was-god
          after Googling “where does apostle paul say jesus is god”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Holy fuck…you are citing CARM ffs…

          Paul does not think Jesus is God.

          Did Paul Believe In Doctrine of the Trinity?

          https://outreachjudaism.org/no-trinity/

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not really what that says.

        • How does this support your point? Yahweh is the one god. Period.

          Jesus is “Lord,” whatever that means, but Jesus isn’t God or a god.

        • skl

          “Jesus is “Lord,” whatever that means, but Jesus
          isn’t God or a god.”

          I think Jesus (“god the son”) is god to Paul and to Christians.

        • I think you need to reread your quote.

          I think Jesus (“god the son”)

          Paul had no concept of the Trinity, if that’s what you’re getting at.

        • skl

          I’ll edit, if it helps:
          I think Jesus is god to Paul and to Christians.

        • Greg G.

          You cited a verse where Paul said “the Father” was God and Jesus was Lord, as if those are two different things.

        • skl

          “You cited a verse where Paul said “the Father”
          was God and Jesus was Lord, as if those are two different things.”

          Paul also says things such as
          “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
          believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

          Father, son, holy spirit. It’s all a mystery, they say.

        • A clever commenter recently gave us Paul’s comment in 1 Cor. 8:6: “For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” I think it’s quite relevant, since it makes clear that, to them, Yahweh was the one god.

          Period.

        • skl

          That commenter, clever or not, did not give those words as 1 Cor. 8:6. The commenter gave the verse in full, including “one Lord, Jesus
          Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

          In any case, it’s probably clear to all, even to christians,
          that the father is not the same as the son who’s not the same as the spirit. Yet christians believe “they” are all the one god.

        • So let us know what “one Lord” means. It obviously doesn’t mean “one God,” because Paul’s already identified him.

          I agree that the Trinity is dogma today, but I see no evidence that Paul was guided by it.

        • skl

          “So let us know what “one Lord” means. It obviously doesn’t mean
          “one God,” because Paul’s already identified him.”

          Maybe it means “the Lord my God” or “the Lord God” “the Lord”,
          phrases which appear thousands of times in the old testament.

        • You win! You’ve made this conversation so boring that I don’t care anymore.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Welcome to the current sealion on the site. And congratulations, you’ve just been well and truly “sealioned” Bob.

          The biggest reason why people hate sealioning is because responding to it is a complete waste of time.

          http://simplikation.com/why-sealioning-is-bad/

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_UlPHHrZ2I

        • BlackMamba44

          Yep. Mr. or Ms. Sea K. Lion.

        • Good observation. And timely–it applies to the post I’m hoping to get out tomorrow. Thanks.

        • ildi

          “Yet christians believe “they” are all the one god.”

          Well, except for the LDS church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Christadelphians, United Church of God, Members Church of God International, The Way International, etc., etc….

        • skl
        • Ignorant Amos

          6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. ~NIV

          EMPHASIS MINE

          Do you know what a semi-colon is used for?

          Semicolons Connect Related Independent Clauses

          Try and be more honest ya prick.

          The majority of English translations have a semi-colon, many have the stronger divider, a period, defining the way the passage should be read.

          Try this translation for size…

          4-6 Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.

          Does that make it any clearer?

          You are reading much later and harshly debated Christian doctrine into that passage, like a typical Christian apologist.

        • skl

          Good bye.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaahahaha…pwnd again.

        • Greg G.

          There were many factions of early Christianity in the first few centuries. Some thought of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost as separate entities and some that wanted to believe they were monotheists. So they formed a committee to reconcile the problem for the good of the religion. The committee came up with the Trinity concept.

          They even started to rewrite Bible verses to support the idea. Here is the footnote in the NRSV for 1 John 5:7:

          1 John 5:7-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
          7 There are three that testify:[a] 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.

          Footnotes:
          a.1 John 5:7 A few other authorities read (with variations) 7 There are three that testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 8 And there are three that testify on earth:

          Isaac Newton pointed out that the part after the word “testify” were found only in the Latin Vulgate and not in any of the old Greek manuscripts.

          Even today, there are Unitarians and Trinitarians. There should be more Zeroitarians.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were many factions of early Christianity in the first few centuries. Some thought of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost as separate entities and some that wanted to believe they were monotheists. So they formed a committee to reconcile the problem for the good of the religion. The committee came up with the Trinity concept.

          Early Christian’s were far more diverse than that…

          The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all by the theological beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of Jesus. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others that insisted there were two. Some said there were 30. Others claimed there were 365. Bart Ehrman, Lost Chritianities”

          From Ehrman’s blog…

          What about those people who called themselves Christian who thought there were two gods? Or thirty-six gods? Or 365 gods? What about those who called themselves Christian who thought that Christ was a human being but was not really divine? Or those who said he was divine but not human? Or those who said there were two beings, one of them divine and one of them human, whose temporary combination we call “Jesus (the human) Christ (the divine)”? Do we count the Marcionites? The Sethians? The Valentinians? The Ebionites?

          Que The No True Scotsman enter stage right….

        • TheNuszAbides

          Others claimed there were 365.

          lemme guess: a different one swanned its way across the sky every day?

        • skl

          “… footnote in the NRSV for 1 John 5:7…”

          So much for sola scriptura.

          “Even today, there are Unitarians and Trinitarians. There
          should be more Zeroitarians.”

          And there are many Elvis impersonators.

        • Greg G.

          And there are many Elvis impersonators.

          Did you ever see an Elvis impersonator and the real Elvis in the same room together? Elvis could be impersonating an Elvis impersonator.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Bupkisarians.

        • TheNuszAbides

          had no concept of the Trinity

          well, he listed its … member[s][?] in what’s become the traditional name-order, a skeletal concept at best (and a mere act of reading scripture back into scripture at worst); but true, if he had the selectively-penetrable theolo-mystic-mojo package all hashed out, it clearly didn’t get included in the surviving epistles.

        • Did he list its members? I can’t think of the verse you’re referring to.

          There’s the Comma Johannium from 1 John that was added by copyists.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannine_Comma

          But I can’t think of anything in Paul.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oops, yes, sorry, thanks. i muddled my epistle authors and hadn’t previously noticed it being identified as an interpolation.

        • Greg G.

          Do you know who identified it as an interpolation? It was Sir Isaac Newton, the Unitarian.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i knew i liked that benighted heretic!

        • Greg G.

          That verse says there is one God and one Lord but it doesn’t say they are the same. That idea comes from Greek philosophy when they wondered how an immaterial god could interact with the material world. They came up with the Logos. a demiurge that could interact with the immaterial and the material. Philo of Alexandria attempted to merge the idea of the Logos with Judaism.

        • skl

          You could start a petition to have the apostle Paul demoted to
          heretic status.

        • Susan

          You could start a petition to have the apostle Paul demoted to heretic status.

          Why don’t you get busy with that skl, instead of spending time here being a disingenuous weasel?

        • Ignorant Amos

          He might learn something that way…and that would never do…besides, being a disingenuous weasel is a hell of a lot easier.

        • Greg G.

          I’d rather have religion demoted to mythology or superstition.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Heretical to what?

          The fact that Paul spread his own version of Christianity independent of Yeshua’ teachings has been well known for centuries. Only the Church doesn’t agree to that. Paulianity displays very little of the teachings of the humble Jewish Rabbi, Yeshua, and adds much that Yeshua would have found appalling.

          Of course, that is arse about face. It was the gospel writers who invented and put made up teachings into Jesus mouth after Paul had been writing his letters about Jesus.

          Still, lots of theologians and others have long realized Paul was a heretic.

          “If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly the Apostle Paul was the only Arch-Heretic known to the apostolic age.” ~Walter Bauer

          http://30ce.com/paulstatements.htm

        • skl

          The fact that Paul spread his own version of Christianity
          independent of Yeshua’ teachings has been well known for centuries… adds much that Yeshua would have found appalling.

          … It was the gospel writers who invented and put made up teachings into Jesus mouth after Paul had been writing his letters about Jesus.”

          So Jesus had his sayings and teachings, which were contradicted/contaminated by the musings of Paul, but the gospel writers made up those sayings and teachings of Jesus to be consistent with Paul’s musings.

        • ildi

          Maybe you’re a visual learner, so I copied this chart from https://relevancy22.blogspot.com/2014_02_04_archive.html and added red Xs to the books that are forgeries and yellow highlights for books with false attributions; i.e., names of the apostles added to them later, presumably to give them more authority, so really just one step away from a forgery. Hope this helps! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a074fc4160395eaa1365195b448cf988dc8881ee13900ce0efe34fced6e59a31.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hope this helps!

          The tosser isn’t really interested. He’s a sealioning troll masquerading as a faux atheist.

        • ildi

          I know, but I’m a visual learner, so this helped me (though not sure why chart creators put the death of Jesus before 30 CE).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well for the sake of argument, it had to be placed somewhere. That’s as good a place as any.

          Since the date is being worked out by using fiction as a starting point, the result is going to be speculative.

          Did ya know Sherlock Holmes was born on the 6th January 1854? No, seriously.

          http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk/bio/bio_one.htm

        • Pofarmer

          To echo what Ignorant Amos said, they have to put it somewhere. The only thing the Gospel writers had to date “Jesus” were the writings of Paul, and as GregG has alluded to elsewhere they probably also had access to the writings of Josephus. So, Using these things, and knowing that Jesus had to have been crucified before Paul, they arbitrarily dropped him into recent history. Note that there’s no historical record of a Mary, or Joseph, or Lazarus, or Joseph of Arimathea, or any of the supposed disciples. The entire thing is formed from whole cloth.

        • Greg G.

          It is interesting that Joseph is not in gMark. gJohn has Joseph and mentions Jesus’ mother but never by name. gJohn gives the names of four women, one is Martha and the other three are Mary, including the sister of Jesus’ mother. It’s like aJohn didn’t know what Jesus’ mother’s name was but he didn’t think it was Mary.

        • Greg G.

          I think the gospel stories about the three stooges from Galatians 2:9 being illiterate fishermen are false so considering James and 1 Peter as forgeries on that basis is wrong. I think the Epistle of James is a response to Galatians and that Romans responds to James, so that indicates that the James that Paul refers to wrote the epistle. I think Paul took more shots at James in 1 Corinthians.

          I would put Mark about ten years later than that (pre 70), Matthew no earlier than the end of the century with John somewhere between them and Luke after Matthew. Mark appears to have used Josephus’ Jewish Wars, Matthew appears to have used Mark, John, and Jewish Antiquities while Luke used Mark, John, Matthew, Jewish Antiquities, and Vita. I think the conundrum of John 7:40-43 about how Jesus could be from Galilee and the Messiah who was expected to be from Bethlehem and descended from David inspired Matthew to come up with a genealogy and nativity to explain it and that Luke had to come up with a repaired version of each. Since Acts appears to use Jewish Antiquities and Vita the same way they were used in the parts of Luke that don’t come from Mark and Matthew, I think it was written by the author of Luke.

        • ildi

          Yeah, I pretty much took the list of forgeries from Bart Ehrman and I should have attributed it to him-my bad. His arguments for why they were forgeries made sense when I read his book, but that’s as knowledgeable as I am about that (i.e., not at all).

        • Greg G.

          I believed it when I started reading Misquoting Jesus, but the more I read the Bible and compare with the literature of the day, the less I think what has been handed down to us from theologians is not to be taken as gospel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When are ya going to write the book outlining yer thesis?….and I’m not being facetious or sarky by the way. Serious question.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe when I retire. I’m waiting for my MegaMillions retirement plan to pay off.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Demonstrating your stupidity and lack of understanding of what you undertake to comment on. That, and your inability to read for comprehension.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus was a made-up character. Paul said what he said. The gospel writers made up stuff for the Jesus character, taking things from Paul, James, and Greek literature for starters.

        • skl

          Maybe Paul was a made-up character. And Jesus said what he said.

        • Greg G.

          Somebody wrote some of the letters attributed to him and somebody faked some letters and attributed them to him. The Epistle of James appears to respond to Galatians and Romans appears to respond to the arguments in James. There seems to be somebody using that name. The letters from the guy called Paul only refers to Jesus in terms of Old Testament quotes and allusions, not as if he thought Jesus was a first century person.

        • skl

          So Paul didn’t think Jesus Christ was a first century person.
          I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

        • Have you not heard of the Jesus Myth theory?

        • skl

          If that’s the theory that Jesus was a myth and never existed, yes.
          There are theories on just about everything. Here’s one I
          just read about:
          https://www.space.com/40584-parallel-universe-aliens-survive-dark-energy.html

        • Greg G.

          What evidence do we have for Jesus? The extra-biblical evidence is not contemporaneous, nor even first century, and appear to be dependent on the gospels. We can identify sources for most of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, and some of John which includes Mark, and those many of those sources are not about Jesus. The epistles do not support the gospel accounts of a preacher/teacher from Galilee and all they say about Jesus can be found in the OT, so they don’t have first century knowledge of Jesus either. So the evidence favors that Jesus was invented as a long gone historical figure who would come back as the Messiah during the generation that was alive in the mid-first century, then re-imagined as a first century person a generation or so later.

        • skl

          You may enjoy that article on aliens in the other universes.

        • Greg G.

          New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash [Link] by Robert M. Price combines the findings of various scholars that found sources for nearly every passage in Mark. Individually, each study is convincing. Combined, you can see Mark’s methods of combining Old Testament stories, other OT scriptures, and Greek literature to create the stories. So where the other three gospels have the same stories, it is obvious that they knew nothing about Jesus but what they got from Mark.

        • skl

          Good night.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaahahaha….pwnd again.

        • Joe

          We don’t know accurately what Paul thought, apart from what he wrote down.

        • skl

          You should have addressed that remark to Greg G.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why?

        • Greg G.

          I see it. What Paul wrote down about Jesus does not reflect any knowledge of a first century preacher/teacher. All the information Paul wrote about Jesus can be derived from the Old Testament. And Paul just loved writing about Jesus. He uses “Jesus”, “Christ”, or either combination about once for every five verses, not including pronouns and other titles. If he knew anything about a first century Jesus, he would have had to have let it slip into his conversation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If he knew anything about a first century Jesus, he would have had to have let it slip into his conversation.

          Because we all love to name drop to impress.

        • skl

          “All the information Paul wrote about Jesus can be derived
          from the Old Testament.”

          I very much doubt that. But I would expect that much
          could be so derived, since I think Christians believe the god of the O.T. is the same as the god of the N.T., that Christ is the “fulfillment” of the O.T., or something like that.

          “And Paul just loved writing about Jesus…
          If he knew anything about a first century Jesus, he would have had to have let it slip into his conversation.”

          I don’t know what you mean by that second sentence.

        • Greg G.

          I very much doubt that. But I would expect that much
          could be so derived, since I think Christians believe the god of the O.T. is the same as the god of the N.T., that Christ is the “fulfillment” of the O.T., or something like that.

          Sure, but Paul did say that the scriptures were fulfilled by Jesus doing such and such like John or Matthew did. Paul was citing the OT verses as support that it happened.

          “And Paul just loved writing about Jesus…
          If he knew anything about a first century Jesus, he would have had to have let it slip into his conversation.”

          I don’t know what you mean by that second sentence.

          If you thought Shakespeare lived fifteen or twenty years ago and you wrote about him three hundred times, would every single mention of the name “Shakespeare” and “the bard” and any pronouns be in terms of centuries old writings? Wouldn’t you mention his friends, family, fans, or something he did? How could you not write about something remarkable if it was done by that person?

          If you never actually met this recent Shakespeare but you knew people who knew him and worked with him, would you claim that your knowledge of the bard was not inferior to the knowledge of the others?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And even what we think he wrote has been so fucked about with, it is to be treated with suspicion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

          And that matters because?

          Judging by the amount of silly questions you ask, and the silly things you say, there seems to be a whole lot you haven’t heard before. Yet you don’t seem to be able to learn about it, and argue ignorantly against those that have…you are quite the thing…just what kind of thing I haven’t been able to work out yet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When early writers like Paul speak of their “Christ Jesus”, they do so in exclusively mythological terms. He is the divine Son in heaven, speaking through scripture, connected to the believer in mystical ways. Christ Jesus is the very substance of Godhead, pre-existent and the image of the Father. Through him God effected creation, and his sustaining power holds the universe together. Christ is also the cosmic redeemer who descended from heaven to undergo a sacrificial death (an earthly time and place is never stated) and was subsequently exalted and enthroned by God’s side. Through this saving drama, Christ has subjugated the demon spirits of the air who harass humanity, he has brought the souls of the dead righteous out of Shoel, he has been given kingship over all supernatural and earthly powers, and he has reconciled an estranged universe to God. He has also been given divine titles formerly reserved for God.

          We are led to conclude that the beginning of the Christian movement was not a response to any human individual at one time and location. Christianity was born in a thousand places, out of the fertile religious and philosophical soil of the time, expressing faith in an intermediary Son who was a channel to God, providing knowledge, love and salvation. It sprang up in many innovative minds like Paul’s, among independent communities and sects all over the empire, producing a variety of forms and doctrines. Some of it tapped into traditional Jewish Messiah expectation and apocalyptic sentiment, other expressions were tied to more Platonic ways of thinking. Greek mystery concepts also fed into the volatile mix. Many groups (though not all) adopted the term “Christ” for their divine figure, as well as the name “Jesus”, which in Hebrew has the meaning of “Savior”. Paul and the Jerusalem brotherhood around Peter and James were simply one strand of this broad salvation movement, although an important and ultimately very influential one. Later, in a mythmaking process of its own, the Jerusalem circle with Paul as its satellite was adopted as the originating cell of the whole Christian movement.

          http://www.jesuspuzzle.com/jesuspuzzle/jhcjp.htm

        • skl

          … Good bye.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaaahahaha….pwnd yet again.

        • Greg G.

          Paul speaks of Jesus hundreds of times but seldom tells us anything about him. Below is everything he tells us in the least disputed epistles. This gives the claim, where Paul said it, and where the information is in the Old Testament.

          Past
          Descended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12* > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10*
          Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7
          Made of woman, > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5
          Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26*, Habakkuk 2:4*, Leviticus 18:5*
          Was rich, became poor > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Zechariah 9:9
          Was meek and gentle > 2 Corinthians 10:1 > Isaiah 53:7
          Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9*
          Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11
          For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49*, 2 Samuel 22:50*, Deuteronomy 32:43*, Psalm 117:1*, Isaiah 11:10*
          Became Wisdom of God > 1 Corinthians 1:30 > Isaiah 11:2

          Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9
          Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

          Was crucified > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 3:13* > Deuteronomy 21:23*
          Died for sins > 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:12
          Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9
          Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4, 2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

          Present
          Sits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5
          Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

          Future
          Will come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8*

          (* indicates that New Testament passage contains a direct quote from the Septuagint.)

          It is the same for the other epistles, too. Paul insists his knowledge is not inferior to the “super-apostles” in 2 Corinthians 11:4-6 and 12:11. That would be a rather absurd thing to say if he knew they had actually spent time with Jesus and since he spent a couple of weeks with Cephas, you gotta think Cephas would have mentioned it at some point.

        • skl

          I don’t see what your point is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s because you are a stupid dumb ass.

        • Greg G.

          You said:

          So Paul didn’t think Jesus Christ was a first century person.

          I showed everything that Paul said about Jesus in the epistles considered to be most likely authentic. I gave some of the passages where he made the claim and where it would have come from in the Old Testament.

          Paul mentioned Jesus by name or as “Christ” about 300 times and more with pronouns but never gave us any first hand first century information. His revelations came from reading scripture. He could not say anything about a first century Jesus.

          What Paul tells us is that he didn’t know a first century Jesus Christ and he knew that none of the other apostles knew about a first century Jesus Christ, too.

          You can go through the other epistles and find more mentions of Jesus that are OT references and allusions. Only where the forged 1 Timothy mentions Jesus meeting Pilate, taken from Luke, and the forged 2 Peter denying that they followed “cleverly devised myths” by citing the cleverly devised myth of the Transfiguration taken from Matthew.

        • skl

          “What Paul tells us is that he didn’t know a first century Jesus Christ and he knew that none of the other apostles knew about a first century Jesus Christ, too.”

          I find your posts to be about as flaky as Ignorant Amos’. But at least they’re not foul. Thanks for that. But I won’t continue this dialog with you any further.

          Good night.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t see you refuting anything or presenting evidence.

        • Susan

          I don’t see you refuting anything or presenting evidence.

          I would consider it a miracle if he did.

          https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/weasel-cartoon-animal-character-vector-14000565

        • Ignorant Amos

          skl isn’t about any of that…check out his recent commenting history elsewhere. The epitome of a trolling sealion…and a liar. An oxygen thieving waste of a usable skin.

        • MR

          by design

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaaahahaha…pwnd again dickhead.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, pulling from relevant scholarship and exhaustively cross referencing the NT is flaky.

        • Ignorant Amos

          skl is a knuckle dragging cretin. Given that he has shown to be such, and we have tried our best to inform him by answering his lazy arsed questions and assertions, it has now become apparent that he is a sealioning troll and waste of time. Ridicule and mockery is the best sauce for him.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yeah. He’s over at FA trying to claim that the Sutherland Springs church shooter did because of his atheism. Wait no, he’s telling us to prove that the shooting wasn’t religiously motivated. The investigators that decided the shooting wasn’t religiously motivated haven’t proved it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A seen that.

          Prove it wasn’t done for non-religious reasons…wtf?

          He’s a full on feckin’ Dime Bar that one. Atheist, my arse.

        • MR

          As highly as I think of you, I’m somewhat taken aback if you are only just figuring this out!

        • Greg G.

          Wait, wut? I never noticed that before. What a silly bunt.

        • Greg G.

          Be careful, you might offend him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m curious to know if the Dime Bar knows what flaky means?

          Maybe it’s anything he hasn’t heard about before…or can’t remember hearing about it before, makes it flaky. I’m left wondering where that leaves us, given the unsupported verbal diarrhea skl continues to spray us all with?

        • Pofarmer

          The other very interesting thing about Paul, is, as you know, that he goes to Jerusalem to meet Cephas and James, and goes to – the Temple? He doesn’t go to the site of the crucifixion or resurrection? He’s preaching a religion based on these two things and has no interest in them whatsoever? Never even mentions them? I’m sorry, the whole thing is as fictional as Dionysus or Horus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed it is interesting. What’s also interesting is that he was in no hole bust to visit Jerusalem, the seat of all the alleged action, after his conversion. He ballixed about Damascus for over three years before deciding to go to Jerusalem to visit the apostles. Clearly he didn’t seem to think there was much there to see or here there. Had he been aware of the hi-jinks that supposedly occurred, surely he’d have made a bee line to see the place where the Jesus shenanigans happened. It’s almost like he knew nothing of an Earthly Jesus that did anything there at all.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, he has this great Damascus road epiphany, and, what does he do? Well, not much of anything except start preaching. You’d think that he would have went to see the leaders of the movement he had been persecuting so heinously? Honestly, this looks like yet another late addition. I read a post on Vridar once that argued that Paul was off preaching in the hinterlands and basically fell into conflict with the Jerusalem bunch over the issue of Jewish Law, and probably quite a bit else. Perhaps he was preaching celibacy and they weren’t, who knows. But, they argued that he went to Jerusalem and essentially lost and was banished to the hinterlands. This plays out in the incident where Paul “rebukes” Cephas and yet nothing happens. Another spat which Paul probably actually lost because we don’t hear the resolution of it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It also plays out for why he only hung around for a fortnight. A mean, those other apostles obviously had nothing to tell Paul that he didn’t already know from his own revelations and knowledge of scripture.

          Folk who’d been in the company of Jesus for around three years, almost constantly, would’ve been the kind of folk to impart all sorts of interesting shit that only they were privy to…even the mundane about a man-god would’ve been a curiosity. The toilet habits of the Queen of England are of interest to the populace, the toilet habits of God would be well worth a listen to, but nope, nothing, feck all. Paul gets nothing of interest at all about this great mysterious dying and rising god.

        • epicurus

          That always floors me when I consider how most people would have made a beeline for Jerusalem to talk to the people who actually knew Jesus. I guess having visions trumps all that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          perhaps his Compleat Travelogue was lost by the Travel Bug subsect, who were always on the move and thus didn’t have healthy library facilities.

        • ildi

          The way I look at it, if Paul was a historical contemporary of Jesus who said he met Peter and James, even though he only wrote about Jesus (as far as we have evidence) in visionary terms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he discounted an actual person. If his focus was on the immediate (within his lifetime) return of Jesus, then the details that were important to later writers in terms of evidence for a historical Jesus may not have been.

        • Joe

          Maybe both were invented?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • skl

          So Paul was real because he was three dimensional and wrote
          things, and Jesus was not real because he was two dimensional and didn’t write anything.

          I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that before either.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are you being naturally dumb, or does it take many hours of practice?

          Paul was real because he wrote things and therefore was three dimensional, Jesus didn’t write anything, so may not have been real and therefore two dimensional.

          FTFY.

          There are 13 letters in the NT attributed to an early Christian called Paul. Of those 13, scholars confirm that 7 were probably penned by the same person. The others are dubious, or forgeries. The person that wrote the 7 we ascribe to a guy called Paul, could well have been called anything, but for the purposes of pragmatism, scholars are happy enough to accept the given name of Paul.

          Someone wrote the letters about Christ that are attributed to some early follower of Christ that we commonly understand to have been called Paul…that person was three dimensional…who do you think it was?

          Now, there is no attestation from any eyewitness who seen the seen Jesus. At best, there is only very suspect hearsay. The gospels are not firsthand eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, how many hands removed the copies that exist is unknown, but given the time, from the estimated time of authorship to the earliest extant copy, is such that it was quite a few.

          So we are not on sticky ground in saying that Jesus may not be historical. He left no writing, or anything else for that matter, to support he was historical.

          I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that before either.

          And why should I give anything more than zero fucks about that? You are clearly stupid. You haven’t heard much before given the dumb ass comments you make and the infantile questions you ask.

        • You tell us then. What do you think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So Jesus had his sayings and teachings, which were contradicted/contaminated by the musings of Paul,…

          Nope. No sayings or teachings of Jesus existed yet, that’s why Paul knows fuck all about them. So writes fuck all about them even when it would have been prudent to do so in order to support the case he is making in his letters.

          Let me help you out.

          Paul, the earliest Christian writer, shows no knowledge of a guy having been crucified on earth by the Romans on the want of the Sanhedrin for sedition 20 years prior to Paul’s letters. He knows nothing of any teachings or sayings of an itinerant Rabbi running about Palestine making a nuisance of himself to the authorities. He knows nothing of his alleged miracles, movements, family (the ambiguous Lords brother passage notwithstanding), magic star, visiting magi, slaughter of the innocents, virgin birth, none of it. He gets all his information, from no man, but from scripture (OT) and revelation (dreams/visions/hallucinations). Paul says so in his writings. Now that is strange since he claims to have met and talked to the super apostles in Jerusalem. Except he says that they got their info about Jesus in the same way as he did. Paul was an apocalypticist. He reckon Jesus was coming within his lifetime to make everything right…not a second coming mind.

          If you were reading Paul’s letters in the 50’s CE, as far as we know, that’s all you’d have. There may or may not have been other texts, but they are hypothetical. We have no way of knowing what they contained if they even existed, and it seems Paul knew nothing about them. So, all you have is Paul’s letters declaring what he believed about Jesus and what the other followers of Jesus believed about Jesus. None of it was biographical in nature. None of the stuff in the gospels existed yet. So you’d know nothing about any sayings, teachings, or miracles…they hadn’t been invented at that time. Okay so far?

          Move along another 20 years or so, you have a number of groups of Christians waiting on the great day when the messiah is due to come save the day. Nothing happens. The Romans get feed up with the Jewish shenanigans and they sack Jerusalem. But that’s not what was supposed to happen. Where’s the messiah promised by the new sect of Jewish Christ followers? Better whip the scriptures out and cobble together an apologetic thinks the author of Mark. So, using the OT and other literature of the day, the author of Mark writes a story around the character of Jesus…putting sayings and teachings into the characters mouth, he has to make him sound real remember, and making him perform wondrous deeds, he has to make him extra special. Later authors elsewhere take Marks story and upgrade it by adding more bells and whistles as they go.

          …but the gospel writers made up those sayings and teachings of Jesus to be consistent with Paul’s musings.

          Nope. There is no, that’s NO, sayings or teachings of Jesus in Paul’s writing…demonstrating that you haven’t read the Pauline corpus, or anything about it.

          Folk today read the Pauline epistles through the gospels and try to extract places where they believe Paul alludes to a teaching or saying found in the later gospels. it is doing it arse about face.

          https://vridar.org/2014/09/30/what-did-paul-know-about-jesus/

          https://vridar.org/2011/04/12/paul-as-a-witness-to-the-historical-jesus-gerd-ludemann/

          Scholars have long recognized the difficulties ratifying Paul and Jesus. It is a major concern and they strangle the texts to get something out.

          Paul’s preaching about the message of Jesus was contradictory to the preaching placed into the mouth of Jesus by the LATER gospel writers. This too has been a bone of contention within NT scholarship and theology, causing much scurrying apologetics to square the circle among believers.

          https://doctrine.org/jesus-vs-paul

          None of this is new.

          And by the way, there was those that believed Jesus was derived from a guy from 100 years before the gospels place him. During the reign of King Alexander Jannaeus 103-76 BCE. Whether there is any reason to think there is anything to it or not, is irrelevant. It demonstrates another example of how diverse the yarn got.

          The story of Jesus as presented in the four gospels of the New Testament is essentially a piece of fiction. There are no authentic references to such a figure in the works of any historians of the early 1st century CE (common era). The pre-gospel writings of the early Christians [epistles] also make no reference to the life and teachings of a recent historical Jesus. Paul, for instance, was supposedly Jesus’ contemporary, yet he never claimed to have met him in the flesh or to have met anyone else who had done so; he encountered him only in visions, as a spiritual being. The Christian groups of the 1st century CE held extremely diverse theological views, and this would be hard to explain if they were the followers of a single, recent teacher. Remarkably, they showed no interest in the holy sites and relics associated with Jesus’ alleged earthly career; it was not until the 4th century that pieces of the ‘true cross’ began to surface, and that the first shrine was set up on the supposed mount of Jesus’ death.

          http://davidpratt.info/jesus.htm

        • skl

          “Nope. No sayings or teachings of Jesus existed yet, that’s
          why Paul knows fuck all about them. So writes fuck all about them…And by the way, there was those that believed Jesus was derived from…”

          Nope. Not going any further with you on this. I must have
          forgotten how foul and flaky your communications quickly become.

          Good bye.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope. Not going any further with you on this.

          Thank fuck for that. Your trolling is getting beyond a joke.

          I must have forgotten how foul and flaky your communications quickly become.

          Yeah, you forget quite a lot it seems. I’ll accept “foul” since you are a whinny fanny, but my comments are certainly not flaky. But this is evidence that you are nothing but the sealioning trolling cunt I thought you were…so hat tip for proving my right on that score.

          Good bye

          Fuck off weasel.

        • Greg G.

          Josephus tells us that the Pharisees believed good people were raised and bad people were punished.

          Jewish Wars 2.8.14
          They [Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, – but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.

          I suspect they got that idea from:

          Daniel 12:2
          2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

          I think Paul used the scriptures, particularly the Septuagint, including that verse from Daniel and others for his ideas on eschatology:

          1 Corinthians 15:52-53
          52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

          I suspect Paul got the idea of the “perishable body putting on imperishability” from the Pharisee idea that “good men only are removed into other bodies”.

          Paul may have thought of himself as still a Pharisee.

    • Herald Newman

      You show an incredible amount of optimism on the subject. People simply don’t hold religious beliefs because they are rational, nor do they generally give them up when they can be shown to be irrational. If anything they tend to dig their heels in farther and spin what they’ve already got.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRd-kFiVuGs

      If you haven’t watched AnticitizenX’s video’s I strongly suggest you do!

      • Pofarmer

        It’s hard to disagree with that. It did, indeed, take some pretty emotional stuff for me to become an atheist. Interestingly enough, it was my wife becoming fundamentalist Catholic. Now, this does point to a real problem in the U.S. though. You’ve got the evangelical bunch that you can’t reach with rational arguments, and we live among them. They are in govt. They run businesses, etc. We’re in a real pickle here, because they don’t understand, won’t understand, that their religious beliefs shouldn’t be a basis for governing other people’s lives.

    • Lark62

      No you wouldn’t. Dead people don’t come back to life. We already know this. Christians would just continue to rationalize it away like they do already.

    • Greg G.

      Have you been paying attention? It has been proved that the Earth and the Universe are more than 6000 years old but still ~40% of the US population still believes in it. Faith is more than believing in things not seen. Believing things in spite of evidence to the contrary is considered to be strong faith and something to be admired.

    • ildi
      • Pofarmer

        Yeah, this is the deal. They’ll just “reinterpret” but maybe it would overall make the religion better.

      • skl

        I wonder what the non-resurrection incredibly
        powerful transformative experience was.

        • ildi

          Probably like any other religious experience.

        • skl

          I don’t think so. There are probably millions of people, perhaps billions, who claim to have had some type of “religious experience”. But there aren’t millions or billions of religions.

        • ildi

          Maybe not millions, but close enough for government work! Subjective religious experience is usually the ultimate evidence for whatever version people find suits them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And some would say that there are as many religions as there are religious, because no two religious experience is identical…they are all subjective.

        • Greg G.

          I have had three close friends describe their “religious” experience and they all sound like they had a waking dream.

          One guy said he was about 6 years old, was in bed, was wide awake, and saw angels going in and out of a hole in the wall. I asked if the hole was there afterwards and he said it wasn’t. I asked if he was paralyzed during the experience and his eyes got really big because he had never told anyone that.

          You have probably heard of people being abducted from their beds by aliens, having things done to them, being tested, feeling paralyzed but awake the whole time, then waking up in their beds, still frightened.

          I was talking to a friend about these types of dreams and he told me about the one he had where he had gone to bed but was awakened by a car crashing into the living room. He immediately reported it to the police. When he walked out of his bedroom to inspect the damage, nothing had happened. The cops told him they get a lot of calls like that.

        • skl

          Commenter “ildi” above might say that guy was
          bound to create a new ‘Angels in the wall’ religion.

        • ildi

          Not sure why you’re so eager to speak for me…

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          skl had better be careful. I’m sure that people speaking for others like that is how some religions got started.

        • ildi

          What I would actually say is this:

          You started by saying that biblical Christianity would be “squashed forever” if you could disprove the resurrection. I linked to a couple of progressive Christians (Bishop Spong in my mind being the most famous of them) saying they didn’t believe in the physical resurrection and lo and behold they still consider themselves Christian. Bishop Spong in the video link says that there was some major transformative event, but it wasn’t a physical risen body that they were interacting with, this was a later tradition. This was a 2-minute cut from his sermon, so I don’t know his position on the nature of these transformative events, or if he gives potential reasons why a physical risen Jesus became canon fairly early in Church history.

          My point also was that I think a lot of people find justification for their religious beliefs through a personal, intense experience, especially if they are dealing with a moment of doubt or crisis (otoh, it sounds like Mother Teresa never had another transcendental experience to revive her faith in God). These experiences don’t occur in a vacuum; Paul knew all about Christians when he had his vision on the road to Damascus. His vision could very well have been based on the same mechanism that makes some people believe they were abducted by aliens. If people are having a subjective experience they interpret as religious, their framework may match an existing organized religion but they still come up with their own personal tweaks so in that sense their religion is unique to them. If the person is influential enough, those personal tweaks may be different enough to form a new religion.

        • Greg G.

          I think the “major transformative event” would have been the destruction of Jerusalem and it didn’t create a new religion, it created many of them and one of them eventually got political power.

          The Messianism of First Century Judaism got them to pick a fight with the Romans because they had convinced themselves that the Messiah would come during their generation. Josephus saved his skin by turning the prophecy at Vespasian as the person who come from Judea to rule the world. It worked out well for Josephus.

          The accounts of Suetonius and Dio Cassius about the miracles at the Serapis temple in Egypt seem to be what Vespasian needed as propaganda since he was not of noble birth so he needed something to show favor with the gods. The Josephus prophecy may have served that purpose as well which would focus interest in the Messianic prophecy throughout the Empire. The Gospel of Mark was directed at Romans and it may have been taken more seriously than intended.

        • ildi

          I didn’t think the historicity of Paul and his early (authentic) letters being written in the 50s A.D. was in question by most historians?

        • Greg G.

          Paul wasn’t that big in Judea. It’s just that there were copies of his letters outside of Jerusalem when people became more curious about it.

          Just some thoughts rolling around in my head.

        • ildi

          Maybe I’m just hearing into his sermon bit that Spong is implying that Paul reflected all early Christian thinking on the non-physical resurrection. He did write a book about it called “Resurrection: Myth or Reality” but based on the description I’m not sure I would get the sort of answers I’m looking for out of it:

          “Continuing his project of making Christianity viable in a secular world, Bishop Spong here pursues the mystery of Easter. The solutions he proposes are not grounded in a literal understanding of the Bible; nor are they based in a quest for the historical Jesus. Easter, for Spong, was not a supernatural event that occurred inside human history. He asserts that even though Jesus was of history, we will never know all that Jesus was or meant. Most especially, we will never know exactly what happened on that moment that is called Easter. What we can know is that the first Christians became convinced that Jesus did not die and, to express the intensity of their experience, they used the language and style of midrash. Thus, Bishop Spong believes that to enter the meaning of the Gospels, to enter the experience of Easter, it is necessary to enter the tradition of midrash. His book, consequently, is a long and complex journey into the images of the biblical texts, the midrashic vehicles employed to carry the transcendent meaning of Easter.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          We’ve had a progressive Christian on here fairly recently that viewed the Resurrection as a non-physical event.

          A quarter of Brit Christians don’t believe it either, but it makes no difference to them either.

          Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39153121

          skl has a tendency to talk ballix…from ignorance usually.

        • ildi
        • Pofarmer

          Who says there was actually a powerful transformative experience? We really don’t have evidence of that. What we have is fiction.

        • skl

          “Who says there was actually a powerful transformative experience?”

          The guy in the video provided above by ildi.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The question was meant to be rhetorical. There is no authoritative source that any such experience took place.

          The guy in the video is in the same boat as all the rest of us, he has no evidence either.

          What we have are made up stories from a later time. Or as Po puts it, fiction.

        • Pofarmer

          You mean John Shelby Spong? What was the powerful transformative experience that led to Mormonism? What was the powerful transformative experience that led to scientology? What powerful transformative experience led to the worship of Mithras? Or Dionysis? and on, and on, and on. It’s question begging nonsense.

        • Greg G.

          There was no “powerful transformative experience”. There were fictional stories of one and enough people thought the stories actually happened.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and enough people thought the stories actually happened.

          plus whoever went along with it (or at least didn’t bother arguing) to humor their [prospective] sex partner[s]. or business clients. or …

    • BlackMamba44

      EDIT: It’s Monday.

      No, Christians would just double down and dig in.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I try to stay up to date on what passes for compelling arguments in
    Christian apologetics, but I’m sure I’m missing some good stuff.

    No. No you’re not.

    • 🙂

      Perhaps you’re right.

      • TheNuszAbides

        perhaps we’ll never know which statement is better bait for the hypothetical folks who have their hands on The Real Thing …

  • epicurus

    I find it ironic that many of these guys who have specific degrees in apologetics seem to be some of the lamest thinkers, or at least offer the lamest apologetic reasoning. Maybe I just expect too much from someone boasting how trained and great they are at apologetics.

    • Herald Newman

      I don’t think the thinkers are the problem. They’re trying to defend the indefensible, and I don’t see how even the smartest person in the world is going to succeed at that.

      • Orange East Yellow

        If they can filibuster endlessly, do hair-splitting endlessly, they have succeeded, in a way.

      • epicurus

        Agreed. I’ve just found people like Alex McFarland (had the misfortune to see him live) who boast about about being specialists, often seem more superficial than traditionally trained people. It makes me think the apologetics dept. is the basket weaving part of a school. Ouch! I’m slingin’ invective tonight!

        • Greg G.

          It makes me think the apologetics dept. is the basket weaving part of a school. Ouch! I’m slingin’ invective tonight!

          You are slingin’ invective alright. What have basket-weavers ever done to you?

        • RichardSRussell

          I was looking to boost my GPA by enrolling in a sluff course in basket-weaving, but then 5 Navajos also signed up and raised the curve. Curse you, basket-weavers!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was a member of a Basket Weavers Club back in my army days. It was code for a bunch of us who used to regularly go on the piss together.

    • Lark62

      That’s because nobody with sense would get a degree in “proving make believe isn’t make believe.”

    • Pofarmer

      Why do you think they’re apologists?

      • epicurus

        Well, speaking as someone who was at one time a conservative evangelical, I don’t think they are being dishonest or fraudulent. I think they really do believe the apologetic arguments are good ones, or at least good enough to convince a person who is honestly seeking truth.

        As for why they choose to focus their attention on being dedicated apologists, I guess it could be one or many reasons such as they like the interaction and excitement of debate (written or verbal) – maybe there is a bit of ego involved (that was my take with Alex Mcfarland) or maybe they felt “called” to it in the same way people feel called to work with various groups or causes. Or perhaps they like philosophy or history etc and enjoy the elements of those that interact with Christian history and evidence.

        • Ficino

          How many of them are women? I think there’s a nun who is an apologist …

        • epicurus

          True, I should have used inclusive language. My bad.

        • epicurus

          oops, just reread my first comment, it was gender neutral anyway, so that probably wasn’t what you meant.
          Anyway, I’m not aware of any female apologists, but I’m sure there are some, or many.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Women in apologetics is actually not new because Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) was an avid defender of orthodox Christianity. Louis Markos (one of the leading lights of Cultural Apologetics) has an excellent chapter on Sayers contribution to apologetics in Apologetics for the 21st Century. Nevertheless, this trend of women in apologetics is much more self-aware and intentional by its practitioners.

          https://ischristianitytrue.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/trends-in-apologetics-women-in-apologetics/

          https://www.womeninapologetics.com/

        • epicurus

          Thanks, I’ll check them out.

        • Ficino

          Sorry, my drift was vague. I was thinking, why are apologists almost always male? It seems to be a guy thing. And since it’s men who control the system in conservative Christianity, I’m wondering whether there’s a link between that fact and the attraction that public apologetics seems to hold for those [mostly men] who practice/promote it.

          Then again, the face of public atheism these days is more male than female, I would guess …

        • epicurus

          I can see that. The debates/arguments/sparring/jousting etc elements are things that men are generally more drawn to than women (sweeping generalization perhaps?) There are exceptions probably, but since men still run conservative christian academia as you said I’m guessing these two elements make it easier and more attractive to men’s aggressive instincts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet some of the women I’ve encountered on the atheist counter-apologetics side of the debate, have been highly astute, forthright, and dare I say it, aggressive when the circumstance has required such. And I love it.

        • epicurus

          Fair enough

        • Greg G.

          You are right. I am in awe of how Susan and Kodie can bring an apologist wannabe to tears.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The old Dawkins site was rife with very able debaters of high brow ability.

          But then when one has the superior arguments, I guess it is easier to defend.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Steve Shives read a couple works of apologetics by women in his An Atheist Reads… series. It turns out that shitty arguments aren’t gender limited.

        • Pofarmer

          That was a really great answer!

          Especially considering my reply was more of a rhetorical feint at

          I find it ironic that many of these guys who have specific degrees in apologetics seem to be some of the lamest thinkers,

          ie, most great thinkers aren’t apologists.

        • Zeropoint

          “I guess it could be one or many reasons such as they like the interaction and excitement of debate (written or verbal)”

          I know that I do! I was mildly excited when I discovered a Christian blogger who engaged in the comments and was talking about philosophical matters that I found interesting (you know the one, Mr. Seidensticker). Unfortunately and entirely unsurprisingly, he has NOT turned out to be a worthy opponent. I came for “iron sharpening iron” and got iron cutting butter.

        • I came for “iron sharpening iron” and got iron cutting butter.

          Tell me about it.

        • epicurus

          Or a bubbling blob of jiggling jello 🙂

    • How does that even work? I’m imagining being in a class and thinking, “Yeah, but this is a stupid argument.” I imagine pointing out an argument’s shortcomings to the professor, seeing that there actually isn’t much of an answer, and then figuring that it’s rude to point out the shortcomings to the professor and (to some extent) you’re just supposed to take the arguments on faith, too.

      It’s like going to a faith healing event and not knowing that you’re supposed to flop backwards when the pastor smacks you on the forehead.

      • Ficino

        Cornelius Van Til used to throw chalk at students. But yes, it’s more convincing when Benny Hinn flaps his jacket and forty fat guys keel over.

      • epicurus

        I mentioned in my reply to Pofarmer that I don’t think they are actually going through that conflict, I think they genuinely believe the arguments are good, or good enough for belief.

        I’m going to go out on a limb here, as I’ve never looked the curriculum or program or prerequisites for these programs or schools that have a specialty in apologetics, but I’m betting they give up a lot in other areas – I bet you don’t need to study any of the original languages, or textual criticism, or any advanced studies of philosophy, history, etc.
        Of course someone can come back with the example of a William Lane Craig whose has academic credentials and still slings slop.

  • Lurker111

    Any philosophy requiring apologetics admits of its own vacuity.

    • Outspider

      What philosophy does not need to be defended? The term “apologist” simply means “defender.” Does the defense of the theory of evolution, or of humanism, discredit these ideas?

      • Lurker111

        Evolution doesn’t need apologetics because it hasn’t been disproved.

        Of “official” humanism, I’m not competent to comment.

        • Outspider

          You should tell that to people like Richard Dawkins and others who regularly defend the theory of evolution. I am sure they will be pleased to learn that true things do not need to be defended.

        • Lurker111

          They defend Evolution against lies and misrepresentations. The theory itself they don’t need to defend–all the evidence is for it.

          Apologetics is the “art” of dancing around inherent problems in a philosophy or pseudo-science.

        • Outspider

          “They defend evolution…”

          And there you go. They are defenders (apologists) for evolution.

          A defense lawyer is a defense lawyer whether his client is guilty of innocent. A defender is a defender whether his topic is true or false.

        • Lurker111

          Playing with the meaning of words is also a hallmark of apologetics. Dropping the mic now. You go have the last words if you want; I’ve said all I care to say.

        • Outspider

          Thank you, I will have it.

          You are the one confused about the meaning of the word in question. The Wikipedia description will suffice: “The etymology of apologia (Greek: ἀπολογία) is derived from the root word apologos (ἀπόλογος), “a speech in defense”.

          I have no idea why you think the term means something else, but the definition I have argued is demonstrably correct.

        • ildi

          Actually, you are the one confused, because Lurker111 has been consistently using the word “apologetics:”

          Definition of apologetics
          1 : systematic argumentative discourse (see 1discourse 2a) in defense (as of a doctrine)
          2 : a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity

          apologetics
          [uh-pol-uh-jet-iks]
          noun, (used with a singular verb)
          1. the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity.

        • Outspider

          You realize the very first definition is the relevant one, right? The one that affirms that apologetics is a “systematic argumentative discourse in defense…”

          Since he said that “any philosophy” that requires apologetics was vacuous, I pointed out that a systematic defense of a philosophy (or a theory) does not mean the philosophy or theory is wrong.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          The second definition is the relevant one, because it’s the type of apologetic fundagelicals use, while *claiming* it’s the first kind.

        • Outspider

          Since OP said “any philosophy requiring apologetics” and “any philosophy” includes things that are not Christianity, the second definition logically cannot be the relevant one.

          Apologia just means a reasoned/formal defense.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.

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

        • ildi

          in defense (as of a doctrine)

      • Lark62

        In other words, you don’t understand the difference between evidence and apologetics. Why again should we listen to you?

        • Outspider

          What exactly does evidence have to do with this? We aren’t discussing whether apologists are justified, but what the term itself means. Apologists can make valid arguments and invalid arguments. An apologist can be a defender of a religion, of atheism, of evolution, of nihilism, or of anything that can be defended. You seem to think I am defending Christian apologists, but the fact is that I am pointing out that the term itself just means defense or defender.

          In other words, OP’s argument is that any philosophy that requires a defense is vacuous. But since a true philosophy should also be defended against invalid claims, OP’s point cannot be correct.

          The fact that a point is defended does not undermine the truth of the point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          An apologist can be a defender of a religion, of atheism, of evolution, of nihilism, or of anything that can be defended. You seem to think I am defending Christian apologists, but the fact is that I am pointing out that the term itself just means defense or defender.

          Except in common parlance, it really doesn’t.

          The definitions of words change, or can have more than one definition. Guess who gets to decide which meaning should be applicable when used?

          Although the term ‘apologetics’ has Western, primarily Christian origins and is most frequently associated with the defense of Christianity, the term is sometimes used referring to the defense of any religion in formal debate involving religion.

          In other words, OP’s argument is that any philosophy that requires a defense is vacuous.

          Where does the OP make the assertion that any philosophy requires a defence is vacuous? It seems pretty obvious to me that the philosophical arguments being referred to by the OP, are the one’s being used by the Christian apologists. And not even all of them at that.

          And apparently the philosophical community find them vacuous too.

          I’ve tackled a few of the philosophical arguments (see the list at the end). I haven’t found any that are compelling, but one of the fallbacks for the apologist with this kind of argument is to say that I’ve only responded to some of the variants of that argument. They’ll point to a stack of books and demand that I respond to all the new ’n improved versions, despite the fact that even within the philosophical community these arguments aren’t widely accepted. Only the most popular interest me, because a boring, convoluted, esoteric argument doesn’t make for an interesting blog post.

          But maybe I missed something.

        • Outspider

          “Where does the OP make the assertion that any philosophy requires a defence is vacuous?”

          Quoting OP: “Any philosophy requiring apologetics admits of its own vacuity.”

          Here is how you would have OP’s comment read: “Any philosophy requiring [the defense of Christianity] admits of its own vacuity.”

          Since Christianity itself is the only philosophy requiring the defense of Christianity, “any philosophy” must mean something besides Christianity.

          I merely argued that OP’s comment was incorrect. You are arguing that OP’s comment was nonsensical. This does not help OP.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who the fuck is the OP here?

          The Original Poster in this page is the article poster, i.e. the author of the post.

          Disqus is such, that sub-threads tend to all over the place and get difficult to trace. That’s why the sensible people here refer to the person whose comment they are addressing, do so by their moniker…or an abbreviation of that moniker.

          Lurker111 wrote, “Any philosophy requiring apologetics admits of its own vacuity.”

          I’ll let Lurker111 defend his assertion. Your disagreement with his terms, or inferred sloppiness, has bugger all to do with the Original Poster of the article, or the contents of the Original Posters argument.

          If you are just being pedantic for the sake of it, knock yerself out.

          But I will say this, the rest of us were able to read Lurker111’s comment in context with the overall theme of the OP and deduce that what he meant was…

          Any [religious] philosophy requiring apologetics admits of its own vacuity.

          …or at least that was my take. I’m up for being shown in error though.

  • sandy

    The most popular argument I get is, “you can”t prove god doesn’t exist” and when you provide evidence that shows the probability is soooo low to be non existent..they go right back to it. Stop Sunday school…please.

    • Orange East Yellow

      Agree that showing low probability is a waste. Other ways should be explored.

    • Michael Neville

      I don’t have to “prove” anything. I can’t prove that leprechauns, Russel’s teapot or the invisible pink unicorn don’t exist. All I say is “there’s no evidence for any gods, let alone the sadistic bully you worship.” If someone wants me to believe in their favorite pet god then they have to provide evidence for that god’s existence. Until then, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

      • Herald Newman

        The null hypothesis rules the day when it comes to existential claims!

        • Pofarmer

          But by saying you don’t believe you’ve made a claim! Now prove it!!!

        • Herald Newman

          Which is probably one of the more frustrating parts of dealing with believers. They don’t seem to understand what it takes to justify different kinds of claims.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, they basically don’t understand reality. So getting them to understand different kind of claims would really just be the tip of the iceberg.

        • epeeist

          They don’t seem to understand what it takes to justify different kinds of claims.

          Especially ones that need a causal warrant.

      • Ficino

        Go over to a classical theism board and say there is no evidence for God. Then wait for the scornful dismissals of you as a benighted gnu, dumber than a brick, who confuses metaphysics with science.

        • Michael Neville

          Metaphysics is, in general, the study of concepts, aka essences, with the conclusions of such studies assumed to be a priori truths. For example, a metaphysician might reflect on the concept of time and come to the conclusion that time is necessarily unbounded, this then would be an a priori truth, that time is unbounded (I won’t go into the problems with this conclusion). The problem with such studies is not that we are unable to reflect upon our concepts, but that reflection upon our concepts doesn’t tell us anything useful. Such reflections reveal are simply about how our minds are working. They don’t show that something corresponding to the concept exists independently of our minds or imaginations, or that the world is in agreement with any a priori conclusions from these concepts. Nor does it show that the concept is present as given in the mind, only that it appears that way in our conscious experience. Examples of where metaphysics has gone wrong include Kant’s a priori “proof” that space is Euclidian (it turns out that it isn’t), and a priori “proofs” that the mind is separate from the body (evidence points in the other direction).

        • A bit of a tangent: does metaphysics actually do anything? Does it deliver conclusions that we can check, for example? If it’s simply the name we give to thinking about certain fundamental concepts, that’s fine, but to the extent that it’s not evidence based, what’s it good for?

          I remember WLC referring to someone as “the most respected metaphysician alive today,” and it struck me as profound as saying, “the most respected alchemist alive today.” But I could be missing something.

        • Pofarmer

          @disqus_HOKynBthUD:disqus Maybe will see this and comment. for my money, I think that “metaphysicians” can ask questions, but their answers are only as good as how it matches with reality. Catholic Metaphysics is a fairly complete system, and even makes sense within itself, but it fails when compared to the real world.

        • Zeropoint

          As a materialist, empiricist, and an engineer (by inclination and training but not by license), there are times when it’s hard for me to avoid swinging Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword around.

          “What cannot be settled by experiment is not worth debating.”

        • Ficino

          Is the truth of the proposition, “What cannot be settled by experiment is not worth debating,” a matter that can be settled by experiment? Some people who privilege metaphysics will retort that metaphysics is precisely the discipline, whose province it is to set out the principles needed for the experimental sciences to be practiced.

        • Pofarmer

          But even this principals get tested. If results didn’t match with reality they would get tossed. That’s why Aristotlean Metaphysics fails, for instance .

        • Ficino

          If you have ever convinced a Thomist that Aristotelian metaphysics fails, I would very much like to hear what that Thomist found convincing.

        • Pofarmer

          Hard core Thomists are emotionally invested to the point I doubt very many would changr. But they’re such a small group. Don’t know if you’ve interacted any at Strange Notions.

        • Ficino

          I have looked at some articles on Strange Notions but have not posted there. I have seen some of the same people on Feser’s blog and elsewhere, and I’ve posted there and on the spin-off Classical Theism board. Right now I’m in a long discussion with a Thomist (self-described “fanboy of Feser”) on Dave Armstrong’s blog, in the most recent article about Bob Seidensticker. Give it a look and see if you notice anything useful to point out.

        • Pofarmer

          Link?

        • Ficino

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2018/05/seidensticker-christians-r-intellectually-dishonest-idiots.html#comment-3909073228

          Some weird stuff seems to be going on with disqus or Patheos, so I hope you can open the link.

        • Pofarmer

          Be careful with Jim the Scott. He’ll make it up as he goes along.

        • epeeist

          I can confirm this.

        • Pofarmer

          Just breezing through momentarily I noticed Jim mentioning Act/Potency etc. These are concepts that started breaking down soon after Aquinas and were essentially rendered obsolete with Newton and Hume. Just remember. He’s arguing something that is functionally dead. It isn’t used anywhere in modern science, for good reason. Even Thomists lament that Thomism isn’t really taught anymore, even within Catholic Institutions.

        • Pofarmer

          One other thing. A/T metaphysics really started falling apart with William of Occam and Occams Razor, less than 100 years after Aquinas. Everything always had to go back to the Prime mover, and that was clogging up the works and made the Razor necessary.

        • Ficino

          The above is my understanding, but I haven’t done anything with Ockham since college. Feser and his followers just say that you’ve put your finger on the period when philosophy, and western civilization with it, began to turn toward the dark side.

        • Pofarmer

          A/T metaphysics was a no go pretty much from the start. It has several fatal flaws. It’s really a system of observation. It doesn’t/can’t make testable hypothesis, for instance. There weren’t any notable discoveries that ever came from it. Chemistry? Calculus? Biology? Actual Physics? It was a dead end based on theology. The only reason that it’s even talked about now is that we are so advanced from it’s tenets that it’s not obvious how bad it’s failures are/were.

        • Ficino

          @ Pofarmer (and others): This might be asking for more than can be provided easily, but do you know of a good, non-mathematical (heh heh) discussion of what was wrong with A/T metaphysics from the beginning?

          Related: this guy is arguing that verificationism is not self-refuting. A claim made over and over by Feser et al. is that it IS self-refuting.

          https://graspedinthought.org/blog/2017/12/4/why-verificationism-isnt-self-defeating

        • Pofarmer

          A poster who goes by “the thinker” has been doing yeomans work at Strange Notions. They have a blog as well that I think you can get to from their profile.

        • Ficino

          I’ve seen The Thinker’s stuff for some years now on several boards.

          It looks as if nothing new on Estranged Notions has been put up since Feb. 28. Is it petering out? I hadn’t realized it existed, or that there was a purge or whatever of various atheists from Strange Notions in 2014. Interesting. I also see both you and Jim the Scott in many of the posts on Estranged Notions.

          I understand that many consider Thomism, or A-T, as it’s called, to be obsolete and therefore not worth the effort of detailed refutation. Its proponents, and some of their allies who are not Thomists, like Robert George, seem to be eager to influence politics. It seems obvious that their principles, if carried to their logical conclusion, would take away rights from many people. That’s part of the reason why I’ve thought it may be useful to look at what appear to be inconsistencies just within the Thomist synthesis itself. But I’m not sure yet whether the effort is worth it. Maybe I’ll at least get some journal articles out of it …

        • Pofarmer

          If you are going to publish journal articles, please, please let us read them. I am by no means a trained scholar of philosopher. Just a dude who knows more than he ever wanted about this stuff. And I think your observations regarding the politics ate dead on. I know some Catholic conferences are revisiting Thomism because, obviously, it also centralizes control from the individual back to the Church.

        • Ficino

          My scholarly publications have been in the areas of ancient philosophy, Greek rhetoric, and Greek textual criticism/palaeography, but I am a very small tadpole w/in a small pond. Whether I should actualize my potency to be a qualified scholarly frog commenting in print on Thomism is a question and, of course, includes the problems, what the meanings of “should” and “be” are.

          One of the things I found exhausting about trying to carry on a discussion with Jim the Scott (Dave Armstrong has now deleted the entire thing from his Patheos blog, but I had discussed the same topic w/ JtS aka Son of Ya’kov two years before on “Catholic Authenticity”) was his habit of jumping to conclusions about the other person’s positions without having received enough info to know what the position is – and often, without having the background to understand it. Then, to sift the philosophical content out from the flow of verbal abuse and apparent underlying hostility to challenges takes time.

        • Pofarmer

          Did Dave give a reason for deleting it?

        • Ficino

          He said that while it had some interesting content, it was not about his OP and thus violated his posting rules.

          I speculated as to whether there were features of the exchange that provided extra motivation for deletion, but who knows.

        • Pofarmer

          A Catholic control freak. Hard to imagine.

        • I suppose we should be grateful that Dave allows unmoderated commenting, unlike other Catholic bloggers like Longenecker.

        • Pofarmer

          Longenecker’s was the first site I was ever band from. Good times. Didn’t like being asked for evidence of “The Fall.” as in, the perfect time before it.

        • So you’re one of the reasons he doesn’t have comments?

          I can see that. You’re a troublemaker.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think he liked continually being asked for evidence for his claims. He’s really big on Fall theology and that’s one of my triggers.

        • Unlike Dave Armstrong or me, Longenecker is an actual professional. Answering questions about this is his day job … right?

          Wow.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s just a typical religiously blinkered jackass.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s what happens when yer day job is built on ropy foundations, and in these modern times of easy access knowledge, laypersons can ask those awkward questions that shine the spotlight on ones bullshit. That’s not good for ones image among peers, best not to put ones head above the parapet, lest it get shot off by a stray bullet. When worrying about marksmen is problematic enough.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s been discussed on “Outshine the Sun” ( Estranged Notions) that there really isn’t a detailed refutAtion of Thomism. It’s simply obsolete and not worth the scholarly energy IMHO.

        • Joe

          Well, they need Aristotelain Metaphyiscs to be true to uphold their beliefs, so it’s not likely they will shift their opinion.

        • Pofarmer

          They specifically need it for the Eucharist. So they can’t move on or they take the same tack as those damned protestants.

        • I agree that that principle does get tested. The experiment is easy to imagine.

        • Greg G.

          Mathematics can describe many possible universes. Science tries to describe the universe we live in. Mathematics combined with science can determine which model of the universe we are in. I like to use the example of Einstein’s prediction of light being affected by gravity. Someone determined that a certain star would be behind an upcoming eclipse but it would be visible if Einstein was correct. Astronomer’s traveled to the path of the eclipse to observe it. They saw the star precisely where Einstein’s equations predicted it would be seen, helping to validate that model of the universe.

          Magic can account for any type of universe we can observe and any observation made but it cannot predict one observation vs another so it is not a useful tool for determining the type of universe we are in.

          Can metaphysics be useful like mathematics or is it useful like magic?

          ETA: After reading Michael Neville’s post above, I think he answered my question.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Is the truth of the proposition, “What cannot be settled by experiment is not worth debating,” a matter that can be settled by experiment?

          The question is a nonsense word game. One could just as well ask, “Do you need a screwdriver to make a screwdriver?” Screwdrivers and experiments continue to evidence their worth in their uses. They do not require another of themselves to make themselves valuable before they can show their value by results from use versus results from disuse. If the apologist has a better tool, they need to demonstrate its value by results through use. In the meantime I’ll look for a flying pig to sample its wing meat.

        • Ficino

          You may be aware that Edward Feser and others use this sort of retorsion argument to refute “scientism.” Because the truth of the thesis, “science is our only reliable source of knowledge,” or something like it, is itself not established by the methods of science, Feser thinks he has exposed “scientism”/logical positivism etc. as self-contradictory.

          A retorsion argument works by “retorting” that the opponent’s thesis is either self-contradictory or entails a contradiction when another premise held by the opponent is combined with it. Along the lines of “There are no absolutes.” Reply: “if that statement itself is an absolute, then you refute yourself, and if it’s not an absolute, then who cares?” Or the like.

          Feser seems to think that metaphysical speculation is left standing as a source of knowledge, since the retorsion argument establishes, in his mind, that science is NOT the only source of knowledge.

          ————————–

          Adding: people I’ve read on retorsion arguments point out that it’s a question, whether a retorsion argument establishes more than the defeat of the opponent in a dialectical situation. Does the retorsion argument also establish that the contradictory of the opponent’s thesis is true? In the above case, I don’t think so. Feser’s retorsion argument against what he calls “scientism” does not suffice to establish that metaphysical speculation provides knowledge about reality/the world.

        • Pofarmer

          Feser
          thinks he thereby establishes that metaphysical speculation is a source
          of knowledge, since the retorsion argument establishes, in his mind,
          that science is NOT the only source of knowledge.M

          But then he never demonstrates how this works or how his “Knowledge” is verified.

        • Ficino

          No, I don’t think he does demonstrate this. But since he’s trying to argue for first principles, I am not sure how he could demonstrate the truth of his first principles. I think he argues, if you don’t posit A-T metaphysics, then you cannot give an adequate account of how to do science, let alone an account of how reality works.

          I just edited my earlier reply to giauz ragnorock, the original words of which you quote above.

        • Pofarmer

          Another problem with the “Other way of knowing” argument, is that if you believe this, how do you verify your way over Hinduism or Confucianism or the ancient Egyptian religions, etc, etc, etc?

        • I’ve not heard of retorsion (and Wikipedia’s definition seems to be something else).

          In my experience, Christian apologists love to use this. Their logic seems to be, if you can invalidate the opponent’s argument before it even starts, then you don’t have to do the heavy lifting of actually engaging with it. Often, if the Christian complaint is valid, it’s simply a matter of rewording it to avoid this error.

          In response to Feser, I’d simply say that, sure, if you want to argue that science itself doesn’t establish “science is our only source of knowledge,” that’s fine with me. Where we go is experience. In practice, as we try to establish facts, is this claim supported? That’s how we’d go to try to test this claim.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Scientism has got to be one of my most hated anti- intellectual weasel words.

        • MR

          I call it “Argument of the -isms.” For all their heartburn about science, when it sheds an inconvenient light on their beliefs, I sure don’t see them abandoning science in any other aspect of their lives. Imagine if participating in “scientism” were considered blasphemy and forbidden by the church. How long do you think it would take millions of people would dump their belief? When they give up all the benefits of science, not just the cherry-picked ones, is when I’ll believe they believe their own bullshit -ism argument.

        • epeeist

          I think that “metaphysicians” can ask questions, but their answers are only as good as how it matches with reality.

          In Peter Van Imwagen’s Metaphysics he says that there are no philosophical facts, no philosophical knowledge. This would chime with my attitude, namely that what philosophers do is to eliminate bad answers, but they cannot provide true answers to questions of any complexity.

        • Pofarmer

          That is why I think it’s funny that philosophers are working in “the problem of mind”. They don’t have the tools to do anything. They might as well work on “the problem of why my car won’t start” with no diagnostic tools or knowledge of how a modern car actually works.

        • epeeist

          That is why I think it’s funny that philosophers are working in “the problem of mind”.

          I don’t, though I might in a few years time. There is a long history of philosophers working on a particular problem domain and for that domain to split off into a discipline of its own as observations, capabilities and understanding advances.

          How long has it been since we have been able to actually probe what is happening in the brain?

        • Pofarmer

          We’ve had brain scans for what, 10 years? We’ve had EKG’s, for what, 40 or 50 years?

          My point though, is that without the diagnostic tools, philosophers are just shooting in the dark. You’ve got guys like Peter Nagel who are completely off in the weeds on dualism that are seen as just as valid as guys who are basing their theories on the latest diagnostic tests. Without the diagnoostic tests philosophy is completely lost. That’s why I use the car analogy. Could you use philosophy to figure out why a car won’t start? Could you come up with the diagnostics without knowing the mechanics of how it operates? So. yeah, I think philosophy can maybe ask questions, but I think it’s pretty well neutered from giving answers until it becomes science.

        • Ficino

          You mean Thomas Nagel?

        • Pofarmer

          Some Nagel dude! Yeah.

          Fixed it, thanks.

        • epeeist

          My point though, is that without the diagnostic tools, philosophers are just shooting in the dark.

          Until we get the capabilities, both observational and analytical then everyone is shooting in the dark. Philosophers at least attempt to make rational arguments at this stage and try to eliminate ideas that do not stand up to scrutiny.

          You’ve got guys like Thomas Nagel who are completely off in the weeds on dualism that are seen as just as valid as guys who are basing their theories on the latest diagnostic tests.

          A little unfair to choose Nagel in that he isn’t representative of philosophers of mind, most of whom are monadic physicalists. Certainly the reviews of Mind and Cosmos were not favourable. But there again, this is a field where one gets all sorts of oddballs, look no further than Roger Penrose for example.

          So. yeah, I think philosophy can maybe ask questions, but I think it’s pretty well neutered from giving answers until it becomes science.

          As I have said a number of times, what philosophers can do (sometimes) is eliminate bad answers. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, this is all scientists do too. After all their theories are not true, they are simply the best explanations we have at the moment.

        • Adrian

          Hey now, at least alchemists stumbled upon something useful every now and then while playing with chemicals, even if their framework was complete bunk.

    • Greg G.

      I have presented the Problem of Suffering to show that if there is an omnipotent being (using the weakest definition of omnipotence even) then all suffering is unnecessary and allowing unnecessary suffering is not compatible with there being an omnibenevolent being so there can be no being that is both. It is amazing how many times a believer can present the same argument against it after their argument has been shown to not work.

  • Pofarmer

    OT. I went to a Catholic Mass last night for the 8th grade graduation of my youngest son. Even when I was nominally Christian I said that the Mass was all pomp and no substance. This was the first one I’d been to in probably 2 years. I’d forgotten how much superstition and magical thinking is involved in one. You’ve got priests blessing other priests and deacons before they do a reading. You’ve got the priest essentially doing an conjuring over the wine and crackers. And yet, here you have, essentially a magic show – where nothing happens. Nothing at all. Everything that happens is in the head of the crowd. The ridiculousness of the whole spectacle was really poignant.

    • Pofarmer

      More OT. The Homily was on picking friends wisely. Picking friends who support your faith, etc. Stay away from those unbelievers. And about how the Love of God means that we will automatically love others. Hell, the “love of God” has been one of the major obstacles in my marriage. The “Love of God” leads people to denigrate gays, etc. The “Love of God” leads people to fly airplanes into buildings, etc, etc. I was just thinking, what a bunch of superficial bullshit.

      • Otto

        So wait…he said the love of God will help you automatically love everyone, but don’t actually be friends with everyone…did he really mix those 2 in the same message?

        Wow…

        • Greg G.

          Faith is fragile.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s more brittle, I think.

        • Michael Neville

          You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…or something like that.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty much, yep. I was wondering if my wife or anyone noticed my Spock eyebrow.

        • Otto

          I can’t believe no one else picks up on that…I noticed stuff like that when I was 12

        • Greg G.

          Occasionally, I would have to work in tandem with a guy who would pick up on things like that and made me realize I was oblivious to such things. I learned to pick up on some things but I can’t help wonder how much else I am missing.

        • Pofarmer

          Most people, I would guess, are struck by the authority of the priest. How could he say anything dumb? He gets his inspiration from GAWD!?

        • Otto

          I remember when the ‘authority of the priest’ spell was broken for me. I was 16 and decided I had had enough of Catholic school, my mother called the ‘cool’ priest over to try and talk me out of it, but I had made up my mind. Later I would then see him in the store I worked at occasionally, I would say hi and he would pretend I didn’t exist, literally would just walk by me. I thought ‘these guys are just as big of assholes as anyone else’.

        • Pofarmer

          One thing that really pissed me off when my oldest was in “Religion class” in 8th grade was the same Priest telling them that the Gospels were “eyewitness” accounts. The Catholic Church acknowledges them as unknown in their own teaching. Then it was “Special Creation” for humans in science class. Screw that. It broke any bond of trust the boys had in the Church to know they’d been lied to, even to the point of a priest taking a much more “conservative” view than the Church even teaches or sanctions. Screw that. We had a lot of talks about theology. Another good discussions was why they skipped over the story of Elisha and the She Bears? Or Numbers 5, Etc, etc, etc. Dishonest fucking douchebags.

        • Otto

          Sometimes I don’t know how you do it…I think my head would explode if I still had to walk constantly in that environment. I say that as a complete compliment.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, if I want to stay Married I don’t currently have a choice. When my 8th grader graduated the two older boys came up for pictures. My oldest said “This place just makes me mad.” I’d like to know what he’s thinking and I’ll ask him sometime. I really think they are wrecking kids. But every system has problems.

        • I think you were watching a defeated man get back at you in the only way he had left.

        • ildi

          Oh, yeah, asshole priest. I was having an existential crisis in college and went to confession and the priest’s “tough love” approach of “quitcher bellyaching you wanker” did not work, and instead generated an a-ha moment… guy really shouldn’t have been ministering to a college campus.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The benefits of having an unimpeachable reputation as the local capo of twisted supernatural mafiosi with rage and jealousy problems.

        • Pofarmer

          I should also note, I feel, one of the last straws for me was a homily by this same priest on “God, is infinitely good.” Any last vestiges of my faith exploded and that was it.

        • Max Doubt

          “So wait…he said the love of God will help you automatically love everyone, but don’t actually be friends with everyone…did he really mix those 2 in the same message?”

          Hey now, some of my best friends are people I hate, some of whom I don’t even know. Love love love. Now leave me alone. I’m watching the Partridge Family on TV solving a love-everyone crisis.

        • epicurus

          I love their old songs. Or should I say the studio musicians who played them.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • Max Doubt

          One of the first songs I knew the lyrics to was Windy. I probably got my first pocket transistor radio about the same time it was a hit or something like that. I’m a pretty dedicated classic rocker, but I still have a fondness for some of that 60s pop stuff.

    • This is supposedly real, and yet nothing happens. A stage magician is admittedly fake, and yet all kinds of cool shit happens.

      I think you went to the wrong show.

      • epicurus

        Where is Cosmo the Magician when you need him, must be over at Tippling Philosopher’s blog.

    • Max Doubt

      “And yet, here you have, essentially a magic show – where nothing happens. Nothing at all. Everything that happens is in the head of the crowd.”

      As a life-long magician, I’ve done magic shows where you can actually hold the rope, hold and touch both pieces after I cut it in half, and examine the rope after I magically reassemble the parts into a whole. Accepting it as true would, of course, be in each individual observer’s head. But the rope? It’s real. And I could do it when I was twelve years old. Take that, Catholics! 🙂

    • Lark62

      Hocus Pocus is a corruption of “Hoc est corpus meum” “this is my body.”

      Mass- the original magic show.

    • Raging Bee

      So…you’re saying present-day magic acts are improvements on Christian rituals…?

  • John MacDonald

    Apologist Michael Coren says suffering and evil aren’t problems for Christian because God promises justice in the next life, not this one.

    • Greg G.

      Coren can’t claim omnibenevolence as a quality of God as part-time benevolence is not omnibenevolence.

      • Doubting Thomas

        Part-time and conditional “omnibenevolence” at that. Appealing to justice is a horrible idea for an apologist.

    • So God is an asshole in this life, it’s no particular, and Christians just have to deal with it? Yeah, I want to sign up for that religion.

      • John MacDonald

        That’s apologetics for you: any answer that is “possible” is good enough to be accepted as a defense (in this case the afterlife as an answer for theodicy). Otherwise, God is guilty of depraved indifference. To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant’s (in this case, God’s) conduct must be ‘so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.

  • That has to be one of the worst “gotcha” arguments around. Anyway most theists agree that the problem of evil is the best argument for atheism. Personally a form of the cosmological argument seems like the best argument for theism, though still it fails in my opinion.

    • True. With so many of these arguments, I discard them as not worthy of anyone’s time, including Christians’. But just to illustrate the conversation as it’s currently ongoing, I wanted to highlight one.

  • epicurus

    I’m just heading out for the day so I won’t spend forever tracking this down but I remember a Joe Rogan podcast (I’m not a regular listener or fan , I just come across it once in a while) where he was talking about Jordan Peterson’s idea’s with a guest who was a martial artist, and the guest mentioned how difficult it was to deal with some crazy ideas because you can obfuscate and go down rabbit holes and never reach any conclusion. But he compared that to martial arts where you can talk all you want but at the end of the day, you have to face the guy on the mat. He said the guys back in the 90’s who practised traditional martial arts with claims of mystical chi powers and moves got rolled up and chocked out by the new mixed martial artists. They can talk all they want and say this or that would have played a role, but ultimately none of that matters when you face the same guy again after you’ve made your excuses and he rolls you up again and chokes you out again, just like he did last time. Your magic powerful chi and exotic ancient moves are all talk when you are in a real fight.

  • Greg G.

    Q: What do Mikel Del Rosario and Candy Smith have in common?
    A: Both think that the analogy of non-omnipotent parents allowing their child to suffer for a painful medical procedure is a good argument for the existence of God.

  • Markus R

    Much depends on your approach to apologetics and your own view of the Bible, i.e., is it God’s inspired word. For myself, the presuppositional approach is the only one that I have found worthwhile and compliant with scripture, itself.

    Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.

    One of the difficulties for some who engage in apologetics is that they begin with an unbiblical view, generally avoiding the truth that we are a fallen race, slaves to sin, and that God is thrice holy and hates sin. We stand as his enemies unless he draws us to Christ.

    • Pofarmer

      I’m sure that all makes sense in your head. Go discuss it with them other guys you disagree with.

    • Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.

      Think about it. Atheists are supposed to consider the Bible an authoritative source?

      And even for Christians, how useful is this argument? God has given us evidence, and we know, just cuz? Bring your grown-up arguments, please.

      One of the difficulties for some who engage in apologetics is that they begin with an unbiblical view, generally avoiding the truth that we are a fallen race, slaves to sin, and that God is thrice holy and hates sin.

      Whatever. This is theology. What you need to give us is arguments and evidence.

    • Zeropoint

      “Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.”

      That would be great, if if were true. Instead, we live in a world where it’s blatantly obvious that no god or group of gods have communicated their existence to us effectively. No religion has managed to grow to more than 50% of the world population, which means that for all gods, including yours, the majority of humanity thinks that particular god doesn’t exist.

      This is one of the many points where the Bible is clearly false.

      • Markus R

        You make several presumptions. Let’s deal with one of them—that evidence of communication would be the degree to which a religion grows (eg, more than 50% of the worlds population. This presumes that mankind is willing to receive the communication. In the same first chapter of Romans let’s look at the entire text…
        Romans 1:18-23 ESV
        For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

        As the Bible otherwise teaches “none seek God”, indeed men prefer the darkness of their sin rather than face the truth that they stand condemned before a holy God. They are blind and deaf to God but their own choosing.

        Yes, God is there and he has spoken.

        • ildi

          “rather than face the truth that they stand condemned before a holy God”

          1/10 – would not worship

        • You make several presumptions.

          It may be you who makes the presumptions. One that leaps to mind is the idea that quoting your holy book gives important evidence for atheists. You do know that most of the commenters here are atheists, right?

          Let’s deal with one of them—that evidence of communication would be the degree to which a religion grows (eg, more than 50% of the worlds population.

          Islam is growing faster than Christianity and is expected to overtake it as the world’s #1 religion in roughly 50 years. Just sayin’.

          This presumes that mankind is willing to receive the communication.

          Why privilege Christianity in this conversation? What about other religions? Shouldn’t we be worried that mankind isn’t giving Scientology or Shintoism or Bahai a fair hearing?

          As the Bible otherwise teaches

          Which means very little. Show us that the Bible comes from God first.

          Yes, God is there and he has spoken.

          That might be, but we certainly don’t have any evidence of it from what you’ve told us.

          Do you have any evidence?

        • Lark62

          Congratulations. You’ve learned how to copy / paste. You must be very proud.

          Most of us have read the bible. We reject it because it is pathetic nonsense. Quoting it at us is pointless.

          I can copy paste too, btw.

          “Faith is believing in that which I know ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

          “So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake. Religion is all bunk.” – Thomas Alva Edison

          Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration–courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.”- H. L. Mencken

          “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.” –Thomas Jefferson

          The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. – Richard Dawkins

        • Max Doubt
        • epicurus

          If none seek God, then that has to include all Christians and Jews, including the Jew who wrote that verse.

        • Damien Priestly

          No, people are willing to receive email, text’s and phone calls, etc. from people they don’t know all the time…and don’t have to translate from Greek, Hebrew of or Aramaic.

          All we are asking is a quick message everybody can hear in the vernacular languages all over the world. Here, instead of epistles to Romans, Thessalonians or Galatians…it would be a ‘Text to the Washingtonians…”…we could all get it on our smartphones!

          Instead of making excuses for something and dancing around the uncomfortably …try questioning if the messenger even exists?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Demonstrate your ‘god’.

          I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.

          And I will *rightly* continue to disbelieve you until you provide evidence.

        • Adrian

          You don’t seem to get that as long as you don’t actually provide solid, testable evidence for the existence of your god, threatening atheists with his wrath is about as effective as threatening us with the wrath of Mister Socko the Sockpuppet…. As for sin, its definition is “whatever pisses off the god(s) I believe in”, so as long as you can’t prove the existence of your god…

    • Otto

      I hate to break this to you but God didn’t write Romans…or anything else for that matter. Sure you can presuppose he did…but one could literally presuppose anything, I have no idea why you think that is compelling.

      • And I’m having a hard time seeing how he thinks “Look! My holy book says that it makes sense!” is compelling.

        • Otto

          The followers of Jim Jones had equal foundation.

    • Lark62

      Your deity (except for the fact it’s make believe) is either a screw up or a liar.

      This planet looks just like a 4.6 billion year old planet with no guiding force would look. Every living thing on it looks just like it would if evolution were true.

      The universe simply does not look like it was created by a petty, warmongering deity obsessed with genitalia. Some members of one species alive for an infinitesimal period of time on one podunk planet in one podunk galaxy in one podunk corner of what may not be the only universe believe in a small, petty deity unaware of anything outside the immediate knowledge of some bronze age shepherds. Um, that isn’t very convincing.

      You might want to learn something about reality before making such claims.

      And for the record, many of us who’ve read the bible wouldn’t worship the cruel, petty, genitalia obsessed deity described in your magic book even if it were real.

    • epeeist

      For myself, the presuppositional approach is the only one that I have found worthwhile and compliant with scripture, itself.

      You know we could be said to take a presuppositional attitude in science. We raise hypotheses which are presupposed to be true, but there the similarity ends. In science we test our hypotheses to destruction. If they fail critical testing we discard them. The opposite is true in your approach to religion, you don’t test and where there is evidence that is contrary to your presuppositions you claim that your scriptures are correct and the evidence false.

    • Ignorant Amos

      And Romans is special and should be respected because?

      • Damien Priestly

        Well instead of ‘Romans:1″… I’m still waiting for big G to provide us with “Americans Chapter 1” !! Or Chinese:1 or Australians:1, etc…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Irish Chapter 1…or as it would’ve been in them times the Greek “Hiverne Chapter 1″… Gael Chapter 1….etc.

    • Max Doubt

      “Much depends on your approach to apologetics and your own view of the Bible,…”

      Apologetics is making excuses for Christian claims that can’t be shown to be true or have been shown to be untrue. Everyone should have the same approach to apologetics; everyone should reject it for the dishonest nonsense that it is.

      “… i.e., is it God’s inspired word.”

      As far as you and I know, there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist outside the imaginations of those who believe they do exist. That inspired word is, as far as you and I can objectively demonstrate, simply a fantasy you’ve created in your own mind.

      “For myself, the presuppositional approach is the only one that I have found worthwhile and compliant with scripture, itself.”

      For yourself? Sure, because you believe something that cannot be objectively supported, and you’re desperate to cling to that in spite of it being unreasonable to believe it.

      “Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly?”

      Uh, duh, because your god has no power outside of your very own imagination, and you are a shitty communicator.

      “He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.”

      If you know French and English, and the fellow you’re speaking to only knows French, and you know he only knows French, and you still try to communicate with him in English, you’re a complete asshole to suggest any lack of understanding is his responsibility. When it comes to communication, your god is more useless than a piece of dog shit.

      “One of the difficulties for some who engage in apologetics is that they begin with an unbiblical view,…”

      Apologetics is making excuses for believing stuff you can’t possibly objectively demonstrate to be true. It is as subjective and individual as anyone’s interpretation of any work of fiction. Everyone who engages in apologetics is as incorrect in their interpretation as anyone else.

      “… generally avoiding the truth that we are a fallen race,…”

      That sounds like you have a severe self esteem problem. You should consider getting professional counseling for that.

      “… slaves to sin,…”

      One of the luxuries of being an atheist is that we don’t sin.

      “… and that God is thrice holy and hates sin.”

      Imagine your god any way you like, but it can’t do anything outside your head. It’s rather silly of you to speak as if your personal fantasy world is relevant to the workings of the universe beyond your own imagination.

      “We stand as his enemies unless he draws us to Christ.”

      Your preaching doesn’t carry any weight here. Remember, there is nothing your god can do that I can’t do, and many things I can do that your god clearly can’t. Yes, in any contest other than making itself appear non-existent, I can kick your god’s ass.

    • epicurus

      Wouldn’t Muslims believe many of these things – fallen race, slaves to sin, Holy God, hates sin, clearly communicated existence, Bible is God’s inspired (but corrupted) word, yet they are not Christians.

      • strawberry

        EDIT: Replied to wrong person. Sorry!

        • epicurus

          No worries, it happens.

    • Raging Bee

      Adopting what you call “the truth” doesn’t make any religious or supernatural claims any more valid than they are. It’s just a form of shutuppery: “We’re all fallen unworthy losers so don’t ever get uppity and question us!”

    • strawberry

      Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.

      The question is more clearly, not clearly enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. Actually not really. The question is not has communicated but does communicate. Also “communicating” doesn’t mean hey look at that tree either.

      • Adrian

        Horseshoes and handgrenades? I suspect you can find nukes that are more precise than the Wooly Babble…

    • eric

      Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans, chapter 1. We are without excuse.

      A statement saying something has been clearly presented does not mean it was actually clearly presented.Moreover it’s not very convincing to tell people who question the veracity of the bible that we know God has communicated his existence clearly because the bible says He did. That’s another ‘difficulty for some who engage in apologetics,’ as you put it. 🙂

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Why hasn’t God communicated his existence more clearly? He has and he states so in Romans…

      There is no God agreeing with any religious text that says they said something to some people who are not any of us. You only add more doubt by pulling the same trick all theistic religions and many fantasy stories explicitly written for entertainment pull. There still is not a God saying any of that is an accurate recording, and if there is an omnipresent immortal God that does this, then we can toss the religious text in the garbage (the text was always unnecessary).

    • TheNuszAbides

      God is thrice holy

      what would be different if he were only twice holy?

      • Markus R

        A great question. It has to do with the ancient Hebrew in which repetition magnifies. “Holy, Holy, Holy” signifies complete and absolute holiness. And therein lies the problem for sinful man. We are enemies of a God whose holiness is complete, total and absolute. He cannot and will not tolerate that which is not holy.

        The good news is that God provided a way to redeem sinners in the gift of the God-Man Jesus Christ, the second person if the Trinity. Christ, the Creator, willingly humbled himself to take on flesh and live in total obedience to the Father and then gave himself as a sacrifice for the sins of any and all who would trust in him. The Holy God poured out is wrath on Christ rather than upon those being saved. And three days later he rose from the grave to prove that it was so. He conquered sin and death. All we must do is repent from our sinful ways and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh dear, I wasn’t expecting a response after you’d completely ignored a-dozen-plus others. my comment was merely par-baked reductio ad absurdum and largely for the indulgence of regulars. but you grasped the opportunity to proselytize with both hands – sure showed me and those pesky on-the-fence lurkers!

          A great question.

          and yet you didn’t engage with it at all. you merely spilled some theological masturbation-juice about the ‘thrice’ shtick, and there’s nothing inherently special about one more ‘pattern of three’ in the panoply of human thought. some of us see the filigree for what it is; some are bent on ‘seeing more’. never fear, i don’t expect anything to penetrate your gloriously silly Presup bubble.

          the ancient Hebrew in which repetition magnifies.

          repetition doesn’t do that in other languages/times?

          willingly humbled himself to take on flesh and live in total obedience to the Father

          so this Trinity-#2-Person could have eschewed humility and decided to disobey Trinity-#1-Person? that might be a fascinating diversion; otherwise the either a) the entire sentence is wankery (not that that’s a low bar compared to other things you seem to think are pertinent to this thread, or to life in general), or b) you ought to edit the implication that the [3!] elements listed entail ~willingly humbling~ oneself (in the context of ‘oneself’ being a Triune thingy … oh no, back to selectively-impenetrable mystery!).

          He conquered sin

          how many years of intense high-falutin’ academia does it take to unpack how that’s supposed to a) make any actual sense, b) be an even remotely falsifiable claim? was ~sin~ territory that he took over? no, wait, sin occupied the territory of our “hearts” and that’s what he took over, yes? awwww, what a mensch! too bad the wording is so sloppily poetic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          … spilled some theological masturbation-juice…

          That’s a cracker…and is nicked for future use.

        • Markus R

          As the Word of God says and you have proven, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

        • I missed the part about how you’ve proved anything about the power of God. Please elaborate.

        • Susan

          As the Word of God says and you have proven

          Got anything less circular?

        • Otto

          Every cult says ‘those who are not in the cult think what we say is folly, but to those of us in the cult we know that our words are powerful’.

          You need something better than the logic of every cult ever…that is weak sauce.

        • Markus R

          That’s not what the Bible says. All truth and wisdom belong to Christ. There is no logic without God. Indeed if you do not believe in the true God yiu have no knowledge or truth.

        • Otto

          >>>”That’s not what the Bible says.”

          You just don’t get it. I don’t care what the Bible says…only the people in the cult care. That is the point.

        • So you dismiss atheist scientists’ work out of hand? I’m surprised that one’s supernatural beliefs are the first thing to check when determining the truth of their statements.

          What about America’s Dear Leader? How do his supernatural beliefs reveal the truth of his statements?

        • Markus R

          I do not dismiss any truth claims out of hand. God owns all truth. Athiest friend upon these truths as much as believers. You depend on them. You got out of bed this morning believing that the laws of physics were still in place. You assumed your feet would touch the floor because of the law of gravity.

          As for the President, I have no idea what you are referring to. God puts all rulers in place, some who bless us and some who are sent in punishment. The fact that they are a ruler does not make them personally truthful or good. All men are sinners and prone to hate God and their neighbor. Our founders at least understood the fact that power is dangerous in the hands of men. Unchecked, it leads to tyranny. Thus they established a government by rule of law, and with power divided amongst the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Did it work? That’s debatable. I personally believe that it failed to do so as is evident by the fact that we are now ruled by an oligarchy.

        • Yes, I’ve become accustomed to how physics works in the everyday world, but what does that have to do with God? Apparently, you think that God is behind these laws, but you must back up this bold claim with evidence.

        • Markus R

          The Bible makes it clear that God has provided sufficient evidence. You merely refuse to believe what is clearly evident.

        • This is theology. I want evidence.

        • Markus R

          You already are surrounded by absolute truth but you deny it. How can you claim any knowledge without absolute truth?

        • You mean the absolute truth that Allah is the only god? Or the absolute truth that it’s Xenu?

          I know of no absolute truth. Defend your claim.

        • epeeist

          The Bible

          is the mythos of a particular Middle Eastern tribe, it has the same relation to truth as any other mythos. Unless you can show otherwise of course.

        • Markus R

          God is the only source of truth. Do you claim to know truth? What is your source of truth?

        • epeeist

          God is the only source of truth.

          Why should I accept this given that you provide no justification for your assertion.

          What is your source of truth?

          What counts as truth is in the domain of philosophers, not religions. The most succinct formulation is that of Tarski:

          ‘S’ iff p

          A statement is true if and only if it corresponds to the facts.

        • Markus R

          So, if I understand what you have said, you basically believe that truth must correspond to facts (reality?). Test how do you judge what is real (facts)?

          There is no need to justify that God is the source of truth when he is the only possible source of truth. It is impossible to know what is true without God. If God is not the source of truth than man’s perception of reality is the only other option. And that is absurd.

        • Michael Neville

          There is no need to justify that God is the source of truth when he is the only possible source of truth.

          You’ve made this nonsensical claim several times and whined at me when I ask for evidence to support this bizarre and absurd assertion. You haven’t even shown your god exists, let alone made the slightest attempt to justify your god being the source of anything other than your bullshit.

          If God is not the source of truth than man’s perception of reality is the only other option.

          Just because you reject this based on your fancies about a figment of your imagination doesn’t make it untrue.

        • epeeist

          So, if I understand what you have said, you basically believe that truth must correspond to facts (reality?).

          Why do theists have to cast everything in terms of belief? As it is the correspondence theory of truth has a long history, going back at least as far as Plato and Aristotle in the West.

          Test how do you judge what is real (facts)?

          Facts says something about our ontologies, now we don’t always get these right (diseases are not caused by demons or miasms, it is not possible to see all the countries of the world from the top of a mountain). In other words they are both provisional and mutable (we claim that the universe is on the order of 13.7 billion years old, the earth 4.5 billion years old, that all organisms have evolved from a common ancestor, while these claims too are provisional the amount of supporting evidence is so large that they are unlikely to be overturned).

          As for testing, let me give you an example. I used to be a sailor, a critical part of which is accurately determining your position. Now it doesn’t matter whether you use a backstaff, a sextant or a compass, whether you shoot sun-sights, moon-sights or star-sights, whether you observe transits or bearings, whether you have a Loran-C receiver or a GPS receiver. All of these are reliable ways of determining one’s position (with varying degrees of accuracy). Further, all of these methods are mutually self-consistent.

          There is no need to justify that God is the source of truth when he is the only possible source of truth.

          One things regulars here are used to me referencing is this article. What you are doing is demanding that when it comes to science and empiricism more generally that we have provide strong justification for our claims, which is fine, why should one accept anything that doesn’t have such justification.

          At the same time you give your beliefs a free pass, you take them as true without any need for justification at all. This is both special pleading and hypocritical.

        • Do these arguments work against other people? Because they’re not working on me.

        • Greg G.

          How does the Bible make it clear that God has provided sufficient evidence? Paul makes the claim in Romans that God has made things so obvious that there is no excuse, but in Acts 17:30, Paul is quoted as saying that God overlooks the times of ignorance as if people do have the excuse of ignorance. How could there have been times of ignorance if God provided sufficient evidence? This is not clear at all. Why do you go around telling people that? Why has your Christians mentors led you to believe that?

          The Bible says everything. If you don’t like one verse, find one you like. You can justify pretty much anything from the Bible by ignoring verses that say the opposite.

        • Markus R

          Great question! In Romans 1, Paul makes it clear that God has made it clear that he exists (and should therefore be thanked and worshipped) but men suppressed the knowledge and became darkened.

          In Acts 17:30 he is speaking to Gentiles who did not game the law or prophets. He asserts that while God left them in darkness (as compared with Israel), he now calls all men to repentence to Christ.

          These don’t say opposite things. You are right—we should not cherry pick verses. We must compare verse with verse, in context. As Jesus himself said, the Old Testament scriptures are about him. Thus we must compare scripture with scripture. And we must not ignore the context of each verse, each chapter, or each book in the Bible. This internal study and interpretation is called hermeneutics. Without a means of understanding the entirety of the scriptures we cannot hope to understand all of the individual verses.

          I hope this helps.

        • Otto

          >>>”As Jesus himself said…”

          You mean other people said Jesus said….

        • Greg G.

          If Jesus said anything worth remembering, it would be worth making up and attributing it to Jesus. (RM Price said that with better words.)

        • Otto

          “Jesus makes a great sock puppet…Christmas is right around the coroner…Mom will love it for Bridge nite!…Dad will go nuts for it when those pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at the door!!!…makes a great stocking stuffer”

        • Markus R

          Both. Said by God, recorded by men.

        • Otto

          Except there is no reason to thing it was said by God…only that other men used him as a sock puppet

        • Markus R

          There is no reasoning at all without God. No truth. No logic. No science. You are quick to reject God’s truth but on what do you base truth?

        • Greg G.

          There is no reasoning at all without God.

          That is nutty. Even birds can reason.

        • Markus R

          Assuming you mean that reason involves thinking in a sensible and logical way, his can you have logic without God’s truth?

        • Otto

          There is logic, there is science, there is reasoning. You have connected none of those to a god, much less your God.

          Presuppositionalism is lazy.

        • Markus R

          We all presuppose. You presuppose you have reason but have no claim of absolute truth. That is nothing but absurdity.

        • Otto

          1) I don’t stack presuppostions like legos to make a world view.
          2) Just because you claim to have absolute truth doesn’t mean you do. You can wank yourself off all you want but until you can demonstrate your claim with evidence you are full of shit. You are a lazy git.

        • Markus R

          So, if I understand yiu are suggesting that truth, in your worldview, requires evidence. Which then you will assess or judge. Your reasoning becomes your own basis for truth. The reasoning if a being, who is the result of a cosmological accident and whose thoughts are no more than chemical reactions, becomes the source of truth?

          How can you even be confident in your senses, which are required to acquire the information that you process? This is absurdity or insanity.

        • epeeist

          And this is where the hypocrisy kicks in. Your post is essentially that of the radical sceptic, effectively claiming that knowledge is not possible.

          And yet you don’t apply that scepticism to the existence of your god. So special pleading as well as rank hypocrisy.

        • Markus R

          I firmly believe that it is possible to have absolute certainty from a Christian works view because my God is the source of all truth. He has revealed some of his truth to mankind such as his existence. All men know that he exists although they suppress that knowledge rather then now the knee to him.

          From any other worldview there is no claim to absolute truth, or even absolutes.

        • Greg G.

          It is possible to be absolutely certain and wrong. The probability of this is immense when the basis of the certainty is indistinguishable from imagination.

        • Michael Neville

          No, I do NOT know that your god or any other gods exist. There’s no evidence to support their existence and therefore I do not believe they exist. So your claim that “All men know that he exists” is wrong.

          Paul says in Romans that everyone already believes in his god. That epistle was Paul trying to sell his new religion to non-believers, so like every other salesman trying to push something that can’t be shown to exist, he made up lies to cover the non-existence of the product. In short, Paul was a conman, just like every other religious salesman.

        • Pofarmer

          I firmly believe that it is possible to have absolute certainty from a Christian works view

          Sure it is, but this in no way indicates if the belief is true or false. We can’t intuitively know if an answer is correct. A pleasing answer that is incorrect is just as good as a pleasing answer that in incorrect. In fact, a pleasing answer that is correct may be deemed to be better than a displeasing answer that is correct.

          From any other worldview there is no claim to absolute truth, or even absolutes.

          You’ve never heard of Buddhists or Muslims, or Jaines, or scientologists or Mormons or…………….

        • epeeist

          I firmly believe that it is possible to have absolute certainty from a
          Christian works view because my God is the source of all truth.

          So you would claim that this is a proper basic belief, that it requires no justification. Let me ask, how do you know it is a proper basic belief?

        • Nuh uh! My god is the source of all truth!

          When you apologize for your error, you can join my church and give money.

        • MR

          One has to be a special kind of idiot to imagine that the presuppositionalist argument would be convincing to anyone. 😛

          If I don’t have to provide evidence, I could presuppose that Vishnu or my penis is the fount of all truth, and who can tell me otherwise with their flawed sense of reality? They just deny the truth they already know.

          You might as well stamp, “I am a gullible idiot” across the forehead over every presuppositionalist.

        • epeeist

          You might as well stamp, “I am a gullible idiot” across the forehead over every presuppositionalist.

          I think a Bertrand Russell quotation is apposite:

          The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts

        • Pofarmer

          I have been looking for that quotation for days.

        • Greg G.

          Evidence helps to eliminate the imaginary. Appeals to the supernatural are to protect one’s imaginary hopes and cherished fears from reality.

        • Greg G.

          There could be a truth without a god thingy. We may not even be able to completely understand it. Pretending there is a god thingy just to relieve uncertainty is absurd and insane. A pretense of certainty is not certainty.

        • Pofarmer

          ,i>So, if I understand yiu are suggesting that truth, in your worldview, requires evidence. Which then you will assess or judge.

          Uhm, no. The whole point of evidence is that it can be independently judged by multiple parties. Otherwise it’s not evidence.

          How can you even be confident in your senses, which are required to
          acquire the information that you process? This is absurdity or insanity.

          Never done philosophy?

        • Otto

          Your lack of reasoning becomes your basis for self-delusion.

        • Michael Neville

          The only people who claim to have “absolute truth” (whatever that is) are religious fanatics and certain politicians. The only immutable truth that I hold is that everything I accept is true is subject to change, including that immutable truth.

        • Absolute truth? Like absolute moral truth? Give us an example. I’ve heard many claims of absolute moral truth, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an example.

        • Michael Neville

          This has got the be the stupidest argument that theists can use. There’s so many rebuttals to it that I’ll limit myself to three:

          1. It’s the logical fallacy called petitio principii, assuming the consequent, presupposition, or begging the question. You cannot assume gods (remember there’s more than the sadistic bully you worship) to show evidence for gods. You have to justify the existence of gods before you can assign attributes to them.

          b. As Greg notes below, even birds can reason. We think with our brains, no imaginary sky pixies are required for us to reason.

          iii. Hitchens’ Razor applies: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Since Markus R provides exactly zero evidence to support his stupid claim, it can be refuted with: “Nope, you’re wrong.”

        • Markus R

          Sigh. You cannot assume knowledge without certainty that you either have all knowledge or have a revelation from God who has all knowiedge. You may not like the argument. But you cannot refute it.

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s your evidence that your imaginary, fictitious, make-believe, non-existent god is the source of anything? You keep making unevidenced assertions without giving the slightest hint of support for what’s obviously utter nonsense. That’s what lets me refute your bullshit.

        • Markus R

          So I am to submit evidence that you then judge. Based on what? That your reason then makes a determination that is is true or false? Are you suggesting that that the truth claims of the eternal almighty God depend upon the certification of Michael Neville, a mortal being?

        • Michael Neville

          You want me to accept “truth claims” about your bogus god based on nothing other than you saying so. You’ve provided zip point shit evidence to support your fanciful idea that your pretend god is the source of reasoning and logic. So why shouldn’t I demand that you justify your dishonest assertion?

          If you want me to accept your ridiculous claim that we get reasoning and logic from a figment of your imagination then you need to provide (and here’s the word that you Christians hate and fear) evidence that your fictitious “God” actually exists. It’s only after you’ve shown to my satisfaction that your god is real that we can discuss whether or not it has the slightest effect on our reasoning.

          So, got any evidence that your make-believe god is actually real?

        • Markus R

          If I proved to your satisfaction that the God of the Christian Bible exists, will you repent of your sins and bow your knee to worship him, Michael?

        • Greg G.

          If I proved to you that it was impossible for a being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent to exist in this universe, would you stop being a theist?

        • Markus R

          I’ll take that as “no”

          I’m all ears. Tell me how God can not be both good and all powerful!

        • Greg is answering your question. Show some patience.

          Answer Greg’s question first. Otherwise, why should he answer yours with a yes or no?

        • Greg G.

          He didn’t ask me a question yet he substituted the answer he would have wanted me to say. But I did ask him a question.

        • I’m wondering if it’s worth holding my breath for a relevant answer from him.

        • Otto

          He is a presuupositionalist…a relevant answer is an impossibility.

        • Greg G.

          No, inhale as much oxygen as you can before they start taxing it.

        • MR

          Related to a separate conversation you’re having elsewhere that doesn’t allow images:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90fe3095c22b4a27dd56b3413d797eede0e2b364aade7e626bb5fe6ef2f7b280.jpg

        • MR

          More Russian phishing attempts on the like on the above comment. Be alert people and please report these things.

        • Greg G.

          You’ll take what as a “no”? You didn’t ask me anything. Besides, I was a believer. I got better.

          You didn’t answer the question. Will you stop being a theist if I can show that those two attributes are impossible to be present in one entity?

        • Markus R

          I’ll take it that you are saying “no” to my prior question.

          My own belief in God is not based upon evidence. I am. Christian because of what God has done in me, not what he has proven to me.

          How it impossible to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent?

        • Are you ever going to give an argument or evidence for your religious position?

        • Greg G.

          How it impossible to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent?

          I didn’t say “it impossible to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent”. My argument is that it is impossible for those two attributes to exist in a single entity, given the existence of this universe.

        • Pofarmer

          given the existence of this universe

          It may or may not be possible, but it certainly doesn’t look like the Universe we inhabit.

        • Greg G.

          It is the existence of something we experience first hand that if an omnipotence permits it to exist, it cannot be honestly called omnibenevolent.

        • You are apparently under the delusion that Christianity and atheism are the only two options.

          First use evidence and argument to dismiss Islam, Scientology, Hinduism, and the other thousand or so active religions, and then we’ll know that it’s either Christanity or atheism.

        • Rudy R

          No theist has proven to an atheist’s satisfaction that the Christian god exists, that’s why atheists do not believe in god(s). What’s your proof?

        • Michael Neville

          If you showed that the Christian god exists then I’d accept that he exists. But according to your propaganda your god is a sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. He kills people just because he can. He orders genocide and sexual slavery. He condones chattel slavery and rape. It would be wrong to worship such a blatantly immoral god. Besides, what’s he going to do if I don’t worship him? Send me to Hell? That just shows his immoral sadism.

        • Markus R

          So you pray be what is written in Romans, Chapter 1:

          18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
          19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
          20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
          21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
          22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
          23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
          24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
          25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

          It’s not evidence that is lacking or would change your mind about anything—you love your in sin and would rather perish in hell than bow your need to God.

          And that is sad, indeed. Hell is not a place you should want to go. Here in your current life you can enjoy your sin, but in sin there will be no pleasure associated with it. I hope and pray that you will repent before your certain death. And you and I do not know when we will die. It could be this very night, so I urge you to reconsider.

        • That hell is part of Christianity is enough to sink any claim that it’s the religion of a just or good god. And the fun part is, there are so many more stupid traits of Christianity just as bad! It’s like an Easter egg hunt.

          Why use Pascal’s Wager when it applies equally to you?

        • Michael Neville

          So your god would punish me eternally because I don’t worship him? That’s just more reason to reject your immoral thug of a god. It doesn’t say much for you that you worship a depraved, obscene villain.

          I do not take well to threats, so save your bluffs about hell for someone who might be concerned. For that matter, save your sermonizing until after you’ve done what I’ve asked you to do, provide evidence that your perverse brute of a god exists outside of your fantasies.

        • Greg G.

          Not evidence that is subjective for Michael Neville or you. Evidence that can be examined by anybody. Not just based on a warm, fuzzy feeling that soothes your natural fear of death or your religiously installed fear of hell.

        • Markus R

          Greg it seems that you are saying that that truth is in the judgement of the individual. Have I understood you correctly?

        • Greg G.

          Absolutely not! We are biological beings with biological means of perceiving reality. We can detect certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.

          We are not built for discerning absolute truth. We are built for survival for reproduction. We assume danger when we hear an unexpected noise, even though it is almost always wrong, it is prudent.

          We can distinguish describable relationships that are always true from those that are usually true. The former we call logic, the latter we call fallacies. Using the logical statements combined with true premises yields true conclusions.

          The hard part is determining the truth of the premises. We can’t get around the solipsism problem and neither can you. We can only evaluate the reality presented to us as well as we can.

        • MR

          Even worse, the solipsism problem makes God even more unlikely. If I can trust my own senses on what’s before me, then how can I trust anything that anyone tells me about God? It’s a whole lot of hot air.

        • Are you new to our planet? Here, we must evaluate claims like yours. You’ve given us no evidence that your argument has any merit. Therefore, we reject it.

          It’s very simple. If you want a better outcome for your religion, give evidence.

        • Why bother refuting your argument? It’s gibberish. You don’t just assume your god into existence.

        • Asking the tough questions, eh? Good for you! But you forgot to ground your supernatural with evidence. Get your own house in order first.

        • Greg G.

          The evidence only tells you that it was written by humans. The rest is imagination.

        • Markus R

          How do you know that you are not imagining this conversation?

        • Greg G.

          Paul was writing to Gentiles in Romans, too. You are trying to make distinctions that are not there. One verse clearly says there is no excuse because the invisible is seen since the beginning of the universe. Acts says there was a time of ignorance. When was that?

          If there was a time of ignorance, then the invisible was not clearly seen.

        • Markus R

          The period is not as important as the type of knowledge. All unbelievers stand without excuse of ignorance of God. whay Paul is speaking to in Acts is knowledge if the means of salvation that God has now provided after a period of ignorance of any means of forgiveness for sins.

          The nation of Israel was not in ignorance—they had the law and the prophets which taught of the Gods holiness and demands for righteousness and even prophesied that they would fail to keep his law. And they also had the clear teaching that righteousness was by faith (see Abraham in the book of Genesis and Habakkuk 2:4).

          The audience in Acts are Greek Gentiles. They were not blessed with what Israel had been given. This they were ignorant of the means of salvation.

          So, all men are without excuse as to the knowledge of God but God graciously put an end to ignorance of righteousness through faith in a savior when the Son became flesh and died for sins.

          By the way, nobody goes to hell because they are ignorant of Jesus Christ. They go to hell for sins against the God they know about (Romans 1). In other words, we are all headed to hell unless we repent of our rebellion and trust in Christ alone for righteousness.

        • Rebellion? Show us that God exists first, and then we can talk about our position with respect to that person.

        • Markus R

          Is God in the dock? Are we to make him defend himself? That’s a rather absurd thought—the pot demanding that the potter justify why he has made the pot as he pleases. Will mortal and weak creatures put their creator on trial?

          When I was an atheist I was like Hitchens—I would never worship the God of the Bible. I saw myself as morally superior to him. Yes, that was arrogant and blasphemous.

          The Bible says we have sufficient evidence. What we must do is turn from our pride and place our trust in Christ, lest we remain in our sins and suffer eternal punishment. And in so turning and trusting we will have forgiveness and life. I hope you do!

        • MR

          When I was an atheist… I saw myself as morally superior to him.

          Then you obviously weren’t an atheist.

        • Michael Neville

          Your god isn’t on trial. Instead we’ve been asking FOR DAYS that you provide evidence that your god exists. Got any evidence that your god is anything more than a figment of your imagination. And remember, we’re atheists, so the Bible has the same authority for us as the Quran, the Vedas and the Book of Mormon do for you.

        • Is there a Potter?? Give us reason to believe so!

          Yes, one verse in your Bible says that you have sufficient evidence. I think your Bible is little more than ancient superstition, so that verse isn’t binding on me. How hard is it for you to understand how to communicate??

          I’m not putting my creator on trial; I’m putting you on trial. You got an argument? It sure doesn’t look like it.

        • Markus R

          Bob, you’ve got all the evidence you need in nature, as the Bible says.

          What basis of truth do you proclaim that disproves God? You’ve reduced truth to your personal judgement based upon your own senses and reasoning. Both of those cannot be trusted. How do you know your reasoning is not flawed? You could be delusional but have no way of knowing it. That’s hardly a source for truth.

        • epeeist

          What basis of truth do you proclaim that disproves God?

          Ah, the classic attempt at an illicit burden shift. It is you making the ontological commitment to the existence of your god, thus it is you who has the burden of demonstrating this entity, something that you have noticeably avoided doing.

          You’ve reduced truth to your personal judgement based upon your own senses and reasoning. Both of those cannot be trusted.

          Are human senses reliable? No, they are not. But what do you base your claim for the existence of your god upon apart from your own “senses and reasoning”?

          As Stephen Law notes in his article going nuclear your strategy is dishonest and eliminates all rational discourse. Further you are almost certainly deploying the nuclear button as a rhetorical device not as something that you actively believe in. As Law notes, if you actually did believe then you would have to accept any claim however ridiculous.

        • MR

          Yours are the words of a delusional cultist.

        • Bob, you’ve got all the evidence you need in nature, as the Bible says.

          Marcus, you’ve got all the evidence you need in nature to see that Allah is the one true god.

          What basis of truth do you proclaim that disproves God?

          I make no such claim.

          You’ve reduced truth to your personal judgement based upon your own senses and reasoning. Both of those cannot be trusted.

          They’re all I’ve got with which to test your ridiculous supernatural claims.

          How do you know your reasoning is not flawed?

          I don’t.

          Are these questions supposed to be stupid, or did they just come out that way?

        • MR

          Both of those cannot be trusted.

          To some degree that’s probably true.

          So how much trust, I wonder, would you put in your preferred system over senses and reasoning in the following scenario.

          I propose crossing a busy highway. You can where a blindfold and earplugs since you claim senses are so untrustworthy. I get to you use my senses, reasoning and personal judgement and can walk down to the crosswalk and press the button and wait for the light to turn green and the traffic to stop before I walk across. Are you game? If you agree, then I might believe that you actually believe your own bullshit.

          Ready? On your mark, get set….

        • Greg G.

          Will mortal and weak creatures put their creator on trial?

          You are touting the Bible so you are accusing God of killing almost everyone in the world, killing people to make points, sending plagues to kill others without doing anything to the person who made God mad, etc.

          We don’t accuse God of anything nor even not answering prayers as promised because we donxhas any reason to believe the stories written by people who didn’t know where the sun went at night.

        • Markus R

          Greg, you’ve revealed that it is not the issue of evidence. You hate God and place yourself as his moral judge. I did the same at one point in my life.

        • MR

          To everyone who is struggling right now with your faith, ask yourself if this rings true. Is that what you’re going through? Hate of God? For those of you with family members who are struggling with their faith, can you imagine accusing them of hating God. What better way to drive them even further away! Take a long hard look at the statement this man has made. This is the kind of tactic a cult would use. It’s easy to demonize the evil atheist, but many of us, probably most of us have struggled with our belief in God and certainly know loved ones who have struggled, and we know that it has nothing whatsoever to do with hating God.

          Rather than address the heart of the matter, this man would rather demonize you and belittle your struggle. Could God possibly be behind such tactics?

        • Greg G.

          No, I don’t. I hate Santa Claus. Christmas, 1966. He knows why.

          See how lame that argument is? Why do Christians like that lie? I don’t even hate Darth Vader, the Emperor, or Sauron of Lord of the Rings… because they are imaginary.

        • Otto

          How many potters blame the pot for how it was made?

        • Greg G.

          It is not absurd for the pot to wonder why the potter punishes the pot for how it is made. The absurdity is the potter administering punishment to the pots.

        • Otto

          Name one truth I depend on that is specific to the Christian God.

        • Markus R

          Without God you cannot claim any truth. What is your source of truth?

        • Otto

          Nice ad hoc argument…bunch of cult blather.

        • Greg G.

          You cannot claim any truth with God because you have no evidence. Circular arguments don’t work.

        • God is the source of truth … just cuz? Give us some actual evidence for your nutty supernatural claims.

        • Michael Neville

          God owns all truth.

          Presuppositionalist arguments depend on the logical fallacy known as petitio principii, assuming the consequent, or begging the question. You can’t posit gods (remember there’s more gods than the sadistic tyrant you like) as evidence for gods. You have to show that gods exist before you can assign attributes to them.

        • Greg G.

          There’s your problem. You swallowed religion hook, line, and sinker.

        • Markus R

          Not religion. Truth, peace with God, and eternal life.

        • Greg G.

          Great! You have a ways to go with the truth. Congratulations for finding peace with your imaginary friend. So far, so good with the eternal life.

          Don’t bother trying to bottle whatever you are taking for eternal life. The FDA testing takes forever.

        • Michael Neville

          There is no logic without God.

          This is pure nonsense, or as the ancients would say, utter bullshit.

          Philosophical logic was invented independently by the Greeks, the Chinese and the Sanskriti Indians. While the three systems of logic are similar, they are not identical, but all are valid. The Greek system, called Aristotelian logic, is based on three laws. These aren’t scientific laws like the laws of thermodynamics but rather axioms, statements which are assumed to be true but aren’t proven. The laws are: (1) the law of identity, A equals A; (b) the law of non-contradiction (confusingly also called the law of contradiction), A does not equal not-A; and (iii) the law of the excluded middle, either A or not-A. Now show how any supernatural critter would be required for some very smart people to base logic on these axioms.

        • He cannot and will not tolerate that which is not holy.

          And yet as Jesus, he hung around with sinners. Weird.

        • Greg G.

          And tax collectors.

        • Markus R

          Not weird. Amazing love on display—he humbled himself to live a perfect life and die a horrible death for sinners. He never approved if sin but told those sinners, “go and sin no more.”

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s your evidence that this “Jesus” ever existed? Remember that we’re atheists so the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible isn’t evidence.

        • That’s a long-winded way of saying, “Yes, you’re right.” Please be more succinct next time.

      • Otto

        Thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out.

  • George Johnson

    May I tell a true story? A few years ago I was called to the ER in a small, midwestern town. The team was trying to revive a little toddler and needed an IV started. When I got to the ER I saw this blue child, with a crease across his chest. As I worked frantically to get IV access I inquired what had happened. The EMT’s said he was pulling himself up (learning to walk) holding onto an open bottom drawer of a dresser that tipped over on him, trapping him and ultimately suffocating him by pressing on his chest. We failed to reverse the situation and it was my duty to go out to the waiting room and tell the hysterical mother that we’d failed. “But I only left him for a minute. We’d had a yard sale and I was cleaning up”

    Those who believe in an omnipresent, omnibenevolent God who loves us, have to imagine Him sitting there in that room calmly watching the toddler suffocate. It would have been so easy to just lift the dresser an inch or two, or if He couldn’t be bothered with that, to send a telepathic message to Mom: “Hey! Check your Baby!” Nope. That day God was just an observer. If a human did that he could well be sent to jail. I could also tell you the story of two little girls who, while paying hide-n-seek accidently got trapped in an unused chest freezer in the basement and suffocated, while their mother was upstairs. One also has to presume that this God sat there in the Mandalay Bay Hotel observing Paddock kill 58 and wound hundreds of others.

    Evil may or may not disprove the existence of God. How the apologists love to debate! But for this physician, I’d rather believe in no God at all rather than such an indifferent, uncaring, cruel God.

    • Greg G.

      But if you had managed to revive the child, God would have received credit for a miracle.

      • John MacDonald

        God is to thank for everything good, but never to blame for anything bad, lol

        • Pofarmer

          Which is the root of a shit load of self esteem problems IMHO.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i gather that the run-of-the-mill theist ego might be incredibly slippery, tangled up in all that Ineffably Holy bafflegab.

    • Doubting Thomas

      We can know for certain that an omnipresent loving being doesn’t exist because we know what a loving being would do in those circumstances you described. Everything else is hand waving.

    • epicurus
    • rationalobservations?

      Epicurus nailed it 300 years before the time in which the fictional legends of a god-man named “Jesus” (who gave up a weekend to save mankind from invented “sin” – but failed to do so) are set.

      Thank goodness there are no barbaric gods and humanity has recently discovered that the antidote to the poison of religion is education and peaceful secular democracy.

      http://www.logicandlight.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Epicurus.jpg

      • Greg G.

        Jesus died to save livestock.

        • rationalobservations?

          “Died”??
          According to the “Jesus” legends he only took time out for a weekend.
          Have you told the xtian religionists about this?
          Their whole religion is based upon the fantasy of zombie Jeebus rising from the dead after a weekend off.
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHD-FaKUwAAhH7S.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Borgia legend doesn’t pan out apparently.

          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jesus-modeled-on-borgia/

        • rationalobservations?

          Even the page you link to includes an image of Cesare:
          https://us-east-1.tchyn.io/snopes-production/uploads/2017/01/cesar-borgia-jesus.jpg?w=491
          The oldest image of an unnamed “messiah” is not so flattering as the later images based upon Cesare.
          https://churchpop.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/41.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…but ya have to read the text for context.

          That image claimed to be that of Borgia has a dubious provenance. And the concept of a light skinned, brown haired and bearded westerner as Jesus, predates Borgia’s life.

          Common images of Jesus today are of a fairer haired and bearded man…who is not Borgia.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_of_Christ#/media/File:The_Head_of_Christ_by_Warner_Sallman_1941.jpg

          The NWE wiki of suspect reliability claims…

          A little known fact about Cesare Borgia is that, according to the French writer Alexandre Dumas and others, his handsome appearance seems to have influenced many images of Jesus Christ painted during and subsequent to his career.

          But this is an unsubstantiated assertion.

          About NWE… http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/New_World_Encyclopedia

          Regulars here will tell you that I’m not a big fan of Tim O’Neill, but on this occasion, his point is well made.

          https://www.quora.com/Is-the-popular-image-of-Jesus-really-Cesare-Borgia

          Believe whatever you want about the origins of the western looking Jesus in popular art, but I’d be a wee bit careful about the online rumor factor…just saying.

        • rationalobservations?

          There is much possibility in what you write – but as with the possible existence of a man named “Jesus” – no empirical original, 1st century originated historical evidence of any kind exists.

          Even the business of the 4th century originated Roman religion they called “christianity” agrees that no evidence of the existence (and centuries later written legends) of “Jesus” exists.

          “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

          The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

          “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

          This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

          In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

          I think that all should take your advice regarding rumour factories – especially those of the self serving and fraudulent businesses of religion.

          Edit:
          PS. You do know that all the wiki pages are written and edited by members of the public and much garbage is written there don’t you?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well I’m a mythicist of sorts, though I think we can go back to before the fourth century for evidence that there were religious cults that can claim to be Christian.

          The earliest bits of NT texts are pre-fourth century. And the mention of Christians appears in other texts.

          With regards to wiki pages, responsible versions have tightened up just who can amend and cite. That said, it is incumbent upon anyone citing on wiki to provide references of support, and anyone using wiki as a first stop source, should be checking what is being cited in the bibliography. Like any other source, wiki is subject to abuse…so yes, care should be taken when using it as a source. The point with the NWE wiki is that it is biased and demonstrably dodgy at its foundation.

          While the use of wiki pages are permitted in scholarly writing as source material, universities do warn of the pitfalls that can occur in doing so, so yes, I am aware that citing a wiki can be problematic, that’s why he NWE is mentioned in the Snopes article.

        • rationalobservations?

          I am very familiar with the mythology, legends and propaganda you recycle, Amos.

          There is evidence of several “messiah” claimants between Circa 6 BCE and Circa 140 CE – but there is no trace of “Jesus” among them. Simon “Christ” (Simon ben Kochbah was acclaimed as being the messiah in Rabbinical circles and the authorities of Northern Judea struck many coins in that messiah/christ’s honour. No such evidence of “Jesus” has ever been discovered.
          There is evidence of several messianic cults (including the many thousand strong cult following for Simon “christ”) but again there is no trace of a messianic cult following the legendary “Jesus” who left no historical evidence at all.
          There are several tiny scraps and fragments that are claimed to start appearing in the 2nd century, but: any legend that appears for the first time over 100 years after the time in which the legend is set is not evidence of the historicity of that legend, and the earliest claimed fragment of papyrus is known as papyrus P52 or the “St John fragment” It is a semi literate scrawl on a scrap of papyrus no bigger than a beer mat that is the subject of scientific controversy concerning its date and place of origin, but it has been dated by some forensics as originating no earlier that the 3rd century and possibly closer to the time in the 4th century to which the oldest bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) originate.

          You are correct that wiki has been made less accessible for wacko’s religionist fanatics and other dishonest folk. It is most noticeable that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus” to be found in wiki or any where else.
          Here is just one of the many “Jesus” evidence hoaxes revealed by Snopes. None have ever been validated and no evidence of “Jesus” has ever been confirmed.

          Here is an image of one of the many Simon Christ coins that shows Simon outside the temple with the messianic star overhead:
          http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am very familiar with the mythology, legends and propaganda you recycle, Amos.

          Hmmm, is your thesis of yours supported by any scholarship, I’d be interested to follow it up with some reading material from a scholarly source? Or is it a pet theory of your own?

          There is evidence of several “messiah” claimants between Circa 6 BCE and Circa 140 CE – but there is no trace of “Jesus” among them. Simon “Christ” (Simon ben Kochbah was acclaimed as being the messiah in Rabbinical circles and the authorities of Northern Judea struck many coins in that messiah/christ’s honour. No such evidence of “Jesus” has ever been discovered.

          Yeah I know.

          There is evidence of several messianic cults (including the many thousand strong cult following for Simon “christ”) but again there is no trace of a messianic cult following the legendary “Jesus” who left no historical evidence at all.

          Well some might say the Christian House Church from the mid third century at Dura-Europos would count as evidence.

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

          The 2nd century Christian catacombs in Rome might be another.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catacombs_of_Rome#Christian_catacombs

          There are several tiny scraps and fragments that are claimed to start appearing in the 2nd century, but: any legend that appears for the first time over 100 years after the time in which the legend is set is not evidence of the historicity of that legend,…

          Of course not, but it is evidence that someone knew of the legend…before the 4th century.

          …and the earliest claimed fragment of papyrus is known as papyrus P52 or the “St John fragment” It is a semi literate scrawl on a scrap of papyrus no bigger than a beer mat that is the subject of scientific controversy concerning its date and place of origin, but it has been dated by some forensics as originating no earlier that the 3rd century and possibly closer to the time in the 4th century to which the oldest bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) originate.

          I’m reasonably au fait with Rylands P52…it’s more of a credit card size, than beer mat. There are certain things experts can extrapolate from the piece that lets them know that it is from the Gospel According to John, which we know is a Christian document.

          Brent Nongbri is the guy that warns about the dating. Now while I cite him against holy rollers who insist it is an early manuscript…circa 125 CE, he can also be cited against those that insist it is much later. The point is, the date range is not as exact as either would like. And I don’t think Nongbri stretches to a 4th century dating.

          What emerges from this survey is nothing surprising to papyrologists: paleography is not the most effective method for dating texts, particularly those written in a literary hand. Roberts himself noted this point in his edition of p52. 50 The real problem is thus in the way scholars of the New Testament have used and abused papyrological evidence. I have not radically revised Roberts’s work. I have not provided any third-century documentary papyri that are absolute “dead ringers”for the handwriting of p52, and even if I had done so, that would not force us to date p52 at some exact point in the third century. Paleographic evidence does notwork that way.
          What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. Thus, p52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century. Only a papyrus containing an explicit date or one found in a clear archaeological stratigraphic context could do the work scholars want p52 to do. As it stands now, the papyrological evidence should take a second place to other forms of evidence in addressing debates about the dating of the Fourth Gospel.

          http://www.academia.edu/436092/The_Use_and_Abuse_of_P52_Papyrological_Pitfalls_in_the_Dating_of_the_Fourth_Gospel

          Even if p52 can get pushed back to the 4th century, that just means that the next early mss needs pushed back, then the next, then the next. There is quite a bit of work there.

          I’m not aware of any other “forensic” work that is applicable.

          Second century Christian patriarchs seem to be talking about this Jesus fellow in their writings. Is it your assertion that these are later texts?

          I’d like your thesis to be on point…but I can’t see how it can be.

        • rationalobservations?

          I point to the fact that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and you respond with evidence of a ruined 3rd century house and the catacombs of Rome that contain not one single 1st century originated reference to Jesus.

          You observe that someone knew the prototype for later Jesus legends before the oldest / first bibles were written in the 4th century. Well done for overstating the obvious while ignoring the fact that those legends are not founded in any single item of 1st century originated historical evidence.

          You debate the date of origin of P52 but fail to recognise that P52 has no significance as evidence of the existence of “Jesus” or any of the much later written, endlessly rewritten, amended, exaggerated, added to and deleted from legends of “Jesus”.

          You claim that: “Second century Christian patriarchs seem to be talking about this Jesus fellow in their writings.”
          Where are these authenticated 2nd century originated texts you reference conserved and available for examination and study?

          You fail to reveal the nature and location of any bibles that significantly predate Codex Sinaiticus, or make any attempt to explain the thousands of differences and discrepancies between Siniaticus and later versions of bibles.

          Your diatribe of denial fails for lack of a single item of actual evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I point to the fact that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and you respond with evidence of a ruined 3rd century house and the catacombs of Rome that contain not one single 1st century originated reference to Jesus.

          Don’t give me rise to doubt your sincerity in this discussion. You are asserting that Christianity was a 4th century Roman invention. You said as much here…

          Even the business of the 4th century originated Roman religion they called “christianity” agrees that no evidence of the existence (and centuries later written legends) of “Jesus” exists.

          I’m fully on board with the idea that there is nothing 1st century original that shows conclusively that a guy called Jesus around whom the legend in the NT was created. I’m a mythicist of the Docherty/Carrier bent. So we can dispense with that straw man straight away.

          You observe that someone knew the prototype for later Jesus legends before the oldest / first bibles were written in the 4th century. Well done for overstating the obvious while ignoring the fact that those legends are not founded in any single item of 1st century originated historical evidence.

          Yeah…but are there any references anywhere that cite the central figure pre-fourth century, that is the question. That’s my issue. If you knew my recycling of “mythology, legend and propaganda” as well as you claim, then you’d be well informed to the fact of my position on this…hint: it’s not the gospels narrative of a first century itinerant rabbi making a nuisance of himself. But it’s also not the 4th century Roman invention Joseph Atwill type conspiracy nonsense either. You don’t get to airbrush out the intervening other three centuries of evidence. Such that it is.

          You debate the date of origin of P52 but fail to recognise that P52 has no significance as evidence of the existence of “Jesus” or any of the much later written, endlessly rewritten, amended, exaggerated, added to and deleted from legends of “Jesus”.

          Not me. People far more qualified than I, and I suspect you too. I didn’t bring p52 into the conversation, you did, but let’s not pretend it is of no relevance whatsoever, when it obviously is. There is a reason why p52 has relevance. Scholars didn’t come across a tiny wee bit of papyrus of a codex in nature and just pluck where it came from out of fresh air. The text was recognized as coming from gJohn and experts were able to extrapolate given what is written on both sides that it comes from a particular portion of that gospel. The rest of the gospel can be placed around p52 and we know from complete copies that it is a text about Jesus. The significance is that if p52 is 125-250 CE, then someone was writing about Jesus before the 4th century, and that means that the story wasn’t invented in the 4th century by the Romans…for whatever reason.

          You claim that: “Second century Christian patriarchs seem to be talking about this Jesus fellow in their writings.”
          Where are these authenticated 2nd century originated texts you reference conserved and available for examination and study?

          Again, not me claiming, the scholarship. Is it your contention that the Romans who invented the Jesus yarn, conspired to place him historically 4 centuries earlier, complete with the whole back story of the growing church… complete with all the contradictions and infighting of the diverse faith scholars see in the early church. Not to mention the much greater and extensive Apocrypha writings. Seems a bit extreme and fanciful to me.

          https://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?ArticleId=304&hc_location=ufi

          You fail to reveal the nature and location of any bibles that significantly predate Codex Sinaiticus, or make any attempt to explain the thousands of differences and discrepancies between Siniaticus and later versions of bibles.

          You fail to remember that until the Easter letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 CE, there was no regulation on what scripture should be used as a canon. Various books were used as official scriptures, many of which didn’t make the cut.

          The thousands of differences and discrepancies are irrelevant for this debate. Though if ya want to push it, the thousands of differences and discrepancies would point to a not officially invented canon produced by the Romans overnight sometime in the 4th century. But to an evolving body of texts over time.

          Your diatribe of denial fails for lack of a single item of actual evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          This is not about evidence for the existence of Jesus, it is about when their was a mention of Jesus in the historical record and when it can be dated to. Your claim is that it was invented by the Romans sometime in the 4th century. I’m contesting that as unreasonable.

          What part of me being a mythicist are ya failing to comprehend? You do know what a mythicist is, right?

          Let’s give your thesis some credence for a moment for the sake of argument. Who do you think invented the whole Jesus yarn in the 4th century Roman empire? For what reason? Why didn’t anyone not in on it, not notice, or cry foul?

          Please don’t go down the Atwill route. Even though Atwill doesn’t even think it is a 4th century Roman invention.

          There are depictions of “Jesus” dated pre-4th century.

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

        • rationalobservations?

          “You are asserting that Christianity was a 4th century Roman invention.”
          NO.
          I observe that the politico-corporate institutions and most of the texts, images and artifacts and all of the feast days and festivals of christianity were founded in the 4th century and no formal state religion known as “christianity” appears among the diverse messianic cults that predate the Roman religion they called christianity.

          Straw man burns:
          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-peSuk0b71ug/T_kBTuSu3FI/AAAAAAAAARQ/giZmMh2bQD0/s1600/wicker+man+burning.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          I observe that the politico-corporate institutions and most of the texts, images and artifacts and all of the feast days and festivals of christianity were founded in the 4th century and no formal state religion known as “christianity” appears among the diverse messianic cults that predate the Roman religion they called christianity.

          I don’t think there is anyone here who was arguing that what became the orthodox version of Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century beginning with Galerius and the Edict of Serdica, ending the Diocletian persecution, followed by the pro-Christian Constantine, under the influence of Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius and his mother Helena, resulting in his Edict of Milan.

          I don’t know what you mean by “politico-corporate institutions”, but if you mean state sponsored, then of course. How could it be otherwise. If you mean structured institutions with a hierarchy, then no, the various sects of Christianity got institutionalized earlier than the 4th century Roman state adoption of the religion.

          I see that you have added the caveat of “most” to your claim that I haven’t noticed before.

          There are Christian texts, references to texts, artifacts, and artwork that pre-date the 4th century Roman official adoption of Christianity and the subsequent establishment of the orthodox Church.

          Because texts are not available for inspection, doesn’t mean they didn’t exist, it just means that the content of those texts can’t be verified with certainty. Historians only know of previous texts from their reference in other texts, contemporary or later.

          As for feast days and festivals, as far as I’m aware, prior to the 4th century, the feast days and festivals of the Christians lined up with those of Judaism.

          As for the straw man accusation. I think we are arguing at cross purposes. My gripe isn’t with your assertion that there are no first century texts that refer to a Jesus, and that there were as many Christians in the 2nd and 3rd century who knew of no earthly Jesus in the strictest sense of the definition, as those that came to believe in the historical version believed in today. I’ve read enough literature to know that much already. My concern was with my reading of this comment…

          Even the business of the 4th century originated Roman religion they called “christianity” agrees that no evidence of the existence (and centuries later written legends) of “Jesus” exists.

          Christianity didn’t originate in Rome in the 4th century. Various versions, some already in Rome, some brought in from outside Rome, were pulled together and wrangled over to come to a loose agreement on, while others were to be expunged as heretical.

          Now, I’ve read the comment above a couple of times…something I should have done before jumping in…and I can see that you might have meant that what we understand as defined as the orthodox “christianity” originated as a 4th century Roman religion, because a version of it, “Nicene Christianity”, was adopted as the state religion of the empire in 380 CE. Though Ehrman would disagree to some extent. Then I apologize for my error in reading comprehension. We agree on just about most things, if that being the case.

          Mea culpa.

        • rationalobservations?

          Apology accepted.

          I am glad that you slowly appear to be creeping up upon the actual meaning of my observations as so many jump to assumptions of their own rather than understand and consider the actual points I present.

          I describe the first Roman institutions of what they called “christianity” (a concept based on a Greek interpretation of the Hebrew “messiah”) of which little evidence exists prior to the 3rd century.
          I consider the Roman politico-corporate institutions to be an almost seamless continuation of the Roman empire with an elected but all powerful tyrant “Pope” replacing the previously non-elected all powerful tyrant emperors. I think that emperors would have been very envious of the power of (emperor of the world – king maker) Popes as they were very limited by comparison.

          If you know of any of the Hebrew messianic cults that called themselves “christian” I would be interested in knowing upon what actual tangible evidence you base that?
          I know that any reference to a messiah or “christos/christus” is claimed to be “Jesus” but while historical references to several “messiahs” can be found from between Circa 6BCE and Circa 140 CE – “Jesus” (or any likely real Hebrew name from which that Greek based word may have been based) is absent from all historical evidence.

          You join all others in being unable to name any significant tangible and extant evidence that predates the 4th century although I can present tangible evidence of the existence of an early 2nd century “messiah” named Simon ben Kochbah. Simon Christ was hailed as the messiah in Rabbinical circles and left many coins struck by the Northern Judea Hebrew officials.

          It appears that even the Roman politico-corporate institution founded in the 4th century agree that there is no evidence of “Jesus” or the content of any of thediverse and significantly different bibles that started to appear only after the foundation of Roman “christianity”:

          “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

          The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

          “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

          This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

          In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

          Best regards to you and yours.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Mea culpa.

          bigger than ro? is ever likely to get and more than his martyrrific posturing deserves IMO; he makes a fuss about accepting your apology, throws in a last dig about “you join all others in being unable …” (never mind it isn’t what you were attempting in the first place) and never acknowledges straw-manning your position (or misapprehending anything anywhere, that i’ve noticed) multiple times.

  • Ficino

    I am often guilty of off-topic posts, but this is actually on topic. Thanks to Pofarmer for telling me of the existence of Estranged Notions.
    This is by a poster called Josh. I wonder if he’s the same chap as the one of that name who used to post on Ex-Christian.net

    “And Lo! I beheld amidst the four paperweights on God’s desk a sign, and written on it were words of flame which said ‘The Buck Stops Over There’. ”

    Love it

    http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/2018/02/estranged-notions-why-does-god-allow.html#disqus_thread

  • Brian Curtis

    His argument seems to be “Just keep believing and praying, and God will get around to showing some of his benevolence and righteousness… someday.” I’m reminded of Jesus’ promise to his followers that he’d “be right back, honest.” And then disappearing for 2000 years and counting.

    If there’s a difference between infinite patience and simple gullibility, I haven’t spotted it yet.

  • eric

    Where are they? In theological books, written in English, in the 20th and 21st century. Because it makes so much sense theologically for God to do it that way. If YOU were an all-loving onmipotent being who wanted to lead every human being in history to salvation, isn’t that where you’d put your convincing arguments? 🙂

  • steve baughman

    I am astonished at the cultural chauvinism of Christian apologists. They really think that everybody everywhere should have the same spiritual concerns that they do. If a Tibetan yak herder doesn’t give a shit about Jesus, it’s because he loves his sinful ways, “refuses to bend the knee”, etc.

    I know of no other intellectual field where genuine disagreement is systematically dismissed as bad faith.

    • Max Doubt

      “I know of no other intellectual field where genuine disagreement is systematically dismissed as bad faith.”

      It goes further than that. The process of defending claims that gods exist can’t reasonably be called an intellectual field. On the contrary, god belief and the mental processes involved in holding those beliefs are inherently dishonest and anti-intellectual. Sure it’s hypocritical for believers to dismiss others’ disagreement as bad faith, but they are essentially correct on that point. All faith is bad faith.

  • Adrian

    The second is the deep and convoluted “No, I can’t make this any simpler” philosophical argument.

    Don’t you mean the “I realized that I can’t dazzle my opponents with genuine brilliance, so I’ll try to baffle them with bullshit in the hope that they’ll be so confused by my nonsense that they’ll decide that I must be way smarter than them” argument? 😛

    • Well, yeah, there’s that, too. I try to give Christian apologists the benefit of the doubt, but at some point, you do need to draw the line.

  • ColdFusion8

    The very need for apologetics is a big check mark against religion.

    • Good point. We don’t need apologetics to argue that the sun exists or that telephones work.

      • Instead you spend all your time blogging about the flying spaghetti monster… clever…

        • Greg G.

          The FSM has the same evidence as any other god. Pointing out that fact is a reductio ad absurdum argument.

        • Phil

          So you think that by showing Christianity is absurd it invalidates the argument for the FSM? I will not stand for it!

        • Greg G.

          I repent! I will chastise myself with extra crushed red pepper on my fettuccine.

        • So you’re throwing in the towel on showing that there’s good reason to believe the Christian claims?

        • BlackMamba44
        • Ignorant Amos

          Liars gonna lie….and baby Jesus cries buckets.

          Or maybe SS is threatened by the FSM…probably because he can’t tell satire from the real thing.

        • Phil

          I had great respect for you until this post. The FSM is not satire, he’s real and have the sauce stains to prove it. I also have his bible and it speaks the truth. And I get Fridays off cos it is Pasta Day.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course it’s satire…it is Space Ponies all the way up…show me the evidence they don’t exist.

          How can you be so sure those stains are genuine FSM pious stains? Perhaps they could be a different variety of divine pasta dripping sauce? The followers of the Flying Tagliatelle Monster would argue thus.

          Doesn’t all believers in pasta type gods get Friday off? That’s not veracity of your faves existence.

          Whatabout…

          The Flying Rigatoni Monster

          The Flying Macaroni Monster

          The Flying Ravioli Monster

          The Flying Tortellini Monster

          On, and on, and on, ad nauseam all nonsense…when ya realize the reason you don’t accept those other varieties of pasta deity, then you’ll know why I don’t accept your particular variety of pasta deity nonsense.

        • Greg G.

          So, you’re saying there’s a chance that The Flying Ravioli Monster is real…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah ha…a see what yer trying to do there.

          I’m not saying anything. There might be others that make that claim, or that it isn’t real…it’s up to both sides to demonstrate with evidence, their positions veracity…TSA says so.

        • epeeist

          Sigh, this is one we have been through before too.

          The only true god is that of the free-floating, sentient gas-bags who reside on an unnamed planet in IOK-1. They have been around a lot longer than us and they know that their god is real and hence that all other gods are simply imaginary.

        • epicurus

          How about a flying pierogi monster that could inspire long intense debate over what kind of filling- cheese, cabbage, or meat, or all 3 in perfect union.

        • Are you talking about the Perfect Reuben sandwich? I’ve heard about it, but I always thought it was legend. The claims about its tastiness were just too good to believe …

        • epicurus

          That’s a Satan inspired deception

        • Greg G.

          The secret is the Thousand Thirteen Island Dressing. Thousand Twelve Island and Thousand Fourteen Island would be imperfect.

        • epicurus

          EDIT: Pierogi

        • Greg G.

          As long as she wears a sour cream hat.

  • Hello Bob,
    How are you? Good I personally hope. Can you sum this up for me, answering each number question with simplicity, in short answer form if possible?

    1. What is evil?

    2. Where does evil come from?

    3. Is evil a thought, action, or both?

    Thanks for answering…

    • No, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to answer this to satisfy you. But if you’re trying to make a point, perhaps you should just make it.

      • Bob, these questions have eluded you? Let’s try just one question…

        Have you ever thought of evil?

        Since you won’t answer, Jesus said that you have, and that your “conscience” informs you of this… Your conscience is what separates you from animals, the hyenas and lions dont hold court. Or can you walk around naked in public without feeling shame?

        • Phil

          I have on the beach

        • google – “nebuchadnezzar artifacts”, the scriptures don’t speak of things that never happened… over 30 witnesses agree.

          Nazareth is a real place
          https://goo.gl/maps/f7xrajcXmpt

        • Ignorant Amos

          London is a real place…ergo Sherlock Holmes?

          Nottingham Forest is a real place…ergo Robin Hood?

          The South Pacific islands are a real place…ergo John Frum?

          Cumorah Hill, Manchester, New York, U.S.A., is a real place…ergo the angel Moroni?

          See a flaw in your logic yet?

        • Greg G.

          New York City > Spiderman

          Kansas > Superman

          Springfield, Illinois > Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Killer

        • Wow… highly unrighteous. denying world history doesn’t do you any good.

        • Greg G.

          You believe in Spiderman, Superman, and that Abe Lincoln killed vampires, too?

          The gospels are literary creations compiled from other literary works to create literary fiction. The early epistles do not support an itinerant teacher/preacher from Nazareth. They only support that the authors thought Jesus was from the past as recorded as a hidden mystery in centuries old scriptures.

        • Michael Neville

          It is not “unrighteous” to say that your “world history” is fake when there’s no evidence to support it being real and genuine reason to believe it’s a hoax. Stop whining that people point out your nonsense as being nonsense.

        • “nebuchadnezzar artifacts”, is that fake?
          Red sea chariot wheels, is that fake?

        • Philmonomer

          So I googled “red sea chariot wheels.” That appears to be fake.

        • what exactly in the appearance seemed fake?

          And

          What appeared?

        • Philmonomer

          All the websites that say it is a fake.

        • Philmonomer
        • Ignorant Amos

          I see ya don’t do links that people go to the effort to supply…

          Were Chariot Wheels Found at the Bottom of the Red Sea?

          Claims that archaeologists discovered Pharaoh’s chariot and the bones of horses and men under the Red Sea stemmed from fake news.

          World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.

          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/chariot-wheels-found-bottom-red-sea/

        • Philmonomer

          I’m not sure if 1) you are intentionally trolling or 2) you are incapable of separating reality from fiction. However, it doesn’t matter. In either case, replying to you is useless.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “nebuchadnezzar artifacts”, is that fake?

          Whaaa? Your point that there was a King of Babylon and he was mentioned in the buybull, gives veracity to a yarn? Wise ta fuck up.

          Red sea chariot wheels, is that fake?

          Absolutely.

        • did you see the chariot wheels?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh fer fucks sake…go take your asinine head for a shite…you are too much a dumb-ass for words.

        • Greg G.

          Get your head out of the scriptures and Christian websites. The story is fake. You should be embarrassed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No one did…it’s a hoax ya moron.

          From a Christian blog…

          Wing Nut Daily recently featured a brand new article about a very old hoax, centered on the claim that chariot wheels have been found in the Red Sea. That anyone could see the photos of relatively new and shiny metal wheels and not be skeptical astonishes me. That anyone could simply take the word of a sensationalist news source that these objects are solid gold (and hence not covered by coral) and that no one has found and removed them suggests that some people have yet to learn the difference between faith and gullibility.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2012/06/chariot-wheels-in-the-red-sea-hoax-persists.html

        • Greg G.

          Step away from the incestuous Christian websites and dig a little deeper for truth. It is a hoax that gullible Christians fell for.

          Admit that you are a gullible Christian who fell for it and apologize for mentioning it.

          Then spend your time correcting the gullible Christians for making you look so gullible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It flabbergasts me that there are folk dumb enough to believe such nonsense.

          Someone has discovered gold chariot frames at the bottom of the Red Sea, took some photos, then just left them there…like that’s what would happen. Jews and Christians alike, not to mention the Egyptians, would be climbing over themselves to recover these artifacts. No expense would be spared to get these priceless museum pieces back to the world. It would have made world news everywhere. Yet there was nothing, nadda, zilch, zip point shit all, zero.

          This didn’t happen and buck eejits like ScriptureSearch.info doesn’t show the least bit concerned…the wheels are down there…the imbecility is fascinating.

        • Greg G.

          “nebuchadnezzar artifacts”, is that fake?

          No, but does Abraham Lincoln photographs mean the Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer movie was a documentary? Nebuchadnezzar artifacts support that Nebuchadnezzar was real but not that everything written about him is true.

          Red sea chariot wheels, is that fake?

          ABSOLUTELY FAKE! HA HA HA!

        • So your name isn’t just a joke?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah yes…the more knuckle-dragging Christians don’t take long to fall into the trap.

          At least that’ll entertain the regulars ya imbecilic moron…one might even explain the joke…if your lucky. I don’t think you have the intelligence yourself in order to work it out and I can’t be arsed.

        • BlackMamba44

          Bwahahahaha! I gotta hand it to you. You picked the perfect name. 🙂 I get a good laugh every time a Christian brings it up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hook, line, and sinker….the more asinine, the earlier the Coco’s dive in and take the bait.

        • Phil

          Honestly I have no idea what you are talking about or why.

        • Phil

          I have totally lost this thread. How did we get from the notion of evil to the concept of a conscience to nebuchadnezzar? Must be Thursday, I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All over the place like a mad woman’s shite…the religious mind in full effect.

        • Greg G.

          But… but… but… chariot wheels in the Red Sea!

          SSi was just slinging shit to see what sticks. (The alliteration was inspired by the city of Shimshit on the middle of the map, just northwest of Nazareth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You think hyenas and lions are evil? Holy fuck!

          Your conscience is what separates you from animals, the hyenas and lions dont hold court.

          Humans are animals ya buffoon…and we are not the only animals with a conscience.

          https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150714-animal-dog-thinking-feelings-brain-science/

          And yes, other animals hold court.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689721/

          Or can you walk around naked in public without feeling shame?

          There is only shame in walking around naked because of the religiously entrenched mindset that it is a shameful thing to do, ya fool

        • Phil

          I don’t feel shame. Just laws that prevent me which is fair enough.

        • I’d answer you more, but you’re a twister of words, clearly suppressing the truth in unrighteousnesses.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaahahaha…that’s a bit rich coming from a lying, knuckle-dragging, holy rolling, Dime Bar.

          I accept your defeat through inability to counter your interlocutor.

        • You keep bringing hockey skates to the basketball court Amos…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Still nothing of substance…this is like shooting fish in a barrell…your too easy.

        • Greg G.

          You owe us an apology for citing the Red Sea chariot wheels as fake. Own up to your mistake and apologize so you might regain a smidgen of credibility.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christian historian James McGrath poo-poo’s the chariot wheel claim for the fuckwittery it is on his blog…nonetheless, it doesn’t prevent wingnuts like the one we have here, arguing for the veracity of the claim. Maybe the wingnut there, and the wingnut here, are the same wingnut.

        • TheNuszAbides

          regain?

        • Michael Neville

          Translation: You’re rebutting my weak arguments, you big meanie! So I’ll whine at you and call you names.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it still baffles and fascinates me that tools for convenience/comfort/expression/safety (body covering in general) have been weaponized in both the piranha tank of fashion-consumption and [just-so extrapolations from] the most overhyped why-are-we-here myth on record.

        • Greg G.

          Or can you walk around naked in public without feeling shame?

          You have been brainwashed by the Bible. We live in a society that has been brainwashed by the Bible. I have traveled to places where nudity is not such a big deal.

          Men in some cultures are aroused by an uncovered calf. In other cultures, seeing a nipple is no big deal. The US is prudish. Even pornography can’t have exposed nipples on the cover while I have seen magazines with an exposed breast on sale in Paris displayed on the street.

          Don’t be so inhibited.

        • Greg, how about google “Red Sea Chariot Wheels” and tell me what that means…

        • Greg G.

          Are you serious? Add snopes.com to your Google search and find https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/chariot-wheels-found-bottom-red-sea/

          The article comes from World News Daily Report in 2014 and was revived a year later. The web site has a disclaimer that says “All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news.”

          Now, aren’t you ashamed for being so gullible as to believe Christians who share this stuff without investigation?

          ETA second “s” to “snopes”

        • Ignorant Amos

          They walk amongst us, surviving long enough to further corrupt the gene pool…our species is fucked.

        • Bob, these questions have eluded you?

          Your concern for my wellbeing is touching, but no, these questions don’t stump me. It’s just that you don’t care what I answer.

          You got a point to make? Then make it.

          Have you ever thought of evil?
          Since you won’t answer, Jesus said that you have, and that your “conscience” informs you of this

          I think you’ll find that it’s evolution, if you’d care to check the evidence.

        • TheNuszAbides

          don’t leave that there! they’ll figure out that evolution is The Voice of Jesus!

      • Have you ever, in your entire life, had a thought, and then at another time or right after the thought said in your conscience “That was evil”?

        And

        Have you ever said in your conscience “I just told a lie”?

        Have you?

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever, in your entire life, had a thought, and then at another time or right after the thought said in your conscience “That was evil”?

          Not in my conscience but I often say it out loud during the news about what Trump says or does.

          Have you ever said in your conscience “I just told a lie”?

          Not me.

        • Within yourself, you didn’t just lie?

          If so, you have a conscience, specifically the one God gave you…

          Consider what is…

        • Greg G.

          You need a new script to follow. Try a script that provides evidence.

        • I think if you’ll check more thoroughly, you’ll find that evolution gave you that conscience. But if you think it was God, give us a reason to agree with you. For starters, show that God exists.

        • It is written and was written, exactly what you think is “evil”. Check the manuscript evidence. Thats not concerning? Not Credible? In case you still cant figure out why putting it in writing is important… why do write your will, real estate contracts, business deals? put it in writing so the message can be confused, can be passed down…

          Matthew 5:28

        • Greg G.

          The Christian Bible blames Satan in the Garden of Eden. But the Genesis account says it was a serpent. If it was really Satan, why did God punish serpents? God owes serpents an apology.

          If God can make such a blunder and punish innocent serpents, how do you know that Satan didn’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit in the Mark 3:29-30/Matthew 12:31-32 sort of way while wearing a ScriptureSearch costume? You may be blamed for the unforgivable sin. What are you going to say? Are you going to convince God he is wrong?

        • Sorry, I missed the evidence for God. Could you repeat it more clearly.

        • There is a written record, long before you were born, that warns of what you are thinking about. Whether you feel guilt & shame or you’ve made others feel that, the conscience, your mind, testifies of this.

          But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
          For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

          There is a reason Christ spoke those words in Matthew 15:18-19, to you. To call you to believe in Him and trust in Him for salvation, you are on your way guilty to the judgment which He said is coming to all, sealed by everyones proof of death Hebrews 10:29.

          The question is have you thought of any of these things…
          evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:???

        • MR

          So, in other words you have no evidence for God. That would be a bit problematic for your argument.

        • Greg G.

          There is a written record, long before you were born, that warns of what you are thinking about. Whether you feel guilt & shame or you’ve made others feel that, the conscience, your mind, testifies of this.

          It was written by people who didn’t know where the sun went at night. It has light separated from darkness, days and nights, and the sun created on the third day. They didn’t understand that the world was spherical and it was always day on half the world and night on the other half. If they didn’t have the day-night thing worked out, we shouldn’t rely on its theory of mind that is dependent of god thingies, either.

          But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
          For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

          The same passage says that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him. I wonder how many Christians died of not being careful with what they ate, what they drank, and whether their hands had shit on them.

          There is a reason Christ spoke those words in Matthew 15:18-19, to you. To call you to believe in Him and trust in Him for salvation, you are on your way guilty to the judgment which He said is coming to all, sealed by everyones proof of death Hebrews 10:29.

          The question is have you thought of any of these things…
          evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:???

          Have you worked out whether Satan has blasphemed the Holy Ghost in a ScriptureSearch mask yet? God punished serpents when Satan disguised himself as a serpent. Did God apologize yet?

          Do you admit that chariot wheels in the Red Sea was a hoax?

        • Uh, yeah. I’ve thought of bad things. I’m an imperfect animal shaped by evolution.

          What’s that? You disagree and say it’s all due to God? Great–for the second time (at least), give us the evidence for God. I see none. You’re giving us nothing but theology here. That’s not evidence.

        • Greg G.

          If so, you have a conscience, specifically the one God gave you…

          If God gives out a conscience to people, why didn’t he give them to psychopaths?

        • 1 Timothy 4:2

        • Ignorant Amos

          1 Timothy is pseudepigrapha…which is a scholarly word for forgery…which is essentially a lie…you come here quoting scripture at us which is a lie.

          Shame on you, ya lying sinning toerag…you make baby Jesus gurn his lamps out…haahahahaha….that’s not very Christian of ya.

        • 2 Peter 3:16.

          So you just believe Jesus never existed or is a liar? John 4:25-26

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whether Jesus existed or not, is academic to the point ya dopey clown. I happen to believe the argument that he was made up for full effect, but if he existed, he wasn’t the guy that the gospels describe.

          No matter, 1 Timothy is a forgery.

          1 Timothy is a lie.

          Whatever Jesus said or didn’t say is not known to us…we only have hearsay accounts of what he is supposed to have said. And most of that was plagiarized from other literature. So the words put into the characters mouth are indeed lies. You are just a sucker, but don’t feel too bad, there’s one born every minute.

        • Academic? If we dont have Jesus’ words, why did the people who claim to be eyewitnesses die on behalf of what Jesus said?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not the auld “who would die for a lie” trope.

          Did they? Who say’s they did?

          That gullible people believed the same nonsense back then as they do today, is no verification that they were said by Jesus.

          We know lots of the stuff Jesus is supposed to have said and done, because we know where the authors stole it from.

          By your logic, Joseph Smith met the angel Moroni, Mohammad rode a flying horse, Jihadist’s are in paradise with 72 virgins, etc.

          Do you not realise how simple you sound? It is pure nonsense and Bob has tore this idiot’s apologetic apart in two OP’s starting with this one… http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/08/who-would-die-for-a-lie/

          What about those chariot wheels soft boy?

        • Greg G.

          Nobody claimed to be eyewitnesses. Luke claimed there were eyewitnesses but was incorrect. 2 Peter was a late forgery, not an eyewitness. The martyr stories appear to be made up to bolster the claims for each church’s apostolic succession by coming up with a noble death. However, some of the apostles died multiple times in different places.

          Simon the Zealot
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_the_Zealot
          One tradition states that he traveled in the Middle East and Africa. Christian Ethiopians claim that he was crucified in Samaria, while Justus Lipsius writes that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia. However, Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia. Tradition also claims he died peacefully at Edessa. Another tradition says he visited Britain— In his 2nd mission to Britain, he arrived during 1st year of Boadicean War 60 AD. He was crucified May 10, 61AD by the Roman Catus Decianus, at Caistor, modern-day Lincolnshire, Britain

          Maybe he was sawn in thirds and each third died somewhere else.

          Bartholomew
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartholomew_the_Apostle
          He is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward.

          Maybe he was beheaded, then crucified and his head kept falling off.

          Philip the Apostle
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_the_Apostle
          According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside-down, and Philip preached from his cross. As a result of Philip’s preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross. Another legend is that he was martyred by beheading in the city of Hierapolis.

          We also have:

          Matthew not only died a peaceful death in Ethiopia, he was also killed by a sword in Parthia, and he was burned alive in an unnamed city.

          Jude was crucified in Turkey and was sawn in half with Simon the Zealot.

          Judas Isacariot died by suicidal hanging according to Matthew, died by tripping in Acts, died after being run over by a chariot according to another source, and was stoned to death according to another source.

          Maybe we should be skeptical of the accounts of apostolic martyrdom. Maybe you should be skeptical of them, too.

        • Yeah? Tell us who died to prove what Jesus said, and tell us why that evidence is compelling. (Hint: if it comes from the late second century–or, worse, from the 16th century–it’s not believable.)

        • Greg G.

          2 Peter is a forgery, too.

          Jesus never told a lie because he didn’t exist, though the fictional character did. Remember when his brothers asked him to go to the Festival of Booths? He said he wasn’t going but went secretly anyway.

        • John 7:8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.

          Your bearing false witness…

        • Greg G.

          Many manuscripts had “not”. It is thought that the “yet” was added to manuscripts so Jesus wouldn’t look like a liar. It’s not likely that copyists would drop the “yet”.

          You do not seem like a trustworthy person because you are not interested in what is actually true, only that which supports your beliefs, and then you are completely gullible.

        • Pofarmer

          I hate to say it, but this recent poster is even more useless than the other one. At least he’s not claiming to be an atheist educated in science.

        • Greg G.

          He writes with wide-eyed gullibility as if he is speaking to children. I wonder if that is how people speak to him.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s probably one of the ones that think atheists are wayward children needing to be corrected. It’s how they talk to their own flock, too.

        • 1 Peter 2:22-24
          Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
          Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:
          Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

        • Greg G.

          1 Peter 2:22 quotes Isaiah 53:9. 1 Peter 2:23 alludes to Isaiah 53:7. 1 Peter 2:24 alludes to Isaiah 53:4-5. All the early epistles tell about Jesus is taken from the Old Testament. They can’t tell us anything about a first century Jesus.

          The early Christians were Jews who thought the Suffering Servant metaphor was a hidden mystery about somebody who died for sins, was buried, was now intercessing for sins which implies a resurrection. They thought that the fact that this hidden mystery was revealed to their generation indicated that the Messiah would come during their generation. The first century Jesus seems to have been invented by Mark after the war.

        • Greg G.

          Ha ha ha! You are trying to call me a liar. Read the context. The verse is referring to those who ban marriage and forbid certain foods. I don’t do such things.

          1 Timothy is another forged epistle.

          I haven’t seen anything about those chariot wheels you were so high on a couple of days ago. Do you admit you were snookered by the story? Maybe you should cite 1 Timothy 4:2 at your sources of that information.

        • you can see them greg… it not about blind faith anymore.

        • Greg G.

          You were provided with the source of the chariot wheels story. It had nothing but pictures of underwater wagon wheels. The source admits that its stories are fiction. It proves that you have no interest in what is true or not true, only that you believe anything that supports your mythology.

          You have nothing but blind faith when you start believing your own lies.

        • I pray to the god that isn’t there that there’s a point to all this.

          I get my sense of good and bad from my evolutionary programming and from society.

        • You blog is about evil, so Im on topic here. Just trying to figure out if you’re deceiving yourself, it seems like you are.

          Have you ever thought of evil or done an evil deed? Yes or No (what does you conscience say?)

          If Yes, God will Judge the secrets of your heart and is greater than your heart… Call out to Jesus for forgiveness & to be sealed with the Spirit of Christ
          If No, you’re a false witness and will face judgment without mercy… Call out to Jesus for forgiveness & to be sealed with the Spirit of Christ

        • You blog is about evil

          You mean this post is about evil? That’s true, but the blog is mostly about Christianity.

          Just trying to figure out if you’re deceiving yourself, it seems like you are.

          Here’s where a statement would help. Questions don’t make clear what you’re trying to say.

          If Yes, God will Judge the secrets of your heart and is greater than your heart… Call out to Jesus for forgiveness & to be sealed wit h the Spirit of Christ

          What God? I see no evidence. But perhaps you do—show us.

          If No, you’re a false witness and will face judgment without mercy

          So you know the answer, and your question is rhetorical.

          If you have a point, make it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you know the answer, and your question is rhetorical.

          Another one that claims to know the mind of God.

        • SS.i is proof that God has disciples even today. Wow–who knew? I’m humbled that he’s hanging out with us.

        • I did make it. You didnt receive it. Bob, google “transitional evolutionary fossils” using an image search… you see cartoons.

          Google “scripture manuscripts” of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul … you see various letters passed down through time written by witnesses. You dont think predicting the future in writing is credible? You try it…

        • Greg G.

          I did make it. You didnt receive it. Bob, google “transitional evolutionary fossils” using an image search… you see cartoons.

          Google “Tiktaalik”. Paleontologists have a pretty cool technique for finding transitionals in the semi-aquatic phase going from sea to land or land to sea. If they have an aquatic animal and a land animal with similar features, they can look for exposed layers of rock dated to about halfway between the fossils. Then they focus there search to where there is evidence of shoreline, like fossils of crabs. They did that for whales coming from land animals, Tiktaalik, and frogs.

          Google “scripture manuscripts” of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul … you see various letters passed down through time written by witnesses. You dont think predicting the future in writing is credible? You try it…

          I did without my gullibility glasses on and found they were not witness. The wrote stories around the old literature. The gospel of Mark even used the Homeric epics to base his invented stories around and the other gospel stole those stories from Mark.

          Do you have anything more to say about the Red Sea chariot wheels?

        • You wouldn’t believe the truth if you could. Its too plain for you. Having eyes, you don’t see. Revelation was written about 2,000 years ago, Chapter 13:16-18, now go look up RFID chip and tell me if that technology doesnt fit the description of what would enable an individual to buy or sell, in their hand… You won’t have excuses one day.

        • Greg G.

          Revelation doesn’t say anything about an RFID chip. You are reading that into the text. An RFID chip is not a mark. A generation ago, it was barcodes that were supposed to be the mark of the Beast.

          John MacDonald posted a comment last night comparing religious nuts to paranoid people. A paranoid person may thing they are being followed and every time they look behind them, a different person is there. Nobody is actually following them but they see the different random people and think the conspiracy is quite vast. That is what you are doing.

          Are you going to tell the truth that the chariot wheels story was a lie or will you keep lying that it is the truth?

        • You won’t have excuses one day.

          Everybody’s mean to you? Poor baby, but that’s OK, because your big brother will beat them up.

          Provide evidence that would convince you if it came from another religion. You’ve got nothing.

        • Greg G.

          His Father can beat up your father.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am reminded of the Frankie Boyle joke…my dad will batter your dad….

          Time stamp circa 8:50….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvOQxeQKrdw&t=65s

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oi…nutter…step away from the Kool-Aid….

        • I have seen and just googled tiktaalik. Cartoons, illustrations, or computer animated design came up. Thanks for showing me what I claimed was true… If you dig up chicken bones somewhere Greg, dont assume they became a horse in your mind and call it science.

        • Greg G.

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

          The right side of the page has photos of the actual fossils. But that is too hard for you to understand. You see cartoons because you have a cartoon mind.

          Are you still foolish enough to believe the bullshit about the chariot wheels or are you just afraid to admit you were wrong?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s amazing to me that there are adults roaming free amongst us with this sort of level of imbecility and are not institutionalized.

        • On one hand, one marvels that they get through the day without hurting themselves. On the other hand, they get as many votes as we do.

        • Greg G.

          Monty Python wasn’t joking about the Silly Party. They have a constituency, too. Vladimir Putin has seen that they get more than one vote in US elections.

        • Pofarmer

          Hell dude, we have them in the White House.

        • MR

          Chickens to horses just goes to show how woefully uneducated these people are.

        • google “transitional evolutionary fossils” using an image search… you see cartoons.

          What’s your point?

          Google “scripture manuscripts” of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul … you see various letters passed down through time written by witnesses.

          By witnesses? Prove it.

          You dont think predicting the future in writing is credible? You try it…

          What are you saying? That the Bible has fulfilled prophecy? I’ve seen none and researched quite a bit. Search this blog for posts on prophecy.

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever said in your conscience “I just told a lie”?

          Did you say that yesterday when you were touting the chariot wheels in the Red Sea?

    • Joe

      Quite simply:

      1. It is a label we apply to certain behaviors that seem particularly abhorrent.
      2. It doesn’t “come from” anywhere, it’s a label.
      3. It’s a concept, so a “thought”, if you want to describe it in that way.

      • 1. Could you give me some behaviors that you consider evil?

        2. If evil doesnt come from anywhere, it doesnt exist… try again.

        3. So humans can think of evil? you just said evil doesnt come from anywhere.

        • Phil

          I wonder what you would consider an evil act and then consider your god’s drowning every living thing on the planet. Then tell me where evil comes from.

        • Side stepper…
          Potter, clay…

          Thought Noah’s ark was a fairy tale? I never been upset at the smurfs…

          Now, answer…

          Have you ever thought of “evil”, your conscience will answer without you replying or speaking, what is that answer?

        • Phil

          Nope, I have no idea what you are talking about.

        • Matthew 5:28? Conscience isn’t speaking?

        • Phil

          You can add more words to your list but it doesn’t make it understandable.

        • Greg G.

          Matthew cribbed the Epistle of James for the Sermon on the Mount and other words of Jesus. That bit comes from James 1:14-15. James’ arguments would have been stronger if he had anything like “Jesus said” but he only mentions the “Lord Jesus Christ” as if he only knows him as a spiritual being.

        • Greg G.

          We like some things and we dislike other things. Some things we like very much. Some things we dislike very much. We apply the adjective “evil” to the things we most dislike, often with the connotation of an intentional choice or indifference involved.

          Theists think of evil as a thing that causes trouble rather than a description of the trouble. It comes from trying to square an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being with a world that is clearly not controlled by such a being. So they make up an adversary, which cannot be a god because theists are devoted to the claim of monotheism no matter how silly it gets. Yet their omnipotent god cannot suppress the Evil One but the Evil One is not an omnipotent being. This is where the theist position fails but the inability to recognize this is an indication of the power of brainwashing.

        • Greg! Hello!

          Have you considered what would happen if everyone on earth OBEYED the Gospel?
          zero Murder
          zero lying
          zero fornication
          zero stealing
          zero drunks wasting their lives
          zero child abuse
          zero molestation
          zero abductions
          zero scandals
          death loses all its power
          God would be glorified, in Jesus name.

          and you call that evil? Woe…

        • Greg G.

          Have you considered what would happen if people stopped murdering, lying, fornicating, stealing, drinking too much, abusing children, molesting, abducting, and “scandaling”? People will still die.

          Have you not noticed that where these things are the biggest problems in the US tend to be in states that are the most Christian while the states that rank lowest in these problems are the least religious states? You can also add things like divorcing, committing other violent crimes, and receiving poor educations. I have read that these tendencies are seen right down to the county level.

          Maybe the gospel is the problem. Christians are taught that there is more to fear with eternal punishment but becoming a Christian exempts them, especially with the “once saved, always saved” theology. So Christians don’t have a healthy fear of earthly punishment, since they will spend eternity in heaven, nor a fear of eternal punishment, for the same reason.

          It is also seen at the national level according to religiosity, too.

        • I could care less about “religious stats”… the scriptures clarify those in Christ, what don’t you get about that (Ephesians 4:-6)? Those that our Christ’s put to death the deeds of the body…Galatians 5:24

          once saved, always saved… is eternal life… problem is some aren’t aware of what that means 2 Corinthians 13:5 & Romans 8:9… so i agree and disagree on that point…

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s official…you are a card carrying member of the bug-nutty, bat shit crazy, barking at the moon, religidiot, holy rolling, woo-woo brigade.

        • Greg G.

          I could care less about “religious stats”

          Then you are aware that the stats show a correlation between religion (particularly your religion) with crime, poverty, divorce rates, miseducation, and health. But the glee that you have been touting the chariot wheels in the Red Sea shows that you will appeal to anything no matter how fake to argue for your religious mistake.

          once saved, always saved… is eternal life… problem is some aren’t aware of what that means 2 Corinthians 13:5 & Romans 8:9… so i agree and disagree on that point…

          It doesn’t much matter what you or I think. This is what a significant number of Americans think. There is a correlation and it may be a death spiral sort of thing. More religion that opposes higher education > less education > more poverty > more crime > even more poverty > more religion.

          If you want people to be interested in religion, make religion better. You should criticize silly Christians like yourself instead of proselytizing atheists with fake new about chariot wheels.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Too many big words, Greg.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, he doesn’t have a great vocab know very many words.

        • epeeist

          the scriptures clarify those in Christ,

          But why should we pay an attention to your particular book of fables?

        • Greg G.

          What about Luke 22:36? Wouldn’t you sell a cloak and buy a sword?

          It would have to be a pretty cool used cloak, though, to make enough to buy anything more than a toy sword. Maybe if you could convince a collector that the cloak once belonged to Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe if you could convince a collector that the cloak once belonged to Jesus.

          ScriptureSearch is gullible enough to buy, that’s patently obvious.

        • Greg G.

          It is best to omit the “.info” from his name, otherwise Disqus links to whatever crap he is pushing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My bad…point taken.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Couldn’t help maself and I went there….wow…so much moronic asininity.

        • Greg G.

          I went there the last time he showed up here. I had to shake like a wet dog coming out of the water.

        • TheNuszAbides

          SS.i is one of the tools I’ve ended up blocking out of pure fatigue – when the comments top a thousand or two and I no longer relish downvoting 99.44% of their input (though in the grand scheme of things i do think it prudent to downvote the shit out of blatant PRATTs and especially the hugely tacky website-name gimmick).

        • Greg G.

          Nit picking:

          I could care less about

          You have misunderstood the phrase “I couldn’t care less,” which means you do not care at all. Your phrasing means you do care somewhat or that you may care a great deal.

        • “People will still die.” – Greg G.. Those that believe the good news escape death, 2 Corinthians 4:4 & Revelation 20:6.

        • Greg G.

          As I stated, that may be the problem. People are not inhibited by the threat of loss of freedom for a period of their finite life. That makes Christianity toxic for society.

        • You’re running from truth, call out to God (Jesus) for your desperate soul to be saved. Its the only way to be free from the evil inside you, of which your conscience bears witness…

          Google “Red Sea Chariot Wheels”…

        • Phil

          Nope that doesn’t make any kind of sense.

        • within the heart

        • Greg G.

          God drowned people and regretted it, according to the Bible. Did that evil come from God’s heart?

          How does evil come from an organ that pumps blood?

          Tells us more about those Red Sea chariot wheels.

        • The heart and mind are what the scripture declares are thought come from… You can see chariot wheels for yourself, simple search… seeing you dont see.

        • Greg G.

          The heart and mind are what the scripture declares are thought come from…

          Modern translations say “heart and mind” where the KJV says “heart and reins”, which is the proper translation of the word used in the Bible manuscripts. “Reins” means “kidneys”. The adjective for kidney functions is “renal” and is derived from the Greek word. The Bible authors had no idea where the sun went at night nor did they have any idea what the brain was for. All they had were “gut feelings”.

          You can see chariot wheels for yourself, simple search… seeing you dont see.

          Sure. I did that and so did others. It was very easy to find the source of that story and that it was a fictional story. It was pointed out to you many times by many people yet you doubled down on the lie. Your failure to own up to the mistake shows that you are too proud to admit you made one. You cite the most obvious forged letters in the New Testament to make points. What we see is someone dedicated to maintaining a belief in things that are false. Why should anyone believe you?

        • Phil

          So you admit that your god is the epitome of evil.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Evil is subjective.

          Islamist jihadist’s don’t think they are evil. You probably do.

          Christian abortion doctor murders don’t see themselves as evil. You probably don’t either.

          Christian fuckwit pastors who advocate the death penalty for Gays…and I’m not talking in Africa, but the US, don’t see themselves as evil. You probably don’t either.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/05/29/angry-young-preacher-the-bible-says-gay-people-should-be-executed-humanely/

        • Evil is objective, according to God. It starts inside individuals. God never overpowered you to control your thoughts has He? And yet you have things in your past you would be ashamed of if revealed… your conscience bears witness…

          I don’t advocate death penalty for Gays… neither does the New Testament.

          There is only one faith according to the Word, Ephesians 4:5

        • Greg G.

          I don’t advocate death penalty for Gays… neither does the New Testament.

          The Old Testament does. Picking up sticks on a particular day of the week also has the death penalty.

          The New Testament is dependent on the Old Testament so you can’t dismiss the Old Testament and accept the New Testament.

          The inconsistency of the Bible makes it evil (adjective).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Evil is objective, according to God.

          Your God’s version of evil is objective to the character, it created it. But since I think your God is imaginary, the evil it created is imaginary too. Good luck proving evil is objective, you’ve already demonstrated that you don’t think it is in that very comment.

          It starts inside individuals.

          So what if it does. It doesn’t make it any less subjective to the individuals in whom it starts, and the individuals observing.

          God never overpowered you to control your thoughts has He?

          God never overpowered anyone, period…it’s imaginary.

          And yet you have things in your past you would be ashamed of if revealed… your conscience bears witness…

          You’re a mind reader now, are you? I may well have done things in the past I ashamed of, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything. Still, if I could, the shame would be between me and my peers…or those I hold shame for wronging…fuck all to do with god, or your flavour of God in particular.

          I don’t advocate death penalty for Gays…

          Good to hear, now are all those Christians following scripture that do, wrong? I feel a No True Scotsman appearance and looking porridge.

          … neither does the New Testament.

          Except it does. The Law, as handed down to Moses, stands.

          Do you think YahwehJesus made a mistake in condemning male homosexuals to death in the Bible? Surely not.

          There is only one faith according to the Word, Ephesians 4:5

          Yeah…you have a major problem there…45,000+ flavours of the Christian cult has rebutted that nonsense.

          Incidentally, what clown do you think wrote Ephesians and why should it matter to me? Here’s a clue, it is doubtful it was Paul…and he didn’t know Jesus, and contradicted Christ’s message.

        • Susan

          Evil is objective, according to God.

          No. First of all, you are just quoting humans who claimed to speak for a deity. Unless you can demonstrate that you are speaking for a deity, you are stuck with that very mundane position.

          Secondly, no version of any of yer bibles demonstrates that evil exists as an objectively measurable thing. They don’t provide justification for “objective evil”.

          There is only one faith according to the Word

          Got anything less circular?

        • Susan,
          You have no idea what you’re talking about…. Predicting the future, in writing, hundreds of years ahead of time holds no credibility? I guess some cartoon and illustration of evolutionary fossils is good enough for you.

          The problem isnt the evidence, its your imagination.

          2 Peter 1:16 – The writings are “eyewitness” testimony

        • Greg G.

          Predicting the future, in writing, hundreds of years ahead of time holds no credibility?

          The whole Jesus story is cleverly devised myths. They made up stories to appear to fulfill Jewish mythology and used other verses from Jewish scriptures to make them appear to be prophecy.

          2 Peter 1:16 – The writings are “eyewitness” testimony

          That verse tells us that people were calling Christianity “cleverly devised myths” back then. To back up the claim of not being “cleverly devised myths” in verse 16, in the next two verses, the forger cites Matthew’s version of the transfiguration, which is one of the most obvious cleverly designed myths in the gospels.

          Your problem isn’t your imagination, it’s your gullibilty to accept other people”s imagination.

          You made a big deal about chariot wheels in the Red Sea which is known to be recent fiction. Do you admit you were wrong to repeat that nonsense or are you trying to sweep it under the rug? Maybe you would like to triple down on it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Liars for YahwehJesus gonna lie…they just can’t help themselves…it’s in their make-up.

        • You just shewed forth the worst interpretation of 2 Peter 1:16 ever… it clearly say’s they are not cleverly devised myths, and that Peter was an eyewitness.

          You can’t be an eyewitness of a myth… think about it…

        • Greg G.

          2 Peter is a forgery and a lie can say the liar witnessed an event that never happened. Think and don’t be gullible.

          Do you have any chariot wheels to sell?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have no idea what you’re talking about….

          Spooooiiiinng!

          Predicting the future, in writing, hundreds of years ahead of time holds no credibility?

          It might, if that was what was happening, other than you being a simple gullible imbecile.

          I guess some cartoon and illustration of evolutionary fossils is good enough for you.

          You are clearly a burbling bullshit artist at this point…hey, it’s Sunday, haven’t you got somewhere ya need to be?

          The problem isnt the evidence, its your imagination.

          Nope…that’s your problem…you ignore the real evidence and your imagination has run away with the fairies.

          2 Peter 1:16 – The writings are “eyewitness” testimony

          Nope…more lies…you are one sad lying bastard.

        • 2 Peter? Seriously? No one even knows who wrote the letter, but the consensus is that it was more than one person.

        • Greg G.

          2 Peter and Jude are remarkably similar from topics to word choice. Most scholars think Jude was the original. I agree with that. I think it may have borrowed from 1 Peter to make it look authentic. I would assume much of the rest comes from a source or sources lost to us.

          ETA: And another thing, it’s not like the Bible has any credibility for us, but he loves to cite the least credible parts of the Bible that even Christians are dubious of.

        • Joe

          1. I don’t really use that word, as it’s loaded with extra baggage, but I’ll put forward child-murder as an example in this case.
          2. Not true. It exists in our minds.
          3. If you want to be pedantic, you could say evil comes from our minds, but those are just thoughts, there’s no inherrant evil, it’s just a label.

        • Greg G.

          1. I don’t really use that word, as it’s loaded with extra baggage, but I’ll put forward child-murder as an example in this case.

          That if we live in a godless universe. If we live in a universe that has an omnipotent being, then bone cancer in children.

      • Rex Jamesson

        Sorry, Bob S!

        Reading “ScriptureSearch.info’s” sophistry and wordplay, unfounded assertions, incorrect history about the bible, strawman characterizations of the good science behind evolution, circular logic, and a host of other scientific and factual errors … is probably better proof of your points than your own well-written article!

        ScriptureSearch.info – are you sure you’re not actually a double-agent trying to discredit the faith with faulty arguments?

        [Postscript: hope I haven’t crossed the line of civility there – I’m just hearing too many vacuous Christian arguments these days, I guess this one drove me over the edge]

        • Joe

          It’s driven you so over the edge that you replied to the wrong person.

  • Greg G.

    I think most of the scholars cited in New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash [LINK] by Robert M. Price, which is the heart of his book The Jesus Myth and Its Problems, would agree with MacDonald. But when each of their studies are combined, there is nothing left as actual events but mostly travel here and there to do things to imitate the literature of the day. (I would add Jewish Wars as a source, too.) Mark’s recipe seems to be to take a story from Greek literature, Jewish literature, Roman literature (or propaganda), and/or early Christian literature, add Jesus, and dress it up with some OT passages. About the only part of Mark that isn’t accounted for is the parables from the end of chapter 3 to near the end of chapter 4.

    • TheNuszAbides

      About the only part of Mark that isn’t accounted for is the parables from the end of chapter 3 to near the end of chapter 4.

      so that section could arguably be The ObjectiveOriginal Recipe?