Was The Buddha Enlightened? (Part 1)

Asking whether the Buddha was enlightened may seem like asking whether the Pope is Catholic. The answer would seem to be an obvious “yes.” At the core of Buddhism is the figure of the Buddha. The word “buddha” means “one who is awake” or “enlightened.” If the Buddha had not been enlightened, he wouldn’t have been the Buddha, would he? But things are not so simple. The concept of enlightenment in Buddhism is complex. If Buddhist enlightenment should turn out to be something that is implausible to … [Read more...]

One Christianity or Many Christianities?

I know this is a controversial topic for the people who frequently comment on blog posts here at The Secular Outpost, and my view seems to be the minority view.  Perhaps I am the only person in this crowd who thinks that there is some hope of being able to define "Christianity" in a way that is both reasonable and that is specific enough to allow for an answer to the question "Is Christianity true?"Most of you, I believe, think that there is not just ONE Christianity, but that there are MANY … [Read more...]

My Twelve-Year Plan

In October of 2013, I came up with the idea of a Ten-Year plan to write a four-volume critique of Christianity: Plan for a Multi-Volume Critique of Christianity Some of my posts here at the Secular Outpost have been closely related to the Ten-Year plan and the topics it will cover.In January of this year, I did a short post outlining the high-level logic of my critique of Christianity:Ten-Year Plan: Revised ScopeI thought this plan was a bit ambitious, but I am now considering an … [Read more...]

McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 1: An Eternally Bodiless Person

Here are the basic premises of McDowell's Trilemma Argument (hereafter: MTA), from The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (hereafter: NETDV by Josh McDowell:=================...Jesus definitely claimed to be God (see below and in Chapter 6).  So every person must answer the question: Is His claim to deity true or false?  This question deserves a most serious consideration.[...]Jesus' claim to be God must be either true or false.  If Jesus' claims are true, then He is the Lord, an … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Various Points

Some of Hinman's discussions about his five principles of historical investigation provide needed clarification of a principle, and some of his discussions fail to provide clarification of the relevant principle.  But even when Hinman fails to clarify one of his general principles of historical investigation, he often makes some significant or interesting points.  I will examine many of those specific points in this post.Hinman's discussion about (P1) fails to clarify what that principle m … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Five Principles

Joe Hinman's fifth argument for the existence of Jesus is presented in three sections:5A. Historical Methods5B. Big Web of Historicity5C. Jesus Myth Theory Cannot Account for the WebI will comment on, and raise objections to, points in each of these three sections, but this post will only cover part of the section on "Historical Methods".  Specifically, I will cover the five high-level principles of historical investigation proposed by Hinman in his discussion of "Historical … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 4

QUESTION 1: What is Hinman's Central Claim about Josephus?There are two famous passages in a book by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus that appear to refer to Jesus.  Joe Hinman wants to focus on the "brother passage", the passage in Antiquities that mentions a person named "James" and refers to him as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ". (Antiquities 20,200).After a brief introductory paragraph, Hinman quotes the "brother passage"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, re … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Post on Part 4 Coming Soon

I have been working on understanding and evaluating Joe Hinman's fourth argument for the existence of Jesus, and I believe my post on this subject will be ready to publish later this week.  This argument is based on alleged references to Jesus found in a book by the Jewish historian Josephus, particularly the "brother passage", where a person named "James" is referred to as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ". … [Read more...]