Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 20

Before I continue to examine the historical reliability of Chapter 19 of the Fourth Gospel, let's take a step back and consider some historical evidence from outside the Gospels on the question of whether Jesus was stabbed in the chest with a spear while on the cross:In addition the Gospel of John reports that one of the guards pierced Jesus to confirm that he was already dead (see John 19:34-37), a practice likewise mentioned by Quintillian, a Roman historian in the first century.(Michael … [Read more...]

Religious reason for secularism

Here's a religious rationale for some degree of secularism, as expressed by famous creationist Harun Yahya:“Muslim writer and intellectual, Harun Yahya, believes that “secularism is the safeguard of Islam.” Instead, he says, of the hypocrisy of women with very little religion, dressed in long black robes, or men in white robes and long beards, we must distinguish Muslims by the integrity of their lives and the goodness of their characters. Secularism, he believes, allows those with no religion to … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exist?

Bart Ehrman has published yet another book on Jesus: Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.Ehrman is a New Testament scholar who has published many books on Jesus and the New Testament that are aimed at a general audience.  He started out as a fundamentalist, attending Moody Bible Institute, but then moved on to Evangelical Christianity and graduated from Wheaton College in 1978. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. After … [Read more...]

Pressure on secularism

I don't know if secularism was ever as much a consensus position as we sometimes think. But I do think it's weaker today. Consider some recent examples of conservative religious pushback against even rather mild secularist political positions.First, the United States. Take a look, if you can, at "In Defense of Religious Freedom A Statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together." There's an awful lot of theological blather in it about justifying "religious freedom," which tries to make it … [Read more...]

Messianic Prophecy – Update

On my own blog, I have begun examining eight alleged Messianic prophecies, presented by Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks. I have reached a conclusion about the first of the prophecies and will share that here. For supporting arguments and details, you can read the posts at my blog. to Peter Stoner, Micah 5:2 should be interpreted as making a specific prediction:(1) The correct interpretation of Micah 5:2 is that it predicts that 'The Messiah … [Read more...]

Conservative anti-science

Chris Mooney has an interesting post, citing recent research by Gordon Gauchat that shows a noticeable decline in trust in science among political conservatives in the United States, over the past few decades.There isn't much that I know of in this sort of research that would help me estimate what the contribution of conservative religiosity is to the lack of trust in science. It could be interesting to disentangle, say, a supernaturalist reaction against the naturalistic tendency of modern … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 4

Does the utterance of the words 'God exists' amount to a meaningful utterance? Does this utterance express a statement?  Two considerations support the claim that this is a meaningful utterance:1. 'God exists' is a grammatical sentence.2. The word 'exists' has an established meaning.The main question to consider is whether the word 'God' has a meaning.Many utterances of the form 'X exists' are obviously meaningful utterances that express a statement:Chickens exist.The Earth … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 19

One of the major alleged wounds inflicted upon Jesus during the crucifixion is a deep spear wound:DSW = On Friday of Passover week, just before the first Easter Sunday, Jesus received a deep spear wound to his chest (i.e. the tip of the spear penetrated at least 3” deep, measured perpendicular to the surface where the spear entered his chest).This claim is based on a couple of passages from the Fourth Gospel.  One passage concerns the Doubting Thomas story, that I previously argued was f … [Read more...]