Over in the forum we have a relatively new theist to debate. Unlike most who visit our quiet little corner of the blue nowhere, NotAshamedofChrist isn’t a drive-by poster and isn’t a troll. S/he seems genuinely interested in debating our lack of faith, and honestly curious as to how we have come to have views so completely different to his/her own. Kudos, NAoC.
Somewhat inevitably, though, NAoC fell back on an old Christian argument in the face of adversity:
“[The] Bible is not biased the apparent contradictions actually confirm its truth take the gospels for example you have four different eyewitness accounts of the same events its unlikely that each person from a slightly different standpoint would come up with exactly the same details.”
Regular poster Nox is something of a Bible scholar, and in response to that assertion he produced what I can only describe as an epic wall of textual ownage, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all ur bible r belong 2 him. Because he put so much work into it and covered so much ground, I decided to reproduce it on the blog for all of y’all. Note that this wall of text is part of an ongoing discussion, so at times it addresses NAoC directly and references earlier posts. The link above is to the whole discussion if you need context.
Now, I’m usually guilty of dismissing epic posts as tl;dr – in this case, however, I recommend making yourself a cup of your favourite hot beverage, settling yourself down and having a good read. You’ll learn a lot.
Over to Nox:
Welcome back NotAshamed,
I’m glad to see you decided this wasn’t a waste of time. And I hope you are getting something out of it. I always enjoy a good discussion. Sorry I wrote you off a bit early. You understand we do get a lot of drive by posters here. But I do give you credit for still being here and being willing to discuss these issues. As a former christian I am familiar with the discomfort that comes from having one’s faith criticized. But I honestly am trying to help you, and I do hope you’ll stick around for awhile.
“Besides, all the new Testament books were written down only 40 years after Jesus died.”
Where do you get this figure? Mark, the first gospel is believed to have been written down around 70 AD (about 40 years after the estimated date of the crucifixion) with Matthew and Luke showing up about 10 to 20 years later. The gospel of John was almost certainly written in the 2nd Century, around 90 years after the estimated date of Jesus death. There is however, pretty solid reason to believe that some of Paul’s letters (ie Galatians) were written less than 40 years after 33 AD. These dates aren’t controversial. They are accepted by the majority of biblical scholars (both secular and christian).
“Everyone believes that Julius Caesar came to Btitain in 55 BC but we have only 9 or 10 manuscripts to support this, and the earliest was written 900 years after the event!”
We have Caesar’s own account of his campaigns in Gaul and Pompey, written by Julius Caesar while Julius Caesar was alive (that may sound redundant but it is an important distinction). We have nothing that was written by Jesus. Nor do we have one thing that was written about Jesus during his lifetime. We have only the gospels, which show themselves to be historically inaccurate, and the letters of Paul (who never met Jesus) which give us almost nothing in terms of biographical details. And we have the unanimous silence of contemporary historians about a guy who would have been noticed if he did the stuff the gospels describe him doing. And while there may be thousands of “manuscripts” from the middle ages, it is worth noting that we do not have the original manuscript of any of the 4 gospels.
You said earlier “its just that I genuinely wonder how people do not believe in God when, in my mind anyway the wonders of creation the human body and brain shout out the existence of God”. We could get into how cosmology makes the deist god unnecessary. Or how natural selection explains the complexity of life without needing to invoke an extra party. Or how a modern understanding of electricity calls into question the existence of Thor. But what we are really talking about here is yhwh, the god in the bible. And the reason I don’t believe in the god in the bible is because I’ve read the bible. And really when you get down to it, there isn’t really any other source for the claim that yhwh exists (this is why I wanted to make a point of clarifying that yhwh is the god we are debating).
Let me give you a few examples of what I mean and why I can’t buy the bible as a historical document (at least not as an accurate historical document), and certainly not a reliable enough source to upon which to base belief in any entities which have not thought to give us any other reason to suspect their existence. There are scientific and philosophical issues as well, but since the bible is the topic that’s come up (and its kinda a hobby of mine), and since for me personally the bible was what convinced me that the bible was not true, then what I’d like to talk to you about today is the bible. ”
To be continued – I couldn’t post the whole lot at once because it’s gigantic – I’ll post more over the next couple of weeks. Thank you, Nox, for having a gigantic brain and sharing it with us!