What Did Paul Know About Jesus? Not Much.

What Did Paul Know About Jesus? Not Much. December 17, 2012

Apostle Paul in primitive styleFor being the founder of Christianity, Paul knew surprisingly little about Jesus.

Paul is our first and, for that reason, potentially our most reliable source of information on the life of Jesus. Let’s sift Paul’s writings for information about Jesus.

If we were to do this with the gospels, we’d have a long list—the story of Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water, raising Lazarus, the Prodigal Son story, curious events like his cursing the fig tree, and so on. But what information about Jesus does Paul give us?

We’ll start with that well-known passage from 1 Corinthians 15.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Cor. 15:3–8)

This tells us that

1. Jesus died “for our sins.”

2. Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days later, in fulfillment of prophecy.

3. Jesus made many post-resurrection appearances.

Though 1 Corinthians was written perhaps 20 years after the death of Jesus, some scholars argue that this 3-sentence passage was written with a different style and so is an early creed that preceded Paul’s writing, taking us back closer to the earliest disciples. Others use the same logic to argue the opposite conclusion: that it was a later scribal addition. (Our oldest copy of this passage comes from document P46, written after 200. That’s close to two centuries of party time during which changes could’ve been made.)

First, we’ll sift through Paul’s epistles to find confirmation of these first claims.

1. Confirmed—many verses report that Jesus was a sacrifice (see Rom. 3:25, 5:6–8, 8:3; 1 Cor. 5:7; and more). The passage above does not contain the word “Jesus,” but many other Pauline verses combine “Jesus” and “Christ.”

2. Confirmed:many verses report that Jesus was raised from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:20; Rom. 1:4, 4:24; 2 Cor. 4:14; and more). Note, however, that there is no confirmation of the three days or the scriptural prophecy.

3. Not Confirmed:I could find no confirmation of the post-resurrection appearances in Paul’s epistles.

What other biographical details about Jesus can we find in Paul?

4. He was crucified: “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23; also 1 Cor. 2:2, Gal. 3:1, 2 Cor. 13:4, and more).

5. He was a descendant of David: “his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David” (Rom. 1:3).

6. He was betrayed: “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed” (1 Cor. 11:23; also 2 Tim. 2:8).

7. He asked that his followers eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of him (1 Cor. 11:23–6).

8. Jesus was killed by Jews: “the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus” (1 Thes. 2:14–15)

We can go further afield, into books that are almost universally rejected as authored by Paul. For example, 1 Tim. 6:13 places the trial of Jesus during the rule of Pontius Pilate, and Heb. 5:5 gives an adoptionist view of Jesus (that is, Jesus was a man adopted by God).

By the way, this list comes from my own search. Please point out any omissions.

If we stick to the reliably Pauline works and assume the authenticity of 1 Cor. 15, here is the Gospel of Paul:

Jesus died for our sins by crucifixion and was then raised from the dead three days later, according to prophecy. He was seen by many after the resurrection. He was a descendant of David, he was betrayed, he defined a bread and wine ritual for his followers, and the Jews killed him.

The End.

The Gospel of Paul is one brief paragraph. It arguably has the most important element—death as a sacrifice for our sins and resurrection—but very little else.

No parables of the sheep and the goats, or the prodigal son, or the rich man and Lazarus, or the lost sheep, or the good Samaritan. In fact, no Jesus as teacher at all.

No driving out evil spirits, or healing the invalid at Bethesda, or cleansing the lepers, or raising Lazarus, or other healing miracles. As far as Paul tells us, Jesus performed no miracles at all.

No virgin birth, no Sermon on the Mount, no feeding the 5000, no public ministry, no cleansing the temple, no final words, and no Great Commission. Paul doesn’t even place Jesus within history—there’s nothing to connect Jesus with historical figures like Caesar Augustus, King Herod, or Pontius Pilate.

Perhaps everyone to whom Paul wrote his letters knew all this already? Okay, but presumably they already knew about the crucifixion, and Paul mentions that 13 times. And the resurrection, which Paul mentions 14 times.

Paul indirectly admits that he knew of no Jesus miracles.

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:22–3)

Why “a stumbling block”? Jesus did lots of miraculous “signs”—why didn’t Paul convince the Jews with these? Paul apparently didn’t know any. The Jesus of Paul is not the miracle worker that we see in the Jesus of the gospels.

But perhaps the problem is Jews demanding actual miracles performed in front of them, not merely stories of miracles. That shouldn’t be a problem either. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12). And, indeed, Luke (that is, the author of both Luke and Acts) reports that this happened. Peter healed a lame man (Acts 3:1–8) and raised a woman from the dead (Acts 9:36–42), Philip exorcised demons to heal people (Acts 8:5–8), and “the apostles performed many signs and wonders” (Acts 5:12).

Again, the Jesus of Paul isn’t the Jesus of the gospels. Robert Price questions whether Paul even imagined an earthly Jesus (Bible Geek podcast for 10/3/12 @ 1:15:10). I’ve written more about the evolution of the Jesus story here.

What would Paul have said about the philosophical issues that divided the church for centuries? These don’t mean much to most of us today because they’ve long been decided, but they were divisive in their day—whether Jesus was subordinate to God or not, whether Jesus had a human body or not, whether he had a human nature or not, whether he had two wills or not, whether the Holy Spirit was part of the Godhead, and so on. No one knows how Paul would have resolved them or even if they crossed his mind.

The Gospel of Paul is more evidence that the Jesus story is a legend that grew with time.

Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
Faith must trample underfoot
all reason, sense, and understanding.
— Martin Luther

Photo credit: Wikimedia

"Except for the part about using the finest truffles, yes."

Science and Christianity: A Dangerous Mixture
"Right. The hypothesis is called the Zero-Energy Universe. I guess the "net" is silent."

Science and Christianity: A Dangerous Mixture
"I know the minimum of Thomism, what about it makes it like paganism?"

Science and Christianity: A Dangerous Mixture
"For some reasons, Flat Earthers believe that a round earth is a NASA conspiracy. They ..."

Science and Christianity: A Dangerous Mixture

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • S73

    Here’s the bottom line. Paul saw a vision that he was willing to die for & claimed the vision was Jesus. it also caused him to change his life and spread Christianity through out the world for the rest of his life until executed for his beliefs.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I have things that happen to me that keep me motivated for about 2 days and then it’s same old same old. He saw something that motivated him for life regardless of the consequences.

    Paul also met w/ James and Cephas to receive 1st hand accounts about Jesus most likely between 30-40 CE (most likely within the decade of Jesus’s death). Why do I know this? B/c Paul mentions that King Aretas of the Nebateans wanted to prosecute him for his Christian beliefs and he died in 40CE. So Paul’s conversion happened well before 40CE and he visited James and Cephas 3 years after his conversion. That makes him a convert and & puts him meeting w/ Cephas & James within the same decade of Jesus’s death. So he has a 1st hand account within a few year of the crucifixion from James and Cephas.

    As for no miracles? I would say rising from the dead is pretty high up there. Again, told to him by James and Cephas (if he didn’t already know) something they believed in so much so they too were willing to die for. You might find looneys that are willing to die for certain causes, but you won’t find anyone, let alone a dozen plus people willing to die for a hoax or something they know to be myth.

    Saying he did not exist is a modern notion and we as a modern society seem to be getting more and more arrogant in saying that we don’t need God. In essence almost putting ourselves above God.

    Did anyone on here ever wonder why the US historically has been the most Christian nation in Earth’s history and has seemed to be blessed above all others? Just saying’

    • Let me suggest an alternative bottom line: all we have are copies of Acts + letters written by Paul. We’re not exactly sure what he said and what’s been added. That the epistles say something doesn’t mean that it’s actually true.

      He saw something that motivated him for life regardless of the consequences.

      Yes, it says that. No, that doesn’t mean that it actually happened.

      You can search for “die for a lie” to find a post that undercuts that Christian apologetic as well.

      modern society seem to be getting more and more arrogant in saying that we don’t need God.

      Let’s first decide if God exists or not. I see very little evidence.

      Did anyone on here ever wonder why the US historically has been the most Christian nation in Earth’s history and has seemed to be blessed above all others? Just saying’

      Did you toss that out as an actual serious argument or just chum?

      Just sayin’.

  • RichardSRussell

    “Why would you conclude that those who commit child rape, torture, mayhem, murder and genocide are true believers?”

    Lollipops are a type of candy.
    That doesn’t mean that all candy is lollipops.

    You are reading backwards from what I actually wrote.

  • Albert

    #3 CONFIRMED:
    1 Cor 15:4-8
    4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
    ~Paul

    • By “Confirmed,” I mean that it was confirmed somewhere besides this passage, which is suspect.

  • Albert

    Also, just wanted to clarify your point on Jesus being a stumbling block to the Jews. Paul does not mean that Jesus was a stumbling block because the Jews wanted miracles and that Jesus didn’t perform any. What he means is that, as he says in the verse, the message of “Christ crucified” is the stumbling block to the Jews. For the Jews, they had been (and are still) waiting for a Messiah who would save them not just spiritually but also politically. They wanted a king who would free them, from Roman rule and establish a new earthly kingdom. But what was the message of the Gospel? It was that Jesus was killed and crucified on a cross. To the Jews, it was incomprehensible that the Messiah could be crucified, “for a hanged man is cursed by God” (Deut 21:22-23). Many Jews had begun to follow Jesus precisely because He did perform many miracles. However, the moment Jesus was crucified, almost all of them turned away because they saw it as this savior being defeated.

    But history shows that ALL the initial Christians were Jews! How do you explain the sudden change? It’s because they saw this Jesus die, but then saw Him come back to life! Ultimately, the resurrection was the greatest miracle the Jews would ever see that would make them believe, even to the point of death…

    • Albert

      …The question of whether or not Jesus historically, physically came back to life is at the center of Christianity. If Jesus would have stayed dead, then Christianity would have stayed dead with Him. In fact, it would never have even begun, as the term Christianity only was coined after people were going around saying they saw the resurrected Jesus.

      Nothing upsets me more than Christians who think it wouldn’t be a big deal if Jesus’ bones were actually found (not the host of hoaxes we’ve seen to this day). Nothing would be stupider than for a Christian to continue to believe that Jesus was who He said He was, if He in fact didn’t resurrect.

      Paul knew this:
      1 Corinthians 15:14, 19
      And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

      • Albert

        …Therefore, it all comes back to that question of “Did Jesus really resurrect from the dead?” Was the tomb indeed empty?

        In all my research and searching, it’s only made me more and more certain that the answer to that question is a definitive YES!

        If Jesus didn’t resurrect, or if the disciples stole the body, or all this was a myth that was made up, it makes no sense how Christianity would have ever begun back in that 1st century. How would the disciples have gone from begin complete cowards to becoming martyrs? Why would they have died for something they knew to be a lie? The life of Paul would make ZERO sense! How does a Jew who hated and went around killing Christians, suddenly become a Christian? But if they saw someone come back to life, it can be the only thing that explains these sudden changes.

        I would check out this debate on this very issue:
        http://youtu.be/Ksa8uGe21rw
        This debate is old but the content is good.

        • I’ve responded to the crucifixion story here. And I don’t think much of the naysayer hypothesis (“If the story were false, eyewitnesses would’ve snuffed it out”); more here.

          if the disciples stole the body, or all this was a myth that was made up

          No one says that it was invented. The only group that advances the “they stole the body!” hypothesis is Christians eager for a straw man.

          it makes no sense how Christianity would have ever begun back in that 1st century.

          And how do you explain the thousands of other religions that appeared? Does it also make no sense that they could appear and not be historically grounded?

          How would the disciples have gone from begin complete cowards to becoming martyrs?

          ‘Cause it’s a legend! Do you believe that Merlin actually was a real wizard?

      • If Jesus would have stayed dead, then Christianity would have stayed dead with Him.

        What?? You’re saying that every religion’s existence is proof of the truth of the supernatural claims it makes about its beginnings?

        Let me propose an alternate interpretation of the facts: Jesus was a charismatic rabbi. After his death, stories of his exploits grew with the retelling until documented decades later in the gospels.

        Nothing upsets me more than Christians who think it wouldn’t be a big deal if Jesus’ bones were actually found

        First, of course: many would reject the claim (quite possibly me!) because the evidence from so long ago would be flimsy. But even to a Christian who believed this, so what? This is a bump in the road for Christianity when you think of what it has weathered so far. Christianity is like an amoeba that changes shape as necessary. The earth actually isn’t the center of the universe but is actually an insignificant dust speck in some forgotten corner of just one of 100 billion galaxies? Not a problem. And so on.

      • RichardSRussell

        “Paul knew this:”

        More accurately, “People who translated the transliteration of the translation of the transcription of the original oral tradition claimed that the guy who claimed to be Paul claimed to know this:”

        Hey, can I interest you in some aluminum siding? I know for a rock-solid fact it’s the best deal you’ll ever get in your entire lifetime.

        • Rick

          You totally twist what the previous writer said and mock him and his comment, then smugly act as if you had made a cogent point. This kind of lack of seriousness and derision is why I seldom comment in the hostile environment of this blog. You mistake insults for conversation. Not very inviting for others to seriously participate.

        • RichardSRussell

          You are mistaken.
          I do not lack derision.

          Frankly, anybody who can claim — straight up, without irony — that Paul “knew” anything deserves to be derided.

          One of my many problems with Christians is their bizarre interpretation of the word “know” as applying to things that can’t possibly be known, and I’m sorry that you can’t see the relevance of that to the conversation when I call them out on it.

    • The Jews want signs? Not a problem–tell them about all the signs.

      … or perhaps Paul doesn’t know any.

      The only explanation for a new religion is a miracle? Lots of new religions have appeared through history. I’m sure there are lots of explanations besides just this one.

      As for “to the point of death,” is this the “why would they die for a lie?” argument? I don’t think much of it.

    • RichardSRussell

      “But history shows that ALL the initial Christians were Jews! How do you explain the sudden change? It’s because they saw this Jesus die, but then saw Him come back to life!”

      History also shows that ALL the initial Mormons were Christians! How do you explain the sudden change? It’s because they saw this Joseph Smith guy die for what he believed in, so he must have been sincere, right? No need to go to all the extra trouble of returning from the dead; just dying alone was able to do it.

      Google “the Great Disappointment” and find out how the followers of William Miller abandoned him in droves when his prediction of the end of the world failed to materialize in 1844. Ha ha, only kidding. Their faith became stronger than ever, and they eventually coalesced into the denomination now known as the 7th-Day Adventists.

      Hell, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels died for what they believed in, too, and for the next half century there were true-believing Nazis who were convinced they were hiding out somewhere in Latin America and would return to lead the Fourth Reich to its justly deserved glory.

      If we’ve learned anything about cognitive dissonance, it’s that true believers will cling tenaciously to what they believe despite its utter ludicrousness or complete discreditation, because the certainty and familiarity are more important to them than the truth — or, in some cases, than life itself.

      For insights into this reality-denying mindset, you cannot do better than Eric Hoffer’s 1951 book The True Believer.

      • Rick

        History also shows that ALL the initial Mormons were Christians!

        Do you have data to back up this bold assertion?

        • RichardSRussell

          At least as much as the original claim that all initial Christians were Jews. Why is it, prithee, that you expect me to meet a standard that you don’t hold out for the claims of Christians? Could this possibly be yet another example of the logical fallacy known as “special pleading” (QV)?

        • Didacus

          Given the history of Mormonism that’s neither a bold nor particularly surprising assumption. What do you think the residents of upstate New York were in the 1830s? Buddhists?

        • jonathanhakim

          Uh, quite a few 19th century New York residents had given up belief in the Bible and didn’t practice religion of any sort.

    • Didacus

      Well, you omit a lot of historical events to reach your conclusions.
      In the 1st century Middle East there were a lot of potential messiahs. Many were even named Yashu (Jesus). Why so you many Jewish followers dropped out of the cult was because of the failed revolts and subsequent disfavor of Jews in the Empire.
      If Saul of Tarsus had not come along with his incredible theology Christianity probably would have disappeared–especially after the death of Yashu’s brother James and the destruction of the sect in Jerusalem.
      James is evidently was upset with Saul and sent Peter to straighten things out. Since Saul preached heavily in goyish communities it makes sense that after the put down of Israel the goys create their religion by mixing their own religious beliefs and understanding with what survived from Saul.
      The Christianity of today was devised and defined under Constantine for his own purposes. He understood religion as the opiate of the masses and the handle of the wealthy and powerful.

  • Elvic Geo

    The teaching that jesus was sent to die for our sins is
    not true, it is all made up by the apostles to hide the truth that jesus was
    punished by God through the beatings of men for pretending to be a son of God.
    More than that, the Almighty God has a law in “Fathers shall not be put to
    death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is
    to die for his own sin.

    Deuteronomy 24:16 (NIV)

    “each is to die for his own sin” – each man will answer for his own
    sin, no one is to be punished for another’s sin. So to say that God allowed
    jesus to die for us is to make God a liar because you made it appear that He
    broke His own law in deut.24:16 and even made HIM an unrighteous God because He
    allowed a so-called sinless man to be killed like a “beast” for the
    sins of others. Everyone who has committed sin will pay for it. Let us read the
    elaboration…

    The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of
    the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness
    of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked
    will be charged against him.

    Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV)

    We will be responsible for our sins we commit to God and to other men. Do we
    still need Jesus for our sins to be forgiven?

    “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and
    keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he
    will not die.

    Ezekiel 18:21 (NIV)

    We cannot say that jesus was without sin – for he was born of a woman and a man
    born of a woman cannot claim that he is without sin?

    How then can a man be righteous before God?

    How can one born of woman be pure?

    If even the moon is not bright

    and the stars are not pure in his eyes,

    how much less man, who is but a maggot –

    a son of man, who is only a worm!”

    Job 25:4-6 (NIV) We are all born free, with freedom to make choices, no one may
    say that he had not committed sin in his lifetime. The question now is what was
    jesus death for? There is a Word of God about Jesus-the descendant/offspring of
    King David that we should know:

    2 Samuel 7:12-14 (NIV)

    12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up
    your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish
    his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will
    establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he
    will be my son. WHEN HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY
    MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS

    In the said verses: 2 Samuel 7:12-14 – we can read that God speaks of a coming
    offspring of David and not a literal “son of God” as what the
    religions preach.

    Is it really true that Jesus was a descendant of David?

    …to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of
    David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:27 (NIV)

    Jesus’ true father is Joseph who belongs to the house of David. So if we are to
    believe the teaching of the religions that Jesus is the “son of God,” then it
    should be Mary who should belong to the house of David.

    And in:

    You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the
    name Jesus.

    Luke 1:31 (NIV)

    And who was Jesus’ father?

    He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will
    give him the throne of his father David. Luke 1:32 (NIV)

    “will be called” – As you have read it, Jesus was only a son or a
    descendant of David not a real son of God;” he was just a man.

    Is it true that Jesus is a son of David? Let us read in:

    A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham-
    Matt 1:1(NIV)

    Now we can see that the prophecy in 2 Sam7:12-14 about a coming descendant of
    David and not a son of God has been fulfilled.

    Considering the prophecy in II Samuel 7:12-14 that if the descendant of David
    commits a wrong or an iniquity, he will be punished with the rod of men. Was
    Jesus-the descendant of King David punished by the rod and floggings of men?

    All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our
    children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged,
    and handed him over to be crucified. Matthew 27:25-26 (NIV)

    Indeed, Jesus was flogged by men which when we read again what God stated in
    the prophecy in 2 Sam 7:14: “I will be his father, and he will be my son. WHEN
    HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS
    INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS”

    We can discover for ourselves that based on what God said in the prophecy that
    the real reason why He allowed Jesus -the descendant of king David to be beaten
    by men was not for our sins but for his (Jesus) own wrongdoing.

    What you are reading now about Jesus as only a son of David who was punished by
    God by the floggings of men and not a son of God is what Jesus wants all of us
    to know about him as this is his testimony in Revelation 22:16

    “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am
    the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

    Revelation 22:16 (NIV)

    Jesus said in Revelation 22:16 that he has sent an “angel” or a
    messenger who will testify or show to us that he is only a root and offspring
    of David and the bright morning star- When Jesus said “he is a root and
    offspring of David,” this means he is not a literal son of God; but only an
    offspring or descendant of David. Jesus also said he is the “bright
    morning star” which means he was the man described in Isaiah 14:9-20 as
    the man whom the whole world will shockingly know as one who was punished by
    God for claiming to be god (Isa.14:12-16)

    Before you reply on this-it is best that you read the full Bible revelation of
    Teacher Erano Martin Evangelista in this link:

    http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/jesusspeaks-en.html

    • I’m not familiar with your religion/philosophy. What’s it called?

    • RichardSRussell

      Man, blood, floggings, beatings, crucifixions, death, misery … You sure know how to lure in the customers, don’t you?

    • ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
      You guys are no different and your own religion is no closer to the mark than the Roman Catholic church.

  • Who knows what Paul really thought about Jesus?
    None of his original writings survive – only copies and translations. As things stand alone, Paul never met Jesus or was subjected to his teachings – whatever they really were.
    Again, none of the original writings survive.
    One thing we do know is that the Jesus myth predates christianity in pagan religions just like the Jewish kings and such were actually borrowed from Egyptian stories.
    Religion can’t face these truths, because fanaticism is the brother of doubt.

    • jonathanhakim

      Pretty much no “original” writings of anything survive from anywhere near that date…I’m not at all sure why you think you need the original writings. Since Paul’s letters were almost certainly copied down before being sent to other churches, even his own churches mostly didn’t have his “original writings”.

      As far as translations…not necessary. Nearly all of Paul’s writings can be found in manuscripts the original Greek (such as Papyrus 46) from as early as the 2nd century.

      • You need early writings to know what the original authors said. Any claim that Paul said anything is only a probabalistic statement.

        • jonathanhakim

          ALL statements about history are probabalistic statements, Bob.

          And I would call the quotes from Ignatius (who became a bishop soon after Paul was martyred) and Marcion (who wrote in a time frame when some who had heard Paul himself may still have been alive) to be pretty darn early.

        • They are indeed pretty darn early. Historians are delighted to have such early evidence.

          Nevertheless, for such a remarkable claim as that there is a supernatural being who created everything, this barely begins to get at the magnitude of evidence necessary to support it.

        • jonathanhakim

          Your reply is getting a little bit to the ridiculous side of red herring. Even if we had an original letter of Paul, what the heck would that have to do with proving that there was a supernatural being who created everything?

        • If you want to answer that question with “Nothing,” I’m fine with that, though I wouldn’t go quite that far.

          And, of course, millions of Christians would salivate in precisely the opposite direction, saying that this makes the mountain of evidence even stronger for their position. If you’re laughing at that thinking, OK, I’m sympathetic.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Even if we had an original letter of Paul, what the heck would that have to do with proving that there was a supernatural being who created everything?”

          Potentially quite a lot, actually. Since Christians make this extraordinary claim for Jesus, it would be fascinating to see if Paul’s writings actually square up to this claim, or if they’ve been tampered with in order to make them more congruent to the gospel stories. It’s odd how there’s a big hole in the manuscript evidence that centers around the 1st century, but we’ve just got to make the best of it, I guess.

        • jonathanhakim

          What hole do you imagine in the manuscript evidence? New Testament manuscripts have been found closer to their 1st century source than any other writings we have. Name one well-known writing from that period that is as early and as well-sourced as the NT writings.

          Josephus? Our earliest are from the 10th and 11th centuries
          Pliny? Nothing before the 9th century
          Tactitus? Have to go all the way to the 12th century

          But the best is the philosophers…Plato, writing in the 4th century BC, can’t be found in a manuscript until the 9th century!!!
          And Aristotle? 850 A.D.

          So for nearly all other ancient writings, you’re talking somewhere around 1000 years as the gap between the originals and our first manuscripts. But you get a gap of 50-100 years for Christian writings, and somehow that’s a suspicious “big hole”.

        • Name one well-known writing from that period that is as early and as well-sourced as the NT writings.

          Irrelevant. Let’s assume that New Testament records are the best. They’re still hardly good enough to support the remarkable claims of Christianity.

          “Yeah, but the videocamera hadn’t been invented yet.” I don’t care.

          And Aristotle? 850 A.D.

          Where the documents make testable statements, we don’t care what Aristotle said. The copyist could’ve corrected the great man, and that would be interesting only to historians. Where Aristotle makes untestable, religious statements, no one cares. That’s the difference.

          But you get a gap of 50-100 years for Christian writings, and somehow that’s a suspicious “big hole”.

          Not suspicious, but it’s still a very big hole. And, of course, that’s just the beginning. If you had the original document written one day after the resurrection claim for some other religion, would you switch horses?

        • jonathanhakim

          As I’ve already pointed out, I was responding specifically to wtf’s assertion that this was some “odd” big hole.

          And your question is so out of context that it’s completely meaningless. The only answer any human could honestly give to that question is “no”.

        • Hmm. Seems to be quite a bit more meat in my last comment than was replied to, but whatever.

        • wtfwjtd

          “So for nearly all other ancient writings, you’re talking somewhere around 1000 years as the gap between the originals and our first manuscripts. But you get a gap of 50-100 years for Christian writings, and somehow that’s a suspicious “big hole”.”

          The big difference between those other ancient writings and the New Testament is, they aren’t claiming that a man can literally walk on water, that he’s capable of instantaneous transmutation of matter, and, most remarkable of all, that a dead man can raise his body back to life after 1 1/2 -3 days. No, shaky to non-existent manuscript evidence is only the start of Christianity’s problems; it still has a huge mountain to climb, to demonstrate that any of these remarkable claims are even remotely possible. To date, it hasn’t even come close to providing the kind of convincing evidence that would demonstrate that any of this actually happened, or is even possible.

        • jonathanhakim

          wtf, I was responding to your insinuation that a gap in the late 1st century as at all suspicious by pointing out that to expect a shorter gap is ridiculous.

          As far as the claims made, you wouldn’t believe those even if you had the original writings. You keep spouting off rhetoric here – back up a second and be real.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m saying that original writings for these extraordinary claims is only the first step in vouching for their veracity, and we don’t even have that. Oh yes, I freely admit it would take more, much more than this to convince me. But that’s just the point–we don’t even have this first, basic step, just copies of copies of copies (etc) of extraordinary supernatural claims.
          Let’s hold the claims of spouting off rhetoric here please, since rhetoric and not evidence is all that Christianity offers. If you can produce evidence to back up the extraordinary claims of Christianity, I’ll happily take a look. I can be convinced–but it takes evidence, not emotion, or a great story, to do the job.

        • jonathanhakim

          But it’s not a “First Step”, it’s a “Red Herring”. Having an original copy is not something that we ever have of any ancient text, it’s not something that we could ever expect to have under any reasonable circumstances, and it would do nothing to prove the claims of Christianity true.

          Your rhetorical statement was “It’s odd how there’s a big hole in the manuscript evidence that centers around the 1st century, but we’ve just got to make the best of it, I guess.”

          But it’s not odd, it’s the absolute norm for ALL historical texts. It’s not a “big hole”, it’s by far the smallest hole for anything from that time period. And you have no desire to “make the best of it”, but claim that it’s a necessary first step that disqualifies us from proceeding further. I think that path is ridiculous and could only be suggested by someone whose mind was made up long before they embarked on it.

        • wtfwjtd

          All right, let’s set aside the early manuscript problems for the moment then. Do you actually accept and believe the rather extraordinary supernatural claims of Christianity? If so, what convinced you? Or did you just grow up believing it because everyone around you also believed?

        • jonathanhakim

          Answering the questions in reverse:

          I didn’t become a Christian until I was in university. For the record, I was studying physics and doing excellent academically, was planning a career in research science, and had a special interest in evolution and the origins of life and spent quite a good bit of time in that stage of my life conversing with other scientists on those subjects, My university, like most elite science and engineering institutions, was only about 10-20% serious Christians. So no, I didn’t “grow up believing it because everyone around me also believed”.

          What convinced me to follow Christ was a complex story (as are all serious life decisions at their root), but most of the key components were measuring Christ’s words against my own experience and seeing their truth in how they made sense of my life, the positive experience I had of how my life changed when I followed in his ways, personal experience that I had of connection and communication with God that was in the context of my Christian experience, and, to a much smaller degree than those three, indeed some supernatural experiences.

          I’m not sure specifically which supernatural claims you are referring to, but I’d say simply that the resurrection seems to me to be a rather essential part of the faith and understanding Christ’s life and the actions of the disciples afterwards, that the virgin birth does not seem that way to me, and that the various stories of physical and spiritual healing and control over natural elements are somewhere in the middle.

        • How do you know that your supernatural experiences came from Jesus? Maybe they came from another source and you just put a Jesus face on them.

          Heck, maybe they came from the Dark Lord designed to deceive you. I presume that you’ll quickly admit that you’re fallible. Maybe your interpretation of these experiences was wrong.

        • jonathanhakim

          The quick answer is that context is everything.

          But I’d agree that supernatural experience is nothing to hang your hat on. That’s why I quite clearly stated “and to a much smaller extent than those three”.

        • wtfwjtd

          Thanks for your honesty. I grew up steeped in Christianity, and didn’t take a closer look until later in life. Yes, I was a true believer, and even a preacher at one time. But the closer at the extraordinary claims of Christianity I looked, the less I liked what I saw. I decided to follow the evidence where it led, and eventually de-converted.
          I see for you, mostly what draws you to the faith is what kept me in it: Mostly personal and emotional experiences, with maybe an interesting random event or two thrown in here and there.

          Among the many extraordinary supernatural claims of Christianity that I’ve seen zero credible evidence for: walking on water; instantaneous transmutation of matter; and biggest of all–raising the dead back to life. None of these can be replicated by Christians of today, or any era, even though Jesus promised his disciples that if they believed, they could do “greater works than his”. Don’t this ever give you a moment’s pause, that you’ve never seen any of this, not ever?

        • jonathanhakim

          Thanks for that reply. I haven’t been happy with how I’ve been acting in a lot of this thread, and of course haven’t been impressed with your tone all the time either, but we’re getting to a better place right now.

          As for your interpretation of John 14:12, you’re assuming that by “greater works than these”, he’s referring to the kind of miracles you listed. But there’s no reason to assume that the text is talking about miracles, nor is there any evidence that anyone in early Christianity believed that disciples of Jesus could all perform great miracles. In fact, Paul says that’s not true. And nowhere in the New Testament does anyone portray the disciples performing miracles greater than Jesus. That seems to make it unlikely that that would be the reasonable interpretation of that verse.

          I would suggest, rather, that the clear context of the “works” in question is in terms of ministry and spreading the gospel of the Kingdom of God. That’s the context of Jesus’s whole speech – what the disciples are going to do after he leaves them, how they are going to live and preach in unity and how many others are going to see them and follow. Those are works which the disciples, and many after them, clearly did to a far greater extent than Jesus, who still had a tiny following at the time of his death.

        • wtfwjtd

          Once again, I appreciate your honesty, and I can tell you’ve spent a fair amount of time studying this subject. We’re not going to agree on some things here, but that’s OK–we can both enjoy a good discussion on the subject, and agree to disagree. There are several others here that are regulars at Bob’s blog that like a good discussion too, and of course as you’ve discovered Bob likes to spar on issues relating to apologetics. We get the occasional troll, but things stay fairly civil most of the time, although having a fairly thick skin is a good asset at times.

          Don’t be afraid to present your arguments–but a word of advice–bring your “A” game for this crowd. The weak, basic stuff for the already convinced believer like that from Strobel, Wallace, et al., won’t cut it here. I try to keep things civil and respectful on my end, and succeed, most of the time, I think. Like I said, though, a thick skin is a good thing to develop, it will come in handy from time to time.

        • wtfwjtd

          “But there’s no reason to assume that the text is talking about miracles, nor is there any evidence that anyone in early Christianity believed that disciples of Jesus could all perform great miracles. In fact, Paul says that’s not true.”

          There’s every reason to assume the text is talking about Jesus-style miracles. Sorry, but Paul agrees with me: 2 Cor 12:12–” I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.”

          No miracles, and you’re a false apostle, so saith Paul.

        • jonathanhakim

          As far as “extraordinary claims of Christianity” goes, I highly recommend the academic works of NT Wright, especially “Jesus and the Victory of God”. One major issue with current “claims” is that fundamentalist protestants have often put words into Jesus’s mouth that he didn’t actually say, due to their preconceived assumptions and lack of understanding of the context. A number of my biggest confusions/doubts about certain points in the synoptic gospels were cleared away quite effectively when I read Wright and saw far more logical explanations for what had been said.

        • To your point, the question of manuscript authenticity is a biggie, but even if we had a next-day account about a miracle story in our own time, we wouldn’t accept it credulously. And yet Christians claim that these ancient documents separated from the originals by centuries, and they from the events by decades, are totally believable.

        • wtfwjtd

          “To your point, the question of manuscript authenticity is a biggie,”

          Oh, it certainly is, and I maintain that it’s a major stumbling block to accepting Christianity’s extraordinary claims.

          “And yet Christians claim that these ancient documents separated from the originals by centuries, and they from the events by decades, are totally believable.”

          Not just believable; they fail to see any problem with this. If this were any other area besides religion, people would be a lot more skeptical.

        • Having an original copy is not something that we ever have of any ancient text, it’s not something that we could ever expect to have under any reasonable circumstances

          True. Perhaps you’re seeing the enormous mountain you must climb to prove this extraordinary claim. “Yeah, but we don’t have much evidence” is no excuse.

          But it’s not odd, it’s the absolute norm for ALL historical texts.

          Do I hear a plea that we run the gospel story through the historical gauntlet just like we do for the story of any other figure from history? Have at it. You won’t like what’s left, however.

      • wtfwjtd

        Papyrus 46 is impressive–if incomplete. Dating to the end of the 2nd century, it’s still 100+ years after Paul. That’s still plenty of time for funny business and hanky-panky to creep in, for efforts to harmonize Paul’s writings with the gospels, for example.
        Too bad there aren’t anything like complete manuscripts of the entire NT until at least the 4th century–no telling what kinds of interesting (potentially embarrassing) differences we might find.

        • Perhaps worse than the changes, what books are completely lost to history, whether through willful destruction or simply neglect because they weren’t canonical?

        • wtfwjtd

          “Perhaps worse than the changes, what books are completely lost to history, whether through willful destruction or simply neglect because they weren’t canonical?”

          An excellent question, one that I also share. As your post makes clear, it’s rather amazing how little Paul knew about Jesus. Maybe someone else knew a little too much about him, and his work “got lost”? Speculation I know, but still a fascinating question, and one worth considering.

        • jonathanhakim

          It’s strange that in the same circles, you can find claims that Paul clearly knew almost nothing about the gospel accounts of Jesus, and that Christians have secretly altered his writings to harmonize them with the gospel accounts of Jesus!

          It’s fairly easy to show a general lack of the “hanky-panky” you describe. First off, early manuscripts occur in several languages from several countries which were under unrelated and non-communicating Christian leadership. So the “hanky-panky” you describe would have to not only have happened in Greek, and spread over the Greek world so that no rogue manuscripts got copied, but then translated into Coptic and Syriac and sent to all those churches across the world too!

          And among many other issues that make that unlikely is that the letters are heavily quoted in church writings from across the late 1st and early 2nd century…and none of those quotes reveal the alterations you suggest. And that would even include “heretics” like Marcion as early as 130, and church documents and fathers reaching back into 70-100. So the quick aligning must have been very early indeed.

          Besides, if church writings were altered in such a way, then why would there still be so many discrepancies in the gospels themselves? You can’t have your cake and eat it too – if there was some widespread conspiracy to align all the New Testament writings, then it was just about the most incompetently executed conspiracy imaginable in terms of content…but absolutely amazing in its ability to eliminate all manuscript evidence of its actions.

        • No, W’s concern stands. Find the earliest copy of a verse in any source. Now show that the decades or centuries that separate it from the originals couldn’t have altered it in any important way.

          Yes, we have a bounteous harvest of the hanky-panky problem.

        • jonathanhakim

          You should know well that I can’t prove a negative. As I said already, ALL historical analysis deals in probabilities.

          But this is the argument you’re asking people to believe:

          1) Paul writes a letter, unaware that it contradicts an existing or soon-to-be-written gospel account.

          2) This letter is disseminated across the church.

          3) Someone writes a gospel account, unaware that it contradicts Paul’s letter.

          4) This gospel account is disseminated across the church.

          5) Some scribe realizes that there is a discrepancy, and changes Paul’s letter.

          6) This change is communicated across the Christian world, and all the letters have changed. Everyone in the clergy and hierarchy is okay with this. (presumably because they all are okay with living for a faith based on lies, despite several already being martyred for that faith by this period?) Meanwhile, all the congregations in which the letters are regularly read fail to notice the change, or are also okay with the lie.

          7) All previous copies are destroyed, so they don’t get copied by ignorant scribes and sneak into later work.

          8) This all happened, across multiple countries and languages, in a few decades between the 2nd half of the 1st century and the 1st half of the 2nd century.

          9) And yet, this still gave us a bunch of documents with a supposedly “jumbled, contradictory” nature. Because the whole ultra-controlled editing process was perfect in execution, but worthless in content?

          Sure, as with all historical events, there’s some probability that could have happened. But that seems extremely unlikely.

          What seems more likely is that scribes occasionally added or deleted information (possibly of their own initiative, more likely from other sources that were also in circulation), and that those additions/deletions would proceed to get copied and make their way forward in a few, but certainly not all, manuscripts as the church grew into places unfamiliar with the original. And that, nonsurprisingly, fits the evidence we have far better than your theory.

        • ALL historical analysis deals in probabilities.

          Then I wonder why we’re not on the same page since we’re so close. You have an unreliable record making what might be the most incredible claim ever. Drop the claim.

          Your account is very close, except for an enormous number of errors:

          3) Someone writes a gospel account, unaware that it contradicts Paul’s letter.

          Unconcerned that it contradicts Paul’s letter. “Yeah, well, in our church, we do things a little differently, thank you very much.”

          4) This gospel account is disseminated across the church.

          Multiple accounts develop in different places at different times, each going through a slightly different route.

          5) Some scribe realizes that the re is a discrepancy, and changes Paul’s letter.

          That could be one of a dozen reasons to motivate a change. Keeping Paul in line with Mark, say, wouldn’t be at the top of the list.

          6) This change is communicated across the Christian world, and all the letters have changed.

          “All letters”? Of course not. The half-life of these letters ain’t so great, remember? Some survive and some don’t. A change could be made, and that letter and its offspring might be the path that survives.

          they all are okay with living for a faith based on lies

          Nowhere do I imagine deliberate lying with malicious intent to deceive. Innocent errors + pious fraud.

          several already being martyred for that faith by this period

          Neither of us imagines dying for a lie.

          all the congregations in which the letters are regularly read fail to notice the change, or are also okay with the lie.

          1. Isn’t a malicious lie.

          2. How would a new congregation get offended an a difference between their copy and what an old copy they don’t have?

          7) All previous copies are destroyed, so they don’t get copied by ignorant scribes and snea k into later work.

          Nope.

          8) This all happened, across multiple countries and languages, in a few decades between the 2nd half of the 1st century and the 1st half of the 2nd century.

          The early church was a wild west, certainly while things were still fluid and oral, but also afterwards. You’re aware, I’m sure, of the different Christianities (Marcionites, Ebionites, Gnostics) and the dozens of forged documents and late gospels. Yeah, things were pretty crazy. Our own Bibles don’t change in front of our eyes, but it was a wee bit more fluid in the early days.

          this still gave us a bunch of documents with a supposedly “jumbled, contradictory” nature.

          Ah, now you’re getting it!

        • jonathanhakim

          Your account breaks down in multiple places (most after points 3 and 6, and the comment right before point 7), but one of the clearest errors is that you seem to be assuming that this is all happening in a world without established oral traditions, and if gospel manuscripts are just being presented to churches that don’t know any better what Jesus was on about.

          Of course, churches would be established on the outskirts that were like this. But considering that bishops were established in the main centers of Christianity within the first generation, it’s hard to see how rogue manuscript traditions from the far regions of the faith would not only come to supplant the traditions in the established centers, but manage to destroy all evidence of them.

        • you seem to be assuming that this is all happening in a world without established oral traditions

          Expand on this. What are these traditions, how reliable are they, and how do we know that this wouldn’t be just a minor route to spread the gospel rather than ordinary people passing along a remarkable story?

          considering that bishops were established in the main centers of Christianity within the first generation

          Like bishops stamp out false traditions? Like they can mind-control people to believing the one correct thing?

          You do know that the church was in enormous flux for centuries, right? The frikkin’ Trinity, for God’s sake, wasn’t established until the late 300s!

          And what’s false tradition? Were the Gnostics, Ebionites, and Marcionites false? Not within their communities!

          it’s hard to see how rogue manuscript traditions from the far regions of the faith …

          It doesn’t much matter if this seems hard to you or not; it happened. From the standpoint of Marcionism, rogue traditions did indeed come in and supplant them. Duplicate this problem for the many heretical variants of early Christianity. “Canonical” is in the eye of the beholder; there wasn’t an objectively correct Christianity ever. We have the victor in the battle, that’s all (hardly a strong statement for that interpretation being objectively correct).

        • jonathanhakim

          The “frikkin’ Trinity” is an attempt to explain the manifestation of God in 4th-century Greek philosophical terms. The main reason that it wasn’t explained in the early Church is because the 1st-century Jews who founded the church would have had no clue what those 4th-century gentiles were talking about.

          I’m not sure why you’re asking me what “false tradition” is – as far as I can tell, you were the one who used that phrase.

          Your assertion that “it happened”, when you have already admitted that you don’t have the evidence, is a quite odd example of false historical positivism. Can you elaborate a little more on a specific example of what you so forcefully claimed happened – “rogue manuscript traditions from the far regions of the faith not only supplanting the traditions in the established centers, but managing to destroy all evidence of them?”

          I didn’t say that bishops mind control anyone. All I pointed out was that the early centers of Christianity were well-established and would have had a continuous passing of tradition. So for your theory to work, it couldn’t occur in a vacuum of people with no books and no stories – it would have to have supplanted to the stories already established there.

          I’m not clear on what you want to know about oral tradition. A question like “how reliable are they” can’t be answered in the general collective for any kind of tradition, written or oral. But I’d say that, at least in the 1st century, some oral traditions would be more reliable than some written. To put it into modern terminology, the oral traditions are crowd-sourced, so any single person trying to change the tradition would be corrected by the large body of people who already know the established tradition.

        • The “frikkin’ Trinity” is an attempt to explain the manifestation of God in 4th-century Greek philosophical terms.

          So it’s just wordsmithing? Paul and the apostles had the same understanding of the Trinity as you do?

          I’m doubtful.

          The main reason that it wasn’t explained in the early Church …

          is because it wasn’t invented yet!

          Your assertion that “it happened”, when you have already admitted that you don’t have the evidence, is a quite odd example of false historical positivism.

          Early Christianity had many contradictory traditions that are now rejected. Some we still have evidence of, but we’ll never know of the ones simply lost through neglect.

          I’m sure you accept this. I don’t see what the difficulty is.

          “rogue manuscript traditions from the far regions of the faith not only supplanting the traditions in the established centers, but managing to destroy all evidence of them?”

          I don’t make this claim.

          I didn’t say that bishops mind control anyone.

          Good. Then we agree that the existence of bishops would have little effect on the existence of rogue beliefs within Christianity. Yes, they would try to enforce orthodoxy; no, they wouldn’t completely succeed.

          it would have to have supplanted to the stories already established there.

          I’m missing your point. The world is plenty big enough for contradictory stories/traditions to simultaneously exist. Even in the same town, it’s easy to imagine Gnostic Christians and proto-orthodox Christians carrying on without much difficulty.

          I’m not clear on what you want to know about oral tradition.

          Some scrap of something to show that oral tradition is relevant to this discussion. You’re talking about trained scholars who would reliably pass along the gospel story? I find even this hard to believe, but forget that. Your challenge is showing that the higher volume transmission route of ordinary person to ordinary person wouldn’t still cause the same problem—the story evolving with time.

          any single person trying to change the tradition would be corrected by the large body of people who already know the established tradition.

          Huh?? You say X but I’m in the crowd and I stand up and say, “I’m sorry, jonathan, but Y is actually the case.” How do we resolve this? There are no books to consult. There is no authority.

          You can’t simply show that the gospel story might have traveled unchanged (which is itself unbelievable, but forget that) but that it did travel unchanged.

        • jonathanhakim

          If you really think that the difference between understanding from a 1st-century Jewish worldview and understanding from a 4th-century Greek worldview is “just wordsmithing”, then I don’t believe you understand how to think historically at all. This is going far beyond mere words. I guess I shouldn’t have used the words “terms”, because by terms I meant the basis on which the understanding is built, not just the words alone but the meaning that underlies those words.

          First off, of course Paul and the Apostles don’t have the same understanding of the Trinity as I do. I’m not a Jew, and I’ve grown up among a people that see the world a completely different way. I don’t think I could ever truly think about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the same way that they did.

          But you seem to still be assuming multitudes of things about me that aren’t true. As far as my understanding of God, Jesus, and the Spirit differs from the apostles, I’d hazard to guess it differs even more from the 4th-century Fathers. I would hope, but am not at all certain, that my understanding shares more with those who knew Jesus in life than with those who wrote the creed.

          I don’t think that “little effect” and “wouldn’t completely succeed” mean the same thing at all, but I don’t think we’ll get anywhere in that discussion. I am interested to what your internal thought process is about who wrote and distributed manuscripts in that time period.

          I do agree that Gnostic Christians and Christians carrying on the traditions of the apostles could co-exist easily in the same town. But they certainly wouldn’t be all of the same things, and there’s little evidence that they adhered to the same manuscripts. I’m curious to know whether you have any evidence at all of any of these 35+ non-Canonical gospels being read in a single “mainstream” church. (By “mainstream”, I’m using a far insufficient word to signify the tradition line that started with the apostles and Paul, the ones that would have been speaking together in Acts 15.) I know for certain that the canonical gospels, Paul’s letters, and nearly everything else we have in the New Testament were being read in those churches in the 2nd century. A few churches also read the Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, and a few others – but, not to my knowledge, Thomas or any of the so-called gospels you seem to think carry any weight in this discussion.

          Your decrying of oral tradition is ridiculous. I don’t know what you mean about bringing “trained scholars” into that discussion. The reason that oral tradition is sometimes stronger than written tradition is because a far larger base of people know it. The oral traditions about Jesus were widespread long before the written tradition existed. If someone brought Luke into a church, and read the story of the Good Samaritan, and that story conflicted with the story about Jesus that numerous people in the congregation already knew, do you think Luke’s version would carry any weight? In oral cultures, written traditions that conflict with preexisting oral traditions aren’t going to be able to be established. In fact, unless the community has a strong rational to believe something different, even oral traditions that conflict with already established oral traditions get tossed. Watch someone telling a story that people in the audience already know, and see what happens when they get a detail wrong. Even the children (especially the children, in fact, in our non-oral culture) know enough to shout out the correction.

          Your “X” and “Y” example shows how far off you are. The truth is, in a oral culture you say “X”, and voices throughout the crowd say “no, Y!” Please read an anthropological study of oral cultures – even oral cultures in recent memory would shine light on this for you, and due to the ubiquity of printing today it’s hard to say they would even match the degree of oral culture present in 1st century Palestine. Like I said, the authority is crowd-sourced. It wasn’t 1 person who heard what Jesus said. Over a three year ministry it would have been tens of thousands, and within a few years of his death it would have quickly been tens of thousands more. Someone changing significant details to known stories would be called out by the crowd who already knew these stories from many sources.

          As far as wordsmithing, Thomas is not a narrative. Calling it a gospel doesn’t make it a biography of Jesus. It’s just a bunch of quotes put together.

        • If you really think that the difference between understanding from a 1st-century Jewish worldview and understanding from a 4th-century Greek worldview is “just wordsmithing”, then I don’t believe you understand how to think historically at all.

          I was lampooning the idea that the difference between Paul’s understanding of how Jesus fit in vs. the Trinity are trivial. They’re not. The Trinity was invented, and that’s not what either Paul or Jesus said.

          I don’t think I could ever truly think about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the same way that they did.

          Sounds like one of you is wrong then.

          I would hope, but am not at all certain, that my understanding shares more with those who knew Jesus in life than with those who wrote the creed.

          More/less isn’t the issue. I’m simply saying that your understanding of the Trinity—an essential concept for Christianity, I’m sure you’ll agree—was not shared by the church fathers or Paul or Jesus. That’s a problem.

          I am interested to what your internal thought process is about who wrote and distributed manuscripts in that time period.

          I’ve written a few posts on that if you want more: “What Did the Original Books of the Bible Say?

          any evidence at all of any of these 35+ non-Canonical gospels being read in a single “mainstream” church.

          There’s the problem. Gnostic, Marcionite, and whatever origin your brand of Christianity had are just competitors. None had any better claim to anything since they were all mavericks from the standpoint of Judaism. They’re just cereal on the shelves. One became Cheerios, and the others the forgotten brands.

          By “mainstream”, I’m using a far insufficient word to signify the tradition li ne that started with the apostles and Paul, the ones that would have been speaking together in Acts 15.

          And there’s the problem again. You start with your canonical list as the baseline. You don’t start with your preferred destination but with a clean sheet of paper.

          Your decrying of oral tradition is ridiculous. I don’t know what you mean about bringing “trained scholars” into that discussion.

          Then explain the relevance of oral tradition. I’m missing it.

          The oral traditions about Jesus were widespread long before the written tradition existed.

          Sure—changing and evolving in real time. Not much of a firm base from which to discover the truth.

          If someone brought Luke into a church, and read the story of the Good Samaritan, and that story conflicted with the story about Jesus that numerous people in the congregation already knew, do you think Luke’s version would carry any weight?

          Huh? You think that contradictory stories are a problem? The Bible is full of ’em. Clearly, the flock is tolerant of such things.

          And I’m trying to gauge how you see these congregations. I’m imagining them as simply taking whatever they’re told. No? Do they all have eidetic memory? Do they have zero tolerance for ambiguity? This isn’t what I’d expect.

          In oral cultures, written traditions that conflict with preexisting oral traditions aren’t going to be able to be established.

          The book of Matthew was a summary of the oral tradition of that community. Where’s the problem? Of course, that’s not quite the tradition in the John community or the Luke community, and there may be fireworks when any two clash, but it’s too late then. The gospels are calcified and accepted, warts and all, as tradition. Of course, we do see pressure to amend them over time, but at least a written document is more stable than an oral tradition.

          even oral traditions that conflict with already established oral traditions get tossed.

          Wow—how do you know this? Just a gut feeling or is there anything substantial behind it?

          Watch someone telling a story that people in the audience already know, and see what happens when they get a detail wrong.

          Detail wrong? According to what standard? Just memory? Not much of a standard.

          You should read my rebuttal to the naysayer argument.

          Please read an anthropological study of oral cultures – even oral cultures in recent memory would shine light on this for you

          Spell this out for me. You’re saying that everyone in the culture was a trained oral historian with a fantastic memory, a passionate love of the truth, and a hatred for any new variants? Were they Vulcans?

          I think they were pretty much like people today, where a story can be in the paper about an event from yesterday and still get it wrong.

          Like I said, the authority is crowd-sourced.

          I get it. Don’t expect our journalistic or historical standards from 1st century people.

          Thomas is not a narrative. Calling it a gospel doesn’t make it a biography of Jesus.

          The experts call it a gospel. Deal with it.

        • jonathanhakim

          At this point, Mr. Siedensticker, all I can say is that you need to spend a little more time in an intellectual environment that understands these things, and yet which you respect enough to listen and allow yourself to be challenged. Your answers (primarily around, but not limited to, your weak understanding of oral tradition) betray a very modern and revisionist understanding of 1st-century cultures. Good luck continuing on your journey of learning.

          I’ll just make one last response to one statement of yours:

          “‘I don’t think I could ever truly think about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the same way that they did.’

          Sounds like one of you is wrong then.”

          Again, incredibly limited ‘modern’ (by which I mean stuck in that particular 20th-century worldview) thinking. The assumption that a human brain could fully understand God is ridiculous. Two people coming from significant different cultures are going to have different understandings of God. Both will be limited. Both could be faulty. But the fact that they are both partial shows immediately that there could be differences that are not necessarily wrong.

          The “Trinity” is clearly a model for something more complex than what we can understand. In physics, dealing with far simpler phenomena, scientists still often have to use multiple models to try to understand a single scenario. (The obvious is the wave model vs. the particle model for light, but in quantum physics the number of examples of such multiple-modeling situations grows exponentially.) Does this make the models wrong? Well, yes, in some sense they’re all limited. But a difference in two models doesn’t mean that one can be rejected. The 4th century Greek understanding of the Trinity and my understanding of the Trinity are both incomplete. I believe my understanding to be closer to the 1st century understanding, but I don’t know that for certain, and I’m sure that mine too is limited.

        • all I can say is that you need to spend a little more time in an intellectual environment that understands these things, and yet which you respect enough to listen and allow yourself to be challenged.

          Bluster is unhelpful. Are there problems? Then point them out and correct them.

          Your answers (primarily around, but not limited to, your weak understanding of oral tradition) betray a very modern and revisionist understanding of 1st-century cultures. Good luck continuing on your journey of learning.

          So just declare victory and move on? That helps illuminate the problem not at all.

          The assumption that a human brain could fully understand God is ridiculous.

          Granted. And …? I hope you’re not approaching this from the standpoint of having presupposed God.

          The “Trinity” is clearly a model for something more complex than what we can understand.

          No, the “Trinity” is clearly the blatherings of Iron Age priests trying to make sense out of myth and legend. They might as well be hammering stories about goblins into dogma.

          We first find a natural explanation for ideas like the Trinity—easy. If you have a supernatural one (that the Trinity actually describes the creator of the universe) then you’ve got a mountain of evidence to provide.

          In physics, dealing with far simpler phenomena, scientists still often have to use multiple models to try to understand a single scenario.

          In physics, we have data. Not so religion.

        • Kodie

          You mean the claim that 1st century scholars were not allowed out of their seats until they had memorized the oral history front-to-back and back-to-front? Why do you all think that? Where in the history of anything does it say that is how scholarship used to be? And they weren’t allowed to talk to anyone who wasn’t committed to memorizing it also, and so the oral history was thus preserved, because non-scholars weren’t allowed to even learn something that apparently was vital to their salvation? But these scholars who committed to memorization and recitation kept that information in their heads like it was a book until they happened upon a piece of paper and a pen to write it down word for exact precise word, because the message of the day had to be precise, not learned. I seriously have no idea what kind of image you have of humans who are able to form a secret society of memorizing stories that were not meant to be shared, just in case one of those non-scholar idiot blabbermouths corrupted the whole thing.

          Please let us know where in the history of anything that this is how humans ever behaved.

        • They probably wrote notes to themselves so they’d remember. I can see them now with ballpoint on their palms and forearms.

        • MNb

          You’re making a very common, but still quite silly mistake. If we want to understand how the people back then thought – what there concepts were – you’re right. But that’s not what BobS is interested in. If we want to figure out what those concepts can mean in our 21st Century – and many, many people claim it’s a lot – we need modern thinking by definition. You are the one who suffers from anachronistic thinking, not BobS.
          The past is buried and over. The Trinity is a concept of the past and hence should be buried and over as well.

        • Pofarmer

          The earliest Gospels are widely tbought to be, what, 30 years or so after Paul? And longer than that after his first works. Reason would conclude the Gospel authors don’t generally contradict Paul because they knew his works.

        • jonathanhakim

          If that was true, then there’d be no need for hanky-panky, right? I don’t see how you’re contradicting me.

          To be accurate, though, Mark is often dated to 60-70, or almost immediately after Paul.

        • Pofarmer

          I think that consensus is pretty much that Mark was written after the fall of the Temple, which puts it after 70. But, that notwithstanding, Mark could have had acess to Pauls work. I’m not attemptihg to contradict anything, I’m just pointing out that the Synoptic Gospels were later than Paul, and add details to Pauls story, not the other way around. Then, the later Gospels tend to add details to the earlier Gospels. It’s kinda freaky of peoples memories got better as they got further from events.

        • jonathanhakim

          AD 70 is less than 10 years after Paul died.

          The only reason I’ve ever seen to date Mark after 70, as opposed to the period between 60 and 70, is because of the assumption that Mark 13 is a supposed prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem, and thus must have been made up after the fact.

          But as N.T. Wright and others have shown, the details of Mark 13 show that it almost certainly originates before the fall of Jerusalem, since multiple significant details fail to match up to the events that actually happened, and match up far better to OT prophecies of condemnation. Yes, Jesus was predicting that Jerusalem would fall, but anyone who saw how deeply the rebels were egging for a fight could predict that if they assumed that God was not going to be on the rebels’ side. If the words had put into Jesus’s mouth, then terms like “flee to the hills” (exactly where the Roman legions were stationed) would have been clearly wrong (Christians actually fled to the valley). Showing that the words of Mark 13 were pre-70 of course doesn’t prove that Mark was written pre-70, but it takes away the only historical reason to insist that it was post-70. I think any dating from 60 to 80 fits with the evidence we have, though an earlier time frame is more likely considering the Matthew/Luke reliance.

        • What is the scholarly consensus on the dating of Mark?

        • wtfwjtd

          “It’s fairly easy to show a general lack of the “hanky-panky” you describe.”

          I don’t share your boundless confidence here. For example, the long endings of both Mark and John are spurious, and we know that Luke’s Lord’s supper narrative has been altered in significant ways.

          “And among many other issues that make that unlikely is that the letters are heavily quoted in church writings from across the late 1st and early 2nd century…and none of those quotes reveal the alterations you suggest.”

          Certain passages are heavily quoted–and no wonder, in an attempt to show that the followers of early Christianity were one big, happy family. Once again, there is abundant evidence of alterations to even some of these heavily quoted passages, and early Christianity contained plenty of dissension in the ranks. There’s plenty of room for hanky-panky here.

          “Besides, if church writings were altered in such a way, then why would there still be so many discrepancies in the gospels themselves?”

          Fair enough. Christians imagine that this lends credence to their veracity–when actually the opposite is true. The jumbled, contradictory nature of the gospels render them virtually useless as historical documents, and have rightly been judged so by secular scholarship. But this is to be expected, since they weren’t written to preserve history, but to pander to various early Christian factions. So in this sense, I’ll go along with your assertion that alterations can’t get too out of hand, as this might have alienated some early, important faction within the ranks.
          What criteria was used to determine canonical works vs. non-canonical? Strictly theology, not historical veracity. Not exactly a confidence-builder for the skeptic.

        • jonathanhakim

          Examples like the Mark ending are what prove the rule – it’s obviously not Mark’s writing, it didn’t make it into other manuscripts, plenty of earlier existing copies prove it wrong, it appears to have happened far later in the church’s history, and even several early Church fathers recognized the hanky-panky and called it into question.

          As far as the gospels being “virtually useless” as historical documents, that’s presupposition, not conclusion. Even respected secular historians like Borg would disagree heavily with you. The idea that they were written to “pander to certain factions” is a hypothesis with very little basis. And as far as the “canonical” versus “non-canonical” determination, I only have to assume that you haven’t done much research into that area. Name one gospel voted “non-canonical” that you believe shows better historical basis to be canonical, or a single church letter that should have been included but wasn’t.

        • We can realize that the long ending of Mark wasn’t original? Yay. That’s because we have two or more manuscript traditions. What about when there were two or more traditions, but one of them is lost to history? How would we even know to look in that place?

        • MNb

          Jona Lendering asks the same question in the link I gave above. But it’s a problem many branches of science have to deal with, the evolutionary tree of life being one example and the origin of the Solar System another. And I’m not even talking about the problems Planck-time poses for our understanding of the Big Bang.

        • jonathanhakim

          The longer ending of Mark survived as a manuscript tradition because it basically matched what followers of Christ already knew (not surprisingly so, as it appears to mostly be cobbled together from other existing accounts). Manuscript traditions aren’t abstract pieces of paper floating around, waiting to be grabbed. They existed within communities that already contained significant oral and manuscript tradition. For there to be a serious problem with a “lost” manuscript tradition, you’d have to explain not only how some manuscripts were changed, but how that change, if it contradicted any significant point of Christian history or theology, would then be applied to all other manuscript chains across the multi-lingual Christian world that spanned thousands of miles, and then how all the previous copies which contradicted the new change were lost to history.

          And, since we’re talking about Mark, you’d also have to explain how they managed to change all the copies of Matthew and Luke too.

          To suggest that something significant was lost to history, you’d have to believe in a process that not only would be convoluted and unlikely, but of which you don’t have the slightest evidence for. It seems like a concern only for those who already have had other concerns make up their minds for them.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Examples like the Mark ending are what prove the rule – it’s obviously not Mark’s writing, it didn’t make it into other manuscripts, plenty of earlier existing copies prove it wrong, it appears to have happened far later in the church’s history…”

          And yet it was still included, without question, into the canon. Not exactly confidence-inspiring. And if the modern majority scholarship consensus of Markan Priority is correct, that spurious long ending is the linchpin that holds the entire narrative of Christianity’s most extraordinary claim of resurrection together. Without it, and the whole thing falls apart before our eyes. Again, not very confidence-inspiring.

          “As far as the gospels being “virtually useless” as historical documents,”

          I should have been more careful with my wording here. They do have value as historical documents, but are nearly useless in attesting to the veracity of the events that they describe.

          The idea that they were written to “pander to certain factions” is one clearly supported by the gospels themselves, and is endorsed by plenty of scholars. The author of Mark aimed his narrative at a Greek audience, and had plenty of references to show he is catering to them. Matthew had the Jews in mind; he corrected some of Mark’s geographical errors and tossed in plenty of references to Hebrew scriptures, and made up “prophecies” in his bid to appeal to this crowd. John was written to cater to the Gnostics– do I really need to keep going here?

          I’ve done plenty of research in canonical vs. non-canonical. The only determination that I can deduce from this early process is that the books with the fewest contradictions, embarrassments, and absurd claims were chosen, and the rest were discarded as being too outrageous even for early Christians. Notice how historical accuracy isn’t included in that list?

        • jonathanhakim

          Someone who claims to have done a great deal of research in this area should not make as ignorant a claim as to think that the longer ending of Mark was the basis of ANY of the other gospel accounts of resurrection. Every single theory of Markan priority I’ve ever read is under the assumption that the cross-pollination happened long before the longer ending was added.

          (Not to mention 1 Corinthians, which would have been before all of them.)

        • jonathanhakim

          And no, I wouldn’t consider writing an account in a manner that was comprehensible to an audience to be “pandering” to them. The things you suggest that would be actual pandering are with poor basis. But yes, I certainly believe that they had certain audiences in mind – all writers do.

          And I didn’t ask you if historical accuracy was included in the canonical discussion (although it was). I asked you “Name one gospel voted “non-canonical” that you believe shows better historical basis to be canonical, or a single church letter that should have been included but wasn’t.”

          I think you would have an extraordinarily difficult time meeting that request.

        • wtfwjtd

          At last count, I read that there are over 40 “gospel” stories and more are coming to light all the time. Since I don’t think any of these accounts have significant historical basis, I couldn’t really endorse any of them as having a “better historical basis to be canonical” than another. I’ll stand by my original assessment–only 4 of these gospels were chosen to be canonical, that number was selected for theological reasons, and the least ridiculous and least embarrassing tales were the ones that made the cut.

        • As for your last phrase, that’s hard to judge.

          We accept Jesus putting spit on the eyes of the blind man (and then having to have a second go to tweak the medicine) as acceptable (Mark 8:22–5), while the talking cross in the Gospel of Peter is laughable. I think it’s just what we’re used to–it’s all pretty ridiculous.

        • wtfwjtd

          Remember the phoenix in Clement of Rome? This is the example he used to bolster his case for believe-ability of the resurrection, and he wrote as if he hadn’t seen any of the gospels.
          Yes, spitting on people and using magic words to heal are good examples of things wrote into Mark to pander to a certain audience. Maybe that’s why Origen said that Jesus was just another bastard-child, two-bit magic man plying his trade, and nothing more. It must have been ridiculous stuff even to first and second-century skeptics.

        • Actually, I don’t know about Clement and a phoenix. Can you tell me?

        • wtfwjtd

          The Book of Clement was apparently popular in the early years of Christianity, and almost, but not quite, made the Canon cut. The author told the story of the Phoenix, a bird that lives 500 years, and then dies and its flesh turns to worms. These worms sprout wings, and they fly back to altars in Egypt, where they alight and then the bird is “reborn”. So how do we know the resurrection account of Jesus is true? Because of the Phoenix, that’s how. Clement told the story as though his is audience was familiar with it, and as though it was accepted fact.

          Other than this, (ahem), the rest of the Book of Clement is much like Corinthians, and he does in fact seem to reference Paul’s work on occasion. Many scholars feel Clement didn’t make it into the canon–wait for it–not because of this story, but because it’s rather lengthy, and doesn’t really tell us anything more than Paul’s work does.
          BTW, that talking cross thing is hilarious, I hadn’t heard that one before.

        • Cool story about the phoenix, thanks.

          And you know Tacitus and Josephus, those stalwart defenders of the truth of the gospel story? They accepted Hercules as a historical figure.

        • wtfwjtd

          We’ve all got our blind spots I guess. And, Hercules was a pretty cool guy.

        • jonathanhakim

          And a movie just came out where Abraham Lincoln was a vampire slayer, but it doesn’t really alter my perception of the other Abraham Lincoln biographies I’ve read.

          There are indeed 30-35 stories that mention Jesus (some of them only as a side character) which date anywhere between the late 2nd century and the 6th century. Pointing out that Christianity was a significant enough religion that different groups started making up new Jesus stories doesn’t demonstrate anything. Mohammed made up stories about Jesus, but that doesn’t reflect on the canonical stories at all.

          The latest of the 4 canonical gospels, John, was certainly already in circulation near the beginning of the 2nd century. That’s well within the time frame when people who knew Jesus’s disciples would have still been alive, and all four of those gospels were being circulated within mainstream Christian circles within a short time period after that date. (Meaning that they were quite unlikely to contain major discrepancies with what those who had known the disciples already knew.) Can you name a single non-canonical narrative about Jesus that was in circulation within even 50 years of that date?

        • wtfwjtd

          To be honest, I haven’t studied the dating of of many of these. But, the gospel of Thomas has been placed in the “canonical” time frame, and scholars argue for a date in the 65-150 range, which is about on par with the Big Four. I’m sure there are others.
          What’s your point here? That anything after a certain date should be treated as non-canonical? If so, what is your cut-off date?

        • jonathanhakim

          You’re aware that the Gospel of Thomas is not a narrative, right? It’s just a collection of short quips, mostly quotes.

          I didn’t say that anything after a certain date should be treated as non-canonical. I’m just pointing out that there are clear historical reasons to favor the four canonical texts as the ones most likely to reflect Jesus’s life. I’m not a big fan of the canonical process at all, but I still accept the four gospels (and most especially the synoptic three) as the ones by far the most likely to relate to the events of Jesus.

        • Gospel of Thomas.

        • jonathanhakim

          Not a narrative, Bob.

        • True. Relevant? Or is “narrative” just a way to avoid an uncomfortable early gospel?

          It’s not simply redundant with the other gospels but has a few eyebrow-raising bits.

        • jonathanhakim

          Well, for one thing, if it’s not a narrative than it’s not even really a gospel, is it?

          Secondly, yes, it is quite relevant to point out that collections of quotes are less historically useful, as well as less likely to be tied down to actual historical events, than biographical narratives.

          I agree with the hair-raising and often quite silly bits. There are also more than a few bits that are quite clearly distant from anything in Judaism, hinting at their further removal from the original source. And on top of that, many of the quotes that show intersection with canonical gospel quotes are quite clearly later versions developed past the original versions. All these points just give further strength to the argument that leaving Thomas out of the canon was a no-brainer.

        • The scholars call it a gospel. I think I’ll go with that.

          There are also more than a few bits that are quite clearly distant from anything in Judaism, hinting at their further removal from the original source.

          Huh? You do know that Christianity is different from Judaism, right? It’s supposed to be; otherwise, it’d be Judaism!

          You’re approaching it from the standpoint of a modern Christian, judging from that as the baseline. In the early days, there was no baseline. Crazy stuff in Thomas is not inherently less true than crazy stuff in John.

        • jonathanhakim

          Christianity WAS Judaism for its early believers. Do you believe Jesus ever said, “I’m not a Jew anymore” or “Our God is not the Jewish God”, or that any of the writers we’re discussing believed that about themselves? That’s pretty obviously still true to the writers of every Gospel and to Paul. Saying that there’s no baseline is ridiculous.

          I agree that other forms of Christianity which weren’t rooted in Judaism cropped up by a few decades into the 2nd century. They liked some of the stories of Jesus, or at least envied the faith, so they made up their own that weren’t rooted in Judaism. That’s where many of your alternative gospels came from (though it would take another 100-200 years at least for most of those to be written).

        • Christianity WAS Judaism for its early believers.

          Well, yes and no. I’ll certainly agree with you that the Ebionite branch (books of James and Peter, say) are Jewish. But Paul preceded them, and he was the game changer who upset all the Jewish rules.

          Do you believe Jesus ever said, “I’m not a Jew anymore” or “Our God is not the Jewish God”, or that any of the writers we’re discussing believed that about themselves?

          I don’t know. If Paul isn’t a counterexample, then how do we have a modern Christianity that is very plainly not Judaism? You seem to be demanding that Christianity be Judaism somehow.

          Saying that there’s no baseline is ridiculous.

          What’s the baseline then? You’ve got radically different branches of Christianity in the first couple of centuries (Marcionites, Gnostics, plus the Ebionites). There’s no logic by which you can anoint any of them as the obvious successor to Judaism. (However, you could very logically claim that they’re all heretical since they all turn their back on orthodox Judaism.)

        • MNb

          “he was the game changer who upset all the Jewish rules.”
          That has happened before – like when judaism transformed from polytheism to monotheism. So even this is not enough to contradict “christianity was judaism for its early believers”. I think the split should be dated at 70 CE – the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.

        • Alternate question: name one NT book voted “canonical” that you believe is less historically reliable than whatever book you want to pick as the Gold Standard of reliability (1 Cor., for example).

          Or: name one section of a book that is less reliable than the remainder of that book.

          I think you and wtfwjtd would have an easy time meeting that request.

        • jonathanhakim

          2 Peter (at least in terms of authorship and early date). That was easy.

          Now, I’m not sure what that request has to do with my question, other than diverting the focus so as to avoid answering it.

        • wtfwjtd

          There’s a little bit more than cross-pollination going on here. Matthew copied 90 per cent of Mark almost verbatim; Luke, 50 per cent. The usual take on Markan priority–the author of Mark wrote his story first. The Matthew author immediately saw the problem with Mark’s “mystery” ending, and improved the story by adding his own ending. Luke basically did the same, making sure that someone actually could be said to have seen a risen Jesus before he disappeared to paradise, after his “sacrifice”. And John, pandering to his Gnostic audience, chose to emphasize the Gnostic elements, having the risen Jesus pass through walls and locked doors, apparently not even human but some kind of ghost.
          So where in all this was the spurious ending to Mark added? You could be right, it was probably added after the other gospels were written, to patch the huge hole left at the end of the original narrative. But this emphasizes the original point–how much other funny business has went on with the original text, that we don’t know about? All this copying and editing and “improving” of these stories is way more than enough to cast plenty of doubt on the veracity of the narrative they contain.

          As for I Corinthians? I assume you are referring to chapter 15? You are not seriously suggesting that Paul had any first-hand knowledge of an actual resurrection are you? Paul himself says that the only way he ever saw a risen Jesus was in a vision–big deal, people have visions all the time. Nothing remotely historical here.

        • Wikipedia summarizes this copying.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s a nice chart, thanks for the link.

        • jonathanhakim

          At least I thank you for admitting that your first line of argument was irrelevant.

          As for this second line, you missed the relevance of 1 Corinthians. You claim that Matthew/Luke added accounts to fix the “mystery ending” in Mark, and imply that therefore the resurrection stories were made up at that point. But Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians proves that those stories were already assumed long before even Mark was written, let alone Luke or Matthew. Paul doesn’t have to have been present firsthand for those events (we know he wasn’t) to prove that the events were already known long before anyone was concerned about there being a problem with the “mystery ending” in Mark.

        • wtfwjtd

          “You claim that Matthew/Luke added accounts to fix the “mystery ending” in Mark, and imply that therefore the resurrection stories were made up at that point.”

          Of course I do, since the gospel writers were writing after Paul, they have to flesh out the story and fill in the details. After all, how much detail does Paul give in this little snippet in I Cor 15? Virtually nothing, beyond a very vague generic references:

          “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

          So Paul is supposedly closer on the ground to events in Jerusalem, and yet he demonstrably knows even less about the supposed resurrection than the gospel writers who wrote decades after him. And not only that, he botches his reference in the last part of v5 above–“he appeared to Cephas, and then to the *twelve*”. Surely you see the problem here?

          This is clear evidence that either 1) Paul didn’t know of an earthly Jesus,and was just writing about “the Messiah” that was “revealed” to him by God in the scriptures, or 2) The Jesus story is a legend that grew with time. Either way, it don’t look too good for Team Christianity.

        • jonathanhakim

          Your argument here seems to hinge on the assumption that this was all Paul new about the resurrection, and that Paul certainly would have to know more about the resurrection than other people writing within the same generation. Both of those assumptions have no actual reason to be assumed. You do realize that it’s ridiculous to assume that something someone says in one letter is all they know of the subject. Paul wrote many letters in which he says less about the resurrection than he does in 1 Corinthians, so how could you assume that there aren’t other instances in which he would have said more? And why do you assume that Paul writing in the 50s and 60s has to know more about Jesus than other authors writing in the 60s and 70s and 80s, who easily could be within the exact same generation as Paul and have much closer relationships with Jesus’s apostles?

          Saying that Paul didn’t know of an Earthy Jesus is borderline ridiculous in this day and age. Please, read some scholarship from anyone who has grown up in the field past the 1970s. Paul is quite clear, over and over, that Jesus is flesh. (and where do you get the idea that a Pharisee believing in a non-Earthly Messiah was even a possible category?)

          As for the supposed “problem”, I hope you realize that he says “to the twelve” not “to twelve disciples”. “The Twelve” is a titular designation for a group, not a number. You do realize that “The Big 10” currently has 12 members, while “The Big 12” only had 9 members for a time, and is now up to 10, yet no one has changed their names either?

          Also, rather funny that you accuse the manuscripts of having a long secret history that would fix such obvious problems, and yet…

        • wtfwjtd

          “Paul wrote many letters in which he says less about the resurrection than he does in 1 Corinthians, so how could you assume that there aren’t other instances in which he would have said more?”

          But that’s just the point–he *never* says more about Jesus, or the resurrection, *ever*. Don’t you find that incredible? I do.

          “And why do you assume that Paul writing in the 50s and 60s has to know more about Jesus than other authors writing in the 60s and 70s and 80s, who easily could be within the exact same generation as Paul and have much closer relationships with Jesus’s apostles?”

          Uh, maybe because he says that he knows as much about Jesus as the other apostles do? See II Cor 11:4-6. Either Paul was a blowhard, or a liar. But seriously, claiming to know as much about Jesus as his apostles did? That’s just nuts, even for a someone like Paul.

          “Paul is quite clear, over and over, that Jesus is flesh.”

          And yet he was so utterly unconvinced by the Jesus stories, he had to have a personal vision to believe. Pretty damning evidence against the believability of the entire resurrection narrative, I’d say.

          So Paul’s reference to “the twelve” is not one to the disciples of Jesus. I agree; this is more evidence that the whole “12 disciples” construct of the gospels is made-up fiction. Once again, for a group that is supposedly so pivotal to the gospels, it’s astounding that Paul never, ever makes one mention of this elite group. Almost unbelievable, I’d say.

        • jonathanhakim

          If you find that incredible, I’ll make another book recommendation to you from the same author – NT Wright’s “Paul and the Faithfulness of God”. Look at Paul in his context, seeing who he was writing to and why, and his focus makes perfect sense.

          II Corinthians 11:4-6 isn’t saying what you claim it’s saying at all. He’s not talking about “the facts of Jesus’s life”, and he certainly wouldn’t connect superiority/inferiority to how many of the details of Jesus’s life that you knew.

          If Paul was truly a hardcore Pharisee, then of course he would need a something like a personal vision to believe. People whose entire lives are committed to a certain cause can see all the evidence in the world, and still won’t let go of their devotion except under extraordinary circumstances. And hardcore Pharisees were about as devoted to a cause as you get.

          You’ve misinterpreted what I said about The Twelve, and then jumped off that to make a quite incorrect assertion. I definitely think “The Twelve” refers to the apostles. What I was stated, which is widely accepted and which I thought the spots analogies would make clear, is that they could still be referred to as “The Twelve”, because that had become a catchphrase for the group, whether there were 12 present at that particular time or not. So yes, Paul clearly refers to the 12, as do all the gospels, making that one of the better attested traditions.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’ve seen the hand-waving and the rationales for trying to explain away why Paul knew so little about the biographical details of Jesus. There’s still some big problems with this–see below.

          II Cor 11:4-6 may not be specifically referring to biographical details of Jesus’s life, though there absolutely no valid reason to make this exclusion. But when him and Peter get in to a doctrinal kerfuffle,for example, it’s odd that neither man can pull a “Jesus said” out of their repertoire of Jesus knowledge, and settle it. Paul would absolutely make a Big Deal out of inferior/superior knowledge when it came to doctrinal issues, and if Peter would or could have slapped him down hard with one, which he should have been able to, it’s strange indeed that we never hear about it. Once again, either Paul is a blowhard, or a liar,or…maybe a complete idiot. Once again, Paul thinks he’s Peter’s equal on doctrinal issues? That’s absurd, period, bio details or no.

          So, I guess then, for Paul, you are admitting that the resurrection account was utterly unconvincing. If Paul had access to first-hand witnesses, and maybe even some physical evidence, and wasn’t convinced, that’s a pretty damning indictment on the veracity of Christianity’s resurrection narrative, in my book.

        • Lbj

          Why would you think Paul “knew so little about the biographical details of Jesus” when he knew and spent time with the apostles who did? There is no reason Paul did not know many of the details of the life Christ that he learned from the apostles.

          Paul was totally convinced in the resurrection. I Cor 15:1-9 proves this beyond of shadow of a doubt.

        • wtfwjtd

          Maybe so, but since he didn’t demonstrate any of this knowledge, biographical or doctrinal, it’s just imaginary evidence that might have existed to demonstrate the veracity of the resurrection. It does us no good at all, wouldn’t you agree?

          Paul in I Cor 1:22 admits he knows of no miracles that Jesus performed:” For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach (only) Christ crucified…”

          If Paul actually was in contact with the actual disciples of Christ, and Jesus really was a great miracle worker, I find this astonishing admission almost….too fantastical to believe. In fact, it’s impossible. No, this is clearly more evidence that the legend of Jesus grew with time, and the miracle stories were added later, when the gospels were written. Elegant and simple, this explanation fits nicely with what we actually do know about Paul.

        • Lbj

          Paul’s writings are not exhaustive. However, we know enough from his writings that the resurrection was central to him.

          I Cor 1:22 does not mean Paul “admits he knows of no miracles that Jesus performed”. Paul’s theology revolves around the death and resurrection of Christ. He would have been aware that Jesus did other miracles given that he knew the other apostles.

          The idea that “he miracle stories were added later” is absurd given that in the gospel accounts Jesus is always shown to be doing miracles. You can’t separate the life and ministry of Christ from His miracles. its impossible.

        • wtfwjtd

          “He (Paul)would have been aware that Jesus did other miracles given that he knew the other apostles.”

          It’s too bad he couldn’t name a single, solitary one. I guess I’m just supposed to accept this on faith?

          “You can’t separate the life and ministry of Christ from His miracles. its impossible.”

          But Paul did, and when he did it you thought it was fine. But when I do it, it’s “absurd”. Do I sense a double standard here?

        • Tip: when someone says that a verse means something, a good rebuttal isn’t “No it doesn’t.”

          1 Cor. 1:22-23 does indeed make clear that Paul knew of no miracles by which he could make his case.

        • jonathanhakim

          Working backwards, I am certain that there were many people who met first-hand witnesses of the resurrection and who didn’t pledge allegiance to Christ’s God and Christ’s Kingdom. If you think that reflects negatively on Christianity, then I don’t think you understand how people work (or are avoiding reaching into that understanding for the sake of argument), or you are unaware of what early Christians asked of those who were to come to faith. Look at what it cost Paul to follow Jesus. That kind of sacrifice isn’t easy to subject oneself to, no matter who you have spoken to or what stories they told you.

          As far as biographical details, I don’t think that Paul “knew so little”, like you say. I do think he certainly knew far less on the biographical details than Peter did. Then again, Judas knew all the biographical details, and look how he ended up. Knowing and acting in faith are not the same thing. But I still think that Paul’s writings reflect far more than you think about Jesus’s life and sayings, and I think he knew a lot more than what he wrote about (which makes sense considering what he was writing and his audience), Despite modern rhetoric to the contrary, there’s very little evidence of the early Church going to “But Jesus said!” as the game-breaker in debates. A look at Acts, which I’m sure you agree was written by someone with quite intimate knowledge of Luke, should show you why your assumptions about how Paul would use Jesus’s biographical details are clearly off-base. Why isn’t Paul or anyone else using those details in Acts, if Luke is already written and assumed by the author? The answer absolutely has to be different than “because the author didn’t know them”, for the author clearly did. And if you think the author made up the details in Luke, but then stuck to the truth of reflecting people who didn’t know the details in Acts…you have a strange perspective on his mindset.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Look at what it cost Paul to follow Jesus. That kind of sacrifice isn’t easy to subject oneself to…”

          The simple truth is, we have no idea what it “cost” Paul to follow Jesus. What did it cost Rick Warren to follow Jesus? And before you dismiss this as a laughable comparison(which in some ways I would agree with), consider this: There were people accusing Paul of peddling the word of God for profit (2 Cor 2:17). Was Paul a money-grubbing jerk who preyed on the vulnerable? I happen to think he wasn’t. But I also realized long ago, all of us are where we are in life largely because of fate and personal choices, and various factors play varying roles in how we end up there. Using someone’s devotion to a cause in order to demonstrate the veracity of that cause is a bad idea, and not a valid path to discovering the truth; you don’t want to go there. Am I to believe the veracity and justness of the 9/11 hijackers because of their willingness to die for their cause? I think not, and I don’t think you would either. Enough said.

          “But I still think that Paul’s writings reflect far more than you think about Jesus’s life and sayings…”

          I don’t see it. Virtually everything that Paul says about Jesus reads like Old Testament midrash. And Paul himself in Gal 1:12 says:

          ” the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s[b] gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

          “…there’s very little evidence of the early Church going to “But Jesus said!” as the game-breaker in debates.”

          You said it, not me. And, don’t you find this rather incredible? I do. Paul claims to have as much knowledge about Jesus and his teachings as Peter (or any other apostle) does. Paul is either a liar, a blowhard, or he is genuinely unaware that Peter is portrayed as Jesus’s right-hand man in the gospels. This, plus Paul’s not knowing of a single miracle that Jesus performed, much less biographical details, is clear and convincing evidence that the Jesus story is a legend that grew with time. I see no other reasonable alternative, given the evidence.

          ” A look at Acts, which I’m sure you agree was written by someone with quite intimate knowledge of Luke, should show you why your assumptions about how Paul would use Jesus’s biographical details are clearly off-base. Why isn’t Paul or anyone else using those details in Acts, if Luke is already written and assumed by the author?”

          I’ll go one further; scholars agree that the same guy wrote both books, and I see no reason to doubt this. I’m not sure you want to go here, either. Why isn’t Paul or anyone else using those biographical details in Acts? Very simple: Luke was written long after the time of Paul, as was Acts. Paul knew none of the details of Luke or Acts or any other gospel, because they hadn’t been written yet! You are the one that argues Paul knew these details, not me. It’s up to you to show this, not me. And remember what Paul said in Gal 1:12? ” I did not receive it (the gospel) from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

          Paul himself rejects the fanciful notion of Christians everywhere that Paul learned of Jesus through “oral tradition” and “rabbinical schools.” I prefer to let Paul speak for himself, and not allow modern-day apologists put words into his mouth–words he never spoke. Paul himself tells us that everything he knows about Jesus, he received via revelation, just like the other apostles did. And as Bob’s post demonstrates, what he knows about Jesus is far less than what we know about him. Again, this is yet more evidence that the Jesus story is a legend that grew with time.

        • “Proves”? There is the hypothesis that the famous 1 Cor. 15 passage is an earlier creed. Could be. Unfortunately, the same clues that argue for this–that the writing style is different–argue for it being a later insertion.

          Note also that a creed is not given as evidence. It’s simply a statement of belief with no assumption of it being an apologetic argument.

        • Christians might drop the contradictions among the different accounts and then submit this Swiss cheese version of the gospel story as the actual history, but that’s now how it works. You don’t try to salvage contradictory accounts; you discard them.

        • MNb

          Actually historians of Antiquity compare them and try to figure out which account makes the most sense. Here is a fine example:

          http://www.livius.org/theory/testis-unus-testis-nullus/

        • MNb

          “render them virtually useless as historical documents,”
          Depends for what question.
          Recently a snippet of a Koptic Gospel has been found; if my memory serves me well from the 4th Century. It mentiones “Jesus’ wife”. That obviously says nothing about Jesus himself, but it does say a few things about the Kopts who used this Gospel.

        • wtfwjtd

          You are correct MNb, in a reply below I included the following statement:

          “I should have been more careful with my wording here. They do have value as historical documents, but are nearly useless in attesting to the veracity of the events that they describe.”

  • C.W. Vong

    Could I clarify what you mean when you mention that Robert Price wonders if Paul ever even wondered about an earthly Jesus while earlier you mention Paul keeps talking about crucifixion (thirteen or fourteen times recorded as you count)? You need to be pretty earthly to be crucified from what I understand.

    I think you are right that it is quite surprising that Paul never mentions any of Jesus’ miracles or works in his letters. I think I might research that.

    My hunch though is that the letters of Paul and the gospels were written to two very different audiences.

    Firstly it was always clear that the power and glory of Jesus is not his miraculous works but his hanging on the cross. Paul as a Jewish theologian keeps pointing at it as the key and fulfilment of the old Jewish prophecies. But Paul also stands in this very interesting place that he is not writing to Jews only. He’s writing to a lot of different cultures to whom well the stories of one crazy prophet magic man is same as the next one that comes along. The miracles matter very little as badges of credit but the message of the cross was meant to hook attention and cross all the cultural boundaries.

    The gospels though were written for the Jews who had a long history of prophecies and promises. Of the many miracles the apostles claim Jesus did, only some very specific ones are mentioned. The reason one healing is mentioned over the hundreds is not thousands of others is often because the apostles are trying to tell their Jewish brethren that what they say in that miracle affirms the promise of the prophets.

    That’s as far as I understand anyway.

    It is a marvellous line of thought though why Paul does not mention any miracles of Jesus specifically (whether Paul met Jesus in person, spiritually, or just heard of the life of Jesus), and one that I would love to do more research on.

    • One of Price’s points is that Paul’s idea of Jesus is someone disconnected from history (vs. “in the reign of Caesar Augustus” in the gospels). That is, Jesus wasn’t a dude who died 25 years earlier.

      I can’t help you with the crucifixion question, I’m afraid.

    • wtfwjtd

      Paul admits plainly in I Cor 1:22 that he can’t name a single miracle of Jesus: “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we (only) preach Christ crucified…”

      Later in Corinthians, Paul states that “signs, wonders, and miracles” are the work of apostles. But from Jesus, we get nothing of the sort, according to Paul.

    • russell

      You don’t understand very much just yet because in a primitive bronze age mind like Paul’s you certainly didn’t need to be earthly at all to be crucified. Careful reading of Paul’s genuine epistles will give you this sequence of events, Paul thought that Jesus had been crucified; How did he find this out? certainly not from other people, he says how, as plain as can be, it was revealed to him encoded in the Jewish scriptures. The where, the when & by whom is equally fascinating. Paul believed Jesus was crucified in one of the lower levels of heaven before god created the earth by demons that he calls, the rulers of this age. Twenty five years later, as Jerusalem lay in smoking heap of rubble an anonymous writer took these Pauline elements and for whatever reason gave the story an earthly setting in the recent past. Eventually this writing became known as The gospel according to St Mark, he got all his story details exactly the same way Paul did from the pages of the old testament. If you want to know more seek out Truth Surge on youtube in his series Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah, cheers

      • C.W.Vong

        Where does Paul reveal that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ was shown to him purely in scripture and not from his encounter on the road to Damascus and not from the account of others?

        (Also the uhm… bronze age was several hundreds if not a thousand years earlier than Paul. I’ll check out this Youtube Channel though. Cheers for the link.)

  • Overtake Don

    Paul was born SAUL, A jew and Roman citizen, from the city of Tarsus, Turkey, the city that was also the seat of Mithraism, the faith with the savior sun god Mithra, born on December 25th, dying and resurrecting on the first Day of the Sun (SUNDAY) after the first new moon after the March 21st Vernal Equinox. Saul pasted the name of Jesus over a narrative that was itself a much watered down version of a half dozen earlier sun savior god narratives

    • Tony Duncan

      He was not a Jew
      He was a Benjaminite

      • Jews can only come from Judah?

        Are you saying that Paul would agree with the distinction you’ve made?

    • jonathanhakim

      One big problem with your theory is that Mithraism started AFTER Christianity did, and all the pagan sources for the myths and practices you describe come from long after the Christian sources are well-established. Its usually a good bet that the later practice copied the earlier practice, not the other way around. And, in fact, as early as 150AD there are writings (see Justin Martyr) about Mithratic practices copying Christian rituals.

      • Pofarmer

        “And, in fact, as early as 150AD there are writings (see Justin Martyr) about Mithratic practices copying Christian rituals.”

        Are you sure about that? I think that Justin Martyr says that Satan had the worshippers of Mithras doing the rituals first, to confuse believers.

        “Mithraism is frequently said to have been a great rival to early Christianity, especially in popular books written by non-specialists. According to most academic sources, however, the archaeological evidence does not support this claim.

        Although it was widespread in terms of geography, Mithraism never had great numbers. (Christianity was not terribly large or influential in this period, either.) A few hundred temples of Mithras have been discovered across the Roman empire, but they are all very small. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion:

        Even if all were in service contemporaneously they would accommodate no more than 1 percent of the population – scarcely the great rival to Christianity that inflated views of the cult have sometimes made it.1

        Whether or not they were rivals, it is certainly possible that these two contemporary communities had some influence on each other. In at least one area, it is clear that Christianity adopted an aspect of Mithraism – the celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25, a tradition that began in the 4th century. A Christian writer admitted this in 320 AD, explaining:

        We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.2

        December 25 was also the birthday of the more popular Roman god known as the “Unconquered Sun” (with whom Constantine identified himself before his conversion to Christianity), who was closely associated with Mithras.

        In considering claims for Mithraism’s influence on Christianity, it is important to remember that Mithraism was a very secretive, initiatory cult whose beliefs, practices and imagery were not known to the outside world. So it would not have been as easy for Christianity to borrow ideas from it as one might assume.

        It is also worth noting that two faiths developing in the same area of the world at the same time are likely to have similar ideas and practices, regardless of their level of interaction. Ritual communal meals and the theme of sacrifice for salvation, for instance, were common not only to Mithraism and Christianity but much of the ancient world. ”

        http://www.religionfacts.com/greco-roman/sects/mithraism.htm

        • Justin pointed to precedents of dying-and-rising gods. I don’t know about the rituals of Mithraism.

          Discussed more here.

        • jonathanhakim

          No, Justin Martyr’s comments say nothing at all about the followers of Mithrais doing the rituals first. That’s a modern myth.

          The textual evidence for Christians celebrating communion goes back to some of the very earliest Christian writings – including 1 Corinthians, Mark, and the Didache. The earliest textual evidence for similar ceremonies in Mithraism is…Justin Martyr, almost 100 years later. Considering how widespread the tradition is and how close it is to the founding of Christianity (which appears to bear no direct relation to the tradition), not to mention how minimal Mithraism’s influence was when Christianity started, especially in Palestine, and it looks far, far more likely that Mithraism copied Christianity than the other way around.

          The other obvious argument is that the ceremony has a clear relationship to and roots in Judaism, and fits clearly into the full theological picture of early Christianity rather than appearing as some sort of add-on. Mithraism, on the other hand, got the tradition from…where?

        • Pofarmer

          It is also worth noting that two faiths developing in the same area of the world at the same time are likely to have similar ideas and practices, regardless of their level of interaction. Ritual communal meals and the theme of sacrifice for salvation, for instance, were common not only to Mithraism and Christianity but much of the ancient world. “It is also worth noting that two faiths developing in the same area of the world at the same time are likely to have similar ideas and practices, regardless of their level of interaction. Ritual communal meals and the theme of sacrifice for salvation, for instance, were common not only to Mithraism and Christianity but much of the ancient world. “

        • jonathanhakim

          As far as the December 25 date goes, that was adopted by Christianity over 200 years later and holds absolutely no relevance in Christian theology at all, so I’m having trouble seeing how an adoption of that date would be in the same category.

          And while I’m perfectly fine with the conclusion that December 25 was chosen due to the pagan celebration, and think it the most likely answer myself, we can’t yet dismiss the quite well-argued idea that December 25 was chosen because it was 9 months after March 25, the date that had been calculated for Jesus’s passion, and therefore related to his conception as a divine ordained perfection.

          “Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.9 March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.10Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.d

          This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”11 Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.

          Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”12

          In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East, too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus’ conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.”13 Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.e

          Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).”

          http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

          Your claim that the 320 writer “admitted” that the date was taken from pagans is completely false – the only thing that the writer is acknowledging is that the events are on the same day.

        • wtfwjtd

          The fact that Saturnalia is celebrated–coincidentally by the Romans–on or about this time of year, seems mighty convenient. Mithras wasn’t the only cult that had rituals on or about December 25, and the fact that Christianity arbitrarily chose this time of year for a birth or renewal celebration isn’t at all surprising. But that don’t make the idea that Jesus’ actual birth date was December 25 a historical fact.

        • jonathanhakim

          I don’t think anyone is arguing that a December 25 birthdate is historical fact.

          And yes, it is possible that Saturnalia is just a coincidence. The January 6th/April 6th data point with the Armenians makes the whole case especially interesting.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, heck, the early writings of Paul don’t include any dates for anything relating to Jesus life. The dates don’t start appearing till the later Synoptic Gospels. It’s hard to tell from there who would have started what.

    • CCCCC

      Don’t forget about the very influential Serapis Christ movement in Alexandria. IMO Paul was a Serapist, under the leadership of Mark. he never went to Alexandria because he was from there. Mark was the one who married Serapis with the Jewish Messiah prophecies.

  • Simon uk

    Islam solves the puzzle of why JEsus’ followers morphed into Christianity. Jesus was a prophet, but rejected by a large number of his target audience. Under clear physical threat he prayed to God in Gethsemene. God answered his prayer (as you would expect for a prophet), so someone who looked like him from a distance, was crucified. Jesus probably saw his disciples later after his escape, as a fugitive, tho the Gospels differ on the details. Uniquely of the prophets, God chose to rescue him bodily to heaven. Thus both Christians and Muslims believe he alive in heaven (tho Muslims give him no supernatural powers which are God’s alone, so we don’t pray to him). Both faiths believe he will return, at a time no one knows! The disciples found it hard to comprehend and make sense of it all. Evidence is, tho, that the earliest , Ebionites, did not believe Jesus was God. The calamities which destroyed the Jews in Judea dispersed and weakened the Ebionites at just the time Saul was gaining ground. Saul/Paul is never mentioned in the Quran, so he was not accepted as appropriate in his twisting, new reversal, of much of Jesus’ message.

    • Your post makes the case that Islam is actually a Christian heresy. An interesting twist.

      • I think Mohammed saw his religion as the next logical step to Christianity. After he was rebuffed by Christians (who weren’t as excited as he was by his new version), he went his own way.

  • Simon uk

    *nay

  • Uhhh – Paul knew Luke, and the Gospel of Luke is considered to be Paul’s Gospel in that he mentored, informed, discussed, and in a meaningful way, participated in the writing of it.

    • Oh come now. Luke did know Paul, but the last Biblical authority who thought Paul helped write his Gospel was wearing sandals. Just to give one example, the Annunciation story over which Luke spills so much ink is something that Paul referred to exactly zero times in all his voluminous correspondence.

      • The mystery of the Incarnation took hundreds of years for men to grasp. Look at the records of the early Church – it’s all there.

        • Pofarmer

          I think you mean, fully make up.

        • You know what I mean, and it’s not that.

          Have you not figured out that Christianity as a ‘made-up’ religion would be the sorriest, sloppiest, most poorly crafted, most egregiously obtuse, entirely inconsistent, and stupidest religion in the history of the world!!

          Would anyone, making up a religion, make one up with all of the so-called ‘problems’ we find in the Christian texts? The idea that Christianity sprang from a handful of deluded, or self-serving, Jews is ludicrous given that their big reward for their efforts was torture and death.

          Likewise for the early Church. Here is your reward, you will tortured until you die. Do you still say you believe? “YES!” the Holy Martyrs said. So to torture and death they went.

          Yes – this sounds like a quite a start-up. Any takers? No wages. Fasting required. Beatings mandatory. And then torture and death.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, have you read “Not the impossible Faith” by Richard Carrier? He deals with all that quite sufficiently.

        • I agree that it is sloppy, but that does show what believers will accept. The Gnostics and the Marcionites (two variants in Christianity’s early days) had a much better resolution to the problem of evil, and yet what we think of as Christianity won out. Weird, huh?

          As for the “who would die for a lie?” argument, I respond to that here.

        • Hold on, now–I think you’re being a bit harsh. Next you’ll be saying that the Trinity was “made up” just because it doesn’t appear in the Bible and took more than 3 centuries to achieve its final form.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, that would be really over the top, wouldn’t it? Heck, I might even come up with the silly idea that 2 Peter was written sometime in the 2nd century as general apologetics, or that there were dozens, maybe hundreds of alternative texts rolling around being called various “Gospels”, but, we probably really shouldn’t go that far.

        • Why stop there with the silliness? Why not say that 2 Peter was not actually written by Peter (as most scholars think)?

        • Pofarmer

          Hold on Bob, next you’re going to say that all the Gospels are anonymous, with names being assigned to them much later.

        • Imagineer

          Sarcasm has it’s place I suppose. You are talking to yourself might be sarcasm, but it’s the truth all the same.

        • That the epistles of Peter may not’ve been written by Peter? Yep.

        • The mystery of the Incarnation took hundreds of years for men to grasp

          It wasn’t simple history? Why did it take hundreds of years?

    • Pofarmer

      Yeah, not so much.

    • Malcolm Minkowski

      The one thing known about the authorship of the Gospel According to Luke is that Luke did not write it. No one knows the identities of the authors of any of the gospels. However, scholars do agree that Mark, Matthew, Luke and John did not write them.

  • Imagineer

    Wow. You confirmed for me that Paul had the right focus all along. That if there was only one fact we need above all others, is Yeshua’s death and resurrection and of God’s great love and what that means.

    • I’m surprised Paul knowing very little about Jesus led you to that conclusion, but whatever.

  • jonathanhakim

    You claim the oldest copy is from 350. But 1 Corinthians 15 is found in Papyrus 46, dated to before 200. That cuts your time frame in half. Around 135 the heretic Marcion quoted the entire passage 1 Corinthians 15:3-11, which cuts another 50+ years off your time frame. And Ignatius’s letter to Rome, dated to about 110, quotes 1 Corinthians 15:8-9. Now you’re down to almost nothing and might as well admit that it was in there from the beginning.

    • I misread the Wikipedia entry on P46. You’re right–1 Cor. 15 is in there.

      The date of our best copies isn’t central to my argument.

  • John

    Paul never mentioned the disciples? Oh really….”For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Cor. 15:3–8)….he clearly mentions the 12 HERE.

    • I don’t see what you’re responding to.

      • John

        My mistake…thought there was a mention, that Paul does not mention the disciples.

        • OK, thanks for the update.

        • Pofarmer

          That is the only mention of the disciples in all of Pauls, writing, and it’s widely thought to be an interpolation.

  • John

    There was no need for Paul to write about the history of Jesus. Paul came AFTER, the 12 disciples. Paul wrote the church. The history of Jesus, his family and miracles , were already widely known. He was building on the foundation made by the disciples.

    • One explanation (as I acknowledge above) is that Paul didn’t bother sending any gospel-like material along since everyone was already on the same page. That’s hard to buy, especially when you think how much of that Christians speaking about Christianity do it. “But what is the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan?” or “You’re as prolific as Jesus with the loaves and fishes!” or “If Jesus can raise people from the dead as he did with Lazarus, think of how easy he could deal with your burden.”

      The other possibility is that Paul didn’t know of the gospel information. That’s what I’m exploring, and the evidence supports that hypothesis.

      • John

        Tell me, name on time, that Paul disagreed with ANYTHING the disciples said. I’m sure Paul knew about the stories….he worked with the disciples, he spoke with them, ate with them….

        • You’re sure? We have just a bunch of words on paper and already they’re history? You take a rather large leap.

          Paul didn’t disagree with the disciples so therefore he knew about the gospels? another leap.

        • Pofarmer

          The Gospel of James argues with Galatians, for one thing. Obviously, Paul and Cephas had their issues.

        • Pofarmer

          Where does Paul ever talk about living and working with the 12 disciples?

        • John

          Galatians 2.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently you need to read Galatians 1. Jesus never talks about working with the 12 disciples, although he does mention various Apostles.

        • John

          Jesus picked the 12 himself…..read the Gospels.

        • Pofarmer

          Sorry, should have read Paul never talks about working with the 12, disciples. my bad.

        • John

          Paul was with the disciples when they were ALL in Jerusalem. He doesn’t have to give you a number, why would he?

        • Pofarmer

          You are interpreting, not reading. Paul basically only talks about Cephus and James as apostles. wouldn’t being among the actual 12 disciples have merited a mention?

        • John

          Peter, James, and John met with him in Jerusalem, and apparently they took him seriously. But he actually retired back to Tarsus for over 10 years, and would have remained there, except that the other apostles at Antioch sent for him. He was present at the first council of Jerusalem, and the apostles sided with him on all points. His letter to the Galatians was approved by the apostles at Jerusalem. And it was the apostles who collectively decided that Paul was the best man to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.

        • Pofarmer

          There is a very different take on the council of Jerusalem story that I hope I can find. After all, we only have Pauls side, and we know there were disagreements on theology.

        • John

          There were major disagreements in the early church. It took awhile for the disciples to work things out, and understand what GOD was doing. Jesus told them to go to all the world and preach…yet they didn’t. In the Acts, they were still in Jerusalem. They didn’t go anywhere. Paul and Peter had a huge disagreement, because Peter went back to his Jewish ways. He had a hard time breaking from his Jewish roots, and changing.

        • Pofarmer

          Is there any significant evidence cephas ever did? See, this is kinda the crux of the matter. In the writings of Paul you have Cephas, James, and a few other apostles in Jerusalem, while Paul, and eventually a few other apostles with him travel elsewhere. There is never an indication any of them were a, disciple or knew Jesus directly. The arguments would have gone much differently.

  • John

    Of course Paul does not mention the feeding of the 5000, the parables, the miracles, and other historical issues….he did not witness them personally….he wasn’t an eye witness. Had he been there, he would have mentioned them. By the way, did Paul call ANY of the stories lies? Did he disagree with any of the stories? NO!

    • Have you ever mentioned any of these stories? If so, perhaps you can imagine myriad situations where Paul might want to as well, despite the fact that neither of you were there.

      • John

        Paul’s mission was to the gentiles. As I said, he wasn’t an eyewitness. There was no need for him to mentioned history, that was already known at the time.

        • I’d prefer that you acknowledge when you abandon an argument; otherwise I want to go back and hammer on it. I won’t bother if we’re on the same page.

        • John

          where did I abandon an argument? You seem to be trying to make a case, from what YOU think Paul should have said or done.

        • You said that relating gospel stories (parables, 5000, etc.) demanded that you had been there.

          I responded, “Have you ever mentioned any of these stories? If so, perhaps you can imagine myriad situations where Paul might want to as well, despite the fact that neither of you were there.”

          You didn’t respond but went ahead with a new argument. I assume you see and acknowledge my point. Correct?

  • John

    ‘Paul convince the Jews with these?”….””Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'””….Acts 22:21. Paul was called to the Gentiles….not the Jews.

    • You completely misunderstood the point of that section.

      • John

        Please enlighten me. 🙂

        • You’re a big boy. Go back and reread it. All I’d do is copy it here.

        • John

          “Why “a stumbling block”? Jesus did lots of miraculous “signs”—why didn’t Paul convince the Jews with these? Paul apparently didn’t know any”…..because Paul was not called to witness to the Jews. He was not to try and convince the Jews of anything….he was called to the gentiles.

        • Read the passage! Paul couldn’t convince the Jews. He didn’t have the ammunition, which was clearly stated: “signs.” Paul didn’t have any, and he couldn’t do any.

          Y’know, it kinda looks like Paul didn’t know all that stuff in the gospels …

        • John

          Are you saying, Paul couldn’t convince the Jews, because he couldn’t perform any signs? (miracles)? Jesus performed many miracles and the Jews still refused to believe.

        • John, seriously, this ain’t hard.

          Paul says himself that he could convince the Jews except they need X to be convinced. He doesn’t have any X.

          It doesn’t matter whether he wanted to convince the Jews or not. Just not the point.

          What is X? It’s “signs.” Paul doesn’t know of any signs, and he can’t perform any signs. There’s the problem.

          If you still don’t get it, perhaps that’ll just be a burden you’ll have to bear.

        • Pofarmer

          Paul also doesn’t know of any of Jesus signs to relate either, as he could have just listed them as proof. Considering that most all of Jesus signs are lifted from other OT figures, you would think he would have known about a few, but, no, those don’t show up until the later Gospels. You could try “Gospel Fictions” by Randal Helms.

        • John

          Tell me….who did Jesus say he was? Do you really know, who Jesus is? What did Jesus say about himself?

        • Pofarmer

          WTF does that have to do with what Paul knew about Jesus? Your knowledge here is woefully shallow, and it shows.

        • Philmonomer

          Who did Joseph Smith say he was? Do we really know who Joseph Smith was? What did he say about himself? What did he do?

          Look at all the testimonies of people who knew Joseph Smith (and knew that God told him to “correct” Christianity). Do you reject those?

        • And the Joseph Smith story is far more compelling on many points.

          John may want to look here for more.

        • adam

          Because Jesus was NOT the Jewish Messiah….

          He did not meet the basic requirements

          The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David
          (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as “mashiach ben David”
          (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant
          of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring
          others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win
          battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who
          makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human
          being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.
          http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

        • Greg G.

          Paul was all things to all people.

        • John

          What he meant was….He adapted his teaching to their thought in their culture to reach them. He divides the world into the religious with the law, (Jews) and the Gentiles, without the law.

        • Greg G.

          Why would he need to do that if he wasn’t preaching to the Jews?

        • John

          Paul was a Jew, had a heart for the Jewish people. Despite being told to go to the Gentiles, he witnesses to the Jews also.

        • Pofarmer

          Where does Paul witness to the Jews? His lettere are pretty much entirely to gentile churches.

        • John

          Try reading Acts….see where he was put into prison and why….he was witnessing to the Jews.

        • Pofarmer

          Try reading Richard Pervo or Randal Helms, to get an idea of how much of Acts parrallels Josephus.

        • Pofarmer

          He was preaching in the synagogues in Gentile areas.

        • Greg G.

          So Paul taught the Jews and he didn’t, according to you.

          ” Paul was not called to witness to the Jews. He was not to try and convince the Jews of anything….he was called to the gentiles.”

        • John

          Paul was told not to preach to the Jews, he did anyway. He preached to BOTH. Which by the way, got him thrown into prison.

        • Greg G.

          The letters to the Corinthians and the Galatians shows the circumcision group was going to the Gentiles, too. Whatever they agreed to had been broken. Apparently the Jerusalem group realized how lucrative selling religion to the Greeks could be.

          But you are still believing Acts. It is not consistent with Paul’s accounts. Acts tells two parallel stories. The stories are written as fiction.

        • John

          “how lucrative selling religion to the Greeks could be”…HUH?….where do you read that they made a profit off the Gospels? None of the disciples were rich….all were poor.

        • Pofarmer

          Any facts to back up the poor argument.

        • John

          What argument? When you make that remark, on here, you have to at least point out the post.

        • Pofarmer

          The argument that all of the apostles mentioned by Paul, including Paul himself, were poor?

        • Greg G.

          If it was just about spreading the gospel, the apostles wouldn’t be bumping heads. The Corinthians were supporting multiple missionaries, including Paul and Peter.

          The gospels aren’t supported by the epistles. The early epistles don’t support that the apostles were poor.

        • John

          They were not wearing fine clothes, living in mansions, and had to work for their daily keep.

        • Greg G.

          They were traveling with their wives.

        • Pofarmer

          You need to remember what general daily living would be like at that time. Getting to travel, getting housing, getting income, would be a big deal.

        • John

          I’m sure there were others going to the Gentiles, but Paul was told specifically, to go to the Gentiles……… “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”..Acts 17:11….now I don’t think Paul would say that of a work of FICTION.

        • Greg G.

          What scripture were they checking? The gospels weren’t written yet. They would have been checking the OT, especially Isaiah who Paul quotes most frequently. Paul didn’t know anything about a first century Jesus. No quotes or citations. He mentions Jesus about 300 times in the authentic Pauline epistles but gives only a few dozen factoids that are found in the Old Testament.

  • John

    Paul did not mention details about Jesus’ life such as His birthplace in Bethlehem, His mother’s name, or His specific miracles. …..it makes perfect sense that such information would not be repeated in Paul’s writings, since it was so thoroughly documented in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In truth, the fact that Paul repeatedly alludes to Jesus in the flesh, but does not reiterate the various details of the gospel accounts, shows that Paul coincides with the Gospel writers, but was independent of them as well. Why would God need to record for the fifth time the various miracles and facts about Jesus’ life in the writings of Paul?

    • Paul preceded the gospels, so your first sentence doesn’t make sense. Better: assume that the churches already knew the gospel basics. (But then that makes you wonder what the purpose of the gospels was. If Paul didn’t bother documenting the basics, why should the gospel authors?)

      I am simply observing that the gospel facts aren’t in Paul raises the possibility that he didn’t know them.

      • John

        What difference which was written first…the gospels or the epistles? All of them were written within one generation of the death of Jesus. The fact that Paul did not include many of the stories of the gospels in his writings, means the stories were already well known, and did not need repeating. Remember, Paul was with the disciples for years…he worked with them, they ate together. To say Paul knew nothing about Jesus history, is foolish. Do you really believe, the disciples never talked to Paul about Jesus?

        • What difference which was written first…the gospels or the epistles?

          Because your earlier comment is meaningless as you wrote it. Paul wouldn’t think, “Heck, this paragraph is redundant with the gospels, so I’ll just delete it.”

          All of them were written within one generation of the death of Jesus.

          Not really. Mark in 70 and John in 90+?

          The fact that Paul did not include many of the stories of the gospels in his writings, means the stories were already well known, and did not need repeating.

          … and what’s the other option? Show us that you’ve been paying attention.

          Remember, Paul was with the disciples for years…he worked with them, they ate together.

          Remember, this is just words on paper. Maybe it’s history, maybe it’s legend, maybe it’s something in between.

          And where does it say that Paul hung out with the disciples for years? I can only think of when he was with them for some days.

          To say Paul knew nothing about Jesus history, is foolish.

          Not based on anything you’ve said. If you’re saying that Paul could’ve known the gospel story, despite no direct evidence of that, sure. I’m simply exploring the other possibility (which you’ve done nothing to show is impossible).

          Do you really believe, the disciples never talked to Paul about Jesus?

          Again, let’s see if you’ve been paying attention. What am I going to say in response to this?

        • John

          “Remember, this is just words on paper. Maybe it’s history, maybe it’s legend, maybe it’s something in between.”….if that’s what you believe, just throw out the whole bible and write one of your own. You’re making comments to suit your own desires. You’re not even interested in any facts. You just said so yourself.

        • Or you could convince me that it’s history.

          Am I supposed to think that the Bible is history because John says so? Sorry–won’t work.

          Are you saying that you believe everything you read? There are loads of other ancient holy books. Do you believe every one? Should I? Or is skepticism allowed in your universe?

        • John

          Did you know, for centuries, scholars did not believe Pontius Pilate even existed. Out side of a few mentions by Josephus and Tacitius, there’s no mention of him….UNTIL…The first physical evidence relating to Pilate was discovered in 1961, when a block of limestone, the Pilate Stone, was found in the Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima. Look for the historical accuracy of the places, people and events written of.

        • Pofarmer

          “Did you know, for centuries, scholars did not believe Pontius Pilate even existed.”

          Do you have an actual cite for that?

        • John

          Until they found the stone, there was no evidence, that the scholars would accept, since they refused to accept the gospels, the he even existed.

        • Pofarmer

          Which scholars? Give me a quote from one. From what I can tell, Pilate is better attested in ancient literature than Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          After some more reading, and seeing how much better attested Pilate is in Josephus. I’m quite frankly calling bullshit unless you can provide actual contrary evidence.

        • I’m still missing what the point is. So there was a historical Pilate, so therefore the supernatural claims in the gospels are true?

          I’m a fan of The Wizard of Oz, and Kansas actually exists–should I draw similar conclusions?

        • Greg G.

          They had three independent sources. Which centuries did they doubt Pile ‘ existence?

        • MNb

          Pontius Pilatus is quite an interesting character.

          http://www.livius.org/pi-pm/pilate/pilate01.htm

        • I’m getting motion sick with all these changes in direction, but OK. New topic, I guess.

          I’m trying to understand your point, so tell me what the general rule is here. Is it: “If you can find names in the story that are independently verifiable as historical, then that story must be history”?

        • John

          Much of the accounts in the Gospels and Paul’s writings, are circumstantial. They did not have any cameras or recorders. In a court of law, most cases are tried as circumstantial….if there are no videos or recorders. From the beginning, by your own words, you make up the gospels as you go. You’re like Thomas Jefferson, who wrote his own bible, by cutting out the parts he didn’t like or agreed with. You asked for an independent source on a bible story….I just gave you the Pilate stone. “the writing constitutes the earliest surviving record and only contemporaneous evidence for the historical existence of this person; otherwise known only from the New Testament and brief mentions in retrospective Roman histories,”…..it gives weight to the stories in the gospels.

        • It’d be helpful if you’d answer the question. I’m trying to figure out what general rule you’re proposing. I presume you don’t want an ad hoc rule just so you can conclude that your presumption is correct. We should be able to use it to evaluate other religions’ evidence. So what is it?

          My suggestion: “If you can find names in the story that are independently verifiable as historical, then that story must be history.” If that’s not the rule you’re proposing, correct it.

        • Greg G.

          The stone shows Plateau existed but it doesn’t tell the Bible stories are true. Mark may have seen the same stone when it was mounted on a building and used that name because it was the only governor he knew for that region.

        • John

          OR. OR, OR…as hard as it might be for you to accept….the Gospel of Mark was an eyewitness account….not something written 100 years later.

        • Greg G.

          Who believes that? The early church fathers didn’t. If Mark 7:1-20 was true, Peter would have known it. Why did Peter argue against Paul in Galatians 2 when Paul was taking Jesus’ supposed position?

        • John

          What disagreement between Paul and Peter, in Galatians 2?

        • Greg G.

          When Peter ate with the Gentiles until agents from James arrived. Then Peter got kosher. Paul says he got in Peter’s face about it. That argument never would have happened if Mark 7 actually happened.

        • John

          Peter was a normal person, falling back into his past ways. Paul called him on it. Nothing wrong with that. Human nature. Peter wasn’t perfect.

        • Greg G.

          Peter got it from Jesus. Then God gave him a dream about it, according to Acts, but he still needs Paul to refresh his memory. Or did he have the dream after the Antioch argument? Paul doesn’t report Peter’s argument nor does he claim victory but Barnabas seems to have been led astray by it. If Peter was that persuasive when he was wrong, you can’t be sure anything he says is true. Why defend him?

        • MNb

          No, something written some 40 years later by someone who never claims that he was an eyewitness.

        • Pofarmer

          The Gospel account is very generally NOT accepted as an eyewitness account by any but the most addle brained Liberty university apologists.

        • John

          Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught….Luke 1:1-3

        • Pofarmer

          Uh, huh. Luke was probably educate. He tried to make his account look like history. Do you know what key components are missing here to make it actual history?

        • John

          Luke described a tetrarch named Lysanias and wrote that this man reigned over Abilene when John the Baptist began his ministry (Luke 3:1). Two inscriptions have been discovered that mention Lysanias by name. One of these, dated from AD 14–37, identifies Lysanias as the tetrarch in Abila near Damascus. –

          Iconium In Acts 13:51, Luke described this city in Phyrigia. Some ancient writers (like Cicero) wrote that Iconium was located in Lycaonia, rather than Phyrigia, but a monument was discovered in 1910 that confirmed Iconium as a city in Phyrigia. –

          For many centuries, Luke was the only ancient writer to use the word Politarch to describe “rulers of the city.” Skeptics doubted that it was a legitimate Greek term until nineteen inscriptions were discovered. Five of these were in reference to Thessalonica (the very city in which Luke was claiming to have heard the term).

        • Pofarmer

          I’m still at a loss how any of this confirms the supernatural parts.

        • John

          The supernatural cannot be shown scientifically. Most are one time events. You can only go by eyewitness accounts, since there was not any video recorders at the time.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, but if the supernatural happened it could certainly be shown. Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable.

        • John

          Bart Ehrman, even admits the Gospel of Mark was about eyewitness accounts….My view is this: when Mark was writing his Gospel (the first to be written) in say 65 or 70 CE, there probably were indeed people still living who were familiar with Jesus. At least I would assume that Mark himself thought so. Otherwise it is hard to explain why he included what is now Mark 9:1, where Jesus tells his disciples “Truly I tell you, some of you standing here will not taste death before they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” If everyone from the first generation had already died, then it seems implausible that Mark would leave a saying of Jesus indicating that the End would come before they all died.

        • Pofarmer

          Mark was probably written in Rome, in Greek. The chance of him having access to eyewitnesses would be slim.

        • John

          Mark lived in Israel. He may have written his book in Rome, but he lived in Israel and talked to the witness.

        • Pofarmer

          And we know this how?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          “Otherwise it is hard to explain why he included …..”

          This argument only makes sense when you accept that this prophecy of Jesus wasn’t fulfilled, because here you suddenly accept that “will not taste death” refers to a time interval indeed.

        • MNb

          You can find the text on the Pilate stone here:

          http://rambambashi.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/common-errors-18-pilate/

          It tells exactly zilch about the events as described in the NT.

        • John

          The Pilate stone wasn’t about the NT….LOL….now you’re being very funny.

        • Greg G.

          I thought the debate was whether he was a Prefect or a Procurator. They also had Philo. They knew the position was a Procurator in 44 ad, which is what Tacitus called him. Philo and Josephus wrote in Greek which didn’t have a word to distinguish the position. Tacitus may not have been incorrect as some used Procurator interchangeably.

        • MNb

          There is no debate on Pontius Pilatus because of

          http://rambambashi.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/common-errors-18-pilate/

          He was a Prefect.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m assuming you’ve never read any Bart Ehrman, Robert M. Price. Robert G. Price, John E. Remsberg. Thomas Paine?

        • John

          I know of Bart Ehrman….very anti-Christian.

        • Greg G.

          Very ex-Christian.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s an emminent NT scholar who writes the textbooks that many seminaries use.

        • adam

          No need to write your own, Revealed Religion TM allows everyone to INTERPRET for themselves..

        • John

          For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear……2 Timothy 4:3

        • Pofarmer

          Pssssst, John. We’re atheists. Get it John, atheists. Arguing from the bible as authoritative is just going to ne annoying. It is interesting, though, that 2 Timothy is already practicing Apologetics sometime in the 2nd cemtury.

        • John

          I know you’re atheists…..for NOW. GOD isn’t finished with you yet. 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          Whatever John, you’re preachin, not understanding.

        • John

          Actually I’m stating facts….you are an atheist….for NOW…as many like you, have been before. GOD willing, you and others will come around 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          John, you’re stating theology, not facts. Please don’t abuse the nice words.

        • MNb

          I am finished with god though – since more than 35 years.

        • John

          You may be finished with GOD, but GOD isn’t finished with you. 🙂

        • adam

          No god isnt finished with you….

        • Greg G.

          Actually there’s about 43,000 denominations now. So your denomination ‘ chance of being right would be 1 in 43,000, if even one was right.

        • adam

          But of course that is what they all say…

        • Greg G.

          The epistles don’t confirm much at all in the gospels. They don’t mention teachings or preaching, they barely mention the crucifixion with no details. There are several debates going on in the epistles where a “Jesus taught this” would have settled the matter.

        • John

          The question you should look at, what was the purpose of the epistles? Why were they written?

        • Greg G.

          Various reasons including settling issues with arguments that could have been settled with a Jesus quote.

        • Pofarmer

          “Remember, Paul was with the disciples for years..”

          That completely contradicts what Paul says.

        • John

          What contradiction?

        • Pofarmer

          Paul says he did not recieve the Gospel from any man. He then goes away to Damascus for 14 years before going to see Cephas.

        • John

          The whole period from his conversion until his departure from Damascus is given as “3 years”(Gal.1:18)

        • Pofarmer

          And at no time does he talk huge meetings with the disciples. interesting. in fact, he says, once again, that he didn’t receive his gospel from any man.”

        • John

          The disciples didn’t receive the Gospel from any man….it was received from GOD. They made that clear too…..”All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”…2 Timothy 3:16.

        • Pofarmer

          Wouldn’t that have been a reference to OT and Jewish scripture? Could have been a reference to various apocryphal floating around at the time. And the disciples never “recieved” a Gospel. That’s not what the Gospels are. The disciples, you would think, would have mentioned they recieved their stories directly from Jesus, who was always referred to separately from God in the NT. I think you are trying too hard to harmonize your account here.

  • John

    Paul did perform miracles….”God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.”…Acts 19:11….the Jews still did not believe.

    • Pofarmer

      Maybe the Jews didn’t believe because these things weren’t actually happening? Acts is pretty much entirely fiction. Read Richard Pervo.

      • John

        Acts is a fable?

        Acts contains some accurate details of 1st century society, specifically with regard to titles of officials, administrative divisions, town assemblies, and rules of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem,[25] including:

        Inscriptions confirm that the city authorities in Thessalonica in the 1st century were called politarchs (Acts 17:6-8)

        According to inscriptions, grammateus is the correct title for the chief magistrate in Ephesus (Acts 19:35)

        Felix and Festus are correctly called procurators of Judea

        Acts correctly refers to Cornelius as centurion and to Claudius Lysias as a tribune (Acts 21:31 and Acts 23:36)

        The title proconsul (anthypathos) is correctly used for the governors of the two senatorial provinces named in Acts (Acts 13:7-8 and Acts 18:12)

        Inscriptions speak about the prohibition against the Gentiles in the inner areas of the Temple (as in Acts 21:27-36); see also Court of the Gentiles

        The function of town assemblies in the operation of a city’s business is described accurately in Acts 19:29-41

        Roman soldiers were permanently stationed in the tower of Antonia with the responsibility of watching for and suppressing any disturbances at the festivals of the Jews; to reach the affected area they would have to come down a flight of steps into temple precincts, as noted by Acts 21:31-37

        • Greg G.

          How many of those facts are verified by Josephus? Luke used Josephus as a source. There are several smoking guns.

        • John

          Strange, I don’t see any where…where they were friends or even read each others work. Those facts are verified by archeology, and government documents from the time.

        • Pofarmer

          Josephus compiled pretty much the most comprehensives works of Palestine and the Jews at that time. If someone was, say, writing in Rome, trying to make a book look somewhat authoritative on things that were happening in, say, Palestine, Josephus would have been the natural place to look. Josephus, philo, pliny the younger, and possibly the biographers of the Herods. Search around a bit for the bits in Acts that could only have been copied from Josephus, not the other way around.

        • John

          •It is noted that Luke and Josephus both use paradidômi (handed down) to refer to how teachings were passed on by Jesus and by Moses. Of course one may ask what other word might as well have been used; and Carriter slyly hints that “the concept also has precedents in Paul”. It has a heck of a lot more than “precedent” and a “concept”; Paul uses the word itself in 1 Cor. 11:23 and 15:23 of teaching that he “handed down” to the Corinthians; it is also used of Christian teaching in Jude 1, and 2 Peter 2:21. Luke did not need Josephus to come up with this word.
          •Mason and Carrier both note that Luke and Josephus use the word “secure” (asphaleia) in describing their concept of truth, a philosophical concept for factual and ethical truth. Yes, and? What other word ought they to have been able to use? The reason for this is known by Mason, though he does not see it: Plutarch distinguishes philosophy from superstition on the grounds that only philosophy offers a “secure” way to look at the world. Paul uses the word in 1 Thess. 5:23 (“peace and safety).
          That both Luke and Josephus (and Paul) might use the same “buzzword” means no more than that two commercials for different political candidates might use the word “honest” or “integrity”. Derivation is in no sense indicated by the use of this single word (and concept), which appears much, as even Mason admits, in the words of philosophers.

        • Pofarmer

          Not there yet.

        • Greg G.

          How about “sicarii”? Josephus apparently invented the word, at least nobody used it before him. Luke uses the word but doesn’t appear to comprehend it.

        • Greg G.

          I doubt they were friends but when Paul was mistaken for the Egyptian in Acts, Luke tips his hand that he is taking information from Josephus. The Egyptian, the sicarii, and the leading into the desert come from three different, yet nearby, stories in Josephus. Paul’s shipwreck in Acts sounds very much like the one Josephus describes in his biography. Details Luke uses have no purpose in his stories but they do play a role in Josephus’ writings. Luke was probably uncomfortable with the baby killing in Matthew’s birth narrative so he went with the first story in book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews.

        • John

          They lived in the same areas, during the same time periods. Of course they will use the same names of people and places. It does not mean they copied from each other. Do you really think, all the articles about JFK came from one report and everyone else copied that one report?

        • Greg G.

          No they didn’t. Luke wasn’t from there. Luke looks like a great historian when compared to Josephus in the way a C student looks smart on a test when he can see the answers of the smartest kid.

        • Pofarmer

          And? Acts is not accurate history. It masquerades as hostory, being based at least somewhat on Josephus.

        • What do we conclude from your list? That the supernatural tales are all true?

        • John

          If you’re demanding proof of any supernatural event, you only have eyewitness accounts, in the Gospels and Acts. What proof do you have of any eclipse? There’s no physical proof…you only have eyewitness accounts. Can you prove scientifically, what you had for dinner, last Thursday night? No….you have to rely on the testimony of anyone who saw you eat.

        • The bar is higher for supernatural claims. “I ate chili last Thursday” isn’t that remarkable.

          Why ask these elementary questions? Don’t you do it this way, too? Or do you just credulously accept every claim made to you?

        • And the gospels aren’t eyewitness accounts. You say they are? You need to show us.

    • Did he? I’d be more convinced if I heard him say that.

      That it’s another source written decades later makes me wonder if there might’ve been a wee bit of legendary accretion.

      • John

        You’re just refusing to accept the fact that Paul did perform miracles. You’re not even being objective. You’ll deny any facts, that go against what you WANT to believe.

        • Greg G.

          In Acts, when Paul testified in Agrippa’s court, he says Jesus asked him why he was “kicking against the goads”. The phrase comes from The Bacchae , a Greek play written about 500 years earlier. It seems to be a cliche used the way we quote Shakespeare without realizing it. So Luke has Paul quoting Jesus quoting Euripides quoting Dionysis, a Greek god, in Aramaic. Luke made up Acts from available literature.

        • MNb

          Of course I refuse to accept the fact that Paul did perform miracles, just like you refuse to accept that the Earth is flat and you refuse to accept that Mohammed rode the sky on his horse Buraq from Medina to Jerusalem and back.
          So it’s the other way round – you only accept those “facts” that confirm what YOU want to believe.

        • John

          Have you ever looked into the myth of the flat earth?….it was actually started in the late 1800’s by ATHEIST. Scientist and educators have been trying for decades to destroy this myth, that the church taught the earth was flat. That is a lie….do some research on it.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, good lord, John. Look up ancient cosmology to get an idea what the Ancients believed about the Earth. The waters above and the waters below. The pillars of the earth, the dome of the heavens with the stars set in the firmament. Where the hell,do you get this stuff?

        • John

          The idea that medieval people thought the earth was flat appears to have spread in the late nineteenth century as a stick with which to beat the medieval Christian church, which is often blamed for restricting intellectual growth in the period. The myth also taps into people’s ideas of “progress” and of the medieval era as a period of savagery without much thought.

          Professor Jeffrey Russell argues that the Columbus myth originated in a history of Columbus from 1828 by Washington Irving, which claimed that theologians and experts of the period opposed funding the voyages because the earth was flat. This is now known to be false, but anti-Christian thinkers seized upon it. Indeed, in a presentation summarizing his book ‘Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians’, Russell states “No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat.” (Cited from the American Scientific Affiliation website.)
          …….. http://europeanhistory.about.com/od/historicalmyths/a/histmyths7.htm

        • Pofarmer

          That actually has nothing at all to do with what the Ancients believed about the Earth.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I actuall have done some research on our good friends the Flat Earthers, because I like them. They are much nicer than many christian apologists. This guy founded the modern version of FET:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Rowbotham

          And if he was an atheist then so are you:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

          “He also published a leaflet entitled “The inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and its Opposition to the Scriptures!!” which argued that the “Bible, alongside our senses, supported the idea that the earth was flat and immovable and this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture”.”

          Also thanks for not addressing the fact that Mohammed rode the sky.

        • Did Paul perform miracles? Maybe. However, I’m going to need an enormous mountain of evidence to convince me.

          How about you? Some dude from some Christian cult says that his leader raises the dead or a Hindu says that his leader can be in two places at once–you just believe it? Or are you skeptical? Maybe even as skeptical as I am?

          Skepticism is the default position. You wanna move me off that? OK–give me the evidence.

        • John

          Did Paul perform miracles?….I gave you the answer from Acts, but since you won’t believe anything from the bible, you eliminate any evidence, to make your point. If it was a lie, Paul’s testimony would have been over with, and his enemies would have exploited it.

        • It’s like I’m talking to a child here. Does this pass for serious scholarship where you come from? Sorry for the harsh critique … but, yeah. You might want to poke around (click All Posts at the top) and learn up so you get a bit more up to speed.

          Right: just because the Bible says so, I don’t automatically accept that as history. Accepting anything from the Bible is hard enough since it is so very far removed from our world.

          If what was a lie? The only beef with Paul’s claims that comes to mind at this moment is the claim of 500 eyewitnesses. And I’ve written about that, too. Look it up.

  • John

    Paul called himself a servant of Jesus…..who do you think Jesus was?

    • Philmonomer

      A “prophet” who believed he was ushering in the end of the world as we know it. (It didn’t happen.)

      • John

        Jesus referred to the end times as a future event.

        • Greg G.

          If he said what the Bible says he said, it should have happened and not been canonized.

        • John

          What he said, was in writing, long before the New Testament was canonized.

        • Greg G.

          But it was canonized long after everybody standing there had tasted death.

        • John

          It doesn’t matter when it was canonized…it only matters when it was written.

        • Ron

          It doesn’t matter when it was written or canonized; it only matters that they all died and Jesus’ promise of returning before they tasted death went unfulfilled. Or can you produce a still living 2000-year-old disciple?

        • Greg G.

          No, it only matters whether it was true. All I meant by the canonization is that the world went on for a couple of centuries which means that everyone standing there “tasted death”, which means it wasn’t true.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly, it’s literature, about a figure in an earlier age. What he said or didn’t say is impossible to tell, because there are no writings from the man himself. Much if the apocalyptic stuff, well, didn’t happen, but it still made a good story. There were many apocalyptic and ascetic cults in ancient jerusalem. They were rather religious nutballs.

        • MNb

          “What he said or didn’t say is impossible to tell”
          Worse – for understanding christianity it is not even relevant.

        • Pofarmer

          Good point.

        • MNb

          Imo Paulus is the founder, Jesus just the role model to put it in modern terminology.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, I agree completely. Paul got involved with Cephas and James who were spreading a different messianic religion in jerusalem, of which there were many, and Paul got sideways with them and started trotting it out to the Gentiles and it worked.

        • John

          Galatians 2 is very clear….they all decided Paul would go to the Gentiles and the others to the Jews. There was no disagreements. Read the chapter.

        • MNb

          Yeah, that’s what Paulus wants you to believe …. your lack of sound skepticism is amusing. I have a bridge to sell you – I am as credible as Paulus.

        • Pofarmer

          What aboit the passage where Paul rebukes Cephas? They pretty much split after that.

        • John

          Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him…..2nd Peter 3:15…..they did not split.

        • Pofarmer

          2 Peter is also mainly Apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          Wrong comment.

        • Pofarmer

          2 peter is early Apologetics.

        • Greg G.

          Peter the Apostle, aka Cephas, had nothing to do with 2 Peter.

        • CC

          Then why does Paul continually preach against circumcision and the mosaic law while the other apostles are for it?

        • John

          The Council of Jerusalem of about 50 AD was the first meeting in early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether new Gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, but it was conscious that the issue had wider implications, since circumcision is the “everlasting” sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Jewish culture was still trying to find its place in the more dominant Hellenistic culture which found circumcision to be repulsive.

          The decision of the Council, called the Apostolic Decree, was that most Mosaic law, including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for Gentile converts, in order to make it easier for Jewish-Christian proselytizers to induce gentile prospects to join the Christian movement…..circumcision was under the Abrahamic Covenant. We are no longer under that covenant, there is a new covenant. Paul said, circumcision was of the heart. It was an inward change.

        • adam

          So in direct conflict with the ‘actual’ words from Jesus?

          King James Bible
          For
          verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one
          tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

          That would appear to make it a POLITICAL change to expand power and CERTAINLY not the ‘teachings of Jesus’

        • CC

          The historicity of the account of this council (only mentioned in Acts 15) is continually debated. Some people try to say that the PRIVATE MEETING described in Galatians 2 is the same event but there is no consensus.

          If this council had happened, with the outcome that Acts says, then how come Paul over and over again argues against circumcision (and the Mosaic code) in his letters? Couldn’t he just say “this was already decided in the Council of Jerusalem”?

          The apostle that Paul seems to be on the most friendly terms with, who seems to go along with his ministry the most, is Peter and Peter shows in Galatians 2 that he is both week in his convictions and afraid of James and his opinions.

          Galatians 2 11-14
          11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed .
          12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come , he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
          13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
          14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ?

          Also as to circumcision Paul seems to have almost a vendetta against it and those who preach it.

          Philippians 3 : 2-3
          2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.(Strong’s definition :to cut up, mutilation)
          3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

          NIV Version
          2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
          3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh

          Perhaps he had an embarrassing experience in his local gymnasium?

        • John

          Paul himself, said he was a servant of Jesus…he spoke to Jesus. The problem is, you don’t understand who Jesus is. You appear to think he wasn’t anything more than a man.

        • Pofarmer

          Paul possibly had visions of Jesus. He never knew him. In fact, he doesn’t ever say he spoke to hem, he says he “recieved the Gospel”.

        • John

          As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

          5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

          “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
          …Acts 9:3

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, he had a vision. Thomas Paine talks aboit visions.

        • Greg G.

          Acts has three contradictory versions of that story but Paul never mentioned it.

          I think the evidence shows that Jesus is an invented literary figure. Nearly every passage in Mark can be traced to literature of the day. The early epistles say nothing about Jesus that isn’t in the Old Testament. They may well have thought Jesus existed around Isaiah’s time.

        • John

          Who do you think Jesus is? Do you believe he was just a man?

        • Greg G.

          Just a man? I don’t think Jesus was even a man. The apostles thought Jesus had existed hundreds of years before them. They were reading verses about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, which are a metaphor for the nation of Israel, as if it was a hidden mystery. After Jerusalem was destroyed decades later, some people in other places thought Jesus had been an early first century person, but they had no way of knowing that.

          I’m on vacation without my computer and my notes but I have posted extensively on this subject in this forum in the past year or more.

        • John

          Josephus’s works also include a much less-famous passage that’s definitely genuine. Buried deep in Book 20 of his Antiquities of the Jews is a passing reference to the execution of “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”. That’s as far as it goes. It confirms the historical existence of James and therefore Jesus. And it’s almost universally acknowledged to be genuine

        • Greg G.

          Yes, Josephus tells of many men named Jesus including Jesus Damneus in the same passage.

          Josephus was too young to have firsthand information about Jesus. He may have read the Gospel of Mark or even Galatians.

        • John

          He wrote of Jesus, a leader of a religious sect, as a REAL person. So please stop with the idea that Jesus wasn’t real.

        • Greg G.

          Josephus wrote of Moses being a real person, too, but archaeology shows that was wrong.

        • John

          Josephus lived during the time of Jesus, he talked to the eyewitnesses. You are among the fringe, who refuse to accept that Jesus lived.

        • Greg G.

          Josephus was born in 37 CE. When did he talk to eyewitnesses?

          I do not refuse to accept that Jesus lived. I just see no good evidence that he did and I see evidence that his story was made up by people who thought they were revealing mysteries.

        • John

          He was born around 37 CE, Jesus died around 30 CE….I’m sure there were still many people around in 57 CE, who were there when Jesus died.

        • hector_jones

          NAME ONE!!!

        • John

          oh please, use your common sense. People born in 1 CE, were still alive in 57 CE.

        • CC

          Not necessarily, life was harder then. These are not supposed to be mostly very wealthy men. Also, why do you assume that they were all born in the year 1 CE? Some of them could have been older than that.

          Plus there’s that early christian obsession with martyrdom.

        • John

          The average life expectency at the start of the Roman Empire was 28 years of age. According to mythological tradition, Jesus died at the age of 33. However, due to a very high infant mortality rate, it is more accurate to look at the life expectency of someone of that era who has made it to the age of 15. That person would have probably survived another 25 years, or to about the age of 40.

        • Pofarmer

          Sooo, the chance of someone born in 1 CE being alive in 57 CE would have been exceedingly slim?

        • John

          Someone born in 15 CE, living to 15, could expect to live to 55 CE…on average. Many people did live beyond the age of 40 or 50.

        • CC

          I see. Then your earlier comment,

          “oh please, use your common sense. People born in 1 CE, were still alive in 57 CE.”

          is a bit of an exaggeration. Most people born in 1 CE would be dead by at least 41 CE. And who’s to say that these legendary disciples were all Jesus’ age or younger?

        • Greg G.

          You’re sure? What evidence do you… Oh, you don’t need evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t it interesting that Paul only talks about Apostles, not disciples, and never mentions talking to any eyewitnesses? Just those who have “received” the Gospel?

        • Al

          The apostles were eyewitnesses. He also mentions 500 who saw the risen Christ in I Corinthians 15. Its safe to say that he knew some of them personally.

        • Pofarmer

          Apostles and Disciples are not necessarily the same thing. Paul doesn’t mention any of the Apostles he interacts with knowing Jesus personally, or being eyewitnesses. In fact, he says the message was “revealed” to Cephas and James the same way it was “revealed” to him, using the same Greek word. The 500 number could also easily be spurious for two reasons. Number one, it is the only place anywhere in the NT that it is mentioned, and it is the only place in Paul that “the 12” is mentioned. It’s quite likely that that section is a later interpolation Expecially since the passage reads just fine, and makes more sense considering the rest of what Paul wrote without those mentions.

        • hector_jones

          500 is the number of times Al has had this explained to him without him showing any signs of comprehension.

        • Pofarmer

          The only reason, and I mean the only reason, that I am responding to Al’s inanity at this point is so some random questioning lurker down the road doesn’t think this sort of nonsense goes unanswered. I am still getting upvotes from posts two years ago on Catholic blogs on Patheos from before I was summarily banned. I look back and am a little surprised myself at some of the raw emotion.

        • hector_jones

          Shmuckbait

        • I’ve written about the “500 eyewitnesses” here. It fails completely as an argument, most importantly because the gospels didn’t find it a compelling argument.

          But I think we’ve been over this before.

        • CC

          500 eyewitnesses who are unnamed and are supposed to have seen Jesus in the same way that Paul later saw him, in a vision. That’s very credible.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s ‘safe to say’ more or less anything that conforms to scripture, depending on your surroundings and level of independence of course.

        • John

          Bart D. Ehrman states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by a wide range of sources including Josephus and Tacitus…..Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted. In antiquity, the existence of Jesus was never denied by those who opposed Christianity

        • adam

          He also says this:

          After citing the passage, Ehrman (60) says:

          The problems with this passage should be obvious to anyone with even a casual knowledge of Josephus…. He was thoroughly and ineluctably Jewish and certainly never converted to be a follower of Jesus. But this passage contains comments that only a Christian would make: that Jesus was more than a man, that he was the messiah, and that he arose from the dead in fulfillment of the scriptures. In the judgment of most scholars, there is simply no way Josephus the Jew would or could have written such things. So how did these comments get into his writings?

          Ehrman goes on to explain, “When Christian scribes copied the text, they added a few words here and there to make sure that the reader would get the point. This is that Jesus, the superhuman messiah raised from the dead as the scriptures predicted.”

          Such a claim represents the perfect argument for Ehrman to proffer, since he adheres to the evemerist perspective that Jesus was a real person, a mundane Jewish prophet and wannabe messiah, to whose biography his ardent followers added a series of supernatural fairytales.

        • John

          He makes it clear…Jesus was a real historical person. Whatever else he has to say, is just an opinion.

        • adam

          Yes and he makes it JUST as CLEAR that the STORY of Jesus is MYTHOLOGY….

          Aren’t BOTH just an opinion?

        • Greg G.

          It was Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist that convinced me that Jesus didn’t exist. His reliance on writers who were too late to have first hand knowledge and didn’t give their sources were part of the reason. Virtually all modern scholars were brainwashed as children that Jesus was real and few have actually dealt with the evidence. The books of the last century that are said to refute the Jesus Myth Theory admit they weren’t addressing the arguments. Nobody claimed that Jesus existed in the early first century until the late first century when there was nobody around who could refute it. 

          There are several scholars, mostly non-mythicist, who have identified Mark’s sources independently.  Once pointed out, these studies are quite obvious.  Combined, the studies show that nearly every passage of Mark comes from the literature of the day. The other gospels are dependent on Mark’s fiction.

        • Guest

          Bart Ehrman doesn’t know what he’s talking about and neither do you.

        • Greg G.

          I guess you told me.

        • Pofarmer

          Soundly refuted, as it were.

        • hector_jones

          You realize that Bart Ehrman argues that Jesus did exist, right?

          No, you don’t realize that. So who here ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about’? The evidence points to you.

        • John

          Josephus clearly said Jesus existed, as did other historians at the time. You seem to be among the fringe that refuses to accept that.

        • Greg G.

          Other mentions of Jesus in the late first and early second centuries only confirm that there were contemporary Christians who believed Jesus had existed, not that their beliefs were true.

          Josephus may have gotten bad information from someplace like the Gospel of Mark. He was sometimes wrong like with his story of Moses.

        • John

          Do you believe Buddha, Confucius or Mohammad existed? Do you believe any of their writing? None of them wrote down anything….it’s all from their followers, long after they passed away. Are you setting up a separate standard for Jesus?

        • MNb

          The question is yours. Do you think they existed? If yes, do you accept the supernatural stuff attached to them as historical facts? If no, why should I accept the supernatural stuff as described in the NT?

        • Pofarmer

          There are writings attributed to Confuscious, buddha is simply to old! But there isn’t much doubt he existed. Mohamed is said to have written the Koran. In Jesus, we have a religion founded around the story of an individual who worked many miracles and did freat deeds. It almost reminds one of greco-roman fictional works, which is interesting because the first gospel, Mark, is believed to have been written in Rome.

        • MNb

          Nope – it’s obvious that he expected his second coming pretty soon.

          Matth. 23:36 “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”
          Of course you will try to explain “this generation” away, thus providing a typical example of

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

          Like Greg states underneath this problem is exactly why the Gospels were written down – the early christians had to deal with this prophecy not coming true.

        • John

          Read the previous verses…at that time he was speaking to the Pharisees….he was speaking of THEM. What he said, did happen.

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming my prediction about “explaining away”. Please tell me, how will you explain this away? I’m always curious to learn the ad hoc arguments of apologists.

          Matth. 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

        • Pofarmer

          He was speaking to his disciples.

          18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

          19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

          20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

          21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

          22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

          23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

          24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

          25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

          26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

          27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

        • John

          “Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?””….John 21:23…..Jesus also said….Jesus never gave anyone any dates…only the signs of his coming again.

        • MNb

          “Jesus never gave anyone any dates”

          Matth. 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

        • Pofarmer

          That was shrewd, at least.

        • Future … but not very much future.

          Another fail.

    • In John, Jesus says that if you have seen him, you have seen the father. So Jesus was god? It’s odd that this fundamentally important message isn’t made clear over and over in the other gospels. And in Paul, for that matter. If Jesus said it, no one could’ve been confused about it, right?

      John being the last gospel, it’s almost like the story grew with time …

      • John

        ” I and the Father are one.”
        Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
        “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”…..John 10:31-33

        • My point stands.

        • John

          You didn’t even respond to my points. Jesus clearly was saying he is GOD. The Jews themselves said that…..“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”…..

        • Greg G.

          The Gospel of John says Jesus said that. The same gospel implies Jesus had a conversation in Greek with a Pharisee. That sounds farfetched.

        • MNb

          You didn’t bring up any point, only Bible quotes. On this blog they are shrugged off. They mean nothing without some external back up.

        • John

          So you don’t want anyone using the bible to answer questions about events in the bible? HUH?

        • MNb

          Not without external back up

          http://www.livius.org/theory/testis-unus-testis-nullus/

          or they mean nothing.

        • Pofarmer

          You are trying to use the bible to prove the bible, that is no different than using Harry Potter to prove Harry Potter.

        • Greg G.

          Feel free to use the Bible if that’s all you have.

        • You didn’t even respond to my points.

          And why do you suppose that was?? Because you ignored the point, twice, and bludgeoned forward with your own questions. A little polite give and take, OK?

          Do us all a favor and take a deep breath and then reread a comment. Then reply.

          Here’s what I said before about Jesus being God in the gospel of John: It’s odd that this fundamentally important message isn’t made clear over and over in the other gospels. And in Paul, for that matter. If Jesus said it, no one could’ve been confused about it, right? So why don’t we see that vital point interwoven through all the gospels?

        • John

          Jesus made it very clear, the Jews tried to stone him. Read this again…”.I and the Father are one.”
          Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
          “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”…..John 10:31-33….the Jews clearly understood he was calling himself GOD….what is it that you don’t understand?

        • And again you answer the question you want to answer, ignoring what I said. Slow down, OK? Replying is trivial since I just have to go back and find the answer you ignored and give it to you again.

          Yeah, I see that in John. And yet how can Jesus have made plain that he is God without this claim being peppered through the other gospels? Given that it’s not, this invites the question: Are the supernatural stories in the gospels just that–stories? The non-supernatural option begins to look more likely.

        • Pofarmer

          John is harmonizing the Gospels into one big meta Gospel. Bad form, at any rate.

        • Craigart14

          Why isn’t this statement in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or the Epistles? Could it be that John added it to his version of the good news?

        • John

          I didn’t write the books. What does it matter? If it had been written in 1500 books, you still wouldn’t believe it.

      • John

        “”Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”….John 8:58…. Before Abraham was, I am—The words rendered “was” and “am” are quite different. The one clause means, “Abraham was brought into being”; the other, “I exist.” The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did (as Arians affirm is the meaning), but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally (as Joh 1:1).

    • MNb

      Just another messias claimant. There were quite a few around in that place and time.

      http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messianic_claimants00.html

      Nothing special, soon to be forgotten if it hadn’t been for Paulus and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.

      • John

        There were no Christians in Jerusalem when the temple was destroyed….they had nothing to do with that. That is Jewish history. Jesus was right, the Gospel would be preached all over the world.

        • MNb

          And how does this address anything I wrote?

          “Jesus was right, the Gospel would be preached all over the world.”
          Big deal. All messias claimants made that claim.

          “That is Jewish history.”
          And this only shows your ignorance. Jesus was a jew. Paulus was a jew. They are part of jewish history.
          The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple urged the early christians to write down the Gospels, so yes, it had an impact on early christianity.

        • John

          They may have made the claim, but NONE of them actually accomplished it.

        • MNb

          Jesus was hardly the last one to start (even if involuntarily) a new religion, so your statement is irrelevant.

  • John

    I have a question….what proof are you looking for? What would it take to convince you?

    • MNb

      Proof of what? Convince of what?

      • John

        “For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.”….Rev 11:9…..this was written almost 2000 years BEFORE it was even possible….no tv, no satellites….UNTIL the last 70 years.

        • I’m not following. What are you saying that the passage from Revelation prophesies?

        • John

          Explain to me how anyone 2000 years ago, would know it would be possible for people all over the world to see the same event, at the same time.

        • Greg G.

          They had no idea of the size of the earth. They thought there was a mountain where the whole world could be seen.

        • You really gotta respond to the questions I raise.

          Let me try again: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t double down on your amazement without sharing with me what we’re talking about.

        • Craigart14

          Either dumb luck or the ravings of a lunatic?

        • CC

          “The whole world” was a different concept in the past. The whole world was the whole world as far as you knew.

          Rome ruled “the whole world” but did the peoples in The Americas know it?

          Plato wrote about refugees from whole-world-covering floods arriving in Egypt and asking the Egyptians how they had survived untouched. Time and again the Egyptians had to explain that it had not reached their land and that this had happened many times before in other places.

          In any great metropolis, at the time, it wouldn’t be strange to have a few representatives from all the lands they knew of view these bodies.

          Anyway, I think that everything you’ve said recently is more of an argument against the Bible being divinely inspired than for it.

      • John

        “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a SECOND time to bring back the remnant of his people–those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands.”….Isaiah 11:11……this was written BEFORE they were taken out of the land the first time, under Babylon. They were thrown out again by the Romans, but didn’t return the SECOND time, until May 1948. This time, the return was a world wide event, not just from Babylon.

        • This is a big prophecy? You’d laugh if something this vague were put forward couched in some other religion.

          Look up “prophecy” here and read up on my views so I don’t have to repeat them. I’ve written a fair amount.

        • John

          Do you even understand what was said? Do you understand anything about the return of the Jews to the land?

        • Tell us all. Show us that this prophecy was accurate and startling.

        • John

          “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a SECOND time to bring back the remnant of his people”…..The diaspora began with the 6th century B.C. conquest of the ancient Kingdom of Judah by Babylon, the destruction of the First Temple (c. 586 B.C.), and the expulsion of the population, as stated in the Bible. The Babylonian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, allowed the Jews to remain in a unified community in Babylon…..In 560 B.C., Cyrus the Great became the king of Persia, a small state in the Middle East, and within 30 years had replaced the Babylonian empire with his own.

          Cyrus also unexpectedly told the Jews that they could return to their homeland (returned the first time)
          …..the Jews were throw out AGAIN, by the Romans, 70 AD….they returned to the land the SECOND time, in 1948.

        • The conquest and exile of Judah was the second of its kind. Israel had been conquered and exiled over a century earlier. I don’t see the interpretation that this refers to 1948. Even if it did, so what? That’s hardly a startling prediction.

        • John

          Because in 1948, they returned to the land the SECOND time. It’s like me telling you, I’ll give you something, when you come back the second time….means, you’ll be leaving, coming back…leaving again and coming back a second time.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem here is that the Jewish leaders pushing for a, Jewish state in Israel KNEW the prophesy as well. makes it seem less divine.

        • John

          Isaiah, said this almost 2000 years ago, that the Jews would be taken out of the land TWICE, and come back a SECOND time?

        • Pofarmer

          How does this nullify my comment?

        • John

          So your point is….the Jews knew of this prophecy and forced it to be fulfilled? So the Jews MINIPULATED all the world leaders and the Arabs, to make this happen?

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, that’s considerably less farfetched than, your conclusion.

        • hector_jones

          The precedent of creating a bunch of new countries out of the wreckage of war had already been set following WW1, and even before that. It’s pretty much the custom when wars end. So it’s hardly a shock that the victors of WW2 did the same thing, esp. on behalf of a people who were a major victim in that war and whose lack of a homeland was seen as a factor in their victimization. No manipulation was needed. There were plenty of people who wanted to give the Jews a homeland in the aftermath of WW2. (The Arabs, btw, weren’t manipulated, they were forced by the British and the French). Every single one of those persons who wanted to create this homeland was well aware of the biblical prophesies, and that Palestine had been the alleged site of the Jewish historical homeland. So I’m not seeing much to be impressed by with your alleged prophecy.

        • John

          Name one other country, that has come back after 2000 years. Name one other group of people, that were thrown out of their land….kept their heritage together and came back to the SAME land….2000 years later.

        • hector_jones

          You’ve already had it pointed out to you a couple of times that the people who made it happen were all very much aware of the bible. It’s too bad that you just aren’t bright enough to understand the implications of that, but that really isn’t my problem.

        • John

          You didn’t answer my question….name one country, that has come back after 2000 years…..name onE group of people, who have held together for 2000 years…and came back into their own land…..NAME ONE!!!

        • hector_jones

          Naming one country proves nothing. Groups of people have held together for 2000 years, so that proves nothing as well. You need to calm down.

        • John

          You cannot name just ONE country, because ISRAEL is the ONLY one that has done it. That makes the prophecy true.

        • hector_jones

          People who had read the prophecy made it true. There’s nothing divine about it. Moreover it’s far too vague. It doesn’t say anything about when or how the prophecy will happen. What purpose do you think prophecy like this serves? If you think your god makes prophecies to prove his existence then I can think of much better ways than that. None of this is persuasive evidence that your god is real.

        • CC

          Actually, Israel has NOT done it.

          Christians like to use verses out of context. You didn’t even put the whole prophecy. From the same chapter, that is Isaiah 11:

          15
          And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
          16
          And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left , from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

          I don’t recall hearing that there was a Moses style, water parting crossing of Jews into Israel in 1948. Also:

          Isaiah 11 : 13
          The envy also of Ephraim shall depart , and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off : Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

          This verse is talking about the two kingdoms that Israel divided into, Israel and Judah. That story starts in 1 Kings chapter 12. Israel at this point, (in Isaiah) is sometimes referred to as Ephraim. And Israel and Judah warred together at this point.

          Later, Israel/Ephraim were dragged off by the Assyrians, (2 Kings 17 : 6 & 20-24) and since then have disappeared off the map they are now referred as the ten lost tribes of Israel. See here:

          http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14506-tribes-lost-ten

          The Jewish people did not all go back to Israel in 1948. The people that we call Jewish now only descend from two and a half tribes of Israel, (Judah, Levi and half of Benjamin).

          The prophecy can not be fulfilled until they find those ten, (some say nine and a half) other tribes.

          The missing tribes have to be there so that they and the remnant can do this together:

          Isaiah 11 : 14
          But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.

          I don’t think that this has happened. It would be kind of hard since I think some of these people at least are extinct.

          Please read the whole chapter next time. The verses are meant to go together. They’re not individual, complete, stand alone statements.

        • John

          “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

          “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
          He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
          and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”……. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”…Luke 4:16-20…..notice Jesus did not finish the quote from Isaiah 61:1…..he stopped at a comma. The complete verse is….”The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” …..”to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,”
          Isaiah 61:1-2….the part after the comma…. …..”to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,”…is a future event. It is still a prophecy.

        • Ron

          So what does that prove, other than the fact that Jesus (or the author of Luke) quote-mined the passage in Isaiah?

        • John

          That was in answer to CC….a prophecy can be split in two. One part before the comma, the second part after the comma. He was asking about, quoting a whole verse. Sometimes a prophecy is just part of a verse.

        • Greg G.

          They didn’t use punctuation back then. With that much latitude on choosing parts of passages, there about 18 verses that say “there is no god”. But you’ll insist on the parts that say “the fool says in his heart” and “besides me”.

        • John

          The point is….he never finished the verse. He didn’t finish it for a reason. The prophecy is in two parts.

        • Greg G.

          You can retrofit an event anywhere in history with the selection of a fraction of a vague prophecy. In this case, Luke is modifying the beginning of Mark 6 by pulling a phrase from Isaiah, the favorite source for prophecy by early Christians, to make up a fictional account. Mark constructed the story from 1 Samuel 10:1-27 where the people asked the same sort of questions when Saul prophesied in tongues.

        • Ron

          Quite honestly, I’m more intrigued by the fact that people intimately familiar with the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ life were the least bit upset with his remarks. As the author of this site so eloquently notes (under the heading “Downsizing”):

          If JC had grown up and spent thirty years of his life in a village with as few as 25 families – an inbred clan of less than 300 people – the ‘multitude’ that were supposedly shocked by his blasphemy and would have thrown him from a cliff, would not have been hostile strangers but, to a man, would have been relatives and friends that he had grown up with, including his own brothers. Presumably, they had heard his pious utterances for years.

          Moreover, if the chosen virgin really had had an annunciation of messiah-birthing from an angel the whole clan would have known about it inside ten minutes. Just to remind them, surely they should also have known of the ‘Jerusalem incident’ (Luke 2.42-49) when supposedly the 12-year-old proclaimed his messiahship?

          Indeed, had no one mentioned what had happened in Bethlehem – star, wise men, shepherds, infant-massacre and all? Why would they have been outraged by anything the godman said or did? Had they forgotten a god was growing up in their midst? And what had happened to that gift of gold – had it not made the ‘holy family’ rich?

          Yet now everyone suddenly act as if they’d been living under a rock for the past 30 years.

        • John

          ” Groups of people have held together for 2000 years,”…..not when they’re been thrown out of their countries for 2000 years.

        • hector_jones

          If you find the recreation of Israel and the plight of the Jews to be such compelling evidence for your religious beliefs, then how do you account for the fact that you aren’t a Jew, and Jews aren’t Christians?

        • John

          The first Christians were Jewish. Many of the Jewish leaders at that time, refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah. There are a break between the Jews and Christians. We do not follow the requirements of the Old Testament laws….what to eat, drink, clothes to wear, sacrifices…those were all laws to keep the Jews as a separate people from the nations around them. Jesus made it clear, holiness comes from within, not by what we do on the outside. If you are good from within, it will show on the outside.

        • hector_jones

          This doesn’t answer my question at all.

        • John

          I just told you….the dividing line is Jesus, is he the messiah or not? To Christians he is, to the Jews, he is not.

        • hector_jones

          You are completely missing my point. I wasn’t asking for a history lesson. I think explaining it to you would be a waste of our time, however, so I’m not going to bother.

        • hector_jones

          Oh look, Muslims claim fulfilled prophecies too, including one about the re-establishment of Israel. I guess you and I have no choice but to convert to Islam, according to your logic. See you down at the mosque.

        • John

          The Jewish faith and the Old Testament, were around long before the Muslims.

        • hector_jones

          So what?

        • CC

          Actually, even the Jews holding together as a people all this time is largely due to the christians constant persecution of them.

        • Greg G.

          Isaiah is older than 2000 years.

        • Ron

          meh… amateurs. The Mayans predicted the coming of Lil Wayne and made a statue of him.

          http://i.imgur.com/K9CRz.png

        • hector_jones

          As did the British and the French, the ones who had the power to create Israel.

  • John

    I wish the disciples had written many more books. I wish they had put some writing on clay tablets or rocks. Something that would last. I wish they would have had, at least the printing press, at the time. That would have really helped. GOD did not make this easy.

    • hector_jones

      He’s incompetent.

      • John

        About atheist…..”The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”…2 Corinthians 4:4.

        • Greg G.

          Why would God have to blind the minds of those who were unbelievers already? It sounds like an excuse that believers would fall for.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s kinda funny that John brings up a passage here that could easily be used to argue for the celestial Jesus from the Astrological story in Revelations.

        • John

          Read the verse again….it says…”The god of this age”…not the GOD. You’ve rejected GOD’s word, and you believe anything anyone tells you….even from the god of this age.

        • Greg G.

          OK, I see. So if the devil has blinded the minds of unbelievers, what kind of God would condemn them?

        • adam

          A god indistinguishable from the devil itself.

        • Ron

          FYI, Judaism views Satan as an emissary of God—i.e. Satan works for God.

          http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation7.html

    • Pofarmer

      Maybe they were made up by Mark.

    • Greg G.

      There’s a very good reason the disciples didn’t write any books. Pofarmer tells you why. The word “disciple” isn’t used in the epistles.

      • John

        What difference does that make? Most of the letters were to CHURCHES, not individuals. Don’t you people study the bible?

        • Greg G.

          We’re talking about what the epistles say here, not who they were to. Why would that matter? The word “disciple” isn’t used in the epistles. They are all called apostles. Haven’t you ever noticed that?

        • Pofarmer

          Do you know the difference between a disciple and an apostle? Paul actually is pretty clear with his wording.

    • Ron

      Strange, isn’t it? An all-powerful, all-knowing being left no trace of its existence save for a number of conflicting accounts of dubious origin. It’s almost like the whole thing was conjured up to advance a particular theological ideology,

      • John

        For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God….Romans 1:20.

        • adam

          7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create EVIL: I the Lord do all these things.

          Isaiah 45:7King James Version (KJV)

        • John

          That takes the infants from their mothers’ breasts, or out of their arms, and dashes out their brains against a “rock”, as the word (k) signifies; which, though it may seem a piece of cruelty, was but a just retaliation; the Babylonians having done the same to the Jewish children, and is foretold elsewhere should be done to theirs, …….Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

        • Paul

          really it is just for them to do that too babies? what about the law that a father should not be put to death for the sins of the son and a son not put to death for the sins of the father.. only the man who sins should be put to death? If those babies did not commint the sin how is it “just” to then do that too innocent babies.. and what about how he killed king davids son becuase though king david had been forgiven he had spurned the wrath of the lord so… therefore the child must die… and you probably sit around shaking your head wondering whats wrong with the world today in the same breath as imbuing children with these types of “morals”

        • John

          I do not justify the credulity of man, but I do know GOD is just and will repay each for the good and bad they’ve done. This life is temporary. ….”Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”…..Matt. 10:28.

        • adam

          “but I do know GOD is just and will repay each for the good and bad they’ve done. ”

          Not if they are forgiven, correct?
          Rudolph Hess, baby rapers, etc……

        • adam

          ,,,

        • John

          Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is getting what you don’t deserve. I don’t understand GOD’s sense of justice. I don’t understand how he can forgive some people of the horrendous things they’ve done….BUT…I’m not the one setting the rules. It’s his game.

        • adam

          Yes, I know someone wrote a book..

          Have you ever read the Koran?

        • So mercy violates God’s sense of justice, and justice violates God’s sense of mercy? I’m confused–just another mystery?

        • John

          Any judge can put aside justice and show mercy. That’s the whole point of mercy.

        • What?? God puts aside his Perfect Justice®?

          Sounds OK to me (since his “perfect justice” sounds pretty messed up), but I thought Christians like to marvel at how fabulous and immutable it is. Not so, I guess?

        • Pofarmer

          Kinda banging my head on the keyboard. Every answer of Johns just boils down to “God is the best evar.” The whole thing is completely circular. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s mysterious. If it goes against our sense of justice, “Well, that’s just God.” These people live among us in an completely alternate reality.

        • And then you point out their errors, and they’re back to, “Ahh–it’s a mystery!”

        • Pofarmer

          Well, take ryan for example, we somehow for on substutory attonement. His answer is Jesus saved us, because now, instead of seeing us, God sees jesus sacrifice. Well, first off, Jesus is God, right? And second of all, just how gullible is this God? I dunno, the whole thing makes my head hurt.

        • adam

          They do live in a delusional world of MAGIC…

        • MNb

          Frankly I would mind a lot less if they didn’t have the ambition to make claims about the scientific reality as well.

        • John

          If they have repented of the evil they have done and accepted Jesus, they are forgiven.

        • adam

          So then you’ve LIED…

          “but I do know GOD is just and will repay each for the good and bad they’ve done. ”

          So Jesus is for people who want to AVOID the RESPONSIBILITY of their actions…

        • Al

          In a sense yes. Who in their mind would want to be punished in hell for their own sins forever? You might be the only I know that wants this.

        • adam

          In what sense did you NOT lie?

          Sorry, but I dont believe in YOUR ‘god’ .
          So………
          I dont believe in YOUR ‘hell’ either…

          It makes it even MORE unbelievable with the fact that ‘believers’ have to LIE to support their PROPAGANDA…

        • John

          Adam….those who repent, not just looking for a way out. It’s acceptance responsibility for your actions and CHANGING.

        • hector_jones
        • Sounds like “perfect justice” to me! Berkowitz having a paradise forever is far better than just dying, which is what the atheists would propose.

        • John

          If GOD can forgive Berkowitz, he can forgive you too. You just have to ask. There is another life after this one.

        • If you’ve been paying attention, you know that that’s not the point. Are you deliberately changing the subject, hoping we won’t notice?

          Christians mock the atheist’s worldview, which has Hitler and Berkowitz dying without paying back society for the harm he caused. But of course the Christian view is worse, since these guys could be up in heaven right now, not only forgiven, but spending eternity in God’s water park.

        • John

          Not changing the subject, we have several conversations going on at the same time. Berkowitz’s forgiveness, shows how far GOD will go to forgive even the most vile person, if they will repent and turn to him. By the way, we’re not all rewarded the same in heaven. He may be forgiven here, and be in heave, it does not mean he’ll receive any great reward in heaven. There are some, who will be naked in heaven. They were saved, but that’s it.

        • And, yet again, you’re avoiding the difficult conversation.

          I made a point in my last comment. You got something with which to respond? Anything? Or would you prefer to change the subject to something where you have a better chance of success?

        • adam

        • John

          If GOD can forgive someone like David Berkowitz, he can forgive you too….if you repent, as he did, and ask for forgiveness.

        • hector_jones

          So you do think God is going to take David Berkowitz into heaven. Your religion is a fucking joke.

        • adam

          More like a cruel joke

        • MNb

          Like we already have learned from Al that’s christian justice – a murderer like David Berkowitz will enjoy eternal bliss while his victims, who happened not to worship your god, will eternally suffer. Because not repenting is a worse sin than murdering. Yeehay.

        • adam

          “but I do know GOD is just and will repay each for the good and bad they’ve done. ”

          So this statement from you is a LIE?

        • adam

          See how EASILY you JUSTIFY an EVIL act as GOOD because it comes from a ‘holy book’?

        • adam

          ..

        • John

          If your god is evolution or man, you truly have a cruel god. Depends on who your god is.

        • adam

          I am an atheist I have NO god….

          But I am still pretty sure you will continue to JUSTIFY EVIL in the name of YOURS…..

        • John

          You have a god…your god is yourself.

        • hector_jones

          That’s a stupid comment.

        • adam

          Sorry, NO deities in my life…
          No supernatural powers either…

        • Al

          Who or what is the ultimate power in your life?

        • hector_jones

          The ultimate power in my life is probably the sun. Before you ask, no, I don’t worship it.

        • adam

          In MY life, I agree with hector, the sun….

          And no, I dont worship it either..

          We are STILL waiting on a demonstration of the ultimate power in YOUR life, the MAGIC of YOUR ‘god’.

        • John

          “A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.”
          ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

        • adam

          You understand that beautiful POETRY does not necessarily mean that what it says is literally true.

          Besides Ralph doesnt speak for me.

          Sorry, NO deities in my life…
          No Magic either..

        • CC

          Ik! God from the Bible! Who’d want to become that murderer!

        • Evolution has no need or desire to be nice. An omni-benevolent god, on the other hand, has some sort of obligation in that direction, don’t you think?

        • John

          “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?”….Isaiah 29:16.

        • Shall we not conclude that there is a creator first and then make speculations like this? You’ve done nothing to convince me.

        • John

          You cannot be convinced. Your mind is already made up. You made that point sometime ago, when talking about scripture, and you said…..maybe it is maybe it isn’t…..maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. You don’t want to test the scriptures to see if they are true, you want the facts to fit whatever you think.

        • hector_jones

          Is your mind open to the possibility that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet?

        • John

          Sorry, but the Muslims got their stories from the bible too. They also claim Moses as a prophet. Unfortunately they went off the path.

        • hector_jones

          You cannot be convinced. Your mind is already made up.

          How did you go about testing the scriptures to see if they were true?

        • John

          You asked….”How did you go about testing the scriptures to see if they were true?…..archeology would be one way. How many times, has the bible mentioned nations or cities, that scholars said never existed, but later, archeology proved the bible right. For centuries, historians said the Hittites either never existed or were a minor group. The bible made it clear, they were a major power. Archeology, in the 1800’s proved the bible right. The city of Nineveh, was thought to be a myth…even at the time of Alexander the Great. Archeology proved Jonah was right, the city was hugh, it did take 3 days to walk across it.

        • Greg G.

          Archaeology is a two-edged sword. It blows away the Exodus, that Hebrews were ever in Egypt end masse, and that they conquered and replaced the Canaanites.

          So the Bible is both confirmed and disconfirmed meaning it is not reliable, just like any other ancient text.

        • John

          Explain how archaeology blows away the Exodus.

        • MNb

          Read Israel Finkelstein’s The Bible Unearthed for details. As such recommendations are rather lame I’ll show you what you can expect:

          https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html

          Even shorter: if Moses went from Egypt through the Sinai to conquer Canaan with his band archeologists should have found remnants. They haven’t.

        • John

          Where in the Sinai are they looking? Are they looking at Mt Sinai in the Sinai peninsula? If so, they are in the wrong place. The Mt Sinai of the bible is in Arabia.

        • John

          Here’s a very good video on proof of the Exodus.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mB5Aw14e4M

        • Greg G.

          I am traveling on the other side of the planet at the moment with Internet and bandwidth issues. I haven’t been able to do video yet. Would you summarize the argument in text, please? An accessible Web page would be satisfactory, too. Thanks.

        • John

          I am looking for a decent site on archeology and the bible. Unfortunately, (As Christian) I’m coming across way too many stupid Christian sites…with multicolored lettering, images of Jesus, and Moses. Too many Christians don’t know how to make a decent web site and stick to the facts. I’m still looking. 🙁

        • Greg G.

          Thank you for your diligence, John.

        • John

          This is the best video I’ve seen on the Exodus….without all the hype.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnMwW-GAKvA

        • Greg G.

          I can sometimes get video from ESPN but they are less than 20 seconds long. I can’t get the “Suggested for You” page for YouTube but it says there’s a network error for any video.

        • Can you summarize it for us? Just the big takeaways?

        • John

          Archeologists are looking at the wrong Mt Sinai. They looked at the Mt Sinai in the Sinai desert. They bible clearly states Mt Sinai in the Arabia. “The possibility of an alternate site located in Saudi Arabia has also drawn attention due to the Apostle Paul’s assertion in the first century that Mount Sinai was located in Arabia, an assertion made hundreds of years before the tradition of Mount Sinai in Egypt was developed”

        • And with this new Mt. Sinai, what do we get? Does some mystery become clear as a result?

        • John

          It isn’t a new Mt Sinai, it’s the original Mt. Sinai. If you watch the video, it’s the only area able to contain the number of people mentioned in Exodus, there is the alter of the Golden Calf at that Mt. Sinai. 12 carvings of calves, around a giant alter. Watch the video, very interesting.

        • Yet again, this doesn’t respond to my question. (I wonder if you get dinged for this during your annual review? You might want to work on this.)

          My question again: so what? So you now have the correct Mt. Sinai–is this just nice to know, or are some riddles/puzzles dispensed with due to this new discovery?

        • John

          It’s real easy to say, the Exodus never happened and the bible is wrong….when you keep looking in the wrong places. 🙂

        • John

          Jethro Visits Moses Exodus 18:1 ” Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses,…”…..Midian is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur’an. Scholars generally consider it to have been located in the “northwest Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea”,[

        • Greg G.

          I was finally able to watch even though there was a lot of buffering pauses.

          I suspect the black mountain top is related to desert varnish with manganese.

          Nobody found any evidence of millions of people. There was nothing to indicate that the Hebrews went through there. The Egyptians were big on the number 12, too, as the sun worshippers divided the day into 12 hours and the night into 12 hours.

          There is still the problem that the Egyptians didn’t collapse as a major world power at the time this was supposed to have happened. There is no archaelogical indication that the culture changed from Canaanite to Hebrew at anytime around there.

          Here’s a more plausible scenario. After Ahkenaten, the monotheist, his priests were exiled from Egypt. Maybe they took the path suggested in the video, noting the things they saw and making up stories about the formations. Then they went around trying to sell this as a new religion. They were repeately rejected until they ended up in Canaan where the local yokels got convinced that there ancestors were former slaves in Egypt who conquered and annihilated the people who formerly lived there. Since they were so blessed by Yahweh, they should donate food to Yahweh, and Yahweh wanted the priests to eat it for him.

          At least my hypothesis isn’t contradicted by the evidence.

        • John

          Most archeologists look for Mt Sinai in the Sinai desert….wrong place….”Since Moses is described by the Bible as encountering Jethro, a Kenite who was a Midianite priest, shortly before encountering Sinai, this suggests that Sinai would be somewhere near their territory in Saudi Arabia”…..of course they can’t find proof in the Sinai Peninsula…when they’re not looking in the place where the bible states Mt Sinai was….in Arabia.

        • Greg G.

          So your strategy to show that the Bible is historically reliable is to show its unreliability. Are you going to change everything about the story to make it appear true? Egypt was a world power at the time this was supposed to have happened and it continued to be afterward. How would that happen if a significant portion of their work force left? Will you say it wasn’t 600k men plus women, children, and elderly?

        • hector_jones

          Yet another shitty Christian argument. You are arguing that collateral matters in the scriptures are true. I want proof that core matters are true, such as the existence of your god and the divinity of Jesus. These things are not proven by the existence of Nineveh. By your logic, Spiderman must real because New York City is a real place.

        • John

          So you want proof of one time events…like turning water in to wine… parting of the Red Sea…..the resurrection. You are given proof of the accuracy of the bible, in historical accounts. Can you prove George Washington crossed the Delaware? It appears if you don’t witness it personally, you don’t believe it.

        • hector_jones

          So is that your position? You can’t really prove the things you believe, but you believe them anyway?

        • You’re saying that our evidence of Jesus is on par with our evidence of George Washington?

        • Pofarmer

          How much of that 1800’s archaeology was found to be overstated or incorrect? By your logic, the bible is real as “hunt for red october” or “jason bourne” which I don’t have a problem with. Do you think the account of Achilles is the actual battle of Troy? Historical tales are replete with fantastic stories in common places.

        • John

          The 1800’s showed many stories in the bible to be true. The Hittites, were a great power. We are now finding, the stories in the Book of Daniel, are from eyewitness accounts…..

          Nabonidus cylinders from Ur are also noteworthy because they mention a son named Belshezzar, who is mentioned in the Book of Daniel.

        • MNb

          You only accept archeological results when it suits you.

        • John

          I see, so you still believe the Hittites never existed? I just showed you the FACTS on Belsheazzar.

        • Pofarmer

          Once again though, you miss the point. None of this confirms the supernatural parts of the stories.

        • John

          Tell me…how do you prove the supernatural, scientifically? I just showed you, how the stories include many historical facts, from eyewitness accounts….they were there when these things happened. It’s up to you to believe they actually witnessed supernatural events.

        • If the supernatural has no impact on our world here, then science has nothing to say about it, and neither do you. On the other hand, if there is evidence that you can point to, that’s something science can investigate.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s been pointed out to you, that if you use this method, you have to accept everybody else’s supernatural, accounts too, including the ones that disagree with you.

        • Ron

          An all-powerful and all-knowing being would be able to convince even the most hardened skeptic that it exists. The fact that many remain unconvinced can only mean one of three things:

          1. it’s not all-powerful/all-knowing
          2. it doesn’t want to
          3. it doesn’t exist.

          Pick one.

        • John

          OR 4. “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31. 🙂

        • adam

          And he said to them:

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, it’s interesting, you would think the Lazarus story would have merited a mention from some other source? No?

        • adam

          Or all those Zombies roaming around town….

        • Pofarmer

          The big earthquake, and the hours of darkness, even without the zombies, in that superstitious time, would have merited numerous mentions and stories……….

        • adam

          Not only locally, but regionally, nationally and WORLD WIDE…

        • John

          A video would have been better, but, than I’m not in charge. 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          Anything beats complete silence. It’s funny no contemporary historians noticed s miracle working Jew running around Palestine.

        • John

          GOD did not make it easy. I don’t understand it. It’s not the way I would have done it, but I’m not the one running things.

        • Pofarmer

          I am going to coin a new term for you-rationalurbation.

        • MNb

          Even funnier than what Pofarmer writes underneath is that necromancy was quite common during Antiquity. I wonder why we should reject most claims, but not the ones in the NT?

        • Ron

          Yet Acts 9:32–43 (purportedly written by the same author/s) reports that many people became believers after Peter healed a paralytic and raised a woman from the dead. If it convinced people then, why wouldn’t it do so now?

          And according to the parable, the rich man’s torment wasn’t attributed to his lack of belief, but to his lack of charity towards Lazarus.

          Nonetheless, you’ve chosen options one and two, because Luke 16:31 basically says that God won’t provide evidence because it won’t be convincing—which makes your god indistinguishable from one who doesn’t exist.

        • John

          If the rich man had believed in the scriptures, he would have given much to the poor. The fact that he didn’t, shows he did not believe in the Law and the Prophets.

        • Ron

          Why would he believe he’d end up in a place of eternal torment when it’s never mentioned in the Law and the Prophets?

        • John

          If you turn away from GOD, don’t expect to end up in a nice place. He knew, GOD would judge him for turning away.

        • Ron

          I think you’re reading more into the passage than is given. It only states that the rich man once lived in luxury while Lazarus suffered, and now the roles are reversed. There is no indication that his punishment has anything to do with a lack of belief in God.

        • John

          “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”….James 2:19. Just believing in GOD is not enough.

        • Ron

          How does a passage warning believers that “faith without good deeds is dead” tie in with God’s inability/unwillingness to convince non-believers into becoming believers? Are you suggesting that Christians have failed to fulfill their obligations?

        • John

          Ron, GOD has given you all the evidence you need to know that he exist. He gave you his creation. Life itself, screams of design.

        • Ron

          Yet many remain totally unconvinced by what you call evidence. So we’re right back to the original three choices:

          1. God’s not all-powerful/all-knowing
          2. God doesn’t want to
          3. God doesn’t exist.

          Which one shall it be?

        • John

          OR….you don’t know as much as you think you know. You don’t know the full picture of what’s happening…or you don’t want to know.

        • Ron

          It doesn’t matter. It still points back to an inability or a lack of desire on God’s part. There’s no way around it.

        • adam

          Ron, doesnt THIS convince you of an all powerful, all loving god?

        • 90Lew90

          I’d agree that “life itself, screams design” although maybe I wouldn’t put it like that. But since that’s the case, it follows that GOD has been misleading us, because life isn’t designed, it evolved.

        • John

          Where has GOD deceived you? You do believe in biogenesis, that life creates life….or do you want to go back to….Spontaneous generation?

        • 90Lew90

          A fundamental principle of natural selection is that it explains that while life may have the *appearance* of design, that *appearance* comes not from a designer but from adaptation. There is a big difference. The Bible is the Word of GOD [why the CAPSLOCK?], no? GOD, in the Bible, says he “created” and designed absolutely everything, no? Two-by-two and all that… Well no. GOD either has a bad memory or he deceived us. Maybe (looks off into the distance, all misty-eyed…), maybe it’s all part of his Big Plan. Grow up.

          [EDIT] I answered your first direct question and probably overlooked the rhetorical one because I’ll not have anyone put words in my mouth about what I “believe”. The short answer to your rhetorical question (assumption) that I “believe” in biogenesis is that I hold no position on it. Nor abiogenesis. Nor the possibility that simple life forms arrived in frozen water on a comet or asteroid. I’ll keep my counsel because *we* don’t know, so open-minded, sceptical doubt seems the best option. Wait and see. And I’m not a scientist so I tend to shut up on these questions.

          Having said that, I suspect that you’re not a scientist either, and it is you who is making truth-claims here as though you know it all. A bit of humility from a religious believer would be nice once in a while. You know?

        • John

          “Well no. GOD either has a bad memory or he deceived us. “….explain that statement. He never explained how he deceived anyone. Each was created after its kind…dogs make dogs, cats make cats……one does not evolve into the other.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re going to have to acquaint yourself better with the facts of evolution by natural selection — which directly contradicts biblical creationism — before you can attempt to argue that your god, if its supposed book is to be believed, did not deceive us.

        • John

          You didn’t explain how GOD deceived anyone.

        • 90Lew90

          I’ll take you through it step-by-step. Is the Bible the ‘Word of God’?

        • John

          Yes it is….”Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years.”

        • MNb

          “Yes it is”
          That includes Leviticus 11, 2 Samuel 24, 1 Kings 7 and 2 Chronicles 4? From beginning to end? And of course god’s word is totally accurate?

        • John

          what about those chapters?

        • 90Lew90

          Your quote is irrelevant and it is customary when quoting to also reference. I’m afraid whoever wrote that is rather wide of the mark on the archaeology, because archaeologists have been very assiduous in trying to affirm Biblical history and they’ve come up with zilch.

          Anyway, back to our thread. So, the Bible is the ‘Word of God’. The loving but jealous creator god. Onto the ark, two-by-two. Well I’m afraid Darwin made a nonsense of that model. We are all descended (‘ascended’ would be the better term, decent implies decay, and life has flourished in evolution) from life forms which emerged from the primordial soup about 3.5 billion years ago. In that sense, we’re almost brothers, you and I. And our cousins are the higher apes. Bananas and mushrooms are the far out relatives; the ones we’ve forgotten how we connect. We do not have dominion over the earth and we are not its custodians. We share it with all the other life that exists on it. Your beliefs, I would tender, breed the kind of arrogance which leads us to feel justified in ruinously exploiting and diminishing the family home: our planet.

          Can I just ask, are you a young-earth creationist? Because if you are, this conversation is over.

        • John

          I don’t care how old the earth is. To me, it’s a moot point. No where in the bible does it tell us, how old the earth is. It could be 15 billion years or 6000 years old. But I will say….if it’s true that we live in a holographic universe, that throws everything out the window. How do you measure time in a holograph? 🙂

        • 90Lew90

          What nuttiness are you talking now? I have to ask: If you’re prepared to believe the most outlandish fantasy stuff of science fiction, the Bible etc., then why the resistance to some easily palatable science fact?

        • John

          You don’t believe we live in a holographic universe? Have you looked at the research?

        • 90Lew90

          First I’ve heard of it. Enlighten me.

        • John
        • John
        • adam

          And when the evidence comes back that our reality is not holographic will you then become an atheist?

        • John

          WOW, you know that already? So far, you’re wrong.

        • adam

          Not so far.

        • Dys

          “I don’t care how old the earth is” is what you usually hear from young earth creationists who know they’re going to be laughed at for accepting such a bunk position.

        • 90Lew90

          Yeah. Especially since it’s pretty well established that it’s 4.54bn years, it’d be a tall order for it to be 15bn. Love the way he goes from invoking the Bible to theoretical physics as though they were on a par. Strange punctuation too. He punctuates like someone who listens to too many pastors.

        • 90Lew90

          When scientific facts directly contradict the supposed Word of GOD, either GOD was wrong (which apparently is impossible) or GOD deceived us. That’s assuming we believe in GOD at all. But we don’t.

        • MNb

          Silly, silly creationist John. If a dog actually evolved into a cat that would would be a refutation of Evolution Theory. It predicts that that won’t ever happen, because they have common ancestors.
          Of course wolves have made dogs. Some breeds of dogs even now still can get fertile offspring with wolves.

          “Each was created after its kind”
          Yeah, that’s why creacrappers can’t agree whether Homo Erectus was human or ape.

          http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/zerectus_human.html
          http://creationwiki.org/Homo_erectus

          Oh – and speciation totally has been observed, in animals as well:

          http://scienceblogs.com/observations/2010/04/24/evolution-watching-speciation/

        • John

          A widely held belief is that dogs evolved from gray wolves, but a new study finds that the common ancestor of dogs and wolves went extinct thousands of years ago.

          What’s more, the extensive DNA analysis — published in the latest PLoS Genetics — found that dogs are more closely related to each other than to wolves, regardless of their geographic origin. The genetic overlap seen today between dogs and wolves is likely then due to interbreeding after dog domestication.

        • adam

          “but a new study finds that the common ancestor of dogs and wolves went extinct thousands of years ago.”

          If so THAT is WHY dogs are more closely related to each other than to wolves. THATS EVOLUTION!

          If so the genetic overlap is because they EVOLVED from the same ancestor

        • John

          The problem with evolution, is you look at a few bones and say…because the bone of this animal looks like the bone of another animal, they must be related. One evolved from the other. You can never explain how the lungs, kidneys, blood, heart, brain, legs….all evolved…SEPERATELY, and yet they function together. Not only for man, but every single creature. Are you saying we are just a collection of mass mutations? According to evolution, all the parts of the body are just mutations.

        • adam

          Well YES…we ARE a collection of mass mutations and natural selection.

          IF YOU WANTED TO LEARN you can also see how the lungs, kidneys, heart, brains and legs all EVOLVED as are the ‘collections’

          IF YOU WANTED TO LEARN….

        • John

          wow, so our hearts, lungs, bones, kidneys, brains….are all just mutations. Mutations that just happened to evolve all at the same time and in the right places. sure…..”I’ll buy that for a dollar”….from the movie Robo Cop.

        • Don’t you get tired of getting laughed at for being an evolution denier? Reality actually feels pretty good–give it a try.

        • John

          Actually I’m amazed people have fallen for it. You look at a few bones, say this looks like a bone from this animal, so they must be related. At the same time you ignore all other parts of the body….different bones, lungs, blood, heart, eyes, nose….

        • “Fallen for” evolution? So you have the credentials to evaluate the evidence for evolution? Or do you just have some sort of special superhuman talent for distinguishing good science from bad, just by gut feel?

        • John

          So you have the credentials to evaluate the evidence for evolution? …no I have the common sense, to know evolution is a lie. Just look at the structure of DNA and any cell.

        • If common sense were the tool to use, do you think scientists would spend all the time to get a doctorate?

          Your arrogance is startling. You can second-guess scientists in any field? What about doctors and pilots–do you critique how they do their work, or does your common sense fail you here?

          Do me a favor–if we’re on a plane, keep your tips for the pilots to yourself. They’re experts; you’re not.

        • John

          “If common sense were the tool to use, do you think scientists would spend all the time to get a doctorate?”…..they already made up their minds, before even looking, that there’s is no GOD and therefore, they have to invent another story on life. They won’t look at a cell, the complexity of it, and say it looks designed. That would go against their beliefs.

        • adam

          Of course they wont look at a cell, the complexity of it and say it looks designed, BECAUSE they, unlike YOU, they actually understand evolution and how it did or could have evolved.

          They just look at the EVIDENCE….

          It is YOUR mind that is made up and no amount of EVIDENCE can convince you.

          Science, however, if you provide REAL evidence WILL support your ‘god’ theory…

          The problem is that YOUR people have already presented their BEST evidence, and it is mostly like that of Ron Wyatt- fraudulent.

        • John

          Show me how the information got on to the DNA. How did the DNA, know what to make, when it can’t see or understand what’s happening on the outside. How does the DNA know, how to code for the wings of a bird? where did the code even come from? Please don’t tell me it mutated. LOL

        • adam

          How does a rubber ball ‘know’ how to bounce?
          It doesnt and doesnt need to, it is just the PROPERTIES of rubber.

          How does a snowflake ‘know’ how to form.
          It doesnt and doesnt need to, it is just the PROPERTIES of water.
          .
          Sorry that your GROSS ignorance allows you to ask such childish questions, and sad you allow your ignorance to fester while you avoid presenting proof of YOUR ‘god’

        • Greg G.

          How does a Thermos bottle know how to keep coffee hot or lemonade cold? And why can’t it do both at the same time?

        • John

          I’m not sure…but I think…DNA is ALIVE….rubber and snowflakes are not. 🙂

        • Your caution is appropriate. DNA is not alive. It’s just a chemical.

        • John

          DNA is not technically alive. However, it is contained in all living things

        • As is sodium. Which is also not alive.

        • John

          Its a very debatable question. Many will say it easily it to be non living, but there are some critical points to be addressed.
          Actually It depends on surrounding environment. If the environment is collaborative then it may be said to have a characteristics of bring living As like of viruses or prions etc.

        • DNA isn’t even close to being as lifelike as a viruses, which is a parasite and couldn’t live on its own (which you’d think would be a requirement for something to truly be alive).

        • John

          sooooooo….at what point is chemistry life? DNA replication occurs when a strand of DNA produces a copy of itself…..I believe only life can replicate itself.

        • 90Lew90

          I linked you to a paper and an e-book which give you all the information you need. Who gives a fuck what you believe?

        • John

          Actually DNA being life, is now controversial.

        • 90Lew90

          What are you talking about? There’s no controversy about “DNA being life” because that’s never been claimed. Dickhead.

        • MNb

          Soooooooo … why do you like showing off your ignorance? There is no “point” at which chemistry becomes life. It’s not a discrete function

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_space

          but a continuous one.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_function

          Your question is as silly as asking “When you walk along the circumference of a circle clockwise, at what point do you turn right? You can’t answer that question? Then I believe circles don’t exist.”

        • adam

          No dna is not alive

          TRY AGAIN

        • Greg G.

          Not all mutations are bad. If you think they are, you should stop listening to religious people. If a mutation allows for a better chance of survival and reproduction, natural selection makes it common. Bisexual reproduction allows multiple lines of beneficial mutations accumulate.

          Please don’t tell me it mutated.

          I am sorry that you are so opposed to the truth that you have to beg to not be exposed to it.

        • John

          “…if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, the result is likely to be harmful, with an estimated 70 percent of amino acid polymorphisms that have damaging effects, and the remainder being either neutral or weakly beneficial.[4] Due to the damaging effects that mutations can have on genes, organisms have mechanisms such as DNA repair to prevent or correct (revert the mutated sequence back to its original state) mutations.”

        • 90Lew90

          Quote-mining. And plagiarism. You are a one, John.

        • John

          I’m quoting FACTS….sorry you don’t like FACTS.

        • 90Lew90

          First of all, you didn’t quote. You just grabbed some text by someone else and posted it under your own screen name. That’s plagiarism. Second, you quote-mined, which is to take a quote selectively and out of context, which is deceptive and dishonest, and very typical of kack-handed Christians making non-arguments. Back to the drawing board. You don’t even understand what you quoted.

        • John

          I just inserted the QUOTE marks….happy now? 🙂 What is stated is still fact.

        • 90Lew90

          You really don’t have a clue.

        • Pofarmer

          Violently ignorant, to quote another poster.

        • MNb

          Look, we know that you get high and horny on your self delusion and hence are incurable, but that quote by no means contradicts what Greg wrote:

          “Not all mutations are bad.”

        • Greg G.

          Your uncited source says there are “weakly beneficial” mutations. Even then, it depends on the environment because and beneficial gene in the tropics might be deleterious in the Arctic. A mutation affects one individual and possibly its offspring. It can cause the owner to die at an early stage of development or after birth. It can make it more susceptible to predation but if it reproduces, its offspring will have a reduced chance of survival. Natural selection eliminates severely deleterious mutations immediately and reduces slightly deleterious mutations.

          Neutral mutations are not affected by natural selection. However, if two or more neutral mutations affect one another, the result might allow natural selection to change their frequencies in the gene pool.

          Those weakly beneficial mutations allow the organisms to survive and reproduce more, making it more common in the gene pool.

          It’s not magic. It simply cannot happen any other way.

          DNA repair is not perfect. There are two strands of complementary order which separate, then collect the complementary components to arrange it’s partner. It is possible for a strand to get a portion that doesn’t match up properly. The repair mechanism may be able to change it but, AIUI, it doesn’t distinguish the correct from the incorrect, it only makes them the same. Half the time it gets it right.

          I not sure you understand what you quoted. It sounds like you brought up DNA repair because it sounds good for your point but you had already quoted something that tells you that it isn’t 100% effective.

        • John
        • John

          By the way, what proof of gene mutations, do you know of, that makes a heart, lung, kidney, skin, arm or leg? If all your parts are just mutations, I’d like to know how the mutation worked into any of these parts.

        • Are you asking a question about evolution because you seriously want to know? I recommend a textbook. Ask, and I’m sure a few commenters will recommend good books.

        • Greg G.

          Neil Shubert discusses that in Your Inner Fish. He shows how gill structures in jawless fish developed from segments in their invertebrate ancestors and those gill structures became jaw bones in later fish and ear bones in land animals as they lost their function in jaws. He shows how nerves that once went from the brain to the certain structures in fish with no neck to nerves that control the throat, however, the nerve was behind the structure that became the clavicle in vertebrates with necks. Evolution had no way to rearrange the routing so it goes from the head, around the clavicle and back up to the throat. That’s about 18 feet in giraffes. That’s not intelligent design.

          Genes can be duplicated. The extra gene can then mutate differently in each lineage so mist would be neutral mutations since a loss of function isn’t a problem while a lucky one improves the species. It is my understanding that this type of mutation is thought to be a major driver of evolution.

        • That’s why whales’ flippers look like hands and fish fins don’t. This explains a zillion other odd things we see … almost like the documentary hypothesis, which John doesn’t like either.

        • Greg G.

          Sometimes John gives one a greater appreciation for the intellectual acumen of Al. But he is much friendlier and tries to engage a line of reasoning unlike MdlP who sporadically shows up after he’s forgotten the history of each conversation.

        • adam

          He is still like the pigeon…

        • John

          Only in fish do these arches differentiate into components of gills. Many embryology textbooks have abandoned this deceptive terminology in favor of pharyngeal arches, for mammalian embryos never at any time develop any sort of gill. Pharyngeal arches in human embryos become parts of the jaw, face, ear, middle ear bones, and voice box. We can speak, hear, chew, and smile because of complex array of structures these pharyngeal arches form. Nevertheless, Shubin calls them “gill arches” and gives Molly an imaginative evolutionary explanation rather than an embryologic one. Molly’s pre-auricular pit is a tiny remnant that was left over when parts of the first and second pharyngeal arches fused to form her ear, but neither Molly nor her ancestors ever had a gill…….they are gills in fish, the DNA code is for GILLS for FISH. Nothing else.

        • adam

          …..

        • Greg G.

          Vertebrate embryos are similar no matter what the species is. The embryos all have similar structures. The pharyngeal arches become gills in fish and they look like gills so it isn’t deceptive to give them a name like it no matter how much religious people hate it. Many parts in anatomy are given names according to what they look like.

          Some body parts develop and disappear during gestation in some families, as if they are following the pattern of their ancestry.

          Why do chickens have DNA code for teeth? Scientists can insert a gene that turns on genes for teeth in other species and it will turn on tooth genes in chickens. The teeth wouldn’t develop unless the coding was there. It’s because their ancestors had teeth and a mutation in the gene that turns on teeth genes broke it in a way that was beneficial. The mutation occurred early in the line that led to chickens as it is common to birds.

          Your Christian sources are misinforming you on so many topics. I think you know this at some level.

        • hector_jones

          He knows it just like a junkie knows that his dealer is misinforming him on some level. But like a junkie he just can’t help himself.

        • Greg G.

          It’s like the warnings on cigarette packs. The smokers think that happens to others. They think they will be like their uncle who lived to be 90 after having a lung removed.

          I’ve noticed cigarette packages here in Vietnam with some graphic images rather than text warnings.

        • hector_jones

          We used to have those kinds of packages in Canada years ago. But none of my friends smoke now and I don’t spend time in bars so I don’t know what’s on cigarette packages these days.

        • John

          Chickens
          (and all birds) still have the genes for building teeth in their DNA. The
          reason they don’t have teeth is that they don’t have a gene that says “use
          that tooth blueprint in the mouth”.

        • Greg G.

          Right. The Theory of Evolution explains that. Special creation of every creature does not, it only shows a lack of creativity in the assumed creator.

          Bat wings are not like bird wings. Whale flippers are not like penguin flippers and neither are like fish fins. But penguin flippers are like bird wings and whale flippers are more like bat wings. The Theory of Evolution explains those similarities while creationism can only plead ignorance and mysterious ways.

        • Did John really use pseudogenes to suppose his case? Next, atavisms and endogenous retroviruses??

        • Greg G.

          We already did atavisms with the occasional human tail and hen’s teeth. I’ll bring up retroviruses next.

          John is intelligent and not completely averse to facts that don’t conflict with his Bible narrative.

        • Pofarmer

          He just has to bend said facts around a bit to fit his theology.

        • John

          Each was designed for its own purpose for that animal.

        • adam

          What a poor designer then.

        • MNb

          Then you no doubt will be so kind to tell us what the purpose is for whales to have rudimentary back legs

          http://www.abdn.ac.uk/zoohons/struthers/hind_limbs.hti

          and especially either
          1) why a perfect designer like your god delivers such poor design; or
          2) how those rudimentary back legs are evidence of perfect design, given the fact the those whales would have been better of without.

          Moreover I’d still like to know why the perfect word of the perfect god states that pi = 3, bats are birds and the Israelites fought with armies comparable with the US Army in size.

        • John

          They really need to update that page from the 1880’s…Basilosaurus….”A 16 m (52 ft) individual of B. isis had 35 cm (14 in) long hindlimbs with fused tarsals and only three digits. The limited size of the limb and the absence of an articulation with the sacral vertebrae, makes a locomotory function unlikely.[16] Analysis has shown that the reduced limbs could rapidly adduct between only two positions.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilosaurus#Hind_limbs

        • Greg G.

          If each is designed for a special purpose, why are there so many modifications of basic designs? Why are the hierarchies nested? Why not animals with feathers and mammary glands? Why do animals with placenta all have hair, mammary glands, spines, four appendages, two ears, differentiated teeth, and care for the young? Why do the nerves from the brain to the throat in a giraffe loop around the shoulder bones? Those are not signs of special creation. They are signs of the contingencies of evolution.

        • John

          There are modifications, to fit each species. would you put a bird’s heart into a lizard? Of course not….each is designed for a specific purpose.

        • Greg G.

          I recall something about the similarity between bird hearts and crocodile an hearts. Why not? Would you put bird wings on dinosaurs? That’s what the evidence shows.

        • hector_jones

          Oh good gravy. You think modifications of each organ for every species proves design? You apparently aren’t aware that a deliberate feature of modern design is to make parts that are completely interchangeable with one another, even across different models and product lines.

          Just by way of one example, a manufacturer of cars will use the very same starter motor in many different lines of cars and trucks. And wheel rims and tires are very interchangeable across numerous different models and manufacturers of cars. That’s what design looks like, which is the exact opposite of ‘modifications of every organ for each species’.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, but isn’t it intersesting we can use, say heart valves from pigs in humans? Or test medications on Rats? We all are related. After all, just some further back than others. The thing aboit evolution is that it’s an interlocking set of theories that deals perfectly well with the nonsense John dredges up. Drop the theology, and you have a world that is fairly predictable and understandable. Put God in the picture and suddenly everything is mysterious and not for us to know.

        • hector_jones

          Yes that is interesting but John was trying to argue that each species has features about its organs that make the organs unique to each species, hence design. And I just proved using examples that that isn’t a feature of design. Intelligent design does the opposite.

          Elsewhere he seems to argue the exact opposite but I’m not really sure since his biological arguments are mostly gish gallop.

          I agree that his ‘it’s all a big mystery and I don’t know why god does what he does’ is garbage. Christians like to argue that, because science doesn’t know everything, it must be wrong about whatever it is the christian wants to disagree with science about. It should follow that if a christian doesn’t know everything about god, including why he does stuff, then the christian is wrong about whatever it is about god that the atheist disagrees about, i.e. everything. Of course the christian can’t actually demonstrate that he knows anything about god – it’s all just an ass pull – but they can’t grasp that problem at all.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, yeah, john is doing the same thing Al and Asmondious did, arguing both sides of an argument depending on their position from it. Everything, apparently, is evidence for God.

        • John

          “deliberate feature of modern design is to make parts that are completely interchangeable with one another, even across different models and product lines.”…sure if you’re talking about non-life…inanimate objects. It does not apply to life.

        • hector_jones

          If it doesn’t apply to life, you need to show why. The obvious answer would be it doesn’t apply to life because life isn’t intelligently designed.

        • John

          You don’t have to show “why”….you only have to show parts are not interchangeable between species…..or most species.

        • hector_jones

          Parts aren’t interchangeable because they aren’t designed. It’s up to you to show that they are designed when they don’t have the features of actual known designs. I’m getting kind of tired of having to keep repeating this.

        • John

          I’m getting tired of trying to teach you things, that you’re clearly not ready for. 🙂

        • adam

          No we are really not ready to ‘learn’ ignorance and superstition.

          We certainly WOULD be if you could demonstrate YOUR ‘god’ with something other than that ignorance.

        • hector_jones

          I’m sure it’s very frustrating for you, but I’m just not ready to turn off my brain to make myself dumb enough to believe what it is you are trying to teach, sorry.

        • John

          Humans have genes for making a tail…..Genes do not work alone, and the effect of a gene will vary depending which other genes it is working with. There is no proof, fossil or otherwise, that human regulatory genes ever did made tails in the past no matter how loudly evolutionists shout.

        • hector_jones

          Humans have genes for making a tail … but they don’t have tails. Ergo, no intelligent design.

        • John

          No…those genes do not have other genes to make a tail…so the genes that could have made a tail, are used for something else.

        • Pofarmer

          Who says homo whatever had a tail? maybe a common ancestor did. Don’t you wonder why our DNA, our physiology, our geneology, matches perfectly with all the other life on earth? It certainly doesn’t look like we were created seperately.

        • John

          Much of life uses DNA, genes, amino acids, proteins….the same building blocks. It does not mean, one animal evolved into another. It just means we us the same building blocks.

        • adam

          BUT if you look at it together it is a continual stream of evolutionary development.

          People are STILL born with tails.

        • Greg G.

          Those genes would only have an effect in primates with tails. They would only work in our monkey ancestors before the ape line split off. The Theory of Evolution explains why those genes still exist in the genome.

          Primates and guinea pigs have a nonfunctional gene for producing vitamin C. Neither needs to waste nutrients producing it because the diets are rich in it. It turned out to be a beneficial mutation. But the guinea pig gene is broken differently than the primate gene. Of all the ways to disable a gene, what are the chances of all monkeys, apes, and humans having the same mutation if it didn’t come from a common ancestor? Why would a creator put in a gene that doesn’t work in monkeys and humans if they were separate creations and one was supposed to be in God’s image, unless God is a monkey?

        • John

          “Those genes would only have an effect in primates with tails.”…..so a chemical composition, inside the body, all on its own….decided not to make a tail?

        • Greg G.

          No, DNA replicates but it is not a perfect process. There are mutations, just a chemical reaction involving the “magnetics” of covalent bonding.

          What might have been bad for most primates wasn’t so bad in one population that it allowed it to exploit a lifestyle with less competition. It may have started with less activity being turned on, making smaller tails, which allowed variations in tail lengths and shorter tails were more beneficial until there was what we see in all apes.

          This would happen in one line of descent that would eventually split. Some of the lines would go extinct but some splits would continue. One split would lead to the baboon family with more splits. The other fork would lead to great apes with more splits along the way.

          But there would be many variations in each population being subdivided together with the splits.

        • Greg G.

          Also, at the molecular level of DNA, no change is good or bad. What we call bad is one that reduces or eliminates the ability to reproduce at the individual level. A good one increases the ability to leave more offspring.

        • John

          It only takes a minor error in the DNA, to have major consequences.

        • adam

          Exactly

        • Greg G.

          So? A major deletion or insertion can have no effect. A minor error can be beneficial. The mutations that cause problems make one and only one copy and are efficiently eliminated. Beneficial mutations get copied over and over and over. Beneficial mutations increase their frequency while negative mutations are self-limiting.

          It is inevitable that there will be mutations. Some will inevitably result in changes. The ones that make beneficial changes increase, resulting in more and more changes. The changes are inevitable. That is evolution. Evolution is inevitable.

        • John

          That should be…major BAD consequences. Mutations are rarely beneficial.

        • MNb

          Yup. And natural selection ao (there are some others) make sure that those rare beneficial mutations are passed on to descendants. As individuals with beneficial mutations by definition get more descendants within no time these beneficial mutations spread among a population. Have enough mutations and the result is a new species. All this totally has been observed.
          Are you finally getting it?

        • John

          “Have enough mutations and the result is a new species.”….except beneficial mutations are RARE. How can every part of your body and every part of every animal be a mutation…if beneficial mutations are rare?

        • Greg G.

          The bad mutations disappear from the gene pool immediqtely. That’s how we know they’re bad. Beneficial mutations multiply. That’s how we know they are good. We are only left with the good mutations.

        • MNb

          As long as you can’t get rid of teleological thinking
          1) you’ll never understand Evolution Theory;
          2) you’re a hypocrite, because you don’t apply it to gravity and electricity either.
          Chemical compositions don’t decide anything. Neither do avalanches decide to go downward iso upward.

        • John

          “Chemical compositions don’t decide anything”….DNA, genes, proteins, amino acids…are all chemical compositions. They make choices all the time.

        • John

          In many new world monkeys, tails are prehensile. The prehensile tail allows the animal to snatch or grab with it. It can grab onto tree limbs, or even pull food off bushes. It really serves as an extra hand. ….if a tail has so many advantages, why would evolution deny mankind a tail?

        • Greg G.

          Evolution is continent on the gene pool it has to work with. The combination of mutations that led to a prehensile tail apparently happened after the continents split in the New World line only.

          DNA has no idea whether a mutation will be good and natural selection cannot predict which mutation will be useful ten thousand years later.

          If you think prehensile tails are intelligently designed, then designer wasn’t so intelligent with Old World monkeys. It’s what evolution looks like but it doesn’t look like intelligent design.

        • John

          The tail on a person, is an error in the gene coding….that happens sometimes. The world is no longer perfect.

        • Greg G.

          A tail would require several specific mutations. If humans were specially created, tails wouldn’t happen. There would not be genes for a tail. It is one mutation that turns on those genes. That broken gene shouldn’t be there either. The mutation is a slight repair.

          It is understandable why this happens in an animal descended from monkeys. It is absurd to see this happening and believe in special creation. The genes wouldn’t be there in a lump of clay formed and coughed on by a god, fallen world or not.

        • John

          “That broken gene shouldn’t be there either.”….it’s an error in the gene coding…so why wouldn’t it be there? The gene made a mistake…that does happen, from time to time.

        • adam

          Evolution at work…

          Or is this ‘Satan’ modifying the genetic code to ‘trick’ people into believing in EVILution?

        • adam
        • John

          These are call mutations, and they are NOT passed on down the family line.

        • Evolution is the scientific consensus. Your evaluation of the evidence counts for very little.

        • John

          So if the “scientific consensus” says the earth is the center of the solar system…like scientist use to think…than they must have been right.

        • MNb

          “like scientist use to think”
          Yup – and as soon they got empirical evidence that showed they were wrong they changed their views. That’s a stark contrast with you, who wrote that the Bible never had shown wrong and remain silent when confronted with blatant errors – like about pi, bats being birds and Hebrew armies comparable with the US Army in size. 1-0 for scientists.
          Moreover evolutionary biologists have explicitely made clear what kind of evidence would made them reject Evolution Theory. One example is the pre-Cambrian rabbit. That’s a stark contrast with you, who clings to IDiocy and creacrap no matter its inconsistency, incoherence and lack of capability to make verifiable predictions, just cuz’ the Bubble. That’s 2-0 for scientists.
          Plus IDiots and other creationists have been caught misquoting, minequoting and lying systematically.

          http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-creationists-lie-to-us.html
          http://www.godofevolution.com/young-earth-creationist-ken-ham-caught-fibbing-once-again/
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2010/02/ken-miller-on-the-lies-of-casey-luskin/

          Evolutionary biologists don’t need that.
          3-0 for scientists.
          You’re a loser for Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe John could list all the scientific consensus overturned by religion.

        • Let’s just focus on modern science.

          The scientific consensus may not be right, but what do you propose instead? It’s the best guess we have, according to the best people we have to evaluate the evidence.

        • John

          Though relatively few mutations are advantageous, those that are play an important role in evolutionary changes. Like neutral mutations, weakly selected advantageous mutations can be lost due to random genetic drift, but strongly selected advantageous mutations are more likely to be fixed. Knowing the distribution of fitness effects of advantageous mutations may lead to increased ability to predict the evolutionary dynamics. THEORETICAL work on the DFE for advantageous mutations has been done by John H. Gillespie and H. Allen Orr. They PROPOSED that the distribution for advantageous mutations SHOULD be exponential under a wide range of conditions, which, in general, has been supported by experimental studies, at least for strongly selected advantageous mutations.

          In general, it is ACCEPTED that the majority of mutations are neutral or deleterious, with rare mutations being advantageous……..I pointed out the important words. They only have THEORIES.

        • MNb

          You’re not GOD, John. Neither are you a biologist. You only are a LAYMAN and as a LAYMAN you just have an OPINION. That OPINION is merely based on your limited knowledge.
          In this case the latter could be remedied though if you consulted some scientific sources instead of creacrap. You could start with TalkOrigins and also google “observed speciation”. But my bet is that you won’t.

        • Greg G.

          Bob just did an article on terms like “theory”. You should read it. Remember to strap yourself down if you don’t trust the Theory of Gravity.

          The creationist is forced to do a blanket denial for evolution because their is more evidence for evolution than can be denied on a point by point denial.

        • John

          “forced to do a blanket denial “…..it’s not a blanket denial, it’s looking at life and say, your perspective is wrong. You look at like and start with the idea, there is no creator, than you build up a theory, to support your idea. You should be looking at the complexity of life FIRST and ask…how is this possible….leave open the possibility, someone or something designed it….THAN things fall into place.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, John people were presuppositions a creator when evolution came about. the reason evolution took hold, despite your protestations, is that it does explain what we see, and make testable hypothesis. design fails these tests, it had no explanatory power.

        • hector_jones

          He’s just doing what all Christians do – projecting. In this case projecting his presuppositionalism onto evolutionary biologists.

        • John

          Evolution started before people knew about the complexity of life. Darwin, thought the cell was just plasma. Had he known how complex cells are, his ideas would have been shot down. Unfortunately his idea of evolution took hold, and people invested their life’s work into, and refuse to accept any other ideas.

        • adam

          No if Darwin had known how complex cells are he would have NOT been shot down just as Miller-Urey havent been shot down.

          WHO refuses to accept any other VIABLE ideas that are REAL and NOT IMAGINARY?

        • Pofarmer

          John, are you really this brain dead?

        • MNb

          “and refuse to accept any other ideas.”
          Of course you’re a liar again.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-two-questions/

          You won’t answer these questions either. Every evolutionary biologist doesn’t have any problem though.

          Question #1: What evidence would falsify Evolution Theory?
          The pre-Cambrian rabbit.

          Question #2: What evidence would you accept as provisional proof of creationism?
          That rabbit popping up ex nihilo independently and at the same time in two holy houses a 1000 km away from each other, genetically exactly the same (so two clones of the same pre-Cambrian rabbit).
          You’re the one who refuses to accept science if the results don’t suit you.

        • MNb

          “u look at like and start with the idea, there is no creator, than you build up a theory, to support your idea.”
          Then could you explain how Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins, both practising christians, can do research related to Evolution Theory? You can’t of course. You’re pulling off a strawman. Evolution Theory doesn’t start with the idea that there is no creation. All science starts with the idea that there are natural explanations for every single event in nature. That’s called methodological naturalism, aka the scientific method. It applies to the theories of gravitation and electricity as much as to Evolution Theory and Abiogenesis.
          You don’t reject gravitation and electricity. You only accepts science when it suits you. When it doesn’t you prefer bearing false witness.

        • John

          There are some Christians who don’t accept the bible as truth. How would these scientist answer what Jesus said…””Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,'”…Matt. 19:4…..would they say Jesus lied or Jesus didn’t know any better?

        • Greg G.

          Actually I was once a Christian and a creationist. I looked at some science books on evolution to find those quote mines creationists used. But when I found them, I saw they were taken out of context. They actually weren’t saying what we were led to believe. Along the way, I found that evolution made more sense. Why did they creationist authors have to misrepresent so much if they had the Truth™?

          So I did look at it from your point of view FIRST but had to reject it for its dishonest positions. Things just fell out of place with religion and into place with reality. Looking at the evidence honestly changed my bias.

        • John

          I would have to say….Jesus said….””Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,”….Matt. 19:4…..did Jesus lie? Was he wrong? Was he uninformed?

        • Greg G.

          Matthew said Jesus said that. You can add “Did Matthew lie? Was Matthew wrong? Was Matthew uninformed? Was Matthew writing fiction? How would Matthew have known?”

        • John

          I accept Mathew’s word, he was closer to the events.

        • Greg G.

          He copied Mark. The Gospel doesn’t claim to have been written by Matthew. It’s religious necessity that forces you to believe that in a circular chase.

        • MNb

          Falling is a very complex event – it can be influenced in so many ways. We must look at this complexity FIRST and ask …. how is this possible ….leave open the possibility, someone of something designed the falling…. THEN things fall into place, literally and figuratively.

          http://www.theonion.com/articles/evangelical-scientists-refute-gravity-with-new-int,1778/

          Newton and Einstein were wrong. It’s the Grand Old Designer who causes falling.

        • John

          Please….quoting The Onion? LOL

        • adam

          ……..

        • Greg G.

          You left out the most important words – “rare mutations being advantageous”. Deleterious mutations are frequent but each decreases in number by natural selection. Those rare advantageous mutations increase in number as copies are passed on to the subsequent generations. Natural selection does it. Failure to reproduce an allele eliminates it. Successful reproduction of an allele increases it. If the allele codes for a trait that increases its chance for reproduction, it becomes more common in the gene pool. If it codes for a serious problem, it gets eliminated immediately so there is only one copy of it. If a mutation is slightly bad, it decreases its likelihood of being reproduced. As deleterious alleles are removed and beneficial alleles increase in a population happening in many traits simultaneously, evolution happens.

        • John

          If every single change in all of life was a mutation…than it wouldn’t be rare. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Right, but given billions of base pairs per individual, each survivor will have several neutral mutations but some beneficial mutations are inevitable. The few good ones increase. A good mutation from 10 generations back on the mother’s side will get combined with a different good mutation from 5 generations back on the father’s side. 75% of the offspring get at least one good mutation. 25% get both, and 25% get neither. Which one is most likely to have the most great-grandchildren? The great-grandchildren will be mating with others who might have different beneficial mutations. Later generations accumulate lots of good mutations.

          So change is inevitable in genetics and the effects those genetics have on survivability. That’s evolution. Environments change which makes evolution necessary.

        • John
        • Greg G.

          As populations contract, the beneficial mutations in the population would become more concentrated, which would drive big changes more rapidly. If the new and improved species is good enough, it might escape extinction. If the species can change its environment to remove many of the threats, natural selection becomes neutralized except for the worst bad mutations whick eliminate themselves. There’s not much difference when slightly bad and slightly good mutations can be passed on due to minimal selection by inability to acquire food and fewer predators.

        • adam

          It is as common as eye color, hair color and skin color…
          It is as common as obesity, height and intelligence.

          CANCER is ONE TYPE of a mutation of cells trying to adapt.

          1. Progeria
          This genetic disorder is as rare as it is severe. The classic form of the disease, called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, causes accelerated aging.

          Uner Tan Syndrome

          Uner Tan syndrome is a somewhat controversial condition, whose most obvious property is that people who suffer from it walk on all fours. UTS is a syndrome that was proposed by the Turkish evolutionary biologist Üner Tan
          after studying five members of the Ulaş family in rural Turkey. These individuals walk with a quadrupedal locomotion, use primitive speech, and have a congenital brain impairment (including “disturbed conscious experience”). The family was featured in a 2006 BBC2 documentary called,”The Family That Walks On All Fours.” Tan describes it like this:

          The genetic nature of this syndrome suggests a backward stage in human evolution, which is most probably caused by a genetic mutation, rendering, in turn,the transition from quadrupedality to bipedality. This would then be consistent with theories of punctuated evolution.

          Hypertrichosis

          Hypertrichosis is also called “werewolf syndrome” or Ambras syndrome, and it affects as few as one in a billion people; and in fact, only 50 cases have been documented since the Middle Ages.

          People with hypertrichosis have excessive hair on the shoulders, face, and ears. Studieshave implicated it to a rearrangement of chromosome 8. It happens due to a disruption of the “crosstalk” between the epidermis and the dermis as hair follicles form in the 3-month fetus at the eyebrows and down to the toes. Normally, signals from the dermis send the messages to form follicles. As a follicle forms, it sends signals to prevent the area around it from also becoming a follicle, which results in the equal
          spacing of our five million or so follicles. Most of our body parts ignore the messages to form follicles, which explains why most of us arerelatively hairless.

          Epidermodysplasia verruciformis is an extremely rare disorder that makes people prone to widespread human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This infection causes scaly macules and papules (cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas) to grow on the hands, feet, and even face. These skin “eruptions” appear as wart-like lesions — and even wood-like and horn-like growths — with reddish-brown pigmented plaques. Typically, the skin tumors start to emerge in people between the age of
          20 and 40, and the growths tend to appear on areas exposed to the sun. Also called Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia, there is no known cure, though treatments to scale back the growths are possible.

          5. Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder (SCID)

          Also known as the Boy in the Bubble Disease, it’s a disorder in which individuals are born without an effective immune system.The disease was made famous by virtue of the 1976 film, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, a story inspired by the lives of David Vetter and Ted deVita. In the movie, a boy is forced to live in plastic isolation for fear of exposure to unfiltered air and the introduction of life-threatening pathogens. In real life, Vetter lived in this
          condition for 13 years, but he died in 1984 following an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant (a failed attempt to help him fight infections).

          And indeed,the disorder is caused by a number of genes, including those that cause defects in both T and B cell responses — which has a downstream negative effect on the production of lymphocytes (a type of white blood
          cell). SCID is also thought to arise due to the lack of adenosine deaminase (ADA). Interestingly, SCID was the first human illness treated by human gene therapy in 1990, and is increasingly being used to treat children. Image: Baylor College of Medicine Archives.

          6. Lesch–Nyhan Syndrome

          LNS is a genetic disorder that affects one in every 380,000 births, nearly all of them boys. It results in an overproduction of uric acid— a waste product of normal chemical processes that’s found in blood and urine. But individuals with Lesch-Nyhan release excess uric acid
          through their blood which builds up under the skin causing gouty arthritis. It can also cause kidney and bladder stones.

          7. Ectrodactyly

          Formerly known as “lobster claw hand, ”individuals with this disorder have a cleft where the middle finger or toe should be. These split-hand/split-foot malformations
          are rare limb deformities which can manifest in any number of ways, including cases including only the thumb and one finger (typically the little finger or little finger). It’s also associated with hearing loss. Genetically speaking, it’s caused by several factors, including deletions, translocations, and inversions in chromosome 7.

          8. Proteus Syndrome

          In conjunction with neurofibromatosis type I, this is the disease that likely afflicted Joseph Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man. It’s a condition in which bones, skin, and other tissues are overgrown. Individuals typically have organs and tissues that grow out of proportion with the rest of their body, and because the overgrowth varies and exhibits no apparent order, it can result in strange and
          imbalanced features. Signs of the disorder don’t usually appear until about 6 to 18 months after birth. The severity of proteus syndrome varies from individual to individual, and it occurs in less than one in one million people. And in fact, only a few hundred documented cases have ever been reported.

          The disorder results from a mutation in the AKT1 gene (which regulates cell growth), causing mosaicism;
          as cells grow and divide, some cells exhibit the mutation while others do not. The resulting mixture of normal and abnormal cells is what causes the overgrowth.

        • John

          oh no, you’re not going with “punctuated evolution.”…the hopeful monster theory…..a bird laid an egg and out came a snake?

        • hector_jones

          Why don’t you just go back to school and take a course in basic biology? Or do a little research on your own?

        • adam

          BECAUSE then he would know of what a farce religion really is.

        • John

          I’ve asked the same question of others, who believe in evolution and they cannot or will not answer. I did have one person, who believed in evolution, tell me…very good question, we don’t have an answer.

        • MNb

          So if we can’t provide an answer, then what? The Grand Old Designer of the Gaps?
          See, even if I’m a teacher physics I won’t be able to answer detailed questions about General Relativity either. Will that mean that you don’t use GPS in your car?
          That’s what Hector tried to tell you. If you want to get that specific ask an expert. You’ll find one at the nearest decent university (ie not Bob Jones).

        • John

          I would definitely question the theory of evolution. You can’t look at a single bone and say, this animal evolved from this animal, because they have a similar bone.

        • hector_jones

          “I’ve asked the same question of others, who believe in evolution and they cannot or will not answer.”

          What are you talking about?

          “I did have one person, who believed in evolution, tell me…very good question, we don’t have an answer.”

          Yeah, that never happened.

        • hector_jones

          Oh I see what you are saying. ‘the same question’ means your question not my question. Try to add a little clarity please by writing better.

          So you asked ‘others, who believe in evolution’ instead of asking a biology professor. You are as stupid and dishonest as Ray Comfort. If you wanted legal advice would you ask ‘others, who believe in the rule of law’ rather than a lawyer?

        • John

          I ask that of ANYONE….can YOU answer the question, on how the heart, lungs, kidneys, bone and blood EVOLVED?

        • adam

          Yes, SLOWLY in parallel

        • MNb

          No. Neither can I ask you detailed questions about General Relativity. So what? The Grand Old Designer of the Gaps?
          I will ask that YOU …. everytime YOU ask the question how the heart, lungs, kidneys, bone and blood EVOLVED without taking any initiative to find an answer YOURSELF.

        • John

          I’m not the one pushing evolution. If you push evolution, you need to explain how other parts of the body evolved, not just a bone here or there. explain the evolution of soft tissue parts.

        • MNb

          If your question were honest you would have googled “evolution of the heart” and just like me have found this little piece within a few seconds:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16093481

        • John

          The problem with that, you cannot have a halfway evolved heart. The heart has to work with many other organs, the electrical signals have to regulate the heart. The brain stem; medulla oblongata, controls the heart. How did that evolved at the same time as the heart?

        • hector_jones

          Where do you think this line of questioning is going? Nowhere, as far as I can see.

          If you think me not being an expert on biology disproves evolution then you not being an expert on God (you admit repeatedly that you don’t know why God does the things you think he does) disproves Christianity.

        • John

          One has nothing to do with the other. You cannot explain the evolution of soft tissues. I know there is a GOD, life proves that. I just cannot explain all of his actions…..it doesn’t mean, he doesn’t exist.

        • 90Lew90

          Ridiculous.

        • Dys

          “I know there is a GOD, life proves that.”

          No, it doesn’t. It proves that some people are swayed by arguments from incredulity.

        • MNb

          The idea that theology gives results as valid as science just because “not everything is explained” is ridiculous indeed.
          Like every single accepted scientific theory Evolution Theory is consistent, coherent, describes accurately a large variety of empirical data and makes testable predictions. Your postulation of a Grand Old Designer is neither consistent, nor coherent, explains everything hence nothing and does not make any testable prediction. Heck, the Grand Old Designer is so flexible that it can be combined with Evolution Theory as well. It goes like this: the Grand Old Designer uses natural laws to create our Universe (Multiverse if you prefer). Evolution Theory is part of those natural laws, hence the Grand Old Designer uses it to bring up conscious living beings like Homo Sapiens.
          This is basically how christian biologists like Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins do it.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

          They are honest enough though to recognize that it’s just theology superimposed on science. Did you know that the Roman Catholic Church already accepted Evolution Theory back in the 1950’s? Yup – you’re 60 years behind.
          Nobody here argues that Evolution Theory disproves god. If you feel attracted to such atheists you should try Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers. You bring up void arguments to investigate a false dilemma. Ridiculous indeed.

        • John

          “Francis Collins describes theistic evolution as the position that “evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God”,[3] and “Theistic evolution, which accepts that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God”.
          I have no doubt, there is evolution within each species, but one species does not evolve into another species. Theistic evolution would not accept the words of Jesus…..””Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,'”…Matthew 19:4.

        • MNb

          “but one species does not evolve into another species.”
          You can’t weasle out, John. First Francis Collins’ theistic evolution totally includes evolution from one species into another. Second species involve into another species totally has been observed, for the first time more than 100 years ago by my compatriot Hugo de Vries. Just google “observed speciation”. But when facts are right in front of you you prefer to ignore them. Because religion.

        • John

          Show me, an observed, example of one species turning into another species. Remember, it has to cross lines of species.

        • Why? You’ll be a Christian whether you see zero examples of speciation or dozens. Indeed, you’ll be a Creationist even if you see dozens!

          You don’t care–is this just busy work to annoy the atheists?

        • John

          You’re the one pushing evolution, show your facts, if evolution is true.

        • You’re right–I’m arguing for evolution. Here’s my evidence: it’s the consensus of the scientific community. And science has proven itself as the most reliable route to truth that we have.

        • John

          Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. — Arthur Schopenhauer…science has its limits. Interesting, Science always looks for patterns and designs, in a universe that was suppose to come from chaos………………“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense. It would be a description without meaning—as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”
          — Albert Einstein

        • And still evolution is the scientific consensus.

        • Greg G.

          There are many things that science can explain very well. How evolution works and that evolution happened are two of them.

        • MNb

          So you aren’t even capable of googling “observed speciation”? Pathetic.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
          http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100201_speciation
          http://www.darwinwasright.org/observations_speciation.html
          http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/12/18/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/
          http://phytokeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=1432

          All examples of crossing the lines of species – ancestors who could mate and produce fertile offspring, descendants who couldn’t anymore. I add this because of the dishonest creationist tendency to redefine “species”.
          You already know the biggest fun – you don’t even have to deconvert to accept evolution. You only have to adapt your theology.

        • My favorite is the evolution of nylonase, the enzyme for turning nylon into food, which didn’t do any microorganisms any good until nylon was invented.

        • John

          In all those cases, a flower is still a flower, a mouse is still a mouse, a fish is still a fish.

        • Dys

          In other words, you got exactly what you asked for, but you’re rejecting it anyway. Because you don’t understand evolution, and goddidit is easier and doesn’t require knowing anything.

        • adam

          not necessarilly

        • John

          Show me an example of one animal turning into another animal. I don’t mean playing word games.

        • adam

          All animals are transitional

        • John

          That’s your opinion….where are the facts.

        • adam

          No that’s the facts.

        • Greg G.

          A mouse is a fish adapted to living on land. Read Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.

        • John

          You can take all the chemicals for making life, put them in a test tube of water, wait for a billions years, and you still won’t have life.

        • Wow–since when did you get so educated about abiogenesis?

          Tell us more. What brought you to this conclusion?

        • Dys

          Well, he started with the conclusion goddidit, thus any other answer is wrong by default.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t I remember a very similar argument from Al?

        • John

          why can’t scientist create life in a lab? They have all the equipment, can set up any kind of experiment they want…use any kind of chemical they want.

        • Pofarmer

          They will, and then you’ll look stupid-er.

        • Why don’t scientists make the discoveries they won’t make for 1000 years? They have all the equipment, can set up any kind of experiment they want.

        • John

          Not asking them to make any new discoveries, just repeat a very old one.

        • Greg G.

          To do it right requires an entire planet the right distance from the sun and millions of years. That’s more than just a technicality.

        • John

          You can create any condition you want in the lab.

        • Greg G.

          But if you create special conditions, the creationists will say, “See, it takes intelligence to do it.” To do it right, you have to let it occur naturally.

          One theory says that the processes accrued over time until a sustainable set of processes were formed at the very beginning. One chemical process would create by-products that accumulate. Eventually so much is produced that it runs into a different chemical mix and a new process develops.

          A similar example occurred after early life formed. In the early earth, all oxygen was bound up because molecular oxygen is very reactive. All life was anaerobic until photosynthesis developed which produced, molecular oxygen.

          This is seen in the geologic record in the rocks formed from red clays because the molecular oxygen reacted with iron, making a soluble compound. The same thing happened with uranium, making the Oklo natural fission reactor.

          Eventually, lifeforms that are our ancestors developed a way to deal with the poisonous oxygen, using the reactive elements in a positive way for energy. That happened after about two billion years of evolution.

        • John

          “One chemical process would create by-products that accumulate. Eventually so much is produced that it runs into a different chemical mix and a new process develops.”….by that you mean EVOLVE.

        • Greg G.

          The word “evolve” has different meanings? You could apply it here. The way you capitalize “EVOLVE” says you are setting up an equivocation fallacy. The question is whether you are doing that out of plain old creationist ignorance or plain old creationist dishonesty?

          You have had things explained to you many times but you are adamant in your ignorance. I don’t think you lack the required intelligence to understand. It is with reluctance that I am considering the other alternative.

        • John

          The language of chemistry simply does not mesh with that of biology. Chemistry is about substances and how they react, whereas biology appeals to concepts such
          as information and organization. Informational narratives permeate biology…..Paul Davies

        • What fun! Create a 10-pound black hole.

        • MNb

          Good luck creating conditions in your lab where two bodies with mass repel iso attract.
          So may we assume that as soon scientists in labs manage to create life that you will accept abiogenesis and evolution? Of course not – you even reject speciation after I rubbed it into your nose. You refused to accept that Tyre has not sunk even when confronted with satellite photo’s. You don’t have use for facts.

        • OK, got it. You’re acknowledging that demanding scientists to understand abiogenesis (or throw in the towel) is very premature.

        • John

          Take all the time you want to create life in the lab. You won’t be able to.

        • So if there is a consensus on abiogenesis, you’ll drop your Christian beliefs? Or is abiogenesis just the argument du jour?

        • John

          There no consensus on abiogenesis, and if there were…I don’t go by mob rule.

        • So this whole conversation is just time wasting then? If/when there’s a consensus on abiogenesis, you’ll just skip on over to some other unanswered question.

          Your argument is, “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.”

          It’ll be far clearer in the future if you just make that plain up front.

          As for “mob rule,” tell me what you recommend instead of following the consensus view of a discipline you don’t understand. Amuse me.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, we do!

        • hector_jones

          A sigh is but a sigh …

        • MNb

          Silly John. I covered that answer already:

          “All examples of crossing the lines of species – ancestors who could mate and produce fertile offspring, descendants who couldn’t anymore. I add this because of the dishonest creationist tendency to redefine “species”.”

          You asked for “crossing the lines of species” – not crossing the line of mouse and fish. Ah well – I guess that the first honest creationist still must be born. Redefining “species” to serve your religious purpose is dishonest indeed.

        • Yeah, see, John says he wants examples of speciation, but he’s really asking for examples of family-ation or order-ation. And right in front of him. Now.

          Chop chop–he doesn’t have all day.

        • Dys

          Read up on ring species.

        • Dys

          Except Adam and Eve never existed, since genetics kills off the possibility.

        • adam

          The problem is John, with your professed ignorance of the subject it is beyond your comprehension and the scope of this blog to EDUCATE you with the necessary scientific knowledge that you appear to be AFRAID to seek for yourself.

          So it is answerable, but not to the deliberately and willfully ignorant with a preconceived notion that MAGIC is how things work.

        • John

          In other words, you have no answer. 🙂

        • 90Lew90

          “Show me how the information got on to the DNA. How did the DNA, know what to make, when it can’t see or understand what’s happening on the outside. How does the DNA know, how to code for the wings of a bird? where did the code even come from? Please don’t tell me it mutated.”

          Your attributing “knowledge” to DNA is too daft to bother with. It’s chemistry — chemicals acting on other chemicals. The only part of the above which comes close to a sensible question is about where the code comes from. The following article gives a succinct explanation of how coding is achieved.

          ‘Nucleic Acids to Amino Acids: DNA Specifies Protein’

          http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/nucleic-acids-to-amino-acids-dna-specifies-935

          E-Book: ‘The Essentials of Cell Biology’ http://www.nature.com/scitable/ebooks/essentials-of-cell-biology-14749010/contents

          Now you might start asking sensible questions, or maybe we could discuss what you believe instead, since we’re all better acquainted with that.

        • adam

          The ‘information’ is the human interpretation of the chemistry and chemical and physical make up of DNA.

          “How did the DNA, know” is an infantile assumption based on ignorance.

          How does a rock know to fall?
          It doesnt and doesnt need to, it is simply the property of the rock under gravity.

        • John

          A rock is not creating anything, DNA does. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Rocks create shadows. 8o)

        • John

          nooooo….the rock did not create the shadow. The shadow is created from light going around the rock. 🙂

        • adam

          Geez John………

          We’ve seen scientific illiterates, but REALLY?
          Light goes AROUND a ROCK and that is a ‘shadow’?

          shad·ow noun ˈsha-(ˌ)dō
          : an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked

        • adam

          The ‘information’ is the human interpretation of the chemistry and chemical and physical make up of DNA.

          “How did the DNA, know” is an infantile assumption based on ignorance.

        • John

          DNA is an information system, so it knows something. 🙂

        • Dys

          No, DNA doesn’t “know” anything. That would require an agent. It’s not a code or a language.

        • John
        • Dys

          The article doesn’t support the notion that DNA is an active agent that ‘knows’ things.

        • 90Lew90

          Insufferably stupid. DNA is chemistry you twat.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA! Excellent non-sequitur, John. Archives are also information systems. They know zilch. They contain information.

        • adam

          No it is not and no it doesnt.

          A computer drive, a usb drive, the cloud are all information systems, they know NOTHING>

          Wrong AGAIN, John
          Why doesnt 2Timothoy 3:16 correct YOU?

        • John

          “A computer drive, a usb drive, the cloud are all information systems”….they are NOT alive.

        • Dys

          Neither is DNA, by itself.

        • adam

          DNA is NOT alive either.

          Wrong AGAIN, John
          Why doesnt 2Timothoy 3:16 correct YOU?

        • Wow–not only do you know the science better than the guys with the doctorates, you can read their souls.

          Must be great to have superpowers.

        • John

          They studied a subject for so long, written papers….they will not accept anything that upsets their long years of study. It’s like peer review articles. Talk about bias in science.

        • Talk about clairvoyance! What I wouldn’t give for your gift of mind reading …

          Ah, well. I guess God’s gifts aren’t handed out evenly. Use that power wisely, my friend.

        • John
        • Where does this leave us? Science is useless crap?

          And I want to hear more about how you got elected Judge of All Science. Wow–what I wouldn’t give …

        • John

          The problem isn’t science. The problem is PEOPLE with degrees, who refuse to even listen to other views.

        • I’m trying to gently suggest that it is idiotic for you, a layman, to pretend that you can reject the scientific consensus. But you’ve got your unchallengeable beliefs, so I think I’m tilting at windmills here.

        • John

          Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, said:

          The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than just a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.

        • So then just ignore what I’m saying.

          OK, understood.

        • Compuholic

          Right, because when evaluating claims the best thing you can do is to pick a random schmuck from the street. Because learning about a subject would be bias.

          You are one walking example of the Dunning-Krueger effect

        • John

          So you don’t believe there is any bias in peer review articles?

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t believe there is bias in theology? I think theres a passage about splinters and logs and stuff.

        • John

          There is bias in any group….you have to weed them out, and know the truth….”Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”….Acts 17:11.

        • Pofarmer

          “True” as in, if they found the stories in the OT.

        • Nope, not a bit. Humans are flawless.

        • hector_jones

          I have to ask why you think biologists have come to accept evolution over design. Are they just mistaken? All of them? Or do you think they are deliberately trying to fuck with your religion?

        • MNb

          John already answered that question: “that would go against their beliefs.”
          A classical example of projection.

        • John

          Because they begin with the premise there is no GOD or higher being.

        • hector_jones

          No they don’t. Historically, biology began with the premise that there was a god and he was the creator, as per the bible. Then a couple centuries of study of the evidence led to the conclusion that God can’t be found anywhere in the process.

        • John

          GOD was there long before man….later man looked at biology and decided there was no need for GOD. …..”You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?…Isaiah 29:16.

        • adam

          Nope man was around a long time before he created YOUR ‘god’

          Biology is needed, YOUR ‘god’ is not needed.

          In FACT, you have YET to DEMONSTRATE your ‘god’.

        • hector_jones

          blah blah blah

        • adam

          Then why does SCIENCE actually work in REAL LIFE and YOUR ‘god’ does not?

          Common sense tells us that YOUR ‘god’ is a product of superstition and politics.

        • John

          You really have to look at the incredible of each human cell: “There are about 3 billion nucelotides in human DNA. The average length of a human nucleotide is 0.6 nanometers, or 0.0000000006 meters, so human DNA is about 1.8 meters (5 feet) long. This doesn’t sound that impressive, but keep in mind that 5 feet of DNA is being packed into each cell in your body,”….do you really think this evolved?

          http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=144

        • 90Lew90

          Argument from incredulity. And a daft question. I gave you an e-book on cell biology. You have no excuse for these questions. There is a mountain of books explaining a mountain range of evidence supporting evolution by natural selection. It underpins all of the life sciences. And they all work. You’re one of the finger-in-ears, la-la-la-la-la-la people. Ridiculous. I mean, you’re really beneath contempt man.
          Forget about evolution for a minute. Let’s talk about what you believe. It’s not my place to defend evolution since I’m not a scientist. You however are a Christian and cling to a set of beliefs which are supported by precisely no evidence. At all. Your beliefs are ludicrous. Let’s talk about them.

        • John

          I’m giving you facts you can observe. There’s no way, the complexity of a cell, could have been formed by itself. It’s your choice to ignore what’s in front of you.

        • MNb

          So much for John caring about facts.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_cells

          You should especially take a look at the notes, to get an idea how much research has been done on the subject.

          “It’s your choice to ignore what’s in front of you.”
          Exactly. Now only you should realize how well this applies to creationists. I bet you won’t read that link nor read this:

          http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2bDetailsoforigin.shtml
          http://www.pnas.org/content/99/13/8742.long
          https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/diakelly/150/cells.pdf

          Here, it’s right in front of you now. It’s your choice – a religious choice – to ignore it.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re the one doing the ignoring John. Cells aren’t that complicated. As I said, I gave you an entire e-book on cell biology, which you’ve ignored. You have no excuse. You’re a right laugh you, aren’t you John. Gormless. Thick as a plank.

        • MNb

          Thick as a castle wall.

        • John
        • Let’s not make the childish error, “complex means designed.”

        • John

          How does something SIMPLE, make itself complex? That requires adding information. Where does the new information come from?

        • MNb

          This way:

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html

          The new info comes solely from natural sources. God out of the picture, just like back then with Zeus and Odin regarding thunder and lightning.

        • Greg G.

          Light is generated by fusion in a distant star. Atoms within the star absorb certain wavelengths. They are like fingerprints so the relative quantities of each element can be measured. When the “fingerprints” don’t match up at the proper frequencies, the relative motion between the star can be measured by the Doppler shift. If a cloud of gas is between the star and the observer, the “fingerprints” of the atomic elements and molecules in the gas cloud can be detected along with its Doppler shift.

          Where does all that information come from? It’s not added by intelligence along the way. It is inferred by the observer.

          Likewise, the chemical reactions related to DNA happen. The observer calls it information.

        • John

          I don’t think you understand what you just COPIED AND PASTED……you’re talking about a spectrum. The spectrum is NOT a living things…it’s NOT life. Try again buckaroo.

        • Greg G.

          I did not copy and paste that. I was about to catch a plane back to the States and typed it off the top of my head.

          DNA isn’t life either. It’s part of the chemical reaction we call life.

          I was pointing out that the light is not a complete spectrum. The missing parts of the spectrum is a loss of information by one definition but is a gain of information for the receiver.

        • John

          As I said….a spectrum is not a living thing. You keep mixing inanimate with animate.

        • adam

          You mean like YOU do with DNA?

        • Greg G.

          You originally asked where new information came from. I illustrated that your concept of information is inappropriate. The information you see is created by the observer.

          We have already been over that an occasional good mutation can make millions of copies of itself while all the really bad mutations make zero copies. With recombination due to sexual reproduction, all of the good mutations get together which replace the original alleles. That creates what you are calling new information. That’s evolution.

        • John

          “The information you see is created by the observer”…HUH? Explain how.

        • Greg G.

          I explained it with starlight. The distortions to the starlight were not put in by intelligence. It is taken out by the intelligent receiver.

        • hector_jones

          Show that there is a relevant difference.

        • Greg G.

          Creationists like to confuse K-C information with Shannon information, but they are different definitions. The Shannon definition measures a loss of information by any distortion of the signal. Similarly, creationists will try to insist that a mutation is a loss of information. But that definition calls all the added information from starlight as a loss of information.

          When creationists propagate scientific information, it is a loss of Shannon information.

        • John

          information according to Shannon does not relate to the qualitative nature of the data, but confines itself to one particular aspect that is of special significance for its technological transmission and storage. Shannon completely ignores whether a text is meaningful, comprehensible, correct, incorrect or meaningless. Equally excluded are the important questions as to where the information comes from (transmitter) and for whom it is intended (receiver). As far as Shannon’s concept of information is concerned, it is entirely irrelevant whether a series of letters represents an exceptionally significant and meaningful text or whether it has come about by throwing dice.

        • Greg G.

          Shannon completely ignores whether a text is meaningful, comprehensible, correct, incorrect or meaningless.

          I Googled that sentenced and found a few creationist sites saying it. This is true as I understand it. However, creationists use this definition for information a lot, apparently unknowinly.

          You can’t measure the amount of information in DNA. You don’t know what units to use. You don’t know whether a strand is coding or non-coding. If it coding, you can’t tell what it codes for. If non-coding, you can’t tell if it is a broken gene or whether it is turned on.

        • John

          “The haploid human genome (23 chromosomes) is estimated to be about 3.2 billion base pairs long and to contain 20,000–25,000 distinct protein-coding genes.”
          That’s a lot of information…..1’s and 0’s.

        • Greg G.

          Most of those base pairs are not involved in the 20,000 to 25,000 protein-coding genes.

          When you say “information” what definition are you using. How do you measure it? What are the units of measurement?

        • John

          All the base pairs are used for encoding any number of the 20,000 to 25,000 protein coding genes.

        • I think what you’re looking for is called “noncoding DNA.” Guess what it doesn’t do. (And guess what fraction of DNA is larger.)

        • John

          Initially, a large proportion of noncoding DNA had no known biological function and was therefore sometimes referred to as “junk DNA”, particularly in the lay press. However, it has been known for decades that many noncoding sequences are functional. These include genes for functional RNA molecules (see above) and sequences such as origins of replication, centromeres, and telomeres.

        • adam

          DNA sizes

          Amoeba dubia 670,000,000,000
          Amoeba proteus 290,000,000,000
          Bufo bufo 6,900,000,000
          Homo sapiens 2,900,000,000
          http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/02_01/Sizing_genomes.shtml

          Why does an amoeba have over 300 times the dna of humans?

          Junk dna

        • John

          Nature is under no requirement to meet our ideas of what is logical. All life is doing is existing within the parameters that allow it to exist.

        • adam

          Yes, it is called EVOLUTION

        • Sigh. If you actually seemed like you were eager to learn something new, I’d be more motivated to teach you.

          What about the 8% of your DNA that comes from endogenous retroviruses–all broken DNA? What about the broken vitamin C gene in every one of your cells, plus all your other pseudogenes? Sounds like junk to me.

          And what adam said–an amoeba (of all things) has far more DNA than you do. Either the amoeba is actually far more complex than humans and needs all that DNA or the amoeba DNA has huge amounts of (dare I say it?) junk.

        • John

          Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are endogenous viral elements in the genome that closely resemble and can be derived from retroviruses. They are abundant in the genomes of jawed vertebrates and they occupy as much as 4.9% of the human genome. ERVs are a subclass of a type of gene called a transposon which is able to be packaged and moved within the genome to serve a vital role in gene expression and regulation

        • Dys

          John, what do you imagine copy/pasting that from Wikipedia accomplished?

        • John

          Correcting Bob’s errors.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re plagiarising. That’s a crime, as I’ve told you. You don’t even understand what you’re plagiarising, and apart from that, Wikipedia isn’t authoritative. Nil points John. Nil points. Fail.

        • Dys

          I don’t have a problem with using Wikipedia as a source, since it tends to be generally accurate. The real issue is that the portion John quoted doesn’t actually address what Bob said at all. John seems to think that it refutes Bob’s statement when it doesn’t.

        • 90Lew90

          That’s because John is dense.

        • John

          Everyone copies and pastes from articles….yet I don’t see you telling anyone else on here, they are plagiarizing.

        • 90Lew90

          It’s not plagiarism if you put the copied material in quotes and attribute it or link to the source. Basic stuff John.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, you should identify your source. You can copy and paste the URL. That way your readers can learn more or check up to see if you are quote-mining.

          I can show you 18 Bible verses that say “there is no god”. Sure, they say things like “the fool says in his heart” or “besides me”. That’s what a quote mine is, a surgically selected quote that does not represent what the author is saying.

        • Clarify. What error did I make, and what were your corrections?

        • John

          You said…”What about the 8% of your DNA that comes from endogenous retroviruses”…. I post 4.9%, from a study.

        • You also said, “Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) proviruses comprise a significant part of the human genome, with approximately 98,000 ERV elements and fragments making up nearly 8%.”

          You’re like the Bible–you say all sorts of things, and I just need to go to the right place to find your contradictions.

        • Dys

          So it’s reading comprehension issue on your part…because you didn’t correct any errors. There are deactivated ERVs in the human genome, which renders them, as Bob stated, as broken DNA.

        • Greg G.

          Do you understand what you posted here? An ERV can enter a sperm or egg cell and insert itself into the DNA strand at some random location. If it has a bad mutation for the ERV, it will be disabled and be passed on to offspring. Being neutral for the host, it could become part of the genome by chance or by residing close to a beneficial allele. It will be at that location for all subsequent generations.

          The funny thing is that we have broken ERVs at the same positions that chimpanzees have them. Chimpanzees, humans and gorillas have similar ERVs in the same locations.

          The chance that the same ERV becoming embedded in the genome at the same place and becoming a permanent fixture in at least four different species is astronomically small unless the four species have common ancestors. Then it is easy to explain. But the common ERVs are not at just one location, it’s dozens of places. That makes it exponentially more difficult for the creationist explanation. For evolution, it would be harder to explain one, and only one, instance. Many are explained very easil by evolution from a common ancestor.

          Did you know that chimpanzee DNA is closer to human DNA than it is to gorilla DNA? Special creationism can’t explain that. Having common ancestry explains that and so many more observations. It explains why bonobos and chimpanzee DNA are more similar to each other than either is to human DNA while both have the same amount of difference from human DNA. Guess what! Human, chimpanzee, and bonobo DNA are closer to each other than to gorilla DNA but each has the same amount of difference.

          So we observe the overall differences showing varying amounts of differences. We have the same ERVs showing up in more similar locations but more frequently with the increased similarity of the DNA.

          That makes no sense in creationism. Common ancestry explains it easily. Gorillas split off from the human-chimpanzee-bonobo line first. That line collected a few new ERVs that stayed with their descendants. Then the line leading to humans split off and each accumulated ERVs in unique places. Later, chimpanzees and bonobos split.

          Follow the evidence. There’s lots of it that points to the fact of evolution. You should know by now that evolution is a fact of life that happens naturally.

        • And Michael Behe, darling of the Creationists, accepts common descent. Take a look.

        • John

          Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) proviruses comprise a significant part of the human genome, with approximately 98,000 ERV elements and fragments making up nearly 8%. According to a study published in 2005, no HERVs capable of replication had been identified; all appeared to be defective, containing major deletions or nonsense mutations……note they are defective, nonsense mutations.

        • Yeah, let’s continue this thought process. 8% of human DNA is useless–do you suppose we could call that “junk DNA”?

        • Greg G.

          Of course the ERVs are defective. If they weren’t, the cell would die. Are you deliberately missing the point or is this topic that far over your head?

        • What a clever boy! You’ve copied a fragment from Wikipedia’s article on the subject. It kind of makes you sound like a robot to make a tangential observation about what ERVs are and miss the point, but nicely done.

          Now that we’re all on the same page, perhaps we could get back to the uncomfortable truth that useless fragments of ERVs are just one category of junk that is in human DNA.

        • John

          There is no “junk DNA”….Scientific American: The ENCODE project has revealed a landscape that is absolutely teeming with important genetic elements—a landscape that used to be dismissed as “junk DNA.”

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hidden-treasures-in-junk-dna/

        • What you said and what Scientific American said? Not the same thing.

          But I doubt you care.

        • MNb

          And how does that answer Greg’s questions, John the Batbird, who maintains that Tyrus has sunk despite confronted with satellite photo’s?

        • Pofarmer

          Indeed it is, why would a designed being ineed all that?

        • Dissolve sugar in water. The molecules of sugar are completely chaotic. Any relationship they had is now lost to Brownian motion.

          Now let the water evaporate and see the amazingly beautiful crystals. Whoa, dude–where did the information come from? Complex from simple … must be God!

        • John

          You’re comparing dissolving sugar in water to a living cell?

        • The conversation gets a little hot, and so you avoid it. Again. How surprising.

          The topic is “complex from simple.” Remember? You’re the one who said, “How does something SIMPLE, make itself complex?”

          I just gave you an example. You’re welcome.

        • John

          I don’t think the topics are becoming hot at all…interesting yes, hot, no. Dissolving sugar in water, isn’t making anything complex. For something to be complex, it has to be organized. Water in sugar, isn’t.

        • Greg G.

          Read what he said. When you remove the water, crystals form in an organized way. Haven’t you ever made rock candy on a string? It’s not a cell but it is complexity coming from something simple.

          The formation of a hurricane is an example of complexity coming from simplicity.

        • John

          How is sugar dissolving in water, becoming more complex?

        • Greg G.

          Again, John, read what he said. You start with sugar dissolved in water, then let the water evaporate. The sugar forms crystals which are more complex.

        • I dunno. No one suggests that it does.

          God damn–do you read the comments or just imagine what would be easy to refute and then write your refutation?

          Complexity is when you have the sugar crystals after the water evaporates. No order when the sugar is dissolved; order after the water evaporates. Get it?

          What is this–the 3rd or 4th time we’ve been over this?

        • John

          Sugar in water isn’t LIFE….it’s sugar in water. You cannot compare the complexity of the two.

        • First you say, “How does something SIMPLE, make itself complex?” and then, when I demonstrate this through the kind of experiment that a 3-year-old understands, you backtrack and say, “Sugar in water isn’t LIFE.”

          I’m beginning to think that even you don’t understand your position.

        • John

          “Dissolving sugar in water is an example of a physical change. Here’s why: A chemical change produces new chemical products. In order for sugar in water to be a chemical change, something new would need to result. A chemical reaction would have to occur. However, mixing sugar and water simply produces… sugar in water! The substances may change form, but not identity. That’s a physical change.”…..Life is a chemical change…..much more complex.

          http://chemistry.about.com/od/matter/f/Is-Dissolving-Sugar-In-Water-A-Chemical-Or-Physical-Change.htm

        • OK–got it. You’re acknowledging that you asked for complexity from simplicity, and I provided it.

        • MNb

          2 H2 + O2 → 2 H2O.

          We start with bi-atomic molecules and end with tri-atomic molecules. The atomic structure after the reaction is more complex than before. This for instance

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_bond

          does not occur in hydrogen nor in oxygen molecules.
          But why are you asking, John? I thought facts didn’t matter for you, only whether a belief system is true or false. If your belief system – which according to you obviously is true – says that hydrogen bonds can’t exist then you simply deny that they happen. You do the same with speciation, so why care about complexity?

        • John

          What is your point? Are you trying to create Hydrogen Fuel from Water?

        • Then read the comment slowly to find out what the point is, address it thoroughly, and then reread the comment to make sure you got everything. Since I’ve had to point out your evasiveness time after time, it sure looks like you’re being deliberately evasive.

          Dissolving sugar in water, isn’t making anything complex.

          God dammit–read the comment!

          I never said that it did–the crystals that result are the part that’s more complex.

        • Dys

          Gene duplication, for one.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html

          But you’re also conflating ‘new’ information with ‘adding’ information, and those are not equivalent.

        • John

          Where is this “added information” coming from? It has to be new, because it wasn’t part of the gene to begin with.

        • Dys

          Already answered. In the comment you responded to.

        • 90Lew90

          Not really, unless you’re impressed or intimidated by polysyllabic terms, but that wouldn’t be you John, would it.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFHXMQP-QU

        • MNb

          You creationists aren’t even capable of defining complexity, so you’re talking from the wrong end of your digestive system again.

          http://www.softwarematters.org/mathgrrl.html

          You provide nothing but baked farts.

        • hector_jones

          If cells were really really simple you’d be telling us there’s no way something that simple could sustain human life, therefore God.

        • John

          Thus, in a 2008 study, biologist Michael Stumpf and colleagues tried to determine just how large protein interaction networks were in different organisms (Stumpf et al., 2008). Using bioinformatics, the team estimated that 650,000 protein interactions occur in humans; this number is approximately three times more than that in the roundworm and 10 times more than that in the fruit fly. Moreover, it seems that a single protein can have dozens, if not hundreds, of different interactions.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, so why design such a convoluted problematic system?

        • 90Lew90

          Plagiarism is a crime John. So do you trust science or not? If not, why are you plagiarising scientists? And here, have more polysyllabics.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFHXMQP-QU

        • John

          I’m making QUOTES, not writing a paper.

        • 90Lew90

          No quotation marks, unattributed, unlinked. Plagiarism. It’s a crime John.

        • Dys

          The next thing you know, John’ll be pulling intelligent design jargon and probabilities out and pretending they’re scientific.

        • John

          pla·gia·rism
          noun
          noun: plagiarism; plural noun: plagiarisms
          the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

        • 90Lew90

          Yes, genius John. I know what plagiarism is. It’s precisely what you did.

        • MNb

          Well, that makes clear why human beings showed up later in the evolution bush than roundworms and fruitflies. The god of the gaps won’t help you out, John. Physics can’t explain superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. Are you going to maintain that it’s god’s hobby to make them floating in the air?
          Before you answer: realize that superconductivity is a complex event as well.

        • adam

          Of course it is evolved, look at other DNA, there is a full range of ‘lengths’, just what would be expected from evolution.

          The SHORTEST DNA;
          The smallest virus known to humanity, however, is the single stranded DNA virus Porcine circovirus type 1. It has a genome of only 1759 nucleotides.[2] Its capsid diameter is only 17 nm.[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallest_organisms

          The longest ANIMAL DNA:

          Genome size is measured in base pairs and the biggest according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genome) that we know of right now is for an amoeba (a single cell lifeform), 670,000,000,000 base pairs. Humans have around 3,200,000,000

          Longest DNA
          Researchers at London’s Kew Gardens said Thursday they’d discovered that the Paris japonica has a genetic code 50 times longer than that of a human being. The length of that code easily beats its nearest competitor, a long-bodied muck dweller known as the marbled lungfish.

          “We were astounded really,” said Ilia Leitch, of Kew’s Jodrell Laboratory.

          Leitch and her colleagues suspected the plant might have an larger-than-usual genetic code as its relatives have rather large ones too. But the sheer size of this flower’s genome caught them by surprise.If laid end-to-end it would stretch to more than 300 feet.Read more at: http://phys.org/news205731281.html#jCp

        • John

          “that we know of right now is for an amoeba (a single cell lifeform), 670,000,000,000 base pairs. Humans have around 3,200,000,000″…..and you still think this all just evolved?

        • MNb

          Ah, creacrap in its purest form.

          “You really have to look at the incredible of each human cell”

          Hence god.
          Then Adam show with the example of the amoeba that it’s not incredible at all – hence god.
          Thanks for confirming once again that creationists reject the scientific method.

        • Dys

          Complicated, therefore goddidit. Standard argument from incredulity and ignorance.

        • John

          Complicated, therefore, it could not have DESIGNED itself.

        • Dys

          Because you don’t understand evolution John, we covered this already. That’s why you keep jumping to goddidit as an explanation – it’s an appeal to ignorance on your part.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure, why design a system that prone to replication errors?

        • It’s almost like it just sort of … evolved through clumsy, imperfect natural means.

        • John

          We live in a corrupt world. It once was perfect…that’s another story. The bodies we have are temporary….looking forward to a new one. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Why design a world prone to corruption. Don’t say “free will”. If God has free will, then he is prone to corruption.

        • John

          He exist above everything….”For thus says the High and Lofty One. Who inhabits eternity…” Isaiah 57:15

        • Greg G.

          Sorry, I forgot a question mark. Let me repeat it.

          Why design a world prone to corruption?

        • John

          It wasn’t designed for corruption. It became corrupted, as a result of man’s sins.

        • Greg G.

          Murphy’s Law was not a fatalistic adage, it was an engineering goal. “If it can happen, it will happen” means a system should be designed so that undesirable things cannot happen. If the world became corrupt, it was designed so that corruption could happen. That is the designer’s fault, not the user’s fault. This is a problem with religious thought. You should abandon that nonsense instead of defending it.

        • MNb

          May I repeat my offer? Coming over you to help you to realize that glorious prospect a bit sooner? Or ask your god to end my existence as a sacrifice to fulfill your greatest desire?

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, shut the duck up with the nonsense already.

        • Pofarmer

          Assertions made without evidence may be dissmissed without evidence. Assertions made that contradict the known evidence, and I call you a braindead moron.

        • John

          Like I said, Pascal’s wager. wager on GOD and you can’t lose.

        • Dys

          As long as you have a naive understanding of the argument and ignore the problems with it.

        • John

          Everyone places a wager, in that you have no choice. 🙂

        • adam

          No, I dont wager on superstitions and imaginary gods.

        • John

          You’ve already placed your wager….against GOD.

        • adam

          No, I dont wager on superstitions and imaginary gods.

        • Dys

          Nope, because belief is not a choice, therefore I can’t actually wager on it. Even Pascal’s original formulation of the argument understood this. His resolution to the problem was nonsense, but at least he admitted the issue.

          Besides which even if I grant its a wager for the sake of argument, the number of unsupported assumptions you make gives you a false sense of security. Because you can’t merely cut the wager down to your particular god and no god. That’d be a false dichotomy.

          Like I said, if you bothered to explore the issue, it’s very clear that Pascal’s Wager is poorly reasoned. It makes too many assumptions.

        • John

          To believe or not to believe are choices….you’ve made your choice, not to believe.

        • Dys

          Beliefs aren’t choices John, please stop lying about me. I didn’t decide to stop believing in God – I became convinced that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the contention that one existed, and the arguments made for God’s existence are unpersuasive.

          Once again, you’re setting up a strawman. This is becoming a trend with you…I know it’s a common (and dishonest) apologist tactic to claim atheists don’t believe in god because they just want to do whatever they want, but it simply isn’t true.

          So I’ll repeat myself once more, in the hopes that it’ll sink in this time – beliefs aren’t choices, and I didn’t decide to stop believing in God. If you insist otherwise again, you’ll be willfully lying.

        • adam

          “I know it’s a common (and dishonest) apologist tactic to claim atheists don’t believe in god because they just want to do whatever they want”

          I will make the claim that theists believe in god BECAUSE they just want to do whatever they want.

          John is good that baby rapers and mass murderers can be forgiven and get into ‘heaven’, which means whatever EVIL John does, be it lying or stealing the written works of others, is forgivable.

          Ergo, John BELIEVES he can do what ever he wants because HIS ‘Jesus’ will forgive him.

          It is the theists who are the COWARDS and want to get away with EVERYTHING…avoiding responsibility for their own lives and actions.

        • John

          “Beliefs aren’t choices “? HUH? What planet are you from?
          be·lief
          bəˈlēf/
          noun
          noun: belief; plural noun: beliefs
          1.
          an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

        • Beliefs are choices? What planet are you from?

          Give us a demonstration. Choose to believe in leprechauns. Let us know how that goes.

        • John

          If you want to believe in leprechauns, you can. They’re not real, but you can still believe in them…..like honest politicians.

        • Dys

          Once again, the point has sailed completely over John’s head.

        • No, you can’t.

          But you can prove me wrong. Believe in leprechauns and tell us how that goes. Show us how it’s done.

        • adam

          ONLY the DELUSIONAL can believe anything they WANT…

        • Dys

          Acceptance doesn’t mean choice John. People are persuaded or convinced to belief. Beliefs aren’t switches that can be turned on or off on a whim. Can you decide to believe leprechauns are real right now?

          Doxastic involunteerism…read up.

        • John

          You can believe anything you want. Facts don’t matter. What matters is, the belief true or false. Some people believe all politicians are honest. It’s their belief, a false belief, but still a belief.

        • Dys

          John, you didn’t read what I actually wrote, nor did you respond to it here. It’s true that people can believe what they like, regardless of facts, and that it matters whether those beliefs are true or not. But that does nothing whatsoever to counter the fact that beliefs are not choices. I explained this to you already – beliefs are not mere switches that can be turned off or on by a personal decision.

          Can you, right now, decide to honestly believe in leprechauns?

        • John

          “Beliefs & Choices: Do We Choose Our Beliefs? Can We Choose to Believe Different?”

          http://atheism.about.com/od/philosophyepistemology/a/BeliefChoice.htm

          Now I see where you’re coming from. You sound like the gay activist, who think they are born gay. You’re saying, you don’t have any other choice, but to be an atheist.

        • Dys

          “You sound like the gay activist, who think they are born gay.”

          Please don’t tell me you’re one of the ignorant fools who insist that people choose to be gay.

          I cannot choose to believe in god because, given what I currently know, the lack of compelling evidence, and the poor arguments thrown up by the faithful, I have no reason to. Your simplistic and false notion that I’ve chosen to be an atheist and that I could easily choose to believe in god if I really wanted to makes a complete mockery of intellectual honesty.

          Can you honestly choose to start believing in leprechauns, right now, if you wanted to?

        • John

          Who you have sex with is always a choice….just having sex, is always a choice.

        • Dys

          Thanks for presenting the idiotic, infantile, and inhumane “gay people should all remain celibate” religious argument John.

          I mean, it doesn’t actually counter anything that I said, but it does demonstrate the unfortunate use of religious dogma to support bigoted and hateful opinions.

        • John

          Do you really believe, gay men have no other choice, except to stick it up another man?

        • Dys

          John, thank you for affirming my previous comment that you’re a homophobic bigot. It’s a shame that your religion promotes such hateful and ignorant garbage, but that’s one of the many deficiencies of religion as a whole.

          You haven’t countered my comment at all – you’ve just reinforced it. If you believe otherwise, I’d suggest chalking up on your reading comprehension.

        • “Who wants a date with John, ladies? A well-educated Christian, John is not only an evolution denier who says (despite all evidence) that the Bible trumps science, but he’s a homophobe as well! Yes, he’s the complete Christian package!”

        • John

          At least I can say, I don’t have an STD. No chance of me having HIV. Find the stats for STRAIGHT, White, Hispanic or Asian men, having HIV, in America. When you find them…please let me know, what you find. I can’t find them on any HIV chart or list.

        • How about you, John? Do you want to “stick it up another man”? No? Not even a little bit?

          If the idea of a straight arrow like you having a bit of fun with some man-on-man sex makes no sense, then I guess homosexuals are wired differently than you.

        • John

          who or what you have sex with is always a choice…I CHOOSE women, every time.

        • And could you be inclined to have sex with a man? If not, what does that say about the inherent differences between you and a man who would?

          I dunno … maybe homosexuals are just different in who they’re attracted to. We’ve observed it in 1500 animal species, so it’s pretty widespread in nature.

        • John

          Are you saying, gay men don’t have a choice, about sticking it in a man? They were born to stick it in a man?

        • Dys

          Of course they have a choice in who they have sex with. But that’s a far cry from choosing one’s sexuality. Now that we have that silliness out of the way…

          When did you choose to be straight John? And why do you feel justified in recommending that gay people abstain from sex with who they’re sexually attracted to, if it’s consensual? It seems to me that restricting someone’s sexuality in that way is petty, bigoted, cruel, and inhumane.

        • John

          Who you have sex with is always a choice….with male or females. The very act of having sex is a choice.

        • Dys

          Who you have sex with is always a choice….with male or females. The very act of having sex is a choice.

          Which, if you knew how to read, I just stated.

          I can only assume by your continued ducking of the question, you are tacitly admitting that sexuality is not a choice, and that you never actually chose to be heterosexual. I’m also forced to assume that you don’t have a good reason for insisting that homosexuals remain celibate.

        • Dys

          And yet sexuality itself is not a choice. Of course, you’ll continue to cowardly abstain from admitting it, but it’s a fact.

        • John

          True, people are born male or female. Any actions or behaviors are a choice.

        • Dys

          Gender is not the same thing as sexuality John. But good job avoiding the issue yet again.

        • MNb

          And if it’s a choice a lying bigot like you, who with his nazi-attitude has lost all moral credibility, is not going to tell me what choice I should make.

        • John

          You can make any choice you want, just remember, there are consequences to each choice you make.

        • MNb

          Yup. The same consequences as having straight sex – a jolly good time without risk, if taken the appropriate precautions.
          In this respect there is no difference between gay and straight sex.

        • John

          There is a difference. STRAIGHT men, rarely get HIV. Unless there’s a break in the skin of the penis, they can’t get HIV. Try and find the stats for STRAIGHT, White, Hispanic or Asian males.

        • Get a clue.

          Learn how HIV was transmitted across Africa–the pandemic is far worse there than in America. Heterosexual sex was the primary vector.

        • John

          Within the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, it is relatively common for both men and women to be carrying on sexual relations with more than one person, which promotes HIV transmission.This practice is known as concurrency, which Helen Epstein describes in her book, The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight against AIDS, in which her research into the sexual mores of Uganda revealed the high frequency with which men and women engage in concurrent sexual relationships.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa

          Just like gay men in America.

        • “Gay men”? I think you mean “people who have lax safe sex practices.”

          Or do you just want to focus your bile on gays?

        • MNb

          The difference is safe sex, ie using condoms, not being gay or straight. There are several countries where the vast majority of HIV patients are straight, notably in Africa. In Belgium 40% of the patients are straight women.
          Of course you will deny this, like you deny speciation and the satellite photos of Tyre. You’re a liar with a nazi mentality.

        • John

          “High-risk behavioral patterns have been cited as being largely responsible for the significantly greater spread of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa than in other parts of the world. Chief among these are the traditionally liberal attitudes espoused by many communities inhabiting the subcontinent toward multiple sexual partners and pre-marital and outside marriage sexual activity” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa which is the same reason HIV rates are so high among gay men.

        • Erwin

          Getting back on subject: ref my post

        • MNb

          No.

        • Erwin

          T- Total Depravity✔
          Romans 1:28,3:23
          U- Unconditional Election
          L- Limited Atonement
          I- Irresistible Grace
          P-Perseverance of the Saints

          Time to move onto U.L.I.P., you think?
          ref Proverbs 23:7; Luke 18:26-27;
          Ephesians 2:5,8-9.

        • MNb

          Exit Jesus, Paulus and Petrus as fast as they enter. Their words are meaningless. They don’t have any authority and are dismissed out of hand. Irrelevant by definition. Unimportant because 2000 years dead.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if it’s a choice bereft of any preference whatsoever, then congratulations, you’re a 3 on the Kinsey Scale.

        • John

          People may have a “preference”, but it’s their choice to act on that preference.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how profound.

        • hector_jones

          Two or more consenting adults can stick whatever they want wherever they want. Why is this any of your business or concern? Do your church elders come by your house to make sure you and your wife are doing it right?

        • John

          They can do whatever they want. I’m just letting them know the risk of getting HIV or an STD.

        • hector_jones

          Oh is that all you’re doing? Just letting them know? What would gay people do without you to keep them informed about these things, John?

        • That would be good insurance. We wouldn’t want John to be having butt sex with anyone.

        • God dammit, what is it with you and your obsession with gay fucking?

          Ask them yourself. Since there is no downside, who the hell cares? Everyone has their particular passions, and as long as their partners are on the same page, vive la difference.

          As far as I understand it, homosexuals are born that way. They’re simply drawn romantically and sexually in a different way than straights.

        • MNb

          “what is it with you and your obsession with gay fucking?”
          As my late father was gay I happened to know quite a few. Their common answer was a suppressed desire to do it himself.

        • LOL. I did think that Haggard’s Law might well apply to John. He sure does think a lot about where gay men stick their dicks.

        • John

          I’m trying to save people. Wouldn’t you warn anyone involved in high risk behavior, of the risk they put themselves in?
          They are born gay….so you do believe a gay man is born to put it in another man? I’m just asking a question.

        • MNb

          No, you are trying to ruin people’s life, as we can expect from someone with your nazi-attitude.
          There is no difference between gay and straight high risk behavior. Condoms protect gays as well as straight folks. Straight folks who screw around run the same risk as gays doing so.

        • John

          There is no difference between gay and straight high risk behavior…you really need to educate yourself on HIV and STD risk.

        • When in doubt, repeat what your antagonist said? Uh, OK.

          I think dropping the antagonism and simply saying, “I agree” would be the way to go. Or do you prefer to make enemies?

        • John

          Have you ever tried to find the stats for STRAIGHT men and HIV? They are very hard to find.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA! Says the man who maintains that Tyre has sunk even when confronted with satellite photos. Says the man who denies that speciation happens.
          My friend, one of the things The Netherlands do really good is sex education. I have learned about STD since I was a teen. I have learned about HIV since the first infection back in 1984. I have lost someone to AIDS I knew personally.

          http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-uganda.htm

          Yup, my dear ignorant. There is no difference between gay and straight high risk behavior. Condoms protect gays as well as straight folks. Straight folks who screw around run the same risk as gays doing so.

        • John

          Find the stats for STRAIGHT men and HIV, in America. Except for Blacks, they are very hard to find. They don’t even make any risk list for HIV.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m starting to think the Lady doth protest too much.

        • John

          Find me the stats for STRAIGHT men, except Blacks, and you can make your point straight men, in America, are also at risk for HIV.

        • Pofarmer

          Whoosh.

        • 90Lew90

          Chortle. That’s would be a reasonable question if a ten-year-old asked it…

        • John

          You’re the one claiming gay men are born gay. According to that idea, they don’t have a choice.

        • 90Lew90

          Gormless bastard.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit John. A straight man, father of 3, your ignorant arrogance and gross willful miss understanding embarrasses me. before long it’s going to make me mad. STFU.

        • John

          Do you want to answer the question….do you really think gay men have no other choice, except to stick it in a man?

        • Pofarmer

          John, don’t go there.

        • John

          It’s an honest question…yes or no?

        • Makes you wonder what dystopian paradise he wants to leave his kids.

        • MNb

          Good for you. That has exactly zero impact on the choices I make. Neither should it have, because you’re an ignorant lying bigot with nazi morals.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what a ludicrous absence of reasoning.
          “every time” what? every time a man and woman are placed before you, and a voice says “you are going to have sex now, John. WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?”

        • John

          The act to have or not have sex, no matter who you have it with, is always a choice.

        • And romantic feelings are not a choice. That’s what we’re talking about (if we can drop the topic of fucking for a moment).

        • John

          So if you have romantic FEELINGS for your neighbor’s wife, you have no choice but to act on them?

        • I you have romantic feelings, you have no choice but to have those feelings.

          How ’bout that–despite your best efforts, it’s really not that hard.

        • John

          We all have feelings, it’s a choice to act on those feelings.

        • A simple, “Yes, I agree” would advance the conversation better.

          You might have romantic/sexual feelings about a woman. They’re not a choice. Ditto the man who has those feelings about another man. We have terms for those two categories: heterosexual and homosexual.

        • Greg G.

          If anger is committing murder in your heart and having “those feelings” is committing adultery in your heart, wouldn’t you having involuntary feelings about someone of the same gender be committing homosexuality in your heart?

          According to Matthew’s Jesus, it’s not a decision.

        • John

          On those points, Jesus was raising the bar on getting to heaven. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”…Matthew 5:48……… There are two ways of getting to heaven. 1) Be perfect, never sin, never get mad, never make a mistake. OR 2) Accept Jesus and the work he has done for you, by dying on the cross, to forgive your sins.

        • Greg G.

          So why discriminate against people who opt for #1? Also, why discriminate for those who opt for #2?

          If you allow the baker not to bake a cake, then the barber will refuse a haircut, the grocer will refuse to sell food, the doctor can refuse medical attention, the pharmacist can refuse to sell certain drugs to women. Soon, we would be living in a horrible society and the bad people would be the Christians.

        • John

          The baker was only refusing to make a wedding cake. The baker had no problem making any other kind of cake for the gay couple. The wedding cake represents the union of two people. For Christians, that means ONLY one man and one woman. Anything else is a sin.

        • Greg G.

          Yeah, yeah, yeah. All those Christians who are harder on gays than you are not True Christians™ and all those Christians who are willing to allow gay marriage are not True Christians™ . The only True Christians™ are that narrow band who agree with you.

        • MNb

          That’s a problem for christians, not for gay couples.

        • John

          Boycott the business and take your business elsewhere.

        • Is that what you’d recommend for a mixed-race couple turned away for deeply felt religious convictions?

        • John

          If you don’t like the business, find someone else.

        • Huh?

        • John

          If you can’t get the service you want, go somewhere else.

        • Dys

          John’s admitting, in a roundabout way, that he’d support a racist shop owner discriminating against people of other races, as long as it was for religious reasons. He just doesn’t have the courage to admit it outright.

        • Yeah, that does seem pretty clear. I was trying to get him to admit it, but I can see how he’d prefer to avoid that issue.

          Liars for Jesus?

        • MNb

          And morally depraved as you are you are in no position to tell anyone which choice to make.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, sorry, that didn’t become more relevant since the last edition. quite the opposite, actually.

        • John

          So you ALWAYS act on your sexual desires?

        • Pofarmer

          So, John, what if a man doesn’t desire to have sex with women , or a woman doesn’t desire to have sex with men.

        • John

          Having sex is ALWAYS a choice.

        • Pofarmer

          John, you didn’t answer the question.

        • John

          I just told you….having sex is always a choice. Even if you have no desire to have sex, you can still choose to have sex.

        • Pofarmer

          So, is being sexually attracted to the same or other sex a choice?

        • John

          To act on that attraction is a choice. You may have a preference, one way or the other, but to act on it is a choice.

        • Pofarmer

          But is the attraction a choice.

        • John

          You may not have a choice on attraction, but you always have the choice to act on that attraction.

        • Pofarmer

          So if attraction is nature, you are insisting someone act against their nature.

        • John

          There are many things in human nature, we should not act on. You have to be taught not to steal, get drunk, murder, don’t take drugs…..

        • Dys

          You had to be taught not to murder? Really? Chalk up another Christian sociopath.

        • John

          People have to be taught right from wrong. Other wise you get….”all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

        • Dys

          If you had to be taught not to murder people, then you lack empathy. Ergo, you’re a sociopath.

        • Pofarmer

          As Thomas Jefferson said,,I may not agree with it, but it neither harms my person or picks my pocket.

        • hector_jones

          Except when it’s legitimate rape.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wrong again and even less relevant.

        • MNb

          An ignorant liar with a nazi mentality like you is not going to tell me which choice is good and which choice is bad. If you do have a point (which is disputed) it’s not the one you think you make. Regarding sex I’m totally pro choice as well. A middlefinger to anyone who tries to influence me because of some imaginary Hitler-like sky daddy.

        • John

          Than you don’t need to be warned about the dangers of STD’s or HIV…no one’s going to tell you what to do.

        • Greg G.

          You seem defensive. Are you saying you have feelings of attraction to men but you choose women anyway?

        • MNb

          Given his obsession with “sticking it into men” that might be the case indeed. If it is it is sad he can’t admit it because Jesus. Here is a man I feel attracted to:

          http://www.cinemagia.ro/actori/alain-delon-2302/poze-hires/940256/

          Here an erotic picture:

          http://www.minilps.net/status-quo/blue-for-you-uicy-75696/inner-sleeve-a-side-27655#bigpic

          Most fans were teen boys.

        • John

          To act on any feeling, is a choice.

        • Greg G.

          That doesn’t answer the question.

          I am not attracted to men and there are some women I am not attracted to. I might feel a bit jealous of a man hiting on someone I was attracted to but it is no concern of mine if a man has sex with anybody I am not attracted to.

          Why does it bother you if two people you aren’t attracted to get it on? It’s none of your business. There are plenty of people being harmed by others in this world. You should focus on them.

        • John

          Because homosexuality is a sin. No matter what anyone thinks. They can do whatever they want, just don’t ask me to accept it or affirm it. I would never attend a gay wedding, even if it was part of my business.

        • Greg G.

          That’s why people should not get their morality from religion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if you’re that blind to the range of options, no wonder you’re incapable of making a coherent point.

        • 90Lew90

          Who in their right mind would choose to be gay?

        • John

          People who make bad choices. Who would chose to be a drug addict or an alcoholic? They must be born that way.

        • 90Lew90

          Sigh.

        • hector_jones

          Eating is a choice. Choose not to eat and see where that gets you.

        • John

          You can choose NOT to eat too. It’s still a choice.

        • Drug addiction and alcoholism are bad because they cause harm. Not so with homosexuality.

          See the difference?

        • John

          have you seen the STD rates for gay men? Almost 80% of all new HIV infection, in America are from gay men. 90% of recent syphilis infections are from gay men.

        • I see no point here. You can’t be saying that STDs are inherent with being homosexual any more than they’re inherent with being heterosexual.

          If you’re arguing for safe sex, good for you. Tell your closed-minded peeps.

        • John

          Anyone can get an STD….just like anyone running on the freeway, can get hit by a truck…but..ONLY those running on the freeway, get hit by a truck on the freeway.

        • hector_jones

          “ONLY those running on the freeway, get hit by a truck on the freeway.”

          So true, so true, yet so completely and totally irrelevant.

        • John

          Have sex with the wrong people and you get HIV and STD’s….but only those having sex, in a high risk group get HIV or STD’s. Find me the stats for STRAIGHT, White, Hispanic or Asian males, with HIV. You won’t find them on any HIV chart or list. They are not a high risk group. Please, find the numbers.

        • hector_jones

          What about the stats on lesbians, John? They have a lower incidence of STD infection than straight women. You should tell your daughter and her female friends.

        • John

          Than gay men should only have sex with lesbians. That would really cut down their HIV rates.

        • Dys

          You’re an idiot John, and with this type of nonsense, it’s obvious that your claim to care about the spread of STDs among the gay population is horseshit.

        • John

          I’m a straight male….not in any high risk group for HIV.

        • Dys

          Doesn’t address anything I said John. It’s obvious that you’re not sincerely concerned for the spread of stds among the gay population at all. You’re an ignorant bigot looking for excuses to impose your religious beliefs, and the std thing is merely a cover for it. You’re a sanctimonious ass.

        • hector_jones

          And your daughter should only have sex with other women. Letting a man stick his dirty filthy penis into you is really a bad idea. The stats prove it. If you really cared about the well-being of your daughter, the way you care about the well-being of gay men you’ve never met, you’d tell her that, John.

        • John

          If gay men would stop having sex with men, their HIV rates would drop.

        • Dys

          And if everyone stopped having sex, the incidents of sexually transmitted diseases would practically vanish.

          Seriously John, if this is the best you can do, you really should just give up.

        • MNb

          If gay men would start having safe sex with men their HIV rates would drop as well. As totally happened in The Netherlands.
          If straight men would stop having sex with women the HIV rates of both straight men and women would drop as well.

          Like I wrote – there is no difference.

        • hector_jones

          Yet again your ability to miss the point is astounding.

        • Dys

          I think he practices.

        • Dys

          I have the sneaking suspicion that John’s a big fan of victim blaming.

        • John

          Anyone who gets HIV today, has no one to blame but themselves.

        • Dys

          Thank you for confirming my suspicions John. You’re truly despicable.

        • MNb

          Remember: John is a nazi disguised as a christian. He worships an immaterial version of Hitler, choses to remain ignorant no matter how often confronted with hard facts and rejoices at the suffering of victims.

        • John

          The warnings have been out there for 30 years. Ignore them at your own peril.

        • Dys

          You made an ignorant blanket statement concerning actual people John. You’re victim blaming. Don’t throw up smoke and mirrors to obfuscate it and pretend you’re not.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Straight people can get AIDS as easily as gays.

        • John

          Find the HIV stats for STRAIGHT, White, Hispanic or Asian males. I’ve looked, they don’t show up on any HIV charts or studies.

        • MNb

          Of course. That’s what he is a nazi for.

        • Again, what’s the deal with the obsession about gay sex?

          If you’re concerned about STDs, be concerned about the straight people. There’s a lot more need for safe sex there since there’s a lot more straight sex going on.

        • John

          Here’s something to think about….Health officials: Male Ebola survivors should wear condom or abstain. In an effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus through sexual transmission, health officials are instructing male Ebola survivors to abstain from sex or to wear condoms for up to 90 days.
          The virus typically takes up to 21 days to run its course through the body, but it can last in semen for up to three months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
          …….If this gets into the gay community, watch out

        • “Gay community”? I think you mean “community of people who have lax safe sex practices.” Or is Ebola OK if you get it through heterosexual sex?

        • John

          The LGBT community or GLBT community, commonly referred to as the gay community, is a loosely defined grouping of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and LGBT-supportive people, organizations, and
          subcultures, united by a common culture and social movements.

        • You avoided responding to the issue about avoiding responding to the issue. There’s so much meta going on that I fear you will create a singularity and destroy the universe.

        • John

          You tried to deny there was any “Gay community”. You just don’t want anyone being defined as being “gay”.

        • Wrong and wrong.

          Can’t find anything substantial to complain about so you make up stuff?

        • John

          You said: “Gay community”? I think you mean “community of people who have lax safe sex practices.”….so now you want to redefine or rename “Gay community”?

        • Tell you what: when I want to do that, I’ll make it clear.

          You’re an enigma. I can’t tell if you’re stupid and can’t follow the argument so that you can respond or if you’re simply trying to sidestep the argument when it gets too hot to handle.

          Neither paints you in a good light, my friend. Maybe this blog isn’t a good fit for you.

        • Dys

          So when did you choose to be straight John?

          I don’t suppose it would make any difference to point out that the notion of sexuality as a choice has been roundly debunked? Or that most of the people who still cling to it do so primarily for religious reasons, not rational ones?

        • John

          So, you’re saying, gay men have no other choice, except to stick it in another man.

        • Jesus H. Christ, what is it with you gay haters and sex? All you think about is where the dicks go.

          Let me suggest another approach: let’s think about who people are attracted to romantically. Two homosexuals want to have a monogamous relationship for their entire lives and celebrate it publicly, and you’re standing in the way. There’s an excess of love in the world that you can get in the way of this couple without it being that big a deal? They don’t need to be happy?

          What an asshole you are. Do you sleep well at night based on how much happiness you’ve prevented?

        • John

          Where did I say I hated gays? Did I call them any names or swear about them? I want the best for them. That includes a healthy life. I don’t want them getting HIV or any STD. That’s why I warn them of the high rates of HIV and STD among gay men.

        • Dys

          Bullshit John. You’re being a sanctimonious ass, and you know it.

          Where did I say I hated gays?

          Of course you didn’t say it directly – homophobes rarely do any more, because it’s not socially acceptable. Instead they now hide behind a mask of piety and mock concern. But you can’t even bring yourself to admit that sexuality isn’t a choice, nor could you resist crudely describing gay sex as “sticking it in a man”.

          I want the best for them.

          You mean you want what you’ve decided is best for them, based on your religious views.

          I don’t want them getting HIV or any STD.

          Good, then you should be promoting safe sex, not insisting that homosexuals abstain from sex altogether with the gender they’re attracted to.

          Honestly, I think we both know that the STD talk is merely a red herring. Even if they weren’t a factor, you’d still be against it, because you have a book that says it’s bad.

        • John

          Where did I bring religion into this? Almost 80% of all new HIV cases in America are from gay men. Wouldn’t you warn anyone in that group of the risk?

        • Dys

          Sure. But we both know you’re not merely advocating for safe sex. So stop pretending that’s what you’re doing. You’re arguing for homosexual celibacy, not safe sex.

        • MNb

          The Netherlands have a HIV ratio of 24 / 17 000. The USA 1,1 / 308. How come? Religious bigots like you obstructing the appropriate measures to push the numbers back since the epidemy began 30 years ago. The same with abortion and teen pregnancies.

        • John

          The HIV epidemic in the Netherlands is concentrated in the group MSM (Men having Sex with Men). In total, the annual number of newly registered HIV infections among MSM is not increasing, but is also not decreasing. Although the number of new diagnoses among MSM in the age group 35-44 years showed a gradual decline, the number of new diagnoses among young adult MSM up to 25 years of age and among MSM 55 years and older is increasing.

        • Gaiety isn’t the issue. Safe sex is the issue.

          My recommendation: take your show on the road. Go to the gay clubs and encourage safe sex. Frankly, it would do society a lot more good than you’re doing around here.

        • hector_jones

          And while he’s at it he should go around telling people to ‘drive safely’ and ‘have a nice day’.

        • John

          Changes in Mood Affect Condom Use Among HIV-Positive Gay Men.

          Sixty-six percent of the participants reported intercourse without a condom during the previous two-month period. Eighty-one percent of them had sex with multiple partners.

          http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/mood_fluctuations_1667_25147.shtml

        • I inferred it. Do you want gay couples treated the same at bakeries? Are you OK with same-sex marriage? Do you encourage same-sex couples to find romance, partnership, sex, marriage, and all the rest just like you’d wish the best for a straight couple?

          If not, then I rest my case.

        • John

          Respect the faith of others, and just find another baker. Anyone can make a cake for a gay wedding, find one who wants to. Spend your money there.

        • Dys

          No. There is absolutely no requirement or impetus to respect the faith of others. I certainly don’t respect Christianity. The bigger problem John is that your argument can (and has) been used to justify racism, sexism, and all sorts of discrimination.

        • John

          “No. There is absolutely no requirement or impetus to respect the faith of others.”….how sad, you have no respect for the rights or beliefs of others…..you’re slowly becoming like the animals, you think you evolved from.

        • Dys

          No, it’s not said. It’s practical. Allotting a base amount of respect for people is important. The notion that beliefs are automatically entitled to respect, however, is ludicrous. And I said nothing about not respecting rights – you made that up yourself. Another thing I don’t respect is discrimination based on sexuality, race, etc.

          And human beings are animals John. And given your ignorant remarks concerning homosexuals, you’re hardly the person to be talking down to me.

        • John

          Clearly you do not respect the faith of anyone, who disagrees with you. You way is the only way. Given a choice, you will sue a businesses, based on the owners faith, instead of finding a business that wants your money. If I were still a photographer, I would never attend a gay wedding. It wouldn’t even be for religious reasons. Would you sue a business person, just because they did not want to be at a gay wedding?

        • Dys

          You way is the only way.

          Not what I said or implied. Quite the opposite actually. If you bothered to actually read what I said, I mentioned that I believe that allotting a base amount of respect to people is important, but that beliefs are not automatically entitled to that same treatment. That implies quite a few things that are apparently too nuanced for you to comprehend.

          Given a choice, you will sue a businesses, based on the owners faith

          I don’t think businesses should be allowed to discriminate against customers based on race either. There are some Christians who think miscegenation is a sin. Should such a Christian who owned a restaurant be allowed to implement racist policies on who could be served?

          I would never attend a gay wedding. It wouldn’t even be for religious reasons.

          So your bigotry isn’t religiously motivated?

        • John

          If I’m a wedding photographer, why should I be forced to attend an event I don’t want to be at? If I don’t want to attend a gay wedding, that’s my business, Hire someone else.

        • Dys

          Good job avoiding my question and the content of my post John. Running away from uncomfortable conclusions seems to be a talent of yours.

        • Irish need not apply at John’s warehouse.

          And black folks? Don’t bother trying to get a seat at John’s restaurant.

          But it’s OK–this all follows from his sincerely held religious belief.

        • John

          I don’t see any Irish or anyone Black, getting upset over not getting a cake.

        • Tell them that you’re not serving them because they’re Irish or black and then see if they get upset.

        • John

          Being Irish or Black is not a sin. By the way, the baker offered to make the gay couple any kind of cake they wanted, except a wedding cake. They refused to make a cake, for an event the bible considers a sin. A gay wedding. Marriage is between one man and one woman.

        • Dys

          Being Irish or Black is not a sin

          Missing the point again John. You can’t limit this to just Christianity. You’d have to also support the decision of someone who claims to have racist religious beliefs to not serve them.

          Marriage is between one man and one woman.

          No, it’s not. Not even in your bible.

        • John

          Polygamy was never GOD’s intent, Jesus made that clear. He did allow it. They did not go around exchanging partners. Marriage was always between a man and a woman.

        • Dys

          Marriage was always between a man and a woman.

          And it used to be only between people of the same race. Now it isn’t. Christianity doesn’t own marriage, and neither does your imaginary friend.

        • John

          For believers, marriage was started by GOD….everyone else hijacked the word, and created their own terms for marriage.

        • Dys

          Since marriage was a thing before Judaism ever existed, yeah you’re wrong again.

        • John

          Marriage began in Genesis, with Adam and Eve.

        • Dys

          Adam and Eve never existed. There were never only two people on Earth. Genetics has ruled out the possibility. The Genesis creation myth is just that – a myth, a fable.

        • MR

          Funny that the word marriage is never mentioned in Genesis. Now, cleaving, cleaving that’s mentioned….

        • John

          “”Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,'”….Matt. 19:4…..I’ll take Jesus word over yours any time.

        • Dys

          Putting aside the fact that you don’t know if Jesus ever actually said that, I know you would. Because you’re anti-science. And you don’t understand evolution. You’re going to take a myth over the science that disproves the myth every time. You don’t actually care whether your beliefs are true or not. The Adam and Eve fable is most certainly not true.

        • hector_jones

          You can’t demonstrate GOD’s intent when you can’t even demonstrate its existence.

        • John

          Creation itself demonstrates his existence.

        • hector_jones

          No it doesn’t. But even if it did, you still don’t know what its intent is.

        • And we’re back to the beginning. What fun! It’s like I’m in a “Who’s on First?” routine.

          No one cares about sin since the topic is what is lawful. The important thing is that being Irish, black, or homosexual is not harmful. As a result, discriminating because of any of those things can logically be illegal.

        • John

          With the high rates of STD’s and HIV among gay men, I would say, homosexuality is harmful. You are in the highest risk group, in America, for HIV.

        • And the correlation is even higher (and we’re actually onto the cause and effect) with those who don’t practice safe sex. Let’s shine the spotlight on the actual problem, not just one that your politics prefers.

        • John

          They could lower their STD and HIV rates by practicing safe sex, but they won’t. Men hate condoms. Condoms defeat the purpose of having sex…the physical enjoyment.

        • MNb

          Not only they could – they did in The Netherlands and Belgium.

          “but they won’t.”
          You’re lying once again. Btw if this argument is valid a campaign of abstination won’t have any effect either. Which is totally OK with you of course, because you get off on the idea of gays suffering from AIDS.

        • John
        • I like what I’m hearing. You’re concerned about safe sex–good for you. Let’s focus on that instead of just a subset of the problem.

        • John

          I’ve been on sites, where I’ve warned of the dangers of not having safe sex, posted news from the CDC…I was sworn at, called names and even banned from some sites. You mention using condoms and people hate you.

        • MNb

          Non-sequitur. Those gays are not in the highest group because of gay sex but because of unsafe sex.

          “the highest risk group, in America”
          Exactly. In the USA. Now why are the STD’s and HIV rates so much lower in Belgium and The Netherlands?
          Because politics on sex in these countries is not dictated by lying religious bigots like you. You say you want to help. As we Dutch say: from the quay into the ditch. Because you think belief more important than facts. And because you have the attitude of a nazi. You’re not interested in lowering STD’s, HIV and teen pregnancy rates. You are only interested in ruining the lives of other people.
          And that’s why nobody here will ever take your moral views seriously.

        • John

          So you think the reason STD and HIV rates are so high, among gays in America, is because of religious people? Religious people are preventing gays from practicing safe sex?

        • Dys

          MNb, you used too many words, and confused poor John.

        • 90Lew90

          Respect where it’s due.

        • When faith and the law clash, guess who wins? (It ain’t pretty for your side, I’m afraid.)

          If I were in the customer side of that situation, I’d be delighted to go through the hassle of making a public example of that vendor.

          Would you also be OK with someone discriminating on the basis of skin color if that were an honest result of their faith?

        • John

          Being Black isn’t a sin or an action. Homosexuality, is a sin to many and it’s a behavior. Would you force a baker to make a cake for a pedophile, if it showed an adult with a child? What about someone with the KKK, who wanted a man hanging on the cake? Would you force the baker to make the cake?

        • Dys

          To some, miscegenation is a sin. Would you defend a business that instituted racist policies against mixed-race couples?

          The fact is that anything can be considered a sin, depending on one’s religion. So the distinction you’re making is irrelevant.

        • John

          Unless you can prove it’s a sin or goes against their faith. Go find someone else to make what you want.

        • Dys

          “Unless you can prove it’s a sin”

          No one has ever proved that anything is a sin. So that test is completely irrelevant.

          “Go find someone else to make what you want.”

          So you’d be in support of a business enforcing racist policies if their religious views mandated it. And since anyone can have a religious viewpoint on any topic, anything can be a sin. Which means a store owner should be able to discriminate any way they like, as long as it’s for religious reasons, right? There were racists in the old south that thought that God had made blacks inferior to whites. So your notion that racism is somehow excluded from comparison to homophobia is wrong as well.

          All you’re doing is trying to carve out a right to discriminate against a group you don’t like, and trying to figure out a way that it wouldn’t apply to other groups. But you can’t, because if you want to have such unfettered religious freedom, you have to allow it for all the religions, which encompass a much wider range of beliefs than just Christianity. Which means that in addition to supporting bakers who don’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple, you’d likewise have to support a racist business that didn’t want to allow anyone but whites. Personally, I find such a libertarian approach to be naive, unrealistic, unethical, immoral, and ultimately detrimental to society.

          And this is just a hunch, but I’m guessing one of the main reasons you’d even consider such a thing as being reasonable is due to the fact that the majority of the country identifies as Christian of some sect.

        • Pedophilia and hanging cause harm; being homosexual or black doesn’t.

          That wasn’t so hard, was it?

        • John

          Not on a cake it doesn’t. You’re not hurting anyone. You may not like it, but it is legal to make those cakes.

        • I didn’t know that you could avoid the issue so dramatically. A new low. Congratulations.

          Perhaps I should take the charitable interpretation–you’re not being deliberately evasive, you’re just stupid. If I’m misunderstanding, please correct me.

        • John

          The only group suing over a cake, has been homosexuals. Talk about lows.

        • Pedophilia and hanging cause harm; being homosexual or black doesn’t.

          That’s the point.

        • John

          The ONLY group suing about not getting a cake, are homosexuals.

        • And your laughable argument lays in tatters at your feet. For the issue at hand–the laws of the land–homosexuality being a sin in John’s mind is irrelevant. It causes no harm, just like being black.

          If it’s illegal for someone to not serve a customer based on something unharmful like skin color, what do we do with a store that refuses to serve a customer because of something else unharmful, homosexuality?

        • John

          “homosexuality being a sin in John’s mind is irrelevant”….not to GOD it isn’t and as Christians, we obey a higher authority.

        • Uh … you first obey the laws in this country. If you want to do the Christian thing, that’s fine, but the laws take precedence.

        • John

          Not with Christians. If man’s laws, go against GOD’s laws….we obey GOD. We will not accept homosexuality, no matter what laws you pass.

        • Dys

          Don’t worry John, no one’s going to force you to personally stop being a hateful bigot. But hopefully if you want to run a business, you won’t be allowed to discriminate against them.

        • John

          Where have I ever been hateful? I haven’t called gays names or put them down. I just ask that they respect the faith of others. Go to another baker or wedding photographer. Ever hear of a “boycott”…just boycott the business, you don’t agree with.

        • Greg G.

          Honoring your father and mother is one of the 10 Commandments. Christians don’t refuse to ba key cakes for the weddings of people who don’t like one of their parents. Christians have been brainwashed to get upset at bigot issues of the Bible’s minor laws.

        • John

          When has anyone been denied a wedding cake over not liking a parent?

        • Greg G.

          To my knowledge, nobody has. The question is “why not?” Christians who pick and choose which sins they will refuse service over are hypocritical salad bar Christians. They are making a political statement by opposing gay rights, not a religious statement, but they make out their self-inflicted harm to be religious persecution.

        • John

          If you don’t like the business or its owner, just boycott them.

        • Greg G.

          How would that work for a gay couple if the business didn’t want their business anyway?

          There is no prohibition against gay marriage in the Bible anyway. It suggests marriage between a man and a woman but it’s optional. Paul recommended not getting married but if you couldn’t resist sex, then you could.

        • John

          “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the
          Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”….Matt: 19:5-6…..by the way, I do support civil unions and domestic partnerships for gays….just not marriage.

        • Greg G.

          1 Corinthians 7:8 (NRSV)
          To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.

          Is that a contradiction to the verse you quoted or is marriage to someone of the opposite gender optional? If what Jesus said is not mandatory, then there is nothing against same-sex marriage in the Bible.

          So the Bible doesn’t support your semantic bigotry and neither does common sense.

        • John

          Read verses 7 and 8….”

          Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

          I’ve had my share of discussions with people in the church over verse 8. They tell me, you shouldn’t get married just for the sex….well clearly Paul was telling some people, they should.

        • Greg G.

          I agree with your interpretation. Paul was expecting the Rapture to come within his lifetime* so he didn’t see any point in it. He was busy getting everybody saved.

          *See 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. He uses the first person plural for the living and the third person plural for the dead.

        • John

          “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”…1 Thess. 4:17…my impression from this verse, there are not going to be many Christians around to rapture….”we who are STILL alive and are left”? Yes, Paul did expect to be rapture, but he was not told, when it would happen.

        • Dys

          It’s very clear that Paul that the rapture was imminent, within his lifetime. It was one of the reasons he advocated not getting married.

        • John

          Paul did support marriage: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”….1 Corinth. 7:8-9.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s kind of backhanded “support.”

        • John

          Jesus Teaches on Celibacy

          But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but
          only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”…Matt. 19…..not everyone is meant to be single.

        • Pofarmer

          So you know what aescetics were?

        • John

          This is only about abstaining from sex, and it’s not for everyone.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, but you need to understand in the context of the times, there were several groups who thought the end of the world was coming any day now and eschewed sex and other worldly pleasures preparing for the end of days. There has been speculation that Paul was learning from an ascetic apocalyptic cult.

        • John

          Paul was very clear on who he served….Jesus, and only Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. Paul was preaching a risen messiah which he writes nearly nothing zbout that can’t be found in the OT. We don’t know what teachings whichever group he was a part of may have actually had.

        • John

          So you agree with Jesus….”You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,…”…John 5:39.

        • Pofarmer

          The author of John, isn’t Paul.

        • John

          Don’t care who the author is, it’s about who spoke the words.

        • Pofarmer

          We were talking about Paul.

        • John

          Jesus made it clear, the Old Testament was written about HIM.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh good Lord. The OT was all about. Jesus, but we don’t follow the OT laws, except the ones we do. I’m personally tired of your nonsense.

        • John

          You need to understand which laws were meant for the Jews, and which were meant for the gentiles. Many of the laws were a foreshadowing of Jesus coming. That is why he said, the Old Testament spoke of him. You’re not looking at the underlying meanings.

        • Dys

          The OT was not written about Jesus. Rather, the prophecies in the OT were creatively interpreted to refer to Jesus. But when you actually look at the prophecies, it’s clear they don’t refer to Jesus at all.

        • MR

          Yeah, the Bible was the third pillar of my faith to crumble. It doesn’t really say what you’re taught it says.

          Reading the Old Testament, it was clear to me that there was nothing that foreshadowed Jesus. Supposed prophecies were clearly just Nostradamus-like readings of the text. You don’t read the Old Testament and think, “Oh, the son of God, who is God, but not, is one day going to come to save mankind by dying for their sins.” It’s just not there. Anyone can take a sufficiently large body of text and make tenuous connections after the fact.

          I had been taught to believe that the Old Testament clearly prophesied Jesus; but there is no clear prophecy at all, only fragments of text taken out of context. When you read the thing in context, you start to smell a rat. Something’s not right when you have to rely on someone else to “interpret” the text for you—a favorite trick of the religious. It’s like a psychic telling you that the knocking noise you hear is actually a loved one communicating from beyond the grave.

        • You may be beyond this point, but I’ve written about the prophecies claimed for Is. 53, Ps. 22, Is. 7, and Daniel. You can search for them.

        • MR

          Thanks, Bob, I’ll check them out.

        • Dys

          I think I was listening to a podcast once, and the guy basically said some of the best counter-apologists for Christianity are the Jews. Which kind of makes sense, since Christians are basically telling them they’re reading their own books wrong.

        • MR

          I’ve always found it amusing that hyper-conservative Christians are in this awkward position of supporting a strongly liberal people who reject their Christianity, and who reject it even more strongly the more conservative they are.

        • Pofarmer

          Eric Hoffer explains it that the Jews had a robust literary and scholarly tradition. Christianity couldn’t take hold there, because they felt their traditions were well established and argued. There is a reason that Christianity originally took off among the uneducated.

        • Great point. Matthew in particular is full of imagined fulfillments of prophecy, but I guess those arguments fell flat to the experts of the day.

        • Dys

          The author of Matthew was so eager to show supposedly fulfilled prophecies, he even took lines from the OT that weren’t prophecies at all, removed the context, and turned them into prophecies for Jesus. Matthew 2:15 reworks Hosea 11:1 into one specifically.

        • Pofarmer

          The Isaiah prophesy used for the Virgin birth is a good example,

        • John

          “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,…”….John 5:39….than Jesus lied? ….oh wait, you don’t believe anything the scriptures say anyway. To you, the whole bible is just made up stories.

        • Dys

          Actually, if you bothered to actually read, I’ve repeatedly stated that the bible is historical fiction. And as far as I’m concerned, Jesus was perfectly capable of lying….if he even said the words attributed to him.

        • John

          Have you ever researched “Archeology and the bible”? You’d be surprised at how many times the bible has been right about historical events.

        • Dys

          Hence historical fiction. And while many things in the bible have been confirmed, there are also many historical claims that have been refuted.

        • John
        • Dys

          *Sigh*…again. hence historical fiction. But the notion that the bible has a perfect archaeological record is an invented fiction.

        • John

          Have you ever seen the movie Capricorn One?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capricorn_One

          Despite all the evidence of us landing on the moon (in the case of Capricorn One, it was Mars)….some people still think it was fiction.

        • Dys

          Except we have evidence for the moon landing. There are plenty of things in the bible that have no evidence for them. And there are also things were the evidence points against the bible.

        • Stupid Argument #11: Argument from accurate place names.

          Hey–that list might come in handy …

        • John

          Why are place names a stupid argument? Did you know that before the 18th century, the Hittites were lost to history, except for the bible. Did you know that Alexander the Great rode over the city or Nineveh, and did not realize it. It had become a myth, at his time….until the 18th century.

        • Dys

          Because accurate place names doesn’t prop up the supernatural claims in the slightest. And there instances where the archaeology disagrees with the bible. It’s essentially trying to make the poor argument that because something is true in part, it is therefore somehow logical to declare it true in whole. And that’s simply not true.

        • It’s a stupid argument because it does nothing to defend the supernatural claims. Getting the names right is the least you’d expect of the word of God.

        • John

          It does support the trustworthiness of the writers, and places their writings at the time of the events. Not a hundred years later.

        • Pofarmer

          What we’re not doing, is making up post hoc rationalizations for why the gospel writers might not possibly neen writing, well, uhm, mostly fiction, based on re reading biblical prophecies.

        • Greg G.

          The Old Testament didn’t foreshadow anything. The Gospel authors tailored scenes to fit passages from the OT to make the look like prophecies. They had no story about Jesus to tell so they made one up.

        • John

          Sure like Mary and Joseph read the Old Testament and decided to have a baby, called him Jesus, and traveled to all the places where the Old Testament said he would be. And of course, NO ONE questioned the disciples on the accuracy of their stories. They must have paid off people to say they were eye witnesses.

        • Greg G.

          The stories were written decades after they were supposed to have happened. The area the events were supposed to have happened were ravaged by war. There were no disciples, that was something Mark made up. Paul only referred to to apostles but they were probably dead or lost by the time the gospels were written. But people did question the stories. For example, Origen wrote Contra Celsum, which was critical of Christianity.

        • John

          Few works of the early Church are as interesting to the modern reader or as important to the historian as Origen’s reply to the attack on Christianity made by the pagan Celsus. The Contra Celsum is the culmination of the great apologetic movement of the second and third centuries AD, and is for the Greek Church what St Augustine’s City of God is for Western Christendom. It is also one of the chief monuments of the coming together of ancient Greek culture and the new faith of the expanding Christian society……Contra Celsum, by Origen was written in DEFENSE of the Christian faith.
          It’s amazing you know more about Christianity, then early historians. They may have disagreed with the stories, but they never said they were invented.

        • Greg G.

          Thank you for the correction. I was trying to say that what Celsus wrote was critical of Christianity. I blame my editor for not catching that. 80)

          They came into the world as ignorant about the subject as I did. They had a limited amount of literature on the subject. I have the advantage of not having a religious bias and the results of several centuries of research at my fingertips.

          If you are trying to dismiss my argument on the basis of time differences, let me remind you that Celsus was closer to the first century than Origen was.

        • Is. 7 said that his name would be Emmanuel. Whoops.

        • John

          The question why the Messias was called Emmanuel, or
          “God with us”, admits of a double answer: the name is a pledge of Divine help and also a description of the nature of the Messias. King Achaz had not believed the Prophet’s first promise of deliverance from his enemies, Rasin, King of Syria, and Phacee, King of Israel (Isaiah 7:1-9). And when theProphet tried a second time to restore his confidence, Achaz refused to ask for
          the sign which God was ready to grant in confirmation of the prophetic promise (7:10-12).
          The Prophet, therefore, forces, in a way, King Achaz to confide in God, showing that the Messias, the hope of Israel and the glory of the house of David, implies by his very name “Emmanuel”, or “God with us”, the Divine presence among his people. A number of the Fathers, e.g. St. Irenaeus, Lactantius, St. Epiphanius, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret, regard the name”Emmanuel”, not merely as a pledge of Divine assistance, but also asan expression of the mystery of the Incarnation by virtue of which the Messias
          will be “God with us” in very deed.

        • The idea that Is. 7 is the prediction of the Messiah in ridiculous. It gets just 3 verses and is clearly subordinate to the rest of the story. There’s no sense of dying for our sins. And, most importantly, it’s not about a virgin birth.

          But back to my point, it gives the name for the kid, and it’s not “Jesus.” Whoops.

        • John

          You’re not the one, who designed the plan of redemption. If you take the Hebrew names, for the generation up to Noah, they spell out GOD’s plan.

          English- Hebrew

          Adam …….. Man
          Seth ………. Appointed
          Enosh …….. Mortal
          Kenan …….. Sorrow
          Mahalalel…….. The Blessed God
          Jared……… Shall come down
          Enoch……. Teaching
          Methuselah……. His death shall bring
          Lamech……. The despairing
          Noah……… Rest, or comfort

        • Another dodge. Wow–you’re good.

        • John

          almah: a young woman, a virgin

          Original Word: עַלְמָה
          Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
          Transliteration: almah
          Phonetic Spelling: (al-maw’)
          Short Definition: maidens

          Definition
          a young woman, a virgin
          NASB Translation
          girl (1), maid (1), maiden (1), maidens (3), virgin (1).

        • So I assume we’re on the same page that Isaiah 7 did not predict either a virgin birth or the Messiah.

        • What’s the end game with a person like John? He adds no value.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know. He’s just copying and pasting without attribution, and making up whatever he feels like he needs to make up to defend his position, with constant appeals to the supernatural and the bible, there’s not really much point in engaging him, other than you hate to let such stupid “points” stand unrefuted.

        • Yes, that’s it. I’m not taking the high road, which I don’t like. When someone levels a charge that’s on target (or nearly so), I want to either acknowledge it and correct myself or point out where that falls short.

          It is hard to let a moronic point stand. Maybe ignoring is a good way to go.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know, since John quit copying and pasting so much, he has confirmed that he is pretty much a moron.

        • MR

          I was kind of wondering about that. He just kind of takes hits while adding no real substance. I actually learn things from you guys.

        • I wonder at his own thinking on this. Does he really think that he’s laying groundwork for anyone’s eventual conversion when his arguments are so ignorant or ridiculous?

        • Dys

          I know some Christians wander into atheist forums with a bizarre notion that by asking for evidence and arguments, they’ve somehow challenged their faith by dismissing them out of hand.

        • 90Lew90

          My patience ran out ages ago. As someone once said, debating him is “like being savaged by a dead sheep”. I always liked that one.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. never heard that one.

        • 90Lew90

          Its from a Tory slagging off a Labour minister in the House of Commons in the eighties…

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m impersonally tired of it. bases covered!

        • If I write that it was all about me, will you worship me instead? I wouldn’t write it if it weren’t true, y’know.

        • John

          Prove that your life fulfilled bible prophecy. Were you born in Bethlehem? Did your family flee to Egypt?

        • Oh, don’t worry. I’ll list fulfilled prophecies in my essay.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Wow, is your brain damaged.

          “It is good for them to stay unmarried”

          This is advocating not getting marries, silly.

        • Ken

          In Pauls view celibacy is the best, then married fidelity. Remaining unmarried so you can fornicate is not an option.

        • Dys

          Yes, because Paul incorrectly believed the end times were coming in his lifetime.

        • Dys

          It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves

          Yes, in a “it’s a shitty second option” kind of way. Because he thought the rapture would occur in his lifetime.

        • John

          They had the option and it was a good one. “better to marry, than to burn with passion”.

        • Dys

          But Paul is very clear that staying unmarried is the preferable, superior option. Because he thought Jesus was coming back really soon. And he was wrong.

        • John

          True, Paul thought being single was better…but not for everyone. And he did believe the rapture would happen soon, but he wasn’t told that.

        • Dys

          Right. Paul was wrong about the rapture timeline.

        • MR

          But, if Paul was wrong about that, he could have been wrong about…, everything! (Gasp.)

        • John

          He was never told that time, but he is right, that it will happen.

        • Dys

          Nah, it won’t. Jesus was supposed to have come back already. The rapture, the apocalypse, whatever….it’s just another end times myth, invented by humans.

        • John

          “He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”….Acts 1:7

        • Dys

          Still doesn’t matter – Jesus died and isn’t coming back, the rapture isn’t going to happen, and the rest of the nonsense in Revelations isn’t either. There’s no good reason to believe it will.

        • John

          You choose not to believe, I choose to believe.

        • Dys

          No, it’s not a choice John. I’ve already corrected you on this as well. Evidence, logic, and reason don’t matter to you, so you’ll just keep repeating the same nonsense.

        • Ken

          There is no prohibition against gay marriage in the Bible? Really? Isn’t sex between men called an abomination? Come on Greg.

        • Dys

          Sex isn’t marriage. Certainly, the implication is there that such a union shouldn’t exist, but the bible does not actually say anywhere that gay marriage is prohibited.

        • Greg G.

          Getting married and having sex are two different things. You can have sex without getting married and you can get married without having sex. An example of a sex less marriage would be one where a gay man is forced to marry a lesbian. Another would be a marriage between two people with low sex drives.

          Allowing gay marriage doesn’t force them to have sex and banning it doesn’t stop them from having sex.

          Come on, Ken, it’s two different things.

        • Ken

          All Christians are sinners. Any one who says he is without sin calls the Lord a liar. The problem is not that homosexuals are sinners, or even that there sin is some how worse than other sins. The problem is when they say it is not a sin. This is calling the Lord a liar as well as leading others into sin.

          Masturbation is also a sin, but every one who masturbates is not barred from church. If they confess and try to not do it. If however they had a ceremony to tell the world how much they loved to masturbate and that they intended to do it for.the rest of.their life, then they would be barred from church. This is essentally how christians see gay marriage. It is not the sin of being gay so much as they a flaunting it and celebrating something that we believe is contrary to Gods law. It is a rejection of Gods authority.

          Btw. Why is the gay issue suddenly become so important? Only 2% of the population is gay and less than 1/4 are interested in getting married. That is about 1/2%. And those people could and in fact have been living together for years without anybody bothering them. In fact the marriage licence dosnt really change things at all for those gay couples who have been living as married couples already. I cant see how my wife and I benefit from being legally married. I wouldnt have gotten a licence if the church didnt require it. This is nothing more than an attack on the church. Trying to ether make.us look bad or to give in and say homosexuality is ok.

        • Dys

          Only 2% of the population is gay and less than 1/4 are interested in getting married.

          AKA “They’re a minority, so we can continue to try and make them social pariahs and treat them unfairly.” It became important precisely because they are a minority that was being actively discriminated against.

          It is not the sin of being gay so much as they a flaunting it and celebrating something that we believe is contrary to Gods law

          Yes, it really is a tragedy that gays don’t all hate themselves on account of their sexuality. If only they would go back in the closet, Christians could go back to pretending they don’t exist. Really, it’s such an imposition being reminded that there are gay people who aren’t ashamed of themselves. /sarcasm

          In fact the marriage licence dosnt really change things at all for those gay couples who have been living as married couples already.

          Actually, the marriage license does change things, quite significantly. There are rights afforded to married couples that do not apply to domestic partnerships and civil unions. For a brief summary, look here: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/from-why-marriage-matters-appendix-b-by-evan-wolfson

          I cant see how my wife and I benefit from being legally married.

          “I don’t see a benefit, therefore there isn’t one” is an argument from ignorance.

          This is nothing more than an attack on the church.

          The church does not own the concept of marriage, and it never has. And the church certainly doesn’t need any help in looking bad on the issue of homosexuality. They manage to look like intolerant bigots on the topic without any assistance.

        • Greg G.

          Saying something isn’t a sin isn’t calling the Lord a liar, it’s calling the person who said the Lord said it a liar.

          Calling the relief of the natural sex drive a sin is a devious control mechanism. It’s a pretend sin so you need forgiveness and to get right. The church can help you with that free of charge and a guilt trip if you don’t kick something into the collection plate with everyone else doing and watching you.

          If so few are going to get married, why worry about? Just shut up and forget about it. The hoopla will fade away. You understand that gay marriage is not mandatory? Christians act like the ban on gay marriage is the only thing keeping them from marrying a gay person and having gay sex.

          The religious community needs an us vs. them crisis so they can pretend everyone is against them so they can cry “persecution”. They pick on gays, anyone having premarital sex, and people who don’t want to hurt anybody.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve heard Gay Marriage called the perfect church issue, because it affects such a small percentage if the flock. You can whip people up in a righteous lather about the “other” and the blowback is limited because the relative numbers are small. Like you said, most any organization or mass movement needs an evil other to rail against.

        • In the past, yes. Not so much anymore when the writing’s on the wall.

        • MNb

          “All Christians are sinners. Any one who says he is without sin calls the Lord a liar.”
          I’m not a christian; not even been baptized. Hence when I say that sin is meaningless I don’t call your sweet lord a liar. I say he doesn’t exist and someone who doesn’t exist can’t lie nor speak the truth.

        • hector_jones

          In fact the marriage licence dosnt really change things at all for those gay couples who have been living as married couples already. I cant see how my wife and I benefit from being legally married. I wouldnt have gotten a licence if the church didnt require it.

          Then quit whining about it. Your church doesn’t have to marry anyone it doesn’t want to. And it can just turn a blind eye to the married gay people out there, like it does to pedophile priests and ministers. If there are so few gays out there, and so few of them wanting to get married, I’m sure your church can endure the ‘flaunting’ by so few people.

        • Any one who says he is without sin calls the Lord a liar.

          Except Job, since he was blameless in God’s eyes.

          The problem is when they say it is not a sin.

          Depends on what they’re talking about. Take a look at the passages many Christians cite.

          This is calling the Lord a liar as well as leading others into sin.

          Except that “the Lord” is just make-believe.

          Masturbation is also a sin

          Is it? Where does it say that in the Bible?

          This is essentally how christians see gay marriage.

          What’s the problem with gay marriage? I mean, besides making baby Jesus cry?

          Why is the gay issue suddenly become so important? Only 2% of the population is gay and less than 1/4 are interested in getting married.

          African Americans were a minority as well. Does that mean that the Jim Crow laws weren’t really that big a deal? Let me suggest this rule: if there is injustice, let’s respond.

          I cant see how my wife and I benefit from being legally married.

          Then don’t get married. No one’s forcing you. But if someone else finds value in it, where’s the problem?

          Trying to ethermake us look bad or to give in and say homosexuality is ok.

          Don’t want to look bad? Stop doing things that are bad.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Masturbation is also a sin…”

          How do you know this? What is your source of information?

        • hector_jones

          That’s the point. You are dim.

        • MR

          Excellent point, Greg. If this were really about religious conviction, people would be refusing to make cakes for all kinds of reasons.

          “Divorced? Second wedding? No way, mister, I don’t believe in that. You two aren’t married? Sorry, we don’t bake for fornicators.”

          By singling out gay marriage it’s obvious that religious conviction isn’t the real issue here. The hypocrisy leaves the rest of us rolling our eyes.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible doesn’t forbid same-sex marriage, only getting caught in same-sex sex. The Bible suggests heterosexual marriage as an option but Paul thought marriage was only for people who wanted sex before the Rapture that was due any minute. Since marriage is optional, not mandatory, and there is no prohibition against gay marriage, the bakers have no complaint.

          Divorce is discouraged for men and prohibited for women. So there should be no problem with gay men getting divorced. Gay women would have a problem.

          John said the baker offered to bake any cake but a wedding cake. The baker was not opposed to selling them a cake over sin. Only what the baker imagined.

        • hector_jones

          Christians won’t bake you a cake if you want to marry another dude, but they will come visit you and tell you what a great person you really are if you are a mass murderer:

          http://www.livingwaternj.com/Missions/David%20B/David%20n%20All.jpg

        • Can’t argue without a some kind of fallacy, can you? No one demands you accept homosexuality.

          My point is that Christianity is accepted in this country because of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution calls the tune, and you dance to it. You don’t like that? Leave.

          You can pretend that religion trumps the Constitution, but whenever that’s been tested (the Supreme Court case against Mormon polygamy, for example), religion loses.

        • John

          When you demand a baker make a cake for a gay wedding, or demand a wedding photographer attend a gay wedding, you are forcing them to take part in a homosexual marriage.

        • I wouldn’t say so, but If you want to interpret it that way, sure.

        • MNb

          Brrrrrr ….. the horror. Well, by prohibiting abortion you are forcing people to take part in unwanted pregnancies. I suppose you are pro choice regarding this subject as well.
          Oh wait – you having a nazi attitude you have only one goal in mind: to ruin the lives of as many people as you can. With your god as a lame excuse.
          My bad.

        • hector_jones

          Hey you could choose to be just like John right now and all your problems would be solved. Not being just like John and accepting the things he accepts is a choice. Therefore it’s entirely your own fault that you don’t agree with John.

        • John

          I’m pro LIFE…I want to save a life. Are you for killing a baby in the womb?

        • Dys

          Really? Or are you just pro-birth? Because I find that a lot of so-called pro-lifers wind up not showing that much concern for quality of life after birth. They advocate against condom usage, and stress ineffective abstinence only sex education. Conservatives love to get worked up over abortion, but when it comes to parents who need extra help, the same people then turn around and demonize anyone who needs welfare as well.

        • John

          “CDC: 62 Percent Of HIV-Positive Men Have Unprotected Sex”….so I guess, all these gay men are CATHOLIC!!!

          http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2013/12/03/cdc-62-percent-of-hiv-positive-men-have-unprotected-sex/

        • MNb

          Good guy. You have perfectly make clear why the USA should start doing immediately what civilized countries (ie not under the influence of religious bigots like you) have done since 30 years: provide good sex education and make condoms easily accessible. Then HIV-rates in the USA might lower with 50% and more and reach the Belgian and Dutch levels. Someone who claims to be pro-life like you should support this enthusiastically.

        • John

          You can teach them all you want about safe sex, many will not do it. Using a condom, for a man, defeats the purpose of having sex….it geatly limits the physical enjoyment.

        • Dys

          It’s like you’re having an entirely different conversation with yourself, in your own head. This has nothing to do with my comment.

        • John

          You made this comment: “They advocate against condom usage,”….which is appears many homosexuals also don’t want to use condoms. You cannot blame the church for that.

        • Dys

          Uh, yes I can blame the church for spreading falsehoods about condoms in Africa as well as other countries. I can also blame them for trying to limit women’s options for having contraception covered by insurance. I can blame them for insisting on ineffective abstinence only sex education.

          Is the church entirely to blame? Of course not. But to deny they share significant culpability is idiotic.

        • John

          HIV in Africa is spread through promiscuity. So much for the influence of the church.

        • Dys

          HIV in Africa is spread through promiscuity. So much for the influence of the church.

          So your method of arguing is to just ignore what anyone else says, and repeat yourself. The church has gone out of its way to discourage condom use in Africa, and has lied about their effectiveness. So yes, the church can be blamed in part. But please, keep your head in the sand.

        • John

          The Catholic Church is a world leader in the provision of care to victims of AIDS. According to UNAIDS, the Vatican estimates that Catholic Church-related organizations provide approximately 25% of all HIV treatment, care, and support throughout the world.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_HIV/AIDS

          I don’t see any gay or liberal groups helping those with HIV in Africa.

        • Dys

          Doctors without Borders is a secular charity that has worked in multiple countries on a variety of outbreaks.

          I applaud the work that the Catholic Church has done in regards to HIV/AIDS in Africa. I’d like them even more if it wasn’t at least partially a problem they helped to propagate.

        • Liberal groups? You mean like governments that provide the funding for those Catholic NGOs?

        • John

          That funding for the Catholic church is slowly ending. The Catholic church is getting out of doing adoptions, because they refuse to allow adoptions for gay couples. gay activist and the government refused to allow any exemptions for the Catholic church.

        • MNb

          No, though christian bigots like you make me sometimes regret that standpoint. But I’m pro choice, if that were your question. But that’s not my point.

          “I’m pro LIFE”
          No, you aren’t. You are against the lives of everybody (gays, atheists, unmarried women, pregnant teens) who isn’t as bigot as you. That includes me. Hence you do your very best to ruin those lives. WIth your imaginary sky daddy as a lame excuse.
          Moreover you are against the lives of Canaanites and IS members – you think genocide acceptable.
          You’re ANTI life.

        • John

          I am for saving the life of the unborn, you’re for taking it. Pro Choice, means you don’t want the child to live.

        • Pofarmer

          So, then you are for unrestricted food stamps and govt aide to help single mothers and children?

        • John

          We could easily afford Food Stamps for everyone in America, if we stop spending on wars.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’re good with it, then?

        • John

          You mean stopping the wars and spending the money HERE…yes, I’m for that. Food Stamps for everyone.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, theres a mixed bag here. First of all, christians tend to be love the fetus, hate the child. Poveety is one of the biggest causes of unprotected sex and abortions. So, if you truly pro life, you should be pro contraception, and pro helping all these kids get whatever they need. Because, if your position is simply making sure that all fertilized eggs survivee, you are going to have to deal with the increased poverty, increased neglect, increased crime, and all the other things that goes with it. There is a known correlation between the passage of Roe v Wade and the decline violent crime in the mid 90’s.

        • John

          I support contraception. Only the Catholic church is against contraception. …… “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.”….1 Timothy 4:3….the Catholic church goes against the bible. The bible always makes marriage an option.

        • Pofarmer

          Lots of evangelicals and fundamentalists are deciding to be against birth control.

        • John

          Nothing in the bible against birth control. Use it all you want.

        • Pofarmer

          Others say there is. onanizing.

        • John

          Than what verses are they using? “But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.”….GOD killed him for not providing a son, for his brother’s family. It wasn’t about contraception.

        • Pofarmer

          Thank you for at least u.derstanding that argument. Others see it differently.

        • John

          I know, I get mad at people taking verses out of context. People in the church who say….”Let GOD decide who you should marry”…I want to yell at them….no where in the bible does it say that, in fact GOD says you can marry anyone you want.

          This is the thing which the LORD does command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only
          to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry……Numbers 36:6

          A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to
          the Lord…….1 Corinthians 7:39.

        • Yeah, that sounds sensible. Why don’t they do things like that today?

        • John

          what can I say…we have way too many idiots leading church groups. The churches should be doing more to provide for their own, instead of buying property and building malls.

        • No, they should be killing people who ignore the rules of Levitate marriage, like God intended.

        • John

          Only if they lived in Israel. You don’t see the Hebrews going into Egypt or other countries to stone people.

        • You don’t see Jews in any country stoning people.

        • John

          Only those at and before the time of Jesus…..while they were in Israel.

        • Dys

          I support contraception. Only the Catholic church is against contraception

          This is untrue. There are plenty of fundamentalist Christians out there that are against contraception.

        • John

          That is man’s personal opinion. The bible doesn’t say anything about contraception…so, use them all you want.

        • hector_jones

          Sounds like someone’s feelings are hurt. Boo hoo.

        • Uh, yeah–God’s. Have you no compassion?

        • wtfwjtd

          Not so fast John…man’s laws say that it’s legal and fine to divorce and re-marry. Jesus specifically condemns this as sin, but Christians have accepted man’s laws anyway and are A-OK with it. So, I guess you are a salad-bar Christian after all, picking and choosing what you will like and not like. Tsk, tsk.

        • John

          GOD’s law come first. Jesus did say divorce and remarried was wrong. I believe, those people are stilled saved, but will lose part of their rewards in heaven.

        • wtfwjtd

          So you are saying that those who willfully and deliberately disobey God and commit sin are still going to heaven anyway? So why bother with bashing gay people and leaving divorced and remarried people alone? Why can’t you just live and let live, since they are all going to heaven anyway?

          “A law without punishment is merely advice.”

        • John

          There is much confusion on divorce and remarriage. How this question is answered, has nothing to do with homosexuality. Homosexuality is a separate issue. Homosexuality is never acceptable, under any conditions. Divorce and remarriage has exceptions.

        • Homosexuality is never acceptable? Where does it say that in the Bible?

        • John

          :In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”….Romans 1:27

        • “men abandoned natural relations with women”–OK, so we’re talking straight men. And they’re going at it with other straight men? Wow, you’re right–that is indeed messed up.

          Now that we’ve got that out of the way, where is the biblical claim that homosexuality is never acceptable that you promised?

        • John

          Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the
          Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one
          flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh…Matt. 19:4-6

        • Another dodge.

        • MNb

          “the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Showing that Paulus understood zilch about homosexuality. There was a period in my life that I wished I got inflamed with lust for other men. It totally didn’t work.

        • John

          “Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”….he called it right.

        • MNb

          “Homosexuality is never acceptable, under any conditions. ”
          Your nazi mentality is never acceptable, under any conditions.

        • Ken

          60% of people with HIV are homosexual men, while less than 2% of the population are gay men. That means you are 30 times more likely to catch HIV along with a slew of other diseases from engaging in homosexual activity. It may not befb illeagal but its hard to argue that it is not harmful. Given the statistics it is safer to smoke crack. Besides, comparing homosexuality to being black is both ridiculous and offensive. People are born black, being gay is a choice.

        • What’s harmful? You make a convincing case that unsafe sex is harmful. OK–I’m on board.

          comparing homosexuality to being black is both ridiculous and offensive. People are born black, being gay is a choice.

          I’m not comparing them; I’m simply observing the obvious: that if you would be outraged at a baker refusing a mixed-race couple for deeply held religious convictions, you should be outraged at a baker refusing a gay couple for those same reasons.

          One’s race doesn’t cause harm. One’s sexuality doesn’t cause harm. (See where I’m going with this?)

          And, no, gay is not a choice.

        • Dys

          People are born black, being gay is a choice.

          For someone claiming that comparing race and sexuality is offensive, you don’t seem to mind making ignorant and offensive statements yourself. Sexuality is not a choice. Also, comparing drug use with homosexuality seems more than a bit offensive as well. You’re setting a fine example of the pot calling the kettle black.

        • hector_jones

          If the issue is so trivial, then it should be a trivial matter for the bakery to just bake the damn cake.

        • John

          The wedding cake was not a trivial matter to the baker. It represents part of their faith….the joining of one man and one woman.

        • hector_jones

          You are just so goddamned fucking stupid it’s appalling. How have you managed to live this long without being run over by a bus?

        • No more so than the imaginary baker who objects to mixed-race marriages for deeply held religious reasons. Should that person be given license to discriminate as they see fit?

        • John

          I don’t see anyone SUING over not getting a wedding cake for a mixed race marriage. Only homosexuals sue over a wedding cake.

        • Dys

          And there goes the point, flying high over John’s head. Again.

        • MR

          He’s just exhibiting Palin-style mocking.

          It’s about the cake until you point out the same could be said about the other side; then suddenly it becomes about religious conviction. Yes, and for the ones denied the cake it is about discrimination. It’s not about the cake for them, either.

          The cakemaker violated state law. That’s no small matter. If it’s really about religious conviction and not simply a Christian hissy-fit over gay marriage, then they should appeal. Let it run through the courts.

          What I find interesting is that the same law protects Christians from being discriminated against, too. Imagine the howling if Christians were denied service for being Christian. Oh my goodness, the drama.

          Imagine a doctor denies a Christian a blood transfusion because it goes against the doctor’s beliefs. Watch the faux outrage turn into fear.

        • Dys

          John suffers from the same problem a lot of believers do – they’re blind to their privilege. Anyone in a majority group is to a certain extent, myself included. With many Christians, they things they oppose for others when they’re in the majority, they’d be crying about if they were in the minority and denied them.

        • Uh, yeah–we call this a “thought experiment.”

          I see how you’d be reluctant to acknowledge it, given that it destroys your argument, but perhaps you can just be honest for a bit. I think Jesus would like that.

          Consider the argument and respond rather than avoid it.

        • John

          I’m stating a fact. Only homosexuals sue over a wedding cake. Can you prove otherwise?

        • hector_jones

          That’s because straight people don’t have to sue over wedding cakes. Try to use your fucking brain for a change.

        • John

          Homosexuals can do just like everyone else…find another baker…stop whining and crying about how your FEELINGS were hurt. BOO HOO.

        • I’m stating a fact. The Nazis did not bomb Pearl Harbor. Can you prove otherwise?

          What’s that I hear you say, Al? You say that that’s irrelevant to the conversation? Well, by golly, I guess you’re right. But isn’t that the game we’re playing here? Changing the subject so you can pretend that you weren’t publicly embarrassed again?

          You don’t want to face the consequences of the thought experiment. You lose, again.

        • John

          Show me, where another group has sued over a wedding cake? Has anyone sued a photographer for not taking pictures of their wedding? Only homosexuals have….everyone else, finds another photographer.

        • Dys

          John’s just desperately trying to find a way to get out of admitting that, given his stance, he’d have to support racists discriminating against people if they stated it was for religious reasons. So he’s just going to keep repeating the same thing over and over again.

        • MR

          Yeah, if it were just about suing over a cake then the Christian should have just made the silly cake in the first place. But it’s not about the cake, it’s about religious conviction vs. discrimination.

          John wants to try to trivialize the homosexual stance by pretending it’s about a cake, but I presume he’ll defend the other side by saying it’s about religious rights, not about the cake. Otherwise, why did the cakemaker make a big deal about it in the first place if it’s just about a cake?

          Unfortunately, the facts are, the cakemaker broke the law. You can’t get around that.

        • Coming back for more? OK: you lose again. Respond to the issue.