God’s Diminishing Power

God’s Diminishing Power January 9, 2015

In the beginning … God walked in the Garden of Eden like an ordinary supernatural Joe. He dropped by Abraham’s for a cup of coffee and a chat. He didn’t know what was up in Sodom and Gomorrah and had to send out angelic scouts for reconnaissance: “I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me” (Genesis 18:20–21). God didn’t know the depths of Abraham’s faith and had to test it. Afterward Abraham proved willing to sacrifice Isaac, he says, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son” (Gen. 22:12).

But, like Stalin gradually collecting titles, God has now become omniscient and omnipotent. He’s gone from needing six days to shape a world from Play-Doh and sprinkle tiny stars in the dome of heaven to creating 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars.

If you want to double check your math, that’s 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg of universe.

If God is to change with time, you’d think that his biblical demonstrations of power would likewise increase with time, but the reverse is true. From creating the universe, he’s weakened such that appearing in a grilled cheese sandwich as Jesus is about as much as he can pull off today. He has the fiery reputation of the Wizard of Oz but is now just the man behind the curtain.

Even God’s punishments became wimpier. A global flood, with millions dead is pretty badass. Personally smiting Sodom and Gomorrah is impressive, though that’s a big step down in magnitude.

And it’s downhill from there—God simply orders the destruction of Canaanite cities, and to punish Israel and Judah, he doesn’t do it himself but allows Assyria and then Babylon to invade. As Jesus, he doesn’t kick much more butt than cursing a fig tree, and today he simply stands by to let bad things happen.

It’s almost like the Bible is mythology and legend, and God’s followers have boosted their own self-image by boosting the image of their god.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
has intended us to forgo their use.
— Galileo Galilei

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/4/12.)

Photo credit:Why There is no God

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • katiehippie

    And just by telling teachers they can’t pray, we have cast him completely out of school. Like an anti-god electric fence.

    • Kodie

      I don’t believe these people who say they have a personal relationship with god, but on the other hand, are offended because they can’t post 10 commandments or other prayers or scripture or prayers or references in public places. That sort of constitutes what it means to have a religion as opposed to a relationship. It’s actually more idolatry, because they believe god IS the object that’s not welcome on government property. A personal relationship with a non-material being should transcend laws and material items. Think about all those non-Christian citizens who manage to get through a school day or court session without their religious laws or symbols posted for public consumption or prayers broadcast over the loudspeaker. If you’re committed to your beliefs, you don’t need that “stuff” to validate you, right?

      • lorasinger

        There is a problem right from the get-go on that. WHICH set of commandments? There are two sets: Exodus 20 and Exodus 34, the replacement for the ones Moses broke. The second set are nothing like the first set.
        .
        Secondly, Paul said Christians were under a new covenant and that the Law was dead to Christians. The Law is Torah, the first five books of the Jewish bible and includes the commandments, creation, the flood and laws against homosexuality. None of these pertain to Christians any longer since the resurrection of Jesus. The ten commandments are Jewish and have nothing to do with Christians.
        .
        A “personal relationship” with an invisible being is a tricky thing since the invisible and the non-existent are identical in appearance.

        • Not necessarily-if the invisible being had left the equivalent of footprints or something, that would be something. It’s more like Carl Sagan’s “Dragon in my Garage” at which such a request is met with “Oh no, it’s also an intangible god”, etc.

        • lorasinger

          You read Audrey Rose, right?

        • No, who is that?

        • Kodie

          Audrey Rose (novel)

          Audrey Rose is a novel written by Frank De Felitta, published in 1975.[1] about a couple confronted with the idea that their young daughter might be the reincarnation of another man’s child. The book was inspired by an incident in which De Felitta’s young son began displaying unusual talents and interests, leading an occultist to suggest to De Felitta that the child might be remembering a previous live. The book was followed by a 1982 sequel, For Love of Audrey Rose.

          It was made into a film in 1977, with the same title.

        • Ok, I’m just confused how that relates to the conversation.

        • Kodie

          Must have been some conversation in the book about how the guy thought this girl was his reincarnated daughter and how to prove it and how the suggested actions would not work, or something. Or maybe it has a tangential relevance to the spoiler ending where Ivy blanks from blank blankhalation, which would prove there really was a dragon.

        • Ah, that makes sense then. I have an uncle who claims to have had many past lives (I’ve killed him in one, apparently) but there’s no evidence for it beyond his word. The past lifes claimed don’t usually have much, to my knowledge (which is admittedly limited).

        • lorasinger

          You wrote: “if the invisible being had left the equivalent of footprints or something, that would be something”

          Audrey Rose is an old ghost story where the ghost of the child leaves the shape of her invisible hand in very visible wax as proof that she exists.

        • Oh…I gotcha.

        • Kodie

          See, instead of saying, “You read Audrey Rose, right?”, I would have said, “That’s like in Audrey Rose where the ghost of the child leaves the shape of her invisible hand in very visible wax as proof that she exists.” Nobody read Audrey Rose and nobody’s seen the movie who works during the day (they show it a lot on thisTV).

        • lorasinger

          I was just reading further down through the posts your conversation re: burying the dung. Thanks for giving me a good laugh for the day. You guys are nuts and I love it.

      • RichardSRussell

        I have some choice words about that “deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ”. As you may anticipate, I call bullshit.

        • Kodie

          Of course, people more like have a relationship with their own thoughts, but what they really have is a superstition when they are compelled to pray out loud, or are compelled to force those prayers on others. It’s an intense reaction by the believers when you try to get them to have some sense and adhere to the law. It’s like when someone loses their lucky penny and panics. If they had an actual relationship with this deity, they would act more secure in their salvation. Of course there are things someone could do to you to make you lose communication with your sister, and let’s suppose (realistically) that this was your one vulnerability that someone could threaten, i.e., you would rather starve or be kept awake for days than be forbidden to communicate with your sister. If their relationship was secure, there is nothing you could do them, or nothing you could make them do to damage that security. They would never lose contact, even if you threaten to kill them unless they denounce their allegiance to god – you cannot guarantee their sincerity, and he sees all, but they’re so frightened, paranoid, worried, that he doesn’t have them covered in all eventualities. They are utterly bogged down in earthly concerns that somehow potentially interfere with their personal relationship and their personal salvation somehow.

      • Maybe they’re upset at not being able to foist their public displays of affection on everybody else?

    • lorasinger

      The teacher is there to teach, not pray. Your minister/pastor/priest has that job. Nobody said the kids can’t pray. They can do it on breaks and before and after school. It isn’t crucial to be praying every minute of the day. Are your churches and parents falling down on the job, maybe?

      • katiehippie

        Um. I was being facetious. I’m an atheist. Kind of going along with the theme of how wimpy god has become.

        • RichardSRussell

          You should probably get acquainted with Poe’s Law.

    • And we haven’t even said teachers or students can’t pray, just that teachers can’t lead students in prayers, or require them. So even silent prayers that no doubt are said (such as before tests) aren’t enough.

      • wtfwjtd

        He can only hear the ones sanctioned by the state, those other dupes are wasting their time, apparently.

  • Dys
    • lorasinger

      Excellent. A keeper!

  • Maine_Skeptic

    Even the New Testament miracles seem chitzy for someone supposedly on close terms with the master of the universe. Why waste time healing individual illnesses and afflictions? Why not just wipe out leprosy altogether?

    He didn’t even have to work a miracle. If he’d just told people about germs and made it a sacrament to boil drinking water, he’d have saved tens of millions of lives over the centuries for every one person he healed in his ministry.

    • Greg G.

      If he’d just told people about germs and made it a sacrament to boil drinking water, he’d have saved tens of millions of lives over the centuries for every one person he healed in his ministry.

      But instead of doing that, he told everybody:

      Mark 7:15 (NRSV)“there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

      • The one good thing that could have come from the Old Testament law, and Jesus just wipes it away. Funny how Christians never notice this.

    • wtfwjtd

      Yes, and the crazy fool claimed that demons caused illness. More of that fabulous “god wisdom” on display.

  • adam

    “From creating the universe, he’s weakened such that appearing in a
    grilled cheese sandwich as Jesus is about as much as he can pull off
    today. “

  • Greg G.

    God lost the ability to see through dirt. Burying a turd made it invisible to him.

    Deuteronomy 23:12-14 (NRSV)
    12 You shall have a designated area outside the camp to which you shall go. 13 With your utensils you shall have a trowel; when you relieve yourself outside, you shall dig a hole with it and then cover up your excrement. 14 Because the Lord your God travels along with your camp, to save you and to hand over your enemies to you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.

    • Maine_Skeptic

      “…the Lord your God travels along with your camp…”

      Is it just me, or does that sound like something they’d make up at a summer camp to get little kids to do their chores?

      • Greg G.

        It worked on me for a few years during December when Mom said Santa Claus might be watching.

    • tonylocn

      Oh, thanks a lot. Now I need to wash my shirt after spluttering coffee all over it. Is the trowel bit important or is it just the smell? Because I’ve kind of got used to this flush toilet.

      • Kodie

        Fun fact: God has no sense of smell.

        • Greg G.

          So you’re saying the ancient Hebrews were wasting their time and resources burning those rams and bulls to produce “an aroma pleasing to the Lord”?

        • Kodie

          No, they were just lying. Haven’t you noticed that all sacrifices to the lord are things people like: meat, virgins, money?

        • Greg G.

          Remember what happened when Cain sacrificed broccoli?

        • Kodie

          The hair fell out of his chest?

        • wtfwjtd

          Funny coincidence, that. “Oh, just leave ’em here on the altar, and “god” will take care of them later.” Almost like…leaving cookies for Santa Claus. Nah, couldn’t be.

        • wtfwjtd

          But, but…I thought God loved the smell of burnt souls in the morning. Am I missing something?

        • Kodie

          He enjoys the screams but he cannot smell. Lol, my god has no nose.

        • Greg G.

          You have convinced me. If God had a nose, farts would smell like roses.

        • wtfwjtd

          You mean kinda like he-who cannot-be-named? Yeah, I can see that.

        • starmom

          Kirby Delauter??

        • wtfwjtd

          Well, sort of… yeah,I guess that’s close enough.

  • Dys

    Even in the bible, God had some pretty peculiar weaknesses for an omnipotent being.

    Judges 1:19 (NRSV)The Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain, because they had chariots of iron.

    God can do anything…except help his people overcome iron chariots. His magic must have been broken that day.

    • Greg G.

      The Amish are right. Anybody who travels by car, truck, bus, train, or plane is traveling in an iron chariot. Surely that means those people are atheists.

  • Pofarmer

    God is apparently so powerful, he can’t stand comments on the Catholic Channel. It’s frustrating not to ne able to call out their idiocy.

    • wtfwjtd

      Yeah, I’ll bet they don’t like your kind.

    • It’s always worrisome when comments are moderated, but when non-blasphemous comments are deleted? Yeah, I wonder how fragile they think their religion is.

      • Pofarmer

        Deleted? They aren’t even enabled.

  • Blizzard

    It’s tied into his pay grade somehow. They used to pay God with crops and livestock. Nowadays they just pay cash. Maybe he got an overinflated sense of entitlement.

  • Compuholic

    What a surprise. The further you go back in time the more incredible the claims become. Where have I seen that before?

    • RichardSRussell

      I’m getting fired up to watch what’s being hyped as Ice Bowl 2 tomoro. Is that what you had in mind?

    • wtfwjtd

      “…the older I get, the better I used to be.”

      • Greg G.

        I noticed that Erwin is haunting WWJTD nowadays. They are calling him “ScriptureBot3000” or something like that.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s trolled me on a couple of other sites.

  • God: not so mighty to start with but pretty powerful later. Then, not so much again. But wait! He’s gonna kick ass in the future! It’s just now when he’s not doing much, in the bit of time/reality we all live in. Funny that; great once and great in the future, but he can’t deliver the goods in the here and now. Ever get the feeling you’re being fobbed off?

  • MNb

    “like Stalin gradually collecting titles”
    One of the many fascinating aspects of Stalin is that he actually did not collect that many titles himself. Only after the German attack in 1941 he became commander-in-chief of the Red Army but even during the entire war he was not the head of state – Michail Kalinin was. Of course he strongly encouraged the cult of personality, but its remarkable how many titles (Uncle Joe, Brilliant Genius of Humanity etc.) were given to him by admirers and/or flatterers.
    Obviously this is totally irrelevant for your point, so I offer you two other options:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_titles_and_honours_of_Queen_Elizabeth_II
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_of_the_Dutch_sovereign#Full_styles

    Usually on official documents “By the Grace of God, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, etc., etc., etc.” is used. Note that Orange is French and Nassau is German territory.

    • Perhaps there’s a better example–Kim Jong-un, maybe?

      I don’t remember which positions had the real power within the Soviet Union–I thought Secretary of the Communist Party was the biggie. Or maybe it was that Stalin made that the real source of power.

      • MNb

        Both. Secretary of the Party was the biggie indeed – but in practice, not formally. Formally the SoP was equal among equals. Hence the “comrade” charade.

  • MR

    Here are a couple of fun Google Ngrams for you:

    God

    Christianity

    • Interesting. God and Christianity seem to have dropped in the public consciousness. Maybe we just found better things to talk about.

  • Montjoie

    This is what passes for intelligent discussion at Patheos. I can drop this site from the roll. What a fucking troll post.

    • adam

      This is what passes for intelligent discussion from Montjoie. I can drop this idiot from the roll. What a fucking troll post.

    • Otto

      You will be missed…much like Breitbart.

    • Pofarmer

      Wow, kinda humorless, doncha think?

    • Dys

      What is it with drive-by whiners telling people they’re not coming back? No one cares, and you’d have been just as well off not posting any comment whatsoever. You’re no different than the pesky children in the YouTube comments section pinkie swearing that they’re unsubscribing from someone.

      • wtfwjtd

        Narcissism.

    • How helpful! Thanks for taking the time to clearly enumerate the errors in the post and, indeed, in the entire blog.

    • Philmonomer

      .

  • RichardSRussell

    (This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/4/12.)

    Or, as we should all have learned from the Y2K experience, more likely 8/4/2012, 2000 years after the date you quoted, during which time God’s much-hyped powers have gone into serious hermitage, while those of malware and trolls have experienced a corresponding ascendancy.

    • Maybe we should have learned not to write dates ambiguously. There’s no way to tell whether the date is formatted in the American way or in the correct way. Is it the 4th of August, or the 8th of April?

      • Kodie

        August 4th, the correct way to say the date and the correct order to read the date when written numerically.

        • That’s just weird. Stop being weird, Americans.

        • Kodie

          If you write something like “11th of” nobody will read farther along to know what month you’re fucking talking about and show up tomorrow instead of the correct month. IT’S TRUE!!!!

        • MR

          If you write something like “11th of” nobody will read farther…

          Oh, sorry…, LAZY Americans.

        • Kodie

          ITYM “BUSY Americans”. We don’t get as much vacation as you LAZY Europeans.

        • MR

          Oh, you’re just jealous.

          I’m American by the way. I just like the way they write their dates.

        • Kodie

          European affectations annoy me. By the way, it’s spelled A-S-S. Assss. I blame RichardSRussell.

          For everything.

        • MR

          I’ll agree with you on ass, but I still keep my fork in my left hand.

          (Bet, that’s never been said out loud before.)

        • Wait… you guys hold forks in your right hands?

          What the fuck is wrong with you people?

        • MR

          [Bows head in shame.]

        • Kodie

          Hold your head up you fucking douche. Euro pride in switching cutlery back and forth between hands is fucking douchey. I question your allegiance.

        • MR

          I pledge allegiance! I PLEDGE allegiance.

          Except I just found out I might be remotely descended from Spanish Jews and therefore eligible for dual citizenship. A European passport? Do you realize the job opportunities? I’ll eat with my fucking right hand tied behind my back!

        • Kodie

          I have nothing against dual citizenship or even just single citizenship from any country, but I find it offensive to rag on American culture, something you wouldn’t dare rag on any other culture without being called an asshole, rightly. I also dislike, as I said, Americans adopting douchey Europeanisms, but if some English guy wants to say “mum” and I say “mom,” or spell color with a u, I don’t have a problem with it.

        • MR

          I ended up adopting the fork thing because I found it more efficient than switching hands back and forth. I write out the month because I often write to Europeans and having one standard is easier. I don’t mind ragging on some American culture, because not all American culture is worth defending. Ketchup comes to mind. I still have to pause and think about the ‘u’ sometimes, but I could never say mum… or brilliant.

        • Kodie

          I am not actually sure what I do with knives and forks. I am already left-handed, so I think I keep the fork in my left hand but cut with the right, and don’t switch. Nobody taught me. I am probably in contact with more people who aren’t originally Americans than are, but they are here. So what if we have different conventions than they are used to. If they wanted things to be the same, they could stay where they’re from, I think? I don’t think I would adapt well to a foreign country. I don’t think I would adapt well to most states or most areas of most states. I probably rag on Connecticut more than anyone else does. Hartford. I like ketchup sometimes, but most of the time no. I live in Massachusetts, but I still call things like a water fountain and not a bubbler, and scallops have always been pronounced like scal-ops not scawlops. So fuck you Massachusetts. I like to sing along with the radio and mawk thuh acksin(t). It’s kind a had tuh transliterate.

        • MNb

          Hm, I like it when for instance Americans rag on Dutch culture.

          http://www.juliaferguson.com/amholl.html

          The second half.
          Don’t worry, a guy from Youth Corps taught me to appreciate basketball and since then I’m a fan of the Detroit Pistons. That was not much of a joy though lately. Also I think West Side Story the best post WW-2 opera.

        • Kodie

          NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

        • Kodie

          I also keep my fork in my left hand but I’m left-handed. I also have no table manners and have no idea what the big deal is.

        • MR

          Americans who switch their fork to their right hand tend to drop their left hand in their lap leaving one to wonder what they are doing with said left hand.

        • Kodie

          None of their fucking business, that’s what. Put your elbows on the table if you’re worried what they’ll talk about.

        • MR

          Then I have to deal with Miss Manners. I just can’t win.

        • Kodie

          You’re American – you’ve already won.

        • Elbows on the table, forks in the wrong hand, dates jumbled up, it’s clearly anarchy over there. This is what happens when you rebel against your rightful monarch and don’t play cricket. Civilisation falls apart.

        • MR

          Okay, now you’re starting to lose me…. Cricket? Really?

        • Yes. Do you think anyone actually likes cricket? We just play it to maintain a civilised society. British parliamentary democracy is based on the principles of cricket: slow, incomprehensible, unnecessarily complex, and ultimately pointless.

        • Kodie

          Plus it’s called “Cricket”.

        • Kodie

          It’s called freedom.

        • That’s the sort of dangerous rebel talk that made us voluntarily leave the colonies, abandoning them to a kingless and cricketless existence.

        • Kodie

          We have cricket, it’s just not on tv. I was going to go watch my friend play in a match just to see how it goes, but I ended up missing it. He’s from India, but he finished his master’s so he moved away now. Larry King isn’t on tv anymore either. Oprah’s friend Gayle King is on CBS This Morning every morning. Mixed reviews, but I prefer her to Matt Lauer or any shithead on ABC or god help me Fox when I wake up and need to know what’s going on, briefly.

        • I was going to go watch my friend play in a match just to see how it goes, but I ended up missing it.

          Cricket matches are absurdly long, you might still have time to see the end of it.

        • MNb

          If you keep your fork in your left hand you have better table manners than I do. I eat with a spoon, except bami etc, then I only use a fork. With my right hand. And I bring my mouth to the fork iso the other way round.

        • MNb

          Yeah – no time to enjoy life. Such a sad country. You live to work – I work to live.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think the order changes the meaning.

        • That’s why you abbreviate it. But abbreviate it in a nice, logical order.

          If someone you’re meeting can’t read an entire date without getting tired and giving up, I’m not sure you want to be meeting them anyway.

        • Kodie

          I’m serious, if you start with the number date, people will not read through to the month. I write emails for clients all the time, and they fucking don’t read. It starts from the convention of having to turn to the correct page of the calendar, and THEN finding the date, and THEN writing your appointment. I don’t know why you have such a fucking problem with that.

        • Dates should be written in order of increasing or decreasing timescales (dd/mm/yy or yy/mm/dd). Anything else just looks all mixed up and wrong.

          The only solution I can see to this is for you to quit your job, so you can start writing dates more sensibly. You’ll be poor, but you’ll be happy.

        • MR

          I KNEW there was a reason! yy/mm/dd is the preferred method for filenames. Actually yyyy/mm/dd.

        • Kodie

          This makes sense when you are storing files over multiple years – to group them by year first. Year last when you are in the current year, but month first then date because it does absolutely no one any good to talk about the number of the date if it is any month other than the current one. You have no idea how many people already get confused when you tell them something and they haven’t read past the first line of the email. But I also write the month out or abbreviate it, I almost never write numerical dates, but if you Europeans would stop complaining about how there’s no 23rd month so you get paralyzed by confusion, then we could all agree that it is the right way.

        • MR

          We’ll just have to compromise by writing out or abbreviating the month.

        • Kodie

          You’ll have to compromise, I’ll continue to do things the right way.

        • MNb

          By writing out the month, you mean?

        • Kodie

          Before the day.

        • Kodie

          Dates should be written so someone reading it can already switch to the right page of their calendar by the time they read the numbered date. There is no other right way unless it’s your intent to slow people down and get them all showing up on the wrong day. I can’t quit my job because it’s not really my job anyway, and I’m already poor. Are you trying to kill me?

        • MR

          Jesus, Kodie, and I thought you’d never be wrong about anything.

        • Kodie

          But I’m not. This system has borne out to be the most efficient.

        • MR

          Who the hell switches to a page of their calendar after reading two digits?!!!!

        • Kodie

          If you’re trying to arrange a meeting, it’s pretty normal to start flipping your calendar to the correct month while you’re still reading the email, or for other reasons like I’m logging payments and they all from the last month start 12 and then the next two numbers mean they are in ORDER. If I can sort of remember what month I’m zeroing in on to find a past email or payment, IT FUCKING HELPS TO DO IT THAT WAY THAT I SAID AND NOT THE SLOW WAY.

          If someone starts saying 12th of, you can’t even get to the right page of your calendar until you know if they’re talking about this Monday or some other month. Why leave that in suspense, we have a lot to do and not enough time to do it.

        • MR

          Who the fuck uses paper calendars?

        • Kodie

          Actually a lot of people do, but that doesn’t matter, it’s still “flipping” to hone in on the date from the month.

        • MR

          Fine. I give. I should know better than to argue with a pro.

        • Slow people down? Just read the whole date, then put it in the calendar. It seems to work well enough over here, I’m really surprised that it causes the US to be paralysed by delay and confusion.

          Are you trying to kill me?

          Death is a small price to pay for technical accuracy.

        • Kodie

          Do you have calendars over there with, like, pictures of firemen or Hello Kitty or some shit that shows the whole month of January at the same time?

        • Yes, but with pictures of the Royal Family or scenes of the English countryside on them.

        • Kodie

          We have that too. Actually I used to love to get a new calendar every year but I haven’t in a long time so for all I know, those kiosks at the mall have gone extinct.

        • I don’t know if this happens in the US, but in the UK it’s common for Chinese takeaways to give away calendars with your meal around New Year. So if we’re going by my calendar I should probably use the Chinese convention.

        • Kodie

          But they give a Chinese calendar so you can read what it means if you are born in the year of the pig or the year of the snake or whatever. No I know what you mean, those fake bamboo plastic things, but you can’t write on them if someone sends you an email and calls a meeting for 2/9/15, and you’re, like, cool, 8 months to plan and get a reminder February 8th, (1) because you couldn’t write it on your fake bamboo Chinese calendar, and (2), you blame the American for using American conventions.

        • But it means I get to shift all the blame for not being there. I can blame the Chinese for their shitty calendars, and the Americans for wanting to do things differently from everyone else.

        • MNb

          Pretty chinese girls last year and beautiful Surinamese scenery this year.

        • MNb

          Ah, you Americans always are in a hurry …. don’t even take the time to read something thoroughly. Btw I’m capable of reading an entire date in one look, but of course I’m not American.

        • MNb

          Weird that no Dutchie ever shows up the wrong month ….

        • MNb

          “… nobody …”
          Correction: no <American.

        • MR

          Arrogant Americans: Our way is correct.

          My preference is 4 Aug 2012.

        • Kodie

          NO.

        • MNb

          YES!

      • RichardSRussell

        There is, in fact, an international standard, ISO 8601, that specifies the mathematically optimal (high-to-low) sequence yyyy-mm-dd, which lends itself to sorts and comparisons better than any of the 5 other possible arrangements of the 3 elements.

        • I wonder if they did that to avoid the choice between the British and US conventions, and the inevitable war that would follow.

        • Kodie

          They did that because it makes the most sense when you are searching for a file. It does not work in daily personal function unless you are talking about a different year than the current one.

        • RichardSRussell

          Actually they did it for the benefit of our future computer overlords, whom I for one welcome gladly.

        • Kodie

          I will be dead and so will you.

        • Not if the computer overlords spare our lives to use us as slave labour.

        • Kodie

          Wait, do you think the computer overlords will not believe in the right to die and if cures are available for old age, they will keep us around? I don’t really get it – what do computer overlords need?

        • They don’t really need us, they just enjoy the irony of humanity overcome by its own hubris and serving its own creation. Or they wanted a really inefficient form of electrical power via waste heat from humans.

        • RichardSRussell

          They need us for the same reason that “God” ostensibly does: They crave our servile worship. And it’s working! I myself spend 8-10-12 hours a day in obeisance before my own personal shrine to them.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, that’s just crazy.

  • Richard Chad

    If God is to change with time

    God doesnt change with time..

    =========

    biblical demonstrations of power would likewise increase with time, but the reverse is true…

    Not true..

    Creation of the universe: 13.8 billion years ago
    Eden: ? unclear
    Flood: ? perhaps 4000BC
    Abraham: ~1800 BC
    Jesus: ~3BC

    As you can see, His interactions with humanity have been mostly recent, with the most stunning and impactful, Jesus, the most recent.

    =========

    It’s almost like the Bible is mythology and legend

    The problem with your statement is that while there remains much to prove right, no historical fact in the bible has ever been proven wrong.

    Year after year we find archelogical evidence confirming more details.

    People used to claim that Pontius Pilate was an invention, then we found the pilate stone.

    People use to say that the universe had been here forever, until Fred Hoyle (EDIT:Hubble) discovered red shift.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_biblical_figures_identified_in_extra-biblical_sources

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

    =========

    No doubt Galileo (a Christian) would be appalled at your completely out of context use of his quote.

    “The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.” – Galileo Galilei

    • Greg G.

      God doesnt change with time..

      Of course not, but the way he is imagined has changed many times. The Bible itself shows this with the use of plural pronouns giving way to singular pronouns.

      As you can see, His interactions with humanity have been mostly recent, with the most stunning and impactful, Jesus, the most recent.

      “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” –Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

      The problem with your statement is that while there remains much to prove right, no historical fact in the bible has ever been proven wrong.

      Archaeology shows that the Hebrews en masse were never slaves in Egypt. During the time they were supposed to have conquered Israel, the archaeology shows the culture never changed. The city of Jericho was not even occupied when the Bible says it was conquered.

      Remember that there are people who are making money off the people that they can get to believe that stuff.

      Year after year we find archelogical evidence confirming more details.

      They used to call it Bible Archaeology when they first started studying the region. They had to change it because it seldom confirmed the Bible and often refuted it.

      People used to claim that Pontius Pilate was an invention, then we found the pilate stone.

      Do you have a reliable source that says Pilate was ever thought to be an invention? Pilate was known from Tacitus, Philo, and Josephus. There was a question about Pilate’s job title that was cleared up by the Pilate Stone, but few people thought he was not real.

      People use to say that the universe had been here forever, until Fred Hoyle discovered red shift.

      Edwin Hubble discovered the Red Shift. Fred Hoyle came up with the term “Big Bang” derisively because he rejected the idea that the universe had a beginning.

      Many of the New Testament people in the Wikipedia list are known from Josephus and many only from Josephus. Luke relied very heavily on Josephus and it is clear that he used names from Josephus freely. It appears that Matthew did as well. So you are rating the accuracy of the NT based on how well they copied Josephus.

      Just because a book references historical places and figures, it doesn’t mean that it is historical and not fictional. Gone with the Wind talks about actual events and actual places but it was fictional story.

      You should try strenghthening your argument with factual information. Whatever source you are using for information is unreliable.

      • Pofarmer

        Is Josh McDowell where this “Scholars used to think that Pilate was an invention” argument is coming from? That seems to be the only place I can find any reference to it at all, with no attribution or sources. The rest of his argument sounds like McDowell, too. Richard Chad seems to be using the very best Liberty University apologists, once again.

        • wtfwjtd

          Josh McDowell? What a joke.

        • Dys

          I read More Than a Carpenter, and was laughing my ass off at how terrible the arguments in it were. Then I went and read some positive reviews to depress myself. It confirmed my suspicion that apologetics books are never written with conversion in mind. They’re merely to reassure the faithful that there’s some kind of argument defending their beliefs. That they’re not very good is besides the point.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’ve never actually had the patience to sit down and read an entire book of his, but I am well-acquainted with his apologetics work. He’s been around a long time; when I was a teen growing up in fundie circles his stuff was trotted out as an “intellectual defense” of Christianity. As a believer, his stuff was re-assuring fluff, it all falls apart under any scrutiny. I’m not sure it’s quite as bad as Lee Strobel–who has been caught fibbing on a few occasions–but you are right, it’s definitely weak-as-water nonsense for the convinced believer. I remember back in the day he talked about how we knew the bible was true–because, well, the bible tells us so! Circular reasoning at its finest.

        • Dys

          He trotted out the “personal relationship, not a religion” garbage in the first chapter. It was a train wreck.

        • MR

          I was at a funeral this weekend where the pastor was talking about how we’ll all…, scratch that, how “those who are saved” will be resurrected and get to see each other again. “This isn’t some fairy tale,” he kept saying. He must have said that five times. “This is no fairy tale…, and how do we know?” He triumphantly held up his bible and said smugly. “It says so right here!”

          I so wanted to raise my hand and say, “Excuse me, but isn’t using the fairy tale to claim it isn’t a fairy tale circular reasoning?” But, I thought it might be inappropriate under the circumstances.

          “Hey, how do we know Jim isn’t lying? Why he told us so!”

      • $28895381

        Wow. Glad you’re on my side.

        People!! Come here and upvote this!!

      • Richard Chad

        The Bible itself shows this with the use of plural pronouns giving way to singular pronouns.

        John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

        two people, hence plural

        ==============

        Archaeology shows that the Hebrews en masse were never slaves in Egypt.

        no it doesnt, there is little current archeologcal support for the enslavement in Egypt (yet, stay tuned), there is nothing that preculdes it. Atheists always claim everything that hasnt been confirmed archaeologically is a fabrication, until it is confirmed,then they claim “well, that doesnt prove anything”

        ==============

        During the time they were supposed to have conquered Israel, the archaeology shows the culture never changed.

        again, Hebrew origins, according to secular sources, is unclear, impossible to make statements like that.

        The city of Jericho was not even occupied when the Bible says it was conquered

        There are competing archeological claims, most importantly the date is not established making it difficult to pinpoint.

        Do you have a reliable source that says Pilate was ever thought to be an invention?

        An archaeological find made during an excavation, led by Italian archaeologist Dr. Antonio Frova, effectively put to rest the doubt that Pilate was real. The artifact is now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem as inventory Number AE 1963 no. 104. There had also been literature, both Biblical and historical and even contemporary with Pilate, testifying to his existence, but it is filled with religious biases, so the 20th century find was important

        They had to change it because it seldom confirmed the Bible and often refuted it.

        example please, please try to remember that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. (argument from ignorance)

        So you are rating the accuracy of the NT based on how well they copied Josephus

        no… unless perhaps they time traveled? Is that what you are suggesting?

        Josephus 37AD–100AD First published work 75AD, remainder of his works published late 90’s AD.

        Mark: 65 AD

        • Greg G.

          John 1:1-2 proves my point as it is just another change in the imaginary god.

          The Bible says there were 600,000 men of fighting age plus women and others plus livestock. That’s about two million people or twenty times the size of the largest cities at the time. There should be tons of evidence all over the place of their travels. The Israelis have been searching for evidence of the Exodus to support their claims based on the OT. They haven’t found a trace.

          If a third of the workforce of Egypt got up and left, their economy would be devastated. Egypt’s power in the world never wavered.

          There is no evidence that a large population arrived in Canaan around that time. A new population would have brought new culture with new types of artifacts. That never happened.

          We have evidence that there was no population shift out of Egypt, evidence of no population shift into Israel, and no evidence of a huge population taking forty years to move between the two places.

          The dating of the fall of Jericho was challenged about 25 years ago but was settled 20 years ago. The walls collapsed too early to have been conquered as in the Bible. The ruins were there all along and the story may have started as a campfire tale.

          Links that show the Bible History up to the time of Solomon is wrong:

          The Exodus & the Expulsion of the Hyksos – Archaeology of the Bible

          The Bible Unearthed by ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN and NEIL ASHER SILBERMAN

          Kings of Controversy

          Your quote does not say that Pilate’s existence was actually questioned. This link lists several Christian sites that have claimed that it was once thought that Pilate didn’t exist and a list of Pilate being discussed as historical from nearly every century going back to the first century. The list includes authors who questioned Jesus’ existence but not Pilate’s. It seems that Christians began to claim that Pilate’s existence was questioned only after the stone was found.

          Today, biblical archaeology has been “weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Although not all American archaeologists in Syia/Palestine rejected the earler terminology (Lance 1982), most now prefer “Syro-Palestininan archaeology,” or a similar, specific political/geographic term (Dever 2003). This is not a nominal shift, but reflects a major theoretical and methodological change that has been labeled a revolution (Dever 1981). –Shifting Sands : The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology, By Thomas W. Davis Director Cyprus America Archaeological Research Institute

          The absence of evidence is always evidence of absence, and evidence of absence where there should be evidence is strong evidence of absence. Evidence of absence is not the argument from ignorance.

          I never said Mark used Josephus. Most date Mark to 75AD. Matthew and Luke are often dated to the last decade of the first century but others date them in the second century. The evidence that they both used Josephus indicates the latter dating is correct. The evidence that Luke used Josephus is overwhelming. Those who argue against it will point to a half-dozen examples and say it’s just coincidence because if they point out all those coincidences, they will show a pattern.

        • Pofarmer

          “It seems that Christians began to claim that Pilate’s existence was questioned only after the stone was found.”

          Hold on, are you insinuating apologists might be dishonest?

        • Greg G.

          No, I would never do something like that.
          (Looks up “insinuating”.)
          Yes.

        • Richard Chad

          John 1:1-2 proves my point as it is just another change in the imaginary god.

          please explain

          ========

          The Bible says there were 600,000 men of fighting…

          There is scholarly discussions on that number based on alternate translations of those passages. We may very well find out that it is much smaller than the 600k number it is currently translated as.

          ========

          There is no evidence that a large population arrived in Canaan around that time.

          A. yet..

          B. We know that Jewish early settlements start appearing at that time

          ========

          A new population would have brought new culture with new types of artifacts. That never happened.

          We know that Jewish early settlements start appearing at that time

          ========

          The walls collapsed too early to have been conquered as in the Bible

          when does the bible date the collapse of Jericho?

          ========

          Links that show the Bible History up to the time of Solomon is wrong:

          you meant to say “uncorroborated”

          MANY biblical kings remain uncorroborated, in fact up until the discovery of the Tel Dan Stele in 1994 atheists gleefully declared that King David was a fabrication.

          ========

          Your quote does not say that Pilate’s existence was actually questioned….Christians began to claim that Pilate’s existence was questioned only after the stone was found.

          🙂

          see “effectively put to rest the doubt that Pilate was real.”, noting also that some atheist STILL doubt the existence of Pilate (and Jesus for that matter)

          ========

          absence of evidence is always evidence of absence,

          no..

          Evidence of absence is evidence of any kind that suggests something is missing or that it does not exist. You would need to show that there SHOULD be evidence and that the option “it hasnt been found yet” is not an option.

          so, the way you are using it is indeed the arguement from ignorance, argument from personal incredulity. “I think that there SHOULD be ‘X’.

          ========

          I never said Mark used Josephus. “

          So you are rating the accuracy of the NT based on how well they copied Josephus.

          please reconcile your 2 statements.

          Secular dating of Matthew/Luke:

          – Most scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between 80 and 90 CE;[2] a pre-70 date remains a minority view

          – The most probable date for Luke-Acts is around 80-100

          Both before the Antiquities of the Jews Josephus’ work from which the supposed copying came. Note also that that I had to REALLY look to find anyone proposing this, I see zero scholarly support of it.

          ========

          The evidence that they both used Josephus indicates the latter dating is correct.

          -circular reasoning..
          -rejected by all serious scholars

          -stay away from Carrier as a source of critical thought..

        • Pofarmer

          From what I’ve seen of the archaelology there was a shift in artifacts, indicating changes in Jewish beliefs, but nothing that indicates any large influx of settlers. The archaelolgy indicates the Israelites were there all along.

        • Greg G.

          please explain

          Genesis does not claim that the Word was with God. John written a half a millenium later does. John may have been influenced by the writing of Philo on that.

          There is scholarly discussions on that number based on alternate translations of those passages. We may very well find out that it is much smaller than the 600k number it is currently translated as.

          It is good that you are beginning to recognize that the Bible is not reliable. If it was not a large number, the whole story of conquering cities is irrelevant.

          A. yet..

          B. We know that Jewish early settlements start appearing at that time

          A. Jewish archaeologists have been studying the area very seriously for scholarly, religious, and political reasons. They have lots of archaeological evidence. It doesn’t support the Bible.

          B. From Jewish history

          The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite. Almost the sole marker distinguishing the “Israelite” villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether this can be taken as an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.

          We know that Jewish early settlements start appearing at that time

          The only difference between them are whether they liked pork chops and bacon. That is the only distinguishing characteristic.

          when does the bible date the collapse of Jericho?

          The scientific dating is too early for the traditional dating of the OT around 1400 BC. If you try to shift the dating, then the settlement formation is off.

          you meant to say “uncorroborated”

          MANY biblical kings remain uncorroborated, in fact up until the discovery of the Tel Dan Stele in 1994 atheists gleefully declared that King David was a fabrication.

          Still waiting for you to justify that claim. As I explained elsewhere, the evidence shows that there may have been a small kingdom around that time but not like the Bible description and the stele doesn’t alter that.

          see “effectively put to rest the doubt that Pilate was real.”, noting also that some atheist STILL doubt the existence of Pilate (and Jesus for that matter)

          The quote comes from the author of the web page, not from Frova, the archaeologist. The author, N.S. Gill, is a Latinist and freelance writer with a longtime focus on the classical world. She is not a historian nor an expert on the claims of atheists.

          Show the quote is accurate or drop it.

          no..

          Evidence of absence is evidence of any kind that suggests something is missing or that it does not exist. You would need to show that there SHOULD be evidence and that the option “it hasnt been found yet” is not an option.

          so, the way you are using it is indeed the arguement from ignorance, argument from personal incredulity. “I think that there SHOULD be ‘X’.

          Absence of evidence is not proof of absence but it is evidence of absence. If something doesn’t exist, the absence of evidence may be the only clue. The absence of pig bones is the only evidence of the early Jewish culture. Are going to say that there could have been pig bones around that are not found? Then you lose your claim about the existence of early Jewish settlements.

          please reconcile your 2 statements.

          Very few of the names on the list you linked to appear in Mark. Herodias is one but Mark has a different husband than Josephus. The list is pretty much irrelevant to Mark.

          Secular dating of Matthew/Luke:

          – Most scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between 80 and 90 CE;[2] a pre-70 date remains a minority view

          – The most probable date for Luke-Acts is around 80-100

          Both before the Antiquities of the Jews Josephus’ work from which the supposed copying came. Note also that that I had to REALLY look to find anyone proposing this, I see zero scholarly support of it.

          Most of them are wedded to the the pre-100 date and have to use imagine sources to reconcile the problems with those dates. When Josephus is recognized as a possible source, the problems go away but that puts them a few years younger..

          Try looking at the reasons they use to assign dates. One reason is the apparent quotes of an early church father of the gospels. They date the Gospel of Thomas late. But the quotes also are found in Thomas. If Thomas was early, then the problem is reconciled.

          -circular reasoning..
          -rejected by all serious scholars

          -stay away from Carrier as a source of critical thought..

          How is it circular? The similarities between Luke and Josephus are undeniable. The errors made show that they were made by Luke. The similarities are mainly in the parts of Luke that are not in common with Mark or Matthew. Acts is swarming with them. Josephus talks about Berenice as a part of the story. Acts mentions her gratuitously as if she was only included because she appears in the source material. When Paul is thought to be the Egyptian, Acts combines three phrases from three Josephan paragraphs that are in close proximity in the writings. Paul mentions surviving shipwrecks but the description is so close to the story of Josephus’ shipwreck, you would think they were on the same boat. Josephus tells about discussing the law with the elders when he was 14, Luke has Jesus doing the same thing at 12 for three days, just to use mythological numbers. That is just scratching the surface.

          Oh, I see. The “circular reasoning” was just a header for the rest of your post. You define “serious scholar” as someone who rejects it. It seems to me that the best evidence for the existence of Jesus for those “serious scholars” is the scholarly consensus. Instead of presenting good evidence or a good argument, they say “Oh, you’re not fluent in Greek.” It’s doesn’t matter how you translate it, it looks like it comes from the literature of the day.

        • Richard Chad

          Genesis does not claim that the Word was with God.

          Genesis says more than one person was there, right? That was the point.

          =======

          John written a half a millenium later does. John may have been influenced by the writing of Philo on that.

          John was written in ~90AD according to the vast majority of historical scholars

          a millenium is a thousand years, you may be thinking of “century” which is a 100 years.

          Philo 25BC–50AD

          =======

          It is good that you are beginning to recognize that the Bible is not reliable.

          dont confuse “gaining a better understanding/translation of the biblical text as our understandanding of that historical period increases” with “unreliability”, they are two entirely different things.

          =======

          If it was not a large number, the whole story of conquering cities is irrelevant.

          why?

          if it was actually a smaller number, that would certainly increase the amazing nature of it.

          =======

          Jewish archaeologists have been studying the area very seriously for scholarly, religious, and political reasons. They have lots of archaeological evidence. It doesn’t support the Bible

          how?

          what is lacking is direct evidence of the enslavement and exodus. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

          =======
          The only difference between them are whether they liked pork chops and bacon. That is the only distinguishing characteristic

          which directly supports the biblical narrative.

          =======
          again, the existence of David and Solomon are STILL disputed

          =======
          The phrase “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence” can be used as a shorthand rebuttal to the second form of the ignorance fallacy (i.e. P has never been absolutely proven and is therefore certainly false)

          =======
          stay away from Carrier as a source of critical thought, his NT views are nearly universally discounted by serious scholars

        • Greg G.

          Genesis says more than one person was there, right? That was the point.

          Genesis 1 uses a plural terminology. Genesis 2 uses singular terminology. John uses plural terminology. The ideas change over time.

          John was written in ~90AD according to the vast majority of historical scholars

          a millenium is a thousand years, you may be thinking of “century” which is a 100 years.

          No, we’re talking about from the time of the earliest Hebrew writings to the later Christian writings. That’s well over 500 years.

          dont confuse “gaining a better understanding/translation of the biblical text as our understandanding of that historical period increases” with “unreliability”, they are two entirely different things.

          Don’t confuse gaining a better understanding with giving an anachronistic understanding to the ancients.

          why?

          if it was actually a smaller number, that would certainly increase the amazing nature of it.

          If the number was small enough to not leave detectable evidence of their leaving Egypt, traveling through the desert, and impacting Canaan, there would be no point in taking so many cities.

          The evidence is not consistent with that. It looks more like a religion arose that forbid eating pigs at some point and they invented a false narrative for their history. The narrative accrued stories of the conquering of a city in ruins.

          how?

          what is lacking is direct evidence of the enslavement and exodus. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

          Am I in the room you are in? How about the next room? The absence of evidence for my presence in your vicinity is evidence of my absence in your vicinity. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is solid evidence of absence. Absence of evidence of something from a book full of imaginary tales is about as good as there can ever be. It’s up to you to produce the evidence that nobody has found for 2500 years or so.

          which directly supports the biblical narrative.

          No, the Bible narrative has the Canaanites living there for hundreds of years which would allow them to develop their own culture. It also has the Hebrews living as slaves in another culture. It is absurd to suggest that the two would have identical cultures and pottery except for one type of livestock. If that were the case, the killing of the Canaanites would have been over simply eating pork and makes the Hebrews and their god the evil ones, as if the Bible justifications weren’t horrible enough.

          again, the existence of David and Solomon are STILL disputed

          I have asked repeatedly for an instance of this from a reliable source. I’m sure there is someone who says it but where is an expert saying that?

          The phrase “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence” can be used as a shorthand rebuttal to the second form of the ignorance fallacy (i.e. P has never been absolutely proven and is therefore certainly false)

          Are you saying that the absence of evidence that anybody says David and Solomon didn’t exist doesn’t mean that nobody has said it?

          We have an absence of evidence of the Hebrews being slaves in Egypt in large numbers and leaving abruptly. The evidence we do have suggests that never happened. We have evidence of a culture with one part not eating pork in Canaan. That suggests they didn’t conquer Canaan but arose within it.

          Egyptian stories tell of Ahkenaten’s priests being run out of Egypt. The story would make more sense if they brought their monotheism to Canaan and it began to spread. They may have invented more heroic stories like the jilted guy insisting that he dumped her. At least that narrative is consistent with the evidence.

          stay away from Carrier as a source of critical thought, his NT views are nearly universally discounted by serious scholars

          The extra-biblical evidence for Jesus is only evidence that there were cults but are too late to be evidence for Jesus. New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price has studies done by “serious scholars” who have identified the sources Mark used for nearly every passage and none of the sources are actually about Jesus. “Serious scholars” won’t look at all of those studies together.

        • Richard Chad

          – please explain what “idea” that is changing over time you are referring go, give specific biblical references. Referring to 2 people as plural, then 1 as one, then 2 as plural isnt a “change”.

          – you’ll have to explain your 500 year, Philo thing, I cant make any sense of it.

          – Hebrew culture distinct from Canaanite in exactly the same way described in the bible. Note, the early Hebrews were rebuked repeatedly by God for adopting the ways of the people around them. You would have had to read the bible to know that though.

          – I dont really spend to much time arguing with “Jesus deniers”, they are a pretty fringe cult even by atheist standards.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2013/10/on-atheists-attempting-to-deny-the-historical-jesus/

          a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (a secular agnostic) wrote: “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees” B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285

          Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies the existence of Jesus) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price “Jesus at the Vanishing Point” in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61

          Michael Grant (a classicist) states that “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.” in Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200

          Richard A. Burridge states: “There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that anymore.” in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould

        • Greg G.

          – please explain what “idea” that is changing over time you are referring go, give specific biblical references. Referring to 2 people as plural, then 1 as one, then 2 as plural isnt a “change”.

          God in the Bible has gone from one of many gods to the top god to a god that forbids worship of other gods to the only god to a schizoid trinity over the course of about a thousand years. The Torah books are a combination of other writings from different eras that used different names for God. Some English translations show the different terms for God. That is why there are so many verses and passages that essentially repeat what came before with different words and a different name for God.

          – you’ll have to explain your 500 year, Philo thing, I cant make any sense of it.

          Philo wrote about “The Logos” long before the gospels were written and long after Genesis was written.” He used the Greek word “logos“, the same word John used that is translated as “Word”.

          – Hebrew culture distinct from Canaanite in exactly the same way described in the bible. Note, the early Hebrews were rebuked repeatedly by God for adopting the ways of the people around them. You would have had to read the bible to know that though.

          I now what the Bible says about it. But there is nothing to differentiate except the absence of pig bones. If they were eating kosher, why aren’t there other differences in their culture? The Egyptians had an advanced culture. Would they drop that in favor of Canaanite culture? You are struggling with your objections. You can’t construct a coherent picture between the biblical account and the evidence.

          – I dont really spend to much time arguing with “Jesus deniers”, they are a pretty fringe cult even by atheist standards.

          Then don’t argue about it. I don’t care. You brought it up.

          I have read a dozen of Bart Ehrman’s books. I was on the fence but leaning toward the historicity of Jesus. When I read “Did Jesus Exist?” I expected to find a coherent argument that led to Jesus and possibly some evidence I was unaware of. It didn’t do anything near that.

          What is your defintion of “serious scholar”? Someone who had a job teaching Bible studies? When Thomas Brodie wrote a book questioning Jesus’ existence, he was removed from his position. In the 1970’s, when Tommy Thompson’s doctoral thesis that Moses and Abraham were fictional was rejected by future pope Ratzinger, he had to complete his PhD in the US but then had to go to Europe to get a job. So it is circular to say that “serious scholars” (those with a professional position) reject the theory that Jesus was fictional. If they didn’t, they would no longer be in their position.

          By using the “no serious scholar” phrase, you, and all the scholars you quote, are simply appealing to the consensus. They aren’t providing reason and evidence.

          The brouhaha over the existence of Moses and Abraham subsided and most scholars now accept that. Initially it was hard for scholars to accept and many fought the idea.

          The brouhaha over the idea that David and Solomon ruled only a small kingdom subsided and now most scholars accept that.

          No we are seeing a brouhaha brewing over the existence of Jesus. The historists are ranting and raving but not producing arguments. Larry Hurtado has been crowing that the books written 75 years ago completely refuted all the arguments but Neil Godfrey has shown that the books themselves say they don’t address the arguments.

        • Pofarmer

          “archaeologist Dr. Antonio Frova, effectively put to rest the doubt that Pilate was real. The artifact is now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem as inventory Number AE 1963 no. 104. There had also been literature, both Biblical and historical and even contemporary with Pilate, testifying to his existence, but it is filled with religious biases, so the 20th century find was important”

          Who’s your source?

        • Greg G.

          I found the quote HERE.
          It’s on about.com but in a section called “Christian Glossary”, which seems to set it apart from anything like “Reliable Glossary”.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve never found about.com to be particularly good for anything.

        • Greg G.

          Stuff that is plagiarized from Wikipedia is usually fairly reliable.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • Richard Chad
        • Greg G.

          Wikipedia mentions Frova but not your quote. I found the quote at another site. Which site did you get it from?

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not a source for that quote.

      • wtfwjtd

        Now, goddammit Greg, Scarlett and Rhett aren’t real people? And here I thought Gone With the Wind was a docudrama. Shit.

      • RichardSRussell

        Chad: God doesnt change with time..

        Greg: Of course not, …

        Indeed, it’s one of the foundational principles of mathematics: 0 = 0.

    • MNb

      “no historical fact in the bible has ever been proven wrong.”
      Pick your choice:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

      “People use to say that the universe had been here forever, until Fred Hoyle discovered red shift.”
      It actually was Soviet-commie and atheist Alexander Friedmann who was the first modern scientist to propose that the Universe had a beginning.

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

      Fred Hoyle was 7 years old at the time. The issue was settled by Penzias and Wilson in 1964. Fred Hoyle lived on to reject it.
      Your knowledge of the history of physics is very poor.

    • Richard Chad

      another good example is King David, claimed to be an invention until the tel dan stele was discovered in 1993.

      • Pofarmer

        I’d like some evidence of that, as well. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          I’m beginning to think his name is not Richard. Everything else he has said is wrong. Suggesting that he can’t get his own name right is not an insult… I am complimenting his consistency.

        • Pofarmer

          Gotta be using the very best Liberty uUniversity apologusts.

        • Kodie

          My name is not really Kodie.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, shit.

        • Kodie

          I know!

        • Greg G.

          Next you’ll be telling me you don’t live next door to Hector.

        • Kodie

          I wish I lived next door to Hector, but I live next door to someone named Trent. Maybe Trent is Hector’s real name.

      • Greg G.

        When was David thought to be “an invention”? It is thought that Judah at the time was a small tribal kingdom. Extensive investigations over two decades failed to find evidence of the occupation of Jerusalem in the tenth century BC. The stele doesn’t change that assessment.

        • Richard Chad

          Atheists STILL claim King David didnt exist 🙂
          Some even bizarrely think that Jesus never existed.. “Where’s the coin with his face on it,, hunh?? booya!!”

        • Greg G.

          Show me who says David didn’t exist.

          I don’t think Jesus existed either. I think he was a literary contrivance from the literature of the day and can produce possible sources for nearly every claim about Jesus’ words and deeds in the early Epistles and the Synoptic Gospels.

          Here is where you can see the sources for most of Paul’s “knowledge” of Jesus:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/12/what-did-paul-know-about-jesus-not-much/#comment-1714262064

        • Kodie

          Not sure what your point is. Jesus a person =/= Jesus a magical deity in human form.

          Seems irrelevant to the topic.

    • Richard Chad

      so this page seems to be using the shotgun method, just throw as much junk out as possible and hope that the sheer volume impresses people.
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

      So I’ll just look at the first one:

      The Genesis 1 creation account conflicts with the order of events that are known to science. In Genesis, the earth is created before light and stars

      ,

      no it doesnt

      – the entire universe (heavens and earths, all matter in the universe) created in Genesis 1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

      Note the word “created”, ex-nihilo(from nothing), versus subsequent “made” which points to doing something with an object that already exists.

      birds and whales before reptiles and insects,

      not sure what they are talking about there, the biblical sequence is fish–>winged animals–>land animals–>humans

      which corresponds exactly to the fossil record.

      and flowering plants before any animals.

      plants before animals was widely disputed, however science is now finding evidence of exactly that, photosynthesis before the first animal.

      remember, the sun was created on the first “day”, note “let there be light” was the first “day”.

      ” made two great lights” on the fourth day does not mean “created from nothing”, more likely it means “appear” (perhaps an early atmospheric occlusion)

      • lorasinger

        There are two versions of creation given in Genesis and they contradict each other.

        • Richard Chad

          How to they contradict each other?

        • Greg G.

          Genesis 1:25-27 says that animals were created first, then man and woman are created together. Genesis 2:18-22 says man was created first, then animals, then woman.

          Cue linguistic twists in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

        • Richard Chad

          where did Genesis 1 take place?
          where did Genesis 2 take place?

        • Greg G.

          Genesis 1 took place in the mind of an author from the Priestly tradition. Genesis 2 took place in the mind of an author from Jehovah tradition.

          The first three verses of Genesis 2 should be in chapter 1 as it finishes the seven day creation story. In Genesis 1 through Genesis 2:3, God is called “Elohim” in the Hebrew. Beginning in Genesis 2:4, the name of God is different – “Yehovah Elohim”. Genesis 2 is a different story from a different tradition.

        • lorasinger

          Should be? And you know this how? I hope you say Jewish scholars, Greg, because if it’s Christian ones, you don’t even have the original works, let alone an explanation.

        • Greg G.

          The first three verses are the continuation of the story in chapter 1 and the terminology confirms that. A new and different story starts in Genesis 2:4. Usually books are written a chapter at a time. The OT books were assembled from different books and the chapter breaks and versification were added later, long after everyone who originally put it together were long gone.

        • lorasinger

          Check out “Creation Stories from around the World” and then tell me why it matters whether one of them, yours – has internal contradictions. They can’t all be wrong and they can’t all be right and there is absolutely no reason in this great wide world why yours should take precedence over the others.

        • Greg G.

          I was discussing Genesis as literature. Read some of my other posts to see my opinion of the Genesis creation story and the rest of the Bible.

        • MR

          Uh, they could all be wrong.

        • lorasinger

          One thing for sure – They are all mythology, the genesis story included. Besides, everyone knows the first people came on the back of a giant turtle that rose when the earth opened up.

        • Max Doubt

          “They can’t all be wrong…”

          Yes, they can all be wrong.

        • lorasinger

          Well, yeah – to you and I obviously, but to a believer it serves to confuse – hopefully enough to make them think twice and realize that their story isn’t unique. They cannot claim that their story alone is right in the light of all the others.

        • lorasinger

          Genesis 1:1-3:24

          It is the first that sets out the seven days of creation:

          Day 1: heavens, earth, light, day and night.

          Day 2: the “dome” (sky) that separates the waters below (on earth) from the waters above the sky.

          Day 3: dry land and vegetation.

          Day 4: stars, moon, sun.

          Day 5: water creatures and birds.

          Day 6: land animals; humankind (both male and female at the same time). The number of human beings created is not specified. Also, God here gives to people “every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food” (Gen 1:29) — no prohibitions.

          Day 7: God rested, and blessed this day.
          ……………………………………….

          In the second creation story, things are a little different. First of all, individual days are not specified. And the sequence is very different:

          earth and heavens; no rain yet but a spring would well up and water the ground

          from dust, man was created (not woman yet)

          garden of Eden — man is put here; garden includes the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil

          God tells man to till and keep the garden of Eden, but not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (note that Woman has not entered the scene yet! Man is alone).

          God notices that Man is alone and wants to find him a helper and partner, so He first creates animals and birds and Man names them. But still there was no helper as partner.

          God makes Man fall asleep, pulls out a rib, and makes Woman.

          The story of original sin then ensues.

      • MNb

        “fish–>winged animals–>land animals–>humans”
        Uh no.
        Gen 1:11 “Grass and flowering plants were created.
        Sorry pal, wrong.

        http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/125/3/1198.full

        “The earliest firm records of grass pollen are from the Paleocene of South America and Africa, between 60 and 55 million years ago.”
        Land animals have been around much longer. Your favourite book got it wrong. Same for the flowers:

        http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/partner/evolution-of-the-first-flowers

        “the sudden origin of flowering plants, which emerged about 130 million years ago”
        Not even at the same time, as Gen. 1:11 claims.

        Gen 1:21 ” And God created great whales”
        Gen.1:24 ” Let the earth bring forth ….. creeping things”

        Creeping things like crocodiles. But crocodiles are much older than whales.

        http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/aquaticdinosaurs/p/sarcosuch.htm
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kutchicetus

        The kutchicetus doesn’t even look like a “great whale” yet – those are even younger.
        Your favourite book got it wrong. Again.

        The list is endless. And remember: you wrote

        “no historical fact in the bible has ever been proven wrong.”

        You have to explain away them all.

        • Richard Chad

          Not sure where you are getting your completely inaccurate information from.

          see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_plant_evolution#Earliest_classifiable_plants
          See especially the picture showing photosynthesis before multi-cellular life.

          The earliest vascular land plants appeared about 425 million years ago in the late Early Silurian.

        • Dys

          You’d fare better writing Genesis off as a metaphor or poetry about creation, because taken as literal history, it’s demonstrably wrong.

          Not sure where you are getting your completely inaccurate information from.

          He provided links and everything.

          And photosynthesis and vascular land plants are not the same thing as flowering plants. There’s a difference. So MNb’s not wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know how they do it.

        • MR

          Lol! Poke it again, poke it again!

        • Richard Chad

          how is it demonstrably wrong?

          please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_plant_evolution

        • Dys

          From your article (and from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowering_plant), flowering plants did not appear until about 160 mya. To be fair, grass emerged around approximately the same time, during the late Cretaceous.

          As for why the Genesis is demonstrably wrong:

          1. It uses the day/night literary mechanism before the celestial bodies that cause night and day are created.

          2. The concept of a firmament in the literal sense has been roundly debunked.

          3. The sun was not created after the planet Earth. They’re actually approximately the same age.

          4. The moon isn’t a light, it merely reflects the sun’s light.

          5. In the second creation story, mankind is created before animals.

          6. Evolution and the fossil record counters the entire narrative concerning the creation of animals.

        • Richard Chad

          And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

          12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

          note, “day” can also be translated “age”.

          plants before animals is supported by the fossil record, end of story. Algae, a plant, first appeared 1..6billion years ago.

          ========

          1. no idea what you are talking about: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so

          2. firmament = expanse
          3. sun created on first day “in the begginning…”
          4. provides light
          5. where was the second creation? where was the first?
          6. how is that?

        • Dys

          Flowering plants, including fruit bearing plants, did not appear until well after animals had existed. As I’ve already cited, flowering plants did not exist until approximately 160 mya. Animals existed well before that. The bible is wrong.

          1. The sun was not created on the first day. According to the bible, it was created on the fourth day. The day/light literary mechanism is introduced after the first day.

          2. “The firmament is the sky, conceived as a solid dome.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament

          3. Genesis 1:16 – sorry, but the bible doesn’t say what you think it does. The lamps referenced are the sun and the moon (falsely labelled a lamp), and were created on the fourth day. And the moon was formed after the sun anyway.

          4. No, it reflects light. It’s not a lamp. Lamps do not reflect light, they generate it. It also fails to recognize that the sun is a star.

          5. The first creation myth is contained in Genesis 1, the second is in Genesis 2. Genesis 2:19 is part of the second telling, and says that animals were created after man.

          6. It has all the animals and plants being created all at once, not as a progression. Whales didn’t come along at the same time as the first fish or land animals.

        • Richard Chad

          – plants before animals, pay special attention to the word “kind”
          – Where was Gen 1, Where was Gen 2? It’s the “where” I’m asking. Gen 1 is a description of the world, Gen 2 Eden, written from a different perspective.
          – Firmament = expanse, you’re looking at a 15th century definition of that word. Note that “everything that isnt the earth” is firmament, which includes the moon and sun, which are closer than the stars. This “one dimensional dome” thing is not supported by the biblical text.

          – life created according to “kinds”, with an ability to expand.
          – please read Gen 1, note difference in days 5 and 6 with respect to created beings.

        • Dys

          Fruit trees did not exist before animals, ergo the bible has the order wrong, regardless of how you choose to interpret the non-scientific word “kind”.

          Gen 1 and Gen 2 are two creation myths joined together. And I don’t think your interpretation works particularly well, because the two stories overlap when it comes to mankind.

          And you’re wrong on firmament, by the way. A literal interpretation describes a solid dome. You’re using the more liberal interpretation to make it jive with the science. Translated literally, the cosmology in Genesis is complete nonsense. So yes, the solid dome is supported by the biblical text quite well.

          I’ve already refuted the notion that complex animals like the whale were around the same time as others, so the bible is wrong on that front as well.

          While we’re on the subject, I should probably point out that the whole Noah’s ark deal never happened either.

        • Greg G.

          The Hebrew word that is translated as “firmament” is “raqiya“. Other places it is used are:

          Psalm 19:1 “and the firmament sheweth his handywork”
          vs “and the expanse shows his handiwork”.

          Psalm 150:1 “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.”
          Is God’s sanctuary anything like an open expanse?

          Ezekiel 10:1 “Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.”
          Is an expanse like a sapphire stone?

          You are the one who is inserting an anachronistic definition for the word. The ancients understood “raqiya” to be a solid structure.

          Bible apologetics are dishonest.

        • Richard Chad

          not at all, the sun and the moon are good examples, they are part of the firmament, yet clearly seen as closer (passing in front of stars, moon in front of the sun) and not part of a single “dome”.

        • Greg G.

          Oh look, I found a Wikipedia article on Biblical cosmology that describes the ancient views on that subject much the same as I have used for the idea of God.

        • MNb

          Define “kinds”. As long as you don’t your statement

          “life created according to “kinds”, with an ability to expand.”

          is meaningless. Hypothesis: we humans belong to the same kind as jelly-fish (namely animals). Show me wrong based on an unambiguous definition, not on an ad hoc argument.

        • MNb

          ” Algae, a plant, first appeared 1..6billion years ago.”
          Algae is not grass, neither a flowering plant, neither a fruit yielding tree. You’re just wrong.

        • Greg G.

          He’s looking for loopholes in reality to put his theology in. He seems to have realized that strict creationism didn’t work out so well but he is still struggling with a watered down version of it.

        • MNb

          It’s a common tactic. They use it as well to deny that the Bible assumes a flat earth in Isaiah 40:22. When we compare with

          http://www.livius.org/person/hecataeus-of-miletus/

          it’s obvious what the word “circle” or “disc” means.

        • Pofarmer

          Is this guy gonna be right about anything?

        • Greg G.

          About the only thing he can do right is quote people who are wrong.

        • The_Wretched

          No, but he’s not trying to be.

        • MNb

          “Not sure where you are getting your completely inaccurate information from.”
          I provided links. So you didn’t read them.

          “See especially the picture showing photosynthesis before multi-cellular life.”
          I didn’t write anything about photosynthesis, nor multi-cellular life. I quoted the Bible (about grass, flowering plants, whales and creeping things) and showed the quotes were wrong. Hence

          “historical facts in the bible have been proven wrong.”
          indeed. You brought up nothing against the two examples.
          Above it has been pointed out that science has proven the Bible wrong on the Great (worldwide) Flood. So that’s wrong three times.

      • Annerdr

        In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was [a]formless and void, and darkness was over the [b]surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was [c]moving over the [d]surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
        This certainly says that the earth was formed before light, which is completely wrong. Even assuming that “light” means the sun, which is a pretty huge leap since later on God creates the sun, the earth did not form before the sun or before “light”.
        Further, the creation myths in the Bible differ on whether animals were made before people (Genesis 1) or people before animals (Genesis 2). Since those are clearly conflicting, there is another factual error in the Bible. You just can’t trust those Sumerians to keep their creation myths straight.

    • Dys

      What flood? Science has effectively disproven there was ever a global one. And Eden is a myth (along with Adam and Eve) – there’s no real reason to suppose any such place ever existed.

      no historical fact in the bible has ever been proven wrong.

      Of course,things that were previously considered historical are transformed into metaphors when they run into problems. The other issue is that, with no real supporting evidence, there’s no good reason to suppose the events did happen.

      • lorasinger

        There was a time when archeologists used to refer to the bible as a history book. It’s been wrong so many times, they no longer use it and even the term has been changed to “middle eastern archeology” from biblical archeology.

      • Compuholic

        And Eden is a myth (along with Adam and Eve) – there’s no real reason to suppose any such place ever existed.

        Even better than that. It is not just that we don’t have any evidence for it, we also have direct evidence against it: We can be sure that at no point there have been just two humans.

    • Sophia Sadek

      That was very informative. I am glad you shared that with us.

    • There’s much not to love here, but I’ll simply point you to my response to your argument from accurate place names.

      The burden of proof is yours. “But the Bible hasn’t been proven false!” is irrelevant.

  • Gabriel

    “this is all evidance of muh atheism” eh not really. It’s all evidence pointing towards deism (that God does not interact with the universe as he made all the natural processes and laws which keep the universe going from the beginning). Many have argued that the scientific laws themselves point to the existence of a god. I’m more inclined to believe that than believe what atheist ideology would teach saying that these things magically formed from nothingness…

    • Guest

      You mean like God magically formed from nothingness? Or does God not count? Let’s face it, in any ideology you come up against a wall. Doesn’t really speak to the actual truth of any claim.

    • $28895381

      “‘m more inclined to believe that than believe what atheist ideology would teach saying that these things magically formed from nothingness…”

      That’s the ultimate strawman theists use against atheists, right there: that we believe it all came about magically. That’s some serious projecting you got going there.

    • MNb

      “Many have argued that the scientific laws themselves point to the existence of a god.”
      Yeah, many have said that. Nobody has made clear how and/or why. You’re invited to try though.

      “these things magically formed from nothingness”
      Not magically – according to the very same scientific laws that you mentioned above.

    • RichardSRussell

      “this is all evidance of muh atheism”

      Anyone contending that they have evidence for atheism should be immediately disregarded. Atheism is simply the default position. Nothing is known to exist until there’s irrefutable evidence that it does exist. The burden of proof for gods, unicorns, space aliens, leprechauns, ghosts, ESP, and similar conjectures rests now and always with those advancing the hypotheses, not with those who merely say “I’ll believe it when I see it, not before.”

      • MNb

        Do you disregard me immediately as well? Granted, I don’t have direct evidence against god, but I do have two arguments based on observation.

        • RichardSRussell

          You have my attention. Start me out slowly with one of them, and let’s see if it’s a stand-alone de novo case or simply a refutation of a claim made by a theist.

        • MNb

          Well, as any positive argument has a negative version mine are certainly refutations of theist claims as well.

          1. God is almost always (mormons are an exception) defined as an immaterial being. Still that immaterial being is supposed to interact with our material reality – one common example is the creation. I observe that the only means and only procedures to do so are strictly material. This is for instance why Paley’s Watchmaker fails: whenever I find a watch I know (by means of extrapolation) that a material being using material means following material procedures has created it. An immaterial being can’t use such means and can’t follow such procedures by definition.
          For an extensive treatment of this issue I recommend Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science.

          2. I observe that we only have two objective (or intersubjective if you prefer) ways to acquire knowledge: induction (observation, experimentation) and deduction (theory, hypothesis). Neither is sufficient on its own, hence science uses both. I also observe that the scientific method is the only one that has yielded reliable results. However this method only works in our material reality. Theists, when believing in an immaterial deity, have to accept an immaterial/supernatural/transcendental reality as well. A priori that’s OK, but it’s a huge problem that there isn’t any objective and reliable method to separate correct claims about the i/s/t reality from incorrect ones. This one I got from Jerry Coyne, but afaIk he never elaborated on it.

          Sorry to present them both, but you’ll probably agree that the two are connected.
          If both arguments are correct dualism is meaningless and we can safely conclude that god doesn’t exist.
          Note that these arguments rely so much on science that they are still falsifiable. They have the same tentative and temporary character as say Newton’s Laws. The theist knows what to do to refute them: develop such a reliable method and show how god does the trick. Also note that these arguments don’t say a priori that science and belief collide. A belief system that doesn’t contradict science is still possible; pastafarianism is an example. It hasn’t solved these two issues either though.

        • RichardSRussell

          I think you cede too much by taking the theists seriously in the 1st place. They’re the ones advancing the claims for these preposterous propositions, so they should be the ones responsible for supporting them. Content yourself with just challenging “Why on Earth should I EVER believe something that ludicrous?” and wait for them to do the work.

        • MNb

          “Content yourself …..”
          RSR, I don’t like any atheist telling me what I ought to do any better than any theist doing so. What you think of me ceding or not ceding too much can oxidize on my bottom. I’ll decide that for myself, thank you very much.
          You asked me a question; you said you were all attention, but now you appear to have been dishonest.

        • Pofarmer

          Kinda extra crabby this morning.

        • MNb

          It’s already afternoon here …. RSR reaction made me crabby. Remember – I’m not a nice guy on internet.

        • Greg G.

          You’re not a mean person. It’s just your online avatar.

        • MNb

          I really enjoy to piss off people. I tried it with you as well, but failed :).

        • MR

          One thing about pissing off the Christians is getting to watch the myths of Christ’s love, love thy enemy, turn the other cheek, yadda, yadda, fail miserably and collapse in a heap of snarkiness, passive aggressiveness, and at times downright hate. Christians are people just like everyone else. No special reservoirs of peace, love and forgiveness.

        • MNb

          In my experience it’s usually much easier to piss off christians than atheists. See, I set myself some rules and an important one is that I always try to provide content. So it’s very possible to concentrate on it and ignore the sarcasm and insults. In terms of football (soccer for Americans): I try to play the ball via the ankles of the opponent.
          But when the opponent simply ignores my sarcasm etc. but counters with more content the fun is over for me very quickly – I have no choice left but sticking to the topic. So it seems to me that I have more success with christians because they have emotionally invested more than atheists. When someone tells you that your atheism is unreasonable you frown and just see an opportunity to explain your views as clearly as possible. For someone like WLC and his fans much more is at stake. And I’m happy to abuse it.

        • Greg G.

          I have always been rather slow to anger so when I was younger I felt that if someone made me mad, the problem must be with them and I didn’t need to deal with them anymore. Then there was a guy I worked with who didn’t worry about making people mad and it worked on me. But I had to continue to work with.him. I came to understand him better and we became good friends even when he got me hot under the collar.

          Add that to my religious experiences where I felt that very strongly but later realized it was all a mirage. Then there was all those intense cases of puppy love during my teens. So I’ve come to enjoy intense emotions but I don’t always take them to heart. Sometimes they don’t mean nuthin’.

          I enjoyed writing my original response to you that time but you only got to see the expurgated version. 8o)

        • MR

          =)

          Mr. Burns: Now get out!
          Lisa Simpson: I can’t! My mom’s not picking me up for an hour.
          Mr. Burns: So, what do you think of today’s popular music scene.
          Lisa: I think it distracts people from more important social issues.
          Mr. Burns: My god, are you always on!?

        • RichardSRussell

          You raise a valid point. I apologize if I came off as sounding like I was issuing orders instead of offering advice.

        • Pofarmer

          So, pur friend up above says that even if you have refuted Christianity, deism is still the result. But if science has refuted deism. Then what is the next state called? Scientism doesn’t exactly work.

        • MNb

          What sense does a i/s/t reality make without any connection to our material reality?

    • Dys

      I don’t find deism to be very useful. It comes across as little more than a lazy explanatory mechanism to avoid admitting ignorance.

      Also, there’s no such thing as atheist ideology. There are ideologies that are atheistic, but the notion that atheism itself has an ideology is foolish. And really, creation ex nihilo is a Christian (well, Jewish really) construct.

    • TheSquirrel

      That only follows if you can provide evidence a god exists at all.
      Also, you should probably learn a bit about cosmology before you strawman its position on the formation of the universe. I believe, actually that it is the theists who believe it all happened by magic…

  • Nemo

    Bear in mind also that the stories of Genesis are either known beyond any doubt to by myth, or are far enough back in time that we conveniently cannot compare them to written history. The more a claim can be examined, the less grandiose it is.

  • wtfwjtd

    I dunno Bob, aren’t you forgetting about the time Jesus lost his temper, and was chasing people around in the temple with a whip? That seems pretty bad-ass to me.

    • Kodie

      Let’s not pretend Jesus wouldn’t be demonized in modern times. Nobody cares who you think you are when you flip out in public.

      • Compuholic

        Not sure about him being demonized. I would assume that he would be treated for mental illness.

        If you think you are a god or that God is your daddy it would be best to keep that to yourself, especially if you turn violent. Otherwise somebody will call the guys in white and you might find yourself wearing a very tight jacket.

    • MNb

      That wasn’t exactly a display of supernatural powers though.

      • islandbrewer

        He cursed that fig tree, because it didn’t have any figs (because it wasn’t in season, but that’s no excuse, lazy welfare fig tree!).

        And then the fig tree died because of the curse, or maybe some sort of root fungus – one or the other.

        That’s vaguely supernaturalish … maybe.

        • Greg G.

          Mark wrote an allegory. The sequence is that Jesus had a temper tantrum with the fig tree followed by the Temple tantrum. A day later, they saw the tree had withered. Mark’s readers would fill in the syllogism with the Destruction of the Temple, which I suspect would have been in the recent memories of that audience.

      • wtfwjtd

        You’re right, its was suspiciously…very mortal-like.

    • Aram McLean

      As a kid he tamed that cave of dragons in the Biblical apocrypha as well. Pretty sweet. Too bad it got left out. Dragons always spice up an otherwise boring story.

      • photojack53

        I take it you;re not much into folklore and myths? LOL
        I’m glad you burst your beer bubble and found reality!

  • photojack53

    Morals, ethics and even altruism ALL evolved in the animal kingdom many millions of years before man evolved or ANY religions existed. They were inherited from our animal forbears as a survival enhancing trait. When one understands this, the claim of religion to exclusivity in morals and ethics disappears. Dame Jane Goodall, George Schaller, Frans de Waal and others have proven this beyond any shadow of doubt. Religion does NOT have exclusivity to morals! Stalin, Mao and Hitler did their evil deeds NOT in the name of atheism, but for misguided militaristic and political means. Without “god”, men have BETTER morals, based on man’s TRUE place in nature… NOT based on one’s selective interpretation of ancient outmoded books that were written, compiled and severely edited by MAN, not any “god!”
    Do you know that the fastest growing “orientation” about religion is atheism? It seems more and more aware and rational people are giving up on blind faith and actually THINKING and ANALYZING the issue and coming to the conclusion that religion is the biggest hoax and foible foisted on mankind, EVER!
    RELIGION FAILS, SCIENCE PREVAILS!

    • Aram McLean

      I take it you’re not much for nuance.

      • photojack53

        Do I need to be? I think the facts speak for themselves to those who think and analyse this issue thoroughly.
        But I’m not denouncing the fine art of nuance… and sarcasm!
        Look up the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” on wikipedia for some of the finest sarcasm imaginable.
        “Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.”
        ~ Einstein quote.

    • Well_Read

      the theory is that morals came into our lives with the existence of mammals who carried their young to term, cared for them for years, and nurtured them into adulthood. they learned to do this as a community through nature.

      1000’s of people have killed siting the bible’s “an eye for an eye” thinking god said it was ok to kill for revenge.

  • Sophia Sadek

    This is what happens when all of the different deities are thought to be a single entity. It has been said that God has many names, but what really happened is that people ascribed the names of different entities to a single idol. Polytheists were not so stupid.

    • wtfwjtd

      And of course, Christianity itself is polytheistic, while denying being such at the same time, in order to try and have it both ways.

      • adam

        Mai oui.

        • Greg G.

          I expect they would argue that “Human” should be plural but “God” is singular. They’re polyhumanists but monotheists. If you just accept it without thinking too hard about it, you can believe it. Trying to explain it to another person requires too much thought as it cannot be done without committing a fallacy.

        • The_Wretched

          I get after xtians from time to time for being poly theist. I haven’t actually heard of independent worship of the holy ghost the same way that Mary cults or excessive focus on individual saints happens.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yeah, the Holy Ghost is the form that gets short-changed the most, I guess because it takes more imagination to conjure up, or something. It’s hard to think of a spirit as human-like, whereas the others are depicted in artist renderings all the time.

        • The_Wretched

          It’s sort of like having your birthday on dec 25th.

        • adam

          Seems to me that most christians have a difficult time separating out the differences between the ‘heavenly Jesus’ and the holy ghost, but keep it because they are stuck with the Trinity.

          But because of all the EVIL stuff done by the ‘god’ of OT, it is easy to separate it from Jesus.

        • Well_Read

          the trinity was established at the council of nicaea by constantine in 323. some came there believing jesus was equal to god, some that he was just a preacher. the ‘son of god’ was middle ground they came up with. there were many ‘sons of god’ at the time.

  • Well_Read

    If jesus came back today and saw what has been done in his name, he would slit his own wrists to go back to where he came from. of course there is no proof there ever was a jesus.

    • Greg G.

      I recall seeing a bumper sticker that said, “Jesus is coming and, boy, is he pissed!”

  • WMccreery

    A good example of the waxing and waning of godly power is in Tery Pratchett’s small gods.

  • Domingo Soria

    Question: How many missing limbs has God restored?

    Answer: zilch, zero, zippo, nil, nada and null

    http://www.examiner.com/article/evidence-that-god-can-regrow-amputated-limbs-when-he-feels-like-it

  • Domingo Soria

    Maybe Christ is losing his powers because there is Kryptonite around.

    • Greg G.

      Brilliant! I think you are on to something. God’s Kryptonite is Iron!

      God’s power has diminished in the universe as more iron is created by supernovas. God was more powerful in the Bronze Age than when man learned to smelt iron. The more iron and steel are used in construction, the weaker God gets.

      Judges 1:19 (NRSV)19 The Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain, because they had chariots of iron.