A Convincing Holy Book? Not Possible.

A Convincing Holy Book? Not Possible. March 16, 2017

change your mind christianity atheismHere’s a thought experiment. Say you’re a strong Christian. You’re comfortable arguing for your position. You don’t think much of the atheist arguments that you’ve seen so far, and you’ve seen quite a few.

Now you come across a holy book from some other religion. It’s an English translation from an original written in a long-dead language from a foreign culture.

What could the book possibly say that would convince you that its miracle claims are correct? That it—and not your own Christianity—is correct? It’s just words on paper. What possible combination of words would be compelling?

We’ll make the case for the ancient religion as strong as possible

  • Oral history. The earliest New Testament books were Paul’s epistles, written more than two decades after the life of Jesus. The gospel of John was written roughly six decades after, and Revelation and others possibly later still. The books of our imaginary religion were written roughly contemporaneously so that the period of oral history is almost nonexistent.
  • Translation. The Christian story came from Jewish culture and the Aramaic language, but the original New Testament documents came from a very different culture (Greek) and language (Greek). Our imaginary religion will not have this extra level of translation.
  • Copies far removed from originals. Our oldest copies of the books of the New Testament were written centuries after the originals. We’ll make ours just decades after. No—what the heck—let’s make them the originals themselves, 100% complete.
  • Eyewitness testimony? Some of the noncanonical gospels claimed to have been written by eyewitnesses. For example, the Gospel of Peter says, “But I Simon Peter and Andrew my brother took our nets and went to the sea.” The Infancy Gospel of Thomas begins, “I Thomas, an Israelite, write you this account.” The Gospel of Thomas begins, “These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.” Historians doubt that they are actual eyewitness accounts, but at least they claimed that they were. The four canonical gospels make no such claim—we don’t even know who wrote them—but the books in our imaginary religion will.
  • Contradictions. The four gospels tell an inconsistent story. Was Jesus on earth 40 days after the resurrection (Acts) or one day (Luke)? Was there an earthquake followed by the dead rising from their graves? Only Matthew makes this claim. How many women were there? In what ways did Peter deny Jesus three times? And so on. The typical apologist’s response is to harmonize any differing accounts into a clumsy whole, but our imaginary religion will have multiple mutually supporting accounts with no contradictions.

In short, any positive feature of the evidence for the Jesus story will be matched or exceeded by our imaginary religion.

How are we doing so far, my Christian friend? Do you have any remaining objections where you see better evidence in favor of the gospel claims? Apply those features to improve our imaginary religion. How many independent accounts of the miraculous events do you want? Add that to the list. Does an ancient book sound more in touch with cosmic truth, or would you prefer a more recent and verifiable book? Would you prefer the documents to be written in an ancient language or modern English? A living language or a dead one? Do incidental elements in the story make it sound more authentic? Add it to the list. The only rule is that the evidence itself must be natural, as is the case with Christianity. No microfiche or holograms or levitating tablets or anything else outside of the technology of the time. No modern English written on a papyrus dating to 2000 years ago.

Given all this, would you become a believer? After a few days kicking the tires to verify that scholars indeed did agree to these claims, would you switch your allegiance?

If not, then evidence can’t be particularly important to you. If you say that your belief is based primarily on something besides objective evidence—personal experience or the religion you were taught as a child, perhaps—then don’t imagine that this will convince anyone else. If evidence doesn’t underlie your belief, why should I be convinced?

Instead, make clear that you believe because of this personal experience and not from evidence. Don’t raise evidence-based arguments if you believe in spite of the evidence.

The invisible and the non-existent
look very much alike.
— Delos McKown

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/6/13.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • busterggi

    The Voynich is the only true holy book and we don’t even know what it says.

    • MNb

      We don’t even know if it says something …..

  • Jim Jones

    I’d stick to some basic ethical rules and expand on them. No magic or ‘miracles’.

    Example: “Don’t be a dick”.

    Expansion:

    There are seven fundamental tenets.

    One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
    The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
    One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
    The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to
    offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another
    is to forgo your own.
    Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the
    world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our
    beliefs.
    People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
    Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in
    action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should
    always prevail over the written or spoken word

    • Kevin K

      We could even name the new religion after one of the old religion’s cherished figures. Santa Temple, maybe? Or something close to that…

      • Cassandra

        There is a new relgion. It is called Political Correctness, which is a secular religion for many. Nietzsche said that a new ethics would be invented when Christianity crumbled, but it would fail.

        Political Correctness is failing already, even and partly because it is getting more extreme and more absurd

        • Kevin K

          “Political correctness”? You mean “treating people the way you would like to be treated?”

          How is that “new”?

        • Harley Quin

          It was certainly new in the form we know it when first adumbrated by Jesus.

          There are other versions which are not the Golden Rule, such as the Confucian ‘shuh’, which is in the negative or Silver Rule form, ‘do not do..’ and is restricted to friends. Such forms assume reciprocity.

          The Golden Rule as enjoined by Jesus is active : ‘Do’. Nor is it in anyway a reciprocal understanding. It is unrestricted in scope in imitation of the divine. Thus it does not refer to male co religionists as in Islam, covenant partners or anyone else and includes enemies.

          This formulation is unprecedented in history.

          Incidentally, Political Correctness is not merely ‘treating people etc’ as you assert. As we are seeing, as practiced it is an enforced ratchet device for closing down free speech and destroying Western Civilisation.

        • Kevin K

          “Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” — ancient Egyptian proverb, dating to about 1130 BCE. I’d say “Jesus” — whoever that was, was more than 1000 years late.

        • Greg G.

          Do unto others before they do unto you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe even earlier than that…”Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do.”…2040-1650 BCE.

          Certainly the OT — Leviticus 19:18 predates the Jesus yarn.

          “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

          Of course in context, the rule only applied to those members of the in group, but then we know that the version put into the mouth of the Jesus character, also meant that too.

          “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.”

          So the Jesus version was not the big all that the Christians like to play up. Besides, the Platinum Rule is much better.

          “The Golden Rule, as great as it is, has limitations, since all people and all situations are different. When you follow the Platinum Rule, however, you can be sure you’re actually doing what the other person wants done and assure yourself of a better outcome.”

          Ya would think a God in human form Jesus skin would know this…but hey ho…what do I know⸮

        • Kevin K

          Oh, I know! When people claim Jesus invented the Golden Rule, in reality the text only shows him reciting it!!

        • Harley Quin

          I’d say you haven’t read or perhaps have not understood my Post, which clearly states that the Golden Rule as adumbrated by Jesus rejects the kind of reciprocity that this Egyptian Rule encapsulated.

          Jesus’ Rule is unprecedented in that

          1. It applies to all including enemies without any thought of reciprocity.
          2. Linked to the above and In the context of the other teachings of Jesus, his Rule requires unlimited outpourings of love in imitation of the Divine,

          To repeat: the Golden Rule as formulated by Jesus is unprecedented in history.

        • Kevin K

          I think you don’t understand how universal the “golden rule” is … with various formulations appearing at lleast 1000 years before the invention of “Jesus” by the Greek Jews.

        • Harley Quin

          I should have thought that I have made it very clear that there were versions of this rule throughout recorded history, from at least the time of Confucius.

          However, Jesus was the first in history to enunciate it clearly in the form that we know.

          Further I should also have hoped that I have explained very clearly why his rule was unprecedented in its scope.

        • Michael Neville

          The Buddha’s version of the Golden Rule also applies to all everyone and it predates Jesus by about 500 years. “…there is no new thing under the sun.” ‎Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV)

        • Harley Quin

          The Buddha’s version is not the Golden Rule. It is a version of the negative form, the Silver Rule.

          Thus it is not a precursor of the Rule of Jesus which in the context of the Sermon on the Mout means an unlimited , active outpouring,

        • Michael Neville

          I disagree. The Buddha said, “Compare oneself to others as ‘Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I’.” — Sutta Nipata 705

          The Buddha also said the silver rule, “Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not harm nor cause another to harm”, but the first quote is an affirmative statement.

        • Harley Quin

          The first paragraph is not a rule. It is merely a statement of fact.

        • adam

          No, its your CLAIM

        • Greg G.

          The beginning is “Compare oneself to others as” which is in the form of a command, so it is a rule.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re just playing semantics games to try to boost your Jesus into first place. Clutch your victory to your bosom.

        • adam

          Hey, when LYING if the very best option faith leaves you, you use it like it was super glue.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think she won. The phrase “Compare oneself to others as” makes it a rule as much as “Do unto others” does.

        • Cassandra

          It is not an injunction in the form of a golden rule or silver rule. It says nothing one way or another. It then or at least as you have written it, goes on to enjoin a non -harming rule which appears to be a version of the silver rule, but need not be either that or a golden rule.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Platinum Rule?

          Treat others as they want to be treated.

          https://www.platinumrule.com/whatistheplatinumrule.html

        • MNb

          I’m afraid your hope is vain. All you have explained is that Jesus played a little semantic game.

        • Harley Quin

          A little semantic game? He is not to be dismissed so superficially,

        • MNb

          Just because you say so? How impressive.

        • Harley Quin

          Not just me but some of the best minds of Western Civilisation over two thousand years,

        • MNb

          And those minds are the best because they coincidentally say the same as you. I remain impressed.

        • Harley Quin

          I’m not sure what this is meant to mean,

        • MNb

          That’s your problem, not mine.

        • adam

          “However, Jesus was the first in history to enunciate it clearly in the form that we know.”

          Not even close

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule

        • “It was certainly new in the form we know it when first adumbrated by Jesus.”

          Yes, and it’s a flawed rule in that form. You’d think a living god could at least get it right, so that it didn’t allow sado-masochists to torture people. Jesus – supposedly the son of the one true god – messed it up.

          “This formulation is unprecedented in history.”

          Yes, because it’s stupid. It is worse than similar rules that came before it.

          “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” - Udanavarga (c. 268 to 232 BCE)
          “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.” – The Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism (c. 300 BCE)
          One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. - Brihaspati, Mahabharata (8th – 9th centuries BCE)
          None of the above would allow a sado-masochist to torture anyone.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Golden Rule as enjoined by Jesus is active : ‘Do’. Nor is it in anyway a reciprocal understanding. It is unrestricted in scope in imitation of the divine. Thus it does not refer to male co religionists as in Islam, covenant partners or anyone else and includes enemies.

          Nonsense.

          Biblical scholars tend to see Yeshua’s message as meant for Jews per se, extending to the treatment of non-Jews yes, but as Jews should treat them. And this does not include treating them as Jews. The golden rule has a very different meaning when it is a circumscribed, in-group prescription. In this form, its application is guided by hosts of assumptions, expectations, traditions, and religious obligations, recognized like-mindedly by “the tribe.” This helps solve the ambiguity problem of how to apply the rule within different roles: parents dealing with children, supervisors with rank-and-file employees, and the like.

          Jesus was a hypocrite and ignored the Golden Rule as, and when it suited.

          The apostle Paul can arguably be given the all the credit for the advancement of the Golden Rule’s development as a universal principle.

          When considering a prominent view late in its history, its paths of development also merit analysis. How were its uses broadened or updated over time, to fit modern contexts? Arguably the Paulist extension of the rule to heathens was such a development, as was the rule’s secularization. The rule’s philosophical recasting as a universal principle qualifies most within moral theory. Just as important are ways the rule has been misconstrued and misappropriated, veering from its design function.

          But most Christians throughout the centuries haven’t even bothered to pay it lip service. So in that regard, the instruction has been a monumental fuck up.

          Anyway, as a rule, the Golden Rule is crap. It can be adversely applied, and has been.

          Most of the population originally introduced to the golden-rule family of rules was uneducated and highly superstitious, even as most may be today. The message greets most of us in childhood. Its Christian trappings growing most, at present, in politically oppressive third-world oligarchies where (sophisticated) education is hard to come by. Likely the rule was designed for such audiences. It was designed to serve them, both as an uplifting inspiration and form of edification, raising their moral consciousness. Yet in these circumstances, the real possibility exists of conceiving the rule as, “if you’re willing to take it (bad treatment) you can blithely dish it out.” Vengeance is also a well-respected principle tied to lex talonis. A related misinterpretation puts us in another’s position with our particular interests in tact, asking ourselves what we in particular would prefer. “If I were you, do you know what I would do in that situation?” Decades of research suggests that these are the interpretations most of us develop spontaneously as we are trying to figure out the golden rule and the place of its rationale in more reasoning over childhood and adolescence (Kohlberg 1982).

          As a principle, it’s one that fails constantly, and one that philosophers see as a bit of a clusterfuck when given any thought.

          The golden rule enjoys the reputation of enduring wisdom, even if its lack of conceptual sophistication leaves philosophers cold. But its ancient origin should make us wonder if it is in fact perennial hot air, misleading even regarding the framework in which moral philosophy is done.

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/goldrule/

        • Harley Quin

          I don’t know who these Scholars are who argue this way.

          Jesus was his own best theologian. Paul merely drew the logical conclusions from the narrative of Christ’s life and teaching.

          Jesus saw the Jews as they are described in the Old Testament : As the light to lighten the Gentiles.

          His version of the Golden Rule was always intended for universal application, as was the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety and the whole of his story. As he said:

          ‘And they will come from East and West and from North and South, and will recline at the table in the Kingdom of God.’ Luke 13:29

          I fail to see the justice of your remark that Jesus was a ‘hypocrite’. For two thousand years, Christ’s integrity has been ‘luminous’ to those who listen to his story.

          Jesus was not meek and mild. To the contrary, he was a robust figure who told it as it is.

    • Cassandra

      Nice words. There are ethics – rules for society to work. But without God or religion, why should anyone pay any attention to them?

      Without God or religion, the universe is meaningless; the world is meaningless; everything we do is meaningless…therefore there can be no morality which is binding on anyone.

      My idea of what is ‘good’ is then as valid as is yours or society’s, even if I do not agree with anything you say or society demands. Who is to say any different?

      • Jim Jones

        > Murder is perfectly OK for an atheist.

        Wrong.

        > That’s why so many atheist regimes indulge in it on a vast scale.

        Also wrong.

        • Harley Quin

          Not good enough, Jim. You will have to say why you disagree with what I’ve said,

          If atheists disagree with what I have said, it is because they haven’t thought through the implications of their own beliefs.

        • Jim Jones

          WHy are you commenting on old discussions?

        • Harley Quin

          Why not?

  • Anne Fenwick

    Well, I mean, I totes believe that, er Vishnu, I think it was, incarnated as a tortoise before he became the Buddha. Or not. But at least it’s got a good plot.

  • MNb

    This analysis applies to the entire field of apologetics, aka looking for lame excuses. No christian ever became a polytheist after concluding that the Fine Tuning of about 30 natural constants suggests 30 Fine Tuners.

    • Joe

      Lukie Boy is up to his old tricks in the previous post. Trying to convince us that the people 2000 years ago were somehow better eyewitnesses than people today!

      I don’t know what mindset you have to be in to try to make excuses like that.

      • eric

        That’s still nonsensical. There were a lot of 2,000+ year-old eyewitnesses in India and China who saw miracles performed by non-Jesus people under non-Christian theologies. Unless he wants to No True Scotsman it and argue that Christian-miracle witnesses were true eyewitnesses while Other-miracle witnesses were not, this idea of ancient peoples being more reliable witnesses is still not evidence in favor of Christianity over a multitude of other beliefs.

      • Kevin K

        I can disprove that claim with one word: eyeglasses.

        The ancients had no better vision in aggregate than we do today. Their poor vision just went uncorrected. Making them less reliable as eyewitnesses.

        And if that statement were correct, you could answer definitively the following questions based on “eyewitness” statements.

        * Who went to the tomb?
        * Was the stone rolled back already or not?
        * How many guards were there? What happened to them?
        * How many others “dressed in white”?

        The seminal event of Christian history, and there are several major conflicting stories about it. That’s called “unreliable” eyewitness testimony.

        • Greg G.

          If they wanted to read something, they had to get it in a new prescription with larger handwriting.

        • Cassandra

          The testimony of eyewitnesses of events today diverges. Ask any police officer.

        • Greg G.

          At least two of the accounts are copied from the Mark. Still the accounts do not agree. The differences are not different observations, they are due to different theological points. Mark had Jesus being adopted by God after his baptism for the remission of sins. When the other gospels had Jesus divine from before birth, being baptized for remission of sins became embarrassing, so they had to come up with ways to ignore it.

          Mark had miracles that took time to become apparent, some took two tries, and spit miracles were embarrassing, especially since Vespasian, the emperor of Rome, did some in Egypt, and he was using that as propaganda to justify his position to prove to the superstitious that the gods favored him. Did you ever notice the missing spit miracles in Matthew and Luke?

          The other gospels seem to have a problem with the naked boy with Jesus in Gethesemane.

          Do you really believe zombies came out of their graves as Matthew says? Or was Matthew just reading Isaiah and assumed?

          Isaiah 26:19
          19 Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
            O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
          For your dew is a radiant dew,
            and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

          Mark ended with the women being afraid to tell. The other gospels had to change that. They had to write out the embarrassing points. Mark wrote fiction so they were just altering it to a different fictional story. No need to believe it.

  • Joe

    This shows the insurmountable problems religions have trying to convince nonbelievers.

    Even if all those criteria above were met we would still be left with a book making unproven supernatural claims. It would be too much for me to swallow. YMMV.

    • wladyslaw

      Love is the only thing that will convince unbelievers. “See how they love one another.”
      Unfortunately, all the often Christians do no such thing,

      • Joe

        Love is the only thing that will convince unbelievers.

        No it isn’t. Unbelievers love too.

      • Evidence is the only thing that will convince unbelievers. The problem with every religion is that there isn’t any evidence for belief, and the overwhelming likelihood is that there never will be any.

  • Kevin K

    Honestly? It’s the miracle claims that turn the “bible” into a holy book, versus some ancient and badly edited synthesis of myths, fables, and dietary guidelines for people without ice.

    So, this new religion would have to have verifiable miracles. A fountain where water turns to wine–but only for believers. Hospitals where the sick and injured go and are miraculously healed–but only for believers. (And to those who would claim that a highly evolved alien race could do the same — OK, I’ll worship a highly evolved alien race, if it gave me free wine and fixed my balky knee.)

    • Harley Quin

      You are assuming, before saying anything, that Jesus was not divine,

      • adam

        “You are assuming, before saying anything, that Jesus was not divine,”

        Nope, no need to assume anything, science demonstrates that divine is IMAGINARY

      • Kevin K

        Of course! There’s no such thing as “divine”. I also happen to think Jesus was non-existent. There was never on the Earth a person named “Jesus” (or any variation thereof) who was from Nazareth who was born in Bethlehem who later preached and was executed by the Romans. There is NO … as in ZERO … contemporaneous eyewitness verification of the events contained in the mytholegendary accounts called “the gospels”. Until you can provide that evidence, you will not be able to get past the starting line with me.

        Hint: Josephus wasn’t contemporary and wasn’t an eyewitness. Nor are any of the others you’re going to try to pull out of your hat.

        FWIW1: I ignore the miracle claims when it comes to discussion of Jesus alleged life. The stories contain more than enough events that, if they happened, would be shocking and newsworthy.

        FWIW2: If you’re starting from the point of view that Jesus was divine, then you’re engaged in BAD SCHOLARSHIP.

        • Harley Quin

          Kevin, Einstein had this to say about your kind of attitude:

          ‘As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.

          Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a Bon mot.

          No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life .’

          I think that sums up precisely what a reasonable, open minded person should think, even if one has no knowledge whatever of Biblical scholarship, which seems to be the case with yourself.

        • adam

          In a conversation with the Dutch poet Willem Frederik Hermans
          Einstein stressed that, “I seriously doubt that Jesus himself said that
          he was God, for he was too much a Jew to violate that great
          commandment: Hear O Israel, the Eternal is our God and He is one!’ and not two or three.”[54]
          Einstein lamented, “Sometimes I think it would have been better if
          Jesus had never lived. No name was so abused for the sake of power!”[54] In his 1934 book The World as I See It
          he expressed his belief that “if one purges the Judaism of the Prophets
          and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions,
          especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is
          capable of curing all the social ills of humanity.”[55]
          Later in a 1943 interview Einstein added, “It is quite possible that we
          can do greater things than Jesus, for what is written in the Bible
          about him is poetically embellished.”[56]

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be9ad80377d2f7d542c39315a6b70be646984bfd3420248a29eceac035f8b7f2.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_and_philosophical_views_of_Albert_Einstein

        • MNb

          “Dutch poet Willem Frederik Hermans”
          Hermans did write poetry, but had most success with his novels. His most famous one is not that good imo:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Darkroom_of_Damocles
          The ones I like best, like I am always right (Ik heb altijd gelijk) don’t seem to be translated in English alas.

        • adam

          How sad it is that I cannot enjoy the fruits of other languages as poetry in its native form.

        • Harley Quin

          I quoted Einstein as an example of an open minded person who was not a believer.

        • Greg G.

          So did adam. Einstein liked Jesus about as much as Thomas Jefferson did.

        • adam

          And yet Einstein says CLEARLY how childish belief in a divine Jesus really is.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b44c99f495406f1f80b97716ec7951aa63f124a9698cbfc51f2758edfdb3404d.jpg

        • epeeist

          The thing is that Einstein was very nuanced about religion. Besides your quotation one can also point to:

          The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

          and

          It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

          and

          I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.

        • Harley Quin

          I quoted Einstein as a non believer who did not dismiss even the existence of Jesus as did a previous Post.

        • Greg G.

          What evidence did Einstein have for Jesus’ existence? The quotes you provided seem to be feelings.

        • Harley Quin

          The evidence of the Gospels which, as he says, depicted a remarkable person who is eminently believable.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          It might be believable without the miracles stolen from other literature. If we drop the miracle stories from Mark because they are taken from the Old Testament, Homeric epics, and Roman propaganda, then notice that the more plausible parts also are drawn from those same sources, you are left with somebody going here and there doing nothing. It means the other gospels relied on Mark because they have the same fictional accounts.

          Paul tells us his revelations came from the Lord through the prophetic writings. He proves this by everything he says about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. But the other early epistles are the same. They all refer to Jesus in OT terms and references, nothing about a preacher/teacher,

          The primary sources for the gospels and epistles appear to mostly centuries old fiction, not eyewitness or oral accounts.

        • adam
        • epeeist

          I quoted Einstein as a non believer who did not dismiss even the existence of Jesus as did a previous Post.

          Does he state that Jesus existed? Or simply that he can feel the presence of a figure in the text?

          Given the quotations in my post it is fairly obvious that the best conclusion one can draw is that he accepted the existence of a minimal historical Jesus, i.e. an itinerant preacher of that name executed for sedition. Given my first quotation it is also possible that he thought the whole thing was a “primitive legend”.

          I would take a slightly different attitude to Kevin K. I think the existence of a minimal historical Jesus is plausible, however like him I think the evidence for such a figure is thin at best.

          The existence of a divine Jesus, son of a deity who did miracles was executed and then resurrected? No evidence whatsoever.

        • Kevin K

          Argument from undeserved authority. Logical fallacy. Try again.

        • Kevin K

          .

          I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.
          It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely personal,’ from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings. Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.

          — A REAL quote from Einstein

        • Kevin K

          It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

          — and another REAL quote from Einstein.

        • MNb

          Einstein also had something else to say.

          “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.”
          He was talking about your “You are assuming, before saying anything, that Jesus was not divine.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion

          It’s always dangerous to quote Einstein, whether you believe or not.

  • John Morris

    Contradictions are explained away: each book adds to the story E.G. Matthew has the earthquake but the other gospels don’t so Matthew is adding one more element to the overall story
    Nice rationalization

  • Sastra

    Excellent thought experiment. It would be interesting to see what happens if the “witness of the Holy Ghost” factor is added. That’s the strong inner feeling of conviction which presumably comes from an outside source — in Christianity, it’s often the Holy Ghost, but it could be God, Jesus, a saint, or an angel — which is supposed to confirm a sacred text as true. If they feel it, would it be sufficient to convince them to accept a new Sacred Text and renounce Christianity?

    What if they don’t experience the witness of the Spirit, but others do, and tell them that they will, too, if they are really sincere and humbly ask? Would they try to assume the proper attitude and beg the Spirit to let them know if this book is true? How often?

    If they refuse because such a Spirit must be of the Devil, then haven’t they just committed the unpardonable sin of denying the Holy Ghost IF the religion IS true?

    I think this is a difficult thought experiment for believers to entertain, because if they try to be objective and make a best-case scenario for what would change their minds, they run into either skepticism or apologetic defeaters.

    • Christians are quite capable of laughing at the “burning in the bosom” that Mormons claim is their confirmation of having made the right choice. yet somehow they’re unable to see that in themselves.

    • wladyslaw

      The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son in the Trinity. Obviously the Holy Spirit could not testify to the truth of Mormonism or Mohammed.

      • Sastra

        You’re right, the added factor here could not be the Holy Ghost per se, since that’s a Christian term, but some similar element, a general “witness of Spirit.” The belief in a confirming presence, or force, or power, exist in many religions, and since the thought experiment is addressed to Christians, the concept needs to be similar, but not identical, to a concept they are already familiar with. Instead of testifying to the truth of the Bible (or Catholicism), in this case it ‘testifies” towards the truth of a different holy text, or religion.

        Would adding in this component be enough to persuade a Christian to jump ship, as it were? Or would they consider how easy it is to be mistaken about such subjective, personal feelings or sensations — and remain skeptical? Of this one, not the other one. Maybe.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        The Holy Spirit has converted to Islam as revealed to me through the teaching authority given by God to the Imams and the Koran. The Holy Spirit (now of Allah) also told me that it will not confirm any of this and that I should Just speak instead of it. That it said in reverence to its former religion “Christian honesty”.

      • Greg G.

        That sounds like the heresy of Partialism.

      • Michael Neville

        Mormons claim there are three separate gods, with the Father being literally the father of JC and the Spook. Who the mother was is not given.

        • Harley Quin

          All rather juvenile, I fear.

        • Michael Neville

          Most religious dogma looks silly to the non-believer.

        • Greg G.

          Most religious dogma looks silly to the non-believer.

          …and to believers in others faiths, or similar faiths, too. A Baptist would howl at transubstantiation.

  • wladyslaw

    Bob,
    Even if you had the kind of evidence you wish we had, you would still not become a
    Christian. Your decision to live your life according to what you want trumps whatever evidence there may be.
    Wladyslaw Narowski

    • Greg G.

      What exactly are you accusing Bob of doing that he would not do as a Christian?

      • eric

        Well, I know my day isn’t complete until I covet my neighbor’s ox.

        • Greg G.

          You naughty, naughty boy.

      • wladyslaw

        Greg,
        Thanks for responding to my post.
        I’m not accusing Bob of anything. I’m simply pointing out that that people generally CHOOSE philosophies or points of view that comport to their own particular world view, and not because they checked out different philosophies and went with the ones with the most or best evidence. All the evidence in the world will not convince one to adopt evidence if that evidence asks them to act differently from what they really want to do. I believe that Bob, like most of us, chooses the philosophy that best suits what he already wants to do.

        • Greg G.

          But what do you think Bob does now that he would not do if he was a Christian? I doubt he does anything significantly different and nothing he wouldn’t give up if there was evidence that he could live in heaven.

          All somebody has to do is provide good evidence that any one of the 45,000 Christian denominations is true. Instead, they seem to be hiding all the good evidence and only presenting lousy evidence and poor reasoning.

          I’m willing to try new things. I do it all the time. I’m willing to dispense with things I like because of detrimental effects on my health. Your assumptions for why people reject religion are completely wrong.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          re “try new things” …. or *retry* older things. I keep trying different ways to eat squash. I’ve never liked any cooking method where squash wasn’t subsumed (like zucchini cake / other), but I’m willing to keep looking. No good result, though.

        • Greg G.

          When I was a young boy, the cookbooks recommended thoroughly cooking vegetables and I never liked them much. In college, I once accidentally purchased something with broccoli in it. It stayed in the freezer for a year until one day I was broke the day before payday and so hungry I cooked that frozen vegetable. I found that I liked broccoli when it wasn’t overcooked. It was a “Sam-I-Am” moment.

        • TheNuszAbides

          any cooking method where squash wasn’t subsumed

          all i need is butter and brown sugar.

        • wladyslaw

          It seems he might be unwilling to give up his atheism to live in heaven.

          In God’s mercy, an honest atheist will get to heaven faster than a dishonest Christian.

          45,000 denominations are a scandal.
          I am a Catholic. The 45,000 denominations have no way of determining who is right.
          The Catholic Christian has the teaching authority of the Pope

        • Greg G.

          The 45,000 denominations come from people realizing that the religion of the Pope is wrong.

        • Otto

          >>”The Catholic Christian has the teaching authority of the Pope”

          The People’s Temple had the teaching authority of Jim Jones…same difference. It is just a man claiming to speak for a god. I find it interesting that men always have to speak for God…always a middle man.

        • wladyslaw

          Whatever happened to his church?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I have not met all that many honest Christians, and the Pope is part of one of those thousands of scandals. I have no clue as to what “teaching authority” means.

        • MNb

          “It seems he might be unwilling to give up his atheism to live in heaven.”
          I don’t know about BobS, but regarding me you’re correct. Heaven sucks, as much as Hell. But if given the evidence I require (again – it’s just not there) I still would convert and pray that “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” (ie return to nothingness) still would apply to me.

        • Yes, the Catholic church does have the pope, but then the Branch Davidians had David Koresh. And the Jim Jones cult had Jim Jones.

          I realize the pope’s church is bigger and older, but why would that make him any more reliable? In short, yes, the Catholic church has the pope, but how does that help in the least?

        • wladyslaw

          The Catholic Church/still exists, with the teaching authority of its founder vested in the Pope. The Branch Davidians are gone.

        • So that’s your test of truth? That proponents still exist? I guess then that Islam and Mormonism are also true.

        • epeeist

          The Branch Davidians are gone.

          So here’s a hypothetical for you. If someone turned a switch and all the Catholics in the world disappeared then what would be the truth status of the RCC teachings?

        • Kodie

          The only difference in these cults is that one thought they have to kill themselves to win favor, and the other one doesn’t. How do you know Catholics get saved, since all the Catholics you know are alive on earth, and the Branch Davidians aren’t slobbering over Jesus in heaven, now that they’ve all been taken? You’re still here, they’re Jesus’s favorite, and you’re going to hell.

        • people generally CHOOSE philosophies or points of view that comport to their own particular world view

          Are you applying this to yourself as well?

          not because they checked out different philosophies and went with the ones with the most or best evidence.

          I certainly haven’t checked out all religions. However, in the contest between Christianity and atheism, I go where the evidence points.

          This is a relevant post. I argue that no atheist who’s (1) well informed on the issues converts to Christianity (2) for intellectual reasons.
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • wladyslaw

          Bob, it is good to hear from you again.
          You are absolutely right. No atheist converts to Christianity for merely intellectual reasons. It is when they encounter the love of Jesus that things begin to happen.
          I was in a Catholic Seminary for four years after twelve years of Catholic education. I had all the intellectual knowledge of the Catholic faith. It may be hard to believe, but I really did not encounter the Person of Jesus in a complete way. I left the seminary and became a hippie, living “free” love lifestyle, and becoming an agnostic, but more realistically a practical atheist, for fifteen years. It is only after I encountered the love of a PERSON–Jesus–that I started to believe again, and NOT after an intellectual search. I already knew the theology.

        • Ficino

          I have my autobiography, which goes on a religious trajectory different from yours.

          It was only after I encountered actual love that I started to live truly.

          My experience is of higher authority to me than yours is to me. So far, you have offered nothing of evidence or argument for anyone to evaluate. So your experience is nice to hear about but not relevant. Bob Seidensticker’s experience is nicer to hear about.

        • Do you want to make any arguments for Christianity?

          If you’re looking for rebuttals to Christian arguments or arguments for atheism, click on the All Posts tab at the top.

        • Ficino

          Hi Bob, I don’t follow. I’m an atheist, not a Christian. I don’t want to make arguments for Christianity.

          I had invited Luke Breuer to present evidence or argument for the truth of Christianity, but so far he has refused to do so except to link a discussion about whether we can know we’re receiving info from an infinite being. I then invited wladyslaw to do the same. So far he’s been asking questions about “objective morality.” I don’t see an actual argument for the truth of Christianity, nor do I see him presenting evidence for its truth except to reference his experience, as he interprets it.

          I had been losing patience with apologists who confine their activity to what I consider asking “gotcha” questions.

        • Much clearer, thanks.

        • Then someone like me who operates on evidence (in a way that, if God existed, I’m convinced he’d approve of) just won’t become a Christian, I guess.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob, I think that one of the reasons you do this blog is because you are passionate about truth, and you want to follow it wherever it may lead.

        • I do, which sucks for the Christian position. There’s no good evidence, so I guess I’ll never become a Christian.

        • Kodie

          Why did you suddenly show up after more than 4 years?

        • Michael Neville

          All the evidence in the world will not convince one to adopt evidence if that evidence asks them to act differently from what they really want to do.

          You’re putting the cart before the horse. I’m not an atheist because I want to be one, I’m an atheist because there’s zero evidence for gods. Note the plural, that’s any gods, not just your favorite deity. As soon as reasonable evidence is presented that some god or gods exist, then I’ll stop being an atheist.

          Incidentally, while I could possibly acknowledge the existence of a god or gods, that doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily worship them. That’s an entirely different proposition.

        • wladyslaw

          No one really wants to defer to any god but himself. Check out Adam and Eve.

        • Otto

          Huh? The world is full of people that defer to God…are you saying they really don’t want to do that but do it anyway?

        • wladyslaw

          It’s far easier to be unvirtuous than virtuous.

          But the virtuous are far happier than the unvirtuous.

          Submitting to a God that makes difficult demands is not easy, but those that accept the reality of God’s love and leadership reap the rewards.

        • Greg G.

          So you are accusing us of being unvirtuous? What do we do that is so unvirtuous?

        • Michael Neville

          But the virtuous are far happier than the unvirtuous.

          How do you know this? Please (a) define virtue, (b) describe how levels of happiness are determined, and (c) show that the unvirtuous are less happy than the virtuous.

          Submitting to a God that makes difficult demands is not easy

          It isn’t some god who makes demands, it’s the god’s self-appointed spokescritters who determine what is or is not moral. I’ve noticed that these spokescritters have an obsession with sexual behavior. Do you know why that is? I’ve also noticed that these spokescritters claim it is immoral not to give them money. That one’s quite understandable.

        • Ficino

          The spokescritters know that they can keep people feeling guilty all the time if they make a sin out of sexual stuff. Then people will have to seek the spokescritters’ favor all the time. Plus give them money.

        • Kodie

          You reap imaginary rewards.

        • Susan

          No one really wants to defer to any god but himself.

          I don’t consider myself a god. I don’t believe gods exist. Yours is no more persuasive than any of the other gods.

          Check out Adam and Eve.

          That is a story. There was no Adam and Eve.

          Check out Pandora.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m not a god and don’t pretend to be. Don’t project your personal feelings on others.

          Adam and Eve are fictional.

        • wladyslaw

          No, you just want to be the final arbiter of what’s right or wrong for you–what God does.

        • Michael Neville

          Since your god doesn’t exist then I decide what’s right or wrong for me by default. If you’re going to dispute that then you need to show that your god isn’t a figment of the imagination.

          Incidentally, according to the propaganda, your god is a sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. He kills people just because he can. He orders and condones slavery, rape and genocide. So even if your god did exist I certainly would not look to him for moral guidance.

        • Mark Landes

          Second Paragraph I thought you started out describing Donald Trump. – My bad

        • Michael Neville

          The difference between God and Donald Trump is that God doesn’t think he’s Trump.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          But what do I do that is so much different than what you do? If I am doing pretty much what you do anyway, why would I not do it because simply because God decides?

        • TheNuszAbides

          because then he’d have to admit he’s a Calvinist?

        • … but there is no God. Isn’t this a problem for your claim?

        • MNb

          And even if Adam and Eve weren’t fictional they wouldn’t by any means representative for me.

        • Why bring up Adam and Eve. They had a good moral understanding only after the fruit. They made no moral error since they didn’t then possess moral discernment.

        • wladyslaw

          No, they wanted to be their own gods, and not under the authority of God. They KNEW it was wrong, yet chose to do so, because the devil promised them they might be like gods if they ate of the tree.

        • Greg G.

          If they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and were changed, then they did not have knowledge of Good and Evil so they could not have known it was wrong,

          If it was the devil who told them to eat the fruit, why did God punish serpents? If God is that easily fooled, the devil could blaspheme the Holy Ghost in a wladyslaw costume and you would be damned to hell for eternity.

          Is this an example of what we would have to give up? We have to start believing fairy tales like the Genesis story? No wonder people don’t like your brand of religion.

        • Kodie

          All I know is we were living about 4 years? wladyslaw-free, and someone invoked him in the train-wreck in comparison to some other asshole (we know who that is), and suddenly he shows up?

        • You do know that the Garden of Eden story is just a story, right? Didn’t really happen.

          They KNEW it was wrong

          Then what’s the purpose of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? How could they have had moral knowledge beforehand??

        • Kodie

          According to your take (and my take!), Adam and Eve must have already been fallen to eat the fruit even if they were told not to. if there even is such a thing, if some authority tells you not to do something, you don’t give in to peer pressure. God really fucked up people and then blamed them for his failing. Please just admit it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          is it okay if we skip to the part where you stop pretending that story is literally true? or do you put more stock in scripture than a super-sophisticated Catholic is supposed to?

        • Otto

          Philosophy is one thing…Christianity is not just a philosophy. It is a claim about reality itself. I don’t know about you but I don’t accept claims about reality based on ‘what I want to do’, and I doubt Bob does either.

        • wladyslaw

          I don’t either. I have experienced the reality of the love of Jesus, and you are right, Christianity is not just a philosophy, it is a PERSON.

        • Otto

          That is a bit of a red herring as to you claiming we pick our reality based on ‘what we want to do’.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Persons speak for themselves. You treat Jesus as if he is non-existent/dead/an invalid/an illusive cryptid without human speach.

        • wladyslaw

          No, He speaks to me.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          He spoke to me and told me he never spoke to you. Sometimes Jesus can be a real kidder. He has told other people stuff I never said. Jesus acted like I couldn’t just speak for myself- I was only a few feet away even!

        • Pofarmer

          It seems we’ve gotten somewhat beyond “Christianity makes me fell good.”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s where you’re incorrect. If presented with reproducible evidence, I’ll change my mind. It may be with some chagrin, but I will.

          As for right/wrong, please read Isaac Asimov’s take on it:

          “The Relativity of Wrong”

          http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

        • wladyslaw

          No one accepts Jesus “with some chagrin,” and you wouldn’t either. Intellectual knowledge does not convince anyone by itself. After all, the devil has ample evidence of the existence of God.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          No devil claims they do, and they sure as hell (:-D) haven’t presented any.

        • One wonders why God doesn’t want to provide this information to all of us as well.

        • wladyslaw

          He does. Some of us simply do not want to accept the evidence because we would have to change our lives in ways we choose not to.

        • Greg G.

          Some of us simply do not want to accept the evidence because we would have to change our lives in ways we choose not to.

          What are you accusing us of when you repeat this claim? What exactly do you imagine we would have to change?

        • TheNuszAbides

          What exactly do you imagine we would have to change?

          i imagine his imagination is far weaker than he imagines (and not in that bolstered-by-his-LORD way, either). i imagine underlying his wishful thinking is nothing more than the typical attribution error(s), and that that’s all we’d ‘have’ to change.

        • I know that my family exists. Show me that I have as much confidence that God exists. Satan know that God existed for the same reasons.

        • TheNuszAbides

          people generally CHOOSE … and not because they checked out different philosophies … Bob, like most of us, chooses …

          and do you have any insight regarding those who don’t fit into your ‘general’, ‘most of us’ box? how many types of exceptions are there, in your estimation?

    • Ficino

      So you’ve bought into the Christian philosophy because it gives you stuff that you want?

      If you go beyond that and think you have evidence and/or arguments that Christianity is the truth, and other ways of life are false, I invite you to present it.

      • wladyslaw

        I know what I want in life. I know what brings happiness to me and my loved ones. I know that love is the source of all happiness.
        And I have found that Christ, who is love, makes it possible for me to live out that love. BTW, I was a practical atheist, or at least an agnostic, for fifteen years.

        • Ficino

          You criticized Bob because, you said, his decision to live his life as he wants “trumps whatever evidence there may be.”

          What is that evidence, if there is any?

        • wladyslaw

          We all live our lives as we want to, no matter what the evidence may be.
          Alcoholics drink, no matter what evidence there may be that is is bad for them to do so.
          Obese people overeat, despite ample evidence of it being bad for them.

        • Richard Cranium

          Right. And Catholics vote anti-choice/pro-birth and send money to priests who diddle children, despite whatever evidence there may be that it’s bad for everyone involved.

        • Susan

          We all live our lives as we want to, no matter what the evidence may be.

          Ficino asked you for evidence and you’ve provided none.

          You are deflecting.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Alcoholics drink, no matter what evidence there may be that is is bad for them to do so.

          and you have a singular category for those who stop drinking?

          Obese people overeat,

          except for the ones who don’t. but your ignorance to detail is hardly a surprise at this point.

        • I think you’ve just undercut your own argument.

        • Richard Cranium

          Re: “I know what I want in life. I know what brings happiness to me and my loved ones.”

          So “your decision to live your life according to what you want trumps whatever evidence there may be”?

        • Greg G.

          That’s exactly what I was going to point out when I saw her response to Ficino.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Władysław is a Polish given male name, cognate with Vladislav. Feminine form is Władysława.

          not that i’m absolutely assuming that the visitor isn’t trans or in some other way non-traditional. except there’s that glaring Catholic aspect …

        • Kodie

          He’s a dude, he was here a long time ago and accounted for at least 2 of Bob’s longest threads (at the time).

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, i recognized him, just wasn’t sure if it was from the same blog. i was checking Greg G.’s pronoun because one of my grandmothers had the feminine form of the name.

        • wladyslaw

          No, I know what is important to me, what is meaningful, what matters, and I found that Catholicism explains and fleshes out that out for me better than anything else.

        • Richard Cranium

          Okay. Can you not respect that other people know what is important to them, what is meaningful, what matters, and have found that (insert philosophy or [in your case, other] religious nonsense here) explains and fleshes that out for them better than anything else?

          Can’t you see that it’s all the same?

        • TheNuszAbides

          better than anything else.

          you thoroughly checked ‘anything else’? doubtful.

        • Pofarmer

          If only that were all there is to it. I was a practical atheist too, slipped back into theism anf was more or less ripped back out of it.

        • Michael Neville

          Why is it that so many Christians who come to this blog claim to have been “atheist, or at least an agnostic”? Do they think “if I tell these people I was just like them but then I FOUND JEBUS!!1!ELEVENTY!!” that we’ll go “um, this guy might have found da troof, I should look into this Jebus thing”?

          Also I notice that wladyslaw is unfamiliar with the difference between atheists and agnostics.

          http://liberalgeek.com/sites/default/files/agnostic-atheist-quadrants.jpg

        • Pofarmer

          I’m pretty sure that you haven’t been involved with the whole Strange Notions, Estranged Notions, thing, but the guy who started Strange Notions, who once claimed to be a prosyletizing Evangelical turned Catholic, is now, in his latest book about the “truth of Catholicism” is now claiming that he was a None in College who went searching and found the “Truth”. Either he was lying then, or he’s lying now, and it’s in print. It seems to be a thing.

        • Michael Neville

          I was an occasional commentator at Strange Notions for several months (under a different nom du blog) until Brandon banished me without warning for explaining how the dogma of the Assumption of Mary came about. Apparently he didn’t like my concluding sentence about how sometimes theologians make it up as they go along.

          EDIT I’ve just looked and all my comments have been evaporated.

        • Dangitbobby

          The entire field of theology is just a big game of pretend, make-believe, and pulling ideas out of your ass and calling it “real”…oh, and getting paid for it.

          The only other career path that makes money while making stuff up is that of a fiction author. A fiction author, however, doesn’t go around claiming their story is real.

        • Michael Neville

          In a different post Bob quoted me: “Theology is guessing what an imaginary being is thinking.”

        • Dangitbobby

          That’s perfect. I might rip that off at a later date as well. 😀

          http://epublications.marquette.edu/theo_diss/

          If you really want to “go deep” – there is a thesis on the link above concerning the theology of a dead guy, so this line popped in my head:

          “So you’re saying your thesis is guessing what a dead guy guessed what an imaginary being is thinking?”

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          COUGHSCIENTOLOGYCOUGHDANBROWNCOUGH

        • TheNuszAbides

          not the entire field. some of is stuff peripheral to anthropology and other reasonably useful studies. but yeah, the entirety of the bulk of the field that can be separated from any other field, you pretty much nailed.

        • Otto

          They don’t like it when someone shows the customers how the sausage is made.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah. My understanding is that that came about because basically we have no record of any Mary, like, anywhere.

        • Michael Neville

          Around 450 Marcian, the Byzantine emperor, ordered Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to send some relics of Mary to Constantinople. Juvenal couldn’t find any and, wanting to keep the guy with the torturers and executioners on his payroll happy, told Marcian that there weren’t any relics because Mary was bodily “assumed” to Heaven. The truly miraculous thing is that Marcian bought this song and dance.

          Fifteen hundred years later, in 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary to be Catholic dogma. So an excuse became official doctrine. Theology is made up as the theologians go along.

        • Pofarmer

          Awesome. And Catholics today still lap it up. It’s one of their “miracles”. Along with the miracle of incomplete devastation, maybe we need a miracle of zero evidence.

        • Otto

          For the most part the Catholics today have no idea it was pulled out of someone’s ass hundreds of years later.

        • Pofarmer

          To be fair, everything else was too.

        • Otto

          True…I guess what I mean as a Catholic myself I thought for a long time that it was part of the general Christian dogma, i.e. I thought all Christians believed it and was in the Bible somewhere. I didn’t realize until much later it was a specific Catholic addition. I don’t think many run of the mill Catholics realize this.

        • Pofarmer

          As a protestant who married a Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that either side take for granted. Being exposed to it creates a lot of WTF moments. Catholics even more or less realize it because they note exposing kids to both faiths leads to a lot more unbelievers.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m still ‘praying’ for your wife’s deconversion.

        • Greg G.

          We see many Christians who don’t understand that their beliefs are not universal except fro a few fringe groups. The “mainstream” doesn’t realize that fundamentalists in the US are almost as common as the “mainstream”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a miracle of zero evidence.

          delicious. all blind and deaf sheep are directly participating in Teh Miracle of Faith(TM). who could resist?

        • Susan

          Brandon banished me without warning for explaining how the dogma of the Assumption of Mary came about.

          Imagine that.

          I’ve just looked and all my comments have been evaporated.

          Shocked, I tell you.

        • Herald Newman

          This isn’t really shocking. He’s following a long tradition of the Catholic church of silencing heretics, and drowning heresies.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I’ve just looked and all my comments have been evaporated.

          i wonder if LRH got to read any sekrit Catholic thought control manuals before the protocol for Suppressive Persons was developed.

        • wladyslaw

          I was probably an agnostic, but living as a practical atheist.

        • MNb

          Only a believer can live as a practical atheist, ie live as if they don’t believe (while they still do).
          Atheists can live like socialists, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, whatever. They can even live like christians if they like.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaas_Hendrikse

          But an atheist never lives as a practical atheist, because you can’t put “I don’t believe” into practice. You can’t defy a belief you don’t have.
          So you pretty much demonstrated that you always have been a believer. Also you have clarified for me what CS Lewis meant when he claimed that he was an atheist – and why that claim was incorrect. Thanks for that.

        • wladyslaw

          Please do not judge what I believed when I was a hippie.Do not use the “No true Scotsman” argument on me.

        • Richard Cranium

          You identified yourself as “not a Scotsman” when you used the term “practical atheist.” It’s a term religious people use to describe a period of hedonism that they went through. It has nothing to do with real atheism.

        • MNb

          I do not judge you at all. I simply accept what you write: “living as a practical atheist” and showed that that’s only possible for believers.

        • Herald Newman

          Bob wrote a post about this some time ago: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

          Well-informed atheists, now Christians, wouldn’t make the arguments that apologists make. They wouldn’t make arguments to which I have a quick rebuttal. Indeed, they would focus on those arguments which they knew (since they’d been just like me) I had no response to.

          I never see an “ex-atheist” who hits me where I live, who explains why my arguments are wrong from my perspective.

        • TheNuszAbides

          upon charitable reflection, i suspect that his sloppy phrasing might only mean that the 15yr period described included both ‘practical’ atheism and agnosticism, possibly but not necessarily (e.g. for lack of significant thought invested either way) overlapping.

          but i’m pretty sure i’ve seen him on patheos before, lacking any remarkable insight or rigorous apologetic spiel.

        • MNb

          Good for you. I don’t an imaginary character to make me possible to live out my love for other human beings.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you don’t care about believing the truth, merely that which comforts you. If that’s so, you’re the biggest sucker alive and will be repeatedly swindled, but if not, if you only apply that to the idea of religion, then you’re a hypocrite.

        • wladyslaw

          So YOU care about the truth? Is there truth in the world? Is there an absolute truth? Do you care? Or do you care only about relative truth. It seems to me you care about truth, not relative truth.

        • Mutale

          well something is true if you can show that it true its not true just cause someone says so. If you jump off a building gravity will push you down to your death you don’t need anyones word for that to be true. Your truth is kinda relative because all comes down to it just being gods subjective opinion that we just have to believe no matter what

        • Greg G.

          I do care about truth and eliminating error. We probably cannot ever hope to achieve absolute truth so we can only go on what we can learn about the reality presented to us while requiring evidence to separate our own fantasies and the fantasies of others to muddy the waters.

        • Herald Newman

          So YOU care about the truth?

          I know that I do.

          Is there truth in the world?

          Truth is just a label that we put on propositions. We are able to label synthetic propositions based on our ability to verify the empirical predictions of that proposition. In that sense, yes, there is truth in the world.

          Is there an absolute truth

          Maybe. If there is, we don’t seem to have a way to gain access to it. The best we can do is approximate the truthiness of synthetic propositions through science.

          Or do you only care about relative truth

          Can you elaborate on what you mean by “relative truth”?

          [edit edited for typo]

        • wladyslaw

          Maybe…truth is just a label. Not much to care about…

          There is . mathematical truth–2+2=4. There is scientific truth–E=mcsquared. There is existential truth. Love exists and I love someone. I cannot prove it scientifically, but the truth of that love is as true as 2+2=4.

          BTW, no one lives by relative truth, all protestations to the contrary. Rape is always wrong in all circumstances, no matter what an individual may think.

        • Otto

          Is genocide always wrong? How about slavery?

        • wladyslaw

          Descrptive stories in the Old Testament (not proscriptive), are troublesome for me too.

        • Greg G.

          Slavery and genocide are proscriptive in the Old Testament. The Israelis were commanded to kill them all and punished because some were to be killed later as sacrifices. Slavery is also regulated and allows slaves to be bequeathed indefinitely.

        • Doesn’t “proscribe” mean to condemn? I think your point is that genocide and slavery in the OT aren’t at all condemned.

        • wladyslaw

          I think t in this instance means to put something forward as the right thing to do.
          No, it isn’t always condemned in the Old Testament.
          Christ’s commandment was to love one another as you love yourself.

          Does that mean that God changed?
          I don’t necessarily understand Christian apologists’ explanations for the discrpeancy.

          But I do understand Christ’s new commandment to love–even one’s enemies.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet he had another commandment saying that you couldn’t love and follow him if you didn’t hate your family. FFS, the whole thing’s a mess.

        • MNb

          And slaves. Jesus new commandment to love explicitly includes slaves. As the slaves they are.
          Which means that according to Jesus slavery was not absolutely objectively wrong.

        • No, it isn’t always condemned in the Old Testament.

          It doesn’t bother you that God failed this very simple moral test (“Is slavery wrong?”)?

          But I do understand Christ’s new commandment to love–even one’s enemies.

          I see no remarkable moral insights in the Bible. Read any other book of holy wisdom and you’ll probably find about the same.

        • Kodie

          The stories about god definitely changed. Christians tried to piggyback on the Jewish god, but you definitely invented a completely different god, or you decided his temperament would be entirely different. It’s like anyone at any time inventing any god – whatever seems convenient to the culture inventing him at the time. Superstition is like that. For many long years, finding a penny on the ground is said to be lucky, but what if seeing a penny on the ground could be said to be bad luck? I mean, I always have bad luck whenever I see a penny (like that one time and I psyched myself out that other time). The culture wanted badly to get out of harsh rules and burnt offerings. The system was liquidated to Christianity where your offering is cash instead – why? Do you ever question it? Do you just give cash? How much?

        • Greg G.

          Yeah, I realized my error when I saw another post using “prescribe” but all hell broke loose and I didn’t get back to it.

        • Otto

          Whether they are prescriptive or descriptive is not the point (though when God orders genocide I would say that is prescriptive).

          The point is if there are certain things that are always wrong I would put genocide and owning people as property in that category, and yet God nor Jesus ever said those things are wrong in all cases. It should be a pretty simple concept for the creator of what is objectively right and wrong. I don’t think one can honesty be an adherent of the Bible and still claim their morality is not just as subjective as anyone’s.

        • Susan

          Maybe– truth is just a label. Not much to care about…

          Herald Newman said nothing of the sort. Did you you even read the post or are you just here to repeat stale apologetics?

          There is mathematical truth–2+2=4

          This can be demonstrated assuming the values.

          There is scientifc truth–E=mcsquared.

          What do you mean by “scientific truth”?

          There is existential truth. Love exists and I love someone.

          What do you mean by “existential truth”?

          the truth of tha love is as true as 2+2=4

          They are in no way connected. You are using the term “truth” in completely disconnected ways. What do you mean by “truth”?

          Herald wrote a perfectly good post and you’ve utterly ignored its substance.

        • wladyslaw

          Truth is correspondence to reality. Moral truth deals with the rightness or wrongness of human actions–and despite all protestations to the contrary–moral truths are absolute.
          No matter what I personally think about the morality of rape, if I raped your wife, you would not allow me to say, “But in my culture, this kind of rape is OK!”

        • Greg G.

          If that kind of rape was OK in your culture, it would prove that it was not absolute or objective. It still comes down to our own understanding of morality.

        • wladyslaw

          No, for you rape is always wrong for all humanity for all time, no matter what anyone or any culture thinks. It’s an absolute moral truth for you. Not wrong for me, but OK for you. Wrong for me and wrong for you and wrong for everyone else.

        • Michael Neville

          You don’t understand Greg G’s comment. He’s saying that rape is not absolutely or objectively immoral.

        • wladyslaw

          If what you say is true, I do not believe Greg when he is saying rape is not absolutely immoral. If I raped his wife or daughter or girlfriend, no matter what my viewpoint was, no matter what anyone’s viewpoint was, he would say it was wrong for me to do so–not just wrong for him, but wrong for me or anyone else in the whole world. In other words, objectively wrong

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming what I wrote above: you are another apologist who claims to understand better what in this case Greg G thinks and feels than he himself.

        • Michael Neville

          There is ongoing debate about what constitutes rape. In Western countries it’s been determined that a husband can rape his wife. But in other parts of the world, for example most Muslim-majority countries, marital rape is neither legally nor morally rape. For that matter, there are fundamentalist Christians in the US who don’t consider marital rape to be morally rape and they whine about it being legal rape.

          So yes, rape is not absolutely, objectively immoral. For something to be objectively moral or immoral, the vast majority of the world’s population has to believe it’s moral or immoral. Rape hasn’t achieved that.

        • In Western countries it’s been determined that a husband can rape his wife.

          Just to clarify, I’m pretty sure that you mean: It’s possible for a husband to rape his wife, which would be a crime.

          (Your “can” was a little ambiguous, and I was trying to dis-ambiguify.)

        • Michael Neville

          Thank you for the dis-ambiglification.

        • I would never accuse you of ambiglifying. But thanks for the vocabulary expansion.

        • wladyslaw

          No, a moral absolute does not depend on the vast majority of the world to agree with it. The vast majority of the world may agree that slavery is OK, as it once did. You would still hold that slavery is absolutely wrong for everybody, despite its popularity.

        • Michael Neville

          If a there is a moral absolute then everyone, barring sociopaths, would recognize it as being absolute. Since nothing, not a damn thing, is recognized as being morally absolute, then there cannot be moral absolutes. QED!

        • wladyslaw

          The definition of a moral absolute is NOT that it is universally held.

          The definition of an absolute moral standard is SHOULD a standard (rape is wrong) hold for everyone under all circumstances for all time.
          I

        • Michael Neville

          If something is a standard then it should be known to everyone, especially if it comes from the Magic Sky Pixie™.

        • MNb

          …. even if all sentient beings in the Universe thought otherwise.
          Which makes your beloved question “do YOU say rape is always wrong” evidence for relative, subjective ethics.
          I brought up Stalin who in 1945 defended rape as a morally
          just thing.
          You brought up muslims who did the same.
          You haven’t even begun to try to prove them wrong. Funny – you think science can prove gravity as the absolute truth but apparently you can’t prove “rape is wrong” as the absolute truth.
          With every comment of yours you deny absolute objective morality and you’re too dishonest to admit it.

        • Kodie

          There are no moral absolutes. Everything is conditions.

        • wladyslaw

          Is that absolutely true?

        • Kodie

          Killing happens all the time. It’s only certain conditions that we call it murder, as a legal term, but as a moral term, plenty of people’s conditions are more inclusive, less inclusive, or different than the law. Everything is conditions. There are people who think war is murder rather than legal killing. Some people think nobody should kill animals for food or material, and some that eat hamburgers but can’t kill a spider.

          Lying happens all the time, and lots of times it’s ok, but there are conditions where it’s not, and often these conditions are left to the individual. A person can lie on their resume and if they are never caught, did they really steal an opportunity from someone else if they turn out to be brilliant at their job? Did they really make a fool out of the manager, and should be punished anyway? If people think my hair is blonde, is that my fault? If I don’t tell you you look fat in your jeans when you ask, am I evil? If you tell your kids there’s a Santa Claus, is that so terrible?

          When you look at a lie, you have to see what conditions there are around it, who is affected and how bad. Often the liar will say it wasn’t that bad, but the victim may be terribly hurt – not just their feelings, but the couple dollars that the lie tricked them out of. Advice says not to tell your spouse you cheated just to get it off your chest, but what if they find out anyway? Is the pain of being cheated on doubled by having been lied to? There are plenty of couples who probably rest in some idea that the husband cheats, oh well, we’re used to it by now, nobody talks about it, wife just looks the other way about it. Others murder their spouse.

          Conditions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What part of “everything is conditions” do you not understand?

          Following on from Kodie’s longer comment about “love”….

          http://saikrishnakorivi.com/everythings-conditional/

          I don’t know anything for certain…or have absolutes…

          “I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence”~ Q.Quine

          http://quinesqueue.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/reasonable-expectations-based-on-prior.html

          What reasonable expectations based on prior evidence can you point to with your YahwehJesus hypothesis and what method do you use to confirm such?

        • MNb

          “You would still hold …”
          Which makes the view subjective, because it depends on the beliefs of the one holding those views. Slavery only would be absolutely and objectively wrong if it were wrong even if all sentient beings in the Universe thought otherwise.

        • Greg can speak quite well for himself, but to interject myself: of course I’m not saying that it’s objectively wrong. I’m just saying that it’s wrong. That’s it, and that’s enough.

          Look up the relevant moral words in the dictionary, and you’ll see that there is no objective anything.

        • wladyslaw

          Saying something is wrong (not just for yourself but for everybody) is saying that rape is objectively wrong–not subject to the beliefs of the individual.

        • MNb

          It is – it’s subject to the belief of the individual saying that something is wrong.
          Again you only confirm that ethics are relative and subjective.
          Funny how believers make the same error over and over and over and over again.

        • Then we have very different definitions for “objective morality.” The one I’ve been using says that it’s morality that’s valid and binding on everyone, whether they believe it or not and whether there are humans or not.

          I see no evidence for such a thing. What you’re talking about is shared morality.

        • MNb

          “For you” means it’s not absolute nor objective, silly.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I do not like rape because it causes pain and suffering. The universe does not care. There are species that reproduce by rape. A species of beetle must cut open the female’s abdomen to deposit sperm. Neither you nor I care. Some cultures think rape is the thing to do when they can. You and I object but they don’t listen.

          There cannot be an absolute moral truth for me unless it is for everybody and everything. I may detest something but that does not make it an absolute. No matter how strongly we agree, it does not make it an absolute.

        • wladyslaw

          Can you personally give me one example where rape is moral? Just one.
          Rape is always wrong for everybody is an absolute moral truth/
          No exceptions.

          Unless you can provide one for me.

        • Greg G.

          I just told you that I could not. Why don’t you ask someone from a culture where some rapes are thought to be justified?

          If a powerful being cared that something was absolutely wrong, it would not be possible to do it. We could infer that exceeding the speed of light and tickling yourself are absolutely wrong. If a creator made it a rule that rape was wrong, it would be like trying to tickle yourself.

          We can figure out why we shouldn’t rape and why others would. It’s the same reasons chimpanzees and orangutans would do it.

        • wladyslaw

          Free will presupposes the possibility of doing wrong. Otherwise we would be robots, neither good nor bad.

        • Greg G.

          Good is what promotes our well-being. Bad is what is detrimental to our well-being. That’s how we know what is good and bad without the need to pretend there is a god telling us the difference.

          We could be robots designed by genetic programming to act according to the principle of reproduction but still incapable of realizing that we are programmed.

        • wladyslaw

          Those two principals seem absolute moral truths.

        • MNb

          Like in catholic heaven, you mean, where the possibility of doing wrong has disappeared?

        • Joe

          Why would that be a bad thing?

        • Kodie

          Why do Christians all turn into robots?

        • MNb

          “Rape is always wrong for everybody is an absolute moral truth.”
          Indeed. Unfortunately for you you can’t prove it, so shrug.
          For instance Stalin argued in 1945 that rape is moral. You can only answer that by pointing out that Stalin was an evil character, which results in a circular argument.

          “I think/opine/feel that rape is always wrong for everybody” is not an absolute ethical statement at all. Tons of people in human history have disagreed, including your own favourite Holy Book.
          If you were serious about absolute moral truth, would put your money where your mouth is, you would abandon christianity immediately because its Holy Book according to you contains absolute moral evil.
          But you don’t. You practice relative, subjective morality.

        • Herald Newman

          If you’re arguing for an objective morality, even if every single person in the world agreed that action X in situation Y, was immoral, you’ve done exactly nothing to demonstrate an objective truth to your moral statement. All you’ve done is demonstrate that we agree with the moral statement.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No exceptions.

          Where do you get the idea that rape being wrong is an “absolute moral truth” from?

        • Joe

          He’s probably read “Apologetics for Dummies.”.

        • Joe

          Can you personally give me one example where rape is moral? Just one.

          You’ve inadvertently described secular objective morality there.

          Rape is ‘wrong’ only because we can’t think of a reason why it is right.

          It’s not wrong ‘in and of itself’, which would be arbitrary and remove moral reasoning entirely.

        • Speaking for myself, I say that I reject (or hate or detest or whatever) rape. Who could possibly state that it’s an absolute moral crime? On what grounds would you be saying that?

        • wladyslaw

          Bob, do you just PERSONALLY detest rape, but would allow me the right to rape, if I thought it is OK, or do you think that it is also wrong for me, and everybody else?

        • MNb

          Because I PERSONALLY detest rape I would not allow you the right to rape, exactly BECAUSE I disagree with you thinking it’s OK.

        • I personally detest rape. What other platform can I stand on that “Bob’s opinion”?

          I think it’s wrong for you and everyone else. If I had the ability to, I would impose my no-rape opinion on someone else.

          And it’s still just my opinion.

        • Herald Newman

          >No, for you rape is always wrong for all humanity for all time

          Okay, but so what? If what I consider rape, and what you and everyone else considers rape, are different, how does that get us any closer to “moral truth”?

          Further, if there is “moral truth”, how do we access it?

        • Are you saying that objective morality (moral truth that is true whether or not there is anyone to appreciate it) exists? I’ve heard that claim many times, of course, but I’ve never seen any evidence for it.

        • wladyslaw

          No, I’m not saying that. Despite what sosme of us may professionally profess, none of us lives by relative truth. You trust that your bank account is what your statement says. You would not agree that someone can rape your wife because his or her culture approves of it. If I steal from you, no matter whether I think it is right or wrong, YOU certainly think it is wrong for me to do so,

        • Michael Neville

          You trust that your bank account is what your statement says.

          Actually I don’t. I’m an accountant and I check my statement carefully against bills and receipts. A couple of times I’ve gone to the bank to show them where they made an error (once in my favor, once in theirs).

          You would not agree that someone can rape your wife because his or her culture approves of it.

          How do you know this? If the culture approves of rape then it would be counter-cultural to object. Besides, if I had been taught from childhood on that rape was acceptable then why would I object? You need to think about your analogies a little more carefully.

        • wladyslaw

          Michael, I’ll ask you. Would you NOW agree that I can rape your wife if my culture NOW approves of it?

        • Greg G.

          Someone from your culture could rape your wife and you would not think it was wrong.

        • Michael Neville

          But your culture doesn’t approve of it so your rhetorical question is moot.

        • wladyslaw

          You know the answer to that question. It is not a moot point.
          Some Moslems in Europe believe raping Christian girls is lawful. Are you OK with that, or do you believe that it’s still wrong for those Moslems to rape those girls. There are actual court cases right now in Europe where Moslems are claiming innocence of rape because of their culture!

        • Ignorant Amos

          If there are human beings that believe there is nothing wrong with rape then they are not being immoral by their subjective standards.

          The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

          https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/07/uk-convicted-muslim-rapist-did-not-understand-what-is-acceptable-in-uk

        • Michael Neville

          I see I was wrong about the Quran and rape.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As things usually go. Different types of rape, different interpretations of texts.

          Like epeeist said elsewhere, spousal rape was not illegal until fairly recently in many parts. And the buck stops with religion for a big part of it. Morality of it didn’t seem to be an issue. The problem still exists in some parts of the world too.

          Historically, many cultures have had a concept of spouses’ conjugal rights to sexual intercourse with each other. This can be seen in English common law, in force in North America and the British Commonwealth, where the very concept of marital rape was treated as an impossibility. This was illustrated most vividly by Sir Matthew Hale, in his 1736 legal treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ or History of the Pleas of the Crown, where he wrote that such a rape could not be recognized since the wife “hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marital_rape

          It’s clear that all rape at all places isn’t seen as criminal or immoral by everyone everywhere.

        • Michael Neville

          Even in Muslim countries rape is illegal. I have explained that marital rape is a matter of controversy but rape is generally illegal. Those Muslims you mentioned know that raping Christian women is unlawful but do not think it is immoral. Speeding 10 mph above the speed limit is illegal but not considered immoral.

          As for the Muslims pushing for a not guilty verdict in rape trials, they’re reaching for a very weak straw. The Quran condemns rape and doesn’t differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim victims so I don’t think the cultural defense is going to be too successful.

        • Kodie

          Technically, his culture disapproves of sexing up another man’s property wife, or the wife cuckolding her husband, even though she’s expected to look the other way if he cheats, PLUS claiming it was rape! We can never know if she was actually raped, or has suspiciously slipped the bounds of marriage to make a fool out of wladyslaw. It’s safer to blame the woman for everything, and so rape is still ok in wladyslaw’s culture.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think your cultural instructions apply elsewhere?

          Besides, rape is already culturally acceptable in the US! We live in a culture that wants to blame victims and let rapists get on with their lives. We live in a culture that oppresses women and wants to keep their victimhood silent, as exposing it would invite defense counsel to tear down her sexual character, as though having sex willingly once was permission to be used as a sexual object. Being married to your rapist is even worse – we’ve gotten more modern about whether a man has the right to fuck his wife any time he wants, but as it is a form of abuse, most victims stay silent. Christian women advise submissiveness to advances of rape by their husbands, lest they go elsewhere to fulfill their “masculine needs”. Men who are raped are even more silent than women! There is such embarrassment and blame to the victims that rapists go free, therefore we live in a culture already that rape is permissible and legal. When a rape case goes public, people are more easily sympathetic to the male rapist than the female victim because “his life doesn’t need to be ruined over this” vs. her lifetime of trauma and blamed for “asking for it” somehow. If it’s a male victim, he is expected to have wanted sex anyway, how can a man be raped – if he’s raped by another man, another whole level of shame, as though people will assume he is gay, in a culture that not only condones plenty of rape, but stigmatizes people who are caught in gay sexual encounters. A hetero man, even a cool, modern-going bro, would tend to be embarrassed that people he cares about will think he is gay and trying to lie about being raped. Speaking about lying – we go back to women and the typical “he said-she said” scenario, where the public judges think she is lying, because that’s so “typical” of rape victims to lie about being raped to get some sort of revenge on a guy who didn’t call her back.

          So don’t tell me we all think rape is universally objectively wrong. You can’t rape MN’s wife, that’s fucking absurd that in MN’s culture that’s ok.

        • Susan

          Would you NOW agree that I can rape your wife if my culture NOW approves of it?

          I see. Absolute morality is based on what Michael Neville NOW believes.

          I’ll just check in with Michael when I have moral questions.

          I hope he’s in a good mood when I ask.

        • MNb

          “because his or her culture”
          No, because my ethics (which of course is informed by my culture) doesn’t approve of it.
          Thanks for confirming that ethics and morals are not absolute.

          “no matter whether I think it is right or wrong, YOU certainly think it is wrong for me to do so,”
          Thanks for stressing the YOU. It confirms that ethics and morals are not absolute. They would be absolute if you could demonstrate that stealing is wrong no matter what ANYONE thinks of it.

        • wladyslaw

          MNb,
          You ACT as if rape is wrong for everyone under all circumstances–the very definition of an absolute moral standard–even as you profess with your mouth that there is no such standard.

        • MNb

          Nope, Mr. catholic mind reader, I don’t act like that. I act as if I think, as if it’s my personal, subjective view that rape is wrong for everyone under all circumstances and as if it’s my individual wish that nobody ever gets raped. I don’t act as if that view is true independent of what my, your or anyone else’s view is. And that’s the very definition of an absolute moral standard, not the thing you pull out of the bottom of your digestive system.
          So Mr. catholic mind reader, you bear false witness on me. With all your blah blah about absolute moral standards you are not even trying to live up to them yourself.

        • Depending on how you define “relative truth,” I live that way. Here again, we’re not agreeing on what “objective morality” is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You just don’t get it at all, do ya?

          I come now to the definition of “truth” and “falsehood.” Certain things are evident. Truth is a property of beliefs, and derivatively of sentences which express beliefs. Truth consists in a certain relation between a belief and one or more facts other than the belief. When this relation is absent, the belief is false. A sentence may be called “true” or “false” even if no one believes it, provided that, if it were believed, the belief would be true or false as the case may be. So much, I say, is evident. But what is not evident is the nature of the relation between belief and fact that is involved, or the definition of the possible fact that will make a given belief true, or the meaning of “possible” in this phrase. Until these questions are answered we have no adequate definition of “truth.”~ Bertrand Russell

          Attempts have been made to define “truth” in terms of “knowledge,” or of concepts, such as “verifiability,” which involve “knowledge.” Such attempts, if carried out logically, lead to paradoxes which there is no reason to accept. I conclude that “truth” is the fundamental concept, and that “knowledge” must be defined in terms of “truth,” not vice versa. This entails the consequence that a proposition may be true although we can see no way of obtaining evidence either for or against it.~Bertrand Russell

          I think it is wrong for children to be married, but historically, and in many parts of the world today, in many cultures including the west, it was/is not wrong.

          The causes of child marriage are common across Africa. Parents may marry off their daughter due to poverty or out of fear for their safety. Tradition and the stigma of straying from tradition perpetuate child marriage in many communities. Crucially, gender inequality and the low value placed on girls underlie the practice.

          http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/region/sub-saharan-africa/

        • Kodie

          New Hampshire Girl Scout Fights To Raise Legal Marriage Age To 18

          CONCORD, NH (CBS) – It was 17-year-old Cassandra Levesque who learned about New Hampshire’s marriage law at a leadership conference and it left quite an impression. “I was shocked that we still have that law,” she said.

          It’s a law that allows girls as young as 13, and boys who are 14 to be married with the consent of a judge who finds a special circumstance.

          “It’s hard to understand what special cause could exist to allow a child to enter into marriage,” said Jessica Eskeland of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

          Cassandra, as part of a Girl Scout project, worked to craft a piece of legislation to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18. She came to the New Hampshire statehouse to follow the debate on Thursday, but lawmakers rejected the bill.

          “They’re just entering their teenage years, going into puberty, just discovering things about themselves. They’re not ready to discover marriage,” she said.

          The number of minors marrying has actually been dropping in New Hampshire. But sponsors of the bill say in the last five years two 15-year-old girls have married and one girl as young as 13.

          From 1989 to 2016 there were 784 marriages involving minors. Representative Jacalyn Cilley, who sponsored the bill on Cassandra’s behalf, believes current law carries consequences for minors. “There’s a 15 percent high school dropout rate, and increased risk of domestic abuse and violence in a relationship,” she said.

          State Representative David Bates who opposed the bill agrees 13 is a young age. But he believes there can be special circumstances such as a pregnancy, and says no judge would randomly allow such a marriage to
          happen.

          “We’re asking the legislature to repeal a law that’s been on the books for over a century, that’s been working without difficulty, on the basis of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project,” said Bates.

          The bill has become a passion for Cassandra Levesque, but she’s learning there are two sides to the debate. “I feel very accomplished and proud of myself that I’ve gotten this far,” she said.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “You trust that your bank account is what your statement says.”

          Banks encourage you not to do this. Look on the back of a paper statement. There is a ledger that allows you to test for yourself if the numers add up because sometimes the statement is wrong.

        • Susan

          Truth is correspondence to reality. Moral truth deals with the rightness or wrongness of human actions-

          I, like Herald, went to some effort to respond to your post and you are responding as though you didn’t even read it.

          Now, you’re on to moral truth and have done no work on the general subject of truth. You are are simply proclaiming things as truth.

          You’re the one who implied that you care about what’s true and that others here don’t but when pressed on the subject, you fail to respond.

          Please answer my questions. You brought it up.

        • Joe

          So it’s a moral absolute that a woman should cover her head in public?

        • epeeist

          No matter what I personally think about the morality of rape, if I raped your wife, you would not allow me to say, “But in my culture, this kind of rape is OK!”

          Do you want to try Judges 21:10-24, Numbers 31:7-18 and Deuteronomy 20:10-14. You might also want to consider what was at least until recently the Christian attitude to rape in marriage.

          Now I would see your example as an instance of inter-subjective agreement within a culture. It might even be universal. I don’t see it as an objective moral value though.

          Perhaps you could explain how it is an objective moral value and how you know this to be so.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If it were an “objective moral value” that rape is bad we wouldn’t be talking about it because rape would be something no one would ever think to do. Instead we have lots of people throughout history who raped just fine- nothing objectively making it a moral impossibility.

        • Herald Newman

          > mathematical truth–2+2=4

          This is simply a tautology, given the definitions of 2, +, =, and 4.

          > There is scientific truth–E=mcsquared. There is scientific truth–E=mcsquared.

          This is an analytic truth claim. It certainly appears to be true, and we’ve never falsified it. We cannot absolutely prove it to be true, only show that the evidence supports the idea.

          > Love exists and I love someone

          I’m willing to accept this claim, largely because the evidence supports that people experience love, and there are no real consequences to me being wrong in this belief. It’s such a mundane claim.

          >Rape is always wrong in all circumstances, no matter what an individual may think.

          Only because rape is defined as the unjustified sexual activity with another person. The fact that it’s unjustified tells you that it’s wrong! The problem is that not everyone has the same definition of what constitutes rape. Just look in the Bible and you’ll find that what I consider rape was sanctioned (Num 31:18)

        • wladyslaw

          I agree that in history rape has been defined in different ways. What I meant was that for you, the fact that rape is always wrong in all circumstances, is absolutely true.

        • Susan

          in history rape has been defined in different ways. What I meant was that for you

          That is the definition of subjective morality

          the fact that rape is always wrong in all circumstances, is absolutely true.

          You can’t just claim something as “fact” and call it absolutely “true”.

          You could make an argument based on a model of morality that under that model, rape is wrong. But that doesn’t make it absolutely “true”.

          It just means you can make a moral statement under a moral model that “rape is wrong”.

          I agree that rape is wrong. Because I see no use for morality where it doesn’t address the subjective experience of earthlings, short term or long term.

          But that doesn’t make it “absolutely true”.

          On what basis do you make that claim?

          You’ve made a mess of “scientific truth”, “existential truth” and now, “moral truth”.

        • MNb

          Catholics seem to be pretty good at making such messes.

        • wladyslaw

          “I agree that rape is wrong” is an absolute moral statement.

        • Zeta

          wladyslaw: ““I agree that rape is wrong” is an absolute moral statement.

          Good on you. Does this absolute moral statement come from your god?

          Deuteronomy 21.10 – 14 say that if you see a pretty woman among the captives and would like her for a wife, then just bring her home and “go in unto her.” Later, if you don’t like her, you can “let her go.”

          Numbers 31:17 – 18: “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
          18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

        • wladyslaw

          Zeta, I was talking about fact that YOU believe rape is always wrong for everybody, and therefore an absolute moral truth.

        • MNb

          Catholic Wladyslaw is another believer who is incapable of correcting his errors and keeps on repeating them ad nauseam.

          Absolute truth by definition does not depend on “YOU”. Your “YOU” refers in this case to the subject called Zeta, which makes her statement relative and subjective.

        • Greg G.

          I think Zeta just entered the conversation by showing how the Bible has God ordering things that we might think are absolutely wrong if there was a god.

        • wladyslaw

          Let Zeta speak for herself. Does she believe rape is always wrong for everybody,

        • MNb

          Oooooh! Catholic Wladyslaw worships an authoritarian god who moderates the entire Universe! Follows an authoritarian pope who moderates his entire church! Now Catholic Wladyslaw wants to be a little god and little pope and moderate this entire discussion!
          Sorry for you, Wlad. It doesn’t work that way. Just like your god and your pope you can command your dog and go bark yourself.

        • Michael Neville

          I knew that Wladyslaw was either a fundamentalist or a Catholic when the example of “moral absolute” was a sexual crime.

          Just once I’d like some Christian to argue that “love your neighbor like yourself” was a moral absolute. That would be a lot harder to disprove than rape. But the Christians always fixate on immoral actions when they talk about morality.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Funny thing is…nowhere have I read in the Bible the words “Thou shalt not rape”…but there are lots of instructions and examples a galore that rape is condoned and rewarded.

        • Kevin K

          You’d think it would make the Top Ten list if it were do darned important, wouldn’t you? But nope…”don’t SWEAR” is more important than “don’t rape”. “Don’t make graven images” is more important than “don’t abuse children”. “Keep the Sabbath holy” is more important than “don’t own other people.”

          Savagely immoral. That’s what that’s all about.

        • Kodie

          I believe rape is always wrong for everybody. So what? Everybody doesn’t agree with me. Lots of people in USA believe rape isn’t really rape or rape is ok, or it was the victim’s fault. I already live in a society that condones most instances of rape.

        • Lower the bar with that redefinition and, sure, lots of things become absolute moral statements. But why rig the game? You’ve made “absolute moral statement” not particularly interesting.

        • Greg G.

          Love exists and I love someone. I cannot prove it scientifically, but the truth of that love is as true as 2+2=4.

          Well, a love may not be a healthy relationship. It can also distort you perception. You cannot prove that the object of your affection loves you back or appreciates your affection. You might even love something so much that you can’t understand the concept that it doesn’t love you back, even though it is just a figment of your imagination.

        • wladyslaw

          There may be counterfeit love masquarading as real love, but that does not take away from the reality that love, unprovable, exists.

        • Greg G.

          If it is unprovable, then you do not know that it exists. You are speculating that it is reality.

        • wladyslaw

          I love my wife, and my wife loves me, and that’s reality.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you sure your wife loves you? Maybe she puts up with you because you’re a steady paycheck or you’re good in bed or you let her run both your life and hers or you run her life or whatever. You cannot be absolutely 100% sure that your wife loves you.

        • wladyslaw

          Then you are saying you can NEVER really know if someone loves you. That is not reality. True love exists, and people know it in their hearts, just like they know the love of Jesus in their hearts.

        • Michael Neville

          Then you are saying you can NEVER really know if someone loves you.

          That’s exactly what I’m saying. Congratulations, you understood what I was saying without it having to be explained to your dumb ass fifty bazillion times before you finally got a hint about what anyone is saying to you.

          That is not reality.

          You need to define reality.

          True love exists, and people know it in their heart…

          I know things in my brain. My heart is used for pumping blood, not knowing anything.

          …just like they know the love of Jesus in their hearts.

          Jesus is a fictitious character. If you think that Jesus “loves” you then you’re delusional.

        • Pofarmer

          People can love concepts, and imaginary things, and ideas. Just like Jesus.

        • wladyslaw

          And some people can love real people.

        • Kodie

          I love world peace.

        • MNb

          Just like you NEVER can REALLY know whether you will fall downward or upward when jumping off a bridge tomorrow.

        • wladyslaw

          People usually know.

        • MNb

          People usually know if someone loves them as well.
          Same difference.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe your wife acts like she loves you so you don’t suspect that she’s having an affair with the priest. When you believe someone loves you, you are the last to know differently. It always feels right until the other decides he/she has had enough of the charade. Enjoy it while you can.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Actually, we can know a lot of stuff from our guts.

        • Joe

          Then you are saying you can NEVER really know if someone loves you

          Which is why people are never surprised when their partner takes all their money and runs away with the gardener/secretary?

        • Greg G.

          Maybe, but you know your wife exists. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o had a long distance relationship with a girlfriend he had never met. She died of leukemia during Notre Dame’s season but then she decided to call him right before the bowl game. It turns out that she was a fictional character played over the phone by a man. The Jesus character only interacts with you through your imagination.

        • Yes, and that’s well explained naturally. No supernatural required.

        • wladyslaw

          You can explain what love is naturally, but you cannot prove it naturally.

        • MNb

          You can explain what electricity is naturally, but you cannot prove it naturally. So shrug.

        • Herald Newman

          Outside of areas like mathematics, and pure logic, we cannot prove anything, ever! Science never proves things, it only makes tentative models based on the available evidence, subject to change with newer data.

        • Kevin K

          Again, sure you can prove it “naturally”.

          Observations of humans interacting with one-another are “natural”. They’re not supernatural at all. Demonstrations of affection, statements of affection, emotional reactions in the face of a loved-one’s crisis … all are perfectly “natural” things we can observe to determine if someone loves someone else.

          I’ll give you an example in the obverse. Trump does not “love” Melania. She is an object to him. It’s perfectly apparent by the way he looks at her, and by the way he treats her that there is no “love” in that relationship. By contrast, look at the Obamas, who treat each other with mutual respect and kindness.

          Oh no. I’ll not let you get away with declaring that “love” is some sort of unknown and unknowable thing and … therefore, what? Therefore “god”? How in the world can you get from an emergent property of things with brains to “there’s a god”? Can’t.

        • Joe

          Me too, and neither me nor the wife have to believe in God.

        • wladyslaw

          Yet both of you believe in a reality you cannot prove.

        • MNb

          So what? You cannot prove gravity either. Still you won’t jump off a high tower to make that point.
          So your remark is totally pointless.

        • wladyslaw

          You can empirically prove gravity. Not so much with love.

        • MNb

          “Empirically prove” is a contradiction in terms.
          Why don’t you try to make sense instead?

        • wladyslaw

          Forgive my imprecise choice of words. You can prove gravity by scientific methodology.
          Love…not so much.

        • epeeist

          You can prove gravity by scientific methodology.

          Gravity as a matter of fact, or gravity as a theory?

          If the latter, then no you can’t. All that you can do is show that our current theories are the best explanation for a set of phenomena. Our theories are both tentative and we have to exhibit what William Wotton called a “tacit reserve” when we make truth claims about them.

        • MNb

          If the first, then no he can’t either. Bertrand Russell called it the Problem of Induction by Simple Enumeration.
          Next time you do an experiment things might turn out different.

        • epeeist

          If the first, then no he can’t either.

          Agreed, an indicator that one shouldn’t post after your children take you out for a meal with copious amounts of wine.

          Bertrand Russell called it the Problem of Induction by Simple Enumeration.

          Essentially following on from David Hume who showed us that our expectation that the experiment we will be carrying out today will give the same results as it did yesterday is purely psychological, a matter of “custom and habit”.

        • MNb

          “Prove by scientific methodology” is another contradiction in terms.
          Why don’t you try to make sense instead?

        • Kodie

          Love is not only an emotion but an action. Let’s say there’s a man who has an adulterous relationship with a woman from his office. He feels a certain passion for her, but on a lot of levels, it’s pretty uncommon for a man to leave his wife for that other woman. He has a good arrangement at home he doesn’t want to lose, and a lot of passion with this other woman that’s not entirely sincere. Can you say he doesn’t love his wife? He doesn’t look at her doing laundry in her 40s and nagging him for getting home late (because he feels guilty and is passing the blame) sexy or hot, but does that mean he doesn’t love her? Does he still take out the garbage, is he still filling in his duties in the household as a responsible party for his family? Lots of couples go through this, and it’s not because they don’t love each other, it’s because the chemical feeling of love is different in the unobligated passion than it is in the endurance of what it actually means to love someone – to take care of what you promised to take care of, i.e. the household and the children, and that just looks ugly and tired. Sorry! Love is ugly and tired and still fascinated with each other, but it feels different than the lust most married couples mistake for love – which can be measured chemically. It’s not my fault people get married thinking the passion will be enough, but it is a chemical that people think will bond them together forever. If you’ve felt it for someone, you can imagine other people feeling it to, and if someone really loves you, they will not only say it but do it.

        • Joe

          You need to explain that comment.

        • Aegis

          We can prove love exists. We have EEG and brainscan systems now. We can monitor electrical activity in brains and witness the emotion happening on an electrochemical scale.

          You’re changing the definitions of words to muddy the line between what can be proven and what can’t. Like every other believer who claims to have proven the existence of their god, your very first move has been to try to redefine what constitutes proof.

          I won’t actually engage you on this. There’s no point. You’ve decided not only what’s true, but also what we think. There is no reasoning with a mind like yours. I just wanted to make sure you understand you’re making a laughing stock of yourself and that other people talking to you like a serious human being are acts of pity, and nothing more.

        • wladyslaw

          An EEG will not prove that I love my wife or that she loves me. Simply not true.

        • Aegis

          Oh well as long as you can respond to an unfortunate reality with Nuh-Uh and prove everything I’m saying in the process. Whatev.

        • MNb

          Of course not. And you falling down from a high building and breaking your neck doesn’t prove that gravity exists. Simply not true.

        • wladyslaw

          Squiggly lines will NEVER prove whether I love you or not.

          Otherwise, we should have EEG tests before marriage, or get involved in a serious relationship.

        • MNb

          Your broken neck will NEVER prove whether gravity exists or not.

          “Otherwise, we should ….”
          Nice is-ought fallacy, combined with

          https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/26/Appeal-to-Consequences

        • Ignorant Amos

          Would you believe a polygraph?

        • Greg G.

          Or a seismograph?

        • wladyslaw

          Of course not. I would believe my wife who says she loves me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because your wife would never lie to you, would she? Never. Only other people do that sort of shite.

          Yeah…and a bet ya if she failed a polygraph test that, you’d at least have that seed of doubt. It’s human nature. You can deny it of course, because there is no way to test my hypothesis. But the world is full of men who believed they knew the truth and didn’t…they’d swear by it…I know, because I’ve one of them…and my current partner was 28 years married and she thought she knew too.

          Truth? Pah!

        • Giauz Ragnarock
        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha-ha!

          Yeah…I know they are considered pseudoscience, I’ve read the WP, but that doesn’t stop them from being used by government agencies and the results being reacted upon, or the results having an impact on the psyche. Ergo squiggly lines are having a result.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygraph

          There’s also this version…

          http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/lie-detectors-work-put-latest-6120654

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It could make a nervous innocent person seem more guilty (nervous) and not affect a calm guilty person at all because they are getting lines that visually reinforce they are being truthful (lying competently). As the video said, only the gullible fall for it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As the video said, only the gullible fall for it.

          Exactly…someone like this ya mean?

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4-Ac4tXKIkE/UD2109X5WxI/AAAAAAAAAEw/eOXXQC5AEvU/s1600/207206_359772364101916_1338586653_n.jpg

        • Kodie

          Is she afraid of what will happen to her if she lies to you?

        • Kodie

          Someone can love you or not love you and you can’t tell the difference. Love is chemicals in the brain bonding you to a person, or feeling protective and sentimental about them, and those feelings can go away too. You look at this person and wonder why you don’t feel about them the way you used to. People get married all the time because of chemical feelings of hormones and other stuff, and when life gets real, look for those feelings to be aroused by someone else instead of trying to revive them in their marriage partner. You don’t really seem to know what love is, you just act like you do.

        • Kevin K

          Actually, an fMRI machine would do that…but why bother? We don’t need technology to make assessments of human behavior. Your claim that love (an emergent property of things with brains) cannot be demonstrated scientifically is moronically wrong-headed.

        • adam

          “There may be counterfeit love masquarading as real love, but that does
          not take away from the reality that love, unprovable, exists.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c862151f2f5bdf2af3910632858abe4bc4896f4a6d1d906e92b6825e8d451539.jpg

        • adam

          ” Rape is always wrong in all circumstances, no matter what an individual may think.”

          Death to the Rape Victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

          If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

          It is clear that God doesn’t give a damn about the rape victim. He is only concerned about the violation of another mans “property”.

        • Mark Landes

          Actually not all Christians apparently believe that rape or incest is wrong only the “Will of God” – Same god you worship. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/03/23/in-defense-of-anti-abortion-bill-oklahoma-state-rep-declares-rape-and-incest-the-will-of-god/

        • adam
        • Kevin K

          Truth in the world depends on the perspective. There is no such thing as “absolute” truth. (Of course, “truth” is a dodgy concept as well, but let’s move on.)

          Newtonian physics: F=ma
          Einsteinian physics: E=mc^2
          Quantum physics: well, it involves characters that aren’t standard on the ASCII keyboard, but the idea is pretty simple. Electrons can only occupy certain discrete positions around a nucleus.

          What you’re doing is speaking in theist “code”. Substituting airy-fairy wishful thinking for what can be demonstrated to be real. Mainly, this wishful thinking revolves around the disturbingly dumb notion that your consciousness survives after death, and that your thoughts while alive are somehow used to assign your consciousness to either a satisfying or a non-satisfying post-death experience.

          That’s nonsense on a stick.

        • epeeist

          Truth in the world depends on the perspective.

          But if truth is perspective dependent then the above proposition can only be true relative to a perspective…

        • Kevin K

          And since we live in a relativistic universe (according to Einstein)…

        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Funny how no Christ ever talks about his followers. He doesn’t say anything about being love either.

        • wladyslaw

          Have you read the New Testament?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Jesus could start a book club with all of humanity. One week he could read out of the New Testament. The next week he could read out of an apologetics book arguing for the existence of God. The third week Jesus could read out of ‘Catch-22’.

        • al kimeea

          It was hell reading the Buybull. Heller was pleasant.

        • Michael Neville

          Has Jesus ever talked to his followers? He’s quoted in the New Testament (and the Book of Mormon, but you probably don’t accept that as “gospel”*) but does Jesus talk to anyone after the first third of the 1st Century?

          *Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Please don’t hit me.

        • Kevin K

          Beat your slaves with many stripes, but if they don’t know their wrongdoing, beat them with few stripes. — That guy who is supposed to be a great ethicist.

          Yes, dear, we’ve ALL read the bible.

        • al kimeea

          but he’s beating them lovingly

        • Kevin K

          I always find it fascinating that theists of this particular “Jesus was a great ethicist” flavor never seem to have read his ethics.

          Or mistake some things he’s saying as being original to him. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is supposed to be this huge revelation…a brand new ethical paradigm unique to Christianity. Isn’t. It’s Leviticus 19:18.

          (I suppose more accurately would be “attributed to”, since I’m a mythicist most of the time).

        • al kimeea

          and those neighbours, are they in the hut next door or the next tribe over like say, the Amakelites?

          Jebus is a mythy cyst on humanity

        • BlackMamba44

          Luke 14:26-27 (NIV)

          26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

          Matthew 10:34-37 (NIV)

          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

        • Pofarmer

          Thank you.

        • Kodie

          You sound like your own god.

        • wladyslaw

          Kodie, good to hear from you again. Yes, Kodie, whether we acknowledge it or not, we want to be our own gods, with no one to tell us what we can or can’t do.

        • MNb

          And again you nicely confirm what I write about you!

          “we want to be our own gods”
          Funny how you don’t want me to judge you but now judge the entire mankind to your own personal standard.

        • Greg G.

          Again, you are making some accusation. What is it that you think we do that we would not do if we had evidence that at least one god existed?

        • wladyslaw

          Christianity is not simply a code of ethics. It’s a relationship with the Person of Jesus, and EVERYTHING is different from that love relationship.

        • Kodie

          Brainwashed, divorced from reality, and a programmed pawn to try to get TITIHES. How much money have you already given them, wlad?

        • Susan

          Christianity is not simply a code of ethics.

          I don’t even see how it can be described as a code of ethics.

          No. It’s generally a belief in an unevidenced being based on an incoherent story that involves a guy who got crucified by the Romans (nothing unusual in that time and place) who was supposed to be a manifestation of that unevidenced being. There’s no reason to believe there is any truth in it.

          It’s a relationship with the Person of Jesus, and EVERYTHING is different from that love relationship.

          I don’t see anything different. People who claim to be christians don’t display anything special overall. They just look like ordinary people with unevidenced superstitious beliefs.

        • Pofarmer

          If it’s a code of ethics, it’s an incredibly contradictory one.

        • Kevin K

          …who have exactly the same foibles as everyone else (Ted Haggard, anyone? Jimmy Swaggart? Jim Bakker?)

        • Susan

          You made a claim more than once.

          Greg G. asked a very specific question about that claim;

          What is it that you think we do that we would not not do if we had evidence that at least one god existed?

          Again, you dodged the question. You don’t seem to have an answer. You haven’t really thought about the claim you made, have you?

          We can put that on the long list of cliche claims that christians make that they haven’t shown they really thought about.

          Every claim you’ve made so far, you don’t seem able to support.

          So, you move on to a new claim that you can’t support.

          Apologetics in a nutshell.

          Will one of you please show up and support at least one claim?

        • Kevin K

          Crock of crap. There is no evidence supporting that bold assertion, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. Witness the pedophile priest problem in the Catholic church (and the “youth pastor” problem in the Protestant communities).

          It’s just a lie. Lie. Lie. Big fat lie.

        • adam
        • busterggi

          Millions and millions of folks with ‘personal relationships’ with Jesus but not one of them knows his favorite movie or joke or color.

        • Kodie

          I have heard his favorite movie is Weekend at Bernie’s.

        • Greg G.

          But the relationship requires so much imagination. I can have an imaginary relationship with Miss America without having to imagine that she exists.

        • adam

          “It’s a relationship with the Person of Jesus,”

          So what’s his favorite color?
          What’s his excuse for appearing on toast?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0ded0c20f62b9d1996f93afe9c98e20dc6bf1035eaa16eb5acf23323c3cb09f.jpg

        • Kodie

          Don’t bother being polite – I think you’re boring and stupid. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are using your imaginary friend to exert power you don’t have over other people, but you really tell yourself what to do, or are controlled by a group who decides what your imaginary friend not only wants you to do, but what he wants you to tell other people about him and use him as a threat and an insult. You are your own god. You don’t have an actual god. Your opinion is essentially equal to mine, i.e., you do whatever you were going to do and I do what I do, and you can’t use your imaginary friend to exert yourself (your god) on me or other people.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I was a practical atheist, or at least an agnostic

          so, there was a period of your life which you still aren’t sure about labeling accurately (or simply prefer to be vague when referring to it). and we should consider this significant how/why?

        • adam
    • Otto

      Maybe I would have stayed a Christian though…but regardless I think you missed the point.

    • MNb

      Yeehay! And yet another christian who, very unJesuslike, understands better what atheists think and feel than they themselves!
      Silly, I can tell you exactly what kind of evidence would make me become a christian. It’s just not there.
      Of course it’s the other way round. No matter the evidence, no matter the arguments, nothing can convince you. It’s your cobeliever the fake philosopher WL Craig who has pointed out how come.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      YOUR KIND don’t realize how foolish you sound.

      Here’s an attempt to show you, though:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AiM9ECZXRE

    • TheMarsCydonia

      Most historians find the evidence that Hitler existed convincing, relatively none become nazis.
      So how does having convincing evidence of the existence of christian god equate to conversion to christianity?

    • adam

      “Even if you had the kind of evidence you wish we had, you would still not become a Christian. ”

      Why the need to bear false witness, are you an apologist?

  • sandy

    As I have said before “once you have seen the con, you can never unsee it”.

  • There’s a lot of assertions made above. The late dates of the NT documents are looking pretty shaky these days based on both internal and external documentary evidence. Kenneth Gentry’s “Before Jerusalem Fell” is a good read.

    On translation, the claim that the New Testament documents arose from Greek culture is a bit ignorant. Were they not simply written (or at least disseminated) in what was the universal language at the time? The entire point of the “tongues” on the Day of Pentecost was the reversal of the scattering at Babel (just before the call of Abram), and that the “one nation” priesthood was coming to an end. Hebrews says that Jesus’ priesthood is Melchizedekian, that is, the line of priest-kings of all nations which originated in Noah. The fact that the NT is in Greek reflects this change from one to many.

    The claim about the copies being far from the originals is fair but only if one ignores how meticulous the ancient scribal tradition was. Texts were read aloud in the congregation but the claim that Jewish textual tradition was based on oral communication is false. The Dead Sea scrolls are prime evidence of how meticulously preserved the contents of the manuscripts have been throughout history. Why would the New Testament be any different? Certainly there are textual variants but basic logic tends to sort these out.

    On the Gospel of Thomas, the gnostic gospels were written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and contain very different doctrines, being a reaction against the earlier Gospels, which were already well known and being read publicly as a unit. In modern parlance, they are very obviously little more than bad fanfic. (See Debunking the Gnostic Gospels – John Dickson on YouTube. He also has a documentary called “The Christ Files.”) These “Gospels” were never accepted by the Church, and do not contain the consistent Hebrew literary sequencing found in the NT documents which is based on all previous Scripture (all the texts contain heptamerous cycles within heptamerous cycles – modern term for these patterns is “fractal”). This leads to the claim that the four Gospels tell conflicting stories. All biblical texts are arranged theologically rather than strictly chronologically. Elements were arranged, included or excluded to make theological points. For instance, Matthew’s Gospel is structured around the five-point legal covenant structure found in Deuteronomy, highlighting the fact that Jesus was making a legal case against Jerusalem which would lead to its imminent destruction. The curses of Lev. 26 and Deut 28 would be visited upon her. John’s Gospel works its way through the furniture of the Tabernacle, corresponding each element to a particular day of the creation week in Genesis 1. So does the Revelation (Jesus appears as “light” at the beginning of both texts), at both macro and micro levels, as well as following the progression of Israel’s festal calendar. So what appears to be illogical or inconsistent to us is simply our failure to read the texts with an awareness of their “bandwidth,” where liturgy and structure were part of the means of literary communication. This is no different than taking a true story and adapting or stylizing it to make it suitable in literary form or for cinema today, but much more subtle and profound. For instance, Jewish scholar Robert Alter points out that the apparently strange juxtaposition of the stories of Joseph and Judah in Genesis is simply for the purpose of forcing the reader to notice the contrast between their two characters. TV and film do this all the time. Does that mean the events did not happen? Not necessarily.

    I doubt this would change your mind, but even if these are mere stories, the underlying complexity and integrity of the composition of these texts is breathtaking. It’s a bit like staring at one of those autostereograms that were popular a few years ago and suddenly your brain sees the 3D image. In most cases, all the biblical texts are arranged in a multi-layered “ziggurat” form, using chiasmus and a systematic or sequenced use of types from previous texts.

    If you are interested in taking a look at “systematic typology” (that is, the use of multi-layered sequencing in texts) I have a five part dissertation beginning here:

    https://theopolisinstitute.com/what-is-systematic-typology-part-one/

    I’m not claiming to have disproved your case at all, but hopefully shown that there is a lot more to this discussion than you seem to be aware of. I don’t believe “evidence” could ever be enough to lead to somebody’s conversion, or the lack of it to their non-conversion. Data has to be interpreted, and as human beings we tend to see what we want to see. Conversion is not anti-intellectual, but it requires the awakening of faculties far beyond the human intellect.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The late dates of the NT documents are looking pretty shaky these days based on both internal and external documentary evidence.

      According to who?

      Kenneth Gentry’s “Before Jerusalem Fell” is a good read.

      Again, according to who? A load of fellow seminary professors?

      On translation, the claim that the New Testament documents arose from Greek culture is a bit ignorant.

      Not really. I think it is you that is being a bit ignorant. All cultures in that area for centuries before the “first century” were Hellenistic in nature.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_Judaism

      Were they not simply written (or at least disseminated) in what was the universal language at the time?

      Why do you think that was then?

      The entire point of the “tongues” on the Day of Pentecost was the reversal of the scattering at Babel (just before the call of Abram), and that the “one nation” priesthood was coming to an end. Hebrews says that Jesus’ priesthood is Melchizedekian, that is, the line of priest-kings of all nations which originated in Noah. The fact that the NT is in Greek reflects this change from one to many.

      Theological clap-trap.

      • Kevin K

        I find the whole “tongues” discussion fascinating, since the biblical verses simultaneously describe it in two different ways: 1) the understanding of a speaker by everyone in the room in their native tongue without the need for translation; and 2) a complete lack of intelligibility of the speaker as if they’re speaking an unknown language.

        “Tongues” can quite literally mean anything the speaker decides it to mean.

        Claptrap, indeed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m reminded of the bit in Bill Maher’s movie, Religulous….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hC6DlamtjU

        • Kevin K

          The greasy haired guy in the video is one of my all-time favorite charlatans TV preachers. I once heard him say — and I am NOT making this up — “ramalamadingdonggrilledcheesesandwich”. And then he grinned at the camera like a fool.

        • I agree that modern tongues are gibberish. The tongues in the first century were a sign to the Jews, and after AD70 the “office” of Jew in God’s economy no longer exists. The division between Jew and Gentile was ended forever.

        • Sorry but this is a stupid argument. On the Day of Pentecost, people heard preaching in their own languages, but basic logic would tell you that one person would not have understood all the other languages that were being spoken. So the problem is not with “tongues” at all. It is with your lack of basic logic.

      • As above, many of these modern theories are posited by “scholars” who don’t themselves understand the texts. And like them, you simply assume that the texts were the product of the culture. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament by a non-believer shows that this is not the case.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The claim about the copies being far from the originals is fair but only if one ignores how meticulous the ancient scribal tradition was.

      Nonsense. The ancient scribal tradition was nothing of the sort and it is demonstrable.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfheSAcCsrE

      Texts were read aloud in the congregation but the claim that Jewish textual tradition was based on oral communication is false.

      A bit of a contradiction in terms methinks. A textual tradition is by its very nature NOT an oral communication, but so what anyway.

      The Dead Sea scrolls are prime evidence of how meticulously preserved the contents of the manuscripts have been throughout history.

      Are they? How does that work then, to what level of a metric do you put “meticulously” then?

      According to the The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, the diversity found among the writings of the DSS means something quite different.

      The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A.D. 100. ~ Fagan, Brian M., and Charlotte Beck, The Oxford Companion to Archeology, entry on the “Dead sea scrolls”, Oxford University Press, 1996.

      Why would the New Testament be any different?

      Because of the evidence that states otherwise.

      Certainly there are textual variants but basic logic tends to sort these out.

      It does? How does it do that then? Why has there been thousands of scholars who have taken millions of hours learning their expertise and investing millions of more man hours doing just the sorting of these out in question…and haven’t finished…when according to you, logic will sort it?

    • Ignorant Amos

      On the Gospel of Thomas, the gnostic gospels were written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and contain very different doctrines, being a reaction against the earlier Gospels, which were already well known and being read publicly as a unit.

      You’ve over stretched your remit there a tad. The dating of gThomas is nowhere near settled. The rest of the Nag Hammadi library might be 3rd century manuscripts, but they are not thought original autographs.

      If the Pauline corpus is Gnostic, as many believe it to be, then the Gnostics came first. That would make much more sense given the texts. Paul looks much more like a proto-Gnostic than a proto-Catholic. It is only by reading the gospels back into the genuine Pauline corpus that he looks like the proto-Catholic of popular belief.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iagait3Inxg

      • “If the Pauline corpus is Gnostic” – this is where an understanding of the actual text and its relationship to previous biblical texts is crucial. Anyone who thinks Paul might have been a gnostic doesn’t understand Paul at all.

    • busterggi

      ” The entire point of the “tongues” on the Day of Pentecost was the reversal of the scattering at Babel ”

      Using one myth to justify belief in another myth?

      • Well, I guess that might be similar to evolutionists dating rocks by the fossils in them, when those fossils were dated by the rocks they were in. But seriously, your comment shows that you don’t understand the actual text as a unit, even if you don’t believe it. Plenty of self-styled critics are clueless as to what they are dealing with.

        • adam

          ” Plenty of self-styled critics are clueless as to what they are dealing with.”

          Yes, else you would have demonstrated such instead of MERELY making CLAIMs.

        • Bible history is chiastic (symmetrical) in its structure. It works from a “global” physical covenant, to a social one (Abrahamic) and then to Jesus, after which is works it way back out again via a new social order (the Church) eventually to encompass the physical order. The same pattern is found in Genesis 1-5. But the point is that circumcision and the confusion of languages were always related. Many of supposedly respectable theories of modern critics fall apart once the actual text is understood.

        • adam

          The bible is MYTHOLOGY.

          Genesis?

          Magical fruit and magical talking serpents?

          You are kidding right?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad9800ce923b31295afed0a2d2a97d756340d851163d91fe88dc7cbe5bcb82af.jpg

        • Herald Newman

          You are kidding right?

          Sadly, I’m pretty sure he’s not.

        • Michael Neville

          That is literally so much gibberish. I’ve had Trekkies explain more clearly how dilithium crystals power a warp drive than you attempted to explain the confusion of languages.

        • Herald Newman

          Well, I guess that might be similar to evolutionists dating rocks by the
          fossils in them, when those fossils were dated by the rocks they were
          in.

          Says the person who’s obviously completely ignorant about how dating radiometric dating methods work.

          Fucking IDiot creacrapper!

        • Actually, Herald, in recent years many evolutionary geologists are now also recognizing this problem. They no longer ignore it or pass it off with a sarcastic denial, but admit that it is a real problem which deserves a serious answer. So it is in fact you who are the ignorant one.
          Since you finished your comment with a puerile insult and are clearly incapable of adult conversation, we’ll leave it there. Best wishes.

        • Herald Newman

          Oh FFS! You want to come here and tell me that there are serious problems with evolution, yet it’s still the consensus view of the vast majority of scientists in relevant fields. Get real!

          I literally hear this shit all the time, and you’re delusional if you think that somehow evolution being wrong means that Genesis is correct, and that Gawd did it.

          Fuck off! I’ll be happier not seeing your creatarded crap all over the place.

        • Michael Neville

          You show that you don’t have a clue about radiometric dating and sneer at a comment without showing how it’s wrong. That’s not the way to start an adult conversation. So don’t complain when the adult conversation you didn’t attempt to begin doesn’t happen.

        • MNb

          “many evolutionary geologists are now also recognizing this problem”
          Let me correct this for you.

          “many unspecified evolutionary geologists are now also recognizing this problem”

          or even better

          “many unspecified evolutionary geologists who MB just pulled out of the lower end of his digestive system are now also recognizing this problem”

          Hint: geologists do not do radiometry. Radiometrists do. Not that a creacrapper like you can be expected to understand the difference.

        • Kodie

          There is nothing left to talk about now but what drugs are you on?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Geologists use geochronology.

          They use the data taken from stratigraphy and radiomertry in dating.

          Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale. Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating and uranium-lead dating. By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change. Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiometric_dating

          http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/dating-rocks-and-fossils-using-geologic-methods-107924044

        • MNb

          “evolutionists dating rocks by the fossils in them, when those fossils were dated by the rocks they were in”
          Read some actual science text instead of creacrap.
          About radiometry for instance.

    • Herald Newman

      The claim about the copies being far from the originals is fair but only
      if one ignores how meticulous the ancient scribal tradition was.

      The earliest scribes to copy the New Testament works were the most error prone, largely because they were not professional copyist, but rather were people with the materials, and who knew enough Greek, to be able to produce copies of the texts.

      When we actually look at the texts, we find that our oldest copies are the ones that have the most variation between them. The rational conclusion is that the earliest scribes were the least careful.

      • Kevin K

        Because that’s before those texts were voted into the Bible. To them, they were just one of dozens of stories.

        • How do you think they were “voted” into the Bible. Do some homework.

        • adam

          “How do you think they were “voted” into the Bible.”

          Same way bills are voted into Congress, it depends on who benefits with power and money.

        • Sorry, that’s not correct at all. You might remember that it was already clear to Peter that many of the NT writings were to be considered “Scripture” based on their character and other confirmations. But even later on, the choice was never about money or power.

        • adam
        • Perhaps you ought to stop reading conspiracy books and focus on actual history.

        • Kodie

          When has it ever not been about money and power?

        • adam

          “Perhaps you ought to stop reading conspiracy books and focus on actual history.”

          Just demonstrate your claim.

        • Joe

          Which Bible?

      • The claim that the earliest scribes were amateurs is ignorance in the extreme. And have you been duped by Bart Ehrman like our friend Amos above? This sort of “19th century agenda” criticism has been more than adequately debunked, but modern writers make a buck telling atheists what they want to hear, and deliberately refuse to engage with many of best critics available because their arguments don’t hold up.

        • adam

          “This sort of “19th century agenda” criticism has been more than adequately debunked,”

          So demonstrate your claims

          “and deliberately refuse to engage with many of best critics available because their arguments don’t hold up.”

          So demonstrate your claims

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04570f3531aa4e675333fdcce29973e95d6ad5b518125333d607badb96b99c03.png

        • Yes, I believe in miracles, and God who is not only literate but has provided much of Scripture in a musical form, and also has a very ironic sense of humour. The world we live in is so obviously a miracle, as are you. God confirmed His authority with signs that were deliberately weird, and their eccentricity need not be denied because that was their purpose. The “miracles” I do not believe in are abiogenesis and evolution, which do not stand up to even cursory criticism as empirical science. Even many scientists who are non believers will tell you that. http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org and check out David Berlinski.
          On Ehrman’s dishonesty, see comments above.

        • adam

          “The world we live in is so obviously a miracle, as are you. ”

          Nope, until you demonstrate that MAGIC is real.

          “God confirmed His authority with signs that were deliberately weird, and
          their eccentricity need not be denied because that was their purpose. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1ee2515b89022446d029f7aa397845b841c7af79c03fa498660b13179b4044.jpg

          ” I do not believe in are …. evolution,”

          Of course not you believe in incest

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c16373740f3fbbd90db552ffc42d7d89dee7edf48b5d7491a41b83ff636c1e00.jpg

          David Berlinski is an author, where are the scientists?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6338d1c2d9058da691571a6688df25eccabd8e89b7749c14069533aa53e08b8.jpg

          “On Ehrman’s dishonesty, see comments above.”

          You comments are meaningless without evidence.

        • Enough with the stupid memes, please.
          Evolution is magic. Or more correctly, a Rudyard Kipling just so story. Even a reasonable mathematician can leave it in tatters if he so desires. It’s a fantasy, nothing more than zeitgeist, and maintaining these days requires it be defended from all criticism like some religious dogma.
          The scientists are in the dissentfromdarwin link. Berlinski leaves you in tatters here: (worth a watch, even just for his sense of humour)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89IskZI740&t=295s
          Yes, I believe Genesis is history. The supposed “incest” is a moral judgment on your part. There was clearly no problem with marrying close relatives in those times. And yet I would assume you, as an atheist, are a moral relativist? The self contradiction is with you, not the Bible.
          As for the claim of God being sexist, homophobic, intolerant and violent, you might be reading the Quran by mistake. God makes laws (justice) but He also shows mercy. That’s why Adam did not immediately die as God had said. And God’s mercy is the only reason you and I are still breathing.

        • adam

          “Evolution is magic.”

          No magic is IGNORANCE.
          Evolution is Science

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4f078e39c7bdab50f818933b99b5e11535933fa26a1f0007001fc3c5ae3f09aa.jpg

          “Even a reasonable mathematician can leave it in tatters if he so desires. ”

          Interesting since evolution is biology not math.
          So it’s obvious how ignorant you are.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/637bfeb32fe76da958e611fbfd841246baeabb7b96c48f9a41144e316ea0e22d.jpg

          I have no sound, so I have no idea what your NON-SCIENTIST author is saying.

          “As for the claim of God being sexist, homophobic, intolerant and violent, you might be reading the Quran by mistake.”

          No, but since they both worship the same God of Abraham, I can see where they get the sexists, homophobic, intolerant and violent themes.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d75f40886a30963d29f96e7ac5c05cad2aeb7bf5d71b350bbea60643eeff355.jpg

        • Joe

          Evolution is ‘magic’, despite being described in purely natural terms, while Genesis isn’t a ‘Just so story’?

          requires it be defended from all criticism like some religious dogma.

          So religious dogma is bad in your eyes?

          How do we engage in dialogue with somebody like yourself?

          EDIT: I missed the part where you defended incest. You’re one of those presuppositionalists repeating canned apologetics. We’ve seen your type before a thousand times.

        • MNb

          “Even a reasonable mathematician can leave it in tatters if he so desires.”
          Yup – and anyone mathematician who doesn’t according to your illogica is an unreasonable mathematician. Like this guy:

          http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11191-015-9801-7

          This is what yet another unreasonable mathematician (according to your illogic, that is) thinks of Berlinski:

          http://recursed.blogspot.com/2008/04/david-berlinski-king-of-poseurs.html

          I’ll summarize it for you.
          David Berlinski is a pseudo mathematician.

        • The first link looks interesting. Too bad about the paywall.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Another point is that unlike today, reading and writing didn’t go hand in hand in antiquity. A copyist might have been able to copy a text without understanding what it said. Therefore, copying a mistake verbatim through not comprehending the text to notice the error.

        • busterggi

          Actually not unlike today – I can copy any language, even non-alphabetic ones even if I can’t read them or wouldn’t understand them if I heard them. Would I make mistakes like typos? Probably. Would I notice them? Probably not as even spellchecker only works for whatever language it is set for.

    • Ignorant Amos

      I don’t believe “evidence” could ever be enough to lead to somebody’s conversion, or the lack of it to their non-conversion. Data has to be interpreted, and as human beings we tend to see what we want to see. Conversion is not anti-intellectual, but it requires the awakening of faculties far beyond the human intellect.

      This is the second time in two days I’ve read the same sort of utterly asinine comment from a believer.

      Open your eyes and take a look around you. Thousands of people have been convinced by the “evidence” to ditch belief and regard it as the nonsense that it really is, not just in Christianity.

      Bart Ehrman is probably the current most popular NT scholar whose studies of the evidence led to unbelief.

      In Misquoting Jesus Ehrman recounts becoming a born-again, fundamentalist Christian as a teenager. He recounts being certain in his youthful enthusiasm that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error. His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and also textual criticism. During his graduate studies, however, he became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled. He remained a liberal Christian for 15 years but later became an agnostic atheist after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering.

      There are lists of the same…scholars and clerics who have had their eyes opened.

      The clergyproject.org is a place for just such clerics that have seen the “evidence” and moved to the dark side.

      The Clergy Project is an international nonprofit organization based in the United States. Its Mission is to provide support, community, and hope to current and former religious professionals who no longer hold supernatural beliefs.

      Ryan Bell, a pastor who went on a year experiment to see what atheism was all about, never went back to his faith.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/

      Hector Avalos is a bible scholar who was a former Pentecostal preacher and child evangelist who studied his way to see sense.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Avalos

      Read Kenneth Daniels book, “Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary” if you think it takes faculties way beyond the human intellect.

      You’ve embraced Jesus for years, but now the pieces of your faith no longer add up and you don’t know what to make of your doubts. Or you’re struggling to relate to your believing spouse who can’t understand why you’ve taken this turn in your life. Or you’re looking for a gentle but firm response to Christians who are pressuring you to return to the fold. If this describes you, then Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary is for you!

      http://www.kwdaniels.com/

      I could fill pages with the names of people you seem to be incredulous about existing. Most non-believers on this forum were once-upon-a-time believers…some hardcore and for a large proportion of their lives.

      • Bart Ehrman, seriously? He is a textual critic who pretends to be a historian. He’s also a liar:

        Ehrman is a double-faced accuser; he knows that the New Testament is 99% established yet he attacks the veracity of the New Testament, “…there are really two Bart Ehrmans that are on display…the scholarly Bart Ehrman and the popular Bart Ehrman. The scholarly Bart Ehrman knows that the text of the New Testament has been established to 99% accuracy. That is to say, the original wording of the New Testament is now established to about 99%. So the degree of uncertainty of the text of the New Testament is only about 1%. There are about 138,000 Greek words in the New Testament. Of these, only about 1,400 are uncertain today. 99% are established with real certainty. Of that 1% that still remains uncertain, virtually uncertain, bad Bart deliberately misrepresents the situation to lay audiences to make them think that the New Testament is incredibly corrupted and uncertain. It is very interesting that when the bad Bart is pressed on this issue by someone he will come clean and admit this. For example, I heard Bart Ehrman interviewed on a radio show some time ago about Misquoting Jesus and the interviewer was talking to him about how uncertain the text of the New Testament is, all the thousands and thousands of variants that there are…and finally the interviewer said to him, “Dr. Ehrman, what do you think the text of the New Testament originally really said?” And Ehrman replied, “I don’t understand what you mean. What are you talking about?” And the interviewer said, “The text of the New Testament – it has been so corrupted as it has been copied. What do you think the original text actually said?” And Ehrman said, “Well, it says pretty much what we have today – what it says now.” And the interviewer was utterly confused. He said, “I thought it was all corrupted” and Ehrman said “We’ve been able to reestablish the text of the New Testament as textual scholars.” So he knows and when pressed admits that the text of the New Testament is 99% established.”

        I’m sorry to disappoint you, but further study in my case has only confirmed my faith. I don’t dispute the un-conversion of these people. I’m just saying that after you do a bit of digging you generally discover that their reasons were either not intellectual at all, or were intellectual mixed with some kind of crises. And of course you would be aware that there are plenty of Christian intellectuals who were once atheists.

        • Joe

          he knows that the New Testament is 99% established

          What does that even mean?

        • Joe

          I don’t want to hear the canned response of an apologist.

          What does 99% verified mean? You don’t have the original copies.

        • It means that even Ehrman admits that there are no major textual variants. None of the remaining 1% contain historical or doctrinal contradictions. The picture painted by these opportunists to whom you bunnies fork out your cash is a false one.
          As for original copies, perhaps look up the number of ancient texts for which we have autographs, and the average time between the autographs and the copies we do possess compared to the New Testament. The difference is striking.

        • Joe

          As for original copies, perhaps look up the number of ancient texts for which we have autographs, and the average time between the autographs and the copies we do possess compared to the New Testament. The difference is striking.

          What difference does that make?

        • Having copies that are closer in age to the originals means there is less time for them to be altered by mistake by copyists. The problem with other historical texts is that there is sometimes many hundreds of years between the copy we have and the date of authorship.
          Another interesting factor is that the handwritten texts degraded over time through use and eventually became illegible. To prevent misreading they were destroyed after verified copies were made.

        • adam

          “To prevent misreading they were destroyed after verified copies were made.”

          Nope, to prevent evidence of the changes.

        • You gents are obviously clueless about ancient Hebrew scribal culture. And your statements are also lacking in basic logic: Many of the Old Testament texts record the sins, failures and rebellions of Israel against God. Unlike other cultures, the Hebrews did not omit such things from their historical records. So claiming that they made alterations is an illogical assertion. If they were going to change anything, those are the things they would change first.
          Since this discussion is beginning to remind me of that Monty Python bookshop sketch, we’ll leave it there.

        • Pofarmer

          Everyone in the world is clueless about ancient Hebrew scribal culture. It hasn’t existed for millenia.

        • Joe

          Many of the Old Testament texts record the sins, failures and rebellions of Israel against God.

          Or they claim to, at least.

          nlike other cultures, the Hebrews did not omit such things from their historical records.

          Records?

          How do you know they didn’t omit things?

          So claiming that they made alterations is an illogical assertion.

          Claiming it as literally true, in light of archaeological evidence to the contrary, is equally illogical. Quite a pickle, isn’t it?

        • Maoh

          Ah yes, the “Criterion from Embarrassment” Well in the Kojiki we have Susanoo the storm god shitting in public and flinging his poo like a monkey, and Amaterasu the sun goddess pouting in a cave like a spoiled child. Would anyone write such embarrassing stories about their gods if they weren’t true? And if the stories are true, then the gods must be real! Or maybe the stories are there to make a point or explain something. Like why sometimes you get rain that waters your crops and sometimes you get storms that destroy them, or where the sun goes at night, or why God’s chosen people got their asses handed to them by Babylon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You gents are obviously clueless about ancient Hebrew scribal culture.

          Aren’t we all so fortunate that you have dropped by with your encyclopaedia like knowledge then?

          And your statements are also lacking in basic logic: Many of the Old Testament texts record the sins, failures and rebellions of Israel against God. Unlike other cultures, the Hebrews did not omit such things from their historical records. So claiming that they made alterations is an illogical assertion. If they were going to change anything, those are the things they would change first.

          You seemed to be confusing the Hebrew texts with the Christian texts. And you are still talking shite anyway. Another of your lies.

          The problem with changing stuff or including stuff in a text depends on what the contemporary texts of the same era have to say, Whether it happened or not. We find numerous examples of this throughout the OT and NT.

          But that doesn’t stop folk adding nonsense anyway. The exodus and the wandering in the wilderness for example. The Flood, etc….

          Furthermore, what we today find an embarrassment is not the same as what the priests who wrote the Hebrew texts would find an embarrassment. The OT is all about the lessons to be learnt when the chosen ones disobeyed Yahweh and the sort of punishment that happens when ya fuck things up. So the sins and rebellions and the failures are a central part of that narrative.

          “People invented the Romulus story, and Romulus murdered his own brother. People invented Attis, and he is said to have castrated himself. People invented scientology, and look what a crock that religion is!! The Old Testament reports the sins and follies of David (remember Bathsheba?) Moses (who was prideful) Adam (eating the forbidden fruit under the guidance of his wife! Imagine a patriarchal society inventing that!) and Noah (his son ‘saw his nakedness’ when he was drunk) among others, and yet scholars are in agreement that all of these stories are probably myths.”

          It seems like every religion invents things that are embarrassing, and as such, if we apply the criterion of embarrassment to religious documents, we will almost always find things that pass, even if the religion is made up. And that makes it troublesome to apply it to the New Testament.

          http://www.skepticink.com/humesapprentice/2014/08/21/the-criterion-of-embarrassment/

          Since this discussion is beginning to remind me of that Monty Python bookshop sketch, we’ll leave it there.

          Haa Haa….typical.

          That’s creation speak for “I’m getting my arse handed to me here, so I’ll just exit stage left”.

        • Joe

          Having copies that are closer in age to the originals means there is less time for them to be altered by mistake by copyists.

          Still, we don’t actually know the age of the originals, we can only speculate.

          he problem with other historical texts is that there is sometimes many hundreds of years between the copy we have and the date of authorship.

          Which is why we treat all historical claims with a degree of skepticism. Apart from ones belonging to a particular religion, of course.

          Another interesting factor is that the handwritten texts degraded over time through use and eventually became illegible. To prevent misreading they were destroyed after verified copies were made.

          Who verified the copies?

        • Herald Newman

          Who verified the copies?

          And how do we know that they verified it correctly?

        • Joe

          Well, they wouldn’t verify something that wasn’t correct, would they?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What copies do we have and how close to the the age of the originals do you think they are?

          What’s Missing from Codex Sinaiticus, the Oldest New Testament?

          The text of Codex Sinaiticus differs in numerous instances from that of the authorized version of the Bible in use during Tischendorf’s time. For example, the resurrection narrative at the end of Mark (16:9–20) is absent from the Codex Sinaiticus. So is the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). The woman caught in adultery from John 8 is omitted in Codex Sinaiticus. According to James Bentley, Tischendorf was not troubled by the omission of the resurrection in Mark because he believed that Matthew was written first and that Mark’s gospel was an abridged version of Matthew’s gospel. If this were true, the absence of resurrection in Mark would not be a problem because it appears in the older Matthean gospel. Modern scholarship generally holds that Mark is in fact the oldest of the Synoptic Gospels, which could cause theological concerns over the omitted resurrection.

          http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-versions-and-translations/absent-from-codex-sinaiticus-oldest-new-testament/

        • Pofarmer

          Hell, the NT has doctrinal contradictions within it. Sometimes within the same book.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As for original copies, perhaps look up the number of ancient texts for which we have autographs, and the average time between the autographs and the copies we do possess compared to the New Testament. The difference is striking.

          And makes not one jot or tittle of a difference to the veracity of the contents accuracy of factual historicity.

          I should point out that if even if Matthew’s account of Jesus were as good as Plutarch’s account of Romulus, that would definitely not make it very reliable! Many of Plutarch’s Lives are notoriously unreliable, historically. It’s kind of like saying that I must have been a good tennis player because I was at least as good as everyone else in my high school. But what if no one in my high school was any good in tennis? We can’t say that Matthew must be reliable because he is at least as good as skilled Plutarch — which by the way, he is not, as any classicist will tell you — unless we know how reliable Plutarch is. ~Bart Ehrman

        • Ignorant Amos

          The picture painted by these opportunists to whom you bunnies fork out your cash is a false one.

          Says the creationist Christian…

          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2Jyw6kO8x_c/S36Cy5CwIvI/AAAAAAAAA-k/uTrjBIKcJgQ/s320/IronyMeterSplode.jpg

          You are priceless Mike…a funny guy.

        • “No major textual variants”? Are you joking? The four gospels are textual variants of the life and works of Jesus. They all contradict each other.

          And is there any verifiable evidence that any supernatural event written in the Bible happened? No – not a jot. We have more evidence that the Easter Bunny is real than we have that there’s a god.

        • Ian, you have confused textual variants with internal contradictions. They are very different things. The first is differences between two editions of the same book. The second is conflicting information with the book itself.
          As for internal contradictions, these boil down to moderns being ignorant of ancient literary structure and the arrangement of texts to make theological points. In my experience, the atheist will say “Aha! There’s a contradiction!” and do no further research, whereas the Christian, or true scholar, will do further research to discover why the apparent contradiction exists. The ancients were not primitive fools. Every supposed contradiction has a reason if you are willing to move beyond your bias and arrogance and do some homework and try to understand the world of the authors and their literary methodology. If you are not willing to do that, fine, but don’t claim to be an expert or any authority on something which you are too lazy to look into. Metaphorically you are a swiller of cheap beer ridiculing those at the wine fair. Even non-believing experts on the text would tear you apart as an ignoramus. Perhaps start with Robert Alter’s “The Art of Biblical Narrative.” You might discover how ridiculous your claims are even to many non-believers.
          On proof, I’d simply point out that you likely believe in abiogenesis, punctuated equilibrium, and self-writing genetic code, all of which are miracles for which there is no evidence. And there are many more.

        • In my experience, the atheist will say “Aha! There’s a contradiction!” and do no further research, whereas the Christian, or true scholar, will do further research to discover why the apparent contradiction exists.

          I notice that John differs on the day of crucifixion compared to the synoptics, and I say, “Aha! There’s a contradiction!” I’ve read a fair amount of handwaving (different calendars) but have found nothing convincing.

          As for what your “true scholar” does, you’re describing rationalization to support a preconception. And I’ll admit that I’m often impressed by the legerdemain. However, the way actual scholars do things is simply follow the evidence. All the Christian apologist has done is show that you can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. Which I agreed with beforehand.

          The ancients were not primitive fools.

          In a time before modern science? That’s debatable.

          Every supposed contradiction has a reason if you are willing to move beyond your bias and arrogance and do some homework and try to understand the world of the authors and their literary methodology.

          Will you agree with me that one must follow the evidence, not cherry pick to support a preexisting conclusion?

          On proof, I’d simply point out that you likely believe in abiogenesis, punctuated equilibrium, and self-writing genetic code, all of which are miracles for which there is no evidence.

          A big can of worms that you really don’t want to open.

        • Herald Newman

          Even if we had pristine, original, copies of the entirety of the New Testament, it makes magical, miraculous, claims that cannot be justified.

          Being raised from the dead, after about 36 hours, has never been demonstrated to be possible, and has a background probability of exactly 0, yet you believe that some unknowable supernatural entity used magic powers to raise Jesus from the dead.

          On top of that, you believe a literal reading of Genesis?! Just fuck off now, and you may not end up blocked by me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Woooooaaa….hold on a we minute there Hoss….

          Dr. William Lane Craig, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University, is a contemporary to Dr. Ehrman. Craig and Ehrman attended the same college and studied Greek under the same professor. Craig briefly narrates Ehrman’s apostasy from Christianity, “Sadly, Dr. Ehrman came to radically different conclusions as a result of his studies at Princeton University”.He pointedly describes how he came to doubt the doctrine of biblical inerrancy as a result of his studies and how this finally led him to abandon faith in Christ.

          So you lied when you said…

          I don’t believe “evidence” could ever be enough to lead to somebody’s conversion, or the lack of it to their non-conversion. Data has to be interpreted, and as human beings we tend to see what we want to see. Conversion is not anti-intellectual, but it requires the awakening of faculties far beyond the human intellect.

          …or did you have a major brainfart?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I see from reading further that you are not averse to a bit of plagiarism too.

          It is customary to in some way show when you are citing a source. Blockquotes, italics, quotation marks, name the author, etc.

          Otherwise it is a form of lying.

        • Pofarmer

          99% established as what?

        • Joe

          99% established as 100% correct. 70% of the time.

        • Pofarmer

          Got it.

        • Joe

          I’m glad somebody does.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bart Ehrman, seriously?

          Yes, seriously.

          He is a textual critic who pretends to be a historian. He’s also a liar:

          Yes, I know. It is the textual critic of the Ne Testament part we need to focus on. Although I believe that an understanding of the history of the New Testaments development is part of his remit. We all lie…even you Mike. You’ve done it right here on this thread.It’s about rebutting the lies with evidence, while supporting the facts with other evidence. That’s the trick your missing.

          Ehrman is a double-faced accuser; he knows that the New Testament is 99% established yet he attacks the veracity of the New Testament, “

          Yeah, he can be a two faced hypocrite, but what about his arguments. They need rebutted by evidence, not ad hominem…What does 99% established mean?

          …there are really two Bart Ehrmans that are on display…the scholarly Bart Ehrman and the popular Bart Ehrman. The scholarly Bart Ehrman knows that the text of the New Testament has been established to 99% accuracy. That is to say, the original wording of the New Testament is now established to about 99%.

          No one knows the New Testament has been established to 99% “accuracy”. There are no original autographs to compare the MSS we have against in order to know that.

          Even if Ehrman agree’s that the wording of the New Testament is word-for-word exactly as the original authors put it down on papyrus, or whatever, it does not mean that he agrees that the stories portrayed within are accurate. He doesn’t, nor does any unbiased scholar or historian.

          Having the draft copy of Lord of the Rings as put down by Tolkien, doesn’t mean there really was a quest to destroy a magic ring in the rivers of fire in the bowels of Mount Mordor.

          So your 99%, even if correct, is nothing but a strawman…so whack away at it til yer nose bleeds, it is irrelevant.

          So the degree of uncertainty of the text of the New Testament is only about …blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….bad Bart deliberately misrepresents the situation to lay audiences to make them think that the New Testament is incredibly corrupted and uncertain.

          Not to me he doesn’t, and not I suspect to a lot of the world of scholarship. His position would become untenable and he would be shunned by the academy. So I’m going to go with it is you are misrepresenting the scenario.

          It is very interesting that when the bad Bart is pressed on this…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… And the interviewer said, “The text of the New Testament – it has been so corrupted as it has been copied. What do you think the original text actually said?” And Ehrman said, “Well, it says pretty much what we have today – what it says now.”

          Nah, you’ll have to forgive my disbelief of what a creaocrapper says in an anecdote, your reliability is in question so I’ll require a citation.

          Bible scholars, not just Ehrman, have known for centuries that the New Testament is full of lies, pseudonymous authors aka forgers, interpolations, misinterpretation, inaccuracies, contradiction, embellishment, unhistorical events, etc.

          The Gospel accounts are filled with discrepancies and contradictions. You don’t need to take my word for it. Simply compare the accounts yourself. Take the birth narratives of Jesus in Luke 1–2 and Matthew 1–2 and compare them carefully, line by line, statement by statement; note all their similarities and differences; and see if any of the differences are irreconcilable. ~ Bart Ehrman

          And the interviewer was utterly confused. He said, “I thought it was all corrupted” and Ehrman said “We’ve been able to reestablish the text of the New Testament as textual scholars.” So he knows and when pressed admits that the text of the New Testament is 99% established.”

          The text being the text in no way makes the contents accurate

          Ehrman’s Final Reply: The New Testament Gospels are not historically accurate

          http://www.thebestschools.org/special/ehrman-licona-dialogue-reliability-new-testament/ehrman-final-reply/

          So, not surprisingly, you are confused and don’t know what you are talking about. I also don’t think you bothered to watch the presentation on the video I linked to either. You have been sucking at the teat of the Kool-Aid fundamentalist “fake news” for too long, like a typical creationist.

          ” I would like to point out an interesting phenomenon, which I think is probably an empirical fact, that the only people who think the Gospels are absolutely accurate in every detail are Christian fundamentalists who are committed for theological reasons to thinking that the Bible cannot have any mistakes of any kind whatsoever because the authors were inspired to write exactly what happened in every detail. Mike [Licona] is clearly not in that fundamentalist camp.” ~ Bart Ehrman

          I’m sorry to disappoint you, but further study in my case has only confirmed my faith.

          I’m not disappointed, just sad that you are so gullible. If further study has confirmed your faith, well bully for you. Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance can have that effect. But remember “Garbage In, Garbage Out”.

          I don’t dispute the un-conversion of these people. I’m just saying that after you do a bit of digging you generally discover that their reasons were either not intellectual at all, or were intellectual mixed with some kind of crises.

          So they lost faith for stupid reasons? What you are saying is that all believers, myself included, who have educated themselves and discovered that the bilge that they’ve been spoon fed for so long is nonsense, therefore causing them to leave the faith. How can you be so asinine with just the one head?

          And of course you would be aware that there are plenty of Christian intellectuals who were once atheists.

          Spooooiiiinnnng! Another irony meter goes sideways.

          Thanks for that. You’ve just pished all over your own position ya eejit. Either folk change for intellectual reasons, or all those atheist intellectuals you claim that turned to Christianity, did so for stupid reasons too.

          The fact of the matter is, there are people who change their position through intellectual rigor, as I’ve demonstrated, regardless of what you might think. Your without evidenced conjecture is dismissed for what it is, a loada nonsense.

        • rationalobservations?

          It’s interesting that religiots reference Bart Ehrman so readily as he was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical christian until he read the original Greek bible texts and noticed thousands of discrepancies between the oldest 4th century prototype bibles and the significantly different versions written by later teams of scribes. Bart is still in recovery and makes some rather silly and unsupported statements – but his enthrallment to religion was cured by not only reading, but actually studying the earliest prototype bibles.

    • adam
      • You are aware that Bill Nighy is actually not a scientist but a comedian, aren’t you? Things have gotten to the point now where it is the evolutionists who are claiming “nothing” when creationists present them with evidence. Soft tissue in dinosaur remains might be the most recent example. Ridicule doesn’t cut it.

        • adam

          Bill Nye is an engineer:

          William Sanford “Bill” Nye[2] (born November 27, 1955), popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, television presenter, and mechanical engineer.

          “Things have gotten to the point now where it is the evolutionists who
          are claiming “nothing” when creationists present them with evidence.”

          Of course:
          http://www.npr.org/2012/01/13/145175263/lawrence-krauss-on-a-universe-from-nothing

          “Ridicule doesn’t cut it.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1357a48063668004e778c51c086fa594d46a773bdf2765fa279fcf4fe251c363.jpg

        • Joe

          Mike Bull (how apt) has confused Bill Nye with the actor and star of Love Actually Bill Nighy.

          You can’t make this up!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nighy

        • adam

          Yep, I have got to stop asking how stupid people can be.

        • Joe

          The worst thing is, even if it was the guy from Underworld: Evolution, it in no way diminishes the answer given in response to that question.

        • Herald Newman
        • Apologies, I did misspell his name. But that might be because I like Bill Nighy and think Bill Nye is a terrible fraud.
          http://www.patdollard.com/exposed-bill-nye-is-not-a-scientist-just-a-struggling-comedian-who-invented-the-science-guy-character/

        • Joe

          OK, so how does your ad-hominem attack diminish the effectiveness of his reply?

          Whether he was a scientist, a scullery boy or the Queen of Sheba, what’s wrong with changing your mind based on evidence?

        • Kodie

          Bill Nye offends him, but he knew that and I can’t understand how he’d mix them up.

        • MNb

          Yup, MNb’s Law is confirmed. There is no need to read any further than the title of your link.

          “EXPOSED: Bill Nye Is Not A Scientist”
          Nobody ever claimed that Bill Nye is a scientist, Nye himself the least of all.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nye

          “an American science educator, television presenter, and mechanical engineer.”
          What’s really funny is that creacrappers like you don’t have any problem bringing up engineers as “creationist scientists”.

        • Good point. It is fascinating that my own field of engineering is where the Creationist “intellectual” seem to come from. There are very, very few actual biologists that say that evolution is crap, but self-taught engineers seem happy to jump in and declare themselves experts.

        • MNb

          Thanks, but of course it’s not my point.

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_hypothesis

          Surgeons seem to be susceptible as well.
          Though we should never forget that “many creacrappers are engineers and surgeons” is not the same as “many engineers and surgeons are creacrappers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t you think it is being a tad hypocritical, nay, contemptible, putting down Bill Nye as a “terrible fraud”, he’s not by the way, when you provide a list of non-experts, aka “real terrible frauds” in you link to a list of anti-evolution fuckwits?

        • Michael Neville

          They take it as a challenge.

        • Pofarmer

          Proves their faith.

        • Joe

          You are aware that Bill Nighy is actually not a scientist but a comedian, aren’t you?

          You are aware that’s not Bill Nighy?

        • MNb

          “Soft tissue in dinosaur remains”
          Drool drool! Another opportunity to test MNb’s Law!

          http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC371_1.html

          “Ridicule doesn’t cut it.”
          Agreed. Problem is that reason, logic and evidence doesn’t cut it with creacrappers either. As this

          https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/debating-creationists-is-dumber-than-creationism/

          is correct ridicule the only remaining option.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mike Bull started off as a promising prospect for a bit of a chin wag…he is wrong, but still worth a bit of discourse…then the creocrap came out and his credibility, such that it was, went down the toilet.

    • On translation, the claim that the New Testament documents arose from Greek culture is a bit ignorant. Were they not simply written (or at least disseminated) in what was the universal language at the time?

      If Christianity was an Aramaic/Hebrew religion in the late 1st century, why write it down in a foreign language?

      The claim about the copies being far from the originals is fair but only if one ignores how meticulous the ancient scribal tradition was.

      Oh? And how meticulous was that? (You get no points for pointing to the methods used for the Hebrew scriptures.)

      Texts were read aloud in the congregation but the claim that Jewish textual tradition was based on oral communication is false.

      Then how was the Jesus story transmitted from death in c. 30 to the gospels in c. 70+?

      Why would the New Testament be any different?

      Because they weren’t “scripture” when they were first written? Or is this a trick question?

      Certainly there are textual variants but basic logic tends to sor t these out.

      Suppose there is an original, and a copy makes an important change. Now you have two traditions. Suppose that documents of one tradition are lost to history.

      Show me where in the New Testament this happened, tell me whether the preserved tradition is correct or the variant, and (if a variant) tell me what the original said.

      I doubt this would change your mind, but even if these are mere stories, the underlying complexity and integrity of the composition of these texts is breathtaking.

      It’s ancient religious writings. What’s breathtaking? Are religious writings for other cultures similarly breathtaking? And does breathtaking mean “accurate”?

      I’m not claiming to have disproved your case at all, but hopefully shown that there is a lot more to this discussion than you seem to be aware of.

      I agree that there’s an enormous amount of information and ideas here and that I’m just an amateur. Luckily, I can focus: I only care about the basic questions like, “Are the supernatural tales in the New Testament history?” and “Did the resurrection really happen?” and “Goes God exist?” How Christians see fractals in the Bible—that is, the Bible as literature—is very much secondary to me.

      I don’t believe “evidence” could ever be enough to lead to somebody’s conversion, or the lack of it to their non-conversion.

      We may be in agreement here. I change my mind because of evidence. That’s it. Atheists can become Christians for emotional reasons or for poorly understood intellectual reasons, but I’ve seen no good arguments for Christianity.

      Conversion is not anti-intellectual, but it requires the awakening of faculties far beyond the human intellect.

      Huh? I thought you just said that evidence isn’t why you become a Christian.

    • barry

      There’s a lot of assertions made above. The late dates of the NT
      documents are looking pretty shaky these days based on both internal and external documentary evidence. Kenneth Gentry’s “Before Jerusalem Fell” is a good read.
      —————–Barry: I don’t see where Gentry discusses gospel dating, he appears to limit that discussion to the book of Revelation. Late dating the gospels might be a skeptic’s wet dream, but as an atheist I don’t see why it’s so important. I could grant that the gospels were all published in 45 a.d. and you’d gain exactly nothing by way of credibility of the story or the authors.

      On translation, the claim that the New Testament
      documents arose from Greek culture is a bit ignorant. Were they not
      simply written (or at least disseminated) in what was the universal
      language at the time?

      ————Barry: Eusebius says that Papias said Matthew wrote the oracles of the Lord in the Hebrew language or dialect, and every other church father to comment on the issue says he wrote for Jews. Worse, that’s it, there’s no comparably early testimony to any Greek Matthean gospel, despite the patristic interest in the language this was written in.

      There remains a high risk that about 80% of canonical Greek Matthew was originally composed by an anonymous person.

      The entire point of the “tongues” on the Day of
      Pentecost was the reversal of the scattering at Babel (just before the
      call of Abram),

      ————Barry: A liar building history on an ancient fable. Do you have any dust and ashes? I’d like to fall on my face and hide myself from him who sits on the throne, I’m so awash in undeniable historical truth.

      and that the “one nation” priesthood was coming to an
      end. Hebrews says that Jesus’ priesthood is Melchizedekian, that is, the
      line of priest-kings of all nations which originated in Noah. The fact
      that the NT is in Greek reflects this change from one to many.
      ———-Barry: First determine that your hearers care about this NT theology, otherwise, I’m not going to concern myself on whether you care about the book of Mormon, and will therefore just start throwing quotations from it at you, believing with glazed-over eyes that I’m surely sowing the seed of the word of God even if I can’t answer all the criticisms of the devils’ disciples.

      The claim about the copies being far from the originals is fair but only if
      one ignores how meticulous the ancient scribal tradition was. Texts
      were read aloud in the congregation but the claim that Jewish textual
      tradition was based on oral communication is false.
      ———–Barry: The NT should be your apologetics concern here.

      The Dead Sea scrolls
      are prime evidence of how meticulously preserved the contents of the
      manuscripts have been throughout history.
      ————-Barry: so meticulous that the Qumran text of Jeremiah is completely different in many places than the MT version.

      Why would the New Testament be any different? Certainly there are textual variants but basic logic tends to sort these out.
      ————-Barry: your bible extends divine inspiration to copies, without qualification. 2nd Timothy 3:15-16, Timothy didn’t know the originals of Moses and Isaiah, etc. Yet the OT he knew, Paul says was “inspired”. So Paul felt the COPIES were inspired. So if inerrancy must logically follow from such language when you thought it was talking about the originals, inerrancy must flow from that language now that you know it was talking about copies. You don’t know of any such thing as an inerrant copy. Care to explain why a passage that doesn’t refer to the originals, is always believed by conservatives to apply ONLY to the originals?

      On the Gospel of Thomas, the gnostic gospels were written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and contain very different doctrines, being a reaction against the earlier Gospels, which were already well known and being read publicly as a unit. In modern
      parlance, they are very obviously little more than bad fanfic. (See
      Debunking the Gnostic Gospels – John Dickson on YouTube. He also has a documentary called “The Christ Files.”) These “Gospels” were never
      accepted by the Church,

      ——Barry: and surely nobody can disagree; truth is determined by popularity contests. You forget Jesus in John 16 promised that info about him would be conveyed by the HOly Spirit after he died, so when you say all 4 canonical gospels are nothing but reports by eyewitnesses, you force us to go searching for other gospels that are based purely on the ecstatic utterance Jesus allegedly promised.

      and do not contain the consistent Hebrew literary sequencing found in the NT documents which is based on all previous Scripture (all the texts contain heptamerous cycles within
      heptamerous cycles – modern term for these patterns is “fractal”). This
      leads to the claim that the four Gospels tell conflicting stories. All
      biblical texts are arranged theologically rather than strictly
      chronologically.
      ———–Barry: the soft way of saying “the gospel authors shouldn’t be viewed as desiring to record history the way we would have recorded it”

      Elements were arranged, included or excluded to make
      theological points. For instance, Matthew’s Gospel is structured around
      the five-point legal covenant structure found in Deuteronomy,
      highlighting the fact that Jesus was making a legal case against
      Jerusalem which would lead to its imminent destruction.
      ———–Barry: Papias also said that the gospel was “adapted” by Peter to his original audience, and if Mark is just Peter’s preaching written down, what was written down was an adaptation, and thus not a reliable portrait of whatever original might have been behind it.

      The curses of Lev. 26 and Deut 28 would be visited upon her.
      ———–Barry: Yeah, God’s curses there involve his causing women to be raped (Deut. 28:30), and that he would “delight” just as much to cause these horrible evils as punishment, as he “delights” to prosper those who obey him, v. 63.

      John’s Gospel works its
      way through the furniture of the Tabernacle, corresponding each element
      to a particular day of the creation week in Genesis 1.
      ———Barry: The muratorian fragment says John’s gospel was the result of all 11 disciples fasting and then speaking out the visions of history that God gave to each of them.

      So does the Revelation (Jesus appears as “light” at the beginning of both texts), at both macro and micro levels, as well as following the progression of Israel’s festal calendar.

      ———–Barry: You ARE kidding right? You don’t really think pointing out how the Christian authors followed Jewish composition methods, does jack shit toward proving them to be historically reliable?

      So what appears to be illogical or inconsistent to us is simply our failure to read the texts with an awareness of their “bandwidth,” where liturgy and structure were part of the means of literary communication.

      ———Barry: the bible contradicts itself, God hates the PEOPLE who work sin, not just their sins, in Psalm 5:5, yet loves these people too, John 3:16, and hate is a legitimate antonym for love.

  • Susana Gonzalez
    • I’ve written about how the number of New Testament manuscripts isn’t that big a deal here:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/03/25000-new-testament-manuscripts-big-deal-2/

      And I’ve written about the very long time gap from original books to our best copies here:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/08/how-long-from-original-new-testament-books-to-oldest-copies-bible-reliability/

    • MNb

      And how exactly does that argue for a divine Jesus?

    • Ignorant Amos

      Produced by Jewish monastic Essenes,…

      Possibly…that is but one hypothesis, but by far not the only one. Scholars are divided on who produced and hid the DSS, and why.

      There has been much debate about the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The dominant theory remains that the scrolls were the product of a sect of Jews living at nearby Qumran called the Essenes, but this theory has come to be challenged by several modern scholars.

      These copies of Isaiah, written 1,000 years earlier than the previously oldest known copies have proven to be “word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. [emphasis mine] ” 4 Great respect must therefore be given to the interim copyists. Diligently slaving for accuracy, they apparently achieved it:…

      Why is it apologetics only focus on the positives, but fail to acknowledge the negatives?

      While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A.D. 100.

      So, great respect must therefore be given to some of the interim copyists.

      Textual Variations in the Dead Sea Scrolls That Cause Theological Differences

      The incredible significance of this variation is that God can have sons in pre-Christian era Jewish theology! Jewish tradition maintained that there were 70 nations of the world, so therefore post-Second Temple Judaism was able to make the connection that the Most High divided the nations according to the 70 sons of Israel. An even earlier Jewish theology, however, maintained that the 70 nations of the world were divided according to the 70 divine sons of the Most High God. This concept is fascinatingly preserved even in ancient Canaanite religion! A convincing conclusion to this argument is that Jewish scribes changed the scripture, after the advent of Christianity, to prevent the spread of the idea that God can have sons from public and/or Jewish knowledge.

      http://jur.byu.edu/?p=3703

      The DSS don’t do Christianity the big favour a lot of Christians seem to think they do.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Not that it matters all that much to the argument, but I see your apologetics link prefers to cite of aged data.

      The Chester Beatty Papyrus II is the earliest piece of the New Testament known to exist. This contains most of Paul’s letters copied circa AD 100.

      Nope…3rd century CE…

      Because P46 was discovered outside of its archaeological context (it was purchased from antiquities dealers in Egypt), there is no external evidence to help date the codex. Instead, scholars date this, like so many other papyri, using palaeography, the study of writing style. Since handwriting styles change steadily over time, it is possible to give a papyrus a rough date (accurate to within 50 years) by comparing its handwriting to that of other papyri. Using this method, scholars date P46 to the third century AD.

      https://www.lib.umich.edu/reading/Paul/perspective.html

      The John Rylands Manuscript contains part of the Gospel of John copied in AD 130. It can be found in the John Rylands Library of Manchester, England.

      Nope…late first century early second century…

      There are no first-century New Testament papyri and only very few papyri can be attributed to the (second half of the) second century. It is only in the third and fourth centuries that New Testament manuscripts become more common, but here too the dates proposed by Comfort-Barrett, 1999, 2001, and Jaroš, 2006 are often too early.

      http://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.php?url=article&id=2957937&journal_code=ETL

      There are no extant Christian autographs or copies of autographs before the second half of the second century CE. This is not disputed by biblical scholars who work in these fields.The Society for Biblical Literature confirms this in an online paper…

      The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins

      But, if commonly-accepted paleographical dating of early Christian manuscripts is correct, these include several that go back to the middle to late second century, some of which have only recently been published, making them earlier than anything else extant as artifacts of Christianity in its earliest period.

      https://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?ArticleId=304

      But as I said, none of this matters when we discuss the veracity of the contents of the stories in the texts….a story is just that, a story.

      • rationalobservations?

        It’s worth noting that the dating of Papyri was mostly wishful thinking based guesswork done by optimistic christian non-specialists.

        Papyrus P52 has been hailed as the oldest extant fragment of semi-literate scrawl that mentions “Jesus” and it was claimed to originate from Circa 125 CE. Like most of these old fragments – more recent and forensic analysis is dating all known fragments to the very late 2nd century, 3rd century and even the 4th century when most of the extant texts, codices and manuscripts first appear.

        It’s also worth noting that over 80% of all christian manuscripts date from the 11th century or later.

        It’s interesting that many christians reference Bart Ehrman so readily as he was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical christian until he read the original Greek bible texts and noticed thousands of discrepancies between the oldest 4th century prototype bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) and the significantly different versions written by later teams of scribes.

        Bart is still in recovery and makes some rather silly and unsupported statements – but his enthrallment to religion was cured by not only reading, but actually studying the earliest prototype bibles.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…I know.

        • rationalobservations?

          Others reading this may not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sure…of course…and these things need repeating.

  • rationalobservations?

    Fewer and ever more rapidly fewer folk are buying into religion.

    Fewer than 18% of Americans and fewer than 6% of Europeans (under 2% in the UK and Sweden) are active members of any cult, sect or business of religion according to the remaining religions own published attendance figures while the vast vast majority of the millennial generation shun all religion and ignore all phony gods, goddesses and god-men (including christian gods and god-men) and redundant churches litter our villages, towns and cities.

    To the non-indoctrinated – nothing appears to distinguish one god, goddess or god-man/”messiah”., from any other of the many thousands of undetected and undetectable, entirely and exclusively hypothetical gods, goddesses and god-men/”messiahs.

    Christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their (originally Canaanite) god, “Jehovah/Yahweh” and their (Roman) god-man/”messiah” “Yeshu/Jesus”, but they shouldn’t be. Christians deny many tens of thousands of the same gods that atheists deny. Atheists just deny one more ridiculously unconvincing god and one more stereotypical and entirely mythical god-man (among many hundreds of thousands of extremely similar undetectable and imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men) than Christians.

    Many among the declining cohort of the religionists join those christians who fail to justify their enthrallment to their specific brand of religion by pointing out that the non-existence of any of the gods cannot be proved.

    If inability to prove the non-existence of deities is enough for christians to believe in them.,they must be very busy worshiping Amun-Ra, Apollo/Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, (Buddhist goddess of context analysis) and Acat, (Mayan god of tattoo artists) and Tsa’qamae, (North American god of salmon migration) – and many thousands of other undetectable hypothetical entities among which the ridiculous “Yahweh” and “Jesus” remain merely mythical and of which no one ever provides proof or reason of (or for) existence and therefore non-existence may be sensibly and rationally assumed by default – as the third largest and fastest growing cohort of humanity (the godless / non-religious) conclude.

    All the evidence appears to indicate that the “christian” religion was cobbled together in the 4th century from mainly “pagan” components and exclusively “pagan” feast days and festivals.

    The burden of proof and the onus of convincing the rest of us of the validity of the “proof” is always upon the religionists and the rest of the rapidly declining membership of fraudulent religions. All religionists, fail too rise to meet that challenge and therefore your myths, legends and human businesses of religion remain debunked.

    • Wow, there are so many falsehoods in this emotional screed:
      For a start, the supposed demise of religion in the West is one thing, but so is the demise of the actual West thanks to the lack of fertility that results from a lack of faith (see David Goldman’s “How Civilisations Die.”) The other thing is that globally it has been estimated that there are 300 fewer atheists every day. So it is not religionists who are declining. And even in the West, it is generally the religious folk who are the ones who procreate. It seems that, overall, evolutionists win the Darwin Award.
      Christians deny all the other gods because our God says He is the only God, not because believing in a god is irrational. Christians also deny your unproven monkey religion, which you take on faith despite its obvious logical flaws (abiogenesis and punctuated equilibrium are “just so” stories), lack of evidence and defiance of natural and mathematical laws. I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data. I suspect even Darwin would reject it if he knew what we now know.
      Your claim that Christianity was cobbled together in the 4th century has no basis in actual history, and reveals a total lack of understanding of history, Judaism, and Christianity. Who is the gullible one here? No secular historian worth his salt denies that Jesus was an actual historical person, regardless of His claims to deity. I suspect you are an ex-Catholic, which is the pagan “Christianity” and “business” religion you might be referring to. If so, your anger has made you a bit irrational. Those things were the cause of the Reformation. They were not the Christianity of the first century.
      So, what is your god? By denying the true God, the Creator, you have made the universe itself into one giant idol, and thus fall under the condemnations in Romans 1. Man was designed to worship. Your claim to be non-religious is false. You are a pagan who believes that everything is the result of chaos, sex and death. Your faith is nothing but Enuma Elish baptised in post-Enlightenment balloon juice to make it look respectable.

      • Michael Neville

        the lack of fertility that results from a lack of faith

        I lack faith and have only one child. I thought that was due to the vasectomy I had but, thanks to Mike Bull, I realize now it was entirely due to lack of faith.

        The other thing is that globally it has been estimated that there are 300 fewer atheists every day.

        Got a cite for this claim?

        Christians deny all the other gods because our God says He is the only God, not because believing in a god is irrational.

        This is a non sequitur. By definition few if any Christians think that believing in a god is irrational. In the same way few Muslims think believing in Allah is irrational. Few Hindus think believing in 30 million gods (give or take an avatar or two) is irrational. So this point is irrational.

        Christians also deny your unproven monkey religion, which you take on faith despite its obvious logical flaws (abiogenesis and punctuated equilibrium are “just so” stories), lack of evidence and defiance of natural and mathematical laws.

        I’ll take your “lack of evidence” and raise you. Show us some evidence that any god, not just the sadistic monster you worship, exists. We both know you can’t do that because there’s zip point shit evidence showing the existence of gods.

        So, what is your god?

        We don’t have one. And you pretend we do is just you talking out of your ass about something you know nothing about. We not only don’t have gods, we don’t have a god-shaped hole in our psyches cry to be filled. So you’re not only wrong, but you’re completely fucking stupid in making the silly claim that we do have gods.

      • Kodie

        Moron, religion isn’t genetic. The religious have lots of children in the hopes they can indoctrinate them before they get old enough to question their authority. That doesn’t mean it’s true, that’s a good sign they don’t have enough faith to let god contact their children directly.

        • Cassandra

          As a matter of fact the religious impulse is genetic. It has evolutionary survival value.

        • Greg G.

          We have a lot of evolutionary baggage that works fine in the wild but not so well in the civilized world. I don’t think that the religious impulse is genetic. It is just that religions have found out how to exploit the left-over tendencies.

        • Kodie

          Totally beside the point, you dummy, you must not be able to read.

      • Michael Neville

        I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data.

        Why do you creationists always tell this LIE? The number of secular biologists who reject evolution can be counted on the fingers of a mitten. The only “scientists” who reject evolution are religious fanatics who prefer a 2500 year old myth some Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians to reality.

        • The example that comes to mind is the Disco Institute’s Jonathan Wells. He’s a Creationist, but he has a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology.

          A powerful voice against evolution? Nope. He openly admits that the teachings of Rev. Moon (he’s a member of the Unification Church) convinced him to destroy evolution from the inside. His agenda defeats any claims of intellectual openness, but I admire his honest.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Wells_(intelligent_design_advocate)

      • Susan

        I’m going to ignore most of your points for now because your comment is so screedy.

        And focus in on a couple of of obvious problems.

        Christians deny all the other gods because our God says He is the only God,

        You can’t show that your God exists. That is, all you have is christians denying other gods because they say their god says something but it’s just humans saying something

        In that sense, you might as well be a Mormon or worship Zeus. Show a distinction or don’t assert it.

        I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data.

        What is the actual data that biologists (including many, many christian biologists) ride roughshod over?

        I suspect even Darwin would reject it if he knew what we now know.

        Your suspicions not withstanding, what was Darwin’s theoretical principle and how does the data overturn it? That is, show your work.

        Man was designed to worship

        Show us.

        That “Man” was “designed” to “worship”.

        Please define your terms and make your case.

      • Greg G.

        I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data.

        Name them. It shouldn’t take long. Are any of them in relevant fields? Are any of them named Steve?

      • Ignorant Amos

        Wow, there are so many falsehoods in this emotional screed:

        An assertion you did not demonstrate in your subsequent screed.

        For a start, the supposed demise of religion in the West is one thing, but so is the demise of the actual West thanks to the lack of fertility that results from a lack of faith (see David Goldman’s “How Civilisations Die.”)

        Well why say “supposed” when the situation for Christianity’s demise is demonstrable? According to your cited book, it isn’t an exclusive problem for the West, Goldman says the Muslim world is in worse shape than the irreligious West. According to him, this will make them more unstable.

        Peter Hitchens, [Christopher Hitchenswoo-woo brother] 59, a British conservative who says (Page 247) that democracy following the “Arab Spring” — if it ever comes to pass — might not be such a good thing. Hitchens notes that spreading democracy across Muslim world — as so many enlightened people say they wish to do — would certainly increase the number. Yet the enthusiasts for planting democracy all over the planet [neoconservatives like Bush and Cheney?] also tend to be the people who dislike Islamic republics and warn endlessly about their likely use as bases for terror.”

        Which doesn’t bode well for anybody if there is any substance to Goldman’s prophecy thesis. If forecasts are accurate, Islam will overtake Christianity by 2050…so pah!

        The other thing is that globally it has been estimated that there are 300 fewer atheists every day.

        Really? Not 800? Phewww! That coulda been a whole lot worse.

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Essay:_10_reasons_why_American_atheism_will_see_a_significant_decline

        I wonder where they got those figures from? A poll do ya think? Cherry picking Christians again.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

        It’s a bit of a slippery subject due to the negativity attached to the word atheist. Religiously unaffiliated and nominally religious aka cafeteria religious is a better statistic.

        But back in the real world.

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

        So it is not religionists who are declining. And even in the West, it is generally the religious folk who are the ones who procreate.

        Yeah…the churches are brimming.

        Church attendance in advanced industrial societies is in gradual general decline with people shifting from weekly to monthly or holiday attendance. Sociologists have attributed this trend to a number of reasons, starting from a simple boredom during services and lack of motivation, to generational incompatibility of belief systems and social changes attributed to modernity.[62] Research across 65 different nations showed that out of 20 advanced industrial countries – 16 demonstrated a declining rate of monthly church attendance.

        Survey’s are notoriously unpredictable…don’t trust everything ya read.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_attendance#Criticism_of_conventional_surveys

        I tend to take a look around me. Where I live, the churches are emptying rapidly.

        It seems that, overall, evolutionists win the Darwin Award.

        You do realise that acknowledging the ToE as fact is not synonymous with atheism, right? How can you be so asinine with just the head?

      • Ignorant Amos

        Christians deny all the other gods because our God says He is the only God, not because believing in a god is irrational.

        A bit circular that….and erroneous too.

        Christians also deny your unproven monkey religion, which you take on faith despite its obvious logical flaws (abiogenesis and punctuated equilibrium are “just so” stories), lack of evidence and defiance of natural and mathematical laws.

        More lies, erroneous assertions, and general all around fuckwittery. Creationist Christians are in the minority ya halfwit.

        You don’t have a brother called Ant, do ya?

        I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data.

        Liar.

        I suspect even Darwin would reject it if he knew what we now know.

        I suspect you don’t have the first idea about what it is you are talking about…as for Darwin, you are talking a loada ballix.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Your claim that Christianity was cobbled together in the 4th century has no basis in actual history, and reveals a total lack of understanding of history, Judaism, and Christianity.

        You are right, it was being cobbled together before that. What he shoulda said is that orthodox Christianity was cobbled together in the 4th century.

        Who is the gullible one here?

        Ahem…got a mirror handy?

        No secular historian worth his salt denies that Jesus was an actual historical person, regardless of His claims to deity.

        What does “worth his salt” mean? Those that don’t agree with your position? We hear this bandied about, but figures in support of it are a bit thin on the ground. The problem is of course, how many secular historians have actually researched the issue.

        “Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, he maintains that, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work and that it is only through considerable individual heroism that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.”

        I suspect you are an ex-Catholic, which is the pagan “Christianity” and “business” religion you might be referring to.

        Ah yes, the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

        If so, your anger has made you a bit irrational.

        Then followed by the ad hominem fallacy.

        Those things were the cause of the Reformation.

        And Protestantism has corrected all that nonsense, right? Not. Behave yerself.

        They were not the Christianity of the first century.

        Nothing existing today is representative of the first century Jewish cults that later became Christianity, so pah again.

        • Cassandra

          Your remarks reveal a deep ignorance of current Scholarship in this area.

          If you read some of the books I mention on this thread you will be better informed.

          The fundamentals of Christian belief were formulated by Jesus himself though his own words and actions. He was his own best theologian.

      • Ignorant Amos

        So, what is your god? By denying the true God, the Creator, you have made the universe itself into one giant idol, and thus fall under the condemnations in Romans 1. Man was designed to worship. Your claim to be non-religious is false. You are a pagan who believes that everything is the result of chaos, sex and death. Your faith is nothing but Enuma Elish baptised in post-Enlightenment balloon juice to make it look respectable.

        More asinine fuckwittery.

        Stop making a fool of yourself so typical of you creatards.

        https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/what-is-atheism/

      • MNb

        “the lack of fertility that results from a lack of faith”
        BWAHAHAHAHA!
        Lack of faith as contraceptive!
        Given the overpopulation of our planet that’s actually an excellent argument for unbelief. Unfortunately it doesn’t work.

        • Greg G.

          I wonder how he explains the populations of China and India which had the “wrong” faiths.

      • So your messages is, “Christians, you’d better start screwing or we’ll be overrun with brown people!!” My suggestion: encourage the civilization worldwide that brings down the birth rate.

        I haven’t seen worldwide stats on atheists, but in the US, they’re increasing pretty rapidly. Good thing they’re not brown, eh??

        As for Christianity in the 4th century, I’ll just point to the uncontested fact that that’s when the dogma of the Trinity reached its final form. You’d think that something that important would come from the mouth of Jesus, wouldn’t you? That the biblical Jesus would have no idea what you were talking about (or Paul) makes clear the invented nature of the Trinity.

      • rationalobservations?

        I wonder what “emotion” you detect within the evidence I present.
        Perhaps you are projecting your own emotions?

        Meanwhile: David Goldman’s personal opinion is no more valid or evidence supported than yours.

        The other thing is that globally it has been estimated that there are 300 fewer atheists every day.
        You would need too present the evidence of that.
        As an avowed atheist – I have 4 adult offspring and the children of the rump of religionists appear to be rejecting religion in ever greater numbers. The idea that the offspring of thists would automatically fall for the nonsense of religion is self evidently false.

        The actual published attendance figures of religions demonstrates decline.
        The rising number of empty, rotting, redundant churches demonstrates decline.
        The total disinterest in religion demonstrated by the vast majority of the millennial generation demonstrates the ongoing decline of religion.

        The decline of of America and stalling of growth in Europe is not significant or relevant regarding the rapid and accelerating decline in religion in the secular developed world.

        Even within the developing world, belief in magic and superstition appears to be in decline as education advances and the world wide web informs and educates more millennials.

        “Christians deny all the other gods because our God says He is the only God, not because believing in a god is irrational.?
        Surely you mean that the men who wrote (and endlessly rewrote) bibles say that the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” is the only god? That is not true since Yahweh was originally within a whole pantheon of gods and goddesses including;
        Asherah, the Shekinah, consort and beloved of Yahweh. God-the-Mother. Her sacred pillars or poles once stood right beside Yahweh’s altar, embracing it. Moses and Aaron both carried one of these Asherah “poles” as a sacred staff of power. The Children of Israel were once dramatically healed simply by gazing at the staff with serpents suspended from it. This symbol, the snakes and the staff, has become the modern universal symbol for doctors and healers.* Asherah was also widely known in the Middle Eastern ancient world as a Goddess of Healing. Then She was removed forcibly from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures around 400 or 500 B.C. Her priestesses & priests, known by the headbands they wore, worshiped oHierodule, Lady in Redn hill-tops, such as Zion, Mount of Olives, Har Megiddo and countless others. Daughter of Zion, a term found numerous times in the Old Testament, was perhaps a term for a priestess of Asherah. It later came to mean the “City of God,” or Jerusalem herself. As the “official” state worship became increasingly male oriented, and the establishment became hostile toward all forms of Asherah worship, a time of conflict and bloodshed lasting over a hundred years began. Those that still clung to Her worship paid the price with their lives at the hands of King Josiah and other rabid Yahwists. (Story in the 2nd Kings ). But She could not be torn from the hearts and souls of Her people.

        Your denial of the sciences of Evolution is pitiful and answered by Scott Anderson when he wrote.

        Creationists and Scientific Logic

        “Creationists are of the opinion that creationism constitutes a better explanation of the evolutionary process? By what standard would they consider it better? Creationism demands that the logic of the scientific method be abandoned in favor of whatever logic one might be able to scrape out of the Bible.

        Special creationism demands that we believe that some six thousand years ago the universe was magically created, with the sun appearing long after plants, and man apparently living concurrently with carnivorous animals (perhaps including dinosaurs). It demands that all the planetary evidence that coincides with evolutionary theory (the geologic table, continental drift, erosion, et cetera), all the biological evidence (DNA, biochemistry, microbiology, anthropology, et cetera), all the historical evidence (the fossil record, archaeology, anthropology, et cetera), all the astronomical evidence (quantum singularities, the age of stars, the history of the universe, et cetera) has been misinterpreted. The evidence from physics and chemistry (the speed of light, the laws of thermodynamics, amino acids and proteins, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad absurdum) have all been misinterpreted. And I’m even leaving out several fields.

        They are all in error, I take it? Why, then, has it all seemed to fit so well? Was it a conspiracy, or was it simply science’s way of hiding the fact that they had no idea?

        Creationists still have to show that science is, in fact, wrong. This must first occur before they can begin postulating how the errors (as they must call them) persisted for so long. Creationists are more than happy to accept scientific reasoning but are unwilling to accept the conclusions. That’s why the battle is not creation versus evolution. Perhaps many creationists believe that, but it is not the case.

        The same thoughts and processes thereof that led to the theory of evolution exist in all branches of science. It’s called the scientific method. In addition, evolution gets direct and indirect support from a thousand different facts from every constellation in the sky of science. In addition, evolution gives direct and indirect support to every constellation. Science is not a batch of unrelated theories – science is a unit.

        To replace evolution with creationism would dictate that we throw out all the data we have about the age of the universe (all of it points to billions of years, not thousands). We would have to throw away the psychological data gained from testing on, for instance, lab rats. How could the data from rats relate in any way to the inspired, specially created souls of human beings? Anthropology would have to be dispensed with. Archaeology would find itself in the trash bin. Biology books would be so much toilet paper. In short, a thousand different independent but strangely cohesive facts and theories – a million tidbits of knowledge about ourselves and our world – would have to be destroyed in favor of magic and mysticism.

        We’ve been through that before – it was called the Dark Ages. I see no logical reason why we should return to them.”

        You demonstrate the truth in the saying: Creationism is not the alternative to science and evolution, ignorance and superstition is the alternative to science and evolution.

        You write: “No secular historian worth his salt denies that Jesus was an actual historical person..
        Name a modern, living historian who specialises in the history of 1st century Palestine and has evidence of the existence of “Jesus”. In fact bypass the historians if you can to name any 1st century originated evidence of the existence of Jesus yourself?

        You have my sympathy, Mike – but earn no respect for your dishonesty and your ignorance.

      • rationalobservations?

        “I reject evolution but so do many secular scientists, simply because it rides roughshod over the actual data.”

        No evidence suggests that evolution is losing adherents. Pick up any issue of a peer-reviewed biological journal, and you will find articles that support and extend evolutionary studies or that embrace evolution as a fundamental concept.

        Conversely, serious scientific publications disputing evolution are all but nonexistent. In the mid-1990s George W. Gilchrist of the University of Washington surveyed thousands of journals in the primary literature, seeking articles on “intelligent design” or so called “creation science”. Among those hundreds of thousands of scientific reports, he found none. In the past two years, surveys done independently by Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University and Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University have been similarly fruitless.

        Creationists retort that a closed-minded scientific community rejects their evidence. Yet according to the editors of Nature, Science and other leading journals, few antievolution manuscripts are even submitted. Some antievolution authors have published papers in serious journals. Those papers, however, rarely attack evolution directly or advance creationist arguments; at best, they identify certain evolutionary problems as unsolved and difficult (which no one disputes). In short, creationists are not giving the scientific world good reason to take them seriously.
        5. The disagreements among even evolutionary biologists show how little solid science supports evolution.
        Evolutionary biologists passionately debate diverse topics: how speciation happens, the rates of evolutionary change, the ancestral relationships of birds and dinosaurs, whether Neandertals were a species apart from modern humans, and much more. These disputes are like those found in all other branches of science. Acceptance of evolution as a factual occurrence and a guiding principle is nonetheless universal in biology.

        Unfortunately, dishonest creationists have shown a willingness to take scientists’ comments out of context to exaggerate and distort the disagreements. Anyone acquainted with the works of paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University knows that in addition to co-authoring the punctuated-equilibrium model, Gould was one of the most eloquent defenders and articulators of evolution. (Punctuated equilibrium explains patterns in the fossil record by suggesting that most evolutionary changes occur within geologically brief intervals–which may nonetheless amount to hundreds of generations.) Yet creationists delight in dissecting out phrases from Gould’s voluminous prose to make him sound as though he had doubted evolution, and they present punctuated equilibrium as though it allows new species to materialize overnight or birds to be born from reptile eggs.

        When confronted with a quotation from a scientific authority that seems to question evolution, everyone must insist on seeing ( or seeking out) the statement in context. Invariably, the claimed attack on evolution proves illusory.

    • Cassandra

      According to the Gallup World Poll, just 4.4 of Americans say they are atheists. (Stark 2015 p 32)

      The West is getting more individualistic, and religious organisations are losing members, like other organisations.

      It is a mistake to deduce from this that people are getting less religious.

      • rationalobservations?

        Yes. It’s a real shame that those who shun religion and the ridiculous fiction of all the millions of gods, goddesses and god-men also find the term “atheist” a cultural taboo.
        That is particularly true in America but is also noticeable in primarily secular Europe that is littered with redundant empty derelict churches.
        For all that folk lie in surveys – recent anonymous surveys of the rump of society that continue to go to church through societal or familial pressure reveals that many still active church goers who deny the label atheist do not believe in any of the gods and goddesses.

        Non believers in all the millions of fictional human invented gods are “atheists” regardless of their preference for other labels.

        It is a mistake to deduce that the last shrinking bastions or religion in America are any indication that the rapid and accelerating decline in religion has stalled or slowed down across the world.

        http://www.sillybeliefs.com/images/cartoon-atheist1.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          A survey here in the UK found 53% declared they were not religious, with 13% claiming to be convinced atheists.

          Interestingly, about 25% of those claiming to be Christian here, are non-resurrection believing Christian.

          Church attendance by those claiming a religion has plummeted, with the C of E figure at 2% of the population.

        • rationalobservations?

          All true, Amos.
          Attendance figures published by the two main christian cults in the UK reveal that the maximum attendance or the CofE is fewer than 800,000 on any given Sunday and the same figure for the RC is fewer than 900,000 within a population estimated to have now topped 70,000,000.

          It is increasingly noticeable that there are an ever growing number of empty redundant churches rotting and littering the villages, towns and cities of the increasingly peaceful secular and mostly “godless” developed western world. They can’t all be converted into something useful to mankind so perhaps a campaign of demolition to clear the ground for much needed homes should be rapidly called for?

          Best wishes to you and yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is increasingly noticeable that there are an ever growing number of empty redundant churches rotting and littering the villages, towns and cities of the increasingly peaceful secular and mostly “godless” developed western world. They can’t all be converted into something useful to mankind so perhaps a campaign of demolition to clear the ground for much needed homes should be rapidly called for?

          They already are. Here’s just one example of many of the same.

          Around twenty Church of England church buildings are closed for worship each year. The list below shows all the buildings that are available for sale or lease. Some of them are already under offer, but it is worth contacting the Diocese or agent if you are interested.

          https://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/pastoralandclosedchurches/closedchurches/closed-churches-available.aspx

          Best wishes to you and yours.

          Thanks and reciprocated.

        • rationalobservations?

          Once again you confirm the truth, Amos.

          All across the increasingly secular developed world redundant useless churches are being converted and put to some actual use to humanity.
          https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/294000681894369495/?lp=true

          “Churches can survive – but the religion will have to go.”
          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/23/restored-unto-life-new-uses-for-old-churches

  • Harley Quin

    The Gospels were written at the point when eyewitnesses were dying out and a permanent record was needed, See e.g. Richard Bauckham’s ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony’ and ‘The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple. The Narrative, History and Theology in the Gospel of John’.

    Further, the idea that fewer people believe in God or the spiritual is false and in any case reveals a blinkered, Western-Centric perspective. There is a growth in the unchurched in the West, but that does not mean an historical decline in belief in the West or anywhere else. In fact Christianity is expanding rapidly in eg China, including amongst the highly educated.

    So much so that there will be around 300 million Christians in China in the not too distant future, more than in any other nation. See the sociologist of religion Rodney Stark’s recent book, ‘The Triumph of Faith. Why the World is more Religious than Ever.’

    • “The Gospels were written at the point when eyewitnesses were dying out and a permanent record was needed…”

      This is complete nonsense. No one knows precisely when the Gospels were written, or if anyone who supposedly experienced the events were alive at the time. Also, the idea that anyone at the time had any idea of the need to record evidence is ludicrous, given that the scientific method didn’t even exist at the time and wouldn’t be developed for another millennium.

      • Greg G.

        No one knows precisely when the Gospels were written, or if anyone who supposedly experienced the events were alive at the time.

        Or it there were any such events to be witnessed.

        • Pofarmer

          Or it there were any such events to be witnessed.

          You’d think that would be key.

        • That’s why I said “supposedly”

        • Greg G.

          After I posted, I noticed the “supposedly”. But I wanted to emphasize that point.

          Now I see that I typed “it” where I meant “if”. Back to the edit button;

        • Harley Quin

          That is nonsense, `I am afraid. The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament collection have undergone more scholarly analysis, and a higher standard of historical proof has been demanded of them, than any other ancient documents. They have emerged largely unscathed.

          If you know that Julius Caesar invaded Britain and was assassinated, you know the details of his life and that he was crucified and subsequently seen apparently alive.

        • Unscathed? Historians scrub any supernatural claim out of writings about Julius and any other person of history.

          You don’t want to see what the historian treatment does to Jesus.

          The time gap from event to writing plus that from original to our best copies make the NT unreliable, especially given the unbelievable claims it makes.

        • Harley Quin

          I have a higher degree in this subject. Without any false modesty, I think I probably know everything worth knowing about historical investigations of the Gospels

        • adam

          ” I think I probably know everything worth knowing know about historical investigations of The Gospels ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e8d06962d4285a26a26dd0f6b5ce20ea4207eef26617bb6f4c0cb3e5f25e3394.jpg

        • You’re just the man we need!

          I’ve done some work in this but only as an amateur. My conclusion is that the New Testament is unreliable. There are several primary reasons. The much touted 25,000 manuscripts doesn’t look like much when seen accurately. More here

          Our copies are centuries removed from the originals. More here.

          Your turn. BTW, what’s your degree, and where did it come from?

        • Ignorant Amos

          We have an expert in our midst…lets gather round and be edumacadated.

        • Greg G.

          I have a higher degree in this subject. Without any false modesty, I think I probably know everything worth knowing about historical investigations of the Gospels

          That’s great if the gospels are historical accounts. Have you studied them as literature?

          Take Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in Luke 10:1 to 18:14. Before and after that, Luke was following Mark’s timeline and outline. But the topics of teachings and conversations in the Central Section of Luke follows the order of topics in Deuteronomy. That’s a sign of it being literature, not history.

        • “This subject” is ancient history. What’s your degree in? Because it sounds suspiciously like your degree is not in ancient history, but in theology, which has nothing to do with whether the gospels are historically reliable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you rate yourself an authority…pah!

          Lets have citations to some of those published peer reviewed papers you have published on the subject.

          Dunning-Kruger methinks ya wanker….but prove me wrong.

        • adam

          “The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament collection have undergone more scholarly analysis, and a higher standard of historical proof has been demanded of them, than any other ancient documents. They have
          emerged largely unscathed.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e6c2686bb41ccacecfbfa1974323846f57f590fe27eb860520deae910a353eac.jpg

        • Greg G.

          That is nonsense, `I am afraid. The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament collection have undergone more scholarly analysis, and a higher standard of historical proof has been demanded of them, than any other ancient documents. They have emerged largely unscathed.

          Most of the scholarly analysis of the Bible has been done under the presumption that it was basically true. Some scholars conclude that the miracles actually happened but others “scathe” that idea, so it is certainly not “unscathed”.

          When you see that many of the miracle stories of the gospels are based on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha in the Old Testament and that some miracles are like the supernatural events encountered by Jonah, Odysseus, and Priam in the Old Testament, the Odyssey, and the Iliad, we can recognize them as fiction. But we can do the same thing with the non-miracle accounts of the gospels.

          When the gospels are recognized as fiction, reading the epistles without reading the gospel fictions into them, a different picture comes out of them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You, my strange individual…..are one fucked up, fuckwit of an individual.

        • Michael Neville

          I was under the impression that Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by the Casca brothers, Cinnius, Cassius and Brutus. Was Caesar crucified before or after he died at the foot of Pompey’s statue?

        • adam

          “and a higher standard of historical proof has been demanded of them, than any other ancient documents. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04570f3531aa4e675333fdcce29973e95d6ad5b518125333d607badb96b99c03.png

        • It is not claimed by any modern person that Julius Caesar was a god. Political leaders invading countries and being assassinated happens all the time, and such things don’t require anywhere near the amount of evidence for belief that claims of godhood require. It doesn’t matter to modern people what Julius Caesar did, but when you claim a 1st Century Middle-Eastern preacher is the one true god in whom we’d better believe or be tortured for eternity, you’d better have a lot more evidence than you have for Caesar’s life story. The problem is, you have none – not a shred of evidence. We don’t even know with any confidence that Jesus was even a real person, let alone a god.

        • Cassandra

          Harley does not say that Caesar was a god. He is saying that as a historical fact, that Jesus was crucified is as certain as that Caesar was assassinated. In fact it is agreed among scholars, even the most sceptical, that if anything is certain in ancient history, it is that Jesus was crucified.

          As for your assertion that there is not a shred of evidence for the divinity of Jesus; his story in the `Gospels has been enough for some of the best minds of Western Civilisation for two millennia. Even some of those who do not accept Jesus’divinity are prepared to acknowledge his towering impressiveness. Here for example is Einstein, a Spinozan Jew:

          ‘I am enthralled by the ‘luminous figure of the Nazarene’

          ‘You accept the historical existence of Jesus?’

          ‘Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word No myth is filled with such life.’

          ( Isaacson 2007)

        • Greg G.

          The gospels are fiction. The early epistles only speak of Jesus in terms of the Old Testament, not as a first century person. In Galatians 3, someone has told them that Jesus was not crucified so Paul explains how he knows it by citing Old Testament scripture. Paul spends the whole letter discrediting James, Cephas, and the circumcision faction and nobody else, so it appears that that one or more of them were trying to straighten that out.

        • Cassandra

          I can see that nothing that I can say is going to have any impact with you, so I am not going to try.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All you’ve said so far is ignorant asinine crap. So a shouldn’t think Greg will be too bothered. He’ll just take it the same as the rest of us, that you have absolutely nothing in rebuttal.

          I hear Croydon is nice this time of year.

        • My point is that, if we are to believe the claim that Jesus was a god, it requires a lot more evidence than the claim that Caesar was assassinated. The Gospels are not proof – they are merely claims. There is no evidence for any of the supernatural claims made in the Bible. If anyone in Western civilization came to the conclusion – based on the Bible – that Jesus was crucified, then their minds can’t have been that well versed in critical thinking.

          I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover. I never felt the presence of anyone, and I don’t find Jesus impressive at all, except in that I find his gleeful descriptions of how he intends to torture unbelievers impressively depraved. But let’s face it – the stuff in the Bible is made up. I doubt Jesus even existed.

          As for Einstein, if he said what you suggest he said, maybe he should have stuck to physics.

        • Cassandra

          I think that Einstein was an open- minded man without pre- conceived biases or bigotry. It was this which enabled him to conceive his advances.

          The evidence for the claims of Jesus are his ‘mighty works’ which even his contemporary enemies admitted, and finally his Resurrection which vindicated his life. His post- Crucifixion appearances certainly occurred, although in what form; as a vision as for St Paul or otherwise, is a mystery.

          If you don’t find Jesus impressive, one wonders who or what would impress you.

          Suffice it to say, the life and teachings of Jesus have transformed the world and brought about much of the best of what we think of as modernity. These include the idea of Equality, Progress, the importance of the Induvidual, Human Rights and modern science.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh deary me….more ignorant asinine crap.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Believing a real person existed who may have said some profound things that some folk later wrote down is a far cry from believing said person was a divine carnation of Yahweh on Earth.

          Why quote Einstein? It isn’t even an argument from authority.

          Admitting that Christ was a actual historical figure is not the same as believing that he was the literal “son of God” or divine being.

          I can produce more quotes by Einstein that counter your nonsense.

          “The word God is for me means nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.” ~ Albert Einstein

          “I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures or has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egotism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in Nature.” ~ Albert Einstein

          Einstein’s quotes have weight because?

        • Cassandra

          I pointed out that Einstein believed in Spinoza’s God, i.e. he was a pantheist or panentheist, at least until his later years.

          I mentioned him whilst talking about the best minds our Civilisation has produced. I think most people would agree that he can be included in this description.

          Einstein was mentioned as one who while a Jew and a non believer could yet recognise that the portrait of Jesus rings true. His powerful personality shines through, according to Einstein.

          Most Christians recognise the truth of the story of Jesus through this portrait, just as as did Einstein. Unlike Einstein who rejected a personal God a priori, they accept the claims Jesus made for himself through what he said and his actions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I pointed out that Einstein believed in Spinoza’s God, i.e. he was a pantheist or panentheist, at least until his later years.

          So what?

          “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.” ~Albert Einstein

          I mentioned him whilst talking about the best minds our Civilisation has produced. I think most people would agree that he can be included in this description.

          A non sequitur…Einstein being a genius and one of the greatest minds in physics means nothing. He may have been a bumbling idiot on the subject of religion. No one here is denying that clever people can hold some fucked up beliefs. Ever hear of compartmentalisation?

          Einstein’s attitudes toward religion illustrate how cautious we must be when claiming that we understand another person’s opinion. Beliefs are sometimes complex, subtle, vague, or ambiguously articulated, and of course they can change dramatically with time. In this case, it is only after reading a great many quotes that we get a good feeling for what Einstein truly believed. By incautiously or unscrupulously quoting Einstein without proper context, as many have done before, we could easily have made him sound like a Jew, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Theist or Pantheist, but none of these labels seems to fully capture the subtlety of his thoughts.

          ‘m assuming that all those great lights in the past that held beliefs counter to your preferred flavour of nonsense, were no less clever for believing that other nonsense?

          Einstein was mentioned as one who while a Jew and a non believer could yet recognise that the portrait of Jesus rings true. His powerful personality shines through, according to Einstein.

          Who cares? How much research do you imagine Einstein invested in the question of Jesus? What we know for sure, he had no truck with all the supernatural mumbo jumbo, so you are not doing your postion any favours by quoting him here.

          Most Christians recognise the truth of the story of Jesus through this portrait, just as as did Einstein.

          But Einstein didn’t though, did he? You are talking ballix. And in doing so, embarrassing yourself.

          Unlike Einstein who rejected a personal God a priori, they accept the claims Jesus made for himself through what he said and his actions.

          Right…so Einstein didn’t accept the Jesus you do…and that’s what I said, so pah!

      • Harley Quin

        There is good scholarly evidence for this assertion. Refer to Bauckham as suggested rather than simply denying its validity.

        John Robinson, author of ‘Honest to God’, a liberal Bishop if ever there was one, argued that all the New Testament documents, including Acts and so Luke, and Paul’s letters, were written before AD 70, the date of the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans.

        One good reason is that this disaster is never mentioned or alluded to in them, as it surely would have been had it occurred.

        Jesus refers to it as a forthcoming event. But it was predictable that the Romans would destroy the city should there be an uprising against them which was bubbling at the time.

        • Dating everything before 70 is pretty radical.

        • Greg G.

          One good reason is that this disaster is never mentioned or alluded to in them, as it surely would have been had it occurred.

          It’s also a good indication that the author was writing long after with nothing but Paul’s letters, Josephus writings to borrow from, and some imagination to create the story with. The frequency and intricacy of the coincidences between Acts and Antiquities of the Jews are too apparent to deny. We also see them in Luke but only in the one quarter of Luke that don’t come from Mark or Matthew. That puts Luke no earlier than the end of the first century.

          Jesus refers to it as a forthcoming event. But it was predictable that the Romans would destroy the city should there be an uprising against them which was bubbling at the time.

          The more specific and accurate a prophecy is, the more likely it is a retrodiciton written after the events. The book of Daniel pretends to have been written just after the Babylonian exile. It has very specific accurate prophecies up to 167 BC but are completely wrong after 164 BC, thus it is dated between those years.

        • Ed Senter

          “It has very specific accurate prophecies up to 167 BC but are completely wrong after 164 BC, thus it is dated between those years.”

          Only if you assume the prophecy is linear relative to time. Daniel’s prophecy contains gaps of time.
          For instance, we are still awaiting the 70th week in Chapter 9. Mathew 24 adds details to this week.

        • Greg G.

          It is just taking Daniel at his word. Everything was falling into place with the straight up reading of years meaning years. Antiochus Epiphanes was to conquer Egypt and then archangel Michael would kill him in 164 BC at a certain place and the Messianic kingdom would commence. But Antiochus Epiphanes died elsewhere so the prophecy failed and we are still waiting for the kingdom.

          Christianity jumped into the coming Messiah business and has been as big a failure as Daniel.

          It is desperation apologetics to change the meaning of weeks and years to make excuses for the failure.

        • Ed Senter

          At what date are you starting? The message to rebuild Jerusalem was issued by King Cyrus in his first year as King of Persia sometime around 458 BC. Ezra 1:2

        • Nope. There are actually 4 dates, and you get to pick which one makes your desired outcome most likely.

          Decree of Cyrus: 538–536 BCE (2 Chron. 36:22–3)
          Decree of Darius Hystaspes: 521 BCE (Ezra 6:6–12)
          Decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra: 458 BCE (Ezra 7:11–26)
          Decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah: 444 BCE (Neh. 2:1–8)

        • Ed Senter

          I pick 444 BC.– From March 5, 444 BC to March 30, 33 AD on the Jewish year of 360 days/year. Jesus Christ was crucified on Passover, 33 AD.

          The important thing to consider is that this is prophecy to Daniel and mostly history to us in 2017. The 70th week of the prophecy is yet to happen.

        • You’re confusing me. I thought you were a deist. Why would you care about the Bible? Please clarify your position with respect to Christianity.

          But I hope you see my point. You pick your starting point because it pleases you, not because it’s the one and only starting point.

          I’ve written about Daniel in other posts.

        • Ed Senter

          I am a Christian. Just don’t lay all of those stupid christian traditions onto me. Just as Jesus said, “you make void the word of God with your traditions.” That is why I admire Thomas Paine, Age of Reason.
          To me, prophecy is not at all about predictions. I study prophecy to build my faith. When God says it, He does it. When it is all said and done, the Bible proves itself. The book of Daniel and the book of Revelation go hand in hand. The 70th week of Daniel is outlayed in Revelations. For instance, the time line in revelations is 3.5 years = 42 months. So using that time line, Jesus was crucified on Passover 33 AD just like Daniel said. And he was crucified on a Wednesday- not Friday like traditions say.
          I perused through your old posts and found that essay by Chris Sandoval. I am not impressed by him being not impressed with the time gap explanation for prophecy. The proof of the time gap is Luke 4:18 where Jesus is handed a scroll of the Prophet Isaiah and reads stopping mid-sentence and proclaims, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Well, what happened to the rest of the sentence in Isaiah 61 about “vengeance” and so forth? The answer is that it is yet to come in the future. It is a time gap.

          I did not pick that starting point because it pleases me. I picked that starting point because it works and is consistent with other scripture.

        • When God says it, He does it. When it is all said and done, the Bible proves itself.

          I’ve seen plenty of claims by Christians but not a single example of a Bible prophecy coming true.

          I don’t know what “the Bible proves itself” means.

          The book of Daniel and the book of Revelation go hand in hand.

          Because they told you? Or because you’re pulling the pieces together to make some invented whole?

          So using that time line, Jesus was crucified on Passover 33 AD just like Daniel said.

          Are scholars in agreement? I think not.

          You’re outlining your own beliefs. OK, thanks for that. You’ve provided no reason to accept them, however.

          I did not pick that starting point because it pleases me. I picked that starting point because it works and is consistent with other scripture.

          Huh?? I think you just agreed with me!

        • Ed Senter

          I just gave you one example of a prophecy coming true. Then I showed how other parts of the Bible support the time and time gap theory. Just because you can come up with alternative interpretations does not mean the truth ain’t there. You can’t see the forest for all of the trees.
          There are literally dozens and dozens of other examples.

          The Bible tells the story of redemption from beginning to end. You find the interpretation that works, put it in the puzzle, then when all the pieces are properly placed, you get the picture.

        • If it was inspired by a god, we wouldn’t need to place pieces properly or interpret or look through trees to find a forest. The meaning would be clear to anyone, right away. The fact that it isn’t – that it’s far from clear – indicates it has nothing to do with any god and everything to do with superstitious humans.

        • Ed Senter

          Or, God is in charge. “Many are called, but few are chosen”. “The same word brings life to some, and death to others.”

        • God is in charge? What god? Where? You’re saying a god is in charge when no one has ever found the slightest bit of evidence that this god even exists. You’re claiming that something that no one has ever found any evidence for is in charge of the entire universe. You’re going to need a lot more than a few nice-sounding quotes and claims from a Bronze Age book to convince any rational person of your deity’s reality.

          I don’t care and haven’t time for your superstitious nonsense. Show me evidence for your claims. Anything else is rubbish.

        • Ed Senter

          Then the only thing you have to look forward to is death- too bad.

        • That’s what all of us – you included – have to look forward to when we die. Until then, I get to live a full life, while you waste a big part of yours on a childish delusion.

          And the irony is, deep down, you know it. After all, if death was truly the beginning of a new life, why are you folks just as sad as atheists at funerals? Your loved one is supposedly traveling to a perfect world, yet you are inconsolable. Stop lying to yourself. Accept reality – God isn’t real, neither is Heaven or an afterlife – it’s not that scary.

        • Kodie

          There’s a lot to look forward to without fast-forwarding all the way to death. Christians fuck this up constantly. They are consumed with death.

        • Greg G.

          It’s a death cult and their logo is a slow-death device.

        • Susan

          There’s a lot to look forward to without fast-forwarding all the way to death. Christians fuck this up constantly. They are consumed with death.

          So glad to see your here, Kodie.

          I was worried that we might never see you again in this new, crappy format that doesn’t seem to address the basic problems it used to have.

          At least World Table was just an option.

          It will be a while before I see you again. They’ve turned Disqus snags into almost impermeable snags when it comes to following the discussion.

          Just wanted to say that I’m glad to see you here chipping away.

          I’ve missed you.

          (And likely will miss you more under this new format).

          It’s almost impossible to follow the discussion.

          I only found you by clicking on Greg G.’s replies.

          Fuck.

        • Greg G.

          Try the code I posted at http://disq.us/p/1l77ggp

          It works from your computer if you are connected to the internet. It gives 25 recent comments with up to 400 characters each. It depends on the browser whether you click the timestamp or the name. I right-click the timestamp with Chrome to open it in a new tab. But Internet Explorer works from the name. I haven’t tried it on other platforms.

        • Susan

          Try the code

          Dammit, Greg. I’m a musician! (with a rare Saturday night off) not a codingrgeek genius!

          I did what you said. Copied it to Word and have no idea what to do with it.

          Also, I’ve been up on less than three hours sleep with a dog who was deathly ill this morning and seems to be pulling through.

          Maybe, you can explain it repeatedly tomorrow until the rest of us get it.

          Thanks for trying. Maybe tomorrow, we’ll I’ll be able to understand the instruction.

        • Greg G.

          Try using Notepad. Word adds extra stuff. Save it as ce.htm or something. Then open it with your browser.

        • MR

          Gah! Not Word!

        • Susan

          Gah!

          Yep. Clearly not in lurnin’ mode.

          Long, roller coaster day.

          I’ll sleep and reread.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what this new format is, and haven’t got to the thread where it changed… I am annoyed of the format where it doesn’t stay logged in every time I open the page, and patheos keeps reminding me how many articles I’ve enjoyed with my ad blocker, but commenting isn’t bothering me because I don’t comment much because the comments are way too old. It’s the busy time of year for me, long days. I am debating whether to read those older posts or not. I’m off the first page, so maybe I should just skip them. I’ll have a lot more time in September to catch up.

        • rev2doc

          “The only irony is…” that tou will finally face the truth which you’re trying so hard to avoid, all this time.

          Willful ignorance, is not ignorance at all…it is simply, simple-minded foolishness.

          Too bad.

        • Kodie

          I look forward to winning the powerball, living in Paris, and time travel – is that any less real than yours?

        • Greg G.

          I won $2 in the Powerball, I have spent 4 days in Paris, and I am time traveling right now – forward at one second per second. So yours is real.

        • Kodie

          People win the jackpot and Paris is populated with people who live there just because they’re already there. Reality is always better. To say atheists have nothing to look forward to is to say Christians have nothing to look forward to. I mean just the way they frame their outlook. Death is the end, and anything after that is fantasy. I prefer my fantasies while I’m still alive. If atheists have nothing to look forward to, Christians have nothing but heaven to look forward to, which means they are missing out on life. Death is the best, it’s the only thing they have to look forward to.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What right minded person, who has given it more than a second thought, wants an eternity in Heaven?

        • I dunno. Spending every waking hour for eternity praising a petty, jealous, self-absorbed genocidal psychopath – what’s not to like?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Given only the two choice’s…I’d prefer to take an eternity with Satan every time…at least one knows where they stand with Satan…and he’s nowhere near as bad as that cunt in the sky with the white beard, no matter how much bad press those ignorant eejits of Christianity attempt to heap upon him.

        • Yeah. Plus, all of the PR that Satan gets is written by those who dislike him – and even they only attribute ten murders to him – all at God’s command. The worst that anyone can really say about him, based on his actual actions in the Bible, is that he’s easily led.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here’s a creationist woo-woo trying to use the bible and science to demonstrate that YahwehJesus killed 9 billion in The Flood, yes, you did read that correctly, 9 BILLION.

          http://ldolphin.org/popul.html

          Lambert Dolphin is a retired physicist who worked at the Stanford Research Institute for more than three decades before retiring in 1987 to devote most of his time to Bible teaching, writing, and Christian counseling. In this wide-ranging discussion, Lambert shares his spiritual journey that led from suicidal depression to faith in Jesus Christ, his archaeological adventures on (and under) the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Giza Plateau in Egypt, and his thoughts on the remote viewing experiments that coincided with his time at SRI.

          They walk amongst us.

        • Kodie

          I think that is wacky, but I wouldn’t mind a bonus life where I’m always 25 years old, the world around me doesn’t suck, and I have leisure and money to follow interesting pursuits. I think that is what people (pop culture) thinks heaven is like – you feel good and healthy, you live in a bubble of good times, and kind of like a resort where you can lay on the beach for 5 years and when you get bored of that, you can take up painting, without feeling like you wasted 5 whole years just laying around.

        • Greg G.

          I wouldn’t mind it being an eternal orgasm. I never get bored during one of those.

        • Kodie

          I bet after a week, you’d be like, “wonder what’s on tv”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If only it was really that mundane a condition.

          I watched a documentary once about folk who have Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder and it makes their lives a living nightmare.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-jFl6x1Ny8

        • Ignorant Amos

          What? Ya man ya’ve had one already? }8O)~

        • Greg G.

          I have always been envious of women’s ability to have multiple orgasms. I want multiple eternal orgasms.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can certainly think of improvements on my lot and wouldn’t mind having a number goes at trying things differently with only guaranteed positives…but not an infinity and not in a place with a lot of those arsehole Christian’s I see about the place.

        • Susan

          From Ian Cooper:

          Show me evidence for your claims.

          Your response:

          Then the only thing you have to look forward to is death.

          So, you’ve got nothing.

        • Greg G.

          So do you but you haven’t come to grips with the pie-in-the-sky being a fantasy. Being realistic about makes every minute of existence all the more precious. If you think you will live forever, the rest of your earthly existence is meaningless.

        • MR

          So, then, it is about your selfish desire to live forever.

          [edit to add (again)]:

          If God’s purpose were for you to live this life only and then cease to exist, would this life then become meaningless to you since there is no after life?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have you any concept of how long eternity is?

          “What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell [Heaven] forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.” ~James Joyce

          Given that concept….in the company of the prick portrayed in the Buybull….

          “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ~Richard Dawkins

          Ya can cram that idea right up yer arse.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Let me guess, you are one of the chosen?

          You are special….but this poor bugger, not so much…

          https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/600×315/62/21/79/622179911c9b84234920cfd34d1d1f26.jpg

          I’m glad I don’t believe in your god, because if I did, the only conclusion I could reach is that he is a fucking cunt and those that lick his arse are not much better.

        • What was the prophecy? The date of the crucifixion? Christian scholars can’t even agree on when he was crucified, and you only came to 33AD because you knew at the outset where you wanted to go, and you tweaked the evidence to satisfy your conclusion.

          The rebirth of Israel? I have higher standards for prophecy than you do. If someone came to you from another religion with evidence like this, you’d wonder what pathetic god they worshipped. They can’t even invent a god who does better than this?

          The Bible tells the story of redemption from beginning to end.

          Yeah? If so, Jesus would be in Genesis, chapter 1. He ain’t. Christianity is just a reboot.

        • Kodie

          Why is your “interpretation” correct? If there are thousands of interpretations that support thousands of denominations of Christianity, what is the issue you have with other interpretations, including any that conclude the bible is a bunch of myth stories and there is no god? You can’t see the whole forest, you call a couple of trees a forest, and I presume it’s because someone else pointed it out to you and you gullibly agreed.

        • Ed Senter

          My interpretation is correct because it works. If someone can point out the flaw, then I will change my mind. Most of Christianity is clueless when it comes to prophecy.

        • Kodie

          It’s called confirmation bias.

        • Greg G.

          The existence of suffering is the fatal flaw in the omnipotent benevolence interpretation.

        • Greg G.

          You cited Daniel 12:4 above. It says that the book was supposed to be sealed up until the end of time. Yet it appeared right when the “prophecies” that had come true were in the past and the future prophecies failed.

          It should be obvious that the book was propaganda written so that the “true prophecies” were retrodictions and the future were bad incorrect unfortunate guesses. Its appearance was timed to look like they had entered the end of time.

        • Ed Senter

          Future prophecies have not failed. They still are yet to come. Jesus referred to Daniel in Matt 24. The entire book of Daniel is written for the Jews and Jerusalem. The Jews ain’t going to get it. They will accept the anti-Christ. It is only when they realize the mistake and cry out to the Lord when they will be saved and the millennial kingdom is ushered in.

        • But since it can easily be interpreted as a non-supernatural “prophecy” that is accurate before 167 but fails afterwards, isn’t that the way to go? Isn’t the supernatural explanation farfetched?

        • Ed Senter

          If it fails under an interpretation, either 1. the interpretation is wrong, or 2. the prophecy is wrong.
          Under the time-gap interpretation, it all makes sense. Besides, the prophecy is not to be understood until the end times. “But you, Daniel, keep the message a secret; seal the Book until the final period; many shall investigate and information shall advance.” Dan 12:4

        • adam

          “Besides, the prophecy is not to be understood until the end times. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a5b53f4489e73d718f1bf8170a6e17f5961429392c56d208f90d3671f5a3179.png

        • Awwk-ward …

        • I’ve written several posts about Daniel as a prophecy. I think the natural explanation leaves nothing unexplained. Let me know if you can’t find it.

        • Cassandra

          Occam’s razor demands that the simplest explanation, which Harley points out, will be most likely be the true one.

        • Greg G.

          “Explanation” is the primary term in Occam’s Razor and “simplest” is secondary. An explanation that is long on simple and short on explanation is more likely to be wrong. Explaining lightning with Zeus is simple but doesn’t actually explain it.

          Luke and Acts have too many coincidences with Antiquities of the Jews and Vita that need to be explained. Coincidence is insufficient as an explanation as many of the facts seem to be included simply because they were in Antiquities. Acts 5:36-37 has Gamaliel talking about Theudas and Judas the Galilean. Theudas is discussed in Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.1 §97-99 and all the information said about Judas the Galilean is found in Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.2 §100-104, which is primarily about Judas’ sons. The problem is that Gamaliel would have been speaking of Theudas and his followers being slain about a decade before the events occurred. The simplest full explanation is that Luke was drawing from Josephus’ later works.

          Since Antiquities can be dated to circa 94 AD, Luke and Acts are much later than 70 AD.

          The verbatim agreements between Mark, Matthew, and Luke show a literary connection. There are signs of editorial fatigue where a copier makes a change at the beginning of a story but reverts to the original details. For example, in the story of the beheading of John the Baptist, Mark called Herod a king, likely because he was drawing the story from the book of Esther. Matthew corrects that by calling Herod a tetrarch but further down, he calls him king. We see Luke making similar mistakes with Mark and with Matthew, too. But we have no instances of Matthew making a mistake like that with Luke, which makes the Q theory expendable. Luke rejects parts of Mark, spit miracles for example, so why wouldn’t he reject parts of Matthew? Luke copying Mark and Matthew fully explains the similarities and the differences and is simpler than invoking an unevidenced Q document, so Occam is satisfied.

          The Gospel of Mark has unspoken irony. Mark uses Aramaicisms and Latinisms. He usually explains the Aramaicisms but never the Latinisms, which implies that his intended audience was educated in Greek, knew Latin, but not so much Aramaic. He explains that Bartimaeus means “son of Timaeus. He has Jesus opening his prayer in Gethsemane with “Abba, Father” to associate those words. Eventually, one realizes that Barabbas and Jesus before Pilate are two men called “Son of the Father”. This sets up the scapegoat ritual for Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16:5-22) where one goat is killed for the sins of the nation and the other is released into the wilderness.

          Jesus’ trial is interlaced with the story of Peter denying him in the courtyard. Jesus is being slapped around and being ordered to “Prophesy!” while his prophecy is being fulfilled.

          Then we have Jesus going into Jerusalem and stopping for a snack but the tree has no fruit. Jesus gets mad at the tree. Then he arrives in Jerusalem and throws his Temple Tantrum. (Too bad they didn’t pass a Snickers tree.) Later, they discover the tree is dead and withered. The analogy points to the destruction of the Temple. The irony wouldn’t work if Mark was written before the destruction of the Temple but it would work great after all of the Vespasian propaganda about the destruction, especially among Latin speakers.

          While Robinson’s explanation is simple, it leaves too much unexplained to be valid.

        • Cassandra

          I find it impossible to believe that if the author was writing long after, he would not have mentioned or interpolated a mention of this, for Jews, earth-shattering event.

        • Greg G.

          Which author writing about what? Daniel? Mark? Luke? The Babylonian Exile? The destruction of Jerusalem?

          I explained it in detail below at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/03/a-convincing-holy-book-not-possible-2/#comment-3457643217

      • Cassandra

        The dates of the Gospels can be ascertained by a variety of means, including papyrology, as in Carsten Thiede and Matthew d’Ancona’s ‘The Jesus Papyrus’, literary analyses such as that of Richard Bauckham and forensic analysis of other historical sources such has that of John Robinson. You seem to be unaware of any and all of these.

        I’m not sure what your remark about the scientific method refers to in this context. It seems to be irrelevant.

        • Greg G.

          It is obvious that Matthew and Luke were getting information from Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews and Luke was using Vita, so that places them no earlier than the end of the first century.

          Matthew modeled his nativity story on Josephus’ account of Moses’ nativity story, giving the Herod the same motive for the mass killings that Josephus had for the pharaoh in AJ 2, which differs from the Exodus version. Josephus had Moses’ father getting a warning in a dream and so does Joseph. AJ 17 says the Pharisees were thought to have psychic powers, which is likely where Matthew got the Magi, which is in the same section that Herod having his son killed is found. The OT describes the tabernacle uses for gold, frankincense, and myrrh but Matthew lists them in the order that Josephus describes them.

          Luke used lots of material that matches Mark and Matthew. The central section has the trip to Jerusalem and Luke departs from Mark’s outline and follows topics in Deuteronomy. There are also a number of pieces of information that comes from Josephus used in many ways in both Luke and Acts. In Luke, the Josephus pieces are not found in the Markan and Matthean parts, only in the 25% that does not come from those sources, which means it is not coincidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The oldest piece of the NT is Rylands p52 and it is a credit card sized papyri piece of the gospel according to John dated to the end of the second century.

          Read what a real expert has to say.

          http://people.uncw.edu/zervosg/papyrology/nongbri%20p52%20misuse.pdf

        • epeeist

          The oldest piece of the NT is Rylands p52 and it is a credit card sized papyri piece

          I live in Manchester and visit the John Rylands library fairly frequently, credit card sized is an overestimate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve only ever seen photo’s which haven’t had any perspective. I’m basing that description from the Bart Ehrman presentation and he describes it so, cheers for the clarification.

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7c/Rylands_papyrus.jpg/1200px-Rylands_papyrus.jpg

        • That P52 dates to c. 125 is very debatable, I understand. I’ve heard that it could just as easily be placed in the 4th century.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The dating of p52 as c.125 cannot be sustained according to actual palaeographers and papyrologists.

          There are no first century New Testament papyri and only very few can be attributed to the second century (P52, P90, P104, probably all the second half of the century) or somewhere between the late second and early third centuries (P30, P64+67+4, 0171, 0212).

          Biblical scholars should realise that some of the dates proposed by some of their colleagues are not acceptable to Greek palaeographers and papyrologists.

          Two interesting articles at Vridar….

          http://vridar.org/2013/03/08/new-date-for-that-st-johns-fragment-rylands-library-papyrus-p52/

          http://vridar.org/2013/03/10/more-on-dating-new-testament-manuscripts-and-the-rylands-fragment-p52-again/

          Nongbri in the paper I cited above goes into a lot more detail on why the early dating by bible scholars is unsound.

    • Ignorant Amos

      In fact Christianity in is expanding rapidly in eg China, including amongst the highly educated.

      Which flavour of Christianity would that be then?

      • Harley Quin

        A spread of churches. If you recall, the Papal-appointed `Cardinal was imprisoned for decades by the Chinese.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A spread of churches.

          A spread of Christianities ya mean.

          If you recall, the Papal-appointed `Cardinal was imprisoned for decades by the Chinese.

          I’m sure you think that non sequitur has some relevance, just what it is though, would be the question.

        • Cassandra

          It’s merely pointing out that Roman Catholicism has a grip on some at least of the Chinese.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what?

          Nowhere did I say Roman Catholicism wasn’t a Christianity or there weren’t any in China.

          I’m still wondering the relevance of singling out that one out of the many to chose from out there.

          Much of the Christian following is outside the state approved Christianities, so numbers are sketchy. But there are more than just the one flavour of Christianity and Roman Catholicism doesn’t seem to be the most popular of the two main headings of Roman Catholic and Protestant at the moment.

          Being a papist Roman Catholic is an underground affair too.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_China#Contemporary_People.27s_Republic_of_China

    • “Christianity in is expanding rapidly in eg China, including amongst the highly educated.”

      Which shows what we’ve known for a while now – even educated people can be delusional.

      • Darkstarr

        I’d like to see independent verification of that statement before taking it at face value. I’ve seen numerous independent studies that show that people are leaving Christianity in droves, converting to other religions (eg neopaganism, Buddhism, etc.) or even becoming agnostic or even atheist. Unfortunately, some of those same studies indicate that Islam is growing (a case of going from bad to worse, IMHO), but that can be attributed to groups like Da’esh and al-Qaida performing “shotgun conversions” (ie “join Islam or we kill you!”).

        • Forced conversions to Islam aren’t a big deal, but having lots of babies is. Take a population, dial up its fertility rate, and there you go.

        • Darkstarr

          Hmm… that DOES explain why Catholics are prohibited from using birth control, doesn’t it now?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Without a doubt. And back in the day when the Christian Church had more teeth, prohibition was taken more seriously.

          Big families were also needed because survival rates in antiquity were not terribly great. High infant mortality was an issue.

          If there is no bums on pews, there is no money going into the collection plate…and we can’t have that. Can we?

          But these silly and ridiculous rules are not best observed in these modern times. Especially by the cafeteria Christians.

        • Darkstarr

          I was actually referring to the growth of Xtianity in China. However, I do believe you about the Moslem birth rate, for the same reason that Catholics and Fundamentalist Xtians refuse to use birth control. If you can’t beat them, out-breed them, right?

      • Cassandra

        That’s not really a reply worth considering.

    • In fact Christianity in is expanding rapidly in eg China, including amongst the highly educated.

      OK, but how does that respond to the claim that Christianity is declining in the West?

      What’s the relevance of the highly educated in China being attracted to Christianity? Is that an argument for the evidence supporting Christianity? Cuz I’ve seen very little.

      • Harley Quin

        There is no need for any correspondence. China is a different culture.

  • Paul Rozsival

    I’m fairly sure that we have not seen the last “Holy Book” in print.

    The next one will almost certainly be written by the first codified Superintelligence (see Superintelligence https://www.amazon.com/Superintelligence-Dangers-Strategies-Nick-Bostrom/dp/1501227742).

    It will make all of the other Holy Books seem like poorly written children’s stories.

    • Why would a Superintelligence write a book about the supernatural? Are you taking as a given that the supernatural exists? Or are you saying that it’s a delusion that will trap even the most intelligent?

  • Ignorant Amos

    Absolutely tremendous entertainment last night…

    Ricky Gervais tweeted after last nights gig…

    Thank you Belfast! You are fucking amazing. You are very sick people for laughing at the awful things I said, but I love you anyway 🙂

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5EoApgXUAIB9Gg.jpg

    • Michael Neville

      You are very sick people

      No wonder you liked the show.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Anyone brought up in this cluster fuck of a religiously sectarian hellhole is a sick person by default…top that with a career in the military and copious amounts of alcohol, as a lot of us are prone to imbibe, and you’ve definitely got my measure.

        Of course, not everyone was entertained…but then some folk will never get it…even when it is THE FUCKIN’ MAIN THEME OF THE TOUR… FFS.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4363886/Ricky-Gervais-slammed-couple-dead-baby-joke.html

        On the not so funny side was the young couple who weighed in to sit in the two seats in front of me and my mate for the Wednesday night show, only to find two geezers sitting in what they thought was their seats. After a careful inspection of everyone’s tickets, it transpired that the young couple were a day late and their tickets were for the Tuesday night concert. What a bummer. Missed a great show.