A “Personal Relationship” With Jesus? I Doubt It.

A “Personal Relationship” With Jesus? I Doubt It. January 19, 2018

Imaginary friend

Think about someone you know well—a friend or relative, say. Now list the attributes that make them unique. You could give the physical attributes that would help me find them at the airport—gender and age, height and weight, hair color and style, and so on—but you know much more than that.

You might know how they shake hands and if they like to hug. You might know their favorite music and sports, their favorite foods and food allergies, which TV shows they like and which they hate, their annoying habits, the names of their pets, their medical issues, where they went to school and where they’ve lived, and their past jobs. You may have helped them through tough times in life or vice versa.

You recognize their voice and their laugh. You have funny stories you could tell at their birthday party and poignant stories for their funeral—or vice versa.

If you have a “personal relationship with Jesus,” can you say the same thing? Can you list attributes about Jesus? If so, do you imagine that they’re the same as those of other Christians? If not, why call this a relationship?

Christians today only know Jesus from the artwork. But give your Jesus a haircut, a shave, and modern clothes. As Richard Russell (whose essay inspired this post) observed about Jesus, “You couldn’t pick him out of a 1-person lineup.” Jesus is nothing but a costume.

The many flavors of “relationship”

Consider a sequence of relationships, ranked from strongest to weakest.

  1. Start with the one described above, an intimate, long-term relationship with a family member or close friend.
  2. Now we begin to degrade the relationship. Consider a less-intimate relationship with someone you’ve met face to face. This might be neighbor, co-worker, acquaintance from a party, or the parent of one of your kid’s classmates who you recognize but whose name you’ve forgotten. You have strong evidence that you met someone, though you have few intimate details.
  3. This is a voice- or text-only relationship such as that with a pen pal or online friend. Though these relationships can be intimate, no one would consider them equivalent to a face-to-face relationship. They can be spoofed (I wrote about the unfortunate Manti Teʻo here).
  4. Finally, drop even this channel of communication so that there is no objective evidence of any intelligence on the other end of the relationship except a mirror of yourself. You can fool yourself quite easily (and if you’re responding, “No, I can’t!” then you see how unassailable your own ideas can be). Maybe there really is an intelligence that refuses to communicate any way except this one, but this is indistinguishable from an imaginary friend or delusion.

We know what person and relationship mean. We can look them up. “Relationship” #4 is unlike any actual relationship with an actual person. What we’re seeing is an instance of Shermer’s Law: smart Christians using their substantial intellect to defend beliefs they adopted for indefensible reasons. They might be Christians who adopted that worldview from their environment, but as adults, they know that “cuz I was raised that way” is no intellectual justification for their Christian belief. They can’t admit to having an imaginary friend. Instead, they handwave that they have a relationship with an actual person, no less real than their relationships with close friends in other parts of life.

We see this definition fiddling with other positive attributes—good, just, and merciful, for example. These are great words to apply to their favorite deity, but, given some of God’s shenanigans, Christians must “improve” the definitions to address God’s hateful acts in the Old Testament. Sorry—that’s not how words are used.

Perversely, relationship #4 is the one that apologist William Lane Craig insists is the strongest and the least in need of evidence (I’ve written more here). Only in religion, where every day is Opposite Day, could a lack of evidence be heralded as a virtue.

The only reason you keep [claiming
your “deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ”]
is because it’s the slogan of the club
that some con artist or charlatan has suckered you into believing
you really want to be a member of.
— Richard S. Russell

This post was inspired by “That Deep, Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ” by Richard S. Russell.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/9/14.)

Image credit: Don Addis

 

"Tim O'Neill ...At Strange Notions....He finds the fact that he irritates many theists and atheists ..."

When Christianity Was in Charge, This ..."
""defending Europe from the Muslims"apparently Islamic Iberia was a drawn-out attempt to convert proto-Spain to ..."

When Christianity Was in Charge, This ..."
"Jimmy D is a special kind of asinine dolt."

When Christianity Was in Charge, This ..."
"Am sure your guesswork is on point."

When Christianity Was in Charge, This ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


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

    I wrote this a couple years back, in regards to why I lost my faith. It’s not about the intellectual arguments, for me; it’s about the relationship I was promised, and that was never delivered:

    Let’s consider our sundry human relationships. We generally engage in direct verbal communication with friends, with family, with coworkers. When we desire to convey an idea or express a sentiment, we do so, verbally and in person. Christians like to characterize their faith as a “relationship, not religion”, at least in the church circles I grew up in. So let’s evaluate that “relationship”.

    Does God communicate with us verbally and in person? With scant exceptions, I’ve rarely found anyone who makes this claim. No, he communicates via inspiration, whether in timely thoughts during prayer, pervasive feelings or overwhelming emotion induced by worship songs, or moments of epiphany whilst reading his purportedly divinely inspired text. That’s the way the vast majority of Christians claim to communicate with their God. Yet, this sort of communication is fundamentally different from how we engage in human-to-human interactions.

    This may sound puerile, but I’ll make my point. I have an earthly, human father. We don’t have an amazing relationship by any means, but we certainly do like each other and enjoy one another’s company. We talk about sports, about music, about movies. As in, we talk with each other. Verbally. Audibly. When I’m home from college, I still hug him before bed every night.

    Does God do any of that?

    Not in my experience. But it gets better. You know how Christians adore appeals to common experience as evidence of a greater reality? As in, humans tend to experience commonalities in terms of emotional desires and moral sensibilities across cultures, therefore we must be created by a Creator and even meant for another world altogether (according to Lewis). To quote one of my favorite bands: “Don’t we all want to belong? Don’t we all learn right from wrong? Don’t we all want to be loved?” Presumably these desires emanate from a Creator, precisely because they are meant to be fulfilled, if not now then in the hereafter. So, let’s run with that. Let’s presuppose the truthfulness of that assertion.

    In that case, why did I grow up with an intense, innate desire to directly communicate with my Creator?

    God evidently saw no pressing need to fulfill that desire. It obviously didn’t matter how much I wanted to communicate with him. How much I prayed, night after night, for years. How much I wept, how much I begged, how much I pleaded for something, anything to show me that God was actually there and actually cared about me. Instead I got a book. A dry old tome that frankly bored me to tears most of the time, though I never dared to admit that to anyone. I got vaguely positive feelings. I got indirect messages of love and approval from friends, family, and ministers. What did God give me? Nothing. Well, until I die. Then he might give a damn, if you know what I mean.

    You have no idea how badly I wanted Christianity to be true. I defended God incessantly. I did not dare to question why he would not communicate, for so long. If He had bothered to actually, you know, talk with me, I’d be his most ardent defender. I’d be on his side forever and worship him until my dying breath.

    I guess he wants me to burn.

    • Nos482

      A dry old tome that frankly bored me to tears most of the time

      You read the begats, didn’t you?

    • Indeed! I tried and tried and tried and never could get that connection with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit during prayer or Bible reading. Some of the music was touching, but I’m touched by secular music that isn’t backed by a deity. I stopped buying into the fact that God supposedly answers prayers with yes, no, or wait awhile……

      • BlueJew

        As someone pointed out somewhere, anyone or anything you pray to answers prayers with yes, no, or wait a while.

      • eric

        Of course God answers prayers!

        Moses: “Oh ffs Yahweh, give it a rest for a while, will you?”

        The rest is history.

      • Len

        Actually God doesn’t answer prayers with yes, no, or wait a while. There’s a deafening silence when you ask him to do anything. The prayor (ie, he who prays) interprets anything (or nothing) that happens as an answer because they’ve been taught to do that.

        I always ask whether someone’s god has ever told them anything they didn’t already know or couldn’t work out using knowledge or information (including morals) that they already had. They don’t have to tell me what it was, just think of it for themselves.

    • Tony D’Arcy

      Even the sainted Mother Tereza couldn’t get Jesus to answer her prayers !

    • Doubting Thomas

      Does God communicate with us verbally and in person? With scant exceptions, I’ve rarely found anyone who makes this claim.

      You’ll find most of the people who claim to see and hear god residing at your local nut house.

      Of course, I think that the idea of having a personal relationship with someone they can’t see, hear, etc., is just as delusional as the people that claim to see and hear, but I guess popularity of a delusion makes it less crazy?

    • A powerful story! Thanks.

  • watcher_b

    I have a personal relationship with my great great great great grandfather who was born in the 1700s, died, but rose from the dead and is alive today. And he wants to have a relationship with you too.

    If you ask me for proof that my great great great great grandfather is alive and/or show interesting in having this “personal relationship” with him, and my response is that the “best” evidence I have is letters from people who knew him back in the 1700s… you would have every right to think I might be lying.

    Even less fantastical examples:
    I say that Scarlett Johansson really likes you and would like to go out with you. You ask to meet them and instead I show you “evidence” that this person exists.

    Or I say that Bill Gates wants to give you a $1,000,00, you would be like “OK, I’ll take it” and I just show you letters from others saying that it exists.

    The very fundamentals of Christian Apologetics is broken. Even if everything they say is true, it still doesn’t make any sense in light of how they say their God works.

  • Halbe

    Jesus!? Who on earth would want to have a personal relationship with the guy that invented eternal punishment for thought crimes? And who clearly had pathological delusions of grandeur? Do these people even read their holy book? (that was a rhetorical question)

    • Kodie

      Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Greg G.

      Who would want to spend eternity with the guy who has already thought of eternal punishment? What will he think of next? Infinite anguish?

  • Max Doubt

    “If you have a “personal relationship with Jesus,” can you say the same thing? “

    Well sure you can, if you redefine “have”, “personal”, and “relationship”, and maybe even “with” and “Jesus”, in ways that make the statement true. Honesty isn’t really a Christian strong-point.

  • Ah, we think likewise. Love the way you express things so clearly. I did a somewhat slightly different take on the same ‘Relationship not Religion’ piece last year. Will share yours on my blog now. 🙂

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/are-you-madly-in-love-with-jesus/

    • Interesting article. Thanks.

      • Likewise – I have long since enjoyed following your blog. Do feel free to send questions, ideas for future posts, feedback on writing style or content, etc. 🙂

    • Greg G.

      Nice comparison.

      • Thank you Greg. 🙂

        Same as above, if you have any questions, ideas for future posts, feedback on content, writing style, I would love to know.

        Currently working on average lifespans in ancient Roman Palestine, average age of the “eyewitnesses” and therefore when the “eyewitnesses” would likely have died by. Trying to be novel is hard given how many good blogs already exist on these subjects!

  • adam
    • HpO

      Really? Are you tripling-down sure? Because, truth be told, that’s not what all these smarter atheists have pitched about atheism:

      (1) Stephen LeDrew (cf. The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement, Oxford University Press, 2016; also “Stephen LeDrew on his ‘The Evolution of Atheism’: An Interview” with Olaf Simons, Positivism: Secular, Social, Scientific, December 10, 2015; also “Sociologist Stephen LeDrew on the Rift in the Atheism Movement”, Publishers Weekly, October 26, 2015)

      (2) CJ Werleman (cf. The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists, Dangerous Little Books, 2016)

      (3) Sikivu Hutchinson (cf. Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars, Infidel Books, 2011)

      (4) Daniel Fincke (cf. “Why I Criticize My Fellow Atheists”, Camels with Hammers, June 17, 2013)

      (5) Jurgen Habermas (cf. “A Conversation About God and the World”, in Time of Transitions, Polity, 2006)

      • Michael Neville

        LeDrew, whom I have read, complains that the Good Atheists, the secular humanists of whom he approves, are being overshadowed by the Bad Atheists, the New Atheists™ of whom he does not approve. The New Atheists™ are crass and uncouth, saying things like “where’s your evidence that your god exists?” and “all of Christian apologetics consists of wishful thinking, logical fallacies, and God of the Gaps”. LeDrew wishes the New Atheists™ would become more like the secular humanists, ignoring the fact that many secular humanists like me ask the questions and make the claims that he deplores the New Atheists™ asking and claiming.

        Werleman dislikes Sam Harris and is one of the atheist liberals who takes anti-Islamophobia to an extreme. I’ve never read his book and have no intention of doing so.

        Hutchinson is a black feminist atheist who smacks down racism and misogyny wherever she sees it. Unfortunately there are a fair number of racist atheists and an even larger number of atheist misogynists.

        Fincke, like Hutchinson, attacks atheist bigots. He also complains about sloppy thinking by atheists.

        Never head of Habermas.

        In short, there are atheists who don’t like other atheists for various reasons. However we don’t deny other atheists their atheism, unlike Christians, who will go to great length to explain why “those Christians aren’t real Christians because they don’t believe exactly the way I believe”. No True Scotsman is one of the favorite Christian themes when discussing other Christians.

        • HpO

          No True Scotsmanship Necessary.

          I was tutored by anarchist & Frankfurt School Neo-Marxist professors at uni around the time God & Jesus saved me. Now I’m a student of self-aware, critical atheism and a fired-up disciple of Christ Jesus – both. Go figure, right? No, not really. Not if there are smart atheists out there, a rarity. (You’re a rarity, too. Pleased to meet you, boss.) Like this here Jurgen Habermas, whose following statements have offended “your people”:

          “For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk.” (“Time of Transitions”, Polity, 2014). Mind, “the Judeo-Hellenic-Christian West … must refrain from using any non-discursive means in the hermeneutical conversation between cultures, and must become just one voice among others”. (“A Conversation About God and the World”, in Time of Transitions, Polity, 2006, page 155.) But “to exclude religious voices from the public square is highly illiberal”. (Jurgen Habermas, quoted in Rodney Pearson, “Tis the Season to Reveal What Atheists Really Want”, American Thinker, 2014.)

        • Michael Neville

          So Habermas is a fan of Christianity and doesn’t like postmodernism. That’s nice. To quote an old movie: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I’m not a post-modernist. If Habermas thinks Christianity is based on love then he must have slept through his classes on the 30 Years War. Catholics and Protestants fighting and a third of the population of Middle Europe dying as a result. But of course Habermas is talking about the Enlightenment, the period when Christianity started losing its grip on Western Civilization.

          “to exclude religious voices from the public square is highly illiberal”.

          You can believe whatever you want. Just don’t inflict your beliefs on everyone else. I’ve written this next bit so many times it’s almost muscle memory to type it again.

          Creationists want to replace science education with teaching religious mythology. Fundamentalist evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons want to outlaw abortion but won’t support the two things which have been shown to reduce abortion rates, sex education and easy access to contraceptives. That tells me the forced-birthers are more concerned with controlling women than “saving da babbies”. The Catholic Church owns 15% of American hospitals, which will not provide contraceptive or abortion services even to non-Catholics. Evangelicals are bullying GLBTs because Gawd thinks butt sechs is icky. If these people kept their beliefs to themselves then everyone else would be happier. Instead, they try to impose their beliefs on non-believers.

        • Kevin K

          Habermas also seems to have missed the fact that the Enlightenment was mainly fueled by deists who thought the notion of an interventionalist god was nonsense.

        • Otto

          Christianity is responsible for human rights? What a load of revisionist bullshit. So people using Christianity never promoted slavery USING their religious beliefs as cover? In modern day, Christianity is used universally to promote freedoms even when it goes against Christian beliefs…like for homosexuals? Yeah that doesn’t happen. You can fool yourself all you want but the proof that Christianity does NOT promote egalitarianism is plain to those not immersed in your self delusion you call Christianity.

          When you can point to the Bible verse that ALL Christians point to that is undeniably pro egalitarian AND that such a concept originated with Christian thought, you be sure to let us know.

      • Lark62

        Who gives a flying flip what any of those people say? Maybe they are interesting, maybe not, but not one of them are neccessary for atheism to exist.

        Stop confusing religion with silence.

        Religious belief is all about the messenger. To christians, the words of “Paul the Apostle” carry weight while the words of “Paul a Postman from Peoria” would not, even if they said the exact same thing. The identity of the messenger is everything. Without messengers to tell people about their special religion, there would be no religion. Mormonism did not exist until Joseph Smith told people what they needed to believe. Likewise, without Paul, Christianity as we know it would not exist.

        OTOH, atheism is a conclusion that religion is nonsense. Anybody can reach this exact same conclusion. It needs no messengers. I had never read or heard of any famous atheist when I discarded christianity. I simply realized deities were human inventions.

        If religion is a song, atheism is silence. Without Paul McCartney, “Yesterday” or “Hey Jude” or “Let it Be” would not exist as we know them. Without Gilbert and Sullivan, “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” would not have been written. Yet no messenger is necessary for humans to acknowledge silence is silent.

  • Snagglefritz Sagenschnitter

    At a meeting many years ago I heard a woman say she had a relationship with Jesus. Somebody asked what color his hair was – and quick as a flash she said “Auburn.” I was amazed at the speed of her answer. It was is if she really had seen Jesus.

    • Jack Baynes

      There’s a painting of him right at the church, of course she knows what he looks like

    • Kodie

      I would have said brown. Auburn is kind of specific.

    • Kevin K

      The kid who told his preacher dad that he saw Jesus while under anesthesia disagrees. Jesus is blond.

  • eric

    I totally buy that it’s possible. After all, I have a personal relationship with Cthl chomp chomp chomp.

    • Michael Neville

      May you be eaten first.

      • RichardSRussell

        I always liked Zoe’s warning about the Reavers from Firefly: “If they take the ship, they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing – and if we’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.”

  • HpO

    Oh no it’s that quiz time already? Let me first check up on biblegateway-dot-com, then, for the cheat sheet. … OK done. I’m ready now. Go for it.

    TRUE OR FALSE: “The only reason [I] keep [claiming (my) ‘deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ’] is because it’s the slogan of the club that some con artist or charlatan has suckered [me] into believing [I] really want to be a member of.”

    TRUE. For me that “con artist or charlatan” happened to be apostle Paul with this saving gospel I mean sale pitch that “suckered” me:

    “I bow my knees before the Father, … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

    • “…and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth…”

      Funny, this is precisely not what we see in the history of Christianity. From the very beginning, they have split and diverged and disagreed about matters of extreme consequence, and matters that seem (on the face of it) totally trivial. For close to 1,500 years the chief hobby of Christendom seemed to be finding reasons to murder other Christians, and to this day thousands of Christian variations exist, many of which are utterly incompatible and “heretical” to each other’s point of view. From Arianism to “Mariolotry”, from the filioque, to anti-trinitarian Oneness Pentecostalism, from hardline Feeneyism to Christian Universalism, from Quietism to televangelists … any doctrinal standpoint held by one Christian group is guaranteed to be held in contempt by other (ostensibly) fellow Christians.

      Yet every last one of them bows their knees before the Father, every last one of them believes that Christ dwells in their hearts and that they are strengthened by the power of this Spirit. Every last one of them has their own definitions for “the breadth and length and height and depth.” And they all “know” that they are correct and everyone else is wrong. They alone are “filled up by the fullness of God.” They can feel it in their hearts.

      “By their fruits you will know them,” wrote the unknown author(s) of the book we call Matthew, and those words are quite right. The fruits of Christianity have always been discord among themselves, dehumanization of others and mutual persecution over whatever passes for heresy at that time and place. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit” applies wonderfully to Christianity. By that very standard, the tree of Christianity is rotten to the core and more prickly than a cactus. It is evident and obvious that there is no “still, small voice” guiding Christians, that the Bible is wrong when it promises to reveal the truth to believers … because regardless of one’s belief, there are millions upon millions of other Christians who are convinced of that belief’s incorrectness, convinced that the Holy Spirit has lit their path to truth (and likely think said “heretics” deserve eternal punishment to boot despite the fact that they are all supplicants to the same Lord).

      TL;DR version: The very existence of tens of thousands of opposing and irreconcilable denominations proves that bit of Ephesians wrong and proves that Christianity is false.

      • HpO

        (1) After Jesus’ 1st apostles & disciples died, Christianity (which you described) was born, but THE church died with them.

        (2) These schisms, splinters & civil wars are all good. Say again, excellent! Why? So this way the sheep & the goats, the wheat & the tares, get separate IDs. Only the Elect, however, gets to experience what apostle Paul wrote about in that letter to the sheep & wheat in Ephesus. Cool, huh?

        • Oh, yeah, that’s really cool. Especially the part where millions upon millions of other Christians are going to be disappointed when they finally pass beyond the veil. Sure the Bible promised them that God would himself to anyone who sought him out, but I guess it’s “cool” for God and Jesus to lie in order to get rid of those pesky goats.

          Of course, the greater issue is, well, why should I take your explanation more seriously than any of the alternatives? You can spout all the dogma you want; it’s nothing but imaginary nonsense to me. There is no reason to take it more seriously than any other interpretation of those myths, no reason to take it more seriously than anybody’s particular myth.

        • Halbe

          This is hilarious. After reading PartialMitch’s reply you get back with: But I am right!
          To hell with those other fake Christians!
          You were really hell-bent on proving PartialMitch right, weren’t you?

        • Jack Baynes

          1) Jesus said that the Unity of the church would be a sign to prove that Jesus was REALLY the son of God. So, since you said the church died shortly after Jesus’s death and there has been no Unity since, we should assume that Jesus wasn’t the son of God.

          2) Even if you’re a Calvinist, why does God need schisms in the church? There could be ONE church, where everyone knew the real true word of God and accepted Jesus as their personal savior, and God could still just say “Sorry, suckers” to 99% of them and send them to hell while laughing with the elect.

        • HpO

          Jesus & Paul predicted the coming of Christianity after they were gone. It was going to be run by the Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers. The Anti-Christ shall come from Christianity.

        • Kodie

          If there is any such thing as a correct interpretation that leads one to the only true Christianity, then those “sheep” got there accidentally. Everyone who has any religion was emotionally appealed and manipulated using common marketing techniques. Nobody would choose to be a goat if there was some indication it was wrong or that the way to be a sheep was right. They all believe themselves to be sheep and others the goats. Everyone experiences the same revelation about their beliefs. Either they’re all elect, which is impossible, or they’re all fools, which is possible. Even the lucky “true believers” came to their beliefs in utter gullibility.

        • Jack Baynes

          Either they’re all elect, which is impossible, or they’re all fools, which is possible. Even the lucky “true believers” came to their beliefs in utter gullibility.

          If HpO is Calvinist, then it doesn’t matter. God has his way of selecting the elect, and it doesn’t matter if we think it’s fair or not.

        • Kevin K

          I don’t grok why Calvinists bother with evangelizing. After all, they believe that Yahweh has pre-ordained who is saved and who isn’t, and the way you can tell who is saved is that they’re the ones sitting in the same church as you are. So, why bother with anyone else? If Yahweh wants them saved and in fact if they’re already saved and don’t know it, then they’re going to walk into that church unbidden.

          Calvin was a nasty piece of work.

        • Kodie

          Everyone knows there’s no god. At least they’re impatient enough to let him get around to doing whatever they think is entirely his domain that they have to intervene in every single one of his roles in this world in whatever small or symbolic way they can. Those Christians who don’t bother to uphold their end of the debate have, in a way, given it up to god, by way of judging how hard our hearts are, and that we are swine that are not worthy of their pearls, because they tried and failed over and over again and it always goes the same way and they learned nothing other than to just avoid it. There are those who are not expecting us to change our mind, but it still bothers them that we’re just not understanding their arguments the same way they do. What’s wrong with us? We just accept the obvious?

        • HpO

          Jesus said, Sheep and goats. Go back to the source of those words and go figure on your own. I did.

        • Kodie

          You don’t make any fucking sense. All of you know that there is no god. Why do you work so hard arguing over something you think operates itself as to its own wishes? You can’t save me with your magical spells, and there are no coherent arguments for it.

        • Kevin K
    • Otto

      What did Paul’s ‘saving gospel’ save you from?

      • JP415

        Critical thinking!

      • Joe

        The other parts of Paul’s gospel.

      • HpO

        Just a buzzword, is all, for the ransoming Fatherly love of God for you & me through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of His own beloved Son, Israel’s Messiah, Jesus.

        • Otto

          You were saved from a buzzword?

        • Jack Baynes

          I guess God kidnapped humans from God and then demanded that God kill God as a ransom before God would give the humans back to God.

        • Bob Jase

          That was a buzzsaw and it was in The Perils of Superman.

        • Lark62

          How old were you when you began to believe christianity?

          Which religions did you study thoroughly before you became a christian?

          Or are you typical: “I was living a life of sin and selfishness, lost in my depravity. Then my kindergarten sunday school teacher told me about Jesus.”

        • HpO

          These are the religions I exposed myself to: Islam, Liberal Protestantism, Catholicism, Coptic, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mormon, Hinduism, Buddhism, Marxism, Anarchism, Darwinism.

        • Michael Neville

          Three of those things aren’t religions. Plus it’s reasonable to assume that someone who calls modern biology “Darwinism” shows rejection of reality. Why should we take you seriously?

        • HpO

          All for 1 and one for all. Scientific, philosophical & religious worldviews or paradigms. All in same sinking boat.

        • Michael Neville

          So you were bullshitting about studying various religions. Why am I not surprised?

        • Lark62

          Really? You thoroughly studied all of those before you concluded the christian deity was the correct deity? Describe the context of your study of those religions and compare that to your exposure to evangelical christianity.

          Note – the fact that you list “Liberal Protestantism” separate from christianity is a clue to indoctrination.

          And how did you manage to study “Darwinism” without figuring out that there is no such thing?

          Why do I think your “exposure” to every alternative view came after you accepted Christianity as true and consisted entirely of evangelical “We’re right. They’re wrong.” apologetics?

        • HpO

          Never mind. Just judge & scapegoat me as your typical Christian Right, fine by me.

          As if you’re really interested in open discussion. Nah.

        • Kodie

          Just a side observation, but if none of y’all think you sound like the rest of you, that’s hilarious to me.

        • Lark62

          If you truly investigated multiple religions before accepting christianity, you would have a lot of interesting things to say. And yes, I would be interested in conversation. That’s why I asked the questions.

          You said:

          These are the religions I exposed myself to: Islam, Liberal Protestantism, Catholicism, Coptic, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mormon, Hinduism, Buddhism, Marxism, Anarchism, Darwinism.

          If you did not actually learn about these subjects, I expect you would deflect discussion with insults.

          I know what the odds are. It is normal in evangelical circles to pad one’s testimony, and extremely impolite to question anyone’s testimony no matter how outrageous. But if you are an exception and able to discuss the topics you claimed to have learned about, that would be an interesting discussion.

        • BlackMamba44

          You could have proven him wrong by actually answering his questions honestly.

          Instead you judged him (“As if you’re really interested in open discussion. Nah”) and ran away. If Lark62 wasn’t interested in open discussion he wouldn’t have asked those questions.

          What is it about Christians and answering questions?

        • Kodie

          By “exposed”, do you mean “mooned”? It would be helpful to know why you rejected them. We’ve had posters with the same severe brain damage as you have from at least 6 of those.

        • Halbe

          Three of those are not religions at all, and six are just flavours of Christianity, so you clearly do not understand the whole concept of religion very well. And you carefully avoid to tell us how old you were when you became a Christian. So, we can safely assume that you are a run-of-the-mill early-in-life-indoctrinated Christian, who never made a real effort to evaluate alternative world views.

        • Michael Neville
    • Joe

      Why the quotation marks around con artist and charlatan?

      Why did you believe that ancient piece of writing you read in a book to be true?

    • Jack Baynes

      Did you read the article? Can you say ANY of the things about Jesus that someone who ACTUALLY has a close personal relationship with another person could say about them?

      Why do you think we should treat Paul as any more trustworthy than Jim Bakker?

      • Joe

        Paul was probably more trustworthy than Jim Bakker. That’s a low bar to attain.

        • Jack Baynes

          Yeah, you’re right. Bakker was convicted of fraud, we don’t know of any case of that happening with Paul.

        • Joe

          Though sadly for Bakker he never got to achieve full martyrdom. Perhaps if they chopped of his head the contents of one of his “food” buckets would spurt out his neck instead of milk?

        • Greg G.

          Acts ends with Paul being sent to Rome for trial. If one believed Acts, one could infer the trial did not turn out in his favor.

        • Tommy

          Are you sure? The last first as Paul preaching in Rome without hindrance.

        • Greg G.

          No, I’m traveling and I’m not even sure what day it is most of the time.

          No, that you remind me, that is more like it.

      • HpO

        “Being rooted and grounded in love, [honestly, I’m now] able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ”. That’s how “personal” this Master/slave* relationship has gotten to be!

        (*Meant to be provocative.)

        • Jack Baynes

          So your answer is “no”.

          And if your relationship is Master/slaves it is not rooted in love.

        • Halbe

          So, how does this incredible love of Christ extend to the billions upon billions of people that will never be able to develop this beautiful Master/slave relationship during their lifetime? Eternal torture? Catholics, whose doctrine exclude this personal relationship stuff: to hell? Muslims? Jews? Is Anne Frank in hell? Does that bother you?

        • sandy

          Oh I think Anne Frank was in hell, no doubt there.

        • Halbe

          Yes. And still, the hell on earth that Anne Frank endured is noting compared to the eternal torture that The Prince of Peace and Our Loving Father proclaim to be ‘ultimate justice’ for heathens like her.

        • Lark62

          Which means that their deity is far more evil than Adolph Hitler.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And if Hitler repented before dying he is in Heaven.

        • HpO

          “How?” Read Ephesians on your own to find out.

        • Halbe

          You mean this verse?

          In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will

          So, was Anne Frank predestined to go to hell? Does that bother you?

        • HpO

          That’s all that you get out of Ephesians? Never mind, then.

        • Halbe

          It is always funny to see how Christians like you get all evasive when discussing the actual consequences of their theology. Anne Frank was a Jew who grew up in a predominantly Christian country, so she must have known about Jesus and the Gospel. Still, she never converted to Christianity, so she willingly rejected Jesus as her Saviour. This means that she went straight to hell after her death according to your beliefs, there is no other option. Why are you so evasive about that fact? According to your beliefs this constitutes ultimate justice, so you should not only admit that Anne Frank actually is in hell, but even rejoice in the fact that ultimate justice is being served to this unrepentant unbeliever. What’s the problem?

        • HpO

          I don’t think “all evasive” is the right phrase you’re looking for. Because, see, the HpO / Ctharrot thread of comments on Bob Seidensticker, “10 Questions Christians Must Answer”, Cross Examined, January 1, 2018, was put under moderation, after I did my research on Miss Anne.

        • Halbe

          That post has almost 3500 comments, so it’s kind of hard to find your “research on miss Anne” there. Could you just summarize your view here? Or maybe another example: my daughter is nine and a really sweet and intelligent girl. She has been exposed to Christianity quite extensively (in school, via friends, at family functions etc). Her opinion of the main tenets of Christianity (adam&eve, fall from grace, sin, jesus son of god, virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection, baptism, prayer) is that it’s all just silly superstition. So, she is a prime example of an unrepentant unbeliever, purposefully ignoring “the Holy Spirit that tugs on her heart”. If she would die tomorrow in say a traffic accident, she would go to hell according to your beliefs, right? And you consider that to be ultimate justice, right? If you think otherwise, please explain your heretical views, because “no one comes to the Father except through me”™.

        • al kimeea

          When I realized what you’re describing meant my parents – WW2 vets – were in Hell, like the kid at recess told me, I thought sure thing, it really is about that. I was hoping the kid was mistaken. Hell for 2 people who fought for God and country, well one anyway. That is not love.

        • Halbe

          Still, vast numbers of Christians claim this to be ultimate justice, carried out by a loving, omnibenevolent God. But as soon as you drive the point home that it actually is the opposite of justice and love, they quickly mumble something about Hitler and try to change the subject. It’s compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance on full display, like with our friend HpO here.

        • HpO

          “3500 comments”, my foot!

          Here you go, then, Lazybone:

          “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. … People who have a religion should be glad, for not everyone has the gift of believing in heavenly things. You don’t necessarily even have to be afraid of punishment after death; purgatory, hell, and heaven are things that a lot of people can’t accept, but still a religion, it doesn’t matter which, keeps a person on the right path. It isn’t the fear of God but the upholding of one’s own honor and conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the while day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realizing it you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that: ‘A quiet conscience makes one strong!’ … Sometimes I believe that God wants to try me, both now and later on; I must become good through my own efforts, without examples and without good advice.” (Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, Bantam, 1947)

          … and I go, Anne Frank’s going to hell? Are you kidding me? I don’t look at anybody that way. If you & I wish to analyze her religious beliefs and practices, honestly, I’m not interested. But to be fair with you, I can say this. That she was not a born-again Christian. That she didn’t trust & follow Christ Jesus. If she’s alive here with me, I’ll tell her, Sister Anne Frank, trust & follow Israel’s Messiah Jesus. But once she’s dead, as she obviously is, I stop discussing about that stuff altogether. It’s pointless.

        • Halbe

          TL;DR

          You’re obviously incapable and/or unwilling to confront the obvious implications of your own beliefs. This is called cognitive dissonance, and it must be very uncomfortable for you, I can understand that. You’re evolved conscience is screaming at you: “eternal punishment for good people, that can’t be right!”, underneath a thick layer of toxic indoctrination that says”yes, unrepentant unbelievers belong in hell, that’s justice!”.

          I pity you.

        • Greg G.

          Ephesians is most likely a forgery but it gives an insight to what other early Christians thought. It would be silly to use it as a basis for a belief system?

    • Kodie

      Sounds like a superstition to me.

    • Lark62

      Jackpot. Paul was quite possibly a charlatan. Starting a new religion can be quite profitable.

      • Greg G.

        There was a sect of Judaism that believed a Messiah would save them from the Romans. I think Cephas and James had a sect that the coming Messiah had lived in the past, died, and was resurrected. Paul seems to have invented the crucifixion and the elimination of the OT laws, which was easier to sell to Gentiles.

        • Tommy

          From the epistles you get the impression that Paul is anti-Torah only after he starts his missionary work. According to Paul, he got a vision then years later went to Jerusalem to meet the so-called Pillars James, John, and Cephas (James seems to be the leader hence ‘Brother of the Lord’) they accept Paul’s claim of apostleship and agree that he evangelize to the Gentiles (non-Jewish Greeks). But he seems to view the Torah as a curse when he sees Peter observe the Torah when around his crew but reject it when around Greek converts.

          And it also kind of makes sense that you say Paul invents the crucifixion because he says it’s a “stumbling block to Jews”. The word “Jews” here may not be our current understanding of modern Jews but he may be talking about who many now call “Jewish Christians” – Greek converts to the cult who become Jews by circumcision and observance of the Torah and customs. I think back then, anyone who joined a cult which revered the Tanakh as sacred scripture, circumcision, and full observance of the Torah and customs would be called “Jews”.

        • Greg G.

          Galatians 5:11-12 shows how sarcastic he was toward the circumcisers so one should calibrate one’s sarcasm meter accordingly to read Galatians. Paul brings up “human authority” in the first verse making the opening much different than other letters. He mentions it again just before saying he visited Cephas and James. He later mentions that James sends people places, which is what he insisted the Lord did for himself in the first verse. So I think when Paul called someone a brother of the Lord, he meant the person was assuming the authority of the Lord, as if the person was a brother of the Lord.

          He mentions “the brothers of the Lord” in 1 Corinthians 9:5 and mentions “human authority” three verses later.

          Paul spent the first two chapters of Galatians discrediting Cephas and James, then starts chapter 3 with a rhetorical question about who bewitched them. Then he spends 9 verses explaining the crucifixion to them by quoting OT passages. I think that tells us that Cephas and/or James had told them Jesus wasn’t crucified.

          Paul brings up circumcisers and their avoidance of the cross just before closing the letter in Galatians 6:12.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          So…When Peter mentioned those who had been instrumental in Jesus’crucifixion in his inaugural sermon in Acts chapter 3, who was he, Peter, talking about, Greg G? Take your time; I’ll wait…

        • Greg G.

          Acts is a work of fiction.

          See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 where it says the death, burial, and resurrection is according to scripture, not the eyewitness testimony of a risen Jesus. Paul uses the same language to describe his own that he uses for the others.

          What scriptures does Paul refer to? Isaiah 53:5, 9 and Hoses 6:2.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You’ve offered no credible evidence that Acts is fiction, Greg; opinion and disbelief doesn’t count. Try harder; you are engaging with someone who’s been involved in Biblical interpretation, Church origin studies, and the impact of Christian origin on the world in general and Western Civilization in particular for almost 30 years, so…If Acts is fiction, what’s the point of talking about Paul; he himself would have to have been a fictional character, as well as EVERY person mentioned in this presumably fictional work,so…there it is, Greg. I await your reply…

        • sandy

          Who was the author of Acts and where are his sources? Don’t know? Then logical response would be to not trust the account as fact. I await your reply.

        • sandy

          Hey Ringo, I just watched an episode of Murdock Mysteries and Winston Churchill was in it…so…it what I watched must be true?!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hey Sandy! Two things:(1)-I have no idea what”Murdock Mysteries” is, and (2)-since Winston Churchill was a very real person, YOU point is…?

        • sandy

          YOU, I think you mean YOUR. Murdock Mysteries is a fiction TV show…Canadian production and very good. Just because a real character is in a book or TV show or movie etc doesn’t make that source real but I’m sure you know that and that is my point.

        • al kimeea

          Tesla, Doyle, Ford, Bell, anyone that might have been around for CSI:1899. The subtle, offhand references to future things is great.

        • Kodie

          You’re the religious equivalent of a Star Trek fanatic – immersing yourself in the analysis of fiction for 30 years doesn’t make it true.

        • Max Doubt
        • JP415

          Gee, Laurence Charles Ringo, I really admire your use of emojis — especially the smiley face with sunglasses. It lets us all know that you’re a very cutting-edge guy who can hang with the youngsters. Yes, you’re a very hep cat indeed.

        • Greg G.

          The evidence of the fiction in Acts is immense. I will limit it to a few samples rather than write a book.

          In Galatians 2, Paul says that Barnabas separated from him because of the argument he had with Cephas in Antioch over theological reasons. Acts 15:36-40 has Barnabas and Paul going their separate ways before going to Antioch but it was just because of a personality conflict between Barnabas and Silas. So Luke softens the conflicts between the apostles by writing fiction that conflicts with the words from the horse’s mouth.

          Acts 5:34-39 has Gamaliel giving a speech against the council having the apostles put to death by pointing out the false leaders who perished. His first example is Theudas and the second was Judas the Galilean. Judas was active early in the first century which would be decades old and hardly relevant since there should have been others more recently. But Theudas didn’t rise and perish until about a decade in the future of when Gamaliel was supposed to be speaking. So this is obvious fiction but it also reveals Luke’s source for creating the fiction. Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.1 describes Theudas and Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.2 gives an account of the sons of Judas the Galilean and a brief account of Judas. There are many places where Luke uses material from Josephus, combining factoids from nearby passages. Another example of that is Acts 21:38 where Paul is taken into custody and surprised the commanding officer by speaking Greek. The officer had though he was the Egyptian and gives a lot of irrelevant information about the Egyptian that would not have been part of such a conversation. But that information is incorrect and is taken from nearby passages in the vicinity of Josephus description of the Egyptian in Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.6 who took his followers to the Mount of Olives, not to the wilderness which is mentioned for other deceivers earlier in the section. Nor did the Egyptian have anything to do with the Sicarii, translated as “assassins” or “robbers”, which are mentioned in Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.10.

          Paul mentions that he was shipwrecked in 2 Corinthians 11:25, so Luke invents a story about a shipwreck. Many scholars think Luke had a source on sea travel for the “we” verses, where the narrator voice of Acts switched from the third person to the first person plural for certain passages. But there are many coincidences with Vida 3, Josephus’ autobiography with an account of a shipwreck he had. His account had religious leaders being sent to Rome for trial on dubious charges, a wreck in the same area, and passing through Puteoli.

          There are 34 historically verified characters in the New Testament. Twenty of those are found only in Luke and Acts and seventeen of those twenty are found in Josephus’ writings, and AFAICT, most of those are verified only by Josephus. Some characters appear simply because they are mentioned by Josephus. In Acts 25, Agrippa and Bernice are mentioned together with no mention of their association with Bernice playing no roll in the story, but they are described in Antiquities of the Jews 20.7.3.

          The structure of Acts shows parallels between the careers of Peter and Paul. Paul mentioned signs, wonders, and miracles in 2 Corinthians 12:2 without mentioning anything specific, so Luke makes up some for Peter and Paul. Both have Deus ex machina prison escapes, a la Dionysius in Euripides’ Bacchae. Paul had magic healing handkerchiefs in Acts 19:12, while Peter’s shadow healed people in Acts 5:15-16.

          Paul’s sermon, in Acts 20:9-12, bores a guy to sleep and he falls out a window to his death. Paul resurrects him. The fellow’s name was Eutychus, which means “lucky”, which is a tip-off that it is a made-up story. The source of the story appears to be from the story of Elpenor in the Odyssey who was sleeping on a roof top when the crew was leaving. He fell to his death trying to reach them but his ghost played a role later in the story.

          Acts 2:2-4 describes the coming of the Holy Spirit in terms of “flames flickered in their curls and did not burn them” from Euripides’ Bacchae and the rushing wind allowing the speaking of other languages from Josephus quoting the Sibylline Oracles in Antiquities of the Jews 1.4.3.

          These examples show how Luke used his sources to create fictional accounts about his characters. He used his sources as an encyclopedia for verisimilitude and as a muse for fiction, combining details from separate accounts in his source to his characters.

          That Luke used Josephus’ Antiquities and Vita, and the former can be dated to the mid 90’s AD, shows that Acts was probably written in the second century. Luke’s Gospel and the death of Judas in Acts 1:18-20 have takes from Matthew which also uses Antiquities of the Jews which pushes Luke and Acts as to be more likely to be second century writings.

        • Kevin K

          That kind of spanking is going to leave a mark.

        • Greg G.

          The speeches in Acts make up about 30% of the text but it would be impossible to transcribe them verbatim so they cannot be more than some approximation. The narrative aften seems to be contrived to allow for the speech but the speech barely relates to the situation. In fact, the speeches are variations of the same speech over and over.

          The pattern of the speeches is:
          疋Direct Address
          匹Call for Attention
          媛Quotation or Summary of Scripture
          姫Proclamation of the Life of Jesus
          百Scriptural Proof
          柊Another Proclamation
          匹Call to Repentance
          {Paul Tobin, The Fictitious Speeches in Acts, (retrieved November 1, 2015, link now dead)}

          The common topics are “Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Christ, sent by God, as promised in the Scriptures/as foretold by the prophets for the forgiveness of sins, for the salvation of the world. He was rejected by the people/condemned by the authorities, he suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. Yet God exalted him on high, raised him up to new life and he will one day return to us in glory. In response, people must repent, believe, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit and join the community of believers.”
          {Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. , The Acts of the Apostles [LINK], (retrieved November 1, 2015)}

          I have shown that about half of Acts is obviously false. I have shown that Luke used his sources in unreliable ways so the factoids in Acts that can be verified are trivial.

        • JP415

          How odd — you’ve got Chinese (?) characters in your text. Another Disqus tic, I suppose. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75ba38a44f5591afe8ecc9e16a844be0c73a9580edfb8b4b5f4c8ac530573ba3.png

        • Greg G.

          This is too long to read if how those Chinese characters came to be in my post is uninteresting to you.

          I am traveling in Vietnam. Our base is a condo in HCMC where I leave my computer during excursions but Disqus doesn’t work there. I can see the comments and they are threaded with the name of the poster but no dates or reply buttons. I can go to coffee shops and get Disqus on my phone through WiFi but I don’t want to carry a laptop because I do a lot of walking.

          My work around for posts that I need my notes is to type the reply based on the email notification into Notepad, attach the text file to an email to myself, and copy&paste using my phone at another place.

          This one was copied from an unordered HTML list and I wanted to leave the bullet points. But somewhere between opening the text file on my phone, pasting it to the browser, and posting, it combined the bullets and the next letter. I don’t recall if I noticed it before or after hitting Post as but I put the letters back in and left the characters because they were cooler than black dots.

        • JP415

          Well, I appreciate the effort involved!

        • al kimeea

          “In fact, the speeches are variations of the same speech over and over.” – great, literally bloody chunks of the holey book are like that. It was so hard to read how many different ways Pappy Jebus was gonna – phuqq. you up. I got it after the first threat of annihilation.

        • Lark62

          Gandalf

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Paul “invented” the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Really, Tommy? Have YOU proof of that, or are you speculating and riding someone else’s opinions?

        • Tommy

          I was elaborating on @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus’s comment http://disq.us/p/1pig6ah. You would know this if you carefully read his comment and my response.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Seriously, Greg G.? Since there is no credible historical evidence indicating Paul’s ministry preceded Christ’s Crucifixion, what are you talking about??

        • Greg G.

          There is no credible evidence of the crucifixion of Jesus. There are no writings earlier than Paul’s writings that talk about crucifixion. There are no mentions of crucifixion in Judea in the ancient literature from after the incidents of 6AD until around 50 AD. That includes the whole time Pilate was the Prefect.

          The Gospel of Mark used Paul as a source. The other gospels are based on Mark.

          The non-Pauline epistles don’t say much about the crucifixion. Paul had no details. Paul loved to mention Jesus but he doesn’t say anything about him that isn’t in the Old Testament. Neither do the other epistles.

        • JP415

          Gee, Laurence Charles Ringo, is that really true or is that just your opinion??? Peace.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          The history of these events have long, established documentation, JP415, even longer than Wikipedia and YouTube!(Check out your local library, unles that’s too much trouble. I’m old-fashioned myself, I actually prefer books, being an avid, life-long reader–I’m 63.) As for the opinion part, I wasn’t there; that’s what the historians are for. If THEY got it wrong, then it’s wrong for ALL of us, including you…Mull and reflect.

        • JP415

          Oh my gosh, Lawrence Charles Ringo, do you believe everything you read in ancient books??? Or do you just look at the pretty pictures???

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You be to be caught up in some peurile game here, JP145, but i’ll play along until it becomes tiresome… (1)-ancient books didn’t contain pictures,”pretty” or otherwise. (2)-There are books as old as, if not older than the Hebrew/Greek Scriptures(The Greek and Roman philosophers/historians), and yet no one has problem believing them–and they have far less attestation, so…at any rate, I’m not here for your amusement,amused though you may be, so I won’t be replying to you again. Au revoir, and Peace.

        • JP415

          Yes, Laurence Charles Ringo, when Plutarch and Titus Livy say that Romulus was the son of Mars, or when Tacitus and Suetonius say that the Emperor Vespasian healed a blind man, or when Herodotus says that the Delphic Oracle predicted the defeat of King Croesus, historians all accept these stories as true, because EVERYTHING in ancient books is true. You are a true historian, Laurence Charles Ringo!

        • Ctharrot

          Well, obviously that’s different, because the ancient Greeks and Romans were credulous by our standards, prone to accepting, repeating, and elaborating on tales of wonders and miracles and spirits. Just like the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Hittites, the Egyptians, the Carthaginians, the Persians, and all the other innumerable peoples of antiquity.

          Except the Hebrews and early Christians. They recorded only cold, hard facts, of course.

        • JP415

          Yeah, the Hebrews had their own special MythBusters© team to investigate miracle stories!

        • JP415

          Not here for my amusement? Au contraire Mon Ami! You are very amusing, Laurence Charles Ringo! Peace.

        • JP415

          Come back Laurence Charles Ringo! We were having so much fun.

        • RichardSRussell

          Since there is “no credible historical evidence” about anything having to do with the wonder stories in the New Testament, why can’t we just believe whatever damn fool nonsense we want, the same way you do?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          RichardSRussell, you have NO idea how very telling that remark was!! Oh.My.Goodness— THANK YOU!!!

        • JP415

          Mr. Laurence Charles Ringo, you talk a lot but never seem to offer any arguments in favor of your position. Probably because you can’t.

        • Greg G.

          He says we don’t offer any “credible historical evidence” but shuts up when it is provided.

        • JP415

          He’s probably just parroting some phrase that he heard in his church study group. He’s not much of a scholar, evidently.

        • Greg G.

          But he has four or five hundred books on theology. That’s the mark of a scholar. He has colored many of the pictures, too.

        • JP415

          Now, if he had six hundred books of theology, then I’d take him seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even more so if he’d read any of them, including the one called the Holy Bible.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s a good one, Greg G!! I’ve been telling my brethren how funny atheists actually are; they’re not ALL humorless, vicious, sneering haters, viewing people of faith with barely disguised contempt— Right?

        • JP415

          Well, I’m sorry if we’ve been unduly harsh on you, Laurence Charles Ringo. After all, it’s not your fault that your mother drank heavily during her pregnancy. Your cognitive impairment is certainly no fault of yours.

        • Kodie

          I wouldn’t say he shuts up, he just blows more hot air.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hey, Greg G.! As it turns out, your claims will require that I engage in a bit of research here; I’m been flying by the seat of my pants a bit, so I went to the local library today to get the stuff I need and to consult the relevant scholars. I know it’s all online now, but as I said, I’m old-fashioned, so I don’t mind hitting the books, as we used to say. So…I’ll get back with you, my friend; it won’t take long! Ciao!!

        • Kodie

          I thought you owned over 400 books on the subject. You made a wild claim as though you had thoroughly studied the subject, such that you could intelligently relate arguments you had already read. Flying by the seat of your pants like an indoctrinated fool sent to do homework doesn’t sound like the things you already said about yourself. Having to leave the house because not a single one of your very useful books were helpful to answer a guy on the internet about your claims. I’m starting to think you’re dishonest!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I actually have most of the answers in my personal library, Kodie, but I like to make sure that I’m on sure footing with my answers…I mean, is that all right with you, sir? After all, unlike some of my atheist/mythicist friends, I try not to imply that I know EVERYTHING there is to know about a given subject, in this case the goings-on of the 1st century Roman world as it relates to Palestine and its environs; that’s quite a complex subject, don’t you think? So try to be patient and bear with me; I don’t just snap off knee-jerk reponses to serious enquiry; I save that for peurile nonsense. Peace.

        • Kodie

          I’m pretty sure you’re just stalling and then will reset. You’re on the internet. You bought over 400 books that have answers you’re not even sure about?

        • Greg G.

          I was just thinking of stuff off the top of my head and referred to my notes for specific details. I had time to think about them as your post hit while I was in queue for an eight hour flight.

          It’s good that you do not use internet responses to the issue of Luke using Josephus. All of them I have seen mention six or ten instances and say they are coincidences. But there are dozens of them that form patterns that must be explained. If it was coincidence, we should find coincidences with Antiquities and Life in the Gospel of Luke in a random distribution but they are concentrated in the unique passages of Luke, that is, the parts that do not come from Mark and Matthew.

          Matthew also used Antiquities while Mark used Wars of the Jews.

        • Greg G.

          Until recently, I had thought that Luke was called a good historian because so much could be verified by Josephus. But some one gave the top ten of an 84 point list of historical stuff in the chapters of Acts on Paul’s travels. Some were trivial, some were from Josephus, but others were impressive. I had assumed that Luke had used another source about traveling for Paul’s travels and that shows there had to be at least one more source used.

          I am traveling without my computer with the notes but I have access to Disqus here which I can’t get where my computer is. Luke shows how he was capable of creating stories with the Central Section of Luke, from chapter 10 to 18:14, the plot is based on allusions to Deuteronomy in order. It starts out recalling the events on Mount Horeb and the Numbers account and follows from there with actions, deeds, teachings, and conversation related to the topics of Deuteronomy. Before and after that section, Luke mainly followed Mark’s outline while the trip to Jerusalem follows Moses and the Jews trip there.

          I recall that the Book that points it out was written over 50 years ago. I can cite it later if you like but it will have to wait until I get to my computer, email the information to myself so I can get it on my phone when I am at a coffee shop with WIFI and Disqus.

          I think Luke came up with an itinerary for Paul based on clues from his epistles, plus the forged ones, and combined it with a travel story with lots of details. Scholars who use Acts to learn about the letters and his travels are chasing their tails in a circle.

        • Greg G.

          Here’s an article I just read:

          https://vridar.org/2018/01/16/how-the-author-of-acts-rewrote-stories-from-luke/
          How the Author of Acts Rewrote Stories from Luke

        • Kodie

          What’s happening with this?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bugger all…he’s made like a swastika and done a runner to Croydon.

        • epeeist

          He still hasn’t responded to any of my posts, a case of “All hat and no cattle”.

        • al kimeea

          the sign of any crank. if one were to respond, it would be either restate the argument again, or use a bad analogy. again

        • Kodie

          I bet you think you’re really sticking it to us atheists, huh.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Shucks, Kodie…You and your tribe are doing a pretty good job of that yourselves, don’t ya know!! One thing I’ve learned over the years, Kodie: You let a person talk long enough, soon enough who they really are will come out…Mull and reflect, my friend…

        • Kodie

          I’ve mulled and reflected. I don’t know what you mean by tribe, and I’m greatly offended that you think atheism is a tribe. It’s like you speak of what you do not know. Who lied to you about atheism, and why do you take their word for it? What else have they lied to you about?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          “Tribe” is just a term used to designate a particular group, Kodie; take a deep breath and relax, I meant no harm or nothing insulting. As for your claim that someone lied to me about atheism, I’m not following you; what lie are you referring to? I await your reply.

        • Kodie

          I think you came here with a prejudice, so I would like you to explain exactly why you’ve been so rude to us since the beginning, like you heard something and hate us so much that you have to behave obnoxiously.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Is that some kind of joke, Kodie?? I’VE been rude, obnoxious, and HATE you? I’ve been assailed witb the most egregious, vile, scornful, vicious language that I have EVER ran across on ANY website anywhere, and you call ME rude, obnoxious, and hateful?? I am well and truly gobsmacked here…Wow.I guess I’ll have to go over all the posts I’ve sent so far and see how they compare. Wow! I’m truly flabbergasted Kodie…I’ll get back to you on this…WOW!!

        • Michael Neville

          Despite being told several times that despite your lack of foul language you are rude, you still pretend that you’re a polite motherfucker. Introspection is not one of your attributes, nor is understanding social interaction.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t pretend about anything, Mr.Neville. I certainly know how to BE polite, sir, but I know I’m not always. Now, let me ask YOU a question: Is there ANY social interaction milieu in which you yourself would NOT use, vile, vulgar, profane language? Would you utter profanities in front of a child? A woman? An elderly person? In a church, should you even enter one, given your obvious hatred of all things religious? You may rail against my discomfort with vulgar language, but I think a person’s propensity for using that type of language says a lot about their character and may speak to a certain inability to express themselves properly. To claim that someone’s perceived rudeness forces you to address them in that vile fashion is, frankly, utter nonsense. In this Land that you served honorably(Thank you for your service, by the way.), you certainly have earned the right to address myself or anyone else as you see fit.But one of my mottos is this: Just because you have the right to do a thing (or say it), doesn’t always make doing it right. The English language is very rich and versatile, Mr. Neville. Peace.

        • JP415

          Yes, indeed Mr. Laurence Charles Ringo, I too am appalled by the un-gentlemanly and un-Christian language used on this electronic publication. I must say that I find it morally reprehensible that anyone should use derogatory speech to impugn the character of his opponent in debate. By Jove, I myself am utterly shocked — shocked, I say! — that anyone should refer to you by profane epithets such as “asshole,” “dumbass,” or “douchebag,” even though you might in fact exhibit many of the characteristics of an asshole, a dumbass, and a douchebag. Carry on, sir!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fuck off ya tone trolling knuckle dragging cunt.

        • al kimeea

          You did warn him. I knew it wouldn’t be long

        • Michael Neville

          There are many social venues where I don’t use foul language. I rarely use it at work, I rarely use it around my wife and daughter, I rarely use it around strangers. In fact, the only times I commonly use foul language is when I’m talking to pompous, arrogant, ignorant assholes like you. I can express myself quite well, both orally and in writing. When I’m expressing myself to you I use foul language for several reasons, one of which should be obvious, it makes you uncomfortable. I enjoy making you uncomfortable because you’re a pompous, arrogant, ignorant asshole who deserves to be made uncomfortable.

          Now let me ask you a simple question. Why do you continuously lie about me? You’ve said several times that I hate religious people and, despite my denial of this slander, you’ve repeated it. Why do you do this? I’ve said that I do not have a problem with religious people but I do have a problem with you. You’re a pompous, arrogant, ignorant asshole, which is a kind of person I’ve told you before I don’t like. The point that you’re religious is minor compared to those other attributes. One of my best friends is a retired Mormon bishop. He and I have had several polite, respectful conversations about his religion. That he’s neither pompous, arrogant, ignorant nor an asshole makes being polite and respectful towards him quite easy for me.

          I close with pointing out AGAIN that one can be quite rude without using foul language. You are Exhibit A for this claim.

        • Kodie

          Why do you really hate atheists?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You have a very strange mindset, Kodie…I don’t hate anyone, and believe it or not I personally don’t actually know any atheists. What I hate, if you will, is misinformed mindsets, prejudiced opinions, biased judgements, and any type of scorn, mockery, perjorative language, cruelty, and gratuitous, vicious hatred directed towards someone the purveyor of said hatred doesn’t even know, like,say, the KLU KLUX KLAN would convey towards myself. ( I’m Black, by the way.)—So, no…I DON’T hate PEOPLE Kodie; just the way some people conduct themselves. PEACE. ☺

        • Kodie

          They why do you behave the way you hate?

        • Aram

          It’s KU not KLU – though I agree KLU does roll off the tongue smoother.
          Dude, you come across as an arrogant, ignorant prick and your focus on cuss words is misplaced. Some of the nicest people I know swear often (my wife, for example), whereas some of the biggest pricks are frightened of four-letter words as if they’re not just sounds (like you, for example). Look at it this way, in Czech the worst word is ‘píča’ pronounced ‘peach-a’ and it means ‘cunt’ but like times ten. Now get this, one time my sister was ordering a tea (back when we were both teaching English living in Brno) and when asked what kind, she said, ‘Peach’ then hesitated with an ‘ah’, and the woman looked at her like she’d just raped her daughter. They’re just fucking words is my point. You need to go beyond the sounds and recognize how you come across – not just that you don’t cuss.
          And how you come across is an arrogant, ignorant prick (in case there’s still some confusion).

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…You know what the sad part about this particular discourse is, Aram? That you actually believe that words are simply words, that they have no inherent power whatsoever. Wow. Let me ask you this: If you actually think that words have no power, what are you intending to convey when you label me? Your labeling of me as arrogant and ignorant shouts out your contempt and disdain for me and my views. I mean, that’s so ridiculously obvious…If you think words are just words, I don’t know if you have any children, but how do you think your children would feel if you bombarded them daily with the type of hateful, vile, vulgar language I myself have been subjected to on this site? After all, according to your mindset: THEIR JUST WORDS. So, according to you, obviously you would expect your children to just suck it up and live with it, seeing as how they’re “just words”, right? You undermined your own premise with the story about your sister; obviously the waitress didn’t share your enlightened view that what your sister said was “just words”. You can revile and insult me all you like, Aram; after all, I’m 63 years old and I’m pretty thick-skinned at this point. But the point I’m trying to make inre the vulgarity, profanity and mocking, sneering insults you atheists seem hopelessly addicted to is a stark indication of your inner character; I don’t find it admirable that a seemingly nice person can cuss; why would anyone? No, I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you, Aram. Any informed person who interacts with his/her fellow human beings knows that words are not”just words”; they have tremendous power for good and ill, to wound or heal. ANYONE who doesn’t know that has never met an abused child or a verbally battered woman (or man), crushed, belittled, or made to feel worthless by…WORDS. Mull and reflect, and expand your horizons beyond your own corner of the world, Aram. PEACE.

        • Greg G.

          When I was shedding my faith, I thought it might help to visit the church where I got saved. The topic of the sermon was why people use the Lord’s name in vain. It was because, “There is POWER in the NAME of the LOOORRRDDDD!.” It sounded like he was speaking in bold font with extra emphasis on the uppercase words. My first thought was “Bullshit!l” then “oh, there’s power in that word, too!”

          That pretty much cured me of faith.

        • Aram

          No, numbnuts, my point was that cuss words are just words – and focusing on them to the detriment of what the person is actually saying, is where you jump the tracks. Have you always been this obtuse? Or is it something you worked at steadily over your 63 years?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I can see that this particular dialogue is what is referred to as a case of Sysiphean futility, but I’m hopeful that someone on this site will realize what I’m trying to convey. At any rate, Aram, I’m afraid I’ll have to rate your explanation a big fail; it’s simply logically incoherent. According to you, it actually makes a difference if I or you call my wife a worthless cow, or my 8-year old son/daughter a useless little snot, IF I insert a cuss word into the mix or not? Wow…I tell you what, Aram: You keep thinking that, call me whatever name you think fits your perception of me, and we’ll leave things at that. I won’t be replying to you again, and we’ll agree to disagree. Peace.☺

        • Aram

          Assuming you meant to write: “According to you, it actually makes NO difference if I or you call my wife a worthless cow, or my 8-year old son/daughter a useless little snot, IF I insert a cuss word into the mix or not” – Yes, that’s right. The insult is there regardless of a cuss word.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Finally…now you’re getting it, Aram! If I disagree with you, the disagreement stands whether it’s augmented with vile vulgarities or not. So why not, in the interest of normal, convivial conversation, dispense with the mockery, contempt, and profanities? Is it really THAT difficult to refrain from uttering hateful, sneering, insulting, profane language when conversing with someone you are vehemently opposed to, even if you yourself consider them arrogant, obnoxious, or ignorant? Dos that really require that type of response? I have a theory about individuals who use hateful, perjorative, profane language: I think that they literally cannot help themselves; it’s interwoven into their pysche. As I said, it’s just a theory, but consider this: I once knew an individual who has THE most foulest mouth imaginable; I bet him that he couldn’t go 20 minutes without uttering an expletive.Guess what? He failed.

        • Aram

          “uttering hateful, sneering, insulting, profane language” Nah, see, this is where you’re wrong again. Cunt can be a term of endearment. Fuck can be happy. You unilaterally label cuss words as always bad, and this is where your obtuseness really shines. (Perhaps this is because you annoy people so much, that when you hear cussing in your direction it IS always bad? Ha!)
          Going back to my wife who enjoys a good cuss – did I mention she speaks fluent Russian, German, English, and Spanish, and swears in all of them equally well. Damn, cussing in Russian especially is truly a thing of beauty – you have no idea!

        • epeeist

          It seems to be a modern trait, this prissy attitude to language. Try some language from the 14th century:

          This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie.
          Derk was the nyght as pich, or as a cole,
          And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
          And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
          But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
          Ful savorly, er he were war of this.
          Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
          For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
          felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
          And seyde, “Fy! allas! what have I do?”

          Where Alison sticks her “naked arse” out of he window for Absalom to kiss and where he is discomfited by the the feel of her cunt. Things seem to have been much more robust in Chaucer’s time.

        • That reminds me of George Carlin’s “7 words you can’t say on television” (or radio or whatever). One of the words was “tits,” and he lamented that it was such a nice word. He said it’d be a great nickname. “Hey, Tits! C’mere, man!”

        • Aram

          Carlin had some classic rants! Hey, side note: Have you been following the rise of Jordan Peterson at all? I brought this up to Captain Cassidy as well, how I’d be interested to read someone’s thoughts (someone who’s better than me at organizing their rebuttals) as to why he’s so off-putting. Also, I bet it would ignite a firestorm in the comments here 😀 Anyway, just a thought is all.

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve seen one of Peterson’s videos. What a harsh, horrible life he lives, full of social darwinism, thuggish brutality and chaos. He seems to ignore that most people try to live as kindly and peaceful life as possible. He exhorts people, particularly young men, to accept the terrible responsibilities of life. Like Nietzsche and Hobbes he appears to imagine a callous world without benevolence, beauty and
          love.

        • Aram

          Nicely summed up

        • No, I haven’t read much about Jordan Peterson. Can you summarize the issue? I guess he’s a leftist who doesn’t feel obliged to be PC?

        • Aram

          In short, he’s a University of Toronto professor who came to infamy by being against a federal bill that basically added transgender people to Canada’s existing ‘hate crime’ legislation. Jordan turned it into a free speech issue, wrongly declaring he was against compelled speech when it came to transgender people’s preferred pronouns. Ignoring the fact the bill had nothing to do with compelling pronoun speech – and in fact Jordan’s real issue is he’s transphobic – loads of young disenfranchised youth, mostly male, rallied behind him as a hero of ‘free speech’.

          Grabbing the attention (and of course making good money from it), he continues to make youtube videos decrying such things as white privilege as non-existent, the pay gap as having more to do with women being too ‘agreeable’ compared to men, calling post-modernism Marxist and liberal thought the equivalence of Mao, etc.

          The reason I bring him to your attention, however, is his odd Christian religious makeup – that being of interest to you, I believe. As quoted from a Guardian article by Tim Lott:

          “God”, in Peterson’s formulation, stands in for “reality” or “the future” or “the logos” or “being” or “everything that isn’t you and that you don’t know”. And the principal discovery of early mankind is that “God” can be bargained with, through sacrifice – which is no more than saying if you sacrifice the pleasures of the present, reality is likely to reward you in the future. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s the best option you’ve got.

          Having said that, and noting that his lectures are purely about the psychological rather than the theological value of the Bible, Peterson is a devout Christian. “Yes. Which is a form of insanity. The ethical burden is ridiculous. God might swipe you down even though you’re doing the right thing. But it’s your best bet. There is a great level of reality out there which we don’t know and don’t understand. We can bargain with it, but it doesn’t guarantee you anything and God can turn on you. That is the thing about life. There’s no guarantee of success.”

          Does he believe in life after death? “I don’t know that I even believe in death! I’m not sure we understand anything about the role of consciousness in space and time. I don’t think the world is the way we think it is. I’m not a materialist. Whatever is going on down there at the subatomic level of matter is so weird that the people who understand it don’t understand it”

          I’m also saying: ‘Look the hell out because the chickens come home to roost.’ If I’ve learned one thing in 20 years of clinical practice, it’s that. I swear I’ve never seen anyone get away with anything in my whole life.”

        • Greg G.

          So he said something stupid and someone listened to him so now he can’t shut up.

        • Half of this is responding to Jordan, not you, so feel free to reply only as needed.

          Jordan turned it into a free speech issue, wrongly declaring he was against compelled speech when it came to transgender people’s preferred pronouns. Ignoring the fact the bill had nothing to do with compelling pronoun speech

          I support free speech rights. In fact, one interview that I scanned (perhaps he’s mostly known for just this one?) had the interviewer making it an issue of free speech vs. the right not to be offended. My response: there is no right not to be offended, at least in the US. Maybe Canada is different. (On that topic, Ricky Gervais observed, “You have the right to be offended, and I have the right to offend you.” I agree.)

          Aside: I wonder if Peterson’s approach is like Robert Bly’s book Iron John (1990). That was also a men’s empowerment book of sorts.

          But, of course, if Peterson was simply erecting a strawman (imposition of pronoun use) that didn’t actually exist in the bill, then he deserves to be slapped with that fact.

          Grabbing the attention (and of course making good money from it), he continues to make youtube videos decrying such things as white privilege as non-existent, the pay gap as having more to do with women being too ‘agreeable’ compared to men, calling post-modernism Marxist and liberal thought the equivalence of Mao, etc.

          It’s fine to be conservative, but I thought he billed himself as liberal. I’m probably confused.

          “God”, in Peterson’s formulation, stands in for “reality” or “the future” or “the logos” or “being” or “everything that isn’t you and that you don’t know”.

          I believe I’ve heard this called “Spinoza’s god.” Wasn’t this Einstein’s definition (“God doesn’t play dice with the universe”)?

          Somewhat related: William James (and others) propose the pragmatic theory of truth, where “truth” is what is useful to the reader. (Yeah, I guess you could redefine words in new ways, but doesn’t that hinder communication?)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatic_theory_of_truth

          Having said that, and noting that his lectures are purely about the psychological rather than the theological value of the Bible, Peterson is a devout Christian.

          A “devout Christian” who prays to Yahweh, or one who prays to reality or the future or being??

          “Yes. Which is a form of insanity. The ethical burden is ridiculous. God might swipe you down even though you’re doing the right thing. But it’s your best bet. There is a great level of reality out there which we don’t know and don’t understand. We can bargain with it, but it doesn’t guarantee you anything and God can turn on you. That is the thing about life. There’s no guarantee of success.”

          So God’s an petulant, moody asshole, and we’re just going to have to live with that? I guess he’s pragmatic, at least.

          “But it’s your best bet.”

          That’s Pascal’s Wager. It fails.

          “Whatever is going on down there at the subatomic level of matter is so weird that the people who understand it don’t understand it”

          So therefore you’ve got a gap to shove God into? Nope. You don’t believe unicorns without sufficient evidence, so why God?

        • Aram

          Aye, free speech is very important and I’m all for keeping it. Alas, Jordan began his rise to infamy through dishonesty – and now the fanboys lap him up like zealots.
          Thanks for your thoughts; Peterson definitely a bit of a rabbit hole once you start looking at his rhetoric. Probably I’m reacting to it more than I should – just I’ve had a few debates with his fanboys and it’s like entering an alternate reality of thought. Your breakdown helps bring the sanity back 🙂

        • For another angle, Sam Harris has debated Jordan Peterson. I usually like Harris’ perspective.

          https://samharris.org/speaking-of-truth-with-jordan-b-peterson/

        • Greg G.

          The power of a cuss word is not the word but the taboo against saying it.

          ETA: If God didn’t want people to take his name in vain, he should not have given people the idea.

        • BlackMamba44

          A Tone Troll is a form of internet troll focusing on the tone of arguments. A Tone Troll will typically express great consternation and offense at the style of an argument, as a way of distracting from the actual content.

          This is done deliberately as a way to derail arguments; the Tone Troll prefers to muddy the issue by changing the subject, diverts attention away from the merit of the argument itself and unto the specific words being used to advance it.

          Commenter: I think killing people because they’re gay is wrong, goddammit.

          Tone Troll: How dare you use a dirty word like that! Have you no shame? I demand an apology.

          Commenter: Don’t you think the fact that people are being killed is slightly more important than whether I said a naughty word?

          Tone Troll: Why should I listen to anything you say when you’re using such filthy language?

          Commenter: Okay, sorry, but what about my argument?

          Tone Troll: I’m entirely too upset to continue this discussion. I think you should be more careful what you say in the future.

          ~ Urban Dictionary

        • epeeist

          So why not, in the interest of normal, convivial conversation, dispense with the mockery, contempt, and profanities?

          Because when people do so you don’t actually respond to them. As I have said, in concurrence with others here, you aren’t here to engage, you are simply here to provoke and in doing so confirm your biases.

        • Michael Neville

          So why not, in the interest of normal, convivial conversation, dispense with the mockery, contempt, and profanities?

          Why should we? Just because your panties get into a knot when someone says “fuck” at you is no reason for us not to say “fuck” to you.

          I have a theory about individuals who use hateful, perjorative, profane language: I think that they literally cannot help themselves; it’s interwoven into their pysche.

          I have a theory that you’re a prissy, prudish prig who has attacks of the vapors when exposed to adult talk because you’re too immature to deal with real life. You can’t help it, it’s ingrained in your psyche to be a whiny brat. Maybe, when you reach 15 or puberty, whichever happens first, you’ll become as mature as a spoiled six year old. But I doubt it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Mr.Neville, your back!! I had intended to reply to your last post, the one where you claimed that you rarely uttered profanities in front of your wife and others(“Rarely” being the jump-out word to me), but nevermind; this post makes that redundant. Once again, you’ve proven my point, and thanks for that: You LITERALLY CANNOT CONTROL YOUR OWN MOUTH!!

        • Michael Neville

          You LITERALLY CANNOT CONTROL YOUR OWN MOUTH!!

          Wrong, douchebag. You couldn’t be more fucking wrong if you tried. I can control what I say. Right now I feel like saying that you’re a maggot infested heap of rancid hog feces and so I’ll say that to you, but later. Business before pleasure.

          There are times when the well-timed profanity is warranted. You’re too stupid and ignorant to have a clue as to when those times might be and you’re too inconsequential and boring for me to waste time trying to explain a difficult concept to your stupid and ignorant brain but bear in mind what I said. When I was a Chief in the Navy I had a reputation of swearing much less often than most Chiefs do. One of my juniors said that he knew I was angry or upset when I did swear. You might want to think about the ramifications of that comment, it could give you a clue about what I’m saying.

          Incidentally, and before I forget, I want you to know that I consider you a maggot infested heap of rancid hog feces.

        • epeeist

          As I said, it’s just a theory, but consider this: I once knew an individual who has THE most foulest mouth imaginable; I bet him that he couldn’t go 20 minutes without uttering an expletive.Guess what? He failed.

          Ah, once person failed so you “theory” must be true and not a hasty generalisation.

        • JP415

          You, sir, are a windbag!

        • Kodie

          You certainly get pretty worked up for someone with a thick skin. I just wonder what you’re doing here. Why did you come here? It seems like you expected to get abused, so you provoked and got exactly what you wanted, so you could maintain your superstitions and bias.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow,Kodie! You know what I find fascinating about online communications? How someone(Well, in this case you.) can read these posts and assume that they can know the state of mind of the people who sent them! How does that work? How do you determine that I’m, presumably, “worked up”? It’s funny that you assume that I’m here to get abused. Is that your stated intent, to abuse me? What, you can’t help yourself? What does that say about your character, Kodie?

        • Kodie

          I know it bothers you that atheists exist, and you came here to do nothing but mock and be rude to us. Long ago, you said “agree to disagree,” but you just can’t. You don’t know how. I mean, that means just leave. Not once have you asked us about anything, you’re not here to learn, all you do is complain complain complain how you are treated, and get defensive and post long posts to tell us what a thick skin you have and how old you are and how Jesusy you are. Also, a couple days ago, you promised to do better and go to the library because all the books you own and the whole internet cannot help you support your argument, but whatever shit town you live in has just the right collection of books at their library to help you nail down an argument. Sure. What a waste of oxygen you are. You hate atheists and you don’t even know one fucking thing about us. You just know if you get someone to say a curse word, because we’re not “polite” like people who insult everyone without using any curse words at all (i.e. YOU) are, you’re basically a shitstain from the beginning, useless as a debater, empty as a thinker, and prude. You don’t actually belong here, and you are welcome to go somewhere more productive for you. But you got yourself in a fight, and you are going to pretend it’s not even a little bit your fault for instigating. If you’re 63 years old, you should know all this by now. Your religion didn’t even teach you manners. How pathetic.

        • Aram

          Boom! 😀

        • epeeist

          you’re basically a shitstain from the beginning, useless as a debater, empty as a thinker, and prude

          You have to wonder if he puts covers over the piano legs to stop people thinking lewd thoughts.

        • BlackMamba44

          How someone…can read these posts and assume that they can know the state of mind of the people who sent them! How does that work?

          Sproooiiinnnggg!!

        • BlackMamba44

          If words bother you then you are not thick-skinned. For a 63 year old you sure do whine a lot.

          Waaaahhhhh! Grow up.

          Are you a battered woman?

          Are you a child (I’m iffy on this one considering you whine like one)?

          I don’t cuss around children because they’re children. I don’t cuss around my mom because (just the word “fuck”. She’s 72 and most cuss words don’t bother her at all. She’s a grownup) I respect her wishes.

          I have no respect for you. You haven’t earned it.

          But the point I’m trying to make inre the vulgarity, profanity and mocking, sneering insults you atheists seem hopelessly addicted to is a stark indication of your inner character

          You have no clue who I am on the outside or inside.

          You came here to provoke and acted like an asshole to get the reaction you wanted. Then proceeded to whine about it.

          If you don’t like the way we talk, then don’t let the door hit your sorry ass on the way out.

          Troll. Miserable old 63 year old troll. Wow.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks, BlackMamba44! You have definitely and finally confimed the nature of YOUR inner character; it literally came spewing out of your mouth, again. I find it both odd and amusing that some(not all) of the atheists on this site keep claiming that the reason for their use of vile, filthy, profane language and insults toward me is because I’m “provoking” them. PLEASE!! That is the lamest, sorriest excuse for your behavior that I’ve heard; and to think that you actually consider yourselves ethically, morally, and intellectually superior than the average citizens of whatever country you currently reside in. Wow. Here’s something you might want to consider, Black Mamba44: You filth and vulgarity, while it doesn’t provoke me, has a remedy(1), I can not respond to your posts, or (2), the moderator can ban/block me or you. Since you choose to continue to respond to my posts, well…one wonders. ( By the way, if you get around to asking me a legitimate question inre the matter at hand…)—There it is, BlackMamba44. Call me all the vicious, vile, hateful things you like. THAT’S your true character, and don’t kid yourself otherwise. As I said in an earlier post, some of you atheists are addicted to hate, vileness, scorn, mockery, and ridicule, and to claim that you are provoked into spewing your bile is sheer, unadulterated nonsense. GET OVER YOURSELVES.

        • BlackMamba44

          I rest my case.

        • The Bible documents the custom that one’s name had power, and if someone else knew it, they had some control over you. There are several places in the Bible where a god is reluctant to give his name, and this is presumably the reason.

          Today, however, we know that words have no power like this. Abracadabra is just a word. I agree that verbal abuse is a thing, and a bad thing at that, but you can verbally abuse someone with just G-rated language.

          My suggestion is that you ignore offensive words and focus on making good arguments.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t mind engaging in meaningful dialogue and debate, Mr. Seidensticker, but frankly there is a paucity of such on this particular website, but no shortage of cursing, insults, sneering contempt and perjorative comments. Except for a very few individuals willing to engage me in a thoughtful, respectful manner, the above stated reactions is what I’m been subjected to, a constant barrage of profanity and name-calling. It was even suggested by a trio of individuals I won’t name that you, sir, ban/block me from this site, which I presume is yours. Well, when you get the time, read what has been said to me, and make your choice. I may not have acquitted myself particularly well in some instances, but I have steadfastly refused to lower myself into the gutter, sir, nor will I. I’ll say this,and you can act accordingly: Until I came to this site I didn’t know the atheist mindset very well, but now that I’ve been exposed to it, I can believe reports that I’ve read that claim that atheists are the least respected, least trusted people group in the U.S. Reading some of the vitriolic remarks directed towards me, I can easily see why. I await your reply, if any…Peace.

        • I don’t mind engaging in meaningful dialogue and debate, Mr. Seidensticker, but frankly there is a paucity of such on this particular website

          The ball’s in your court. I publish roughly 3 posts per week, and there’s another thousand in the archives (click All Posts at the top or use the Search bar). That’s about as many words as are in the Bible—surely there is plenty for you to react to.

          no shortage of cursing, insults, sneering contempt and perjorative comments.

          Who cares? Instead of wallowing in how rude some people are, set an example. Bring forward some interesting data that supports or refutes a blog post. Give us your favorite argument for God. Do something to encourage meaningful debate.

          Until I came to this site I didn’t know the atheist mindset very well, but now that I’ve been exposed to it, I can believe reports that I’ve read that claim that atheists are the least respected, least trusted people group in the U.S.

          What is your obsession with G-rated language? Focus on the intellectual conversation, and others will follow your lead. If all you have to say is that we’re rude, sure, that may be true. No one cares except you. Our conversation is elsewhere.

          If you’re one of those rare Christians who has something to say in a civil manner, stick around and participate in the conversation.

        • JP415

          Oh my stars, Mr. Laurence Charles Ringo! I am horrified by the vulgar language of these atheist ruffians! I fear that I might faint!

        • Greg G.

          It might have been “KLU” originally. I saw one of their applications from 30 years ago. There was so many misspellings, I wouldn’t be surprised if they misspelled their name at the beginning.

        • Aram

          Ha! Yeah, probably half of their members don’t know how to spell it 😀

        • Greg G.

          Knowing how to spell disqualifies a person to hold an office.

        • BlackMamba44

          Sproing!!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Why do you keep asking that nonsensical question, Kodie? How can I hate someone I’ve never met? Just because I refuse to knuckle under to bullying doesn’t mean that I hate the bully; I pity him/her. Seriously, dude…

        • Michael Neville

          You’re hardly the one to whine about being called a hater. Several times now you’ve accused me of hating religious people despite my denial of the accusation. You need to clean up your own sty before your start complaining about other people.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Mr. Neville, I went through all the posts you and I have exchanged, and this is what I said to you 7 days ago, quote: …”You’ve openly displayed your hostility, animus, mockery, and disdain for people of faith; you’ve made no attempt to do otherwise”…now granted you claimed that your contempt was directed at myself, but as a Servant/Child of Almighty God in Christ Jesus, I’m part of a 2 billion+ whole, so your hatred, contempt, whatever you want to call it, is directed at ALL; I, apparently, just happened to be the only one actively engaged with you and your fellow atheists on this site, and if what you’ve directed towards me isn’t hate speech, then I should tear up my dictionary and find another word for hate, because it certainly isn’t love! I can imagine myself in the “Good Samaritan” story as the robbed and beaten man, and you came along and recognized me…would you pass me by, Mr. Neville? (By the way, I believe in giving credit where credit is due: you sent a post with NO PROFANITY IN IT! Perhaps I was wrong about you. We’ll see how long it’ll last…

        • Michael Neville

          as a Servant/Child of Almighty God in Christ Jesus, I’m part of a 2
          billion+ whole, so your hatred, contempt, whatever you want to call it,
          is directed at ALL

          I have rarely seen such arrogance displayed. Do you think that you’re a representative of all Christians? No, you motherfucking piece of egotistical shit, you aren’t. The vast majority of Christians are easy to get along with. They recognize their limitations and, when involved in discussions, try to discuss the topic at hand. You don’t fit into that mold. You’re arrogant, ignorant, stupid and now you’ve shown you’re narcissistic.

          I’ve told your incredibly stupid ass several times that I have no problem with religious people but I have a major problem with you. My animus is not towards Christians or any other flavor of theist. Right now, my hostility is solely directed at your worthless, self-centered, smug self.

          If you want a post without profanity then you have to show you deserve one. Right now the best I would do for you is I’d piss on you if you were on fire. But I probably wouldn’t cross the street to do it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well, here you are, back again: The real Mr. Neville!! That took even less time than I thought it would. As I said earlier, you may wallow in your own self-deception, but don’t kid yourself: You LITERALLY CANNOT CONTROL YOUR OWN MOUTH (Or, in this case, keyboard.)— No matter what excuse you concoct, Mr. Neville, you have an actual pathological need to curse me; I’ve NEVER seen anything like it!! Now, I’m pretty sure that I said that I was one among 2 billion+; we only have ONE Representative, and that would be Jesus the Christ Himself. Also, you claim that the…”vast majority of Christians are easy to get along with”…and you know that how, exactly, sir? I suspect that you get along, as you put it, with the few Christians you know that you can bully and intimidate, who are probably on the verge of knuckling under your bullying and are about to jettison their weak version of whatever they presumably believed. I could be wrong of course, but…Also, thanks for the…”urinating on me if I was on fire”…analogy. As if I believed that; your hatred for me is so virulent, Mr. Neville, that frankly I don’t believe that you would render me ANY type of aid in ANY situation. So…at least be real with yourself, sir. Ciao.[ By the way, hostility is just another word for hate. Wow. Hostility for a person you’ve never seen nor met. Wow.]

        • Michael Neville

          I can control my “mouth” (since all communication with you has been written, you should have said “fingers”). I just don’t care to play your prissy games. As I’ve told you before, if you don’t like the language I use that’s your fucking problem, not mine.

          So you’re not pretending to represent all of Christianity, instead you think you’re the representative of Jesus Christ. That’s even more arrogant and egotistical than I thought before. And you wonder why I despise your smug, conceited, self-centered ass.

          Your “suspicion” that I get along with Christians because I bully and intimidate them is shit that you pulled out of your rosy red rectum. I may bully YOU but I get along fine with pretty well everyone else, most of whom are Christians (I do also know some Jews and Hindus). Your slander is based solely on my interaction with you and, again, you’re disregarding my repeated and emphatic claim that I have a problem with YOU, you slimy motherfucker, rather than with religious people in general.

          I may have never met you in person but I’ve interacted with you on this blog. Your pompous, pretentious, self-absorbed vanity is grating to me. Have a miserable rest of your fucking life, jerkoff.

        • JP415

          You sound like a cross between Ms. Manners and Mary Poppins. What century were you born in?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I’m going to say this one more time, JP415; I’m baffled as to what you’re not getting here: I WILL NOT BE REPLYING TO YOU AGAIN, So, lovingly and respectfully, I would ask you to move on, and stop wasting your time. Should you have something meaningful to say in the future, perhaps we’ll revisit the issue; until then, move on with your life, O.K.? PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!

        • JP415

          Okay. But you’re still an arrogant clown.

        • Kodie

          Look, liar. First of all, you already answered this comment. But thanks for the second shot to pretend you don’t hate atheists. It’s just transparent that you do.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I tell you what, Kodie, it’s easy enough to settle this particular argument. Produce ANY post on this or any other site in which I unequivocally stated, “I hate atheists” , and I will quit the field, so to speak. ANYWHERE that I uttered those EXACT WORDS, and we’ll see who will be proved a liar, sir. GO!

        • Kodie

          Is that what kind of insensitive asshole you are? You hate atheists, you came here to hate on us. That’s pretty fucking obvious by your behavior and your attitude. Stop being such a liar.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          BOOM, there it is!! Bald-faced liar, you can’t find that slanderous lie, AND YOU KNOW IT!! I NEVER claimed to hate atheists, because I don’t. I simply refuse to be intimidated, mocked, and bullied by you and those of your ilk, and if you think that’s hatred, keep telling yourself that; it goes well with your own mindset. But, as usual, I have a remedy for you, Kodie; how about this: I won’t respond to your posts anymore, including the one I’m expecting from you after this; that way you can go on telling yourself that I hate you. Au Revoir, and may the Peace of God keep you.

        • And you’re digging your hole deeper. You’re persistence is justifying the complaints against you. Stop whining about other people’s attitude and say something useful and interesting.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…I must say, I’m somewhat disappointed, but not unduly so, that you think my” whining”, as you label it, has no merit in your eyes, Mr. Seidensticker; perhaps it was naive of me to expect impartiality from the moderator of a website dedicated to atheism. So be it.Given what you just said, I’m not optimistic that whatever I or any other Christian theist has to say will be given a fair hearing, no matter how “useful and interesting” it may be; I suspect that anything said from my end will be automatically rejected as fairy tales and wishful thinking. But you know what, Mr. Seidensticker? I’m willing to take that risk. In light of the title of this particular blog, and the fact that I have been/still am a Christian theist for over 40 years, how about my testimony? It’s not particularly lengthy, but I’m willing to endure the mockery, scorn, and ridicule sure to follow when I give it; indeed I would expect no less. Stay tuned…

        • You’re whining about the verbal abuse you’re getting. You might as well be whining about the wallpaper in my office. It’s just not the point.

          I’m not optimistic that whatever I or any other Christian theist has to say will be given a fair hearing, no matter how “useful and interesting” it may be

          We’ll never know, will we? Because you’re not giving us a chance to respond to anything thoughtful.

          One thing I am certain of: your continued whining about the tone of comments addressed to you will only get you more comments that you don’t like.

          In light of the title of this particular blog, and the fact that I have been/still am a Christian theist for over 40 years, how about my testimony? It’s not particularly lengthy, but I’m willing to endure the mockery, scorn, and ridicule sure to follow when I give it; indeed I would expect no less. Stay tuned.

          OK, that’s a start, I guess. But if I may offer an initial critique of that approach, you can say you saw all sorts of marvelous or ridiculous things, and we’ll have nothing much of substance to say about it. At best, I could say, “That’s nice,” but such claims are untestable. Much more relevant would be arguments or evidence that you think open-minded atheists should find compelling and should challenge our atheism.

          You should become a Christian because I had a weird experience” is no argument.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow…I haven’t even started, and you’re already assessing what you think I’ll say and what you think I experienced. That’s actually quite surprising, given that you yourself claim that you were once a Christian, Mr. Seidensticker…Sigh. As I said, stay tuned…

        • I haven’t even started, and you’re already assessing what you think I’ll say and what you think I experienced.

          I know what you’re going to say because you told me, remember? You promised your testimony, and I offered a critique of that approach. Obviously, I have no knowledge of the details of your particular story.

          Do what you want. I was just offering some advice. You’re welcome to discard it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          O.K. Mr.Seidensticker, here goes…In 1976 I was a 22 year-old Black man living in the deeply segregated State of Mississippi. I was what is called”raised in the church” if you will; at that time, who wasn’t? Kids were taken to church whether they wanted to go or not; if Mama went, you went! At any rate I would nap on my grandma’s lap, fidget in the pews, hit the door running whenever the preacher got through saying whatever he was saying…in short, I was the epitome of what is known as a cultural Christian, but I certainly wasn’t a genuine one; I didn’t know Jesus Christ from Ghengis Khan, and could have cared less about either one. But one day, long after I had ceased attending actual church and went my way, I wound up in jail, for reasons I won’t go into(Let’s just say no one was injured or killed), and I was sure I was going to prison. A Black man in the segregated South, well…Anyway,the catalyst for my salvation was a pimply-faced,19-year old kid evangelist who would come to the jail every Sunday, and in his bumbling,stumbling way attempt to preach to us. Heathens that we were, naturally we gave him a VERY hard time. But what impressed me about this kid was no matter what we said to him, HE CAME EVERY SUNDAY, WITHOUT FAIL. That made me sit up straight; I said to myself, what’s up with this kid? Anyway…one Sunday he left all of us some booklets about how a person could get saved, as we say in Biblical parlance. Not having anything else to do, I read it, put it down, and that night I read it again. October 4th, 1976, at 2:o’clock in the morning, Mr.Seidensticker…you obviously don’t realize it, being atheist and never meeting the Risen Savior, but being Born Again is an experience; it’s not just some rote recitation of”receiving Jesus into your heart, blah blah blah…No. Here’s what it was like for me. Imagine yourself in a pitch-black closet; you can’t see your hand in front of your face. All of a sudden, someone that you didn’t know was in the closet with you reached up and turned on a light you hadn’t realized was there. It was if my entire inner being was flooded with light. When I came out of my cell the next day, my fellow inmates could see it in my face; they knew something had happened, something that I myself couldn’t articulate. So from that day to this, through thick and thin, ups, down, good and bad, I have been/still am,a Blood-bought, Spirit-filled, Born-again Child/Servant of the True and Living God in Christ, and I will never, EVER be anything else. When individuals on these sites claim that they are ex-Christians, my first thought is: How does one cease loving the One they once loved? How does that work? I have never, EVER heard any arguments that could pry me away from Jesus the Christ, and I’ve read the arguments of atheists far more articulate and sophisticated than any one on this site. So…that’s my testimony, Mr.Seidensticker. I thank you for your patience, and know that I won’t be responding to the mockery, ridicule, and scorn sure to follow; I’m done. To all my atheist friends, farewell, and may Almighty God bless you all. Peace in Christ, always!!

        • Thank you for sharing your personal story.

          How does one cease loving the One they once loved? How does that work?

          I’ve heard stories from ex-Christians as poignant and touching as any I’ve heard from Christians about how, in their final months as Christians, they begged and pleaded with God to reveal himself to them. To show that he really existed. To banish the doubts that had crept into their minds.

          You ask how it works? That’s how.

          If God exists, he gave me this brain to use. And I’m using it.

          I have never, EVER heard any arguments that could pry me away from Jesus the Christ

          If you say so, I’m sure that’ll be true. But that says nothing to me about the truth of the Christian claims. There are Muslims, Mormons, and even Scientologists who would say the same thing.

          I won’t be responding to the mockery, ridicule, and scorn sure to follow; I’m done.

          OK. If you’re of a mind to learn something from this experience, the next time you engage with atheists, bring some arguments and evidence. They will want to know, as we do, why we should adopt your worldview. If your worldview isn’t true, I have no use for it.

        • Kodie

          The problem I see is that you have a chip on your shoulder about atheists. You were emotionally appealed by the power of suggestion and didn’t know what else to call it. Someone came to your prison and preached some brainwashing to you, so you latched onto it. The rest of us do love. We don’t need the inanimate universe to validate us. I don’t know what your other problems are, but you are deeply prejudiced and felt the need to come over here for no reason just to mock us and belittle us. Is that what Christ means to you? Is that what your preacher did for you?

        • Greg G.

          Now let’s talk about that Dollar Store wallpaper…

        • JP415

          Wow! What a noble martyr you are!

        • Kodie

          Oh, horseshit, you liar. We’re still waiting for your trip to the library.

        • Kodie

          Hey asshole, just because you never used the words doesn’t mean every post you make doesn’t reek of hatred and prejudice. Go fuck yourself, please. I said PLEASE!!!

        • epeeist

          Au Revoir, and may the Peace of God keep you.

        • Greg G.

          I think he means Kodie.

        • epeeist

          I think he means Kodie

          Possibly so, but there again I have never had a “bonjour” from him, never mind an “au revoir”.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’ll get back to you, epeeist; I was simply emphasizing that I won’t be replying to Kodie again…go ahead and ask your questions, O.K.? Peace.

        • Kodie

          You deny that you hate atheists and block me because you never used the exact words, “I hate atheists”. good for you. I guess you’re never getting over to that podunk library that has a much better selection than the 400 books you bragged about owning. I believe you had assigned yourself some homework, but the dog must’a eaten it.

        • epeeist

          Well for instance there is this post from 10 days ago that you have ignored.

          Well you make a substantive point I will come back to you with other questions.

        • Susan

          You hate atheists, you came here to hate on us. That’s pretty fucking obvious by your behavior and your attitude.

          Another possibility is that he’s just another incarnation of an internet troll that’s found a niche.

          It’s so darned hard to tell the difference, sometimes.

          Stop being such a liar.

          Indeed.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Same invitation to you, Susan: Produce the post where the phrase ” I hate atheists” can be found; otherwise, it won’t be me who will be found a liar. I await your reply.

        • BlackMamba44

          He might not have said the exact words but every comment he has typed is dripping with arrogant hatred.

        • al kimeea

          introspection – ha, I shoulda read down a wee further

        • Kodie

          Are you saying you didn’t come here with prejudice and to confirm it by acting arrogant and goofy so you would get told off so you could cry and whine about the “atheist mindset”? Yes, you’ve been obnoxious to the core, useless as a debater, and unable to comprehend what you could possibly have done to be called out on. Well, yes, you’re just obnoxious. I have said I don’t care if you’re a Christian. It would be better if you could behave like an adult than a snotty little toddler about it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been assailed witb the most egregious, vile, scornful, vicious language that I have EVER ran across on ANY website anywhere,,..

          Ya ain’t heard feck all till I get started….

        • BlackMamba44

          You let a person talk long enough, soon enough who they really are will come out.

          Talk long enough? It took us reading only one comment of yours to figure out who you are. The very first comment. Because you came in here a condescending, arrogant asshole.

          But that was on purpose. To get the reaction you wanted. Because that’s what trolls do. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75a72eab08768e273a68b8df8d56dbe7e31ecaef339d705ff5493cfd0b248ba0.jpg

        • al kimeea

          you wouldn’t know what introspection was if it was doing you doggy style

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, to be fair, that might be a tad distracting.

        • Lark62

          There is no credible historical evidence that Paul’s ministry followed, preceded or was contemporaneous with “Christ’s Crucifixion” for the simple reason that there is no credible historical evidence that that event occurred.

        • Joe

          There’s no credible historical evidence Paul didn’t battle alien warlords for the fate of the Universe either.

        • JP415

          Well, it looks like Laurence Charles Ringo has left the building, unfortunately. We shall never see his like again . . . .

        • Joe

          He’ll be back in one form or another. Sadly.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’ll tell you what I tell everyone else, Joe: No one is holding a gun to your head; you can ALWAYS not respond to whatever I or anyone else post. It’s not that hard, is it? If so, I respectfully suggest that you seek help. PEACE!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You wish, JP415…As stated, I simply refuse to repy to YOU.

        • JP415

          Ah, it’s the eminent theologian Laurence Charles Ringo! He owns hundreds of books of theology, in both hardcover AND paperback! He might even have read one or two of them. And he’s come to set us straight on the true meaning of the Gospels.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          There’s no credible evidence that Stalin, Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Napoleon didn’t either…For cryin’ loud,Joe!! Do you a legitimate point here, or are you just bored and wasting everyone’s time and blowing smoke up everybody’s behinds? SHEESH!

        • Joe

          Exactly. So I can claim they did do such things with impunity. Knowing that you cannot prove me wrong. Therefore I am right.

          There is a point to all my posts. The only one oblivious to it is you.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well, shucks, Joe. If that’s your opinion, I’m not sure who you should be arguing with in order to convert them of your viewpoint. From any rational, thinking person’s view, your claims, made with impunity or otherwise, would make you a candidate for seeking serious psychiatric care…So, again whatever point you were trying to make: BIG FAIL.Try again. (Or not.

        • JP415

          “your claims, made with impinge or otherwise, would make you a candidate for seeking serious psychiatric care . . . “

          English is not your native language, I take it.

        • Joe

          It’s not my opinion. It’s the consequences of your opinion.

          From any rational, thinking person’s view, your claims, made with impunity or otherwise, would make you a candidate for seeking serious psychiatric care…

          Why?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          If I have to tell ya, Joe, well…

        • Joe

          You can’t tell me. You have nothing. That’s why you avoid answering questions.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Do you have any credible evidence that the great Apostle Paul died wealthy from the proceeds of preaching the Gospel, Lark62? I await your reply.

        • sandy

          Do you have any evidence that Paul didn’t reap financial benefits, food, housing, gay partners and fame? I await your reply.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Since there is NO credible historical records of Paul having been the recipient of such,again, opinion and disbelief doesn’t count, Sandy. If YOU can prove otherwise, do so; otherwise, let’s just agree to disagree, and move on.

        • sandy

          You just answered every question you put forth. Time for YOU to move on.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          What, no evidence to prove your theories and speculations, Sandy Just blowing smoke? Who’da thunk it?? And atheists/mythicists are supposed to be smarter than the average person? Wow…

        • Tommy

          Who’da thunk it?? And atheists/mythicists are supposed to be smarter than the average person? Wow…

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks, Tommy…I’m always up for a good putdown. I’m sorry my posts don’t measure up to you obviously superior intellectual standards.My apologies; I’ll try to do better in the future. Peace.

        • Tommy

          I’m sorry my posts don’t measure up to you obviously superior intellectual standards.

          Or anyone else’s for that matter…

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          OUCH!! Zinger, Tommy!

        • Kevin K

          Hold the phone…are you saying that Paul didn’t travel extensively, wasn’t taken in by the Christian communities he found wherever he went, and pretty much made his entire living from proselytizing?

          What was he in his spare time? An IT specialist? Inquiring minds want to know.

          Jesus was his business…pure and simple.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Read Sandy’s post again, Kevin K, and then read the Book of Acts and Paul’s Epistles, and Sandy’s implications will become clear to you and any fair-minded person (or perhaps not; I’m not surewhere the supposed “gay partners” accusation came from, although I’m familiar with the claim made against Paul from the mythicists that he was homosexual; wherever Sandy got her info, I’m sure she’ll share it with us.) So,again, this anachronistic reading of the great Apostle’s activities are the opinions of the mythicists, nothing more. But then, slandering and maligning Paul, Luke, et.al. seems to be a sort of cottage industry among the mythicists, huh Kevin K? Interesting…Peace!

        • Kevin K

          I’m not talking about anything other than your assertion that Paul wasn’t earning a living from his “mission”. Frankly, I think the man was severely mentally ill; but preaching seems to be the one “profession” where such a person could survive and thrive.

          If you have evidence that Paul didn’t earn his keep solely from the preaching he did, you should bring that now. Otherwise, you’re admitting that you have no idea.

          And FWIW, I’m much-more inclined to agree with Greg G’s reading of Acts as a fictional account, with events drawn from Antiquities. I note with much interest that you respond to me after only an hour or so after posting, but you said nothing about his post, which has been up for days.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          According to the supposedly fictional account of the Book of Acts in chapter 18:1-4, Paul’s trade was tentmaking, Kevin K. It may surprise you to know that within the Pharisees’ traditions, every one was supposed to engage in meaningful, useful work, even scholars, so…

        • Kevin K

          Show me a Pauline tent…

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Seriously? LOL, that’s a good one, Kevin K !!

        • Kevin K

          And in Acts 5, it says Paul then devotes himself exclusively to preaching…

          Really, it’s like you don’t think I have access to Bible Gateway.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You’ve confused yourself here, Kevin K…Paul doesn’t appear in the Book of Acts until chapter 9…Don’t depend on dubious websites, read the texts yourself…Peace.

        • Kevin K

          Acts 9:5. VERSE 5. The one right AFTER the verse you cherry picked.

          Fucking troll.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sorry, Kevin K, but YOU were the one who said”Acts 5″ ; I’m looking at your post right now. That means, at least in normal Biblical hermeneutics, Acts chapter 5, not Acts 9:5. If you’re going to attempt to argue Biblical paradigms, at least keep your claims in order, and don’t lie about what you said. Peace.

        • Kevin K

          And so you’re not going to address the substance? That Acts 9:5 directly states that Paul went into preaching full-time? And therefore, earned his living doing it?

          You are a douche-nozzle. Fucking asshole.

          And if you don’t even know what Bible Gateway is, you should probably just shut the fuck up.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…Here are the EXACT WORDS of the Book of Acts, chapter 9, vs.5: And he said, “who are you,Lord?” And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…further down in the chapter, it iterates what Paul did afterwards; no mention is made of when he actually began to preach the Gospel. Try again, Kevin K.( By the way, I found the Bible Gateway site; since this passage reads the same on the site, why were you making such a fuss about it? Are you O.K.?

        • Kevin K

          Let’s rewind.
          1. You made a claim that Paul was a tentmaker and cited a verse.
          2. I looked up the verse using an online bible source.
          3. The very next verse then says that Paul went to preaching FULL-TIME.
          4. Which makes you a liar and a cherry picking troll when you said that Paul was not obtaining any financial benefits from his preaching.
          5. Your sea-lioning is fucking annoying, so I didn’t go back and re-check the verse number.
          6. It is Acts 18:5

          18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
          5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

          . Emphasis mine because you’re a fucking sea lioning troll.

          Fuck off.

        • BlackMamba44

          He thinks the Bible Gateway is a “dubious website”!!

          Now that’s funny.

          And he thinks you lied. Not that you made a typo, but lied.

          He knew what you were talking about, but he still had to be an asshole about it.

        • Michael Neville

          Larry Chuck is not one of the intellectual lights of the 21st Century.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, he’s one smartass emoji away from going into my kill file.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t care about Paul’s sexuality. He does come across as indifferent to sex in 1 Corinthians 7 but he didn’t think anyone should marry except to legitimize sex if one was filled with passion. He thought the Messiah would arrive before a family could be raised.

          I have seen two arguments that Luke was a woman. One of those is very anti-mythicist. Both give about a dozen points from Luke-Acts with only one overlap.

        • al kimeea

          yep, proto-VatiCorp

        • Greg G.

          1 Corinthians 9 has Paul arguing that a worker deserves his pay in a discussion of the work of being an apostle. He is defending his own pay compared to the others, as if they had been telling the Corinthians that they should cut him off, which would mean more for them.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hey, Greg G.! I just read 1st Corinthians chapter 9; sorry, I’m not seeing the peculiar spin you put on this passage…help me out? Also, I logged onto that link that you posted above the Luke/Acts situation, and so what? Absent evidence that Jesus and Jairus’ daughter and Peter and Dorcas/Tabitha weren’t two separate incidents, I don’t get your point. No one doubts that the Gospel writers interacted with each other in comparing the deeds of Jesus; it’s referred to as the Synoptic Problem. Again, so what? It doesn’t follow that they were somehow untruthful, not from the perspective of most Biblical scholars, and again, unless it could be proven that the healing of Jairus’ daughter and Peter and the Dorcas/Tabitha healing weren’t separate stories…I await your reply. (Also, I’m looking at the passages in 1st Corinthians/Romans you posted inre Paul’s supposed remuneration for Gospel services rendered,and there’s a problem you may have missed; I’ll get back to you shortly. I was somewhat disappointed that you used the word “marks”, implying that the great Apostle was some sort of con man or scam artist fleecing his audiences, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, how easy is it to malign, slander, and descredit someone long dead who can’t defend himself, someone who was also claimed to be mentally ill…easy, right? I await your reply.

        • JP415

          Yes indeed, we should never slander or discredit someone long dead! In fact, we should only say nice things about them, because what if we said mean things about them and they heard us talking up there in Heaven? We might hurt their feelings, for God’s sake! In fact, we should just stop writing history altogether, since we might accidentally offend someone who’s been dead for two thousand years. Good call, Mr. Laurence Charles Ringo!

        • Greg G.

          1 Cor 9:3, Paul says he is defending himself against accusations. Many of the verse have him comparing workers partaking of what they are working on. He is saying that his accusers are using human authority to judge him so he quotes from the OT, namely Deuteronomy 25:4 to back him up. He is clearly defending his right to use the offerings given to him. He even points out that Cephas travels with his wife, which implies more money being spent on her.

          He makes a good argument but I suspect the accusation was about him spending too much on himself. Perhaps he wanted a private ship so he didn’t have to travel in coach with the demon-possessed, like modern day televangelists do.

          I do not apologize for “marks”. I think the priest class has been exploiting the working class for millennia.

          When it comes to miracle claims, who claims they are real bear the burden of proof. Acts has Peter healing by “blocking the sun”. That’s absurd unless one’s gullibility factor is set to maximum. We can tell that Luke borrows from Mark, rejects things from Mark, and alters things from Mark. It would not be unusual to see Luke doing it again, which is millions of times more likely than the story being a true account.

          I have noticed many similarities between Mark and Jewish Wars. Many names of Jesus’ followers are in JW, not so much as active characters, but as the parent of active characters from the first century war. Jairus is one of them. There is another passage in one of Josephus’ writings that mentions Dorcas. (I’m still working from my cell phone without my notes else I could quote it.) I tried looking it up but I couldn’t find the passage when I clicked the Google link so I copied this from the search page:

          Accordingly they sent one John, who was the most bloody minded of them all, to do that execution : this man was also called the son of * Dorcas, in the language of our country.

          So the name translation bit is another unusual textual coincidence that must be explained away. But it is explained quite naturally by the story being invented from literary sources.

          If you think I missed the claim of the collection being for charity, I did not. It’s what I was referring to when I mentioned the “credible receipt”.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Quick aside, Greg G: The Apostle Paul was not a priest; that’s the spin Roman Catholics attempt to put on him. He was a traveling evangelist and church planter. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          I did not call Paul a priest. I used “priest class” to include preachers, witch doctors, and anyone who lives off the religious superstition of others. Perhaps you can suggest a better term for that.

          Paul claimed to be an apostle and referred to other apostles but nowhere in the epistles do we find a “disciple”.

        • Greg G.

          Since there is NO credible historical records of Paul having been the recipient of such

          1 Corinthians 16:1–4; 2 Corinthians 8:1–9:15; Romans 15:14–32 have Paul giving instructions about how to put away money for his collection and assures his marks that they are giving freely for a good cause and it is not extortion. 1 Corinthians 9 has him arguing that a worker deserves his pay and that he is a worker, which implies that he gets at least some of it. We don’t have a credible receipt from anybody receiving the money from Paul.

        • Phil

          Funny how you want credible historical records and evidences when it suits you.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Au contraire, Phil…I have all the historical records I need; I’m arguing for the Christian theist side, remember? Those who would argue against history are the ones would need to bolster their claims with whatever they think will refute said history, and when it comes to the reallty of the impact that this real, historical Person has made, and IS making, on civilization at large and Western Civilization in particular, the atheist/mythicist paradigm does’nt have a leg to stand on; the claim that…”it’s the story of Jesus”… that brought about these monumental changes without the Person of Jesus is simply revisionist hokum,so…I await your reply.

        • Greg G.

          Here is the list of sources for the gospels:

          http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_midrash1.htm

          This is the work of many scholars complied by Dr. Price in verse order, beginning with gMark. Almost all of Mark is accounted for from literature that still exists.

          Have you noticed that the epistles don’t say anything about an itinerant preacher/teacher. They only refer to Jesus in Old Testament terms and allusions, yet they love to talk about him. Paul uses “Christ” and/or “Jesus” about once for every five verses but says tells nothing that isn’t found in the OT. Yet Paul insists that his knowledge is not onferior to the knowledge of the super-apostles. It’s like Paul never knew Jesus and knows the other apostles didn’t know him either.

        • Phil

          I love this “I await your reply” business. Always makes me smile. Anyway, I saw a lot of words but no evidence. Getting back to basics. There is no evidence for the ludicrous notion of a god. So discussing Jesus is a bit pointless until the god thing is sorted.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          In that case Phil, it is incumbent upon you and all those who for whatever reason seem to laboring mightily to overthrow the, in your words, the…”ludicrous notion of a god”…to explain how it is that this “ludicrous notion” has dominated the mindset and various worldviews of humanity since human beings have been called human beings, for virtue the entirety of their existence. Men and women far more brilliant that you or I haven’t had, and even now don’t have, ANY problem with the concept of God’s existence( I speak primarily from the Christian theist perspective, of course.).SOMETHING other than “wishful thinking” must account for such a worldwide, millennia-long effect, Phil, and until those like yourself can come up with an explanation beyond wishful thinking, “fairy tales ” , or Freudian projection, you will be forever ensnared in the Sisyphean futility of thinking that you can come up with ANY arguments that will EVER vanquish religion, particularly my own, the Christian Faith. Good luck with that, and Peace in Christ to you!

        • Greg G.

          Since a lsrge portion of the world’s population is theist, the largest religions have grown through war and subjugation, yet no religion has amounted a majority, we can see that most of the world is wrong about religion.

          If there was a religion that came from a divine source, it should be impossible to imitate by humans. Yet no religion stands out.

          If all religions look man-made, it is most logical that they are man-mafe.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          With all due respect to you, Greg K, the idea that…”the largest religions have grown through war and subjugation”…smacks of psuedo-historical laziness; that claim is better suited to explain the spread of atheistic Communist empires, to wit: Russia, China, Cambodia et.al.Certainly no one disputes that inre the Christian Faith, to a certain extent war and illicit subjugation of indigenous peoples were blots and stains on their claims, but there certainly wasn’t any Christ-ordered mandate for anyone to engage in such; those actions were perpetrated in direct contradiction of His instructions. Humanity has never been lacking in willingness to war against each other; you certainly don’t need religions to instigate wars; greed, nationalism and political ambitions will do just fine. As for the other, as far as I can ascertain, NO ONE has or can imitate or duplicate Jesus the Christ, who is a Person, not a religion—No one. I await your reply

        • Greg G.

          I’m not saying that the religions drove the expansions but they benefited from them. They went along for the ride when the European nations expanded to new continents. But Christians were leading the way for the subjugation of the indigenous folk.

          Before that, the Romans controlled the Mediterranean region and much of Britain so when a state religion was chosen, Christianity benefited.

          When the Roman infrastructure collapsed, the Catholic Church filled a power vacuum for a while and they did apply the first commandment with the death penalty for a period of time.

          I think Islam has gobbled up many poor countries who couldn’t defend themselves.

        • epeeist

          How about, for example, the Crusades or the 30 year war? Both of which, one might say, were fought in large measure as wars of religion and in particular Christianity.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Read my last post, epeeist, and reflect…

        • epeeist

          Which post would that be? And how does it refute the fact that the Crusades were an attempt to spread Christianity by force, either by taking back the “Holy Land” or drive out the native religion in the case of the Swedish crusade?

          Instead of a vacuous instruction to reflect why don’t you deal with my examples?

        • BlackMamba44

          He used the NTS fallacy for that one.

          EDIT

          I’ve studied all the wars that the adherents of those who claimed to be Christian have engaged in, and as I iterated, during this period in history these various conflicts were perpetrated in direct contradiction of the explicit instructions of The Savior’s mandates..

          And then he moved the goalposts…to the “atheistic regimes”…

          You know…the usual…

        • epeeist

          We ought to play “Logic Bingo”, as you say he has done NTS and ad populum, what do you reckon next, false dilemma, post hoc ergo propter hoc…

        • JP415

          Shooting fish in a barrel!

        • epeeist

          Well I am away for a few days with intermittent Internet access. My prediction is that he will finish off with ad baculum.

        • Pofarmer

          Really?

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

          The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade (1209–1229) was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in southern France.
          The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and promptly
          took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant
          reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but also a realignment of
          the County of Toulouse
          in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and
          diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of influence of
          the Counts of Barcelona.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Read my post again, Profarmer…I’ve studied all the wars that the adherents of those who claimed to be Christian have engaged in, and as I iterated, during this period in history these various conflicts were perpetrated in direct contradiction of the explicit instructions of The Savior’s mandates. What were the excuses given by the atheistic regimes of the Communists, whose atrocities, deprivations , and sheer volume of murders dwarf the so-called “religious” wars by many hundreds of millions? Wars have origins in a number of factors; certainly the religious conflicts that engulfed Europe may have been started on some quasi-religous pretext, in many instances, but ultimately they devolved into wars over land, boundaries, power, and sheer greed. The conflict you mentioned, between the pope and the Cathars, was indeed in every sense a religious war, no doubt about that; that’s not in dispute. So…

        • epeeist

          This is simply a “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

          What were the excuses given by the atheistic regimes of the Communists, whose atrocities, deprivations , and sheer volume of murders dwarf the
          so-called “religious” wars by many hundreds of millions?

          You can’t compare raw numbers since the populations were vastly different in size, you have to use percentages. It is estimated that Stalin’s purges were responsible for the deaths of approximately 10% of the population of the Soviet Union, estimates of the number of deaths in the 30 years war are between a third and a half of the population of Europe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve studied all the wars that the adherents of those who claimed to be Christian have engaged in, and as I iterated, during this period in history these various conflicts were perpetrated in direct contradiction of the explicit instructions of The Savior’s mandates.

          That’s nice for you. But it’s a non sequitur, so pah!

          What were the excuses given by the atheistic regimes of the Communists, whose atrocities, deprivations , and sheer volume of murders dwarf the so-called “religious” wars by many hundreds of millions?

          The reasons were many and varied, but none of them was because of the lack of belief in gods.

          Wars have origins in a number of factors; certainly the religious conflicts that engulfed Europe may have been started on some quasi-religous pretext, in many instances, but ultimately they devolved into wars over land, boundaries, power, and sheer greed.

          Hmmm…Yip, that’s what happens when the religious get political power. The run amok and claim their god as mandate to do so. It’s always been the same.

          Religion, Politics, and Globalization: Anthropological Approaches

          While social scientists, beginning with Weber, envisioned a secularized world, religion today is forthrightly becoming a defining feature of life all around the globe. The complex connections between religion and politics, and the ways in which globalization shapes these processes, are central themes explored in this volume by leading scholars in the field of religion. Does the holism of numerous past and present day cosmologies mean that religions with their holistic orientations are integral to human existence? What happens when political ideologies and projects are framed as transcendental truths and justified by Divine authority? How are individual and collective identities shaped by religious rhetoric, and what are the consequences? Can mass murder, deemed terrorism, be understood as a form of ritual sacrifice, and if so, what are the implications for our sensibilities and practices as scholars and citizens? Using empirical material, from historical analyses of established religions to the everyday strife of marginalized groups such as migrants and dissident movements, this volume deepens the understanding of processes that shape the contemporary world.

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Religion-Politics-Globalization-Anthropological-Approaches/dp/1845457714

          The conflict you mentioned, between the pope and the Cathars, was indeed in every sense a religious war, no doubt about that; that’s not in dispute. So…

          So…“the largest religions have grown through war and subjugation, yet no religion has amounted a majority, we can see that most of the world is wrong about religion.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh your God you’re stupid. No true Scotsman. Got it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’ll probably regret it, but I’ll ask anyway: What on earth are you talking about, Profarmer?? What does “no true Scotsman” have to do with so-called religious wars, or the human propensity to war against each other in general? Did you lose track of the conversation?

        • BlackMamba44

          those who claimed to be Christian

        • Michael Neville

          It’s likely that Larry Chuck has no clue as to what No True Scotsman is about, even though he played it perfectly.

        • BlackMamba44

          That’s my guess…

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll be Pofarmer…once is a typo…that’s more than once now.

        • Joe

          I’ve studied all the battles fought by William Wallace and concluded he wasn’t a true Scotsman.

        • Joe

          hat were the excuses given by the atheistic regimes of the Communists, whose atrocities, deprivations , and sheer volume of murders dwarf the so-called “religious” wars by many hundreds of millions

          Perhaps the fact that they were perpetrated human beings. Who are, in fact, just a species of hairless ape with all the associated negative traits such as greed, anger and a desire for power. There is no all-loving, all-knowing God to give them instructions on how to behave, or to stay their hand.

          How about that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          With all due respect to you, Greg K, the idea that…”the largest religions have grown through war and subjugation”…smacks of psuedo-historical laziness;

          Nope…read “Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery”, by M.A, Kahn. I paid for mine, but the author has now made it available for free…here’s a source….

          https://archive.org/stream/islamic-jihad-legacy-of-forced-conversion-imperialism-slavery/islamic-jihad-legacy-of-forced-conversion-imperialism-slavery_djvu.txt

          It’s a fact that the largest religions have grown through war and subjugation.

          …that claim is better suited to explain the spread of atheistic Communist empires, to wit: Russia, China, Cambodia et.al.

          That is relevant how?

          Certainly no one disputes that inre the Christian Faith, to a certain extent war and illicit subjugation of indigenous peoples were blots and stains on their claims,…

          So not pseudo-historical laziness then after all? What certain extent then? Christians have been at each others throats since the get go. The proto-orthodox won the day in the first 300 year battle for superiority, with the might of the emperor behind them. Those heretics that wouldn’t be subjugated, were put to the sword.

          … but there certainly wasn’t any Christ-ordered mandate for anyone to engage in such; those actions were perpetrated in direct contradiction of His instructions.

          That’ll be your interpretation of course. Those that perpetrated violent actions would certainly claim a mandate…and still do. But that’s irrelevant too. Greg didn’t claim that their mandate for going to war and subjugation came from the Bible, just that religions have gained superiority by such actions.

          Humanity has never been lacking in willingness to war against each other; you certainly don’t need religions to instigate wars; greed, nationalism and political ambitions will do just fine.

          Another sentence of non sequiturs.

          As for the other, as far as I can ascertain, NO ONE has or can imitate or duplicate Jesus the Christ, who is a Person, not a religion—No one. I await your reply

          Which of the Jesus the Christ’s do you refer to…be specific. There are many to choose from depending on what ya believe and how you interpret the texts, ya know?

          The Muslims believe Jesus was just another prophet. Just not thee prophet of prophets. By 2050, Islam will have overtaken all the Christianities put together to be the dominant world religion. Mohammad will then be de man. It’ll be a slippery slope of demise for Christianity and Jesus from there on in, just glad I’ll not be around for that tipping point. t’s gonna get messy.

        • Kodie

          The reason you’re a Christian today is probably the Crusades. Brainwash enough people through force, and they will take care of their descendants, and their descendants’ slaves.

        • Phil

          Yes you do have a problem with Zeus, Odin, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So you already know the reasons for not falling for believing in a ludicrous entity. The reason is simple for how a belief in a god can come about is that we are pattern matching apes. Again it is really amusing to see the uppercase and the attempt at erudition.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          “Pattern matching apes”? Is that some kind of weird atheist jargon? I couldn’t find it on Google, so you’ll have to help me out here, Phil…However way you wish to mock and ridicule me, you’ve posited no meaningful answer to my question, nor can you, if you’re honest with yourself; I’ll assume that’s the reason for the cutesy, nonsensical response.I don’t have a problem with the non-existent; if the presumed adherents of the entities you named presented themselves in sufficient numbers, I suppose at the very least they would be worthy of religious study, so…where are they? Are there millions, perhaps billions of Odinists, followers of Zeus,the FSM, et.al.? Do they have substantial historical presence, records to give them meaningful existence and influence, like Jesus the Christ? If so, present it, Phil or stop wasting my time and yours. The historicity and the impact of the Christian Faith speaks for itself; if the various entities you named can match it, well…there you go. Take your time; I’ll wait.

        • epeeist

          “Pattern matching apes”? Is that some kind of weird atheist jargon?

          Try “Hyper-Active Agency Detection Device”, an idea put forward by Justin Barrett. We tend to assign agency even when it isn’t present, for example new born babies will react to a triangle of dots in the same way as they react to a face providing the triangle is presented with two dots at the top and a dot at the bottom.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah…Hi, epeeist! I had intended to reply to your last post, but I couldn’t find what I had said 10(11?) days ago, so…anyway, this really doesn’t answer my challenge to Phil, at least in any kind of “boots on the ground” sense. To our knowledge, we are not aware of any primitive, semi-civilized, or fully civilized society that has never worshipped a god, some gods, or many gods throughout recorded history; mankind has always been a worshipping creature, whatever the supposed origin of that worship, and that’s irrefutable, so the” ludicrous notion of a god”, as Phil put it,may inform his narrative, but so what? Doesn’t alter my original premise. So…if you have any questions epeeist, I’ll do my level best to answer them within my frame of expertise, so to speak. If I don’t know, I won’t pretend I do!

        • epeeist

          To our knowledge, we are not aware of any primitive, semi-civilized, or fully civilized society that has never worshipped a god

          Which would simply be an extension of Barrett’s idea, that we tend to assign agency regardless of whether it is present or not. As we progress this goes away, thunder is no longer explained by a thunder god, diseases are no longer caused by demons.

          It is notable that this goes only one way, “supernatural” explanations are replaced by naturalistic explanations. Nothing has ever gone the other way, i.e. nothing with a naturalistic explanation has eve become explained “supernaturally”.

        • BlackMamba44

          To our knowledge, we are not aware of any primitive, semi-civilized, or fully civilized society that has never worshipped a god, some gods, or many gods throughout recorded history

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3

          According to Everett, the Pirahã have no concept of a supreme spirit or god,[8] and they lost interest in Jesus when they discovered that Everett had never seen him. They require evidence based on personal experience for every claim made.[5] However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.[4](pp112,134–142) Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.[4](ppxvi-xvii)

          While they do believe in spririts, they don’t worship a god, some gods, or many gods. They don’t worship any gods.

        • Pofarmer

          Beat me to it.

          We also don’t know how many primitive cultures would have been taken over and made to worship the conquerors gods or perish.

        • BlackMamba44

          I thought of that, too.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, we don’t know what we don’t know. But we certainly know religions get propagated by force.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You know that SOME religions have been propagated by force, Profarmer, you certainly don’t know that all have. Let’s keep things real, O.K.? Dogmatic pronouncements of that nature are not helpful; if you can’t back up a claim like that, why make it? It’s an unproven generality; you certainly don’t know the origin of every single one of mankind’s religions, do you? No, so…

        • Pofarmer

          Where did I say all?

          I would say the ones that didn’t tended to the out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah yes,…reading for comprehension letting you down again a see.

        • Joe

          You know that SOME religions have been propagated by force,

          Christianity being one of the best examples.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          O.K.,BlackMamba44, you may have a point here; I’ll look into this Piraha. Given the way you described their spiritual cognition, I would put this under the heading “distinction without a difference” when it comes to at least some religious/worship aspect. But I’m certainly open to other explanations here.

        • BlackMamba44

          Given the way you described their spiritual cognition,

          I didn’t describe their “spiritual cognition”, Wikipedia did.

          I would put this under the heading “distinction without a difference” when it comes to at least some religious/worship aspect.

          Of course you would. Because otherwise you would have to admit you were wrong.

          While they may be spiritual, they don’t worship a god, some gods, or many gods. No religion. No worship. No gods.

        • Joe

          they lost interest in Jesus when they discovered that Everett had never seen him.

          Sometimes we rely too much on sophisticated counter-apologetics and lose sight of the fact that the simplest arguments are often the best.

        • Pofarmer

          anyway, this really doesn’t answer my challenge to Phil, at least in any kind of “boots on the ground” sense.

          Sure it does. What’s more likely, A) all the supernatural dieties(thousands, millions?) exist/existed, or B) that humans have an evolutionary bias to concoct deities because of some cognitive tic?

        • Greg G.

          And that religions evolve to manipulate those cognitive tics?

        • Pofarmer

          Well. Religions and rituals help to form cohesive social groups. It’s been that way as long as we have records, it would seem. To not believe whatever spiritual mumbo jumbo means you’re out of the group. Which is a serious consequence in a herd animal.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          “Humans have an evolutionary bias to concoct deities because of some cognitive tic?” What the what?? To what end and for what particular purpose? This is almost as bad as that other…theory. Clarify, Profarmer!!

        • Pofarmer

          Read about hyperactive agency detection. Hyperactive facial recognition. Group dynamics. Some if it is learned and some of it is socially taught. Did you know we can institute religious like behavior in Great Apes? For instance. I’ll repeat an earlier statement. Never has a scientific answer been replaced by a supernatural one. So it’s time to look for the natural basis of region. And when we look, I’ll be damned, there it is.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          What is exactly is”religious-like behavior”? How would that look in any kind of ape, great or otherwise? How would that look, and who would know? You tell me what is the supposed natural basis for religion?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Pofarmer
        • Ignorant Amos

          pareidolia?

        • Pofarmer

          That’d be it.

        • JP415

          You’re committing the ad populum fallacy. Google that one, genius.

        • Pofarmer

          I think he’s trying to get the whole list.

        • Kodie

          To our knowledge, we are not aware of any primitive, semi-civilized, or
          fully civilized society that has never worshipped a god, some gods, or
          many gods throughout recorded history;

          Wrong.

          http://freethinker.co.uk/2008/11/08/how-an-amazonian-tribe-turned-a-missionary-into-an-atheist/

          You promised us a week ago you were going to the podunk library in your town to research their collection of theological arguments you don’t already have 400 books of or able to find on the internet. We are SO SURE you are going to do that any fucking day now, liar.

        • BlackMamba44

          I came across that comment again. He said he did go to the library.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But was anything read while he was there? That’s the question.

        • BlackMamba44

          I doubt it.

        • Pofarmer

          Probably just surfed porn.

        • BlackMamba44

          I just googled “pattern matching apes” and this was the 4th hit:

          “Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain”

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141622/

          Abstract
          Humans have long pondered the nature of their mind/brain and, particularly why its capacities for reasoning, communication and abstract thought are far superior to other species, including closely related anthropoids. This article considers superior pattern processing (SPP) as the fundamental basis of most, if not all, unique features of the human brain including intelligence, language, imagination, invention, and the belief in imaginary entities such as ghosts and gods. SPP involves the electrochemical, neuronal network-based, encoding, integration, and transfer to other individuals of perceived or mentally-fabricated patterns. During human evolution, pattern processing capabilities became increasingly sophisticated as the result of expansion of the cerebral cortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex and regions involved in processing of images. Specific patterns, real or imagined, are reinforced by emotional experiences, indoctrination and even psychedelic drugs. Impaired or dysregulated SPP is fundamental to cognitive and psychiatric disorders. A broader understanding of SPP mechanisms, and their roles in normal and abnormal function of the human brain, may enable the development of interventions that reduce irrational decisions and destructive behaviors.

          Of course, it doesn’t contain those exact words.

          EDIT: I don’t know what Google he is using…

          A little more: Examples of types of pattern processing that are common among non-human primates and, in many instances, lower mammals and are therefore not uniquely human include: (1) Cognitive maps of the physical environment, such as the encoding and recall of locations of food sources, potential predators and navigation landmarks; cognitive mapping is critically dependent upon the hippocampus (Pearce et al., 1998; Spiers et al., 2001); (2) The ability to distinguish individuals of the same species, and their emotional state, based on features of their faces (Little et al., 2011; Parr, 2011; Yovel and Freiwald, 2013); (3) The use of gestures to capture the attention of, and to communicate a desired response from, other individuals (Liebal et al., 2004). It has been suggested that communication via gestures, which is well-characterized in apes, was a precursor to language during human evolution (Liebal et al., 2004; Tomasello, 2008).

        • epeeist

          Yeah, not quite the same as Barrett’s HADD but definitely related. From what I understand this kind of processing is fast but unreliable (is that the wind rustling that bush or something that is going to eat me, favour the latter interpretation given that is the higher risk).

        • Greg G.

          A lot of false positives are more prudent than one false negative in a lion-eat-hominid world.

        • BlackMamba44

          Okay. I did a skim but a lot of the information went over my head. 🙂

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks, BlackMamba44! That was actually quite helpful.

        • Kodie

          LCR is a liar. He promised to actually argue something about a week ago, but despite about 400 books (both hard cover and soft cover) in his personal library, he wanted to make sure he got it right, by hitting his local library, which is sure to have books he decided not to buy, and arguments that can’t be found on the internet. Granted, he claims to be 63 years old, and, judging by my parents, it tends to be literally offensive when someone tells you to look something up on the internet, such as read the owners manual or check out the catalog and input a credit card instead of call on the phone and read the credit card number to a person who has to input it

          .

        • Phil

          I apologise, whenever someone makes some absurd assertion I feel obliged to point out the absurdity. It is then up to you whether you accept that it is absurd or, as all too often, you compound it by making more absurd assertions.

          Pattern matching is basically how the brain functions in all animals. Unfortunately that can lead to false positives and false negatives. It is a small step from that to understand how gods and religion can evolve. You could work out the details for yourself if you were willing. There are tons of articles and books expanding this simple concept if it needs to be spelled out to you.

          Millions, billions, gazillions of people can’t be wrong? Absurd assertion.
          A collection of old stories can’t be wrong? Absurd assertion.
          God created the heaven and earth? Who says so when by definition nobody was around to record the event? Absurd assertion.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t think the issue is how many people can assert any given thing, Phil, real or imagined; numbers aren’t necessarily relevant in establishing the truth or falsity of a thing. If one person or a hundred people leap from a 50-story building, how many would it take to establish that the unseen effects of gravity is what contributed to their deaths? So it is/was with
          the Christian Faith; what started with a handful of adherents now number in the billions, and the singular effect of that growth was, and is, Jesus the Christ. I don’t need tons of articles and books to spell out the reality of that effect; I’m one of the billions throughout the past 2,000+ years who has experienced it. I have been a Christian theist for almost 43 years, since from 1976, at age 22 (I’m current 63-years old). I have been/still am actively studying the Christian Faith for the past 25 years, and I’ve also studied the writings, heard the arguments, and engaged in communication with an untold number of my atheist friends, and there is NO scenario imaginable, no argument that could pry me away from Jesus the Christ. Neitzchte, Russell, Hume, Feurbach…the list could on, I read/heard ALL their contentions, and it’s like so much bird chatter. If you’ve not met the Risen Christ, there’s nothing that be said that can repudiate His reality, I don’t care how brilliant one thinks he/she is, or how fancy the supposed theory is, including the so-called “pattern matching apes” theory. (Frankly, that sounds like some absurdity someone with too much time on their hands spent in the ivory tower concocted; they need to go outside and commune with Almighty God’s Creation.) At any rate, Phil, I’m done with this exercise in futility; believe what you will, my friend. I’m of the sad but likely true opinion that atheists and Christian theists are doomed to talking past each other till the end of time (I say Christian theists because we seem to be the favorite whipping boy of atheists; Buddhism and Hinduism doesn’t seem to attract a similar amount of rancor and venom. One wonders why.)—So, I won’t be replying to you again. Au Revoir, and God bless. PEACE!

        • Phil

          There you go, that is what it boils down to in the end. Fingers in ears and “Na, na, na, na…. go away horrible atheist, stop pointing out the absurdity of my assertions”

        • JP415

          “I won’t be replying to you again.” Translation: you’re too ignorant to refute your opponent’s argument, so you’ll just cut and run.

        • BlackMamba44

          This guy is an African-American Christian who was born in Mississippi. My guess is he has some ancestors who were slaves. He’s wallowing in pure ignorance if he worships the same god that was used to make his ancestors submissive to their slave masters. And how was this done? Through the whip and the Bible.

          What was it that Chris Rock said about Black Christians?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cae28e49b370148c623b572c7034f9e0a77044533cc8eaeeed3ca2a57fd4fa7.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aa5c723c37ed62639bfb0381af0849846cc095386faecd185a5cae339418fbfd.jpg

        • JP415

          Well, whoever he is, logical reasoning is not his forte!

        • Joe

          and the singular effect of that growth was, and is, Jesus the Christ.

          I suppose Constantine was just chopped liver then?

          If you’ve not met the Risen Christ, there’s nothing that can be said that can repudiate His reality,

          Then why are you wasting your breath. None of us here have obviously met the dude. So until we do, there’s no point proselytizing here. I’ll let you know when he knocks on my door.

        • Kodie

          We’ve all experienced the power of suggestion at some time or other in our lives. It’s how able you are to detach yourself from fiction in the guise of “truth” that matters. Your invisible friend is imaginary. Christians get the brunt because you’re the majority in the US, trying to use your superstition to control everyone else. That’s one reason atheism is especially important.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you’ve not met the Risen Christ, there’s nothing that can be said that can repudiate His reality

          You’ve not met him either according to the one true Christian commenting on this site at the moment and speaking for ALL true Christians, apparently. @Clement Agonistes thinks you are lying if you claim to have met the risen Jesus…and I have to agree with him on that.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…Since you don’t actually know me, Ignorant Amos, I find somewhat amusing that you can dogmatically state what my life experience with the Risen Christ has been, and still is; you can assert that some other person(@Clement Agonistes, is it?) who doesn’t know me, nor I him, can without hesitation label me a liar without blinking an eye.Wow. How does that work, Ignoring Amos? I said in a previous post, sorta tongue-in-cheek, that atheists think that they know everything about everything, but apparently there is some truth to that. I mean, seriously Ignorant Amos, how is that you think that you can simply dismiss my personal life experience with the Risen Christ just like that? All kidding aside, I would like you (or anyone on this site, for that matter) to tell me EXACTLY how that works. I mean, I understand opinion and unbelief, but you have asserted confidentially that my experience DID NOT HAPPEN , and I would like an explanation of how you know that. I await your reply.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You really struggle with reading comprehension, don’t ya?

          All kidding aside, I would like you (or anyone on this site, for that matter) to tell me EXACTLY how that works. I mean, I understand opinion and unbelief, but you have asserted confidentially that my experience DID NOT HAPPEN , and I would like an explanation of how you know that. I await your reply.

          A Christian, Clement Agonistes, not me, has categorically claimed that no Christian…true Christian, expects a personal appearance of Jesus.

          He doesn’t need to know you to know you are lying, or being stupid, because he knows all about Jesus because he’s a proper Christian, and according to him, Jesus doesn’t do what you claim he has done. Clement cites scripture to support his argument.

          “Christians expect Jesus to appear to them in person. Jesus did this for Paul, and that means that, logically, he would do this for any Christian who wanted him to. Jesus certainly has the power to do this. Therefore, Jesus does not exist.”

          Granted, that still leaves us with the elephant in the room that this expectation contradicts the Bible, and virtually no Christian has this expectation (and therefore no reason to explain its non-fufilling).

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/10_questions_christians_must_answer_09/#comment-3724187536

          Given that I don’t believe in ghosts, I agree with Clement, but for different reasons.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m the guy he is referring to. I’m not familiar with the topic you guys are discussing, but Amos cited you as someone who has physically met a flesh-and-blood Jesus, and says this is a normal thing that all Christians can expect. The fact that a FAB Jesus does not appear to any Christian on request has been cited as a proof that Jesus is imaginary and does not exist.

          I asserted that I know of no Christian who has an expectation of meeting Jesus in the flesh unless it is as part of an end-of-times apocalyptic king. I also asserted that Jesus passed off the day-to-day duties of spreading the word to the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John (surmising that the HS is capable of being everywhere at once, but FAB Jesus can only be in one spot at a time). Amos argued that point, saying he knows of a Christian who says the opposite. I asked for the name of that Christian, and he linked me to this conversation.

          So, I guess I’m asking you if you argue that if you pray for Jesus to appear to them in person – “like a friend” – you expect it to happen?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m the guy he is referring to. I’m not familiar with the topic you guys are discussing, but Amos cited you as someone who has physically met a flesh-and-blood Jesus, and says this is a normal thing that all Christians can expect The fact that a FAB Jesus does not appear to any Christian on request has been cited as a proof that Jesus is imaginary and does not exist.

          Ah, I knew you’d fudge in a lie ya snake. See the bolded part? That’s a lie. Nowhere has that claim been made, by the OP, or me.

          The original question in the OP that you took umbrage with as not being relevant to the Christian philosophy, because no Christian expects it, was…

          5. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? Jesus could appear to you, but he doesn’t. He appeared to Paul after he died, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. He could appear to give you advice for a tough decision, give you comfort in person like a friend would, or just assure you that he really exists. He doesn’t.

          No mention of a physical in the flesh and blood Jesus. An appearance in the same way as the Pauline appearance.

          In the book, Paul never met Jesus physically in the flesh and blood, it was by revelation, i.e. a vision.

          One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. ~ Acts 18:9

          And if Jesus can appear to one [Paul], or some [the twelve], or many [the 500], in a vision, he can appear to everyone, and convincingly so. After all, it worked for Paul. The point in the OP is that he doesn’t. Christians struggle to answer this, just like you did.

          Your claim is that he doesn’t, because no one expects it. Why that matters is way beyond me. I’m sure Paul wasn’t expecting it. But allegedly he got the appearance whether he wanted it or not. So, every non-Christian who isn’t expecting a convincingly game changing appearance by YahwehJesus, could simply get one. Christianity wins, game over. But that doesn’t happen.

          Some Christians “claim” Jesus has “appeared” to them…your “Christian expects it” is debunked as dishonest nonsense.

        • Clement Agonistes

          but Amos cited you as someone who has physically met a
          flesh-and-blood Jesus, and says this is a normal thing that all
          Christians can expect

          Ah, I knew you’d
          fudge in a lie ya snake. See the bolded part? That’s a lie. Nowhere has
          that claim been made, by the OP, or me.

          And, later, in the same post, you cite Bob’s article which says,

          Jesus could appear to you, but he doesn’t. He appeared to Paul after
          he died, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. He could appear to
          give you advice for a tough decision, give you comfort in person like a
          friend would, or just assure you that he really exists.

          So, how did Jesus appear to Paul? In the flesh – “Flesh-And-Blood”. That is exactly what I said, and what you call a lie.

          How “could” Jesus appear to you – “like a friend”. All of my friends are FAB. Yet, you don’t describe my problem as a reading comprehension problem (somehow Bob didn’t mean friends are FAB); you call me a liar, meaning I knew people’s friends are not FAB, yet said it anyway.

          In listing off the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, Paul ends his list by saying, “7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also”. All those appearances were FAB Jesus. Paul cites them as proof of a FAB resurrection, not a spiritual one. I see no other possible context. Yet, you are so convinced that you are right, you call other people “liars”.

          “… or just assure you that he really exists.” In this context, it is like Jesus’ appearance to Thomas, where Thomas touches FAB Jesus, putting his finger in the wounds to assure himself that Jesus really exists. A spiritual appearance could be a dream, so it does not assure one like a FAB appearance.

          Bob’s context here was crystal clear.

          Now, AFTER these physical appearances, JESUS NEVER APPEARS IN PERSON AGAIN. Bob says that since Jesus COULD appear in person, the ONLY logical reason he wouldn’t is that Jesus is imaginary. I pointed out that, in gJohn, Jesus specifies that he will not be doing this. That is why it is so difficult to find Christians who argue that Jesus should be making personal appearances.

          Amos, I simply can’t keep wasting time on these fallacious arguments of yours. You are incapable of civil conversation. You cannot admit a mistake, and launch personal attacks when called on your errors. It is – frankly – embarrassing to watch you embarrass yourself and other atheists in this way. There is no more joy in a “victory” over you than there is in winning an argument with a child.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I asserted that I know of no Christian who has an expectation of meeting Jesus in the flesh unless it is as part of an end-of-times apocalyptic king. I also asserted that Jesus passed off the day-to-day duties of spreading the word to the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John (surmising that the HS is capable of being everywhere at once, but FAB Jesus can only be in one spot at a time).

          Liar, liar, pant’s on fire.

          Here is what you actually said…

          OK, let’s go straight to the lowest hanging fruit – #5: Do the non-appearances of Jesus contradict ANY answers of the Christian narrative?

          Let’s not waste time. The answer is “No”. There are no answers of Christianity that say Jesus should be making personal appearances on request. There is no inconsistency to point out. When Bob summarized his point for this question, he said the answer to why Jesus doesn’t appear to Christians is because Jesus is imaginary.

          Bob claims he has the answer. You stated that if a person claims to have an answer, that person has to show their work. Is it logically consistent that if Jesus does not appear to people, that proves Jesus does not exist? THAT is the work Bob must show. This is not a Christian claim; this is a Bob claim.

          You have built two straw men. The “in the flesh” bullshit that no one but you is arguing. It isn’t in the OP. And the “on request” bullshit that no one is arguing. It isn’t in the OP either.

          Your reading for comprehension skills really suck. Now you have to resort to dishonesty in an attempt to get out of the hole you find yourself in, Dime Bar.

          Amos argued that point, saying he knows of a Christian who says the opposite. I asked for the name of that Christian, and he linked me to this conversation.

          Nope you are lying again. I did nothing of the sort. Nowhere did I mention the “in the flesh” part. It isn’t in Bob’s argument and it isn’t in mine. There are Christians that make the claim Jesus has “appeared” to them personally, like he did to Paul. LCR is one such Christian, I linked you to others. The vision convinced Paul, it has LCR convinced, so why not just “appear” to everyone and be done with it? It’s not like the attributes of YahwehJesus prevents it.

          This is starting to feel like I’m kicking a puppy.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve gone through with you, in detail, how no other interpretation is possible other than a physical appearance. Bob specified, “like a friend”, saying that Jesus could “comfort” (hug?) the Christian, and citing similar physical appearances of the Apostles as proof that this could be possible.

          This is the first time I have seen you argue against the appearance being physical, despite the fact that i have consistently stated it as such. No other atheist has argued that Bob meant the appearance would be “spiritual”. This is an ad hoc, fall back position after your first argument withered in the face of the facts.

          Amos, you made a claim about Christians expecting Jesus to appear physically to them. That is why i asked you for names. You gave the link to this conversation as proof. It is now clear that there are only two possibilities:

          1) Your reading comprehension skills are absolutely AWFUL. After weeks of discussing Bob’s article, turning over every single nuance, you had no clue what he was saying.

          2) You are simply incapable of admitting a mistake, and the thought of giving a theist a “victory” is so hateful to you that you are willing to resort to any tactic to avoid that.

          I just don’t care which it is any more. You are wasting everyone’s time with these childish, name-calling, self-righteous rants. Any poster who resorts to name-calling has nothing of substance to add to the discussion. That is just about all any of your posts have to offer. Every post of yours confesses that you bring nothing to the table of conversation.

        • Kodie
        • The great thing about Clement is that you get (at no extra charge) a thorough critique of all your intellectual and moral failings.

          Insults for free! It don’t get any better than that.

        • Susan

          Bob specified, “like a friend”, saying that Jesus could “comfort”

          That could be done without a physical appearance. We do it every day by text, by Skype, by phone, etc. If humans can do it, an omnipotent being can.

          Your reading comprehension skills are absolutely AWFUL. After weeks of discussing Bob’s article, turning over every single nuance, you had no clue what he was saying.

          So you keep saying to various people here. Though it seems to me (and to them) that your reading comprehension is dreadful.

          Do you have any other strategy than to accuse people of attacking strawmen while you endlessly move the goalposts?

          I tried to nip that in the bud by asking you what you are claiming and how you support it.

          Also by asking you how you distinguish miracles from business as usual in a natural universe.

          If you were worried about strawmen, you could cut to the chase and answer the questions.

          But you don’t seem to be willing or able to do so.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Bob specified, “like a friend”, saying that Jesus could “comfort”

          That
          could be done without a physical appearance. We do it every day by
          text, by Skype, by phone, etc. If humans can do it, an omnipotent
          being can.

          Like we are doing here? No, that is not “like a friend”. A friend takes time out from their own life to come over in person. Bob says “comfort”. A friend comforts by giving you a hug. If Bob had been talking about spiritual comfort, then his entire thesis fails because Christians do feel comforted by God. You guys criticize Christians for finding comfort in God’s spiritual presence, as a sign of weak-mindedness.

          Bob cited “reassurance” as another reason for Jesus to appear, saying He did this for the Apostles. Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles were in the flesh. Today, one would have a comforting hug from Jesus, get the “Thomas” experience, and like him, be assured that Jesus really exists. You guys dismiss the spiritual experience as imagination already. You even dismissed Paul’s Damascus experience on that basis. The weight of evidence is simply too one-sided against this after-the-fact, ad hoc retro-fit. I’ve gotten multiple – conflicting – interpretations (including from you) of “What Bob Really Meant” already.

          Now, i always throw the door open for a re-do. If Bob wants to jump in here and modify what he said to make it fit arguments that Christians actually make, I’m all for that. I certainly gave him multiple opportunities to do just that, and he steadfastly refused to back down an inch from the literal intent. Maybe in the heat of battle, he was just in that never-give-an-inch blindness and will reconsider now. Doing so, however, would ruin the title, making it only “9 Tough Questions …”. A round number is so much more scientific than single-digits.

          Do you have any other strategy than to accuse people of attacking strawmen while you endlessly move the goalposts?

          I tried to nip that in the bud by asking you what you are claiming and how you support it.

          What a wonderful opportunity to make a few key points!

          1. A strawman is presenting an argument that your opponent isn’t making in an effort to score an easy victory while ignoring their real points.
          a) If i am arguing a strawman, I gave Bob many, many opportunities to clarify is real point. At every single opportunity, he declined, opting to try some other fallacious tactic instead. It isn’t until now, a month+ after the event that this new angle of “spiritual appearance” is mentioned by ANY atheist. If it was the only interpretation anyone had, it is illogical that it would only now come up. So, the evidence screams out that mine was not a strawman, but an accurate characterization of his argument.
          b) Bob’s manufactured argument on behalf of Christians was a strawman argument since virtually no Christian on the face of the planet expects Jesus to appear to them in person. You are transferring your own actions onto me.

          But, I’m repeating myself. As is the case so often, you demand support, but refuse to acknowledge it when it is under your nose. However, when you say “nip in the bud”, I don’t think you are referring to my ample support for Bob meaning a physical appearance:

          2. You wanted to change the subject away from this loser topic, to a subject you have always viewed as your ace-in-the-hole. Your tactic has always been to demand support, then use the Fallacy of Endless Questions to pretend that the support was never provided.

          You were so desperate to change the subject that you changed quotes from me in order to do this. If you were willing to resort to such a dishonest tactic, what other dishonesty are you willing to engage in? You denial of support sure seems to fit that pattern. I have walked you through my support, step-by-step, methodically presenting what I find convincing. You argue against those points . . . . . then deny you’ve ever seen them.

          Far from nipping anything in the bud, your opponents’ support came to full flower, produced seeds, and regrew and flowed many, many times. You are in a figurative field of flowers, denying that they exist. If resorting to these kinds of tactics is demanded by your argument, maybe your argument isn’t a very good one.

        • Susan

          Like we are doing here?

          No. We are not friends.

          But if I call my friend overseas when her mother dies, I am reaching out to her as a friend. When we send cards, packages, texts, Skype.
          It’s absurd to say a “real” friend would take time out to come over in person.

          What if your “friend” is in the armed forces and deployed somewhere? You aren’t a friend unless you show up there? This desperate attempt to wriggle out of the point would shock me if it hadn’t become such a familiar pattern of yours.

          As is the case so often, you demand support, but refuse to acknowledge it when it is under your nose.

          Sproingg!!

          Your tactic has always been to demand support, then use the Fallacy of Endless Questions to pretend that the support was never provided.

          No. My tactic was to use specific questions to skip over your stategy of pretending strawmen are being attacked and endlessly moving the goalposts.

          I asked you how a human can know they’ve come across an omnibeing. I phrased it many different ways but it is the same question.

          Your answer was that the early church believed it. Nothing else. That is not support for the existence of am omnibeing until you can show that it is.

          I asked you why miracles are indistinguishable from business as usual in a natural universe. You have never answered. Not once.

          I asked you what you are claiming and how you support it, because rather than attack strawmen or deal with “No True Christian” bullshit,

          I would rather just know what you are claiming and how you support it.

          Your last paragraph took out a warehouse full of irony meters down the street from where I live.

          Please don’t do that again.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Like we are doing here?

          No. We are not friends.But
          if I call my friend overseas when her mother dies, I am reaching out to
          her as a friend. When we send cards, packages, texts, Skype.

          But, then it wouldn’t be “like Paul”, would it? Paul didn’t have Skype or email. A letter is not an “appearance”, and it is no substitute for a personal appearance. Every friend would want to comfort their friend in person, because we all understand the difference between an impersonal contact and being in the room.

          Your answer was that the early church believed it. Nothing else.
          That is not support for the existence of am omnibeing until you can show
          that it is.

          Nope. I went through it with you, step-by-step, quoting directly from the same exercise I went through with another poster which you claimed you never saw. I then embellished – at length – on that quote. TWICE, I explained to you that the reference to the early creeds was to establish that what I was saying was not ad hoc.

          Now – surprise, surprise – you deny ever having seen what I laid out under your nose. You cannot pretend you missed it because it was in a response to another poster.

          I asked you why miracles are indistinguishable from
          business as usual in a natural universe. You have never answered. Not
          once.

          As I said at the time, that is an unrelated topic. Since I did not cite day-to-day miracles as a basis of why I believe an onmi-being exists, your subject-change is a red herring. I offered to discuss it at some later, date, but wanted to deal with the original question at hand before moving on. Even now, you say that original question was never answered, denying all the answers you have seen.

          If you deny seeing answers I have given you, then answering other questions is pointless – you don’t read the ones I provide.

        • Susan

          Nope. I went through it with you, step-by-step, quoting directly from the same exercise I went through with another poster which you claimed you never saw

          You went through a step-by-step explanation for the justification of the existence of an omnibeing with me?

          I can’t find it. Can you either restate it or just find the comment in which you did and copy paste the explanation into your reply?

          (Or please, anyone who’s following this discussion who might know to what Clement is referring, can you point me to his comment?)

        • Clement Agonistes

          My basis for my belief in an omni-being was that the beginning of everything required something that transcended the need to be caused by something else. Only GOD, IMO, fills that requirement. You argued the point – you’ve seen it.

        • Susan

          OK. I see a problem at every step. But I’ll start at the beginning.

          What is “the beginning of everything”? What do you mean?

        • Clement Agonistes

          For the purposes of communication, “The Big Bang, or whatever came before it.”

        • Susan

          For the purposes of communication, “The Big Bang, or whatever came before it.”

          And for purposes of communication, are you referring to the singularity at which the models break down?

          I’m a layperson (and so are you).

          I’ll link to an article by Sean Carroll.

          https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2017/01/25/what-happened-at-the-big-bang/

          And quote from it, in case you don’t read the link:

          What We (Don’t) Know About the Beginning of the Universe from Sean Carroll
          My assigned topic was “What We Don’t Know About the Beginning of the Universe,” and I focused on the question of whether there could have been space and time even before the Big Bang. Short answer: sure there could have been, but we don’t actually know.

          So what I did to fill my time was two things. First, I talked about different ways the universe could have existed before the Big Bang, classifying models into four possibilities (see Slide 7):

          Bouncing (the universe collapses to a Big Crunch, then re-expands with a Big Bang)
          Cyclic (a series of bounces and crunches, extending forever)
          Hibernating (a universe that sits quiescently for a long time, before the Bang begins)
          Reproducing (a background empty universe that spits off babies, each of which begins with a Bang)
          I don’t claim this is a logically exhaustive set of possibilities, but most semi-popular models I know fit into one of the above categories. Given my own way of thinking about the problem, I emphasized that any decent cosmological model should try to explain why the early universe had a low entropy, and suggested that the Reproducing models did the best job.

          My other goal was to talk about how thinking quantum-mechanically affects the problem. There are two questions to ask: is time emergent or fundamental, and is Hilbert space finite- or infinite-dimensional. If time is fundamental, the universe lasts forever; it doesn’t have a beginning. But if time is emergent, there may very well be a first moment. If Hilbert space is finite-dimensional it’s necessary (there are only a finite number of moments of time that can possibly emerge), while if it’s infinite-dimensional the problem is open.

          Despite all that we don’t know, I remain optimistic that we are actually making progress here. I’m pretty hopeful that within my lifetime we’ll have settled on a leading theory for what happened at the very beginning of the universe.

          The Big Bang is the point at which our models break down.

          To call it “the beginning of everything” is not justified.

          For numerous reasons. “Beginning” and “cause” at that point of understanding don’t mean what we think they do at the bottom of our little gravity well.

          So, we can’t get to the point that you claim follows:

          required something that transcended the need to be caused by something else

          Until you can understand and clearly describe what “cause” and “begin” might mean at the point in cosmology that is referred to as “The Big Bang”.

          And there is no definitive reason to call it “the beginning of everything”.

          We’re lucky to have some people with expertise on the subject who
          participate here (epeeist, retired physicist) and MNb (teacher of physics) who understand and patiently explain the problems with laypersons using language like “begin” and “cause” without understanding that our intuitive notions about either and both don’t help us much on the subject of “The Big Bang”.

          MNb has been scarce in the last few weeks and epeeist mentioned a few days ago that he would be out of internet range for a little bit.

          In the meantime, I would recommend preposterousuniverse.com as he’s an expert in his fields and a great communicator to laypersons.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, for the record, . . . . . you’ve seen my basis . . . . . . and you disagree with it . . . . . . just like you did all those other times you deny ever seeing.

        • Susan

          So, for the record, . . . . . you’ve seen my basis . . . . . . and you disagree with it . . . . . . just like you did all those other times you deny ever seeing.

          No. I haven’t denied seeing it. You moved the goalposts on so many other points with so many commenters (including Bob, in his article) that I missed it the first time. I think I pointed out to you that what you claimed was not necessarily true, when you think you showed me “step-by-step” why “God” was necessary.

          We haven’t made it past the “beginning of everything” that you used as your first premise.

          The fact is, that “The Big Bang” is not necessarily “the beginning of everything”.

          You can’t proceed from your first premise until you show it’s necessarily true.

          This is not a trick. This just means you can’t proceed from your first premise until you understand what you’re talking about.

          I have directed you to experts on that particular subject. You could go on and find other experts.

          But you haven’t shown that “the beginning of everything” is “The iBig Bang.”

          So, we can’t proceed until you do.

          When you do, you can proceed.

          (Hint: Consult cosmology on this subject. Not apologists, who are happy to misrepresent the subject.)

          Did you read the links? It’s not a trap.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If the BB is not the beginning of everything, then that is in harmony with the point I was making. Whatever that initial event was that began the cascade of causes, there was no event before it. “For the sake of discussion”, I am willing to call it the BB . . . . . or whatever came before that if you want to nit-pick over whether the BB was caused by some other natural thing . . . . or whatever substitute for the BB, should you want to nit-pick over whether the BB happened.

          My basis is that there has to be something at The Beginning that transcends the need to be caused by something else. That is why I used that term. YOU are the one that needed some specific, named event. I thought maybe you needed clarification to grasp the concept.

          For the record, there is no “we . . . . proceed.” There is no place to go with you on this. You simply don’t want to proceed, and will do whatever is necessary to sabotage any conversation. Either you accept the concept, or you don’t. I get it that you don’t agree with me. That is your tribe; your home. You can’t live somewhere else.

        • Susan

          If the BB is not the beginning of everything, then that is in harmony with the point I was making. Whatever that initial event was that began the cascade of causes, there was no event before it.

          But you haven’t even shown that there was “an initial event”. Cosmologists can’t even show that.

          They also point out that terms like “initial” and “event” don’t necessarily mean what we think they mean.

          My basis is that there has to be something at The Beginning that transcends the need to be caused by something else.

          No. There doesn’t have to be either a “beginning”, nor does there have to be something that “transcends the need to be caused by something else.”

          If there is, you have to show it.

          So do all apologists who pretend there has to be.

          There is no place to go with you on this. You simply don’t want to proceed, and will do whatever is necessary to sabotage any conversation

          How convenient for you to assume there is something wrong with my character.

          I gave you a link to a good source on the subject of “The Big Bang”, something in which neither you nor your apologists show curiosity or expertise.

          You can’t just proceed from the first premise for the reasons I gave above.

          That you don’t bother to link to evidenced based research and the models based on that, is your problem. No one else’s.

          I’m not out to disprove you.

          I’m just pointing out that any claim about “the beginning of everything” needs to be justified.

          And that you haven’t done your diligence. You’re just repeating the claims of christian apologists that pretend that that’s not a problem.

          You simply don’t want to proceed.

          No. I am desperately willing to proceed. But you haven’t provided a premise from which I can proceed. You appealed to “the beginning of everything” which you explained meant “The Big Bang” and when I linked you to the problems with calling that “the beginning of everything”, you claimed that the problems are in harmony with the point you’re making (when you initially claimed that it supported the point you’re trying to make.)

          My basis is that there has to be something at The Beginning that transcends the need to be caused by something else.

          You don’t have a basis. You have an assumption that assumes (without research) that you have something you can refer to as “The Beginning” without showing it.

          that transcends the need to be caused by something else.

          You are claiming there is something necessary that you haven’t shown is necessary.

          You haven’t even shown that you understand the terms you are using.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No. There doesn’t have to be either a “beginning”, nor does there have to be something that
          “transcends the need to be caused by something else.”

          If there is, you have to show it.

          No, I don’t. All that is necessary is that I show you my basis; what I find persuasive. If you want to nit-pick, somehow arguing that I don’t find this persuasive, that is your thing. If you want to disagree with me because it’s possible I might be wrong (because we don’t know with absolute certainty), be my guest. Just don’t give me that hogwash about how I have never given you my basis.

          There is no place to go with you on this. You simply don’t want to proceed, and will do whatever is necessary to sabotage any conversation.

          How convenient for you to assume there is something wrong with my character.

          Susan? You? Why how could you be anything less that absolutely perfect. You are flawless in every way. How could any mere mortal even begin to question your pristine character? You, of course, are right in every imaginable way. You are incapable of making a mistake, much less being so embarrassed by it that you would try to change the subject like other human beings.

          Susan – you changed quotes of mine twice because you didn’t like the way the conversation was going. Your favorite tactic is Endless Questions. You denied seeing my basis multiple times when you know you had seen it. Who knows how many other Christians you have used this tactic on, implying that there was something wrong with their character (projection?). Perhaps instead of it being “assumed”, “established” would be a better word choice. Welcome to the human race. Just give the Dark Side a fight every once in a while.

        • Susan

          No, I don’t. All that is necessary is that I show you my basis; what I find persuasive

          No. What is necessary is that when you state that a basis for an omnipotent being begins with a claim of “the beginning of everything”, that you make it past your first premise.

          You have no argument without that. (You’ve opted out of an inductive argument and gone on to claim that your being is necessary and haven’t made it past your initial premise. You don’t even seem to be curious about whether your first premise is true. I linked you to cosmology for the layperson to show you why I don’t accept it.)

          Also, in case you were actually interested in what your first premise even implied. You don’t seem to be interested.

          For that, you told me there was “no place to go with me on this.” That I “simply don’t want to proceed” and accused of me of doing “whatever is necessary to sabotage the conversation.

          Because I didn’t grant you your first premise. Because it’s not grantable. And I linked you to experts on the subject you invoked for your first premise. You ignored them and attacked my character.

          Why how could you be anything less that absolutely perfect. You are flawless in every way.

          No. I’m not even close nor have I suggested such.

          I simply linked you to the discussion on the Big Bang (which you invoked as support for “the beginning of everything”) and it’s not.

          Then, you accused me of being the sort of person to sabotage the conversation.

          I didn’t. I addressed the Big Bang. I pointed that out. Your first premise cannot get off the ground by invoking it.

          When I explained that, you accused me of being a person who is never wrong.

          Do you not understand? You claim a being is necessary for a situation that you can’t even show exists.

          That cosmologists don’t even claim exists.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No, I don’t. All that is necessary is that I show you my basis; what I find persuasive

          No. What is necessary is that when you state that a basis for an
          omnipotent being begins with a claim of “the beginning of everything”,
          that you make it past your first premise.

          My premise is that things don’t cause themselves. I’ll make a deal with you: When you have absolute, unequivocal proof that something came out of nothing, creating itself and everything that came after, then we’ll pick up this topic again. When your “proof” is that “no one knows”, there’s really nothing there to work with.

        • Susan

          My premise is that things don’t cause themselves.

          No one claimed that they do.

          When you have absolute, unequivocal proof that something came out of nothing, creating itself and everything that came after

          No one claimed that.

          They are not connected in any way to my response to your claims.

        • Susan

          Your favorite tactic is Endless Questions.

          That was a lie when you tried it the first time and it remains a lie. If you’re going to claim something, you need to support it.

          you changed quotes of mine twice because you didn’t like the way the conversation was going.

          No. I accidentally changed a quote one time, of which I’m aware, and it was in the midst of a flurry of efforts to get you to support your positions.

          I admitted that it was an accident in the midst of Disqus.

          You denied seeing my basis multiple times when you know you had seen it.

          No. You still haven’t justified the claim of an omniscient being.

          Now, that I recall (in your copious comments deflecting from your burden to show that your deity exists), you said something about a being being necessary and I pointed out it wasn’t. It’s not.

          So, now you’re just saying that it’s what you find persuasive when you aren’t even interested in how cosmologists (you know, people who came up with and have to study it) have to say about it.

          You just think you can call it “the beginning of everything” and that that requires a “first cause” (which is a concept centuries behind people who developed the Big Bang model and everything that follows) and that “first cause” is an “agent” (for no apparent reason), which must be “God” (without justification) which is Yahwehjesus (without justification that Yahwehjesus is “God”)

          Despite that you haven’t shown any step-by-step connection to cosmology and your supernatural belief, let’s say you did.

          (Again, for the sake of argument. Remember, that means I can pretend that you’ve made your argument even though you haven’t just to skip to the last part. That does not mean you’ve made any argument for any of it.

          https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/for-the-sake-of-argument

          Even though you’ve shown no understanding of “the beginning of tjhis universe”, nor shown that that requires “a cause that needs no cause” nor shown that it’s a personal being, let alone that that personal being is your version of Yahwehjesus,

          That does not justify the existence of an omnibeing. Just a universe creator.

          Two thousand years ago, the early church believed it. And they knew fuck all about a Big Bang.

          In the stories of Jesus, he believe the great Flood happened and that demons caused disease.

          These are religious stories no more impressive than Mormon stories.

          Nothing. NOTHING to support omnianything.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your favorite tactic is Endless Questions.

          That was a lie when you tried it the first time and it remains a lie. If
          you’re going to claim something, you need to support it.

          As I pointed out last time, NO ONE has ever gotten to the end of your questions. You change subjects each time you get an answer, then deny that ANY questions were ever answered. The list with no end just reboots, starting over as if the earlier answers never existed. It’s game-playing; jerking around your opponents as if they had no life beyond serving you. Calling people liars is just part of your game. Play it with yourself. I’m out.

          you changed quotes of mine twice because you didn’t like the way the conversation was going.No. I accidentally changed a quote one time

          Your “accident” changed the word to its opposite. That isn’t a random event. It isn’t Disqus’ fault (everything is always someone else’s fault with you).

          The next time, you stated that you changed it in hopes of getting me to address a topic that wasn’t under discussion – an intentional act to abandon that discussion in favor of a different one. It was manipulative, and disingenuous. You are not a reliable partner in a civil discussion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Susan – you changed quotes of mine twice because you didn’t like the way the conversation was going.

          Bwaaahahaha…chucking stones in glass houses me thinks you are doing. You changed the wording of an OP to suit the way ya wanted the conversation to go. And it wasn’t an accident, nor have you retracted it either.

        • Susan

          if you want to nitpick

          It’s ironic that you, Mark Sibley, are accusing me of nitpicking.

          For starters, I doubt very much that you learned everything you could about The Big Bang, and that led you to believing an omnibeing exists. What you have done is repeat some ad hoc failed apologetics .

          I doubt very much that at least 50% of christians came to the acceptance of the existence of an omnibeing because they have studied cosmology.

          If you want to disagree with me because it’s possible I might be wrong (because we don’t know with absolute certainty), be my guest.

          Possible you might be wrong? Your first premise is imaginary. The Big Bang doesn’t provide it and you have provided nothing else to justify it.

          From there you leap (without any justification) to the claim that this imaginary premise “required something that transcended the need to be caused by something else”.

          And then to “only GOD (IMO) fills that requirement”. Again, without justification. All we need (even if we grant that requirement, for the sake of argument) is something that transcended the need to be caused by something else. It doesn’t have to be a being. It certainly doesn’t have to be an omnibeing.

          On top of that, you haven’t explained how any finite being would know they’d encountered an omnibeing. Christians claim that humans encountered an omnibeing. How would they know?

          Susan? You? Why how could you be anything less that absolutely perfect.

          Stop it. When I explained the problems with your oft-refuted argument, you accused me of wanting do anything I can to sabotage the conversation. Which is dishonest.

          Accusing me of thinking I’m perfect for pointing that out is just as dishonest.

        • Clement Agonistes

          if you want to nitpick

          It’s ironic that you, Mark Sibley, are accusing me of nitpicking.

          For starters, I doubt very much that you learned everything you could about The Big Bang, and that led you to believing an omnibeing exists. What you have done is repeat some ad hoc failed apologetics .

          1. The SPECIFIC question put to me was about my basis for believing there would be an omnipotent Being. You are hung up on the BB. You are not only missing the forest for the trees, you are obsessing over an ant crawling on the bark of the tree you are missing. The point is that it would take immense, almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing. A regression of causes leads to this inevitablity.

          2. There is nothing “ad hoc” about it. It fits like a glove with the theist explanation of reality. What is ad hoc are your objections. They are contradictory; self-defeating. You MUST have absolute knowledge, yet you have wildly different, competing SPECULATIONS with no hint of certainty. Your explanations do not fit reality.

          3. The surest sign an atheist has nothing is when they insert the word “apologetics” into the discussion as if it is an argument unto itself. Since theoretically, we would both be defending our views, we are both engaging in our own flavor of apologetics. i say “theoretically”, since you never defend your claims, only attack others.

          4. Since you asked me, what 50% or any other percentage of Christians think is yet another of an ever-increasing, very long list of red herrings. All that matters in this context is MY basis. Most Christians I have discussed this with roll their eyes at the topic, equating it with trying to prove one’s own existence.

          And, speaking of red herrings, as if on cue:

          On top of that, you haven’t explained how any finite being would know they’d encountered an omnibeing. Christians claim that humans encountered an omnibeing. How would they know?

          What in the world does that have to do with the topic? As I said previous (my catch phrase with you since you do not pay attention to what I say), this only gets us to a Deist position with a generic, immensely powerful God. The request for “omnipotence” has been satisfied.

          But, in an infinite set of questions, there is always one more, long after the question has been answered.

          In fairness, I did go ahead and embellish on how I got from generic God to one with other attributes, including “personal” and “interested”. You read it, and either don’t remember it, or have simply chosen to pretend – again – you never saw something. IMO, those would open the possibility of encounters. Since even atheist describe spiritual experiences, this should be low-hanging fruit, although Smart Money says denials and more questions will follow.

        • Susan

          1. The SPECIFIC question put to me was about my basis for believing there would be an omnipotent Being.

          The SPECIFIC question put to you was on what basis you make/accept the claim that an omnibeing exists.

          You are hung up on the BB.

          No. When I asked you what you meant, you provided the BB. I pointed out that the BB doesn’t support your first premise. You ignored the reliable sources that I provided on the subject of the BB (which you used in your first premise) and seemed to imply that it was true anyway. Without showing how.

          The point is that it would take immense, almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing.

          You haven’t shown that “something” came into being from “nothing”. Also, neither “immense” nor “unimaginable power” is justification for omnipotence. Only one of the omniqualities that christians claim.

          There is nothing “ad hoc” about it. It fits like a glove with the theist explanation of reality.

          There is everything “ad hoc” about it. Christians believed long before the BB model that an omnibeing exists. They had no justification then and have no justification now.

          What is ad hoc are your objections.

          No. My objections are live and precise. YOU are claiming an omnibeing exists. And you can’t support it. I very much doubt that after studying cosmology, you (or 50% of christians) came to the conclusion that an omnibeing exists.

          You MUST have absolute knowledge, yet you have wildly different, competing SPECULATIONS with no hint of certainty.

          Au contraire, mon ami. When you claim something is necessary (which is what your argument requires), you must show that it is/.

          Since you asked me, what 50% or any other percentage of Christians think is yet another of an ever-increasing, very long list of red herrings.

          That was YOUR standard. I accepted it for the sake of argument, despite your support for it. I’m asking you to be consistent when you invoke that standard.

          What in the world does that have to do with the topic?

          It has everything to do with the topic. Christians claim that somewhere, humans had contact with an omnibeing. How would they know they have? We only have humans making those claims, so far.

          The surest sign an atheist has nothing is when they insert the word “apologetics” into the discussion as if it is an argument unto itself.

          The surest sign a christiian has nothing is when they pull up an oft-refuted argument from standard apologetics, one which didn’t lead them to christianity and they can’t even justify the first premise.

          Especially when it was like pulling teeth to get them to respond.

          in an infinite set of questions

          You are claiming there is an omnibeing and that that omnibeing is Yahwehjesus. In a badly formed deductive argument.

          You can’t even justify your first premise.

          When I point that out, you accuse me of “infinite questions”.

          That is not the case. You haven’t even gotten your first premise off the ground.

          And it’s very unlikely that you believe an omnibeing exists because you took time to understand the Big Bang. Is that how you got there?

          Probably not.

          So….

        • epeeist

          When I asked you what you meant, you provided the BB. I pointed out that the BB doesn’t support your first premise

          It might be worthwhile pointing out that in 1951 Pope Pius XII declared that Lemaître’s theory provided a scientific validation for Catholicism. However, Lemaître criticised the Pope’s proclamation, stating that the theory was neutral and there was neither a connection nor a contradiction between it and religion. He and the papal advisor on science persuaded the pope to stop making proclamations about cosmology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Au contraire, mon ami.

          I thought ya said he wasn’t…ah, I get it, you are just practising another kinda French out here…carry on.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The SPECIFIC question put to you was on what basis you make/accept the claim that an omnibeing exists.

          This looks like another nit-pick for a point I’ve already agreed to, but sure – it is about what *I* accept and what I find persuasive. Your counter to it is what *you* find persuasive (SPOILER ALERT: They are not the same).

          You are hung up on the BB.No. When I asked you what you meant, you provided the BB.

          … or whatever preceded it or is a better explanation. MY point was The Beginning. You were not content with that -extremely broad, for a reason – term, The concept is an initial, caused beginning of everything physical comprising reality. That would be the forest. You miss the forest. You want to focus on (anything that changes the subject). So, i gave you the tree. Even that is not enough of a diversion, so now the unrelated ant crawling on the tree becomes your topic. “There is no forest because . . . . . ant.”

          You haven’t shown that “something” came into being from “nothing”.
          Also, neither “immense” nor “unimaginable power” is justification for
          omnipotence. Only one of the omniqualities that christians claim.

          … because . . . . . ant.” As i said previously, when we follow the chain of causes backward, we inevitably arrive at an uncaused Something. Either you have to remove the rule of things needing causes, or there was something uncaused that started the chain of causation. You came close by referring to a singularity in which the laws of physics do not exist. My thesis is that the rules of physics do not apply to God – by definition.

          Since you asked me, what 50% or any other percentage of
          Christians think is yet another of an ever-increasing, very long list of
          red herrings.

          That was YOUR standard. I accepted
          it for the sake of argument, despite your support for it. I’m asking
          you to be consistent when you invoke that standard.

          Your questions was not why “Christians accept”, but why *I* accept. Bob was the one who was arguing “Christians say …”. You cannot even keep the discussions straight (or are purposely being deceptive). As I pointed out in my elaboration of this point, Christians have diverse reasons for why they accept God’s existence and the attributes that go with it. I speak only for myself at this level. . . . . . as your question (that you do not really want answered) specified.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Either you have to remove the rule of things needing causes, or there was something uncaused that started the chain of causation.

          Indeed. This is a hoist by yer own petard moment.

          So you have to remove the rule of things needing causes, like you must do in order to arrive at something uncaused that started the chain of causation.

          Why does the something uncaused that started the chain of causation have to be YahwehJesus? Why not those Laws of Physics that you believe didn’t exist, but then did? Ockham’s Razor applies. We know the Laws of Physics exist and what they do…no imaginary Bronze Age gods required.

          You came close by referring to a singularity in which the laws of physics do not exist.

          They don’t? How do you know? Get your paper written up and claim your Nobel Prize for physics.

          The Laws of Physics as we understand them today might well breakdown at the singularity, but you have yet again, overstepped your remit by declaring knowledge you can’t have. No one does. Claiming the Laws of Physics do not exists is at the singularity is an unsupported assertion. They are theories.

          There are theories of physics that say that the phrase “before the big bang” makes sense and for some of these theories it is true that the laws of physics could have been different before the Big Bang. However, it is also possible that the laws of physics before the Big Bang could be the same as the laws that apply now in our universe.

          All of this is highly speculative, but the bottom line is that it is entirely possible that laws of physics could have been different before the Big Bang or they could be different inside the singularities of black holes in our universe.

          https://www.quora.com/Did-the-laws-of-physics-apply-before-the-big-bang

          There’s a reason why it is called “theoretical physics”…but it still doesn’t amount to what you are doing with your just guessing position.

          My thesis is that the rules of physics do not apply to God – by definition.

          And all anyone here wants you to do, is to do what is supposed to be done with a thesis…until ya do, it’s just unsubstantiated wishful thinking. Like Space Ponies did it.
          Any hypothesis is as strong as any other if it is unsupported. What method do you use to demonstrate the veracity of your hypothesis? Haruspicy? Tasseography? Your all seeing eye? What?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The point is that it would take immense, almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing.

          First off, when was there “nothing”?

          How do you know what sort of power is required would be needed to cause something to come into being from nothing, if there was ever nothing to begin with?

          A regression of causes leads to this inevitablity.

          No it doesn’t. And if it did, you still can’t get from that inevitable cause to YahwehJesus.

        • Michael Neville

          So, got any evidence that you even know what you’re talking about, let alone any evidence that an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god was powerful enough to create a universe with hundreds of billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and planets in it?

        • epeeist

          an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god was powerful enough to create a universe with hundreds of billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and planets in it?

          And as I keep saying, assuming such an entity exists why does it have such an inordinate interest about what we do with the tackle in our underpants.

        • epeeist

          The point is that it would take immense, almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing.

          Would it? How do you justify your claim given a zero energy universe?

          As for “nothing”, what do you mean by it? One of the ways of defining objects is in terms of a bundle of properties. What properties would you eliminate from the universe in order to produce “nothing”? Was it ever the case that a state of “nothing” obtained?

          A regression of causes leads to this inevitablity.

          I see the reset button has been pressed, we have been through this before. As I pointed out then “causality” applies within the universe at a particular set of scales. It doesn’t apply at quantum scales and, if someone like Carlo Rovelli is correct and all that exists are covariant quantum fields then causality would not be necessary in the formation of a universe.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That is quite a claim you make. The burden of proof is on you to show that it is correct. Wake me when you’ve done so.

        • epeeist

          That is quite a claim you make.

          So once again you have no response and choose to deflect and try to shift the conversation once more.

          It is rather obvious to me and, I suspect just about everyone else here, that you have nothing. Actually I tell a lie, you do have something; a complete lack of intellectual integrity.

        • Clement Agonistes

          What is there to say? You present speculations that are no better than my own. You are the evidence guy. You don’t believe ANYTHING without absolute proof of its truth. You’ve provided several theories, each of which is incompatible with the others (and the ones not mentioned). Until we have something solid to work with, there’s no place to go with it. That’s why you are just name-calling. If you had something solid, you’d present it. We both know you don’t.

          Is it possible to disagree without being disagreeable? That’s the “civil” in “civil discussion. Man, if you’ve got something, I WANT it. Heck, I love the speculation. That’s why i offer it so freely even when it isn’t the topic on the table. Tour response is that I must prove my claims (freely-acknowledged speculation). OK, then “sauce for the goose” – if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for you. Instead of showing the (non-existent) proof, you lash out with personal attacks. Man, that’s comedy for me – “What’s there to say?” The jokes write themselves.

        • Kodie

          What is there to say? You present speculations that are no better than my own. You are the evidence guy. You don’t believe ANYTHING without absolute proof of its truth. You’ve provided several theories, each of which is incompatible with the others (and the ones not mentioned). Until we have something solid to work with, there’s no place to go wth it. That’s why you are just name-calling. If you had something solid, you’d present it. We both know you don’t.

          Is it possible to disagree without being disagreeable? That’s the “civil” in “civil discussion. Man, if you’ve got something, I WANT it. Heck, I love the speculation. That’s why i offer it so freely even when it isn’t the topic on the table. Tour response is that I must prove my claims (freely-acknowledged speculation). OK, then “sauce for the goose” – if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for you. Instead of showing the (non-existent) proof, you lash out with personal attacks. Man, that’s comedy for me – “What’s there to say?” The jokes write themselves.

          This is a Christian unraveling. You’re so mad that other people think something other than what you think is true that you are making an utter fucking asshole of yourself because you are emotionally overwrought at the prospect of being wrong. You’re not only wrong, your arguments are pathetic. Your beliefs are in the trash. Now, look, I don’t even have a problem with you being Christian, but you threw your hail Mary, and guess what, there was no Jesus there to catch that fucking ball for you. You get so belligerent and blame-shifting about your beliefs that it’s actually FUCKING FUNNY to me. You don’t have any evidence, and I don’t care if you want to cling to your illusions that badly, but you put that shit out there, you’re going to get the lightning of reality on you. That’s so sad, because I know how much it means to you. Laying low would be a good way to preserve your pathetic beliefs. Your whining against reality is just funny, you could have avoided it so easily though.

        • epeeist

          What is there to say? You present speculations that are no better than my own.

          And once again you resort to whining rather than present anything of substance.

          As it is the hypotheses that I present are better than anything you produce in that they are based upon already well known and critically tested and well evidenced science. For example the lack of causality when it comes to quantum systems, the collapse of Newton’s ontology of absolute space and time to the relativistic space time, the addition of fields to Newton’s ontology by Faraday and Maxwell, the elimination of particles as being simply excitations of quantum fields. If you actually read the paper on the zero-energy universe I linked to you will find that too is based on well known and accepted physics (are you aware of the sheer amount of evidence for general relativity?).

          You don’t believe ANYTHING without absolute proof of its truth

          Wrong, in that my criterion for accepting something is justification not “absolute proof”.

          If you had something solid, you’d present it. We both know you don’t.

          What more do you want? Here I have given you lots of solid science, none of which you have any counter to. Others have also shown that your attempt to link your god to the formation of the universe simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

          When discussing the existence of your god I (and others) have shown that an omni-maximal entity is incoherent.

          Is it possible to disagree without being disagreeable?

          You aren’t seriously going to descend to tone trolling are you? I think both Susan and I have been eminently polite, the difficulty is that you simply evade and deflect. One can only take so many vacuous responses before one’s patience runs out.

        • Clement Agonistes

          What is there to say? You present speculations that are no better than my own.

          And once again you resort to whining rather than present anything of substance.As it is the hypotheses that I present are better than anything you produce

          Well, that’s kind of the point, now isn’t it? How can we know it is better unless you prove it, right? If demanding proof for a claim is “whining”, then that is the sum total of every atheist criticism . . . . ever. Look, this is YOUR standard. Either you are sincere in invoking it or not.

          If you had something solid, you’d present it. We both know you don’t.What more do you want?

          I’ve lost count of the hypotheses about The Beginning. For all of them, the advocates feel science vindicates them. yet, they cant all be true. They contradict each other. You guys point to the number of faiths as proof that no one can be true. OK – sauce for the goose. Let’s apply your own standards to your own claims. I want proof that your hypothesis is true and all the others are wrong. If you assert that Zero Energy Universe explains everything, show me – at a minimum – the consensus of peers.

        • epeeist

          How can we know it is better unless you prove it, right?

          So we can take it that epistemology is subject that you know little about. The whole point is that there is justification for all the things I have raised.

          I’ve lost count of the hypotheses about The Beginning. For all of them, the advocates feel science vindicates them. yet, they cant all be true. They contradict each other

          No, this is just hand waving. Which hypotheses and why are they contradictory?

          I want proof that your hypothesis is true and all the others are wrong.

          Two things, firstly you claimed that the formation of the universe would require “almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing”. Of course you never did anything to actually substantiate your assertion, but there again you never do. I raised the “zero-energy universe” as a counter, if you had actually read the paper you would have realised that it is a fairly well accepted hypothesis drawing upon the physics of inflation.

          Secondly, you show your ignorance of both science and its methodology by demanding “proof”. Science doesn’t deal in proof but in explanations, its theories being having survived critical testing and having evidential backing.

          If you assert that Zero Energy Universe explains everything

          No, let’s go back to your original claim namely that formation of the universe would require “almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing”. Justify your claim, put up or shut up.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I want proof that your hypothesis is true and all the others are wrong. Two
          things, firstly you claimed that the formation of the universe would
          require “almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being
          from nothing”. Of course you never did anything to actually
          substantiate your assertion, but there again you never do. I raised the
          “zero-energy universe” as a counter, if you had actually read the paper
          you would have realised that it is a fairly well accepted hypothesis
          drawing upon the physics of inflation

          “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with you BS”? THAT’S your strategy? OK, so all I have to do is to link you to a paper – create a busiwork assignment for you), and my work is done? I’ve got one in mind from Alvin Plantiga, I’ll get right back to you on that.

          When this same subject came up last time I was here, one of your fellows stated that the universe came from another universe . . . . . which came from another universe (possibly the Big Bounce). . . . . rinse, repeat infinitely in the past. NO ONE here asked him what you ask of me. Other competing theories are membranes, multiverse (stop me if you’ve ever heard of any of these) black holes, singularity, non-singularity, parallel universes, steady state, parallel dimensions, quantum vacuum, supermembranes, . . . . .

          If we accept that there was a BB (some do not and feel justified), then everyone agrees that a lot of power was involved.

        • epeeist

          “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with you BS”?

          The zero-energy hypothesis is bullshit? Perhaps you can tell us why this is so.

          Other competing theories are membranes, multiverse (stop me if you’ve ever heard of any of these) black holes, singularity, non-singularity, parallel universes, steady state, parallel dimensions, quantum vacuum, supermembranes

          This is just a list of words, not a list of hypotheses. As it is “singularities” are part of a number of hypotheses, there are a variety of multiverse hypotheses, “parallel universes” is really a consequence of Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and has nothing to do with the formation of universes.

          So your Gish Gallop is somewhat of a failure.

          If we accept that there was a BB (some do not and feel justified), then everyone agrees that a lot of power was involved.

          That’s it, that’s your justification? You simply assert that everyone agrees and expect it to be accepted.

          But as it is you use the universal quantifier (everyone agrees), so all I need to do is produce a single counter-example. Now I have already produced one, namely the zero-energy universe hypothesis but I could equally well point to Penrose’s cyclic conformal cosmology, or Turok and Steinhardt’s ekpyrotic universe or even Tegmark’s mathematical universe. None of these require “a lot of power”.

          So your claim that “everyone agrees that a lot of power was involved” is untrue.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with you BS”?

          The zero-energy hypothesis is bullshit? Perhaps you can tell us why this is so.

          Other competing theories are membranes, multiverse (stop me if you’ve
          ever heard of any of these) black holes, singularity, non-singularity,
          parallel un
          iverses, steady state, parallel dimensions, quantum vacuum,
          supermembranesThis is just a list of words, not a list of hypotheses.

          So, just throwing out names and terms didn’t baffle you? Why did you think doing the same would work on me?

        • epeeist

          So, just throwing out names and terms didn’t baffle you? Why did you think doing the same would work on me?

          Oh that one is easy, it is because I am a physicist while your grasp of science is tenuous at best.

        • Pofarmer

          I think he thinks science is like being a Bible Preacher. Anyone can do it, and in the original English.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, BS will baffle me because [you have a low opinion of anyone who disagrees with you]. You don’t owe me honest replies because I’m not worthy. Yeah, I get hubris.

          So, how about the membrane theory – justified? How about the theory that since there was a singularity at the BB and singularities at black holes, black holes are just inflating some other universes? Are those theories compatible? Are they equal explanations of the BB?

          You don’t know . . . . . but you know I’m wrong.

        • epeeist

          So, BS will baffle me

          Still waiting for you to show that the zero-energy universe is BS.

          So, how about the membrane theory

          No, I am done with following your Gish Gallop. I (and everyone else) am still waiting for you to justify your claim that the formation of the universe would require “almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing”.

          Put up or admit that you have nothing to justify your assertion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Did you read my response to Bob on the topic?

        • Clement Agonistes
        • epeeist

          Nah, this is just the equivalent of “Oh look; over there, a squirrel”.

          Yet again you have avoided justifying your claim. This being so I am going to simply dismiss it, you have had enough time to provide something.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          So, just throwing out names and terms didn’t baffle you?

          Not if one is a physicist with a PhD…which epeeist just happens to be.

          Why did you think doing the same would work on me?

          To show you that you are talking about a subject that is way above your abilities, ergo you are just blowing bubbles, unless you’ve got a PhD
          in physics. Have you got a PhD in physics? Nope.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve got one in mind from Alvin Plantiga, I’ll get right back to you on that.

          Alvin Plantinga? You think because Plantinga baffles you with his BS, that his BS hasn’t been taken apart? You are a silly boy. Do you worst.

          https://infidels.org/library/modern/theism/christianity/plantinga.html

          http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/is-alving-plantinga-for-real-alas-it.html

        • Ignorant Amos

          We have the null hypothesis.

          The one proposing the positive position has the burden of proof. And extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence.

          Consider you are arguing with a Scientologist who is asserting that we are all here because Zanu did it. You say that you need something extraordinary in the way of evidence to convince you he has any grounding in this assertion. The Scientologist comes right back at ya and says “it is because it is obvious”, so it is up to you to produce evidence he is wrong. How would you go about providing evidence he is being silly? Wouldn’t you rather he produced something more than “it is because it is obvious” from the get go with him before taking him seriously?

          I’ve lost count of the hypotheses about The Beginning.

          Yeah. But all the religious ones are not considered reasonable anymore by sensible folk. Even you don’t consider The Beginning yarns of every other religion that has ever been. We just go one religious assertion further.

          For all of them, the advocates feel science vindicates them. yet, they cant all be true.

          Nope. The advocates that posit scientific models know there is no answer to the question at the moment. There might never be. But in the twenty first century where we know that anything that we have ever discovered the answer for that were once attributed to gods in the past, gods didn’t actually factor, so it’s reasonable to believe that gods won’t factor in any future discovery.

          They contradict each other.

          They do, but no one here is making a definitive claim about any of them, nor are any of the advocates of those models either. We don’t know is the honest answer. Science is provisional.

          You guys point to the number of faiths as proof that no one can be true.

          Nope. We don’t. We guys point to the diversity in faiths and point out they all can’t be true. But they all can be wrong. What method do you use to decide how all those that you think can’t be true, are not true?

          OK – sauce for the goose. Let’s apply your own standards to your own claims. I want proof that your hypothesis is true and all the others are wrong.

          You are doing this all wrong. Scientific theories are provisional. They are based upon best principle put forward and how the data fits at any given time. If new data is produced and a better theory is proposed that better fits the all the data, the old theory is shelved.

          As Pierre-Simon Laplace is alleged to have said to Napoleon…

          Laplace went in state to Napoleon to present a copy of his work, and the following account of the interview is well authenticated, and so characteristic of all the parties concerned that I quote it in full. Someone had told Napoleon that the book contained no mention of the name of God; Napoleon, who was fond of putting embarrassing questions, received it with the remark, ‘M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.’ Laplace, who, though the most supple of politicians, was as stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy, drew himself up and answered bluntly, Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. (“I had no need of that hypothesis.”) Napoleon, greatly amused, told this reply to Lagrange, who exclaimed, Ah! c’est une belle hypothèse; ça explique beaucoup de choses. (“Ah, it is a fine hypothesis; it explains many things.”)

          Something that Georges Lemaitre was at pains to point out to his pope to be careful about too…

          By 1951, Pope Pius XII declared that Lemaître’s theory provided a scientific validation for Catholicism. However, Lemaître resented the Pope’s proclamation, stating that the theory was neutral and there was neither a connection nor a contradiction between his religion and his theory. When Lemaître and Daniel O’Connell, the Pope’s science advisor, tried to persuade the Pope not to mention Creationism publicly anymore, the Pope agreed. He persuaded the Pope to stop making proclamations about cosmology. While a devout Roman Catholic, he was against mixing science with religion, though he also was of the opinion that these two fields of human experience were not in conflict.

          If you assert that Zero Energy Universe explains everything, show me – at a minimum – the consensus of peers.

          There’s that fucked up reading comprehension and straw man building. Try reading what epeeist actually said, not what your dishonest brain wished he’d said and then amended it accordingly.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s actually his area of expertise, ya knit wit.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “knit wit”? Well, . . . . . . sew are you!

          No one in his area of expertise has proven any of their diverse, conflicting theories. If we get really, really lucky, some may do so during our lifetimes. Until then, it is just the Science Of The Gaps; an act of faith on epeeist’s part.

        • Pofarmer

          No one has “proven” gravity either, you twit.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, these are . . . . . . equivalent?

        • Pofarmer

          It’s about method. I had hoped you weren’t a sock puppet or an apologist. I now clearly see that I was wrong.

        • Susan

          That is quite a claim you make.

          He asked you a series of questions.

          All on the subject you raised and on which you made claims which you haven’t supported.

          You’ve provided nothing in response.

        • epeeist

          You’ve provided nothing in response

          In other words, the same old, the same old.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I asserted that it would take immense power to cause everything from nothing. He responded with innuendo – a rhetorical question implying that a zero energy universe disproves the need of immense power. If the facts were on his side, there would be no need to hint at some hidden truth that he knows about (and I would, too, if only I were as clever as he). Surely, all of us know he has nothing here. Let’s not go through the embarrassment of forcing him to say his basis is a faith that science will eventually reveal the truth. You would NEVER let that kind of an answer fly, right?

          Similarly, the question about the definition of “nothing” is the same kind of argument. Any run-of-the-mill dictionary can provide that definition. Again, he is trying to imply something that he cannot prove. That is just wasting everybody’s time. That is why it is a a fallacious tactic.

          His last point was just a special pleading – “Ahh, well the rules change for my claim to be true.” Well, that is no different than what you guys are blasting me for.

          So, I simply boiled it down to the simplest reply that made the point = “Prove Your Claim.” Surely, you guys recognize that this is the pillar of atheists reply to everything. If a claim cannot be proven, then it’s as if it does not exist at all. And, of course, no proof has been forthcoming. Excuses, yes. Proof. no.

          The humor of your appeal to Endless Questions is not lost on me. Thanks for that.

        • I asserted that it would take immense power to cause everything from nothing.

          Citation required, both for the claim itself and that this is what modern cosmology says preceded the Big Bang.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just to make sure I am clear on this, I need to provide citations that there was an immense amount of power involved in the the Big Bang?

          There’s no chance you guys could just spot me this one?

        • I sense in your question an implied, “Aw, c’mon. This is obvious, right?”

          No, it’s not obvious. Or maybe it’s just not obvious to me, anyway. Maybe you’ve read up on this and have a ready answer.

          Provide it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Man, you are a tough one (from Wikipedia):

          The earliest phases of the Big Bang are subject to much speculation. In the most common models the universe was filled homogeneously and isotropically with a very high energy density and huge temperatures and pressures and was very rapidly expanding and cooling. Approximately 10−37 seconds into the expansion, a phase transition caused a cosmic inflation, during which the universe grew exponentially during which time density fluctuations that occurred because of the uncertainty principle were amplified into the seeds that would later form the large-scale structure of the universe.[18] After inflation stopped, reheating occurred until the universe obtained the temperatures required for the production of a quark–gluon plasma as well as all other elementary particles.[19] Temperatures were so high that the random motions of particles were at relativistic speeds, and particle–antiparticle pairs of all kinds were being continuously created and destroyed in collisions.[5] At some point, an unknown reaction called baryogenesis violated the conservation of baryon number, leading to a very small excess of quarks and leptons over antiquarks and antileptons—of the order of one part in 30 million. This resulted in the predominance of matter over antimatter in the present universe.[20]

          Cooling

          The universe continued to decrease in density and fall in
          temperature, hence the typical energy of each particle was decreasing. Symmetry breaking phase transitions put the fundamental forces of physics and the parameters of elementary particles into their present form.[21] After about 10−11 seconds, the picture becomes less speculative, since particle energies drop to values that can be attained in particle accelerators. At about 10−6 seconds, quarks and gluons combined to form baryons
          such as protons and neutrons. The small excess of quarks over
          antiquarks led to a small excess of baryons over antibaryons. The
          temperature was now no longer high enough to create new
          proton–antiproton pairs (similarly for neutrons–antineutrons), so a mass
          annihilation immediately followed, leaving just one in 1010
          of the original protons and neutrons, and none of their antiparticles. A
          similar process happened at about 1 second for electrons and positrons.
          After these annihilations, the remaining protons, neutrons and
          electrons were no longer moving relativistically and the energy density
          of the universe was dominated by photons (with a minor contribution from neutrinos).
          A few minutes into the expansion, when the temperature was about a billion (one thousand million) kelvin

        • Which doesn’t answer the question.

          Gee, maybe we were right to hold your feet to the fire.

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . or maybe be more specific about what it is that you are looking for. IMO, the issue being challenged was “immense power”. I though a temperature of 1 billion Kelvin AFTER cooling and the inflation taking place between 10 to the -37 and 10 to the -6th seconds filled that bill in spades.

          What was the issue you had in mind?

        • One issue was this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-energy_universe

          You said, “it would take immense power to cause everything from nothing.” My concern is your confidence that you understand the cause of the Big Bang so well when the experts don’t seem to. Was immense power required? Did our universe come from nothing? Citations needed.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The immense power is evident – “1 billion degrees Kelvin”. I gave you a citation for that (an exact quote – even better). The experts know exactly what caused the BB – “not-God”.

          epeeist has been telling me that there are no conflicts between the various natural explanations. They are all correct even when they are mutually exclusive.

        • You quoted something discussing what happened after the Big Bang. I really need to explain to you how that is something different from before the Big Bang? You were talking about the cause. Or have you forgotten?

        • Clement Agonistes

          That Wikipedia article divided the BB into 5 stages. I quoted from the 2nd stage – the only one we have any hard knowledge of.

          Just as a reminder, we are using the BB as shorthand for The Beginning. I acknowledged that there could be a natural cause for it that would also require a cause (eventually, we need something which transcends the need for a cause).

          I didn’t do justice to your mention of the Zero Energy universe, and I meant to mention it. That kind of leaks over into the Fine Tuning argument. The theory is that there is this enormous amount of energy that is balanced by an anti-energy so that the net is a wash. So, there is this immense energy, and an equally immense force equal to it – essentially twice the amount of power . . . .. . in order to create the universe.

          The net result is that our entire universe – the planets, stars, galaxies and energy came from a single, infinitely-small point. Maybe you aren’t easily impressed. I am. I think that takes a LOT of power. I still hope that you will throw me that bone and agree. “Hope” – Pfft!

        • epeeist

          Just as a reminder, we are using the BB as shorthand for The Beginning.

          You might be, but as others have pointed out you can’t say this (well you can, but as usual with you this would be a bare assertion). Our current theories break down at the Planck time so we can’t say the BB is “the beginning”.

          That kind of leaks over into the Fine Tuning argument

          Except it doesn’t, “fine tuning” is an element of the various “anthropic principles” that have been put forward. If you had actually read the paper that I referenced you will see that it makes no mention of “fine tuning”.

          So, there is this immense energy, and an equally immense force equal to it – essentially twice the amount of power . . . .. . in order to create the universe.

          Are you familiar with the particular version of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle with energy and time as complementary variables? Somehow I doubt it. Safe to say that the above sentence is, you guessed it, yet another unsubstantiated assertion.

          The net result is that our entire universe – the planets, stars, galaxies and energy came from a single, infinitely-small point.

          No, that would mean that we would know both the position and momentum of this object which would of course break the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (and that’s even before we get into Zeno paradoxes).

          The smallest length is given by:

          Lp = √(ℏG / c^3)

          You will note that this includes three fundamental constants, the reduced Planck constant, the gravitational constant and the speed of light. We need a theory of quantum gravity to deal with these on an equal footing.

          I think that takes a LOT of power.

          Which should be read as “I, with no background or understanding of physics or cosmology think make the unsubstantiated claim that that takes a LOT of power”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just as a reminder, we are using the BB as shorthand for The Beginning.

          You might be, but as others have pointed out you can’t say this (well you can, but as usual with you this would be a bare assertion). Our current theories break down at the Planck time so we can’t say the BB is “the beginning”.

          Agreed . . . . . . hence it is a “shorthand”; a stand-in for whatever the actual event might be. Keep in mind that it was Susan’s Endless Questions tactic that lead us down this rabbit hole. The elephant in the room remains the principle of causation.

        • epeeist

          Agreed . . . . . . hence it is a “shorthand”

          Nope, not having this. We cannot say that the BB is the beginning means exactly what it says. Saying this is very different from saying the BB is shorthand for “the beginning”

          This is just Humpty-Dumptying writ large.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Oh, for the love of Pete, will you stop with the patronizing BS attitude already? “It’s not DNA; it’s deoxyribonucleic acid.”

        • Susan

          will you stop with the patronizing BS attitude already?

          Yes How dare a person with a PhD in physics ask Mark Sibley (with no knowledge of, nor even curiosity about the fields involved) to justify his assertion?

          The only possible explanation is that epeeist is showing off.

          You on the other hand, while making grand proclamations on subjects about which you seem to know nothing, are a model of humility.

        • Clement Agonistes

          will you stop with the patronizing BS attitude already?

          Yes How dare a person with a PhD in physics

          Thanks for making my point. THIS is what I get for answering your question – DRAMA!!

          But, hey, i knew what i was getting into and that MY points will never be addressed in favor of endless diversions. I knew better, but I did it anyway. Congratulations on yet another successful sabotage of a conversation. No one has been more devoted to the cause than you.

        • I still hope that you will throw me that bone and agree. “Hope” – Pfft!

          You’ve very hard to agree with.

          You said, “So, there is this immense energy, and an equally immense force equal to it – essentially twice the amount of power . . . .. . in order to create the universe . . .
          I think that takes a LOT of power.”

          Wrong again. 10 – 10 isn’t 20.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No, but there are two terms in that equation: 10 and (-10). The better analogy might be a bank account. I deposit $10, and then I withdraw $10. the net effect is 0, but there are two transactions that took place. I had to do the second transaction in order to make the net 0.

          Instead of $10, however, we would be talking about an order of magnitude that bordered on infinitely larger – a million bazillion gazillion dollars.

        • Greg G.

          It’s more like the change it your net worth if you take out a no interest loan. It’s one transaction and your net worth is exactly the same. But the money you have created by the loan cannot be destroyed, only changed to different forms. The debt cannot be repaid. In this analogy, space is the debt and energy is the money.

        • epeeist

          epeeist has been telling me that there are no conflicts between the various natural explanations. They are all correct even when they are mutually exclusive.

          http://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/field/image/articles/screen_shot_2013-10-30_at_9.25.13_am.png?itok=jxz6Ooob

        • Clement Agonistes

          Maybe i was reading too much into your comments. You asked what I thought bordered on a rhetorical question wanting to know the names of teh theories that conflicted. Given that implication and innuendo are the preferred tactics these days, you seem to need those answers because you saw no conflict. If you didn’t need them, then you were just jerking me around, creating busiwork to keep me out of mischief.

        • epeeist

          You asked what I thought bordered on a rhetorical question

          I don’t do rhetoric, I am more concerned about knowledge than persuasion.

          If you didn’t need them

          I needed one of them to show that your universal claim about the “power” (you do realise that has a specific definition in science?) required to form the universe.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You asked what I thought bordered on a rhetorical question

          I don’t do rhetoric, I am more concerned about knowledge than persuasion.

          If you didn’t need them

          I needed one of them to show that your universal claim about the “power” (you do realise that has a specific definition in science?) required to form the universe.

          You “don’t do rhetoric”, yet once again, here it is. This is what I am dealing with. Guys, come on . . . . . . if you have something, show it. Don’t play these childish games. If you don’t accept my definition of power (or any of the thousand other definition games that are coming), give me yours. I’ll either work with it or choose another word (s). Just have mercy with the fallacious arguments.

        • epeeist

          You “don’t do rhetoric”, yet once again, here it is.

          Oh FFS, this is basic logic. Let’s take the canonical example; “All ravens are black”, all I need to do is show that a single non-black raven exists and I have falsified the proposition. Your proposition was “If we accept that there was a BB…, then everyone agrees that a lot of power was involved”. As before the universal quantifier is used, hence all I need to do is provide a single counter example, which I did.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have to preface it with “If [there was a BB]” because each time I say the universe began with the BB, someone is going to say that is a claim which needs to be validated before they can discuss the topic. “Oh, there is a membrane/singularity/multiverse theory that says the BB was not the beginning of everything.” This is who I am working with. I put up a cite for the amount of heat, rapidity of expansion, and the nature of particles in the early fractions of a second of the universe’s existence. Apparently, 1 billion degrees Kelvin isn’t indicative of a lot of energy. Some nebulous proof must be shown before this evasion can be overcome (in favor of the next diversion).

        • epeeist

          This is yet another attempt to point out squirrels, it has nothing to do with the fact that your claim “If we accept that there was a BB…, then everyone agrees that a lot of power was involved” has been falsified (which it has).

          Apparently, 1 billion degrees Kelvin isn’t indicative of a lot of energy.

          So few words, so many errors. Firstly as Bob pointed out, the figure is for after the formation of the universe, it would have to be given that temperature is a measure of the mean velocity of an ensemble of particles. Secondly, as I pointed out you really need to look at the energy/time formulation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

          And to be a pedant, there is a temperature of 1 billion Kelvin, the “degrees” is superfluous.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Inflation is part of the BB. However, is you want to limit it to the hot, dense phase that preceded inflation (by 10 to the -10 seconds) I’m OK with that. The energy release in that next minuscule fraction of a second speaks to the power of the event.

        • epeeist

          Inflation is part of the BB

          No, inflation is an additional hypothesis in order to explain how the universe came to have the structure we see today, see something like Liddle’s An Introduction to Modern Cosmology for details.

          However, is you want to limit it to the hot, dense phase that preceded inflation (by 10 to the -10 seconds)

          The universe already exists when this state obtains, so once again it has nothing to do with the formation of the universe.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Inflation is a phase of the BB. It is the “bang” in “Big Bang”.

          I just want to point out how successful the fallacious argument has been here. We have now spent 2 weeks chasing the details of this squirrel when the BB itself was never the topic. The topic, of course, is what was meant to be avoided.

          Were this the 1950s, I would be told that there was no beginning of the universe, it’s always been like it is, and if I were only familiar with the science, I’d know as much.

        • epeeist

          I just want to point out how successful the fallacious argument has been here.

          Your original claim was that it would take an immense amount of power to form that universe and implicitly that therefore it was your god that did it.

          But your assertions have, over and over again, been shown to be without merit.

          The only fallacy here is your attempt to assert stuff about which, to put it bluntly, you have no clue.

        • Clement Agonistes

          1) No, that wasn’t my initial claim. My initial claim was that at some point in the chain of caused events we need an initial, un-caused something.
          2) The issue was what MY basis was for concluding that God was omnipotent. Whatever caused event brought everything into existence would have required at least as much power as the caused event itself.

          Now, we’re off into the weeds of the kind of bark is on the tree that prevents you from seeing the forest.

        • Greg G.

          But at quantum scale, there can be self-causing events, so there is no need for uncaused something. A cause acting on nothing does not produce an effect. But the instability of an unstable nothingness has something to work with.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think that is theoretical, not fact. I like the “given” of an unstable nothing.

        • epeeist

          1) No, that wasn’t my initial claim. My initial claim was that at some
          point in the chain of caused events we need an initial, un-caused
          something.

          Fine, so let’s go back to you showing that all events are causal and that causal events within the universe necessarily entail that the universe must have had a cause.

          2) The issue was what MY basis was for concluding that God was omnipotent. Whatever caused event brought everything into existence would have required at least as much power as the caused event itself.

          And as we have seen this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, there are quite a number of hypotheses of universe formation that do not require enormous amounts of power.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t think that a hypothesis has the ability to prove or disprove anything. I have pointed out the conflicts in the various hypotheses, and you refused to discuss them. Here, you point to the “number” of hypotheses as evidence that my hypothesis is wrong. I allowed for those potential causes. They also need causes.

          I pointed out that as we work backward in time, everything has a cause. It is only when we get to that minuscule fraction of a second after the birth of the universe that we cannot say that is the case. For 14 billion years, we’ve had the exact same answer. However, at this 10 (-37)th of a second, why, everything changes.

          We bear the same burden here, and neither of us can satisfy it to the satisfaction of the other. So, let’s not play games.

        • epeeist

          I don’t think that a hypothesis has the ability to prove or disprove anything.

          No, but they can provide possible explanations.

          I have pointed out the conflicts in the various hypotheses,

          No, what you have done is asserted that there are conflicts, when I asked what the conflicts were I got nothing of substance from you.

          Here, you point to the “number” of hypotheses as evidence that my hypothesis is wrong.

          I took your claim to be modal, i.e that the formation of the universe necessarily required enormous amounts of power. All I then have to do is show that there are possible worlds where the formation does not require enormous amounts of power, this I have done initially with the zero-energy universe and later with other models from Penrose, Steinhard and Turok, and Tegmark. Since your grasp of logic is poor what I have shown that your claim of necessity (i.e. true in all possible worlds) does not stand up to scrutiny.

          They also need causes.

          You didn’t think you can slip this past did you? Your claim that they need causes, your claim to demonstrate this. As ever all we have from you is an assertion.

          I pointed out that as we work backward in time, everything has a cause.

          No, what you did, yet again, was assert this. You ignored the fact that anything where there is an overlap of probability distributions in super-position of quantum states is inherently stochastic and hence is not causal. You also ignored the requirement that causality within the universe necessarily entails that the universe had a cause.

          We bear the same burden here, and neither of us can satisfy it to the satisfaction of the other.

          Nope, yours is a strong burden, to justify the claims that you make. Whereas I have a weak burden, to demonstrate that your claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No, but they can provide possible explanations.

          I have never argued otherwise. My challenge was to show my basis for believing that God was omnipotent. My basis is that creating a universe is not a run-of-the-mill act. My hypothesis is as much a justified belief as any other cause for the existence of everything. It is not the only possible explanation. It is my explanation.

        • Greg G.

          If God is omnipotent, there should be no suffering unless he is also sadistic. A couple of aspirin can alleviate a headache but God cannot even do that, so why think he is potent enough to create a universe? If an omnipotent being created the universe with suffering of sentient beings, it follows that the suffering is intentional, so the omnipotence is malicious and sadistic.

        • epeeist

          My challenge was to show my basis for believing that God was omnipotent.

          At which you failed given that the concept is incoherent.

          My basis is that creating a universe is not a run-of-the-mill act.

          You are begging the question, you do not know that the universe was “created” nor that an “act” was involved. Even allowing these gets you no closer to it being your god what did it.

          My hypothesis is as much a justified belief as any other cause for the existence of everything.

          No, you have offered nothing that looks like justification for any of your claims. You have heaped assertion upon assertion like Pelion upon Ossa.

          It is not the only possible explanation. It is my explanation.

          How very Po-Mo of you, but as it is it looks nothing like an explanation, rather it looks nothing more than a mere personal opinion.

        • Greg G.

          I pointed out that as we work backward in time, everything has a cause.

          But you only follow that to your desired conclusion. When the question becomes, “What caused God?” then you abandon the principle.

          All we have to do is change the scale down to quantum mechanics and you lose cause and effect. Also, when you approach relativistic speeds, you can’t even say which event occurred first as it depends on the observer’s velocity.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I abandon the principle at God because by definition, only God would transcend the need to be caused. Christian theology is that God existed for eternity in the past.

        • epeeist

          I abandon the principle at God because by definition, only God would transcend the need to be caused.

          The very definition of “special pleading”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Guilty as charged. God would be a one-off.

        • epeeist

          God would be a one-off

          And unless and until you actually provide justification for this then there is no reason to treat the claim as anything more than a logical fallacy.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not sure what you are looking for beyond what has already been provided. Your main issue seems to be the idea that time began to exist at the moment the BB singularity came into existence – there can be no “before” the BB. Is that correct?

        • epeeist

          I’m not sure what you are looking for beyond what has already been provided.

          Apart from assertions you have provided nothing.

          Your main issue seems to be the idea that time began to exist at the moment the BB singularity came into existence – there can be no “before” the BB.

          You keep referring to the “singularity”, but as we have seen our theories break down at the Planck epoch and also a singularity would be contrary to QM. One (amongst many) of the things that you didn’t answer was how much something that is infinitely small would need to expand to fill the universe.

          As for “before”, is such a term meaningful if space-time does not exist? And just to throw in some additional ideas, is it meaningful if we live in a block universe, or that time is simply an emergent property of spin-foam networks (Rovelli) or doesn’t exist at all (Barbour).

          What I have been trying to show you here is that there are may other possibilities besides my-god-did-it; that these possibilities are actual explanations in that they show the mechanisms by which they work and that they are based upon well tested and well evidenced science, unlike my-god-did-it which doesn’t even save the appearances; and that many of these explanations and the science they build upon is counter-intuitive (the non-causal nature of QM, the breakdown at the Planck scale, one could also add in things like non-local realism in QM and the observer-dependence of time in GR).

        • Clement Agonistes

          This is why I wanted to discuss some of these alternative explanations. Each of them has the justifying math to create plausibility. But, the math is – as I pointed out previously – has fudge factors a la the Einstein Cosmological Constant that make the math work. The math doesn’t work without the fudge factor.

          My justification is that causality works like a dream. It has a great track record. Constructions like an “unstable nothing” reek of the kind of thing you accuse theists of doing – just manufacturing a magical excuse to explain what you want to believe.

          I have conceded that there are other alternative explanations. As hypotheses, they do not – IMO – have greater explanatory power than my hypothesis. Given the track record of causation, there must be a cause for the universe. A good hypothesis will take known facts, and build on them. These theories throw out known facts, saying this is a special circumstance where previous facts simply don’t apply (the fudge factor). In terms of plausibility, we end up with retro-causality – future things creating past things. That is a massive leap that is implausible. It screams out an ad hoc nature. All of the alternates cannot be true. Some exclude the possibility of others. This merely points out that fudge factors exist in order to manufacture plausibility.

          This is the point where theism has the edge. If one natural explanation were the correct one (they can’t all be true), then we can know that the other (wrong) properly justified explanations . . . . . . . . weren’t (properly justified). The wrong explanations would, by necessity, be shown to be wrong. Multiple hypotheses can be shown to be wrong . . . . . . we just haven’t gotten to that stage yet. If they are all relying on the same kind of mathematical assumptions (fudge factors), then it is entirely possible that all are wrong. The last man standing is the God hypothesis. It doesn’t rely on a mathematical fudge factor. It fits like a glove with the established principle of causation. God is timeless because He has existed for eternity past. Time is a concept invented by Man. Time is only real because we say it is real. The hypothesis which fits best with observed reality is God.

          So, no, God is not the only hypothesis, but it is the superior one.

        • epeeist

          But, the math is – as I pointed out previously – has fudge factors a la the Einstein Cosmological Constant that make the math work. The math doesn’t work without the fudge factor.

          And what you want to do is to take one instance and use it to discount the whole of science.

          My justification is that causality works like a dream.

          Except where it doesn’t, and you way out of this is simply to ignore the places that it doesn’t.

          As hypotheses, they do not – IMO – have greater explanatory power than my hypothesis.

          Except they do, your “explanation” is my-god-did-it, it says nothing about how it did it, nor does it tell us anything about any other phenomena. Compare this with the basis for the BB, Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Not only does this provide us with mechanisms (gravity and energy density of the vacuum of space) but it also tells us why there is an expansion, why there is CMBR and what the relic abundances of elements should be. It also predicts the bending of light, the precession of Mercury, Einstein rings, gravitational lensing and gravitational waves. It even provides you with an accurate way of determining where you are.

          So no, the “explanatory power” of your hypothesis is feeble compared to the theories and hypotheses that I have presented here.

          That is a massive leap that is implausible.

          So are particles being in two places at once, or time travelling more slowly as your velocity increases. The whole point is that common sense only works well at human scales, and even then it is hardly reliable.

          This is the point where theism has the edge.

          So you assert, and this is all you have, assertions.

          The last man standing is the God hypothesis.

          The god of the free-floating sentient gas bags on an unnamed planet in IOK-1 you mean? They have been around a lot longer than us and they know their god exists and that all other gods are simply constructs.

          Two things here, there is a thing called “Quine’s thesis” which states that there are innumerable hypotheses for explaining a particular set of phenomena. This being there is no “last man standing”.

          Secondly, we are once again in the realm of isolated demands for rigour. You demand rigour in the hypotheses that science put forward (something I have no problems with at all) but you don’t demand the same level of rigour when it comes to your god, you essentially allow it a free pass. In other words, hypocrisy and a lack of intellectual integrity.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You list off caused things, and then present that as an argument for the uncaused? My point was that when you take one of those alternate explanations, like retro-causation, branes, or bounce back, there are glaring problems with each. Learned people advocate for each – to the exclusion of the others – yet, they can’t all be right. If one is right, then the other 2 are using erroneous math. They also have satisfied your criteria. At a minimum, 2 of them will be wrong. the criteria aren’t very good.

          There is a cause for the universe. If you want me to simply adopt one of your vetted explanations, then God “destabilized” nothing, forcing it to create something; everything. It needs no explanation for “how”, it is simply quantum [pick any random word].

        • Greg G.

          If one is right, then the other 2 are using erroneous math.

          No, you have to show the math is erroneous. They are making predictions from extrapolations from the data we have. When we can acquire the data, it will either match one of the predictions or none of the predictions. The predictions that do not match are disconfirmed. But a math error in a basically correct theory can be corrected for validation of the theory.

          Einstein’s theory didn’t just predict that light could be bent by gravity, his theory predicted precisely how much it would be bent. When they had a solar eclipse, a star that would have been behind the sun and not visible if light was not affected by gravity should be observable during the eclipse if Einstein’s theory was correct. That star was not only visible, it was seen precisely where it was predicted to be seen.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are splitting hairs here, Greg. If we have 3 hypotheses, and each contradicts the other 2, the 2 wrongs ones have to have made a mistake somewhere. If the math is what justified the 2 wrong hypotheses, then the math was in error. If it was something other than math, then it is that. Regardless, the point is that 2 perfectly fine, plausible hypotheses had faulty justification, and no one could tell the difference.

          I’m not sure why Einstein keeps coming into this. I cheerfully grant his theories. They fit well with causation. My only gripe was his making the square peg of steady state universe fit the round hole of an expanding one. In the example of the 3 conflicting hypotheses about the origin of the universe, 2 are using similar, artificial “constants” to make the models work.

          It is also quite possible that we will never find the correct answer to what caused the universe to come into existence.

        • Pofarmer

          It is also quite possible that we will never find the correct answer to what caused the universe to come into existence.

          That could very well be because it’s a nonsense question. Or, we might discover it next week.

        • Clement Agonistes

          OK, it was Krauss: “we have discovered that all signs suggest a universe that could and plausibly did arise from a deeper nothing—involving the absence of space
          itself and— which may one day return to nothing via processes that may
          not only be comprehensible but also processes that do not require any
          external control or direction.”

          “In particular, nothing is unstable. Nothing can create something all the time due to the laws of quantum mechanics”

          “space itself can be created where there was nothing before, that
          literally whole universes can pop out of nothing by the laws of quantum
          mechanics.”

          “nothing is unstable. It will always produce something.”

          “Empty space is a boiling, bubbling brew of virtual particles that pop in
          and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can’t even
          measure them.”

          “Gravity allows positive energy and negative energy, and out of nothing
          you can create positive energy particles, and as long as a gravitational
          attraction produces enough negative energy, the sum of their energy can
          be zero. And in fact when we look out at the universe and try and
          measure its total energy, we come up with zero.”

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, and philosophers kvetch that he’s not talking about a real nothing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He catches it from all sides. Many have wondered what it would take to make Krauss a sympathetic figure…..

        • I was amused when, several years ago, WL Craig complained about Krauss’s argument, “A Universe from Nothing.” Krauss’s starting point was maybe a vacuum or maybe the laws of physics, but Craig condescendingly noted that that’s not the philosopher’s nothing (as if philosophers are useful at the frontier of physics).

          Sometimes WLC is just a clown.

        • Pofarmer

          Sometimes?

        • Susan

          Yeah, and philosophers kvetch that he’s not talking about a real nothing.

          The frustrating thing is that he seems to be talking about real nothing but he is not talking about metaphysical nothing.

          http://quinesqueue.blogspot.ca/2012/09/more-about-nothing.html?q=lawrence+krauss+nothing

        • Greg G.

          You have three plausible explanations but it cannot be determined which is right. Maybe none are right and many one is right. The proposed explanations might be wrong but it is a mistake to call them mistakes. The best way to get a lot of good ideas is to have a lot of ideas, then figuring out which ones are good. Science works by searching alleys to see which ones are blind. It would be a mistake to not investigate all the wrong directions because sometimes serendipity gives you something unexpected.

          Is it a mistake if you buy a lottery ticket that doesn’t win? What if you are playing numbers with your wife’s birthday and you make it out as if she is older than she claims to be. Is it a mistake? What if that combination wins?

        • Greg G.

          It is also quite possible that we will never find the correct answer to what caused the universe to come into existence.

          All the more reason to not assume an unevidenced creator.

        • Kodie

          All the more reason to not assume an unevidenced creator who takes on whatever characteristics you like, even when they don’t make sense

          FTFY.

          I’m not saying it’s an unevidenced creator, but finding out the universe was a science fair project would not stun me.

        • Pofarmer

          And it still Wouldn’t mean yawehjesus were real.

        • Kodie

          Of course not. Clement likes his perfect loving powerful impossible god to give him eternal life, not just create the universe. I figure if there’s a god person it’s only natural we’d think he’s more like us than some other animal, it’s only natural he has authority like we imagine authority, it’s only natural we imagine he has powers we don’t have, like pushing continents together to make mountains (or creating a universe planet where that would happen), it’s only natural for nature to seem anthropomorphically emotive like we are. But as far as creating goes, you kind of like to think god person would be smarter than we are to make things the way they are and we have to struggle thousands of years to get the answers, but it’s just relative. I don’t sincerely believe in this concept, but it’s manageable. A conscious body had an accident in chemistry class and there you go. The universe.

        • Clement Agonistes

          To borrow a cliche from atheists, “How would you know the difference?” If it were a supernatural act of creation, would natural means of detection be able to tell us that? Wouldn’t we always think that science will find the answer any day now? FTM, if God used some natural phenomenon to create everything, how would we know?

        • Pofarmer

          FTM, if God used some natural phenomenon to create everything, how would we know?

          Why would we care? Now you’re into deism.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, you guys would care because Deism implies a Deity; theism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Some might. But since you don’t seem to know the difference, why should it matter anymore.

          “Let us remind ourselves of the terminology. A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation. In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them (or even think about doing them). A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don’t believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles. Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist’s metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

          A Deist God would be now moot, because it’s impact would be such, that it would be the same as though it didn’t exist.

        • Kodie

          I thought pantheism was something else, more than metaphorical. I thought it was like, you might ask a tree questions, or think that the rain is angry with you, like everything is a little bit of a piece of a god with power and mind. What was I thinking of?

        • Kodie

          According to you, god is confined by nature. He can’t express his full benevolence because he does not have enough power, except what it seems more like has an excess of power so can’t be benevolent. Whenever you use the word “necessary” to bring about any result god wishes, you are putting restraints on the qualities you claim he has. Don’t you fucking get it by now.

        • Pofarmer

          Things like Gravitational lensing are not “caused” in any conventional sense. These are the places where A/T metaphysics simply breaks down. It’s not an adequate method.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve always thought of them as being caused by a bending of space time around the gravity of an object. In the sense of our conversation, we are working backward in time from one cause to another until we arrive at Moment Zero. Does the pattern continue, or do we have an uncaused event?

        • Greg G.

          I’ve always thought of them as being caused by a bending of space time around the gravity of an object.

          A/T metaphysics don’t predict that. Pick any star or galaxy and another star or black hole at some distance away and there will be some point in space that would see a gravitational lensing effect, provided there is nothing in between the three points.

          Einstein predicted the possibility of gravitational lens but didn’t expect there to many that could be seen because it was before other galaxies had been discovered.

        • Pofarmer

          because it was before other galaxies had been discovered.

          It’s amazing to think about how recent those discoveries really are.

        • Clement Agonistes

          FWIW, dark matter (any source of gravity) can also cause lensing. Lest I miss something, what is “A/T metaphysics?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aristotelian-thomist.

        • Pofarmer

          You really ought to know what the basis of what you’re arguing is.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Thanks for the clarification.

        • Pofarmer

          There is a cause for the universe.

          This is an unevidenced assertion. If God could be uncaused, then the Universe could be uncaused. If everything must be caused, then you are left with an infinite chain of causes “Turtles all the way down,

          If you want me to simply adopt one of your vetted explanations, then God “destabilized” nothing

          None of the “vetted explanations” contain a nothing. It isn’t even known if a “nothing” could obtain. It may well be impossible.

          forcing it to create something; everything

          How can nothing, create something? What force could act on nothing?

          It needs no explanation for “how”

          Yeah, it does.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m vague on the who-said-it, but somebody here referenced a quote from (maybe) Lawrence Krauss where he attributed the beginning of the universe to an “unstable nothing”. Apparently, nature abhors a vacuum.

          Good Yertle reference, BTW.

        • Greg G.

          I used “unstable nothingness” and I did get the term from Krauss.

          A perfect nothingness is a philosophical construct, like a perfect circle or a perfect equilateral triangle. Those cannot exist in reality. A perfect nothingness would need something to keep it stable, which would not be nothingness.

        • Kodie

          Is a circle anything? If you had precise instruments and could draw as perfect a circle as possible, is it a circle or just a drawing of a circle?

          Like, 2 is a drawing of the number we call 2 it’s not actually a 2. ? I recall some extremely long article about this I read once, maybe about something else, but sort of the same. Familiar? Sorry, the Clement show was boring to me, especially since I don’t really hinge my lack of belief on how the universe started or whether started is an accurate verb for what happened.

        • Joe

          Is a circle anything?

          Careful not to fall into the theist trap of equating the everyday term for the mathematical concept of a “perfect circle”. We can look at a messy drawing done by a hyperactive toddler and say it’s a circle, but if you measured it it wouldn’t conform to the mathematical formula.

          Like, 2 is a drawing of the number we call 2 it’s not actually a 2

          Yes, 2 is an Arabic symbol meant to convey the concept of “2” to another person.

          Sorry, the Clement show was boring to me,

          Agreed. He’s not here to listen, but to preach.

        • Kodie

          No, I mean, is a circle anything. If you make a circle, is it a circle or just a picture of a circle. And as we learned in geometry to measure area, the whole disc is a circle, not just the outline.

          Correct?

          And I think the difference between a circle and 2, if you have 2 potatoes, you have 2 and doesn’t look like “2”, but if you build a round building (or another shape like the pentagon?), it’s not a circle, it’s a building that is round. I’m not talking about perfect things, just concepts vs. concrete things. Is a circle a thing?

          I am going to try really hard to scratch the back of my brain for hints to look up for that article.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          a circle is meant to be a one-dimensional thing, the boundary of a disk and not a whole disk (but euclid, and people who ask for a nonzero “area of a circle”, might disagree).

          euclid himself just postulated that you can draw any circle with a compass (see here).

          (and he apparently always made it clear if something was supposed to be a circle, like in book III, proposition 1: “Let ABC be the given circle.”)

          this doesn’t address “more practical” questions. still, there is a simple theorem which makes the difficulty of actually drawing a circle more apparent (and it has to do with polygons):

          if one wants to define a circle in terms of particular points *on* the circle, then one only needs three points. already four points are not necessarily “concyclic” (on one circle), which makes it interesting if they are:

          if the vertices of a polygon are concyclic, then the polygon is called a “cyclic polygon” (and the circle is called the “circumcircle” of the polygon). another related notion are “tangential polygons” (which have a so called “incircle”). triangles are both (as we learn in school) but already for quadrilaterals it’s a bit more interesting (see wikipedia: cyclic quadrilateral and tangential quadrilaterial).

          this doesn’t solve your philosophical problems but it does lead to other (more mathematical) questions (as is often the case).

          btw, a circle is also called a 1-sphere and a 0-sphere, the zero-dimensional analog, consists of 2 points.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Thanks, Greg. You are well-read. Last Summer, one of the participants here mentioned the bounce back hypothesis as his preferred explanation. It required an infinite succession of universes going back for eternity in the past. An infinite number of literal things is also an impossible construct.

          I agree with you that having something is not nothing. But, Krauss says it is explained by quantum mechanics. The word “quantum” makes it all better.

        • Joe

          If you want me to simply adopt one of your vetted explanations, then God “destabilized” nothing, forcing it to create something;

          So “god” acted in a way we know things work within this universe, before the universe existed?

          That doesn’t make any sense.

        • epeeist

          You list off caused things, and then present that as an argument for the uncaused?

          I can see I am going to have to simplify my posts considerably if there is any hope of you understanding what I am getting at.

          First things first though, I note that you addressed none of the points I was making, nothing about the explanatory power of scientific theories compared with theism, nothing about the unreliability of common sense, nothing about the under-determination of theories and Quine’s thesis, nothing about your isolated demand for rigour.

          yet, they can’t all be right

          True, and I will go further, they could all be wrong. However this is irrelevant.

          What you have been doing in our conversation is making claims to necessary truth (the universe necessarily has a cause and this cause is your god). This means it is true in all possible worlds (this is using one kind of semantics for modal logic). What I have being demonstrating is that there are possible worlds where universe formation does not require a cause, where it does not require enormous amounts of energy to form, where the universe could be cyclic or eternal. All of this falsifies that modal proposition of yours.

          There is a cause for the universe

          And so you assert once more, but you have provided no justification for this nor have you provided counter-arguments to the fact that not all events require a cause nor to the fact that causal events within the universe do not entail causal events outside the universe (if “outside” has any meaning in this context).

          Your problem is that you have a scanty knowledge of day to day science and its methodology and no knowledge of things that are taking place at the leading edge of science. On top of that you seem to have little or no understanding of how to justify your claims (or even what justification is).

          Given that we have been round this loop of you asserting that the universe has a cause multiple times without you being able to justify your claim I am simply going to dismiss it. If you had anything then you would have put it forward by now, as it is you are simply wasting everyone’s time by repeating the same unsubstantiated pronouncement over and over again.

        • Clement Agonistes

          There is a cause for the universe

          And
          so you assert once more, but you have provided no justification for this
          nor have you provided counter-arguments to the fact that not all events
          require a cause nor to the fact that causal events within the universe
          do not entail causal events outside the universe (if “outside” has any
          meaning in this context).

          I think I have provided justification. I’d like some feedback if you think otherwise. Everything that has ever existed has had a cause. The track record on this is perfect; without fault. It is verified on a daily basis. It has never been shown to be false. The universe exists, and therefore must have had a moment when it began to exist. There is no scientific reason to think that a universe which unquestionably exists did not have a cause. I have pointed to conflicting hypotheses about its cause. You dismissed them with a wave of your hand even though your colleagues find them justified.

          What you assert as a fact – that not all events require a cause – is not a fact. You may have a hypothesis that you have confidence in, but that is not a fact.

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something. If it is expanding, it is expanding into something. If the universe created itself. then it had to exist in order to do so. But, it couldn’t have existed unless it had been created. As a scientific proposition, that is absurd.

          As a proposition, Occam’s Razor screams out that God is the more local explanation. Going backward in time, the universe shrinks to a single point. There is no earlier point. That point must have a natural explanation for why it exists or else the remaining option is supernatural. There is no natural explanation.

        • Susan

          Everything that has ever existed has had a cause. The track record on this is perfect; without fault. It is verified on a daily basis. It has never been shown to be false.

          You’ve missed at least the last century of physics. Epeeist has provided copious links

          What you assert as a fact – that not all events require a cause – is not a fact.

          OMFJ.

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something.

          I beg you, layperson to layperson, to learn something about the subject. It’s clear that you haven’t even tried

          it couldn’t have existed unless it had been created. As a scientific proposition, that is absurd.

          Gaaahhhh!!!

          As a proposition, Occam’s Razor screams out that God is the more local explanation.

          OK. I have to stop now.

          Your confidence so overwhelmingly outweighs your competence that I will leave it to more competent and patient people to respond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look at what you give me to work with here:

          “Gaaahhhh!!!! . . . . . an emotional cry.

          “OMFJ “. . . . . . . . emotions

          “I have to stop now.” . . . . . . More emotions.

          “… learn something.” . . . . . . . If only you knew as much as I do, you’d know you are wrong. No specificity, only innuendo.

          “You’ve missed at least the last century of physics.” The information proving you wrong is out there. I’m just not going to tell you what it is.”

          You give me nothing here, Susan. Imagine if this were the argument i presented on behalf of theism – would you nod your head and concede that i was right? Or would you rip me a new one for my dishonesty?

        • Joe

          Yes, you try even the patience of a saint. I can’t say that these responses reflect well on you. You seem oblivious.

        • Susan

          Clement, your assertions are outrageous

          You’ve made no effort to learn a thing on the subject but think it’s somehow wise to make assertions about it.

          Try Bell’s theorem.

          http://drchinese.com/David/Bell_Theorem_Easy_Math.htm

          Gaaahhh!!, by the way was an emotional cry about your ignorance and confidence, despite the efforts of a very pleasant and knowledgeable physicist on a subject about which you have no expertise

          That is, your claims about causality are ridiculous.

          If only you knew as much as I do, you’d know you are wrong.

          If only you knew how your GPS works and how you’re managing to make ignorant proclamations on the internet. Again, I said I’m a layperson and so are you. But you seem to think that without knowing anything, nor showing any curiosity on the subject, you can proclaim that “causality has never failed”.

          Susan. Imagine if this were the argument i presented on behalf of theism

          You’ve presented no argument on behalf of Yahwehjesus, no matter how many times you’ve been asked to do so.

          But epeeist and others have provided evidence and you’re not even interested.

        • Kodie

          How many different ways can someone say you’re ignorant beyond ignorance? I don’t know why you’re still here. Nobody thinks you have any sense, and you’re digging your hole deeper by the day. Do you like advertising your own stupidity? I guess you do – if you’re wrong, you have to ignore it like you ignore everything else.

        • Susan

          Look at what you give me to work with here.

          I gave you Bell’s theorem.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Was that the “Gaaahhhh!!!!” or the “OMFJ”?

          “Here” – “this post”.

        • Susan

          Was that the “Gaaahhhh!!!!” or the “OMFJ”?

          I’ve never typed either of those into a comment box before. But your ignorance on the subject of The Big Bang is astonishing, given your certainty about what it implies.

          That would be perfectly fine if you actually showed that you were interested in learning about it

          I think I’m entitled to both a “Gaaahhhh!!!” and an “OMFJ”.

          Now, if that were all I said, you would have a point.

          But you tend to ignore most points and pounce on something meaningless instead.

          Which is why, after dozens and dozens of exchanges with you, the person you are talking to might break down and type things like “Gaaahhhh!!!!”

        • Clement Agonistes

          Was that the “Gaaahhhh!!!!” or the “OMFJ”?

          I’ve never typed either of those into a comment box before.

          Well, someone did, using your identity.

        • Susan

          Well, someone did using your identity.

          Is that what you got out of my comment? That I’m suggesting that someone else snuck that into my comment?

          And you wonder why people get frustrated with you?

        • Clement Agonistes

          You stated that you never typed those words. Yet, they appear under your name in the comments. Is the nit-pick that you dictated to a person or app?

          Susan, this is why it is frustrating talking with you. You state things as fact that are plainly false. . . . . as a matter of course; a standard feature of your posts. Then, it’s MY fault for understanding what your words say. If I were any good at reading comprehension, I’d read them as saying something totally different than what they mean.

          My gripe was that you told me I was wrong . . . . . . using innuendo. You didn’t tell me what was wrong, only implied that – somewhere out there – there was evidence showing that to be the case. Don’t waste time saying “Gaaahhhh!!!”. Present the real facts that you insinuate exist.

          And, on that topic, quantum mechanics is a difficult topic. I’ve seen people who have devoted their lives to it say they don’t understand it. I feel no shame whatsoever in admitting I don’t understand it. epeeist and Greg are the only ones here who speak confidently on the topic, and Smart Money says the bar is low for confidence. You clearly are in the same boat as me. You don’t need to pretend otherwise.

        • Kodie

          Holy shit you fucking dumbass. Susan said she never before you was driven to type out those expressions, but you, like the fucking dumbass you are, and the weeks and months of dumbassery you’ve expelled on this blog about topics you know nothing and have no desire to learn have pushed Susan.. SUSAN to the brink of exasperation. Are you proud of yourself for being so fucking stupid? You’re like not even a brick wall, but a solid brick building. Whenever someone tries to tell you something, you come out with these outrageous misunderstandings that we have to spend what seems like weeks to clear up. Another good reason I’m not a Christian is the demonstration of how much intellectual honesty you possess. You and people like you can’t fucking read. You believe things without context. You want what you believe to be true, so you assert what you believe was what Susan said MORE THAN FUCKING ONCE IN A COUPLE DIFFERENT WAYS, yet you are determined to misunderstand it. How can anyone like you be trusted with “the truth”? If there’s a god, why are so many of his believers uneducated doofuses like you? Uncritical unthinkers like you? Can’t fucking read, illiterate like you? You don’t know shit, and you think people swearing at you means you’re on the right track ’cause you hit a nerve. Concrete thick skulls like you, there is no getting through. Strong language either shocks you or titillates you, and smart language flies high over your head.

        • Susan

          You stated that you never typed those words.

          Clement, I’m out of ideas. I’ve tried very hard to commincate with you. If you can’t see from the context of the comment that I meant “That is the first time in my commenting history that I typed those exclamations”, then what can I possibly do or say?

          Read the whole comment. Now, imagine I had just danced a tango for the first time in my life, and said to someone after “I have never danced the tango before.”

          I would attribute you poor reading comprehension to being dogpiled. You’ve had to respond to many comments from many people.

          But you don’t seem to have read a single one for comprehension, and
          your opening comments (before any dogpiling) to the original article seemed to have missed the point entirely (and it seems Bob S.agrees).

          You don’t even seem to have read the original article for comprehension.

          Yes. I typed “Gaaahhhh!” and “OMFJ”. I did not deny doing so. You are probably the only person in this discussion who missed this.

          No I did not deny that lots of christians believe their (as far as we can tell, imaginary) deity died for some kind of magic afterlife for people who believe it.

          Susan, this is why it is frustrating talking with you.

          Oh my. That’s.. just… oh my.

        • Yep, I agree. Maybe Clement has made some valuable points, but I’ve long since given up hope. Why waste time on Christian apologists who give little evidence that they’re going to respond honestly to the issues? There are so many better ways to spend one’s time.

        • Susan

          Maybe Clement has made some valuable points

          No. Clement’s using the standard arsenal as though none of us had ever heard any of it, before.

          And missing every relevant response along the way because he assumes we’ve never heard this stuff before and our hearts are closed.

          Fallacies galore. And no points for justification.

          Why waste time on Christian apologists who give little evidence that they’re going to respond honestly to the issues?

          It’s either that, or flat-out trolls and scokpuppets of trolls.

          Much as Clement, Ameribear, and Jim Dailey’s tactics drive me crazy, at least they seem sincere.

          They don’t play fair, they’re completely unresponsive in their rinse and repeat incantations, but they’re probably real.

          So far, that’s the best we can hope for.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yeah, I have trouble with Quantum Theory also.

        • Susan

          Yeah, I have trouble with Quantum Theory also.

          This doesn’t seem to be a response to my comment.

          But I’ve grown used to that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Before you typed the words you denied typing, we were discussing an actual topic. My gripe was that you totally blew off that discussion in favor of “Gaaahhhh!!!”, et.al. – “nothing to work with”. We’re 4 posts past that, and still not discussing the Quantum Whatever that explains the universe. I had tried to lasso the conversation back to the topic in the previous post and you just blew past it, diagnosing what is wrong with me for not reading your mind.

        • Kodie

          Although you shared with your fanboi, Jim Dailey, that you learn stuff, you can’t admit you’re frustratingly inane. Susan usually communicates in actual words and actual thoughts. She sees red a lot later than the rest of us (or at least works hard to make it seem that way). If she never posted those inarticulate comments before you came along, take a fucking moment to reflect on just how frustratingly inane your contributions must be for Susan to react that way. I call you out on misogyny, dishonesty, and just plain wanting to win arguments more than you can admit to yourself or to your fake lord. You pretend so much it is actually sick. Please ask someone in your local region for help with your illness.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Before you typed the words you denied typing, we were discussing an actual topic.

          Since you appear to be labouring with your reading comprehension on this issue, perhaps you need walked through it slowly.

          Now first off, they are not words…but that is irrelevant, so no need to explain to you why they are not words, sufficient to say they are not.

          So, down to the detail… “I’ve never typed either of those into a comment box before.”. The “before” here refers to all the time before Susan typed them that first time in a comment to you. In other words, never before interacting with your complete and utter asininity has she ever been driven to write said in a combox. That’s how excruciatingly frustrating your comments manifest in her reply.

          Now, everyone else was able to comprehend that from the comment. You didn’t. Fair enough, but then we started taking the pish out of ya over it and what did ya do? Look back and work out how you might have miscomprehend the comment…nope…you doubled down and and made a huge dick of yerself…AGAIN!

          People have been known to pay good money for such entertainment…keep it up.

        • Susan

          Before you typed the words you denied typing,

          Not words and I never denied typing them. Holy cow. But I’m going to try to get things back on track here.

          were discussing an actual topic.

          You were making assertions on a topic about which you seem to know nothing (perfecty OK, except that you don’t seem remotely interested in the subject) and when a PhD in physics who has significant background on it tries to gently lead you through it, you ignore him and make assertions that are clearly false. Assertions like:

          Everything that has ever existed has had a cause. The track record on this is perfect; without fault. It is verified on a daily basis. It has never been shown to be false.

          And:

          There is no scientific reason to think that a universe which unquestionably exists did not have a cause.

          What you assert as a fact – that not all events require a cause – is not a fact. You may have a hypothesis that you have confidence in, but that is not a fact.

          Also:

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something. If it is expanding, it is expanding into something

          No. No. No. It is no one’s job to provide even a layperson’s understanding on these subjects. You could do your homework first. I suggested Sean Carroll’s site, as a good resource. ,. There are also countless videos, lectures and FAQ resources you could look into. Also books. And courses.

          But if you won’t do that, you might consider listening when a person with expertise in the subject tries to help you out. Instead, you accuse him of showing off and assert your ignorance repeatedly.

          This is about where “Gaaahhhh!” came in.

          still not discussing the Quantum Whatever that explains the universe

          I have no idea what you’re trying to say there.

          But I don’t think you do either. It seems that you’d rather bluff than learn. But if you’d like to clarify, please do. Are you suggesting that Quantum Theory is something that generations of science just pulled out of their asses?

          Are you suggesting that where classical physics breaks down (the singularity), that quantum theory is irrelevant?

          Are you suggesting that any explanation of our universe, whether it can be described as having a beginning or needing no beginning won’t have to include quantum physics, if it’s going to be any explanation at all?

          diagnosing what is wrong with me for not reading your mind/

          Not reading my words. Not reading anyone’s words.

          You came here to school us on “Christian belief” as though we aren’t familiar (most of us from the inside) of what all kinds of “Christian belief” entails. So, a worthless and arrogant mission.

          But now, you think you can ignore science, dismiss it even, and school us on the Big Bang.

          I didn’t blow past anything. If you can’t even grok “I’ve never typed that in a combox before” on such a simple issue, then how can there be any hope of engaging you on subjects about which you know even less than I do and about which you make outrageous assertions?

        • Clement Agonistes

          The question posed to me was why I believe what I believe. My rationale is that I look at the unbroken pattern and predict that pattern will continue. If there was a dawn yesterday, and every day going back billions of years, I think I am justified in predicting it will happen again tomorrow.

          However, if we take away the assumption of gravity, motion, and time (no “tomorrow”), then is my prediction still justified? Well, no, it isn’t.

          As to your claim that I assert it as fact, that is not the case. When Greg called me on my choice of “only” to describe my hypothesis, I had to concede that i was wrong – there are other hypotheses. I have consistently stated this is my belief. Someone here (epeeist, I think) even pointed out that it is my opinion, and I didn’t challenge that characterization. I am telling you why I find that belief to be plausible. Addressing the question is never the end of the matter. There is a veritable infinity of rabbits to go chasing off after.

        • Susan

          No. You were replying to this comment from @epeeist.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_personal_relationship_with_jesus_i_doubt_it/#comment-3759991645

          After a series of exchanges on the subject of causality. Here is an excerpt from that comment, but I’ve linked to the whole comment:

          And so you assert once more, but you have provided no justification for this nor have you provided counter-arguments to the fact that not all events require a cause nor to the fact that causal events within the universe do not entail causal events outside the universe (if “outside” has any meaning in this context).

          Your problem is that you have a scanty knowledge of day to day science and its methodology and no knowledge of things that are taking place at the leading edge of science. On top of that you seem to have little or no understanding of how to justify your claims (or even what justification is).

          And your response:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_personal_relationship_with_jesus_i_doubt_it/#comment-3760603535

          I think I have provided justification. I’d like some feedback if you think otherwise. Everything that has ever existed has had a cause. The track record on this is perfect; without fault. It is verified on a daily basis. It has never been shown to be false. The universe exists, and therefore must have had a moment when it began to exist. There is no scientific reason to think that a universe which unquestionably exists did not have a cause. I have pointed to conflicting hypotheses about its cause. You dismissed them with a wave of your hand even though your colleagues find them justified.

          What you assert as a fact – that not all events require a cause – is not a fact. You may have a hypothesis that you have confidence in, but that is not a fact.

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something. If it is expanding, it is expanding into something. If the universe created itself. then it had to exist in order to do so. But, it couldn’t have existed unless it had been created. As a scientific proposition, that is absurd.

          So, you ignored epeeist’s point that we have things within the universe that cannot be said to have a cause and went on to assert a perfect, unbroken pattern of causality.

          You also claimed that the universe must have “inflated into something” which is just wrong.

          it couldn’t have existed unless it had been created

          So much wrong to unpack there. Again, your assertion so I know if I ask you to clarify and justify it, you’ll accuse me of nit-picking (which seems to be your way of handling outrageous assertions that you can’t support.)

          And:

          As a proposition, Occam’s Razor screams out that God is the more local explanation. Going backward in time, the universe shrinks to a single point.

          Which it does in classical models. That is where the model breaks down. The map is not the territory.

          “God” is not an explanation. It explains nothing. It is ill-defined, its methods are never explained and it is not necessary.

          So, gah.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I asked for feedback. You jumped in with “Gaaahhhh!!”, etc. You did not give even ONE example of how I was wrong, or what I misunderstood. It was pure emotion, with not so much as a hint of anything scientific.

          Note that I stated that causality has never been falsified. epeeist pointed out that there are things inside the universe for which we don’t know the causes. That does not falsify causation.

          In his immediately prior post he listed off an entire paragraph of examples where science, being superior to theism has been able to provide us with mechanism to explain the phenomena we witness – IOW, their causes. That in no way comes anywhere close to showing God isn’t the cause of the universe. He’s using the same justification I was using. THAT is why I needed clarification; feedback. Instead, I get “OMFG”.

          I had pointed out that there are numerous cutting-edge-Physics explanations that have causes for the universe. He totally blew off that point saying they (causes) are irrelevant to the topic of causation. Again, it screams for clarification, yet “I have to stop now” is what I get from you.

          Keep that one in mind, because epeeist brought up this gem:

          What I have being demonstrating is that there are possible worlds where
          universe formation does not require a cause, where it does not require
          enormous amounts of energy to form, where the universe could be cyclic
          or eternal.

          A Cyclic or eternal universe involve CAUSES for our universe. And, they are 2 of the theories I brought up that he had just blown off as “irrelevant”. His “possible worlds” justification is right out of the Plantinga paper that he refused to read. Again, clarification needed. “learn something” is what I get from you.

          Now, for perspective, my original comment to you was that my basis for thinking God was omnipotent (you couldn’t discuss Bob’s article without this) was that god was the best explanation for The Beginning. You demanded that i define The Beginning. My answer was the BB or whatever came before it. For weeks now, we have been chasing down rabbit after rabbit related to the BB . . . . . as if nothing came before it. Here, epeeist discusses the plausibility of cyclic or eternal universes that came before ours. Feedback required – “You missed the last century of physics”.

          So, Susan, my gripe was that I get NOTHING from you. You wasted everybody’s time with a post that said absolutely nothing about the subject matter. If you have expertise on Quantum Theory, I welcome it – teach me something. however, if all you have is this insinuation that you have special knowledge, but are just too outraged to share it, I’m calling “hogwash”.

        • Susan

          Note that I stated that causality has never been falsified.

          Neither have my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies. The point is that ideas of causality no longer apply. See Bell’s Theorem. Again, as when epeeist asked you to define “nothing”, you accused him of nitpicking, when it was you who was making a claim on subjects about which you know nothing.

          Define “causes” in such a way that it grants you a chain of unbroken causality.

          You asserted that causality is necessary. It isn’t.

          A Cyclic or eternal universe involve CAUSES for our universe

          How so?

          IOW, their causes

          No. Not IOW. You claimed a necessary chain of causes that leads to an uncaused cause, which is both a bad model and special pleading at the end.

          Now, for perspective, my original comment to you was that my basis for thinking God was omnipotent
          (you couldn’t discuss Bob’s article without this)

          Of course I could discuss it without that. I asked you straight out what you were claiming and how you could support it and how you could distinguish claims of miracles from the white noise of business as usual in a natural universe.

          I commented as an aside to Joe that I can’t see how anjy finite being can provide evidence that an omnibeing of any sort exists. That is, they can’t support it. I can’t even see in principle how a finite being can support it. You wasted several comments saying, “Seriously?”

          I responded that yes, seriously. I answered no several times and finally, when pushed, you brought up the necessity of an uncaused cause, the necessity of which you can’t support and which doesn’t support an omnianything.

          was that god was the best explanation for The Beginning.

          Which assumes the necessity of a beginning. Which you have neither defined nor supported. Nor shown how “God” is necessary or sufficient to explain it.

          You demanded that i define The Beginning.

          I charitably asked you to clairfy so I might understand your point better. That you interpret that as an act of hostility when people do so says little for your claim.

          My answer was the BB or whatever came before it.

          Which is where you got yourself into the weeds. You had some vague idea about a beginning and have no idea what you mean by that or how your vague ideas flounder on the sharp edges of the evidence. After dodging and weaving for a while, you pointed to the Big Bang.

          my gripe is I get NOTHING

          And my gripe is that you handwave toward the “Big Bang” only after many efforts to get you to support your position and have made no effort to learn anything about it. And epeeist (a patient and qualified person on the subject has tried to gently gude you through it and you ignore him and accuse him of being a showoff for doing so. Also, you could have done this work on your own before you floundered around.

          If you claim there must be an uncaused cause (without justification) at the end of a necessary chain of causes (without justification), you’re going to have to show your work. “The Big Bang” is not your friend.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Note that I stated that causality has never been falsified.

          Neither have my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies. The point is that ideas of causality no longer apply. See Bell’s Theorem. Again, as when epeeist asked you to define “nothing”, you accused him of nitpicking, when it was you who was making a claim on subjects about which you know nothing.
          Define “causes” in such a way that it grants you a chain of unbroken causality.
          You asserted that causality is necessary. It isn’t.

          Then it is my turn to clarify. I meant to say that one of the premises of my hypothesis is causality. In order for my hypothesis to logically follow from its premises, those premises must necessarily be true. The hypothesis, itself has not been proven to be fact. So, if my hypothesis were to be true (conditional), then causality would be validated as necessary. IMO, causality is the case, and my hypothesis is the most viable of the alternatives.

          In addition to pointing to causality having never been falsified – like Snowflake Fairies and Quantum Theory – I pointed out that causality has a remarkable track record, having been validated bazillions of times, on an ongoing basis.

          A Cyclic or eternal universe involve CAUSES for our universe

          How so?

          Come on, Susan. You know this. You are intimately informed about all aspects of cosmology to the point of suggesting I take courses on it to become as informed as your are.

          A cyclic universe means a previous universe collapsed into a singularity, and then re-inflated into a new one. Our universe would be but one in an infinite chain of universes, each being the cause of the next. (an infinite number of tangible things – let that one soak in)

          An eternal universe – as you know – is tied to the multiverse concept, which you also don’t need to ask me about. As the universe inflates, it causes new, mini-universes within it, resulting in multiple universes within a multiverse.

          Do you see why I requested feedback? epeeist made several comments which did not make sense in light of his stand. What I got from you was the innuendo that if I were only more informed – about things like cyclic universes – I would know better than to suggest that a previous universe could be the cause of the current one. But here, once again, you do not offer feedback, but ask a question that you would know the answer to if you were as familiar with the subject matter as you imply. Either you are not sufficiently familiar with the subject matter, or you are just jerking me around asking questions you already know the answers to.

          You demanded that i define The Beginning.

          I charitably asked you to clairfy so I might understand your point better. That you interpret that as an act of hostility when people do so says little for your claim.

          My answer was the BB or whatever came before it.

          Which is where you got yourself into the weeds. You had some vague idea about a beginning and have no idea what you mean by that or how your vague ideas flounder on the sharp edges of the evidence. After dodging and weaving for a while, you pointed to the Big Bang.

          “Charitably”? Well, isn’t that sweet – you were just acting out of kindness and respect, helping me to recognize how right you while sparing my feelings. “Getting into the weeds” was the whole idea, Susan. You weren’t asking because you don’t grasp the concept of a Beginning. You were asking because you disagree with the idea, but don’t have anything solid to counter it. Asking was a red herring to change the subject.

          “Vague ideas” are the point. We – not you, of course – do not know what the explanation for the universe is.

        • Kodie

          Stop projecting, you incompetent misogynistic liar. Or aka, typical Christian.

        • Everything that has ever existed has had a cause. The track record on this is perfect; without fault. It is verified on a daily basis. It has never been shown to be false.

          Clement said this? I’m curious then what he gives for the cause of God.

        • Susan

          I’m curious then what he gives for the cause of God.

          The standard special pleading. God is the necessary uncaused cause.

        • Kodie

          You are so hard of reading comprehension.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s frightening to watch, isn’t it?…the proverbial train wreck.

        • Kodie

          Did you see where he describes to Jim Dailey that being cursed at is like blood in the water to sharks? If I didn’t think Christians were insensitive before, wow, that’s just it. They can’t figure out social cues either, or are trained to ignore them. They think cursing means we don’t have strong arguments and they are winning. The whole conspiratorial organization has an auto-answer for every response. Lucky they are anti-science, or AI would fucking doom us for certain.

        • Kodie

          I keep meaning to catch up with newer posts but these never seem to clear up and then I just can’t go forward. Tactics.

        • Susan

          It’s frightening to watch, isn’t it?

          It’s extremely frustrating

          I’ve never seen anything like it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That too.

          Eejits like Clement should come with a health & safety warning…and a crash helmet for banging ones head off a wall. He’s a rhubarb.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Joe

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something.

          That definitively isn’t the case.

          If the universe created itself. then it had to exist in order to do so

          Who said the universe created itself?

          As a proposition, Occam’s Razor screams out that God is the more local explanation

          You don’t know how to apply Occam’s razor. Got it.

          Going backward in time, the universe shrinks to a single point. There is no earlier point. That point must have a natural explanation for why it exists or else the remaining option is supernatural. There is no natural explanation.

          There is a good explanation. Ask Epeeist to elaborate if you want to know more.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Who said the universe created itself?

          I think it was Greg who brought up retro-causation.

          There is a good explanation. Ask Epeeist to elaborate if you want to know more.

          Yeah, i don’t know what it is either. epeeist says we don’t know. Of the 3 explanations I presented, he said it’s possible none are right. We just don’t know.

          But, we do know it’s not God.

          … because . . . . . science.

        • Joe

          So you just choose to interpret Epeeist’s posts how you see fit?

          Where does science say we KNOW wasn’t a god? We don’t know either way. We just talk about probability.

        • Kodie

          Because it’s totally plausible, if god exists and has all the qualities Clement cherishes, then suffering must be necessary for some unknown greater good, but if you have other plausible models for the creation of the universe, then we know it’s not god, and that’s unacceptable.

        • Susan

          But, we do know it’s not God.

          Also note that Clement hasn’t defined what a “God” is, hasn’t separated his personal choice of imaginary agent from all the other imaginary agents, that he hasn’t provided a defintion, nor evidence for what he calls “God”, has never supported anything..

          but goes right back to his standard strategy of demanding that we “disprove” his non-claim and accusing people who take evidence into consideration of claiming that we “KNOW” his incoherent, unevidenced claim is not responsible.

          He’s made no case. He hasn’t even given us something by which we can determine probability.

          Just the standard vagaries of apologetics. Ask him to clean up his terms and provide evidence and he gets annoyed.

          Epeeist linked him to Quine’s paper on justification

          He ignored it and now accuses people who go through reasonable methods of evaluating reality of “saying we do know it’s not God”.

          Lazy ass indoctrination talking.

          Same as being at a murder scene and accusing detectives of going out of their way to say “We do know it’s not a ghost.”

          He isn’t interested in forensics or ballistics, or alibis.

          He just assumes that with without showing that ghosts exist or are responsible for the problem that the problem is not his ignorance, but a conspiracy against his vague “ghost” theory.

          Despite his ignorance of the relevant subjects and his lack of support for his own position.

        • epeeist

          So you just choose to interpret Epeeist’s posts how you see fit?

          The problem for Clement is that if he was any further out of his depth the pressure would crush him flat.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Have you seen anything from epeeist to make you think he views God as a viable explanation (he’s an atheist, ferpetesake)? He certainly has no interest in pursuing that as reality.

          Probability is fallacious reasoning. We need truth.

        • Kodie

          How do we test for god? We know how god starts, god starts with people anthropomorphising nature and taking it personally. Sounds like fiction to me. If you think otherwise, you have to come up with actual evidence.

        • Joe

          We don’t have access to truth for questions such as this.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Then our logic must be perfect, without fallacies.

        • Joe

          Logic doesn’t help when discussing things prior to logic.

        • epeeist

          Logic doesn’t help when discussing things prior to logic

          This goes to the heart of the matter. I tried to get Clement to say what he meant by “nothing”. Predictably he refused to respond. Do logic or the laws of physics exist prior to the BB (with all due qualifications on “prior”), in which case what does this mean for the concept of “nothing”. Or do these come into existence with the BB?

        • Michael Neville

          I hope we don’t see Clement latching on to “prior to logic” as a claim that his favorite pet god invented logic.

        • Kodie

          Since he brought up “omni-logical” before, I’m sure we’ll have that too. Whenever Clement runs into a criticism of god, he slaps on another threadbare patch to cover the hole in the story. I don’t know why he bothers with us. He seems very secure in his beliefs. What does he need us for?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s certainly can’t be a mission to convince or impress anyone here with his rapier like arguments, because they are all shite and couldn’t cut butter on a hot day.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Because . . . . . logic is a human invention, and there were no humans at the time of the BB?

          Or, probability is all we have, and logic plays no role in determining probability? I think this is closer to what you are trying to say. However, what I am saying in jest has more than a grain of truth to it. There are respected scientists who will say that our BB singularity is just some parallel universe’s black hole singularity, or that our singularity is the result of some preceding universe’s collapse into a singularity, or that branes caused it. Those are all caused events. which require their own causes. There can be no thing which begins to exist that is part of a chain of infinite similar things. Since each has a beginning, there must be a “first”.

          In order to have an uncaused beginning, the thing must cause itself. Since that is incoherent, we have the construct of a quantum nothing that is actually something. These kinds of things happen in a quantum environment, doncha see? Since time only exists when the thing is already begun, time does not apply. The ting can create itself after it is created because the concept of “after” hasn’t existed yet.

          Like God, quantum is timeless. Like God, quantum can create something out of nothing. All it takes is the intellectual assumption of power beyond a natural explanation.

        • Joe

          “? I think this is closer to what you are trying to say. ”

          No, you were miles off. Why not ask for clarification instead of interpreting things in your own manner?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Rats! I didn’t say “Simon says …” OK, Simon says, “Will you clarify your point?”

        • Joe

          What I, and others are saying, justifiably so, is that you can’t apply the rules of something outside of the applicable boundaries of those rules.

          For example, you said:

          In order to have an uncaused beginning, the thing must cause itself.

          When something is uncaused it doesn’t have to cause itself. It is uncaused

        • Clement Agonistes

          You asked, “Who said the universe caused itself?”

          I replied that Greg had brought up the subject of retro-causation.

          You responded with yet another comment-wannabe question: “So you just choose to interpret Epeeist’s posts how you see fit?”, seeming to conflate epeeist and Greg.

          When offered several opportunities to clarify your comment, you chose to add new topics, moving farther away from what you now identify as your topic. You did everything in your power to avoid clarification and make the topic less clear. That’s what fallacies do. That is why I advocate for fewer of them.

          . . . . . . if truth is our goal.

        • Joe

          I didn’t conflate epeeist and Greg. I was referring to the correct person when I made that statement.

          You are a bare faced liar.

          That is why I advocate for fewer of them.

          . . . . . . if truth is our goal.

          Absolutely shameless.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No, retro-causality in physics eliminates the need for a cause preceding an effect.

          – Greg, 12:12 p.m. February 12.

        • Susan

          No, retro-causality in physics eliminates the need for a cause preceding an effect.

          Which was a response to your meritless assertion that there must be a cause. That has nothing to do with the confused thinking Joe is trying to point out when you said:

          In order to have an uncaused beginning, the thing must cause itself.

          No. It is uncaused. So nothing has to cause it. It it caused itself, then it is not uncaused. This is pretty basic stuff.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Basic stuff”, huh? You’ve looked into this, then, and, as with all Quantum Theory, grasp all of the implications? Look, I am humbled by QT. It flies in the face of everything science has told me. It is transcendent – all the other rules do not apply to it. In the particular example of Retro-Causality, Step One is that it (like God) transcends time. Therefore, it is conceivable that a particle could “travel back in time” (since time only existed after the particle came into existence) to cause itself. There is a logical paradox here – It does have a cause, but the cause does not exist at the moment of causation. In order to be able to call it an “uncaused event”, the particle must cause itself. Pretty basic stuff, right? No one has any problems with this, right? You have no “confused thinking” about this, right?

          So, my proposal is that instead of an emotional “Gaaahhhh!!!” reaction combined with name-calling, we discuss this like adults. If you TRULY understand this, explain it to me. If you don’t understand it, a little bit of frankness can go a long way.

        • Susan

          “Basic stuff”, huh? You’ve looked into this, then, and, as with all Quantum Theory, grasp all of the implications?

          This has nothing to do with quantum theory.

          Something uncaused does not cause itself. That would make it caused.

          That is basic stuff.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yes, it does, Susan. “Aspects of modern physics, such as the hypothetical tachyon particle and certain time-independent aspects of quantum mechanics, may allow particles or information to travel backward in time”
          – Wikipedia.

          Greg brought it up. Maybe you could ask him to explain it to you . . . . . . . or you could take a course or read a book on the topic?

        • Susan

          Greg brought it up.

          Joe wasn’t talking about Greg.

          Anyway, it’s irrelevant.

          The point is that “uncaused” means no cause.

          “Caused itself” means “caused”.

          Basic.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, your assertion that the retro-causality Greg brought up had nothing to do with Quantum Theory . . . . . . . the cite from Wikipedia saying exactly the opposite . . . . . you have no comment?

          Maybe just a, “I see what Greg is talking about now. Man, that Greg is one really sharp guy.”

          And, no, Joe wasn’t talking about Greg. He was so focused on ripping me a new one that he didn’t care what the truth was. That seems to be a common affliction here.

          “Caused itself” means “caused”.

          Yes, it does. Calling something “uncaused” does not make the cause go away.

        • Susan

          your assertion that the retro-causality Greg brought up had nothing to do with Quantum Theory

          I asserted nothing of the sort.

          Man, that Greg is one really sharp guy.”

          Greg is a very sharp guy. He knows I think that.

          And, no, Joe wasn’t talking about Greg

          No. He was pointing out that you ignored everything on the subject that a physicist was trying to patiently explain to you.

          He was so focused on ripping me a new one that he didn’t care what the truth was.

          No. He was pointing out that you were ignoring everything on the subject that a physicist with expertise in the matter was trying to patiently explain to you. This is where people start to lose patience with you. That you make assertions on subjects about which you know nothing. That you accuse people of “nitpicking” when they probe your assertions. That you ignore points and links from people who know what they’re talking about. And that you take it personally when you stick to your ignorant guns on those subjects.

          Calling something “uncaused” does not make the cause go away.

          Claiming that “uncaused” means something “caused” itself is wrong.

          If it caused itself, it is caused.

          If it is uncaused, it has no cause.

          This is basic.

        • Clement Agonistes

          your assertion that the retro-causality Greg brought up had nothing to do with Quantum Theory

          I asserted nothing of the sort.

          “This has nothing to do with quantum theory.”

          Joe has been discussing retro-causality I had to provide a cite to prove that retro-causality was arrived at through QT.

          He was pointing out that you were ignoring everything on the subject that a physicist with expertise in the matter was trying to patiently explain to you.

          Now it’s your turn, Susan. Back up this claim.

        • Susan

          Joe has been discussing retro-causality.

          No. Joe pointed out that something that caused itself is not uncaused. I pointed out the same thing.

          He also pointed out that you dismissed everything epeeist said (that you haven’t supported your claim that everything has a cause) and preferred to latch on to a model of retro-causality and equate it with something uncaused. Which is just wrong.

          If something causes itself, it is caused. If something is uncaused, it is not caused.

          Again, I’d ask you to define “cause” in a way that provides no room for the error of equivocation, but you would accuse me of nitpicking.

          Suffice it say that you don’t seem to grok (despite the efforts of many here) the difference between something that is “caused” and something that is “uncaused”.

          Now it’s your turn, Susan. Back up this claim.

          I have, repeatedly. It’s definitional. If you can’t even make it past that post, I don’t know what I can further to do to back it up.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Now it’s your turn, Susan. Back up this claim.

          I have, repeatedly. It’s definitional. If you can’t even make it past
          that post, I don’t know what I can further to do to back it up.

          No, here’s what i was referring to:

          ME: retro-causality in physics eliminates the need for a cause preceding an effect.

          YOU: Which was a response to your meritless assertion that there must be a cause. That has nothing to do with the confused thinking Joe is trying to point out when you said:

          QUOTING ME: In order to have an uncaused beginning, the thing must cause itself.

          YOU: No. It is uncaused. So nothing has to cause it. It it caused itself, then it is not uncaused. This is pretty basic stuff.

          ME: “Basic stuff”, huh? You’ve looked into this, then, and, as with all Quantum Theory, grasp all of the implications?

          YOU: This has nothing to do with quantum theory.

          ME (citing a source. and Greg): Yes, it does, Susan. “Aspects of modern physics, such as the
          hypothetical tachyon particle and certain time-independent aspects of
          quantum mechanics, may allow particles or information to travel backward
          in time”
          – Wikipedia.

          Greg brought it up. Maybe you could ask him to explain it to you.

          YOU: Joe wasn’t talking about Greg.

          ME: So, your assertion that the retro-causality Greg brought up had
          nothing to do with Quantum Theory . . . . . . . the cite from Wikipedia
          saying exactly the opposite . . . . . you have no comment?

          Maybe just a, “I see what Greg is talking about now. Man, that Greg is one really sharp guy.”

          YOU: I asserted nothing of the sort.

          ME (quoting you saying the opposite of what you assert): “This has nothing to do with quantum theory.”

          So, Susan, back up your assertion that retro-causality has nothing to do with Quantum Theory. While you’re at it, address the cite I provided for you that showed it does.

          FTM, explain the “causality” in “retro-causality”.

          And where epeeist patiently tried to explain retro-causality to me.

        • Kodie

          It’s become so obvious you are threatened by losing an argument to a woman. Guess what, Susan won. I won. You are a loser. Everyone else sees it, but you can’t admit to yourself. Stop gaslighting bullshit, and as long as anyone is patient enough to deal with a dolt like you, please have the courtesy to deal with people’s actual arguments rather than belittling them. Everyone here, including ME, has taken the time to take down your arguments with actual thoughts, even though you are as much like a bot for Jesus as there can be, chirping out your canned responses to criticism. If it’s a woman, ignore what she says and be a total sexist asshole, or otherwise, just some typical Christian.

          If other Christians are reading this, do you think this moron reflects you well, or is a fucking embarrassment?

        • Susan

          Yes, it does Susan.

          No. It doesn’t. Even if you interpret it as a self-caused cause, that does not make a caused cause uncaused.

          This is silly.

          Define “cause”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          LOL. Yes, it is absurdly silly. Do you have any self-awareness at all? You are parodying yourself. “A cause is not a cause. Define cause.” Hilarious!

        • Susan

          Hilarious!

          Not at all.

          Maybe you can explain how a self-caused cause is uncaused.

          Again, you’ll have to define “cause” in order for us to follow your reasoning.

          Endless bluffery is not going to help you.

          Do you have any self-awareness at all? You are parodying yourself.

          Stop blowing out irony meters. You’re not worth it.

        • Greg G.

          Can you explain how a cause acting on nothing can have an effect?

        • Clement Agonistes

          1) Immediately after the cause, a particle comes into existence.

          2) Then, it travels back in time (not difficult, given that time barely exists) to cause itself to come into existence, which it did in (1). It’s how Marty McFly cause himself to come into being. How can he exist if he never existed?

          Greg, retro-causality is your baby. You wouldn’t have brought it up if you didn’t understand it. Don’t ask question; give answers.

        • Greg G.

          As velocity increases, time slows. At the speed of light, time stands still. To a photon, when it is emitted and when it is absorbed is the same instant. When you see the sun, the photons striking your retina were emitted by the sun over eight minutes earlier, but to the photon, it is the same instant.

          It has been shown that a positron, the antimatter version of an electron, is mathematically the same as an electron traveling backwards in time.

          A powerful enough photon could produce an electron-positron pair. The annihilation of an electron-positron pair produces a photon of the same power. But the creation event of the pair from the electron’s time perspective is identical to the annihilation of the pair from the positron’s time perspective. To the photon, the annihilation and the creation of both are simultaneous because it travels at, well, the speed of light between the two events.

          See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-electron_universe One-electron universe.

        • Susan

          You misquoted and I think this is where the problem lies.

          You quoted me as saying:

          “A cause is not a cause.”

          When I said:

          “Even if you interpret it as a self-caused case, that does not make a caused cause uncaused”.

          In order to get you to illustrate your point, I asked you to define “cause”.

          But you didn’t.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know a whole lot about physics, but I have watched enough Nova to know your reiteration of your understanding of what’s already been argued against you sounds like you are talking out of your butt.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Define “truth” in context?

          Probability is all we have. including 1, or certain, and 0, or impossible.

          But we don’t get to use 1 or 0 here. We use Bayes Theorem. Where nothing is 100% certain or impossible. Though we can get as close to both as makes no difference.

          The problem with using BT in the question of the existence of God is not with the equation itself, that is sound. The problem is one of GiGo. Swinburne wrote a book that failed miserably for just this reason.

          https://infidels.org/library/modern/gabe_czobel/swinburne.html

          We can’t be certain we are not brains in a vat, or part of The Matrix, but then we start to get into the realms of solipsism.

        • Kodie

          We do know it’s not astrology. Why do you think your myth is real?

        • Susan

          we do know it’s not God my particular deity claim, the existence of which I can’t support, no matter how many times I’ve been asked to do so.

          …because….science.

          No. You just don’t get to make claims about reality while ignoring what science says…

          You’re going to have to address how science is done, if you have a problem with that.

          If you are going to claim everything is based on “causality”, you’ve got about a hundred years of science to deal with.

          You’re going to have to click on some links.

          You’re about a century behind the device you’re using to make your assertions.

          Hey! Instead of strawmanning your opponents, why not just explain what you’re claiming and how you support it?

          (Never mind You just get annoyed with us when we ask you to do so. )

          Unlike, um… scientists on the relevant subjects

        • epeeist

          Everything that has ever existed has had a cause.

          Let’s ask a question here (I am not hopeful of an answer given your record of answering, or rather not answering, questions that are put to you); have you ever seen anything come into existence? Or have you merely seen the universe change in configuration?

          Once again you ignore the fact that QM is not causal, let’s take the simplest of examples, one that you are introduced to in an introductory course on QM, the particle in a box.

          Prepare an experiment in which a particle can be in one of two states, inside or outside of a box, the state vector for this is

          √pi |inside> + √po | outside>

          where pi and po are the probabilities of the particle being inside or outside the box.

          Now each time one makes the same kind of observation of the system the particle will either be inside or outside of the box (with the appropriate probabilities).

          Now given that you claim that “Everything that has ever existed has had a cause” you will be able to tell us why the simple experiment above (of which there are many practical analogues) is causal and what that cause is.

          “Outside” is very much relevant. If the universe inflated, it inflated into something.

          So what did it inflate into given that space-time came into existence at the formation of the universe. Once again you make a desperate assertion in order to save your position.

          Essentially you are saying that there exists a realm into which the universe is embedded. So what is this realm like, does a 3D space exist there, does time exist there?

          As a proposition, Occam’s Razor screams out that God is the more local explanation.

          Ah, so your explanation for the formation of the universe includes an omni-maximal entity which resides in a realm outside the natural and yet you want to invoke Occam even though you are very definitely multiplying entities.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Everything that has ever existed has had a cause.

          Let’sask a question here (I am not hopeful of an answer given your record of
          answering, or rather not answering, questions that are put to you);
          have you ever seen anything come into existence? Or have you merely seen
          the universe change in configuration?

          Oh, for the love of Pete. Seriously? You ask THAT question and are not hopeful? Man, talk about a self-realizing prediction . . . . .

          So, everything does not exist, but is merely a result of its cause.
          Next?

          Once again you ignore the fact that QM is not causal, let’s take the
          simplest of examples, one that you are introduced to in an introductory
          course on QM, the particle in a box.

          Yes, yes – quantum fluctuations. If something is random, spontaneous, unpredictable, therefore it is un-caused. I don’t think cracking the door is the same as walking through it. The whole thing has the feel of trying to force a square peg into a round hole – “If we assume a Round Hole Constant, it is possible.” It really feels like an act of faith more than science. It’s that Hawking’s joke about cosmology being religion for atheists.

          Ironically, there is also a cause-effect problem here. We are making a nuanced distinction between an “explanation” and “cause” that just doesn’t exist. “It is un-caused, because here is the cause.”

          Look, I get what you are saying. It is plausible. We need to avoid inside-the-box thinking like “God did it” if we are to discover how things work. I just don’t see it as an either/or proposition. I think “God did it, and here’s how” is compatible with science. The fact that there are theist cosmologists demonstrates that. But, at some point we bump up against the limits of nature. At some point, the premise that “God didn’t do it” works against us.

        • Is this a Dunning-Kruger thing? Being allergic to Clement’s bullshit, I’ve pretty much ignored the conversation, but he really is starting at the very beginning with understanding physics. I didn’t realize.

          Of course, you can imagine that Clement would appreciate being around people more knowledgeable than himself and would seize the opportunity to learn something. But apparently that would just be an imaginary Clement that didn’t actually exist.

        • Susan

          Being allergic to Clement’s bullshit, I’ve pretty much ignored the conversation,

          I should have followed your example.

          First time I ever typed “Gaaahhhh!!!” into a comment box.

          Such a huge imbalance between competence and confidence.

        • epeeist

          Is this a Dunning-Kruger thing?

          It is a pity that Disqus does not allow me to use the font tag, it would allow me to show that with Clement it is Dunning-Kruger writ large.

          but he really is starting at the very beginning with understanding physics

          And just about every other domain of discourse as well, including apologetics.

        • Greg G.

          This is why I wanted to discuss some of these alternative explanations. Each of them has the justifying math to create plausibility. But, the math is – as I pointed out previously – has fudge factors a la the Einstein Cosmological Constant that make the math work. The math doesn’t work without the fudge factor.

          Fudge factor? When you integrate in calculus, you get an unknown constant that can be determined by observation. If you an equation that shows the acceleration and deceleration of a vehicle from t = 0 to t = x, you can sum them up by integration to get the change of speed with a constant that represents the initial velocity. Measuring the velocity at any point will allow you to calculate the initial velocity and the velocity at any point of the time period.

          When observations were made that showed the universe was expanding, the constant was very close to zero, which made it look more elegant. But newer measurements indicate that the expansion is accelerating so maybe it is not quite zero so Einstein’s greatest blunder might not have been a blunder at all.

        • Greg G.

          only God would transcend the need to be caused.

          No, retro-causality in physics eliminates the need for a cause preceding an effect.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Is retro-causality a fact, or a hypothesis? If it is a hypothesis, it cannot shoot down another hypothesis.

        • Greg G.

          Just saying that the “only” in your statement is not correct. There are other possibilities.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That’s a good point – I concede it. Your hypothesis has as much validity as mine.

        • Susan

          Your hypothesis has as much validity as mine.

          The hypothesis Greg G. negates your hypothesis. Which is that “only God would transcend the need to be caused.”

          They can’t be equally valid.

          When you make the claim that “only” and it turns out not to be true, your hypothesis is done.

        • Clement Agonistes

          One message earlier, he mentioned retro-causality as an alternative. Crap, I can’t even concede a point without catching grief over it.

        • Susan

          One message earlier, he mentioned retro-causality as an alternative

          Yes. One of the reliable things about Disqus is that (early in the discussion, at least), one can read the comment one has replied to (yours to Greg G.’s, for instance). Also, I’ve been following the discussion through recent comments.

          I can’t even concede a point without catching grief over it.

          I’m not trying to give you grief.

          I mean this without sarcasm. It was nice to see you understand the point, acknowledge the point and concede the point.

          And I’m not trying to get all technical on you. But your hypothesis was that “only God would transcend the need to be caused”.

          If you have adjusted it to , “God” (Yahwehjesus) is one hypothesis that would transcend the need to be caused, then you still don’t have an equally valid hypothesis.

          The one Greg put forward has to address realities in physics in order to proceed.

          While yours doesn’t.

          It still looks like “the murderer was a ghost”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not clear on what “realities of physics” existed at the moment the BB came into being. The argument, as I understand it, is that since physics as it has been understood breaks down under these extreme circumstances, then anything is possible – the only rule is that there are no rules. So, something like retro-causality can happen – things that came into being later causing events prior to their existence.

        • epeeist

          I’m not clear on what “realities of physics” existed at the moment the BB came into being.

          The problem here is that the language you use is sloppy. We know that the universe was in existence after the Planck epoch, whether it existed before this or whether “before” has any meaning here is moot.

          The argument, as I understand it, is that since physics as it has been understood breaks down under these extreme circumstances

          As I imply above, it breaks down at the Planck epoch, to take things any further requires a theory of quantum gravity; something I have already said.

          then anything is possible – the only rule is that there are no rules

          Where on earth did you get that from?

          As it is it rather depends on on what you mean by “nothing”, something I asked you before and you chose not to answer.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Susan claimed that there is a reality of physics that Greg used to explain the cause of the BB – retro causality. If it were reality, it would not be a hypothesis. We simply don’t know, right?

          then anything is possible – the only rule is that there are no rules

          Where on earth did you get that from?

          I got it from the idea of randomness as causation, and the fact that we don’t have a Unified Theory.

        • Greg G.

          Still, it is equivocation. It is either possible or it is impossible. Your use of the word “possible” simply means we do not know that is impossible at this time, not that it is actually possible.

        • Greg G.

          then anything is possible

          That sounds like equivocation. Isaac Newton might have said, “It is possible that a particle can be accelerated to a velocity greater than light speed” but that would only indicate his ignorance about whether it was actually possible to travel at greater than light speed. It is not possible now and it wasn’t then either, it’s just that nobody had thought enough about it until Einstein.

          William Lane Craig makes the same fallacy with his ontological argument for a maximally great being he calls God. He starts with “It is possible that maximally great being could exist in some possible world.” He doesn’t know whether it is possible or not, he simply doesn’t know that it is impossible to allow the use of a different meaning of the word “possible”, then he switches to a different meaning for the word.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It IS the formation of the universe. Without inflation, we have a singularity about which we know nothing.

          . . . . . well, other than it has nothing to do with God.

        • epeeist

          It IS the formation of the universe

          No, no and once again, no inflation is a description of what happens after the formation of the universe.

          The fact that you try to conflate two different things simply advertises the fact that you have no clue as to what you are talking about.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Before – no universe.

          After – universe.

        • Greg G.

          Before inflation was a nascent universe. The universe is still expanding so it is “after expansion began”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Not to let perspective creep into this, but we are talking about the first 10 to the (-37th) seconds.

          0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds.

          I’m not directing this at you, but THIS is what we are nit-picking over.

        • Greg G.

          But it is the most important 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001 of a second in the history of the universe. Why do you insist on ignoring it?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t think I am ignoring it, but we just don’t have much information to work with. Now, the next 10(-36th) of a second, we do have information about. We know there is an enormous about of energy in that moment. IOW, the only information we have points to an immense power.

          The issue is what caused the BB. There are numerous theories for natural causes. Some say nothing is just not a normal state, and something must come out of it. Others say it was the result of the collapse of another universe. Still other speculate that membranes came in contact. Each of these has its own highly-educated advocates. To me, they are all just a blind faith in the Science of the Gaps.

        • Greg G.

          They are searching for evidence that can distinguish between the competing hypotheses. There is also the observation that the expansion of the universe is still accelerating. The limits of the speed of light is only for moving through space but there is no limit to the speed space can travel. If it keeps accelerating, eventually the superclusters will be receding away from one another faster than light speed and will be invisible to one another. It is thought that is is unusual to be in a universe where the superclusters are within sight.Our universe may be a pocket universe inside another universe where the older superclusters are moving away faster than light. Another pocket univers could pop up at any time but it is more likely to happen in the trillions of years after the other superclusters have long vacated the vicinity.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Please don’t get me wrong, Greg – this is all wonderful stuff. I enjoy the discussion even if it has nothing to do with the topic theoretically being discussed.

          One of the proofs offered by atheist for why Christianity can’t be true is all of the competing religions. If the first 5000 religions we consider cannot be true, then # 5001 must also be false, without consideration of its merits. Christians are just atheists who disbelieve one fewer religion (or some cliche like that). So, why don’t competing theories of the origin of the universe cancel each other out in a similar manner? The answer, of course, is that it was fallacious reasoning.

          There are any number of “maybe”s. Maybe it is just a Bounce Back. Maybe there are membranes. Maybe the beginning of everything is from a being who transcended the need to be caused by something else.

        • Susan

          I enjoy the discussion even if it has nothing to do with the topic theoretically being discussed.

          You brought up a chain of causes for which there must be an ultimate uncaused cause and used The Big Bang as justification. So, it has everything to do with what you brought up.

          There are any number of “maybe”s. Maybe it is just a Bounce Back. Maybe there are membranes. Maybe the beginning of everything is from a being who transcended the need to be caused by something else.

          Maybe making up superstitious nonsense without justification is equivalent to adhering to rigorous standards in developing theoretical models that attempt to address all the evidence. But I don’t think so.

          Without any attempt to understand all the evidence that needs to be addressed, you seem to think that invoking an agent for which there is no evidence is acceptable. It isn’t.

          While homicide detectives are trying to figure out who murdered someone, whether it was the boyfriend or a burglar or a maniac who lives in the neighbourhood and stalked their victim, there’s Clement saying, “Maybe it was a ghost. It’s just as strong a maybe as the other theories.”

        • epeeist

          Before – no universe.

          If space-time comes into existence when the universe is formed then there is no “before”. And of course when we get down to the Planck scale the question of “before” and “after” are a little difficult anyway, you might want to try this paper on retrocausality for example.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m familiar with the concept. If the explanation is membranes, or bounce back, or multiverses, there would have to be something pre-existing the universe (that caused it). You statement above begins with the same “if” as mine. We are both speaking in the conditional tense.

        • epeeist

          If the explanation is membranes, or bounce back, or multiverses

          Nope, the existence of space-time has nothing to do with branes (not membranes) or multiverses.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are nit-picking again to avoid the topic. Is there a red herring limit here?

        • epeeist

          The major element of my comment was that the existence of space-time is only a function of the existence of the universe, not in its mechanism of formation.

          Are you really saying this is nitpicking?

        • Clement Agonistes

          You were nit-picking membranse vs branes (short for “membranes”), and time. The cause of the BB has to pre-exist it, regardless of which hypothesis might be correct. If there was another universe which collapsed and “bounced back”, the time could have existed in it just as it does in ours. It is a pointless deflection from the topic on your part.

        • Michael Murray

          We don’t have a singularity. The models based on general relativity just break down when you get back to the Planck Epoch. You can find this on wikipedia:

          Extrapolation of the expansion of the universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past.[14] This singularity indicates that general relativity is not an adequate description of the laws of physics in this regime. Models based on general relativity alone can not extrapolate toward the singularity beyond the end of the Planck epoch.

        • epeeist

          We don’t have a singularity

          He has been told this, however it is inconvenient when it comes to his position so he ignores it.

        • Greg G.

          But… but… but… there has to be a singularity (buzz) for the Greater Good (buzz)… or something.

          Buzz words are properly cited.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Clarify for me how the “infinitely dense”, “this singularity” is not a singularity. Also, the end of the PE is the point where the singularity no longer exists, right?

        • Michael Murray

          It’s a singularity in the mathematical model indicating that it doesn’t apply to the real world. We know the model doesn’t apply to the real word because it doesn’t incorporate quantum mechanics. It’s a problem with the map not the territory similar to worrying that as you approach the north pole on a mercator projected map you are going to blow up.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The quote you provided was the source of my confusion. Your point is that, in reality, “singularity” is just a convenience to explain the unexplainable. I think this is a very good point. My basis – which is at issue here – is that there is a chain of causes, and there must be an initial cause which transcended the need to be cause, itself. If the rule of causation is suspended under these very special circumstances, then my premise could be wrong.

        • Michael Murray

          It’s not really a convenience to explain the unexplainable. It’s a breakdown in the explanation due to applying the mathematics to a region where we wouldn’t expect it to apply.

          There is another fundamental problem which is that in the Planck Epoch space and time are probably no longer sensible concepts as quantum mechanics interferes with them. So the questions of causality no longer make sense.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “It’s not really a convenience to explain the unexplainable. It’s a breakdown in the explanation”

          Ooooooookaaaaaayyy.

          ” So the questions of causality no longer make sense.”

          So, “the rule of causation is suspended under these very special circumstances.” It’s a Special Pleading.

        • Susan

          It’s a Special Pleading.

          No. Special Pleading is exempting your proposition from the rules without justification.

          Quantum mechanics is not special pleading.

        • Michael Murray

          Well if an explanation breaks down it isn’t an explanation is it ? So it’s can’t be a “convenience to explain the unexplainable” because that would imply it was explaining something. You sound like you think scientists are desperate to hide the fact they don’t understand something. It’s the opposite. Scientists love it when they don’t understand something.

          There isn’t any special pleading. All I am saying is that if we no longer can sensibly talk about space and time questions of causality will no longer make sense. If it turns out that quantum gravity still allows us to talk about time sensibly then maybe your questions make sense. Then we could think about answers to them. Isn’t it great that we still have new things to discover !

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well if an explanation breaks down it isn’t an explanation is it ? So
          it’s can’t be a “convenience to explain the unexplainable” because that
          would imply it was explaining something. You sound like you think
          scientists are desperate to hide the fact they don’t understand
          something.

          You can certainly infer some desperation, but it was not even implied by me. Allow me to clarify if I gave that impression. Scientists – even of the theist flavor – work in the realm of nature. I have stated that the entire reason we have the scientific method today is that scientists from hundreds of years ago wanted to understand nature as a window to God – understanding the creation would give insight into the Creator. And, there are, indeed, theist cosmologists today. They would expect that at some point, the laws of nature give way to the supernatural.

          The accusation that theists use the God Of The Gaps argument too often is valid. However, atheists are too quick to use the Science Of The Gaps argument as well. It is human nature to see oneself as having a firm grip on reality while others don’t. That is a statement of fact, not morality. There is no evil intent on either side.

          The idea of the scientific method is to remove that bias – let the facts speak for themselves. When there are no facts, then we get to fill in the blanks with our bias. So, we have hypotheses with no data; no conclusion. Here, we have to say the default “rules” which work so well throughout the rest of nature don’t apply. This is a special circumstance; a one-off. The hope is that we will modify the previous rules, discovering rules we didn’t know about previously. Until then, I’m sticking with the default – things (mass and energy) do not cause themselves.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I love it when I don’t understand something also. I represents an opportunity. I approach theism in that same spirit.

          I need to clarify my point. There are something like a dozen or so interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. Each one has its own set of answers in about a dozen categories of variables. We don’t have the information we need to distinguish which ones are correct and which ones are not.

          So, let’s say, for instance we discover that one of the variables says the correct interpretation must be Deterministic. That might rule out half of the interpretations. All the implications of those interpretations go down the tube with it. Yet, with each of those now known-to-be-wrong interpretations, the math and science behind them was flawless.

          But, it could not have been flawless, or it would have been correct. Where was the flaw? It’s going to be something along the lines of “Beyond here lie monsters”. There was no information, so they just kid of filled in the blanks with some assumption(s); default explanations. We have an explanation, we just don’t know if it is right . . . . . yet. But we will know . . . . . because we always have in the past. It’s the Science Of The Gaps. Yet, if the explanations is found, 11 out of 12 explanations will be wrong. It’s possible even the 12th may be. It sounds a lot like arguing which religion of all the options is the correct one – everybody assumes theirs is right, but they all can’t be.

          So, we get the “singularity”. Now, in the past, everything that ever had a beginning had a cause. If we are going to make a prediction based on the pattern, a cause would be the most logical assumption – the same way it is assumed that since science has always found the answers, it will do so this time, as well. As we travel back in time, the universe gets smaller and smaller, getting closer and closer to a single, infinitely small point, a minuscule fraction of a second from being nothing at all. The pattern suggests that there should be nothing at all beyond that fraction of a second. But, if there is absolutely nothing, then there is no scientific explanation for the universe begin to exist.

          Yet, we know there must be a scientific explanation – there always has been. So, what to do? Well, like each of those interpretations of QM, we just assume that we are right. We declare concepts of space and time to no longer be in effect. We insert some analog for the Cosmological Constant into our equations to make them balance.

        • Susan

          Your point is that, in reality, “singularity” is just a convenience to explain the unexplainable.

          No. “Singularity” is where the model breaks down. It’s terribly inconvenient but true

          that there is a chain of causes

          And as @disqus_HOKynBthUD:disqus explained to you:”we have already been through the stochastic nature of quantum mechanics and the fact that we have processes such as quantum tunneling that are not causal “.

          You don’t get your chain of “causes”.

          there must be an initial cause which transcended the need to be cause,

          No reason to accept that either.

          If the rule of causation is suspended under these very special circumstances

          It’s not “suspended”. It doesn’t apply.

          I’d prefer to ask you what you mean by “cause” but asking you for clarification has been so consistently considered by you to be an act of hostility and a “red herring” that I won’t even bother from this point.

          The word “chain” is enough of a hint

        • Clement Agonistes

          “we have already been through the stochastic nature of quantum mechanics
          and the fact that we have processes such as quantum tunneling that are
          not causal “.

          What a meaningless statement that was. It is like your explaining to me that I never answered a question that i answered a dozen times.

          “You see, because I explained it to you, i am right.” Uh, no, something doesn’t become right because you think it is right.

          “Because of the randomness of my theory, structured rules don’t apply.” Again, that is merely declaring that you are right because you wish you were right. “The rules just don’t apply in this very special circumstance.” That is just ignoring aspects which are inconvenient to your POV.

          We’re just back to the absurdity that we don’t know what the cause is, but we know with absolute certainty that it isn’t God.

        • Susan

          What a meaningless statement that was.

          http://www.dictionary.com/browse/stochastic?s=t

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

          https://brilliant.org/wiki/quantum-tunneling/

          No, it wasn’t. Your chain of causes was meaningless.

          It is like your explaining to me that I never answered a question that i answered a dozen times.

          You didn’t answer it a dozen times. I missed it the first time because it wasn’t actually an answer. I caught it the second time. That you actually thought it was an answer.

          That is just ignoring aspects which are inconvenient to your POV.

          What aspects are those? Are you suggesting quantum theory just ignores aspects that are inconvenient?

          We’re just back to the absurdity that we don’t know what the cause is, but we know with absolute certainty that it isn’t God.

          No one said that but you need to pretend they said that because that’s all you have. You haven’t justified your claim. Period.

          If you claim a mysterious illness is caused by demons and you show no understanding in the fields that address the subject and can’t justify your claim, there is no reason to take your position seriously.

          You can’t show that demons exist or are responsible for those diseases. That is your burden.

          Expecting you to meet that burden if you want to be taken seriously is not the same as knowing with “:absolute certainty” that it isn’t demons.

          No one here has asked for absolute certainly. Continuing that tactic is dishonest.

        • Greg G.

          No, you have to show

          The point is that it would take immense, almost unimaginable POWER to cause something to come into being from nothing.

          That is your claim. Read up on Alan Guth and his theories. For four decades, physicists have been trying to disprove him. His idea is that energy and space created together is a free lunch where space is like negative energy so the sum is zero energy.

        • Susan

          For four decades, physicists have been trying to disprove him.

          They should have just asked Mark Sibley, intenet genius, who gets it straight from an omnilogical deity.

          He would have asserted Guth is wrong and accused them of Endless Questions if they asked him how he justified that claim.

          That will show them.

        • epeeist

          Read up on Alan Guth and his theories

          He won’t, I have given him a number of references and it is obvious that he hasn’t read any of them. Whether this is because he doesn’t understand them or whether he didn’t actually go to the links because, you know, they might not be Christian I don’t know.

        • Greg G.

          If he sees the name Guth enough, he might come across it and read a little about him and his ideas. But maybe I have too much faith.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Please, people – no more innuendo. If you’ve got something concrete, present it. As late as the 60s, you could still find some of the finest minds in physics supporting the Steady State universe. By the 2060s, today’s theories may be just as easily dismissed. Don’t fall in love with one theory and declare it to be the last word.

          I addressed the zero-sum in my response to Bob. In terms of “power”, one would have to have forces of equal power to cancel each other out. I’m not just talking about the immense “positive” energy.

        • epeeist

          As late as the 60s, you could still find some of the finest minds in physics supporting the Steady State universe. By the 2060s, today’s theories may be just as easily dismissed. Don’t fall in love with one theory and declare it to be the last word.

          Both the Big Bang and the Steady State universe were based on the known physics and observations of the time. The reason that the latter was discarded was because it was shown to be counter to observation. To quote Huxley it is an example of “The great tragedy of Science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact”.

          Don’t fall in love with one theory and declare it to be the last word

          Nobody here is doing that, everybody with an inkling about science knows that theories are both contingent and corrigible. However just because one (or more) hypotheses are falsified doesn’t mean that you can insert your own, unsubstantiated claim into the supposed gap.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You guys are presenting current theories as if:
          1) They are fact, and
          2) They refute what I am saying.

          They do neither. The reason we have science as we know it now was because theists wanted to know “how God did it”. Their thought was that they might get insights into the nature of God by understanding Nature. It was “Natural Philosophy”. IMO, that is what we are still doing. Your thesis is that if you can find a natural explanation for how things happen, it rules out God. My thesis is that it is all the creation of God and points us to Him.

          So, 1) they are not facts because, as you point out, facts don’t change. The “known physics of the time” is very much the point – todays justified theory is tomorrow’s dumpster-filler. The “known” changes. Citing them as proof of 2) is pointless. . . . . . . as is the idea that God cannot use natural means to accomplish His goals.

          You throw out Zero energy as an attempt to insinuate some point you cannot state plainly. It is not even relevant to the subject matter. I try to clarify my point, thinking you didn’t understand it, but it is tough when you so desperately DON’T want to understand what I am saying. Conversation seems to just be a tool to pat yourself on the back for being so much better than anyone else. I try to work with that, but it makes it SO much more difficult. My plea is for us to put our religions (it certainly has all the dogmatic trappings, doesn’t it?) aside and have a real quest for truth.

        • epeeist

          2) They refute what I am saying.

          They do neither.

          You keep telling yourself that.

          The reason we have science as we know it now was because theists wanted to know “how God did it”.

          You really need to go back and look at what natural philosophers such as Thales, Leucippus, Anaximander and Democritus were attempting to do.

          So, 1) they are not facts because, as you point out, facts don’t change.

          So was it ever a fact that diseases were caused by “humours” (or even demons)? Was it ever a fact that the sun went around the earth?

          You throw out Zero energy as an attempt to insinuate some point you cannot state plainly.

          And yet I have explained in a number of times now.

          My plea is for us to put our religions (it certainly has all the
          dogmatic trappings, doesn’t it?) aside and have a real quest for truth.

          I am certainly not going to fall for your abuse of etymology; I don’t have a religion. As for truth, I doubt you know what that is.

        • Greg G.

          Why did you “address” the zero-sum to Bob? If you actually addressed it adequately, you should publish in the physics journals. If you have not addressed it adequately, then so what?

          I’m not seeing where you addressed to Bob but that’s Disqus. I’ll check it on your profile page to see if it is there.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I addressed it to Bob because he asked. My comment assumes the correctness of the ZEU theory. If there is X amount of positive energy put into the system, then there must be -X negative energy put in as well. In a later clarification for Bob, I described it as analogous to 2 equivalent transactions at a bank that have the net effect of canceling each other out.

          I guess the real issue here is whether there was actually a bang in the Big Bang. In less than a second, the universe expanded at faster than the speed of light, with very high temperatures. .

        • Greg G.

          I found the exchange and responded there with an analogy of a loan.

          Remember that the speed of light is about traveling through space but space doesn’t travel through space so it can exceed the speed of light. It’s what you should expect if you had space and energy coming into existence simultaneously.

          It is probably extremely unlikely for a universe worth of particles and space to come into being practically simultaneously in a small region of space so we should very rarely see one. But with no limitations of time or energy, it is inevitable that it would happen sometimes.

          So it is plausible that it is inevitable. That makes it far more likely than an omnipotent omnibenevolence that allows unnecessary suffering, which is a contradiction of terms, like a married bachelor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As late as the 60s, you could still find some of the finest minds in physics supporting the Steady State universe.

          Indeed. Didn’t I tell you that science is provisional.

          By the 2060s, today’s theories may be just as easily dismissed.

          Indeed. Didn’t I tell you that science is provisional.

          Don’t fall in love with one theory and declare it to be the last word.

          Nope. That’s religion. Didn’t I tell you that science is provisional.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I love this. Somehow a willingness to reconsider even the most fundamental concepts given sufficient evident is a character flaw.

        • I’m not just talking about the immense “positive” energy.

          Nor are you talking about “immense” energy, if you’re engaging with the zero-energy universe hypothesis. A – A is not immense, no matter how large A is.

          This is just basic arithmetic, right?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I guess by that logic, a nuclear explosion is not energetic since the net is zero.

        • Alternatively, a nuclear explosion is energetic since the net is not zero.

          Just let it go. You’re tedious.

        • Clement Agonistes

          By this theory, the mass of the Uranium has just been converted to a different state. FTM, this rule applies even to chemical reactions.

          Yes, this is extremely tedious. I am being asked to show that the largest explosion in the history of the universe had immense power. And, any hope of discussing the point died a long time ago.

        • You understand the zero-energy universe hypothesis, you understand how the net energy is zero, you understand how no energy at all was then required to cause the Big Bang, and yet the words, “OK, I get it; I was wrong” will never escape your lips.

          Your friends at the Liars for Jesus Club must be so pleased.

        • epeeist

          You understand

          That’s where you went wrong.

        • Clement Agonistes

          OK, now THAT is funny!

          Let me paraphrase myself – i ought to at least be good at that. So, we have a universe.

          1) In it we have some stars of immense power (have you spotted a squirrel yet, or can you throw me this bone?)
          2) But stars are not even the most powerful. There are galaxies, containing immense numbers of stars. (Ditto?)
          3) … And there are immense numbers of galaxies. (Still with me?)
          4) … And the immense number of stars in those immense number of galaxies don’t even make up the majority of mass in the universe. (Just tell me when we diverge here)
          5) Therefore, the total mass and energy of the universe is vastly greater than the immense power of those selected stars in (1). (Shirley, we still agree?)
          6) All of that mass and energy existed in the first second the universe existed.

          That is only part of my point. But, it is the part you (et.al.) have a problem with. It is possible that something natural preceded the BB, causing it (perhaps, for instance, the membranes that epeeist doesn’t want to address). In order to cause our immensely powerful universe to come into being, whatever that is would have to be more powerful than our universe. Unless something can cause itself, our chain of causation begins with something which transcends the need to be caused. You guys present you own Faith that the something is not God, but Nature. You see, they are totally different because the names are not the same.

        • epeeist

          I am being asked to show that the largest explosion in the history of the universe had immense power.

          You think the big bang was actually an explosion?

          I think we can deduce your actual knowledge of cosmology from that single statement.

        • Clement Agonistes

          In layman’s terms, yes. That is why Hoyle coined the term. It was inferred by working backward from an expanding universe – the origin of the universe must have been from a single point. You are quibbling over the point rather than the event itself (a forest isn’t really a forest; it is a collection of particles). I am arguing that the beginning of the universe (or whatever came before it) must have a cause that cannot cause itself. There are numerous atheist conjectures for how everything came into being without a cause.

          You have to make a special pleading that the rule of things being caused was put aside for this unique case. IMO, that is analogous to Einstein’s Cosmological Constant – the kind of thing a young science fair student might do to make his data fit his hypothesis.

        • epeeist

          In layman’s terms, yes

          But we aren’t talking in “layman’s terms”, we are discussing a scientific theory and what it actually describes.

          That is why Hoyle coined the term

          Two things, Hoyle coined the term to disparage Gamow’s ideas. Secondly, things have rather moved on since Hoyle’s term.

          the origin of the universe must have been from a single point.

          We have already discussed this, but tell me how many times does it take for an infinitely small point to fill the universe?

          I am arguing that the beginning of the universe (or whatever came before it) must have a cause that cannot cause itself.

          No, you are not now and never have been “arguing”, all you have ever done is assert. You have never justified any of your assertions.

          There are numerous atheist conjectures for how everything came into being without a cause.

          Several things here, we have already been through the stochastic nature of quantum mechanics and the fact that we have processes such as quantum tunneling that are not causal (you have already been made aware of the fact that I have a doctorate in physics; its actual content was the quantum tunneling of particular types of molecule). Secondly I have already pointed out to you that the only thing we have evidence of is causation within the universe and that at only particular scales. Thirdly these are not “atheist conjectures” but scientific hypotheses based on solidly based, well evidenced and well tested theories.

          You have to make a special pleading that the rule of things being caused was put aside for this unique case.

          And yet again you dishonestly try to switch the burden. Your claim that the universe had a cause, your burden to demonstrate that this is so.

        • Clement Agonistes

          But we aren’t talking in “layman’s terms”

          My half of “we” was. And, the BB was not the point.

        • epeeist

          My half of “we” was.

          Which is why your half of “we” was doing so badly, trying to discuss a scientific theory when you only have a tenuous grasp of even the popular accounts.

          And, the BB was not the point.

          Well it isn’t the point now given that it doesn’t support the claims you want to make about the existence of your god. Of course if you could have inserted your god then it would have been very much the point wouldn’t it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          There is no “now”. Don’t take my word for it. If memory serves, you joined the conversation when the BB became part of it. I stated “The Beginning (of everything)”. It was Susan who demanded I give it a name. We have been off, running after BB rabbits ever since . . . . . as was Susan’s design.

        • epeeist

          There is no “now”.

          Correct, you have been trying to row back from your claims about the BB for a little while now. Ever since it became apparent that it doesn’t support the existence of your god.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have been saying the same thing all along. You argued (in bold) that I was changing the discussion to a different topic (like you have been doing). Aside from the hypocrisy, you are wrong on the facts. Now, you say that I am correct, dropping your previous accusation, but moving on to the fall-back argument that I am being less-than-honest by trying to keep the focus of the discussion on the original topic. Is there any self-awareness of what you are doing?

        • Greg G.

          By this theory, the mass of the Uranium has just been converted to a different state.

          Actually, the uranium changes to a different element and other decay products. It follows the principle of the conservation of mass/energy. That is different than what occurs under Guth’s ideas which follow a principle of conservation of space/time and mass/energy, the sum of which is zero, or nothingness.
          What you might try is a principle of conservation of deity and nothingness, which has a zero sum.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “state” was a bad word choice. Uranium has been converted to a different element . . . . . and energy. I get it. I was wrong.

        • Greg G.

          Are you being deliberately stupid or not deliberately being stupid? A nuclear explosion does not include space creation or destruction. It is just energy released, not created. The Conservation of Mass/Energy applies.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The principle is that same. YOU argued that, yes, there was immense energy, but it was positive energy, and negative energy converted it into a different form – analogous to energy and mass are interchangeable. “The loan cannot be destroyed, only changed to different forms”. The NET is zero.

        • Greg G.

          The NET is zero.

          Creating space/time and mass/energy together is net zero. An explosion is just energy changing states from potential energy to kinetic energy. The amount of mass/energy is conserved, thus it is net zero.

          I never said there was “negative energy”. I said it was “like negative energy” to try to simplify the concept for you but even putting an analogy in simpler terms still flies over your head. It is difficult to find something that you understand enough to build on.

          Do you understand the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy? Do you understand the swing of a pendulum in terms of potential and kinetic energy? Do you understand the relationship between the speed of a car coasting downhill increasing in speed and slowing while coasting uphill in terms of potential and kinetic energy?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I never said there was “negative energy”.

          It was from the link that epeeist gave us.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know what link you mean so “YOU argued that” wouldn’t apply.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “You” argued in favor of the Zero Energy Universe. Negative energy is the crucial element that offsets the immense positive energy to give a net of zero. In the nuclear bomb analogy, we deny the heat and concussion because the net between energy and mass is a wash.

          All this is to deny that the creation the universe was a powerful event.

        • Greg G.

          That is not my understanding nor what I was trying to convey. My understanding of Guth’s model is that a pair of particles come into being with a specific energy and space is created simultaneously. The distance between the particles times the gravitational attraction is the potential energy which is equal to the mass/energy of the particles but the potential energy is like negative energy. Perhaps the negative energy might be a good term for it but the space is not really negative energy. The energy involved is infinitesimal compared to the universe. But a universe full of such events occurring simultaneously is extremely unlikely yet inevitable given no time limits.

        • Susan

          I asserted that it would take immense power to cause everything from nothing.

          You certainly did.

          He responded with innuendo – a rhetorical question implying that a zero energy universe disproves the need of immense power.

          He responded with a viable model consistent with and based on known laws of physics that shows that Mark Sibley’s assertion is not necessarily true. He doesn’t have to “disprove” your assertion as you have provided no basis for it. He was good enough to show that there are excellent reasons not to grant your assertion. I doubt you even clicked on the link.

          If the facts were on his side, there would be no need to hint at some hidden truth that he knows about (and I would, too, if only I were as clever as he).

          While you’re making stuff up on subjects about which you seem to be completely ignorant and in which you don’t show even remote curiosity, there are qualified people doing actual work

          It’s not about being “clever”. It’s about having any idea whatsoever what you are talking about when it comes to these subjects. You, Mark Sibley, making proclamations about the history of the universe (which is what the BB addresses) and further proclamations about its ramifications is nothing to take seriously.

          Similarly, the question about the definition of “nothing” is the same kind of argument. Any run-of-the-mill dictionary can provide that definition.

          He asked about your definition of nothing. There is a difference between there being “nothing” in my gas tank and there being “nothing” in a vacuum-bag and there being “nothing” in the vacuum of space. It turns out, none of that leads to metaphysical nothing.

          That’s why he asked you:

          What properties would you eliminate from the universe in order to produce “nothing”? Was it ever the case that a state of “nothing” obtained?

          And you avoided answering. As your entire argument packs the assumption of “nothing” having been obtained, your failure to respond is curious.

          I simply boiled it down to the simplest reply that made the point = “Prove Your Claim.”

          But you made the initial claim. And no one asked you to prove it. They asked you to justify it. And you haven’t.

          The humor of your appeal to Endless Questions is not lost on me.

          The humour of that accusation is not lost on me.

          You make claims that you can’t justify about all kinds of things.

          People ask you questions about them. When your answers come nowhere near to justifying even a single claim, you accuse people of endless questions for asking obvious followup questions.

          All to support what doesn’t appear to be anything more than another imaginary god. Among thousands over human history.

          Pure internet goobery.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He responded with innuendo – a rhetorical question implying that a zero energy universe disproves the need of immense power.He
          responded with a viable model consistent with and based on known laws
          of physics that shows that Mark Sibley’s assertion is not necessarily
          true.

          . . . . . which I have already acknowledged (none of you even consider the possibility of your own errors). As I said, what more is there to be said (that hasn’t already been said).

          If the facts were on his side, there would be no need to
          hint at some hidden truth that he knows about (and I would, too, if only
          I were as clever as he).

          While you’re making
          stuff up on subjects about which you seem to be completely ignorant and
          in which you don’t show even remote curiosity, there are qualified
          people doing actual work

          A curious person would starve here. He has information, but will not share it, only alluding to it obliquely. Why would anyone ever use a fallacious tactic if their interest were in the truth. Fallacies are for the purpose of obscuring the truth.

          Similarly, the question about the definition of “nothing” is
          the same kind of argument. Any run-of-the-mill dictionary can provide
          that definition.He asked about your
          definition of nothing. There is a difference between there being
          “nothing” in my gas tank and there being “nothing” in a vacuum-bag and
          there being “nothing” in the vacuum of space.

          There was no “vacuum of space”, Susan. There was an infinitely small singularity from which the entirety of space, mass, and energy burst forth into existence in fractions of a second. “Nothing means “nothing” – the absence of anything. I would take away everything to have nothing.

          I simply boiled it down to the simplest reply that made the point = “Prove Your Claim.”

          But you made the initial claim. And no one asked you to prove it. They asked you to justify it. And you haven’t.

          For most of year now, you have denied ever seeing my answer at all. It has taken enormous effort to drag you, kicking and screaming to finally acknowledge that what you have denied has been repeatedly placed under your your nose the whole time. My standard is your satisfaction. My justification must be your justification, and we have already established that you will never deem anything justification i present to be justified. IMO, my explanation for reality is the BEST explanation. It fits like a glove with every observable fact and experience we have. It is a properly justified belief.

          Don’t demand; show. Show me where I am not justified.

          Then, of course, you can get around to answering my question in the childish “I asked you first” game (that day will never come, but the innuendo will be endless).

        • Susan

          A curious person would starve here. He has information, but will not share it, only alluding to it obliquely.

          He has provided copious links. Again, this might be an unfamiliarity with Disqus and a Disqus issue for you. When links are provided, they eventually show up in blue (sometimes, these days. They used to show up like that instantly). Epeeist got around that (and I just recently learned from him by underlining those links.

          To Quine, to a zero energy universe etc. This is why he mentioned more than once that you didn’t seem to have read the papers he provided. Now, you can click on his comment history and find those links and do some actual research, if you’re curious.

          There was no “vacuum of space”, Susan. There was an infinitely small singularity from which the entirety of space, mass, and energy burst forth into existence in fractions of a second. “Nothing means “nothing” – the absence of anything. I would take away everything to have nothing.

          Yes. The history of the universe at which relativistic models break down results in a singularity. But that is not nothing. It is where tthose models break down.

          Inserting an unevidenced deity
          here is like inserting demon theory into diseases that scientists are still trying to figure out.

          Earlier than 10^-36 seconds, we simply don’t understand the nature of the universe. The Big Bang theory is fantastic at describing everything after that, but before it, we’re a bit lost. Get this: At small enough scales, we don’t even know if the word “before” even makes sense! At incredibly tiny scales (and I’m talking tinier than the tiniest thing you could possible imagine), the quantum nature of reality rears its ugly head at full strength, rendering our neat, orderly, friendly spacetime into a broken jungle gym of loops and tangles and rusty spikes. Notions of intervals in time or space don’t really apply at those scales. Who knows what’s going on?

          https://www.space.com/31192-what-triggered-the-big-bang.html

          My justification must be your justification

          Your justification is to claim an omnibeing exists that is beyond justification. Which removes your responsibility to justify anything.

          Because Mark Sibley said so. Your handwaving is reaching legendary proportion. An omnilogical being was your last attempt. One that removed even your requirement to logically justify it. This, after you moved to logic to avoid evidentirary requirements. I have seen people lose the plot before but that was a doozey.

          IMO, my explanation for reality is the BEST explanation.

          Yes. But you have no evidence, demonstrate no knowledge of the areas which you claim are support for your best explanation, no logic, and even when called on that, invoke an omnilogical being whose logic is beyond logic.

          And then, of course, you attack my character and pretend I’m playing games.

          Where do we go from here, Mark?

        • Clement Agonistes

          You ask me my basis. I give you my basis. You don’t like my basis. The End.

          My suggestion is that, once we know this, we (you) stop saying “What is your basis. You never answer this question.”

          Your justification is to claim an omnibeing exists that is beyond
          justification. Which removes your responsibility to justify anything.

          Because
          Mark Sibley said so. Your handwaving is reaching legendary proportion.
          An omnilogical being was your last attempt. One that removed even your
          requirement to logically justify it. This, after you moved to logic to
          avoid evidentirary requirements. I have seen people lose the plot
          before but that was a doozey.

          Who knew that was my justification? Certainly not me. I thought i was addressing the issue of the Problem of Evil. On the topic of omnipotence, i pointed to the necessity for a cause to the beginning of everything.

        • Susan

          You ask me my basis. I give you my basis. You don’t like my basis. The End.

          It doesn’t work that way. You haven’t justified your basis, which is most of the point. I can also add that I very much doubt that researching cosmology is what led you to accept/make the claim of an omnipotent being.

          I can further add that I very much doubt that you can show that at least 50% of christians were led there through their study of cosmology.

          I can also mention that it’s like pulling teeth to get christians to show support for their acceptance of that claim, but that, when they are finally forced to do so, they refer to an off-the-rack justification that doesn’t justify it.

          Who knew that was my justification? Certainly not me

          That’s what you provided.

          I thought i was addressing the issue of the Problem of Evil.

          No. You were attempting to special plead your way through the Problem of Evil. When Greg G. held your feet to the fire (and others here), you went nuclear and invoked an omnilogical being who defies logic. “Addressing” is not the term you should choose.

          I pointed to the necessity for a cause to the beginning of everything.

          And it was pointed out that you haven’t justified a need for the beginning of everything.

          Also, that “cause” is something that describes things that happen in our universe, but not everything that happens in our universe. That certainly, there is no justification for it describing things outside of our universe.

          Also, that even if it were (which it isn’t), there is no need to invoke an agent.

          Also, that even if it did (which it doesn’t), there is no need to claim that it is an omniagent.

          Also, that even if all that were granted (which it isn’t for all the reasons above), that that omniagent is Yahwehjesus.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You don’t pay attention to what I write. My point was how exhausting corresponding with you is. Even the most obvious points are denied – not “disagreed with”; “denied”, as in “never were written”. That is the absurdity of trying to converse with you.

          Just look at this latest example: “omni-logical”. It was from a different context (suffering) in a different conversation. Somehow, you can hammer that square peg into this round hole. If you cannot grasp this, what hope is there?

          Greg did not “hold my feet to the fire. He did not understand what i was saying, and i offered a clarification. His sticking point is the terminology – “omnipotent”. He says God cannot be omnipotent because a loving God would not allow suffering – it’s not logical (to Greg). God’s infinite logic is crucial to the topic. It has nothing to do with the Big Bang.

          So, on the per-chance that you are genuine (hope is stubborn), what do you have in mind for justification; what would it look like?

        • Susan

          (none of you seem to consider the possibility of your own errors)

          Latest regional news report came in that over a thousand warehouses containing irony meters in this area spontaneously exploded.

          I asked you not to to do that.

          And you’ve done it again.

          Please think before you act.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When was there nothing? How would we know?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDmQINlntJ4

        • Susan

          Susan – you changed quotes of mine twice because you didn’t like the way the conversation was going.

          I know of once and I apologized for it. In a flurry of responses to you ( and sometimes, it’s easier to retype and sometime to copy-paste.) I acknowledged my error. That’s one more time than you have.

          Link me to the comment in which I misquoted you and I will acknowledge it, as well. I assure you it wasn’t intentional.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s hard work, isn’t he?

        • Susan

          If the BB is not the beginning of everything, then that is in harmony with the point I was making

          No, it’s not. You haven’t even begun to study the implications of the BB model that cosmologists have to deal with as a matter of discipline.

          Whatever that initial event was that began the cascade of causes

          But you are assuming there is an “intial” “event” with a “cascade” of “causes” and you can’t show that that’s the case, nor that you are even interested in or qualified to make that claim, let alone that you have put in the twelve or so years in physics to even pretend that you understand what they’re grappling with.

          Neither have I. Thankfully, there are qualified experts in the field who are happy to report back to us in terms that we can grok. And none of them seem to agree that there is necessarily an “initial” “event”, nor that it prompted a “cascade” of “causes”.

          So, we haven’t even made it past your initial premise. Not because I’m out to get you. But because you have listened to apologists, not cosmologists on the subject.

          I hate to even remind you that “the early church” had no idea that there was anything even like the Big Bang.

          Your first premise is not established.

          If you ever get to your second one, it does not require an omnibeing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve gone through with you, in detail, how no other interpretation is possible other than a physical appearance.

          You might have imagined that you have, but you really haven’t.

          5. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? Jesus could appear to you, but he doesn’t. He appeared to Paul after he died, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. He could appear to give you advice for a tough decision, give you comfort in person like a friend would, or just assure you that he really exists. He doesn’t.

          Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision. It specifically says so, right there in the NT. No interpretation necessary. Your fellow Christians claim he has appeared to them. Either in a vision, or in the flesh and blood, it matters not, and I don’t really care that much, either works. I’m going with in a vision, because that’s what the OP is referring to when it says “he appeared to Paul after he died”. As it clearly states in Acts…V-I-S-I-O-N.

          . Bob specified, “like a friend”,…

          Would Jesus appear like an enemy do ya think?

          …saying that Jesus could “comfort” (hug?) the Christian,

          It’s not just Christians. What’s the hug and question mark in brackets all about?

          Jesus Appeared to Comfort Me

          Jesus appeared before Judy and gently touched her head. Jesus told Judy that her husband would be alright.

          https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2014/12/24/jesus-appeared-to-comfort-me/

          Judy converted to Christianity.

          …and citing similar physical appearances of the Apostles as proof that this could be possible.

          I don’t really care, I’m dealing with the OP, but it would be nice to see where Bob cites similar physical appearances just for the record. Citation please.

          This is the first time I have seen you argue against the appearance being physical, despite the fact that i have consistently stated it as such.

          Not in my interactions ya haven’t. And what does being physical even mean. Judy above claims he touched her head. Was that physical enough for you?

          What about St Francis of Assisi?

          In 1205, Saint Francis Of Assisi while praying in the Church of San Damiano just outside Assisi, Saint Francis of Assisi reported a vision in which an image of Jesus came alive and told him: “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.”
          This vision lead Saint Francis to renounce the outlook of his merchant family, embrace poverty and form the Franciscan order.
          The Franciscans became a key force in the renewal of the reach of Christianity. During another vision in 1224 Saint Francis reportedly received the very first recorded case of stigmata.

          It has been claimed Jesus has made all sorts of appearances and interact with the recipients. Some of the more famous are listed here… http://indefenseofthecross.com/jesus-christ-appearances-from-ascension-to-now/

          No other atheist has argued that Bob meant the appearance would be “spiritual”.

          I don’t really give a fuck what other atheists meant by “appearances” or how they’ve argued, that is up to them and I’m sure they can argue their own points on their own merits.

          This is an ad hoc, fall back position after your first argument withered in the face of the facts.

          Don’t talk shite. You have not mentioned flesh and blood physical appearance to me once. I’ve been arguing from #5 in the OP consistently. Paul seen Jesus in a vision. That vision was powerful enough to convince Paul to convert. If Jesus can do that for Paul, then why not for me? Other Christians make the same claim, I’ve provided you with a number of examples in support of my position. Can Jesus really appear to people and convert them? Yes or no? If he can, then why not everyone? If he can’t, then Christians are doing a lot of lying about it, and he is not an all powerful godman.

          Amos, you made a claim about Christians expecting Jesus to appear physically to them.

          No, I did not. You are lying. Cite where I did this or apologise for misrepresenting my position.

          You claimed that no Christian expects Jesus to appear to them. That is irrelevant. Whether they expect it or not, Christians and non-Christians who were convinced to convert, claim he has appeared to them. The physical nonsense is a straw man of your building. It is irrelevant. Christians claim Jesus has appeared to them. Loads of them. If it is the case he does, then why not everyone and it’s game, set, and match for religion. He doesn’t. That’s the fact of the matter.

          That is why i asked you for names. You gave the link to this conversation as proof. It is now clear that there are only two possibilities:

          1) Your reading comprehension skills are absolutely AWFUL. After weeks of discussing Bob’s article, turning over every single nuance, you had no clue what he was saying.

          2) You are simply incapable of admitting a mistake, and the thought of giving a theist a “victory” is so hateful to you that you are willing to resort to any tactic to avoid that.

          False dichotomy.

          3. I’m addressing the claim in item #5 of the OP and it is you who has the comprehension issues. Christians believe Jesus has appeared to them and gave them x, y, and z advice, help, and comfort. Advice convincing enough to convert some of them to Christianity. Like he is alleged to have done in the NT with Paul.

          I gave the conversation above as an example of a Christian that claims to have “met” Jesus, in the face of your claim no Christian believes that. Why would I do that if I understood your claim was only relevant to a flesh and blood physical meeting with a 2000 year old dead guy. The fact is, I don’t even know what kind of meeting LCR is referring to in his claim. It is irrelevant. He claims to have met Jesus. Did he meet Jesus or is he lying?

          Did Jesus touch Judy’s head or is she lying?

          Did Jesus appear live to St Francis and speak to him, or is he lying too?

          I just don’t care which it is any more.

          I don’t care anymore either, I’ve demonstrated with evidence that you are talking bubbles and your straw man caveat does bugger all to rescue you from the pickle you are in, so pah!

          You are wasting everyone’s time with these childish, name-calling, self-righteous rants.

          I don’t think so. But I’ll leave others to judge.

          Any poster who resorts to name-calling has nothing of substance to add to the discussion.

          Any poster who resorts to playing the tone trolling card has nothing of substance to add.

          That is just about all any of your posts have to offer. Every post of yours confesses that you bring nothing to the table of conversation.

          Clement, you have been torn a new one. Two of the OP articles you have kicked back against, I have refuted your nonsense. Go away now and leave the adult table, you are not very good at this, there’s a good child.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Amos argued that point, saying he knows of a Christian who
          says the opposite. I asked for the name of that Christian, and he linked
          me to this conversation.Nope you are lying
          again. I did nothing of the sort. Nowhere did I mention the “in the
          flesh” part. It isn’t in Bob’s argument and it isn’t in mine. There are
          Christians that make the claim Jesus has “appeared” to them personally,
          like he did to Paul.

          Here’s the way that conversation went:

          ME: The Data show that Jesus does not make personal appearances,…

          YOU: The data says bugger all of the sort.

          So, except when he does…according to some of your fellow Christians.

          Your fall back argument to your fall back argument is that you don’t know what a “personal appearance” is. If some celebrity was advertised to make a personal appearance, it means they will be there *in person*, not by satellite from another location; not by a video made a few days ago;. but *personally*. That is how Jesus appeared in all of His appearances immediately following the resurrection.

          Your reply was that Jesus doesn’t make personal appearances . . . . . except when he does. That is why I needed the name of a Christian who expects Jesus to appear *in person*. This is supposed to be “my fellow Christian” who argues for a personal appearance of Jesus. Now that I check on your claim, suddenly your are backtracking from your previous stand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here’s the way that conversation went:

          ME: The Data show that Jesus does not make personal appearances,…

          YOU: The data says bugger all of the sort.

          So, except when he does…according to some of your fellow Christians.

          Correct. Now where in there is the caveats of “in the flesh and blood” or “on request”?

          Your fall back argument to your fall back argument is that you don’t know what a “personal appearance” is.

          Stop being silly. You know what #5 of the OP says, or at least you would if you could read for comprehension. The OP makes it quite clear what kind of “personal appearance” we are talking about. The same sort that Paul was alleged to have had.

          If some celebrity was advertised to make a personal appearance, it means they will be there *in person*, not by satellite from another location; not by a video made a few days ago;. but *personally*.

          If that celebrity had been tortured to death, been to Hell and risen up to Heaven, then advertised his in the flesh and blood physical appearance, that would be some show worth seeing, but being rational, that wouldn’t be the appearance I’d be expecting at all.

          But it is a false equivalence. Some celebrity isn’t a tri-omni god whose followers claim can do anything. And the OP makes it quite clear the type of personal appearance being considered, the sort that Jesus is alleged to have had when he appeared to Paul…in a VISION.

          That is how Jesus appeared in all of His appearances immediately following the resurrection.

          Nope. He really didn’t. Paul is quite specific. Read 1 Corinthians 15.

          Paul uses the resurrection appearances to bolster his own claims to apostolic authority: Jesus has appeared to him in the same way he did to Peter, James and the others who had known Jesus in life.In Galatians 1 he explains that his experience was a revelation both from Jesus (“The gospel I preached … I received by revelation from Jesus Christ”) and of Jesus (“God … was pleased to reveal His son in me”). In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells his readers of “a man in Christ who … was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows;” Elsewhere in the Epistles Paul speaks of “glory” and “light” and the “face of Jesus Christ,” and while language is obscure it is plausible that he saw Jesus exalted, enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God. He has little interest in Jesus’ resurrected body, except to say that it is not a this-worldly one: in his Letter to the Philippians he describes how the resurrected Christ is exalted in a new body utterly different to one he had when he wore “the appearance of a man,” and holds out a similar glorified state, when Christ “will transform our lowly body,” as the goal of the Christian life.

          The New Testament is quite clear that Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision. People claim to “see” dead people all the time. They’re called ghosts. Ghosts are not flesh and blood.

          Your reply was that Jesus doesn’t make personal appearances . . . . . except when he does.

          Nope, your lying again. I don’t even believe Jesus existed. Your reply was that Jesus doesn’t do personal appearances. My reply is except when he does…according to some of your fellow Christians and the NT. Some in the NT claim he appeared in the flesh, probably to counter Docetic claims. Others say it was in a vision. The OP and me are working on the vision kind of appearance. There is a whole Christian tradition called Gnosticism where the belief is that Jesus was a phantom.

          Some Gnostic groups promoted Docetism, the belief that Christ was pure spirit and only had a phantom body; Jesus just appeared to be human to his followers.

          No physical flesh and blood Jesus according to those Christians am afraid.

          Your assertion that all Christians, or even almost all Christians expected a flesh and blood appearance, is quite frankly ludicrous.

          Tertullian calls Paul “the apostle of the heretics”, because Paul’s writings were attractive to gnostics, and interpreted in a gnostic way, while Jewish Christians found him to stray from the Jewish roots of Christianity. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church members as “having knowledge” (Greek: τον εχοντα γνωσιν, ton echonta gnosin). Dunn claims that in some cases, Paul affirmed views that were closer to gnosticism than to proto-orthodox Christianity.

          That is why I needed the name of a Christian who expects Jesus to appear *in person*.

          If you mean by “in person”, physically, in skin and bone, then you are building a straw man. The OP doesn’t make that claim, nor do I. And you’ve only just brought it to the table. Jesus either appeared to Paul in an unsolicited vision and converted him from a non-believer to a believer according to the NT texts, or he didn’t, and it’s all nonsense, which it is. If he did, like Christians claim he did, then there is no reason it can’t be done for every living person on the planet to convert them to Christianity. That is the point being made in #5. He doesn’t, therefore he doesn’t exist as described in your own holy book.

          This is supposed to be “my fellow Christian” who argues for a personal appearance of Jesus. Now that I check on your claim, suddenly your are backtracking from your previous stand.

          You didn’t check on my claim, I provided his exact words and linked you to the comment thread where he makes his claim. He has claimed to have “met” Jesus. How does one meet someone? Now I didn’t press you fellow Christian on how this meeting of Christ occurred. I assumed it was in a vision, because dead people don’t appear in the physical flesh and blood. It wasn’t relevant, because no one was claiming that he did. This is a caveat you have added in an attempt to get you out of the hole you find yourself in. But get this, you are fucked. If Jesus can appear to your fellow Christian and convince him he is on the right path, then he has the power to do it with everyone. He doesn’t, so the claim is bogus, or the power isn’t there…ergo Jesus isn’t the god Christians think he was, so give it up already. There is no backtracking from me, I’ve been with the OP all along. You are adding nonsense, and it is nonsense that makes absolutely no difference. You’ve been owned.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here’s the way that conversation went:

          ME: The Data show that Jesus does not make personal appearances,…

          YOU: The data says bugger all of the sort.

          So, except when he does…according to some of your fellow Christians.

          Correct. Now where in there is the caveats of “in the flesh and blood” or “on request”?

          There is no caveat. I presented “personal appearance”, and you said, “except when he (Jesus) does [appear in person]. You did not object to the term. You introduced no caveat. Again, your comprehension of the term “personal” seems to the the issue here.

          The OP makes it quite clear what kind of “personal appearance” we are
          talking about. The same sort that Paul was alleged to have had.

          Paul had a personal, FAB appearance from Jesus in the desert of Arabia. Furthermore, Bob responded to my comments on 15 different occasions, in none of which did he raise the factual error you imagine I made. Neither did any of the other posters. Bob insulted, ducked, dodged, insinuated, and innuendo-ed in an attempt to stymie the conversation. It is inconceivable to me that he would try to evade the subject when a simple clarification would win the day. “Like a friend” means “in person”. “Like Paul” means “in person”. Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles were in person.

          If that celebrity had been tortured to death, been to Hell and risen up
          to Heaven, then advertised his in the flesh and blood physical
          appearance, that would be some show worth seeing, but being rational,
          that wouldn’t be the appearance I’d be expecting at all.

          Exactly. That is why the post-resurrection – personal – appearances had such an impact on the Apostles. But, that was the end of it. Those kind of things ended within a few months. Christians don’t expect it either. Bob argued that since Jesus could appear like those, He could do it now. “Could”, I argued, doesn’t mean “must”. it was the absence of Jesus’ personal appearances today that which “proves” Jesus doesn’t exist to Bob. If Bob were talking about spiritual appearances, then all those Christian perceptions of Jesus’ presence would disprove Bob’s point. That is the LAST thing Bob wants, and he’d be opening himself up to being blown out of he water.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is no caveat. I presented “personal appearance”, and you said, “except when he (Jesus) does [appear in person]. You did not object to the term. You introduced no caveat.

          Nope.

          What other way does Jesus appear to those that claim he has appeared. All Jesus appearances are personal appearances ya divvy.

          The first time you mentioned a flesh and blood appearance with regards to this subject and my interaction with you was when you pitched up to comment with your fellow Christian.

          Again, your comprehension of the term “personal” seems to the the issue here.

          Not me, your fellow Christians. They think they’ve had a personal appearance of Jesus. You are claiming they can’t have, Jesus doesn’t do that.

          Face-to-face Appearances from Jesus: The Ultimate Intimacy

          https://www.amazon.com/Face-face-Appearances-Jesus-Ultimate/dp/0768431476

          I’m saying it is of no matter.

          Paul had a personal, FAB appearance from Jesus in the desert of Arabia.

          Where do you get this bullshit from? It isn’t in the NT.

          Anyway, I don’t give a fuck. Paul claims he gets his gospel from scriptures and revelation. The NT says Paul converted on the road to Damascus where he had a vision. If Jesus can appear in a vision and convert Paul, then he can do it for everyone else, but he doesn’t, why is that?

          Furthermore, Bob responded to my comments on 15 different occasions, in none of which did he raise the factual error you imagine I made.

          I don’t care. I’m making my own argument as to why you’ve fucked up with #5 of the OP on my reading of the OP.

          Neither did any of the other posters. Bob insulted, ducked, dodged, insinuated, and innuendo-ed in an attempt to stymie the conversation. It is inconceivable to me that he would try to evade the subject when a simple clarification would win the day.

          I could give zero fucks again. My argument is that Jesus appeared in a vision and converted Paul. Jesus has appeared in a vision and done all sorts of miraculous things over the millennia, including other conversions. If he can do it for some, he can do it for all. He doesn’t. Why is that? Your flesh and blood red herring is irrelevant.

          “Like a friend” means “in person”.

          Apparently not.

          “Like Paul” means “in person”. Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles were in person.

          Nope. This was not a universal belief by Christians. Gnosticism was every bit a popular Christian worldview as the proto-orthodox. Gnostics believed Jesus was a phantom. He didn’t possess a flesh and blood body to appear in to anybody. All Christians don’t believe the same things about Jesus.

          None of this matters. Paul converted through a vision, it is right there in the Acts. Part of the story says he didn’t even see Jesus, just heard him. If Jesus has that ability to convert in a VISION back then, why not do it for everyone now and be done with it. He doesn’t or can’t. Why? If he is tri-Omni god he coulda, shoulda, woulda. That is the question I’m posing to you. I’m not interested in your fuckwittery going on with anyone else. That’s fudgery to take up with them. It’s got fuck all to do with my position on this matter. Address my argument, not the one you are inventing for me.

          Exactly. That is why the post-resurrection – personal – appearances had such an impact on the Apostles.

          They are part of a later yarn soft boy. They didn’t actually happen. But even if they did, it is irrelevant to my point. From Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, Christian’s have made remarkable claims of appearances by Jesus. You say they haven’t.

          But, that was the end of it.

          But it wasn’t though was it?

          Those kind of things ended within a few months.

          But you claim Jesus appeared to Paul in Arabia, when was that? Be precise and cite your source.

          Christians don’t expect it either.

          You don’t speak for all Christians. I’ve provided examples of Christians that do. I’ve provided examples of non-Christians that didn’t, but got it anyway. Get it yet numbnuts?

          Bob argued that since Jesus could appear like those, He could do it now. “Could”, I argued, doesn’t mean “must”. it was the absence of Jesus’ personal appearances today that which “proves” Jesus doesn’t exist to Bob. If Bob were talking about spiritual appearances, then all those Christian perceptions of Jesus’ presence would disprove Bob’s point. That is the LAST thing Bob wants, and he’d be opening himself up to being blown out of he water.

          Bob’s a big boy, I’ll let Bob defend whatever you claim he claims himself. Pretend you are refuting my position on #5 in the OP just for a moment.

          Jesus made appearance’s. One of those appearances was the conversion vision on the road to Damascus. Paul didn’t request the appearance, Jesus just did it. The vision was convincing enough to convert Paul to flavour of Christianity. If Jesus can do it once, why not for everyone? Why do lots of Christians claim he has already, when you claim he hasn’t?

        • Clement Agonistes

          What other way does Jesus appear to those that claim he has appeared. All Jesus appearances are personal appearances ya divvy.

          Dreams and visions are the most common means I hear people mention. Those aren’t “like a friend”.

          The first time you mentioned a flesh and blood appearance with regards to
          this subject and my interaction with you was when you pitched up to comment with your fellow Christian.

          I did this many times, over weeks in the “10 Questions” conversation, including the quote provided, above.

          Paul had a personal, FAB appearance from Jesus in the desert of Arabia.

          Where do you get this bullshit from? It isn’t in the NT.Anyway, I don’t give a fuck.

          “12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
          -Galatians 1:12

          “5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to [a]James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as [b]to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”
          -I Corinthians 15:5-8.

          But, like you said, you don’t care whether what you are saying is true or not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dreams and visions are the most common means I hear people mention. Those aren’t “like a friend”.

          They’re not? Why not? People claim they are visited by their dead granny in dreams and visions? Why not Jesus? You are making a claim for both Jesus type appearances and Christian who claim Jesus has appeared to them, that is way beyond your remit.

          “12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
          -Galatians 1:12

          “5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to [a]James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as [b]to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”
          -I Corinthians 15:5-8.

          Where does it say anywhere that the appearance was in the flesh and blood? You are adamant to read stuff into a text that just isn’t there.

          Paul’s writings pre-date the gospels by a few decades.

          1 Corinthians 15, the earliest account of the Resurrection, reveals that all of the post-resurrection appearances occurred after flesh and blood risen-Christ disappeared from the earth (“ascended”)
          4 he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. (1 Cor 15)

          If we are to believe the Book of Acts (which has Judas replaced with Matthias after the Ascension) during the period between the Resurrection and Ascension (when post-resurrection Jesus walked the earth) there were not Twelve disciples . There were Eleven.
          If post-resurrection Jesus appeared to “the Twelve”, it was after the Ascension.

          So what Paul has revealed here is that all of the post-resurrection appearances (with the possible, though unlikely, exception of the appearance before Cephas) occurred after the alleged Ascension (an event which Paul never acknowledges to have occurred).

          What this means is that, in Paul’s universe, none of the post-resurrection “appearances” involved a flesh and blood Jesus.

          Furthermore, Paul does not describe the nature of any of these “appearances”, with the exception of the “appearance” before himself.

          And what did Paul experience as an “appearance” of the risen Christ?

          As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
          5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
          “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
          7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. (Acts 9)

          If the Jesus depicted in Acts 9 was a flesh and blood Jesus, it was an invisible flesh and blood Jesus.

          In his own writings, Paul describes this “appearance” in much more spiritual terms:
          15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, (Galatians 1)

          Conclusion: Based on Paul’s writings (which pre-date the gospels by several decades), All of the post-resurrection Jesus appearances were no more than spiritual visions or internal religious experiences.

          Stories about a flesh and blood risen Christ came later.

          But, like you said, you don’t care whether what you are saying is true or not.

          I don’t care because it is irrelevant to my position and the point being made in #5 of the OP.

          But it is interesting on the basis of what Christians think is going on in the Pauline corpus. They have to read the later gospels back into Paul and then make shit up in order to square the circle.

          https://vridar.org/2011/06/11/heavenly-visions-the-foundation-of-pauls-christianity/

        • Clement Agonistes

          Dreams and visions are the most common means I hear people mention. Those aren’t “like a friend”.

          They’re not? Why not? People claim they are visited by their dead granny in
          dreams and visions? Why not Jesus? You are making a claim for both Jesus
          type appearances and Christian who claim Jesus has appeared to them,
          that is way beyond your remit.

          So, NOW you are asserting that Bob’s “like a friend” was referring to DEAD friends comforting you?

          You have officially jumped the shark, Amos. I simply cannot continue the absurdity of trying to have a conversation with you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, NOW you are asserting that Bob’s “like a friend” was referring to DEAD friends comforting you?

          I’m not asserting anything. I don’t believe dead people make “appearances” of any kind. I’m just countering your weaselling on this matter.

          Your assertion that people don’t “claim” to get visions or dreams from Jesus “like a friend” is pure unadulterated bullshit. It is another claim you cannot support, because you have no way of knowing.

          I have demonstrated, with examples, that people “claim” to experience appearances from Jesus as a comforter, “like a friend”, in times of dire need…remember Ruby? I’ve shown you examples of people who claim to have had appearances, aka visions or dreams, from family and friends, “like a friend”, but you are not going to give up your nonsense and apologise for being such an arrogant buffoon. So this game of pedantry continues.

          You have officially jumped the shark, Amos.

          Not me…am not the one who has resorted to dishonest tactics here, that’s you. I’m not the one who has failed to support assertions with demonstrable evidence, that’s you. Just because you think something, and can write it in a combox, doesn’t mean it is so, and the rest of us must fall under it. That might work in your world of gullible nonsense, not here.

          I simply cannot continue the absurdity of trying to have a conversation with you.

          The absurdity is yours. You have been shown on two points that your thinking is warped and have resorted to lying. The lesson is learned. You have been torn a new one…twice. The evidence is on record. So off ya scurry to Croydon with your tail between you legs while trying to lay the blame on your opponent. You have no coherent rebuke, so ya might just as well piss off, you argument has been destroyed. Adios already.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Paul had a personal, FAB appearance from Jesus in the desert of Arabia.

          Some Christians might believe this nonsense, but there is no evidence to support it anywhere.

          Some scholars believe that Paul went to Arabia to receive revelations from Jesus Christ.

          From the reading of the text in Acts 9:26-28 one would get the impression that Saul went directly from his escape at Damascus to Jerusalem. By his own admission he clarified the fact in his letter to the Galatians (1:16-17) that he “conferred not with flesh and blood” nor consulted with the Apostles in Jerusalem; but the Lord’s choice for him was to go to Arabia to be trained in the school of the Spirit in order that he might receive greater revelations concerning the mysteries of the Gospel of the glorified Christ.

          It is pure speculation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          . Furthermore, Bob responded to my comments on 15 different occasions, in none of which did he raise the factual error you imagine I made. Neither did any of the other posters.

          You’re a liar. I’ve been through your interaction with Bob. He has pulled you on your erroneous paraphrasing of his OP arguments. The only person that made the flesh and blood appearance of Jesus point was you.

          Bob said…

          “Here’s a simpler one: can you accurately paraphrase my points? The answer is No.

          You have to erroneously paraphrase the point in the OP in order to get to where you want.

          5) Jesus must make personal, in-the-flesh appearances on request.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/10_questions_christians_must_answer_09/#comment-3719566672

          You are a dishonest person.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Once again, Amos, your reading comprehension skills have let you down. Note that nowhere in that does he ever set the record straight. As I pointed out, every single argument he presented was fallacious – designed to avoid discussing the issue that is a loser for him.

          Here, he asks a question instead of simply refuting me with the facts – “can you accurately paraphrase my points?” Then, without presenting any evidence, he answers HIS OWN QUESTION: “No.” This is pure innuendo – suggesting something that he can’t support directly. NEVER does he say, “I meant Jesus appearing spiritually.” THAT would end the dispute right there.

          Bob, surely, can paraphrase himself accurately. Who is a better expert on “What Bob Means” than Bob? Yet, he is content to just leave some sort of namby-pamby, “you made an error, but I’m not going to tell you what it is” nothing of a statement out there. He didn’t do it because he would either be terrible at putting words together to communicate a thought (not a good thing for a guy trying to sell books), or he’s have to admit a mistake – THE most painful thing for an atheist to do.

          In fact, I followed up that challenge with a paraphrase, and got more of this same kind of nebulous innuendo that . . . . . somewhere . . . . . somehow . . . . there might be . . . . . . something . . . out there . . . . . but the problem is with me, not Bob. This is close as I’ll ever get to ANY of you guys admitting a mistake. These kinds of lame replies bring joy to my heart.

          But, at least Bob just had a lapse. He is a thoughtful, intelligent person. You . . . . are a puppy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Once again, Amos, your reading comprehension skills have let you down. Note that nowhere in that does he ever set the record straight.

          Bob doesn’t need to set the record straight, the record is already straight in the OP. You have tried to misrepresent him in a number of paraphrases. Bob has told you that your paraphrases are not accurate. If you can’t read the article properly, that’s your problem. Try and start with the basics and represent the argument in the OP accurately, making your own shite up in order to knock it down is the straw man fallacy.

          As I pointed out, every single argument he presented was fallacious – designed to avoid discussing the issue that is a loser for him.

          Nope. The only one making fallacious assertions here is you. I’ve read every comment between you and Bob. The argument in#5 as written in the OP is sound. You have attempted to change it by erroneously paraphrasing #5, Bob simply refuses to accept your straw man of the OP’s #5. You have lost this weeks ago.

          Here, he asks a question instead of simply refuting me with the facts – “can you accurately paraphrase my points?”

          Is it Bob’s job to educate you in your reading abilities? When you can paraphrase Bob’s article #5, though why you feel the need to paraphrase it other than to straw man it is beyond me, accurately then perhaps Bob might feel obliged to entertain any argument you might then have on the matter. Then perhaps you will realise where your major malfunction lies. So maybe Bob is trying to educate you at the end of the day. You surely need it ffs. But Bob can clarify, or not, it’s his choice.

          Why you think it is relevant to punt to Bob in defence of your argument with me, is amusing.

          Then, without presenting any evidence, he answers HIS OWN QUESTION: “No.”

          Do you not know what a rhetorical question is ya Dime Bar?

          Let me help…

          A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer.

          The answer is definitely a big fat NO. Because you didn’t paraphrase #5 accurately, that’s a verifiable fact.

          You first straw manned #5 of the OP argument 2 weeks ago at…

          5) Jesus must make personal, in-the-flesh appearances on request.

          The OP doesn’t make that assertion. It is your caveat you have added in order to make some kind of case. But even then, it is irrelevant. You lied. And you have been lying about it ever since. The OP states…

          5. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? Jesus could appear to you, but he doesn’t. He appeared to Paul after he died, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. He could appear to give you advice for a tough decision, give you comfort in person like a friend would, or just assure you that he really exists. He doesn’t.

          No flesh and blood appearance is necessary, nor does the plain reading of the argument require it. Stop lying.

          This is pure innuendo – suggesting something that he can’t support directly. NEVER does he say, “I meant Jesus appearing spiritually.” THAT would end the dispute right there.

          It’s not innuendo to anyone with a brain between their ears and an ability to use it. Bob doesn’t need to say he meant in a vision, because everyone except a fucking complete idiot knows that the text states Paul only received an appearance from Jesus spiritually, in a vision, via revelation and the scriptures.

          Even AFTER Bob pointed out you fucked up with your paraphrase, continued down that route regardless. Here… https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/10_questions_christians_must_answer_09/#comment-3724187536

          And guess what I found, MR pulled you up on your fuckwittery. As did Susan. As did Kodie. As did Bob….and finally, as did I.

          You want everyone to correct your mischaracterisation of the OP. But when someone points it out, me, you refuse to accept it.

          Bob, surely, can paraphrase himself accurately. Who is a better expert on “What Bob Means” than Bob?

          Why? Read the OP ya imbecile. All the information you need is present. There is no need to add your own stuff that isn’t there in order to knock it down. That is fallacious and dishonest.

          Yet, he is content to just leave some sort of namby-pamby, “you made an error, but I’m not going to tell you what it is” nothing of a statement out there.

          Because you are too dumb a fuck to read a five sentence paragraph and work out for yourself where ya ballixed it up? Wise up. Maybe Bob is content to give you enough rope so that you can hang yerself. Worked just fine from where I’m sitting. What better an example to others than to let a stupid religiotard hoist themselves by their own petard and make a complete cunt of themselves in the process. Mission accomplished.

          He didn’t do it because he would either be terrible at putting words together to communicate a thought (not a good thing for a guy trying to sell books), or he’s have to admit a mistake – THE most painful thing for an atheist to do.

          Oh the irony, it stings.

          Except only you think that, the rest of us are smart enough to get it.

          In fact, I followed up that challenge with a paraphrase, and got more of this same kind of nebulous innuendo that . . . . . somewhere . . . . . somehow . . . . there might be . . . . . . something . . . out there . . . . . but the problem is with me, not Bob. This is close as I’ll ever get to ANY of you guys admitting a mistake. These kinds of lame replies bring joy to my heart.

          Because your paraphrasing is utter shite. You need to get something into #5 that just isn’t there in order for your argument to have any traction. It is straw manning. It is fallacious. And it is dishonest. You have been shown up to having to rely on lying to get to where you want to be. It is excruciating to watch your pretzelman contortions.

          But, at least Bob just had a lapse. He is a thoughtful, intelligent person.

          Yeah…he is, you might like to ponder on that thought when you try going head to head with him

          You . . . . are a puppy.

          Let’s play a wee game. Let’s suppose that the OP is my OP and you have made your point that on #5 that no Christian expects an appearance from a real flesh and blood Jesus. Now let’s suppose that I point out to you that your characterisation of #5 is erroneous because it doesn’t rely on the appearance of a flesh and blood Jesus in order to be valid. Jesus appeared to Paul, not in the flesh and blood, but in a vision. The vision was enough to convert Paul even though he didn’t ask for it. Let’s suppose that every Christian claim of an appearance by Jesus over the past two millennia have been by vision, even those that brought comfort like a friend would.

          Will you concede that Christians believe that Jesus appears/has appeared…not in the flesh and blood, but in person, as folk who claim to experience other personal appearances by dead friends, family and loved one. Will you concede that such appearances have been sufficient to convert many non-believers as they have claimed has happened? Now, if Jesus can do it for one, for many, then why not all?

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and forecast you will ignore this request. Then we’ll see who is the puppy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, I guess I’m asking you if you argue that if you pray for Jesus to appear to them in person – “like a friend” – you expect it to happen?

          You just don’t get it, do ya?

          No prayer should be necessary. Paul didn’t pray for his “appearance” did he? Paul was on his way to physically persecute Christians ffs.

          That there are Christians that do pray for it, and claim it has happened, is not necessary for my argument, though the fact that some do it, is good for debunking your asinine position.

          There are plenty of converts to Christianity that claim Jesus “appeared” to them without request, hence the reason they converted.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No prayer should be necessary. Paul didn’t pray for his “appearance” did
          he? Paul was on his way to physically persecute Christians ffs.

          Well, certainly not for the “Damascus” appearance. However, Paul spent 3 years in the desert of Arabia being taught by Jesus. Did Paul pray for that? It sure makes sense that he did, since that was a purpose in going into the desert.

          There are plenty of converts to Christianity that claim Jesus “appeared”
          to them without request, hence the reason they converted.

          The stories I have seen like that say Jesus appeared in dreams or visions, not physically.

        • Susan

          Well, certainly not for the “Damascus” appearance

          Precisely.

        • Ignorant Amos

          However, Paul spent 3 years in the desert of Arabia being taught by Jesus.

          No he didn’t. But given you believe he did, but state elsewhere that the flesh and blood appearances only lasted a few months, you seem to be all over the place on this issue.

          Did Paul pray for that? It sure makes sense that he did, since that was a purpose in going into the desert.

          You just keep pulling nonsense outta yer arse, don’t ya?

          The stories I have seen like that say Jesus appeared in dreams or visions, not physically.

          And that matters why? Jesus seems to be just as able to do stuff in dreams or visions, so appearing physically is a moot point. Give it up ya buck eejit, it is embarrassing to watch the train wreck you have made for yourself.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The stories I have seen like that say Jesus appeared in dreams or visions, not physically.

          And that matters why?

          Because “like a friend” is at issue here. Friends do not appear to you through dreams and visions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You really want to drag this dead horse out and flog it to the bone, don’t ya?

          Because “like a friend” is at issue here. Friends do not appear to you through dreams and visions.

          How the fuck do you know?

          See if you put “my dead friend appeared to me in a dream” into Google search, you will get 41,300,000 hits.

          I didn’t really need to search for the answer, I know people personally that make this claim. I’m betting you do too, but you are too stupid to realise that as common as it is, everyone is going to know about the phenomena, but you have to pretend they don’t because you’re in such a hole.

          First hit I got was… “Did my deceased friend come to visit me in my dream or not” …

          https://www.erinpavlina.com/blog/2011/11/did-my-deceased-friend-come-to-visit-me-in-my-dream-or-not/

          Another hit is “Dreams and visits from the dead”… http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/visits-from-the-dead-dreams/

          You are clearly talking more shite. People claim to have dreams and visions (appearances) of friends all the time.

        • Phil

          I am just wondering what’s the difference between ‘appeared to me in a dream’ and dreaming about someone? I often dream about my dead father and mother. Does that mean they have been resurrected and are gods? The fact that they sometimes are at a drunken party enjoying themselves, meethinks perchance not! I wonder if there is some mechanism that drags up old memories and mixes them with new or sometimes unrelated memories due to the billions of interconnected neurons and produces bizarre events. Nah, must be god appearing to me, sometimes in the guise of talking jam doughnut.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Poor Clement is lost in all this hokum pokum.

          It’s understandable when one reads the testimony of lunatics.

          http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-Seen-Jesus/3383857

          I’m not sure what the difference in having a dream, a vision, or an hallucination are either. I suppose state of awareness might be a factor.

        • Phil

          Tried the link and got “Oops! This page is missing a heart.” Is it trying to tell me something?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is it trying to tell me something?

          Ha!…might be. It works fine for me clicking it in my comment.

          The site is on a hiatus, but the articles are still available to read.

          The home page notice reads…

          Experience Project is taking a break. We thank our tens of millions of members for being a part of the largest community of shared experiences ever created. We remain passionate about the incredible power of empathy, and look forward to meeting again soon.

          But my link is direct to a woo-woo testimony…it’s not all that interesting to be honest…just an example of the Christian mind-set…

          I Have Seen Jesus

          I Really Did See Jesus.. hello people i want to share with you all my true story … this is not a prank or a made up story this is the truth!! in 2010 i lost my baby brother he was killed by the under toe in a lake trying to save his best friend.. he saved his friend but my brother did not make it.. when i found out i was crushed!! i was so heart broken i could not even eat, sleep or concentrate on what i needed to do in my own life.. i went to his service and it made me cry more worst because i could not believe that this was my brother that was in the his sleeping bed being looked at to say their last good byes before he was going to be berried .. so when it was all over with i went home and read my bible like i was doing everyday and i cried and prayed to Jesus to show me and so i can see my brother one last time.. so a few days hit and nothing. i was still week from crying and not eating food like i should.. one knight i fell into a deep sleep and i could not wake up. it was like someone had pushed on my body with a power that i could not explain.. so as i,m in this deep sleep i looked at my body and i had a new body i was like 11 or 12 i had pretty black silky hair and a dark brown skin tone. i began to look around and i did,n,t see anything of this world that we live in today! i did not see any houses. streets. people, animals . or any evil that satan has caused.. no crimes no nothing.. and i see this beautiful river it was the river of life.. i seen some trees from the far end. then i look to my right and i see this cute little boy talking to me but i could not understand him on what he was saying. and then i look to my left and i see my cat sitting beside me. she looked happy and she was looking straight ahead as if she was looking at something or someone. and i looked right ahead and i see Jesus! he was at the river of life he had on his white robe he was on his knees at the river of life and as the little boy to my right kept talking to me i was looking at Jesus and i said to him.. Jesus let me help you!! he waved his hand like no you already done enough for others, it looked like he was gathering fish from the river. so *** i,m still watching Jesus i looked at the other side where the sun was shining and i see this smoke like mist begin to glide down from the heavens and i seen it form and it was by brother that died. and he looked at me with a big smile and stood there.. he was there for a while just looking at me smiling.. he was happy really happy and he did not look like he did all stressed out.. so then i seen my brother turn back into this smoke like mist and glided back into the heavens .. as i seen him go i get up and start walking to Jesus.. and then Jesus stood up turned to me and he was walking to me with a smile. and he got closer and closer and then he got bigger and bigger and he went through my body and soul really fast!! as hes in my body i can feel all his love . it was not the kind of love that man and women , friends have for each other this love was way beyond more than any human can understand.. i seen his face up close and it was beautiful !!! and i seen his hands where he died on the cross i even looked into his beautiful sparkly golden eyes and his hair was long glowing with shinny streaks of gold.. and i seen his hand brush across my face very gently and i loved it!! my soul was praising him more and more, his touch was like a joyful love mixed with other joyful love that i cant explain but i do know that was Jesus that i seen and he did take me home with him for a while to love me and tell me that hes still hear with me.. Jesus only shows others when they are the ones that have been chosen and it does says that in the bible i read it for myself.. i called my mother up and told her that i seen Jesus and she told me see!! i was did not lie to you when i seen when when i gave birth to your sister when i died and he brought me back to life.. i told her how he looked and how his face glowed and she told me this when i was little and i thought she was crazy but i was wrong because i seen him for myself.. and it is a proven fact!! that Jesus is just not a dream or a made up person most people will call people like us crazy it,s because they don,t understand it and they want to judge on something that they never even seen yet!! if they believe then he will show himself to them as well… my mother told me i was not making this up she was so happy to hear about it .. she also told me that will not be the last time i will see him she said i will see him again .. i love Jesus so much i am so happy that i got to see him for myself and if others think i,m crazy ill let them think what they want because i,m not living for them i,m living for Jesus until he takes me home..

          Further testimonies are available at… http://www.experienceproject.com/groups/Have-Seen-Jesus/372277 …but if the first link is hooky for ya, I guess this one will be too.

        • Phil

          So nothing what so ever to do with being in an emotional state, lack of food and hallucinating etc? I have weird dreams about aliens in surreal surroundings. Nothing to do with being an avid science fiction reader, reading every night without fail, just before I go to sleep. No, you can categorically say from my experiences aliens exist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I find eating cheese in the evening makes me dream…mind you, the red wine might contribute too.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Kodie

          You demonstrate yourself not up to the task of communicating with adults.

        • Joe

          to explain how it is that this “ludicrous notion” has dominated the mindset and various worldviews of humanity since human beings have been called human beings

          Because a subset of people will believe literally anything without even the need for evidence. If you can indoctrinate them as children, so much for the better.

          SOMETHING other than “wishful thinking” must account for such a worldwide, millennia-long effect, Phil,

          Maybe, but I see no evidence for anything other than wishful thinking.

          hinking that you can come up with ANY arguments that will EVER vanquish religion,

          What makes you think that’s the goal of any of us here? Slaying imaginary dragons in people’s heads is indeed a Sisyphean, Quixotic even, task that I don’t have the ability of the will to take on.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          So, looking at the latter part of this post, what exactly IS your purpose on this site, Joe? Just because you label it “wishful thinking” doesn’t make it so; you are as free to disbelieve as Christian theists are to believe, and we have ALL the evidence we need, regardless of whether it fits your criteria or not as to what that “evidence” should be. Finally, I would hardly call 2 billion+ adherents a”subset”, and, people come to embrace the Risen Christ at ALL ages, from 8 to 80 (I myself was 22 years old). Frankly, you guys need to drop the” child-indoctrination” trope; it really isn’t working, and most people become Christians well past childhood, so…give it a rest, why don’t you? Peace.

        • Joe

          what exactly IS your purpose on this site, Joe?

          No purpose. I come here through my own personal interest.

          Just because you label it “wishful thinking” doesn’t make it so

          I never said it did. It becomes wishful thinking when examined critically.

          nd we have ALL the evidence we need, regardless of whether it fits your criteria or not as to what that “evidence” should be.,

          Not my criteria.

          Finally, I would hardly call 2 billion+ adherents a”subset”

          It literally is, by definition. But that wasn’t what I was referring to. Do you even attempt, to understand what we post here?

          Frankly, you guys need to drop the” child-indoctrination” trope;

          When it stops happening, we will do.

          and most people become Christians well past childhood,

          [citation missing]

        • BlackMamba44

          Frankly, you guys need to drop the” child-indoctrination” trope; it really isn’t working, and most people become Christians well past childhood

          This is so much a lie that I am laughing out loud. I don’t believe you. You need to back this up with citations. Evidence, cough it up.

          I won’t hold my breath.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whaaaa? A Christian telling lies, heaven’s ta Murgatroyd, no feckin’ way…they aren’t aloud, it says so in the rule book….unless….}8O)~

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

          When are ya ever gonna wise ta fuck up?

          Another survey — by the International Bible Society — indicated that 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth. The Barna Research Group surveys demonstrate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. Adults age 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.

          This data illustrates the importance of influencing children to consider making a decision to follow Christ.

          Because the 4-14 period slice of the pie is so large, many have started referring to the “4-14 Window.” Many people serving as career cross-cultural missionaries have testified that they first felt God calling them to missionary service during that 4-14 age period.

          https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/ages.htm

        • LCR’s world, a world in which most people become Christians as adults and not kids, would be one where Christianity was dying out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Men and women far more brilliant that you or I haven’t had, and even now don’t have, ANY problem with the concept of God’s existence( I speak primarily from the Christian theist perspective, of course.).

          Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies…does that mean fairies exist?

          Men and women far more brilliant than you or I have believed in all sorts of woo woo nonsense, including gods contradictory to your God, does that verify the reality of any of that woo woo nonsense?

          And the Loch Ness monster is far better attested to than your YahwehJesus god…but only a complete moron believes that Nessie actually exists.

          http://www.loch-ness.com/eyewitnesses.html

        • JP415

          “I await your reply.” He’s been dozing in a cave since 1865 (that’s how they wrote back then).

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm. Dude. Think about this for a minute. A living, walking around Jesus isn’t required for anyone to believe in him today, apparently. Why would it have been necessary 2000 years ago hundreds or thousands of miles from where the supposed events occurred? Look at where Palestine was, then look at where the church’s Paul was writing to were. There was no way they could have known one way or the other, and they didn’t care. Just like today you don’t care.

        • Joe

          People in the next town shouldn’t have believed the story, even if Jesus really did resurrect and people went straight out to preach about it. Which they didn’t.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Again, with all due respect to you, Joe, I’m not sure why you think that they shouldn’t have…”believed the story”…Is that your personal opinion, or?…I’m not getting your point. Clarify, please…

        • Joe

          Why should they take a stranger’s word at face value regarding a miraculous event?

          Why should anyone?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Maybe you should clarify what “they” you’re talking about here, Joe…

        • Joe

          Anybody who heard the tale of Jesus’ Resurrection.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well, “they” did believe it, Joe, and why YOU think they shouldn’t have remains unclear, so…? Almost 3 millennia down the road is a little late to voice an opinion about the matter, don’t you think?

        • Joe

          and why YOU think they shouldn’t have remains unclear,

          Because believing things without evidence is a very poor way to go about making decisions.

          And no, it never happened that way. Seemingly nobody heard this remarkable tale until years of decades later. Or perhaps the tale had already been told for decades before Paul mentions it? Who knows.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Let’s try this, Joe. Despite the mythicists’ standard claims, while the Gospels themselves may have been written fairly late (Jury’s still out on that), the Story of Jesus the Christ had obviously been circulating in oral form for the supposed decades prior to their enscripuration, by eyewitnesses who had a story to tell, an amazing story of remarkable power and endurance. Simple honesty ought to compel you to at least admit that much, but perhaps not; you’re obviously so resistant to accepting what the Scriptures proclaim concerning Jesus the Christ, that frankly, I’m baffled as to what the problem is.If you want to continue in your disbelief, do so; but to insist that the Christ Story has no validity, well…frankly, that’s just intellectually dishonest. At any rate, I’m done with this issue; The historicity of the Christ Faith speaks for itself, one is left to believe or not believe—Your choice. I made mine over 40 years ago, and I have NEVER, EVER regretted it. PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!

        • Greg G.

          the Story of Jesus the Christ had obviously been circulating in oral form for the supposed decades

          There can be no direct evidence of that. The epistles refer to Jesus in OT references and allusions, never, ever about a preacher/teacher from Galilee. Mark’s gospel is a literary creation for works of literature, attributing words and deeds to Jesus that come from already centuries old writings. The other gospels relied on Mark and other sources the same way.

          What we have received is not from word of mouth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The oral tradition could just as easily been Gnostic. I’d go as far as to say it probably was a soon to become heretical Christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno. To me the Didiche appears to be a Gnostic document. I know some disagree. I think it’s also likely that some form of Gnosticism or astrological worship was the “original” form of Christ worship.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That would be one way of interpreting Paul.

          Ehrman outlines the amount of Gnostic belief in the first 3 centuries in “Lost Christianities” which I’m currently re-reading.

          It seems to me that if the gospel stories were accepted standard fair at the time, no rational person should accept Gnosticism, yet they did, and it very nearly beat the proto-orthodox into second place. Oh, how the world would’ve been a different place had that happened.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If ya don’t read much later authored gospels back into the genuine Pauline corpus, it’s Gnostic too. Paul being the “apostle to the heretics” according to Tertullian. A good look at that angle is Elaine Pagel’s “The Gnostic Paul”.

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

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism#Paul_and_Gnosticism

          Paul never claims to be a Gnostic, but then the Pauline corpus has been heavily redacted.

        • Joe

          How did they prove it was heretic? They probably referred to the written texts that “conveniently” began to appear.

        • Pofarmer

          They didn’t, the winners started persecuting the losers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whatever the oral tradition was, it was not NT gospel Christianity. Paul’s Christianity is not even gospel Christianity. The followers of what would become the Christianity of the gospels, later NT Christianity, decided what was heretical. Bart Ehrman calls those Christian groups the proto-orthodox. They all didn’t agree on everything between each other, but they agreed on enough and they were the ones that would eventually win the day. Things are deemed heretical from the winners perspective. But at the time, every Christianity that wasn’t your Christianity would’ve been heretical a suppose. The Jews used the term heretical to denote opposing Jewish sects.

          The Docetae for example, didn’t see themselves as heretical, but I’m sure they seen the physical resurrectionists as heretics.

          A heretical sect dating back to Apostolic times. Their name is derived from dokesis, “appearance” or “semblance”, because they taught that Christ only “appeared” or “seemed to be a man, to have been born, to have lived and suffered. Some denied the reality of Christ’s human nature altogether, some only the reality of His human body or of His birth or death. The word Docetae which is best rendered by “Illusionists”, first occurs in a letter of Serapion, Bishop of Antioch (190-203) to the Church at Rhossos, where troubles had arisen about the public reading of the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. Serapion at first unsuspectingly allowed but soon after forbade, this, saying that he had borrowed a copy from the sect who used it, “whom we call Docetae”.

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05070c.htm

          I’d like to know how a sect that was around at the get-go could fail to know that Jesus was a pukka person if the Jesus Story from the NT gospels was so well known and understood as historical at that time? It would be worse than Holocaust Denial today.

        • Greg G.

          I think it may have been something like the Messiah-believing Jews that Josephus talked about who held out against the Romans expecting to be saved by that Messiah.

          ETA: Of course those who died in the war were not REAL Messianic Jews.

        • Joe

          the Story of Jesus the Christ had obviously been circulating in oral form for the supposed decades prior to their enscripuration

          Centuries, perhaps?

          by eyewitnesses who had a story to tell, an amazing story of remarkable power and endurance

          That’s absolutely not true. Name one eyewitness.

          Simple honesty ought to compel you to at least admit that much, but perhaps not; you’re obviously so resistant to accepting what the Scriptures proclaim concerning Jesus the Christ, that frankly, I’m baffled as to what the problem is.

          Many here have explained the problem to you, multiple times, and you’re still baffled? but keep on impugning my honesty, why don’t you?

          but to insist that the Christ Story has no validity, well…frankly, that’s just intellectually dishonest

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’ve made it clear to you, Joe, but I’ll reiterate: I’M DONE WITH THIS ISSUE,SIR…your refusal to believe or accept the Gospel writers records of what they witnessed in 1st century Palestine( They and all the people they interacted with, named and unnamed, are your witnesses) is your perogative—so, let’s just agree to disagree and move on, O.K.? I won’t be replying to you again regarding this issue. Au Revoir, and Peace.

        • Jack Baynes

          They and all the people they interacted with, named and unnamed, are your witnesses

          So unknown, unnamed witnesses (if the writers were even witnesses at all). And we’re supposed to accept their word as Gospel?

        • Pofarmer

          Wait, what? That’s not good enough for you? Unnamed people writing stories told by unattributed and unknown sources don’t meet your standards? The hell you say.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Despite the mythicists’ standard claims, while the Gospels themselves may have been written fairly late (Jury’s still out on that), the Story of Jesus the Christ had obviously been circulating in oral form for the supposed decades prior to their enscripuration, by eyewitnesses who had a story to tell, an amazing story of remarkable power and endurance.

          What was the story? How did it evolve in the oral re-telling? Who wrote it down first? Why is Paul’s story different from the later gospel stories?

          Simple honesty ought to compel you to at least admit that much, but perhaps not; you’re obviously so resistant to accepting what the Scriptures proclaim concerning Jesus the Christ, that frankly, I’m baffled as to what the problem is.

          Your personal incredulity is noted.

          Do you apply the same philosophy to all religious texts?

          Perhaps some of us have read the NT, realized what a clusterfuck of nonsense it is, went and researched why this is, that the book we’ve been indoctrinated in from an early age could be such a clusterfuck? By looking at the actual scholarship out there, and made an informed decision from an informed position. Could that be the reason why we are resistant to accepting the claims in the texts without convincing evidence?

          If you want to continue in your disbelief, do so;

          Who asked for your stamp of approval then?

          …but to insist that the Christ Story has no validity, well…frankly, that’s just intellectually dishonest.

          Why aren’t you a Mormon? That story has more validity than the Christ story. What about John Frum? Why don’t you follow him? Are you intellectually dishonest because you say other religious stories have no validity?

          Do us all a favor and take The Outsider Test for Faith…maybe then you’ll realize why we think your particular woo woo is no more impressive than any other religious woo woo.

          At any rate, I’m done with this issue;

          Oh please!

          The historicity of the [preferred woo woo faith here] speaks for itself, one is left to believe or not believe—Your choice.

          FTFY

          I made mine over 40 years ago, and I have NEVER, EVER regretted it.

          So ya keep sayin’…is it in some way supposed to impress? Because it isn’t, it’s tediously boring. That someone can be that willfully stupid for so long is very sad.

          PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!

        • JP415

          “Almost 3 millennia down the road is a little late to voice an opinion about the matter, don’t you think?”

          1. It’s more like 2 millennia, genius, not three.
          2. If it’s too late to voice an opinion about the Resurrection, then it’s too late to voice an opinion about any event in ancient times. I guess that puts an end to the study of history.

          By the way, millions of people believe that an angel dictated the Quran to Muhammad, or that the Buddha achieved enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi tree, or that St. Joseph of Cupertino flew around a church during mass. Do YOU believe those stories? The evidence for these stories is just as good as the evidence for the Resurrection.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not all believed it…certainly not in a physical resurrection anyway.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Certainly not all believed it; no one claims that, Ignorant Amos. They tried to kill the great Apostle Paul for preaching that Message…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not all Christians believed it I mean.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…I’m a little baffled here, Ignorant Amos.A presumed Christian wouldn’t believe the Christ Story because…? Isn’t that would be why he/she would become a Christian in the first place? That’s how it worked in the New Testament, so…help me out here, my friend…

        • Ignorant Amos

          A presumed Christian wouldn’t believe the Christ Story because…?

          I didn’t say they didn’t believe a Christ Story, they didn’t believe that Christ Story…you do know there were a number of Christ Stories, right?

          Isn’t that would be why he/she would become a Christian in the first place?

          You know there are Christian atheists, or non-realistic Christianity as they prefer to be known, right?

          Christian Atheists want to remove what they see as the fairy tale elements of Christianity.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/atheism/types/christianatheism.shtml

          That’s how it worked in the New Testament, so…help me out here, my friend.

          You do know there was no New Testament canon, as you know it, until the late fourth century, right?

          In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of the books that would become the twenty-seven-book NT canon, and he used the word “canonized” (kanonizomena) in regards to them. The first council that accepted the present canon of the New Testament may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (393 AD); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Council of Carthage (397) and the Council of Carthage (419). These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.

          The New Testament wasn’t officially fully ratified until the Council of Trent in the 16th century as an answer to Luther’s questioning the right of some books inclusion in the NT canon, during his Reformation.

          There were other NT canons in use in early Christianity, and many other texts being used as holy scripture that didn’t make the 27 book cut, or deemed later as heretical. The Resurrection, as you understand it, was not in many of those books. Ergo, not all Christians believe the same Christ Story.

          Will the real Jesus please stand up?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2012/01/will-the-real-jesus-please-stand-up/

          Two books on the subject you might need to read are by NT scholar Bart D. Ehrman.

          Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

          The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus’s own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman’s discussion ranges from considerations of various “lost scriptures” -including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus’s closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus’s alleged twin brother-to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various “Gnostic” sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between “proto-orthodox Christians”-those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief-and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame. Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.

          Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament

          While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ–texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul’s female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.

          Things are not always as the seem, ya know.

        • Jack Baynes

          My cousin Roger was executed and died then came back to life after 5 days.
          Do you believe that?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I would assume that the question is not whether I believed it, Mr. Baynes, but do YOU?

        • Phil

          I am wondering why he didn’t get burnt at the stake by christians for being a witch and doing those things. Oh….they were jews and others, christians weren’t invented yet.

        • Joe

          Or maybe there were proto-Chrisitians, and he wasn’t the first? A lot of people may have heard these stories before.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          With all due respect to you, Profarmer, this particular post is somewhat incoherent. You do realize that in the first century, the Romans had an excellent road system, right?(I’m not familiar with the 1st century postal system; I’ll have to look into that.) Plus, the various churches that Paul wrote to had already been planted and visited by him; he embarked on at least 3 missionary journeys throughout the Greek/Mediterranean area. So what exactly are you talking about here?? For that matter, Paul wasn’t the only person preaching and teaching the Gospel during the 1st/2nd centuries, even secular historians acknowledge that. Perhaps you should push yourself away from the keyboards and hie yourself down to your local library. This stuff was common knowledge LOOONG before Google and Wikipedia, so…just a friendly suggestion; I hope you won’t take umbrage. Some people on this forum are kinda thin-skinned, so…Peace!

        • Pofarmer

          I thought it was pretty clear.

          You believe the stories about Jesus, correct?

          BTW, Pauls Church’s were across an ocean from Palestine.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          “Paul’s Church’s were across an ocean from Palestine”??? Are you playing some kind of weird atheist joke here, Pofarmer? What the what are you talking about? Palestine was on the shores of the Mediterranean, facing west; what ocean? When the Apostle Paul began his missionary journeys from Damascus, Syria, what ocean did he cross? No one from that region traveled any ocean; the closest ocean wa the Atlantic, and I’m not aware of any ocean-going travels being embarked upon at that time in history(1st century),not from Palestine.—If there were, please, enlighten me. [ And by the way, it’s churches, plural. ]

        • Pofarmer

          My apologies, the Mediteranian is a Sea.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks for being big enough to apologize, Pofarmer…and again, Paul’s primarily going East, away from Palestine, in his missionary journeys. Peace.

        • Pofarmer

          I feel like I should be typing in Crayon.

          You believe the Stories about Jesus, correct?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          All my replies on this site and others ought to have made that fairly clear, Pofarmer…I and untold billions at this point down this almost 3 millennia road have, and still do, believe what history and the Scriptures has taught about Jesus the Christ, myself since October 4th, 1976…your point?

        • Pofarmer

          So, do you think Jesus is walking around today?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          In the heart and lives of His people, of course; and new Children of God in Christ are embracing, and being embraced by Him day and night EVERY SINGLE DAY…Why do you ask, Pofarmer?

        • Pofarmer

          So there is no literal, singular, walking around Jesus alive today?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Do you need to re-read my post again, Pofarmer? What exactly is unclear?

        • Pofarmer

          Just making sure.

          So, what makes you think things were different 2000 years ago?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’m not sure what “things” you are referring to here, Pofarmer…obviously Jesus was in-the-flesh doing all He was doing to spread and consolidate His message and the reason for His coming, so…it’s all in the Gospels. By the way, I want to thank you for at least being willing to listen; I have felt a little like a Christian Don Quixote on these sites of late, LOL!

        • Pofarmer

          What makes you think people 2000 years ago needed a walking around Jesus to believe in. They beleive the stories, just like you believe the stories.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I’m really, REALLY not sure what you’re trying to understand here, Pofarmer. 1st century Palestine, a client state of the mighty Roman Empire, was as real as Cleveland, Ohio; the people who lived there under the domination of the Romans and the governance of Herod the Great and Pontius Pilate were real, flesh-and-blood people, enshrined in both secular and Biblical history. Tiberius Caesar, Augustus Caesar…these are genuine, verified historical figures, just as Jesus, Peter, and Paul were! Please, I’m trying to understand the problem here…If you want to remain in unbelief, residing in the mythicists’ camp, well, do so; that’s certainly your perogative. But Jesus the Christ was as real as Abraham Lincoln, and to attempt to invalidate Christian history by claiming that He didn’t exist would be like trying to understand the Civil War without Lincoln. Seriously, Pofarmer…what are you looking for??

        • Pofarmer

          So was there an historical Dionysus that the ancients were writing about?

        • Ignorant Amos

          There was an historical Romulus that the ancients were writing about…

          http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/plutarch/lives/romulus*.html

          …wait a wee minute, does that mean Sherlock Holmes really did live at 221b Baker Street, London?

        • Pofarmer

          This doesn’t really seem like that hard of a concept……

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…great, then the man in Lincoln green must’ve been really robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.

          Colonel Ned Ludd must’ve existed too.

          And Sherlock Holmes, he’s a real person by your logic. London, Scotland Yard, and Queen Victoria, are all historically verifiable.

          Try providing evidence that can stand up to scrutiny rather than that sort of nonsense.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Are you SERIOUSLY implying that the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, didn’t exist? Do they teach American History in whatever part of the world you’re in, Ignorant Amos? As for the other, the almost 3 millennia long existence of the Christian Faith and the Church of that Faith is all the evidence you need. For people who tout themselves as intellectually superior to everyone else, you atheists seem to be incredibly obtuse when it comes to standard historical issues. Why IS that??

        • Kodie

          Holy shit but your’e stupid. He never mentioned Abraham Lincoln. You’re so sick to have an argument and your strategy is to ignore what people write and go have a conversation with yourself about stupid things that you laugh at. You really don’t need us to entertain yourself.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I guess in this instance I will temporarily rescind my standard, Kodie…I misunderstood Ignorant Amos, and I apologized to him. Is that allowed on this site, or are we all required to know everything and get EVERYTHING right? No reply on your part is necessary, so…Peace.

        • Kodie

          It’s just your standard way of answering without reading. There’s no evidence of you reading before you have answered anything since you’ve been here. You don’t understand what I’ve said and misconstrued many others, just to get your puke out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In fairness to Kodie, if you check the time stamps, her complaint was made 2 hours prior to your apology and given such a thing from a believer as an apology is as rare as hen’s teeth on here, her is in accordance with what should be expected.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is your reading comprehension really that abysmal? Are you seriously that illiterate that you don’t know who the man in Lincoln green was?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_green#/media/File:Robin_shoots_with_sir_Guy_by_Louis_Rhead_1912.png

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

          Made famous in American pop culture in the fifties in TV series, “The Adventures of Robin Hood” starring Richard Greene.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbyYr6L5xQM

          Do they teach American History in whatever part of the world you’re in, Ignorant Amos?

          Why would they? Do they teach Swedish history in whatever part of the world you are in?

          As for the other, the almost 3 millennia long existence of the Christian Faith and the Church of that Faith is all the evidence you need.

          That’ll be almost 3 millennia there Hoss, knowing you to be the pedant you are, but no matter.

          Nah. that might be all the evidence a soft boy like you needs, not me.

          If all that matters for evidence is the length of time a lot of eejits have believed woo woo, you should be a Hindu, or a Shintoist, or a Janist, or a Jew, or a Taoist.

          For people who tout themselves as intellectually superior to everyone else, you atheists seem to be incredibly obtuse when it comes to standard historical issues.

          It is you who are being obtuse when it comes to standard historical issues. There is no other area of historical inquiry where the bar is lowered to the level of what it is outside the study of the question of Jesus.

          Whatever can be said about the historicity of a Jesus, the miracle working guy it is not.

          Genuine historians don’t do the supernatural, end of.

          Why IS that??

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          My apologies to you, Ignorant Amos; I misunderstood you and I misspoke…again, I apologize. Peace.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just as rare here is a believing antagonist admitting error, it’s usually a hole digging exercise, so kudos for that.

          FYI, the regulars here will verify that I’m fairly well clued up on US history for a foreigner…I’ve even got a Green Card, US social security number and Florida drivers license.

        • Whaaa … ? You mean the name “Lincoln” didn’t come from the good ol’ U. S. of A??

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno…mad isn’t it?

          It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Lincoln is “lake colony”. The name of an early Roman settlement in England.

          If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for the people of Texas.

        • If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for the people of Texas.

          — said the governor of Texas, “Ma” Ferguson, in the 1920s.

          Ouch.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And she should know…

        • Phil

          From Lindum Colonia

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

        • JP415

          LCR has an amazing knack for missing the point. I wonder if he does it on purpose.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • TheMountainHumanist

          So squirrels are Catholic?

        • BlackMamba44

          Almost 3 millennia? Christianity was around almost 1,000 years before Jesus was born?

        • John Frum. Robin Hood. King Arthur.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Along with a whole host of others.

          The Giants Causeway is evidence of Finn McCool.

        • JP415

          Hitler appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hitler is real, therefore, Indiana Jones is real (by your logic.)

        • TheMountainHumanist

          He chose….poorly.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          So kind of the same way that a Buddhist might say the spirit of Buddha resides in his practice or heart?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          From what I understand from their various websites, and what was stated by the Dalai Lama himself, Buddhism doesn’t have a god, certainly not in sense of the Monotheistic Faiths like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, so no, its not the same. Again, Buddhists themselves make the claim that they have no god, so…there’s that. PEACE.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Depends..some sects do..some do not.

        • JP415

          “I and untold billions at this point down this almost 3 millennia road have, and still do, believe what history and the Scriptures has [have] taught about Jesus.”

          1. Who cares whether billions of people believe the scriptures? Popularity is not a criterion of truth, and it’s sad that I have to point this out to an adult.

          2. “History and the scriptures” — can you name any contemporary mention of Jesus outside of the scriptures? What makes you so sure that the scriptures are history?

          Your knowledge of history is rudimentary at best. You claim to own a lot of books, but do you actually read them? I see no evidence of it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought you said somewhere numbers don’t matter?

          Untold billions not following the same Jesus the Christ…45,000+ flavours of Christianity and counting.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          I would find it unlikely Paul ever went to Judea….I could be wrong..I do not see Acts as reliable history. My guess is he started around Antioch and traveled the circle via Ephesus, Rome etc.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought that Paul meeting “the pillars” in Jerusalem was mentioned elsewhere than Acts?

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Could be… You can see in these books what seems to be an attempt to reconcile the Judaizer school with the Pauline school…whether it actually happened could be a matter of debate.

          I think the Judaizers were doomed because a new convert had to get circumcized (no anathesia I guess!) and keep the law…whereas Pauline sects had a lower barrier to enter.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, historically, I mean it’s well accepted that Christianity grew much faster in Gentile areas than Jewish areas. Of course, there are a few perceived reasons for this. Now, which school they converted to I don’t really know.
          edit. found it. I was thinking of Galations 1:18

        • TheMountainHumanist

          we do know ultimately….they converted to the Paulinist side since the Judaizers mostly died out (there are still some Ebionites to this day)

          The problem we face is that we already know there were many additions to biblical manuscripts (the last part of Mark for example). It’s tough to know what is fact and what is “embellishment” in order to make the orthodoxy a whole.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently John has a tacked on ending, too. And the Pauline Corpus is just a mess. That we argue over single phrases in it is ridiculous, to me, when there have pretty obviously been whole huge chuncks added, like the last supper scene of Paul, for instance. And yet we argue over “James, the Lords Brother” as if anybody had any idea what the hell was actually written, what was meant, or who the hell these people even were!

        • TheMountainHumanist

          That’s why I tend to look at the Bible as one of many ancient story collections..some history…some myth…some legend and some allegory disguised as narrative (like Aesop).

          That some people insist it must be read and applied literally amazes me.

        • Pofarmer

          Unfortunately “some people” is more than a few, and includes people who simply should know better.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          It’s weird because..I used to be “some people” because…upbringing.

        • John 20 ends the book nicely … and then 21 starts up again. Stylistically, it’s clearly added on.

        • Greg G.

          I still say that “the Lord’s brother” was Paul’s sarcastic way of saying the person was using human authority to overrule what Paul thought was the Lord’s authority

        • Greg G.

          Well, historically, I mean it’s well accepted that Christianity grew much faster in Gentile areas than Jewish areas.

          It seems to me that Christianity in the Jewish areas was closer to the Pharisee sect than to the Sadducee sect. They were a sect within the sect of Jews who expected the Messiah to come during their lifetime, just as Paul did. I think Paul thought that Jesus had been crucified and the Jews didn’t. The difference that made the Christian Jews different than other Messiah Jews was the idea that the Messiah had come once before, died, and got resurrected. But they got wiped out by the Romans along with all the other temple Judaisms. That’s what I infer from Paul’s writings and Josephus’ writings.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, there’s a lot of different stuff that get’s “inferred”. Most of it I’ve picked up from Vridar and some from Ehrman, although it’s been a while. We’ll never really know what the Jerusalem Christians believed because they, essentially, lost. There were definitely different stories, though.

        • Greg G.

          Galatians 1:18-19 (NRSV)18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19 but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.

          So we have it from the horse’s mouth that he visited Jerusalem once.
          I agree with you that Acts is fiction. I advised LCR about that a few weeks ago and gave several examples off the top of my head. LCR said he would go to the library to check the examples out but the library must have been quite distant because he never got back to it.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Maybe he did..maybe someone inserted that to give Paul legitimacy…who knows…I would not be surprised either way.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think we have to speculate so much about interpolations in Galatians once you realize how sarcastic the letter is toward the Jewish Christian apostles and that the Christian spin is simply wrong. Compare the opening of the letter with other letters where Paul rails against others using human authority. He also points out that James sends people to places in Galatians 2. Look at Galatians 5:12 to see how sarcastic Paul is toward the circumcision faction:

          Galatians 5:11-12 (NRSV)11 But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

          Galatians 5:11-12 (NIV)11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

          Just before Paul says he visited Cephas and James, he says he didn’t get his knowledge from human authority, but from revelation from Jesus, which is saying he didn’t learn much from those two people. But other verses about Paul’s knowledge in other letters shows that his revelations come from the scriptures* which he considered to be a message from the Lord. When he calls James “the Lord’s brother”, he is sarcastically saying that James uses human authority to override the Lord’s authority, as if he is at the Lord’s level, as if he is the Lord’s brother. So the first two chapters are about discrediting the circumcision faction.

          In Galatians 3, he asked who has bewitched them, knowing it was those who he discredited. Then he has to explain his theory that Jesus was crucified by citing OT scriptures, using some shaky logic to equivocate on the word “curse” as if the people sent by James had argued against the crucifixion. Paul comes back to that near the close of the letter in Galatians 6:12 where he says the circumcisers do not want the persecution of the cross. That puts 1 Corinthians 1:23 about the crucifixion being a stumbling block for Jews in a different light.

          I think the Epistle of James was a response to Galatians. I think the best evidence is James 2:8-10 being a response to Galatians 5:14 about “love one another” being the whole law. James says it is a good start but one must follow everything as breaking on point breaks the whole law. James 2:11 shows that James thought Paul was arguing that faith instead of following the law allowed one to murder and steal. Paul responds to that in Romans 13:8-10 citing the James 2:11 objection and pointing out that if “love one another” is followed, you won’t kill them or steal from them, etc. Some other sequences are Galatians 2:16 > James 2:24-26 > Romans 3:28 and Galatians 3:6-9 > James 2:21-23 > Romans 4:1-3, 10-12.

          * Everything Paul says about Jesus in his epistles can be traced to OT scripture.

        • Joe

          18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19 but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.
          20 And all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.

        • Ignorant Amos

          To the people of the time, it might as well have been an ocean, it was all they knew and it was known to some, in the Vulgate, as “Mare Magnum”, the “Great Sea”.

          magnum from Latin, meaning great

          and maremeaning ocean/sea.

          Nit pickers gonna nit pick.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          There is even some parts of Pauline epistles that indicates Paul only believed in a kind of ethereal Jesus…not a man on earth.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah. It’s too bad we don’t actually know who wrote what and what was edited and added and when.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          in a sense….but then again….I think when we try to base public policy or morality on what some ancient dude may or may not have written/done…we do our modern society a grave disservice.

          To me, the bible/koran/buddhist sutras, etc are pretty much just historical/mythological curiosities.

          I doubt we’ll ever uncover much more about them (for one thing..we know the Church destroyed some writings because they may have gone “off script.”)

        • Pofarmer

          Well, I’m just saying that I think the Bible and other ancient books are much more interesting to study for what they are (mythological histories/curiosities) than to study them as devotional documents. What’s really appalling, as I look more at the Astrological/mythical content of the Bible, is to see all the literalist interpretations of things out there that really do cause harm.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Yes..I do enjoy studying ancient myths. The Bible is ten times more fascinating when placed into the context of one set mythologies among many at that time.

          For example…re-read the Samson story as if Samson is a sun god…makes way more sense once you realize that his hair is probably sun rays. Delilah is the moon. They believed at that time in the Near East that the sun set between two pillars and knocked them down.

        • Pofarmer

          I was reading an interpretation the other day that the pillars represented the Vernal equinox. I dunno, it makes a lot more sense as a solar myth. Kind of like Elijah and Elisha. Elijah and his chariot of fire is pretty much certainly a Sun God myth. I’d though Elisha was a moon God. But, according to one interpretation, Elijah giving his power to Elisha would have been at the Equinox and Elijah was the declining sun, and Elisha was the new sun Ascending from the equinox. This also helps make sense of the bears and the 42 Children. Although not exactly why there were 42, but he Bears are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. So, now, it makes sense, at least.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Because 42 is The Answer to the question of Life The Universe and Everything?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s the mythicist hypothesis favoured by Richard Carrier and Earl Docherty.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Yeah…I seem to recall they also mentioned that. It is weird that much of what Paul says about Jesus seems to refer to some cosmic being..although I think his epistles also have a loose indication of maybe kinda a real dude on earth. Who knows.

          We don;t even know how much later church leaders may have changed things.

        • Kodie

          You speak as though an actual Jesus is active in the world today. That’s superstition. Whether or not a living person called “Jesus” lived is beside the point. A human Jesus who was a preacher has been dead for a couple thousand years, so can’t possibly act. The impact of the story that people believe is not in dispute. Millions of people exist, and behave, and etc. Millions of people have an effect. There is no evidence that a genie Jesus has any effect. You’re too fucking stupid to understand this, though. The superstitious belief in a figment of the imagination should not have so much of an effect on say, me. If Jesus the genie isn’t real, then we’re really just slaves to your fucking superstition.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          O.K…It’s apparent that I have a lonely, Internet stalker here; until just now, I wouldn’t have believed there was such a creature, but…here we are.So, one more time, let me make myself clear, emphatically, with capital letters, in case your screen is foggy or something, Kodie(If you’re reading this, JP415, it’s for you, too.)—I.WILL.NOT.BE.REPLYING.TO.YOU.ANYMORE. It’s not my fault that either your reading comprehension is poor, or you’re lonely, or whatever is going on with you. MOVE ON, AND GET A LIFE, PLEASE… GOD BLESS YOU.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I.WILL.NOT.BE.REPLYING.TO.YOU.ANYMORE.

          Say it as loud as you like, no one here gives a flying fuck. It isn’t all about you. You have no power over who replies to your asininity. Folk are free to reply to any comment they deem needs a fisking. It isn’t for your benefit ya fucking Coco, it’s for the rest of the membership here, and any fence sitting lurker who might be reading your fuckwittery and observe how it is taken apart.

          You have already clarified that there is nothing that can impact on the mind virus that has fucked you up. You are clearly a lost cause with a completely closed mind. Which means you are nothing but a tone trolling cunt whose sole purpose for being here is to preach and proselytize. That makes you fair game for ridicule and mockery.

          Anyone stalking, it is you. You came here remember, ya Dime Bar. Kodie has been a regular here for years.

          Of course you can avoid all this by doing one ya demented auld prick.

          MOVE ON, AND GET A LIFE, PLEASE…

          Spoooiiinnng!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hey, Ignorant Amos! Wow…You know, before I came to this site, I used to wonder why atheists were so scarce in the public eye,and now I know why. I once read a survey that claimed that atheists are the least respected, least trusted people group in the U.S, and I can see why…Wow! You people are simply foul, with no obvious sense of decency or decorum, and why you assume that your vile, hateful, vicious hatred of others somehow enhances you in the eyes of your fellow citizens…well, I’m beyond perplexed. To be fair, I know something about why you conduct yourselves the way you do,because I was once the same way: vicious, uncaring, rude, profane,hateful…so, in a way, I can pity you and feel sorry for you, because as I said to another poster, you LITERALLY can’t help yourselves; bile and filth spews out of your mouths(or from your keyboards, I phones, etc.) naturally. I actually find it fascinating how perfectly the Scriptures describes those of your ilk,…”whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness”… (it’s somewhere in the Epistle to the Romans; I don’t have it handy, so…) Anyhoo, when I show these texts to my friends, they can’t believe that presumably normal human beings would speak to another like that; I have to tell them,sadly it’s true. At any rate, until the next round of toxic filth oozes from whoever types first, Au Revoir. (I’m sure it won’t be long—Maybe you,Amos?)—Peace in Christ, and God bless!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…tone trolling fuckwittery….blah, blah, blah.

          Take your trolling and stick it up yer arse.

          You are the insipid prick here. At least I’m honest enough to wear who I am on my sleeve. You are the one who is being the nasty piece of shite. You come here and waffle on the biggest load of ignorant nonsense with all your “Peace in Christ” crap, and “God Bless” bunkum.

          You are having a hard time grasping the fact, even though the site owner tipped you off, that whining will get you nowhere. The more you complain about the tone of the comments here, the more we will take the pish and pile it on, it’s that simple.

          You have already declared your hand here, so you are now nothing more than a chew toy.

          You know, before I came to this site, I used to wonder why atheists were so scarce in the public eye,and now I know why.

          An example of your know nothingness. Atheists are not scarce in the public eye, many just choose to not advertise their lack of belief openly, especially in places where it can be detrimental to their health and well being…like the US for example. But there are still those brave enough to be very open about their atheism, that you don’t know who they are is your ignorance. Here’s a slack handful of outspoken atheists in the public eye to be getting on with. Though it is by no means exclusive.

          I once read a survey that claimed that atheists are the least respected, least trusted people group in the U.S, and I can see why…

          I’ve no doubt you probably did. The majority of American’s are clueless Christians who believe atheists are Satan worshiping, baby eating heathens, but that’s changing. I read a survey that 54% of Americans would vote an atheist for president…still behind a Muslim or Gay person, but still a significant chunk of change.

          Wow! You people are simply foul, with no obvious sense of decency or decorum, and why you assume that your vile, hateful, vicious hatred of others somehow enhances you in the eyes of your fellow citizens…well, I’m beyond perplexed.

          Ah, there ya go ya prick…the fallacy of the generalization. Some atheists enjoy the use of colourful language, ergo “you people” all are tarred with the same brush. And that from a black man, shame on you for not doing better. So by that bigoted logic, since Christian clerics fuck children, you’re a child molesting paedophille…among other nefarious things?

          You do realize that the majority of those languishing in US prison’s are religious, and the majority out of them are Christians, right?

          To be fair, I know something about why you conduct yourselves the way you do,…

          No ya don’t. If you did, you’d know better than to say ya did.

          …because I was once the same way:…

          No ya weren’t.

          …vicious, uncaring, rude, profane,hateful…

          You still are…where I’m not vicious, uncaring, or hateful. I live in a country where Christian sectarian bigots wear their vicious, uncaring, and hateful Christianity like a badge of honour. I wish they’d give it up and replace it with some rude profanity instead.

          …so, in a way, I can pity you and feel sorry for you, because as I said to another poster, you LITERALLY can’t help yourselves;

          Don’t feel sorry for me, feel sorry for yerself ya hypocrite. Didn’t I read in one of your comments that folk should have thicker skins? Own it. I can help myself just fine when I choose to do so, but when a certain sort comes along that I can read straight away, I decide early on that they are a waste of space and set about some personal entertainment.

          …bile and filth spews out of your mouths(or from your keyboards, I phones, etc.) naturally.

          Yeah, words…diddums, because words upset your personal sensibilities…the “bile and filth” you lot push is a lot more physical. People in glass houses shouldn’t through stones.

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

          I actually find it fascinating how perfectly the Scriptures describes those of your ilk,…”whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness”… (it’s somewhere in the Epistle to the Romans; I don’t have it handy, so…)

          Romans 3:14…plagiarized from Psalm 10:7….that’s stolen in layman’s terms.

          Bwaaahahaha…quoting biblical texts on the foibles of swearing, seriously, have you actually read that piece of shite set of books called the Bible? It seems you are a typical Christian cherry picker, no surprise there then.

          What about something a bit more serious than cursing? The bit that rewards drunken incestuous rape? Or tearing of children to shreds by two bears for that deadly of sins, name calling? Of course any knuckle dragging fuckwit that thinks it is perfectly rational for a group of children to be tore to shreds for calling some old cunt baldy, is really going to get bent outta shape when an atheist calls him a fuckwit for being a fuckwit…so I’m hardly surprised why you have such warped sensibilities when some online stranger calls you a few profane names…wise up, I thought you were supposed to be 63, not 6 or 3.

          Anyway, you misquote scripture, another non-surprise of course. Paul was referring to Christians, doofus.

          [Romans] 3:9-18 Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked for.

          Anyhoo, when I show these texts to my friends, they can’t believe that presumably normal human beings would speak to another like that; I have to tell them,sadly it’s true.

          Because Christians wouldn’t dream of using such talk when addressing an atheist, would they?

          You need to get out more.

          https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/love-letters-to-richard-dawkins/

          At any rate, until the next round of toxic filth oozes from whoever types first, Au Revoir. (I’m sure it won’t be long—Maybe you,Amos?)—Peace in Christ, and God bless!!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzTikg0z9jw

        • BlackMamba44

          BOOM!

        • BlackMamba44
        • Kodie

          When you purposely demonstrate your prejudice against atheists, you’re going to get treated like the shit you came here to be. Why do Christians expect better treatment when they are assholes to us?

        • Greg G.

          You know, before I came to this site, I used to wonder why atheists were so scarce in the public eye,and now I know why. I once read a survey that claimed that atheists are the least respected, least trusted people group in the U.S,

          It’s because of the lies told about atheists from the pulpit. Besides, IA isn’t from the US.

        • Kodie

          Get over it. I can comment if I want to, for everyone else to see. This is how blog comments sections work, whether you like it or not. I’m not fucking stalking you, you dumb ass. Your comments, and everyone else in the thread, come to my email, and I read what dumb shit you say, and then I make a comment if I want to. If you can’t handle it, maybe the internet isn’t for you.

        • BlackMamba44

          Someone who replies to your comments on one blog post is an internet stalker? Do you really think that highly of yourself that you think someone would want to stalk you on the internet? Kodie is a regular here and she can comment as much as she wants. You’re the unwelcome intruder.

          If you don’t want people to respond to your comments, then don’t post comments. LEAVE.

        • JP415

          Gee, Laurence Charles Ringo, I think you need to sit down and take a deep breath. Peace, and may Allah be with you!

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “there is NO credible historical records of Paul” Agree.

        • Lark62

          Nope. Not a bit.

          But since the dawn of civilization to today, priests / shamans / preachers have been saying all sorts of variations of: “The deity spoke to me. He said to tell you that you’re supposed to give me money.”

          There is evidence Paul created christianity by plagiarizing from other mystery religions popular at the time. If Paul created his own religion and did not get rich, he was incompetent.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          We don’t have much in the way of credible evidence about any aspect of his biography. At best…he was probably an early convert to Christianity..probably did become known as being an effective advocate/speaker/writer and probably gained some measure of ecclestiastical authority toward the end of his life.

  • Kevin K

    Well, since Jesus commanded that his followers cut off their right hands if they masturbated (“offend” is the word used in the bible), then we should see millions upon millions of guys nicknamed “Stumpy” … shouldn’t we?

    • Bob Jase

      Have you ever tried cutting with your off-hand? Its soooooooooo complicated!

      • Kodie

        https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41X24PcJatL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg
        Search for a left-handed paper cutter brought zero relevant results! I can imagine trying to cut off your right hand with this will be easy, but turn it so that the blade is closest to you and parallel to your body. Feed your right hand so that it rests on the platform, and push the blade down with your left hand. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. Adding a wrist weight to your left arm will help.

    • Michael Neville

      Finally, an advantage to being left handed.

    • Jack Baynes

      My close personal relationship with Jesus means that I trust him to do that to himself for me.

    • sandy

      Are you addicted to masturbation? Reach out to me and we can beat it together…..Jesus

  • Jim Jones

    I have the same relationship with Lake Geneva as they have with Jesus.

    I’ve seen neither.

    • Kevin K

      Do you have a girlfriend who lives in Canada?

    • TheMountainHumanist

      Lake Geneva? She dances on Thursdays at the Beaver Lodge

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I have a simple test: Can you potentially have lunch with this alleged figure? No? Then you have no personal relationship.

    • Michael Murray

      Of course you can. As much bread and fishes as you can eat and you get to take away six baskets of left overs. Plus you just take the house water which is free and He turns it into excellent wine. Who wouldn’t want to have lunch with someone like that !

      • TheMountainHumanist

        “I came for the bottomless fish. I STAYED for the sweet red wine.” – TGI Jesus

    • bobbyb

      reminds me of the tea parties little girls have with imaginary friends….

  • vinny152

    Religion is our version of a “Safety” net against “disaster”-as we are no longer in the “Fight or Flight” mode in our evolution of the human brain…..v152

  • bobbyb

    …. because we are mortal and will die someday. no longer exist….if this imaginary friend wasn’t connected with possible immortality, why would anyone bother with all it’s nonsense?