Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do They Fail? (3 of 4)

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do They Fail? (3 of 4) July 26, 2019

Let’s continue with our critique of Eric Hyde’s analysis of atheist arguments, “Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail.” Begin with part 1 here.

“5. Christianity arose from an ancient and ignorant people who didn’t have science.”

Hyde lampoons any atheist who thinks the ancients didn’t understand where babies come from.

The virgin birth of Christ was profound and of paramount concern to the ancients precisely because they understood that conception was impossible without intercourse.

The Old Testament prophecy of the virgin birth in Isaiah 7 is about neither a virgin birth nor a prophesied messiah. The Jesus birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are simply wrong when they claim otherwise.

Hyde continues:

The claim that Christianity was viable in the ancient world because it was endorsed by widespread ignorance is a profoundly ignorant idea. Christianity arose in one of the most highly advanced civilizations in human history.

The Roman Empire in the first century was impressive for the time, but it preceded modern science by about 1800 years. The public (if we’re talking about the spread of religion, we’re talking about ordinary people, not just scholars) filled in knowledge gaps with superstition because there was nothing better. The Bible records some of this superstition such as Jacob influencing the appearance of newborn animals by what the parents saw when they mated (Genesis 30:37–9). Or the six-day creation story. Or the Flood. Pseudoscience and supernatural belief fare pretty well without competition from science.

And why are we even talking about the Roman Empire? Superstition, supernaturalism, magical thinking, and ignorance of science thrive in our own day! Don’t believe me? Walk down the homeopathic aisle at the store or read the astrology section of the paper.

The human brain is impressive, but it’s susceptible to lots of nutty thinking.

“6. Christians only believe in Christianity because they were born in a Christian culture. If they’d been born in India they would have been Hindu instead.”

This argument is appealing because it pretends to wholly dismiss people’s reasoning capabilities based on their environmental influences in childhood. The idea is that people in general are so intellectually near-sighted that they can’t see past their own upbringing, which, it would follow, would be an equally condemning commentary on atheism. But, this is a spurious claim.

If you say that religion is not due to indoctrination, let’s perform a thought experiment. Suppose we categorized religion as an adult activity like voting, driving, or smoking—activities that are acceptable but which one must be old enough to handle responsibly. Young adults would opt in to Christianity at a tiny rate. Without new members, Christianity would vanish within a few generations.

You might well reply that 18-year-olds are set in their ways and won’t accept the truth then. But what kind of “truth” must be force-fed into someone before their intellectual defenses are mature? (More here.)

You might argue that adults can adopt a new religion for intellectual reasons. Could this inflow make up the difference? A recent Pew Research study estimates that less than one percent of believers switch in, with the rest keeping the religion of their upbringing. Your atheist strawman says that “Christians only believe” because they mirror their environment. That’s not what I’m saying, but it’s close.

Why are some fundamentalist Christians so concerned that their kids’ going to college will shake their faith? If the evidence supports Christianity, then more education and sharper analytic skills can only enhance the Christian argument. Their concern is well placed, which doesn’t say much about the evidence backing up Christian claims.

You imagine that people “are so intellectually near-sighted that they can’t see past their own upbringing” is a weak argument, but how else do you explain the nearly 100% hold Islam has in many countries? If a baby born in Pakistan will almost surely grow up to be a Muslim and one born in a Hindu community in India will almost surely grow up to be a Hindu, won’t many babies grow up to be Christian for no more profound reason than they’re mirroring their environment as well?

“7. The gospel doesn’t make sense: God was mad at mankind because of sin so he decided to torture and kill his own Son so that he could appease his own pathological anger. God is the weirdo, not me.”

Hyde says that this is an effective argument against some Protestants, and I agree. But his particular flavor of Christianity sees the logic of the crucifixion differently.

The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal; not to protect mankind from His fury, but to unite mankind to His love.

Uh, okay. It’s your religion, so you can imagine whatever you want and not bother providing evidence or even logic to support it. You might want to ask yourself why God’s message is so ambiguous that different denominations have very different interpretations.

And you’re still stuck with the question of how much of a sacrifice it was when Jesus popped back into existence a day and a half later. Or why Yahweh could ever demand a human sacrifice in the first place, as if he were stuck back in the Bronze Age.

If you’re saying that this makes some kind of literary sense, I can understand it better. For example, the Superman story is boring if he can effortlessly achieve every goal. Solution: make it a fairer fight by adding cunning adversaries and kryptonite to the mix. And if God really is like Superman without any weakness or equally matched enemies, there wouldn’t have been a problem for Jesus to fix in the first place. Or, if there were, God could’ve just fixed it with magic.

It’s your story, just don’t expect it to be believable to an objective observer.

Concluded in part 4.

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.
— Donny Miller

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/1/15.)

Image from Caden Crawford, CC license

.

"As promised, responding to the longer part of your message now that I can read ..."

How Much Faith to Be an ..."
"Yes. But the people to whom Jesus was speaking did not."

Silver-Bullet Argument #26: Jesus Was Wrong ..."
"My main point is about how we as atheists engaged in online discussions now are ..."

How Much Faith to Be an ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


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

    I read Hyde’s full piece, and his discussion of item 5 is awfully generous to the folks of antiquity. He almost seems to think the surviving literature from the early Roman Empire is representative of all its inhabitants. But of course what we have today is largely the output of the exceptionally rich, powerful, educated, literate elite. And even they frequently believed in gods, spirits, omens, monsters, and miracles that modern Christians like Hyde readily (and correctly) dismiss as shared figments of the human imagination.

    “Ignorant” is too perjorative for my tastes, but the typical imperial citizen or slave lived in a world of perceived magic, astrology, dæmons, prophecies, and prodigies. Even their very human emperors frequently ascended to godhood after death. Arguing that Christianity was believable enough for the Roman Empire ain’t exactly saying a lot.

    • Jim Jones

      Very few could read much – no problem, since books were very rare indeed.

      • NS Alito

        Aye, few could read, and even fewer could write.

        • Tangent: I’ve wondered at the distinction between “I can read” and “I can write.” In modern societies, they’re taught together. But if you can read, how is it that you can’t write? Is it nothing more than the fine motor practice (which is best taught to children) isn’t there for a literate-but-not-trained-to-write person?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’ll say this: It seems to me, for some people, that speech and reading pass through basically the same language centers; for others, not so much in a BIG way….as an example, there are quite a few people I know who are native English speakers who are *completely* fluent, barring a few idiosyncrasies, but whose written communication is awkward and stilted.

          A more concrete example: a joke I have up at my shop, on a letter-sized sheet of paper with tear tags sliced into the bottom, has a bold heading: “THESE ARE TEARABLE PUNS“. Some people get the joke immediately, while others have to say it out loud before the joke hits.

          Like this:

          https://longboredsurfer.com/thumbs/tearablepuns-1be46c790b066224b5de9149cb429352.png

        • I can appreciate that being a good writer (essays, memos, and other documents) takes much practice. But they had scribes back then who would take dictation. If someone can dictate, the composition part is solved. I’m thinking it might just be a motor control thing. But I’m just speculating.

          BTW, here’s another version of the pun sheet in case anyone wants to read them in bigger form.
          https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b6/32/8a/b6328ab2ed50c45a9a8868138248ade9.jpg

        • I don’t know it’s that easy. When I was long distance hiking a few years back and wanting a diary of it, I decided to dictate to my phone as interesting things happened rather than trying to remember it all when I got wherever I was going by the end of the day. And I found exactly the same problem as I do with writing – I could be thinking something for a while, but when it came to press the “record” button, suddenly my mind would go blank in exactly the same way as before starting writing. Or I’d be repeatedly correcting myself, or going off on tangents, or thinking five minutes later about the main point I really should make or a clearer version of it. And if I were ever to write a “final” version of that diary it wouldn’t be a transcript of those recordings.

          Taking dictation is OK if the scribe has latitude to adjust, re-write, etc., but I suspect that dictating production-ready copy is just as much a skill that needs learning as writing production-ready copy is.

        • epicurus

          I’ve had that experience as well. I makes me think that those who want to say scribes wrote down the words of illiterate apostles like Peter would have to admit those scribes probably massaged, changed, and manipulated the stories. How could they not.

        • NS Alito

          In Forged, Bart Ehrman talks about the difference between the whopping few percent back then who could read vs. those who learned writing (glyph-making) and composition.

        • epicurus

          And I think he talked about bureaucrats who knew a few words that would appear on a form and the few words they would write on the form in response but that was about it. Today that wouldn’t constitute knowing how to read and write.

        • NS Alito

          Today that wouldn’t constitute knowing how to read and write.

          It’s called functional illiteracy nowadays. I used to volunteer teaching adult literacy and it’s amazing how much people get by with using idiomatic reading tricks.

        • epicurus

          I know a bit of tourist oriented german, but it’s a lot easier to recognize when presented to me as in read or hear, than to have to write it out myself or speak it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I can order feast foods and pastries due to my German-speaking grandmother, but that’s it.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          To read you need access to books. To learn to write, you need access to lots of paper and ink. I can see that being more difficult to get.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Actually, to write, you’d need a light slate and a burnt stick.

          /pedant

        • But if you can read, how is it that you can’t write? Is it nothing more than the fine motor practice (which is best taught to
          children) isn’t there for a literate-but-not-trained-to-write person?

          It’s not just about the fine motor skills being missing, but rather all of the other skills necessary to construct meaningful communication.. Reading is more about parsing words out and understanding the lexical structure to derive the meaning. Writing uses different skills, because you cannot just look at a word to remember it’s meaning. You have to remember your grammar rules, conjure up the correct words, verb tenses, etc. It’s a more involved process than trying to read something.

          Here’s a more personal analogy I can offer. I have some education in the French language, but had too little instruction as a child to have made it stick. I know a decent number of French words, and I can comprehend the basic ideas in French, but couldn’t really write a, non-trivial, coherent sentence to save my life.

          Alternatively, there’s the story of my mother, who can listen to a conversation in Polish, and understand what’s being said, but doesn’t have the skills to be able to be conversant in Polish. In order to have a conversation she must reply in English, even though she can understand what’s being said to her in Polish. I think reading and writing have a similar relationship.

        • That’s a good point about remembering what the word looks like to write it. I also have a bit of French, and my reading vocabulary is bigger than my writing vocabulary. I’ll see a word and remember what it means, but it’s much harder to conjure up the translation of a particular English word.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Am happy enough with the descriptor ignorant in areas where I am indeed ignorant, which is just about every area. But there’s no excuse for stupid after the ignorance has been pointed out and the knowledge made available in order to be less ignorant.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Hyde lampoons any atheist who thinks the ancients didn’t understand where babies come from.

    Here is an episode in which ancient medical professionals were fooled by a bizarre hoax:

    The woman who gave birth to rabbits

    An obstetrician named John Howard, who seems to have been less than rigorous with his examinations, was convinced by her story. He wrote to some of England’s greatest doctors and King George I, informing them of the miraculous births – including the momentous occasion when his patient produced nine dead bunnies.
    The King sent his doctor to investigate. The medic, who arrived when Mrs Toft was in labour with her 15th rabbit, was certain she was genuine – and took some of her offspring back to London to show the monarch and Prince of Wales…

    And by “ancient” I mean 18th century.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    The idea is that people in general are so intellectually near-sighted
    that they can’t see past their own upbringing, which, it would follow,
    would be an equally condemning commentary on atheism.

    Except that

    1) Unbelievers appear in every culture: Christian, Hindu, etc.
    2) Many nonbelievers were not brought up that way, but rejected their upbringing.

  • eric

    Hyde lampoons any atheist who thinks the ancients didn’t understand where babies come from.

    That seems quite narrow and a bit strawmanny. Does anyone have any experience with atheists actually making this argument?

    I think the more general “argument of biblical ignorance” goes like this:
    Observation 1. There are errors in the bible. I’ll focus on the ‘natural philosophy (i.e. science) mistakes for this argument, but there are others to which this argument would also be relevant.
    Observation 2. The wrong answers the bible gives are, from what we understand, consistent with the natural philosophy mistakes bronze age peoples often or could reasonably thought to have believed.
    Conclusion: the bible was authored by bronze age humans, not inspired or delivered by a God that believers claim has perfect knowledge of natural philosophy. At a very minimum, God beamed some info into people’s heads but then permitted his chosen human authors to write errors into His book. And if that’s the case, then we can’t have confidence it’s right about the important stuff.

    This argument is appealing because it pretends to wholly dismiss people’s reasoning capabilities based on their environmental influences in childhood

    Not wholly, but partly, yes. Most people think they arrive at their religious beliefs through reasoned consideration of the evidence. But people the world over have different religious beliefs. Those two things are contradictory. Science is a good contrast; people in India, China, Africa, you name it, generally all use and believe the same physical laws. They build airplanes using the same laws of aerodynamics. Build cell phones using the same rules of electromagnetics. Etc. That sameness is what you expect if people are really using their reason.

    The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal;

    Sorry, but that still doesn’t make sense and still sounds weird – for an omnipotent deity. Since he has the power to [snap fingers], [destroy death], first creating and sacrificing one’s son to do it is unnecessary cruelty.

    • Jim Jones

      >> Hyde lampoons any atheist who thinks the ancients didn’t understand where babies come from.

      > That seems quite narrow and a bit strawmanny. Does anyone have any experience with atheists actually making this argument?

      Never found one. But BTW, until about 1850 humans thought that the sperm contained tiny persons that were ‘planted’ in the field (woman) to grow. Only after that date did we realize that the egg and the sperm combined to form a zygote. This is why virgins were special – they were a fresh field, not exhausted by repeated use.

      And the RCC still has rules based on the silly old ideas.

      • This is why virgins were special – they were a fresh field, not exhausted by repeated use.

        I thought it was more “I can be sure that this woman will deliver my children and only my children.”

        • Jim Jones

          No, the seeds/fields was a really big part of it. They could deal with the other stuff.

        • Michael Newsham

          Virgins were thought to be more fertile, yes, but their special status came from their provably (supposedly) not having sex before, so any children could only be the future husbands.

      • rubaxter

        I’ve tried looking this up, in the past, but rarely find anything more illustrative than

        https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/discovery-where-babies-come-from

        It would be nice if some Arts & Sciences major did a thesis on this that was comprehensive by religious tradition/folklore.

        • Jim Jones

          Homunculus.

    • Castilliano

      Yes, I like to phrase it thus:
      If the Bible cannot get the natural things correct, why would we trust it on the supernatural things?
      And “Oh, it’s not a science book” doesn’t cut it for most Christian opinions about the Bible.
      It’s funny how much apologists perform gymnastics to stretch a prophecy beyond recognition, while if we point at a straightforward error about the natural world they dismiss it (or worse, deny reality like YECs.)

      And crucifixion as a means to an end contradicts claims of Yahweh being omnibenevolent especially when believers focus on the human sacrifice aspect.

      • If the Bible cannot get the natural things correct, why would we trust it on the supernatural things?

        Why indeed??

        I have a similar argument about morality: the RCC can’t figure out what to do with pedophile priests (you make your records open to the police and cooperate completely + you focus on the health of the parishioners rather than that of the church). Since they can’t get this gimme moral problem correctly, they clearly have nothing to offer about any other moral question in modern society (abortion, SSM, contraception, etc.).

      • rubaxter

        But, my copy of Physical Science for Christian Schools if just full of Christer metaphors to explain physical phenomena, like Ionic Bonding in terms of the Goodnes of Knowing Gawd and the Evul of Denying Him.

  • abb3w

    “5. Christianity arose from an ancient and ignorant people who didn’t have science.”

    I have to say, I’m not aware of many deconverts who explicitly cite the relative ignorance of the era in which a religion arose as a direct factor toward their deconversion — IE, that it was consciously recognized before the deconversion. It may be an indirect factor, but in terms of utility for persuading the religious to become irreligious, it seems likely that as an argument this fails to be as effective as others.

    Contrariwise, I don’t have rigorous data anywhere near this particular potential factor, so it might make an interesting topic for study.

    A recent Pew Research study estimates that less than one percent of believers switch in, with the rest keeping the religion of their upbringing.

    That’s a global number; and the measure also depends on what level of “switch” is considered threshold to be counted. Christian-to-Muslim is pretty radical, but it’s still within the “Abrahamic” traditions; the argument could be made they’re still the same “kind”. (Cue Ken Ham jokes.) In contrast, “Baptist-to-Catholic” is still Christian in both cases, but there’s a lot of difference to the two.

    • NS Alito

      Ah, but what about Baptist/Presby/Lutheran/Catholic → “prosperity Gospel”? If you already have money, then they tell you it’s because God approves of you. If you desperately need money, then they tell you that “seed” donations will bring riches, backed by the usual excuses about why it hasn’t happened yet.

      • abb3w

        Are you asking whether or not that’s a switch or not? Could be counted either way; might also only count for some of those four. (The prosperity gospel has more protestant roots than Catholic.)

  • Jim Jones

    > You might well reply that 18-year-olds are set in their ways and won’t accept the truth then. But what kind of “truth” must be force-fed into someone before their intellectual defenses are mature?

    We all know that any emotional bias — irrespective of truth or falsity — can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value…. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.

    ― H.P. Lovecraft, Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft

  • 5. Christianism and earlier on Judaism were created in a pretty much backwards region of the world. A zone that when the former came to exist was far from being the cultural center of the Empire, and as for the latter had Jews considered as nomads, herders, thugs, etc. Hardly something comparable to classical Greece with all its faults.

    6. Maybe Fundagelicals and the like could explain why we’re not born with an innate knowledge of God, Jesus, etc. and everything must be taught. They especially could explain why the Adam and Eve tale is not universal, at least more or less as the Bible describes it.

    7. Along with God’s love it’s the largest mess of Christianism. That omnipotence goes to dev/null is the least problem here.

  • Michael Neville

    5. Christianity arose from an ancient and ignorant people who didn’t have science.

    I don’t know of any atheists who make this argument. There’s a similar argument made against Biblical literalism, but that argument is against one narrowly held bit of dogma .

    • rubaxter

      Well, the Christers have stolen the Tanakh from the Jews, and the Tanakh DID arise from a group of science-challenged sheep-fec&#8203kersherders, so that’s a reasonable tie-in.

      Of course, the current Christers cherry pick whatever they want, and just understanding “When a Mommy Loves a Daddy Really a Lot …” doesn’t make anybody science-literate, either.

  • mk7

    This article shows what is wrong with atheism. When the standard of a good scientists is to not believe in God, it’s easy to find less scientists believing in God. But the problem is here: not all that scientists says is true or scientific, and you don’t have to work in a scientific field to understand science. Of course is better if you do both, but the fact is that you should be judge on what you say in the context of that scientific fact, and other facts regarding the subject, after that you draw conclusions, and not judge all by your theory or opinion, cause that’s whats annoying with traditionalists. There were top countries in the past that were atheist and they taught that in universities and schools, and the results were ugly.. if you observe with scientific method, all political systems that are not based on Protestantism (real interpretation of the Bible, with no abuse) will lead to oppression and loosing the liberty of taught,speach,religion, etc. This tipe of misinterpretation is dangerous because you really didn’t respond on the arguments that this normal men presents.

    • RichardSRussell

      Please tell me that English isn’t your native language. It would explain much of the above.

      • Michael Neville

        I’ve just looked at mk7’s profile. They’ve made five comments in total, one today on this blog, three ten months ago and one four years ago. Other than today’s comment, all were in Romanian.

        • epeeist

          They’ve made five comments in total, one today on this blog, three ten months ago and one four years ago.

          Disqus now seems to be curtailing my list of comments to the last month so I can’t find the post where I pointed out that this seems to be a pattern, there have been a number of cases where a largely dormant account is used to make posts here.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          I remember there was a rash of dormant accounts being recycled as spambots. But those were cases where the spam clearly did not match the previous posting history.

        • Thanks for noticing. I hadn’t. Are you suggesting that Disqus accounts are deliberately created and then left fallow so that they can be later used? I’m not sure what the value would be.

        • MR

          See, comment to you in epeeist’s box. I guess I can’t repost it here because Disqus says I’ve already posted even though I tried to change.

        • Got it.

          For double posting: I’m normally able to just add a space at the end of a sentence. Or, you could add an italics marker at the end of the comment. Either should make it different enough so that it doesn’t flag it as a repeat.

        • epeeist

          Are you suggesting that Disqus accounts are deliberately created and then left fallow so that they can be later used?

          No, if I am suggesting anything it is that someone is reaping dormant accounts and using these to post comments rather than creating a sock.

        • MR

          Sorry, epeeist, wrong box. This was meant for Bob.

          Bob, seriously? What do you think the whole Mueller thing was about? Mk7, Andy, these others that are just here to derail the conversation and make it about social issues or white supremacy or politics…. You’re going to see more and more of these disinformation campaigns, professional gas-lighters, foreign and domestic, the closer to the election we get. I’ve curtailed my own postings because I don’t believe in giving them a platform. Patheos/Disqus doesn’t give out warnings or guidelines for recognizing this stuff? I wish I could say I’m surprised.

        • You could be right. I’m not particularly quick in identifying underlying motives, two accounts being the same person, and so on.

          No, we get nothing from Patheos, but I think I’ll ask. Maybe things are clearer at the top.

          I see that some of these people are derailing the conversation, but it looks to me like these are just individuals either being dicks (“I’ll go make those damn atheists waste some time”) or advancing their agenda (libertarianism, nationalism, whatever).

          Of course, just because they’re individuals and not part of some Russian-backed election-rigging project doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be shut down as time wasters and/or divisive actors.

        • MR

          And they aren’t all necessarily Russian-backed either. There are other foreign and even domestic campaigns, too. Remember that Steve Bannon had his little disruption campaigns. This mk7 obviously looks foreign. And don’t you remember all the liking by socks for years that had the .ru links in their profiles? Sexy girls. That wasn’t because they were trying to get you to buy Russian porn, that was phishing attempts. Twitter and Facebook get all the press, but the Disquses and the reddits and what not are also excellent platforms for them to work in. I wish Disqus/Patheos would do more on their part, but you/we have to be diligent, too.

        • Can you suggest a banning algorithm that would disrupt their activities? I suppose I could quickly warn new people who will only talk about non-religious topics (gun rights, politics, nationalism, etc.), warn them that this isn’t the place for that, and then ban them when they continue.

          Disqus could provide tools for me (highlighting new commenters, showing how many comments they’ve made here and during what time period, allowing private annotations of each commenter to keep track of violations, etc.), but that’s not to be.

        • MR

          It’s a burden. I doubt you have the time to check the history and behavior of every poster. I wouldn’t know where to begin to formulate an algorithm for that kind of thing and it’s always oneupsmanship when you do. That should be a constant defense on Disqus/Patheos’ part. Fortunately you have people like epeeist and Susan and others who peek at profiles and histories.

          I think some of us, myself included, carry the conversation too far when we stray off topic or when someone is here just to derail or spread some other agenda. We should keep them on topic and hold their feet to the fire, otherwise we’re just giving them a platform.

          Maybe we (users) should be complaining to Disqus, too: “What are you doing to stop this kind of thing?” But as long as that Russian Sexy Girls thing went on, I don’t have much hope they’ll do much or in a timely fashion.

          [ETA:] Ah, also sometimes we actually have interesting conversations ‘twixt ourselves. Sometimes when we have a bad actor we could take some of those conversations and discuss the salient points between ourselves. We don’t have to argue them with someone who’s just here to wank, we can explore those topics ourselves. There have been some interesting epistemological points raised recently, for example, that I’d like to see discussed, but I’m not interested in engaging some hostile actor who’s just here to gaslight.

        • OK, thanks for the feedback. I don’t want to give trolls of any sort (except the Christian kind, which will always get a little more slack) a platform. Feel free to comment further if you see transgressions.

        • some hostile actor who’s just here to gaslight.

          That could be the key.

        • MR

          I know, I know, &#8203jerk and &#8203wank, right?

        • rubaxter

          I guess it’s just going back to see if they’ve been purged before 2020.

        • abb3w

          I expect my spelling in Romanian would be considerably worse.

    • When the standard of a good scientists is to not believe in God, it’s easy to find less scientists believing in God.

      Is this the case? Show me.

      not all that scientists says is true or scientific

      Right. Science tells us that.

      if you observe with scientific method, all political systems that are not based on Protestantism (real interpretation of the Bible, with no abuse) will lead to oppression and loosing the liberty of taught,speach,religion, etc.

      Protestants never take the side of oppression? I wonder then why there were Christians in the U.S. using the Bible to make pro-slavery arguments in the 1800s. Or who argued in favor of laws against mixed-race marriage. Or who otherwise argued against civil rights.

      • eric

        Protestants never take the side of oppression?

        Indeed. Mk7 might want to think about the reason why there *are* Protestant countries in Europe. It wasn’t like everyone in the country happily switched over the course of a few days or weeks.

        • It’s been a while, admittedly, but the Thirty Years War (early 1600s) is estimated to have killed two percent of the world’s population. It was (in part) Protestants vs. Catholics. I’m sure it wasn’t all the Catholics’ fault.

      • Ignorant Amos

        It was Protestant oppression of Catholics that kicked off The Troubles here in Ulster.

        The conflict began during a campaign to end discrimination against the Catholic/nationalist minority by the Protestant/unionist government and police force. The authorities attempted to suppress this protest campaign and were accused of police brutality; it was also met with violence from loyalists, who alleged it was a republican front. Increasing inter-communal violence, and conflict between nationalist youths and police, eventually led to riots in August 1969 and the deployment of British troops, who constructed ‘peace walls’ to keep the opposing communities apart. Some Catholics initially welcomed the army as a more neutral force, but it soon came to be seen as hostile and biased, particularly after Bloody Sunday. The emergence of armed paramilitary organisations led to the subsequent warfare over the next three decades.

        • Lex Lata

          On a related but separate note–Derry Girls. Just wow. What a brilliant, obscene, humane, artful show. Best comedy I’ve watched in years.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, great show, it’s something we like to do us Irish, laugh at ourselves. It’s a speciality we possess. Add a bit of schadenfreude and it’s all the funnier.

          You’re in good company Bob S was just sayin’ a few weeks back, how much him and his, like it too.

          Am glad to see it doing so well and picking up some awards.

        • We just started watching Stranger Things yesterday. After a couple of episodes, we’d had enough for one night.

          You can guess what show we turned to for a few episodes to balance that out and bring us back to reality (of a sort).

      • abb3w

        Strictly speaking, mk7 didn’t claim that Protestant-based systems couldn’t also lead to “oppression and loosing the liberty of taught,speach,religion, etc.” [sic], only that all other systems did. Cue “Wason Selection Task Failure”.

        So, rebuttal might do better to point out that there are secular systems which have not yet done so; or to note that taxonomically, modern secular humanism actually is “Protestant”. (Specifically, it looks to be a variant on the Ethical Culture movement, which was a variation on Unitaraianism, which was a development from Socinianism, which arose from the Anabaptists….)

        • Strictly speaking, mk7 didn’t claim that Protestant-based systems couldn’t also lead to “oppression and loosing the liberty of taught,speach,religion, etc.” [sic], only that all other systems did.

          OK. But it’s equivalent to saying, “all cars that are not the new Cadillac Mark II are subject to accidents.” Sure sounds to me like a particular claim is made for the new Cadillac that doesn’t apply to others.

          Cue “Wason Selection Task Failure”.

          I didn’t know it by that name, but I love that puzzle. It’s isomorphic to a related puzzle (who is breaking the underage drinking rule?) which is almost trivial to solve, and yet the cards version is difficult.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wason_selection_task

        • abb3w

          Sure sounds to me like a particular claim is made for the new Cadillac that doesn’t apply to others.

          That’s often considered to be implied, but in a strictly logical sense isn’t.

          It’s isomorphic to a related puzzle (who is breaking the underage drinking rule?) which is almost trivial to solve, and yet the cards version is difficult.

          This gives rise to conjectures that human “reflective” intelligence first developed due to advantages in social interactions.

    • eric

      When the standard of a good scientists is to not believe in God, it’s easy to find less scientists believing in God

      AFAIK neither science writ large nor science organizations, nor organizations that do science such as universities and laboratories, have a “standard” that rewards or requires nonbelief. Can you give some examples of places that do this?

      It’s true that scientists are less religious than the general population, but that’s also true for non-science PhDs too. AIUI much of the correlation between nonbelief and ‘scientist is explained by the fact that most working scientists have PhD’s, and PhD’s tend to be less religious. Thus the correlation is more generally with education. Second, nobody is quite sure yet which way the causation works in that correlation. I.e., we don’t know if increasing education makes you less religious, or if less religious people tend to be the ones who like to get advanced degrees. It’s probably some of both.

      if you observe with scientific method, all political systems that are not based on Protestantism (real interpretation of the Bible, with no abuse) will lead to oppression and loosing the liberty of taught,speach,religion, etc.

      France, Italy, Hungary, Ireland, and Spain are or were (and have been for hundreds of years) predominantly Catholic. As is most of Latin and South America. The UK, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and many other Western European countries may have been Protestant in the past, but are now predominantly nonreligious. Eastern European countries are predominantly Greek or Russian Orthodox. On top of all this, the European Renaissance started in the 14th century – before Protestantism existed. Every country in Europe was Catholic when the learning and discovery of the Renaissance ramped up.

      I think what you’re doing here is engaging in “No True Scotsman” fallacy. You’ve pre-decided that only Protestant-based countries can be successful, and so any time someone brings up an example of a successful non-Protestant country, you’re going to claim either that it somehow owes its success to Protestantism or that it’s not successful despite the data.

      • mk7

        I started speaking about my opinion on what I consider wrong with this article, and at the end I gave an example to support that. The exemple wasn’t made to argue that all protestants and all protestants countries are gold, but that were true Protestantism was part of the leading country that country was on the path of freedom.

        • eric

          The exemple wasn’t made to argue that all protestants and all protestant
          countries are gold, but that were true Protestantism was part of the
          leading country that country was on the path of freedom.

          Apartheid South Africa was predominantly protestant. And it didn’t drop the apartheid system because of some religious awakening, it dropped it because the rest of the world levied crippling economic sanctions on it, in parallel with Mandela’s ANC waging persistent civil unrest actions from the 1950s until 1990. Protestantism manifestly does not put a country on “the path to freedom”.

    • larry parker

      Please define your god and provide non- fallacious evidence to back up your assertion. Until you do this, I don’t believe you is the correct response.

    • Michael Neville

      Besides the grammatical errors and use of fallacies, I note a strong lack of evidence to support your claims.

      • rubaxter

        Christer Rhetorical B/S™ don’t need no STEENKING EVIDENCE!

    • Do you mean those preachers I’ve caught claiming all the knees, up to those of Buddha, Confucious, Alexander the Great, etc. -all existing far away from Jesus in both space and time is not oppresion (sort of)-?

      Do you also mean one preacher included on the gruoup of above claiming this country -Catholic, by the way- belongs to the Holy Spirit and everyone will hear God/Jesus’ words, like it or not, is also not oppresion (sort of)?. And there’s more I cannot remember now.

      I will pray Eldath, Goddess of druidic groves, waterfalls, springs, pools, and peace for you.

    • rubaxter

      I’d say that English was not your first language (hopefully), but thinking like an Adult seems to be completely foreign, too. It is so bad I assume your just a troll.

    • Sample1

      In the past? I guess the US isn’t on a top country list of yours? Last I checked the governing document for that nation is not theistic.

      Is it teaching atheism to mandate that all public policies be harmonized with a secular constitution? How would you propose a nation to govern itself? There are plenty of extant theocracies to choose from, from the Vatican to Saudi Arabia.

      Atheism is a byproduct of rational thought, not a foundation for it. Why this remains confusing for people of faith points to something else, namely the Boogeyman theory of one can’t be good without the supernatural.

      Yawn.

      Mike

  • NS Alito

    Your atheist strawman says that “Christians only believe” because they mirror their environment. That’s not what I’m saying, but it’s close.

    It would be a rare individual, stumbling across a Bible or Catholic catechism, who would embrace the truth of it without outside influence. Consider how many people embrace wacky ideas (flat-earthism, wheat grass* juice) based on proselytization (perhaps via YouTube videos), rather than taking it upon themselves de novo**.

    ____
    *The woman who started the whole wheat grass fad learned about how wonderful it is in a dream, then proceeded to write books about it.
    **My comments look smarterer when I use Latin.

    • Michael Neville

      Quae spectat potius intelligentes Latine.

      • NS Alito

        Oh yeah? Well ROMANES EVNT DOMVS to you, too, bud.

        • Michael Neville

          People called Romanes, they go, the house?

        • epicurus

          How about CARTHAGE EST DELENDA. That’s all I remember from one year of intro Latin, and I probably got that wrong.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Carthago”, IIRC.
          Double-checked:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est

        • epicurus

          Thanks, I was going on memory of almost 30 years in the past – and messing it up. Hey, I I’m like a gospel writer!
          I replied earlier but used a different word than “messing” and got sent to the waiting for approval penalty box.

  • RichardSRussell

    The idea is that people in general are so intellectually near-sighted that they can’t see past their own upbringing, which, it would follow, would be an equally condemning commentary on atheism.

    This overlooks the fact that babies are born fresh out of the womb without any god beliefs, so they’re naturally atheists to begin with. They don’t have to think their way thru anything to remain there. What they would need is the intellectual integrity to resist the brainwashing to which religionists almost immediately begin subjecting them.

    And let’s not kid ourselves that the average human intellectualizes everything, or even very much. Huge heaping gobs of psychological research shows the exact opposite: 99% of our decisions are made based on instinct or gut feelings, and the rational part of the human mind comes along afterward to supply plausible explanations for why those gut feelings were correct. It’s called “rationalization” for a reason, you know.

    • NS Alito

      Humans aren’t born with a god belief, but innate human cognitive mechanisms make it easy to pick up superstitions* and see agency where none exists.
      ______
      *Religions are IMHO just organized superstition.

      • RichardSRussell

        Couldn’t agree more. Daniel C. Dennett refers to this attitude as the “intentional stance” — the predisposition to see willful beings with intentions behind every random occurrence. I think that phrase is particularly opaque and prefer to call it the “secret agent theory”.

        And you’re right that it’s natural, and there’s a perfectly good evolutionary reason for it. Three million years ago, the australopithecines Lug and Wug are walking across the African veldt when there’s a rustling in the tall grass. Lug thinks “it’s a lion” and runs off screaming. Wug thinks “it’s the wind” and laffs at Lug. Same thing happens another 98 times. Then, on the 100th occasion, it really IS a lion. Wug (whose skepticism has been absolutely justified so far) becomes lunch, but Lug gets to pass his pattern-recognition gene on to the next generation, along with a dread-inspiring cautionary tale.

        Thus our predisposition to see things, patterns, and especially living beings that aren’t really there.* In more dangerous ancient times it was better to be safe than sorry, and that’s the biology we organic humans have inherited.**

        –––––

        *Scientific terms for this are apophenia and pareidolia.

        **It may take awhile for our cybernetic offspring to catch up.

        • NS Alito

          Ah, apophenia is a new term for me, thanks.
          “Wow, dude, I never realized how much that carpet resembles, like, the origin of the universe and shït.”

        • rubaxter

          As opposed to just calling it bogarting the joint ….

    • abb3w

      It also seems to overlook that (at least in the US), among those raised religiously unaffiliated, those who remain unaffiliated tend to be of roughly even intelligence as those who develop an affiliation, but that this is not the case among those raised with a religious affiliation.

      Nohow, that might just be a W.E.I.R.D. phenomenon.

  • Chris Jones

    Number 6 is essentially John Loftus’s Outsider Test of Faith in a nutshell. Those who think that’s a bad argument would do well to go read his books on it. He makes a brilliant and extended argument in this line.

    I really loved your point — hadn’t seen quite an impactful response to the objections in such a short space:

    “You might well reply that 18-year-olds are set in their ways and won’t accept the truth then. But what kind of “truth” must be force-fed into someone before their intellectual defenses are mature?”

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    How does temporary suicide destroy death?
    Couldn’t an omnipotent God have done this without the suicide right away, rather than kick Adam and Eve out of Eden and weight thousands of years before putting his stupid plan in place?

    • How could the whole Jesus thing slip his mind for so long? If that’s the punch line, he certainly wove a roundabout story before getting to it.

      • When I had that subject in school, I remember to have wondered besides how different are both the OT and the NT why there was such a gap between the last book of the former and Jesus. Seems like nothing had happened in the years between, not to mention why things are so different in the OT (afterlife, etc) next to the NT.

        And this in Catholicism, given that Protestantism removed some books of the canon.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          And then after the New Testament, almost 2000 years and nothing more.
          Jesus had nothing to say about everything that’s been going on since.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Unfortunately, his allegedly updating The Covenant – exclusively as a voice in SPaul’s head – sets a wide-open precedent for just about anyone fed this jibberjabber to get … Ideas … about the voices in their head.

    • Kuno

      “I clearly told you not to eat that fruit! Great, now I have to kill myself and come back two days later. I hope you two are happy!”

    • rubaxter

      How was this even a ‘thing’?

      The ENTIRE Easter Charade has all the meaning of a sideshow conman’s pitch.

      See the Immortal Gawd; see the Immortal Gawd Die for You; see the Immortal Gawd Not Really Dead; It Really, Really Hurt, Too; Step Right Up and Pay Your Money!

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal; not to protect mankind from His fury, but to unite mankind to His love.

    And yet, death isn’t the least bit destroyed and Christianity is more fragmented than ever.

    Even worse, at least the other interpretation finds god with a debt that needs repayment. Here, he apparently chooses to slaughter an innocent man despite being neither obliged or limited in his method of doing so. Trying to paint a smiley face on Jesus’ sacrifice only makes it that much more heinous and repugnant..

    • Or rather Jesus paying with his blood the debt us humans have of being wicked, corrupt creatures worth of punishment. Of course even in this case you end up in Hell if you do not accept Him ,etc -unless you’re an Universalist, that is-.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Is there a debt, though? What Hyde is describing sounds like an improvement to a perfectly natural condition. If death is still a consequence of original sin, then his description is inapt and disingenuous.

        • I’ve heard that coming from Fundies, most likely referring to the original sin doctrine. Like other things that come from them it’s a mess probably thought mainly to have sheeps in line, not to convert others.

          Also, if the “wage of sin is death”, why in the penalty is eternal damnation mixed in instead of eternal oblivion?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Good question. Getting rid of hell takes a lot of the starch out of arguments against judgment and original sin. It doesn’t nox them, but they become a lot less visceral.

        • Kuno

          If death was the punishment put on Adam and Eve (and all their descendents), they must have been immortal before. So why was God so afraid that they would eat from the tree of life and become immortal?

          I guess that’s one of the problems if you self-publish: no editor to point out such plot holes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The tree was of knowledge…can’t have that…they’d be the same as the rest of the gods at that…there was a committee apparently, so they needed evicted ta fuck out so they could no longer have access to the other tree, the one of life, which kept them immortal. Too many gods on the committee wouldn’t have worked.

          God then clothes the nakedness of the man and woman, who have become god-like in knowing good and evil, then banishes them from the garden lest they eat the fruit of a second tree, the tree of life, and live forever.

          The reason given for the expulsion was to prevent the man from eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal: “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”

          More plot holes than a colander is right.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Wonder what would have happened if they’d eaten from the Tree of Life first, and THEN from the Tree of Knowledge.

        • Kuno

          It also becomes a problem when the fandom writes fanfics while never having really read the original work and going only by broad strokes and what they think should be in there.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly. Attention to detail wasn’t really a thing back in the day all the evidence.

          Then again, what author back then thought when they were writing the story, there would ever be a mass audience with the literary capability to pick it apart and examine the minutiae of the yarn to see the problems? Even thinking the story would become pivotal to the plotline of another new religion many centuries into the future. Sorta sinks omniscience again though.

          Authors today are more careful, yet still fall fall of the scrutiny of others. Ya just have to go to IMDB for examples.

        • Judaism has no original sin, so it must have there a very different meaning. Same possibly in the Orthodox church, that also lacks that.

          I thought, by the way (do not want to spam the thread with a lot of comments) Adam and Eve were inmortal before eating the fruit. Of course no fruit = no mankind.

          Still, the main problems with this are related to divine omni*** and to put a tree as dangerous in a reachable place. In the OT the former is not present and it’s not much of a problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Judaism has no original sin, so it must have there a very different meaning.

          Indeed. The Jews believe Adam & Eve were disobedient, no sin involved. Like children left unattended with a cookie jar they know they are not to take from, but kids are going to be kids. They need punished. But any punishment must include a lesson learned.

          Adam & Eve got the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and self-awareness—things that seperate humans from animals.

          Maybe the idea was for them to attain knowledge, wisdom, and self-awareness, but like the kiddy and the cookie jar, they helped themselves and even though they enjoyed the spoils of their crime, had to be punished for it.

          Kids that take cookies they are told not to, and fictional first couple who eat fruit from a tree they are told not to, are disobedient, nothing else.

          The inventor of Christianity needed a hook to get the infection to take hold. The concept of original sin was born.

          Bear in mind, there is good reason for the Church’s uncompromising stand on this cherished doctrine. The founders of Christianity understood that if man, through his devotion and obedience to God, can save himself from eternal damnation, the Church would very little to offer their parishioners. Moreover, if righteousness can be achieved through submission to the commandments outlined in the Torah, what possible benefit could Jesus’ death provide for mankind? Such selfprobing thoughts, however, were unimaginable to those who shaped Christian theology.

          Same possibly in the Orthodox church, that also lacks that.

          Yeah, from the split in the empire at the end of the fourth century, the Orthodox Church in the eastern part of the empire was developing it’s theology independently from the western Roman Catholic Church, until eventually the schism occured in the 11th century.

          But prior to to the 4th century, the numerous Christian cults believed all sorts of nonsense in their Christologies and theologies, to the point of persecuting each other over it. So it’s hardly surprising that at least some branch of Christianity would abort the original sin nonsense, Though how they squared with Jesus’ vicarious redemption on the cross, I’ve yet to read up on.

          I thought, by the way (do not want to spam the thread with a lot of comments) Adam and Eve were inmortal before eating the fruit. Of course no fruit = no mankind.

          Well this is part of the vagueness in the yarn. It doesn’t say specifically. It is presumed not, because of the threat of death from God. But they weren’t prohibited from eating from the Tree of Life. I guess there was no rush and they would get around to it eventually. After all, up until eating the forbidden fruit, there was no threat to their lives in Paradise.

          The thing is, these magic trees are not exclusive to the Abrahamic faiths and likely got plagiarised from earlier cultures with such mythic motifs. A wee bit of tinkering and we’re good. YahwehJesus was anything but original.

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

          Still, the main problems with this are related to divine omni*** and to put a tree as dangerous in a reachable place. In the OT the former is not present and it’s not much of a problem.

          Therein lies the problem of making shite up as ya go along. Lies, building on earlier lies, is never going to turn out coherent.

        • And then is the Babylonian version of that tale, Genesis included, with several deities and maybe more squicky. Says a lot of Fundies that: 1) us, heathens doomed to eternal torment, know probably more of the source material than them -preachers included here-, 2) most, at least among Fundagelicals, this is taken as historical and absolute Truth™.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And then is the Babylonian version of that tale, Genesis included, with several deities and maybe more squicky.

          The plagiarising from the time of the Babylonian exile is quite late.

          The development of the Hebrew religion from the Canaanite religion is much earlier. The Canaanite polytheism was adopted by the Hebrews as they schismed from the Canaanites to become Hebrews and the minor god Yahweh worked his way up the god ranks to attain the final field promotion of god supreme. The other gods eventually got discarded until monotheism prevailed. But there are vestigial clues left behind in the scriptures that give away Hebrew polytheism.

          Says a lot of Fundies that: 1) us, heathens doomed to eternal torment, know probably more of the source material than them -preachers included here-,

          Indeed. There are numerous examples of deeply religious folk, clerics included, whose interest in researching their faith eventually results in atheism. I was just watching a video of a conversation between Matt Dillahunty and Richard Dawkins that I hadn’t seen before, very enjoyable. Matt was one such believer that was turned by the evidence.

          Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty In Conversation

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNCzd6_ce0I

          They both touch on issues that I’ve been talking about on this site recently…spooky.

          I was excited to here Matt explain what would it take for me to believe in a god, maps exactly over what it would take for him.

          I also read through half this book last night, it ain’t very long…

          All That’s Wrong with the Bible: Contradictions, Absurdities, and More

          Written by a linguist, ex-fundamentalist graduate of Liberty University, this book goes straight to the evidence and presents a concise case-by-case analysis of the most salient problems in the Christian Scriptures.

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Thats-Wrong-Bible-Contradictions-ebook/dp/B075PKQVZ9?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=ku_mi_rw_edp

          Another convert from the evangelical fundamentalist pool. These sorts are the best, because they have a deep understanding of the texts from both perspectives.

          It looks like it’s going to be a great resource in my armoury.

          2) most, at least among Fundagelicals, this is taken as historical and absolute Truth™.

          Indeed, Jonah David Conner, the author of the book linked above, was one such fundie…a bible innerantist..

        • TheNuszAbides

          Wait, if the royal “we” is as old as when a much greater chunk of the population actually believed in absolute monarchy … Was it actually derived from scripture because a plural interpretation would be too … awkward?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Hebrews were polytheists until the demotions of all but one.

          The story just didn’t keep up, so the writers have the Lord Jealous of the buybull ends up being a bit of a Sméagol/Gollum type.

          “We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yup. Just one of many reasons why any scratching past the surface makes clear god’s responsibility and the futility of “free will” as the basis of our punishment.

        • rubaxter

          But, why is it a human can see those holes but YHWH couldn’t?

          Like, who was the steno that took down that stuff about Before Eden? Crowley was too busy drifting to the Wild Side, and Aziraphale had already misplaced the scabbard to the sword …

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/79ce5eb5accab7f429d8e20c7e79f74d56f65882520303e033582270f6d3de35.jpg

    • rubaxter

      YHWH murdered at least thousands of innocent babies, what’s one ‘man’ more?

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        You’re right, though the underlying intent was quite different.

        It is interesting, though, how frequently god’s plan results in or relies on killing. Being bad? Kill ’em. Be in the same community as someone bad? Kill ’em. Trivial disobedience after others are killed? Kill ’em. Need to save those who are being bad? Kill something!

      • Ignorant Amos

        And let’s not pretend that there wasn’t thousands of pregnant women that got off’d during YahwehJesus’ many incidence of impetulence ending in millions of deaths. Thereby killing many thousands of unborn “human beings”…ya don’t here the pro-lifers bleat much about that. Obviously every life isn’t that sacred and if ya believe their bullshit, their God is the biggest abortionist of lot. Hypocritical arse holes.

  • Otto

    The virgin birth of Christ was profound and of paramount concern to the ancients precisely because they understood that conception was impossible without intercourse.

    Umm…apparently they didn’t completely understand that conception was impossible without intercourse becuse they believed it happened. Today we would do a DNA test to figure out who the father was…funny how no one claims virgin birth anymore.

    The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal; not to protect mankind from His fury, but to unite mankind to His love.

    It still doesn’t make sense that an omnipotent god would use that means to get to that end. I have no idea why one would consider that better.

    • Grimlock

      Here’s a question: What was Jesus’ DNA like?

      • epeeist

        What was Jesus’ DNA like?

        Twenty-three natural chromosomes and twenty-three supernatural ones…

        • Grimlock

          But he was supposed to be completely human, so that can’t be. And was his behavior influenced by his DNA?

          So many questions…

        • epeeist

          But he was supposed to be completely human, so that can’t be.

          I thought he was both completely human and completely god, so perhaps he was diploid, 23 human pairs of chromosomes and an infinite number of god chromosomes.

        • Grimlock

          Impossible. That’d be an actual infinity, and we all know that cannot be.

        • epeeist

          OK, so make that a perfect number of god chromosomes.

        • Grimlock

          Nice. But which perfect number? It doesn’t seem right that the choice of chromosones would be arbitrary, so there should be some reason.

        • epeeist

          But which perfect number?

          The one that guarantees omni-maximal properties of course.

          The question then is, does god have this number of chromosomes because it is omni-maximal, or is it omni-maximal because it has this number of chromosomes?

          A second question might be, is it possible for other entities to have this number of chromosomes?

        • Grimlock

          That’s a false dilemma, because, uh, reasons!

          Hmm. Good question. Maybe, but in a less perfect manner?

        • epeeist

          Maybe, but in a less perfect manner?

          So a less perfect perfect number.

          Doing theology is fun isn’t it.

        • Maybe it was divine essence. Then again, this conflicts with the view of Jesus being human.

          Oh, well…

        • Grimlock

          It is. And it’s so easy!

        • Kuno

          Ah, but that’s were you are mistaken. We know God has been already around for an actual infinity before he for some reason decided to create the universe 6023 years ago!

        • Grimlock

          Ah, yes, but you forget that
          lorem ipsum dolor metaphysical time sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

        • Kuno

          I bow to your superior knowledge of canis latinum.

        • Grimlock

          I bow to your superior knowledge of canis latinum ability to use Google and copy-paste.

          Thanks!

        • Kuno

          te gratissimum

        • rubaxter

          Well, right there is a

        • Ignorant Amos

          Except for God though.

        • rubaxter

          OMFG, by ‘we’ you mean ‘me and my friends, none of who can prove it’.

        • Grimlock

          In case you haven’t realize it yet, I was being rather flippant.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Like the trinity, the Completely human and Completely divine, doctrine was created to be deliberately unintelligible.

        • Grimlock

          If so, it’s been a remarkable success.

      • rationalobservations?

        Apparently Nonexistent – just like Jesus “himself” according to the absolute historical silence regarding the existence and centuries later written edited, amended and re-re-re-re-written exploits of “Jesus” of which no trace can be found from within the 1st century.

        https://miro.medium.com/max/1838/1*gVbT1CnfkYvmi0VJ5iyB6g.jpeg

        • Grimlock

          What is your purpose in using that quote by Ehrman?

        • rationalobservations?

          The reason to republish that quote is to provoke religionists into looking for the evidence before realising that there is none.
          The less intellectually capable may trot out the usual stuff quoting words and works merely attributed to Josephus, Tacitus etc et al before being informed that all those texts date to fabrication centuries after those too whom they are merely attributed.

          It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse and many mice have been relieved of their religionist delusions before the game ends…Others are revealed as so enslaved by their dishonesty and delusions that they demonstrate their sad state through lies and denial.

          https://pics.me.me/the-truth-about-faith-having-faith-that-something-is-true-11341532.png

          https://external-preview.redd.it/KOR8lvX9Y6PmImGQxt5MDSKx8NPkVpQPCXZ8ZYAmpQI.jpg?auto=webp&s=a95d0284e01c903a7698f3c28db62a1b59518fa5

        • Grimlock

          Right. So, you’re using an Ehrman quote to argue a point with which Ehrman himself disagrees. (I.e. your favored conspiracy theory.) Not to mention that the quote by Ehrman doesn’t really demonstrate his more nuanced view of early historical sources for Jesus.

          Basically, you’re quote mining like a creationist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ehrman doesn’t actually disagree with that quote. He doesn’t even count the authors of the earliest NT books to fit the criteria of the list of folk mentioned in the quote afaicr.

          But Ehrman has been caught out contradicting himself when it comes to incessant need to support historicity.

        • Grimlock

          Specifically, I didn’t say that Ehrman disagrees with the quote. As far as I can tell, it’s a genuine quote, albeit from a radio show. However, it does not appear to be a very nuanced or accurate depicting of his view of more general historical sources for Jesus from the 1st century. (Which he holds that exists, but that they are Christian.)

          As for Ehrman contradicting himself, I imagine we all do that from time to time. But I’d be curious to see any specific cases you have in mind.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Specifically, I didn’t say that Ehrman disagrees with the quote.

          So then the quote is what it is?

          As far as I can tell, it’s a genuine quote, albeit from a radio show.

          Well, the sentiments of the quote are anyway.

          However, it does not appear to be a very nuanced or accurate depicting of his view of more general historical sources for Jesus from the 1st century. (Which he holds that exists, but that they are Christian.)

          Agreed, but I don’t think it is being quoted to support any thought that Ehrman believes there isn’t any existing texts supposedly from the first century that mention Jesus and are anything other than biased. At least it wouldn’t here anyway.

          Rationalobservations has already explained…

          The reason to republish that quote is to provoke religionists into looking for the evidence before realising that there is none.
          The less intellectually capable may trot out the usual stuff quoting words and works merely attributed to Josephus, Tacitus etc et al before being informed that all those texts date to fabrication centuries after those too whom they are merely attributed.

          In other words, to promote some skeptical enquiry.

          Granted, the whole quote would encourage that better than a sound bite meme.

          The full quote…part one…

          “It is obviously important for a historian to look at all the evidence. To most modern people, it is surprising to learn just how little evidence there is for Jesus outside the Christian sources. He is not mentioned in any Roman (or Greek, or Syriac, or… whatever – any pagan [i.e., non-Jewish, non-Christian]) source of the entire first century. Never. That strikes people as surprising. He is mentioned a couple of times within about 80 years of his life by two Roman sources (Pliny and Tacitus; I’m not sure Suetonius can be used). And he is almost certainly referred to twice in the Jewish historian Josephus, once in an entire paragraph. But that’s it for the non-Christian sources for the first hundred years after his death. It’s not much. But it’s something, and since these are not sources that based their views on the Gospels (since these authors hadn’t read the Gospels), it shows that Jesus was indeed known to exist in pagan and Jewish circles within a century of his life.

          Ehrman makes a number of scholarly faux pas in that first paragraph. He isn’t mentioned by Pliny or Tacitus.

          Tacitus (ca. 55 – 117 CE; oldest relevant copy is from 11th century): In his Annals (ca. 109 CE) Tacitus gives a brief mention of a “Chrstus” (generally read as “Christus” but in reality it could just as easily be read “Chrestus”), in a passage that shows evidence of tampering and contains no source. Also, the entire section of the Annals covering 29-31 CE is missing: “That the cut is so precise and covers precisely those two years is too improbable to posit as a chance coincidence.” His account is also at odds with the Christian accounts in The apocryphal Acts of Paul (c. 160 CE) and “The Acts of Peter” (150-200 CE) where the first has Nero reacting to claims of sedition by the group and the other saying thanks to a vision he left them alone.

          There is a lot more to be said on this.

          Pliny the Younger (61 – ca. 113 CE; oldest copy is 5th century and only 6 of its 218 leaves still exist; next oldest copy is from 9th century): Pliny the Younger was a Roman official who wrote innumerable letters. In one (ca. 112 CE), he references “Christians” (but not Jesus), and his “Christ” could have referred to innumerable other “messiahs” that various Jews were following. Furthermore non-Christian Jews would also fail Pliny’s test so at best Pliny didn’t know the difference between Judaism and Christianity and at worst the passage has become corrupted.

          There is a lot more that can b e said on this too.

          The two Josephus mentions are much later interpolations.

          There is a lot more that can b e said on this too.

          Ehrman knows these details, but repeats them anyway. That’s dishonest.

          He even tells his readers that these early “references” are useless as evidence in the historicity argument in his own book, “DJE?”.

          Second paragraph of the quote…

          The really compelling evidence, though, comes in the Christian sources. Mythicists write these sources off because they are Christian and therefore biased, but that is not a historically solid way to proceed. Christian sources do indeed have to be treated gingerly, but they are sources every bit as much as pagan and Jewish sources are. What I show in Did Jesus Exist? is that there are so many Christian sources that can be used by historians that there is really no doubt at all that Jesus at least existed. Just to give an example (so as not to repeat my entire book here): by any credible dating, the apostle Paul must have converted to believe in Jesus within two or three years of the traditional date of Jesus’ death. And Paul knew some facts about Jesus’ life; he knew some of his teachings; he knew his closest disciple Peter; and he knew his brother James. Personally! If Jesus didn’t exist, you would think that his brother would know about it. The historian cannot simply ignore what Paul has to say since he was a Christian. Taking his biases into account, we can use his letters for information about Jesus. And among other things, they show beyond a doubt that Jesus existed as a Jewish teacher in Palestine in the 20s CE. Otherwise we cannot explain Paul or his letters. That’s just one important piece of evidence for the existence of Jesus. I’ll discuss more in some of my later answers.”

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2012/06/07/bart-ehrman-on-did-jesus-exist-part-three/

          Again he leads with another lie…and the quote goes into the gutter from there.

          As for Ehrman contradicting himself, I imagine we all do that from time to time.

          That’s alright, but then no one is reading our scholarship from a lay perspective and taking on authority.

          But I’d be curious to see any specific cases you have in mind.

          In Jesus “Interrupted” he writes…

          [H]istorians have problems using the Gospels as historical sources, in view of their discrepancies and the fact that they were written decades after the life of Jesus by unknown authors who had inherited their accounts about him from the highly malleable oral tradition. (p. 13)

          In “Did Jesus Exist?” he writes…

          If historians prefer lots of witnesses that corroborate one another’s claims without showing evidence of collaboration, we have that in relative abundance in the written sources that attest to the existence of the historical Jesus. (p. 92)

          Either the early Christian texts are reliable sources or they’re not.

          Ehrman equates the oral tradition to a mega game of “Telephone” or “Chinese Whispers” as it’s known this side of the pond. See the “Jesus Interrupted” quote above. But in “DJE?” he writes…

          Where did all these sources [for the Gospels] come from? They could not have been dreamed up independently of one another by Christians all over the map because they agree on too many of the fundamentals. Instead, they are based on oral tradition. (p. 86)

          Again in “DJE?” he writes…

          [J]esus could not have been invented as a dying-rising god because his earliest followers did not think he was God. (p. 222)

          That the earliest Christians did not consider Jesus God is not a controversial point among scholars…[S]cholars are unified in thinking that the view that Jesus was God was a later development within Christian circles. (p. 231)

          Right, the early Jesus followers/Christians did not think he was God…that came later…oakey-doakey.

          But wait a wee minute, in “How Jesus Became God” he asserts this…

          The idea that Jesus is God is not an invention of modern times…it was the view of the very earliest Christians soon after Jesus’s death. (p. 3).

          WTF Bart?

          There’s plenty more. In “Misquoting Jesus” he waxes lyrical about the copie of copies of copies of copies of copies etc….for centuries in some cases, of scriptures that are not reliable sources and contain all manner of problems. He’s right.

          But with the eye fog of historicity playing a part, in “DJE?” he claims the same texts and other texts that don’t even exist, hypothetical, are reliable sources.

          There are other glaring problems with his stuff for the layperson that is disconcerting and in some cases downright dishonest.

        • rationalobservations?

          The following is for the attention of any religionists still deluded by the mythology and ignorant of the evidence:

          There were many historically recognised “messiahs” and any reference to one of them has been claimed as a reference to the historically absent “Jesus” by the ignorant the gullible and the dishonest.

          The most prominent “Messiah” that DID leave much evidence of his existence and adventures was Simon “christ” (Simon bar Kochba) born Simon ben Kosevah, He was the leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state which he ruled for three years as Nasi. He was acclaimed as “the messiah” in Rabbinical circles and there is much tangible evidence of his existence and adventutres including many coins stamped with the image of Simon Christ under the messianic star outdide of the Temple. His state was conquered by the Romans in 135 following a two and half-year war.

          https://i2.wp.com/www.preteristarchive.com/wp-content/uploads/coin.png?ssl=1

        • TheNuszAbides

          Historians have problems using the Gospels as historical sources

          … but New Testament scholars don’t?

          *rimshot*

          Thanks for that collection btw; I’m happy to have purchased a few of Ehrmann’s earlier works for indefinite-future-perusal, but I’d find it very hard to bother going anywhere near DJE? after the thrashing it’s received.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I had it on pre-order with high expectations, so no chance for any reviews to influence. My expectations were far from met. Still, it didn’t stop me buying his other stuff.

          I’ve Carriers latest on pre-order.

          https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Outer-Space-Earliest-Christians/dp/1634311949

          I’m hoping he fleshes it out with more supporting data.

        • rationalobservations?

          What is the 1st century originated evidence of Jesus you claim exists?

        • rationalobservations?

          Again: What is the 1st century originated evidence of the existence and adventures of Jesus you claim exists?

        • Grimlock

          Your insistence on changing the subject is futile.

        • rationalobservations?

          Your non-engagement within any evidence supported discussion appears the only futile thing around here…

        • rationalobservations?

          I note that you offer no evidence supported argument against the fact that not one single item of tangible evidence exists of the existence and exploits of Jesus that originated from within the first century.

          Your diatribe of denial and failed ad hominem is rejected.

        • Grimlock

          I note that you’re unable to actually stick to the topic. Hardly surprising.

          You are quote-mining. Like a full-blown creationist.

        • rationalobservations?

          I note your further inability to offer any evidence supported contribution and the capitulation signalled by your failed attempts to divert attention away from your failure.

          Oh – and not forgetting the ad hominem reference to being a wacko creationist.

          You have nothing to say but just keep saying it. Well done for this bravura demonstration of vacuousness.

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nshDyhlDiQs/VN2GDHUj5DI/AAAAAAAAEHk/Cs6gNBu0sSI/s1600/ThisIsAtheism.jpg

        • Grimlock

          You seem to want to insist that every discussion has to deal with your favored pet peeve. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Stop changing the subject from your quote mining.

          Also, you appear to conflate ad hominen with an insult.

        • rationalobservations?

          It’s you who popped up with your pathetic denial.
          It’s hilariously ironic that you attempt to disguise your own failure to offer any evidence supported contribution while resorting to ad hominem or failed and pathetic insults.

      • Michael Murray
      • al kimeea

        haploid – Jesus H Christ

      • Kuno

        If he was conceived without a male sperm, shouldn’t he have had XX chromosomes? But then where did the second X chromosome come from? Was Jesus really a clone of Mary?

        • Grimlock

          Maybe Mary was one of those people who don’t have the common variations of XX or XY?

        • Michael Murray

          It was probably JMJ like we used to put at the top of each page during my two years in Marist Bros College.

        • Grimlock

          JMJ?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Grimlock

          Thanks!

        • Michael Murray

          I’ll bet you know what Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch is !

        • Ignorant Amos

          Only when I need to when am cornered in the wrong part of the city…a can say a rosary and know how to pronounce “H” the wrong way too.

        • Michael Murray

          Pronouncing “h” varies across Catholic / Protestant boundaries ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…many a good kicking has been received for getting it wrong.

          Why H is the most contentious letter in the alphabet

          Almost two thousand years later we are still split, and pronouncing H two ways: “aitch”, which is posh and “right”; and “haitch”, which is not posh and thus “wrong”. The two variants used to mark the religious divide in Northern Ireland – aitch was Protestant, haitch was Catholic, and getting it wrong could be a dangerous business.

          https://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2013/nov/04/letter-h-contentious-alphabet-history-alphabetical-rosen

        • epeeist

          Almost two thousand years later we are still split, and pronouncing H two ways: “aitch”, which is posh and “right”; and “haitch”, which is not posh and thus “wrong”.

          Indeed, “From ‘ell, ‘ull and ‘alifax, May The Good Lord Deliver Us.”, but not from Harrogate

        • MR

          “In ‘artford, ‘ereford, and ‘ampshire,
          ‘urricanes ‘ardly ‘appen.”

          Sorry. It was on the other night. Coincidentally, I just started reading, The Story of English.

        • English trivia: “steak” is a fossil from a time before the Great Vowel Shift. That is, long “e” was pronounced like “a” today.

          IIRC. Correct me if you’ve heard otherwise.

        • MR

          I’ve only just started the book, which I’m planning to read in conjunction with the series. Long wait for the first DVD on Netflix, though. 🙁

        • OT: “The Boys” season 1 is available on Amazon Prime (in the US, anyway). Do I remember you being a fan?

          https://www.amazon.com/Season-1-Final-Trailer/dp/B07QQQHK1Y/

        • Ignorant Amos

          No not me pal…though now you’ve brought it to my attention, I might have a wee look…do ya rate it?

        • I read the comic. I don’t even know what motivated me to do that, since it was the first comic I’ve read since forever (one exception: Watchmen).

          The comic definitely has some adult situations, so FYI. I watched episode 1. Looks good, and it was fairly honest to the comic.

          It’s a world where there are superheroes of varying degrees–from pretty much Superman down to a guy who can turn into a big ball and bounce on people to knock them over.

          The superhero industry has other motivations besides just helping people, and a small band of good guys are trying to overturn it. There’s a bit about the Falklands War in one of the good guys’ backstory.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ll check it out.

        • Mitchell and Webb show what happens if you pronounce “H” wrong.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmVnr7rsWrE

        • Michael Murray

          Thanks. I’d not seen that article before. Interesting. I like the fact that it goes back to the Romans.

        • Michael Neville

          I had forgotten that little detail from Catholic schools.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cosmic sperm bank?

          YahwehJesus sent the third part of himself, the holy ghost, down to Earth with a turkey baster full of divine jizz. The earliest writer at the time claim it was David’s jizz, but that just adds to the confusion of the godman yarn.

          Or it’s a pile of woo-woo made up ballix that only the gullible naive could believe in this day and age.

        • rubaxter

          What does the Bibble say?

          The writers knew nothing about genetics, so all this is COMPLETELY POINTLESS B/S.

          You are giving substance and ‘sciency smell’ to utter cow manure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s what we do…anno we shouldn’t, but it is what it is.

      • Lex Lata

        Triple-helix, unless the unitarians are right.

      • rubaxter

        Here’s a quesiton: How can you be so foolish to even ask that question?

        It can be anything you want because it’s SUPERnatural.

      • abb3w

        Miraculous?

    • schpadoinkle

      as for the first bit; that’s why it would be a miracle!

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        If there was any reason to believe it was true.
        The gospels claim he was a virgin birth? Were they there?

        • schpadoinkle

          it’s part of a mythology!

      • Mensch59

        Sorry about the back & forth screen names.
        :-/
        I couldn’t reply to you on The Digger.

        • schpadoinkle

          hmmm?!

        • Mensch59

          got banned

        • schpadoinkle

          goodness!

        • Elizabeth Hayes

          Yeah, he got banned. For spreading lies about the moderator.

        • schpadoinkle

          ok

      • Otto

        Based on the say so of a pregnant teen? I can think of 1 or 2 more likely explanations first.

        • schpadoinkle

          why would that myth be based on teen?

        • Otto

          According to the story that is where the claim came from.

        • schpadoinkle

          mythology claims all sorts.
          did you expect them to say , well, we made this up!

        • Otto

          It does, but the point I was responding to was that those early Christians were not scientifically ignorant. Accepting the claim that a virgin birth was even possible contradicts that claim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The gospel writer of gMatt read Isaiah 7:14 erroneously, and in doing so thought he had to build a backstory that we we find nowhere else. From a reading fuck-up, the “virgin birth” was born [pun intended]. The gospel writer of gLuke plagiarised the fuck-up. The readers of these book ran with it and the rest is history.

        • schpadoinkle

          i don’t think it does. if that was a normal thing/they didn’t know it would NOT be seen as miraculous.

        • Otto

          Same can be said of walking on water…

        • schpadoinkle

          yes?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aren’t you taking a fantastical and unrealistic story in an obscure book at the time, written some 100 years after the event it is portraying, at an unknown location, and by no one anybody knows about, and giving it too much credence?

        • schpadoinkle

          no, i am trying to explain how mythology works.

        • Mensch59

          “Fanatical atheists” (A. Einstein) are true believers that they’re immune to believing myths.

        • schpadoinkle

          or [trying to ] understand/ing mythology. without understanding mythology we can understand little of ourselves.

        • Mensch59

          without understanding mythology we can understand little of ourselves.

          I totally agree.

        • Collectivist

          Astute.
          As someone told me, myths may not be real but they are historically relevant; just like most art is.

        • Mensch59

          Yes. I remember being told that the stories we humans tell about ourselves and our individual & collective relationship with “the great beyond” reveal deep psychological truths.

        • sabelmouse

          unbelievable how many comments i miss. disqus is almost as bad as fb with notification.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mythology isn’t based on any real event claimed to be a miracle.

          The conversation here seems to be along the lines that a we girl called Mary was pregnant and claimed it was parthenogenetic birth. Aka a miracle.

          That is not what happened. The myth began when some geezer writing at the end of the first century was cobbling together a backstory for a new deity who was fairly fresh on the scene. The Pagan religions in the surrounding areas had parthenogenetic births, so the motif was already in the psyche. Apparently the “virgin birth” motif developed in different cultures independently.

          https://www.hope-of-israel.org/originsVBmyth.html

          But for this myth, the author had no need to be so creative, it was already on his doorstep. Which was somewhere in the Mediterranean basin, supposedly. The author of gMatt needed a literary device to embellish his Jesus yarn in order to give it more divine gravatas. So he looked to the septuagint for a passage that could be used to foretell this wondrous coming of the patiently waited on messiah.

          Matt, or a source he used, found just the very thing he was looking for in Isaiah 7:14…

          14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

          But then the Septuagint, an early translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, took the Hebrew “almah” and rendered it as the Greek “parthenos”, which means “virgin.”

          Did gMatt know this, did he care, obviously not. It suited his purpose and that was good enough.

          Matthew was writing in Greek, so he quoted the Greek mistranslation of Isa 7:14, using it to match his own virgin-birth description regarding Jesus. As it happens, Matthew almost certainly knew that the two texts matched only in Greek. He wouldn’t have cared. His focus was on what Isaiah could be made to mean in a new context, not what it meant in its original context. This is why Matthew didn’t care about other material mismatches between his writings and the text he quotes from Isaiah: for instance, the child born in Isaiah was named Emmanuel, not Jesus.

          From that point, the myth was born…and perpetuated to this day. It wasn’t based on any real miracle claim from the beginning of the first century.

        • schpadoinkle

          i don’t see a point!
          did i say it was based on a real miracle?

        • Ignorant Amos

          i don’t see a point!

          Okay. Tell me how you think myths originate and how mythology works?

          did i say it was based on a real miracle?

          My bad. I was making the assumption that you and I don’t believe in real miracles. If you hadn’t stopped your quote mine so soon you’d notice the important word.

          ” It wasn’t based on any real miracle claim from the beginning of the first century.”

          As in, there was a real miracle claim at the time the that virgin birth was alleged to have occured. Which is the belief of many today. There wasn’t. That would be a legend.

          they didn’t know it would NOT be seen as miraculous.

          Who’s they?

          A legend is presumed to have some basis in historical fact and tends to mention real people or events. Historical fact morphs into a legend when the truth has been exaggerated to the point that real people or events have taken on a romanticized, “larger than life” quality. In contrast, a myth is a type of symbolic storytelling that was never based on fact. Throughout time, myths have sought to explain difficult concepts (e.g., the origin of the universe) with the help of common story devices, such as personification and allegories.

          These words are commonly used interchangeably to refer to the fictitious nature of something. Historically and academically, however, there is a difference.

        • schpadoinkle

          i doubt anybody sat down and worked this out on paper with long term plans. or did they?!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depends what ya mean by long term plans.

          The myth of Jesus was already in the making by the time whoever wrote gMatt decided to add his tuppence worth.

          The author of gMatt took gMark and a bit of Pagan mythology and OT scripture, mixed it up and made his own birth narrative bit up. He had to know he was making shite up. Because it never happened, and as far as we know, it is the first time it is mentioned ia century. So he was further mythologizing an already growing myth.

          Did the author think we’d be talking about it nearly two millennia later, I very much doubt it, but he was certainly not writing his yarn for the moment. It was meant to last some amount of time. Which author does?

          Mythological writing wasn’t unheard of back then. There was a lot of it about. Some of it even ancient for that time.

        • Pofarmer

          Thing is, Virgin birth was kind of a “Standard” miraculous thing.

        • schpadoinkle

          not that standard.

        • epeeist

          not that standard.

          Mut-em-ua, Ra, Horus, Osiris, Mithra, Tammuz, Ashurbanipal, Attis, Dionysius, Perseus, Melanippe…

          These are just a few from in and around the Middle East. Plenty more from India, China, the Celts and the Norse amongst others.

          EDIT: Duplicate name removed

        • schpadoinkle

          not everyday standard. hence ”special” so special , you need to give it some attention,dadadada.

        • epeeist

          not everyday standard.

          Ah, so having shown that your initial claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny you want to rescue it by inserting an ad hoc extra word.

          Of course virgin births are not an every day (or even any day) event. However they aren’t uncommon in a variety of myth systems from around the world. To bring it back to the main discussion on this blog, Christianity, the supposed virgin birth of Jesus is just another example.

          Oh, and one can make the same argument about resurrection too, it appears in many myth systems. It even occurs multiple times in the bible.

        • schpadoinkle

          i believe the question /argument was ” did people know about conception/biological facts”.

        • epeeist

          i believe the question /argument

          Whereas I know that this post was in response to this post. So another attempt at rescuing your claim still doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

          However if you do want to go down this route then I would refer you to Aristotle’s biology, in particular his On the Generation of Animals. The answer to your question would be “Yes, they did” if Aristotle is to be accepted.

        • schpadoinkle

          i don’t doubt that they did. else virgin birth wouldn’t be special.

        • epeeist

          else virgin birth wouldn’t be special.

          Special possibly, but given the number of range of cultures, mythologies and times not that special. Certainly Tolkien’s ideas of diffusion and inheritance of stories would seem to apply. In the case of Jesus one can point to the Jewish mythos in the bible and the surrounding Hellenistic culture.

          The real question though is, are the the accounts true or not? Do they correspond to the facts?

        • schpadoinkle

          that they were virgin births?

        • epeeist

          that they were virgin births?

          Is there any chance that you could write in proper sentences with at least some indication of which part of my response you are referring to.

          I don’t think I could be much clearer; there are numerous stories of virgin births from a variety of cultures and times. Are these stories true or not?

        • schpadoinkle

          there is but mostly i don’t bother.

        • epeeist

          there is but mostly i don’t bother.

          Well if you can’t be arsed, then why should I or anybody else be arsed about responding to you?

        • schpadoinkle

          who’s forcing you?

        • schpadoinkle

          also, short comments bring out what people are like. reactions like yours tell me no need to bother.

        • Otto

          The question/argument was that they knew virgin conception was impossible…they believed it happened so obviously they didn’t know that.

        • schpadoinkle

          ah

        • Pofarmer

          I think that’s your strawman.

          The issue is, were Virgin births part of Ancient belief systems involving deities.

        • schpadoinkle

          never mind. you keep on arguing with yourself.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who did the test?

          A mean, yer virgin young partner, with whom ya’ve not had nookie with, comes home one day and states she’s pregnant, but hasn’t been unfaithful…she gets checked or she’s out ta fuck, regardless of how much ya love her.

          Of course this is covered for in the story by the divine visit poor Joe got to give him a heads up that the Holy One had no choice but to have invisible sex with the only virgin in town, that happened to be Mary. Fuck, people were really gullible back in the day…ohhhps! Not just back in the day, we see it all the time.

        • rubaxter

          The problem is, claiming the virgin birth as a Miracle does not prove they were scientifically ignorant in a very basic way, as in M + F = B (sometimes). It does mean “you got a lotta ‘splain’ to do, Lucy” now that we know far more about the implications of that claim because we actually understand what happens, as opposed to their woo-woo. Especially if they wish to claim Jeebus was a Real Boy.

          If anyone can supply sources for Jewish Historical Ideas of Conception I’d appreciate it. I can’t find out any definitive answer for anything before the mid-1800s that consists of anything but “It’s a Miracle” drivel.

          The real problem is I think it’s easy to demonstrate from Christer Bibble passages that indeed the Ancients were pretty much at a loss beyond Rain is Water and Stabby-Stabby/Kill-Kill.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What?

          Anyone claiming a virgin pregnancy, virgin birth, or those accepting it, are just plain stupid. The facts of life weren’t a secret until the Jesus story. Having intercourse was a prerequisite to getting pregnant back then. Not having done so was an unusual anomalie.

          How Mary avoided a session before the elders and a stoning for adultery is the question.

        • Otto

          I don’t think the understanding that conceiving a child takes copulation between a male and a female makes one scientifically literate, that is essentially what Hyde is arguing.

        • rubaxter

          Well, the next best thing is in the Book of Mor(m)on, where it seems like ever other verse starts “And, this is really TRUE!”

          Sorta a tacit “Well, we made this up!” to the Adult Reader. Especially the Adult Parent Reader.

        • schpadoinkle

          you mean the musical?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because the mistranslation from Hebrew scripture to Greek for the septuagint, where the nonsense is plagiarised from, points in that direction.

          If ‘almah means “young woman” in Hebrew why did the Jewish scholar who translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek use a Greek word for “virgin,” parthenos?

          Answer:
          The Septuagint is not necessarily a literal translation. Therefore, the use of parthenos by the Septuagint translator of the Book of Isaiah may have best represented his interpretive understanding of the physical state of the young woman of Isaiah 7:14 at the time of the annunciation of the sign. Thus, its use does not naturally lead to the conclusion that he was also speaking of virginal conception. In fact, the presence of parthenos as the rendering of ‘almah, did not give rise in any Jewish community of the pre-Christian era to a belief in the virginal conception of Immanuel.

        • I got one of the Fundies I know of yesterday claiming that if you believed in the Big B**g -giving a very botched description of it that rather sounding like the Big Crunch, and showing a total ignorance of science in the process- you had to believe in Jesus being born that way -of course ignoring the above issues of translation despite mentioning before ancient Hebrew, Koine Greek, etc.-.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is, not all early Christian groups believed he was born that way. That’s the part they have comprehending.

          The idea of the “virgin birth” doesn’t appear anywhere until Matthews fantasy tale includes it by way of prophecy fulfillment. Matthew was writing at least a generation removed and probably even more. Luck picks up Matt’s plot device and thinks, “hey, I can use that, albeit with a completely different slant”…so he does.

          Paul knows none of it. Mark knows none of it. Ya can’t tell me that if such a miraculous event happened as described in either of the two different and completely contradictory virgin birth narratives, Paul and all he spoke to, or Mark and all he spoke to, wouldn’t have thought it poignant to give it a passing mention.

          No, it is an embellishment to a story, it’s some extra bells and whistles to jazz the yarn up and make it more interesting. The author of gMatt did that a lot. The author of gLuke was clever enough to leave the story the way it was in gMark a lot of the time. Matt’s nonsense was even to much for Luke…the riding of the two beasts at the same time into Jerusalem comes to mind. A mule and a colt. WTF? Anything to fit a misreading of an OT prophecy, regardless of how daft it appears.

        • rubaxter
        • Ignorant Amos

          “…intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.”

        • Michael Neville

          +1 for Mikado quote.

        • rubaxter

          I hope ‘toilet seat’ doesn’t play a part, because I don’t think they were really in wide distribution.

        • MR

          Well, actually….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da4a6e99da165579fdf643cbc148171c23642f7507b6584cffc5479c42b227ee.jpg

          “Around the first century bc, public latrines became a major feature of Roman infrastructure….”

          https://www.nature.com/news/the-secret-history-of-ancient-toilets-1.19960

        • rubaxter

          Meant the flippy ones that the Japanese seem obsessed with motorizing and turning almost into an “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” experience.

        • al kimeea

          I’ve seen a $100 toilet seat. It shines blue light. It might be “smart”, but then it wouldn’t be a toilet seat.

      • rubaxter

        As to the first bit, that’s why it’s a tautology.

        • schpadoinkle

          oy

    • TheNuszAbides

      Funny how no one claims virgin birth anymore.

      You mean in the sense of “my mother [or Our Hero’s Mother] was a virgin when [I] was born”, right? Because yeah, somehow I doubt there’ll be meaningful follow-up report/study regarding:

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/virgin-births-claimed-by-1-percent-of-us-moms-study/

      https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/americas-virgin-births-one-in-200-mothers-became-pregnant-without-having-sex-9012360.html

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    I wonder how Christians think the stories of the virgin birth made it in to the Bible. Did the 12 know about them when they were following Jesus while he was alive? Did they learn about them afterwards, by talking to Mary?

    • rationalobservations?

      Did the anonymous men who wrote the oldest bibles in the late 4th century draw upon many of the pagan myths and legends of virgin birth and god-men fathered by a god? That appears to be more likely from the actual historical evidence and absolute and complete absence of any mention of “Jesus” that originates from within the 1st century.

    • Kuno

      How did the gospel writers know what the angel said to Mary? Did they interview her?

      • Zeta

        Who can beat the bible writer who heard god said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1.3) and recorded it down?

        • Michael Neville

          I particularly like the idea that Moses wrote the Pentateuch including describing his own death and burial.

        • Joe

          We can tell that really happened because the handwriting got noticeably better from that point onwards.

    • Or the parts about Jesus’ torment that were not in public.

  • rubaxter

    Hyde’s replies are woven out of the same Christer Rhetorical B/S™ as provoked the “Atheist’s Arguments” to begin with. They contain no facts, no data, not even anecdotes of relevance.

    I think if you look up ‘jejune’ in any dictionary, Hyde’s engraved likeness is the illustration.

  • Arroyo Charles

    mn

  • RichardSRussell

    The biggest, baddest, and still best atheist argument of all remains unrefuted: “You’re the guy making the fantastic claims. Where’s your evidence?”

    • Which, of course, is defeated by “You haven’t proven my god doesn’t exist! Checkmate, atheists!!”

      • abb3w

        “OK; let’s start from the beginning. Do you agree with the commutativity of logical inclusive disjunction?”

        • This reminds me of my early days as a dabbler in counter-apologetics. The popular diversion I remember then was “OK, first we need to clarify ontological vs. epistemological truth …”

        • abb3w

          Not without precluding a Heyting lattice, I won’t.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          “OK, first we need to clarify ontological vs. epistemological truth …”

          In other words, “first we need to obfuscate and equivocate to create a false sense of legitimacy… or at least an academic sounding smoke screen.”

          In other words (x2), pretty much every apologetic ever devised.

        • Gotta do something to hide the fact that if God existed and wanted a relationship, a smart guy like that would find a way. Like just showing up.

        • eric

          I believe the official theological argument against that is: he swiped right, YOU swiped left. At least, that’s the argument I studied in Philosophy 0.0001

        • I like that comparison. The recurring problem, though, is mixing a sexual/romantic relationship (“God swiped right,” like on Tinder) with a parent/child relationship (which is probably more what the Christian is going for). The Bible does this when it uses marriage as a metaphor.

  • Polytropos

    Christianity arose in one of the most highly advanced civilizations in human history.

    Our civilization has invented computers and put humans on the moon, but we still have anti-vaxxers. And people who believe it’s possible for a virgin to become pregnant. Why would we imagine knowledge was any more evenly distributed in the Roman Empire?

    • Thanks for reminding me that, at its core, humanity is determined to remain the same superstitious, pre-scientific species it was thousands of years ago.

      >gloom<

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Cheer up! We might wipe ourselves out soon enough.

        • Michael Neville

          Oh good. Something to look forward to.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    The virgin birth of Christ was profound and of paramount concern to the ancients precisely because they understood that conception was impossible without intercourse.

    I can’t figure out what point Hyde thinks he is making here. Does anyone dispute this? How does this disprove the notion that they had a relatively meager understanding of reality? Most importantly, what argument is this supposed to rebut?

    I’m totally confused.

    • Otto

      He is using that to claim the were not in fact scientifically ignorant.

      And no, it does not make much sense.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Presumably, Hyde would say them being aware that things fall means they had a robust understanding of gravity as well.

    • I’m totally confused.

      Which is the first step to true Knowledge, my son.

  • Ignorant Amos

    OT…Greg G has fallen off the radar…a week now…does anyone know if he’s touring Nam and not able to get on the net, or any other reason not to be concerned?

    There’s usually a heads up. I’m not seeing one.

    • Now that you mention it, yeah.

      I’ll contact him by email. Thanks for the tip.

    • Slightly on topic: do you know anything new about 20Lew20 (do I have the numbers right?)? I thought he lived in N. Ireland. He dropped out years ago.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Yeah, Lew is from around these parts here…somewhere in County Down iirc. I think I remember him saying he was having some issues and was hitting the drink a bit heavily. He did say that he was leaving the forum and wasn’t sure if he’d be returning. I offered an ear in meat world if he was in need. Still, it would be comforting to know if things are no longer as dark as they had been.

    • Greg G replied. He’s been on the road but home soon. Thanks.

  • TheNuszAbides

    The Missing Third Chapter!