Another Attempt to Explain God’s Hiddenness (or Nonexistence) Fails

Another Attempt to Explain God’s Hiddenness (or Nonexistence) Fails September 23, 2019

Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious? This question may be Christianity’s biggest Achilles heel, and I applaud Christian apologists for frequently struggling with this gaping hole in their worldview. I just wish I could be as appreciative of their responses.

Tom Gilson is a Christian apologist and senior editor with The Stream, and he tackled this question. Let’s take a look at his justification of God’s hiddenness.

The problem (and a first try at a solution)

Gilson expresses the problem this way:

You say there are all these evidences for God, but I look at them, and every one of them can be interpreted another way. Why doesn’t God just prove Himself?

Yes, great question. I can imagine both Christians and non-Christians asking this.

The answer (more accurately, “answer”) is that “many people disbelieved in Jesus, even when they had proof before their eyes.” He gives the raising of Lazarus as an example.

Wow—where do you begin with something this naive? First, he’s pointing to a story in the New Testament, not a history book. Many questions hang over the reliability of our version of the New Testament. How much does it differ from the originals? We can’t say for sure (more on the problems with recreating the original New Testament here, here, here, and here). When the document holding miracle stories is suspect, so must be the stories.

And let’s assume that the New Testament originals did say that about Lazarus and other healings. So what? It’s just a story. Let me say that again because it’s easy to understand, central to the issue, and yet never brought up by the apologists: the gospel story is just a story, just words on paper. Did the gospels correctly document history? Was historical reliability even the authors’ goal? The apologist are responsible for arguing that it’s accurate history.

The Bible has loads of contradictions. Drop the idea that the New Testament is accurate journalism, and what we see is easily explained by it being just an imperfect human book, not the inerrant word of God. God is an unnecessary hypothesis.

The gospels were written decades after the events they claim to document. Few people from the time of Jesus would’ve been around to contradict them, and none would’ve been motivated to correct them. (This is the Naysayer Hypothesis, which claims that the gospel story is correct because, if it weren’t, there would’ve been naysayers who would’ve shut down the false story. I deflate that here.)

Finally, consider Gilson’s claim, “many people disbelieved in Jesus.” After Lazarus was raised (John 11), no one in the story said, “Wait, I know how that trick was done—Jesus had Lazarus up his sleeve the whole time!” No one in the story doubted that Lazarus was raised, so even the Bible says that Jesus performed a miracle and everyone understood it as such. The core of his claim is now gone. If he pointed to other stories besides Lazarus where people disbelieved, we’re back to it just being a story.

What can we reasonably demand of God?

Gilson points to cosmologist Lawrence Krauss as an atheist who has identified what he’d need to believe God existed. (I’m trusting Gilson for the quote, because he didn’t provide a valid link.) Krauss said:

[Suppose something happened] completely inconsistent with the operation of the universe as we know it, something impossible. . . . For instance, if the stars rearranged themselves to spell a different bible verse each night. Or if the tree in my front yard started growing KJV bibles instead of crabapples.

(As for me, I’d need more—crowdsourcing for starters. Even then, smart aliens is always a possible explanation.)

Update: Nope, that quote isn’t from Lawrence Krauss but from a 2016 post at the Question With Boldness blog! Thanks to Ubi Dubium, the author of that blog, for the correction. To minimize confusion I’ll continue to refer to Krauss as the author, since Gilson does.

In response to Krauss’s demand, Gilson said:

God isn’t going to do that. I know that, you know that, and Dr. Krauss has shielded himself quite well from having to worry about God proving Himself, because he knows God won’t do it, too.

Yes! You’re right—we do know that! God won’t show he exists in dramatic fashion through patterns in the stars, and he won’t show he exists in mundane fashion by simply hanging out with us so that his existence would be as obvious to everyone as the sun or a next-door neighbor.

We have more evidence for the existence of esoteric things like quarks and black holes than God. Praying, the official one-way communication route to God, works no better than chance, despite assurances from Jesus himself. This should tell you (and would tell you in any other situation) that God doesn’t exist.

Struggling to regain his footing, here is where your typical Christian apologist will bring up the need for having a mature faith. A mature faith means an outlook that understands that things in Christianity don’t work as promised, and yet you believe anyway. Someone with a mature faith has shed the constraints of evidence and just believes. Any doubts are nonexistent, suppressed, or examined only with the goal of finding out why they’re incorrect.

If this doesn’t sound like you, then your faith is immature, and that’s your fault. No, you’re not entitled to insist on evidence as you would in any other situation.

Continued in part 2.

More posts on faith:

Apologetics doesn’t exist to demonstrate
support for Christian claims.
It exists, instead, to divert attention away from them.
And it accomplishes that task
grandly.
Captain Cassidy, Roll to Disbelieve blog

.

Image from Isaac Castillejos, CC license
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • epicurus

    When someone starts off by giving biblical stories to me as evidence I politely interrupt and say that since I don’t believe the Bible is trustworthy, the stories have no more impact on me than if I were to quote stories or miracles from the Koran to them.

    • RichardSRussell

      “Furthermore, if it WERE true, the protagonist would be the most belligerent, bullying, bloodthirsty asshole who ever lived.”

  • eric

    “many people disbelieved in Jesus, even when they had proof before their eyes.”

    I think this is a reasonable response to ‘just give me evidence.’ However, the reasonable counter-response is ‘we mean reproducible, controlled etc… evidence.” He’s right, if he’s saying that a single instance one-off miracle isn’t going to convince people. Con men claim such things all the time. Non-believers are generally going to require more than a one-off. But since this is God we’re talking about, consistent, reproducible, under test conditions etc… miracles should be no problem.

    God isn’t going to do that.

    Stating this /= explaining why. And the key problem for theists is explaining why, in a manner that is consistent with most of the other theological claims they want to make about God (he loves us, he wants us to be saved, salvation depends on us accepting him, etc..).

    • Michael Murray

      I thought God was going to do this ? Or at least give us the power to do it which would be just as good. Like Van says

      Heals the sick and he heals the lame
      Says you can do it too in Jesus’ name

    • Len

      That should say “the story says that many people disbelieved…”

      EDIT for typo.

  • Tawreos

    I always wonder about the Lazarus story. If I verifiably raised someone from the dead I would be famous, but the person I raised would be famous too. Why doesn’t the bible say anything about Lazarus after he was raised form the dead? I would think that would have been an interesting story, unless Jesus got him up for a few minutes and then he was dead again.

    • Jim Jones

      All of the people (with a few exceptions) are just there for the story. Few have names.

      That stuff is fan fiction – and not good fan fiction.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Immersion was cheaper in Antiquity.

    • Michael Neville

      Some dead guy suddenly becoming non-dead would be of interest to everyone. News would spread fast. People would be clamoring that Jesus should raise Grandmama from the dead or the husband who died and left his family destitute. The Romans would want Jesus teach Army medics how to undecease soldiers.

      • I’m sure Jesus had a Clark Kent coverup identity so he wouldn’t get hassled all the time with requests about sick people that he already knew about.

        • Michael Neville

          So when Jesus was doing miracles he would wear his loincloth on the outside of his robe. That makes sense.

        • Like Clark Kent is just Superman in a suit with glasses.

      • Len

        Sounds like they needed an Igor.

      • It’s alive! ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

    • Greg G.

      The chief priests wanted to kill him again, and Jesus, too!

    • epicurus

      I read a book based on a short play about Mary’s view of Jesus life, can’t for the life of me remember the name of it but it statred out with her as a virtual prisoner of the gospel writers who were trying to get stories of Jesus out of her but they only wanted the good ones. When she told them of events and situations that were not what they wanted to hear they would get upset.
      Anyway, in parts of it she would recollect about Lazarus and how he deteriorated after being resurrected. Every day he would get worse and would need help walking, until he couldn’t anymore. He would have terrible nightmares.
      Anyone familiar with this book? I would love to read it again. Did a search but nothing relevant came up.

    • I rather think on the living dead of Matthew (or whatever), the Sun going black, and other events that not just the people present there would have seen and there’d no way to censor them.

      • Maltnothops

        I saw the most recent US total solar eclipse. It was unforgettable . I’m already making plans to see the next one in 2024.

        If the sun went dark, it would have been noticed far and wide.

        • According to NASA, there was a solar eclipse in November 24 of the year 29 visible there and that lasted just a minute. April 3 of the year 33 had a lunar eclipse, and that’s all.

          Scholars (not Fundies who claim the Big 69Bang theory is bollocks like evolution) suggest it was added on to show how the death of important people was associated with such events.

        • Maltnothops

          Let me just say that if you’ve never seen a total solar eclipse, try to. My hometown had 81% of the eclipse. I drove 500 miles to get to 100%. I made note of what it looked like at 81%. It looked like there wasn’t an eclipse.

          I had chosen the top deck of a parking garage at an airport in South Carolina as my viewing spot. It turned out about 700 other people had the same idea. We passed around food and drinks and yakked up a storm. Afterwards I went into the terminal and had a couple of beers and talked with other viewers. It was one of the best days of my life.

        • There’ll be no total solar eclipse here until 2026. Back in 2005, I was able to see an annular one and was worth the cold I got due to the drastic descent of temperature.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Scholars (not Fundies who claim the Big 69Bang theory is bollocks like
          evolution) suggest it was added on to show how the death of important
          people was associated with such events.

          Never heard of that theory before… 😀

        • Damn, it sounds cooler than what I thought. Blame the filter that in some blogs blocks that word.

    • Len

      Didn’t he just hang out with all the dead that were raised after Jesus died on the cross?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      The one bible story that always umps out at me is the one where the high priests and whatever all get worked up because Jesus performed a miracle and healed the crouched over woman ON THE SABBATH!!!!

      You would think that someone healing some long term disformity would result in a response of, whoa, dude, you just totally healed that person!!!! It’s a friggin miracle!!!!!!

      But no, their response was, hey, you, keep your healing miracles to the non-Sabbath days, ok?

      How in the blazes could there be such a mundane response? What it tells me is that the concept of a “miracle” in those days was so routine to the point it didn’t mean much at all. What, he raised a guy from the dead? Hell, we had three other guys here who just did that last week. Call me when you do something unique. See: the resurrection. And I’d consider that to be just as legitimate as the other claims of raising someone from the dead, which is, not at all.

      • Hell, we had three other guys here who just did that last week. Call me when you do something unique.

        Sounds like a talent agent. “Sorry, pal. I can’t book resurrection acts. Ten years ago, sure, but that’s too Vaudeville, and I need somethin’ fresh today. Y’know–dancing dogs, ventriloquist acts, kids doing magic, that sort of thing. Lemme know if you find anything.”

    • NS Alito

      The covered up the fact that after Lazarus was raised from the dead, he got run over by a Roman chariot on his way home. True story.

    • He wasn’t dead, he was just resting.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Swoooooning I believe is the technical term.

        Playing possum in layman’s speak.

      • Lovely plumage!

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          If Jesus’ feet hadn’t been nailed to the cross, he would have gone “VOOMF”, right out the window.

        • Greg G.

          Hey Peter! I can see the fjords from up here!

  • Jim Jones

    Bend some photons. Write a clear message on the moon. QED.

  • Polytropos

    Struggling to regain his footing, here is where your typical Christian apologist will bring up the need for having a mature faith.

    This is usually the part where I start laughing. There’s nothing mature about believing something when there’s no evidence for it, or when the evidence suggests it didn’t happen.

    • Len

      I thought you had to be child-like.

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      Yep. There’s nothing mature about believing what you know ain’t so.

  • Otto

    Everything anyone “knows” about God can be traced to another human (or humans) and no farther, the only exception is when someone claims God speaks to them directly.

    • Len

      “… the only exception is when someone claims god speaks to them directly.”
      I always ask whether God has ever told them something they didn’t already know.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        I always ask whether God has ever told them something they didn’t already know.

        ^^^gods don’t do that…*teachers* do that…

        😉

  • Or maybe that all the Bibles of the world suddenly changed and had their inconsistencies removed, things moved on them forward to adapt to both modern scientific understanding and values, etc.

    To use “the book” as proof is gonna fail. Hard.

  • Lex Lata

    An open question to Gilson or any other Christian sincerely wondering what specific sort of evidence would persuade an atheist to credit the existence of the God of Abraham:

    What specific sort of evidence would persuade you to credit the existence of Ahura Mazda, Brahma, Cernunnos, Dionysus, Enki, Freya, or any other non-biblical deity?

    • Greg G.

      what specific sort of evidence would persuade an atheist to credit the existence of the God of Abraham:

      Even evidence of Abraham himself.

    • zenmite

      And what would it take to convince Gilson et al that Sathya Sai Baba performed countless ‘miracles’? His followers claim he too raised someone from the dead. It is even written in a book and on the interwebs too! Would Gilson or other christian apologists believe Mr. Baba if they saw him do any of these things with their own eyes? (Lots of people claim they saw him do these things.) Would they then worship and obey him? Baba is just one example. Other Hindu holy men have claimed to perform miracles also.

      Myself and thousands of people witnessed David Copperfield cause the Statue of Liberty to disappear before our eyes! Perhaps I should worship and obey the Lord Copperfield.

      • And Sathya Sai Baba died in 2011 (if memory serves). The gulf between us today and him is very small. There might be millions who’ve seen him in person who are still living.

  • Michael Neville

    God isn’t going to do that. I know that, you know that, and Dr. Krauss has shielded himself quite well from having to worry about God proving Himself, because he knows God won’t do it, too.

    So Gilson is saying that Yahweh isn’t going to do miracles and somehow it’s Krauss’ fault that Yahweh won’t.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      It’s a jarring about face given the supposed question at hand.

    • Your faith is maturing, my brother!

    • al kimeea

      Apparently, doG miraculously warned some town aboot an earthquake…

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if you ask me what evidence I would need to get me to believe in God, my answer is, I don’t know and I don’t care. All I do know is that it has not been provided yet.

      On the other hand, any god worth his omniscient and omnipotent salt knows exactly what it would take to get me to believe, and is able of providing it. Therefore, the fact that it hasn’t been provided tells me either

      1) God is either not omniscient or not omnipotent or both
      2) God doesn’t want me to believe
      3) God doesn’t care whether I believe, or
      4) there is no god to have any of these features

      I don’t care which answer is correct, but I have no reason to think it is any of 1 – 3

      • my answer is, I don’t know and I don’t care.

        Agreed. It’s not your job to provide the evidence (or to accept the paltry evidence we have).

      • Ignorant Amos

        My answer is similar…

        An omniscient god would know,
        An omnipotent god could do.
        An omnibenevolent god would do.

        That it hasn’t, goes a long way to bolster my non-belief in gods.

        • Sample1

          Any god who is responsible for manufacturing evolution by natural selection is grotesque. But we are told god must have had a hand in that. Or, it’s back to the garden of Eden myth and free will which is equally ludicrous.

          Evolution is acid to a creator god unless one is down with psychopathy.

          Mike

        • Greg G.

          Evolution is acid to a creator god unless one is down with psychopathy.

          The natural selection exists whether it leads to evolution or not. If it doesn’t lead to evolution, it would be pointless so a god thingy creator would be even more psychotic. Who would want to spend eternity with that?

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    You say there are all these evidences for God, but I look at them, and every one of them can be interpreted another way. Why doesn’t God just prove Himself?

    Not quite. It isn’t that god’s absence can be interpreted, it’s that his presence is entirely extraneous. This isn’t an either/or proposition, it’s a well grounded proposition and another with an unnecessary assumption added in for no good reason.

  • Greg G.

    We have more evidence for the existence of esoteric things like quarks and black holes than God.

    We have more evidence for the existence of the God particle than for God.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Which was originally ‘that goddamned69 particle’, but was bowdlerized for publication.

  • JBSchmidt

    This is a poorly argued attack piece which attempts to draw strawman arguments and never address the point of Gilson’s article. The central point is this: If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian? Will you obey God?

    Throw away your strawman and answer that.

    • Michael Neville

      If reasonable, falsifiable evidence that the Christian god exists then I’ll cease being an atheist. However there is no way that I could worship that sadistic, narcissistic, immoral bully. A god that kills people just because he can, who orders genocide and sexual slavery, and condones chattel slavery isn’t worthy of my worship.

      Do you have any evidence that your assshole of a god exists? Of course you don’t, because if you did you’d be throwing at us instead of making accusations of strawman because your opinion of Gilman’s “argument” differs from Bob’s.

    • Otto

      Does the Christian God care if I believe?

    • No, I think I’ll focus on Gilson’s question: Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious?

      I’ll bet it’s important. That’s what he titled his article.

      This is a poorly argued attack piece which … never address[es] the point of Gilson’s article.

      I kinda think the point of his article is addressing the question by which he titled his article. If I got that wrong, blame him.

      • BertB

        I notice that JBSchmidt is one of our seagull commenters. He flies over, drops his little pile of guano and leaves.

        • Most apologists like him are that, with most even LANCB.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But they always fail to stick the flounce 😉

        • BertB

          LANCB – That’s one I don’t know and can’t find with Google.

        • Leave And Never Come Back. See Rationalwiki

        • BertB

          Thanks.

        • Michael Neville

          Sometimes JBS will hang around and respond to criticisms and rebuttals. It isn’t common but he occasionally will look like he’ll have a discussion with us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Until he is completely embarrassed, then it’s of to Croydon to press the big red reset button.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Also, a ‘pigeon chess’ player…

        • NS Alito

          He has loitered for exchanges in the past.

      • Guestie

        Bob, With all due respect, I’m going to agree just a bit with JB. (and a lot with you). I read the linked article. JB is correct that it is NOT mostly why god doesn’t make himself more obvious. You are correct that the headline is wrong. The author (fails to) address that for maybe the first 25% of the article. The rest is mostly about why evidence for god’s existence isn’t the big question but what one would do assuming there was sufficient evidence. That’s my reading, anyway.

        It’s a very poorly argued article regardless. He says it isn’t that god want to be believed in but that he wants to be loved and trusted. Which is quite the jump from a god that doesn’t make itself obvious in the first place.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Agreed. This is a 3-part blog post. Part 2 comes out Wed., and 3 next Monday. I do believe I consider all the tangents Gilson takes (while lampooning his inability to directly answer the question he promised to address).

          After reading all 3 parts, let me know if you think there’s anything substantive that I didn’t address.

        • Guestie

          I forgot about the forthcoming parts 2 and 3. Looking forward to reading them.

        • NS Alito

          Y’know, if you put out Part 3 before Part 2 that would be, like, totally, a miracle.

      • JBSchmidt

        He does argue his point, just not the way you like. As a result, you do what you do best, create a strawman you can argue.

        Here is his thesis, “Why is that? [referencing back to his title] I think it’s because proof isn’t all we need. Proof is in the outside. We need something else on the inside.”

        Maybe in #2 and #3 you get away from the strawman and take on his thesis.

        • Otto

          We need something else on the inside

          So that’s what confirmation bias is for!!!

        • Maltnothops

          Proof might not be all we need but we do need it. No need to look for something else on the inside without evidence of a god on the outside.

        • JBSchmidt

          Can a husband prove the love of his wife? No. But he relies on evidence. Should that relationship be damaged the evidence may exist, but the husband may choose to deny it. This would be an example that runs contrary to your point. The wife may be more engaged in the relationship after it has been broken, but what is inside the husband denies the evidence.

        • Maltnothops

          There is evidence for the existence of the wife which makes the issue of the love of the wife of interest to the husband. But there is no point in the husband wondering or believing in the love of a wife who hasn’t made her existence obvious.

          ETA: The more I think about your example, the worse it comes off. Any evidence for the existence of the love of the wife would be spurious if the wife can’t be shown to exist in the first place.

        • Think your analogies through before you embarrass yourself publicly.

          The categories of “husband” and “wife” exist. We’ve all known plenty of each. But there is no agreement on whether the category of “god” has one member (Yahweh) or three (Trinity) or three (Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu) or zero or some other number.

        • Carol Lynn

          Can a guy prove his Canadian girlfriend loves him? That’s a much closer analogy. Sure, he says he communicates with her all the time but never shows us the texts or emails. She never is able to visit so we never meet her ourselves. He has a picture of “her” in his wallet but it looks suspiciously like one that comes with the wallet. Does his assurance that she exists and loves him prove she exists and that she loves him or is the ‘relationship’ all in his head? Lacking other evidence, does the depth of his sincerity in her existence matter in our assessment of her existence?

    • Otto

      If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian? Will you obey God?

      Ya know all you apologists go around claiming there is ample good evidence for your god, and at the same time say that good evidence is not only not needed, but that even if it was available it wouldn’t matter. You constantly talk out of both sides of you mouth on just about every subject dealing with your religion and if people don’t believe you because you are inconsistent and lacking of anything resembling a valid framework for your complete lack of substance…you point the finger of blame at them. That ploy is on page one of every cult leaders playbook, using such distractions is obviously not to bring people into the fold, it is just an attempt at convincing you and the people who are already in the fold that you are right. It’s like using a two headed coin, the game you play is rigged. It is that level of dishonesty that pushed me out of your religion, I guess if your god is real he didn’t want me to believe so he made sure Christianity can only prop itself up on these types on inanities.

    • I will pray Chauntea, the Great Mother, for you.

    • Damien Priestly

      You realize that many, if not most, here were already Christians….and left due to lack of evidence. God if real, is too late in the proof department.

      As for believing and obeying God…even if real, the God of the Bible (both OT and NT) is a thug, a monster and a liar. Nobody should worship or obey a creature like that.

    • eric

      If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian? Will you obey God?

      Yes.

      So where is he?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        If God provides the proof we require, it would be dumb not to believe in him. And in the premise of the question, we can even assume that he has provided the proof I require to believe in Christianity.

        If that is the case, sure.

        But since none of it is true, God has not provide proof of his existence or Christianity, what’s the point?

        If your house was on fire, would you run away from it? Absolutely! So why aren’t you running away from your house right now? Because it’s not on fire, you dumba$$.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You’re worthless, you know that?

      Quite aside…if your ‘god’ hasn’t been able to provide evidence for around 2000 years, and no *other* god has ever been able to provide testable evidence in the recorded history of humankind, why are you wasting our time with such an unlikely hypothetical?

      You’d do better to convince your ‘god’ to PROVIDE some evidence, *then* question us…oh, and the evidence needs to be specific to YOUR ‘god’, and not something that’s merely evidence of itself (the Universe, the trees, etc.)

    • Ignorant Amos

      If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian? Will you obey God?

      Nope….but that’s beside the point.

    • Kev Green

      The question is condescendingly arrogant. The Christian is asking the atheist what it would take to just blindly accept the Christian’s claims. No proof that the Christian actually is correct is provided but somehow the atheist should be blamed for questioning how right the Christian is.

      So, you first. What would it take you to consider the possibility that you are wrong? What would it take to make you become a Muslim? Hindu? Buddhist? or even an Atheist? Assuming you even reply, I’m sure we’ll see a close-minded certainty of your own correctness that dwarfs the implied arrogance you’re accusing atheists of having.

      • JBSchmidt

        1) If you read the question, it isn’t blind if you are receiving the proof you ask for.

        2) What would I need to see for me to start to question my beliefs? 1) Show me life being created from raw materials outside the sterile confines of a lab and with no outside guidance by a scientist. You have full access to any chemicals, in any ratio. Mix the soup, leave it alone and let me know when a self replicating organism starts swimming.

        • Maltnothops

          With respect to 2), your response doesn’t address non-Christian deities. What would you need to see to question your Christian beliefs in favor of some other religious beliefs?

        • JBSchmidt

          That is a broad question that would be answered based on religion. However, in general that religion would need to have more evidence for its truth than the Bible.

        • Maltnothops

          that religion would need to have more evidence for its truth than the Bible.

          Like what? Pick a religion.

          And you’ve set a pretty low bar. The Christian bible contains an enormous number of untruths (global flood, talking donkey, revivification, the entire story of the Egyptian captivity and exodus, the earth ceasing to rotate, a non-existent census, to name but a few.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Pick a religion.”
          I asked you too. I have already examined my religion against other religions.

          “The Christian bible contains an enormous number of untruths”
          Says you the Biblical scholar?

        • Maltnothops

          “I asked you too (sic)”

          Questions are generally designated with question marks. You didn’t ask me anything.

          “…untruths…”

          What is the evidence for a global flood? What is the evidence for the earth ceasing it’s rotation? What is the evidence for a talking donkey? What is the evidence for revivification? What is the evidence for a census around the time of Jesus’ putative birth? What is the evidence for the Egyptian captivity? What is the evidence that Jesus walked on water? What is the evidence that Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish? What is the evidence that Jesus fed 4000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish?

        • JBSchmidt

          “Questions are generally designated with question marks. You didn’t ask me anything.”
          I apologize, I thought it was implied in my previous comment when I pointed out how broad yours was. Do you expect me to defend all religions at once or would you like to pick one?

          ““…untruths…””
          This is a pointless exercise if you reject the notion of a God, so let’s take the non-supernatural. There is geological evidence world wide for a global flood. There were 3 census taken in Judea around Jesus birth 8BCE, 2BCE, 6AD. There is growing evidence of Hebrew activity in Egypt around the time of the Egyptian Captivity.

        • Maltnothops

          “This is a pointless exercise if you reject the notion of a God,”

          I don’t reject the notion of a god. I’m open to evidence for any god at all.

          So point me to some evidence for a worldwide flood. All the evidence I’ve seen suggests the physics don’t work. The temperature would have become deathly hot from the kinetic energy of the constant rain, for example. Not to mention, where did the water come from? And the number of extant species would require hyper-evolution.

          All the evidence I’ve seen about the Hebrews is that they were Canaanites and the first 5 books of your bible are fiction. What is this growing evidence you speak of?

          Jesus walking on water contra physics?
          Talking donkey?
          Feeding thousands of people (twice!) with a tiny amount of food?

          Sure, I’ll pick a religion: the religion of the Incans. Go.

        • Ask for evidence of 2 million people spending 40 years in the Sinai (and all dying there). Archaeologists have found zero evidence.

        • JBSchmidt

          Worldwide Flood-
          1)I have never seen a model or heard of a study regarding how the kinetic energy of rain would produce that much heat. Do you have a link?
          2)As for evidence, the mass erosion of southern Utah and the Grand Canyon resemble cases for single mass events and not millions of years at work. Reason: 1.The headwaters of the Colorado are lower in elevation than the plateau that the Grand Canyon is cut from. They have stories that claim an ancient river that cut west to east and met the Colorado to account for that, but where is the delta/sentiment? There was something like 1000cubic miles of earth removed from the Colorado plateau. That should produce a massive delta. Yet, like most large rivers, the delta is on par with only being around for a +/- 8k years. 2.There are fossil deposits in various parts of the world where land creates are fossilized with sea creatures. Importantly, they show no signs of scavengers. As if buried by a single event. 3. Huge deposits of conglomerate (washed and rounded rocks) found all over the world. Only massive waves could cause this and we don’t anything currently that could produce these deposits. 4. Fully intact fish fossils (buried alive) found hundreds of miles from the ocean and hundreds of feet above sea level. 5. Massive animal graveyards preserved only by rapid burial. Again a process not seen in today’s environment.
          3) The Bible discusses this a violent event and the weight of that kind of water would definitely produce changes in the landscape. We don’t know what the pre-flood landscaped looked like, so to say that there isn’t enough water for the current landscape may not be comparing apples to apples.
          4) The claim of hyper evolution is probably less of a problem. Assuming the species already existed, it probably wouldn’t take as long as you think to repopulate. Just look at the population of the earth in the last 500 years. Not to mention, the less believable hyper-evolution during the Cambrian explosion in which entire animals needs to come into existence. The stories and illustrations about that are amazing, but the science of it can’t draw the same conclusions as the stories.

          Exodus- 1) They recently found a Hebrew style house dating to about that time. There have been other clues to Israelites living there, but no smoking gun. 2) Let me borrow an explanation from current evolutionary science. We just haven’t found it yet.

          The supernatural events happened because Jesus was God. I believe in the God of the Bible. As such, there is no reason to doubt them. I know I can’t prove them.

          As for the Inca religion, it died out. If there were an all powerful God, why would that religion die? I am not going to believe in a dead religion.

        • Maltnothops

          5. The Flood Itself

          Where did the Flood water come from, and where did it go? Several people have proposed answers to these questions, but none which consider all the implications of their models. A few of the commonly cited models are addressed below.

          Vapor canopy. This model, proposed by Whitcomb & Morris and others, proposes that much of the Flood water was suspended overhead until the 40 days of rain which caused the Flood. The following objections are covered in more detail by Brown.

          How was the water suspended, and what caused it to fall all at once when it did?
          If a canopy holding the equivalent to more than 40 feet of water were part of the atmosphere, it would raise the atmospheric pressure accordingly, raising oxygen and nitrogen levels to toxic levels.
          If the canopy began as vapor, any water from it would be superheated. This scenario essentially starts with most of the Flood waters boiled off. Noah and company would be poached. If the water began as ice in orbit, the gravitational potential energy would likewise raise the temperature past boiling.
          A canopy of any significant thickness would have blocked a great deal of light, lowering the temperature of the earth greatly before the Flood.
          Any water above the ozone layer would not be shielded from ultraviolet light, and the light would break apart the water molecules

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

          With respect to your number 4: You can’t assume the species already existed. That is the problem to be solved. There are more than 350,000 species of beetles. And you’re assuming that most of them were on a boat and/or evolved in a few thousand years. The Cambrian “explosion” occurred over millions of years. You’ve less than one-tenth of one percent of time on your side compared to the Cambrian period. And you call this “less of a problem”?

          “As for the Inca religion, it died out. If there were an all powerful God, why would that religion die? I am not going to believe in a dead religion.”

          A dead religion doesn’t mean it is untrue. Are you saying that Christianity would be untrue if it died out? Have you never heard of free will? Why would an all-powerful god abandon its commitment to free will? Did you or did you not compare your religion to the Incan religion? You said you compared your religion to others. What is it about the Incan religion that you find untruthful?

          As for the rest, I didn’t know you were an IDer. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. ID is less cogent than YEC. There is no underlying theory for ID. Find something you can’t explain? ID! Find something you can explain? Materialism!

        • JBSchmidt

          “Had I known that, I wouldn’t have wasted my time.”

          I thought you were reasonable as well. As it turns out you are as closed minded as the rest.

        • Maltnothops

          Since the data don’t support your characterization of me, i must have been intelligently designed, eh?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaaahahahaha!

        • Greg G.

          1)I have never seen a model or heard of a study regarding how the kinetic energy of rain would produce that much heat. Do you have a link?

          When water evaporates, it absorbs heat. We cool down by sweating and the evaporation takes the heat away. Think how much heat it would take to get that much water into the atmosphere. When water condenses, the heat that was absorbed when it evaporated is released.

          Consider the potential energy of that much mass at that height. Lowering it to the earth’s surface would create kinetic energy. When it reaches the earth, it is turned into heat. If you coast a car down a hill, it gains kinetic energy. When you hit the brakes, the kinetic energy is turned into heat. Touch the brakes and you will be burned. Oceans of water dropped from the sky will create lots of heat. It is simple physics.

          If you subscribe to the ice canopy nonsense, it creates more heat.

          2)As for evidence, the mass erosion of southern Utah and the Grand Canyon resemble cases for single mass events and not millions of years at work.

          Ah ha ha ha ha! This is the Goosenecks of the San Juan River, a tributary to the Colorado River that is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It is called “entrenched meandering” The river canyon is about 1000 feet below a valley with 1100 foot cliffs about a mile away. This can only happen by a slow moving stream over a long period of time.

          http://www.strengthinperspective.com/Pictures-USA/Utah-24/images/Goosenecks_SanJuan1000X.jpg

          The north rim of the Grand Canyon is 1000 feet higher than the south rim. That is more than the Colorado River falls over the length of the canyon. If it was a one time event, the water would have flowed north to south, not east to west.

          The streams that feed the Colorado from the north rim have cut down all the way to the bottom. The streams that feed the Colorado from the south rim haven’t cut down very much so the water falls from a great height. If you want to argue that the rims were level back then, you have a problem. Either the small streams eroded all the way to the bottom in a short time or you cannot explain why the streams on the south rim did not.

          4. Fully intact fish fossils (buried alive) found hundreds of miles from the ocean and hundreds of feet above sea level.

          Uplift of long periods of time. Sea beds rise sometimes.

          5. Massive animal graveyards preserved only by rapid burial. Again a process not seen in today’s environment.

          Those events are rare, like every million years. How do you know they aren’t happening just as often as they always have? Yellowstone could erupt into a supervolcano and bury a great part of North America.

          Have you seen the ruins of Pompeii from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD? Pliny the Elder died in that trying to rescue people. Felix and Drusilla, mentioned in Acts, did, too.

          3) The Bible discusses this a violent event and the weight of that kind of water would definitely produce changes in the landscape. We don’t know what the pre-flood landscaped looked like, so to say that there isn’t enough water for the current landscape may not be comparing apples to apples.

          It never happened.

        • MR

          Ah ha ha ha ha!

          Oh, my. It takes a whole lot of stupidity for Greg to laugh at you.

        • MR

          Have you seen the ruins of Pompeii from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD? Pliny the Elder died in that trying to rescue people. Felix and Drusilla, mentioned in Acts, did, too.

          I was there two years ago. How cool. I knew about Pliny, of course, but I wish I had known this little biblical link. Thanks, Greg!

        • Greg G.

          Josephus mentioned that.

          It kind of bothers me that I am older than Pliny the Elder was when he died. What does that make me?

        • MR

          Not dead yet.

        • Greg the Even Elder, obviously.

          Wear your moniker with pride!

        • MR

          4. Fully intact fish fossils (buried alive) found hundreds of miles from the ocean and hundreds of feet above sea level.

          Uplift of long periods of time. Sea beds rise sometimes.

          You of course have heard me comment that the storytellers of old upon reaching the mountain top and finding fossils of shells and fish would be at a loss to explain this for anything other than the entire world being covered by a flood. How else can you explain them being on the top of a frigging mountain? They could not have known about plate tectonics. If the entire world had been covered by a flood, how could mankind and all the animals have survived? Why you build a huge &#8203boat, of course. The storytellers of old can be forgiven for their ignorance. JBS, not so much.

        • Greg G.

          I recently read an article that said the flood story goes back at least a thousnd years before it shows up in Jewish literature.

        • MR

          Yes. Gilgamesh I believe was about 1000, no? And Atrahasis? I especially like how the gods (because in the original story it was a pantheon of gods) shot themselves in the foot because when they killed most of humanity off with the flood, they were starving because there was no one to offer them sacrifices, and how after the flood they swarmed like flies around Atrahasis’ (Noah’s) offering.

        • MR

          I know I can’t prove them.

          Well, at least you can be honest there. If you can’t prove them, on what grounds should anyone believe you? If there’s no way to show you are correct (a stunning admission considering an omnipotent god) then why should anyone believe you? Not every religion can be correct (though they all could be wrong) and we should guard ourselves against deceit, whether it be intentional or unintentional. How best can we protect ourselves from being deceived? Knowing these things, what evidence should we accept for the acceptance of God and/or Jesus?

        • Maltnothops

          Your number 2 ignores plate tectonics. And time.

        • Greg G.

          His whole post is number 2.

        • Maltnothops

          Yeah, I couldn’t be bothered to fisk it.

        • Susan

          Yeah, I couldn’t be bothered to fisk it.

          ICBBTFI syndrome.

          It’s a healthy response after years of responding to Gish Gallopry from all directions.

          “Send us an honest christian.” *

          *(One of Kodie’s keepers. It makes more and more sense every day.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Infinity upvotes.

        • Susan

          Infinity upvotes.

          All of which belong to Kodie.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That number will be plenty enough for the both of yas to share.

        • Maltnothops

          “I Can’t Be Bothered Too Fucking69 Ignorant”? Did I get it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Slacker…it’s a duty we owe to the rare lurker. Get yer back into it.

        • Maltnothops

          My back wasn’t intelligently designed for the task of bending over backwards to accommodate the views of ID/YECs.

          I was especially left slack jawed at the argument that river deltas exist for rivers that have been around for short time periods but the Colorado river doesn’t have much of a delta so it must have been for a short time period. I can’t argue with logic like that.

        • Greg G.

          I think she turned everything after “Yeah” in your comment into an acronym.

        • Maltnothops

          Oh. Oohhhh! Wow!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Both work on this occasion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The moron has been suckling on the Kool-Aid teat of creationist fuckwittery.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Waoh!

          You actually believe the Noahic Flood really happened?

          Idiocracy is upon us, we’re doomed.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          As for the Inca religion, it died out. If there were an all powerful God, why would that religion die? I am not going to believe in a dead religion.

          Hinduism?

        • epeeist

          1)I have never seen a model or heard of a study regarding how the kinetic energy of rain would produce that much heat. Do you have a link?

          It isn’t a difficult calculation. Some crude simplifications help things out. We will assume that the earth is a sphere of radius 6371Km and that the water had to cover Mount Everest, which has a height of 8848m which we will round to 9Km.

          1. First we need to calculate the volume of water, this will be 4π/3 (6380^3 – 6371^3) ≅ 4.6 * 10^18 m^3.

          2. This gives us the mass of the water, which is 4.6 * 10^21 Kg

          3. Next we need to calculate mean height from which the water falls, we can again use the same formula for the size of an annulus. This gives the top of the annulus as some 6.4Km above the bottom, which will be at 6380Km. We will round again and call the mean fall 12Km

          4. Now we calculate the energies. To start with everything is potential energy, this is mgh. Once the water has fallen then everything will be kinetic energy, this is 1/2 mv^2. Conservation of energy applies so these to must be equal. Thus the velocity of the water when it hits the ground will be √gh. This is about 340m/s

          5. We can now calculate the kinetic energy using the mass we calculated in step 2 and the velocity we calculated in step 4. This is 1/2 4.6*10^21 * 340^2. This is approximately 2.65 * 10^23 Joules.

          For comparison, the Hiroshima bomb released around 5.8 * 10^13 Joules. The release of energy of this amount of water dropping from 12Km is therefore roughly equivalent to 4.5 billion Hiroshima sized bombs.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “The release of energy of this amount of water dropping from 12Km is
          therefore roughly equivalent to 4.5 billion Hiroshima sized bombs.”

          Right, but this energy would be spread out over the entire surface of the earth over a span of 40 days, instead of being concentrated in one small city over a span of less than a second. Plus, wasn’t the Hiroshima blast something like 30-50 kilotons, which is little more than a firecracker compared to the 1+ megaton ballistic warheads we have now? While this would still mean that the water would be coming down from the sky with more than the pressure of a fire hose, I would think the energy release wouldn’t create enough heat to do any damage.

          Not that this makes the Noah’s Flood story any less silly, mind you.

        • Greg G.

          They found shadows of people burned into concrete.

          Right, but this energy would be spread out over the entire surface of the earth over a span of 40 days, instead of being concentrated in one small city over a span of less than a second.

          But it would be 1300 such explosions every second for 40 days.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spread them out enough….we’ll be alright! Bwaaaahahaha….or just YahwehJesus….bwaaaaahahahah! Fuckin’ Muppets.

        • The release of energy of this amount of water dropping from 12Km is therefore roughly equivalent to 4.5 billion Hiroshima sized bombs.

          I recently heard a similar energy comparison with the Chicxulub meteor (which supposedly killed the dinosaurs).

        • 2)As for evidence, the mass erosion of southern Utah and the Grand Canyon resemble cases for single mass events and not millions of years at work.

          We have an example of a “single mass event” (or something close to it) with Dry Falls. See the topographical comparison with the Grand Canyon at this post:
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2011/10/i-survived-the-creation-conference-1-of-2/#more-207

          Spoiler: no, they don’t look anything alike.

          4) The claim of hyper evolution is probably less of a problem. Assuming the species already existed, it probably wouldn’t take as long as you think to repopulate. Just look at the population of the earth in the last 500 years.

          So you do accept evolution?

          What’s interesting about the population of the earth in the last 500 years?

        • JBSchmidt

          “We have an example of a “single mass event” (or something close to it) with Dry Falls.”
          That is a small portion of the Scablands created when a massive ice dam broke. Which does show a mass flood event. While that small portion you have chosen is different, the area as a whole is similar, with its quickly cut tall steep canyons.

          “So you do accept evolution?”
          Oh, got me.

          “What’s interesting about the population of the earth in the last 500 years?”

          *I meant human population.

          The claim is that animals could not replenish in time. The human population has added billions in 500 years. Assume that most animals will reproduce at a higher level and the main species lines are in existence when you leave the ark, it wouldn’t be a problem to replenish the earth.

        • That is a small portion of the Scablands created when a massive ice dam broke. Which does show a mass flood event. While that small portion you have chosen is different, the area as a whole is similar, with its quickly cut tall steep canyons.

          Huh? If you’re disagreeing, make that clear.

          “So you do accept evolution?”
          Oh, got me.

          Ah, thanks. Your position is much clearer.

          “What’s interesting about the population of the earth in the last 500 years?”
          *I meant human population.

          OK—then look at the human population in the last 500 years. No speciation. How does that support your (ever-changing) position?

          The claim is that animals could not replenish in time.

          Replenishing isn’t the issue. The question is how some small number of species leaving the ark could become the millions of species we see on earth today.

          Go.

        • epeeist

          *I meant human population.

          So tell us, which of the Noah’s sons married the Chinese woman?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Michael Neville

          There is NO geological evidence for a world-wide flood.

          You can lie to yourself all you want but please stop lying to us. It only makes you look ignorant and arrogant.

        • NS Alito

          It’s worse for him than that: There is geological evidence that there was never a world-wide flood.

        • NS Alito

          There is geological evidence world wide for a global flood.

          Not only is there no geological evidence for a global flood, there is positive evidence that there was never a global flood during humanity’s time on the planet or for hundreds of millions of years into the past. We have a geologic record that is complete enough to show there has never been liquid water covering the entire planet.

        • Says you the Biblical scholar?

          Sure, why not? You claim that you’re smarter than the consensus of all biologists.

        • JBSchmidt

          I have shown you scientific studies that state my claim. I am not smarter, just willing to do research.

        • Oh, no–you must be smarter. You dismiss the consensus of tens of thousands of biologists (which you’re not) and reject it. Or if you’re not smarter, maybe more arrogant?

          Y’know, evolution doesn’t make baby Jesus cry for the Catholics. Most Christians think that evolution deniers like you are an embarrassment.

          Science denial is a major reason that American youth are turning away from fundamentalist Christianity. Not a cause for concern?

        • Michael Neville

          No, you haven’t shown any “scientific” studies that support your creationism. Your “research” consists of reading the lies of AIG and the Discovery Institute. If you were honest you’re admit that. But you’re a creationist, honesty is not a creationist attribute.

        • Susan

          I am not smarter, just willing to do research.

          You have shown yourself to be neither.

        • NS Alito

          “The Christian bible contains an enormous number of untruths”
          Says you the Biblical scholar?

          The Bible contradicts itself, contradicts contemporary Roman history and policy, contradicts the work of thousands of Egyptologists, contradicts geological evidence, contradicts genetic evidence, and cites fantastic events (sun going black, dead rising from their tombs) that would have been mentioned in non-Biblical accounts. How much scholarship is good enough for you?

          What kind of idiots get lost in the Sinai for forty years?
          Why did Jonah get stuck in a sea creature but have God protect him from suffocation and digestive juices?
          Why is it OK to slaughter entire peoples but they have to execute one of their own for gathering sticks on the wrong day of the week?
          Is the magic recipe for abortion still supposed to work?

        • Michael Neville

          How much truth does the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible have?

        • Is that hard?

        • Kev Green

          I did read the question. My assessment of what you really meant stands.

          It’s worth noting that you’re asking what it would take for us to concede that you’re right. I merely asked what if would take for you to consider the possibility that you’re wrong. Your answer didn’t disappoint me. You seem to believe that unless scientists can replicate the beginnings of life in a laboratory you are free to insist that God did it. You also fail to understand that even if you’re right about that it still doesn’t mean that you then get to freely choose any God you want. So the bottom line is that you’re sure you’re right and nothing will change that.

        • JBSchmidt

          “I merely asked what if would take for you to consider the possibility that you’re wrong.”
          Right, show me the process to get to where we are without intelligent design.

          ” You seem to believe that unless scientists can replicate the beginnings of life in a laboratory you are free to insist that God did it.”
          No, If science can’t replicate something, that means it has no proof. ID is a plausible answer to that. For ID to no longer be plausible, science must prove of a naturalistic cause.

          “You also fail to understand that even if you’re right about that it still doesn’t mean that you then get to freely choose any God you want.”
          Step 2: Ok, so lets accept the notion of intelligent design. Now the best explanation that includes the most evidence is Christianity or Judaism. Provide more evidence in another religion and I will question what I believe.

          “So the bottom line is that you’re sure you’re right and nothing will change that.”
          Since you have yet to answer the question I posed, kind of a pot/kettle thing going here. Or are you ready to answer what would make you accept the idea of an Intelligent Designer. Then we can work on step 2.

        • Kev Green

          “Since you have yet to answer the question I posed, kind of a pot/kettle thing going here.”

          Only in your mind. I’ve already stated what I thought of the question. I see no evidence that would help me decide which, if any, God exists. What would change my mind is actual evidence. To become a Christian I would need objective evidence that the Christian God is real. We both know you’re not going to accept that as an answer. But the problem isn’t my answer, it’s your inability to understand how evidence works.

          You’ve already had the problems with ID explained to you at length during your time here. They mostly boil down to how, even if your problems with evolution were legitimate, they wouldn’t be proof of ID. Claiming that there’s more evidence for Christianity or Judaism is just nonsense that every Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, etc. would vehemently disagree with. Again, the bottom line is your inability to understand that you can’t just insist things are real because you want them to be.

        • TS (unami)

          When are you going to provide the proof for ID that you demand regarding evolution?
          Do you realize that your question has *nothing* to do with proving any deity’s existence?

          What will it take for you to believe that Vishnu or Brahman or the Tao created (or IS) all things?
          oh… that’s right…
          …you want to hold others to a standard of proof that you can’t maintain while holding out a sloppy notion of ID that doesn’t even isolate the “designer” to a *specific* deity.

          Please.
          You’re embarrassing Evangelicals (I know you are, because Fundies are almost always like this).

          I’m a Christian myself, but at least I know that I can’t prove a SINGLE thing; it’s ALL taken on trust and faith. NOT evidence or proof. Just admit it, for once.

        • Otto

          Show me life being created from raw materials outside the sterile confines of a lab and with no outside guidance by a scientist. You have full access to any chemicals, in any ratio. Mix the soup, leave it alone and let me know when a self replicating organism starts swimming.

          Show me what that has to do with Christianity specifically and necessarily.

        • Joe

          I never saw a single reference to a laboratory in the Bible.

        • Zeta

          Does Genesis 30:37-39 count as some sort of a “lab”? Looks like Jacob did an experiment there.

          37 Jacob then got fresh shoots of poplar, and of almond and plane, and peeled white stripes in them, laying bare the white of the shoots. 38 The rods that he had peeled he set up in front of the goats in the troughs, the water receptacles, that the goats came to drink from. Their mating occurred when they came to drink, 39 and since the goats mated by the rods, the goats brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted young.

        • 2) Cute! You demand to see something that science hasn’t yet figured out. If you don’t get it, you declare that unanswered question as solid proof of God.

          And all we skeptics are asking for is for God to simply make his existence clear. Yeah, I’ll admit that our demand is tougher–a nonexistent god will have a hard time showing us that he exists–but then we’re just taking your supernatural claims at face value.

        • JBSchmidt

          “you declare that unanswered question as solid proof of God.”
          Please show were I have said this.

          “God to simply make his existence clear”
          What does that even mean? Assuming a God showed you the exact prove you needed, would you then worship him? If not, why would a God care whether you believe.

        • Michael Neville

          What does your god’s existence have to do with worship? Those are two completely different things. First show that your god exists and then we can discuss whether or not we’d worship the sadistic, narcissistic, immoral bully portrayed in the Bible.

        • Suppose we met. Maybe it’d be to discuss apologetics; maybe you’d want to sell me a car or insurance or some other business transaction; or whatever. Your existence would never come up. It’d be a mundane fact. I’d know that you exist as reliably as I know anything.

          And yet with God, it’s very much not mundane. It’s the key issue. You’ve got to speak for God because he never, ever speaks for himself. And, since you’ve got absolutely nothing to support this remarkable claim, you (like Gilson) want to turn the tables and dismiss my demand for evidence by saying that i don’t deserve it or that I’ve gotten the answer to some other question wrong or whatever.

          You provide no evidence because you don’t have any. Does that not give you pause? Do you get no inkling that this guy you worship exists only as a meme?

        • Joe

          If God showed up in his “Allah” disguise, would you convert to Islam?

        • Ficino

          What will be your fall-back position if abiogenesis is figured out? Once people thought that thunder and lighting were proofs of Zeus.

        • What will be your fall-back position if abiogenesis is figured out?

          Yeah? It’s 2030 and you have an acceptable theory of abiogenesis? Then explain consciousness, smart guy.

          Science always has unanswered questions. Checkmate, atheists!

    • Re: “If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian? Will you obey God?” 

      It’s impossible for me to say how I’d react. What you want me to do is certainly possible, but other outcomes are, too. 

      There’s a bigger problem with your question, though. You’re predicating your deity’s decision to make him/her/itself evident, on people guaranteeing, in advance, to accept and worship him/her/it. But that’s just not reasonable … at all! Once your deity has made his/her/its appearance, I will then have information about him/her/it — that I hadn’t had before — and at that point would be able to evaluate whether or not s/he/it is worthy of acceptance and worship. 

      I might very well decide to do so. But then, I might also decide not to, particularly if the deity turns out to be repugnant or malevolent in some way. And in the case of the Abrahamic deity, that’s very possible

      The bottom line is that any deity that hides him/her/itself from humanity and remains hidden until such time as all humanity agrees, in advance, to accept and worship him/her/it if it should reveal itself, is by definition astoundingly childish. A mature deity would just reveal him/her/itself and then let humanity decide what to do about it, and not worry about what decision humans make; s/he/it would be comfortable with any decision they made. 

    • Joe

      Let’s say “yes”. Where is it?

    • MR

      The central point is this: If God provides the proof you require, will you become a Christian?

      Obviously not all religions can be true but they could all be false. For all I know you could be wrong. If I want to avoid being mislead by you, what proof should I require?

      • Or, to take it from the other side, what proof should JBS require to switch over to a new religion?

        • MR

          He won’t answer that either.

  • Michael Murray

    If we look for the Loch Ness monster and don’t find it we conclude there isn’t one. If we look for the yeti and don’t find it we conclude there isn’t one. If … continue through your favourite list of “fantastics beasts”. If we look for God and don’t find one we write books and essays on “divine hiddenness”.

    • epeeist

      Do you remember the blue butterfly on the Richard Dawkins site many years ago (he had a moniker that I couldn’t remember). I unashamedly stole this from him:

      If an entity X is postulated to exist, and no substantive evidence capable of withstanding intense critical scrutiny is present to support the postulated existence of entity X the default position is to regard entity X as not existing, until said substantive evidence supporting the postulated existence of entity X becomes present.

      • Michael Murray

        Nice !

      • Ignorant Amos

        Feckin’ dammit!

        That doesn’t bode well for my Sky Ponies.

        • Pofarmer

          Invisible pink Unicorns dude. Invisible pink Unicorns.

        • Gary Fowler

          HIS “invisible pink unicorns” are sky ponies, like he said. I’ve seen them

        • Pofarmer

          I believe in Invisible pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are pink because of faith.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        You’re just blinded by your scientism!

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          “She blinded me with scien[tism]!” – Thomas Dolby

      • Michael Murray

        I tried to roll back the Dawkins site on the web archive to see if I could find the name to go with the avatar. But I don’t think I could get far enough back. Although I got back as the infamous site administrator’s name popping up! Do you remember when the Dawkins site started ?

        • epeeist

          to see if I could find the name to go with the avatar

          I always thought of it as something like “Cassiopeia”, though I know it wasn’t this.

          Do you remember when the Dawkins site started ?

          richarddawkins.net registration

        • Michael Murray

          Ah good thought. Thanks. OK so 2006-03-27. That fits with my having a registration email from the forums on 10/12/06 and 5/10/2006 is the first snapshot by the Wayback Machine. So that all looks consistent. Not many avatars showing up when you look. Maybe that is an issue with the archiving. “Cassiopeia” rings an old rusty bell in my brain somewhere !

        • NS Alito

          I don’t trust the Wayback Machine. I only trust translations of transcriptions of transcriptions of compilations of transcriptions of transcriptions written by unidentified authors.

        • Michael Murray

          I tried setting it to http://www.jesus-christ.id and around 0 CE but nothing came up. Server seems to be down. I’ll try again in three days to see if it’s up again.

        • Greg G.

          ICWUDT

  • epeeist

    Total aside:

    UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that our Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in proroguing (closing) Parliament for 5 weeks.

    More detail here – https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/24/boris-johnsons-suspension-of-parliament-unlawful-supreme-court-rules-prorogue

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Good.

      Boris has needed smackdowns for a looooong time now.

    • Michael Neville

      The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.

      Take that, Boris.

      • epeeist

        No 1 daughter is feeling smug in that she is an alumnus of the same college as Lady Hale.

        • Michael Murray

          You should buy her a spider brooch for next birthday.

    • For what I’ve heard elsewhere he may be in deep trouble due to what the man said to the Queen.

      What a soap opera has become Brexit. Seriously.

    • Michael Murray

      And Pelosi has come up Trumps.

    • And in related news, some are saying that impeachment proceedings against the Trumpster Fire are (finally) likelier than not.

  • John Grove

    I think that the biggest evidence against God is that his existence has to be debated.

    • Said another way: the biggest evidence is that apologetics is a thing.

      • If Christians had real, credible support for their claims, then apologetics as a field wouldn’t exist. It only exists because Christians lack that support. It explains why reality utterly fails to conform to Christians’ claims about it, and as a secondary function it gives Christians ammunition in dealing with their enemies. That’s it.

        Christians’ huge mistake with apologetics is thinking that it exists to persuade people who are firing on all thrusters, critical-thinking-wise. It’s not for us. It’s for them.

        It’s always been for them.

        What really makes the whole thing so pathetically funny to me is that the biggest dealbreakers for me in Christianity are how Christians themselves engage with all the claims in their religion that aren’t true in reality. So, apologetics itself (and with it the behavior of apologists) functions as one of the biggest dealbreakers there could possibly be of Christianity. They can’t stop themselves from making the situation worse. Whenever they hit what I’m sure must be rock bottom in terms of how callow and nasty they can get, they ask me to hold their Bibles and they break out power tools. Christianity itself, as a worldview, allows for apologetics and apologists alike to flourish under its metaphorical “roof.” It makes room for them and has no definitive way to eject them. That tells me that nothing about it treasures truthfulness and factuality. And thus, that it isn’t safe for me as a potential member.

        • Sample1

          Apologetics, in part, helped me out of Catholicism. It becomes a kind of chess game but without the brilliancy of chess. Playing a game for a god began to feel silly after a couple years of it. It’s hard to say which piece of the puzzle finally put me out of a faith scheme but learning apologetics did speed up my exit. Not to mention there is no one apologetics. It’s all over the map. Why? Because it’s make it up as you go.

          Mike

      • John Grove

        I think of apologetics as the made up defense of an imaginary being.

  • Gary Fowler

    People who’ve been dead for 72 hours stay dead. Always. That and the whole “Jesus was born of a virgin” thing ought to tell you the “Wholly Holey” Bible is complete fiction. Virgins don’t get pregnant today. They didn’t then, either. Sorry, devout Christians, but Jesus Christ never lived.

    Mankind is not fallen. Mankind needs no savior, needs no saving, and does not need to repent to anything or anyone. There was no snake in any garden that ever tempted anyone with anything. It’s fiction. It’s an old, ancient scam to get ten percent of your income. All of religion is like that.

    The one big, main thing about Christianity with me is that God is always a no-show. I’ve prayed privately before and asked him to show me he was there, so I would know I wasn’t just talking to the wall, or to my bed, or to the empty air. I never prayed publicly before. In church and in Sunday school, I always declined. It felt silly, even crazy. And yet some people will open their arms up to the sky and pray passionately to something that no one can see. And if you claim you can see it, some other people will come, fit you for a straightjacket, and put you in the nuthouse.

    God is supposed to everywhere at once, right? So, I’ve asked God to show himself to me, personally. Somehow. In some way. Like maybe, “Hey God, you can see that big healthy tree over there, covered with its large leaves. It would be no sweat for you to make a face out of it, and talk. To just say ‘Hi’ or something. Anything. If you do that, that would convince me. It couldn’t be anything else.” Well guess what. It never happened.

    I’ve even asked God to just show himself to me in my dreams. That way, I could say that I saw God in a dream. Some would believe if I told about it, and others wouldn’t. There would still be doubt about his existence.

    Well guess what. That hasn’t happened, either. I call him Dummy now. I’m still waiting, Dummy. Until then, I’m one hundred percent atheist.

    • Greg G.

      To just say ‘Hi’ or something.

      Hi! Oh look! I can do something God cannot do.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Hi! back at ya. See, V.M. Smith in ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ had it right all along.. We ARE god.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Uh, dude?

      The boldface is a little much…

      • Gary Fowler

        Well at least I didn’t capitalize everything. Any other useless comments?

        • Maltnothops

          Why no italics?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          everybody needs a hobby

        • Maltnothops

          Another useless comment.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          (rip here)Enclosed, one Single Use Lubricated Useful comment(——–)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hmm, how about:
          – You’re ugly
          – You have no friends, and
          – Your mother dresses you funny

          ?

          I thought it a matter of courtesy to mention to you that it was all boldface, in case you were unaware. Boldface, like all caps, is interpreted as shouting, and is rather rude.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And still it isn’t fixed, so perhaps it is intentional.

        • Greg G.

          – You’re ugly
          – You have no friends, and
          – Your mother dresses you funny

          I got that in my fortune cookie until I realized I was holding it upside-down.

        • NS Alito

          No, there is never reasön TO remàrk on someone’s Formatting style.

    • Virgins don’t get pregnant today. They didn’t then, either.

      And the original story (Isaiah 7) doesn’t even claim a miraculous conception. A girl is a virgin, then she won’t be, then she’ll give birth to a boy. Happens all the time.

  • Kev Green

    What could (the Christian) God do now to convince me he is real. I don’t go as far as Krauss, I’d accept one night where the stars spell out ‘Jesus Rules’. Is that unreasonable? No, it really isn’t. I can’t just pretend the last two thousand years didn’t happen. He needs to do something pretty spectacular to make up for all the neglect. Not only has He provided zero evidence of His continued existence, in most of the world people looking to believe in god(s) look elsewhere.

    • That wasn’t a quote from Krauss, anyway. It’s quotemined from a blog post I wrote in 2016, and last I checked, I’m not Krauss.

      • NS Alito

        Are you shoooooor?

  • MadScientist1023

    The typical Christian response to this always seems to be some version of “God doesn’t want to force us to believe in him by doing miracles”. But then why wasn’t that a problem before now? Christian lore is full of people with miraculous abilities. All who witnessed them were sure of God’s power. So what changed? Why was forcing those people to know God was real OK but now it’s not OK to force people to believe by confronting them with miracles?

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Isn’t being adequately informed a necessary requirement for consent? How does “informed” transform into “coerced” merely because the subject is god? Doesn’t insufficient information conjoined with rewards and punishments more closely resemble coercion?

      So many questions…

      • MadScientist1023

        Eh, their God has never seemed to care too much about consent in the past, why should he care now?

      • Kev Green

        At the very least, someone who wants to worship God should be able to objectively determine which version of God to worship. As it stands now, deciding which God is based overwhelmingly on place of birth. If there is a God who wants us to worship him, He clearly doesn’t care about most of the world’s population.

    • C_Alan_Nault

      “The typical Christian response to this always seems to be some version of “God doesn’t want to force us to believe in him by doing miracles”.”

      Which would mean that Jesus was lying when he said

      For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

      &

      ” if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

      &

      Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

      &

      Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

      &

      Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

      • Greg G.

        But Elijah could call down fire from heaven to light a huge barbecue, to burn priest of Baal, or to incinerate a hundred men just because he didn’t like how their captain told him the king wanted to talk to him, without praying in Jesus’ name. Elisha could call she-bears from the woods to maul 42 children because they called him “Baldy”, without invoking Jesus’ name.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          There are a couple standard responses to what you said.

          1) God moves in mysterious ways

          2) You are taking those stories out of context

          ( the context seems to be “the Bible is full of bat-shit crazy stuff which we do not want to acknowledge” )

        • NS Alito

          The second standard response would be CONTEXT!

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Yep.

    • Maltnothops

      I read somewhere, probably a Bart Ehrman book, that the Doubting Thomas story appears to be a late addition to whatever gospel it is in. He speculates that perhaps people needed a little “evidence” for a revivified man.

      • Ficino

        It’s also surmised that the story was put in at a time when Docetism was beginning to show itself, i.e. the doctrine that the son of God had not taken a real body but only appeared to have done so.

      • Ignorant Amos

        The Gospel According to John has the DT passage and is thought by some to be anti-Docetic in nature.

        Here’s an article that suggests just such an opinion, though I’ve read the same elsewhere…maybe in Ehrman as you say.

        http://www.studythechurch.com/articles/early-church/docetism

    • Yes! I’ve heard the same. Makes me just boggle. Like since when did this petulant little godling care about free will?

      Oh, just since Christians lost the ability to torture and execute people for not joining their religion?

      Ah, ok.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Pharaoh has a hardened heart he would like to discuss with these people…

    • Cozmo the Magician

      And yet at least once a week (if not every damn day) somebody claims that Jesus performed some miracle or another ‘Aunt Betty’s boil went away! Praise Jeebus’ ‘Cousin Bob made parole! Praise Jesus!’ ‘I’m NOT pregnant!! Praise Jesus!’ etc etc etc… ‘Obama got re-elected! Satan Walks The Earth!’

      • NS Alito

        One such account convinced Tim Minchin to write a song thanking God.

      • Greg G.

        When I was having my “crisis of faith”, one of our weekly meeting had a part where people would share any answered prayers they had. One guy said he was looking for his car keys and was about to give up so he prayed, then he found the keys. It was an eye roll moment as I thought of the old joke that we always find what we are searching for in the last place we look.

        In the same session, another guy said he and another member of the group went fishing on a lake. The mosquitoes were eating them alive. Finally, one suggested they pray about it and the mosquitoes stopped bothering them. That impressed me for the next 7 or 8 years after I lost my faith. But then I read that mosquitoes feed most heavily at dusk and dawn, when it is too dark for birds but not dark enough for bats.

  • “[Suppose something happened] completely inconsistent with the operation of the universe as we know it, something impossible. . . . For instance, if the stars rearranged themselves to spell a different bible verse each night. Or if the tree in my front yard started growing KJV bibles instead of crabapples.”

    Krauss didn’t say that. I know, because I’m the one who said it That’s an excerpt from a blog post that I wrote back in 2016. Here’s the link to the full post: https://boldquestions.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/answers-to-a-question-for-atheists/

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      How do I know you aren’t Lawrence Krauss?

      • Well, my being female is a start. I only have one degree in physics, not several. And if I were him, I’d have a better paycheck.

        • Phil

          Lawrence Krauss is transgender? Wow!

    • Correction made. Thanks for the information.

      I think I’ll cancel my membership in the Tom Gilson fan club.

  • Finding out exactly what the Bible promises regarding prayer sealed the end of my doubting phase and ushered in the beginning of my deconversion. All those asterisked conditions my tribe added to weasel-word a Jedi “certain point of view” onto prayer didn’t exist in the Bible. It was unequivocal. And yet my church had just lost a very dear pastor to cancer. He was famous in the denomination–literally many thousands, maybe even a million people prayed for his magic healing. Decades later, the Christians who attended the last sermon he gave in life still talk about it (and I wonder: did they sit near me? Would they have seen me? What a small world). And he’d died in pain and terror all the same. We’d done everything right to save his life. Our god just hadn’t made with the magic healing.

    After his death, my church plunged into all the weasel words and asterisks that we all know about, I’m sure, to comfort themselves for the loss. But I felt cold as ice inside. My doubts intensified more and more the more I thought about it and the more I could perceive clearly about my church’s behavior WRT prayer.

    And yet when I tell Christians that, their stated response is to blame ME for taking the promises seriously. It just makes me laugh. I spent years chasing my tail in that religion. They can’t do anything to me now.

    • They can’t do anything to me now.

      You’ve taken the Hero’s Journey.

      • Haha! Yes! Exactly. Neo stopping the bullets, effortlessly blocking the Agent’s attack.

        https://media0.giphy.com/media/H8zYICFULjmW4/giphy-downsized-medium.gif

        A few days ago I wrote about having a way bigger gun than anything Al Mohler can bring to the cultural fight. When he screeches that I’m not a full human because I rejected motherhood as a life path, I respond: “…So what?” And he’s got nothing after that.

        If I don’t care if he likes or dislikes me, or whether he approves or not of my life or personhood or humanity. And in the face of my contempt, he’s helpless and powerless: a wedge-bot turned upside-down and flailing for purchase. He needs me to care about King Him’s opinion. Without it, he can’t even begin to take control of my life. Same for Christians generally. They withhold their love and approval, because that’s how they get people (esp. women) to dance to their tune in their culture, and they haven’t figured out yet that more and more people couldn’t even begin to care!

        It’s just so comical to me, seriously: Christians themselves were so nasty to me for so many years that they basically overloaded my giveashitwhatchristiansthink circuits. They shorted out and exploded. Now fundies send out the judgmental signals they used to send and get such stunning results from me leaping and dancing for their conditional, tentative approval. But nothing happens, and they get visibly distressed as a result.

        “But but but I won’t think you’re fully human! I’ll think you’re selfish! I’ll call you names!”

        “I know. It won’t change anything though.”

        My goodness, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a group take their own loss of cultural dominance quite as hard as these guys. Well, stone-cold racists maybe. Not that there isn’t near-total overlap.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Great comments!

        • Ficino

          Bwa ha ha. This is where I come down after hearing Ed Feser’s Perverted Faculty Argument: yeah, so?

        • from me leaping and dancing for their conditional, tentative approval

          It’s like pigeons in a Skinner box. It turned out that the intermittent (that is, unreliable) feedback was most effective. Pulling away from the Christian equivalent must be very hard (that wasn’t my route), but it must seem ridiculous once one is out of the Matrix.

        • I guess I’ve said something like that three times today. After getting out, it’s “how the hell didn’t I see that a long time ago!?”

        • NS Alito

          I keep coming back to that ex-believer’s (JW?) observation that they brought him up to gaslight himself. It explains so well the way I was taught to be afraid of doubting or questioning the belief.

        • That makes sense! It’s the meme again — the character of Satan evolved as a way to cause doubters to doubt their doubt. Worse than that, really — as you said, gaslighting ourselves.

        • TheNuszAbides

          That is a profound phrasing. My version (putting my personal history in perspective) is “curating a distortion of humility”, but “gaslighting oneself” is great shorthand.

        • NS Alito

          “But but but I won’t think you’re fully human! I’ll think you’re selfish! I’ll call you names!”

          “I know. It won’t change anything though.”

          It feels like a superpower, no longer caring what certain people think.

    • Susan

      I spent years chasing my tail in that religion.

      Amen.

    • Ignorant Amos

      A friend of mine, army comrade, and Christian pastor, succumbed to cancer last night. He was in attendance at a memorial I was at this March past and was the picture of health. He returned from holiday recently with pain in the abdomen. This was put down to gallstones. It wasn’t. He failed away to scrapings and was doped up on morphine for the pain he was in.

      Literally thousands were praying for him too.

      • Ficino

        Like you and the Captain, the death of a Christian brother to cancer (he was only 28) when everyone, even little children, was praying, ripped the nails out of the coffin. I knew all the rationalizations… but the God who promises stuff in prayer to little children while having foreordained that the little children would pray in vain as they had been told to pray… didn’t compute.

        • That reminds me of an example from Greg Koukl. He was demanding to know what the atheist would say when at the bed of a dying child. His point being, of course, that the Christian can talk about seeing each other in heaven, God’s fabulous plan, and so on.

          No thought was giving to whether that story was anything more than comforting, that it was actually true. Apparently that part wasn’t worth discussing for Koukl.

        • There was a time when I felt certain that my religion — Church of Christ — had a real problem, because people often died of cancer and other diseases, rather than of old age, and I didn’t think we actually believed prayer worked. We would pray for the doctors and the other caregivers rather than for the sick perople. So I started praying for the sick people and encouraging others to do so. When someone online asked for prayers I would stop what I was doing and pray. And I realized that other CoC people were doing it, too. (Not due to my influence — it’s a meme, and a lot of people were starting to think the same thing.)

          Didn’t take me long to figure out that people still died at the same apparent rate. The reason CoC people don’t (or didn’t) pray for the sick person is that they don’t believe miracles happen today. They believe that “divine providence” happens, so they ask for the doctors’ hands to be guided. Of course, that doesn’t work either, and what is “providence” but a miracle so small that an observer wouldn’t be able to say for sure if it was natural or a miracle?

          I think CoC culture had long before I was born figured out that prayer didn’t really do anything. Google “miracles shall cease” and you’ll wind up with a list of CoC articles explaining that I Cor 13 is a proof text that we don’t have miracles today.

          And yet I didn’t look at this as evidence against Christianity’s claims until after I had deconverted for other reasons.

      • I’m sorry to hear that. Imagine how difficult the end-of-life process was before pain killers.

        • Opium has been in use for literally thousands of years as a painkiller.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But not as accessible to as many until fairly recently.

      • I’m sorry.

    • Robert Voss

      Thank you, Captain, for your quotation above.

      “Apologetics doesn’t exist to demonstrate
      support for Christian claims.
      It exists, instead, to divert attention away from them.
      And it accomplishes that task grandly.”

      When Tom Gilson said:
      “many people disbelieved in Jesus, even when they had proof before their eyes,” that is an excellent example of a diversion. The question was not what people believed. Rather, the question was how do you demonstrate the accuracy of the Lazarus story.

      • rationalobservations?

        The problem for the followers of Jesusism is that no one living in the 1st century mentions Jesus at all. No letter, inscription, artefact or graffito mentions Jesus.

        There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          Well, there is, it just isn’t all that very good really, that’s all.

        • rationalobservations?

          Hi again, Amos.
          Your assumption is denied even by the oldest/first 4th century founded Jesusism religion:

          “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

          The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

          “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

          This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

          In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

          There are some tiny fragments of semi-literate scrawl on scraps of papyri smaller than beer mats that are still claimed by religionists as originating in the 2nd century, but modern science now places them as near to the 4th century in origin and no earlier than the 3rd century at best. (See “P52 controversy”)

          One of the world’s leading (ex-christian fundamentalist) bible scholars puts it lie this:

          https://pics.me.me/in-the-entire-first-christian-century-jesus-is-not-mentioned-17397524.png

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, I’ve seen all that before.

          But the fact remains, even poor evidence or fabricated evidence, it is still evidence to an extent…regardless of what you and I think.

          Bart Ehrman, whom you quote, has spent a lifetime studying the evidence. Granted, he stretches a lot of it, and hypothesis’ a lot of the rest…to the point where you and I don’t rate it as evidence at all. But we don’t get to decide the evidence the otherside relies on, even shite evidence is still evidence.

        • rationalobservations?

          “Fabricated evidence is evidence”?

          Evidence of fraud and forgery maybe, but nothing else.

          I would be fascinated to learn the nature of the “poor evidence” you reference.

          Ehrman makes the mistake of confusing myths that originate in the 4th century with history. It is not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Evidence of fraud and forgery maybe, but nothing else.

          I would be fascinated to learn the nature of the “poor evidence” you reference.

          Sure, you are already well aware of it already. But anyway.

          The TF is evidence that there were Christians prepared to commit fraud and forgery. Maybe after Origen, but not later than Eusebius.

          Pliny’s mention of a group known as Christian’s is evidence that there was a messiah cult following when he wrote his letter in the early second century.

          Rylands p52, the credit card sized piece of John’s gospel, is evidence of a gospel having been written anywhere between the end of the first century and the beginning of the third century. The most recent paper I’ve read on the issue is that of Brent Nongbri.

          What emerges from this survey is nothing surprising to papyrologists: paleography is not the most effective method for dating texts, particularly those written in a literary hand. Roberts himself noted this point in his edition of p52. The real problem is the way scholars of the New Testament have used and abused papyrological evidence. I have not radically revised Roberts’s work. I have not provided any third-century documentary papyri that are absolute “dead ringers” for the handwriting of p52, and even had I done so, that would not force us to date p52 at some exact point in the third century. Paleographic evidence does not work that way. What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for p52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. Thus, p52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century. Only a papyrus containing an explicit date or one found in a clear archaeological stratigraphic context could do the work scholars want p52 to do. As it stands now, the papyrological evidence should take a second place to other forms of evidence in addressing debates about the dating of the Fourth Gospel.

          I’d be interested in the scientific evidence that puts it securely in the third century. But anyhow, to my point, the previous “evidence” that of papyrology and paleography, was flawed, but it was evidence all the same.

          “Against Heresies” is purported to be a 2nd century polemic that testifies to early forms of Christianity.

          Until the discovery of the Library of Nag Hammadi in 1945, Against Heresies was the best surviving contemporary description of Gnosticism. Today, the treatise remains historically important as one of the first unambiguous attestations of the canonical gospel texts and some of the Pauline epistles. Irenaeus cites from most of the New Testament canon, as well as the noncanonical works 1 Clement and The Shepherd of Hermas; however, he makes no references to Philemon, 2 Peter, 3 John or Jude– four of the shortest epistles.

          Now, we can argue as to what kind of evidence it is, but it is evidence all the same.

          Ehrman makes the mistake of confusing myths that originate in the 4th century with history. It is not.

          Perhaps. But that is irrelevant to the fact that he presents evidence for his arguments regardless of what you, or I, or anyone else for that matter, thinks of it. And it is that evidence that needs refuting if we don’t accept it.

          The Church Father Irenaeus (130-202CE) listed twenty forms of Christianity that he himself was aware of. The Christian academic Origen was instrumental in the founding of Christian literary theology. In his book Against Celsus (248CE) he writes at length against a 2nd-century attack on Christianity that described it as being comprised of disparate groups. Celsus said that Christians “were divided and split up into factions, each individual desiring to have his own party. […] Thus separated through their numbers, they confute one another. [… They] are determined in different ways by the various sects”. And Origen agreed that this was the case, that “from the beginning there were differences of opinion among believers regarding the meaning of the books held to be divine” and the reason was that because important issues always cause strong differences of opinion. The expert in ancient prime sources Prof. Bart Ehrman likewise states that one of most common causes of forgeries and fabrications was the urgent need that believers had to put across their point of view to convince others – and that, unfortunately, included the far-too-common practice of writing in other people’s names.

          http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_historical.html

          In a court there are two sides and two sets of evidence, or even two ways of looking at the same evidence. It is down to the two sides to discredit the others evidence, but we just can’t say the losers evidence wasn’t evidence, poor evidence yes, but not evidence at all? I don’t think so.

        • rationalobservations?

          “The TF is evidence that there were Christians prepared to commit fraud and forgery…”
          The oldest extant example of a text containing the TF is dated to fabrication in the 11th century and (as you appear to imply) represents only evidence of the widespread forgery of christian texts from the 10th century onward. 80% of christian texts originate at least 8 centuries after the time in which the legends of “Jesus” are merely set and the medieval period of fabrication of texts and fake artefacts (Fake “Jesus” shrouds, enough fragments of the “true cross” to fill a large warehouse, blood and bones of “saints” etc etc) was fakery on an industrial scale.

          “There is very little that we can prove in this world. We can look for evidence to support claims people make and when there is robust supporting evidence, and no contrary evidence, we can conclude a claim is probably, but not definitely, true.

          However, it is easier to prove something is false—all you need is one piece of contradictory evidence. So, what about Christianity? Is there evidence that contradicts, or casts grave doubt on Christianity? I think there is rather a lot.
          There remains no trace of authenticated and original, first century originated historical evidence of the life and adventures of “Jesus”.
          You – nor anyone else has ever referenced anything but artefacts texts and books that originate at least two and a half centuries after the time in which the legends of “Jesus” are set and nearly 4 centuries after in the case of the oldest 4th century fabricated bibles that are so very different from those even later written books of fables in circulation today.

          There is clear evidence that prayer does not work despite the Bible promising prayers will be answered.
          There is clear evidence that humans invent gods. Humans have invented so many gods that the default assumption should be that a god is a supernatural entity invented by humans. Christianity would need solid evidence that the Jewish god is an exception to this rule but there is no such evidence.
          There is clear evidence that religions and gods are propagated through culture by infecting children, and no evidence that they are propagated by gods.
          There is clear evidence that Christianity has evolved as human understanding of the world has changed whilst a real, God-given religion, should never need to change.
          There is clear evidence that humans on this planet have unequal access to Christianity so, if Christianity were true, billions would be condemned to hell for no fault of their own. This contradicts the Christian notion that God is omnibenevolent.
          There is clear evidence that the Bible, supposedly inspired by God, is liberally sprinkled with the type of errors we would expect from its Iron Age authors but would not expect from the creator of the universe.
          Christian theology is incoherent to the point of absurdity. God killing his son so he can forgive our future sin is like me breaking my son’s legs so I can forgive my neighbour in case she ever parks her car on my drive. It is quite ridiculous.
          There is clear evidence that the arguments presented for the existence of the Jewish God are logically flawed—all of them have been shown to be unreliable. If this were not the case, all honest and intelligent people would accept that God exists, just as all honest and intelligent people accept that black holes exist.”

          https://www.atheistalliance.org/thinking-out-loud/eight-reasons-christianity-is-false/
          https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/sites/563/2016/03/The-Atheist-Pig.jpeg

        • Ignorant Amos

          The oldest extant example of a text containing the TF is dated to fabrication in the 11th century and (as you appear to imply) represents only evidence of the widespread forgery of christian texts from the 10th century onward.

          Again, what it is is irrelevant. It’s what scholars assert it is is what is relevant.

          Even as a forgery, it is claimed post Origen most likely Eusebian. That’s early fourth century.

          Speaking of Origen and the other early Christian patriarchs, is it your position they and their writings a fourth century Roman fabrications?

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

          80% of christian texts originate at least 8 centuries after the time in which the legends of “Jesus” are merely set and the medieval period of fabrication of texts and fake artefacts (Fake “Jesus” shrouds, enough fragments of the “true cross” to fill a large warehouse, blood and bones of “saints” etc etc) was fakery on an industrial scale.

          I don’t contend any of that. What’s at question is the whole Christian story prior to the fourth century priority of the orthodoxy.

          The AAI citation is not relevant. While I agree with it. I note…

          There is very little that we can prove in this world. We can look for evidence to support claims people make and when there is robust supporting evidence, and no contrary evidence, we can conclude a claim is probably, but not definitely, true.

          The other side claim they have robust supporting evidence. You are saying they have no contrary evidence to your version of robust evidence.

          The rest is about falsifying Christianity.

          Again, we are back to no evidence v’s no evidence you find convincing as evidence.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

        • rationalobservations?

          Please check the “oldest extant Origen” and oldest extant (any other claimed early christian writer) before discussing this apparent failed defence of Jesus based religionism any further.

          http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/origen_philocalia.htm

          http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/josephus_antiquities.htm

        • Ignorant Amos

          Please check the “oldest extant Origen” and oldest extant (any other claimed early christian writer)…

          Right. Let’s make this clear. Is it your position that everyone connected with the Jesus story before the Romans accepted the religion in the fourth century, is a fabrication, because the oldest extant copies of their work is post fourth century?

          …before discussing this apparent failed defence of Jesus based religionism any further.

          This is starting to get annoying now. For the last time, I’m not defending the veracity of the evidence or defending anything the other side cites as evidence as convincing. I’m pointing out that there is this thing that Christians and most secular scholars call evidence for the existence of Jesus…that’s a fact in spite of your claim…

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          Dr. Richard Carrier – Did Jesus Even Exist? A Historian Questions the Evidence

          See…Evidence…go to timestamp 24.50.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMyudP5z2Xw

          Frank Zindler has an essay in American Atheists.

          About a decade ago, however, I began to reexamine the evidence for the historicity of Jesus. I was astounded at what I didn’t find. In this article, I would like to show how shaky the evidence is regarding the alleged existence of a would-be messiah named Jesus. I now feel it is more reasonable to suppose he never existed. It is easier to account for the facts of early Christian history if Jesus were a fiction than if he once were real.

          https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/did-jesus-exist/

          Because fuckwits like this…

          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/the-evidence-for-jesus/

        • Greg G.

          This is starting to get annoying now.

          That’s why I quit arguing with him a couple of months ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It seems to me to be a breakdown in comms.

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          Is not the same as The evidence for Jesus existence is sparse and completely unconvincing…to a mythicist.

          The former is factually incorrect, the latter is not. All the other fluff is irrelevant obfuscation to the discussion.

        • Greg G.

          When I contended with him, he didn’t recognize older manuscripts and argued that the Sinaiticus was written as is, even pointing to the different handwriting in it, relying mostly on a hundred year old Catholic Encyclopedia.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Codex Sinaiticus was copied by more than one scribe. Constantine Tischendorf identified four in the nineteenth century. Subsequent research decided that there were three, but it is possible that a fourth (different from Tischendorf’s fourth scribe) can be identified. Each of the three undisputed scribes has a distinctive way of writing which can be identified with practice. Each also had a distinctive way of spelling many sounds, particularly vowels which scribes often wrote phonetically. One of them may have been a senior copyist.

          To make their manuscript, the scribes had to perform a series of tasks. They had to

          1. determine a format (there are very few surviving manuscripts written with four columns to a page);

          2. divide the work between them;

          3. prepare the parchment, including ruling it with a framework for the layout of columns and lines;

          4. prepare the manuscripts they were copying;

          5. get pens and ink together;

          6. write the text;

          7. check it;

          8. assemble the whole codex in the right order.

          http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/production.aspx

        • Greg G.

          Step 4 is the thing I couldn’t get RO? to recognize.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • rationalobservations?

          Are you claiming evidence of the existence of Sherlock now? Will it be Robin Hood next?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Huh?

          Wtf has that got to do with that wiki link showing “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” being a collection of older fictional stories?

        • rationalobservations?

          What you could not reconcile is why so many unused manuscripts were destroyed and the manuscripts assumed to have been referenced when Sinaiticus was cobbled together were then destroyed?

          I know that there must have been messianic cults from around 6BCE as I have often repeated. The existence of messiah claimants and messianic cults is not in dispute. The non existence of a single item of historical evidence supporting the existence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus” has never been contradicted by the production of a single item of historical evidence supporting the existence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus”.

          You failure to recognise the sophistication of the evidence of non “Jesus” messiah claimants and absence of any evidence specifically referencing “Jesus” appears simplistic on your part.

        • Greg G.

          What you could not reconcile is why so many unused manuscripts were destroyed and the manuscripts assumed to have been referenced when Sinaiticus was cobbled together were then destroyed?

          The writing materials they used back then was subject to decay though some could be preserved if kept extremely dry. So they had to keep making copies of stuff before it decayed. This should not be hard to understand.

          I know that there must have been messianic cults from around 6BCE as I have often repeated. The existence of messiah claimants and messianic cults is not in dispute. The non existence of a single item of historical evidence supporting the existence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus” has never been contradicted by the production of a single item of historical evidence supporting the existence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus”.

          Epistle Jesus was not a preacher/teacher from Galilee. They seem to have been getting the idea from the Septuagint, especially the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and likely got the name “Jesus” from Zechariah. I think the Epistle writers never thought Jesus lived in the first century. Gospel Jesus was based on the Epistles combined with the literature of the day. Even if there was a Messiah claimant named Jesus, the epistles were not about that guy and the gospels were about Epistle Jesus, not about a real person.

          You failure to recognise the sophistication of the evidence of non “Jesus” messiah claimants and absence of any evidence specifically referencing “Jesus” appears simplistic on your part.

          I think they are mostly irrelevant but I think Mark invented Jesus the Galilean and Judas Iscariot from Judas the Galilean with the Sicarii being modified to become “Iscariot” in Josephus’ Jewish Wars.

        • rationalobservations?

          What planet was that written on and by who?
          You apparently make up your own straw man arguments and then claim victory over those who you fail to argue against.

          I am glad that your annoying non-argument is ceased, but annoyed that you misrepresent your own failed part in arguing for the historical existence of “Jesus” when no evidence of that exists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am glad that your annoying non-argument is ceased, but annoyed that you misrepresent your own failed part in arguing for the historical existence of “Jesus” when no evidence of that exists.

          Why would Greg misrepresent his own failed part in arguing for the historical existence of “Jesus” when he himself is a mythicist and believes the evidence doesn’t support “Jesus” existed, while believing the counter evidence supports non-existence?

        • That confused me as well. RO is apparently making a mythicist argument, and Greg is our most eloquent mythicist advocate. I’d expect a group hug.

        • Greg G.

          I am glad that your annoying non-argument is ceased, but annoyed that you misrepresent your own failed part in arguing for the historical existence of “Jesus” when no evidence of that exists.

          You do not understand my argument at all. I have never argued for a historical Jesus even when I assumed there was one and I have argued against a historical for nearly 15 years.

        • You’ve been the most eloquent arguer for mythicism at this blog. I was baffled why RO wouldn’t be delighted to find a kindred soul (and maybe learn a few things).

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was baffled why RO wouldn’t be delighted to find a kindred soul (and maybe learn a few things).

          Richard Carrier and many other mythicists could answer that bafflement.

          Not every Christian is a kindred spirit with each other, don’t forget.

        • rationalobservations?

          It is you who fail to recognise my evidence supported argument regarding the relative ages of Codex Sinaiticus (late 4th century) and the scraps and fragments of papyri relating to the 4th century founded Jesus cult that have been recently dated as no earlier than mid 3rd century and possibly early 4th century in origin.

          As a relative new comer to the honourable endeavour of confounding the religionists (only 15 years!) you should perhaps give a little more credit to those of us who have been leading the way for more than twice that long.

          I can understand and accept a modicum of misunderstanding but totally missing the evidence supported point and appearing to argue in complete agreement appears a total waste of time and ability.

        • Greg G.

          It is you who fail to recognise my evidence supported argument regarding the relative ages of Codex Sinaiticus (late 4th century) and the scraps and fragments of papyri relating to the 4th century founded Jesus cult that have been recently dated as no earlier than mid 3rd century and possibly early 4th century in origin.

          I have never denied that the Sinaiticus is 4th century. The date of it is barely relevant. The dating of the scraps of manuscripts are the latest possible date. Those scraps are probably not the originals so they would not tell you anything about the earliest possible date. Have you been studying this for more than 15 years and not figured that out?

        • rationalobservations?

          As scholars reexamine these papyri fragments using modern techniques, a different result is discovered to that of the assumptions, presumptions and suppositions of religionists that still appear in many places.
          I will try to find links to the scholarly papers and articles that have appeared in recent years but here is a link that references some recent research:
          https://vridar.org/2013/03/08/new-date-for-that-st-johns-fragment-rylands-library-papyrus-p52/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here’s another one.

          https://vridar.org/2013/03/10/more-on-dating-new-testament-manuscripts-and-the-rylands-fragment-p52-again/

          I still don’t understand the relevance though.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …and the scraps and fragments of papyri relating to the 4th century founded Jesus cult that have been recently dated as no earlier than mid 3rd century and possibly early 4th century in origin.

          When are you going to defend that assertion with evidence RO?

          Because am yearning for it to add to ma tool box.

        • rationalobservations?
        • Ignorant Amos

          Nowhere in that article does it say Rylands p52 is no earlier than mid 3rd century and possibly 4th century.

          As I’ve already cited, in Brent Nongbri, p52 should not be used in order to narrowly date the authorship of gJohn, but even he doesn’t suggest p52 should go past the early 3rd century.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rylands_Library_Papyrus_P52#Brent_Nongbri

        • rationalobservations?

          None of which contradicts mm y assertion that no authentic and original first century originated historical evidence exists of the existence of Jesus or any of the content of the oldest 4th century fabricated bibles which is the substance of my observations.

        • Ignorant Amos

          None of the atheists here that I’m aware of, has argued that there is authentic and original first century […] historical evidence [that] exists of the existence of Jesus or any of the content of the oldest 4th century fabricated bibles.

          We all agree on that bit.

          That there is stuff that “originated” in the first century, well that’s a different matter entirely.

        • rationalobservations?

          The point is that it is merely alleged that the centuries later written Bible stories originated from within the time in which they are merely set.
          I point out that not one single item of historical evidence supports this supposition.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The point is that it is merely alleged that the centuries later written Bible stories originated from within the time in which they are merely set.

          No, the point is that the story is set in a certain chronological time frame. By the authors of two of the gospels based on OT nonsense. Scholars have to start somewhere. So for the sake of argument, the terminus ante quem places the stories after the second temple destruction, because prophecy doesn’t count. The terminus post quem is the earliest historical mention or example of the text

          For example..

          …the external evidence fixes the terminus ad quem for the Gospel of John. Irenaeus of Lyons made use of John (c. 180), and Tatian included the Gospel of John in his harmony (c. 170). The Gospel of John is also mentioned in the Muratorian Canon (c. 170-200). Justin Martyr (c. 150-160) and the Epistula Apostolorum (c. 140-150) may have made use of the Gospel of John. But the earliest known usage of John is among Gnostic circles. These include the Naassene Fragment quoted by Hippolytus Ref. 5.7.2-9 (c. 120-140), the Valentinian texts cited in Clement of Alexandria’s Excerpta ex Theodotou (c. 140-160), a Valentinian Exposition to the Prologue of the Gospel of John quoted in Irenaeus’ Adv. Haer. 1.8.5-6 (c. 140-160), and the commentary of Heracleon on John (c. 150-180, quoted in Origen’s own commentary).

          The codex Sinaiticus is dated to circa 350 CE. It is a compilation of earlier, establishedf texts, that had to wait until that time in order to be gathered into a single group due to the historical circumstances. Exactly when they were put down onto papyri is less important to the mythicist thesis favoured by Docherty/Carrier. Carrier has no gripe with the accepted consensus of scholars on dating. What is of utmost importance is that whatever time they were written, the genuine epistles of the Pauline corpus had to predate them.

          I point out that not one single item of historical evidence supports this supposition.

          Which no one is contesting here. And is not that important to the mythicist argument either way when considering a celestial Jesus with minimal chronological setting. Not having a dateable piece of physical evidence from the first century is only a problem for the historicists.

          I’m a bit lost on what you are actually claiming and why it is relevant. At some point around the turn of the first century, folk started to record a yarn about a god-man-angel being they named Jesus. People started to believe this guy lived at a certain point in time. When this belief started is unknown. The evidence for this is belief is dubious and lacks substance. Nevertheless, the evidence that those who believe the claim, has to be addressed.

          The texts chosen and cobbled together via committee in the 4th century has no bearing on any of this from what I can see. If I’m missing something important about it, I’d be grateful for your pointing it out.

          The codex Sinaiticus isn’t the bible, it’s just an early version of the bible that still exists, for the most part anyway. Bibles were compiled based on the theology of their compilers. Earlier lost versions are the Marcionite Bible from some 200 years earlier than Sinaiticus.

          http://www.marcionite-scripture.info/Marcionite_Bible.htm

          The KJV is a clusterfuck of an interpretation formulated by a 50 strong committee as an exercise in political appeasement and theological compromise. So the thousands of differences is hardly surprising.

          Holy rollers have been bastardizing their scriptures from the get-go.

          The Holy Bible has 100’s of versions, that’s just in English. The codex Sinaiticus is just a data point in its history.

          It should be noted that the Quran suffers from a similar problem, even though Muslims claim differently.

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

        • rationalobservations?
        • Are you saying that there is no evidence of any of the content in Sinaiticus before its creation in roughly 350 CE?

        • rationalobservations?

          Of course not.
          I don’t know how the fact that the oldest known bible originates in the 4th century and there is no existant evidence of it’s content from within the 1st century time in which the diverse and different content of diverse and different bibles are set can be the subject of such controversy?

          The ongoing forensic and scientific controversy regarding the date of origin of the fragments of centuries later written papyri that predate Sinaiticus is a side issue that fails to mitigate the facts I present.

        • I don’t know how the fact that the oldest known bible originates in the 4th century and there is no existant evidence of it’s content from within the 1st century time in which the diverse and different content of diverse and different bibles are set can be the subject of such controversy?

          Yes, the oldest complete-ish Bible originates from c. 350. We have evidence of its content in P46, which dates from c. 200.

        • rationalobservations?

          Are you suggesting that Papyrus P46 is a first draft transcript for Sinaiticus and therefore actually the oldest known bible?

          I have studied what ,I thought was the whole of P 46 and it was much smaller than Sinaiticus and unconfirmed in date. Can you reveal the location in which the rest of it is conserved and which recent modern forensic laboratory has given a contemporary date of origin for P 46? I try to keep up to date with latest research but like Greg, miss some new findings.

          Is the oldest bible P46 entirely similar in content to Sinaiticus and therefore significantly different from bibles in circulation today?

          Best regards
          RO?

        • Noop. I’m saying that P46 precedes Sinaiticus in time (likely more than a century) and has a decent fraction of it. This supports the idea of 1st/2nd century authorship of the NT books that are in Sinaiticus.

        • rationalobservations?

          P46 may precede Sinaiticus by only decades. No 2nd century fragment (if one can be forensically dated) or 4th century book supports people and events claimed to occur in the 1st century of which no historical trace has ever been discovered.

        • I was responding to what I thought was your claim: that Sinaiticus is plausibly the first New Testament. If your point is just that it’s the first bound volume, yes that’s true and also trivial.

          As for this comment, I don’t know what your point is.

        • Greg G.

          P46 may precede Sinaiticus by only decades.

          But those decades exceed a human lifespan so it was not written by anyone involved with the Sinaiticus.

          It was written by a trained calligrapher in a codex which means the scribe knew how many pages to prepare, which pushes back the original manuscripts toward the second century or before.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The ongoing forensic and scientific controversy regarding the date of origin of the fragments of centuries later written papyri that predate Sinaiticus is a side issue that fails to mitigate the facts I present.

          What on going forensic and scientific controversy are you referring to?

          Papyri are dated by paleography and papyrology analysis.

          By radio carbon dating.

          And the new kid on the block, Ramen Spectroscopy.

          None of which are refined enough to date a mss with any confidence yet.

          https://brentnongbri.com/2019/08/18/a-new-article-on-palaeographic-dating-of-codices/

          https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/overdue-dating-early-christian-papyri-at-the-sbl-annual-meeting-a-report/

          An introduction to Roberta Mazza’s, University of Manchester, recently published paper can be read in .doc form here…

          https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/124132572/Introduction_JSNT_AsAccepted.docx

        • rationalobservations?

          No one has ever produced authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.
          This statement is factually correct since no one has ever produced any authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          Historical “Messiah” claimants? Yes.
          Evidence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus”? No.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No one has ever produced authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          I don’t care, because that is a straw man I’m not contesting. If you had’ve said that in the first place, we wouldn’t be arguing.

          This statement is factually correct since no one has ever produced any authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          Now yer just talking plain ballix.

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          Is in no way the same as…

          No one has ever produced authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”

          The evidence I’m referring to is not “authentic and original” and nowhere have I suggested that the evidence Christians and many secular scholars rely on to demonstrate the existence of Jesus was “authentic and original”, merely that it is evidence.

          You are now adding in “authentic and original” in an attempt to rescue the argument by making it something I never contested. That is being disingenuous and something I believe is beneath you.

        • rationalobservations?

          So semantics confuse the issue for you, Amos.

          I write: “No one has ever produced authentic and original historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”. In summary of all that I have written on the subject.
          You write: “I don’t care, because that is a straw man I’m not contesting. If you had’ve said that in the first place, we wouldn’t be arguing.”

          However strange that may appear to many readers, it appears that we shall once again have to merely agree to agree on the subject..?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It annoys me that a contributor here whose contributions I enjoy and find informative for the most part, I end up getting frustrated with RO. I don’t like it much.

          It isn’t semantics, it is pointing out that I don’t agree with the statement in its original form it was produced and why.

          The subsequent toing and froing has shown that there was a problem with what you originally commented, what I was contending, and what you apparently now meant.

          I agreed with you right off the bat that…

          What non biblical non mythical actual tangible authentic and original, first century originated historical evidence can you name?

          Is something I was on board with from the get-go.

          But…

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          I am not. Because numerous books have been written that demonstrate otherwise. The nature of the evidence is what is in contention, not that there is none. Even if it all originated in the 4th century…and are total fabrications ta boot.

          However strange that may appear to many readers, it appears that we shall once again have to merely agree to agree on the subject..?

          Am more than happy enough with that, I got what you were saying, I hope you get where I was coming from too. I hate falling out with friends, even if it is only on the internet.

        • rationalobservations?

          I have to agree that the whole semantic hair splitting excersise is totally pointless as we are all in agreement that the confused and internally contradictory myths and legends of Jesus are unsupported by historical evidence.

          How any religionists reading this must be laughing!

          I am not arguing in agreement with other rational atheist any further. It’s ridiculous, pointless and a waste of time better spent confounding religionists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh dear, never mind!

        • rationalobservations?

          I have never minded the nit picking of friends who appear to offer non-arguments in agreement with the non-existence of evidence of any of the millions of fictional gods, goddesses and god-men, Amos.

          It appears a waste of time better spent confusing and confounding religionists – but time spent with friends is never wasted.

        • Greg G.

          How any religionists reading this must be laughing!

          I am not arguing in agreement with other rational atheist any further. It’s ridiculous, pointless and a waste of time better spent confounding religionists.

          Which sums up why I stopped arguing with you a few months ago.

        • rationalobservations?

          I’m glad we also agree on this, Greg.

          Arguing in agreement appears ridiculous!

        • MR

          Maybe I wasn’t paying attention before, but I don’t remember him being like this. It’s like he’s adopted Trump tactics.

        • Greg G.

          No, his argument hasn’t changed on this subject.

          EDIT: There is one change I have noticed now that I think about it. Now he acknowledges that there are third century scraps. A few months ago, he was telling me that the Sinaiticus was the originals.

        • MR

          Well, technically I wasn’t referring to the argument.

        • Greg G.

          The rest is pretty much the same. He would light up some semi-regular who was being sarcastic or using a double-entendre and ro would take it too seriously. Often it took more than one regular to tell him the comment was not how he took it.

        • MR

          I guess I just never noticed his obsession.

        • rationalobservations?

          You ran away from a discussion that you could not win regarding specific and authentic 1st century historical evidence of “Jesus” when you were proved to be incapable of presenting any.

          Your hubris and egotism is noted however.

        • Greg G.

          I dropped the argument to remain amicable. Your argument was always that there was no evidence of manuscripts older than Sinaiticus which is like a creationist asking for transititional fossils. Not everything is preserved. Not everything ever written for the past 10,000 years still exist.

          It is not logical to assume that a scrap with some words and phrases from a gospel were written that way. It is evidence of a form of a complete gospel, just as a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur is evidence for a flesh and bone dinosaur rather than a walking skeleton dinosaur.

        • MR

          Nice analogy.

        • rationalobservations?

          I wish you wouldn’t offer these misinterpretations of the evidence based case I offer, Greg.

          I observe that there is no existing or referenced bible before the late 4th century fabricated Codex Sinaiticus and I observe that the tiny often semi literate scraps and fragments of papyri that are claimed as starting to appear in the mid 2nd century (Papyrus p52) have more recently been dated to no earlier than the mid to late 3rd century and could be near contemporary in production to Sinaiticus.

          Your misunderstandings are your problem, not mine, my friend.

          You sounded like some crazed religionist for a while but I am glad that we can finally agree to agree!

        • Why always with the P52? P46 (to take just one pre-Sinaiticus papyrus) is dated to around 200 and contains some of 1 Thessalonians, most of 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Hebrews, and all of 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, and Ephesians.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_46

        • rationalobservations?

          I focus upon P52 because it has long been claimed by religionists to be the oldest extant fragment of a version of “John’s gospel” and remains listed as originating in the early to mid 2nd century in many listings.

          Any and fragments claimed to originate at later dates are further removed from any consideration as “evidence” of people and events that are claimed as first century although no first century evidence supporting those claims has ever been discovered.

          Greg asked for evidence and I have rediscovered some of the articles and papers that prompted my challenge to the dates of Papyri fragments as you know.

          Regards,
          RO?

          https://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.php?url=article&id=2957937&journal_code=ETL

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rylands_Library_Papyrus_P52

          https://vridar.org/2013/03/08/new-date-for-that-st-johns-fragment-rylands-library-papyrus-p52/

        • Greg G.

          P52 appears to have been dated to the early second century because other writings found with it were dated to that period.

          That would be a hasty assumption. Even if the other writings were that old, it may have been thrown out decades later with all off the deceased owner’s belongings. But it seems less likely that the old collection would last a century before being tossed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel

          The thesis of this paper is simple: we as critical readers of the New Testament often use John Rylands Greek Papyrus 3.457, also known as P52, in inappropriate ways, and we should stop doing so. A recent example will illustrate the problem. In what is on the whole a superb commentary on John’s gospel, D. Moody Smith writes the following about the date of John:

          For a time, particularly in the early part of the twentieth century, the possibility that John was not written, or at least not published, until [the] mid-second century was a viable one. At that time Justin Martyr espoused a logos Christology, without citing the Fourth Gospel explicitly. Such an omission by Justin would seem strange if the Gospel of John had already been written and was in circulation. Then the discovery and publication in the1930s of two papyrus fragments made such a late dating difficult, if not impossible, to sustain. The first and most important is the fragment of John chapter 18 … [P52], dated by paleographers to the second quarter of the second century (125–150); the other is a fragment of a hitherto unknown gospel called Egerton Papyrus 2 from the same period, which obviously reflects knowledge of the Gospel of John…. For the Gospel of John to have been written and circulated in Egypt, where these fragments were found, a date no later than the first decade of the second century must be presumed.

          Nongbri, B. (2005). The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel. Harvard Theological Review, 98(1), 23-48. doi:10.1017/S0017816005000842

          https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/harvard-theological-review/article/use-and-abuse-of-p52-papyrological-pitfalls-in-the-dating-of-the-fourth-gospel/676A4EA909EB03046F89DB8CE1F050BE

        • Ignorant Amos

          Brent Nongbri, in a reply comment to this on his website

          Brent, so Colwell’s caution about the dating of P52 arises from the scarcity of comparable material dated around 150 CE. Given the contemporary scholars who agree with that dating, one has to question his caution for other reasons. I state the obvious. P52, being supposedly the earliest Christian manuscript, is used to support the early existence of Christianity. This argument is very much weakened if the manuscript is late second or early third century, as you suggest. Thus, not only is this weak evidence for an early Gospel of John, it raises the question as to when Christianity originated.

          …says…

          Well, there’s a difference you seem to be glossing over: There isn’t really any strong evidence for the circulation of the Gospel According to John until the latter part of the second century (quotations by Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus, the commentary of Heracleon–depending on when one dates that!–, etc.). For the worship of Jesus, there is ample evidence both from participants (Paul’s letters, etc.) and from non-participant observers (Pliny, etc.), so I don’t think P52 has any bearing on the question of “the early existence of Christianity.”

          https://brentnongbri.com/2018/07/27/e-c-colwell-on-p52/

        • I focus upon P52 because it has long been claimed by religionists to be the oldest extant fragment of a version of “John’s gospel” and remains listed as originating in the early to mid 2nd century in many listings.

          But since your argument is that nothing of substance preceded Sinaiticus, you should steel-man your opponent’s argument. P52 is a scrap. We all agree. Find examples of papyri that precede Sinaiticus that aren’t scraps (like P46) and address them.

        • rationalobservations?

          My argument is that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are the oldest bibles and they differ from each other and the most complete (Sinaiticus) differs from the KJV in more than 14,000 details including two complete books in Sinaiticus that do not appear in the KJV and many many lines that appear in the KJV that do not appear in Sinaiticus.
          I also point out that historical evidence originating from within the 1st century has ever been discovered.

          I have studied many of the papyri first hand and keep up to date with scholarly and scientific/forensic reports that have now been linked to within this column.

          I have never asserted that Sinaiticus was fabricated out of nothing and recognise the reports that it was cobbled together from many myths and legends and that many more are alleged to have been destroyed by those who selected the fables that do appear.

          It may be that I have been sloppy in presenting my assessment but others have appeared to make assumptions that are not based upon my actual entries.

        • You sounded like some crazed religionist for a while

          Maybe to you. Not to anyone who was reading for comprehension.

        • Greg G.

          I observe that there is no existing or referenced bible before the late 4th century fabricated Codex Sinaiticus and I observe that the tiny often semi literate scraps and fragments of papyri that are claimed as starting to appear in the mid 2nd century (Papyrus p52) have more recently been dated to no earlier than the mid to late 3rd century and could be near contemporary in production to Sinaiticus.

          You are not following the evidence where it points. “Semi-literate scraps and fragments” show that manuscripts from that time decay. Those are evidence of actual manuscripts. But there are collections of mostly complete letters, too.

        • Greg G.

          The most interesting thing about P52 us that one of the holes is not big enough to hold the text that should be in the gap. There seems to be a word missing. It is more fun to point that out when it is presented as being early second century to show that the text was already being corrupted. Then you can point out that it is also dated as late as the third or fourth century.

        • rationalobservations?

          Thank you for adding this argument, Greg.
          It’s better to work together than to nit pick between ourselves.

          Here are links to a few articles regarding the modern re-dating of Papyri.

          https://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.php?url=article&id=2957937&journal_code=ETL

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rylands_Library_Papyrus_P52

          https://vridar.org/2013/03/08/new-date-for-that-st-johns-fragment-rylands-library-papyrus-p52/

        • Greg G.

          Thanks for linking to the P52 Wikipedia article. More details have been added since I last looked at it. They point out details about the calligraphy that is interesting. The writer seems to be copying a copy of John written in calligraphy and is copying each letter but occasionally writes a letter in normal text.

        • rationalobservations?

          It appears to have escaped your notice that Carrier’s lecture is titled “Did Jesus even exist?” NOT “Here is evidence of the existence of Jesus”…?

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          Other “Messiah” claimants? Yes.
          Evidence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus”? No.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It appears to have escaped your notice that Carrier’s lecture is titled “Did Jesus even exist?” NOT “Here is evidence of the existence of Jesus”…?

          Oh ffs. You seem to want to be deliberately obtuse at this stage.

          Quote mining is expected from Christers.

          It appears to have escaped your notice that Carrier’s lecture is titled “Did Jesus Even Exist? A Historian Questions the Evidence

          What evidence is it you think Carrier is questioning?

          Do you even know how Carrier’s thesis works? Have you read “On the Historicity of Jesus” and “Proving History”?

          Carrier takes the “Here is the evidence of the existence of Jesus” historicists use and subjects it to scrutiny. He uses BT to assess the evidence that historicists put forward to verify the existence of Jesus.

          The logically correct way to reason from evidence to a conclusion is to assume that a hypothesis is true (for the sake of argument–in other words, wholly regardless of whether you already think the hypothesis is probable or not, you much assume it is not only probable but in fact true), and then ask how likely the particular piece of evidence you are looking at would be in that case. You must do this for both competing hypotheses (thus generating two estimates of probability, not one), p. 513

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

          And yet scholars spill so much ink wrangling over just such evidence.

          Carrier’s OtHoJ is nearly 700 pages in length refuting the evidence.

          Again, I get that you don’t find the evidence at all convincing, or even worthy of being called evidence, but it is what it is.

          Scholars, including Ehrman, point to “The brother of the Lord” passage in Paul as evidence that Paul knew Jesus’s brother, a biological brother, and if someone has a biological brother, then they must’ve existed.

          That is historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. It is in a letter from the past that is historical. Believed to be written near the time the person existed. Scholars assert it as evidence so it must be dealt with as evidence and refuted as such.

          We can’t just say that it is not evidence because we say so, when one party believes it is, that’s not how it works.

        • Greg G.

          Origen does not mention the TF but he does discuss Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews and highlights the passage about “the brother who was called Christ” more than once and the passage about John the Baptist, which is very near where the TF is found now, even mentioning them together as if they are the only passages related to Xtianity. If the TF is only as old as the 11th century and Origen’s writings are from the 11th century and you conclude that Origen’s writings originated in the 11th century, why didn’t they add the TF to Origen’s writings? The lack of the mention of the TF by Origen seriously undercuts the TF.

        • rationalobservations?

          It’s a 1600 year long propaganda tool of the 4th century founded business and cult of christianity to claim that any and every reference to a messiah claimant “must” be a reference to their historically invisible “Jesus”.
          There are historical mentions and some tangible historical evidence of the existence of messiah claimants and messianic cult leaders between Circa 6BCE and Circa 140 CE. “Jesus” is not among them. Most notably are the extensive records and artefacts left by the messiah “Simon christ” who was briefly hailed as “the messiah” in Rabbinical circles and had many coins struck in his honour. Some show “Simon christ” under the messianic star outside of the temple.
          Google image search “Kochba coin” for a whole lot of evidence of the existence of that “messiah/christ”.

          “Messiah” claimants? Yes.
          Evidence of a messiah claimant named “Jesus”? No.

          As this History site explains, There is no evidence of Jesus and any of the many messiahs who did leave some evidence of existing cannot be identified and being “Jesus”. https://www.history.com/news/was-jesus-real-historical-evidence

          https://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.jpg

        • Greg G.

          It’s a 1600 year long propaganda tool of the 4th century

          Maybe but the literature that the propaganda would be based on is a few centuries older than that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What lousey cowardly bastard down voted that comment?

        • I wish I could tell you. The superpowers of a moderator are surprisingly limited.

        • The oldest extant example of a text containing the TF is dated to fabrication in the 11th century

          I thought our oldest “Church History” by Eusebius was a Syriac copy a copy date of 462.
          http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/eusebius_history.htm

        • rationalobservations?

          Eusebius is not accredited with being the author of the “Testimonium Flavianum” (“TF”) and since he was born in the 3rd century and died around the time that the 4th century Roman cult religion of “Jesusism” appears to have been cobbled together – any reference to texts attributed to him appear inconsequential to the absence of hostorical eviodencce of the existence of “Jesus” and any cult of “Jesusism” from within the 1st century.

          With all respect to your interesting (and generally sceptical of religious claims) blogs, you appear to be recycling religionist claims that you must know are spurious, Bob?

          You have got me perplexed – and that’s not easy for anyone…

          http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/eusebius_history.htm

          http://www.truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Josephus

        • Eusebius is widely thought to have been the author of the Testimonium. No, that’s not a religionist claim.

        • rationalobservations?

          Assumed to be the forger of the TF merely attributed to Josephus?
          Yes that is one presumption to add to the rest of the assumptions, presumptions and suppositions upon which religion is propped up in lieu of the utter, total and complete absence of historical evidence.

          We appear to be in complete agreement, my friend.

        • Greg G.

          There is a lot of evidence that it was Eusebius. First, Origen discussed Josephus’ writings many times, including both the “bother of Jesus” and the John the Baptist section together as if that was everything directly related to the gospels story but never mentioning the TF. Origen of Caesarea bequeathed his library to the city of Caesarea, which was curated by Pamphilus of Caesarea, who was the mentor of Eusebius of Caesarea, so Eusebius was very likely using the very same manuscript that Origen had.

          Gary Goldberg shows that there is a layer of Christianese in the TF but the underlying text is like a paraphrase of the Road to Emmaus story in Luke 24. Goldberg rejects that the similarities between the TF and Luke could be coincidence. Goldberg also rejects that someone from that time could imitate Josephus so well. So Goldberg falls back on the common source explanation.

          But the Emmaus Road discourse is just a summary of the story in Luke and Luke is based on Mark which does not have the TF similarity so we can reject the common source explanation.

          But Ken Olson shows that Eusebius used many words in his own writings the way Josephus used them, including the words in the TF that are supposed to be clearly from Josephus, in both the base layer and the Christianese layer, so that eliminates Goldberg’s rejection of nobody being able to emulate Josephus. Eusebius wrote like his style was influence by Josephus.

        • I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned this already, but, if the Testimonium existed in Josephus’s first-century original, it would’ve surely have been noted and celebrated by church fathers before Eusebius in the early 300s. It wasn’t, so Eusebius was the likely source.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t have these marked with an attribution and I think the list is collected from several sources:

          Christian Authors Who Wrote about Josephus but Never Mention the Testimonium Flavianum
          •Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165), Dialogue with Trypho, mentioned Josephus
          •Theophilus (d. 180), Bishop of Antioch, To Autolycus, Book III, mentions Against Apion
          •Irenaeus (c. 120/140-c. 200/203) (Compiled the New Testament), mentioned Josephus
          •Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-211/215), Stromata, Book I, chapter XXI, cites Jewish War
          •Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 235), fragments mention Josephus and are similar to Jewish Wars 2.7.4 through Jewish Wars 2.13.6 §264-265
          •Tertullian, (c. 155 – c. 240), Apologeticum, Chapter 19, mentions Josephus as a critic of Apion, among others
          •Origen (184/185 – 253/254), mentioned Josephus eleven times
          •Anonymous author of the ancient Syriac text, “History of Armenia,” refers to Josephus.
          •Marcus Minucius Felix (d. c. 250), mentions Flavius Josephus
          •Anatolius of Alexandria (230-c. 270/280), Bishop of Laodicea, The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria, Chapter 3, mentions Josephus
          •Methodius of Olympus (d. 311), referenced Josephus, On the Resurrection, Book II, Chapter 18, as quoted by Photius
          •John Chrysostom (c. 350-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, mentioned Josephus often
          •Photius (c. 820-891), Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote three articles mentioning Josephus

          The First Three Writers Who Do Mention the Testimonium Flavianum
          •Eusebius (260/265–339/340), around the turn of the 4th century
          •Ambrose (c. 340 – April 4, 397), bishop of Milan, quoted the Testimonium Flavianum without “he was [the] Christ.”
          •Jerome (347-September 30, 420 AD), around the turn of the 5th century, references Josephus at least 90 times, quoted the Testimonium Flavianum once, but with “he was believed to be the Christ”.

        • A very compelling list!

        • Ignorant Amos

          But none of it evidence for an historical Jesus, so pah!

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          What first century original?

          Josephus is 11th century, cause that’s the oldest extant copy.

        • Right–I’m not saying we have the 1st c. original.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry pal…I should’ve added //s to that comment chum.

          It’s 4:12 a.m. and am 2 bottles of Malbec invested here.

          Josephus wrote 93-94 CE…or did he?

          Because the extantant mss are 11th century, then by RO’s logic, everything else is asserted is suspect.

          I’ve read Atwill. so I’ll just leave you this…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar%27s_Messiah

          Though even Atwill’s fuckwittery does not assert the nonsense is a 4th century Roman invention.

        • Thanks! All I can say in my defense is that RO logic perplexes me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But 4th century Roman Christianity and lack of historical evidence moots all that nonsense, right?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Eusebius is not accredited with being the author of the “Testimonium Flavianum” (“TF”)…

          Well, yeah, he is indeed.

          https://chs.harvard.edu/CHS/article/display/5871.5-a-eusebian-reading-of-the-testimonium-flavianum-ken-olson

        • rationalobservations?

          “accredited”..?
          Don’t you mean “assumed by some to be the forger”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t you mean “assumed by some to be the forger”?

          Yip…

          Acreddit:- To ascribe or attribute (something) to someone

          I could also mean “assumed by some to be the interpolator”?

          But then we’d be back to another hair splitting exercise and we don’t want that already.

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7437

        • Greg G.

          Don’t you mean “assumed by some to be the forger”?

          Nope, it is concluded from the evidence of the text of the TF, the text of Luke 24, and the text of Eusebius’ collection of writings.

        • rationalobservations?

          Have it your way, Greg.
          Even though your opinion and claim that evidence supports the existence of “Jesus” appears fatuous.

          http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/eusebius_history.htm

        • Greg G.

          No, showing that the TF was forged by Eusebius does not support Jesus in any way.

          There are phrases used in the TF that are not found anywhere else in Josephus’ writings but are found in Eusebius’ writings. Those are smoking guns.

        • rationalobservations?

          Once again you “argue” in total agreement with my own observations.

          Thanks for reiterating the points I have been making for decades.

        • Once again you “argue” in total agreement with my own observations.

          If you agree with Greg, then why all the bluster and anger? Maybe you need to count to 10 before you respond.

        • rationalobservations?

          Oh dear, Bob.. Ad hominem..? Really.??

          Any “bluster and anger” appears to be on the part of Greg when he so angrily rephrases my entries as an argument against my entries.

          I find this whole nit picking exercise ridiculous and pointless when most of us agree that there is no significant historical evidence of the existence of an entirely human and mortal celebrity preacher named “Jesus” let alone a god-man of that name.

          As previously noted: I must agree to agree and in future ignore all nit picking and speculation.

        • Oh dear, Bob.. Ad hominem..? Really.??

          No, not really. Just advice.

          I find this whole nit picking exercise ridiculous and pointless when most of us agree

          Yeah. That’s my point.

          As previously noted: I must agree to agree and in future ignore all nit picking and speculation.

          Yes, please.

        • Greg G.

          I say something, you disagree with it, I support what I stated, you say I am agreeing with you.

          Please read more carefully. Read upthread to get the context of the post.

        • showing that the TF was forged by Eusebius does not support Jesus in any way.

          Showing that Eusebius likely invented the TF nicely undercuts Christian claims. I can’t fathom what RO is trying to say/do.

        • Greg G.

          In his reply to my post, he said I agreed with him.

        • Wow! I suppose that’s as close as you’re gonna get.

        • That’s my approach as well–if there’s even a scrap of evidence, I’d prefer to say it that way instead of “no evidence.” It removes one obstacle from the conversation.

        • rationalobservations?

          Why contend that myths, fables and legends that originate centuries after the time in which they are set represent any kind of evidence?

          The only place in which the legends exist is within the legends.

          There is no historical evidence of any kind that supports and content of any of the many diverse and very different bibles written by anonymous authors since the very first appeared centuries after the time in which it’s confused and internally contradictory historically inaccurate and historically unsupported legends are merely set.

          Why are you trying to give religionists a free pass on this?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why contend that myths, fables and legends that originate centuries after the time in which they are set represent any kind of evidence?

          Because those on the other side contend that they are evidence, and that’s what has to be dealt with. You are also forgetting about what is/has been written about the source material, which is evidence that also has to be dealt with.

          The only place in which the legends exist is within the legends.

          No, it is not, that’s part of the problem.

          There is no historical evidence of any kind that supports and content of any of the many diverse and very different bibles written by anonymous authors since the very first appeared centuries after the time in which it’s confused and internally contradictory historically inaccurate and historically unsupported legends are merely set.

          That’s only part of the problem though. The other part is what the followers believe[ed] and when. And how we deal with it all.

          Why are you trying to give religionists a free pass on this?

          He’s not. Whether we like it or not, the religionists, and many non-religionist scholars, present arguments supported by evidence, that is what needs refuted. When you say there is “no evidence”, that’s playing into their hands. The actual contents of book being myth, legend, and made up mumbo-jumbo, is only part of the arguments/problem.

        • rationalobservations?

          I wrote: “The only place in which the legends exist is within the legends.”
          You respond: No, it is not, that’s part of the problem.
          You are partially correct as I was sloppy in my assertion. There are the diverse and very different versions of the legends of “Jesus” that first appear in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus bible and there is the accretion of some 1600 years of christian propaganda regarding that prototype 4th century bible and the near industrial fabrication of fake artefacts and fraudulent texts that cannot be dated to prior to the 4th century and most of which are dated to the 11th century and Medieval period.

          What is missing is any actual, authentic and original, first century originated historical evidence of the existence and fantastical exploits of the apparently fictional “Jesus”. No text, inscription, artefact or even graffito that originates within the first century mentions a messiah claimant named “Jesus” or a messianic cult in the name of anyone named “Jesus”.

          No mention of the vast gatherings claimed to have assembled to hear the legendary “Jesus” preach.
          No mention of the extremely newsworthy event of a celebrity preacher entering in triumph hailed by massed crowds who strewed his path with palm leaves.
          No mention of even rumours of magical tricks like feeding thousands with next to nothing, walking upon water, raising the dead and other events that must have been utterly remarkable and extremely newsworthy and gossip worthy but of which not one single historical reference was made by those living at the time.

          If you continue to claim that some sort of “evidence” of any sort exists – please name it and reveal the location in which it is conserved?

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you continue to claim that some sort of “evidence” of any sort exists – please name it and reveal the location in which it is conserved?

          No, I don’t. I claim that Christian and most secular scholars alike, claim there is evidence for the existence of Jesus. I’ve cited some of it. Whether you like it or not, it is still called evidence and as such needs refuted.

          The TF is such evidence. I believe it is a total forgery and has been demonstrated as such. Many scholars and much brighter folk than me, declare it a partial forgery. Others more fundamental, claim it is genuine.

          Now, the TF is in a copy of a book that only exists in an 11th century copy. Nevertheless, it being 10 centuries removed from it’s author doesn’t seem to be the issue. It is accepted as coming from a first century author who it’s claimed makes reference to a messianic type geezer called Jesus.

          Could the whole thing be a fourth century fabrication? I suppose, it just seems to me to be a bit much. As is the plethora of Christianities that existed in the first three centuries of the cults alleged history.

          I can’t believe I’m defending the “evidence” scholars put forward for the existence of Jesus, or at least the existence of Christianity before the fourth century in any case.

          Are there any scholars that hold to your theory that you could point to on this issue? I don’t include Atwill in this, whose book I’ve read.

        • Greg G.

          What is missing is any actual, authentic and original, first century originated historical evidence of the existence and fantastical exploits of the apparently fictional “Jesus”. No text, inscription, artefact or even graffito that originates within the first century mentions a messiah claimant named “Jesus” or a messianic cult in the name of anyone named “Jesus”.

          You are not debating anyone who claims any of that happened. But there are manuscripts from the second and third century of such stories and many of us think those are complete fiction. The only disagreement is when they were written. Your argument is apparently that the oldest manuscripts are the originals because you do not accept that there are older versions that decayed.

        • rationalobservations?

          What manuscripts that mention “Jesus” have been dated to origination in the 2nd century, Greg?
          The oldest Papyrus fragment (P52) is still merely claimed to have originated within the 2nd century but modern science places it and all others as being produced no earlier than the 3rd century and most probably nearer to the time in which the oldest NT bible was written in the 4th century.

          My argument is that there is no historical trace of any kind of the existence and exploits of “Jesus” that originate in the 1st century.

        • Greg G.

          What manuscripts that mention “Jesus” have been dated to origination in the 2nd century, Greg?

          The ones that no longer exist that were copied before they decayed. You ask that like a conservative Bible scholar who will not consider an interpolation without textual evidence.

          An example is 1 Corinthians 10:18-22 that sets up a sequence of an exhortation, a question, and an answer using the same metaphors, except there is no answer to the third question until 1 Corinthians 11:30-31. That is evidence that everything in between was interpolated between the third question and its answer from a previous manuscript. Conservative scholars reject that because there are no earlier manuscripts that show it.

          The oldest Papyrus fragment (P52) is still merely claimed to have originated within the 2nd century but modern science places it and all others as being produced no earlier than the 3rd century and most probably nearer to the time in which the oldest NT bible was written in the 4th century.

          Irrelevant.

          My argument is that there is no historical trace of any kind of the existence and exploits of “Jesus” that originate in the 1st century.

          That’s my argument, too. My argument is based on the epistles being based on a misreading of the OT, primarily in the Septuagint, and the gospels being based on the literature of the days that is not about Jesus, making it all mythology and fiction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …modern science places it and all others as being produced no earlier than the 3rd century and most probably nearer to the time in which the oldest NT bible was written in the 4th century.

          Which is an assertion not defended by evidence….which I have requested….and that is of some considered concern.

        • The only place in which the legends exist is within the legends.

          How do you know it’s a legend? At first glance, a scrap of evidence may point to a legend or to something real.

          Why are you trying to give religionists a free pass on this?

          It’s a matter of focus. They’d love to wallow in the mud on some pointless argument–some error from the past like Piltdown Man or a tangent like the Christ Myth theory. Another is, “Hold on! You say no evidence? Like zero? Let’s talk about my mountain of trivially small evidence to see if you’re wrong there.”

          I’d rather rub their faces in the best arguments. Granting that paltry evidence is still “evidence” is my way of focusing.

        • rationalobservations?
        • rationalobservations?

          What non biblical non mythical actual tangible authentic and original, first century originated historical evidence can you name?

          What historical evidence that originated from the time in which any bible legend is set can you name?

          I have spent decades searching and researching and have interrogated many church leaders and other religionists but no one knows of any actual tangible historical evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What non biblical non mythical actual tangible authentic and original, first century originated historical evidence can you name?

          Me? None. I’m not the one you are arguing against.

          Take Ehrman for example, he thinks there is, in spite of what he says in your meme.

          “During the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so varied that that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison. Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.” ~”Lost Christianities” by Bart Ehrman (2003)

          What historical evidence that originated from the time in which any bible legend is set can you name?

          Me? None. But that’s not the problem. You want to concentrate only on the texts and their purported settings, claim they are 4th century inventions, then claim there was no Christianity before the texts we have were written. I think that is way too simplistic. There are other claims that have to be addressed. Including the “historical” claims in the texts.

          Plutarch writes a bio on Romulus in “Parallel Lives”, a 2nd century CE work. The book contains many biographies, most are historical characters not disputed, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Mark Antony, etc…but Romulus certainly is disputed. And a dare say many of the things about the undisputed lives are disputed. So, a book that is written centuries after the characters and antics of those within it, is still considered evidence, if not of the existence of all those written about, but at least what was believed about them at the time.

          I have spent decades searching and researching and have interrogated many church leaders and other religionists but no one knows of any actual tangible historical evidence.

          Sure. I don’t doubt ya have. But my concern was with this statement.

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          The caveat “tangible” above gives you broader scope that the one I was concerned about didn’t.

          The Christians and scholars who believe there is, and present what it is they think that evidence is, are the problem.

          Richard Carrier has spilt much ink attacking the poor evidence, and providing his own evidence to support his position, evidence that the otherside claim isn’t good evidence. Though I don’t think he would go as far as to say the cult is a 4th century Roman construction.

          I think we are talking past one another on what constitutes evidence.

          Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence.

        • rationalobservations?

          You offer no actual historical evidence of and for the existence (or centuries later written legends) of “Jesus” so we appear to be “arguing” in agreement..?

          I am aware that religionists (and recently de-converted ex religionists like Bart Ehrman) still reference the myths and legends and confuse them with some sort of evidence when there is total and absolute historical silence regarding the existence and claimed exploits of “Jesus” from the tiome in which those legends are back dated to and in which they are merely set..

          You express concern regarding my observation that there is no historical evidence of “Jesus” and that of course indicates no authentic and original 1st century originated tangible and authenticated historical evidence.

          All claims of historicity remind me of the amusing and descriptive cartoon bellow:

          https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/sites/563/2016/03/The-Atheist-Pig.jpeg

        • Ignorant Amos

          You offer no actual historical evidence of and for the existence (or centuries later written legends) of “Jesus” so we appear to be “arguing” in agreement..?

          I don’t claim there is evidence for the existence of Jesus, I’m a mythicist. Christers and many secular scholars claim there is evidence. They also claim that there is evidence for the belief that Jesus existed, whether he did or not. Some of that evidence, it is asserted, is found in the works of pre-fourth century adoption of Christianity by the state.

          There is a difference between what you and I find as convincing evidence, what Christians assert as convincing evidence, and there being no evidence at all.

          Here is the Christian arguing their evidence.

          https://www.uncover.org.uk/questions/whats-the-evidence-outside-the-bible-for-jesus-life-and-teaching/

          I am aware that religionists (and recently de-converted ex religionists like Bart Ehrman) still reference the myths and legends and confuse them with some sort of evidence when there is total and absolute historical silence regarding the existence and claimed exploits of “Jesus” from the tiome in which those legends are back dated to and in which they are merely set..

          They reference a lot more than that. It being from the “time” is not the question I’m addressing. They believing it being from the the time, or shortly after it, or pre-fourth century, is what we have to deal with.

          There is no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus at all.

          And the first three centuries in particular.

          You express concern regarding my observation that there is no historical evidence of “Jesus” and that of course indicates no authentic and original 1st century originated tangible and authenticated historical evidence.

          This is a caveat not in the original assertion. My concern is that whether you or I like it or not, the scholars present their evidence and that’s what has to be dealt with.

          For example…

          https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2019/02/15/the-earliest-new-testament-manuscripts/

          Saying it isn’t evidence, isn’t helpful, because it demonstrates a lack of open mindedness and the Christers then claim victory by default. Refuting the evidence is a better tactic.

          All claims of historicity remind me of the amusing and descriptive cartoon bellow:

          But there is more evidence to be addressed than the contents of the Bible.

          The problem I have with the 4th century Roman invention thesis is the backstory of the first 3 centuries is pretty complex to be a contrived conspiracy.

        • rationalobservations?

          It is most noticeable that both of the links you provide lead to evidence devoid claims and recycled propaganda and in neither case is there anything that could be conclusive in supporting the claims of 1st century actual historical evidence of the existence and exploits of the apparently fictional “Jesus”.

          In the case of the “Bible Archaeology Report” there is clear dishonesty. The author recycles the claim: “To date we have over 5800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, with an astounding 2.6 million pages of biblical text.” This is irrelevant to the fact of the total absolute and complete absence of first century evidence of any kind and the fact that no significant texts, artefacts, inscriptions or archaeological evidence exists from earlier than the third century with all significant propaganda and fake artefacts dating from starting to appear in the 4th century after the Roman “Jesusism” cult was founded and so brutally imposed upon the world.

          No religionist has ever been able to contradict the words of the most invested scholars of the oldest 4th century founded “Jesus” cult religion:

          “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

          The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

          “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

          This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus.

          In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

          Modern scientific forensics have overturned the claims of 2nd century fragments of “scripture” – but even if those tiny fragments of semi-literate scrawl could be placed in the time frame of 100+ years after the time in which the legends of “Jesus” are set – they cannot be considered evidence of anything but the mythology starting a little earlier than it appears to us today?

          You once again appear to offer a “straw man” fallacy with your line: “The problem I have with the 4th century Roman invention thesis is the backstory of the first 3 centuries is pretty complex to be a contrived conspiracy.”

          When have I ever offered the hypothesis you describe? I offer the evidence based fact that the Roman Religion they called “christianity” was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the Roman governed world in the mid 4th century and the fact that the oldest bible originates from a few decades after the foundation of Roman christianity. These are evidence supported facts that even the successors to the Roman and RC empire agree.

          As for the origin of the cult of “Jesusism” I offer no evidence supported assertion. It appears that there were many actual messiah claimants and messianic cults between Circa 6BCE and 140CE but none of them include a “Jesus” as their acclaimed messiah, while inheritors of the 4th century Roman claim that references to any “messiah” somehow must be a reference to their otherwise historically ignored god-man. No evidence supports this either while actual acclaimed “messiahs” like Simon Christ (Simon bar Kochba born Simon ben Kosevah) lefty a mass of historical evidence of his existence negating the claim that all evidence of messiahs was somehow erased by the Roman or Hebrew authorities.

          While we’re on the subject of non-biblical mythology – there is no historical evidence of the existence of a “City of Nazareth” either and the modern “Jesus theme park” town of Nazareth was founded on the site of a wayfarers well and some bronze age burial pits in the late 3rd century by the messianic cultist mother of the Emperor Constantine.

          Please take the time too read through the article linked to here:
          http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is most noticeable that both of the links you provide lead to evidence devoid claims and recycled propaganda and in neither case is there anything that could be conclusive in supporting the claims of 1st century actual historical evidence of the existence and exploits of the apparently fictional “Jesus”.

          None of which is relevant to my point. What is relevant is that it is what Christians and non-Christian scholars cite as their evidence.

          In the case of the “Bible Archaeology Report” there is clear dishonesty. The author recycles the claim: “To date we have over 5800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, with an astounding 2.6 million pages of biblical text.” This is irrelevant to the fact of the total absolute and complete absence of first century evidence of any kind and the fact that no significant texts, artefacts, inscriptions or archaeological evidence exists from earlier than the third century with all significant propaganda and fake artefacts dating from starting to appear in the 4th century after the Roman “Jesusism” cult was founded and so brutally imposed upon the world.

          None of which is relevant. What is relevant is that it is what Christians and non-Christian scholars cite as their evidence.

          Are you asserting that all the references to the first three centuries of Christianity, Christian writings, and Christians is part of a fourth century Roman conspiracy as a backstory for a newly invented religion?

          From the same Catholic Encyclopedia…

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04012c.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12219b.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11457c.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08580c.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08130b.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04045a.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11306b.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14520c.htm

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04583b.htm

          All these Christian church fathers before the fourth century invention of Christianity?

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          Hardly surprising given that the NT didn’t exist as a collection of books in a single lot prior to the 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius of Alexandria, written in 367 CE. That letter first lists the 27 books that would eventually become the NT canon. Prior to this, the diversity of the cult used all sorts of texts as scripture. Most of which we only know about as secondary references.

          Modern scientific forensics have overturned the claims of 2nd century fragments of “scripture” – …

          Show me?

          … but even if those tiny fragments of semi-literate scrawl could be placed in the time frame of 100+ years after the time in which the legends of “Jesus” are set – they cannot be considered evidence of anything but the mythology starting a little earlier than it appears to us today?

          Well yes, they are evidence of Christian writers writing scripture before the fourth century. They are evidence of a belief that there was a Jesus, whether one existed or not.

          Again, at the risk of repeating myself. It doesn’t matter if you don’t care for it much being evidence, the other side says it is, so it needs dealt with as such. It exists to some that a historical record was being preserved about a guy who existed.

          You once again appear to offer a “straw man” fallacy with your line: “The problem I have with the 4th century Roman invention thesis is the backstory of the first 3 centuries is pretty complex to be a contrived conspiracy.”

          Well it is the inference I draw when you claim the religion is a fourth century invention.

          When have I ever offered the hypothesis you describe?

          When you say stuff like….

          “Your assumption is denied even by the oldest/first 4th century founded Jesusism religion”

          I offer the evidence based fact that the Roman Religion they called “christianity” was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the Roman governed world in the mid 4th century…

          The followers of Christ, aka Jesus, were known by a number of names in the first few centuries. What matters is the roots of the proto-orthodox version of the cults developed way before the fourth century.

          The Roman version of Christianity that became the state religion was called Catholicism, that was certainly cobbled together, though I don’t know about how brutally it was imposed upon the Roman governed world in the mid 4th century, it was 380 when Christianity became the state religion, but it wasn’t the only version of Christianity, Arianism was pretty popular too, well after the mid fourth century. Declared heretical in 381, There has never been one version of Christianity.

          …and the fact that the oldest bible originates from a few decades after the foundation of Roman christianity.

          Well that’s debatable.

          It could not have been written before 325 because it contains the Eusebian Canons, which is a terminus post quem. “The terminus ante quem is less certain, but, according to Milne and Skeat, is not likely to be much later than about 360.”

          Depends on where you claim the foundation of Roman Christianity was set.

          Of course. Before the collection of books that became as the accepted scripture into a canon, they were seperate books used by various churches, along with others that didn’t make it into the Bible. I don’t see that as problematic. There had to be a first one where they are grouped together. That isn’t to say those books are not older than the compendium.

          These are evidence supported facts that even the successors to the Roman and RC empire agree.

          Evidence supported facts of what though? It seems that I might be misunderstanding your claim. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that in a discussion. If so, then I apologise ahead of time.

          As for the origin of the cult of “Jesusism” I offer no evidence supported assertion.

          So it is a particular flavour of the “Jesusism” cult that got cobbled together in the 4th century, out of the proto-orthodox versions in from the previous three centuries, collated the book of books that became their canon, was adopted by the Roman state, then set about proselytizing the empire by coercion, that you are only talking about? That all sounds a fair synopsis of what happened.

          It appears that there were many actual messiah claimants and messianic cults between Circa 6BCE and 140CE but none of them include a “Jesus” as their acclaimed messiah, while inheritors of the 4th century Roman claim that references to any “messiah” somehow must be a reference to their otherwise historically ignored god-man. No evidence supports this either while actual acclaimed “messiahs” like Simon Christ (Simon bar Kochba born Simon ben Kosevah) lefty a mass of historical evidence of his existence negating the claim that all evidence of messiahs was somehow erased by the Roman or Hebrew authorities.

          I’m not contesting any of that. I’m not even defending the proposition that the evidence for the existence of the Jesus behind the Roman adopted version of the cult is even remotely convincing. What I’m saying is that there is evidence, Christians and other secular scholars put it forward as support for their arguments, and it is that which must be refuted.

          But just on that…

          One of the views, held by J. M. Robertson and others, is that the Jesus myth was patterned after a story found in the Jewish Talmudic literature about the illegitimate son of a woman named Miriam (Mary) and a Roman soldier named Pandera, sometimes called Joseph Pandera. In Christianity and Mythology, Robertson writes: “…we see cause to suspect that the movement really originated with the Talmudic Jesus Ben Pandera, who was stoned to death and hanged on a tree, for blasphemy or heresy, on the eve of a Passover in the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 B.C.E.).” Dr. Low, an accomplished Hebraist, is satisfied that this Jesus was the founder of the Essene sect, whose resemblance to the legendary early Christian has so greatly exercised Christian speculation.

          While we’re on the subject of non-biblical mythology – there is no historical evidence of the existence of a “City of Nazareth” either and the modern “Jesus theme park” town of Nazareth was founded on the site of a wayfarers well and some bronze age burial pits in the late 3rd century by the messianic cultist mother of the Emperor Constantine.</blockquote

          Yes, I’m familiar with the work of Rene Salm. That is only relevant if the biblical nonsense he was from Nazareth is anything more than nonsense. It’s also an argument Carrier suggests should be avoided. Though I myself find it interesting all the same.

          Please take the time too read through the article linked to here:
          http://www.jesusneverexiste

          Read it. Ages ago. If that is of interest to ya…Rene Salm has wrote about it…

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ARene+Salm&s=relevancerank&text=Rene+Salm&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1

          Or visit his site…

          http://www.nazarethmyth.info/

    • Someone with whom I used to be facebook friends, a Methodist minister whom I knew in high school many moons ago, once posted the following: “‘Thy will be done’ — the prayer that never fails”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, yet she had no idea of the implications of such a statement.

  • I Came To Bring The Paine

    Arguments of Divine Hiddeness aka Why God Pretends to Not Exist!

    • rationalobservations?

      “Pretends”..?

  • rationalobservations?

    Included in this article are the words: “Many questions hang over the reliability of our version of the New Testament. How much does it differ from the originals? We can’t say for sure…”
    This is false as the oldest 4th century written prototype bible (Codex Sinaiticus) has been published in facsimile on line since 2008 and the translation work continues apace.

    There are some 14,000 distinct differences between the oldest bible and those in circulation today. This includes two whole books (Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas) dropped from later human authored versions and those in circulation today. Also missing from the oldest bible are some mentions of ascension of Jesus into heaven, and key references to the Resurrection. Also missing is the story of the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned – until Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (a Jewish sect), inviting anyone without sin to cast the first stone.

    Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

    Fundamentalists, who believe every word in the Bible is true, must find these differences unsettling?

    Bart Ehrman is recognised as one of the world’s leading bible scholars and was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original 4th century Greek texts and noticed thousands of discrepancies.

    In spite of the C1600 years of propaganda that has accrued since the Roman religion they called christianity was cobbled together in the early 4th century and the oldest bibles were written near the end of the 4th century, there remains not one single scrap of tangible, original, 1st century originated historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

    https://pics.me.me/in-the-entire-first-christian-century-jesus-is-not-mentioned-17397524.png
    https://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/resources/images/6331520.jpg?display=1&htype=0&type=responsive-gallery

    • And that doesn’t even count what happened in the first 300 years! Very good point, rationalobservations — we absolutely do know of a great deal of tweaks and wholesale modifications to the book over the years. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • the oldest 4th century written prototype bible (Codex Sinaiticus) has been published in facsimile on line since 2008

      Yes, I agree. How does this challenge my claim that questions hang over the reliability (that is, the gap separating our version from the originals) of the NT?

      • Greg G.

        As I understand ro?’s position, the oldest prototype bible is the original version of all the NT books.

        • Oh, yeah–if we have the originals, then there can be no gap.

          I suspect we both disagree with ro on that one.

        • rationalobservations?

          I am not sure what you are disagreeing with, Bob?

          Do you contest that fact that the oldest extant bible was written in the 4th century and is different in thousands of ways from bibles in current circulation?
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7651105.stm

          Do you have information that there is an even older bible prototype that is potentially even more different from modern bibles than Siniaticus?

          Please elucidate my friend??

        • Yes, Sinaiticus is likely the oldest complete New Testament, but there are manuscripts. You can say, “Ah, yes, but those earlier manuscripts are fragments,” but I’m not sure how that is relevant.

        • rationalobservations?

          The oldest of the fragments is known as Payrus P52 and is widely claimed by religionists to date from the second century but has been scientifically proven to be late 3rd and possibly near contemporary to the foundation of Roman Jesusism in the 4th century.

          As previously noted to you. Even the oldest Roman religion of Jesusism agrees there are no significant texts prior to the 4th century.

        • Yes, Sinaiticus is probably the oldest complete NT ms, but there are more fragmentary mss that are older.

          If that’s all you’re saying, then we agree.

        • rationalobservations?

          Any fragments of texts remotely similar to the content of Sinaiticus are dated to origination not long before Sinaiticus.

          Even the 4th century founded Roman Catholic church admit there is no historical evidence that supports the mythology within Sinaiticus or any of the significantly different bibles written by anonymous authors since the oldest prototype bibles were written in the late 4th century.

          There is absolute, complete and total historical silence regarding those later written legends that originated from within the time in which those legends are merely set.

          Regards to you and yours,
          RO?

        • You seem to be saying that Sinaiticus is a radical change from what the NT was before that point. Can you point me to a scholarly article that says this?

        • rationalobservations?

          I am not sure what has caused you to jump to this conclusion, Bob, but I appologise for apparently being less than clear about the evidence Vs the absence of evidence.

          I have confirmed that Sinaiticus is the oldest known fairly complete version of a christian NT bible and also that no one has ever discovered an older version of a version of NT bible. As this is not contested by anyone in the world at any time presenting an older version of a NT bible – I cannot imagine how your would assume I was implying that Sinaiticus is altered from an earlier version of which not a shred of evidence of the existence of such a book has been found and any such actual book has never been discovered.

          It is doubly puzzling since we have had discussions in the past regarding the thousands of differences between the apparent prototype bible “Codex Sinaiticus” and all later versions including those very different in content human authored books called bibles that are in circulation today. Did you not follow up the links I gave you previously?

          “Scholarly articles”..?

          There are a host of scholarly articles concerning the world’s oldest bible and the differences between that apparent prototype and later adaptations. Enter “differences between codex Sinaiticus and modern bible” into Google for a few hundred thousand entries that include scholarly articles and religionist denials of the facts.

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

          https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-big-question-what-is-the-codex-sinaiticus-and-what-does-it-reveal-about-the-bible-1734439.html

          https://bookriot.com/2015/09/03/9-things-know-oldest-bible-world/

          https://www.atheistalliance.org/thinking-out-loud/eight-reasons-christianity-is-false/

        • I cannot imagine how your would assume I was implying that Sinaiticus is altered from an earlier version of which not a shred of evidence of the existence of such a book has been found and any such actual book has never been discovered.

          You know those dozens of fragmentary books of the Bible that are older than Sinaiticus? That.

          It is doubly puzzling since we have had discussions in the past regarding the thousands of differences between the apparent prototype bible “Codex Sinaiticus” and all later versions including those very different in content human authored books called bibles that are in circulation today.

          Yes, puzzling. Why call Sinaiticus a prototype Bible when all that it contains comes from centuries earlier? Yes, Sinaiticus pulls them together in one book. Is that significant?

        • rationalobservations?

          I have never denied the existence of the fragments recently dated to the mid to late 3rd century and many that were destroyed by those who cobbled together the Roman “Jesusism” religion and later cobbled together the oldest bibles in the 4th century.

          I offer the concept that a motley collection of semi-literate scraps of papyrus in which some mention of a “Jesus” occurs is NOT evidence of the existence of a remarkable first century preacher who drew crowds of thousands and performed the most remarkable feats of magic.

          Why NOT call the oldest incarnation of a work of human authored fiction that has been much altered and modified, edited, exaggerated and amended, added to and deleted from a “prototype”? An original that has gone on to be reworked down many centuries is usually considered and prototype.

          “Yes, puzzling. Why call Sinaiticus a prototype Bible when all that it contains comes from centuries earlier? Yes, Sinaiticus pulls them together in one book. Is that significant?”
          Again, Bob: WHAT evidence of any part of the confused and internally contradictory, historically inaccurate and historically unsupported, content of Sinaiticus has been dated to originate more than one century before Sinaiticus was cobbled together?
          Papyrus P52 was (and still is) claimed to date from the mid 2nd century and be the oldest fragment of the “John’s gospel” but more recent and more scientific methods date that and all later fragments to the mid to late 3rd century at the earliest.

          https://www.academia.edu/436092/The_Use_and_Abuse_of_P52_Papyrological_Pitfalls_in_the_Dating_of_the_Fourth_Gospel

          We have covered this before Bob. Until an earlier “prototype” is discovered – the oldest/first extant version of anything stands as the oldest/earliest version of that thing.

      • rationalobservations?

        The extensive and comprehensive study of the many thousands of differences between the KJV and Sinaiticus appear to have answered any questions that once hung over the validity of the bibles in circulation today?

        For those who are deluded into thinking “the” (their version of) Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of the previously Canaanite god “Yahweh” -, there are some very uncomfortable questions for them to answer. Sinaiticus shows there have been many thousands of alterations to today’s bibles. For many of the rest of us – the questions are now answered and the case against the fraudulent nature of the 4th century founded Roman religion of “Jesusism” appears to be closed?

        Best regards as ever, Bob.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Maybe God had a perfect plan to reveal himself to the whole world all at once. It was a fool proof thing that NOBODY could disbelieve. But then his babysitter told him to put away his toys and get ready for bed time (which lasts about 4,725 Eons). So we will just have to wait /snark

  • “A mature faith means an outlook that understands that things in Christianity don’t work as promised…”

    Exactly! “Mature” faith is possessed only by people who have learned over the years to ignore the obvious.

    And the first statement you quote: “You say there are all these evidences for God, but I look at them, and every one of them can be interpreted another way. Why doesn’t God just prove Himself?”

    The questions people ask aren’t nearly so simple. While that may be a starting point, and while it’s true that Christians often offer the idea that the god hypothesis is intuitively obvious (which if true [but it isn’t] would prove nothing beyond Deism — as he says, they can all be interpreted other ways), the real problem is that the very testable claims made in the Bible fail. Anybody who is willing to take a step back and look at their faith is likely to see 1) that it can’t possibly be true, and 2) that they themselves had been pushing aside their own cognitive dissonance for possibly very many years. And for me, it was in that order. Only after I realized that it couldn’t possibly be true did I realize what I had been doing. I had what he refers to as a “mature faith.” Christianity is a very well evolved meme.

  • NS Alito

    A million years ago I read Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. At one point the Overlords made it so that every person in the bullfight arena felt what the bull felt when it was stuck by a picador. They all screamed in pain, and that was the last bullfight. As a young believer, it occurred to me that that was the sort of thing God could do, but didn’t because mysterious ways.

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      Somebody mentioned that if God wanted didn’t want us to sin because it was evil, then he would have made action of sinning to be physically painful to us like putting your had in a fire, or suffering an electric shock.

      • Greg G.

        My example is that if masturbation was wrong, it would be like trying to tickle yourself. Maybe tickling yourself is evil and masturbation is not.

  • Hiding god

    “If Yahweh exists, wants everyone to know it, is able to provide convincing proof to everyone, and was willing to provide such proof to a few ancient Jews, why is non-belief in Yahweh and mistaken belief in the wrong gods so widespread? If the evidence for religious claims about Yahweh were as good as apologists say, why do so many of them write long books explaining what Yahweh really meant to say, each with a different opinion on the subject?

    Why isn’t Yahweh’s existence obvious to everyone? Why doesn’t Yahweh reveal itself to any of the prominent and famous atheists with millions of admirers?

    If Yahweh hides and withholds the evidence for Heaven and Hell in a manner so complete that it must be purposeful, why does it provide clear, visual perceptions of Heaven or Hell to a few of the people whose brains are severely deprived of oxygen and hearts stop then restart?

    What percent certain are you right now that Yahweh exists? If a being appeared visibly to the whole world simultaneously, claimed to be Yahweh, and told each person in their own language that every amputee would be immediately restored, and then it happened, would your percent certainty of Yahweh’s existence change or remain exactly the same?

    If Yahweh was once willing and able, why did it stop contravening people’s free will and doing obvious miracles like pausing the Earth’s rotation and parting the sea? Does Yahweh remain concealed and uncertain to us in order to not compromise our free will? How can Satan have both free will and certainty of Yahweh’s existence? How can the provision of more information (e.g. Yahweh clearly exists) negatively affect a person’s ability to exercise her free will and make an informed decision?

    If Yahweh provided material evidence of its existence to the worshippers of Baal, why does it not provide material evidence of its existence to everyone else (1kg 18:16-39)?”
    https://www.stopindoctrination.org#hiding-god

  • Ignorant Amos

    The toilet seat is his dad. //s