Jesus Thought Demons Cause Disease (Doctors Disagree)

Jesus Thought Demons Cause Disease (Doctors Disagree) January 3, 2020

Jesus cured disease with exorcisms. But if demons really are a cause of disease, why isn’t exorcism a part of medical practice today?

The Bible records Jesus performing seven distinct exorcisms (sometimes repeated between the gospels). The most famous may be the Gerasene demoniac, a man possessed by many demons. Jesus cured him by expelling the demons into pigs, which then drowned.

Where does disease come from?

Some of the sick people in these exorcism stories had what we would probably diagnose as mental illness, but some illnesses were physical. For example, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute (Matthew 12:22–32).

The medical picture gets more complicated. Though Jesus spoke to dispel demons in some cases, not all exorcisms were performed this way. For example, the demon possessed child (Mark 7:24–30) was cured remotely without Jesus addressing the demon, and a woman “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” was cured after a touch (Luke 13:10–13).

What about physical illness? Though Jesus touched people to cure physical illness in some cases (for example, the blind men in Matt. 9:27–30 and the leper in Luke 5:12–16), not all such cures were performed this way. He healed the Centurion’s servant remotely (Matt. 8:5–13), he healed the man with the withered hand in person but without touching (Matt. 12:9–14), he rebuked a fever (Luke 4:38–9), and the bleeding woman was cured after she touched Jesus (Matt. 9:19–20).

To make the picture more complicated still, one final category of illness is that caused by sin. Jesus cured the invalid at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–16) and cautioned him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Sin and illness are also connected in the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof (Mark 2:1–12) and when Jesus’s disciples asked about a blind man, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1–7).

This sin/disease connection comes from the Old Testament. In the book of Job, Job’s friends assured him that his difficult situation must’ve been caused by his own sin, since God wouldn’t inflict this without cause. Moses lectured Israel that they’d better follow all of God’s commands. Of the many curses they would receive if they didn’t, “The LORD will plague you with diseases” (Deuteronomy 28:15–22). And Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden was supposedly the original sin, the cause of all illness today.

A significant fraction of Jesus’s healings are of illnesses caused by demons or sin, but where are these illnesses today? Are doctors today ill-prepared if they treat demon- or sin-caused illnesses as if they had organic causes?

I see three explanations.

1. Demons/sin caused disease in the time of Jesus but not today

The Christian might argue that the Bible is accurate and that some diseases were caused by demons and others by sin. However, it doesn’t work that way today, and now all illness has an organic cause.

This, of course, is stated without evidence. The Bible doesn’t say this. The naturalistic explanation, as usual, is sufficient: we have categories labeled Pseudoscience and Mythology for stories like these.

2. Demons/sin caused disease 2000 years ago, and that’s still true today

This is what faith healers like Benny Hinn would tell us. I’d be more convinced by his claims if he weren’t taking money from desperate people who have exhausted conventional medicine or if he were magically curing people in hospitals or if he convinced skeptics like James Randi. (A hilarious video game fight between Benny Hinn and the demons is here.)

Christian apologist Greg Koukl has an interesting angle. He said that demon-possessed people today aren’t morally responsible for their crimes (podcast @12:45). You know—the devil made them do it. One wonders what Koukl is doing to get this important correction made to the law. I’ll be particularly interested in seeing how he determines which people are demon possessed.

3. Demons/sin never caused disease, and the gospels are simply the product of a prescientific time

Different New Testament authors handled exorcisms and cures differently. The gospel of John had plenty of miracles but no exorcisms. Paul has no mention of healings; in fact, Paul mentions no Jesus miracles of any sort. Different authors had different agendas, which explains why some made a big deal of healings and some seem not to have known about them.

The Bible Odyssey blog fits Jesus alongside other exorcists of his time, between “the charismatic magicians and the charismatics of a slightly later period, making him the first of the charismatic exorcists.” As with Jesus’s supernatural birth and resurrection from death, Jesus’s exorcisms aren’t unique. Jesus looks like just another figure from mythology.

The Bible says that demons and sin cause disease, but modern medicine has found no category of disease for which faith healings or exorcisms provide cures. The naturalistic explanation works best. There’s no reason to believe that the stories of Jesus’s healing miracles are accurate and every reason to conclude that they’re simply legend.

Science is not going to change
its commitment to the truth.
We can only hope religion changes
its commitment to nonsense.
― Victor J. Stenger

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Image from Chris Hobcroft, CC license

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  • Lex Lata

    SWINEHERD: Hey, excuse me.

    JC: That was pretty wild, right? I bet you don’t see an exorcism like that everyday! What, would you like an autograph?

    SWINEHERD: No, not really. I’m a bit . . . . Those pigs were how we made a living. Two thousand perfectly good animals–just gone. Wiped out. What are we supposed to do now?

    JC: . . . . Oh. Um, well, I had to put the demons somewhere–

    SWINEHERD: Did you really, though? The demons asked you to send them into our herd. And you simply agreed. No haggling, no nothing.

    JC: Okay, I guess maybe I was caught a bit off-guard. There were an awful lot of demons, you know.

    SWINEHERD: Who fit into one guy. Why not just one pig, instead of all of them? Or why not an ant colony, if the number was important?

    JC: . . . . Okay, see, certain demons can be bound only to, um, mammalian . . . midichlorians. Those are a thing, right?

    SWINEHERD: You’re just making stuff up now.

    JC: Moi? I’m offended. And hungry. Hey, do you have any fig trees? Love me some figs.

    SWINEHERD: I don’t think that’s a good idea. Please leave.

    JC: Snowflake.

    SWINEHERD: Hippie.

    • Greg G.

      SWINEHERD: It’s not the season for figs.

      • JC: And that means what to me?

        • Greg G.

          SWINEHERD: You know how you get. All I’m saying is have a Snickers before you visit the Temple.

        • JC: No, I’m telling you, keto is the way to go! It’s really going to work for me this year. And I got a gym membership.

          And that’s how it started. Jesus’s innocent reference to a “resurrection” with his new diet and gym membership was completely twisted in the decades after his death.

        • sweeks

          I’ve always thought Jesus would have gotten more mileage out of making the fig tree bear fruit in the off-season, rather than killing it. Now *THAT* would have impressed me!

        • Bob Jase

          Indeed, a few watermelons sprouting from the tree would have been impressive.

        • Greg G.

          It’s the analogy in the Markan sandwich.

          Jesus gets mad at the fig tree :: Jesus gets mad at the temple in Jerusalem
          The fig tree dies :: _______

          Mark’s Roman readers know what happened to Jerusalem and the temple.

  • Lord Backwater

    Recommended reading: The Fakers by Danny Korem and Paul Meier. It is in a sense similar to other skeptical books you may have read by the likes of James “The Amazing” Randi or Martin Gardner, in which various chapters debunk forms of nonsense like fire-walking or ESP, but the authors are deeply religious and many chapters end with an admonishment that ‘it’s a shame people get caught up in this nonsense and get distracted from the real magic of Jesus’.

    From a review by Darby M’Graw on Amazon:

    After Korem’s treatment of each “pseudo-occult” practice, Meier tips in with his view as a psychiatrist. Here’s an interesting quote from p. 160:

    “I have had hundreds of patients who came to see me because they thought they were demon possessed. Scores of them heard “demon voices” telling them evil things to do. It was at first surprising to me that all of these had dopamine deficiencies in their brains, which were readily correctable with Thorazine or any other major tranquilizer. I discovered that all of the “demons” I was seeing were allergic to Thorazine and that, in nearly every case, a week or two on Thorazine made the “demons” go away and brought the patient closer to his real conflicts.”
    On the next page though, Meier seeks to reestablish himself with the Evangelical Christian audience:
    “Don’t get me wrong, I am a strict Biblicist who believes in the inerrancy of Scripture. I believe demons really do exist because the Bible says they do. I believe that there probably are some demon-possessed person in various parts of the world.”

    • Michael Neville

      all of the “demons” I was seeing were allergic to Thorazine

      That’s it, the answer to Bob’s quandary. Jesus was able to miracle Thorazine into people which made the demons go away. He had to send the demons into the Gaderene Swine because he was out of Thorazine. Smith, Kline’s distribution system in Galilee was not as reliable as it was in 1st World Countries like Rome, Egypt and Assyria.

    • Thorazine–of course! That was Jesus’s secret weapon!

    • The book is subtitled “Exposing the myth of the supernatural”. This from Evangelical Christians. So cognitive dissonance anyone?

      • Lord Backwater

        I am not sure if Korem qualifies as an “Evangelical’. I do know that he describes himself as a Messianic Jew.

        • It’s my mistake then. Still, the same point stands I think.

  • eric

    Ah, but you’re forgetting the classic apologetic defense, #4: “they can’t handle the truth!” ‘You see’ – says the apologist – ‘Jesus knew all along these diseases and problems weren’t caused by sin. As God, he knows about DNA. About viruses and bacteria and washing hands and mental illness. But his iron age audience couldn’t handle a technical explanation. So Jesus instead discussed disease in terms they could understand.’

    It’s horse-hockey, of course. At least IMO. While not everything we 21st century types know about disease might be easily explained to someone in the 1st century, it’s hard to imagine basic stuff like “it’s caused by stuff on your skin – wash your hands” or “your chants won’t work, you have to give this person a potion consisting of [x, y, z]” not being used by someone who knew about these things and really wanted to help them. Calling the cause demons and sins isn’t simplifying the real explanation, it’s deceiving people about the real explanation.

    • Greg G.

      Calling the cause demons and sins isn’t simplifying the real explanation, it’s deceiving people about the real explanation.

      It delays for centuries until people realize that what goes in through the mouth can defile a person, and much worse.

    • Wan Kun Sandy

      Jesus knew all along these diseases and problems weren’t caused by sin. As God, he knows about DNA. About viruses and bacteria and washing hands and mental illness. But his iron age audience couldn’t handle a technical explanation. So Jesus instead discussed disease in terms they could understand

      As a god, of course he would’ve been able to find ways to communicate the concepts properly so that his audiences could understand. But no, he didn’t bother to share the information and enlighten anyone until so many centuries later. Either Jesus had lackluster communication skills as a god, or he didn’t care much about people’s well-being and future by purposely withholding such important information that he knew could help make better life if it were known sooner. Either way, it doesn’t score good points to Jesus.

      • Yeah, it’s not like he couldn’t just explain basic sanitation.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        As a god, of course he would’ve been able to find ways to communicate the concepts properly so that his audiences could understand.

        This applies to more than just here. Any human limitation is necessarily a limitation of god because it means humans put up hurdle that god couldn’t overcome. Theists are quite proficient at overlooking this fact, though.

      • NSAlito

        As a god, of course he would’ve been able to find ways to communicate
        the concepts properly so that his audiences could understand.

        The Creator of the Universe has notoriously bad communication skills.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Many programmers have the same fault.

          “It WORKS! Why do you need *documentation*?!”

          😉

        • NSAlito

          As a recovering software engineer, I am familiar with that. I’ve learned from my sister’s work on chemical plants and such that that attitude exists among industrial designers at a lot of firms.

        • sweeks

          Well, if he hadn’t fooqued up the languages (Tower of Babel), it would have been easier.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…a single language woulda done the trick. Sorta makes ya wonder.

          I’ve just purchased Hector Avalos book*, “The End of Biblical Studies”. The buybull’s translation is highly problematic. Parts take on different meanings when attempting translation. And Hebrew/Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English as per Jerome’s Vulgate is no different.

          I’m just started the book, but already a wee funny factoid. The buybull in Eskimo uses the “Seal of God” instead of the “Lamb of God”, because the “Lamb of God” means fuck all to the Eskimos [I know Inuit is the PC term, but the book uses the word Eskimo].

          * On Kindle, because it is only available on hard copy in hardcover format…which is 4 times the price ffs.

        • sweeks

          I’ve read a few of Bart Ehrman’s books, which opened my eyes (not that I wasn’t already a skeptic!). I’ll have to check out Avalos. Thanks for the recommend.
          BTW, I remember you from the Richard Dawkins site, back when there was an active forum. I was “Agrajag”. I see a few other names around here once in a while. I miss that site as it was about, oh…, five years ago!

        • Ignorant Amos

          John Loftus has a few good reads too. But then again, there are loads of others out there.

          BTW, I remember you from the Richard Dawkins site, back when there was an active forum. I was “Agrajag”.

          I recognise the name. Good ta see ya here. I got the hammer from RDFRS a lot of years ago for upsetting the moderators by complaining at them for deleting a fairly long and time invested comment. Anyway, welcome to the thunderdome.

          I see a few other names around here once in a while.

          Yeah, Susan and epeeist, off the top of my head.

          I miss that site as it was about, oh…, five years ago!

          I’m away a lot longer than that. I go back the odd time and read some of the old threads for nostalgia.

        • sweeks

          I’ve seen Epeeist and Michael Murphy. Good to see you; I always enjoy your posts.
          I read something by John Loftus. Well, I have a whole library of skeptic stuff.
          I might have been hallucinating about the five year thing… it may have been longer. Dawkins was quite an influential guy back in the day.
          Cheers!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, my favourite antipodean, Michael Murray is less regular than the others.

          Good to see you; I always enjoy your posts.

          Awe…cheers.

          RDFRS was never the same after the Frontpage was sledged, all the forums were deleted, and the moderator forum members got the sack. All part of the Josh Timonen fiasco afaicr.

    • Heck, Jesus even rebukes people for paying too much attention to ritual hygiene, which at least might have cut down on disease somewhat.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        “Why didn’t the ‘bible’ provide a recipe for SOAP??!!”

        Y’know?

        • Well, the Jews had a recipe for soap already it seems. I’m not sure how often used or widespread that was though. There was soap in the Medieval era too, it just didn’t always get used enough, so having that isn’t sufficient.

        • Michael Neville

          Yahweh could have mentioned in Leviticus that using soap was part of the cleanliness ritual.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not enough room for important stuff like that.

          Don’t rape folk, don’t keep folk as property, and use that soap ya have a recipe for to reduce germs and therefore remain more healthy…no space to fit those in.

          The buybull is not a book of science doncha know?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Except the bits that kinda sorta coincide with current scientific thinking. Those parts were clearly included as evidence of god’s knowledge and divinity.

        • That’s true, and that germs exist, how you keep waste separate from water supplies, midwives washing with soap before delivering babies or many other things.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t need to, they already had it before the the book was written. So it was a given. How to use it and why? Now that is a different matter.

    • Gardenia

      I’m sick at the moment and my 2 year old knows to tell me “cover your mouth” when I cough or to wash her hands when she comes back from daycare so that she won’t get sick. I truly wonder how much more ignorant could/can Christians be not to understand what a 2 year old can. Was Jesus, if he even existed, dealing with feeble-minded individuals who needed to be lied to because they would be unable to handle the enormity of the task of washing their hands?

      • Ficino

        Well, for an iron age person it was a lot easier to believe in demons than to believe in germs. /s

    • Lark62

      Yes. If people were able to handle invisible demons causing disease, they would have been able to handle invisible microbes causing disease.

    • Brian Davis

      But his iron age audience couldn’t handle a technical explanation.

      Isn’t that something else that could be handled by a miracle? Surely someone with the power to raise the dead would be able to poof some elementary school level science into people’s heads.

      • BertB

        Ah, but you are forgetting the doublethink of Free Will.

        • Brian Davis

          Given my past experiences and my current environment, it was inevitable that I would forget about free will.

  • Jim Jones

    > The most famous may be the Gerasene (or Gadarene) demoniac, a man possessed by many demons.

    An interesting example from the gospels. A number of people have tried to identify the location of this in the Middle East without success. Interestingly, one person claims a good match with the city of Cadiz in Spain.

    It’s possible this was an old story, ‘borrowed’ by the anonymous gospel authors to goose up their Jesus myths. Even the names for the city can be interpreted to support this.

    • The most famous may be the Gerasene (or Gadarene) demoniac, a man possessed by many demons.

      Not to be confused with the Gabardine demoniac, who was known for being well-dressed.

      • Greg G.

        I heard the man in the Gabardine suit was a spy.

    • Lark62

      It’s possible every other event in every gospel was likewise “borrowed.”

  • RichardSRussell

    “It is wrong, always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” —W. K. Clifford (1845–1879), “The Ethics of Belief” (1879)

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Silly yes-and-no reply: “If that were the case, no child would survive infancy.”

  • Rudy R

    Just a bit off topic, but just got done reading A Case Against Miracles by John Loftus. Really entertaining read. The miracles at Lourdes was mentioned and the author wondered why there are no wooden legs left behind along with all the wooden crutches. What extreme Cognitive-dissonance is required to believe in miracles.

    • Michael Neville

      Back in the bad old days, miracles were truly miraculous. Good King Winceslas could melt snow just by walking in it. Nowadays miracles are spontaneous cancer remissions and recovering from months-long comas. Just another case of god of the gaps in action with the gaps getting narrower and narrower.

    • Ficino

      the author wondered why there are no wooden legs left behind along with all the wooden crutches

      Wanna get up an online ministry providing wooden legs for people claiming their amputated legs were restored at Lourdes? Or just selling them directly to the good Rector of Lourdes, or even better, to the bishop?

    • I’ve read John Dominic Crossan say the same thing about wooden legs, and he’s an Episcopal (?) bishop.

      Even if you want to get excited about the miracles at Lourdes, there’ve only been 69 miracles accepted by the church. In all these years with zillions of visitors (6M/year at present), how many deaths from accidents going to or from have there been? Much more than 69, I’ll bet.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Richard Dawkins makes the same claim in “The Root of All Evil”…quite a while back…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nAos1M-_Ts&list=PLfZWyNCHgJHewCnIZP9rnDHSQQsgJj9_H&index=2&t=418s

        • Aaah! Ted Haggard!

          You triggered me, man. I’m filing charges.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Haggard was an arrogant piece of shite in the interview…oh how the mighty have fallen.

        • Luckily it was recorded, otherwise Christians wouldn’t believe it. In fact, I imagine many of Haggard’s current followers (I think he still has some …) don’t.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh he has quite a few followers. He’s well back in business and got his own church again and everything. Mind you, nowhere near the scale he’d been. But hey! Gullible Christers are gonna be gullible. Fools and their money are always easily parted.

          As his punishment for falling from grace, he’d been sent into the wilderness to do penance and was relying on folk to put him and his family up on their travels. A.k.a sent to Coventry with a reasonable pay-off as long as he stayed fucked-off.

          A vaguely remember watching a documentary about it.

        • Michael Neville

          You thought that Cross Examined was a safe place. Your naivety tripped you up.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But he’s COMPLETELY heterosexual!

          (may Haggard’s name *never* appear without that qualification again…)

        • sweeks

          Hahahaha! See Roy Zimmerman’s take on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZmHC75FDqQ

        • Michael Murray

          Is that the series where he had his original Atlantean DNA restored ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, your thinking of “The Enemies of Reason”…

          Professor Dawkins’ journey starts with Elisis Livingstone, a faith healer who runs the Shambhala retreat in Glastonbury. For 140GBP per day, she treats patients, including those with terminal cancer, with a mix of meditation, spiritual healing and the playing of recorded chants. She believes that she can alter the structure of DNA. According to her, humans used to have 12 strands of DNA when they were still living in Atlantis instead of today’s double helix. She claims that her knowledge comes from the Akashic Records, a concept that is well known in theosophy, the movement that was co-founded by the illustrious Madame H.P. Blavatsky. The Akashic Records are only accessible through non-intellectual, spiritual means, that says something about their credibility.

          “I know what you’re thinking,” says Dawkins, “This woman is way out. I expected a serious program about the attack on science, and here is Richard Dawkins just picking on an easy target. But, these ideas are not so weird in the irrational world of alternative health, in fact, they’re commonplace.”

          After the scene with Elisis Livingstone, Professor Dawkins tells us that one third of the British spend a whopping 1.6 billion GBP a year on this kind of nonsense. We also see him in what I consider one of the most hilarious scenes of the program in which he comes out of a store, trying to remain serious while announcing, “It’s mostly angels.”

          Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/223414#ixzz6ARNnKWAL

          A great show…he visits my pat of the world in that one and experiences the Christian sectarian bigotry first hand.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcd4eFBFG3M

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

        • Michael Murray

          Thanks !

      • Greg G.

        In all these years with zillions of visitors (6M/year at present), how many deaths from accidents going to or from have there been? Much more than 69, I’ll bet.

        Two accidents get to within 3 of that total.

        August 1, 1922 – France – Miélan: Two trains carrying pilgrims from Moulins to Lourdes collided when the first one stalled climbing a hill and then ran backwards, apparently due to a brake system failure. Forty people are killed
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rail_accidents_(1920%E2%80%931929)

        July 23, 2007 – France – Vizille: 26 people died in a bus crash that visited many religious sites including Lourdes.
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catholic-pilgrims-killed-in-bus-crash-5334134.html

        • The Lord moves in mysterious ways?

        • Greg G.

          How about this?

          The body of a terminally ill British woman lay concealed by her mother for nearly five months at their home near the Catholic sanctuary of Lourdes, it emerged today.

          French police discovered the body of Marian Therese Kearney, 46, last Thursday after being alerted by her 11-year-old daughter’s teacher, who suspected from the child’s demeanour in the classroom that something was wrong within the family.

          Sources close to the French investigation told the AFP new agency that Ms Kearney had been suffering from cancer and had moved to Lourdes, where her mother Irene Kearney lived, in the hope of finding a cure from the spring waters. Investigators say both women were religious mystics who shunned conventional medicine and sought help instead from the healing powers of the Catholic shrine.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jan/25/france.uk

        • Very mysterious indeed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dawkins suggests, that one is more likely to contract a disease at Lourdes, than have one cured. Given the density in one place of folk trying to get cured of some dreaded lurgy, or another.

        • Greg G.

          I have the same concern about sitting in the waiting room before my regular check-ups with the doctor. But I would be more concerned about getting in water with sick people who seek miracles over doctors.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The time that God cured an amputee.

      The Miracle of Calanda? A mean how can anyone doubt that? //s

      https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4247

  • Bob, this is another outstanding essay. Thanks for writing it.

    I am skeptical of one claim that you made: “Paul has no mention of healings; in fact, Paul mentions no Jesus miracles of any sort.”

    I agree that Paul mentions no healings by Jesus, but I disagree that he mentions no Jesus miracles. I think Paul’s experience of Jesus on the road to Damascus, which apparently led to Paul’s conversion, would count as a miracle, if it had happened as described. The miracle would be a dead man speaking to Paul from the sky.

    • Greg G.

      I think Paul’s experience of Jesus on the road to Damascus, which apparently led to Paul’s conversion, would count as a miracle, if it had happened as described. The miracle would be a dead man speaking to Paul from the sky.

      Paul didn’t write that. Those three contradictory accounts are in Acts. Acts is mostly fiction.

      • Paul did write about his alleged experience with Jesus which led to his conversion.

        “Paul’s conversion experience is discussed in both the Pauline epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle

        In the article, the actual verses are quoted.

        • Greg G.

          Those epistle accounts are nothing like the Acts accounts.

          In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul says it is “according to the Scriptures” that “Christ died for sins.” How would one be able to tell that one death was for sins and every other death was not? It comes from Isaiah 53:8. Then the 1 Corinthians passage says “he was buried”, which is found in Isaiah 53:9, then it says “he rose on the third day”, which can be found in Hosea 6:2. There are other verses that the last claim could come from but Paul quotes from Isaiah and Hosea together in Romans, even mentioning both by name.

          As for the Galatians 1 passage, all of Paul’s revelations from Jesus appear to come from scripture. He seems to be reading the Suffering Servant metaphor as “a hidden mystery that is now revealed.”

          Every claim Paul makes about Jesus can be found in the OT scriptures.

          In Acts 26, Paul is testifying in Agrippa’s court. In Acts 26:4-5, Paul cites the Jews as character witnesses going back to his childhood, using language very much like Josephus used to describe the Jews. But when Paul wants to tell about Jesus’ resurrection, why doesn’t he cite the other Jews who knew about it first hand?

          Acts 26:14 is written in Koine Greek has Paul speaking Greek (or Aramaic) quoting Jesus speaking “Hebrew” (or Aramaic) using a Greek idiom as if quoting Dionysus, a Greek god. “Kick against the goads” is a Greek idiom found in Bacchae by Euripides, Agamemnon, line 1624, by Aeschylus, and other Greek sources. Acts has several passages with similarities to the Bacchae so that is the more likely source.

          The use of key words from other writings that have nothing to do with Paul or Christianity show that the chapter is fiction.

        • GG2: Those epistle accounts are nothing like the Acts accounts.

          GW2: That is a false statement. They are describing the same incident, but in different ways.

          GG2: In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul says it is “according to the Scriptures” that “Christ died for sins.” How would one be able to tell that one death was for sins and every other death was not? It comes from Isaiah 53:8.

          GW2: This is irrelevant to the issue we are discussing – whether or not Paul reported an incident which would be a miracle if it actually occurred.

          GG2: Then the 1 Corinthians passage says “he was buried”, which is found in Isaiah 53:9, then it says “he rose on the third day”, which can be found in Hosea 6:2. There are other verses that the last claim could come from but Paul quotes from Isaiah and Hosea together in Romans, even mentioning both by name.

          GW2: This is only slightly relevant to the issue we are discussing. If Jesus died, then came back to life, and then talked from the sky to Paul on the road to Damacus, then this would have been a miracle.

          GG2: As for the Galatians 1 passage, all of Paul’s revelations from Jesus appear to come from scripture. He seems to be reading the Suffering Servant metaphor as “a hidden mystery that is now revealed.”

          GW2: “Appear” refers to your speculation; it could be true or false. An event described in the NT could have happened which was similar to an event described in the OT which could have happened. But still, the encounter with Jesus reported by Paul (and also by other writers about Paul) would have been a miracle, if it actually occurred.

          GG2: Every claim Paul makes about Jesus can be found in the OT scriptures.

          GW2: That is a false statement. Jesus is not mentioned in the OT scriptures. And this is also irrelevant to the issue we are discussing.

          GG2: In Acts 26, Paul is testifying in Agrippa’s court. In Acts 26:4-5, Paul cites the Jews as character witnesses going back to his childhood, using language very much like Josephus used to describe the Jews. But when Paul wants to tell about Jesus’ resurrection, why doesn’t he cite the other Jews who knew about it first hand?

          GW2: I don’t see how this is relevant. At the time of the Road to Damascus incident, Paul probably was already familiar with the claims that Jesus had been crucified, died, and come back to life. If he then heard Jesus talking to him on the road, this would confirm the claims for him. If a dead man, known as an emissary from God, speaks to a live man, this must be counted as a miracle, if it really happened. Of course, you and I don’t believe that this happened, but that is irrelevant to whether a report of a miracle was made by Paul.

          GG2: Acts 26:14 is written in Koine Greek has Paul speaking Greek (or Aramaic) quoting Jesus speaking “Hebrew” (or Aramaic) using a Greek idiom as if quoting Dionysus, a Greek god. “Kick against the goads” is a Greek idiom found in Bacchae by Euripides, Agamemnon, line 1624, by Aeschylus, and other Greek sources. Acts has several passages with similarities to the Bacchae so that is the more likely source.

          GW2: Maybe, maybe not. But this is irrelevant to our issue.

          GG2: The use of key words from other writings that have nothing to do with Paul or Christianity show that the chapter is fiction.

          GW2: Your claim is that the narrative or claim by Paul was a fabrication, and that might be true, but it is still irrelevant to the issue we are discussing. If the report were true, then the incident was a miracle. There are other possible origins for the report other than fabrication, e.g. a misunderstood hallucination.

        • Greg G.

          They are describing the same incident, but in different ways.

          The different ways they are described are so different, there is nothing to identify them as the same event.

          GW2: This is irrelevant to the issue we are discussing – whether or not Paul reported an incident which would be a miracle if it actually occurred.

          You linked to a Wikipedia page and that was one of the accounts on the page.

          If Jesus died, then came back to life, and then talked from the sky to Paul on the road to Damacus, then this would have been a miracle.

          Maybe that would be a miracle if it happened but Paul never said it did.

          GW2: That is a false statement. Jesus is not mentioned in the OT scriptures. And this is also irrelevant to the issue we are discussing.

          You can either show me a statement that Paul said about Jesus that is not something that can be found in the OT or I can show you everything Paul says about Jesus and the OT reference.

          This is entirely relevant because Paul doesn’t seem to know that Jesus was a first century person. Everything he says about Jesus seems to be from the position that Jesus was a hidden mystery that was revealed to his generation.

          GW2: I don’t see how this is relevant. At the time of the Road to Damascus incident, Paul probably was already familiar with the claims that Jesus had been crucified, died, and come back to life.

          In Galatians 3, he explains how he knows Jesus was crucified, citing OT verses, as if the Galatians did not believe Jesus was crucified. If the Galatians knew James and Peter, he could have just said to ask them.

          GW2: Maybe, maybe not. But this is irrelevant to our issue.

          It shows that the story in Acts has false elements. Even if Luke was read the verses where Paul said he received revelations from Jesus, went to Damascus, and hints he saw the third heaven, and added to them, the account in Acts is embellished into a false narrative.

          GW2: Your claim is that the narrative or claim by Paul was a fabrication,

          No, I think Paul is misunderstood by those who equate what Paul said with the fabricated Acts accounts. If you look at what Paul says, and what he says about the scriptures, you see that Paul doesn’t say much of anything about religion that he is not drawing from the OT writings.

          What we see in Acts is fabrication after fabrication, and we can see that Luke was borrowing from the writings of Josephus to create the fabrications. We see him borrowing from Euripides, too. It is not likely that every source Luke used is still available to us so there is probably more material stolen from the unknown sources. That shows that Luke was not writing things he knew to be true but was making up stories.

          The Gospel of Luke mostly follows the outline of Mark but deviates from Chapter 10 to 18:14, where the trip to Jerusalem parallels incidents and topics in Deuteronomy pretty much in order for events, teachings, and conversations in Luke.

          There is no reason to believe any storyline written in Luke or Acts to be truthful, and many reasons to disbelieve them.

        • GW2: They are describing the same incident, but in different ways.

          GG3: The different ways they are described are so different, there is nothing to identify them as the same event.

          GW3: The author/s of the Wikipedia article disagree with you on this specific point and on the more general point we have been discussing. They say “Paul’s conversion experience is discussed in both the Pauline epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles. According to both sources, Paul was not a follower of Jesus and did not know him before his crucifixion. Paul’s conversion occurred after Jesus’ crucifixion. The accounts of Paul’s conversion experience describe it as miraculous, supernatural, or otherwise revelatory in nature.”

          GW3: “ and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Cor. 15:8. Here Paul is referring to the same event named “The Road to Damascus Event” which is described in more detail in Acts presumably not authored by him.

          GW3: “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.” Galatians 1:15-17. See here how Paul refers back to Damascus? The encounter with Jesus which Paul describes here in Galatians is the same as the “The Road to Damascus Event” which is described in more detail in Acts presumably not authored by him

          GW3: However, Bart Ehrman says “The account of Acts 9 is retold by Paul in both chapter 22 and chapter 29.” So, in contrast to you, Ehrman apparently believes that at least part of Acts reflects the voice of Paul.
          https://ehrmanblog.org/the-conversion-of-paul/

          GW2: This is irrelevant to the issue we are discussing – whether or not Paul reported an incident which would be a miracle if it actually occurred.

          GG3: You linked to a Wikipedia page and that was one of the accounts on the page.

          GW3: Yes, but you are not making the correct inference here. See above.

          GW2: If Jesus died, then came back to life, and then talked from the sky to Paul on the road to Damacus, then this would have been a miracle.

          GG3: Maybe that would be a miracle if it happened but Paul never said it did.

          GW3: Yes he did! See above. But even if Acts wasn’t written by Paul, he was the probable informant for it. Who else could say what Jesus said to Paul?

          GW2: That is a false statement. Jesus is not mentioned in the OT scriptures. And this is also irrelevant to the issue we are discussing.

          GG3: You can either show me a statement that Paul said about Jesus that is not something that can be found in the OT or I can show you everything Paul says about Jesus and the OT reference.

          GW3: Present one statement in the OT in which “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” is named. You might be able to make a case that Paul fabricated The Road to Damascus Event by using some OT passages, but that misses the point. If the incident occurred as described in the NT, then this would be a miracle. Bob Sidensticker missed the mark on this in his essay.

          GG3: This is entirely relevant because Paul doesn’t seem to know that Jesus was a first century person. Everything he says about Jesus seems to be from the position that Jesus was a hidden mystery that was revealed to his generation.

          GW3: Those are false statements. All you have to do is read 1 Corinthians to understand the proper time relationships. Also, read the full Wikipedia article I referenced.

          GW2: I don’t see how this is relevant. At the time of the Road to Damascus incident, Paul probably was already familiar with the claims that Jesus had been crucified, died, and come back to life.

          GG3: In Galatians 3, he explains how he knows Jesus was crucified, citing OT verses, as if the Galatians did not believe Jesus was crucified. If the Galatians knew James and Peter, he could have just said to ask them.

          GW3: Well probably many Galatians did not know or believe Jesus was crucified. I don’t find this unusual.

          GW2: Maybe, maybe not. But this is irrelevant to our issue.

          GG3: It shows that the story in Acts has false elements. Even if Luke was read the verses where Paul said he received revelations from Jesus, went to Damascus, and hints he saw the third heaven, and added to them, the account in Acts is embellished into a false narrative.

          GW3: You are still missing the point. I have not said that the report of The Road to Damascus Incident is factual. If it were factual, it would have been a miracle. That’s why Bob’s claim was mistaken.

          GW2: Your claim is that the narrative or claim by Paul was a fabrication,

          GG3: No, I think Paul is misunderstood by those who equate what Paul said with the fabricated Acts accounts. If you look at what Paul says, and what he says about the scriptures, you see that Paul doesn’t say much of anything about religion that he is not drawing from the OT writings.

          GW3: I disagree with you. See above for the reasons.

          GG3: What we see in Acts is fabrication after fabrication, and we can see that Luke was borrowing from the writings of Josephus to create the fabrications. We see him borrowing from Euripides, too. It is not likely that every source Luke used is still available to us so there is probably more material stolen from the unknown sources. That shows that Luke was not writing things he knew to be true but was making up stories.

          GW3: You are still missing the point because you are focused on the origin and accuracy of the narrative, report, or claim rather than on the content. If the content were true, then a miracle occurred. Paul refers to an event which allegedly occurred to him which would have been a miracle, if it did happen. We can see this from 1 Corinthians even without examining Acts. This is clear as a blue sky.

          GG3: The Gospel of Luke mostly follows the outline of Mark but deviates from Chapter 10 to 18:14, where the trip to Jerusalem parallels incidents and topics in Deuteronomy pretty much in order for events, teachings, and conversations in Luke. There is no reason to believe any storyline written in Luke or Acts to be truthful, and many reasons to disbelieve them.

          GW3: You are talking about a different issue than the one I brought up to Bob. Paul asserts that a miracle happened to him, even though we believe his assertion is false. It’s that simple.

        • Greg G.

          The accounts of Paul’s conversion experience describe it as miraculous, supernatural, or otherwise revelatory in nature.”

          That would be ridiculous.

          GW3: “ and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Cor. 15:8. Here Paul is referring to the same event named “The Road to Damascus Event” which is described in more detail in Acts presumably not authored by him.

          Read the passage carefully. Paul says that God revealed his son to him, not that Jesus appeared to him. His trip to Damascus. After that happened, he went to Arabia, then to Damascus. The Damascus trip was some time after he started to believe what Cephas and James did.

          Galatians 1:11-17 (NRSV)11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.13 You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.

          Most of 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 can be seen in the passage. He says he was “set apart before he was born” is like being “abnormally born”. He points out that he did not go to Jerusalem right away to converse with “those who were already apostles before me.”

          GW3: I disagree with you. See above for the reasons.

          I did. You are still wrong. You are reading Acts back into Paul. This is as bad as reading the Gospels back into the Epistles.

          If the content were true, then a miracle occurred. Paul refers to an event which allegedly occurred to him which would have been a miracle, if it did happen. We can see this from 1 Corinthians even without examining Acts. This is clear as a blue sky.

          There was no miracle so let’s focus on the facts. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, it is obvious that refers to what was read in scripture because no eyewitness can determine if a death was for sins. Since we see that Isaiah 53:8-9 says the Suffering Servant died for sins and was buried, they developed the ideas from scripture.

          GW3: You are talking about a different issue than the one I brought up to Bob. Paul asserts that a miracle happened to him, even though we believe his assertion is false. It’s that simple.

          Not in this case, though. Paul didn’t think much of human knowledge and human authority. He tells us he got his knowledge through revelation.

          Galatians 1:1 (NRSV)
          1 Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

          Galatians 1:11-12 (NRSV)
          11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

          Paul insists that it is important to rely on the writings rather than human authority.

          1 Corinthians 9:8-10 (NRSV)
          8 Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop.

          1 Corinthians 4:6 (NRSV)
          6 I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, “Nothing beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another.

          The Jews relied on scripture to divine new teachings by the process of midrash, which is essentially taking passages out of context and combining them in new ways as if it was a legitimate method of learning. Many sects anticipated a Messiah coming at any time to assume the throne of David. One of these sects worked out that his name was Jesus.

          Romans 1:1-2
          1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,

          Romans 16:25-27
          25 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

          1 Corinthians 2:6-7
          6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

          To Paul, the “revelation of the mystery” was “through the prophetic writings“.

          Here is everything the “authentic” Pauline epistles say about Jesus and where that information can be found in the OT.

          Paul speaks of Jesus hundreds of times but seldom tells us anything about him. Below is everything he tells us in the “authentic” Pauline epistles.

          Past
          Descended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12* > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10*
          Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7
          Made of woman, > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5
          Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26*, Habakkuk 2:4*, Leviticus 18:5*
          Was rich > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Isaiah 9:6-7
          Became poor > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Isaiah 53:3
          Was meek and gentle > 2 Corinthians 10:1 > Isaiah 53:7
          Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9*
          Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11
          For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49*, 2 Samuel 22:50*, Deuteronomy 32:43*, Psalm 117:1*, Isaiah 11:10*
          Became Wisdom of God > 1 Corinthians 1:30 > Isaiah 11:2

          Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9
          Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

          Was crucified > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 3:13* > Deuteronomy 21:23*
          Died for sins > 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:8, Isaiah 53:12
          Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9
          Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4, 2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

          Present
          Sits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5
          Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

          Future
          Will come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8*

          (* indicates that New Testament passage contains a direct quote from the Septuagint.)

          1 Corinthians 11:23-25 appears to be part of an interpolation.

          The Philippians Hymn Sources
          Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
          Isaiah or Deuteronomy Reference

          5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

          1 Corinthians 11:1
          Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

          6 who, though he was in the form of God,

          Isaiah 52:14b
          his form beyond that of mortals

              did not regard equality with God

          Isaiah 9:6b
          he is named
          Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
              Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

              as something to be exploited,

          Isaiah 53:7
          He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
              yet he did not open his mouth;
          like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
              and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
              so he did not open his mouth.

          7 but emptied himself,

          Isaiah 53:12b
          because he poured out himself to death,

              taking the form of a slave,

          Isaiah 52:13a
          “See, my servant shall prosper”

              being born in human likeness.

          Isaiah 49:5
          and now the Lord says,
              who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

          And being found in human form,

          Isaiah 53:2
          For he grew up before him like a young plant,
              and like a root out of dry ground;
          he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
              nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

          8   he humbled himself

          Isaiah 53:3
          He was despised and rejected by others;
              a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
          and as one from whom others hide their faces
              he was despised, and we held him of no account.

              and became obedient to the point of death—

          Isaiah 53:10
          Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
          When you make his life an offering for sin,
              he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
          through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

              even death on a cross.

          Deuteronomy 21:23 (per Galatians 3:13)
          23 his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree;
          you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a
          tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land
          that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.

          9 Therefore God also highly exalted him

          Isaiah 52:13
          See, my servant will act wisely;
              he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

              and gave him the name

          Isaiah 54:5a
          For your Maker is your husband,
              the Lord of hosts is his name;

              that is above every name,

          Isaiah 54:5b
          the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
              the God of the whole earth he is called.

          10 so that at the name of Jesus

          Isaiah 49:22
          Thus says the Lord God:
          I will soon lift up my hand to the nations,
              and raise my signal to the peoples;
          and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
              and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.

              every knee should bend,

          Isaiah 45:23a
          By myself I have sworn,
              from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
              a word that shall not return:
          “To me every knee shall bow,

              in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

          Isaiah 45:22
          Turn to me and be saved,
              all the ends of the earth!
              For I am God, and there is no other.

          11 and every tongue should confess

          Isaiah 45:23b
              every tongue shall swear.

              that Jesus Christ is Lord,

          Isaiah 45:24
          Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
              are righteousness and strength;
          all who were incensed against him
              shall come to him and be ashamed.

              to the glory of God the Father.

          Isaiah 45:25
          In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
              shall triumph and glory.

        • Greg, you just aren’t getting it. You are answering questions about origin and accuracy, whereas I am answering questions about content and meaning. Your lengthy quotations are irrelevant.

          We will just have to agree to disagree on these issues.

        • Greg G.

          I am getting it. You cited Galatians 1 to say that Paul tied them together. I proved that those were two different events with Paul becoming a believer before his trip to Damascus and another journey between them. The verses I cited are relevant because there is on support for your contention.

          Try forgetting what Luke wrote in Acts and then read what Paul wrote. It is two different accounts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How would the author of fictional Acts even know? Ffs.

        • Greg G.

          I think the author of fictional Acts would have to know after inventing it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…am punting towards GW on that. Whoever wrote Acts had to invent the “Road to Damascus” yarn, there was no other reasonable explanation.

          GW has me blocked.

        • Greg G.

          GW has me blocked.

          Quit your bragging.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m a club. He has forced membership on a number of us. The GW Tone Troll Club. Carry on the way yer going and it won’t be long until we are both kicking back, and quaffing hypothetical beers together in the same club.

          It might take you a fair wee while though, yer far too nice.

        • Greg, we aren’t making any progress towards agreement of this issue. I think you are mistaken and you think I am mistaken. I don’t see any point in continuing.

        • Greg G.

          You gave your reasoning. I pointed out that reasoning was mistaken. Paul does not connect his becoming a Christian as being on the road to Damascus.

          Those were two different things and the Acts accounts are fictional.

        • But I disagree with your claim that my reasoning was mistaken. In fact, I believe your reasoning is mistaken. So, we are at a standstill. There is no reason to discuss this issue any further.

        • Greg G.

          Paul clearly says he became a believer and began to preach, then he went to Arabia, then later he went to Damascus.

          In the initial account in Acts 9:10-19, Luke is creating a fictional story based on 2 Maccabees 3:13, 23-34, where Onias helps Heliodorus while Luke has Ananias helping Paul.

        • Maybe you will convince others.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Classic Gary Whittenberger.

      • Bob Jase

        Schizophrenics hear voices all the time, why shouldn’t Saul/Paul who clearly had mpd.

  • Bob Jase

    Demons evolved into bacteria & viruses just like that post-flood rapid evolution that produced all modern species.

    • Greg G.

      Angels evolved to produce penicillin but the demons evolved a resistance.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Don’t forget the sulfa compounds, and phages…

      • Maltnothops

        Then the angels evolved into the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Ophanim, and Erelim.

  • Maltnothops

    A while back I amused myself for a day or two on a Christian blog that took demons seriously. I suggested that there ought to be a database with as much data as possible on every exorcism so researchers could look for links. Regarding the Gerasene story, for example, I wondered if the presence of animals nearby might have been a catalyst. Or maybe it was the nearby cliff that the pigs ran over. Maybe we should do exorcisms in high rises both with and without animals and with and without open windows. My suggestions were not welcomed.

    • Michael Neville

      You were being too sciency for the true demonologists.

      • Maltnothops

        The single most amusing aspect was that the people I was talking with didn’t regard Catholics as Christian. So all those Catholic exorcisms didn’t count. One person said there already was a database of every verified casting out of demons. It is called the New Testament.

  • Maltnothops

    “ I’ll be particularly interested in seeing how [Koukl] determines which people are demon possessed.”

    And if the ones who are correlate with any socioeconomic characteristics. Middle class suburban church-going Republicans — yes. “Urban” youth? Not so much.

  • Jim X

    I’d love to see an insurance company cover this as a form of alternative medicine. The charlatans will have a field day,and chiropractors can also add it to their repertoire of nutritional counseling and internal medicine. What’s the CPT code for “demon excision?” And the ICD-10 code for “possessed by demons, unspecified?”

    • Maltnothops

      As long as the insurance companies reimburse on the basis of the “prevailing local rate”. In my experience, the PLR is about 60% of the absolute lowest local rate.

    • epicurus

      It’s eye raising, at least for me, the number of videos on youtube dealing with with diet and disease like diabetes, etc, that are hosted by a Dr. so and so, who, when you read their blurb about themselves, turn out to be chiropractors.

    • Brian Davis

      Maybe this will be Trump’s replacement for Obamacare. Imagine the squeals of joy from his evangelical backers if faith healers could start billing insurance companies and Medicare.

  • BertB

    Ah, I liked the final quote by Vic Stenger. He wrote many down-to-earth books debunking religious belief, such as “God: The Failed Hypothesis.” I conversed with Vic via Email a few times, discussing points in his books. Sadly, he died suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago. He was a good guy.