Dear Calvinists: Try Having Mercy On Those of Us Who Doubt

Dear Calvinists: Try Having Mercy On Those of Us Who Doubt January 11, 2018

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Recently an article over at Desiring God, a blog hosted by John Piper, took aim at Christians who wrestle with doubts.

The article was shockingly uncharitable towards Christians such as myself– far more uncharitable than I had even expected from the arrogant wing of Calvinism. The premise of the article was that “doubt dishonors God” and that it’s a hallmark of “weak faith,” as if those of us who struggle with doubts on our faith journey are either second class citizens who haven’t gotten with the program yet, or worse, that our doubts are somehow an intentional act of rebellion against God.

Well, I have a newsflash for all the Calvinist out there who agree with the premise of that article:

We’re not doubting because this is our idea of a good time.

Nor are we doubting because it’s trendy or cool.

Our doubts are none of those things.

But if you’d really like to understand Christians whose faith includes elements and seasons of doubts– If you’d really like to understand Christians like me– I’ll break it down for you. While doubts can be caused by a variety of things, I believe many of us experience this for two distinct reasons.

First, Christians who doubt are often intensely curious people, and this isn’t a bad thing.

Even the word to “doubt” ultimately means to “question,” and those of us who doubt often do so because we are always curiously asking questions. We take in answers and mull them over, usually ending up with even more questions as we attempt to figure out the “inner workings” of life and faith and everything else in the world around us.

Christians who doubt are Christians who are busy asking questions and wrestling with answers. Instead of dishonoring God, I believe we actually deeply honor him, because when we ask questions it means one thing:

We’re using that big ole brain God gave us.

For the first 20 years of my Christian life, I didn’t ask many questions– I just memorized the answers I was handed. Outwardly, I would have appeared as a mature, solid Christian, but inwardly I was dishonoring God by limiting what I allowed my brain to ask, seek, and explore. Thus, repenting of certainty and embracing doubt became one of the most God-honoring, spiritually mature things I have ever done in my life.

Secondly, many Christians who doubt often do so because what we were taught doesn’t seem to line up with real-life experience.

Since the article I’m responding to came from among the 872 point Calvinists, I’ll give an actual example:

Calvinism of course, teaches that everything that happens in life and the world, good or bad, was all directly orchestrated by God. Now, when life is good this kind of idea feels great, but when life goes bad? Not so much.

I’m the guy who had a vasectomy as an act of worship in order to give my life to raising kids who needed a family– it was an invitation I was sure came from God himself. However, after completing 4 adoptions where 3 of them ultimately failed for various reasons after the fact, my “act of worship” cost me the deepest dream my heart ever held: having lots of children and ultimately grandchildren.

Being told on one hand that everything that happens in life is from God and therefore good, while also laying in bed at night unable to get the memories of your last goodbye with your own children out of your head, is the kind of thing that naturally prompts you-know-what.

Doubts.

Questions.

We wrestle with reality and wonder how everything could really be a divine plan from God. We question whether or not everything that happens to us is actually good and wonderful when it feels so hellish and painful.

When life happens, and when that doesn’t line up with what we were told about God, we naturally are faced with some really, really hard questions– questions that don’t have easy answers.

Asking those questions, having a curious mind that wants to understand, and struggling to figure out why real-life suffering doesn’t line up with what people like Calvinists teach us about God, isn’t a sign of weak faith. It’s not a sign of rebellion or dishonoring God.

It is a sign that we are human– a sign that our hearts and brains are functioning as intended, and that life experience has left us wrestling with some difficult questions.

On one hand, I grieve that Calvinists such as the author of that piece don’t seem to know us– that they don’t know we’re simply curious people who have often experienced tremendous doses of pain and hardship that caused us to spend long seasons asking hard questions.

What I grieve even more is that out of all the verses the article quoted on doubting, there was one verse conspicuously left out:

“Have mercy on those who doubt.” – Jude 1:22

Because if you really knew me and those like me, if knew how we long to reconcile our painful experiences with the things that we were taught, and if you knew how desperately we long to cling to a solid answer that makes sense to us…

You’d have far more mercy on us than what you have shown.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • If doubt dishonors God, then God should be dishonored.

    I looked into Calvinism as a teenager. And it it seemed to make God to be evil. I could not see how Christianity made sense under Calvinist predestination doctrines.

  • Man, that article is all over the map. I have no idea what the author’s actual point is.

    Sometimes, it appears that he’s trying to say that Christians should be actively trying to grow and strengthen their faith as opposed to just being ok with minimal vital signs all their life. I don’t have much of a problem with that except to point out he repeatedly chalks this up to laziness or deliberate rebellion. While I’m sure that can be the case, it’s a lazy and vindictive stereotype.

    Sometimes, it appears that he’s trying to say that doubting and having faith are two, opposite ends of a continuum, which is a little like saying that being brave and being afraid are at two, opposite ends of a continuum. People who exhibit bravery in the face of their fear are braver than people who never feel fear. People who trust God even when they have doubts display greater trust than people who have no doubts.

    Sometimes, it appears that he’s saying that doubts are directly offensive to God because they call His trustworthiness into question. Well, if that’s true, the biblical data reveals that God can take this in stride. In Jeremiah 20, the prophet flat out accuses God of deceiving him into his prophetic calling and blames Him for his present bad circumstances. But God just keeps talking to him as if nothing ever happened. John the Baptist publicly questions whether or not Jesus is the Messiah or if they should look for another (because JtB is in jail about to be executed), and Jesus follows up on this by giving a speech about how John is the greatest person who has ever lived.

    This article has no clear thesis and no clear supporting arguments. It’s an extended demonstration of equivocation sprinkled with a flurry of proof-texts that may or may not be addressing the subject at hand. I appreciate a desire to share with brothers and sisters who struggle deeply with their faith that they are not alone and that there are resources and provisions they can turn to and encourage them to do so, but this whole “y’all just lazy and it makes God mad at you” viewpoint of the article is just unhelpful and does not take into account a fully-scoped view of either the lived out phenomena of faith and doubt nor all the biblical data on the subject.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…that article is all over the map. I have no idea what the author’s actual point is.”

    Good to know I wasn’t the only one trying to figure out what the author’s point was. I read that article last week and commented on it to my wife by saying, “I have no idea what the author is actually trying to say.” Early in the article, he issues a caveat by saying something like he isn’t talking about the guy in Mark who said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief;” yet the author then goes on to suggest that doubters are rebelling against God. Um, ok. The only conclusion I could really draw from it is that he’s talking to people who somehow willfully doubt. But who really does that? Like Ben was saying, “We’re not doubting because this is our idea of a good time.”

    Those types of articles, in my opinion, are not helpful to those they are directed to, though they are typical of a Calvinist mindset. Like people are robots and can just flip a switch and suddenly start intellectually believing all the right things. It’s just so disingenuous in my opinion; or at least disconnected with reality. I once heard a popular Reformed Theologian on the radio read a letter over the air from a mother who had lost a son who she feared was an unbeliever. She felt guilt over being angry with God. I assumed the theologian would try to issue words of comfort to this agonizing lady (who probably feared her son was sizzling in hell). Instead, the guy literally began to admonish the woman and told her to repent in sackcloth and ashes. Dead serious.

  • If I were a betting man, I’d say Romans 9 got invoked at some point.

  • ChaplainRick Cruse

    My work in a Level One Trauma Center drives me to doubt. The reality that I, as a white, educated and privileged male, am “blessed” far beyond so many people of color with whom I work drives me to doubt.

    I deeply love a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes which I will paraphrase: “For the simplicity that lies on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give a fig [plug nickel?}; but for the simplicity on the other side of complexity I would give everything I own.”

    Piper (and his ilk) want “simple Christians,” i.e., simple-minded Christians. When those people bump up against the complexities of life, they are indoctrinated to say: “But the Bible says…,” “But my pastor says…,” and so on. They hit complexity and it scares the shit out of them, so they retreat to “the Bible says,” and “my pastor says,” and “Jon Piper says….”

  • Al Cruise

    Calvinism is what you believe in when you are to scared and/or embarrassed to admit you have doubts.

  • Ron McPherson

    You mean the potter-clay thing? Yeah, likely. By the way, who was it that once said that he never met a Calvinist who didn’t feel he was one of the elect? Pretty sure if one felt they weren’t, then they would change their theology.

  • JenellYB

    I know the frustration and confusion and pain of being one that encountered those questions early in life. What I thought of them then hasn’t changed much, except observations and experiences in life, and actually reading and studying the bible myself, strong reinforced it.

    To see the “doubt” as being not “doubt” and “lack of faith” as in truth, being to doubt an question Them and their beliefs and opinions, rather than God. Or even just the way they apply a few cherry picked verses from the Bible.

    If any need more evidence of Jesus’ view of having doubts, consider His response to Thomas when the disciple did not believe he was talking with the flesh and bone body of Jesus. Reach forth your hand… check it out yourself.

  • Well, in fairness to the Calvinists, the only way to know if someone is elect or not is by their conversion and faithfulness. Which interestingly kind of makes Romans 9 not very sensical. When Paul’s hypothetical/actual objector says, “Why does He still find fault, for who can resist His will?” Paul’s answer qua Calvinism should be, “Because divine sovereignty does not interfere with human responsibility.” But that’s not his answer at all, is it?

    It almost makes you think Romans 9 isn’t about personal election to eternal salvation.

  • Kit Sune

    The issue I take with the Desiring God article is that when I doubt, I don’t distrust God, as they imply. I don’t always understand God. I sometimes express my anger and frustration to God – as did many prophets and psalm writers! But through it all, I still trust God. My doubts are about other elements of my faith, but I do not doubt God, nor his love, nor his willingness to work things out for good.

  • to be included in the tribe one must bribe with one’s compliance I think.

  • Ron McPherson

    For decades I suffered through what I felt was morbid doubt. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t overcome it. I faked it to others though. Internally, I just assumed I either didn’t have sufficient faith or was in some kind of monumental spiritual battle, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t intellectually make myself believe a certain way. One day by accident, I happened upon something on the web about OCD Religious Scrupulosity. It literally described what I had been dealing with for years. It actually had a name. Went to doc, got on meds, and now thankfully it’s under a reasonable amount of control. It wasn’t a matter of faith, it was a real-life physical issue (e.g. serotonin levels). But without knowing that, I would have labored under the notion that I either had faith or I didn’t. And that’s the problem I have with articles like that one about doubt. It utterly fails to take into account the grayness of life.

  • Ron McPherson

    “Well, in fairness to the Calvinists, the only way to know if someone is elect or not is by their conversion and faithfulness.”

    True, but then it becomes a slippery slope because my idea of faithfulness may not be yours. If I’m ‘faithful’ on Monday and Tuesday, but screw up on Wednesday, does that mean I’m ultimately faithful or not? In other words, one’s idea of election boils down to nothing more than one’s own subjective standards. Do all the instances of my faithfulness outweigh the unfaithful times? If so, how much? Where’s the balance? That’s why it doesn’t work IMO. By the way, all this coming from a former Calvinist myself.

    On the Romans 9 thing, I believe you raise an interesting question. It’s difficult though for evangelical Christians to think of biblical salvation as meaning anything other than personal salvation from a hell-fire afterlife. American Christianity fashions a me-centered gospel. We’re spoiled and self-centered that way. Everything is ultimately about us. That means every time we read the word ‘salvation’ (even if in the context of the nation of Israel being rescued by God from enemy nations in the OT), we read it as being an issue of personal salvation, or more specifically in contemporary evangelicalism, escape from hell. Or when Jesus in the NT talked about the kingdom and Israel’s hope, that defaults every time into a supernatural realm that applies specifically to us and where we’ll exist after we breathe our last. We’re just wired that way because that’s the context we live in and what gets preached from the pulpit from generation to generation. I actually think much of it is a result of systemic self-centeredness. Everything in the bible just HAS to be about us.

  • Newton Finn

    It appears to me that Jesus himself struggled with doubt on the cross. The usual dodge that he was just quoting the first line of a psalm in his death throes has never rung true and minimizes the totality of the sacrifice he made…yes, at the very end, the sacrifice even of his bedrock faith in Abba. No follower of Jesus is immune to experiencing what he went through, although we each bear the cross in our own way.

    https://www.amazon.com/Life-Truth-synoptic-gospel-Theophilus-ebook/dp/B00NIZOJ4C

  • richard

    I believe the saying “just drink the kool aid” started with the people’s temple church in the 1970s when over 600 church members willingly drank cianide laced kool aid at their pastor’s direction and died.
    Many churches I have attended since then appear to treat questions/doubt the same way. One is shamed, belittled, dismissed, for questioning the pastor, the church, or the interpretation of scripture. As others here have said, I’m not questioning Jesus, I’m trying to understand and know Him better.
    So sad.
    And this attitude is not exclusive to calvinists – many other churches/denominations practice this attitude too.

  • Bones

    The Calvinist god is evil……just like the inventor of their nonsense….I suppose Calvin is one of the Elect even though he had people burned alive…it’s not like he did something really bad like have gay sex….He was just a man of his time….unlike us….

  • Bones

    The opposite of faith isn’t doubt but certainty said someone once…….I suppose Jesus’s moments of doubt were written just to make the story more interesting and include some Old Testament stuff.

    Thankfully the bereans ween’t Calvinist types or they never would have thought about Christianity. They’d have been more like the Pharisees.

  • Jackie Turner

    Thank you for this.

  • Ron McPherson

    “The opposite of faith isn’t doubt but certainty.”

    Love it!

  • Ron McPherson

    Some can’t separate God from their own interpretation of him. They think it’s the same thing and can’t acknowledge there may be a difference. So when someone else expresses doubt about such an interpretation, the individual just naturally assumes that person is doubting God. It’s the heighth of spiritual arrogance.

  • Bones

    If you don’t doubt, you don’t grow….

    If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn…..I drum that into all my students.

    Which sort of calls into question the whole sin business……

  • Bones

    Is that why most calvinists are a**eholes?

  • Al Cruise

    Well said. It’s all part of transformation. The only true sin there is [for lack of a better wording] , is willfully not being willing to allow transformation of oneself.

  • Bones

    Thats what happens when you believe in a god who’s going to clout you around the ears every time you mess up.

    I see that with kids.

    They’re too scared to try anything in case they screw up.

    Theology is a lot like that.

  • Matthew

    I´m not sure I follow. I just read part of Romans 9 (verses 19 – 21) and it certainly seems pretty “calvinistic” … this stuff drives me crazy … :-(

    You guys are much further ahead of me, but I´ll catch up :-)

    [Edited]

  • Al Cruise

    ” I see that with kids.” Unfortunately with adults to. I have been commenting with several white supremacists on another blog, talk about one scared bunch.

  • SamHamilton

    That’s a great insight Kit.

  • I’d say it seems Calvinistic if we assume Romans 9 is addressing the issue of individual eternal destinies, which is what they assume, and we also assume Paul’s “what if” is not a hypothetical, but is his actual argument. Both of those are debatable assumptions.

    A challenging reading that I don’t necessarily agree with but is very thought provoking and raises some of these issues is David Bentley Hart’s “Traditio Deformis:”

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/05/traditio-deformis

  • Herm

    I’m wrestling with how I should approach this to share what I am certain of. I have my doubts. On one hand if I quote what is written verbatim, directly from a version, this will be too long for those I love, who need this the most, to read through. On the other hand, if I give only the directive to the quotes, those I love, who have faith in my words to be of good intention, may not read the significance for themselves. What I am certain of in my heart and mind, in the image of God, is that I cannot remain silent.

    That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.

    So, Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

    Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

    But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

    The man asked him, “What is your name?”

    “Jacob,” he answered.

    Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

    Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

    But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

    So, Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

    The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore, to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

    Genesis 32:22-32 (NIV2011)

    The Israelites do not eat one special tendon in sacred commemoration to their unquestioned faith in God. The crowd vote for the death of the Son of Man/Son of God, in God’s name, was founded on their certainty of faith in the highest and most respected authorities in the nation of Israel. None of the responsible power of Israel knew God before them.

    https://dg.imgix.net/what-is-it-like-to-enjoy-god-qyfd3aoe-en/landscape/what-is-it-like-to-enjoy-god-qyfd3aoe-46677afc6fc3e50513d722fa16b3f866.jpg?ts=1515470936&ixlib=rails-2.1.4&w=871&h=490&dpr=2&ch=Width%2CDPR&auto=format%2Ccompress&fit=min

    >>>>> This is titled “WHAT IS IT LIKE TO ENJOY GOD?” by John Piper <<<<<

    Is God in this picture? Can we see Them to enjoy; as in the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the mother and all the children? … or do we see only John Piper, a most respected authority in the nation of Christianity?

    https://www.desiringgod.org/

    Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

    John 12:42-43 (NIV2011)

    Whose praise do we seek when we fear so much God’s wrath that we kill God in God’s name while embracing certain faith in our church and family authorities because we don’t want to be put out?

    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:25-27 (NIV2011)

    Honestly, with neither pride nor shame, I once had the conviction of heart and mind to scream, face to face, toe to toe, at God, “you can’t possibly f***ing exist”.

    I had my son (at 17 years of age, 20 years ago) stand face to face, toe to toe, and scream at me, “I buffed up to kick your little ass in the ground”.

    Both sons wrestled with their father. Two sons doubting their fathers then and neither does today, because each of us knows the active love, tolerance and forgiveness of our fathers. Neither father left his son orphaned in time of doubt.

    I testify, by my own experience, that when the day, spoken of in John 14:15-21 and 16:12-15, hopefully, comes for each of us, each who responsibly risks doubting by expressing our uncertainties face to face, toe to toe, in search of truth, at God, we will know for certain the only source for truth, always available, as we can bear in each moment, throughout the remainder of eternity.

    Good productive and constructive loving parents never expect their children to take the lessons offered them at face value.

    An example; when did you find out that your parents were learning, what they did not know before, as you were learning from them and their example?

    How much less would you love God, or doubt God’s love, if you found out that They were learning, what they did not know before, as you were learning from Them and Their example?

    What happens to your faith if you found out that the law that Christ has shared with us was not an authoritarian edict laid down for you to follow, or you would die? I mean, God is equally as subject to the law as is Their students, as a professor is just as subject to the law of our earth’s physics as are her/his students.

    What happens to your certainty of faith in God when you find that They want to share the remaining eternity of ever expanding awareness and influence with you, not as a subject, or puppet, but as an equally loved and respected member of Their family, as any other who loves to share in everything as they would have others share with them. We all have doubts. We all, including all of God, approach as cautiously as is allowed in the moment what is just around the next bend, that none of us has ever experienced before.

    Don’t trust what I say, for I am, at best, a well nurtured infant child in training hoping to eventually be able to make mature, responsible and constructive decisions as does my Rabbi Brother. Really, ask Him with all authority in heaven and on earth today!!!

  • Ron McPherson

    “If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn…..I drum that into all my students.”

    Great point. It has been expressed by many that great leaders allow their folks the opportunity to fail.

  • Cleanslate

    Thanks for providing the link. An interesting article indeed and the website is too.

  • Gathering knowledge about St. Thomas I came here, and thought I’d remind us what a great teacher Jesus was – he understood that not all people learn and believe in the same way. He had no problem showing the doubting Thomas his wounds, to see and to touch. Our curiosity is natural from the time we are born, its how we develop. I’ve found the popularity of Thomas in early modern East London was because he was a labourer like them, (shipwrights etc). It would have been a survival instinct to want to have proof of anything. King Charles 1 was peeved at their Independent spirit, dissenting nature.
    Thus I endorse Richard Dawkins view of Thomas as a Patron Saint of Scientists.

  • Rick Cruse

    I agree with you but had to chuckle when I read: “One day BY ACCIDENT….”

  • WayneMan

    This is a common psychological tool used by many religions. When you have a story-line that is both extraordinary and non-verifiable, one way to keep people obedient to the belief is to make any questioning or challenges completely taboo. Put blame and shame on the challenger as to
    a) get them to stop, and
    b) discourage others from applying any critical thinking.
    Another tool is teaching the carrot and stick (like heaven and hell) around obedience. Then there is the extremely cruel practice of shunning (or disfellowshipped) where leaving the faith may cost you your family relationships. It is all sick tricks needed to keep people gullible.

  • Matthew

    Whoa … David Bentley Hart … do you have cliff notes. :-) :-) :-)?

  • WayneMan

    I’m an atheist, but if there is a God my conclusion would be that this God is a sadistic evil entity, based on constant random indiscriminate suffering from natural disasters and diseases. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b9ad29c43f0187aa3ba2c1b2abcb1e60cbf1ecbc383dd8fb0125163d11a546d9.jpg

  • I get so sick and tired of the false certitude of Calvinists like Piper and Grudem. When you spend 19 years raising an OCD child with Tourette’s Syndrome, pleading with God to help your child cope and fit in, going to dozens of IEP meetings, navigating the mental health system’s labyrinth, doing everything possible to keep him safe…only to have him die in an arson fire at age 19…you ask questions of God…you experience doubt.

    Thank God my faith wasn’t built on their rickety foundation of inerrancy, that my God wasn’t the monster Calvinists worship. Rather than having to rely on TULIP to comfort me, my pain and sorrow, and yes my doubt, eventually drew me closer to God and the Son, a man well acquainted with sorrow.

    Where is “faith” when you are required to have all the answers? When your theology has to have it all worked out? What kind of faith requires everything to fit into a box? I have news for you Mr. Piper. You know nothing of “faith.” Your faith is built on a system of your own design, not God.

  • //What kind of faith requires everything to fit into a box?//
    I think a kind of devilish one!

  • Mark

    I grew up Calvinist, absolutely certain that I was counted among “The Elect” — and that worked until I realized I was gay at age 13, and came out at age 15. I was kicked out of the church — and formally shunned, within two weeks after being excommunicated (and damned). 48 years later, people from that church are still shunning me: walking down different aisles if they see me at the grocery, walking to the opposite side of the street if they see me outside, etc.

    Here’s the thing: I kept my faith, found a new church where there were four other guys there who were also gay (and Christian — what a concept: being gay *and* Christian!) and that started me down the road to becoming an Episcopalian.

    Fast forward 48 years: I have an a partner of 28 years and a degree from an Episcopal seminary. My Calvinist family accepts my partner. I’m still officially “apostate” — but now because I’m Episcopalian.

    Life among the exclusive country club of the self-sanctified “Elect”…

  • Matthew

    I find Anglicanism/Episcopalianism interesting and deep …….

  • Bones

    Well the american church has been shunned from the world anglican church.while african churches who fought for the death penalty of gays are included.

  • Bones

    “do paedophiles need to molest children in order to learn that it’s wrong or to learn not to do it again?”

    Well that would make them Catholic.
    Apparently thats ok. But being gay is evil.
    A bit like the way they treated unwed mothers and bastards.
    No wonder you’re scared.

  • I say this as a Calvinist: Thank you. My tribe is far too often guilty of a sense of theological superiority that in this instance led one of us completely to ignore the command of Jude 22. May I ask that you forgive us?
    The only thing I will say in our defense is that, just as it was wrong for the Desiring God author to write so unsympathetically about “weak faith,” it’s also wrong for Christians who doubt to wear their doubt as if it’s some badge of honor—as if they are surely more profound and spiritual than I am because they’re wrestling with their faith while I (at least at the moment) am experiencing relative peace about mine. (Lest you fear I’m referring to you, you didn’t come across like this at all in your post; I’m referring to other Christians who tend to take pride in their constant doubting.) I say this as someone who experienced doubts for many years—I was no “more spiritual” then than I am now as someone who’s more settled in his convictions. But, looking back, I am grateful for the doubts God gave me because I arrived where I am today only through walking that path (spoken like a true Calvinist, I know).

  • Herm

    My dog lives his life 90% dependent upon us to survive. He, as far as we can communicate with him, has no concept of spiritual and is oblivious to the affects of our shared cosmos, even to the potential of overwhelming threats to life and limb from “mother nature”. He doesn’t care beyond food, nurture and reciprocal cuddling.

    My dog is bonded to us, my wife most, in a form of love that is sensitive to each others’ needs. When we are in danger he has shown a willingness to sacrifice his comfort while risking his life for our survival. We have shown the same to him, often reacting to serious threats that he could not conceive of.

    All with awareness and influence of life, which is life itself, have to live subject to the vagaries of others with awareness and influence, physically and in spirit.

    Do you believe that it’s my dog’s conclusion that my wife and I are “a sadistic evil entity, based on constant random indiscriminate suffering from natural disasters and diseases“?

  • Matthew

    Interesting … I still like their overall attitude towards theology though … much better than “fundy” dogma and doctrine …

    [Edited]

  • Matthew

    Why?

  • Ron McPherson

    Great testimony! Thanks for sharing! In my opinion, folks like yourself who emerge from those experiences with faith still intact reveal a far more genuine faith than the self-righteous, hypocritical, religionists who shunned you.

  • WayneMan

    “When we are in danger he has shown a willingness to sacrifice his comfort while risking his life for our survival. We have shown the same to him, often reacting to serious threats that he could not conceive of.

    No. Your very example shows that you are willing to keep your dog from danger, or help them when danger occurs. And you and your wife certainly did not “design” an environment that would purposely subject your dog to random suffering. So thanks, your example fully supports my point.

  • Matthew

    How can we all be at peace with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ?

  • Herm

    I’m intrigued; are you aware of all the scripture readings, most especially “red letter”, that speak to only reciprocally loved members of one “tribe” that will “inherit” eternal life, no matter how those outside that tribe cease to be aware and influential (dead knowing only hell fires or knowing nothing)? The Rabbi already asked our Father to forgive those “tribes” who know nothing.

    I am happy for your momentary peace.

    I am, also, happy that I struggle every day doubting my spiritually childish ability to learn the next thing before me that, until this moment, I was not aware of. Oh, but I am without any doubt that I will, throughout eternity if deemed by a better judge than I not to be a destructive self-centered seed to others, never cease to learn of the next thing I was not aware of, right along with my Brother Jesus and my Father in heaven (which is spirit only as is the image of God gifted mankind).

    There is no personal honor, supported by lessons shared in the Bible, in being an infant child of God unless picking up and carrying one’s cross can be considered an honor. What there is for sure, although, is truth shared in the personal portions as we each can bear sustained by the eternal joy, peace and certainty that we will never be left orphaned. Since being born with, in and of the Spirit of truth, my faith has never had to be overcoming a doubt that God existed, because I see, accept and know God as one with and in God by the total immersion (baptism) of the Holy Spirit within whom all of God is immersed; our Father, our Brother Jesus, the Son of Man’s mother, and all the siblings of Jesus. Within our tribe there is only one Father, one Instructor and one Teacher.

    I, too, am grateful for the doubts that God allows me the freedom to confront and share. To have no doubts could only mean that I have nothing yet to ever learn or that I am a robotic puppet designed and programmed to be whatever my master chooses I be. From within my tribe it is now clear that the future has not come for my Father anymore than for me. My Father has no beginning (mine was 73 years ago) and I have yet to conceptualize how that can be so while having no doubt that it is possible and true in the spirit, not ever in the carnal. For the moment such is beyond my spiritually infant mind, but not beyond my spiritually infant heart, and I am not mature enough to bear such knowledge of that yet to be considered in wonder.

    I once defined my tribal convictions of spirit as Presbyterian, and then Adventist, for they were founded on the study of God (theology) primarily based out of the Bible. Today, you have brought back memories of when I was defined to others primarily by the doctrine established by one of those two sectarian tribes appended in consideration, by the rest of the world, according to my U.S. of A. tribal influences. Today, I am only a little struggling child nurtured within one tribe, with no national worldly status, with no significant official ordained authority of my own, as I was certified and respected for when a Presbyterian and an Adventist.

    You intrigued me, today, because in my entire spiritual journey, I have never felt a need to ask for forgiveness for my tribe. I have asked for forgiveness for my own behavior but never for my whole tribe. You are loved and from my perspective your journey seems to be progressing as you can bear. If it helps you rest in preparation for the next learning and growing exercise, I can safely say by my Father’s will you, and your tribe as their disciple, are forgiven from the past when in everything you did not do to others as you would have others do to you.

    Love you! Thanks!

  • Herm

    Oh, but my wife and I have the power to put our dog in a much safer, environmentally stable, fully self contained rubber room, not ever allowed outside to the threats from weather, predators or the uncontrollable unknown.

    It was within our power to do the same for our children. Why do you think we didn’t?

    If the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago, a recognizable carnal mankind is but six million of those years (measured according to the revolutions of our invisible earth around our dim and insignificant sun), and “God” has no beginning and no end how is it that you demand, with less than 120 years of awareness and influence to be responsible with, to be sheltered from that which your parents cannot, nor would not, shelter you from? You remind me of my son who expressed that we all worked to rest. Today, he understands that he and his wife only rests to be able to play with and provide for their children. He, also, understands that, though a parent owes their children everything they can provide them (for they had no choice to be born), he owes them an opportunity to tear their muscles (for without their strength would wither and die) and an opportunity to take educated risks for as long as they live (for without there is no adventure).

    Why do you think so petty? You are capable of much more for all of mankind has what was metaphorically described as the image of God. We have yet to find any other species of carnal life on this planet who can consider spirit, much less suggest that awareness and influence in spirit can have no beginning and no end. You are capable of considering that all lives, independently aware and influential, within a physical form will randomly cease to share when the elements of their bodies returns to the planet from whence they came (for members of mankind surely within 120 years each). You are capable of considering that mankind, as an entity of life, has survived only due to propagation for its entire six million years of awareness and influence on this earth. You have the ability to postulate in spirit, and in carnal, possibilities that no other member of any other species on earth can even consider as possible.

    If you wish to define God only according to your limitations then you will remain an atheist. That’s more than okay with me, with one caveat, in everything you do to others as you would have others do to you. As an atheist you remain still loved by me because we are children of Man. We can empathize, tolerate, support and forgive each other as we would have the other do to us. I can’t do that for my dog. He is neither receptive, nor do we share the same species of life, as do you and I, of impetus experienced.

    I can, at best, only share with you that there is more to life than my dog is allowed, founded on my own tested experiences.

    Take a moment, and consider that all and each of “God” (by any name) suffers the same “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in this adventure called life, and has so with no beginning and no promised end. You are capable!

  • Iain Lovejoy

    To see this sort of think happen and not doubt is to dishonour God. Anyone who can look at this and think “Yeah, that’s exactly what I would expect to see happen with God in control.” dishonours God as a sick sadist.
    I would deny the hideous slander of Calvinism that God does this sort of thing deliberately and wants them to happen, and there are partial explanations involving things like free will as to why God does not always (or often) intervene but lets such disasters take their course, but no-one who honours God as a God of love and compassion can see this and not be shaken.
    I remain a Christian as I can see also the magnificence, beauty and good in the world, and the personal experience of God, and that God himself suffered and died so that these things should not be, but these things trouble me, because they ought to trouble God.

  • Bones

    Because the US church likes gays.

  • Bones

    The African versions are pretty fundy…..apart from Tutu..

  • Matthew

    Oh …

  • Matthew

    I have heard that about the African Anglican church …

  • Bones

    How many Catholoc Dioceses have declared bankruptcy in the US to get out of paying victims?

    Up to 13 now….

    All of a sudden yhe church isnt so universal.

    But thats what happens when organisations claim to have absolute power. They feast on the powerless.

    Enjoy your fearmongering god.

  • Bones

    Thats nice but that hasn’t been your church’s teaching.

    The unimaginable evil done to mothers and babies in Ireland

    A mother’s cry to break from catholic traditions

    https://www.charliemag.be/wereld/mother-and-baby/

    When did illegitimate babies go from being bastards and spawn of satan to sacred life?

    You can spare us the moralising…

  • Bones

    How many scoundrels have resided in the peaceful bliss of certainty?

    Once again, doubts are healthy.

  • Bones

    Unfortunately most churches dont understand clinical depression or how our biology determines our thinking..

    They see it as a spiritual weakness.

    Church dude:
    “Just rise above it and have joy in your heart, bro.”

    Church victim:
    “F*** off and thanks for making me feel better”

    What used to get me was my schizo friends thinking they were healed,, going off their meds and slip right back to where they started. Except now even worse….

  • Bones

    “I’ve learned through experience”

    Thanks for making my point.

  • WayneMan

    “and there are partial explanations involving things like free will as to why God does not always (or often) intervene but lets such disasters take their course”

    Lightening strikes, earthquakes, most diseases, and volcanoes have nothing to do with free will. You chose to ignore the obvious that if a God “designed” Earth for us humans, then he also “designed in” constant indiscriminate random suffering. Only a sadistic evil monster would “design” such a place on purpose.

  • Bones

    Or as one pastor said it is people’s own fault for living in these places….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNqQUoX26RY

    God’s either interventionist or it isn’t……….

  • Bones

    Odin will get you for that, Wayne.

  • WayneMan

    Yea I heard that one too, except virtually nowhere is exempt from all possible random disasters. There might be 100 square miles at the arctic somewhere. LOL

  • WayneMan

    You are simply tap dancing to make excuses for the inexcusable. I am not demanding anything. I am simply stating a reality believers do not want to face. Either God is omnipotent or he is not (limited in some way). If he is and created this universe, he would have any and all options available. An planet with earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, lightening strikes, childhood cancers and brain tumors, would be part of the “design” of this omnipotent God. A world without all of this, and still allow us free will was just a finger snap away. Yet we got the random suffering version. I do not believe that there is a sadistic evil God that created this mess, because I do not believe that any God(s) exists period. The world just is what it is, via random evolution. But if it was “design” by an all powerful God, then I have higher morals than this God and yes they would be a sadistic and evil entity.

  • Bones

    Yeah…especially over here where it’s either drought, bushfires or floods….

  • Herm

    Wayne, I am not tap dancing. Why must a spirit community bound together by all love, in everything doing to all others as they would have all others do to them, of no beginning and no end, united and led by the will of the Father, with and in one another immersed in a single Spirit, continually in communication with and in one another, be all powerful and all knowing when They have yet an eternity to grow, learn and adventure before Them? This is what little children believe of their parents before they reach eight years of age. Perhaps, it is what the religious don’t want to face, that God decided, maybe, a flood wasn’t the answer after all, or that God could not have saved those lost from the flood, or that there was at least 25 million others spread out around the world who were not affected by the flood, or that carnal life was always temporal and didn’t actually begin to die because of “civilization” in the Fertile Crescent 9 thousand years ago. Maybe, you and the religious don’t want to face the possibility that mankind is a mutation from 13.8 billion years that just happened to develop enough to be gifted spirit awareness and influence from those of no beginning and no end who are watching to harvest additions to Their family. With what you and I are able to glean within a maximum 120 year life span all that I just alluded to could be true, or some, or none.

    I chose to support my children in hopes they would be productive and constructive for our species first because it’s instinctive to facilitate the survival of any carnal species, second because I really needed to know the truth of responsible and committed parenting, and third because I love to love. Different from other spawning species I was fully aware that I was helping to give birth to a life that I loved so much as to be willing to sacrifice the rest of my life, to die for her/his salvation, who would be injured, be scarred and would die before or after me. I still, and will always, grieve one unplanned miscarriage who I had become bonded as a forever father to the instant my wife told me she was pregnant. We had a planned child a couple years later who I love no more and no less.

    If you could communicate with a loving and trustworthy spirit, who had an eternity’s worth of experience behind Them and an eternity’s worth of new experiences yet to come would you accept Their offer to share in the remainder of eternity? Even, if you weren’t able to share with Them in the remainder of eternity would you still want to hear what They had to share with you, that you could understand, today?

    Eternal spirit awareness and influence is real and is not subject to the dimensions of temporal carnal. Spirit awareness and influence is potentially omnipresent, can be all places at once while setting its entirety on the smallest pimple of a quark, and remains subject to past, present and future as does carnal as well as in everything do to others as you would have others do to you. You are capable of knowing that if you ask Them.

    Why does “God” have to have designed anything beyond planting the big bang seed? What was before the beginning of our cosmos’ “random evolution”? Where did the necessary elements come from? When you plant a garden and nurture the garden,with all the elements necessary, do you have complete and certain control and knowledge of what you will harvest? When you spawn a child do you have complete and certain control and knowledge of what you will harvest? Do you have complete and certain control of anything you put in motion? Why must God? Are any of the other species of animals on earth concerned why God doesn’t provide a perfect environment without any threat? Why do you? Why, also, are you debating “God”, real or figment, when it appears that only mankind on this earth is capable? Why not just forage for food, sleep, defend your own, and be like every other species of life on this planet than is the species mankind?

    If you wish to define God only according to your limitations then you will remain an atheist. That’s your choice, a choice that even God would not deny you. If you are looking for truth beyond the physical you will not find it as an atheist or from carnal counsel.

    You know, I was just picturing what you are actually saying, if God doesn’t provide you with an eternal carnal life free of pain and scars then God is obviously sadistic and evil. Every moment of life, aware and influential, is an opportunity whether in carnal or in spirit that none of us chose. God didn’t choose to be a sentient entity if They have no beginning. They simply are. Neither you nor I had a choice whether to be born, or not, as one of mankind. We are all going to die, no longer aware and influential, as physical beings. We have no choice to not ever die physically. The spirit awareness and influence has no reason to cease to exist but can be isolated from all other awareness and influence, virtually knowing nothing and not known, too immature in heart and mind of spirit to function without a physical brain with nerve endings. Many are invited but few are chosen to be born in the Spirit, so even children of God don’t have the choice to live in spirit.

    Live however you wish, that is your choice within the limited parameters you are allowed. According to your grading of God the best and most ideal parents in this world are sadistic and evil entities for knowingly gifting their children such a short opportunity of life fraught with bullies, threats, bruises, scars, broken bones, random suffering, grief and certain death.

    I’ve just shotgunned a reply to you because it’s late, time is of the essence, and I’m struggling to open your heart and mind to be receptive to the truth. The best I can do to help you overcome your ignorant critique of “God”, who you do not know, is to suggest that you challenge God to prove that They are real and available to share with you. If you do not get a response then I would suggest you go take advantage of the short life you have left by focusing on the adventures available rather than wasting valuable time criticizing what others know to be true and you don’t. It is true that religious people can be destructive to mankind but so can those who religiously denounce God’s existence. If I am willing to die in your place that you might live to learn from God, because that is the will of my God who I know with and in my heart and mind of spirit, then I am no threat to you. I am no threat to you!

    Love you!!

  • Matthew

    Phil … have you written about those verses in the NT that seem to support a Calvinistic view? I would prefer reading something that is a bit “lighter” than Hart. He is good, but honestly I don´t follow him very well. I (sometimes) even have problems with N.T. Wright :-(.

  • Matthew

    Weren´t children of unwed mothers taken away from them and then
    the mother was forced to work in a laundry somewhere in Ireland?

  • Mark

    And the American (and Canadian) Church accepts us LGBTs as full, complete people – and that goes a *long* way to earn our allegiance and devotion!

  • Ron McPherson

    Another one is, “Just exercise more faith.” There’s still a stigma attached to disorders of the brain, though hopefully its not as bad as it used to be. The stigma is unfortunate because such a notion is borne from ignorance. Most have no problem with taking blood pressure meds or cancer treatments or heart meds, etc. But disorders of the brain is somehow a different story. When I finally sucked it up and got on right meds, I got my life back. Sometimes we have to put legs on our faith

  • Ron McPherson

    I heard a guy once say that his dog was the greatest Christian he had ever known.

  • Bones

    Yep…if they couldnt afford to pay for the birth, they had to work for 3 years.

  • WayneMan

    Again most of your reply has unwittingly given support to my point, that a loving God would help and protect their children as best as possible, and not “design” in random suffering on purpose. If a God exists, that is exactly what he “designed” for us. I too love to love, and have done my best to give my children and grandchildren, as well as many others, the best shot I can at living a happy and successful life. Beyond that it is up to them (their free will and effort). This is NOT our reality with the world in general. This is one reason why I am no longer a believer. I have learned enough and seen enough to realize that God is simply a man made fantasy, and nothing more than wishful thinking.

    Best wishes…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b928fdcbe8b30e99b1aec435993796552a4d2c98168e7432379ba0e1bae32759.jpg

  • No, not directly. I might address some of those overtones as I write about other verses. Probably the closest I’ve come is this post on justification:

    https://nextcreation.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/sunday-meditations-justification/

    But in my posts, I usually avoid (this was a good suggestion from a friend) commenting on views that I think are wrong and why they are wrong. Sometimes, if a particular interpretation is very popular, I might mention it, but I usually try to just write positively what I think a given passage is about and let people do whatever they’re going to do with it.

    Part of this is to avoid unnecessarily antagonizing people for no particular value, but part of it is also that it’s hard to directly engage in debate with some of these positions without adopting their common assumptions, and it’s usually the common assumptions that I’m questioning to begin with. It’s hard to refute a theological framework without doing the very things that got that framework to where it is – stringing together unrelated passages to build a case, reading Scriptures with a pre-existing polemic in mind, etc.

    Since I’m working my way through Matthew and going pretty slowly at that, it’ll probably be years before I start the next book, although Romans could be a good one. Maybe I could take a Matthew sabbatical and write about Romans for a while.

  • Ron McPherson

    By the way, I love your work on Matthew!!!

  • Herm

    Thank you for your kind efforts toward me Wayne, and your empathy for our siblings of Man!

    You are clearly not understanding what I’m trying to share with you when you write, “and not “design” in random suffering on purpose.

    God is not an engineering company charged with designing, nurturing and protecting the perfect environment, planning the perfect ending, while applying “random” anythings “on purpose”. God is not mankind’s creator puppeteer, nor are They mighty volcano gods demanding first born virgin sacrifice from fragile, ignorant and insecure little beings. God lives, albeit in spirit compared to mankind lives in the physical, with all the trials and errors, up and downs, on a seeming infinitely grander scale than mankind who lives presently trapped on this invisible, to 99% + of the cosmos, planet earth.

    We have each taken different directions from the point of considering ourselves as once a believer. You don’t believe now because you know God does not exist, and I agree that certainly “God” as defined by the predominate Christian/Muslim/Hindu doctrines does not exist. I don’t believe God exists, I know God exists because we share with and in each other, of many others. My Father in heaven, in my heart, in my mind, both of us immersed in the same Spirit together, empathizes more deeply with me as His child than my father and mother of Man, together as one, ever could and they tried with everything they had to know me. I know my Father in the Spirit far better and more deeply than I did my carnal parents, but as immature as I am in the Spirit I can’t yet bear to know all truths of my Father, nor begin to bear the joy and grief He shooulders every moment for those He loves, especially for those who do not know Him.

    Don’t give up on there being more to life than what you now see around you. Keep your heart and mind of spirit awareness and influence open to the Spirit of truth. Have you ever considered that right in the Christian Bible is shared where to find the only source for truth, relative to all life, and it isn’t the Bible nor any church on earth. Have you read to question your way to understanding these snippets (that no church teaches as reality today, and has been true for over 1,900 years)?

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

    Please, trust to risk that I might not be some kook seeking empowerment or self worth through fantasy, or sharing “random” voices in my head transmitted through a loose filling in one of my teeth. If God is real, as I am sure They are, then They would be able to talk with you on your level but only if you are receptive. We do not have to come up to Their level to be understood, or to be able to understand the word of God as our heart, soul, strength, mind can bear. You must, although, quit clouding your vision with preconception taught you by religion and/or by anti-religion. Get off by yourself and sincerely, in humility, challenge your Father in heaven, your Rabbi Jesus, and the Spirit of truth, face to face, toe to toe, to begin your reciprocal relationship of sharing. Don’t say anything to anyone about what you are doing while quietly letting what happens happen, without prejudice.

    The mosaic you share as the shame of God is really not the true portrayal of God. All of God on earth carry their own crosses in anguished anticipation of dying that those who know not what they are doing might live to know God, on earth (which is temporal carnal) and in heaven (which is eternal spirit). God grieves more than the images of grief you share and is the very first responder well before those images of first responders. Can you even begin to guess how many physical lives have been lost to random vagaries on earth? God can. I grieve for each unique life who I knew that has been lost to relate on this earth forever (which is even more sizable than most 73 year old lives just from my time in Vietnam, alone), and for the many, many lives I did not know personally but influenced my life to be what it is today. God grieves for all who, throughout all time, are lost to relate with ever again, while graciously stooping to lightened our load from being more than we can endure.

    I do respect your taking the initiative to separate from the authority of religious bodies, in favor of the truth you accept sole responsibility for. I have to say, by my own experience, it is easier being responsible to truth in relationship with God today than it was on my own, or within religious influences. Believe me, or not, but keep your heart, soul, strength, mind open to God for support way beyond what you can provide for yourself. Don’t wish for the truth, ask for the truth, demand the truth from the only perspective who could possibly know the truth to share.

    Peace be with you!

  • Bones

    Nice rant, but your Dioceses hide behind bankruptcy laws to avoid paying their victims…..

    All of a sudden the Catholic Church isn’t so universal.

    Of course this is the hypocrisy we all see from moralisers like yourself.

  • WayneMan

    Except you don’t have to be an engineer, but an idiot to not know volcanoes, earthquakes and diseases would simply randomly kill people, or they are evil and wanted random suffering. God is professed to be omnipotent (unlimited power) as well as omniscient (knows all). It would require such a God to create the universe but now you’re back peddling (tap dancing) to explain how this makes sense. There is nothing that can make our reality make sense in terms of an omnipotent omniscient God, tap dancing notwithstanding. A child under five years old dies somewhere on this planet about every 6 seconds, nonstop. I conclude that there is no God at all, but if one is out there, it is sadistic and evil, not loving and protective.

  • Thanks, Ron!

  • Bones

    Pope Benedict XVI

    “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

    People having gay sex are participating in evil…..oh and disordered….

    ‘They buried our baby for £5 and nothing more was said’
    For generations, the Catholic Church ruled that babies who died before being baptised could not enter heaven – but were relegated to limbo. They were denied funerals and could not be buried in church graveyards. For the families of these babies, though, the grief lives on, writes CIAN TRAYNOR

    THERE ARE countless mass infant graves scattered around Ireland, left unmarked, unconsecrated and containing hundreds of bodies.

    They are a legacy of Roman Catholic tradition, which stipulated that babies who died before being baptised did not go to heaven, but to an in-between state known as limbo.

    Baptism, it decreed, corrected humanity’s original sin in falling away from God. As a consequence, children who died at birth were forbidden to be buried on consecrated ground and denied a funeral service.

    Instead they were buried in anonymous plots known as “cillín”. Veiled in secrecy, mired in shame, the burials usually took place in the middle of the night along cemetery boundaries to get the babies as close to sacred ground as possible.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/vatican-s-stance-on-children-s-rights-is-not-acceptable-says-mcaleese-1.3218832

    From Canon Law

    Can. 1137 The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.

    Can. 1138 §1. The father is he whom a lawful marriage indicates unless clear evidence proves the contrary.

    §2. Children born at least 180 days after the day when the marriage was celebrated or within 300 days from the day of the dissolution of conjugal life are presumed to be legitimate.

    Can. 1139 Illegitimate children are legitimated by the subsequent valid or putative marriage of their parents or by a rescript of the Holy See.

    Can. 1140 As regards canonical effects, legitimated children are equal in all things to legitimate ones unless the law has expressly provided otherwise.

    Seems church law regarding illegitimate children (bastards) is still current.

  • Bones

    You made the point….we learn through our mistakes…

    And notice your obsession with sin.

  • Herm

    But it doesn’t take omnipotence to create a head of corn unlike any head of corn ever before it. It takes planting a seed and allowing it to grow. I am not touting God’s omnipotence, for I have nothing to base it on, anymore than I am touting Man’s omnipotence which I have much evidence to base it on. I am saying that the scale of the seed God planted, as versus the scale of Man planting a seed, is beyond your scope to dismiss Their love.

    When you were 3 years old your parents were not perfect yet by comparison with your abilities they were omnipotent. So, let’s quit talking touting and tell me what you know, as I am telling you what I know.

  • WayneMan

    No, if I planted that corn seed in the middle of Death Valley I would be behaving like your fictional God. It could rain once in 40 years so has a remote chance, but chances are it will dry up and decay in that harsh environment.

  • Herm

    See, you can’t help but think only within your scale when you’re capable of reaching beyond to God’s scale! It appears, from all we can see for sure from our carnal perspective, we have evolved over 4.5 billion years growing to become a carnal species with the potential to be gifted an awareness of spirit, of which no other carnal species we know has, because this little planet (garden?) wasn’t the Death Valley of our solar system or of our universe.

  • raven nevermore

    “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” – William James

  • raven nevermore

    I like what you have said. You may be more polite than I when it concerns Calvinists.

  • raven nevermore

    And, still, I enjoy reading your responses.

  • raven nevermore

    Worthwhile read, Corey. But here’s a hint: Calvinists do not like the word “otherwise.” It throws them off because that word introduces freedom, whereas they want everything determined.

  • Bones

    Why wouldn’t you?

  • WayneMan

    If Gods scale is constant random indiscriminate suffering, he can keep it. My morals are higher than that. And you are still tap dancing to excuse the inexcusable.

  • Herm

    What does scale and random indiscriminate suffering have to do with one another? Your self pity party just isn’t flying here. Don’t you find anything of value in the life you have? Of all the pictures you have shown what percentage of all of life did they show relative to the fun, the adventure, and the love not pictured?

    God doesn’t cause suffering anymore than do you and yours. What’s this deal of, “if God isn’t going to make everything rosy and perfectly safe for me then screw Them ’cause I can do much better for me and mine on my own“? Suffering and hate exists for both Man and God but so does joy and love. The God I know accepts the suffering as part of caring for others while always willing joy for all.

    You really don’t seem to get that we are talking of God and Man as single entities made up of many members. The metaphor first chronicled portrays the bonding of God with Man as gifting Their image of spirit awareness and influence with Man, not with select members but the whole of Man as one. Man continues or ceases with the support of God while each and every one of Man’s members will die. All elements of carnal will go back to its source.

    I love the opportunity to live carnally, even through the pain, suffering and grief, for the only other alternative is never feeling and knowing anything. I’ll take it fully as I am allowed, God or not, as do members of all other species on earth who are not of Man. I love the opportunity to just be able to consider God and spirit as a greater than carnal, which no member of any other species on earth has than do members of Man. Today, I love most with all my heart, soul, strength, mind all of God I am with and in. I love my good neighbor of Man as myself. I love my enemy who knows not what (s)he does.

    I’m not certain you stand any hope to be comforted by blaming suffering on God, Man or Mother Nature. Do you intentionally cause suffering for others? Do you suffer? It is no different, except on a seemingly infinitely greater scale compared to Man, for God. Man always has the way out of ceasing to exist in awareness and influence, all members naturally so within a mere 120 years, while God never has that way out, except, for that one time, for most of three days (revolutions of the earth).

    This isn’t tap dancing or skirting around the complexity of life, spiritual or physical, even if it is life only allowed for a maximum of 120 years. This is about truth that you only presume to know from an infant’s perspective, while refusing offered counsel from mature adults with an eternity’s worth of experience to help you survive with peace and joy. If you cannot get past your blind infantile audacity it really is of no value, to you, that They are offering your unique awareness and influence in spirit eternal survival, also. Good luck!

  • Matthew

    Ah … wisdom … very important.

  • WayneMan

    You apparently have zero empathy beyond your family. I feel no pity party for myself at all. I have had a wonderful full happy life. None of that has ever happened to me. As an atheists most would assume that is all I care about. However, it is the millions of people that are hit with some natural (“God designed”) disaster or disease I’m talking about. I give to about a dozen charities to help these people on a regular basis. As a religious person you surprise me, but maybe you are just emulating your God’s lack of empathy as closely as possible.

  • Tim
  • Tim

    I appreciate this; however, experiencing relative peace about one’s faith is quite different to having too much smug certainty about it. Most Calvinists I run across have that going on, rather than what you describe here.

    Hopefully, you’ll also be aware that Israel means “one who wrestles with God”, so there is certainly strong theological precedent for that stance. Having said that, I agree that having pride regarding anything of this sort is wrong, and is essentially Pharasiacal.

  • Tim

    There are multiple understandings of what “election” even means, and Calvinism as well as other forms of reformed theology have got it wrong. From my post on another blog site here:

    Ran across an interesting article the other day when I was looking for perspectives on the idea that the Genesis account of ‘origins’ and the scientific one are not necessarily incompatible (depending on how one chooses to view Genesis) and came across this one (links below). But what was of particular interest to me was a section in part two where it talks about what the biblical idea of “election” actually refers to. The copy/ paste from the second half of the article in the links below:

    “In both cases those who are elected are not chosen because they are ‘the greatest’ or inherently more worthy than others, but rather they are elected as a result of mysterious acts of divine love and grace. But election in the biblical understanding relates primarily to a people whom God has chosen in the midst of history for a special purpose within the wider context of God’s design, even when an individual is appointed to stand as representative for the whole community. This purpose of election is furthermore defined not in terms of privilege, but rather for the sake of service. For example, the elected Israelite king is called to be “the guardian of the humble and the needy, the weak and the helpless” and the mission of the divinely elected king is to establish righteousness and justice throughout the land. Thus in exercising dominion the king is to “watch carefully over the rights of his subjects, and so ensure, in particular, that the weaker members of society may enjoy his protection and thus have justice done to them according to their need.”

    So, to the extent that any “king” or elected leader [*cough Trump *cough] is NOT doing the above, they are not accurately representing the biblical God.

    https://biologos.org/blogs/
    https://biologos.org/blogs/

    This also means that those who believe that they are elected should be showing it through humility and acts of service rather than seeing themselves as special or better than anyone else; and certainly not by lording their position over others.

  • Ron McPherson

    Only problem though is that I compiled over 90,000 words in notes from my study of Matthew several years ago. But your stuff now calls it all into question . I had it all wrapped up so nice and tidy, so systematically tied together. But noooo. You had to go and throw a wrench into it all. Thanks a lot.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil.

  • Matthew

    Nice article on justification. It was a bit of a review for me … and review is ALWAYS good :-)!

  • Here to help!

  • Bones

    I used to be uncertain…but now I’m not so sure..

  • Bones

    Lol…i wrote commentaries on the Old Testament by hand and binned the lot.

  • Herm

    Wayne, you do know what ass_u_me makes out of u and me, don’t you? I take no pride, though I do the best I can and it is too little, and too often too late. I have my charities and I am spending time trying my hardest to let you know that God, whom I know intimately, is doing the same. Is it better for you, or for all the hundreds (of the 7.6 billion) people on this “Death Valley” like planet who you so graciously assist in donating moneys you did not earn (while responsibly keeping back enough so that you and yours randomly survive), to have lived with the responsibility to awareness, influence, compassion, empathy, sorrow, grief and forgiveness, all valuable aspects of love (for as long as it took you to be able to communicate your despise of a God you do not know on a cyber platform you alone could not build) ….. or to never have lived, loved and been loved at all?

    Your meager credentials, presented here as confronting your concern for the suffering of others, are pitifully small compared to what I “do” every day. If you just comfortably gave to the March of Dimes regularly you would be giving to hundreds of charities. As a retired person (meaning I receive no money) I volunteer a minimum of 60 hours a week spent assisting the suffering and/or preparing to assist the suffering. Writing to you is in addition to that time spent. I personally have lost count of the numbers (and I can count beyond a few thousand) of my own species who I have, one with one, supported through their suffering, all too often through the end of their awareness and influence.

    I have no clue why you would say either God or I have no empathy. You clearly have no idea what a sacrifice it is to suffer on your own cross that others might suffer less.

    We live in a world that is socially over populated because of the fertility of Man. That’s mankind’s responsibility (having their prided but gifted freedom, awareness, influence and ability substantially higher than all other species on earth) not God’s for all the suffering they could have avoided by simply moderating their propagation. I know you are unable to conceive of the numbers we are speaking to but it is estimated that at the 10,000 BC mark there were four million human beings hunting and foraging this earth. An equal percentage had to suffer do to the earth’s vagaries then but far less a percentage due to the vagaries of other human beings, as is so today on the same earth shared with the previously mentioned 7.6 million members of a very fragmented Man.

    So, what dent has your sacrifices made in ending the struggles of Man? Are you aware that only by tearing the physical tissues of your physical body do you get stronger? Are you aware that only through bruising and scarring struggles, most considered a degree of suffering, does your physical body grow, otherwise it will atrophy and go back to the earth, from which its elements came, from lack of use? Just how many parts, cells and members of your body are sacrificed that it may survive longer?

    I am not a religious person because religion is based on “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power”. I am very much a relatively highly educated and experienced realist who is testifying to you today that I do have a relationship with and in They who you call God. God is not human, super or not, and is no more responsible to the controlling of reality than you are. The metaphoric “image” of God is in all reality spirit, that mankind was gifted, and are now, as one, responsible to. You sense spirit but have grown to disdain spirit based on your once “belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power”. I have a disdain, a hate, for “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power” that I was raised to participate in. That necessary hate is addressed in Luke 14:26, over 1,900 years ago. Google it!

    I’m sure it is in the interest of time but, you aren’t going to score any points here, toward solving “good versus evil”, if your only effort is seeking out to attack God’s will, through Their children, and regularly giving to about 12 charities.

    I am happy, relative to natural disasters (none of God’s design) or disease (also, not of God’s design), that “none of that has ever happened to” you. You, being aware that you were spared to be stronger than those that such did happened to, are responsible to do what the victims can not afford to do, if you care about Man as one body, one entity. I am a Vietnam vet and know, fully empathetic, the seemingly overwhelming responsibility I have to take the opportunities to get real, founded on what didn’t happen to me and did to 50 thousand + of my fellow comrades in arms from whom all opportunities were forever taken. We, mankind, lose more of our own to our wars, our fault famines, our neglect and our not abiding by the sum of the law (Matthew 7:12) than we do from all the pestilence and “natural disasters” that you attribute to God’s doing.

    Consider this from a very aware and most influential one of us, who we are not certain whether he was religious, a child of God, an agnostic or an atheist:

    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? “To suffer” means “to do nothing,” which is what the man of virtue was supposed to do when seized by the lust for revenge.

    I would really be beneficial for you, yours and all of us if you would confront God directly with all your frenzied venom than Their children. I will be glad to support you in confronting the religious, who have no concept of relationship, with and in God, directly, who probably have no less a concept of God than you have. As it stands today, you have way too an insufficient knowledge of God, or I, to judge our empathy. We will support you, yours and all of Man as much as you, yours and all of Man allow us. We empathize with and for all who are lost and all who remain to feel that loss.

    You are loved and will realize that love as much as you allow yourself to realize that love.

  • WayneMan

    And the tap dancing continues. Your view of your imaginary God and reality simply do not match, and yet you will continue to tap dance. You excuse a God that has no empathy (remember Noah’s flood where he murdered virtually every man woman child and kitty cat on the planet), rather than face the reality that there likely is no God, or if so he is a sadistic evil entity.

  • Herm

    Wayne, you repeat yourself. I have no need to excuse God for anything. Perhaps, you confuse this with having to excuse the carnal family you knew as yours for their evil sadism. You surely confuse the tip tap you sense knocking at your heart and mind that the relationship I testify to you about my actually being with and in God is real. This you imply this by saying, “rather than face the reality that there likely is no God“. You don’t know, do you? I know God.

    I will always stand up for the fact that my family, carnal or spirit, who I know from within, as their child, really does exist and they do the best they can given what they have to work with. Ignorant, insecure bullies, such as you emulate today, have been around since the beginning, within mankind, calling other families than their own, who they admit that they have no inside relationship with, to question their character, or even existence, with childish, crude, vulgar and demeaning names just to incite an unnecessary battle in order to increase their sense of self worth and empowerment.

    You mistake a sincere attempt, on my part by my taking valuable time to set the record straight with you, as tap dancing. The following is an effort to keep you from misconstruing why anyone would take the time out of their day for you.

    You don’t know God. You are not in Their family. I know God. I am a little infant child in Their family.

    You say that you do not believe God exists, and if They do then They are the source of all that is sadistic and evil and are therefore summarily dismissed from your respect, and your concern, except to chastise Their children. You proselytize from the ranks of God’s children to convert and win disciples for your cause.

    Just by the way, all that is written in the Bible is not the inerrant truth of or by God. There is enough within the Bible to know where to find the truth of God and all there is to know, as we can bear, and can be tested in your own life of awareness and influence.

    If you have nothing more to say, than what you have already said, it would serve both of us most for you to go find more material that supports your cause before continuing. I have not been repeating anything when refuting the little that you offer as evidence to support your premise. I don’t need to.

    Go in peace.

  • WayneMan

    It’s called logic and common sense. You call making excuses for the inexcusable setting the record straight. I call it tap dancing. A loving God scenario matched against our actual reality simply does not fit.

  • Herm

    You won’t go in peace, will you? What do you know, really know, that doesn’t fit with actual reality, and I don’t mean your exceedingly limited reality? How much of the carnal macrocosm do you really know, right up to and past its furthest boundary? How much of the carnal microcosm do you really know, like what’s beyond a quark?

    Who is Man, any of Man, to talk of what makes a loving scenario?

    I’ve made no excuses for God, for you or for Man. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the results from exalted judgments founded on ignorance, rather than knowledge, remains destructively the same. Where’s your proof of authority that flaunts such infantile logic and common sense as your only evidence?

  • WayneMan

    It is just logic. A loving omnipotent God simply does not fit reality. It is really just that simple.

  • Ezekiel Graves

    John Piper probably isn’t even saved. Calvinism is a joke.

  • Bones

    Yeah you got it….

    It took the Disciples to see the living Jesus with their own eyes before they believed…..

  • Herm

    Strange thing for religious Christians is that the Son of Man/Son of God never said once, and doesn’t say now, that God has unlimited power; able to do anything. Can God change your heart and/or mind?

  • WayneMan

    Just digest what you said for a minute. This God allegedly created the cosmos, billions of trillions of stars and 10’s of billions of trillions of planets spread out over billions of light years, plus us humans and 10’s of millions of other species, and they are not omnipotent. Really? So your God does have limits. Wow. Maybe David Blaine could have done it, since it apparently takes nothing special and magic is limited.

  • Herm

    Did your common sense and logic tell you for certain that your father and mother had limits when you were 2 years old? God has no beginning and no end, just how long does it take to learn how to plant a cosmos garden and let it grow. How much can your logic and common sense bear? Why can’t you understand that God is along for the ride of eternity not knowing exactly what’s around the next bend in time?

    While you’re trying to make God fit inside your logic and common sense; consider, if you could do anything you wanted, at any time, and knew all there is to know, have done all there is to do, wouldn’t eternity be a living hell with never anything new and no way to stop life, for you’re immortal? … or if you can do anything and you choose to end your life? … were you ever really immortal?

    Even with the numbers you cannot compute and your inability to know each and everything carnal in our universe, our universe is finite. Compared to your knowledge, experience, education, common sense, and logic it is easy to see why you would attribute them the status of omnipotent, but They aren’t and never said They were. They are subject to the same law that is summed up in Matthew 7:12. Why would they not be, as are you?

    Eternity and infinity exist. They are not magic and they were not created by God. Does that make the potential of God’s relationship of no value to you? Did your parents’ mortality, imperfections and limited power make their relationship of protection, support, nurture and love of no value to you?

    If God truly does not exist, in your heart and mind, why does it matter to you that my Father in heaven and my Lord with all authority in heaven and on earth has limits? Your logic and common sense is much too limited to judge the limitations of God. God’s logic and common sense is infinitely greater than 16 billion years more experienced and tested than yours, and yet, They offer you a ride through the remainder of eternity learning and adventuring with and in them bound in all reciprocal love. Kinda’ big of Them, wouldn’t you say?

  • WayneMan

    OMG, aren’t your legs tired from that tap dancing. You just have one excuse after another. If you have to keep excusing or “explaining” your Gods behavior all the time, that might be a clue that your God is a fantasy, or is an evil entity.

  • Herm

    Oh Your What? I was wrong, children often are in their formative years, you are not capable.

  • Dean

    What I’ve never understood about Christianity and maybe this is a critique on religion in general, is this idea that “doubt” is something that can be extinguished by the will. I think you can certainly ignore it, but doubt is simply not being totally convinced of the fact of something based on the evidence that has been presented to you. This is where the new atheists really come in to help sharpen a lot of ideas that religious folk have and it would behoove us to listen to them and listen closely. Matt Dillahunty consistently says that as an atheist, he is simply unconvinced that God exists. His detractors then try to force him into providing evidence for the lack of the existence of God and he always responds with “I don’t have to”. And then the Christian apologists invariably becomes apoplectic and proclaims that Dillahunty can’t prove atheism. I’m constantly perplexed by this response, you can’t force someone to believe in God and you can’t force people to be Christian or to follow Jesus. The default is to not believe in anything and just live your life, the only folks trying to get you to prove this or that are the Christians.

    Bottom line is people doubt because they are unconvinced, and frankly, the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s indifference. When you doubt something, it means you still care, otherwise, you wouldn’t even be listening, you would be rushing to cross the street to walk on the other sidewalk. End of the day, everyone doubts, including Greg Morse, including the great John Piper, probably even John Calvin, although when you murder people on the basis of wrong theology, maybe you really are a true believer, although I’m not sure we want Calvinists thinking that is ultimately how you get street cred.

  • brassyhub

    I’m a Calvinist, and proud to be one. And seriously strong on doubt. For me, faith is about believing still when I’m far from certain. Certainties close us off from others who do not share our certainties, and shut us off from new learning and new experiences. Thomas doubted, but he’s still counted as a saint. I have far more problems with those who know than with those who are still searching!

  • Daniel Fisher

    “It’s hard writing words you suspect will be misunderstood.”

    Given Dr. Corey’s response to the article, the author’s concern was not misplaced.

    Dr. Corey wishes that Calvinists, such as this article’s author, might show mercy to those who doubt. perhaps he might wish the author had used such language as, “My heart goes out to struggling saints who are prone to find fresh reasons to feel discouraged. I do not wish to harm them….. Jesus doesn’t break bruised reeds, nor quench faintly burning wicks….When doubt comes — and come it will — whispering that God isn’t true, the Bible isn’t reliable, and Jesus’s blood isn’t enough, do not make peace with such lies. Do not embrace them. Do not boast about them. Instead, confess them and cling more tightly to the Savior, crying, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’”

  • apoxbeonyou

    “God isn’t true, the Bible isn’t reliable, and Jesus’s blood isn’t enough”

    Lies. Never have more deceitful words been written. This is such a loaded sentence of BS, I don’t know where to start. So much crappy theology packed into one phrase. I feel dirty having read it…

  • rationalobservations?

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

    All gods, goddesses and god-men/messiahs remain undetectable and undetected – including yours.

    The historically best recorded “christ/messiah” is probably Simon bar Kochbah (aka Simon ben Cosiba) who is mentioned in too many texts to list and left his “messiah” coins as tangible evidence of his existence and short lived status as “the messiah”.

    There appears to be nothing unique or original within the Urban Myths at the root Judaeo/christian religion – but be assured that the rapidly growing and third largest “religious” cohort (the non-religious) treat all the thousands of apparently imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men/”messiahs” with exactly equal skepticism.

    Many christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their (originally Canaanite) god, “Jehovah/Yahweh” and their (Roman) god-man/”messiah” “Yeshua/Jesus”, but they shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the same gods that atheists deny and for the same reasons religionists of one brand or business deny the gods of all other religious brands and businesses. Atheists just deny one more ridiculously unconvincing god and one more mythical god-man (among many hundreds of thousands of very similar undetected and undetectable totally imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men) than Christians.

    Some fail to justify their enthrallment to their specific brand of religion by pointing out that the non-existence of any of the gods cannot be proved. If inability to prove the non-existence of deities is enough for some to believe in them., they must be very busy worshipping Amun-Ra, Apollo/Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis.and Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. and Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration – and many thousands of other undetectable hypothetical entities among which “Yahweh” and “Jesus” remain merely mythical and of which no one ever provides proof or reason of (or for) existence and therefore non-existence may be assumed by default.

    Atheists don’t exclusively dismiss the probability existence of christian’s hypothetical, imaginary and undetectable Canaanite “god” and Roman “god-man”, they dismiss the probability of all the many thousands of gods, goddesses and god-men/messiahs for the same reasons religionists of one cult dismiss the gods of all other cults – but atheists merely include the particular mythical Canaanite deity and legendary Roman god-man of the remaining – but in the developed world – rapidly dwindling – christian cults and sects.

    The existence of the oldest/first xtian bible (Codex Sinaiticus) that was written by a small team of scribes in the late 4th century proves that all bibles then, and the significantly different bibles written since then, are the work of men, not the work of any of the “gods”.

    Consider that you could be merely fooled and deluded by just one of many corrupt and exclusively self serving businesses of religion and that the rapid and ongoing decline in religion has brought education, peace and free secular democracy to the most advanced civilisations in the world today.

    Hitch once wrote that: “Religion poisons everything”. Education and free secular democracy has already proved, and is proving; to be the antidote to that poison.

    Below is an image of one of many Kochbah coins that shows Simon “christ” under the messianic star outside the temple. Contemplate why no such similar evidence (or in fact NO historical evidence at all) of the existence of “Jesus” can be discovered?

    http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.200×0-is-pid39347.jpg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=hcPiUGGd25s

    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/1051.jpg

  • Realist1234

    I would suggest some of the people that God has used most powerfully suffered from doubt. For example Moses. If he was so trusting and full of belief, why did he try to ignore God’s initial call by using the excuse of his poor speech (he seems to have been a rather shy character, despite Cecil B DeMille’s ‘The Ten Commandments)? If he was 100% trusting in God, he would have assumed God would enable him to speak, thus relinquishing his fear. And remember this was when God spoke to him directly from a burning bush! I dont know about you but I havent seen many of those recently.

    Some doubt is inevitable. It is not God who makes us feel condemned when we have such thoughts or feelings. That comes from the other place. Piper should know better.

    Ben, you actually strike me as someone who has great faith – the one who cries out to his Father. That is faith. Did Jesus not do the same? I might strongly disagree with you on some of your views, but you are a child of God, loved by the Father, of immeasurable worth to the Lord and one of His friends, and indwelt by His Spirit who enables you to call the God of the universe, ‘Daddy’.

  • Realist1234

    Check out http://www.historyforatheists.com and search for ‘Jesus’.

  • Realist1234

    I think that’s rather unfair. Im assuming you believe you are.

  • Bones

    And there are times when your beliefs are just flat out wrong…..

    Scary…that….

    Well it is if you’re into a god who judges people on their cognitive understanding of the divine.

  • rationalobservations?

    Why do you link to a pathetic opinion article that recycles the history of the 4th century founded Roman business of religion they called “christianity” but has not one single item of supporting historical evidence that originates from within the 1st century?

    I am all too familiar with the hype and opinions of the indoctrinated and equally certain that there is no historical evidence supporting that hype and those opinions.

    Please save your time by not repeating garbage and linking to evidence devoid opinions.

    If there was evidence we would all know about it and there would no longer be any requirement for blind faith in stories authored by men that are unsupported by historical evidence.

    Even the oldest/first 4th century founded Roman institution and business of the christian religion recognises there is NO EVIDENCE.

    “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).

  • Bones

    ‘The opposite of faith is not doubt: It is certainty. It is madness. You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do.”

    Sounds familiar.

  • arcseconds

    There does seem to be an idea emerging among people who study such things that openly defying and negating people you don’t agree with isn’t pragmatically a good way of getting them to agree with you, and the suggestion is that you’re better off making positive statements and constructing an alternative narrative than undermining someone else’s…

    I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if you’re pro-uncertainty and doubt, though, like a good Phyrronian sceptic! Besides, defying and undermining dogma is so much fun…

  • Bones

    Apart from gays, abortionists and leftists.

    “You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do.””

  • Then I think you just ask difficult questions and see what effect that has. Seemed to work out ok for some philosophical gadfly a while back.

  • Realist1234

    ‘I am all too familiar with the hype and opinions of the indoctrinated ‘

    – you can hardly claim the author of ‘historyforatheists’ which I linked to has been ‘indoctrinated’. He’s an atheist, so Im not sure who has indoctrinated him!

    ‘”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”‘

    – many, many scholars, even the more sceptical ones would strongly disagree with that statement. I understand The Catholic Encyclopedia that you quote was written between 1907 and 1913. If so, then its writers were simply unaware of the discoveries of further papyri in future years. Even scholars who previously dated the Gospels late, such as AT Robinson, changed their minds. We now have a fragments of copies of the New Testament on papyrus dating from AD 120/30 to AD 750, with a significant number from the 3rd century. Pl see here for a decent summary:

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

    This papyri and the attestation of the early church fathers’ writings, going back to the early 2nd century, confirms the writings of the New Testament, including the Gospels.

    But I suspect nothing will convince you.

  • rationalobservations?

    The unsupported OPINION of the author of hirtoryforatheists has no more value than yours without supporting authentic and verifiable EVIDENCE.

    You suspect that nothing will convince me but you are so very wrong. I was a believer before the confusion and contradictions within the several versions of bibles I studied made me curious to seek the oldest/first/original for some possible authenticity. It was the utter, total and complete absence of evidence that finally convinced me that the whole “Jesus” scam originated in the 4th century along with the oldest 4th century fabricated christian bibles.

    Like most skeptical agnostic atheists – evidence alone could make me revise the conclusions that have resulted from decades of research.

    Incidentally – thanks for linking to that wiki page. It confirms the absolute fact that there is not a single shred of 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.
    I have personally studied many of the papyri listed including P52 which was once claimed to date from the 2nd century and is claimed to be the oldest fragment of “Jesus” propaganda and hype.

    P52 is in fact a tiny scrap of semi-literate scrawl with a few words that includes the word “Jesus”. It is meaningless as evidence of anything but a primitive legend circulating at the time in which is was scrawled. It is the subject of some scientific and forensic controversy and has been re-dated (along with all the other so called “early fragments”) to origination no earlier than the 3rd century.

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

    Now stop humiliating yourself and present this previously undiscovered 1st century originated evidence you claim exists – or accept that there is none…

    Papyrus P52 image below:

    http://www.lavia.org/english/archivo/grafica/P52_EN.jpg

  • arcseconds

    Paul was definitely writing in the first century. The Gospels are normally dated by mainstream scholars to the first century too, although John may be early 2nd century.

    (I don’t take 100-year-old Catholic encylcopaedias to be authoritative for dating anything, and I’m quite surprised that you do?)

    Josephus and Tacitus were both writing in the 1st century, although the Annals are admittedly early 2nd century too. But I don’t think a couple of decades makes a lot of difference, given Tacitus lived through most of the 1st century, and at any rate it’s definitely much earlier than the 4th century.

    It sounds like you want manuscripts from the 1st century, though? This seems like a rather strange requirement, so I thought I’d double-check before discussing this further.

  • You know, it’s not just Calvinist who insist upon absolute certitude. The concept that God’s providence controls everything, therefore we need not doubt His “plans,” goes quite a way back. While I think this certitude in divine providence is especially true of Calvinists, it is part and parcel of evangelicalism as a whole. It not only applies to the insistence on an inerrant original text, and therefore dogmatic certitude in knowing what the Bible means, but often laps over onto discernment of God’s working in natural events, political events and history.

    Case in point. While European theologians and political pundits of the day could scratch their heads about our civil war over slavery, none claimed to “know” God’s will or direction in the conflict. Yet, almost to a man, American evangelicals, on both sides of the struggle, knew pretty much exactly what God was doing. They were certain of it. God was on their side.

    Flash forward to our present American culture wars, and a similar theme presents itself. Most White evangelicals “know” with complete confidence that Trump is God’s man for the hour, while “crooked Hillary” and President Obama before were not. It is interesting that so many evangelicals can claim certainty, without a doubt about the outcome of an election, about God’s providential design for America, yet fall back on mystery when questions are raised about things like slavery, ownership of women, violence in the Bible, etc.. “We’ll just have to ask Jesus when we get to heaven.” “His ways are not our ways, yada, yada.”

    And then we have natural disasters. Obviously caused by the Gay Rights movement, or the removal of prayer in schools, or bakers having to cater Gay weddings…how about it’s simply a natural disaster? You see, for many evangelicals the thought that God is somehow “in control” is comforting. How that can be twisted into divine providence, for example, in something like the holocaust is beyond me. Personally, I’d rather think God had nothing to do with the holocaust and man had everything to do with it.

  • rationalobservations?

    “Paul was definitely writing in the first century.”
    There is no evidence supporting that often repeated lie. There is not one single letter that mentions even any actual Hebrew name that could be the basis for the otherwise meaningless word “Jesus” coined by the men who wrote the prototype “Jesus” legends centuries after the time in which they are merely back dated to and in which those legends are merely set.

    I don’t take anything written by men as being authoritative or factual without actually researching the evidence for myself. I have spent decades searchingg for evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and there is NONE.

    Josephus and Tacitus both appear to have been actual historical people. Not one word written by them exists and the “copies” of their works written by anonymous scribes centuries after their deaths contain some very amateurish interpolations that have been dismissed as forgeries since the 18th century or before.

    It’s not that I have searched for and found no “manuscripts”, papyri or other written texts that reference “Jesus” and originate from within the 1st or 2nd centuries. There is nothing but historical silence concerning the existence and fantastical and newsworthy exploits of “Jesus” at all.
    No original and authentic letter mentions “Jesus”.
    No Hebrew, Roman, Greek or Aramaic scribe, historian, chronicler, philosopher, poet or politician mentions “Jesus”.
    No inscription or graffito includes a reference to Jesus.

    You possibly suspect that nothing will convince me but you are so very wrong. I was a believer as a child before the confusion and contradictions within the several versions of bibles I studied made me curious to seek the oldest/first/original for some possible authenticity. It was the utter, total and complete absence of evidence that finally convinced me that the whole “Jesus” scam originated in the 4th century along with the oldest 4th century fabricated christian bibles.

    Like most skeptical agnostic atheists – evidence alone could make me revise the conclusions that have resulted from decades of research.

    If you search for extant 1st century originated evidence of Jesus the results confirm the absolute fact that there is not a single shred of 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

    I have personally studied many of the papyri listed including P52 which was once claimed to date from the 2nd century and is claimed to be the oldest fragment of “Jesus” propaganda and hype.

    P52 is in fact a tiny scrap of semi-literate scrawl with a few words that includes the word “Jesus”. It is meaningless as evidence of anything but a primitive legend circulating at the time in which is was scrawled. It is the subject of some scientific and forensic controversy and has been re-dated (along with all the other so called “early fragments”) to origination no earlier than the 3rd century.

    https://vridar.org/2013/03/

    You should realise that I KNOW the myths, legends and propaganda and you cannot pass that garbage off as “evidence”.
    Now stop humiliating yourself and present this previously undiscovered 1st century originated evidence you claim exists – or accept that there is none…

    Papyrus P52 image below:

    http://www.lavia.org/english/archivo/grafica/P52_EN.jpg

  • arcseconds

    So, your view is that the letters of Paul are forgeries, then?

    That is a positive claim in and of itself, so what is your evidence for it?

    When would you date them to, and why?

    Also, why do you consider contemporary manuscripts so important? I’ve already asked this question and you haven’t answered it.

    Frankly, it does seem you are determined to dismiss the evidence. The reason why you think there is no 1st century mention of Jesus is not that there isn’t any such mention, but that you have decided to entirely reject mainstream dating of these texts and instead embrace a conspiracy theory.

  • rationalobservations?

    There are no authentic and original extant letters of Paul so who knows who wrote all the hundreds of diverse and different versions of letters that are merely attributed to Paul and from what they drew their inspiration or from who they got their directions?

    I make no claims but merely point out that there is no evidence supporting your claims or the claims of your religion.

    I do not “consider contemporary manuscripts so important”. I merely rebut the importance you fail to attribute to the diverse and different legends written centuries after the time in which those legends are set and point out that there is not only no authentic and original documented evidence of the existence of “Jesus” but no evidence of any kind.

    I do not dismiss evidence. I seek evidence but as you demonstrate and confirm – none exists…

  • arcseconds

    Have you looked to see what the dates of manuscripts of other ancient works are?

    Also, what do you think my religion is, and why do you think that?

  • rationalobservations?

    “Have I looked to see what the dates of manuscripts of other ancient works are?
    Yes. That is only one small item of consideration when weighing the probability of the existence of the person to whom manuscripts, papyri or other written texts are attributed. It is irrelevant to the fact that there is no historical evidence of any kind that supports the existence of “Jesus” or any of the centuries later divers and different legends of “Jesus”.

    I can understand why most religionists are bamboozled by texts written centuries after the time in which the tales they contain are dated. That is all that exists and nothing tangible supports the historicity of those diverse and very different, confused and internally contradictory texts while everything mitigates against their authenticity.

    I honestly couldn’t care less to learn the detail of what you believe since you offer nothing that validates, justifies or excuses any religion based beliefs.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • apoxbeonyou

    The final straw that removed me as an Evangelical was realizing that God is not in control, at least as far as I had been taught. Like most Evangelicals, I was taught that if you pray enough, and you don’t have hidden sins, and you tithe, and you go to church, and you don’t cuss, drink or smoke, and you don’t hang out with the ‘wrong crowd’, and you ONLY listen to Christian music, then God will bless you. You basically earn presents like with Santa Claus.

    Fast forward to my mid-twenties. I married a conservative Christian (I felt my lofty theological ideas needed a little grounding), but she is from the middle east (their conservative is a little different). She believed most of what I spelled out above, but include fasting. We were having trouble having children, so she and I, and most of her family, FASTED for days and prayed and did all the evangelical things we were supposed to. Then we found out I am sterile. Like, no chance in heaven (or hell) we are having kids. So then we prayed for years for a miracle. Nothing. Then, her mother was convinced that I had a ‘hidden sin’ that was making God punish me. By that point we had come to realize God cannot be like the ‘claw prize’ machine where if you manipulate the controls just right you MIGHT get the prize you want.

    Anyway, I’m still trying to reconstruct my faith but I do feel more clarity and freedom to learn new things about God once my ‘certainty’ about what he/she/it is has been broken.

  • arcseconds

    So, do you think Caesar’s commentaries are quite possibly forgeries too, given there’s 900 years between the purported events in them and the earliest manuscripts? This is quite a lot longer than we have for Paul, for whom we have some mansucripts from the 2nd century (so, one century, not centuries).

    If it’s a problem in Paul’s case, surely it must be an even greater problem with Caesar’s works, and if we had this concern consistently it would seem that most of ancient history is dubious.

    Academic historians aren’t particularly troubled by late manuscripts. Are they bamboozled by texts written centuries after the time when the tales that they are contained in are dated?

    So, apparently you don’t have any evidence of my religious beliefs, or even whether I have any. And yet you continue to suppose I’m advancing some kind of religious agenda! Your scepticism and concern for evidence seems to be very selective at best.

    We have been over this ground before when in a discussion about a poor answer to a test question about the big bang you randomly decided to press me for proofs of the existence of the existence of yhwh. Then, as now, you had no evidence that I even believed in such a thing.

  • Thanks for sharing. So sorry about your experience with not having children. We’ve had our own heartache in that area. American Christianity has a rather odd way describing God’s “providence.” Basically it involves praying fervently for God’s “will,” which usually mirrors our own will, then taking whatever comes as His “answer.” Rather fatalistic IMO. According to Christ, the Father has sent us the Holy Spirit, as comforter and guide. Frankly, rather than pleading with God, asking him to magically open the right door, I think it’s more reasonable to ask the Holy Spirit to nudge us when we aren’t quite Christlike, to remind us daily to share the Love of God, to think about ways to expand the Kingdom, etc.. If we are mindful of living a life in that fashion we are “doing the will of the Father.” It is not a matter of cajoling God, trying to pry an answer or a healing out of him. For me, living out that kind life, the aeon kind of life, is God’s providence in action.

    Over the last 6 years I have been deconstructing, and slowly reconstructing. I agree, it is freeing and brings about more clarity once free of the evangelical bubble. BTW, fasting can be a number of things besides not eating. I am attempting to “fast” my Sundays by minimizing my use of “devices.” No Facebook, or video games. Just time with the wife, theological contemplation, prayer and church attendance. Prayer and fasting is for our benefit, not God’s. It can help sharpen our focus as long as it doesn’t become an end in and of itself.

  • rationalobservations?

    Your pathetic straw man burns.
    The diverse and different historical evidence of the existence of the several Roman emperors who called themselves “Caesar” is irrelevant to the absolute fact that no historical evidence whatsoever exists of the existence of “Jesus”.

    Where are these authentic and original 2nd century “manuscripts” attributed to Paul conserved and available for study? I know that no such items exist and you are therefore revealed once again as a liar or at best – the recycler of lies.

    Your condition of dishonesty and denial is once again all that you demonstrate and confirm. Shame on you.

  • apoxbeonyou

    I do see that prayer is for our benefit. I would actually say that ‘secular’ meditation has the same benefits. My brother, also Christian, started practicing TM (he took the course) and is a fervent believer in the power of prayer/meditation. He feels more focused, rested, and happy. I have ADHD, so it’s hard for me to be focused for more than 5 minutes at a time unless it’s something I *really* enjoy (video games).

  • arcseconds

    e.g. Papyrus 46. OK, so maybe it’s early 3rd century:

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

    How can you have missed this? I thought you’d studied the matter in depth, I found this in 5 minutes of googling.

    Anyway, you don’t seem to have understood the question.

    I am not asking about Caesar’s existence, I am asking whether you reject the manuscripts attributed to him as having a hopeless provenance and therefore worthless, as you do those attributed to Paul.

    This is not a dishonest question, or a straw man, I am simply asking how your radical new approach to manucript evidence works with other manuscript traditions.

    We can’t have a discussion about the historical existence of Jesus unless we are clear on your historical methodology, otherwise it just turns into “there is so 1st century proof!” “there is not!”.

    I really think you need to do some self-reflection about this. I mean, you call yourself rationalobservations, but you seem to be incapable of actually discussing your own reasoning in an objective manner. Your posts are full with invective about religion, you prefer to attack my supposed religion than to answer my questions, and I carry my questioning on for a couple of posts and I get barraged with insults.

    It’s pretty clear to me and doubtless to anyone else still reading that you feel extremely strongly about this topic, even if that’s not clear to you, and you don’t seem to be able to think or discurse clearly on what the evidence actually is.

    Also, you should consider what evidence you actually have for my religious views. Because as far as I can see you have none, but despite suggesting this to you you continue with your assertions. This is not the behaviour of someone who cares about evidence and observations. If you can’t get small matters like attributing views to people you actually interact with in an evidenced way, then that bodes ill for your theories on great matters.

    Anyway, have a think about it. I think the discussion is over for now, as you’re not going to be receptive to anything I say while you’re all upset and thinking I’m dishonest and shameful.

    You can find me on religionprof if you want to discuss this further.

  • Ah, a fellow gamer! I’m an RPG’r mostly, some FPS as well. Almost needed intervention to quit WoW (9 years), LOL.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Nice! I played WoW for a couple years, but LOTRO the longest (until it became mostly free). Now I play mostly SP (Skyrim, FO4) games and some MP FPS (B1, SWBF2). And the occasional Civ5 (superior to Civ6) and Witcher3 and MGPP.

  • I am a big fan of Bethesda. All the Fallout games, FO4 on my PS4, as well as Skyrim. Couldn’t play FPS because of vertigo for a long time, but have eased back in. still can’t play fast-paced squad type games due to vertigo (get nauseous and headache). I am best with slower paced games now in my old age :) Got burned out on MMPRPG’s like ESO, so much grinding. Would love a Civ game on PS4, if there was one. I have Aven Colony, but it’s only so-so. Getting hooked on 7 Days to Die on PS4 now. Just something about Zombies and the Apocalypse that’s so appealing. Love the look of the Metro 2033 series, but the controller issues make them both a chore to play. But, if they can fix the controller issues in the upcoming Metro: Exodus, I’m in! Take care.

  • Slavery is in the past and only raised to make liberals feel better about themselves as in “I would never have allowed that.”
    “White” evangelicals is a term only used by liberals who believe they are only white in color but in their hearts they are black (pun intended).
    Liberals are all in on abortion and gay marriage while dismissing the lessons of history; The holocaust is but a vivid example in our age because the lessons of Sodom are dismissed.

  • rationalobservations?

    You are challenged to present authentic and original, 1st century originated tangible extant historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and once again reference myths and legends written centuries after the time in which those myths and legends are merely set and to which those centuries later living authors merel back dated their fiction.

    I have missed NOTHING during the past 3 or more decades of diligent research during which I have followed up every single reference to “evidence” that turns out always to be merely human authored propaganda or fiction written centuries after the time in which it is set.

    How could you be so naive as to think that I have “missed” anything?

    How could you be so naive as to think that the entries in WiKi written by any ignoramus (as well as the scholarly and informed) could hold greater credibility that the product or personal first hand research?

    Your ducking and diving fails to divert from the absolute fact that there is not a single item of authentic and original, 1st century originated first hand historical evidencde of the existence of “Jesus” while there is an abundance of evidence of another “christ/messiah” named “Simon Bar Kochbah” (aka “Simon ben Cosiba”).

    Your indoctrinated delusions are your problem and you may be held deeply in thrall to the myths,legends and lies and even be an expert on one version of those myths, legends and lies., but the fact that you cannot present any historical evidence that supports those myths legends and lies meen that your claim to know of religion proof is a childish and transparent lie.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

    Below is an image of one of many Kochbah coins that shows Simon “christ” under the messianic star outside the temple. Contemplate why no such similar evidence (or in fact NO historical evidence at all) of the existence of “Jesus” can be discovered?

    http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.200×0-is-pid39347.jpg

    Here is a summary of the evolution of the “Jesus” legends and overview of the absence of historical substance to those legends:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=hcPiUGGd25s

  • While I have to scratch my head and wonder at most of your comments, Bob, your comment about liberals and their attitudes about slavery has some merit. It would be good to remember that while American liberals decried slavery as an evil institution in the 19th century, very few were interested in total equality for blacks, other than emancipation. There was no groundswell for equal pay, education or interracial marriage among white liberals after the North won the war. They simply resumed their lives and ignored the plight of the Negro in the south during the Jim Crow, reconstruction period. It would be another century before the evils of segregation would reach a boiling point, and then the fight against would be led by blacks themselves.

    In America, white privilege, coupled with American exceptionalism, has affected both conservative and liberal, so yes, I take your point. The rest of your comments, er…not so much.

  • apoxbeonyou

    I mainly play PC, so on my PS4 I only have ‘The Last of Us: Remastered’ and ‘Metal Gear: Phantom Pain’. The latter is what I play the most, but it can be brutally difficult.

  • rationalobservations?

    Still awaiting some evidence supported response from you, my friend.

    Here’s a little more information concerning the propaganda in Papyrus P46:

    P46 is an example of one of the earliest forms of the New Testament; the papyrus codex. While the canon of the New Testament was gradually being formed, different Christian writings were being copied and collected into volumes written on papyrus, such as this codex containing the Epistles of Paul. Only in the fourth century, with the acceptance of Christianity by Constantine, did the New Testament as we know it take form in a single volume. Papyrus was replaced by parchment, then by paper, as manuscripts grew more decorative and eventually gave way to printed books. Below is a simplified timeline showing how the form of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, has evolved over the past two thousand years. (For more on the evolution of the Bible, see the online exhibit, From Papyri to King James).

    “All books prior to the advent of printing were manuscripts which, as their name implies, were copied by hand. These books, usually penned by professional scribes or highly trained monks, were prone to errors made by the person copying the text. As a result, no two copies of the same book could be expected to contain exactly the same text. When modern editors wish to reconstruct a text as accurately as possible, it is often beneficial to consult the oldest manuscript available, on the presumption that the older the manuscript, the closer it is to the original text.

    Because P46 was discovered outside of its archaeological context (it was purchased from antiquities dealers in Egypt), there is no external evidence to help date the codex. Instead, scholars date this, like so many other papyri, using palaeography, the study of writing style. Since handwriting styles change steadily over time, it is possible to give a papyrus a rough date (accurate to within 50 years) by comparing its handwriting to that of other papyri. Using this method, scholars date P46 to the third century AD.

    While some may argue for a slightly earlier or later date, no one will dispute that P46 is significantly earlier than the Vatican and Sinaitic Codices (both dating to the fourth century), which had previously been the oldest authorities for the Pauline text. While P46 was copied more than a century after Paul originally wrote his Epistles, this codex is nevertheless the closest that modern scholars have been able to get to Paul’s “original”.”

    Ref: https://www.lib.umich.edu/reading/Paul/about.html

    Of course; without a single authentic and original text, letter, inscription or graffito that includes the word “Jesus” it is mere speculation that centuries later written texts have any basis in reality or history.

    I look forward to learning if you have anything further to add. Meanwhile here’s another reminder of the historical void and total historical silence regarding the legends of “Jesus”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=hcPiUGGd25s

  • arcseconds

    I am still waiting for you to justify your departure from standard historical practice by demanding contemporary manuscripts. No actual historian makes such a demand: the text itself, no matter when the manuscript is dated to, is regarded as evidence.

    You say you’re motivated by evidence, but you’ve adopted a standard that is absurdly high, for no reason I can see except for rejecting the available evidence. I’ve asked you several times to justify your approach here, and to consider what it means for ancient history outside of biblical studies, and you have not. I therefore assume that you don’t have any justification for it, and the most likely explanation for your adoption is ideological, seeing as you clearly cannot seperate a discussion about history from attacking religion.

    Until you are prepared to discuss your methodology, we are at an impasse, and there’s no sense in further discussion about the evidence. There is plenty of evidence by the usual standards of ancient history (including manuscripts which are much closer to the time than most of our textual evidence about the ancient world), but you’ve decided to raise the bar so high that none of that counts — but quite selectively, because you’re not prepared to apply the same standards for the rest of ancient history.

    If by ‘original’ you mean ‘penned by Paul himself’, then that’s not just absurdly high, but pretty much impossible, as the chances of such a thing being preserved is about nil.

    I doubt there are any known manuscripts actually penned by the author themselves, except for ephemeral letters mostly by non-famous people and such like preserved accidentally.

    Also, even if we mirabile dictu had such a thing, how could we prove it was written by Paul?

  • rationalobservations?

    It’s not just that no text exists that mention “Jesus” originated from with the first century but that NO TANGIBLE EVIDENCE of the xsitence and centuries later written exploits of Jesus has ever been discovered. Nothing!

    Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment.” From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But none of these believers in a non divine, non magical, entirely human and mortal man called a real Hebrew name that was much later “interpreted” as “Jesus” can offer a shred of evidence in support of that supposition.

    So what do the mainstream (and non-Christian) scholars say about all this? Surprisingly very little – of substance anyway. Only Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey have thoroughly attempted to prove Jesus’ historical existence in recent times. Their most decisive point? The Gospels can generally be trusted – after we ignore the many, many bits that are untrustworthy – because of the hypothetical (i.e. non-existent) sources behind them. Who produced these hypothetical sources? When? What did they say? Were they reliable? Were they intended to be accurate historical portrayals, enlightening allegories, or entertaining fictions?

    Ehrman and Casey can’t tell you – and neither can any New Testament scholar. Given the poor state of the existing sources, and the atrocious methods used by mainstream Biblical historians, the matter will likely never be resolved. In sum, there are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence – if not to think it outright improbable.

  • arcseconds

    My questions are the same about tangible evidence:
    Who do we have tangible evidence for?
    What happens if we demand tangible evidence for other people who are believed to have lived in ancient times?
    Why do you depart from standard historical methodology – which does not demand tangible evidence, but rather is satisfied with textual evidence?

    You keep saying there’s no evidence. We have been over this, so I don’t know why you repeat yourself. There is evidence, you have chosen to depart from normal historical practice and methodologically exclude it, and you have no justification as to why. Apparently you don’t have reasons for your methodology, does this not worry you at all?

    As to biblical scholars not spending time proving the existence of Jesus, why would they? Historians don’t spend time proving the existence of Socrates or Zeuxis or Archytas, to name just three ancient people who have no extant works nor tangible evidence, and are only known about through texts written after their death, which only exist in manuscripts dated a long time afterwards.

    The only reason to write books about the existence of Jesus is to inform laypeople who may become confused about the matter — and the only reason why they are confused is because a small group of amateurs (plus a completely tiny group of professionals) have dedicated themselves to promoting what amounts to a conspiracy theory on the subject. So about the same reason as a WWII historian would spend time proving the holocaust happened, or a spaceflight historian would spend time proving the moon landing happened, or an evolutionary biologist would spend proving evolution happens. Such works contribute virtually nothing to advance the subject matter, as they are just summaries of what the experts already know.

    As an example of a hypothetical source, there is Q. Matthew and Luke clearly draw on Mark as a source, but they also have material in common which is not in Mark. Thinking they had a source in common is a reasonable way of explaining this, is it not? It’s surely not credible that they came up with the same material phrased in similar ways entirely by chance. The contents of Q would be the common material that Matthew and Luke have that doesn’t derive from Mark.

    (I’m far from certain that you actually aim to have a serious discussion about this matter, but, y’know, hope springs eternal, and all that)

  • Bones

    ” and the only reason why they are confused is because a small group of amateurs (plus a completely tiny group of professionals) have dedicated themselves to promoting what amounts to a conspiracy theory on the subject.”

    Comparing modern biblical, contextual and historical study of the life of Jesus and the context of the gospels with holocaust revisionism is incredibly dishonest, deceitful and a disgrace.

  • Bones

    Lol this is so true.

    Calvinists confuse God with Megatron

    The next to last line is magic: “This teaching will last forever especially on internet message boards where five-point Calvinist grad students will fire off condescending 4000-word responses to seventh grade Methodist girls who just wanted to to say how much they enjoyed their youth group lock-in.”

    But the last line is win: “I’m a Calvinist; I’m certain about everything. Except if Jesus died for me.”

    http://hackingchristianity.net/2011/06/calvinists-confuse-god-with-megatron.html

  • rationalobservations?

    You appear to now accept that there is no historical evidence of the existence oof “Jesus” and that may represent progress toward reason and truth although you attempt and fail to make excuses for the utter, total and complete absence of historical evidence that supports the existence and much later written confused and contradictory legends of a man named “Jesus”.

    You ask: “Who do we have tangible evidence for?”
    That list is a long one.
    Many Egyptian Pharaohs left their statues and their (often exaggerated and inaccurate) stories carved into the walls of their temples.
    Many of the “living god-men” Roman emperors have left similar statues and other tangible and extant evidence of their existence.

    Although there are no authentic and original texts written by Flavius Josephus (who was born after the time in which the legends of Jesus are set) and the unconvincing pathetic and uncharacteristic interpolated few lines that reference “Jesus” within copies of his apparent actual works – he lists in great detail the otherwise forgotten characters he really encountered in extensive and boring detail.
    The clincher (for you) may be the tangible evidence of another “messiah” named “Simon Bar Kosabah (aka Simon ben Cosiba). Unlike the apparentlly fictional “Jesus”, Simon “christ” is written about extensively in many diverse and different circles and it is recorded that he was actually named as being the “messiah” by Rabbis and his thousands of messianic cult followers.
    The tangible extant evidence of “Simon christ” can be discovered in the many commemorative messiah coins that remain in museums and private collections today.
    Here is the image of one Simon christ coin that shows Simon at the temple with the messianic star overhead. Contemplate why no such similar evidence (or in fact NO historical evidence at all) of the existence of “Jesus” can be discovered?:
    http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.200×0-is-pid39347.jpg

    Many other Simon Christ coins can be viewed here:
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bar+kokhba+coins&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiPku36yP_YAhVHNMAKHbBgA_8QsAQIMw&biw=1707&bih=796

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • rationalobservations?

    The mental gymnastics required to excuse the total, absolute and complete absence of historical evidence supporting the confused and contradictory legends of a god-man named “Jesus” are always dishonest, deceitful and a disgrace.

    http://theatheistpig.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/image.jpeg

  • rationalobservations?
  • arcseconds

    I am not comparing modern biblical and historical study of the life of Jesus and the context of the gospels, as practiced by professional scholars, to holocaust revisionism.

    I am comparing a movement conducted almost entirely by uneducated amateurs supposing that they can spot obvious flaws that elude everyone who has studied this formally for a lifetime, who pay scant regard to the normal methods of history, ignore the consensus of scholars and disparage their competence, and engage in motivated reasoning that is often quite poor, in order to promote a thesis which is clearly ideologically driven, with another such movement.

    One is more morally reprehensible than the other, but the overall phenomena are pretty similar.

  • arcseconds

    No, I didn’t agree there is no evidence. This is what I wrote, with some emphasis to help make it clear:

    You keep saying there’s no evidence. We have been over this, so I don’t know why you repeat yourself. There is evidence, you have chosen to depart from normal historical practice and methodologically exclude it, and you have no justification as to why. Apparently you don’t have reasons for your methodology, does this not worry you at all?

    I’m not sure how you get the idea that I’ve agreed there is no evidence out of that.

    OK, what evidence do we have for the existence of Socrates?

    Also, your charming memes about faith are useful insofar as it makes it clear to everyone else, if not to you, that you are unable to separate questions of history from questions of faith. However, apart from the insight into your mentality, it is irrelevant to the conversation, which is about history and historical evidence.

    My advice to you is to try to bracket your own beliefs about religion when assessing history.

    (I would give the same advice to a Christian apologist. )

    An easy first step would be to try to suppress the urge to post these memes, maybe you can work up to not seeing the whole matter as an excellent opportunity to undermine Christianity.

  • Bones

    I’m still not sure who you’re referring to.

    Would you say Richard Carrier is an uneducated amateur?

  • arcseconds

    Carrier is one of two mythicists that I know of that have an advanced degree in a related field from a respectable secular institution, the other being Robert Price.

    (This is not incompatible with ‘conducted almost entirely by uneducated amateurs’)

    However, it is a related field, not the correct one (or one of the correct ones), and his Ph.D. topic was not all that related. This might seem picky, but it does matter, as he would have had minimal exposure to the relevant texts and history during his training. It’s a bit like someone whose Ph.D. is in early modern economic thought commenting on the 30 years war, or something — they might have something interesting to say as to how it was percieved economically, but we should probably look at what military historians of the period have to say about it if that’s something we’re interested in.

    (Particularly if the historian of economics says things like ‘the 30 year war never happened and the military historians who say it did are all incompetent or crazy’)

    Also, he has left academia, having failed to get a job, and does not publish in mainstream journals. I don’t want to put too much stress on the former as there are plenty of good people with Ph.D.s who don’t make it in academia for whatever reason, but the fact is his work has not been recieved at all well.

    And he is, in fact, an uneducated amateur when it comes to Bayesian epistemology, which he has made a cornerstone of his argument.

    The other professional mythicists, however, all are uneducated amateurs without qualification: Atwill, Fitzgerald, Doherty, Acharya S. are the ones that spring to mind at the moment.

    This is to say nothing of the vast majority of mythicists, who are people like rationalobservations here, who have as far as I can tell no genuine attempt whatsoever to get to grips with the discipline, and haven’t thought through the consequences of their armchair assumptions about historical evidence.

    Carrier at least admits that you should follow the academic consensus unless there are powerful considerations in the other direction, and doesn’t think it’s immediately obvious to everyone with the slightest knowledge (and unimpeded by religious predjudice) that Jesus never existed (it requires a sophisticated argument, which he is providing), so that’s another way he differs from mythicists-on-the-street.

    (He also doesn’t think much of many other mythicists arguments)

  • Bones

    “Also, he has left academia, having failed to get a job, and does not publish in mainstream journals”

    “It should be mentioned that On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt got a book review in the December 2014 issue of Journal of Religious History.[5] An earlier version of this review states “As a result, this work far outdoes anything the typically-amateurish mythicists have produced to date, but is also methodologically superior to the work of more respected and mainstream historicist scholars. (…) On the Historicity of Jesus is clearly and convincingly argued, extensively researched, solidly referenced, and is essential reading for those open to questioning the historical Jesus, and to those who want to learn how historical theorising ought to be done.”

    Selected articles
    “Flash! Fox News Reports that Aliens May Have Built the Pyramids of Egypt!”. Skeptical Inquirer 23.5 (September–October 1999).
    “The Guarded Tomb of Jesus and Daniel in the Lion’s Den: An Argument for the Plausibility of Theft”. Journal of Higher Criticism 8.2 (Fall 2001).
    “Pseudohistory in Jerry Vardaman’s Magic Coins: The Nonsense of Micrographic Letters”. Skeptical Inquirer 26.2 (March–April 2002) and 26.4 (July–August 2002).
    “The Function of the Historian in Society”. The History Teacher 35.4 (August 2002).
    “Hitler’s Table Talk: Troubling Finds”. German Studies Review 26.3 (October 2003).
    “The Argument from Biogenesis: Probabilities Against a Natural Origin of Life”. Biology & Philosophy 19.5 (November 2004).
    “Whence Christianity? A Meta-Theory for the Origins of Christianity”. Journal of Higher Criticism 11.1 (Spring 2005).
    “Fatal Flaws in Michael Almeida’s Alleged ‘Defeat’ of Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil”. Philo 10.1 (Spring-Summer 2007).
    “On Defining Naturalism as a Worldview”. Free Inquiry 30.3 (April/May 2010).
    “Thallus and the Darkness at Christ’s Death”. Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 8 (2011-2012).
    “Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200”. Journal of Early Christian Studies 20.4 (Winter 2012).
    “The Prospect of a Christian Interpolation in Tacitus, Annals 15.44”. Vigiliae Christianae 68 (2014).

    Seems like you’re arguing against strawmen.

  • rationalobservations?

    If you do not agree there is no evidence of the existence of “Jesus” why can you not present a single item of actual, tangible historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”? Your inability to reference or present anything but the myths and legends written centuries after the time in which they are merely set is a tacit and overt demonstration that you are just one of the declining cohort of the deluded who believe merely because you have been indoctrinated with faith and have faith only because you have been indoctrinated and brainwashed to believe.

    You reference the confused and contradictory biblical legends of “Jesus” but those confused and contradictory legends are not supported by a single shred of actual historical evidence.

    You reference the fact that folk who have been indoctrinated with faith in the confused and contradictory biblical legends believe those legends are based in evidence supported fact – but none of the indoctrinated (including you) can ever present a single shred of actual, tangible authentic and original non biblical (non fictional) historical evidence of any description.

    As for evidence of the existence of Socrates?
    The primary evidence in this regard is the fact that multiple independent sources make reference to him in various ways. For example, the philosopher Xenophon of Athens was a student and admirer of Socrates, who dedicated himself to the preservation of Socrates’s wisdom.
    Specifically, in the Anabasis, Xenophon writes of asking Socrates for advice regarding his entrance into the service of Cyrus when he was a young man. Socrates is reported to have advised him to consult the oracle of Delphi, and later chastising Xenophon for the question he ultimately decided to ask (one that betrayed his mind had already been made up to go).

    Additionally, the Memorabilia—itself a collection of Socratic dialogues—is notable for containing Xenophon’s extended defense of his mentor. He argues that Socrates was innocent of the charges levied against him, and describes how Socrates benefitted not only his friends, but all Athenians.

    It has even been argued that Xenophon’s later exile from Athens was motivated (at least in part; his support for Athens’s rival Sparta at Coronea unquestionably had something to do with it as well) by his support for Socrates.

    Of course, some of Xenophon’s writings have come under scrutiny for their historical reliability, much as you’ve noted that Plato’s writings have. And ultimately, this debate is probably unresolvable. But it does seem quite unlikely that both Plato and Xenophon would make up the same figure and agree about many of the details of his life.

    Beyond the realm of philosophy, the playwright Aristophanes claimed to have known Socrates. His comedy, the Clouds, features Socrates as a character.

    However:
    Since no mass murders, holocausts, genocidal crusades and brutal inquisitions have been undertaken by followers of Socrates and no greedy, power mad, exclusively self serving politico-corporate businesses of religion have been founded in the name of Socrates – this further straw man of yours burns brightly.

    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/1051.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    You have yet to name any modern living accredited historian who has discovered evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

    Quote from the Washington Post:
    “Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn’t add up.”
    Full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/18/did-historical-jesus-exist-the-traditional-evidence-doesnt-hold-up/?utm_term=.f6b6b5d7c2bc

    Headline from The Big Think:
    “A Growing Number of Scholars Are Questioning the Historical Existence of Jesus. Today, several books approach the subject, including Zealot by Reza Aslan, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All by David Fitzgerald, and How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman. Historian Richard Carrier in his 600 page monograph: On the Historicity of Jesus, writes that the story may have derived from earlier semi-divine beings from Near East myth, who were murdered by demons in the celestial realm.”
    Full article here: http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/a-growing-number-of-scholars-are-questioning-the-existence-of-jesus

    Headline from the Independent newspaper:
    “Historians are questioning if Jesus ever existed at all.”
    Full article here: https://www.indy100.com/article/historians-are-questioning-if-jesus-ever-existed-at-all-7801396

    Many modern living scholars and historians have discovered there is no actual non-biblical evidence that supports any of the confused and contradictory “Jesus” myths and legends that were all written long, long after the time in which they are merely set.

    So rather than continually repeat empty claims and unsupported opinions, present actual evidence of the existence of Jesus or accept that those of us who shrugged off our childhood indoctrination and have searched for decades and found none are correct when we observe there is no evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.

  • rationalobservations?

    You reference “The Holocaust” but don’t reveal which one you are thinking about?
    Was it what Jews call the first holocaust that was perpetrated by christian crusaders on their way to the first of nine attempts at genocidal holocaust when they casually slaughtered over 20,000 Jews before they had even passed through what later became modern Germany?
    Or was it the 20th century christian crusade of the Third Reich and attempted genocidal holocaust that saw the mass murder of millions of Jews, Polish citizens and many others?

    You will need to answer the above and then you could clarify the reference to “Sodom”. Was that yet another attempt at genocide undertaken by bloodthirsty and barbaric christians?

  • I don’t need to clarify the word Holocaust; it has a plain and well understood current meaning.
    The hardly veiled reference to Sodom is its destruction for perverted sexual sins something Liberals trumpet as they did in those days.
    The Jews suffered the “Holocaust” for their repeated rejection of God and their suffering is not done yet is it?

  • rationalobservations?

    There should be no need to clarify the meaning of the word “holocaust”. My question was regarding which holocaust you were referring to?

    The rest of your diatribe is unsupported by a scrap of evidence.

    “Sin” is the invention of religion in order to operate their vile (but oh so obscenely profitable) protection racket.

    http://www.atheistgraphics.com/uploads/2/6/6/7/26671496/2479920_orig.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    Doubt is healthy but when used as a euphemism for unbelief then the following verse is applicable,

    …always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7

  • Diatribe? Hardly.
    Religion is man-made and a business today for sure.
    But God did create us and not without instructions. Sin is defined by God not men.
    You have no objective evidence otherwise.

  • arcseconds

    So, yes, my statement was literally incorrect.

    However, my point was really that he hasn’t published his radical revisionist thesis in mainstream publications.

    To make this point a little clearer, what appears to be Carrier’s main mission in life — his argument for Jesus mythicism — is not actually proceeding in a scholarly way but rather in a way that more resembles that of an amateur defending a fringe position outside the academy, even though he has some relevant training. He does not advance his arguments for mythicism in scholarly circles on the whole, but rather appeals to a popular audience.

    So very little of this seems relevant to me. Does it seem relevant to you? I’m trying to make sense of your ‘strawman’ comment, as nothing important seems to ride on the fact that Carrier publishes the occasional article about philosophy of religion in a scholarly journal?

    Going from the titles there is only one thing that looks at first blush might count against my contention: “Whence Christianity?”

    However, Journal of Higher Criticism is not what I would call an entirely respectable journal. It was a short-lived journal set up by the aforementioned Robert Price explicitly as a vehicle to go against the grain of modern biblical studies and publish ‘daring articles’, so it’s mission in life is to publish stuff like Carrier’s.

    I don’t have a huge problem with this, actually, as I have some sympathy for the notion that it’s good to have outlets for the more ‘out there’ ideas researchers have, but if we accept the need for this, we need to be cognisant of the difference between publishing in ‘out there’ forums and the ones that represent the more sober mainstream activities.

    (One distinct downside, though, is that it makes a situation that is already unclear to people outside the field, especially people unfamiliar with academia at all, even less clear. )

    The book review may also warrant a little discussion, too.

    A book review does not count as a publication. Scholars sometimes see fit to review material that doesn’t pass muster in order to pan it. And in fact there has been a few book reviews and other engagement with Carrier’s work by scholars in scholarly publications, the stuff I’ve seen has been resoundingly negative.

    It sounds like this is a positive review, but firstly, this has to be seen in context of the negative reception Carrier gets. Mentioning a single positive review and ignoring the negative stuff is cherry-picking.

    Also, the reviewer was Raphael Lataster (the other mythicist who maybe just barely has a relevant academic career if you squint) , who basically did his Masters thesis on the same topic as Carrier’s work — Bayesian reasoning applied to the historical evidence for Jesus, resulting in scepticism. Of course he’s going to like it.

    Note that Lataster’s Ph.D. was in philosophy of religion. Would you pay attention to a positive book review written by William Lane Craig, reviewing a history book?

    Finally, does it not strike you as suspicious that ‘an earlier version’ of the review is being quoted?

    (as an aside, Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry are not scholarly journals at all.)

  • Bones

    What’s your Ph D in?

    And in what journals have you published?

    Are you an amateur or an academic?

    You really have gone out of your way to prove that Carrier is an academic who is apparently the same as a holocaust denier.

    I don’t get why people get so offended when people say Jesus didn’t exist.

    The whole thing is based on faith.

  • arcseconds

    Going out of my way? Not really, I knew most of what I wrote up until my last post, which required a few minutes of googling to be sure of a few things. You say this as if it’s a bad thing — is it somehow a virtue in your mind to not know what you are talking about?

    I am an amateur in this field, so my qualifications are not relevant.

    I do what an amateur should do, and follow the experts. That is what I recommend amateurs do with modern history and biology, too. This seems overall a better approach than to make up stuff from one’s armchair, or to find some dude on the internet who sounds really good to one’s untrained ear.

    The existence of Jesus as a historical figure is a historical matter and best dealt with by historical means. If you apply the usual standards of historical evidence in ancient history (which involves looking at the cultural context at the time, as you said in your first post, you just appear to think that Carrier’s the only person who does that), then Jesus most probably existed. This is no more a faith claim than asserting the existence of Socrates or Zeuxis, with Socrates perhaps being a little more certain (although this is splitting hairs) and Zeuxis being considerably less. But I don’t have a problem with thinking that Zeuxis probably existed.

    What is more interesting is why so many people are invested in denying Jesus existed, even though the evidence is comparable to plenty of other ancient figures who they do not deny existed. Naturally most of them don’t know the first thing about the field. However, they nevertheless claim great insight. And to be swayed only by reason and evidence. And yet there is rationalobservations, rejecting textual evidence and insisting on only material evidence for Jesus, claiming that the lack of contemporary orignal manuscripts is a problem, but happy to insist that Socrates existed on the basis of textual evidence with a vastly worse manuscript tradition!

  • Bones

    Ok so you’re an amateur judging other amateurs and even academics.

    You haven’t published anything, neither do you have a Ph D.

    The historicity of Jesus is not as cut and dried as people like yourself choose to believe.

    The simple fact is that atheists do not find the evidence convincing.

    And that seems to annoy you.

  • rationalobservations?

    I’m glad you recognise that all religions are man made businesses – including the one that invented your undetected and undetectable imaginary god.
    Present the evidence that any of the millions of man made gods, goddesses and god-men exist and present a single word that can be proved to have been written bay any of the gods and maybe the brainwashed delusions you express may warrant further consideration.

    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/1051.jpg

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

    https://monicksunleashed.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/99-percent-atheist.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    However:
    Since no mass murders, holocausts, genocidal crusades and brutal inquisitions have been undertaken by followers of Socrates and no greedy, power mad, exclusively self serving politico-corporate businesses of religion have been founded in the name of Socrates – this further straw man of yours burns brightly.

    Jesus predicted this would happen so your quote above only serves to prove His sayings are true.
    John 16:1-2…
    I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

    Maybe this is why you cannot find the physical evidence you “search” for: Persecution by the Romans who worshiped Caesar alone and from the Jews who refused Jesus as their Messiah. The textual evidence would have been shared by Christians and guarded.

    Your ideologically driven arguments become clear when you accept the Memorabilia as reliable when proving the existence of Socrates and that “multiple independent sources make reference to him in various ways”. The same could be said of Jesus (early and later Church fathers) yet somehow this does not count.

    John 16, in verse 3-4 goes on to say: And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

    “Their hour” has come (again) in the persecution of Christians today. But we remember what Jesus has said, that you will do these things because you do not know the Father.

  • Realist1234

    So there was something physically wrong with your body, and you expected God to heal you. Why? Illness and disease are part of human life, and sterility is just part of that. Its right to ask God for healing, but not to presume it will come. That is why the so-called ‘name it and claim it’ understanding is nonsense. And that mind-set is not evangelical. I see nothing in the Bible to show that all of God’s followers, whether in Old or New Testament times, enjoyed perfect physical and mental health. It may be the Lord’s ultimate purpose for all to be renewed, including physical health, but we are not to presume it is ours now. God is indeed not the ‘claw prize’ machine, He never was. The idea that we can ‘manipulate’ God seems to me to be the height of human arrogance. And that is not my experience of evangelical faith, at least in the UK.

  • Atheists are the small minority; Christians are the vast majority.This does mean atheist arguments are not well received and mostly rejected.
    Why should I try to prove God to anyone? You cannot prove there is no God. Christians would rather debate the bible than an atheist.
    Your expression ” brainwashed delusions” pegs you as an under-uneducated Liberal but I do not pelt you with pejorative terms; I simply feel sorry for you.

  • arcseconds

    You seem to suppose you have somehow caught me out?

    To have an opinion is to judge in some way, so the only ‘not judging’ option is to avoid the matter entirely.

    My judgement is that the consensus of a community of experts who have spent a lifetime doing this stuff is worth more than the opinion of an untrained person who has spent a few hours on the matter at most in idle moments, who has no real incentive to get this right.

    Is that an unreasonable judgement in your view?

    Let’s leave aside this particular issue. What is your opinion of expertise in general? Would you be inclined to take seriously what scientists think about a scientific issue, or laywers about a legal issue, or engineers about an engineering issue? And perhaps reject the opinion of some blowhard you met down at the bar who is long on wind but short on anything resembling learning? Or are all opinions equal?

  • Bones

    I think a blowhard would be one who compares the denial of yhe historicity of Jesus with holocaust denial.

    That person lost the debate a long time ago.

    That person could then go on and say if you dont believe in a literal 6 day creation you are the same as a holicaust denier.

  • Bones

    This was already happening in johns community.

    It was not a prophecy at all.

    John was talking about the Jews who rejected his community.

  • Bones

    What does the holocaust have to do with Sodom?

    It actually stems from conservative christianity which taught hatred of the jews for milennia.

  • Bones

    Bobs religion is US Republicanism.

  • Bones

    Weirdly you were the one casting perjorative terms….

  • Bones

    Ezekiel makes it clear that sodoms sin was her treatment of the poor and injustice favouring the rich.

    Thats classic right wing conservative thinking..

  • Bones

    Yet you manipulate god into thinking that because you’re gay something is wrong with you.

    Dont think anything you’ve said hasn’t been heard before.

    There comes a time we just have to accept there is no interventionist god.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yeah it’s weird. They apparently pay no attention to the Ezekiel part. Like God destroyed Sodom cause all the men there were homosexuals lol. And Lot offered up his daughters for all the gays to have straight sex with them as a consolation. How thick does one have to be to not stop and think, wait a minute, this doesn’t make sense?

  • Thank you for your thoughts, Herm!
    I think the issue of identity is a tricky one (I’ve written some on how so, for me). You’re right that I identify as a Calvinist—although I’ve aligned with various strands of Calvinism during my life, first as a Reformed Baptist, then as a conservative Presbyterian, now as Dutch Reformed. These have been my “tribes,” and I use that word with the limited definition of my subgroup of Christianity shaped by our shared distinctive convictions. But by no means do I mean for my use of the word “tribe” to be divisive or to imply that we Calvinistic types are “real” Christians and believers of other stripes aren’t—perish the thought!
    I want to reply briefly to something you wrote:

    To have no doubts could only mean that I have nothing yet to ever learn or that I am a robotic puppet designed and programmed to be whatever my master chooses I be. From within my tribe it is now clear that the future has not come for my Father anymore than for me.

    I certainly still have doubts. And one of the reasons I initially apologized on behalf of my fellow Calvinists is because too many of us have pretended we don’t and even looked down on those honest enough to say they do. For that I say again: I’m sorry. The point I was trying to make in my second paragraph wasn’t that “doubt is bad” or anything of the sort, and if it came across like that, I apologize again. I was simply pointing out that some Christians wear their doubt like a “badge of honor.” Is it possible that doubt itself is morally neutral? That we can only know in hindsight whether it was a good doubt that led to deeper devotion and more deeply held beliefs or a bad doubt that led to falling away from the faith or disbelief entirely?
    Finally, I respect the Open Theism expressed in the second sentence I quoted above. Obviously, since I identify as a Calvinist, I’m going to disagree. We conceive of God differently, but there’s still space for dialogue and for rejoicing in our siblinghood as brothers in Christ.
    Blessings to you today, Herm!

  • rationalobservations?

    You write as though there is any historical evidence that supports the confused and contradictory legends of “Jesus” that first appear in the oldest extant bibles that date from human fabrication in the mid to late 4th century. When you write: “Jesus predicted this would happen…” you cannot validate or justify that claim. What you more truthful assertion would be: “The many generations of men who wrote all the diverse and different versions of NT bibles had their fictional character say “blah blah blah” in some versions of those many diverse and different bibles”.

    It’s not just that no 1st century originated text references “Jesus” There is no tangible historical evidence of “Jesus” at all. No letter, text, inscription or graffito mentions “Jesus”. No 1st century historian, politician, philosopher, artist or poet mentions “Jesus”. No artifact can be found that includes any reference to “Jesus” and no texts include the word “Jesus” until centuries after the time in which the many diverse and different contradictory legends of “Jesus” are set.

    The oldest tiny fragment of papyrus known as Rylands Papyrus P52 was once claimed to have originated from the 2nd century around 100 years after the time in which the legends of Jesus are set which is hardly evidence of anything but one of the urban myths circulating after the rise and fall of the historically references “messiah” Simon Ben Kosibah around 135 CE.. The semi-literate scrawl on P52 has been more scientifically dated as originating no earlier than the 3rd century and more probably joins the first fraudulent outburst of Roman/christian fabricated texts in the 4th century when the 4th century founded Roman religion of “christianity” was cobbled together (from mostly pagan components and exclusively pagan feast days, festivals and the sun-god day of worship) and brutally imposed upon the then known world.

    Below is an image of both sides of the very unconvincing and no earlier than 3rd century originated Papyrus P52.

    http://www.lavia.org/english/archivo/grafica/P52_EN.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    Only according to some versions of human fabricated bibles that started to appear in the 4th century. There is no historical evidence that supports any of the legends of “Jesus”.

  • rationalobservations?

    I notice (as must others) that you cannot answer any of the points I raise or questions I ask.
    You can run away from the truth but you cannot hide from exposure to the truth and your false claims and recycled lies will always catch up with you my dishonest and delusional friend…

  • Bones

    Junior High School students can see what the real issue in the story is but apparently not adults.

    Judges 19 really confuses conservatives. It’s really the same story except the ‘gays’ rape the concubine.

    They can’t have been too gay.

  • rationalobservations?

    Self proclaimed atheists double and redouble in number each decade but those who embrace that description do not in any way represent the total numbers of the third largest and fastest growing human cohort who are “not religious”.

  • Dream on. But what difference does that make? A billion Catholics and a billion Protestants, to name a few, believe in God and you don’t find that of any significance. In fact you think they are the morons. If people who are “not religious” grow what does that mean to those who are “religious”? Nothing. You will not find comfort in numbers on this issue. Someday when a real emergency happens to you let’s see who you call out to for help: 911 or God!

  • Brad Denham

    I believe John was quoting words he heard from Jesus.

    Certainly it was already happening in John’s community but Jesus goes on (in John 16) to speak of the coming Holy Spirit in a future tense implying ongoing persecution by the religious and secular establishment against the true believers.

  • arcseconds

    Oh, sorry, I thought we were having a serious discussion!

    Apparently we were playing a game, and there were rules, and I broke one.

    It seems pretty odd, though, and kind of mean, to decide I ‘lost’ some time ago, yet to continue the discussion as though it still mattered, and then suddenly pull this out on me.

    Why would you do such a thing? Did you not have a better response?

    That is a shame. It seems to me a perfectly reasonable position, to think that expertise counts for something, and one you could have presumably have said something reasonable in response, as I imagine you also respect expertise, at least in some areas.

    But you don’t seem to have understood a single thing I have said. Why would someone who respects expertise as highly as I do say people who disbelieve in a six day creation are the same as holocaust deniers? Surely the consistent position here is to think the creationists are the same as the holocaust deniers.

    If you suspected me as being a creationist (why?), you could have challenged me on this.

  • Herm

    Thank you for sharing yourself with me, with us! I have read “My Story” that you offer on your blog.

    As one once having the now atrophied credentials to actually be a practicing therapist, I congratulate you on how far you’ve come in both taking and exercising responsibility for yourself.

    I was not clear since you see my relationship with and in God as “Open Theism“. Only due to the high level of academia that you have reached, will I risk being as blunt as I will now be with you. There is only one family of God within which there is all levels of maturity of spirit. There is no other carnal family identity, church family identity or national family identity that can supplant God’s family relationship on earth and in heaven. There is only one with all authority in heaven and on earth for those in His family.

    The sum of the law applicable to God, Man and all sentient beings with responsibility (carnal and spirit) to choice in relationship with others is, in everything do to all others as you would have all others do to you. There is no other delineation of law constructive (good) for all life, spirit and carnal, than this, none. All siblings of Christ choose to adhere to this summation as best they can determined only by what they can each bear to be taught by the Spirit of truth. No humanly identifiable doctrine, theology, creed, book, ritual, sacrament, physical fixture from the elements of earth, or any other “sacred” accouterments designated by Man is from God. All of those are from inspiration derived from mankind’s relationship with God only to the degree that the originators each could bear at the time.

    The Bible, or any source of inspiration, is good (constructive) when it leads us each to the one Teacher of God versed and anointed with and in all the authority, in heaven and on earth, of God. The Bible, or any source of inspiration, is evil (destructive) when it is worshiped as the sacred, inviolate and inerrant handbook of law and relationship touted as proofread and enforced by God. Religious tribes administered by Man, though most within are sincerely seeking God’s favor, are not God’s tribe.

    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple (Matthew 12:48-50). And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:25-27

    That is anyone, of any of traditional and instinctive carnal animal mankind tribe, each having already been graced the image of God (spirit), regardless of nation of birth, race, creed, religion, gender, gender intimate attraction/relationship who chooses to accept those precise prerequisites to become an eternal student (disciple) of God only, not Man, will learn to in everything do to all others as they would have all others do to them, and infinitely more without end that is good to and for all life to grow and prosper.

    None of us can serve two masters. I serve to support my family of God in the Spirit of truth that connects us all together as one as my master. As a son of Man, my love shared with my animal species in empathy and compassion supports my desire to be tolerant and forgiving of those who know not what they do. It is not a sacrifice that I carry my cross to do for those ignorant others, first, that which I would have others do for me if I did not know what I was doing. This does not lessen my anxieties but I would, could not today, not wish others those anxieties in my place, because I love them, even as my enemies. Should I lose my carnal life for others to live who transgress divine law (Matthew 7:12) what really have I lost? … a few more years compared to the length of eternal life? … or even if I should no longer suffer these decisions of life because I no longer know anything, nor am responsible to anything, because I am forever dead? … what have I lost in an effort that others have more time to find the Teacher? … in sacrificing so little of my precious time for dialogue so that others, who need it more, do have more time for dialogue that leads them into a siblinghood, sisters and brothers, with Christ.

    Blessings are truly upon you because you care to care, as the God I know cares to care! Thank you!

  • arcseconds

    Seeing as this conversation appears to be over, as you’ve ceased interacting in constructive manner, it seems worth pointing out that actually many atheists do find the evidence convincing, and they are worried that their fellows are engaging in uninformed and ideologically motivated reasoning when they continue to insist that amateurs can spot immediately something that the experts are blind to.

    Timothy O’Neill runs an entire blog about this stuff (his concern isn’t just mythicism, but the self-serving ahistorical mythology that some atheists seem committed to in other areas of history, e.g. the Library of Alexandria supposedly being destroyed by Christians).

    You should probably read it if you care to be informed, although frankly you don’t really seem to care about evidence or reason.

    There are also several atheist biblical scholars who think mythicism is rubbish, basically, like Bart Ehrman and R. Joseph Hoffman.

    This is just a personal anecdote, but I met a chap last year who is a member of the local skeptics association, who is trying to persuade his fellows that they are not following their stated commitments to reason and evidence in this area.

  • Bones

    Many atheists do, many atheists dont.

    The idea that if someone dismisses a biblical narrative is equivalent to holocaust denial quite frankly convinces no one.

    Its something fundies would say.

  • Bones

    Not sure if you can have a serious conversation wih someone who equates biblica criticism with holocaust denial.

    I dont believe moses existed.
    Does that make me the equivalent of a holocaust denier.

    What you could have done is actually present evidence.

    Instead you fell into Rashies trap.

  • Bones

    ‘John’ wasnt quoting anything from Jesus. He was describing events happening in his tome and placing them wthin the jesus narrative.

    Btw being born again is a jewish teaching.

    No way nicodemus would not have known what that meant. Nicodemus represented christians who chose to stay in judaism – the darkness.

  • arcseconds

    Who cares what atheists do and don’t do? They are human beings just like everyone else, and they don’t always do what is justified. If an atheist reads a couple of websites about the scientific case for climate change and says “I don’t believe this, it’s claptrap” they have become an uninformed climate change denier, just like everyone else who does that.

    It’s a good thing I’m not saying anyone who denies a biblical narrative is the same as a holocaust denier, then, isn’t it?

    It should be obvious by now, despite your insinuations otherwise, that I am not a fundamentalist, nor do I think that Bibical narratives are necessarily true. I have no idea why you would think that just because someone thinks one thing in the Bible is historical they must therefore be trying to prove everything in the Bible is historical, but now I’ve explained this to you maybe you can stop thinking that.

    In fact, as I have already indicated, I think young earth creationists are in the same boat as Jesus mythicists, climate change deniers, and yes, holocaust deniers.

    The fact that the last is more egregiously offensive does not mean that there is no comparison – in all cases they dismiss evidence and the expert consensus in favour of an ideologically-driven position, and they also frequently use the same tactics in which to do that. Someone who cares about the truth should be able to get past the fact that one is more offensive than the other and be willing to acknowledge the similarities.

    But the truth doesn’t really matter to you, clearly, as your entire case is built on ad hominems and misrepresentations. I work too hard (= bother to check your sources), I’m annoyed by things, I’m a blowhard, I’m somehow hypocritical because I think expertise counts for something, I’m secretly a fundamentalist, I’ve broken some rule so I’ve lost, so nothing I say counts any more, I think going against the Bible is the same as holocaust denying.

    Some of these things are actually virtues, but even if all of them were vices, what do you prove by smearing my character? Absolutely nothing about history, but rather a lot about your approach to evidence and dialogue.

    I suppose in a sense it might be flattering that for you this discussion is all about me, but I’d actually rather you thought about history.

  • arcseconds

    Where did you get any of these ideas from?

    I love (academically informed) biblical criticism, and I do not think it is the same as holocaust denial.

    But mythicism isn’t (academically informed) biblical criticism, it’s just an uninformed rejection of evidence for ideological reasons.

    (In Carrier’s case it is academically informed, but it’s still a rejection of evidence for ideological reasons — and I am prepared to hear Carrier out on other matters. But rationalobservations here is more typical of mythicists one encounters in the wild, who typically display very little understanding of how history is conducted.)

    I think the best way of explaining the narratives we have is that Moses did exist, but that’s vastly less certain than Jesus’s existence. You’re welcome to think he didn’t exist, the evidence is so tenuous that it’s also quite likely. It’s a slightly more awkward story one has to tell then in my view, but it’s far from impossible.

    (Jesus’s existence isn’t absolutely certain either, just like most other things we only have textual evidence for, but the alternatives seem extremely unlikely as they require all sorts of weird things to have happened that we don’t have any evidence for)

    All I’ve done is to respond to what you are saying. Have you said you wanted to discuss the evidence before now? If so, I missed it with all the ‘what do you think of Carrier’ and “oh now you’re working too hard”, “oh now actually you lost several rounds ago and I’m only telling you now”

  • Bones

    Calling people holocaust deniers for not believing the same as you is the ultimate ad hominem.

    We are talking about denying the suffering of 6 million people for which we have hundreds of thousands of photographs, eye witness testimonies by both perpetrators, liberators and victims and normally associated with anti-semitic/pro-Nazi ideology.

    It simply does not compare.

    Do you believe Mohammad split the moon in two or are you the equivalence of a holocaust denier?

    Once again. I deny the existence of a historical Moses, does that make me the equivalent of a holocaust denier?

    You’ve lost the debate here buddy no matter how many paragraphs you try to justify it.

    And given your conversing with an atheist in Rashie than yeah some evidence might actually have sufficed instead of blanket dishonest ad homs and strawmen.

  • arcseconds

    I’m not saying that people who believe the same as me are holocaust deniers.

    I am saying that people who read up about something on the web for a few hours, accept something that supports their ideological position, and reject expert consensus has something in common with holocaust deniers, namely the fact that they are poorly informed, form their opinions on the basis of ideology, and reject expert consensus.

    Hopefully my position is now clear to you. If it is not, please ask questions. What you continue to attribute to me is at best a terribly crude parody of my position, so now I’ve informed you about that, if you are an honest interlocutor you will stop attributing it to me.

    (But someone who continues to assert I have ‘lost’, and continues to discuss things with me nevertheless, but does not seem interested in learning anything from me because I’ve ‘lost’ is not looking like someone who is discussing anything in good faith, to me)

    Presumably you agree that’s what holocaust deniers do? And presumably you don’t think they’re the only ones, so even if you don’t think this comparison is apt with mythicists, maybe we could agree this comparison is apt with at least some other people? Maybe Turks who deny the Armenian genocide would be a good place to start.

  • arcseconds

    By the way, if the position of mythicists was typically something like “well, I think it’s not clear cut, this hypothesis deserves more consideration than it recieves” then I would not make this comparison at all, it would not be apt.

    Fitzgerald sometimes sounds a bit like that. And arguably Price, who seems more motivated by a love of contrarian hypotheses and ‘big ideas’ than anything else, which I have some kind of sympathy for. Price has some respect for New Testament scholarship, and Fitzgerald occasionally shows some too.

    (Carrier also has a kind of background level of respect, and he makes use of their findings when it suits him, but he rapidly retracts this in favour of high dudgeon and hyperbolic rants as soon as someone disagrees with him.)

    But that’s not typically the attitude of mythcists one meets on the internet, who more often are ‘obviously there’s no evidence, all of the people who have studied this for years are fools, I’ve looked into it for five minutes and clearly Jesus was Horus’.

    That’s the attitude of an ignoramus who doesn’t care about the truth, and at this point in history I think we should all take a dim view of ignoramuses who don’t care about the truth.

  • Bones

    “Holocaust comparison
    Or, how to scrape the bottom of a barrel in the stupidest way possible.

    Comparing the quality of Jesus to that of any major person after the invention of the printing press in the west (1436) is bad enough but when people compare denying Jesus as a historical person to Holocaust denial[103][104][105][106][107][108] they are either ignorant of just how much material evidence there is for the Holocaust or are making a strawman…and simultaneously flirting with Godwin’s Law.

    For the record there were 3,000 tons of truly contemporary (i.e. between 1938-1945) records presented at the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trials.[109] The 1958 finding aids (eventually the index to the Holocaust evidence) was 62 volumes–just 4 books shy of the number of books (66) traditionally in the entire Bible! Then between 1958 and 2000 they added another 30 volumes, bringing the total to 92.[110]

    It is an emotional argument and a totally unfair one as Jesus to the best of our knowledge never had the quantity or quality of evidence that shows the Holocaust happened.”

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jesus_myth_theory

    Is the evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus the same as the evidence for the holocaust?

    No.

    To be quite frank the evidence for a historical Jesus is scant. I really don’t see why people get so offended by people not accepting what tiny evidence there is.

    Neither is this a new argument. It’s been around

    Even Bonhoeffer believed that most of the Bible was myth and not actually historical events and in fact Jesus’s life was ‘overgrown with legends’.

    Maybe he was a holocaust denier.

  • Brad Denham

    Could not disagree more.
    That form of interpretation will only lead to subjective opinions.
    I could ask, to what light did those who chose to leave the darkness of Judaism find themselves in?, but would only get your opinion which may be interesting but something I could not consider truth. (so don’t answer)
    By the way, true Christians don’t stay in Judaism.

  • arcseconds

    Why are you continuing to interact with me as though I’m a conservative Christian apologist, when I have stated very clearly otherwise?

    It should be no surprise to hear that I agree with Bonhoeffer.

    Did I say the evidence was the same? No. So why make this point?

    Could you tell me when you’re prepared to take this discussion seriously, and not as an opportunity to act out some shadow-boxing with an apologist who exists only in your head?

    Thanks.

  • Bones

    You disagree that being born again was a Jewish teaching?

    That’s a fact not open for agreement.

    The reading of the gospel itself make it clear that it is referring to events in John’s community which had been excluded from the synagogue. It reflects a time in the later first century CE, not a time when Jesus’s disciples were still worshipping in synagogues eg Acts. and the Synoptics. Unlike John’s gospel the first Christians saw themselves as Jews see also the confrontation between Paul and the Twelve over the gentiles) as opposed to John who refers to ‘the Jews’ as the enemy.

    Btw James was even a temple priest and regularly visited the Temple after Jesus’s death..

    It would be handy if people understood first century Judaism before making blanket statements out of ignorance.

  • Bones

    So you agree with Bonhoeffer that most of the Jesus narrative is myth or indeed legend?

    You are aware that many would lay the charge of being a holocaust denier at you as well.

    As I’ve said anyone who compares denial of ancient religious narratives with holocaust denialism is plummeting into new lows of stupidity.

  • arcseconds

    So you agree with Bonhoeffer that most of the Jesus narrative is myth or indeed legend?

    Yes! That is what I said, after all.

    I’m prepared to repeat it a few more times if it would help you to get the picture.

    I have also said plenty of other things that might indicate that would be my position, including my low opinion of young earth creationists.

    In fact, if you knew anything about the matter, you would know that this was my opinion as soon as I said ‘follow the experts’, because this is the consensus of relevant experts.

    Why would I care about charges of ignorant people who don’t know anything about history?

    As I have already made plain, I do not equate denying any ancient narratives with holocaust denialism. Stop misrepresenting my position.

  • arcseconds

    If you think the Bible is just a bunch of ancient narratives that you can deny wholesale without looking at any arguments and evidence as to what is historical and what is not, then I’m sorry, but you’re just ignorant on the matter.

    That’s fine, I don’t expect everyone to be well informed on every topic.

    But now you know of your ignorance, you can do something about it.

    The simplest thing to do would be to ask me the obvious question.

    Or, if the topic doesn’t have any interest to you, you can refrain from making claims about it.

  • Brad Denham

    I disagree that John was not quoting Jesus.
    Changes everything and not a matter of ignorance although I have much to learn.

  • Thank you for your thoughts, Herm! I enjoyed reading them!

  • rationalobservations?

    Your recycled lies are typical of religious fundamentalists who accept propaganda without question.
    Where is the evidence of 1,000,000,000 catholics and 1,000,000,000 protestants?

    I would be stupid to dial 911 since I (happily) do not live in gun crazy America.
    I have been in a few dire situations including being convinced that I was about to die twice and the thought of appealing to an imaginary and non existent being did not occur to me. Do you call out for help to Zeus, Odin, Amun–Ra or Quetzalcoatl when you are in distress? Think about why not. Take as long as you need…

    Fewer than 18% of Americans are actively involved in any cult, sect or business of religion according to the combined attendance figures of the “Church Leaders Organisation” ( https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html ) and fewer than 6% of Europeans are active in any of the more diverse but still declining faith groups that are available to, but shunned by, them.
    What difference does the decline in religion make you ask?

    For some time the data published in the “Global Peace Index” has shown that the most peaceful free secular democracies are the most godless and least religious.
    http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

    The much missed philosopher Christopher Hitchens wrote “Religion Poisons Everything”. The Global peace index and the third largest and fastest growing, peaceful and educated non-religious are demonstrating and proving every day that the antidote to the poison of religion is education and free, secular democracy.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qsYmknzgdvc/UupypifeDjI/AAAAAAAASVw/Q4o7_G5Xx-4/s1600/Decline+of+Religiosity+in+America.png

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

    http://www.markfulton.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/statistically.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    Your comment applies uniquely to America and Americans, Kirk.
    There is a great big world out side the USA with many less prejudicial and more civilised and egalitarian populations who show just how barbaric America was – and still is in many regards…

  • The slavery issue, yes, white privilege or racism in general, no, not a uniquely American phenomenon. And, yes, religion has played a part in nativism, racism and prejudice in general. The question should be for all concerned, is why does religion tend to promote a non-egalatarian society? There are exceptions, of course, but the general trend of conservative religion is the promotion in one way or another, of one group over all others.

    I tend to find the atheist vs theist arguement over whether there is a God or gods boring and ultimately unhelpful. Of more importance is the question of how successful is religion as a social construct? Laying aside the philosophical or rational arguements for a bit, has Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc., been successful as a means of bettering society. Religion is, at core, a social construct meant to provide meaning, purpose and direction for groups of people. How successful have they been? Where has religion failed and why? What happens when a religion tries to direct the state? Should it?

    Eliminating God will not fix the world’s problems, as war, racism, poverty, nativism, homophobia, violence…is not a “god problem,” but a people problem. Are there toxic forms of religion? Yes, and they need to stood up to and called out for what they are. But the problem of division and strife is not religion vs atheism, but inclusion vs exclusion, tolerance vs intolerance. The world needs tolerant, inclusive atheist, agnostic and religious people to thrive and grow. Trying to fit everyone into a one-size-fits-all worldview is ultimately doomed.

  • “My recycled lies?” Your are obviously a challenged person. This figure is conservative and you can find the 1.285 billion estimate for Catholics everywhere. Are you volunteering to take a census because that number offends you? That number is just the number from two popular religions. The point is that those who believe in God vastly outnumber those who do not.
    You have been in “dire situations?” What you ran out of pot on a Friday night? Quit smoking and open your eyes. Secular is just an excuse for aberrant behavior and belief in self.

  • Bones

    Your problem is your stuck with presumptions and assumptions which limit what you can learn. Only when you ditch those can true learning begin.

  • Bones

    Well you deny the creation myth do you not?

    Is that the same as holocaust denial?

    You see this isn’t about me here.

  • Bones

    I’m using your logic…..

    Is Bonhoeffer the equivalent of a holocaust denier?

    Can you not see the stupidity of such an equivalence?

  • arcseconds

    I have been quite clear on what my position is, but you are nevertheless insistant on your preposterous, and at this point I’m beginning to think deliberate, misreading.

    Either that or you seem unable to comprehend a straightforward and reasonable position.

    In either case, dealing with you further seems like a waste of time.

    Your logic is that the evidence for Jesus is in scripture, so denying Jesus’s existence is denying some aspect of scripture, so if that’s like holocaust denial than any denial of scripture must be.

    By the same logic, the evidence for the holocaust appears in books. So to deny the holocaust is to deny what is written in books. So any time anyone denies anything that’s written in a book, that’s the same as holocaust denial.

    These are both ludicrous pieces of reasoning, obviously, and neither has any meaningful resemblance to anything I’ve been saying.

  • arcseconds

    that isn’t my logic. No he isn’t, as far as I know. Yes it is stupid. Stop attributing obviously stupid things to me and say something that looks like you’re actually bothering to try to comprehend what my position is.

  • Bones

    Dude you’re just condemning your own argument.

    You’re the one saying that those who dismiss the Jesus narrative are the same as holocaust deniers.

    I’ve pointed out the stupidity and dishonesty of that argument.

  • Bones

    Well done.

    You know it’s stupid.

    Then stop making stupid comments about holocaust denial.

    They are totally unhelpful.

  • Brad Denham

    I actually don’t have a problem.
    All is well with my soul.

  • Bones

    Of course you don’t.

    You don’t realise you’re wrong.

    Muslims, JWs and Mormons say the same thing.

  • Brad Denham

    Don’t forget the Atheist.

  • Bones

    Nor ISIS….

  • Brad Denham

    All except you.

  • Bones

    It’s called education.

    Religious extremists don’t like it much.

    It threatens their presumptions and assumptions.

  • arcseconds

    But why I am saying that?

    You are pretending it’s because it’s in the Bible.

    You have pointed out the stupidity and dishonesty of someone who says “you can’t deny the Gospel of Mark because it is holy scripture and if you do it makes you a holocaust denier! But you should deny Genesis despite it also being holy scripture”

    But that was never my position. I would call this a straw man, but it bears so little resemblance to anything I said, that’s doing an injustice to the concept of a straw man. It is more like a fever dream than anything else. Some of the words are the same, that’s about it.

    To undermine my position, you need to show why what I think the significant simiarities are don’t obtain, not make up something and pretend I’m committed to its significance.

    The view you’re attributing to me only makes any sense if ‘written in the Bible’ is significant somehow, and it simply isn’t. The bible including the new testament only came into being a couple of centuries after the last book was written. I find it amazing when atheists fail to appreciate this point and continue to think along with apologists that Bible has this trans-historical signifance, but there you go. That’s what happens when you don’t understand the difference between proper scholarship and apologetics.

    Just to give you a taste as to how ludicrous your ‘pointing out’ is, you are committed to the non-existence of Jerusalem, which quite frankly I find offensive and anti-semitic.

    What’s that, no you actually think it exists? Ah, but not in the 1st century. It must have been built later on.

    What’s that, you believe it was around the 1st century? Well, you might, but that just means you’re a hypocrite.

    Because, you see, you think atheists can deny anything in the Bible. The Bible testifies to the existence of Jerusalem in the 1st century. Therefore the existence of Jerusalem can be denied. It can only be denied if it didn’t exist then, ergo you are committed to Jerusalem not existing in the 1st century. How dare you, and see how stupid and dishonest you are?

    This is, of course, absolute nonsense, but it’s still better reasoned and closer to what you actually said than anything you attribute to me.

  • arcseconds

    Well, I can see that now. If I had known you were so sensitive to the terrifying notion of a right-thinking athiest having any similarity to a holocaust denier that it would impair your reading comprehension that you can’t do anything other than treat me as though I’m a biblical literalist, I never would have mentioned it

    At least, I hope that’s what’s going on. Because if you are always this unable to understand anyone’s position, you must find it extremely difficult to get by in life.

    But basically, doesn’t this mean your sensitivities mean I am unable to make my point?

    After all, presumably you would also get offended if I compare mythicists to YECs, which basically means you’ve made mythicists immune to criticism in your own head, because criticising them by pointing out obvious similarities with other denialists results in you clutching at your pearls and fainting on your couch and going “oh my saints… so offensive… “

  • Bones

    Well it took a while for you to see how stupid and dishonest it was.

    The denial of the well documented human sufferings of people is actually a crime in europe.

  • Bones

    Blah blah….nope you cant justify the equivalence of the denial of the historicity of jesus with denying the holocaust which is a denial of tons of evidence, eye witnesses and suffering.

  • rationalobservations?

    You can only find the 1billion plus ESTIMATE of the number of catholics worldwide linked to figures created by those employees of the Vatican who admit that they include everyone ever baptised by a catholic priest regardless of the numbers who never became practicing catholics and those who grew up to shun all religion and religious superstitious garbage. Even those who have been excommunicated by that particular cult are still counted among the membership for the purpose of perpetuating the lies and obscuring the mass defection from religion all across the developed world.

    The organisation that once tried to get the catholic totalitarian state to recognise those who no longer wished to be counted as catholics has ceased to operate in frustration at the impossibility to get the vatican to recognise the mass exodus. See: http://www.thejournal.ie/count-me-out-closes-because-of-catholic-church-defection-system-chage-1028259-Aug2013/

    The jesuit cult in America recognises that ex catholics have left many churches with enldess empty pews to the degree that they endeavoured to find out why but failed to realise that education is the best cure for religionism. See: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/5138/article/why-they-left

    As for the figures of Americans who now abandon religion? See: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/1051.jpg

    There is no evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and that fact is recognised by the oldest/first 4th century founded “christian” politico-corporate institution:

    “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).

    As for you pitiful and shameful failed ad hominem? Please realise that this kind of infantile garbage merely reflects upon your dishonesty, ignorance and immaturity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcPiUGGd25s

  • rationalobservations?

    You write: “Of more importance is the question of how successful is religion as a social construct?”??

    Religions of all brands have been very successful at deluding and terrorising people. The most successful religions were brutally imposed upon the world through the sword and the summary execution of all those who rejected new religions like 4th century christianity and 6th century islam.

    Religion has been successful at genocidal crusades, hundreds of years of torturous inquisition, mass murder, supporting slavery and misogyny, brainwashing, inventing fake “sins” which they alone sell “redemption”, concealing the identity of their perverted employees, throwing gays from tall buildings and flying passenger jets into tall buildings – among other crimes against humanity to many to list.

    You write: “…is not a “god problem,” but a people problem.”
    Since there is no evidence supporting the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men – it appears to be a ridiculous overstatement of the obvious since everything (including all the moribund and still operating corrupt businesses of religion) are a “people problem”.

  • Brad Denham

    You also have your presumptions and assumptions which governs your (secular) education.
    No one is perfectly objective. Not me, not you.

  • rationalobservations?

    “Sounds like you’re on the verge of overthrowing 2000 years of history as we stupid Christians understood it.”
    Since even the oldest/first “christian” church cannot trace historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus” or the content of any NT bible back to earlier than the 4th century your claim to 2000 years of “history” fails. More like 1600 years of fabrication, interpolation, myths, legends and lies it appears.

    Your reference to “Christus”, “messiah” and “Lord” could and do refer to any number of historical messiahs but no real Hebrew name that could have been interpreted as “Jesus” is ever among them.

    There are many “messiahs” mentioned between circa 6 BCE and Circa 140 CE but not a single contemporaneous historical mention of any “Yeshua/Y-Shua/Jesus” until the legends of that fictional character appear centuries after the time into which those legends are back dated and in which they are merely set.

    I am aware of some apparently “real messiahs” including the historically recorded Simon Bar Kochbah who was acclaimed as the Jewish messiah and had coins struck that show Simon “christ” outside the temple with his messianic star overhead:

    You appear to now accept that there is no historical evidence of the existence oof “Jesus” and that may represent progress toward reason and truth although you attempt and fail to make excuses for the utter, total and complete absence of historical evidence that supports the existence and much later written confused and contradictory legends of a man named “Jesus”.

    Many christians faced with the absence of evidence of Jesus ask: “Who do we have tangible evidence for?”
    That list is a long one.
    Many Egyptian Pharaohs left their statues and their (often exaggerated and inaccurate) stories carved into the walls of their temples.
    Many of the “living god-men” Roman emperors have left similar statues and other tangible and extant evidence of their existence.

    Although there are no authentic and original texts written by Flavius Josephus (who was born after the time in which the legends of Jesus are set) and the unconvincing pathetic and uncharacteristic interpolated few lines that reference “Jesus” within copies of his apparent actual works – he lists at least 3 “false messiahs” and other real but now obscure people in great detail. Many otherwise forgotten characters he really encountered or of which historical records existed are mentioned in extensive and boring detail. Jesus – not at all.

    The clincher (for you), Brad – may be the tangible evidence of another “messiah” named “Simon Bar Kosabah (aka Simon ben Cosiba). Unlike the apparentlly fictional “Jesus”, Simon “christ” is written about extensively in many diverse and different circles and it is recorded that he was actually named as being the “messiah” by Rabbis and his thousands of messianic cult followers.

    The “Alexamenos Grafiti” is dated as orginating around 200 CE and depicts a donkey being crucified while making nomention of “Jesus” at all. Since the graffito dates from after the time of the historical “messiah.christ” Simon – it could be a reference to him, or any other failed “messiah/christ”.

    The tangible extant evidence of “Simon christ” can be discovered in the many commemorative messiah coins that remain in museums and private collections today.
    Here is the image of one Simon christ coin that shows Simon at the temple with the messianic star overhead. Contemplate why no such similar evidence (or in fact NO historical evidence at all) of the existence of “Jesus” can be discovered?:

    Simon “christ” coin below:

    http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.200×0-is-pid39347.jpg

    http://theatheistpig.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/image.jpeg

  • You persist but still the number of people who believe in God vastly outnumber those who do not – agree?
    And by the way in my experience ex Catholics either don’t attend Church anymore or change religions. Those
    going atheist are few.
    May I ask a few questions:

    1. Without God and His Plan for Man what is the purpose of life and why should it continue?
    2. Without God’s instruction in the bible what is you moral compass and where does it come from?

  • Ah, a neo-fundamentlist atheist! No one here questions the damage religion has done, but ranting a frothing does no one any good. Religion differs very little from other forms of social institutions and constructs, that’s my point. One could point out the failures of dozens of religious or political structures. Heck, one could castigate most of of western history for it’s imperialism, exceptionalism, white racism and social Darwinism. I really am trying to help you here, not to make a total ass out of yourself.

    You see, shouting at religious people about how obviously stupid they are for believing in a Santa Claus guy in the sky, accomplishes little than make people think youre a bit of a jerk. Try a more tactful approach. Get off the high horse, work with others for a better world, even if you don’t share their views, even if they’re not as clever as yourself.

  • Bones

    Hence why we study and educate ourselves about books which apparently decide if we’re damned or not.

  • Brad Denham

    I respect that. Many do not.

  • Bones

    No….people like you only study people you agree with and who have the same assumptions and presumptions as you.

  • rationalobservations?

    There is no authoritative data that supports your claim that believers in any (all?) of the undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men outnumber those who do not believe in any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men.
    Certainly in many educated free, now predominately secular western democracies – religionists represent a small and shrinking minority and the millennial generation and their younger “generation Z” overwhelmingly tick the “no religion/not religious” box in polls and surveys while the villages towns and cities of the western world are littered with empty, rotting redundant churches that bear silent witness to the moribund nature of religion.

    Q) “Without God and His Plan for Man what is the purpose of life and why should it continue?
    Without a single shred of evidence of the existence of any of the millions of undetected gods, goddesses and god-men and no evidence of any gods given “plan” within any of the 13,820,000,000 year long observation of the material evolution of the universe or the 4,000,000,000 year long evolution of life on Earth, or the 2,000,000 year evolution of our own very recently evolved species of ape – this question appears to be based in nothing but your own indoctrinated superstitions and the dogma and lies of your particular religious cult.
    ,
    As for the purpose of any sentient living thing? That’s fairly simple and obvious to most of us and is summarised within the cartoon below.

    2) “Without God’s instruction in the bible what is you moral compass and where does it come from?
    You would need to reveal which of the many diverse and different, confused and internally contradictory, historically inaccurate, barbaric and scientifically absurd bibles you reference and then present the evidence that it was actually written by a god and is not (as ALL the evidence indicates) the work of almost endless generations and teams of men.
    However – if you follow the instructions of men written within most bibles – have you sold your surplus daughters into slavery? Have you taken your disobedient son too the outskirts of town and enlisted your fellow citizens in stoning him to death? Have you murdered your neighbours who do not attend your church? Do you ensure you never wear clothes manufactured from mixed fibres and do you make sure you never ever eat shrimps or other shellfish?

    The rest of us have an evolved thing we call a “human conscience” and another thing we call “empathy” that combines with a sense of civic duty and respect for human laws that are far more egalitarian and far less barbaric than the laws of the men who wrote bibles.

    The third largest and fastest growing human cohort and the population of the most peaceful and least religious nations demonstrate each day that we do not need to believe in any of the gods or the lies of any religions to be good. We demonstrate that not only are we good without gods – we are better.

    https://fallingwideawake.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/eat-survive-reproduce-1.jpg

    https://i0.wp.com/s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1e/f5/e4/1ef5e4ed4344a7dd18ff7556ca92b44a.jpg?strip=all&smooth=-15&contrast=10

  • rationalobservations?

    Your furious little diatribe presents no logic or evidence and answers no questions.

  • You are not being rationale are you?
    So you don’t know the Purpose of Life do you?
    200,000 years of evolution is a prejudice and superstition without evidence isn’t it?
    “The rest of us have an evolved thing we call a “human conscience” and another thing we call “empathy” that combines with a sense of civic duty and respect for human laws that are far more egalitarian and far less barbaric than the laws of the men who wrote bibles.” Which is bullshit and a non-answer. Morals don’t evolve- they either are taught or their not.
    “Eat, survive, reproduce” Note that it takes a man and a woman to reproduce!

  • Brad Denham

    Not so. Many do for sure and that is a problem.
    I (and many others) do my best to understand views contrary to my own various ways including blogging.
    Education does not remove subjectivity although it can help but only usually confirms presumptions.
    The “many do not” I quoted above goes both ways.

    Does not help when we are treated with disrespect for disagreeing.

  • Brad Denham

    Irenaeus “Against Heresies” used Jesus name 131 times. 2nd century.
    Pliny clearly was referring to Christians who by extension unmistakably referred to Jesus and followers of the way. Quote: “as they cursed the name of Christ, which, it is said, those who are really Christians cannot be induced to do.” No, not some other messiah figure like Simon Ben Cosiba/bar kasabah etc.
    And Josephus did write of Jesus. Some to be sure were interpolations but not all.

    Contrary to your conclusion “(I) You now appear to accept that there is no historical evidence of “Jesus” and that may represent progress”, the more I research this issue the more I see the evidence is so overwhelmingly in favor of the fact that Jesus and Christianity (by other names also) was mentioned often and that is not disputed by even secular historians.

    Regarding confused and contradictory legends… absolutely!
    Why do you think they held meetings to determine what was genuine and what was gnostic heresy or false gospels/epistles written by imposters?

    And no coins would have been minted as that would be considered breaking the first commandment.

    Do you really think the wool could be pulled over scholars eyes for centuries that someone named Jesus never existed? I guess you do – against all the evidence to the contrary whether you believe he was God or not.

    And your red hat individual in the comics only reflects the ignorance of the author of the comic.

    There is more to life than shear rationality and I don’t need facts to corroborate the bible as it speaks for itself and my own subjective experience confirms without doubt it is true.
    No, I cannot use my experience to prove anything to another person but no skeptic as extreme as yourself will be able to remove the love I have in my heart for a guy named Jesus
    who lived and died and rose from the dead and now lives in me by his Spirit.

  • Brad Denham

    Irenaeus “Against Heresies” used Jesus name 131 times. 2nd century.
    Pliny clearly was referring to Christians who by extension unmistakably referred to Jesus and followers of the way. Quote: “as they cursed the name of Christ, which, it is said, those who are really Christians cannot be induced to do.” No, not some other messiah figure like Simon Ben Cosiba/bar kasabah etc.
    And Josephus did write of Jesus. Some to be sure were interpolations but not all.

    Contrary to your conclusion “(I) You now appear to accept that there is no historical evidence of “Jesus” and that may represent progress”, the more I research this issue the more I see the evidence is so overwhelmingly in favor of the fact that Jesus and Christianity (by other names also) was mentioned often and that is not disputed by even secular historians.

    Regarding confused and contradictory legends… absolutely!
    Why do you think they held meetings to determine what was genuine and what was gnostic heresy or false gospels/epistles written by imposters?

    And no coins would have been minted as that would be considered breaking the first commandment.

    Do you really think the wool could be pulled over scholars eyes for centuries that someone named Jesus never existed? I guess you do – against all the evidence to the contrary whether you believe he was God or not.

    And your red hat individual in the comics only reflects the ignorance of the author of the comic.

    There is more to life than shear rationality and I don’t need facts to corroborate the bible as it speaks for itself and my own subjective experience confirms without doubt it is true.
    No, I cannot use my experience to prove anything to another person but no skeptic as extreme as yourself will be able to remove the love I have in my heart for a guy named Jesus
    who lived and died and rose from the dead and now lives in me by his Spirit.

  • Brad Denham

    I have replied 3 times (politely) to you’re nonsense but the moderator sees fit to remove my comments.(as he has previously)
    Guess he cannot handle the truth either.

  • rationalobservations?

    Hmm. Not a single actual historical reference to “Jesus” that can be verified as originating any time within the 1st century let alone within the time that the centuries later written legends of Jesus are merely set among your later written propaganda.

    Any reference to any of the leaders of actual messianic cults cannot be considered as evidence of the existence of the fictional and later invented god-man “Jesus”.
    Anything written centuries after the lifetime of so called “church fathers” is similarly and logically dismissed as propaganda by most modern living historians.

    Where are these original and authenticated works of Irenaeus, Pliny or Josephus conserved and available for study? They are not available for study because only texts that are merely ATTRIBUTED to these folk and that were written by anonymous scribes centuries later are part of the propaganda that started in earnest in 4th century Rome, not 1st century Palestine.
    “Some of the fragments presented by Roberts-Donaldson are suspect. Johannes Quasten writes, “The fragments which Ch. M. Pfaff published in 1715, allegedly from manuscripts in Turin, were proved to be forgeries by A. Harnack (TU 20,3. Leipzig, 1900).” (Patrology, v. 1, p. 293).”

    The coins that commemorate Simon “Christ” were minted by the Hebrew/Jewish authorities who respected the actual Hebrew mythology.

    You are unable to reference a single shred of authentic evidence or a modern living historian or scholar who has actually researched the subject and who has found any actual tangible evidence that a human mortal man named “Yeshua/Jesus” ever lived.

    Your diatribes of denial fail to validate, justify or excuse your enthrallment to the corrupt 4th century founded cult of “Jesus”.

    The fact that you have fallen for this particular brand of superstitious garbage is as clear as the testimonies from those equally convinced by the garbage superstitious nonsense sold by other brands of politico-corporate religion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcPiUGGd25s

  • rationalobservations?

    It appears to be you who is being ignorant but not being rational, Bob.
    I do know the purpose of my life. It is to make the very most of my brief time of existence between nonexistence and eternal nonexistence. To live, love. learn, teach. To continue encouraging and supporting my own fine, happy, healthy and rational now adult children and the support and charitable contributions my wife and I have provided to generations of great but underprivileged children in the developing world. I also relish the non religious spiritual uplift provided by the brilliant products of human ingenuity and craftsmanship like music, art, amazing archaeology, and performances. The greatest purpose my own life has is to make the world a little bit better when I die than it was at my birth. The only “law” is the humanistic philosophy that predates your pathetic religious cults by millennia and that is not a law by known as the “Golden Rule”.

    One of the greatest minds in history put it well when he wrote:
    “A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”
    – Albert Einstein

    If it is only the rules written by long dead barbarians within one version of bible that causes you to refrain from the evil that you would undertake without those rules – you are indeed in what Albert called a “poor way” and you have my deep and sincere sympathy but have earned no respect for your dishonesty.

    You are wrong with regard to your denial of “200,000 years of evolution”. The evidence indicates that life on Earth has been evolving for more like 4,000,000,000 years.

    Many creatures demonstrate an instinct for altruism and self sacrifice sometimes called “morality”. Our closest living relatives among the other species of modern apes (with whom we share a common ancestor and the overwhelming majority of our DNA) have a well evolved instinct for fairness and demonstrate the evolved inclination to provide unrewarded acts of generosity that have been beneficial to their surviving the grinder of evolution that has seen the extinction of 99% of species of creatures that ever lived. All current living things survive through evolution’s mechanisms of survival of the best adapted to survive – just as we have.

    The amorality taught by religions has corrupted many and it has been rightly observed through history and contemporary news that men never do evil so joyfully as when they do it in the name of religion.

    Religion poisons everything. Fortunately for the future of our species and the planet – education and free, secular democracy has proved to be the antidote to that poison within the most peaceful and godless, least religious secular democracies in the world today.

    Your ignorance appears only exceeded by your arrogance and egotism, Bob.

  • rationalobservations?

    Surely you realise that you cannot validate the content of any human authored book by quoting the content of that book, Brad?

  • rationalobservations?

    You have already indicated you have nothing that validates, justifies or excuses belief in “the gods”, my friend.
    Run along now – grown ups are discussing serious stuff seriously…

  • rationalobservations?

    You have presented no evidence and answered none of the evidence presented that indicates the fraudulent nature and origin of your particularly nasty religious cult – or any other politico-corporate business of exclusively self serving religion.
    Your bunkum remains debunked, Brad.

    Only your indoctrination, ignorance and egotism prevent you from recognising that fact…

    I can’t say I blame the mods for removing your wacko nonsense.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • Brad Denham

    I guess you believe Elvis is alive also and every conspiracy theory ever contrived.
    You have bought the biggest one there is hook, line and sinker.

  • Brad Denham

    Its application is true regarding you so that tells me it’s valid.

  • rationalobservations?

    You’re appearing ever more pathetic with this sort of conspiracy theory garbage, Brad.

    All I observe is that there is no historical evidence of the existence of a man named “Yeshua/Jesus”.
    You tacitly confirm this fact and join everyone else in being unable to present any such tangible historical evidence.

    Your childish attempts to divert attention away from your failure is embarrassing.

  • rationalobservations?

    That’s nonsense that even you must be embarrassed by, Brad.
    Is this the best you have to offer?
    Denial and obfuscation is never recognised as rebuttal or refutation, son…

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • Brad Denham

    A stated propositional truth that conforms to reality is something to be embarrassed about?
    No historical verification required (even though Irenaeus mentions Jesus 131 time in Against Heresies)
    I am making observations that confirm the premise.
    God’s word needs no historical validation to be true. Then I would need to trust you and your conspiracy theorists rather than God. I’ll take God.

  • Brad Denham

    I thought your atheistically generated values were going to make the world a better place? Yet your hatred is barely disguised. I will stick with Gods love for my enemies including you.

  • Brad Denham

    Funny you use the word tacitly which is derived using the Latin word Tacitus.
    Tacitus, apparently one of the best Roman historians wrote:
    (N)either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.
    Sorry, no mistaking that as referring to Jesus.

  • Brad Denham

    Funny you use the word tacitly which is derived using the Latin word Tacitus.
    Tacitus, apparently one of the best Roman historians wrote:
    (N)either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.
    Sorry, no mistaking that as referring to Jesus.

  • rationalobservations?

    Tacitus??? Where are the original and authenticated texts written by Tacitus conserved and available for forensic examination?
    The claimed Text of Tacitus’ Annals and Histories Survives in Only Two Manuscripts actually written by anonymous christian scribes Circa 850 – 1050. These texts are merely attributed to Tacitus while all older versions were systematically destroyed by the totalitarian ruling christian state that was founded in the 4th century and dominated through persecution, terror, torture and mass murder for many centuries starting in the 4th century.

    Tacitus, Roman Politician and Historian, (c. 56-120 CE)

    “Publius/Gaius Cornelius Tacitus. Tacitus is another stalwart in the anemic apologist arsenal, Tacitus, sufficient reason is uncovered to doubt this Roman author’s value in proving an “historical” Jesus. In his Annals, supposedly written around 107 CE, Tacitus purportedly related that the Emperor Nero (37-68) blamed the burning of Rome during his reign on “those people who were abhorred for their crimes and commonly called Christians.” Since the fire evidently broke out in the poor quarter where fanatic, agitating Messianic Jews allegedly jumped for joy, thinking the conflagration represented the eschatological development that would bring about the Messianic reign, it would not be unreasonable for authorities to blame the fire on them. However, it is clear that these Messianic Jews were not (yet) called “Christiani.” In support of this contention, Nero’s famed minister, Seneca (5?-65), whose writings evidently provided much fuel for the incipient Christian ideology, has not a word about these “most-hated” sectarians.

    …the Tacitean passage next states that these fire-setting agitators were followers of “Christus” (Christos), who, in the reign of Tiberius, “was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate.” The passage also recounts that the Christians, who constituted a “vast multitude at Rome,” were then sought after and executed in ghastly manners, including by crucifixion. However, the date that a “vast multitude” of Christians was discovered and executed would be around 64 CE, and it is evident that there was no “vast multitude” of Christians at Rome by this time, as there were not even a multitude of them in Judea. Oddly, this brief mention of Christians is all there is in the voluminous works of Tacitus regarding this extraordinary movement, which allegedly possessed such power as to be able to burn Rome. Also, the Neronian persecution of Christians is unrecorded by any other historian of the day and supposedly took place at the very time when Paul was purportedly freely preaching at Rome (Acts 28:30-31), facts that cast strong doubt on whether or not it actually happened. Drews concludes that the Neronian persecution is likely “nothing but the product of a Christian’s imagination in the fifth century.” Eusebius, in discussing this persecution, does not avail himself of the Tacitean passage, which he surely would have done had it existed at the time. Eusebius’s discussion is very short, indicating he was lacking source material; the passage in Tacitus would have provided him a very valuable resource.

    Even conservative writers such as James Still have problems with the authenticity of the Tacitus passage: For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus as “Christ.” Also, Pilate was not a “procurator” but a prefect, which Tacitus would have known. Nevertheless, not willing to throw out the entire passage, some researchers have concluded that Tacitus “was merely repeating a story told to him by contemporary Christians.”

    Eusebius of Caesarea, Catholic Church HistorianBased on these and other facts, several scholars have argued that, even if the Annals themselves were genuine, the passage regarding Jesus was spurious. One of these authorities was Rev. Taylor, who suspected the passage to be a forgery because it too is not quoted by any of the Christian fathers, including Tertullian, who read and quoted Tacitus extensively. Nor did Clement of Alexandria notice this passage in any of Tacitus’s works, even though one of this Church father’s main missions was to scour the works of Pagan writers in order to find validity for Christianity. As noted, the Church historian Eusebius, who likely forged the Testimonium Flavianum, does not relate this Tacitus passage in his abundant writings. Indeed, no mention is made of this passage in any known text prior to the 15th century.

    The tone and style of the passage are unlike the writing of Tacitus, and the text “bears a character of exaggeration, and trenches on the laws of rational probability, which the writings of Tacitus are rarely found to do.” Taylor further remarks upon the absence in any of Tacitus’s other writings of “the least allusion to Christ or Christians.” In his well-known Histories, for example, Tacitus never refers to Christ, Christianity or Christians. Furthermore, even the Annals themselves have come under suspicion, as they themselves had never been mentioned by any ancient author….

    In any event, even if the Annals were genuine, the pertinent passage itself could easily be an interpolation, based on the abundant precedents and on the fact that the only manuscript was in the possession of one person, de Spire. In reality, “none of the works of Tacitus have come down to us without interpolations.”

    Regarding Christian desperation for evidence of the existence of Christ, Dupuis comments that true believers are “reduced to look, nearly a hundred years after, for a passage in Tacitus” that does not even provide information other than “the etymology of the word Christian,” or they are compelled “to interpolate, by pious fraud, a passage in Josephus.” Neither passage, Dupuis concludes, is sufficient to establish the existence of such a remarkable legislator and philosopher, much less a “notorious impostor.”

    It is evident that Tacitus’s remark is nothing more than what is said in the Apostle’s Creed—to have the authenticity of the mighty Christian religion rest upon this Pagan author’s scanty and likely forged comment is preposterous. Even if the passage in Tacitus were genuine, it would be too late and is not from an eyewitness, such that it is valueless in establishing an “historical” Jesus, representing merely a recital of decades-old Christian tradition.”

    Yet another massive FAIL, Brad…

    Please endeavour to at least check the origin and date of fabrication of anything you imagine to be evidence. Having done that during the course of decades of research and following up each and every claim of christian religiots like you – I can report that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jeebus”. None!

    http://theatheistpig.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/image.jpeg

  • rationalobservations?

    AGAIN:

    Tacitus??? Where are the original and authenticated texts written by Tacitus conserved and available for forensic examination?
    The claimed Text of Tacitus’ Annals and Histories Survives in Only Two Manuscripts actually written by anonymous christian scribes Circa 850 – 1050. These texts are merely attributed to Tacitus while all older versions were systematically destroyed by the totalitarian ruling christian state that was founded in the 4th century and dominated through persecution, terror, torture and mass murder for many centuries starting in the 4th century.

    Tacitus, Roman Politician and Historian, (c. 56-120 CE)

    “Publius/Gaius Cornelius Tacitus. Tacitus is another stalwart in the anemic apologist arsenal, Tacitus, sufficient reason is uncovered to doubt this Roman author’s value in proving an “historical” Jesus. In his Annals, supposedly written around 107 CE, Tacitus purportedly related that the Emperor Nero (37-68) blamed the burning of Rome during his reign on “those people who were abhorred for their crimes and commonly called Christians.” Since the fire evidently broke out in the poor quarter where fanatic, agitating Messianic Jews allegedly jumped for joy, thinking the conflagration represented the eschatological development that would bring about the Messianic reign, it would not be unreasonable for authorities to blame the fire on them. However, it is clear that these Messianic Jews were not (yet) called “Christiani.” In support of this contention, Nero’s famed minister, Seneca (5?-65), whose writings evidently provided much fuel for the incipient Christian ideology, has not a word about these “most-hated” sectarians.

    …the Tacitean passage next states that these fire-setting agitators were followers of “Christus” (Christos), who, in the reign of Tiberius, “was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate.” The passage also recounts that the Christians, who constituted a “vast multitude at Rome,” were then sought after and executed in ghastly manners, including by crucifixion. However, the date that a “vast multitude” of Christians was discovered and executed would be around 64 CE, and it is evident that there was no “vast multitude” of Christians at Rome by this time, as there were not even a multitude of them in Judea. Oddly, this brief mention of Christians is all there is in the voluminous works of Tacitus regarding this extraordinary movement, which allegedly possessed such power as to be able to burn Rome. Also, the Neronian persecution of Christians is unrecorded by any other historian of the day and supposedly took place at the very time when Paul was purportedly freely preaching at Rome (Acts 28:30-31), facts that cast strong doubt on whether or not it actually happened. Drews concludes that the Neronian persecution is likely “nothing but the product of a Christian’s imagination in the fifth century.” Eusebius, in discussing this persecution, does not avail himself of the Tacitean passage, which he surely would have done had it existed at the time. Eusebius’s discussion is very short, indicating he was lacking source material; the passage in Tacitus would have provided him a very valuable resource.

    Even conservative writers such as James Still have problems with the authenticity of the Tacitus passage: For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus as “Christ.” Also, Pilate was not a “procurator” but a prefect, which Tacitus would have known. Nevertheless, not willing to throw out the entire passage, some researchers have concluded that Tacitus “was merely repeating a story told to him by contemporary Christians.”

    Eusebius of Caesarea, Catholic Church HistorianBased on these and other facts, several scholars have argued that, even if the Annals themselves were genuine, the passage regarding Jesus was spurious. One of these authorities was Rev. Taylor, who suspected the passage to be a forgery because it too is not quoted by any of the Christian fathers, including Tertullian, who read and quoted Tacitus extensively. Nor did Clement of Alexandria notice this passage in any of Tacitus’s works, even though one of this Church father’s main missions was to scour the works of Pagan writers in order to find validity for Christianity. As noted, the Church historian Eusebius, who likely forged the Testimonium Flavianum, does not relate this Tacitus passage in his abundant writings. Indeed, no mention is made of this passage in any known text prior to the 15th century.

    The tone and style of the passage are unlike the writing of Tacitus, and the text “bears a character of exaggeration, and trenches on the laws of rational probability, which the writings of Tacitus are rarely found to do.” Taylor further remarks upon the absence in any of Tacitus’s other writings of “the least allusion to Christ or Christians.” In his well-known Histories, for example, Tacitus never refers to Christ, Christianity or Christians. Furthermore, even the Annals themselves have come under suspicion, as they themselves had never been mentioned by any ancient author….

    In any event, even if the Annals were genuine, the pertinent passage itself could easily be an interpolation, based on the abundant precedents and on the fact that the only manuscript was in the possession of one person, de Spire. In reality, “none of the works of Tacitus have come down to us without interpolations.”

    Regarding Christian desperation for evidence of the existence of Christ, Dupuis comments that true believers are “reduced to look, nearly a hundred years after, for a passage in Tacitus” that does not even provide information other than “the etymology of the word Christian,” or they are compelled “to interpolate, by pious fraud, a passage in Josephus.” Neither passage, Dupuis concludes, is sufficient to establish the existence of such a remarkable legislator and philosopher, much less a “notorious impostor.”

    It is evident that Tacitus’s remark is nothing more than what is said in the Apostle’s Creed—to have the authenticity of the mighty Christian religion rest upon this Pagan author’s scanty and likely forged comment is preposterous. Even if the passage in Tacitus were genuine, it would be too late and is not from an eyewitness, such that it is valueless in establishing an “historical” Jesus, representing merely a recital of decades-old Christian tradition.”

    Yet another massive FAIL, Brad…

    Please endeavour to at least check the origin and date of fabrication of anything you imagine to be evidence. Having done that during the course of decades of research and following up each and every claim of christian religiots like you – I can report that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated evidence of the existence of “Jeebus”. None!

  • rationalobservations?

    You state no “propositional truth”. You merely recycle religious propaganda and your opinion regarding that propaganda without a single shred of evidence that supports the propaganda or your indoctrinated o[pinions.

    As always there is no actual historical and authenticated texts actually written by Irenaeus from which your claims could be assessed. As always – the only texts attributed to Irenaeus were actually written by anonymous christian scribes centuries after the death of Irenaeus.


    Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?
    (Post by Leucius Charinus May 29, 2015)

    I’d like to discuss the possibility that a substantial portion of what we read as the original Greek works of the heresiologist Irenaeus (2nd century) were instead the products of one or more Latin authors during the rule of Pontifex Maximus Damasus (d.382 CE) in Rome. In addition, what passes for the Greek works (of which little survive) – namely quotations from Eusebius, Hippolytus and Epiphanius – were harvested from 4th century heresiologists in their polemic against 4th century heretics and their books (notably those now discovered and published as the Nag Hammadi Library).

    There are a number of reasons for suspecting Irenaeus may have been either forged or completely overhauled or heavily interpolated in the later 4th century. Here are a few to start:

    1) The earliest manuscripts are Latin and dated c.380 CE

    Aside from a few fragments, the earliest manuscripts for the writings of Irenaeus are in Latin and dated to c.380 CE. An Armenian manuscript recently published (1920?) is dated to the 6th century and thought to be provenance from Constantinople.

    2) Rome and Apostolic Succession

    Damasus was the first to start promoting “PETER WAS HERE” for the Roman tourism industry in the later 4th century. Consequently the primacy of Rome and the legitimacy of the Apostolic Succession (at Rome) was very important to his conception of history.

    Consider this quote:

    “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

    Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:3:2 (A.D. 180).

    This fits well with the dogma of Damasus.

    Additionally there is absolutely nothing about Peter and Paul getting snuffed out in Rome in the NT Bible. The substance of this claim is advertised in the writings of the heretics, in a number of works. These include

    a) the Clementine literature (dated c.330 CE)
    b) the Acts of Linus?
    c) others?

    3) Irenaeus’s polemic is against heretical writings very similar to the NHC

    In his first book Against Heresies, Book I after introducing himself as a Keltae he gets stuck into his opponents (the heretics) as follows:

    Chapter I.-Absurd Ideas of the Disciples of Valentinus as to the Origin, Name, Order, and Conjugal Productions of Their Fancied Aeons, with the Passages of Scripture Which They Adapt to Their Opinions.

    1. They maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Aeon, whom they call Proarche, Propator, and Bythus, and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennoea, whom they also call Charis and Sige. At last this Bythus determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous, who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father’s greatness. This Nous they call also Monogenes, and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things.

    The texts of the Nag Hammadi Codices (dated to the mid 4th century) are full of this sort of stuff. The mainstream thinking is that because the 2nd century source Irenaeus is considered legitimate, then these heretics were operative in the 2nd century. However what if Irenaeus is corrupt, and that the corruption was authored in the later 4th century in Latin as a reaction against the heretics of the 4th century, who are represented in Coptic within the NHC. The Greek originals of the NHC need not necessarily be any earlier than the 4th century.

    (4) Patristic Textual Criticism

    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=GtdzmykR_XMC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=Patristic+Textual+Criticism++%22Miroslav

    Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead …
    By J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace

    “in his “Patristic Textual Criticism”, Miroslav Marcovich complains
    that the surviving copies of some of the early patristic writers
    are “lacunose [filled with gaps], corrupt, dislocated and interpolated”.

    The Latin manuscripts particularly are often recognised to be very corrupt.

    So there are four issues to start any discussion. There may be others.

    MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNIY

    The Roman papacy under Damasus was very innovative and one of the main agendas was to bolster the Roman apostolic succession. The propaganda we find in Irenaeus (supposedly writing from Lyons) is very much in line with what Damasus wanted to establish. Damasus was responsible, with the assistance of his “pupil” Jerome, for commissioning the Latin Vulgate and as such would have had a good Latin scriptorium.

    The heresiological writings of Irenaeus (supposedly 2nd century) and Epiphanius (4th century) are of much the same type of content. The heretics are bad people, the orthodox are good people. Damasus just lasted to see the Decrees of Theodosius concerning the Nicene orthodoxy and the political denouncement of heretics:

    ‘We authorise followers of this law to assume the title of orthodox Christians; but as for the others since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious names of heretics.’

    – Emperor Theodosius”

  • rationalobservations?

    I love all of humanity and that is one of the many reasons that I am a peaceful, loving, charitable atheist.
    The fact that contradicts your vile recycled propaganda is that the most peaceful nations in the history of our very recently evolved species of ape are also the least religious nations today.

    Quote:
    “Think religion makes society less violent? Think again.”
    Ref: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html

    “If peace on earth is our goal, atheism might be the means to that end.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/06/peace-on-earth-atheism

    http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

    While religionists continue to persecute and discriminate against those fellow citizens who happen to follow other faiths or happen to be female or happen to be naturally same gender oriented, or happen to need to abort their fetus etc, the third largest and fastest growing human cohort have outlawed such barbarity and follow peaceful, law abiding blameless lives of charity and contribution to humanity, not exclusively self serving and barbaric human institutions of politico-corporate religion.

    We non-religious humanitarian folk hate no one. We hate the delusion but love (and try to reason with and educate) the deluded and delusional. And:
    You’re welcome, dear deluded friend… You are welcome.

    https://i0.wp.com/s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1e/f5/e4/1ef5e4ed4344a7dd18ff7556ca92b44a.jpg?strip=all&smooth=-15&contrast=10

    http://www.markfulton.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/statistically.jpg

  • Bones

    You’re treated with contempt for being ignorant.

    Do yourself a simple favour.

    Do a google search for Judaism born again.

    You will learn something that you have never been told by Christian apologists.

    Oh and do some studies in first century Judaism if you think the bible is so important.

    If you don’t then don’t bother.

  • Ron McPherson

    “It’s called education. Religious extremists don’t like it much. It threatens their presumptions and assumptions.“

    That was me. For years, I purposely studied only conservative doctrine. Have volumes of commentaries. I wouldn’t allow myself to read or study anything other than pretty much what I already believed. So I believed such and such, read a commentary that supported my confirmation bias, then be even more convinced of it. And so it went for years. If I happened by accident to read something that didn’t align with what I already believed, then I would outright dismiss it as heresy if it was significant enough to shake me.

  • Brad Denham

    I am treated contempt for following the real Jesus as understood in his Word taught by the spirit who changed the world in the first century.
    Men have been denying it ever since, especially in the last 200 years and only compiling info that supports their presumptions (unbelief). You call that education,
    The bible trumps google and all the accumulated wisdom of man.
    He said it would happen.
    But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
    1 Peter 4:13.

  • Brad Denham

    “happen to need to abort their fetus etc”
    And you have the audacity to call Christianity barbaric?
    Killing the most defenseless and that is somehow not just ok but a virtue?
    Shows how bad your compass is.
    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    Isaiah 5:20

  • Brad Denham

    It’s Bones way or Jesus way Ron, you can’t have both.

  • Brad Denham

    The bible is propositional truth and when united with faith enlightens the mind to grasp the reality of who God is.
    You are relying on skeptics become atheists who only interpret the ancient writings within their darkness of unbelief. They are forced into wrong conclusions.

    And you have no basis for love. God is love . The law of non-contradiction applies.

  • rationalobservations?

    I expected you to latch onto that aside, Brad.

    What qualifies you to dictate to anyone what they legally chose to do with their own body?

    What makes you think that you qualify to receive better treatment from the state in the matter of freedom to enter into legal marriage with whoever you choose?

    Once again you forget that quoting human authored words from a human written old book fails to validate, justify or excuse that quote or any of the cruelty and anti-humanitarian barbarity contained within that human authored old book.

    You continue to fail to validate, justify or excuse your belief in magic and super-spooks or the garbage contained in all the diverse and different bibles that started to appear only in the 4th century.

  • rationalobservations?

    This word salad makes no sense and answers none of the points raised, Brad.
    First reveal which bible you reference than we can dissect that particular old book of garbage and vile barbarity.
    Is it one of the oldest / first 4th century fabricated bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) or one of the very diverse and different, confused and contradictory, historically inaccurate, historically unsupported, scientifically absurd bibles later generations of men edited amended and altered from the content of the very oldest first fabricated 4th century human written bibles?

    Your bunkum remains debunked.

  • Brad Denham

    Read articles on google for Judaism born again. Contributed nothing to my understanding that would cause me to question what being born again means.
    You sir need to be born again for you neither believe the Jewish slant nor the Christian one. Explains why everything you study contradicts the bible as truth a-priori.
    I have read about first century Judaism by trying to understand NT Wright and gang. Makes me even more assured the bible is key to understanding all else.
    Your assumptions of ignorance on my part are only that – assumptions.

  • Brad Denham

    I rely on the Word of God that is now know to be 99.9% accurate to the originals due to textual critics evaluating and comparing etc all the “diverse and different, confused and contradictory, historically inaccurate, historically unsupported, scientifically absurd bibles” and therefore able to determine what the originals were.
    It is “word salad” to you because you lack spiritual wisdom. You, like Bones need to be born again by the Spirit.

    And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
    1 Cor: 2:1-4

  • Brad Denham

    So you rely on the state for what is right and wrong (legal)?
    I bet Stalin would have loved to have you as his disciple.

  • rationalobservations?

    So you can’t validate or justify your particular version of bible. That’s typical since no one ever can.

    Your worthless “testimony” is familiar and it’s the same for those indoctrinated and held in thrall to the religions you dismiss for the same reason members of those religions “know” theirs is true and yours is false.

    For those who believe their Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there are some very uncomfortable questions to answer. The recently (2008) online published Codex Sinaiticus shows there have been thousands of alterations to today’s bibles.

    The world renowned bible scholar Bart Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical (like you) until he read the original Greek texts and noticed all those thousands of discrepancies between the oldest 4th century fabricated bible and those fabricated more recently.

    .Fundamentalists, like you, Brad – who believe every word in their version of Bible is true, must find the thousands of differences between it and the original very unsettling. Or does the condition of indoctrinated cognitive dissonance insulate you from every fact that contradicts the lies you have been brainwashed to believe?

    It is obvious even from the confused and contradictory garbage within modern bibles that “Jeebus” could not be “the messiah”.

    “(1) Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies
    What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

    Specifically, the Bible says he will:

    Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
    Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
    Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
    Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world – on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).
    If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.

    Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible’s description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.

    Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.

    (2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah
    A. Messiah as Prophet
    The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum – Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides – Teshuva 9:2)

    Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets – Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

    Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.

    B. Descendant of David
    Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)

    The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father – and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David. (1)

    According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

    C. Torah Observance
    The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

    Throughout the Christian “New Testament,” Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observe Shabbat!”

    (3) Mistranslated Verses “Referring” to Jesus
    Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text – which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.

    A. Virgin Birth
    The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

    B. Suffering Servant
    Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”

    In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the “Servant of God” (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.

    When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being “bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter” at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44).

    Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.

    Your book of lies and your fraudulent religion are both debunked bunkum, my friend.

    http://theatheistpig.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/image.jpeg

  • rationalobservations?

    Your straw man burns brightly, Brad.
    (Please keep me smiling at your naivete, duplicity and your predictability however.)

    Now how about telling me about your Yeshua / “Jeebus” through historical evidence and without a single reference to any version of confused and contradictory bible mythology?

    http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/files/2016/05/StalinPig.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.

  • Ron McPherson

    So I must choose between Jesus or education? In order to have Jesus I must choose to read only conservative doctrine? That’s taking confirmation bias to a whole new level lol.

  • Brad Denham

    Never said that. Education in all spectrums is worthy but not their foregone conclusions regarding the real Jesus of the bible as opposed to the mythical one.
    Not a laughing matter.

  • rationalobservations?

    You continue to demonstrate there’s no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus or any oh the garbage you keep recycling.

    Why not quit while you are so far behind and appearing ever more ignorant and gullible?

    Please keep up the entertainment if you must however.

  • Ron McPherson

    Then perhaps you should spell out what you mean. A blanket statement like, “It’s Bones way or Jesus way…can’t have both” makes no sense as a response to what I wrote concerning my previous failings of confirmation bias of dismissing anything not aligning with conservative doctrine.

  • Brad Denham

    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
    2 Cor. 4:4

  • Brad Denham

    Fair enough. My apologies.

  • Ron McPherson

    No sweat, thanks.

  • rationalobservations?

    There is not a single shred of original, 1st century originated historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus”.
    The oldest / first primitive prototype bibles were fabricated in the 4th century AFTER the Roman religion they called “Christianity” was cobbled together from mostly “pagan” components and exclusively pagan feast days, festivals and the sun god day of worship.

    Quoting from an old barbaric human written book of confused and contradictory myths and legends fails to validate that book.

    As for the image of “Jesus”?

    http://big5kayakchallenge.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ideal-cesare-borgia-jesus-christ-image-cesare-borgia-jesus-nwo-illuminati-end-times-cesare-borgia-jesus-christ-image.jpg

    https://pm1.narvii.com/6501/571780a4e1b1064eb1d688b92808526fc2f7e77c_00.jpg

    http://images.f169bbs.com/content/2015-10/according-to-the-bible-satan-and-god-yahweh-together-tag-team-on-humans-25529.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    Your whole arguement is “genetic fallacy”.

  • Brad Denham

    You’re whole argument is a genetic fallacy.

  • rationalobservations?

    Make a name for yourself and collect your Nobel Prize by presenting evidence of the existence of the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman god-man “Jesus” and you may look a little less like just another brainwashed religiot, Brad.

    The current observable trend in the educated, secular, democratic developed world is that religion melts away when confronted with fact based education and the absence of state enforced indoctrination.

    In the developed western world – religionists represent only a small and rapidly dwindling minority.
    Christian zealots have had it all their own way for millennia (ever since the 4th century Roman religion they called christianity was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world). Fewer than 18% of Americans still attend church according to the American “Church Leaders” organisation. ( https://churchleaders.com/p… ) The “millennial generation” worldwide is the least religious generation in history and their younger siblings among “generation Z” almost overwhelmingly shun religion and ignore all fictional gods.

    The third largest and fastest growing human cohort are non-religious and the last remaining pockets of religious domination in the western world appear to be living in a fantasy world of their own arrogant and ignorant imagination while all across the wider and more developed western democracies – villages, towns and cities are littered with empty, rotting redundant churches and in many nations the small and declining rump of religiots are seen as the delusional indoctrinated eccentrics they demonstrate themselves to be.

    So; Keep your fantasies and delusions, Brad – if you haven’t the wits to see through them and cast them off. You may well be among the last generation of folk similarly afflicted and even in America – the non-religious population outnumber the religious and democracy favours the majority as soon as the non-religious realise they now form the majority…

    http://images.f169bbs.com/content/2015-10/according-to-the-bible-satan-and-god-yahweh-together-tag-team-on-humans-25529.jpg

    https://i0.wp.com/s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1e/f5/e4/1ef5e4ed4344a7dd18ff7556ca92b44a.jpg?strip=all&smooth=-15&contrast=10

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qsYmknzgdvc/UupypifeDjI/AAAAAAAASVw/Q4o7_G5Xx-4/s1600/Decline+of+Religiosity+in+America.png

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • Brad Denham

    You’re confusing religion with true Christianity. Although religion can wax and wane, true Christianity will always exist in the hearts and lives of Jesus true disciples the true church. All your empiricism – so repetitive I might add – does nothing to change what God is doing in building his church which we know will be persecuted by such as yourself. All those stats are maybe interesting but are meaningless when it comes to something that happens in the lives of believers. You cannot take that away even if you kill us!
    Like I said, you’re genetic fallacy proves nothing and for me to disprove it, which is not only possible but obvious is a waste of time for it has no bearing on the life I have in Christ who is alive and well in me. It transcends your earthly natural materialism which is meaningless and hopeless.
    Carry on your crusade elsewhere where you may find converts who believe you are only chemicals. Or am I talking to a person with a soul? I guess not in your case for you are in your own mind nothing but energy and chemicals set to expire back into nothingness. Or do you even have a mind being chemicals only?
    I sincerely hope you see you are more than molecules and embrace the obvious truth that there is more to life than materialism.

  • rationalobservations?

    What “argument”, Brad?
    I make no argument but merely observe that there is no evidence of the existence of any gods or god-men including the originally Canaanite “Yahweh” and Roman “Jesus”.
    This observation is validated by you and all who cannot present a single shred of evidence of the existence of your gods.

    Your whole non-argument is a delusional fallacy and an indoctrinated fantasy.

  • Matthew

    My story too basically …

  • rationalobservations?

    Once again you present nothing of substance and no evidence at all, Brad
    Your reiteration of the repetitive nonsense with which you have been indoctrinated is familiar but never convincing.
    What is the basis of what you call “true christianity”? What is the tangible, authentic and original evidence that a man named “Jesus” ever existed?

    The total pantheon of all the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men are mundane and your god|(s) are among those and no exception to being undetected and undetectable just like all the rest. There is nothing unique or original regarding the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” that was part of an extended pantheon of gods and goddesses when the tribes who were at that time reinventing themselves as a “chosen people” stole those gods and forcibly removed all but Yahweh. The goddess Ashera is recorded within the Torah and other Jewish mythologies and was the wife/consort/lover of Yahweh until she was dispensed with by the then new Jewish hierarchy. There is nothing unique or original about the Roman good-man “Jesus” who joined a long, long list of god-men fathered by a god who worked “miracles” – was killed but “rose again from the dead.”

    All gods are the invention of men. Once you recognise why you dismiss all the other gods, goddesses and god-men and apply the same rationality to the one you have been brainwashed to believe in you may join the rest of us who have gone through that process.
    Once you realise the choice – you will realise no gods exist.

    In the developed western world – you represent only a small and rapidly dwindling minority.
    Christian zealots have had it all their own way for millennia (ever since the 4th century Roman religion they called christianity was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world). Fewer than 18% of Americans still attend church according to the American “Church Leaders” organisation. ( https://churchleaders.com/p… ) The “millennial generation” worldwide is the least religious generation in history and their younger siblings among “generation Z” almost overwhelmingly shun religion and ignore all fictional gods.

    The third largest and fastest growing human cohort are non-religious and the last remaining pockets of religious domination in the western world appear to be living in a fantasy world of their own arrogant and ignorant imagination while all across the wider and more developed western democracies – villages, towns and cities are littered with empty, rotting redundant churches and in many nations the small and declining rump of religiots are seen as the delusional indoctrinated eccentrics they demonstrate themselves to be.

    So; Keep your fantasies and delusions if you haven’t the wits to see through them and cast them off. You appear to be among the last generation of folk similarly afflicted and even in America – the non-religious population outnumber the religious and democracy favours the majority as soon as the non-religious realise they now form the majority…

    http://images.f169bbs.com/content/2015-10/according-to-the-bible-satan-and-god-yahweh-together-tag-team-on-humans-25529.jpg

    http://markhumphrys.com/Images/1051.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    I just have to ask Mathew (and Ron), what then do you make of the bible?
    Is it authoritative over every other truth claim? Or does modern “science”, and the conclusions of liberal education supersede it?
    Just trying to respectfully clarify my previous comment about following “Bones or Jesus” I made to Ron.
    I see it as a slippery slope all the way into agnosticism and eventually atheism when the bible no longer has authority in determining final absolute truth.
    Not saying you are there but your kids (grandkids) might be when the bible is no longer seen as written propositional truth that stands the test of time no matter what men might say.

  • Matthew

    Take it away Ron … :-) :-)

  • Matthew

    I can just quickly say, Brad Denham, that I have come to view the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ. I now worship Jesus Christ rather than a religious book. I now think what the Bible does innerantly well is point us to salvation in Jesus Christ. I look to the Scriptures not to find eternal life in them, but for them to point me to where eternal life truly is.

    I think the Bible can be very truthful without it having to be taken absolutely literally.

    I´ll be very interested in what Ron has to say, but until then maybe you can get your hands on the following book:

    “Making Sense of the Bible — Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today” — Adam Hamilton

    This book (and many others) addresses (I think) the very good concerns you have. I had those same concerns as well.

    Peace

    [Edited]

  • Brad Denham

    If I cannot call what you say an argument then now I must consider you illogical, which explains the false conclusions you arrive at based on your belief there is no God.
    You cannot see it.

    Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.3 For we who have believed enter that rest,
    Heb. 4:1-3a.

    Without faith you will not see either the realm of God or the obvious evidence anyone can see. Read Psalm 19 and go look around outside.
    You are like the monkey with eyes/ears and mind closed to God’s revelation as are many. You only difference is you speak evil.

    My faith in the revealed truth of God found in the bible opens the door to seeing God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Note, not blind faith but faith in concepts put forward by God. And my experience validates it over and over and over…

    Open your eyes man (I pray you will) – there is more to life than energy and chemicals.

  • Brad Denham

    Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
    Romans 3:4.
    You are only validating scripture.

  • Brad Denham

    Hi Mathew,

    I like your comments and agree with Jesus being the lens but must confess after checking out endorsements (Campolo/Mclaren) for the book you recommend I have serious doubts (hey, how about that, I can doubt like B. Corey wants me to do!)
    I really do think one ends up believing in a different Jesus when the scriptures are understood as the Rob Bell’s and Brian Mclaren’s see them. Emergent church nonsense to me. (worse than nonsense)
    Harsh statement I know but I have read some of their stuff before and believe them to be wolves in sheeps clothing.
    Hope you are not offended Mathew, just trying to be honest.

    Nevertheless I will buy it and read it (along with about 3 other books I am trying to digest).
    I hope I am allowed to read it critically and not be accused of not having an open mind. But I will without apology compare what they say with the bible as the inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative word of God.
    I do like your comment “I now worship Jesus Christ rather than a religious book. I now think what the Bible does innerantly well is point us to salvation in Jesus Christ.”
    That I agree with wholeheartedly.
    As I have said before the bible is not the 4th person of the Trinity. But it is historical and it’s truths (including the epistles written by Paul etc.) that explain the Gospels are timeless and applicable to all people of all times.
    And truth’s are not conditioned by science, culture and man’s concepts of morality.
    I am rambling.
    Peace to you as well.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Brad. I truly hope the book serves you well and that it addresses all of your concerns.

    I too have some concerns about the emerging church movement.

    Have a good day.

  • rationalobservations?

    You have no answers to any evidence that condemns your fraudulent religion and fake gods, Brad.
    The fact that you are in denial of the evidence is typical and merely confirms the degree of the brainwashing you have succumbed to, your own ignorance and gullibility and your cognitive dissonance and self evident affliction by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Nothing validates any of the many diverse and very different versions of christian fabricated bibles that first appeared in the 4th century AFTER the Roman religion they called “christianity” had been cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world.

    Again: Keep your fantasies and delusions if you haven’t the wits to see through them and cast them off. You appear to be among the last generation of folk similarly afflicted and even in America – the non-religious population outnumber the religious and democracy favours the majority as soon as the non-religious realise they now form the majority…

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • rationalobservations?

    As always there is no actual historical and authenticated texts actually written by Irenaeus from which your claims could be assessed. As always – the only texts attributed to Irenaeus were actually written by anonymous christian scribes centuries after the death of Irenaeus.

    Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?
    (Post by Leucius Charinus May 29, 2015)

    I’d like to discuss the possibility that a substantial portion of what we read as the original Greek works of the heresiologist Irenaeus (2nd century) were instead the products of one or more Latin authors during the rule of Pontifex Maximus Damasus (d.382 CE) in Rome. In addition, what passes for the Greek works (of which little survive) – namely quotations from Eusebius, Hippolytus and Epiphanius – were harvested from 4th century heresiologists in their polemic against 4th century heretics and their books (notably those now discovered and published as the Nag Hammadi Library).

    There are a number of reasons for suspecting Irenaeus may have been either forged or completely overhauled or heavily interpolated in the later 4th century. Here are a few to start:

    1) The earliest manuscripts are Latin and dated c.380 CE

    Aside from a few fragments, the earliest manuscripts for the writings of Irenaeus are in Latin and dated to c.380 CE. An Armenian manuscript recently published (1920?) is dated to the 6th century and thought to be provenance from Constantinople.

    2) Rome and Apostolic Succession

    Damasus was the first to start promoting “PETER WAS HERE” for the Roman tourism industry in the later 4th century. Consequently the primacy of Rome and the legitimacy of the Apostolic Succession (at Rome) was very important to his conception of history.

    Consider this quote:

    “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

    Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:3:2 (A.D. 180).

    This fits well with the dogma of Damasus.

    Additionally there is absolutely nothing about Peter and Paul getting snuffed out in Rome in the NT Bible. The substance of this claim is advertised in the writings of the heretics, in a number of works. These include

    a) the Clementine literature (dated c.330 CE)
    b) the Acts of Linus?
    c) others?

    3) Irenaeus’s polemic is against heretical writings very similar to the NHC

    In his first book Against Heresies, Book I after introducing himself as a Keltae he gets stuck into his opponents (the heretics) as follows:

    Chapter I.-Absurd Ideas of the Disciples of Valentinus as to the Origin, Name, Order, and Conjugal Productions of Their Fancied Aeons, with the Passages of Scripture Which They Adapt to Their Opinions.

    1. They maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Aeon, whom they call Proarche, Propator, and Bythus, and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennoea, whom they also call Charis and Sige. At last this Bythus determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous, who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father’s greatness. This Nous they call also Monogenes, and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things.

    The texts of the Nag Hammadi Codices (dated to the mid 4th century) are full of this sort of stuff. The mainstream thinking is that because the 2nd century source Irenaeus is considered legitimate, then these heretics were operative in the 2nd century. However what if Irenaeus is corrupt, and that the corruption was authored in the later 4th century in Latin as a reaction against the heretics of the 4th century, who are represented in Coptic within the NHC. The Greek originals of the NHC need not necessarily be any earlier than the 4th century.

    (4) Patristic Textual Criticism

    https://books.google.com.au

    Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead …
    By J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace

    “in his “Patristic Textual Criticism”, Miroslav Marcovich complains
    that the surviving copies of some of the early patristic writers
    are “lacunose [filled with gaps], corrupt, dislocated and interpolated”.

    The Latin manuscripts particularly are often recognised to be very corrupt.

    So there are four issues to start any discussion. There may be others.

    MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNIY

    The Roman papacy under Damasus was very innovative and one of the main agendas was to bolster the Roman apostolic succession. The propaganda we find in Irenaeus (supposedly writing from Lyons) is very much in line with what Damasus wanted to establish. Damasus was responsible, with the assistance of his “pupil” Jerome, for commissioning the Latin Vulgate and as such would have had a good Latin scriptorium.

    The heresiological writings of Irenaeus (supposedly 2nd century) and Epiphanius (4th century) are of much the same type of content. The heretics are bad people, the orthodox are good people. Damasus just lasted to see the Decrees of Theodosius concerning the Nicene orthodoxy and the political denouncement of heretics:

    ‘We authorise followers of this law to assume the title of orthodox Christians; but as for the others since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious names of heretics.’

    – Emperor Theodosius”

  • rationalobservations?

    Why are you still parading your ignorance by referring to “the” bible (singular), Brad?
    First reveal which bible you reference than we can dissect and dismiss that particular old book of garbage and vile barbarity.
    Is it one of the oldest / first 4th century fabricated bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) or one of the very diverse and different, confused and contradictory, historically inaccurate, historically unsupported, scientifically absurd bibles later generations of men edited amended and altered from the content of the very oldest first fabricated 4th century human written bibles?

    Your bunkum remains debunked.

  • rationalobservations?

    Your garbage denial still offers nothing evidence based or remotely convincing, Brad.
    You parade your gullibility and display your condition of brainwashed ignorance as though it was not a shameful condition that sensible folk would keep to themselves.

    Open your eyes and your mind, Brad. There is so much more to life than the evil, enslaving anti-humanitarian garbage of religion.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SLVOq77YxcI/WdD49ptS1SI/AAAAAAAAlOs/FqEnF3E72zoc4HIK4i_jqfQAVYLOGvclACJoC/w1435-h1221/20171001_101457.png

  • rationalobservations?

    I do not have a belief there is no God.
    There are many millions of entirely similar, undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men and I have no evidence of the existence of any of them and merely include your unremarkable originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and far from unique or original Roman god-man “Yeshua/Jesus”.
    I never assert there is no god. Always there is no evidence of any of the gods – always plural!!

    There appears to be nothing unique or original within the Urban Myths at the root Judaeo/christian religion – but be assured that the rapidly growing and third largest “religious” cohort (the non-religious) treat all the thousands of apparently imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men/”messiahs” with exactly equal skepticism.

    Many christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their (originally Canaanite) god, “Jehovah/Yahweh” and their (Roman) god-man/”messiah” “Yeshua/Jesus”, but they shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the same gods that atheists deny and for the same reasons religionists of one brand or business deny the gods of all other religious brands and businesses. Atheists just deny one more ridiculously unconvincing god and one more mythical god-man (among many hundreds of thousands of very similar undetected and undetectable totally imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men) than Christians.

    Some fail to justify their enthrallment to their specific brand of religion by pointing out that the non-existence of any of the gods cannot be proved. If inability to prove the non-existence of deities is enough for some to believe in them., they must be very busy worshipping Amun-Ra, Apollo/Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis.and Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. and Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration – and many thousands of other undetectable hypothetical entities among which “Yahweh” and “Jesus” remain merely mythical and of which no one ever provides proof or reason of (or for) existence and therefore non-existence may be assumed by default.

    Atheists don’t exclusively dismiss the probability existence of christian’s hypothetical, imaginary and undetectable Canaanite “god” and Roman “god-man”, they dismiss the probability of all the many thousands of gods, goddesses and god-men/messiahs for the same reasons religionists of one cult dismiss the gods of all other cults – but atheists merely include the particular mythical Canaanite deity and legendary Roman god-man of the remaining – but in the developed world – rapidly dwindling – christian cults and sects.

    The existence of the oldest/first xtian bible (Codex Sinaiticus) that was written by a small team of scribes in the late 4th century proves that all bibles then, and the significantly different bibles written since then, are the work of men, not the work of any of the “gods”.

    Consider that you could be merely fooled and deluded by just one of many corrupt and exclusively self serving businesses of religion and that the rapid and ongoing decline in religion has brought education, peace and free secular democracy to the most advanced civilisations in the world today.

    Hitch once wrote that: “Religion poisons everything”. Education and free secular democracy has already proved, and is proving; to be the antidote to that poison.

    There are several historical “Messiahs” of who historical evidence can be traced but “Jesus” is not among them. Below is an image of one of many Kochbah coins that shows Simon “christ” under the messianic star outside the temple. Contemplate why no such similar evidence (or in fact NO historical evidence at all) of the existence of “Jesus” can be discovered?

    http://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.200×0-is-pid39347.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    There appears to be nothing unique or original within the Urban Myths at the root Judaeo/christian religion – but be assured that the rapidly growing and third largest “religious” cohort (the non-religious) treat all the thousands of apparently imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men/”messiahs” with exactly equal skepticism.

    Many christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their (originally Canaanite) god, “Jehovah/Yahweh” and their (Roman) god-man/”messiah” “Yeshua/Jesus”, but they shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the same gods that atheists deny and for the same reasons religionists of one brand or business deny the gods of all other religious brands and businesses. Atheists just deny one more ridiculously unconvincing god and one more mythical god-man (among many hundreds of thousands of very similar undetected and undetectable totally imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men) than Christians.

    Some fail to justify their enthrallment to their specific brand of religion by pointing out that the non-existence of any of the gods cannot be proved. If inability to prove the non-existence of deities is enough for some to believe in them., they must be very busy worshipping Amun-Ra, Apollo/Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis.and Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. and Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration – and many thousands of other undetectable hypothetical entities among which “Yahweh” and “Jesus” remain merely mythical and of which no one ever provides proof or reason of (or for) existence and therefore non-existence may be assumed by default.

    Atheists don’t exclusively dismiss the probability existence of christian’s hypothetical, imaginary and undetectable Canaanite “god” and Roman “god-man”, they dismiss the probability of all the many thousands of gods, goddesses and god-men/messiahs for the same reasons religionists of one cult dismiss the gods of all other cults – but atheists merely include the particular mythical Canaanite deity and legendary Roman god-man of the remaining – but in the developed world – rapidly dwindling – christian cults and sects.

    The existence of the oldest/first xtian bible (Codex Sinaiticus) that was written by a small team of scribes in the late 4th century proves that all bibles then, and the significantly different bibles written since then, are the work of men, not the work of any of the “gods”.

    Consider that you could be merely fooled and deluded by just one of many corrupt and exclusively self serving businesses of religion and that the rapid and ongoing decline in religion has brought education, peace and free secular democracy to the most advanced civilisations in the world today.

    Hitch once wrote that: “Religion poisons everything”. Education and free secular democracy has already proved, and is proving; to be the antidote to that poison.

    Logically it is necessary to believe in the existence of all the millions of gods, goddesses and god-men and the religions that invented them – or to believe in none until and unless some evidence supported reason for belief becomes available.

    We appear to be almost statistically identical, Brad.
    We both dismiss the possible existence of many millions of gods, goddesses and god-men. I merely dismiss one (or is that three?) more than you, my deluded 99% atheist friend. Open you eyes and your mind to the truth and you could rise to being 100% human/humanist.

    https://monicksunleashed.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/99-percent-atheist.jpg

  • Brad Denham

    I am conversing with someone who believes the bible is true at least in a way similar to mine.
    You are rude to interrupt as you have made your points known on other strings.

  • Brad Denham

    No such thing as evil in your world.

  • Brad Denham

    One God made himself known to both Cain and Abel. Abel worshiped the one true God while Cain rebelled against Him. Cain then killed Abel and went off into the wilderness where the proliferation of every other false pagan god ever invented is derived. You are 99% right in saying all gods are bunkum.
    You are a descendant of Cain and I am from Abel through Seth who replaced Abel.
    At the flood only 8 still had faith in the one true God. I stand with the 8.

  • rationalobservations?

    Why are you still parading your ignorance by referring to “the” bible (singular), Brad?

  • rationalobservations?

    There is so much poisonous evil still polluting the world we all share. The evil of religion poisons everything and everywhere it still dominates..
    Fortunately for the more peaceful future of mankind, freedom from religion and educated secular democracy has proved the antidote to that vile and evil poison in many of the now most peaceful and godless and religion devoid nations.

    https://i0.wp.com/s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1e/f5/e4/1ef5e4ed4344a7dd18ff7556ca92b44a.jpg?strip=all&smooth=-15&contrast=10

    http://www.markfulton.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/statistically.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    Yes, Brad. I know the myths,legends and lies. In fact many different versions of those myths legends and lies.
    It’s all garbage with not a single thing that validates it historically.
    Keep your nonsense for folk as ignorant and gullible as you continually demonstrate yourself to be. The rest of us laugh at such transparent nonsense.

    No evidence or possibility of the existence of Adam and Eve or a global flood or any of the millions of ridiculous undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men.

    Your bunkum is debunked.

  • Brad Denham

    Read these following verses. They will be my last reply to you.
    If you would only come through the back door of faith the front door of empirical proof would become clear. You lack faith.
    I know you will cut and paste another repetitive blurb to satisfy your need for the last epithet towards believers like myself in order to prove yourself as if the final word in a conversation proves victorious.
    So get your last word in and hopefully out of your system.
    I will not be responding.
    You cannot say I have not witnessed to you and you have no excuses.
    Again, my prayer is that God will open your eyes. I cannot.

    If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
    John 3:12

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
    Romans 1:18-23

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    1 Cor. 18-25

  • rationalobservations?

    Repeating superstitious garbage fails to make that garbage more credible.

    You have failed to consider that you could be merely fooled and deluded by just one of many corrupt and exclusively self serving businesses of religion and that the rapid and ongoing decline in religion has brought education, peace and free secular democracy to the most advanced civilisations in the world today.

    You have failed to convince the rest of us that our rational non-belief in all the garbage of all religions is unjustified or erroneous. Your nonsense is still just childish and barbaric superstitious nonsense and your bunkum remains debunked.

    If you wish to cut and run from further embarrassment and humiliation – feel free to do so. If you ever have anything rational and evidence based to contribute – by all means feel free to get back to me.

    Don’t bother with any more of your myths, legends and garbage religionist nonsense. It makes no sense and is an insult to the intelligence of all who merely ignore it.

  • Dean

    What’s wrong with unbelief? It just means you haven’t done your job of convincing someone that something you think is true is really true. Or if you are a Calvinist, God determined that someone wouldn’t believe. Either way, criticizing someone for their unbelief is something very unusual because it is you who have failed to do to something, not the other way around. I’m sure if you got a lot flack for not believing in Islam it wouldn’t bother you in the least, because you don’t believe it’s true. Why would someone who didn’t believe the Bible was true be bothered by criticism of their unbelief? When I read some of these comments I often wonder if some people are just psychologically unable to imagine how someone else (not you) might think about some of these things. Have you tried this? I mean, can you just pretend to be an atheist for an hour and make the arguments that you think they would make against your own positions? I’m a little skeptical you’d be able to do that.

  • Brad Denham

    Hi Dean,
    My point is that when endless doubt becomes the mantra for purposely never arriving at any conclusions then you shall never know the truth that can set you free from unbelief.
    Are you advocating believing there is nothing to believe in? An obvious contradiction.
    Are there endless questions and no answers?
    Some would like it that way so we can do away with the “truths” we don’t like.

    Yes, I do struggle with trying to understand others who don’t believe what i believe and that is why I am here.
    I think I know what you are saying and will try and be less dogmatic and “walk a mile in their shoes”.

    Pretend to be an atheist? That indeed would be difficult.
    In my defense, if you are referring to rationalobservations, I felt he was not a skeptic asking honest questions but an enemy attacking religion in general which requires a different type of answer. Maybe my answers were not the best??

    Hope that helps you understand my original statement better and I hope your questions to me help me adjust.
    Thx

    Attachment in response to Dean below…
    Thanks for your thought provoking words.
    These are genuine questions that Christians should be able to answer but indeed often fail to provide adequate answers. I am struggling with how to respond for there is much to say. I will try and be concise.

    We live in an era of postmodernism which among other things claims we cannot be certain about anything science cannot analyze. One result of that way of thinking is that we reject being rational about our faith based concepts and instead look for existential experiences to validate our lives (and our faith if we have any beliefs in the supernatural). Life becomes very subjective rather than objective when it should be both. Religious people look for spiritual subjective experiences instead of objective truth claims whether found in the bible or the Quran or whatever.
    I believe the real authentic Christian life is a combination of having minds that by faith “grasp” truth and emotions that follow experientially that validate the truth in our spirits.
    Problem is of coarse: What truth?
    I of coarse believe in the truth claims of Jesus who claimed to be the truth. And Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Notice the pattern. You know something (truth) or believe something before freedom. We hear the claims of Jesus and we by faith believe them and freedom follows.
    John said this in his gospel:

    Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    Again, the pattern is you believe something and “having life” follows. John, again in his first epistle goes out of his way to say we can know the truth. Here are 3 verses that speak of truth, knowing, and reassured hearts that can be confident our faith is real.

    By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

    I can tell you I have confidence before God and that when my heart doubts I can know God is greater than my heart. I cannot prove that.

    To answer your question “Can you tell me whether you have had a personal, unmistakable, unambiguous, supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ?” I would have to say yes but not in a way I can make known objectively to another individual. I can’t put my experience in a box to be analyzed scientifically or experienced by anyone else. I can only testify of it. Believing me or believing the truth I purport to believe is of coarse their choice.
    So warm and fuzzy feelings – no.

    And “why he does not manifest himself more clearly in our lives in unambiguous ways” you ask? He did many times in the OT and the new but these supernatural miraculous occurrences often did not result in people believing. Those who don’t believe will always find a way of reasoning away the “manifestation” even if they have to attribute it to Satan. Manifestations/miracles don’t always result in faith. Most don’t believe they ever occurred.

    Having said that, I do understand what you say about the mystery of the hiddenness of God and why we are skeptical and atheistic.
    However, I do believe there is enough evidence in the natural realm and from within a man to at least convince a person there has got to be more to life than the material realm and he is in fact suppressing the truth. Romans 1:19-20.

    Science is good and empirical evidence is all very interesting but it is not the way God uses to call a person to eternal life. Faith in revealed truth is required which no doubt cannot be used as proof to the one who does not believe the truth of the bible as the only truth.

    Hope this helps.

  • Brad, much as I loath agreeing with Rationalobsterman, you cannot simply make a statement like “God’s word needs no historical verification to be true,” or claim the “law of noncontradiction” as validation of the Bible. First of all, IF God wrote the Bible it would HAVE to be inerrant, presupposes a couple things. First, that God used free standing propositional statements to declare spiritual truths. Secondly, that the Bible would de facto have to be inerrant in all it says. As an equation: A. God = Truth, B. God wrote Bible, therefore C. Bible = Truth. Now, if any one item in this equation is false, it falls apart. As Rational has pointed out, C is simply not true. I am sorry, but the Bible does not meet your’s, Charles Hodge’s or even Wayne Grudem’s standard of inerrancy. The Bible does not fulfill the qualifications that inerrantists have demanded of it.

    If A of the equation is true still (God = Truth) and C is false (Bible is Truth/inerrant), then by definition B is not true, God did not “write” the Bible. And, indeed that much is true. God didn’t write the Bible, people did. If, as you say, we have a 99.9% assurance of the original documents, then inerrantists have a real, valid problem on their hands. There are very few “propositional statements” in the Bible. Most of it is told in the way of “story.” This is not “history” in the modern sense, but story with theological, political and moral “agendas.”

    The problem I have with your definition of “faith” is that it ignores truth, rather than seeks it. This is not faith. I suggest you read Bart Ehrman’s “Jesus Interrupted” for a good introduction to the problems surrounding inerrancy. The problems are many: what day did Jesus die? What did he say on the cross? Who was at the empty tomb? Etc., Are just a few of the myriads of contradictions you will find addressed in Ehrman’s book.

    I could go on, but Rational already has. But in closing, I would say your faith is misplaced. Rather than placed on “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” you hang it solely on the belief that we have an inerrant Bible. We don’t.

  • Bones

    The Bible is no more ‘authoritative’ than the Quran.

    And if it is, ya better get it right then.

    Is the Pope authoritative of the Catholic Catechism? Nope. Or the Westminster confession? Nope.

    People give things and people authority.

    What I see are clowns claiming the Bible to be Absolute Truth and ‘Authority’ when it’s really just their interpretation which is both Absolute and Authoritative. And they couldn’t be half arsed doing any study.

  • Bones

    You know Rashie the best adverts for atheism are people like Bob.

  • Brad Denham

    Hi Kirk,
    I don’t think we can believe “Jesus Christ and him crucified” unless you believe the bible to be inerrant. Otherwise, as everyone else seems to think, whatever you believe”Jesus Christ and him crucified” means is only your interpretation and may or may not be true. Unless that is a propositional truth statement and correlated with other parts of the scriptures that explain who Jesus is and why he was crucified then the statement means nothing objective and cannot be considered objective truth to be believed or not.

    And I can’t understand why (I actually have some good ideas as to why) pc’s have a hard time believing in the formula you wrote above including c: Bible = Truth when Jesus himself said “thy word is truth” and not one jot would fail etc, and I could quote verse after verse saying the same thing.
    The apparent contradictions you mention are just that – apparent, and answers can be found. Some to be sure are tougher than others.

    And claiming “Gods word needs no historical verification to be true” is valid if understood as revelation from God’s kingdom as light shining into darkness. Can the darkness comprehend light? Is our faith based on empirical evidence? Then my faith would have to rest on mens opinions of “what really happened”. There is non-faith based evidence but that is not the point.

    If God has not spoken his truth into our realm of lies then we have no hope and rationalobservation and bones are right. We may as well all be at best agnostic. And if he has spoken by myth and we need to demythologise then good luck because then every subjective opinion counts and we will never arrive at anything we can hang our faith hats on.
    My faith is not in inerrancy or the bible as a book but in the truths communicated via the bible as the living and active Word explained and interpreted by the Holy Spirit.

    And, why cannot both man and God have written the bible? Men wrote there own words under the influence of the Spirit.
    2 Peter 1:21.

    Also, i do believe one can be an errantist and still be a Christian. I am not throwing every pc person under the bus here.

  • rationalobservations?

    After the ridiculous confused and contradictory, historically inaccurate and scientifically absurd (un)holy books they fall to study – the religiot fanatics are a great antidote to the garbage of religion.

  • Bones

    “Morals don’t evolve….”

    Really?????

    Are gay people still executed?

    Are bleeding women still unclean?

    Morals do evolve with education and enlightenment.

    That’s why much of religion is now considered immoral.

  • Brad Denham

    I do plenty of study and have the audacity to draw different conclusions and believe things differently than you.
    You want me to think like you and that is sheer arrogance.

    Your authority is study and education and your interpretation of it, clown!

  • Bones

    No.

    I’m trying to educate you.

    Theres nothing at all authoritative about anything other than what we give it.

    Sadly you’re too scared to educate yourself because you know the whole house of cards will tumble down.

  • Bones

    Quoting Bible verses to atheists is the ultimate in stupidity.

  • Bones

    “My point is that when endless doubt becomes the mantra for purposely never arriving at any conclusions then you shall never know the truth that can set you free from unbelief.”

    Muslims say the same about your unbelief.

  • Bones

    Bible = Truth

    That’s a lie.

    Bible = Subjective agendas written by people over hundreds of years.

    What the f*** is a pc person?

    Is that someone who thinks the god who kills gays and thinks bleeding women are unclean is immoral?

  • Brad Denham

    pc = progressive christian

    Has God really said…..?
    Gen. 3:1

  • Brad Denham

    Only the gospel has the power to remove darkness.

  • Brad, has it ever occurred to you that Jesus is the “truth” that God “spoke” into our “realm of lies,” and not an inerrant Bible? For example, in the Gospel of John?

  • Bones

    Trendy bs bumper stickers don’t work in real life.

    Study is the way to Enlightenment not ignorance.

  • Bones

    Genesis is a prime example of a text which was written for a specific agenda – namely the origins of the Hebrew people.

    It is not history.

    Did God really say to kill gay people and that menstruating women were unclean and that a woman whose hymen was removed was to be put to death (while blokes roam free)?

  • Brad Denham

    My life is real and it has worked for me.
    So ignorance is an issue, ignorance that is of the Christian experience.
    You are not ignorant but unbelieving. You know but refuse to believe.
    I may not be as intelligent or erudite as you concerning this world and it’s history etc. but I have something you don’t that you simply cannot comprehend.
    A new spiritual life while at the same time an earthly existence until I die.

  • Brad Denham

    Hi Kirk,
    Yes that has occurred to me and I believe that just as you state it. No argument.
    My point would be that considering you mentioned the Gospel of John, would you not consider what John has written as the means by which we come to know who Jesus is?
    And by extension the rest of the gospels?
    And by extension the rest of scripture?
    After all, did not Jesus teach on the road to Emmaus that we need to believe “all that the prophets have spoken” and that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”?
    Does that not say that the OT, when properly understood points to the Jesus we love so dearly who now speaks to us through the gospels? (and Spirit)

    And Jesus castigated the Pharisees for not understanding the OT correctly when he said “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,”.
    That verse is usually used against the inerrantist but Jesus does say the scriptures bear witness of him.
    I don’t have eternal life by believing in the scriptures themselves, but I have eternal life by believing in Jesus that the scriptures witness of.
    Why then understand the OT to be myths and stories written by sinful men who possibly got it right sometimes concerning Jesus and at other times not, and we are left to try and guess what is true and what is not?

    And I think I could make a similar case for the epistles and all the NT as further revelation of who Jesus is.
    After all, you quoted “Jesus Christ and him crucified” above which is Pauline (and a propositional truth statement).
    And the writer of the Gospel of John also wrote 3 other letters as you know.

    Thx for letting me get my 2 cents in.

  • Brad Denham

    Then throw it in the garbage for use in the Christian faith. For me that is anathema.

    And to answer your question, although you phrase the question in non-biblical terms, the answer is yes but you understand not the context. You can’t because you have not the spirit. You only read it as ancient text.

  • Bones

    So you cant answer if God actually said to kill gays, that menstruating women were unclean and that women were to have virginity inspections.

    I’d probably be embarrassed too.

  • Bones

    Yeah i dont believe in a god who kills people.

    Boy, you really got me there.

    What does this need of a death god fulfill in you?

    Its all about fear isnt it?

    It isnt intelligence by the way but little things like compassion and mercy and basic common sense.

    Things your god lacks.

  • Brad Denham

    Everyone dies. That is the penalty for sin. Basic.
    The need Jesus (what you call death god) fulfills in me is dying to self and living a new life where death no longer has power over me.
    Indeed it is about fear at least to start, then it goes away having been given new life in Christ never to fear death again.
    All that because God is compassionate and merciful to sinners like me.
    And all that makes sense to me.

  • Brad Denham

    I did say “yes” but qualified it for 2 reasons.
    1. Your language is questionable although I get what your saying.
    2. The issues need to be understood in the context of a Holy Law-giving God to a particular people for particular reasons and are no longer valid.

  • Bones

    Oh the old subjective morality nonsense.

    It was once ok to kill gays, isolate menstruating women and execute women over dubious vaginal tests but not now.

    What exactly is holy about killing a woman whose hymen was ruptured by rape or even riding a horse. (Btw there is no virginal test for a man)

    I find it bizarre that your god knew so little and was so ignorant about female anatomy.

    Do you not ever wonder why God didn’t know any more than the Ancient Israelites?

  • Bones

    Everyone dies…..full stop. Death comes because our bodies give out through old age, disease or trauma.

    To the ancients, death was the enemy – the end of life – the Ransom from which were to be delivered – which gets cast into a lake of fire (which is weird because death is a non-entity, a state of non-living)….which has a sting according to the Apostle Paul. It is Christianity which tied death and sin. That was NOT a Jewish teaching.

    It’s not a punishment. And I say that as someone whose seen members of his family die. Heck I’m glad my father died and didn’t survive a horrific gunshot wound to the head. He was still alive when I found him.
    He’d have been a vegetable. My Mum died after giving up after living in hospitals for months.

    In fact punishment would be living on this rock with every human and animal ever created still wandering around making babies….conservatively 100 billion people have been born and would still be walking around on a planet not big enough to hold them.

    Death is in fact a release. It’s not ot be feared. We go back to where we came from.

    Why would I want to live to 150 years as a decrepit whose body and mind will be unable to function.

    Pull the pin on me please, and let me go back to the Universe (the same thing I did to my mother btw).

    And what else was a punishment?

    Genesis 3:16

    “To the woman He (God) said,
    “I will greatly multiply
    Your pain in childbirth,
    In pain you will bring forth children;

    The pain of childbirth was a curse on women. You people like to gloss over that but the complications and pain women have in childbirth are directly attributed to God Himself as a curse on all womankind. Have you ever seen a woman have a baby? I’ve seen 6 and two of those were complicated pregnancies involving cutting my wife open. In the ancient times, both mother and baby would have died because of your god’s curse on them.

    God is compassionate and merciful to you ONLY because you bowed down to him (well your understanding of him).

    He is not compassionate and merciful to anyone else.

    His mercy and compassion are in fact conditional.

    Jesus actually said such a person was no better than the tax collectors (Luke 6:32; Matthew 5:46).

    What does that say about God?

    You are aware that there are billions of humans who have a better understanding of morality than that god.

    I mean I’m not out there killing people because they don’t know me.

    In fact I help them.

  • Dean

    Brad, I like how authentic you sound, what’s strange to me is why you struggle to understand why someone would be an atheist? I’ve been a lifelong Christian and I can tell you an open secret that probably 90% of Christians share: I can’t actually say for sure whether God really exists and if he exists, whether that person is the same as Jesus Christ revealed in the Protestant Bible. One way for me to know definitively is if I had a supernatual experience, which occurs quite often in the Bible and in Christian folklore (both ancient and modern), but not for me or actually anyone I know reasonably well. I’m still a Christian because this is the tradition I was raised in and I still think it’s beautiful and it’s the best hope we have. But it’s hard for me to understand how if God is real, why he does not manifest himself more clearly in our lives in unambiguous ways. You should be familiar with this conundrum, we Christians call it the mystery of the hiddenness of God. The atheists (maybe rightly so) say we have created a problem in need of a solution. I am totally sympathetic to that, so it’s odd to me why you and a lot of other more conservative Christians are not. Can you tell me whether you have had a personal, unmistakable, unambiguous, supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ? If so, I would love to hear it because I do like those kinds of stories. But if you are going to tell me you prayed one day and had a warm feeling in your heart, well, Mormons get that all the time and I think I can guess how you feel about those guys. :)

  • Daniel Niehoff

    The Quran is propositional truth and when united with faith enlightens the mind to grasp the reality of who Allah is.
    You are relying on skeptics become atheists who only interpret the ancient writings within their darkness of unbelief. They are forced into wrong conclusions.

    And you have no basis for love. Allah is love . The law of non-contradiction applies.

  • Brad Denham

    HI Daniel,
    Thanks for that. I guess we all could plug our own beliefs into that statement and believe we have grasped the reality of who God is (or is not).
    The main difference for me between Muhammad and Jesus is that Jesus died and rose again proving (if believed) he is who he claimed to be and therefore reveals the one true God. Muhammad did not and so his concept of God (Allah) is not validated.
    And the way of salvation with Jesus is by grace through faith whereas with the Quran it is a religious system of works which is no different than any other religion including the self-righteous Pharisees Jesus called out.
    Would be interesting to know if you are Muslim or are just poking holes in my statement which I admit is not the best use of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Fear and guilt are two things Calvinists like Piper excel at. Power and control are two more. I used to idolize Piper back when I was a Calvinist, and still Christian. The man could do no wrong except possibly stub his toe. Now I am not even a Christian, and it is easy now for me to see right through tactics like his. People like you, who have honest doubts, should be encouraged and comforted as well as you can be, both by your fellow members of your religion, and compassionate humans outside of your religion. But empathy is not the driving force behind Piper’s words (have not read his article for myself, but I am not sure it is worth my time to even skim it). No, power and control are, by the wonderful weapons of fear and guilt and shame and condemnation. Calvinism apparently thrives on the stuff.

  • Brad Denham

    See attachment to my above comment.

  • Brad Denham

    HI Mathew,
    I am not sure where my previous comment went but in it I said I would read your suggested book by Adam Hamilton and without apology critique it from an inerrantist’s point of view.
    I have done so and without getting into details it is what I thought it would be – a mistaken view of the scriptures that in the end allows one to conform the Word of God “once delivered to the saints” to pretty well anything one wants them to say today including adapting them to suit and follow culture even when culture is going down the toilet as it now is.
    Just being honest with you Mathew.
    The scriptures are not malleable. Understood in this (mistaken and tragic) way they will take people who claim to be Christian down the toilet also into hell.
    They become only the mistaken subjective opinions of men which can lead to extreme mystics like many on this blog, shear athiests and to cultural “christians” who think they are following Christ but are instead following a “christ” of their own imagination which is another gospel to be anathematized.

  • Matthew

    I think you hit on a critical issue. The difference between how major camps view the Bible regarding inerrancy has profound consequences on just about everything else.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and for reading the book.

  • Brad Denham

    Thanks for your kind reply.
    So true that the difference between errancy and inerrancy is critical.
    Thx,
    Brad

  • Cynthia

    That’s fine if you are explaining why YOU believe in Christianity. It utterly fails to persuade someone who doesn’t share your beliefs in the first place, because there is no automatic assumption that what is written in the Bible is true. It is a circular argument.

  • Brad Denham

    Hi Cynthia,

    I will not pretend to be an expert in logic or philosophy but I try (if I can find the time) to read up on such.
    Here is a quote from one of those I have been reading lately.

    “As a Christian I am committed to a worldview that comes from the bible: (here he list several key doctrines).
    I will be presupposing that worldview in this volume, but also arguing for it in dialogue with the philosophers whom we will consider.
    There might seem to be a kind of circularity in presupposing what I argue for. But that is inevitable when we are dealing with worldviews.
    (The Atheist) assumes his worldview when he argues for it. Rationalists defend their rationalism by appealing to rationalism.”

    John M. Frame. The History of Western Philosophy and Theology. Page 2.

    I don’t think either side can avoid circular reasoning at some level.
    Does not rationalobservations do the same, ie …Rationalists defend their rationalism by appealing to rationalism (as quoted)?

    Thx,
    Brad