Doubting Thomas

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I started thinking about it today when I was watching a show from the History Channel called the 'Apostles Collections'.

1. The Apostles needed proof that Jesus came back from the dead before they'd believe it. (Thomas said that he had to put his fingers inside the wound on Jesus' side before he'd believe)

a. Why are the apostles given a free pass while everyone else is not? The apostles actually knew Jesus and saw him perform miracles, and Jesus still appeared before them to prove this divinity. Why hasn't Jesus showed himself to us, as he did to the apostles, if he knew that as humans we tend to need proof to believe something?

b. Why would they even doubt that Jesus came back or that he was even the messiah after ALL the miracles they supposedly saw him preform, and especially after the miracles like that of Lazarus?

Something's not adding up here, on both accounts.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Hey Amber, I don't think

Hey Amber, I don't think we've met. I'm Rook Hawkins, resident Ancient Text expert. Welcome to the boards and hope you enjoy your stay (And may it be a lengthy one at that).

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I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I started thinking about it today when I was watching a show from the History Channel called the 'Apostles Collections'.

First things first, the History Channel isn't as unbias as they claim. Most of their programs are sponsored by the Christian Childrens Fund, along with the United Methodist Church (Watch the commercials and you'll see most of them are not really unbias...).

They have been going ape with the Christain "history" shows lately. Shows like "The Science of Moses" or whatever it was, and that "Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus" crap. Not only do such shows beg the question (That Jesus existed) but they are just one large lie after another. There are some okay shows, like ones on WWII, or the Civil War, or the old west, but they are impartial where bias can't show through as much as shows like those stated above.

There show on the DeVinci Code for example were riddled with one-sided ideas and misinformation, their sources were barely credible at points, and the rest were not even close.

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1. The Apostles needed proof that Jesus came back from the dead before they'd believe it. (Thomas said that he had to put his fingers inside the wound on Jesus' side before he'd believe)

This is funny, because this is only half true. According to the account in question, John 20:24-30, is the only mention of such an act. Here are the verses for you:

John, 20:24-30, "Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[a] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

This is, as said before, the only time this appears in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, not there.

What I find ironic in all this is that John is the last of the Gospels to have been written. (Not that it's relevant, just that I thought you'd find it interesting)

In every other Gospel, yes they saw Jesus, which begs the question as to why - if Jesus wanted people to believe in him then, and he apparently is said to want that now - he hasn't show himself continuously? And not just, as Mike stated on the show, on a tortia chip.

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a. Why are the apostles given a free pass while everyone else is not? The apostles actually knew Jesus and saw him perform miracles, and Jesus still appeared before them to prove this divinity. Why hasn't Jesus showed himself to us, as he did to the apostles, if he knew that as humans we tend to need proof to believe something?

Because the reason why such acts as that of Thomas did not make it into the other Gospels, (or maybe they did and later scribes took them out before thye made it into a Codex?) is because they feared people would also take on the role of Thomas and question. Preachers and priests are very uncomfortable with the whole "question" thing. They would prefer to never be questioned, because their answers are dubious at best.

Paul epistles and in Acts (The Acts author thought Jesus was actually murdered by being hung from a tree, not crucified,,,again just thought you'd like to know) the message has always been go on faith. Faith is without question, and preachers like that sort of blind obedience.

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b. Why would they even doubt that Jesus came back or that he was even the messiah after ALL the miracles they supposedly saw him preform, and especially after the miracles like that of Lazarus?

Because you also have to understand the time in which these were written. History today and history back then are very different. It was acceptable in the times of the first and second century for somebody to not only Euhemerize a person or persons into an event, or place and time, but it was also accepted as historically accurate if somebody just made things up that probably could have happened.

For example, if the author of John really thought Jesus was real (Which at this point, may have been likely, although the author seems to be of Sethian-Gnostic background, in which his Gospel is allegorical) but he didn't know, for example, the sayings of those around him, or what transpired exactly when Jesus was said to rise from the dead, it was quite acceptable in the day to just make up things in place of lack of evidence. The author, for all we knew, could have thought just like you and said, "Well, if this Jesus came back in the flesh, his Disciples, having witnessed his death, would have questioned his resurrection...I would too!"...and he could have made up the whole situation with Thomas and Jesus.

So don't get too excited about such things. Remember that Jesus is probably a euhemerized character anyway, and that the events in the Gospels aren't really all that important in terms of a historical standpoint. I do get your meaning though, and see that you are frustrated with people giving you a hard time about questioning, when apparently these guys who hung out with JC also questioned, and were not scolded for it.

But anyway, hope that makes sense of things.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

AtheismSucks's picture

My reply to Rook_Hawkins

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This is funny, because this is only half true. According to the account in question, John 20:24-30, is the only mention of such an act. Here are the verses for you:

John, 20:24-30, "Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[a] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

This is, as said before, the only time this appears in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, not there.

What I find ironic in all this is that John is the last of the Gospels to have been written. (Not that it's relevant, just that I thought you'd find it interesting)

So John mentioned Thomas' doubt but Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't. *SHRUGS* Okay. If you're saying that because they didn't mention it that makes John's testimony false (or the doubting Thomas story false) then you're begging the question.

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In every other Gospel, yes they saw Jesus, which begs the question as to why - if Jesus wanted people to believe in him then, and he apparently is said to want that now - he hasn't show himself continuously? And not just, as Mike stated on the show, on a tortia chip.

You should read what I wrote to Amber.

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Because the reason why such acts as that of Thomas did not make it into the other Gospels, (or maybe they did and later scribes took them out before thye made it into a Codex?) is because they feared people would also take on the role of Thomas and question.

LOL, then why would Matthew 28:17 talk about people doubting even with the evidence that Jesus was right in front of them. Most of all, Matthew didn't even go into detail. Aside from John people would have still doubted like Thomas.

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Preachers and priests are very uncomfortable with the whole "question" thing. They would prefer to never be questioned, because their answers are dubious at best.

As we've seen that's not the case.

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Paul epistles and in Acts (The Acts author thought Jesus was actually murdered by being hung from a tree, not crucified,,,again just thought you'd like to know) the message has always been go on faith. Faith is without question, and preachers like that sort of blind obedience.

Not really. Peter said we should always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in us (1Peter 3:15). And Jude talks about contending for the faith (Jude 1:3).

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Because you also have to understand the time in which these were written. History today and history back then are very different. It was acceptable in the times of the first and second century for somebody to not only Euhemerize a person or persons into an event, or place and time, but it was also accepted as historically accurate if somebody just made things up that probably could have happened.

She wasn't talking about history but about how someone who have been exposed to a miracle. Please, read more closely.

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For example, if the author of John really thought Jesus was real (Which at this point, may have been likely, although the author seems to be of Sethian-Gnostic background, in which his Gospel is allegorical) but he didn't know, for example, the sayings of those around him, or what transpired exactly when Jesus was said to rise from the dead, it was quite acceptable in the day to just make up things in place of lack of evidence. The author, for all we knew, could have thought just like you and said, "Well, if this Jesus came back in the flesh, his Disciples, having witnessed his death, would have questioned his resurrection...I would too!"...and he could have made up the whole situation with Thomas and Jesus.

But we're not talking about what is historically made up but about being exposed to miracles at the moment.

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So don't get too excited about such things. Remember that Jesus is probably a euhemerized character anyway, and that the events in the Gospels aren't really all that important in terms of a historical standpoint. I do get your meaning though...

LOL.

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...and see that you are frustrated with people giving you a hard time about questioning, when apparently these guys who hung out with JC also questioned, and were not scolded for it.

But anyway, hope that makes sense of things.

It would if you would actually respond to what she said about why would someone doubt that Jesus came back or that he was even the messiah after ALL the miracles they supposedly saw Him preform, and especially after the miracles like that of Lazarus? I take it you haven't witnessed a miracle, Rook_Hawkins. But if you did experience one from Jesus, would you doubt it if He came back from the dead? That's the question. As far as I can tell Amber thinks it was irrational for the disciples to doubt the resurrection since they were personally exposed to all the miracles Jesus did.

Thanks,

Frank

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Quote:This is funny, because

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This is funny, because this is only half true. According to the account in question, John 20:24-30, is the only mention of such an act. Here are the verses for you:

John, 20:24-30, "Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[a] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

This is, as said before, the only time this appears in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, not there.

What I find ironic in all this is that John is the last of the Gospels to have been written. (Not that it's relevant, just that I thought you'd find it interesting)

So John mentioned Thomas' doubt but Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't. *SHRUGS* Okay. If you're saying that because they didn't mention it that makes John's testimony false (or the doubting Thomas story false) then you're begging the question.

Actually, you're committing a giant strawman. In fact, all four Gospels are false, and until you can prove otherwise, I suggest you keep your irrelevant comments to yourself.

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In every other Gospel, yes they saw Jesus, which begs the question as to why - if Jesus wanted people to believe in him then, and he apparently is said to want that now - he hasn't show himself continuously? And not just, as Mike stated on the show, on a tortia chip.

You should read what I wrote to Amber.

That's okay; you don't seem up to the caliber of knowledge in which I would actually care what imbecilic thoughts you might have to spew forth from your orifice or type up in a putrid manner on some zealous blog. Unlike you, I don’t force my opinions on other people unnecessarily.

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Because the reason why such acts as that of Thomas did not make it into the other Gospels, (or maybe they did and later scribes took them out before thye made it into a Codex?) is because they feared people would also take on the role of Thomas and question.

LOL, then why would Matthew 28:17 talk about people doubting even with the evidence that Jesus was right in front of them.

Did you not realize how you proved my point right there? That entire message is to accept on FAITH.

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Most of all, Matthew didn't even go into detail. Aside from John people would have still doubted like Thomas.

Speculation. Begging the Question. Man, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

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Preachers and priests are very uncomfortable with the whole "question" thing. They would prefer to never be questioned, because their answers are dubious at best.

As we've seen that's not the case.

Um, actually, no. That is the case.

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Paul epistles and in Acts (The Acts author thought Jesus was actually murdered by being hung from a tree, not crucified,,,again just thought you'd like to know) the message has always been go on faith. Faith is without question, and preachers like that sort of blind obedience.

Not really. Peter said we should always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in us (1Peter 3:15). And Jude talks about contending for the faith (Jude 1:3).

Please, shall I completely destroy your argument with a wide range of counter-verses which number at least ten times the amount you could even attempt to bring to bear? You don't know who you stepped in the ring with.

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Because you also have to understand the time in which these were written. History today and history back then are very different. It was acceptable in the times of the first and second century for somebody to not only Euhemerize a person or persons into an event, or place and time, but it was also accepted as historically accurate if somebody just made things up that probably could have happened.

She wasn't talking about history but about how someone who have been exposed to a miracle. Please, read more closely.

Actually, she was talking about how incredibly stupid it is that somebody who would have seen Jesus his entire ministry and saw him perform all these miracles could doubt him. That wasn't at all what you thought she said...read more closely.

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For example, if the author of John really thought Jesus was real (Which at this point, may have been likely, although the author seems to be of Sethian-Gnostic background, in which his Gospel is allegorical) but he didn't know, for example, the sayings of those around him, or what transpired exactly when Jesus was said to rise from the dead, it was quite acceptable in the day to just make up things in place of lack of evidence. The author, for all we knew, could have thought just like you and said, "Well, if this Jesus came back in the flesh, his Disciples, having witnessed his death, would have questioned his resurrection...I would too!"...and he could have made up the whole situation with Thomas and Jesus.

But we're not talking about what is historically made up but about being exposed to miracles at the moment.

No, we're talking about how Thomas could have doubted Jesus after he had seen Jesus' ministry (supposedly) and that if HE could doubt, why he got the free pass while we don't. That's her whole point, you twit.

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So don't get too excited about such things. Remember that Jesus is probably a euhemerized character anyway, and that the events in the Gospels aren't really all that important in terms of a historical standpoint. I do get your meaning though...

LOL.

Way to prove absolutely nothing.

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...and see that you are frustrated with people giving you a hard time about questioning, when apparently these guys who hung out with JC also questioned, and were not scolded for it.

But anyway, hope that makes sense of things.

It would if you would actually respond to what she said about why would someone doubt that Jesus came back or that he was even the messiah after ALL the miracles they supposedly saw Him preform, and especially after the miracles like that of Lazarus?

She wasn't asking WHY somebody would doubt, she already KNOWS why. She is pondering on the fact that it is ironic. And really, I was simply adding in my two cents, who the hell are you to tell me I wasn't answering her question? I had no intent to do anything of the sort. I was merely replying. I'm not out to convert every living soul, just to teach. Apparently you have missed something.

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I take it you haven't witnessed a miracle, Rook_Hawkins.

Wow. Non-sequitor much?

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But if you did experience one from Jesus, would you doubt it if He came back from the dead? That's the question.

Where do you see a question? I see it as rhetorical.

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As far as I can tell Amber thinks it was irrational for the disciples to doubt the resurrection since they were personally exposed to all the miracles Jesus did.

Thanks,

Frank

Yes, because HAD they actually been there, why the heck did they doubt? Why are WE not able to doubt without fear of death, while they can at will? THAT is her whole point. That point, obviously, was missed by you. That doesn't surprise me however. You lack brain activity, as had your true intent been honest you would have not replied to me but just answered her without directly attacking me and my response. Then you make presuppositions about me, and my life. You're lucky I'm tolerant, because had I been a lesser man you wouldn't be here.

Now, if you wish to debate me on some point or another, you take it to the forum and do not spam this blog again. The next time you do, the post will be deleted. Capice?

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

It’s nice to meet you

It’s nice to meet you Rook, thanks for the welcome.

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First things first, the History Channel isn't as unbias as they claim. Most of their programs are sponsored by the Christian Childrens Fund, along with the United Methodist Church (Watch the commercials and you'll see most of them are not really unbias...).

Yeah I got the gist of that when I was listening to the different interviewees talking. Recently I had a new drive to research the bible and the history of the bible and I’ve been taking the lazy man’s approach in doing so (watching a bunch of videos from the History Channel/National Geographic’s, etc...). Do you have any recommendations in regards to reliable books I could read about the bible? Also I wanted to take on the task of re-reading the bible with three different translations to get an idea of how different they can be. Do you have any pointers or advice? Keep in mind I’m talking about English translations.

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So don't get too excited about such things. Remember that Jesus is probably a euhemerized character anyway, and that the events in the Gospels aren't really all that important in terms of a historical standpoint. I do get your meaning though, and see that you are frustrated with people giving you a hard time about questioning, when apparently these guys who hung out with JC also questioned, and were not scolded for it.
But anyway, hope that makes sense of things.

It did, thanks for the added insight!

In regards to Frank,

I get a little nervous when someone wants to take me away from the safety of my own blog so they can explain something to me. If you can't write a response to what I have to say at my blog, then I don’t want to hear what you have to say. At any rate, I was in a fundamental Christian environment for 15 years, so I can just IMAGINE what kind of marvelous circular reasoning you had in store for me.

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It would if you would actually respond to what she said about why would someone doubt that Jesus came back or that he was even the messiah after ALL the miracles they supposedly saw Him preform, and especially after the miracles like that of Lazarus?

Sweetheart, I’m not looking for answers to those questions. Do you know what a rhetorical question is?

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A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect rather than for the purpose of getting an answer. ("How many times do I have to tell you to stop walking into the house with mud on your shoes?").
A rhetorical question seeks to encourage reflection within the listener as to what the answer to the question (at least, the answer implied by the questioner) must be. When a speaker declaims, "How much longer must our people endure this injustice?" or "Will our company grow or shrink?", no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something. Source: Wikipedia

Rook summed up my points nicely when he said:

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Actually, she was talking about how incredibly stupid it is that somebody who would have seen Jesus his entire ministry and saw him perform all these miracles could doubt him.

And:

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She wasn't asking WHY somebody would doubt, she already KNOWS why. She is pondering on the fact that it is ironic.

One last thing, If I went into a forum for say, Christianity, to question the logic of their beliefs, I would not make the username 'ChristianitySucks'. One that's immature, two I pretty much make anything I say not worth reading to them. Right away you go into it attacking people without saying anything, and without anything to back it up. Nice tactics.

AtheismSucks's picture

Quote:I get a little nervous

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I get a little nervous when someone wants to take me away from the safety of my own blog so they can explain something to me. If you can't write a response to what I have to say at my blog, then I don’t want to hear what you have to say.

But I did respond to what you said, even in my blog. Besides, I put your whole argument in my blog first.

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At any rate, I was in a fundamental Christian environment for 15 years, so I can just IMAGINE what kind of marvelous circular reasoning you had in store for me.

"Marvelous cricular reasoning"? Personally, I don't find circular reasoning marvelous. In fact I avoid circular reasoning when possible. But let's see if you've pointed it out in my respnoses...

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Sweetheart, I’m not looking for answers to those questions. Do you know what a rhetorical question is?

*SHRUGS* I knew it was rhetorical. Your question was rhetorical but you didn't have the right assumption to begin with. That's what I dealt with mainly. Rook veered off into another direction about history and whatnot.

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One last thing, If I went into a forum for say, Christianity, to question the logic of their beliefs, I would not make the username 'ChristianitySucks'. One that's immature, two I pretty much make anything I say not worth reading to them.

Well, personally, I wouldn't be offended if somebody had the username "Christianitysucks." I would be offended if they had "Christianssuck" though. Profound difference.

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Right away you go into it attacking people without saying anything, and without anything to back it up. Nice tactics.

It's just a username, Amber. Not an argument. Anyway, you haven't shown any circular reasoning I've done.

It was wrong of me to start

It was wrong of me to start out assuming you were going to use circular reasoning in defense. I apologize.

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But I did respond to what you said, even in my blog. Besides, I put your whole argument in my blog first.

I don't care.

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It's just a username, Amber. Not an argument.

Excuse me, "Atheism Sucks" is a conclusion without an argument. So really you're coming in with insulting baseless conclusion about our lack of beliefs. By saying Atheism sucks, you are indirectly attacking me since I'm an Atheist.

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Well, personally, I wouldn't be offended if somebody had the username "Christianitysucks." I would be offended if they had "Christianssuck" though. Profound difference.

I am blown away that you would argue that your username isn't insulting or offensive.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Quote:Yeah I got the gist of

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Yeah I got the gist of that when I was listening to the different interviewees talking. Recently I had a new drive to research the bible and the history of the bible and I’ve been taking the lazy man’s approach in doing so (watching a bunch of videos from the History Channel/National Geographic’s, etc...).

Always good to have another like-mind in here. Although the best method of studying the Bible is to read it cover to cover, and as you read, take notes about things you find off or even important events that might be brought up later. Chances are you'll see more problems then you'll see anything else.

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Do you have any recommendations in regards to reliable books I could read about the bible?

About the Bible? I would suggest Dennis McKinsey's Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy. It's pricy but it's worth the read, and it's full of reviews and tibits. I would still suggest, when it comes down to actually studying the Bible, that you not really pay attentiont to what people like me or Frank say and read and decide for yourself. My knowledge of history gives me more of an insight into such things, so I would also suggest you expand your criteria to include extra-biblical first and second century materials, like that of the Gnostics and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Which are 1st Century BCE), along with roman and jewish historians, like that of Tactitus, Pliny, Josephus and Philo. You can of course go beyond that. The best place to find those online is in Kirby's site, www.earlychristianwritings.com .

But there are a few books out there that are worth the buy, if you have the money they are almost entirely necessary!

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible is a second must have, while the primary must have book for aspiring historians (and even those studying the Bible) is The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. The ODCC is very expensive, around $160 brand new on Amazon last I checked, but you should be able to get a used copy for around $100. Also, the Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land helps, but isn't necessary.

You can also check out some inexpensive sources simply by reviewing these links:

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

And of course Kirby's site helps a lot as well.

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Also I wanted to take on the task of re-reading the bible with three different translations to get an idea of how different they can be. Do you have any pointers or advice? Keep in mind I’m talking about English translations.

I've got about ten different versions of the Bible at home, plus I can go online at www.biblegateway.com and have a variety of others at my finger tips. I suggest you get the NRSV because it has the greek parallels as footnotes under each page and contains some manuscript discrepencies which it talks about also at in footnotes on each page. The KJV is by far one of the better translations out there, so go with that. I also suggest that, in light of the very horrible greek lexicon of the Torah (The LXX, or Septuigant), I would advise you pick up a Jewish copy of the Torah. (Don't go to a Christain novelty store, they don't have them)

Read them all cover to cover, and like I said, take notes. Any questions you may have, cross reference between the three, or even better, check out the original Greek. The LSJ is quite helpful, and Perseus contains a lot of greek manuscripts. If you aren't ready for that yet, you can feel free to ask me. =)

Take care, and good luck. (I'm always around if you need me)

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Thanks, that really helps!

Thanks, that really helps!

AtheismSucks's picture

Quote:It was wrong of me to

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It was wrong of me to start out assuming you were going to use circular reasoning in defense. I apologize.

Hey, it's okay.

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I don't care.

Well, I just wanted to make it clear that I don't cheap shot anybody because I want their argument's to speak for themselves. Thus, I posted your whole argument in my blog. I'm just letting you know is all.

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Excuse me, "Atheism Sucks" is a conclusion without an argument.

Maybe so. But again, I just wanted a username, and I chose that one.

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So really you're coming in with insulting baseless conclusion about our lack of beliefs.

I just wanted a username, not an argument. And atheism is not a lack of belief in God.

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By saying Atheism sucks, you are indirectly attacking me since I'm an Atheist.

Well, I may be saying your philosophical background sucks, but I'm not saying you suck personally. I've known some pretty good atheistic philosophers. And despite them knowing how I think about their worldview they aren't offended.

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I am blown away that you would argue that your username isn't insulting or offensive.

You don't have to be blown away because I can see how it is. But some atheists take no offense to it whatsoever.

Thanks,

Frank

Sapient's picture

Quote:And atheism is not a

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And atheism is not a lack of belief in God.

I take offense to you claiming to know what atheism is.

Most simply defined, atheism is the absence or lack of belief in a god.

You likely try to turn atheism into a belief, as yet another one of your projections. You have a "belief" and you think we should have a belief too, so you claim it... but that doesn't make it true. I spoke to your buddy Gene Cook about this the other day, and he refuses to "get it" as well.

/waiting for Frank to now make the dishonest assumption that I said atheists have no beliefs.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

Quote:I find it very typical

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I find it very typical of atheists who criticize God's word yet all the while they don't bother reading it. It makes me wonder if they even given the Bible a fair share by at least studying it.

.......

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And atheism is not a lack of belief in God.

Hmmm....

Oh yeah and I want to

Oh yeah and I want to clarify this statement:

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So really you're coming in with insulting baseless conclusion about our lack of beliefs.

....in god/s.

Just in case that wasn't already understood by anyone.

AtheismSucks's picture

Hi Brian,

Hi Brian,

Good to hear from you as always.

Quote:
I take offense to you claiming to know what atheism is.

Wow, you're so sensitive. You shouldn't be offended because I really do know what atheism is. I know that fact offends you, seeing how you're a, uh, atheist. But sometime tough love entails telling people the truth no matter how you feel. But this may help:

The real definition of atheism: the belief that there is no God.
The fake definition of atheism: the lack of belief in God.

Proof:

Theos=God
Atheos=No God
Thus
Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

The references state what the real definition of atheism is:

Quote:
-Atheism, from the Greek a-theos ("no-god"), is the philosophical position that God doesn't exist. It is distinguished from agnosticism, the argument that it is impossible to know whether God exists or not (Academic American Encyclopedia).

- Atheism, system of thought developed around the denial of God's existence. Atheism, so defined, first appeared during the Enlightenment, the age of reason (Random House Encyclopedia-1977).

-Atheism (from the Greek a-, not, and theos, god) is the view that there are no gods. A widely used sense denotes merely not believing in God and is consistent with agnosticism. A stricter sense denotes a belief that there is no God, the use has become the standard one (Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy-1995).

- Atheism is the doctrine that there is no God. Some atheists support this claim by arguments, but these arguments are usually directed against the Christian concept of God, and are largely irrelevant to other possible gods (Oxford Companion to Philosophy-1995).

-Atheism (Greek, a- [private prefix] + theos, god) is the view that there is no divine being, no God (Dictionary of Philosophy, Thomas Mautner, Editor-1996).

-Atheism is the belief that God doesn't exist (The World Book Encyclopedia-1991).

-Atheism, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. Atheism is to be distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open whether there is a god or not, professing to find the question unanswerable, for the atheist, the non-existence of god is a certainty (The New Encyclopedia Britannia-1993).

- According to the most usual definition, an atheist is a person who maintains that there is no god…(rejects eccentric definitions of the word) (The Encyclopedia of Philosophy-1967).

- Atheism is the doctrine that God does not exist, that belief in the existence of God is a false belief. The word God here refers to a divine being regarded as the independent creator of the world, a being superlatively powerful, wise and good (Encyclopedia of Religion-1987).

- Atheism (Greek and Roman): Atheism is a dogmatic creed, consisting in the denial of every kind of supernatural power. Atheism has not often been seriously maintained at any period of civilized thought (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics-Vol II).

See?

Also, there have been real atheists who define the real definition of atheism as a belief that there is no God. That would be people like: Julian Baggini, Paul Edwards, Jeff Jay Lowder, Doug Krueger.. just to name a few. As far as I can tell there have been no fake atheists who had the courage to say that these real atheists were wrong about the definition of atheism.

Even Charles Darwin (an agnostic) knew the real definition of atheism:

Quote:
"I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God." - Letter to Rev. J. Fordyc, July 7, 1879.

However fake atheist, Michael Martin, uses the fake definition of atheism:

Quote:
"In Greek 'a' means 'without' or 'not' and 'theos' means 'god.' From this standpoint an atheist would simply be someone without a belief in God, not necessarily someone who believes that God does not exist. According to its Greek roots, then, atheism is a negative view, characterized by the absence of belief in God."

Shandon Guthrie rebuts the definition:

Quote:
In this case another "bait and switch" method is being employed but in a more obvious contradictory setting. On the one hand we are to concur that "'a' means 'without' or 'not' and 'theos' means 'god.'" On the other hand we are supposed to conclude from this that "without a belief in God" is what the term means. This is perhaps to the hope that the reader will not see the imported word "believe" from one sentence to the next. I do agree with Martin that the term is certainly a negative view in that it negates something. But, as Martin unwittingly admits or intentionally distorts, it is the negation of God himself not a negation of a belief in God given Martin's comment that "'a' means 'without' or 'not' and 'theos' means 'god.'" Wouldn't this suggest that atheism is to be etymologically understood as without/no - god?

Due to the disparity between conventional and contemporary understandings (revisionist views?) of atheism, philosophers have attempted to branch atheism into two separate categories: positive atheism and negative atheism. Positive atheism is the classical understanding contra Martin. It is the definitive view, the strong view, that God (or any god) does not exist. Negative atheism, the weak view, is the mere absence of belief in God (or any divine being - sometimes it serves as a synonym for naturalism). In this relatively new understanding atheism enjoys a category split so that both definitions can maintain their place amongst their parent heading atheism. However, this amounts to reducing atheism to nothing more than agnosticism. Agnosticism was originally coined by the 19th century lecturer at the School of Mines in London, Thomas Henry Huxley. He is best noted as being "Darwin's bulldog" since he adamantly defended Charles Darwin's infant theory of evolution. Huxley himself, concerning his adoption of the term agnostic, writes:

Quote:
"Some twenty years ago, or thereabouts, I invented the word 'Agnostic' to denote people who, like myself, confess themselves to be hopelessly ignorant concerning a variety of matters, about which metaphysicians and theologians, both orthodox and heterodox, dogmatise with utmost confidence . . . It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe."

Quote:
"Soft" agnosticism, shall we say, is the mere absence of belief in God (or any deity) since it suspends judgment about matters of metaphysics and theology. The more appropriate epistemological position that Huxley may of had in mind is what is known as "hard" agnosticism - it is impossible to determine whether or not God exists. In either case, agnosticism neither confirms nor denies any epistemological claims about God and thus it properly satisfies the status of being a default position. In a sense, the agnostic places phenomenological brackets around the propositions "God exists" and "God does not exist" to explore unchartered areas of research that may offer insight toward reaching a conclusion.

Despite the historical and philological difficulty with deviating from the roots of atheism and its mainstream approaches to it, perhaps we shall have to consider the matter open to the atheist who wears the label negative or positive atheist. In the spirit of charity, we may be forced to acknowledge against the most reliable and broadest understanding of atheism to include mere deniers of belief in any god in our casual encounters and dialogues. But it should not cause us to go astray from the conventional and usual meaning of the term from which many modern atheists have deviated.

Why then do fake atheists chump out and use the fake definition of atheism? Ken Samples explains:

Quote:
By definition, atheism is the world view that denies the existence of God. To be more specific, traditional atheism (or offensive atheism) positively affirms that there never was, is not now, and never will be a God in or beyond the world. But can this dogmatic claim be verified?

The atheist cannot logically prove God's nonexistence. And here's why: to know that a transcendent God does not exist would require a perfect knowledge of all things (omniscience). To attain this knowledge would require simultaneous access to all parts of the world and beyond (omnipresence). Therefore, to be certain of the atheist's claim one would have to possess godlike characteristics. Obviously, mankind's limited nature precludes these special abilities. The offensive atheist's dogmatic claim is therefore unjustifiable. As logician Mortimer Adler has pointed out, the atheist's attempt to prove a universal negative is a self- defeating proposition. The Christian should therefore emphasize that the offensive atheist is unable to provide a logical disproof of God's existence.

*Defensive Atheism.* Many sophisticated atheists today are fully aware of the philosophical pitfalls connected to offensive or dogmatic atheism. Prominent atheists such as Gordon Stein and Carl Sagan have admitted that God's existence cannot be disproven. This has led such atheists to advocate what I call defensive atheism. Defensive atheism asserts that while God's existence cannot be logically or empirically disproven, it is nevertheless unproven.

Atheists of this variety have actually redefined atheism to mean "an absence of belief in God" rather than "a denial of God's existence." For this more moderate type of atheism, the concept of "God" is like that of a unicorn, leprechaun, or elf. While they cannot be disproven, they remain unproven. Defensive atheism's unbelief is grounded in the rejection of the proofs for God's existence, and/or the belief that the Christian concept of God (or any other God) lacks logical consistency.

An appropriate Christian rejoinder at this point is that defensive atheism is using a stipulative or nonstandard definition for the word atheism. Paul Edwards, a prominent atheist and editor of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defines an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God." Atheism therefore implies a denial of God's existence, not just an absence of belief. It should also be stated that defensive atheism's absence of belief sounds very similar to agnosticism (which professes inability to determine whether God exists). The Christian should force the defensive atheist to show just how his (or her) atheism differs from agnosticism. Does he know or not know that there is no God?

There you have it. The smoking gun on the real definition of atheism. With all the evidence right in front of their faces the fake atheist will never concede the real definition of atheism. Oh, well...

absurd

The sheer amount of vitriol, question-begging and poor argumentation beggars the imagination.

In point of fact, there has been a long history of atheism in its negative variety, i.e. the disbelief or absence of belief in a god(s). At no point have any of us said that the positve position is innacurate, it simply doesn't describe us. I would hazard to guess that if we all started defining you be a different set of denominational points or by catholic standards, you'd be saying that you don't believe that either, yet you don't afford us the ability to do so.

The issue involved here is that you assert the existence of something in your usage of the term "god" and yet you have not taken the time to tell me just what it is you're talking about. Here of course is where you'll bring in the bible (another non-entity) and "prove" god, despite this being circular. Or you'll go down the path of the teleological, cosmological arguments or some variation of them, all of which have been thoroughly dismantled even by your own apologists.

Talk all you want about definition, but I think we have a right to say what it is we believe, just like you do. Course, I'm not sure what you believe, since I don't know what you're talking about when you refer to "god." What particular definition are you using? Where do you get this information? Why is that source credible?

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm

Sapient's picture

Quote: The real definition

Quote:

The real definition of atheism: the belief that there is no God.
The fake definition of atheism: the lack of belief in God.

Proof:

Theos=God
Atheos=No God
Thus
Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

The references state what the real definition of atheism is:

Notice how dishonestly you neglect to mention what the root "a" before the word theist means. "A" in this case means LACKING. You refuse to accept this, and then post a bunch of sources that propogate the lie that atheism is always a belief. I can find sources that "prove" we've never been to the moon and that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but as an honest man, I wouldn't. I will not respond to your sources one by one as I can show right here how the root "a" before a word refers to lacking, and I can also provide a more trusted dictionary to refer to on the meaning of atheism.

Here we see the word amoral, compare to atheist:

AMORAL: The term amoral is distinct from the terms moral and immoral, and simply refers to the state of lacking any moral characteristics.

AMORAL: lacking any sense of moral standards or principles

Now, here's a dictionary that can be trusted. The Oxford English Dictionary.

Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition

Here is how the OED defines atheism:

atheism Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

disbelieve 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to: a. a statement or (alleged) fact: To reject the truth or reality of.

deny

  1. To contradict or gainsay (anything stated or alleged); to declare to be untrue or untenable, or not what it is stated to be.
  2. Logic. The opposite of affirm; to assert the contradictory of (a proposition).
  3. To refuse to admit the truth of (a doctrine or tenet); to reject as untrue or unfounded; the opposite of assert or maintain.
  4. To refuse to recognize or acknowledge (a person or thing) as having a certain character or certain claims; to disown, disavow, repudiate, renounce.

Note that the OED definition covers the whole spectrum of atheist belief, from weak atheism (those who do not believe in or credit the existence of one or more gods) to strong atheism (those who assert the contrary position, that a god does not exist).



YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF ALLOWABLE LIES ON THIS FORUM.

- Brian Sapient


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good point

Excellent point here and the comparison with amorality is one I will have to remember.

This of course won't affect this guy as the entire point of his argument is not to get at what we believe but to justify his own belief by saying everyone knows what he's talkign about when he refers to god. He isn't after debate.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm

RationalResponseSquad's picture

Earlier today "AtheismSucks"

Earlier today "AtheismSucks" linked to his blog (again), when he tried to redefine atheism. He had been told that any linking of his blog would not be tolerated.

He has been banned. He is likely to re-appear, he has a history of creating new accounts and posing as an "atheismsucks" sympathizer. He is not permitted to post on this site any longer under any name and will be removed under any suspicion.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

Randalllord's picture

Amber, In answer to your

Amber,
In answer to your question 1.a. "Why are the apostles given a free pass while everyone else is not? The apostles actually knew Jesus and saw him perform miracles, and Jesus still appeared before them to prove this divinity. Why hasn't Jesus showed himself to us, as he did to the apostles, if he knew that as humans we tend to need proof to believe something? "

Why did he appear to them but not us?
Because it's a fable. He can't appear to us. He didn't appear to them either because he to his followers were not real.

According to the story, as you point out, the very people that witnessed his miracles needed proof that he was alive. For us in the 21st Century, need even more evidence. Where is it? Doesn't god know of our needs?

Here's a good video of this very question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUj8hg5CoSw

I find it interesting that religious people think that any "sign from god/Jesus", such as dreams, feelings of god's presence, foggy images on windows or grilled cheese, etc is to be accepted as proof, but only if it supports your god. Stories from other religions such as Ganesh drinking milk are viewed as a work of the devil.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca