"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

OurPiracy
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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

...Decent to Great Film.

When the film refers to the verse about Jesus commanding his followers to bring any disbelievers to his feet and kill them is utter bullshit.

If you simply read Luke 19:11 and the next few verses up until that selectively used line it becomes transparently obvious that Jesus was conveying a parable and the "He" he's refering to is a powerful king.

I did like this film a lot and I watched it three times in two days, but discovering this blatant abuse of argumentative "evidence" has made me seriously reconsider my feelings about it.

I would recommend "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris over this film anyday.

Further...

Here's what Flemming selectively used without any explanation of the context:

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them?bring them here and kill them in front of me."

-Luke 19:27, NIV

And here is the context (its even TITLED as a PARABLE)

The Parable of the Ten Minas

?11While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a]'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'

?14"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'

?15"He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

?16"The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.'

?17" 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'

?18"The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.'

?19"His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.'

?20"Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.'

?22"His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'

?24"Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.'

?25" 'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!'

?26"He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them?bring them here and kill them in front of me."

For someone who supposedly prides himself on honest, rational, evidence providing discourse and arguments he REALLY fucked up badly with this deceptive move. Its just bad film-making, and a bad argumentative style all around.

"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it." -Friedrich Nietzsche


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

I don't remember him actually using this in the film.

The old testament contains plenty of such material that IS supposedly the word of God.

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Equilibrium wrote:
I don't remember him actually using this in the film.

The old testament contains plenty of such material that IS supposedly the word of God.

He references it twice in the film (once with a single shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing) and he references it in the interview with ChristianityToday.com in whch he refers to himself as a "atheist Christian".

Its hilarious that none of you object to this abuse of "rationality" in his film. Its pure, blatant deceitful propaganda. And remember: I LIKED the film a lot for the most part, but discovering this misappropriation within his film has been vey disapointing to me.

"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it." -Friedrich Nietzsche


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

OurPiracy wrote:
Equilibrium wrote:
I don't remember him actually using this in the film.

The old testament contains plenty of such material that IS supposedly the word of God.

He references it twice in the film (once with a single shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing)

Can you give me a time stamp of when it occurred?

Quote:
and he references it in the interview with ChristianityToday.com in whch he refers to himself as a "atheist Christian".

I don't remember an interview with ChristianityToday.com in the movie, or him referring to himself as an atheist Christian, and I've seen the movie 4 times. Could you give me another time stamp?

Quote:
Its hilarious that none of you object to this abuse of "rationality" in his film. Its pure, blatant deceitful propaganda. And remember: I LIKED the film a lot for the most part, but discovering this misappropriation within his film has been vey disapointing to me.

First off, none of us object to this supposed abuse yet because we don't even remember that part of the movie. We can't verify your claim yet, without seeing the discrepancy in context, it would be foolish to be flying off the handle. Furthermore, maybe you're unaware, but Brian Flemming isn't above a mistake. He's specifically stated on our shows that there are parts of his movie that need to be changed to remain accurate, but the underlying theme pointing to the non existence of Jesus remains in tact. Calling the movie "deceitful propaganda" while the creator remains on record as stating that he made mistakes in the movie that he will correct, is ignorant to the facts.

- Brian Sapient


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OurPiracy
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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Sapient wrote:
OurPiracy wrote:
Equilibrium wrote:
I don't remember him actually using this in the film.

The old testament contains plenty of such material that IS supposedly the word of God.

He references it twice in the film (once with a single shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing)

Can you give me a time stamp of when it occurred?

Quote:
and he references it in the interview with ChristianityToday.com in whch he refers to himself as a "atheist Christian".

I don't remember an interview with ChristianityToday.com in the movie, or him referring to himself as an atheist Christian, and I've seen the movie 4 times. Could you give me another time stamp?

Quote:
Its hilarious that none of you object to this abuse of "rationality" in his film. Its pure, blatant deceitful propaganda. And remember: I LIKED the film a lot for the most part, but discovering this misappropriation within his film has been vey disapointing to me.

First off, none of us object to this supposed abuse yet because we don't even remember that part of the movie. We can't verify your claim yet, without seeing the discrepancy in context, it would be foolish to be flying off the handle. Furthermore, maybe you're unaware, but Brian Flemming isn't above a mistake. He's specifically stated on our shows that there are parts of his movie that need to be changed to remain accurate, but the underlying theme pointing to the non existence of Jesus remains in tact. Calling the movie "deceitful propaganda" while the creator remains on record as stating that he made mistakes in the movie that he will correct, is ignorant to the facts.

Hopefully for the last time: **I'M NOT TRYING TO DISCREDIT THE MOVIE. I'M TRYING TO POINT OUT A MAJOR ERROR IN THE FILM.**

So you don't remember this part of the film? Watch it again. I don't really remember where in the film it was. But it was there and it was emphasized. Perhaps the middle.

I never said the interview with ChristianityToday.com was in the film. It was an INTERVIEW on their website: http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/interviews/brianflemming.html.

I never called the movie itself "deceitful propaganda", I was referring to the specific example of that Bible verse used vastly out of context.

"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it." -Friedrich Nietzsche


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Ok, let's get it out in the open. Laughing out loud

Ourpiracy, are you an atheist? If not, how would you classify your religious belief?

If you're an atheist, would you like to see religion die out someday?

- Brian Sapient


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Wasn't it Robert M. Price who referred to himself as an atheist Christian?


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Though I would like to see theism die out (or at least be replaced by a form of deism or something that doesn't rely on old myths or incite devisiveness) it must be done without intellectual dishonesty, IMO.

I don't remember that parable being in the movie either, but the crux of the matter is, was Jesus using the parable as he often did, as an metaphor for his own thinking? If so, though it's not a literal quote, it's indicative of an immoral mindset and worth condemnation - that's how I understood the passage (and is a common interpretation, at least among nontheists).


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

jester700 wrote:
Though I would like to see theism die out (or at least be replaced by a form of deism or something that doesn't rely on old myths or incite devisiveness) it must be done without intellectual dishonesty, IMO.

Agreed, as would everyone here on staff, along with both the afforementioned Brian Flemming and Sam Harris.

- Brian Sapient


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Sapient wrote:
Ok, let's get it out in the open. Laughing out loud

Ourpiracy, are you an atheist? If not, how would you classify your religious belief?

If you're an atheist, would you like to see religion die out someday?

I don't believe in any type of "personal God", but I consider myself to be a naturalist/pantheist.

As for your second question: basically I agree with almost all of what Sam Harris lays out in "The End of Faith".

"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it." -Friedrich Nietzsche


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

OurPiracy wrote:
Sapient wrote:
Ok, let's get it out in the open. Laughing out loud

Ourpiracy, are you an atheist? If not, how would you classify your religious belief?

If you're an atheist, would you like to see religion die out someday?

I don't believe in any type of "personal God", but I consider myself to be a naturalist/pantheist.

As for your second question: basically I agree with almost all of what Sam Harris lays out in "The End of Faith".

With that said, I'll compile a response to your previous post....

- Brian Sapient


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

OurPiracy wrote:

He references it twice in the film[emphasis mine] (once with a single shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing) and he references it in the interview with ChristianityToday.com in whch he refers to himself as a "atheist Christian".

You see the way you worded that, it reads that he referenced it twice in the film, once in a "shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing" and then you go on to finish the thought (the second reference) and say Christianitytonday.com. It's not a big deal, but you inferred it.

Quote:

Hopefully for the last time: **I'M NOT TRYING TO DISCREDIT THE MOVIE. I'M TRYING TO POINT OUT A MAJOR ERROR IN THE FILM.**

And what do you think pointing out a major error will do?

Claiming deceptively used propaganda was in the film, doesn't discredit?
Saying there is a "blatant abuse of argumentative evidence" that made you reconsider your feelings about the movie doesn't leave the reader with your utter contempt for this film. Making a public post about it instead of contacting Brian Flemming to explain your interpretation of the passage and how it's different than his, would be a better way to actually resolve the issue. Pointing out small discrepancies that don't break his overall case as if a huge ordeal in a public forum, certainly looks like an attempt to discredit, to me.

I don't talk about this often, and you're about to get a small personal piece of me, here... but my problem is this: As a minority (atheist that is), I tend to try and support firstly, other atheists... but more importantly, other atheists who share similar goals to me. I will go out of my way, literally to carefully tread where others are trying to make an impact with similar end goals to mine even if I don't agree on a position they have taken. The best example of this I can give is American Atheists. American Atheists is an organization that is working hard at educating the public, staying involved on an activist level, and doing other things that I would consider beneficial. For the last 5 years I've had a huge problem with American Atheists. American atheists makes a mistake when they define atheism in an unncessarily complex manner. Not only are they overly complex in their definition, they've actually defined it completely wrong. They seem to be striving to put an entire thought process into the definition of atheism, amongst also posting a bunch of drivel about materialism alongside the definition. Seriously, they've defined it poorly, and it pisses me off. HOWEVER.... I almost never bring it up. And it is because I wouldn't go out of my way to fight against the very small amount of people out there who share similar goals, it's not rational.

Please be careful to note a distinction between blind acceptance of those who share my goals, and constructively criticising those people when they make a blunder. I'm not saying we can't criticize those we disagree with, please understand that.

I contend that posting publicly, the following comments instead of writing a civil email to Brian Flemming was against your best interests:

Quote:

"discovering this blatant abuse of argumentative "evidence" has made me seriously reconsider my feelings about it. "

"utter bullshit"

"For someone who supposedly prides himself on honest, rational, evidence providing discourse and arguments he REALLY fucked up badly with this deceptive move. Its just bad film-making, and a bad argumentative style all around." [emphasis mine]

"Its hilarious that none of you object to this abuse of "rationality" in his film. Its pure, blatant deceitful propaganda."

You recommended Sam Harris over Flemmings movie, in your "POINTING OUT A MAJOR ERROR" but I think it should be noted, that Sam Harris himself would probably take issue with such defamatory remarks being made about Brian Flemming and his movie. Especially considering the fact that this could be something Flemming has already admitted mistake to. Note you called Flemming deceptive, which insinuates he did it on purpose to trick you, when in fact it most likely was an honest mistake that he's willing to correct. That is if it's even a mistake, which I'm still unsure of. Sam of course as you know appeared in the movie, remains friendly with Brian, and is coming on our show when his new book comes out... that's how Sam handles the deceitful propaganda of Flemming, and our "Fascist Response Squad" as you called us when you assumed we deleted your post. Again, not in your best interest to calls us fascists when were one of the hardest working organizations, toward your goal of ending faith... especially again, since you were at fault.

I'll leave you with the American Atheists definition of atheist that goes on the back every membership card. While it's there, I wont ever be able to give them a penny, I remain in firm disagreement, with my lips sealed (for the most part). And let it be known... my views on this issue have been made known to American Atheists several times, in private, and stated constructively without such harsh terms as "fascist, deceitful, and utter bullshit."

American Atheists definition of atheist wrote:

http://www.atheists.org/cgi-bin/membership
Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that humankind -- finding their resources within themselves -- can and must create their own destiny. Materialism restores dignity and intellectual integrity to humanity. It teaches that we must prize our life on earth and strive always to improve it. It holds that human beings are capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice. Materialism's "faith" is in humankind and their ability to transform the world culture by their own efforts. This is a commitment which is in its very essence life-asserting. It considers the struggle for progress as a moral obligation that is impossible without noble ideas that inspire us to bold, creative works. Materialism holds that our potential for good and more fulfilling cultural development is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.

THE REAL DEFINITION OF ATHEIST:

Quote:

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

- Brian Sapient


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OurPiracy
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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Sapient wrote:
OurPiracy wrote:

He references it twice in the film[emphasis mine] (once with a single shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing) and he references it in the interview with ChristianityToday.com in whch he refers to himself as a "atheist Christian".

You see the way you worded that, it reads that he referenced it twice in the film, once in a "shot of the verse and a bunch of dramatic music playing" and then you go on to finish the thought (the second reference) and say Christianitytonday.com. It's not a big deal, but you inferred it.

Quote:

Hopefully for the last time: **I'M NOT TRYING TO DISCREDIT THE MOVIE. I'M TRYING TO POINT OUT A MAJOR ERROR IN THE FILM.**

And what do you think pointing out a major error will do?

Claiming deceptively used propaganda was in the film, doesn't discredit?
Saying there is a "blatant abuse of argumentative evidence" that made you reconsider your feelings about the movie doesn't leave the reader with your utter contempt for this film. Making a public post about it instead of contacting Brian Flemming to explain your interpretation of the passage and how it's different than his, would be a better way to actually resolve the issue. Pointing out small discrepancies that don't break his overall case as if a huge ordeal in a public forum, certainly looks like an attempt to discredit, to me.

I don't talk about this often, and you're about to get a small personal piece of me, here... but my problem is this: As a minority (atheist that is), I tend to try and support firstly, other atheists... but more importantly, other atheists who share similar goals to me. I will go out of my way, literally to carefully tread where others are trying to make an impact with similar end goals to mine even if I don't agree on a position they have taken. The best example of this I can give is American Atheists. American Atheists is an organization that is working hard at educating the public, staying involved on an activist level, and doing other things that I would consider beneficial. For the last 5 years I've had a huge problem with American Atheists. American atheists makes a mistake when they define atheism in an unncessarily complex manner. Not only are they overly complex in their definition, they've actually defined it completely wrong. They seem to be striving to put an entire thought process into the definition of atheism, amongst also posting a bunch of drivel about materialism alongside the definition. Seriously, they've defined it poorly, and it pisses me off. HOWEVER.... I almost never bring it up. And it is because I wouldn't go out of my way to fight against the very small amount of people out there who share similar goals, it's not rational.

Please be careful to note a distinction between blind acceptance of those who share my goals, and constructively criticising those people when they make a blunder. I'm not saying we can't criticize those we disagree with, please understand that.

I contend that posting publicly, the following comments instead of writing a civil email to Brian Flemming was against your best interests:

Quote:

"discovering this blatant abuse of argumentative "evidence" has made me seriously reconsider my feelings about it. "

"utter bullshit"

"For someone who supposedly prides himself on honest, rational, evidence providing discourse and arguments he REALLY fucked up badly with this deceptive move. Its just bad film-making, and a bad argumentative style all around." [emphasis mine]

"Its hilarious that none of you object to this abuse of "rationality" in his film. Its pure, blatant deceitful propaganda."

You recommended Sam Harris over Flemmings movie, in your "POINTING OUT A MAJOR ERROR" but I think it should be noted, that Sam Harris himself would probably take issue with such defamatory remarks being made about Brian Flemming and his movie. Especially considering the fact that this could be something Flemming has already admitted mistake to. Note you called Flemming deceptive, which insinuates he did it on purpose to trick you, when in fact it most likely was an honest mistake that he's willing to correct. That is if it's even a mistake, which I'm still unsure of. Sam of course as you know appeared in the movie, remains friendly with Brian, and is coming on our show when his new book comes out... that's how Sam handles the deceitful propaganda of Flemming, and our "Fascist Response Squad" as you called us when you assumed we deleted your post. Again, not in your best interest to calls us fascists when were one of the hardest working organizations, toward your goal of ending faith... especially again, since you were at fault.

I'll leave you with the American Atheists definition of atheist that goes on the back every membership card. While it's there, I wont ever be able to give them a penny, I remain in firm disagreement, with my lips sealed (for the most part). And let it be known... my views on this issue have been made known to American Atheists several times, in private, and stated constructively without such harsh terms as "fascist, deceitful, and utter bullshit."

American Atheists definition of atheist wrote:

http://www.atheists.org/cgi-bin/membership
Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that humankind -- finding their resources within themselves -- can and must create their own destiny. Materialism restores dignity and intellectual integrity to humanity. It teaches that we must prize our life on earth and strive always to improve it. It holds that human beings are capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice. Materialism's "faith" is in humankind and their ability to transform the world culture by their own efforts. This is a commitment which is in its very essence life-asserting. It considers the struggle for progress as a moral obligation that is impossible without noble ideas that inspire us to bold, creative works. Materialism holds that our potential for good and more fulfilling cultural development is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.

THE REAL DEFINITION OF ATHEIST:

Quote:

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

Okay, perhaps Flemming didn't read the verse he was using out of context, that just makes for a sloppy argumentative film. That's really my main point. I am only discrediting the particular usage of that verse--NOT THE FILM ITSELF. And upon discovering this "errancy" it has made me rethink the rest of the film. What's wrong, or irrational about rethinking something?

"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it." -Friedrich Nietzsche


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Have any of you read For Richard Carrier: On "The God Who Wasn't There" movie on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board? I've included one of his rather lengthy replies below.

Quote:
No, he didn't. But I didn't expect him to. He was in LA, I'm nearer San Francisco, so such a prescreening wouldn't have been financially feasible. Nor did he pay me to research his movie, as he would have had to do. I can't afford to engage hours of work for free, though I gave him a lengthy one-shot interview for free, which is a courtesy I extend to all members of the press and professional documentarians. However, I did correct several blatant errors between the premiere (which he held in SF so I was able to attend) and the general release, and sent him a white paper on the remaining elements of his film that were what I called "questionable" but not blatantly false. More on that below.

First two general points:

(1) There may well be several things in that movie I don't agree with. It should never be expected that everyone interviewed for a documentary agrees with everything else in that documentary. As long as when I am quoted my views are not misrepresented, and nothing grossly false is surrounding it, I have no quarrel with what a documentarian does--the same as for a journalist writing an article, for example, that quotes or cites something I've said or argued. I don't think the Flemming film says anything grossly false. Though it does say things I would take issue with or even argue against, none of those things are attributed to me.

(2) On the general point of whether I support or oppose the copycat thesis, in general I do not oppose it, though I argue against sloppy or incorrect versions of it. I now believe it is certain that over the course of the 1st century, Christian doctrine deliberately emulated (and deliberately altered) the myths of comparable pagan heroes (most clearly Romulus and Osiris) in the same way it deliberately emulated the myths of comparable Jewish heroes (most clearly Moses and Elijah) and that this accounts for a lot of significant material in the gospels. That in itself, however, does not constitute a sufficiently valid argument for ahistoricity. I believe other evidence can be adduced that confirms ahistoricity as the most probable explanation of the facts, but that's another story.

Now to particulars...

Neither of those were ever spoken of in the film--they (and almost all other gods mentioned) appear solely in a long list that scrolls by the screen at one point, and only as wallpaper (not even as an actual list), behind a list of "elements" that "some previous saviors" purportedly had attributed to them. I didn't research his two lists (the actual list of elements, or the wallpapered list of gods behind it), largely because he didn't connect any elements to any gods anyway (the two lists run independently of each other, and in opposite directions, implying no particular links between any one god and any one element) so I have no idea how I could really check any of those claims.

Some exceptions aside, most of the gods in that background list certainly pre-date Christianity, and most of those elements could arguably have been attributed to one or another of them at some point in history (I certainly don't know anyone who has thoroughly checked all the extant sources for all the listed gods for all the listed elements). But for me the interesting questions are: were those elements attached to those gods before or after being influenced by Christianity, and if before, did the Christians get the idea from there or is this a coincidence or evidence of mutual derivation from an even earlier source?

Though the film implies the Christians might have borrowed these elements, that is not the same thing as asserting that they did, and forgetting this distinction is a common methodological mistake made by critics. For example, we cannot establish that an Incarnation-Eucharist was an element of Mithraism before Christianity, therefore we can't assert that Christianity borrowed this from Mithraism. However, we also can't assert that Mithraism borrowed it from Christianity. There is a difference between saying the borrowing definitely went one way or the other, and saying the borrowing could have gone one way or the other, or that it could reflect mutual borrowing from an earlier third source, i.e. a third party origin influencing simultaneously and separately both Christianity and any given pagan cult--a good example of which, IMO, is how the same "third day" chronology got into both Christianity and Osiris cult: I believe it derives from earlier, pervasive, pre-Jewish ANE concepts about death.

Thus, it remains possible that some elements of Mithraism that we know from late sources were indeed present in pre-Christian Mithraism, and thus it remains possible that some of those elements did inspire their incorporation into early Christianity. Simply because we cannot assert that they did doesn't mean we can assert that they didn't. It's thus a theoretical possibility that one must be aware of, and a list that makes one aware of it is no sin. Although I personally do not believe this is what happened, I concede a scholar could debate the matter with me, so I'm not going to declare certainty on this subject or tell a documentarian it's rubbish. It's his prerogative to include possible links in a list of possible links. After all, Flemming does not entitle the list "Things Christians Borrowed."

Of course, it is also the prerogative of critics to research and assess things like the entries on his list, and move them from Flemming's list to their own lists of "likely" or "unlikely" influences, and I have no quarrel with anyone doing that, either, especially when they present useful research that would cost the rest of us time and difficulty to have collected on our own. And your review is one such example. Though I don't agree with everything you argue in it, and I think a lot more research is needed on the two "lists" in the movie, I believe your review contains a lot of useful correctives--if only preachers were providing parishioners with this stuff!

Likewise, though I believe the Incarnation-Eucharist element of Christianity is a manifestly Jewish concept and thus does not require any pagan precedent, I am not so certain of this that I would say such a theory shouldn't even be proposed or explored. Although the idea, for example, of grain as Demeter's flesh and wine as Bacchus' blood was probably pre-Christian, from my own esoteric research I believe the Christians were developing a different concept of corporate identity that derives from Jewish sacrifice ideology, not pagan metaphor. But it would take an hour just to explain all the nuances here on camera, and this wasn't even the point of the film. All Flemming had time to accomplish was to point out the possibility of precedents existing--which priests are not telling their flocks about, not even to competently debunk them, which was the actual thesis of this part of the film (the other part being the use of Christ as a tool of contemporary madness, oppression, and folly).

This brings me to the white paper I sent Flemming after the premiere. First the context:

At that event, Brian and I and my friend David Fitzgerald (who is writing a book on the Jesus myth theory) took the stage for audience questions. Brian was asked whether any scholars will dispute elements of the film, and among other things, he pointed out to the audience that even I, the guy standing right next to him, was a scholar who disputed some elements of the film. The question thus turned to me as to what, and I raised some examples (though at the time I had barely read any of the wallpapered list of gods--to me it was hardly visible). I then explained that though there were disputable elements, any argument that started about them would not end well for the Christian apologist, so I saw this as a good way to get debate started and more people aware of the issues.

Then I mentioned I would write up a more thorough fact-checking assessment for Brian as soon as the final DVD release was produced and I had a copy. And that's what I did (though only for the ancient history material in the film). Earlier I sent him some corrections that were made even before the general DVD release, so what follows only pertains to the DVD available now (Brian is preparing a "second edition" of the film, though I don't know what changes he plans to make).

Here is what I sent him:

Critical Notes on the Movie The God Who Wasn't There Researched and Compiled by Richard C. Carrier in 2005.

(1) If he "had" been on earth he would not be a priest: an ei...an phrase using the imperfect tense is always a present contrafactual (a past contrafactual would call for the aorist). In other words: "So, then, if he were on earth, he would not be a priest..." is the only correct translation. This is consistent with both interpretations, however, since present contrafactuals can imply a past-to-present contrafactual, so Doherty's interpretation is still more plausible in context (and I do believe there are some genuine translations on the market that use "had been"Eye-wink.

(2) Did Jesus Order His Enemies Killed in Luke 19:27? Yes and no. It is not a command, but a promise. Jesus says Zacchaeus (19:8-10) will be saved because he gives his money to the poor and cheats no one, "For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Then:

Then one servant who did not earn interest on what he was given is cast into darkness at the king's command, at which the "king" (obviously meaning Jesus) says:

The implication is clearly that when he returns Jesus intends to kill those who reject him.

(3) Gospels "Clearly Derive from Mark": Some scholars dispute whether John is "clearly" derived from Mark, but many scholars do believe it does derive from Mark indirectly (possibly through Luke--as I believe is the case, and offer some reasons why in my chapter on "The Spiritual Body" in the book The Empty Tomb). Moreover, all scholars agree John was written later than Mark (even the ancient Christians were agreed about this).

(4) Jesus Under King Jannaeus (104-78 BC)? Some did believe that. b.Talmud, Sanhedrin folio 107 face b contains several references to Jesus existing at this time as a student of Rabbi Joshua ben Perahyah (repeated in Sotah 43a). Jesus is then more clearly discussed in b.Talmud, Sanhedrin folio 43a, but no datable context is given. The tradition of an early Jesus was also known to Epiphanius as a belief held by some early Jewish Christians:

This quote appears in his section that discusses the Christian sect called the "Nazoraeans, who confess that Christ Jesus is Son of God, but all of whose customs are in accordance with the Law," which would suggest early Jewish Christians--in fact, this would appear to be a remnant of the pre-Pauline sect at Jerusalem, as even Acts attests the original Christians were called Nazareans, and Galatians attests that it was the Jerusalem sect under Peter and James that continued to abide by Jewish law, and only Paul who came up with the innovation of doing away with that.

(5) Jesus Executed by Herod: Price himself is vague, but the graphics depict him as speaking of Herod the Great. Actually, the Gospel of Peter says "Herod the King" which could mean Herod Antipas who was a contemporary of Pilate, even though he was not a king (instead he was a tetrarch--he was even deposed by Caligula when he asked for the title of king). Normally "Herod the King" would denote Herod the Great, but the Gospel of Peter still has Pilate in the picture, so this could simply have been a mistake by the Gospel's author (not knowing the correct title for Antipas). The discrepancy Price wanted to convey, I think, was that the Gospel of Peter has Herod execute Jesus rather than Pilate, which indeed is a completely different story than we get in the Gospels, even if this was Antipas and thus the same historical period. Nevertheless, it is still possible that the "error" this author made was in thinking Herod the Great and Pilate were contemporaries, so the graphic is not completely out of order. And such a thought would explain why Herod was the one doing the executing, since the land then was not yet under Roman law, even though Roman procurators (like Pilate) would still have been there at that time attending to Caesar's property and cash.

(6) "Paul never heard of" the Last Supper: That is perhaps misleading. Paul has heard of it, and describes it in 1 Cor. 11:23-26, but he says he "received" this story "from the Lord" which he elsewhere says was a revelation (Gal. 1:11-12; Epj. 3:3; Rom. 16:25; 2 Cor. 12:1, 12:7). So this is a somewhat problematic part of the narrative. Nevertheless, one can honestly say Paul never appears to have heard of a historical event of a last supper taking place in Jerusalem with, e.g., Peter and Judas in attendance. Rather, he only appears to have heard of a revealed event. In fact, Paul does not mention Jesus or anyone actually eating or drinking anything--all Jesus does, in Paul's words, is break bread and lift a cup and command that there be eating and drinking, to symbolize his communal presence among his believers. And the fact that the bread and wine represented his body and blood supports (though does not prove) the thesis that he had no other body or blood on earth. Doherty also notes that the Greek does not exactly say "in the night he was betrayed" (1 Cor. 11:23) but "in the night he was delivered up" which can mean betrayed or handed over to the demons of the air to be crucified, so this can still be a reference to the visions of the celestial Christ; and when Jesus here says "until he comes" and not "until he comes again," this supports (but does not prove) the view that he had not come to earth yet.

(7) "Paul never quotes anything Jesus is supposed to have said": As above, Paul does quote "the Lord" several times (not just in that one case), but, again as noted above, this always appears to be from revelation, not tradition, and what he does quote rarely coincides with what we have in the Gospels, nor does it contain anything distinctive of the supposedly historical discourse of Jesus (for example, Paul never quotes a parable or any statement that refers to anyone by name or definitely contains historical context, etc.) nor any reference to a human tradition by which Paul learned it (e.g. he never says "Peter told me Jesus once said..."Eye-wink.

(Cool "Paul never heard of" Jesus appearing before Pilate and "never mentions Pontius Pilate": One can debate this, but the debate would not look good for the Christian apologist. 1 Timothy 6:13 does say "Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate." But scholars disagree whether 1 Tim. was actually written by Paul. In fact, most scholars conclude it was not, but was written after him--many scholars arguing for a date as late as the dawn of the second century. Furthermore, the phrase "testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate" does not match the Gospels (where Jesus gives no testimony to Pilate at all, much less witness the gospel to him). Instead, the phrase can mean that Jesus delivered his revelation during the administration of Pontius Pilate. From the Greek, the verb martyre? is to give evidence or testimony and a kal?n homologia is a "beautiful agreement," in other words a testament or covenant--and in fact in the preceding verse this is exactly what a new Christian convert does "before many witnesses" (1 Tim. 6:12), and the "Apostle and High Priest" of the Christian homologia is Jesus (Heb. 3:1), and we are exhorted to keep this agreement (Heb. 4:14, 10:23). Thus, this phrase does not appear to be speaking about any testimony Jesus gave to Pilate, but of the fact that Jesus revealed this covenant to Christians under Pilate (epi with genitive can mean either "in the time of" or "in the presence of"Eye-wink.

(9) "Paul doesn't believe that Jesus was ever a human being--he's not even aware of the idea": This depends on what one means by "human being." Paul does call Jesus a "man" (Rom. 5:15; also: Ps.-Paul's 1 Tim. 2:5) and says he "came into being from the seed of David" and "from a woman" (Rom. 1:3 and Gal 4:4), but Paul also says Jesus was "no man" (Gal. 1:1) and that in fact he came into being as a "spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45; also: Ps.-Paul's Heb. 8:2). There are other passages that suggest Paul had in mind a celestial being who either became flesh or took on the "likeness" of flesh, so whether Paul had "heard" of the idea of Jesus being a human being in the sense of living on earth is still debatable, but if you take "human being" to mean merely "incarnated in a body of flesh" in the heavens, then Paul certainly did hear of Jesus being a human being in that obscure sense, which does seem to stretch the meaning of the phrase "human being" a bit much.

(10) Sanhedrin Holding Court on Passover Eve: This was definitely illegal and unnecessary. Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4.1k says a conviction can only be given a day after the trial in capital cases (also 5.5a), and for this reason it specifically says no trial of a capital case can occur on the eve of a Sabbath or a Festival (because court cannot go back in session on such a day). Likewise, 4.1j explicitly says that capital cases can only be tried during the day (in explicit contrast with property cases which must begin during the day but can end at night). There is no intelligible reason why these procedures would have been violated for Jesus.

(11) First Easter in 2400 B.C.: The date I imagine is approximate, and I think must refer to the dawn of the resurrection cult of Inanna and Tammuz, wherein a resurrection of either or both was celebrated at the Spring Equinox (precisely the same calendar date as Passover and Easter) as an agricultural ritual for the death and resurrection of life in the grain harvest. Likewise, the very name "Easter" derives from the Germanic pagan ritual of the same function, where the Goddess Eostra gave a rabbit the power to lay eggs once a year to symbolize this agricultural resurrection of life. But the year seems a bit arbitrary.

The Raglan scoring scene is problematic for a number of reasons. I think perhaps some of the X's and Dings have been misplaced, though the final result remains the same (Jesus does score at least 17 and does appear to win third place; IMO, he actually scores 19 and quite possibly 20, though from my own analysis, not Dundes). Here the most direct concerns, mixed with some points where a critic might quibble but where the film is correct:

(12) Was His Father (Joseph) a King? This is acceptable, but one might quibble. Joseph was said to be the heir of David, which did entail that he was king by right. Accordingly, Luke 1:32 says the father of Jesus is in fact David and he thus shall inherit the throne. See also Mt. 1:20 (angel calls Joseph a son of David) and Mt. 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30-31, 21:9, 21:15, 22:42, etc. (Jesus is called son of David). Jesus came from the seed of David (John 7:42; Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:Cool. So it certainly seems his father was a king in some sense. This deserves its Ding.

(13) Was Mary a "Royal Virgin"? She was certainly a virgin, so a Ding is deserved on that point alone. And according to Luke 1:5 and 1:36 Mary was a relative of Elisabeth who was a descendant of Aaron the first High Priest, which connects her tangentially to royal blood (several high priests also were king of Judaea), but she is also betrothed to Joseph, who is the heir of David and so technically an uncrowned king, which makes her a royal virgin by legal connection. The Gospel of James also has Mary the daughter of Joachim (aka Jechoniah) and Saint Anne, and the father's name here is perhaps an allusion to King Joachim of Judah, so Mary might be a descendant of David, too.

(14) Was Joseph a "near relative" of Mary: Possibly. Per above, both Joseph and Mary are of Davidic descent if Mary's father was not only named but also related to Jechoniah (this king is even mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew). And both Mary and Joseph have family links to the priestly clan of the Levites. And of course, as Jews both are descendants of Jacob and so count as kin. Yet the rank of 17 given in the movie excludes this. The film doesn't put up an X or a Ding for this (so it seems to ignore it), but it does put up a Ding for father as king, since Dundes quickly states both together, even though these are separate points. The film then puts up an X for "reared by foster parents in a foreign country" yet I think this should be a Ding: Joseph is not his real father, and Jesus is raised in Egypt. I am not sure where the confusion lies here. It is hard to sort out what should be X'd and Dinged over the actual words of Dundes. The definite X's I think are battle with dragon (though in different contexts and ways Jesus was said to have battled, and defeated, Satan or Death, recognized even in the NT as a dragon, and the parallels with the Sphinx faced by Oedipus are not wanting) and marriage (though some scholars argue that the Wedding at Cana was in fact Christ's wedding, I don't buy that), but where should the remaining three X's go? I'm not sure.

(15) Was an Attempt Made on Christ's Life by his Father? Not literally, but Herod was sitting in his father's throne and thus acts in place of his father in the same way the Pharaoh does in the story of Moses. And since the criterion only says "often by his father" it is not necessary that it be his father to award a Ding here.

(16) Was Body of Jesus Not Buried? I think the act of burial is not meant, but the presence of an interred corpse: i.e. Jesus scores here because his tomb is empty. This criterion in other words includes the concept of the hero as resurrected or ascended and hence living as a god in heaven. One could also note that Mark and Luke clearly depict the burial as incomplete (anointing never completed) and thus not formally a burial before he vanishes. Nevertheless, the earliest tradition (per Paul) is that he was buried (and then rose), so the Ding here is awarded for the tomb being empty and hence the body not remaining buried, not for there never being any burial act itself

That's it. The only thing I did not double check was the list of "traits" of prior savior figures, since none were assigned to any particular gods nor was it mentioned when the traits were attested in our sources. Several of those might be debatable.


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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

OurPiracy wrote:
What's wrong, or irrational about rethinking something?

Nothing. It however is against your best interests to use overly dramatic language (that could leave the reader with the wrong impression) to describe something that helps achieve your goals, while you're in the process of rethinking.

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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

2 things...

floatingegg wrote:
Have any of you read For Richard Carrier: On "The God Who Wasn't There" movie on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board? I've included one of his rather lengthy replies below.

Much of what Flemming has agreed to change in a new version of the film comes from Carrier.

Quote:

(2) Did Jesus Order His Enemies Killed in Luke 19:27? Yes and no. It is not a command, but a promise. Jesus says Zacchaeus (19:8-10) will be saved because he gives his money to the poor and cheats no one, "For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Then:

Then one servant who did not earn interest on what he was given is cast into darkness at the king's command, at which the "king" (obviously meaning Jesus) says:

The implication is clearly that when he returns Jesus intends to kill those who reject him.

It would seem them that Flemming isn't being blatantly deceitful here in his usage of the passage, and it's just another one of those "how you interpret it" passages.

Thanks for posting that Egg.

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"The God Who Wasn't There": Blatant Lie in an Othe

Here's the thing about this. I do remember this being scrolled in the movie, and it's true these words did not come from Jesus himself to his disciples as a command, but he did speak it in parable. And the fact is, Jesus never condemned it. In fact, he seems to condone it.

He says some equally incredulous things as well:

"Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)

"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

As Dan Barker puts it, "The burning of unbelievers during the Inquisition was based on the words of Jesus: 'If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.' " (John 15:6)

Jesus looked at his critics "with anger" (Mark 3:5), and attacked merchants with a whip (John 2:15). He showed his respect for life by drowning innocent animals (Matthew 8:32). He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).

"I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matthew 10:35-36)

It's hard to take these verses out of context, when the context neither solves the problem or deciphers it, when in cases such as these it seems to hammer the nail in the coffin of a non-violent Jesus figure.

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I still think the use of

I still think the use of this line from Luke is legitimate, it's like "the fool has said in his heart there is no god" line, theists have been claiming the use of the word fool in that recent atheist short film is out of context, but they are just ignoring the fact that we have had to put up with that line for centuries, its the insult we respond to, not whether it biblically correct. I think the use this verse has been put to is more important than the original context, especially when its still used by fundies, besides the parable still shows an intolerant view, it just needs a bit more explaining than just quoting it. Maybe Brian was ignorant of the complexity of the line, but he was right ayway, just via a longer route.

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The time stamp for the Luke

The time stamp for the Luke quote is 32:04.

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


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Ourpiracy, This is a good

Ourpiracy,
This is a good example of something Carl Sagan said, "We tend not to be especially critical when presented with evidence that seems to confirm our prejudices."

Welcoming critical discussions of these things is how we discover and correct such things. Religion on the other hand claims to get it right from the begining. Any questioning of the dogma is discouraged and not welcome.

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


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Rook_Hawkins wrote:He says

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
He says some equally incredulous things as well:

"Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)


Jesus uses Micah 7 to explain his meaning on this. Micah 7 talks about the call to the righteous: people have become corrupted and are set against each other. Jesus's use of "sword" means that he has come for people to make a decision towards righteousness, but the result of that decision may set them against their unrighteous friends and family. This is the cross that people have to take up, as per Matt 10:38

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

I really recommend people look at the context of this one, because it is interesting. The passage comes after the ones about the disciples arguing amongst themselves and Jesus talking to Peter about betrayal:

Luke22:35 And He said to them, "When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?"
So they said, "Nothing."
36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be *accomplished in Me: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors.' For the things concerning Me have an end."
38 So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords."
And He said to them, "It is enough."

To paraphrase, Jesus says that "Hey, you guys had nothing -- did you lack anything?" The disciples said, "No, nothing". Then Jesus says, "Well, then get your money bags, your sacks, and buy a sword. For I say that which was written is still to be accomplished: And He was numbered with the trangressors".

Jesus isn't really approving people to do what Rook has highlighted. He is effectively calling those who want to do that as "trangressors". When the disciples say that they already had two swords, Jesus leaves it at that and simply says "It is enough".

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Jesus looked at his critics "with anger" (Mark 3:5), and attacked merchants with a whip (John 2:15).

True.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
He showed his respect for life by drowning innocent animals (Matthew 8:32).

Actually, they committed suicide Smiling I've often wondered what a herd of swine was doing in a Jewish area.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).

True.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
"I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matthew 10:35-36)

Same as above. From Micah 7.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It's hard to take these verses out of context, when the context neither solves the problem or deciphers it, when in cases such as these it seems to hammer the nail in the coffin of a non-violent Jesus figure.

I agree it clearly goes against a non-violent hippy Jesus figure.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


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Randall, whose prejudices

Randall, whose prejudices are you referring to?

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