David from MYSPACE Challenges Rook Hawkins!
Here is my origional response to somebody on a Myspace Blog - I went to this blog to help a fellow responder! David then replied to me, his response is below. (The italicized bits in my reply was to the origional Blog poster, HERE)
My first topic is of Jesus. I know atheists who don't believe he even existed. It is interesting to me that when people look for historic and scientific proof of Jesus, they discard the Bible as a reliable source.
The reason is quite simple. If we took every religious text as evidence, heck any text of any kind as evidence of people mentioned within as historical evidence, we should just start assuming all Tom Clancy's works, the Koran, the Illiad, Moby Dick, etc...as true as well.
The reason why we DON'T accept those events or characters as factual or historical personalities is because it's CIRCULAR REASONING. The same effect would be as if I asked you to give me an adequate definition of what the Ocean is and you said..."It's the Ocean." You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible just as you can't use the Koran to prove the Koran, or Moby Dick to prove Moby Dick. History demands some outside evidence for which none exists for Jesus.
From my research, if you look at the Bible simply as a historic document, it should be one of the most reliable.
A lie on your part, or maybe just a mis-informed statement? I'll pretend, mainly because I don't know you, that you are just highly mis-informed. Allow me to retort with a laundry list (although I'll keep it as short as possible just to keep things moving) of historical problems within the Bible that make it an invalid source to use for the verification of any historical events:
(Insert long list of Historical Contradictions which can be found HERE...took them out to conserve space)
Historians often refer to Herodotus as a key source of information. He wrote from 488 B.C. to 428 B.C. The earliest copy of his work comes from 900 A.D. (1,300 years later!) There are only 8 known copies of his work.
Problems abound here, which speaks to how little of the subject you know. Most historians DON'T refer to Herodotus as a key source, as primarily his works have been in dispute ever since Cicero in the second century BCE, in a sense even Lucian in the second Century CE acknowledges how suspicious Herodotus' works are, and even claims to deny him rites into certain realms of high court in the after life.
Further, you deceptively hinted at something here that bears little irrelevance to the point in contention, which is the existence of Jesus. Herodotus WROTE several muses, all of which WERE published in his lifetime, and he never claimed perfection.
These are three things that Jesus never did or had. Never once did he write something, nor was anything published by him or about him within his lifetime, and he claimed to be the son of God. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and this is a case where even ordinal evidence is lacking.
Comparing with this, the New Testament (where all the information of Jesus lies) was written between 40 A.D. and 100 A.D.
More lies. More deception. The earliest work in the NT is the Epistles of Paul, written around 60-66 CE. Paul did not write any earlier, as Paul's conversion didn't take place until this particular year, and he admits he kept his conversion and vision a secret for three years before going to Jerusaelm. Acts was written long after the death of Paul in the second century CE so the author neither knew Paul nor the events that paul discribes in his Eistles.
Paul was also not a literalist when it came to Christ, he was a Gnostic. He did not believe nor know of a historical figure you now think existed just thirty years earlier (supposedly). Not once does he ever attribute a quote to jesus, know of any Gospel events, or place the idea of a ressurection death and crucifixtion anywhere other then a spiritual plane.
The ealiest dating of the Mark Gospel, even conservative dating, place Mark after the destruction of the Jewish Temple at 75 CE, at the earliest! Anbody whyo says difefrently is purposefully lying to make a case for which there is none. At 75CE this is over forty years after the supposed events took place and nothing came prior to this.
I will continue this when I return home from work.
I did have a reply written up to further discuss the fallacious points of this blog, however the thunder storm (flash floods, ridiculous amounts of lightning) that took the area by surprise a few nights ago shut down the power to my computer for some time, and it happened as I was finishing the last paragraph - and I hadn't saved any of it.
However I logged in today and saw the following reply from David. David is a poster on Myspace.
Here is his reply:
ook is mistaken in several respects. First, he claims that accepting the historicity of the Bible is "circular reasoning," and he follows this up with the typical vague claim that "you can't use the Bible to prove the Bible." While belief in the Bible -- like belief in anything -- can be circular, it does not have to be. The basis for my belief in the Bible is not circular at all. I refuted the circularity argument very easily in this blog.
Second, the "standard historical contradictions" Rook raises have all been addressed ages ago in such books as "When Critics Ask" by Dr. Norman Geisler and "Hard Sayings of the Bible" by F.F. Bruce. Additionally, it is not necessary to believe the Bible is inerrant in order to believe it is generally accurate. The New York Times is not infallible, and yet we are fully justified in trusting it. Likewise, even though I believe the Bible is flawless, I don't have to defend that view in order for Christianity to be factually correct.
Third, Rook's claims that narratives in the Bible are "Historical claims with little or no extrabiblical connection" are both misleading and irrelevant. It is misleading because a great deal of Biblical history is corroborated by external sources, i.e. the extent of Old Testament canon which is confirmed by Josephus and Philo, and indeed much of the OT itself. I highly recommend this book for further reading. And it is irrelevant because a hundred ancient writers may have testified to the Biblical events and we would have no idea, the reason being that the vast majority of documents in ancient antiquity are lost to us. Now if we somehow discovered all or even most of the documents that were thought to have been written during that time, and none of them referenced any such events, his point would begin to have merit (but it would still be a very inconclusive argument from silence).
Fourth, Rook claims that "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and this is a case where even ordinal evidence is lacking." The mere claim that Jesus was a real Jew living in 1st century Palestine who was crucified by Pontius Pilate is not extraordinary at all; in fact, it's a very boring, ordinary claim. I don't think Rook has any justification for demanding extraordinary evidence for such ordinary claims -- it's just his prejudice against the person of Jesus.
Fifth, Rook's claim that "Paul's conversion didn't take place until" 60-66 A.D. is blatantly false. Scholars, even harsh anti-Christians like Peter Kirby, are almost unanimous in the view that 1 Corinthians and Galatians are genuine Pauline letters which were written in 55 A.D or earlier. I will admit that Rook is not the only person on the planet to date Mark to 75 A.D., but I challenge him to present his dates for all of the gospels and his reasons for thinking so. I date all four gospels to prior to 70 A.D. and present a front-line defense of that view here.