4 Gospels *not* an eye witness account of Jesus.

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4 Gospels *not* an eye witness account of Jesus.

 I have, on a few occasions, got into a slight discussion with various people who try to prove the existence of Jesus. They often refer to the Bible's four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. They claim that these gospels show eye witness account of Jesus himself and due to the number and nature of the writings, he must have existed and been the son of the Judeo-Christian god.

I am of the opinion that there may have been a many named Jesus preaching and teaching during the suggested time, but that does not claim divinity nor does it actual prove the Jesus of the Bible existed, as the name was not an unpopular one (as was John, as you will note below). If there ever was a true eye witness of this man in the Bible stories, or of any sort of divinity, it has most likely since been destroyed and/or lost. Once again, though, this is hardly proof for him to be a "Son of God" and only indicates that someone in history may have existed. But I digress, as I stood to educate and refute the claims that the gospels were eye witness accounts of Jesus and here is why:

 

 

As for John the Apostle, he was a Jew, born in Bethsaida, and was an uneducated fisherman. The author of this particular gospel misquoted the location as there was confusion as there were two locations once known as Bethsaida, was not a practicing Jew although he knew of Jewish customs, and was a form of scholar based on his writings. For example, Pilate's title, Prefect. The term "Prefect" was explicitly abolished around mid-40 A.D. (10 years after Pilate had been removed from office). Tacitus, in 115 A.D., used the term Procurator as an error although it remained and circulated with this term. The Gospels refer to Pilate as a Procurator rather than as a Prefect, which is the only title he would have gone during the time of Jesus. Not to mentioned this author believe Jesus to be the "Son of God" whereas supposedly the Apostle John believed him to be a man.

Luke notes that the end of the age is supposed to come during his life, instead of the believed/indicated time of Jesus' followers or disciples. He would have known this had he been writing during the First Century, as even if there were followers of child/teenage aged, there would have been personal accounts had they even lived to 100. This is a indication he was writing at the end of First Century if not already in the Second century. It should also be noted that Luke's writing rely heavily on that of Jespehus' later work, which were not published until after 95 A.D.

It should also be noted that the epistles of Clement of Rome (approx 64-96 A.D.) made no mention of these gospels in circulation, although there is an indication of the epistles of Paul.

 

Matthew includes Mary having an affair with a Roman archer which did not actually circulate until Celsus in about 175 A.D. Matthew also makes claims of the story told by Jews of the stealing of Jesus' body although no mention of this "rumor" did not circulate until it is mentioned by Justin Martyr (c. 100 A.D.) and Tertullian (c. 155 A.D.).

Mark was the secretary of Bishop Papias who produced works in 130 A.D. He made many recounts of the disciple Peter to him. This is when the first mention of any of the gospels, namely The Gospel of Mark, was recording to have been in circulation... 140 A.D. Anything before this time is nonexistent and is importantly not referenced in many early Christian writings such as The Book of Hermas, Polycarp, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc.

 

 

 


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Another thing about 'the eye

Another thing about 'the eye witnesses' to Jesus and the biblical miracles. They did not have faith, as do all the bible thumpers of today. According to the bible, one can not be saved without faith. So all the eyewitnesses would be rotting in hell now for believing without faith. Since they actually saw the events first hand, they didn't need any faith.

Paul didn't have faith since he was blinded by a light and voice from heaven, he performed miracles in Jesus name and Jesus communicated with him directly. So I ask Christian, how could he be save since he wrote in the bible we are only saved through faith? He didn't have any, as you do.

Mary would be rotting in hell. Since it doesn't take faith to believe if God actually impregnates you directly.

 

 

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Fictional J.C.

 

 

         jesu christos is far more a title then a name.  A Judaic sect had been waiting for the annointed one (B'christom) since early in the firt century B.C.E. (before the commen era). Somewhere around the first decade C.E. they just invented one. Saul of Tarsus was in the process of suppressing this misguided fantasy when he forgot to take his meds and had an episode and suddenly became Paul of Tarsus with a mission.

 

        Paul/Saul was suffering from bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or Mendachia or maybe just wishfull thinking. What ever his problem the end result was a conglomeration of several legions and itinerate preachers. Mostly Mithra of the Zorastrians.

 

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSm7YPMQOSo 

 

      Your father may be suffering from Mendacia; That is a mental disorder that allows him to preach and lecture; vehemently!! on a topic he has been programed into since childhood.  Even when he does not really believe it.

 

       In short there is no reason nor is there any evidence that a person named Yeoshua Bar Yeusuf B'chistos (Jesus Christ) ever existed.

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Jeffrick wrote:In short

Jeffrick wrote:
In short there is no reason nor is there any evidence that a person named Yeoshua Bar Yeusuf B'chistos (Jesus Christ) ever existed.

Well of course no-one had this name because it partially a title, as you say - the name in question would be Yeshua ben Yosef (I think). But I have a question .....

When forming an opinion, we need to base it on facts or knowledge, and if we are not expert ourselves, we need to check out what the experts conclude. If I'm thinking about science, I need to read the scientists. And if I'm thinking about history, I need to read the historians.

But when I read the historians I find that, almost without exception, they don't agree with you that Jesus didn't exist and there is no evidence that he did. For example (I have many other quotes):

  • the late Michael Grant, respected Roman Empire historian (in "Jesus, An Historian's Review of the Gospels" page 199-200.):
    "if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned."  "[That Jesus was a myth] has again and again been answered and annihilated by first-rank scholars .... no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus."
     
  • James H. Charlesworth, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. Princeton University:
    "Jesus did exist; and we know more about him than about almost any Palestinian Jew before 70 C.E."

  • Marcus Borg, Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University:
    "some judgments are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed, and he really was crucified, just as Julius Caesar really existed and was assassinated." and "We can in fact know as much about Jesus as we can about any figure in the ancient world."

So my question is this: who should I believe?


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The bible is quoted to prove

The bible is quoted to prove the bible's stories, this is called circular reasoning. In any case to me, arguing history misses the fact that the bible is full of fantastical magical absurd claims, AND THAT is how I attack the bible.

Even if one were to conceed that a man named Jesus existed, he could no more cure the blind than fart a full sized Lamborginni out of his ass.

We can prove that George Washington existed, but no sane person would claim he could fly around on a broomstick like Harry Potter.

I sometimes get the "there were 500 witnesses". AND WERE IS THAT CLAIM MADE? In the bible.

If I wrote a book about myself, provided documentation inside the book and outside the book as to the hospital I was born in, and then in that book lied or made up a story about being a billionaire, with no evidence outside the book of my finances.........Then burried the book, then 1,000 years later someone digs it up, does that mean I really was a billionaire?

New York exists, but because we see Superman flying around that city in movies doesn't mean Superman is real.

 

BOTTEM LINE, adult humans dont magically pop out of dirt. Virgins don't get knocked up by "spirits" and human flesh does not survive rigor mortis.

 

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G'day Brian,Thanks for your

G'day Brian,

Thanks for your reply. But I'm not entirely clear how you are answering my question. Let me ask you two simple questions:

1. Do you believe the historians I quoted (and the others I could quote) are the best source of historical information?

2. Do you believe it when those historians say that a person recognisable as Jesus (not necessarily all the stories, all the miraculous, or anything, but enough) did indeed exist?

Best wishes.


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Interesting questions

Interesting questions ercatil. Before I get to them, I must cover a related issue.

 

When a scholar (of any topic really) say that a given proposition is true, does that mean that he must be believed simply because he is a distinguished scholar? Or would the truth of the proposition be clear only after considering the source material to determine that the scholar is using accurate information in an appropriate manner?

 

As an example, if the specific proposition at hand happened to be false and could easily be checked out, then obviously we should be wary of trusting the distinguished scholar at hand. Of course, this is not always easy to do, especially with historical material that is not easy to come by or in many cases simply does not exist any longer.

 

So to your questions:

 

Do I believe in your scholars? No. Show me the evidence in support of their assertions for an historical jesus.

 

Do I believe their assertions on the historicity of Jesus? Honestly, you have just asked the same question over again, this time with slightly different wording.

 

Basically, you are constructing an appeal to authority.

 

Now answer my questions:

 

Do you believe that Jesus said the words “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

 

Bart D. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that that did not happen. He should know because he has read the documents personally and that story is a rather recent addition to the bible.

 

Do you accept the clearly homoerotic “Secret Gospel of Mark” as authentic Clementine writing? Most scholars do, including the ones who publish the accepted body of canonical Clementine writings. The actual document is gone missing at the moment but the existence of the document has been confirmed by several scholars of unimpeachable reputation.

 

 

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ercatli

 

    First off, since the J.C. charactor was said to speak in Aramaic not Hebrew the real name is most often written has Yeoshua Bar Yeusuf , that is Bar not Ben.  It is difficult to transliterate Hebrew letters into our Latin letters and still get the translation correct. I use a lettering I have seen other writers use, I've also seen other ways to spell it, the most elaborate was Yhehohshyhua B'hara Yahhaonnahhan to me that looks more like Joshua son of John.  I will stay with the Joshua son of Joseph for this post.

 

     There are meny things in the New Testiment that defy logic, over and above the Magical woo woo stuff, all combine lead me to say there is no evidence that a Jesu Cristos ever existed.  Start with the name Joshua B.Joseph;  it is such a common name, so common that a modern equivalent would be John Smith or John Doe, and used the same way in literiture as we do today to describe a Not-real-person just a composite of meny persons.

 

      There  is no logic and no reason to believe that a teenage girl,  9 months pregnant was put on a donkey and marched out of her family home just for a census or tax collecting. Roman censor didn't care much about non-citizen females and tax collectors don't give a rats ass where you live, just pay the taxes.   It makes a nice story though.

 

      St.Peter takeing a sword and hacking off a Romans ear  while the Roman soldiers did nothing about it; not logical.  The history of Roman soldiers is well documented if such a thing happened Peter and the others would have been sliced up into small pieces.  Some stories I've read describe Peter and at least a few of the other apostles has cutthroat street thugs, if that were true then the soldiers would have been sliced up.

 

       J.C. upending the money lenders stalls in the market,  and getting away with it.  Get serious and think for a minute, the money lenders had guards to prevent such things happening, they would have at the very least beat the living crap out of J.C. after the first table got  spilled.  That some irate preacher tried scolding the money leaders I can believe but that he got violent and survivded is rediculous.

 

       That a council of Temple priests gathered ON THE SABBATH to decide the fate of one irritating preacher is unbelievable. On the Sabbath  no work is done by the priests, no decisions are made;  the Temple would have to collapse into a pile of dust before the priests do anything more then Sabbath prayers.

 

       Recent archaelogical evidence in Nazareth has shown convincingly that the city did not exist until late in the first century CE. too late for Jesus, Mary and Joseph to have ever lived there.  It was likely founded by survivers of the Jewish revolt of 70 CE.

 

       btw the skilled tradesmen of Nazareth are stone cutters not carpenters,  there's no trees.

 

       Jesus of Nazareth was a story likely concocted from a story about Joshua the Nazarene. The Nazarenes where a religious sect possibly involved with writting the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Later christian writters didn't keep thier facts straight.

 

       Why would a Jew from Ascareth (Judus Iscariat) be needed to betray J.C. any local could have found him easily enough for a lot less then  30 pieces of silver.  It makes a nice story but it does not make sense.  Why pay the price of a slave when the soldiers patrolling the streets could tell you  where J.C. and his posse where, free of charge.

 

        I wont even go into the woo woo magical stuff, I don't honestly believe Pen & Teller make things appear out of thin air and I wouldn't  believe it in the first century eather.

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ercatli wrote:Appeal to

ercatli wrote:
Appeal to authority blah blah

So my question is this: who should I believe?

Even if Jesus was real, and really was crucified, why should we believe that the gospels are anything other than the religious fan fiction they read like? They're written at least 40 years after the events, in a different language, by anonymous writers who don't tell us where they got their material. They're theologically driven stories about the hero of their faith, and not eye witness accounts, which is what this thread was about. That's the view of critical history.

 


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There almost certainly was a

There almost certainly was a man, probably more than one, of the name living around the 'correct' period. The question amounts to was there an individual who matched enough of the significant details in the texts closely enough to deserve being identified as the person who the scriptures were referring to?

Obviously, because of the inconsistencies, we can say confidently that there was no actual JC exactly as described.

So it's ultimately a matter of judgement/opinion as to whether there was some actual individual who could be meaningfully identified with the mythical character in the text.

Anyone expressing very high levels of certainty about the actual reality of such a person is behaving as a believer, not a scholar, IMHO.

 

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 Thanks guys for your

 Thanks guys for your responses. In summary, AnswersinGenesis has answered both my questions (with a name like that, you'd have to wouldn't you? ), with "no, and the others of you have offered your own thoughts - you haven't specifically answered the questions, but a couple have mentioned "argument from authority" and I'm guessing you would also answer "no".

I want to stay with my original point about whether Jesus existed, and leave other matters to the side for the moment. And I will limit my comments to the matter of authority.

The fallacy of the argument from authority is a philosophical matter relating to formal logic. Basically it says that "X says so therefore it's true" is not logically valid. But it isn't a fallacy outside of logic. Science and history are empirical studies, not based on formal logic, and authority is an important part of how they proceed. No-one can have studied every aspect of an area of research, and each researcher must depend on the work of others. That is why scientific and historical papers reference other scholars.

Thus this textbook says: "there are correct uses of authority as well as incorrect ones. It would be a sophomoric mistake to suppose that every appeal to authority is illegitimate, for the proper use of authority plays in indispensable role in the accumulation and application of knowledge" (Wesley C. Salmon, Logic, Foundations of Philosophy Series [Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963], p. 63). (Please note: I intend no insult to you guys, this was just the wording of the quote.)

Further, peer review is a key component of scientific and historical study. It is not enough for someone to have a good idea and some evidence - they have to convince their peers. Thus there are various views about how to interpret the data on global warming, but the consensus, based on peer review, is that it is occurring.

The same considerations apply to historical study. It is no shame to draw on the work of other experts, in fact it is absolutely necessary. And the ideas of a single person carry little weight until they are accepted by the consensus of historians working in the field.

I am not an expert who has devoted my professional life to 1st century history, and unless one of you speaks up, I will assume none of you is either. So we need the experts to tell us the facts (I haven't been on any archaeological digs, I haven't translated any ancient documents nor grappled with their relevance and interpretation, and I'm guessing you haven't either) and we need to test our ideas against the best of the scholars the same as they do with each other. And that's why I quote the best objective scholars.

So, I don't wish to appear rude, but I return to my original question: Why should I believe your statement and interpretation of the facts when I have abundant expert advice to the contrary?

Thanks, and best wishes.


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ercatli wrote: Thanks guys

ercatli wrote:

 Thanks guys for your responses. In summary, AnswersinGenesis has answered both my questions (with a name like that, you'd have to wouldn't you? ), with "no, and the others of you have offered your own thoughts - you haven't specifically answered the questions, but a couple have mentioned "argument from authority" and I'm guessing you would also answer "no"...

...So, I don't wish to appear rude, but I return to my original question: Why should I believe your statement and interpretation of the facts when I have abundant expert advice to the contrary?

First off, how could you possibly trust the site "Answers in Genesis" when they have knowingly and purposefully distorted facts and direct quotes from leading scholars, mathematicians, scientists, etc., in order to gain believers?

Unless of course, that is, I completely misunderstood what you meant.


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 You've gotta laugh : )

 Yes, you did misunderstand. AnswersinGenesis is the name of one of the members here I was replying to. Not sure why he chose that name if that is what people think of that site, but I guess he has a sense of humour! : )


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I can't stand polluting my

I can't stand polluting my brain with religious stuff, so I in no way qualify as a scholar. And yet, Jesus isn't simply a man like Ceaser or Alexander, he's the son of god. You want me to believe there was a guy named Jesus who wandered about spreading peace, and I have little reason to doubt. But once you make him, or any aspect of him, related in any way to some supreme being (let alone rising from the dead), then you're going to need a hell of a lot more than a lack of records from Rome and a few stories that showed up many many years after he supposedly existed to convince me that you're not blowing smoke. As over a 2000 year period nothing has emerged to give veracity to the ludicrous claims, not to mention the incredible parallels with earlier stories, I am well within the realm of accuracy to claim that he didn't exist. Noone can prove he did, and since he isn't a man, but a form of demi god, he doesn't enjoy the same acceptance I give to regular people. He needs proof. Real proof.

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ercatli wrote: Yes, you did

ercatli wrote:

 Yes, you did misunderstand. AnswersinGenesis is the name of one of the members here I was replying to. Not sure why he chose that name if that is what people think of that site, but I guess he has a sense of humour! : )

Actually, his full name is  "Answers in Gene Simmons", a bit cleverer and funnier than using "Answers in Genesis".

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1 wrote:Actually,

BobSpence1 wrote:

Actually, his full name is  "Answers in Gene Simmons", a bit cleverer and funnier than using "Answers in Genesis".

Lol!!!!! His name truncates to "AnswersinGene", so it could be either. I like it!!!!!


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Vastet wrote:Jesus isn't

Vastet wrote:
Jesus isn't simply a man like Ceaser or Alexander, he's the son of god. You want me to believe there was a guy named Jesus who wandered about spreading peace, and I have little reason to doubt. But once you make him, or any aspect of him, related in any way to some supreme being (let alone rising from the dead), then you're going to need a hell of a lot more

Fair enough. But if you read the scholars (the ones I try to quote, anyway), you'll find that they don't address the question of whether Jesus was actually the Son of God (they say the answer we give depends on metaphysics, not history), but whether he claimed to be the Son of God, or alternatively, whether he was believed to be the Son of God. Those are historical questions.

That is why I said previously "a person recognisable as Jesus (not necessarily all the stories, all the miraculous, or anything, but enough)".

Thus the process is to ask (1) did an itinerant teacher named Jesus, who was believed to be a miracle worker, who was killed by the Roman authorities, was believed by his followers to have risen from the dead, and whose life followed the broad pattern set out in the gospels, actually exist? Then (2) if so, what parts of the texts can we have historical confidence in? These are historical questions. Then comes the metaphysical question, (3) what conclusions do I draw about him, or what do I believe about him (positively or negatively)?

I was simply referring to question 1, the question of whether someone recognisable as Jesus actually existed. From what you say, you have no problems with that, which puts you in agreement with the vast majority of historians. That was all the point I was making.

Thanks for your input.


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ercatli wrote:  

ercatli wrote:

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

 

Actually, his full name is "Answers in Gene Simmons", a bit cleverer and funnier than using "Answers in Genesis".

 

Lol!!!!! His name truncates to "AnswersinGene", so it could be either. I like it!!!!!

 

Yah, so are you going to trust your immortal soul to a bunch of ignorant, misogynistic dudes who thought that the earth was flat or the very real and very alive bass player for a 70's glam rock band?

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ercatli wrote: Yes, you did

ercatli wrote:

 Yes, you did misunderstand. AnswersinGenesis is the name of one of the members here I was replying to. Not sure why he chose that name if that is what people think of that site, but I guess he has a sense of humour! : )

Then there's hope for you yet. 

I just can't respect someone who knowingly takes that particular website seriously and uses it as a reference point.

Gene Simmons, though, seems to have a lot of answers in him. Hence the name I suppose!


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, so are you going to trust your immortal soul to a bunch of ignorant, misogynistic dudes who thought that the earth was flat or the very real and very alive bass player for a 70's glam rock band?

 

Well I know that them dudes had the fancy book-learnin' skillz so why *not* trust them?

Plus I am a woman, and therefore (according to many Biblical verbal illustrations), know nuttin'. 


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, so are you going to trust your immortal soul to a bunch of ignorant, misogynistic dudes who thought that the earth was flat or the very real and very alive bass player for a 70's glam rock band?

Presents me with a really great choice!

I think I'll go with a still just alive songwriter and guitarist from the 60s, Mr Robert Zimmerman: 

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scoff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me ?


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Silly_Mommy wrote:Well I

Silly_Mommy wrote:

Well I know that them dudes had the fancy book-learnin' skillz so why *not* trust them?

Lol!!! That's the attitude that made America great!!!

 

Silly_Mommy wrote:
Plus I am a woman, and therefore (according to many Biblical verbal illustrations), know nuttin'. 

But at least you know enough not to wear bad make-up and walk around with your tongue (and hands) hanging halfway to the floor!

 

 


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BobSpence1 wrote:Anyone

BobSpence1 wrote:
Anyone expressing very high levels of certainty about the actual reality of such a person is behaving as a believer, not a scholar, IMHO.

So the vast majority of scholars, even of the liberal bent, such as the Jesus seminar, are behaving as believers? Bart Ehrman is behaving as a believer? Those supposed scholars who claim that Jesus did not exist, are behaving in the sort of mindset of IDiot scientist, and creationist, and 9/11 truthers. It's why their best proponents, consist of a dude who teaches at an uncredited university, founded by a prosperity gospel preacher. ID dudes, have better credentials than mythicist that's for sure. 

The fact is the Gospels are written, exactly as to what we would predict a greco-roman biography of a religious teacher proclaimed as a messiah would look like, it's the body of thoughts ideas, teachings from "go the extra miles, to the various parables, and sayings", all carrying the distinctive features to make them a single body of thought, such as irony, reversal of fortune, and frustration of expectations, that's attributed to no one other than person going by the name Jesus, that make a position held by mythicist to be one of ignorance, or delusion. 

The best explanation, that any individual who has a decent understanding of the historical method, is one that can be held with a great deal of certainity, and that is the Gospels were based on a historical jewish teacher, going by the name Jesus, who was crucified, and believed to be the messiah by his followers. 

If you want to hold another position, you better have a solid alternative explanation that better explains the data, than this. You better provide one that holds a more solid proximation value, or I'm going to wince and call you an idiot, no different than a creationist. 

The mythicist would like us to believe the best explanation, is that the gospels writers desired to pass off a non-existent person, as the jewish messiah, and no one knew the wiser. Those mother fuckers had some balls, not only did they want to sell a peasant preacher who died a humilating death, as the messiah, but they also wanted to sell a non-existent messiah as well? Fuck, even the gnostics bought that shit, they had to give an excuse for Jesus's real historical body, saying it was an illusion to the outside world. If Rook Hawkins lived back than and told them he actually didn't exist at all, they would have sucked his disk, but no one knew the wiser.

Man, out of all the ancient polemics attempting to descredit christianity, and it's supposed messiah, I guess no one thought of saying, "hey this dude didn't even exist", even though they riducled his mode of death, and the fact that he was a carpenter by trade. 

I apologize, if our fellow atheist here are offended, but as an individual who actually knows his shit, when it comes to the historical method, particulary as it relates to the premodern world, I get a chuckle hearing this delusion, held in such high esteem here. 

If a mythicist here believes he knows his stuff, and would like to debate me on the subject, let me know, Hawkins bowed out early in our previous discussion, but perhaps someone here can amuse me instead. If you don't know your shit, I suggest you crawl back into your hole. 

 


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theTwelve wrote:BobSpence1

theTwelve wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
Anyone expressing very high levels of certainty about the actual reality of such a person is behaving as a believer, not a scholar, IMHO.

So the vast majority of scholars, even of the liberal bent, such as the Jesus seminar, are behaving as believers? Bart Ehrman is behaving as a believer? Those supposed scholars who claim that Jesus did not exist, are behaving in the sort of mindset of IDiot scientist, and creationist, and 9/11 truthers. It's why their best proponents, consist of a dude who teaches at an uncredited university, founded by a prosperity gospel preacher. ID dudes, have better credentials than mythicist that's for sure. 

Note, I said very high level of certainty. It also depends just how closely it is believed the presumed historical figure matches the details of the story.

I have heard Ehrman speak on this, and his reactions when queried specifically about mythicist theories surprised me, and did strike me that way. Note I am not saying he believes in the divinity of the JC figure, but his attitude to the questioning of his position was more like a believer than that of someone holding a proper empirical, evidence-based, position on the likelihood of his position. I was struck because it was out of whack with his reasonable discussion of other issues around Christian beliefs.

Seriously, I would like to see a debate from you, where you finally presented some actual evidence and basis for your view-point, apart from appeals to authority, and ad hominen dismissals of critics of your position, which is pretty much all you have presented so far.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1 wrote:I have

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have heard Ehrman speak on this, and his reactions when queried specifically about mythicist theories surprised me, and did strike me that way. Note I am not saying he believes in the divinity of the JC figure, but his attitude to the questioning of his position was more like a believer than that of someone holding a proper empirical, evidence-based, position on the likelihood of his position.

And you'll find you're sort of thinking among propents of ID, claiming that scientist who support evolution are like believers. 

I'll tell you the problem here, both mythicist and creationist don't have much of a clue when it comes to the respective mediums they questions, and claim alternative "theories" for, then there are those who have delusional sort of views, such as Hawkins who believes that Jesus eating meat with the disciples on passover, is a blatant rip-off from Homer's Illiad, because Odysseus also ate meat, with his crewmen. 

Quote:
Seriously, I would like to see a debate from you, where you finally presented some actual evidence and basis for your view-point, apart from appeals to authority, and ad hominen dismissals of critics of your position, which is pretty much all you have presented so far.

Well, I don't make appeals to authority, I understand the medium well enough that I can hold a position on my own. If you would like to claim otherwise, that the gospels are better explained with a non-historical individual as it's inspiration, than make a case for it. 


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Your lack of response to my

Your lack of response to my post suggests you can't argue against it. Does this mean you don't hold to the idea that jesus is in any way more than a simple teacher?
If so, I doubt anyone here cares enough to bother arguing the point. The existence of a carpenter named jesus would not give credibility to the existence of a god, in any way.
If not, your attempt to refocus becomes transparent and self destructive to your argument.

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Reply to Vastet

Vastet wrote:
Your lack of response to my post suggests you can't argue against it.

G'day Vastet,

I guess your post is directed at me? In which case my post #16 was a response, sorry if you missed it. But I must also say, at the risk of being provocative, that I don't see the logic that says "lack of reply" = "can't argue against it". Would you like to explain that further?

 
Vastet wrote:
Does this mean you don't hold to the idea that jesus is in any way more than a simple teacher? If so, I doubt anyone here cares enough to bother arguing the point. The existence of a carpenter named jesus would not give credibility to the existence of a god, in any way.
    The original post made a number of comments, of which one was to the effect that Jesus didn't exist. I picked up on this one comment because I thought it was easy to settle historically, and because I thought it was a commonly held but erroneous opinion.      We all have views, beliefs or unbeliefs about Jesus, but there is little pint in discussing them until we actually determine what the historical evidence is, fundamentally whether he existed.    I have made clear (#16) what I think those fundamental historical facts are: "an itinerant teacher named Jesus, who was believed to be a miracle worker, who was killed by the Roman authorities, was believed by his followers to have risen from the dead, and whose life followed the broad pattern set out in the gospels".    So the question is, what is your answer to whether that Jesus existed? So far, no-one except "theTwelve" has answered that clearly, and while he is not apparently a believer in Jesus, he agrees with me that the historical evidence points strongly to that fact.    So what do the rest of you say?     
Vastet wrote:
If not, your attempt to refocus becomes transparent and self destructive to your argument.
      I am confused by this too. Can you please explain what you mean and what evidence leads you to that conclusion?   Best wishes. PS I'm sorry about bad formatting, but the editor doesn't seem to be behaving.

 

 


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It was not directed at you,

It was not directed at you, but at twelve. I don't quote because it uses up too many characters and I can't respond with the limit I'm under. Sorry for the confusion.
1: It was a taunt. Or as he would say: a provocation. I want a response from him. Sticking out tongue
2: This error resurrected a topic that we settled amicably, and I'd like to resettle it so I can concentrate on the unresolved troll. No offense, but as mentioned, I have a character limit on my system. Makes multi-responses of quantity/quality impossible, because I also have a 6 window maximum.
3: I subtly refer to his subtle refusal to be defined. If he, like you, wants to argue for a man, that's fine. I'll note it for future reference and wait for something more interesting. But if he wants the son of god, his evidence is not sufficient. Not by half.

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Vastet wrote:It was not

Vastet wrote:
It was not directed at you, but at twelve.

Cool. Sorry I was confused.

Vastet wrote:
If he, like you, wants to argue for a man, that's fine. I'll note it for future reference and wait for something more interesting.

Does that mean you agree that history does indeed support the existence of "an itinerant teacher named Jesus, who was believed to be a miracle worker, who was killed by the Roman authorities, was believed by his followers to have risen from the dead, and whose life followed the broad pattern set out in the gospels"?


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History doesn't support the

History doesn't support the suggestion that he was killed by Roman's. There are no records of it despite Rome being excellent at keeping records. Nothing wrong with the rest, but a distinction must be noted. Just because people believe he rose from the dead and was a miracle worker does not in any way suggest that he did or was.

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:o

You would think they would make a record of a huge earthquake too that supposedly happened when he died.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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Vastet wrote:History doesn't

Vastet wrote:
History doesn't support the suggestion that he was killed by Roman's. There are no records of it despite Rome being excellent at keeping records. Nothing wrong with the rest, but a distinction must be noted. Just because people believe he rose from the dead and was a miracle worker does not in any way suggest that he did or was.

Thanks. Just two comments.

1. Why would you expect there to be Roman records of every insignificant non-citizen executed? How many other Jewish victims do we have records of? (These are non-rhetorical questions, which I'm hoping you will answer.)

2. Just because people believe he rose from the dead and was a miracle worker does not in any way (suggestprove that he did or was, but it does suggest it as a possibility, on which we can each make a judgment.

Best wishes.


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ClockCat wrote:You would

ClockCat wrote:

You would think they would make a record of a huge earthquake too that supposedly happened when he died.

G'day Cat, I don't think we've met before.

I wonder can you tell me please, based on historical analysis:

(1) why do you think it was a "huge" earthquake? (i.e. what evidence is there that it was claimed to be "huge", what destruction was reported, etc?), and

(2) who is "they", and what makes you think "they would have made a record of it"?

Thanks and best wishes.


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:3

ercatli wrote:

ClockCat wrote:

You would think they would make a record of a huge earthquake too that supposedly happened when he died.

G'day Cat, I don't think we've met before.

I wonder can you tell me please, based on historical analysis:

(1) why do you think it was a "huge" earthquake? (i.e. what evidence is there that it was claimed to be "huge", what destruction was reported, etc?), and

Didn't it supposedly make their holy temple split, and things to fall? Something that noticable you think would get a mention.

ercatli wrote:

(2) who is "they", and what makes you think "they would have made a record of it"?

Vastet wrote:

History doesn't support the suggestion that he was killed by Roman's. There are no records of it despite Rome being excellent at keeping records. Nothing wrong with the rest, but a distinction must be noted. Just because people believe he rose from the dead and was a miracle worker does not in any way suggest that he did or was.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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 Hey guys, completely

 Hey guys, completely off-topic, but can someone help me please.

Here I sit, labelled with this "Theist" label that I don't recall ever choosing (though I guess I must have) which must be like a red rag to a bull to all you atheist dudes, while you all have hip labels like "Superfan" and "Science freak" and so on. Are these customisable? I've searched around in "My Account" and I can't find anywhere to make a change. If it's possible, can someone please tell me how?

Thanks

PS If it isn't customisable, what's a person to do if they deconvert - or convert? : )


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:3

ercatli wrote:

 Hey guys, completely off-topic, but can someone help me please.

Here I sit, labelled with this "Theist" label that I don't recall ever choosing (though I guess I must have) which must be like a red rag to a bull to all you atheist dudes, while you all have hip labels like "Superfan" and "Science freak" and so on. Are these customisable? I've searched around in "My Account" and I can't find anywhere to make a change. If it's possible, can someone please tell me how?

Thanks

PS If it isn't customisable, what's a person to do if they deconvert - or convert? : )

 

There is a stickied thread at the top of the forum to ask for changes. I don't have anything as you can see :3

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First, he wasn't an ordinary

First, he wasn't an ordinary guy, he was an enemy of the state. States ALWAYS brag about vanquishing their foes. This means either the Romans didn't kill him, or he didn't exist.
2: It only suggests people believed it, nothing more. Only proof or repitition can suggest more.
3: Badges are awarded by management to help prevent trolling by theists pretending to be atheists, and atheists pretending to be theists.

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Vastet wrote:First, he

Vastet wrote:
First, he wasn't an ordinary guy, he was an enemy of the state. States ALWAYS brag about vanquishing their foes. This means either the Romans didn't kill him, or he didn't exist.

A couple of questions please ....

(a) Do you have a historical reference for your statement "States ALWAYS brag about vanquishing their foes"?

(b) Can you supply me with any names and details of any other Jews crucified by the Romans?

Vastet wrote:
2: It only suggests people believed it, nothing more. Only proof or repitition can suggest more.

It suggests there is some statement which can and should be investigated. Historical "proof" is almost impossible by definition, but historical probability can be assessed and may or may not suggest more.

Vastet wrote:
3: Badges are awarded by management to help prevent trolling by theists pretending to be atheists, and atheists pretending to be theists.

Thanks. Does that mean I got labelled without my knowledge, by someone assessing my posts??? If so, that wouldn't stop people pretending to be what they in fact are not. More importantly, can I ask for my own more individual badge???

Best wishes.


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ClockCat wrote:Didn't it

ClockCat wrote:

Didn't it supposedly make their holy temple split, and things to fall? Something that noticable you think would get a mention.

The New testament records that the veil (curtain) in the temple was torn in two. Matthew's gospel records an earthquake, some rocks splitting in two and graves opening up. None of that requires a "huge" earthquake. Matthew's gospel also records dead people walking, which some christians and most historians interpret as being figurative, a not uncommon practice in reporting at the time.

Before we decided on the significance of those events not being recorded in Roman history, we'd need to have some criteria about what was recorded, so we could make a comparison. Do you have any such criteria?

Best wishes.

 

 


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a) The history of every

a) The history of every conquering nation on Earth. From Egypt to Rome to Britain to the US. Specific example? London bridge.
b) Don't know, doesn't matter. The leaders are bragged about. The followers the state wants to ignore, because it lends the idea the leader may have been right.
2: We know from science the probability of rising from the dead is 0. We also know that they didn't even know why the sky was blue back then. So they made shit up.
3: If it helps, you are only the most recent to not like this strategy. It has been discussed often. Are you not a theist? If not, you can request it to be changed. If so, I've never understood why it would be a problem, unless you are ashamed of it or something. Anyway, as I just visit, I'm neither a member nor administrator of the RRS, the best I can do is direct you here to see an early complaint addressed: http://www.rationalresponders.com/theist_spotting
And here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/12797 for badge requests, which are harder to obtain.

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I shaved that alot to fit it

I shaved that alot to fit it in one post, but now it seems too abrupt and almost angry as a result. Go figure. Such was not my intent.

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Vastet wrote:I shaved that

Vastet wrote:
I shaved that alot to fit it in one post, but now it seems too abrupt and almost angry as a result. Go figure. Such was not my intent.

No offence taken or even inferred. But thanks for the explanation. It must be a drag to work under such limitations.

Vastet wrote:
a) The history of every conquering nation on Earth. From Egypt to Rome to Britain to the US. Specific example? London bridge. 
b) Don't know, doesn't matter. The leaders are bragged about. The followers the state wants to ignore, because it lends the idea the leader may have been right.

I find it interesting that you have made very definite statements but cannot supply any evidence for them. So I decided to do my own analysis. Your original argument went something like this (using your own words where possible):

1. "Rome [was] excellent at keeping records." (post #29)

2. If Jesus was crucified by the Romans, we would have records;"States ALWAYS brag about vanquishing their foes." (post #36)

3. "There are no records of it" (post #29)

4. Therefore "History doesn't support the suggestion that he was killed by Romans." (post #29)

Now this is a logically valid argument, provided the premises are historically correct. So I checked the evidence, here is just some of it:

Premise #1: This may have been true generally, but it was not true for the Romans recording about crucifixion in first century Palestine.

"no complementary accounts written from the Roman angle survive to balance that of Josephus .... In Roman eyes Judea was an unimportant province and most events there were too insignificant to merit a place in the record of the empire as a whole until a major war developed"
The Jews under Roman Rule by E. Mary Smallwood

Even Jesus-myther Earl Docherty (not usually a source I would quote because he is not a recognised scholar) admits: "the Romans hardly kept records of the countless crucifixions around the empire going back almost a century. We have no evidence of such extensive record-keeping" (quoted on an ex christian forum so I'm assuming it's accurate)

Therefore premise 2 is therefore also false:

"People frequently ask if any record has been preserved of the report which, it is presumed, Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea, sent to Rome concerning the trial and execution of Jesus of Nazareth. The answer is none. But let it be added at once that no official record has been preserved of any report which Pontius Pilate, or any other Roman governor of Judea, sent to Rome about anything. And only rarely has an official report from any governor of any Roman province survived. They may have sent in their reports regularly, but for the most part these reports were ephemeral documents, and in due course they disappeared."
Professor F. F. Bruce, former Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, quoted on this site.

"In a brilliant essay titled, “Surviving Literature from the First Century,” Professor Blaiklock has demonstrated that there are almost no primary documents that survey the period that embraces the life of Christ." The article goes on to say of Pontius Pilate that: "there is not a solitary Roman archival document that so much as mentions his name!".
From
this website.

The argument is therefore clearly defeated - it is not unusual that no official record of Jesus' execution survives. But premise 3 is also in error, for Roman historian Tacitus mentions Jesus' crucifixion. Some people argue about this reference, but I understand it is still accepted as genuine by most historians.

So the first two premises fail, and the third is very doubtful. We have not heard of virtually anyone crucified by the Romans in Palestine, but we have heard of Jesus through quite a number of historical sources.

Beware: rant coming, but you are a big boy and I'm sure you can take it:

[rant]I find this very disturbing. You spoke so confidently, yet you hadn't any evidence to support your statements, and when I look at the evidence, it seems your statements were quite wrong, and your argument quite erroneous. Atheists so often pride themselves on basing their views on evidence, and scorn theists who they say ignore evidence. yet in this case, on a site dedicated to rationality of all places, the boot is on the other foot.

And this is not an isolated case. When I went googling to get this information, I came across several atheist sites which used much the same argument you used. I'm guessing you saw it somewhere like that and trusted the person writing it, just as all the others have done. But no-one checked the sources (apparently), but just kept repeating what has now become an atheist myth.

How many other things so confidently stated on this and other similar sites are similarly in error and demonstrably so?[/rant]

Vastet wrote:
We know from science the probability of rising from the dead is 0.

OK, in the light of the previous, I'd like to call you on this one also. Can you show me where science has demonstrated that?

Vastet wrote:
3: If it helps, you are only the most recent to not like this strategy. It has been discussed often. Are you not a theist? If not, you can request it to be changed. If so, I've never understood why it would be a problem, unless you are ashamed of it or something.

No, I wouldn't get too excited about it, I was just amused and wondering. Yes I am a theist, but I dislike labels (they tend to turn people off before they hear what you have to say) and if I must have a label, I'd like to choose my own.

Thanks and best wishes.

 


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Re: 1 to 4 and the rant, I

Re: 1 to 4 and the rant, I am saved, as always (others will get the reference, you haven't been around long enough to see it) by my disclaimer: "I can't stand polluting my brain with religious stuff, so I in no way qualify as a scholar."
Cheap? Maybe, but honest. I was frankly hoping for someone more qualified to jump in at some point before I went too far, but that obviously didn't happen.
Regarding resurrection, however, I can point at the entire accumulated knowledge of medicine, with how long after a lack of oxygen it takes before the brain is irreversably dead. Rigor mortis is another preventative factor. Once these things have set in, the brain has been destroyed beyond repair of todays technology, let alone the technology of 2000 years ago, or even technology of the future. Once the neural pathways have degraded, they're gone forever.
continues...

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It gets even worse when

It gets even worse when attempting to account for how such would violate the laws of physics, specifically entropy. With mythical figures being the only beings to have arisen from the dead throughout history, and science providing plenty of evidence that dead is dead, one must grasp at straws and violate the very science our civilisation depends upon day to day in order to believe otherwise.
Regarding the label, I understand your concern, but theists don't get blasted here just for being theists. The label to fear is the Troll label. Get that, and noone will treat you seriously or civilly anymore. You aren't on a path to gaining that label though, so there's nothing to worry about.
Twelve, on the other hand....

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Vastet wrote:Re: 1 to 4 and

Vastet wrote:
Re: 1 to 4 and the rant, I am saved, as always (others will get the reference, you haven't been around long enough to see it) by my disclaimer: "I can't stand polluting my brain with religious stuff, so I in no way qualify as a scholar." Cheap? Maybe, but honest. I was frankly hoping for someone more qualified to jump in at some point before I went too far, but that obviously didn't happen.

Thanks for the honest response, but I hope you stop using the argument now.

Vastet wrote:
Regarding resurrection, however, I can point at the entire accumulated knowledge of medicine, with how long after a lack of oxygen it takes before the brain is irreversably dead. Rigor mortis is another preventative factor. Once these things have set in, the brain has been destroyed beyond repair of todays technology, let alone the technology of 2000 years ago, or even technology of the future.

You said "we know from science ...". But what you have shown is what science has found are the natural processes. They are not the same. Pedantic, but important. The truth is, it depends on whether our world/universe is a closed system. If it is, then natural process are the only thing and you are correct. But if it is not a closed system, then natural processes may not be the only thing.

Science assumes methodological naturalism, but cannot prove actual naturalism. So like I said, science cannot show that resurrection is impossible (you said Probability = 0), only that death is the natural and normal process.

Particle physicist John Polkinghorne reflected this philosophical point when he said: "... science describes only one dimension of the many layered reality within which we live, restricting itself to the impersonal and general, and bracketing out the personal and unique." Then he said (not sure if this is an exact quote, but it's close: "... science has falsified the idea that we know the laws of nature so well that they can dispose of an individual event like the resurrection".

I think what you should have said was "because I assume naturalism in a closed system, I don't believe that a resurrection could occur."

But I don't intend to get into a discussion on the resurrection beyond that, because my purpose here has been just to show how many atheistic views are actually assumptions and contrary to the historical evidence. Doesn't make them wrong, just not based on evidence.

Thanks again.


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I can't say I will. Fact is

I can't say I will. Fact is that, as I mentioned above, the average theist who I come across has no problem spouting proven lie after proven lie after unsupported assertion. I have absorbed their tactics to mirror against them, coupled with the tactics of the scientist. Even if I'm way off, it has been a successful tactic, and I don't stop using successful tactics. Of all the thousands of theists I've used this on, less than 5 have achieved what you have.

There only is natural processes, so the distinction is irrelevant. To suggest there is something anatural, unnatural, or supernatural requires you to prove these concepts are more than concepts, and broken ones at that. The onus is on the claimant.

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Vastet wrote:I can't say I

Vastet wrote:
I can't say I will. Fact is that, as I mentioned above, the average theist who I come across has no problem spouting proven lie after proven lie after unsupported assertion. I have absorbed their tactics to mirror against them, coupled with the tactics of the scientist. Even if I'm way off, it has been a successful tactic, and I don't stop using successful tactics. Of all the thousands of theists I've used this on, less than 5 have achieved what you have.

So you are going to keep using an argument that you know to be in error? What happened to "rational response"? How can you ever say again that you base your belief on logic? How can you call yourself "enlightened"? How can you ever criticise a theist again?

Vastet wrote:
There only is natural processes, so the distinction is irrelevant. To suggest there is something anatural, unnatural, or supernatural requires you to prove these concepts are more than concepts, and broken ones at that. The onus is on the claimant.

I have not actually suggested anything, simply outlined the historical issues and questioned your certainty on the matter. You made the original statement: "We know from science the probability of rising from the dead is 0." Now you are saying "There only is natural processes". Those are claims, propositions. The onus is on you to support those statements with evidence. But so far you are unable to do that either. But I suppose that doesn't worry you any more than basing your other argument on an error.

You have been friendly and courteous in this discussion, and I don't wish to be rude to you. But I am frankly disgusted with your comment above (though I appreciate your honesty in expressing it). I see no point in discussing what is true with someone who cares so little about the truth, and I will not be discussing any more with you.

If I have misjudged you, please say and I will apologise, but otherwise, farewell.


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I can continue to criticise

I can continue to criticise theists for two reasons. 1: They brought me there, now they reap the whirlwind. 2: If confronted, I'll admit my lack of expertise. They will not. I win.
Being rational is great, destroying the single greatest threat to mankind is greater.
I made that statement in response to you bringing up the topic, so the onus remains with you.
I'll also note that I explicitly told you what I think of history as an argument. I won't bs about science, but all of history is viewed through a bias. Get over it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
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I should also note that you

I should also note that you did not actually convince me that I'm wrong. You make a powerful argument, but not a flawless one. I simply lack the knowledge, resources, and motivation to continue along that path of argumentation.

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ercatli
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Vastet wrote:Being rational

Vastet wrote:
Being rational is great

Vastet, I don't know if you will return to read this, but I have been thinking more about the matter, and I think my first response may have been hasty. I still think your admitted lack of interest in truth is reprehensible, but I didn't give you any opportunity to reconsider. You subsequent comments don't give me a lot of hope, but I should try.

You have effectively said that you don't care if an argument is truthful, only if it is effective - presumably in winning an argument. But I wonder why you want to win an argument on that basis? For if you don't care about the truthfulness of arguments, then your beliefs and viewpoints cannot be based on truth, except by accident. You are effectively living a lie, following a belief that has no necessary connection to truth. And you are trying to win an argument based on that untruthful viewpoint. You are being less rational than the most fundamentalist believer that you would criticise, because at least they believe they are right.

I can only guess, but it seems that your whole worldview, since it cannot be based on truth, must be based on what you want to be so. It is a view based on ignoring truths. It is like smoking and pretending there are no health consequences, like giving false evidence in court and refusing to recognise the implications.

Why would you do that? Wouldn't you rather follow the truth, wherever it leads?

So let me challenge you to think again. Think through the implications of what you have said and done. Don't waste your life and your intellect on trying to win arguments by deceptive means, as if there is any gain in that. Don't waste your life living a viewpoint that you know yourself has holes shot right through it. Give yourself a chance.

Best wishes.


Vastet
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I think you misunderstand my

I think you misunderstand my position, and that's my fault. I have a very liquid strategy for debating theists, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest to be proven wrong on historical views as long as it allows me to prove them wrong on the science. I would never write a book claiming that which I have here. But if a theist is persuaded that he can win a point, he'll be that much more likely to stick around to lose 5 others. I use psychology when debating theists, as opposed to simple facts alone. I view theism as an addiction of the mind. Sometimes the only way to break that addiction is to make just as ridiculous of arguments as they make. It doesn't mean I actually believe it. I hold the same view of jesus as I do any mythical being. Maybe he existed, maybe he didn't. It's irrelevant to the laws of physics whether he did or not, and science is where I make my strikes. If using history, I'm only baiting a theist to stick around long enough for the science to enter the fray.
continues...

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.