Christian Uses Strawman and Ad Hom Attacks Against Rook Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
Christian Uses Strawman and Ad Hom Attacks Against Rook Hawkins

"First, I highly disagree with what your statement of “These are all refuted by modern scholarship” implies."

Perhaps that is because you are strawmaning my argument?

"You are trying to get the reader to infer that all modern scholars agree with your position."

Please point out where I said "all scholars agree with my position."  I never made that claim, and had you done your research on me you would know I never would claim that.

"This is simply not the case."

I agree.

"In fact, scholars who support your position that Jesus never really existed are in an underwhelming minority."

You're overstating your case.  You don't know all of scholarship, I know you can't name them all, how can you claim that we are in the "overwhelming" minority?  

I would say we're a minority, but that isn't because the information isn't there, it's because most of scholarship is unfortunately not secular enough.  Many of the scholarly journals like the JBL (which I am a member of) have become synonymous with Bible College - the doors were opened an d a streamline of theologians and bible scholars flooded the building.

I'm not the only Historian who feels this way either.  I can tell you that many scholars are agnostic on the existence of Jesus, not because they feel the evidence is compelling, but rather because in our line of work, people lose their jobs when they dissent against the historicity of Jesus because board members at universities are generally not secular, nor open minded.  Instead there tends to be a large amount of religious oppression.  There are great articles on 'minimalism' which is exactly what this is.  Dissent against the church and you can be banned from teaching.

Don't act like you understand the situation, you don't.  

"I could give you names like Bruce Metzger,"

Metzger, meet Dennis R. McDonald and Charles H. Talbert who have refuted your position ad nauseum.

"F.F. Bruce, Edwin Yamauchi,"

Yamauchi wrote a fallacious book on early Christian gnosticism which is horrendous.  As with most Christian scholars he uses many outdated sources like John A.T. Robinson or William Albright, among whom have been refuted by modern scholars.  (Note, don't strawman me here too)

"Bart Ehrman,"

Bart Ehrman is agnostic on Jesus' existence.  He has not swayed either way.  I converse quite frequently with him.

"Heck, even people that I totally disagree with like Elaine Pagels and her camp believe that Jesus existed."

What do you base this claim on?

"So please, do not try to make it seem like every scholar worth their mortarboard ardently denies any evidence that Christ was alive."

Please, don't strawman me, by creating new arguments instead of dealing with the main argument.

"That is just sensationalism."

You're not using this term correctly.

"You are trying to convince people that a majority of the academic community believes something that it does not. Shame on you."

That is a false claim, and I expect an apology for you putting words in my mouth.  Are you honest enough to apologize for your mistake?

"Moving on, the problems that I have with your “extensive” thread debunking all of my “evidence” stem mostly from illogical conclusions and suppositions that you make."

Oh really?  Prove it.

"For instance, in the passing"

Passing?  Tacitus is a whole section.

"in which you talk about Tacitus and his writings about the fire of Nero, you have multiple, seemingly contradicting pieces of “evidence” that Tacitus’ writing has been forged or altered. Here are some examples:

[snip the examples]

This is correct.  For those who understand anything about history this statement is accurate.  This is also far from speculation.  Peter Kirby, a Christian scholar, gives six reasons to support this

(1) Tacitus does not identify his source explicitly.
(2) Tacitus anachronistically identifies Pilate as a procurator, when the proper title would have been prefect.
(3) Tacitus refers to the founder of the name as 'Christus', while written records would presumably have used the name Jesus.
(4) As meticulous as the Romans were, crucifixion records hardly went back nearly a century in time (the Annals being written c. 115 CE).
(5) There is insufficient motive for Tacitus to research about this Christus in any detail, as the reference appears in Tacitus merely as an explanation of the origin of the name Christian, which in turn is being described only as an example of Nero's cruelty.
(6) Finally, there would be no reason for Tacitus not to take the basic Christian story at face value, especially since the idea that they were of recent origin would correctly classify Christianity as a superstitio.

A full discussion of this can be found at Kirby's website:

"So, what’s your point with these two pieces of evidence?"

Did you read them?

"If it’s logical for there to be no record of Jesus’ death, how is that evidence it didn’t happen?"

Strawman.  Thanks again for making up a completely different argument then the one I posted.

"If it is logical for there to be a record, and there isn’t one, how does that support the fact that Tacitus’ passage has been altered or forged?"

There are other scholars who agree that there is a possibility that it has been interpolated.  Van Voorst and Jeffery Jay Lowder are a few scholars who agree with me.

"Unfortunately, when it comes to this section of your “site”, this isn’t the only example."

Can you engage in any more hyperbole?  Just curious.

"So, what you’re telling me is that the Christians weren’t numerous enough for the Romans to take notice."

I never said that.  Do you like making up new arguments because you deal with the present ones?  Or do you simply have a problem with reading comprehension?  This is your fourth strawman.

"You can’t have your cake and eat it too!"

If you'd read the actual argument and not infer things from them, perhaps you'd be more than sophomoric in your response.

"Sadly, these are only two examples of the shoddy “history” given on Mr. Hawkin’s site. His entire work is riddled with undisclosed bias."

Classical case of projection.

"He seems to approach the subject with this end-goal in mind: “Proving the Jesus never existed”"

You can't prove a negative, you can only show how it is less then probable for it to have been.  Perhaps if you knew more concerning the methodologies of History you may understand that.

"and, with that as his final verdict, works backwards to prove his case."

That would be something to prove.  Can you do that without adding to my text and taking it out of context and creating strawmans?

"In other words, he does not let the evidence speak to him, but imposes his predetermined conclusion upon it. Again, this is not how an actual historian operates."

So aside from strawman arguments and ad hominem attacks, is this the best you can do?  Why not come onto my message board and refute the claims?  Perhaps you'll bring more than logical fallacies?  We'll see.