Myth# 8 The Bible Has Been Proven False

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“We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.” Isaac Newton

A quick internet search will reveal multitudes of web sites entitled “the Bible has been proven false” or “errors in the Bible.” Click on one of these sights and you will no doubt be treated to a list of passages that Atheist are convinced show the Bible to have been exposed in error and therefore worthless. What is strikingly obvious about the material listed in those sights, other than the fact that they have obviously been copied from every other sight on the internet, is that they take a very narrow and distinct view on the Christian scripture. The Atheist polemic tends to be to a very narrow scope of religion; particularly Fundamental Christianity. Which speaks to the fact that Atheism is more of a reaction to Fundamentalism than a serious evaluation of the belief in God. The typical tactic Atheists use is to take a passage, impose a very narrow wooden interpretation on it, and then based on that interpretation dismiss the entire Christian Bible. This is obviously contrived, seeing that nearly every important document ever written is subject to varying interpretations. What we see when we truly examine this issue is that there is nothing objective about the Atheist dismissal of the Christian Bible. It is entirely predicated on their primary assumption that God cannot exist and the presumption that they have the correct interpretation of the Bible. What we discover is that the Atheist cannot contend that they have proven the Bible to be false, but rather that they have perhaps proven their own assumptions about the Bible false.

In fact the very statement that the Bible has been proven false is pregnant with the naivety of the Atheist review of it. If the Bible were only a list of statements or claims, then you could perhaps levy such a challenge. However the Bible is far more than such a list, in fact the Bible is more than a single book. The Bible is in fact a library of some of the most important and sacred writings of Judeo-Christian  history; with some of the writings being considered holy by other religions as well. While there are of course other important writings to Christians, the Bible contains documents that are so important to the Christian that they are considered sacred and inspired by God. The Bible, as we have said, is more than just a book, in fact the Bible contains 66 individual books. These books span centuries of human history; from before the Babylonian empire to the apex of the Roman Empire. They cover at least three different languages, and multiple cultures. There are perhaps three distinct movements Theologically speaking; the Patriarchal period, The Mosaic Period and the Christian Period. Within the context of each of the aforementioned cultures, time periods and movements, we have the literary styles of each culture and time period. Within the volume of this sacred library we have poetry, history, mystical writings and theological works. Leland Ryken, professor of English at Wheaton College and author of the book How To Read The Bible As Literature, says of the Bible “its most customary way of expressing truth is not the sermon or the theological outline, but the story, the poem, and the vision–all of them literary forms and products of the imagination (though not necessarily the fictional imagination). Literary conventions are present in the Bible from start to finish, even in the most historically factual parts.”[1] It is a work that has inspired the devotion of scholars, men dedicating their lives to the study of some aspect of it. Whether a particular language like Greek or Hebrew, or the historical situation of some portion of its writings. To simply caricaturize the Bible as a simple book that has been “proven false” shows gross ignorance of this magnificent work. This should be evident to any intelligent individual.

How the Bible came to be in its present form is a field of study in and of itself. The Judeo-Christian tradition of religion tends to be very historically focused, in this theological framework there is a sacredness about history. History is in a way, in this view, a liturgy to be used in worship and religious contemplation. Many of the stories that we find in the Bible were existent before writing became common place in human culture. These stories were passed along orally from generation to generation. This is why very early writings in the Bible take a more poetic form. This is because poems and songs are simply easier to remember and to pass along. These liturgical poems were taught to children, who in turn taught them to their children. In this way the Divine Story was passed along.  “And you shall rehearse them your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” [2] This sort of charge is repeated over and over in the Old Testament. Eventually oral tradition was written into volumes, some think this may have taken place during the Jewish exile when they no longer had access to their Temple and felt that their tradition needed to be preserved. When this writing took place we find a synthesis of poetic prose mixed with historical narrative. We do not find the refined, logical progression in these ancient Semitic writings that we do in the Grecian influenced writings of the New Testament. This is why it takes a good deal of study in order to be able to discern just what sort of writing one is looking at. Now at this point the Atheist would challenge that if this is the case, then the whole thing is nonsense and therefore worthless. However what the Christian and Jew contends is that the truth of these writings are not found primarily in understanding the literary context, but in what the stories communicate mystically. Of course there are views such as Fundamentalism that insist that a literal interpretation of these passages be held along side of the spiritual or mystical truth. However this insistence on literalism is in reality the endorsement of a particular view of where to divide the historical narrative from poetry and prophetic vision; the latter of which, as Ryken says, are imaginative albeit not fictionally imaginative. The New Testament follows a similar pattern in that the stories found in it, particularly the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, were at first transmitted orally. It was later in the Christian period that these stories were written and compiled in their present form. The New Testament contains the stories of the public ministry of Christ and the earliest days of the Christian movement. With these we have a large portion being letters to the Christian Apostle, Paul to various congregations under his oversight. There is also a lesser representation of other writings and one book of prophecy. These writing were not originally one volume, but after a couple of centuries they began to become unified into a singular volume. There are also writings from those early periods that are of varying degrees of importance, and there is some variation concerning the cannon among Christian groups, but the books we find in the New Testament represent writings that are universally seen as being inspired by God. What Christian Theology attempts to do is to take the stories, prophecies, poems, treatises and letters of the Bible and glean from them a central truth. In order to do this there has been the development of varied hermeneutical approaches that attempt to present a consistent approach to interpreting  the varied texts and differing literary forms of the Bible. The primary rule of hermeneutics being consistency, textual interpretation needs to follow a consistent method. Of course even in this there are variant hermeneutical forms, and the comparison of these are yet another dimension of consideration. And if the technicalities of Biblical interpretation seem a bit contrived, they are no more so than that of any other body of ancient literature. The wonderful advantage of Christianity is that these subjects have been studied and debated by some of the most brilliant minds of history for centuries. Much more could be said here, but suffice to say the Bible is not a volume that could be dismissed with the amateurish stuff posted to your typical “errors in the Bible” web page.

The idea that the Bible has been proven false is certainly naive, however what the Atheist is attempting to challenge with this is the claim that the Christian scriptures are the Word of God. The Atheist feels that if they can demonstrate what they consider to be an error in Christian scripture, then they would in their mind have proven that God could not have inspired the Bible. There approach to this is typically two tiered. The first tier of their polemic is to suggest that they have found some discrepancy in the Biblical narrative. For instance seeming contradictions in the details of a story. The second tier is to suggest that the Bible presents an immoral world view of some sort, or contradicts its own morality. However even in this they are naive, in the first place they have again made an assumption as to the nature of the Biblical texts and how they are the Word of God. When Christians say that the Bible is God’s Word, they are aware of the historicity of its origins. In other words Christians contend that the Bible was delivered by natural means, through human authors, but that these authors penned these works by Divine inspiration. Now this term “Divine inspiration” must be examined because this is the crux of the Christian claim. What we are addressing here is the concept of Biblical inerrancy. This is a view that has varying degrees of application. In a general sense the term Biblical Inerrancy means that the Bible does not communicate anything that is untrue when taken in its intended sense. Of course this can be taken to the degree of some, contending that the manuscripts of scripture have been perfectly preserved and that there is no factual discrepancy at all, to a more liberal view that the Mystical truth of scripture is without error, while the writings are human and therefore subject to the limitations of humanity. Whether these views or their variations are the best view is a matter for debate, but the point here is that showing a supposed discrepancy in a historical fact would only invalidate one view of inerrancy, not the Bible itself. It is totally possible to relate a truth and perhaps misplace a trivial issue. If I said “John stood on the table and cried ‘there is a fire! get out!'” But perhaps another bystander claimed “John stood on a desk and cried ‘Fire!'”  The discrepancies in this story do not prove the story to be in error, they show that one or both of the observers misplaced a detail. One person might reconcile this by stating that a desk and table are essentially the same thing. The differences in what was said might be attributed to the perspective of the observer. But we would not offhand dismiss the account as false because of such discrepancies. Further, if we were considering evidence as to whether or not John took initiative to warn others in this situation, the discrepancies would be insignificant to the intended point of the accounts. Seeing that much of the content of scripture deals with metaphysical and mystical concepts, to focus the subject of the Atheistic objection of peripheral issues is essentially straw-man argumentation. Any true challenge to the scripture must be levied at the philosophical level, if it is to truly address the intent of scripture. Debates over paradigms held by certain Christian groups such as the diversity of living things and the age of the Earth and the universe can certainly be tested, but the problem for these issues are that even if they could be shown in error, it would only address the view of some Christians and not the Bible in general. There are in fact Christians and Christian denominations that agree with institutional science on such issues as evolution and the age of the Earth. These Christians read the Bible and see no conflict with such scientific views and their view of scripture. Essentially all the Atheist could prove with such peripheral claims is that one interpretation of Christian scripture is in error. They would still be a great distance removed from proving scripture in error. The bottom line is this, before you can prove the Bible in error, you must prove first what it is claiming.

Now it is usually at this point that the Atheist becomes a Christian Fundamentalist. What we mean is that they begin to contend for a very rigid wooden interpretation of Christian Scripture. Which the irony of an Atheist contending for the proper interpretation of scripture is nearly humorous, but what basis do they contend for this based on? In their contending for a proper interpretation of scripture they must appeal to a hermeneutical approach which it is doubtful that they are qualified to contend for. The purpose in their insistence on a singular interpretation of scripture is so that they can argue against a view that they feel they have the strongest position against. However this is clearly strawman argumentation. If they are seriously going to challenge the claims of Christianity and the Bible, then they need to answer all such claims, and not just a few cherry picked views that they feel they can handle. This is in itself part of the narrow mindedness of Atheism. Once the Atheist has exhausted his resources in trying to disprove the Bible, their next strategy is to attempt to devaluate the Bible by claiming it is an immoral book. In this they use a hermeneutic that is laughable if it were not sad. There overall claim is that the Bible is an immoral book that leads to rape, murder and violence. They will insist that if the Bible were really believed and followed that people would be murdering in the streets and eating their offspring. However when we look at those who read, study and practice the religion proclaimed in the Bible, we see that they understand it to teach love, peace, the furtherance of human rights and ultimate human dignity. When the people who actually study and attempt to follow scripture see one thing, while the antagonists proclaim a different meaning, who should be taken the more seriously? Whose interpretation is the most valid? It seems that what is perhaps in error is the Atheists understanding of scripture, rather than the scriptures themselves. Further if they are going to claim that the Bible is immoral, then what objective moral standard are they appealing to? From their position they cannot truly say that any action is immoral. You will typically find all sorts of things that they claim the Bible endorses, and to substantiate that claim they will cherry pick passages out of context and impose meaning on them. But in all of this they ignore any sort of counter explanation other than the one that they have chose to believe.

The Atheist approach to scripture is obviously one of severe bias. There is clearly an agenda, and that agenda is to prove that God does not exist. Which I think points to their overall mindset. Atheist will claim all day long that they have not taken a position on the existence of God, but when it comes to the Bible it is clear that they are searching for evidence to support a supposition. This sort of approach cannot yield any kind of objectivity. Has the Bible been proven false? Clearly not. What has been shown to be in error however is a good number of Atheistic claims and assumptions about the Bible and how it should be interpreted. The Atheist argument against the Bible is no different than their argument against the existence of God. If they chose not to believe, then that is their God given right, but if they want to claim that they have disproved the Bible that is clearly another story. One that belongs in the realm of myth.

[1] Ryken, Leland, The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing

[2] Deuteronomy 11:19

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What Forrest? All I See Are Trees!

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Atheist denial is one of the most intriguing things to observe. It is not just a typical sort of denial, but like a denial feed-back loop. Like a denial black hole sucking all information and logic into it by the sheer mass of its refusal to accept reality. This is all made nearly comical by their attempts to come off as rational and unbiased in their opinions about the universe and life. Then it gets outright hilarious when they deny that they have such opinions. Their clumsy attempts at philosophy – a sort of reverse philosophy – is made all the more awkward by their continual denial that they in fact have a philosophy to begin with.

I recently read an article by a guy who described an encounter with a Christian religious movement early in his life. He spoke of how he was disenchanted with the religion of his youth, and how this new spiritual movement appealed to him. He was drawn to it and attended a meeting. Why was he turned off? Because they sat in silence and “meditated”. He said that the experience was boring and therefore he became a “secular humanist”. (He admits that part of the issue was that he was not prepared for the service and this contributed to his feeling awkward.) He commented that he was amazed that he had read about this group, they were Quakers, and had become intrigued only to find that they were meeting in the very city he lived in. Such amazing coincidences, unfortunately he was bored and that is about the end of the Athiest’s pursuit of anything other that perhaps a milk shake. Bored … really.

He then goes on to describe how he then came to the revelation that he had been called to Atheism all along. He knew in that moment of ADHD that his life was always meant to believe in nothing with all of his heart. He realized that he wanted to do good, be a pacifist without believing anything. (It was so cute you almost don’t have the heart to tell him that he is describing a belief.) Yet another testimony to the wonderful religion of Atheism and its self absorbed, narcissistic faith. (After all like this guy says, who wants anyone telling you what right and wrong is?)

In the end I think it is ironic that he admits that he turned from faith in God because he did not have the patience to sit and listen for His voice…

THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS: Myself vs. Slrman (Pseudonym)

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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN …

Conversations With Atheist presents a classic online debate over the historicity of Jesus. The Debate has been presented in its original form – including spelling errors. The original comment is made by a person desginated as trackspast, then Slrman takes up the cause – enjoy.

The entire debate can be found at this link: http://quest4light.net/2011/02/28/jesus-vs-hercules/#comment-1871


 

trackspast I have to disagree. There is NO author, historian. or Roman that lived betwen 6BC and 33AD, the time Jesus was to have lived, that ever wrote of him, therefore only hearsay was written about him. No eye witness accounts outside of the Bible authors. Odd is it not. Tacticus wrote of Nero and him blaming the Christian followers for the fires of Rome. He did not write of Jesus. Josephus and his writings of Jesus are doubtful and are disputed as forgeries added after the fact of his writings. So yes there is evidence against such a person.

If such a person lived during that time frame where is the evidence? If such a person existed why did he not write about his teachings? Granted his teachings are fairly sound.

thomasthecontender7

There is just such a deficit for Alexander the Great and Aristotle. The idea that there was no historical Jesus of Nazareth seems a bit contrived. There are multitudes of references to him, by both supporters and antagonists. Further the “conspiracy theories” as to how he came to be believed to have existed are more fantastic than the simple conclusion that there was, at the very least, an itinerant Jewish preacher who was executed by crucifiction and his followers believed that he had risen from the dead in some manner.

slrman | 06/17/2014 at 5:29 PM

How is it contrived? Are yo saying there are contemporary accounts of the historical Jesus of Nazareth? FYI, no town of that name existed at the supposed time of jesus. Nris tere any contemporary account of someone why was supposed to have such great effect, politically, socially and in religion. For example:

A Few Noticeable Events in the Life of Jesus

Herod’s slaughter of all the baby boys in Bethlehem.

Jesus’ triumphant entry in Jerusalem, where the entire town welcomes him as their king.

Jesus casting out the greedy moneychangers. (in an area about the size of 34 football fields)

Two earthquakes hit Jerusalem.

Supernatural darkness covers “all the land” for hours.

The Sacred Temple curtain tears from top to bottom.

All the dead holy men in the cemetery come out of their graves and wander Jerusalem, “appearing to many.”

And yet, contemporary historians in the time of Jesus didn’t write about any of this.

To believe in any jesus or any religion, for that matter requires that one reject rational thinking, facts, and the very concept of verifiable evidence. In other words, embrace willful ignorance.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 10:40 AM

It is contrived for the very reasons I listed. There are just such deficits of primary references for Alexander the Great and Aristotle. Jesus was an itinerant Jewish preacher in a Roman province that was certainly very curios to the Romans culturally. Further there were several sects that existed in Palestine during the time the Jesus would have preached, these differing sects would have been nearly indistinguishable to an outside observer. In fact, and I will explain why in a moment, they were perhaps even indistinguishable to those closer to the culture.

Let me first address your point about Nazareth. You are quite correct that there was no city of Nazareth during the time of Jesus. In fact the present city of Nazareth was named so in perhaps the 3rd century because of the NT reference. The reality that Nazareth was not a city, but rather a sect. What is translated as “Jesus of Nazareth” should have been translated “Jesus the Nazarene”. This reference is to the sect that is also called the Essenes. This sect is readily mentioned by many historians as one of the major sects in Jerusalem, and was well established before the time of Jesus; at least two centuries. Their practices and customs are nearly identical to those of primitive Christians: Communal living, mystical interpretation of the Torah, refusal to offer animal sacrifices, bread and wine offerings, baptism for admittance into the community along with many other ideas and concepts found within the teachings of early Christians. The fact is that this sect existed at least two centuries before the time of Jesus, and within seventy years of his death we find no trace of them. This leads to the very logical conclusion that this sect evolved into primitive Christianity. It is further very logical that the reason for this evolution was a teacher who impacted the community, and whose martyrdom propelled him to a status of Divine.

The alternative hypothesis simply does not fit the framework of what we know historically. Rome was a culture that centered their pantheon and were admittedly antagonistic to Christians and Jews. The Jews were antagonists to their closely related rival. These two external pressures would make it hard pressed to believe that the chief claim of Christians, that Jesus was an actual person, could have been fabricated. The Jews would certainly have called them on such a claim. It is also rather dubious to suppose that a “cult” could form and propagate its message based on a claimed resurrection of a man executed by Rome, if no one knew of that event. Further as such a claim spread throughout the Roman empire, there should have been some denial on the part of the Romans. However there is never such a claim.

The reality is that in its infancy Christianity was nearly indistinguishable from other Jewish sects to the outside world. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, historians like Josephus, Pliny and Philo did not distinguish them from the Essenes, Who, again, they were indistinguishable from in practice and underline theological structure. It was after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD that Roman historians began to distinguish Christians as a distinct sect. (At any rate it is quite amazing on its own that a little known sect within Judaism would evolve into a religion that eventually was adopted by Rome as its state religion.)

Whether or not orthodox claims about the religion of Jesus are true is an entirely different discussion. However the historicity of Jesus the Nazarene seems pretty solid to me.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 10:47 AM

Nothing you say changes the fact that you believe because you WANT to believe, not that there is any evidence to support your delusions. But facts and rational thinking must be discarded before anyone can accept any religion.

You bringing up the red herrings of Alexander and others doesn’t change anything other than prove you do not want to have a discussion but that you only want to lecture.

Here’s some facts. Try not to faint.:

In the case of the historical Jesus, there is not one contemporary record of his existence. The Romans, who otherwise kept very good records never mentioned a figure who was supposed to be socially, politically, and spiritually so significant as well as publicly performing many miracles; then was executed after a very public trial.

Not until the Gospel of Mark, written from 40 to over 100 years after the supposed crucifixion, (depending upon which biblical scholar you choose to believe) is there any mention of Jesus. If we look at the fables of Horus, Attis, and Mithra, we see amazing similarities. Born in low circumstances on December 25, 12 followers, executed at an early age, son of a god, the list goes on. It would appear that the early church, in need of a powerful central figure, “borrowed” from earlier myths to create a rallying point for their religion.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 11:10 AM

You seem to have made a lot of presumptions about what I believe or “WANT” to believe. Perhaps a little more objectivity would be in order? What I presented is the majority view of historical scholars today. There was nothing religious implied. Consider this article by Bart Ehrman:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/did-jesus-exist_b_1349544.html

Here is a relavant quote:

“That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds — thousands? — of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.” (Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist)

Ehrmans words are strong, but the reflect what I stated. This is why I originally said that the entire concept is contrived. Because it ignores the established historical method in favor of an improbable scenario which a person would only accept if they were doing so because of a preconceived ideology. Ehrman concludes with:

“One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our modern and post-modern cultural despisers of established religion (or not). But surely the best way to promote any such agenda is not to deny what virtually every sane historian on the planet — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, atheist, what have you — has come to conclude based on a range of compelling historical evidence.

Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.”

I must concur.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 12:55 PM

Because you think Dr, Ehrman is a reliable source, you shouldn’t mind if I quote him, too.

As stated by Dr. Bart Ehrman, Professor of religious studies at the University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill, NC said, “In the entire first Christian century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman scholar, politician, philosopher, or poet. His name never appears in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!”

I say again, if you chose to believe in things for which there is not a single bit of supporting evidence and even much evidence against it, that is your privilege. IT makes it nothing more than wishful th8inking and opinion which is all that yu have presented in support of it.

“Virtually every sane historian on the planet”? Do you mean that any who do not share your delusions are not sane? I could as easily say that only the insane could possibly believe the babble or any other religion. That statement would have as much authority, founded upon arrogance, as yours.

Again, produce a single contemporary account of the existence of the historical Jesus or admit you have a belief, shared by many, I admit, but only a belief. At one time, most of the people in the world believed the earth was flat. This, despite easily observable evidence that it was not. For example, a ship sailing away from the land disappears hull first, then masts and sails last. Approaching, the reverse is true. THis is only possible if the earth is a sphere, not flat. Consider that then, as now, most of the earth’s population lived withing a few hundred miles of an ocean. Yet, they still believed the world was flat because that was what they had been taught. Also, like now, believing what you were told without question of observation of the face was much easier than thinking. You should understand that unless, as I suspect, you have abandoned thinking totally.

 thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 3:19 PM

The comment concerning “every sane historian on the planet” were the words of Dr. Ehrman and not mine. I have seen the quote you posted from Dr. Ehrman all over the internet, however anyone who would post such a quote to insinuate that there was no historical Jesus is simply being obtuse. Concerning the quote you gave from Dr. Ehrman, he says in the article I linked:

“It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

It is also true that our best sources about Jesus, the early Gospels, are riddled with problems. These were written decades after Jesus’ life by biased authors who are at odds with one another on details up and down the line. But historians can never dismiss sources simply because they are biased. You may not trust Rush Limbaugh’s views of Sandra Fluke, but he certainly provides evidence that she exists.”

Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, however the idea that there was no historical Jesus seems, again, contrived. At this point you are not arguing with religious beliefs, but rather the majority of experts in the field in which you are addressing. That there seems to be no credible historical evidence to you is rather inconsequential seeing that the majority of scholars disagree with you.

You seem to be very willing to dismiss all of this because you assume it indicates blind faith. But I must ask at this point what blind faith is driving your conclusions, you certainly have nothing in way of evidence to support your assertion. Your conclusions do not logically follow your so-called evidence. You have asserted that there are no primary sources writing about Jesus, in other words while he was still preaching in Judea. You assert this means that he did not exist. However this sort of logic eliminates nearly every major person of history. You claim that because miraculous events are attributed to Jesus that this causes him not to exist, again the same applies to many historical figures. You claim that pseudographa associated with Jesus causes him not to exist, the point remains still. We can point to pseudographa associated with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Again your conclusions do not logically follow your evidence. No one is denying any of the points you make, they are simply stating that they do not prove what you claim that they prove.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 4:04 PM

“Anything that can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

FYI. you uninformed moron, Josephus was not a contemporary of any Jesus, either. He was not even born until 36 or 37 CE and probably did not start writing for a couple of decades after that.

Yes, I do dismiss willful ignorance and stubborn stupidity. That means you can stop replying as you have yet to make a rational statement or provide the least bit of proof of any of your beliefs.

I do thank you for demonstrating again that, for the religious, verifiable evidence and logical thinking are not useful and even fatal to their delusions.

The floor is yours, I have no more time to waste on a deluded fool.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 4:13 PM

I would simply add that you emotionally charged responses and obvious bias should indicate where you are arguing from. There is simply no logical reason to dismiss the clearly historical Jesus. Was Jesus the second person of the Christian Trinity? Did he really do miracles? Did he rise physically from the dead? These are of course outside of the realm of historical inquiry. However it seems beyond denial, to all but those with an agenda, that Jesus was a person of history.

Atheists Say The Darndest Things – Atheist Dodging Tactics.

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You have to give them an A for effort – or perhaps for Atheism. At any length the Atheist Apologist is a master at dodging the issue. Faced with a philosophical challenge the Atheist will bust out with dance moves that would be the envy of Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson combined. Thier propensity for finding the one thing that was not your point and making that the focus the discussion is uncanny. Nearly miraculous; if they believed in such things. One will often find them arguing tirelessly for the correct definition of the term “proof” or correcting someone’s misuse of the term “theory” or “hypothesis”. After all, these things are very important when you have little else to argue substantially. And this is a position that I certainly do not envy them for. They are forced to defend a view that cannot be proven, and that is juxtaposed against a view that they cannot disprove. They are however quite valiant in the endeavor; often wrong but never in doubt. I suppose that we should forgive them then for a bit of fancy footwork. The tactics they employ are quite a marvel to behold. I will list a few here:

Look – A Squirrel!  Alluded to in the opening paragraph this tactic is one of the first levels of the Atheist response. It usually begins by finding some irrelevent point about a challenge and making this point the focus of debate. For instance if one were to challenge that there is literally no empirical evidence for abiogenesis, the Atheist would respond by stating that “evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis.”  Of course you might not have actually made that challenge, but the damage is done as you will spend the next several minutes trying to convince them that you indeed understand the theory of evolution and how it is distinct from the fantasy of abiogenesis. Which leads us to our next move…

You Are Dumb Therefore I Ignore Your Point – This tactic is so eloquent in its delivery, so poetic in its point. Ad hominem? Sure, but when you are not good at philosophical discussion I say make it up in well placed insults. The way this one plays out is that once a person has made a point, clearly demonstrating their knowledge of the subject at hand, the Atheist will then retort “you obviously need to study subject XYZ.” What brilliance! Now rather than them actually responding to your point, you are forced to spend the next several minutes satisfying their unending need for proof of your qualification to challenge or make a point. The end result – your point is lost in an avalanche of triviality.

Science Proves Stuff – This is one of my favorite. Here the Atheist Apologist will assert that science, which seems to have gained sentience and developed a religious world view, has disproven your faith. In order to substantiate this the Atheist will reiterate some unrelated scientific fact and then assert that it proves them to be correct, while obliterating you. This technique has the two fold blessing of forcing you to show them why their supposed fact does not substantiate their point, as well as the shock value of dealing with the abject absurdity of the claim.

Trolls and Riddles – On the discussion forums where Atheists gather like mating mayflies on a gas station window, you will often find this tactic employed. The beauty here is that it can be employed as either a dodge, or to masquerade as a legitimate point. The dodge version will usually be deployed when the Atheist has been tricked into a line of discussion where he has to address a point logically. This particular dodge works very well in chat rooms where Atheists act as moderators. The Atheist will present a pointless question and then demand a response. This question of course will have little or nothing to do with the topic being discussed and is clearly a ploy to free them from responding to your challenge. The question might be for you to recite some random bit of scientific trivia, which works to make their pseudo-challenge seem relevant. At this point if you do not respond to their riddle, the Atheist will brand you a troll (which is a phrase that I am certain that Atheists are sponsored to use.) If the room is moderated by Atheists this will result in you being banished from their group. Now they are free to respond to your point without the nuisance of you holding them accountable. Victory is theirs.

There are certainly more dodges and dance moves, but these are some of the best. The bottom line in the Atheist playbook is simply this: at no point engage a Theist in an actual philosophical discussion. Those who ignore the wisdom of this rule are doomed to a fate worse than death. Those who listen to the philosophical arguments of Theists, who engage them on an honest intellectual level face the inevitable fact that Atheism is nothing more than another religious world view, and perhaps worse – becoming a Theist. Perish the thought.

 

The Atheist Conundrum …

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Ask any Atheist and they will tell you. They do not have a belief about God, they have a lack of belief in any god. You perhaps may have been confused by their endless comments stating how belief in God is ignorant superstition, and mocking anyone “dumb” enough to have a belief. Are they splitting hairs? Not at all, there is a specific strategy behind their awkward and contrived definition of their view.

You see Atheists know that their position cannot be proven. Now they would like for you to believe that it is gospel truth, but the fact is that the existence of God is something that must either be believed or not believed. It is a matter or perception to a degree. It however cannot be proven or disproven by science. Now this places the Atheist in a tight spot. This is because they have been crying foul to the top of their lungs because Theist dare to believe in God; “prove it” they shout. But here we discover that their belief about God cannot be proven either. This essentially means that all the insults and maligning they have levied at Theists applies to their belief as well. After all, if you demand that Theists prove to your satisfaction that God exists, then should you not in turn be expected to demonstrate why you believe He does not? 

However the Atheist has found a very simple solution to this problem; they simply refuse to acknowledge that they have a belief. By doing this they can sit back and take shots at everyone else, while never being in danger of having their own assumptions challenged. All is bliss in the Atheist world – with memes and cliches for all.

But don’t they have a view? Have they not taken a position? Perhaps we should not think about this too much. After all, as I was recently told by an Atheist, religion is the result of human beings “thinking too much.” I do admit that this is a weakness of Theists, thinking that is, but how can Atheists really claim to not have a position on the existence of God? Seems utterly contrived and delusional honestly. Now Atheists do have a cliche for that. “Atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby.” And that sounds good until you think about it a little; perhaps that is the secret to Atheism – not thinking. Collecting stamps is not a concept, it is an action. A hobby is not a belief, it is a category of action. The opposite of collecting stamps might perhaps be throwing them away; which could be a hobby I suppose. But the belief in God is not an action, it is a concept. Further Atheism is not a passive “no comment” on the existence of God, it is an affirmative position that no God exists.Otherwise how could there be militant Atheists? Are they militantly unsure? Confused?

Which leads me to my next consideration, why is it more palatable to the Atheist to be viewed as confused and contrived rather than own their belief? This is because Atheism is more about feeling more intelligent than everyone else than about arriving at truth. Atheists are like the back-seat drivers of philosophy and religion. They can point out everything everyone else is doing wrong, but they have no real solutions. The Atheist cannot admit that they have beliefs, because then they would have to join the rest of we finite human beings groping our way through the reality of existence in this universe. They would have to admit that they simply do not know – and that leaves too much room for unsavory possibilities. So yeah lets stick with Atheism – the unbelief that there might be a God, but who knows … 

Athesim – Fundamental Christianity’s Alter Ego

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Every super hero has an arch nemesis. Superman has Lex Luther, Batman had the Joker. After All what good is it to have all of those super crime fighting skills and not have a criminal worthy of said power. In many ways, in these stories, the hero almost needs the villain in order to have a purpose. This reminds me of the unique infatuation that Atheists have with Fundamental Christianity. It would seem that they define themselves in contrast to that one view in the same way that a shadow is defined by a place where there is no light.

Of course when we look at Atheism and Fundamental Christianity, they are certainly on opposite extremes of the spectrum. On matters of whether God exists, the infallibility of Scripture, origin and diversity of life, age of the Earth and the nature of existence, they are at opposite poles. What is at the same time very interesting is what they actually agree about. While they are vehemently opposed to the reality of God, the Atheist believes that there is essentially only one valid interpretation of scripture. In the words of the most interesting man in the world “I don’t often have Christian view, but when I do they are fundamental.”

When confronted with other interpretations of Christianity, the Atheist becomes a flaming Fundamentalist – insisting that their understanding of Christian scripture is the only valid understanding. Very often in exchanges I will be hit with the ole Atheist play:

“har har har show me proof that the world is only 6,000 years old!”  they demand.

“I do not believe it is that young, I am not a Young Earth Creationist” I reply.

“What! You deny the Bible??!!”

From that point they will begin to diligently instruct me on how to most correctly read the Bible. The irony! What strikes me most is that they seem totally unprepared to respond to anyone who is not a Fundamental Christian. Their typical tactic is to try to force you into a viewpoint they are more comfortable arguing with. Further they seem to be totally unaware that there are other religions outside of Christianity. It seems that in their mind there is only two options, Fundamental Christianity or Atheism.

My point here is not to poke at Fundamental Christians, but rather to point out the fact that Atheism is a reaction to a particular religious view. To some degree it is a view that has emerged from Christianity. I find it intriguing that all the while the Atheist protests Christianity, their identity is inextricably bound up in that world view. Atheist will shout and protest that their view is a “lack of belief in any God.” However the fact that they describe their view, if you can call such a contrived statement a description, in Christian terms tells the tale.

What if Christianity is an error? What if Jesus, the New Testament, Christianity and all of its expressions are totally in error? I am not saying they are, but what if they were? It’s like a game of tug of war and we let go of the rope, the other team falls on their backside. What about every other religious expression? Are Atheists really prepared to say that all other view beside theirs are false? (Actually no they are not, they do not like taking a position because they enjoy dodging with the “burden of proof” tactic. Of course everyone but them seems to be aware that they have taken a position.)

I have been in search for some time for the intellectual Atheist. The person who after looking at the universe, life, rationality and the human condition has determined that the most probable conclusion is that it has no meaning. I would like to dialogue with that individual; pic their brain. I have yet to meet that Atheist though. The Atheist I meet is one who has been disillusioned with his childhood religion, and because he came to see some aspects of that religion that he could no longer embrace, he abandoned it all for the extreme opposite of that view. There is also the Atheist who went through some tragedy and feels that if there was a God, that this God would not have allowed them to experience that. (This Atheist does not believe in God as a sort of punishment for God it would seem.) But what I want to see is the rational, intellectually mature Atheist. If you find them please let me know. Until then I suppose I will have to watch the love/hate relationship of Atheists for Christian Fundamentalists …

Why Atheists Get Smashed In Debates …

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In a recent article published in the Huffington Post entitled How To Debate A Christian Apologist, victor Stenger expounds on the reasons that Atheists do poorly in debates with Christian Apologists and then attempts to instruct his readers on how to handle those rascally guys. As an introduction of sorts Stenger warns his reader that they should beware of the Christian Apologist(CA) because they are usually smooth and well prepared (one gasps at the thought of it) and that a “lay person” should not debate one of these masters of the trickeration of logic and reason. But of course, Stenger assures us, the fact that most Atheists get slapped around has nothing to do with attempting to defend a self defeating position, it is all about the craftiness of the CA.

Stenger goes on to assure us that in some mystical debate from times unremembered, all of the the Theists positions were refuted. There is no need to check that, just accept it by faith. Also by refuted he means that Atheists chose not to agree with them and refused to give any rationale for doing so other than that they are Atheists and thats how they roll.

Stenger cites the first difficulty for the Atheist is that they do not make a living promoting Atheism. (You should try to forget about the books written by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like.) On the other hand Theists have the unfair advantage of having Apologist who have actually spent their lives studying these ideas. Of course we might ask ourselves why an Atheist feels that they are in a position to refute an argument that they are clearly not qualified to debate, but I would not put too much thought into that.

Stenger then goes on to offer what he feels is the solution to the problem, but unfortunately continues to offer the same failed arguments, special pleading and strawmen that Atheists typically regurgitate; which leads me to my point. If Atheists hope to stand “toe to toe” with Theists and other philosophical view points, then they need to spend the time needed to develop their own world view. But herein lies the problem, Atheist cannot even admit that they have a world view. They would prefer pretending that they have made no assumptions about the nature of the universe. They like to believe that the world owes them an answer and that they have no reason to defend anything that they present.

The issue for them is that if they admit to having made assumptions, taken a position or developed a philosophy, then they cannot hide behind their typical “burden of proof” dodging and will have to step into the arena of philosophy. And as Stenger points out, this is an area where they are clearly behind the curve. So at the end of the day perhaps it would be better for them to stick to their present game plan, after all being schooled by a Theistic Apologist is much better than the alternative … dealing with the reality of their untenable position.