non believer to believer

Feb 19, 2013


Discussion by: Andy Mcquillan
Just out of intrest in there anyone out there who has recently had first hand experience or knows someboby in this day and age of reason and science that has coverted from atheism to religion. I would really like to know what factors led them from atheism to religion.

168 comments on “non believer to believer

  • 1
    Reckless Monkey says:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence. Another category is people who have some for of experience that convinces them.

    I personally know of no-one who is well versed in science and philosophy who has made the transition, but there are some Francis Collins for one (certainly he’s well trained in genetics).

    A recent post on this forum discussed communisms persecution of religion and the subsequent generations with relatively few who believe in god. I’d argue that in this situation unless curious and well read, most of these would not have considered the issue and are therefore susceptible to being convinced of god for poor reasons.

    Many of my religious friends wonder why after having left religion I continue to be interested in the issue. They don’t understand what an interesting can of worms belief is, most believe most things without sufficiently good reasons, same is true of atheists.



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  • 2
    whiteraven says:

    No problem. Borrowing the title of an article by Sam Harris, there is “The Strange Case of Francis Collins” (M.D., Ph.D. and Director of the NIH) who gives an account of his conversion from Atheism to Christianity in his book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

    Just goes to show you: it doesn’t take a PhD to be an Atheist.



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  • 3
    atheistengineer says:

    Strangely enough I do – two very different ones. The first was from an atheistish family – no real religious connections at all. His wife was/is religious and so were his kids, and they were quite involved in their local church. I think he attended with her initially as a form of social networking – it is a small affluent village, good place to meet contacts – and from there became a believer two years ago, much to the surprise of his friends, parents and siblings.

    There was no coercion on her part and it wasn’t to fit in with her. They’d been married for 20 odd years before he started going to the church. Thinking about it. It is really hard to see any factors that would contribute to his conversion beyond it was an oasis of peace for someone with a stressful job. When asked he said it started with intellectual curiosity to find out more followed by a feeling it was the right thing to do- that was it. It was also the CofE not some weird creationist fundamentalist cult that would be impossible for him to join. But that doesn’t seem enough of a reason to me. He was recently confirmed.

    Like most converts he now knows far more about her religion than she does.

    The second was ‘saved’ as his church would put it, when his parents were going through a hellish divorce and he was being bullied and going off the rails. In his case they gave him stability, acceptance and what looked like unconditional love. It gave him a social network, in return he gave them a convert (who took all their bullshit into his schools and brought others who were struggling along as well) and unconditional acceptance of their bullshit.

    This was a disturbing sort of loony church and his mum had real mixed feelings. On the one hand they were creationist morons on the other he wasn’t out risking his life with the local druggies. But I can see the reason for his conversion, it was simply they provided what the world couldn’t – a refuge and friendships.

    Quite often I think athests overlook the need for teenagers to fit in and the fact that churches often are in a position to exploit that need with youth outreach and acceptance of the ones struggling. When research shows that people with faith do better when ill it is the social networking that is the reason I think. Perhaps atheism needs to work on that factor rather than poking fun at the superstitious belief part?

    If you are interested there was also a programme on channel four recently, I think it was called Make me a Muslim but I’m not sure. A muslim girl who’d been born into that religion met women who had freely converted to Islam as adults. That was a real eye opener. She was totally westernised, didn’t wear a hijab or cover anything, had entered some beauty contest or other (and received death threats from fellow muslims for doing so) and had ambitions to be a model. In comparison the converts (all English, all from non religious backgrounds, all with totally bemused family and friends) were all far more traditional in dress (one came to her house and went through her shoe collection telling her which ones were Islamic and which weren’t, basically all the nice high heels) all wore hijabs, long skirts and one was seriously considering the niqab to completely cover all her face and was actually a co wife, i.e. her ‘husband’ had another wife chosen for him by his family. One interesting bit was where the convert took the muslim from birth girl, who considered herself a very good muslim, to the mosque and had to explain to her how to pray.

    I could sort of see why the one who was a co wife had converted. She had fallen in love with someone from that faith and that gives some incentive to at least start to look at the faith. But I think in her case the biggest driving factor was the fact his family refused to have anything to do with her or their children, and so I think she was trying to be ‘better’ than his ‘proper’ muslim wife to gain some sort of validation in their eyes. Though he had no wish for her to wear even a hijab, let alone niqab.

    The other three were more of a mystery. All had good careers and good lives but were looking for something more.

    I think you’ve asked a really important question. If you are going to deal with religion as a concept you have to look beyond the superstitious belief part and ask what is it actually giving people. Because clearly it is giving them something and until that can be replaced religion will continue. And the best people to ask are the converts – of which there seem to be lots.



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  • 4
    Michael Fisher says:

    UK perspective:

    Most ‘non-believers’ that I know don’t think about religion, atheism/agnosticism, anit-theism, science & reason. Those ‘non-believers’ that I know who call themselves atheists are not entirely that rational either ~ they are almost [generalisation ahead] as prone as anyone else to non-religious baloney.

    The conversions I’ve witnessed from the above two groups all followed the same pattern of religious groups exploiting insecurity:-

    ** Personal story:- In the 70s I was seriously ill in hospital for eight months & a proclaimed, vocal atheist. Nurses, priests & an Imam would pop by weekly to try & convert me. Failed

    ** University/College students:- Prime targets especially in freshers week ~ lonely students away from home

    ** Prisons. Big push here especially from Islam. Prisoners are very easy targets because of the high pressure environment where you need to be in a group to prosper. Also most prisoners are poorly schooled, poor home life & very gullible to anyone who sets up as a mother or father figure.



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  • 5
    GospelofJudas says:

    I do. I think it stems from two different factors; one, as Michael implied below, there are many atheists who are not atheists because they arrived at that conclusion through reason, but because that’s what they believe and by golly, they’re right and you’re wrong. Which means that they can be prone to change (and may very well be just as belligerent as before). The other factor was mentioned already too, that of comfort/social acceptance/just finding something that you think you’re missing. Unfortunately in the West, religion is all too often a package deal (I ranted about this a little bit on another thread, but I won’t drag the whole thing over); you can’t just pick and choose which parts you may or may not like without someone telling you that you’re not sufficiently Christian/Muslim/whatever. There are exceptions, but they seem to be rare. So if you want to be part of an organization that helps the community, gives restless kids something to do, organizes picnics and softball leagues, and occasionally throws a party, then if it’s a church (often the most readily available organization that does all of these things) then you don’t get to question the pastor, pay lip service to the more ludicrous tenets of Christianity and sit through services on Sunday mornings. Sadly I think that a lot of people believe that you have to get the whole package, or none.



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  • In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence.

    I agree with this fully. Those atheists who become religious are the kind of people who have never really thought about religion. When I meet these people it always scares me that when I ask them for a reason for their atheism, their answer “I don’t know”. A person like that is easy to convert. They have no intellectual ammunition to fight back with if a religious person starts proselytising. If one has zero reasons for no belief in gods, and then someone gives you just one reason to believe in a god, the scales fall in favour of belief! I can easily imagine that a superficially non-believer just shrugs his shoulders and goes “OK, I guess you’re right” when given just one rationalization for believing in a god.



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  • 7
    Dog Almighty says:

    In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence.

    I agree with this fully. Those atheists who become religious are the kind of people who have never really thought about religion. When I meet these people it always scares me that when I ask them for a reason for their atheism, their answer “I don’t know”. A person like that is easy to convert. They have no intellectual ammunition to fight back with if a religious person starts proselytising. If one has zero reasons for no belief in gods, and then someone gives you just one reason to believe in a god, the scales fall in favour of belief! I can easily imagine that a superficially non-believer just shrugs his shoulders and goes “OK, I guess you’re right” when given just one rationalization for believing in a god.



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  • Yes, I do. That would be my missionary neighbor I have written about here in former discussions, and on my blog. He was a non-believer and converted in his 20s. I would throw him in with those that Aztek mentions as not having looked into religion beforehand. Things were not going well for him in his young life, and he was advised to turn himself over to Jesus, which he credits for turning everything around through miraculous intervention. Of course in any large population there are going to be a few who get lucky, and if one of those prayed for it, you will have a hard time arguing against that person’s faith that prayers were answered.



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  • 9
    papa lazaru says:

    If you go that way, you’ve misunderstood ‘atheism’ and what it represents.

    If it’s just an initial lack of belief, or substituting religion with another set of fanciful notions (aliens, conspiracy theories, spiritualism), which are not really what we understand atheism to be, I suppose it would be pretty easy to fall back into the trap of organised religion.

    If you came to atheism through reason, logic and all that good stuff, I suspect it would be a lot harder.

    You just take look at the comment sections on YouTube videos about conspiracy theories or spiritualism, and these people are as deluded as a raging Westboro Baptist.



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  • 10
    QuestioningKat says:

    Yes, right here. I was raised Catholic and frequently questioned aspects of my religion. Certain parts of the Biblical story did not make sense. When I was 18, my European history, art history and literature courses were synchronized so that we studied the history, literature, and art of ancient Greece, the Renaissance, etc. at the same time. It was very clear to me that the Bible was touched by human hands and not divinely inspired. I pitched it all and considered myself an atheist for about three years. I would add that there was a transitional period that I still went to Mass. Finally, when I was asked to recite the Profession of Faith, I realized I needed to go.

    Unfortunately, I did not readily have information available to help me clarify my lack of belief. (early 80s) After a poorly taught philosophy course, I concluded that the existence of God could not be proven nor disproved, so I thought I may as well believe in God because I felt that something existed. At that point, I was agnostic. As time passed, I became an agnostic teetering on deist (not knowing what a deist actually is) In my early thirties, I read the book THE ARTIST’S WAY and was blown away by a new concept of God that I never encountered before. God was a loving God that wanted the best for you. If there are thousands of different pink flowers, there is room for you to be creative and express yourself as you like. After all, we live in an abundant universe. The view of lack was a bad idea- a limitation that we use to keep ourselves back from fully enjoying life right now. This was my official conversion into New Thought. I sucked it all up. Many of the questionable characteristic of God and flaws found in the Bible were “reframed” explaining God in a positive more psychologically balanced view. Unlike literalists, this “philosophical” view had no issues with coming up with a different view when the traditional one did not make sense. They cherry pick all the best aspects of the world’s religions and leave out anything that is not considered positive and loving.

    Through reading this book, I wondered where these views came from. By looking at the credits, I noticed a “thanks” to a Unity Church. I decided I would go visit the church. Initially, I though some of the views were really odd, but strangely, the sermon exactly related to what I was going through at the time. Sermons actually related to life unlike the Catholic mass. Though some of the stuff taught was flaky, they had a view that offered something I knew was missing in my life. It was like going to therapy. I also went church shopping around that time visiting a Unitarian, Christian Science, United Church of Christ, and Methodist. There was something I really liked about the views expressed at the Unitarian Church, but felt the personalities there were too similar to my quiet, heady personality. It was actually too good of a fit. Unity on the other hand, was like going to a party every Sunday. Church was fun. They sang secular music, wore no formal robes, no “preaching” against anything, no judgement, sin was simply making a mistake, everyone was really friendly, they disliked the religious….I did gain much from the church. Much of the damage done by my Catholic upbringing was “healed.” I learned to suspend judgement and be open-minded enough to accept people with differences. This also enabled me to overlook much of the BS that was taught. Yet, I would get a twinge, a sort of tightening of my upper body that non-verbally told me something was off. When I get a twinge, it will bother me forever, years, until I figure out why.

    So how did I make a full circle in life and become an atheist again after 13 years of going to church again? Eventually, my church was having financial problems and I realized it would be best that I weened myself, attending less services and eventually leave. Also at that time, a fundamentalist friend asked me about my beliefs. I realized that I didn’t actually believe most of what I said to her. (another Proclamation of Faith, hmm) I went on a journey questioning every aspect of what I believed. About midyear, the financial bomb dropped and the church split into two. I soon stopped going when I finally heard the full story (I was out of the loop from no longer attending regularly.) I was left dangling somewhere between agnostic and deist. This break allowed me to fully pitch any Christian views that resurfaced–all still perfectly acceptable for Unity – many Jews also attend the church. I eventually, started going to the newly formed church and stayed for about two years. The new minister had much integrity and even quoted Bishop Sponge at a Christmas service (Could you imagine? lol) Being a new minister, he would even admit he had doubts because of his interest in history. This was confusing to me because I still felt as though I had a place there. My growing agnosticism was a non-issue to people I told. Eventually, I was asked to become more involved with the church. I decided to search for more answers by visiting websites, talking to atheists online. I saw more clearly through views realizing how they seemed to be answers that were thought up by accomodationists smoothing over some Biblical impossibility or inaccuracy. Views seemed to make convenient sense. Then, someone nominated me to be on the church board. I turned it down and kept searching even harder and faster for answers. Towards the end of the year, my growing atheism started to become obvious to myself. I decided I would leave at the end of the year.

    It was hell to go through, but I decided that I needed to push myself no matter how painful it was to find the answers. For a few years, it was a dark period of my life erasing what I learned, but I knew I had to keep going. I recalled my experience of leaving Catholicism when I was 18 and decided I didn’t want to leave any doors unopened. No fence sitting or re-entry allowed. Eventually, Dan Dennett’s work on perception helped me to let go of my treasured “personal experiences.” The internet helped me to find truth. There are still some questioned that will never be completely answered, but after ditching two God views, I know that they do not hold truth and do not provide the ultimate truth. These religions may offer diamonds mixed in with horse shit, but I’d rather have jewels of wisdom clean without having to sort through the muck.



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  • 11
    DocWebster says:

    Someone who was a good friend of mine through junior high and high school went in to the army a staunch atheist became a christian in the service. He was the wicked smartest person I knew back then now it’s “God be praised” this and “God has a plan for us” that. Makes me glad I bailed on joining up with him.



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  • 12
    Robert Kubik says:

    I am this kind of person. I was not an atheist I just was not sure whether there was the God or not. But when we studied cell at the biology, the proces of replication, translation and transcription of DNA I started to believe in God. The more I know about molecular biology the more I am sure there is the Creator.
    There are more than hundred complex nano components of the cell that must be at the right place. Otherwise the cell would not survive and would not be able to replicate. So all the components had to come in the existence at the same time at the same place. I just could not believe it was not done by a clever Creator.

    And it was the same with my cousin. He studied biochemistry at the university and we spent hours talking about abiogenesis hypothesis – about RNA, TNA etc. hypothesis. He explained to me how many chicken and egg problems there are. He became believer too.

    But I asked myself. There are so many religions. Which God is the true one. I found out that only Jesus rose from death. So I studied historical evidence for the resurection and became a Christian.
    So in may case it was biology that led me to the faith in God and history that led me to the faith in Jesus.



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  • 13
    Reckless Monkey says:

    In reply to #12 by reasonvsblindchances:

    Absurdities; Tell me about it;

    The entire animals and humanity came from a water worm.

    Not quite, all living things share a common ancestor we know this because among other things we all share the same DNA language (and in many cases the same genes). Animals more similar to us say Chimpanzees have almost all genes(over 95%) in common with us. Richards Book The greatest show on earth will show you in detail how we know.

    All these things happened just because our lovely Blind chances and random acts

    No mutations (errors in the copying of genes carried on to the next generation if they happen during meiosis -into the sperm or egg cells as they are made) happen by chance, but the survival or death of the organism is definitely non-random. If the mutations you acquire make you better at survival those genes get passed on. If not you die before you can pass them on. Not random at all.

    Monkeys are our grandfather

    No, we share a common ancestor with monkey’s, a closer one with the other apes. Are you implying there is something wrong with monkey’s?

    Richard dawkins and his bunch of people are so smart and wise while 6.5 billion people are dummy(!) because they do not believe that they came from a worm but they believe that they are created by God!

    No we don’t think we are better than religious people, just that we have taken the time to consider the evidence. On the basis of you logic the religion with the most people must be the correct one, that currently would be Buddhism. So are you going to convert now or are you going to let go of the idea that just because lots of people believe something doesn’t mean its right.

    we will think that your absurdity of evolution fails for good.

    Who is being insulting now?

    It is so true that the each air molecule, which is in control of a place of maximum manifestation of the Divine Will and Command, the innumerable different exchanges, centers, through receivers and transmitters of all the telephones, telegraphs and radios in the world, stores all the words, passes to each other and amazingly perform those innumerable acts at the same time. In non-believers’ eyes and mind, each, indeed, of the air particular, would have to possess abilities and personalities to the number of all the different telephone users, telegraphers, and those who speak on the radio, and know all their different languages, and broadcast them to the other particles at the same time without mixing them up. For such a situation is actually apparent, and every bit of air should posses those abilities;

    Radio waves and electromagnetism are well understood, we know how the physics of the world works so we can utilise their properties in our technology, invented by the science you are dismissing.

    understanding all languages, accents, separating them from each other without mixing them so that people can understand each other when theyy talk on the phone or unbelievable the speed of the sound!

    The air doesn’t understand languages it simply turns sound waves into electrical signals using a coil of wire and a magnet. These are amplified and sent through wires, transmitted as radio waves then received transmitted to the other phone and turned into vibrations of air again at the other end. The air does not know what it is transmitting. And it travels at the speed of light 300 000km/sec not the speed of sound only about 1000km/h. Try getting two tin cans poke a hole through the end of each put a string in with a knot in each pull tight and talk to a friend. Not miraculous just physics.

    This will not bring not only one impossibility, but also impossibilities to our reason and logic.
    In other words, 6.5 billion’s people words (when they talk) in the air are kept by each air molecule and transmitted to each other without any mistakes and mix-up.

    Yep, wonderful but understood. If we didn’t we couldn’t have invented the phone. Why didn’t any religious figures ever come up with any of this technology I wonder, why didn’t a pope develop the microwave?

    If you see a friend of yours on the street, you need to shout at him but when you talk to your friend in Australia while you are in the USA, you can talk to him so easily without shouting? Amazingly millions of people speak on the phone long distance and their voices are being carried by air particular so instantly and without mixing them up in different languages and accents
    That is to say, either every particle and piece of the air has to possess infinite wisdom, knowledge, will, and power, and the qualities for being absolutely dominant over all the other particles so that it can be the means of those functions being carried out, which is absurd and impossible.

    No it’s electromagnetism. Look it up on wikipedia. Try this get two large speakers wire them together. Put some rice in one. Hit the other. The second speaker will vibrate as you hit the other this is because the magnet at the back of the speaker you are hitting passes past a coil of wire creating an electrical field. this travels down the wire and creates a magnetic field as it goes around the other speaker is another coil of wire it because it is concentrated creates a magnetic field opposite the one of the magnet which pushes it away moving the speaker. Essentially the same thing happens when you make a phone call. The air is only moving around the speaker. Radio waves don’t even need air (or we wouldn’t be able to talk to astronauts).

    We are not mentioning other duties of each air molecule like transmitting subtle forces and energy, like electricity, light it has to perform; those other duties are NOT blocking their transmission of the sounds and words either.
    I came to the firm conclusion that it proves that in no way is there any possibility of BLIND AND DEAF chance that has no wisdom and reason, and blind force, deaf Nature, aimless causes, and powerless, lifeless, consciousness matter commanding or interfering in duties of the air molecules.

    However you have come to this conclusion without reading any science on the issue. What you are arguing against has come about because countless scientists devoted their whole lives to solve these problems so that we can all use them. Can you not see that you saying essentially “I don’t understand how any of this works so god did it” is spitting in the face of all their efforts? It has taken me considerable time and effort to read up and learn about this stuff but the efforts I have made are as nothing compared to Maxwell and Newton and the countless others who have built on this knowledge you dismiss with a wave of you hand and no effort at all. You are offended by science’s pronouncements? Well, it comes across as childish when you rant at people who care enough to know what they’re arguing about. Please have enough respect to do the same.

    If you are struggling to understand concepts in science you’ve come to the right place if you politely explain you cannot believe in science because you find it hard to understand this or that most here will take the time to point you in the right direction. You’ve come on here angry and aggressive, please tone it down and we can talk.

    Please answer it by scientific way if you can(!) Mocking or teasing is not an answer rather than being evasive, and using mockery to be evasive is one and only way for this web site when they are stuck or in misery!

    Again with the insults, please calm down and ask you questions or make your points in a polite manner. Many of us will happily answer your questions. I am for one a very jolly person and spend my days as a teacher which I love, I am not miserable, I will explain my position to you if you ask.



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  • 14
    Reckless Monkey says:

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    I am this kind of person. I was not an atheist I just was not sure whether there was the God or not. But when we studied cell at the biology, the proces of replication, translation and transcription of DNA I started to believe in God. The more I know about molecular biology the more I am sure there is the Creator.
    There are more than hundred complex nano components of the cell that must be at the right place. Otherwise the cell would not survive and would not be able to replicate. So all the components had to come in the existence at the same time at the same place. I just could not believe it was not done by a clever Creator.

    I can understand when faced with the beauty and complexity of life that you become awe struck, so am I. However I’d point out that your reasoning is flawed. You are coming in at the end of 3.5 odd billion years of gradually increasing complexity. Most of that single celled. There are many examples of exquisitely complex systems ordered by fundamental physics. Look at a galaxy look at the structure and complexity of each star building from simple elements to more complex and eventually spewing the building blocks of everything into space in their explosive deaths all because of gravity. Simple systems can and do result in complexity without the intervention of a deity. To assume that because you can’t understand it it must be something else you can’t possibly understand without resorting to faith is just plain giving up. Why not either just say “I don’t understand it” or read a few more books until you do.

    And it was the same with my cousin. He studied biochemistry at the university and we spent hours talking about abiogenesis hypothesis – about RNA, TNA etc. hypothesis. He explained to me how many chicken and egg problems there are. He became believer too.

    But I asked myself. There are so many religions. Which God is the true one. I found out that only Jesus rose from death.

    Can you prove it? Even if he did how does that make him a god. He might for example have been an alien shape shifter capable of regeneration for all you know. Resurrection if true does not lead to that person being a god it just means they can do something you can’t.

    So I studied historical evidence for the resurection and became a Christian.

    So in may case it was biology that led me to the faith in God and history that led me to the faith in Jesus.

    I’d respectfully disagree, it was your incomplete education in biology, combined with your lack of understanding of the basis of biology ‘evolution through natural selection’ that lead to you attributing your existence to an entity you cannot possibly know exists and who’s very existence breaks the very rule on which you rejected evolution (too complex to be explained without a first cause- god presumably being more complex than us needs even more explaining).



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  • 15
    Nodhimmi says:

    In reply to #9 by papa lazaru:

    If you go that way, you’ve misunderstood ‘atheism’ and what it represents.

    If it’s just an initial lack of belief, or substituting religion with another set of fanciful notions (aliens, conspiracy theories, spiritualism), which are not really what we understand atheism to be, I suppose it would be pretty easy to fall back into the trap of organised religion.

    If you came to atheism through reason, logic and all that good stuff, I suspect it would be a lot harder.

    You just take look at the comment sections on YouTube videos about conspiracy theories or spiritualism, and these people are as deluded as a raging Westboro Baptist.

    Agree, no-one can claim atheism without first having considered what religions preach. Surest way to avoid any possibility of backsliding? Recall the conflicts within a religion and the even more obvious ones between religions…

    PS- Papa, are you LOCAL???



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  • 16
    Nodhimmi says:

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    I am this kind of person. I was not an atheist I just was not sure whether there was the God or not. But when we studied cell at the biology, the proces of replication, translation and transcription of DNA I started to believe in God. The more I know about molecular biology the more I am sure there is the Creator.
    There are more than hundred complex nano components of the cell that must be at the right place. Otherwise the cell would not survive and would not be able to replicate. So all the components had to come in the existence at the same time at the same place. I just could not believe it was not done by a clever Creator.

    And it was the same with my cousin. He studied biochemistry at the university and we spent hours talking about abiogenesis hypothesis – about RNA, TNA etc. hypothesis. He explained to me how many chicken and egg problems there are. He became believer too.

    But I asked myself. There are so many religions. Which God is the true one. I found out that only Jesus rose from death. So I studied historical evidence for the resurection and became a Christian.
    So in may case it was biology that led me to the faith in God and history that led me to the faith in Jesus.

    Robert, you would benefit from some rational thinking. Can you explain why ‘irreducible complexity’ holds such attraction for you? And why you prefer mindless ‘faith’ to real evidence?
    Discounting the bible, what precise ‘evidence’ do you have for virgin birth, resurrection or even the existence of Jesus, son of God?
    There is no reason or expectation for us to know everything- why is it important to ‘know’??



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  • 17
    Nordic11 says:

    I wonder if anyone here has read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander? He was an atheist and neurosurgeon until a rare illness attacked his brain leaving him in a coma for a week. He had a near-death experience about heaven and “The Divine” and as a neurosurgeon, he argues the validity of his experience from a pure scientific basis. I don’t read about such cases as a rule, but I ordered the hook from Amazon after reading an article in Newsweek about him.

    If anyone has read the book, I’d love to hear your reaction.

    Also, some famous examples of atheists turned Christian are CS Lewis and Anne Rice.



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  • 18
    scottishgeologist says:

    Theres also this guy, who was stung by a box jellyfish, “died” “saw heaven” and then came back to life. Now a pentecostal (AoG) fundy.

    “Ian was night diving off the island of Mauritius when he was stung multiple times by Box Jellyfish, which are among the most venomous creatures in the world. Ian is not 100% sure which species of Box Jelllyfish that stung him as it has been very hard to find info from Mauritius on them. Ian suffered as a child from allergies and had to take antihistamines on a regular basis as even a mosquito bite would cause him to swell up, so his reaction to these jellyfish stings was very bad. His testimony relates how he clung to life while getting to hospital, was declared clinically dead soon afterwards, and how during this time he had an encounter with God, which radically changed the direction of his life.”

    http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/

    OTOH, i believe Kerry Packer had a near death experience He later said of the incident, “I’ve been to the other side, and let me tell you son, there’s fucking nothing there. LOL!!!

    SG



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  • 19
    canadian_right says:

    Some people are claiming that if you haven’t spent some time thinking about science, religion, and some basic philosophy you can’t be a “real atheist”.

    I disagree. The word atheist simply means you do not think gods exist. No more, no less. It is entirely possible to be an ignorant atheist. I don’t see how the word can imply more. If you are raised in a secular society I would think that you wouldn’t pay any more mind to religion than you do any other fairy tale.

    Would an atheist who has never given serious thought to why they are an atheist be easier to convert to a religion? Well, of course, but that did not make them less of an atheist before their conversion. This does show that the unexamined life is precarious and prone to error.



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  • 20
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #20 by Nordic11:

    I wonder if anyone here has read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander? He was an atheist and neurosurgeon until a rare illness attacked his brain leaving him in a coma for a week. He had a near-death experience about heaven and “The Divine” and as a neurosurgeon, he argues the validity of his experience from a pure scientific basis. I don’t read about such cases as a rule, but I ordered the hook from Amazon after reading an article in Newsweek about him.

    If anyone has read the book, I’d love to hear your reaction.

    Hi Nordic!
    There were earlier discussions of him here:

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2012/11/29/dr-eben-alexander-s-tells-of-near-death-in-proof-of-heaven#

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2012/10/10/is-the-afterlife-full-of-fluffy-clouds-and-angels#

    I think the general view of some informed people on this site, was that he was a neurosurgeon not a neuroscientist, and he had not researched his subject matter, but had simply indulged in wishful thinking.

    It is well known that brain damage increases “spirituality”.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htm

    In the most recent study, Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.

    Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said. “Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”

    Johnstone says the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others. Although Johnstone studied people with brain injury, previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.



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  • In reply to #20 by Nordic11:

    I wonder if anyone here has read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander? He was an atheist and neurosurgeon until a rare illness attacked his brain leaving him in a coma for a week. He had a near-death experience about heaven and “The Divine” and as a neurosurgeon, he argues the validity of his experience from a pure scientific basis. I don’t read about such cases as a rule, but I ordered the hook from Amazon after reading an article in Newsweek about him.

    If anyone has read the book, I’d love to hear your reaction.

    Also, some famous examples of atheists turned Christian are CS Lewis and Anne Rice.

    Here’s a blog post by Sam Harris that explains why it is anything but “pure science”.

    —-//—-

    edited:



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  • 22
    Nordic11 says:

    In reply to #23 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #20 by Nordic11:I wonder if anyone here has read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander? He was an atheist and neurosurgeon until a rare illness attacked his brain leaving him in a coma for a week. He had a near-death experience about heaven and “The Divine” and as a neurosurgeon, he argues the validity of his experience from a pure scientific basis. I don’t read about such cases as a rule, but I ordered the hook from Amazon after reading an article in Newsweek about him.If anyone has read the book, I’d love to hear your reaction.Hi Nordic! There were earlier discussions of him here:http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2012/11/29/dr-eben-alexander-s-tells-of-near-death-in-proof-of-heaven#http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2012/10/10/is-the-afterlife-full-of-fluffy-clouds-and-angels#I think the general view of some informed people on this site, was that he was a neurosurgeon not a neuroscientist, and he had not researched his subject matter, but had simply indulged in wishful thinking.It is well known that brain damage increases “spirituality”.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htmIn the most recent study, Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said. “Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”Johnstone says the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others. Although Johnstone studied people with brain injury, previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.

    Hi alan!

    Thanks for the resources. I need to take a look at them when I have some time (probably next week). He had some very interesting things to say, but I would like to read the other version of the story.

    Also, sorry I did not get back to you on the last thread. I got very sick for two days. The chemo drugs continue to hammer away at me.

    Enjoy a great evening and I always appreciate the sources you have for me!

    Cheers!



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  • 23
    Nordic11 says:

    In reply to #24 by Sean_W:

    In reply to #20 by Nordic11:I wonder if anyone here has read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander? He was an atheist and neurosurgeon until a rare illness attacked his brain leaving him in a coma for a week. He had a near-death experience about heaven and “The Divine” and as a neurosurgeon, he argues the validity of his experience from a pure scientific basis. I don’t read about such cases as a rule, but I ordered the hook from Amazon after reading an article in Newsweek about him.If anyone has read the book, I’d love to hear your reaction.Also, some famous examples of atheists turned Christian are CS Lewis and Anne Rice.Here’s a blog post by Sam Harris that explains why it is anything but “pure science”.—-//—-edited:

    Thank you, Sean!

    I look forward to checking theblog out.

    Enjoy your evening!

    Nordic



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  • 24
    Uriel-238 says:

    Not recently, but I went through a theist period in my twenties when I was trying to overcome depression without meds or proper psychiatric care (and CBT was new and didn’t work very well). I ended up going into a 12-step program which requires belief.

    Christianity was completely unpalatable between scientific inaccuracies and its moralist failures (and the biblical god is a jackass by modern moral conventions), so I ended up making up my own mythology, which served my purposes just fine.

    U.



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  • 25
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #21 by scottishgeologist:

    Theres also this guy, who was stung by a box jellyfish, “died” “saw heaven” and then came back to life. Now a pentecostal (AoG) fundy.”Ian was night diving off the island of Mauritius when he was stung multiple times by Box Jellyfish, which are among the most venomous creatures in the world. Ian is not 100% sure which species of Box Jelllyfish that stung him as it has been very hard to find info from Mauritius on them. Ian suffered as a child from allergies and had to take antihistamines on a regular basis as even a mosquito bite would cause him to swell up, so his reaction to these jellyfish stings was very bad. His testimony relates how he clung to life while getting to hospital, was declared clinically dead soon afterwards, and how during this time he had an encounter with God, which radically changed the direction of his life.”http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/OTOH, i believe Kerry Packer had a near death experience He later said of the incident, “I’ve been to the other side, and let me tell you son, there’s fucking nothing there. LOL!!!SG

    I saw Mc Cormack speaking about his experience. He visited our town two years ago and I could see in the impression of his face he really believed he experienced heaven and hell.



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  • 26
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #19 by Nodhimmi:

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:I am this kind of person. I was not an atheist I just was not sure whether there was the God or not. But when we studied cell at the biology, the proces of replication, translation and transcription of DNA I started to believe in God. The more I know about molecular biology the more I am sure there is the Creator. There are more than hundred complex nano components of the cell that must be at the right place. Otherwise the cell would not survive and would not be able to replicate. So all the components had to come in the existence at the same time at the same place. I just could not believe it was not done by a clever Creator.And it was the same with my cousin. He studied biochemistry at the university and we spent hours talking about abiogenesis hypothesis – about RNA, TNA etc. hypothesis. He explained to me how many chicken and egg problems there are. He became believer too.But I asked myself. There are so many religions. Which God is the true one. I found out that only Jesus rose from death. So I studied historical evidence for the resurection and became a Christian. So in may case it was biology that led me to the faith in God and history that led me to the faith in Jesus.Robert, you would benefit from some rational thinking. Can you explain why ‘irreducible complexity’ holds such attraction for you? And why you prefer mindless ‘faith’ to real evidence? Discounting the bible, what precise ‘evidence’ do you have for virgin birth, resurrection or even the existence of Jesus, son of God? There is no reason or expectation for us to know everything- why is it important to ‘know’??

    I already wrote about the cell as the evidence of Creator. So I am not going to copy and paste.
    And about the evidence for virgin birth – there are none.
    And evidence for resurection of Jeus – there are great.
    I have had a discussion that I link below so you can read my comments as well as the comments of those who denied resurection of Jesus

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias#.UP7sWyc8DTo#comment-box-72



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  • 27
    atheistengineer says:

    In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence. Another category is people who have some for of experience that convinces them.

    I personally know of no-one who is well versed in science and philosophy who has made the transition, but there are some Francis Collins for one (certainly he’s well trained in genetics).

    The person I knew who converted to the CofE was very well versed in science, and after conversion, in religious theology. It was the most bizarre of the conversions I’ve seen as nothing in his background or training warranted it beyond a wife – who was religious to the extent of going to church once a week and hardly thinking about it the rest of the time.

    A recent post on this forum discussed communisms persecution of religion and the subsequent generations with relatively few who believe in god. I’d argue that in this situation unless curious and well read, most of these would not have considered the issue and are therefore susceptible to being convinced of god for poor reasons.

    And if you oppress people generally, any other thing being oppressed becomes more attractive straight away. If only as a point of opposition. Poland for example, initially replaced a totalitarian state by turning to the totalitarianism of the RCC. Iran replaced the Shah with mad Ayatollohs and radical Islam, the Christian churches are appearing in China etc.

    I’m sure your comment is why religion tends to thrive when it moves into areas of prior or existing conflict. If you want to get rid of religion therefore gently ignoring it and saying doesn’t matter what you all believe in private, we’re not going to oppress you just ignore you.

    Many of my religious friends wonder why after having left religion I continue to be interested in the issue. They don’t understand what an interesting can of worms belief is, most believe most things without sufficiently good reasons, same is true of atheists.

    Agreed. The vast majority of people I know who do not believe in God or Gods don’t do so because they’ve never really thought about it or been introduced to the concept. The most informed atheists tend to be the ex religious (in general)



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  • 28
    Reckless Monkey says:

    The person I knew who converted to the CofE was very well versed in science, and after conversion, in religious theology. It was the most bizarre of the conversions I’ve seen as nothing in his background or training warranted it beyond a wife – who was religious to the extent of going to church once a week and hardly thinking about it the rest of the time.

    Yes, I cannot bring myself to discount the effect of feeling something so powerfully that it overcomes the rational parts of you brains. I heard a psychiatrist explain how rational a patients behaviour of continually bashing the side of her head saying “get out get out!” was. Once you understood she was experiencing a buzzing in her ear very loud that never left you can see how for her at least this was not completely irrational. So I don’t doubt that for them it is real, it certainly was for me when I was religious. In a way I was lucky because having grown up in the Mormon church which due to its recent history is happily easy to prove it is a manifest fraud, and I was instantly confronted with my own delusions. So when I feel myself slipping into wish thinking and attributing irrational causes to events I keep myself in check. Perhaps some former atheists have never had to confront their own human irrationality. My father-in law is a minister and was a non-believer until in his early 20’s, speaking to him however I don’t feel he gets ‘my atheism’ his seemed to be more a general disdain of the religious before he became a Christain.



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  • 29
    SaganTheCat says:

    CS Lewis springs to mind

    he fought in the first world war and wrote of the horrors he saw there while proudly stating that he never once resourted to prayer. then became a christian, i think while in Oxford.

    there was a fairly interesting documentry about him, i say “fairly” because the only part of his story that i was really interested in was how he was converted. the documentry i saw was clearly written from a christian perspective with all the experts on his work being ardent god-botherers and while it discussed his fervent atheism covered the whole of his change to christianity with one sentence: “because of his intellectual honesty, he converted to christianity” (i hissed loudly at the screen at this point)

    I felt the likely reason for both his atheism and christianity was simply trying to fit in with crowd. i can’t understand how an adult atheist could go from non-belief to belief in a single religion in one bound without feeling a need to be in the in-group and suspect he was no more “intellectually honest” in his atheism than christianity.

    his fantasy books are a great example of the mindset of that type of supposed intellectual christianity, using examples of classical mythology with any old ideas thrown in with a “why not?” sort of rationalle (e.g. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; all sorts of greek mythology mixed up with a blatant cruicifixion/ressurection analog and father christmas inexplicably popping up: woo salad for kids)



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  • I’m an atheist and I’ve been looking for good reasons to believe. I just haven’t found any. I’ve even tried believing in ghosts and shit. Nothing convinces me of a life after death; especially one that involves a god of any kind.



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  • 32
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #29 by Robert Kubik:

    I already wrote about the cell as the evidence of Creator. So I am not going to copy and paste.
    And about the evidence for virgin birth – there are none.
    And evidence for resurection of Jesus – there are great.
    I have had a discussion that I link below so you can read my comments as well as the comments of those who denied resurection of Jesus.

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias#.UP7sWyc8DTo#comment-box-72

    Hi Robert.

    I’m amazed that you referred to this link – where your assertions are comprehensively dismantled by highly qualified members of this Community – as if that discussion somehow adds to your credibility. Did you even read any of the information referred to you by the Commentators? I followed the original conversation and this one, and you didn’t have the information, evidence or education to make any kind of case for your beliefs.

    I know that was only a month ago, but you haven’t learned much in the meantime. Your continued religious wishful-thinking is compounded by your ignorance of your own religion, history, science and biology. If you continue to assert your ‘Arguments From Personal Incredulity’ then you can expect that people here will either criticize you – or ignore you as a misinformed, faith-infected waste of our time and effort. Mac.



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  • 33
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #35 by CdnMacAtheist:

    In reply to #29 by Robert Kubik:

    I’m amazed that you referred to this link – where your assertions are comprehensively dismantled by highly qualified members of this Community – as if that discussion somehow adds to your credibility.

    What do you think of credibility of people who say that Tacitus record of emperor Nero killing Christians is not accurate? Do you know ANY historian who say that Tacitus record was christian interpolation? There are NONE.
    The problem of those people in that discussion is that they do not want to accept the fact that there were thousands of people believing in resurection of Jesus just thirty years after the event so during the life of eye witnesses and even the emperor knew them.

    Because if the participants in that discussion accepted the fact that the message of resurection started to spread immediately after his crusifiction they would have to answer the following questions: Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen? Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?



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  • 34
    KcbBerlin says:

    In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence. Another category is people who have some for of experience that convinces them.I personally know of no-one who is well versed in science and philosophy who has made the transition, but there are some Francis Collins for one (certainly he’s well trained in genetics).A recent post on this forum discussed communisms persecution of religion and the subsequent generations with relatively few who believe in god. I’d argue that in this situation unless curious and well read, most of these would not have considered the issue and are therefore susceptible to being convinced of god for poor reasons.Many of my religious friends wonder why after having left religion I continue to be interested in the issue. They don’t understand what an interesting can of worms belief is, most believe most things without sufficiently good reasons, same is true of atheists.

    In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

    I know lots of people who were atheists and converted to Christianity. What is generally happening is people who have grown up without religion, and not believing without ever examining the evidence. Another category is people who have some for of experience that convinces them.I personally know of no-one who is well versed in science and philosophy who has made the transition, but there are some Francis Collins for one (certainly he’s well trained in genetics).A recent post on this forum discussed communisms persecution of religion and the subsequent generations with relatively few who believe in god. I’d argue that in this situation unless curious and well read, most of these would not have considered the issue and are therefore susceptible to being convinced of god for poor reasons.Many of my religious friends wonder why after having left religion I continue to be interested in the issue. They don’t understand what an interesting can of worms belief is, most believe most things without sufficiently good reasons, same is true of atheists.

    R.M, “same is true of atheists”. or did you mean some Atheists ? I can well imagine people who have no opinion, never thought seriously about religion, perhaps no religious family culture, or upbringing being in a way an empty vessel waiting for the first explanation offered to the Big Questions. Going for any port in lives storms, or to be contrary to upbringing. With a critical mind, hard to imagine lasting or sincere, as you mentioned in the community aspect. Yes there are many reasons people will join organisations for pragmatic reasons, not bothered about ethical content. Perhaps, Atheist by default rather than conviction is an important difference.



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  • 35
    KcbBerlin says:

    In reply to #9 by papa lazaru:

    If you go that way, you’ve misunderstood ‘atheism’ and what it represents.If it’s just an initial lack of belief, or substituting religion with another set of fanciful notions (aliens, conspiracy theories, spiritualism), which are not really what we understand atheism to be, I suppose it would be pretty easy to fall back into the trap of organised religion.If you came to atheism through reason, logic and all that good stuff, I suspect it would be a lot harder.You just take look at the comment sections on YouTube videos about conspiracy theories or spiritualism, and these people are as deluded as a raging Westboro Baptist.

    Yes having no opinion, or decision on such “Big Question” matters, is not Atheist. Its just Non thinking. Never seriously considered.



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  • 36
    KcbBerlin says:

    In reply to #9 by papa lazaru:

    If you go that way, you’ve misunderstood ‘atheism’ and what it represents.If it’s just an initial lack of belief, or substituting religion with another set of fanciful notions (aliens, conspiracy theories, spiritualism), which are not really what we understand atheism to be, I suppose it would be pretty easy to fall back into the trap of organised religion.If you came to atheism through reason, logic and all that good stuff, I suspect it would be a lot harder.You just take look at the comment sections on YouTube videos about conspiracy theories or spiritualism, and these people are as deluded as a raging Westboro Baptist.

    Yes having no opinion, or decision on such “Big Question” matters, is not Atheist. Its just Non thinking. Never seriously considered.



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  • 37
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #36 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #35 by CdnMacAtheist:

    In reply to #29 by Robert Kubik:

    I’m amazed that you referred to this link – where your assertions are comprehensively dismantled by highly qualified members of this Community – as if that discussion somehow adds to your credibility.

    What do you think of credibility of people who say that Tacitus record of emperor Nero killing Christians is not accurate? Do you know ANY historian who say that Tacitus record was christian interpolation? There are NONE.
    The problem of those people in that discussion is that they do not want to accept the fact that there were thousands of people believing in resurection of Jesus just thirty years after the event so during the life of eye witnesses and even the emperor knew them.

    Because if the participants in that discussion accepted the fact that the message of resurection started to spread immediately after his crusifiction they would have to answer the following questions: Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen? Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?

    Hi Robert. I cannot answer your questions since I am totally uninfected by religious inculcation or dogmatic assertions, and have no competence – or interest – in who believes what about any god, since no matter what little bits of cherry-picking you do along the way, the leap from any man-made physical or historical evidence to your belief in Jesus or God or Allah or Thor or Quetzalcotl or FSM is unbridgeable to people who try to live by reason and evidence….

    I think you were answered very thoroughly by JHJEFFERY- who you’ll recall teaches Phd level courses on this subject – and A4D who, as a scientist, is also excellently researched in his posts. Others gave their opinions, but you didn’t seem to be learning from any of their Links to recent, known, less biased data. You are throwing out those same things at me here.

    They spend much time here passing along extremely valuable knowledge and experience in a very professional manner – although you may find their opinions ‘pushy’, but that is from their education, experiences and confidence in their knowledge, and their eventual frustration with people who are only looking for evidence that matches their own opinion of their particular supernatural ‘goddidit’ answer.

    Getting back to the OP, these are some of the reasons I find it difficult to see why many fully functioning Non-Theists would become Believers unless there was underlying ‘belief in belief’ drives and blinkers from their life, family and society. Mac.



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  • 38
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #40 by CdnMacAtheist:

    If your argumentation is that JHJEFFERY studied history I know some historians who became Christians because of the evidence for the resurection. So it is not the right argumentation.



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  • 39
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #40 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Dr. Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written. Dr. Simon Greenleaf believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. And he determined, once and for all, to expose the “myth” of the Resurrection. After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection — Dr. Greenleaf came to the exact opposite conclusion! He wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated:
    “it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . .”
    (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).

    Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!
    And not only that, Dr. Greenleaf was so convinced by the overwhelming evidence, he committed his life to Jesus Christ!

    What changed his mind? What evidence did Dr. Greenleaf encounter that so drastically turned him around? What facts did he discover that he could not rationally ignore?



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  • 40
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #42 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #40 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Dr. Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written.

    Don’t you love arguments from (posturing) authority, pasted from junk websites! http://www.av1611.org/resur.html

    http://www.freecdtracts.com/cdtracts/believe/believe.htm

    Greenleaf was an lawyer who was into apologetics in the 1800s, when there was negligible knowledge of modern archaeology. No doubt the ability to make up plausible nonsense impressed some at the time, and helped his career!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon-Greenleaf

    In 1801 he joined the law office of Ezekiel Whitman (the later Chief Justice of Maine) and in 1806 was admitted to the Cumberland County bar as a legal practitioner. On September 18, 1806 he married Hannah Kingman.

    He then opened a legal practice at Standish, but six months later relocated to Gray, where he practised for twelve years, and in 1818 removed to Portland. Greenleaf’s political preferences were aligned with the Federalist Party, and in 1816 he was an unsuccessful candidate for that party in Cumberland County for the Senate. He was reporter of the Supreme Court of Maine from 1820 to 1832, and published nine volumes of Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of Maine (1820–1832).

    He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Harvard in 1834, received the same honor from Amherst in 1845, and again from the University of Alabama in 1852.

    Greenleaf is an important figure in the development of that Christian school of thought known as legal or juridical apologetics.
    This school of thought is typified by legally trained scholars applying the canons of proof and argument to the defense of Christian belief. Greenleaf’s Testimony of the Evangelists set the model for many subsequent works by legal apologists. He is distinguished as one who applied the canons of the ancient document rule to establish the authenticity of the gospel accounts, as well as cross-examination principles in assessing the testimony of those who bore witness to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. His style of reasoning is reflected in the apologetic works by John Warwick Montgomery, Josh McDowell and Ross Clifford.

    So he examined the “testimony in the Bible” and pronounced this to be “evidence” having cross-examined the alleged testimony witnesses who left no written records, and who had been dead for nearly two thousand years!??

    More claims without evidence concocted for the gullible!



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  • 41
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    The fact that you apparently went from thinking that cells require an architect to believing in the “historical validity” of the Bible looks terribly like a non-sequitur, and that’s not the only problem with your logic in this post.

    The Argument from Irreducible Complexity has been made by more eloquent ID advocates than yourself, and two things usually follow: the first is that they all were religiously inclined; the second is that they have repeatedly had egg over their faces as a result. Michael Behe is one such example, having claimed that the rotary motor of a bacterium’s flagellum, the nervous system, and various cellular molecules are “irreducibly complex”. In every case, he was contradicted by people who actually studied the things.

    Such advocates are not scientists because their ideas are empirically sterile. Great progress has been made as a result of the idea of natural selection because it can be proven and disproven, and has stood the test of scientific enquiry. Creationism, by contrast, produces no research, no evidence, no basis for future investigation, and a huge number of logical problems and appeals to ignorance, which when coupled with the usual religious bias of the advocates suggests that they’re allowing non-epistemic factors (such as intuition and emotional investment in religious beliefs) to distort their policy.

    It’s also an argument from ignorance, because you don’t actually know that the thing is irreducibly complex. You just assume it is because you yourself feel overawed by the complexity of what you’re seeing, and then use your own personal incredulity to dismiss the idea. I’d recommend you read Climbing Mount Improbable for why this attitude is highly untrustworthy. Incidentally, what features of a cell’s molecular machinery do you think are inexplicable by natural selection, and why? It would help if you could explain this, as without an example, it’s hard to distinguish a blanket dismissal from a genuine issue.

    In any case, even if irreducible complexity was true, it does not follow that a creator exists, much less that it was a god from a bronze-age text with no independent confirmations of its contents, especially a text that doesn’t look much different from most of the religious texts of history. It may just as well have formed as a result of a third process, currently unknown or unrecognized. You’re going to have to provide evidence that single-celled organisms are created by a creator, and a religious text with no independent supporting evidence (and a few internal contradictions of historic events) is not evidence that would stand up to scrutiny.



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  • 42
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #42 by Robert Kubik:

    “it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . .”

    What changed his mind? What evidence did Dr. Greenleaf encounter that so drastically turned him around? What facts did he discover that he could not rationally ignore?

    You tell me. You’re supposed to be making the case. As for Greenleaf’s credentials, the only thing I’m seeing at the moment is a partisan to the Bible from an age of partisanship to the Bible (I rather doubt he was much of a skeptic, or at least much of a lawyer), who thinks that it’s impossible for four people to lie, but possible for a three-day-old corpse to come back to life.



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  • 43
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #42 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #40 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Dr. Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written. Dr. Simon Greenleaf believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. And he determined, once and for all, to expose the “myth” of the Resurrection. After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection — Dr. Greenleaf came to the exact opposite conclusion! He wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated:
    “it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . .”
    (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).

    Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!
    And not only that, Dr. Greenleaf was so convinced by the overwhelming evidence, he committed his life to Jesus Christ!

    What changed his mind? What evidence did Dr. Greenleaf encounter that so drastically turned him around? What facts did he discover that he could not rationally ignore?

    Robert. If you think a book written in 1846 by a Prof of Law is convincing proof of the existence of your 3 in 1 god (one of several thousand gods various deludiots have invented and asserted), then you have more of a problem with reality than I thought, especially as he claims “the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!” LOL….

    Greenleaf sure sounds like an old-time lawyer, perhaps he inspired other religious legal and political intellectual titans like William Jennings Bryan. As with all branches of science and evidence-based law, things have moved along a bit in the last 165 years, so I don’t think the Prof’s evidence and methodology would get him far these days….

    I think you should study much more of the good info suggested to you by JHJ and A4D earlier…. Mac.



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  • 44
    Zeuglodon says:

    Correction: it was the immune system Behe argued was IC, not the nervous system.

    In reply to #44 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    The fact that you apparently went from thinking that cells require an architect to believing in the “historical validity” of the Bible looks terribly like a non-sequitur, and that’s not the only problem with your logic in this post.

    The Argument from Irreducible Complexity has been made by more eloquent ID advocates than yourself, and two things usually follow: the first is that they all were religiously inclined; the second is that they have repeatedly had egg over their faces as a result. Michael Behe is one such example, having claimed that the rotary motor of a bacterium’s flagellum, the nervous system, and various cellular molecules are “irreducibly complex”. In every case, he was contradicted by people who actually studied the things.

    Such advocates are not scientists because their ideas are empirically sterile. Great progress has been made as a result of the idea of natural selection because it can be proven and disproven, and has stood the test of scientific enquiry. Creationism, by contrast, produces no research, no evidence, no basis for future investigation, and a huge number of logical problems and appeals to ignorance, which when coupled with the usual religious bias of the advocates suggests that they’re allowing non-epistemic factors (such as intuition and emotional investment in religious beliefs) to distort their policy.

    It’s also an argument from ignorance, because you don’t actually know that the thing is irreducibly complex. You just assume it is because you yourself feel overawed by the complexity of what you’re seeing, and then use your own personal incredulity to dismiss the idea. I’d recommend you read Climbing Mount Improbable for why this attitude is highly untrustworthy. Incidentally, what features of a cell’s molecular machinery do you think are inexplicable by natural selection, and why? It would help if you could explain this, as without an example, it’s hard to distinguish a blanket dismissal from a genuine issue.

    In any case, even if irreducible complexity was true, it does not follow that a creator exists, much less that it was a god from a bronze-age text with no independent confirmations of its contents, especially a text that doesn’t look much different from most of the religious texts of history. It may just as well have formed as a result of a third process, currently unknown or unrecognized. You’re going to have to provide evidence that single-celled organisms are created by a creator, and a religious text with no independent supporting evidence (and a few internal contradictions of historic events) is not evidence that would stand up to scrutiny.



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  • 45
    Ryan1306 says:

    I can hazard a few guesses that don’t involve omnipotent supernatural entities.

    “Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen?”

    It’s not mutually exclusive that his followers could have thought that he was resurrected but really wasn’t. Roman guards or someone from the pharisees could have moved the body so the tomb wouldn’t become a place of worship or just out of plain vindictive spite. Jesus pissed off more than a few people.

    There is also the possibility that one of his followers moved the body unbenounced to the larger group. Why? This person had dedicated their whole life to this cause and didn’t want to see their new faith go down the drain. Maybe he thought, like many Christians today seem to truly believe, that Jesus had great ideas about how people should act and that the lie that Jesus was divine would make the world a better place. Or maybe he believed Jesus really was the messiah and would return at some point but moving the body right then would win more converts in the mean time. I’m not saying any of those things happened, I just wanted to try point out there are other more down to earth possibilities about why the tomb might have been empty, if it even was.

    “Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?”

    Maybe they just threw him in a hole somewhere and the burial site was eventually lost. Or more probably, the Christian movement was relatively small during the life time of the people involved and no body really took notice.

    Because if the participants in that discussion accepted the fact that the message of resurection started to spread immediately after his crusifiction they would have to answer the following questions: Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen? Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?



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  • 47
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #48 by rrh1306:

    I can hazard a few guesses that don’t involve omnipotent supernatural entities.”Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen?”It’s not mutually exclusive that his followers could have thought that he was resurrected but really wasn’t. Roman guards or someone from the pharisees could have moved the body so the tomb wouldn’t become a place of worship or just out of plain vindictive spite. Jesus pissed off more than a few people.There is also the possibility that one of his followers moved the body unbenounced to the larger group. Why? This person had dedicated their whole life to this cause and didn’t want to see their new faith go down the drain. Maybe he thought, like many Christians today seem to truly believe, that Jesus had great ideas about how people should act and that the lie that Jesus was divine would make the world a better place. Or maybe he believed Jesus really was the messiah and would return at some point but moving the body right then would win more converts in the mean time. I’m not saying any of those things happened, I just wanted to try point out there are other more down to earth possibilities about why the tomb might have been empty, if it even was.”Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?”Maybe they just threw him in a hole somewhere and the burial site was eventually lost. Or more probably, the Christian movement was relatively small during the life time of the people involved and no body really took notice.Because if the participants in that discussion accepted the fact that the message of resurection started to spread immediately after his crusifiction they would have to answer the following questions: Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen? Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?

    The problem is that the disciples did not believe in resurection because the tomb was empty but because they saw Him alive. So missing body is not an explanation.

    They could not have decided to tell the lie about resurection because they believed they would have an eternal life for this reason. At that time the idea of Messiah was a political leader who would set them free from Romans. When Jeusu died they knew he was the false Messiah, hanging on the cross was the sign of God punishmnet so he was cursed by God too. They knew he could not fulfill his promise about giving an eternal life as he did not manage to save himslef.
    Something happened that changed them – they started to preach resurection and even persecution did not stop them.



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  • 48
    Robert Kubik says:

    Some of you wrote a comment that I point out at evidence form 19th century. In the previous disucussion I wrote that recently a tomb was discovered in Jerusalem that archaeologists dated back to the period of time before Jerusalem was destroyed. And drawing and inscription in the tomb proved that there were people in Jerusalem who believed that Jesus had risen from death. It was at the short time after crussifiction.
    I am not going to copy and paste my comment because moderators will have reason to disable my account but it was here http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias#.UP7sWyc8DTo#comment-box-74

    How is it possible that there were people in Jerusalem who believed in resurection? They could have verified a lot of things.



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  • 49
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #51 by Robert Kubik:

    It has become increasingly obvious that you believe “evidence”, is picking and choosing whatever you want to believe, so you have been surfing the websites of the ignorant and dishonest, telling you what you like to hear, rather than looking for verified information from reputable academic sources.
    (In case you do not know, THERE ARE NO REPUTABLE scientific journals publishing studies supporting ID. That is because there ARE NO reputable or competent studies supporting ID).

    but it was here http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias#.UP7sWyc8DTo#comment-box-74

    You keep quoting this discussion (where you produced no credible arguments and ignored the evidence you were given), as if your unevidenced assertions had proved some point, where in fact they were simply demolished.
    Those rosy “faith spectacles” really can produce tunnel vision, with imaginary images painted on the wall at the distant end of the tunnel!



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  • 50
    Zeuglodon says:

    Before we continue, I’m going to have to contest your attempts to put the bible on an equivalent historical footing with Herodotus, Taticus, and other Roman writings, because not only were the Romans avid bureaucrats and historians (and therefore would have recorded something about Jesus if he had really existed or done the things attributed to him), but contesting that the bible is an accurate report of history is simply inane given its content and masses of errors, contradictions, and absurdities.

    In reply to #50 by Robert Kubik:

    The problem is that the disciples did not believe in resurection because the tomb was empty but because they saw Him alive. So missing body is not an explanation.

    They could not have decided to tell the lie about resurection because they believed they would have an eternal life for this reason. At that time the idea of Messiah was a political leader who would set them free from Romans. When Jeusu died they knew he was the false Messiah, hanging on the cross was the sign of God punishmnet so he was cursed by God too. They knew he could not fulfill his promise about giving an eternal life as he did not manage to save himslef.
    Something happened that changed them – they started to preach resurection and even persecution did not stop them.

    You are making the rather generous assumption that the events of the gospels are accurate recordings of history. You also forget what the point of lying is: to dupe other people into believing something in order to fulfil one’s ulterior motive, be it political and/or personal. You seem to be struggling to convince yourself that it wasn’t a lie, or at least an untruth, by assuming that the writers of the gospels were telling the truth and then quoting what they reported to support your case. This is a circular argument, and you have yet to provide any justification for treating the gospels as accurate historical records as opposed to made-up stories or fabrications around a real but non-supernatural event.

    Also, the subsequent spreading of Christianity is really no different from the subsequent spreading of all the other religions. Religions which, I might note, you yourself aren’t posting apologetics for. People don’t spread religious messages solely because they believe it’s true. There’s usually a heavily moralistic or emotional component to it, which in itself can motivate the known phenomenon of “Lying for Jesus” (or Muhammed or Moses or any other religious figure you care to name). Creationism is one such example.

    Consider the following:

    Endings of the four canonical gospels

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/28.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mk/16.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lk/24.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jn/20.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jn/21.html

    Scientific and Historical Inaccuracies in the four canonical gospels

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/scilist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mk/scilist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lk/scilist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jn/scilist.html

    Contradictions in the four canonical gospels

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/contralist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mk/contralist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lk/contralist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jn/contralist.html

    Absurdities in the four canonical gospels

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/abslist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mk/abslist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lk/abslist.html

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jn/abslist.html

    The four gospels contradict themselves and each other on various details – both historical and religious – seem able to report speech verbatim despite the long gap between event and writing it down (can you remember the words of conversations from thirty years ago?), make lots of scientific errors that are easier to explain as the result of the ignorance of the times, and appear to have a moralistic motive for “spreading the word” and using the story to justify the behaviour of subsequent proselytizing.

    Also, it took about a quarter of a millennium before Christianity gained any political clout with Constantine, which isn’t exactly instantaneous or special. Mormons have gained mainstream respectability in only two centuries, and the Golden Age of Islam began only a hundred and fifty years after the alleged events of Muhammed. Christianity was a sect of Judaism for most of its beginning, and the canonization of four gospels out of several weren’t done until centuries after the event.

    There are also no records of Jesus, of the miraculous events he did, or even of his influence on Roman politics and criminal records during his lifetime. There’s even doubt over whether Nazareth was even around back then! The first mention we get of him and of his miracles is in Matthews, which was the earliest of the four gospels. The other three have been dated to between 30 and 60 years after the events were alleged to take place.

    It certainly doesn’t help that, in the two millennia that have passed since, the texts have been reinterpreted, rewritten, translated, and modified by countless biased individuals with political and religious axes to grind, and the gospels sit comfortably along with the qu’ran, the book of mormon, the mahabharata, Beowulf, the Iliad, the Oddysee, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Old Testament works as just another written document with a spurious historical relevance and a lot of unbelievable and mutually (sometimes internally) contradictory elements. In crime scene investigation, the former is tampering with evidence. The latter is grounds for not taking the bible seriously as an authority on historical accuracy.

    I dare say more learned commenters like JHJ and Ignorant Amos could provide more specific details, as they have done in past threads on this site. Most of my own discoveries were on account of their providing the details. However, the conclusion one comes to is that the bible, and (more specifically for our purposes here) the gospels, are both poor evidence that cannot be used to justify one’s convictions.



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  • 51
    Ryan1306 says:

    I think Zeuglodon covered it pretty well in comment 53. There’s no way to know if his disciples saw him after he died. The gospels are not first hand accounts and the idea that Jesus was seen by his disciples after his death could just be a legend, plain and simple.

    In reply to #50 by Robert Kubik:

    The problem is that the disciples did not believe in resurection because the tomb was empty but because they saw Him alive. So missing body is not an explanation.

    They could not have decided to tell the lie about resurection because they believed they would have an eternal life for this reason. At that time the idea of Messiah was a political leader who would set them free from Romans. When Jeusu died they knew he was the false Messiah, hanging on the cross was the sign of God punishmnet so he was cursed by God too. They knew he could not fulfill his promise about giving an eternal life as he did not manage to save himslef.
    Something happened that changed them – they started to preach resurection and even persecution did not stop them.



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  • 52
    Robert Kubik says:

    Zeuglodon, rrh1306 You have written quite a lot even about the things that were not about the topic.

    Yes, you were right that Romans kept records but it happened 2000 years ago and vast majority of documents got lost or were destroyed in time. They crusified hundreds of people in Judea and we do not know names any of them except Jesus, because during the time the documents were destroyed. But we have some reliable records about Jesus from Roman historians -Tacitus, Suetonius etc.

    rrh1306 wrote it was a legend. If it had been the legend it would have been the unique example in history of legend that appeared immediately after the crussifiction.

    You wrote that gospels are not reliable. I agree that historians do not agree about the time when exactly they were written. That is why I focused on Paul`s letters.

    All historians agrre that the author was Paul and they were written about 20 years after crusifiction. You must understand that the main way to spread ideas was not writting but oral teaching. Paul wrote the letters just to remind the gospel that they had heard before. So we are sure, that apostles started preaching message of risen Jesus a couple years before Paul wrote his letters.

    Paul wrote in the 1st Corinthian: „1.Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also“ (New international version) And not just in this text but in many letters he reminds that he is preaching the same gospel that he received from the disciples of Jesus.

    To conclude it: Historians agree that followers of Jesus appeared immediately after crusifiction.

    And it is clear what they preached. The message was that Jesus rose from death and eye witnesses saw him.



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  • 53
    Ryan1306 says:

    @Robert

    “rrh1306 wrote it was a legend. If it had been the legend it would have been the unique example in history of legend that appeared immediately after the crussifiction.

    You wrote that gospels are not reliable. I agree that historians do not agree about the time when exactly they were written. That is why I focused on Paul`s letters.

    All historians agrre that the author was Paul and they were written about 20 years after crusifiction. You must understand that the main way to spread ideas was not writting but oral teaching. Paul wrote the letters just to remind the gospel that they had heard before. So we are sure, that apostles started preaching message of risen Jesus a couple years before Paul wrote his letters.”

    That’s close to twenty years for the legend to take shape. That’s hardly immediately. And Paul was not a eyewitness either. He was simply relaying oral stories he had heard (which are highly malleable) or even possibly embellishing them. Stretching the truth a little bit in order to save people’s souls is one of Christianity’s old traditions.

    “To conclude it: Historians agree that followers of Jesus appeared immediately after crusifiction.”

    He had followers before his death.

    “And it is clear what they preached. The message was that Jesus rose from death and eye witnesses saw him.”

    It’s not clear at all what they preached. And even if they did preached that eye witnesses saw him it doesn’t mean that they did. I think it’s all so important to point out that many of the visions that people in the Bible had were in dreams. I don’t think that it’s implausible that following Jesus’s death that some of his devout followers had powerful dreams about him (which is a common phenomenon) that they could have interrupted as evidence of him surviving death.



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  • 54
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #55 by Robert Kubik:

    To conclude it: Historians agree that followers of Jesus appeared immediately after crusifiction.

    And it is clear what they preached. The message was that Jesus rose from death and eye witnesses saw him.

    Hi Robert.

    I note your spelling of crucifixion – thought you’d get that right since it’s central to your specific ‘goddidit’ story, although the ‘…..fiction’ ending is rather Freudian. 😎

    You have been patiently answered with facts and links by some very knowledgeable commentators – on several different Threads – which you are avoiding since they interfere with your intractable beliefs.

    You keep writing assertions, so rational folk do tend to focus on just the first 3 letters….

    Enough wasted time, back to re-re-reading ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ …. Mac.



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  • 55
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #56 by rrh1306:

    rrh1306

    1.I did not write that Gospels are not reliable. I wrote that historians do not agree who the authors were and when exactly they were written (they just agrree they were written between 20-40 years after the event). And we have comments in the 3 more or less independent sources from the 2nd century who were the authors – Mark, Luke Mathew, John

    2.You said it is not cleared what they preached. How do you find out what they preached if not from the early written works -letters, gospels etc. ? Perhaps you can suggest a different method how to find out what they preached. And if you read Paul`s letters the emphasis is that he is preaching the same gospel as he received from apostles who saw Jesus risen. In verse 3 ho wrote: “For what I received I passed on to you”

    3.Dreams or halucination is not an explanation as people do not share the same dreams. They all saw the same thing – risen Jesus. Moreover if they had had a dream of risen Jesus the tomb would not heve been empty and Roman and Jewis authorities would show the dead body in order to stop preaching about Jesus.



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  • 56
    Alan4discussion says:

    @Robert Kubik —
    1.I did not write that Gospels are not reliable. I wrote that historians do not agree who the authors were and when exactly they were written.

    Which brings us back to the definition of a “historian”.

    Once you are prepared to accept people who have no evidence, making up history – as “historians”, which you did on the “Greenleaf ” comment linked below – any confused nonsense or wishful thinking becomes “history” in your mind.

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/1/17/non-believer-to-beliver#comment-box-42

    There is history based on scientific evidence and verified contemporary documents, which has reputable academic credibility and degrees of probability, and then there are the wild tales, legends and fiction which only the gullible accept as “evidence”.

    As on other threads, you have just ignored links to reputable academic studies, and carried on with your personal incredulity and wishful thinking, – with a bit of help from some comically incompetent circular arguments and fallacies, from fundamentalist internet sites.



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  • 57
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #55 by Robert Kubik:

    Zeuglodon, rrh1306 You have written quite a lot even about the things that were not about the topic.

    Robert, you’re claiming the Bible as the source of your claims that the Bible is true. I’ve pointed out why this is problematic if you want to prove that there was a man called Jesus who apparently came back from the dead (among other things). You can’t just dismiss this as “not about the topic” when it suits you, because the points apply whether you quote Corinthians or the gospels. In any case, the gospels are the only biographic sources of the incident you claim happened.

    Yes, you were right that Romans kept records but it happened 2000 years ago and vast majority of documents got lost or were destroyed in time. They crusified hundreds of people in Judea and we do not know names any of them except Jesus, because during the time the documents were destroyed.

    In the absence of independent records for the crucifixion, you don’t get to posit that they existed but then were destroyed. That’s useless to support your case, the equivalent of saying the dog ate your homework.

    But we have some reliable records about Jesus from Roman historians -Tacitus, Suetonius etc.

    That is incorrect. Those aren’t records, but are hearsay mentions of “Christus”, the origin of the word “Christians”. Tacitus, who was writing in the second century, was describing the unrest caused by the Christians. Nothing he wrote suggests that he was personally familiar with the individual, nor that any of the supernatural elements of the story (such as the resurrection) were true:

    Tacitus, writing c. 116, included in his Annals a mention of Christianity and “Christus”, viewed by most scholars as a reference to Jesus. In describing Nero’s persecution of this group following the Great Fire of Rome c. 64, he wrote, “Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome.”[148] There have been suggestions that this was a Christian interpolation but most scholars conclude that the passage was written by Tacitus.

    As for Suetonius, who was writing decades after the first gospel was written, also wrote about the disruptions caused by Christians. Again, nothing supernatural is indicated, and there’s no evidence that Suetonius saw the alleged central figure of Christianity (which would have been impossible anyway, as Suetonius was born at least three decades after the alleged crucifixion):

    Suetonius (c. 69–140) wrote in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars about riots which broke out in the Jewish community in Rome under the emperor Claudius. He said, “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [ Claudius ] expelled them [the Jews] from Rome”.[152] The event was noted in Acts 18:2.

    See here for sources. My point is not that the Christians didn’t exist, or that people didn’t believe Christ existed. My point is that this no more proves that Christ was a real person, and it certainly does not prove any of the supernatural elements of his story, any more than the spread of Mormonism (and proselytizing of Mormons) proves that Joseph Smith’s golden tablets were real.

    Incidentally, for someone who came back from the dead, it seems strangely suspicious that Jesus then vanished, just like the golden tablets, where no one could see the evidence. Doesn’t this bother you?

    rrh1306 wrote it was a legend. If it had been the legend it would have been the unique example in history of legend that appeared immediately after the crussifiction.

    This sentence makes no sense. Firstly, “immediately” is about three decades, or two if you insist. But even if it was nine years, that’s not immediate however you splice it. It’s like writing about 9/11 in 2010, and this is a generous estimate. The earliest gospels themselves are like writing about 9/11 in 2031. If you think god was trying to convey a message to the world that would shake its foundations, you’d think he’d do better than appear to an obscure number of people who wouldn’t begin immortalizing it in paper until long enough after the event for witnesses to begin dying.

    Joseph Smith and Hubbard got a faster following with their nonsense, with the added curiosity that the spread can be confirmed to happen during their lifetimes. You’re also assuming, again, that the story is true. You can’t simply assume that it is and then cite hearsay as your defence, as Paul was no more a witness to the events than the writers of the gospels.

    You wrote that gospels are not reliable. I agree that historians do not agree about the time when exactly they were written.

    Do you agree that the gospels are unreliable, then? You’re conspicuously not saying that. And historians do agree that the gospels date to between 60 and 90 A.D., while dating Jesus’ death to around 36 A.D. But even if you err on the side of generosity and allow the earliest text to be nine years after the event (Galatians, according to Wikipedia), this doesn’t remove the fact that it’s a second hand account of a supernatural resurrection story (and ancient mythologies like the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian ones have plenty of those) which, if true, would have had a greater impact on the Roman world than it actually did. Instead, it’s restricted to a subsect of Judaism and given only brief mentions by people decades after the fact who were reporting on that same subsect’s activities. There’s no historical or archaeological evidence to vindicate the aspects of the story that contradict basic (and vindicated) science, and the few biographic texts that exist (i.e. the gospels) were written decades after the event by non-witnesses and frequently contradict themselves and each other, as my previous links would show.

    That is why I focused on Paul`s letters.

    You never mentioned them once in your previous comments. Paul simply assumes the story is true and goes on with proselytizing. No actual details are given until the gospels, and no document during the time of Jesus records anything he did, or even shows he existed. All the documentation is retrospective, and again you can’t cite hearsay as evidence that these fantastic events actually happened.

    All historians agrre that the author was Paul and they were written about 20 years after crusifiction. You must understand that the main way to spread ideas was not writting but oral teaching.

    Which not only leaves no trace, but allows plenty of distortion, invention, and “improvement” by interested individuals. Think chinese whispers over twenty years. And again, how does this prove that the event actually happened as opposed to being invented?

    Paul wrote the letters just to remind the gospel that they had heard before. So we are sure, that apostles started preaching message of risen Jesus a couple years before Paul wrote his letters.

    You are sure of nothing. You assume that this is the case, and that Paul is not making stuff up. I’ll allow it for now, as this is not a grave problem in historical documentation, but again, nothing here proves that what Paul was talking about actually happened. He’s not a witness recounting real events. He’s simply a fellow gossiper who either picked up the story or (possibly) made it up himself.

    Paul wrote in the 1st Corinthian: „1.Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also“ (New international version) And not just in this text but in many letters he reminds that he is preaching the same gospel that he received from the disciples of Jesus.

    Whose independent existence has not been verified. Said account has not been verified. And you can’t cite the Bible’s claims to prove that the Bible was speaking the truth. You need external sources to back up each of the claims made in the story, and compare its depiction of science and history with the better-supported account of either we have now. You can’t simply assume the Bible’s contents are true. What is so difficult about this basic point that you don’t grasp it?

    To conclude it: Historians agree that followers of Jesus appeared immediately after crusifiction.

    You keep using that word “immediately”, which is suspicious. The earliest possible mention is Galatians, nine years after this supposedly monumental event. However you splice it, it seems a strangely long delay for what is essentially the miracle of the century. And this is being generous: most of the material about him only really arose about three decades after the event.

    In addition, you’d think that the resurrection of a man would get wider mention than among those few who use it to preach to others, especially decades after the event and with no walking, talking Jesus around. You’d also think the Romans would actually mention it during his lifetime, too, instead of decades after the people who believe the story first began writing about it and stirring up political trouble.

    And it is clear what they preached. The message was that Jesus rose from death and eye witnesses saw him.

    None of the eye-witnesses are writing it themselves. Again, it’s hearsay used to preach to others, like virtually every other religion and cult you care to name.

    As the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you want to believe that a preacher (whose witnesses are either all dead or non-existent, and none of whom actually wrote down the account themselves) rose from the dead, in blatant contradiction of everyday observation and the facts of biology, and take as very likely to be true the second-hand accounts of preachers who use the story to get people to behave in certain “moralistic” ways, and furthermore ignore the disconnect between this in-group’s history and the history of everybody else alive at the time, then you are entitled to do so. What you cannot do is use the accounts to prove their own accounts are true, and then claim that this is a good reason to believe those things.



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  • 58
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #58 by Robert Kubik:

    I think the double standard in your comments overall can be summed up thus:

    You don’t believe cells evolved. This is despite the fact that evolution is one of the best supported theories in science, despite the fact that self-assembly, routine chemical synthesis, presence of basic chemical and elemental ingredients in nature, and vast expanses of time as proved by earth science and studies of the solar system’s bodies are the hallmark of the process (and all well-supported or proven facts or logical implications of the facts of science), and despite the fact that your dismissal is based on your own lack of imagination, intuitive disbelief, and failure to grasp the principle of incremental improvement over rivals as opposed to perfection first time.

    However, you do believe a human being you’ve never met rose from the dead because some old texts, written several years if not decades after the event, use a story about a man (who believes in the demonic-possession theory of disease and in the weirder stories and laws of the Old Testament) in order to preach to others what they should and shouldn’t do.

    To keep this on topic, as we’re deviating a little from the OP: This is an example of why I think converts from atheism/non-religion to theism/religion never have good fact-based reasons for converting so. So far, the only ones I’ve heard of or met have always had flawed arguments to justify the move, and this I think has to do with non-epistemic reasons for believing, such as an irrational gut feeling akin to using arachnophobia as a basis for believing or behaving as if all spiders are dangerous.

    Or else they have a personal, emotional, and/or moral investment in certain claims being true, for instance by linking “should” statements or the very concept of ethics with the existence of god, and using this assumed connection to suggest that, without god, ethics would not exist or make sense. This is usually in any attempt to make a syllogism like the following:

    If p, then q.

    p.

    Therefore q.

    If morality exists, then god exists.

    Morality exists.

    Therefore god exists.

    OR:

    If god exists, morality exists.

    God doesn’t exist.

    Therefore, morality doesn’t exist.

    This doesn’t work, because it doesn’t prove that any of the premises are true (it just assumes they are), and the second one is a logical fallacy because “god, therefore morality” doesn’t mean “x, therefore morality” (where x is anything else) is therefore false.

    Basically, yes, I’ve known about converts. That this means they have good reasons for converting, I very much doubt, and what I’ve found so far hasn’t convinced me.



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  • 59
    Robert Kubik says:

    I am not going to respond to ad hominem attacks by Allan4discussion or by Zeuglodon, but just to reasonable comments:

    Zeuglodon,

    you are right that first Christians scriptures were written 10 years after the event. It seems to be quite a long time but it was still during the life of the generation who saw Jesus. Comparing to other ancient events it is an inceridibly short time.

    The first biographies of Alexander the Great were written 300 years after his death. The first biography of Mohamed was written 120 years after his death. The first stories about Budha were written 500 years after his death etc.

    You are right that I can not write an argumentation in the circle pointing just at biblical records. So I want to mention the book of Acts. The writer was very accurate in geographical details, titles of Romas officials, political events – all of them can be verified in non-biblical sources. So if he was accurate in thinks you can check he was probably accurate in other things – records of preaching of the apostles. And you can read over and over again that the central message was the risen Jesus.

    I did not write that Jesus must have risen from death because the Bible says so. I just wrote that first christians believed in resurection and preached resurection of Jesus. The fact they prechaed it it does not necessarily mean he really rose.

    So you were wrong that it is not certain what message they preached. We know from the Acts, Gospels, Paul`s letters that their message was: Jeusu rose physically from death, they saw him, touched Him, ate with Him, listened to him.

    But I believe in resurection not because the Bible say so but becuse they were willing to die for it. I know there are millions of people willing to lie. I know that there are a lot of people who live in a delusion and are willing to die for something really stupid, but this was a different situation.
    They had no profit from telling a lie. They were cruely persecuted for preaching that Jesus had risen and majority of them were killed for their faith. So it is unlikely that they wanted to lie. Because nobody will die for something that he knows it is not true.
    So perhaps they really believed that Jesus had risen. Otherwise they would not have bear persecution.
    But what if they lived in a delusion?
    Most of the people start believing in delusion because someone persuades them. A manipulative leader just keep saying something until people believe him. But this was different. They had an experience of Jesus.They were not told that Jesus had risen. They saw him. It could not have been a hallucination because people do not share the same hallucination. It is not posiible that five hundred people shared the same hallucination of risen Jesus. And if they had had the same hallucination the grave could not have been empty.
    The only reasonable interpretation of this events is that Jesus really rose from death. Do you have any other interpretation.



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  • 60
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #62 by Robert Kubik:

    I am not going to respond to ad hominem attacks by Allan4discussion or by Zeuglodon, but just to reasonable comments:

    Oh dear! Criticism of flawed thinking and failure to answer evidenced points becomes, “personal attacks”, on those unable or unwilling to give reasoned answers in response to requests for evidence!

    No reasoned or evidenced answers to the many points raised?? – and no understanding of Ad hominem ,- now added to your list of fallacious claims!

    I have met the “theistic reasoning” before, in which “reasonable answers”, are defined as the ones theists like to hear – rather than having any resemblance to logic! I think the process comes from the “cherry-pickers hand-book of circular arguments”, or some such!

    All you have trotted out, is the fallacious circular argument: “The bible is true, because the bible says it is true, because the bible says it is true”, and you believe it, because you really, really, really, want to believe it is true. – regardless of what researched history says, what information simply does not exist, or what actual records, or scientific laws, conflict with the self-contradictory mythology!

    I should point out that preaching and trolling are not allowed on this site. Reasoned, properly researched answers are expected.



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  • 61
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #62 by Robert Kubik:

    I am not going to respond to ad hominem attacks by Allan4discussion or by Zeuglodon, but just to reasonable comments:

    I challenge you to point out one ad hominem attack I have posted (Alan can answer his own charge). Remember, the qualifications of an ad hominem are that:

    1. It should highlight an aspect of the character or of the past actions of the opponent, when these are irrelevant to the argument he or she makes (e.g. he is a Christian, therefore ignore his argument).

    2. They should suggest that someone’s lack of qualifications, or some bad action he made, either score against the logic of their argument or outright prove the falsity of his or her case.

    3. The trait should not logically impinge the soundness of that person’s testimony or indicate a lack of relevant expertise for the subject under discussion.

    Insults, disrespectful language, or speech that makes you feel pressured and under attack do not constitute an ad hominem, and given that I don’t recall using your position or character flaws (imagined or not) against you, but rather addressed the logic you use in your arguments wherever possible, I suspect you don’t know what the term actually means, and ask that you either justify your accusation or apologize. I don’t appreciate being falsely accused.

    Zeuglodon,

    you are right that first Christians scriptures were written 10 years after the event. It seems to be quite a long time but it was still during the life of the generation who saw Jesus. Comparing to other ancient events it is an inceridibly short time.

    Granted, but this comparatively short chapter of the New Testament still doesn’t count as direct evidence for the story it alludes to being true, the details of which aren’t recorded until much later (and when that’s done, they’re written in at least four contradictory ways).

    The first biographies of Alexander the Great were written 300 years after his death. The first biography of Mohamed was written 120 years after his death. The first stories about Budha were written 500 years after his death etc.

    Do you have credible sources for these claims? I have not encountered them before. In any case, the point isn’t that the biographic accounts are late as compared with others – which in any case overlooks the fact that I’ve already addressed this by mentioning Hubbard and Joseph Smith. The point is that they are late enough for their contents to have been distorted, which is especially suspicious given the supposed significance of the events. Note that I’m referring specifically to biographic accounts like those in the gospels (and therefore to actual attempts at historic accounts), not to any old reference to the story like the one in Corinthians or Galatians.

    You are right that I can not write an argumentation in the circle pointing just at biblical records. So I want to mention the book of Acts.

    Which is also part of the biblical record, being a book of the bible.

    The writer was very accurate in geographical details,

    This is a minimal requirement, the point being that not being accurate with them would reduce the credibility of the author. Also, why “very accurate” as opposed to “got them generally right”? I wasn’t aware of any astonishing specificity in their descriptions of geography.

    titles of Romas officials, political events – all of them can be verified in non-biblical sources.

    Would you be so kind as to indicate which sources, and where exactly in Acts these things are mentioned? Also, see above on geography.

    So if he was accurate in thinks you can check he was probably accurate in other things – records of preaching of the apostles.

    Probably, but not necessarily. The fact that the writers don’t fluff the names of Roman emperors doesn’t mean they aren’t inventing stuff when it comes to people speaking in tongues suddenly and suchlike. The fact that J.K. Rowling knew where Charing Cross and Surrey were doesn’t mean Harry Potter exists too. Especially when they start making claims about angels, the End of the World, demonic possession, and apparently notifying everyone in Asia about it within two years (which is odd, considering China makes no mention of it).

    And you can read over and over again that the central message was the risen Jesus.

    So you were wrong that it is not certain what message they preached.

    At what point did I dispute the notion that “the central message was the risen Jesus”? I’ve been discussing why you can’t assume the testimony of the Bible is accurate, not trying to prove that they weren’t talking about the resurrection. I think you’re confused.

    I did not write that Jesus must have risen from death because the Bible says so. I just wrote that first christians believed in resurection and preached resurection of Jesus. The fact they prechaed it it does not necessarily mean he really rose.

    Yet, you obtain this information about the existence of christians who believed in the resurrection from the Bible. So your subsequent point – that it must have happened because it’s unlikely that so many witnesses could be duped – rests on the premise that those 500 people existed and actually saw it. I’m not disputing the existence of early Christians who believed in it. I’m disputing the notion that you can prove people witnessed it, as opposed to made it up or were mistaken or didn’t exist in the first place, by referring to the bible, which is precisely what your argument rests on.

    We know from the Acts, Gospels, Paul`s letters that their message was: Jeusu rose physically from death, they saw him, touched Him, ate with Him, listened to him.

    They report that a man called Jesus did those things, and they report that there were witnesses to the event. They do not actually prove that those witnesses existed, and there’s no evidence that any of the authors were themselves witnesses, much less that the unrealistic events depicted actually occurred.

    But I believe in resurection not because the Bible say so but becuse they were willing to die for it.

    This is not a reason to believe anything. The fact that someone is prepared to die for a truth claim does not make that statement actually true. After all, martyrs for religious messages (and gruesome acts committed by the religious in general) can be found in Judaism, Islam, and all kinds of religious backgrounds, and that’s because they set great intuitive and moral store on those stories. We even have the reason handed to us on a platter in the New Testament: the authors use the story to pontificate to others and claim divine authority and personal expertise as they do so. It’s also perfectly reconcilable with modern psychological discoveries and our knowledge of human nature, such as the behaviour of religious and superstitious people, cognitive dissonance and self-serving biases, lying for ulterior gain, manipulation of others, moralizing attitudes and behaviours, and self-deception.

    I know there are millions of people willing to lie. I know that there are a lot of people who live in a delusion and are willing to die for something really stupid,

    Glad you understand that. However, the next part of your comment suggests you’re using special pleading by suggesting this is an exception, and then citing an explanation that doesn’t actually justify treating it as an exception (because you miss some obvious and relevant points).

    but this was a different situation. They had no profit from telling a lie. They were cruely persecuted for preaching that Jesus had risen and majority of them were killed for their faith. So it is unlikely that they wanted to lie. Because nobody will die for something that he knows it is not true.

    You are being disingenuous here. The lie is told by others to people who gullibly believe it, who then spread the word in turn to other gullible people, and in the ancient world of myths and superstition, there were no shortages of them. And people do not die for the truth or falsity of a belief, but for its ethical and emotional implications that give them a worldview that, say, makes suffering in this life preferable to the everlasting torment in the next one, or promises them a divine reward or recognition if they prove themselves willing to go through suffering for it. Suffering or sacrificing oneself for a god was considered noble, not just in the Old Testament’s days but in cultures like the Incas where they sacrificed people to the sun gods.

    We’ve always had people willing to put themselves on the line for a cause, and they need not be above martyrdom, terrorism, civil disobedience, or any other extreme behaviour. Plus, punishments back then were cruel as a matter of course, and it’s only with hindsight that we consider them with extra horror (and are incredulous that people would go through with them). Framing it as though they were being killed for timidly putting forward a historical scrap or a scientific hypothesis, especially given the highly moralistic and preachy nature of the New Testament books, is dishonest.

    So perhaps they really believed that Jesus had risen. Otherwise they would not have bear persecution.
    But what if they lived in a delusion?
    Most of the people start believing in delusion because someone persuades them. A manipulative leader just keep saying something until people believe him. But this was different. They had an experience of Jesus.They were not told that Jesus had risen. They saw him.

    None of those writing the books “saw him”. They report different numbers of people who saw him, and the gospels themselves are inconsistent over what happened at the alleged event. In any case, you are taking the bible’s improbable story at face value still, without independent proof that it occurred.

    It could not have been a hallucination because people do not share the same hallucination. It is not posiible that five hundred people shared the same hallucination of risen Jesus.

    I’m not suggesting it’s a hallucination. There are many alternative explanations that are more reasonable. For instance, that there was an ordinary but real preacher who was crucified for preaching, and his followers were so attached to him that “sightings” of him occurred or someone made up a story about meeting him to impress or exploit them, which snowballed into lots of devoted followers for the cause. There are no shortage of gullible but idealistic people even in this age of recording technology and wider cosmopolitan knowledge of the world, so why should it be any different in an age of superstition?

    In any case, if you’re going to argue over what’s not possible, I have to wonder how possible you think it is that a dead corpse came back to life after three days. Your scales for weighing the two possibilities seems skewed, considering more people have been duped than have risen from the dead, and there’s no evidence, proof, or convincing argument for accepting the bible’s theistic and supernatural claims either.

    And if they had had the same hallucination the grave could not have been empty.

    This is a terrible argument. Jesus’ grave (assuming it’s his) is empty, therefore he rose from the dead and people didn’t hallucinate or imagine or invent it. In any case, how can you be sure the cave was empty? It happened two thousand years ago, if it happened at all, and I’m not aware that anyone has conclusively established its location, much less proved that the events actually happened there.

    The only reasonable interpretation of this events is that Jesus really rose from death. Do you have any other interpretation.

    Of course. Jesus, whether a preacher of that name existed or not, did not do the impossible and rise from the dead, but whether through overzealous followers, lies, deceptions, or some combination of fabrication and exaggeration, someone or some people came up with and convinced others to believe in a story about a moralistic man coming back from the dead and doing all sorts of unrealistic things, believing it because they were gullible, disenfranchised and vulnerable, moralistic, determined to prove themselves, emotionally manipulated – all sorts of things typical of human nature – or any combination of the previous.

    I’ve explained my reasoning above. However, for a moment, I would like you to consider your own position.

    I’ve already caught you trying to pass off Tacitus and Suetonious’ mentions as evidence for a resurrection event being true, I notice you’re avoiding the questions of why Jesus conveniently vanished or why a god would make an important appearance in such a low-key and evidence-diminishing manner to a small audience (if you assume the story is true), you haven’t provided accounts from during Jesus’ lifetime of his existence, and I notice that you focus on the dating of the second-hand texts and don’t address the elephant in the room: that the events are more improbable than the notion that someone somewhere invented them for whatever reason.

    You switch texts whenever one comes under fire (invoking Corinthians after I’ve discussed the gospels, then invoking the Acts after I’ve addressed both Corinthians and Galatians) without addressing my criticisms of using the texts in the first place given their second-hand nature, and you are claiming to believe in extraordinary claims without invoking any appropriate evidence beyond a fallible and suspect testimony.

    You explicitly endorse a non-epistemic and obviously fallacious justification for believing in something (because you can’t believe people would die for it if it wasn’t true, ergo it’s true), accuse others of ad hominems, and are invoking double standards by using the improbability of multiple people being duped as a reason to believe in an even more improbable (if not impossible) story of a corpse coming back to life.

    Your reasoning for not believing that it was an untrue account or a lie – one believed and spread by people – is disingenuous, suggesting either a lack of appreciation of the point or an unwillingness to engage with it, and this suggests to me that you are not being impartial. I won’t claim to know why – whether it’s an over-reliance on intuition or a personal stake in vindicating the story – but I stand by what I said about convert’s reasons not being convincing as a result.

    In your next comment, I would appreciate it if you would address the points about the improbability of the claims in the story, the scarcity of supporting documentation during Jesus’ lifetime, the bizarreness of why a god trying to deliver a message would do it so poorly, and the fallacies and curiosities of your logic in believing such an account, as you so far have not been addressing these adequately.

    Also, to pre-empt the likely accusation, this is not an ad hominem. These are my conclusions after dealing with the form and content of your arguments, not my justifications for dismissing them. I hope you may understand how you are coming across and adjust your response accordingly, as I confess to feeling dissatisfied with your comments so far.



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  • 62
    Alan4discussion says:

    @Zeuglodon

    @64 – There are many alternative explanations that are more reasonable. For instance, that there was an ordinary but real preacher who was crucified for preaching, and his followers were so attached to him that “sightings” of him occurred or someone made up a story about meeting him to impress or exploit them, which snowballed into lots of devoted followers for the cause. There are no shortage of gullible but idealistic people even in this age of recording technology and wider cosmopolitan knowledge of the world, so why should it be any different in an age of superstition?

    Indeed! – Elvis has now been seen leaving the building on many occasions, so must have risen from the dead !!!! ???

    The first biographies of Alexander the Great were written 300 years after his death.

    Do you have credible sources for these claims? I have not encountered them before. In any case, the point isn’t that the biographic accounts are late as compared with others – which in any case overlooks the fact that I’ve already addressed this by mentioning Hubbard and Joseph Smith.

    There was a comparison of the “evidence” for Alexander v resurrection on the link from the word “evidence” @63 – which lead to a definition and details on an earlier discussion.



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  • 63
    Robert Kubik says:

    Zeuglodon,

    You asked my about the book of Acts. The author traveled with Paul, he describes the period of the history of about 30 years, lot of geographical localities and he was accurate.If you want the examples, you can google the following: archaeology proved that Luke in the Acts was accurate.
    So he probably was an eyewitness of the events.

    You also asked how possible is that corpse come back to the life. I have told it before that it is absolutely impossible unless it was done by supernatural God. Extraordinary claiming require extraordinary evidence. Why should I believe Jesus that he can give an eternal life to his followers if he had not been able to do something extraordinary that nobody can do?

    About the ad hominem. I apologize. Perhaps your strange stupid philosophical speculation about morality and God was not ad hominem but the purpose was to show that Christians do not have the common sense. It is typical for Allan4discussion that he keeps telling that there are no reputable scientists or historians who believe in God. The purpose is to make an impression that only stupid and uneducated people believe in God. That is exactly what Dawkins does. He told that the man who was in charge of the human genom project is not a clever man (I do not remember the exact words].
    My father told me that during the socialism they were indoctrinated that only stupid and uneducated believe in God and unfortunately it worked. I have talked to a man who is who teaches at the university and he told me that he does believe in God and even in the resurection but he do not want to destroy his reputation of being non – educated so he does not admit it publicly. He also said that a lot of scientists are Christians secretly, because of the atheistic campaign against believers.



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  • 64
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #65 by Alan4discussion:

    The first biographies of Alexander the Great were written 300 years after his death.

    Do you have credible sources for these claims? I have not encountered them before. In any case, the point isn’t that the biographic accounts are late as compared with others – which in any case overlooks the fact that I’ve already addressed this by mentioning Hubbard and Joseph Smith.

    There was a comparison of the “evidence” for Alexander v resurrection on the link from the word “evidence” @63 – which lead to a definition and details on an earlier discussion.

    Thanks, Alan. This is fascinating stuff. I hadn’t studied the time of Alexander the Great, and so I hadn’t realized his influence had been so far-reaching. Please excuse my ignorance. 🙂

    In reply to #66 by Robert Kubik:

    Zeuglodon,

    You asked my about the book of Acts. The author traveled with Paul, he describes the period of the history of about 30 years, lot of geographical localities and he was accurate.If you want the examples, you can google the following: archaeology proved that Luke in the Acts was accurate.

    I took the liberty of checking it on this Wikipedia article: Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles. It seems to be consistent in this department, so I concede that.

    So he probably was an eyewitness of the events.

    If you mean an eyewitness of the historically consistent events, then I concede it’s possible. If you mean an eyewitness to the more outlandish and contradictory parts (the speaking in tongues business, informing all of Asia within two years despite there being no record in China, the Gospel of Luke being contentious with its claims, its depiction of Paul differing from Paul’s own account in his letters etc.), then no. I already told you: simply being consistent with geography and history does not mean that the author is to be believed when he goes on about the supernatural elements, as I pointed out by comparison with Harry Potter.

    You also asked how possible is that corpse come back to the life. I have told it before that it is absolutely impossible

    Your comment really should have stopped there.

    unless it was done by supernatural God.

    Which you have no evidence, proof, or sound argument for. You can’t change the rules when it suits you.

    Extraordinary claiming require extraordinary evidence.

    Which means that if you want to posit the existence of a god, you’re going to have to provide that evidence, because if true, it would require an overhaul of our current, carefully worked out and better-supported understanding of the universe through science, reason, and everyday observation.

    Why should I believe Jesus that he can give an eternal life to his followers if he had not been able to do something extraordinary that nobody can do?

    Indeed, why should you believe that Jesus did anything extraordinary at all? Why believe any of the unrealistic events depicted in the bible, period? That’s the question you have to answer, not me. The burden of proof rests with you if you want to advocate this view.

    About the ad hominem. I apologize.

    Apology accepted. ^_^

    Perhaps your strange stupid philosophical speculation about morality and God was not ad hominem but the purpose was to show that Christians do not have the common sense.

    My purpose was to cite an example of the sort of arguments I have come across from people trying to convince me that god is true, and why I’m consistently dissatisfied with them. My speculation, the tenets of which I took from my understanding of the human psyche from psychology, social sciences, evolutionary biology, and everyday observation and logic, was largely about how to account for this fact. Indeed, it is so far the one post of mine most relevant to the OP, which requests information on the factors that could lead from atheism to religion.

    I assure you that it was not to show that christians or any other religious people are stupid or lack common sense, and I in turn apologize for the clumsiness of the message if I conveyed it that way. Christians are not the only people who make mistakes or commit fallacies, and possibly everyone has some view or idea they hold which is poorly justified. There are many christians far more intelligent and sensible than I am, just as there are far more intelligent and sensible people than I am, period. It’s just when it comes to one particular matter, I think they are wrong, it shows in the justifications they advance, and I need to account for this, which means stepping outside of the debate and thinking psychologically for a moment. No insult or offence was intended by this move.

    It is typical for Allan4discussion that he keeps telling that there are no reputable scientists or historians who believe in God. The purpose is to make an impression that only stupid and uneducated people believe in God. That is exactly what Dawkins does. He told that the man who was in charge of the human genom project is not a clever man (I do not remember the exact words].

    Well, I can’t account for Alan’s behaviour (personally, I think he gets far too carried away with emotion in many of his posts), but I think you’re mistaken about Dawkins. There are uneducated christians (whose behaviour and arguments might be described as “stupid” given their quality) who try to impede his subject matter using political muscle, and this has been a consistent problem in American biological education (and recently in British education too). However, his stance, insofar as I can make out, is that religious people aren’t stupid or uneducated people, but simply mistaken or wrong when it comes specifically to religious or superstitious claims. Often, they are simply ignorant of the full issues, or don’t realize the errors they’re making.

    My father told me that during the socialism they were indoctrinated that only stupid and uneducated believe in God and unfortunately it worked.

    Socialists are not representative of all atheists or non-religious people, and even if it was true that atheists all thought religious people were stupid and uneducated (which is a pretty big accusation based on what, exactly?), are you suggesting with that guilt by association argument that atheists will go the same way as the big social regimes of communism in the twentieth century? If so, then that accusation is even worse than the ad hominem one, and you’d have to apologize to every atheist and non-religious person who didn’t fit that description – which is probably the majority of them.

    I have talked to a man who is who teaches at the university and he told me that he does believe in God and even in the resurection but he do not want to destroy his reputation of being non – educated so he does not admit it publicly.

    Firstly, this is assuming he’s telling the truth and not living under a misapprehension. There’s a difference between being suppressed by atheists and simply keeping your religious views out of your science work (which is the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy everybody practices around religion anyway).

    Secondly, Francis Collins is as big a counterexample as I can find, and he’s merely unpopular with atheist critics. He’s the head of a pretty big BioLogos and a government consultant. The only reason his reputation is criticized is because he lets his religion interfere with his science. Yet, the worst he’s ever had is verbal criticism from a public minority who are avowed atheists. If anyone feels oppressed by that, they must have incredibly thin skin.

    Thirdly, based on the publicly available statistics of all major science committees, the majority of them contain a majority of atheistic members, despite the fact that the situation is reversed among the public. You’d think it was more likely the opposite would be true – that atheists are pressured into keeping silent to prevent their views from receiving some public backlash, similar to the one politicians would risk if they didn’t suggest that they were religious to keep the public vote. Indeed, a lot of agnostic or vague scientists seem to veer close to atheism without realizing it, based on their writings (I believe Ursula Goodenough was the example Dawkins used in his collection of essays – see below).

    Fourthly, this is precisely the sort of “conspiracy” claim that conveniently allows one to ignore the publicly available data and statistics (i.e. those people who claim to be atheists are really christians, and I know because one person told me so), which suggests someone feels pretty threatened by atheists, even though atheists are still a minority and less vocal than organized religions. The last time I encountered a claim like that, it was in a pretty poor creationist propaganda piece which turned out to be one of the most biased and dishonest documentaries on the market (Dawkins recounts his experience with them in A Devil’s Chaplain, in section 2). In the face of such a zealous smear campaign, one has to wonder which foot the boot is really on.

    He also said that a lot of scientists are Christians secretly, because of the atheistic campaign against believers.

    Which doesn’t make a blind bit of sense. The majority of the US public is christian, the political tendency is for politicians to avow their christian influences, and atheists are persecuted far more than christians are, meaning that by numbers alone the christian side has the advantage. Even if you argue that they’re suppressing it within an international science committee, this fails to take into account that the more respectable view is accommodationistic agnosticism, that scientists are supposed to keep their religious views out of their work, not out of their lives, and that there are publicly avowed christian scientists who have nothing to fear from atheists apart from verbal and written articles criticizing them. Under the current zeitgeist, religion is still respectable.

    Enough with the woolly accusations. You have yet to explain why a very powerful god trying to deliver an important message would do it so poorly that the evidence for it ended up being scanty, assuming for a moment that the story was true.

    I would also appreciate it if you addressed the point that there isn’t any documentation of Jesus or by Jesus or the witnesses during his lifetime, and addressed my criticism of your logic for believing the story rather than doubting it, given that some of the fallacies in your argument have already been exposed.

    You did at least address the point about the improbability of resurrection, but not in a way I’m satisfied with because you’re now introducing more improbabilities to account for it which themselves need addressing.

    I would appreciate it if your next response were focused on these four issues, as they strike me as the most significant ones.



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  • 65
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #66 by Robert Kubik:

    It is typical for Allan4discussion that he keeps telling that there are no reputable scientists or historians who believe in God.

    Perhaps you would quote where this was said, as I am unaware of making any such claims.

    I said there were no reputable scientists of historians claiming the bible was an accurate history book, and on another thread, that no reputable or competent scientists claimed that Pasteur refuted abiogeneisis. There are certainly no reputable competent scientists who believe in a “Young Earth”!

    The purpose is to make an impression that only stupid and uneducated people believe in God. That is exactly what Dawkins does. He told that the man who was in charge of the human genome project is not a clever man (I do not remember the exact words].

    You just jump to Non sequitur made up claims, based on mis-reading information, or your own confirmation biases and wishful thinking.

    My father told me that during the socialism they were indoctrinated that only stupid and uneducated believe in God and unfortunately it worked.

    That is hardly surprising in a Communist ideology, but does not mean that many were not stupid or uneducated.

    I have talked to a man who is who teaches at the university and he told me that he does believe in God and even in the resurection but he do not want to destroy his reputation of being non – educated so he does not admit it publicly.

    So you quote someone else who has told you what you like to hear and choose to believe!

    He also said that a lot of scientists are Christians secretly, because of the atheistic campaign against believers.

    You seem to be confusing Christianity in general with fundamentalist pseudo-science.

    The campaign is by scientists against the false and dishonest claims of pseudo-science – often circulated by those whose reasoning skills have been theistically disabled.

    Perhaps you should READ the links which have been provided.

    Many Christians, and especially those who are also scientists, say ID is rubbish!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic-Church-andevolution

    The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. In fact, the International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger, then president of the Commission and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now Pope Benedict XVI, includes this paragraph:

    According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.

    In addition, while he was the Vatican’s chief astronomer, Fr. George Coyne, issued a statement on 18 November 2005 saying that “Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be.



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  • 66
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #67 by Zeuglodon:

    You asked: “I would also appreciate it if you addressed the point that there isn’t any documentation of Jesus or by Jesus or the witnesses during his lifetime”

    There are no left. Just from the period after his life during the life of eyewitnesses.



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  • 67
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #69 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #67 by Zeuglodon:

    You asked: “I would also appreciate it if you addressed the point that there isn’t any documentation of Jesus or by Jesus or the witnesses during his lifetime”

    There are no left. Just from the period after his life during the life of eyewitnesses.

    So there’s no documentation during his lifetime to confirm the details in the rest of the New Testament, I take it. I see. Very well, then, that’s a fair enough conclusion to that point. And I’ve already spoken about the eyewitnesses, so I won’t repeat myself here.

    Now, would you be so kind as to address the remaining three points I brought to your attention from Comment 67? I think that they would be most conductive to the discussion, especially the last two.

    You have yet to explain why a very powerful god trying to deliver an important message would do it so poorly that the evidence for it ended up being scanty, assuming for a moment that the story was true.

    I would also appreciate it if you… addressed my criticism of your logic for believing the story rather than doubting it, given that some of the fallacies in your argument have already been exposed.

    You did at least address the point about the improbability of resurrection, but not in a way I’m satisfied with because you’re now introducing more improbabilities to account for it which themselves need addressing.



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  • 68
    Ryan1306 says:
    1. That’s your words from comment 55. That’s why the quotation marks are there. Sorry if it was confusing.

    2. It’s impossible to know what they preached in the first days after Jesus’s death, that’s the point. I gave you scenarios in which his followers could have thought he was resurrected without it actually happening and without them seeing him. Your retort was no, the reason people believed was that they had actually seen him in the flesh after he had died. That’s what the Bible says. Mine is once again that the Bible is not a eye witness account, nor is Paul’s letter’s. It is possible that his group believed he had been resurrected without actually seeing him alive and that the story of him being seen alive by disciples could have came into being years after. Maybe five years or ten years after. Maybe six months after. It’s a good story, people like it (like you), so it becomes part of the Gospel. Imagine one of the disciples preaching to a new potential convert. The person asks the disciple “I’ve heard Jesus was seen by some of his disciples after he died, is that really true?” Is it really so hard to believe that the disciple might say yes and bend the truth a little bit to convert more people, make the world a better place, and save more precious souls. Pretty soon they find it’s such a powerful recruiting tool that it becomes a central part of their pitch.

    3
    . I didn’t say that 50 people all had they same dream. What I was proposing was that one or two prominent disciples could have had powerful dreams about Jesus which they saw as evidence of his divine nature. Someone moves Jesus’s body and over the few days after Peter and Matthew have dreams about Jesus that they tell to the rest of the group which really impresses them. They loved Jesus and thought the world of him, they really want to believe. Maybe heaven still does wait for them if they’ll just have faith……

    And a far as the body I all ready answered that question. A disciple could have moved it to keep the religion going so of course he won’t show it to anyone. The Romans and Jews could have moved it and lost it. Or moved it and seen no need to show it to anyone because the Christian movement wouldn’t have warranted much attention in the ten to twenty years they had left of there lives.

    I’m not sure if any of those things actually happened but I am sure that their does exist other possible explanations for Jesus’s following besides magic.

    In reply to #58 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #56 by rrh1306:

    rrh1306

    1.I did not write that Gospels are not reliable. I wrote that historians do not agree who the authors were and when exactly they were written (they just agrree they were written between 20-40 years after the event). And we have comments in the 3 more or less independent sources from the 2nd century who were the authors – Mark, Luke Mathew, John

    2.You said it is not cleared what they preached. How do you find out what they preached if not from the early written works -letters, gospels etc. ? Perhaps you can suggest a different method how to find out what they preached. And if you read Paul`s letters the emphasis is that he is preaching the same gospel as he received from apostles who saw Jesus risen. In verse 3 ho wrote: “For what I received I passed on to you”

    3.Dreams or halucination is not an explanation as people do not share the same dreams. They all saw the same thing – risen Jesus. Moreover if they had had a dream of risen Jesus the tomb would not heve been empty and Roman and Jewis authorities would show the dead body in order to stop preaching about Jesus.



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  • 69
    Robert Kubik says:

    In reply to #70 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #69 by Robert Kubik:In reply to #67 by Zeuglodon:You asked: “I would also appreciate it if you addressed the point that there isn’t any documentation of Jesus or by Jesus or the witnesses during his lifetime”There are no left. Just from the period after his life during the life of eyewitnesses.So there’s no documentation during his lifetime to confirm the details in the rest of the New Testament, I take it. I see. Very well, then, that’s a fair enough conclusion to that point. And I’ve already spoken about the eyewitnesses, so I won’t repeat myself here.Now, would you be so kind as to address the remaining three points I brought to your attention from Comment 67? I think that they would be most conductive to the discussion, especially the last two.You have yet to explain why a very powerful god trying to deliver an important message would do it so poorly that the evidence for it ended up being scanty, assuming for a moment that the story was true.I would also appreciate it if you… addressed my criticism of your logic for believing the story rather than doubting it, given that some of the fallacies in your argument have already been exposed.You did at least address the point about the improbability of resurrection, but not in a way I’m satisfied with because you’re now introducing more improbabilities to account for it which themselves need addressing.

    You think that God passed the message in the poorly way. I do not think so, because it worked. After Jesus had been crucified, his desciples ran away, so it seemed to be that in a few generations the message about Jeus would be lost forever. But it did not happen. Thirty years after resurection there were thousands of Christians in the empire and even the emperor knew them.

    Why do I believe in resurection? Because when I put all the evidence together no other explanation could explain the event that happened on the Easter Sunday morning better than resurection.

    Just to make a short list of evidence:
    1. The message started to spread in Jerusalem so the tomb must have been empty and the Jewis or Roman authorities had no evidence where the body got lost.
    2. The desciples really believed they SAW Jesus risen. Otherwise they would not suffer persecution.



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  • 70
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #72 by Robert Kubik:

    Why do I believe in resurection? Because when I put all the evidence together no other explanation could explain the event that happened on the Easter Sunday morning better than resurection.

    You really are going to have to do some serious work on grasping the meaning of the term “evidence”, having agreed that there are NO contemporary records of claimed events.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evidence

    evidence [ˈɛvɪdəns]

    1. ground for belief or disbelief; data on which to base proof or to establish truth or falsehood
    2. a mark or sign that makes evident; indication his pallor was evidence of ill health
    3. (Law) Law matter produced before a court of law in an attempt to prove or disprove a point in issue, such as the statements of witnesses, documents, material objects, etc.

    RK @72 – Just to make a short list of evidence:

    1. The message started to spread in Jerusalem so the tomb must have been empty and the Jewis or Roman authorities had no evidence where the body got lost.

    2. The desciples really believed they SAW Jesus risen. Otherwise they would not suffer persecution.

    This is NOT evidence. It is personal wishful thinking, which no amount of wanting to believe is going to turn into evidence. You choose to believe this, – apparently be being unable to think of ANY of the thousands of other possible explanations for these stories.



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  • 71
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #72 by Robert Kubik:

    You think that God passed the message in the poorly way. I do not think so, because it worked. After Jesus had been crucified, his desciples ran away, so it seemed to be that in a few generations the message about Jeus would be lost forever. But it did not happen. Thirty years after resurection there were thousands of Christians in the empire and even the emperor knew them.

    Meanwhile, there were millions of people across the planet who never heard of it, not so much as a confirmatory peep has been heard from this god since, and this was supposedly the best way a universe-creating god could communicate with people. Not to mention that the way the religion has spread does not vindicate the truthfulness of the story in the least, especially given the fact that their arguments for its validity are so poor.

    Robert, we’re talking about the most powerful being in existence, for crying out loud. You seriously think he had no better way of communicating with humans than by appearing to a few hundred people in one time at one place, leaving no trace of his presence except for a few superstition-laden writings and the word of a bunch of preachers who use the story to dictate people’s behaviour? Not to mention the thousands of years before then when he could have appeared and didn’t, and the centuries since. Are you the sort of person who has ever fallen for a con before?

    This is assuming that the proselytizing was as widespread as you claim, and it’s not like the bible was exactly consistent with numbers. I think the Roman historians would have commented sooner and given them more attention if there had been anything as dramatic as you imply. Instead, we get a few mentions of Christians in the second century, and no political foothold until the fourth. Even today, Christianity is so divided that it can’t even agree on any one interpretation of the events. I don’t know about you, but colour me unimpressed.

    Also, you’re using an argumentum ad populum in implying that thousands of people believed it, so it must be true. Come on, Robert, who are you trying to fool? Even you can see that this is a desperate argument.

    Why do I believe in resurection? Because when I put all the evidence together no other explanation could explain the event that happened on the Easter Sunday morning better than resurection.

    To make that claim, you’re still taking the bible at face value (i.e. being gullible), still ignoring my explanations about the bible’s reliability (the bible is where you’re getting this from), and still making claims you can’t justify (your evidence has been… what the bible says). Robert, at least be honest; you don’t care about arguments and explanations any more, you want this resurrection story to be true because you can’t or won’t accept the idea that so many people could be mistaken.

    Just to make a short list of evidence:
    1. The message started to spread in Jerusalem

    People were spreading the story by the time of Galatians, but the evidence suggests the story comes from nowhere. You yourself admitted as such when you revealed that no documentation exists during Jesus’ lifetime to confirm the events, and given that thousands of people apparently followed him around according to the gospels, you have to wonder why the historians don’t comment about it until the second century.

    so the tomb must have been empty

    You assume it existed. And you got that assumption from the gospels, which also talk of angels and demons being the cause of disease. You’re falling right into the trap I’ve been warning you about since we started discussing this point; you’re taking the bible’s improbable claims at face value, and confusing the spread of the story with proof that it really happened.

    and the Jewis or Roman authorities had no evidence where the body got lost.

    You have no evidence that it ever existed, apart from a preachy set of letters and stories which frankly don’t stand out above fairy tales, fables, myths, heroic legends, epics about men and gods, and other religious excuses to pontificate. You can’t even justify its supernatural elements and failures of basic biology, which you are conspicuously evading.

    1. The desciples really believed they SAW Jesus risen. Otherwise they would not suffer persecution.

    Yet, all the books of the New Testament were written by people who had heard the story indirectly, not by witnesses of any of the events. They believed in the story, but they also believed in demons and other unrealistic things, and none of this shows that the story is true. I’ve already elaborated why people gladly suffer for a cause, and certainly such people would have to believe in the story behind the cause to go through with it, but for the umpteenth time, this doesn’t prove that the story is true.

    Robert, I’m getting impatient with your evasiveness and weak argumentation. If you’ve been saving up a humdinger of an argument, I want to see it in your next post, because every argument you’ve put forwards has either assumed the truth of the claims you’re trying to prove (that Jesus existed, and that he did all those unrealistic things, that the bible is telling the truth, etc.) – which is useless when it’s those claims that are being contested – or relied on invalid structure (the argumentum ad populum, personal incredulity, etc.).

    You can return to the point about god’s means of getting the message across if you wish, but this point was based on the generous assumption that the story was true. The real meat of the issue is your justification for believing the improbable events occurred – and therefore your proving the truthfulness of the demonic-possession theory of disease and suchlike – not in proving that lots of people believed and spread the story. The other real meat is your accounting for why the testimony in the bible should be given more credit than its second-hand reporting and notable pontificating ordinarily would – i.e. more credit than, say, the Book of Mormon, the Qu’ran, the Old Testament, the Mahabharata, Greek myth, Roman myth, Egyptian myth, Native American myth, Inca myth, Aboriginal myth, Japanese myth, and so on.



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  • 73
    Robert Kubik says:

    Zeuglodon,

    1. No, facts I mentioned are not based just on NT records but at non biblical sources too. Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus Flavius, Talmud etc.

    That is why most historians agree on these points.

    1. Jesus was crucified and died.

    2. His followers did not dissapeared after his death but started to spread.

    But besides Testimonium Flavium which might be an interpolation we do not know what exactly they preached. But we know what they preached from early christians books. The book af Acts that has been proved accurate in many derails contains preaching of desciples and they keep saying: “We are all eyewitnesses of his resurection.”



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  • 74
    Robert Kubik says:

    Zeuglodon

    1. I do not believe in resurection because I want to but because I evaluated all the plaussible explanations and they do not hold the water.

    Here are some of them: 1. Jesus did not die just lost consciousness. Everyone educated in medicine will tell you it is impossible to survive crucifiction or pretend death on the cross.
    2. Wrong tomb. Someone from Romas or Jews must have known where the tomb or corpse was. Anyway desciples faith was not based on empty tomb but on seeing Jesus alive.
    3. Did the desciples agree on preaching a lie or did they have a hallucination? I have already mentioned it

    You accused me of willing to believe in resurection. But do you have ANY reasonable explanation of what happened to the desciples?



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  • 75
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #77 by Robert Kubik:

    I do not believe in resurection because I want to but because I evaluated all the plaussible explanations and they do not hold the water.

    ..Ah! – Evaluated as viewed by the Trooooo believer, through the filter spectacles of “faith” !

    You accused me of willing to believe in resurection. But do you have ANY reasonable explanation of what happened to the desciples?

    You seem unable to recognise the range of thousands of possibilities, but just keep repeating made-up assertions with special pleadings, fallacies, and appeals to false “authority”, while ignoring evidenced refutations of your claims, and requests for explanations of HOW these events were supposed to be possible!

    You still have not provided the requested definition of the properties of the “god” you keep mentioning.

    What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

    Got evidence????



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  • 76
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #76 by Robert Kubik:

    Zeuglodon,

    No, facts I mentioned are not based just on NT records but at non biblical sources too. Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus Flavius, Talmud etc.

    I’ve already dealt with Tacitus and Suetonius, who certainly aren’t witnesses to the events and weren’t even born when they happened. Josephus hits the same problem, since he wasn’t even born until 37AD, and didn’t write until after the first gospel was written. The only text that unambiguously refers to Jesus is largely agreed by scholars to be an interpolation by Eusebius in the fourth century, who not coincidentally was a Christian apologist. As for the Talmud, the earliest extant copy is dated to medieval times. The Mishnah was a collection of oral traditions, which come under the problem of distortion I’ve already pointed out to you, and weren’t written until 200AD. Moreover, it’s disputed how reliable they are.

    The Babylonian Talmud in a few cases includes possible references to Jesus using the terms “Yeshu,” “Yeshu ha-Notzri,” “ben Satda,” and “ben Pandera”. Some of these references probably date back to the Tannaitic period (70–200 AD).[47][45] In some cases, it is not clear if the references are to Jesus, or other people, and scholars continue to debate their historical value, and exactly which references, if any, may be to Jesus.[46][179][180]

    The problem is pretty apparent to the best passage available:

    It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu and the crier went forth for forty days beforehand declaring that “[Yeshu] is going to be stoned for practicing witchcraft, for enticing and leading Israel astray. Anyone who knows something to clear him should come forth and exonerate him.” But no one had anything exonerating for him and they hung him on the eve of Passover.[183]

    This is before we get to the glaring fact that these “prove” only that people believed Jesus existed, and that he was crucified, and that a lot of followers resulted. I must have missed the part where that proves he healed people by spitting on them, came back from the dead, and climbed a mountain that enabled him to see the entire world at the devil’s prompting.

    That is why most historians agree on these points.

    Jesus was crucified and died.

    His followers did not dissapeared after his death but started to spread.

    But besides Testimonium Flavium which might be an interpolation we do not know what exactly they preached. But we know what they preached from early christians books.

    Robert, are you being obtuse on purpose? You don’t need proof that Jesus was crucified and died, nor that Christianity spread afterwards. You’re not trying to prove those two premises; you’re trying to prove that the resurrection happened. You need proof that the resurrection occurred, not that Jesus existed. The latter is the first step towards the former, not the clincher. You have not yet provided the clincher.

    The book af Acts that has been proved accurate in many derails contains preaching of desciples and they keep saying: “We are all eyewitnesses of his resurection.”

    Chapter and verse, please, and no ambiguous “interpretations”. Not that this lifts the burden off of you to deal with my next point. I dare say Joseph Smith claimed emphatically that he was a witness to the events of the Book of Mormon, but that’s no excuse to believe it.

    In reply to #77 by Robert Kubik:

    Zeuglodon

    I do not believe in resurection because I want to but because I evaluated all the plaussible explanations and they do not hold the water.

    I don’t think you have evaluated anything that contradicts what you insist on believing. I’ve already presented a few far more plausible counters – that Jesus was a myth invented by someone who then duped others, that Jesus was a real person but all his miracles were made up by others, etc. – and you keep ignoring them. Your own reasons for coming to the conclusion “resurrection really happened” haven’t held any water at all.

    Here are some of them: 1. Jesus did not die just lost consciousness. Everyone educated in medicine will tell you it is impossible to survive crucifiction or pretend death on the cross.

    Everyone educated in medicine will tell you that it’s impossible to come back from the dead, that diseases aren’t caused by demonic possession, and that people lie, exaggerate, fall for illusions, and make mistakes all the time. If you insist on holding that standard, you can’t apply it selectively.

    1. Wrong tomb. Someone from Romas or Jews must have known where the tomb or corpse was. Anyway desciples faith was not based on empty tomb but on seeing Jesus alive.

    Prove that Jesus came back from the dead without referring to the testimony of the gospels, the acts, or any other religious text. You can’t do it. And yet, yet, yet again, you keep assuming the story as told in the gospels and referred to in the acts is true (that there was a tomb of that description) before using that to prove that there was a tomb of that description, and then dismiss a strawman argument that there was a “wrong tomb”. You can’t do that. It’s a circular argument and blatant strawmanning.

    1. Did the desciples agree on preaching a lie or did they have a hallucination? I have already mentioned it

    Yes, you have, and your objection largely amounted to “Who would die for a lie? I don’t believe it. Therefore, resurrection”. Yet, when I explained how the notion of it simply not being true, if not an outright lie spread among gullible people, makes more sense, you simply ignored it.

    You accused me of willing to believe in resurection. But do you have ANY reasonable explanation of what happened to the desciples?

    Yeesh, read about half my comments. I’ve presented plenty and even had the decency to elaborate on the reasoning.

    And two can play at this “reasonable explanation” game. You think Jesus came back from the dead. Without serving me irrelevant nonsense about brief or doctored references to Jesus in historical texts written by people who never even met him, without endlessly parroting that disciples’ letters prove it when they can’t even talk about Jesus without using it to pontificate on how we mortals should behave, and without confusing the spread of Christianity with evidence that the story was true, prove to me that a god exists, demons exist, angels exist, human parthenogenesis is possible, “healing hands” exist, three-day-old corpses coming back to life are possible, and that any of these things happened two thousand years ago.

    I’ll be impressed if you manage it, but I’m not holding my breath.



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  • 77
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #42 by Robert Kubik:

    In which he emphatically stated:
    “it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . .”
    (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).

    Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!
    And not only that, Dr. Greenleaf was so convinced by the overwhelming evidence, he committed his life to Jesus Christ!

    Greenleaf’s problem was his starting premise. No self respecting historian or critical bible scholar accepts that the gospels were written by Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. The anonymous authority of the gospels makes the content hearsy at the very best. You do know hearsay isn’t evidence don’t you? Why not read some modern scholarship and stop relying on antiquated 19th century stuff.

    Chapter Four

    When I arrived at seminary I was fully armed and ready for the onslaught on my faith by liberal biblical scholars who were going to insist on such crazy ideas. Having been trained in conservative circles, I knew that these views were standard fare at places like Princeton Theological Seminary. But what did they know? Bunch of liberals.

    What came as a shock to me over time was just how little actual evidence there is for the traditional ascriptions of authorship that I had always taken for granted, and how much real evidence there was that many of these ascriptions are wrong. It turned out the liberals actually had something to say and had evidence to back it up; they weren’t simply involved in destructive wishful thinking. There were some books, such as the Gospels, that had been written anonymously, only later to be ascribed to certain authors who probably did not write them (apostles and friends of the apostles). Other books were written by authors who flat out claimed to be someone they weren’t.

    In this chapter I’d like to explain what that evidence is.

    Who Wrote The Gospels?

    Though it is evidently not the sort of thing pastors normally tell their congregations, for over a century there has been a broad consensus among scholars that many of the books of the New Testament were not written by the people whose names are attached to them. So if that is the case, who did write them?

    Preliminary Observations: The Gospels as Eyewitness Accounts

    As we have just seen, the Gospels are filled with discrepancies large and small. Why are there so many differences among the four Gospels? These books are called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John because they were traditionally thought to have been written by Matthew, a disciple who was a tax collector; John, the “Beloved Disciple” mentioned in the Fourth Gospel; Mark, the secretary of the disciple Peter; and Luke, the traveling companion of Paul. These traditions can be traced back to about a century after the books were written.

    But if Matthew and John were both written by earthly disciples of Jesus, why are they so very different, on all sorts of levels? Why do they contain so many contradictions? Why do they have such fundamentally different views of who Jesus was? In Matthew, Jesus comes into being when he is conceived, or born, of a virgin; in John, Jesus is the incarnate Word of God who was with God in the beginning and through whom the universe was made. In Matthew, there is not a word about Jesus being God; in John, that’s precisely who he is. In Matthew, Jesus teaches about the coming kingdom of God and almost never about himself (and never that he is divine); in John, Jesus teaches almost exclusively about himself, especially his divinity. In Matthew, Jesus refuses to perform miracles in order to prove his identity; in John, that is practically the only reason he does miracles.

    Did two of the earthly followers of Jesus really have such radically different understandings of who he was? It is possible. Two people who served in the administration of George W. Bush may well have radically different views about him (although I doubt anyone would call him divine). This raises an important methodological point that I want to stress before discussing the evidence for the authorship of the Gospels.

    Why did the tradition eventually arise that these books were written by apostles and companions of the apostles? In part it was in order to assure readers that they were written by eyewitnesses and companions of eyewitnesses. An eyewitness could be trusted to relate the truth of what actually happened in Jesus’ life. But the reality is that eyewitnesses cannot be trusted to give historically accurate accounts. They never could be trusted and can’t be trusted still. If eyewitnesses always gave historically accurate accounts, we would have no need for law courts. If we needed to find out what actually happened when a crime was committed, we could just ask someone. Real-life legal cases require multiple eyewitnesses, because eyewitnesses’ testimonies differ. If two eyewitnesses in a court of law were to differ as much as Matthew and John, imagine how hard it would be to reach a judgment.

    A further reality is that all the Gospels were written anonymously, and none of the writers claims to be an eyewitness. Names are attached to the titles of the Gospels (“the Gospel according to Matthew”), but these titles are later additions to the Gospels, provided by editors and scribes to inform readers who the editors thought were the authorities behind the different versions. That the titles are not original to the Gospels themselves should be clear upon some simple reflection. Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote it. Authors never title their books “according to.”

    Moreover, Matthew’s Gospel is written completely in the third person, about what “they” — Jesus and the disciples — were doing, never about what “we” — Jesus and the rest of us — were doing. Even when this Gospel narrates the event of Matthew being called to become a disciple, it talks about “him,” not about “me.” Read the account for yourself (Matthew 9:9). There’s not a thing in it that would make you suspect the author is talking about himself.

    With John it is even more clear. At the end of the Gospel the author says of the “Beloved Disciple”: “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24). Note how the author differentiates between his source of information, “the disciple who testifies,” and himself: “we know that his testimony is true.” He/we: this author is not the disciple. He claims to have gotten some of his information from the disciple.

    As for the other Gospels, Mark was said to be not a disciple but a companion of Peter, and Luke was a companion of Paul, who also was not a disciple. Even if they had been disciples, it would not guarantee the objectivity or truthfulness of their stories. But in fact none of the writers was an eyewitness, and none of them claims to be.

    Who, then, wrote these books?

    Chapter Four, “Jesus, Interrupted” by Bart D. Ehrman.

    Try expanding your reading there Robert…BTW, have ya read “The God Delusion” yet?



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  • 78
    Alan4discussion says:

    Ignorant Amos

    Greenleaf’s problem was his starting premise.

    That – and posing as an “expert” on Middle East history and archaeology, having lived in 1800s Bible-Belt America when rapid communications and historical reference materials, were almost non-existent!

    @RK – (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).

    … and the handicap of being a lawyer and a judge, who clearly did not know hearsay from testimony or evidence! Maybe his juries, clients, and political masters didn’t know either!

    Don’t creationists love to play the false badge of “authority” stuck on to utter nonsense!

    I’m sure Slartibartfast testified that the Earth was created! He even had an award to prove it! It was written in the book!



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  • 79
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #50 by Robert Kubik:

    The problem is that the disciples did not believe in resurection because the tomb was empty but because they saw Him alive. So missing body is not an explanation.

    Who says the disciples saw Jesus alive? You must also be aware that there is no resurrection narrative in the New Testament…I’m sure you must be,

    They could not have decided to tell the lie about resurection because they believed they would have an eternal life for this reason.

    Your ignorance of the subject is par for the course with visiting apologists. It is patently obvious that Jesus nor any other mythical figure attributed a resurrection yarn rose from the dead, ergo those who say otherwise are making it up for a purpose.

    According to the earliest author on the Jesus character, the apostle Paul, Jesus was to return in his [Paul’s] lifetime… the “Kingdom of God”, or “eternal life” if you like, was to happen in the here and now of first century apocalyptic preaching. The problem arises when the said Jesus’ return doesn’t occur. In Paul’s scribbling there is very little detail on Jesus and there is no need for it either. Paul was selling the idea that Jesus was coming in his time so he had no need for witnesses in support of the resurrection, he would have the man himself.

    So, time passes by for Paul’s Jesus cult and no returning Messiah. The gospel author writing about the cult next was the author of Mark. This was at least 40 years after the events, in other words, a generation. The story needed a bit of embellishment to pass muster, so stuff was added. Then sometime latter, the authors of Mathew and Luke write their yarns and the story gets even more bizarre. The gospel according to John is just ludicrous by the time it appears..

    At that time the idea of Messiah was a political leader who would set them free from Romans.

    You know this how? Bearing in mind the idea of a Messiah in Judaism pre-dates the Roman occupation of the Palestinian Levant. The word means ‘anointed one’, which could apply to a king or a priest. Why would you suppose the idea of a Messiah was a political leader who would set them free from the Romans, this is misguided ignorance. By your assertion, the Jewish priest, Mattathias the Hasmonean, who sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods in 167 BC is more of a Messiah, but not exclusively. Simon Bar-Giora, Elazar Ben-Simon,Yehonatan mi-Gush Halav; Artemion, Lukuas (Andreas), Julian and Pappus; Simon bar Kokhba are all more likely candidates for the title ‘Messiah’ as they were all antagonists in the Jewish/Roman revolts.

    When Jeusu died they knew he was the false Messiah, hanging on the cross was the sign of God punishmnet so he was cursed by God too. They knew he could not fulfill his promise about giving an eternal life as he did not manage to save himslef.

    Do you read the nonsense you write? So many problems. First…

    When Jeusu died they knew he was the false Messiah

    Did anyone consider Jesus as messianic before his death? Who? How do you know this? Remember, according to the book, Jesus doesn’t get anointed until after his death.

    Jesus and Messianic Expectation

    Whether his disciples acknowledged Jesus as Messiah during the period of his public activity is uncertain, and it is even more uncertain whether he believed himself called to this vocation. We take the position here that Jesus did not give his followers any encouragement in what he said or did to acknowledge himself as such a leader. Instead, we propose that there are several reasons why he would have found the messianic title incongruous—it suggested too many things that he was not.

    …hanging on the cross was the sign of God punishmnet so he was cursed by God too.

    How do you work that one out?… given that Jesus was God…if you are drinking the Kool-Aid that is. Why are you making this stuff up. There is no evidence of a crucifixion for starters, only what a storyteller made up and was subsequently copied by later storytellers. But why would hanging on the cross be a sign of God’s punishment? There is very good accounts of Gods punishments in the OT, none involving crucifixion. Why was Jesus/God cursed by himself?

    Something happened that changed them – they started to preach resurection and even persecution did not stop them.

    The Pharisees believed in Resurrection of the Dead, and the Sadducees did not. Guess which group Paul of which Paul was a member? The teachings of Apostle Paul formed a key element of the Christian tradition and theology.

    “The earliest written records of the death and resurrection of Jesus are the letters of Paul, which were written around two decades after the death of Jesus, and show that within this time frame Christians believed that it had happened.”

    Not all early Christians believed in a physical resurrection, the Gnostic’s certainly didn’t. It was a point of great theological debate in the first several centuries of the cult.

    Who started preaching a resurrection and why? You need to get this bit straight in your head.

    The fact is, there is no evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, or anyone else for that matter. If and when science proves it possible, it will no longer be a supernatural explanation and certainly not a sign of divinity.



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  • 80
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #51 by Robert Kubik:

    How is it possible that there were people in Jerusalem who believed in resurection?

    Seriously? Resurrection myth’s were all the rage in antiquity.

    The ultimate triumph of the Pharisaic view of the resurrection is very apparent in the Mishnah where it gives a strong assertion that:

    “he that says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law.. has no share in the world to come” -Sanhedrin 10:1

    Do the research Robert.



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  • 81
    susanlatimer says:

    There you are Amos. 🙂

    The ultimate triumph of the Pharisaic view of the resurrection is very apparent in the Mishnah where it gives a strong assertion that:

    “he that says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law.. has no share in the world to come” -Sanhedrin 10:1

    Do the research Robert.



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  • 82
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #66 by Robert Kubik:

    The author traveled with Paul, he describes the period of the history of about 30 years, lot of geographical localities and he was accurate.If you want the examples, you can google the following: archaeology proved that Luke in the Acts was accurate.

    The problem with this hypothesis is…

    A key contested issue is the historicity of Luke’s depiction of Paul. According to the majority viewpoint, Acts describes Paul differently from how he describes himself, both factually and theologically. Acts seems to differ with Paul’s letters on important issues, such as the Law, Paul’s own apostleship, and his relation to the Jerusalem church. Scholars generally prefer Paul’s account over that in Acts.

    Would you expect a travelling companion to be at such odds?

    BTW, not all 13 Pauline epistles are accepted by the scholarship circles as genuine.

    Seven letters are generally classified as “undisputed”, expressing contemporary scholarly near consensus that they are the work of Paul: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Six additional letters bearing Paul’s name lack academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. The first three, called the “Deutero-Pauline Epistles,” have no consensus on whether or not they are authentic letters of Paul. The latter three, the “Pastoral Epistles”, are widely regarded to be pseudepigraphical works, though certain scholars do consider Paul to be the author.

    Read “Forged” by Bart Ehrman.

    So he probably was an eyewitness of the events.

    Which events?

    You also asked how possible is that corpse come back to the life. I have told it before that it is absolutely impossible unless it was done by supernatural God. Extraordinary claiming require extraordinary evidence. Why should I believe Jesus that he can give an eternal life to his followers if he had not been able to do something extraordinary that nobody can do?

    Strewth!!! This is the circular arguing that has been pointed out to you by others here.

    Christians do not have the common sense.

    Common sense can be over rated. Do you believe that Mohammad rode a winged horse to get the word of Allah from the archangel Gabriel? How can 1.2 billion Muslims be wrong?

    It is typical for Allan4discussion that he keeps telling that there are no reputable scientists or historians who believe in God. The purpose is to make an impression that only stupid and uneducated people believe in God.

    I doubt that is Alan position. Those reputable professionals that believe in woo woo, do so in spite of their academia…it’s called “compartmentalization”. When their woo woo creeps into their scholarship, they cease to be reputable…simples.

    That is exactly what Dawkins does. He told that the man who was in charge of the human genom project is not a clever man (I do not remember the exact words].

    No he didn’t…lying for Jesus is not nice. Perhaps you should go find the exact words.

    My father told me that during the socialism they were indoctrinated that only stupid and uneducated believe in God and unfortunately it worked. I have talked to a man who is who teaches at the university and he told me that he does believe in God and even in the resurection but he do not want to destroy his reputation of being non – educated so he does not admit it publicly. He also said that a lot of scientists are Christians secretly, because of the atheistic campaign against believers.

    Ah anecdote…it’s not convincing. But it is a non sequitur. As I say, compartmentalization



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  • 83
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #58 by Robert Kubik:

    1.I did not write that Gospels are not reliable.

    They are not reliable…that’s a fact. Both Nativity narratives cannot be true because they are totally different. That means at least one is lies.Which one? If one, why not both. If this example of gospel writing is unreliable, how do you know what is reliable and what is not?

    I wrote that historians do not agree who the authors were and when exactly they were written (they just agrree they were written between 20-40 years after the event).

    No they were not. The earliest known writing was not a gospel. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written around 70 AD, probably in Syria. Then Mathew, 80 AD, then Luke a bit later, 90 AD and then John, or should I say John’s, all three of them, at least 100 AD. So 40-70 years after the events. When was the crucifixion?

    And we have comments in the 3 more or less independent sources from the 2nd century who were the authors – Mark, Luke Mathew, John

    WTF?

    2.You said it is not cleared what they preached. How do you find out what they preached if not from the early written works -letters, gospels etc. ? Perhaps you can suggest a different method how to find out what they preached.

    The gospels don’t say what the disciples preached, the say what Jesus preached.

    And if you read Paul`s letters the emphasis is that he is preaching the same gospel as he received from apostles who saw Jesus risen. In verse 3 ho wrote: “For what I received I passed on to you”

    Obviously not. Funny thing about Paul, he writes very little ‘gospel’, no virgin birth, miracle details, etc….would you not think if he knew of such things from chatting to those that knew Jesus, he might have mentioned it? If you know your scripture and NT history and If you believe the nonsense, Pauline Christianity was at odds with other flavor’s of the cults beginning.

    • “Jesuism”, as distinct from “Paulism”, was the gospel taught by Peter, John and James, and the Messianic doctrine of a new Jewish sect.*

    3.Dreams or halucination is not an explanation as people do not share the same dreams. They all saw the same thing – risen Jesus.

    No they didn’t. Someone said that someone said that someone said that some said and so on, for decades possibly, that they witnessed the risen Jesus. Or more than likely, someone made it up. Either way, it is not evidence.

    But please, give me a break with your incredulity. Just look at the **‘Miracle of the Sun at Fatima’.

    Moreover if they had had a dream of risen Jesus the tomb would not heve been empty and Roman and Jewis authorities would show the dead body in order to stop preaching about Jesus.

    Who was preaching about the risen Jesus, to whom and when? You really need to read up on this stuff and realize just how not important in the grand scale of things that the wee Jewish cult of Christianity was in first century Palestine. It was a negligible group of nutcases, like so many others at the same time. Peoples Front of Judea, or Judean Peoples Front?

    So….. someone made it up then…seems more William of Ockham to me.

    Sherlock Holmes is real too.



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  • 85
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #77 by Robert Kubik:

    Here are some of them: 1. Jesus did not die just lost consciousness. Everyone educated in medicine will tell you it is impossible to survive crucifiction or pretend death on the cross.

    Well that is not accurate. Stop making up your own facts.

    Since death does not follow immediately on crucifixion, survival after a short period of crucifixion is possible, as in the case of those who choose each year as a devotional practice to be non-lethally crucified.

    Josephus records such survival.

    Evidence from Josephus has been used to make the survival of Jesus seem less likely (Life of Flavius Josephus § 420-21). Josephus himself witnessed three crucified people taken down, and one survived. However, the passage says nothing about what wounds the victims received before being crucified (they were war captives, after all, not peacefully arrested criminals), nor does it say how long they were up, or how long they lived before finally giving in, only that they died while under the care of a physician. Of course, in antiquity, care by a physician, sometimes employing unsterilized needles and knives for surgery and suturing, and using unscientific folk remedies like hot baths or poisonous hellebore, could sometimes magnify rather than alleviate the chances of death, but more usually medicine at the time was sufficiently advanced for one to be better off with it than without it. At any rate, we are told by Josephus that one out of the three rescued lived. At worst, this calls for changing my estimate of surviving a few hours, after a mere beating beforehand, from 75% to 33%. I think the circumstances are too different (even though there is no doubt that if Jesus lived, he most likely did not live long–how long did Josephus’ friends live?) and the data too limited: his two dying friends could merely have been unlucky, or longing for death from their crushed spirits, or they could have suffered war wounds beforehand, or they could have been up more than a day, etc. But I will grant it anyway, and say the basic odds of survival are 33%.

    You are circular reasoning again anyway. How do you know a guy called Yeshua was crucified? Because the bible says so? And the authors of the NT never lie, right? No, WRONG, the NT is full of lies.

    The bible also says Jesus was put to death for blasphemy. Jesus, as a blasphemer, would be ear-marked for stoning and thus for the Graveyard of the Stoned and Burned according to Jewish law. What do we glean from the story? The earliest Jewish authors of the gospels wanted the blame on the Romans, maybe?

    1. Wrong tomb. Someone from Romas or Jews must have known where the tomb or corpse was. Anyway desciples faith was not based on empty tomb but on seeing Jesus alive.

    Robert, Thomas didn’t even recognise the guy he doubted without seeing the nail holes in his hands. Incidentally, were crucifiction(sic) victims nailed through the hands?

    1. Did the desciples agree on preaching a lie or did they have a hallucination? I have already mentioned it

    I’ve already mentioned it too…lie or hallucination, both are far more reasonable than your supernatural miracle excuse. You don’t even know if the disciples existed or even if they preached anything.

    You accused me of willing to believe in resurection. But do you have ANY reasonable explanation of what happened to the desciples?

    Try employing a bit of David Hume, that great Scottish philosopher, Of Miracles…or even Bayes Theorem would do.

    I’m finding it hard to accept you as little more than a troll here. As for having a science based thought process, nah.



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  • 86
    JHJEFFERY says:

    In reply to #36 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #35 by CdnMacAtheist:

    In reply to #29 by Robert Kubik:

    I’m amazed that you referred to this link – where your assertions are comprehensively dismantled by highly qualified members of this Community – as if that discussion somehow adds to your credibility.

    What do you think of credibility of people who say that Tacitus record of emperor Nero killing Christians is not accurate? Do you know ANY historian who say that Tacitus record was christian interpolation? There are NONE.
    The problem of those people in that discussion is that they do not want to accept the fact that there were thousands of people believing in resurection of Jesus just thirty years after the event so during the life of eye witnesses and even the emperor knew them.

    Because if the participants in that discussion accepted the fact that the message of resurection started to spread immediately after his crusifiction they would have to answer the following questions: Why did the disciples suffer persecution if they knew Jesus had not risen? Why did not Jewis and Roman authorities show the death body to the people of Jerusalem in order to stop this movement?

    Robert,

    You just don’t get it and apparently never will. We all covered the Tacitus record. It is not the authenticity that is suspect, but the underlying information–of which I have told you at least twice. It is extremely unlikely that Peter and Paul were martyred by Nero, but if they were, what of it? Does that mean they might have believed that Jesus have lived? Sure. Does that mean he did? Probably not. Does that mean he rose from the dead as a zombie? Positively not. Ridiculous.

    Yes, the message of the resurrection began to spread shortly after the alleged event, but spreading information in the first century took decades. No one showed the body of Christ after the resurrection for one very simple fact–it never happened. Nor is there any contemporaneous evidence whatsoever that Jesus came back from the dead.

    And now you have set a new record by repeating the same argument on three different threads after admitting it is vacuous. The disciples were not martyred (that’s why they ran), but if they had been, it would have only proved that, like suicide bombers and Kamikazee pilots, they really believed what they were told. Evidence of absolutely nothing.



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  • 87
    JHJEFFERY says:

    In reply to #41 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #40 by CdnMacAtheist:

    If your argumentation is that JHJEFFERY studied history I know some historians who became Christians because of the evidence for the resurection. So it is not the right argumentation.

    So you come right back with the same bogus arguments.

    If you know real historians who became Christians because of the “evidence” for the resurrection–
    NAME THEM or shut up about it.



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  • 88
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #76 by Robert Kubik:

    No, facts I mentioned are not based just on NT records but at non biblical sources too. Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus Flavius, Talmud etc.

    If not irrelevant, have been refuted and debunked.

    That is why most historians agree on these points.

    No it isn’t.

    Jesus was crucified and died.

    Jesus, Greek for Joshua, was a very popular name at the time. The Romans used crucifixion as a means of execution. Executed people usually die. I don’t have to be a historian to state a first century guy called Joshua was crucified and died…and it proves what exactly?

    His followers did not dissapeared after his death but started to spread.

    A small cult based on the alleged sayings of a first century teacher called Joshua started mid 1st century Palestine…and that proves what exactly?

    But besides Testimonium Flavium which might be an interpolation we do not know what exactly they preached. But we know what they preached from early christians books.

    No we don’t. We know what the the group that won the day preached…the rest got consigned to history.

    EARLY CHRISTIAN SECTS

    You really don’t understand this stuff at all do you Robert?

    The book af Acts that has been proved accurate in many derails contains preaching of desciples and they keep saying: “We are all eyewitnesses of his resurection.”

    This is as bad as I’ve seen it here in a long while.

    Stop making stuff up. The book of Acts is authored by the same writer as the gospel of Luke…in other words, we don’t know who. If the Luke contains lies, and we know it does, then Acts can’t be regarded as wholly true either.

    The author of Acts likely relied upon oral tradition [hearsay], as well as other sources, in constructing his account of the early church and Paul’s ministry. Evidence for this is found in the prologue to the Gospel of Luke, wherein the author alludes to his sources by writing, “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down[hearsay] to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” Some scholars theorize that the “we” passages in Acts are just such “handed down” quotations from some earlier source who accompanied Paul on his travels.

    Historians believe that the author of Acts did not have access to a collection of Paul’s letters. One piece of evidence suggesting this is that, although half of Acts centers on Paul, Acts never directly quotes from the Pauline epistles nor does it even mention Paul writing letters. Discrepancies between the Pauline epistles and Acts would further support the conclusion that the author of Acts did not have access to those epistles when composing Acts.

    Other theories about Acts’ sources are more controversial. Some historians believe that Acts borrows phraseology and plot elements from Euripides’ play The Bacchae.[9] and from Virgil’s Aeneid.[10] Some feel that the text of Acts shows evidence of having used the Jewish historian Josephus as a source (in which case it would have to have been written sometime after 94 AD). For example, R. I. Pervo dates Acts to the first quarter of the 2nd century.

    Things They Don’t Tell You About Christianity

    Naive or just gullible? Certainly ignorant that’s for sure. Please read some of the stuff folk here have bothered to provide you with, I implore you. Then refute it if you can with evidence, not wishful thinking.



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  • 89
    JHJEFFERY says:

    In reply to #62 by Robert Kubik:

    I am not going to respond to ad hominem attacks by Allan4discussion or by Zeuglodon, but just to reasonable comments:

    Zeuglodon,

    you are right that first Christians scriptures were written 10 years after the event. It seems to be quite a long time but it was still during the life of the generation who saw Jesus. Comparing to other ancient events it is an inceridibly short time.

    The first biographies of Alexander the Great were written 300 years after his death. The first biography of Mohamed was written 120 years after his death. The first stories about Budha were written 500 years after his death etc.

    You are right that I can not write an argumentation in the circle pointing just at biblical records. So I want to mention the book of Acts. The writer was very accurate in geographical details, titles of Romas officials, political events – all of them can be verified in non-biblical sources. So if he was accurate in thinks you can check he was probably accurate in other things – records of preaching of the apostles. And you can read over and over again that the central message was the risen Jesus.

    I did not write that Jesus must have risen from death because the Bible says so. I just wrote that first christians believed in resurection and preached resurection of Jesus. The fact they prechaed it it does not necessarily mean he really rose.

    So you were wrong that it is not certain what message they preached. We know from the Acts, Gospels, Paul`s letters that their message was: Jeusu rose physically from death, they saw him, touched Him, ate with Him, listened to him.

    But I believe in resurection not because the Bible say so but becuse they were willing to die for it. I know there are millions of people willing to lie. I know that there are a lot of people who live in a delusion and are willing to die for something really stupid, but this was a different situation.
    They had no profit from telling a lie. They were cruely persecuted for preaching that Jesus had risen and majority of them were killed for their faith. So it is unlikely that they wanted to lie. Because nobody will die for something that he knows it is not true.
    So perhaps they really believed that Jesus had risen. Otherwise they would not have bear persecution.
    But what if they lived in a delusion?
    Most of the people start believing in delusion because someone persuades them. A manipulative leader just keep saying something until people believe him. But this was different. They had an experience of Jesus.They were not told that Jesus had risen. They saw him. It could not have been a hallucination because people do not share the same hallucination. It is not posiible that five hundred people shared the same hallucination of risen Jesus. And if they had had the same hallucination the grave could not have been empty.
    The only reasonable interpretation of this events is that Jesus really rose from death. Do you have any other interpretation.

    OMG

    Where do you get this tripe?



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  • 90
    JHJEFFERY says:

    rrh1306

    John Dominc Crossan wrote that the most likely result of the body of Jesus was that, like others who were crucified, his body was allowed to rot until the flesh could no longer support it, then it fell to the ground and was eaten by the dogs. (Like that, Robert?)



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  • 91
    Ryan1306 says:

    Yeah, I doubt anything special was done with Jesus’ body. Considering the fact that Robert thinks that people need very compelling evidence like empty tombs to become religious I took it as a challenge to offer alternate explanations to magic in the event that he had been buried in a tomb and than disappeared.
    In reply to #93 by JHJEFFERY:

    rrh1306

    John Dominc Crossan wrote that the most likely result of the body of Jesus was that, like others who were crucified, his body was allowed to rot until the flesh could no longer support it, then it fell to the ground and was eaten by the dogs. (Like that, Robert?)



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  • 92
    susanlatimer says:

    Robert,

    It’s fascinating to have followed the discussions you’ve been in on this site, to watch as people have given you innumerable links, politely pointed out your flaws in reasoning and explained patiently what science is, how history is done and the extent to which your beliefs are based in logical errors and an ignorance of the evidence.

    In response, you’ve copied and pasted, stuck your fingers in your ears and pretended that your arguments make some sort of sense. Why aren’t you reading any of the links?

    From here in the peanut gallery, I can only come to one conclusion. You don’t care what’s true. You care about pretending that something is true even though there is no case for it, because you want it to be true. The evidence doesn’t support your beliefs. Reason and logic don’t. You are making ultimate claims based on evidence so flimsy and biased it can hardly be called evidence, and ignoring the mountains of evidence that have been produced against your position.

    You want it to be true. That much is clear. This is the part that always confuses me about christians, That they want this story to be true. So, I have to ask you this. Why do you want it to be true?



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  • 93
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #94 by rrh1306:

    Yeah, I doubt anything special was done with Jesus’ body. Considering the fact that Robert thinks that people need very compelling evidence like empty tombs to become religious I took it as a challenge to offer alternate explanations to magic in the event that he had been buried in a tomb and than disappeared.

    In reply to #93 by JHJEFFERY:

    rrh1306

    John Dominc Crossan wrote that the most likely result of the body of Jesus was that, like others who were crucified, his body was allowed to rot until the flesh could no longer support it, then it fell to the ground and was eaten by the dogs. (Like that, Robert?)

    The whole sorry saga flies in the face of the laws and traditions of the time. Laws and traditions that both the Romans and Jews took very seriously indeed.

    Jewish Law, the Burial of Jesus, and the Third Day

    Yet, given the choice that the story is either a made-up concoction produced decades later for the purpose of OT prophecy fulfilment, deceiving the gullible and a bit political spin. Or, that those really loyal to the central character of Jesus, who had just been executed BTW, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both members of the Sanhedrin depending on which gospel ya read, along with a few women followers, so we’re told, decided to just flaunt the the religious laws and traditions, laws and traditions that got Jesus into the pickle in the first place. These few followers decided flip the finger and say “fuck it, fuck the Romans and fuck the Sanhedrin, we’ll do what we want, we’ve got the dead messiah on our side”.

    Now there is no definitive evidence in favour of either hypothesis, just probabilities, what is most likely. So what was most likely?

    Ockham again anyone?

    Better still, Bayes anyone?

    @Robert

    Really Robert? That’s what you believe? The latter hypothesis. Because if it’s in a book it must be true, right? After all, the gospel writers never made mistakes, made contradiction, told lies or were mistranslated, right?

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid.



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  • 94
    Robert Kubik says:

    Yes I have read the God of dellusion. I have read three of Dawkins books so far. But I have found out that most of the atheists are scared of reading something that might destroy their atheism.

    You asked me to name the historians who accept the fact that Jesus died on a cross, his followers started to preached they had seen him risen, Paul converted after revelation of Jesus etc.
    In the book The case for Jesus by Lee Strobel there was an interview with a historian who named the facts that were accepted by 90% of historians no matter whether they were believers or not.

    If you want the exact names I can copy and paste from the book, but I do not think that it is allowed. And it should not be a problem for you to find it on the internet and read the names of historians and why do they accept events that I have mentioned before as the facts.

    The question is whether you are willing to read somethink that you do not want to believe no matter how much evidence you have.



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  • 95
    Robert Kubik says:

    I opened the recomended book and there is an interview with Michael Licon. I like his approach – he only evaluated the facts that are accepted by 90% of historians, he did not consider speculations that are not widely accepted by scholars. This interview seem to be similar to what I have read in the book The case for real Jesus

    http://vimeo.com/36943118



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  • 96
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #97 by Robert Kubik:

    Yes I have read the God of dellusion. I have read three of Dawkins books so far.

    .But I have found out that most of the atheists are scared of reading something that might destroy their atheism.

    Really?? Was that through your all seeing blinker specs?

    That must be why we put that sort of nonsense publication and videos, up for discussion here, – including “flea-books” and links.

    You asked me to name the historians who accept the fact that Jesus died on a cross, his followers started to preached they had seen him risen, Paul converted after revelation of Jesus etc.

    In the book The case for Jesus by Lee Strobel there was an interview with a historian who named the facts that were accepted by 90% of historians no matter whether they were believers or not.

    You really are going to have to learn how to research scientific and historical information!

    You read a book and in it, someone who was said to be “a historian”, said some (unspecifed) biblical claims were “facts” and that 90% of (un-named) “historians” accepted these. (see Psychological projection/pluralistic ignorance below)

    Gullibility 1.01 !! Creationist history is like creationist science – the gullible ignorant preaching to the gullible ignorant!

    If you want the exact names I can copy and paste from the book, but I do not think that it is allowed.

    There is nothing wrong with quoting named contributors from a named book. It is the way to check it properly.

    And it should not be a problem for you to find it on the internet and read the names of historians and why do they accept events that I have mentioned before as the facts.

    Apart from the fact you have not listed the “facts” you are claiming, and have not given the names of the alleged authors! – – And the fact that it has already been repeatedly explained to you with links to academic studies that this is not the case!

    The question is whether you are willing to read somethink that you do not want to believe no matter how much evidence you have.

    Gazzzoing! There goes another crate of irony meters!

    Alan4discussion – @73

    You really are going to have to do some serious work on grasping the meaning of the term “evidence”, having agreed that there are NO contemporary records of claimed events.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evidence

    Did I explain psychological projection to you earlier? –

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Psychological-projection

    Projection is the psychological phenomenon where someone denies some aspect of their behavior or attitudes and assumes instead that everyone else is doing or thinking so instead.

    It is usually seen as the externalisation of a person’s negative traits, placing blame on an outside force such as the environment, a government, a society or other people.

    Projection can also extend to philosophy and knowledge.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    This occurs when a person or small group of people assume that everyone else is working with the same ideas and/or information that they are. When this fails to happen, however, it can lead to pluralistic ignorance.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    A telltale sign of this is when a speaker says that “Everybody knows that…

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    (a certain course of action)” is either beneficial or harmful, so society should avoid an impending catastrophe by following the course of action that the speaker proposes.

    Another common forum for projection is in internet arguments,

    where it is usually pathetically obvious to everyone except the projector.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    The problem is recognized in intelligence analysis, in the form of cognitive traps for intelligence analysis.

    In that context, the phenomenon may be called mirror-imaging.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    I think those involved in these discussions will recognise these features!



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  • 97
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #97 by Robert Kubik:

    Yes I have read the God of dellusion. I have read three of Dawkins books so far. But I have found out that most of the atheists are scared of reading something that might destroy their atheism.

    Why do you make stuff up Robert? Who are the “most of the Atheists” you refer too? Of the small proportion of people that have actually read the Holy Bible from start to finish, Atheists are by far the larger group. In fact, I have yet to meet a Christian that can state they have read the scriptures they swear by. Atheists come to their non-belief by doing just that, reading their various scriptures and in some cases, the scriptures of other faiths. Most here have gone even further than that. I like to keep myself abreast of both sides of the debate, unfortunately, your side has no substance other than wishful thinking, subterfuge and deceit. I’ve put links on the names I’ve quoted below, check them out, I try to be as unbiased and objective in my arguments…I also try to cite sources.

    But let me get this straight. You’ve read 3 of Richard Dawkins’ books. Books that have been built on a vast array of expertise from a plethora of academic fields. Experts from areas of science that didn’t even exist 2000 years ago. Science that has demonstrably made a mockery of ancient religious beliefs. Yet you are still gripping by your finger nails to the ignorant nonsense scribbled down nearly twenty centuries ago, by folk by today’s standards knew next to nothing about the world they lived in at the time. Seriously? Please accept my pity.

    You asked me to name the historians who accept the fact that Jesus died on a cross, his followers started to preached they had seen him risen, Paul converted after revelation of Jesus etc.

    Robert, it is not a “fact” that Jesus died on the cross, he had followers that seen him risen or that Paul converted after a revelation. They are assertions based on circular reasoning. They are conjectures without evidence…unless you have some evidence not yet uncovered. Not the self serving proclamations you keep spouting from the very book we are contesting. Got evidence?

    In the book The case for Jesus by Lee Strobel there was an interview with a historian who named the facts that were accepted by 90% of historians no matter whether they were believers or not.

    Ah ha…that cad Strobel again. Again, there are no facts…just levels of probability. Lee Strobel is a Christian Apologetic. His view is not by any means unbiased.

    Critique of Lee Strobel’s “The Case for the Real Jesus”

    Take a look at these references and who is saying them.

    Although most biblical scholars agree that Jesus did exist, Joseph Hoffmann has stated that the issue of historicity of Jesus has been long ignored due to theological interests. The New Testament scholar Nicholas Perrin has argued that since most biblical scholars are Christians, a certain bias is inevitable, but he does not see this as a major problem.

    Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, he maintains that, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work and that it is only through considerable individual heroism that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.

    If you want the exact names I can copy and paste from the book, but I do not think that it is allowed. And it should not be a problem for you to find it on the internet and read the names of historians and why do they accept events that I have mentioned before as the facts.

    If you now anything about the subject of historical study and it’s methods, you would know there are no facts, just levels of probability.

    John Meier, Professor of theology at University of Notre Dame, has said “…people claim they are doing a quest for the historical Jesus when de facto they’re doing theology, albeit a theology that is indeed historically informed…” Dale Allison, Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary too says, “…We wield our criteria to get what we want…We all see what we expect to see and what we want to see….”

    The question is whether you are willing to read somethink that you do not want to believe no matter how much evidence you have.

    Spoiiinnng!!!…there goes another box of irony meters.

    I want to go where the evidence leads, whether I like it or not.

    So what is this “somethink” I wouldn’t want to read? Something like the New Testament? Let me ask you a question. Do you believe the NT is inerrant? Do you believe the NT contains any lies? Do you believe it contains forgeries?

    The question is whether you are willing to read something and then, before getting sucked in hook, line and sinker, do a little investigative research of your own.

    The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history.

    Ancient history is notoriously inaccurate. The gospels are not primary sources and were not even written as historical documents. There is no evidence that the events within the gospels ever took place.

    Pseudohistory is a term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions. Closely related to deceptive historical revisionsm, works which draw controversial conclusions from new, speculative, or disputed historical evidence, particularly in the fields of national, political, military, and religious affairs, are often rejected as pseudohistory.

    The question of whether the historical Jesus existed is an interesting one for me to indulge and read up on. But it is irrelevant to the debate in that if a character of Jesus existed or not, has bugger all to do with the supernatural aspects of the yarns, which most certainly did not occur. So, did a guy called Jesus get crucified by the Romans for blasphemy…probably not but not impossible. Did that same guy raise from being clinically dead and walk out of a tomb and back to life after 3 days…certainly not…and no reputable historian will state otherwise.



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  • 98
    Alan4discussion says:

    Further to my comment and link on projection @99, I recall this comment I made a month ago!

    Comment 48 by Alan4discussion:* (Public School Bible Classes Plagued With Religious Bias)
    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias?category=Religion#

    I think it is becoming clear that Robert really, really, really, wants to believe the story he has been told, so as he “KNOWS BY FAITH” it must be true. It follows by “faith-thinking”, that all the experts on the subject must also know it is true so will confirm it in their writing – even if he has not actually read their writings!

    Regarding reading English texts from abroad, and the habit of offering second-hand quotes –

    “of the somebody proclaimed to be an authority, said:”, format: –

    there seems to be hackneyed old stuff from some creationist list or books of creative fairy tales, being trotted out.

    JHJEFFERY @92 – OMG

    Where do you get this tripe?

    I was wondering when “University” was mentioned if “Liberty Uni” distance “learning” (or some other fundamentalist college), was involved, or if it was just copying stuff from books by IDiots and YEC apologists?

    When other posters show a depth of knowledge and are unimpressed or fail to be “blinded by history or science”, topics are rapidly abandoned when informed discussion is required. (although they later re-emerge as unchanged assertions on new threads.)

    The well known creationist ploy of waving names of historical figures over vacuous assertions in the hope that some credibility will rub off , keeps cropping up!



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  • 99
    Ryan1306 says:

    Hey Robert. I want to say that I admire your persistence. Most theist do fly by post and then never respond to anyone who questions what they wrote. I also want to say that it’s not personal, I just enjoy the debate. I’m sure your a nice person and you sound like an intelligent guy. I just don’t find your reasoning on this issue very compelling and it makes me wonder what you are trying to accomplish by posting on this website. Most people who post here are atheist so I’m not sure what kind of response you expected when you started to post about Jesus’ divinity . There are lots of intelligent Christians out there and they’ve posted every argument you’ve put forward a hundred times over. I think if you were arguing from some vague deistic perspective you might have an easier time here, but religions are too easily seen for what they are, man made phenomenon with the finger prints of the culture it originated in clearly visible.

    I also would like to ask you who’s got more to lose here if our belief changed, you or me? You get death, I get eternal life. And don’t bring up hell. I find the idea of a infinitely intelligent being (let alone a infinitely loving one) choosing to torture eighty to ninety percent of the world’s population for eternity less believable than the existence of that being it’s self. Hell is a cruel, petty human idea. One that Jesus didn’t seem have any problem with by the way.

    You talk about the destruction of our atheism. Do you know what the easiest way for that to happen would be? If your god would decide to stop being hell bent on not showing it’s self to people. If it would decided to do something instead of nothing when people reached out to it. That would change things. Instead, like Zeuglodon pointed out in post 74, it decides to appear in the middle of no where two thousand years ago to a bunch of illiterate goat herders and fisherman. This approach completely baffles me and it seems to have baffled a lot of other people to considering that nearly seventy percent of the people on this planet are not Christian, and that’s after centuries of the religion being thrust upon people by the sword. As Zeuglodon said earlier, color me unimpressed.

    In reply to #97 by Robert Kubik:

    Yes I have read the God of dellusion. I have read three of Dawkins books so far. But I have found out that most of the atheists are scared of reading something that might destroy their atheism.



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  • 100
    Ryan1306 says:

    I also want to say how happy I am to see Susan and Paul (Ignorant Amos) posting here again. I love to read you guys stuff. And to Alan, Zeuglodon, and JHJEFFERY, sterling work as all ways.



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  • 101
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #98 by Robert Kubik:

    I opened the recomended book and there is an interview with Michael Licon. I like his approach – he only evaluated the facts that are accepted by 90% of historians, he did not consider speculations that are not widely accepted by scholars. This interview seem to be similar to what I have read in the book The case for real Jesus

    Language issues aside…the mans name is Licona…Dr. Michael R. Licona…I’m sure it has the same spelling in you native tongue also. His interview in Strobel’s book is addressed in the link at comment #100…try and read it, you never know, you might even learn something, although at this point I doubt you have that capability or yearning.



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  • 102
    JHJEFFERY says:

    Robert Kubik 97

    I think this was aimed at me. I had asked you to name all of the “90% of historians” and you have still failed to do so. You just continue to insist that everybody agrees with you when I know this assertion is false. The four best US historians on the historicity fo Christ are Carrier, Price, Ehrman and Crossan. None of them agree with you. Since you have made this bogus assertion several times, and have steadfastly refused to support it, I am moving you from the “young and deluded (possibly stupid)” category to that of “liar.” Sorry–but you are what you do.



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  • 103
    Andy Mcquillan says:

    I have been following this discussion for the last week or so.It has been really absorbing and i have learnt so much by everyone who has posted so far.



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  • 104
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #105 by JHJEFFERY:

    Robert Kubik 97

    I think this was aimed at me. I had asked you to name all of the “90% of historians” and you have still failed to do so. You just continue to insist that everybody agrees with you when I know this assertion is false. The four best US historians on the historicity fo Christ are Carrier, Price, Ehrman and Crossan. None of them agree with you. Since you have made this bogus assertion several times, and have steadfastly refused to support it, I am moving you from the “young and deluded (possibly stupid)” category to that of “liar.” Sorry–but you are what you do.

    The devil is in the detail Jerry. Poor Robert is conflating a crucified Jesus with a resurrected Jesus.

    Ehrman and Crossan believe that a Jesus person was crucified and died on the cross. They don’t believe he was resurrected three days later.

    Carrier and Price, as you know are mythicist’s, and believe the whole sorry tale is a crock with no evidence of happening past the yarns in the books.

    At least that’s my take on the circumstances anyway mate.



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  • 105
    JHJEFFERY says:

    Ignorant Amos 107

    Hi Paul,

    I think you are spot on about these four, didn’t mean to imply otherwise. My problem with young Robert is that he blundered onto this site with what he thought was a killer argument that Christ must have been resurrected because people died because they believed it. When shown that the argument was fallacious, he eventually admitted that people die all the time for things they believe which are not true. Then he went to another thread and made exactly the same argument. This is either monumental stupidity, or, more likely, intellectual dishonesty. And we both feel the same way about the latter.

    Best

    JHJ

    PS thanks for the note.



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  • 106
    Ryan1306 says:

    The old reset button. To me it’s probably the most damning religious phenomenon I’ve witnessed on this site in regards to theistic intellectual honesty. I’ve witnessed it from nearly every theist that posts on this site with any regularity.

    In reply to #108 by JHJEFFERY:

    Ignorant Amos 107

    Hi Paul,

    I think you are spot on about these four, didn’t mean to imply otherwise. My problem with young Robert is that he blundered onto this site with what he thought was a killer argument that Christ must have been resurrected because people died because they believed it. When shown that the argument was fallacious, he eventually admitted that people die all the time for things they believe which are not true. Then he went to another thread and made exactly the same argument. This is either monumental stupidity, or, more likely, intellectual dishonesty



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  • 107
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY,

    I never said that people die for something they know is not a true. I wrote that they do not have a problem to tell a lie if they have a profit from it. But if somebody dies for an idea, he surelly believes in it. They believe in it because somebody has persuaded them, but disciples were not persuaded by words, they had an experience of risen Jesus.

    I chcecked whether there are any historians who deny these facts:

    1. Jesus lived in the 1st century and died on the cross. You were right, all the soviet historians and very few western historians deny it. Soviet historians said that Jeus was a mythological figure invented by Vatikan in the 4th century and at that time New Testiment was written.

    2. The author of Paul`s letter is Paul. I have not found anyone deniying it so far.But Soviet historians said they were written by some Pope in the 4th century when christianity was invented

    3. The first christians preached that Jesus had risen. I have not found any historian denying it so far.But who knows, perhaps they believed Budha or believed in Yetti. Soviet historians said the story of resurection was invented in the 4th century.

    If the western historians are influenced by Christianity perhaps you are right that all the historical records from the 1st and 2nd century about Jesus and Christians including old manuscripts are forgery made by Vatican in the 4th century. And the Tacitus record and Suetonius were interpolations. I must admitt that people in Vatikan who did it were very clever as they managed to persuade most of the historians that Jesus and Christians existed in the 1st century. They even managed to write an interpolation in the Tacitus that sound very authentic.

    I can see that nobody watched the video which is not surprising and I expected it.

    http://vimeo.com/36943118



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  • 108
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #98 by Robert Kubik:

    I opened the recomended book and there is an interview with Michael Licon.

    I like his approach – he only evaluated the facts that are accepted by 90% of historians, he did not consider speculations that are not widely accepted by scholars. This interview seem to be similar to what I have read in the book The case for real Jesus

    “Biblical scholars” are theologians – not historians.

    Theologians are about selling their religions. Historians should be about establishing evidence.

    Historians of the Roman period study the much wider aspects of the Roman culture and look at available evidence – not just the view starting with “the Bible”. Many “Biblical Scholars”, over the years have pretended to be historians, but did not use the objective standards needed for their work to be valid.

    There are no “facts”. There are only opinions. – Some are expert historians’ opinions supported by competent investigations and solid evidence, – many are theologians’ opinions and are made up guesswork, fiction and fantasy, or simple mistranslations of earlier languages.



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  • 109
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY,

    Only the first part of my previous comment was adressed to you.

    The second part was not addressed to you but to those who reject all the information abot the beginning of christianity written in encyoclopedias and history textbooks such as the NT was written in the 1st century etc.



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  • 110
    Robert Kubik says:

    Alan4disucussion,

    So according to you the old manuscripts of NT from the 2nd century that were discovered in the 19 th century are not the evidence that the NT was written not in the 3rd century as thought by scholars in the 19 th century?

    According to you Tacitus and Suetonius record are not the evidence that there were christians in the Roman empire 30 years after resurection?



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  • 111
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #113 by Robert Kubik:

    Alan4disucussion,

    So according to you the old manuscripts of NT from the 2nd century that were discovered in the 19 th century are not the evidence that the NT was written not in the 3rd century as thought by scholars in the 19 th century?

    According to you Tacitus and Suetonius record are not the evidence that there were christians in the Roman empire 30 years after resurection?

    You love making stuff up, misrepresenting other posters! Nobody has said there were no Xtians in the early Roman empire, but the issue of small numbers and distribution has been well covered by JHJEFFERY and Amos.

    Likewise the extent of the coverage of the works of those you quote, which you earlier tried on Zeuglodon @
    64.

    You are still asserting a “resurrection”, with nothing more than personal gullibility to support it!

    I made the point @111, of separating claims based on researched history (with the use of scientific dating and evaluation of ancient documents etc.) from ancient and modern wishful thinking in writings and second-hand quotes from people who did not do their homework on the subject, but simply “feel” that the version of the biblical account they have read, must be true.

    I debunked your false analogy with Alexander the great @ http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/1/17/non-believer-to-beliver#comment-box-65

    Zeuglodon – 64 –
    I’ve already caught you trying to pass off Tacitus and Suetonious’ mentions as evidence for a resurrection event being true, I notice you’re avoiding the questions of why Jesus conveniently vanished or why a god would make an important appearance in such a low-key and evidence-diminishing manner to a small audience (if you assume the story is true), you haven’t provided accounts from during Jesus’ lifetime of his existence, and I notice that you focus on the dating of the second-hand texts and don’t address the elephant in the room: that the events are more improbable than the notion that someone somewhere invented them for whatever reason.

    You switch texts whenever one comes under fire (invoking Corinthians after I’ve discussed the gospels, then invoking the Acts after I’ve addressed both Corinthians and Galatians) without addressing my criticisms of using the texts in the first place given their second-hand nature, and you are claiming to believe in extraordinary claims without invoking any appropriate evidence beyond a fallible and suspect testimony.

    You just churn out made up assertions and then move on when they are challenged and shown to be flawed – but you then reproduce them unaltered later.

    Wafting historical names over your unsupported assertions DOES NOT ADD “RUB OFF AUTHORITY” TO ADD WEIGHT to your unevidenced claims of a “resurrection”! It is merely a dishonest form of debate!

    You have produced no response to my challenges as to what constitutes evidence, (apart from falsely asserting such challenges to flawed claims, are “ad-hominem” personal attacks !) and claiming support for “facts” where none exist!



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  • 112
    JHJEFFERY says:

    Robert Kubik 110

    JHJEFFERY,

    I never said that people die for something they know is not a true. I wrote that they do not have a problem to tell a lie if they have a profit from it. But if somebody dies for an idea, he surelly believes in it. They believe in it because somebody has persuaded them, but disciples were not persuaded by words, they had an experience of risen Jesus.

    In what part of your Bible could I find the information about the disciples having been martyred? This seems to be paramount to your claim (which we have already agreed does not inform on the truth of the resurrection). Where do we find information in the Bible about which disciples actually preached?



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  • 113
    susanlatimer says:

    I can see that nobody watched the video which is not surprising and I expected it.

    Robert’s video

    Based on what Robert? Your assumption (despite much evidence to the contrary across many threads here) that “atheists” have a bias against your position? I don’t believe you. Why should I?

    You don’t seem to acknowledge that the arguments to which you’ve succumbed don’t demonstrate anything to more knowledgeable members here. You act as though they’ve never heard this stuff before. They keep pointing out that the evidence is deeply insufficient and that it utterly fails to meet any unbiased academic standard.

    These are old, bad, familiar arguments that they have encountered already.

    They have explained in painstaking detail why they are bad arguments. You have not shown any indication that you’ve heard a thing they’ve said and you’ve pretended the bias lies with those who don’t accept such drivel.

    I’m not surprised that Ignorant Amos, JH Jeffery and Allan4 didn’t watch the video as they made it clear a very, very long time ago that “minimal facts” is language legitimate historians wouldn’t use. (Ignorant Amos even gave you a link to that.) You still don’t understand how painstakingly history is pieced together and how vulnerable it is to new information. “Minimal facts” is the sort of language theologians use in order to circumvent even the most basic standards that good historians hold themselves to.

    IA, JH, A4 and Zeug have patiently explained the weaknesses of your arguments, arguments they have shown they took seriously. They have taken great pains to explain to you why the arguments you have accepted from other people are terrible arguments. These are not your arguments, remember. They are are borrowed and they don’t stand up.

    Your implication is that “atheists” aren’t interested in evidence. I would suggest that if you read with any honesty the discussions you’ve participated in, you’ll see that people here have made every effort to explain that the evidence leads away from your position and that reason and logic make the case much, much worse for what you’re trying to sell.

    You haven’t noticed that at least one poster here sent you a link that explains how deeply biased and weak the “minimal facts” approach is. It fails on so many levels.

    Several others here have explained to you the difference between “legend” and “fact”. Facts require loads of evidence, not apologetics. You are making ultimate claims and providing the flimsiest “evidence”.

    I’ve been in the audience. Imagine you are trying to sell me a car. Would you buy the car you are trying to sell?

    Anyway, I watched the video.

    What new points does it present that have not been adequately addressed?

    You’re the one ignoring the links. People here have provided many. You’re assuming they’ve never considered your position when the discussions make it clear that they are at least twelve steps ahead of you. They were honest enough to check their work a very long time ago, and you haven’t noticed that.

    The stories you want to believe in were constructed by liars for Jesus. People interested in getting closer to what’s true don’t indulge in the sort of tricks you’ve fallen for.

    In the beginning, I was willing to believe that you were trying to figure out what was true but were fed false information but at this point, I can only conclude that you are believing in something because you want to believe in it, although evidence will never get you there and all the evidence leads away from there.

    Zeuglodon pointed out a long while back that you don’t seem to accept evolution even though it has never been falsified. There are piles and piles of evidence for evolution and nothing to falsify it and millions of experiments that could have falsified it all this time. (Science is lovely that way. It doesn’t claim “minimal facts”. It relies on evidence and that evidence is endlessly exposed to the idea that there can be evidence that falsifies any idea at any time. Science is the only thing that goes out of its way to test scientific ideas. When those ideas fall to the wayside, it’s science that does it.)

    On the other hand, you believe that someone was raised from the dead and that means they were the son of Yahweh because the one surviving cult of the the many christian cults among hundreds of cults managed to cobble together a book from many books that were chosen and there is barely evidence to suggest the existence of this character, let alone evidence of Yahweh or that this character was the son of Yahweh.

    Nobody comes back to life. Evolution is a fact.

    If you’re going to accuse people of bias, I’d suggest you check your own.

    I’ll ask you again. Why do you want it to be true?

    I would never ask you that outright,bu your position on biology combined with your position on resurrection makes it clear that you’re not interested in where the evidence takes you.

    At this point in the discussion, the commitment you’ve made is an emotional one, so I think it’s a fair question. Why do you want it to be true?



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  • 114
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #113 by Robert Kubik:

    So according to you the old manuscripts of NT from the 2nd century that were discovered in the 19 th century are not the evidence that the NT was written not in the 3rd century as thought by scholars in the 19 th century?

    You seem to be unable to distinguish the authorship of ancient documents, from the editing at Nicaea to produce the first, uniform Christian doctrine, so have produced this false dichotomy!

    I have quoted and linked information on Coptic Gospels, Gnostic Gospels, and the Dead Sea Scrolls etc. on this site on numerous occasions.

    Do you seriously think you can bluff me into thinking they support your vacuous assertions, or I will not know where the second-hand nature of the accounts and intervening decades, makes them mythological hearsay?

    You have had the mutual contradictions and inadequacies in their accounts, pointed out often enough!

    As I commented about historical authority figures @114, wafting historical documents over your assertions, or pretending later documents are eyewitness testimony, does not add any support to your claims. It simply shows that you are ignorant of the content or are using wishful thinking and dishonest, fallacious methods of argument.

    (SEE: Psychological projection @99 – A telltale sign of this is when a speaker says that “Everybody knows that…”)

    I really only have one more serious question for you.

    Are you copying this stuff (and giving second-hand quotes) from some Creationist, YEC and ID books or web-sites, and simply accepting it as if the sources were reputable text-books or university studies? (The sweeping general false assertions look familiar!)



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  • 115
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY?

    You asked: In what part of your Bible could I find the information about the disciples having been martyred? This seems to be paramount to your claim (which we have already agreed does not inform on the truth of the resurrection). Where do we find information in the Bible about which disciples actually preached?

    You can read in the first chapters of the book of Acts which disciples preached and what exactly they preached.
    You know they were persecuted from Josephus Flavius – he wrote that Herodes ordered to kill James the brother of Jeus and it is written in the book of Acts too.

    Paul mentioned in his letters that him and other disciples were persecuted and added that if there was not an resurection why would they suufer for their faith?

    Also Tacitus wrote that Christians were hated by all as well as Suetonius.

    But we have only legends how the disciples ended up. Except from John all of them were martyred.

    Alan4discussion,

    From my terrible English you must be sure I do not copy my comments from christians web pages.



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  • 116
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #110 by Robert Kubik:

    I never said that people die for something they know is not a true. I wrote that they do not have a problem to tell a lie if they have a profit from it. But if somebody dies for an idea, he surelly believes in it.

    I can assure you that not every soldier serving in Afghanistan believes they should be risking their lives in that thankless country, many are dying in spite of that position.

    They believe in it because somebody has persuaded them, but disciples were not persuaded by words, they had an experience of risen Jesus.

    This is your major malfunction in this discourse. You have assumed because it is written in a book that someone, we don’t know who, stated that someone else said that someone else seen a chap called Jesus walking around three days after his dead body had been taken down from a cross. It must be true because it is in the book, right? I mean who would lie about such a thing, right? This is your own personal incredulity factor coupled with circle reasoning fallacy.

    Let me give you an example of a textual error that fucks your argument right up. The gospel according to Mark has a made up ending. Chapter 9-20 are accepted by the every of scholar worth their salt as a later addition by an scribe. Modern bibles go as far as making this apparent to the reader by saying so in the margins. This is not a controversial issue.

    “The current consensus among scholars is that verses 9–20 were not part of the original text of Mark but represent a very early addition.”

    So, the original author, as far as we know, ended the book at verse 8 with the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying “nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

    We can all see why this was a problem to later scribes. I mean, if the women fled the scene saying nothing to anyone, how did the author know what to write about an empty tomb and what the women had witnessed? Your problem here is that it is in this “forged interpolation” bit at the end of chapter 16 that the author refers to Jesus’ appearances to Mary Magdalene, two disciples, and then the Eleven (the Twelve Apostles minus Judas). In other words the original Mark says nothing of a risen Jesus…nor does Paul in any of his letters. These so called two earliest witnesses of Jesus mention nothing of a risen Jesus. Don’t ya think that at all strange? I mean, if Jesus had been observed risen by anyone after his death, don’t ya think they might have said something about such an important detail? After all, it would be a deal clincher if true.

    There are dickheads losing their lives because the fools are unaware or disregard the issue that those last verses, Mark 16:17-18 in particular, are lies added later. So convinced of their own devotion to their faith in conjunction with these gospel verses, they play with poisonous snakes, get bit and die.

    The author of Paul`s letter is Paul. I have not found anyone deniying it so far.

    You are not looking very hard. Of the 13 letters attributed to the Pauline tradition, only 7 can be attested as definitely from the same author. A person calling himself Paul. A quick Wiki check will suffice. Here, I’ll help you.

    Authenticity of the Pauline Epistles

    But Soviet historians said they were written by some Pope in the 4th century when christianity was invented

    They are not Historians Robert, they are propagandists. I’ve noticed your difficulty with words and definitions.

    The first christians preached that Jesus had risen. I have not found any historian denying it so far.

    No one is denying that early Christians preached a resurrected Jesus. That does not mean that it actually happened. Just how early in the cults history was, we can only get from the documents at hand. That documentation is the scriptures…the scriptures don’t count as history because they are ripe with flaws, lies, contradictions and made up crap.

    But who knows, perhaps they believed Budha or believed in Yetti.

    The Buddha was a real person Robert…can you not tell the difference between myth and real? The Yeti is myth. That means it lacks evidence for its existence. Are you sure you have an education in the sciences?

    Soviet historians said the story of resurection was invented in the 4th century.

    Let me fix that for ya…”Soviet propagandists said the story of resurrection was invented in the 4th century”

    If the western historians are influenced by Christianity perhaps you are right that all the historical records from the 1st and 2nd century about Jesus and Christians including old manuscripts are forgery made by Vatican in the 4th century. And the Tacitus record and Suetonius were interpolations. I must admitt that people in Vatikan who did it were very clever as they managed to persuade most of the historians that Jesus and Christians existed in the 1st century. They even managed to write an interpolation in the Tacitus that sound very authentic.

    Why are you insisting on flogging this dead horse when much cleverer men than you have demolished the argument into smithereens?

    Is Tacitus Reference an Interpolation?

    The vague references to Christianity by these folk you keep harping on about are red herrings in any case. They do nothing to support your risen Jesus hypothesis even if you could prove them authentic. No one on this site is denying the Jesus cult was a reality by 50 AD, so what, its a gargantuan leap to get from a Jewish cult to resurrected deity. A leap you have failed to convince anyone here is possible and wiser men than you have endeavored using better arguments.

    I can see that nobody watched the video which is not surprising and I expected it.

    http://vimeo.com/36943118

    Why do you make such assumptions. Susan has made an excellent response to you on this issue. You have two apologists talking in a back slapping exercise that adds nothing to the debate. The argument is not whether a resurrection story existed, the argument is on whether a dead man called Jesus actually rose from the dead. There is NO evidence to support such an event ever took place, none, zilch, nadda, zip. I can provide a proper debate on the question. One side from a historian and critical biblical scholar with academic credentials up the kazoo, the other, an apologist, theologian and slimey creep of a human being.

    Did Jesus Rise From The Dead -Bart Ehrman Vs William Lane Craig

    The supernatural is beyond the realms of history, history has nothing to say about woo woo magic. Woo woo magic is the realm of myth.



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  • 117
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #118 by Robert Kubik:

    From my terrible English you must be sure I do not copy my comments from christians web pages.

    Well ! That would indicate you are not cutting and pasting word for word – but says nothing about the origins of the content, – which clearly does not come from reputable academic science or history peer-reviewed sources. (As scientists and historians on this site have pointed out to you!)

    Where did the quote about Dr. Simon Greenleaf come from? No competent modern historians are going to regard him as an expert on Roman history, or even competent at understanding the basis of historical evidence!



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  • 118
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #118 by Robert Kubik:

    You asked: In what part of your Bible could I find the information about the disciples having been martyred? This seems to be paramount to your claim (which we have already agreed does not inform on the truth of the resurrection). Where do we find information in the Bible about which disciples actually preached?

    There is only one execution for martyrdom depicted in the NT that warrants the label of martyrdom and that story is dubious as it is only in Acts. That of Stephen and it was for refusing to deny Jesus. You would expect that if such an event really happened Paul might have wrote about it in his letters. Stephens speech is the longest in the NT yet Paul doesn’t mention it at all. I smell a rat. The story of Stephen fails the first hurdle of multiple attestation.

    You can read in the first chapters of the book of Acts which disciples preached and what exactly they preached.

    Who wrote Acts?

    You know they were persecuted from Josephus Flavius – he wrote that Herodes ordered to kill James the brother of Jeus and it is written in the book of Acts too.

    No he didn’t. According to Acts again, Herod had James, son of Zebedee, one of the first disciples, put to death by the sword.

    Acts 12

    “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”

    This story has the same problem as the Stephen story, but at least we are told the reason why Stephen got executed.

    Paul mentioned in his letters that him and other disciples were persecuted and added that if there was not an resurection why would they suufer for their faith?

    Are you serious? Haven’t you heard of the Islamic suicide bombers who seek martyrdom as a fast track into paradise because they are brainwashed by their scriptures into believing it will be so? Do you think they will be in paradise with Allah and their 72 virgins? If not, why not?

    “In Paul’s epistles he says that they have been hated and ridiculed, but never mentions executions. In Acts we find Paul getting captured more times than Batman, but, like Batman, he always escapes. So we don’t see a great deal of martyrdom in the NT.”

    Also Tacitus wrote that Christians were hated by all as well as Suetonius.

    But we have only legends how the disciples ended up. Except from John all of them were martyred.

    Now you are starting to get it, the whole story is legend Robert.

    James the son of Zebedee: He was put to death by Herod Agrippa I shortly before the day of the Passover, in the year 44 or about 11 years after the death of Christ. From Acts 12: 1-2.

    John: No death date given by early writers. Death date is by conjecture only and is variously assigned as being between 89 AD to 120 AD

    Andrew: No accurate death date given. A variety of traditions say he preached in Scythia, in Greece, in Asia Minor and Thrace. He is reported to have been crucified at Patrae in Achaia.

    Philip: Again, the Bible does not say when he died nor do we have accurate information. According to tradition he preached in Phrygia, and died at Hierapolis.

    Bartholomew: There is no information concerning his death, not even by tradition

    Matthew: He must have lived many years as an apostle, since he was the author of the Gospel of Matthew which was written at least twenty years after the death of Christ. There is reason to believe that he stayed for fifteen years at Jerusalem, after which he went as missionary to the Persians, Parthians and Medes. There is a legend that he died a martyr in Ethiopia

    Thomas: The earlier traditions, as believed in the fourth century, say he preached in Parthia or Persia, and was finally buried at Edessa. The later traditions carry him farther east. His martyrdom whether in Persia or India, is said to have been by a lance, and is commemorated by the Latin Church on December 21 the Greek Church on October 6, and by the Indians on July 1.

    James Alpheus : We know he lived at least five years after the death of Christ because of mentions in the Bible. According to tradition, James son of Alpheus was thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees; he was then stoned, and his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.

    Simon the Canaanite – No information either in the Bible or by tradition.

    Jude (Thaddeus) according to tradition Jude taught in Armenia, Syria and Persia where he was martyred. Tradition tells us he was buried in Kara Kalisa in what is now Iran.

    Judas Iscariot: Shortly after the death of Christ Judas killed himself. According to the Bible he hanged himself, (Matthew 27:5) at Aceldama, on the southern slope of the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, and in the act he fell down a precipice and was dashed into pieces.

    I read in a book that Sherlock Holmes was killed in a fall at the Reichanbach Falls while fighting with his arch nemesis Prof. Moriarty…must be true.



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  • 119
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #120 by Alan4discussion:

    Where did the quote about Dr. Simon Greenleaf come from? No competent modern historians are going to regard him as an expert on Roman history, or even competent at understanding the basis of historical evidence!

    …and Lee Strobel has no credentials in the fields whatsoever.

    Ironically for Robert, his hero of the hour, Michael Licona was fired for suggesting that the appearance of the risen Jesus in Matthew 27 was a metaphor. So there is another box of meters for the rubbish pile.

    Evangelical professor fired for questioning Matthew 27

    As reported by Christianity Today (see here), New Testament scholar Michael Licona has apparently lost both his job as research professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary and been ousted as apologetics coordinator for the North America Mission Board (NAMB).

    Why? In his 700-page book defending the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection, Licona proposed that the story of the resurrection of the saints described in Matthew 27 might be metaphorical rather than literal history. Why is this a problem? As a result of Licona’s questioning of Matthew 27, apparently some evangelical scholars, most notably Norman Geisler, accused Licona of denying the full inerrancy of the Bible.

    It just goes to show the problems facing anyone in the system questioning the traditional view. Don’t rock the boat or ya will end up out in your arse.

    I wonder what Robert has to say about that little ditty.



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  • 120
    itraining says:

    I watched a YouTube episode of “The Atheist Experience” where they interviewed “Ray Comfort” via telephone, complete with hand of bananas sitting front-and-centre on their desk. Ray apparently was an Atheist before becoming a fundamentalist Creationist. I am not sure if he was converted by another person or directly by God.



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  • 121
    Robert Kubik says:

    Ignorant Amos,

    Some of the stories of persecution might have been exagerated but it is higly probably that they were persecuted for these reasons: 1. Jesus himslef was crucified, so perhaps his followers suffered persecution too.

    1. Jospehus Flavius, Tacitus, Suetonius wrote that christians were hated and killed.

    2. Paul wrote his letters from prison.

    3. experience has proved that when someone converts they are usually persecuted by community. Even in democratic contries. My gilfriend is abused by her atheistic parents, they keep telling her how ungratefull daughter she is, she betrayed family, she is responssible for her fathers problems with heart etc. Althought she is easy going and optimistic girl, it is not easy for her. And her example is not unique. In the regions where there are a lot of catolics pentacostlas are terribly abused etc. So perhaps not many christians were killed in the 1st century but they had to suffer rejection from the rest of community.

    An exmple of the Islamic suicide bombers who seek martyrdom as a fast track into paradise is not a good example. Because they were brainwashed by their scriptures. But desciples did not preach resurection because they were brainwashed, but because they claimed they had seen Jesus, talked to him, touched Him. If you are a good manipulative leader you can persuade me that I would go to heaven if… But you can not persuaded me that I met my gilfriend this morning and talked to her if I know it did not happen.

    I just can not explained how could all of them believed they SAW Jesus if it had not happened? Who hypnotised all of them when Jeus was death? Who hypnotised Paul?



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  • 122
    Robert Kubik says:

    Alan4discussion,

    In my city there are two universities and also history is studied at one of them. The lectures are open to anybody for free. When there was a lecture about the history of Roman empire I came to the lecture. The lecturer said that during the reign of Tiberius Jesus was crusified, during the reign of Nero Paul was behaded, NT was written in the 1st century etc.

    She claimed these information as the facts generally accepted. When I mentioned that Mrs. Heckova, who was an expert in ancient history did not denny these fundamental fact, atheists told me: “She must be a believer and is presenting her Christians worldview.” I answered: “She must also be a muslim because she believes that Mohamed lived, She must be a Budhists because she believes that Budha lived, she must be a communists because she believe that Marx lived.”

    It is just riducuolus when somebody asks me to name historians who believe that Jesus died on the cross, his followers spread etc. Because vast majority of scholars accept these facts. And then atheists say they accept them because they are christians 😀



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  • 123
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #125 by Robert Kubik:

    In my city there are two universities and also history is studied at one of them. The lectures are open to anybody for free.

    I cannot vouch for the academic quality of the universities near you, or the quality of the courses they run. However, you continue to wrongly use the terms (theological) “scholar” and “historian” as if they were interchangeable.

    The subjects are quite different. History is about evidenced information, theological evangelical “scholarship” is all too frequently about faith-based preaching. Also you do not mention if these “courses” are university courses or guest speakers giving talks on the university premises. Nor do you say if they are evangelical theology courses or history courses.

    When there was a lecture about the history of Roman empire I came to the lecture. The lecturer said that during the reign of Tiberius Jesus was crusified, during the reign of Nero Paul was behaded,

    Even if these claims are true, they have no bearing on your claims of a “resurrection”. The Romans crucified thousands of criminals, rebels and trouble-makers, so with “Jesus” a common name, and the whole area over-run with itinerant preachers, I would not be surprised if some of the crucified were called “Jesus”.

    NT was written in the 1st century etc.

    This is simply wrong. The edited version which is known as the NT was written at Nicaea.

    There were bits of stories from earlier documents.

    She claimed these information as the facts generally accepted.

    Someone who is too ignorant know when the edited version of the NT was written is not a reliable source. There are very few “facts” and limited records about this period. Reputable historians do not state “facts” when there are only opinions based on scanty evidence or hearsay. (There are facts about Roman coins, Roman buildings and some Roman documents.)

    When I mentioned that Mrs. Heckova, who was an expert in ancient history did not denny these fundamental fact,

    Anyone who does not know when the NT was written is NOT an expert on this subject. It looks like you have had ignorant posers presented to you as experts – as with Lee Strobel, and Dr. Simon Greenleaf . There are plenty of preaching ignoramuses writing books, – like the biology duffer- ID “expert” I demolished in one post at comment 8 here!

    atheists told me: “She must be a believer and is presenting her Christians worldview.” I answered: “She must also be a muslim because she believes that Mohamed lived, She must be a Budhists because she believes that Budha lived, she must be a communists because she believe that Marx lived.”

    This is just nonsense. I believe Mohamed lived, Budha lived, and Marx lived, without accepting their ideologies. Being a Xtian does not exempt anyone from being challenged on making unevidenced false claims about history.

    It is just riducuolus when somebody asks me to name historians who believe that Jesus died on the cross, his followers spread etc. Because vast majority of scholars accept these facts. And then atheists say they accept them because they are christians 😀

    This is just silly side tracking. You continue to confuse “theologians” with “historians”. There may well have been someone named “Jesus” (or something like that) who was a wandering preacher who was crucified, but that does not support all the rest of the fanciful stories
    There may well have been some Greek called Hercules as well!

    BTW – @124 – An exmple of the Islamic suicide bombers who seek martyrdom as a fast track into paradise is not a good example. Because they were brainwashed by their scriptures.

    Gazzzzoinnngggg!!!!



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  • 124
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #124 by Robert Kubik:

    Some of the stories of persecution might have been exagerated but it is higly probably that they were persecuted for these reasons:

    So which ones might be highly exaggerated in your opinion and how do you know?

    1. Jesus himslef was crucified, so perhaps his followers suffered persecution too.

    There is no evidence that Jesus was crucified, but let’s grant you that there was a guy called Jesus who was crucified. It does not follow that his disciples suffered persecution because of this. Given the lack of evidence that first century Christians were persecuted, you cannot arbitrarily draw the inference that they were.

    Jospehus Flavius, Tacitus, Suetonius wrote that christians were hated and killed.

    You keep rattling that sword, yet you fail to provide citations. So let me assist.

    Non-Christian Testimony for Jesus?

    Here’s a taster….

    “Testimonium Flavianum”

    “Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

    – Josephus (aka Joseph ben Matthias) The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3: the so-called
    Testimonium Flavianum.

    “Not a single writer before the 4th century – not Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, etc. – in all their defences against pagan hostility, makes a single reference to Josephus’ wondrous words.”

    “The third century Church ‘Father’ Origen, for example, spent half his life and a quarter of a million words contending against the pagan writer Celsus. Origen drew on all sorts of proofs and witnesses to his arguments in his fierce defence of Christianity. He quotes from Josephus extensively. Yet even he makes no reference to this ‘golden paragraph’ from Josephus, which would have been the ultimate rebuttal. In fact, Origen actually said that Josephus was “not believing in Jesus as the Christ.”

    “Origen did not quote the ‘golden paragraph’ because this paragraph had not yet been written.”

    …and what the RCC says…

    Catholic Admission

    “The passage [Testimonium Flavianum] seems to suffer from repeated interpolations.”

    – Catholic Encyclopedia.

    The Controversy over the so-called ‘Testimony to Jesus Christ’ in the ‘Jewish Antiquities’ of Josephus

    “First Doubts on the Authenticity of the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’

    • “The genuineness of the ‘precious jewel’ has been admitted only in circles wholly dominated by the Church. The beautiful ‘testimony’ has somehow never made an impression on the Jews, although they, too, certainly knew it well. When medieval Christian scholars taunted them with the argument that the Jewish historian Josephus, whose works they possessed and held in high honour, had freely admitted that Jesus was the Messiah, they stubbornly replied (as we may gather from certain pages of Giraldus Cambrensis ) that this testimony was not found in their own Hebrew manuscript of the author. The Christians would then retort that the Jews had erased the passage from their manuscripts, and such manuscripts showing manifest erasures were indeed not wanting, and were repeatedly pointed out to the Jews to show that it was they who were in error.”*

    The bottom line is this, real historians hold Josephus testimony as forgery. What is even worse for the apologist is the marked lack of mention of Jesus, Paul, Christianity or it’s rise. That absence begs the question on it’s own merits.

    NEXT!

    Paul wrote his letters from prison.

    Which letters? Who says he wrote them from prison? If I told you I was writing this comment from the far side of the moon, you believe it? If not why not?

    experience has proved that when someone converts they are usually persecuted by community. Even in democratic contries. My gilfriend is abused by her atheistic parents, they keep telling her how ungratefull daughter she is, she betrayed family, she is responssible for her fathers problems with heart etc. Althought she is easy going and optimistic girl, it is not easy for her. And her example is not unique. In the regions where there are a lot of catolics pentacostlas are terribly abused etc.

    So perhaps not many christians were killed in the 1st century but they had to suffer rejection from the rest of community.

    This is just not true. Stop accepting bias Christian spin doctoring as fact and check out the history for yourself Robert.

    **Christian Persecutions in the First Three Centuries

    Early Christians were not even called Christians…it is a label given to the Jewish sect in the second part of the first century. Paul never calls the followers of Jesus Christians in any of his letters.

    An exmple of the Islamic suicide bombers who seek martyrdom as a fast track into paradise is not a good example. Because they were brainwashed by their scriptures. But desciples did not preach resurection because they were brainwashed, but because they claimed they had seen Jesus, talked to him, touched Him.

    You are having a hard time with the basic concepts here Robert. I’ll try once again. The disciples never claimed they saw a risen Jesus. The authors of the gospels claimed in their flawed writings that there was witnesses to a risen Jesus. They made such claims because they had an agenda. The risen Jesus witnessed in Mark is an interpolation. Mike Licona, who you like, states that Matthew 27 was metaphor. The later gospels plagiarized ideas from each other. The tales got progressively more elaborate and embellished just how you’d expect with legends. They were all written by unknowns, decades after the alleged events and based on hearsay attestation. They are contradictory accounts riddled with lies, forgery, interpolation and myth.

    “In the primitive Christian communities “faith” alone had been sufficient to sustain the belief that the saviour had been raised from death and had ascended to heaven. The first sustenance to feed that faith was a simple (and borrowed!) story of an empty tomb. No physical sepulchre was actually required, indeed, initially the tomb was to be understood as an allegory for death.”

    “But wavering conviction among converts and a blurring of the distinction between allegoric “truth” and real-world truth, encouraged the embellishment of the original, “sacrificial” story with visions and testimonies, first from angels and then from the Saviour himself. Reports of what “eye-witnesses” saw were designed to meet the objections from skeptics. Incidental detail, such as folded grave clothes, gave added “authenticity.” Pronouncements “from the risen Lord” rehearsed the response of the faithful to those who doubted.”

    “Today’s biblical apologists retreat into vulgar sophistry to buttress the claim for the “literal truth” of the gospels. But the deceit should fool only the casual enquirer and the feeble minded. The entire edifice of the “Resurrection” hangs by the most tenuous of threads. A merest puff of rationality and the glorious nonsense falls into the dust.”

    If you are a good manipulative leader you can persuade me that I would go to heaven if… But you can not persuaded me that I met my gilfriend this morning and talked to her if I know it did not happen.

    Robert, the books were not written at the time of Jesus alleged execution and resurrection. They were written decades later by good manipulative leaders in order to persuade you that you will go to heaven. Entirely what your girlfriend has to do with it I’ve no idea, but even that assertion is wrong. There are plenty out there that could persuade you that you just met.

    I just can not explained how could all of them believed they SAW Jesus if it had not happened? Who hypnotised all of them when Jeus was death? Who hypnotised Paul?

    For the umpteenth time, they didn’t say they SAW Jesus FFS. The early NT writers made those assertions many decades later.

    Mass religious hallucination is well documented and I linked to just such an event earlier. But has nothing to do with this issue and is a red herring. The risen Jesus narrative is a “literary device” to help convince skeptical followers in the cult of the resurrection.

    That you can’t accept that the risen Jesus story was made up is just your own personal incredulity, because you have erroneously accepted, against everything that folk here have provided to show you to the contrary, that the NT IS inerrant. The New Testament is as flawed a piece of writing as it is possible to get. It is a hotch potch concoction cobbled together to further an agenda, just like the Qu’ran or the Book of Mormon.



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  • 125
    susanlatimer says:

    Robert,

    Your English is not terrible. You need to stop apologizing for that. My problem with understanding your posiition has nothing to do with English. It has everything to do with you ignoring the evidence that is important to this discussion.

    1.Jospehus Flavius, Tacitus, Suetonius wrote that christians were hated and killed.

    Human history is dark and bloody with the stories of humans who were hated and killed because they were not part of the in-group. The Jews were hated and killed regularly throughout European history for this reason. One of the main arguments against them was that they killed Jesus. The Jews did not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Does all the evidence of exile and slaughter of the Jews across the centuries strengthen their position that Jesus was not the Messiah? Why would they subject themselves to endless persecution and death for this belief?

    Anyway, here’s a link to the historical persecution of christians that is posted right here on this site.

    Also, consider how much persecution of christians has been done by other christians. Why would catholics let them themselves be persecuted unless they were exactly right or Lutherans or quakers or mormons? You don’t seem to understand what humans get up to, at all.

    What you’ve been told doesn’t square with the facts. Please study history before you study theology. Contrary to what you’ve been told, many atheists are atheists BECAUSE of the facts, not despite them. This site is crawling with members who used to believe what you do UNTIL they began to study any or all of science, history, logic and philosophy.

    You are falling for ultimate claims based on a combination of made-up or very skewed evidence.

    Have you read the whole bible? That’s a trick question. There are so many “bibles”.

    Do you know who wrote “the” bible? I hope you check at least some of these links. This one is very important for an overview before we even get to the New Testament. People make things up all the time. It takes reason and science to escape our natural tendency to make things up or believe things because we want to.

    So perhaps not many christians were killed in the 1st century but they had to suffer rejection from the rest of community.

    Yes. But that is the nature of cults. They find an in-group that tells them that rejection by the outgroup is evidence that they are on the right track. Nothing bonds an in-group like rejection by the out-group. This is exactly how cults entrench themselves. Christians are not special in any way. This is a very old story and ugly story about how humans bond. It has led us and continues to lead us to some very dark places. Evidence and reason are our best, and possibly only means of escaping that.

    I just can not explained how could all of them believed they SAW Jesus if it had not happened?

    1) How could so many people believe they SAW Elvis alive if he was really dead?
    2) How could so many people believe they were anally probed by extraterrestrials if they never were?

    3) How could so many people believe demons cause disease?

    People believe things ALL the time that aren’t true because they are repeated and because we are prone to accepting things that are repeated, ESPECIALLY when that makes it easier to believe what we want to believe.

    Why People Believe Weird Things

    Most importantly, you don’t even have 500 hundred believers in the resurrection of a guy named Jesus. You only have someone SAYING that there were five hundred people who believed in the resurrection of a guy named Jesus.

    What you are accepting as an ultimate explanation of all of reality, doesn’t even measure up to Elvis claims.



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  • 126
    susanlatimer says:

    Darnit.

    When I asked who wrote “the” bible, I asked you to check this link by evid3nc3 but ended up repeat pasting an earlier link.

    The Mods are working hard to get this site flowing again and their work is starting to show results. It’s only in the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt it. I don’t mean that as a critic. They are far more qualified than I am at running a site that manages to cover all the bases this site covers.

    There’s still the sticky part that by the time you post something, reread it as an offical post, checked your links, realize that you’ve copied the wrong link, and scrolled through the pages to fix it, it’s sometimes still too late.

    But Robert, I beg you to watch the evid3nc3 link.



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  • 127
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #128 by susanlatimer:

    My problem with understanding your posiition has nothing to do with English. It has everything to do with you ignoring the evidence that is important to this discussion.

    I feel a literary analogy coming on. There are a number of good examples, my favourite is Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’, but on this occasion I will use Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, just because it appears that Robert is of an eastern European heritage.

    @Robert

    Vampires are an ancient phenomena throughout the ancient world, a bit like gods. Although not called vampires until the 18th century, the word actually has its etymology in your part of the world.

    “Methods of destroying suspected vampires varied, with staking the most commonly cited method, particularly in southern Slavic cultures. Ash was the preferred wood in Russia and the Baltic states, or hawthorn in Serbia, with a record of oak in Silesia. Potential vampires were most often staked through the heart, though the mouth was targeted in Russia and northern Germany and the stomach in north-eastern Serbia. Piercing the skin of the chest was a way of “deflating” the bloated vampire; this is similar to the act of burying sharp objects, such as sickles, in with the corpse, so that they may penetrate the skin if the body bloats sufficiently while transforming into a revenant. Decapitation was the preferred method in German and western Slavic areas, with the head buried between the feet, behind the buttocks or away from the body. This act was seen as a way of hastening the departure of the soul, which in some cultures, was said to linger in the corpse.”

    Surely not Robert. Why would folk go to such lengths unless vampires where real? Wait a minute.

    With the arrival of Christianity in Greece, and other parts of Europe, the vampire “began to take on decidedly Christian characteristics.” As various regions of the continent converted to Christianity, the vampire was viewed as “a dead person who retained a semblance of life and could leave its grave-much in the same way that Jesus had risen after his death and burial and appeared before his followers.”

    Well I never!!!! Who would believe such a thing?

    “In the Middle Ages, the Christian Church reinterpreted vampires from their previous folk existence into minions of Satan, and used an allegory to communicate a doctrine to Christians: “Just as a vampire takes a sinner’s very spirit into itself by drinking his blood, so also can a righteous Christian by drinking Christ’s blood take the divine spirit into himself.” The interpretation of vampires under the Christian Church established connotations that are still associated in the vampire genre today. For example, the “ability of the cross to hurt and ward off vampires is distinctly due to its Christian association.”

    Ya couldn’t make it up…wait a mo…could you?

    In less than a century, ‘Dracula’ moved from an early vampire literature spin off to the cult legend it is today with all the plethora of variations on the theme. Is this sounding familiar in any way?

    “Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) has been the definitive description of the vampire in popular fiction for the last century.”

    So in little over a century, Dracula has become a phenomena?

    “The novel is told in epistolary format, as a series of letters, diary entries, ships’ log entries, and so forth.”

    Hmmmmmmm!!!!

    “The Dracula legend as he created it, and as it has been portrayed in films and television shows, may be a compound of various influences.”

    Hmmmmmm!!!!

    “Although Dracula is a work of fiction, it does contain some historical references. The historical connections with the novel and how much Stoker knew about the history are a matter of conjecture and debate.”

    Hmmmmmmm!!!!

    “According to literary historians Nina Auerbach and David Skal in the Norton Critical Edition, the novel has become more significant for modern readers than it was for contemporary Victorian readers, most of whom enjoyed it just as a good adventure story; it only reached its broad iconic legendary classic status later…”

    Hmmmmmmm!!!

    “The character of Count Dracula is thought by some to be based upon, Vlad Dracula III (Vlad the Impaler). Ţepeş was a notorious 15th century Wallachian (Romanian) warlord, or “Voivode”, also known as Vlad Ţepeş’. Unlike the historical personage, however, Stoker located his Count Dracula in a castle near the Borgo Pass in Transylvania, and ascribed to that area the supernatural aura it retains to this day in the popular imagination.”

    Go way back to the early 1700’s and there is fictional works of vampires. People really ‘believed’ in vampires Robert.

    “Vampire fiction is rooted in the ‘vampire craze’ of the 1720s and 1730s, which culminated in the somewhat bizarre official exhumations of suspected vampires Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole in Serbia under the Habsburg Monarchy.”

    How could that be Robert? I mean, unless they had witnessed a real living /dead, sucking the blood and life force of others.

    Before you suggest it has no parallels to Christianity, there are people today that really believe in vampirism and the subculture surrounding it. Better than that, there are Christian kooks that give it credence too.

    Vampirism

    ” In response to the rising vampire subculture, a Christian counter-movement of self-professed vampire slayers has formed that opposes the notion of real vampires.”

    How could such a thing be Robert…surely Christians wouldn’t be so gullible?

    “Commentators have offered many theories for the origins of vampire beliefs, trying to explain the superstition – and sometimes mass hysteria – caused by vampires. Everything ranging from premature burial to the early ignorance of the body’s decomposition cycle after death has been cited as the cause for the belief in vampires.”

    Who knows how the story of ‘Dracula’ will develop over the next 1900 years. I mean, what sort of educated person would believe such nonsense without historical and archaeological evidence? Wait a minute…

    “In Bulgaria, over 100 skeletons with metal objects, such as plough bits, embedded in the torso have been discovered.”

    ‘Vampire’ skeletons found in Bulgaria near Black Sea

    Vampires must be a real bona fide reality…I mean, why bother with so much palaver if they are not, right?

    Apologies for so much “cut & paste”… it’s just that I don’t think Robert can be bothered with links.



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  • 128
    susanlatimer says:

    Vampires, Paul. That’s perfect. 🙂

    Apologies for so much “cut & paste”… it’s just that I don’t think Robert can be bothered with links.

    Or is overwhelmed by so many. Either way, you’re probably right. Cut and paste is the way to go.

    Robert,

    In case you think I’m encouraging a double standard here, the problem isn’t with cutting and pasting. It’s with cutting and pasting as though it was your own words.



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  • 129
    Robert Kubik says:

    Alan4discussion,

    Are you able to understand that there is a big difference between when the books of New Testament were written and when they were collected and put together?

    The four gospels were all written in the FIRST century and it was proved when the old manuscripts from second century were found. And also archaeology proved that the book of Acts was probably written by an eyewitness. Otherwise there would be some anachronisms.

    It IS NOT IMPORTANT when the canon was made. Do you understand?

    If there were a writter who wrote poems in the 18 century and I would make a collection of his poems in the 21st century, would you say that that he wrote it in the 21st century?

    It is not important that the canon of NT was made in the 4th century, but the fact that the books of NT written not a very long time after crucifiction of Jesus.

    Anyway, making a canon was not an important event as it just officialy claimed what had been in practice before. We know that in second century the christians churches used more or less the same books during the service that were later claimed as a part of NT.



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  • 130
    Robert Kubik says:

    susanlatimer,

    Elvis or vampires is NOT a good example.

    Just imagine that the movement that believe in resurection of Elvis would be a big problem to the government. What would they do? They would provide the evidence of Elvis corpse and stop this movement.

    And what did the authorities in Jerusalem do? Instead of proving evidence of Jesus body they started persecution.

    You ask me: How do you know that they persecuted the preachers of resurection instead of showing evidence that the resurection had not happened?

    It is written in the book of Acts and Josephus Flavius wrote that Herodes ordered to kill James the brother of Christ. So we have two independent sources confirming that the government wanted to stop christiant movement.

    And also archaeology proved that people in Jerusalem believed in resurection of Jesus. I have read an article not in a christian newspaper. It said that there was an archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem and they found a a picture of Jonas and a big fish. The “sign of Jonah,” was mentioned by Jesus as a symbol of his resurrection. And there was written that: “Jahve rose from death.”
    They dated this tomb to the period before the destroying of Jerusalem in AD 70.



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  • 131
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #132 by Robert Kubik:

    No answers to my questions about the courses you quote as sources?????

    Are you able to understand that there is a big difference between when the books of New Testament were written and when they were collected and put together?

    Oh yes! I know editing, false attribution of authorship, second hand accounts, and cherry-picked stories from the 200 years of conflicting versions available at the time.

    The four gospels were all written in the FIRST century and it was proved when the old manuscripts from second century were found.

    You still need a lot of work on what constitutes “evidence” and “proof”.

    And also archaeology proved that the book of Acts was probably written by an eyewitness.

    Really??? Was this made up by some modern journalist or story writer, that you choose to believe?

    Otherwise there would be some anachronisms.

    Gaazzoooing!!!

    It IS NOT IMPORTANT when the canon was made. Do you understand?

    Really??? When you claim there were eye witnesses, and there is a couple of hundred years of folk-law and forgery involved?

    It is not important that the canon of NT was made in the 4th century, but the fact that the books of NT written not a very long time after crucifiction of Jesus.

    So you keep asserting , as the actual evidence does not suit your argument, but you have no evidence that a Jesus from these stories existed or that this was who was crucified. You have been plenty of evidence and links to show these assertions are incorrect. Dates starting from a resurrection which did not happen are bound to be dubious.

    Anyway, making a canon was not an important event as it just officialy claimed what had been in practice before.

    Really???? It is THE KEY EVENT in the composition of THE New Testament!

    We know that in second century the christians churches used more or less the same books during the service that were later claimed as a part of NT.

    Really??? !!!! – When HISTORIANS tell us there were so many conflicting different accounts being promoted by different sects, that the Roman church had to hold a conference at Nicaea to decide on which to adopt as the official version!

    You really, really, really like wishful thinking, and have no hesitation in dismissing anything which does not suit your argument or preconceived ideas!

    Now what about some sources for your information – and I do mean ones which actually contain references to what you have been claiming – from people with some credentials.



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  • 133
    Ryan1306 says:

    You keep asking why didn’t the Roman’s exhume Jesus’ body (If he was even buried) and show it to everybody and the answer is simple, there was no reason to. Jesus, believe or not, was pretty much a unknown figure in his time. Right after Jesus’ death there was no huge movement that the Romans needed to put the breaks on, only a few hundred people in region with tens of million of people living in it with hundred’s of different religions being practiced. If you would had looked at Ignorant Amos’ link on the persecution of Christians you would have seen that for a long time, the Roman didn’t even make a distinction between Christians and Jews. That time and place was over flowing with Messiahs and to the Romans the Jesus story wouldn’t have stood out.

    In reply to #133 by Robert Kubik:

    susanlatimer,

    Elvis or vampires is NOT a good example.

    Just imagine that the movement that believe in resurection of Elvis would be a big problem to the government. What would they do? They would provide the evidence of Elvis corpse and stop this movement.

    And what did the authorities in Jerusalem do? Instead of proving evidence of Jesus body they started persecution.

    em in AD 70.



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  • 134
    Ryan1306 says:

    Hey Robert, I also would like to know what you think about the link that Susan provided in post 129 about the polytheistic origins of your one true god.



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  • 135
    susanlatimer says:

    In reply to #137 by Ryan1306:

    Hey Robert, I also would like to know what you think about the link that Susan provided in post 129 about the polytheistic origins of your one true god.

    I first watched that video because Quine linked it a year or more ago to a christian who worked in computer fields and who started out asking some very fair questions. Sadly, the person to whom he linked it disappeared from the discussion not much later. It couldn’t be more relevant. Every person who accepts claims based on assuming that Yahweh is the default “God” should be aware of the history of Yahweh.

    Quine is a great teacher. He’s patient and charitable to theists and atheists alike and he always knew what to link.

    I don’t see much of him here lately but he has had great influence on a lot of people.

    His blog is excellent. I would love to provide a link to that, but I think it would be in violation of the rules.

    No blog links, for one. Plus, it would be off this particular topic.



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  • 137
    Ryan1306 says:

    Yeah I watched it when Quine linked it as well. He is a excellent contributor to the site. I’ve seen him post here and there lately but not with much frequency. The video it’s self is very illuminating. I had all ways noticed polytheistic under tones in the Old Testament but the video really spells it out. Jesus seemed unaware of this, which is strange considering he was supposed to be god incarnate. He also seemed to be ignorant of biological evolution which is again kind of strange considering he’s the one that was supposed to have been guiding it.
    In reply to #138 by susanlatimer:



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  • 138
    susanlatimer says:

    @Ryan1306 #140

    He is a excellent contributor to the site.

    One of the best.

    Jesus seemed unaware of this, which is strange considering he was supposed to be god incarnate. He also seemed to be ignorant of biological evolution which is again kind of strange considering he’s the one that was supposed to have been guiding it.

    Yep. He was pretty daft for a god. Pretty moody too. Not very godlike.



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  • 139
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #140 by Ryan1306:

    Yeah I watched it when Quine linked it as well. He is a excellent contributor to the site. I’ve seen him post here and there lately but not with much frequency. The video it’s self is very illuminating. I had all ways noticed polytheistic under tones in the Old Testament but the video really spells it out.

    Just as I regularly point out the neuroscience of “god-spots in the brain”, when theists would prefer us to look into the distant universe for a god which isn’t there, we really should bring this video out more often when the “Genesis crowd” turn up.

    I already refer to Nicaea and the Gnostic and Coptic gospels, scrolls etc, for the NT literalists. This sort of knowledge needs to be more widely spread, to counter the confident ignorance of, “I’ve been told a few Bible Stories and learned no history, so I know all about it!”

    It may not reduce the the numbers of hard-core literalists, but it is very likely to increase the size of the crowd laughing at them!



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  • 140
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #139 by JHJEFFERY: (03/07/2013 16:36 PM)

    In reply to #124 by Robert Kubik: (03/04/2013 08:01 AM)

    I just can not explained how could all of them believed they SAW Jesus if it had not happened? Who hypnotised all of them when Jeus was death? Who hypnotised Paul?

    Paul was not hypnotized. He suffered from epilipsy and had a gran mal seizure.

    I seem to recall you explaining this to Robert over here a month ago!

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias?category=Religion#

    JHJEFFERY- (comment 53) – 02/02/2013 16:56 PM

    No, Robert, wrong again. Your truth structure is delightfully off center. Paul saw Jesus (or so he said–he did not know what Jesus looked like) during a gran mal epileptic seizure. The symptoms he describes are classic. The only other time he “saw Jesus” he admits he was in a trance (petit mal). He also, as I patiently pointed out to you before, tells the story two different ways: in one, his companions heard the voice, in the other, they did not. Does this say anything about the reliability of Paul?

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬

    And where did you get the idea that all of the disciples were martyred. PLEASE READ SOMETHING. MUCH HAS BEEN PUT ON YOUR PLATE. I think it is rude to ignore was has been offered to you and to keep coming back with the same misinformation.

    Please stop doing this.

    It is drivel.

    Thank you.

    Looks like incredulity, troll blinkers, and the “auto-reset” button!



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  • 141
    Ryan1306 says:

    I agree, the video is pretty damning and not just to the Genesis crowd. If Jesus/god is supposed to be the one and only god but the Old Testament starts off describing a polytheistic universe, that seems like a major problem to me.
    In reply to #142 by Alan4discussion:

    Just as I regularly point out the neuroscience of “god-spots in the brain”, when theists would prefer us to look into the distant universe for a god which isn’t there, we really should bring this video out more often when the “Genesis crowd” turn up.

    I already refer to Nicaea and the Gnostic and Coptic gospels, scrolls etc, for the NT literalists. This sort of knowledge needs to be more widely spread, to counter the confident ignorance of, “I’ve been told a few Bible Stories and learned no history, so I know all about it!”

    It may not reduce the the numbers of hard-core literalists, but it is very likely to increase the size of the crowd laughing at them!



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  • 142
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #133 by Robert Kubik:

    Elvis or vampires is NOT a good example.

    Just imagine that the movement that believe in resurection of Elvis would be a big problem to the government. What would they do? They would provide the evidence of Elvis corpse and stop this movement.

    You have completely missed the point. They are good examples because they show the human capacity to believe complete and utter nonsense. Do you believe anyone saw a risen Elvis? Do you believe that people can rise from the dead in order to suck the life force out of the living?

    And what did the authorities in Jerusalem do? Instead of proving evidence of Jesus body they started persecution.

    Again you miss the point. The authorities would have had no reason to present such evidence because there wasn’t a horde of Christians claiming a risen Messiah….that bit came later. Well after any crucified body would’ve been picked clean on the cross and decomposed in a burial midden as was the norm, ergo, no evidence. You need to get this simple point before any advance can be made in the debate.

    You ask me: How do you know that they persecuted the preachers of resurection instead of showing evidence that the resurection had not happened?

    It is written in the book of Acts and Josephus Flavius wrote that Herodes ordered to kill James the brother of Christ. So we have two independent sources confirming that the government wanted to stop christiant movement.

    You really are getting obtuse now.

    Who wrote the book of Acts and when? Well, it could not have been written earlier than 64 AD, by whom, we have no way of knowing.

    As for Josephus’ testimony, be careful what you wish for. The lack of any substantial reference to the Christian movement in the annals of Josephus means that he was either unaware of it, or at best, didn’t give it much thought or think it worthy of record. How can that be when you assert there were so many followers of Christianity roaming the empire getting so much persecution? Josephus didn’t start his writing until 71 AD, but the bigger problem you have is there is no original of his work and the earliest example in the language it would’ve been written is an 11th century Greek minuscule, copied by Christian monks. Latin versions from the 6th century have been used to reconstruct the Greek version. That creates even greater problems.

    “Because manuscript transmission was done by hand-copying, typically by monastic scribes, almost all ancient texts have been subject to both accidental and deliberate alterations, emendations (called interpolation) or elisions. It is both the lack of any original corroborating manuscript source outside the Christian tradition as well as the practice of Christian interpolation that has led to the scholarly debate regarding the authenticity of Josephus’ references to Jesus in his work. Although there is no doubt that most (but not all) of the later copies of the Antiquities contained references to Jesus and John the Baptist, it cannot be definitively shown that these were original to Josephus writings, and were not instead added later by Christian interpolators.”

    The gap in the historical record of any contemporary writers is glaring.

    “The Jewish philosopher Philo (50 CE) absolutely makes no reference to Jesus’ crucifixion. The Christians are embarrassed that Philo lived during Jesus’ lifetime and never mentioned his resurrection.”

    The following writers do not mention Jesus’ resurrection:

    Philo-Judaeus

    Martial

    Arrian

    Appian

    Theon of Smyrna

    Lucanus

    Aulus Gellius

    Seneca

    Plutarch

    Apollonius

    Epictetus

    Silius Italicus

    Ptolemy

    None of these writers mentioned Jesus’ resurrection. Strange don’t you think? I mean, if it happened that is.

    And also archaeology proved that people in Jerusalem believed in resurection of Jesus. I have read an article not in a christian newspaper. It said that there was an archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem and they found a a picture of Jonas and a big fish. The “sign of Jonah,” was mentioned by Jesus as a symbol of his resurrection. And there was written that: “Jahve rose from death.”
    They dated this tomb to the period before the destroying of Jerusalem in AD 70.

    What, you mean that about the same time the first gospel started circulating. Here’s an article on the tomb.

    Tomb Exploration Reveals First Archaeological Evidence of Christianity from the Time of Jesus

    Look, let me spell this out for you very S-L-O-W-L-Y. No one on this site is arguing that there were people in the first century that believed the story of an itinerant teacher that was crucified and resurrected. Human gullibility being what it is and all that. That just proves humans are gullible. You don’t believe that Mohamad flew on a winged horse, Joseph Smith was directed by two angels to find golden plates with the word of a god on them, Ron L. Hubbard and Xenu, the Sumerian god of heaven Anu…or the thousands of other gods from belief systems throughout human history, all with archaeological references, but none of which prove any of them are true.

    The story of Jonah and the big fish was a part of Jewish mythology centuries before the time of Jesus. You are using that circular reasoning again. Matthew and Luke reference the alleged story as told by Jesus. Matthew and Luke copied Mark, possibly each other and another unknown unifying source, ‘Q’. None of this is evidence of a resurrected Jesus, just that a story of a resurrected Jesus existed. Vampires are mythology, skeletons found with stakes through their chests don’t prove that people came back from the dead and sucked the blood from the living, they just prove that asinine individuals believed such bullshit. Like the asinine belief that a person rose from the dead nearly two millennia ago.

    You have provided absolutely nothing that proved a Jesus Christ was anything more than a myth or that there was a resurrection.



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  • 143
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #142 by Alan4discussion:

    I already refer to Nicaea and the Gnostic and Coptic gospels, scrolls etc, for the NT literalists. This sort of knowledge needs to be more widely spread, to counter the confident ignorance of, “I’ve been told a few Bible Stories and learned no history, so I know all about it!”

    It may not reduce the the numbers of hard-core literalists, but it is very likely to increase the size of the crowd laughing at them!

    Yip. Robert has read an apologist book and accepts the contents as…well, gospel. Gary Habermas and Roberts pet apologist and Habermas’ protege, Mike Licona go to great length to misrepresent the issue. They trot out the 10/42 nonsense like it is a deal clincher and the gullible suck it up. A good demolition of the nonsense by a real historian, Matthew Ferguson can be found here.

    Ten Reasons to Reject the Apologetic 10/42 Source Slogan

    The article is also a source of other interesting gems for ones arsenal.



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  • 144
    susanlatimer says:

    Robert has read an apologist book and accepts the contents as…well, gospel.

    I can sympathize with this to some extent. The apologists’ strategy is to strike an authoritative stance, claiming that they are honestly and comprehensively addressing the subject.

    For good measure, they suggest that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is doing so for biased reasons. I can see how seductive the story might be for someone without sufficient historical or scientific background.

    But he’s heard from historians and scientists and still wants to believe the apologists.

    This is not about reason. It’s about wishful thinking.

    For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would want such a morally twisted story to be true. That they would want it to be true to the extent that they disregard the overwhelming evidence against it and that they accept such flimsy evidence in its support is even more disturbing.

    There is a lot of kool-aid being poured out there and some people are drinking it by the pitcherful.

    We really are strange critters.



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  • 145
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #146 by Ignorant Amos:

    Yip. Robert has read an apologist book and accepts the contents as…well, gospel. Gary Habermas and Roberts pet apologist and Habermas’ protege, Mike Licona go to great length to misrepresent the issue.

    I pointed out in an earlier discussion, that these claims looked as if they were coming from some apologist, “quote-miners anonymous” digest – (a science / atheist historians cannot answer list!).

    The give away, is that when challenged, those quoting from such misleading rubbish, are at a loss, so simply repeat the assertions, or move on, when the obscure references fail to impress.

    The expectation is that most people in an audience, would be insufficiently informed to effectively challenge such obscure assertions.

    The implication of uncritically accepting such spoon-fed deception, is that those quoting such creationist rubbish, have no personal investigative research skills, so are at a loss when challenged to debate the evidenced historical issues – leaving them only confirmation bias denial, and assertion of what they really, really, really want to believe!



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  • 146
    Ignorant Amos says:

    @ Susan & Alan…

    The apologists also do not demand the same burden of proof from their own camp as is demanded from everyone else.

    The rules of the historical method seem to get completely relaxed when researching biblical claims and the historical Jesus. Historians agree to this fact.

    Even Bart Ehrman is guilty of this folly in his recent book. Erroneously claiming multiple witness attestation to a real life Jesus figure when what he cites is anything but. Which, from such an excellent and prolific writer is a bit annoying to say the least. I was expecting a game changer with Ehrman’s latest effort, he is usually more adept, but I was seriously disappointed and unimpressed with his response to Carriers critique of his methods and scholarship. Lets see if Richard Carrier’s argument is anymore convincing, it is due release presently.

    Roberts consensus claim that all worthwhile scholarship is in agreement on an historical Jesus is a bit skewed and as more scholars enter the fray, the argument is being tested further. But even granting him an historical character, no historian is in agreement with the supernatural claims in the Christian scriptures and this is where poor Robert fails to get a grip of things.

    “…the discipline of critical history, as Martin himself acknowledges, depends upon bringing forth publicly accessible evidence and employing modes of reasoning that are commonly accepted in everyday life: in newspapers, law courts and inquiries of many different sorts. Although there are undoubtedly dogmatic historians who reject miracles out of hand, an intellectually sophisticated historian would never claim that miracles cannot happen but only that the historian, as historian, is never able to claim that a given event is supernaturally caused. For an historian to argue that a given event was a miracle, he would have to have some public grounds for claiming that only a supernatural power could have caused it. But historians cannot know this; far less can they know that this power was the Christian God.”

    Jesus and History, the Believer and the Historian

    Of course, with all the Kool-Aid on tap for those with an insatiable appetite for confirmation bias, no amount of respectable debate will convince them of the problems within their texts. Still, it makes for a bit of excitement around here from time-to-time. We don’t want to be labeled a back slapping site with any dissenters not being allowed to make their point.



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  • 147
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY, Where did you get the information that Paul suffered from epilipsy and had a gran mal seizure? Isnt it strange that during the Pauls life nobody said it? Just during the modern age people who do not believe in supernational said he suffered from epilipsy cause he fell off hourse.

    But during the Paul`s life they claimed Paul to have a different diagnose.

    Acts chapter 26 says: 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

    25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.



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  • 148
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #150 by Robert Kubik:
    JHJEFFERY, Where did you get the information that Paul suffered from epilipsy and had a gran mal seizure? Isnt it strange that during the Pauls life nobody said it? Just during the modern age people who do not believe in supernational said he suffered from epilipsy cause he fell off hourse.

    You have turned it around backwards again making a virtue out of ignorant superstition.

    People in Roman times did not understand modern medical diagnoses, so it was all supernatural magic to them!

    History

    The word epilepsy is derived from the Greek word for “attack.”[20] Seizures were long viewed as an otherworldly condition being referred to by Hippocrates in 400B.C. as “the sacred disease” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epileptic-seizure

    It took me less than 2 minutes to find this historical medical quote!

    When are you going to do some basic research instead of copying and quoting nonsense from books written by ignoramuses?



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  • 149
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #150 by Robert Kubik:

    Robert, you are barking now. Sometimes one just has to be a “dick” when dealing with certain individuals. Whether it is driven by frustration or by the obstinacy of the protagonist only piss taking remains. A bit shallow I know, but WTF? You have continuously disregarded important aspects of the discourse in favour of incidentals. I think you are a Poe.

    Of all the points raised since your last comment, this one has given you the most concern? Really? Un-fucking-believable.

    JHJEFFERY, Where did you get the information that Paul suffered from epilipsy and had a gran mal seizure?

    I’ve got this Jerry.

    Are you genuinely suggesting you’ve not heard of this hypothesis?

    From the accounts of Paul’s ailments in the scriptures, ya know the ones you keep harping on about as accurate accounts? Experts have drawn an inference using professional diagnosis procedures that Paul suffered from epilepsy. Now, no one can know for sure, but given what is known from the texts, the man was sick. The probability is much higher that Paul likely had epilepsy than a supernatural episode. He might have been smoking, sniffing or chewing something, but that is just my personal opinion.

    There are even some so-called **medical papers on the subject.

    You are now going to try and have your cake and eat it I fear. Whether Paul was an epileptic or lunatic matters not in the grand scale of things…he was most certainly delusional.

    Heck, the condition of epilepsy has the nickname “St. Paul’s Disease”. I can’t think why.

    Isnt it strange that during the Pauls life nobody said it?

    Not a bit. Who was writing about Paul? Who even knew him? What I find a lot more stranger is that no one seems to mention the big be-Jesus fella. Never mind Paul’s epilepsy or lunacy.

    Just during the modern age people who do not believe in supernational said he suffered from epilipsy cause he fell off hourse.

    You are crazy Robert. Where does it say in your religious texts that Paul was on a horse to even fall off? Is a person likely to have an epileptic seizure by falling of a horse? Did you make that shit up or did ya read it in one of your apologist books?

    Alan linked about the condition in ancient times. It appears to be associated with religious experiences.

    “In the past, epilepsy was associated with religious experiences and even demonic possession. In ancient times, epilepsy was known as the “Sacred Disease” (as described in a 5th century BC treatise by Hippocrates ) because people thought that epileptic seizures were a form of attack by demons, or that the visions experienced by persons with epilepsy were sent by the gods.”

    But during the Paul`s life they claimed Paul to have a different diagnose.

    Acts chapter 26 says: 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

    25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.

    Acts was not written in Paul’s lifetime. But if you are happier with your scriptural hero being classed as a mental case, who am I to argue?

    Whether a dream, hallucination, or as a result of medical condition, Paul’s vision of someone called Jesus was at best a delusion…a more reasonable assertion is that it was a lie.



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  • 150
    susanlatimer says:

    Robert,

    You don’t seem the least bit interested in what the evidence says. The evidence says you don’t get Yahweh or most of the hideous stories told about him, including Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel and the enslavement of the Israelists in Egypt and their subsequent escape.

    Yahweh is as real as Thor.

    You don’t have a resurrection. You have numerous Jesus cults who believed quite different things about a guy whose Greek name was Jesus from a town we’re not even sure was around at the time who either did exist and morphed into a mythological hero/god or possibly didn’t exist at all, except through stories. Eventually one of these cults got a foot up in Rome centuries later and the rest is history (and not a very pretty one). As far as I can tell, Jesus is as real as Robin Hood, which is to say, if he existed, the real person was so obscured by legend that he’s no longer recognizable.

    (I’ll leave it to other members here to correct me on any misunderstanding of the facts I might have. It’s hard to keep all the information straight.)

    You’re still sticking to your story though. That imaginary Yahweh sent his son to earth to die horribly in order to save us from the trap that imaginary Adam and Eve got us into when they couldn’t have known any better as they had no idea what sin was before they sunk their teeth into the imaginary fruit.

    The only evidence that it happened is stories that got passed around by a tiny minority of humans who are members of a species that make things up innocently and maliciously. Humans have always made stuff up. Tens of thousands of gods and innumerable supernatural beings.

    We get things wrong all the time, Robert. We invent magical answers when we don’t have the means or the work ethic to find real ones. We jump to wrong conclusions because that’s what we do. And we lie. Humans lie all the time. They lie to manipulate other humans in order to gain influence, power and money.

    The only way to separate what’s real from what we tend to make up is with disciplined, unbiased evaluation of the evidence and by continually refining our methodology to protect us from the errors we so naturally make.

    You either care about what archaeologists, historians and scientists bring to the discussion or you don’t. If you don’t, there’s no point in trying to discuss it. Your commitment is an emotional one and what’s true is incidental.

    It’s a terrible story, Robert. Why do you want to believe it’s true?



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  • 151
    susanlatimer says:

    One more question, Robert.

    Of all the links that have been provided for you in your discussions on this site, how many have you looked at?

    I don’t expect you to have looked at all of them. There have been so many.

    But how many?

    Which ones?



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  • 152
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    Since my first Comment here – #35 – I have learned a great deal about the historicity of Jesus.

    As a life-long non-theist I am not very interested in studying these myths, since there is so much science to learn instead, but this thread has enlightened me greatly, and I thank the very knowledgeable and ever-so-patient Commentators who have spent so much time on another ungrateful, blinkered, biased faith-head.

    I’m sure many readers have learned from all this good information – and more about critical thinking – so your efforts are not at all in vain. Thanks to you all for stirring up my brain again.

    Mac – still at 6.999 on the scale …. 😎



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  • 153
    Robert Kubik says:

    Ignorant Amos,

    I said it so many times, that the author of the book of Acts was very accurate in many details so this book was very likely written in the half of the 1st century. So he was probably accurate in the account of preaching of Paul and other apostles too.

    And if Paul had had some kind of psychiatric diagnosis how come, that he solve so many situations so brilliantly? For example in the chapter 23 he stands trial in which the aim was not fairly investigate his case, but just accuse him. He solve this problem brilliantly by tellig the words that devided them and the trial was over.

    Or when he was preaching in Athens he found the way how to pass the gospel without offending them.

    He does not have any signs of a mentally ill person.



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  • 154
    JHJEFFERY says:

    In reply to #156 by Robert Kubik:

    Ignorant Amos,I said it so many times, that the author of the book of Acts was very accurate in many details so this book was very likely written in the half of the 1st century. So he was probably accurate in the account of preaching of Paul and other apostles too.And if Paul had had some kind of psychiatric diagnosis how come, that he solve so many situations so brilliantly? For example in the chapter 23 he stands trial in which the aim was not fairly investigate his case, but just accuse him. He solve this problem brilliantly by tellig the words that devided them and the trial was over.Or when he was preaching in Athens he found the way how to pass the gospel without offending them.He does not have any signs of a mentally ill person.

    This is batshit crazy. He was a textbook case of epilepsy. Only saw JC twice, and both, by his own admission, in a trance. And while we’re on the subject, did the others around him hear the voice? (He tells it both ways).

    [Edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]



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  • 155
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #157 by JHJEFFERY:

    In reply to #156 by Robert Kubik:

    This is batshit crazy. He was a textbook case of epilepsy. Only saw JC twice, and both, by his own admission, in a trance. And while we’re on the subject, did the others around him hear the voice? (He tells it both ways).

    [Edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

    My goodness JHJ, I’ve never seen you being immoderate before – someone give you indigestion?



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  • 156
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY,

    You call it transe, because you do not admitt possibility that the power of God pushed him down.

    What about the others? Did all the twelve had a hallucination in a trance? And what about Jesus brother James? Was he epileptic too?



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  • 158
    Robert Kubik says:

    JHJEFFERY,

    You were right. There are some contradictions in the story of his conversion that Paul retells in the book of Acts in the chapter 22 and chapter 26 and the story is in chapter 9. He says that the people who were with him heard the voice and later that they did not. I know it has never happened to you but I admit that when I sometimes retell my experiences there are sometimes some differences too.

    But if you point out at differences in the speech of Paul, do you accept that the book of Acts is an accurate record of the history of the first church and the speeches of Paul, Peter and other apostles?
    And there is written several times that Peter preached publicly in the streets of Jerusalem that Jesus had risen and we all are eyewitnesses of his resurection.

    You asked me in the previous discussion where Paul wrote that he had been preaching exactly the same gospel as the other apostles. I found some verses. In Galatians 1st and 2nd chapter he wrote that he spent 15 days with Peter and later came to Jerusalem to the other apostles to check whether he had been preaching the same gospel.

    In the 1st Corinthian chapter 15 where he writes about resurection of Jesus who had been seen by 500 people he writes in the verse 11 that all the apostles are preaching the same Gospel.

    And about different nonbiblical sources confirming that the apostles prechaed the same message as Paul was spoken at the video I provided link to.



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  • 159
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #161 by Robert Kubik:

    You were right. There are some contradictions in the story of his conversion that Paul retells in the book of Acts in the chapter 22 and chapter 26 and the story is in chapter 9. He says that the people who were with him heard the voice and later that they did not.

    Of course he is right, he is a scholar and checks his source.

    I know it has never happened to you but I admit that when I sometimes retell my experiences there are sometimes some differences too.

    Spoiiing!!! …and I bet the older the experiences, the more differences. Humans generally don’t relay stories verbatim. That is the biggest problem with your scriptures. Humans like embellishment when retelling a story and sometimes raising themselves from the third party to the first party. Walter Mitty syndrome I call it, or third party yarning. People do it all the time, usually to impress.

    But if you point out at differences in the speech of Paul, do you accept that the book of Acts is an accurate record of the history of the first church and the speeches of Paul, Peter and other apostles?

    NO!!!

    And there is written several times that Peter preached publicly in the streets of Jerusalem that Jesus had risen and we all are eyewitnesses of his resurection.

    And there is written several times that Sherlock Holmes took cocaine and played the violin. 221b Baker Street, London is a real place and Holmes smoked a Meerschaum pipe.

    ” All but four stories are narrated by Holmes’s friend and biographer, Dr John H. Watson; two are narrated by Sherlock Holmes himself, and two others are written in the third person.”

    You asked me in the previous discussion where Paul wrote that he had been preaching exactly the same gospel as the other apostles. I found some verses. In Galatians 1st and 2nd chapter he wrote that he spent 15 days with Peter and later came to Jerusalem to the other apostles to check whether he had been preaching the same gospel.

    • Paul’s possible description of the Council of Jerusalem (Gal 2:1–10) gives a different point of view from the description in Acts 15:2–29, if it is, in fact, describing the Jerusalem Council.*

    In the 1st Corinthian chapter 15 where he writes about resurection of Jesus who had been seen by 500 people he writes in the verse 11 that all the apostles are preaching the same Gospel.

    Do you believe 500 people witnessed a resurrected crucifixion victim and not a single account of it was made outside the book you refer to? You are using a story in a book to support the veracity of a story in a book Robert…that is circular reasoning. Sherlock Holmes chased a big hound over Dartmoor. It’s true, I read it in a book. Holmes is a character, big hounds are real and there is a place called Dartmoor. Must be true.

    And about different nonbiblical sources confirming that the apostles prechaed the same message as Paul was spoken at the video I provided link to

    That horse has been flogged to the bone. Provide specific examples or give it up why don’t you? Not biased videos…proper scholarly citations please..



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  • 160
    JHJEFFERY says:

    In reply to #159 by Robert Kubik:

    JHJEFFERY,

    You call it transe, because you do not admitt possibility that the power of God pushed him down.

    Don’t believe me–that’s what Paul called it. So Paul didn’t get it right? And you base your belief in superstition on THAT?

    .> What about the others? Did all the twelve had a hallucination in a trance? And what about Jesus brother James? Was he epileptic too?

    No evidence of that. But it’s not likely that he existed.



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  • 161
    JHJEFFERY says:

    I know it has never happened to you but I admit that when I sometimes retell my experiences there are sometimes some differences too.

    Not on a topic that is fundamental to my core belefs. And I’m not asking you to believe that a Jew rose from the dead, now, am i?



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  • 162
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #156 by Robert Kubik:

    This is becoming excruciatingly tiresome.

    I said it so many times, that the author of the book of Acts was very accurate in many details so this book was very likely written in the half of the 1st century.

    Say it till you are blue in the face, it matters not a jote, you don’t get to make stuff up, post it here as fact and expect better educated people on the subject to feed at the trough of your bullshit.

    The book of “The Acts of the Apostles” could not have been written in the first half of the 1st century. Acts was part of a single book which included the gospel according to Luke. It was Irenaeus late in the 2nd century that split it and applied its title. Scholars vary on the date, but none date it to the first half of the first century.

    Many scholars assert that the author of Acts ‘borrowed’ from Josephus…

    “[A]uthor of Acts relied heavily on the book, Antiquities of the Jews, written by the Jewish historian, Josephus and published in 93 CE”

    Acts was written by the author of the gospel according to Luke, but after the gospel. The gospel of Luke plagiarizes parts of the gospel of Mark, the gospel of Mark is dated to be the earliest extent gospel, AD 60-70.

    Even the Catholic encyclopedia places Acts authorship at AD 64.

    So he was probably accurate in the account of preaching of Paul and other apostles too.

    So you keep asserting, but that is just not the case…

    “Acts describes Paul differently from how he describes himself, both factually and theologically.”

    Contradictions in Acts

    “Acts features twenty-four extended speeches or sermons from Peter, Paul, and others. The speeches comprise about 30% of the total verses. These speeches, which are given in full, have been the source of debates over the historical accuracy of Acts. Some scholars have objected to the language of the speeches as too Lukan in style to reflect anyone else’s words. George Shillington writes that the author of Acts most likely created the speeches and accordingly they bear his literary and theological marks.”

    And if Paul had had some kind of psychiatric diagnosis how come, that he solve so many situations so brilliantly?

    For example in the chapter 23 he stands trial in which the aim was not fairly investigate his case, but just accuse him. He solve this problem brilliantly by tellig the words that devided them and the trial was over.

    You are doing the circular reasoning dance again. Just because there is an account of an event doesn’t make it so. Who wrote it? When did they write it? Where did they write it? For whom did they write it? Is the account corroborated? What was the authors source?

    Or when he was preaching in Athens he found the way how to pass the gospel without offending them.

    See above. You’ve got the *Woozle effect really bad Robert.

    • ” It describes a pattern of bias seen within social sciences and which is identified as leading to multiple errors in individual and public perception, academia, policy making and government. A woozle is also a claim made about research which is not supported by original findings.”

    He does not have any signs of a mentally ill person.

    No? So you would accept the testimony of everyone that made the same assertions. They seen the risen Jesus who gave them a set of particular instructions? Like these folk…

    *”Jennifer told investigators a “spirit” voice told her to harm the baby as a test of faith, according to court documents. “She said she knew that it was wrong to harm the baby, but that the `spirit’ voice assured her that the baby would be returned from the dead,” the documents state. “Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool,” she told investigators.

    “She is told allegedly by these voices to throw her baby down on the ground and he will be healed,” Bakkedahl said. “She was of the opinion it was God speaking to her.”*

    It is called being delusional Robert…hallucinations can be induced by sunstroke and hypothermia, both conditions that can be experienced in the desert…or maybe Paul just made the story up. All alternatives are way more plausible, with far greater probability than a miraculous supernatural visitation by a reincarnate deity.

    But you keep on guzzling down the Kool-Aid there Billy-Bob…it seems your wish to believe the incredulous will trump anything more rational.



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  • 163
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #167 by Ignorant Amos:

    In reply to #166 by longlivemonkeys:

    Well it’s been some time since I’ve read so much ignorant tripe in just one comment.

    Thanks Paul – yet again – for your clear and controlled response. There’s no way I could stay within the T&C in a reply to yet another blinkered religinut. It’s bloody amazing just how far from informed and rational sanity these ignorant feckers can be.

    This thread has been another trying time for readers who are grounded in reality. Yet more evidence for removing innocent children from abusive faith indoctrination. I’m fortunate that wasn’t part of my upbringing, despite being surrounded by it back in Scotland…. Mac.



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  • 164
    susanlatimer says:

    In reply to #168 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Yeah.

    From one Canadian to another… you gotta love him, eh?

    (No matter what he said about Dudley Doright).



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  • 165
    JHJEFFERY says:

    longlivemonkeys 166

    AnswersinGenesis!! Where has this site been all my life! My eyes are opened! I’m sure no one on this site had ever heard of this bunch of liars before. Thanks for cluing us in!

    Unbelievable.



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  • 166
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #166 by longlivemonkeys:

    If the air does not understand the language, which you are right, how possible that it conveys millions of conversations in less one second without mixing them up! Evolution more or less makes some explanations about evolution in their own understanding but this topic is above their heads. You cannot explain this with anything but creation; each air particular works like the best amazing and miraculous tape recorder. It is miracle; I agree with the debater.

    I think this has confirmed a level of “scientific understanding”!

    If you are really happy with this kind of funny debater’ blogs, why are you blocking them? You are really calm; me too. Let’ s pray that they would be calm too and stop blocking people’ ideas.

    This site debates science and reason, looking at evidence from competently conducted scientific or historical studies.
    Points are raised and questions answered, but tolling nonsense only pollutes discussions and muddles issues.

    I can understand the difficulties, of those who have been badly misinformed, and those whose scientific education has been neglected to the point, where they cannot even understand the answers they are given.



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  • 167
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #166 by longlivemonkeys:

    For your scientific info, you can go check the web page. Science already states that DNA structures are different.

    http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c018.html

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v17/n1/dna

    Do not have bias when you check the web pages,

    Ha! ha! ha! ha! Best comedy on the whole thread! What would the clowns on those links know about the similarities and differences in DNA structures?

    the references are from scientific magazines.

    I think this confuses science magazines with pseudoscience comic books!
    Science journals and science magazines contain REAL science! – You know – that sciency stuff written by university biologists, geneticists, geologists, physicists, astronomers, cosmologists etc!



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  • 168
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #170 by JHJEFFERY: – 170

    AnswersinGenesis!!

    After careful consideration of their grasp of science, I hereby rename the site “AnswersInGormlessness”!



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