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Old 03-26-2001, 07:56 AM   #41
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Nomad, I have to hand it to you. You are Orwell's wet dream. I can picture you now at the Ministry of Love explaining to Winston why your arguments are doubleplusgood as you apply the current.

You're like Torquemada's consigliere, always present to make sure the pretense of the law is at least declared if not actually followed.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">YOU: Christianity is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

THE BOARD: No, actually, there's nothing that unique or great about it.

YOU: I know, I wasn't claiming that it was "unique," I was stating quite clearly that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, historically speaking and nothing but the actual existence of Jesus as God can account for that, but I'm only implying this and certainly not directly stating it. Where did I ever directly state this? Show me.

THE BOARD: Sliced bread is not that special and for many thousands of years people have been just fine without having bread pre-sliced, or simply slicing their bread themselves one piece at a time, or else they just ripped a piece off that they needed when they needed it, thereby keeping the rest of the loaf fresh. And what about the fact that sliced bread is really only in America and not that popular in other parts of the World? In fact, most places do not slice their bread and when bread slicing was forced upon them by centuries of oppressive, dictatorial decree, the locals rejected it even when they were tortured and killed for not slicing their bread. They may know of bread slicing, but that doesn't mean that slicing bread is special or prove that slicing bread is God given.

YOU: Does anybody believe this crap? You need to study history, my friend. I want to find out how many people here actually believe this drivel.

THE BOARD: Please address our arguments.

YOU: You're not taking into account the fact that bread per se was never initially pre-sliced and that was clearly not great; certainly no where near as great as having sliced bread. And here, to answer your question, I'm talking about the Western notion of sliced bread and how it is "great," ok? Not necessarily the European idea of slicing bread as they, admittedly don't slice it that often the way it's done here and don't see it as "great" or "not great" due to very complex reasons that I've gone into already on another fifteen posts outside this one.

THE BOARD: You've completely evaded our arguments with tangential nonsense. What the hell are you talking about?

YOU: Bread. And slicing. Pre. It's the greatest thing. Can't you read? Christianity is bread pre-sliced. Please stay on topic and do some research and stop being condescending, ok little boy?

I'm talking about slicing bread into Western Christianity and how great it is because the whole world does it and I think the majority of people in here understand that, ok?

Now please change your tone and provide quotes so that I can misinterpret them right in front of your own eyes, only to reinterpret my misinterpretation while never addressing or acknowledging my primary fuck up.
</font>
You're always entertaining, Nomad. Always entertaining

In fact, from an educational standpoint (like scientists studying a rat in a maze), you're invaluable!

Keep up the good work!


(edited for formatting - Koy)



[This message has been edited by Koyaanisqatsi (edited March 26, 2001).]
 
Old 03-26-2001, 11:25 AM   #42
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Koy - you nailed him.

But he's just here to find out how unbelievers think.
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Old 03-26-2001, 12:26 PM   #43
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Bullshit, Nomad. How can you say that when Islam is more successful world wide, and Buddhism had a similar sort of success in Asia?</font>
How do you consider Islam to be more successful please?

And my understanding is that Buddhism is no longer found in India at all, nor the Middle East, nor Pakistan, nor Russia or the former Soviet Republics. What Asia are you talking about here? The Orient?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Name one non-Christian historian who thinks that the success of Christianity is unusual.</font>
Just one? How about three for starters: M. Grant, M. Cary and H.H. Scullard. Now, do you have any serious scholars that think that Christianity's success is strickly mundane and ordinary?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And what are you arguing? You state your agreement with Jess's list of rational reasons for the success of Christianity. Do you still claim that there is any need for a supernatural explanation?</font>
If we assume that there is no God, then of course there is no need for the supernatural in its success. What I am trying to find out is if naturalistic alternatives are coherent and account for all of the factors we have discussed on this thread and the "What Happened" thread. I am willing to listen to your theory if you have one.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I disagree that the Christian theory explains all the evidence. It certainly does not explain the rise of Islam.</font>
In what sense do you mean?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Jared Diamond wrote the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" to explain the success of the west. Christianity was not part of the success story.</font>
Cool. On the other hand it has absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about here Toto, and I am hoping that people will stay on topic if possible.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I still say that the west reached its current state of prosperity only after it stopped making Christianity central to its existence. I refer you to William Manchester's "A World Lit Only By Fire."</font>
Cool again, and once again beside the point. If, on the other hand, you would care to respond to Robson's points on this thread, or my own on this one or the other, please do so. I will take a look.

Thanks.

Nomad
 
Old 03-26-2001, 12:49 PM   #44
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"Just one? How about three for starters: M. Grant, M. Cary and H.H. Scullard. Now, do you have any serious scholars that think that Christianity's success is strickly mundane and ordinary?"

I think we can add Will Durant, and his book "Ceasar and Christ," to your list.
 
Old 03-26-2001, 04:41 PM   #45
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Nomad and Layman -

I think that Robson's thesis has been thoroughly refuted. I see no need to repeat anything said before.

If the success of Christianity were divinely inspired, what explains the rise and current success of Islam, in terms of the number of converts? I guess you'll be relying on Satan?

I should have qualified my question - do you know of any secular historians who think that the success of Christianity needs divine intervention to explain it?

Will Durant seems to be a favorite of Christians on the web, because he believed in the historical Jesus. He wrote that Jesus could not have been invented in the short period of time between his supposed life and the appearance of the gospels. He seems to admire Jesus, (perhaps he was a member of atheists for Jesus) but his opinion of Christianity is completely unflattering, and he ascribes the success of Christianity to its incorporation of Pagan influences. So I don't think he's going to help you.

I need to get some work done, so I'm just going to call it quits on this thread. A lack of response to anything you have said or will say should not be interpreted as agreement, just that I think your arguments are too lame to spend the time refuting.
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Old 03-26-2001, 05:42 PM   #46
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Nomad and Layman -

I think that Robson's thesis has been thoroughly refuted. I see no need to repeat anything said before.

If the success of Christianity were divinely inspired, what explains the rise and current success of Islam, in terms of the number of converts? I guess you'll be relying on Satan?

I should have qualified my question - do you know of any secular historians who think that the success of Christianity needs divine intervention to explain it?

Will Durant seems to be a favorite of Christians on the web, because he believed in the historical Jesus. He wrote that Jesus could not have been invented in the short period of time between his supposed life and the appearance of the gospels. He seems to admire Jesus, (perhaps he was a member of atheists for Jesus) but his opinion of Christianity is completely unflattering, and he ascribes the success of Christianity to its incorporation of Pagan influences. So I don't think he's going to help you.

I need to get some work done, so I'm just going to call it quits on this thread. A lack of response to anything you have said or will say should not be interpreted as agreement, just that I think your arguments are too lame to spend the time refuting.
</font>
If all it took for a Christian to love a historian was that he reaffirmed that Jesus existed, Christians would love 99% of historians.

I actually am unfamiliar with Robson's thesis. What amazes me is Christianity's origin and first 300 years, before it had any chance to spread via persecution or might. I don't think this is the only time Christianity spread in this regard, but it certainly is the most dynamic.

This is why I don't think that a comparison to Islam's growth is appropriate. Islam spread by the sword from its inception, first by Mohammed's own hand. He was an able general who one many battles and lost a few. The religion he started continued to spread across the Arab peninsula into the "Holy Land" by war. It never got a chance to spread peacefully.
 
Old 03-27-2001, 03:50 AM   #47
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I actually am unfamiliar with Robson's thesis. What amazes me is Christianity's origin and first 300 years, before it had any chance to spread via persecution or might. I don't think this is the only time Christianity spread in this regard, but it certainly is the most dynamic.
</font>
What's amazing about it? Christianity reached India long before it reached most of the Roman Empire, and it failed to spread. It was in Africa very early as well, and failed to spread until re-introduced by 19th century missionaries. It reached China in the 7th, 13th, 17th, and 19th century, several re-introductions, all failures. It reached Thailand in the 16th century, 0.5% of the population is Christian now. It reached Vietnam as early as the 17th century, only 10% are Christian now, and that's largely due to the effects of colonialism. It reached Japan in the 16th century, and failed there. Ditto for Taiwan, where it was successful only among the tribespeople. It was imposed in S. and C. America at swordpoint, so we'll never know what would have happened.

In fact, outside Europe, Christianity's most spectacular record of non-coerced success is in Korea, where a third of the population are Xtians of one sort or another. Go figure!

I suppose Polynesia might also count for something.

I suppose you're right. Given Xtianity's record of failure in competition with religions elsewhere, it is amazing that it spread in the Roman Empire.

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited March 27, 2001).]
 
Old 03-27-2001, 06:30 AM   #48
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

I think that Robson's thesis has been thoroughly refuted. I see no need to repeat anything said before.</font>
LOL! Translation, Toto doesn't really know what has been said on this thread, but he likes what the sceptics have to say, and HATES what the Christians have to say.

Needless to say, I am surprised.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If the success of Christianity were divinely inspired, what explains the rise and current success of Islam, in terms of the number of converts? I guess you'll be relying on Satan?</font>
Umm... what are you talking about (forgetting for a moment that you have already told us that you will no longer be gracing us with your presence)?

I thought you had realized that (a) Islam started conquoring people pretty much from the get go (while Christianity was being persecuted for its first 300 years or so, and rarely used armies to convert anyone anywhere in Europe), and (b) Christians believe that Muslims worship the same God we do (and vice versa).

Perhaps you could elaborate here (that is, if you ever come back).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I should have qualified my question - do you know of any secular historians who think that the success of Christianity needs divine intervention to explain it?</font>
Hmm... do I have any non-Christian (I assume that is what you mean) historians that think that Jesus really was the Son of God. I have to admit Toto, you got me there.

On the other hand, do you have any secular historians that think Christianity's spread was completely mundane and ordinary? Have you actually READ any history on the subject? Can you demonstrate that you can form an informed opinion on the matter?

Yeah, I know, you won't be back, but I thought I would ask anyway.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Will Durant seems to be a favorite of Christians on the web, because he believed in the historical Jesus. He wrote that Jesus could not have been invented in the short period of time between his supposed life and the appearance of the gospels. He seems to admire Jesus, (perhaps he was a member of atheists for Jesus) but his opinion of Christianity is completely unflattering, and he ascribes the success of Christianity to its incorporation of Pagan influences. So I don't think he's going to help you.</font>
You missed the point. Durant, Grant, Scullard, Cary, and all other serious historians put the lie to the idea that Jesus was a myth, or that Christianity's success was not unique. That WAS the question if you will recall. Perhaps you will even come back and answer our own questions. (See how much of an optimisit I am?)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I need to get some work done, so I'm just going to call it quits on this thread. A lack of response to anything you have said or will say should not be interpreted as agreement, just that I think your arguments are too lame to spend the time refuting.</font>
No sweat Toto. Thanks for stopping by, and talking to us. It was interesting, if not very informative to listen to you.

Bye.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited March 27, 2001).]
 
Old 03-27-2001, 09:22 AM   #49
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
What's amazing about it? Christianity reached India long before it reached most of the Roman Empire, and it failed to spread. It was in Africa very early as well, and failed to spread until re-introduced by 19th century missionaries. It reached China in the 7th, 13th, 17th, and 19th century, several re-introductions, all failures. It reached Thailand in the 16th century, 0.5% of the population is Christian now. It reached Vietnam as early as the 17th century, only 10% are Christian now, and that's largely due to the effects of colonialism. It reached Japan in the 16th century, and failed there. Ditto for Taiwan, where it was successful only among the tribespeople. It was imposed in S. and C. America at swordpoint, so we'll never know what would have happened.

In fact, outside Europe, Christianity's most spectacular record of non-coerced success is in Korea, where a third of the population are Xtians of one sort or another. Go figure!

I suppose Polynesia might also count for something.

I suppose you're right. Given Xtianity's record of failure in competition with religions elsewhere, it is amazing that it spread in the Roman Empire.

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited March 27, 2001).]
</font>
So you can't deny its amazing spread throughout the Roman Empire (which you grossly oversimplify), but complain that it didn't make it in India. Of course, you fail to mention that the success in the Roman Empire included Christianity's rapid success in Syria, North Africa, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, and Ireland. Islam's armed conquest eventually halted Christianity's spread and pushed it back in Africa and Syria, but it just highlights Christianity's peaceful spread throughout so much of the world.

You are right about Korea. But Christianity is also spreading at a brisk pace in China as well. And, Christianity is enjoying many successes in Africa in the present day.

 
Old 03-27-2001, 11:21 AM   #50
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
So you can't deny its amazing spread throughout the Roman Empire (which you grossly oversimplify), but complain that it didn't make it in India.
</font>
I over simplified its failures too. What do you expect in a one-paragraph post?

Michael
 
 

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