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Old 04-17-2001, 08:34 PM   #21
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Hi all

I see that some people didn't reply, which may be because I'm having to go back to my usual daily routine & the conversation is winding down. But on the off-chance it's because someone just didn’t have time to reply but really wanted to, I'll leave my email address: pianotab@aol.com. Anyway, well met everyone, & even though I'm just an occasional visitor here, I'll probably see you from time to time.

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Hi ecco

Here's what I'd said before:

That's why you find so many first-hand details in Mark's account (like who was sitting / standing where), even though Mark wasn't personally a witness. Like take the account of Jesus calming the storm. Matthew says they went to wake Jesus; Peter (through Mark) mentions exactly where Jesus was: in the stern, on a cushion. That's the voice of whoever actually went to wake him up.

And here's your where reply starts: If Mark wasn’t personally a witness, then who was?

>>> The histories about how those documents came to us agree that Mark wrote down things for Peter. (There's reason to think Peter's Greek wasn't very good; for Mark & his first letter he used a scribe; for his second letter he didn't seem to have any help and the Greek is pretty awful.) There's evidence both inside & outside the Bible that Mark & Peter were close. Sticking with the stuff inside the Bible since you're more likely to have it on your shelf somewhere, when Peter got out of prison in the middle of the night & had to pick somewhere to go, he went knocking on Mark's door (that's recorded in Acts). Also, in one of his letters he mentions Mark, and he's not one to mention everybody & their cousin the way Paul is.

The voice of whoever? Who? The same problem as with all biblical writings going back to Leviticus. How did Leviticus know what god said to Moses? Was he there?

>>> Ecco, were you serious when you wrote that? You know "Leviticus" isn't the name of a person at all, right? It's just the title given to that book. It refers to one of the main topics of the book, the rules for the Levites. I don't know how you'll take this but I mean it constructively: before you reject Christianity, you might want to get more accurate information on what it is. I mean, maybe some basic stuff about who wrote what, when, where ... what the basic claims are. (The basic claims are pretty simple: God broke the power of death and made a pact of forgiveness with us in Christ.)

Look at the resurrection accounts. The author(s) write about who was there and what those people saw. How do they know? Did any of them talk to Mary?

>>> Yep, she lived in the same communities with them for years afterwards, to go by their letters & other writings. Mary Jesus' mother also lived for many years afterwards, & was under John's care.

Stories passed down and embellished to the point that we are told where Jesus was sitting in a boat. Legends have existed for thousands of years. Their existence does not make them a reality any more then King Arthur or Bigfoot.

>>> Legends don't get "embellished" with who was sitting where, they get embellished with wild exaggerations. Legends have existed for thousands of years … but legends aren't told by eyewitnesses. Let's take a case in point: the author of the gospel of John claims to have been a witness to these things; that's not something you'd expect from a legend. He claims that he saw with his own eyes Jesus at supper that last night, Jesus on the cross, Jesus after being raised from the dead. Now, if he didn't actually see these things then he's a liar for saying he was an eyewitness to these things. If he did actually see these things then God has redeemed his creation, including you.

Take care & God bless
SL

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Hi Opus

Samaritan Lady:
For some odd reason, you insist that the Easter accounts are accurate, but you admit that you do not agree to the doctrine of Biblical inspiration or infallibility. That's a little odd.

>>> Hey, I think the Bible is trustworthy and reliable. While the idea that the Bible is trustworthy & reliable is ancient, some of the modern versions of how that happened haven't been around that long, historically speaking. The fundamentalist thing is more of a reaction to the modernist school.

Once again, you skip over any substantive points that I make with non-rebuttals. For example, your response to Mt. 28:8 following right after Mk. 16:6 is simply that they are two accounts of the same thing, completely ignoring the fact that Mark has the women not telling the disciples, whereas in Matthew they do.

>>> Is -that- what your point was. Like I've said before, the silence need not have been permanent to be factual.

I feel like I'm arguing against a brick wall with you and your abysmal lack of real scholarship. You dredge out the same old apologist line that John is so different from the other gospels because it was written specifically for the purpose of adding information omitted in the other three gospels, blissfully unaware that the scholarly consensus is that John never had any clue about Luke or Matthew, and may not have even known Mark.

>>> Actually, insults aside, I'm aware of the modernist views, but don't find their -evidence- very compelling. I'm a hard-core evidentialist.

You state that Luke "clarifies" his earlier statements in Acts, but this is not true. Luke tells the story of the resurrection differently in Acts, just like he tells the story of Paul's conversion differently two times within Acts. He does this because in those times it was considered boring to tell a story exactly the same way twice. So he varies the details: Jesus ascended after 3 days in one version, and after 40 days in another.

>>> Luke definitely compresses the accounts in "the Gospel of Luke". And since he's writing volume 2 (Acts), most people, historically, just haven't cared that he compresses the accounts. He gives the details right in the next chapter, if you're reading them back-to-back. So, no, deciding that "Jesus ascended after 3 days" is not something somebody would have concluded if they sat down & read Luke's two-volume work front to back. It's not a very level playing field to take the "cliffhanger ending" of volume one & say that volume two can't expand on it. He's just picking up where he left off, with more detail -- which would be one of the reasons he'd write a volume 2 anyway.

Paul's companions heard the voice in one telling, but not in the other. Luke didn't care about scientific accuracy; he cared about writing a good, exciting story.

>>> Now that's an argument that doesn’t hold water. Even secular historians acknowledge that Luke was first-rate as an historian in his records of dates, rulers, titles, places, locations, names, practices & such. Luke did a top-notch job of historical accuracy. (I think it says they heard the voice but didn't hear the distinct words, thought it was thunder or something.)

He was an extremely literary author. Despite his poor Greek and ignorance of Judaism, the themes found in his gospel are quite sophisticated and continue to amaze me. The reason he doesn't state that he's writing a literary story is because that would be a little heavy-handed.

>>> And why is it that the communities that received these had no clue they were "literary" (in the sense of fiction)? Did he just forget to tell people?

Again, John is telling a story with the resurrection appearances. Don't you think that the story of Thomas is a little too obvious? It's clearly a story meant to impart an important precept: believe on faith.

>>> So because an author has a reason for relating an account, he made it up? It doesn't follow. For writing even something like a science book, there are reasons for selecting which facts get into it & which don't; relevance is usually one of them. So no, I don't count the fact that the Thomas episode is relevant to us today as evidence against its factuality.

We have very little actual information on the early church.

>>> Depends on what you're looking for & how early. We've got a few letter collections & such, & some historical references from people outside the church, even in the 000's.

It's likely that hardly any members of the Pauline church ever knew Jesus.

>>> And very unlikely that Peter, James, and John would endorse Paul if he was telling things they disagreed with.

Thus I place very little credence in what they have to say. Papias, for instance, was just plain wrong on a whole bunch of stuff. Irenaeus says that Jesus lived to be 50, which contradicts with the gospels.

>>> I'm not sure what you have in mind on Papias. But from a standpoint of historical methodology, what you're doing is just not how history is researched. We have errors in Josephus, but nobody therefore throws out his works. The first time I found a factual error in a history book, I was in 5th grade … but you know what, 99% percent of the facts in that history book probably checked out as accurate, & I'd have been nuts to throw out the book instead of just fact-checking it carefully. Historians don't throw out historical references so easily; they take all the data into account & then see what to make of it.

Among the non-Pauline churches, things get even worse, as we have the gnostics denying the resurrection entirely.

>>> And they do the same with the crucifixion, while we're on the subject. Well, technically, it's not that the Gnostics -deny- either of them, it's that they "spiritualize" it all. One of the earliest arguments in the church wasn't over whether Jesus was really God, but whether he was really human.

What convinced me that the gospels were literary accounts is the overwhelming evidence that much literature of that time period is myth--that is, religious themes written as history. And the gospels fit perfectly into that mold. It's a little bit more than I care to get into right now, but I might want to start another thread on it.

>>> Much literature of any time-period is myth; it makes a good story. But you're fighting an uphill battle against plausibility, because you'd think that the people who received the texts would know that they were myths, & you wouldn't think the Jews or Romans would be persecuting Christians & putting them to death if it were just a literary story.

>>> More than that, Peter specifically says that these things weren't myths. Now, if your kid asks you whether Santa Claus is real -- at that point 'yes' becomes a lie, unless there's a real Santa Claus. Peter says it's not a myth. So either it's real or it's a lie.

>>> You're also fighting against plausibility on the literary angle: myth has a distinctive genre, its own hallmarks, from a standpoint of literary style. According to literary genre, the gospels aren't myth: as some people have observed, from a standpoint of myth they're just not good enough. They don't build up to things properly, the accounts are disconnected, the narrative doesn't flow. And why bother with the "affidavits" like at the end of John, if it's a myth?

The bottom line for me is that I require extraordinary evidence to convince me of the supernatural.

>>> (Tongue-in-cheek, but only halfway) Do you know that not only does the NT make extraordinary claims, but it also provides extraordinary proof? See, the original extraordinary claims were that God loves us and God forgives us and that God is making a covenant (sort of a pact) of forgiveness with us, and that through all of that, death itself is conquered. Those are extraordinary claims. The extraordinary proof was Jesus' own life, death, and resurrection. Because of that, I know that I am forgiven, and I know that you are forgiven, and I know that there is peace between us and God, and I know that there is a way for you to know God: look at Jesus, who is God's self-revelation to the world. God pours himself out to give us life. We know God's disposition towards us: he loves us.

>>> Christ has sealed a pact of forgiveness between us and God: "God has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them … we urge you therefore … be reconciled to God."

>>> The skeptics say, well, gee, the extraordinary proof was … extraordinary. Now I need extraordinary proof for this extraordinary proof. It's never-ending, and it's a dodge, and it's a cop-out. Each extraordinary proof is met with the demand for an extraordinary proof of -that-. If the existence of the world in all its beauty and wonder don’t strike you as extraordinary, if Jesus' excellence and compassion don't strike you as extraordinary, if the fact we have more evidence for Jesus than any other figure of antiquity doesn't strike you as extraordinary, if the early disciples' willingness to lay down their lives when they were in a position to know if it was true or false doesn't strike you as extraordinary, if the fact that Christ is the most widely-believed person in the history of the planet doesn't strike you as extraordinary, then what would?

>>> On your literary fiction angle, why would the disciples let themselves be flogged or stoned or crucified for a piece of literary fiction?

Accounts with even minor discrepancies is enough to cast doubt upon such events. In the case of the gospels, even where they don't contradict, they don't overlap much. Of the dozen or so different resurrection appearances of Jesus, only 3 or 4 appear in more than one account. That is troubling. Toss in a pre-scientific worldview and strong evidence of the literary rather than historic nature of the gospels, and I am highly skeptical that the resurrection actually happened.

>>> (I’m surprised you think the gospels don't overlap much. The liberal scholars, who are the majority at present, think that 2 of them copied another of them. They're oversimplifying the data & their conclusions don't fit a lot of the textual facts, but the point is that they got this idea from the fact that there's a lot of similarity between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which is a valid & accurate observation.) If you enjoy mulling over the implications of the accounts, here's one to chew on: if Christ is the Word of God become flesh, then something new is happening with mankind, it is being made holy by God's own presence in the flesh. If he's really the same Word of God by whom all things were made, then Christ is the beginning of a new creation. Do you remember the account in Genesis where God breathes into Adam with the Spirit to start his life? Do you think it's just an accident that Jesus makes a point of breathing onto the disciples with the Spirit? It's the beginning of a new creation.

Take care & God bless
SL

 
Old 04-17-2001, 10:53 PM   #22
Opus1
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SL:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Like I've said before, the silence need not have been permanent to be factual. </font>
Aarrghh! People do not write like this! Mark (the original Mark) never mentions anywhere that the women broke their silence. The story ends with them walking away in silence. Matthew changed the ending; he did not supplement it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even secular historians acknowledge that Luke was first-rate as an historian in his records of dates, rulers, titles, places, locations, names, practices & such. Luke did a top-notch job of historical accuracy. </font>
More B.S. Luke is a terrible historian--he doesn't cite a single source, even though we know that he's copying Mark at the very least. Here is some more info on Luke, the great historian.

Again, you don't rebut my points. You just talk right past me. Luke intentionally told the story differently two different times. That was a common style back them--reporter-like accuracy wasn't.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And why is it that the communities that received these had no clue they were "literary" (in the sense of fiction)? Did he just forget to tell people? </font>
Some did. Others didn't. The literalist camp won out. Just now is the opposition regaining any sort of following, due mainly to the great work of Bible scholars in the past two centuries.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So because an author has a reason for relating an account, he made it up? It doesn't follow. </font>
Not necessarily. But remember--we're talking about a supernatural event here. I would have trouble taking it as an actual occurence based solely upon four ancient documents even if they looked totally factual and were in complete agreement. The minor disagreements and literary strokes just diminish their credibility that much more.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And very unlikely that Peter, James, and John would endorse Paul if he was telling things they disagreed with. </font>
Many scholars believe that they did not. Paul seems to go out of his way to avoid meeting the pillars of the Jerusalem church. And he doesn't have very nice things to say about James at all. Remember, all the early Jewish Christians were pretty much gone after 70 CE. No one would be around to dispute the fact that Jesus did not obey the Torah, or that his disciples supported Paul.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">We have errors in Josephus, but nobody therefore throws out his works. The first time I found a factual error in a history book, I was in 5th grade … but you know what, 99% percent of the facts in that history book probably checked out as accurate, & I'd have been nuts to throw out the book instead of just fact-checking it carefully. Historians don't throw out historical references so easily; they take all the data into account & then see what to make of it.
</font>
I agree. But when an author makes an error in things that we can check, that greatly diminishes his credibility in areas in which we cannot possibly verify what he says. This is especially so when speaking of supernatural events.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Much literature of any time-period is myth; it makes a good story. But you're fighting an uphill battle against plausibility, because you'd think that the people who received the texts would know that they were myths, & you wouldn't think the Jews or Romans would be persecuting Christians & putting them to death if it were just a literary story. </font>
I'm not saying that the entire Bible is a myth, just certain aspects. And BTW, the author of Hebrews mentions that none have yet died for their faith, so that whole canard about hoards of Christians dying very early on can be put to rest.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Do you know that not only does the NT make extraordinary claims, but it also provides extraordinary proof? </font>
No, it does not. The NT consists of four books, containing numerous errors and contradictions, written by non-eyewitnesses, in a pre-scientific society. This is not extraordinary proof.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">See, the original extraordinary claims were that God loves us and God forgives us and that God is making a covenant (sort of a pact) of forgiveness with us, and that through all of that, death itself is conquered.</font>
Christian dogma is not extraordinary, or even very interesting to me.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The extraordinary proof was Jesus' own life, death, and resurrection.</font>
You've got it backwards. Jesus' resurrection is the extraordinary claim for which you need evidence.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If the existence of the world in all its beauty and wonder don’t strike you as extraordinary, </font>
Argument from design. Yawn.

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if Jesus' excellence and compassion don't strike you as extraordinary, </font>
Jesus was less than excellent and less than compassionate on occasion. And remember, all the gospels were written by disciples, not impartial observers. And, all the oral traditions before that were maintained by disciples. All the good stuff is remembered and embellished; the bad stuff is forgotten.

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if the fact we have more evidence for Jesus than any other figure of antiquity doesn't strike you as extraordinary,</font>
This is absolute bullshit. Caesar wrote an autobiography, for God's sake. You have totally lost whatever credibility you might have had left. Now you are just pulling Chrisitan apologetic nonsense out of your ass, hoping that no one will challenge you on it. Well, someone has. Here's Richard Carrier's comparison of Christ's resurrection and Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BCE:
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It is certainly reasonable to doubt the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh, an event placed some time between 26 and 36 A.D. For this we have only a few written sources near the event, all of it sacred writing, and entirely pro-Christian. Pliny the Younger was the first non-Christian to even mention the religion, in 110 A.D., but he doesn't mention the resurrection. No non-Christian mentions the resurrection until many decades later--Lucian, a critic of superstition, was the first, writing in the mid-2nd century, and likely getting his information from Christian sources. So the evidence is not what any historian would consider good.[4]

Nevertheless, Christian apologist Douglas Geivett has declared that the evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus meets, and I quote, "the highest standards of historical inquiry" and "if one takes the historian's own criteria for assessing the historicity of ancient events, the resurrection passes muster as a historically well-attested event of the ancient world," as well-attested, he says, as Julius Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon in 49 B.C.[5] Well, it is common in Christian apologetics, throughout history, to make absurdly exaggerated claims, and this is no exception. Let's look at Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon for a minute:

First of all, we have Caesar's own word on the subject. Indeed, The Civil War has been a Latin classic for two thousand years, written by Caesar himself and by one of his generals who was definitely an eye-witness and who knew the man personally. In contrast, we do not have anything written by Jesus, and we do not know for certain the name of any author of any of the accounts of his physical resurrection.

Second, we have many of Caesar's enemies, including Cicero, a contemporary of the event, reporting the crossing of the Rubicon, whereas we have no hostile or even neutral records of the resurrection until over a hundred years after the event, and fifty years after the Christians' own claims had been widely spread around.

Third, we have a number of inscriptions and coins produced soon after the Republican Civil War related to the Rubicon crossing, including mentions of battles and conscriptions and judgments, which in fact form almost a continuous chain of evidence for Caesar's entire march. On the other hand, we have absolutely no physical evidence of any kind in the case of the resurrection.

Fourth, we have the story of the "Rubicon Crossing" in almost every historian of the period, including the most prominent scholars of the age: Suetonius, Appian, Cassius Dio, Plutarch. Moreover, these scholars have a measure of proven reliability, since a great many of their reports on other matters have been confirmed in material evidence and in other sources. In addition, they all quote and name many different sources, showing a wide reading of the witnesses and documents, and they show a regular desire to critically examine claims for which there is any dispute. If that wasn't enough, all of them cite or quote sources which were written by witnesses, hostile and friendly, of the Rubicon crossing and its repercussions.
Compare this with the resurrection: we have not even a single historian mentioning the event until the 3rd and 4th centuries, and then only by Christian historians.[6] And of those few people who do mention it within a century of the event, none of them show any wide reading, never cite any other sources, show no sign of a skilled or critical examination of conflicting claims, have no other literature or scholarship to their credit that we can test for their skill and accuracy, are completely unknown, and have an overtly declared bias towards persuasion and conversion.[7]


Fifth, the history of Rome could not have proceeded as it did had Caesar not physically moved an army into Italy. Even if Caesar could have somehow cultivated the mere belief that he had done this, he could not have captured Rome or conscripted Italian men against Pompey's forces in Greece. On the other hand, all that is needed to explain the rise of Christianity is a belief--a belief that the resurrection happened. There is nothing that an actual resurrection would have caused that could not have been caused by a mere belief in that resurrection. Thus, an actual resurrection is not necessary to explain all subsequent history, unlike Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon.[8]
It should be clear that we have many reasons to believe that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, all of which are lacking in the case of the resurrection. In fact, when we compare all five points, we see that in four of the five proofs of an event's historicity, the resurrection has no evidence at all, and in the one proof that it does have, it has not the best, but the very worst kind of evidence--a handful of biased, uncritical, unscholarly, unknown, second-hand witnesses. Indeed, you really have to look hard to find another event that is in a worse condition than this as far as evidence goes. So Geivett is guilty of a rather extreme exaggeration. This is not a historically well-attested event, and it does not meet the highest standards of evidence. </font>
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if the early disciples' willingness to lay down their lives when they were in a position to know if it was true or false doesn't strike you as extraordinary, </font>
This has been debated many times. The evidence for this happening is actually quite small.

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if the fact that Christ is the most widely-believed person in the history of the planet</font>
Soon to be replaced by Muhammad, BTW.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> doesn't strike you as extraordinary, then what would?
</font>
Evidence would. Direct, actual evidence of the resurrection. Unfortunately, the resurrection occured in a period in which supernatural events were commonplace, and scientific literacy was lacking. As such, I don't believe that the resurrection occured. But let's be fair. Again, from Carrier:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In 520 A.D. an anonymous monk recorded the life of Saint Genevieve, who had died only ten years before that. In his account of her life, he describes how, when she ordered a cursed tree cut down, monsters sprang from it and breathed a fatal stench on many men for two hours; while she was sailing, eleven ships capsized, but at her prayers they were righted again spontaneously; she cast out demons, calmed storms, miraculously created water and oil from nothing before astonished crowds, healed the blind and lame, and several people who stole things from her actually went blind instead. No one wrote anything to contradict or challenge these claims, and they were written very near the time the events supposedly happened--by a religious man whom we suppose regarded lying to be a sin. </font>
Do you believe this? What would it take to convince you that it is true?

Finally, here's yet another analogy to the resurrection, from Nick Tattersall:
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Nick Tattersall:
Suppose I told you that under normal conditions, my father once ran two hundred metres in only four seconds, using his special powers. Would you believe me? How about if I produced eyewitnesses who say they saw him do it?

I wouldn't consider you unreasonable for doubting the eyewitnesses until scientists and racing-officials saw my father repeatably do such a run under controlled conditions, and recorded on film. In fact, I think most reasonable people would take that position. The possibility of error, collusion, etc just cannot be ignored when we address something that defies the laws of nature, even if we have eyewitnesses. For a miracle or extraordinary event of this magnitude to be accepted, the evidence must be watertight.

Now suppose that, instead, I produced no eyewitnesses but told you that the eyewitnesses and my father are all dead. My father did the run many years ago, and all we have are the consistent signed and sworn testimonies of the eyewitnesses, who wrote their accounts at least thirty years after the event. Is that any good?

I don't think so. Many reasonable people would still stand unpersuaded by such testimony. It is entirely reasonable to consider collusion, error and embellishment over time to be more likely than the hypothesis that a law of nature was broken. If laws of nature really are occasionally broken, that seems to happen only rarely. Collusion, error and embellishment happen all the time. What we really need is a controlled scientific investigation into the phenomenon.

Now suppose that the documents I produced were not perfectly consistent. Suppose that actually they differed on key points. Some of them suggested my father ran two hundred metres in five seconds, while some say he did it in three seconds. Some say he did his run after his day's work, while others say he did it beforehand. Furthermore, it turns out to be the case that the documents are not signed or sworn anywhere. In fact, instead of them definitely being written by eyewitnesses, it seems remarkably difficult to determine who wrote them and when, as they are all anonymous. Experts who examine the documents have to rely exclusively on linguistic evidence to form a best-guess about where they came from. The experts differ on the matter of when they were written, and by whom, but there do exist at least some reasons to doubt that eyewitnesses or people close to my father actually wrote them after all, and not a great deal of reason to think eyewitnesses did it. Everyone is agreed that they were written at least a few decades after the event is supposed to have occurred.

What would you say to a person who expected you to consider such evidence to be compelling evidence for the supernatural? Wouldn't you consider it an insult to your intelligence?

How is it that the historical evidence for the central claims of Christianity should be any more convincing for reasonable and open-minded atheists and agnostics than the evidence for my father's miraculous run? Isn't it the case that there is not the slightest reason to think the evidence for either should be effective when presented to reasonable and open-minded nonbelievers?
</font>
P.S. Is there anything that could possibly convince you that the resurrection didn't happen, or are you too committed to Christian dogma to every rethink your worldview?
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Old 04-18-2001, 12:19 AM   #23
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Aarrghh! People do not write like this! Mark (the original Mark) never mentions anywhere that the women broke their silence. The story ends with them walking away in silence. Matthew changed the ending; he did not supplement it. </font>
That is not true. Many scholars believe that Mark originally had a longer ending, but that it was lost in its textual transmission. Realizing this, a later editor added Mark 16:9-20. So how would you or anyone else know whether Matthew changed the ending or supplemented it? All we can say is that they are not inconsistent.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> More B.S. Luke is a terrible historian--he doesn't cite a single source, even though we know that he's copying Mark at the very least. Here is some more info on Luke, the great historian.

Again, you don't rebut my points. You just talk right past me. Luke intentionally told the story differently two different times. That was a common style back them--reporter-like accuracy wasn't. </font>
Was the citing of sources common for Greek historiography? Seriously, I did not think that it was.

But your point is actually pretty lame. Luke clearly informed his reader[s] that he was relying on many other sources.
Remember:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivbered them to us, it seemed good to me also having had perfect understanind of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account...." </font>
Luke 1:1-2.

And I checked your link on Luke and was unimpressed.

Paul didn't know anthing about the historical Jesus? Simply untrue: http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000211.html

Luke knows little aramaic and little of Judea? To be expected of a Gentile convert to Christianity who only visited the place a few times.

Luke thinking Caiphas and Annais High Priest at the same time? I don't think that the verses demand that interpetation. Moreover, you do not know that this could not have happened. Moreover, so what?

Luke calling a gate beautiful? Could you refer me to a lamer argument from silence?

The Roman Cohort? Another lame argument from silence. And could you expand on why they could be Roman troops, but not "crack" Roman troops? It's a little confusing.

Too many troops in Acts 23? Could be some hyperbole. But they would be travelling through a route that had seen significant banditry (Josephus' War, 2.228, Ant. 20.113). There was also zealot activity to be concerned about. (War 2.540-55).

Too far in Acts 23? No. It was downhill. Romans had covered 45 miles in a day (Gallic Wars 7.40-41) and in another instance covered 27 miles in one night (Plutarch, Marc Anthony 47.2). Moreover, Josephus says that Sebaste in Samaria could be reached from Jerusalem in one day, which was 42 miles away. (Ant. 15.293).

So actually it looks like Luke really knew what he was talking about here, eh?

Luke could not have interviewed anyone because he wrote after Mark? Give me a break. What makes you think that he didn't do any research until after Mark wrote his gospel? If indeed it was Luke, or some other companion of Paul, he would have been in Jerusalem and Antioch. Plenty of time and access for interviews of Jesus' family and at least Peter and John.

So on and so forth.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Some did. Others didn't. The literalist camp won out. Just now is the opposition regaining any sort of following, due mainly to the great work of Bible scholars in the past two centuries. </font>
There was no significant non-literalist camp in early Christianity. Certainly not in the Jerusalem Church, the Antioch Church, or in Pauline Christianity. They were all "literalists" in that they believed in the historical reality of Jesus and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Not necessarily. But remember--we're talking about a supernatural event here. I would have trouble taking it as an actual occurence based solely upon four ancient documents even if they looked totally factual and were in complete agreement. The minor disagreements and literary strokes just diminish their credibility that much more. </font>
It is not based solely upon the four ancient documents. Even if we limited it to the New Testament canon, Paul's epistles and the Hebrew epistles clearly express belief in the resurrection of Jesus. But what is most important is what they represent: Jesus' disciples proclaimed his resurrection from a very early date. Very shortly after his death.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Many scholars believe that they did not. Paul seems to go out of his way to avoid meeting the pillars of the Jerusalem church. And he doesn't have very nice things to say about James at all. Remember, all the early Jewish Christians were pretty much gone after 70 CE. No one would be around to dispute the fact that Jesus did not obey the Torah, or that his disciples supported Paul. </font>
Jesus generally did obey the Torah, with some significant exceptions of course.

As for James. Paul recognizes him as an apostle, the brother of Jesus, as a pillar of the Jerusalem Church. He also went out of his way to raise money for the relief of James' church.

And we have a pretty good idea of what Paul's opponents were saying about him. It had nothing to do with Paul's teaching of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, although that was central to his message. Rather, it had to do with whether the Gentiles would follow the law or not. Why would they focus on the dietary laws if Paul was preaching a radical new message or claiming that James had recognized him, if in fact he did not? It is unreasonable to believe that they would ignore such central issues.

Moreover, Paul was very clear when he disagreed with even with the "pillars" of the Jerusalem Church. He records his confrontation with Peter without shame. Again, the issue had to do with Gentile/Jew controversy, not with the nature of Jesus' life or resurrection. All the evidence demonstrates that Paul, James, and Peter agreed on issues other than the Gentile/Jew controversy.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I agree. But when an author makes an error in things that we can check, that greatly diminishes his credibility in areas in which we cannot possibly verify what he says. This is especially so when speaking of supernatural events. </font>
Greatly? I don't think so since all authors make errors. And they don't disagree as to the supernatural event. If there be errors it is solely as to who was where and when. They all agreed about what happened: the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I'm not saying that the entire Bible is a myth, just certain aspects. And BTW, the author of Hebrews mentions that none have yet died for their faith, so that whole canard about hoards of Christians dying very early on can be put to rest. </font>
Doesn't have to be hoards. But the evidence of persecution is overwhelming. We have Paul's first hand accounts of his persecution OF Christians and his persecution AS a Christian. The Epistle of Hebrews suggests persecution of Jewish Christians by their counterparts. Acts records Stephen's death, Peter and John's lashing, James the Apostle's death, and Paul's persecutions of Christians. Josephus records James, the brother of Jesus' death at the hands of the High Priest. And all of the evidence points towards religious persecution alone.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> No, it does not. The NT consists of four books, containing numerous errors and contradictions, written by non-eyewitnesses, in a pre-scientific society. This is not extraordinary proof. </font>
I hope you realize that the New Testament is much more than just four books. And much of it is written by eyewitnesses (Paul's epistles, Acts (some parts), the Gospel of John). And more of it contains the written and oral traditions of the earliest Christians. But then, we do not rely just on the book, but on what produced the book.

A resurrection being reported by Jews who had definitive preconceptions that a crucified Messiah was a failed Messiah, and that there was to be no individual bodily resurrection, but a later general resurrection. They proceeded to preach this to their fellow Jews and suffered persecution because of it. They eventually began sharing this with Gentiles, which in and of itself is an extraordinary thing for Jews to do. Moreover, this is being reported by independent sources. Paul's 1 Cor. 15 (transmitting an early church creed), Mark's Gospel (based on the early Church's, perhaps Peter's, Kerygma), John's Gospel (probably by an eyewitness to at least Jesus' Jerusalem ministry), and the special Matthean and Lukan materials.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Soon to be replaced by Muhammad, BTW. </font>
They have a lot of ground to make-up. They are still trailing by about a billion.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Evidence would. Direct, actual evidence of the resurrection. Unfortunately, the resurrection occured in a period in which supernatural events were commonplace, and scientific literacy was lacking. As such, I don't believe that the resurrection occured. </font>
This statement is a misrepresentation. Whatever the Greeks may have been doing, the Jews were not reporting miracle workers left and right. Jesus, in fact, was quite unique in this regard. And although the Jews admittedly did believe in the potential for such supernatural intervention, that is what makes the uniqueness of Jesus all the more extraordinary. They believed in miracles. They believed in Messiahs. But they were not reporting very many and certainly nothing like what they said about this Jesus:
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000356.html

And what does "scientific literacy" have to do with it? Whether they understood the cardiovascular system or not, these people knew very well that bodies naturally stayed dead. In fact, in a society with a life expectancy in the 20s they were probably much more aware of this brutal fact than you or I ever will be. The reason they worshiped Jesus was because they knew that dead people normally stay dead. Only something tremendously significant, such as an act of a supernatural being beyond their comprehension, could explain what happened.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 18, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 18, 2001).]
 
Old 04-18-2001, 07:07 AM   #24
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SamaritanLady wrote:

Ecco, were you serious when you wrote that? You know "Leviticus" isn't the name of a person at all, right? It's just the title given to that book. It refers to one of the main topics of the book, the rules for the Levites. I don't know how you'll take this but I mean it constructively: before you reject Christianity, you might want to get more accurate information on what it is. I mean, maybe some basic stuff about who wrote what, when, where ... what the basic claims are. (The basic claims are pretty simple: God broke the power of death and made a pact of forgiveness with us in Christ.)

Yes, SL, I do know that Levi did not write it. But then you also did not answer the question. I agree that many of the writings, especially in the OT are rules by which to live. They have been wrapped up in religion to impart a greater sense of credence. It’s one thing for a wise man to say: “Don’t commit incest”. Hey, who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t have sex with my sister? It’s another thing to say: “GOD said don’t commit incest”. Oh, OK, if GOD said it then I guess I better not have sex with my sister. Then there is always the question of what happens if I do have sex with my sister. If a man said I shouldn’t I can tell him to get lost. I god said it, I’m gonna go to hell. Ahh, the threat of ultimate punishment! Eternity in heaven vs. eternity in hell.

Now, let’s get back to the writing style of the book of Leviticus. It implies a first person knowledge: God said… But how do we know “God said” anything? The same is true throughout the bible. You choose to believe in Christianity, because you were raised to believe in Christianity. You read the bible and find things to justify your beliefs. Billions of people believe that a man had several sessions with a god he called Allah. All the writings in the Koran are a direct result of this man talking directly to a god. But you don’t believe it. Why not? American Indians have many traditions that came from their wise men talking to their gods. Do you believe in any of the American Indian’s gods?

Try to understand that I did not reject Christianity because I was under a misimpression based on inaccurate information. It’s a helluva lot more than that. I am not superstitious. Religions are a superstition. I do not believe in ghosts, goblins, ghouls or gods.

As to discussions about “facts” in the bible, I think Opus1 can and has answered them far better than I can.
 
Old 04-18-2001, 09:05 AM   #25
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Billions of people believe that a man had several sessions with a god he called Allah. </font>
Actually. It is not billions. It is close to one billion.
 
Old 04-18-2001, 10:01 AM   #26
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OK - close to a billion people believe it. It happened more recently than JC talking to the disciples, it was recorded with no conflicting writings. Surely it must be the truth. It says nothing about the resurrection. It is the direct word of god. Maybe the Paul's etc. got it wrong and this was god's way of clearing up the facts. But, of course, Lady and Layman don't believe that. Of course, neither do I.
 
Old 04-18-2001, 10:12 AM   #27
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
OK - close to a billion people believe it. It happened more recently than JC talking to the disciples, it was recorded with no conflicting writings. Surely it must be the truth. It says nothing about the resurrection. It is the direct word of god. Maybe the Paul's etc. got it wrong and this was god's way of clearing up the facts. But, of course, Lady and Layman don't believe that. Of course, neither do I.</font>
Let's look at what we are claiming was observed. In Islam, only one person claimed to be receiving messages from God, Mohammed. He would sometimes go into trances when these words would come upon him. Several people witnessed these trances, but no one witnessed God's word being spoken to Mohammed (that I am ware of). Mohammed was not reported to have performed any miracles other than recieving God's word.

On the other hand, even nonChristian historians such as Michael grant believe that Jesus' death, burial, and empty tomb are historical events. He also believes that the disciples experienced resurrection appearances. Most other historians accept these events.

In other words, under Islam we have one man claiming to have heard from God. Even his disciples do not claim to have literally seen him receive God's word or that Mohammed performed miracles.

With Jesus on the other hand, several people did claim to see him after he was put to death. Moreover, the historical evidence is strong that Jesus' followers as well as his enemies believed he could perform miracles.

There is, of course, a lot more to the stories than this, but the differences in attestation are clear.
 
Old 04-18-2001, 11:30 AM   #28
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Let's look at what we are claiming was observed. In Islam, only one person claimed to be receiving messages from God, Mohammed. He would sometimes go into trances when these words would come upon him. Several people witnessed these trances, but no one witnessed God's word being spoken to Mohammed (that I am ware of). Mohammed was not reported to have performed any miracles other than recieving God's word.

No one "witnessed" any God inspiring the Gospel writers either (whoever they were).

Isn't recieving a divine message from God miracle enough? (Oh ye of little faith )

On the other hand, even nonChristian historians such as Michael grant believe that Jesus' death, burial, and empty tomb are historical events. He also believes that the disciples experienced resurrection appearances. Most other historians accept these events.

Can you really provide a list of all the worlds historians and show that the majority of them accept these things? Please do. Blanket statements are rather easy to make.

In other words, under Islam we have one man claiming to have heard from God. Even his disciples do not claim to have literally seen him receive God's word or that Mohammed performed miracles.

Today, a dozen people can tell me that they have seen ghosts. They can say they saw things moving through the air or felt a touch. It can have been investigated by scientists using the latest technology. They could have undergone polygraph tests and intense scientific debriefing. They could look me in the eye and swear that they saw the shimmering shape of a ghost. And after all that I STILL would not believe their claims.

You could stick in UFO abductions, NDE experiences, psychics, Indian mystical experiences, channelers, etc. and it would still be the same.

In other words it'll take far more than 2000 year old manuscripts with people claiming a man was born of a virgin and claiming he performed miracles and claiming he rose from the dead, to get me to actually believe it happened. (The lack of skepticism among theists in these matters is often puzzling to me.)

With Jesus on the other hand, several people did claim to see him after he was put to death.

Second hand hearsay is all I have seen as evidence to support this.

Moreover, the historical evidence is strong that Jesus' followers as well as his enemies believed he could perform miracles.

More second hand hearsay.

There is, of course, a lot more to the stories than this, but the differences in attestation are clear.

Visit any site on Islam and they'll tell you the "real" story of how the bible is corrupted and how the Quran is the "true", uncorrupted, word of God.

If "attestation" had any solid significance to it in this matter this might mean something. However having a few writings, written at least 40 years after the supposed events, by biased believers whose identity is highly questionable, with little to no contemporaneous critical analysis of the claims, with no corroboration of any of the more fantastic claims, is decidedly unimpressive.

 
Old 04-18-2001, 12:19 PM   #29
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> No one "witnessed" any God inspiring the Gospel writers either (whoever they were).

Isn't recieving a divine message from God miracle enough? (Oh ye of little faith ) </font>
The first point is irrelevant and unrelated to the topic. I was not discussing the inspiration of scripture. The second point was already addressed. All they saw was someone seemingly going into a trance and then claiming that Allah had spoken to him. No one claims that he walked on water, fed 5,000, healed the sick, and arose from the dead.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Can you really provide a list of all the worlds historians and show that the majority of them accept these things? Please do. Blanket statements are rather easy to make. </font>
I can rely on how knowledgeable experts in the field characterize the state of New Testament studies. This what most people mean when they discuss a majority of scholars or a consensus. No one conducts a poll.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Today, a dozen people can tell me that they have seen ghosts. They can say they saw things moving through the air or felt a touch. It can have been investigated by scientists using the latest technology. They could have undergone polygraph tests and intense scientific debriefing. They could look me in the eye and swear that they saw the shimmering shape of a ghost. And after all that I STILL would not believe their claims. </font>
Fine that is your perogative. But we were comparing Islam and Christianity.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You could stick in UFO abductions, NDE experiences, psychics, Indian mystical experiences, channelers, etc. and it would still be the same. </font>
Yes we could, but they would be irrelevant to the discussion because were comparing Islam and Christianity.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> In other words it'll take far more than 2000 year old manuscripts with people claiming a man was born of a virgin and claiming he performed miracles and claiming he rose from the dead, to get me to actually believe it happened. (The lack of skepticism among theists in these matters is often puzzling to me.) </font>
I'm not sure how the level of evidence required to get you to believe it happened is relevant to the comparison of Islam and Christianity.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Second hand hearsay is all I have seen as evidence to support this. </font>
Not true. There is a mixture of eyewitness accounts, first hand hear say, and second hand hearsay in the New Testament.

And still irrelevant to the comparison between Islam and Christianity.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> More second hand hearsay. </font>
Not true. There is a mixture of eyewitness accounts, first hand hearsay, and second hand hearsay in the New Testament.

And still irrelevant to the comparison between Islam and Christianity.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Visit any site on Islam and they'll tell you the "real" story of how the bible is corrupted and how the Quran is the "true", uncorrupted, word of God. </font>
So what? They won't tell me that Mohammed performed miracles. And they will admit that Jesus did.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If "attestation" had any solid significance to it in this matter this might mean something. However having a few writings, written at least 40 years after the supposed events, by biased believers whose identity is highly questionable, with little to no contemporaneous critical analysis
of the claims, with no corroboration of any of the more fantastic claims, is decidedly unimpressive. </font>
If the stories were invented 40 years after the alleged events you might have a point. But that is a naive view to take that is rejected by most historians. The reality of history is that much EARLIER than 40 years before they were written Jesus' disciples claimed he could perform miracles and that he was resurrected from the dead. Moreover, there is plenty of corroboration, as the similarities in Q, M, L, Paul, Hebrews, Mark, John, and Josephus reveal.

Does this prove it? Not to you, certainly, but that is irrelevant to the point. We were comparing Islam and Christianity.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 18, 2001).]
 
 

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