FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-23-2001, 11:35 AM   #141
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:
Polycarp:
If you met someone who claimed he was Jesus--THE Jesus, how would you know he was Jesus?

What are your standards for identifying gods/sons of gods/etc.
Quote:
</font>
Thank you for proving the very point I was trying to make. Hence, Christian belief will not be confirmed to be true or false until after death.

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-23-2001, 11:53 AM   #142
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Dismissing Crossan.

I was responding to your unequivocal rejection of what you mischaracterized as "Meier's" criteria. A point that you failed to respond to. Crossan employs many of the criteria I laid out. He doesn't dismiss them as only "Meier's" criteria. Moreover, your claims that Meier and Wright are nothing more than "horribly biased clergymen" is an assertion without evidence. Not having read anything by them, I'm curious how you conclude such a thing? They are both respected by their colleagues, secular as well as religious, and Meier in particular has a reputation for being unbiased. Although a Catholic, he concludes that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. He also concludes that Mary was not a perpetual virgin, and that Jesus had many brothers and sisters. He has demonstrated his ability to apply the above-mentioned criteria dispassionately and without bias. And, I might add, he agrees with you that we cannot prove that Jesus performed miracles through history. According to Meier, the best we can do is demonstrate that Jesus, his followers, and his enemies believed that Jesus performed miracles. You also fail to mention E.P. Sanders, who applies the so-called "Meier" criteria. He agrees with you that miracles are impossible, but he employs the criteria often throughout his Jesus and Judaism and The Historical Figure of Jesus.

As for Sai Baba and the Chinese Miracles.

You are missing my point. I have said that we can't provide conclusive evidence that Jesus performed miracles, but I reject your notion that we have "no" evidence that he did. Those are two very different things. There is evidence that Jesus performed miracles. There is evidence that Sai Baba performed miracles. There is evidence that the Taoists performed miracles. Is it conclusive? No, but it exists. The fact that you think Baba's have been disproven doesn't mean there was no evidence to support his claims.

Again, all you do is supply evidence that other miracles may have happened. You justify this by saying they can't both be right. Why?

I retract the "more intelligent" comment as to you. I'm sure that they are more intelligent than me. But I don't know you well enough to say the same about you.

As for methodological naturalism.

I have no desire to invalidate it. It's just the employment of an assumption that is not proven by the discipline itself. If you are studying history through the lens of methodological naturalism, then you cannot claim that history demonstrates that no miracles have even happened. You are simply reiterating the assumption you began with. It is not a historical conclusion, it is a philosophical one.

"Yes, using the assumption of methodological naturalism, which could be exploded by even a single genuine miracle, I have deduced that the miracles in the gospel are fictions. What's the problem with that? Even some Christians do that."


No. You cannot deduce from methodological naturalism that the miracle stories in the New Testament are fiction. Using methodological naturalism, all you can do is assume that they are fiction.

And I disagree with you that it would only take one genuine miracle to explode methodological naturalism. I think that is part of the camel's nose in the tent fear that drives so many skeptics to have contempt for Christians and other theists. If we always use methodological naturalism to study history, then history will never discover any "genuine miracle." Moreover, even if we did find one, or even a dozen, a commitment to methodological naturalism would still be appropriate for historians. By definition, miracles are unpredictable events.

"Your criterion of dissimilarity is entirely subjective. After all, Sai is quite unique, nobody else in his milieu materializes miniature bibles and fotos of Jesus (nobody else would bother)."

Perhaps I have mislead you as to the criterion of dissimilarity. It does not mean that Jesus' miracles were unlike ANY ever performed before him or after him. It means that they were dissimilar from his contemporaries. In Jesus' case it is possible to find double dissimilarity. Dissimilarity from Judaism and dissimilarity from early Christianity.

And the criterion is actually not "entirely subjective." We have a good deal of historical data as to early Jewish and Christian belief. Comparing Jesus teachings on divorce, for example, to that of his Jewish contemporaries. Those contemporaries had somewhat liberal divorce laws for men, while Jesus expressly taught that men should not divorce their wives. What is subjective about that?

I also asserted that Palestinian Jews were not known for claiming that their contemporaries were performing miracles. You responded with two points.

First, that there were skeptics among the Chinese traditions. This response misses my point. You seem to concede that there were large numbers of Chinese, even committed disciplines such as Taoism, who were reporting miracles. This seems to mean that the miracle accounts were coming from communities who reported many miracles. The presence of skeptics outside of those communities is irrelevant to this point. The reports of the miracles were coming from people who commonly reported miracles. (As I said, I'm uninformed about Chinese history, so please correct me if I am wrong).

Second, you seem to say that I am just wrong, that the Jews of that time were known for reporting miracles like those Jesus performed. You first rely on the Bablyonian Talmud traditions of Hanina and Akiba. Even if these traditions are traceable back to Jesus' contemporaries, their "miracles" are actually quite distinct from Jesus' and were not reported by his contemporaries. One of my projects is to update the Jesus, Miracle-Worker post to incorporate these distinctions.

The most analogous of Jesus' contemporaries were the other "messiah" types who attempted to rally supporters to their cause by claiming that they would perform miracles. There is no record that any of them actually performed any miracles, and when they were executed by the authorities, their followers dissipated. No miracle stories arose regarding them.

You also raise the fact that Jews believed in the miracles of the Old Testament. Again, you are confusing the presence of skeptics with dissimilarity. Not the same thing. Although Jews no doubt believed that God could perform miracles, there is a scarcity of miracle reports among the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus. Believing that he could and believing that he was are two different things. A point highlighted by the examples of executed messiah types who claimed they could do miracles. Despite their belief in a coming messiah and in miracles, no Jew ever reported that these other executed messiahs, in fact, delivered.

As to the presence of persecution, you stated, "LOTS of people report the extraordinary despite suffering abuse and ridicule, in every society: UFOs, ghosts...."

I'm not aware of many people being tortured or put to death for reporting UFO's and ghosts. And I think you are just trying to avoid an admission. People that suffer for the claim that they are making are more credible than those that prosper because of the claim that they are making.

You close by saying that the evidence for Jesus performing miracles is about as good as any other miracle reports of antiquity. I disagree with that, especially considering the confirmed expectations of the Jews who actually reported his miracles. In many ways, it would be as if the skeptics in ancient China suddenly reversed themselves and started reporting miracles too.
 
Old 03-23-2001, 12:03 PM   #143
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

"Huh? Where did you hear that the criteria used here were used inappropriately? The criteria are not at fault; we simply have a new skull to deal with."

You don't even bother to address my point. Even legitimate criteria may be misapplied or applied correctly and be wrong.

"2. And the only ones around here saying that history cannot be investigated are you and Pollyfish - remember? "We can't study one-time events in history"? It's the skeptics who are saying that such events can be scientifically studied."

Actually, no, I don't remember saying that because it is the exact opposite of what I actually said. Polycarp and I have both maintained that history can be studied and investigated. I have maintained from the beginning that we have the ability to investigate history. I actually agreed with you that archeology had an important part to play in the study of history. I actually referred you to several posts by myself and Nomad where we discussed latest archeological finds and their implications for New Testament history. You may be confused by my statement that there are limitations on what archeology can tell us about history. My point was that an event such as the resurrection of Jesus wouldn't leave much archeological evidence.

It is you who have completely rejected the commonly used tools that the scholarly community relies on to investigate the New Testament.
 
Old 03-23-2001, 01:07 PM   #144
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

L -
umm it seems pretty obvious that you can't prove J did miracles given your methods: the best you can do is say it's highly probable that they made claims to the effect.
so umm why ought you worship him? Why ought anyone trust such claims? How do you know you're not being hoodwinked by admittedly Christian (biased) sources on this matter? You already admitted that your criteria can't really get to a solid error - so how do you know? Further, how do you know that J isn't in violation of Deut 13 as the pharisees obviously thought (given J's perceived blasphemies)? etc..etc...

BTW - you also said something to the effect that Jews attested to J's miracles:
umm
which non-Christian Jewish sources attest to J's miracles? Do they also attest to his perceived blasphemies and why they rejected him?
 
Old 03-23-2001, 02:26 PM   #145
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Polycarp:

You did not answer my question.

What are your standards for identifying gods/sons of gods/etc.

If you met someone who claimed he was Jesus--THE Jesus, how would you know he was Jesus?
 
Old 03-23-2001, 02:57 PM   #146
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
L -
umm it seems pretty obvious that you can't prove J did miracles given your methods: the best you can do is say it's highly probable that they made claims to the effect.
so umm why ought you worship him? Why ought anyone trust such claims? How do you know you're not being hoodwinked by admittedly Christian (biased) sources on this matter? You already admitted that your criteria can't really get to a solid error - so how do you know? Further, how do you know that J isn't in violation of Deut 13 as the pharisees obviously thought (given J's perceived blasphemies)? etc..etc...

BTW - you also said something to the effect that Jews attested to J's miracles:
umm
which non-Christian Jewish sources attest to J's miracles? Do they also attest to his perceived blasphemies and why they rejected him?
</font>
Let me put it this way, the evidence is sufficient to convince me. And as I tried to make clear to you in our previous thread, the criteria I referenced are better at putting things into the accurate box them kicking them out of thepossible box.

The Jewish sources: Josephus, who refers to Jesus as the "so-called" Christ. The Bablyonian Talmud, which refers to Jesus as a sorcerer and blasphemer. And, I believe Celsus, but I need to do some more research on him.

I'm not sure someone can "know" that they are not being "hood winked." I don't believe that I am.

How about you? Why do you worship Jesus?
 
Old 03-23-2001, 03:05 PM   #147
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:
You did not answer my question.

What are your standards for identifying gods/sons of gods/etc.

If you met someone who claimed he was Jesus--THE Jesus, how would you know he was Jesus?
Quote:
</font>
I did answer your question, but you didn't like my answer.

I was responding to isa457 who was asking for empirical verification of a non-empirical truth claim by asking to see Jesus on earth today. Itís a category mistake. Before you ask why god wouldnít want to prove himself to us by bowing to our command, let me make it clear that the Christian god does not take orders from us mere humans. Isa457 brought up the issue of the resurrection of Jesus. Why donít you ask him how it could be proven that Jesus was the one knocking on his door?

Iíve already stated that EMPRICAL verification will not occur until after I die. At this point Iím believing on the basis of probability in the same way most people believe their spouse loves them, that it will rain today, or that we will some day have a manned mission to Mars. Iíll get back to you after Iím dead Ė what number will you be at ?

You want to start an entirely new topic. This is not in any way related to the issue of the this thread (historical method) which somehow has been ignored of late by you and Omnedon. HmmmÖ I wonder why that is?

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-23-2001, 03:08 PM   #148
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by isa457:
Hey Theists!

Well I demand:

Where is Jesus? I want to physically meet him today. I would also like to see Lazarus. Since they both escaped death, then they still should be walking the earth.

I want to see Jesus right now.
</font>
Hey isa457 !!

Bob and I want to know how you would know if it was Jesus who showed up at your door.

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 03-23-2001, 09:32 PM   #149
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Huh? Where did you hear that the criteria used here were used inappropriately? The criteria are not at fault; we simply have a new skull to deal with."

You don't even bother to address my point. Even legitimate criteria may be misapplied or applied correctly and be wrong.
</font>
However, that is not what you said. Here; let me refresh your memory:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Fifth, the reality that the criteria could be wrong is no surprise. That is the problem faced by any search for knowledge. A recent fossil discovery has overturned the widely accepted 20 year old consensus that Lucy is a direct human ancestor. Does that mean that "science" cannot be used to gain knowledge? Or that it is of no use to us because the criteria used were inappropriately used, or used on the basis of insufficient evidence?
</font>
You mention both "criteria that could be wrong" as well as "criteria used were inappropriately used".

So I ask you again: what evidence do you have that the new discoveries about the Lucy skeleton came about as a result of misapplied criteria? As opposed to merely being the result of new evidence having recently come to light?

Or is this just another example of you not understanding the material? And thus trying to condemn science on grounds of criteria - - when neither the criteria, nor the application of the criteria, can be faulted for the recent shake-up of the evolutionary tree?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
"2. And the only ones around here saying that history cannot be investigated are you and Pollyfish - remember? "We can't study one-time events in history"? It's the skeptics who are saying that such events can be scientifically studied."

Actually, no, I don't remember saying that because it is the exact opposite of what I actually said. Polycarp and I have both maintained that history can be studied and investigated.
</font>
Thou shalt not bear false witness, deLayman. Both of you have said that unique events in history cannot be studied by the Scientific Method. And you said this because of your fundamental misunderstanding of the repeatability principle, which applies not the event itself, but to the results of experiements.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
It is you who have completely rejected the commonly used tools that the scholarly community relies on to investigate the New Testament.
</font>
Probably because your tools are busted, and nothing you have said so far has changed that.
I am not impressed by appeals to authority, especially when the so-called authority is a small circle of bible scholars who want the principle of methodological naturalism suspended just for them.

As SingleDad said about your busted criterion of embarrassment:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
It's non-falsifiable and impossible to distinguish between changing standards of value, intentional fabrication, error and stupidity.
</font>

And you can add "coherence" to the list of bullshit historical criteria, for reasons of extreme subjectivity and unfalsifiability.

So, yes, I reject your six criteria, because:[list=1][*]they are flawed (as I, turtonm, and SingleDad have pointed out);[*]you have whined and wailed loudly, with much gnashing of teeth, yet you have still not addressed or remedied the flaws;[*]your entire argument is appeal to authority - but if you cannot defend your own criteria well enough without saying, "just go read such-and-such", then apparently you do not understand the arguments well enough to defend them[/list=a]


[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 23, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 23, 2001).]
 
Old 03-23-2001, 09:54 PM   #150
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
This is just a flat out lie. I noticed you conveniently failed to respond to either of my last two posts. Is this the tactic you use when you concede ? I would appreciate it if you would respond to my recent posts to you.
</font>
It is not a lie. You both tried to say that the Scientific Method could not be applied to unique events in history. You were wrong.

As to replying to your recent post - I'm still waiting for you to show the probability math for your 90% and 95% claims. A 95% claim is a strong claim for solid proof. Again:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
even though you are not claiming 100% certitude, you are STILL claiming a degree of certainty (or of probability) in your conclusions. But the degree of certainty (or proof) that you are claiming is WAAAAAAY out of line, given the scarcity and the low quality of the evidence. And, given the flaws in the tools you have offered.

The fact that you cannot product 100% certain proof does not answer the flaws pointed out in your criteria (embarrassment, dissimilarity and coherence).

Even in a situation of non-certitude, the tools you choose must still be high quality and not subject to the kinds of flaws I (and others) pointed out. Any textual criticism criteria that cannot reliably be falsified is not a trustworthy tool.

Just because you cannot be 100% certain, that is not a green light that "anything goes". By that I mean an attitude that says since we can never be certain, then throw your hands up and take the attitude that any tool is as good as any other. That's patently absurd.

</font>
So again your options are:
a. provide the data
b. modify the claim
c. retract the claim


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
As far as the issue of non-Christian miracles, have you even read the evidence Turtonm has posted for the existence of miracles? You havenít given any counter-evidence to say those miracles never occurred.
</font>
Why should I? I know they did not happen, because miracles do not happen like that. I also do not investigate reports of miraculous weeping statues that appear on the front cover of The National Enquirer.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Layman can speak for himself if he likes, but I think most Christians would not dispute that the supernatural can occur outside a Christian environment. After reading the posts by you and Turtonm, its obvious you guys are arguing that miracles are possible. Turtonm said, ďwe have video of Sai Baba performing miracles.Ē


I thought you said earlier that miracles were impossible. When are you two gonna make up your mind?</font>
You misunderstand turtonm's position, as well as mine. Neither one of us believe that the miracles of Sai Baba actually took place. (Right, turtonm?)

As turtonm says:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Ancient accounts, even eyewitness accounts, even multiply, independently attested eyewitness accounts, are not real reliable.
</font>

We don't believe in the miracles. But we are using your own "six criteria" here to beat you. By giving you an example that satisfies your busted six criteria, you and deLayman have a decision to make. You must concede that the case is much stronger for Sai Baba, than for Christ. If you fail to do so, then the inescapable fact is that both of you are hypocrites. That would be evidence that you do not, in fact, arrive at your conclusions based upon an examination of the evidence, and consistent application of your own criteria. Instead, you reverse-engineer your faith.

So what's it gonna be?


 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:15 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.