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, 11:37 PM   #31
Posts: n/a

PS.....I like the reference to "Eternal," what planet is that guy from? Ha. Sorry, not him though, just your regular Andy from college searching for something to believe in.


Old 03-23-2001, 11:45 PM   #32
Posts: n/a

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by AuthenticMan:
Hello Andy, and welcome to the Boards.

I am curious as to what kind of a paper you are writing, and what lead you to come to the Secular Web to do your research. If you want to take a look at the debate over the resurrection, there are a number of very good sites that you can visit and read. On these boards there are probably dozens of threads on the subject.

But are you looking for some kind of comparative analysis? Are you looking for multiple points of view from believers and non-believers alike? Are you also interested in how other religions view the Resurrection?

I think by tightening your focus, and helping the members here to know where you hope to see these discussions taking you and your research, you might gain more of the specific kind of information you are looking for.

I guess what I am saying is that it would help a great deal if you could focus your inquiry on what is, from your point of view, two or three critical issues concerning the Resurrection and the surrounding arguments.

You may also want to take a look at a few of the other threads that also address this question.


Old 03-24-2001, 12:00 PM   #33
Posts: n/a

OK Andy, I guess I was a bit sharp with you. I must have been in a bad mood when I wrote that post. But if you are going to stay on these boards, be warned that there are a few things which tend not to go down too well with atheists. Telling us we are going to Hell (not very scary - we don't believe in it), Pascal's wager (hackneyed and discredited), telling us we are wicked or living in pools of sin (insulting), saying the world is about to end and Judgement Day is nigh (Christians have been saying this for 2000 years and we're still waiting), and telling us you're praying for us (presumptuous and patronising). You managed to say or imply most or all of those things, and it wore my patience a little.

Pools of sin...I exaggerated, like most do.

Perhaps the odd puddle, but I like to think my good deeds make up for it.

My explanation of sin is defined in the Bible. How about Adam and Eve?

I won't get into an argument about creationism here, but if Adam and Eve ever existed, what they did or did not do is their problem, not mine. I fail to see why I should bear their sin.

Still, since their "sin" was eating from the tree of knowledge, I would do it myself given half a chance. I think it's quite telling that Christianity's "original sin" was man's attempt to learn and think for himself. After all, if we think for ouirselves we have no need for priests or popes, who would then have to get an honest job.

With free will, comes our choice to either follow God's will, or go against it. Since you don't believe in God, why argue further.

It's not just a case of not believing in God. Even if we assume God exists, how do we know what his will is? Because Moses came down from a mountain and said that God had spoken to him? The Israelites had no evidence that God had said the things he was supposed to have said, besides Moses' testimony. And Moses was not God, but an ordinary, mortal fallible man. Surely it is blasphemy to put the word of a man on a par with that of God? Moses could have lied. He could have thought God was speaking to him, but been hearing things. It could even have been that God did speak to Moses, but Moses misunderstood him, or reported his words incorrectly. Plus, we do not even have Moses' word for it, but merely that of an unknown Hebrew historian. The historian could have been mistaken, or he could have lied. When we read into the Bible "the LORD said unto Moses..." we must bear in mind all these possibilities, and discount them all before we can accept that it is true.

Similarly, when a Muslim tells me that the Koran was written in Heaven and given to Muhammed by an angel, the same considerations apply. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I am not obliged to believe.

So even if we were to accept the existence of God, we still could not know with certainty what his will is unless he reveals it to us in person, and therefore we could not follow it. Instead we must decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, and follow our consciences. To paraphrase Voltaire, whether we believe in Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Jupiter, Baal, Odin or none of them is not important. We must still be good.

I've actually learned a ton about what you argued against and for, and have also testing my own faith in the process, still a strong Christian.

At least I'm making you test your faith.

Question everything, doubt everything and do not take anybody's word for it - not even mine. If I make people think I'm happy. If I make them agree with me it's a bonus.

I'm still young and am still looking for what I truly believe in.

You've come to the right place. What I like most about this site is the library, which is a treasure trove of writings by many of the great minds past and present. Also, the Positive Atheism site has a lot of good stuff too. And Talkorigins is good if you're interested in evolution vs creationism.

But don't just take our word for it. Look into other Christian viewpoints, and for that matter other religions, for Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc. all claim to be the true religion, and have as much evidence to support their claims. Weigh up all the claims, and decide which you think is most credible. If this still leads you to Christianity, fair enough. God must surely prefer the devotion of a thinking man to that of a credulous man. But "if it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you." - Jefferson (again)

I've never heard of this Pascal's wager thing. I'm gonna check out the link above.

You've probably found out by now. Various people, most (in)famously the mathematician and philosopher Blaine Pascal, have presented arguments which boil down to "you're as well to believe in God, because if it turns out he exists and you don't believe he'll punish you for it". It's a pretty poor reason for believing in anything and has been refuted in many different ways - see the links for more details.

One of Eternal's many less than endearing features is that he posts a new wording of Pascal's wager every week or so. Hence my suggestion that you and he might be the same person

I was also wondering if I could quote some of you in the paper that I'm doing, for counterpoints and such. Let me know.

Feel free to quote anything I've said.

Good luck


(Edited to include a link to Eternal's latest Pascal's wager thread - recommended if you want a laugh)

[This message has been edited by Iain Simpson (edited March 26, 2001).]
Old 03-24-2001, 08:43 PM   #34
Posts: n/a

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Iain Simpson:
I think it's quite valid to say that Matthew like drama, and elaborated events where he felt a bit more drama would be nice. Essentially he was more interested in telling a good story than chronicling only what was absolute truth. For another example, compare the account of the cursed fig tree in Mark and Matthew. Mark just has the disciples coming back the next day to find the tree dead. Matthew (drawing on Mark as a source) thinks it more dramatic to have it withering before their eyes, so tells the story as such. In this he was not too dissimilar to many mainstream historians at the time, but it does mean that his accounts must be read very carefully to distinguish even what he thought really was true and what he put in to make the story better.</font>
I agree, Matthew does have a tendancy to dramatise. I prefer to use Luke's gospel wherever possible, he seems to be a very intelligent and well-researched writer.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">On a more general note, if the resurrection is true then I am at a loss to understand why the Gospel writers deal with it in such an offhand and throwaway manner.</font>
I'm not sure I agree here. Jesus' appearences are portrayed as miraculous events, and we are given details in each recorded appearance about who it was to and what Jesus did and said. The list of appearences is shorter than the rest clearly because it is chronologically shorter: Irregular appearences over 40 days compared to 3 1/2 years of ministry culminating in a week of full-time teaching in the temple.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The reappearance of Jesus is by far the greatest part of the story, but Mark does not mention it at all. Why not? Did he not know about it? Did the story only become widespread after his Gospel was written? If so, this would be damning for Christianity.</font>
Well there is Mark 16:9-20. I think that this was actually in the original, or at least written by the same author as the rest. A likely reason for Mark not to include the ressurection account is given when we consider Mark's audience. Clement of Alexandria writes that Mark wrote his Gospel for the believers in Rome who had heard the preachings of Peter. Obviously in Peter's account the ressurection would have been given prominence and if Mark was writing a complementary work to Peter's teaching there is good reason for him to omit the bits heavily covered by Peter.
But also Mark 16:9-20 demonstrates thematic unity with the rest of Mark eg the obsession with demons. It also records a promise from Jesus about poison which is not found in the other Gospels, making it unlikely to be copied from them.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Why does Luke say that Jesus made many appearances over forty days, but only mentions a couple of them? His is the longest and most detailed of the Gospels. He goes to great lengths to describe what Jesus did when he was alive, but devotes only a single chapter to cover all that he did after he rose from the dead. Something is wrong here. Did he perhaps just have a lot of disordered and contradictory second hand accounts, and was he not sure which ones to believe? And if he wasn't sure, how can we be?</font>
Note that Luke also gives some further information in Acts on Jesus' appearences. I find nothing wrong with Luke's method. He says that Jesus made many appearences and then gives complete details of a few of them. He appears to be sure of the accounts he has included and he is either good at making up minicule details or has done through research into the accounts he gives. Possibly he is not sure that all the claims are true, but he certainly seems convinced of those he reports. This hardly seems a reason to doubt all the claims including those Luke reports.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:57 PM.


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